RSS Feed

Category Archives: Inspiration

Winter Ramblings.

Posted on
Winter Ramblings.

Winter in South Africa is beautiful. Don’t get me wrong, it can get ‘vrek koud’ (said whilst shivering despite wearing layers of clothing). Although It doesn’t snow in the city of Port Elizabeth (where I reside) or usually in any of the other cities in South Africa, temperatures can become rather icy. Snow is often found higher up on some of the mountain ranges such as the Drakensberg Mountains in Natal (that’s where I first played in snow as a young child). Even the Winterberg Mountains closer to Port Elizabeth occasionally get a light dusting of snowflakes during some of the more colder winters. Okay, thats enough geography and climatography for now…suffice to say that I prefer the cooler weather as I rather enjoy snuggling up next to a fireplace; an occasional glass of red wine in one hand and a good book in the other. Hibernation?… Mmhmm…stocking up on cupcakes and coffee?… tempting!!!

The beautiful Winter colours and sunsets are my favourite. God sure is a master Artist! Even the starkness of a deciduous tree has a rare beauty of its own.

I recently had the pleasure of attending a leisurely afternoon cheese and wine with some of my female colleagues (we are high school teachers and it’s our Winter holiday). We giggled and shared stories about our lives and our families. I so enjoyed my afternoon in this warm and inviting environment. I was struck by the fact that a lot of the furniture within this home was either classic or antique and the sort of priceless stuff that one doesn’t find in any of today’s retail furniture stores. Upon enquiring, our host informed me that a lot of the furniture pieces were passed down from generations before. Something of value had weathered the seasons of time! I loved this! Yes, not every one has the luxury of heirlooms but every purchase one makes can be a well thought through one. Some of the furniture and items I’ve bought can barely make it beyond the one year mark let alone twenty years. There is the typical Afrikaans saying, ‘goedkoop is duurkoop’and I am discovering this to be true.

I’m now endeavouring to buy quality and long lasting furniture and clothing as opposed to main stream mass produced items. This means choosing well, supporting local artisan businesses and sometimes spending more. With that in mind, there are a few key items that I hope to obtain. One of which was a briefcase. After much SAVING up, research and deliberation, I bought a beautiful leather briefcase from Silkroutetrader. See their website here. http://www.silkroutetrader.org

It arrived just in time to be teamed up with with the neutral tones that I’m so enjoying this winter.

I hope you have a lovely weekend snuggling up.

All my love
Cayly

Ps. I’m off to enjoy a steaming hot mug of Masterton’s Alaskan Snowgoose Blend. As Mastertons aptly said…’it’s a stronger blend for the colder months of Winter’

My new leather briefcase
20140711-141631-51391908.jpg
Winter sunrises & sunsets

20140711-141742-51462720.jpg

20140711-141743-51463663.jpg

20140711-141745-51465149.jpg

20140711-141744-51464406.jpg
Enjoying a cappuccino and bite size lemon meringue in the streaks of sunshine found on Vovo Telo’s verandah

20140711-161747-58667925.jpg
A delicious cappuccino from Urban Espress

20140711-162151-58911372.jpg

A trip to the annual ‘Wildfees’, in Kirkwood, proved fruitful. I bought local honey, wine and a hand knitted scarf from a local knitting project, Nomvula’s Knitters

20140711-162458-59098474.jpg
The best way to keep ones hands warm

20140711-162611-59171051.jpg

*All photos in this post are taken by and belong to Cayly of caylysdandeliondays. You may not use them without prior written permission. *

Advertisements

The Road To Recovery

Posted on

The road to recovery is paved with many experiences, some smooth and some rough!

One of these experiences took place on the 9th of July 2013, a year ago today. I remember it as a particularly difficult but victorious date. It was the day of sentencing in my hijack/rape trial. My family had already spent the whole morning at the High Court. I wasn’t going to go to court that day despite the Public Prosecutor’s strong encouragement to me to do so for the sake of closure. As far as I was concerned, I had already testified a year prior to that, with my attackers a few meters away from me, and had absolutely no intention of ever setting my diminutive feet anywhere near, let alone in, court again!

My family often comment on my ‘to hell with it’ approach to difficult things. This approach is something I’ve chosen to develop in order to cope with the severity of the situations I’ve had to face. I’ve found that instead of shying away from something that could potentially trigger or derail me… I say ‘to hell with it’ and bravely step forward.

One such example involved a broken hearted me on a valentines day several years ago. I lay in bed in tears after receiving a barrage of hurtful words from an ex-boyfriend . Shortly thereafter a friend invited me to join her and a group of fellow singletons for the evening. Every part of me wanted to stay in bed and have a big pity party with just one in attendance (me). Instead, I donned the ‘THWIT’ approach. I got out of bed, joined the group, had an amazing evening and drove myself home at 2:30 am. (Yet another victory post the trauma!)

This day a year ago I exercised that approach again. I decided to go to court and face my rapists once more. Words cannot explain how difficult this was. Seeing them would be distressing let alone the fact that I would be sitting in a clinical and hostile environment, not knowing what the outcome of the trial would be.

The verdict…. Guilty of hijack, armed robbery, sexual assault, rape…Sentence to life plus an effective 15 years. Although I derive no satisfaction at the knowledge of someone having to spend their life in prison, I am hugely relieved that they will never be able to inflict that pain on anyone else ever again. The court interpreter called my parents aside after the trial and said that they need to thank God that I’m alive. One of the accused was a well known but previously unconvicted criminal who had allegedly raped and murdered before.

I’m extremely grateful to be a year down the line after having had the case successfully concluded and sentences passed (a miracle in itself)… So I continue on this road of healing.

I want to make special mention of my family for being so amazing! How far we have come since then.

The Herald wrote an article on this in January this year.

http://www.heraldlive.co.za/rape-survivor-shares-pain/

Thanks to you too for sharing in these victory steps with me on my road to recovery.

Much love

Cayly

20140709-205622-75382816.jpg

20140709-223148-81108927.jpg

20140709-223554-81354765.jpg

Be Like A Flamingo

Posted on

20140705-151306.jpg

I’ve always loved flamingos. Their brightness has always appealed to me. To me, flamingos connote beauty, grace and balance. (I’m talking about the flamingo birds that wade in water, not the plastic ones that one finds in stereotypical American front yards).

Whether they know it or not, flamingos are what they eat. Literally.

Imagine if we turned the colour of our food…. I would probably be a bright red and have a cream cheese frosting hair colour thanks to the vast amounts of red velvet cake that I consume?! Anyway, this isn’t a health blog post about food and how it affects your skin….(maybe another day on that one)

I’d like to encourage you to be YOU. The maker of the Milky Way made and fashioned you. So why try and be something you are not?! Embrace the freckles, the out of control curly hair, the straight hair that will never curl, the stretch marks, the short legs, the long legs and all the pieces that make you uniquely you. There is nothing more beautiful than a person who is authentic.

In a world that is inundated with conformity, rigidity, trends, patterns, marketing stereotypes, norms and traditions (and good old peer pressure) … Stand out! Just like a flamingo doesn’t crouch around because it is taller than most other birds, it walks tall. So should you!

I have a flamingo top that I occasionally wear to remind myself to be a flamingo in a world of pigeons. I also have a set of flamingo coasters, one of which I have purposefully positioned on my bedside table on which to rest my morning cup of coffee. Every morning as I catch a glimpse of the pink bird, I am reminded to be true to myself and not be camouflaged by conformity.

Flamingos have long legs that enable them to wade in deep waters. This reminds me of how when I stand on my identity in God I’m able to stand tall and go through deep things and not be swayed or affected as easily as apposed to relying on just my own strength and ability.

I was recently one of the bridesmaids at a close friend’s wedding. The photographer took photos of the beautiful day and when it was my turn to pose… I went full on flamingo… and squished my nose against the glass door and did a little leg pop (well that was actually because I had a fractured foot at the time and was wincing with pain) I didn’t let a hugely blue and swollen foot stop me from being a beautiful bridesmaid or from enjoying this special occasion (I even danced). … So I do practice what I ‘preach’.

A group of pigeons is called a flock. A group of flamingos is called a flamboyance. I’m not sure about you but I’d rather be part of a flamboyance than a flock.

One is still able to be part of a community and yet be unique.

Wishing you a lovely day and do remember to stand flamboyantly ‘tall’ my flamboyance of friends.

Much love
Cayly

X

20140705-151230.jpg

20140705-153851.jpg

20140706-143003-52203437.jpg

Thought For The Day- Pretty Pinterest

Posted on

Hello lovely people.

I’m officially on holiday… Which is just delightful. I do however have plenty of work and planning to do. It’s a chilly weekend in PE so I have spent some time today wrapped up in a blanket and on Pinterest (and not working!) I find Pinterest rather therapeutic. It’s great for my creativity and is a lot less messy than actually cutting out pictures and scrapbooking them.

You are welcome to have a peek at my boards on Pinterest.

Here are some inspirational things I found today whilst pinning and thought I shall share them with you.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Cayly

X

20140705-141614.jpg

20140705-141548.jpg

20140705-141523.jpg

It’s How You Say It.

Posted on

It’s not what you say it’s how you say it!

Nina Millin is performing Beyoncé Knowles’s record winning songs as monologues. Although they are funny to watch, they are such a good reminder that how way we say things can totally change the way it is received.

My mom would often tell me when I was little that she didn’t like my tone. She would say calmly, kindly yet firmly, ‘I respect myself too much to have you speak to me in that tone of voice!’ She was right (I’ll admit to it now). It’s not always what we say but HOW we say it. I also have recall of my mom regularly reminding my sister and I when we were younger that grown up girls speak with deep voices! She would cover her ears when we squeaked and shrilled in high pitched girly tones! So I guess I have my mother to thank for my well modulated voice timbre! She didn’t have as much success with my volume control though! haha

I am teaching high school learners and have experienced this first hand. “Mam I didn’t know” can sound very different to a whiney, “Maaaaaam I didn’t knooooow!!?!”

So…. choosing our words carefully is important but equally important, is the way in which we say them. Words can either be like sweet nectar or tart vinegar.

I’m not saying that one needs to always be the sickly sweet church mouse who rarely says anything boldly or with conviction. I have never been one to shy away from speaking out boldly about what I believe is right. I guess I grew up in a home where this was modelled and I was encouraged to speak my mind and heart without fear (yes, I may later have been guided or presented with a different perspective to consider, but I was never judged or belittled for my own beliefs and convictions).

Learning to communicate effectively is a journey. I am proud of my progress and that I have managed to successfully navigate myself around some very tricky conversations. I do have those moments though where I still wish I could disappear into the earth beneath me after saying something I thought would come out differently. I am sure that you can relate to those momentary relapses of foot in mouth disease!

Sometimes I’ve also experienced being at the receiving end of someone saying something in what I deem an unnecessary and unkind manner, where I actually catch my self with an expression on my face that has the one eye brow arched in a way that indicates non-verbally, “did I ACTUALLY just hear you say that to me?!” One of my pet peeves is when someone says something harsh, critical and unkind under the guise of ‘Oh, I was only joking’. Aren’t jokes meant to be funny and make one laugh? It is certainly not a joke if what is said deeply hurts someone’s feeling. .

I endeavour to follow the following guidelines before opening my mouth to speak:

Will what I want to say add substance to the conversation?

Will my utterances uplift the situation?

Will they provide insight or bring confusion?

Is there a better way in which to say what needs to be said?

How can I get my point across without making it all about me?

How can I say what needs to be said in a way that won’t instantly offend the listener and prevent them from hearing my heart.

If someone says to me the very same thing as I am saying to them would I be offended? (This is the best one to ask…. Double standards shouldn’t apply!)

Other factors that play a HUGE role in the way we say things… (I’m probably going to sound like a TOTAL drama teacher now)

Pitch
How high or how low your voice is.

Pace
How fast or how slowly you are speaking.

Pause
A pause is a powerful moment of silence. It gives the person you are talking to a moment to actually reflect on what has just been said. We often shy away from silence. Sometimes a moment of silence can be more powerful than any word. My dad who is an executive and leadership coach says that it is the silences that invite and evoke the richest replies and responses.

Emphasis
By putting power or weight on to certain words can change the delivery of what you are saying.

Example.
I’m so excited to see you.
IM so excited to see you.
I’m SO excited to see you.
I’m so EXCITED to see you.
I’m so excited to SEE you.
I’m so excited to see YOU.

Tone
The quality and character of your voice. It is the modulation of your voice that expresses a certain mood and feeling. Do you tend to shriek like a getaway car’s wheels or do you have a calm tone that imbues confidence? It is far easier to listen to a deeper tone (and people take you more seriously).

I guess it is risky speaking about tone in written form as you cannot see me, hear me (and my tone which happens to be friendly right now) or see my body language (I am nodding my head and smiling as I write).

Let us remember that ‘gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones’ (Proverbs 16 vs 24)

Much love,
Cayly

20140616-174506.jpg

20140616-174522.jpg

20140616-174535.jpg

20140616-174551.jpg

20140616-174604.jpg

20140616-174730.jpg

A Thought For The Day – Hope

Posted on

20140614-215532.jpg

A Victory Laurel

Posted on

20140513-054008.jpg

20140512-210410.jpg

I have been contemplating this for two years; two whole years of ‘should I or shouldn’t I. If I do, what will people say? Do I care what people say? What are my motives? Can I imagine myself still being happy with this decision in 40 years time?’

As you can see this has been a carefully considered process. You may even remember reading about my thoughts on the matter two years ago. https://caylysdandeliondays.wordpress.com/2012/07/11/

The decision I’m talking about, is that of getting a tattoo. For some people it’s really not a big deal at all and they are probably saying, “Seriously?! Is she writing a WHOLE blog post about getting a tattoo?!” and then there are others who might have fallen off their religious pedestal by now in shock and are still unconscious…so they can’t really say anything (maybe that’s not a bad thing).

Well, I didn’t get the stag design I had originally intended but I did get the other part of the design, the laurels (see the pictures below to see my inspiration and thought process). I love symbolism and in ancient Greece wreaths were awarded to victors, both in athletic competitions, including the ancient Olympics, and in Rome they were symbols of military victory, crowning a successful commander during his triumph. A laurel wreath is a circular wreath made of interlocking branches and leaves of the Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis, Lauraceae). The circular shape of a laurel wreath is a historic crowning emblem that resonates victory, power and glory. Interestingly, it is said that the laurel leaf wreath was the forerunner of the crown itself. This all has a sense of resonance and great meaning to me.

Before you picture me wafting around all day, every day in a white toga with a laurel halo on cloud nine, let me level here. There are times, when I feel ‘not so victorious’. On days when my work load gets heavy, when I feel lonely or afraid or when I have a ‘fat day’… it’s so very easy to slip into a negative space and forget all that I have already achieved and all that God still has planned for me. Worst are the days when one wanders into a dark and musty cave of doubt with questions ‘What am I here for? Why is God not answering my prayers? Is there a man out there for me? Am I beautiful enough? Will my story actually make any difference in the world?’ echoing loudly in my ears. These are the days when there is a battle within my heart between doubt and unbelief and the Truth and sometimes it is a fierce one. Believe you me, I may be young, but I sure have had to wrestle with such choices.

Here is what I have to say about the matter. After going through some extremely tough and indescribably painful times – and surviving, I feel that I am a victor. I am a triumphant victor. I am victorious in surviving! I am victorious in not losing my faith (it’s not something you lose, but something many people turn their backs on during times when life doesn’t go remotely like they hoped or imagined). I am victorious in pursuing my passions. I am a victorious daughter of the King of Kings who call me His beloved princess (even when I am having a bad day)…and a laurel wreath reminds me of all of that.
I am also reminded of the story of Esther (Haddassah was her name given at birth). She was a beautiful Jewish woman, but an ordinary Jewish woman. No Phd qualification, nor a cure for cancer to her credit, no wealthy influential parents (in fact she was an orphan) nor a famous boyfriend (I can relate to this one hehe). But what she had…I have… and so do you. A heavenly Father who created her, as well as you and me, for such a time as this. Out of thousands of women, it was Esther who was chosen to marry the king of Persia (not by fluke). SHE WAS CHOSEN FOR A REASON. I am here for a reason. So are you.

Esther braved death and saved an entire nation of Jewish people. God positioned her and prepared her. He will do the same for you and me. That is why I had Esther 4:14 inked inside the wreathe. To remind me that I am born for such a time as this. Every trial I face, I will get through. I will conquer. I was born to experience this. It is not haphazard. Nothing God does is haphazard.

Esther 4:14 – The Message (MSG) 12-14 When Hathach told Mordecai what Esther had said, Mordecai sent her this message: ‘Don’t think that just because you live in the king’s house you’re the one Jew who will get out of this alive. If you persist in staying silent at a time like this, help and deliverance will arrive for the Jews from someplace else; but you and your family will be wiped out. Who knows? Maybe you were made queen for just such a time as this.’

With all of this research swimming in my mind, I went and did some research on the meaning of my name. As my drama students say, “FREAK OUT!” In Greek, my name means ‘rare beauty’. It’s Welsh meaning is ‘slender’ (best I stop eating cupcakes for breakfast) and in English it means ‘keeper of the keys’. It has a Hebrew origin which means ‘laurel’ or ‘crown or princess’.

My name means crown of laurels?! WOW!

With much excitement, I went and got the laurel and Esther scripture tattooed on my arm.
I will forever be reminded of my victory and place in this world.
I was born for such a time as this!

Much love,
Cayly

>

20140513-054059.jpg

20140513-054043.jpg

20140513-053953.jpg

20140513-053944.jpg