Happiness, Inspiration, Life, Mental Health, Mom, Personal Development, Uncategorized

Don’t let your age define you – Remove “too old” from your vocabulary

Florence

I had eagerly awaited meeting Florence, she is an angelic, elegant, absolutely captivating mom, granny and great granny. She will be turning a phenomenal 102 years old this October. Florence has an extraordinary presence, who touches the hearts of those lucky enough to meet her. She was described to me by a close friend who passed away in April as a very sharp, intelligent, classy and particularly articulate woman with a pleasant nature who leaves everyone she meets feeling lucky to have met her and spent time in her presence.

After much anticipation, the time finally came when I would meet the woman who had only been a legend up until that moment. I walked through the kitchen door past the dining room into the living room where she sat on a one-seater couch.

The dining room table is a modern rectangular table with 8 chairs. A number of timeless retro silver pieces stood on the table, similar to the tea set, a family heirloom, passed down through two generations and stands in my mother’s living room on a light, varnished oak sideboard. The living room has a warm, quaint vintage feel to it. Behind where Florence sat, stood a classic display cabinet with a collection of porcelain dolls in it. The room was filled with a number of antique ornaments, taking me back to my grandmother’s house in Merrivale, which a tiny town near Howick Natal, where we often visited when I was a little girl.

As I enthusiastically approached where she was sitting my attention was quickly drawn to a loud shriek, followed by some chirping, coming from one of two African Grey parrots. In the corner of the room stood two large bird cages with two African Grey parrots. The birds immediately noticed me, and they caused a racket as if to impress the new comer.

I quickly turned around and introduced myself to Florence and her face lit up as she told me that it is wonderful to meet me. Her voice is soft-spoken and her English, perfectly eloquent. She sat upright in the chair with perfect posture, her walking cane stood next to her, leaning up against the couch. Her light grey hair was perfectly done, not a hair out-of-place. Her face completely content, her eye lids slightly drooped, forehead creased, cheeks wrinkled. Her skin is light in complexion and absolutely perfectly made up, pinkish blush on her cheeks, eye brows neat and light pink lipstick on her lips, framed by lip liner. She was a picture of pure elegance and classic beauty.

I gazed at her, completely in awe at her magnetic beauty and marvelous presence, to me she seemed larger than life. I certainly felt very blessed to meet this enchanted woman. If I had not known her age, I would have guessed her at around 78 at most. I was instantly captured by her elegance, I remember both of my Grandmothers having the same sort of timeless elegance. We chatted for some time about the walk that she had been on earlier that day and the porcelain dolls, among other things.

Her articulate use of the English language struck me and impressed me as soon as she began to speak. I appreciate and respect for the English language and I am often left annoyed when someone abuses the language. I accept that the language has evolved(not for the better in my opinion) but I gave up correcting people years ago when I realised that I was only aggravating myself by obsessing over it and pointing the mistakes people make out because it fell on deaf ears and I realised that it is generally accepted these days to misuse English. I learnt to ignore bad pronouncing, misspelling and misuse of words in the same way I learnt to ignore bad driving by the South African minibus taxi drivers. Shouting and screaming and getting upset at taxi drivers was only driving my blood pressure up and affecting my mood and was completely ignored by them. Eventually I decided that accepting the way in which taxis drive and not getting riled up was the best option for my mental state and health. I still cringe when people use the incorrect to, too or two but smile and scroll past.

Florence left me with a unique warm feeling inside and a wide magical smile on my face that remained for the rest of the afternoon.

I so often hear people saying, “I am getting old” or “I am really feeling the age” or “I am too old to do this”. I am talking about people in their 30’s who constantly bring up their age in a negative way. Come on people, here is a woman at 101, who walks every day and still enjoys the small things in life. She spent the Soccer World cup watching each match and supporting her favourite teams throughout the tournament. I had hoped that Croatia would win the world cup, I often favour the underdog. Florence however was supporting France and celebrated their win. I laughed when she was watching and said, “Oh dear, that gentleman’s pants have torn”. She also said that she had seen his behind. I smile every time I think about that.

She loves sharing stories of her childhood as well as of her children growing up and has also shared stories of naughty things that her grandchildren got up to as children. She assures me that she brought her children up to be well manned. I giggled when she told me about the only time her and her sister ever got a hiding as children. She said that her dad had bought them new rain coats and they put one of the rain coats over both of them and stretched it by trying to fit it around both of them. The girls had wanted to see if they could both fit into one raincoat for the fun of it. They got themselves into a lot of trouble over the rain coats and she told the story in great detail, using the sweetest facial expressions. I found the story cute and entertaining. If only I could say something as small as that was the only thing my children had got up to through the years to hit my nerves.

She walks every single day as well as reading the newspaper every day. She enjoys the small things and delights in the company of her family and caregivers who have become family. She has an incredible support structure and she is surrounded by people who love her. She keeps her mind active and feeds it daily. She has many a pearl of wisdom to share such as “love isn’t always fun, it takes hard work too” among many others. I look forward to spending hours with her and hearing many more of her wonderful stories.

A couple of weeks back the girls and I headed out for a ladies night. We had the pleasure of bumping into a 74-year-old man who was dancing up a storm and really loving life. We chatted to him and asked how old he was. When he answered, we were shocked because we had thought that he was probably around 65 at the most. 74 years old, dancing in a local spot in Fourways, filled with mostly youngsters and thriving on every moment. He was living life and enjoying every minute of it.

Forget that the word “old” exists and stop referring to yourself as old. I have certainly never heard Florence call herself old. Get exercise every day, eat right and most importantly, FEED YOUR MIND DAILY.

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Happiness, Inspiration, Life, Mental Health, Mindfulness, Personal Development, Uncategorized

5 things that the first half of 2018 has taught me

  1. The best thing for me and everyone that I love is to put me first– It is no secret that I am a people pleaser but to give of myself I need to have of me to give, not putting myself first has affected me and my loved ones adversely.  As long as I can remember, I have always put people before me.  I am the first to volunteer to arrange anything from a baby shower to birthday party.  I remember a time when I was running from one event to the next to make everyone happy.  I had become completely exhausted and depressed because I had nothing left of me for myself and was spending all of my energy on everyone else.  Obviously, I had made it my duty to please everyone and I kept telling myself that loved ones should come first.  The truth is that I have to come first in order to be able to give the best to my children and the people who I love.  My entire life I have made decisions based on others.  I have stayed in the wrong situations for people, instead of getting out of these situations for me.  This has been a tough year for me and I have had to put my foot down, put myself first and stop giving my all at the detriment of myself and others around me.  Once I began making decisions based on me first, I suddenly was in a happy space and everyone around me was suddenly happier as well.  When I put myself first, I have more to give and I am living a fulfilling life and those closest to me benefit greatly.  Putting me first is not being selfish but rather being fair.  This for me is still a work in progress because I am quick to put others first, but I have taken leaps in the right direction and definitely am getting better every day and I am constantly making conscious choices and decisions that put me first in my life.
  2. I can no longer keep the wrong people for me in my life– The truth is you become like the people you choose to share your company with.  I had a number of toxic people that were in my life and they were not good for me at all.  I made bad decisions because of the company that I had been keeping and I was putting the wrong people before myself and before the right people.  I have had to put my foot down here and keep it down.  If people are bad for me, then they do not belong in my life.  It is important to be the best me that I can be and anyone who does not allow me to be my best or keeps me from achieving my goals is not worth having in my life.  It is not being a bitch, it is being real and painting the picture of my life that I want without being distracted.
  3. I cannot allow people’s opinions and judgement on other people to stop me from getting to know someone– I formed opinions on one person in particular based on what others had said about this person.  I took the time to get to know the person for myself and realised that I had been wrongly informed and misguided.  I cannot allow other people to form my opinions because it is not fair, and I could end up not missing out on having good people in my life, this would be absolutely tragic.  People are entitled to their own opinions, I am entitled to form my own.  I have also stopped listening as people start speaking in a negative or nasty way about others.  I don’t care what people think about other people and if it is nasty then I don’t want to know.  Like mom always said: “if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say it” and most importantly don’t entertain it when people are mean.
  4. No matter how hard I fall or however terrible the situation seems, it is only as bad as I allow my mind to make it– As I mentioned, I have had a hard year so far.  There have been big obstacles and I have had to make huge changes and hard decisions to make.  When I have been at my lowest my mind has somehow seen the light at the end of the tunnel.  I remember years back, sitting in a Doctors room, feeling miserable, sick and very sorry for myself when I noticed a book on the table.  I stood up and bent down to pick up the small white book with navy blue writing on the cover.  It was a book of “feel good” quotes.  I read “Don’t forget to sing in the life boats”. Suddenly I felt like a I was being a real brat.  In my mind I pictured a big ship sinking, people were standing with orange life jackets over their shoulders and fastened around their waists.  They were being helped into life boats, some crying, some screaming and some pushing and shoving.  I pictured one man with chubby, rosy cheeks, dark hair and a beard sitting in one of the boats.  The man began to sing in my mind and suddenly the storm seemed distant and people were instantly relaxed and calm.  You create the reaction to a situation and only you can control your reaction and how you deal with it.  Breathe, think and then react in best way for you.  Always see the light even in a dark night.
  5. In business and making money, thinking outside of the box and not limiting myself is the way forward– I have learned that there are many ways to make money and to make business work.  I have had to diversify my thinking and seize opportunity that really are everywhere. The future is bright and there is so much opportunity to take advantage of if I just stop limiting myself and get out of the box.  Thinking outside of the norm and paving the way to a successful future is what I have learned to do.
Children, Family, Happiness, Inspiration, Kids, Life, Love, Parenting, Relationships, Uncategorized

The joy as two perfect soul mates unite and an extraordinary, a little crazy family reunite



My baby cousin (not so much of a baby anymore, but the baby of the cousins nevertheless) had decided to get hitched in Cape Town. My cousin, Kerry-Jane was to marry her bae, Graham. I flew to Cape Town a couple of days early to fit some work in and catch up with a few friends. Cape Town is an exquisite place. Its beauty captivates me from the moment I arrive to the moment I leave. Cape Town is a very special place and of course Table Mountain is one of the 7 wonders of the world in the Nature category. When I am in Cape Town and driving around, I can always see Table Mountain. I have never looked around in Cape Town and not been able to see Table Mountain. I am truly proud of this beautiful part of my country. When I arrived, I went to my friend’s place on a farm near Paarl.

I spent a lovely evening with him and his wife chatting and catching up. I was off to training the next morning and then went to a friend and his son, who is a very close friend of my son and has spent large amounts of time in my house over the years. I had a wonderful evening catching up and chatting to them, and we shared lots of laughs and many a random and even strange story. On Saturday, my Aunt and one of my God Mothers, Aunty Barbara came to collect me to take me to the Bed and Breakfast where I was to spend my night after the wedding. I chose to stay in the same B&B as my aunt so that we could spend some time together. We spent the day being rather lazy and then got ready for the big wedding. After deciding on the purple dress instead of the red dress, I was ready and on my way with my aunt to the venue.

 

The wedding venue was the divine Cellars-Hohenort Hotel in Constantia Heights, Cape Town. On arrival, I quickly recognized the groom, Graham from social media and myself and my aunt introduced ourselves. Graham is a lovely, attractive gentleman who looked quite nervous, but he was friendly, well-mannered and accommodating. As we were directed to the greeting area, I was filled with a sudden feeling of excitement and delight. The realization that I would be seeing family members for the first time in years, was almost overwhelming in a good way. We walked towards a table, jugs of water and glasses and a few people were standing around. It was a lovely afternoon; the sky was blue and the sun shining. The venue was charming and the staff welcoming and friendly. I looked around to see if I could see my mom and dad or any of my family but no one I knew had arrived yet. My uncle and the proud father of the bride walked towards us to greet us, and he looked incredibly nervous. He is a quiet man and not normally very talkative, but he was so quiet, I could almost feel his nerves. Eventually I said: “Uncle Ernest, you seem more nervous than the groom”. He answered quietly: “I probably am”. My Aunty Barbara responded: “He is the one giving her away, the groom is gaining her”. Shortly after that the rest of the family started arriving. Uncle Seth and Aunty Shirley first, then Uncle Alan who had driven my mom and dad there.

Aunty Daphne and my cousin Robyn were obviously with the bride getting ready. I had waited for my cousin, Christine to arrive with her mom and my Aunt,

Aunty Mary, who is my other God mother. Christine and I are close, we have an affectionate friendship. I am the God mother to her beautiful youngest daughter and self-proclaimed God mother to her oldest daughter since my brother and his wife (her God parents) left for Canada. My family and I walked across the green grass and down the stairs to the rows of simple yet elegant white chairs at the exquisite arch that was apparently hand crafted by Graham and Kerry-Jane that stood in front of white chairs set out in the divine garden and the sun kissing my face as we went to find our seats. I still couldn’t see Christine, so I messaged her to say I was in front and had kept seats for her and her mom. Christine and Mary arrived, and we waited in anticipation for the beautiful bride. I had not seen either Robyn or Kerry-Jane for years and could not wait to catch a glimpse. Robyn and Carey (Kerry-Jane’s bestie and Robyn’s fellow bridesmaid) came down the aisle first, sparking the excitement. When I saw uncle Ernest and Kerry-Jane behind us at the back end of the aisle, I was literally breathless. Kerry-Jane is absolutely captivating and Uncle Ernest looking very anxious, about to give his baby girl away. The service was heartfelt and touching and the nervous bride and groom giggled at one point which seemed to calm Graham’s nerves slightly. Although he claimed to Kerry-Jane that he had not been nervous, he was shaking at one point so of course I made mention of that to her because it was very sweet. After

the I do’s the couple and witnesses went inside to sign the register and Christine and I filled our hands with rose petals, eagerly awaiting the couple’s return outside and down the stairs.

 

The crisp blue sky started warming into a slightly more grey-blueas dusk was slowly setting in. Aunty Daphne and Uncle Ernest walked through the doorway and down the stairs, smiles so broad, showing off their absolute joy, delight and pride. As the couple and wedding party disappeared for photographs, Christine and I headed to the champagne table for a glass of champagne. While we stood taking photos, chatting and giggling, the sun started going down on the horizon. The euphoric Cape Town sky captured my eye as the exquisite orange and purple boasted the beauty of a true African sunset. We were directed into the hall where the reception would be held. The tables beautifully decorated and the place-name cards hand-made by Kerry-Jane. I sat next to a lovely couple from Bloemfontein, now living in Cape Town and Christine on the other side. Surrounded by my parents, Aunty Mary, Uncle Alan, Uncle Seth and Aunty Shirley. I think I ate most of the bread in a basket on the table, I was quite hungry by that stage (although I am always hungry). The starters and mains were served quite quickly. The lamb, which both Christine and I chose as our main, was succulent and tender, simply but elegantly presented. Speeches were delivered after mains and each speech special and personal. My favourite was the gorgeous Carey’s speech. “We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.” The first dance was Uncle Ernest, Dad and his beautiful daughter. My heart sang with delight as I watched the two dances. Then the groom joined his brand-new wife on the dance floor and my face lit up with a wide smile, I felt absolutely blessed to have been part of this incredible, joyous occasion. Getting to know my aunts, uncles and cousin again as an adult was an extraordinary experience. I am so blessed to have had the opportunity to spend quality time with my family that I don’t get to see often. We had lunch at Marina

Whalf on Sunday for Mom’s birthday and again, I felt elated as I got to spend more quality time with my extended family. I walked down to meet “Pietie” the tame seal, I was absolutely terrified as his owner encouraged me to sit next to him and touch him. I did eventually touch him, and it was really an amazing experience and I escaped with all my fingers and in one piece after all the reluctance, as if I expected to lose my nose. The Sunday afternoon and evening were exceptionally special as I spent it with Uncle Alan. We shared lots of chatting and a few giggles and some red wine. We went for a walk on the beach with his two Scottish terriers. I took my shoes off to feel the soft sand under my feet, far different to the sand in Durban, which is much more course and a lot darker. The sand was almost white with a hint of grey, the sea was calm and turquoise in as the waves slowly stroked the sand. The sky started turning purple as a few thin white clouds came in, moving quickly across the sky. I love the smell of the sea and the salty breeze hitting my skin. The Scotties squeaky barks at huge dogs, I joked as I said that they thought their little squeaky bark was intimidating to the massive dogs running past. When he dropped me at the airport he thanked me and said that he had never really had the opportunity to spend quality time with me as an adult. As I landed in the hustle and bustle that is Joburg, I felt so incredibly blessed to have been part of the union of these two beautiful souls and part of the reunion of an incredible, diverse family. Each person in my family is a completely different person and together we are a phenomenal family, all unique but all special and most of all, all tremendously blessed.

 

Children, Family, Inspiration, Kids, Life, Mom, Parenting, Relationships, Uncategorized

From baby girl to lady, Happy 18th Birthday Jaymee – Birthday celebrations

For Jaymee, finally her birthday arrived!  What more can an 18-year-old ask for, than having your 18th birthday on a Friday.  Jaymee had been waiting with much anticipation and counting the days, and I had been dragging my feet with so much apprehension, I was in fact pretending that this was not really happening.  Maybe if I ignore it and pretend it isn’t there then it won’t happen right…?  WRONG! This is the real-world Lulu and you can’t stop this.  As much as I have to be super-mom, stopping time is way beyond my super-hero skills.

Leading up to her birthday from Monday, I was drowning in work and completely captivated with my professional life and putting off discussing plans for her birthday.  Just when I was living in wonderland and hiding from the big “becoming a lady” birthday thing, my gorgeous friend, Natasha, asked me what the plans are as she would be driving 50 minutes from her house to mine to spend Jaymee’s birthday with us.

How excited I suddenly felt, my friend would be driving so far out of her way, just to spend the evening with us.  I discussed what Jaymee wanted to do and she wanted us to take her out.  My friend asked if she didn’t mind the old ladies taking her out.  “Of course not, we are cool old ladies”, I laughed.  Jaymee really appreciates us taking her out and enjoys our company.  Jaymee had one request, that her brother could join us.  I enjoy taking both my foster children out, so I was excited that I would be taking both of them out.

On Thursday afternoon, Keegan (my son, 14) asked me to take him shopping for ingredients so that he could bake her a cake for her birthday.  Off we went to the shop and got everything that he required for her special birthday cake and he got home and got straight into baking.

The children went off to school on Friday morning – they walk, it is close to home and the Whats App statuses started with lovely pics and memories from all of her friends wishing her happy birthday.  My phone started ringing from around 7:30am and messages were pouring in on all platforms, wishing her well for her birthday.  I felt incredibly proud.  Everyone really loves all of my children and has accepted my foster children from day one.

While running around on site, I got a message from Jaymee asking if I could fetch her or send an uber because she would be unable to go out of the bottom school gate because she had so many balloons, from her friends.  I finished on site around 10 minutes later and called her to tell her that I would be on my way shortly to fetch her and her balloons and the boys from school.  When I got to the school, I saw her by the huge bunch of colourful balloons in her hands and I hoped that they would all fit into the car.  The children squashed them into the boot and got into the car.

Jaymee decided she wanted KFC for birthday lunch so we stopped off at KFC on the way home.  I have to say not my first choice, or even one of my first ten choices, but her birthday so her choice.  We left KFC and discussed our plans and what time we would be going out.

Having to wait for Natasha to come after work, we were not exactly sure of how things would play out.  Jaymee’s foster dad/step-brother came to wish her a happy birthday and we decided that we would go up to a nice vibey restaurant close to pass the time and wait for Natasha to come through.  We called for uber and were off.  Once Natasha arrived, she joined us and other friends who were there and then we decided on a total change of plans.  We would be going to dance at a place nearby instead of heading to Fourways, which was a lot more convenient and made sense.  We danced and danced, burning up the dance floor and did 15,000 steps according to my step tracker. The best thing about being at one of the local places is we ran into friends of hers and Trystan’s as well.  Trystan made new friends and fun was had by all as we painted the town red.

We had a great time celebrating, dancing and meeting people.  When the time came to go home, I had to be quite strict (particularly with my friend – the children are quite good at listening, her not so much!) and we went home. We walked to McDonalds at the other side of the parking for pad-kos (a quick take-away).  The thing about McDonalds is it is right there and who doesn’t need food after a long night of dancing?  I am pretty sure that that particular McDonalds makes most of its turn over after midnight on Friday and Saturday nights.  I have actually asked the question if it is socially acceptable to ask your uber driver to go through the drive thru at McDonalds a few times and the general consensus is “Yes”.  This time however, we walked over and called an uber afterwards.

As the uber driver stopped at the house, Natasha was scrambling to pick up all the chips off of the seat that had been dropped, I have to say that I am a bit skeptical that all the chips were actually ours.  She apologised and made sure to pick up every last chip.  We thanked him and got out and went in.

Saturday was Rugby at the high-school, so we braced ourselves for the cold to go to the school and support the Rugby team.  Natasha and her daughter experienced the school rugby tunnel that we do for the first time.  I love the tunnel, it is the best way to see the school spirit and experience the vibe of high-school rugby.  We were completely exhausted after the rugby and as Natasha and her daughter left, we all went to have a nap.

My feet, legs and butt were hurting, and I was exhausted.  Thinking a nap would be fantastic and I would be up in a few hours to go to an engagement was very hopeful.  I decided my warm bed was the better option and I stayed home.  Trystan and Jaymee were both exhausted as well and they both went into hibernation until Sunday noon.  I offered Jaymee to go to the restaurant up the road for the last of her birthday celebrations, where we would meet my long-time friend, Tarin.  We had a wonderful afternoon, laughing and Jaymee insisting on selfies and that was the end of her birthday weekend.

As her birthday weekend came to an end, I could breathe and the world was a pleasant place.  Suddenly the weight was lifted and her being an adult didn’t feel daunting at all.  I had managed to over dramatize the whole idea of her becoming an adult completely in my mind and freak out.  Suddenly, I realised that she is responsible and already a beautiful young woman and how utterly ridiculous I had been.  Letting her become the best woman she can be by making her own mistakes and tripping a few times on the way isn’t as scary as I thought it was.  I will always be there to pick her up and I know that if she needs me that she will come to me.

Today, I am proud of my exuberant, beautiful and compassionate daughter and honoured to be her mom and be by her side as she becomes a young woman.

Children, Family, Kids, Life, Mom, Parenting, Technologies, Uncategorized

Social Media – the wonderful, dangerous double-edged sword

We all love checking our Facebook and Instagram, having a look at what people are up to and how everyone is doing, although who is to say that people are showing the reality in their lives when they post something online. The problem is that people seem to run to Facebook or another social media platform as soon as something happens, be it good or bad. The concerning thing is that the bad things and negativity spread like wild fire. People get all revved up and it breeds hate, racism and even depression or anxiety.

I love being able to have constant contact with friends and family abroad and seeing their updates. Seeing pictures of my niece in Canada is my absolute favourite. I love sharing my photos and I love the “feel good” things that we share amongst our social media friends, or within our social media circles. I think in a way we have lost the human part of interaction to some degree, which is saddening.

Lately the dangers of social media have become top of mind for me. Sadly, more negativity seems to be doing the rounds on social media than ever before. Fake News is being spread at an alarming rate and when I look at the pages spreading Fake News there are hundreds of thousands of followers or likes. One I looked at last week, had over 350,000 likes. All spreading the Fake News and negativity, fueling people’s anxiety and fear mongering. People seem to blindly share without even checking if the story comes from a reliable source and the sharing is definitely not of a positive nature. The world of social Media is breeding hate, fear and worse.

Everyone seems to think that they can share anything and have all sorts of opinions behind a computer, people don’t even realise the danger of what they are sharing or how it may affect lives. Someone has an opinion about something that occurred and shares their opinion online in a group or on a page, this fuels responses and eventually people’s lives are being changed without the faceless social media mob even knowing or understanding the actual story. Even more scary is that people don’t even realise the damage they are doing.

We are all aware of cyber bullying and how badly it can end, however, do people actually think before posting an opinion or sharing something that they feel to be right when in fact it is far from it. Do people think before they post? Do they think about the damage they may cause? In the dangerous times of social media everyone seems to be a crime fighter even if they don’t know what they are talking about, everyone is a Doctor, and everyone is a Lawyer, everyone is an expert. Sitting with a phone in hand or behind a computer, it is easy to say what you want to… However, the reality is what you say could ruin someone’s day, week, month, year or life.

I once saw a post on a community WhatsApp group about a suspicious vehicle…. mine!! I had parked outside a house where my daughter had been visiting to fetch her. Due to the large amount of drama within the family that lived in the house, I decided to sit outside the house and message my daughter that I was outside. The funny thing about teenagers is their phones are permanently attached to their hand until a parent needs to get hold of them. When she didn’t answer or read my message I phoned instead, then sat waiting for her to come out (teenage girls can take their time!). Suddenly I was a suspicious vehicle. I don’t feel like I look very suspicious at all to be honest. And I certainly was not doing anything suspicious. I sent a message to the community group complaining that some people on the group were creating unnecessary fear-mongering. The community was on the lookout for a suspicious vehicle with a mom and daughter in…well played! I feel like the world has gone slightly crazy. Everyone has something to say about everything and everyone.

As users of social media, we should use it responsibly and also think about the consequences before we post or share. Can sharing something cause pain to someone or cause a negative reaction. Can something we share cause racism or worse. And most of all, actually checking that the “so called” news you are sharing is true before sharing it. Please insure that your children are well informed and educated when it comes to social media. Make sure that they are not posting anything that could get them into trouble or talking to people that they do not know and could pose a danger to them.

Social Media is an amazing and wonderful yet dangerous thing, it should come with instructions and a long list of rules! Laws worldwide are being put into place and you could land up in a spot of legal trouble for saying(or should I say typing) the wrong thing. Social media is public domain, we don’t just attack random people in public (or most of us don’t) so get a grip and remember if you wouldn’t say something to someone’s face, then don’t post it on social media. Think about what your sharing of negativity does, how it affects everyone who sees it. Spread positivity instead, make people smile instead of making them angry.

Be a light in the darkness, because no light can be hidden in the dark of night.

Media Online article

Happiness, Inspiration, Life, Mental Health, Mindfulness, Personal Development, Uncategorized

Taking back my life

Depression, the huge mistake I made which caused it and getting over it.

As a child, life was fairly easy. I was always good at making friends and was always able to stand up for myself so bullying wasn’t ever a problem for me. I had a really happy childhood and things were always bright and I have so many happy memories. In my early adult years, I began to become more popular and thrived on the positive attention. I was well known in my circles and would be greeted with adoration by people within my community. I had an incredible amount of friends and I was completely driven by their love for me. I spent so much time doing everything I could for my friends and I would run from one event to the next to please everyone. After all I was loved and needed to return the favour. How can positive attention be a bad thing? I mean everyone loves attention, right?

I was indeed filled with confidence as I walked through the streets of my city. I had a very positive energy about me and I eluded complete control of this incredibly amazing person who I thought I was. I had created my opinion of myself and my self worth based on how everyone saw me…which was great while everyone cherished me and made me the centre of attention.

I had literally handed over the remote control to my life to everyone else. I had no control of my life. Not only had I allowed myself to build Me on how everyone else saw me but I managed to hand my remote control over to people who would soon destroy my happiness. When a house is built, the most important first step is building a strong foundation. My house did not have a foundation and therefore could never withstand the harshest of storms.

As my life was hit by some harsh storms, I crumbled. The person that I had built on everyone else’s opinions could not stand alone. I became very depressed and felt completely hopeless. I had absolutely no want to live and more and more I felt that dying would be the best escape. I had no idea that I had in fact caused this problem. It was not the people who had broken me down because if I had built myself worth and self opinion on ME, I would not have been so easily broken.

Six months after being diagnosed with depression I found myself hitting rock bottom. The best thing about hitting rock bottom is that the only way to go is up. When I had nothing left I was forced to learn my mistake and I started my journey of recovery.

Living my life for everyone else had left me completely exhausted and unable to even get out of bed in the morning.

I sat down all by myself and started to get to know me. At first I wrote down my positives and negatives and though the list of positives which I could think of was only one or two things, the negative list seemed endless. How could everyone around me have seen me as an incredibly strong and amazing woman when I myself was unable to think of more than two positive things about me. Luckily I was soon to realize that my mind was completely over powered by depression and I did in fact have lots of positives. So with time, my list grew and the negatives did not seem all that bad anymore. Now was the time to make it. Now was the time to stop giving my energy to everyone else and now was the time to build my self worth on me.

Getting to know me and the journey of self discovery is one that teaches me every day. I have so much to give but never again will I allow people to just take. Giving is on my time and by my rules. I love giving and I truly feel the need to give back as I have been so richly blessed along the way that it would be a complete sin to not pass on blessings.

I have learned exactly what I should not be doing and what I do not want to do. Things that drain me are being cut out of my life.

I cannot choose which cards life has to deal me but I can choose how I play the cards which I am dealt. I choose to paint a beautiful picture and leave the sadness and regret behind. I will take what I need to from construction criticism but I will not allow negativity to define me. I am worth so much more than what everyone thinks of me and I will continue to walk my journey as the whole me. I choose to love the things that are positive and accept the things about me that aren’t so great. I am a whole person and I am the only perfect me.

In the famous and wonderful words of Dr Suess “Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!

Be yourself, build your own foundation and when the storm comes, your house will remain strong and steadfast.

Happiness, Inspiration, Life, Mental Health, Mindfulness, Personal Development, Uncategorized

Not all days are going to be sunshine – My tips to get through the down days

After overcoming depression, I learnt that not all days are going to be good days. Some days the sun just doesn’t shine. Every now and then depression comes to remind me of what I went through but at the same time reminds me how far I have come. I have come a long way since the days when I could not get through, since the days I thought that I couldn’t carry on. The best thing about hitting rock bottom was that I could only go up from the bottom and up I went! I was strong enough to overcome depression and grow through the experience and most of all the journey of getting to know me. You never know your strength, until you need to use it. When I needed to sort my head out, suddenly I had the strength to do it. Never be afraid to talk to those closest to you or to ask for help. Seek professional help if you need it, I know I did.

When the day is dark, I have a guide to get through, these are my 12 tips:

  1. Fake it until you make it – When you aren’t happy, smile anyway. Take a look in the mirror and smile at yourself.
  2. Dress up – Put your make-up and your heels on, looking good helps you feel good. Wear the little black dress you hardly wear or a nice suit. Wear whatever makes you feel fabulous (Leave the sneakers and baggy pants alone on days like this!)
  3. Have a healthy great tasting breakfast, for me plain yoghurt with berries and seeds is a great tasting healthy way to start the day. Salmon is a fantastic way to start the day too, salmon, avo and cream cheese is enough to put a smile on your dial!
  4. Do a couple burpees or jumping squats if you prefer. You don’t have to go overboard, no one is asking you to run a marathon. 10 – 20 is enough to get your blood pumping and lift your mood.
  5. MEDITATE – this one was very difficult for me to grasp but in the world of technology, there are so many helpful apps to get you started. My favourite is “Guided Meditations – Pitashi Mobile Imagination”. This app eases you into meditating with a number of beginner meditations. If there is one thing that is going to take you to new levels in your mental state, this is it! Meditate, meditate, meditate, I cannot say it enough!
  6. Call your bestie up just to say hi and have a chat, this can make you feel a million times better.
  7. Put on your favourite feel good tune (dance around the room if you like). Music is amazing, and it can lift your mood immediately.
  8. There is plenty of motivational stuff online, google or check in at your favourite motivational blog.
  9. If you are religious, pray and have some quiet time.
  10. Give yourself positive affirmation – you are amazing, you are alive, and you are blessed, remember that.
  11. Imagine a place where you are at complete peace. When you do this, engage all five senses: sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch. For example, imagine you are walking next to a river. You are watching the sparkling blue water as it lazily drifts slowly and you listen to the way it trickles and murmurs as it flows. You bend down to touch the slightly numbing, icy water, cupping your hands, you bring some tangy, cold water to your mouth, you sip it and feel alive. The air smells fresh and drops of water hit your face.
  12. If all else fails…. chocolate. Dark chocolate apparently stimulates the production of endorphins and contains serotonin which makes you happy. What better way to help lift your mood?

You are in control of your mind, you are the only person who can pull yourself together. Don’t beat yourself up for the bad days but always remember that after the rain, comes the sunshine, after the night comes the day. Tomorrow the sun will shine and with the brand-new day, you get a new start.

May tomorrow bring you lots of smiles. 🙂