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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I need a HERO!

In the process of passing time whilst doing some spinning training on rainy Cape Town days I have watched quite a number of animation movies in short concession (in the greater scheme of getting fit I should have watched plenty more!). In watching these I picked up on a common thread that runs strongly through each of them. Here are the movies I watched:

Bee Movie – A young bee sets off to discover a new order and save the day for everyone!
Kung Fu Panda – An unlikely Panda becomes the one who is predestined to save the world!
Horton Hears a Who – An ordinary elephant discovers he holds the future of an entire nation in a speck on a flower and sets off to save the nation!
Avatar – A man finds himself being the unlikely predestined one who will save the Avatar nation from being destroyed!

It is obvious! We are designed to believe in a hero! Someone ordinary and unassuming, someone innocent with a heart for the weak, who in his unassuming way, becomes the saviour for the group, nation or world! And I find it exceptionally interesting that very often these ordinary people are ‘predestined’ and in their journey they show compassion and often make friends with unusual, out of the norm, creatures.

In this filminography world of creative expression, what is undeniably illustrated is our deepest desire for a saviour, one who is ordinary yet predestined to play this role. Does this not, in itself, lead you to think of the story of Christ, who He is, and what He came to do? Does it not strike you that even in a world where Christ is cast out that we find ourselves acting out this script in our books and movies? Does it not prove that we are designed to know Christ!

I find it startling, amazing, very revealing and exciting!!! The story of Christ is so much a part of us that we cannot separate ourselves from it! The world is searching for a hero and Christ is our Hero!

“God is a God who keeps His promises, demonstrated in sending Jesus who died for us, was raised from the dead, and ascended into heaven to rescue us from sin and death. Faith in this Jesus transforms us in every aspect of our lives, and empowers us to live a life that is pleasing to God.” M Lombard

Monday, August 27, 2012

laugh till you're blue

Yesterday I was watching Avatar while doing the long, boring, and very arduous task of spinning!  The blue people from Avatar are from a completely remote place, custom and language and my mind started wondering, do the blue people laugh?  And almost as I thought that, after about 7 spins of the wheel that goes nowhere, the blue girl person chuckled!  Suddenly it dawned on me how much laughter is a universal language!  Anyone who has travelled to a place where no English is spoken has experienced the universal language of laughter.  We struggle to communicate, sign language is used, pictures are drawn, we prance around like dyslexic monkeys, yet when we laugh, we laugh together and it is understood!  And have you ever noticed how once you’ve had a good laugh with someone, you seem to have formed an instant connection?
AND it really is contagious!

Isn’t it beautiful when someone tilts their head back, eyes form slits, mouth opens wide and she laughs from deep inside her belly?  I had a friend who had such a contagious laugh that once, while having coffee at Mugg&Bean, he let a big one out (a laugh I mean), and there was a definite post laughter-laughter from most of the people seated around us.  The other day, whilst walking down the streets of Stellenbosch talking to a friend, something I said was obviously funny to him (obviously!) and he belted out a laugh.  The old man on the other side of the street started chuckling and smiling!  In that moment our laughter had reached another and had made him smile too!  There was also that instant connection, we had shared a moment, though we will most likely never see him again.
It reminds me of the Mary Poppins song: 

So never miss a moment to laugh out loud, and when you laugh, you must really laugh, let your head tilt back, your eyes form slits, mouth open wide and, “BA HAA HAA HA HAHH!”

Thursday, July 26, 2012

CycleHome2Home: The beginning

Those on facebook would know by now that I have decided to cycle from home to home (my home in Kommetjie, Cape Town to my parents home Amatikulu, Durban), some 2000 or so kilometres.  When I tell people that often reply to this with a ‘why?’ and just to be cheeky I tell them, ‘The question should rather be, “why not?”.’

We can get so wrapped up in our lives, too afraid to do anything daring, to do anything above the ordinary and unpredictable.  Part of the personal reason for my journey is to intentionally go out and be bold, be confident, be crazy and be alive!  Everybody needs adventure, in whatever form that comes.  We need to take risks, to step into uncertainty, to push ourselves out of our comfort zones, we cannot and must not stay in the zone of predictability where we are able to know and calculate the cause and effect of every move.   We were not created to stay in a safe space, nothing is ever learnt in a world of normality, but rather abnormality! If we were we would not be truly alive! 

The idea of cycling from home to home has sparked the theme Home2Home and this theme will not only be lived out in the journey through me staying in people’s homes all along the way but it will be a part of the message of LifeXchange that I will spread with and through the cycle trip. 

The message:  Through one-on-one mentoring of youth at risk, LifeXchange creates a platform for the mentors to address the fundamental development gaps in the lives of these young people.  Ways to address this stems very simply from providing the natural, committed and loving support that a parent would give to a child throughout their growing years and this is why mentoring is often coupled with the word ‘reparenting’.  From an understanding of ‘parenting’ and a holistic ‘adoption’ of a young person into one’s life and family, the developmental needs begin to be immediately and naturally flow out of that relationship.  What also follows is a supporting network that comes from being in a well rooted family.  These networks ordinarily come from close family and friends, positive adult members in the community, church and school and are a huge contributing factor to our positive development as a young person.  Mentoring a young person at risk provides this same supporting network, a network entirely lacking from their life. 

When the theme of ‘home to home’ came up I spent a lot of time thinking about what is a home, and what distinguishes a house from a home.  When do you call a place a home and not a house?  What is it that a home offers?  And through this I began realising that in its simplest form, this is what LifeXchange’s approach of a Holistic Life Mentoring Process aims to provide in the life of a young person.  Not necessarily an actual building and place, but all the elements of what it means to have a home and to grow up in a ‘healthy’ home environment. 

Monday, April 16, 2012


One of the elements in the Human Resilience Code, a platform we at LifeXchange use to bring about positive change within an individual, is Generosity.

Too often we limit our understanding of generosity to; give ‘muchly’ ‘easily’ and give money. So I looked to see what synonyms Microsoft Word gave me, and this is what Bill Gates’ guru’s decided on:

“Generosity: kindness, big-heartedness, open-handedness, liberality, bounty, munificence (say what?), charity.”

A very different picture! Charity being only one on the list and somehow I love that “kindness” is the top of the list! Kindness is free and readily available! It is something we can all offer!

Last week two of the LifeXchange guys and me tagged along with Peter Solomon, a chiropractor who used his professional network to collect Easter eggs for the Red Cross Children’s Hospital. We went and handed out the eggs to the very many little kids who were in hospital over Easter. It was a small gesture that reaped great reward. Too often we label generosity for the rich, for the well-off, yet here Keanan and Lucian were, only a few cents jingling in their own pockets, putting an enormous smile and a very definite twinkle in the eyes of these precious little people! When we got in the car, their first words were, “I feel good inside. I did something good today”. Simple words attempting to explain a complex emotion! From their backgrounds, a code of selfish survival is their standard, so to do something for the complete benefit of another is a foreign concept. And I don’t believe it was the fact that they gave Easter eggs - they didn’t buy the eggs, they didn’t even collect them, all they did was hand them out. So what was it that gave them that ‘warm fuzzy feeling’? The simple act of kindness.

Generosity – “My life has purpose, I can make a difference!”

Monday, March 19, 2012

Parable of the Sower

I know that in the correct context the Parable of the Sower is concerned with the seed being the good news/gospel and the soil being how it’s being received by people however we experience a similar scenario which in a strange way illustrates how LifeXchange sometimes sees change happen. For those not familiar with the parable read Matthew 13.

The Parable of the Sower

1That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9He who has ears, let him hear.”

In the beginning of the year LifeXchange was doing the usual catching up with everyone after the big Christmas and New Year’s period, chatting to some of the guys who have been missing in action for almost the entire 2011. Every time we see these guys we always receive nods and smiles when we paint a picture of a better life and future, a life of living out your potential, but most often this falls on ‘shallow soil or rocky places’ with little or no response.

This time out of the blue, a guy who we have relentlessly tried to connect with and continuously invite to join us, suddenly responded! He suddenly became enthusiastic and persistent about changing his future and became fully committed to everything LifeXchange had to offer! His energy and enthusiasm were infectious.

What had changed? It was the same conversation, the same message, but somewhere something else had changed! And that’s what made me reflect on the Parable of the Sower , I felt like we were experiencing a similar scenario to that story. Though our message is the same, the message is received differently depending on the condition of the soil and the person’s ability to receive the message. We cannot control the quality of the soil but we can continue to sow the seed in the hope that one day it falls on “good” soil, ready to let the seed take root, grow and reap fruit. My understanding is that God prepares the heart to receive this message and when we see the message falling on good soil we can know that God is already at work in that person’s life, we are just the sower!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Never give up: Never Give Up

Never give up: Never Give Up: Love never gives up: never fails.. This has been the theme so far in 2012 It is one that brings so much hope and peace to the hearts of all....

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

confrontation point

Excerpt from my January newsletter:
So I thought my January news would entail how I conquered a mountain and thought it would be filled with much bravado and boasting.. instead I have been humbled and quieted by the whole experience, almost dragging my head in shame, admitting to my frailty.

Over New Years my dad, me, my brother-in-law, with some friends, embarked on a 5-day hike (“hike” feels too tame a word for what we did!) in the Drakensberg mountains. It was officially the most physically, mentally and emotionally challenging thing I have ever done! Physically tough because of the nature of the route we ended up taking, mentally tough because I had to mentally force each step, and emotionally tough because I was continually fighting back the urge to either cry or throw up; though I did manage to avoid both.. until I got home to my mom and burst into tears. And I can honestly say the BEST feeling in the WORLD was to be able to snuggle up to my mom and have her hug and comfort me and give me muthi (medicine) but mostly a bunch of TLC. The morning after the hike I had woken up with a fever, with my whole body swollen to the point where my eyes were just slits and my lip swollen to where it looked like I was going to attempt to mop the floors with it. Turns out I had some altitude sickness and I’m just going to add heat stroke and fatigue syndrome just because I feel I need to motivate my condition a little more :) And yes, they’re all the things that sound like a bunch of excuses!

The humbling and quietening part; well as I said I had expected to come back with a ‘more than conquerers’ attitude having just dominated a mountain but instead I DEFINITELY came back having had a mountain dominate me on all levels! I hit an absolute low on this hike where I was actually embarrassed at how poorly I was coping. My self-talk, my ‘vasbyt’ ability was at an all-time low, I really felt like I had reached my physical limitations and instead of thriving under the pressure I crumbled. BUT, I had enough pride in me still to not let it show to anyone but my dad. He was a legend! I wouldn’t have been able to have done it without him. That and the perpetually hilarious comments made by my friend Elsa in moments where you thought you just couldn’t take it anymore, but somehow she would get us giggling and everything just felt a whole lot better.

I know this might seem like a bit of a strange thing to write about, but now that a week has past, (and time really does heal in this regard!), I actually find the whole experience quite fascinating and quite revealing and processing the experience has lead to some interesting learning. They say when it comes to it, it is times like these when you learn what you’re really made of, and although I feel I horribly failed, and I wasn’t made of very much, it really revealed to me areas that I’m excited about focusing on and growing.

The Render Family Adventures : Need a little help.

The Render Family Adventures : Need a little help.: Hello. Please allow to take a minute to introduce you to a friend of mine. Her name is Shantelle April. Her friends call her Nelly. I m...

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Sunday, January 15, 2012

madrap wisdom #14: 2012 new year's resolutions

things you shouldn’t stop being just because you’re grown up:
Being honest; as children are honest, with themselves and with those around us, saying it for how it is.
Being silly; just because you’re all grown-up doesn’t mean you must stop the child in you
Being small; appreciating the small joys of life such as blowing a dandelion, playing thumb way
Being stubborn; setting your mind on what you want and not stopping till you get it!
Being simple; when you’re little like is simple and uncomplicated – keep it that way, don’t clutter your life with things that are unnecessary.