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Dora Lewis
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Life lessons

Low Budget Excellence

A mentor of mine speaks of low budget excellence from time to time. In summary, this is about striving to get the highest value at the lowest cost possible. It's not so easy to achieve though. You have to go the extra mile to discover people or businesses  who are not well known, but can offer you the quality of service you desire at a lower price, or you develop cutting edge negotiation skills to be able to reach very good deals with the well known brands. Do you really have to spend all that money to get what you want? Is there no other way to achieve your goal than the current option you're...

Transitions

On the X Factor UK, a young man got four yeses after singing beautifully. He ran out to meet his mum and picked her up in a joyful embrace. The transitions in life are just so amazing. I remember holding Nathan in my arms shortly after his birth and all the times I carried him as he grew. Then he began to use me as a yardstick to track his progress. He would say, ‘Mummy, now I’m at your chest, very soon I’ll be at your neck, then I’ll be at the top of your head’. My usual response is ‘yes please, grow tall, that’s the plan… one of the reasons I married...

Piano Nanny

Some years back, we bought a piano for our son and got him a teacher. I wanted him to have the opportunity I didn’t have to learn to play at a young age. I looked at the piano sitting there a few times and wondered if I should join him on the journey, but each time I thought about it or even went further to attempt it, I would give up because I imagined I was too old to start learning that now. I wondered when I would become good enough or when I would be able to play like so and so. A few weeks back, my husband sent me a video...

Survival 3 – Praise

Hand clapping, toe tapping, hand lifting, dancing, jumping, shouting, waving, singing, playing skillfully or not so skillfully on your musical instrument - these are all acceptable forms of praise. If you don't know how to play any of those other instruments, you can at least play the ten-stringed one, your palms...

Survival 2 – Stay Connected

Apart from the ‘not-so-common sense’ strategies that are widely advised for implementation during a recession, what more can one do to outlast this season of adversity? It’s interesting that the answer to this question will vary from person to person. You may even find that there are some people who don’t need to do anything new or different, and they’ll be just fine, but it’s important to know and to do the right thing. In Biblical times, recessions were referred to as famine or dearth and people responded to it in different ways. Abraham went down to Egypt and his grandson, Jacob, did the same. Isaac went to Gerar and God appeared to him...

Survival 1 – A Tree

Looking out my window, I see a tree. It looks absolutely healthy and full of life. Its flexible branches sway this way and that in the gentle breeze and all I can see from here is life, peace, well being. Nothing missing, nothing broken. This tree is happy and content. In seasons like this, where nations are experiencing recession, one could very easily begin to envy a tree like this. It’s nicely located and it drinks water from the rains of heaven, and in these parts, that rain isn’t lacking at all. Almost everything this tree needs is in its immediate surrounding and other resources are brought to it as a result of...

Holiday over

Back to base. School's starting soon. The kids miss their cousins already. One can actually have a wonderful holiday even without traveling to an exotic location.  After our getaway, my husband and I joined the kids at my sister's home. They had fun bonding and playing with their cousins and I particularly enjoyed waking up late some days, watching very entertaining and inspiring movies, watching CNN, and sometimes doing nothing - I really can't account for some of the hours spent. In all, we had the most fulfilling and refreshing holiday. I remember when all the planning started for this vacation. Many thanks to my sister and my husband who took the time to...

Biographies

I've heard it said a few times that you learn a lot from biographies. I've come to discover that these accounts often hold a lot of truth and reality; especially those that are written after the death of the subject, and autobiographies written in one's old age. When you're younger, you still have a lot at stake and your entire future ahead of you. The likelihood is higher too that some of the characters in the story of your life are still alive and telling the whole story may impact them in one way or the other. So to be reasonable you either get their permission, change names to protect their identity or...

Spoil Yourself

One can easily be tempted to keep working, keep saving, keep investing, keep spending money on the basic necessities of life and never allocate any time or money to rest, to relax and to enjoy one's life. But it's necessary to take a break. Breathe in and breathe out. Stop and smell the roses. Have fun! Experience the beauty of nature, visit important places, listen to historic accounts, take in new knowledge about the world, marvel at the achievements of others, and just be happy. An Arabian sweet. Some pineapple, some coconut...

Fear Factor – 2

I remember the first time I rode a bicycle without assistance. My dad had repaired four bicycles and  needed to get them home. Only one could fit in the boot of his car so he asked us to ride the others. We often hung out with him in the mechanical workshop at the campus and played or wrote on the board while he worked. He always found a way to keep us engaged so we didn’t distract him or get hurt. Those were fun times. I said, ‘Daddy, it’s too high for me’. I guess I was just afraid. You see, I had been using a smaller bicycle with training wheels up until...