I had completely forgotten to upload those for all my fans xxx Hahaha! Here are the pics from the last family shoot we did this month.
Suffice to say that the children have grown and there is more ink :)
Sometimes, you go to work and want to dance for the sheer hell of it.
Today, our office did just that.
Marriage isn’t a lesson, nor is it taught
No endless trap, in which one is caught
It’s a choice, a decision, a wild partnership
A romance for lifetime, a tested friendship
Despite all the troubles, the heartache and strife
At your side I remain, your ally, your wife
It isn’t all roses, bubbles and Chardonnay
Sometimes feeling like all work, hardly any play
But we chose this path, we chose to stay
No matter what is thrown at us with each passing day
I wake up each morning wondering how the hell
We continue to push forward, instead of ringing the last bell
But my anxiety you soften, my anger you quell
And always on the positive you continue to dwell
Seas and land have separated us two
Yet my mind map continues to lead me to you
My sharp tongue has beaten you black and blue
But only you, my person, you know my truth
There is no one else, no one knows the real me
In your presence, myself is who I continue to be
For all my flaws, only perfection you see
By your side, my soul, my heart remains free
I hope that in turn, with me you are yourself
That your flaws, with my flaws join on our shelf
That your perfection, your protection gives our marriage health
Your wise words and staying power bring our marriage wealth
I know it’s not always easy
I know that it’s been tough
But what would our marriage be?
Without the dark and rough.
We may not have everything
But we always have enough
Fundamentally we have it all
We have the all important love.
Happy 33rd birthday to my wonderful husband!
What do Hanukkah, Yule, Litha, Rohatsu and Christmas all have in common?
December!!! They’re all celebrations in December for various religions – those listed as well as many others I don’t even know?
So why the hell is everyone so up in arms about a non existent ‘War on Christmas’?!
The thing is, there isn’t one. The supposed war on Christmas is an example of the human species doing what we do best – Making mountains out of mole hills, looking for a fight where there need not be one. The reality is, December is called December on a calendar – Not Christmas. The months of the year don’t go October, November, Christmas, January. If they did, I fully understand and agree with your argument that we should all be saying Happy Christmas in December (Begging the question why we don’t say Happy December now).
Any open minded, accepting Pagan will not be offended by people walking around saying ‘Merry Christmas’ instead of Blessed Yule because I understand the socially influenced ignorance. If Christmas is YOUR holiday, I will not take that from you. In fact, it is impossible for me to take it from you if it is your belief and your tradition.
Christmas is not a 30 day celebration. It is a day or two among many other days utilised by other religions to celebrate their own traditions and beliefs. The month of December is a month of holidays for all, so why shouldn’t we be saying Happy Holidays to incorporate all walks of life – instead of excluding that which we do not know?
So what, Starbucks has a red and green cup instead of the Christmas nativity on the coffee cup – who cares? Does Starbucks in any way shape or form influence how you celebrate your religious holiday? Is the true meaning behind the Christian Christmas belittled because someone won’t be gazing at a Christmas tree while sipping on a latte?! No. No. No. If the department stores and TV adverts say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas, why does that have any bearing on what and how you celebrate? Surely, as an accepting Christian you would understand that this is not about offending the masses but instead, including them?!
The frustrating thing is the number of people that I have seen share a post on Facebook or voice their opinion on the ‘War on Christmas’. That they can say Merry Christmas if they want to and no one can take that away from them – No one is taking it from you! Say Merry Christmas to whom ever you choose for goodness sake, but if you know me and know that I am not a Christian, would it not strengthen your character to know that Yule is my holiday and perhaps taking the time to wish me accordingly would go further than a less meaningful ‘Merry Christmas’ to a Pagan? No, I won’t take offence to you wishing me a Merry Christmas because that is what you know and celebrate but what’s stopping you from taking the time to get to know me and what I celebrate in return?
The selfishness in society is more and more apparent everyday – the supposed war on Christmas is a perfect example thereof. It is selfish to want to have a month of celebrations for yourself – yours is not the only holiday / religion / celebration and it is a very poor show to want to exclude every other religion including those from where your traditions stem.
If grouping all religious celebrations (or non religious and mere celebrations) under the banner of Happy Holidays means that people of all diversities will feel included then I am all for it. Better yet, take the time to get to know those that you’re wishing and do so accordingly.
As far as my little old opinion is concerned, if we spent as much time getting to know eachother and learning acceptance of all as we do moaning and bitching about insignificant nonsense – the HOLIDAYS would be a far better time for all concerned.
Happy Holidays one and all – May each of you celebrate your traditions without hostility and judgement and may you truly understand and acknowledge your reasons for celebrations.
Thank you Shanna for posting your opinion on Facebook! I agree with you whole heartedly, you inspired this post!
I’ve faced many a challenge in my time as an adult and yet nothing compares to the juggling act that is being a full time working woman and being a parent. I do not have the choice to be a stay at home parent at this time, not only is my monthly income required to support our family but because I am my husband’s visa sponsor as well. The juggle is real and today I’m feeling it.
I am someone who tries to do the best they can in everything they do, this includes my career and so I go to the office every day with the intention of giving it my all and showing that I care about what I do. I may not be going to work to become a successful career woman, but being a successful career woman is what has come by default by being committed to my line of work. The travel industry is all I know, I’ve done this all my adult career and I’d like to believe that I am good at what I do because of all the hard work I put in every single day…
… but I am a mother first. No matter how well or not I do in my career, my children will always come first. This means that when they are sick and they need me, it is my parental duty to be there for them and make sure they’re looked after. Today, this happened, again. My little D kept us awake from 1am this morning with her coughing and fever so I had little choice but to stay home with her, get her to the doctor and make sure she has the medication she needs to get better. Never mind that she couldn’t go to school because she would’ve infected all the other children. My husband does more than his fair share but it just so happened that today, he had a meeting in London all day and so he wasn’t available to look after D in her sick state. As her mother, my job is to make sure that she is ok – if that means putting her before my work day, what else can I do?
This is the third day in 4 weeks that this happened, which is why I’m probably noticing the juggling act more than usual. It started with H being ill at home and hubby being at a meeting so I had to stay with her during the day (the next day, J-P was home with her), then last week a school closure due to no water and hubby had started a new job so couldn’t stay off (This turned out to be the day his tenure ended at that specific job, poor timing) and now D is ill. The difficulty is that I’ve always been able to make arrangements so that these kind of emergencies haven’t affected my work, in South Africa we always had Judith (our nanny and house keeper) who was by default our full time back up plan. If she was not available or at home that day, the next back up was family (my mom) or hubby as his work was flexible – now we have to get used to not having a nanny, not having family support and hubby only just getting settled again in his new job… This leaves me to make the sacrifices necessary to ensure my top priorities are looked after, but at what cost?
The costs are plentiful. Never mind parental responsibility leave being unpaid, unplanned and undesirable. The recurring time off work (3 days so far, not really that many but to me feels like a lot) makes me feel unreliable, not a feeling I am good at processing! So many people abuse the right to parental excuses, I told myself I would never be that person who’d use my children as an excuse to stay off work – I never have – but it is extremely difficult knowing that other people may feel you’re taking advantage of the situation. For almost ten months, I did not have my children with me. These situations have become almost foreign to me, to have them creeping up on us and throwing the ship off course reminds me of the struggle that being a working mom can be. The struggle of having two jobs. The struggle of pleasing a workplace and a child. The struggle of satisfying the career woman and the parent in yourself.
Perhaps this is my third in a series of threes and now we will be able to move forward without hiccups for a little while, at least until J-P has settled into his new role and has more flexibility to work from home (and look after sick minions at the same time). My decision to leave my current role and employer is because of the hours spent travelling to / from the office and so on the 2nd of November I start a new job much closer to home, this will enable me to spend more quality time with my children both before and after work and hopefully allow me to better balance the work / home juggling act. I can assure you, I’d much rather be at work with healthy children at their respective schools than at home with SpongeBob on the TV listening to a dog like persistent cough all day from my littlest person for which I can do next to nothing. I sit worrying about the work I have to go in to catch up the following day and the people I have let down by being stuck at home (again). I worry about the financial implication at the end of the month when I get paid less than I budget for. I worry about what people think of me and how people will see me. I worry about what will happen if this happens again (Let’s just say, today I bought a metric tonne of vitamins for the girls to try and avoid this illness creeping up on us in the future) and I worry about worrying so much and feeling so guilty for doing the most important job in the world, being a mother.
I know that many of you know this struggle well, the juggling act of being taken seriously as a parent and a working woman. Fortunately, I do have an understanding employer and for that I’m extremely grateful. I feel sorry for those whose jobs are not as lenient and don’t have the leeway to be both. How do you handle being a working mom (or dad)? How do you handle the balancing act of being great at your job and a better parent?
It has become a tradition to write some sort of motivational piece in the month of my birthday, an ode to the wisdom I had acquired up until that point in my life. I felt that this year I wanted to keep with tradition but decided to do things slightly differently, this year I am closing a chapter. I am saying goodbye to both the greatest and worst year of my life so far, my 30th year on earth.
I was recently reminded by a new friend, of an old friend who was the source of many wise words in my life time and I thought I would start by sharing some of these wise words.
Whether you like it or not,
Alone will be something
you’ll be quite a lot.
And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance
you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.
The last year of my life has been the most tumultuous, heart breaking, gut wrenching, thought provoking, soul testing and judgmental I have ever endured. In 1 year, starting in October 2014, I said goodbye to my family, friends and my animals; sold everything I owned; packed my life into a box; moved to a new country; became a house guest; started a new job; celebrated my 30th birthday; got a new flat on my own; spent holidays and birthdays alone; made new friends; said goodbye to some; saw the sights; remained stuck indoors; built a home; found a new familiar; cried; laughed; fought and pushed through. I spent 10 months without my husband and more importantly, without my children. We spent thousands of pounds and rands, battled, sacrificed and endured and in the end all with one goal in mind – Successfully move our family to a new continent, despite the challenges.
A year later and we have done it.
We have our small home, with our limited number of possessions. The girls have both started and are really enjoying their new schools. My husband started his new job in recent weeks and we look forward to receiving his first pay check. We have our little feline who completes our family. We have met so many amazing people that we consider friends for life, we have had unwavering support from our friends and our family back in South Africa, we have continuous support from our favourite people here as well.
However, it is easy to fall into a trap where I feel like things are just never reaching the final page of the book. That the anti-climaxes are never ending. That the author is ready to put down the pen. Challenge after challenge, let down after let down, struggle after struggle. It is all too convenient to forget how far we have come and focus on the negative. I realised that in order for these speed bumps to flatten, the end of the chapter has to be written by me. So I choose not to forget the last year, but to file it. Today I make the choice to put one year of battles and mistakes, sadness and loneliness behind me.
In one year I have learned the following:
NO matter what your marriage has endured, there is no greater hurdle than distance.
Yet distance between you and your blood will never overshadow love.
Absence truly does make the heart grow fonder.
Yet re-connection is all about learning to be together again. As friends, as partners, as family.
Preparation is key to all things.
Yet no matter how prepared you are, you are never prepared enough for disappointment.
It takes an incredibly strong person to make life changing decisions.
Yet even the strongest person can break.
You are never too old to start again, to try something new.
Yet you can be too young to make those decisions – When you are ready you will know.
Loyalty is a phenomenal trait to possess.
However, always remember that doing what is right for you must trump any loyalties you think you have.
Have faith that things will work out in the end.
But faith could be down to faith in yourself – If you believe in you, everyone else will.
Life is too short – Live. Love. Laugh
But on you will go
though the weather be foul.
On you will go
though your enemies prowl.
On you will go
though the Hakken-Kraks howl.
Onward up many
a frightening creek,
though your arms may get sore
and your sneakers may leak.
On and on you will hike,
And I know you’ll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.
And here we are, almost 1 year spent in the UK. Almost my 31st birthday. October 2015, one year on and I am ready to wave goodbye to the emotional roller-coaster that was 2014/2015. My Hakken-Krak. Rest assured, there are still many great changes to come. Not everything is perfect, nor will it ever be. We have made mistakes, we have learned forgiveness, we have learned how to love and how to hate, how to give and how to be, how to move forward with very little and come home with even less. We have accepted that things were the way they were because that is how they were fated to be, we are greater for it.
The lesson for my 31st birthday…
And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)
KID, YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!
Excerpts from Dr Seuss’s ‘Oh the places you’ll go’
*** The above quoted text was copyrighted in 1990 .
For anyone looking to purchase this book, if not for any other reason than it is a Dr Seuss book, here is a link to do so.
I don’t want to go but what choice do I have? If I stay, I risk losing my freedom amongst everything else that I’ve already lost but care little for.
I don’t matter anyway, this isn’t about me! If I don’t go, what of my children? Will they grow as orphans? Will they grow as amputees? Will they grow as soldiers? Will they grow at all? If they grow will they be doomed to grow in a place that is not home?
How do I stay knowing that every minute here is one more minute I have put my own flesh and blood in harms way.
I hate the water – I cannot swim. I fear that if I board this boat, I may never get off. I fear that if I don’t, I’ve sentenced my children to death.
I did not ask for this life. They did not ask for this life. What are they fighting for? Why have we run from the only home we have ever known?
I feel all I have is questions and no answers… I have to make a choice. The choice between life and death, only I’m uncertain of which way to go.
Mummy has been crying all day. She keeps looking at me like I’m going away but I’m not, I’m going with her, we are all going together!
It’s an adventure, we are going to have so much fun. We have to play a game to see who can keep quiet the longest – we have played this before and I’m very good at it so I know I’ll be able to keep quiet just like mummy says!
We are going to a fancy place where we can get a new house and have a new life… It’s so exciting. It’s going to be so fun. We can play all day! I just wish mummy wouldn’t cry anymore, I will hold her hand, she won’t drown…
I scrolled through Facebook today to the horrific pictures of dead and swollen children. Children of war, children who have drowned at the hands of the people who loved them most – because the choice they made didn’t end the way they had planned.
We have failed you.
Adults wage war for non sensical reasons and children pay the price, as did you. We cringe at the sight of your earthly body strewn lifeless across social media only because your last images are a sick and painful reminder of everything we as a species have done wrong, a reminder of every way you were wronged. A reminder that your last breath was in vain and in a short while you will be forgotten and the struggle of your people never ending.
RIP little one… You were taken from a cruel cruel world, think of this as your spiritual blessing.
And so more men, women and children die crossing artificially conceived borders to be with their own species.
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Life death does end and each day dies with sleep.” ― Gerard Manley Hopkins,
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