Posted on

Plan Your Leave Like A Pro and Get 13 Extra Days Off!

The three months of January is finally over! The stationary and school books are bought, paid and covered. The inter-house athletics is probably done and dusted too… so now you can again focus on work right? Or you could spend a little time day-dreaming of Flights to Cape Town, the Craft Beer Festival in the picturesque town of Clarens and the glitz and glamour of the Durban July!

These adventures need not stay fantasies.

At the beginning of December, I resolved to step further away from the mad rush that we call life. It is still a process and there have been days that I have failed miserably, but for the most part I have managed to set-up some healthy boundaries between work and play, between surviving and chasing my goals and dreams.

One of the best tips I got in my efforts to become the master of my calendar, instead of a slave to my schedule, was to break my day up into different segments and to block them off far in advance. I have blocked off time to be creative and time to do nothing. (Yes, I am trying this whole new thing where there are times when I just do nothing. I will let you know how that works out for me.)

My creative time is non-negotiable, this is when I do what I have been born to do, it breathes air into every area of my life. As a family, we have also blocked off Wednesday night as our mid-week connect night. This is when we go to dinner with family and friends and look other humans in the eye and build relationships. This appointment with fun and joy has also been placed under the non-negotiable category.

More importantly, I have booked off time to get a change of scenery.

2018 is the perfect time to do this. While your employer may not be thrilled, this is the year where you can be off for a total of 34 days, if you plan your 21 leave days correctly. The flip side of being self-employed means that I need not “compete” with my colleagues for those golden days. But if you are not fortunate enough to have this freedom, you best get that leave form in today.

So what can you do with your extra leave days?

Here are my 3 highlights that you can look forward to, between now and the end of March, on the South African festival calendar.

Magoebaskloof Berry Festival | Limpopo

Why not plunge in and go somewhere that you may never have been before? Take a trip to Magoebaskloof! The Magoebaskloof Berry Festival will be on this weekend ( 3rd and 4th of February) This festival promises fun family activities such as picking your own berries and the village market. As an added bonus, the scenery is breathtakingly beautiful.

Splashy Fen Musical Festival | KwaZulu- Natal

What can be better than camping and good music? If this gets you excited, Slashy Fen might just be for you: The Splashy Fen Music Festival has become one of South Africa’s premier music festivals. The festival begins on the 29 of March and ends on the 1st of April 2018. Currently, Splashy Fen is South Africa’s longest-running music festival.

The South African Eco-film festival | Western Cape

If movies and campaigning in aid of social issues is more your speed, then why not pop down to Cape Town in March for the South African Eco-film festival? The 5th Annual Eco Film Festival returns to Cape Town on the 23-24 March 2018.  The Festival aims to showcase challenging, intriguing and creative film content highlighting important issued and concerns within the South African context.

Rather want to tone it down?

If festivals are not your thing, and you prefer a more laid-back experience, why not book into one (or more) of these awesome establishments?

 

With the revolution of  Cheap Flights From Johannesburg To Cape Town and from Johannesburg to many other South African cities, anyone can afford to break away for a few days. So what are you waiting for? Download this awesome the infographic and get cracking on marking off those FREE days in your diary.

 

Disclaimer: This post was done in collaboration with Travelstart.

.

 

 

Posted on

The Disesease of the Perpetual Monologue

Sitting down with beloved friends and family over the holiday season, I noticed something that not only seems to be becoming more prevalent in our own family but in most families and even during friendly conversations… we are consistently interrupting each other.

It was not until I listened to my (much needed) morning podcast, that I gained some understanding. Bishop TD Jakes was mentioned how hard it is to counsel people whose marriages are in trouble because when you tell them to communicate, they end up fussing at one another. He defined fussing as follows:

 

Fussing is when you just waiting for me to shut up so you can get your point in because you are not interested in what I said… so we never really have communication, we have turns at monologue.

 

This made so much sense. We are all suffering from the disease of the perpetual monologue.

So with my new insight at hand, I reviewed the discussions of the last few weeks. We were all just engaging in a group monologue (thankfully)  around the same theme. I realized that instead of hearing what the other person had to say, we hear a small part and then our attention is divided between checking that they don’t say what I wanted to say and compiling my response so that I will be the next one who is ready to speak.

A symptom of the information age?

Sitting back, I wonder how much more meaningful each conversation would have been, had we each listened to the other with the intent of hearing what they had to say, instead of listening so that we can respond. In the age of digital interaction and microwave relationships, are we so used to just spewing out / regurgitating information that we have forgotten that information is only truly useful once we take it in, process it and then only respond to it in an appropriate way?

It spreads to every area of your life!

On deeper introspection, I realised that I do exactly the same with my time that I spend with the Lord. I read one small passage, and instead of hearing the passage I am already looking how to respond, what I need to do to change, what I need to do to respond appropriately…

I can not help but ask myself why I am still so focused on dead works, when Jesus already did all that needs to be done?  Imagine what depths of God’s heart and His love for me and for others will I not be able to delve into if I just took the time to listen instead of to respond instantaneously?

Imagine the possibilities!

Similarly, imagine what our marriages, families, friendships and workplaces will look like if we stopped interacting through endless monologues. What would happen if we were more focused on hearing the other person and what is going on in their heart, instead of being focused on how what they are saying affects me, how it makes me look and feel.

Now on to the next challenge… finding a cure that will cure the crazy Welsh family of this disease. If you have had any success please leave some ideas in the comments section.

Posted on

New Year, Amplified Frustrations

Anticipating the approach of 1 January is like watching the wind blow the rain into the valley where we live. You can smell, see and hear the rain even before it comes to kiss the earth around your feet. It is like a curtain of blessing the starts to cover the landscape until it swallows our home and our being in its refreshing blanket of water from the sky.

We associate new beginnings, fresh slates and second chances with the arrival of a new year. We celebrate the start of new mercies, almost like we forget that the Lord promises us that there are new mercies every morning.

New Year, Amplified Frustrations

The approach of this new year made me acutely aware of some of my personal frustrations. I have big dreams, and they are far bigger than the current contents of my purse. They require far more than 24 hours in a day and they weigh heavily on my shoulders. I look at the world around me and I want to drop everything and start fixing what needs fixing… but at the same time, I have a “loud” understanding of my role as the mom of 3 children with very big destinies. These babies are no ordinary creations, you will still be affected by them in your lifetime, one way or another…

You see Bishop TD Jakes says it best, I feel like I am sitting in a place where there is suppose to be movement, I feel a like I am in a traffic jam. If you are not moving, something is not working. So either I am causing the traffic jam because my own vehicle for reaching my destiny is in need of some work. Or I am in the right vehicle, but heading the wrong way and getting stuck in the traffic… we are not designed to go with the flow, to travel with the masses, we are designed and called to swim upstream, to be set apart, to be different. The last option is that there is something blocking your way and you can either get more frustrated where you are sitting or you can get off your angry butt and move that thing.

I do not know which one of these are relevant to your situation, but in my case, it was a little bit of all three.

My vehicle was in need of a little TLC.
The area that needed the most adjustment was my calendar. I was simply throwing my hours at those things that are least effective and not getting anywhere. The second area that needs addressing is my need to simplify my life… but this is like washing your car, it is a constant process… (thank you for life-saving mercies.)

As I work on these two aspects of life will write about my victories and blunders… lol.

My direction needed adjustment.
While I was doing the right things, I was doing them for the wrong reasons, and this took me off course. So often we get so busy with doing the right thing, that we forget why we do it and when our why gets foggy, our motivation, our strength and even our abilities seem to wane.

My WHY got challenged… again.

The question that the Lord used to hit my giant between his eyes was simple: what do the activities you are so passionate about, the activities that you are sowing your time and resources into, what do they have to do with winning souls.

Ultimately the great commission is the foundation of our destinies, it is what we are called to do. It is not the first time the Lord asked me this question, it is like the needle pointing to north on your compass. I just neglected to take out my compass for a while, I followed my own head and heart and I got stuck.

There are definitely some blockages in my way. Some may even be messes from my past that were not cleaned up. Maybe my biggest blockage is the monument I started building for myself.

Christine Cain explained this so beautifully in a recent video. She used the text in 2 Samuel 18:18 that states at a time when Absalom had no sons, that he built a monument to himself so that he would not be forgotten…  when you are not raising up spiritual sons and daughters you start building a monument to yourself. When you are trying to hold onto every project the Lord called you to birth instead of trusting the people He sent you to work with and train up, you start building a monument to yourself, instead of trusting that your legacy will live forth through those you trained up.

The beauty of this introspection is that it reminded me that it is not about me, or even the price I will need to pay to do what I am called to do.  I am not my own, I was bought at a price. But I also know that God is with me and He will make a way where there is no way. Some of the blockages may not even be a problem after I have adjusted my direction, some may need to be cleared as a matter of urgency… but this I know there are no dead ends, there are no full stops, for every step I take has been ordered by the Lord, my missteps are no surprise to Him and He will use them to strengthen me.