Once again over the past few days I am reminded that amidst potentially negative situations, an item of beauty always presents itself. A recent overnight hospital stay offered me a ward with the most beautiful view of the Johannesburg skyline and to add to the privilege, I was awarded three different views all within the space of twenty four hours.
I was settled into this peaceful afternoon environment by approximately three o’clock and after a chest x ray and various other tests earlier in the day, the spacious ward and dozing patients allowed me a moment to totally exhale…… The large window panes of my temporary haven framed the magnificent panorama of hospital rooftops, tree lined streets, sports fields and white clouds building on the horizon. Further afield apartment blocks kept watch over the scenes below while adjacent to this, a prominent tower rose to greater heights with a red advertising logo emblazoned around it. Nestled amongst the green of the suburban trees beautiful stately buildings protected their history and secrets from my inquisitive mind. I tried desperately to capture on my cell phone camera what my eyes could see and what my soul was experiencing, but knew only too well that this was not possible as some things can only remain like a precious pearl in the oyster of my heart…..
Oh my goodness, this last week I have felt as if I have been placed in a tumble drier, just waiting for someone to turn down the heat and the turmoil….but amid all of the stress and fear, I have experienced hilarious moments!
During my childhood years, it was truly unthinkable to be seen out in public in your slippers, let alone allow others to view you in your pajamas and dressing gown. Well, horror of horrors, I broke this vital childhood rule with much aplomb on Thursday last week. I had been admitted to hospital for tests and a trip to Johannesburg General Hospital was unavoidable to prepare for my future treatment. As I was in the care of another hospital I was accompanied by the PRO of the medical facility that I was booked into, and transported under her care to Johannesburg General. Well now… here is the thing…..I was ordered, in very gentle terms, to please not wear ‘normal’ clothes, but to be ready at 5.30 the next morning dressed only in my pj’s and slippers and covering this abnormal daytime attire, had to be a rather shabby, frayed looking gown with the name of the hospital I was in blazoned in red ink across the front and back of this delightful gown.
‘Liquorice Allsorts are one of the world’s most famous confections, and have been selling consistently well for over 100 years. Their unique flavours and strange addictions have made sure that they will continue to sell for many years to come.
The company who first made Liquorice Allsorts was the Bassett Company. The story of how Liquorice Allsorts were first marketed is now quite famous. In 1899, Bassett’s salesperson Charlie Thompson was discussing an order with a prospective customer. Then, completely by accident, his tray of samples was knocked onto the floor. They scattered everywhere, and while Thompson was desperately trying to pick them up, the buyer took an interest to the oddly shaped sweets, and placed an order there and then. Bassett’s Liquorice Allsorts soon went into mass production. In 1992, Bassett’s was taken over by Trebor. Therefore, they are now sold as Trebor Bassett, although the company is now Cadbury Trebor Bassett. The factory where they are made is in Hillsborough, Sheffield.’ #
I have always loved liquorice in its many forms, but the ‘Allsorts’ are a definite favourite. Over the years I grew up with the traditional flavors, but recently, more exotic tastes have been included to this ever popular brand. I am so intrigued by the above mentioned little tale of how these sweets were ‘accidentally’ marketed in 1899. This got me wondering about ‘accidents or mishaps’ in our daily lives. Are they really always detrimental to our lives or more often than not, a mere door opening to a new phase or opportunity in our day to day existence? Had Charlie Thompson not dropped the ‘oddly shaped sweets’ to the floor would we ever have been exposed this colorful luxury? Makes you wonder doesn’t it?
A dictionary definition of the word ‘opportunity’ expands to “a favourable, appropriate, or advantageous combination of circumstances or a chance or prospect”.* ‘Opportunity’ in my mind has always conjured up dreams of outrageous situations and exotic chances to achieve the impossible. In recent circumstances I have realized that opportunities need not be out of our reach, but in fact present themselves daily, right under our noses.
We are often given life changing chances to fill a lucrative new employment position or relocate to a new town, country or home, but we often find ourselves yearning for better opportunities without realizing that they are right where we are. In an economy where jobs are scarcer than before, we are forced to re-evaluate the fact that we are actually employed and that there are millions of unemployed people who would give their eye teeth just to earn a monthly wage. I am also guilty of focusing on the negative aspects of where I work and have to remind myself regularly that I have a privileged opportunity every day to make a difference to others. On numerous days life feels very ordinary and humdrum, but stepping out of our immediate situation for a fresh look at what we really have makes a huge difference.
Within a space of a week my family has been unceremoniously plunged into an uninvited crisis. The ‘BIG C’ has penetrated our midst without too much warning and changed daily thought patterns and routines into a certain turmoil. We have all learnt this week that these things are definitely no respecter of persons and this one has settled into our environment without any coaxing.
I have stood in absolute amazement as each member of my family has bravely dealt with the news in their own unique way. There have been useful visits to the Internet to glean vital information concerning this frightening subject; cocooning words of comfort and motivation; reassurances of continued support and general family love like no other. Family responsibility leave was applied for and patience tested to its limit while waiting for medical tests and answers. Every need and request has been met before it was even verbalized and blessings of gifts, food and medicines materialized within hours. Little gift bags filled with motivations and blessings appeared and favourite magazines set aside for long hours of waiting at the medical centre.
During a very recent visit to my homeopath, I realised as he took a photo of each one of my eyes for an iridology diagnosis, just how magnificent they are. Our eyes are often referred to as the windows to our souls, but by the Creator’s miraculous hands, they are also the portals to our physical bodies. ‘According to iridologists, details in the iris reflect changes in the tissues of the corresponding body organs. One prominent practitioner, Bernard Jensen, described it thus: “Nerve fibers in the iris respond to changes in body tissues by manifesting a reflex physiology that corresponds to specific tissue changes and locations.” This would mean that a bodily condition translates to a noticeable change in the appearance of the iris. For example, acute inflammatory, chronic inflammatory and catarrhal signs may indicate involvement, maintenance, or healing of corresponding distant tissues, respectively. Other features that iridologists look for are contraction rings and Klumpenzellen, which may indicate various other health conditions, as interpreted in context.’*
Twenty or so years ago I wrote a book which was never published. I discovered a copy of my writings the other day while de-cluttering a cupboard. I was really surprised to see how similar my writing style was then as to how I pen ideas now. Here is an extract from ‘Flowers in the Desert’:
“Imagine discovering an armful of flowers in as dry and barren a place as the desert? ‘A place that is referred to geographically as receiving less than 10 inches of precipitation in a given year. A place where there is not even enough moisture to bind the soil particles together and nurture any kind of plant life….. a place which is battered by the wind and tortured by the greatest extremes of hot and cold, extremes found nowhere else on the planet….. a place that is relentless and hostile and where only the hardiest of living things can survive…. a place where many different moods appear – peaceful, stormy, blistery hot and freezing cold!’* Read More
A number of years ago I attended a scrapbooking conference where we were treated to a bevy of international experts in this field. We were immersed in an explosion of creativity as class after class our creative knowledge graduated to the next level. One of the sessions that still resonate with me is the class by well known American scrapbooker, Stacy Julian, in which she brought the art of scrapbooking into perspective for me. She taught us to be aware of ‘The Big Picture’* and that simplicity in words and pictures brought a strong message to the pages that we were creating. One of the concepts that she encouraged us to do, was to write ‘a letter to your younger self and see what you learn’.*
Months later I decided to write this letter at the age of forty eight, to my younger self of four. I spent some time crying as I recalled a few sad childhood memories but surprisingly, soon realized the therapeutic value of this exercise. The photograph that I used showed a very pensive and serious four year old and my heart went out to this little person who probably couldn’t understand the intricacies of the adult world around her. My hindsight wanted to tell her that everything would work out alright in the end. This got me thinking….. what would she think of me now?
I believe she would be very proud of my tenacity and perseverance; my ability to stand no matter what and to weather the storms as they lashed at times. She would probably be very surprised that I had finally learnt to conquer certain fears and to manage the others. Her one major concern would have been what had been drummed into her head for so many years: ‘What would the people say or think of me?’ I would be able to tell her that this was a real tough issue to handle, but by Grace, my self esteem has been strengthened over the years. A very strong character trait that we have is to always put others first and thankfully, I have been able to retrieve my areas and draw boundary lines to protect me, in order to have special moments on my own. This little four year old girl would be delighted to know that I have grown spiritually and that my faith nurtures and heals and forgives myself and others, otherwise I would constantly fall over my own created stumbling blocks.
I have been fascinated with the art of black and white photography since the age of four. My Dad was an avid photographer who developed his own films in a mysterious dark room on the front verandah. For obvious reasons this inquisitive little girl was never allowed into his magical space and so a journey of discovery was ignited in me to find out more about the beautiful pictures that he produced all the time. My interest never faltered on this subject and in 2004 I enrolled into a photographic course to finally unravel my childhood mystery. I expected to be taught about lighting, camera technique and the like, but realized on the first night of class that the following six months would be spent in a ‘mysterious dark room’. I could not contain my excitement….. The time had eventually arrived for me to unravel the secrets of this formerly forbidden area.
What is that one item or outfit in your wardrobe that makes you feel fabulous? Could you face any challenge wearing it? While wading through hundreds of photographs recently, I stumbled upon a group of pictures featuring me in the same red dress. This specific red dress was present at my children’s early birthday parties, appropriately covered with an apron; also worn for official Christmas portraits and later in a restaurant celebrating with some more little revelers. More scenes showing off the red dress included a trip to a zoological garden with the in-laws and special moments with my tender aged children. The first thought that came to my scrapbooker’s mind was a double paged spread, boldly adorned with the words: ‘That Red Dress’. Well as life would have it, there are only twenty four hours in a given day and ideally I could use a few more, so sadly, the double spread has not been birthed yet……but this red dress is now gracing the pages of my latest blog post!