Emma…keep your magic!

I’ve come to realise that life (or maybe just my life) is a repetition of a single cycle. It’s quite concerning, because the cycle continues, even with the bad stuff and I never seem to learn how to prevent these things from happening. I hate change and yet I wilfully choose to change things in my life constantly, and then fail to cope with the change for the first few months of it. I hate emotions and yet I allow my emotions to control many a thought, fear and future plan. I cannot deal with a lack of realness and yet I avoid the conflict of calling it out and dealing with it. Cycles…
My current cycle has brought me to a change in employment. I didn’t hate my previous job – I just thought that it was the right thing to do – for my growth and career goals, I still feel it was the right move and yet…in my first week of walking around knowing no one and trying to learn processes and procedures, I fail to cope. Hopeless!

My current cycle has also brought me to a new stage in love – it’s wonderful and great and fuzzy and ya ya ya…and I’m certain that this is the man I’m supposed to be with forever, but it doesn’t mean that because of that certainty that it’s all perfection. It comes with the mess of two different people understanding and learning how to cope together, it comes with the merging of two families and varied upbringing and expectation – it comes with emotional change and then…I fail to cope. Even more hopeless.

So what I have now is a mess of emotions, a struggle of newness and the realization that I am blessed…strangely contradictory because I do acknowledge my blessings, but it’s easier to cry and feel as though the world is failing me. The MOST hopeless!

I have a niece – a gorgeous spark of a young lady who has a feisty personality, boldness and courage that I cannot even express perfectly in writing. She is beautiful and has a heart the size of Africa. She teaches me something every single time I’m with her and she helps me to understand the most unselfish love. The reason I mention her is because I have someone else to think about now – while it may not be close to parenting, being an aunty means that my heart breaks when she is sad because she wasn’t invited to playgroup, or when she doesn’t understand why people have different skin tones and why some kids don’t have mummy’s or daddy’s. It means that I want to constantly prevent her from pain, from confusion and God forbid, from heartbreak.

I think sometimes we’re so busy growing up and adulting that we forget the fundamentals. We forget the stuff that we want to teach our kids, nieces, nephews and grandchildren. We focus on goals and aspirations and when we burn out its because we’ve lost focus of the tiny targets that we started off life with. In thinking this way – the best way for me to express the emotional chaos right now and to help me to come back to my tiny targets, I am thinking about what I never want Emma to forget and so …if I had to teach Emma (and myself) anything – this is what it would be.

You’re beautiful!
It’s that simple – it needs no additional explanation, you’re just beautiful. Regardless of the size of your thighs, the waves in your hair or the freckles on your face – you’re beautiful. Believe it and it will solve a multitude of problems. You’ll never feel inadequate, you will never allow anyone to make you feel less, you will always walk with confidence and you will shine. No matter what the world throws at you, your beauty is so much more than what the world sees, it’s the beauty of who you are, of how you love and what you appreciate. Your beauty is a culmination of all the best and worst parts of you. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!

You’re capable!
You’ve lived all these gazillion days and have not managed to fall apart to your death, you have handled stress, dishonesty, meanness, pain, hurt, disappointment, failure. You’ve risen and have dealt with each of the horrible days in your life and you have come out on top. At some stage between the pain you have had a reason to smile, or laugh uncontrollably or just be happy. That is -you being capable. Never doubt your ability to handle whatever is going on – cry for a while if you need to, but know that you’re capable or so much more than you think – and you will be okay.
You’re destined for great things.
This comes from my faith and while many may view it from a different angle – it’s the same concept. Whatever your belief in what’s “after”, your purpose is great! You were brought into this world with a purpose, and whatever it is, it’s magnificent. If you change the world and create world peace, or you change a single life…your destiny is to be more. Believe that and live it each day. Wake up with purpose and a plan on how to be better, strive to be great because that’s what you were created for…and never ever ever see yourself as small. You’re great and powerful and can do anything you want.

Be you!
The world has a funny way of telling us who we need to be. It has the ability to make you question what you want, how you live, respond and accept things. What you need to know is that none of that matters. You be you! A wonderful mess of emotions and conflicting fears, a beautiful masterpiece of certainty and uncertainty, the truest and realest reflection of who you are. Stand up for what you believe in, require respect through who you are and how you live and never allow anyone to change that. When you fall in love, let him love the best and worst parts of you, when you work, do it with honesty and you’ll be successful, when you live – live a life of conviction in who you choose to be and what decisions you make. Don’t allow the world to change you!

Success is your own.
This is twofold. Firstly never measure your success on other people – what people show you and what’s real isn’t always the same – never forget that. We live in a digital age of gorgeous pictures and beautiful smiles and success is not measured against those things. Secondly your success is yours. Whatever you choose to do, be successful at it. You don’t need to work with money or be a professional person according to the world – you be the best whatever you choose…do whatever you do with joy and find success in your achievements.

Your imagination will take you places…
Finally – remember to stay young. When you were little and wanted a unicorn and fairy dust to create magic. When you imagined a garden full of friends and ate mudcakes, when you danced to music in your head and spoke to your “friends” that no one else could see – that’s the magic that you should never lose. The seriousness of life doesn’t allow for magic, we’re too focused on realistic goals and visible targets – believe in the magic on the unknown, imagine your future and dreams and make them happen. Good imagination is a sign of great intelligence.

My darling Emma, I hope that the world keeps you smiling, I hope that this life brings you fulfilment and endless joy – I hope you never forget that you’re beautiful, capable and a MAGNIFICENT success. I wish you the endless joy through great friendships and real relationships. I hope you never experience the feeling of having no one – because for as long as I’m here – I will be here to help you through every step, when you forget your imagination, when your heart breaks and when you fail, I will remind you of your unicorns, I will encourage learning from your failures and I hope that you continue to teach me…as you have.

Just like I will never be able to shield Emma from the pains and realities of life – so too, I can’t control the people around me, how they view me, respond to me or react to how I live – but I can remain myself – I can understand my own worth and I can live with the conviction of self. I can never ever doubt who I am and the pureness of my heart and I can continue to grow despite – I know that everything will be okay – it always is, but as I go through the dark days of hopeless cycles, I am encouraged by the little person in my life – by her search for magic, her smile, her ability to create happiness and I’m reminded to spend some time being young and enjoying moments…even while I continue to grow, try to ‘adult’ and to be the inevitable success that I am destined to be.
 
Happy Friday
xoxox
 

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“Curiosity, Bravery, Faith and entertainment….” “Troy Griffin”

It’s been six months since my last blog post and it feels as though I have managed to stuff a whole lot of magic into such a short space of time. I turned 30 and it’s been amazing, nothing close to the frightening life changing experience I expected, instead it’s a refreshing time of achieving goals, working hard and living my best life… Yes, the most cliché’d cliché ever. I am thoroughly enjoying my headspace in relation to what is shoved in my face – definitely a continuation from my Jerry post. I met an amazing man who has awoken my child-spirit with continuous smiles and the most real friendship and it’s ‘heart-warmingly’ special, and something I have NEVER experienced before (but that’s all you will get on that topic for now).

Aside from all this magic and happiness, I still seem to these moments of realization, no matter what the number attached to my years is. In the past few months, I have a renewed appreciation of friendship. The past year has been toughest for me because of my lack of ‘friends’. Being in a new city, cultivating new relationships and understanding how this VERY different culture functions, with all its gold and glitter and sometimes plastic people it’s hard to find the real between it all. After going through some of my toughest ‘new friend’ lessons over the past year I have been allowed the opportunity to sit back and appreciate the very real people I have around me, the friendships that encourage me, the relationships that build me and the people who I know have my back, front and sides for the rest of my days. I also have the pleasure (or wisdom) to be able to see that realness a lot quicker these days and so the relationships I have managed to develop and maintain since my Jozi arrival are amazing ones and are definitely the beginning of what will grow into the same greatness I’m lucky enough to share with so many. I’ve been lucky enough to have surrounded myself with an array of characters, each with their own uniqueness and makeup which all at once create a rainbow of colour in my world.

I have a group of brothers who protect me constantly, no matter the distance. I have called on them for men standing on corners, for broken hearts and moments of disabling fear and they have shown up, every single time – with strength (and sometimes fists ready) but their friendships, although not filled with constant communication or regular contact are to me more important that anything in the world. Their success and happiness is something I will always find joy in and the moments that change their lives, change mine. I have girlfriends who listen and deal with hours on the phone to balance my brain and heart. They have opened their homes to me in pj’s and tears, we have shared countless litres of alcohol to deal with emotions and we have a strength in togetherness that allow us to take on anything. Boyfriends, babies, husbands, work, life. I have couples who encourage me through their bonds, who give me insight into #RelationshipGoals and relationship realities, I have friends whose faith inspires me, I have friends whose success motivates me and those whose hard work and goals encourage me. I have friends who love like me and others who don’t. Friends who need constant communication and others who show up after a while and we pick up where we left off. I have the most real friendships that are filled with encouragement, visits and calls at just the right time and an understanding of who Carla is, in the most amazing way. I have real friendships and for that, my life is full.

I recently celebrated my 30th, a small gathering of all the people who have touched my life in a positive way. Each one of them has contributed to who I am today and for me, the party was not just mine, but was a celebration of the meaningful impact they have had on me. Every single member had an amazing memory attached to them, from my first trip to the strip club, overseas holidays, heartbreaks that I thought would end me, terrible boyfriends, death, babies, big moves and lots of job changes. Each of those special people made up the fabric which was my entire life and celebrating with them was the best thing I could have done.

One of my best friends gave a speech which brought me to tears (and that doesn’t happen too often). It’s sometimes very difficult to hear how the world sees us. While we know that our friends are there because they choose to – getting insight into their respect and admiration of who we are is something that we aren’t always privileged to see. I will share the speech with you… (that’s my bragging right)…but the good stuff comes at the end, so wait for it…

Good Evening Uncle Ed, Aunty Shar, family & friends,

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak on the day that marks Carla’s 30th rotation around the sun. This day is often met with a mixture of emotions and if you’re close to Carla, you will know that the emotional preparation for her birthday begins around August of the previous year. We are thankful that we’ve reached this milestone with smiles on our faces and joy in our hearts Carlz!

First and foremost, the good book tells us “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee”. In saying this, I’d like to honour Uncle Ed and Aunty Shar, for the phenomenal job they have done in raising this beautiful human being. God really equipped you with the grace and skills to rear a fine young woman like the daughter we see here today. Your love and compassion for her is evident in the unwavering support you have provided Carla with, regardless of the decision she has made… whether it be ground-breaking brilliance or earth-shattering catastrophe. The confidence you have in her, is the confidence we see her exude in each and every encounter with her. Thank you, and we honour you!

Carla… 4 words come to mind when I ponder about the person that you are. Curiosity, Bravery, Faith and MY WORD… You are ENTERTAINING. I’m sure you can all agree with me that at some point in your relationship with this woman you have witnessed her demonstrate one of these qualities on a level far beyond you’d ever expect from her small & petite frame. Carla is testimony to looks being deceiving and dynamite coming in small packages.

I’ll start with Carla’s curious nature. Your ability to question and pick apart situations and scenarios is a gift Carlz. Your relentless investigative nature is one of your biggest assets. The ability to not stop until your soul is at ease, is discernment or a 6th sense that will ensure you never find yourself being duped or caught with the wool pulled over your eyes. Carla always teased and said “I’m a 6”, which is both humourous and brilliant at the same time. It shows that you are fully aware of where your strengths lie and that will forever be to your advantage. Never lose that.

2ndly I’d like to dwell on Carla’s bravery. My friend, the life encounters and storms that you’ve straightened up your spanks and walked head on into leaves my jaw on the floor. Whether it be making the bold decision to leave your parents’ home and take residence away from the comforts and joys of your fathers’ house to be committed to your studies; change courses from Law to humanities, with or without consultation with Mum & Dad; Up and leave the city you call home, in pursuit of bigger and better in the City of Gold – almost losing your life in a Hijacking situation; opening your home to a stranger in need of a kickstart in life… opening your home to a family suffering the wrong end of Xenophonic attacks… You’ve done it all and so elegantly, you’re worthy of being Miss World. Bravery is certainly a page out of your book of life I’d like to borrow and photocopy before a test, like we used to do in Varsity.

This leads me into your faith and faithfulness. It’s not hard to tell where that comes from… You grew up in ministry with God-fearing parents and you have a sister that is on FIRE when it comes to the topic of belief, so there’s no doubting your readiness to take on any challenge. You have a curiosity and a bravery that is rooted in your faith and that will serve you well all the days of your life. Carlz has imparted knowledge to the little ones in the Sunday school department, she’s imparted wisdom and knowledge to both my wife and I at the various stages of our life’s progress, she’s offered her services to kid’s in a home on Saturday mornings. (You’re not too shabby hey…). It’s so evident that you get your joy in being a blessing to others. You are so selfless and you’ve proven that time and time again, never asking for anything in return… You helped me set up a world class engagement – even if I say so myself. You’ve been the Maid of Honour and gone above and beyond on numerous occasions. You’ve been one of the boys and worthy of Best Man status for quite a few of the gents in the room here… there’s just no stopping you when you’re on a mission for someone you love and each of us here tonight can honour you for that.

Lastly… Dude… you are one of the best sitcoms I’ve had the pleasure of watching… From our arguments which never end because we’re both convinced we’re right and no other opinion matters. To that mouth of yours that lacks a filter at the best of times, you’ve contributed to some stomach-aching, gasping-for-air bouts of laughter! Something that Carla also does really well (which is scary at times)… is make HUGE mistakes. This girl has walked full-knowingly into some of the WORST decisions an individual can make but my word has she taken ownership of each and every one, and either skipped out of them with a smile on her face OR crawled out of them battered and bruised having learnt to never venture down that road again… But what does she do… She puts her indicator on… drops the sun roof and heads down that road at 180km/h with nobody telling her otherwise… The entertainment that that brings us as your friends and the life lessons you – and we – learn while you’re doing it is 2nd to none and THAT my friend is why we can’t help but LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!!

No matter where you go in life, I have no doubt in your ability to stand boldly, marked out from the crowd and destined for greatness. Not only will you shine as a woman of character strength and power but you will have an everlasting impact on everyone you come into contact with. Go forth and be great… 30 is the start of weird and wonderful manifestations in your wildly entertaining, emotionally uplifting and awe-inspiring life.

Real people see you! That’s it. Beyond any façade, any active change in who you are or any growth or weakness – real people see you. The joy of friendship is that your real people see past your mistakes, past your sometimes dark heart moments and anger. They see into your soul and love you despite yourself. Even after enjoying years of friendship with this guy, after sharing secrets, tears and almost all life’s greatest moments together. He never sat down and said “Carlz, this is what I think of you” and then he gave that speech and tore open the depths of who I am and gave me the most satisfying joy. MY real people see me.

As I sit back and look at the past few years of life – the times when ish got real and bright lights woke me up from the fairy-tale I sometimes created – I see my real people, who have showed up in the best way. I understand their importance and I know their place. For the next 30 I will appreciate those friendships, I will continue to build up those friendships and I would encourage you to do the same. But while you’re busy appreciating, make sure that you’re seeing your real people that you are showing up, growing up and not giving up on them when they need you most. Make space in your world and life for the people who deserve that space, hug a little harder when you need to, and encourage each other…because life happens but friendships make it a whole lot easier to handle.

 

“You had me at hello….” Jerry Maguire

How much fun is life? You grow up, soak up everything around you, you learn to walk, run and speak and then you go on to get an education, you learn about social behaviour and love and heartbreak and then you get this moment between growing up and well…death and you stand around and watch. It’s like a movie of your life…with you as the main actor. Now I’m not sure if the current thought process is related in any way to my “I’m turning 30 in 2 months” reality, but let’s just throw a bow around both the ideas of aging and love and understand them together, because for me, this is a required understanding.

It’s the time in my movie where everyone else is getting engaged, where babies and weddings are the order of the day and my Facebook page seems to be smothered with images of lace, diamonds and gorgeous little humans. It’s an exciting time and my heart bursts with the purest joy for every single one of them.

Most ‘people’ believe that the best years of your life happen during the “movie years”. But what we sometimes forget to remember…is that everyone has their own movie. The conflicting views are these; firstly, society believes that for those of us nearing 30 and just beyond…the NEXT phase of movie making is ULTIMATELY, lace, diamonds and gorgeous little humans. The second view is that if you aren’t at that stage then your movie is obviously on pause because life can’t happen without the required lace, diamonds and gorgeous little humans (ok, I’ll stop saying that now)… and then you’re constantly reminded not to worry…because “your person is out there.”

In terms of aging, many authors and people of great wisdom (as seen on Facebook) tell you that after 30 everything changes – friendships, love, life and goals. I assure you…this is NOT true. The truth is, it changes about 6-10 months before you turn 30. Perhaps like the process of birth – preparation for the next part of your movie (whatever the screenplay looks like). In my pre-birth months, I found myself separating myself from exhausting friendships, from required relationships and from ‘expected expectations’, enjoying solitude and learning to function independently. I found myself making decisions that gave me joy, regardless of the opinions of others and basically just living for me. It’s liberating and insanely satisfying.

Before we get too caught up…know that I do believe ‘my person’ is out there, I do understand the importance of people around me…but I also know the importance of this chapter in my screenplay and how one day when I require lace, receive a diamond and am planning for gorgeous little humans – these moments right now will make perfect sense.

If I take a look back at the memory of the past year, my lessons on how I had viewed love, relationships and how my “paused” movie had affected me from the inside were realised in each major moment of 6-10 months before 30… I flew across the globe to don a pink dress, the most perfect eyebrows and sign as a witness to one of my best friends promising her love to what was an exciting romance and a whole lot of stuff changing for her really quickly. This friendship had always been based on the most real realness – we share honesty at the highest level with no judgement of insanity. No matter how far apart, we always look for each other between the chaos, so it was only normal for me to get the mandatory ‘ah-ha’ moment during a face-to-face convo with this friend (which rarely happened because of sea and space). As I sat a night or two before her wedding and had the ‘required’ maid of honor conversation (“Are you happy?”, “Are you certain?”, “How do you know?”), I finally came to peace with so many different things. What my very real friend threw at me was that love isn’t always wonderful, that relationships take parts of you and bruise you and that commitment means making sense of that and then one day, finding someone who you want to love through ALL of that. It means constant compromise and always thinking about another person and the impact your actions have on them. My learning and development stages didn’t prepare me for this understanding (even though this is probably something I should’ve understood clearly before my pre-birth session). As I listened to her explanation of love, I remember her saying “I have never been more sure of anything”, and my love-yearning heart became settled. Her love was admirable, her decision to spend her life with this man who had blown away anything negative and created simple pleasures – that love was amazing and while parts of me longed for it, I now understand that this love that she has is what makes her marriage a magical one. My nearly 30 year old self is not ready for that. Maybe because I have never experienced the compromised promises and reassurance through absolute trust. I am not ready to love beyond being ‘sometimes not wonderful’, I am not healed from previous bruises to be sometimes bruised for all eternity and I am not sure of anything, especially loving past negativity. But at ‘6-10 months before 30’…. It’s really ok. It’s okay to not be ready for the next phase of love, but this doesn’t mean my movie stops. It’s okay to still be learning to trust and to still be figuring out how to move into absolute surety and its ok for your movie to continue without those steps towards sunsets and forever.

In these years leading up to 30, I have battled with appreciation of self, with ‘requiring’ things from those who ‘love’ me. With meeting worldly expectations and with trying to bring happiness to everyone around me, sometimes at the expense of my own. The third trimester of my 30 baby brings with it the realization that my giving of myself doesn’t guarantee that I will receive the same extensions from others. That feeling something doesn’t mean it will be reciprocated, that requiring certain behaviour is necessary and that seeing beauty doesn’t mean everyone has the same lenses.

Just recently, another one of my best friends got engaged. This engagement was no surprise, not because of the love shared between her and her partner for many years, but because of who she is. She loves love, she loves commitment and she loves sharing things with another person. She has a co-dependent love. A love that has her serving selflessly, giving continuously with no expectations or requirements and a love that needs just another person to receive. We are totally different. So marriage for her means that her heart will be happy forever, that she will always have a person to share things with and love in the most unselfish way and she deserves that kind of happiness. I on the other hand…would run from those things. I don’t want co-dependence, I cannot imagine selflessly loving another person and I don’t want to rely on another person for my happiness. The thing is that as each person has their own makeup, so too your love will be different. Some will experience co-dependent love and thrive, others of us need the security of self to feel appreciated. But each love story makes for a different and yet equally magical movie.

At this stage in my life I have become so painfully independent. Painfully so, because, my OCD tendencies require certain things to remain constant. I have removed any spaces for entry into my fortress and my routine and desires have become my only concern. I love that my home is peaceful and quiet, I love that my toilet seat is never left up and I love that my books can still take up a large portion of my evening.

Engagements are an exciting time. Love is a wonderful thing and marriage is a beautiful and magical union of love and commitment…But my view is from the other side.
Over the past 29 years of life I have; worn 12 different bridesmaid gowns, I have gone for at least 30 dress fittings, and I have planned bridal showers, kitchen teas and managed mother-in-laws. I have been woken up at the crack of dawn to beautify myself on countless occasions, I have held bouquets, fixed trains and veils, and I have written speeches and encouraged her during pre-wedding nerves. I have been a bridesmaid. This title is an honour and for someone to choose me, well for so many women to choose me is something I should feel proud of. But, the reality is that at this stage I’m not feeling proud, I’m feeling exhausted and like it’s time for me to throw the bouquet, make foolish demands and ask for specific shoe colours. BUT…my yearning for this title has absolutely nothing to do with my actual readiness for the next phase with someone. It has nothing to do with my desire for co-dependence or independent love. Instead it has everything to do with what is expected of me. What Facebook throws at me at this time and what the world says I should be doing? Because without that next chapter in my movie…life is incomplete and I will always be “waiting for him” to complete my movie moment.

Right now, just before the birth of 30, I have SO much to be excited about. I have a thriving career and I am really good at what I do (for real). I am continuously meeting new and interesting people (some more than others). I seem to be going on lots of adventures which makes my soul smile. I have reached many of the goals I set out and have procrastinated on many others, but all round, it’s been a pretty good movie and the rest will bring with it a whole lot of surprises. Yes, I am ready for a joint movie, I am ready to let the fortress gates open and learn to deal with less reading time and toilet seats up – but still without the pressure of expectation.

So the point is this… To my friends getting engaged. I do adore your ring. I am very interested to know how he proposed and how you felt. I honestly and truly share in your joy. I am happy for this new part of your journey and I will celebrate with you, pop champagne and share in the most real way, this new phase in your movie.
To my friends getting married – yes I’ll be a bridesmaid 😉 I am ready for the colours and fabrics and party planning and I love that you’ve found someone to share your life with and I will always be here as your friend, to offer advice, be there during the chaos and the celebrations and I will always encourage the things that you want, even if I don’t want them for myself yet and I will celebrate the biggest scene in your movie in the only way you want to – as if it were the best day of my life too…because I love you enough.
To my friends having babies, I will attend all important events, I will pray for and encourage your children and love them dearly. (And of corse they will love me too 🙂 ). I will dress up for parties, be a clown, hand out lucky packets and bake cupcakes if you need me to. I will share in the accomplishments of your children because I know that these things are important to you and are things that bring you joy. Every single event in your movie is important to me and our friendship will not be affected by the fact that these milestones are reached for you and not me.

BUT….

My new promotion at work is important to me and is a GREAT accomplishment. My decision to move to a new city for another job is something that I need your input on and it is not a reflection of my inability to settle down. My continuous studying and exams are what will help my movie to be greater one day…encourage that. Don’t overly analyse my behaviour as a need for or lack of something. Don’t question why I won’t settle or accept the advances of every frog dressed up as a prince (I see them!) while your priorities have changed, and your life has begun to take a new and different phase, appreciate that my movie is happening, just not at the same speed as yours. …SO let my movie happen, as it is supposed to. Let me continue as I am and remove the pressure, questions and required actions.
My movie may include a single prince, or a few more frogs. It may include a carriage and diamonds or it may include a few more muddy moments and tears. It has the possibility to be a short story with no frills or romantic clichés, or it may full of grand gestures and excitement (I hope it’s that one). But whatever it is – give it the space to happen and take your pressure that you’re wanting to throw at me…and put it in your pocket. 🙂
Give me time to learn things that I missed in my development stages, to watch and be a part of your beautiful romantic comedy (sometimes) and to decide what I want and don’t want.
Allow me the space to remove people as I need to and to learn from those I want to. Remove the pressure of “Mr. Right” and allow me to appreciate the moments in RIGHT NOW. Understand that our friendship is not dependent on which phase my movie is at in relation to yours and that no matter where I am in life or my movie chapter – I will always believe in the, honest, magical, real, heart stopping, butterfly creating, foot lifting, slow motion, unselfish, committed, life changing, heart altering movie kinda love that you are lucky enough to experience every day…while I wait for the man who will “Have me at Hello.”

 

 

2016…New Year, New Me? Idiot!

I’ve never been big on new year’s resolutions, I never do well with calculated social targets. I’ve lived most of my life at a YOLO pace where today happens and tomorrow will generally sort itself out. So every time the new year comes, I’m one of those “let’s wait and see what these idiots plan on changing for the first four months of the year.” But this year…I think I want to be one of those idiots.  I want to make a list to better myself and I want to try to stick to it…I want the corny “New year, new me” ‘bullshit’ that everyone so ‘loves’. Lol.

I remember going to a church service many moons ago, it was the kind of service where the preacher speaks directly to you, (you know that one?) every word pierces into the depths of your dirty soul and calls for you to change and realize the errors of your way. Anyway, during this service the sermon series was called “Meeting, Dating and mating” and focused on those three stages on a relationship – as I listened intently to the Godly order for relationships (light bulb!!!), and I vowed to change the way I viewed these very difficult stages, the preacher said “if you keep doing what you’ve done, you will keep getting what you’ve got.”. WHOA! At the time I remember those words slapping me across the cheek. Suddenly every rubbish male I had met in my lifetime (which are numerous) made perfect sense…because I kept doing what I did, I kept getting what I got. And I got rubbish! Lol. The truth is…(no offence to any of the guys I’ve dated, met or been with)…but as I stand at the end of 2015 I realize that the slap I received in that church from the words clearly wasn’t hard enough – because I was still doing what I was doing and STILL getting what I got.

So what have I got?

In terms of my infamous love life…I don’t even have words, I got a few cheaters, those scumbags kept resurfacing in new forms always with the same 1.5 – 2 year timeline.
I got a really old guy who was scared of commitment…I mean really? After all those years, death is more imminent than the chances of you ever being able to bag a younger, fresher version than me.
I got a few younger ones – so much fun, only momentarily – they’re full of emotion and have a whole lot to learn about being gentlemen…! Errrm, I got some baby mama, ex girlfriend, current girlfriend (whoops) and “I don’t know her” drama…drama in any form is exhausting…we don’t need that going into the new year.

Yesterday morning I woke up to the most amazing article, (Read it here: http://www.brookeputney.us/a-letter-to-every-young-girl-if-he-wont-someone-else-will/). This was another one of those “I got slapped” moments and as I read each word, I had a fairy dancing around in my head and belly as if suddenly all the lights were turned on and the music turned up.. Now I’ve had “ah-ha” moments before but this one was all that my soul needed. It spoke to my heart and told her to be patient, it told her that love doesn’t require settling, it told me about my worth and my past pain. It told me that love is waiting and that gentlemen are REAL and deeper conversations feed your soul…”Our problem today is that we are settling. We are settling for men that hold doors behind them instead of in front of them. We are settling for surface level relationships when we should be seeking deeper conversations, deeper moments. We are settling for, “talking,” for “things” when we should have an, “if you know, you know, let’s do something about this or I’ll be on my way,” kind of mindset.”
As I read through every single paragraph it made me feel like my ‘getting what I got’ was over, like the article was sent at the exact and most perfect moment and that 2016 would bring with it a perfect gentleman, whose conversations spoke to my brain and whose eyes saw my soul…but I also realized I have to stop my “doing what I did”…and that’s the hardest part.

I spent the year falling in love with who I am, growing in strength and beginning to understand the way my head and heart work together. I learnt about my own heart and its magnitude. But I haven’t learnt how to change, I haven’t begun to understand where the “doing what I did” ends. I’m not sure I understand what exactly I “did” and what I keep “doing” which keeps me getting what I got. You with me here?

But anyway, I’m going to go out on a whim and say that my ability to see ‘potential’ beyond his current situation is maybe my first flop. We are NOT responsible for the success, expectant potential or repair of any single person except ourselves. I am responsible for my own success, I am responsible for my achievements and I am responsible for my own progress.
Secondly, I need to stop justifying unacceptable behavior or traits for the sake of ‘love’ or like or whatever girly emotion I can attach to the insanity, or begin to believe that he will change…the only man you can change, is one in diapers. Love him as he is, flaws and all, or don’t go down the road. This has a great deal to do with my ability to love so completely that the things I really DON’T want a part of my future, I accept, because I imagine they will ‘fall away’ with the new wind…unlucky sunshine, wind don’t move concrete.
Finally I need to learn that things end…it’s just the way life goes. Relationships, friendships, pain, heartache…zonke, it will end and I will live. Heart break was only lethal in Shakespeare’s day, today we live, beyond heart ache, beyond diseases, beyond a whole lot more than we think we can survive. I have a hard time putting FULL STOPS on things. Walking away unaffected by THEIR mess is something I’m not capable of doing. So for 2016…I’ll remember that sunsets are proof that endings can be beautiful too and heartache means that you are capable of great love 🙂

In terms of work.

I’m so driven that I see nothing else, I see success over the mountain, I see pots of gold in my future and personalized stationery. In my race to the labelled door I tend to walk through the workplace like a nerd at school, books covering my view, tainted glasses and a nerd speed walk past everyone, making no real contact or solid friendships.  In 2016 I need to work on being less “employee” and more Carla, because life is sweeter with friendship, and the greatest learning come from speaking, listening and drawing from each other.

And finally my loved ones…

I’m the worst person at keeping in touch, I know birthdays because of Facebook, I call back and never first, my chatting ability doesn’t go on for much longer than 20 minutes and letting people know when I’m ‘safe’ is something almost impossible for me to get right.

What I’m continuously learning is those “I’m safe” texts help my mother sleep better at night, birthday messages mean that I took a second out of my day to think about important people, having a chat to fill my friends in on how life is in big bad Jozi makes them feel more at ease about my “solitary lifestyle”, and the occasional “i’m good” means that I’m smiling, and growing and learning and loving life…and very far from hanging from a chandelier or rocking in a corner…:) hehe…okay that was dramatic.

Last year was the year of authenticity, where I wrote about working on real friendships, ending old ones and viewing people with their pasts and better understanding their makeup (AUTHENTIC POST) The truth is, I did exactly that. I started new friendships which make me smile, I rekindled lost friendships which I find soul fulfilling and necessary, I lost a lot of friends and I strengthened my already REAL bonds with my corpse cleaners. Moving away put my friendships and loved ones into the clearest perspective for me – my corpse cleaners (Definition explained here: CORPSE CLEANERS) are becoming more real to me, I appreciate their never ending support, constant encouragement and love. My family is the closest thing to me and the year made me realize the importance of the support of family, the unconditional love of parents and the special relationship that only sisters share.

But hey…my day is done and it’s time to begin celebrations of the ending of this soul draining, mind altering, insanely, torturous year which taught me so much. It’s time to drink to a new start and a new me (idiot!) …
To never getting what I previously got, to being friendlier and talking to people through my nerd glasses and to my people who have made the wave of 2015 a bearable one.

I wish you all renewed love of yourselves, continued fulfilling relationships and the strength to never settle for the rest.
I wish you corpse cleaners who will remind you that friendship makes life sweeter and the strength of numbers makes any struggle easier to bear. I wish you belly aching laughter, exciting love stories and real relationships.

“May you be fulfilled in your love, your work and your friendships and may your faith be strengthened through your trials. May 2016 be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful. And don’t forget to make some art – write, or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself. “

Happy New Year Gorgeous people!

 

2015 is over!!! Wheres my Rainbow???

I don’t even know where the year went, but when deciding to sit down and write, I realised it’s time for the annual “OMG the year is over, I’m so grateful” blog post. But before we go thanking the heavens for blessings and the end of another year, let’s just take a minute of silence for how INSANE this year was (I know I’m not alone, but I bet you I win).

As 2015 comes to an end I’m all about rainbows and pots of gold because the thunderstorms which I endured this year have made me wiser, happier and a whole lot stronger.

The metaphor of the storm and the rainbow was always an irritating cliché for me because when the storms are raging, the lightning is brightening the sky and the hail is damaging your car the last thing you think of is a rainbow…truth be told, when the rainbow comes out we’re sometimes too busy emptying our gumboots of the water and trying to touch up the bruises from the hail that we don’t even notice the rainbow. So since we’re a generation of “ers” (that means we want bigger and better everything) let me help you understand the magnitude of my storm and the intensity of my rainbow…and the size of my gratitude basket.

If you’ve been following my blog this year, you would’ve realised two things, firstly, I didn’t write much, and secondly when I did it was my complete naked soul. This was the first year that I wrote with raw honesty, where I used this platform to help me through what I can describe right now as the toughest season of my life…yep…THAT dramatic. in 28 years, i have never experienced heartbreak, fear, trauma, insanity (for real) and downright madness all in one year.

So I started the year off with a twofold battle, a legal battle and a battles of the heart. I had made a mistake…over and over again…but I’m not one for exposing old wounds so you can go ahead and read a little bit about that here (It will be okay…). The storm was long and draining, it costs me my dignity, a great deal of respect and a bucket load of friends who fell away like dead leaves in autumn. This thunderstorm lasted months, and with each month a little more of me was exposed and a little more of me broken down. With each court appearance I was transformed, negatively. The person I used to look at in the mirror was confident and independent, she was motivated and bold, the shell I had become was exhausted and drained, I was angry and negative and most importantly I was cold-hearted. I had happy pills which helped stop my brain from functioning and plastered a dead smile on my face to show the world I was unaffected. I floated through the storm with my plastered smile, not realizing the impact of the water and hail and believing the words around me…”this too shall pass”.
The truth was, it did pass, but when the hail and thunder stopped, it was more like a few days of gloomy weather, and then darkness. No rainbow, no sunshine, just doom and gloom. Unless I missed the rainbow, I’m pretty sure it had a free pass on me.

As months have passed, I can see the rainbow of this situation. I may have missed it on the day but 4 months later the colours shine brighter than a kid’s party. I see the colours of love and realise that it’s a sacred emotion shared and so easily broken. I saw the world through rainbow coloured glass and realized that people don’t treasure moments and unfaithfulness has become a common behaviour.  I learnt that my ability to trust everyone with my heart and soul is something that I need to curb…considerably. I’ve seen the rainbow in how my own heart works, I love so completely and totally that I give my entire life, soul and heart away and these traits are admirable and will make my love so worth it to someone who appreciates it…one day. And I see the brightness of haters; that they really do make you stronger and forgiveness of self is so much more rewarding that public opinion.

But if that wasn’t enough…my hailstorm saw a gap between the gloom and hit again. 3 gunmen, three hours, our family home torn apart, as we sat in fear, disbelief and so much uncertainty…and a memory which will last forever. That night rocked our worlds. The days after the holdup I began to understand what a mothers love meant, the fact that my mother lost her mind (only momentarily), my sister cried uncontrollably as she held my 2 year old niece and I said there staring around the room praying that they would leave, not thinking about anyone around me, not concerned for my life or worried about the millions of possible scenarios or endings but dazed by the reality of crime in our country and again…numb to the harshness. As we spent the new few weeks sitting up late together in the lounge simply because we couldn’t sleep, or crying out of the blue, because some realisation hit or some image was triggered, there was no rainbow. For months, no colours, our world was black white and grey and coupled with my cold heart from the last hailstorm, I was sure that I would be ‘damaged’ for life.

But again, three months later I look back at the situation and see rays of colour between the gloom The rays that allowed me to view my family in an entirely different light. The bright colours that made ‘my dad the hero’ make perfect sense for me…(even at ‘nearly 30’). The realisation that material things truly mean nothing in relation to the people in your life. As I played over situations of “what if’s” in my head, I thought of my niece and I began to understand what unconditional love means. The lessons that come from storms are always hardest to bear…but the rainbow comes out, even months later and when you see it. It’s magnificent.

A month after most of the chaos had settled I made a big life changing decision and moved to the big bad city of Johannesburg. I remember the psychologist making sure I understood that I was willingly moving to the crime capital of our country, just a month after our ordeal. I understood and moved anyway. The hail wasn’t as extreme and the gloom wasn’t as real, instead Joburg became my breathe of fresh air, I began spending most of my time with a group of insanely hilarious, very confusing and all round fun guys. They made me feel young and fresh and like I could party again (even momentarily) and it was everything that my soul needed. It needed to be revitalized and awakened to the reality of life and all its guilty (and not so guilty) pleasures. Sunrises and lots of smoke allowed my rainbow to become a reality.

But it was big bad jozi, and between the laughter and partying the doom, gloom, hailstorms and thunder were very real, from a near hijacking, to falling on my first day at work, to having to step back and realise that im a grown up, (LOL)…but the rainbow is realer. The biggest lesson I learnt is that the bigger the storm, the brighter the rainbow.

And so now, as the year ends, I’ve already popped my champagne and I’m sitting back and want to thank those who added to my hailstorms. I want to thank the courtroom crew for showing me how real ish can get and how serious people can be about protecting lies, I want to thank the three men and their guns for making me tougher and preparing me for big bad jozi, I want to thank my heart for having it together all the time and I want to thank lost friends and haters, because you’ve added to what was the most difficult year for me, you added to my gloom and hail and thunder and because of that, my blessings are abundant, because of you I stand in the 7 colours of wonder and am overwhelmed at the beauty and grateful for the end of the year.

I hope your year hasn’t been as rough, but if it was, and the rainbows seem to be hidden by the clouds…believe the cliché, pop the champagne, smile at the haters and drink to hailstorms passing and rainbows and colours.

Have a safe festive season and may 2016 bring you rainbows and colours and love and some more 🙂

 

Dirty Money and Bravado.

I’m a sourcing specialist – which means my most important KPI is to create savings for my company. So…I am paid to look at spreadsheets, analyze years of spend and information and say “Hey! Do you see that money in that pile of mud? I’m going to get it for us”.
My job has taught me to analyze a situation, to find a solution and to deal with risks, and it seems my life has begun to take that same shape – I’ve become a problem solver, not dwelling on pain, hardship or failure for too long…but rather finding the money through the mud. Within this mammoth task of finding gold beyond the slime – we’re also called to be very loud, firm and no nonsense kinda folk and because of that, I find myself wanting to share my opinion with the world, all the time.

The past few months have thrown the most mud at me, like ever! It was more like a mud slide of absolute chaos, in every form. I now sit, as the mud settles and I’m beginning to wonder a lot of things. I’m worried about our country…as young kid’s murder each other in daylight it makes me nervous for the generations to come. As I turn on the TV, I’m worried about our women and their lack of self-worth. As I look at our crime rate, I am worried for my safety. There’s a lot to be worried about, enough happening around us to make us question our faith, the people who there to protect us…and most importantly, our sanity. The dirt is real and finding the money gets harder every day. But this post is not here to point out the ills of our society, to place judgment on any race group for their behavior, or to crucify women in little shorts dancing around falling notes, what it’s aimed at is understand where we fit in with our loud mouths and sometimes hurting opinions.

A young man was killed this month. A young man from a coloured area in Durban. Now I don’t have the statistics of deaths in our city or in each ‘legally-racially-segregated area”, but I’m willing to take a risk on this one…and say that he wasn’t the first youngster killed in our city this year, to say also that there have been other murders in this town by other race groups, and to point out that murder is a worldly phenomenon and not (believe it or not), common only to coloured areas. But let’s get back to this young man – he was killed within a more public setting. He was killed on display for the whole of Durban to see, he was killed and his death (literally) stopped the party.  The muddiness of this situation resonated through every area in Durban, the mud of a society and race group was splattered on the doors and windows of coloured people all over the country. People began to point at us, to separate our behavior from those of coloured people in other parts of the country. They began dissecting and prodding on social consequences, upbringing and location and placing blame on parents and communities for the behavior of a single group of boys (regardless of how frequent this occurs).
I don’t have a problem with opinion or with your thoughts across paper (or your PC screen or wherever), I have a problem with a lack of healthy debate. When someone comes out saying “THIS IS THE PROBLEM, BECAUSE I THOUGHT IT” and the sheep of society, click share, like one hundred times, throw around a few gold stars and applaud the outright defamation of an entire race group – that’s not healthy debate. It’s a one sided opinion that has created a hell of a lot of mud to get through. A one sided opinion that created the type of dirt that no race group needs. The type of opinion that had co-workers questioning when I would stab them… (Really?!)

The problem with society’s mud is that we get to a point where we throw it around so much that we begin to lose sight of the money altogether – and when opinion does that, the consequences can be diabolic.
Coloured Bravado was described as a need to be heard, as an idea that coloured people “Don’t take shit!” that we bring with us a social fear and personal demand of respect.
Is this a particularly coloured phenomena?  Are the rest of the race groups in our country laying back and allowing shit to happen around them? Are white people giving away their companies, homes, money and wealth which was left to them from their rich great great grandfathers? Are black people allowing any other race group to continue the behavior imposed some 30 years ago? And are Indians jumping back on boats and floating off to their motherland because someone said “go home?” No! The idea that “WE DON’T TAKE SHIT” is human behavior. It is not a race specific character.
What was displayed in this article was a certain group of people (not race specific). A young white man was sentenced very recently for getting into a fight at a local rugby match and killing a guy. Dead! In the townships (within our city), there is black on black murder more regularly than in any other area in our city. Indians have fought at the club every single time I’ve been to one (and that used to be quite regularly). Male bravado is an actual thing. Coloured Bravado is an opinion, of one man, which has resulted in splattered mud and NO healthy debate.

Coloured bravado can be named integrity, it can be named opinion (much like the article was). It’s a characteristic of people who want to be heard, who are strong and sure of themselves. We, as coloured people, may have used it incorrectly, but then again, so did the white people a while ago. So do black people when they deal with the crime within the township. The article is a ‘concoction’ of loosely used terms that could be synonyms for a host of different race groups and character traits. And the results of this particular loosely used term have had the worst effect on our community and coloured people at large. You have THOSE coloureds and THESE coloureds stepping over the mud and moving as far away from each other as possible. You have some saying “I didn’t grow up in a community and can’t relate, but I agree”, you have others saying “Those coloured people behave differently to me”. NO! Coloured is a race group, which means we’re a culture of intricately woven fabrics, all different, which make up a group. We may not all be the same (as is any race group), but I am as proud to be a coloured today since the public killing as I was before the fateful day.

This sums up my entire need to write…as humans who have freedom of speech, are we going around throwing mud at people? Are we naming them BAD and full of shit because the thought popped into our minds…and are the rest of the sheep saying “Baaaaaaaaa-eutiful piece” before understanding the impact of the words. How do our thoughts, words, and actions affect the people around us? How do we, as coloured, white, Indian, black south Africans feel about the impact we have on our country.
What this article has done, is taken one big paintbrush, dipped it in slimy mud and painted us, all coloureds with the same brush. Yes, we have poverty, yes, we have dysfunctional homes, and yes we have aggression. But the actions of SOME cannot be dirtied across the group.

I’m a coloured South African female, I’m 28 years old, which means I have lived longer than the kids who have killed each other this month, and I understand that transition takes time and encouragement. I have been given opportunities and experiences that have shaped who I am. I have travelled, seen parts of the world, learnt about communities and worldly behavior.  I believe that my experiences and travels have made me street wise and not ‘coloured wise’. When I see the world – I don’t focus on the mud of my own society in relation to the money of another. I don’t see the nicety of one culture in relation to the aggression of my own. And this is what we as South African people need to move away from. As we become mud focused, we create justifications for behavior. We create reasons for  certain behavior, we give it a name, define the why, what, where and who is responsible, we place blame and then we move on, more “educated” on unjustified behavior and we become accepting of this. This is not healthy debate. It is unhealthy opinion.

There was an article in the 80’s around gangsterism in Wentworth. It expressed the idea that living in Wentworth during those times meant that people were afraid to walk in the streets alone. This is no longer the case. If we begin to name a society for a single aspect of their past then the mud would never be clean. All that opinion does is, it places generalized views on groups of people…

All black people steal!
All Indians commit fraud!
All white people have money!

And…all coloured people fight each other to death over a dirtied shoe!

I, for one will not accept this generalized opinion. I will not accept the mud thrown and the lack of money seen.

This right here is my point. As human beings we have this desire to be heard, we want the world to see our thoughts and yet complain about invasion of privacy. We want the city to understand our anger and yet think no further than the harshness of our words. We want our opinions on culture, the behavior or women, the strength of men, the downward spiral of our society’s moral capacity, the behavior of our children, our race and our people to be ‘understood’…and yet in screaming out aloud, we pierce the world, inflicting more pain, more anger, more distaste and dirty the nation with muddy opinion.

My opinion is valid and should be heard…as should yours. But are your thoughts encouraging healthy debate or are they throwing dirt? Is a display of your minds working based on your belief in what you say or in your need for the world to hear you? Being bombarded with social media I am faced daily with the pains of minds expressing their disgust in various aspects of our country. My writing is not to point out the right from wrong…my point is to encourage healthy debate rather than selfish opinion.

As South Africans, whether black, white, green or blue, our focus should be on the money. We should spend less time looking at the mud and more time to find the money. We need to stop placing blame and creating descriptions and terms for groups in a generalized way and we should be encouraging discussion rather than enforcing opinion. We should use our life experiences to realize that we are a developing nation, we have opportunities and we have people, we have lots to be grateful for and we have cultures which are full of money. We need to start taking responsibility for our own actions. Not placing blame on our parents, on our circumstances on our wealth or poverty and start growing up and showing up. Respect is earned – not by bloodshed or aggression, but by your impact on your society. As coloured people, we are full of culture, yes, we are strong, we are opinionated and we are beautiful. We are real! We offer honest friendships, we offer loyalty like no other race group and we laugh and love passionately. That’s our money. We have mud, we have flaws, we have pain and we have hardship – but we have to stop throwing mud at each other and start dancing in the falling notes, because being able to point out flaws in easy, but being able to see the money is something we will continue to learn daily.

The term bravado means: a bold manner or a show of boldness intended to impress or intimidate

I am a coloured. I am brave and bold, I am strong, and I don’t take shit. I AM educated. I respect people, regardless of race, who have worked, achieved and overcome adversity. I admire growth, I encourage conversation and I find joy in my people’s success rather than their dirt. I am proud. I intimidate with my brain, in the boardroom and with my conversation in social circles, the conversation that inspires healthy debate. I encourage growth of fellow people, regardless of race, culture or upbringing. I offer support, loyalty and real friendship. I dance. I sing. I love and laugh (loudly).

I don’t accept the mud of my society but instead, can see the wealth in my people!

A tribute to Faith-fill (ed) father

Yesterday, we had two main reasons to celebrate. The first was that 7 years ago, my dad stepped towards what he believed God was saying to him and started a church…the second was that he turns 60 years old today. There were a number of other celebrations, around Gods goodness, his blessing, providence and his faithfulness and we enjoyed the moments of grace together.However, for me, beyond these celebrations, i was honoured to be able to give a gracious expression of words, to my dad, mum and their role in my life and the church. 
Surprisingly enough – this was not difficult to do and didn’t bring with it tears – instead it encourages me to throw around my words and give you insight into an area of my life which isn’t always displayed across these pages.  
My blog has never been a podium for my beliefs or an expression of my faith. This expression is a glimpse into the working of the more spiritual side of my heart and head and maybe the beginning of a better understanding of whats to come…anyway, whatever the background- I had to share. 
I stood up in front of the church (i know, daunting) and spoke to the masses on  what my father means to me and my appreciation of his life, love and ministry…so while my blogging has been on hold, i’ll share this one with you to let you know, i’m still here 🙂

Enjoy it…    ______________________________________________________________________________________________

The story of the prodigal son is one of my dads all-time favourite scriptures. He’s managed to view it from every point, to break it down and dissect it. He’s made it real for all those who listen to him speak on it, with a passion which he throws around every Sunday morning from this exact spot (which is very unfamiliar to me).

Despite the many years of learning and hearing and understanding this scripture from him, it’s only more recently begun to take perfect shape for ME.

In Luke 15: 11 the story begins:
“Jesus continued, there was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, “Father, give me my share of the estate.” So he divided his property between them. 13 Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.”

My parents have always provided a united front – in their raising of us, discipline of us and the way they related to each other. They have always spoken the same language and for many years offered the same advice. We never had the joy of playing one up against the other because they always knew what we would do before we did it.

During my varsity years I was referred to as the prodigal son in family discussions. I would return to my homestead after a weekend of partying or at the end of a rough month. My dad would, as always be ecstatic about my arrival, he would welcome me with open arms, with my washing done, with my favorite French toast ready for breakfast…and very often with an open wallet, without question, with complete love and according to my sister, with a favouristism that only younger kids have the pleasure of experiencing.
Now, varsity is over, partying is long forgotten…I have my own washing machine and I provide the eggs, but my father still displays the exact same excitement when I come home (much more frequently these days). The reality of Jesus’s story about the prodigal son is that the father displayed in the scriptures is a man who my own father has managed to mirror almost perfectly in his nearly 60 years.
Some of the most direct comparisons are visible in the scriptures:

The father in this story displayed an unimaginable patience.

IN verse 17 the scripture continues:

17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.

Having lived with three very loud and opinionated women, my dad’s patience has developed to an award winning level.
During my 21st speech my dad used the letters in my name to create adjectives to describe who I was. The L in CARLA stood for Leech. My ability to always be THERE, not giving him a moment to breathe. The joy of this idea was that despite this expression– he never complained – he took his moments of silence when he could, but he answered questions, explained unnecessary ideals and listened to my rambling without complaint.

The scripture continues…

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him

The father in this story displayed forgiveness and compassion.

My dad has a heart of gold. His road to forgiveness has been a long journey of pain and learning and through this journey he has taught me more than he realizes. He’s taught me that no matter what hand is dealt, the way you walk out of it, is what counts. Your struggles, your past and your circumstances don’t define who you are today. Your pain does not affect how you love people and your suffering does not determine how you love suffering people. He taught me that you never have to be anything that you’re told, taught or lived – instead that through Jesus we become exactly who he wants us to be – wonderfully and perfectly made.

Having lived my entire life as the daughter of a preacher, I’ve always had to share my dad, with the community, with the church and with anyone who needs anything. For me, this has never been a burden simply because of the pride i feel being able to share this great man with the world. Despite being everywhere for everyone, he had the ability to be exactly what we, as a family need him to be at any given moment. While I may not be around as much to leech off him, he’s still my go-to guy for everything, from one hours conversations helping me understand my spiritual confusion, to my broken heart moments. Your ability to understand my pain, to give me hugs just when they’re needed and to tell me when “He’s got to go” are appreciated.
While we celebrate Edward, his birthday and his years of ministry, his life and his passion, being able to stand on the inside, I know that while my father is a great man of God, his role here and in the last 37 plus years was due to the wonderful woman of strength and patience that he has right beside him

In verse 31 it goes on to say:

31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

The father in this story displayed commitment.
My parents have given us this is the best form yet. This building and all of you here are a direct reflection of that commitment and team work. They have given my sister and me a perfect display of what a team is and how support and encouragement are vital ingredients in a perfect marriage. They have shown us that conversations around the table are always united and any disagreements are never heard, and they showed us that despite two different personalities, when your focus is on God, all things are possible.

The most important topic in the entire scripture is about inheritance. J

“Luke: 15:12 says that the first thing the younger son said to his father was – give me my share of the estate”…

The cliché would have me say that what is left is not as important as what I have now – the reality is that what is left is the ONLY important thing. From my parents I have already inherited buckets of gold;
I’ve inherited the joy of understanding how I deserve to be treated.
I’ve inherited the meaning of a relationship fixed on Jesus.
I’ve inherited the role of a woman who encourages and supports her husband and a man who loves his wife like Christ loves the church.
I’ve inherited the joy of a loving and real family.
I’ve inherited a gratefulness for right now and an expectancy for what lies ahead because of who my God is.
I’ve inherited true love and an understanding of my faith.

In understanding the prodigal son – I learn that the story isn’t about discipline but about membership. While I remember many moments of discipline through the years, the fact that I now, 28 years later understand completely that no matter what I do, the love of my parents is exactly the same love that my heavenly father has. Through disappointments and hurt, regardless of where I’m at, how old I am or what new dream I have on that day – they will support me. No matter who I choose to spend my life with, they will encourage my happiness and no matter what I do to fail, their love will remain constant.

The prodigal son was lucky enough to have a real dad, not a birth father, but a dad. A man who displayed compassion and constant love. Today I celebrate my father, as a man of God, whose heart is in line with Gods, whose passion for people makes him a great leader and whose ability to love everyone makes him someone to admire.
I celebrate a mother who encourages my dreams, gives me just enough hugs and a perfect amount of “hell no’s” to keep me grounded. I celebrate a woman who has allowed my fathers passion to be the center of her life and who has given of herself selflessly to our family, to this church and to my fathers’ hunger for the word of God.

So now, as we look back at a church on a 7 year journey, we can be proud of the pastors who lead us and the hearts that they have for Jesus. As a church we can acknowledge your commitment and selflessness and understand that without your obedience to God we would not be here.  I, as your daughter can be proud of the many years before – where you created in me a heart for Jesus and a passion for people. Where you allowed me to be myself and continue to help me understand what Gods complete and perfect love means through your love for me

Matthew 5:14-16 says:

14 “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

So today – we celebrate you both. As a couple in Christ, as a leading team in this church and as the pioneers in what was once a vision to be discovered. We thank you for your obedience to Christ and for your hearts for Jesus and Grace Family Church North Coast. We pray for your continued blessings and that your light will shine into this church and community for many years to come.