Friday, January 24, 2014

On Purpose

I have noticed, that more and more I am hearing the same question from different people:

When I asked Google this question, I got 1,1 billion results! Seems like it's not just the people around me who are seeking answers. So what does it really mean? Purpose. Again, I turned to my best friend, Google who instantly responded with:

"The reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists"

I have amended that to my own, less broad, definition of

"The reason for which someone was created. The reason for that person's existence"

Many people seem to be struggling to find their life's purpose and have not succeeded. This has lead to emotional downward spiraling, depression, discontentment with their lives and those around them, lack of direction and worst of all, stagnation. Human beings, when faced with uncertainty, seem to stay rooted to the spot, fearfully awaiting "a sign" or confirmation of their decision, or they retreat to safer, more solid ground, where their confidence gets a boost, due to familiarity. Very few stray from the beaten path and forge their way into the unknown. People are turning to spirituality and questioning their God - why am I here?  I must admit I have never asked myself this question because the answer has always seemed so simple and clear to me.

Everybody has been put on earth for the same reason - to use their special qualities for positive results by giving of their time, intellect, energy and love to make the world a better place, whilst experiencing as much as possible in a limited space of time (a lifetime). The only difference is HOW each person does this. The goal is the same, the method is up to you. Here is an example:

An intellectual, using his aptitude for medicine, might conduct a clinical trial proving how to reduce recovery time after a medical procedure and publish the results thereby educating health care professionals on the breakthrough. A stay-at-home-mom who loves baking, might spend her time testing favourite muffin recipes and share the best ones on her blog. The mom requires a procedure and her doctor utilises a new method to reduce her recovery time. She is delighted to be discharged sooner than expected. The intellectual needs to unwind and decides to have some fun and bake muffins with his children. Google is consulted for a foolproof muffin recipe...... and these two lives are both enriched by the other.

Simplistic example. Each person is giving of their time, intellect, energy and love, while doing what they enjoy. Extrapolate that out to the global population and you have a whole lot of focused, positive energy! 

Do what you LIKE doing
This may seem obvious, but there are a lot of people doing things they don't like to do. Obviously there are chores and responsibilities like paying bills that nobody likes doing, but is 80% of your life filled with things that you like doing?  If you don't know what you like doing, write a list or start Googling fun things to do and keep at it until you find things to fill your list. Nobody can do this for you. Each person's list will be very different and personal.
Your purpose is to enjoy your life

Be who you are - all the time
Again, seems obvious, but if you are pretending, even a little, you are not fulfilling your purpose. If you have to lie to other people because you are too embarrassed or afraid of judgement, then you are eating away at your very being. If you are in any way uncomfortable with what you're doing, it is not who you are and you should change it. Make plans to talk to someone to help you if you need support.
Your purpose is to be true to who you are

Never sell your soul
We've all heard that we should turn our hobbies into a job or do what you love doing as a career. Great if you can get that right, but for most, that advice is just not practical. However, never take (or remain in) a job where you are not valued and treated with dignity and respect, no matter what your position. If you don't like your job at least 80% of the time, move on. If you feel that tightening feeling in your stomach when you see the office, it's time to start "looking around." Even if the money is less, unless it is critical to your survival (you and your family will starve on the salary) make changes that will allow you to enjoy your job and which will fill you up, not add to your stress.
Your purpose is to feed your soul

If you have children, they are your purpose! It might be a real wake-up call but "finding your purpose" is not all about YOU! It is your purpose to nurture, protect, hug, kiss, cuddle, teach, guide, encourage, share, laugh with and love your children, while allowing them to make mistakes and become the best person they can be. It is your purpose to identify and grow their strengths and support them and show them how to overcome their weaknesses.
Your purpose is to cherish and guide your children and be proud of who they become

Friends, family and loved ones
Connecting with your partner is your purpose. A happy, loving home takes commitment and a lot of time, that is your purpose. Keeping in contact with your support structure and being a support structure is your purpose. Sometimes a hug, a phone call, a Skype chat or a few texts is all you need to lighten a loved ones load, making them able to face their challenges, that is your purpose.
Your purpose is to listen to and connect with loved ones in a non-judgemental manner

You do not need to save the world!
People think too big and get overwhelmed and then, as previously mentioned, stop dead in their tracks. For example, I don't mean to burst your bubble, but the chances are quite high that you're not going to be the next Madiba, BUT you can emulate him and help people like he did. By "helping" you don't need to suddenly volunteer at a children's home every afternoon (that would be great, but not if that doesn't resonate with you or your children are stranded at soccer practise because you've over-committed.) Start small. Let someone into the traffic, Help an old lady carry her shopping, offer to get provisions for your next-door-neighbour who isn't feeling well, take a friend's kids to the park.
Your purpose is not HUGE, your purpose is to make a daily positive difference in someone's life

We share this earth and energy with 7 billion people, all of whom share the same purpose. As mentioned above, the only difference is HOW we achieve that purpose and that's where individuality, personality and creativity come into the equation. Stop looking for a physical thing or job or path to be your purpose and listen to yourself, that little voice inside your head. Ask yourself some basic questions - what makes me smile? What makes me feel good? What makes me feel proud? What makes me laugh? What do I do that makes other people smile? What fills my soul? What excites me? When you have answered those questions, you have discovered your PASSION. Once you have discovered your passion or your gift or your talent, you need to share it with others. It is important to note that your purpose may not be mind-blowing......  your passion may be in gardening or singing or sewing or playing tennis.

Share your passion. Ever noticed how excited you get when you talk about your passion. Teach someone how to grow herbs, join a choir, teach children how to serve a tennis ball. Don't procrastinate, start sharing your gift today! That is your purpose.

It is that simple!

If you are STILL confused -
  • Your purpose is to GIVE of yourself
  • Your purpose is to use your personal talents 
  • Your purpose is to inspire others
  • Your purpose is to leave the world better than you left it
  • Your purpose is to feel a part of this world
  • Your purpose is to tap into your spirituality
  • Your purpose is to bring up well-rounded, loving, giving children who respect themselves
  • Your purpose is to be who YOU are and not what somebody else wants you to be
  • Your purpose is to help others who are further behind you on life's path
  • Your purpose is to stop being scared and start living
  • Your purpose is to have fun. A lot of fun.
  • Your purpose is to love
  • Your purpose is to experience as much as you possibly can during one lifetime 
  • Your purpose is right in front of you, acknowledge it and grab it with both hands
  • Your purpose is to be the best you that you can be and share it

If you have read this far, you may have guessed that I am fulfilling my purpose. My passion is "getting my teeth" into a subject, researching it and writing about it. Hopefully it gives the readers some food for thought and provides some clarity on the topic. I do not need the reader to agree with all my opinions (some of them are strong) but if you have read this far, I have fulfilled my purpose for this post. x

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Salad in a Jar

Oh boy am I excited!!

Remember me being all bummed out about convenience and how I'd never have it again if I try to be a bit more healthy by avoiding pre-packed and processed foods? Well along came a post on my Facebook newsfeed and it had all the things I wanted - quick, easy, delicious, cost effective and healthy AND it was slimming as well - *bonus*. What am I going on and on about? It's called "salad-in-a-jar". Seriously it couldn't be more descriptive than it is! It is...... wait for it....... a SALAD.IN.A.JAR!

Basically you get a glass jar (in my case a beetroot one) and put your favourite salad dressing at the bottom and then you layer it potjie style!! After the dressing you add non-absorbing stuff like cheese, cucumber, lentils, beans, seeds, nuts etc (croutons wouldn't work very well!) and then you add the rest, like meat (I added roast chicken) or anything left over from dinner that would be considered salady (e.g. couscous, rice, even curry) finishing with the leafy stuff like lettuce or spinach. You cram it in and shut the lid tight and pop it in the fridge ready for work or any rushed lunch-on-the-go. I LOVE IT!

What's even more amazing is that you can make 7 salads-in-a-jar for the whole week, in one go, when energy strikes (with 3 children you really need to take advantage because it doesn't strike as often as it used to!) In order to stick to my eating plan I have to prepare ahead of time because if I'm not prepared and get too busy I end up eating everything that's not nailed down in a starvation-induced feeding frenzy. So making salad is a mission especially in winter when my hands freeze. So this is perfect for the lazy food preparer - do it once and it's done for the week.

But won't lettuce wilt and go slimy? No! Because the dressing doesn't reach it, it stays crisp and delicious and due to the glass container, it lasts so much better than in a Tupperware. Also, we like glass because plastic releases toxins and although plastic is really handy, we are trying to limit the use of it. So lazy time-challenged people like me, can make lunches for the whole week and line them up enticingly in the fridge. Now this is something I can work with!

So I immediately set to work [actual meaning - I saw Hubby making a salad and told him about my new discovery and he made me one - gotta love a man who knows his way around a kitchen!] We were having a chicken salad for dinner so he just popped some in a jar, it looked so delish. I often have salad for lunch that was made the night before and in a Tupperware it never looked so inviting. This darn jar was tormenting me - "Eat me!!!" it was screaming! Normally the only food screaming at me to eat it, is chocoate, so this was a pleasant surprise!

This is my salad-in-a-jar

Salad dressing on the bottom (homemade awesomeness with honey, balsamic vinegar, plain yoghurt and mustard) then carrots, cucumber, red pepper, tomato, roast chicken and lastly lettuce. Admittedly I was running out of the homemade dressing because I ate most of it at dinner, so it looks a little sparse in these photos, but I'm sure you get the picture.

And it became this after I dumped it out into my bowl :)

This salad in a jar making was completely unplanned and we didn't have any exotic ingredients like nuts, seeds and feta - but not too shabby for a first try!

This is where I got the idea Salad in a Jar and she's got some great combinations if you want to try.

Now I'm off to eat some more beetroot as I only have 3 empty jars and that's not going to make me a week's worth of lunches!

Saturday, January 11, 2014


Today I was so proud of Tomato. She made her "famous Tomato cups" (self-named sweet treats made with a Tennis biscuit, honey, ice-cream cone cups and a chocolate egg) and went door-to-door in our complex flogging them so that she could make money to buy a teddy at our local hangout. Tomato has always been a shy child and her skin condition has exacerbated the problem, so I was thrilled that she went out and did this all on her own.

When she returned a storm was brewing so I suggested that we go get the teddy tomorrow - this suggestion was met with wild screaming (ah the joys of parenthood *sigh*). Once I had calmed her down she explained that she had promised the teddy that she would come TODAY to get him and she couldn't break a pinky-swear promise with a teddy! Hmmm that put me into a bit of a quandary. Were  we being played or not? Hubby and I decided, not. This decision could have been swayed by the awesome coffee at said hangout which we would get to enjoy even if it was raining, but we finally went with the reasoning that we are just being awesome, kind, understanding and loving parents.

We got to the place and purchased the bear (which was anxiously waiting for us), thank goodness we were able to "do right" by her teddy pinky promise. We ordered a BIG coffee and Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato went out to play in the rain-washed playground and all was right in the world............ until they returned having had a BALL!!

We had to laugh! We want our kids to "go play outside" we want them to get away from the TV and computer screens, we want them to do more running around, playing and "earthing". Be careful what you ask for!! Fortunately Lettuce was only wet as his idea of "earthing" was steering clear of the mud and simply jumping in every puddle he could find!

Note to self: next time, specify for them not to do this while wearing their new used to be white fairy dresses!! Lol


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

New Year's Revolution

Hello and welcome 2014!

A new year just wouldn't feel right if you didn't have at least ONE New Year's Revolution [no that's not a typo, they should be called New Year's Revolutions because they seem to revolve and return the following year, like a boomerang, having done a full revolution but getting nowhere - eat less, exercise more, drink less, blah blah blah... but I digress.....]

My revolution for this year is to do better than last year and make healthier choices for me and my family. As much as I hate all this natural cr*p, there are such strong links between additives, preservatives and chemicals to the increase of so many illnesses that I can't ignore it anymore. I have to do it for the sake of my kids (especially Tomato) and myself, so that is my plan, I'll keep you posted on my findings, shock horrors and irritation of not using the convenient stuff (boy I love the convenient stuff *sigh*).

Last year I was chatting to a friend of mine in Australia on Skype. We both use a LOT of words so after about an hour and a half chatting away, we suddenly realised that it was something like 1.30 in the morning for me! We discussed how we are both obsessed with media and information and basically using screens to connect with the outside world and that got me thinking......  [always a problem when I start thinking]. So, without thinking it through, I ludicrously blurted out the suggestion to her that we make a pact to not use any screens for the first week of January between 7pm and 7am. Google was taking over our lives and reducing our communication with real people and we were both sleep-deprived due to our addiction! Well, not to be small, I got all excited and said something even more stupid [as you do when you get really excited and are not thinking clearly at 1.30am] I challenged her to not only the first week of January, but the first week of EVERY month in 2014. What the hell was I thinking???

It was late early so we said goodbye and that was that. [no it wasn't].  2014 was months away. [no it wasn't].

The new year loomed and the little voice in the back of my mind was whispering "hypocrite" every time I took the iPad away or turned the TV off and told my children "you've had too much screen time today." So I decided (and of course when I decide, Hubby gets thrown in with my hair-brained schemes) that we're always limiting screen time for the kids,so we should put our money where our mouths are and do the same - eeeeek!!!

Let me clarify what "screen time" means - ANYTHING with a screen e.g. PC, laptop, TV, cell phone, iPad, iPod eeeeeek again! To garner support from my friend, I texted her to remind her of the deal and she seemed hesitant, her hubby was not keen. "Not keen" was an understatement for my Hubby the super-geek who spends every waking moment glued to a screen of sorts. He gave me a pained expression when I laid out my not so well-thought out plan, but the good sport that he is, he agreed to go along with my latest scheme. But wait, he had a condition...... no fighting!  Haha was that all? No problem, we hardly ever fight, game on!

Now the only problem that I have, is curiosity. [Ok so that's not my only problem, but let's not go into that here!!!]  So I knew that I was really going to battle with the *pling* of my instant chats, knowing that I was not allowed to look at them the instant that they sounded. That was going to really bug me. However I did not tell family and friends beforehand because I have a large group of depraved family and friends with a warped sense of humour (you know who you are)  who would love to torture me by sending me constant messages, knowing I was being driven crazy by the unanswered *pling* and the tormenting little red BlackBerry light [yes I am a slave to the little red light! There I've said it OK???]

Of course there had to be some ground rules. We were only allowed to use a screen to enter appointments into our calendar, look at the time (my BB is my watch) or if we had urgent, unexpected work that we were unable to complete in the day due to spending time with the family. Oh yes, and of course, no fighting.

Day One
Heated debate (not a fight, a debate)
We both started reading books! Like the ones made out of paper - seriously!

Day Two
Full on BIG fight (oops!)
In bed by 11pm

Day Three
Too tired to fight, in bed by 10pm!

Day Four
Sat chatting late into the night

Day Five
I had to work for an hour and then we went to bed early

Day Six
I had to do quite a lot of work so hubby got to read

Day Seven
Had to change from 8pm to 8am as Hubby was working late and we needed to text each other to see what was happening. Once home we sat chatting for hours until we realised it was 1am and went to bed.

The Result
The first week ended last night and it has been a huge eye-opener (someone moved my cheese) but after a day or two I wasn't chomping at the bit to check my emails and messages. As a matter of fact I even forgot to check them in the morning after 7! To be fair it is still pretty much holiday-mode everywhere so I wasn't too concerned that I was getting an urgent mail, that the world would go into a holding pattern, if I didn't react to urgently! And surprisingly I received very few messages during that time, so the *plinging* was kept to a minimum. It also helped that I left my phone upstairs, out of earshot.

What surprised me was that I had to find other things to do and I got to read almost 100 pages of my book that I started and discarded years ago. Hubby and I reconnected in a more meaningful way because we were forced to talk more, instead of both passing out in front of our seperate screens which we use as down-time from a hectic day. We got to bed much earlier (most nights) because Google wasn't tempting us to do more and more and more.

The downside (and my friend in Oz also battled with this) is that if you devote your whole day to your children and their needs, the quiet evenings are the only time you have to get things done, like make payments, send important mails (in my case, do some uninterrupted work!) or just relax and check out Facebook. The fact that I was unable to have screen time, did not make the screen time business go away, it just reduced the amount of time I spent in front of the screen and now I'm catching up on all the things I couldn't do like medical aid claims etc.

But we will learn as we go and hopefully this working-from-home-stay-at-home-be-everything-to-everybody-mom will learn to juggle this extra complexity and be mindful of the time she spends in front of a screen instead of looking after herself, by getting sufficient zzzzzzz and eating real food. We're off to a good start - this as our afternoon tea, supplied by Hubby!

Talking about Hubby, I must admit that I didn't find him cheating on the no-screen-time challenge, not even once, although I did see him gazing longingly at the alarm-system screen for longer than usual...... hee hee!

Have a happy, healthy, earthy 2014!!