Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

A gift to all my blog followers... Happy New year. Thank you for following my blog and for all the comments, appreciation and advice. It has been a hard year for me but easier than the one before. Each year is a little less painful and you have all been amazing. I did this picture last night and will add the links for the models after the weekend. Life is a celebration and even when we are alone the heavens celebrate with us.
Double click for a larger view.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Thinking of a friend today

Today is a very sad day in deed for a friend of mine who lost one of her daughters to a completely senseless murder. The accused was prosecuted but not found guilty which has been really painful for the family to accept. My thoughts really go out to the family today. It made me think of this song by Charice, one of my favourites.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Who is this!

A friend of my daughter had his Fine Art graduation recently and his parents flew out for the occassion. We stood around taking photos and I thought his mother and I would be alone in the picture! Have you ever looked into the background of your photo's to see who is there?
I can't really show you what the whole room looked like. Each student had a room where they could do their final art piece. I am not sure what the message was in this room but the entire room was filled with white objects, draped lace and fabric and cotton wool all over the floor. It was interesting to say the least.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Bella is looking for Father Christmas

I was busy wrapping presents to send up to my family In Johannesburg. There were one or two, or three ...for Bella. I locked her outside and told her to go and play...the next thing I see her looking through the window at me! Now what am I going to do... I know... I will give then to her tomorrow and buy her new ones...just so that I can surprise her... how can I deal with this?

She looks so bored... but she still wants to know what she is getting for Christmas... I am not telling.

I am sad

Have you ever done that... post your  long message only to have it disappear! In 2004 was my last Christmas with my ex and it was a really an unhappy one. I knew that things were coming to an end, and faster than I could plan for.
2005 January we separated and I was numb, I hardly knew what day of the week it was let alone plan for Christmas 2005. I have no recollection of that Christmas at all... was there one?
By 2006 I was divorced and only just surviving... my heart was broken, shattered by the events of the year before, but thank goodness for my son in laws family who included me and my daughters in their Christmas celebrations.
2007 and my heart was feeling a little stronger and I wanted to reciprocate to the in laws. I invited the whole family and we really put on a feast. Turkey, Gammon, mince pies, roast veggies, desserts nuts glace fruit what ever was 'Christmas' we had it all.
My family in Zimbabwe used to have the most lavish Christmas's this was the first time as a newly divorced person that I could try and do the same. In my opinion Christmas is about family.  But for so many years, when my ex husband had his children then it was about family but when they went to spend time with their Mother, then it was only about us... not my children. He would plan holidays on exotic islands... but without my children. I know you are wondering ... but why did you not insist... why did go? When it is Christmas you don't start fighting about things that you know will cause a war... and I never had a choice anyway.

So... when I was finally separated, and able to make my own choices all I wanted to do was to be with my family. 2007 was the first year that I was ever going to have, with my children with out any drama and doing things just the way we was SO special.

This was my Boma in the garden with my precious daughter and her husband preparing for our dinner.

What can I say... my daughters fooling around in one of the decoration! kids... love them to bits.
Well the day went really well but in the evening when I went into the kitchen... I thought.. OMG... I am going to clean this up tomorrow O So Lo mio.
But when everyone left my precious daughters got stuck in to the kitchen and before I knew it the whole house was spic and span.... we had a wonderful day... the kitchen was spotless and I was alone and in tears... and I mean sobbing.

This was not how I planned life to be. I am a family person. I loved my children, cared deeply about all my step children but no matter what I just couldn't hold the family together.

This was our first real Christmas together as a family and just look at my precious little grand daughter... we all look so happy...but trust me this was a painful time for all of us.

Why am I sad... because I am a family person... and every Christmas is a reminder... that I am not a family.

Before & After

Thank goodness for PS. I have been layering and layering for days. It is almost finished but I couldn't put my finger on what was over to PS to play with shadows and highlights. I like the second one a lot more, now what I have to do is try and work that into my painting. Any ideas from my artist friends?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Anyone who has a heart.

I know that anyone who has a heart, will read this story about Stephan and wonder... how will this story end. Will Stephan beat the odds... I think we all pray and hope that he will, because we are all surrounded by 'Stephans' around the world and we all wish and hope and pray that they will be okay, sort their lives out and find security and happiness. Some will make it and some will not, we know that, but for all those who don't make it... we cannot give up and lose heart.
People who have reached the end... the bottom... are moments and a choice away from death... it takes one caring person and they can be saved, and they can turn their lives around and WE could have done one small thing to help them.

I have often wondered... what does it feel like moments before someone is about to take their own life...well I have been there... and it takes one phone call from a friend for a person to change their mind... just for today... but the today's...become tomorrows and then tomorrows become a lifetime.

I can't believe this

A few weeks ago, I made a terrible mistake. I was driving in my car with Bella sitting on my lap, I wasn't going far. It was a beautiful day and I had my drivers window down. Bella had her head out the window like a real diva, pink hair blowing in the wind. When I pulled into the car park, a man walked up to my car selling african art work from up country, dark glasses and all kinds of goodies which I wasn't interested in so I turned to my left to tell him I wasn't interested but while I was doing that I pressed the automatic window and it slowly started to close, I could feel Bella wiggling around but I thought she was just anxious to get out the car, but when I turned around to calm her, I saw she was stuck in the window! Obviously I quickly I pressed the button to let the window go down and she was hoarse...she couldn't speak! I was in a complete panic I thought I had killed my soul mate.

Well I sat in the car, crying and gently rubbing her throat and soon she was fine, she had a high pitch bark for a while but she was alive.

That's not the last of it....

A few weeks later I was off to the beach with Bella to take some photo's that I wanted to paint, but I was in a hurry. I stopped at one spot, jumped out the car and let Bella out with me to take some pictures. I did this a few times and then time was running out. After about the 6th photo stop I decided one more and then we must go home. I pulled into a car park, jumped out the car, but I left Bella in the car with my handbag, my cell phone and the keys in the ignition. I thought just one more, snap snap and we would be gone. I hadn't walked 5 paces from the car and I heard the central locking go off. I turned around to see that my car door was closed, Bella was in the drivers seat and she had stood on the central locking next to my hand break.

I was stunned. It was a sweltering day, it was lunchtime, Bella was locked in the car and I froze. Panic set in and I started to cry, I thought she is going to die from the heat. I don't have a phone number to phone even if I ask a passing jogger for help. I don't know many people in Cape Town it was terrible.

A friendly lady was running past and saw my distress and she stopped to see what was wrong, when I told her, she immediately took control. We walked to a nearby restaurant and she told the manager what the problem was, with me wiping my nose on my sleeve! The manager phoned a locksmith who said he would be there in 10 minutes he was just down the road. Every minute passed like an hour. When he arrived he jumped confidently out of his car and said it wouldn't take a minute. I stood back because I didn't want Bella to see my and get worked up making herself even more hot. Trust me it was hot.
He tried everything and it just wouldn't open. Eventually he phoned someone else and that man took at least 20minutes to get to us. By then, you can well imagine what I was going through. When the new man arrived he came with all his bank robbing, safe breaking equipment and set to work.

I noticed a couple sitting on a bench, romantically looking out over the ocean. They were obviously wondering what was going on. They came over and I flopped into the young girls arms and told her of my plight. I asked her if she was on holiday and she said no she was on honeymoon. How sweet. While we were talking about her recent wedding, and their wonderful honeymoon which they had enjoyed, the men all got to work. With in about 10 minutes the door was open. I ran towards the car to see if Bella was dead and thoughout the whole ordeal she had fallen asleep under the dash board, completely unperturbed. So...Bella was fine, I paid a fortune for the locksmith services and we were on our way.

And the story doesn't end there. Last night two friends dropped in and we were sitting chatting on my patio, it was a beautiful evening. My friend owns a pizza restaurant and she suggested we go and get a pizza, we all walked to the car and I was so busy helping them to get in the car, I saw Bella walk around the back of the car and I thought she had followed my friends boyfriend, who she loves so I thought she had jumped in the back seat with him. I went to close my door and felt a yelp. Bella had tried to jump onto my lap like she always does and I squashed her in the car door.

No I know what you are thinking by now.... Bella looks like a dog, but she is a cat? Well I quickly opened the door and she jumped in but I could see she wasn't hurt but she was @##$$% off and didn't speak to me the whole day.

This evening she went into the bedroom earlier than usual. When I went to find her... hummm it was pay back time. I had been wearing this beautiful Indian jacket which is lovely and cool but I had changed and draped it over the edge of my bed. There was Bella chewing off all the buttons, one by one. I mean what could I say? I mean really! It was one of those moments when you find your children have done something really naughty but you actually find it quite funny.... I didn't laugh, but I knew we were even!

This is a reversible top, emerald green on the one side and shocking pink on the other. Oh well I enjoyed it while I had it. Now I am going to use the buttons on a DJ Pettitt journal I am busy making. Go and see her work, in my oppinion she is one of the most talented artists, her work is beautiful.

Are you kidding me?

A few years ago I went to Argentina. My daughter and I went down to breakfast and everything looked familiar and normal until we came across a huge bowl of something that looked like puke. I know that sounds disgusting, but it looked disgusting. My daughter and I are so much a like and we are up for anything, so we filled our bowls with this stuff....

Now tell me that looks appetising... and I won't believe you. Well we tasted this stuff, apprehensively and it was really nice yummie in fact. We tried to work out what it was and how it was made but couldn't quite put our finger on it. Well yesterday I decided I was going to try and see how to make it.
I soaked the muesli in fruit juice until it was soft. Then I added some yogurt and tasted it and it was Just right...said this little bear, I knew that I would work it out sooner or later. This is different to how I normally eat muesli but trust me it is really good.
This was a digital art piece I did a while back but I thought it was appropriate to use it here.

Absolutely Awesome news

I met Stephan last week Saturday and he really broke my heart. I promised him that I would do my best over the next few days to try and find him a shelter or a rehab, but I had NO idea how hard that would be. I spent several hours over several days phoning every single contact number that I could get my hands on. Hospitals, rehabs, shelters, social workers, churches police stations and I was getting no where fast. All I was being told is that it is going to cost X, or the social worker is not in your area, or we cannot help him because we are full, there is a waiting list, we are closed until the end of January.

I was SO UPSET, that I thought I cannot go down to the beach and tell him that there is nothing I can do. I decided not to go and see him but prayed with all my heart.

Lord... you know that I love you, but I am really mad with you today...which was Wednesday evening.... Lord as I was saying... I am really mad with you. You want us to care about these people who are thrown away by societyn and I do, but YOU are not opening the doors anywhere for him to go. Well if he dies.... it is your fault.... You can't blame me for trying! I am going to sleep and I am giving him back to you, he is your problem now.

Amen... good nite.

Well that was Wednesday night. I can't say it didn't bother me yesterday it did, the whole day. But every time I thought about it, I kept saying Lord he is your problem.

Last night around 7pm I received a phone call from a number I didn't recognise, and this voice says..."Hello Caryl this is Stephan. I am staying with some people and I wanted you to know that I haven't taken any drugs or alcohol since I saw you on the weekend. I want to give you the phone number where I am staying so that if you want to you can come and see me".

I WAS ABSOLUTELY SHOCKED....... His voice was clear and I knew he was okay. I called the number he gave me this morning and made arrangements to go and see him. Angus and his wife Karen own a beautiful Garden Center with a lovely coffee shop. Their son Luke came up to me to introduce himself with a big hug ! These people are charming, young, beautiful Christians. They are very active in their church and they have a ministry with street people  ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

At the back of the nursery is an apartment with a dormitory that sleeps about 8 people. They took me to the back to show me what it looks like and there was Sephan sleeping on one of the beds.

I REALLY REALLY had to hold back the tears. I didn't stay long, because I had to go somewhere but I knew for the first time in a week, that God was 100% in control. Stephan is not in a horrible old warehouse, or in a state hospital, he is in a room with other men just like him, but all recovering and doing well. There are flowers all around them because of the nursery..... I am so AMAZED AND IN AWE as to how God works for those who trust HIM.

Lord, it is me again.... I am SO sorry I was mad at you. I should have known that You would do this! You have never let me down when I am desperate, and I really was desperate. Thank you that you care so much for Stephan you found him a home only a couple of blocks from where I live. Thank you that you gave him a pretty flower garden and really loving caring people to look after him. Now Lord all I can ask, is that you work IN him. Give him the strength that surpasses all understanding to resist this addiction and fight back. Lord I pray that you will protect him day and night until he beats this. I also trust you Lord that I will hear good news of him in the future, that he has a job, a place to stay and that he is happy.
Thank you Lord that you are always so faithful.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Trust, Fear, Caution and Wisdom

Several years ago I did a course with World Alive. A three day journey of self discovery that was amazing. One of the exercises we did was this one, but we were blind folded and  we had no idea that there were people standing behind us, but we were told to trust and just fall backward off a wall, trusting the people who were running the course. It was interesting, try it sometime...I dare you.
This was another one of the tests, to see how much confidence we had in people. Everyone stands in a circle with one person in the middle who is also blind folded, not like this guy! The idea is for the person in the middle to fall anyway he wants, forward, side ways or backwards and the people in the circle around him must catch him. With each successful fall...catch! the circle moves back a step. The instructions are given to the people on the outside, that no matter what several people MUST rush forward and catch the person. Obviously the outside circle does not move so far back that it is impossible to catch the person in the middle but that person doesn't know that.

It really was an interesting exercise to see the people who have incredible trust and those who don't, some people can't fall at all, they are paralysed with fear. This is an incredible example of how much as individuals, we carry fear with in us and a very few don't. They fall with gay abandonment and actually enjoy the experience.

I was speaking to someone the other day about the fact that she is struggling with TRUST after an abusive relationship. She said she can't tell the difference between legitimate FEAR from the past and learning to discern when a person is wrong for her. She said "when ever I meet someone now, and I feel afraid of them, I don't know if it is because of what I have been through, or whether this person is actually wrong for me.

I tried as best as I could to tell her how I personally learned to tell the difference.  When in male company, there were men I felt comfortable with and men I didn't. I started to make a note of what it was about the men who I felt uncomfortable with and I was very specific.

He seems to look straight through me, 'I am looking at you but not hearing a word you are saying.'
He reminds me of my ex.
He reminds me of my step father.
His voice is the same as....
I don't like the way he drinks.
He is loud and doesn't seem to pay attention when other people are talking to him.
My GUT is telling me ...I don't trust you.

Compared to ...
He has kind eyes
He asks about me and listens to everything I have to say and pays attention.
He is polite, kind to people.
I have not seen him get unreasonably angry with people.

Yes of course these both have flaws, but it was a starting point for me...I didn't trust any MALE at all, not even the men in my own family.

It is a long road and people will fail, that is human nature, but I am far more tuned into people who are being dishonest than I ever was in the past and I told her it would take time but she would get there too. Forgiveness is a huge part of this process. We cannot and must not paint everyone with the same brush, we harm ourselves even more if we do.

I am not sure I am articulating this well but I need to think about this more. When someone has been completely broken by another human being, it really is hard to trust anyone. I have to take one day at a time. At one time I thought it was men I did not trust, but there are so many women who are manipulative and deceitful. To conclude I think if you really trust yourself.... TRUST YOURSELF. It is not about other people it is about the confidence one has with in that really matters, confidence gives us the discernment we need when forming new relationships.

My favourite quote is... TO THINE OWN SELF BE TRUE.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Isn't this cute

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am passionate about animals. I would love to work at a Vet, or live on a Game Farm, but I can't do everything. I hardly slept last night, concerned about Stephan, yes lets give him a name. Somewhere in this world he had a mother and father, aunts and uncles, cousins and perhaps even brothers and sisters. I wonder if these two little penguins even know each other or if they are strangers, excited at having survived. Survival makes people weep and hug each other with excruciating pain and joy.
Penguins being released back into their beautiful habitat. You can read the article here. Strutting their stuff !
People line the beaches, men women and children, happy and excited that they have been rescued.I am sure I would have been there too at the time.
Volunteers rushed at the time to see where they could help and thousands sat in the comfort of their homes watching but offering no help at all.

I wonder if the pink marks on the little chests are visible signs of their once grieving hearts.
I also wonder if these people would ever take the time to try and help just one street kid or take their children to a soup kitchen, or a rehabilitation centre to watch the pain and suffering  people go through? I wonder if those sitting at home would donate 'anything' to a cause that they feel some compassion for? I wonder if anyone is there to see when one person is rehabilitated and set free in this world?

When I spoke to all the contacts I had been given yesterday I was told by most of them, that Stephan was right, very few people care about PEOPLE, the human race, around the world. I for one have been there, in the depths of despair. Perhaps I didn't end up under a bridge, but I could have, but for the grace of God. I am told that Government funding is at an all time low, and the public sector have almost given up.
Can you imagine, if everyone, dipped into their pockets just a teeny weeny little bit, once a year to make a donation to a charity that concerned them, I don't care which charity but to just one of them. These charities are all desperate and the volunteers who work there are exhausted I am sure. Charity work is a thankless job but rewarding when one person, or one animal is rescued. So many people are distrusting of where their donations actually are distributed, I understand that but God sees the heart and our intention surely?

No this is not a guilt trip, I refuse to be made to feel guilty and I don't enjoy emails that circulate with messages of God will bless you or you will be doomed! You know the ones I mean. I simply delete them.
Can you imagine though, and I know this is idealistic, but can you imagine if even 50%, or 25% of the population of the world made some attempt to dig into their pockets or actively go and do something?

Is this intended to make anyone who may read this feel guilty, NO. I am sharing honestly what is in my own heart and I take full responsibility for that.

Diana Trout

I was feeling a little down tonight after sharing the story of Sephan below. Browsing around for some new blogs I came across this one, is this just not so much fun. I can see I am going to be busy during the holidays.

And so this is Christmas?

Several times a week when I am taking my little dog Bella for a walk along the beach, I often see this young man. He is either sleeping on a bench out side some public toilets, we know what often happens inside male public toilets, or he maybe trying to watch one of the cars in the car park, which might give him a couple of cents and on a bad day, he is sitting staring across the bay at our beautiful Table Mountain.
I say a bad day, because his eyes are glazed over and he seems lifeless inside. I feel sad for him, but I know there is nothing I can do to help him, or so I think.
Usually when I go to the beach for a walk with Bella I walk from my apartment which is one block away, but last Saturday I decided to take the car down because it was quite windy, no not quite, extremely. When I arrived in the car park this young man came up to the car and asked if he could watch my car for me, which would normally mean I should give him a couple of rand to do that, but I said "No you don't need to watch my car, and I will try and help you, but I need to talk to you. Please wait here, I will be back". I went for my walk and the wind really picked up and it was freezing, so I told him I was going to fetch a jacket, something for him to eat and I would be back.

When I pulled into the car park he looked surprised. Probably thought, 'yea right another @#$$%^ that is just going to drive off'.  We sat down on the bench near the toilets and I can hardly describe how he attacked the hamburger, chips and cold drink that I had bought for him. I wanted to talk to him and find out more about him but I also didn't want to ask him questions with a mouth full of food.

When he had finished the hamburger I asked him about his childhood and he told me that he was brought up in an orphanage in Johannesburg, when he left he worked as a painter. I don't want to write here about some of the other things that he told me, but when I noticed the bandage on his arm and enquired about it, he told me that he had tried to commit suicide a week ago, and then rolled up his jacket on both sides and showed me these terrible, deep scars on his arms, obviously not done with a thin shallow slash to get attention but deep cuts clearly done with serious intent to take his own life. He then says to me that no matter what he does to try and kill himself, they stitch him up and send him back into the street.

He looked over towards the mountain and I asked him.

"What are you thinking when you look over there towards that beautiful mountain?" he says...

"No one actually cares!"

I asked him, what do you really want in your life, and he doesn't say, a job, a home, money, he says...

"I want someone to love me!"

I have tried for four days to get him into a shelter, made dozens of phone calls and I just can't find him any help. For now, I am still trying to find him some help, but it doesn't look good, and I dread telling him that I can't do anything.
This face belies the the tender way he speaks.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Making things work for me.

I did the first painting for a client a few weeks ago. Not really my taste but I thought it would work for her. I should have listened to that inner voice... that said... I hate it! The client really liked it but she said she didn't want yellow and pink, she would prefer white roses.
I was about to throw the first one in the bin when I suddenly thought, I wonder what would happen if I painted over it? What could happen! It was messed up anyway so I gave it my best shot and painted straight over the orininal and I really was happy with the way the second one turned out.

You must see this.

Christmas chopping with a difference. I have done all my shopping but I must say I would like to have been there. Take a look at this it really is amazing.