November 2015 archive

Music Monday: Matt Redman – Unbroken Praise {GIVEAWAY!}

Last week I reviewed Matt Redman’s latest offering, Unbroken Praise. I found this album to be mellow on the ear but lyrically “kapow! kapow! kapow!” As part of their Big Christmas Giveaway, Gateway News will be giving away a copy of this top notch singer/songwriters album. Winners anounced next Thursday on their Facebook page. Here is a snippet of the review and instructions on how to enter: 
>>> “Prolific worship leader and singer-songwriter, Matt Redman, released his 9th studio album, Unbroken Praise, in June 2015, much to the delight of fans. Redman, well known for his contribution to the Passion Conference worship team, is somewhat of a worship maverick, not conforming to any particular sound or genre, but rather forging his own niche from album to album. This latest offering confirms just that. The album is neither here nor there, but is still very in season, with songs that are filled with passion and heart.  
In an interview, Redman explained that the album came out of his need to do something different than his last few albums. “I’ve recorded a couple of live album’s in a row now…they’ve both been in Atlanta, but we got talking and we thought it would be nice to do something in my homeland, in England. Then we got talking about where, and the No. 1 place on my list was Abbey Road, and I had no clue whether we could make that happen or not,” Redman explained. “There’s just a fantastic orchestral room there, which by the way you can fit 400 people in there. I was wondering if we could actually do that. Through a series of twists and turns it actually happened. It was a real joy to be in one of the world’s most iconic recording studios having church.”
I found the album really easy to listen to. Redman has the ability to effortlessly take the listener along with him, as he enters into a sweet time with the Lord…”<<<
For  your chance to win a copy of this album, check out the entire Gateway News review and scroll to the bottom, for instructions. 

So what’s up with Black Friday? {True Story}

Black Friday

Pic taken from My Merry Christmas

I don’t know about your part of the globe but my Port Elizabeth is going cray cray right now. Some of our bigger stores are running Black Friday promotions. People have been queuing up for daysss (exaggerating a tad bit) and I’m pretty sure the malls are jam packed right now.

It got me thinking: what’s up with Black Friday? I mean… why? We know that it originated in America. But what does the name “Black Friday” mean? So I Googled and cross checked my sources and dug a bit deeper and this is what I found:

The truth behind Black Friday
Some people believe that Black Friday got it’s name from American retailers. These business owners supposedly gave it the nickname after anticipating the move of profits that were “in the red” to “in the black” (after Thanksgiving). But that’s not the entire story though.

Apparently the term “Black Friday” was first used in 1869 when 2 greedy financiers, Jay Gould and Jim Fisk, bought up all the nation’s gold supply, in order to up it’s price and sell it at a huge profit. This resulted in the market crashing and hundreds of people losing their lives savings.

The term popped up again in the 1950’s in Philadelphia when police offers started using it to refer to the day after Thanksgiving. The American holiday saw hordes of people flooding the city’s shopping district before the yearly Army-Navy football game, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Because of this police officers were forced to work on that day. So it has always been a pretty bleak time for them, thus dubbed “Black Friday.”

The mixing was remixed when merchants jumped in to claim it as a day that they would run specials. It was changed to “Big Friday”, but that did not stick. “Black Friday” soon spread all across America and gave birth to other shopping days, such as Cyber Monday and Gray Thursday. Stores try to capitalize on the Thanksgiving holiday by keeping it’s doors open, much to the dismay of it’s workers. Shame.

So, there you have it. My pleasure.

Throwback Thursday: Re-introducing Eliza Foogle

I’ve been blogging for many years.
I think 1Direction still attended primary school when I created this account.
But I did not start off as a “public blogger”. In fact, I only started sharing my posts via social media at the beginning of this year, when I blogged about breastfeeding and thought that other moms would appreciate my positive angle on it.

The more I think about it, the more I realize how down I was on myself, with regards to writing.
I mean, I wanted to write. I wanted to be a writer. But I did not deem myself worthy enough.
Even after my great revelation in 2011 where I realized that all I need to do to be a writer is to WRITE (so profound hey) I still held myself back, with doubt and negative “stinking thinking”.

I had started writing my first book in 2008 (I mentioned it here) – a quirky story about a nerdy teenager, Eliza Foogle, who, just like me, had the most randomest life ever. But alas, as with most things I start, I lost vooma. I mean, I had a lot going on in my life. So my focus shifted and I kinda just ditched the project.

And then after my “great writers revelation” I tried to pick up where I left off and wrote another chapter or 2. I decided to post it on my blog (even though no one would read it), as a way to hold myself accountable to finishing it. That never happened.

Today, while looking for something else, I discovered Eliza Foogle again. What a huge throwback for me!
It reminded me of the fearful girl I was back then and the brave woman I am today. (Self proclaimed).
I don’t know if I will ever finish Eliza Foogle. I may never write another chapter again. But I believe that sharing this draft is the first step towards unleashing whatever has been placed inside of me. As I’ve said in a previous throwback post, every passion planted in your heart, was put there on purpose. And it is our great responsibility to do something purposeful with it!

So, dear friends, it is with great joy and much trepidation and a lot of “I’m so scared right now”, that I reintroduce Eliza Foogle to you. Please be kind 🙂

Here’s a little snippet with a link to the rest of the original post, which I published on my blog in July 2011.

All my life, I thought of myself as being fairly smart. Not especially clever, but not stupid either. I knew the right side of up and could figure out most of the cryptic crosswords in my weekly glossy magazine. I was the kind of girl who shouted out all the answers while watching The Weakest Link every Tuesday night, but would stutter when asked a simple question, like: What is your name? But today, as I lay here on my kitchen floor with apple pie clinging to my long dark hair, surrounded by broken records, torn photographs and an aging Beetles t-shirt, I realize that I am not smart at all. I, Eliza Foogle, am a silly silly woman…” to the original post

Pray for Paris – Oh the audacity!

pray for Paris

Pray for Paris.
Don’t pray for Paris.
Pray for Paris.
Don’t pray for Paris.
How tiring the past few weeks of social media have been!
The citizens of Paris lost over 140 friends and family members on the evening of November 13th, as terrorists took to the city’s northern suburbs in an array of violence that left so many lives forever changed. The entire world was stunned. Social media platforms were abuzz with #PrayforParis hashtags and Parisian flag bedecked profile pics.

But that’s not the tiring part.
The tiring part was the many outraged posts that followed. Some people –  I am assuming those who were suddenly given Prayer Expert license – were fuming because how dare everyone want to pray for Paris. Oh the audacity of them! No, people should not pray for Paris, they should rather pray for *insert something more worthy here*.

I cringed as I saw ugly claws come out. The people of Paris were forgotten. Instead of debating on how we could work together to alleviate these hate crimes or help to restore hope and peace to the broken parts of the world, some chose to debate about how RIGHT they thought they were and how WRONG other people are.
Like, who cares?
Do you think that the little girl in Paris, who lost her mommy, cares about your thought on who your neighbor should be praying for? Do you think the man who lost his family in Beirut, Lebanon, where 43 were massacred, wondered ever so slightly as to what anyone was saying about Paris-flagged Facebook profile pics and why you don’t have a Lebanese flag up there, instead?

Why, dear privileged people of social media world, do we take everything as an opportunity to make it all about ME ME ME? I shuddered as I watched how the  killings in Paris, the loss in Beirut and the tragedy that occurred in Kano, Nigeria, where 15 were killed, was turned into one big soap box. Oh look, an opportunity to make this all about MY OPINION. (But first… let me take a selfie!)

Then came the “Why I did not pray for Paris” blog posts. Some argued that they would prefer to keep their prayers, you know, closer to home. Let’s first pray for us and ours and THEN we’ll throw in a prayer for the rest of the world. Some said that they didn’t believe that praying for Paris would help anyways, because, you know, the world was created by accident. So there’s actually no one to pray to. (That’s a sad thought). Others said that Paris did not deserve their prayers because the people of Paris have done some crappy things in their past and surely they deserve whats coming to them. Because, you know, we are all amazingly perfect, shame except the people of Paris. They should die.

I’m sorry that I’m being harsh (sorry not sorry) but I just find it incredible how we are able to take great tragedy and turn it into another way of segregating each other. There is power in unity and when we, as the people of this planet, stand together can you imagine the change that we are able to bring about? Even more so when we PRAY together!

I mean, what if we united and took this #PrayforParis thing seriously… What if we aren’t just posting the hashtag to show our “ag shame man”… What if we aren’t just updating our profile pics so that we could also have the cool photo overlay. What if we actually prayed and our prayers for Paris were laced with fervent pleas to soften the hearts of the militant gangs who are wreaking havoc and killing hundreds across the globe daily. What if, while praying for Paris, people would begin to ask God for a healing and to open the eyes of those who are under the ISIS curse. And, as we all come into agreement, change starts to happen slowly but surely… What would that change mean for our children and our children’s children?

So I will, in fact, be praying for Paris. For Lebanon. For Nigeria. For you. For me. For the world. Because prayer means that I have the faith that God hears.
And when God hears our faith talking, He moves.

Gift ideas: What to put under the tree this Christmas {featuring yours truely}

I love Christmas! But I don’t love “uhmming” and “ahhhing” about what to get my family and friends for Christmas. So I’ve called in the experts! As a build up to the most wonderful time of the year, a few of my blogging buddies have agreed to share their ideas on amazing Christmas gifts for the whole family. Check out their picks and please, by all means, feel free to choose something special to put under MY Christmas tree too 😉 

I’ve been enjoying the different gift ideas my friends, JustEllaBella and Melanie have sent through for my “What to put under the tree this Christmas” series. So I thought, “Oh what the hey! Share your favorite ideas too!” and so now I am. Ta daaa!

As you may or may not know, my newly extended family means that I get to think up incredible gifts for 2 more kideos (step son and baby girl), so that means more gift-gifting drama and intrigued in our household. Woohoo!

I love Christmas because December means summertime in good ol South Africa!
I love the feeling of freedom and fun and that there are sooo many exciting things to do.
I also love that everyone is in that “togetherness” spirit – wish we could learn to appreciate each other like that all year around!

Here are my favorite Christmas gift picks:

photo: goodtimebanjos.dom

For my special someone
My husband is a musician and a music buff. He loves anything that sounds different (think banjos and instruments made out of tin cans). So I think he’d actually appreciate a real banjo as a Christmas gift. If not that then some cool CD’s and DVD’s. Those are always winners! I’v found that Takealot always gives me CD/DVD bundles that are so worth the spend! I also love to Bid or Buy really old/hard to find albums that makes him go “where’d you find THAT?!”. I’ve done this once and he really appreciated it!

For the kids
My little girl is really easy, since she’s all of 1 years old. She has this obsession with books right now. (She even tears out her favorite pages so that she can kiss the characters on them. Not ideal, but okay who am I to curb her affection.) So I’d probably get her some more books and perhaps a doll. Every girl needs a doll. Our boys are 14 and 9. The 14 year old has a passion for fashion (yep, he’s at THAT age), so probably clothing or vouchers. The 9 year old also loves books (sometimes I swear that he’s in fact my biological and the other one is my husbands!). I plan to take him to his first musical this December – I have a feeling it’s going to open some theater doors in his life! Whoop whoop. He also really loves soccer, so maybe a soccer ball or something soccer related. I might also get them a new XBox game (to share).

For me
Here’s the thing, I don’t really get that many Christmas gifts. I know, right? One would think that as the queen of the house, I would be bedecked with presents every year! But I would definitely appreciate small things like new slippers or pretty Essence Gel Look and Sinful Colors nail polish.

Special mentions
Bath salts and spoils are always a nice treat, if you’d like to get a whole bunch of something and wrap it up for when an unexpected visitor pops in. For guys, try biltong packs. I am also considering taking the 2 hand bags that I’ve never used and filling them up with sanitary goods, treats and special goodies, to bless someone who may not have as much as I do. It IS the season of giving after all. Who says it needs to stop with your family?

What are your favorite gift ideas, this Christmas? 

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