My Father, Our Father

wp-1490687306676.jpg

“You cannot change the past for, I dare say, you might learn something from it” -Alice Through the Looking Glass

My earthly father is my biggest role model other than Jesus. It is from him I have learnt my ambition and entrepreneurship. Without completing school my dad started his own business, manufacturing and selling safes, strong room doors, gun safes etc.  He set a goal to provide each of his children a fully paid for home upon his death. He drove our beautiful South Africa,  selling door-to-door in the 70’s-80’s. Many a story he tells of travelling long distances through the rural Eastern Cape (then Transkei) and Kwazulu-Natal (Then Natal); I think he passed on his love for roadtrips to me also.

In 1980 he bought a plot on Chapman’s Peak Mountain in Hout Bay, Cape Town for R8000 and built our family home bit-by-bit, selling it near 20 years later, around the same time as his business. Now he “flips properties”, buying, fixing himself, selling; along with everything else, he is an efficient and versatile handyman and  the ever-consistent entrepreneur.

wp-1490684556158.jpg

Perhaps one day I will live this dream too, only the Father knows the plan

Over the years I lived in many places. I have lived on the breadline and in the heart of townships & ganglands. I have earned excellent commission and squandered my riches. I have worked for minimum wage and lived beyond my means. I have studied to earn better and climbed to corporate ladder. I think all these experiences have taught me so much about real people, real culture, real wonderful South Africa.

And so this brings me to my new home, the place I have found freedom and complete peace, in Bulwer, KwazuluNatal. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I have such a love for this province., even as I type this I tear up (odd I know). So yes, my dad paid for this “fixer-upper” home, I am so privileged, blessed, loved.

However, I am not and never have been a spoilt-rich-kid. My dad taught us to work for our pocket money from a very young age. Over the years he offered incentives for jobs at home and his office, which increased with inflation.

wp-1490683877824.jpg

Forgiven so that I can Forgive. Unashamed because of Mercy

Unlocking and opening his work gate 5 times  week while on school holiday earned R5.00. Washing his VW panel van (the commercial kind with only front windows) paid R20 – R40. Adding up his work ledger was sometimes a paying job, other times I did it for fun, I love numbers.

And one on my favourite jobs was eradicating house flies, at R0.50 – R2 a fly. The budding entrepreneur in me defrosted meat on the windowsill or in the microwave to draw every fly in the neighbourhood (I am proud to say that I have retained my skills, swatting: level expert). How many afternoons were a flurry of anticipation at my father’s homecoming. I would wait for him to finish supper before proudly presenting him with haul for payment.

wp-1490683846286.jpg

Focus on the good things

The entrepreneur in me has continued to evolve, studying, working, studying while working. But it has never been about money. I am the kind of person that becomes my brand; I commit wholeheartedly to the care of that brand, hence my progression to corporate Public Relations and subsequent study.

And it is also from that part of my character that this journey began. I realised that I could never maintain giving 100% to someone else’s brand, the personal cost was too great. For years I excelled in study and employment, but nobody knew the dark nemesis that lurked behind the scenes.

wp-1490684541832.jpg

The Father’s Freedom

There are many uncertainties in this journey of faith; limited reserve fund, facing my raw past, and of course self doubt. But despite all this, I know I’m on the right track. My Faith in my Heavenly Father has proven true.  Why, because after almost 20 years of being plagued by my dark nemesis, I am finally free of the physical degradation of eating disorder. I physically felt it lift when I took up residence in my new home.

I recently learned that my father has told my new Bulwer community that this is my house, and I have made my own money in my life. When I heard this I was in awe of the humility of this man. He has come from nothing and has given everything to provide for his family, achieving and surpassing his initial goal. He is true role model and indeed a precious gift from my Heavenly Father.

The writing my autobiography has shifted slightly out of focus, like what often happens with plans, they evolve. I now find myself exploring yet another talent: photography. So much so that I’ve just made an investment in a Canon 80d camera body plus kit lense 18-135mm, and done a beginners workshop with My Photo School in Durban, KZN.

This ties in perfectly with my love of sharing beautiful our Father’s breath-taking creation and I am learning and loving “photography tourism/journalism”. Add this to my PR and Social Media knowledge and I realise (over and over) that I am I have been given so much.

wp-1490686665479.jpg

Changes a foot

Every single blessing, talent, ability and gift I have received: It has only been given to me to be used.  So use it I shall; for the love of my country, the honour of my earthly father’s dedication, and the fulfillment my Heavenly Father’s plan.

Cave Women

Plant Abundance

Late last summer, I went hiking with two wonderful women and slept in a cave for the first time ever.

Christeen Grant is a seasoned hiker and guides small groups of fortunate people to explore the Drakensberg, often. Carol Segal is all round happiness.  How lucky was I to have these lovely creatures for company?

In high spirits we set off in the mist from Garden Castle bound for somewhere high in the hills.  I am not a fan of carrying stuff, but if you are heading into the Wilderness Area you really do have to!

r-garden-castle-bridge

As some of my friends will know (artichokes around the campfire….), camping is no excuse for bad food. Carol and Christeen are also passionate about local, seasonal, healthy grub –  a recipe for success! So, as many of my blog posts do – this one will mention the food. No palm oil laden, instant…

View original post 792 more words

Writer’s Throwback

While unpacking my life at my new home in BulwerSouthern DrakensbergSouth Africa I came across this amazing throwback to my 12 year old writing self.

In 1998 my friend and I entered an Mnet KTV Write Stuff short story competition. 

Here’s the whole short story:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

What a tender-hearted writer I was. We did not win the competition, and I can’t for the life of me remember if we came 2nd or 3rd.

There is an entire folder of my primary school life, projects, pics and precious memories!

In Journeys & Autobiography Memories

moniquevanderwalt_journey_autobiography_memories_god_life_explore_capeture_share-9

Stubborn dewdrops like memories as rolling mist like emotion swoops on Bulwer Mountain – Autobiography’s Journey

If you’re new here, lets do a quick recap of what’s happened thus far…

September 2016 I fired my boss to completely live by Faith, doing whatever I felt God lead me to do. I have always had a deep knowledge that I need to write my autobiography, and from a few simple sentences from a few special people, I took the first step. I also knew that I would never be able to fulfill Gods purpose for my life while working in the corporate world; I needed to tell  my story, heal through helping others.

My long-standing, and frequently spoken distant desire to “move into the bush and grow my own food” became a vital in my moving forward. Sustainable-living and a place of refuge for the broken to heal,  were and perhaps still are plans for the future.

moniquevanderwalt_journey_autobiography_memories_god_life_explore_capeture_share-6 moniquevanderwalt_journey_autobiography_memories_god_life_explore_capeture_share-4

I was in my home town of Cape Town and within less than 2 weeks of resigning, I packed up my flat, loaded what I could in my Hyundai Atos and returned to my beloved KwaZuluNatal. I put my Milnerton flat on the market and God sold it within a week, so began my search for a farm/country house & spacious garden or even completely wild land.

And I have found it in the Southern Drakensberg in my beloved country South Africa. Tomorrow I move in to my new property. For the past 6 weeks I have been renting in Bulwer and cannot wait for my furniture to arrive from the Mother City sometime within the week. God has even provided additional housing & tenants for immediate income! It is almost surreal, its such a dream come true.

moniquevanderwalt_journey_autobiography_memories_god_life_explore_capeture_share-7 moniquevanderwalt_journey_autobiography_memories_god_life_explore_capeture_share-11

But it has most definitely not been all flowers and hearts. In writing my autobiography, I have delved into the deepest canyons of some of my darkest memories, reliving their horror over and over. My last post was one of the most dark, and it has taken me a while to come back here.

I have written about them before in my youth, but this time is different. The horror of those memories is deep and disgusting, but I have a shield and a blanket of comfort in my Saviour. I also know that I am writing from a place of sheer ambition and determination. My accountability to you motivated me, the  hope that someone will take courage in my story drives me to push on.

moniquevanderwalt_journey_autobiography_memories_god_life_explore_capeture_share-12 moniquevanderwalt_journey_autobiography_memories_god_life_explore_capeture_share-2

I do not post everything I draft in that file in My Documents called Autobiography Full. I write as I am lead; I pray for inspiration, a memory or a desire to pound my thoughts to page. And I have been reliving so many moments, memories and feelings that have not entered my mind’s labyrinth in years. It it scary and satisfying.

My burdens are lightened because I have found courage in this near perfect part of the world. I have lived in countless areas, cities and traveled worldwide; but somehow here in the Southern Drakensberg, I feel as if I have found my home base and its wonderful.

moniquevanderwalt_journey_autobiography_memories_god_life_explore_capeture_share-10 moniquevanderwalt_journey_autobiography_memories_god_life_explore_capeture_share-13

The infrastructure of the village of Bulwer is on the up and up. A Municipality building is being built and within the last 2 months all the telephone poles have been replaced, and new stops signs continue to pop up. Now all we need is a Telkom Exchange for Wifi, I have Faith that it will come soon.

So as I am at yet another huge life event, I thought I would fill you in. My journey is wild, erratic, petrifying, and gloriously incredible thus far.  I am amazed daily at the perfect love and plan Jesus has for me.  Yet, of course I know that there will be more canyons of emotion on my journey. But I also know that God has carried, dragged and rescued me countless times already.

In each passing canyon there is less quicksand, and each verge of Saving Grace is a far greater place than I could ever have imagined.

moniquevanderwalt_journey_autobiography_memories_god_life_explore_capeture_share-8

Autobiography: Epic Journey, Canyons of Memories, Beauty of living by Faith

But as I lift my hands I understand that I should Praise You through my circumstance! – Shackles (PraiseYou) – Mary J Blige

 

 

6 Drakensberg experiences for people who hate hiking

Great stuff about my new home area.

The Roaming Giraffe

dsc_0383-01

The Central Drakensberg is reached via a 200km stretch of the N3 highway from Durban, followed by 60km on minor roads leading into some of the most impressive mountains in South Africa.

Hikes, climbs and adventures are expected in an area like this, but the allure of this area is very diverse.

Did you know that these roads will also lead you to the home of one of the top youth choirs in the world?

Or that these peaks and valleys offer a safe haven for birds of prey to recover from injury?

Or that you can step out of your hotel room and be walking on a path into forests of ferns, rivers, waterfalls and caves?

I recently spent six days in the Central Drakensberg and apart from the scenery, peace, fresh air and great food, these were the highlights of my stay.

Music in the Mountains

You do not have to…

View original post 1,317 more words

Cried for Love

He came into my room 2 nights afterwards, and had broken down into tears begging for forgiveness, repeating how sorry he was and how much he loved me. This broke me, I cried too. I cried not for the fresh bruises all over my body or the ache in my neck where his hands had been around my throat, nor for the torrent of obscenities I had endured from his devilish tongue.

 

I cried because I had idolised him, I cried for my loss. My tears fell for the man that I had loved with all my heart, my protector, the bravest and most valiant man I had known. All of that was shattered. I didn’t know who he was. I didn’t know who I was.

Just under 3 weeks later my 14th birthday arrived; I used makeup to cover up the remains of the shiner on my left eye for my special day. Looking at the photograph it is clear how lost I am, numbness escapes my soul through its windows. The picture taken is as real as the moment remains in my mind. That day, I looked at the camera and thought, “I would never have thought I would be feeling like this today.”

Autobiography: A Canyon to Begin

moniquevanderwalt_autobiography_begin_canyon_southafrica_freedom_write_examine_explore_capture-1

Through canyons and over hilltops I will go while on this Autobiography Journey

In the past few weeks I have knuckled down and focused on my autobiography; part of me wants to post everything, but I have realised that it is not the right time for neither you, them nor me.

What I found is that writing from the start is more difficult than writing at peaks of memory or inspiration from a past moment. I have many autobiography excerpts saved in different documents, but I have finally compiled an unedited starting point…

Why start at the beginning? That is when everything is still fine and dandy, or at least one thinks so. I don’t think one is supposed to remember being an infant, as it must be quite a disturbing time in one’s life, completely helpless and at the mercy of people that are supposed to have your best interests at heart.

I am unsure of my earliest memory, there’s a blur of pictures but nothing concrete, yet. Snippets have been fading in and out of my consciousness, but my self-defense mechanisms are still in place. All that I am sure of at this point that between the ages of 2 and 4 something caused me to completely block off those years of my life, which I believe is a blessing in disguise.

Since this Autobiography starting point I have penned family personality traits and some background and need-to-knows. I have also touched on a few reference points that tweak the pull to the canyon with an intense reliving of the despair of that circumstance and emotion. I know there will be many a canyon into which my  heart and soul shall fall, but I won’t wander in any canyon for long, I know that God’s got me.

moniquevanderwalt_autobiography_begin_canyon_southafrica_freedom_write_examine_explore_capture-2

Through the canyons it is well with my soul, God’s got me

Why & Money? For Love & Faith

moniquevanderwalt_love_faith_money_durban_southafrica_kwazulunatal_journey_plan_nature_autobiography_influencer_freedom_capture-8

Out of a the solid Rock of Faith there is epic beauty

People often ask me what I do, how I live like I do. On my Twitter, Instagram and Facebook profiles, I am seen gallivanting all over the country, roadtriping from Cape Town to Durban and, of-late, all over KwaZulu-Natal (KZN).

At the moment my best explanation is “I do it for love” but I think this needs further explanation. To start where this journey began: I had the bulk of my Public Relations training with Caltex (KZN Branded-Marketer), qualified through University of Cape Town‘s online division (GetSmarter) and then most recently an 8-month stint at Hirsch’s in Cape Town.  In September 2016 I realised I needed to follow my path, tell my story, share for a Higher Purpose.

My life changed radically. After a few weeks I packed up my life and headed back to KZN, what I call my true home. I put my flat on the market and within a week my Heavenly Father provided a buyer, the sale approved for next year. I began my search for a farmlife home in the KZN countryside. (Still a God’s work-in-progress)

Yes, that’s all very well, but I know most people are curious as to how I can do what I do, on the money side of it. My reply, “God.”

When I decided to take the first step of Faith unconditional love and leave the comfortable corporate salary at the end of the month, I really started to see how God provides down to the smallest detail. Business is brought in for my supporters, mainly my friend Craig who loves me as unconditionally as a human friend can.

moniquevanderwalt_love_faith_money_durban_southafrica_kwazulunatal_journey_plan_nature_autobiography_influencer_freedom_capture-10

When you realize you are so blessed by what you see

Another example is last night. I arrived at Galleria Mall for the I Love Durban (@ILuvDBN) instameet of the “top most influential socialites” of Durban. The last thing I did before I entered the Mall was finally deplete my persevering perfume. A thought raced through my mind, “hmm, that’s going to have to wait a while.”

And well what do you know, I was awarded for being 1 of 2 most active Social Media Influencers and the prize was Lacoste Pour Elle. Even down to the eloquent scent, it’s the type I would have chosen myself, and aptly named “Natural.”

In my opinion, its all about Faith. The more I trust and block all doubt by standing on the solid rock of Faith, the more I am provided for, more awesomeness happens, and in-turn, the stronger my faith becomes, and the cycle starts over. It doesn’t matter how big or small a thing it may be, so many God-incidences (or God Winks) its uncanny!

So basically, I have found my passion in many pools of the river. Photography, Nature, PR, community, development. And my entire approach is not money. Financial gain has taken a back seat. My approach is love. Love of Jesus, His Creation in its entirety, and awestruck at seeing how this Love can impact and change a person, a community, a cause, a planet.

moniquevanderwalt_durban_southafrica_sea_waves_shore_beach_kwazulunatal_journey_plan_nature_autobiography_influencer_freedom_capture-401

Indescribable Love

Lost Boy near Death

moniquevanderwalt_southafrica_kwazulunatal_durban_freedom_write_capture_explore_autobiography_boy_near_death-65

So close we came. So close we flew. The lost boy near Death.

I opened my now fully-closed eyes and sat up, ready to scold him for ruining the first moment of peace of my day. But what I saw stopped me mid-sentence; death. His face was purple-blue and his lips a shade of violet. Foam spewed from his mouth and the annoying squeak was the product of his foot pressing against the clutch with the convulsions of his body.

moniquevanderwalt_southafrica_kwazulunatal_durban_freedom_write_capture_explore_autobiography_boy_near_death-3

Death fell on the boy’s face, he was lost

I panicked. I was only sixteen, my sheltered church-school upbringing had afforded me no experience in this world and I didn’t know how to drive a car. Within a millisecond countless thoughts hurtled through my subconscious; “Run a few blocks and get help, no I can’t leave him, what if he dies? No I must drive to the hospital. What if I get pulled over or have an accident, then to death he will go because I can’t get him help.”

It didn’t matter, his life was worth the risk. If I saw blue lights or had an accident I would just have to…I don’t know, cross those bridges when I got to them. At least 20 kilograms heavier than me, I did not notice his weight; my adrenaline kicked in and I pulled him, limb by limb, inch by inch, into the passenger seat.

I started the car and stalled numerous times, eventually pulling off and proceeding to swerve wildly all over the abandoned parking lot before heading onto the street. I braked suddenly and glanced at him once again to see if there was any change. He was awake! Disorientated and still decidedly purple, but awake.

moniquevanderwalt_southafrica_kwazulunatal_durban_freedom_boy_near_death

The scarred and trapped beauty of a boy near death

We were traveling at only about 20 kilometers per hour and in my moment of thankfulness at his not being dead, I lost concentration and bumped into the back of a parked car.

“Whats going on out there?” came a gruff male voice from a portly man approaching. “Are you drunk?” he demanded.

“No sir, my boyfriend is diabetic, and he needs to get to hospital. I was checking on him and lost concentration.” I offered, it was the first thing that came to mind, my diabetic grandfather, needles

The man was worried and half carried the semi-conscious boy into his house, muttering something about a police report. Thinking this would involve officers at the scene, I grabbed the drugs from the car, followed them to the house and immediately asked if I could use the bathroom. There I disposed of the heroin.

I can’t remember how much time passed at the house, but when the boy regained his strength we left, the man not perturbed by my inability to produce a licence as there was virtually no damage to his car. I remember walking to the car, sitting down in the passenger seat, my head spinning at what we had just narrowly escaped.

moniquevanderwalt_southafrica_kwazulunatal_durban_freedom_boy_near_death209

Thank You for the life of this boy. I will honor his death in my life.

To this Boy

I know that you found our Savior before you finally met your death over 6 years ago. I trust that he kept you and you walk free with Him now.

Thank You Father that I had the opportunity to know this precious soul.

moniquevanderwalt_southafrica_kwazulunatal_durban_freedom_boy_near_death-211

Walk free, dear boy, you are no longer lost

Labyrinth Perspective Betrayed

When something unexpected happens do I flight or fight and is either worth it. Most of the time I do not clearly decide to do either and the plan just evolves. That is what’s been happening in my life over the last week or so.

While trudging through many a canyon of deep turmoil I have made wrong choices. All of these have, in the end, worked together for good, but that does not mean they did not happen and I won’t encounter consequences as a result.

I recently was betrayed by a person I had considered a trusted ear, leading to uttered thoughts being exposed without context or time frame. At first I wanted to run, ashamed that the twists of my mind’s labyrinth had been laid bare to someone ill-equipped. But then I wanted to fight, incensed at the refusal to consider perspective along with knowledge. And now I want to wait, not “jump the gun” and my labyrinth’s perspective to be broadened.

As painful as this last week has been it has once again worked together for good as I have realized I could be thinking too small. My dream is too small. Who I am to enforce limits? And therefore I will once again wait, allowing myself to be lead into a higher labyrinth.

As each day passes I am astounded by the magnitude of our Creator. Whenever I think I have it figured out, I am given a glimpse of what is possible, the depths of all things working together for good. I cannot yet fathom the heights of this realization, the intricacies of His labyrinth. I am released from the pain of being betrayed because once again its in perspective. I forgive and love them. This is part of the Perfect Plan.