Heart of a Queen

I read Proverbs 31 again today.

It’s a Scripture I’ve read so many times but today it sprung out with joy to me and I read it in a new remarkable light.

Every woman is a queen. Some don’t know this though. God help us.

This kind of queen is not proud – she’s amazing. She’s not about amassing for self – she knows that what she has in her hands can feed the nations! If she dare believe and act!

I’ve heard people say the Proverbs 31 woman is absolutely fictitious. These people go on to say that she is the ultimate of a perfect woman that cannot be fulfilled. What utter nonsense!

There are women all over the world who are living exactly what this woman in Proverbs 31 is described to be.

My sentiment is that her King although not mentioned in this particular text does not refer to her husband but rather to her Creator – Her God.

I’m currently reading Power of a Praying Woman by Stormie Omartian. In it she writes:

“Every woman has needs. But many of us are guilty of looking to other people to meet them – especially the men in our lives. Too often we expect them to meet the needs that only God can fill. And then we are disappointed when they can’t. We expect too much from them when our expectations should be in God.

My friend Lisa Bevere expressed it best when she said that for centuries women have “wrestled and waged war with the sons of Adam in an attempt to get them to bless us and affirm our value. But this struggle has left us frustrated at best… In the end, it is all a senseless and exhausting process in which both parties lose. It is not the fault of the sons of Adam; they cannot give us the blessing we seek, and we have frightened them by giving them so much power over our souls. We must learn that the blessings we truly need come only from God.””

While reading Proverbs 31 I saw a woman with the heart of God. A woman who, yes, is resourceful and an amazing business woman – but what an amazing humble heart!

Is that not the heart of our Father God? One musician called Him a humble King.

Women have been powerful for centuries.

Some have been wounded by the cruelty and reality of life. But God’s grace and healing is so available for us.

Research points us to countless women who are phenomenal leaders in business. Women who are great investors. Women who are changing their communities and their worlds because they are living out who they are.

I still see all the wounds in my life – those that continue to ooze pus and how they continue to hurt me in so many areas of my life – including my business life.

But I owe it to Me to get those wounds healed and I owe it to Me to operate in the fullness I was designed to live in!

Lady, it doesn’t matter how many people and how many circumstances said and continue to say you can’t – you can! For crying out loud tell them to go play in traffic and choose to obtain your destiny! We await your greatness! Eagerly!

I got the unction to read Proverbs 31 this evening – and I was reminded that I am a Queen. Note the CAPITAL Q.

It is who I was created and ordained to be.

In my heart I don’t believe for one moment that God is saying in this Scripture (Proverbs 31): “See this is the standard I want you to live up to.”

Nay. Methinks and totally believe that in this Scripture He is saying to woman: “This is who I made you to be – so be it!”

What a gift! What grace.

Entrepreneurship, strength, wisdom, humility, generosity – oh the list goes on!

May God’s love and utter trust in you raise you up to be the Queen you are.

The only one stopping you is you.


South Africa is more racist than ever

So yesterday I was at Papachino’s on the west rand.

It’s a stunning place for kids to play. I’d taken my seven year old brother there.

I had a beautiful big T-Bone steak complete with all the trimmings.

My brother, Caleb, wanted to make a pizza so he had that.

We had a wonderful time – for the most part.

I’ve been there a few times – enjoyed myself each time. The service isn’t particularly astounding – but it is also one of the busiest restaurants in our area.

So how did a blog post about racism in South Africa end up being a restaurant review?

It’s not really.

It’s what happened upon our leaving that finally compelled me to write about how I see things in this country.

So what I didn’t mention about yesterday was that from what I saw my brother and I were the only black customers there yesterday.

Other times I’ve gone there have been other people of colour including black folks.

Every single time my brother befriends someone – yesterday was no different.

He befriended a friendly, insightful young man called Kyle. I don’t usually classify people but for the sake of this story I have to say that Kyle was white.

They seemed to hit it off and had a great time.

Before leaving I greeted Kyle’s mom. As a mom myself I’d like to know who my kids are talking to so I thought it polite.

As we were leaving Kyle ran after my brother and I – I stopped (obviously!) to speak to him – and just as I did I saw what seemed like the manager of the restaurant (or someone else in authority there) rush to where we were and I said to him:
“Oh we were just leaving. We’re done here.”

“Ok” he said to me (in what felt like a very cold manner) – and I must add it felt very suspicious to me.

I was taken aback.

Did this man really think I was about to steal Kyle?! – ok back up a little – before people jump up and say oh but it was just safety measures – my argument is this: had my brother Caleb ran after a white mom with her kid would this “manager” person’s reaction had been the same?

I know with everything in me that that would not have been the case.

So I ignored the man and took out my business card and asked Kyle to give it to his mom – I told him she was welcome to call me anytime if he wanted to hang out with Caleb again.

The manager dude remained planted right where he was watching me – and looking back now I should’ve probably asked what his problem was and confronted him about how he was treating me.

But I didn’t.

Kyle ran to his mom and no sooner had my brother and I turned around to get to the car – Kyle ran after us again – Mr Manager dude was still standing there – watching me.

When I saw Kyle I said “Let me take you back to your mom.”

I escorted him to his table. Told his mom I’d given him my card and it would be really lovely if we could go out sometime to take the kids out.

She was real sweet and told me about other places in our area that would be fun – and that’s how I left – hoping Kyle would stay with his mom and keep me out of trouble.

I don’t think I’m over-reacting in how I read the situation.

Many times I hear that we black folk are “so sensitive.”

Could be. Or maybe some of us have stared in the eyes of racism far too many times to not know what it looks like when we see it.

I’m not saying the manager was racist – I’m saying that’s how I read his actions.

I live days like yesterday most of my life.

I don’t know about the rest of Jo’burg but I can without a shadow of guilt say my husband and I probably live in one of the most racist areas in Jo’burg.

But it’s not just where we live where I feel constantly watched and made to feel less than – I see it in the workplace sometimes. I see when I go shopping-

So the one time I went to the Flora Clinic pharmacy – I was the only person waiting to be served. Every single person behind the counter was white. Every single one of them looked at me and turned away.

Eventually as the moments ticked by with me standing there I yelled: “Is anyone going to help me!”

Like they’d been bitten by a billion bees in their butts they rushed to my aid.

Why do we have to act like crazy people to get some attention?

It’s quite odd that in some of the circles I find myself in – even some white people I would consider totally un-racist will say something that reveals that superiority complex that tells me that deep down they still see me and other black folk as beneath them.

Sometimes it’s subtle and sometimes so unintended that I know it doesn’t come from their conscious minds. But it’s still there. I’m not judging them because I feel these are deep seated psychological issues that take a while to get rid of.

But what I cannot excuse are blatant and purposeful actions of hate.

I think of a man who once told me he couldn’t lease out his property to me because I was black and added: “…and in any case my dogs won’t let you in!”

I think of how my friends and I were treated like dirty rodents at Bibs bed and breakfast in what used to be St Lucia in KZN when we holidayed there.

A few times I have posted articles on the race issue – I’ve written about interracial marriages because I’m in one – I’ve posted comment on the white model who reminded us of the ‘K’ word on twitter- I called absolutely nonsense and stupid the comment from the black model who wished all white people dead…

I make a point of making these comments and writing on this topic because it’s important. It’s not because I’m in denial of how rotten the race issue still is in South Africa – I may be married to a white man – and there are white people I love dearly – but I’m not blind to the real hatred far too many white people I’ve come across have for us black folk.

I see their discomfort with having to share spaces with us – with having to shop in the same areas as us – living in the same area (Oh goodness their white god forbid!) – and I see how much they try to keep a lot of the holiday places white.

I don’t say these things out of hate or malice – I say them because I live them. I’ve seen my friends live them and we continue to live them.

I say it not to rile people up and open old wounds – I’m saying the wounds are not old and they are definitely not healed.

South Africa is far more racist now that I think it’s ever been because it used to be that some white people used to say during apartheid they had “no idea” what was going on.

I wasn’t there so I don’t know.

But what’s the excuse now?

For those white folk who still treat us with such disgust, disrespect, disregard or suspicion or… who knows what else – pray tell- what is it you don’t know about racism and that it degrades?

I say it’s worse now because we’ve had almost two decades of having the opportunity to learn about each other and if after two decades I’m still going be treated with suspicion – if after two decades I’m still going to be called a kaffir – if after two decades I’m still going to be seen as a less than human and a creature without a soul – I have to say we are far, far, worse off now.

I love God. And yet even as believers we have to be real about these things.

I think men and women who lead in the Church have to be sensitive about race issues in their congregations – and just the way hatred and division were preached about in the apartheid infested congregation pre ’94 (and some still do it) love and God’s grace for us all has to be preached today.

I hear some of my black friends speak – they didn’t experience apartheid but the bitterness in their throats is scary.

“Why do they still treat us this way?” I’ve heard friends ask.

I don’t even know how to answer that.

Yes I do get really angry.

Incidents like what happened at Papachino’s yesterday hurt me more than they anger me.

They hurt because how does it make sense that the colour of my skin would make me an evil person?

And they hurt because of things I don’t know how to articulate.

I worry about where we’re headed.

I worry about the anger I see in black eyes.

I worry about the constant feeling of injustice regarding how we’re treated.

I worry that perhaps we not really telling the truth about where we are – some black people harbour it in and some white people pretend it’s not happening.

I emphasise some because it’s not all black folk and all white folk.

When we do hear it on public platforms it’s from angry voices (from both races) that scare us all –

I wish I could say what we need or how we can get out of this. In all honesty I don’t know.

But perhaps we can start with just telling the truth – the two models that tweeted racist garbage a few weeks ago – silly as it may have seemed I applaud them for revealing to South Africa what’s really going on behind close doors.

How to save TONS of money when buying property

Property is only an asset if you buy it right.


If you buy property wrong, chances are that you are acquiring an extremely expensive liability that will cost you and cost you and cost you… the kind of buy that will give you endless anxiety and buyer’s remorse for a really long time.

So the other day I met a couple at the car wash. We ended up talking about their new home.

I found out soon enough that this new house was not a home- It was a nightmare they couldn’t wake up from. They were almost a million rand in debt over this house – things were falling apart – they realised only AFTER they’d moved in that they had bought in one of the worst possible areas to buy in… the property was already in their name so a little too late to change much.

I gave them my attorney’s number in the hope that because some laws had been violated in the sale of the property they might be able to get some money back.

They might – but chances are the battle will get too costly and way too emotionally draining for them to pursue. I think this because I made similar mistakes with my first property.

So I’ve learned from my mistakes. And continue to invest in property. And continue to learn.

I thought to share with you a few things about buying property that may save you tons of money and hopefully help you acquire a valuable asset instead of a costly liability.

  1. Number one lesson from Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad and Cashflow Quadrant books: “Profit is made when you buy and NOT when you sell!”

Goodness if I had a dollar for every time an agent told me to not worry so much about the price I was paying for a property right now because “It will appreciate in value” I could probably have made back the THOUSANDS I lost buying my some dud properties.

I’ve since learned that: Do NOT think about what the property will cost in a couple of years, Think of what the property costs right now.

If it’s an investment property it should – right now – put money in your pocket. That’s what would make it an asset. If you have to pay even one cent out of your own pocket to have the property – it’s a liability.

If it’s a property you’re going to live in – most times it’s a liability- period. Unless you lease out a portion of your property and that portion covers all your costs. Then you have an asset. Or you sell a portion of the property which covers the portion you live in then it’s an asset.

Kiyosaki’s simple definition about an asset and liability are this:

–          An asset puts money into your pocket

–          A liability takes money out of your pocket

This is a powerful lesson that has revolutionised how I buy anything.

Don’t believe anyone who tells you you’ll make money on your property in a couple of years.

If there’s anything the recent recession taught us about property it’s that real estate is not always the safest asset class. Property prices can lose value in staggering amounts. Buy smart by making the profit when you buy.

2. Thoroughly inspect the property:

Never ever view a property at night. You need as much light as you can get.

Don’t be afraid to inspect that property from top to bottom. Open cupboards. Look under sinks for leaks. Look at every window for cracks or components that may not work. Inquire if electrical items you see work as they should. Ask tons of questions.

Remember this is your money not the estate agent’s. So be thorough in checking the property.

Go to a property a number of times before you even look at an offer to purchase.

Drive around the area you want to buy in. See what kind of area it is. No matter how fantastic the property is if it’s in a rubbish area chances are high you’ll lose money in the long run. As you know Property is ALL about Location, Location, Location.

Properties in rubbish areas are very difficult to sell. In some cases you might never be able to sell your property again if you buy in a not-so-great area.

Find out what other properties in that area cost. This is easy with Google.

Some property prices are hugely inflated.

First time buyers sometimes don’t negotiate properly and pay way more than they should on a property simply because they don’t know the real value of properties their viewing.

Do your homework on price and be savvy with negotiating.

There are TONS of properties. Don’t get so emotional about a property you end up paying too much for it.

Research the area you want to buy in. Do tons of research period.

Remember this is a lot of money you’re spending. Be pedantic now. It’ll save you massive financial  loss later.

3. Examine the offer to purchase contract thoroughly:

Do not take the contract as is – find out how to amend it so it benefits you.

Offers to purchase are generally in favour of the seller. The buyer’s rights are not as protected. But you can include certain conditions in the contract that will protect you as the buyer.

It is YOUR RIGHT to include these conditions. Do not be intimidated by anyone to leave them out. Again it is YOUR money. You have every right to protect your interests.

4. Remember the conveyancing attorneys are hired by the seller:

So even though you as the buyer pays them their primary client is the seller. So should a dispute arise they are bound to protect the seller’s interests. In the case of a dispute do not try and battle on your own (unless you’re an attorney of course). Get an attorney who will look after your interests.

5. Insist on seeing the electrical compliance certificate.

By law no property should be transferred without it. But my first property was. The couple I met at the car wash did not receive one either.

The electrical compliance certificate MUST be produced BEFORE the property is transferred.

Please leave nothing to chance no matter how nice the sellers, estate agents or attorneys seem. Be polite but be pedantic. Keep your wits about you when buying a property.

6.  If you’re thinking of becoming a property investor then Invest time and money in building good relationships with the following experts:

–          Successful property investors

–          A good financial advisor (steer clear of advisors keen to sell you products).

–          A good tax consultant. And not just a number cruncher but someone who knows tax law well and will keep you updated with changes that will impact your investments.

–          A good commercial lawyer.

7. My financial advisor provider gave me the following list to include in every offer to purchase. From personal experience this list saved me R150 000 in damages on a property I almost purchased.

Including this list in your Offer to Purchase contract might be helpful.

Apparently the consumer protection act now protects buyers and I’ve been told by agents that the consumer protection act covers this list. I wouldn’t guarantee it.

Had it not been for this list I would have ended up with a dud property that would have cost me more money than I could afford at the time.

I had to hire an attorney to battle the case for me – but still, having this list gave him the grounds he needed to successfully fight my case without us ending up in court.

Here’s that beautiful list:

The seller warrants that the following are in working order:

1.      There are no leaks

2.      There are no damp problems (do not mention rising damp but rather that there are no damp problems)

3.      That all the taps and plumbing work correctly

4.      That the stove and hob works

5.      That the electrical fence, alarm, pool, ponds, cctv camera, electric gate, electric garage doors, under floor heating, Jacuzzi or Jacuzzi bath and air conditioner are in working order

6.      That there are no termites or wood bora on the property

7.      That there are no cracks that I should be made aware of and that the house is not sinking

NB: The estate agent will give you certain answers to the above and will be reluctant to put the above into the Offer to Purchase. Do not be persuaded to leave anything out, you are making a huge investment and must protect yourself.

8. Remember to request a copy of the Offer to Purchase when it has been signed by all parties. Ensure that the addendum of the above list is in that copy and that is has been signed by the sellers.


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What do you really want?

How much does it matter to you?

And how serious are you about getting it?

You’ve got the questions – now it’s up to you to fill in the blanks.

No quick fix…

Unfortunately you’ll have to do the work.

You’ll have to work at clearing your debt.

You’ll have to work at building a great reputation.

You’ll have to work at being trustworthy.

You’ll have to work at losing weight.

You’ll have to work at making your business successful.

You’ll have to work at getting rich.

Nope. There is no quick fix. It all requires some effort.