Category Archives: life

Some more podcast recommendations

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Sunday Reads

Recipes

Words we need

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griefcase

the feelings you have about your past and the things that have happened to you, which often have a negative effect on your behaviour and attitude

sanctimommy

A mother who is sanctimonious about her parenting choices. Looks down at and/or judges parents who don’t make the same choices. A combination of the words “sanctimonious” and “mommy”

premad

Of, and, or relating to becoming angry before having sound reason to do so.

dummy spitter

adult who gets angry over chldish things and over reacts, much like a baby when its toys are taken away.

Other versions of words we need are available here

Book Recommendation

Our Book Club read for March was Toni Morrison’s The Source of Self Regard . I was really eager to get into it because of everyone’s reaction when she passed away in 2019, there was such sadness at the loss of a great literary mind YET, I had struggled to really get into her writing. Prior to this read, I had only read God Help The Child and I quite enjoyed it.

General thoughts

  • Her command of language and how she uses it to say what she says. I felt like I was in primary school turning to my dictionary for every second word but it was worth it. As a wordsmith she contorts language to do and say exactly what she needs to do and impart the feeling she needs.
  • Her writing confirmed that you can’t be such an accomplished writer and not read widely. Girl reads. Widely.
  • How she talks about language and what it can and can’t achieve. You feel it and you enjoy the experience of it all.
  • What IS African American literature? Is it a separate thing and/or what actually defines it. Also the hoops it has to jump through to be understood or taken seriously. Gave me twice as good as them to get half of what they have vybes. But we the readers are so much richer for this because the writing is so much better.
  • I enjoyed her talking about her writing process and how she thinks of it / approaches it. 

Now to some specific themes and quotes that I loved from each of them.

The Foreign / Being Foreign

  • In the second essay she talks through Camara Laye’s book of how a white man would migrate back to Africa and how he prepares himself.  Even then, there is still some caucasity.
  • The idea of home and how layered it is. No one knows this more than me, what is home and what makes it home?
  • She refers to James Baldwin in her tribute to him as follows: “your life refuses summation … and invites contemplation.”
  • Frederick Douglass talking about his grandmother, and James Baldwin talking about his father, and Simone de Beauvoir talking about her mother, these people are my access to me; they are my entrance into my own interior life. And that is so true, we understand ourselves best by looking at our families and those nearest and dearest to us.
  • Writers, like water, have perfect memory. 
  • But writing is not simply recollecting or reminiscing or even epiphany. It is doing, creating a narrative infused [ …] with legitimate and authentic characteristics of the culture. 

the Afro-American presence in American literature

  • The so called every day life of black people is certainly lovely to live, but whoever is living it must know that each day of his “everyday” black life is a triumph of matter over mind and sentiment over common sense. And if he doesn’t know that, then he doesn’t know anything at all.  
  • I simply wanted to write literature that was irrevocably, indisputably black not because its characters were, or because I was, but because it took as its creative task and sought as it’s credentials those recognised and verifiable principles of black art. 
  • Others are “raced” – whites are not. Or so the conventional wisdom goes. The truth of course, is that we are all “raced”. 

Language

  • when language dies, out of carelessness, disuse, and abuse of esteem, indifference or killed by fiat, not only she herself, but all users and makers are accountable for its demise. 

Other themes, she covers but I did not get any specific quotes on, include, female empowerment, the press, money, human rights, and the artist in society, 

Best chapters 

  1. Racism and Fascism
  2. Home
  3. Wartalk
  4. The Slavebody and the blackbody
  5. Hard, True and Lasting

It is not an easy read at all but certainly worth the time and energy (and dictionary checking). Get it, this is a 5* from me.

55 Books in 2021

I began the year with no reading goal and I hoped that along the way I would read some good books and boy did I. Also, I read some duds along the way and by about September, I figured that I might hit a book a week target – this I did and surpassed slightly. Previous year lists are available here: 2018, 2019 and 2020.

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Some overall thoughts, I got into audio books for the first time and since I also read ebooks, I don’t really care how the material is presented, books are books. I got into some new Australian authors (and podcasts but that’s another post altogether). I tried to read the Women’s Prize shortlist and got through 4.25 out of 6 of them. I also read some non-fiction, sometimes for work and others just out of interest.

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 chronological list below and some thoughts I had as I finished the books.

  1. Sex and Vanity – Kevin Kwan *
  2. Destination Wedding – Diksha Basu – **
  3. Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows: A novel – Balli Kaur Jaswal ***
  4. The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters – Balli Kaur Jaswal **
  5. Dreamland – Sam Quinones ***
  6. A Bollywood Affair – Sonali Dev
  7. Pride and Prejudice, and other flavours – Sonali Dev **
  8. The Wedding Party – Jasmine Guillory *** LOVE ALL HER WORK
  9. Recipe for Persuasion- Sonali Dev **
  10. The Prenup: A Love Story – Lauren Layne
  11. The Windfall – Diksha Basu. HARD PASS. The book did not start, get better or finish. The only interesting side note is that she is the daughter of a superstar Economist, Kaushik Basu.
  12. Talking to Strangers – Malcolm Gladwell. Look I love Malcom’s books, all of them but this is THE WORST of his books. Wouldn’t recommend it.
  13. Nothing Ventured – Jeffrey Archer
  14. Hidden in Plain sight – Jeffrey Archer
  15. The Family Gift – Cathy Kelly
  16. The Fifth Letter – Nicola Moriarty ***
  17. Those Other Women – Nicola Moriarty ***
  18. Becoming Men – Malose Langa ***. Possibly one of the best non-fiction reads for 2021.
  19. The Perfect Mother – Aimee Molloy **
  20. The Hundred Wells of Salaga – Aysha Harun Atta **
  21. Grown Ups – Marian Keyes ***. LOVED IT. Therapeutic.
  22. Manchester Happened – Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi. *** Best Short Stories.
  23. Eating from one Pot: dynamics of survival in poor households in South Africa – Sarah Mosoetsa ***.
  24. How The One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House – Cherie Jones*. Didn’t like or get the story. I also think it could have been a short story.
  25. The Thursday Murder Club – Richard Osman ***. Lovely little read.
  26. Yellow Means Stay: An Anthology of Love Stores from Africa. DO NOT READ. Problematic collection that included a paedophile’s “love” as one of these love stories. Yuck, yuck and yuck. Reached out to the editors and their response was lukewarm at best.
  27. Transcendent Kingdom – Yaa Gyasi ***
  28. Unsettled Ground – Claire Fuller ***. Loved it! Finished it and immediately smiled. The book starts so slowly and there is build up but you can’t quite see it. I was rooting for Jeanie all along and it was nice seeing her develop through the course of the book.
  29. The Wives – Tarryn Fisher *. It’s like two books in one. First half great! The second, confused, hurried. Still not sure what actually happened at the end there.
  30. That Summer – Jennifer Weiner ***. It really got under my skin in a good way.
  31. Here Comes the Sun – Nicole Dennis-Benn *** This book sat in my heart really painfully. It was tragic, it felt like poverty porn, relentlessly painful.
  32. Privilege: The Making of an Adolescent Elite at Saint Paul’s School – Shamus Rahman Khan *** . A serious contender for Best Non-Fiction.
  33. The Weekend – Charlotte Wood ***. WOW. I did not expect to be enchanted by this book as much as I was. Please read it.
  34. Good Company – Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney ***
  35. The Nest – Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney *
  36. Risen Motherhood: Gospel Hope for Everyday Moments – Emily Jensen and Laura Wifler ***
  37. Love in Colour – Bolu Babalola *. This was one of those Bookstagram made me read this and it was honestly CRAP.
  38. People we meet on vacation – Emily Henry ***
  39. The Other Black Girl – Zakiya Dalila Harris *. I wanted to love this book but nah, I don’t get the hype.
  40. The Kindest Lie – Nancy Johnson *** READ IT, JUST READ IT.
  41. 491 Days – Winnie Madikizela Mandela. Another non-fiction read that was a total education for me, I realised I never understood or made up my own mind about Winnie Mandela.
  42. The Rose Code – Kate Quinn ***
  43. Snapped – Alexa Martin **
  44. The Huntress – Kate Quinn *
  45. Other Women – Cathy Kelly
  46. All Gomorrahs are the Same – Thenjiwe Mswane **
  47. How we get free – Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor *
  48. Apples Never Fall – Liane Moriarty *** (Definitely a top read contender)
  49. Party of Two – Jasmine Guillory ***
  50. The Mother In Law – Sally Hepworth ***
  51. The Secrets of Midwives – Sally Hepworth *
  52. The Man who Died Twice – Richard Osman
  53. The Family Next Door – Sally Hepworth **
  54. The Alice Network – Kate Quinn ***
  55. The Evening and the Morning – Ken Follet *** WOW

TL:DR version

Top five fiction:

Still being read

  1. No one succeeds alone – Robert Refkin
  2. The sum of small things – Elizabeth Currid-Halkett
  3. Long Bright River – Liz Moore
  4. Disappearing Church – Mark Sayers 

Couldn’t finish

  1. No one is talking about this – Patricia Lockwood. I do not get the writing style of this book and DO NOT UNDERSTAND how it made it onto so many long and short lists. AVOID.
  2. Black Buck – Mateo Askaripour. I HATED the narrator’s voice and could not get past the first ten pages.

Any books you read last year that stood out to you?

Sunday Reads

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Recipes

A Friday in July

From my favourite spot in the internet:

* a TV show, movie or book you’re into right now
* what you’re looking forward to
* something that’s worrying you
* a dessert you’ll never refuse
* would you rather have flight vs. invisibility?

Right now I am reading some awesome books: The Weekend, Good Company, Unsettled Ground. Nothing really good on TV right now.

I am looking forward to taking my daughter for a visit to my parents later next month.

Worried about whether we will ever get to herd immunity with such varied responses to the COVID-19 vaccine.

I will never say NO to ice cream. Nope!

I would rather have invisibility. All the conversations I will be able to listen to and places I can hang out and not worry about being seen.

What is your response to this pop quiz?

What Story Will You Tell?

And I’ll testify of the battles You’ve won
How You were my portion when there wasn’t enough (That’s right)
And I’ll testify of the seas that we’ve crossed
The waters You parted, the waves that I’ve walked

I am having a tough week and this song has been challenging and speaking to me. Hope you are blessed through it.

Sunday Reads

Recipes

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?

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.

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.

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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.

 

Monday Motivation

cross-sunset-sunrise-hill-70847.jpeg

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

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.

Three (maybe, four) thoughts on Grace

At Church we are covering a series on Grace and so far the study has reminded me of two things that I would like to share today.

The definition of grace is “unearned, unmerited and undeserved kindness and favour of God.” Grace is free and has all to do with God and His love for us a sinful, unfaithful and undeserving people.

Sometimes we forget this meaning and so it’s the third thing that we often forget and so I thought it wise to begin there. Now onto the things that I have actually learnt.

  1. No sin is bigger than God’s grace. There is nothing that we can do that will set us apart from the grace of God. Because if there were, it would negate the very definition of grace.
  2. We have to accept this grace on our own behalf. In that sense it’s personal but it’s also possible that you can reject it and miss out because we choose the penalty (death – the wage for sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ [Rom 6:23]) over and over again.
  3. Lastly, due to our nature, we can get very transactional with God. If you do this, I will ….  I thought I didn’t do this but I see that I quite often do this I still bargain and negotiate and try to “please” God so I am slowly learning to rest in His completed work and to be still.

I pray that I continue to meditate on these truths always.

Friday Moving Music

This song is giving me pause in this season of my life. God still moves, He still works, He breaks all chains and He can work even where situations seem dead and hopeless.

Podcast Recommendations

​I love podcasts and on my commute to work and back home, I have been catching up on some good episodes this week.

  • I love Ear Hustle and this week they had a Q&A session, I particularly loved the bit where they went round asking the guys what their prison theme song would be. If this is you first time, the boom boom room is definitely my all-time favourite episode.
  • This is Uncomfortable, a new podcast I got into was talking about class anxiety. Something that I can definitely associate with. Well, I loved how the lady in question just broke it down in a way that made me think of my own discomfort with money.
  • Aminatou and Ann also talked about all the money feelings we have. One of their subjects was saying how they sit with a group of their friends and everyone writes down their annual salary, they jumble them up and pick them out say them aloud so even if you do not know who earns that much, you at least know they are in your friendship circle. Mind-blowing, would love to see the same from my friends.
  • Woman’s Hour talked about period sex – the good, the dirty and freaky J
  • The Mr is left handed so this episode from Radio Lab hit me personally. The previous two stories were also quite impressive.

Happy Listening 🙂

Happy Hump Day

Enjoy these beautiful baby pics from a very gloomy Johannesburg

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