The reason I was in South Africa this month was to speak at the Beauty for Ashes Women's Conference. It has been a ministry for women in that area for 16 years, and I was truly impressed by the women in charge of the event and inspired by the women who attended. South Africa really is a rainbow of God's finest creativity-multi-cultures and multi-colors. In the words of Steven Tyler, "Beautiful, man!" (That last comment was for my fellow American Idol fans! You know who you are!) Besides the sheer beauty of the conference, I was overwhelmed with the beauty of the nation. Birds serenaded me from morning until night, the weather was breezy and arid, and the food was fascinating. And, I actually rode an elephant named "Timba" and pet 6 month old lion cubs while trying to avoid a very cheeky tiger cub who wanted to play! I will never forget my time there. By the way, what a great trip it could be for you, too. Beauty for Ashes is held annually in Johannesburg. It features speakers you are familiar with from the U.S., and you could enjoy their beautiful country while you're there. Check them out at their Facebook page or website to see who they are and what they do.
The book that traveled with me everywhere this month was The Gurnsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. It's an epistolary novel written by a niece and her aunt. It tells the enchanting story of an unlikely group of people who are connected, inspired, sustained and united by literature. If you are a book lover or admire the art and effect of literature on culture and individuals, you will adore this book! The authors are side-splittingly funny at times, disturbingly poignant at other times. I love books that make me laugh out loud and then when I finish, I realize it made me feel very deeply, too. I can't recommend this book enough--you must give it a taste test.
I bought a special fragrance to wear in Africa, so each time I wear it, I am reminded of my time there. Did you know there is a strong association between scent and memory? Sarah Dowdey, in her article How Smell Works writes, "When you first smell a new scent, you link it to an event, a person, a thing or even a moment. Your brain forges a link between the smell and a memory. When you encounter the smell again, the link is already there, ready to elicit a memory or a mood."
Anyway, the fragrance I bought and wore every day while in Africa is Flowerbomb by Viktor & Rolf. It has notes of tea, sambac jasmine, orange tree, catleya orchid, freesia, rose, musk and patchouli. It is really lovely, and each time I spray it, it evokes images of elephants and the sensation of breezy African afternoons with exotic birds chirping.
My heart was filled and my senses were awakened this month. Let me know what moved, inspired or interested you this month, too. I'd like to give it a "Taste Test!"
So, give these things a taste test:
1. Beauty for Ashes Women's Conference in South Africa
2. The Gurnsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows