Category: life


carpe

It’s the beginning of a new week and if you’re not careful, and a little bit intentional, before you know it it can suddenly be Friday and the week will have snuck by like just another week. i wanted to do my little bit to hopefully help you stop that from happening by suggesting five very different ways you can be intentional about make this a week of Significance. Don’t try and do all five, but maybe there is one or two of these that jump out at you as something you can plan to do this week to make it a better one than if you had just breezed through on Autopilot: Continue reading

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Rugby world cup and ball

Those who know me know i’m not the biggest fan of rugby. i will watch if the Springboks are playing and get a little more excited when it is the World Cup. Throw me into a Superbru game [although a round late so desperately just trying to catch up] and it comes a little more alive and meaningful.

And after a couple of rounds of games, with the quarters for the most part locked up, here are some thoughts i have had or reflections from what i have seen so far. Continue reading

Because Bloggers Play Tag

brett

Greetings Bloglings [Wait, we’re calling you that now, right?] and welcome to a very different post from normal, but i was tagged in a 21 question challenge by a new friend, Rashieda, whose challenge you can visit over here, and loving the opportunity to reveal deep and dark secrets about myself [as if!] i thought i would give it a go…

1. What is your current fashion obsession?

i don’t feel like i get very fashion obsessed, but my cool blue jersey from Majash’s wedding [see above] is what i have been wearing pretty much ALL THE TIME since the big day. i wasn’t after all allowed to keep the kilt.

2. What are you wearing today?

Today i m blogging at home alone and so i intentionally chose my Batman shirt because, Man Cave and all. i am currently wearing a raincoat cos it is mad, crazy, rain winding outside and i have to go and rescue our rubbish bin before someone adopts it for good [again! have lost two already] and so i’m ready for action. Grey pants, no shoes slash slipslops at the ready but generally happier in barefeet. And not the Majash wedding jersey [hypocrite!] cos i can’t remember where i put it [unless tbV snuck it out for the wash!]

3. Hair?

Yes. There is hair. It is a little crazy at the moment and up-sticky in general and only really has two good dry looks but one of them kinda makes me look like a German dictator so typically wet slightly and hand brushed forwards which makes me look a lot like my Erik [with a K] alter ego so don’t confuse me with him. Which reminds me i MUST find a video-taking program i can use so i can record Erik [with a K’s] outstanding poem! i should get it cut again soon probably.

4. Do you nap a lot?

Oh wow, so you missed the sound of me L’ing. That’s like LOL’ing except it wasn’t Out Loud, so just the L then. But no, i guess you could say i don’t nap a lot. Or sleep a lot. Or sleep much at all. i say this half-jokingly but i kinda believe it a little bit deep inside, but i believe that i have a God-given gift of no-sleep and many people who know me will testify to that cos i really don’t seem to need as much sleep as the next person. “But it will catch up to you.” Maybe it will, but 20 years later i am still waiting. The other theory is that in matric [grade 12] my parents did make me go to bed at 8 o’ clock and so perhaps it is all just stored up no-sleep since those days. But i am confident that i could pull a two week stretch of two hours a night and still be on full power for whatever needed to be done during the day. However, since getting married 6 years ago i did make a decision to go to bed when tbV [the beautiful Val] goes to bed, for the most part anyways, and since then i have started waking up at 5am on average, so a few more hours than before. Although Winter has been severely testing that strategy.

5. Why is today special?

Every day is a new opportunity and as horribly greeting card as that sounds, i really believe it. No matter how much i screwed up yesterday, today is a day to get it right. Or more right. So much opportunity to encourage someone or try something new or share a joke or get creative or start building something or influence 1000 people or hear a new catchy song or make my wife smile or eat fudge. Today is special because it’s all we’ve got. Tomorrow just becomes a different today. Now THAT you can put on a greeting card.

6. What would you like to learn to do?

i would like to learn to speak Xhosa fluently. And i have just recently started on a plan to do just that. It feels criminal to me that i expect everyone else to learn my language while i am not prepared to learn theirs. This scares me so much cos i feel like it is so important and yet at 41 i am an old dog attempting to set out and learn a new trick. Flippin scary. But oh so necessary. Is anyone going to join me?

7. What’s for dinner today?

i will be starting the Shepherd’s Pie preparation and then tbV may finish it. She has a work call and i am going out to watch Antman with my buddy Reegs but in between those i believe Shepherd’s pie will happen, and it will be good.

8. What are you listening to right now?

Derek Webb’s album, ‘I was wrong, I’m sorry and I love you’ – have not listened to music for a while on my computer and started again yesterday. Have a lot of FREE stuff from Noisetrade which is a great place to discover new music. And Derek and i vibed a bit on the Twitterer a couple of years ago when we were in the States so i kinda feel like i kinda know him. But i dig his music and it’s been great firing it up again.

9. What is your favorite weather?

i LOVE when it rains and is stormy and cold, as long as i am inside. i am not a big fan of being cold or out in the rain and then it makes me sad to think that so many people are [which causes me to love it a little less] but if it was just about me then raging storms outside [especially Johannesburg Thunder and Lightning storms] with me inside close to tbV watching a movie and sipping a glass of wine.

10. What’s the last thing you bought?

Hm, probably not the last thing i bought but i brought back a Vinyl Bobblehead Hulk and a Vinyl Jack Sparrow from Americaland for my Man Cave office and they make me happy.

11. What are your essentials when traveling?

i have a newish tiny purple [favourite colour] notepad which has become my travelling companion even when i’m just heading out somewhere for a short while. i have been attempting to write Micropoetry and so having the book ready to jot down thoughts, words and ideas is helpful. If i’m going to do a talk then the world’s most famous stuffed dolphin, No_bob, typically accompanies me and we have a few of my recently published book, ‘i, church’ sitting in the car just in case. Oh and Tic Tacs [green and white] cos, you know.

12. What’s your style?

in a word, different. But not Different-for-The-Sake-Of-Being-Different although a lot of people would put it down to that. But it’s not. It’s very intentionally Brett-different. Within Brett-different i would imagine there are a lot of ideas and styles that have been grabbed and adapted and altered from other people and then encapsulated in my own fairly unique style. A combination of things that i enjoy but don’t necessarily feel [[to others] like they belong together but by putting them together sometimes you create that new dynamic. i love that. i would love to be able to answer ‘Edgy’ to this but i don’t think i’m there, but hopefully not ‘The Crowd’ either… somewhere betwixt those…

13. What is your most challenging goal right now?

Probably the Xhosa. i have located a course and just need to figure out with tbV what that looks like but i am super amped to get going and if i can get to a place where i can communicate semi-well [“fluently” earlier was definitely an over-reach] then that will make me happy. And trying to get everything together to renew my British passport [i’m bi-passportal] which i feel like i am finally on track to do.

Oh and actually getting decent manageable sufficient internet happening in this house that doesn’t cripple us, but that seems kinda like an impossibility at the moment. Urgh.

14. If you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished anywhere in the world, where would you like it to be?

Right here, right now. We are where we both want to be and we absolutely love our house. It would be great if we owned it rather than rented or had the assurance that we could stay here for the next three to five years, but in the absence of that, we are simply happy in this space and hoping to use it the best we can to serve the greater good.

15. Favorite vacation spot?

i struggle with this because my values and daily wrestles with questions of poverty and race and equality in this country mean that the idea of saving up a pile of money and going somewhere feels out of sync with a lot of that. Having had our recent Americaland trip paid for [in terms of my ticket] to go and speak at a camp made that an easier vacation. But if all things in the world were equal and it was simply a case of ‘Go anywhere for free’ then i would love to be at one of those islands where the huts are a little way out into the ocean or lake and the water is completely clear blue. i have no idea where those are. Bahamas?

Having said all that, my younger sister and family and a whole bunch of my best mates [including Dreadlock Mike] live in KZN so any chance i get to go there is snatched up, so that is probably my favourite realistic vacation spot.

16. Name the things you cannot live without?

A personal relationship with a Loving God who gives me purpose, vision and urgency in life. i really think that without Jesus in my life i’d be a selfish hedonistic git [i imagine a bunch of people already think i am so work to be done] and i love the life-to-the-fullness that i am inspired to which is connected to Him. That’s probably it, because everything else if you had to live without it, you would totally adjust and just make it happen, i guess. But there are certainly things you would choose not to live without.

My love and partner in crime [not real crime, metaphorical crime] Valerie aka tbV. Life is so complicated sometimes with us together but at the same time the pull towards living lives of significance i feel is so much equally fuelled by her, which is so great. Being connected to someone who refuses to settle for okay and watch injustice carry on unchallenged is life-giving and soul-massaging. Not to mention her laugh which is the most expensive one in town. She claims not to laugh at all my jokes just because she knows i can do better,and so when i get a laugh out of tbV it is well earned. That empowers me!

If  i started mention names of friends this would get silly cos there are so many important people in and around my life, some who are related and many who are not. But the community of people i get to do life with [both near and far] are one of the biggest boosts to me.

That’s about it although i do really dig my Marvin the Martian mug [which sadly just got a small chip in it] and my dirty yellow-and-white stuffed dolphin and my ‘I am Groot’ t-shirt which Dave HorseDawg gave me.

And the world would be a much sadder place without melted chocolate and mashed potato…

17. How was your childhood?

There were a ‘undred and fifty of us livin’ in a septic tank! Okay not quite but my childhood memories are well sparked off by the Monty Python Four Yorkshiremen skit…

i think it was pretty great. i remember a lot of fun mixed with some disappointment and challenges and life lessons but for the most part i think it was pretty decent. Kissing catchers and painting a church in Soweto during the height of apartheid and doing street ministry as a lightie on the streets of Hillbrow and Rhodes park excursions with plastic bags to catch tadpoles and climbing on walls and trees and roofs in the amazing church grounds we lived next to and accidentally shooting a friend with a bow and arrow in his leg? You can’t make that stuff up.

18. What would you like to have in your hands right now?

Some type of food. It’s way past lunchtime and i can’t remember having breakfast. Apparently a teaspoon of peanut butter doesn’t count. So i should get on to that.

19. What are you most excited for?

Ooh, so many things. Training on Wednesday for the writing job i am about to start, getting everything sorted and moving my blog over to an official website, the possibility of Race Conversation Workshops with my friend Megan once her life slows down, the hope of a bunch of Deep Dive Conversation Dinners happening in the next six or so weeks, Wed night speak about my book and church panel, watching Antman with my buddy Reegs tonight [love me some Paul Rudd] and a few other speaking opportunities coming my way soon, and of course learning Xhosa!

20. If you could go anywhere in the next hour, where would you go?

i would stay here. Too cold, windery and rainy outside.

21. Which countries have you visited?

Wow, i have been privileged. Malawi. Botswana. Namibia.The United Kingdom and the United States of Americaland. Canada. Malaysia. Holland. [drove through France and Belgium on a bus to get there]. United Arab Emirates [kinda, plane layover]. tbV and i would LOVE the chance to go visit South America…

Malaysia Towers

Malaysia Towers

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i tag:

Original Dante, because although he is a busy man, he tagged me in the ‘Write Without Using the Letter E’ challenge and so it’s his turn, but also because he has become a recent friend and mentor in the art of Micropoetry and i think he has an absolute gift you should go and see at https://originaldante.wordpress.com/2015/07/19/the-weathers-intervention

My friend Candice Fourie because it has been way too long since she blogged and she writes in a way that invites the reader in to vulnerable spaces with power and honesty. Even if this is just for more people to discover this post where she bares her soul, it will be worth the journey: https://momentswithamom.wordpress.com

Also Miss Cass Lee who i am going to be working alongside soon, and her stunning looking blog with this heart-breaking and inspiring poem heading it up today. http://misscasslee.com/i-see-you-girl

i seem to have picked completely ridiculously busy people who most likely won’t have the time to respond to the challenge, but who i completely believe are worth checking out and following as they produce some amazing work and life…

Thank you for stopping by… If you had a 22nd question to ask me, what would it be?

Home from home

table

i mean, how can you not love that, right? Coming home to Cape Town was an easy one.

But leaving Oakland was also a less easy one than we may have thought. It was surprising to both tbV and myself just how much like home it felt to us. Which was great.

And had a lot to do with the people and some of the places. Especially getting to stay for a month with Aaron and Sarah Postma-Ruff who we had invited to live with us for about 7 months when we were here last. With a lot of stuff that previously belonged to us [furniture, home-made wine box book shelves, purple cushions and towels] being incorporated into their new home, it certainly had a bit of an ‘ours’ feel. When Aaron met us at the airport dressed in his home-made Hello Kitty suit, it was like game on. We had arrived home.

kitty

Favourite Indian restaurants and board games and boss’ new hot tub and weekend away with housemates and blockbusting movies and Netflix and Frosting-in-a-Can and giant Chocolate Bacon Peanut Butter Cups and visiting old church family and baptism-and-barbecue day and all-night-snack-fest-board games and sunsets and radio podcasting and hammocks and of course the reason that allowed us to get over – a sequel to last year’s Houseboat Youth Group Camp speak on Lake Shasta:

So really just an incredible time and a month felt just about right. Opportunity for two more book share launches and conversations on church. Being in the winning city of the NBA championships as it happened.

But i think mainly just the people. We really love a lot of the people there quite a lot. Which is why i guess it feels a lot like home.

Took a moment to think about Philly today. We were there for the same amount of time as Oakland. We loved the place and loved a lot of the people. But i’m not sure for me that it would have that same kind of feel. i guess maybe cos the setting for Oakland provided a lot more space to be real and honest and challenged and to challenge, and the freedom to be ourselves.

The last night pretty much summed it up. Meant to be finishing off our stay with board games with Aaron and Sarah and never got round to playing the games because we just got so caught up in life-transforming wrestling-filled conversations about life and money and being church and changing the world and stuff. And then my mate Dave [one of the 4 Horsedawgs of the Apocalypse] came round after working til midnight to help me sort out some stuff on my new computer before we flew away. That is family right there.

If you want to get your signature on the ‘Get Brett Fish and tbV back for Houseboats 2016’ petition then maybe we will see you all again next year, same time, same place. After all, Americaland may need a lot more African missionary types to head that way before it can feel completely caught up with the rest of the world. Or something.

Oakland, we will miss you. But Cape Town? It is GOOD to be back…

When tbV [the beautiful Val] and i were living in Oakland about a year ago, we came across a book titled ‘Free’ by a friend of ours we had met over here, Mark Scandrette.

free

The tagline of the book is ‘Spending your Time and Money on What Matters Most’ and that really does sum up the book. We decided to gather some people together and work through the book over an eight week period. Continue reading

tomb

i wrote a post a couple of years ago titled, ‘Your Obituary Starts Here’ which i need to flesh out a little i think, because we don’t say or think enough about that.

When i turned 40 last year, among other things my wife got my best friend from college to bake a Boob Cake [yup, exactly what you thought when you read that] and put together a bunch of the things i had wanted to happen at my funeral one day, so that i could more sensibly enjoy them while i was still alive.

Last night we had some friends around at the place we are staying at with our old housemates in Americaland for a bit of a Generosity Dinner, which involves pooling some money and sharing some needs of people we know and then coming up with some ideas together that might be able to help them.

And the other day, tbV posted this short summary video of the Justice Conference she just attended in Chicago, which literally moved me to tears, even though it was just sound bytes.

Three short posts and a video – if you have ten minutes then follow those links and really take them in. Are you making the most of you life count for something? Am i?

Are you involved in conversations that count? Are you reading things that are important and informing you about life and how to live it better? [interspersed with Terry Pratchett novels of course – it doesn’t all have to be too serious, but let some of it be] Is at least some of your time involved in volunteering or mentoring or investing in key relationships? Are you taking time to listen to people that are not the typical voices you listen to? [Like reading books/blogs/news written by people who are not your colour, age, religion] Is any of your thinking, dreaming, bucket-listing related to world-changing ideas and plans? Or country-affecting? Even just local neighborhood, school or family transforming?

Basically, does your life count? How much of a difference are you involved in making? If the answer to this depresses you, don’t let it. Rather change something. It is never too late.

Life is too short to simply exist. We have to live. And the more of us that really start living, the better. Embrace life. Thrive. You are never to old to learn and you are never too old to make some kind of difference. There are too many dehydrating starfish on the beach and not enough little children, tossing them back into the waves one by one.

Dan, Heidi, mini Truter, Heaher, Reegs, Ang

Dan, Heidi, mini Truter, Heather, Reegs, Ang

In the days before tbV and Settlers of Catan, we had to find other ways to amuse ourselves, and most of those happened at a place called Highbury. Continue reading

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