Happiness, Inspiration, Life, Personal Development, Relationships

Give and you will always have –the joy of giving

When I was a young girl, around 12 or so, I met an old man whilst walking to 7th Street in Melville, a man whose lesson I would remember forever. After walking for over half an hour, first the thrilling downhill and then the burning uphill.

I was finally approaching the end of the uphill, almost at the Café made famous by the into on 7de Laan, a south African soapie, when I bumped into a friendly elderly man. The old man with grey hair, brown pants and a yellowish golf type shirt held a basket of fruit and vegetables in his hands.

As our eyes met, I said, “Afternoon Sir” and he responded with a warm “hello” and asked where I was going. I had explained that I was walking to the shop and then looked at the basket and said “Sir why are you carrying a basket of fruit and vegetables?” The old man uttered the words that I would never forget: “My girl, give and you will receive and always have”, I looked at him, wondering what on earth that had to do with the basket. He continued “I have fed people in need since I was a young man and I have never ever gone without”. I asked him what he meant by that, and he explained himself. He told me about him not being a wealthy man and not ever having a lot but what he had, he would give to the needy daily. He went on to tell me that some days there would be more hungry mouths to feed than food he had to give. He said that these were the days that he would wonder what he would be eating that night because he had given all of his food away. “Somehow, my girl, I have never gone to bed hungry for just when I have thought that it would happen, food would arrive for me.” Completely confused, I did not understand and shyly muttered: “I don’t understand, how does food just arrive?” He told me that it would arrive in different ways, sometimes his son would pop past and bring him food, unexpectedly or his neighbour would bring him over a plate of her delicious cottage pie. He said that it did not matter how the food arrived but that it always did. He said when you give, you will always receive. He said that he had never gone to bed hungry and that his heart was always happy.

 

The old man explained that he goes to bed happy every night in spite of losing his wife years before. He offered me an apple and I took it and went on my way. As I bit into the sour apple, I repeated what he said in my mind “give and you will always have”. I was rather baffled by how he food would just arrive; however his story has remained in my mind until today.

The bible says in Luke 6:38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

As a young child I was friendly and always wanting to meet new people. I would go to the neighbours and help them with their gardening and I even became wonderful friends with neighbours. My friend and I used to baby sit the two little girls across the road, we were spoilt rotten by their mother, Lizelle and adored the little girls, Amber and Amy-lee.

After school, I went to work with my aunt who worked at a special needs school and helped one of the teachers for the day. I would help my mom and of course still make sure to drive my sister up the wall.

In my adult years I have done everything from teaching Sunday school to volunteer for the SPCA, to feeding the hungry and assisting at orphanages. And of course, my biggest sacrifice, the gift of a second chance in life to my foster children. Through all the years, I have always remembered the old man’s words.

The old man’s words have come to me on many occasions, some days I would not know how my family and I would be eating that night and I would think about the lesson the old man had taught me. His lesson was one that proved true over and over in my life. When I thought that I would not make the next two days, suddenly I would receive. Once a friend paid me back money which I had forgotten about, once a tax reimbursement and sometimes just a friend coming over with something for dinner.

My life with two extra teenagers in my life has not been cheap and has not been easy but it has been incredibly fulfilling and I have never not had. I have given, and I have always had and never gone to bed hungry.

I smile as I remember the old man, his sun blotched, wrinkled face, blue eyes with thick framed glasses, his grey messy hair and his wide smile. The man had given since he was a young man and had lived an incredibly fulfilling life. Giving had given him joy, even after the passing of his beloved wife, and he had lived a life rich in blessing and gone to bed happy every night. I smile as I remember the lesson he taught me and how his lesson has followed me all these years. Thank you, Sir, for your lesson, changing my life and for remaining in my mind to this day, I will never forget your words or your joyful smile.

Friends, I now pass the incredible old man’s lesson on to you. GIVE AND YOU WILL ALWAYS HAVE.

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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.

Family, Happiness, Inspiration, Life, Love, Relationships, Uncategorized

The incredible love in the touch of a blind man

My Grandpa fought in the second world war, he served at Montgomery in the western desert, with the Cape Town Highlands. My Grandpa met his beautiful soul-mate, Irish lass, Margaret Greenlees in Cape Town. Fate played a huge part in him meeting his Queen. When I say fate played a huge part, I say this because Granny was never meant to end up in South Africa. When Granny was a little girl, her dad left Belfast on a ship to go to Australia. His plan was for him, his wife and two daughters to start their new life in Australia. Fate had a different idea. Fate decided that the ship would dock in Cape Town. My Gran’s dad was completely taken by the beauty of Cape Town and he telegraphed his wife to tell her to bring the girls and come to Cape Town and that is how Granny landed up in South Africa. Grandpa married his Irish beauty; Madge and they began their life together. They had four children, My dad (Neville), Alwyn, Gary and their only daughter, Wendy. My Grandpa was a man, filled with character. He wrote and sang a song for each of his children, recorded on a tape which we now have on a CD.

My Grandpa worked very hard all his life and made a great life for his family. Granny was a house wife and her dedication to her husband and family was unmatched. She was a true lady in every sense of the word and she stood at Grandpa’s side all his days. Grandpa started gradually losing his eye site. I remember him explaining to me when I was a little girl that he could see me, but only in the form of a shadow.

I spent a lot of time with my Grandpa, we had an incredible bond. I would sit on his lap for hours and insist on sleeping over at their house. Grandpa had been incredibly proud of his children and his grandchildren were dearly loved by him. He knew us all by our voices and would ask Granny to explain what we were wearing and how we had grown. He was absolutely besotted with each one of us and would carefully watch how we were growing, through his hands.

I remember my Granny bought him a watch that he could push a button and it would tell him the time in a lady’s voice. The amount that he took in just by listening was incredible. He was always ahead on all of the facts and everything that was going on in our lives. Every moment he had with us, was deeply appreciated by him and the air was filled with a peace and love when we entered a room where he was sitting.

My Grandpa had a great love and appreciation for the Irish heritage of his wife and his love for her was one of a kind. The bond that they shared was something that was appreciated by everyone who met them and obvious to all that their love was true.

Every time I walked into the house I would run up to my Grandpa and he would put his hand on my head and see how much I had grown. There is no way of explaining what happened when his hand touched me. There was a love that was passed through his hand to me. It was an incredible thing, I could feel his love for me through his touch. Energy is transferred through the hands as we know from reiki, healing through touch by energy transfer. But I know what I felt was love. Chatting to my cousin recently, he said he felt it too and remembers the love that he felt through my Grandpa’s hands and touch.

We could not see the love he had for us through his eyes, but we could feel it through his touch. What an incredible experience we had, feeling the love he had for us from his caring touch. So deep was the touch of his love that we remember it so well and smile as we share the memory of it.

Recently I saw a friend who did some work on my back. In his words, “energy can be transferred from one person to another. When we are in harmony, we call it love.” I know without a doubt at all that what I felt through Grandpa’s touch was love. A pure, intense affection that I have only ever felt from him.

Grandpa died when I was 19 on the 1st of April, leaving a massive void but a family blessed to have shared a life with the astonishing man that was Richard(Dickie) Roberts.

My Granny cried as she told me the words that he had told her before he died: “I can’t be a burden on you anymore my Madge”. She had told me that he had never been a burden, though he was blind and that she would have chosen to keep him by her side if she had the choice.

In Grandpa’s death I found the most extraordinary bond with the stunning woman that was my Granny. The night that my Grandpa left us, I slept next to my Granny and what followed was years of an intimate, profound connection between my Granny and me.

I was extremely fortunate to share such a deep bond with my Granny and the hours and hours of conversation was invaluable. No amount of money could have bought the stories of her childhood and life that she shared with me. We shared many a giggle and many a tear.

I know that my Grandpa would have been filled with pride and joy to see the affection which grew between me and my Granny with his passing. I was blessed by the touch of love from my Grandpa, the lasting memory of how his unfathomable love was felt, the undeniable comfort when he touched my head, my hand, my heart. And the blessing of the extinguished relationship that grew between his beautiful queen and his granddaughter who had always been the apple of his eye/ear.

Memories live forever, and the Monarch and Queen of the family will always be remembered for the sterling people that they were and how blessed we are to have had at the head of our family.