Wednesday, January 30, 2013


"BLOG" is a portmanteau (a word like “smog” - formed by blending “smoke” and “fog); a combination of the words “web” and “log”. 

This word was invented in the late nineties by two geeks sitting in front of their computers in their pajamas and braces (I can’t prove that last bit).   
By 2001 the number of blogs  swelled the internet so drastically that how-to manuals began appearing.

  • ·        The majority of blogs are an online diary.

For those of you that don’t know the origin of Brazen Princess, it started out as a dare.

Being in Africa, separated from family and doing our life's work, we wrote update letters regularly for two years, sending them out to my family and friends - most of whom didn't read them

They sucked the life out of me. 

After awhile, the update letters were “Look what we did!”  and “See, this is why we’re here!”  I felt like we were justifying the calling we had on our lives.  They became less and less frequent.

One day (a normal day I would never include in an update letter) I spent at the church office syncing my pocket calendar with the church calendar.  Charles (our church administrator) and I filled in the empty spaces before getting interrupted by an emergency: there had been a possible assault of a child in the township.

I left quickly with my friend to check it out.  After I did, Charles noticed I'd left my calendar and emailed Mario with a subject line: “Janet’s Diary”.  The bulk of the letter told me that I had left my “diary” – my pocket calendar in his office. 

Mario saw the email and thought Charles was alerting him to a website or some link that he read.  When I got home (everything was alright with the child) he suggested that I do something different: move the update letters – along with excerpts from my journal -  to an online storage place  where people could see, even access an archive. 
I really wasn’t interested - I said "I don't have time,"
So he dared me.

“You should do one of those online blogs,” he smiled.  “And call it Janet’s Diary.”

I smiled back.  “What in the world would I write about?”  As soon as I said it, a flood of inspiration knocked me down. 

I would write about anything I wanted to.
By the way, "Janet's Diary" domain was taken.  I had a whisper in my ear to call it "Brazen Princess" - at the time I had no idea the real definition  of "brazen" 

  • ·         Most bloggers seek something called “an audience”

I grew up in a house that had two built-in fireplaces that were about one foot off the ground.  I used to perform “on-stage” for my sisters and brother, and they used to perform for me.  

I’m used to a relatively small audience.

Still, the master bloggers can attract several thousand hits a day to their own blog.  Today I was surfing twitter and found a post I loved and lapped up that was posted by a well-known literary agent – “7 Signs That You’re Not a Good Blogger”.

I checked out the site and saw that I was not a good blogger.  I make critical mistakes in marketing myself.  Ha!!  He gave me many tips – plus a “how-to-bulk-up-my-audience" book he invited me to download J.   

When I looked at it this morning it had 2 comments- right now it has 19. 

A good blogger not only captures attention, tells a good story, shares a good recipe, shows good art… they  reach a broad audience. 

As I searched for an agent to represent my upcoming book, “Treasures In Diepsloot”, one of them told me to “brand myself.”

“You should be actively building your blog audience,” she said.  “You’re a good writer, more people should be reading you.”

“How many people is a good audience?” I asked her, uncharacteristically shy. 

“A good blogger has in the neighborhood of seven hundred followers,” she said, flatly.  I felt like someone hit me on the side of my head. 

At the time I had 36.

  • ·         Posting gives people a window to my world.

People blog for all different reasons.  In the end I realized that I blogged to share my heart.  The update letters have stopped and the daily writing sometimes comes out here - on this blog.  In it I have a connection to my family, my friends and the others who read anonymously.

One of the greatest joys of writing is sharing a story; sharing my heart.  I will eventually have to figure out how to do this thing properly… until then I am all about sharing my world.  It’s a unique and special world.  

I love being inside of it.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


When I learned the word forgiveness
It had a halo and some feathers.
It was a way to forget and bless -
A trade for uncomfortable tethers .

It wasn’t until much later that I knew how much I needed it
Like a wrench inside a toolbox,
Breaking through whatever impeded it-
breaking  paper, scissors, rocks.

My costly bloody wrench knew more of sacrifice
Than mercy; its costly job released me.
Some places I used it more than twice
Where offense was sharp or greasy.

And now forgiveness breaks my shame,
Not far from my embittered heart.
In case I slip and fall and blame
It lifts me to the place of art.

Because my freedom, joy and peace-
Can not exist without release

Friday, January 25, 2013


Blue eyed soul when we used to dance
In calypso rhythms and bow our arms
Like Carmen; only deeper in our hearts
Bleeding like children wanting to be seen
More than anything.

Now there are bars and letters
Places I am not supposed to share;
People I’m not supposed to tell;
Tears that are sentenced to my intestines….

But here I am - the real one who sees
The one who used to dance without fear 
before you got lost.

The one whose colors would light my dreams
Now fallen; I am left to live in secrets.
Left to miss you
Like a child waiting to be seen.

Did you know you were leaving me?

Thursday, January 17, 2013


I love looking back on memories (both recent and long past) and finding love.

I was born into a family that loved and loved and got mad and forgave.  It wasn't until I was in my twenties that I realized that most families were not as easy as mine.  I was taught that love is a gift...and I have been given it more than anyone I know.  I love my mom and dad for giving me this start.  For modeling this love for me...

I love my husband, my beautiful man who is the most incredible boy...the strongest man the most tender warrior I have ever met.  I love watching him sleep and wondering why God would grant me such happiness.  Why did I get him?  Why do I deserve to be the one who's happily married; deeply loved?

I love Vince.  My complicated, beautiful green eyed son who thinks in the depths of the ocean and makes me scared to dive into the beauty of the dark.  I love him for who he is and for his gorgeous fear and daring to plunge into it.... I love his mind and I love his hopes.

I love Alicia.  She scares me with her beauty.  She is wild and brilliant and filled with joy and reckless happiness.  A wild mustang with a white mane running in the snow.  I love her for her high volume love and her tender side that only a few can see.... 

I love the kids I inherited through Mario.

I love David, the easy, groovy, salty man with the laugh and drive so like his dad's.  I love him for loving his girls, loving his wife.  I love him for his oodles of forgiveness he has lavished on me over the years.  I love him for the joy and the laughter and the books and the music... I love his brain and I love his heart.

I love Joe - my blonde and beautiful step son who treaded carefully and stomped at the same time.  I love how his DNA is so close to his father's and his promise is so close to his.  I love his peaceful cool; the nightmarish dillemmas that live so deeply inside of him.

I love my granddaughters and they actually love me back.  Their love and beauty and open abandon to live life each moment makes me happy to be alive mself.  I love their wonder in every moment- their selfish desire to be tended and their gorgeous curiosity.  I can hear the wheels turning as they sit next to me.  I am humbled by their love and joy over me....

On a normal day I can sit and think about all of the love in my life and cry with gratitude.  Today was one of those days, as I look back on all of the pictures of our vacation.  It's almost over and I have so many memories to be grateful for.

Today I am weepy grateful for all of this... all of this love.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


"In The Center" - a sculpture by Saint Clair Cemin (taken on 79th Street in NYC)

The word safari, loosely translated from Swahili, means journey.  It usually is used to describe a journey taken by people not used to the rigorous demands of life in the African bush, a life where there is no such thing as convenience or familiarity.

Every new beginning is a safari.

January is a month of new beginnings, the month itself named after Janus, the Roman god who looks both forward and backwards.  The New Year stretches out before us and dares us to be different; challenges us to accomplish new things – maybe ones we couldn’t accomplish the year before.  Most of us will make some kind of new resolution to be fit, thinner, do Pilates, read War and Peace or some other outward accomplishment.  

Most people have given up on their resolutions by March.  Gyms see a noticeable decrease in attendance by that time, the new converts to 6 a.m. workouts giving up because of the results are not what they expected.
Our journeys of new beginnings don’t always bring the desired results by the time we want them.  It would be awesome to run for a week and drop a pound; build church membership by March just by implementing a new program; learn a second language and speak it fluently within the year. 

This morning I woke up in New York.  I am looking out over Columbia University’s football field – a reminder that Columbus is highly revered here even though his foot never touched the USA.  Peter Minuit (a Dutch lord) bought Manhattan Island for the equivalent of twenty four dollars – a steal for the land that now has supremely high priced real estate.  He saw the future, and named the place New Amsterdam, the place where the settlers were from.  The Dutch sought after a place of familiarity and home, whose smells and sounds comforted the thoughts of the new inhabitants of a strange land. 

Later the English fought for the land and took it from the Dutch, naming after York – their home back in England (actually the Duke of York claimed it as his).

God is currently unfolding new things before me.  I see a new adventure before me in 2013 – one that is a bit of an uncharted adventure. 

Maybe I’ll call 2013 the Year of the Safari.  An incredible journey that will unfold before me – a challenge to rise up and see the future.