Category: beauty

i recently discovered the incredibly gifted Dante who writes incredible micro poetry on his blog, Original-Dante. Thinking my poetry would definitely err on the macro side we decided to do a collaboration and use the same title to inspire two different poems and so here is my offering:


i gaze into the mirror
and the person staring back at me is not you
i cast my eyes across to your face
slowly becoming aware of
the lines of a well-worn path
have i even set foot on that road before?

i stare more deeply into your soul
only to have pictures of my life
flood back at me
i fling them to the ground
as i ready myself to dive right in
but am blocked by the life-sized
lifeless cardboard cutout that stands in my way

my life
my words
my thoughts
and my experiences
trying to tell your story through my voice
only rings in my ears
like a much-repeated but long-forgotten fairy-tale i thought i knew
so i close my eyes

and it takes a whole long time
minutes pass like hours
or are those indeed hours
that i am waiting upon
until what is ours
eventually starts to ever so slowly fade

days pass
and i can just about make out the
pathetic sad little robotic figure that is me
waving one last goodbye final wave
as it slides out of the peripheries
and i am gone

still me
still here
eyes closed
listening to the heaviness of
the air being breathed in and out around me

as if you had always been there
watching silently from the shadows
my ears catch sight of you
through the words i’ve taken time to hear
to really listen to
and a picture of you begins to take shape
and you look different than i had ever taken time to imagine

i pull my eyes more tightly shut
knowing that to open them again
would ruin my chances
of ever truly opening them again

and i look once more
as your sound travels towards me
in wave after wave of deep illumination

rich colours are realised
and this new person that is you
more you than you have ever been
and yet completely the you
you have always been and are
the you i never got to see
beyond my stereotypic perceptions
of the you i have always ever painted you to be

oh but when you paint you
what a glorious you
you turn out to be
words become stories
which take shape
in, through and around the pain
that lies scarring your embattled torso
and i see
the you that is you is nothing like
the you that is me.

and it is good.

[To read my new mate Original Dante’s much shorter poem with the same title, click here] 

Also we would love to hear what you think of the experiment of doing a long and a micro version using the same title as inspiration – once you’ve read both, please comment on how you experienced the combo…

so yesterday i got to go to Six Flags, which is a rollercoaster [and animal it turns out] park in California and had the raddest rollercoastering day!

and i also got to ‘meet’ Odin the Bengal tiger who was a most beautiful and majestic animal [sorry lion!]:


That picture doesn’t really do him justice – Odin was a beast! Beautiful, sleek, with big flabby paws that thumped around on the ground as he majestically wandered around

…his tiny little tiger space.


it actually started with the snakes. there were these six tiny compartments and four of them had snakes in them behind the glass and the spaces were really small.

then i saw the tiger and was bummed by how much [little] space he had – he would basically walk up to the glass [where all us tourists could gawk at him, great word ‘gawk’] and turn around and walk maybe five or six steps away and then have to turn around and come back and continue doing these little laps.

this has never really bothered me before, but for some reason it did yesterday and i told Aaron who was with me that if there wasn’t the danger of the tiger eating me and everyone else – and quite possibly the legal ramifications of freeing a wild animal at Six Flags – i would have loved to have freed Odin. that dude needs space.

for the first time ever, animals in captivity really bugged me. 

and i thought of the beginning of the world and God creating all these beautiful animals and inviting mankind to manage and be lord of the earth and all of the creatures and i can’t help thinking this is not what He meant.

let us take these wild beasts of nature and let us stick them in cages and make them perform shows for our pleasure. with not much thought of them at all and what they might need to be who they really are.

let’s do this thing that works really well for us even though it doesn’t work so well for someone else – that kind of selfishness feels like the root of all kinds of evil…


so i’m sorry Mr Odin, i wish there was something i could do for you, because you do not belong in that tiny space and you really deserve more than to have tourists come close to your window and take photos of you [and not even take a moment to just appreciate you as you are – like i literally saw people come and take pictures and that was their experience of you – so they will go home and have in their possession pictures they could have downloaded off the internet which would have given them the exact same experience because they were so busy recording their experience they forgot to actually have it] and not even fully appreciate you. you should be out in the wild somewhere being a bengal tiger.

and you should be in a space that allows you to stretch out and be at your full length without hitting a glass pane mister snake.

sad face.


The country where I was born.

The ethnic composition of my parents.

My gender.

What do these things have in common? None of them are sufficient to describe who I am.

As human beings, made in God’s image and likeness, we consist of body, soul and spirit. Being a Trinidadian born female whose parents have Indian, Portuguese, Chinese, Spanish and Caucasian ancestors are all factors which impact my body, but not my soul and spirit, which is what really defines my identity.

As a child growing up in an ethnically and culturally diverse country (Trinidad and Tobago) I never noticed the race of my friends, or even my own. I remember the first time I realised that I was different from the majority of my friends. I was fifteen years old, and our country had elected its first Prime Minister of East Indian decent. Talk of it being “our turn now” made me realise that people had voted based on race, rather than issues of governance. It also opened my eyes to the fact that I had East Indian heritage, whereas the majority of my friends were of African descent.

It was amazing to me, because I never chose my friends based on their ethnic background. My closest friends were those whom I connected with, because we shared the same core beliefs and values. There was an attraction at the level of the soul and spirit, which had nothing to do with our physical appearance. These are people who, like me, are citizens of the kingdom of God. We live according to kingdom principles, and this is what creates the bonds between us.

It is sad to me when society has so corrupted our understanding of identity that all we see is what is on the outside. It is one thing when I visit a remote tribe in Kenya that has never met a foreigner, to be surrounded by children who rub my skin to see if it will come off. It is a totally different thing for my 5-year old god-daughter to ask me, “Aunty Debbie, how can you be a Indian AND a Christian?”

The media has put far too much emphasis on the body. Our bodies are merely shells for who we really are on the inside. We have a responsibility to teach our children to look beyond what they can see, so that they can recognise people for who they really are.

[For more ideas, thoughts and stories on different aspects of Race, click here]

if you stopped reading after the ‘b’ this becomes a completely different post… so don’t.

the beautiful Val, in case you didn’t know, and yes only i get to call her that and really mean it in the way i do. [you can of course refer to her as ‘tbV’ th0ugh, and i love it when other people do, but it has also been fun to me through the years how so many of you have mistakenly changed it to ‘the lovely Val’ – which is also true]

we are on the way to having being married for 5 years and in that time we have transitioned three times [if you leave out the time Val left family, friends, home, church to some degree to move out to Stellenbosch when we got married – a huge ask!] from Stellenbosch to Philadelphia to Oakland [if you exclude lengthy stays at Che Houston in Kenilworth] which may not seem a lot [especially when you compare it to how many times her parentals moved in their first 20 plus years of marriage] it has been a whole lot for us. ‘

New place to stay, new country, new friends, new church, new food, no mayonnaise [to speak of] and so on.

So it has not all been easy and has definitely put strain on us as a couple of intense, seize-life-by-the-throat-of-its-balls, passionate people. But it has been an adventure and there is much more of that to come. Especially as we know that another transition looms ahead [with Americaland specifically asking us to be out by early August] and are not too sure of the specifics thereof. Or therein. Or therein of? Something.

And there have been so many, and i don’t have pictures of them all [which to some extent i am completely stoked about – some adventures we capture, some we just live] but i just wanted to take a moment to celebrate my beautiful lady. i love being married to you Val and these pictures are just a glimpse of some of the memories we have put together…um together… and looking ahead to many more.

i love and celebrate you, tbV:


As i have said before and will no doubt say again, being married to the right person is one of the greatest things in the world [and discovering more and more that you become the right people as you continue in your commitment of marriage to each other] and because i have such a heart for those in marriage doing it well, i have created a lot of space on my blog to focus on doing just that and so lots of amazing marriage resources, compiled by a whole big bunch of amazing people, are waiting for you over here.

naturepanThere have still been people joining us in this Lent Observance and so a quick shout out to you. Glad to have you with us…

My apologies for the break in Lent Observance transmissions, but we were away this weekend at Yosemite. Tough break huh? Anyways, will be on track again from today and have revised the series name to 40ish Days of Lent – let’s see just how far we get.

DAY 13

So on Day 4 of this observance we took a look at something beautiful outside of our window that we may not have noticed before. Having just done the Yosemite park visit, I decided that we had to do something related.

Task: Find a piece of nature to take joy in.

Now, maybe all of us don’t have the opportunity to go and actually sit in it, but if you do then i want to encourage you to do that – walk to a nearby park, sit in you garden, go spend an hour at the beach, visit the botanical gardens in your city. Whatever it is, if you can do it live, then go do it live.

But if you are not able to physically get into nature, try and find a picture of you in nature or a photograph you took of some natural phenomenon – some time you were in it at least, and spend some time meditating on that.

Not everyone draws closer to God in nature, but i know a lot of people who do. If you are one of these people, this exercise and observance might come easily for you. But if you are not, then i encourage you to do it anyways as it will push you outside of your comfort zones which is not the worst of things.

Take some time to look at creation and be reminded of the Creator. That is today’s observance.

Then share it with someone – take a photo and stick it on your facebook wall or add it to your instagram account or come and add a link in the comments section below. Write a poem or song inspired by your time in nature and send it to someone you know and love to encourage them and just show them some love. Find at least one person to specifically share today’s encounter with.

[For day 14ish of Lent, click here]

music played such a huge role in my visit back to South Africa that we have just returned from.

the first was a gift within a gift. we were given the use of a car by two people [only one of whom i actually knew before the trip and hadn’t been in contact with for about 15 years til a week before i posted a ‘looking for a car’ ad on Facebook] who decided that for a month they could work with one car and so gifted us their other one.

as much as that was the hugest gift ever [thank you Kerstin and Carl Fourie – Kerstin used to be one of the youth girls at the church i worked at about 15 years ago] they left a worship cd [a mixed cd they had made out of other worship cds they own] in the car and until we realised there were other cds in the cubbyhole which took a few days, i listened to that one again and again and really loved the opportunity to be immersed in worship, especially when it was just me driving alone.

two songs in particular stuck out and i kept on meaning to Uncle Google the lyrics and kept forgetting and the one time i remembered the only thing that came up was Belinda Carisle’s ‘Heaven is a place on earth’ which it very definitely wasn’t.

finally i remember to write the lyric on my arm and discovered pretty quickly that it was a song called ‘I will be blessed’ [anyone that knows my feelings to the word ‘blessed’ will appreciate the irony] off the extended version of his album ‘Every Kingdom’.

i’m not sure if there is an official video to the track because this is all i found, but i find it completely haunting and mesmerising and it just really stuck in my head and heart:


the second song, i still don’t know what it was and will have to bug Carl and Kerstin someday to list every song on that album so i can track it down…

the second occasion was when i was invited to a Christian Arts presentation by my friend Nurden Cross who used to be from Sarepta during my Newsong Festival days…

i got the chance to watch clips from a number of upcoming christian songs and movies and there is definitely some good stuff to be getting excited for. the band and song that particularly moved me was by a band called The Rend Collective Experiment and this song and video called ‘Build Your Kingdom Here’ off their album, ‘Homemade Worship by Handmade People’ which i just LOVE LOVE LOVE for the energy and enjoyment that these people exude as they worship God:


so yeah, two great experiences with two great songs [well, three if i could remember the other one] and actually on the last day i was driving back from tbV’s folks having dropped something off and trying to find these songs and came upon ‘You are holy’ [You are Holy] which i think is by Michael W. Smith of all people and it just completely reduced me to tears – i find that song so powerful, but just the happening of ongoing worship music happening around me was such a strong and precious memory of my time in South Africa. Was given an iTunes voucher for my birthday and am definitely going to hunt down both those albums when i have a moment.

thank you South Africa, and South Africans for those gifts…



Another week, another fresh challenge… and this time that is exactly what the photo challenge is: FRESH

And if it was up to one image to capture the heart of the whole theme and send me cascading past the rest to break the finish line in the first position [assuming this was a competition, which it’s not, it’s a challenge… an honour even to be nominated, even though we know that however good our pics are Kanye West will think Beyonce’s were better] it would be this one:


Say no more… but because we are not contained to just one picture, and because they say a picture is worth a thousand words, i took it upon myself to share four more thousand words with you [fortunately in picture form, cos in the words of Gob Bluth, “COME ON!”] and so here they are.

First up [although technically second up and because there are two of them, second and third up] here are two pictures of me and then me and the beautiful Val all fresh and ready before we started the 5km Color Run in Philadelphia last year [and before they started throwing paint on us at random intervals, and by “random” i mean evenly spaced at 1km apart, but because we’re in the US of A where they deal in miles, we should stick with “random”]

Fresh2b Fresh2

Notice the looks of “We’re so fresh, we probably think this race is about us, don’t we?” on our faces…

If you’re thinking ‘Fresh’ [and we all are by now, right? It’s the theme, people, work with me here!] then the next image that coms to mind must be paint… especially cos me using the word right there probably helped it gently into your brainmind and so what best than a bunch of freshly painted tyres that are about to be used to transform a dull and listless empty lot into the beginnings of a colourful boundaried park for the local kids in the Kensington, Philadelphia community to be able to play in…

FreshpaintAnd then finally, how would it be possible to have the word ‘Fresh’ without invoking the image of ‘getting fresh’ or making out [or whatever you call it in this country, in my country and maybe twenty years ago, it at least used to be called ‘Getting Fresh’] and although most of the images of me kissing my beautiful wife Valerie at our wedding have been used countless times for these challenges, here is a *cough ‘Fresh’ one of us getting fresh just above the fresh creation of a 3D chalk design, this time in downtown Philly centre:

FreshgetIf Mr Eastwood was naming this Fresh Collage, I like to imagine that he would go for a title something along the lines of ‘Every which way but Fresh’ which would be a nice try, Mr Clintwood, but kinda missing the point dont’chathink? Sigh. Back to the talking chair, Mr Clint, back to the chair.

Meanwhile to the rest of you, thankx for vibing a fresh vibe with me – what interpretations of the word ‘Fresh’ can you come up with – show me the links…

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