Friday, November 1, 2013


On Sunday 27th October 2013 I got baptised.

 An adult Christian baptism is an extremely personal decision and, in my case, a very considered decision. But I finally obeyed the ever increasing and pressing voice at my shoulder to do this and took the plunge (excuse the pun) at a special service at my daughter's church.

Why does one get baptised? My understanding is that it is an opportunity to make a public declaration that Jesus is my Lord and Saviour, and that my life belongs to him.  Not everyone chooses this for themselves (and that is to be respected) but for me it was a decision that was escalating in urgency over time. The more I read about the accounts of Jesus's life and ministry, the more I realise that being baptised is a natural progression for me.  Very natural after my decision to cross the line of faith so many years ago. 

The beauty of the occasion was that I was able to share it with my special daughter, Robyn, who had played an enormous role in my return to the fold.  Having spent the past 11 years in the "desert", Robz had always been on the edges, showing me the way with her gentleness and commitment in the Lord. Although I have been a Christian for most of my life, my walk had taken a serious detour - into the depths of mental pain and anguish. It's been a slow process of healing but my path (including the detour), I believe has been Divinely approved for God's greater purpose. But now, My Lord has made me well again and I am filled with immense gratitude.

My walk to the font on Sunday was somewhat surreal - like being in a bubble, at the feet of my Lord. Although the auditorium was packed with singing worshippers, I felt in a very personal space. I was praying for not only me, but also for my family and dear friends amidst this decision. I know that they may be confused at my sudden transformation over the past 3 months - from a cynic and reticent onlooker to someone brand new in God's gentle embrace -  and I pray for their peace in this too. The pastor's words to me, just before being immersed, were so assuring. Maybe I didn't hear him right, but the message I got and which will remain with me forever was...

 "God has got it!".

He had the kindest face that I have seen in a long time ... the same kindness and grace that I imagine Jesus would have in that very moment. Yes, "God has got it".  He's got my back.  He's got my friends, my family, my anxieties, angst, hope and joy in his plan for my life. And I simply can't internalise this immense grace....undeserved grace!

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord. "Plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" (Jer 29:11)

Please, friends, bear with me as I travel this new path.  I know my vulnerabilities and ask for your understanding.  Perhaps you can grant me "forgiveness in advance" for the times that I will, most certainly, fail and perhaps hurt you in the process.  We are all cherished, loved, valued and purposed. 

"I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe." (Eph 1:18,19)

With love, in Christ

Friday, October 18, 2013

Lord, dwell in me...

Lord, dwell in me…you are welcome in my heart...

              Guide my steps that I might reflect your light.
                Humble me that I might be worthy to be humble.
                Fill me that there may be no place for any other.
                Teach me so that your Truth will manifest itself.
                Help me to accept your grace and favour
Prompt me that I may do the things of your calling;

 instilling peace,
– love –
wherever your path leads me.

                Reassure me where I falter, and nurture my purpose. I pray.

I love you, Lord. You are a gracious and most-high God and worthy to be praised.

Lord, dwell in me …you are welcome in my heart


Thursday, October 17, 2013


The beauty of these words and the deeply moving touch of this music by Chris Tomlin always brings my soul to its knees.

May God bless you, dear friend as you absorb the message that His grace is available to you, today.

With love, in Christ

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

What name-tag do you wear?

Can you imagine coming across something absolutely exquisite in the shops, but discovering (sadly) that it has no name tag?

This happened to me, some years ago, while browsing in a gem store – you know those ones with rows of sparkling gemstones strategically placed on mirrored shelves?  In this particular store, a beautiful geode caught my eye.  I picked it up, held it in my hand and marvelled at its intricacies. 

Where did this beautiful stone come from? 
Where was its other half? 
What were its secret materials that made it shine so bright? 
What amazing geological processes did it go through to form its sparkling crystals?  

Yet the geode had no name-tag and the mystery has plagued me since that day.

In some strange way, this analogy can be transferred to us human beings. We are fascinating creatures, and many of us marvel at the things that deem us to be ‘human’. Conversely, our doings and actions often fall short of the ideal and we sit back, sometimes in disgust, and consider; “What is it that makes us human?”

Yet, the mystery of our existence isn’t so unfathomable. Ironically, each of us does have a name-tag.  The message of our origins is widely talked about – both on a scientific level and a spiritual level.  But, we are given the choice as to whether we want to wear our name-tag or not.

Even if you are not a Christian believer, perhaps you can accept that something quite beyond our comprehension was part of our own construction and the creation of our beautiful planet? Can you accept that something almost magical happened all those years ago?  And can you accept that in the process, human beings came about with a unique trait called ‘conscience’? Furthermore, can you accept that in this mystery, you personally have been granted a gift called ‘choice’? 

So, what nametag do you choose to wear (if any)?

One of my own core beliefs is that God was involved in this incredible process called ‘Creation’. That it was through his unfathomable creativity that the earth and all in it came about. For me the Scriptural passage right in the beginning of the bible holds strong:

 “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…” (Gen 1:1).

About 2000 years ago, a miracle happened which allowed us clarity and the option of which name-tag we choose to wear.  Through God’s doing, a man arrived on earth claiming to be God himself and putting to rest all human-shaped ideas of their own existence.  He spoke of love and a way back to God, through him. His preaching and teaching was short in the whole grand scheme of time, but the things he said were so significant that many people chose to write about him. Some of the writers were even direct witnesses to this man ‘Jesus’s’ life.

‘John’, son of Zebedee and brother of James, was one these writers and one of Jesus’s disciples at the time too.  His Gospel was written not long after Jesus’s death and it is a fascinating text, the purpose of which is to prove, conclusively, that Jesus was the Son of God and that all who believe in him will have eternal life.

One of the passages in the text has brought crystal clarity to my own thinking:

“He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.  He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.  Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” 
(John 1:10-13)

Jesus comes with a nametag: “I am God.”  
And he allows us to choose to have a nametag for ourselves: “I am one of God’s children.”

I realise that not everyone will choose this for themselves.  But for me, having this particular name-tag provides me  immense inner peace.  After so many years of refusing to label myself, I want to wear it with joy. My undeserved forgiveness has come from the grace of my Father mixed up with the little faith with which I have been blessed.  My name-tag also allows me to speak to God, my Creator and Father, directly, and to immerse myself in his love.  

"I am a child of God!"

I know where I’ve come from and I know where I’m going.

Do you?

Monday, September 30, 2013

Ideal relationships

My dear, special cyber-friends,

Today I thought I'd share something deeply meaningful to me.

The above passage is a paraphrase of how I try and live my life and my relationships, and it is also how I try and interact with you, my reader in cyberspace.  It is based directly off the 1 Corinthians 13 passage in the bible (which talks about "love").

Admittedly, I often fail in this ideal and have to check myself at every corner, but I have worked with this passage over and over again over the years... It has become my mantra for about 10 years now and it is also how I try to interact with people in cyberspace. 

As you can see, I have written it out, decorated it and placed it in a position where I can be constantly reminded that this is the utopia I so desire. You are very welcome to copy it if it strikes a chord with you too.

I pray forgiveness for the times that I have fallen short because...


What is your yardstick for relationships?
Sending lots of love

Friday, September 20, 2013

"Surely goodness and love will follow me..."

The last 13 years haven’t been without their spiritual perils.  At times, my path has been long, hard and very shaky. I have felt lonely, abandoned and direction-less. I have shed many tears in the process too.  During this time, I have not had a real “spiritual home” either.  I have been in ‘no man’s land’ and have battled with a deep anxiety about churches in general. As a non-church-goer during this time, I have also been intensely aware of my vulnerability in Scripture, so I’ve treaded cautiously too.

I have, however, been aware that God has been gently leading me in some strange, unknown direction.  It’s not been important to know the direction but rather to simply follow His leading - honestly and congruently.  I have felt Him urge me to impart a deep, honest love towards all people in my writing. To this end, I have been very active in cyberspace. I can’t help but look back and realise that some people - possibly Divinely selected - have been specifically placed in my path. Most often, they have been strangers too. I found this particularly during the writing of my book. It’s with a deep measure of disbelief that I look back on the path I travelled.

“Maxdog” necessitated hours of isolated writing and pulling back from society in general. I became socio-phobic and accessed a personal space where it was only God and me writing this story. One of the things that made me most confident about ‘Maxdog’ at the time was that every word, page, chapter and process was backed by my personal prayer, “Wherever Maxdog goes, let it do good” and getting the distinct feeling that He was telling me ‘It will do good!” I remember so many moments during the writing process where I paused, closed my eyes and prayed to my Lord to guide my writing so that His plan would prevail in my life.

Although the book, per se, is not ‘Christian’ in genre, it has a subtlety which hopefully indicates a Divine presence in its pages. It’s a story which reveals a symbiotic relationship between two of God’s creatures – Max (a dog) and me.  The fact that God placed him in my life specifically with the purpose of helping me overcome my depression is testimony to His incredible love.  I will always be grateful for the role that Max played in my life. He was an incredible dog and I thank God for him continuously.

I’ve never been a bible-puncher, but believed rather that my actions would speak for themselves. Ironically, my actions haven't always been exemplary. I’ve also felt that my depression often had serious consequences on the people around me – particularly those that I love the most.  It's a constant battle, but I am deeply sorry for the pain I've caused others. I love people – all people! Their cultures, languages, diversity of spirituality are wondrous. We have all been created with a purpose in this life – each different, unique, put together for a larger Diving plan.  It is our personal responsibility to uncover this plan within each of our lives.

 I’ve also been aware that the title ‘Christian’ doesn’t always go down well in some circles. There have been times (lots of them) that I have hidden my faith simply out of respect for the traumas that others have faced and the religious views which they hold. At times, I’ve been so embarrassed by the universal Christian church that I have shunned them too. In this process, I’ve probably hurt a lot of my fellow Christians too.  We (Christians) have been really bad marketers of our faith and perhaps I am one of the worst. Even when we try our best, we fall horribly short…and that is the very reason why we need God in our lives.

Nevertheless, my Lord has never deserted me in my confusion. Instead, I’ve always had a gentle voice prodding me… “Focus on the good…let the rest die of neglect.”  Recently, He has made me more aware of my inconsistencies and my own, continuous need for salvation. He has also prodded me towards finding a Christian community and a scriptural stronghold.  I am so grateful that He continuously forgives me for my transgressions – a grace which I, most definitely, don’t deserve.

To cut a long story short, I have finally signed up with a church. I have been following various churches and their sermons in cyberspace and have visited a few in the process.  My new ‘home’ feels strange, but thankfully welcoming.  It’s a large church, based in solid scripture, with a calling to make disciples of the faith. (This, for me, is very, very scary!) But it’s a place that I think I need to be at this stage.  Maybe it’s a place where God will allow me to give back too?  I don’t know many people at this stage but I am sure that it will come in time.  My biggest gratitude is that my general phobia of churches, their people and their buildings is dissipating.  I am merely been left with a feeling of overwhelming joy that perhaps God’s has more planned for me. 

At the end of the day, it's our humanity that binds us all.  May you feel the gentle love of God and be showered with his unfathomable joy.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

When ...

the winds caress my face, I watch leaves dance a twirl.
Flowers face the heavens.  Evening jasmine flutters my soul.
I search the skies - their feathery clouds evolving to seasonal storms.
It’s then that I imagine our vast, majestic cosmos …
– How I’m part of its norms?

I see erupting buds grace twigs of spring. And listen to birds revive.
Icy nights are things of the past; gloom a seasonal demise.
The dawn seeps through my heart ;  it wakes me with a song.
It’s then that I appreciate that there’s a bigger plan …
– He’s working His daily charm;

I feel a snout tucked into my side; its face a wonder of awe.,
It prods to walk the lazy stream; to play and heed the call.
Energy wanes. Evening bids a call to rest…
It’s then that I’m reminded well  …
                                                              -          That His ways are always best.

I pause to reflect on ancient paths; the ways of those who’ve been before.
I turn my face to human deeds - compassion and uncomplicated lore.
I watch a face erupt into smile with a gentle and comforting hug.
It’s then that I understand His greatest call…
-          to spread His word of love

I see all this and more.  I offer my song of praise:
my hands to the heavens, a touch of grace, a bubbling of my withered ways.
I take a moment:  pause, reflect. A silent prayer to cope.
It’s then that I know of His great plan …

Faith.  Love.  Hope.
Caryl Moll

12 September 2013

Friday, August 30, 2013

Anyone for tea? ....CARYL's MUFFIN CAKE

This post is dedicated to my special friend - Liz Humphris - but I know she won't mind if any other friends elect to try out this recipe too. :)

Liz and I were having a cup of tea the other day and I was telling her how much I enjoy muffins.  I've been toying with a recipe for a while now with the objective of creating the perfect muffin (for my own personal taste).  I prefer a chunkier muffin - one that resembles a carrot/banana cake. Well, I think I've finally perfected my recipe.  Yummy!

Last Friday, however, I was a little short of time but I wasn't going to forfeit the opportunity of whipping up something sweet for the family to enjoy over the weekend.

At the point where I was supposed to turn the mixture out into the muffin pan, I decided to go out on a limb and use a cake tin instead. (You know the cake tin with the hole in the midde?  The name escapes me at the moment) . Well the result was outstanding, so I then decided to add a simple cream cheese icing.

The bottom line:
My family loved it!  Not a crumb left! :)

Well, here is the recipe - for Liz and anyone else who would like to give it a try. Remember, if you prefer not to make a cake, then apportion the mixture into muffin pans - either way is good



DRY INGREDIENTS                                  WET INGREDIENTS
2 Cups Cake                                                2 eggs
1 Cup Sugar                                                1/3 cup cooking oil
3 tsp Baking Powder                                     1 cup Milk
Pinch salt                                                     1 mashed banana
1 tsp ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
Handful raisins
Handfull seed mix (**see note on seed mixture below)
1 Large grated carrot (or 2 small ones)

Preheat oven: 180 degrees Centigrade.
Mix together the dry ingredients and make a well in the middle.  Mix the wet ingredients together and smooth over with a blender.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and put it into a 'bunt-type' cake tin. (see picture above)  Bake approximately 50 minutes (until the mixture has risen and lightly browned, and when it is starting to pull away from the sides of the tin.  Remove the tin from the oven and allow to cool before turning out onto a wire rack.  Allow the cake to cool totally before icing it.

***I buy a ready mixed 'seed mixture' ('DISCHEM' in South Africa) with all kinds of seeds - sesame, alfafa, sunflower, pumpkin, etc  The choice is yours.  Nuts also work well.


60 g margarine (Softened at room temp)
125 g Smooth cream cheese
approx 500 ml (2 cups) Icing sugar (sifted)
1 tsp lemon juice
Nuts to sprinkle.

Cream margarine and Icing sugar together.  Add cream cheese and vanilla and mix to smooth consistency.  If it gets too runny, leave it in the fridge for a while before icing the cake.

Finally...put on the kettle and invite your family to enjoy your delicious cake.

(I apologise for not photographing the final cake, but it's still busy cooling.  I wanted to get this recipe up quickly in time for anyone who wants to give it a bash in time for the weekend.  I'll try and take a photo later and add it to this post)

Sending lotsaluv

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Teach us how to pray...

Hello there, dear friends,

Have you ever been in a situation when you wanted to pray, but you didn't know how or where to start?  I was looking at the sunrise the other day and experienced this.

I have been a Christian for most of my life.  As a young child, I was brought up in the teachings of the Anglican and Methodist churches. The religious rituals had a great impact on me during that time - they were so entrenched that they had became second nature. In times of angst, I would launch into the Lord's prayer without so much as a second thought.

Much has changed over the years.  My faith, at times, has wavered.  Often, I have been left with deep spiritual despondency.  At other times, my heart has soared. Always, however, there have been unsaid prayers in my heart and the knowledge that our God is so faithful and ready to listen.

So, you can imagine my dismay when I really wanted to pray but couldn't remember how.

 My memory was tweaked when I imagined the crowd asking Jesus how they should pray and how, at that sermon on the mount, He taught them... 

It was a shock to me to realise that I had forgotten some of the words. 

I wonder if there is anyone else who has experienced this... perhaps you, my friend, are one of them?

For this reason, I selected this beautiful sunrise photograph (taken from my home the other morning) and added the words of that beautiful prayer. "The Lord's Prayer" has never failed to encompass my many, hundreds of prayers. Perhaps it will bless you today, in the same way.

May the peace of God be with you today, dear friend.  
Consider yourself hugged.
With love

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Thirty years has helped create our own, beautiful pearl...

Today, 30 years ago, I married the love of my life. He was 25 and I was 24.  

We gave our promise to one another in a small church, in a small town, with a significant proportion of the community witnessing the event.  I had two beautiful bridesmaids:

 We also enjoyed the performance of seven little 'impromptu' flower girls.   
(These were little cousins' children who all dressed in white and walked down the isle before me, sprinkling petals on the carpet as they went.) 
 My godmother played the church organ and composed a 'surprise' song which the congregation sang to us. It was a real 'farm community' wedding and it was wonderful!

BUT So much went wrong that day:

*** Our Master-of-ceremonies' wife backed her car into my little car
 (so we had to borrow a car for our honeymoon)
*** a plague of caterpillars destroyed the local carnation farm  - after I was promised as many flowers as I wanted for the occasion.  In the end, I had very few wedding flowers.  We had to pluck the blossoms of the frangipani tree for my bouquet.
*** Unfortunately the main 'chicken dish' on our wedding menu was tainted, so many of our guests went home with food poisoning that day.  
*** The humidity set in and rain clouds descended in their masses.
*** My mom-in-law ironed a hole through her dress.

Well, despite all the calamities that day, the occasion was truly memorable.  I remember all the farm workers gathering under the old fig tree on the farm - to sing African songs of prosperity, longevity and fertility.   It obviously worked because we've survived to tell the tale of 30 wonderful years of marriage!

Today, I took out my wedding dress from its haven.  It's still beautiful and, rightfully, dated:
 The lace is still delicate and intact...
 The little flowers are still stitched well and still show their delicacy...
 ...and, true to form, my wonderful husband has sent me a magnificent bouquet of flowers...

The joy of being together for 30 years is that we have witnessed one another's lives.  I've had Les "watching my back" and he has had me watching his.  We've loved and cherished one another during this time.  The grey hair which we currently sport tells of years of living well: we've raised two beautiful and very talented daughters and have been able to watch them blossom and reach for their dreams.  In the 30 years of being together we rode the crests of good times and swam, together, through the rough patches.  We've experienced the fullness and the 'wholeness' of life in all its glory.  And we've done this TOGETHER!

If I look back, I know that I could not have married a better man.  Les has been a wonderful husband and exemplary father.  He's loved me when I've been at my most unlovable.  He's showered me in love, hope, faithfulness and commitment in all this time.  He's supported his family throughout and ensured that I remain 'whole'.  He has helped shape our beautiful pearl called 'our marriage'.  I, in turn, have tried to do the same.

It's fitting that this is our 'Pearl' wedding anniversary. 30 eventful years!!! A pearl is a hard object produced within the soft tissue of a living shell.  It has become a metaphor for something very rare, fine, admirable  and valuable. That is exactly what our marriage has become - a unique and beautiful pearl!

Thank you, Les, for all you have come to mean to me.  Thank you for loving me, for being faithful to me, for witnessing my life, for supporting me and our children, for believing in me when I'd lost hope, for always 'being there' and for never, ever forgetting any birthday or anniversary. Boy, you need a medal!

I love you, dear hubby.
I wish us both a wonderful, celebratory anniversary.
Cheers to the next 30!
With love,

Friday, January 4, 2013

New Year's musing...

A city almost back to normal.  Holiday makers returning in droves. We wake up to the sad news that Barry Stander (Olympic mountain biker) was killed last night by a Taxi.  How pointless. Oh dear.

The death toll for Rhino poaching for 2013 - over 650. Another sadness.

Along various suburban roads the typical sight of weary travellers heading back to their lodgings, suitcases pulled along the pavements and rucksacks flung over their shoulders.  Their faces tell it all - they need a holiday!

J worked the New Year's shift at her hospital - 36 hour calls don't reduce the backlog of emergency trauma cases.  Drunken woes have been taken out on 'friends', with broken bottles and other weapons. Casualty was pulsating. Her own face tells of wariness and strain, and some of the pointlessness of the human action.

Fireworks have taken their toll on animals.  Lost dogs everywhere.  I comfort an owner who has lost hers - we search together for little 'Brakkies', the ageing Jack Russell who finally had enough of the fireworks.  He's been gone for 5 days now and she's heartbroken.  The lightning and thunderstorms of the Highveld haven't been kind to our animals either. Its prime business season for local tree-fellers too; broken trees everywhere. The green jungles of holiday makers lie thick and waiting - for their first cut of the new year.

So what's ahead for me?   A new year, a new palette - clean and gleaming.

Our household is brimming with the excitement of our prospective new little canine companion. Toys have been purchased, Veterinary doctors lined up and a puppy socialisation classes booked. It's just her who's not here yet. We have only 3 weeks to go, then "she'll" be with us.  It's still a mystery as to 'which one' it will be:  'Belle?' 'Aurora?'. We await the pup's behavioural assessment with great anticipation to see which one will be "my" pup.

The good news is that we may have an alternative plan for her transport - a private flight (in cabin) with her litter-mate. Hopefully this will materialise.  We couldn't ask for better. Hold thumbs.

Toby had a bath yesterday, followed by a caring brush and trim in the sunshine of our patio. He's glowing. His tail is up, his head held high, he's utterly devoted to me and he looks stunning!  Such a goofball too - lying on his back for a tummy rub and a snout nuzzle! He's always primed with energy; eagerly awaiting a game.  He's going to enjoy the little one so much, I just know it!

Tammy sleeps most of the time nowadays.  She's comfortable and pipes up when the cat is on the garden wall - usually at dawn.  She still adds her voice to the surges of barking from the neighbour's Jack Russell terriers.  Only a personal visit outside, to acknowledge her efforts, will urge her to stop her contribution to the barking frenzy.  She's looking good for twelve years though.  Everyone says so.  But I see the arthritis in her struggling to climb stairs, and her reluctance to get up from sleeping.  At times, however, she's more than willing to initiate a game of 'bitey-face' with Toby.   I think the puppy will do them both good.

As for me?  I'll have to rope up all latent energy to embark on a new year of dog training.  I'll have to get fitter too. Big things wait for me. Roll forward, 2013!

To all my friends and family: 

 HAPPY NEW YEAR! May 2013 bring the realisation of your dreams and ambitions.  May it be filled with peace, prosperity, laughter, positivity and caring.  May you make new friends and open new doors.  May your home be filled with happy yapping and happy purring.  Mostly, however, may your actions and thoughts be filled with love. It's another year to 'Share, Care and Uplift'!

Sending lots of love to you and your loved ones,