Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Thought for the day


I have just finished a 5 week course called 'The Writer's Eye' which is one of the electives that form part of my ministry school syllabus. I loved this little adventure of falling in love with words and eloquent sentences all over again. Not only was it therapeutic and enjoyable, but really enabled me to refine my writing ability further.
Our last assignment was to read out a composition that we had begun during class and then fine-tuned during our own time. I chose to take an abstract noun and give it a personal definition, much like C.S Lewis did with the word 'Pride' in his book 'Mere Christianity.' I chose one of my favorite words, 'elegance.'

The walls were reverberating with the gong of incessant chatter. Everywhere your eyes darted there were clusters of sophisticates competing for the conversational spotlight, and there wasn’t a square space in the room that was void of diamonds or Dulce and Gabana. But, all it took was one of her feet to touch down in the room, and every mouth slammed shut while every neck strained to catch a glimpse of elegance. Was it her dress? Surely not, it barely cost more than twenty dollars. Was it her face? No, It couldn’t be, there were lines around her mouth and on her forehead that told tales of a life joyfully spent. Maybe it was her physique? Definitely not, her form boasted to the world that she had mothered many children. What then, was the origin of elegance?

It lay somewhere in the way that she graciously formed pictures with her hands as she spoke and exposed a gorgeously crooked smile when she threw her head back and laughed.  It was in the way she had made herself comfortably at home within her own skin and gave others the liberty to do the same in theirs. Elegance never takes herself too seriously, nor does she strive to reflect her name any more than the morning sun strives to make it’s way over the mountains. She is constant. She effortlessly exudes timeless grace as if it is the substance in which she daily bathes.

Elegance is not the catwalk queen with legs that stretch from now until next Tuesday. Nor is it the familiar flawless face on the cover of this week’s Vogue proudly brought to you by botox and photoshop.  The pioneer of fashion herself, Coco Chanel even once uttered, “elegance does not consist of putting on a new dress.”

With the definition of elegance vaguely and arbitrarily understood, in my attempt at defining the indefinable, I would call it timeless tastefulness and classic confidence. However, not the kind that begs to be noticed but rather because it is rarely seen, it is seldom overlooked. It is more than conduct. It is a state of being. It is as much a part of someone as an ear or an eye, and they can no more help being elegant than a cherry tree can help bearing blossoms in spring. Elegance is the mother of beauty, and it delights in taking hold of something ordinary and making it extraordinary.

My definition of elegance comes from where I seek to find it. Where do I see elegance? I see it in the “V” shaped formation the birds make as they disappear into the sunset and in the twirl of a little girl’s dress as she dances before daddy. I see it in the pearl on a necklace of an elderly woman who never lost the twinkle of the twenties and in the eyes of a mother that saves the world one band aid at a time whilst still managing to have dinner on the table by six. 

Like rays of light streaming through a blanket of clouds, elegance is the element of another world that every once in a while creeps into ours, permitting us to capture a blink of heaven.

{Images: ángeles peña on Flickr}

Sunday, February 26, 2012

With our love for French sugary delights overpowering us, my two friends and I joined forces this week in an attempt to bake some Macaroons. With the word on the street being that these little guys require much culinary skill to perfect, we hoped that we had what it takes to churn out a batch of semi-decent ones. 
To give credit where credit is absolutely due, our first tray full of chocolate flavored macaroons were flawless, and after taste-tests and high-fives, we were proud to have been conquerers. 
The recipe and baking procedure is definitely not for amateurs, but if you enjoy having a sugar carnival take place in your mouth, baking macaroons is well worth the risk and effort.
Here are some snapshots from our macaroon-making laboratory:

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Future man, please wear...

"Fashion fades but style is eternal." - Yves Saint Laurent

In my honest opinion, a man that knows how to put a decent outfit together is a force to be reckoned with. 
Since doing a bit of traveling outside of my 'surf wear only' hometown, Durban, I have come across many a bloke that has impressed me with their impeccable clothing co-ordination. 
To tell you the truth, some days I prefer men's fashion to women's. Tweed blazers, leather combat boots, suspenders, flannel, denim shirts, elbow patches, I'll take a double order of them all.
On the flip side however, I think there's a fine line that separates 'well groomed' from 'trying too hard,' and I applaud those lads that know how to live in the balance. 
So here's to appreciating men's trends and hoping my future man will be among the minority of stylish males. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Phoenix Cover Perfection

I have a confession to make. I have listened to this cover of Phoenix's song 1901 sung by the beautiful 'birdy' about 50 or more times, and I make no exaggeration. It's my favorite song as of late, and the more I listen, the more I love it. Enjoy.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Great Divorce

This weekend I have been standing in the tension of wanting to plough through a must-read whilst also secretly hoping it never reaches an end.
I spent some hours over the past two days curled up with C.S Lewis's masterpiece 'The Great Divorce,' and I battle to think of another piece of fiction that houses more wisdom, fluid eloquence or mind-altering revelation. This is the sort of book that stretches out it's arms and pulls you into the very story between it's pages. Every now and then I had to look up from the book and make sure that I was still sitting on the cafe armchair and hadn't been whisked away into a fictitious land. 

In my favorite chapter of the book, Lewis flawlessly describes a woman that he comes across whilst in Heaven. The beauty of this passage is that whilst upon the earth, said woman was no more than a regular nobody. She wasn't wealthy, her name wasn't known nor did her face beg to be noticed. But, when she crossed the chasm of death, she was transformed in such a way that her inner world of love and purity could be seen externally, thus making her one of the most exquisite beings imaginable. 
I may or may not have shed a tear or two while the beautiful imagery washed over me. 

"Love shone not from her face only, but from all her limbs, as if it were some liquid in which she had just been bathing.

Every young man or boy that met her became her son – even if it was only the boy that brought the meat to her back door. Every girl that met her was her daughter.

‘Isn’t that a bit hard on their own parents?’

‘No, There are those that steal other people’s children. But her motherhood was of a different kind. Those on whom it fell went back to their natural parents loving them more. Few men looked on her without becoming, in a certain fashion, her lovers. But it was the kind of love that made them not less true, but truer, to their own wives.

Every beast and bird that came near her had its place in her love. In her they became themselves. And now the abundance of life she has in Christ from the Father flows over into them.

But already there is joy enough in the little finger of a great saint such as yonder lady to waken all the dead things in the universe into life."
{Double exposure series by Pakayla Biehn}

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Things I'm Thankful For: #1

I have been been strolling through 2012 with a thankful heart and eyes intent on searching out beauty in everything, everywhere. It's there if you'll just look beyond what you see. Recently, I have been the collector of moments where I feel as though I am tasting life for the first time. Moments where I find myself stopping to admire something that most would label as mundane. Sometimes life is a lot more intriguing when you carry a different perspective around with you. 

So, in honor of appreciating life and it's fleeting moments, my new self-challenge is to compile a list of things I am thankful for each day. I want to be a person that approaches each day with childlike awe and sincere gratitude if for no other reason than the simple joy of having a pulse. 

Things I'm Thankful For: #1
Reflections cast on still waters

{Taken with Hipstamatic}

Monday, February 6, 2012

I love it - February

C.S Lewis, the master wordsmith. Childlike wonder. Ridiculous provision. How he loves me. The Loft Sessions. Superbowl sunday. Getting my butt kicked by Jillian Michaels. International travelers. Roasted red pepper soup. Candle-lit bubble baths. Spring shows up early. The beauty of the I-5 northbound. Shasta ski days. Instagramming my life away. The Weight of Glory. The writer's eye. Direction. God's Generals. Celebrating culture. Morning sunshine peering through the blinds. British eloquence. The Vow. Being single on Valentine's day. Viber calls. Walnuts. Hand-written notes on doilies. Quality time with a must-read. $4 sweaters. Being a 'Words With Friends' maestro. Psalm 36. The way the prayer house looks at night. Living in an American cul-de-sac. Suburban bliss. Following rivers. Getting a degree from the university of life. Learning the art of brave communication. Earl grey mornings. Thai curry. Lovefeast. A good male falsetto. Maroon tights. Paradigm shifts and heavy revys. Seaside dreams. Knowing Him and being known by Him. Gifts and surprises. The Tumbled Sea. Perfecting the 'laughcry.' Shekinah glory. A culture of creativity. Seeing Him displayed in people. Sleeping At Last. Getting in touch with my inner visionary. Seeing impossibilities crumble in His presence. The song of creation's silence. The seconds before the sun dips behind the mountains. Super Bowl commercials. The smell of warm cinnamon. The feeling of a freshly-washed favorite shirt. 4 months until Africa and I re-unite. Wishing I could paint with the colours of sunset. Bringing my A game. Absence creating a fond heart. Blueberry stained yoghurt. Potentially trying a new hairstyle, potentially. Trying not to lose my temper at the Spotify ads. Comptine D'un Autre Ete. Having melodic poetry read to me. Falling in love with words all over again. A journal dedicated to the Song of Solomon. Akiane's transdimensional artwork. Co-creating. Skating along the wooden floors in my socks. Adventures of the sporadic and spontaneous variety. Seeing light in His light. The beauty of earplugs as an antidote to loud housemates. Filling my lungs with gulps of country air. Becoming a homework slayer. Letting the River flow through me. Drinking from the torrent of His delights. Living in a revival town. 

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