Sunday, November 28, 2010

Advent 2010 day 1

We went to visit our new special friends for a day of Advent celebrations today.

I love this photo, even though it's a bit blurry.
It captures the essence of the day for me.

Crafts for the children.
Fruit punch with a little secret ingredient in it for the adults.
Chocolate brownies.
Advent stories.
Home made pizza made by my fabulous husband.
Bath time.
Pasta for dinner, once again made by my fabulous husband.

And some more cookies.

I feel so blessed to have such wonderful friends in my life.
We have known each other for a few short months, but I feel like we have known each other forever.

Isn't that special?

Mary took her first step on her star walk tonight.

We lit one candle for the first week of advent.
And Sohail put up a little light to be our moon.
Annie moved Mary forward and put her on the next star.

And then, Annie was enthralled.

She showed me how far Mary has to travel.
And then she closed all the curtains in the house.
And put off all the lights.
So that she could see the moon shining and the candle burning.

She felt it.

The magic of Christmas.

I am so happy we are doing this.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Advent 2010 day 0

Tomorrow is the first day of Advent and I am so excited.
I have been reading so many inspiring blogs.
And the most amazing books.
I have always loved this time of year.
And I am having so much fun working on making it all the more meaningful for our family.

I have got the Christmas books out.
Little Santa on the seasonal table.
Christmas carols playing.

Horlicks and home made cookies.
Shapes cut out by Annie.
I am so impressed with her culinary skills!

We are starting a new tradition this year.
Mary's star path.
I got the idea from the lovely book in the picture.

An excerpt to inspire you:

"All journeys unfold through a changing landscape. They are times of expectation, of preparation, and - for a mother - the journey towards birth is no exception. During Advent we recall the path along which Mary journeyed, carrying her Heavenly Child.

A pathway leads Mary towards the stable. As she journeys, the scene changes imperceptibly from Advent into Christmas, until, at last, on Christmas Day, the Child is born...


On the first Sunday of Advent the crib figure of Mother Mary stands on the first star and then moves day by day along the path of stars towards the stable.


The star from which Mary has moved is put up in the "sky" behind the stable...


As the days pass the path becomes shorter, the sky becomes bright with stars, and the scenery around the star path grows more beautiful. In the first week, stones, pretty pebbles and crystals of various sizes are placed around the stable and path. During the second week plants are added, moss appears around the stones, flowering branches surround Mary on her way. Animals appear in the third week, maybe some little shells. Finally, on the fourth Sunday of Advent, Joseph stands in the stable to welcome Mary.


When Christmas arrives, earth and sky are filled with beauty and are ready to receive the Child when He appears."

I hope that you and your family are able to block out all the commercial insincerity out there.

 Take this time to prepare.
Honour each other.
Build family traditions.
Give to others.
Find the light within.

And have a peaceful time.

Blessings to you.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Picnic time

Sunday afternoon.
Picnic for dinner.

Play time.

Swing time.

Relax time.

Life is good.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Four things about four things about me

Nadiah tagged me in a meme.
Four things about four things about me.
I have been trying to get my act together to compose this post.

Here is my attempt!

Four things in my handbag

Hair clip: I get hot all the time. So I am always putting my hair up.
Rescue remedy: I have had this bottle for about two and a half years and it is relatively full. I guess that's a good thing!
Stuffit shopping bag: This is the coolest thing. It folds up into this tiny bag and then opens up into a lovely, normal shopping bag. Wherever I go, I always have a bag if I need.
Glasses: I can't see without them. Well, actually, my eyes are not too bad and I could probably get around without walking into walls, but I like to see everything really clearly. I only take them off when I am at home. I can't wear contacts because my cornea is too flat. I would love to wear contacts, I always feel like there is a wall between me and the world with my glasses. Oh well.

Ok next, Four things in my bedroom:

I love this lotus tea light holder which sits next to my bed. I put it on when I meditate before bed. The yoga lady is a trinket box which I bought for my sister in law in South Africa. But she broke the day I bought her. I guess she would rather stay with me? I'm still wondering what the meaning of it is.

All the books by my bed.
I read a lot!

This sits on my dressing table.
The cat and jewellery box belonged to my mom.
The candle holder is another gift I bought for someone that broke at the bottom on the day I bought it. Another thing that would prefer being with me!

Any ideas about all these breakages??

I was putting Xavier to bed and Annie decided to build a land with her play silks and blocks.
My bedroom is also the children's playroom.
All their stuff is here. In fact, we have a space for their things in every room in the house.

Next one:

Four things I would have liked to have done, but didn't:

This is a tough one. I don't believe in regrets. I think everything happens for a reason. So I will change it to four things I would have to have done and will maybe one day do.

Become a dance teacher: I used to do high energy freestyle dancing as a teenager. I was actually really good. I used to do really well in my exams and I am still quite supple. My yoga teacher even asked me if I was a dancer. I got to the point in my exams where I had to take it to the next level. I had to do really technical exams and then I could have trained to become a teacher. I gave up then. It was also my final year of high school and I had to concentrate on my studies. But, I actually think I was too chicken...
Study psychology: Read all about that one here.
Swim with the dolphins: This is actually on my to do list and I may actually do it in December. I love love love dolphins and I hear that this is one really amazing experience.
Be more creative: I never really learned to knit, or sew, or crochet, or paint, or do any of this amazing work with hands that people seem to do so effortlessly. It was never anything we explored in my house, growing up. I am learning these things now, albeit slowly.

Four things you may not know about me:

I almost became an aerobics instructor: I signed up for a teacher training course at the gym, out of curiosity. I got through the first round of training. I didn't go back after that. Also during the end of high school time. I don't think I was chicken with this one, it just wasn't meant to be.
I don't like olives: I have tried to like them. I really have. I just don't. I pick them off my pizza and give them to Sohail. And I pick them out of the olive bread. I can only handle "Light" Olive Oil. The other stuff is way to strong for me.
I used to be on the swimming team at school: We had a very small school. And our team wasn't that great. But, I love love love the water! And I swam for the school. I need to get back into the water...
I can't parallel park: I got my driver's license the first time round. But the driving instructor had put stickers and funny things on her windows so that I would know when to turn the car to get into the parking. In real life, there are no poles that can coincide with stickers on car windows, so I don't know what to do. I find the whole thing very challenging. Sohail has tried to teach me many times, I just don't grasp the whole concept. I will drive around the block to find  a parking to avoid having to parallel park!

Now to tag four people:

Catherine writes a lovely blog and I would love to know what is in her handbag.
Debbie and I have just met on the blogosphere. I would love to learn a bit more about her.
Kristi writes a lot about her boys, but not enough about herself.
Marija is my brother's friend in South Africa. She is super creative, so I would love to learn more about her.

Whew, that was quite a feat!

I hope you enjoyed it.


Today is my mom's birthday.

She would have been 55.

The last time we celebrated was five years ago.
I bought her these flowers.


I didn't know that they were her favourites.

Now they are my favourites too.

 I took her to the spa.

I was eight months pregnant with Annie.

We had a wonderful time.

A great way to spend her last birthday.

The funny thing is.

Peonies only come out this time of year.

And I buy a bunch every year at this time.

And it's always my mom's birthday.

Isn't that special?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

On kindness and giving

So we have new friends.
Recent arrivals to Australia.
From South Africa.
We have so much in common.

She fills my cup and I hope I do the same for her.

She asked us today if we could name one word to describe marriage.

A good marriage!

I am still trying to find just one.

I asked her what her word is.

She told me her word is kindness.

And she went on to explain how he is kind to her.
When she needs it most.
When she has three boys under the age of three.
And he is trying to build his name in his new job.

And he comes home to take care of her.

Not because it is convenient for him.
It is not.

But because he is kind to her.

He gives of himself.

Look at how she looks at him.

She loves him.
So much.
It is a beautiful thing to be part of.

Kindness and giving.
A bedrock of marriage.

I like those words.

"It is well to give when asked, but it is better to give unasked, through understanding;
And to the open-handed the search for one who shall receive is joy greater than giving.
And is there aught you would withhold?
All you have shall some day be given;
Therefore give now, that the season of giving may be yours and not your inheritors." 

-Kahlil Gibran

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Eating meat

This quote sits in my study and has been one of the inspirations for me becoming a vegetarian.

Did I ever mention this on my blog?

I am a vegetarian.

That was my first mistake.
To label myself.
The problem with labels is that you become attached to them. And that takes you away from your authentic self. You start focusing on the label instead of the person wearing the label.

Lets give some background to this situation.

I have never really liked meat. I have for years said that I could happily be a vegetarian.
Yet, I have eaten meat my whole life.

Two and a half years ago, I really took off on my spiritual journey. I realised, thanks to this man, that I needed to stop living in the future and I needed to live in the moment.

This has profoundly changed my life and it has given me a trust in the universe and my life and it's purpose like I have never had before.

So I have been learning to live in the moment, more and more.

Also, whilst eating my meals. Considering all the elements on my plate and how they got onto my plate. Realising that the meat I was eating was in fact a living, breathing member of our planet.

So I would only buy organic meat.
And then I watched a short video about factory farming of animals.
And I had my existential crisis.

I have no problem with human beings eating animals. If we hunt them and thank them for the life they have given us and use all of them and do not waste anything.

But, sadly, the earth does not show this kind of respect to our beautiful creatures.

We live in a world where we eat meat three times a day, wolfing down McDonald's whilst laughing about the degradation of women on Two and half Men.

Comatose to our impact on the planet.
Blind to our connection to all living things.
Unaware that the energy we put out is what we get back. We hurt others and we in fact hurt ourselves.

Because we are all connected.

So I could no longer be part of the madness.

Even if I was buying organic meat. I could not be responsible for another animal's life lost. There was too much of it happening already.

My TCM doctor asked me to wait. He said my energy was not adequate to support me. He has never seen a vegetarian with enough energy. And a mama needs a lot of energy!

I said, I couldn't do it.

I looked in Ayurveda. A vegetarian way of living.
I looked into the Raw Food Movement. It is basically vegan.
I looked at a lot of vegetarian people who have a lot of energy and are really happy.

I cooked lots and lots of vegetarian food. And loved it. And I still do.

And I got a bit lost in all of it.

I started feeling a bit tired. I started noticing rings under my eyes. Bloating. Off centre.
Not myself.

I realised that I had to listen to what my body wanted.
But, with all this research I have been obsessing over, I couldn't hear my own voice.
I didn't know what my body wanted.

And then I heard it.

Red. Meat.
Feed me.

Sohail said I looked malnourished.
I think I looked like the starving children in Africa.
Bloated tummy and gaunt like body.
Deathly face.

So I had my next existential crisis.
How could I be responsible for the carnage of our beautiful creatures?
I started getting a bit depressed.

I still feel it a bit.

So I ate it. Red meat.
And I felt good.
Instantly, actually.
Absolutely incredible.

I have found a beautiful biodynamic butcher.
I will be shopping there now.
My body needs meat.

Not a lot.
Just a bit.

I am realising that the animals get their nourishment from the earth and I get that nourishment from them.
And I am thankful.

My journey has taught me many things.

Not to label myself.
Not to take myself so seriously.
To be flexible. What I feel today will probably not be what I feel tomorrow.

I still feel the trauma that I felt when I watched that video.
And I am trying to follow a mostly Ayurvedic lifestyle.

But, I need to take care of me.
If I want to be a good mother, wife, person, I need to be strong, fit and healthy.
It is all a journey.
Who knows where I will be on it in a few years time.

I am still bloated.
Still a bit off centre.
I think I am feeling the stress of putting this incredibly restrictive label onto myself.

We are dynamic beings.
All is right in the universe.

Just so you know.
There was an error in this gadget