Saturday, 22 December 2012

Trekking through the Jungle

Okay, I will admit it before you get too excited: it wasn’t a jungle. It was more like a steady flow of water and rocks that made up a ravine surrounded by trees and thick foliage. So if you stretched your imagination a bit, it could feel like a jungle. Except that the wildest animals I saw were birds, spiders, endless webs, one buck and a single crab.

At first our walk just consisted of happy rock-hopping to avoid stepping in the shallow water and getting our shoes soaked. The real adventure began when it become impossible to hop from rock to rock and we had to move onto land on one side of the ravine. That would have been a piece of cake if the “land” wasn’t covered in thick bushes and thorny plants that we had to force our way through. And there was an abundance of those deceptively pretty flowers attached to thorny stems that inflict poison into your skin to produce red and slightly swollen scratches if you dare to come into their territory.

Sometimes we were forced to go out into the open, away from the water and bushes, and then had to put up with the humid sun. Then, when it was again possible, we would curve back downwards to the ravine. Once we had to climb up a small, but steep, wet rock-face since our way was once-again blocked by resentful shrubbery. Later, after we had walked awhile, we climbed back downwards, using a small, sapling of a tree for support. At one spot, we even startled a deer, which, poor thing, disappeared out of sight instantaneously. We crawled under fallen trees, along the bank while clinging onto whatever we could and, believe me, I nearly slipped several times on this venture.

Finally, we had well-earned rest on a big, flat rock where we chewed on dried mango strips and ate thick slices of banana bread smeared with butter. We sat there for awhile, just listening to the beautiful sound of flowing water and looking up at the sun shimmering on the leaves that made up the sky above our heads. We then took the road instead of the “jungle” on the walk back home, our arms and legs bearing proof of a battle with thorns, branches and mud. There is something satisfying about those scratches and mud patches though; they are the evidence that we braved and survived a trek through the “jungle”………….

All pictures taken by Jess Leigh

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Small Joys

There’s something so soothing and beautiful about rain falling gently outside my bedroom window. Walking outside in the cool night air with the full moon shining up above is bliss. Just the beauty of the sun shimmering across long grass or through leaves in a tree fills me with peace. There are so many small, wonderful joys in our everyday life that we tend to overlook. I am one of those “old-fashioned” people who love reading, poetry, art, nature and beautiful things completely devoid of technology. In fact, I believe that technology, such as computers, internet, cell phones, etc, are just distractions from the things in our lives that really matter. Technology has provided a busy life so that you never have to get bored. But maybe what it really has done is take away those important moments of thoughtful meditation, of noticing everyday miracles and of hearing God’s voice whisper through the simple things around us.

Technology has its place and I use it daily. But I can’t help but be annoyed when I see how teenagers are so dependent on it that they can’t have a face-to-face conversation without looking at their cell phones every few minutes. To me, it is so sad that we have let some things of the past go. The love of art and literature and learning and classical music are slipping away, being replaced with less important things like the latest gadgets. I mean we even have digital books! What ever happened to  the joy of just  holding a book in your hands and being able to turn the pages with enjoyment?  Perhaps I just long for the times when creative things were appreciated, and people weren’t always in a rush and cramming their days with activities. 

We, especially teenagers, need to learn to appreciate the small joys that surround us each day, the organic and natural joys.  Instead of always chatting over your phones about nothing in front of people, learn to have real, heart-felt conversations with those in front of you, for that is how you make real friends. Instead of taking things for granted or pining away over the fact that you don’t own the newest technology, look around you and notice the things God gives you for free: gorgeous sunsets, colourful flowers, songs of crickets, family, friends and the list can go on.  You may think these are just ramblings of a nostalgic girl who doesn’t sound like she’s living in the 21 Century, but I think a healthy dose of simplistic things would do the world some good.  I challenge you today to not overlook small, wonderful things, but to see their beauty and to savour it.

Saturday, 17 November 2012


The Carpenter stared at the seemingly useless block of wood and decided to make a wooden man. He took up His chisel and began His work. He chiselled here and there, getting rid of what hindered His goal. After being hard at work for hours and hours, the Carpenter stepped back and stared at His masterpiece with pride. What had once been a useless chunk of wood was now perfect.

Character building takes time and lots of pain. Sometimes we wonder why we have experience certain things that hurt. We ask the question, “If God loves me, why do I have to suffer?” But I’ve learnt a very valuable lesson: it is in the darkest hours of our lives that we grow and learn the most, if we choose to continue to trust in God. Sometimes those times of pain are just the times God is chiselling away what shouldn’t be there, forming a masterpiece that will one day, in eternity, be perfect. He’s chipping away pride, vanity, bad habits and other things that get in the way of our effectiveness in the Kingdom of God. It’s because God loves us that our lives are not all sunshine.

God has been chiselling at my character a lot these last two years. It hasn’t been easy; on the contrary, it’s been painful. But I’ve matured and learnt a lot in the last two years. I still don’t understand why I have had to go through a lot of the things I’ve gone through. But I do know that God is equipping me for something that requires certain lessons. Don’t misunderstand me; God doesn’t cause bad things to happen to us, but He brings good out of the bad. He uses difficult situations to teach us and to mold us into someone who looks more like Him. Our characters need to be tested and chiselled before we can truly become mighty men and women of God. It’s a difficult, painful process. But in the end, it will be worth it. 

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Must Reads

The following books are written by young people and I believe that every teenager and student should read them; they could change your whole way of thinking.

Do Hard Things- Alex and Brett Harris

Do Hard Things was written by the Harris twins when they were eighteen years-old. This book completely changed the way I thought about teenagers and our abilities. The subtitle for this book is “A teenage rebellion against low expectations”, or what they call a Rebelution. They challenge teenagers to rise above expectations and to do things that can change the world. Instead of settling for second-best, the twins challenge teens to step out of their comfort zones and do hard things for the glory of God. I believe that this inspirational book could change your life. To learn more about the Rebelution go to:

Lose Your Cool- Zach Hunter

Lose Your Cool was written by the modern-day abolitionist Zach Hunter when he was 17 years-old. Filled with inspirational stories about passionate people, Lose Your Cool challenges you to “Lose your cool and discover a passion that changes you and the world.” Zach calls teenagers to be passionate about what really matters and to allow that passion to stir them into action to make a difference in their community and the world. This book is extremely motivating for teenagers and I am looking forward to Zach Hunter’s next book. If you want to learn more about Zach Hunter and his fight to end modern-day slavery, you can visit his website at:

I Kissed Dating Goodbye- Joshua Harris

I Kissed Dating Goodbye was written by the Harris twins’ older brother when he was in his early twenties. Joshua Harris writes about the emotional, physical and spiritual purity consequences of casual dating. He challenges single people to use their time of singleness to grow in God and become mature men and women, as well as to protect their purity. He challenges teenagers to wait for the person who they’ll spend the rest of their lives with. If you curious about why you shouldn’t date and what the consequences of dating are, I really encourage you to read this book.

Uncompromising- Hannah Farver

Uncompromising was written for teenage girls by college student Hannah Farver.  This challenging, encouraging and honest book speaks to teenage girls about many of the issues they face entering into womanhood. Hannah Farver writes that we’re meant to have a cause and many girls use vain substitutes (beauty, love, boys, etc) to take the place of the real Cause (Jesus). You can visit Hannah Farver’s blog at:

Saturday, 27 October 2012

The Passion of the Christ

After watching The Passion of the Christ it struck me. All our suffering is nothing compared to what we should have gone through; it’s nothing compared to what Jesus suffered in our stead. He was betrayed, mocked, beaten, scourged, spat on, hated by the crowd and even deserted by his friends. And He bore the weight of the whole world’s sin on His back. He even experienced complete separation from the Father, the separation we should have undergone, when He cried in agony of spirit and body: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Imagine experiencing so many kinds of suffering all at once.

Of course, through the Bible we know about what Jesus went through. But it’s so different when you see it with your own eyes. In The Passion of the Christ, you see His pain, you see His body so damaged it’s unrecognisable and you see what we deserved. That’s what my heart was screaming out whilst watching the movie: “Jesus, I should have been the one to receive the punishment, not you!” Yet, Jesus took it for us. As He hung upon that cross, His body drenched in His own blood and nails in His hands and feet, He showed us the very face of love. We all go through times in our lives when we doubt God’s love or just don’t feel it and we ask Him to show it to us again. Yet I realised how selfish that prayer actually can be. Jesus showed us love when He died a terrible death for us, what other proof do we need that Jesus loves us more than we can ever imagine? If you ever go through suffering or times when God’s love feel oceans away- believe me I’ve been there many times-look to the cross and remember the sacrifice our Saviour paid for us. He knows what you’re going through and He loves you so much that He gave everything for you.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

The Hope of Spring

 There’s something about the changing seasons that causes me to stop and reflect. It’s quite amazing how our surroundings can affect us. On a beautiful, cool spring day, my heart fills with joy and peace.

Spring has finally come to South Africa. There’s something about spring that renews my hope. What was once dead and brown suddenly transforms into something beautiful. New things begin to grow; flowers appear, the grass slowly turns green, leaves adorn the trees in glory once more and the birds sing their melody yet again. And the sweet aroma in the air....I can’t describe it; all I know is that it fills my heart with joy and contentment. But I think if hope had a scent it would smell like spring. It’s on spring days that I can feel God at work around me; making things new and mending what has been broken. It’s the time we notice the amazing Gardener at work.

Spring gives me hope. It shows me that healing is always possible, even after the most severe winter. Spring to me is joy and hope in its physical form. It paints a picture of God planting flowers in our lives and giving us new life; a picture of God bringing beauty out of the ashes. We must never lose heart, for spring always returns, even when it feels like the cold is unending. 

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Blogging Break

Hey everyone, I'm so sorry I've been neglected your blogs and mine! My life has been very busy with studying for upcoming exams, but they'll be over in three weeks time. Just want to let you all know that I'll, unfortunately, have to take a "break" from blogging and focus on school. So sorry for not keeping up with you all, but I do really appreciate all the comments, awards and new followers. "See" you in three weeks time! :)

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Music Videos

So today, I'm going to do a different post for three reasons. One, I actually don't have time at the moment to write a blog post (I'm studying for exams),two, I have never posted a music video on my blog before, so it would be nice to do something new, and three I think the two music videos below are quite amazing and would like to share them. I don't know if any of you have watched them already, but, for those who haven't, I hope you enjoy them.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Introducing Bronte

On Wednesday evening, I got my little black, female kitten. After asking for months, I finally convinced my dad to let me have a kitten. I named her Bronte, after one of my favourite authors, Charlotte Bronte. Here are a few pictures of her (unfortunately I haven't got many good ones yet). She is about six weeks old and is quite a handful! She's playful, noisy, and is still learning that the litter is where she does her business, not under my cupboard, but she is so cute!

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Fearing the Unknown

Fear can grip you in its icy claws until you feel like you want run away and just disappear. Fear is one of the most crippling feelings. It can stop you from doing things that perhaps need to be done for your own sake. Fear is what keeps us in our comfort zones and prevents us from making a difference in the lives of others. It is a feeling I know well. There are so many things I’m terrified of, and they are not necessarily physical things. Often the things we are scared of are those that cause us to step into the unknown. We fear when we have to do something that doesn’t come naturally to us. But we’ll never grow if we don’t learn to overcome our fears.

The problem is that our fear only really evaporates when we do that thing we are afraid of. I’m not talking about doing nonsensical things; there are some things that we should be afraid of. The kind of fear I am talking about is the fear that keeps us from walking with God into the more that He has. And walking with God always involves taking giant and scary leaps of faith. Sometimes we cower away and refuse to budge. But we’ll only be robbing ourselves. I’m writing this for myself as much as for you. Fear is often a huge thorn in my side. At this point in my life, I’m terrified of the unknown future. I’m terrified of growing up. I know that soon I’ll have to make the choice of stepping further out of my comfort zone than I have ever done before. Stepping into the unknown requires inner courage that we can only get from God.

Taking that leap of faith may be daunting but what’s waiting on the other side is perhaps better than we could ever imagine. And yes we may fall, but Jesus is always there to catch us. What we have to realise is that God is bigger than our fear and He’s bigger than the things we fear. There is nothing on this earth that is too big for God to handle. We need to learn to entrust our fears to God and believe that He is in control. Taking that step into the unknown may feel like you’re flying over a dark chasm, but it in the end it’ll be worth it..... and you would have learned how to soar like an eagle.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Perfect Patience

Patience isn’t one of my virtues. In a world where fast food, airmail and cars rule, most of us want things to happen now. Impatient and hating to wait, we expect everything to go smoothly and quickly. This world has turned into race course; if you want to be on top and successful, you can’t stop and wait for anything; you have to keep speeding on towards the finish line. And that is a dangerous lifestyle; it’s a lifestyle that doesn’t enjoy the moment and doesn’t understand a God whose patience is perfect.
If God was not patient, He would have thrown me out of His Story years ago. Instead, He shows me His everlasting mercy by giving me another chance. When I fail, He doesn’t yell at me to just get lost. He shows me my mistake and promises to never leave nor forsake me. God is patient with us every step of the way on this difficult road called life. He never gives up on us, He never forgets us. Because of His amazing love and mercy, His patience is unlimited. That doesn’t mean we take it for granted and keep on sinning. It means we try even harder than ever to walk in His ways. God’s patience and love give us the strength and perseverance to keep moving on. When we’ve failed yet again, His patience is the promise that He still believes in us enough to be ever-present in our lives.