Tuesday Tunes / Prayer

I have often heard of this verse (repeated three times) as a caution to young unmarried people to guard their hearts so I enjoyed hearing it as a prayer to God to stir up those feelings of first love we felt when we first became Christians.

 

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Sunday Reads

Recipes
 

Best Part of your Wedding

I read this post where couples talk about the best part of their wedding. Three years on, the parts I loved best are:

  1. When the Priest placed our hand under his cassock and prayed the marital blessing upon us. More than when he prayed for the rings or pronounced us man and wife, this is the time I knew we were married and I felt God’s presence in our marriage.
  2. There is a picture of us talking about something so intense after the ceremony. I can’t remember what we were talking about but I love to think we were both excited and happy to be married.
  3. I have had the same WhatsApp profile pic since then because that was the first picture we took in our first house after the wedding. We stood in the bathroom replaying the day as I took off my make up then we decided to take a selfie and voila!

What about you, what parts of your wedding do you still remember and why are they so memorable?

PS: Please read the comments from the blog post, so darling and warm!!

Sunday Reads

Some Inspiring Friday Jams

A Recent Menu

So before I turned 30, I wanted to host a fancy dinner at my place and host a couple of friends. Being in a new city and making friends therefore provided the best backdrop for this as I decided to host a bunch of ladies that I have recently come to know whom I also thought would be a good fit to develop new friendships among themselves. The additional backstory is that I have so many cookery books and this gave me the chance to whip one out and base the days’ meal on it. I used Rachel Allen’s book, Entertaining at Home – easily my best recipe book.  So below is the prescribed menu:

Starters

Tomato, mozzarella and tapenade crostini

Mains

Bulgur wheat pilaf

Braised Moroccan chicken with basmati rice

Ribboned carrots with honey and parsley

Green salad

Dessert

Blackberry mousse

Chocolate cake

 

 

 

A Thought for this Monday Morning

The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
    slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
    nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
    or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he removed our transgressions from us. (Source)

Psalms 103: 12  reminds us that God forgives fully and removes our sins from us as far as the East is from the West. This truth came up recently when I  met a friend to discuss the bible studies that we had both done separately over the BSF break, her Hebrews and me, James.

A theme that separately came up for each of us is belief and how it is also possible for us as believers not to take God at His word and put in caveats that are not there OR that limit our overall ability to enjoy the time spent with Him. And this way, practice unbelief. In my specific case, this came through in the area of prayers. For others in my life, I am able to pray big prayers and believe on their behalf that God is who He says He is and that He can do what He said He will but somehow somehow in my case my faith is muted and I doubt that He will do what He said He can. So my pal rightly asked me: “what’s that about?” And in that moment, I was reminded of the verse that exhorts fathers not to provoke their children to anger by how they treat them (Ephesians 6: 4 NLT).

We often approach God based on our earthly experiences rather than step out of those and experience Him as the eternal Father who loves perfectly. Who has been perfectly revealed through His son Jesus Christ (Heb 1:3) and His living word (the Bible).

This contrasts with the devil who speaks from both sides of his mouth. On the one hand he is the father of all lies (John 8:44) and in the other, the accuser of brethren (Revelation 12:10). However, we also know that Jesus has fully overcome the world on our behalf and though we will have trouble we should take heart and have peace (John 16:33). This means that I can overcome this burden of shame and this fear of intimacy with Christ due to past sin by entrusting my all to Him and believing fully in Him. Additionally, I know that Revelation 12:11 talks of overcoming the accuser through the words of our testimony. By what we declare and what we state can we be renewed and overcome his lies about us, God’s children.

Questions to Ponder

  1. In what ways do you struggle to take God fully at His word?
  2. What are some of your personal life experiences that hinder the development of a childlike faith in God the Father?
  3. How will knowing this truth of Christ now impact how you approach Him in faith?

Prayer

Lord we thank you that you are eternal yet unchanging, that your word is true and that you can swear by none but yourself which further encourages our faith in you. Forgive me where I have doubted your word in how I have acted, thought or spoken. Help me always to trust in you ( in the following specific areas of my life ) and believe even when my old self wants to doubt. Teach me how to hold onto my faith unswerving and this way to bring glory and honour to you. I thank you that you are a good Father who gives good gifts to His children and who forgives us fully and does not hold our past sins against us.

Sunday Reads

Recipes

My Positive Trait

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The tenth prompt from this list asked me to talk of something about myself I like.

Just this week I was reminded that a compliment I often get from those dear and near is that I am a great encourager. I listen patiently and help people to see themselves in a more positive light, I offer solutions to problems and offer to assist with heavy burdens. I am good at strengthening people and getting them to see as strengths setbacks while pushing them upwards and forwards. I hope I never forget this or hold myself back when those in my presence need to be uplifted.

What’s a compliment you often receive?

Recent Pinterest Love

This fresh, herbed quinoa and chickpea salad makes a satisfying lunch and a great holiday side dish.

Delicious quinoa recipe, yum!!

As soon as my hair is long enuff. I am getting this!!

Love the hairstyle but I wonder if it’s heavy … 

Steel-paned shower doors

Love the white and black of this bathroom

Happy Anniversary /Ode to Marriage

Today marks our third-year anniversary and I am not sure what it is about marriage that makes each year feel tougher and harder than the previous one yet the returns are just as fulfilling. I love being married and I love my husband and even after all these years together (nine this year) I am still remarkably happy that we are together. He is certainly my person.

What have I learnt so far?

  • Communication, yes, it’s great and truly the key. Half of communication however is being mindful of how you deliver the message. It is possible through how and when you say something to break the other person or get a response that you were not prepared for. True Story.
  • Regarding in-laws, that can be managed. There is a happy coexistence that you can attain. A fine line between respect for them and firm boundaries for your relationship. Also, one of the ladies that spoke to me before I got married reminded me that I can never be the best daughter in law and so I should not work on that but focus on being respectful.
  • Marriage is better when you have a crowd with whom you experience it together. This calls to mind mentors, other happily married couples of all ages and even people that are dating and hoping to also settle down. Being surrounded by happy couples in different seasons of life keeps you connected and encouraged to strive more within your marriage.
  • The move to the Mother City was also beneficial because it helped us build a firm foundation for this new phase of our relationship and to help the “crowd” around us begin to see us as a unit and to respect that.
  • Though we had known each other since our early twenties, we only got married in our late twenties and in the last three years we have spent a lot of time integrating our single lives into our new entity. In true us style, this has involved a lot of “business” meetings to plan, dream, forecast and review our future plan. Although we are closer now than when we started we are still not done. Urggh.
  • My husband is my best male friend and probably someone outside of my family that knows me best BUT having said that, I still believe it is important to keep other friendships going strong in your lives and to continue to meet new people and maintain old friendships. This is important because of the “crowd” I spoke of earlier but also the fact that when we interact with other people it draws out another side of you and also allows you to miss your partner that you look forward to seeing them.

Having said all the above, it is a fact that marriage is work. You only reap what you put in. Also, that both of you must work on it or the other party eventually gets worn out and might lash out. Each year has brought us something additional to work through / focus on and that has been interesting and kept us both connected.

What will I work on this year?

Firstly, on the words I use. I know that as a wife, I can either build him up / tear him down and I have to be very careful not to do the latter. Secondly, in the Love Dare  the authors speak of  guarding one self against spending time in your mate’s depreciation room. This is basically the place where we keep stock of all of his bad traits and all those things you do not like about him. I also have a depreciation room that he could dwell on but that won’t take us anywhere if we both fixate on it. Lastly, to work on making more couple friends and hanging out with those we currently have.

In closing, one piece of advice we received that I always remember is that marriage is what you make of it. Just as no two marriages are the same, you can get out of yours the things that you want and that works for the two of you despite what other people out there might feel/ have to say.

So here’s to many more and loads of love.

 

I Hear Myself Everywhere

I consume a lot of stuff online or on television and I know that the stuff I like best is anything that I can read and feel in some ways that it represents my inner voice. Like what you ask?

  • Rory Gilmore from Gilmore Girls. In many ways she is my inner voice from when I was 16 until now at 32 – she is what the inner me wants to be.
  • Cup of Jo. This blog is what I wish that my own little corner of the internet would grow up to be.
  • Call your Girlfriend. This podcast reminds me of conversations I would have with my best gal pal and sans the cursing. As the tag line promises, it is the podcast for long distance besties which we happen to be.
  • Julia Braverman and her family because I REALLY loved the show Parenthood.
  • Tamar and Vince. Something about this show reminds me of the Mr and I . I also say that Tamar is the inner last born I always wish my family allowed me to be.
  • Randal and Beth Pearson from This is Us is another portrayal of how I think the Mr and I relate to each other. If ever there was a couple on TV that I would happily squeal #Relationshipgoals it would be them.

And you, who/ what represents that inner voice?

 

 

A Relationship I Still Love

All of this week I am thinking a lot about relationships and one long-term one that I have is with my dreadlocks.

After seven and a half years, I really really still love my hair. It is now waist-length and just as exciting as when it was first locked. After all these years, I still get excited at having my hair washed, twisted and then styled. Before that I delight myself by looking at pictures online and choosing an appropriate style and then looking forward to the big reveal at the salon. When I see someone with dreadlocks that either have a style I would like, that are dyed beautifully, longer and sometimes even shorter than mine but just look so good, I get the worst dread envy.

And all of the above is how I know that I made the best move and I still don’t regret it. Nah, nope, I am still good. CONFESSION: Come Summer, I do want to trim them slightly shorter, just an itsy bitsy bit.

In the meantime, below are some styles I am looking forward to in the next couple of months.

Loc updo and custom color by Shawn Lamar Daniels, Atlanta Ga

For a wedding or special date night

The Beauty Of Natural Hair Board

I love the braid at the front, it elevates an otherwise boring style

I love the take on the traditional morehawk – but a part of me keeps thinking of the weight on your head.

Sunday Reads

 

Concluding Thoughts from the Book of James

It is quite funny how we can pick to do something and then later find that God had actually purposed for us to learn from that experience. Well, I picked James as I had just finished doing John and wanted something light for the BSF break. How very wrong I was as James turned out to be the very thing I needed to continue with the lessons learnt from the Book of John.

What character traits of God did I see?

  • God as sovereign, ordering all my plans and in control of my future.
  • God as Judge. Reading James 5, I learnt that the coming of Christ is imminent and that in all my plans I have to remember the eternal plan for mankind’s salvation.
  • God as transformer who is able to change me from my fallen self through to the daughter that He would have me become.

What actions/thoughts do I need to stop?

How has the study encouraged me?

  • I was encouraged by the fact that by abiding in Christ and remaining in His words and teachings, I will grow.  This was brought out through the likening of God’s word to a mirror. (James 1: 22 – 25)

22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

So be encouraged!!

Dear Future Daughter

I generally hate letters written to future whatevers but today being Women’s Day in South Africa and because I just watched an advert of ladies giving advice to a younger self, I thought I would give it a try.

  1. Stand tall and work on fostering positive self (body) image. There is so much advise to women today about how they ought to look/ weigh/ what they need to do and this piles on the pressure. Filter out all of these and work with your body type, your likes and bring out the best in yourself.
  2. Work hard at school. Push yourself  extremely hard and do not dim your light so any guy around you can feel better about himself. Keep learning and challenging yourself to greater and better heights.
  3. Surround yourself with female friends that push you to your best and that you can do life with. Female  friends rock! FACT. We are not all in competition with each other (female) and do not all like to gossip and bring down a fellow sister. Work on being a good  friend.
  4. What makes you tick and brings out your inner feminine self? Don’t worry it varies from one lady to the next, find what works for you and foster that. If you wanna be like mummy, I love to read and to get my hair done.
  5. Work on your relationship with God. That’s the most important  and constant relationship you will ever have.

Overall, be confident. There is nothing as attractive as a woman who is confident in her skin and who draws out the best in the different people she encounters in her day to day life.

All the best!!

Three Positive Images for Monday

Sunday Reads

Source

Hosting Long-Term Guests?

This blog has slowly become a firm favourite. I thought this was a whimsical post but it definitely gave me ideas of how to prepare our guest room when we have visitors.

What do I currently do?

Growing up, my mom always made us pack a towel a face cloth and other personal items we might require when we go visiting. I have slowly learnt that not everyone packs these so I  have since had to include guest towels when I prepare the room.

I also ensure the guests have a set of keys and boy does knowing that there is extra toilet paper help a tonne.

I also stock the house with food and then on the second or third night when the guests arrive, I take them along to the shops so they can shop for food and personal effects that they might need that I do no have in the house – it certainly helps guests to feel at home. This and knowing where the breakfast cereals, tea and coffee is in the house.

From this post, I have since learnt to include the following items for that home away from home feel.

  1. A luggage rack, I read this and the simplicity but indulgence of it made me happy.
  2. A mirror so that guests can prep themselves once they get up.
  3. A box of tissues.
  4. Clearing out shelf and hanging space and providing a few hangers for use
  5. Stocking up the sugar bowl – I don’t add sugar to my tea/coffee so it’s an

    issue to remember that other do.

    How do you prepare yourself to host guests?

    Beware the tongue

    I have been studying James over the last couple of  weeks and one of the themes he speaks repeatedly of are the words of your mouth. In fact, he specifically states that “perfect” is the man who is able to bridle his tongue. This has got me thinking of how I can restrain myself from saying certain things and therefore prevent myself from falling into unnecessary sin.

    This morning I read this blog post cautioning against using secular language rather than speaking the words of truth that many in the world today need to hear about. This article brought to mind another area of the tongue that could lead us to fall into sin – the hollow words we speak of that while well meaning do not really mean a thing or profess the hope we have in Christ.

    This article got me thinking of the number of times I have said rather vaguely “All the best”, “Good Luck”, “Best Wishes” or “I will think of you” rather than I will pray about this to Jesus and ask that His will be done. How many times have I heard of people talking of an energy/ the forces out there and not called it out and asked them to rather refer directly to Jesus – and this is true also of Christians and non-Christians.

    So from the post, this is the challenge that I would like to leave you with.

    I would like to challenge you, as a believer in Christ, to evaluate the phrases and hashtags you throw out to a world desperate for hope. It may seem harmless enough, but the vibes you’re alluding to are vacuous. Our friends aren’t strong enough on their own to “keep their heads up” and “pull through” life’s challenges, like vain platitudes suggest. No, they were made to find their strength in the God who made them. Theology matters. It doesn’t take long for someone to see the way we deal with the circumstances in our lives. We either have confidence in God or confidence in the flesh.