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Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Blue and Yellow Labyrinth (aka IKEA)

Went to IKEA today. After 5 hours trapped in that mammoth blue and yellow labyrinth, trying to get past the hordes worshipping at the altar of consumerism, tramping long endless aisles stacked to the sky with dreary brown boxes, my feet hurt. My neck hurts. My back hurts. I hurt!. 

Now my living room and I are drowning under the weight of blue IKEA bags bursting with STUFF, and cardboard boxes filled with other items that someone (mee because handy son is in Uni) will have to put together. 

Why does IKEA have an obsession with DIY? I love the shop and furniture from there, but building it is a huge pain. Sooooooooo, are there any flatpack IKEA 'handy' men out there? I can pay in coffee & cake : )

2 groaning hours later : - 
Hammer, screwdrivers, drill, nails - all the tools of the trade spread forth before me. Tis clearly obvious the living room is under 'refurnishing reconstruction'. (Or should that be deconstruction???) How is it going? BADLY! With numerous unfinished projects spread around, spilling and creeping into insidious corners, it looks like this task will never ever get finished .. *sigh*

Well, the only silver lining in my IKEA cloud, is that the many hours hiking around the store should make up for missing out on my 3-5 mile daily walk – shouldn't they? *giggle

Tuesday, 25 January 2011


Time to confess – I have never understood what the fuss about chocolate is all about. Chocs are okay but nothing special (give me a slice of Jamo bread anyday!)  

For moi, decent chocs have to be solid milk chocolate with only hard nuts allowed as a filling, or alternatively a white chocolate bar. You can keep your soft centres, your caramel, your fruit, your nougats and all the other assorted yucky fillings with which chocolate makers ruin the taste of a nice solid chocolate.

But my taste in guys is very different – I like em to have soft centres. A guy should be solid through and through but with a Christ-driven centre; tough but gentle, strong but caring, determined but not stubborn, a leader but not a tyrant, kind but not a weakling, self-assured but not arrogant, ambitious but not prepared to stomp over everyone to get to where he wants, hardworking but not a workaholic; and above all a man strong enough not to be threatened because a woman is intelligent or/and feisty. 

So no - ‘hard nuts’ looking for a woman to crack, or fruit loops with unstable mood swings, or guys given to physically violent temper outbursts or those who regularly employ the use of harsh, searing, flesh-stripping, soul-destroying words.

I do have an equal ops thing – black, white, yellow, green, red, purple, tall, short, well built, skinny, long hair, bald, locs, it really is what’s inside that’s attractive. A strong character, a great sense of humour, intelligence, a fierce love for God, solid faith, a gentle heart – if a guy has that, who cares whether he is 5’5 or 6’5? 


Monday, 24 January 2011

Naked (1)

Naked = Bare. Exposed. Vulnerable. Real.

Just watched a programme ‘How to look good naked’. The presenter takes an average woman and in a few weeks transforms the woman’s image without surgery or expensive treatments. More importantly, he transforms her wrong image of herself. A decent haircut, clothing that accentuates the figure, but more importantly accepting and loving your body is what makes the difference.

Our naked selves can be the hardest thing for a lot of us to face. If you are young or just have a perfect body, then prancing naked around your room is a breeze; but once age, pregnancy, sag, toil, stretch-marks, weight etc, take their toll, then most women would rather be clothed than seen naked. Often, we don’t even want to look at ourselves naked in a full-length mirror.

Oprah said something once that got my attention – if you can’t bear to look at yourself naked, then how on earth would you be comfortable with having anyone else look at you? I go further and say, if you cannot look at the real you, then how can you ever learn to accept yourself and love the beautiful you that God created and Jesus died for?

So for the last 14 months or so, I have made a point of looking at myself unclothed in a full-length mirror every day. At my very heaviest, that was a very tough call! However, the more I have done so, the more accepting I have become of me, flaws, lumps, bumps and all. Greater acceptance of myself has also meant the more I want to improve me to become the very best I can be. This process of self-examination in the mirror has not made me hate myself or run screaming – rather, it’s actually made me love myself more and also help push me further along my weight-loss journey.

To my Christian married friends, I go a step further. Husband and wife need to get comfortable being bare with each other. How close can a relationship be if a wife insists on the lights turned out and will not have her husband look at her in all her true beauty? How loved does a wife feel if her husband cannot stand to look at her and see that his wife is beautiful and amazing? Those stretch-marks are silvery lines of love where her skin expanded to carry and nourish your beautiful children. If a couple can bare their  bodies before each other, it becomes so much easier to bare their souls and become more entwined emotionally.

Naked is being true to yourself, however, it can also be mega-scary. But jump in with both feet, wipe the dust off that full length mirror and embrace the real unadorned beautiful you.

(Part 2 of this write-up ‘Naked before God’)

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Nkosi Sikeleli Africa (God Bless Africa)

I've been thinking about Africa today - the whole continent and not just the part I come from. There is so much that is beautiful about the continent and I'll forever be grateful that I lived part of my life in one of her countries. I miss the sunshine, the people, the sense of family, of deep roots, the optimism and resilience deep in the hearts of her people. However there is also so much that is wrong; corrupt governments that do not care about their people, elected & unelected officials looting and pillaging so millions are plunged into poverty and despair. 

I decided to go hunt up on You tube the song that was the anthem of the South African 'black struggle' back in the days of Apartheid. Once I saw the translation of the words of 'Nkosi Sikeleli Africa', I knew this is the prayer in my heart for my amazing continent.  

Nkosi Sikeleli Africa (God Bless Africa) 
Lord, bless Africa;

May her horn rise high up;
Hear Thou our prayers And bless us.

Descend, O Spirit,
Descend, O Holy Spirit.

Bless our chiefs
May they remember their Creator.
Fear Him and revere Him,
That He may bless them.

Bless the public men,
Bless also the youth
That they may carry the land with patience
and that Thou mayst bless them.

Bless the wives
And also all young women;
Lift up all the young girls
And bless them.

Bless the ministers
of all the churches of this land;
Endue them with Thy Spirit 
And bless them. 

Bless agriculture and stock raising
Banish all famine and diseases;
Fill the land with good health
And bless it.
Bless our efforts
of union and self-uplift,
Of education and mutual understanding
And bless them.

Lord, bless Africa
Blot out all its wickedness
And its transgressions and sins,
And bless it. 

Tuesday, 11 January 2011


Anyone who knows me well knows I have this 'lil' insomnia 'thing' going. Explains why I am still awake at 05:20am - LOL. I wrote this a few months ago & have it as an FB note. As it still sums up exactly how I feel right now, I thought I should get it  'washed, dried & ironed' again, ready for a fresh outing. xx

Insomnia isn’t anything like sleepless in Seattle.
There’s no cute kid trying to bring together two lonely sleepless hearts.
No long conversations East Coast to West Coast.
No perky blondes or handsome widowers.

Insomnia is a lot more interesting –
It is channel surfing,
book flipping,
bible reading,
prayer thrown in,
tossing & turning in a too-big bed.
Water drinking,
bb web surfing,
loo hopping (see water drinking)
mind scenario jumping (hopping)
but no matter what u do
no eyelid dropping (drooping).

Insomnia is advice begetting,
Concerned friend remedies,
Scoldings & tongue-lashings,
Sympathy & patronising if-you-only-do-this talking:
Down this drink, pop this herbal remedy,
Walk 5 miles, exercise into exhaustion –
Your friends think its all in your mind.
It is mind over matter.

Who has been a sentinel through the endless hours of the night
& watched the skies turn from pitch black to the soft haze of dawn
And then bright light?
Who has sat & hand-held & shoulder-given & gentle hug understood
Who has walked in the shoes of 8 hrs of seeking elusive sleep
Until finally the seeker stops seeking & accepts the sleeplessness

Insomnia is talent
Is hours of writing without stopping
Is ideas flooding
Is 'genius' unfolding

Insomnia is ...

© 2010 Noir

Monday, 10 January 2011

Weight Loss - My journey

I have struggled with my weight since I turned ten. For a skinny child who could not put on a pound no matter how much or little she ate and was regularly dosed with ‘Complan’ & ‘Weight-on’ by my worried momma, puberty hit hard. Bumps, lumps and dumps sprouted, and by the time I was 13, I had ballooned to the great weight of 110 lbs (50kg). It was no consolation that I stayed 110 lbs for the next 7yrs (that my weight-height ratio and BMI were fine) –what mattered was that I was nicely padded. Greatest bane of my life was that my waist was 26inches instead of the 23inch waist most of my friends had.

I look back upon the teenager I was and roll about on the floor laughing! Oh to be 110 lbs again!

Being married & pregnant when I was 20 ended 110 lbs. Forced into bed-rest while 'enciente', I mega-blew up and one healthy great-looking son later, was almost 50 lbs (22.7kg) heavier! Over the next 8 yrs, I proceeded to lose a few pounds and promptly put em and more back on. Divorce and single parenthood probably didn’t help much. Finally I was one round ball of lard & the scales (and fat me) had hit 189 lbs (86kg).

This was until the period I’ll call ‘1st weight loss journey’. Over 6 months of an ad-hoc diet and going to the gym sporadically, the weight fell off. I was down to 144 lbs (65kg) and a size 12. My waist which started out a tape-busting measurement of 38inches finally shrank to 30/31inches. I could live with that. Very happily!

This brilliant state of affairs lasted quite a few years. Then I fell in love, had my heart broken, buried myself in work, and because of my insane working hours, began eating at crazy times & snacking while working. 2yrs of that madness, aided by loads of platefuls of rice, numerous thick slices of hard-dough bread wilting under lashings of butter, forkfuls of pasta smothered in sauce & regular tuck-ins of burgers and fries, and stuffed-crust meat feast pizzas, and the weight fell upon me, embracing my frame with 'loving' glee!

Soon, I was up to 150lbs. I shrugged - c'mon, who can't lose 10 lbs? Slowly the needle on the scale hit 160lbs, then 165lbs, at which point I tossed out those ‘nasty’ scales. So what if my waist was now 34/35 inches and I was a UK size 14, then Size 16? I could lose it all anytime I set my mind to do so. (Great joke hmmmmm!).

I did have very short windows where I tried diets for a few weeks and lost a stone or so but those brief periods of sanity passed all too quickly. Then my job became extra-stressful, I stopped walking anywhere and drove everywhere and as the inches and lbs piled on, I became despondent and comfort ate until the new set of scales hit 189lbs and I was a size 18. I promptly thrashed the new ‘lying’ scales and resolved the problem by buying baggier clothes. *Simples!*

12 months later, 3 chins wobblier, 2 further dress sizes up, I gingerly unwrapped a new set of scales and stepped upon em. After rubbing my eyes to clear my fading eyesight, fishing out my clearly blurred contact lenses to wear my glasses, cleaning afore-said obviously foggy glasses, hopping on the scales a dozen times, gingerly standing on one foot, stripping off all my clothing. I was finally forced to admit/accept/digest the horrible truth. I had shot up to an earth-thundering, mammoth-resembling, stupendous 209 lbs (95kg). I weighed almost as much as TWO of 20yr old me!
Ok, after freaking out and having heart-thumping panic attacks, I finally did the smartest, most sensible thing I’ve ever done re my weight. I took it to God and began praying – hard!

14 months ago, God shook my shoulder one morning and said, “It’s time we get started on losing this weight.”
And thus my new weight-loss journey began. Over the last 14 months, I have lost 55lbs, began going to the gym again after a complete 10yr break, started loving and eating loads of fruit and veg, replaced soda and fruit-juice with copious gallons of water and green tea, walked miles, taken up running (okay, okay, shuffling) and crafted a diet or eating-plan that appears to work for me.

But if that sounds very noble and industrious, I’ll confess that I have slipped loads - I have cheated, stopped exercising too many more times than I care to remember, and last Novermber and December totally threw my eating healthy plan out of the window.

Despite spending the last two months chomping away upon rice and bread (my greatest weaknesses), interspaced with puff-puff and Asaro, the Lord is gracious. I put on about 4lbs, 2 inches round my waist and stomach but was still 51lbs less than I was when I began this trek.

But finally, a few days ago, the Lord was able to break through to my carb-loving, exercise-procrastinating self and I picked up my weight-loss ball again. I’ve lost the 4lbs, whittled away 1 inch off the waist, began walking 5 miles again at least 5 times a week and I head back to the torture chamber (oops Gym) this week.

Today I am 154 lbs (70kg), UK size 12 with a 29.5inch waist. Soooooo, what’s my weight-loss goal? 120lbs, UK size 10 and a 26/27inch waist.

Weight-loss and maintenance is a marathon not a sprint (sadly). It is a life-long journey not a short holiday. I have 34lbs to get to my destination and a life-time to stay there. What helps me walk this road, is the knowledge that God cares about everything that concerns me and it’s a journey where I am carried on His shoulders.
The wistful 20yr old in me would like to see 110lbs again but hey, I’ll be dancing a jig the day I step on those scales and they say 120lbs.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Lady sings the Blues

Is it ok to have a self-pity-woe-is-me-day? 

My weight sucks. My love-life sucks. My Christian life sucks. My house is untidy and needs de-cluttering like yesterday. I need a new kitchen. A new bedroom that feels like a sanctuary. My job is stressful. My finances suck.

Please don’t tell me to feel better. Don’t say the Lord is in control. Don’t ask me to count my blessings and stop complaining.. Just for one minute, be a friend and say “Pele – i feel you. I’ve been there. Hold on, you’ll get through this. God is in control.” See the difference? One response feels glib and patronising and ‘what’s wrong with you ungrateful so and so’. The other response feels like a friend.

“Why are you cast down o my soul? Yet hope in the Lord, He is your strength and salvation.” “Godliness and contentment are great gain.”

Sometimes the Enemy of our souls, our mood, thoughts, circumstances, emotions, can take our eyes off the truth. God loves us and every single part of our lives is crafted into a perfect plan by the greatest master planner. When we get despondent, it’s easy to forget everything the Lord is doing in our lives, to stop seeing all our blessings and to get fixated on what we consider areas of failure.  

So in my blue funk, I had forgotten that I have lost 4lbs in the last week, that Jesus loves me even when I am at my most unlovable, my house just needs some re-organisation and elbow grease, my kitchen and bedroom can’t get done yet but God’s given me a nice warm comfortable house, I have a job I totally love (stresses and all) & I still get to pay my bills and mortgages every month...

And yeah my love-life still sucks!!! LOL

Writer’s Block

I have always loved writing and words. Words fascinate me. Their complexity and beauty, the power to shape ideas and thoughts, create a new vision, transport people into new worlds – words have always been an intimate intrinsic part of me. However, over the past few years, I have suffered a form of writer’s block, a lethargic indolence.  Caught up in my other passion (property development), writing cooled, my pen was downed, thoughts died before they were born, characters were assassinated at infancy.

But, but, a few months ago, the Lord gave me the germ of a new work. Lethargic lazy me got as far as buying a cool looking notebook, 10 brand new biros, I fleshed out the outline, and made numerous visits to Starbucks to let the words flow – hahahahahaha. 

There were numerous cups of White Caffe Mocha with whipped cream drunk, and  loads of cinnamon swirls, fruit bread slices & biscottis 'sacrificed' to sop up the coffee. I consumed 1000’s of calories, read many books, completed numerous crosswords, took up Sudoku, put loads of cash into Starbuck’s tills; but produced less than 500 words!

Then an old friend came to my aid. I had kept a personal blog many years ago which I had saved on a disk and mislaid – until I stumbled across a cache of old saved floppy disks. Anyway, my friend asked to read a couple of entries and came back with a word of encouragement. 

So if this blogs sucks, y’all know who to blame! LOL

New Year

It’s a new year, a new day – does that mean new hope and new beginnings?

I've never been one for making resolutions but I love the boundless hope and optimism with which we all greet a New Year. There is a glimpse of new beginnings, a new dawn, a fresh spring, the opportunity to wipe clean the slate of the previous year, forget old mistakes, walk away from the murk, pain and disappointment of the previous year.

My new year has kicked off with a new blog – yahhhhhyyyyyyy!!!!!