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MPONDOLAND: A HIKE WITH A CAUSE

January 5, 2017

Over a year since my last blog! Shame on me. Now that we got that out the way… Here goes…

There I was, searching for destinations to visit, because there’s nothing as horrible as spending the period between Christmas and New Years in Johannesburg. Of course I was rather later in my search, and a majority of the places I was looking at were fully booked. But alas, there is a God.

One random day a poster popped up on my Whatsapp, advertising an Mpondoland hike. No deliberating was needed. It was an immediate “Go for it.” I booked, got my unfit self ready, and straight after Christmas went to see what the Eastern Cape terrain had.

The territory known as Pondoland or, more correctly Mpondoland, incorporates the divisions of Bizana, Libode, Ngqeleni, Port St John’s, Tabankulu, and Umsikaba, and the plan was to walk the hills with pauses at the villages.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect. All I knew was that I was going hiking (cause it’s what I do right. I hike). Arrival time where we spent the first night was after dark, so I didn’t get to see much of the surroundings. I was rather disappointed at how things were disorganized that night, and the dissatisfied side of me saw me going to sleep rather angry (yes.. yes… don’t go to sleep angry. ok got it.)

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The next day the trail quickly made me forget the previous nights unhappiness. All I could say was, “WOW – BEAUTIFUL.” Mpondoland coast stretches along the Indian ocean, and has the most beautiful beaches. Un-populated and secluded, the beaches are hidden treasures, which in my opinion should never be discovered by the typical holiday maker.  The rest of the trail was amazing. Not as mountainous as I expected, but nonetheless holds beautiful stretches of green land. The area can  be explained in one word: EXQUISITE.

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river  people-beachwalk

As much as the trail and the landscape was lovely, what fascinated me more was that this was not just another “let’s go and discover new territory” hike. I later found out that this was actually a hike with a cause. BREARD Foundation, the organizing company that plans these hikes, have a good cause as to why they do what they do. The proceeds end up back in the communities and villages around Mpondoland.

As we trail from one village to another, we are hosted by the locals. They provide us with shelter, cook us the most amazing meals and share their culture with us. I’m still on about the food. Seven colours every-day. This is food-heaven for me ‘cause nothing beats a HOME cooked meal. I don’t mean the fancy home cooked meals we cook in the burbs, I mean good-wholesome-cooked-like-granny-used- to-cook kinda meals. * licks lips.* I digress. The locals hosting us means that they get some form of financial input into their households, and believe me, it’s needed.

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The proceeds of the monies for the hike also go towards socially uplifting educational programs. This time around, BREARD Foundation invested in purchasing brands new school shoes which were distributed to the local children. On any given day these kids walk 5-15km daily to get to and from school. It was humbling, mainly because I was unaware that there was a cause in it all, secondly because it was so cool to see the beautiful hearts of the people that run this foundation having so much passionate about investing into their communities. Jesus said it himself in Luke 6:38 “Give and it shall be given to you.” James 1:27 says  “ Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight…”

shoes-giveaway

It challenged my complacent self to want to do better. Perfect way to end 2016 and start 2017.

dessert  beachwalk

Should you ever want to:  explore your fitness levels, see the beauty of the Mpondoland, indulge in good food, have fun with crazy people and learn more about the Xhosa culture, give back to humanity, all at one go, make sure you making a booking via BREARD Foundation. Email: info@breardfoundation.org.

Until the next one…

“In all things of nature, there is something of the marvelous.”- Aristotle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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BASECAMP EVEREST HIKE: WHEN GOD SAYS YES

May 18, 2015

when God

I have had a lot of people asking me to share my Everest Basecamp (EBC) trip. I have thought of the shortest possible way to try and tell this story from beginning to end. Unfortunately this cannot be done in one single blog. Hence a book is on the way (Why not).

My blogs also usually have a sentimental meaningful message attached to them, some life lessons of sorts, and because every single minute spent in Nepal had a lesson attached to it, it was also hard trying to summarize and put all of them together. So I have had to choose one, and hence the subject of today’s blog: WHEN GOD SAYS YES!

Hiking EBC was not something I thought I would do anytime soon. It was in my bucket list, but I did not see myself doing it in the next 2 years, because the mention of “Everest” was clouded by the thought of walking along a trail covered with corpses as one tried to figure out how to stay alive. This is the picture the world has painted about hiking the highest mountain in the world.

After our hiking group failed to secure hiking the Inca Trail in Peru, a good friend of mine, Lilly Seema told me about another group that were planning on going to EBC. I thought to myself… oh well, why not, go for it. I started and continued to pray about the trip long before it happened, and as the departure date grew closer and closer I prayed even more.

I had not been training as I usually would, and I had just gone through an emotionally challenging streak in my love life, and as much as my body was not prepared for challenge, my mind was also all over the place. The day I was supposed to leave, as I sat on my couch waiting for my friend Portia to pick me up, I thought about chickening out of the trip. But the thought of losing out on my financial investment quickly brought me back to reality.

As Portia walked through my front door all excited, she asked me, “Are you ready?” – My response was, “I’m not going anymore.” She laughed at me and dragged my suitcase out the house to the car. That was the end of that conversation (LOL).

Fast-forward. Flying to Kathmandu, required connecting in Dubai. We (being our group), landed in Dubai as scheduled. I quickly felt the need to share on twitter that we had landed and were headed to Kathmandu. I got a response, “Are you aware that there has been an earthquake in Nepal.” I shared that little piece of information with the group, and our unanimous response was one of ignorance, “Oh these things happen.” When I heard that it was an 7.8 magnitude earthquake, I quickly thought back to standard 5 geography lesson to figure out what was the highest magnitude the Richter scale hit. “Eight” – I thought to myself. “wait no, it’s 9. No Molele it’s eight.” Then I realized how big this problem was.

As I was still involved with my thoughts, one of the airport officials walked towards me, with a smile on his face. “Kathmandu?” he asked with a slight whisper. I nodded. “Do you know what’s happened there?” I whispered back, “There’s been an earthquake.” He nodded. “Yes,” he responded, “and the Kathmandu airport is now closed.” A feeling of despair went straight to the bottom of my heart.

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We looked for a spot and settled in making ourselves comfortable, as we waited for an inevitable end. Five hours later, we were still waiting. I watched Google, Facebook, Twitter and every other piece of media to see what was going on where we were destined to go. Then more news hit. Basecamp had been swept by an avalanche! “Whoa! Noooo! Why Lord! I really don’t want to go back home not having conquered this trail. I don’t want to take this trip again next year. It has to happen now!” And then I remembered, Katlego Letheo was up on that mountain.
A couple of weeks before, I had learnt of an amazing woman who had left to try and conquer and summit the mountain. Not Basecamp. Hers was to make it to the top of Everest. I stalked her a bit on twitter and we ended up swapping telephone numbers. I immediately texted her to check if she was ok. She responded. She was ok. She was on the Tibet side of the mountain, not Nepal. There was no immediate danger on that side. Relief.

We continued to wait to hear if there would be any flights to Kathmandu at all. By sunset, it was clear that there was no hope. The domestic part of the airport was filled with Nepali residents who were desperate to get home to their families. Amongst the crowd, we met a young lady who had been studying in the US, who was headed home to get married. She hadn’t been home in 7 years, and this one time when she was going home, the earth shook.

By this point in time I was saddened more by the fact that I would have to go back home with my tail between my legs, than by the lives that had been lost in Kathmandu (It’s selfish I know, but that was the reality at that time). The fact that I was bombarded with calls and messages by concerned family and friends  back home didn’t help. They all sang one song, “Come back home, you can always do it again next year.” No matter what anyone said, going back  was not an option.

I found a secluded corner at that packed airport and had a conversation with God.
Me: Lord, WTH… (Ok – I didn’t put it like that). What’s going on? Why is this happening?
God: *Silence*
Me: Please tell me what to do? Should I continue? Should I go back home?
God: *Silence*
Me: Lord, if you knew this was going to happen, why did you allow me to come this far. What’s the point of flying all the way to the Dubai airport? It doesn’t make sense.
God: *silence*

I hate those times when God just doesn’t say a thing. They are my worst.

Me: Aiiiiight Lord. Be like that!

I opened twitter to check messages, and a verse popped out at me.
“REMEMBER THAT I HAVE COMMANDED YOU TO BE DETERMINED AND CONFIDENT. DO NOT BE AFRAID OR DISCOURAGED, FOR I THE LORD YOUR GOD AM WITH YOU WHERE EVER YOU GO. JOSHUA 1:9. (It came out exactly like that. Good News Translation.)

God: There you go.
Me: Then onwards we go Lord.

Long Story Short: The airlines arranged entry Visa’s into Dubai, we were booked in a hotel and spent the night there. Next flight to Kathmandu was for 14h30 the following day. By 11h00 the next day we were at the airport, excited and happy that we were finally going. Just as we arrived at the airport… Breaking News: 6.8 Magnitude aftershock hit Kathmandu, and Kathmandu airport is closed. Whooooaaa!
At that point I had lost 90% of any hope of making it to EBC. Then we heard that Lukla airport (where the trail actually starts) was jam packed with people trying to get out, and that making it to there was near impossible. That was my ultimate its-all-over minute.

My conversation with God after that:
Me: Daddy, if this flight is cancelled, then I will give up and go back home.
God: Aiight girl.

An announcement came to say that further flights to Kathmandu had been delayed.

Me: Lord, I said cancelled, not delayed
God: Aiiight girl.

An hour and half later, we boarded a flight to Kathmandu and were on our way. 5 hours later, in the middle of the night, we landed in Kathmandu to a devastating airport. Cracked floors, cracked walls, luggage all over the place, aid packages lying around, and very few officials at work. After 3 hours we finally received our luggage and made it to our hotel. I won’t get into the details of how that first night was. You are going to have to buy the book to get more details.

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Fast Forward:
Lukla is the most dangerous airport in the world; seriously – Google it. If it’s raining, flights can’t land there. If it’s misty/cloudy, flights can’t land there. As Murphy would have it, 2 days later, the day we were supposed to fly to Lukla, it was overcast without any hope of the sun coming out. *sigh* Once again we were stuck at the airport for a full day waiting for the weather to clear. It didn’t. We went back to the hotel saddened by the fact that we were losing all opportunities of making it to Basecamp. If we didn’t get on a flight the next day, it was all over.

Conversation between God and me:
Me: Lord, you gave me that Joshua verse Dude. You said you would be with me where ever I go.
God: Yes… and? I’m here ain’t I?
Me: Look, if Joshua can pull off that making-the-sun-stand-still thing, so can I right? Well the weather better be clear tomorrow. Please sort it out.
God: Let it be done according to your faith.

The next day the sun was up just in time for us to take off and land in Lukla, and the moment we landed, it started raining. The trek could officially begin. I was so happy!

We started off by having tea in a nearby tea-house where there were a lot of people who had turned back from trekking because of the earthquake and avalanche. They had nothing but negative and scary things to say, “The trail is damaged. There’s gonna be another earthquake. You can’t go up.” The ultimate was a gentleman from Taiwan who felt the need to sternly reprimand us and scare the wits out of us. He even managed to bring one of our team members to tears, “Do you people have earthquakes where you come from?” he asked shouting across the room. “No? Well we do, and when there’s an earthquake, you stay away from the mountains before they land in unstable. You people are crazy to go up.” Now that got to us. BUT we went on…..
The point is, when God says yes, no-one and nothing can stop something from happening. Besides the long hauls at the airport, there were no more quakes until we finished trekking. We were always safe. Because most people had turned back, we practically had the trail to ourselves.
Even the delays at the airport were part of God’s plan for us to make it. Had we arrived a day earlier, we would have been shaken by the earthquake and probably decided not to trek. Everything worked out PERFECTLY, Because God said “I will be with you.” He had already said YES, so nothing and no one could stop that trip. When God has given you a Word, stick to it with dear life. Don’t listen to any other murmurings from other people. Focus and meditate on His Word. Don’t be deterred. Keep your eyes on Him.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight” – Proverbs 3:5-6

That’s it for now….. Will share more soon…

PHYSICAL FITNESS vs SPIRITUAL FITNESS

March 12, 2015

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I love working out. I love physically challenging activities, and if there is one thing I don’t compromise on, it’s keeping and maintaining fitness. Not just to look good, but because it makes me feel good too. Most people focus on their health once it’s too late. I just love the feeling of feeling good.
So I have a proper training schedule. I have set days when I run, set days when I cycle, set times when I go to gym, and I try my best not to fault on these set time. I prefer to go to gym at lunch time, when it’s not full, and I don’t have to wait for machines, or share space with too many people. Plus, it invigorates me so that afternoons aren’t dreary and tiresome.
Today in particular (Thursday 12 March), I did not feel like going to gym. I was driving from a client meeting back to my office and I thought to myself, “It’s ok to miss one day girl… rest.” But I found myself driving straight to gym anyway. And I ended up having an awesome work out.
As I walked to the changing rooms after my work out session, I thought to myself, “Sheesh, I feel great! I didn’t feel like coming today, but that was great!” Immediately that soft still voice of the Holy Spirit said to me, “Imagine how you would feel if you did the same with your prayer time.” Selah. I literally stopped walking, paused and froze for a minute.
He’s the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I have time scheduled for my prayer time as well. My alarm is set for 04h30 in the morning, in order for me to have my quite time at 05h00. (Yes, it takes time for me to actually wake up, I need to snooze it least 3 times before I’m actually awake). Sometimes… ok a lot of times, I snooze for about an hour and half, as I keep covering myself with the duvet and saying, “Yes Lord, I’m gonna get up now now and give you my undivided attention.” The next thing I know its 06h30 and I actually have to shower and get ready for work, and I hit Him with a, “ We’ll chat properly later” as I go about doing my thing also mumbling “Thank you Lord for the morning, I’m still alive, that means you’re done with me etc. etc.”
So that Selah moment at gym made me ask myself, “Why do I CHOOSE to be disciplined physically more than I choose to be disciplined spiritually? Why do I go gym, even when I don’t feel like it, but I don’t pray even when I don’t feel like it? Why do I think that the flesh (which is ultimately going to rot and be eaten my worms) is more important than my soul, which is going to live forever? It made me realize the real human nature of the human mind and body.
As I had conversations with the Holy Spirit about it, He made me realize the importance of the spirit move so over the flesh. Look exercise is good for the body, it makes you look 26 when you’re actually 40, but the spirit is so much more important, because as a matter of fact it has power over the flesh.
We are spiritual beings, having a human experience, and what we tend to do as humans is put that human experience and make it more important than the spiritual of which we really are.
It is not an easy thing for anyone to really understand the reality if being a spiritual being. You are not a body, you merely live in a body.” Okay, what does that mean you ask?” Itmeans you are both mortal and eternal, and you have an existence far beyond your personality, your ego, your self-appointed identity, and even your own mortality. That sounds really great, even poetic and magical, but life can be hard anyway. Let’s face it, we all experience the imperfections that come with the territory of being human. Oftentimes, we feel like tremendously limited, ordinary people who enjoy occasional moments of spirituality. It’s certainly not easy to practice spotless ways of living all the time so we’re sure to slip up and have days when our attitude is more than a little self-defeating. And that’s okay.
So why do we, those of us who are in Christ, have such a hard time living out this discipline? I think its due in great part to still seeing ourselves as “human beings having (or trying to have) a spiritual experience”, instead of “spirit beings having a human experience”. What will it take to get believers on the right track? A change of perspective – believing what God says we are in Christ.
1 Corinthians 2:12-14 tells us, “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.…”
Spend your time and energy in training yourself for spiritual fitness. Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is much more important for it promises a reward in both this life and the next. This is true and everyone should accept It.” Says Paul in 1 Timothy 4:7-9
It is also very important to take care of our spirit as much as we give attention to the flesh. How do you do this you ask? Get closer to God. Spend time with your Maker, get connected to Him.Have a closer relationship with God by speaking to Him through prayer. If reading the Bible is listening to God speak to us, speaking to God is accomplished through prayer. The Gospels often record Jesus secreting Himself away to commune with His Father in prayer. Prayer is much more than simply a way to ask God for things we need or want.

Having a closer relationship with God is also built upon a life of obedience. Jesus told His disciples in the upper room, “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:23).

If physical care-taking can do so much for you physically, just imagine how much more spiritual care-taking will do for your soul. God loves you so much and He wants to have a personal, intimate relationship with you. If you want to have a closer walk with Him, you’ll need to make some changes and some of them will be challenging… like committing to the time that you spend with Him on a daily basis.

If physical care-taking can do so much for you physically, just imagine how much more spiritual care-taking will do for your soul. God loves you so much and He wants to have a personal, intimate relationship with you. If you want to have a closer walk with Him, you’ll need to make some changes and some of them will be challenging… like committing to the time that you spend with Him on a daily basis.

GOD IS EVERYTHING!

March 2, 2015

god-is-my-everything

In the latter part of last year I faced a challenging period in my life. You know when everything falls apart all at the same time. When relationships fall apart; When true colors of friends come out; When your work life/career faces difficult times; When you are low in your spirit, and the devil takes advantage of that time and plays around with your mind every waking moment. When church doesn’t make sense anymore and the thought of going there just depresses you even more. When there is absolutely nothing to look forward to and no part of your life makes sense. And all of it happens all at one go!

I have learnt that when bad things happen in your life, that’s just God trying to get your attention, in order to really show you who God is. The first couple of weeks, I tried to get through this period in my own way. Read self-help books. Listened to motivational speakers , prayed a bit, cried to anyone who was interested in listening to my sob, pity-partying stories. But nothing was happening; nothing in my surroundings and in my inner spirit was changing. Until I listened to that still sweet voice of God say to me, “When am I getting my chance?” And then I surrendered. I went on a 21 day fast in December, IN DECEMBER! I remember telling a friend this and she said to me,” Fast ka dezemba boss ?? God must really being trying to get your attention.”

Of all the times that I have prayed and fasted, of all that I have really sought God in my life, of all the times that God has really spoken to me in my life, this was by far the most amazing, wonderful and life-changing experience yet.

He made me aware of certain people, friendships and relationships that I needed to let go, and I’m talking about people that in my own will and strength I didn’t want to let go. He showed me exactly what to do, who to call, where to go in order to step up in my work life and career. He told me what to do, where to go in my service and ministry to Him. He increased my finances and blessed me in a way that I could not explain it even to myself. He told me secrets that belong to only me and Him. He gave me a peace that was so amazing, that I would wake up in the morning and wonder if I was the only person left on earth.He set me apart and ordered my steps in such a way that I was overwhelmed, and I remember waking up in the middle of the night, one night and saying, “Oh Lord! It’s too much! I understand what you mean by exceeding abundance!” and He just said to me, “You aint seen nothing yet.”

I remember listening to David Odeyepo jnr. (The Bishops 1st born son) preach and he said “You are a spiritual being; therefore you are a supernatural. If you can live and explain your life naturally, you are not living your life supernaturally.” That was a BOOM! moment for me.
The lesson that this painful –turned- amazing short-lived period of my life taught me was that, GOD IS MY ALL IN ALL. I’ve always known this, but somethings we know cause we know them, not that we really know them (figure that one out). He taught me that I cannot rely on my job, He is my job. I cannot holly depend on friends, He is my Friend. I cannot totatly rely on church/church activities. He is my Church. I cannot rely on a boyfriend/husband. He is my Husband. I cannot find solutions anywhere else but in Him.

When you make Jesus your everything, things happen. Not always pleasant things, but ultimately all things work together for good. James said we should consider it pure joy whenever we face trials (James 1:2), but that is never easy. Jesus didn’t call us to an easy life. He called us to a changed life.

When we make a decision to be obedient to God, lay down our lives, and make Christ our focus, our everything, we pick up a cross God makes just for us. The Christian life is not about being happy. It’s about being filled with joy in spite of our circumstances. It’s about choosing to be obedient because we love God. It’s about spending time in the presence of God when our flesh would rather do something else.

Sometimes we have great times. These are the days we cherish. The ones we are to remember during those times that aren’t so great. These are the days for which we yearn. Other times are hard. We trudge through these times desperate for them to end—reaching out to God in our distress. Days like these keep us humble.

In summary – the Bible verse that I live by, my life mantra is Matthew 6:33. “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these other things will be added unto you.”
I like the way The Message version puts it, “Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.”

LOVE & PURPOSE!

February 23, 2015

Love and Purpose

I write this little love letter to you at a costly risk that my boss my just see it and I might get fired (hahahaha).

We all (most of us anyway), enjoy listening to motivational speakers and/or reading self-help books. Because these things boost our egos, challenge us and makes us look at life from a different, clearer window. However, what these things do for you is tell you things that you already know. It’s stuff you know that you tend to forget, and their job is just to remind you and motivate you to take the next step and push yourself. So what I am writing to you right now, is not something that’s new to you, it’s something you either already know cause you know it, or something you know because you heard it somewhere, or maybe this might just be a light bulb moment in your life.

One of the biggest questions that people ask themselves in life is “why am I here? What is my purpose in life?” Mark Twain quotes, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

Your purpose lies in whatever it is that you love doing! We all have something that we enjoy doing, things we do with our eyes closed. Things we do daily even if we don’t even get paid for it. Think about it… what is that thing you REALLY LOVE DOING?

If you are struggling to find your life’s purpose here’s how:

Make a list of the things you do naturally without even thinking about it. EG: an eye for detail, a great sense of humor, a nurturing side, the ability to focus intently, or being playful. These are your genius. Genius comes easily and profoundly, without needing to expend a lot of energy. Some people are geniuses at math or music; but there are lots of other types of genius as well. There are genius mothers, genius teachers, genius listeners, and genius independent thinkers. We are meant to use our genius in service of our Life Purpose.

Make a list of the things you do for fun, or that you really enjoy. Include in the list the parts of your job that you really like, the things you volunteer for, sports, the arts, reading, singing, coaching, speaking in public etc. Imagine you’re a billionaire with no worries about money, how would you choose to spend your time? Add those things to the list, even if you don’t do them now. This list is of your passions; the things that you love to do, or would do simply for the pleasure they bring you.

Somewhere in your genius and your passions is your purpose. The trick is to pursue them to get to the end goal – PURPOSE!

Let me use myself as an example. I love physical activity and being in the outdoors; I love planning and organizing parties/trips/events etc. It’s my passion. I love reading and writing it’s my genius. I do these seamlessly without being asked to do them. I do them, and I don’t get paid for them (not yet anyway – LOL). People around me are always asking me, “Why don’t you open an adventure company,” (tick, that’s done) or “why don’t you write a book/s,” (yeah yeah! It’s coming its coming).

I have a 9-5 job that does not fulfill any of the above from a passion point of view. Yes I’m pretty good at what I do, but I’m certain if I was really passionate about it, I would be further than I am right now career wise (this is the part you must not show my boss.) But in not being in-love with my career, and merely in-like with it, I still believe in maintaining a spirit of excellence. In all that you do, whether you like it or not – DO IT WITH EXCELLENCE!
The greatness in the men in the Bible also stemmed from what their genius’ and passions.
• Moses was a shepherd in the desert for 40 years, before he was called to free the children of Israel from Egypt. He went from tending sheep-sheep in the desert, to tending human-sheep in the desert.
• David was a shepherd boy-come king. He also went from tending and protecting sheep to tending and protecting nations.
• Joseph went from being a prisoner, practiced how to be reliable and efficient to becoming second in command to a foreign people.
• Paul went from a persecutor to knowing what it’s like to be persecuted.

You can’t achieve your dream by staying comfy. You can’t fulfill yourself doing what everyone expects. Stop listening to naysayers. And start listening to yourself with God’s guidance. Follow your passion. Cultivate it and learn about it in every chance you get. Go ahead. Fire up your passion!

In the words of Steve Maraboli, “You were put on this earth to achieve your greatest self, to live out your purpose, and to do it courageously.”

DIARY OF A HIKER: LIFE’S CHALLENGES

January 28, 2015

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4 Months ago, my adventurous friends and I set out to the hike the Fish River Canyon in Nambia. It’s a 90km trail which needs to be hiked in 5 days, practically in the desert. Smart us chose a wrong time of the year to conquer this horrid trail. The recommended time to walk through the-canyon-in-the-desert is May to July. But noooo, we decided to do it in September, when the river was drying up and temperatures were ridiculously hot (ok, so we didn’t know any better.)

Nonetheless, we set out on our adventure. It was by far the most difficult that that I have ever hiked. The terrain, made up of sand and rocks, was unbearable as we walked through 38 plus degree temperatures daily. We slept under the stars, with no tents (ok so that part was cool.) The day we finished that trail I promised myself I would never! Ever ever ever! Repeat that trail ever again. Never again!

Several months later, we embarked on hiking the Otter trail in the Western Cape… or is it Eastern Cape; Somewhere on the border of the Capes. The excitement was defeating. After having had researched the trail, it was unanimous that it was a beautiful trail with amazing scenery. What all those blogs and websites failed to share was how damn hard, intense and challenging the trail was. Day 1 was a breeze! Day 2 was nothing short of astounding as I threw myself on the bungalow floor at the end of the day, and promised myself never to hike again. And here we thought the days would be much easier after day 2… but ohh no! The trail remained as challenging right through to the end. 41km over 5 days! BUT as hard as it was, I would do it again.

The similarities between Fish River Canyon and Otter trail, is that they are tremendously challenging. The difference is that you wouldn’t pay me enough to hike Fish River, whereas I would consider Otter again.
As is life, there are lessons to be learnt about both trails, and the biggest lesson I learnt was, CHALLENGES ARE NEVER THE SAME. As we go through our lives in general, we face challenges, and challenges are never the same. How you may have managed one challenge in the past, may not be the same way you will handle the next challenge. Always be open-minded to deal with matters differently.

The beauty about hiking all the treacherous trails is that as hard as it is, as you are going through it, as life threatening as it may sometimes be, as much as you may feel like quitting or turning back, the most wonderful feeling is getting to the end of the trail and screaming. “I DID IT!”

The same applies to the challenges we face in life. The trick is not to give up. The trick is to put one foot in front of another as hard as that might seem. The trick is to take it slowly and not try and rush through it. The trick is to pause, sit down, take a breath, gather your strength, get up again and keep on moving. The trick is to have an eventuality in mind, and that eventuality should be “I DID IT!”

Every challenge in life is different. Every challenge in life will get you somewhere better. Life is a hike.

THRILLS OF BEING FAMOUS

November 21, 2014

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I’ve always wanted to grow up being popular. I was an attention seeker. Look I could blame it on absent daddy issues, but that story is tied now. Point is I was an attention seeker. I was one of the girls who wore the shortest skirts. I was the one who was loud. I was the one who sent “secret admirer” letters to the school newspaper and unashamedly signed my name so that it wasn’t much of a secret (I see my Mmabatho High School friends giggling at those newspaper love letters to a certain Mr.Mokoena LOL). Then I went to varsity and I still sort attention; dyed my hair blonde. Wore shorts, tiny skirts and dresses (I had the body for it, so hell yeah I was flaunting). You know the varsity drill. I’m sure we’ve all kinda-sorta been there.

I then hit the streets of Jo’burg and thought to myself I was going to be a celebrity. All I wanted was to be on TV or in a magazine, or somewhere where the world would see me. Tried signing up with several modelling agencies and I was constantly rejected either because my bum was big, or I was too skinny, or too tall or not tall enough (What did those people want?) I mingled and partied with celebrities seeking to be a celebrity out of them. It was easy because half of them were my ex high school buddies. Oh! But God just kept on saying NO! NO! NO! NO!

Then as I grew up and I stopped seeking public validation and being in the public and I decided, “Lord, I’m going to make it about you. Less of me and more of you.” I became involved in church activities and lo and behold, platforms opened up. I was entrusted with being invited to speak at events, I made it to the pulpit to teach and I made it on several radio and TV shows. So all along God had refused for me to make it in the big bad world, where I wanted what I wanted for my own pleasure. He wanted it to be to His glory.

Then as I got the attention I so sort out initially, I started not wanting it anymore. I know right. At first I just thought “I’m getting old and I don’t need this kind of public attention.” But this was validated by my watching how the lives of celebrities are so in the public eye. I put myself in these people’s shoes and I wondered how incredibly hard it has to be, to have every single corner of your life scrutinized by people who don’t even know you. They think they know you because they see you on TV and that automatically gives them the right to judge and tell you how to live your life.

I wondered how Khanyi Mbau handled the attention. Yes she wanted it, and boy did she get it. How Kelly Khumalo manages to live through reading through the horrible things people say about her on twitter as if they are God. Let me move it away from those kinds of celebrities and move it to the church. I was around when Pastor Ray got divorced to Lindy, and saw that church nearly fall apart. How people treated him like he was an entity and blurted out whatever they felt like blurting out when they wanted to.

It was after this analysis that I got down on my knees and said “Thank you Lord for closing all those doors back then. Thanks for not letting me be a celebrity.” Knowing myself and my character, and how in-spite of wanting to have been in the public eye, I respect privacy to the utmost. I respect it so much, that I find it hard to share any part of my private life with just anyone, no matter how close we are.
God knows best hey! Sometimes we look at closed doors and don’t understand why He is not giving us what we want. But He really does know and has a bigger and better reason and purpose for it, even if we can’t see it at the time. If he closes a door, it’s either He’s protecting you from something, has something better for you, or it’s just not the right time yet.

Everyone thinks that being famous is awesome. Sure, you get rich (sometimes), but like P Diddy used to say in the Puff Daddy days, “Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems”. Of course there are many perks to being a celebrity, but is it worth it to go through all those downs?
I got 5 reasons from a celebrity friend of why it’s so tough being one:

  • You can’t get a break-ever. Imagine wanting to go shopping, or grab a coffee and having to worry about people running after you to take pictures of you.
  • Your business is not only yours anymore. It’s everybody’s.
  • It can make you or break you, depending on the strength of your character
  • Some tend to have stalkers. People are creepy out there, and can just follow you all over all day.
  • We tend to have trust issues, because you never really know if someone wants to know you for you, or because you’re a celebrity.

Ok, so this blog was scattered a bit, but in summary just take 3 things out of it:
1) Being a celebrity is not all it’s made out to be. If you are one or strive to be one, keep your life private, if anything for your own peace of mind.
2) If you are not a celebrity, don’t be so quick to judge those that are in the public eye. They maybe celebrities, but they are also only human.
3) Trust God to lead and guide your life and trust in His timing. Closed doors only lead to new doors opening, protection and safety.