This is my thinking spot, soap box, scrapbook and journal. I used to create a snail-mail newsletter of the same name that I sent to friends and family a few times a year. The name, for my English readers, is the Afrikaans word for the Marguerite daisy...and also a word play on my first name. I hope you will linger a while and that you will find my musings edifying and inspirational. You are welcome.
Fear and hatred seem to be rife in our nation at the moment. I was very much encouraged by a post that recently appeared on Floydd and Sally McClung's blog. This has been distributed throughout our congregation to encourage us to pray to God for our country with urgency and humility.
As we meet with friends and family this weekend around dinner tables or even braai fires, may we not succumb to the hopless despair and fear that are gripping so many. May we not jump on the band wagon of judgement and mud-slinging, but instead proclaim Christ as sovereign and our hope in Him eternal.
You can read the whole article by clicking here. I include here the guidelines Floydd gave on ...
How to Pray for a Nation in Crisis:
How to pray in a time of crisis:
1.Focus on God’s character. Acknowledge God’s goodness, His greatness, and that He is ultimately in control. (Daniel 2:20-22 and 9:4,7,9). Refuse to be more impressed with sin or evil people or wicked rulers than with God’s greatness and goodness. Faith for a nation in a time of crisis comes from being impressed with God, not circumstances.
2.Thank God for what He has shown you in the past as you prayed for your nation. (Daniel 2:23, 9:3). If you have not prayed with fasting and brokenness and humility for your nation, ask God for forgiveness.
3.Declare to God in faith that He raises up kings and presidents, and He removes kings and presidents. (Daniel 2:21). Daniel believed his own king in Jerusalem was removed, and the king of Babylon was raised up to judge the people of Israel. God brings governments down if they do not govern righteously. God uses wicked nations to bring judgment on His people.
4.Confess the sins of your nation in humility. Name the sins of the people specifically. Notice Daniel identified with the sins of his people. When he prayed he said, “we have sinned”. (Daniel 9:3-6, 9, 13)
5.Acknowledge that the judgment of the Lord on His people are deserved because of the sins of their sins. (Daniel 9:11-15)
6.Call upon the mercy and forgiveness of God. Daniel believed there was only one hope for the nation, and that was the mercy of God. He appealed to God to be merciful. (Daniel 9:4,9,18-19).
7.Pray for God’s own sake, for His glory. As you pray, be more concerned for God than for the people or yourself. Too often our prayers are based on what we want or what we feel; our prayers become self-centered. (Daniel 9:18-19)
We are having such a blessed weekend as we commemorate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, our King and Saviour!
After tucking the children into bed on Thursday evening, Mike and I settled on the couch and watched The Passion of the Christ again. It has been a few years since I've first watched this stirring depiction of Jesus' last hours before his crucifiction, and even though I was again deeply touched by the portrayal of the events leading up to His death, this is not a film I can watch frequently, or even annually. I am not sorry for having watched it again, though. It has helped me to purge from my heart the wordly misconceptions about this time of year that so easily entwines around one's heart in order to defile and distract: like the temptation to ignore what I know about the pagan origins of easter bunnies and easter eggs and letting my children join in the 'fun' of easter egg hunts etc. It encouraged me to return to the Word as I tell my children about the price Jesus paid for our salavation.
An after-lunch cuddle with ouma earlier today
On Good Friday at church we were treated to a beautiful musical play called One Voice - a fictional account of the struggle in the hearts of Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea as they followed the days of Jesus' teaching and death, and, ultimately, His ressurection. Afterwards we shared in the Communion and by the end of the service the whole congregation sang, unaccompanied and with tangible emotion, Amazing Grace. Sweetpea LOVES music and dancing, so she was rivited throughout, but the highlight of the whole thing for her was seeing John the Baptist baptising Jesus! (John is her absolute favourite person in the Bible!)
And then the sun rose on this beautiful morning - Resurrection Sunday, for me the most significant and joyful day on the Christian calendar!! Because it was the event of my beautiful Saviour's resurrection that changed everything!!
We don't do Christmas in a big way - definitely no christmas trees and silver balls and chuby little angels - but Resurrection Sunday is a day of joyous celebration in our household! I got up early this morning and found Sweetpea all curled up on the couch in the living room. I have no I idea why or for how long she had been up - she usually crawls into bed wit us when she wakes up early - but I was happy to have my little girl with me in the early hours of this special day.
We put on our aprons and she pulled up her stepping stool to help me prepare the dough for making breakfast scones.
I used I sharp knife to cut the dough into shapes resembling a lamb (Jesus was the ultimate sacrificial lamb), cross (an empty cross - death could not hold Him!) and circle (because Jesus conquered death, we now can have eternal life if He lives in us!) We popped the scones in the oven and set a lovely table, before waking up Dad and little ArrowBoy.
At breakfast, Dad read the resurrection story from the book of John, and we sang Alive, Alive, Alive forevermore!(Sweetpea really putting in all her effort at every Hallelujah!) while I fed ArrowBoy his mashed banana inbetween.
(I just CANNOT get this picture to upload correctly! Hope you get the idea!)
They then got to open a little gift each (Sweetpea and Arrow got a DVD with children's worship songs. We don't own a TV, but invested in an extra-large computer screen on which good DVD's may be watched as an occassional treat. Dad and I got a triple play DVD set of Fireproof, Facing the Giants and Flywheel.)
After breakfast we put on the T-shirts we made last night.The children's read: "I DON'T NEED EASTER EGGS, I HAVE JESUS!" And after all that I was very surprised that we actually made it to chruch on time!
Our T-shirts says HE IS RISEN!
The children's T-shirts: I don't need easter eggs - I have Jesus!
In about half an hour we'll be off to my parents' for lunch, and then I will be very happy indeed if my two little lambs will both take a nice long, afternoon nap when we get back. Both. At the same time. For at least one hour, please!
I end on a sweetly commical note: We like to share Communion as a family at least once a week, but the frequency of it over the past few days (at church on Friday morning, and again at supper on Saturday,) obviously got to Sweetpea a bit. Last night we were having a delicious bowl of smoked chicken soup which my darling husband had prepared for us. Sweetpea was dipping a piece of bread in hers, took a bite and then handed the remainder to her dad, saying: "The body of Jesus, broken for you!"
I love autumn! There is just something restfull about the unwinding of the days, something deliciously lazy in the way the leaves are starting to turn their colour and will soon be drifting groundwards. And although temperatures soared to over 30 degrees today, the early morning was mild and lovely, so the children and I cleared out the last remains of the summer's plants in my potted garden on the patio.
Every little body helped!
I am by no means a vey prolific or skilled gardener, and yet there is something about seeing things grow that strongly appeals to my motherhood. The planting and nurturing and guiding and then the joy of those first little green shoots! Isn't it just like my joy at watching my infant son discovering last week that he can pull himself up against things, and now there's no stopping him! And since yesterday he's attempting to wave with wild windmill swipes when we say "ta-ta!" My precious young seedling is growing stronger every day, and with every new morning my heart expands just a little more to make room for the love!
In pensive mood...
Have pink ballerina skirt, will do garden work in it!
So today we cleared away the last of the tomato plants that yielded quite a nice harvest this year. And I pulled out the dried stalks - all that remained of the blatantly bold zinnias. And we swept the patio and watered the lemon tree and every now and then I stuck my finger into baby's mouth to take out grass or dirt or twigs. At one point I turned around to see the little fellow flat on his belly on the paving, lapping up a trickle of water running down from the pots! Good thing we're not germ freaks around here, hey!
It's thirsty work, this!
I LOVE doing these things with my children - they halve the effort and double the joy!
After the kidney stone drama of last week (see previous post!), Mike and I were so greatful that we didn't have to cancel our plans for taking a break from city life for a weekend, and on Thursday morning we packed the children, our luggage and some padkos into the car, and left for the lovely little villiage of McGregor, about two hours away in the Breede Valley.
The road between Worcester and Montague/Bonnievale never ceases to overwhelm me with its beauty. I love the fruitful valleys bursting with lush crops of tomatoes and butternut, the vineyards and orchards, the quaint farm stalls and breathtaking mountains. But this time the ride held an extra thrill as we turned right out of Robertson's main street towards McGregor and followed a winding road we've never traveled before. A mere 20 km later we entered the 'villiage where time stood still' (according to one of the tourist brochures). And that is no lie: for the next four days I forgot all about schedules and to do lists and just savoured the peace and unhurried flow of life in the small country town.
We stayed at a renovated cottage, aptly called 'Next Door', as the owner lives, well, right next door (!) in another beautifully preserved white and green cottage. It had a wide verandah with a rietjiesdak where we enjoyed all our meals and the splendid view, and the children loved playing on the soft green grass behind the house, with Sweetpea exploring the fig and granate apple trees and fearlessly climbing the ladder propped up against the back wall. The cottage had two roomy bedrooms (we slept on a beautiful brass double bed) with two bathrooms and a spacious open-plan kitchen/lounge. Balmy breezes were welcomed in as we left the doors open all day - no traffic noise or sirens or burglar bars or thumping music from an inconsidertae neighbours house. Just...aaahhh...peace...!
Mike was just the epitome of relaxation and divided his time between dozing and reading, while I took loooong, meandering walks with the baby in the stroller and my sweet little girl traipsing through the irrigation channels that line all the streets and are still being used for watering lush English gardens and vegetable plots. We breathed deeply and litstened to the wind and the birds and the gentle rythms of small-town life. Friendly townsfolk greeted us with smiles and the man at the tourism office gave Sweetpea a postcard with a child's drawing of a church on it.
On Friday evening we dined at Green Gables. When I called earlier to enquire about whether they had credit card facilities (they didn't, as was the case with most of the restaurants) the owner's wife kindly told me: "No, Love, but don't worry. Come have a lovely meal and then you can pay tomorrow when you've had a chance to draw money." We had the most delectable lamb shanks and vegetables, and desert was heart-shaped malva puddings adrift in a pool of sweet custard.The highlight was the view, though!
On Saturday morning we walked up to where a few of the villagers put on a small morning market. Who'd have thought that such delicious bounty could be collected from just four or five tables set up under the oak trees on the sidewalk?!
The highlight for the children was Eseltjiesrus Donkey Sanctuary, and on Sweetpea's insistance we visited it every day during our stay. It is home to 18 rehabilitated donkeys (Look out for a post on my Joyful Mama Blog!) and a delightful little restaurant where we allowed our little girl to taste a milkshake for the very first time!
I usually dread coming home after such restful breakaways, but once again the beauty of the Breede Valley eased the return journey to such an extent that I'm still basking in the afterglow of our quiet, refreshing weekend. And McGregor has definitely not seen the last of this family....
Psalm 84:4-5: "Blessed are those who dwell in Your house, they will still be praising You! Blessed is the man whose strength is in You..."
I can assuredly testify to the power and grace of God after He miraculously healed me last week! Here is how it happened:
On Wednesday morning at around 6:30 I awoke with a searing, stabbing pain in my lower back and abdomen. I have never experienced anything so painful and immediately knwe that something very bad was happening. I woke my husband and he tried to soothe me and held me, but we soon realised that I was in need of medical attention. He brought the baby in so I could nurse him, while he called my mom to come over and be with the children.
We arrived at the emercency room at around 7:00 am and by this time I could hardly stand up by myself anymore. The pain was excruciating. A doctor examined me and I was put on a drip and given some strong painkillers, while blood was drawn for tests. My darling husband was next to me all the time and I know how hard it was for him to see me in so much pain and be unable to make it better. He prayed over me continually, as did my sister who lives 12 hours away. It was only after a second dose of painkillers that I started to experience relief and that I was calm enough to be taken for an ultrasound and abdominal X-ray, both of which confirmed renal colic, or, as we know it, kidney stones. I was told that a urologist would be in to examine be to determine whether surgery was necessary and that I had to also go for a CT scan in the meantime.
I was admitted as a patient and moved to a ward at around 11:00 am, where I waited to see the urologist. By this time I felt absolutely no pain anymore, but was very nauseaous from the painkillers I had been given. I was also very worried about my baby. I hadn't nursed him since 7:00 am and the emergency room doctor told me that I could not breastfeed with all the medicine they gave me (I had been telling them all along that I am nursing...), and suggested that I get hold of a bottle and some formula. (The poor man was ill informed and had no idea how strong I feel about nursing my babies. I soon got my La Leche League Leader on the line, who promptly made some inquiries about the medicine I was given and called back within five minutes to tell me I could go ahead and feed my boy!)
But back in the ward I was really anxious about having to undergo surgery. The nursing staff were not able to tell me whether arrangements could be made to keep my baby with me for the night, and as we do not have any medical aid, I was really worried about having to stay overnight. I had send an sms to my cell leader's wife and another friend in Christ, and I know they were all praying for me.
It was 16:30 by the time the urologist finally arrived. He didn't examine me, but asked some questions and then pulled up a chair next to my bed (THAT made me nervous!) He then explained that the ultrasound and abdominal X-ray that was performed earlier that morning had shown very swollen kidney pipes, indicating the presence of kidney stones, but....that the CT scan that was taken about an hour later, revealed absolotely NO signs of any swelling at all!! And here's the miracle part: I had not used the toilet in all this time, so it was not possible that I could have passed the stones, either!
I was released soon after, with the side-effects of the pain medication being the only thing wrong with me. I praise God for this miraculous healing! We serve a mighty, awesome God who is is powerful to save and deliver us in our hour of need. He gives us all good things and I will praise His name for what He has done for me. And because of His greatness I now also declare that I will not fret about the hospital bills that are due to start arriving this week - I put my trust in Him to supply in my every need.
My youngest sister, Talitha, is a very talented jewellery designer. She also loves beautiful accessories and a few days ago got her pretty little hands on a consignment of the most exquisite victorian lace scarves! Since she doesn't have any exhibitions planned for this month, we decided to sell them via word of mouth, and I offered my blog as a shop window.
Didn't quite plan on modelling, too, but our other sister Andrea (the pretty one) was unavailible due to her job at Thelema wine farm just outside Stellenbosch. Sanel, the fourth installment of our sisterly quartet, is a stylist par excellence, but lives upcountry and is currently on holiday anyway, so Talitha and I had to pool our resources to produce photos of her products. It may not quite be Vogue material, but we had a lot of fun!
These are a just sample of the different designs availible. If you are interested in receiving an e-mail with all the designs, e-mail me at email@example.com . If you would like to place an order, be sure to mention the item code and price. For those of you living in the Northern Cape Town suburbs, we'll deliver! For orders from other parts of the country, we will calculate the postage and send you a quote before mailing it to you. Oh and PS: the earrings I'm wearing on these pictures are all designed by Talitha!