I really don’t want to get annoyed but one of my boys needs another operation.  He slammed his finger in a door and waited over a week to tell me.  The finger is fractured, the ligament off and the bones have fused.  And blah blah blah.  So now they need to insert a pin.

In 2010 he tore the AC Ligament in his left knee during a warm-up race in the Cape Town Nationals (motocross) which required two operations and a full year of rehabilitation.  He was back on his bike only for the fourth time in February 2011 when that same ligament snapped in half.  Another long year of rehabilitation and he just got back on the bike when he breaks his finger!

In 2003 the kids were shooting with the pellet gun outside in the garden.  I was there to keep an eye but somehow, this child stepped in front of the gun (with the barrel about 4cm from his head) when the gun went off.  That little pellet went through his skull in three different places, all three holes clearly visible on the X-Ray.  The neurosurgeon explained to me that although the bullet did not enter the brain itself, a cold bullet (such as from a air-gun) does not cauterise on its way in like a hot bullet would do, and so the chances of infection were high.  Also, the fragments took with them plugs of hair which were trapped between the brain and the skull, more bugs for infection.  So they cut out a round piece of skull, flushed out the cavity and cleaned around the brain before putting everything back together with pins.  One of these days he will set off airport alarms.

We survived all that.  I should not complain but like I said, I am somewhat annoyed.  The older one also had his fair share of accidents and hospitals but never quite reached the same lofty heights as his brother.

Mothers of girls always tell me:  “That’s boys for you.”

I suppose I better put it in my pipe and smoke it.


Thank You

For all the good and the bad

the nice and the ugly

the easy and the difficult

for talents and faults

for righteousness and sin


For up and down

for heavy and light

for work and for rest

for the forest and the path

for light and for dark

for day and for night


For building and breaking

for health and for illness

for ease and for pain

for having and lacking

for sanity and madness


For peace and anxiety

for joy and depression

for yesterday and tomorrow

And for today


Because how else would I have known

that your grace is enough for me


How else would I have learnt

that your love overflows


How else would I have come to rest

in the safety of your arms


And how would I have understood

That whether on mountains or in valleys

You will always be there

What we should learn from our Mothers, about being Mothers

The Bath by Mary Cassatt

We should learn from our mothers how not to be devils

How not to bind our children in chains

And if we already have,

How to set them free

Because we so fiercely protective, we can be seen as interfering without meaning to.  We could take charge and involve ourselves where we have no business.  In the private sanctuaries of our children’s hearts.

We run the risk of interfering because we think we know better.  We do not want our children to stumble so we stop them from venturing out and trying.  We block the little falls they so desperately need in order to avoid those big falls.

There is always the danger of not approving so often, that we become disapproving.  That our children feel unwanted and unsafe near us.  That they stay away.

My buddy told me that the day her mom died it felt like a big, black devil climbed off her back.  And so many of us have the same without even realizing it.  We are wrapped in chains and bondage to what our mothers think or might say.  That ever disapproving down-turn of the mouth.  Those criticizing eyes.  That feeling of condemnation.  The dread of nearness.

Our own mothers are from a completely different generation.  They just got on with life.   Their mothers did not run to school every time they had issues with teachers, they did not interfere in friendships because they were simply too busy.  They were not pampered and mollycoddled.  That has predisposed them to  disapprove of the way we raise our children and the way we chose to live our lives.

We should learn to set our children free, exactly because our own mothers did not release us.

And how sad to wait for it to happen in death.

Approval no longer needed

Today has been seriously shitty.  I cannot think when last I had an argument with someone that turned so nasty.  And why?

I think that years of watching, complaining and pulling a nose up at me finally came out.  Well excellent.  It is not good to bottle your emotions nor to hold up a front.  If you have something to say, then say it.  Otherwise, just stay away.  You really and truly no longer have to walk bent under the obligation of having to see me, or deal with me, or love me or care for me or be interested in me or like me or anything.  Just say you don’t like, love, want or whatever, and walk away.

I know I fall so short of your expectations for me.  I know you soooooooo disapprove.  I see it in the way you look at me and talk to me.

Well you know what?  I actually don’t care anymore.  I cannot make you approve.  I cannot make you anything.  I can just make me do something.  And right now, all I want to do, I crawl and hide under my bed in the hopes that you will never look there, ever.

You have shackled me in chains.  You bind me with that look in your eyes.  That mouth that pulls down every time I open mine.

And you always tell me that you are oh you are so proud of me, not so?  Crap!  You are not proud, you are just so surprised that I did not turn out to be a pile of shit on the side of the road, or a corpse in a gutter.

Get real.  Please.  Maybe then I can walk free.  To be what and who I am.  To say what I want, when I want, how I want.  This is my life, and I don’t need your permission anymore.  Your approval is no longer needed.

Fallen Heroes

Hansie Cronje

Hansie Cronje (1969 – 2002) was elected as the South African Protea cricket captain at the age of 24, and held that position from 1994 to 2000.  In his day, Hansie was considered as the best cricket captain in the world, especially in one-day matches.  He was known as a gentleman.

On 7 April 2000, Delhi police charged Hansie with fixing South Africa’s one-day-international against India and released transcripts of an alleged conversation between Cronje and a bookie.  The conversation centred around who would be playing and who not, who is in on the deal and how much would be paid to Hansie and his team-mates Pieter Strydom, Nicky Boje and Herschelle Gibbs.  Hansie denied any involvement in the matter and all of South Africa rallied behind him.

On 11 April 2000, Hansie called a meeting with Dr. Ali Bacher, the MD of the SA cricket board and confessed to being dishonest in India.  He said that he received $10,000 to $15,000 for providing information and forecasts but that he had never fixed a match in India.  He was sacked.  In a controversial investigation, other international cricket players were found guilty of match-fixing but they all denied it.  In October he was banned from cricket for life by the United Cricket Board of South Africa.

Hansie died in George on 1 June 2002 when the light aircraft he was in crashed into the Outeniekwa mountains in George.  He was 32 years old.  He will be remembered by some as the only cricket player in the world to confess to taking money from match-fixing, and as a gentleman.  By others he will be remembered as that “Christian that sinned”.

Joost van der Westhuizen

Joost van der Westhuizen was born in 1971 and retired as the most capped Springbok rugby player of all times.  At that time, he held the record for the most test tries scored by a South African rugby player.  He was regarded as one of the greatest half-backs of all time.

In February 2009 two newspapers broke a story claiming that they had a video of Joost engaging in sexual play with an unidentified woman and snorting a white substance.  Joost initially vehemently denied that he was the man on the video but in November confessed that it was him.  In that time another woman came forward claiming that she had an affair with Joost while he was married.

On 12 May 2011 it was made public that Joost suffers from a form of motor neurone disease (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) and only has another two to five years to live.  The disease is incurable.


The stories of Hansie Cronje and Joost van der Westhuizen are similarly fascinating.  Both confessed their Christian faith throughout their sporting careers and achieved the highest accolades possible in their fields.  Yet, both succumbed to ‘sin’, were greatly humiliated and either died unexpectedly like Hansie, or became gravely ill with very little time to live, like Joost.

In a world where religious tolerance is oh-so part of being politically correct, it somehow does not extend itself to Christianity.  Anyone professing to be a Christian is frowned upon, slighted and considered somewhat of an idiot.  And so it was with glee that the fall of these two men were received.  They were sneered at, humiliated, slandered, mocked and castigated.  Oh God, there but by your grace go I.  How they must have suffered.

But this is what happens when we put mere mortals on pedestals, we pave the way for their fall.  We line them up for stumbling.  No man should be treated as a god.  We make them, and when they displease us, or we find that their feet are made of clay just like ours, we break them.

What they did was wrong, but no more so than the wrongs I commit each day.  I however do not find myself on the world’s stage where everyone can boo or throw stones at me.  I have to ask for forgiveness from few.  An idol from many.  And forgiveness is not something freely parted with because we love to judge, we love to hold grudges and we love to hate.  When someone like Hansie is publicly humiliated, it makes us look and feel more righteous.  And so we can be armchair judges, criticizing how others chose to live their lives and severely punishing those who, as decided by ourselves, were not allowed to transgress in the first place.

How are the mighty fallen

How much lower though,the throwers of stones

“The past truly no longer matters to me. I am no longer the arrogant rugby player who needs the accolades from the crowd or the man with the incessant need to impress society. I am me and I am a father, and that is more than enough right now.”

The ridiculousness of us all

I get the most bizarre emails and questions every day.  I can either get annoyed, or laugh.  And to be honest, I choose the latter.

For instance, a lady enquired about a course today and I replied by email, giving the details and asking if she wants me to reserve her place.  She replies by telling me:  “No, I will go back home the same day”.

What?  Really?  I have a hotel?

But it has to do with a different frame of reference, a different education and a different culture.  What seems ridiculous to me is a perfectly normal assumption to the other person.  Like when they tell me they are on their way to Hollywood but need to start somewhere.  Or that they are the next big thing on the world’s stage.  Hey!  I hope so too.

I do have days where I get annoyed because it is one ridiculous question or comment after the other.  But luckily most of the time my sense of humour wins the battle and I land up sitting here with tears in my eyes.




Clara Harris – How dare you leave me?

In 2003 Clara Harris was convicted of the murder of her husband David Harris.  That she killed him was never disputed because it was caught on camera.  Clara, either in a fit of rage, or accidentally, ran her husband over in a hotel parking lot where he had met with his mistress, Gail Bridges.

Clara was born in Bogotá and worked hard to fulfil her dream of working in the United States.  A dentist, she met David Harris, an orthodontist and together they ran half a dozen successful dental offices.

Everybody in their workplace was aware of David’s affair with the office assistant, Gail, who had earlier, during her own divorce proceedings, been implicated in an affair with a woman called Julie Knight.

The jury took into account ‘sudden passion’ before sentencing Clara to twenty years in prison.

Clara Harris was a woman who worked hard at success, in life and in marriage.  The news of David’s affair came as a devastating blow to her and she became intensely insecure.  She went so far as to ask David to make a list of comparisons between her and Gail which she set out to correct immediately.  Such as losing weight, colouring her hair and making an appointment with a plastic surgeon.

On the night of the murder, David had told her that he was meeting with Gail at the hotel to put an end to the affair.  When he did not return home, Clara and Lindsey (David’s daughter) went to the hotel to look for him.  Now I can imagine what state she was in.  How her stomach turned in fear of what she would find.  And what she did find was David and Gail walking in the hotel lobby, hand in hand.  They had spent two hours together in a hotel room.

A scene followed in the hotel lobby with Clara apparently attacking Gail.  David then took Gail to the car park and Clara and Lindsey got into her Mercedes.  At some point, as she spotted David and Gail, Clara put her foot down and tried to run them over.  She says all of that time is a blur to her.  Gail was injured slightly but David was seriously hurt.  Onlookers say that Clara then ran over David again and again.  He died shortly after.

Now I don’t condone what she did, murder is not a solution to any problem.  But I can put myself in Clara’s shoes.  Firstly, she was completely unaware of her husband’s affair although everyone around her knew.  Secondly, when she found out, she did everything in her power to get him back, including more sex.

David’s behaviour is not really shocking, I suppose many men do the same.  But to compare her physical attributes to Gail’s is a bit low.

I will not dwell on Gail Bridges.  Suffice it to say that I cannot have sympathy for any woman who puts herself in a position where she could break up a family and destroy children’s lives.

Clara is not a character that invokes sympathy, but I think thousands of women could empathise with her.  The woman scorned.  Not out for revenge, but suddenly confronted with the fact that her husband does not want her anymore.  Lies, sex and rejection.  And a sudden fit of passion in more than one sense of the word that ended in the death of one, and the misery of more.