I’m grateful for . . .

It was a dark and stormy night. The wind was howling, the rain pounding down like it would never stop.

Sitting in church on the night of 25 July 1993 (21 years ago), listening to a solo being sung when the doors suddenly opened. Wild gun fire, hand grenades going off all over the place . . . everyone fell to the ground between the pews.

A bullet made a “zing” sound as it bounced off the pew in front of me, over my back across the pew behind me.

My mom, next to me, beside herself screaming because my little baby sister was not sitting with us at the time, she was sitting further back in the church with her friend and her family (the mother was killed by a hand grenade, we discovered afterwards).

When people find out that we were actually in church that fateful night and survived, they often want us to repeat what happened. I’m grateful for the fact that we survived that fateful night.

Here’s a link to the video (summary) made by the church after the massacre for those who are interested . . .

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The Train of Life

Cow_mobile

To my family, and friends

“Life is like a journey on a train… With its stations… With changes of routes. and with accidents! At birth we boarded the train and met our parents, and we believe they will always travel on our side. However, at some station our parents will step down from the train, leaving us on this journey alone.

“As time goes by, other people will board the train; and they will be significant I.e. Our siblings, friends, children, and even the love of our life. Many will step down and leave a permanent vacuum. Others will go so unnoticed that we don’t realize that they vacated their seats! Which is very sad when you think about it.

“This train ride will be full of joy, sorrow, fantasy, expectations, hellos, goodbyes, and farewells. Success consists of having a good relationship with all the passengers… requiring that we give the best of ourselves.

“The mystery to everyone is: We do not know at which station we ourselves will step down. So, we must live in the best way – love, forgive, and offer the best of who we are. It is important to do this because when the time comes for us to step down and leave our seat empty — we should leave behind beautiful memories for those who will continue to travel on the train of life.

“I wish you a joyful journey this year on the train of life. Reap success and give lots of love. More importantly, give thanks for the journey!

“Lastly, I thank you for being one of the passengers on my train!”
Unknown

Oh, to be an ant: Little on earth but exceedingly wise

Ant (animated)

My last post (seems like ages ago) tied in with the Writers’ Bootcamp (http://www.writersbootcamp.com) I had just discovered via Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/WritersBootCamp?hc_location=timeline) which is running for the month of July.

Today is day 16 of the boot camp and this is only the second post based on their choice of topic I have managed to write. The topic for today is: If I were an insect, I’d be . . .

If I were an insect, I’d be an ant. Have you ever taken the time to observe a colony of ants – or even just one ant? We could learn so much from them. If I was an ant, I think I would be a great teacher.

I would be proactive; I would not need managers, leaders or supervisors to coerce me to work. I would be self-motivated because I would be purpose driven. I would be a diligent worker with an inherent commitment to excellence.

I would be assiduous – having an innate industriousness about me. Always busy, always finding things to do. When not earning money, I would occupy my time with things I enjoy doing like craft work, reading or even voluntary work (I just love being of service to others).

I would be neat, an extremely organised planner. Planning for the future is important to me. I prefer to be prepared for the unexpected. I not only have a plan A but also a plan B and C.

As an ant, I would need to be a team player because ants generally work in teams. I would work together with others towards a singular goal and will mobilize additional workers when there is a need.

Much of the success of ants is due to task sharing and cooperation. I have a passion for sharing my knowledge and skills. I have been called a “miss know-it-all” by some who have misunderstood my need for sharing my knowledge and skills. My methods may not be the best, but my intention is always good.

Ant (pondering)

Generally speaking, I do not procrastinate. I live by the motto: Do what you can today because you never know what you will need to deal with tomorrow. After all, we don’t even know if we will live to see tomorrow – very much like the little ant. Always scurrying along, always having something to do – places to go, team members to assist. No time for laziness.

Instead of complaining about our life or work, we need to wake up and break free from our comfort zones. Without action, nothing will change.

Next time I feel small, irrelevant or inadequate, I will remember the ant and will once again be inspired!

Through windows and doors

Door opening with butterfly border

Through the window right now, I am watching my mother fight the ravaging destruction of colorectal cancer. I see a mother who is fighting to beat the odds, not allowing the cancer to get the better of her. She has an idea of the road she will have to travel but is doing the best she can not to let it get the better of her. Mom will not let this put her to bed until she says so. I think mom can sense the end is not too far away but while she is still able to get out of bed each day and help herself to breakfast and lunch, that is what she will do and I will not stand in her way. I will help her to live her life with independence and dignity for as long as it is possible. I will not deprive her of that for as long as I am able to.

Through the window right now, I see a road of uncertainty for me. I do not know how long the road will be. I do not know how many twists and turns there will be in the road. I do not know how many obstacles or challenges I am going to face along this road, but it is a road I am on right now. A road paved with hope and trust in God because He is the only one who knows where this road is going to lead. I have been placed on this road which I need to follow, not knowing where it is going to lead.

The door through which I had to travel in September 2013, was a door which lead me to being primary caregiver to my mom after her Colonstomy. I have had a taste of what nursing and caregiving is all about. I come from a family where we don’t believe in fate/chance. We believe that everything happens for a reason. I now joke about the fact that I’m living up to my namesake . . . you see, when I was baptised as a baby, the second name I was given was Florence (so my joke about living up to my namesake refers to Florence Nightingale).

Although my mom was reluctant to name me Florence (after my paternal grandmother), she gave it to me anyway (mom only wanted me to have one name), not knowing that I was going to end up nursing her in the end. How ironic is that? Again, we don’t believe in fate/chance. God had a plan for me when He convinced my mom to give me a second name i.e. Florence.

I have learnt a lot about nursing and care-giving since September 2013 but I still have so much to learn. It really takes a special kind of person to do this type of work for eight to twelve hours per day 365 days a year. We really do take our nursing staff so for granted when we are hospitalised.

Once mom leaves us to her eternal resting place, I will have to enter another door. Another door of uncertainty as to where it will lead. I will take some time out to grieve, rest and do some soul searching to try to make sense of the next chapter of my life. How it will all end, I don’t know at this stage. All I know is that I have to take one step at a time, one day at a time and all will become clear as I travel along that road.

Through my window right now . . .

Life without chocolate . . .

Chocolates in box

To coincide with my writers block these past few weeks, I just found out about a writers bootcamp (http://www.writersbootcamp.com) which is running on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/WritersBootCamp?hc_location=timeline) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/Writersbootcmp) for the month of July. This entails committing to write and post (on your blog) in 60 minutes every day of July. A new topic is posted at 6pm (South African time).

Today is day 3 of the boot camp and although I missed out on the first two days, I thought I would give it a try today. The topic for today is: I just could not live without . . .

Mmm . . . did not take me too long to decide on this one. It is chocolate of course. How can anyone even think about surviving without chocolate?

Growing up, chocolate has always been my reward for “being a good girl” and to make me feel better. Nothing stops the tears from flowing like a piece of chocolate. As an adult, this reward has continued. When I feel down in the dumps (not really depressed, just down), when I am unhappy or frustrated, I quickly reach for a piece of chocolate and all is well with my world.

What is it about chocolate I love so much you may be asking? Well, nothing beats that smooth texture on my tongue as it melts away in my mouth, some sweeter than others. Some have nuts, some are made of white chocolate and others made of dark chocolate. The dark chocolate is my favourite – especially the dark chocolate with orange peel in them. I find white chocolate very sweet so only eat those occasionally.

Chocolate gives me a sense of peace, tranquillity and security, like a security blanket for a child. It soothes away all the emotional pain and sorrow. It brings me joy, peace and comfort.
Nothing beats a piece of chocolate – not a whole box or whole slab all at once, just a few blocks or two or three little ones, that is all.

Want to be my friend? Come with a chocolate and we will be friends for life!