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34 Books in 2020

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Given how crazy the year I restricted myself to very light reading and only female readers. Also, as a reminder, here are my 2018 and 2019 lists.

Key: *** Highly Recommend ** Yeah, why not read it *Nah, only read if you have nothing else (No star) I have no feelings on the book

See the full list below.

  1. What She Wants – Cathy Kelly
  2. Ask Again, Yes – Mary Beth Keane ***
  3. A Child’s Play – Danielle Steel
  4. The Most Fun We Ever Had – Claire Lombardo ***
  5. Such a Fun Age – Kiley Reid ( Overrated)
  6. The Giver of Stars – Jojo Moyes
  7. Girl, Woman, Other – Bernadine Evaristo ( BEST overall book of 2020. If I have not already said it, please read this book) ****
  8. Intercepted – Alexa Martin
  9. Fumbled – Alexa Martin
  10. Blitzed – Alexa Martin
  11. Dominicana – Angela Cruz (Such an ordinary story that was so well told) **
  12. A Thousand Ships – Natalie Haynes **
  13. Red at the Bone – Jacqueline Woodson
  14. How to Love a Jamaican – Alexia Arthurs ***
  15. Wedding Date – Jasmine Guillory ***
  16. The Proposal – Jasmine Guillory ***
  17. The Vanishing Half – Brit Bennett ***
  18. Big Friendship – Aminatou Sow & Ann Friedman ( BEST non fiction)
  19. Last Tang Standing – Lauren Ho (liked it but it kinda dragged on. Sadly, will read the sequel and again it made me want to visit Singapore)
  20. One to Watch – Kate Stayman-London ( BEST Fiction )
  21. The Guest List – Lucy Foley **
  22. All Adults Here – Emma Straub **
  23. The Hunting Party – Lucy Foley ***
  24. The Beach Read – Emily Henry
  25. The Book of Two Ways – Jodi Piccoult ( not her best )
  26. The Flatshare – Beth O’Leary ***
  27. The Herd – Andrea Bartz (Fantastic) ***
  28. The Switch – Beth O’Leary ***
  29. The Jetsetters – Amanda Eyre Ward
  30. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Rebecca Skloot **
  31. On the Come Up – Angie Thomas ***
  32. The Henna Artist – Alka Joshi *
  33. Three little truths – Eithne Shortall
  34. Self Care – Leigh Stein ***

For the first time this year, I decided to include a tried-to-read-and-didn’t-finish list. Here goes:

  1. Ordinary People – Diana Evans
  2. Weather – Jenny Offill
  3. The Shadow King – Maaza Mengiste
  4. The Girl with the Louding Voice – Abi Dare

Sunday (Cooks)

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Some meal prep help is alway helpful

Sunday Reads

Recipes

Parenting rituals I want to incorporate

I love Cup of Jo. The blog content and the community of readers that gather around it. It is a very beautiful space on the internet and what I secretly wish for this here little space.

She recently had a blog post on family rituals and I decided to steal a few to start with my child(ren) as they get older. So here goes and please also check it out.

To keep things simple at Christmas, we each get 4 gifts: something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read. I am planning to use this model with my children (someday)!

My MIL had three curious kids who would shake gifts put under the tree before Christmas day. She invented Christmas “code names” to write on the presents. From then on the kids didn’t know whose presents were whose and would stop peeking. On Christmas day each kid gets to guess who’s assigned to each code name and she reveals the results at the end. My husband is now 33 and the tradition is still alive! She always chooses a different theme. Sometimes they are so abstract we spend hours just trying to guess what the theme is. Last year it was types of dairy cow (Holstein, Normande, Guernsey, Belted Galloway) and the year before it was cities in Ireland (Cork, Killkenny, Limerick, Dungarvan). One year she did locations of WWII battle sites. She keeps us on our toes and I always look forward to it.

“When my (very adult now) kids were smaller, I began asking for their self-portraits as my birthday gift. Many years later, I enjoy the most incredible archive of their growing artistic skills, evolving concepts of self, and interests at the time. It’s still what I ask for, and they happily explore new media, formats and methods each year — often their portraits coordinate incredibly well with no overt communication. Can’t recommend this enough. Only wish we’d begun even earlier!”

A nice tradition I have started with my kids is giving a special book on their birthday. Instead of a greeting card, we pick a book that means something that year (a book we borrowed many times from the library, a little story about a place we travelled to, about getting a sibling, etc) and we write a note on the front page or wherever we can fit it talking about memorable things of that year and hopes for the year ahead. I plan to give my kids a book with a love note every year for as long as I live

She doesn’t know it yet, but I invest money each month for my goddaughter, in the amount of her age. $1 a month when she was 1, $2 when she turned two, ect ect. She will be 11 next month! I plan to give her the money when she graduates high school or turns 18. It is a fairly low financial commitment from me each month, but should hopefully be a very nice gift for her one day. AND it will be a great lesson in compound interest and investing in your future 😉

The night before the first day of school we eat under the dining room table instead of on top of it. My kids are little (4 and 7) so they find this exciting and a wacky way to end summer and start the year!
Video

An 18-month olds Jam

She jams to this HARD

A 16 month olds’ Jam

This tickles me to no end because its a great song but it also highlights her beautiful East-South heritage.

Jam away ….

Of Crushes and the Bible

I grew up in Church and mostly attended Christian schools right until I completed my Undergraduate studies. So obviously when I started feeling attracted to boys, the Bible somehow also came in.

I am currently doing this study of Philippians with a friend and was reminded of this guy whom I had a crush on and would frequently send him this verse:

I thank my God every time I remember you.

Philippians 1:3

As I have since learnt, it was so out of context but boy did each text message always end in this verse and how thrilled it made me (and I hope him) feel.

Greet one another with a holy kiss.

2 Corinthians 13:12

Urgggh to be young and silly again.

Lockdown Lesson 1

two laptop computers on white table

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This being Day 8902 of lockdown (not really, it’s Day 54 here) and working remotely as we take care of the 14-month old. I wanted to share the one thing I have learnt about my Mr and new work mate:

He is really passionate about his work. He is genial and well liked and regarded by his workmates. They really respect him too. He is also very serious when at work. Less positively, he hates to do any kind of project admin. Oh and his day involves being in so many meetings / calls.

It’s been interesting to see this side of him as the last time we worked so closely together was back at Varsity.

What have you learnt about yourself or your partner / housemate(s) as you worked from home? If you and your partner regularly work from home, what have you learnt from each other at this time?

Dreaming of traveling

photo of brooklyn bridge new york

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If I could travel today I would go back to New York, New York ❣️ In addition to Johannesburg, Nairobi and Kampala I am also routing for the city that never sleeps

Where would you go if travel bans were lifted tomorrow. 

Thought for Today

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Psalm 91

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a]
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
    and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
    and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
    no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
    you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 “Because he[b] loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble,
    I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”

The verses in bold are the ones that are ministering to me in a special way. God is watching out for us and protecting us. He is Sovereign and even the current uncertainty does not diminish His hugeness.

Friday Joy

Especially on a day when people are likely to feel isolated, to be distant or anxious.

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Source

Solo date ideas to look forward to

I read this post and remembered how pre-baby I used to take myself out on may solo dates and how I need to start doing the same so I came up with a few ideas. (Obviously once things return to normal)

Key Art Mile. I have never been, it would be lovely to do a #FirstThursdayor just a regular evening. I have been to Momo Kuroand LOVE the food.

Watch a movie. I regularly get invites on First Wednesday movies and next time, I should totally go.

Reading Dates. This is a book meet up that happens monthly. I should go for the next one. Just sit in silence and read my book and then after get to interact with other bookies.

Baking a Decadent Dessert / Cooking an involved Recipe.

Ballet. I always see posters advertising different shows(?) at the Johannesburg Civic Theatre. It would be nice to try it out.

 

 

Hey First Time Mama

A friend is waiting to have her first baby any time now and a popular blog I read often asks participants what advice they would give a first time mama and only now am I kind of ready to attempt answering that.

woman in red dress using laptop on table

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  1. A birth plan is great, but don’t be too tied to it, things happen so be flexible.
  2. Have a plan for who you want to visit you once baby comes. Be clear what you expect and what you would like.
  3. If your mom or sister, or other trusted female relative can come, let them. In laws are great but for the first one its nice to have someone you are closely related to.
  4. Have someone who loves you look out for post natal depression. It’s  a reality.
  5. Little kids don’t need too much stuff and they outgrow stuff so quickly so don’t over shop it might all go to waste.
  6. If you have a partner, your communication will take a bit of a knock but resolve to work on it and adapt together.
  7. Babies cry. Soon you will develop a tough skin when they do. When you can’t settle them, give them a bath or strip them of their clothes for a little while.
  8. Lastly, you are the best mama for that baby. No one can do it better than you. YOU GOT THIS.

 

2020 Theme Verse

There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God;  for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience. (Hebrews 4:9 – 11)

Rest for me implies the absence of striving and making things happen on my terms but a quiet trust in who God is and His faithful promises to me.

It does not mean that I will not put in effort or work at meeting goals but rather it’s taking a step back to look at my motivations.

Rest for me this year is about serving God and attempting to accomplish my purpose in life, use my gifts fully and serve Him in all areas of my life.

Attachment-1

So REST, that is my word for the year and what I welcome you to also do this year. Rest in God.

Monday Motivation

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A little faith in the hand of a big God is Powerful!!

Sunday Reads

Wives also need to get Wives

Husbands/ fathers/ partners are good but we all need wives.

Sunday Listens (Podcast edition)

Over the holiday I got a bit tired of listening to the same subscribed podcast content so I challenged myself to listen to shows I wouldn’t normally do or I had heard but did not want to commit to full subscription just yet. So here are some of those fantastic episodes.

  • Young Love – Where should we begin by Esther Perel.
  • I felt my back stand up when I first listened to her views on infidelity so I wasn’t open at all but I liked it so much I listened to this other episode on sexlessness.
  • Radio Diaries’ Teenage Diariesrevisited. I love that kind of radio soooo much. I was hanging on the edge of my seat listening. Definitely subscribing.  As a teen I would have loved to participate in such an activity, to be honest, even now I would.
  • Other episode I loved was Thembi’s Diary.
  • BBC Woman’s Hour had a phone-in on Monday on #Megxit. Hot mess.
  • I love that Motherhood Sessions is back but jeez that first episode? Messy.
  • Borders Between Us by The Nod stressed to me how as parents we do the best for our kids and hope.
  • I have been listening to this podcast following three pregnant teens (ethics and judgment suspended) and in this episode we meet four generations of teen moms in one family. Give it a listen, it’s nothing like what you expect.
  • Still Processingdiscussed Michelle Obama’s book Becoming. JUST GO AND LISTEN. IT’S GOOD.

I know it’s a lot but do yourself a favour and just listen.

Sunday Reads

Recipes

Love your job, whatever it is

This short film challenged me to love my work and to do it to the best of my ability.