Monday, 27 January 2014

{ lessons } from my inspiration

On the first page of my 2014 diary, I stuck a photograph of a young lady, sitting on the half wall of a chalet in the Kruger National park - ironically the place I've been calling home for the last 6 years...

The same lady features in a frame on my desk in my craft room. In this picture she is older and holds me - both of us with bed hair and clothed in our pajamas, taken one early morning on a farm somewhere...

The lady in both photographs is my beloved grandmother who sadly passed away 7 years ago... She surely is my biggest inspiration in life in so many ways, and although I miss her every day and think of her fondly and relive memories of her often - this post is not meant to be sad - as it is an absolute celebration of her life and the way she lived. And there are some lessons in it for all of us.

Ouma lived fearlessly - not scared of anything. No wonder, if you know that her favourite Bible verse was Isaiah 41 verse 10. { lesson 1 } Don't be afraid to live life. You only have one.

She kept us all on her toes as with Ouma you just never knew what was coming next but it was sure gonna be adventurous. { lesson 2 } Be adventurous. Close your eyes. And jump.

One night we were driving from somewhere and I dropped something in the car - to my rescue, Ouma hauled a torch from her handbag... I was baffled because for what odd reason would anyone carry a torch in their handbag... Today I carry a little torch in my handbag - in case of emergencies. And boy has that little torch come in handy at the most unexpected times. { lesson 3 } Carry a torch in your handbag; you never know when you are going to need it.

Every week Ouma bought every single magazine on the market. From Keur (today it's called Vrouekeur!), to Sarie and Rooi Rose, and religiously the Huisgenoot. When she was done reading them she gave them to me... I'm sure she just looked at the pictures, 'cos they were there just too quick to have been read from cover to cover. Today I buy 8 magazines every month (blush)... Tuis, Idees, Leef, Good Housekeeping, Women's Health, Marie Claire, House & Leisure, Elle Decoration. Sigh. I do have a problem. { lesson 4 } You can never buy too many magazines. (Maybe it's got something to do with my lack of self-control?!) { CLICK HERE if you missed it! }

Ouma was also the baker in town. Not only in town. In life. She could make anything your heart desired or mouth watered for. And if it was something completely new to her, she would still go out and make it. I remember how I wanted Petit fours and Ouma couldn't even pronounce it, let alone know what it was. But I showed her a picture and she tried. And although it was an epic fail and I had to settle for cupcakes, there was a valuable lesson in that to me. { lesson 5 } Try everything. At least once.

But the greatest lesson of all, lies in Ouma's love for the Lord. She loved Him more than life itself. Even through her sickness in the end, He truly was her Beginning and End. And to me that is my biggest inspiration: that I would love Him the way she did. { lesson 6 } Love God with all that you have. Put Him first. In everything. 

I have sweet and fond memories of her: the Madeira cake she always baked me, making Krimpvarkies when I came for a visit, her sitting at the dining room table surrounded by a thousand dictionaries, doing her crossword puzzle and how she would let me look up words for her, the Sweet Peas in her garden (still my favourite flower). No one can ever replace her but I feel super blessed as her only granddaughter because every morning when I look in the mirror, there are two blue eyes that stare back at me, and they are the same blue, as hers was... Maybe slightly darker but I would like to believe they are the same.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Miss Ele... {life} before Miss Milly

There is a reason I love living where I live... and it's { baby elephant }. There is something adorable about them. And to watch them as they discover life with their tiny trunks... is something that fills you with absolute awe. Or maybe that's just me.

I've had the privilege (and still have it, if not weekly, then at least every other week) to come across a herd with babies. And I will almost always stop, even just for a little while. In this little while, while I watch them, I always contemplate how I would be able to fit one in my car's boot... and then I dream of taking care of it at home, giving it cuddles and riding on it when it's grown. And somehow always someone has to burst my bubble: "But babe, what about it's mommy? She will miss it..." Usually Mark, ever-conservationist and realist - will bring me back to my ordinary life.

So this incredible love and fascination for not just baby elephant, but all elephants grew much when I moved here. Maybe I read Kringe in 'n Bos (Circles in a Forest) by Dalene Matthee one too many times. As the main character, Saul Barnard, and Oupoot, the legendary elephant bull had a "strange, mystical kinship" and Oupoot made appearances when Saul faced suffering - I too felt that in times of hardship, the Lord would send me an elephant... Whether it is real or just my imagination - it is what I would like to believe...

So when I just started off with serious crafting, I decided to call my business Miss Ele... And although my heart is still with the elephants, Miss Ele has made room for Miss Milly - go and visit her and fall in love with her on Facebook @ Miss Milly.

Monday, 13 January 2014

{ self-control } - the biggest word in my dictionary for 2014

I have always had a problem with self-control.

Apparently there was a marshmallow-experiment (my kind of experiment!) done in the 70's at the Stanford university in California. It involved three hundred 3 - 5 year olds and they did a series of studies on delayed gratification (NOT my kind of experiment anymore!). Every little one got the choice: you can immediately get one marshmallow or you can wait and get two. I mean really? That's plain mean. What is all boiled down to was your success as an adult...

If my parents allowed me to take part in such an experiment I would have taken them to court. {Evidence of no self-control}. Secondly, I would have insisted on a marshmallow now AND later. {More evidence of no self-control}.

According to Wikipedia the word { self-control } is the ability to control one's emotions, behavior and desires in order to obtain some reward, or avoid some punishment. In psychology it is sometimes called self-regulation. Self-control is essential in behavior to achieve goals and to avoid impulses and/or emotions that could prove to be negative. Big words for me! 

When I started my research for this blog post (please don't get excited and think that ALL my posts get researched! Sometimes the only '"research" involved is Googling and Pinterest...), I didn't realize how much could come from simply typing "self-control meaning" into the Google Chrome omnibox...

Self-control, or rather my lack thereof, has been an issue for me for as long as I can remember but lately its just been weighing heavily on my heart to actually, actively DO something about it... The Free Dictionary has probably the best description of them all { self-will }: Stubborn adherence to one's own will, desires, etc. and that's exactly what I am - STUBBORN. Full stop. Non-negotiable.

So towards the end of last year, when I pulled on my skinny jeans and looked in the mirror (don't know about the other ladies but that's how I get dressed: first the bottom part, look in the mirror, face-palm, then top part, look in the mirror, raised eyebrow) and there it was: a muffin top that would make a Mugg & Bean muffin green with envy! It's unfortunately part of my genes I could easily say 'cos Ouma Hartman was more of a mosbolletjie than a plank - and our genes make it sit right around the tummy area... or I could just really admit to it; NO self-control. And that was it for me! I admitted I have a problem and decided to really take control of my stubborn adherence to my bizarre eating habits and do something about it. The things is that I don't eat so much, I just eat the wrong things at the wrong time. I will be busy at home at night and realise at 21:00 that I haven't eaten something, and out of pure laziness I would have cereal for dinner. And a chocolate for breakfast.

Trust me when I say that it didn't come easy. Who in their right mind decides in the silly season, the time of trifles and turkey, to start living a healthy life? Well I decided to. And here's what I did:
* Stopped taking tea in my sugar.
* Stocked up on healthy snacks - there was not a single chocolate in my fridge, nor a hint of chips in the pantry. Fruit in the fridge and nuts in the pantry.
* I made most of my main meals salad.
* I tripled my water intake.
* When I felt like something, I ate it - but in moderation.
* And I prayed about self-control. A lot.

And that was all it took!!! Last week I pulled on my pair of skinnies and looked in the mirror. And looked again. And it was gone! I couldn't believe it. I think that I am one of a lucky few that doesn't have to start the new year with a diet. I will simply continue with my healthy life.

Self-control will therefore be the biggest word in my dictionary for 2014. Because I also have a problem with Ipanema flip-flops, Mongoose handbags, the list goes on... And as I conquer them one by one, I will keep you posted. And motivated.

Now excuse me while I go have a marshmallow. Or two :p They are calling me from the pantry! NOT!!!

Monday, 6 January 2014

welcome to the world {of words} Miss Milly!

My dearest Miss Milly,

Welcome to our beloved world of words. A place where magic happens. And sometimes... when you add a bit of glitter to the world of words... it sets itself in stone.

There is no apparent or even remotely logic reason why I would even consider blogging. Especially not at my age. But I suppose my eternal love for words, reading, and writing caught me off guard and I had a momentary lapse of sanity. And the fact that I had too much data and stumbling upon a lovely blog post on {Trust} by CityGirlSearching. Roxy Hutton pushed me right over the edge with that post into the world of blogging!

The name Miss Milly is actually the name of my craft business. {Turned blog business it seems...} Miss Milly used to be Miss Ele but that's a story for a different day! So when I decided to 'go live' with Miss Ele I thought long and hard when I came across the inspiring Nadia vd Mescht and her need for change. And I was more than just inspired!

All I knew that my new name had to suit my desire to use my God-given creative talents to the best of my ability. Not knowing what name to choose I prayed about it. I knew I wanted it to start with Miss but the name eluded me. Different names came up but nothing sounded right. And then it came: Miss Milly! I jumped onto Google and I discovered the meaning: Servant for the temple. And that was how Miss Milly was born.

Miss Milly is about
birds and the beauty of vintage
craft and being happy
washi tape and wood
hearts and handmade
pastel and pretty
owls and foxes

It's all about {pink} ice cream!
And above all God.

Go and visit her on Facebook at Miss Milly.

Here's to the { blog } and all my future follower(s) :p Be patient as this grows with me and my ancient HTML skills - but do stick around 'cos I will make it worth your while! For once a week I will transport you to a magical place of happiness <3

Theresa aka Miss Milly