Kindness Matters

Keep going. Don’t give up. Your story doesn’t end here.

Let your mess be your message.

Like this hair in the wind, sometimes we think we have it all under control (or at least half way there!) but truly at times, you have to let go, let it get really messy and simply laugh, get back up, and try again.

Having an ulcer for company is no fun and the last week has been a true test, causing a horrible setback in my journey and making me question everything. So much is changing but perhaps, when our lives are shaken up, it relocates us to the place we are meant to be.

When everything is uncertain, anything is possible!

Replace judgement with curiosity. I think this applies to ourselves (we are often our worst critics) and how we treat others. Don’t doubt your worth or the beauty of your truth, no matter what others say. We are all evolving. Let’s help each other heal, not add to the hurt.

People have a lot to say about lives they have never lived. Let’s treat everyone with more love, patience, tolerance and care.

A little more kindness. A little less judgement.

Wrestling With Rest

I’m still tired from yesterday’s tired.

The little energy I have I feel I need to save for breathing and blinking.

An unexpected wave of symptoms hit recently, and no amount of positive thinking could override them. I am always torn between not letting my anemia control my life and listening to my body and resting. This weekend, being home alone, makes it easier to rest and I am learning it is not wasting the day and instead it is what I need to do to recover. Doctor’s orders.

But you don’t need a script or health scare to say yes to rest.

We often feel tired and our endless to-do list has us wishing for simpler days, and it can be suffocating. You are not alone and this is a part of life. However, sometimes we need to realize that life, circumstances and other people may not change, so the only person who can change is me, is you. We have to stop killing our joy with complication and take a simpler approach to life. I have had to learn that progress, not perfection, is what I need to aim for and unless I make a determined effort in this quest, I will keep getting sucked into the frustration of another day, rushing around. It is a ongoing journey and I am not there yet!

Another reason people feel tired all the time is because if they are still and let themselves feel and sit with their emotions, they’ll have to face them. Being busy is a crutch. It takes discipline and courage, in a culture that celebrates exhaustion as a status symbol, to embrace rest and put down the ‘crazy-busy’ armour. Who are you without that title? What are you perhaps trying to numb?

We also risk missing out on the joy of ordinary moments if we are too busy. As exciting as it is to chase the extraordinary thrills and have big dreams and goals, don’t neglect to find blessings in your every day life. Remain grateful for what you have and you will be content.

Give yourself permission to rest and make time for fun and play. Starting today. Don’t worry about tomorrow, that complicates life too. Set personal boundaries, even at the risk of disappointing others. Get your priorities right and keep adjusting them as things change. You will make time for things that are a priority in your life. I would suggest your first priority should be to keep God first and work everything else around Him.

“In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.” (Eleanor Roosevelt)

Wind In My Hair

“If you surrender to the wind, you can ride it.” (Toni Morrison)

I feel like I am being blown all over the place with life right now. Kind of like the leaves outside in the wind we are experiencing here today. As they say, we cannot control the wind, but we can direct the sail, and I am doing my best to do that daily, with God as my anchor.

“So do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own. Sufficient for each day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:34)

Often when we think about the future it is easy to get overwhelmed, with all the unanswered questions and daunting circumstances. Trying to even live tomorrow today complicates life. We know God provides enough grace for us to successfully handle whatever comes our way each day, but we (me too!) often still worry about things that are not necessarily ready for our attention. This is a reminder to myself, and perhaps you need to hear it as well, that we can make life a lot more simple if we take it one day at a time.

Don’t try to deal with tomorrow’s problems today. What you need to deal with tomorrow can only come with tomorrow. In the meantime, don’t forget to enjoy life, embrace the chaos and let the wind give you rockstar hair!

Hear My Story

Owning your story is one of the bravest things you can do.

“It is incredible that the thing I have battled most with in my life was at the heart of the story God wanted to write through me.” Debbie Ivins – Whole Pieces

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Thank you to our friend, Josh and Ayan5 Media for believing in our story and encouraging us to share the next chapter in our journey with a whole new audience.

Josh is based in America and has been telling people’s stories through film and photographs since 2003. Our collective prayer is that stories like these continue to encourage others to press through their own pain and live life with passion and purpose. I am excited for the release of our short documentary soon and hope people can relate to the raw emotions we all experience in our daily lives: the searching, suffering, smiles and silliness that emerge from everyday trials and triumphs.

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Jump For Joy

Gratitude makes us joyful.

Some days we have to look a little harder, but there are always blessings to be found and keeping an attitude of gratitude is essential, especially during difficult times.

I am grateful to medical professionals who care and take time to listen when we have a gut feeling that something is amiss. My iron levels have remained stagnant the last month, and we are now doubling the treatment, which is reason to be positive, because it is one step closer to feeling stronger every day.

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In stressful times it is okay to cut yourself some slack because you may not be the best version of yourself. When life is overwhelming, it is also okay to have a melt down. (I have had many moments like this.) What is important is that you don’t give up and remain there in the pit. Instead, get back up and refocus on where you are headed, no matter how impossible it seems. You can do this.

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I see you. You are doing a great job of figuring out some heavy stuff. I am there too.

We are in this together, as we keep trying to hold on. Let us do our best to support each other and stay addicted to hope.

Don’t give up. It’s going to be okay.

Monday Thoughts

Crying is how your heart speaks, when your lips can’t explain the pain you feel.

I watched part of a TV show early this morning and had such a strong reaction to the one scene, it took me completely by surprise. It is not uncommon to be triggered by a song (they played ‘Iris’ by Goo Goo Dolls) or a storyline that resonates with a part of your history (a family suicide, questioning life and the aftermath of it all, was the theme here), but I guess my heart was holding onto a lot of pain and the tears had to fall, in a very powerful way. The kind of involuntary, ugly cry that makes your whole body vibrate.

I am sharing this to remind you, that you cannot be strong all the time and sometimes you need to let your tears out. Honour your pain and unbury your emotions. It is in your best interest.

This is not a sad post. I feel a lot better now. I think we often try numb or stop the pain too fast and this morning I realized it can be healthy to embrace it and push through, as hard as it is, and really feel it all, no matter how raw.

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Lockdown Day 101

I woke up this morning at 4am and had a head full of thoughts, including this poem, which I decided to scribble down:

Haters going to hate, debaters going to debate,

It could be how you look or what cake you ate,

Your choice of life partner, drink or license plate.

It’s hard to not let it sink your heart and take root,

Especially when people band together in cahoots.

But despite of the pain, don’t claim their shame.

You are not the one to blame, don’t fall prey to this game.

Rise up, dust yourself off and no matter what they say,

Take your power back and don’t waste the day.

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In a world that is battling right now, be kind.

Thankful Thursday

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I posted this on social media today … a few simple things I was grateful for …

I am grateful for the spontaneous conversation I had this morning on the driveway, and sharing stories about how God never wastes our pain.

I am grateful for the 4kgs of potatoes delivered to me. A kind gesture that means so much during this hard time. A hot spuddy buddy, topped with melting peanut butter, will be the perfect snack for one shortly!

I am grateful for the privilege to start anew every day, with God’s fresh grace and strength. Last night I was depleted and drained, but today, I get to begin again.

The last few weeks have taught me, more than ever before, to always find things to be grateful for and no matter what difficult trials I am facing, I can trust God to see me through.

However, lockdown and retrenchment and physical pain is not the kind of trouble you can deny and rejoice about. We are not expected to rejoice for our trials but rather during our trials, if that makes sense (I am still processing it all myself, it is a journey.) We don’t need to be fake and hide our emotions. It is okay not be okay and to admit you are struggling. But we can still be grateful during this time, during our pain, and find the strength to keep going through it, from God, who is always with us and promises to bring good out of bad in every situation.

I always say we must choose joy and that applies to me right now. No matter what the situation, I can rejoice because joy is not based on circumstances. My joy comes from God and He is my rock.

Race The Comrades Legends

Following the cancellation of the 2020 Comrades Marathon, the Comrades committee have created a virtual running event instead: Race The Comrades Legends. I thought it would be fun to share a little about this race for those readers who are not familiar with what is happening this weekend and if you are interested, it is still not too late to enter!

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Participants from all over the world will virtually compete, run with and compare with each other and past Legends of the World’s Greatest Ultra. As I type this today, there are currently 30 000 entrants.

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Race The Comrades Legends will run on Sunday, 14 June 2020 at 00:00am (12 midnight) and finish at 23:59pm on the actual race date in your time zone. Anybody can join in the fun. You can choose to run a distance of 5km, 10km, 21.1km, 45km or 90km. If you are an entrant in the Comrades Marathon it is free.

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You can run in any location, the comfort of your own home, on a treadmill, outside in the garden or neighbourhood, all at your own pace. However, you have to be mindful to respect the Government regulations in your area pertaining to Covid-19 restrictions.

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All the finishers are emailed a virtual medal and certificate as well as a real medal which will be delivered to them.

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However, the Race The Comrades Legends finish will not count towards an official Comrades Marathon finish!

Below is a photo of my husband and I with coach Lindsey Parry at the Comrades Expo.

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Good luck to everyone taking part. Have fun and keep safe.

Getting Up On The Inside

I haven’t written a blog for weeks and so much has happened, with both physical and emotional challenges coming my way that have left me depleted and scared. I don’t look like myself, I don’t feel like myself, but this season of life is not going to defeat me. This is not going to steal my joy. When everything settles, I will be standing strong and I believe the same for all of you, as you are fighting your own battles.

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We have to trust our journey, even when we don’t understand it.

I am usually able to keep an enthusiastic spirit no matter what life throws my way, but it has been necessary to sit in the shadows first and be still, while remembering what really matters in life and humbly surrender my burdens to God through my tears and fears. I realize now I need to stop venting and start praying because I need strength to keep fighting.

I am not going to write about these challenges here. They will be ongoing for months to come and although I have been knocked down on the outside, as we all experience when things come against us, the key is to learn how to get up on the inside and remain positive. This doesn’t mean ignoring the negative but overcoming the negative, and even though it feels like life is caving in and it is hard to breathe, I will keep fighting to stay in an attitude of faith.

It is during the tough times that we find out what we are really made of. We all face struggles, challenges and confusing circumstances when things don’t go our way. Ultimately, they refine and change you and good can come out of it, but gosh it is so very hard in the moment. It tests your endurance and character, but you cannot give up. You cannot quit. I have to believe that even though I am feeling weak now, these struggles will give me strength.

A strong person is not one who doesn’t cry but instead is one who sheds tears for a moment and then picks themselves up and carries on fighting. I may do this several times over, bit by bit, up and down. Healing is weird like that. However, I know from experience that most of life’s valuable lessons are learnt through pain, and I won’t let it turn my heart into something ugly. Someday I will look back, and know exactly why this had to happen.