The River 

The summers were sweltering. Walking towards a braai fire to greet you, I remember the extra warmth of the fire clearly. I remember your smile and the true happiness as we said hello.

You had clearly already started the Merry part of Christmas. I expected nothing less. You always were more of a bottle than a glass kind of guy. The Vaal river was running strong behind the trees and it soothed our souls. 

I hear the laughter coming from the kitchen. Hands clapping. My face exploding in a smile as I enter the house and I know I had been spotted. Hugs so pure and with such delight that it had the power to raise the dead. 

All was well in the world.

Even if contact was broken over long periods of time, I always knew you loved me, as I loved you. It was a rare connection. 

I think of you and the river, with a hole in my heart, a tear in my eye and a smile playing on my lips as I close my eyes. I’m a “monkey’s wedding”. Raining with sunshine.

Since you left this earth earlier this year, I’ve been more aware of you. Somehow you are closer. I’ve told nobody for the fear of sounding more absurd than usual. Maybe I needed the shoulder to lean on. Thank you for lingering.

Even though we both know you were not an angel, I felt safe knowing you are in my world. The landscape is forever changed.

I know now that the river had nothing to do with soothing our souls. It was the people that surrounded us with their love, acceptance and our sense of belonging. The laughter, catching fish and swimming with frogs is gone. Those hugs that could raise the dead, has died. 

Just as we were, in that moment, we were enough.
Stel x

PS. “Jy weet mos”. 

Jozi Food Whore – leaves no dish untasted.

30 Things I am grateful for:

1. My Tall, Dark & Handsome. The man has oodles of patience and tons of love and I am blessed every day for having him in my life, for those generous arms around me. And he brings me cheese.

1-jozi2. Friendships. So many amazing friends have blessed me with their light and love since 2010, when I first started “living life”. Countless, spectacular people who have come and stayed, come and gone, come and gone and come again. The list is long.

3. My brother. We used to be each others’ best friends until our respective partners came along but our connection remains deep and sometimes even just a gesture or a word or a look can have me in fits of laughter. That’s years and years and years of friendship right there.

4. My doggies, Spud and Lemon. They’ve been with me for 7 years now, and they’re crazy – completely abnormal – pavement specials. But I do love them. And they were there through the worst times of life, without ever ceasing their attempts to lick me! And that’s what you need in a good friend. Ha.

5. Family. We don’t always get along but when the chips are down, family is there for you.

6. Good people in hard positions. It’s tough to remain a generous, giving person when you’re in an ‘ard-as-nails job but I’ve met people who still remain kind and big-hearted even when they often receive only negativity in return. That’s a special characteristic I cannot claim to have but which I can definitely appreciate in wonderful people I know.

7. Food, glorious food. We are so spoilt when it comes to food. We must never take it for granted. Every single bite should always be appreciated and savoured. And when it comes to food, there are many many many things to love. So many. But some deserve their own line.

8. Cheese, all the cheese!

9. Baked cheese cake.

10. Eggplant

11. Cannolis

12. Pasteis de nata

13. Biltong

14. 90% dark chocolate

15. Coffee

16. Any paneer dish.

17. Peanut butter

18. Beer …

19. … and wine. Let’s be honest, people. Life is hard. But there are fantastic days that cannot be measured. Hot summer days where you get to put a cold beer to your lips, and swallow that goodness, and feel it tingle on your tongue, and tickle down your throat. And cold winter nights, when you sit around a fire, ignoring the fact that it’s freezing, and drink some lovely bold red wine from our very own shores. That’s when life is good.

20. Braai. Is there anything better than a braai? Tell me what. I will listen, half-heartedly. Braai has all the elements. Fire! Food! Company! Warmth! Community!

21. Laughter.

22. Sleep. I love my sleep and a good, solid, lights-out sleep is something I am extremely grateful for. It doesn’t always happen but when it does, I absolutely luxuriate in it.

23. Jo’burg thunderstorms. One of my favourite things is driving into Jozi from the north when a storm is just rolling in and you can see all the swaths of rain and the thunder going crazy from a distance.

24. My health. Though I’m not in peak physical condition (thanks, beer!), I’m in pretty good nick. I have a great many close friends and family members who are struggling with serious health issues daily. Never take your health for granted.

25. My job. I’m often heard bemoaning my day job and the fact that I can’t attend certain events as a result but truth be told, I was about to lose everything when this job came along so I’m more than a little grateful.

26. My phone. Oh, how I love my phone. This little treasure chest gives me all the functions I need to run my food-loving moonlighting life. Without it, I would be lost!

27. My car. There was a time when I almost sold it to get a scooter (cost-saving stories). But seriously, I would have missed my “Ossewa” (it’s a mommy wagon, basically) a helluva lot. Useful does not even begin to describe my MPV.

28. Nature and the great outdoors. Saffas don’t always stop to appreciate how amazing our quality of life can be. Step out your door, even in the urban sprawl of Jo’burg, and you won’t have to go far to find nature in all its glory: lush green spaces, trees, flowers, and beauty.

29. This city, Jozi. I’m not from here but I feel like I should be. If you ask me where I was born, I’ll say Rustenburg. If you ask me where I’m from, I’ll say Jozi. I love every single part of this city, even the grime and the dark bits. Yes, it needs a lot of work. Jozi is like a porn star who made some poor choices in the past, but who is also trying to kick some bad habits and come clean as a soccer mom: she’ll forever be edgy and a little dark but she’s trying to do the family thing. At least her kids will always be able to take the knocks and get back up again, even if they are a little dysfunctional.

30. This land. Say what you want, political and cultural arguments aside, this place is in my bones. I was born here and I played in the red dirt, and when I played rough and the dirt rewarded me with scratches and scrapes, it mixed with my blood. I go away, and I miss it. I meet foreign faces in foreign places, and I smile when I think about my countrymen and women. I visit a land where the sun hardly shines, even for just a few days, and I dream of turning my face into the sun at home. Not everyone loves it. Not everyone believes I should love it. It’s irrelevant. I love it.

Find me on Twitter and Instagram as @JoziFoodWhore and on Facebook at facebook.com/JoziFoodHo. I also have a blog! www.jozifoodwhore.co.za

What are you, but my very own? I love you!

Long before I even had big teeth or school shoes, I knew and felt deep down in my heart that all I wanted was to one day be a real mommy, and a nurse (because my mommy had been a nurse before she got me, and I was so in love with the beautiful freckled nurse on the photo). My little scraggly passed-down rag-doll was a pathetic looking dirty lifeless little child who could do just as well without me. Who could love something that couldn’t even talk or play or cry or fall asleep at my lullabies or bleed or ask why or swallow my mud-pies? 

I knew I wouldn’t be a daddy, because daddies were big and strong and had enormous warm laps and huge powerful hands and feet and voices. I was much too skinny to be able to grow that much and my voice was squeaky and soft. Anyway, my brothers’ wouldn’t even allow me to play with their dinky toys, so why would I be allowed to drive a big car or a truck. And daddies had short hair, and I could sit on mine.

When Robert from the co-op gave me my first kiss in our tree-house during my 6thbirthday party, I thought he would of course be the daddy when I became mommy. I remember swallowing a sixpence at that same party, but it was coughingly wrenched out of me. I still can’t keep money for long. Then we moved away to a faraway farm and Robert must have become some other mommy’s daddy. I suppose my wannabemother cravings were satisfied to some extent on the farm, with lots of little “hanslammertjies” needing to be bottle-fed, and a younger sister and brother to take care of. 

I was always willing and able to clean grazes on knees and dress bloody wounds (and wipe snotty noses). When my little brother landed under the wheels of Dad’s car while he was reversing, I actually stood my ground and didn’t run away. Thankfully, the injury was not too serious, but I realized that my nursing instincts were still strong.

At the age of 12 and a quarter, with an A-class pass into “high” school, off to boarding school I went. But not before being told the facts of life by Mom. Lo and behold, what a shock to my system that was. Please keep in mind that this was almost half a century ago, and it was called the dark ages because children (in our family anyway) were kept completely in the dark about anything and everything to do with anatomy. 

For the first time I found out that I had reproductive organs, along with allot of other outrageous information. My brother hadn’t come out of a toffee? This newly acquired knowledge scared the motherly instincts right out of me for quite a number of years.

Five years later, when matriculating at the age of 17, I handed my already completed application forms for nursing college to Dad to sign. (I was too young to be accepted without his consent). No, said Dad, I will not sign this. You are far too sensitive and get too involved emotionally. You will not become a nurse. Finished and klaar, that was that. My dream had been shattered. I did not speak to him for months, and refused to look for another career. 

Eventually Dad persuaded me to go for an interview to see if I had the ability to become a “tracer”. Needless to say, Dad knew me well and was absolutely right about the nurse thing, and I have loved my job. 

Tracer became Draughtswoman, became Cad Operator, become Technical Assistant, and now I am a highly skilled much sought-after one of a kind semi-retired Cad Technician, and the only person in my company proficient in both ‘Caddie’ and ‘Micro-Station’.

Let’s go back a few years again, to my first year working. My nursing dream had been shattered and I was plodding along with nothing exciting happening in my life. The YWCA was now my home as my family had moved to another town. After living an extremely protected life, I was on my own. Then everything changed. 

On a Thursday lunch blind date, I met this wonderful bare-footed handsome gentleman and we have been together ever since. 46 years and counting. Love at first sight it was, for both of us. Friday night we went to the movies (all dressed up in those days). Saturday morning he took me to meet his parents. Off to the theatre in the evening (even more dressed up – pink lurex mini dress for me, suit for him). I stood in a puddle of mud with my silver shoes, and he took his snow-white handkerchief out of his pocket and wiped the mud off. Sunday – a marriage proposal and a resounding yes. It was love at its best (and it’s worst).

My motherly feelings returned with an uncontrollable bang (hehehaha). Morning sickness, sore boobs, tears, happiness, fear, anxiety, whispering, shame and disgrace on the family (this was the dark ages remember), excitement, kitchen tea, wedding, honeymoon in Durbs, stork tea, prenatal classes, thinking that all the glasses we got as wedding gifts would last us for the rest of our lives, buying second-hand furniture, moving into our own place, etc etc. It was such a rollercoaster ride. And I was only a very young 18 years old. (My man was a more grown-up 24 year old). Thank you my Love of my life, for EVERYTHING!

But boy oh boy, was I ready to be a mommy. Isn’t this what I knew I was born to be? My love for my unborn child grew with my belly……

To all 3 my beautiful children:

Before I knew you, I already loved you. As I felt your life in me growing, I was filled with absolute knowing. During your birth and through the pain, my joy and elation I couldn’t contain. And as your life continued to unfold, precious memories in my heart I still tightly hold. The feeling of your warm little fingers entwined in mine, still somehow miraculously lingers. You were and are part of me, and will remain so for eternity.

I was there for all your feeds, and to fulfill all your needs. I happily changed and rinsed all your crappy nappies. (No disposables in those days). I stayed up nights wiping feverish brows, and cleaning up vomit. I sewed and mended your clothes, and I fetched and carried and taxied. I dropped you off at school and fetched you again in the afternoon. You only knew that I had a job because I told you so. I was at every event – sport, boys brigade, brownies, ballet, PTA meetings, birthday parties, hospital visits etc etc. I was always there for you. I always made time for you; my life revolved around yours. And I loved every single minute of being your mother (still do actually). This was what I had wanted since before I had teeth, remember! I was in the process of fulfilling my role in life. No pathetic looking dirty lifeless little rag-doll, but a real child to play and be with. And this child returned and responded to my love. Oh what immeasurable joy! 

I must say that it was during your growing up years that I realized that I was not a nurse at heart. I wanted to cry and run away every time one of my beloved children got hurt or bled or had an operation. (Tried hard to hide this though)

I always tried to be fair. I always tried to understand. I always brought you before God every single day, as I still do to this day. I also know that I made plenty of mistakes. I have luckily forgotten most of them, and hope you have too. I am truly sorry if I did or said anything that left a lasting negative effect on you.

I know that in the last years I have not always been all that pleasant to be around. It is not easy to carry on with everything regardless of constant pain and exhaustion. I want you to know that I love your father beyond measure and because I feel so secure in his love for me, I have unfortunately taken out all my frustrations on him. I am in the process of making it up to him.

Just want you to know that all 3 of you make me so proud (make US so proud). You have grown up to be really special human-beings. I am crying now – tears of joy and sadness all mixed up together. I have felt all your highs and lows with you – how can I not, as I am part of you! And here we are and we are all fine and honky-dory.

Perhaps after reading this, you will understand why it sometimes feels so natural and normal to be giving advice to you as adults, or even telling you what to do or not to do. Please forgive me for this. I have been doing it my whole life, and sometimes I just slip into that role, even though I know you are quite capable of making your own decisions. 

You know when you should shave or brush your hair or sleep enough or eat well or not drink and drive or swear etc etc. I always have your interests at heart, and remember that I probably know you better than anyone else. (Our personalities basically remain the same, even when we are all grown up). I will do my best to only give advice when it is undoubtedly called for or asked for by you. I am always here!

It is a privilege to have you in my life……THANK YOU for fulfilling my dream in such a perfect wonderful, warm, living way. 

Tjaart, THANK YOU from the very depths of my soul, without you none of this would have been possible!

Mother Mary

Happy Anniversary to my Parents.

​I am thinking of two beautiful humans, who are incredibly important to me. Two people who one day took me into their home and gigantic hearts.

Regardless of the fact that their DNA does not run through my veins, or that I do not have any of their eyes, or shared childhood memories, I became their dogter, I am one of their own.

When I needed a bed, clothes, food, career advice, a shoulder to cry on, a giggle or uncontrollable laughter, a push in the right direction, knowledge or just that look of I love you dearly dogter, they have done and still do their best to be incredible parents.

Mom & Dad, even when I am silent or not around, you are always in my heart, always on mind, always with me in some way.

They say a day without gratitude is a day wasted, so I would like two of you to know that I am grateful for you, always.

Thank you for being the incredible mom and dad that you are.

Thank you for being my peoples, for being in my heart and for having souls that vibe with my soul.

I miss the two of you, dearly and I am sorry that I am not around often.

I love the two you unconditionally, forever and always.

http://www.twitter.com/kylajeanv

Kyla

Abundance & Gratitude with Clairvoyant Lifestyle Blogger Neeta

1. I am Grateful for a loving husband! And our marriage of just over a year.

2: I am Grateful for the awareness and creativity I am able to share with everyone.

3: I am Grateful for my beautiful home.

4: I am Grateful for my gorgeous plants, I love my plants and that they grow.

5: I am Grateful for the ability to cook healthy meals with awareness.

6: I am Grateful to be healthy and vibrant.

7: I am Grateful for all the amazing friends I have, through blogging and media.

8: I am Grateful for the amazing diverse country and cultures I live in.

9: I am Grateful for the ability to work from Home as an entrepreneur, share my creativity with others, through art.

10: I am Grateful for amazing Neighbours and friends that are supportive and caring.

11: I am Grateful for running water and electricity, my cellphone.

12: I am Grateful for the ability to experience new adventures, through travelling and blogging.

13: I am Grateful for the best weather and sunsets in the world

14: I am Grateful for my helper, all the waiters and service providers we have in this magical country.

15: I am Grateful for my health and the ability to function in every way.

16: I am Grateful for the ability to stand out.

17: I am Grateful for the courage to drive on Jo’burgs roads, especially not coming from a big city.

18:I am Grateful for being an avid reader and learning more.

19: I am Grateful to communicate and share inspiration with everyone.

20: I am Grateful for my amazing family!

21: I am Grateful to inspire others.

22: I am Grateful for my qualification in the beauty industry.

23: I am Grateful for the ability to use my Discernment, and choose the right company for me.

24: I am Grateful for the travels and adventures I continue to go on.

25: I am Grateful I can paint and draw, create jewelry.

26: I am Grateful for the sensitivity and compassion I feel towards others.

27: I am Grateful for this magical day.

28: I am Grateful for a birthday coming up next month.

29: I am Grateful for spring, the birds chirping the love of nature.

30: I am Grateful for this journey, grateful you are reading this!

Neeta is a Lifestyle blogger, Writer, Creative Influencer & Clairvoyant

  • Blog:  Love Art By Neeta
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