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 October 2014

Wisdom from a friend

Lately I have loved seeing on Facebook how many people are practicing the gift of thankfulness with their commitment to "100 days of giving thanks". When we really take a moment to look at our lives, so many of the relationships, memories or things that can so easily skip our notice in the busy-ness of life all of a sudden shine out as precious gifts. Things that we take for granted are finally seen as precious treasures. Thanksgiving is such a powerful principle to release joy in our lives. I can't help but smile or giggle when I read many of the comments. It has the incredible ability to encourage, uplift and release honour to those around us. No wonder there are so many incredible passages in the bible encouraging us to give thanks. It lifts our eyes off the heaviness that can so easily weigh us down and re-focuses us on just how kind and good God truly is in our lives by surrounding us with people who love and "get us". 

Something that I am truly thankful for is that I can honestly count myself blessed to have many deep and valuable friendships in my life. People who are willing to speak honestly into my life and in my journey as a woman, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend and most importantly as a beloved child of God. One such friend is my wise friend Mandi. She has the ability to speak practical wisdom that rings in my ears and heart months and years down the line. Which brings me to my post today ...

Near the beginning of the year we were chatting about the link between a) knowing clearly what our personal values are ... and b) what our focus and time is actually being spent on. Do they match up? Now I am more of a "take time out by myself to think things through deeply" kinda gal which is why Mandi is good for me. She challenges me to be more spontaneous and got me to speak out those values on the spot. Oh I could certainly recite a lofty sounding list that would make any mamma proud, but the more I began to ponder over that list, the more I realised how many of those values that I professed to were either very broad sweeping or to be honest .... ummm ... hadn't been practiced or lived out with the same zeal, time or passion as in former years with my blame being centred on the distractions of life buzzing around me. Oh I definitely accept that we have to be mindful of the seasons that we find ourselves in, but all the more reason to keep checking in with where we are at in our hearts and everyday living. 

Over the last week, the Lord has reminded me once again about my chat with Mandi. I realise how powerful my choices are every single day. What I am giving the majority of my time and attention to is actually where my values lie. To be honest, I don't like everything that I see. When bad attitudes and irritability rise out of me more frequently than I like, I know it's time to re-focus and adjust the areas in my life that need a heck of lot more time with my beloved Jesus. And oh how He cares so much about the practical values in our lives too. I can profess to having "health" as an important value ... but it's only a true value when I am reaching for a plate of oatmeal crackers with cottage cheese & berries instead of dunking a few biscuits and rusks in sweet tea when no one is looking ;0) Hee hee ... yip ... it just keeps coming back to those powerful moments of choice each day and finding balance and joy in it all. I know that probably like me, many would put "family" at the top of their list too, but when I'm too busy to stop what I'm doing to really listen and laugh or cry with what my daughters are saying ... or put my iPad down and sit on the floor and play cars with my son ... that's when my values really start shinning through. 

I'm not writing this post for anyone else but myself. It's my way of stirring myself up again and being accountable to live an authentic life centred in God and the incredible peace and freedom that He brings by walking in the truth. Just taking time out to sit here on my veranda to take stock and make some adjustments to my time-keeping and focus has revived peace and a sense of balance for me today. What a delight to sit in the stillness while I watch the birds splashing in the bird bath and listen to the fountain trickling away. Simple joys. I am thankful. 

Now to re-order my list (and possibly have to part with all my choccie stash) ... :0)
Janine xxx 

Ps - Thanks Mands for simply being the wonderful YOU that you are in my life xxx

01 October 2014

3 years sweet Zac xxx

Dear Zac,
Today is another significant day for us as your family. Yesterday would have been your 3rd birthday and today your "Heavenly birthday". While we have come a long way from the excruciating pain of loss, our hearts still miss you dearly. It comforts my heart as your mom to write out the thoughts in my heart and take the time to sit and remember the precious moments entrusted to us through the time Father God gave us with you. I like to imagine our precious Jesus holding you in His lap reading you my letter ;0) I know where you are and have peace in that, but man how I long for even just a tiny little glimpse of the sweet little toddler that you have blossomed into in Heaven and just one more beloved snuggle. I continue to write out my heart, because over these last 3 years I have come to meet many other precious moms and dads who are hurting from walking similar journeys. My prayer is that the healing that Father God has so graciously been working out in our hearts would somehow be a healing balm of hope to others who may happen to read this. Writing for me has become a gift that enables me to process and see the hope that I have in God even through the path of pain, because its been in this journey that I have encountered just how personally Christ tends to the brokenhearted and redeems. 
Just yesterday ... I experienced this yet again. Grief is the weirdest thing ... just when I thought I had a handle on facing the ache with another birthday without you, I woke up to a new trigger. As the girls ran into the room declaring your birthday, a pang of pain hit my heart that you are the only child that the phone won't ring for early in the morning to hear family sing "happy birthday" to. I didn't want to get all down in front of the family, especially after your big sister declared that your birthday should become our "thanksgiving day". I love that idea! So I kept my pain hidden in a quiet corner of my heart. Here's where God once again showed Himself to me to be so personal and present where my heart is concerned ... because within minutes of me silently hurting, the telephone rang to your very precious aunty Niqui and cuzzies calling to say they had a special song to sing in honour of their little cuzzie that they miss on his birthday. Well I cannot tell you what that meant to me! The fact that Father God saw a silly, random, emotionally-irrational thought in my aching-mommy-heart and  cared so much as to nudge my brave sister's heart to follow through without knowing how I was feeling just bowls me over with renewed hope and healing that God cares so individually and continues to comfort and mend. Nobody knew what was in my heart but Him, and next year I probably won't need a birthday song to be sung, but this birthday I did, and He saw it and gave me a gift to remind me that He sees and understands. It allows me to smile even in my aching for you. Only Jesus. How he continues to move in compassion through people to send us precious messages,  practical love, surprise flowers, cake & gifts and even a lovely supper from a compassionate friend. How loved we feel. 
And so to honour your significance in our lives we decided to write some messages on balloons to send off to you, cut a very special cake made by your special aunty Julie and give thanks for the gift that you continue to be in our lives.
Even your baby brother got in on the action and drew you a picture :0)
There is no way that your sisters will allow your birthday to pass without acknowledging you and making sure we celebrate and I am thankful for that because in doing so, we have the opportunity to declare that God has indeed been so kind and good to us to have entrusted your life and story to us to share well. We will continue to do that sweet boy on the good days and the heartsore days.
Today we will go out and find a new rose to add to your beautiful living garden and imagine the vibrant life that you are living in Him. Full of joy, health, peace and love and we will choose to smile. I know that you know how much we all love you and that you delight to see us choosing life and joy in our everyday living and so we will continue to heal and share the love of God to people, because you are our everyday reminder of the grace of God and that Heaven is for real ;0) So have a slice of "angel pie" with all the little friends that I know you have made up there.
Daddy, sisters and brother send you so much love too. Hope you liked all our funny messages and happy green balloons. So glad your precious grandparents were all together to eat cake and celebrate with us yesterday. Special memories indeed.
All our love forever xxx