August 31, 2007

Weekend cooking - Pancakes

Pancakes are one of my my favourite desserts.

They're so easy to make and the only thing that prevents me from making them more often is the frying. Have I mentioned that I'm impatient? I have absolutely no interest in standing at the stove frying - Dion has to wash dishes so we can talk otherwise I'm not interested.


1 of everything! Literally.

For the two of us, I use 2 measures.

  • 2 cups flour (if you want to be healthy, you can use wholewheat flour. Honestly, plain white flour is best)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups water/ milk (I do half of each)

Mix well

Pour into a jug for easier pouring (and less mess). I said less not no mess :)

Fry in very little oil (you only need to add more oil after every 3 - 4 pancakes).

Sprinkle liberally with cinnamon sugar/ spread with apricot jam and dot with just a few drops of lemon juice before enjoying hot with a nice cup of tea. Yum!

August 29, 2007

Wordless Wednesday - speaking to 150 women

These are some of the women at Standard Bank Card Division I spoke to on Empowering Yourself for their Women's Day function on 8 August 2007.

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August 28, 2007

I guess I'm officially a blogger now

because I just realised that my last post was number 200!

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Change your perspective

Just a few short weeks ago it was "real" winter with temperature highs of only 12 - 14 degrees Celsius.

Then we had a warmish spell with mid-day temperatures of around 22 - 24 degrees.

It then cooled for a day or two to around 18 degrees and people were complaining bitterly about the cold weather where just a few weeks ago most of Jhb was relishing that same 18-degree weather.

Which made me think about perspective.

Perspective is just changing the way you look at something. If you approach it from one angle, a change of perspective means you try and see it from another angle.

We were talking about weather but let's talk about your life circumstances.

If you're frustrated with the way something's working (or not working) in your life, try and look at it from another perspective. You might find a solution or maybe you'll be able to accept it more easily.

Coaching lesson
I coached someone a year ago who was desperately frustrated with his job.

We worked on an action plan and he eventually moved into a sales position which he thought would be the ultimate job for him. A few months later he realised that sales was not a good fit for him and we transitioned him back to a similar position to what he had before.

He is now extremely happy and yet not much (except the passage of time) had changed.


With a change in perspective, he realised that he was actually well-suited to the original position. It just took a new look at things for him to realise this.

He also stepped out of his box and at least now, he's not living with any regrets.

Coaching questions
  1. Have you had a change in perspective recently?

  2. Do you need to look at things differently?
Let me know if I can help you. Email me personally on marcia @ takechargesolutions . org

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August 26, 2007

Frugal gifts - beaded bookmarks

A few weeks ago I wrote a post on my version of craftiness and after I replied to Lyn's comment, we continued emailing and she asked me if I could explain step-by-step how I make them.

So here we go. Say thanks, Lyn :)

First off, the craft shop didn't have the normal cord that I use so when I went back the second time, I lowered my standards and got this silver cord.

I like to give books as gifts and if I have some of these ready, I'll throw one in too. It's always nice to have something that someone's made especially for you, isn't it?

They also make good gifts by themselves for teachers or people you don't know that well.
  1. You need to get cord that is thin enough so you can thread the beads easily.

  2. I usually dab some clear nail polish on the ends and rub the ends between my thumb and forefinger so that the ends form a point.

  3. This silver stuff is horrible to work with because it unravels very quickly so I had to use beads with big holes.

  4. Start off with about 50 cm so that you have plenty of room to tie knots. It's also easier when buying because they sell the cord by the metre.

  5. The actual part that will go in the book can be anything from 20 - 25 cm. I usually aim for 23cm.

  6. Measure off 25cm and make knots on either end like this. (Dion was sleeping so I had no-one to hold it taut for me).

  7. Before you tie the knots, fold the cord in two to check that the two ends have an equal amount left.

  8. Now string the beads in whichever pattern and combination you like. Make sure all the beads and cord match by laying them all out beforehand.

  9. Normally I'd just string all my beads and knot the end. This time because I'm using these silvery leaf things I thought it would look cute if I made an extra knot. And it does.

  10. The silver cord in the middle goes in the book.

This particular bookmark cost R3,20 (about $US 0.45) in materials and you can easily churn out 6 - 10 in an hour, depending on how fancy you want to get. You will get better as you go along, I promise.

I use a deep, plastic ice-cube tray to store my beads and I'll do these in front of the TV. Nice and calming.

When you package the bookmark, write on the back of the cardboard, "this bookmark was made for you by _________" just in case the recipient of your gift doesn't know what it is ;)

If you make this bookmark, please link back to this post. Then come and comment so I can visit you too!
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August 25, 2007

funeral update

Well, it was better and worse than I expected.

Worse because I cried way more than I expected to. On the bright side, I took those packs of 100 tissues with me in a big bag so I was prepared!

Better because the service was absolutely beautiful - I love when these things are done by people who know the person so it is personal and real.

Ps Mel lived her life full out, with gusto and was a true example of a wife, mother, pastor, friend and Christian. Her one daughter said, "when God created marriages, yours was what He intended" and I absolutely agree. She thanked her dad for loving her mom the way he did. It was so beautiful - I don't think there was a dry eye in the church. Especially when Ps P played Three times a lady by Lionel Ritchie for her. Someone else said, "Ps Mel was meticulous especially in the area of cleanliness and I have no doubt that she's up in heaven dusting the angels' wings right now". So true. That PDM office was its absolute cleanest when they ran the ministry - I always felt nurtured and well taken care of.

Afterwards, we went to give the family our condolences and they had to comfort me! Amidst the crying, I was honest and told Ps P that I hadn't phoned because I didn't know what to say. He reassured me and then said to me, "sorry I missed your birthday". Can you believe it?! Still thinking of other people. Then when I moved on to his other daughter, he said to Dion, "take care of her". Amazing.

I am writing him a loooooong email tomorrow.

Coaching questions
  1. I'm not being morbid but what do you want your funeral to be like?
  2. What will you regret not having done? Start doing those things now. Life is short.
  3. How are you going to change the way you live life?
Please answer these questions in the comments below. I really would LOVE to know what you think!

  1. I am sorting my boundaries out even more. Even at the funeral, there was a snotty comment because people wanted to socialise and I wanted to see the family and then get away, and I was like, "whatever!"
  2. Already, I have started using more of my "nice stuff". I bought a gorgeous keyring at the Cango Caves in April which has been hanging on a hook in my wardrobe. Well, on Friday I took it out and put it on my handbag. Baby steps.
  3. I am already planning our next overseas trip to the UK.
  4. Dion and I also want our marriage to be an example to others the way Ps P & Mel's marriage was to us.
  5. And by the way, I want people to wear bright colours at my funeral. I love bright colours - hot pinks, bright orange and yellow, and lime-green!

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August 23, 2007

Thank you

Thank you for your prayers (especially you, Annie) - I definitely could feel it earlier this week.

Now I have another favour to ask of you - please pray for tomorrow. The funeral is at 10:00 am our time (middle of the night for the US) and I'm getting rather anxious about it all. And battling with my faith. And hearing stories all over the place of people diagnosed with breast cancer. And and and! And if I'm like this, just imagine the family!

I'm also dreading it because I don't know what to say to the family and remember, I don't talk and cry well :)

Thank you! Will blog and tell you how it went.

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August 19, 2007

Highlights and lowlights


Totally caught up on all emails and other admin...
Had a great coaching appointment with a new client.
Worked 3 hours on a new product.

Good blogging week because I was prepared with my posts on the Organising and Clutter Control Freaks blogs.

Annie phoned me on Monday. The weird thing is I was reading her blog when she phoned me on my cell phone all the way from Oklahoma! I think she still has to get used to the South African accent :-)

Health and fitness
I have decided to get to my good weight using baby steps. This week I said, "come hell or highwater, I'm going to gym twice" and so I did.

I also have now stopped eating after supper - this has been hard. It's so easy to just grab a rusk, or some biscuits (cookies) or a muffin... you see!

This week I have been BLESSED out of my socks. I got a big bonus at work and there is more money coming to me too (totally for nothing, just by the grace of God).

Yesterday, I checked my bank account and our salaries were in 2 days early so I updated my budget, paid tithes, transferred to savings, the usual...

Ps Mel
Then Dion comes home and announces that one of my favourite people in the world, a dear pastor at our church, died on Friday evening. If memory serves me correctly I think she was 52. She'd had breast cancer, went into remission and it came back with a vengeance a month ago. We heard nothing until yesterday.

Well. I couldn't believe it at first and then I started crying those horrible cries where your whole body shakes and poor Dion just held me tight. I looked terrible. We went to church last night and they announced it again, and because they said such nice things about her (all true), I started crying again. I actually had to go to the toilet because I was all out of tissues. The only good thing was that quite a few of us ladies were crying. Why is it that men don't cry?!

Anyway, afterwards I just raced out of there and then I sabotaged all my good behaviour this week by going to Fishaways for greasy fish and chips. I sent an SMS to 2 people who know her but are not in our church. The one person, our hairdresser, phoned back 2 minutes later and I had to let Dion speak to her because I couldn't talk. I don't do the talking and crying thing well. She was also crying.

Last night my eyes were so sore. Burning from all the crying.

Today I am a little bit better but I keep thinking about her husband and kids, and then it starts again. Those two had such an awesome marriage and were literally joined at the hip. They genuinely enjoyed each other's company and were GREAT role models to us.

I tried to use retail therapy to make me feel better. It doesn't really work, does it?! Instead I have some beads (Lyn, they didn't have the cord to make the bookmarks so I'm going back next week, okay?), 3 pairs of jeans, gym clothes and 2 bags. Can you see how sad I am/ was?

Please pray for the family!!!

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August 15, 2007

Blogging and God-given gifts

I mentioned before that I do volunteer work at the church helping people to discover their passion, God-given gifts and their personal style. It is SOOO awesome when you see how people get that they were created exactly as God would have them be!

Anyway, because I have such a keen interest in personalities and whatnot, I've been thinking about how people's God-given gifts affect their blogging style. And trying to guess their gifts from their blogs (of course, only if I think I have a "handle" on them).

I keep meaning to post my thoughts but I forget! And then when JennaG posted this, I remembered again and thought I have to do it before I forget again!!!

CoachJ and I have discussed this via email because she definitely has a prophecy and a teaching gift!

And then Annie gave me a Nice Matters award - isn't that sweet of her? Now Annie is an encourager and a giver through and through!

I'm giving this award to the first 3 bloggers I think of! And while I'm at it, I'll tell you what I think their motivational gifts (Romans 12) are:

  1. Barb (who I think has hospitality and giving)

  2. Lorie (who definitely has encouragement & mercy)

  3. Bridget (also gift of encouragement)


This is my opinion only. I haven't done a proper assessment with them so it's just from glimpses at their blogs!

Do you feel like guessing what my motivational gifts are?

Read more.

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Wordless Wednesday - petrol shortage in Jhb

Trying to be wordless! Look in the distance at the queues of cars in the roads. I amused myself by taking pictures - I have NEVER seen a petrol station this full!

Because you asked :-)

There is/ was a petrol shortage because the guys driving the petrol to the stations were striking (probably for more money - most strikes in SA are for more money) so very little petrol was delivered to the stations!

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August 13, 2007

How to have an awesome relationship in 8 easy steps

I teach workshops called Awesome Relationships and one of the first things I ask the people to do is to write down 10 positive characteristics about their partner.

The funny thing is that most people really battle with this task simply because they don't often thing about the good things often enough.

There's a marriage meme going on at the moment and you're supposed to write 8 random things about your marriage. I'm going to write about 8 random (good) things about mine in an effort to inspire you to focus on the positive with your partner, okay?

Here we go. My 8 random things are:
  1. Dion and I can talk about anything to one another. We actually always have too much to talk about that he actually says, "Marcia, we need to sleep"!

  2. We like lots of hugging and kissing. We try not to go overboard in front of people but when we have people to stay, they often comment on it (in a good way).

  3. We get each other. I can relate to lots of people but nobody gets me the way he does, and vice versa.

  4. We like to be together but we don't have to be together all the time. For instance, we'll both be home but I'll be in the kitchen and he'll be in the lounge, and we love it - tgetherness but not overcrowding.

  5. We LOVE bookshops. Our favourite place to go is a bookshop. Since we're both bookaholics, we understand each other's obsession.

  6. We tried the cooking together thing when we first got married. That didn't work so well. Then we tried sharing the cooking. That worked very well but apparently I am a bit fussy about having vegetables with every meal. Now I do the cooking and he does the dishes. This works perfectly for both of us.

  7. We like to set goals for our marriage. Short-term, medium-term and long-term goals. It's nice when we can look back and see things accomplished.

  8. When we travel, Dion is the designated photographer because I like socialising and talking to all the new people (friends I haven't yet met). But here at home, I seem to do all the picture-taking because then he can't be bothered. And I must say, I sometimes have a moan about all the stopping to snap pictures but I am always so happy when we download because he takes stunning pictures. Especially street scenes. I do better on the close-ups of food :)
There you go! Now, I'm tagging you, blog or no blog.

Grab a piece of paper and write down 8 random things about your marriage. But let's focus on the positive.

And then go give your spouse a nice big kiss!

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August 12, 2007

Crafty goodness

I realised over the last couple of days that I'm inspired by reading all the creative/ photography blogs in my Google Reader.

There is so much yummy goodness out there - it is great. And it's challenging me to step out of my box a little bit. It's also quite relaxing for me instead of always doing logical, left-brained activities.

This is what I did a few weeks ago, all in one night, while watching TV.

How can you challenge yourself to step out of YOUR box?

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August 06, 2007


That's how old I am today.

I've had lots of phone call, email, SMS and blog comment birthday wishes and it is all greatly appreciated.

Sometime during this week I want to do some self-coaching and ask myself these questions:

  1. what do I want for my life over the next 12 months - family, business, health, etc.
  2. am I living according to my values? how can I live more according to my values?
  3. what do I want more of that I'm not getting?
  4. what do I need to change?
  5. where can I simplify?
  6. how can I work smarter and not harder?
  7. how can I incorporate more fun?

Why don't you also join me and ask yourself these questions? If you need help, I'm just an email away.

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August 05, 2007

Weekend reflection - 5 August 2007 & Why I will not make a good Zimbabwean!

Highlight of the week
My absolute highlight was chatting online to CoachJ on Wednesday evening. We had such fun, laughing out loud. We've now decided that we must get microphones so we can Skype. But that's another thing for another day :-)

Blogging was extremely sporadic because I'm so busy BUT I am now an expert contributor (I get a kick just writing that) over at the Clutter Control Freak blog. If you read your blogs via a feed reader, please add to your list.

Health and fitness
I seriously need to lose 2kgs. This might be the only reason I'm eager for spring to arrive so that I can stop with all the tea and coffee, and exercise more. I'm really enjoying the hibernation and my computer & reading time.

Aside from the dentist thing, I realised one of my bad habits - I've been having a couple of biscuits (cookies)/ muffin with my late cup of tea or coffee. I need to cut this out and see how that changes things. Right, I'm making myself accountable to you right now.

I went to gym on Monday (only) but I enjoyed it SO MUCH - I could hardly believe it.

Petrol shortage
We had a petrol shortage this week which was weird, frustrating and interesting all at the same time. Because I don't watch the news or read newspapers, I only get the 2-minute update on the radio if I'm driving on the hour or half-hour. Clearly I missed out because I found out about it on Friday morning.

I went searching for petrol (gas) and finally struck gold at the 3rd petrol station. However, there were queues of cars stretching as far as the eye can see. If felt like Zimbabwe (Dion is Zimbabwean and has told me that these sights were common to residents there). I am convinced that I would never have survived in Zimbabwe!

Do you know how long I waited in the queue? 40 minutes. My usual is less than 5 minutes.

I decided to make the best of a bad situation and so I (a) took photos - check on Wed for some of them (b) organised the operational areas mentally (c) people-watched for blog fodder :-)

So now I'm praying that when my R200 runs out, there is plenty of petrol in Jhb.

I am ready for my talk on Wed to Big Banking Group and am very excited.
I joined a networking group called My Genius. If you're registered, send me a message and let's connect.
I had some new brochures printed and they are gorgeous - now I just have to remember to give them to people!

Cooking & baking
I've baked about 5 dozen muffins over the last few days for today (friends over) and to take to work for my birthday tomorrow.
And I baked my first cake in about 15 years (coconut cake) which was delicious.
I was in such a baking tizzy that I forgot to take pictures. Now you know how crazy it was :-)

I'm grateful for
  • Speaking engagements
  • Blog friends
  • Thoughtful husband
  • You, the reader

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August 02, 2007

8 random things - a tag from Ali

Ali tagged me for this meme on Sunday already! Since I disclose almost everything that flits through my brain, I couldn't think of things.

I do realise that once I start writing, it will be easier, so here goes.

The rules:
1. We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.
2. Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
3. People who are tagged write their own blog post about their eight things and include these rules.
4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged and that they should read your blog.

  1. It's very important that my surroundings feel like "home" even if I'm far away. This is why I unpack immediately once I arrive anywhere like a hotel, and then I can enjoy myself.
  2. I like my tea sweeter than my coffee. I'm also not as fussy about my tea as I am about my coffee. Which is why I almost always order tea in a restaurant/ coffee shop and when visiting my friends, because I figure you can't mess up tea as quickly as you can coffee (a few extra ml of milk can mess up a whole cup of coffee for me).
  3. I can outsleep anyone! On the weekend, I easily sleep 11 hours straight! I then only wake because I need the loo. WTMI!
  4. I've been having bad hair years since I was about 28!
  5. I love taking photos of food. When I see something that looks beautiful, I have to have a picture of it.
  6. I am much better speaking to big groups of people than just to a few people. That said, I find that having meaningful conversations with one or two people at a social gathering than flitting around being a social butterfly.
  7. Of all types of holidays, I love cities the most. And of all cities, the one I most want to visit is New York City.
  8. I love big open spaces. Even in crime-ridden Jhb (as in any big city), I like all my doors and windows open wide. That is probably the only thing I miss about it being summer :-)

And because I asked Dion what I should write, I'll write his here too:

  1. you like dramatic music so you can imagine yourself dancing on stage
  2. you used to wake up 10 minutes before school started then run all the way up the hill there
  3. you don't dance for music videos
  4. you get one bloodless finger when it's really cold
  5. your hair doesn't grow at the back in the middle as long as the rest
  6. you can't swim
  7. you can't ride a bike
  8. you email me to ask for weird things like this.

Now who to tag since the whole blogosphere's already been tagged?!

Okay - if you haven't been tagged, then I'm tagging you, you, you, you, you, you, you and YOU!

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August 01, 2007

What did you say?!

Corrie has a great post over at her blog on communication styles in relationships. Which I loved because aside from the kissing bits (Dion and I like all that smoochy stuff :-) ), there is great content!
Go over and read it, and then come back to tell me what you think. I'm an external processor! Which ties up to my ESTJ-ness :)

Corrie is one of my newest blog friends - she and her sister are both super-organised! Both of them have written books!! And are great graphic designers!!!

Mental note
Sell Awesome Relationship manuals on website

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Wordless Wednesday - last pic at old church

Isn't this tree perfect?!

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