Friday, December 10, 2010

It’s personal...

I read - A LOT.
Books, magazines, articles, online magazines... When I read something inspiring / thought provoking I write it down, make a note of it on my phone or in most cases I copy the whole article into a Word document.
Recently I’ve decided that I want to share all these interesting things with you lovely people, so I’ve started posting them on my blog or making a Facebook note. But now I have the problem that my photography blog will be filled with mostly articles and I’m worried that people won’t stop by anymore when this blog stops having pretty pictures to look at Smile
For this reason I’ve created a brand new blog where I can post as many articles as I want. In case you’re interested in reading what inspires me / gets me thinking - please visit my new personal blog “In my head, In my heart

P.S. I will still be posting to this blog so please don’t stop popping by... I have a whole lot of photos that I still need to get around to posting...
P.P.S. Next year I’ll be better at regular blogging - I promise Open-mouthed smile



Tuesday, December 7, 2010


So I was sitting there in the bar and this guy comes up to me and he said "My life stinks" and I saw his gold credit card and I saw the way he was looking at people across the room and I looked at his face and you know, what a good looking face, and I just said, "Dude, your perspective on life sucks".
~ Mika: Blame it on the Girls ~


Monday, December 6, 2010

Do You Lack Enthusiasm?


The secret of staying young of heart is found in this article. Learn it well.
By Hector M. Earle

RALPH WALDO EMERSON once wrote, "Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm." An enthusiastic attitude enables us to hang in there when the going gets tough. It's the inner drive that whispers, "I can do it!" when others believe it can't be done. It is a common quality that inventors, explorers, and other high achievers have in order to do great things. Barbara Bartocci, in the May 1988 edition of Catholic Digest wrote, "Enthusiastic people turn a boring drive into an adventure, extra work into opportunity and strangers into friends."

Stay Young of Heart
Have you ever seen an infant delight at the jingling of a rattle, or a toddler's joy at watching the hopping of a frog? This childlike wonder, fuelled by enthusiasm, is the same quality that has separated high achievers from everyone else. Their enthusiasm is not measured by their biological age. Instead, it is enthusiasm for life that is the catalyst for their youthful energy and drive. Pablo Casals thought of music as an elixir that made his life a never-ending adventure well into his nineties. An enthusiastic outlook has helped Bob Delmonteque maintain his intensity and excitement for health and fitness after almost six decades of working out.
It has been said that nobody grows old merely by living a given number of years; people grow old by deserting their ideals. Years wrinkle the skin, but giving up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. Worry, doubt, and self-distrust bow the head and turn the spirit back to dust.
Marjorie Greenbie once wrote: "You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope, as old as your despair."
Our minds act like a receiver, and as long as it receives messages of beauty, hope, and cheer, you are young at heart (Philippians 4:8-9). However, when our enthusiasm falters, and our thoughts become obscured with doubts and fears, our heart becomes covered with the snows of pessimism and the ice of cynicism. Then, as Marjorie Greenbie pointed out, you are "as old as your despair."

Avoid Spiritual Wrinkles
It is interesting to note that the word enthusiasm derives its meaning from the Greek words "God within." Having God's spirit and attitude within us brings about enthusiasm for the spiritual things like loving God, loving our fellow human beings, and loving what we are called to do (Galatians 5:22-23).
To love what we do is the very essence of enthusiasm. What can be more exhilarating than knowing that we are created in the very image of God, called out of this world to be his instruments and destined to be with him forever in the Kingdom of God? It should put a sparkle in our eyes, a jump in our step, and smooth out the wrinkles from our spirit.
Youthful vigour and enthusiasm is a gift from God to those he has called to rule with Him someday in the Kingdom of God. "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and walk, and not faint" (Isaiah 40:31). That says it all.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Child’s Worth

clip_image002That hat meant a lot to me, but what was I saying to the kid who crushed it?
By W. Fred Crow

I WAS IN OAKHURST, CALIFORNIA, working at a United Youth Camp during my vacation the last week of June.
I was the water supervisor and lifeguard down at Bass Lake and every one of the 174 campers visited "Fred's World" at least twice during the week. Speed boats, skiing, inner tubes and great water--being located at the lake all day was nice duty...long hours but nice duty.

In the hot seat
When I returned to my lifeguard station after one lunch break I found that one of the young fellows had grabbed my seat. I chased the little rascal away with a good-natured grin. I had one of the best locations for visibility, and seemingly the only comfortable chair on the lake front. It figured that one of the fellows would try to snatch it from me.
Being in my chair was not really a problem. That was, until I looked down and saw that the young man had sat without looking, and had crushed my Panama Jack straw hat and my sun glasses.
Arrgh! That hat had been with me for years and years. It had travelled with me everywhere-- Alaska, Hawaii, the West Coast, the East Coast, down the Florida Keys and aboard cruise ships... I loved that hat!
Why, I took that little #$%^& aside and beat him sens... well, no. That may have been an immediate impulse, but instead I grumbled loudly for a bit letting everyone know I wasn't the happiest of souls. Then, putting emotion aside, my sanity took over.
I did take the young fellow aside. Having seen his face fall while I was emotionally grousing over his mistake, I wanted him to know that he was worth more than the hat ever would be, and I apologized for my error. I wanted him to know that sitting on my hat was a mistake, but the hat was "just a thing" (my favourite phrase) and I valued him more than any old twisted and formed straw fedora. We make mistakes, we learn from mistakes, we grow from mistakes, but we are not our mistakes.
I also realized it's similar to driving defensively. I should have expected someone might sit in my chair, so I should have placed the hat and glasses out of harm's way. Lesson learned.

What's it worth?
Another lesson learned: By our reactions we sometimes give children the message that they are not worth a glass of spilled milk, a misplaced sock, a broken window or a crushed hat. Very quickly they pick up the message about their worth compared to what's important to their parents and other adults. If we act as if the world came to an end when milk is spilled, what do we do for an encore if something serious were to occur?
Kids make mistakes--that's a simple fact. After guiding two young people to age 22, I can rightly attest this to be true. It happens. Kids goof up. It's normal. But that doesn't remove them from the list of the most valued resources on the planet!
A misplaced sock, broken window, spilled milk or crushed hat is not the end of the world. What is important is that the child knows that he or she is valued unconditionally.
This was a lesson in perspective and understanding. I have a usable but damaged hat (yep, I'm still wearing it) that enjoys a deeper history, and, in spite of the mistake, that young fellow knows I value him--more than just a hat.
We need always to keep in mind that mistakes of young people may inconvenience us, distract us and disappoint us, but their mistakes should not diminish their value in our lives.
Our response to their mistakes needs to be in tune with what's needed to help them understand and grow. Our young people need to know, through our words and deeds, that they are worth all the time and energy it takes to work with them and encourage them. They should know through our unconditional love that they are worth more than an old, well-worn, well-travelled hat.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Acres of Love

(Interview taken from Sisters of Africa Magazine)

I am a mother of 4 children and wife of Ryan Audagnotti. I live in San Juan Capistrano, California. I am the CEO and co-founder of Acres of Love SA and Acres of Love Inc. California. I head up a dynamic team of 100 therapists, social workers, management and staff in Johannesburg, South Africa who are focused on the operational and day to day care of infants and children residing in the Acres of Love Forever Homes. I am also proactively involved with fund raising in the USA and in South Africa and strategic planning with the development team in the USA and Australia. We were moved by the plight of the South African children who were being abandoned in ever increasing numbers as one or both of their parents succumbed to the rampant disease.

In 1998 we felt the Lord say we should use what we have. We had a second property in Bryanston that we rented out. It was the first home for our own growing family. We applied to the government for a license to bring in children who are orphaned and abandoned.

We renovated it to meet health and safety codes. We underestimated our neighbours and friends who would become so intimately involved that they would help provide resources for the program to expand. The incredible thing in retrospect was that the first home was in an upper-middle-class neighbourhood; we got all the schools involved, and parents brought their children. They all became volunteers. Then, corporations got involved by word of mouth.
The children in our extended family aren’t delivered in the normal fashion. They are delivered to our doorstep by police and social workers. These children are found locked in corrugated iron outhouses. They are discovered living with dogs. They wander alone in parks. They are abandoned in hospitals. They are thrown at birth down long-drop toilets. They are often found beside their mothers’ dead bodies. Their own families refuse to or cannot help them. They are starved and beaten. They are often no more than 5 years old...
Our mandate from God was not to just provide a bowl of food and a blanket for these children; our mandate was to provide each child with a hope and a future. We were to do for them exactly what we would do for our own children. That meant naming the children, applying for birth certificates, providing AIDS testing, medical treatment, an education and a stable home environment. It also meant we would anoint the children with oil and pray for them to be healed.

Once we started the journey – we were baptised in fire. It has deeply and profoundly changed me and my walk with our Lord.

We have seen God performing healings and miracles. He has healed children and so many little lives saved and children adopted today living all over the world. On a personal level, I will mention but one. It was a lovely day in South Africa when Ryan and I accepted an invitation to go horseback riding in the mountains. Ryan, mounted on an Arabian stallion, lost control when the horse spooked and bolted. By the time I reached his broken body, he was barely alive. In the intensive care unit, Ryan clung to life as a ventilator forced air into his punctured lungs and collapsed diaphragm. I paid careful attention as doctors explained that due to the critical nature of his injuries, Ryan could not survive.
Sitting by his bed, I listened to the whir of the respirator. I have never lacked faith for orphans and children the Lord sent to us. Now death was stalking my house, and Ryan’s only hope was a miracle. Opening my New King James Version Bible, I read Psalm 41:1-3, “Blessed is he who considers the poor; The Lord will deliver him in times of trouble. The Lord will preserve him and keep him alive... The Lord will strengthen him on his bed of illness; You will sustain him on his sickbed.”
“Lord,” I prayed, “I come to You on behalf of my husband. I would remind you that Ryan has considered the poor. He has not turned away from orphans. Because he loves You, he has become a father to the fatherless. Now I ask that You deliver him in his time of need and trouble. I ask You to protect him and keep him alive. Refresh him and strengthen him on his sickbed and restore him from his bed of illness.”
There in the intensive care unit, a creative miracle occurred. Ryan Audagnotti’s lungs were knit back together. His diaphragm was made whole. The Lord delivered him in his time of trouble. The Lord protected him and kept him alive. The Lord refreshed and strengthened him. The Lord restored him from his bed of illness. The Lord healed him!

I love every child at Acres of Love. They belong to their Heavenly Father. It is incredibly inspiring to know that He is the Father of the Fatherless and that we are about our Father’s business. I feel it is the highest calling and a huge privilege to be a part of every child’s life through this work.

Every believer is called and has an assignment. As assignment is always to solve a problem for another. We do not choose our assignment – we discover our assignment. The most important step is to start. He will provide every need when He calls you to His work. Never look down on small beginnings. If He calls you to do His work – do it beautifully in every way.

The children have a hope and a future. They are the future business and Christian leaders of South Africa, they will reach out to the lost and hurting in their communities. They will be confident of the love of their Saviour and that God called them each by name.

I give God all the glory. Today Acres of Love owns and operates 20 homes around Johannesburg. More than 400 children have come through the program. Many are living in countries all over the world – adopted by loving Christian families. God has supplied every need.

The mission of Acres of Love is to provide the most vulnerable, affected and infected infants and children with the highest possible quality of care and love, a strong early childhood development foundation, a community-based safety net and hope.
More than 350 infants and children have spent time in an Acres of Love home over the organization’s first 10 years of operation. The large majority of these children have been placed in adoptive or long-term foster home. Some have been reunited with their families. Sadly, a precious few have died of AIDS.
With medical advances in the treatment of HIV, Acres is committed to the belief that the future is bright and full of promise for the HIV-positive children in its care.
For more info, visit

Monday, November 8, 2010

Chenene | Matric Dance 2010

Chenene, my other beautiful almost-sister-in-law, had her matric dance in September.

Her dashing date arrived with flowers for her as well as flowers for her mom as a thank you gift.

We took some photos of them at home and then they were off to the arrival parade...


I can’t believe we’re in November (or Movember as I’ve heard it called lately)! In 3 weeks I move out of the house. Last week we went and bought all the appliances that I’ll be needing in my new home and this week we’re starting to pack all my things! It also means that in less than a month my best friend (Mieke) is getting married! And then it’s Christmas and the year is over!!



Happy Monday! Smile

Tuesday, October 26, 2010



verb, -nat·ed, -nat·ing.

–verb (used with object) make young again; restore to youthful vigor, appearance, etc.
2. to restore to a former state; make fresh or new again.

So in June (YES! Very delayed post...) we went camping in the Kruger for a week. It was an absolutely fantastic week filled with lazy afternoons spent reading in the tent, conversations around the fire and aircon cooled drives during the day - and were we ever thankful for that aircon!

It was just me, my mom, dad, brother and grandparents and being in the Kruger means not having signal 90% of the time. This turned out to be a very good thing. I had so much time to think, read, meditate and just relax. I felt closer to God than I had in a while and felt like I was finally reaching a new level in my relationship with Him - amazing what some time in the bush can do for you Smile


On our drive there the we drove through the clouds! Mpumalanga really is beautiful

SONY DSCSONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSCOur super cool LED light which was hooked up to a battery. Jip, we do hi-tech camping Smile with tongue outSONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSCThis little guy was just lying in the tree. Then we noticed his genitals... SONY DSC SONY DSCMy FAVOURITE bird! SONY DSCAnd the Kruger is full of them! SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSCHave I mentioned that this is my FAVOURITE bird...? Smile with tongue out SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSCThe stars are absolutely breath-taking when there are no lights around SONY DSCOkay so you’re always urged to “PLEASE DON’T FEED THE ANIMALS” but this was just too coolSONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSCMy brother was very chuffed with the fire he built SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC

More SUPER delayed posts coming soon... Smile