July 30, 2007

Looking back at...last week

I'm behind on weekend reflections, so without further ado...
  1. I had my six-monthly dental appointment on Thursday. I really, really hate going to the dentist (worse than the gynae) especially since my regular one is on maternity leave but since I was a month overdue, I went anyway. Turns out I need a root canal redone and TWO other fillings. All because I don't floss regularly. Grrr. I hate this especially because it's my own fault!
  2. Dion had a birthday on Friday. He's not much for socials with lots of people so wanted me all to himself :-) We went to a lovely restaurant called The Raj at Nelson Mandela Square. The food was absolutely delicious and the service was outstanding. Our waitress had the most beautiful smile and yes, I told her. I thought that smile couldn't get any bigger but it did :)
  3. Speaking of socials, we went out with other friends on Tuesday evening. The husband is a drummer and he teaches at the National School of the Arts. I was absolutely fascinated by how much work is required to just be a reasonably good musician. He was telling us that in all his years of teaching, he's only ever come across one "genius" child. Everyone else has had to do it the old-fashioned way by practice and more practice.
  4. Other than those two planned meals out, we mostly stuck to the menu plan.
  5. I've been baking up a storm. I baked some chocolate chip cookies on Monday (won't do those again - too much chocolate, not enough dough), some apple-cinnamon muffins on Thursday and again yesterday (vanilla-chocolate) (so Dion could take to work).
  6. If you're subscribed to my weekly tips, I mentioned my computer data problems in the newsletter last week. I have now become paranoid with backing everything up - let's see how long this lasts. It is not fun so please please please do a back-up of your data.
  7. I broke my gym laziness and finally dragged myself to the salsa dancing class on Wed. My word - when you haven't gone for 10 days or so, you start feeling really old. Or is it just me?!
  8. We took Wimbledon out on DVD and I loved it. I love tennis, British self-depracating humour and anything to do with the mental side of sport. (Let's not get me started on the South African cricket team, okay?!). And Dion and I are loving the director's commentaries on the DVD. It is fascinating.
  9. Also had breakfast in 14 degree winter weather (outside!!!) with someone who came to my Organising Workshop last year. It was so lovely catching up again.
  10. And then...we moved to our new church building this weekend and ... it was outstanding. I was the Japanese tourist, taking pictures of everything! The worship music was just awesome. I actually can't explain it - but wonderful!!! In true Marcia style, we checked exact distances and figured out the quickest and shortest way to the new building (T, if you're reading, it's the airport highway). Yes, 3.2 km shorter than the other highway :)

This week I'm looking forward to

  • Going out with a friend tomorrow night
  • Chatting to Jenny online on Wednesday
  • Getting together with some other friends on the weekend

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July 26, 2007

What do you value?

A few weeks ago I wrote about freedom and said that's what I value most.

I asked you what you valued and Annie left me a comment asking me to clarify. I know, I know, I took very long but at least I didn't forget, did I?

So, values.

Your values are those things that guide your decisions and behaviour. They are deeply ingrained and speak to the core of who you are.

Why is it necessary to know what your values are?

Well, one immediate benefit is that it helps with decision-making. The only time it’s hard to make a decision is when you have conflicted value systems.

Let me give you an example. If you were offered a job with a company in Cape Town, you could react in a number of different ways. If family was one of your top values and they’re all up in Johannesburg, you’d probably turn down the offer. If money/ wealth was top, you’d take it if your salary increase was huge. If there was a lot of potential for growth and promotion, you’d accept the job if your top value was achievement.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

Let me give you just one more example. What if you had a choice between earning a stable and secure salary versus potentially earning a lot more on commission? If your highest value is financial security, you probably would prefer to stick with a sure deal.

So now when you have trouble deciding something, ask yourself why you feel so conflicted.

Identify your highest value and go with that!

Some other reasons to know your values:
  1. your relationships improve
  2. you understand yourself and your motives better
  3. you live a more fulfilled life
By the way, my top 5 values are freedom, justice, excellence, life balance and accomplishment, in that order!

What are your values?

P.S. I have a 3-page coaching tool I use with my Discover Yourself clients to help them discover their highest values. I sell it by itself for US$3 or together with a half-hour online coaching session for US$20. You'll have to email me/ leave a comment because I just realised I haven't added it to my online store!

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July 24, 2007

Time travel Tuesday - when we met our husbands

I met Dion at Rhodes University. I kind of knew him vaguely by sight because we were in the same dining hall (Drostdy Hall) - he was a 4th year at Oakdene and I was a first year in Prince Alfred House.

One day I was having a shower and I heard one of the girls calling my name on the intecom, telling me I had a visitor. I wasn't expecting anyone but thought maybe one of my girlfriends popped in. So I grabbed my bathrobe, put it on and pulled a towel around my head and dashed upstairs (the main floor was upstairs)... to find Dion.

After introducing himself, he explained why he was there. He was making a video (he studied TV and Film) and wanted me to dance for him (ballet moves). Of course, I thought he was a weirdo pervert and said,"No thanks, I don't think so". Despite him trying his persuasive skills, I was as stubborn as I still am and said NO!

I'd been out of practice for about 5 months and didn't want to be filmed, dancing terribly. I was one of the best dancers at my ballet school and had an image to protect :)

Of course, after that introduction (weird but at least we have a story) I saw him around in the dining hall more and more. He was and still is, a very intense sort of person, always working hard. I have loosened him up a lot!
I already told all of you about our first date. There's a picture of the famous dining hall at that link. And of course, the rest is history!
This was taken on 12 Dec 06 at Rhodes - admin block. Grahamstown was freezing that day and we were so not prepared for the cold.

Guess what I found? Our wedding invite, written by my incredibly talented husband. Tell me what you think.
Please excuse the horrible photo - I don't have a scanner so I took the picture from the album. I can NOT believe how young I looked (20).

Coaching tip
Focus on what made you fall in love with your husband or wife. Sometimes the very things we loved in the beginning start irritating us afterwards. So focus on the beginning, okay?

Motivation & getting things done

If you want something really important to be done you must not merely satisfy the reason, you must move the heart also. -Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

In other words, you need to have a strong WHY!

If there are things in your life you've tried to get done and they're just not happening, ask yourself, "why am I doing this?" and keep doing that until

(a) you know what GOOD reason is propelling you in that direction
(b) you can let it go (for now, or forever)

What kind of things are you battling with?

July 18, 2007


Dion sent me an email today:
This sounds like you...
Actress Julia Stiles being interviewed about directing a short film:

MM: Did you find directing to be more or less challenging than you
JS: I absolutely loved every minute of it! I loved having to solve problems constantly. I loved collaborating... I loved racing the clock but having to stay focused.

It does although I prefer to play the role of the producer. A director seems to be more artistic (and we know I do not have one artistic bone in my body!)

I must tell you something really weird/ interesting.

In my youth(!), I participated in a programme called Junior Achievement. We happened to talk about JA the other day at work and one of my colleagues said this when he heard I'd also been involved, "Marcia, you were probably the production director".

He was spot on! That was exactly what I did. Apparently it is obvious that that's the role I'd fulfill. Hmm :-)

But back to you.

If you were involved in a film project, which role would you like to play and why?

BTW, can you tell I'm in love with wikipedia?

July 17, 2007

Healthy low-cal apple dessert!

This is a quick and healthy dessert, 5 minutes from start to finish.

  1. Cut up an apple into squares
  2. Add about 2 tablespoons of water (so the apple doesn't dry out)
  3. Sprinkle lots of cinnamon
(if you want to make it not-so-healthy, you can add a teaspoon of sugar)

Cover and cook on high in the microwave for about 3 - 5 minutes. This depends on how powerful your microwave is. It should look like this...but the smell is just gorgeous!

I then pour a 100g tub of yoghurt over the top and enjoy!

If you try out any of the recipes I post, please come back and tell me! Thanks :-)

July 15, 2007

Weekend reflection - 15 July 2007

In the kitchen
I followed the menu plan 100% and even managed to make Lorie's sweet and sour chicken. Of course, being me, I made many modifications but here's what it looked like.

I also made a batch of pizza both on Saturday and on Sunday because we just polished all of this off. I am now making normal pizza, focaccia and cinnamon pizza. Woohoo.

Cinnamon pizza
Sprinkle dough LIBERALLY with cinnamon and sugar

Pour a tablespoon of olive oil (for my size focaccia), 1 teaspoon garlic and spread. I use my basting brush because it does the job very nicely.
Sprinkle with coarse sea salt, Italian herbs.
Enjoy the garlicky goodness :-)

I assessed someone for the last time at the old church building. It is the end of an era and I was very sad.

Date night on the couch
  1. We hired our very first DVD after church on Sat night- Must Love Dogs. Isn't John Cusack hunky?!
  2. I know - we're still living in the last century. We bought a DVD/ VCR combo about ten days ago and I'm still not keen on it, to be honest. My old VCR can do so much more (index function being the main thing) so I am wasting time fast forwarding and rewinding this new LG. Grrr - you know how I hate wasting time.
  3. Then on Sunday, we raced out to CUM books (Christian bookstore). Do you know that even though they were having a sale, I spent a shocking amount of money?!

  1. We had power cuts on two days (Wed and Thurs) so I was behind with everything. And then, instead of catching up, I actually decided to not work the whole weekend until Sunday night. I decided I need to enjoy my life more so I'm trying to work less - 1 hour computer time a day. That doesn't include reading blogs though! I'm cutting down, not going crazy :-)
  2. Had a wonderful time management coaching session on Friday. I think I must start selling my TM stuff. I can only help some people at a time but if my materials are out there, so many more people can get control of their time!!!

July 13, 2007

5 things I dig about...Jesus

I'm pleased that Coach Jen tagged me for John Smulo's meme because secretly, I've been hoping someone would tag me :-) Thanks Jen.

Here's how it works:
Those tagged will:
  • share five things they dig about Jesus,
  • tag five people, and
  • leave a link to their meme in the comment section of this post so everyone can keep track of what’s been posted.
  1. He is not boring, but is a technicolour God. John 10:10 I have come that they might have life and have it more abundantly. When I read this scripture, I think bright lights, sparkles, lots of colour. It amazes me when people think boring, don't you? :-)
  2. He cares about the little things that matter to me, like finding a parking spot near the entrance when I am running a bit late.
  3. I have freedom in Him.
  4. He wants a relationship with little old me. Me!
  5. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Everything that is weird or wonderful about me is exactly how He designed me to be. When I think about that, it still blows my mind.
Most bloggers have already been tagged but let's see - I tag Laura and Michelle.

July 11, 2007

Wordless Wednesday - trees

I drive down this street every day. There's a bit of a hill and then this tree just before a very steep hill. I LOVE this tree - it's shape is perfect. A pity this was such a sunny day (winter always is in Johannesburg) because that tree looks even more gorgeous when it's grey and overcast.

I love this type of shot taken straight up through the tree's branches. Not the same tree obviously - this one is right near my house.

Photography is one of my newest passions - it's a pity I'm not better at it :-)

Pursue the passion

Just got Pam Slim's feedblitz email and went onto the Pursue the Passion blog to read up some more.

These four graduates are driving across the US to meet passionate professionals who love their job. This is sooo me and I would definitely hook up with them if I lived in the US.

Read Day 1's recap here. And subscribe to the blog. I did :-)

Photo taken from the Pursue the Passion blog

How can you include more passion in your life?

Suzanne, I see you commented just before I did - cool :)

July 09, 2007

Your daily dose of self-esteem

This is my friend Mandy. I was blogging photos on another blog when I found these that I never blogged from 21 Dec 2006.

I wish you could meet her - she is so comfortable in her skin and I love that about her. That and her love for things pink and purple :-)

Mandy has always been such an encouragement to me - she always writes me nice emails when she can relate to an article that I publish and I still have the Christmas card she sent me one year that says, "thanks for inspiring me". Funny thing - that year lots of people told me the same thing. Hmm :-)

The Bible says we're to encourage ourselves in the Lord so I have a document called positive feedback. Everytime someone sends me a nice email, I copy and paste the text into this document to have a look through when I feel discouraged.

Do you have a similar system?

If not, today I want to encourage you. You are valuable and precious, and you are special just the way you are.

Copy that sentence into a document, enlarge it and stick it up where you can see it every day.

Have a great day!

P.S. Today a colleague walked past my cube so I said, what a gorgeous jersey! She said, thanks Marcia, I thought so too but nobody said anything. So I said, well then, please come see me every morning for your dose of self-esteem. LOL!

July 08, 2007

Weekend reflection - 8 July 2007

click pic to go to Judi, our host

All went well in the kitchen. We followed our menu plan at home but because I was on a course, I didn't eat so well for 2 days. More later...


  • We received a bill of R5000-odd from Jhb Connect. When a standard month is around R600, imagine my shock and horror.
  • Yes, I phoned to query and after putting them through my millions of questions, I am content that we have to pay! Apparently they haven't been billing us correctly for our rates and taxes since we moved in here over 18 months ago.
  • My new sideboard arrives tomorrow and I can't wait. All my crockery, tablecloths, etc. are just ready and waiting to go into the new one. Yes, I'll post pictures.

  • This post really disturbed me on so many levels. First, the fact that I respect this blogger and yet I really feel like this is such bad judgement to post so openly on the state of your (bad) marriage. Then secondly, the fact that most of the commenters agreed that she was right! Now I know people who read your blog generally like you so they'll agree with you but c'mon people!! What do you think?
  • Barb's going to be a grandma again! Other than that, seemed like it was quiet in blogland.
  • I received mail from Annie. This time, I begged Dion to come to the post office with me so he could double-park while I ran in. I was at the door at 12.57 but they were closed so I phoned the manager (I could see them inside), told her my sob story and she let me in to get my package.
  • This was undoubtedly one of the week's highlights. Look at the keyring!!! To think that halfway across the world Annie made ME a keyring. Amazing - thanks again, Annie. I love all my stuff! (Dion loves the words in the card and so do I).

  • Seems like no-one was interested/ could make my online chat. Oh well - try not to let these things get me down when I have so many blessings.
  • BUT I had a lovely chat with Allison and then an unexpected chat with an ex-PDM consultant, now living in the UK.
  • Worked hard on my articles this week and submitted 3 new ones to Ezine Articles.

First Aid course
  • I was on a first aid level 1 course on Wed and Thurs. It was such fun and I got to know a few new people (if you're reading, hello!!!).
  • A few things stand out - our main function is to keep the person alive and breathing. When things are as clear as this (literal life and death situation), it really makes you think about the big things in life. The instructor told us the difference between everybody at a scene living or dying is whether you can think clearly and follow the rules! Scary but exhilarating stuff.

I'm grateful for

  • My new heater
  • Some extra time off this week (the course finished earlier than expected)
  • Money in the bank!

July 04, 2007


What does freedom mean to you?

For some people, freedom means not having to worry about money; for others it means having the love and support within a great relationship and still for others it could mean a simpler and more meaningful life.

What does it mean to you? I want you to really think about that for a few seconds...

Whatever your answer is, incorporate some freedom into your life today.

Here are some of my ideas:

  1. Switch off your cell phone (!) for an entire day.
  2. Do something that you absolutely love to do.
  3. Don’t log onto your computer for a weekend.
  4. Delete emails (my goal is at least 100 every day).
  5. Declutter – there is nothing as freeing as throwing things away (for me)
  6. Say no. And don’t justify your answer or apologise.
  7. Get down and play with a child.

What other ideas do you have?

P.S. Happy Independence Day to my US readers!

P.P.S. Did you know that freedom is MY number 1 value? What is yours?

July 03, 2007

Spring reading thing - books read

I've been updating my reading list and thought I'd quickly post the 16 books I read during the Spring Reading Thing:

  1. Just between us - Cathy Kelly
  2. 1000 best quick & easy organizing secrets - Jamie Novak
  3. State of the Union - Douglas Kennedy
  4. Bed of roses - Daisy Waugh
  5. The hundred secret senses - Amy Tan
  6. Little earthquakes - Jennifer Weiner
  7. Hot stuff - Elaine Fox
  8. Sam's letters to Jennifer - James Patterson
  9. The chocolate run - Dorothy Koomson
  10. The seed handbook - Lynne Franks
  11. Making your mind up - Jill Mansell
  12. Seven week itch - Victoria Corby
  13. Call after midnight - Tess Gerritsen
  14. Chasing the dime - Michael Connelly
  15. The one you really want - Jill Mansell
  16. The complete idiot's guide to organizing your life - Georgene Lockwood

Have you read any of these? What did you think?

Read my wrap-up post here.

Reading goals

  • I am a little below my reading goal of 7 per month.
  • If I break that down, I am waaaay below my non-fiction goal of 2 per month. For the year, I've only read 6 non-fiction.
Too much blogging = not enough reading!

How are you doing with your reading this year?

July 02, 2007

Weekend reflection - 2 July 2007

This is very late just like last week but I consciously decided “no pressure” yesterday evening so I just posted my menu plan and a recipe and that was that!

Highlight of the week

I had a wonderful online chat with Annie on Monday - wow, she types so fast. And her son Bailey is sooo sweet. When she told him she was online with someone from South Africa, he said, "they have computers there?" Well! I laughed for about 5 minutes after that.

We had snow in Africa on Wednesday!!! The last time it happened was in 1981 – I was only 7 and not living in Jhb then. I only moved here in 1993.

We went to have supper at our friends’ home on Friday night. They are in a new house and we’ve only been there once before.

I assumed D had the directions, he assumed I did and we only figured this out when we were on the highway. However, you’ll be pleased to know I got us almost all the way there just from memory (it helps to be a visual learner). Once we were in the security community however, I was totally disoriented because so many more houses had since gone up so we had to phone for further directions.

We had a lovely evening of food but the company was even better!

We went to a beautiful wedding yesterday. Usually in Jhb, people never invite children to weddings. This one was different and everyone (we spoke to) agreed that having children there made it more real.
The venue and decor were beautiful - of course, I took pictures of each course of food, flowers, everthing but I'll just give you a glimpse of the gorgeousness.

But one of the best things was the music. They had a live singer who was OUTSTANDING. And it helped that he sang all my favourites - Just the way you are - Billy Joel, Layla - Eric Clapton, You can leave your hat on - Joe Cocker, New York, New York - Frank Sinatra and that song right at the end of My Best Friend's Wedding (the one she dances with Rupert Everett), which by the way, is my favourite movie ever!

The bride (Dion’s boss) was beautiful and the little girl at our table called her The Princess! Isn’t that sweet?! I think it was because she wasn’t in a typical wedding dress – it was a silvery-grey, medieval type dress (or so I thought anyway).

I did a pdm assessment this week. Our church is moving to a new building (first services 21 and 22 July) further from our house and we won’t have such nice ministry facilities there.

Also, I don’t particularly enjoy driving on highways so I’ve been scrambling to get all my assessments scheduled in time. I have 3 left – one is scheduled for next week and I want to do another the following week.

Health and fitness
I only went to gym once last week but ate quite well. The weight is still the same but just this morning, it was down 0.5kg. Now let’s see if I can keep it down til Wed when I weigh.

Business stuff
I braved the end-of-month madness at the post office and collected a parcel from my fellow PO and blog buddy, Suzanne.

Suzanne and I are writing a book together. Oooh – how exciting. It is and we exchanged our first chapters this weekend and guess what? Our writing styles are very similar so I am very chuffed!

Oh, and I turned two yesterday.

In the kitchen
We followed our menu plan perfectly but swopped two days around.

I made some of those oatmeal cookies – took some to the friends mentioned above, brought some to work and we polished off the 6 that were left :-)

Have a great week, everyone!

July 01, 2007

Sauce for pasta and baked potatoes

I like to make this sauce and freeze it in individual servings for the nights when I have coaching appointments.

I then quickly cook some pasta or bake some potatoes, top with this sauce and grate some cheese on top.

I will post a picture after we have it this week...

160g onion (1 medium onion)
120g spinach
635g tomato, chili & onion mix (about 1 1/2 cans)
70g mushrooms
200g cooked chickpeas/ lentils/ kidney beans
salt, pepper, 1 tsp curry powder (for a bit of kick)

You can use any amount of vegetables - this is what I had on hand so that's why the quantities are a bit odd.

Fry the onions, add spinach and mushrooms and add the tomato last.
Then add the cooked legumes of your choice (I used chickpeas) and cook together.

This amount of vegetables made 6 servings.

1 serving = 0.5 low fat protein + 2 veg portions on Weigh-Less.

Serve on a 180g baked potato with 20g grated cheese and you have 2 complex carbs and 1 medium fat protein serving.

Serve on 140g pasta with 20g grated cheese and you also have 2 complex carbs and 1 medium fat protein serving.