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

30 September 2012

Happy birthday son xXx

Dear Zac,
I had to find a quiet moment at the beginning of this day to come and sit outside and overlook your beautiful rose garden to write you this important letter. Today is your 1st birthday! Faithful Jesus knows mommy well and has given us the most beautiful sunny day for me to soak up His warmth right to my very heart ... and true to His loving kindness, your roses are starting to bloom! 

As I take in how your garden has begun to grow and flourish over this last year, I can't help but imagine how you have grown and changed in the last Heavenly year of your life. I have no doubt that you are absolutely gorgeous and that Heaven is positively rejoicing over you today. I can just picture all our family that has gone before us doting over you. Hopefully they are serving you some angel-cake for breakfast ;0)
Here at home we are choosing joy. We are choosing to make this a day of remembering you with all the love in our hearts. The tears shed come from hearts that know well where you are ... alive with Jesus. Every one of our tears shed, I know Jesus has caught and stored up and what we have sowed in tears, we are and will continue to reap in joy. He is using every part of the pain and offering to bring a harvest of heart peace. One day we will know in full.
Your sisters came through and asked us to sing you "happy birthday". I'm sure Jesus gave you an open window to hear our voices singing to you. Daddy is taking us out to choose another rose to plant in your honor today. This little garden has been such a healing place for mommy. Seeing life grow in this special garden continually reminds me that you are alive and well and THRIVING in perfect life. We will probably also take your sisters down to the beach front to ride their bicycles and then have a lovely lunch celebrating your birthday. Your cousins are coming around at tea time and Tianna has decided that we will make flap-jacks with maple syryp. She plans on making a heart shaped one just for you. Hang on a second ... your sisters are calling me to see something. Oh how precious! JUst look what they have been up to while I have been writting you this letter. They have made a sign for you and decorated the dining room for your birthday. Take a look at how much they love you ...
 (little cards ushering us to the dining room for your party)
 (A wonderfully colorful sign)
(The dining room set up just for you!)
Your wise daddy and I were chatting this morning about you. We want you to know that out of all the families on this earth that God could have chosen to be your family, we count it our greatest honour that He handpicked us to be the ones to steward your pregnancy and 21 1/2 hours here on earth and to be the bearers of your story. Still till today people share the impact of your life with us. Your life continues to bring heart-healing to many, because Jesus shines out of every aspect of your life. 
As your family, we will NEVER take for granted the amazing hours that we spent with you. Hours cocooned in "heart peace" and joy. It is my privilege today to go back and look over your pictures and video clips and take in once again all that we shared together. I know that you know how very much we love you. I know that you see God's amazing love and grace that has carried us through this last year. Mommy and daddy still say to this day that we would go through it all again just to have what we had with you. You will always be our pointer to Christ.
Today I am allowing Jesus to sharpen my picture of Heaven and His amazing love. That's what this life is all about. Jesus loving us so passionately to give us a forever family with Him. Because of His great love, we have that certainty in our hearts that we will all be a forever-family for all eternity. How we look forward to that day. What a priceless gift. Until then, we are choosing to rejoice and live worthy of His life and love as we walk forever changed by your addition into our family. Jesus is writing a story through all of us. I just know that the story still holds many amazing adventures. How precious to me to know that you get to see and cheer us on.
Happy birthday son. We love you SO MUCH. 
All our love xxx
Mommy, Daddy, Tianna, Angelee and baby Gabe

27 September 2012

Choosing My State of Mind ... "Let it Bring YOU Praise".

Pre-warning: I'm a little emotional today, so no pressure to read through all my ramblings. It's just my way of processing and working through my heart. 

Lately my emotions are raw. The tears seem to be willing to brim at the smallest of moments. The flash backs are vivid and keep catching me off guard. My mind wants to go back and take stock. I want to remember the details. I realise that my heart is preparing me for his 1 year anniversary. I see it in my girls too. They want to talk about Cape Town. They want to remember him and talk about him. We are missing him.We can feel the hole in our family. Amazing how such a little guy has left such a big impact in our lives. He always will. 
As I plan my Leelee's party for this weekend, I can't help but imagine what kind of 1st birthday party I would have been planning for our sweet boy. He would be turning 1 this weekend. I keep seeing myself back in Cape Town in the days before his birth. So much hope and anticipation even in the fog of uncertainties from doctors and specialists. I look back and see what Supernatural peace looks like. The Almighty was fiercely protecting our hearts as He was preparing us to experience a lifetime of joy compacted into 21 and a half hours. Had we known differently, we would have been robbed of that priceless gift. I look back a year later and see the miracles in the midst of intensity of pain that I will never have the words to express. I stand amazed. Though I find myself negotiating (once again) the intertwined mix of amazing joy and sadness ... I clearly see the faithfulness of God through a year I never thought would be my story to write. Though my heart drops at the loss of not being able to buy my son his first birthday present, I feel his brother kicking inside of me reminding me of the joy that Zac must feel knowing that the BEST pressie we could possibly give him is the gift of another precious sibling. I allow that to sink into my aching heart and bring me perspective. Zac sees things from a perfect, Heavenly perspective of perfect love. This is the gift he keeps giving to me even a year later ... to look up and see things from God's perspective of love. Yes, I need to allow the tears to come and process the pain of loss, but I will not allow it to swallow me up and define my life. I will continue to allow joy to rise and keep growing in my heart. I will choose even in the midst of pain to see the blessings and joy of his precious life. Already typing this, I can sense God's peace wrapping around my heart and soothing away the aches. He sees, He knows and He loves me through it. He replaces the more painful memories with pictures of my big boy beaming with joy and life in Heaven. He shows me how our son knows how much we all love and miss him, and how his little heart knows only peace and perfect love for us. A beautiful picture that comforts my heart and allows me to give myself fully to Zac's big sisters, infant brother and amazing daddy. It allows me to live fully here while I continue to negotiate the waiting until our precious reunion. Only a faithful, loving God can carry a family through pain and loss ... but faithfully He does and He even can bring unspeakable joy! Only God. 
So here I am, having started this post feeling sad, I have a deep sense of comfort, peace and perspective once again to see me through this big milestone of my sweet boys anniversary birthday and angel-versary. Only You God, only You! Let Zac's story and ours still being written "bring You praise". 
Love Janine xxx 

Bathroom makeover update ...

For all of those who have face booked or sms'd me to find out if everything came together in time with the bathroom and guest room makeover, thank you! So sorry to have kept you waiting with pics. MIRACULOUSLY the basics were done in time for when our guests arrived on Friday lunch time. It was a tight squeeze, but thankfully we also have gracious friends who laughed with us at what we had pulled off in 4 days! There are still final touches being done, so hopefully by next week I will have some pics to post. 
Much love xxx

26 September 2012

Angelee's 8th Birthday

My precious darling girl turned 8 years old yesterday. What a joy and treasure this sweet girl is in our lives! She radiates love and joy and just shines like a ray of sunshine!
I loved watching her face as she walked into the lounge to a table full of pressies in her honour. It was quite a big moment for Brett and I giving her her first real "big girl" bicycle! Both of us so vividly remember getting our first real bikes from our parents growing up. Looking at this big bike reminded me just how quickly she is growing up!
 Daddy and Leelee share a precious moment as he reads her our card. I love the bond they share. 
 Pressie time!
 "Thanks Lala for my pretty top! I've been wearing it everyday!"
"And my sparkly dress!!!" She is saving it for her party on Friday ;0) 
 Big sis gives her a lovely pressie ...
And patiently reads all her precious cards from her Granny & Pops & Lala who are overseas. 
 This mommy finally gets a snuggle in and can't stop thanking God for the gift of love that this precious little girl has always so lavishly given to each of us in her family. 
I am truly choosing to savour my time with this little girl, because before I blink she will be a little lady! 
"I love you my Leelee. Thank you for being the most wonderful snuggle-bug and for showing me how much our Jesus loves us! Every time you smile and your eyes sparkle, I'm almost certain that I can see His smile beaming at us through you!"
Love from a very grateful mommy xoxoxox

20 September 2012

"Be anxious for NOTHING" ...

Have you ever had one of those days where there are SO MANY pressing reasons to become anxious or stressed? I slipped into that stress cycle early this morning. We have precious friends arriving tomorrow lunchtime for the weekend with their family, and this is what the outside room where they are sleeping looks like ...
The open plan bedroom / kitchen / living area is still in the process of getting it's cupboards and carpet!
The bathroom is still in the process of being tiled and having the plumbing all sorted out! Oh ... did I mention that all this has to be done BY TOMORROW LUNCHTIME?! Yikes indeed!!!
Everything was running perfectly on time, until the tilers decided to rock up 6 hours late yesterday and leave 2 hours later. I am STILL waiting for them to arrive this morning. Almost 2 hours late and counting! The plumbers can't install the toilet and sink until the tilers finish ... and the plumbers are here waiting! Get my current state of mind! The temptation to stress out today is almost irresistible. I can't tell you the words I have rehearsed in my mind to say to the tilers when they eventually pitch up! BUT GOD and His amazing patience, mercy and gracious heart which has cornered me once again. Just as I was rehearsing my speech His words filled my mind ...
"Be anxious FOR NOTHING, but in EVERYTHING by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, WILL guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:6-7
Nothing like a little bit of "God perspective" to bring you back to reality. EVERYDAY there are plenty of reasons to be anxious. If I get real honest with myself ... my current little drama is nothing compared to real heart-sore issues that many people are facing. But no matter how big or small the temptation to stress, God IS ABLE to bring tremendous peace into our hearts and minds to carry us through whatever we have to negotiate today. 
What good would it really do to blast the tilers? Would I really feel any better afterwards. Knowing me, I would feel worse! Would it magically make everything come together? Nope. So ... what do I have to lose to simply change my perspective by starting to give thanks! That's exactly what I am choosing to do right now. I am choosing to see all the 101 reasons that I have to rejoice and give thanks over!!!
Today as I work this through and practice it myself I am encouraging you to join me in mentally starting to think about what you could give thanks for. I guarantee you that the stress will ease and perspective and peace will cover over your heart and mind and your day will look a whole lot better.
(When things come together, and I know that somehow they will come together ... I will have to post you some pics of our little makeover. Even if it's not all perfect by tomorrow, I can rejoice that I have good friends coming to stay who will laugh with us and take it all in their stride. See ... there is always SOMETHING to be thankful for!!! hee hee)
All my love,
Janine xxx 

19 September 2012

Brett's Fun and Fabulous 40th

Believe it or not, I have still not yet got to working out how to get the photo's my sis and I took from our US holiday from my ipad onto my pc ... so today I am posting all the beautiful pics I took of my handsome island boy's 40th birthday bash almost 2 weekends ago :0) Inspired by our amazing holiday in Mauritius ... we went island for the evening. And look at what a blessed woman I am!
This is my handsomeness looking too hot to handle ;0) 
 And this is me getting to snuggle that handsome man! Yay for me - hee hee ;0) 
My sweet little girls helped get things ready and looked the perfect part don't you think :0)
 My beautiful Leelee.
 My beautiful Tianna.
And what all follows is a bunch of some really precious friends who came out to celebrate my wonderful man!
Even the kiddies had their besties over for the festivities.

In between all the festive fun, our precious friends Neil and Mandi blessed Brett with one of Neils masterpieces. So blessed!
Then it was time to get stuck into supper! 
Then we tackled the speeches. It blessed my heart so much to hear such warm words of love being poured out on my precious man. He is a pillar of strength and such a faithful man who loves God and loves people. It makes me smile to remember how much these words meant to him. 
  It was so cool for Brett to have his best mates all together to celebrate this milestone. 
What a wonderful evening! Such joy watching him take it all in. 
  If this is his entry to 40 ... bring it on baby!!
And that's it from me for today. Thank goodness I still have 5 years to plan mine ;0) hee hee
Love Janine xxx

10 September 2012

Baby Gabe :0)

Before I get stuck into all my exciting U.S. adventures ... I have to share our latest scan news with you all. So many of you have walked this heart-wide-open journey with Brett, the girls and I, so of course we need to let you all know what's happening in our lives with our precious darling rainbow baby. 
They day after I landed back home, I had a detailed scan booked. I am heading into my 19th week so this was the "big scan" ... where they are able to see most clearly baby's organs and development. I held onto Brett's hand the moment I lay down in that all-too-familiar scan room where we first heard news of Zac's one of a kind heart. I had to keep reminding myself to "expect blessing" and to just breathe! We had the sweet privilege of looking into the intricate details of our precious baby. It is an awe inspiring privilege to see right to the very detailed organs developing in our baby. It is one of those moments that truly declares the magnificence of Almighty God, the amazing Author of life! Such amazing tender detail. 
The doctor is the same lady who initially picked up on Zac's heart defects. She was so reassuring and took her time - almost an hours worth of scanning every single organ. She was so compassionate and looked at us at the end with such caring eyes to declare this little one absolutely perfectly healthy in every way. And ... this little one is most definitely another precious son! His name is Gabriel Robinson ... affectionately called "Baby Gabe" to us :0) I need to look it up more specifically but I am told that the meaning of the name Gabriel is "devoted to God" or "strong man of God". This name has been in our hearts even when we were pregnant with Zac before we knew how short our time with him would be. I remember being 4 months pregnant and telling Brett that Gabe was still coming! I KNEW that Zac would be a big brother. How amazingly God prepares our hearts for even those things we could never anticipate or imagine.  
Here are a few of the scan pics that make me smile. EVERY scan we have of him always starts with him showing us his "beach pose" ... ankles crossed while he kicks back and relaxes. I'm taking this as a sign that he is going to be one chilled out, adventure loving little boy ;0)
Just before she began looking at his heart, he literally gave us a thumbs up that she managed to capture ... just telling mom and dad - "Hey guys ... I'm in GOOD hands here and Jesus is making me fearfully and wonderfully".
This next pic would never have meant as much to me had we not spent so many hours at scans with Zac examining his precious unique heart. This next pic is of Gabe's perfectly healthy heart with all 4 chambers, aortic arch and all necessary valves operating as they ought to ... and capturing his steady heart beat too. It still makes me very emotional every time they start looking at the heart. I look forward to the day that I meet Zac again where I can place my hand over his chest and simply embrace him, realizing the miracle he was to hold on as long as he did ... purely because he loved us so much. 
And what would a set of scan pics be without a few of his precious little profile. We cant help but keep falling more and more head over heels in love with this little guy. Here he is sucking his fingers. 
Back to beach mode with head resting on his arms ;0)  
And of course ... ankles STILL crossed 50 minutes later. This baby makes me laugh and smile. Such a joy to us already. 
Thanks for hanging out with this proud mama through all my pics and for celebrating with us. What a road of healing and restoration. Our God is so faithful and tender with our hearts. 
Love you MUCH!
Jan xxx