Secrets To A Happy Marriage

What is the secret to a happy marriage? I think this is a frequently asked question, considering the 42.7 million results when you Google it! There must be loads. I have a few to think about.

1. Put God first.

If both husband and wife put their relationship with God first, they both end up obeying Him first. Having a Christ-centred bond results in each of us wanting what God wants and that in turn will result in each of us humbling ourselves before Him. It certainly makes me more of a servant in my relationship with Mike and vice versa. By putting God first in our lives, we both want to serve each other in the best way we can.

2. Being Whole.

I believe one of the biggest mistakes a single person can make is to think that their long-awaited spouse will ‘complete them.’  It’s not the case. It’s best to fix any issues you have before you enter a relationship. God can fix broken parts. Be complete in Him – find your whole-ness in Jesus – your security and your confidence – your assurance and your peace. Once you are emotionally and spiritually complete in Christ, you won’t need another person to ‘complete you.’ They may enhance your life, but you are complete already. It is often a real mess when two broken people hope that by coming together they will be fixed. Work on yourself before getting into a relationship.

3. Kindness

This is not a complicated dynamic. Simple kindness adds a loving simplicity to a relationship that often is missing. We may be kind to dozens of others in our lives, but find we have difficulty in offering the same compassion to those closest to us. Be kind to one another.

4. Be The Other’s Biggest Fan

Think about it. Once you are married, you’re a new family. You move away from the shelter, protection and adoring support of parents and you move in with your new spouse. The shelter, protection and adoring baton is taken up by you! You need to be the one that offers shelter, protection and a great deal of ‘fan support’ towards your spouse. If you don’t do it, no one will. Wives, you certainly don’t want his Mom to have to feed his ego with her support – that’s now your job. And husbands, I know that you don’t want too much interference from her Mother. Encourage, nurture, build up, compliment. Be the other’s biggest fan from the moment you say, “I do.”

5. Act Like a Dog and Not a Cat

There are some lessons you can learn from dogs.  Most dogs love their owners. When you come home, they are at the front gate, wagging their tails, grinning up at you, slobbering on you, wanting to jump all over you. They are excited to see you and greet you with joyful enthusiasm.

Picture from

Picture from


Cats on the other hand express affection on their terms. On your arrival home, your cat may (or may not) raise a whisker to acknowledge your presence. Your enthusiastic calling to him/her usually results in them cleaning themselves a little faster. Feel very special if they look towards you. You are there to serve them, not them to serve you.

When your spouse arrives home, act like the dog – warm, loving enthusiasm, every single day.

That’s enough for today. There are loads more that have worked for us, but those are for another time.

Hebrews 13:4

Let marriage be held in honour among all..

Keep the smile going.

God bless you!

In His Grip,

Helga xx :)

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My Knees Are Shot, My Feet Are Shot, I’m A Crock!

“My Knees Are Shot, My Feet Are Shot, I’m A Crock!” That’s the whatsapp message I sent to my friend!

My life has been somewhat hectic this last week and a large chunk of it has been carried out in the shadow of minor, but ongoing pain. You only really appreciate your health once you notice it is beginning to fail. Gratefully, the bits that are falling apart are not life threatening. They remain my Achilles tendon, which I wrote about three months ago and most recently my knees! As I wrote that, I laughed out loud. I am a crock!

I spent more than an hour this morning with a knowledgeable physiotherapist who gave me a complete explanation of what I can expect. She used long a long medical term, which I can’t remember, but it included the word “stage 4″ and “advanced”. She pulled out a book and showed me a gravelly knee picture and said  both my knees looked just like that!


Picture from


She showed me how to massage my knee cap and the muscles surrounding and she told me I needed to do 5 minutes of easy cycling on an exercise bike every single day. She said the particles get into the knee joint, the pain will be severe and I will then need surgery, but she gave me about 6 years before that happens. Worst case scenario, I’ll need two knee replacements! That was unexpected. I guess all that running, squatting, jumping has caught up with me. No more squats. No more running.

Then it was onto my Achilles tendons. To sort those out, it’s all about what I wear on my feet. I’m wearing shoes with good arch support which is right. I’m also wearing inserts which have definitely helped. She suggested I get Tuli’s Heel Cups which I will be looking for…

Tulis heel cupsThe best treatment for Achilles pain is REST! Yeah!

And these are good…


That was R600 well spent – she gave me a lot of information and spent more than an hour with me. Thank you  Karin!

This is manageable.  And I think, with cooler months coming, it’s just the excuse I need to visit the hot springs! :-D

There is only one Bible verse that springs vibrantly into my mind… 2 Corinthians 4:16

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

Oh yeah!

None of us can go on forever.

So just enjoy life, with its ups and downs, trials and issues, both big and small. Take each day as it comes. Have a little cry if you need to, but just know that the future looks good. God has you in His grip and He knows what is ahead. Going into the days ahead trusting Him is the best way forward.

So forward we will go!

God bless you!


Helga xx :-)

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Two Months Later & Still No Arrests in the Van Breda Murders

Two months have passed since the horrific murders of Martin, Teresa and Rudi van Breda in their exclusive golf estate home just outside Stellenbosch.  Usually what happens after someone has been murdered is the police start looking for who did it. Strangely, this has not been the case in this crime.

There have been no widespread manhunts. There have been no identikits released.

The silence is deafening, especially as time passes and more distance is put between the date this is being read and the night of the 26th/27th January 2015.

I think it is known who the person most suspected is. He is holed up at a relative’s home, being kept a close eye on, not being seen in public…pretty much being kept behind closed doors.

But as I’ve written before, all signs point to the middle van Breda child – 20 year old Henri. He was home that night. Afterwards, he related the order in which his family were attacked. He suffered injuries medical professionals later said were self-inflicted. He only phoned the police several hours after the gruesome events.  Days later news came out that he had been in therapy of some type, he had had a tik problem, his allowance had been reduced or withdrawn – all issues that suggest a young man with problems. But these kind of issues are suffered by many of today’s youth – it doesn’t mean they will try and wipe out their entire family.

Probably the biggest evidence that Henri was somehow involved in this unspeakable tragedy is the fact that he has not been allowed to have any contact with the only other survivor of that dreadful night – his younger sister Marli. Brutally slashed at, Marli suffered a brain injury and severe, jugular artery trauma that nearly killed her. But Marli didn’t die. She was rushed to hospital and emergency surgery was done. Today, she is recovering, but in the last 2 months, she has had no contact with her brother, with some reports suggesting it would be too traumatic for her.

News reports now come out in slow drips and drabs. Life moves on. Other major stories usurp the news. A plane crashes, the cricket world cup is won, Jeremy Clarkson is fire,  Miss SA is crowned. But in the background, one wonders what happened on that fateful night and what are the police doing about it?

The latest report contains quotes from well known William Booth, who is the chairperson of the Cape Law’s Society Criminal committee. He says the police silence is unusual. As I have thought, Booth has suggested – that the police don’t want to jeopardize the case. They  have a reputation of doing so….fresh in our minds is the Oscar Pistorious court case and that of Shrien Dewani. In both of those crimes, the South African Police didn’t exactly appear to shine. They don’t want another mess-up.

Meantime, the killer is free.

News of Marli is positive. She is allowed visitors. She is making good progress. It seems her recovery is going well. My prayer is that physically she will be completely back to normal, even though her life will never be the same again.

Marli van Breda

I pray that justice will be done. I think I prefer the police silence – knowing that they are working behind the scenes, than having them sprout forth with accusations and suggestions and allegations that go onto ruin their case.

Time will tell.


Psalm 11:4
The LORD is in His holy temple; the LORD is on His heavenly throne. He observes everyone on earth; His eyes examine them.

God bless you!

In His Grip,

Helga xx

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Whatever You Are Going Through

I was watching something on TV and one of the women featured was at the Boston Marathon when a bomb went off just a few metres from where she and her fiance were standing.  Both of them were very badly injured. One of her legs was severely damaged and after multiple surgeries it appears she will have to have the leg amputated, but first she wants to walk down the aisle to get married.  When asked about how life is for her, she said, ‘everyone goes through trials and this is ours.’

How we cope with the difficulties in our lives very largely depends on our attitude. I think it was Nic Vujicic, the amazing man born with no limbs, who said something like, ‘If I have to live with no arms and no legs, I am going to be the very best person with on arms and no legs that I can be!”

Nic is the most amazing guy. Born with no arms and no legs, he went through a serious period of depression, where, at a young age, he tried drowning himself in the bath. What a tragedy it would have been if he had succeeded. His life has gone on to inspire and encourage millions of people across the world. 4 minutes in his company will bring tears to your eyes and make you appreciate what you do have…

Married with a son and his wife pregnant with their second child, life has turned out far differently than Nick could ever have imagined….Photo from Facebook. Big brother in waiting!Photo from Facebook. Big brother in waiting!

 If his life had ended prematurely, he would have missed out on so much.

Sometimes our circumstances can push us down and we lose sight of the fact that God has a plan for our life. He wants us to be happy and fulfilled. As Nick couldn’t see what his future held, neither can we. Just keep going.

Whatever happens to you, be the best you can be in your circumstances.

Our life on earth is the dress rehearsal for our life in heaven. We are backstage. The real deal is still to come. Don’t ever fall away from following Jesus. Even on your deathbed, the best is yet to come.

Psalm 68 vs 19
” Praise be to the Lord, to God our Saviour who daily bears our burdens”

Whatever you are going through, God has a plan and it is for good.

Keep the smile going.

From Brainy Quote

From Brainy Quote

God bless you.

In His Grip,

Helga xx :)

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Banting Chocolate Mud!

Last Sunday, everyone was having dessert except me! I decided to make myself something with Lindt dark chocolate. I’d seen something online and experimented with it. This is how it turned out.


  • Lindt 70% (or 85% if you prefer) – you need 2 squares per person
  • 1/3 cup cream per person

Lindt 70


I took two squares of the chocolate and quartered it into a small ramekin bowl.

Quarter 2 squaresMicrowave it for 1 minute, until melted…

One minute in the microwaveWhip 1/3 cup of cream until thick….

One third cup creamGradually stir it into the chocolate – reserve a little for serving…

Whip the cream and pour into the chocMix it well and you can serve it in the same ramekin bowl with a spoon of cream…

Serve with a blob of creamIt is rich and delicious! Just perfect as a Banting dessert. For a fantastic alternative, use the flavoured chocolate Lindt – orange or mint, or if you want some zing, chilli. But just remember that the flavoured Lindt has higher carbohydrate content.

Carb count:

  • Using 2 squares 70% Lindt: 4g per serving
  • Using 2 squares flavoured Lindt:  6.5g per serving
  • Using 2 squares Nestle Aero: 9g per serving.

The problem comes in trying to restrict yourself to one serving! ;)

The 70% Lindt is quite strong, so you could get away with using only 1 square and reducing the carbs to about 3g per serving.

It’s worth experimenting with. It’s delicious!

2 Timothy 1:7

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

Keep the smile going!

God bless you!

In His Grip,

Helga xx :-)


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Depression of the Co-pilot Caused the Germanwings Crash

As I have followed the events of the Germanwings air disaster, I have felt a lot of compassion towards the co-pilot whose depression caused the crash. Mental illness. If Andreas Lubitz was in his right mind, he would never have done this. The deep darkness that overwhelms someone who is depressed is not understood by those of us who have never experienced it. I have written about my experience of depression before. Today I was reminded of it.

For those of you who are depressed, you are not alone.  I thought back to a dark time of our lives that ended well.

2004. I remember it being a difficult year. Beginning in January with the death of my Mom, the year was punctuated with difficult circumstances. One of them was a season of depression. An acquaintance of ours committed suicide.  Mike, who was struggling to beat off depression at the time, took it very hard and it lurched him into a period of darkness that was extremely hard to walk through.  We decided to take family to the Wild Coast, hoping  the rest and change of scenery would lighten the mood in our home. After 10 days away, we returned with Mike feeling no better. My heart sank.Depression

He had been to the church for prayer and counselling and was advised that possibly he had a chemical imbalance and he should see a psychiatrist. While Mike lay in a darkened room, off his food and hardly wanting to speak, I used the downstairs phone to call the psychiatrist. After making an appointment, I remember walking into the kitchen and looking out the kitchen window into the distance.  I imagined Mike on anti-depressants and wondered what effect they would have on him and on our relationship. The psychiatric spectrum is very wide. Some people are on the very mild side, while others are on the very wild side. Most people are in the middle. I wondered where Mike would fit in and if it would be permanent. It was at that moment that something happened in my mind that cemented my relationship with him forever. “It does not matter how much medication Mike is on or for how long, I love this man so much,  I am prepared to walk whatever road is ahead.  This is until death us do part.”

Surprisingly, up to that point in our marriage, I could never say, “We will never get divorced.” My parents had been, what I considered to be happily married for about 17 years. Then their relationship completely fell apart and when they had been married 20 years, they separated.  In 2004, Mike and I celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary.  From my parents, I understood that people change. Why would we be different? Could I guarantee a happy marriage after 18 years? So in the kitchen that winter’s afternoon, when my instant response to the possibility of Mike being depressed for the rest of our life was ‘bring it on….I love this man so much, I’m prepared to do whatever it takes,’ a light bulb went on inside my head. From then on, my commitment to Mike went up a notch and I can confidently say, ‘as far as it depends on me, I will be married to Mike until death separates us.’ It was an amazingly joyous feeling! I felt I had been tested and passed!

The uncertainty of Mike’s condition hung over us. The appointment for the psychiatrist was made and then cancelled. Mike refused to go. He refused medication. He had taken 5 weeks leave and it was time for him to go back to work.  He had just returned to work when a remarkable set of events were set in motion. Mike has an enormous amount of compassion for the poor and needy. On his way home, at a set of traffic lights, he was approached by a street child for food or money. Mike had none to give. He usually kept at that time, a few snacks in the car for such opportunities and he had run out. He was so upset about it. Berating himself as he continued his journey, he decided on the spur of the moment to stop at a shopping mall to pick up some snacks.  He was feeling so down.  It was close to news time on CCFm and after each news bulletin a Bible verse is read. He thought “whatever the Bible verse says, I’m going to do.” The news ended and the Bible verse came on. As he took the off-ramp to the shopping mall, he heard these words, “Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened”. He prayed, “Lord, you’ve said I must ask, I’m asking: I need help.”

He walked into the mall, distracted and in despair. Suddenly, a voice called out to him, “Mike!” He turned and there was Hugh. I didn’t know Hugh. Mike had met him because he had been at one of the church prayer meetings when Mike had gone for prayer, so Hugh knew some of the issues Mike was dealing with. Hugh came up to Mike and said, “How are you?” Mike replied, “Not good.” Hugh offered, “Would you like to come and have a cup of coffee?” Mike said, “Yes.” Very quickly, Mike realised this was an answer to his heartfelt cry for help. Hugh took him to a coffee shop and Mike poured out what was on his mind. The Lord used Hugh to speak words of life into Mike’s mind and heart and soul.

Mike came home and said, ‘you won’t believe what happened.’ I noticed immediately he had changed. His body language and whole demeanour was different.  He had a lightness about him that I hadn’t seen in months. I was cautious in my expectation. In the preceding months, we had done everything to try and bring him out of his depression. We had prayed and we had praised. We had exercised and we had holidayed. Nothing had helped. The next day, Mike went off to work, much better. The day after that, Hugh phoned to reaffirm to Mike what he had said. Mike was a changed man. His depression was gone. 11 years have passed. It has never returned!

God answers prayer. He is faithful. His timing is not our timing, but we can trust Him with whatever problems we have. He is listening and He will never let you down.

Words of Jesus:

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you: 8For every one that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened. (Matthew 7:7-8)

Words of Life!

If you identify with the darkness I have written about, don’t struggle on alone. Seek help.

God bless you!

In His Grip,

Helga xx :-)


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Signs The Germanwings Co-pilot Crashed Plane Deliberately

I’ve been listening to a live news briefing from Marseilles regarding the Germanwings air crash and some stunning information has been released. It is particularly astonishing that it has been made known to the world before the investigation has begun.

I listened to Marseilles Prosecuter Bryce Robin in a news conference. The conference was in French and was being interpreted.

Breaking newsSTARTS

“Since yesterday afternoon DNA identification on bodies has begun.

Only one black box has been retrieved. The cockpit voice recorder was examined and the conversation established between the pilot and co-pilot during the last 30 minutes of the flight. In the first 20 minutes, the two pilots talk in the normal fashion, being courteous with each other, as too normal pilots would. There is nothing unusual. Then they heard the main pilot ask his co-pilot to take over. The sound of a chair is being heard moving back, a door opening and the door closing. It is assumed that the pilot went to the toilet. At that moment the co-pilot is locked in the aircraft cockpit on his own in charge of the plane. It is while he is alone that the co-pilot, at that moment, in charge of the plane that he uses the flight monitoring system to start the descent of the aeroplane. This action can only be done voluntarily – it is not automatic. We hear several times the pilot returning from the bathroom and asking to access and it’s through the intercom system. He identifies himself, but there is no reply from the co-pilot. The pilot then knocks on the door to ask for it to be opened and he has no response from the co-pilot. At that moment we hear breathing from within the cockpit and we hear this breathing until the moment of impact, so we believe the co-pilot is still alive at this point. We then hear the mast say that there is still no answer from the co-pilot – the tower then asks them to do a distress signal but again there is no response from the cockpit, so this aeroplane becomes a priority for a forced landing. The control tower then asks to other aeroplanes to try and contact this airbus and no answer is forth coming. There are alarm systems, which indicates to all those onboard the proximity to the ground and then we hear noises of the door trying to be broken into – this is the cockpit door which according to international measures is reinforced. So these alarms go off on the plane to indicate the proximity of the ground and just before the  final impact, we hear the sound of a first impact – it is believed that the plane may have glided or hit initially before the final impact. There was no distress signal or mayday signal received by the control tower….no distress message -“mayday mayday” has been received by the control tower.  And  no answer has been received despite the numerous calls from the tower. The interpretation on this day and I’m talking today, 48 hours after the crash and due to investigations which are ongoing, the interpretation which for us and from the investigation team – the most probable interpretation is that the co-pilot, refused to open the cabin door to the pilot and actioned the button which starts the descent procedure. In the last 8 minutes it went from 12000 m to 2000m until it hit the mountain which is between 1600 to 2000m. So he actioned this button for a reason, we still don’t know why but we can only deduct that it destroyed this plane. This is the latest I can give you on this investigation. We have asked for information from the German investigators on the background to the co-pilot who is a German national and I have given all this information to the relatives of the 250 passenger who have come to Marseilles. ”

Mr Robin went onto answer questions clarifying that the co-pilot’s breathing was completely normal. It wasn’t the breathing of a person who was struggling. The co-pilot did not say a single word for the rest of the flight.  He voluntarily allowed the plane to lose altitude. When asked about a possible suicide, he said he wasn’t going to enter into that conversation. All he knew was that the co-pilot had no reason to not let the pilot into the cockpit. He had no reason to action a descent. He had no reason to not respond to the tower. He had no reason to not communicate with other aircraft in the area.

When asked about what the passengers would have known, he said he believed the passengers would only have known at the last moment because on the recording you only hear the screams on the last moments before impact. ”


The unnamed co-pilot had been working for Germanwings since 2013 and had co-pilot  630 hours of flight experience. He was named as 28 year old Andreas Lubitz of Montabaur. The Daily Mirror website published this photo…

Andreas-Lubitz Mirror

Quite hectic. It’s difficult to imagine someone purposefully doing this.

No doubt more information will come to light.

Psalm 54:4
“Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me”.

Trust God – there is no other way.

In His Grip,

Helga xx

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Well Done AB and the Boys

Yesterday was brutal for South African cricket fans across the world. We, in South Africa, rose early, we stayed there, in front of the TV for hours, watching, urging, clapping, yelling, pleading, hoping.

The Proteas did brilliantly!

Protea FireWere there mistakes? Yes, but New Zealand also made errors…dropped catches, fielding fumblings, loose bowling.

We got to the semi-finals and nearly won.

New Zealand has never got to the finals before either, so they too were hungry for the win. They were in front of a packed home crowd, playing on a pitch that was familiar to them as their comfie couch back home.

For the Proteas and their families, they have been far from home. It’s been a gruelling 5 weeks, laced with tension and pressure. They know that back home, several different time zones away, there are millions of fans who are roaring for their success.

And succeed they did.

They gave  us hours and hours of fabulous entertainment. They won 5 matches, most comprehensively and they came a whisker from going through to the finals of the 2015 Cricket World Cup.

They did not choke.

They did not ‘crash out’ of the competition.

They did not ‘flounder again.’

All of these negative phrases posted by unpatriotic press writers are rubbish!

The Proteas did themselves and their country proud.

We are at least 4th in the world.

I’m proud of their performance.

What happened, happens. There can only be one winner. This time it was New Zealand.

So be it.

We were gutted and stand with them in their misery. But today is a new day. It’s time to pick yourself up and keep on going.

I hope thousands of people plan on descending on OR Tambo airport when they come home. They deserve a sporting heroes welcome.

They did this country proud and we support them.

I love how sport unites. The Proteas performance certainly united millions of fans across the country yesterday.

Well Done AB and the Boys! Thanks for the entertainment.

Brand new dayWhat was it that Solomon said? Ecclesiastes 9:11

I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.

Keep the smile going!

God bless you!

In His Grip,

Helga xx :-)

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Tribute To Rudi van Breda

Rudi van Breda  lost his life in a savage attack at his home in Stellenbosch on the night of the 26th/27th January 2015. His parents were also killed that night. His sister, 16 year old Marli was critically injured. She has made a steady recovery and is now in a physical therapy rehabilitation centre.  The only other survivor was Rudi’s younger brother, 20 year old Henri, who had what doctors described as self-inflicted scratches. As a result of this and other suspicious behaviour, Henri remains at the centre of a great deal of media speculation. Up to now, though,no arrests have been made. A lot of the details are on a blog I wrote 9 days after it happened. While naturally Marli and Henri have had a lot of media coverage in South Africa, there has not been a lot of news about Rudi. His broader circle of school and university friends in Australia were stunned to hear of his sudden and viscous untimely death. To remember him, one of them has written a tribute in song to him and this is the background.

Rudi (22) was raised in South Africa before the family moved to Australia. There he attended Scotch College in Perth. Rudi’s best friend at the time was Sam Fearon. They had some amazing adventures together. Sam’s mom Annie Durant lives back in the UK now and sent this to me:

My interest stems from the fact that my son Sam and I, emigrated to Australia and lived in Perth from 2004 to 2009. During that time my son attended Scotch College in Perth and was Rudi’s best friend. Rudi was always at our house , he was like a second son to me and both Sam and I are devastated by Rudi’s death and the way in which it happened.

We knew Martin and Theresa but because Henri and Marli were younger I didn’t really know them too much except that they were usually there when I dropped Sam off at their house in Cottesloe. Sam and Rudi were very sporty and were always off playing tennis or going to the beach or playing water polo and at school there was always fierce but good natured competition between them at sport. In fact , in 2008, Sam and Rudi partnered up and swam the 19 kilometres channel swim from Perth to Rottnest.

Sam middle, Rudi far right after training for their long distance swim

Sam middle, Rudi far right after training for their long distance swim

There were loads of times that I stood on the shore with Martin and Theresa and timed them both doing open water swims in the 6 months training and preparation for it. I made a film of the event as I owned a company at the time in Perth, and as a company outing for staff and friends, I hired a large boat to accompany the two boys and the team of friends from Scotch college that were supporting them, including kayakers to guide them through the water, the Van Breda family were all on the boat with us.

Rudi and Sam

I watched the film last week and its heartbreaking to see Rudi smiling up at me while I was filming, he was such an exceptionally handsome boy and a really lovely person, he had the whole world in front of him. Sam and Rudi had a little band of mates in Australia… Rudi, Sam, Angus, James Toby and Nick, most of them are in Brisbane house at Scotch College, they were always together and as we had a large games room at our house and a pool the friends were often together. Nick was killed last year in a road accident which again was a huge shock for Sam.

Sam is now a struggling singer/songwriter and he has written a song about Rudi and part of the words say that he had a smile you could see from space, which was an apt description.. Rudi had the widest most genuine smile which lit up his eyes, and he lit up the room, its so difficult to imagine it gone for ever.. We found accepting his death very hard indeed and so a few days after it happened, I bought two red roses and tied them together with raffia ,attached a card on which we had written a little tribute to him and a photo all sealed in a cellophane envelope so that it was waterproof. It was a typical winters day here in the UK and we went down to the coast in the howling wind and rain and found a rocky promontory where Sam walked out and threw the flowers into the crashing waves. It made us feel a little better and brought us some closure, but knowing who did this and to get some justice for Rudi would bring the biggest closure of all.

This event has made such an impact on Sam that he has left his job and has decided to go out on the road to further his career as an artist, he feels that Rudi had his life chances and opportunities taken from him and so Sam has decided to live his life for the both of them and take every chance that comes his way, so to get out of sleepy Devon and go round the country is what he has chosen to do. Sam has been out on the road ever since, sleeping on sofas and playing wherever he can.”

You can hear Sam’s song for Rudi…

There are many things in this life we will never understand.

Deuteronomy 29:29

“The LORD our God has secrets known to no one…”

Why this happened only He knows.

God bless you.

In His Grip,


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The Pain of Purchasing Paint

There are now two things I will no longer be held responsible for purchasing for my house. The first is a bed. When I last took the responsibility of buying a bed, it did not get Mike’s approval. I will do anything once – so buying the bed had its chance. I replaced it (all by myself) with one that Mike did approve of, but that’s it. If there is a new bed to be bought (and there is), Mike must do the buying.

And now we have something else. PAINT!  We have a room to paint and it’s got to be done this week. So I went last week and bought an off white “soft stone” colour. My colour probably would have worked, but I have friends and family who definitely know better and sometimes it is wise to listen to their much more experienced advice. So, the paint went back and new paint was bought, but I’ve done it once and now I never need to make that decision again! Next time, it can be either Mike, or friend Riana who has an eye for decorating and describes herself as “an incredibly fussy decorator!” Certainly the wall colour will be in safe hands!

I did learn a few things about buying paint in the process of having to take one back and find another. With Riana’s help, here’s what I learned.

1. Not all paints are created equal. 

Buy a good quality paint. Ask about durability, scrubbability and quality. It must be easily washable. If you buy a cheap paint, you will get a cheap look. This is not an exercise you are going to do often, so spend a little more and get a decent pain. Don’t buy the cheapest paint. Also be sure to ask which is the most popular paint colour  & what the supplier sells the most of.

2. Choose a paint supplier close to home.

There is a good reason for this. I bought the first paint ‘OTM’ (Over The Mountain)  and so when I had to return the paint, I had to go back  ‘OTM’. The second time round I bought close to home. It had to be mixed, so I left and returned a few hours later to pay and collect. It was no big deal because it was just a kilometre from my house. :-)

3. Try paint out on the walls.

If you are going to be painting the entire inside of your house, you are going to be living with these colours for many years to come. Get it right first time by painting swatches on the wall to see exactly what the colour looks like in your house. It’s a worthwhile exercise. You’ll be surprised how different the paint looks on the side of the tin compared to on the wall of your home.

4. Neutral is safe.

Choose a neutral canvas and stick to the same colour throughout. If you like colour, paint accent walls with the colour you want. Colour is very personal. If in doubt, got for a light stone with a slight grey undertone. I made the mistake of choosing a paint with “stone” in the name, but it had a pink undertone!

Soft Stone5. Carry swatches around with you. 

All paint suppliers have swatches of paint colours. After you’ve selected your paint, take a couple of the swatches with you, so that when you are matching curtains or other linen, you can compare the tone to ensure it matches. This may look white, but it’s not….

Paint swatchesIt’s perfectly neutral with a grey undertone and it’s called…

Fancourt slateGot the paint, done the prep. All that is needed next, is to get the paint out of the tin and onto the walls!

I’m not a perfectionist, but I do appreciate those who are! Thank you Mike & Riana!

Ecclesiastes 9:10
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might

Keep the smile going!

God bless you!

In His Grip,

Helga xx :-)

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