Happy Monday!

Happy Monday

I know, it isn’t Monday yet, it’s only Friday and now I’m messing up your week-end by reminding you there’s a Monday coming… Would I be that mean? Never! (Such meanness is reserved for siblings only.)

I’ve been frustrated with my inability to get things done. I’m busy! I really am! And I am working, but in the little time I have available, I’m touching on so many things and just not moving forward.

Now my sister’s sent me a post with a list of things to do before you go to bed to make your mornings work better. And I’ve also read about these Absolutely Must Do’s that you should have on your daily list (alongside the hundreds of other things you’d love to get to in an ideal world). The idea is to making sure that the MUST-DO’s are priorities that actually happen. good idea. And I’ve been making lists and still not getting anywhere. Monday looms as another frustrating day!

SO! I was pausing and fiddling with my pretties, when I think I may have stumbled onto something. I’ve made a pretty weekly planner. PRETTY – so that I don’t ignore it and actually want to look at it regularly. WEEKLY – so that I can see my WHOLE week in advance. Then I should actually SEE my progress. Right? Let’s hope so.

I’m sharing it with you today. Then you can plan the week with me and sit back and relax over the weekend, knowing that it’ll all happen next week. And when Monday comes, I can enthusiastically jump out of bed – ok, that won’t actually happen, not before coffee – admire my pretty list and be ready to take on the world, on my most productive week ever.

This is what it looks like and if you click on it you should be diverted to Dropbox, where you can download it and print it for free. For a limited time only! (where it says: “New to Dropbox”, just close the window. No need to sign up to download)

Then you too can have a Happy Monday.

FREE: Weekly Planner: To do List




are you a list-maker?

blue whisk - photography by Karene, simplypause.wordpress.com

Are you a list-maker? So am I! Wonderful things! I have lots of pretty little notebooks filled with lists. They keep my day ticking over in the right direction and then the best part? Oh, yes!  – when you get to cross everything off the list, in the end and you can be proud of everything you’ve achieved. But do you also allow yourself to let go of your list? Do you sometimes draw off the page? What happens then?

Ok, I’ll admit it: I can be a total control freak. So when I plan a shoot it often involves brainstorming sessions, sketches of possible subjects, sketches of lighting options, composition, some finger-drawings on the shower door – until I have a clear understanding of what I’d like to achieve. Then I find the right props, do some tests and eventually I set up and start working. I have limited time. I aim, I shoot, but then once I have the controlled shots of my ideas under way – I like to just let go.

I run into overtime. Happy accidents send me off on new paths. Instinct, that is connected to years of mistakes and AHA-moments, directs me. I allow myself to get totally side-tracked and it’s amazing where one ends up.

The other night I had been working until late, on a long distance commission of a series of images which I wanted to be just perfect. Because it was a series, and I had very specific ideas, I had to consciously keep bringing myself back to focus, under control, to ensure that the images would connect with each other and end up how I had planned. Some things worked, some things wouldn’t – readjust. Try again. It was quite intense work and I did not have a chance to let go. I went to bed exhausted, but happy with my work.

The next morning, when I saw a little whisk, still lying on the table. I pushed aside my daily list and picked up my camera. I noticed the cool morning light getting caught on the criss-cross metallic lines. I sat on down on the couch and played. Totally relaxed. Dark lines against light (flutter flutter) Light against dark (flutter flutter) A little later, I had these photos. Just for me. Happy.

whisk - Photography by Karene - simplypause.wordpress.com

whisk - Photography by Karene - simplypause.wordpress.com

whisk - photography by Karene - simplypause.wordpress.com

I think you know where I’m going with this. With lots of turmoil where I am, right now, I sometimes have to remind myself that you can only have so much control. It’s an art to learn how to trust and let go.

The mind likes to hold on, but the soul needs us to let go.

How about you? Where do you sit on that scale of clinging and letting go? Are you JUST a list-maker?

Simply getting away


Getting “away” has always been a priority and simple pleasure in my life. My husband and I have been blessed (or cursed) with a more than healthy supply of nomadic blood, so luckily we share this need. It’s not always easy to support our “habit”, but we always seem to find a way. We’ve ended up borrowing a car, camping, sleeping in the car, travelling with jerry cans of fuel in the back of a stationwagon, over heavily potholed roads – all just to get away.

So coming back from holiday, I’ve been trying to sum up, why we actually do this and I’ve ended up with a notebook full of my life history in holidays, which would bore you to no end. So I decided to ask my kids, what they think of holidays, because they often have this uncanny act of simplifying things.

1. Why do we go on holiday?

Littlest: Because it’s fun!

Medium: To have a break from work and it’s fun and to relax. Being together!!!

2. What do people need to have a good holiday?

Littlest: Suitcases!

Medium: A Good mood + A place to have a holiday + the family, to be together.

Aren’t they clever?

As a child I went on many wonderful holidays, disproportionate to the amount that my parents earned. I have a wealth of memories of adventures, experiences and laughter with my family. There always seemed to be enough money to go somewhere together. We did a round trip of South Africa, we travelled through Zimbabwe. Stayed in simple accommodation but went on boat trips out on Lake Kariba. But even if it was just going to the beach, when life got too much at home, we’d escape. Take a breath of fresh air and return.

One of the places we went on short weekend breaks to, had these little prefab houses on a farm on the Eastern Cape Coast (South Africa). No flushing toilets, we collected fresh water outside at a water tank to wash and cook with. But the front prefabricated wall lifted open and you’d have a full uninterrupted view of the lagoon which pushed out to the sea, behind the huge sanddunes, where the neverending empty beaches lay waiting for you. What more did we need? During the day we would swim, walk on the beach, read, have braais* and at night (if the bushbabies behaved) we were lulled to sleep by the sound of the sea.

For some reason, I have this urge to tell you, it needn’t be grandiose, fancy, luxurious or for very long. But getting away just does one good. We had an awesome holiday. We kept the accommodation simple, but spoilt ourselves with the location. Friends have commented on my holiday email and said – “you look HAPPY”  and – I’m sure you’re “Feeling relaxed and in your centre again”. And that’s it isn’t it? It’s about pressing PAUSE and letting your soul catch up with the rest of you. It’s about seeing your life from a distance – getting perspective on life.

It’s about being with your family. Having fun as a family. And all you need is a place to go, a good mood and suitcases! 😀


(*braai – South African word for barbeque)

Hello – pause for a quick thought


This has nothing to do with photography or creativity, but without good karma what is creativity anyway, so I’m just going to say it.

This morning I was in and out of the supermarket at a super speed, getting icing for the cake which I had to ice in 20 minutes to get to the school event in time. Outside sat a lady, a little older than me, with dark hair, dark eyes and an accordian. I greeted her as I rushed past and on the way out I said goodbye. She wished me a good weekend and I returned the good wishes.

I was not the only one going in and out – in fact it was a busy Saturday morning, but I didn’t hear any other greetings. On the way home I gave it some thought – Why was this so important to me?

Well, you see, I was taught that in the Xhosa tradition (and in many other African traditions too): when you meet someone you greet them AND you should  follow up a simple “Hello”, with “How are you?”

The Hello (Molo) implies – I acknowledge that you exist.

The How are you? (Kunjani?) implies – I will briefly pause to interact with you, because you are worthy of a moment of my time. (Not to do so is considered to be extremely rude)

I believe everyone has as much of a right to be on this earth as I do, we’re just dealt different cards. I can’t fix everything, so I greet – especially those who sometimes are made to feel invisible. After all, a little bit of human dignity can go a long way.

Later today, I greeted a man I’d met before and automatically, without thinking asked how he was. The response was one of surprise. He paused and looked at me and said he was well. He asked how I was and I said I was also well. 🙂 Maybe I should have answered, “Ndiphilile” – I am alive.