Here We Go Again…


When Stacey and Adrian were here we celebrated Christmas early and exchanged gifts. Stacey gave to me the best gift EVER! If 2014 was the year for cross-stitching Mike’s Mom, aka Granny, 2015 is the year of cross-stitching David!

Picture of DavidIt’s a photo from the family photo shoot that we had on my 1st November!  All the required cottons came with the gift along with the pattern and colour key…

Pattern and keyI got stuck in and decided to start by doing them block by block. I’m not sure if I will continue this way, but it was fun to start…

First block of cross- stitch

1 down, 341 to go…an empty canvas and a very long way to go! :-) :-)

Cross-stitch fabricThis is our life…an empty canvas that God allows us to fill with people and places, with colour and opportunities. Follow God’s plan and it will all turn out ok.

Zephaniah 3:17

The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing.

One thing I really enjoy about doing cross-stitch is that it takes time. You can only go as fast as you can go and sitting quietly cross-stitching allows you time to think and pray and create.  I feel quieted by His love.

There are many things to be thankful for. My heart is full.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you!

In His Grip,

Helga xx :-)

Gratitude Pic…a cat, a vine, a home…

A cat a vine a home




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Festive Berry Meringue Dessert


I’ve often wondered if you can make meringue with a substitute sugar and the answer is yes you can!  I went onto a couple of meringue websites and then substituting xylitol for sugar, I started experimenting. Just a note, while xylitol is sugar free, it is not carb free. Use less of it than regular sugar because it is sweeter than sugar.

I first made berries with a meringue topping in ramekins.

Ingredients – this made 3 ramekins

  • Berries of your choice. I used 5 strawberries per ramekin and 10 blueberries.
  • 2 egg whites
  • 10ml xylitol
  • Half a teaspoon of white vinegar

Ingredients for Sugar Free berry meringue


Pre-heat the oven to 140C

Wash the berries, trimming and slicing the strawberries and share them between three ramekins. I started with two and then discovered I had enough meringue for three…

Berries in ramekins

Separate the eggs…

Egg whites and xylitolBeat the egg whites, gradually adding the xylitol…

Beating egg whitesBeat until stiff peaks form…

Stiff peaksUsing a metal spoon, settle spoonfuls of egg white onto the berries in the ramekins…

Ramekins ready for the oven

These I only cooked for 25 minutes. For me it didn’t matter that they are not completely dried out and crunchy. They are just a great substitute for cream. They were delicious and the berries all soft and juicy…

Out the oven

They have about 7g carbs per serving. (3 from the xylitol, 3 from the strawberries and 1 from the blackberries)

Enthused by my success, I whipped up another 4 egg whites with 1.5 tablespoons of xylitol…then added a teaspoon of white vinegar..

4 egg whites in stiff peaks

I tipped the blob onto a round pan lined with baking paper…

Beaten egg whites on panAnd carefully spread it out…

Big meringue ready for the ovenI left it in the oven at 140C for almost an hour. Then I turned the oven off and forgot about it…I really want this one dried out.  While it looks the part, it will never be as crisp as a meringue made with sugar, so be aware of that. You can heap a generous amount of berries on the meringue with whipped cream on top of that and you’ll have a fabulous dessert.

Meringue base cooked

So that has been my morning’s entertainment!

Psalm 138 vs 8

The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; your love O Lord, endures forever – do not abandon the works of your hands.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you!

In His Grip,

Helga xx :-)

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Only God Knew


Mike said something again this morning that he has said hundreds of times before.

Mike was 35 when we married. He was so lonely before that. He was running a non profit making Christian hostel in Cape Town and was literally holed up in this place, doing the best that he could (which was very good!), but he was miserable. Very miserable! He felt pretty forgotten and unimportant!  We started dating when he was 34 and I was not quite 21! We married 11 months later, just a few months shy of my 22nd birthday. It was a romance and relationship designed in heaven. Mike says he started praying for a wife when he was 13. We love to say that the Lord looked at Mike and who he was and who he needed and then looked to see who was ‘in production.’ The Lord saw me and said, “Aha! I have just the right person!”  Several months later, I was born and the growing up process began. Mike & I, of course, were both oblivious to this. Mike had the harder deal. He had to wait a VERY long time for his future wife to grow up. But eventually she did and the Lord had us meet and fall in love and the rest, as they say, is history.

Mike and Helga -grey

So, what Mike said this morning was, “If someone had said to me, when I was holed up at the “Y”, that one day I would be happily married with 2 children, a house and 2 cars, I would not have believed them!” He always sticks on the addendum, “I was so lonely and then came Helga!”

Only God knew!

(I think that is one of the secrets to a happy marriage:- Appreciation – ongoing, never ending, often expressed, appreciation. )

For me, the waiting wasn’t so long. I had been heartbroken when God slammed shut the door on a previous relationship. I had a hugely low self-esteem, no confidence, was very insecure and didn’t think anyone would want to marry me.

And then came Mike!heart



This is the reason why you keep going in life. You just don’t know what is around the next corner.  Only God knows. And when I say or read those three little words, “Only God knows,” I am drawn back to the Bible, where God speaks about what He knows…

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

God knows the plans He has for you and they are for good…prosperity, hope and a future.

There is no reason not to trust God. Whatever you are going through, He has good plans for you. If life looks bleak right now, He has good plans for you. If you are feeling depressed or lonely, He has good plans for you. If you are grieving, He has good plans for you. We may not be able to see them yet, but we know that He has good plans for you.

Follow hard after God.

Keep the smile going

God bless you!

In His Grip,

Helga xx :-)

Gratitude – The cross-stitch I did of Mike’s Mom as a young woman is framed! Thanks Stacey!

Granny framed

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2004 Christmas Presents – Which Ones Survived A Decade


Christmas 2004 was the most memorable Christmas I had as an adult (Christmas 1969 as a 5 year old, I got a bicycle and I remember that!).

2004 had not been an easy year. I was determined to make Christmas the best ever! David was 13 and had just discovered his passion for music and Stacey was 17 years old and crazy about technology. Mike’s Mom, aka “Granny” was living in the cottage behind our home. We knew what the children wanted for Christmas – and we decided to go all out and get them the gifts they had in mind and buy presents for each other of a similar value.

We bought Granny a concrete water feature. In the dead of night, we lugged it round the house in a wheelbarrow and set it up in the middle of the lawn outside her lounge. On Christmas morning, we rang across to her and asked her to come out. Then we hid behind the corner of the house to see what her reaction would be. She was thrilled. It was similar to this…

Pic from

Pic from

I gave Mike a colour printer. Ten years ago this was impressive and it was not too cheap either. It looked similar to this one…

Pic from Epson

Pic from Epson

Mike bought me a garden swing.

Pic from Ebay

Pic from Ebay

We bought Stacey a piece of very hip technology at the time – it was called something like a PDA and looked a bit like this…

Palm Pilot

Pic from Wiki

We bought David an entry level Fender Squier…

Pic from Musicians Friend

Pic from Musicians Friend

So! Which have survived?

Granny’s water fountain….just needs to have the pipe cleaned so the flow of water is a bit stronger…we still enjoy it…


Mike’s colour printer lasted about a year and that was that.

My garden swing is still being used. It had to have a bit of welding and TLC, but it’s on our patio and hanging in there…

SwingStacey’s PDA lasted about a year before it was completely out of date and Stacey moved onto more advanced technology. It was fun while it lasted.

David’s Fender got stolen and then recovered when it was trying to be sold by the thief to a Cash Crusaders! It remains part of his guitar collection and is in fine form…actually, since this photo was taken, his collection has grown a bit…

Davids guitar room at his new padIn another decade, the water feature will be fine; the guitar will be fine. The swing, I think will be history!

In the end it’s all just stuff. Don’t cling too tightly to your earthly possessions. You can’t take them with you!

Matthew 24:35 Jesus says,

Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away.

Keep the smile going!

God bless you!

In His Grip,

Helga xx :-)

Gratitude: Today my heart is full….feeling excited and blessed

Pic from

Pic from

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A Beautiful Book


You may have noticed one of the tabs on my blog is Richard’s Work. Richard is a linguist of note. A few years ago, he recorded for the the Rise and Shine show in a feature we called “Words from the Word.”  He would take a word from the Bible and simply explain it in light of the original Hebrew or Greek.   Richard has spent a great deal of the last year or two, compiling what he wrote and recorded for Rise and Shine and has published a book of the readings. He worked along with well known calligrapher Andrew van der Merwe. This is the cover…

Words from the WordInside each piece has the Bible verse in Andrew’s calligraphy…

Sample of calligraphy Romans 12 vs 1And on the opposite page, Richard’s explanation…this is just half the page so you can read it…

Richards explaination of Romans 12 1At the bottom right hand corner, helpfully, there is a note as to how to pronounce the word in its original language…

Pronunciation of word logikosIt’s a great gift. You can learn more about Richard here.

It is a fabulous gift for both laymen and pastors alike. If you would like to contact Richard for prices and availability email

Thanks Richard for my copy.

Romans 12:1

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you!

In His Grip,

Helga xx :-)

Gratitude…I have been enjoying these from my tomato plant. This was my first…

First fruit - cherry tomato on my dashboard

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18 Hours -Two Accidents – One Fatality


It’s been a horrible 18 hours. I live close to a major intersection and in less than 24 hours there have been two bad accidents, one of which claimed a life.

Late last night, it appears a drunk driver jumped a red light and ploughed into a car, killing the driver and badly injuring a passenger. (Since writing this, I  have heard that the passenger died on the way to hospital). While waiting for the police to come, the guilty driver was seen thrown alcohol bottles out of his car.  I didn’t hear the crash last night. David had been visiting and had gone down to the shop to pick up something and noticed a commotion so went to have a look. He said it was very bad. My neighbour said the bang sounded like a bomb going off, the impact was so severe.

Then at about 4-30pm today, there was a terrific screech of brakes and a massive crash. Mike had just left, so he was first in my mind, but I realised that he would have gone in a different direction.  I  rushed  up onto my roof, in time to see a silver car come to a stop. The driver was a woman and I saw her being thrown forward and then fall back. At least she was moving. I quickly went up to the road, as did  a lot of others.

People running to helpIt’s a regular spot for an accident and the towing vehicles were already there. A taxi had apparently come from the direction of the traffic light, seemingly lost control and careered into this sedan vehicle. While the taxi came to a stop the other side of the other car, it had scattered debris all over the road. It’s windscreen landing 4 lanes away….

Windscreen shatteredWithin minutes a CMR medic arrived to assess the injured…

Driver getting help

Now I see there are two other ambulances, a fire engine and chaos at the intersection, with hundreds of cars trying to get through it and not being able to. The police have arrived to try and bring some order.

Later this evening we went for a walk in a different part of the neighbourhood and to our surprise passed the tow truck with the damaged car behind it…it was a Peuguot



And the driver was assisted by airbags…


There is nothing that makes me madder than wreckless and drunk driving. It’s bad enough any time of the year, but over Christmas these kind of tragedies are more painful. Life is fragile and unexpected. Keep trusting God for each breath you take.

Isaiah 42:5

God, the LORD, created the heavens and stretched them out. He created the earth and everything in it. He gives breath to everyone, life to everyone who walks the earth.

God bless you.

In His Grip,

Helga xx

Gratitude Pic…I dropped my cell phone and when I put the battery back in, it wouldn’t start. For a few minutes I was pondering everything I have on my phone and the implications of its death. Mike replaced the battery and now it’s up and running again. I’m grateful for that! My cell phone lives to work another day…

My cell phone

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Four Pros – Four Cons of Banting


I’ve been thinking about this for a while and am writing it down to try and make sense of some of my thoughts. Having been following LCHF/Banting Lifestyle for a couple of years, I have discovered a few things that have applied to me. I am sure this list is by no means complete, but they are the top pros and cons that I have found in my Low Carb journey.


1. Less Sugar, Less Health Issues

I have yet to come across anyone who suggests that reducing your sugar intake is a bad thing. Way too much sugar has been added to the food we eat.  I feel a lot better when I cut out sugar. I noticed when cutting sugar, I had less eczema and a potential stomach ulcer fizzled out. Having a more stable blood sugar level allows for more stability in mood and well being. If you have health issues of any type, the NUMBER ONE thing you HAVE to do is to cut out sugar. No more sweets, chocolates, pastries, refined carbohydrates, cakes, chips. If it’s coming out of a packet, burn it! You will not believe how much better you get.

2. No More Bloatingcroissant

When I cut out obvious carbohydrates such as rice, potato, bread and pasta, I discovered that I no longer got bloated after eating. Of course this was also caused by pastries such as my all time favourite, croissants…

3. Weight Loss

I have not lost weight on following a low carb diet. I just haven’t, no matter how hard I have tried. Granted I am not very overweight, but I could happily lose about 5-7kg. When I discussed this with someone who loses weight rapidly the moment she cuts out carbs, she pointedly explained that clearly I was not carbohydrate intolerant. That made sense to me. One of the huge pros of Banting is weight loss in people who are carbohydrate intolerant or insulin resistant. There are many fantastic stories of both men and women who have lost a lot of weight through eating low carb. Men generally lose weight faster and more easily than women. I once posted a blog on that topic…Why men lose weight faster than women. Most people try Banting because they want to lose weight. Many are successful. Some lose a lot of weight and then plateau. Some reach their goal weight and seem to live happily ever after! I’m 5-7kg over my ideal weight and living happily ever after!

4. Banting is a Sustainable Lifestyle

Eating high fat allows you to choose foods that are not only tasty but also make fill you up and sustain you for longer.  Contrary to traditional popular belief, Fat is good for you and is necessary for brain power, energy, improving blood sugar levels and assisting in weight loss. With the plethora of low carb options for meals, including desserts, Banting is a sustainable way of life. Personally, I go down the good healthy fat route – avocados, olives, a moderate amount of cream and olive oil. I don’t eat loads of eggs and meat. Eat when you are hungry – stop when you are full also applies when you are Banting.


1. Expense

Buying all that is best for a low carb diet is more expensive than eating a carbohydrate laden diet. But having said that, low carb ingredients are more filling and sustainable, so you should be eating less on it.

2. Constipation

This must be one of the biggest complaints I heard when I was on air and interviewing Tim Noakes. There is less fibre in a low carb, high fat diet and so special attention has to be paid to finding low carb fibre alternative.  If Glass of waterconstipation is a problem for you, add a few bran flakes to your breakfast food, increase berry intake and makes sure you drink more water, especially in summer.

3. Special Occasions and a Multitude of Temptations

This comes down to how to cope with facing temptation. Having to exercise a humongous amount of self control when you are at a celebration where 90% of the meal is made up of high carb treats – the only options left to you are the garnish. It’s when you have to try and stamp out the urge to reach for the cocktail sausage rolls and peck at the parsley instead! Christmas time is mince pie time – Christmas fruitcake time – chocolate time – eating more time. If you are eating low carb, it’s not a great idea to eat Banting when it suits you and eat high carb when it suits you. Filling your arteries with high fat and high carb is not going to do them any good. If you are diabetic, a high carb, low fat diet is out of the question. You have to eat LCHF and stick to it.

4. It’s Too Complicated

People may find Banting or LCHF lifestyle sounds too complicated. But it’s not. You just need to get started and the best place is to look at the Three Day Low Carb Eating Plan and take it from there. The internet is full of it. Facebook has many groups to join to find out information and get advice.

There’s no reason not to start, even if you begin by cutting out sugar. You have got nothing to lose.

I love this: 3 John 1:2

Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.

Keep the smile going!

God bless you!

In His Grip,

Helga xx :-)

Gratitude Pic…having Stacey and Adrian to stay this week. This is Stace getting me geared up for a new cross-stitch project…

Stacey drawing cross stitch linesYay! Going to be cross-stitching again!

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4 Seafront Tables – 11km – 24 Hours


This is what happens when my brother comes for the weekend. We get out and about. By the time we dropped him off at the airport to fly back to Johannesburg, which we did a short while ago,  it occurred to me that we had sat down at 4 seafront tables, along 11km of False Bay coastline in 24 hours.

Kalk Bay to Seaforth

The first one was at Seaforth restaurant yesterday afternoon. Seaforth is a beach just after Simonstown – close to the first entrance to the penguins. There is a very pleasant free beach with lots of lawn and Seaforth restaurant overlooks it. We had prime seats for afternoon tea…view from our table…

SeaforthDinner last night was at one of our favourite spots … Fish Hoek Beach…at the Galley Restaurant…one of the best locations in town…

Dinner at the GalleyThis morning, a snack breakfast was at the Annex Restaurant  in Kalk Bay, where sitting on the deck has to be one of the most picturesque views overlooking the harbour…

Idyllic view from the AnnexWhen visiting KB, it’s always a treat to walk through the harbour and down the pier to the lighthouse at the end. There was lots of activity as the fishermen were out in full force…

KB LighthouseFalse Bay looked idyllic….this is looking towards Fish Hoek from Kalk Bay pier…

From the KB pier towards Fish HoekOn the way back to the car, we spotted what’s known as a ‘baby Austin’. They were produced in England between  1922 and 1939….this one was a real beauty…

Austin SevenThe front grill revealed a bit more about it…

Crankhandle clubVery cute and must certainly be fun to drive.

Our final restaurant of the weekend saw us back in Simonstown…this time at the False Bay Yacht Club…the restaurant is called Neptune’s Galley…

False bay yacht clubFalse Bay Yacht Club is a fantastic venue for the whole family. Entrance is free. You can park off in the shade, children can swim and food prices are family friendly. Worth a visit.

As you can see, the weather is fantastic summery and hardly a breath of wind.

Overall, a lovely weekend.

Today, my Bible journey had me read the book of Jonah. It’s a story of self-inflicted drama, which begins with Jonah running from God.  Jonah 2:1

“In my distress I called to the Lord,  and He answered me.”

God is gracious. When we mess us, we can call to Him and He will pay attention to our cry.

Keep the smile going!

God bless you!

In His Grip,

Helga xx :-)

Gratitude Pic…I’ve got Stacey and Adrian here for a while…yay for daughter time…

Stace and I-18

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Banting Chocolate Brownies


If it’s chocolate, I’m in! I actually went looking for a form of Banting Christmas Cake, but trust me, with all that fruit, they are going to be a real trick to get vaguely into a low carb zone. If I find one, I’ll let you know. Meantime, in my search I happened upon Nicoletta. Her website is not strictly Banting, but her team are dabbling in low carb recipes, trying to publish one monthly, so it’s worth the visit.

So this recipe came from Nicoletta’s website, made by Holly and tried out by me. So all of the following are my comments.


  • ¾ cup almond flour
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder- I use organic
  • 1/3  cup xylitol or honey -I used xylitol
  • ½ teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda – had none, so I used baking powder
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Handful of assorted nuts – only had almonds – I roughly chopped them
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ cup Butter, melted



  • Mix the dry ingredients
  • Then add all the wet ingredients and combine well

That wasn’t difficult now, was it? Ha! Here are a few pics to illustrate….

Dry ingredients…

Dry ingredientsWet ingredients…

Wet ingredientsMix…

Add wet to dry

Until well blended…it’s not going to be entirely smooth because of the nuts…

Well mixed

Pour into a greased small baking dish/pan…

Glass dish greased

Ready for the oven…

Choc brownies ready for the oven

Bake at 170°C for 15 minutes or until the brownie almost does not “jiggle”. Do not overcook, as the brownies will dry out quickly! Mine were still jiggling at 10 minutes, so I left them in for a few minutes longer and then at 12 or 13 minutes they were less jiggly, so I turned the oven off for another 5 minutes. You don’t want them raw either!  Moral of the story, is to keep an eye on them.

They don’t make a lot, so you may want to experiment with making double or making two batches. After all you go to the trouble of heating the oven etc. I cut them into 8 big brownies. I could have made it 12 medium or 16 ‘fingers’. They are rich and delicious so 8 big is quite extravagant!

Banting Chocolate brownies picture

Cocoa contains carb and almond flour does too, so while these are far better for you than traditional chocolate brownies, you’ll probably find each one has about 5g of carbs.  Do go to Nicoletta’s website, as she has a clever little idea of putting all the dry ingredients into a jar and giving it away as a gift. She has the ideal wording for the gift card.

You may also be interested in 3 Minute Banting Chocolate Cake in a Mug

All in all THUMBS UP!  Happy baking!

Luke 6:31

“Do to others as you would have them do to you.”

The golden rule!

Keep the smile going.

God bless you!

In His Grip,

Helga xx :-)

Gratitude – Christmas…

Piano with music

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Hannelie Groenewald Says She Has Forgiven Those Who Killed Her Family


There is nothing more powerful than forgiveness. It results in freedom for the giver. They know that judgement is not their problem or responsibility and can move on.

While Hannelie Groenewald is mourning the loss of her husband and her beloved two children, by God’s grace and through His Spirit, she has forgiven those who killed her family. published an online report of Hannelie saying she believed her family did not die in vain.

Video still from

Video still from

The Groenewald family did not have any intention of leaving Afghanistan and lived freely in Kabul for 12 years. She was asked if she would go back. She replied that she is now grieving and needs to spend this time with her family, but if God called her back, she would go. She also said she believes that the death of her family is part of a greater divine plan. I agree.

God never wastes pain.

EWN also published some comments from Hannelie. She spoke about what happened, saying there were only two Taliban insurgents. They climbed over the wall and when the door guard approached them, they shot him dead. They then entered the building and shot Werner. The two teenagers were shot upstairs. They died in the only part of the house that was not burned. This meant that Hannelie was able to hug her family and say goodbye to them. So heartbreaking, but so important.

Their memorial service was held this morning at the Moreleta DRC church, where Werner was very involved as a Pastor. According to the latest press release from Associated Press, the Pastor lit three candles and symbolically blew each of them out. Hannelie remained composed during the service.  According to the Associated Press report, there had been a threat of an attack in Kabul on 29th November. To plan for it, Hannelie, a medical doctor went to a meeting at a hotel as part of the medical team set up to cope with an emergency should it arise. Little did she know that the attack would happen, but it would be on her own family.

Pierre Korkie’s memorial service was also held today in the Free State. A sad day all round. A new normal begins for Hannelie and for Pierre’s wife and children. It’s a slow process. The pain is intense, but has to be worked through at a pace unique to all of them. Everyone grieves at their own pace. One thing is for sure…

Psalm 34:18

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

And He will work out His plan for both these widows.

Keep the faith. It’s not about now. It’s about eternity.

God bless you!

In His Grip,

Helga xx  :-)


Gratitude Pic….friendships

Friends at sushi

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