Thursday, July 14, 2011

The biggest mistake I ever made

Mistakes, oh dear yes, those things we don't like to tell everyone! 

Well thank goodness there are none of us that are above making mistakes so I know that all of us can identify with the feeling when we make them.  In fact I have often said to my friends - if only they knew.  Of course the they would be all those of you that don't know me very well. The ones who still think that I am that beautiful, dignified (you can clear your throat dramatically at this point), well mannered, submissive (OK that hurt a wee bit), disciplined (not sure that Virgin Active would vote for me on that one), tidy and organised individual - that I am not.

Its so easy to be so convincing for the masses but spend time with people who get to know you, the real you starts to seep through and then its not so convincing anymore.  I have however realised that without being honest, we lose the opportunity to connect with people on a heart to heart level.  No one wants to be around Miss Perfect, aren't they a pain!  Of course none of us have tried to come across that way. 

Mmmh, let me think of an example...You know like when a child grabs at something at the shop for the 5th or 6th time and we are just about to launch into a mini lecture with threats of what-will-happen-when-you-get-home-talk, and some sweet old lady comes walking down the aisle?  So instead of giving our child a tongue lashing, we grit our teeth and speak very slowly and sweetly and tell Little Johnny to"please not touch the pretty things on the shelves".  Of course this then gives the old lady the opportunity to stop and admire our bunch (which are still running circles around our leg squealing and causing the thermostat to rise even further) and to let us know that we are such a wonderful mother to have so much patience.  Of course we accept this complement graciously.  We smile sweetly and tell her how much we love our children and love going shopping with them and that its so good to spend time with them. (which is true..... most of the time)

Ha! Ring any bells! Of course not - must just be me..... .  Of course the flip side of this is that we feel like such a hypocrite and make a concerted effort to continue in this patient mode trying to be the person we have just pretended to be.  We grit your teeth and ask the children to behave again, smiling as we do this.  We speak slower and slower and  use our eyes to convey messages in a hidden language to our children who still haven't managed to learn this rather important form of communication. Finally we pay and we march quickly to the car with the children running behind us trying to keep up, almost knocking people over with the trolley before in utter relief we reach our car.  We bark out an order for the children to get in.  They now realise that things are not as peachy as they had hoped and look at us expectantly.......waiting..... We climb into the car.... They wait in silence.... When the door finally closes ..... we let rip! And we make sure we are driving when this happens so that others can't hear or see our yelling. 

Oh yes, that crazed lady driving past you would be me! Very undignified and mad as a hatter.  So what's the point? 

The one's that know us, know the truth

Yep, those children who saw us speak sweetly to the old lady, know the truth. Our husbands knows the truth.  The ones we have offended when our under cover act hasn't been as successful as we would like, know the truth.  The biggest mistake I have ever made is thinking I could hide my imperfections and I could act so well that no one would see.  But its useless, we're not that good.  But there is hope, because when we do confess our weaknesses to one another, yes - even our children, they have the opportunity to help us, pray for us or even share of how they struggle with the same thing.  Isn't it a relief to know that we are not the alone in these struggles?

I love spending time with people who know how to laugh at themselves, tell it like it is and who are open and transparent.  They are less intimidating and you feel the freedom to do the same.  And this is where real heart moments happen. Being real and open about who we are opens up a door to deep friendship.  I love imperfect friends.  I love that they have bad days, because they can help me cope with mine because they know how it feels. I love friends who make mistakes, big ones and little ones because they can offer me a hope that I can make it through those disaster moments.  I don't want friends who pretend to be perfect because then I go into "hide mode" again, I make comparisons and feel like I am the worse mother and wife.  But the ones who remind you that we are all very human, with a very fallen nature, who are all relying on God's grace and mercy to change and transform them - as Facebook says it so well - I like!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Green Fingers: Gutter Gardens

You may remember my post about where they had this really lovely idea of using unusual objects to grow vegetables in. So I got a few helpful individuals involved ( ie - men and boys - who likes to fiddle with drills and bits and hacksaws anyway?  If you do, don't mind me but I love playing the helpless woman in distress card at this point including : wheel changes, heavy bags, hammering, fixing and lifting and in fact anything else that they fall for -oops, volunteer for;))

So here's what we were hoping for: (be warned ours didn't finish off quite so tidy but its a work in progress)
We got all the bits together: the flowers and herbs

 I just love being able to pick and choose and my husband is always incredibly generous and patient.  Then the team arrived, to do the hard stuff!
There was lots of measuring and cutting to start. 
With the help of Grandpa Jim the brackets were put up against the wall.

And as a retired engineer everything was measured and spaced perfectly. (see my reasoning in letting them do it - I don't think I would have got it looking this good!)  And there goes the first one, real team work.
With a quick celebratory photo for the first one done. Not sure what Ruthie did, maybe ate the nuts and bolts but she was determined to get her moment in the spotlight.
Dad decided he was not to be outdone and wanted in on the action and in all fairness he did put most of the gutters, but this was a special time with Grandpa and so he got more media coverage.

With almost 9 gutters put up, I filled them three quarters full with 50% potting soil and 50% compost before planting my flowers and herbs.  Oh yes and because I am doing this late at night and forgot to mention that you have to drill holes at the bottom of the gutter for drainage, let me do this now.  If you are following this step by step you may now need to drill holes upside down with your neck stretched at a strange angle, but don't let it be said that I didn't mention it:)
Back to this rather professional (uhm step by step tutorial (sounds professional doesn't it?)
Aren't they just beautiful? The marigolds, for those of you that don't know, are supposedly a natural deterrent to bugs.  I don't want to have to use pesticides and prefer to find alternative ways to protect my plants.
I haven't taken a photo of all the gutters yet as they are not all ready.  We recently planted spring onions and spinach in some of them and they have just sprung some shoots but will post some photos soon.

Another hobby I have grown to love as part of the gardening process, is going to the dump.  Yes you heard me right, I go to our local dump and collect all the things that others like to throw away. 
At our dump, there are a group of entrepreneurs, who go through the rubbish and find things that are worth recycling and they charge you a small fee for the purchase.  They have become so well known that some community members just bring the things they want to get rid of, and give it to this recycling initiative so that they can make some money. 
This is what I did with 2 drawers that I bought for a massive R20 each.
Our balcony is really cold and there is a lot of salt air blowing on our plants all the time.  I have tried to plant indigenous plants and shrubs to ensure that they survive.  And they have done so well and grow abundantly with almost no attention. 
I have loved doing this part of our garden but am really looking forward to doing even more.  Who knows what I will find at the dump next week?

What new gardening ideas have you recently put into action in your garden.  I would love to hear from some of you.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Gold Nuggets #2

This weeks Gold Nuggets are all to do with stuff.  Lots of stuff - some free some nearly free.
This a really helpful site.  There is a freebie section where you can get anything from a puppy to building rubble.  Stuff for sale is so cheap.  I have bought wetsuits at a fraction of the cost and friends of ours bought the most beautiful furniture from a couple emigrating.  Their house now looks like a House and Home advert.  Whenever I need something, I always look there before heading to the store.  The site even gives you the option of choosing adverts which are situated close to you so that you don't end up viewing adverts in Johannesburg.
This is another goodie for stuff. "An entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It's all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills." All you have to do is join the right group (a yahoo group) by entering the area you live in.  They send you emails about what people need or are giving away for free.  Some stuff is broken but then people take them for parts but there are a large number of ads that are really useful.  Some of the items that have been on the list recently include vegetable plants, an old desk, stamps, second hand clothing and loads of others.  The trick though is to respond immediately to the emails, as things are taken quickly.

Free Christian Audio Books
Each month Christian audio gives away one premium audiobook download for free. How does it work? They give away one audiobook download (that they have published or that a partner has allowed them to give away) absolutely free; available only during that month and only once, ever. There are also hundreds of other free audiobooks, lectures, sermons, interviews and podcasts there too!

What sites do you enjoy to visit?  I would love to hear from you.