Tag Archives: family

#346 ~ I Made this For YOU….with love

I have never desired to be a culinary goddess. In fact, I remember at the ripe old age of nine, my father calling me to help my Mum in the kitchen. I wasn’t averse to helping her, but wondered why he hadn’t asked my brother, who was older and probably closer to hand. In a benign manner he, I can now see in retrospect, replied:

“Ah-ah, who will marry you if you can’t cook?”

Indignation flared instantaneously and my stubborn nature shot back, quick as:

“Well fine. I won’t get married then. Why shouldn’t my husband cook for me?”

Suffice to say I spent a good seven years refusing to help in the kitchen. I didn’t mind washing up, and of course I watched how my mother was cooking and more importantly what, but I didn’t offer my services. When I was roped in as part of my familial duty I did it, but I didn’t love it, like my sister. My culinary standard became – is it edible? Yes? Then that’s fine. And edible can have a range of qualities…

However now at University, without a microwave and a finite budget it is suprising how expensive food is. A loaf of bread, which I could easily devour in three days, sells for £1 or so, whilst plain white flour is only 69p. So, I decided to turn my hand to some culinary delights.

Now whilst my African dishes are way below par, and I have sadly been forced to feed some friends some poorly cooked jollof rice (I blame the basmati), i’ve learnt that what makes Mama’s dishes so sweet isn’t really the scotch bonnet or caramelised onions, but it’s that she cooks with love. Sure, sometimes it’s a duty and a hassle, but it’s something she does for her family out of love.

Being now a near expert bread maker, i’ve made two perfect loaves of white bread and a loaf of wholemeal brown for a friend in just over 72 hour; and trust me they are gooood, I’m currently sitting whilst I make chicken, mushroom and potato soup, for myself and anyone who wants to come by and get blessed. And I’ve realised, cooking can be such an act of love, joy and service.

I absolutely expect my husband to cook for me and our family, just as I absolutely (she says tihs now whilst unmarried and highly romantic), will cook for my family, but not because i’m a woman, but because when I make things, I want to make them for you, with love.

So go, be adventurous and try your hand at making something. Maybe you’ll never get your dough to rise, but you could be an incredible pastry maker.

Be blessed.

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#328 ~ 7 Things About Christmas.7 – The End

The 25th of December is an arbitrary day.

So Christmas isn’t really about Santa. No, I have no shame stating that, because even the people who propagate that foolishness don’t even have the decency to tell their children who Santa really is. Stop being geographically ignorant, Russia isn’t the North Pole and neither is Greece or Turkey. Aha, you are now confused. Good. Let me instruct you on a lesson (kindly passed on from the greatest Academic this world has ever known, Wikipedia). Santa is an abbreviation of Santa Claus, which is a contraction (and most likely an Americanization) of Saint Nicholas. Saint Nicholas was a 4th Century Bishop from Greece who pastored part of modern day Turkey and, in the long and short of it, was compassionate. Amongst many of his great exploits, he was known for helping those in need. In one case he anonymously gave a man who couldn’t pay his daughters dowry the money necessary to prevent them falling into prostitution as they were able to have honourable marriages. Revered in Russia, he’s also known for giving presents to children, especially orphans and the needy. In medieval times nuns would deposit food and gifts on the doorsteps of the homeless or impoverished on his feast day, 6th December. That’s right. If you want celebrate Santa then do it on the 6th of December. If you want to be an orthodox and wait until the Wisemen actually got to Bethlehem to drop off their Gold, Myrrh and Frankincense, then do it on the 6th January, which is known as Epiphany. If you want to be a pagan and celebrate the darkest time of the year with a celebration of light, do it on the 25th. If you want to celebrate Christ, do it all year round. 

a true light has a constant supply.

24hours are only so long. You eat, you sleep, it’s Boxing day and half the world is at the Sales. Like I mentioned in Post 2, what we view as Christmas Day today is a celebration of Christ, the Messiah and Saviour of the World, who loves every individual whether it’s the people who believe in Santa or the people who just want to make money – they’re all precious in his sight. The 25th of December is an arbitrary day. What’s important it what it means for you. If you believe it’s a time to remember to be a light in the extremely dark world where warfare, rape, violence, depression, isolation and anger are clamouring for a space, then be that light in the best way you know how. Show love, be love, be joy, happiness, peace and patience. Show good will to all mankind. Be hopeful for something better to come along. Do. But don’t just acknowledge the street sweeper on Christmas. Acknowledge him always as a fellow human who deserves to be loved. Don’t just be gracious to your sister on Christmas. Be gracious to her always as she’s a beautiful woman/girl who deserves to be loved and treated with respect. Don’t just tolerate or be grateful to your parents on Christmas. Show it always. Because a true light never goes out, ever. It keeps burning. Why? Because a true light has a constant supply.

whether you’re a believer of my faith or your own, shine brightly.

There is so much I love about Christmas. I even love the fact that people of other faiths (and atheism my friends is a faith, it’s a faith that believes there is no higher power, it’s a religion of its own so there), i love that they take time out to show love to those they care about. As a Christian I do believe that Christ exits, and that in showing love, we reflect God’s character and his goodness. But I don’t believe we should confine that light to 24 hours. We use up so much electricity just watching that banal Christmas movie, i’m sure we could light many more bulbs instead. So do. Go, whether you’re a believer of my faith or your own, shine brightly. Burn with a passion to see Justice birthed in this world. Burn with a hunger to see Peace made manifest in this world. Burn with a desire to see Love take on a deeper meaning than the scrawl on the tag of a present. Shine Brightly. Shine like the Sun/Son. Shine and be light and life in this world that asks for death.

If I ruled the world i’d banish the 25th of December. Because in reality, Christmas should be every day.

So Shine. 

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#321 ~ Life Lesson No. 36

Family is anyone who knocks at the door with love. Welcome them in.

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#233 ~ Bubble Baths and Popcorn Prayers

Stepping into a new home, filled with Bubble Baths and unpainted toes

Lavender and Jasmine bouquets, home made chicken soup as we lay

Our heavy heads and runny noses onto pillows

and slept dreamless sleeps caught within a dozen mirrors.

As mist settles its head low over mountains

And orange sand, dry from drought, swirls, soundless

Through the house and over the fields

Bubble baths are being made for unpainted toes.

The exuberance of innocent children

Welcoming in a stranger to come and dine with them

to join their family as they seek to serve in their community

Closing the night with bible stories

Sniffing noses and popcorn prayers

Ushering in an embrace which speaks of layers of

Warmth, and love and hope

From the mouth of innocent babes

The Lord spoke

And we spent our last night, in a sleepy town

Before lessons, and planning and running clubs took off all around

Having a long forgotten bubble bath

And sharing in popcorn prayers.

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#232 ~ The Long Goodbye

The valiant one has come to stem the flow of sorrow. My brother’s name means that because he was born after all our grandparents died.

We grew up listening to stories about how great our grandparents were. How they used to discipline our Mum and her brothers, how Dad’s father pioneered education in his family. I just used to lament not getting the fabled boiled sweets that seemed to litter the stock image of grandparents in English Literature. But I never really mourned them – how could I, I never knew them.

Yet there is something, in my experience, of a pan-African culture whereby family, unity and community are foundational and incomparable. Everyone is your Aunty, everyone is your Uncle, and they can all and will all beat you just as much as your parents if you even so much as toe the line.

Perhaps prone to morbid fantasies, I have imagined what it would be like if my own parents died. They’re quite old but certainly don’t look it, and I am soberly aware that they may never see my children – although I fervently pray they will. Yet I could not imagine the pain, the heartbreak and the frustration to see my parents, as ‘old’ as they are, unable to recognize my face, my voice, my laugh. Unable to chastise me – or at least threaten to. How does one deal with a sensation such as that, with a reality such as that?

Sometimes I torment myself with the fear that my children might never meet my Father. Might never be subjected to one of his infamous after dinner lectures, or be coerced into listening to a dictation in order to watch his new DVD. They may never have my Mum waking them up with songs, before slapping a wet flannel over their bellies when they still refuse to wake up. They might never be witness to their wisdom, their stories; my Father’s attempt to tell a funny story which always ends in a nonsensical rasping choke as he wheezes out laughter instead of lucidly communicating his humor ( a trait I am proud to also portray.).

Yet there is something within the pan-African culture whereby family, unity and community are paramount. There is, when the opportunity is available, an unsettling respect for the elderly. Unsettling in comparison to the absolute lack of respect I know is shown back home to all those who bear freedom passes and often blue rinse their hair.

The fervent, fierce and proud love that I saw in my last weekend before I set off to help ‘build community’ and express compassion and empathy, bore a tiny hole deep into the valves of my heart. It taught me about the reverent respect I was also encouraged to show to my parents, yet my peers where pleaded too. I saw a love, which though it couldn’t be tangibly reciprocated, within the fractured mind of a half forgotten dream was deeply appreciated.

There is something within the pan-African culture whereby family, unity and community are respected – and it is only in that vein that a progressive vision for that continent might prosper.

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#230 ~ Marina Beach

Southern Durban, on the Kwazulu Natal South Coast.

Soft sand squelching between creamed toes,

Rock, layered with harden sea salt scrapping beneath archless soles

Marina Beach, watched by lush palm trees

A family affair, a loud and raucous affair.

A few days before we set off to a place

Where the soil is red

and the waves aren’t gay,

Though they say the waters are sweet

For now it’s the salt that is dancing through the breeze

That is the place, where I write,

Durban’s Marina Beach.

 

 

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#223 ~ Voices

The family

Have so many voices

It’s hard to decipher

The individual amongst

the pulses of suggestions,

advice, like piles of fine salt

sprinkled generously from the rocks

that line the beach of

familiarity.

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