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 May 2012

Big Brother

Dear Zac,
Sweetest boy, there is a never a day that you are not in our thoughts and in all of our hearts as your family. We think and talk about you all the time. Sometimes Jesus gives me beautiful pictures of how sweetly you must be growing. This mommy will always anticipate the day when I get to smother you in kisses again! Do you watch your big sisters bragging about how much they love you? It makes me smile. I'm sure it makes you smile too. 
So my boy, Daddy told me that I wasn't allowed to tell anyone until we first told all our family ... so this clever mommy thought I would tell you and the whole world at the same time ;0) You are going to be a big brother! When I carried you in my tummy I always told daddy that you would be a big brother one day. Falling in love with you opened our hearts to dream of having one more little treasure. Today we got to tell your big sisters. The tears threaten to pour when I think of the unspeakable joy in their faces at hearing this exciting news. One of the first things your biggest sister said was "Now Zacie gets to be a big brother too!". I watched a weight drop off their little shoulders and a seed of joy begin to bloom in a place they have grieved deeply for 8 months. In my heart I know that you are smiling with Jesus at this joyous news. A little "rainbow baby" - a child of promise has been added to our family. Please give Jesus a big "thank you" kiss from us and tell him to kiss that sweet little nose of yours! Joy is blooming in each of our hearts.
We love you our sweet treasure boy. Happy 8 month anniversary son. You are ALWAYS in our hearts and part of our every joy.
With all our love,
Mommy, Daddy and your big sisters
ps ... Here are two pictures that your sisters drew this morning with big grins on their faces :0)
Angelee's picture of my tummy ;0)
Tianna's picture :0)

24 May 2012

If not ... why not!

I woke up this morning and officially declared the morning to strictly be "Jan time"! After a very busy few days helping my hubby out in his office, doing school projects with my eldest and helping her study for her exams in between the day to day running-my-lovely-home-chores, I decided that this morning would not be spent rushing around or cleaning out cupboards at home, but will solely be used for some relaxation! (Wow - that was a looooong sentence! I seriously need to learn how to say things in less words - ha ha. What the heck - I'M A WOMAN therefore I CAN say lots of words ;0) 
So, instead of more-of-the-routine rush ... I took a walk with a friend, ate my breakfast soaking up some winter sun on my porch, ate a piece of cake while I soaked in the bath, caught up on some of my reading, wrote a little and am now off to meander through a mall with a cappuccino in hand. Life is about balance. Too much rushing around has never been good for the soul. I'm going to blast my music as I drive with the windows open and laugh out loud, just because it's jolly good for my heart ;0) !!! Whatever you do today - find a moment to laugh out loud.

Have a beautiful day!

23 May 2012

Here's to TODAY

A friend and I were chatting yesterday about how we so often put off every-day happiness waiting until this grand elusive moment when we will either finally feel ready or have met some self-set criteria. Our feelings about ourselves and our lives are a big factor in this mindset. For some it is waiting until they meet the right person, for others it may be having children, or about being a certain weight / looking a certain way or it could be when they are debt free or financially independent etc. It's simply "that" something that is stopping us from enjoying abundant life each and every single day. It's not so much that setting goals for ourselves, or that any of the above desires are wrong - not at all! We all need goals that we are working towards, but it's when those goals that we set for ourselves become the only way we determine our happiness or allow us to fully live life in freedom, joy and peace. (Side note - clearly I am LOVING the various font sizes today - hee hee). 
This last year has taught me that my current circumstances do not have to determine my joy. Even in sadness and loss, God sustains us with a joy that goes beyond "feelings". This is something that my friend Belinda has learned and powerfully shares. She sent me her notes from a ladies talk she recently shared at and gave me permission to share it with anyone that I felt would be encouraged by it. Well I certainly was - so I know you will too :0). (If you would like me to send you her full talk, send me your email address). This is a brave mommy who carried her beautiful daughter full term only to discover at a routine gynae appointment days before her scheduled birth  that her precious baby girl had passed away within her due to a "true knot" in her umbilical cord. Little Jennifer and my Zac graduated within days of each other. Belinda shared the story below in talking about how God has faithfully helped her to move forward through the pain over these last 7 months ...
"I want to tell you about something that happened to me a few weeks ago while I was shopping at Pick 'n Pay. While I was walking down the aisle I overheard a conversation between two ladies doing their shopping. One of the ladies was visibly pregnant and she said to the other lady that she was standing with “I still have three months to go before my baby is due. At the moment I have to go to the gynae for a check up every month and soon I will have to start going every two weeks. I really can't wait for this all to end and for the baby to arrive so that I can start to get on with my life." I kept on walking down the aisle trying to make sense of what I had just heard. It really struck me that this lady felt that she wasn't really "getting on" with her life at the moment and that she would only start to do that in a few weeks time. 
I suppose I was a bit like that last year too just before we were expecting our daughter, and I think that so many of us are waiting for some big event or for something to change before we truly start living. It may be that we so desperately want to have a boyfriend, or get engaged or get a new job. We think that if only that could happen then we would really be happy. The problem is that we never really know what is going to happen in life and we can't spend our life just waiting for something that we think may bring us happiness.
So although Michael and I are hoping and trusting that God will bless us with more children, when that time comes, it will only be part of our ongoing story not the end of our story....
While there are still occasions when we are sad, the joy that we have found in the Lord throughout the last few weeks has been greater and more consistent than the joy we have ever felt before.
I can honestly say that I realise more than ever before what it says in Nehemiah 8v10 “The joy of the Lord is my strength” and that real joy can only be found in my relationship with the Lord."
I can totally relate to what Belinda shared! Even in heartache, God has faithfully been redeeming joy to us. It's been a process - good days and hard days, but that "heart peace" that God taught our family about has allowed us to heal and find joy amidst the storms that have raged. In it all He has stood present and because of that we can find reasons in His strength to throw our head back and laugh in the wind.
We all have a different set of circumstances that we are negotiating, but who is going to join me today??? Who else is tired of putting off true happiness and is willing to let go and CHOOSE LIFE today? We don't have to wait to be perfect or have just-the-right-set-of-circumstances to live in freedom and happiness. We don't have to jump through a certain set of hoops before we allow ourselves to receive the joy of the Lord that gives us strength. All we need to do is let go and open our arms wide to the love of God and let the Almighty do the rest. 
Here's to TODAY ... this very moment sweet friends! Cheers!!

All my love xxx

22 May 2012

Time for Some Change

Anybody who knows me well, knows that I love a good makeover :0) I've been hunting for a new blog template for a while now, and finally found this whimsical one. It feels like a peaceful, good fit for my current frame of mind. It's a little dreamy and a lot soothing and I love, love, love the soft baby blue and chocolate tones. So heres to a comforting, whimsical new space for Love in Action Journey. 
Love Janine

For a Sweet Little Giggle

Oh my goodness ... this gave me the sweetest giggles this morning. Take a look at this adorable 2 year old dancing. His total freedom and simple joy is contagious. Go on ... turn your music up and find a moment to dance today! Who cares who's watching ;0)
All my love xxx

18 May 2012

A New Roof!

Just after Easter, we had a big home project to tackle. One we have been putting off for years. The roof had to come off and be replaced. The-ENTIRE-roof!!! Eish!!! When we got back from our Easter get away, we realised that we could not wait any longer. We came home to a house with leaks in 5 rooms. Our faithful old roof was just beyond any more patch up jobs. It was time.
When I look at the above picture I can relate to this old house of ours. In so many ways it feels like the roof got stripped off my life for a season, but the difference between me and this old house is that God never leaves us bare and exposed. Though it feels like a hurricane stripped away so much ... His Grace and Presence has been a constant shelter over my heart as the rebuilding has ensued. The last 7 months of surviving child loss have been the hardest journey of my life, yet I have never known the closeness of Jesus more. I haven't blogged much lately because I have been negotiating new layers of grief with God. I've needed to process with God first. It's all part of my healing process. This journey requires ongoing honesty with God as He rebuilds my heart. Over and over again His assurance washes over my heart that honesty is always what He desires. He can walk us through anything when we come to Him with an honest heart.
Revisiting Cape Town (and then negotiating my first Mothers Day without Zac) was hard. It took me back to the raw pain of having to let go when all I wanted with all my heart was to come home with a miracle. We prepared for a lifetime with Zac. He gave it, but from a greater Eternal vantage point. I guess, the miracle has become how God is able to piece back shattered hearts and reveal the Eternal in my everyday world. The miracle is that He reveals how there is still faith, hope and love no matter what we go through in life. The miracle is that the immortal, Living God ... the Great I Am walks hand in hand with us mortals through everything that we face here on earth and He walks with us in such tenderness and love!
I recently read something so wise that a grieving husband wrote in announcing his beloved wife's passing. Just like with Zac, so many people had prayed for a different outcome. This loving husband wrote “When we pray, we are trusting God; when He doesn't answer, He is trusting us.  God Himself has entrusted us with unanswered prayers. He is trusting us to go on trusting Him, and to follow Him not because of what He does for us or what we would want Him to do; but to follow because He is God, and we are not." This resounds so strongly in my heart. Sometimes, we just have to know that there are things that He trusts us to trust Him about.    
As I look at this picture again, I can relate that allowing God to repair my heart is a little like finally letting go and trusting Him to replace the brokenness, just like those old broken tiles that used to cover my roof. He can replace the disappointment and pain with heart healing. The funny thing is that the process of putting on our new roof wasn't as daunting as I expected it to be. When the roof came off, so did a sense of relief flood in. I knew that there would be no more "damage control" every time it rained. There would be no more internal damage to the ceilings, carpets and walls. It was finally going to be completely restored. Now when I look at my lovely dove-grey tin roof, when it rains, the soft pitter patter of rain on the roof brings me peace and not stress. Everything is in order. I know that the it is the same with my heart. What God has lovingly been rebuilding in my life bares His fingerprints, and I know that He does all things well. Taking one last look at that picture, what I do love is that though the roof came off, it allowed me to see the sun more fully ... or should I say the Son :0) Through it all, His love has shone through.
Maybe you also feel like the roof has caved in. Lift your eyes today and allow yourself to see how close Jesus stands to shine light and love over your life. I can promise you one thing ... He is THE Master Builder! There is nothing that He cannot make new and beautiful. Praying heart-peace over your heart today.
Much love xxx

11 May 2012

I won't forget how good You are

My Jesus, I choose to trust. In the blessings, in the joy, in the laughter, through the tears, through the questions ... through what I do and don't understand, I choose to trust You with all my heart and I won't forget how good You are. This song is my prayer to You today. 
Held in Your arms xxx