Saturday, December 21, 2013

Where is Christ?

The tree is up. The gifts are wrapped and hidden until Christmas morning. It has been a whirlwind of year end functions, carol services and getting together with friends old and new. A time of remembering and longing for family and friends who are far away or have gone Home. Excited shrieks of "Mommy, look, there is a Christmas ( tree)''  every time we go to the shops. Endless poring over of every gift catalogue shoved into our hands as thechildren dream of all the toys they want under the tree. Adults worrying  over budgets stretched beyond breaking point and wondering what the New Year will hold.

In the midst of this, where is Christ? I have been so wrapped up in planning  for Christmas that I have lost sight of Christ. I worry over broken budgets, a mom who has lost her job, a new school in 2014 for my "baby" who has a learning disability, a move to a new house that was not wanted or planned. My heart is broken for a baby who would have celebrated her 7th birthday this December but who went home to her heavenly Father long before I was ready to let her go. My worry, business and fear have clouded my mind and I have completely lost sight of Christ this Christmas. I need to come back to the foot of the cross, kneel and worship before the baby. Lay my fears, worries, grief and business at the foot of the Baby and climb into my Heavenly Fathers arms. He who knows the depths of my heart and who has every second of my life planned.

Look past the lights and tinsel and draw close to the Christ of  Christmas because without Him there would be no hope for what lies past Christmas day.

Merry Christmas and may His love draw you close this Christmas season

Thursday, December 12, 2013

December days

As I listen to the gentle patter of summer rain on the roof, another Christmas holiday comes to mind, one of snow, freezing temperatures and covering myself up like a Michelin man in order to stay warm. Hot chocolate, nearly getting lost in blizzard while out skiing and tobogganing down a steep hill at breakneck speed. I loved living in Europe but a warm, wet African December with wild lightning strikes and thunder showers is really what summer holidays are about for me.

Another sweltering, soggy summer day here in "sunny" South Africa. I cannot believe the amount of rain we have had over the past few days. It makes it challenging with everybody at home at the moment, as we are all under each others feet the whole time and there is not really place for anybody to do anything. I have to be really creative in keeping the children busy while my husband retires to our bedroom to read when it all gets a bit too much ( a really good idea). However, with a bit of planning and a few visits to granny and grandpa, hopefully we will all start the new year rested and refreshed.

We are moving again and although I DREAD the move itself, I am so looking forward to a larger garden, a swimming pool and a separate play room for the children. Also a much larger kitchen, which will make the cake baking a lot easier. Also more space for entertaining, which I have done nothing of in the past 3 years.

I have indulged myself a bit these holidays and bought a Yankee candle. What bliss. I love the gentle, sweet smell throughout the lower level of the house. I have also bought a few new plates, bowls, cups and cutlery from Mr Price Home. Very pretty and they did not break the bank.

So, few bits and pieces from a warm and wet South Africa

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The great procraftinator

I have always had a bit of a short attention span, unless it comes to reading a really good book ( I have just finished reading Jeffrey Deaver's The Twelfth Car , sort of borderline ADD when it comes to new projects. Loving crafts and all things pretty and frivolous as well as now having a great intent connection ( thanks to hubby) I do not know where to pick up and where to leave.  Pinterest has so much wonderful inspiration and just reading Lucy at Attic24 or Stephanie at Imagine our Life makes me want to start a new project. At the moment I am busy with a lovely crochet bag, care of Lucy at Attic24. We have just had our Easter holidays and in between tending sick children and a sick self as well as throwing out bags of clothing, I started a take along play mat as well as Stephanie's absolutely gorgeous Fire engine quiet book at Imagine our life.

 Winter is coming at a dizzy pace and I have wanted to knit hats for the children for a while, so today I finally started a pink one, which I am planning to customise with a flower ( or two ). Please note the operative words in all these projects....... I started. Maybe by blogging about it, I will have a bit more motivation to finish at least one of them. But there are so many others I would love to try.. a daisy granny square blanket, a ripple quilt, a flower cushion, a playhouse, a flower garden. I also have a few ideas for a winter wreath, inspired by Lucy at Attic 24.

Just on the side line, I have also started a cake decorating business. Orders are slowly trickling in ( follow my progress at  and I have already completed a Barbie cake, Liverpool cake, Ben10 cake and am busy with a paintball cake
for Friday. This would also explain why my posts are not as frequent as they could be. 

My biggest problem is that there just NEVER seems to be enough hours in the day to do all I need to do as well as all I want. Is this true for other working, blogging, crafting moms out there? Please let me know what you are busy with. I would love to see photo's

Friday, April 19, 2013

Jump without a visible safety net

Every Friday Lisa-Jo over at Gypsy Mama invites all to  join in on
five Minute Friday. The idea is to write non stop for five minutes on the topic given and then post what you have written.

This week's topic is Jump.

Here goes...

Jump....when the cliff feels so high and I cannot see the bottom. When so many tell me about the insanity of this jump. When I know jumping will take all my courage and that I have no guarantee of a safe landing, when I know the fall will bumpy. But how can I not jump as I read one more story of a baby left in a dustbin, a plastic bag, an open veld to die. When I hear of another baby abandoned in hospital, no loving arms to hold her, cuddle her, comfort her when her tears fall like a grief unquenchable. How can I not jump when in my heart I have heard His call to jump. So I pray and draw on His courage for this immense leap of faith. Then I take the first step to the edge of the cliff, not seeing the safety net, not knowing how or if I will land but knowing that somewhere a baby girl with big brown eyes and coffee coloured skin waits to call me mama. So I jump........

Monday, April 8, 2013


As I sit writing, there are dishes piled high in the kitchen, school bags to be packed, washing on the line and a million other things calling for my attention. Tomorrow seems like a mountain ahead of me as the new school term starts. As I look ahead I am so unprepared, both physically and emotionally, for what the next few months will bring.  The challenges seems overwhelming and I feel so small. Why do I feel as if I have to do this on my own, as if God is not in control and has so many more resources to meet my needs than I could ever dream of ? I know that I need to rest in Him, trusting for peace and for Him to meet the needs that I know I cannot. Just today, as I was fretting about winter clothes for the children and how on earth was I going buy two new winter wardrobes when we barely have enough for the basics, there was a knock at the door, a generous neighbour bringing a bag load of clothes for my daughter. What a blessing. Why is it so hard to trust my Heavenly Father, when He has proved over and over again His ability to provide?

Friday, March 15, 2013


Late yesterday afternoon I sat next to a large pond at the conference centre after a very hectic day of learning about all things I needed to know if I had to report abuse of a child. This conference followed on the heels of a flooded upstairs bedroom and hallway, a week of a child having temperatures of 40 degrees due to tonsillitis and a 4 day stay in hospital, a blown engine that had to be replaced, three days of working on a cake order that was a complete disaster, a six monthly report and a monthly statistics report, two training sessions, a new dog ( see previous post) and all the usual business of being a working mom and wife.

As I sat next to that pond listening to the waterfall and hearing the geese squawking, I could feel myself relax and my shoulders unbunch. My breathing slowed down and I could feel a peacefulness steal over me. Just a quiet half  hour out of a hectic schedule but I felt so refreshed. Is that not what we need to do sometimes. Steal a few quiet moments to come to rest and renew our spirits. A time to pray or just to be quiet in order to recharge and fling ourselves into the fray. Why is it so difficult to do as women and why do we never seem to realise how much we really need it?

Monday, March 11, 2013

A new family member ...

Oscar in his favourite position
I am not someone who easily posts about our animals but I really had to do a bit of bragging.We have recently welcomed a new family member into our home. Not the two legged kind ( that is a post for another day) but the furry four legged kind. Daisy came to us after much searching and false starts. We got Oscar, our lovely boy, as a rescue last February. His family were going off to Central Africa on a four year contract and were very hesitant to take him with. We found him through a wonderful rescue organisation who rehomes Labrador's and golden retrievers. He is a lovely dog but I think has been a bit lonely.

I have been searching for months for a lady companion for him but with no luck, as each dog I saw was sort of right but not perfect.... until I saw Daisy.What got me hook,line and sinker was her big, soft brown eyes.She is a cross collie/shepherd with a gentle nature and enough extra fur to build a completely new dog.

Daisy's first night at our home
She has made herself at home here very quickly and has wriggled her way into our hearts. It was love at first sight for Oscar and he spent the first two days licking her from top to toe. They have become great friends almost instantly.Thanks to Wendy, the very kind lady who rescued her from death row and brought her to us. We plan to love her for many years to come.

Monday, March 4, 2013

A short post

A birthday cake for a fairy princess
Another princess cake for a special friend
Hi again, I have not visited here for a while.The past few weeks have been a bit of a roller coaster ride ( mainly with me hanging on for dear life). We have celebrated two birthdays in the family and two birthday parties for close friends. I am getting a new venture of the ground ( see photo's above) . I spent 4 nights in hospital with a very sick little girl, went away for a wonderful weekend with my husband as a birthday surprise and have ended the month with a car engine that blew and had to be replaced. We have also welcomed a beautiful young lady into the family (of the four legged kind). Our boy Oscar is madly in love and spends all his time running circles round her and wagging his tail. No excuses but life has been a little bit hectic for me.

A bag in progress ( pattern by Lucy at Attic24)
I have managed to retain some sanity by following Ann at A Holy Experience.Thank you, my wonderful sister in Christ, for words that have spoken to my heart at the right time and with the right gentleness. As a treat to myself, I bought One thousand gifts by Ann Voskamp and am keeping it for my holiday, so that I can savour each word. I have also loved visiting Lucy at Attic24. Her world seems so gentle and peaceful and colourful. Her lovely crocheting inspires me and the beauty of her surrounding takes me away for a short time from the harsh realities of living in a large South African city, with all the frenetic rushing around and constant fear of crime.

Got to go now but I will hopefully not stay away so long again.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Always again

Over at Lisa-Jo Baker's blog called Tales from a gypsy mama, she has a five minute challenge every Friday. Her topic this week is " again" Here goes..........

Those words again! That tone of voice used again! How I hate myself when I hear my voice and those words coming out of my mouth.

They are unkind, harsh, sarcastic, breaking down instead of building up. In the world outside my home those words would not be used and that tone of voice never heard. I seem to keep these specially for my family, these two beautiful children with gentle spirits, who are so easily bruised. A great husband who I should be thankful for and yet those words are used to break down and hurt and pick fights. Even the poor dog suffers on a bad day.

Why do I do this? I know better and each time I fail I feel more and more ashamed of myself.
This is when I turn to my Father, who knows the words come from feelings of inadequacy, fear, rejection and unsolved issues in my life. My Father holds out His loving arms and enfolds me as I sob into His chest, hearing as He has so many times before my regret at what I have said and done. He wipes my tears away, telling me He loves me and I am His child, made in His image, not yet perfect but a work in progress. And I can turn to those I love and ask forgiveness and start over  again...

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Joy Dare (week one)

I mentioned in a previous post that I have taken up the Joy Dare.  In the past week one of the days we were asked to think of a blue gift to be thankful for and I really battled to come up with something blue. Then I glanced down to my ring finger. I have a beautiful wedding ring made of a circle of diamonds surrounding a sapphire.
Ring from ringsbylauren

A ring that my husband and I searched for together, designed together.  A ring that held a promise as we made all our starry-eyed plans for the future. A ring that I waited eight years for my husband to place on my finger, binding me to him through our promise to God to stay together till death do us part.

Little did I know at the time the challenges that we would have to overcome to stay true to those vows. We both brought emotional baggage into our relationship that has caused many tears. Illness on my part, the loss of our first precious child, going through the process of adoption only to find out I was pregnant then our second baby coming eight weeks early and spending a month in NICU, a very unplanned pregnancy with baby number three, career changes, house moves, severe financial difficulties that nearly saw us losing all we had. In all this we have manged to stay together. I has not always been easy going and sometimes it has just seemed easier to give up.

Yet we are bound together by a ring and a promise, to each other and our Father, that this marriage would be until death us do part. This beautiful ring with it's pretty blue sapphire is a daily reminder of that promise and a reason for daily thanksgiving that God has heard our promise and is helping us to keep our marriage safe.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

A New Year and a continuing race

I have just read a post on (in)courage with their Sunday scripture.

Therefore, since we are surrounded
by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith,
let us strip off every weight that slows us down,
especially the sin that so easily trips us up.
And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.
Hebrews 12:1

As I go into this new year with a certain amount of trepidation for all it holds, this verse challenged  me again about this race of life I am running and what my rewards will be. God calls me to run the race faithfully. I do not have to be a world class athlete to complete the race , just run it faithfully until I cross the finish line.  

There is a poster at my gym that says

You have put on your shoes. The hard part is over.

 Isn't that what it's about? Just being here. Doing what needs to be done. Faithfully. Joyfully.Thankfully. Whether you are running on a bright, cloudless day with a cool breeze blowing or through a hot and scorching desert or running into a howling gale.Continuing to run no matter the circumstances. 

When the bills are coming in faster than the money. When the car breaks down. When your marriage is in trouble and you are hanging on by your nails. When your children are sick and you hold them in the early hours of the morning to bring them comfort. When the phone rings and the news it brings is something you do not want to hear. When a loved one dies. When your womb is empty and it seems that all your tears have been wasted. When the job you so desperately need goes to someone else.

That is when we are called to run the race with endurance.Our reward is not in the here and now.  A medal does not come at the beginning or in the middle of the race. It comes at the end, when you cross the finish line. When your Father welcomes you home with open arms, saying well done, good and FAITHFUL servant.

As we go into this new year, not knowing what it will bring, let us hold onto God's word and run this race with endurance

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Spaghetti with roasted tamato and pepper sauce

 What could be better? Family night with a good movie and some real comfort food. We had a cosy family evening at home, watching Toy Story 2, which is a current favouritein our home. Both children run around pretending to be Buzz Lightyear or sit in their spaceship ( read toybox) and go off on space missions into the galaxy.

I made a yummy pasta dish which was a big hit with both big and small family members. Here is the recipe.Eat and enjoy. Do you have any easy recipes for family nights? I would love to hear from you.

Spaghetti with roasted tomato and pepper sauce

1 packet spaghetti
6 tomatoes
2 red peppers
garlic to taste
tbsp mixed herbs
50 mls olive oil
2 tbsp tomato paste
pinch of salt
1 cup grated cheese

  • Cook spaghetti as per instructions on packet
  •  While the spaghetti is cooking, slice the tomatoes in half,cut the peppers into strips and place on a baking tray
  • Sprinkle garlic flakes ( or fresh chopped garlic), mixed herbs and some salt over the tomatoes and peppers.
  • Sprinkle some olive oil on the tomatoes and peppers and grill in oven until they are soft.
  • Once the tomatoes and peppers are cooked, put them into a blender, add a bit of extra olive oil and about 1 tablespoons of tomato paste and a tsp of sugar and blend until pureed.
  • Once spaghetti is done, drain and then mix in pureed tomato sauce.
  • Mix in the grated cheese ( I prefer cheddar) and serve

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A season of busyness

Don't you just lovely with beautiful nativity scene. God in human form, which is a concept I can never get my mind around.

I am so sorry not to have been here for such a long time but this has really been a season of busyness, both joyful and heart sore, this year. We have celebrated a third birthday party, been to a funeral of a very dear family friend who died of cancer a week before Christmas, had a family outing to van Gaalens cheese farm, celebrated Christmas with family and then danced the night away on New Years Eve to ABBA.

In the midst of this celebrating and grieving it has been difficult to focus on the reason for Christmas, as there have been so many other things vying for attention.this year. This year it has been too easy for me to have my heart turn away from Jesus and focus instead on the gifts and other celebrations. Maybe it is because it has been easier to focus on outward things than to remember the death of a family friend who I have know for nearly half my life or to focus too much on the fact that my first baby would have celebrated her sixth birthday this December. On top of that I managed to miss three Carol Services and a Christmas day service, so I do not feel as if Christmas really happened this year.

However, I am anticipating 2013 with a great deal of optimism and looking forward to all the year holds. I have decided to take the Joy Dare. I stumbled on Ann Voskamp's blog and it has really inspired me. I have decided to take her Joy Dare and make a list of all the things I am thankful for for the next year. I do this with some trepidation, as I am generally a cup half empty person. I tend to focus on what I do not have instead of being so thankful for I do have. So follow me over the next year as I add each day to my gratitude list. I will be blogging about the weeks list every Monday and I would love for you to share with me on this journey.

Next I want to get involved in the Birthday Project which was started by Robyn Bomar. She decided to do 38 random acts of kindness for her 38th birthday and I encourage you to visit her blog. It really is inspiring. I wanted to try something a little different and try for one act of random kindness a week. Watch this space as I will be blogging on this every Thursday evening.

I have just finished reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin and while I do not necessarily agree with all she says in her book, it has certainly given me food for thought as to what makes me happy and how I can increase this. I will be doing some thinking over this and will share with you as time passes. Two things that I have decided to do this year is complete one craft project a month and write a letter/ birthday card to all my penpals and family. This makes me feel good and I love receiving letters in the mail.

This year will hold challenges but that is life. When I started this blog in April 2011 it came from a need to put into words what life is like as a working mom. My life has changed over the past two years, as it should. I have grown and been stretched, sometimes very painfully but mostly I love this season of my life with all the challenges and joys it brings.

Happy 2013 and I look forward to having you on this journey with me