The other day one of my kids asked me, “What is the big deal about tears?” And I had to think about it a little bit. Why don’t we like to cry? We are all told, forget “big boys don’t cry…” let your kids cry, but then we all avoid tears ourselves. A dear friend’s mom dies, another friend discovers cancer, a brother loses his job and just can’t cope… but we think that everyone is okay because they aren’t crying. When folk ask “how are you doing?” it’s considered a brave move, because, what if that person isn’t alright? What if that person cries?
We all know that crying doesn’t make you any weaker. But nobody likes to cry. The point is crying is awkward. When a friend tells you something sad and you feel that lump in your throat… why do we suppress it? When we were small children we knew the power of a good cry. How many of us haven’t kept our tears inside until they erupted into a flood of frustrated tears and eventually fallen asleep only to wake up a while later somewhat refreshed. If you can’t remember this yourself, take a look at your own children… it happens to all of us. And yet we battle to cry.
I could get all scientific and say that there are three kinds of tears:
- Tears that continuously keep our eyes lubricated.
- Tears that occur when something irritates our eyes, think onions…
- And those emotional tears… tears of joy and tears of sadness.
And it is those emotional tears that are filled with beta-endorphins, which are our bodies’ natural pain relievers, which make them so different to those other more functional tears. These tears literally wash away the chemicals that build up in our bodies when we are stressed. They are a good thing, we were designed to cry to relieve stress and pain, tears literally wash our pain away. Consequently, those folk who find crying easier than others are healthier, just like those folk that laugh more… It is not just a blessed little thought to say that laughter, and tears, are the best medicine.
Now tears form a large part of our lives, difficult, impossible things happen to people and they are sad. The bible is filled with tears… for all sorts of life-events and many folk have wept bitterly throughout the pages of the Old and New Testaments. In fact, when Jesus was under emotional stress he cried real tears. In Luke 19:41 he wept over the impending destruction of the city of Jerusalem. And in John 11:35 “He wept,” He cried when His friend Lazarus died, even though He knew His friend would be revived. Jesus knew the cleansing effect of tears on our souls. In our modern culture we desperately avoid tears. We might say to our kids, “There, there, have a good cry.” But we kind of hope it won’t end in a sweaty miserable mess on the store floor.
Let’s face it, tears appear to be more than a little awkward. They reveal our souls, and in a world that embraces our appearance over our health… there is no place for streaky faces, let alone tears. It is more than our appearance, though, tears reveal our hearts and nobody likes to wear their heart on their sleeve.
In fact, we have crying down to such a fine art, that we can often decide wether to cry or “to be strong.” Strange that we think “not crying” is brave. Then again there are those tears that appear to not notice that we have suppressed them or not, they just appear to seep out us, like a jubilant spring our sorrows bubble… and really we kind of hope nobody notices because there is nothing at all we can do about them. Now I am not suggesting that everyone starts rushing about and dramatically crying at every turn… but we should be aware that while we say, “it’s okay to cry,” that we actually mean it.
I make it no secret that we choose to live with our tent flaps open
and so many friends do drop in for a cup of tea or coffee through out the day and we sit at the kitchen table and chat. And very often chatting turns to matters of the heart… and folks cry about difficult times, things that happened years ago, but they never got around to crying about it back then. So right here, right now today… I am inviting you to make a cup of tea, and find a quiet moment and have a good cry. In Lamentations 2:18
“… Let your tears flow like a river…” it is for your health after all.
Tags: Sunday Snippet
So last year we discovered one of Cape Town’s best kept secrets when we went on a CitySightSeeing Tour all around the South Peninsula. This year we were invited to explore the City Centre. There is a lot to be said for being a tourist in your own town. We live in one of the most beautiful cities in the world but we don’t often visit the city centre.
We headed straight for the Waterfront, where the Red City Bus begins its tour…
We started out bright and early… on a glorious winter’s day.
One thing we can say about Cape Town is there is a lot of construction and technology… and my construction kid was in her element.
And our city is full of Red City Buses…
The gang quickly got into the spirit of hopping off and on the bus…
Definitely a City of Blue Skies…
Our First Stop was Cape Town Tourism
There was much heated debate about where we were on the map and we were instantly “lost”… never mind there are lots of helpful folk in the centre of town and they all new where to send us. And what a warm welcome we received. We now have a veritable mountain of pamphlets for dozens of potential outings. Such helpful staff and so excited to tell us about where to go and what to see… not even slightly phased that we were Capetonians, because, “Surely everyone wants to see all the sights this wonderful city has to offer.”
Green Market Square
By this stage the square was beginning to stir and stands were being set up and getting ready for action… no rushing around mind you, this is chilled out Cape Town… and there is only one pace, the slow pace. There are so many colours and sites to see, definitely worth lingering over.
St. Georges Cathedral
We were so close to the cathedral that we thought we should stop by… we are always on our way past it to a museum or something and our kids had never actually been inside. We recent;y read about it in history and they all wanted to take a look at the stained glass windows.
There was a little surprise waiting for us around the side… all of us were looking very respectively at the tombs until a man came past and picked one up and put it down to the side… Turns out it wasn’t a real graveyard at all and we had stumbled onto the Homeland (season IV) set…
This is one of our favourite places to visit in the city… you find the best soda splits here and lots and lots of interesting things to see. What really grabbed our attention was the newly planted vegetable garden… stepping back in history to when the Cape was a refreshment station, for ships traveling between Europe and the East.
The Company Gardens happens to be at the hub of Cape Town Museums: The Natural History Museum, The Slave Lodge, The National Art Gallery, The Holocaust Museum, the Planetarium, to name a few.
Then we hopped back on the bus for a drive through the city neighbourhoods…
This was our next stop for a quick lunch before we went for a wander through the colourful houses. We made a quick visit to the Bo-Kaap Museum and we did a little shopping at the Atlas Trading Company, where you can buy any number of wonderful spices and curry powders… and the smell is just heaven. We lingered at a corner cafe for cool drinks before hopping back onto the bus.
Back on the bus and we went up to the city heights and the base of the Cable Car Station, all ready to take visitors to the very top… Honestly, when you are just beneath it, I cannot believe we hiked up there… anyway, it is very scenic and lovely and yet again another spot that we don’t often visit… and the whole point of being a tourist in your own town is to head for places like these.
We stayed on the bus… and had a careful look at a potential future hike…
And down into Camps Bay, a seaside town like our own… but much more upmarket. This is where you are quite likely to bump into the rich and famous and the associated paparazzi. We didn’t meet anyone, we had one purpose and that was ice-cream.
Back on the bus and through Sea Point, past the Promenade…
Near the end of the tour and this is a brilliant little corner to stop… We didn’t stop here this time, but when my kids saw all that was going on, well… there is mini-golf, the teeny tiny blue train, and of course out favourite park: Green Point Park.
And back on the bus for a quick ride back into the Waterfront and a stop at one of our favourite places… the aquarium.
Se7en + 1 Quick Facts About the Tour
And that is a Tour of the Centre of Cape Town thanks to City SightSeeing and the Red City Bus… I can say we had an absolute blast.
- There is a special deal on KIDS tickets until the end of October. During school holidays, public holidays and weekends: two children go free for every paying adult. That is a drastically reduced price and pops this outing straight into the “must do category.”
- If you buy your tickets online you can reduce the price of your tickets by almost 30% more.
- This outing is right up with the Aquarium for outings that are specifically geared towards families in Cape Town. The staff are all incredibly friendly and helpful. We declare this a tip top family friendly outing.
- Your children will not need extra entertainment during the bus ride at all, there is so much to see and do.
- Such an easy outing, you need to take are the clothes you are wearing, because you are in the city center there are tons of places to hop off and get a snack, a cool drink and find a bathroom.
- If I was an overseas visitor, I would say this is a must “get on and go” outing… As a local it is possibly the easiest way to get to see all the landmarks you have been dying to see but just can’t face the traffic…
- You and your kids will learn so much… as a homeschooling family, I would consider this trip to be an entire semester of Social Studies. Getting to know your city – really well worth it.
And the se7en + 1th…
- The bus trip takes just over two hours, we highly recommend that you make a day of it… visiting heaps of good spots for kids and families all over Cape Town.
We would really like to thank CitySightSeeing and the Red City Bus, for giving us the tickets, for review purposes, so that we could take a tour and tell our readers about the fantastic special deal for families. We were not paid to write this post and the opinions expressed are entirely our own.
Tags: Cape Town · Outings · Saturday Spot
So this past Monday we went on the Red City Bus… we took together about 2000 photographs, I kid you not… and then our week filled up with… curious little incidents, that kept me well away from my laptop not to mention ho hum school. Needless to say my post on our recent chess adventures, getting off to a good school year, or even our se7en + 1 top Photography tips for kids… never actually made it onto my screen let alone near a “hit publish button.” So I just want you all to know that I am thinking about blogging, but sometimes I have to take cognisance of the fact that I homeschool eight kids and have a blog. And sometimes the balance flows more towards the one than the other, especially now that my older kids are well older. They just require more time and attention, in a good way.
So here we are Friday night and I think it may well be time that we got back on track and started posting posts on their particular day of the week… it worked. So Saturday Spots will be back and Thoughtful Thursdays… So give us a little time and there will be a little shuffling about and we will be back to particular posts on particular days… no matter what. So here is a Friday Fun post on a Friday…
The Book of the Week
I have wanted to read this book, about forever. A friend lent it to me last week and much as I would love to read it in a sitting I am being very disciplined and spreading it out over the week… I am savouring it. Katie Davis’ adventures began in her final year of high school, when she went on a three week mission trip to Uganda. She was her senior class president and homecoming queen, to be honest I don’t actually know what that is but it sounds very important and about as far from raising more than a dozen daughters in Uganda as you can get. This book blows the idea that some folk are just better at getting things done than others. I love that Katie is a regular girl, not a super hero… just someone who got up and did something. She didn’t wait until she had better skills, or until she was better trained, or any other excuse… she got up and went where she was called to go. It is simply the story of someone who believes that each little action adds up to one great event. She doesn’t just believe in serving with all her heart, she acts on it. I am loving this book and sure do want my kids to read this one too… I love that there are people in the world that don’t just talk, they do. Her book is a wonderful humble and humbling read. I love the interspersed pages from her journal, and I love that she just writes so eloquently about the life she is living. A fascinating read and one that will stir your heart.
Lovely links from this week:
- If this very wintry winter ever ends… Then Emma Bradshaw’s Picnic Loaf is Top of the List to make…
- The Crafty Crow had a brilliant round-up of Photography for Kids…
- On Simple Homeschool: Homeschooling on a Zero Budget. Lots of useful links and resources.
- I’m Listening to the Read Aloud Revival and really loving it… a podcast all about reading fabulous books with your family.
- Competitions you might want to enter: Draw some monsters for ANORAK competition… And Usborne Quicklinks has a cool competition…
- Love the DKBLog’s Cardboard Box Inspiration…
- Absolutely love this Adventure on Proof/NationalGeographic… Taking family adventure to a new level…
And the se7en + 1th link:
- A Blast From the Past: And here are a couple of links to posts, this week, from previous years:
That’s us… Hope your weekend is a fabulous one and we are so looking forward to another week of blogging with you all…
Tags: Fabulous Friday Fun
A while back I received an email asking me if I would like to review a book or do an author interview by a very exciting new South African author. I am all for author interviews and I know our readers enjoy them, but it wasn’t exactly my genre of book and I wasn’t sure if it was the best fit. It could have gone either way at this stage… you know how I want to bring “the best of the rest” to our readers. In fact, I kind of put off reading the book – but to be fair I thought I would at least read the first couple of chapters and then say I had tried to read it and failed. Well, I started on a cold Saturday morning, under the duvet and thought I would set a time limit, the length of a load of laundry, and go… the kids made their own lunch. I surfaced at dinner time and suggested that the father person make that meal. Let’s just say, I did not put it down. I totally escaped for an entire day… the consequences of mountains of dishes and soggy laundry were well worth it!!! If you are looking for a day off or a weekend away and there isn’t one on the cards for you right now…then here is a great escape.
Se7en+1 Interview Questions
- Tell us a bit about yourself: Describe your perfect day.
I love to laugh, and I love spending time with my family. My husband works long hours, so Sunday’s are my most favourite day of the week because we are all together and generally do something fun with the children. Obviously the perfect day is one in which there are no tears and no grumbles from the little ones, which is very rare!
- What was your biggest influence in becoming a writer? When did you know that you had a book inside you?
I wrote children’s books in primary school and I started a few novels in my early twenties which will thankfully never see the light of day! I always knew I would write a book ‘one day’, but only when I reached my thirties did I feel that my writing had matured enough to be taken seriously. The funny thing is after the first book was completed, it was as if a floodgate had opened…now I have so many book ideas it’s hard to keep up!
- What are your favourite reads? Do you have an all time favourite book?
I have to admit I am a big Twilight fan and I adored Harry Potter. I read so much, though, that I couldn’t narrow it down to just one book. I do love to share ‘book love’ and if I find a read that I really enjoy, I will shout it out to all of my reading friends.
- Tell us about your work process. How do you find the time to put pen to paper? Are you compelled to write, extremely disciplined or do you squeeze a moment here and there.
I am not disciplined, but I am compelled to write. When you love to do something, it isn’t hard to sit down and do it. I try to get as much done in the mornings as possible and treat it like a “job” with set hours, but inevitably I find myself squeezing in a moment here and there whenever I can.
- How do you keep track of your story and ideas: Are you a pen and paper kind of writer or a “as long as I have my keyboard” kind of writer? A notebook, a whiteboard, copious post-it-notes… in your head?
I’m definitely a “as long as I have my laptop” kind of writer. I plot my ideas and then type above, deleting as I flesh out the story and cover that particular part of the plot. I do keep a separate document to record my characters – what they look like, their personality traits, etc – because it is easier for referencing.
- Your books read like an action packed, suspense filled adrenaline rush of a movie…give us a little background, did something spark this book or was it flying about your head for years?
With The Legacy I was reading a lot of dystopian fiction beforehand and I was a bit disappointed that it is always the most unexceptional, ordinary people who survived. I wanted The Legacy to break that mould and so I gave my characters the skills and the training to not only survive, but excel, in the direst of circumstances. My writing style is fast-paced, and I struggle with “filler” so the plot does tend to move along fairly quickly. I like that it keeps the reader gripped and wanting to read more.
And the se7en+1th question:
- Is there something encouraging you would like to say to all those folk out there that think they might have a book within them?
Yes: Write it. Don’t think any further than that, it will overwhelm you. If you have a book inside you, it will burn a hole in your head until you put it down on paper. Write it, for yourself, first and foremost and then share it with the world.
This book is set in a very bleak post-nuclear North America, World War III has been and gone and you find yourself in a dystopian United States in the not too distant future. And that sounds so like a book that wouldn’t catch my attention… beware. This book literally raises your pulse… It is the characters that grip you, you wish you could meet them… you have to know what happens next. The main character is Rebecca, and she gives up everything that she loves to be the presidents wife. She is one fiery gal with inner strength and fortitude, she is single-minded and tenacious. You feel her pain, and you are on her quest with her, somehow you want more for her. Of course there is a love story kindling away, the childhood sweetheart, and the strong interloper… it is really a side-plot off the main story and not the focus at all. In fact if you are looking for romance you are unlikely to find it here. This book is all about action and lots of it. The author has cleverly told the story from every side, you find yourself sympathising with almost everyone. Of course it is a fight against good and bad, but typically post-modern – the good are also bad and the bad are also good and you find yourself changing allegiance more than a few times. But there can really only be one ultimate winner, or that’s what we are led to believe. As I said at the start of this post… unputdownable… and worse, it ends as an absolute cliff hanger… no nicely resolved happy endings here… you have to read on.
The good news is that book 2 in the trilogy is readily available… and there is more of Rebecca, the ultimate weapon… she is still fighting for all that is good… only there is a new enemy. I decided to be a little more disciplined when reading this one and only started reading after the kids were in bed… let’s just say the kids woke up to a pile of dirty dishes and a mother who had conquered an all-nighter. If you are looking for a nice relaxing bed-time read, you are in quite the wrong place. Dare I say, more gripping than the first, the dramatic ins and outs and the surprising twists and turns, will keep even the most sleep deprived mothers amongst us wide awake. These books are a total escape and a fabulous read. You can read more about the books over here at their website.
Thank you so much to Tracey at Tracey McDonald Publishers and i love books for providing the e-books for review and connecting us for the author interview. And a huge thank you to Melissa Delport for the exciting reads and answering our interview questions. I would like to declare that we were provided with the books for review purposes and we were not paid for the review and all opinions expressed in the review were, as usual, entirely our own.
Tags: What We Are Reading
I can categorically say that in our house, by far the most popular toy, across all ages, is LEGO. And in the last week with heaps of visitors stopping by, it was indeed the hot topic at our table. Everybody had something to say and everyone wanted to make sure they were heard. They were of course responding to the LEGO/Shell/Greenpeace video that was up on You Tube and then down and then up on Vimeo and then down… the point is up or down, most LEGO fans the world over will have seen the video: “Everything is not Awesome.”
The question is not whether LEGO, as a lot of folk thought, is a plastic toy. The world over uses plastic and we all need to be more responsible in our use of plastic. The point is more that LEGO has aligned themselves with a company that openly has non-green practices. Consider a similar scenario: An environmental book publishing company publishing books on paper produced by a paper company that doesn’t use recycled paper or paper from a sustainable source. They might produce fabulous books, but the practices of the paper producing firm makes one question the integrity of the publishing firm.
If you take a look at the LEGO homepage, they claim to be environmentally conscious… with words like: sustainable and social responsibility, not to mention environment all over their “Responsibility at LEGO Group Page.”In fact, in their side bar the LEGO Group aligns themselves with the WWF and claims that they focus on suppliers that focus on reducing climate impact. LEGO themselves have a lot of in-company practices that demonstrate their goal to be green, using dramatically less packaging than they used too, for instance.
We understand the historicity of the relationship and that they have been allies for nearly fifty years. It is a bit obscure though, that a company that claims to be pursuing all things green supports a company with a tendency towards anything but green practices. More concerning is the LEGO statement “That this is a matter between Shell and GreenPeace,” and that it has nothing to do with them. Unfortunately, the old expression, you can choose your friends but but not your family leaps to mind. It is true that we are known by the friends that we keep, guilty by association and all that. We expect our children to show discernment when choosing their friends, and we expect the same discernment from our toy companies.
In this triangular relationship between LEGO, Shell and Greenpeace: LEGO isn’t looking good by association, Shell isn’t looking good by their practices and Greenpeace for that matter, is not looking good either. Greenpeace are using the less than honourable practice of marketing to children to incite their parents, not to stop buying LEGO mind you, but to object against LEGO and their relationship with Shell.
For all that LEGO have committed to presenting their green image and as a massive global company they are in a unique position, not only to perform green practices within their company but to put pressure on their partners to quite literally clean up their act. And more specifically, perhaps it is time for LEGO to build a solution and to use some of their own leverage, to influence Shell.
I am just guessing that with all the LEGO fans out there, some of you must have had to debate this one with your kids as well… it is a video that gets you thinking about a topic that we need to consider in our own practices, it is not just LEGO at fault here. I am all for things that get us to think and get us debating. Online it has become a simmer about, who or what has rights to the video, the lyrics etc… but wouldn’t it be good if one of the three players stepped up to the mark and said, we have a role to play here and lets just work on doing on better.
Tags: Blog Events · Thoughtful Thursdays
Well Happy Weekending to all of you… Possibly the busiest week of all time, with so many friends stopping by. Gasp, there wasn’t even the tiniest space on the calendar for one more thing, and we are all looking forward to our day of rest. The Start of the week was sunny, and I may have been a little enthusiastic and about half a bazillion projects have been begun. Then the rain set in and we are back under blankets with books…
Plenty of cold wintry walks in the evenings… it is getting dark a little later… but the cold remains!!!
Book of the Week
There was something about this book that I felt I had to read it, for the longest time… really it intrigued me. I am now deep in the heart of the book, if it has one, and it is a bit of a strange read. I am enjoying it, it is not quite the book I expected. The flow of the book took a while for me to get used to, it is some how jerky and full of pauses where one could get totally distracted. However, after you get used to the rhythm of the book, you can understand the message of the book and I find myself lingering somewhat in the pauses… enjoying it and not wanting the book to end too soon. This is a beautiful book, but not at all pretty…heart wrenching. It is the story of a young girl, Liesl during World War II and living in Germany. She is in foster care and the only book that she has at the start of the book is the Gravedigger’s notebook… This is an astonishing read and I can see why it is on many folk’s “must read” list… I find myself surprised over and over again as the book unfolds… Is it on my list of best reads ever… I am not sure, it could go either way. Definitely one of those profound books that you either savour or can’t get past the first ten minutes. I am savouring and winding my way through it.
Lovely Links This Week
- I think it might be time for a little bedroom upgrading around here… these books on Kidstylefile look so inspiring.
- Really enjoyed Under the Sycamore’s Hiking with Kids non-professional tips!!!
- You are going to love us for this link: printable LEGO gift boxes… on linesacross.
- Here’s something crafty that my girls could totally get into right now, on Art Projects for Kids: How to make a rounded braid.
- This is one of my dream destinations… on Imagine Childhood, really I collect islands.
- Just totally loved this on: The Crafty Crow, 14 Inspiring And Easy Nature Crafts and Activities Your Kids Will Love.
- In the spirit of doing stuff… Apartment Therapy had some lovely DIY’s just to take a peak at!!!
Do you feel like a creative challenge? Tinkerlab has one right now, and so does Family Fun…
And the se7en + 1th link:
- A Blast From the Past: And here are a couple of links to posts, this week, from previous years:
That’s us… Hope your weekend is a fabulous one and we are so looking forward to another week of blogging with you all…
Tags: Fabulous Friday Fun
The 18th of July is Mandela Day, in South Africa we celebrate his birthday by giving 67 minutes of time to volunteering and community service. Do something, just one small thing to make a difference…
The 18th of July is a good day to do the right thing and serve, serve, serve… So many projects have flashed past me this week and I wanted to highlight a couple of them for you. There is literally a project for everyone, from books to food kitchens, clean-ups and gardening:
Se7en + 1 Opportunities to Volunteer
- Art with Artjamming at the V and A Waterfront: Every 67 minutes they will be painting canvases to decorate the walls of the Somerset Hospital, read about it here and their Madiba Project for the month of July.
- Clean C: Community, Coastline, Cape Town, Country: This team of energetic folk organise beach clean-ups ALL THE TIME; And other totally cool projects that you can join like the POLAR SWIM, which isn’t quite as insane as it sounds; or what about BEACH4BOOKS. These guys look like they have so much fun and they are a great place to look for family friendly community projects.
- GreenPop – Join the TreeVolution: We blogged about GreenPop recently, they have an active and energetic community packed with volunteer projects to join in… head straight for their Project Page and at least sign up for their newsletter… can you think of anything better than a day planting trees.
Photograph courtesy of GreenPop
- Soil For Life: Helping folk of all walks of life to grow their own vegetables… all about sustainable food and educating… and they welcome volunteers, not just on the 18 July… head for their Volunteer page and Donate some of your time and energy…
- Biblionef has a 1 million Books Campaign: Biblionef have helped us with our blog’s annual build a library campaign. The goal of this organisation is to donate story books to South African children in their own language, written and illustrated by south Africans… I love this!!! Wherever you are in the world you can donate a book today… and it will probably take about 67 seconds…
- Habitat for Humanity: They have been building 67 houses this past week… they are always looking for all sorts of volunteers… and there are plenty of opportunities to serve here.
- From Food to Fork on LeadSA: Is a whole list of places to get involved up and down the local food chain… take a peak at teaching folk to “Grow their own,” get involved in local urban farms and so on… if food security is your thing then you will find a useful link in this list…
And the Se7en + 1th:
- Things my Kids Want to Do for Madiba Day: We wrote this post on a previous Mandela Day: 67-Minute Things That We Can Easily Do Today… and nothing’s changed… it is pretty much our go to list of things to do on Mandela Day.
If you are looking for more ideas or opportunities to serve then follow the hashtag: #mandeladay on twitter… If you have some fab ideas of your own then let us know in the comments, we would love to hear from you. And most important, have a fun day serving…
Tags: Blog News