About Me

South Africa
My husband, Brett and I live in beautiful South Africa and have been blessed with the most precious family. We have 2 very beautiful and brave daughters, Tianna and Angelee and a very precious little boy called Zac who touched our hearts forever in his 1 day here on earth. We never would have imagined that we would have to live this side of Heaven without our sweet boy who was born with half a heart, but every day Jesus carries us through and is teaching us more than ever how to live, laugh and love fully. A year and a half later, our faithful Great Restorer graciously blessed us once again with another son ... our beloved Gabriel ... a ray of sunshine in all our lives! This blog has been a place where I have been able to journal my journey through loss, hope and choosing to live a life rich in love.

Blog Archive

29 June 2011

Fun at Home

So we dipped into our "holiday idea box" this morning ... and we drew out "a picnic tea party". It worked out perfectly because Tianna had a friend over for the day, so while they decorated the table on the veranda outside, Angelee and I made a batch of peanut butter / choc chip cookies. Yummy!!! Here are some pics of our adventure at home today ...
 Leelee whips up a batch of yummy scrummy biscuits!
Sharing a baking moment. Bliss for this mommy. 
Bakers treat ;0)
Tianna and Emily enjoying the feast! Cheers girls!!
Leelee taking a moment to catch her breath after all that hard work!
Days like today are so important for us to savor. I was just thinking this morning that in just 8 years time my big girl will be 18 and approaching adulthood. I want to fill up these years with my sweet and precious children with as many precious memories as possible. Sometimes in all the routine and training up my children I forget and get caught up in the busyness of it all. The Lord reminded me again today that this is where "love in action" counts the most .... at home with my family. 
May you have a wonderful day today making many new memories.
All my love xxx

28 June 2011

"Holiday Idea Box"

My girls are on school holidays for 3 weeks! Hip, hip ... HOORAY!! I LOVE the morning sleep ins. If the girls get up early they know to make themselves some breakie and watch some telly till I get up. I have to savor this easy routine until baby boy makes his big arrival in October ;0)
Yesterday we had tea and scones with a sweet friend. She is a mommy of two darling little girls and also has a little one on the way. I gleaned a lovely idea from her. At the start of the school holidays she got each of her girls to give her 5 ideas of what they wanted to do throughout the holidays. Each day they are going to do one of them. I loved her idea! So today, the girls and I wrote out some fun activities that we would like to do in the holidays. We wrote them out and have folded them into our "holiday idea box". Each day we will draw out one of the activities to do for the day! They are sooooo excited and so am I. 
It was so funny coming up with ideas of what they wanted to do these holidays. At the top of the list was "fly to Disney World" ... uhhhh honey ... that's a little far and a bit too expensive for right now ;0) So then my youngest pipes up ... "Let's go see some crocodiles!"???? These girls ... they make me laugh so much! I eventually explained that it has to be stuff that we can either do at home or in our City. "Ohhhhh!!! ... Well then let's bake and cook". Yes luvies ... that's more like it ;0) 
I'll try keep you posted on our "at home holiday adventures" :0) 
Have a beautiful day!
All my love xxx

26 June 2011

Cozy Sunday Arvie

After a really busy week and weekend I am finally sitting on my couch with the heater on full and my feet up on our lazy boy couches. Our tummies are full to the brim after a tasty pasta lunch. I am watching my two girls, puppy and cat lying all side by side soaking up some winter warmth at the heater. Hubby is curled up under a blanket taking in a Sunday afternoon snooze. Ahhhh ... these are rare and precious moments. I am loving this lazy Sunday afternoon. 

From a happy and relaxed Janine xxx 

22 June 2011

Lessons from a Box of Pop Corn

My house smells like pop corn and it makes me smile. I LOVE pop corn. My mom & dad used to have a pop corn machine which my sister and I used so often in the afternoons after school. I have yet to buy one now that I am a mommy - guess I should put it on my pressie list ;0) I am a bit naughty by cheating and buying microwave pop corn. I just find it SO CONVENIENT to quickly pop up a box as a snack for the girls (ok ... especially for me - hee hee). Funny how smell is so powerful in triggering memories. Sitting in my lounge surrounded by this amazing aroma brings back so many wonderful memories ... sharing my first box of popcorn with my handsomeness on one of our early dates before we married ... sitting in the kitchen with my mom, granny and sister playing scrabble with a  HUGE bowl of salt and vinegar flavoured popcorn ... making lunch boxes for my girls and adding a packet of pop corn in, which reminds me of the many bags of pop corn my mom made for me :0) Such special memories.  
Why am I blogging about pop corn ... I am getting there I promise ;0)
I love that Jesus taught such simple yet life changing truths through parables when He walked the earth with His disciples. He drew on the everyday things around them to explain spiritual and life giving heart lessons. Popping a box of pop corn this afternoon took on a deeper meaning for me. As I heard the popping I started thinking about how I am always so delighted at how a little corn kernel seed can pop into something so remarkable within seconds when it is heated up hot enough! And then I started to remember a verse that my parents taught me growing up ... "Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks" (Matthew 12:34). It got me thinking about how often we say things or do things that we don't really mean when the pressure builds up. While most of the time we do not mean to intentionally harm, our words and actions come from somewhere. What pops out of us when we feel hurt, or misunderstood, betrayed, pressurized ... basically when the heat or pressure is on us? Whatever we have been mulling over and storing up in our heart has a way of eventually "popping out". It reveals our heart condition. Is this not why God says to us in Proverbs 4:23 "Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life." His words are an encouragement to us to look at the condition of our hearts. If something "pops out" that is not pleasing, life giving or a blessing to those around us, then if we are brave and humble enough to open our heart before Him who sees and cares for our heart, He is able to restore and heal and cause life to stream out of us like a spring of fresh living water. What an encouragement this thought is to me today. God loves and cares and tends to the condition of each of our hearts when we are vulnerable enough to open it up before Him. May we learn a beautiful lesson from King David in the Bible who said "Search me (thoroughly), O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." (Psalm 139:23-24). David was no perfect man and yet because He made his heart vulnerable to God, God delighted in saying of David many years later in Acts 13:22 that He David as "a man after My own heart". God is no respecter of persons. When we live vulnerably open before God and allow Him to lead and guide us as David did ... He too says of us that we are His daughters or sons after His own heart!
Who knew God had something so precious to show us through a simple box of pop corn ;0)
All my love xxx

21 June 2011

Fun night out Update

Hey friends! I hope you are having a terrific Tuesday so far. As promised ... here is the update from my night out with the book-club girls last night. Silly me forgot the camera at home, but maybe that's a good thing, because all the pics would be of all the yummy food we consumed - hee hee ;0) It was so fun to put some make-up on and get out the house for an evening of fun, laughter and gift giving (and yes Jojo - definitely good coffee too!).
Next to the amazing food and fun banter, we got down to some serious gift exchanging. Oh my word! These girls took gift swapping to the next level! Every time someone bonded with a gift, someone else swapped it right out their hands :0)  In the end we all went home with smiles and lovely little gifts. Here's what I got to walk out the door with before it could be swiped by any of the other girls ;0)
A beautiful new scarf and heart charm bracelet which I absolutely adore. It reminds me of love in action :0) 
I so wish I could squeeze all of you into my lounge for a fun gift exchange evening of fun and laughter, instead I will pass on all my love to each of you across the miles today and tell you once again how much I love and appreciate all of you!

All my love xxx

20 June 2011

Off loading the Monday blues

It's Monday. The start of a new week. I can't believe that I am starting my week feeling so tired. Maybe it's the fact that 23 weeks worth of making a baby is starting to catch up with me now ;0) Somehow, I blame the Monday blues though. This morning was one of those mornings where I totally overslept. I blame that on the fact that we had no electricity this morning which is why the alarm never went off ... which more significantly meant that there was no coffee to face the morning with!!! Thank goodness my eldest gets a lift to school this week (we alternate with our neighbors) and Angelee's school times are way more flexible. Once I finally got myself ready and walked outside I spotted a pair of Angelee's shoes which she left outside overnight that the puppy found and chewed to pieces! Trying not to loose it with the dog, I FINALLY got her and myself in the car. As I took a breath, I almost threw up! She had stepped FRESH doggie doo over the seats as she got in ... and to make matters even worse, I sat on my chair before I realized what she had just walked all over my seat!!!!!! So instead of easing into my day I had to rush to drop her off in the smelly car ... then drop it off at the car wash for a valet. Oh my goodness!!!  What a day!
So to de-stress I am off to our mid year book club function tonight where we be doing a fun gift exchange game and enjoy a yummy supper (and when I say supper I actually mean a table full of yummy deserts - hee hee) over much needed girl catch up and giggle time. The gift exchange game is so much fun! We all get to pick a number out of the box. The person with the first number gets to pick a gift first and open it. It remains theirs as long as the person with the next number doesn't like and choose to "steal" it from them, where they then have to unwrap another pressie. Each pressie can only move 3 times and then it becomes safe. The game goes on until the person with the highest number then gets to choose which gift she would like the most out of all the gifts. You can imagine the shrieks of laughter and protest when a favorite pressie gets swiped. So here are my pressies all wrapped up and ready to be swapped. I'll post an update tomorrow on how the fun goes. 
Well, I've got to say that after unloading the days events I feel so much better. I also realize how many comical and special moments have been unwrapped in all the busyness. Even Mondays can make us smile :0) 
All my love xxx

19 June 2011

Happy Fathers Day

It's Fathers Day today and so this is my post firstly honoring my father. Dad ... I love you and am proud to shout it out for the world to read =0) It is so hard living in another city on days like today, because I would like nothing more than to spend time all together ... laughing and sharing hearts. Thank you Dad for all the laughs, cuddles and support you have given me over all the years. I miss you today being so far away. 
Next up I am also blessed to have a dad-in-grace. My "in-laws" have never allowed me to refer to them as "in-laws" but rather as my "in-graces". It is so unique to who they are and they truly have shown me how to walk in grace. I am privileged to have both these dads in my life to love, respect and honor. 
And now for my husband and the father of my precious children ... my Brett. What an amazing father you are my love, to your girls ... and to your son-on-the way! You show us all such consistent love and kindness. You make us all laugh, you teach us life lessons and you serve us in love. It is our joy to serve you today my darling! We love you SO MUCH!!!

14 June 2011

An Encounter in the Wilderness

On this warm winter morning I am sitting outside on my veranda with a cup-of-something-warm-and-wonderful (interpretation: coffee - hee hee) looking out onto our very green garden.
The Lord has sent us incredible rains over the last few weeks after an almost 2 year drought. Our dams are slowly starting to fill up again here in the Eastern Cape. This is the first time in my 34 years that I have lived through a drought with strict water restrictions. When the water restrictions were first issued we all wondered how we would adjust. It meant no filling the pools through Summer, sharing water at bath times or showering super quick with low water pressures, spacing out your washing days as not to waste lots of water etc. We all started finding ways to teach our children how to be water conscious. We put up water tanks to catch any falling rain that came our way so we could water the garden etc. It's amazing how quickly you adjust and also become thankful for the luxuries that you might have once taken for granted.

Pondering all this, I am so mindful that when we go through "drought" seasons in our life, God is often closer to us than we even realise! It is in these dry, barren places that He has so much to impart to us. If we would just look and listen, we will see Him teaching us incredible life lessons in the most unusual places.

Consider Hagar's story. You can read it in the Bible in Genesis 16:1-16. Hagar was Sarai's maid servant. After many years of Sarai trying to fall pregnant and waiting on a promise that God had given to her husband Abram that they would have a son, she became desperate and tired of waiting. She reasoned that maybe God needed her help seeing as He was taking too long, so she took matters into her own hands (funny how us women have always battled with control issues hey - even all the way back then!). In her desperation she approaches her husband and offers her maid servant to him as his second wife that maybe through her they could bear a son. Abram agrees (what was the man thinking!!!) and Hagar falls pregnant. Sarai got what she thought she wanted .... but because it was of her own doing and not what God had promised her, it never brought the joy that she had hoped it would. Hagar began to despise and look down on Sarai, her master. So she goes to Abram angry and broken and tells him that Hagar had turned on her and that God would judge between him and her. Abram, who adored his first wife tells her to do as she wills with Hagar and so Sarai unleashes her anger on Hagar who then fled into the wilderness after being mistreated by Sarai. Hagar was now pregnant and felt completely hopeless about her situation so she does what a hormonal and irrational pregnant woman might do - she ran away into the wilderness to somehow try to make a new life for herself. A wilderness though? This is clearly the act of a desperate and broken woman. Verse 7-8 says "But the Angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness on the road to Shur. And He said, Hagar, Sarai's maid, where did you come from, and where are you intending to go? And she said, I am running away from my mistress."  Here's what touches my heart. God chooses to meet with her in the most barren place of all - her wilderness. He talks to her about what had led her to the wilderness and then asks her where she hopes to go. He talks to her ... the Living God talks to her! She talks back and bares her heart - no hiding. She says it for what it is. In this place He begins to give her hope and perspective. He tells her about the son she is carrying and tells her about his destiny. He also tells her to go back to Sarai - that He will deal with the heart issues and cause provision for her and her son. In this place of barrenness and despair HE GIVES HER HOPE AND PURPOSE! It is in the driest, hardest, most alone place in her life that she encounters the Living God. Verse 13-14 says "So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, You are a God of seeing, for she said, Have I (not) even here (in the wilderness) looked upon Him Who sees me (and lived)? Or have I here also seen (the future purposes or designs of) Him who sees me? Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi (a well to the Living One Who sees me)." 

Through Hagar's encounter with God we see that we have an Almighty God who sees us and desires to meet with us. If you are feeling like you are in a wilderness experience ... call on the Living One Who Sees you! Just as He saw Hagar sitting in the wilderness, so He sees you and me today and wants to give us all the love, acceptance, hope and perspective that we need. Just speak to Him.

All my love xxx

13 June 2011

Friends Forever

Over the last 6 days I had the sweetest time with my best friend staying over at my house. While we may live in different cities, our friendship has always crossed the distance. We have coffee-shopped, chatted till our eyes couldn't stay open anymore then found more to chat about in the morning ;) We have shopped, munched on chocs, watched telly, painted nails and just had the best time catching up! I have gleaned from her funky style and now own a pair of happy winter wellies to see me through the rest of winter.
My Annie ... I appreciate you more than you will ever know sweet friend! Thank you for the gift of encouragement that you always bring into my life.
All my love xxx

07 June 2011

Speaking up Loud & Clear

Words. We hold so much power with the gift that we have been given by God. Ever really thought about how precious this gift is that we have been given? No wonder the Bible says that the power of life and death are in the tongue. God never entrusted this gift to any other of His creation ... except us ... His beloved children. While all creation has a voice and can be heard in different ways ... only we have been entrusted with the gift to speak words. What a precious and powerful gift those words can be. With this gift comes great responsibility to each of us. Everyday we hold the power to build up, encourage, edify and breathe life, hope and love into one another and each others dreams or we have the power to discourage, hurt, confuse or tear down. The choice is continually before us.  When we add action to our words, they speak even louder.
Everyday we use this gift. How much of what we say blesses? How much of what we say causes someone else to smile? How much of what we say shows that we believe the best in each other? Sometimes I forget that scripture tells us that we will all stand accountable before God for the way in which we use our words.
I write this as an encouragement, because we can make such a difference in one another's lives when we speak words of life, encouragement and love. Just as important is to be speaking words of life and truth over ourselves! When we change what we believe about ourselves, the overflow is love towards others.
Psalm 19:14 says "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my (firm, impenetrable) Rock and my Redeemer." Whatever we are meditating on (thinking over and over about) eventually has a way of becoming what we talk about. God is encouraging us today to fill our thoughts with the truth of who He says we are and to be speaking those words of love and life over ourselves and each other.
Proverbs 23:7 says "For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he." Joyce Meyer always says "where the mind goes, the man goes." Are you believing the truth about how treasured you are in your Father God's eyes?
Here's the last verse I want to encourage us all with today:
Ephesians 4:22-24 "Strip yourselves of your former nature (put off and discard your old unrenewed self) which characterized your previous manner of life and becomes corrupt through lusts and desires that spring from disillusion; and be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind (having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude), and put on the new nature (the regenerate self) created in God's image (Godlike) in true righteousness and holiness."
When we surrender our hearts and lives to Jesus, Father God looks at us and no longer sees that "former nature" and all the mistakes we make. No. He sees a new, Godlike nature because He sees the righteousness and love of Jesus Christ all over us. Today He is speaking His words of love over each of us reading this post. He is reminding us that we love Him because HE FIRST LOVED US! The more we meditate on how rich His love for us is, the more we will love and encourage those in our lives with His words and embrace of love. May we use our gift of words richly today! Let's speak up and let love pour out :0)
All my love xxx

04 June 2011

Fabulous Blog Shout Out: Niqui's Blog

Precious friends, I am soooooooo excited about this post!!! I get to introduce to you my beautiful sisters blog: Niqui "Walking with my Jesus". Some of you got a taste of what lies in her heart when she guest posted over here earlier this year. I had so many comments of how her writing spoke to your hearts. FINALLY she has decided to start up her own blog. I can assure you that you will always be touched by what you read. This is my big sister ... the one that I have watched growing up and always been inspired by. She stands up for truth, is so strong and courageous yet has the softest heart of compassion that I know. Please go by and visit her today and encourage her on her new adventures in blog land by following! She truly will inspire your heart as she always does mine. 

All my love as always,
Janine xxx