Thursday, October 2, 2014

Posting elsewhere

Hi all,

Please won't you follow me to Irresistibly Fish, where I have the awesome privilege of sharing Noah's story for Brett Fish's  Taboo Topics series. It is my first guest post and I am so happy to share Noah's story with other parents who may be battling.  Thanks Brett for allowing me this chance!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Parcels and letters galore!

I love swapping!

              A whole batch of letters and parcels ready to pop into the post

I have very recently discovered Swap-bot and Postcrossings. I have always been a bit of a sucker for goody bags, so this was love at first sight for me. I have been writing letters to pen pals for a while and I enjoy making friend with strangers from all over the planet who live in countries it is unlikely I will ever travel to. It is always fun to get something in the mail other than accounts or junk mail. A brightly coloured postcard from a foreign country or a cheerful envelope covered in stamps and stickers just have a magical way of brightening up my day.
I love the way writing letters and sending parcels connects me with possible friends from all over the world. I am an armchair traveller and this way I get a small glimpse of lives and lifestyles very different from my own. I connect with other mom’s and crafters who share interests similar to my own or make friends with people that I would not normally meet in my own social circle.
 In the world of the five second sound bite, sms’s, Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter and all sorts of other social media, it takes dedication to put time aside to really connect with people and build relationships the old fashioned way, where letters take time to write and one has to wait days, weeks or even months for a reply.

    Look at all the lovely letters and parcels from all over the world that I received this week
So the extension of this fun hobby is getting postcards from randomly picked strangers through Postcrossing. The way it works is that you register on the website. Initially you are allowed to send 5 postcards to people whose addresses are randomly chosen for you. Once the postcard is sent and received, the person who receives the postcard then registers your postcard on the website, making you eligible to receive a postcard from someone else on the website and giving you the opportunity to send another card. So far I have received a card from Germany and one from the USA. Who knows where my next postcard will come from?

I have also joined a site called Swap-bot. This is where the goody bags come in. I love getting parcels and gifts but my family is not big on presents so this is a way for me to indulge in my love of giving and receiving presents. At least that is how I see this site. I joined in August 2014 and have participated in 10 swaps so far. You get to decide which swaps you want to participate in. You sign up and are assigend a swap partner or partners. You can then start swapping.  There are hundreds of swaps one can join and they cover a wide variety of interests. Some are regional swaps, open only to certain countries. Some swaps are open to users who are new to the site. Others are open to users who have participated in a specified number of swaps. Some are very interest specific, swapping teas, dotee dolls, ATC’s and postcards. Others are more general and while they may follow a theme, the person sending the package has a lot of leeway in what they send. 

A lovely parcel of postcards and pretty card from San Diego

There is also a rating system. Every user in the site has a profile and they are rated according to the number of swaps they have completed, whether or not the swap items sent match the rules laid out and whether if not the person who sent the swap went to extra trouble with the things they send.The rules for the swaps are clearly laid out and the site is very user friendly. I have received some lovely parcels so far.

A cute pair of socks from England

Tea from the Netherlands

A tea swap from Chile.

                                                A postcard from the USA

Here’s to next week and all the lovely goodies and letters that may end up in my post box (or someone else’s).
Happy swapping!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Miracle Boy

Six years ago. It feels like yesterday. A flood of amniotic fluid on a chilly July morning in Johannesburg office block and a panicked rush back to my gynae in Pretoria, my wonderful husband as calm and solid as I needed him to be.  A short two hour labour and our precious first born child came into the world, two months early and fighting for his life. He was unexpected and unplanned but so very much wanted. As I lay in a drug born haze, he fought for his life that first night. He stopped breathing a number of times and was connected to so many wires and drips and pipes you could hardly see his tiny little body, covered in a fine down.

 In and out of lights to fight jaundice, intravenously fed with penicillin to fight a raging infection, my boy fought. I saw his face for the first time two days after he was born, I held him for the first time a week after his birth, so scared I would hurt him. His skin was too sensitive to touch so I could not even stroke him to comfort him. I wept with him as yet another drip was inserted and his wide blue eyes looked at me as if to ask why I was not keeping him safe. My body and mind were so stressed that I did not have milk to feed him and they had to resort to supplements a week after his birth.
And still he fought. Two weeks after his birth they moved him to an open incubator. Still on oxygen and fed by a naso-gastric tube he was slowly winning the battle to survive. No more intravenous drips meant I could hold him without fear of him bleeding to death if one of the drips came out. His first bath, where he screamed so loudly in indignation that the matron and number of other nurses came to see what was wrong. We survived that. 

 We survived he first night home, where he screamed incessantly from hunger and I cried hysterically from fear. We took him back to the hospital, his brilliant paediatrician put him on formula feeds full time and he started to thrive.
We survived his first day at his day mom and me going back to a job I increasingly hated. He grew, far behind with his milestones and yet he met them one by one. Slow to go on solids, slow to sit, crawl, walk, talk and yet he reached each of the milestones, not according to the books but in his own time. Slow to have all his vaccinations so that at one time I was taking two babies at once to be vaccinated.
We survived our unplanned pregnancy with his sister when he was only 9 months old. Sick as a dog, weeping constantly from hormones and trying to juggle work, a prem baby and an unplanned pregnancy all became too much. I resigned and stayed home full time just after he turned two.
We survived his third degree burns from a cup of boiling tea, me weeping with him as they changed bandages and tended huge blisters covering his arm from shoulder to wrist. We survived day his undiagnosed concussion from having fallen and hit his head twice on one day against two different pieces of furniture and the subsequent trip to have his head x-rayed with a suspected fractured skull nearly a week later. I remember him screaming hysterically for mommy from the x-ray room and me weeping outside as I was 5 months pregnant and could not go in to hold him.
We survived bringing Mia home when he was 17 months old, not knowing why mommy had left him alone and then come home with a “kitty”. He insisted she was a cat and very lovingly stroked her shock of red hair, saying kitty over and over. Trying to crawl into her bassinet to see what she was doing. Sitting in the car seat with me holding his bottle and trying to breastfeed at the same time. Double nap times, double nappy changes, double bottles and endless trips to the paediatrician for check-ups until he reached the age of two.

Two little bodies, one blonde and one red head, refusing to go anywhere or do anything without the other, more like twins than brother and sister separated in age by 17 months.

We have survived endless hours of occupational therapy, eye tests speech therapy and countless questionnaires. We have survived many tears cried into each other’s arms late at night as it became clear that Noah had a learning difficulty and we would need to get him into an LSEN ( learners with special educational needs ) school.  Wrestled with the why and the why not. Worked through the guilt that only a mother can feel. Worked through the endless questions and raised eyebrows of family, friends and strangers and we struggles to come to terms with a child who would not follow or conform to society’s standards of normal. Learnt the hard way that my son needs structure and stability to function and feel secure. That he still needs years of therapy and medication to help him learn. Battle with him as he struggles to control his temper and emotions, to articulate his feelings, his thoughts and ideas.

His first glasses, his Ritalin for ADD, his new school where for the first time in 4 years he has been separated from his beloved baby sister. His fear of the new class, new teacher and new friends. His grief over the separation from his best friend. He has met and conquered each of these challenges with his innate Noahness and fight for life .

We celebrated his first full bottle feed, his last all clear check up, his first tottering steps at 18 months.

The first time he sat up unaided on his first birthday. His first words -“light on”. The first day he no longer clung to my leg when I had to leave him at school. The joy at his first report his year which said he had greatly improved and his teacher was proud of him. The delight on his face when he saw the sea for the first time and felt a wave break against his foot. The first time he recognised his name.

We still have a long road ahead, this beautiful, emotional, headstrong, sensitive son of mine. He is God’s blessing to our family and a miracle we never expected. As we celebrate the last six years that have flown by, I continue to ask for wisdom and guidance to know what is best for Noah as we journey a very unknown and often rocky road. There is no manual or map for a parent, particularly if your child is a bit different. I have had to grow a thick skin and become a lot more assertive to protect my child. As he grows, so do I. I sometimes wonder who the adult is and who the child is as he has taught me so much. I look forward to what God plans for his life and pray that he, like his namesake, would be used as a blessing to others.

As we blow out six birthday candles, do a complicated Lego together and watch him climb to the highest slide on the playground and fling himself down, I realise once again that it his God given ability to fight for life that will stand him in good stead to meet all the challenges that life will throw at him.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

High mountains and a faithful Father

It is  one a.m. and  I cannot sleep ( again). It is hot and humid, The sheets are twisted and damp. I toss and turn and the year ahead lies like a mountain in front of me. There are so many seemingly insurmountable challenges that our family will face and all I seem to be able to do is turn them over and over in my head. And catastrophise ( my husband says I do really well at this). I feel as if I am standing in the foothills of a very high mountain range. On the other side lies a peaceful valley but all I can see are the steep, jagged cliffs of the mountain range, waiting to snare and destroy weary travellers. The wind howls in the heights and snow covers every path.

I cannot see a way over these mountains and I am fearful and feel defeated before the journey even begins. So much will be required of me this year. Time, money, emotions, energy. A dying to self in order to thrive . A giving of myself to others so that they may grow. These are only the things I see. What of the unknown, the beasts that lie in wait in caves and on lonely mountain passes, waiting to devour and destroy the traveller who dares pass by ?

And as I lie there in my bed, fearful and frozen, the words of Psalm 121 whisper to me, coming quietly through the chaos of my thoughts.

Psalm 121

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—    he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm
    he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore.
My God and Father is the maker of these mountains. He knows the path that I am meant to take to make it through these mountains, even if I cannot see the way. He will guide me and keep me safe. I just need to trust Him fully. AND TAKE THE FIRST STEP. It is so easy for me to worry and so hard for me to trust but I know that if I am to make it through all that lies ahead this year, then I need to lean on God and trust Him completely in everything. So I am putting one foot in front of the other, leaning hard on my Father and grasping His hand tightly as we go into this new year together

Friday, January 3, 2014

Fridays Fave Five #1

Two posts on one day! I am not sure if I will be able to keep this up but I am definitely going to try. Susanne at Living to tell the story has a great way of ending the week by giving thanks for 5 things in the past week. What a great idea. I want learn to be more thankful this year and this seems a good way to start.

Things that I am thankful for in the past week:

1. Free books from one of my favourite authors. Beth Moore has a number of free Kindle books on offer. For a bibliophile this is a wonderful way to start the new year.

2. Highveld thunderstorms. Unless you have lived in Africa this is impossible to explain. I love the way the storms builds up during the day like huge tsunami of sound and light that culminates in a spectacle of booming and electricity followed by lashing rain that washes away the heat and dust of the day.

3. A new home. We will be moving at the end of January to the house that we own, which is about 10 kms from where we currently live. I was angry at first that we were having to move but after going to see the house today, I think I am finally looking forward to the move. My own home, a swimming pool, a separate play room and a LARGE kitchen.

4. Parents. both my parents are alive, healthy and living not to far from us. So many of our fiends have emigrated or  have parents living in another part of the country. We are so blessed to have parents close by and very much a part of our lives.

5. Two healthy, happy children. I take this so much for granted, especially when I am tired or stressed from the endless rounds of meals, dishes, laundry and discipline that children require. I love little arms around my neck and those sweet, earnest conversations that build the bonds of parent and child.

So there it is, my first Friday Fave Five. I pray that this year may be one of thanksgiving, both in the good times and the bad.

Five Minute Friday: Fight

It's Friday again and I am linking up with Gypsy Mama Lisa- Jo Baker for her Five Minute Friday challenge. The way it works is that each Friday she gives us a word. For five minutes you just write whatever comes into your head, no corrections or rewrites. Then go over to Lisa Jo's blog and link up your post.  Here I go:


I so hate conflict that writing about this is tough. I grew up in a house where there was a lot of yelling and shouting and slamming of doors. I hated that and would shut myself up in my room and turn my music up loud or lose myself in a book. As an adult that is not such a healthy way to deal with problems, especially not in a marriage or a work context. As I have grown older, I have slowly learnt that it is okay to have an argument. Nobody will break and relationships do not collapse if you disagree about something.

I have a really long way to go but am slowly learning to stand up for myself and make my voice heard. I am still scared to argue with my husband but it is getting better. This is not because of who he is but because of who I am. And sometimes a fight is not a bad thing. A fight to save a marriage,
fight for injustice or for those without a voice.

So as I grow I hope to fight fair and hard for the important things in my life and allow my Father to walk with me on this journey.


Hope you will join me on this Five Minute Friday adventure.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Free Beth Moore books

This is a really special New Years gift. If you enjoy Beth Moore's writing then you are going to be really excited about this special offer. Amazon has four Beth Moore titles available for free (yes for FREE). I heard that this special is on until 10 January 2014 and that there may be other titles that will also be  offered for free or at reduced rates, so keep checking on Amazon. Click on the links below. Happy reading and happy New Year.

When Godly people do ungodly things

Believing God

To live is Christ

The beloved disciple