Monday, January 31, 2011

Extracting happiness

"The art of being happy lies in the power to extract
happiness from the common things."
Henry Beecher

We often think that soon a day will come when things will be different... slower, brighter, easier... on that day you will smell the roses, but frankly while we do need to look at where we are going we need to enjoy where we are. Today can have moments, minutes, time... that is slower, brighter, easier.

Case in point... I called my mother today... in the middle of my dialogue she clearly turns to my father (I hear them) and she says 'what's that black thing up there' and then turns her attention back to me. Instead of thinking 'she never listens to me' I actually thought 'who cares about the diversion' - what a blessing it is to hear her voice, to be able to ring her in the middle of a day.

Take a leaf out of Beecher's book and try to find happiness in the common things. Beauty is all around... look.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Weekends are for...

a weekly treat... a dense slice of toasted rye bread, with real butter and liberal smear of great jam. Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A common gift

I have to sometimes remind myself that the seemingly common everyday activities in my life are of great importance... acts of love. Knowing that little eyes are watching and learning is a great responsibility and encouragement, it turns the mundane into a glad service.

"Action springs not from thought but from a readiness for responsibility"
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Weekends are for

picking armfuls of summer plums.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

End of summer holidays

After long hours of daylight over the summer, with much swimming, playing and chasing dreams...

today was back to school!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Manuela's Banana Cake

This recipe has been in my oldest self-assembled "cookbook" and is probably 20-25 years old... and... I've never made it.

My sister read it and baked it and I ate it. This cake will cheer anyone up! It's that good... its higher grade Banana Cake... moist and full of flavour.

She thought the cake's icing could have looked neater but she had to virtually throw it at the cake, as a hand-full of us had rushed in with our plates ready.

200g wholewheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
100g brown sugar
3 tablespoons olive oil
100 ml yoghurt / buttermilk
4 mashed bananas
handful of chopped walnuts/pecans - optional

Sift flour, baking powder, spices & salt. Set aside. Whisk wet ingredients together in a jug. Add bananas and sugar (can use up to 130g for a sweeter cake if you are not going to ice it) to jug and blend. Combine gently with flour mixture, adding nuts (if using).

Spoon into a greased baking tin and bake for 30 minutes (or till skewer comes out clean) in a pre-heated oven of 180 deg Cel. Cool in tin.

Remove and coat cake with cream cheese icing and decorate with walnuts/pecans.

Cream cheese icing
100g cream cheese
40g butter
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
300 g icing sugar
Cream together the butter and cream cheese. Add rest and beat till fluffy.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Love your enemies?

What do you do with someone who takes pleasure in your failure? Who gloats at your mistakes?

You want to say the ugly words that form in your mind... you take them captive...
more arrive... do it again.
You can't let them loose... you know that leads to more damage, you have enough already.

You want to put them in their place - but what does that bring? Your spirit knows that it is just as pathetic a behaviour as has been done to you, but your flesh wants to unburden. You must choose. Don't play their game... it's so fruitless.

You swallow the bitter taste and concentrate your mind on who really matters. He knows.

Someone walks in and you answer but you ache. They go.

You need fresh air, fresh wind, a sea breeze... upon your face and your soul... His word is alive and it's remedial properties work.

"He rescued me from my strong enemy and those who hated me... He brought me out into a broad place, He rescued me because He delighted in me." Psalm 18

You can't change others, you can only change yourself... your attitude, your response, your words. You get beauty for ashes.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Weekends are for

Meeting friends, eating, much reading, watching The Aristocats with my best girl and... my happy feet.

It's probably against "blog protocol" - who blogs about feet (yes it's trivial but there is a time for such things), but I wanted to show the colour more than the toes... a amazing shimmery sherbet pink. Every time I look down I see summer!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Gumboots and all

This is so rare... he hates garden work, but our gardener is on holiday... seeing these legs in these boots makes me smile.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


This word goodness has been floating around in my head over the last few weeks... I've been thinking that I want some... that we all need it to come to us... that we all need it to go from us to others. Isn't this often a missing commodity?

Some people radiate with goodness and kindness... I wouldn't class myself with this group but I know where to go to get a helping. You go to the one who is Good and when you are with Him... it can't be helped... He rubs off on you and something begins to germinate.

We are created by God for GOOD works (show goodness) Ephesians 3

How great is Your GOODNESS Psalm 31

be eager to do what is GOOD Titus 2

the fruit of the Spirit is.... GOODNESS Galations 5

From the pen of one wiser than I... "to live with joy is to see God's goodness"

This morning while driving, Rebecca opened her children's bible and announced that she would be reading to me from chapter 8 'The goodness of God' - coincidence, I think not.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Creamy Salad Dressing

I've been sloshing this stuff over everything. It's simple and tasty, and no oil!

Creamy Salad Dressing

1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup (fat-free) milk
1/2 teaspoon garlic paste
1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard
2 teaspoons dried chives
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/4 - 1/3 teaspoon salt
good grinding of pepper

Whisk all together and store in a container in the fridge.

I double up this recipe when I make it. Enjoy.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Beautiful Morning

"Up in the morning early
tis Nature's gayest hour!
There's pearls of dew
upon the grass
and fragrance
on the flower"

by Sarah J Hale

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A bowl of melon

We, like most Capetonians at this time of the year, are wilting from the heat and are living on mostly fruit.

Happiness is a large bowl of chilled melon and grapes.

Friday, January 7, 2011

What the heart knows

I started memorising in earnest when Rebecca was about two years old and it has been become such an anchor. I read these words by a pastor ''What the heart knows by heart, is what the heart really knows" ...true... so one of my pursuits this year will be memorising scripture. I know that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks... my mouth still indicates that my heart needs tilling.

My current verse is
Blessed is the (wo)man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners nor sits in the seat of the scornful. But (her) his delight is in the law of the Lord and in His law (she) he meditates day and night. (She) He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither and whatever (she) he does shall prosper.
Psalm 1. 1-3

Thursday, January 6, 2011

It's actually 2011

As I ponder this year I read blogs from ladies across the sea, sitting by fireplaces and listening to the gentle rhythm of falling snow. It seems right to plan a year where it is cooler and the brain can process serious matters. Here it is a blister of a day... the rains that fell on the first of January seem like a faint reverie. It's plain difficult to write a coherent line let alone write up a whole vision for the year.

I turn to the source of comfort and direction...

"You crown the year with Your goodness and Your paths drip with abundance" Psalm 65.11

"live a life worthy of the Lord" Col 1.9

Begin I must, early in the morning... just before sunrise, when the mind is clear and the coffee is strong. It sounds noble to have life purpose or write up a vision, but without the pursuit of it... and a daily plan with a dosage of His grace and strength LIFE will drag you along with its dominant unrelenting current of work, food, clothes, television etc. While this is in itself not bad, it must not consume us. We won't wake up godly women one day just by wishing. Oh baby, if only.

This plan, whatever it may mean for you, whether its more quiet time, bible reading, having supper together as a family... it won't be perfect. Mercy! But it can be built upon bit by bit. Let's resolve to do something different this year... maybe swim a bit against the current and enjoy it to boot! It will build strong muscles and these muscles could help us carry others... one of the first scriptures I read this year was "whoever drinks of the water that I give him will never thirst again. But the water that I give him will become in him a fountain of water" John 4.13

May you have a definite spring in your step this year, A fresh wind under your wings.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

What a welcome

I awoke in the early hours to the sound of thunder. Welcome 2011.


Rain falling... a cleansing work at the dawn of a new year.

Old things have passed away, behold all things have become new.


"Indeed man wishes to be happy even when he so lives as to make happiness impossible"
Saint Augustine


Smell the blooms.


May 2011 be a year of much joy, abundant grace and excessive love.

Let it rain.