Reckless Abandon

Live life to the fullest.
"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters... It is the Lord Christ you are serving." [Col. 3:23-24]


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Chaos. And a Pep Talk to Myself

I’ve been feeling lately that my life has been fairly chaotic since about late December. With wedding planning, my breaker box blowing, travelling to Canada, getting married, moving Johan into my flat, getting broken into, and my car breaking down multiple times - I feel like I can’t catch a break and hardly have had time to catch my breath.

And then I think of people who have gone through the loss of a loved on, or who’s house has burned down, and I wonder how they cope. Well I know how they cope. There can only be One Way. Jesus. So why am I moaning and complaining about my petty trials? I should know that God’s got it all covered. He does. I know that. Sometimes its just hard to see the forest through the trees. Or some saying like that. I seem to lose perspective easily at times. I get so overwhelmed with my little struggles and begin to have vision like those horses in the old days that wore blinkers which took away all their peripheral vision. So there I go, staring forward at my little busy life and wondering whatEVER am I going to do? Calm down. That’s what. Do what my husband tells me: Calm down, don’t stress & take it one day at a time. There’s a Bible verse on that…”So do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have enough worries and anxieties of its own. Sufficient for each day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:34) So there it is. Simple and straightforward advice. And yet it seems I continue to want to take the weight of worry on my own shoulders. Which is really just stupid. Perhaps it comes down to pride. I want to be strong enough and do things myself. Giving it all to God shows that I am weak and incapable. So that’s humbling. But ever so true.

So here’s to humility and a stress-free life.

Cheers.

-HN

An Abstract February Blog

I don’t seem to have enough of the uninterrupted, thoughtful time that blogging seems to require. But I’ll just start writing and see where this goes.

These past couple months have been busy with travelling and weddings and such. This weekend I’m off to Cape Town for a week. I’m sure that’ll provide me with some good content to blog about!

This is a fairly monumental blog. This happens to be the first blog post I’m writing as a married woman. So that’s cool and stuff.

Married Life.

I’m enjoying married life. Coming home to my husband (or most often – him coming home to me), cooking together, having his steady logical mind around to keep my grounded…It’s all quite wonderful. I’ve been stressing lately about all the paperwork we have to do this year. Johan and I are planning on moving to Canada just over a year from now. So that mean a visa extension for me and immigration paperwork for him. And boy Canada is thorough with its immigration paperwork. Doesn’t seem to deter the plethora of immigrants to my beautiful homeland. Thankfully Johan also keeps my stress levels on that fairly low, continually reminding me that everything will work out in Gods time. I sigh. I know he’s right. Stressing I think has become a habit. It may take a while to break. But I plan to break it. It’s annoying.

I should probably back up. My wedding was incredible. And I hardly planned any of it, which was amazing. It was also amazing to see all the wonderful, loving people that took time out of their Mondays to come to our wedding. It was an enormous blessing. Our time in Canada was hectic at times but our wedding day was a breeze (for me anyways). Stress free, relaxed and wonderful.

On another note…

French.

Recently I’ve found quite the adoration for French/Francophone music. It’s rather soothing, and not distracting to me when I work since I can’t sing along.
Yet.
Johan and I have decided to learn French this year. I’m not sure how far we’ll get, but I think it’ll be fun. I learned a little French in school but have retained very little of it.
French music. French language. Maybe France is up next? Hah. I wish.

-HN

My wedding was full of wonderful moments.
Here are a few candid favourites.

A Rant on relevance and priorities

Is it just me or is it ridiculous that in order to be relevant in today’s culture you need to absorb as many movie and show quotes and song lyrics as possible?

Sometimes I feel like by not having seen the most recent episodes of Downton Abbey, and not having watched Breaking Bad I don’t get the jokes and references and thusly am less current and relevant than I’d like to be.

Not that being current is the MOST important thing. Its just nice.

Everybody uses Twitter. I’m 23. I should too. I find I’m kept more than busy enough with Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram and Gmail THANK you very much.

Am I missing some significant part of culture by not participating in more avenues of media? Wouldn’t I just be more relevant if I spend 5 more hours a week with actual people rather than watching Top Gear?

Now…I quite enjoy that few social media platforms that I choose to participate in. I do feel connected, especially to those that are thousands of miles away. I also enjoy watching Sherlock, House and Person of Interest. I just find it to be a bit exhausting to keep up with everything. Maybe I sound like a 90 year old. But honestly…it’s a lot of work to keep up social lives in real time, on social media and then try to find time to watch all these shows that people “can’t believe I haven’t seen.”

Really? Is Breaking Bad that great that my life is incomplete without it? Does it matter that I never watched Lost, and only the very last episode of Prison Break? Does my happiness rely on keeping up with the latest sitcoms? Is that all we can find to talk about?

Side note…this rant isn’t directed at anyone. Except perhaps some characters on YouTube that always make references that I’m clueless about. Really though, this rant is just directed at myself. A pep talk type thing.

Carrying on though…I want to be relevant by knowing more big words and what they mean, I want to be current by having had the time to read through another one of Dosteyevsky’s fine works. Is it so old fashioned of me to want to keep the classics current? Maybe I’m just an old soul that adores the smell of books and the feel of an old, cracking, leather-bound epic. Can’t life slow down just a little? Must we really have the latest Android or iPhone? Can’t we just sit sometimes in waiting rooms and just wait without constantly fidgeting with a little rectangular piece of eye-contact-avoidance in our hands?

Instead of trying to constantly stay up to date with media, technology, fashion, and jargon…can we maybe stay up to date with beautiful works of art, novels, and more importantly – the friends that we haven’t made time for in ages? Sit down for coffee. Look someone in the eye. Stop texting. Stop making movie references. Talk about life. Talk about each other.

-HP

Be still. Just keep being still.

I wrote a blog on being still probably a year or more ago. 
Seems God is still teaching me to be still. 

This morning I lead devotions here at work and talked about being still, so I thought I’d post my notes from today’s devo =)

BE STILL.

“Calmness can lay great errors to rest.” – Ecclesiastes 10:4b

Wait on the Lord & be still.

I’ve been learning this year not to be a busybody, to stop trying to plan my entire life and control everything. Just sit back, relax, be still, and enjoy the ride. God’s got this.

He says it a lot in scripture…these are a few of the passages about stillness/waiting that I’ve come across lately:

Psalm 46:10 - “Be still, and know that I am God.   I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

Psalm 37:7 – “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!”

Exodus 14:14 – “The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” (other translations say “be still”)

Lamentations 3:26 – “It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”

I find all these passages very comforting. For a long time one of the things I feared the most was the future, I think because I don’t know what it holds and really have no control over it. But reading these passages lifts a weight off me.

I don’t have to be busy trying to sort my life out constantly, I can sit in peace and have FAITH that God WILL do what he said he’ll do. He’d going to give me a hope and a future and His plans are so, very much better than mine. By a long shot.

So when you feel overwhelmed and like you’re losing control. That’s fine. God’s got it covered. Take time to separate yourself from duties, friends, housework and just take time to be still and get quiet with God. Good things will come out of it. I still have a hard time with sitting still and getting quiet but its so worth it whenever I take the time to do it. 

-HP

Goin’ to the Chapel

It’s been a little while since I blogged. And a lot has happened. I’ll sum it up as concisely as I can.

On December 9th, Johan and I had the pleasure of hanging out with a good friend of ours in the evening. Around 10 he brought me home, and came inside to pick up some stuff that he’d left at my house. We were hugging goodbye when he casually said “What’s this thing in my pocket?” as he pulled out a little black American Swiss box. This was then followed by a pleasant little freakout from myself. “You have it already?!” I squealed. “Mm, maybe we’ll do this another time”, Johan then said cheekily as he started to put the box back in his back pocket. I didn’t go for that though. He then asked me properly, on one knee and all if I’d marry him. To which I responded: “Mhmmm!!”

So that’s that. I’m engaged and I’m absolutely thrilled about it.

We originally planned on getting hitched here in South Africa in April of this year. Something summer-y, small & simple. My fam jam were all thrilled at my engagement, but the location of said ceremony was to their chagrin. So Johan and I thought and prayed and hummed and hawed. What to do? We are coming to Canada in February for two weeks for my best friends wedding, surely having our wedding then would be too hectic. Decisions, decisions. Finally on Christmas holiday, whilst talking to my parents, they convinced us to just go ahead and get married in the Great White North. In February. That’s soon. But hey – I’m not a big planner so why stretch out the planning for a long time. One month or so of planning and it’ll be over and done with!

So our Christmas/New Years holiday at the coast was part relaxation and part wedding planning. Mostly relaxation though. Which was needed, especially considering how hectic the next month is going to be. But I’m excited for it all. 2014 is going to be an amazing year and so I say – BRING IT ON 2014!

-HP

An Ode To Spoons

What is it about spoons? Why do THEY get used up the fastest? What is their allure? Are they so very much more useful than knives and forks? Why are they singled out?

I have more or less the same number of spoons, forks and knives in my cutlery drawer. I never have a problem with running out of knives. I could probably cut my stash in two and would still be able to function normally. Forks I rarely run out of. Only, perhaps, when I’m hosting a brunch. But even then the spoons are generally by far the more popular utensil. Perhaps it is because – unlike the knive or fork, the spoon can be balanced on one’s nose and, if skilled, other areas of the face. Or it could be simply that I eat a lot of things out of bowls. And bowls and spoons just go together. Like PB & J. Like Mackle & more. Like basketed bikes and hipsters. Spoons are also very unthreatening and un-abrasive. Forks can hurt. And there’s no question about knives. But spoons, beloved spoons…they’re so wonderfully harmless!

And then. And then…there are those little ornamental tea spoons. You’ve seen them in your Grandparents houses. Maybe even your parents. Maybe even yours. Little spoons with things on top. A bit souvenir-esque. Now. I’m all about souvenirs that are useful. So you’d think…spoons! Great. A souvenir you can use! HA! Not. They most often get displayed in specially made cabinets. WHY!? Really now. What’s the point? I really don’t understand such frivolities. In my house growing up…we DID use them for tea. They were well used and quite tarnished. And that’s how they should be. Used. 

In the classic Disney movie Beauty and the Beast, the dishes sing “…why we only live to serve!” I think that’s what dishes should stick to. Unless you’re playing spoons. Then they can venture out of the cutlery drawer and have the time of their life.

I think spoons are pretty cool. That said - Sporks are the coolest. Maybe I should have written about them. But it’s too late for that now!

I think it’s time for some ice cream…

-HP 

Fear - Who Needs It?

There’s really nothing like conquering one’s fears.

I have a lot of fears/phobias; small spaces, deep water, jumping off tall things, public speaking/performing etc.

I also have a lot of insecurities. Probably not obvious to most people around me. I hide them with my bubbly verbosity.

I’d decided recently that the only way to conquer these fears, phobias and insecurities is to face them head on, pray about them, and be humble.

Public speaking/performing is a really hard one, even having done it…it doesn’t come easily. Practice may make perfect – but sometimes there needs to be a WHOLE LOTTA practice to even scratch the surface of so called “perfection”! I have found that when it comes to speaking publicly or leading songs by playing piano, a lot of it comes down to prayer and humility. My fears when it comes to public speaking are that I’ll forget something or mess up or, or, or…In which case all of the focus is on ME. As soon as I switch the focus to God – things change. It’s still not easy going up in front of people to speak, but if you have a mindset of humility, speak from your heart, and let God speak through you…all of a sudden it becomes less frightening.

As for my claustrophobia, aquaphobia, and catapedaphobia – those are a bit more difficult to work on. But I’ll get there.

I heard someone once say that fears are irrational. I think this is probably true of a lot of phobias. Maybe not all. But most.

Then there’s insecurities. Those are probably irrational as well. But fears and insecurities tend to be based on something, however small or seemingly inconsequential.

I know it’s not New Year’s yet, but this is my resolution preparation – conquer fears and insecurities. I’m not sure how I’ll do it, but I want to try.

What are your fears? Have you conquered any of them? And how?

-HP

Festive Thoughts

It’s December.

The most commercial month of the year. 

A month of holly-jolly feelings, bah-humbug-ers, tinsel, snow, and peace on earth. Or something.

For those that are secular, Christmas just becomes a festive winter holiday, or at best “a season of giving”. For those in the southern hemisphere it’s pretty much the same. To avoid the Christ in mas, billboards and malls here are decorated much like those in the northern hemisphere - snowflakes, sparkly coniferous trees, snowmen, Santa, and all that jazz. Once you take Christ out of Christmas all that’s really left is snowy things. 

In this “season of giving” I can’t help notice that it’s really a season of hustle & bustle, spending, taking, and acting jolly. 

Don’t get me wrong - I love Christmas, but a part of me really cringes as I see this month go by. Hearing secular bands sing about a baby in a manger makes me hope that what they’re singing actually gets through to them instead of what I fear - that it’s just the thing to do, and another paycheck. That said - I do enjoy listening to Santa Baby, All I Want for Christmas is You, and Baby It’s Cold Outside. I am just realizing that a large percentage of “Christmas” songs are really just love songs or winter songs. 

This season is also hugely about food. Which of course is fantastic, but also - not the point. Christmas cake, fruit cake, Egg Nog (which is only a northern hemisphere thing), hors d’oeuvres, hot chocolate and a plethora of other scrumptious eats. 

The percentage of “Christmas” that actually involves Christ is staggeringly low. I know this isn’t news. But I still decided to rant on it for some reason. 

So in this excessively commercialized season of giving, whether or not Santa Baby brings a Rolex down the chimney tonight, or you end up with a gift that isn’t that great - remember that Christmas is about the Creator of the universe making the ultimate sacrifice and sending us the ultimate gift. And we don’t need anything else.

Happy Christ Month ya’ll. 

-HP

Just some of my favourite movie moments.