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Friday, November 25, 2011

madrap bliss: simple things that make me happy

blowing bubbles, including bubbles in the bath
jumping in big rain puddles (only when in warm Zululand rain)
a perfect cup of tea made by a friend

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

so fast

Do you also find yourself saying, “life is going by so fast, I wish I could slow it down!”? Finding yourself in life’s rat race where days, weeks, months or even years might pass by before we take the time to raise our heads above the scrum and evaluate where we are now and where we’re going.

In the two weeks just past I decided to eliminate all that stuff that was causing me to rush through life and be ‘bogged down’. I went on one big fast! I fasted from food (even tea!), sport, social events and I traded it with reading, walking and praying. Being the first time having ever done something like this I had no idea what to expect, all I had was the certainty to do it. Initially I tried keeping it private because I found it to be an incredibly personal journey that I was on, but I soon found out that not eating, playing sport or socialising starts raising some eyebrows. So the private idea changed and the few times I shared a little more elaborately on what I was doing I felt inclined to write about it too.

I found the whole experience to be quite profound! My primary purpose was to simplify and focus. I never expected one of the most powerful lessons of the battle of wills within myself. When temptation to break my fast crept in, like when there was a little bite sized cookie left on the table that no-one would notice if I nicked it, or at home when I had some yummy food stashed in my fridge, it became a glorious battle! I had a dialogue that went something like this, “what would it matter, no-one will really notice, no-one would really care, what difference would it make to eat or not to eat; and then came the counter. . but wait, remember why have I decided to do this, what do I want to see happen here, what do I want these days to look like when I reflect on them afterwards?” And often, quite suddenly, the temptation would dissipate completely. And through this self-talk cycle I created a habit of resisting temptation and keeping my eyes on the target, the end goal, and maintaining a strong focus on how I want it to look when I get there. It was amazing to see how my actions would fall in line with my vision when my vision became clear.

I was asked if I had found, reached or got to what I was hoping to see come out of these two weeks? Because, to be honest it would have been great to be able to say I had some big life revelations, or epiphanies, but I didn’t. Cos don’t we all wish we could just have it all figured out! What I do have now is a clearer vision, a healthier set of priorities, a knowledge and habit that my self-control can be stronger than my selfish will and I have a greater sense of peace that I haven’t had in many years.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Transformation of Youth at Risk: rocktober

Transformation of Youth at Risk: rocktober: by Mandy Rapson: I picked up the guys and their luggage from their homes in Ocean View where they said goodbye to their families for the lon...

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

madrap wisdom #13

"Our lives are controlled by our minds, so lets start being mindful about our lives." Cobus Oosthuizen

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Agapate: Craziness, I know! That is why I wanna do it!

Agapate: Craziness, I know! That is why I wanna do it!: The first thing people say when I tell them about the 250km self sufficient desert race I am doing in October is, "are you out of our mind!...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

sustainable change

This is part of LifeXchange’s coined slogan; Holistic sustainable transformation of youth-at-risk.  But, it’s very hard to measure a point at which this is reached, it’s not a tick in a check box or a graduation from a 3 month life skills programme, so how does one know when you’ve reached it?  We have a complex list of developmental criteria which helps us know this, but so much of it is only known when the youth are ‘put to the test’ in a situation which previously would have turned out very different, here’s an example:

Three guys were asked to play in a team for an Ultimate Frisbee tournament at UCT.  It just so happened that there was no-one around who could go with them on this particular occasion, and so I had to hand over the responsibility to them.  It felt like the moment when a parent takes the training wheels off and lets the child ride for the first time without them.  You realize at that moment that suddenly the room for error is so huge! 

On this big day, they woke up on time, met with their inbound lift, managed the money I gave them for their train and taxi rides back, they found the team they were meant to be playing for, made friends, of course being the brilliant athletes that they are they played brilliantly.  They also performed successfully as part of a team, they communicated well, they responsibly turned down offers of beers and smokes during and after the games.  They were polite, well mannered, looked people in the eye and said their thank you’s and independently made their way back home.  But, even greater than that…..they did this without one single instruction or mention of what was expected of them.  THAT is sustainable change!  So exciting! 

Monday, August 15, 2011

madrap bliss: simple things that make me happy

great big bear hugs

holding hands

skipping, not with a skipping rope, but as little girls do when they walk/run

Thursday, July 7, 2011

madrap wisdom #12

to uncover the core truth behind one's behaviour or action, one must ask 'why?' 4 times.

life is like rock climbing

When you go rock climbing, there is always a LOT of stuff you need to be able to climb. Ropes, harnesses, caribiners, quick drawers, shoes, slings, chalk bag, and even more if you’re trad climbing. But unless you have someone who shows you how to tie the knots, how to put on the harness, how to set an anchor, the equipment is useless in achieving its purpose. And unless you have a climbing partner, someone who’s got the other end of your rope, you can’t go anywhere.

In life, gaining access to the resources is the easy part, but we need to realise that in order for it to make sense, to show us what needs to happen to make it work, we need people who have been there before, who can teach us, guide us, coach us and even mentor us. We also need someone in our life to be there for us on the other side of the rope, someone who can catch you when you fall, someone you trust. Without these two elements, it will be exceptionally difficult and most likely our beautifully gathered equipment will be in left lying on the ground.

This is what LifeXchange teaches through extreme sports and adventure activities in our Holistic Life Mentoring Process.

Monday, June 27, 2011

madrap bliss: simple things that make me happy

squishing egg yolks with my hands

sittiing on the curb

old school kettles that whistle when boiling

Friday, June 17, 2011

Monday, May 9, 2011

abnormal like me

Of late I have started thinking more and more that maybe I really am different to the average girl…mostly cos everyone keeps telling me!! But this Easter, spending time with my sisters, I was reminded that it isn’t just me...
Let me explain:
We only wear make-up on occasions,
Perfume too
We don’t carry a vanity bag as big as a sports tog bag
A hair dryer never occurs
We pack light
And we can carry it ourselves
Going for a wee in the bush doesn’t even feature a moment’s hesitation
Spending multiple days on end, far from civilisation, with no running water, electricity or even a bed is considered the ultimate!
We don’t wear nail varnish
Spiders and bugs are okay even if you have to share a shower with them
We know how to change a plug
And a car tyre
Fishing is a favourite past-time
Catching crabs and racing them is fun
Identifying birds is common practice
Interesting animal facts are a regular discussion
If you don’t get dirty, it’s not an adventure
Bumps, bruises and scratches are cool, they’re the marks of a good time!

It felt so good to sp
end time again with some normal girls like me, but I’m beginning to wonder whether they’re ‘abnormal like me’. Perhaps that’s why when we collectively called “The Rapson Girls” it comes with a certain understanding of calibre.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

madrap bliss: simple things that make me happy

after laugh... when you bust out laughing just by reflecting on a funny moment. warning: if done in public people tend to stare at you curiously :)

smiling and waving at random cars I pass

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Friday, March 18, 2011

on our way to Frisbee in the PocketRocket

Note how many people can fit into the back of the PocketRocket! This is a regular occurrence and I wanted to get the real experience!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

frisbee "soup for the soul"

We have all heard the title from the book, "Chicken Soup for the Soul" which has been interchanged many times over, but I don’t think it’s ever been used with reference to Frisbee! Here’s why it works! A few weeks ago a hardened gang leader and drug abuser joined us for Frisbee; we’ll call him "B". His name had been mentioned a number of times amongst our guys and always said with much respect and reverence. We often heard of our guys hanging out there and this was always associated with “wrong things”. More often than not they never pitched the next morning for their meetings if they’d been hanging at B’s house and so the very mention of the name would make me unhappy. When he arrived I immediately had a grudge against him with no real reason but merely because I considered him a bad influence on ‘our guys’ and wished he wasn’t with us. At Frisbee he walked around with that common attitude that said, ‘don’t talk to me unless I want you to.’ No smile, no eye contact, and he would walk off the field when and if he chose to, with no consideration for others. I gave the situation some thought, and it struck me that I had it backwards, and in fact, I’d rather have him join us for Frisbee, than our guys not come to Frisbee to join him. So.. WELCOME TO THE TEAM B!!

The following week he came again, (I think this time a little less hung over) and he played well! A few compliments, a few cheers, and a goodbye pat on the back, “thanks for joining us B, you played well! See you next week!”. I could see the slight breaking of a smile, a slight twinkle in his eye appear, and a look I’ve seen little boys get when they’re awarded those tiny little trophies.

He has now come a few times, and at yesterday’s practice he pulled out his phone and out of the blue asked to have a photo taken of all of us together. It struck me that he wanted to capture the group on camera. With his "Ocean View" image gone, he didn’t stop smiling throughout the game, and at the end he picked up the Frisbees and even came over to say thanks!!

So what happened?? BELONGING - he has become part of something, part of a team, a unique team, he has a purpose, people need him. Remember that Frisbee is played with professional business people from around the area and, on the field, everybody is equal. MASTERY - he is good at something! He has a skill, and a skill that not just anybody in Ocean View has, only an elite few. INDEPENDENCE - he chose to do this, it’s his idea.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

madrap wisdom #9

there are times when it's better to say something, than to remain silent and say nothing at all

Monday, February 28, 2011


In the work that we do we often get asked what our ‘success rate’ is or how many of our guys have become successful. My answer is always, ‘Well, define success’ and normally an answer along the lines of getting a job and so forth is what follows.

Thursday 24 February we celebrated with Keanan the success of finishing his Dive Masters Certificate and receiving a bursary to do his Commerical Divers Training in Durban. Definitely a success! A huge one! One that can easily be measured and that fits into the generic mould of success. But the night’s celebration held much more than that, it held a success of a different kind which, to the average passerby, would not be noticed, but to us it is a huge achievement and we jump in exuberance at the very experience of it.

The evening was held at Seaforth Restaurant in Simonstown, an upmarket area and restaurant with a smart-casual/semi-formal dress code where we drank cocktails and later ate pizza and calamari. The success? There were four LifeXchange guys who joined in the evening. They come from backgrounds of never having left their neighbourhood, never eaten at a restaurant, never had cocktails, never had alcohol without passing out drunk, never even dressed ‘nicely’. So the idea of celebrating with alcohol in a group context in an up-market restaurant is a huge "event". On this night they stepped tentatively, yet with confidence, into the public carrying themselves with impeccable manners, dressed with collared shirts and long pants, mingling with the others that joined the celebration that evening, having a sociable drink, had excellent table manners while eating their dinner, trying out the flavours of the different sauces, soaking in this entirely new experience. Anyone who didn’t know them would never have imagined that they had come from a background as far removed as theirs. The life skills they learnt that night - how to carry oneself and behave correctly at a public event/evening such as Keanan’s farewell. Incredible and amazing! The success that we can measure is that 17 months ago these same boys would never have coped with any of this, yet they have come such a long way that on this night they had outshone themselves.

Monday, February 7, 2011

madrap wisdom #8

shalom: means completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety, soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord. shalom comes from the root verb shalom meaning to be complete, perfect and full.

Monday, January 24, 2011

the brains or the face? LX blog profile

Born in 1983, I had a simple life growing up in a small town in a district called Zululand. Through my father’s farming days, South Africa and its diverse range of people have always been part of my life and the transition between the end of the apartheid era and the beginning of post-apartheid was barely noticeable. After finishing school in 2000 I ran school camps in KwaZulu Natal, then travelled and lived in the UK, exercising polo horses for the royal family, returning to study a degree in Sports Science finishing off with a Post-grad diploma in Education. After university days I worked for ACTS, a tour company that facilitates the logistics of mission trips into Southern and Eastern Africa. After a year of travelling with ACTS I came down to Cape Town to be based in their SA head office where I hosted teams based in The Team House, headed up ACTS Volunteers and began Able Africa. At the beginning of 2010, after a quick 3 month stint in the US, I came to a clear understanding that some big changes were on the cards and this lead me to joining LifeXchange.

My passion is to see people do and achieve things that they never thought was possible. To use the cliché, ‘making the impossible possible’. Seeing this happen in someone’s life gives me great Joy and in this, to come to know the Peace and Love of Jesus Christ that transcends all understanding; that being the greater and ultimate purpose of all things.

My role in LifeXchange is basically being a co-pilot to Cobus and keeping this crazy show on the road. I would say that my main focus is something as simple as networking, connecting with people and broadening LifeXchange’s supporting networks. Support not in the sense of finances, that’s a different thing altogether, but in filling the needs, paving the way for LifeXchange and its members. This ranges anywhere from things such as finding tattoo removal studios, sewing lessons for a future fashion designer, places to study motor engineering, learner’s license, job shadow opportunities in journalism, and so the list goes on, spreading out big, far, wide and deep and always different. Another portfolio involves organizing camps and activities, which brings in the extreme sports and adventure activities side of LifeXchange; rock climbing, surfing, kayaking, paintball, ultimate Frisbee etc. And then comes the range of responsibilities that are shared, such as projects, mentor recruitment and communication, marketing and media communications and many more.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

madrap wisdom #7 :2011 new year's resolutions

be excellent; in everything you do, do it as if doing it for the Lord
be consistent; find your standard and stick to it
be real; it's the only thing you can be
be content; with yourself and who you are
be discipled; allow yourself to grow in faith through other's input

Monday, January 3, 2011

pulling the trigger

When you travel with company the memories formed are easily refreshed and repeated every time you gather together again with your travel mates. Each person inserts their different account of the journey, feeding off each other, adding a memory to the story you thought you'd forgotten.

I'm in the midst of a trek up from South Africa through Zimbabwe and into Zambia with my aunt, uncle and cousins. I am consumed by the memories flooding out from the archives of my brain. Memories that present themselves with such clarity that its as if they're being
repeated, and such fondness whether that experience had been good or bad. They are so rich and so vivid that they bombard me with such force and they want to jumble out my mouth. I mostly manage to refrain myself.

I never realised how many memories had been locked away with no trigger. And in modern times when photographs provide this outlet, I have none. So instead, I sit here in silence, staring 'into space', reliving the memories that are suddenly strong and alive in the confines of my mind, and I'm enjoying it!