Sunday, August 31, 2008

Evolution of the "do"

Ok, my wife thinks I`m crazy for doing this but oh well , so be it. I have decided to show you the evolution of my hairstyle. It is a story yet unfinished but I have a pretty good idea how it`ll end.

The part/y to the right

This was not so much a cut as a statement. The part to the right said "Yeah baby, I`m here and I`m ready to play". Obviously some parts of my body were growing faster than others. It was gonna be a long time before the rest of me would catch up with the ears and if I`m honest, it has never really caught up....



The Officer Tom Hanson

Remember 21 Jump Street and Johnny Depp`s character Tom Hanson? Well, I made it my mission to be the "Officer Tom Hanson" of Sasolburg. The amounts of gel needed were immense and I feel pretty much responsible for the success that Studio Line achieved here in SA. It also took a tremendous amount of time to get the fringe to stand at just the right angle. I played sick on windy / rainy days, just couldn`t face the world if the Tom Hanson was not perfect.


The Messy Sportsman

This look was perfect for sporty days. Here I am playing a rugby match and kicking for touch. What a sight. Perfection in motion some might say. Notice the hair, it has that "I am very serious about my sport but I don`t care about my hair on days like these" look. This look was perfected by after being tackled and struggling to your feet, you would take both hands and rub your head. Spectators, fans mostly, would then get extremely concerned. The hair, standing in all directions, emphasised the big hit you just took. Concern became as great a part as adoration in the crowd. Phrases like 'Oh, he`s so brave" were common.



The Gentleman

Perfect for serious occasions like a "Matric Farewell". The beauty about this look is that you can take The Messy Sportsman and turn it into this winner without too much trouble. In fact, the same cut was used. Incredible versatility! It had the same basics as the Officer Tom Hanson but was a bit more formal in nature ie. more structured lines. It is rounded off with a sophisticated look, which is perfectly illustrated on the accompanying photo.


The Middle Path aka A river runs through it

Middle paths were massive in the early 90`s. In fact, it was bigger than massive. I don`t know another word for massive but it was enormous. Here I am sporting The Middle Path which I fondly named "A river runs through it" after seeing the movie by the same name and noticing the similarities. I had gone natural and Studio Line started it`s slow economic decline. Also notice the size of the chin. It had now decided that it needed to catch up with the ears and unfortunately I was the canvas upon which this race was taking place.


The U can`t touch this

This look took a long time to perfect. It says "I don`t care" but takes some serious time to get right. You could not use any product or tools on it, just your God given fingers and a mirror. If it did not look perfect when it had dried, you had to take another shower and start the process all over again. Sometimes it took numerous showers and 2 - 3 hours before the look was complete. Notice how I complimented the look by closing my eyes when I was being photographed? This also doubled as a statement against consumerism and fits in with the new natural me.


The Hippie Bob

It took the normal Bob a bit further and added a hippie element. Not something you thought possible, hey? The clean lines of a Bob and the unrefined hippie look? I know, I was probably ahead of my time. Once again, the do encapsulated both the country`s political awakening and my social commentary of the time with the added benefit of hiding my ears, sort of. The colour of the bandanna has no significance at all.




The Soft at Sunset (SAS)

This look is perfected by the finish of the photograph. It emphasises the soft lines of the haircut. Notice how the setting sun creates a halo effect around me. I look almost angelic. Also notice how my body had caught up with my ears. The chin had given up by now and realised that it would never be as big a part of me as my ears. I really loved the SAS and would definitely have kept it going if I could. Magnificence at sunset....


The Inevitable

Throughout the Evolution of the do, it has always been The Inevitable that was bound to come out victorious. Call it genetics or whatever but I was always going to have to bow to The Inevitable. This cut is more out of necessity than out of want. My forehead has been getting bigger since I was in my twenties. For some reason I always felt like my forehead was creeping up on the back of my head. Then I woke up one morning and tried to do the Officer Tom Hanson but found that a fringe comprising all of 12 hair could not complete the look. I was devastated. Fortunately I had taken a wife, so ending up alone in an old age home with The Inevitable as my only companion was not gonna happen. Notice the chin trying to make a comeback....


Friday, August 29, 2008

Attention to detail

This is a drawing given to me by Devon, my little nephew (almost 4 years old). He did it while visiting us here in the Cape and insisted that I hang it somewhere in my office.

As you can see, his attention to detail is excellent.



The drawing has pride of place in my office, which thankfully is here at home.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Discovery Channel

This is a Discovery Channel tv ad. I`ll let it speak for itself, really cool.

video

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Africa at it`s finest


I received this photo from a friend the other day. You MUST click on it! It is of a leopard and it`s prey (probably an Impala) somewhere in a gamepark in South Africa.

Now leopards are my favourite wild animals. I say wild because my favourite animals are my 2 gorgeous Bulldogs, Elvis and Phoebe but they are not wild, per se. Leopards are extremely shy and spotting them in the wild is a definite bonus. Trust me, we have spent a lot of time in the Kruger National Park (one of our favourite places in the whole wide world) to know how special a sighting is.

Hayley and I spent 3 days of our honeymoon in "The Kruger", as it is fondly known around these parts. Unfortunately we are now almost 1800km away, so the odd weekend away at the Kruger is not possible anymore. Easter weekend was also time where the whole family went to the Kruger and camped in tents and just lived the life. Man, I miss those days!

There is nothing that comes close to a sunset braai (barbeque) in your camp and then settling in and listening to the sounds of the wild. Falling asleep with the sound of a lion roaring in the distance, I promise you, that is the best thing on earth.

This is from the song "Africa" by Toto:

The wild dogs cry out in the night
As they grow restless longing for some solitary company
I know that I must do whats right
Sure as kilimanjaro rises like olympus above the serengeti
I seek to cure whats deep inside,
frightened of this thing that I`ve become

Its gonna take a lot to drag me away from you
Theres nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do
I bless the rains down in africa
Gonna take some time to do the things we never had

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Matthias Steiner


Matthias Steiner is a German weightlifter. He competes in the Super Heavyweight category. He is 25 years old and he won a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics.
Now if you heard the above version, you would probably say "ok cool, good for him, so what?". You`d be right to ask cos there is so much more to this story.
Here is the better version.
Matthias Steiner was married to Susann. In 2007, Susann was in a severe car accident. On her death bed, Matthias made a promise that he would win an Olympic Gold Medal, for her, for them. She was always his biggest fan. She passed away shortly after that promise.
So the Olympic Games in Beijing arrive. The competition is fierce in the Super heavyweight category.
Matthias however is struggling. He had already failed not only on one lift but two. He had one lift left. It was make or break for him. He then did something that nobody saw coming. He added 10kg to the weight he had just failed on. Keep in mind that weightlifters usually increase their weight by 2-4kg`s. It was obvious that it was a desperate attempt by a desperate man.
A hush broke over the crowd as Matthias stepped forward. He groaned and yelled as he lifted the weight. Then, he did it. He completed the lift and in doing so beat his own personal best. Not only did he beat his own personal best but he won the gold medal at the Olympics.
On the podium, he received his gold medal. He had a bouquet of flowers in his one hand, the medal around his neck and a photo of his wife in his other hand. He kissed the photo and tried very hard to control his emotions. He had honoured the promise to his wife.
Stories like these always make me so grateful for what I have. Sometimes we concentrate so much on other things that we lose focus on the important things in our lives.
I am so lucky that I have an awesome wife who I can share everything with. She is both my best friend and the love of my life. Sometimes I tend to concentrate on all the problems surrounding me like work pressures or bills to pay and I forget just how blessed I really am.
Thanks Matthias, for showing me how lucky I am.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Betrayed?

I don`t even know where to start. Where do you begin when something you believe in so much and that has had an immense impact on you turns out to be false?

Ok, last week I shared the story behind Healer and Mike Guglielmucci with you all. As I mentioned then, it`s on the new Hillsong cd called "This is our God". I finally got the cd yesterday and I was so excited. I have been been playing it non-stop and I signing along as loud as possible. Especially Healer. What a great song and what an inspirational story. I even phoned my sister in NZ and begged her to go read the story and watch the video. It really makes you feel so good, it just emphasises how awesome our God really is.

This afternoon I went onto Brian Houston`s blog and watched his latest video message. In it he mentioned something about Healer and that Mike needed help. I went onto the internet immediately and found the following statement by the Australian Christian Churches Assemblies of God (where Mike was a pastor):

"Representatives of the National Executive recently met with Michael Guglielmucci. At this meeting he read a statement indicating that his claim to have cancer was untrue. His credential with the ACC was immediately suspended.
The National Executive is taking this matter very seriously and is awaiting the results of medical tests before determining the full extent of the discipline that will be imposed upon him.
We are very concerned for the many people who have been or will be hurt by Michael's actions and we encourage all of our churches to pray for all those affected.
Yours sincerely,
Alun Davies National Vice President"


So, how do you handle news like this? I have watched the video over and over again and listened to the song over and over again. I have shed tears. I have prayed for Mike and his family. I have told everyone I know about this awesomely inspiring story. It has really affected me in such a positive way. Now to be told that it was all fake?

At first I felt personally done in. How could somebody do such a thing? How can I now listen to or even contemplate watching the cd and dvd? I felt betrayed in the worst possible way. Being betrayed in your faith - surely not?

Then I started thinking about the whole thing and it dawned on me, God never betrayed me. In fact, he still loves me as much as always. God`s Word never betrayed me, in fact it still leads me in the right direction. The betrayal was done by man, not the first time and it certainly won`t be the last.

What did the song accomplish? It made me feel closer to my Maker. I believe that God did help in the writing of the song. Mike wrote the song because God is the great Healer. The fact that Mike felt that he had to skew the facts was most definitely not God`s idea. It`s so sad cos the song does not need any story or gimmick to make it great! It`s a great song with an awesome message.

I will not hold the song or the story against my Hillsong Church and I will not hold it against Mike either. In fact, I`ll pray even harder for him and his family. Who knows what drives somebody to do a thing like this? Who knows? (I have a hunch and it involves a bad dude with horns and a tail but it`s just a hunch)

I really hope Christians do what Jesus told us to and that is forgive. What better place to start than right here with this story. I just have.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The baby whale

The saddest story has been playing itself out in Sydney, Australia.

A baby humpback whale was abandoned by it`s mother. The baby whale was to become known as Colin during the next week. He was first spotted when he tried to suckle on a yacht, just north of Sydney. He obviously mistook the yacht for his mom. Ok, how sad is that? Wildlife officials were called in and a week long effort to save little Colin was undertaken. They tried to lure it back to the open sea in the hope that he would attach himself to a pod of passing humpback whales but to no avail. Little Colin kept going back to the yachts. It also became apparent that Colin was not in good nick. He was obviously ill and might have also been attacked by a shark.
After a week of trying virtually everything, wildlife officials euthanized Colin on Friday morning. By then he was riddled with parasites, starving, injured and very ill. Veteranarians reckoned that he would not have survived until Friday evening. They decided to end his suffering in the most humane way possible.

Now, I hate stories like this. It always gets me very emotional cos I am but a softy at heart! But I think you can also learn a lot from a story like this. So this is what I have "learned" from this story. Please bare with me, I`m new at this!
We often lose sight of God and in doing so try to compensate by putting all our attention on other gods / objects. Just like Colin who was separated from his mom. When he couldn`t find his mom, he tried to let other objects take her place. None of this worked just like no other object will ever be able to take God`s place. They tried to lure Colin to safety by getting him to attach to a pod of humpback whales. Colin kept going back to the yachts. In the end it caused his death. I can see the Holy Spirit coaxing us in the right direction, only for us to keep falling back into the habits of the world.
Will we end up like little Colin, or will we be able to find our way back to our "Mom" before it`s too late?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

My Prized Possessions # 3

If you ask any boy growing up in South Africa what they would love to be one day, the answer would probably be a Springbok rugby player or a Bafana Bafana (our national soccer side) soccer player.

For me, it was always the former. The Springboks have always been the epitomy of excellence, in my eyes in any case. I remember seeing a Springbok rugby player at my school once, I was so in awe I just stared, couldn`t get a word out.

Unfortunately I was never good enough. I was a decent flyhalf (number 10) at school but that is basically where it ended for me. I was always a better cricket player and pursued that after school.

However, my number 1 side has always been the Springboks. Man, I love that team!
So, it happened that I became mates with a promising young rugby player during the late 90`s. This guy was unbelievable. He had the best sidestep you would ever see and his pace off the mark was incredible. I have always been blatantly biased. So for me, he has always been the best in the world! He went through the ranks and played for all the age level Springbok sides. He started making a name for himself with his provincial team, the Lions, and then made it into the Cats Super 12 side where he was an immediate star.

Then in 2002, my mate Andre Pretorius, was picked to play for the Springboks against Wales in Bloemfontein. We were all euphoric! We travelled to go watch him make his debut. He shined in that game and has shined ever since. Unfortunately he has had rotten luck with injuries but whenever he plays, he is awesome.

In 2007 he won the World Cup with the Springboks and during the tournament he broke the appearance record for most tests at flyhalf for South Africa.

Andre got a terrible ankle injury just after the World Cup and has been out of rugby since November 2007. I`m sure he still has a lot of rugby in him and will no doubt don his beloved Green and Gold again.

So my Prized Possession is this Springbok Jersey that Andre gave me. He played in this jersey against Argentina in Buenos Aires. How cool is that? I have a REAL Springbok jersey worn in a REAL test match by a REAL Springbok legend!




The cool thing about this? Andre is still the naughty little bugger I met 10 years ago. He has not changed one bit as a person and I think that is the greatest compliment I can pay him.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

My favourite holiday - Part 2


So, we are still in the first morning of our trip to the States.

Now what I must explain to you is the following. The best person I have ever met to go on holiday with is my Father-in-Law, Clive. He`s the kind of guy who will do all the weird and wonderful things, he refuses to sit still for a second and walking is his forte. Now when I say walking, I don`t just mean around the block kind of walking or the odd 5 km around town walking. No, this kind of walking is the kind that will make Sherpas from the Himalayas request a breather, it`ll make Olympians (maybe not Michael Phelps but who knows) beg for mercy. Of course I had experienced holidays with my Dad before but nothing could have prepared me for the assault that we were going to launch on Manhattan`s streets with our feet. If I had known, I would not have worn the aesthetically pleasing shoes but would have instead picked the comfortable, less aesthetically pleasing, ones. But, I had the Puma loafers on, looking good and feeling fine.

Like I said last time, it started easily enough. We spent a few hours at the ING New York Marathon Expo. That was a brisk walk of about 40 blocks (or so it felt), a warm up if you will. We then headed back towards our hotel and on the way, we passed Madison Square Garden. My Dad suggested we go check what was on during the next 5 days. The ladies, who had had enough of walking by then, waited outside. As luck would have it, the NY Rangers were playing that same night and the NY Knicks had their first home game of the season on the Sunday. My Dad bought 4 tickets for each game and we were set. I must be honest, I was so excited I drooled on my shirt and only saw it when I walked past a shop mirror. I was gonna fix my fringe (which is now all of 17 hair thick) but saw the big wet spot on my chest instead.

We left MSG and headed straight to Macy`s. Suddenly the ladies had regained feeling in their feet and they were raring to go, the pain was but a distant memory. Now Macy`s is awesome! We split up into one man/woman Elite Shopping Units (ESU) and headed off into shopping bliss. My ESU (Foxtrot) found itself in the sport section for most of the time. I then moved onto the various men's sections. Every now and then one of the ESUs would encounter another ESU and status updates were given. The head of all these units were ESU Alpha Charlie (Dad). Alpha because Dad is a magnificent shopper with technique that I will never be able to emulate. Mom was known as ESU Charlie (code for Cheryl).

The ESUs moved their way up through the floors until we all met on the top floor. The top floor was one big Christmas decoration. Here we found ESU Hotel (code for Hayley). She was almost in tears she was so happy. ESU Hotel loves nothing more than Christmas and this was the most magnificent Christmas display any of us had ever seen. So, after spending a lot of money on everything Christmas, we finally headed out the door of Macy`s.


Next stop, Times Square! Now you can only imagine how excited I was. Hayley and her folks had spent New Years Eve there in 1999 but for me, I had only ever seen this place on the tv. It did not disappoint. The buzz, the hustle and bustle, everything was just as I had imagined it, only real. I remember just stopping, looking up and savouring the moment. Time stood still for a minute or two. I was rudely interrupted by a screaming lady. This lady turned out to be my wife. Apparently a celebrity was in a cosmetics shop a few metres from us. At that instant Liv Tyler walked out of said cosmetics shop and got into a big, black SUV. I remember thinking to myself, is this really happening? I knew it was when I saw Hayley`s face!

We then headed back to the hotel cos it was getting late and we had a Rangers game to go to!!!!! We got to MSG and bought a t-shirt for each of us. Obviously we had no idea who the good players were but the guy behind the counter assured us that Henrik Lundquist was the man. How right he was, Lundquist was brilliant! So, we all headed into MSG and what a rush to be in this place that I had never thought I`d go to. It was awesome!!! We had hot dogs, popcorn, large cokes, basically everything we could get our grubby paws on! The Rangers won and we all left very happy.

On the way back to the hotel, I suddenly felt that the feet I was using did not feel like my own. It suddenly dawned on me that my own feet had died earlier that day and a kind doctor had transplanted the feet of a cadaver on my body. He was kind enough to put the aesthetically pleasing Pumas on my new feet. All this happened while I was anaesthetised somewhere between Macy`s and the hotel. Seeing as I had no feeling in my new limbs, I just enjoyed the walk.

We got back to the hotel and immediately hit the sack. We were all very, very tired and ready for a good night`s rest.
My first day in the Big Apple was about to end and what a day it had been. Four more days to go and then it would be off to Washington.

The adventure had just started....

Monday, August 18, 2008

Healer

I found this video by accident. Actually no, this video found me. Ok, the story goes like this. I did my usual early morning blog reading where I check out all the updated blogs from my AWESOME Blog List!

I found a link to Brooke Fraser`s site. This is the same Brooke Fraser that wrote and performed my favourite gospel song. From here I was directed to her Youtube channel where a host of her videos can be found. So, while checking out some of these videos, I came across one by Hillsong Australia. What transpired was one of the most amazingly uplifting things I have ever seen. I was captivated and in absolute awe, as I`m sure you will be. It is from the latest Hillsong album / dvd "This is our God" and believe me when I say, you will not be left untouched by this story.

Mike Guglielmucci, you are an inspiration.

video

Sunday, August 17, 2008

What this weekend taught me


I`m writing to you from 37, 000ft, halfway between Johannesburg and Cape Town. We flew to Jhb on Friday for Adam`s Christening. Adam is Lindsay (Hayley`s sister) and Mark`s youngest boy. We had an absolute ball. I love Hayley`s family like my own and I am so lucky that they love me in the same way.
It was a weekend spent chatting, laughing, crying, eating, drinking, sharing…. Did I mention eating?
So, what did I learn this weekend? It might be something new here or there but mostly it just underlined a lot of things I already knew or believe in.

1. A kid (Devon) will always do the opposite of what you tell them too. Ie. “Do NOT smile at the camera Devon!” will elicit the broadest, most beautiful smile possible.
2. Chai Tea ROCKS and Spicy Chai Tea ROCKS even more
3. Mark and I will always end up being in some kind of trouble if we`re together. This time we sat chatting next to the braai (barbeque) and nearly forgot to do the last pieces of meat.
4. A braai (barbeque) that takes more than 2 hours will ensure restless natives inside the house
5. Hungry family members will eat their own
6. The kids table at a party always has the best food
7. My wife is the best
8. Michael Phelps is a hero to a lot of people (including me)
9. Jamaicans are pretty quick
10. The All Blacks are more often than not better than my beloved Springboks
11. We still love our Springbok side
12. People in Johannesburg drive almost as badly as those in Cape Town
13. Manchester United needs a striker (I left with 10 minutes to go in the Newcastle match, so have no idea of the result)
14. Whenever I`m not with them, I really miss Elvis and Phoebe
15. Father Trevor is a wonderfully eloquent preacher
16. We are defined by our family and friends
17. My Father-in-Law is a bigger hero than Michael Phelps
18. You can ALWAYS count on your family
19. You can ALWAYS count on your best friends
20. No matter how far apart, certain bonds will never weaken
21. My Mother-in-Law is a very brave lady
22. Devon will fake some sort of injury if he wants to be carried
23. My Father-in-Law has the coolest toys in the world
24. An Audi TT is a better all round car than a Nissan 350Z
25. The only diver at the Olympics to do a belly flop was a South African
26. Adam is the friendliest baby ever
27. Kyle (Mark and Lindsay`s eldest) will always help
28. I cannot go to OR Tambo Airport in Johannesburg without getting a lump in my throat and a tear in the eye
29. Saying goodbye really hurts
30. I am one lucky guy

Thursday, August 14, 2008

My Prized Possessions # 2




This is a very personal one for me. It really means so much on so many levels.

Ok, let`s start at the beginning. This prized possession is my Mom`s Bible. She passed away in 2003 after a 2 year battle with cancer. She was and will always be my big inspriration. She was my best friend and we had an inseparable bond. In fact, I was a Momma`s boy and very proud of it!

My Mom was always the one who Monya (my sister) and I could run to, the soft shoulder. My Dad suffered from depression and he was not always there. Mom was ALWAYS there. Even after a long day at work, she would spend time playing catch with me in the garden or helping with homework. She never said no and she never complained, although I`m sure she felt like it sometimes. She did this with Monya and Dad too. I remember as a youngster watching sport with my Mom, she watched everything with me, rugby, soccer, cricket, tennis, everything! She even became a big Manchester United fan and more especially a Ryan Giggs fan, he was her favourite. Dad was never really interested in sport. Mom, even though she probably didn`t always like all the sport watched it with me. I think that played a big part in my love for all sport.

My Dad passed away in 1992. I was 20 and Monya was in her final year at school. My Mom never once put her grief ahead of ours. She was the one making sure we were all ok. Although, I remember one night, I was going out with my friends and went to say goodbye to her in her room. I found her crying on the bed. That killed me. I knew she was hurting but she NEVER complained.

I moved to Johannesburg in 1995 to start my career and Monya got married a while later. I went home every weekend so I could at least see my Mom. We chatted on the phone at least twice a day.

Then in 1997, Monya and Brian emigrated to New Zealand. It was a very tough time for all of us but especially for my Mom. Up until then, Monya and Brian had lived very close and they got to see her everyday.

Monya fell pregnant and had a beautiful little girl they named Danielle (my idea....!) in 1998. That, was that. My Mom spent 3 months in New Zealand, came back and decided to join Monya.

So, on the 24th April 2000 my Mom left for New Zealand. That was one of the worst days of my life. I cried the whole day. What would I do without my Mom to chat to everyday? I felt really alone but from that day on I received an email every single day, without fail, even if she didn`t have too much to say. She always emailed to say hello.

Then, exactly a month later, on the 24th May, I met Hayley and immediately knew that she was the one for me. I never had any doubts, never. This was no doubt in God`s big plan. He knew how alone I was and he sent Hayley.

We went to New Zealand in November 2000 and spent 7 glorious weeks with my family. It was absolutely awesome.

In April 2001 my Mom, Monya (a very pregnant Monya!) and Danielle came to South Africa for our wedding. Brian couldn`t make it due to work commitments. It was so awesome having them with us. They spent 7 weeks in SA and shared our wedding day with us.

Then on 25 March 2002 (my Dad`s birthday) we got a call from New Zealand. It was Monya and she told me that my Mom had been diagnosed with advanced breast cancer. My whole world fell apart. At least I had Hayley, she was awesome. She was now the soft shoulder I so needed.

My Mom started her chemo and radiation and things were going ok. I phoned a lot and I still received my daily email. Only when the chemo was really bad did I not get one. Then in August 2002, my Father-in-Law bought me a ticket to NZ to go see my Mom. It was such an awesome gesture, something I will never, ever forget. We kept it a secret from my Mom and I landed the morning of her last chemo. Monya picked me up and we drove to the Oncology Unit in Auckland. Monya walked in and told my Mom that she had a surprise for her. Then I walked in. My Mom completely broke down. I ran and grabbed her. We just held each other and cried. That moment will always remain with me.
I spent 8 weeks in New Zealand and got to meet Nicholas, my sisters little boy. My Mom and I spent a lot of quality time together. I took her to radiation sessions and doctors appointments. I was so grateful to be able to help in this way.

On the 1st of March 2003, I got another call. This time the news was very bad. The cancer had spread to my Mom`s lungs and was now terminal. How do you handle news like that? That is something I cannot answer but I can tell you that God carried all of us through it.

Hayley and I left for NZ on the 31st March 2003. My Mom was not doing so well but we got to spend some awesome time with her. She never complained, not once. She also introduced me to the music of Michael W Smith which I`ll forever be grateful for. She talked about her relationship with God and the peace in her was there for everybody to see.

My Mom passed away at 23:05 on the 30th April 2003. Monya and I were at her side and we feel so blessed to have been with my Mom when she left to be with her God.

So, I was privileged enough to get my Mom`s Bible. It is filled with little notes, written by her during Bible studies or just time spent reading. It has dates in it, indicating when she read which chapter. Everytime I open the Bible I see my Mom`s hand in it and I feel as though she is watching over me and smiling her awesome smile. She is the reason I love God and the reason I am here today. Who knows where I would have ended if my Mom wasn`t as strong as she was.

Thank you to God for giving me my Mom and then for sending Hayley to be at my side. I will say thank you in person one day....

Like i said, this is a very personal post for me. I think it`s therapeutic in a way. It helps to talk about these things sometimes.

I want to leave you with something I found in the Bible. It`s on a little piece of paper and must have been my Mom`s guiding words during her difficult last days.

Walking with God

Feeling a hand in mine,
just when I needed power,
knowing it is the Lord`s,
sharing my darkest hours.

Stepping with fearful heart,
into a path unknown,
sensing His presence there,
knowing I`m not alone.

Drained of all human strength,
finding that from above,
His everlasting arms,
Bear me along with love.

Taking each step with faith,
trusting when sight is dim,
knowing His will is best,
this be your walk with him.

Alive....

Just to let you know I made it through the night without being attacked by the hand.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Ten years off my life....


So I went to bed late last night. A lot of reading to do! I eventually switched the light off and drifted peacefully into dreamland.
I must`ve been asleep for 30 minutes or so, when I heard a noise. I was on my side and turned my head towards Hayley. Suddenly I saw a hand above me, palm facing down and looking like it was coming in to strangle me!!! I screamed a little scream and kinda jumped up. It`s then that I saw it was Hayley`s hand.


I blurted out (in a not too manly voice): "what you doing????"


Hayley answered back: "I don`t know"


I shouted: "Are you nuts????"


She said: " " and carried on snoring.

My heart was pounding at a 100 miles an hour and it took me a while to get back some form of composure.

This morning I asked Hayley about this terrifying ordeal. She remembers dreaming that she had to "push something"... I don`t trust this one bit, in fact it stinks.

If I suddenly stop blogging, phone my family in New Zealand, the hand might have got me....

The Shack - a few thoughts


Well, I finished "The Shack" last night. Stayed up till late reading it, just couldn`t put it down. I was absolutely riveted by this book and found it very enlightening.
Although an awesome read, some of it does get quite difficult and just like Mack, I found my mind turn to "mush"! Mind you, it was late and I had a long day!
So this morning I got up early and decided to find some explanations to a few of the issues I needed clarity on. First stop was the official site. The discussion boards really help a lot.
After some more internet searches I happened upon a few sites where the book is not regarded so fondly. The main issue being that a few of the points raised in the book are not alligned to what the Bible says. Some of the discussions turned very lively, to say the least.
Now I immediately want to qualify my point of view. I am a newish Christian. Let me put it this way, I have always been a Christian but only recently gave my heart to the Lord formally.
I have so much to learn but I`m enjoying the ride so much. So, I don`t profess to know everything the Bible has to teach us, in fact it`s quite the opposite. What I do know is that I`m very committed to learn and that my relationship with God is growing daily.
So, from that point of view let me state categorically, I loved The Shack. I loved the way in which William Young explained the Holy Trinity, that is a very difficult concept for a new Christian to come to terms with. His views made complete sense and I feel I understand it for the first time. The storyline was great and I thoroughly enjoyed the read.
The main theme is the love God has for us and the fact that he wants us to love each other the same way.
Pretty easy hey? Not so easy in fact. What I found on some of the sites were Christians taking each other on about issues within the book. Some believe the book does more good than bad and others believe the discrepencies are just too much to even suggest it to a friend.
My feeling? I think the book`s heart is in the right place. It has obviously had a major impact on a lot of people. Don`t you think God would welcome this? I fail to see how something (anything) that brings people closer to God can be a negative.


I certainly felt closer to God after reading it and is that not the crux of the matter?


This is a quote from the book and I loved it:
Faith never knows where it is being led,
But it knows and loves the One who is leading.

-Oswald Chambers

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Shack



Just a quick post today (bit busy with the work thing!). I started reading "The Shack" last night and I must say, I haven`t been so riveted by a book in a very long time. Tonight cannot come quickly enough so I can settle in and read some more.

Hayley has her fingers on the pulse of everything new and she mentioned this book to me a few weeks ago. I of course thought it was some Mills & Boon novel (do they still print those?). When I finally saw what it was about, I was sold. Good work as always by my Wife.

I won`t give away the plot but I can tell you I am completely taken by this piece of work. Here is a post from the site which I think perfectly sums up what the book is all about.

LOVED "NOT READING THIS BOOK"
« on: June 21, 2008, 06:42:15 AM »

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Reading "The Shack"' wasn't reading a book, it was listening to a song...a bittersweet, melodious, grand song that every person should hear. Reading "The Shack", wasn't reading a book, it was finding a treasure... a deeply hidden priceless, shining treasure, that every person should discover. Reading "The Shack", wasn't reading a book, it was taking a journey, a soul-searching, simply difficult, incredible journey that everyone should make time to take. Reading "The Shack", wasn't reading a book.....it was reading a love letter. A beautifully haunting, touching, loveletter, that every person needs to get......that no one could forget. No, it wasn't reading a book........it was recieving a gift!!!! Thanks Papa!!!

So, till next time God bless!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

My favourite holiday - Part 1


Hayley and I started going out in May 2000 (and were married a year later but that`s another story altogether!). Since the first week, Hayley wanted nothing else than to take me to the States. She spent a few weeks there with her family in 1999 (including New years Eve in Times Square). They got to see a lot of the East Coast and spent the majority of their time in New York, Boston, Miami and Orlando. It was her ambition to take me to the States.

So it came that my Father-in-Law, Clive, got into the New York Marathon last year. He would not miss it for the world and my Mother-in-Law, Cheryl decided to go along. Hayley immediately said we should try to join them. My Father-in-Law heard about this and thought it a very good idea. He arranged everything for us and on the 31st October, Hayley and I left Cape Town International, New York bound! I could not contain myself!

Now, let me say this upfront. I was really a bit nervous about New Yorkers and Americans in general. The image I had was that of brash, loud, obnoxious people. This stereotype was blown out the water as soon as I set foot on American soil. The Americans are incredibly warm, friendly people. For every "Thank you", you get a "You`re welcome" unlike here at home where you are more often than not completely ignored. Every time we stood somewhere, somebody would come up and ask if we needed help. I now believe, from my own experiences, that Americans are amazing people. My new blogging friends are perfect examples of what Americans are truly like, generous, warm, friendly people with big, big hearts.

I digress!!! We landed at JFK just before midnight on the 31st October 2007 (Halloween!). My In-Laws had arrived earlier that day and they headed straight to the Police concert at Madison Square Gardens. How lucky are they???


So Hayley and I headed out the door of the airport and immediately we were approached by a man asking if we needed a taxi. "Yes" we said. Without asking he took it upon himself to take our luggage to his SUV, not a Yellow cab but a black SUV. Now I have seen enough horror movies to know that this was probably gonna be our last trip. Neither of us said anything and we got into the SUV, holding each other very tight. Then he started talking to us and I was sure he just wanted to make us feel comfortable before taking out a massive blade and chopping my "freakishly big head" off. Well, it transpired from my "last conversation during my last trip on earth" that he was also from South Africa and that he had been in the States for 20 years. He also stayed on the motorway (I was waiting for him to take us to the docks cos that is where a lot of killings take place and I have a lot of movies that will prove my point). But, he drove straight to the Marriott on 49th Street on Manhattan`s East Side without killing us on Halloween. It did cost us $90 for this trip but I was very happy handing it over, $90 is small change when it comes to your life...

With my "last trip" turning out to be "not my last trip" I was more stoked than ever to have the time of my life. The In-Laws were in bed already and we were soon cuddled up in our own bed. I must admit, although jet lagged pretty badly, sleep was the last thing on my mind. All I wanted was to see the Big Apple! The sounds from the city was exactly as I had imagined it, police cars, sirens, horns etc. A buzz, even at 02:00 in the morning. I think I fell asleep at 03:00 and was awake at 05:30, woken by Lindsay`s (my Sister-in-Law) ritualistic everyday early morning phone call to my Mother-in-Law. Shame, she couldn`t wait to talk to us and it took all her self control to only phone at 13:30 in the afternoon (05:30 in NY).

So, my first day in the greatest city on earth was about to start!

First order of business was breakfast! We went to a little place called Pax and it was great. One thing you must understand is that my Dad has to have his breakfast, lunch and supper at set times. I didn`t mind cos it meant that I`d be able to eat during the day! I had to take time out of my schedule to feed the body. Keep in mind it was still the "unfit, overweight" me, so sustenance was vital. You most certainly cannot go shopping in NY without proper carbo loading! One floor of Macy`s would murder you (no pun intended with regards our "killer Ex-South African cabbie" and our dice with death on Halloween...).

With breakfast out the way, we headed to the ING New York City Marathon Expo. My Dad needed to get his number and I was just to happy to go with!
As soon as we entered the Expo, a camera crew got hold of my Dad and an interview ensued! Here is a pic of Hayley and Mom, with Dad being interviewed in the background!! The lifestyles of the rich and famous!!!
Dad and I walked every square inch of the expo. I bought a lot of running things, not knowing how big a part of my life it would become in the not too distant future. Hayley and Mom got their first cups of Starbucks, so everybody was suitably chuffed!

The best holiday of my life was just beginning!

To be continued....

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Weekend away


Hayley and I are having a weekend away and we are certainly making the most of it.






We are lucky enough to be spending the weekend at Pinnacle Point , which has one of the most awe inspiring golf courses you will ever see. To give you an idea it is probably South Africas version of the world famous Pebble Beach. I was very fortunate to have played some golf here in October of 2007. Needless to say I was so awe struck that I played some very bad golf! The development is incredible, with the most amazing houses and villas. Ours is a villa owned by one of my best mates. He graciously gave it to us for the weekend.To think he wants to get rid of it!!!!!! Over my dead body!



I will give you a proper update when we are back, don`t want to waste time on the laptop when you have all this around you!




Lastly, Andre thank you so much my buddy. We are having an absolute ball here.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

True love


This is Elvis and Phoebe. Just look at Elvis putting a comforting paw on Phoebe and whispering sweet nothings in her ear.....
Man I love my kids!!!

Sunrise in beautiful Somerset West



Ok, I have always posted sunsets, mostly cos I don`t function early mornings. This morning I was awake cos I had to take Hayley to work so I was fortunate to see this beautiful sunrise. What a great start to the day (ok we are without electricity for some strange reason and my laptop is on it`s last legs with regards power but what the heck, it`s still a good start to the day).

PS. This will not make me a morning person, so please see it as a once-off.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

What a song!


I just had to share this awesome song with you all. It was written by Brooke Fraser (left) who is a worship leader at Hillsong Church in Sydney.
I heard it the first time in Hillsong Church Cape Town 2 weeks ago and loved it immediately. In fact it played a major part in what happened in church that day.

So here goes, enjoy.


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

PPC Riebeeck Berg Half Marathon


What would a week after a race be without me showing you the medal?

Monday, August 4, 2008

No PAIN no GAIN




Saturday saw me do my 3rd Half marathon. The race was held in Riebeek West which is a truly beautiful part of the Cape. A lovely course which took you from the PPC Cement factory just outside Moorreesburg through Riebeek West to Riebeek Castle and back. A lovely but testing route with a few pretty tough hills along the way.


This was supposed to be my first Half Marathon but as you know, I have done a few already. It happened pretty quickly. I never even did a 10km race before I entered my first half!
So my previous half saw me finish in 2:07:51, which I was extremely happy with. This race was done in 2:10:32. But, it could`ve been so much better.
I started off really well and was going pretty quick (for me in any case). I reached the 5km mark in +- 28 minutes and the 10km mark in 54 minutes. I was well on my way to finish in under 2:00:00 which is a big ambition in my life.
But then it all came crashing down in a big way.

The problem with my left knee which I mentioned in a previous post came back in a big way at about the halfway mark on Saturday. It was pretty painful and the 2nd half of the race took me 16 minutes longer to complete than the first half. Running, walking, stopping, hobbling, you get the picture. Fortunately I took a knee brace with me. That provided some relief but did not help much. It was so annoying cos I felt pretty strong but for the darn knee.

So whereto from here? I don`t know. My physio has made an appointment with an orthopaedic surgeon (I`m awaiting confirmation of time and date). So let`s wait and see what he has to say. I hope there won`t be any sharp objects and blood involved....

For now I will concentrate on getting my knee stronger by doing shorter distances. I`m sure it`ll help. It better, I really need to hit the road a few times a week. I don`t want to balloon again!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Awesome Day


What a great day. Hayley and I went to our second service at Hillsong Church Cape Town and had a wonderful time there. It truly is such a blessed experience and I am so lucky to be sharing it with my gorgeous wife! We feel like we truly belong and if it is God`s Will, we`ll spend a lot more time there.

We then went for a drive down the coast and stopped for lunch at Houtbay. Fish and chips at Mariners is an institution in this family!

We ended the day having a braai (barbeque) at home and this was the sunset we enjoyed from our patio.
What a wonderful day spent in God`s Presence...

Graeme Smith


Firstly, let me put it out there. Up until a few months ago I was not a Biff fan. I thought he was an egotistical control freak. The way he handled himself and the stories emanating from the local press made it easy to dislike Biff.
This all changed a few months ago. I read an indepth interview by Neil Manthorp where the real Graeme Smith came across for the first time. This article explained a lot for me and made a whole lot of sense.

Graeme or Biff as he is known, took over the proteas at the tender age of 22. A young man who had to jump into the deep end and take a struggling SA side to England on his first tour as captain. That tour to England was (until yesterday) Biff`s finest. He scored 2 double hundreds in consecutive tests and made a ton of runs.
BUT, the tour also established him as a brash youngster on the world stage. His tactical nous was questioned by all the pundits, his comments to the press scrutinised and his relationship with other international captains became strained. Stephen Flemming once mocked Graeme by mimicking him in celebrating a catch. Nasser Husain called him "whatsisname".
The Graeme Smith who has been leading the Proteas the last year or so has not been the same kid who took the job at the tender age of 22. The Biff who has been the leading the team has turned into a tactically astute captain, probably one of the best in the world today. A man who is at ease with both himself and his place in the team, a leader who men happily follow due to the example he sets. When we were teetering on 90/4 yesterday who did you want to bat? I only wanted one man there cos I knew if anybody had the stomach for a fight it is Biff.
What transpired yesterday was one of the best innings ever witnessed in international cricket. Biff`s 154* was an unbelievable effort when seen in the context of the match and more importantly the series. The odds were certainly stacked against him. No team had ever scored more than 280 to win in the 4th innings at Headingley. Monty Panesar was spinning the ball a mile from the footmarks. Andrew Flintoff was bowling with everything he had. The pressure was immeasurable. South Africa won the test and the series because one man had the grit to take it upon himself to win. He did not stand back and confronted the English team head on. They were the ones to blink, Biff never wavered.
Biff came full circle when Michael Vaughan called his innings "one of the most special ones you will ever witness" and said that Biff deserved "all the praise that was going to come his way". Big words from a losing captain. Big words from a captain who was to resign the next day.
Today we are a very happy nation. We have tasted a series win in England for the first time in 43 years. That is older than I am! One man`s courage made it all possible.
When the cricket transmission went back to the studio last night, Robin Jackman couldn`t talk due to the emotion he felt. Tears welled up in his eyes and he was speechless for a few seconds. Keep in mind that Robin played test cricket for England and then see the significance in the emotion he felt. He looked like a proud father.
Biff, I am sorry for doubting you. Enjoy the win and the adulation because to coin a phrase "you deserve all the praise that is gonna come you way".
Signed
Your Proud Fan

Friday, August 1, 2008

Happy birthday to an awesome boy!!!


Tomorrow is Nicholas Joynt`s birthday. Nicholas is my sister Monya`s son and he turns 6 tomorrow. I can`t believe how time flies!

Nicholas is the coolest little man. He has given up his ambitions of playing rugby and has now focussed his attention on Martial Arts! I`m sure he is gonna kick some major Kiwi behind one of these days. Mind you, Monya is raising him as a pacifist, so not so sure what the Martial Arts will be used for. Self defence is my guess but then again, what do you defend yourself from in New Zealand?
Whenever we used to phone him on his birthday and ask him what he wanted it was always the same thing... A Surround Sound System.... This from a 3 year old! I think he spent too much time with his Dad.
I was very fortunate to see Nicholas when he was a toddler. I`ll never forget him always come running -and by running I mean crawling very fast - when I was on the internet to Hayley back in SA. I just heard this panting noise drawing closer and closer and then he appeared arms outstretched to get on my lap and play with the computer, just like his Dad (hopefully he`ll get better rhythm than said Father when he grows up - see post on Brian, the Legend). It drove me up the wall!

He has grown into the most awesome little boy. I have been fortunate enough to see him on 3 different times during his life. He is the softest, sweetest little man who really cares for other people. Monya and Brian did a wonderful job in raising him. Monya told me about a little boy in Nicholas`s class who is a bit slower than the rest of the kids. He is obviously a bit different than the other kids and therefore is not really a part of any groups of friends. But, Nicholas is this young man`s friend. Nicholas was the only boy invited to his birthday party a few months back. This came from Nicholas`s teacher, so it`s not a made up thing by an overly proud parent or uncle!!!
So Nicholas, I hope you have a wonderful day and that all your dreams come true!
Lots of love, Faffie and Hayley