What is at the centre of my lifes mindmap?

Anyone tried mindmapping? And I don’t mean in the early 90’s when the mind mapping guru came to junior school and we all had to sit in the hall armed with koki pens!

I mean now, for our lives, our marriages, our relationships, at home, at work, our kids, our studies, our lifestyles etc?

I just sat down after some quiet time and decided to quickly jot down a mind map for my life. Ya, I know, “quickly”!? Just to get a quick idea of my life in a nutshell.

Having my mind swarming with ideas, thoughts, plans and pressure (self-inflicted & unnecessary), is not an unusual occurrence for me.  I am very aware of time in my life, how much I have and what I am doing with it. I am very aware that I don’t want to be too busy to live.

More recently my life has been getting progressively easier in many ways. Not caring how shiny clean the work surfaces, windows and floors are go a long way to a happier, more fulfilled state of mind. I now only allow myself to care about such things once, maybe twice a week!  Because I now know that within half a day the dogs are in and out, the person you share your home with has messed the surfaces and 2 pigeons have already hit the window. I have been able to take a step back and ask myself, “What am I actually doing with my time?” Am I making sure I have a nice clean house in case someone drops by, or so I can sit back and say what a nice clean house I have and pat myself on the back for being a good housewife?! My husband wouldn’t notice anyway; as long as I am happy and have a smile on my face he doesn’t give a hoot about how clean our house is!  OR I can use my time to grow, grow personally, my relationship with God, reach out to friends and family, volunteer my time etc.

You are probably wondering where I am going with all of this.  I might get there.

So for me personally, God is the centre of my life, so I used all my artistic ability to draw a heart and write God inside it, on the centre of a blank page. I didn’t give myself much time to think about it, so I just  branched out, in this order, RELATIONSHIP (GOD), MARRIAGE, PERSONAL, FAMILY, FRIENDS, LIFESTYLE, STUDY, WORK (SPLASH). All in all I only spent not even 5 minutes to do what is pictured below. I decided to capture and share it as this stage (clearly not ashamed!) I will definitely be breaking this up into individual maps to branch out in more detail and more specifically. What surprised me, is the confirmation that prayer has become such a central part of my life; my initial thoughts on how I need to deal with each branch of my life, was in most cases, PRAYER, and time.


My rather artistic masterpiece

I have been aware that I pray a lot, every morning, throughout the day, and nights where I generally fall asleep before I am done (need to work on that). But seeing it in blue and white on an A4 page, was so encouraging and reaffirmed the power of prayer. I have heard of prayer journals, and maybe this is part of that, because you can actually track answered prayer and then give thanks for answered prayer. Because they do get answered (are we praying for God’s will, or our will?), I can give many examples, of very specific things!

The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps. Proverbs 16:9

I did the mind map to have a look at what I need to do in each area of my life. Yet what I took from it was something slightly different. A reminder to use my time wisely, to serve and love my neighbour, and to glorify God in all that I do. To be living the life God has planned out for us, we need to pray for His guidance, because if we are living the life that He wants for us, not want we want for us, we are guaranteed to have a joy filled life.

Some beautiful inspiration and images from DVOApp.com.

So I need to continue to take time to prayer for God’s guidance, to help me grow and use the time He has given us to glorify Him, and live my dream life. If it isn’t the life God planned for me, then it is not my dream life!

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

I’m always excited to get focused and motivated in all areas of my life, and I think this mindmapping is a fun, effective way to do it. Take a few minutes to mindmap your life. Stick them on your fridge or wall as a daily reminder to motivate yourself. 🙂


When you decide to really go Platteland!

As many of you may well know, it has been a dream of ours to be able to live on a small holding with enough space to grow our own food, have a few animals and be as self-sufficient as possible. This was always something that we had spoken of as “one day’’. As we dreamt of this day after day and night after night, we began to realise what we could actually do with all that space, and that we didn’t just want this space for the two of us, but that we could share this gift with other people, family and friends.

So, we finally took the plunge and purchased our very own 4.5 hectare plot at the Vaal Dam, only 1 hour from Heidelberg! It is going to be a long old process to build the smallholding up to the point where we can eventually move and live there permanently. But in the meanwhile, there is much fun and work to be done, namely; fencing, cutting down alien trees, building stone cottages, lapa’s and houses, swimming, setting out and planting organic vegetable gardens, planting indigenous trees, setting up irrigation systems, camping with friends and just enjoying this wonderful space God has blessed us with.

As mentioned, we do eventually plan to live there permanently and our dream is to grow organic vegetables, free range chicken and eggs and even a bit of grass fed free range lamb and beef, (if there is any leftover!), to sell to the surrounding communities and also assist the less fortunate in the surrounding area.


We spent our first day there today, creating a pathway down to our very own beach, chopping down the blue gum trees which are currently blocking our beautiful view of the water. We have actual white beach sand in front of us which we hear from the residents is like gold on the Vaal. This is the closest we can get to the beach while being 600km from it. We were even visited today by a flamboyance of flamingos to our absolute delight!

Our plot is situated just a few km outside of Oranjeville on a farm estate called Leisure Beach. We are so looking forward to sharing this place with the people in our lives us, so if ever you need to get out of town or just get away for a while, please do get in touch with us. As there is nothing there at the moment, you will need to bring your tent and camping stuff for the time being. It is so peaceful and quiet, especially at night. You realise that you forget what it sounds like NOT to hear cars! We look forward to having friends and family over to enjoy a braai or poitjie and just chill to their hearts content.

Phase 1: Dig the sewage system, cut down the invasive blue gum tree blocking our beautiful view and use them for fencing poles and building material. Watch this space!


JustGiving Crowdfunder for Menstrual Cups

So the JustGiving Crowdfunder ends tomorrow.  We have been trying to raise funds to buy approximately 300 menstrual cups for under privileged girls in high school in Johannesburg South.  Between the crowdfunder and money raised offline, we have just over R11 000, enough for about 73.  As of 4.35pm!

If you missed the previous post about it, you can read more here.

There is still time to donate https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/menstrualcups.  Just over R5000 has been paid directly to me, as some South Africans have found this easier.  So depending on where you live, you can eft or pay cash. You can reach me on 079 355 3666 or mrscolleenblack@gmail.com.

Even if you can’t support financially, please spread the word on Facebook, whatsapp and any way possible.

We will start with the Matric girls and work our way through the school. I will be placing our order with Cara at My Own Cup , a proudly South African company, in the next week or so, as we hope to carry on raising funds even after the crowdfunder closes.

Thank you to everyone who has helped so far – it is going to be life changing for these girls!

UPDATE 14 JANUARY: Between JustGiving, cash and direct transfers, we have received R12300 and the donations and interest are coming in fast than they were at the start! If any people, businesses, or girls schools are interested in getting involved here, please contact me on 079 355 3666 or mrscolleenblack@gmail.com.

Should we rethink the advent calendar …

I recently read about about the Minimalism Game over at gruenish.com. The rules are simple, for each day of November you need to rehome the equivalent number of items.  So one item on the first day, two items on the second day, three on the third and finally ending with 30 on the 30th. But the trick is – nothing can go to landfill, so you need to sell it, donate it, recycle it, compost it etc. They have a group on Facebook; Minimalism Game – Zero Waste Edition, where you post your photos.

We have already thinned out so much of our stuff, and I don’t really want to be a total minimalist, just a teeny bit minimalist! So as I read the blog post about it, I had a lot different thoughts in a very short space of time …

I don’t know if I can find around 450 items to rehome … without entering Erik’s man cave …

We do have things to get rid of though …

Maybe we can do it in December rather …

It is nearly Christmas, which is all about the spirit of giving …

We usually have an advent calendar (reusable wooden one) …

Maybe we can do it as part of our advent …

Why on earth do we fill our advent calendar with treats to give ourselves ?!…

We should give away …

Advent CalendarAnd soooo … as our countdown to Christmas, we will rehome items every day. I imagine it will mainly end up being books, stationery, clothing, accessories, some ornaments, but will see what we discover along the way. I notice some people getting rid of extra toiletries, and Going Zero Waste suggested to hand them out in packs to homeless people – great idea!? So some things could just take a bit of imagination.

Because I spent so much time painting my little wooden advent calendar, I HAVE to use it! I am going to fill it with an assortment of little mini notes of things we could do, verses, motivational quotes etc.

Aside from not being organised enough to post daily what we are doing, I really can not be bothered.  But I will keep track of it and update this blog with what we manage to do up until Christmas.

So many of us are already so privileged in our lives, and I am not trying to be scrooge or take the fun and joy out of Christmas.  Christmas is a time of giving, and I have started to reconsider how I give, and to who.  Do I really need to fill a stocking with a bunch of fairly useless items because they are fun, and then buy a whole bunch of other presents?  Or do I buy one reasonable thoughtful present, and use the extra time, energy and money to give where there is far more need?  Old age homes, orphanages, homeless people, underprivileged schools, animal shelters etc.

Anyone else going to join in doing this, or something similar?  You could get your kids involved, they could give a book or small toy away that they no longer use, maybe a bunch of old crayons?  Take them to an underprivileged school or charity and let them learn the warm fuzzy feeling of giving!

I am quite excited about this!

Turn my eyes from worthless things …

Another great post from DVO today. Only they can put a verse from the Bible, a quote from Socrates and Dolly Parton together along with a few paragraphs and this image, and leave you really reflecting positively on what they have had to say!

DVO“Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way” Ps 119:37 (NKJV)

“Beware the barrenness of a busy life” Socrates

“Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life” Dolly Parton

I just love them.  Sign up for a free 30 day trial and see for yourself.

*This is not a sponsored post*

Modern Family – by Riverside Community

Modern FamilyOur church, Riverside Community, is running an awesome series called Modern Family. This series is amazing for all of us; single, dating, happily married, unhappily married, divorced – you name it – we can all gain something from these sermons from Stephen Pohlmann.

Even if you are not Christian, there is some really valuable advice you can take from this.

‘We are all in some way part of a family, and the way we embrace our roles and relationships is absolutely vital. ‘Modern Family’ looks at building thriving families and relationships built for success.’ – Riverside Community Church

The last sermon dealt with the tricky question of “How would Jesus respond to the homosexual debate?” Stephen has provided some additional information on the website on how to think biblically and theologically about this.

You can visit their website to listen to the sermons or click the links below:

Faith & Family Fit

Making More of Marriage

Prepare: Singleness & Dating

A Modern Collision

I love Stephen’s sermons, he put’s things across in such a real way that you can relate to, and a bit of humour thrown in is always a winner!