Love is Wealth

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Do you know your purpose in life? Have you figured out yet why you have been put on this beautiful big blue and green speck in a million galaxies?

I think it’s safe to say that Nick Vuijcic sure does. Here is a man, born without arms and legs, that overcame all obscurity and even overcame depression and suicidal thoughts to become one of the biggest motivational speakers on earth. Probably one of the highest paid ones too, but let’s not get into that right now.

On Saturday, a friend and I were lucky enough to receive tickets to watch this man. I was fascinated by his agility, his way of moving around – at one stage whispered to my friend that he must have a very strong core – and his sense of humour. Despite being faced with adversity, he rose above all his stumbling blocks to become an inspiration to others. He is a husband and a father – this man, who was told that he would become nothing in life.

It just made me realise that in this life, we have so much to be grateful for, but yet also so much to learn.

Nick made us do an exercise of writing down the three most important things in your life.

My notes looked like this – I added two more, because while other people have the ability to think more broadly, I just thought singularly:

1.    Flip
2.    Faith
3.    Mom
4.    Mila – my staffie, guys
5.    Health

Nick’s list encompassed faith, family and mission. “My mission and purpose doesn’t need to look like yours, my dreams don’t need to look like yours and you don’t have to look like me.”

He said that if you look at the world, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by its problems – violence, human trafficking, everything, xenophobia, murders, financial struggles – but it all needed to be seen as a form of growing.

He said that fear and pride formed some of the biggest challenges to reach your goals and alluded that you needed to remain centered, accept yourself.

Family is everything

Nick also said that one of the greatest things his parents ever told him was the value of family. “Family to me is so important. My dad had three jobs. . .yet, he always had time to come home and make me feel like one of my best friends in the world.” 

T"here are some people who sacrifice their entire life to give their children opportunities they never had. On one level that is admirable, on the other level I’ve seen people go way far, to the point where they forget to be father’s and husbands and I don’t expect my son to be a good husband to his wife and loyal to his wife until his own father shows loyalty."

Now he made some points that I agreed with very strongly and others that I couldn’t agree with at all.

“Family is more important that education.”
Really though? Can you provide for your family if you are not educated? I’m not referring to buying your kids the latest Playstation or having the biggest tv, but providing them the most basic structures -  a roof over their head, a warm bed to sleep in, a full tummy – aren’t these all privileges of education?

The second statement he made is that family was more important than money. Now this I agree with. If you are going to chase Mammon, instead of building a relationship with your wife, your siblings, your children, then you are on the wrong path. What use is money if your time is always robbed?

He also said that men usually felt that their worth was determined by the amount of money they brought home. “Men, I don’t care how much money you have. What matters is how you speak to your wife and your children.”

If the world wasn’t so money centered, what would it look like today? Would people be able to determine their purpose and their value more easily? If money didn’t exist, would the moral fibre of society not be strengthened?

If anything, this speech made me realise that it was important to find that balance – why care what other people drive, or what brand of clothing they wear, how much their perfumes cost?


If you have love – if you are loved and you love in return – you are the richest human being on the planet.

Love is wealth.

Image via

I don't know how to title this post

Friday, April 17, 2015

On Wednesday, August 13, late afternoon I had a missed call on my phone. I had just come out of a meeting. It was my mom. I phoned back, expecting that the call would be to arrange something for her birthday, which is two days later. "Hallo mommy, how are you"? Not good comes the reply. My mom never answers a question like this. I can hear the tears are welling up, her throat is closing up. Did someone die? Did she put my 14-year old dog to sleep? Is my dad okay?

I have cancer. 

Just writing those three words still feels so surreal. My head goes empty, I feel woozy. No, not cancer. Anything but cancer. I fucking hate cancer. This cannot be happening to MY mother, this should not be happening. I didn't need to ask what sort it was, mom just said I found a lump. My whole world fell apart.

Stay cool, stay calm, stay collected I tell myself while on the phone. For my mom's sake. But as the news sinks in, it hits me hard, I am winded. I broke down. I am lucky that we have a sound studio in our office. I used it as a safeplace to let out all the anger and sadness. "Phone your mother," I text my brother. Why, he replies. "Just phone her," I answer.

Half an hour later he phones. Are you okay, he says. I nod, knowing full well that he cannot see my nod, but I think he knew I was nodding, too heartbroken to speak. "Don't worry, this is not a death sentence. People beat cancer all the time." That's what you think, I think. I know what cancer does to people, I witnessed it with my own eyes. I cannot go through this again, not with my own mother.

Saturday. I saw my mom for the first time since the news. She looks radiant, positive, whereas I am walking with a black cloud above my head, no silver lining. (How do you write about a parent who has cancer and its effects on the people in the wake of this news without seeming utterly selfish and egocentric? I'm not the one with cancer, I'm not the one who has to undergo treatment or who has to get an operation, but it hurts like hell, it kills and eats you inside, steals your joy.) "Don't cry. This will all be over soon," mom says while she envelops me in a hug.

She has her operation to have the lump removed two weeks later. In solidarity, I put pink streaks in my hair as opposed to shaving it off, something I had done at the age of 21, when my aunt was diagnosed with cancer. Even after the procedure, she was positive, she was healthy and she looked good. I had to go overseas. On my return, little foxes started appearing, with their bushy tails on fire and setting alight to the meadow of positivity my mom found herself in.

Smoke was starting to cloud her vision, just like the dark cloud was already blanketing my thoughts for weeks. Mom recounted stories of how people noticed that she was missing a breast. How the woman in her regular grocer would stare at her - why do people do this? Why do they stare at people who look a little different? My sister-in-law confirmed that, even though my mom says she's fine, she really was not fine. "She never leaves the house, even when I ask her to come somewhere with me," she says. I'm fine, mom retorts.

Her first session of chemotheraphy was on a Friday, I take leave from work to be with her and support her through this poisonous hell that has to be willingly injected into her body. Soon she comes out, much sooner than we expected, tears welling in her eyes. "I can't have chemo today, I have an infection. I just want this to be over with, I just want this to end." Her next session is to start in two weeks time, to give the infection from the operation a chance to clear up. The doctor won't risk giving chemo at the same time. Gone is the positive and strong mom I saw earlier. Now reality kicks in.

Fast forward to November 6. Mom has been admitted to hospital and discharged a week later. The chemo did not sit well with her, she wants to quit it. We were also in an attempted mugging and there was a fatal hijacking in our area. It all builds up.

Dad might have cancer.

In this minute, I did not even have the energy to cry. I knew it would come out sometime, but I just didn't have the energy.

I knew there was a lesson to be learnt here somewhere, but I would just like to stop being tested for a day or two. I would like to breathe and not worry about anything. My head just kept on spinning.

By December, my mom had gone through, and thank God survived, another serious stint in hospital. There were talks of blood transfusions and some scary medicines. And then the doctor told my mom that he would not continue with chemotherapy as it will kill her before the cancer does. If the cancer did.

It was a four-month wait, but this week my mom went back to the doctor's office and she was clean! There was no trace of cancer in her body. And I have to say that even though she lost some of her hair and shaved her head before everything could fall out, I have never seen anyone look more fabulous with a pixie cut than my mom.

I praise God for healing her, because it was only through His grace and love that she is now stronger, sexier and healthier than ever. To God be all the glory!

 {Image from this Etsy Shop}

Most Unusual Places To Visit in SA

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

I once read a quote that stated “If travel was free, you would never see me again” – and oh how this rings true for me. I was born with wanderlust, which gave my poor parents many of their grey hairs, as I would always wander off - be it in the Pick n Pay when mom bought groceries, or when we went to visit my godparents gamefarm. I could explore for hours!

In fact, my wanderlust is so bad that my husband often likes to tease me. “When I go on holiday somewhere, my idea is to relax, sleep late, watch some tv, swim, just chill and you know, have a holiday. When my wife goes on holiday, it’s not a holiday, it’s an expedition. Every morning, we have to get up early and drive and see everything there is to see.”

I was recently asked about which unusual places I would visit in South Africa, it wasn’t long before I knew exactly which towns and cities I would splurge on and book a flight for! The problem is that there are sooooo many places I would love to go to or have been to that I had to arrange it somehow. Thus, here is my list of the must see unusual places in our beautiful country – by province.

Northern Cape
Now, hear me out. Usually when people say Upington, the first thing that pops into people’s heads – my own head until recently – is a big whole lotta nothing and dust. Wrong!

Did you know that Upington is in fact next to the Orange river? And that only 120 km outside this nowhere dorpie, you would find the Augrabies Falls? Just imagine camping under the stars on Mars, but still being able to breathe – well that’s what this arid district promises.

{Augrabies pic via

I wonder if the people of Nelspruit even know the beauty of their surroundings? Now, it might not be such an unusual place to go, as it does get a lot of the Kruger National Park traffic, but it’s what is around Nelspruit that makes this town in the lowveld a must visit. There are daytrips in every direction and so many waterfalls to see.

About 30 km in every direction you will find the most spectacular little towns. Sabie, with its rainforests and romantic lodges is one of my favourite places in the country. Make sure to check out the super romantic Timamoon – I’ve heard of quite a couple of proposals here, but it could also double as a sexy kickstart to a honeymoon.

You can also visit the Sterkfontein caves. But an absolute must see is Kaapsehoop. The town with about 120 people, has the only wild horse population in the country, and gosh are they beautiful!

Just outside Lydenburg, you’ll find Forest Creek Lodge, where you can stay in a loghut and take a bath in the middle of a forest or order a picnic basket.


Mpumalanga is by far the most romantic province in our country.

Western Cape
Skip the obvious and head down the coast towards Namibia. Little towns like Velddrif, Yzerfontein, Saldhana and Paternoster, with its charming fishermen village vibes, cheap and delicious lobster and vast stretching beaches – I’m thinking Yzerfontein in particular here, you will not regret exploring this region.

If you are feeling even more adventurous, head inland to Donkieskraal in the Sandveld.


St Lucia – which means the bay of light – is one of those place that never leave you. It’s a paradise for those who love both the sea and the bushveld, as it is one of the world’s scuba diving gems, but also has the St Lucia game reserve right on its doorstep. And, when you make it through the reserve, you will end up in idyllic Cape Vidal.

If you head in the opposite direction, you will find the little town of Pennington, nestled between Port Shepstone and Scarborough. From here, you are also left with a number of daytrip options, such as the spectacular Oribi Gorge. If you have an insatiable taste for adrenaline and adventure, you should try the big swing, or bungee jump. You can also camp out in the gorge, and gaze at the trillions of stars. Just don’t go sleepwalking.

Further inland, you will also find the Jozini Dam, which has been likened to the Caprivi delta, in the Zambezi. I have only driven past here on the way to Mozambique, but it looked like a place I must visit, with its lodges built against the steep dam wall. 

{Cape Vidal}

Eastern Cape
As remote as can be, this province absolutely has my heart. One of its most charming towns is Hogsback, a place that is at the top of my bucket list to see in South Africa, followed closely by Coffee Bay – you know, the Hole in the Wall. I have heard so many stories about the fantastic backpackers in the old Transkei that I cannot wait to pack my bags and explore the laid back towns.

{Hogsback pic via}

Forget about the Waterberg and head as far north as you can before heading into Zimbabwe. You will find the old Venda, and the very unusual Thohoyandou. Besides being the town where the Venda king built his palace, you will also find the Khoroni Casino, for those who like to play a little.

I would recommend this town for the most adventurous travelers and bushveld lovers.

For the Free State, I would recommend visiting Parys, right next to the Vaal River, or visiting the Golden Gate Nature Reserve, just outside Clarens. The reserve looks like it is from another planet!

In Gauteng, you must definitely check out the Tswaing Nature Reserve, where a crater fell a bazillion years ago. It is one of the oldest meteor sites in the world and well worth the visit, even if it is just for a hike.

So cancel your already planned trip to the popular spots and explore the unknown! Get to know the spaces in between that make South Africa truly unusual.

Don't stop there, there's an entire continent to explore just north of here!

{Tanzania pic via}

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