Wednesday, June 08, 2011

VeriChip- Mark of the Beast- True or False?

Hi guys! :)
I did Google this theory - and found some interesting websites below that are worth a look. I'm not saying they're true or false, You need to discuss that with God... (I'm sure you feel similarly)  feel free to forward this back to others if you wish

I do believe we need to be aware of developing technologies, and keep up with breaking-news discoveries, etc - however, we need to find a balance.

I think all secular world news needs to be viewed with "God-goggles" and not necessarily be something of alarm that gets emailed around, especially an old PowerPoint from 2004. I personally find keeping an eye on biological & government-Big Brother type-things very interesting, but if emails are going to be sent out to lots of people, I feel they need to include up-to-date commentary & possible links, so as to better facilitate discussions of End-Time relevant topics like this.

Finally, I'm terribly excited I'm around at this Time in history, and think things like this (one-world order, dubious Gov projects, mega companies' bio research, etc) are more signs of the End-Times. We need to be informed and do our part (not perishing for lack of knowledge) but look to God first in everything, particularly as things get more crazy or worrisome.
Have a great day, much love,
Ruth (this is a (very) US Conservatives site, caution please) (quote "While the thought of having implanted chips seems to provide a lot of good things such as information for medical emergencies, tracking missing persons, and making purchases simpler, there are a lot of concerns to be overcome.  One is security.  How secure would your chip be from people you don't want reading it? Plus, the conspiracy theorists do have a point:  Systems that have been enacted by governments for one purpose could be used for other, less honorable purposes.
Does all of this have Biblical significance?  It could if governments decided to adopt the technology and make it mandatory.  At present, it's commercial and voluntary.  But it's always good to be reminded that a "Mark of the Beast" type system isn't dependent on technology and could be implemented using something as simple as tattoos.") (Snopes is a "trusted" e-myth busting site, but terribly skeptical at times. They do explain the difference between types of micro-technology and chips),9171,1101030922-485764,00.html (Times/CNN article 2003, describes our everyday uses of RFID chips, just in case you didn't know or understand how it works) (someone's opinion and discussion that follows)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Accepted Violence. What Now?

It’s almost a year since that evening we met Nonhlanhla, but I can’t forget her. I wonder about her. I wonder what’s happened in her life in the days, weeks, months after that night. Did she break up with him? Is she safe where she lives? Did he beat her again? Has he killed her yet?
I ask other questions...
Where would she turn to - Realistically, if she’d wanted to break up with him? Where would she get help? Who would listen to her talk? I wonder... and I sometimes despair that because I am better off than most of the world’s population - I have a warm bed, food to eat, money in my wallet, and I don’t need to fear for my life - that I’m too far removed from her life. From the reality of it - right up the street from my house!

I’ll back up a bit... Nick, Logie and I were driving home one evening last year at almost 9pm. Just at the roundabout in front of our driveway turning, we see this guy dragging a woman right across the highway by her clothes. He’s headed to the tall grass; she’s only wearing one flip-flop and seems dazed. Other cars are driving by quickly. Its late, my son’s in his car chair mostly asleep, home and our beds are a hop across the road and 500m away. It could’ve been anything - maybe we didn’t understand what we were seeing - maybe they’d been drinking and were stumbling home.

Something in my spirit checked. I had a desperate feeling to stop. That if I didn’t I’d regret it.
It’s funny now, in hindsight: We must’ve driven round the little circle at least three times, arguing if it was safe to stop, trying to figure out what the guy was doing to her, if she needed help or not, keeping an eye out for traffic, for where the two were headed. But when she noticed our car, and broke free to run a bit in our direction, yelling... We. Had. To. Stop.

Nick was worried there might be more guys in the bushes we couldn’t see or that he was armed, I was certain if he got her to the grass, and down the dark dirt road, they’d disappear and we wouldn’t find her. What an insane, slow motion, high speed moment. We stopped, reversed to under the streetlight, and I jumped out like a crazy person, yelling at him to back off. She’d pulled free again and was stumbling towards the car. He was standing there, I don’t know, unsure, measuring us up, wondering what WE were thinking? I made sure she was in the car, Nick was furious, with me, with him. The guy was swearing at us, it was weird. We sped away, around the circle (again!) and start driving back up to town, partly coz Nick was worried if we went straight home now he’d follow us (at least one of us was thinking safety), and we also had to find the cops.

Wow. Now what?! Logan’s staring at us with huge eyes, dead quiet; then he says he’s ok, smiles over at the lady. (Oh boy, mental note to talk to him about all of this later, check we haven't traumatised him or anything) I start talking, I’m watching her body language, need to get information from her, see if she’s hurt, thank goodness I did the crisis counselling training. I’m twisted round facing the back, asking her name, where she lives, does she know the guy, is she ok, did she get hurt, does she want to go to the police station, and can we take her home? Her name is Nonhlanhla, she lives right down that dirt road with her parents, he’s her boyfriend who lives in Matsapha, they were out drinking, she’d tried to break up with him that night, he’d followed her home, normally her two brothers come to walk her but they didn’t that night, he started hitting her, he’d told her he was going to kill her this evening, teach her a lesson, no, she’s not bleeding, yes, she wants to go to the police.

We get there, all of us pile out, we’re at the front desk with that night’s drunk and homeless, there’s vomit on the floor, the place reeks of booze and unwashed bodies, telling our story over and over to four different people. She’s wearing only a tank top (now stretched), and knee-length skirt, dirty, her hair’s all messed up, and no shoes. The cops are sceptical, pushy, speaking fast and loud. They want us to take her back to where we found her coz she knows the guy, he’s her boyfriend, so they can talk out their differences. Thank goodness Nick speaks SiSwati, and he’s a Man. By the time we found the right person to take a statement, she’d changed her mind and didn’t want to press charges of assault or open a case against him.

Nick calls her parents to tell them what’s happened, where she is now, and if they’d like us to bring her home. Her mom’s grateful, they were worried when she was late, the area is unsafe on a weekend night, and her brothers had been out looking. No, it’s ok, they’ll come fetch her.

I write down my name and number for her, tell her to call if she needs to talk, and needs help, for anything. We leave her there at the station. I’m worried. We’re exhausted. Her mom calls Nick the next day to say thank you. That’s about it.

And now I wonder... what we did wasn’t special or heroic, I’d hope someone would do that for me... but that it happened so close to my home.... That she said it was no use to press charges coz by the time the cops found and arrested him, and the court case was over, he’d come looking for her even angrier.... Besides, she’d probably go back to him, what else can she do.

It makes me angry. The hopelessness of her decision. The attitude of the cops. That man acting like he owned her, like she was property, not worthy of respect or kindness.
Most violence against Swazi women is done by men they know and trusted, fathers, brothers, boyfriends, husbands, uncles, teachers, pastors, community elders... The passivity, despondency, and indifference of this nation in response are unacceptable.

Yet, what do I do to change this every day? What difference have I made? Is her life better? There are thousands like her - this was not even a “bad case”. Where do the Nonhlanhlas turn? Who will help them? What can we do to change this around? Do justice, love and security rule in our communities? Our towns, our country, our Africa, our world?
No, in this fallen world, we hurt and maim each other, self-absorbed, petty, speaking words that break instead of build relationships. Hating someone could be defined as merely LOVING that person LESS. If we determined every morning to be kinder, more loving, less focused on the small stuff, prioritising PEOPLE instead of stuff and work and money, quit worrying about what other people might say or think... I wonder what we could do... I wonder at our potential, our capability, at change...

With Heart Headed Home

by Max Lucado (taken from his book “Come Thirsty”)
Search the faces of the Cap Haitian orphanage for Carinette. She's been adopted.
Her adoptive parents are friends of mine. They brought her pictures, a teddy bear, granola bars, and cookies. Carinette shared the goodies and asked the director to guard her bear, but she keeps the pictures. They remind her of her home-to-be. Within a month, two at the most, she'll be there. She knows the day is coming. Every opening of the gate jumps her heart. Any day now her father will appear. He promised he'd be back. He came once to claim her. He'll come again to carry her home.
Till then she lives with a heart headed home.
Shouldn't we all? Carinette's situation mirrors ours. Our Father paid us a visit too. Have we not been claimed? Adopted? "So you should not be like cowering, fearful slaves. You should behave instead like God's very own children, adopted into his family calling him 'Father, dear Father' “(Rom. 8:15).
God searched you out. Before you knew you needed adopting, he'd already filed the papers and selected the wallpaper for your room. "For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn, with many brothers and sisters" (Rom. 8:29).

Abandon you to a fatherless world? No way. Those privy to God's family Bible can read your name. He wrote it there. What's more, he covered the adoption fees. Neither you nor Carinette can pay your way out of the orphanage, so "God sent [Christ] to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children" (Gal. 4:5).
Adopted, but not transported. We have a new family, but not our heavenly house. We know our Father's name, but we haven't seen his face. He has claimed us, but has yet to come for us.
So here we are. Caught between what is and what will be. No longer orphans, but not yet home. What do we do in the meantime? Indeed, it can be just that—a mean time. Time made mean with chemotherapy, drivers driving with more beer than brains in their bodies, and backstabbers who make life on earth feel like a time-share in Afghanistan. How do we live in the meantime? How do we keep our hearts headed home? Paul weighs in with some suggestions.

Paul calls the Holy Spirit a foretaste. "We have the Holy a foretaste of future glory" (Romans 8: 23). No person with a healthy appetite needs a definition for that word. Even as I draft this chapter, my mind drifts toward a few foretastes. Within an hour I'll be in Denalyn's kitchen sniffing the dinner trimmings like a Labrador sniffing for wild game. When she's not looking, I'll snatch a foretaste. Just a bite of turkey, a spoon of chili, a corner of bread... predinner snacks stir appetites for the table.
Samplings from heaven's kitchen do likewise. There are moments, perhaps far too few, when time evaporates and joy modulates and heaven hands you an hors d'oeuvre.
• Your newborn has passed from restlessness to rest. Beneath the amber light of a midnight moon, you trace a soft finger across tiny, sleeping eyes and wonder, God gave you to me? A prelibation from heaven's winery.
• You're lost in the work you love to do, were made to do. As you step back from the moist canvas or hoed garden or rebuilt V-8 engine, satisfaction flows within like a gulp of cool water, and the angel asks, "Another apĂ©ritif?"
• The lyrics to the hymn say what you couldn't but wanted to, and for a moment, a splendid moment, there are no wars, wounds, or tax returns. Just you, God, and a silent assurance that everything is right with the world.

Rather than dismiss or disregard such moments as good luck, relish them. They can attune you to heaven. So can tough ones.
"Although we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, [we] also groan to be released from pain and suffering. We, too, wait anxiously for that day when God will give us our full rights as his children, including the new bodies he has promised us" (v. 23).
Let your sickness-plagued body remind you of your eternal one; let acid-inducing days prompt thoughts of unending peace. Are you falsely accused? Acquainted with abuse? Mudslinging is a part of this life, but not the next. Rather than begrudge life's troubles, listen to them.
"He will wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying, nor pain. All of that has gone forever." (Rev. 21:4)
Write checks of hope on this promise. Do not bemoan passing time; applaud it. The more you drink from God's well, the more you urge the clock to tick. Every bump of the second hand brings you closer to a completed adoption.
Blessings and burdens. Both can alarm-clock us out of slumber. Gifts stir homeward longings. So do struggles. Every homeless day carries us closer to the day our Father will come.

Monday, May 16, 2011

When Grace Goes Deep

by Max Lucado (Taken from his book “Come Thirsty”)
The prodigal son trudges up the path. His pig stink makes passersby walk wide circles around him, but he doesn't notice. With eyes on the ground, he rehearses his speech: "Father"—his voice barely audible—"I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am not worthy to be called your son." He rehashes the phrases, wondering if he should say more, less, or make a U-turn to the barnyard. After all, he cashed in the trust fund and trashed the family name. Over the last year, he'd awakened with more parched throats, headaches, women, and tattoos than a rock star. How could his father forgive him? Maybe I could offer to pay off the credit cards. He's so focused on penance planning that he fails to hear the sound of his father...running!
The dad embraces the mud-layered boy as if he were a returning war hero. He commands the servants to bring a robe, ring, and sandals, as if to say, "No boy of mine is going to look like a pigpen peasant. Fire up the grill. Bring on the drinks. It's time for a party!"
Big brother meanwhile stands on the porch and sulks. "No one ever gave me a party," he mumbles, arms crossed.
The father tries to explain, but the jealous son won't listen. He huffs and shrugs and grumbles something about cheap grace, saddles his high horse, and rides off. But you knew that. You've read the parable of the gracious father and the hostile brother (see Luke 15:11-32).

But have you heard what happened next? Have you read the second chapter? It's a page-turner. The older brother resolves to rain on the forgiveness parade. If Dad won't exact justice on the boy, I will.
"Nice robe there, little brother," he tells him one day. "Better keep it clean. One spot and Dad will send you to the cleaners with it."
The younger waves him away, but the next time he sees his father, he quickly checks his robe for stains.
A few days later big brother warns about the ring. "Quite a piece of jewelry Dad gave you. He prefers that you wear it on the thumb."
"The thumb? He didn't tell me that."
"Some things we're just supposed to know."
"But it won't fit my thumb."

"What's your goal—pleasing our father or your own personal comfort?" the spirituality monitor gibes, walking away.
Big brother isn't finished. With the pleasantness of a dyspeptic IRS auditor, he taunts, "If Dad sees you with loose laces, he'll take the sandals back."
"He will not. They were a gift. He wouldn't...would he?" The ex-prodigal then leans over to snug the strings. As he does, he spots a smudge on his robe. Trying to rub it off, he realizes the ring is on a finger, not his thumb. That's when he hears his father's voice. "Hello, Son."
There the boy sits, wearing a spotted robe, loose laces, and a misplaced ring. Overcome with fear, he reacts with a "Sorry, Dad" and turns and runs.
Too many tasks. Keeping the robe spotless, the ring positioned, the sandals snug—who could meet such standards? Gift preservation begins to wear on the young man. He avoids the father he feels he can't please. He quits wearing the gifts he can't maintain. And he even begins longing for the simpler days of the pigpen. "No one hounded me there."

That's the rest of the story. Wondering where I found it? On page 1,892 of my Bible, in the book of Galatians. Thanks to some legalistic big brothers, Paul's readers had gone from grace receiving to law keeping.
I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God, who in his love and mercy called you to share the eternal life he gives through Christ. You are already following a different way that pretends to be the Good News but is not the Good News at all. You are being fooled by those who twist and change the truth concerning Christ.... (Gal. 1:6-7)
Joy snatchers infiltrated the Roman church as well. Paul had to remind them, "But people are declared righteous because of their faith, not because of their work" (Rom. 4:5).
Philippian Christians heard the same foolishness. Big brothers weren't telling them to wear a ring on their thumb, but they were insisting "you must be circumcised to be saved" (Phil. 3:2).
Even the Jerusalem church, the flagship congregation, heard the solemn monotones of the Quality Control Board. Non-Jewish believers were being told; "You cannot be saved if you are not circumcised as Moses taught us" (Acts 15:1)
The churches suffered from the same malady: grace blockage. The Father might let you in the gate, but you have to earn your place at the table. God makes the down payment on your redemption, but you pay the monthly installments. Heaven gives the boat, but you have to row it if you ever want to see the other shore.
Your deeds don't save you. And your deeds don't keep you saved. Grace does. The next time big brother starts dispensing more snarls than twin Dobermans, loosen your sandals, set your ring on your finger, and quote the apostle of grace who said, "By the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

How To Pet A Kitty

My sis Mirr found this one, it had me in stitches! For all cat lovers who get it wrong - this is hilarious :D 
ps. our son Logan gets the middle-of-the-night brunt of our Duchess' cuddling backlog! Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Rape Women Who Wear Pants!

This letter addressed to the Editor was published in the Times of Swaziland about 16th November 2010, in response to a series of letters being sent in by a few men basically discussing how the mysterious West has corrupted their Swazi sisters to wear pants, short skirts, and the like; and they came to the conclusion that that’s why men rape women in Swaziland: because they just can’t help themselves when they see women dressed in a certain way.
I think this is an interesting topic, obviously one in which everyone has an opinion given the amount of time spent arguing about it, as there are avid supporters of both sides. What do you think? How does this subject make you feel? Which view would you teach your children?

“Dear Mr. Mbingo,

In response to Mr. Vukani Dlamini’s letter published on Thursday November 11, 2010 in which he airs his opinion about the wearing of pants by women, may I reply?

How dare anyone, in any way, imply that one result of women wearing pants is to cause men to become so aroused they are forced to rape someone to be satisfied. That is a disgusting and deluded statement to make. It seems to echo the common consensus at the bus-ranks that a woman wearing a miniskirt is begging to be raped or sexually assaulted. How convenient for this man (and many others) who seems to condone that men are allowed to have no self-will or cannot exercise self-control. To blame pants for society’s illnesses (most of which are committed by men) and label pants-wearing Christian women as loose women reflects a typical symptom of today’s “real” Swazi man: a man who denies his responsibility and the consequences for his own behavior, and rather chooses to blame those around him. Well, no wonder our beautiful country is in the state it’s in.

And to quote the Bible (out of context, might I add) to suit his outrageous views is again merely a reflection of the behavior and actions of “pastors” and leaders (a certain prince who denies the seriousness of HIV/AIDS comes to mind) who make statements and behave indecently with no thought as to the impact their actions and scandals on the public they’re called to lead. Where is the morally-strong and transparent leadership this nation so badly needs? It starts with our men rising up to lead by example.

Recently, I was reading a brilliant book “Every Man’s Battle” which deals with everything from sexual purity to crippling pornography addictions in a very candid and practical way, they offered the following thoughts:
1. Make a covenant with your eyes; refuse to allow sexually impure things into your “eye gate”. It works like this, When you see an attractive woman, instead of locking onto her with your eyes, and roving over her body, but never seeing the person God created inside; BOUNCE your eyes! LOOK AWAY IMMEDIATELY. Simple really. If that woman is not your happily married wife (whom I hope you are faithful to), you have NO right to look her over lustfully. Point. End. Stop looking at those magazines, and watching “blue movies” too. Just. Stop.
2. Make a covenant with your mind; do not allow sexually impure thoughts to rule your thought life. Jesus teaches that we should take captive every thought and bring it into submission to God. If what you’re thinking about in any way even “hints” at the impure, you need to exercise your God-given free choice and reject that thought. Eventually, you begin to starve your imagination of the sexually perverse. Garbage in, garbage out. From the heart (and the mind) flow the issues of (your) life, so examine your heart honestly.

While I personally feel that a woman ought to dress modestly i.e. minimal cleavage, no midriff baring tops, watch the short skirts, etc. so that she shows HERSELF (first and foremost) respect, let’s not get legalistic about clothing and appearance. I believe Christ accepts us as we are, and in love corrects our shortcomings, whatever they may be. His heart is for restoration, not condemnation. Our change is a process.

Be a real man, take responsibility for your actions, and learn to bounce your eyes.
You might find a strange thing happening… all of a sudden, it doesn’t matter if she’s wearing pants.

Sincerely …”

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Logan-isms!!! :)

My big tiger Logan and his Coussie or partner-in-crime Alyssa have had their own words for things from when they were small, unique to them, as I’m sure many parents know... Words and names they insist on, even now. I’ll share two of my favourites with you  J J

“Muddle”, which is a much better and simpler description of a Mud Puddle to a 2 year olds thinking. This is different to a water puddle or any other kind of puddle, and not to be confused.

“Jumpaline”, known to grownups as a trampoline, which is just plain silly, coz everybody knows you don’t TRAMP on a jumpaline, you JUMP on it!!!

Logan is full of little phrases and sayings he’s picked up: “Aaooh maaaan!” with the appropriate forehead slap, when he’s forgotten something or left it behind.

Everything is “sick” with Alyssa at the moment. (Sick = gross, yukky) She’s picked it up from “big school”. “That’s SICK, Mommy!” and “Urggh, SICK, Logs, you pick it up!”

I'm also very proud to announce that Logan can pick up grasshoppers (even scarier brown ones!) by the "big scratchy jumping legs" like a pro! Very cool and collected, that is, when he isn't fighting off the kitten for rights to harass the hoppers she brings into the house in the evenings.

Very entertaining little ones, we have.

Hiding Your Pooh From God?

A few weeks ago my 6 year old son Logan ate way too many waterberries with his cousin Alyssa (also 6yrs). Waterberry trees, for the tourists, have small firm glossy purple berries with a large smooth brown pip, with white fruit ranging from tart to very sour, and have a “dry” aftertaste kind of like gin.

The next day he had a big tummy ache, and a bad case of what he calls “runny pooh” or “slidey pooh” J He had to stay home from pre-school, and of course at last minute I had to stay home from work with him. We had a great day together except I regularly had to check with him if he needed to go to the toilet. Poor little thing had to run to get there every half hour at one stage!

And either because of his age (he’s a big boy now, Mom) or because having the runny poohs are a sensitive topic, he closed the bathroom door firmly shut every time. He normally doesn’t, and even triumphantly announces from his porcelain throne that he’s the king of all the stinkies!!! A real boy J... So our day went a little like this:
He’s eating breakfast watching a programme about beavers building a dam on kids TV... SLAM!
Teasing our adorable kitten with a feather, lots of giggling... SLAM!
Sweetheart, it’s hot outside, come get some juice... SLAM!
Look, Mom, I’m watering all your plants for you... SLAM!

And so it went. And the fact that he didn’t always make it to the toilet on time made it worse. Maybe it’s his age, he IS getting older, or maybe he was just plain embarrassed by having made a mess.
After his first “accident” of the day I found him eating his breakfast, but not wearing his pyjama shorts anymore. I asked him what happened to his pj’s and he got all defensive, and I could tell close to tears.

So I gently told him that if he makes an “accident”, he didn’t have to hide from Mommy, but could tell me so I could help him. Mommy won’t get cross, she’ll just help you wash off with nice warm water and soap, and get fresh clean clothes, and wash the dirty ones. But if you don’t tell Mommy, she can’t help.
Well, then he sheepishly got his shorts from the washing basket. (I KNEW what was going on all along, and where he’d hidden them, but didn’t want him to feel “outed” - I wanted him to choose to come to me.)

Anyway, we sorted out that accident, and a few others that happened later too. With as much grace and tact to minimise any embarrassment. It wasn’t his fault; he couldn’t help it that his tummy was upset. I did point out that maybe he shouldn’t eat so many waterberries next time and that he should try to remember to go to the toilet often. The day mostly went ok.

Thinking about it that evening, and telling Nick about the day’s events, I was suddenly struck by the similarity between this situation and my relationship with God. Sometimes (OK, a lot!!) when I find I have to deal with the messy consequences of my decisions, I try to cover it up myself, foolishly thinking I can hide my dirt from my Daddy somehow. My attempts at fixing things my way fall waaaaay short of what God would love to do for me if I only came to Him, and told Him what happened (as if He doesn't know).

Instead of turning to Him, saying I did this yesterday, last week, last month, and now it’s come home to roost, and I’m in big pooh, please help me Father... I don’t. I hide my dirty laundry in the washing basket and think He won’t notice the awkwardness or separation in our daily togetherness. When He gently asks me what’s wrong or points out the smell... I get defensive, I get angry, and I pull away.

Eventually, after much patience and understanding on His part, I come to Him, and say, I’m in pooh, what do I do now? I have no idea why I delay doing this - asking for His help - when I know better. Stubbornness, if I was honest... Shame. My silly insistence on self-dependence. Guilt. Condemnation. All of which do NOT come from Him...

I know He always loves me regardless of my decisions, He never shames or accuses me, and He will always cover my dirt. He says it’s going to be ok, quickly puts His arms around me, lifts me up and carries me if He needs to, strips the filth off, washes the pooh away, and dresses me in clean clothes. He checks if I need anything else. He reminds me often to watch out for possible pooh. And He does all this for me over and over and over when I mess up, which is often...

My display of practical gentle love for Logan was a tiny tiny picture of what He longs to do for each of His children every day. And as the only perfect Father how much more on top of forgiving and cleaning, does He desire to do for us, to give, to dream, to hope, to love?

Are you hiding your pooh from God? Don’t. Quickly run to him in your pooh clothes and ask for help.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Delicious Rice!

Hi all,

Here's an interesting way of cooking rice that I've tried and liked recently, it's especially good for plain white rice like Tastic, and I was delighted to discover that it also gets (usually chewy) brown rice SOFT! It's a double-boiling method.
I was skeptical at first thinking it was going to take longer, need more attention, too fussy, etc but was pleasantly surprised. No more soggy, flavourless rice for me!
Now its soft, but firm, with a delicious buttery taste.
Brilliant with curries, stews, stir-fries, etc. Suitable for all types of rice. For traditionally longercooking, long-grain rices use more water. I find it shorter in cooking time, and not much more effort - just the rinsing which isn't a big deal - and definitely worth the flavour. My son and husband completely endorse this way of cooking rice now :) :)

First, wash rice well, use a whisk, and quickly rinse 2 or 3 times until water runs clear.
Then fill pot generously with water: 1 part rice, 3 or 4 parts water.

Boil on high until water completely/mostly evaporates, just keep an eye on the last bit so rice doesn't burn!
Being very careful of heated pot, and using whisk again, rinse rice a few times thoroughly with cold water, until discarded water runs clear.

Now add just enough water to see it through the top of the grains, ie: just under surface of rice.
Mix in a tablespoon of butter or margarine, a pinch of salt, and boil again. Stir a few times until marg/butter has melted into water.
As water nears bottom, part the rice carefully with fork/spoon to see if water's all gone, fluff up rice and enjoy!

You can also save on more expensive rices, but increase the nutritional value and get a pretty presentation, if you mix ordinary white rice with brown rice in a half-half ratio, or with rice mixes - brown rice, lentils, split peas, sundried tomatoes.

Monday, February 28, 2011

What exactly is Grace?

The late pastor and Bible scholar Donald Barnhouse perhaps said it best: “Love that goes upward is worship; love that goes outward is affection; love that stoops is grace.”

To show grace is to extend favour or kindness to one who doesn’t deserve it and can never earn it. Receiving God’s acceptance by grace always stands in sharp contrast to earning it on the basis of works. Every time the thought of grace appears, there is the idea of its being undeserved. In no way is the recipient getting what he or she really deserves. Favour is being extended simply out of the goodness of the heart of the giver.

One more thing should be emphasized about grace: It is absolutely and totally free. You will never be asked to pay it back. You couldn’t even if you tried. Most of us have trouble with that thought, because we work for everything we get. As the old saying goes, “There ain’t no free lunch.” But in this case, grace comes to us free and clear, no strings attached. We should not even try to repay it; to do so is insulting.

Imagine going to the house of a friend who has invited you over to enjoy a meal. You finish the delicious meal and then listen to some fine music and visit for a while. Finally, you stand up and get your things as you prepare to leave. But before you leave, you reach into your pocket and say, “Now, how much do I owe you?” What an insult! You don’t do that with someone who has graciously given you a meal. Isn’t it strange, though, how this world is running over with people who think there’s something they must do to pay God back? Somehow they are hoping God will smile on them if they work really hard and earn His acceptance, but that’s an acceptance on the basis of works. That’s not the way it is with grace.

And now that Christ has come and died and thereby satisfied the Father’s demands on sin, all we need to do is claim His grace by accepting the free gift of eternal life. Period. He smiles on us because His Son’s death and resurrection.
Amazing, this grace! Remarkable, the freedom and release it brought. And it came in full force from the only One on earth who has unlimited power, The Son of God.
My plea is that we not limit it to Him. We, too, can learn to be just as gracious as He. And since we can, we must... not only in our words and in great acts of compassion and understanding but in small ways as well.

 - Taken from Chapter 1, The Grace Awakening by Charles R. Swindoll

Earliest Grace Killers

The human heart cries out to be free.
Everything within us fights against the bondage of tyranny and oppression. Our souls were not made to live in cages of fear that restrict us from the joys of liberty. Once we get a taste of such relief, our appetite for more becomes consuming. It is every bit as true for God's people who have existed too long in the suffocating grip of legalistic demands and expectations.

There are killers on the loose today. The problem is that you can't tell by looking. They don't wear little buttons that give away their identity, nor do they carry signs warning everybody to stay away. On the contrary, a lot of them carry Bibles and appear to be clean-living, nice-looking, law-abiding citizens. Many are so respected in the community, their neighbours would never guess they are living next door to killers.
They kill freedom, spontaneity, and creativity; they kill joy as well as productivity. They kill with their words and their pens and their looks. They kill with their attitudes far more often than with their behaviour. The amazing thing is that they get away with it, day in and day out, without being confronted or exposed. Their intolerance is tolerated. Their judgemental spirits remain unjudged. Their bullying tactics continue unchecked. And their narrow-mindedness is either explained away or quickly defended. The bondage that results would be criminal were it not so subtle and wrapped in such spiritual-sounding garb.

John puts the capstone on his introductory remarks by summing up the difference between contrastive styles of ministry: "For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ" (John 1:17) Let's look at the example of the Pharisees.
Obsessed with duty, external conduct, and a constant focusing only on right and wrong (especially in others' lives), they promoted a system so demanding there was no room left for joy. This led to harsh, judgemental, even prejudicial pronouncements as the religious system they promoted degenerated into external performance rather than internal authenticity. Obedience became a matter of grim compulsion instead of a joyous overflow prompted by love.

But when "grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ", a long-awaited revolution of the heart began to set religious captives free. Fearful bondage motivated by guilt was replaced with a fresh motivation to follow Him in truth simply out of deep devotion and delight. Rather than focusing on the accomplishments of the flesh, He spoke of the heart. Instead of demanding that the sinner fulfill a long list of requirements, He emphasized faith, if only the size of a mustard seed.
The change spelled freedom, as the Lord Himself taught: "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). Rigid, barren religion was, at last, replaced by a grace-oriented relationship - liberating grace. His followers loved it. His enemies hated it... and Him. Without a doubt, the earliest grace killers were the Pharisees.

- Taken from Chapter 1, The Grace Awakening by Charles R. Swindoll

Friday, February 25, 2011

Blood Type?

After doing some looking into Blood Types, and whether there really is an ideal range of food that each blood type should be eating, my husband Nick gleefully pounced on the fact that he's an O+ and I'm and A+
I think... I guess...  I'm not actually sure.. I had a child, had surgery in hospital, do blood tests, etc... but I'm thinking I vaguely remember being A+... shocking I know. The book's called Eat Right For Your Type.

So, according to this dietary theory - which sounds pretty logical - here's where you add your COMMENTS and let me know whether you think this is completely unfounded, or could be true -
He is an O+, and is therefore "A Meat Eater!"
cue angels singing sweetly, Lion King-like ray of light strategically shining through cloud, confetti raining down, cheerleaders, etc etc

He is so pleased at this that he refused to eat rice for supper last night, "Dear, my blood type says I'm not supposed to eat too many grains", and happily turns to me to ask when next I'm going grocery shopping because the book says he can technically have meat everyday, for almost every meal if he wanted to, as long as its balanced with enough veg.. the right veggies, mind... not mushrooms, potatoes, sweetcorn, and a bunch of others he was reading out to me last night... He did remark this morning that Avocados are on his Foods To Avoid list, but while longing looking at the last one on the kitchen counter, that he might make an exception for them.... :)

For those of you who KNOW my husband, look again, yes, up there, read carefully.... Yes!! HE READ!!! Nick doesn't read (or so he says). Rather he claims often, and loud, and clear, that he's allergic to books, that they make him fall asleep, and he can't see why anyone would waste good time reading...

So, I'm thinking that if he's so interested in food, and while he's on this quest to discover as much as he can Justify to Eat, maybe I'll buy him some more food books... as long as he's reading, right?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

This Law of Culture

"And you must know this law of culture: two civilizations cannot know and understand one another well. You will start going deaf and blind. You will be content in your civilization surrounded by the hedge, but signals from the other civilization will be as incomprehensible to you as if they had been sent by the inhabitants of Venus. If you feel like it, you can become an explorer in your own country. You can become Columbus, Magellan, Livingstone. But I doubt that you will have such a desire. Such expeditions are very dangerous, and you are no madman, are you?"
- Ryszard Kapuscinski, The Emperor


Man is
a great wall builder
The Berlin Wall
The Wailing Wall of Jerusalem
But the wall
most impregnable
Has a moat
flowing with fright
around his heart

A wall without windows
for the spirit to breeze through

A wall
without a door
for love to walk in.

- Oswald Mtshali, Soweto Poet

My Traitor's Heart

"Rian Malan's My Traitor's Heart - Blood and Bad Dreams: A South African Explores the Madness in His Country, His Tribe and Himself." In 1977, Rian Malan, descendant of Daniel Francois Malan, South Africa's first nationalist Prime Minister, and one of the master builders of apartheid, fled his homeland to live in America. Eight years later he returned from exile to face the paradox, his family history, his conscience, and to write this book. This is his first book, published in 1990.

I borrowed this book from my dear friend, Heather, following our conversation after braaing at their farm way up in the mountains behind Malkerns/Matsapha area (Swaziland, for the tourists). She is a South African, married to Zakari, a Finn, living and farming trees in rural Swaziland. Nick (my husband) is Cape Town-born, but Swazi-raised; and I am Dutch, but born and raised in Swaziland.

Anyway, we were talking about how little I felt I had been affected by Apartheid, even though it was just across the border. For all I comprehend racism, it could come from another world. I stated that I felt blessed to have been raised in Swaziland. Sheltered from the worst of the hate, but surrounded by the best of all that multi-culturism offers...

When at first, I had declared Apartheid had not touched me much, I realised on reflection, and as I was reading this book... that just as the Holocaust had been experienced by all my older Dutch relatives in some personal way, Apartheid has touched and shaped, and defined all in Southern Africa... maybe some in varying degrees, but all, yes. Is anyone who has lived in Southern Africa, then or now, truly untouched? No, of course not.

Rian Malan worked as a journalist/reporter throughout the time, and courageously pursued some tragic, truth telling stories, and at a time when people were being given so much half-informed and overly-optimistic simplification; at a time when asking the wrong questions, being in the wrong place at the wrong time, being the wrong colour, was life threatening.

No one who reads it could ever forget it. I recommend you read it. Below are other people's quotes, etc. taken from within Malan's book:

"The book Rian Malan set out to write was altogether more conventional than the one he has written. It was supposed to be a history of the great and detested Malan family, as told by its kafferboetie (that is, "brother of blacks", "nigger-lover") renegade. But along the way he ran into, and faced up to, the truth that is the making of his book - that for all his nigger-loving, leftist views, for all his long hair and days smoking zol (dope) on the hillsides in the mystical Tolkeinish company of "wise old Afs", for all his daubing pro-black slogans on the walls of Johannesburg's northern suburbs, where scarcely a black would ever see them, he was still a Malan; that he could only write about the atrocity of South Africa by admitting the atrocity hidden in his own traitorous heart... Here, as in nothing I've read before, is the demotic voice of black and Afrikaaner South Africa... The old woman, Creina Alcock, tells Rian Malan: "Love is worth nothing until it has been tested by its own defeat... Love is to enable you to transcend defeat." My Traitor's Heart, which tells us of the defeat of its author's illusions, his ideals, his sense of his own goodness, his courage, and his ability to comprehend his fellow South Africans as they dance their death-dances, which is full of bitterness, cynicism, anger and storms, is a triumphant instance of this type of defeated love." 
- Salman Rushdie -

"How do I live in this strange place?" - Bernoldus Niemand, from the Boer reggae song, "Reggae Vibes Is Cool"

"We are betrayed by what is false within" - George Meredith

"I found myself haunted by an impression I myself would not understand. I kept thinking that the land smelled queer. It was the smell of blood, as though the soil was soaked with blood." - Carl Jung, upon arriving in Africa

"What then shall we do?" - Leo Tolstoy

"Africa is a cruel country; it takes your heart and grinds it into powdered stone - and no-one minds." - Elspeth Huxley, The Flame Trees of Thika

Friday, February 18, 2011

Check It Out!

By the way, Tash's blog is called "My Journey to a Place Unknown" you'll find it at

FOLLOW (see here's the key word, don't be shy people, click "follow", Mine too please!) her preparations for her trip to Italy, and The Challenge :) :)

Reflection on Giving and Receiving

The book I'm reading at the moment (really, like NOW, because Wednesday's book was different), is "Gifts" by Nuruddin Farah.
Gifts is Duniya's story. She is a single mother of two (actually 3, her teen boy & girl twins, and a 9 yr old girl by husband #2) with a demanding job at the maternity hospital in war-torn Mogadiscio, in a world where she has to battle for independence and self-sufficiency. An impossible load at the hospital, the food and fuel shortages, the war, and the narrow constraints of Islamic society pin her down.
Then, just as she reluctantly gets romantically involved with the charming and wealthy Basaaso, her daughter brings home a mysterious abandoned baby boy (The Nameless One) found in a rubbish bin.
Part love story, part mystery, the plot turns on the idea of gifts and the price you pay for accepting them. Ranging from a simple cooking pot to the cargoes of foreign food-aid dumped in Somalia, and even to Duniya's gift of her sexuality, Gifts is a complex and fascinating reflection on giving and receiving, written in a surprisingly earthy, opulently lyrical style. Her honest interactions with her twins, the cultural greetings and language dances are interwoven with snippets of her whimsical, often symbolic day-dreaming. Duniya's name means "the cosmos". (I love names and their meanings!)
I haven't finished it yet, probably by tonight. There isn't a whole lot of writing coming out of Somalia, although the country's drawn me for years. With a horrifc civil war raging for more than 20 years, and a beautiful people caught in the crossfire, the world has grown tired of hearing how desperate the situation is, and having become jaded has accepted that that's what Somalia's like, and will most likely ever be. Pirates hijacking oil tankers is about it as far as news coverage goes.
I love this book's humour and foreign-ness, and the main character's intelligent thinkings.