Nicolette Writes

Professional Freelance Writer and Stay-at-Home Mom

Archive for the month “July, 2011”

Bad Wolf! Bad Wolf!


Today I am in a very strange mood… I feel nervous, I want to rest, I want (I have) to clean the house, I want to cry, I want to sleep, I want to walk in the sun with the puppy – I am just confused!

Have you ever felt so confused before? It feels like I can experience a hundred emotions at the same time.

Today I am not going to blog on any specific topic. I will put up one of my articles later this week. I guess I just want to share where I am at and you are welcome to reply with your own stories.

So… what’s on my mind?! Pregnancy! My husband and I have been talking about it lately and I can’t help but wonder: when is the right time? Some people say there is never a right time… Am I too young, too emotional, too scatter-brained to have a child at 28?

I have a belly-ring, tattoo, love Thirty Seconds to Mars… does that sound like a mommy? Oh boy, I am just chatting with you as I go! What if having a baby changes my life in a way I can’t handle… When will I go for a run? When will I go on a date with my husband? What about weekends away? I guess you can still do all those things… but will it change my relationship with my husband?

Help! Haha – all mommies, advice is welcome. Not that I am pregnant or anything… Maybe when I am blessed with being pregnant, I will blog about it every week, and then other people can check and see if their week 5, 6, and so on is the same… 🙂

Okay, now I am back to experiencing a hundred emotions all at once. I want to walk in the sun, I want to go for coffee, I want to cry, I want to listen to music and be at peace, etc, etc, etc! Ha!

Crazy woman! 😉 Maybe I am just a women who runs with the wolves… have you read the book? If you are quite in touch with your artistic and spiritual self (and don’t be afraid of these ‘airy-fairy’ terms, I am a Christian girl raised in the Dutch Reformed Church!), this book will teach you valuable lessons:

“SO I say to you with affection, imagistically — be you a Black wolf, a Northern Gray, a
Southern Red, or an Arctic White — you are the quintessential instinctual criatura.
Although some might really prefer you to behave yourself and not climb all over the
furniture in joy or all over people in welcome, do it anyway. Some will draw back from
you in fear and disgust. Your lover, however, will cherish this new aspect of you — if
he or she be the right lover for you. Some people will not like it if you take a sniff at
everything to see what it is. And for heaven’s sakes, no lying on your back with your
feet up in the air. Bad girl. Bad wolf. Bad dog. Right? Wrong. Go ahead. Enjoy
yourself.”
(Clarissa Pinkola Estes in Women Who Run With the Wolves)

Maybe I am not making sense today at all! Perhaps I am just being a bad wolf today… Bad wolf! Bad wolf! Get yourself together. Ha! Whatever… 😉

Love
Nicolette

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HOME


The collage I made of what I want our home to be...

What Do I Want Our Home To Be…

I was recently introduced to the idea of making a dream board. This basically entails cutting out all sorts of pictures that you like or that capture a dream you have and making a collage from them.

I took a magazine and said to myself: I will cut out anything that I find pretty and that I like! The pictures I cut out soon took on a clear theme… They were images of what I want our home to be for us.

I am going to laminate this collage and put it up somewhere where I can be reminded daily of what kind of space I want to create in the home that God and my husband have so lovingly provided for us.

What do you want for your home? Perhaps you should make a list or a collage to remind yourself of the dream you have for your house on the days that you are tired of having to do the dishes and washing. Here are just a few things I want for our home:

• I want our house to be a place where my husband feels happy to practice his hobbies – a safe and accepting environment.

Not a pic of our house, but my hubby busy practicing his hobby!

• I want there to always be food (healthy and sweet!) in the house – I don’t want my husband to open the fridge for a snack and find nothing there (I am sorry if I am offending anyone by seemingly feeding into sexist stereotyping… note that this is not a list for things to do for YOUR home, but merely a list of things that I personally want for our home).

• I want the house to be warm in winter and cool and fresh in summer.

• I want the house to be clean, but not in a perfectionist way.

• I want people to feel very, very welcome in our house.

• Our house should be a space of love – it must be tangible: full of hugs, kisses and listening ears.

• Music – good music should fill the air in our house.

• Beautiful things should be displayed such as flowers or candles.

• I want to have pots with sweets in the kitchen.

• I want to learn how to bake, cook and make cocktails and fill the house with kitchen warmth.

Hmmmm… I can’t think of anything else now. It’s not easy to make a house a home. I will have to look at my collage and list regularly! And I think I need to accept that our house is an ongoing project and that it will change every day and week as the people who live here go through different phases. So I will not be frustrated if I am continually ‘fixing’ the home and it never seems to get finished. There is no finish. It finishes the day both my husband and I are not here anymore.

Tessa - our baby for now 🙂

Love*

Nicolette

The South African Movement – Nation Building and the Restoration of Broken Legacies


THE SAM

By Nicolette Ferreira

“Known or unknown, we can all make a difference if we try.” – Fabian Jood, The South African Movement

Four years ago, on board a flight from Cape Town to Johannesburg, youth pastor Fabian Jood experienced the gentle nudging of God’s Spirit: “You will use the old rubble of past lives to build anew, rebuild the foundations from out of your past. You’ll be known as those who can fix anything, restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate, make the community livable again.” (Isaiah 58:12, The Message) Fabian knew that God had chosen that moment on the aeroplane to show him that He would take him from city to city to restore broken legacies all across South Africa…

THE SOUTH AFRICAN MOVEMENT

Today Fabian is the founder and director of The South African Movement (The SAM), a non-profit organization that focuses on nation building and the restoration of broken legacies in South Africa.

In order to achieve their goal, this vital NPO focuses on the immediate family: ‘We believe that we cannot change our nation until we change our communities… and we cannot change our communities until we change the value of family.’

The SAM aims at motivating, educating and mobilizing South Africans by encouraging them to take a ‘Nation Builder’s Pledge’. By taking this pledge (see http://www.thesam.co.za), individuals promise to propagate positive family values and make a difference in their homes, schools and work place – wherever they find themselves.

In an interview with Lead SA, Fabian says: ‘When you speak of nation building, people immediately assume you are a politician. Yet, nation building is something every South African can be part off. Anybody can be a nation builder – a parent, teacher, doctor, taxi driver or teenager… Known or unknown we can all make a difference if we try.’

The South African Movement is based on Christian values, as the seed for this concept was sown by God. Fabian and the team at The SAM lean on God’s direction and guidance in managing every aspect of this organisation.

PROJECTS AT THE SAM

The SAM is responsible for running a variety of programs in various communities. For the youth, there are life skills programs, youth mentorship programs and entrepreneurship programs. Fabian, who has a Masters degree in Practical Theology through the University of Wales, currently works for Planetshakers City Church (Cape Town) and he specifically has a heart for the youth.

Topics specifically focused on when addressing the youth, involve: Being the change in your community; the power behind realizing your potential; positive self-identity and taking responsibility, instead of being a victim of your past (‘Be an innovator of your future!’).

The SAM also runs various programs and seminars that focus on the whole family. Here facilitators address family matters and values, focusing on the important role that fathers play, and running helpful youth and parent workshops. They specifically deal with the challenge of the generational gap, which puts parents and youth up against each other.

Fabian says that, ‘Young people feel their parents don’t understand them and parents feel the youth are from another planet! We facilitate fun and interactive talks that help parents understand young people and young people their parents – thus saving the war at home so we can build better communities. We make both parents and children aware of the fact that family is the basic building block of any society.’

NOT FORGETTING THE ELDERLY

Society often does not occupy themselves with the needs and lives of their aged members. Many old people go through endless days of no visitors, often sitting in homes where they are given absolutely no respect. The SAM gives much of their energy and resources to getting communities and individuals involved with the precious old-aged. The elderly need the same love, attention and respect that young people do. We are quite similar, in fact, for, as politician Jim Fiebig once said, ‘Age does not diminish the extreme disappointment of having a scoop of ice cream fall from the cone!’

Fabian explains that, ‘Through our community campaigns, we motivate young people in schools to adopt a project in their community. People can look at what the needs are in their community and then we facilitate the process by getting sponsors and exposure and by keeping them accountable for their projects. Many young people feel that old people are neglected, which is why they keep reaching out to old age homes. Our responsibility is to ensure these projects are not once-off events but ongoing ventures.’

TELLING STORIES

As part of their nation building mission, The SAM focuses on telling the stories of ordinary South Africans: ‘We tell the stories of those who cannot speak for themselves, highlighting success stories within families and communities: stories of inspiration, hope and courage. We bring to the light, stories of nation builders all across our nation!

‘There are genuine people who, through severe circumstances, are doing the best they can to live honest and dignified lives. By putting together short documentaries of such people on our website and Facebook page, and in the near future on main stream television and you-tube, we want to inspire the nation. If we do not tell these stories, no one will ever hear about them. We speak on behalf of those who do not have the necessary resources.’ (‘To understand a man you must know his memories. The same is true of a nation’ – Anthony Quayle.)

GETTING INVOLVED

The SAM is committed to seek out, motivate, mobilize and resource emerging nation builders to make a difference where they can. Why not join this significant and vibrant movement by becoming a nation builder in your home and community? Go to their website for information on signing the Nation Builder’s Pledge (www.thesam.co.za). Perhaps you are aware of a desperate need in your community: Bring your suggestions to Fabian and his team.

The SAM is currently doing a nation wide Schools and Community Tour from May till October to encourage South Africans to take the Nation Builders Pledge. Email The SAM at info@thesam.co.za if you would like them to host an event in your area.

The South African Movement serves as a reminder of the hope that reigns in the hearts of South Africans. “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” (Ephesians 3: 20-21)

Gender 101


I wrote this article for Life After School – a magazine that is handed out at high schools – and it was published last year. Comments welcome! To what extent do you think school kids are aware of gender issues?

Men’s shirts, short skirts – Man! I feel like a woman!

By Nicolette Ferreira

Glossy red nails, short skirts, a sparkling diamond ring – the perfect attraction. Perhaps you also imagine yourself as the ultimate feminine phenomena praised in Shania Twain’s popular ‘girl-power’ song. But once you get to university, you will meet people with various different outlooks on gender roles. Be prepared to count your words, or you might just end up in the campus newspaper for being sexist!

Feminist theorist, Simone de Beauvoir, made the statement that “one is not born [a woman], but becomes a woman”. Hmmm, interesting. At first it sounds absurd… a woman certainly has some private places which make her a woman, and a man, well, uhmmm… has his own ‘package’ that makes him a man. It’s as uncomplicated as that! A woman is a woman and a man is a man. Perhaps it is not that simple. Is it possible that society produces this ‘creature’ – the woman? Is it a mere myth that women should naturally like roses, have longish hair, love hearts and adore chocolates?

The ‘myth of woman’ refers to the belief that women and men are born as equals, but that women are then taught by society to become different to men, ie. soft, gentle, mysterious, stylish, dainty and feminine. Some feminists argue that this belief of difference between the sexes (fostered even before birth by the notion that pink is for girls and blue for boys) is produced to justify the oppression of women by men: if men are hard and capable, and women are soft, gentle and squeamish, it justifies why men should be the leaders, heroes and providers.

The ‘female sex’ has been defined in the past as “the sex that produces offspring” (Oxford English Dictionary 1963). This means that women are women because they have breasts, ovaries, a womb and so forth. But if we define women as those giving birth, or if we say that someone is a woman because she has softer lips, softer skin, longer nails and softer hands than a man (if we explain it biologically), the concept of ‘woman’ becomes problematic: what about those women who do not have soft hands or long nails, who are fat and all but dainty, who have rough skin or hair on their backs, those who have a bit of a moustache and those who do not want to or can not have children? Does this leave them in some unnamed category outside those of ‘woman’ and ‘man’? An unflattering she-man?!

We often equate being a “woman” to being feminine – and we are told by society that being femine means being the opposite of ugly Betty. This promotion of the feminine woman forces women to have children, to shave their legs, wax their backs and pluck their moustaches. Their bodies become de-formed (by too much make-up, painful waxing, exfoliation, tight shoes, haircuts, cutex) and ‘woman’ is ultimately created (through waxing, shaving, make-up and exfoliation!). One is not born…but becomes a woman!

You’ve been warned: don’t expect all women on campus to be ‘your’ kind of woman. You also don’t need men’s shirts or short skirts to be a woman! This is one of the greatest values I learned at Univeristy: to be a critical thinker!

EmmaLou Golden Destroyer


I hope I succeed in creating a link here… I want to refer you to one of my favourite blogs! Check this out:

http://emmalougoldendestroyer.wordpress.com/2011/07/11/be-careful-this-could-happen-to-you-too/#comment-360

http://emmalougoldendestroyer.wordpress.com/2011/07/11/be-careful-this-could-happen-to-you-too/#comment-360

Hmmm – I’ll have to check this post now to see whether the link is active!

Mwah mwah!
Ps: EmmaLou Golden Destroyer always replies:-) Tessa, my puppy, has regular conversations with her! Check the site!

Making Winter Better!! Is It Possible??


Jeepers – how on earth can we keep warm enough in winter?! I can’t stay in bed all day and neither can I sit in my office with the heater on for twelve hours…

And layering! I hate layering – I always lose one of the layers that moved upwards during the day and I can’t quite reach it to pull it down again – haha!

I am trying to find ways to be positive about winter. So I thought I should try the ‘list thing’. Feel free to join in. I will try to list TEN things (oh my, will I find ten things?!) that I really like about winter. Sigh – here goes! Not sure if this will improve my feelings towards winter…

1) I love pancake

2) I love sleeping in winter and I can snuggle up close to my hubby without him complaining that I am sleeping him off the bed!

3) I really like hot chocolate and cappuccinos and we drink them so much more often in winter

4) Soup is one of my favourite dishes

5) I think Gluhwein is divine! (Does anyone have a nice recipe?)

I’m running out of things I like about winter here!!

6) Foam baths! Foam baths in winter are wonderful!

7) Watching DVDs in winter are much more fun than watching them in summer

8) More shopping… 🙂

Hmmm, let’s see… I don’t know what else…

9) Having an excuse to exercise less!

10) The fact that it doesn’t and cannot last forever!!

And oh yes!! 11) My black boots and Jenni Button black coat are more than enough reasons to love winter!
Perhaps I should get dressed in my boots, watch a DVD, drink a cappuccino and search for a Gluhwein recipe on the Internet. Perhaps winter is not so bad after all. What do you like about winter?

Stay warm… and good!

Love
Nicolette

The Beautiful Face of Africa


This article was quite tricky to write… I had to write it in first person, without having met Kate – I only had her answers from an email interview I had with her! It was challenging to write as if I were Kate myself! Luckily, the beautiful lady loved the article. Phew! It appeared in SOUL Magazine.

Isn't Kate Menson Lovely?

KATE MENSON – The Beautiful Face of Africa!

Some people call a success story ‘from rags to riches’. But when I think about where I come from, I do not think of a place inferior. I will never forget my family and I will never forget beautiful Ghana.

My life in a nutshell

In 2008, I, Kate Menson, came one enormous jump closer to my dream of becoming a professional model. I was the new Face of Africa! And it was no daytime reverie. Overnight my world was transformed: as a youngster I used to spend long lazy days with my friends in Tesand, Ghana, riding like daredevils on our bicycles (disturbing the neighbourhood’s serenity), and moulding all sorts of weird and amazing things out of clay! Today I get to wear (and not make out of clay!) weird and amazing things. As Winner of the 2008 Face of Africa Competition, I was granted a modelling contract with O Model Africa. Today this Ghanaian sister lives in Cape Town and people actually recognise me on the street! It is so strange…

My inspiration

I can face my new exciting existence with all its challenges, thanks to the loving support I have received from my fabulous family. I come from a household of six: my mom and dad, two brothers and a sister are a sweet source of sustenance to me. My two older siblings, Gloria and Charles, are married, both working and living in Ghana. My other brother is still studying to be a systems administrator. My dear old dad is retired (keeping my mom busy!) and mum is trading. They all play such special roles in my life and I dearly love these dear ones. Home, for me, however, can be anywhere…home is a place where I feel comfortable and loved. Speaking of ‘lurve’, you are probably curious about Mr Right now! Let’s just say, there is a heart so close to mine…

My Greatest Challenges

Dear and near ones can unfortunately not always fight off tough and hurtful experiences. Where I come from, my biggest challenges were always financially related. There were so many things needed and wanted that could not be afforded. Another great challenge for me involved the first time I entered the Face of Africa competition. I didn’t even make it to the bikini section, due to my measurements. I had to exercise hard and I also had to watch what I ate precariously. When I won the competition two years later, I was naturally confronted with the following question: is success synonymous with being thin? I suddenly realised that I was in the ‘perfect industry’. Eventually I came to the conclusion that as a sportswoman has to stay fit for her race, so I have to look well-groomed and healthy for the international world of fashion. But I also know that I am not going to get my pretty red shoes out the door if I am too tired and sick!

Time with my Creator

Being beautiful on the outside, however, means being sparkling on the inside! And who else to put the glitter in your heart than the most creative, gracious Man of them all. I know that God is there, keeping a watchful eye over me (especially when I have to walk the walk in my high heels!). Sometimes it is just so hard to open the door when he knocks – my lifestyle can get so busy-busy-busy! With regard to this, my mum has really been a source of inspiration: she calls me often to check that I am getting my daily bread (Bible scriptures). She also makes sure I give thanks, praise and acknowledgement to the One who deserves it.

Free time!

When I do eventually get some time off to myself, you will find this sister relaxing on the massage bed! Oh what a heavenly treat – bless those hands! The perfect day for me would end off with a glass of wine and a movie to help me unwind. While I am ‘couching’, you will probably find me lost in another reverie – dreaming about making it to the very top and becoming a marvellous model! Marvellous, but studious(!)…I would love to study for a degree.

No matter how far away my journey will take me – I will never forget my family and I will never forget Ghana. I have set up a little modelling agency there to help in my own little way. And in a few years time you won’t find me daydreaming alone on this couch. Oh no! I will be in the arms of my Prince Charming. And we will probably have to watch “Happy Feet” or “Barbie”…because there will definitely be little darlings dashing around!

Nicolette Ferreira

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