Way Maker – My Story & the Lesson I Learnt in Exactly 1 Month During COVID-19

Way Maker – My Story & the Lesson I Learnt in Exactly 1 Month During COVID-19

So, I simply want to share my COVID-19 story with you guys.

I do think that God reveals Himself in the simplest, most beautiful ways sometimes. The subtleness is often exactly what you need to be reminded how gentle, caring and PRESENT our God is.

This story has a lot to do about South Africa’s lockdown chapter during the Corona pandemic, but the principles stay the same no matter what’s going on around you: my God cares enough to make it known that He is ever-present.

So, here goes.

Setting the Stage

Exactly one month ago, on 27 March 2020, I was not at my best. It was the start of lockdown, but as an introvert myself this fact in itself did not upset me as much as it did many others. So what was bugging me?

There was this sense of foreboding which I admit I allowed to take hold of me. What would the future hold? As someone stated very aptly, there was a sense of grief for the fact that life as we knew it was changing. Was that what got to me? Perhaps.

Also, even though I’m blessed to work in an industry that could continue operating during the worldwide pandemic, we weren’t completely unaffected. Clients were a little harder to come by, rates had to be lowered to accommodate customers. So, of course, there was the question – the fear – of whether we would survive throughout the crisis.

All of this DID lead me down the path of feeling somewhat depressed. I did NOT have my usual reservoir of joy supporting my emotions or enabling me to help those around me. I really felt down in the dumps.

But God knew what I needed.

The Way Maker Journey

Introducing Way Maker

Now let me make this clear: I know the song, but it’s not that I’ve heard it countless times. I don’t sing it in church every Sunday, because I admit I don’t get to church every Sunday. I don’t listen to gospel radio stations all day, because I work from home where I listen to instrumentals to keep focus.

But into my brain that Friday morning popped the word ‘Way Maker’. I knew about the song, so I Googled it. (For those who don’t know the song: read the beautiful lyrics by Sinach here)

And I found Way Maker on YouTube.

And I put in my earphones.

And I pushed ‘Play’.

And every word soaked into my being. Every word sung about depression…about Him being the Light in my dark moments…about working miracles when our humanly ways will definitely not be enough.

So, in those 8 minutes, God gave me back my hope. The hope I’ve held onto ever since I was a teenager and I grabbed hold of a belief that He has a plan with me, our country and His people. And His plans are always ongoing, no matter what.

So, I breathed again, listened to those videos ALL day…and saw how He provided each day over the coming weeks. For example, work may have not been in abundance as I was used to, but He provided enough for EACH DAY! He NEVER let me down.

And I thought that was my lesson.

But God was not finished.

Way Maker Across the World

So, you all have seen posts and videos from across the globe about how humanity has decided to stand together during this very trying time. Many people say that humanity is corrupted at our core, but in one of the most trying times in human history:

  • ┬áIt’s GOODNESS that is coming to the fore.
  • People SACRIFICE so much to help one another.
  • Communities are driven to SUPPORT each other.

Tough times bring out our TRUE selves, right?…and the world has proven that that which God has made us to be – people who live His values – is STILL at the centre of our beings.

But, back to Way Maker.

Have you taken note of some of the details of the positive stories people are sharing? Did you notice how many of them mention people singing ‘Way Maker’ to each other and frontline workers? This was happening in:

Was God simply trying to show ME that He is in control, or is this His beautiful golden thread making a path across the globe?

And STILL my God wasn’t done with showing me His beautiful hand at work.

Way Maker in Port Elizabeth (my home town)

So, as a country, South Africa has gotten through most of the lockdown period, but of course there is still a long time of challenges ahead. We have to rebuild our economy, small businesses are suffering and many people lost their jobs.

I look around me and have to force myself not to be overcome with sadness and worry for some of my friends’ current predicaments.

And then God sends me this.

I see it in my Facebook feed. I live in PE, so of course I watch it. It’s good news: a COVID patient is released!!!

But listen closely.

What song is playing in the background at the beginning of the video (try to listen in between the voices)?

Yes. The song that has become my anthem…the world’s anthem?

Way Maker.

God Makes a Way – Always

I can’t but see His beautiful golden thread that has been traveling with me SINCE DAY 1. And it’s only a confirmation of what He has done for me my whole life.

He is ALWAYS present.

He is ALWAYS helping.

I know all of you may not feel, hear or see it at the moment; but I pray that one day you will look back and the picture will become clear for you.

For now, this is my COVID-19 miracle.

I pray for each one of you out there that needs your own type of miracle.

I know my Way Maker is ready and able to show you the way. And please share your own lockdown stories so we can encourage each other.

Blessings to all of you.

10 Months in Port Elizabeth-10 Best Places to Eat

10 Months in Port Elizabeth-10 Best Places to Eat

Blue Waters

So I thought I would try something different today. We eat out a lot…

The benefit: We VERY QUICKLY got to learn about the best places to eat in Port Elizabeth (our home for only 10 months now).

(Note: it took me a while to publish this, so technically I have now been here for a year, but our list of favourites stay the same. )

Food

Now, this is me paying it forward:

  • For the restaurants that have kept us fed the past almost-year: Thank you and I hope someone else sees your name on this list.
  • For others visiting the area: Don’t miss out on these places. This is first hand knowledge doing the talking.

Without further ado…please follow my taste buds.

  1. Best Restaurant for Cake: Sherwood Gardens Centre

I put this one first because except for my regular work station (see below), this is the place my husband and I visit the most. Why? Because Cake.

We discovered the best baked item you’ll ever find and you can eat it in a stunning environment: Inside the centre your senses are entertained with quaint decor or you can sit outside where the nursery’s plants create a wonderfully refreshing space. As a bonus you can browse the book shop, the dress shop and other stalls.

But back to cake.

cake

It’s called ‘Try it’. And we did. And we were forever thankful that we did.

Layers of cake, meringue, cream, custard…and I don’t know what else (I don’t care) create the perfect dish to brighten any day. My husband doesn’t like cake the way I do and he is ADDICTED to this. It’s sweet, but not to sweet. It’s always fresh because it doesn’t get time to go stale. On a Saturday the last pieces disappear by lunch time.

So you better get there early.

2. Best Place for Pork Belly: Bridge Street Breweries

One thing we learnt in Port Elizabeth is that you should always stay open to new experiences. The thing that was your favorite yesterday may not be on the list anymore tomorrow.

I was 35 before I heard people going on and on about Pork Belly. For some reason, from the moment we arrived in PE, people mentioned it. So, being curious, I tried it. At more than one place. And I was thoroughly disappointed. Places where meat was the ‘specialty’ (I won’t name names) failed to impress me.

And then friends took us to Bridge Street. With a very interesting menu in front of us I was surprised that our friends both ordered the Pork Belly AGAIN. They did mention it more than once already but with so many options, why not try something new?

And then I tasted it.

And then I understood.

OUT OF THIS WORLD.

I loved what was on my plate too, but the PB was something worth returning for again and again. Divine and not too rich.

I get it now guys! Thank you for ruining my ‘favorite things’ list.

3. Best Coffee Shop for Lemon Meringue: Coffee Society

Okay, I will admit I’m biased here. This isn’t only my favorite place for Lemon Meringue but it’s also my favorite place to hang out during the week. Working from home is a blessing but at least twice a week I need to get out of the house. That’s when I head over to Coffee Society where free Wi-Fi, good coffee and friendly faces serve as my office for the day.

lemon meringue

But here’s why you have to go there and why you’ll thank me later: They got it right…the perfect balance between sweet and sour in the Lemon Meringue. I have honestly never tasted this anywhere else.

So do yourself a favour and get one (they’re small so you can order a whole one for YOURSELF) with some artisan coffee.

CS has a lot to offer, but I had to pick one thing for this list.

4. Blue Water Cafe for Sushi

Anyone who has been to Blue Water Cafe will tell you something different they love. The view. The atmosphere. For us: the sushi.

Sushi

Okay, I also love their Foccacia bread, but the Sushi is simply on another level. Always fresh and very original combinations. I can’t believe there was a time I didn’t eat sushi (yes it’s sad I know). I would have missed out on this and that would have been a tragedy.

5. Best Sauce Tasted at a Restaurant – Nanaga Farmstall

This isn’t a dish, but it should be with every dish you eat from now on. At least, that’s how it is in our house. My husband fell in love with Nanaga’s tomato chutney when we had it with our roosterkoek at the farmstall restaurant.

Luckily you can purchase it in the shop across the courtyard from the restaurant. Now we always stop for another bottle of this flavourful condiment if we’re in the area.

Okay, this place isn’t IN Port Elizabeth, but it’s close enough and when you’re exploring the area, driving a few kilometers shouldn’t matter. (Yes I love road trips)

6. Best Restaurant for a View: Sacramento

So this isn’t about a dish, but isn’t atmosphere part of every exceptional food experience? For that, I head over to Sacramento.

It’s near the sea.

It’s cozy inside and there’s a fireplace.

You can see the sea.

They welcome dogs.

You can look at the waves.

There’s some interesting decor relating to old ships and canons (Sacramento was a ship).

It’s right by the sea.

You can see where I’m going with this and they do have some impressive dishes on the menu.

Just go to the sea and thank me later.

7. Best Gin…and Other Things, You’ll Find at Coco Jo’s

So, I love chocolate and this restaurant uses cocoa (and its variants) in most of its dishes. You would think that’s why I recommend it. In the end, that wasn’t what blew me away.

While they have a beautiful setting overlooking a garden and I love that their pasta has flavour in each morsel of every bite (not simply a bit of sauce drizzled over bland carbohydrates), all of that comes second to this:

The most refreshing gin cocktail I have ever had. It tops anything I had in Johannesburg while I lived there.

Thank you to the manager who saw I needed that on a Friday and paired with their chocolate dessert I was in Coco heaven.

8. For Take Aways Just Go to Cassie’s

I think everyone in PE probably knows about this chain of restaurants, right? And rightly so.

It offers everything you expect from a takeaway restaurant. Even the Russian and chips meal is AMAZING. But this place goes one step further with fast food and even has some of the best ribs in town.

For dessert: Cassie’s makes soft serve the way I remembered it’s supposed to taste. That was back in 1989 when I was on holiday in JBay and had the creamiest ice cream near the beach front. Nothing ever came close to that. Until Cassie’s happened. Thank you dear take away outlet for recreating childhood bliss.

And yes, they have chocolate flavoured ice cream!!!

9. More Sushi – John Dory’s

Okay, I’m cheating because I’m mentioning more sushi, but there’s one thing John Dory’s has that has us going back for more. Okay two things:

  • Sushi dessert containing strawberries and chunks of cream cheese (yes CHUNKS).
  • Bean curd pockets filled with prawns and avo

Both of those get drizzled with delectable sauces. Together they make up another favourite meal (especially because it comes at half price on Wednesdays).

10. Fish! At Sunridge Fish Tales

I come to the end of my list and realize I almost forgot the most important thing to be had in any town by the sea: Good old fish and chips. We’ve tasted quite a few vendors’ versions of this famous meal. My neighbours tell me I still have a few places to go, but at the moment our favourite is found at Fish Tales.

A perfect weekend evening (or any evening for that matter) is this fish (fried for me, grilled for hubby) with perfect slap chips and the restaurant’s tartare sauce. Add a good series (Game of Thrones, right?) and a soft couch & I can face anything the next day.

Top 10 Best Food Port Elizabeth

I think that about covers it. This list is bound to change often, depending on where we head to next. But I hope it gives you an idea of where to start.

Please, if you have any more suggestions, leave a comment below. There are many Friday nights that need dinner destinations. Help me make my next 10 months in my new home town be as tasty as the first 10.

Now I’m hungry.