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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Life's Lessons

Today's devotional by Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His highest has challenged me deeply.  It speaks of the call of God and what it actually means.  I quote:

"This call has nothing to do with personal sanctification, but with being made broken bread and poured-out wine. Yet God can never make us into wine if we object to the fingers He chooses to use to crush us. We say, “If God would only use His own fingers, and make me broken bread and poured-out wine in a special way, then I wouldn’t object!” But when He uses someone we dislike, or some set of circumstances to which we said we would never submit, to crush us, then we object.  If we are ever going to be made into wine, we will have to be crushed—you cannot drink grapes. Grapes become wine only when they have been squeezed.
I wonder what finger and thumb God has been using to squeeze you? Have you been as hard as a marble and escaped? If you are not ripe yet, and if God had squeezed you anyway, the wine produced would have been remarkably bitter. To be a holy person means that the elements of our natural life experience the very presence of God as they are providentially broken in His service. We have to be placed into God and brought into agreement with Him before we can be broken bread in His hands. Stay right with God and let Him do as He likes, and you will find that He is producing the kind of bread and wine that will benefit His other children."

Ouch!  
I just have to think back on this year and realise just how often I failed the test. 
I look back and realise that nothing ever happens without a purpose and without the Lord allowing it.  
I look back and realise that some of these circumstances were allowed into my life to squeeze me...and more often than not, the wine produced were extremely bitter.
I look back and realise that through this all I have taken some steps to safe guard myself from getting hurt.
It is so easy to cut of a relationship that is causing pain.
I have acted without love in many of my circumstances.
I have built walls to hide behind.
I realise that often the walls I built around me to keep me from feeling and getting hurt are the very walls that keep me from receiving love.
I realise that I was not an example for others to follow. 
I got some real life lessons and learned very little from it. 

It reminds me of the song by Hillsong, Potters Hand.




















I find myself singing:
Oh Take me, mold me, use me, fill me
I give my life to the Potter's hand

Oh Call me, guide me, lead me, walk beside me
I give my life to the Potter's hand
 
So the Lord starts moulding and it hurts!  I moan and groan and forget that His Word says that "All things 
work for the good of those who love Him."
Human nature just takes over. 
I am convicted not condemned.
I know that His grace is sufficient for me and when I am weak He is strong.  
I know that although I fail many times, His love for me is unconditional and ever lasting.
 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The last days of our holiday.

Wynand, Nadia and Lukas joined us in Plettenberg Bay on Thursday and we spent the day on Friday at Birds of Eden and Monkey Land.
Many of the birds at Birds of Eden are rather tame and come and sit on your shoulder or arm.  They go for any shiny object and I had to remove the studs from my ears or they would have done it for me;-D  Here a Ringneck is sitting on Wynand's arm.
A Knysna Loerie.
These three parrots were cornered by a couple of children and it was hillarious, they even laughed when the children laughed.
A Golden Pheasant Cock and Hen.
He was really showing off.
Still very much in love...proper Love Birds;-D

Monkey Land is also situate at the Craggs outside Plettenberg Bay.  This has become a sanctuary for various monkeys that have at some stage been in captivity in zoos and some were previously pets.  We were fortunate to see most of the species that now live in the sanctuary.
The Gibbon
Vervet monkeys
Lemur
Golden Howler Monkey
This funny chap is a Spectacle Langur
This cute little monkey is Lukas!
This suspension bridge caused some serious stress for Nadia, who has a fear of heights.
The bridge is 128 metres long and high above the forest floor.
...after a long day!

Thanks for the visit.

xxx

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Team Up Thursday: Doors

I chose the topic for this week's challenge.

First up is Stefanie's photo:
Stef says:
"I wanted to drive around and snap some doors, the weather was bad and I never got around to it.
This is a different view of my bedroom door, but I like it. I duplicated the image twice in photoshop elements 6, used 2 blending modes, screen followed by soft light."

And here is mine:


When we left PE, I did not even realise that all my cool pics are on my old laptop...and for a moment there I wanted to backtrack and beg Stefanie to let me skip this week. Last week I skipped because I was ill, so that would not do.  On Tuesday morning we went for a drive and drove past a very pretty B&B on the edge of the river...and I saw the most amazingly beautiful door that leads onto a court yard.  So there it is...challenge ON!

You can follow other bloggers that are doing this challenge by clicking on their links on my sidebar.

Thank you for looking;-D

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A special show

Yesterday afternoon Kobus and I sat in the Sea Lounge of the hotel reading,  we were entertained to an amazing show by this baby whale.
He never ventured to far from mommy, but was so playful that even the staff of the hotel rushed to the large picture windows to watch the spectacle.
I must be totally honest and tell you that this was far closer than when I went on a dolphin and whale watching cruise a few years ago.
On this photo you can see just how close to shore they were.
It is wonderful to be spoiled and get such a beautiful show.  I can only imagine that baby whale must be SO happy to behave so boisterously.
All while sitting on your bum in a cozy chair.

Okay, some of you asked about Eat Pray Love.  I really enjoyed this book, up to a point.  Helen, you commented that the book is rather New Age and I completely agree with you.  In the pray part of the book, I got somewhat lost because I can't get my head around the "all roads lead to God concept" and although I can meditate on the word of the Lord for hours, I find the concepts of saying mantra's until you reach a stage of enlightenment somewhat disturbing.  Helen, the book is a non-fiction book about the authors journey to find herself.  There is some true nuggets of wisdom, but I do believe that for a baby Christian reading this book can be a tad dangerous as it could lead you astray.

Here is another delightful nugget from her book(she is talking about the difference between her and her sister):

"Here's another example of the difference in our worldviews. A family in my sister's neighborhood was recently stricken with a double tragedy, when both the young mother and her three-year-old son were diagnosed with cancer.  When Catherine told me about this, I could only say, shocked, "Dear God, that family needs grace."  She replied firmly, "That family needs casseroles," and then proceeded to organize the entire neighborhood into bringing that family dinner, in shifts, every single night, for an entire year. I do not know if my sister fully recognizes that this is grace."

Monday, September 20, 2010

Brooding

I have been brooding for days now...not knowing whether I should blog my thoughts and feelings...and at the same time knowing that I have to.  That putting it out there will make me feel somewhat better.  That if I keep these toxic feelings inside, it would somehow poison me.  So there it is...whether you like it or not...you are part of my therapy.

Talking about therapy, Bianca went for counseling last week with a friend and pastor.  She did not talk about it when I picked her up and I did not want to force anything.  I was relieved that she had gone...that was until this morning.  We phoned the pastor to find out how it went.  His reply was that she went to see him purely because we expected her to.  She does not believe she has a problem and she does not need any help.  I was stunned.  When Bianca spoke to us for the first time (see my previous post) to me it sounded like a cry for help.  She felt that she was messed up, unworthy and confused.  Now it would appear that she wants to either remain that way or that she was just manipulating us again.  Where to from here?

For the past while I have had these feelings boiling in me.  At the time when Bianca's adoption came up, Kobus and I were considering having another baby...and hoping that it would be a baby girl.  When we were given the option to adopt Bianca, we dropped our plans of having another baby.  Now I am sitting with this awful feeling that I am left with the short end of the stick.  I always dreamed of having a wonderful mother/daughter relationship and I look at the strained relationship I have with Bianca.  She so obviously don't want to be around any of the family.  We have nothing in common and nothing to talk about.  Then I look at Kobus and our boys and the time they spend together playing golf, going hunting and just being happy together.  I look at many of you, my blog friends, and your wonderful relationship with your daughters...and I feel cheated!  I know that it sounds stupid and shallow, but I can't help wondering...what if....

This and that

We have been in Plettenberg Bay since Saturday...pure bliss.  I took this photo from our hotel room this afternoon.  I love our time in Plettenberg Bay, and never get tired of going there.  I would never dream of cashing in our timeshare and going elsewhere.  There is a number of reasons for my love of this place.
  • Today we believe it was raining in Port Elizabeth and here it was windless and there were actually people sitting in bikini's, getting there first sun tan of the summer.  The weather here is amazing.
  • Another reason is that for seven blissful days I have NO responsibility to anyone...I don't need to clean, cook or answer to anyone...I can live with that;-D
  • I can sleep until I wake up naturally. No alarm clocks.  This morning I was woken by the pounding waves and the cries of the seagulls.
  • I can read until I have had enough of reading. I already finished reading Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.
  • No guilty feeling about doing nothing.
This is the view from our window right now.  DH is also getting good at the no flash, slow exposure photography.

When reading Eat Pray Love I found the most profound description of Depression and Loneliness.  Elizabeth Gilbert writes as follows:

"They came upon me all silent and menacing like Pinkerton Detectives, and they flank me - Depression on my left, Loneliness on my right.  They don't need to show me their badges.  I know these guys well.  We've been playing a cat-and-mouse game for years now.....I say to them, "How did you find me here?  Who told you I had come to Rome?" Depression, always the wise guy, says, "What - you're not happy to see us?"  "Go away".  I tell him.  Loneliness, the more sensitive cop, says, "I'm sorry, ma'am.  But I might have to tail you the whole time you're traveling.  It's my assignment."...Then they frisk me. They empty my pockets of any joy I had been carrying there.  Depression even confiscates my identity; but he always does that. Then Loneliness start interrogating me, which I dread because it always goes on for hours.  He is polite but relentless, and he always trips me up eventually.  He asks if I have any reason to be happy that I know of"  (Page 49)

Now, however, is a time for happiness and togetherness.  Have you read Eat Pray Love?  What is your thoughts on it?

xx

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The waiting game

My goodness....did I say I loved Mondays because it is a brand new week?  S.E.R.I.O.U.S.L.Y?  Did I really say that?  So here is my week so far:
  • Monday...feeling chirpy I decided to get cracking with the bookkeeping and paper work that got WAY behind over the past month.  So I decided it is best to work from home because there is less interruptions....good day all-in-all.
  • Tuesday morning I woke at 3 o'clock feeling decidedly under the weather, with throbbing ears, a postnasal drip and a terrible headache....by 8 'o clock I realised that I did not escape the annual cold this year.  But life goes on...and being wife, mom and financial manager at work...I was off to work.  When I eventually got back at 4 'o clock I crashed on the couch and asked DH to order in.
  • Wednesday....TODAY!  We left renewing our drivers license to late...AGAIN!  So at 8'o clock this morning( with my aching body and streaming nose and eyes) we were in queue at the traffic department.  Initially we kept the spirits up, chatted with other people that were waiting.  No moans! Two hours later I failed my first test EVER.  My eye test...I can't believe it.  So there we were off to the optometrist that did my eye test a month ago to get a certificate that I can actually see enough to drive.  No such luck, he tells me I need another pair of specs...HELLO!   I just paid R2500 for a pair of specs a month ago...this was insane!  Why could he not tell me that then and just combined it into a multi-focal that I would wear when I needed it.  Seriously...that optometrist will never see me again!  Long story short...we found an optometrist one block from the traffic dept and for R10 he gave me an eye test and a certificate...yay!  So off we were, back at the traffic dept.  We walked into the hall to make payment and I remember saying to DH..."look no queue's".   We stood waiting for the next available cashier.  Something told me to look behind me....and I found more than 30 pairs of accusing eyes staring at me from the benches behind me.  The people were sitting in queue....  I said..."are you the queue?" and they nodded.  So we sat in queue for another hour and a half.  
I found this cartoon on line and it cracked me up.  One of the ladies in the queue gave me the business card of somebody that does all this queueing for you...you pay him and show up when he gets to the front of the queue...I could live with that!  We need to get new passports soon.  He comes to your home with the forms, takes the photos and return it to Home Affairs (at a fee of R150 per passport).  His wife/girlfriend works at Home Affairs and two weeks later magically your new passport arrive.  What is there not to like about that?

Now I am going to crash and hopefully will be well by the time we leave for our week holiday in Plett on Saturday morning.

xx

Monday, September 13, 2010

Monday, Monday

  • Why do people generally hate the start of a new week...I love Mondays and there is many reasons why.
  • The incredible promise of the potential perfect week ahead. As I awake, I may think, “don’t spoil it yet.” 
 

2.  
  • If something does go wrong, there’s a whole week ahead to fix it.
  • The first sip of coffee in the morning. Mind you, this is true of every day. If we must have addictions they should be ones we enjoy.
  •   The  grand kids off to daycare, one cranky, one thrilled, balance in this too.
  •  The quiet after the busy, hectic weekend filled with little ones, noise and toys.
  • Arriving at work, knowing people have stewed about their troubles for two days, and new challenges await.
  • All my favourite blogs resume a full schedule of publication.
  • Looking forward to what’s going to happen Tuesday, Wednesday…and so on.
Hope you all have a wonderful week;-D

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Team Up Thursday: Circles

The choice for the challenge this week is circles.  First up is my photo.

"When I saw these pans hanging all smartly and shiny on the wall of one of the houses in the township of Steytlerville, I knew I wanted to photograph them. They just said so much of the pride and the neatness of the couple who we photographed."
Stefanie says:  "When I started looking around for circles, I realised they were all around me.
On my dressing table, in my breakfast bowl."

I love how Stefanie captured the shine of the bananas.

If you would like to see what the other members did with their challenges, you can go to my sidebar for the links.

Thank you

xxx

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Gift


As we walk our path of life,  
We meet people everyday. 
Most are simply met by chance. 
But, some are sent our way.
These become special friends
Whose bond we can't explain;

The ones who understand us
And share our joy and pain.
Their love contains no boundaries.
So, even when we are apart.
Their presence enhances us
With a warmth felt in the heart.

This love becomes a passageway,
When even the miles disappear.
And so, these friends, God sends our way,
Remain forever near.

The value of true friendship is priceless. Nothing can compare or ever replace the genuine, caring connection between people who not only understand, but want only the very best of all things in life for the other. It is a gift, it is a treasure.  A deep sustaining, timeless friendship is rare and at times can feel difficult to find, maintain, or believe in. Through the years I believed that I had many true friends...then somebody asked me this simple question a few years ago:  "If you need somebody for whatever reason, who could you trust to drop everything and be there for you."  I was stumped, of my large circle of friends, I could think of only two people.

Over the past two years I have blogged and shared my life...in the process I have met the most amazing people....people who said they are praying for me...and there is no question that they are.  This year has been  the hardest year of my life.  When Wynand became sick in January...I thought this is IT...nothing in my life can top this.  Many of you were there for me...praying and encouraging and through this all you have become more REAL to me than many of my IRL friends. Then Kobus Jr's marriage fell apart and we were back on the roller coaster of emotions.  We barely had time to recover when Bianca disappeared into the night and we had no idea where she was.  There were days that just passed in a haze...I lost time...just sitting.  I remember how many times my phone rang...and I did not have the courage to answer, it took all my strength to stay "together" and talking could unravel all my seams yet again.  What has kept us strong is the knowledge that the Lord will never give us more than what we can handle...and that He works all things to the good of those who love Him.  


Our cell group has become a rock for us.  During all our years in small groups...this must be the most dynamic, caring group of friends that we have had the privilege to have as part of our lives.  We could be ourselves and share ANYTHING...the good, the bad and the ugly.  Nobody every judges, each of them have  their own unique set of difficult circumstances...and a shared burden is always a lighter burden.

So here I am...and I am saying to many of you...thank you for becoming my friend.  Thank you for the prayers and encouragement that I have come to rely on. Thank you that I can know that many of you are just a phone call away.  I am seeing a light at the end of the very dark tunnel we have been walking through this year...and it is not a train;-D

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Instant gratification

I have been wanting to scrap now for weeks...but my life has been so crazy lately that I just can't get myself to sit down and start....and after all these months, I don't know where to start!  I have photos dating back to November last year that need to be scrapped and put into albums.  SO OVERWHELMING!  So I did the next best thing...some pretty cards.  These cards were bought in a kit from The Scrappy Gourmet and are designed by Melissa Phillips.
I loved making them. This is better therapy than retail therapy...really;-D
The pink flower on this one is made from the same pink ribbon as in the photo second from the top.

This white flower is made with a piece of scrap material and pulled together into a rosette.  The paper used in this kit is all 7 Gypsy's Victoria Paper.

Years ago my DH bought me a Pfaff creative sewing machine.  At that point in time I made all our clothes...right down to underwear.  This weekend I pulled out the sewing machine and stitched these cards...that is all the sewing machine is being used for these days.
We had a quiet weekend with Kobus Jr. and the grand babies.  Just what I needed...time to rest and be creative.  Now...to tackle those photos!

Thank you for looking.

xx