Thursday, August 11, 2011


Last night after I tucked Anja into bed and said our prayers and called out "I love you like a strawberry!", I heard her call out: "Mamma, why did Jesus make me?"

How surprised I was by that question. I question briefly why she would be wondering about something like that. "I think, He made you because He loves you and because He has a plan for you." She seems satisfied by that.

Then at Bible study, not an hour later we read Ephesians and I am struck by this verse:

"For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love, he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will - to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves." Eph 1:4-6

I am struck that before the creation of the world, before anything was here and before we were even a speck of a though, Jesus chose us. He created us in love, adopted us as his children and has given us his grace, in accordance with his pleasure and because he wanted to!

What a beautiful reassurance that I was not a mistake. I was created with purpose, I am loved and I am showered in grace, by the God who created the universe, who holds all things in his hand! My only response can be to fall on my knees in thanksgiving and praise. And with joy I will be teaching my children that they too are here because they are chosen and loved.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Oh dear, that last post was HEAVY.

Sorry about that. Didn't mean to make everyone live with me through the hard stuff. I find that when a memory like that pops into my mind, it will tend to stay there, milling around and around until I finally let it out. I think my "real life" friends are getting tired if hearing it all, all. the. time. So sorry blog friends, you got an ear-full.

Today will be a much lighter. I thought it time for a general update. Lots has happened over the last few months. We might have to add sub headings...

So we moved into this house. Its bigger (much) than the old place with a HUGE backyard full of...nothing. 2000sqm with absolutely nothing. Within a week of moving in we planted 5 trees and then a few weeks later started the work for a rather large veggie patch. We have also just invested in a few fruit trees and have plans for a few more to come.

Inside the progress has been a little slower. The kitchen, sadly, is pink. And if you know anything about me, pink is not a colour that I like, at all. And the walls, while it is tasteful, is painted a not-so-bad neutral that has a pink undertone. So, I have plans for this place, but first we need to get rid of the pink and that will require money and a lot of paint. I have none of either so, we wait.

Adrian has however done one thing inside the house that has made a massive difference. Our large L-shaped living room, was a very bad use of space. I used one corner as a sewing room and office, but it was always a mess and everybody coming into the house was faced squarely with said mess. So my darling husband (being the handy chippy that he is) build me a wall and added a door. I now officially own a sewing room! I have to share it with guests when they come to stay, but its a small price to pay for a space to be creative in.

Since getting married (while on the honeymoon, actually) Adrian got offered a position at the mines in Orange. He was very excited about the change to get back into mining and maybe to say goodbye to carpentry for good. The hours were insane. 12 hours shifts on a 4 day rotating roster.
4 day shifts
4 days off
4 night shifts
4 days off, etc
...add in 2 hours drive time everyday, it was nuts. He was always tired and the kids and I were struggling with routine and structure. So 6 months in he let that go and moved back to carpentry in town.

But, he hated it. He worked really hard, really long hours and was not enjoying where he was at, at all. But he didn't know where to go and while paying the mortgage on our new house (waiting for the other one to sell) he needed the work.
But God had other plans. He always does. Adrian was feeling restless for a reason and God wanted to get his attention. One Monday night whilst watching a little TV the phone rings. Its Adrians boss ringing to tell him that he had lost a major contract and now had no more work to offer him. We were shocked. What now?
It took nearly a month before Adrian finally found work again. It was tough. He really struggled with not having a job and worst still not knowing where to go next. Money was tight, but God provided EVERY time. And finally, in the midst of resumes and job applications, Adrian admitted that he has always thought about teaching. So he approached the university and found some more information. Its looking that as of next year February he will be going to uni. I am so proud of him. For the way he handled the difficult month, for finding little jobs to do in the meantime which kept food on our table, for being really honest, but mostly for listen to God and for being willing to make this radical change in career knowing he is being lead there.

As a blended family we have settled in with each other rather well. As can be expected there are some days that are harder than others, but God is so gracious and He is leading us every step of the way. We are learning to parent together and Adrian is getting used to the pace of family life.

Tiaan is now just shy of 7. He has got 2 brand new teeth, 3 missing teeth and 1 wobbly tooth. He is reading really well and is settled at school. He is my baby, but he is getting taller by the minute and I just know that in a few more years he will make me look short.

Anja turned 5 just last week. She is a gentle, quite spirit. She loves deeply and once you have gained her trust you will have a friend for life. She knows what she wants in life and at times we can lock heads, but I trust that Jesus has got a very special place for her. She starts school next year. She is excited and Mamma just wants to told her a little longer.

Alani is now 3.5. She sings and dances even when people are watching. She loves everybody and makes friends easily. She has totally wild hair and it matches who she is perfectly. At times it is hard to deal with her 3 yr old behaviour but every night after tucking her into bed she calls out - "Mamma, I love you much! I love you like a jellybean." All fights are forgiven.

And then in January 2012 we will be adding a little soul to our lives. I suspect this little one will be just as lovable and wonderful, but will look just a little different to the rest. Adrian will gain the title Daddy and my children will gain a little sibling. We genuinely cannot wait. I am starting to feel the gentle flutters of little feet in my belly and it brings with it waves of love and longing to meet this new little person.

So there you have it. Lots going on in our little lives. But its all good, because we serve a God who takes even the hard stuff and makes it perfect and uses it to bless us and to wrap us in His love.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Pocket goodbyes

People are moving around me. Silently, but filling my space. The busyness around me is distracting, but without these people I just wouldn't cope, so I try to block it out. I stare at the blank piece of paper, thinking about what to write. How do you write your final goodbye?

Tiaan had already handed me his favourite matchbox car - "For Pappa to play with in heaven". Anja drew a picture. It's a few colourful lines, but it's her goodbye and I carefully fold it before putting it in the pocket of his shirt. Alani is too small. She can't know yet how to say goodbye, what to offer. Instead I cut a small curly, the curls he loved so much, and put it in an envelope also tucked in his pocket.

I find it strange that I am even doing this. Words fill the page. Words of love and tears fall there too, as I do my best to express my love for the one I lost on a small sheet of paper. Strange that I now don't remember what I said except for knowing that it was all that I could offer at the time.

Earlier that day I had ironed his shirt for the last time and now I placed all these goodbyes in the top pocket before sending it to the morgue. Lastly I add a photo of the kids taken at Christmas.

These things, tokens, were buried with him. Held in the pocket over his heart. I know, with my head, that they don't matter. This body is now but an empty shell. But my heart is comforted that we did something, something, to say goodbye.

I woke this morning with this memory, fresh like it was only yesterday. I wonder why today. I don't know, but today it matters again that in the craziness of that week with dozens of people pouring into the house, we still took the time to do something to say goodbye.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Radio silence

I have been somewhat absent from the blog world. I think often of things to write, stories I want to share, thoughts I want to make real by giving them words. But sadly, nothing. I mean to, but nothing.

I am unsure of the reasons, but I suspect that mainly life has been busy and full and consuming of my time and energy. I am working on some new posts (in my head) and I am hoping to start blogging regularly again soon. Really I want to.

Soon, soon, I will be back...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Master's tools

His supervisor sends him to run a quick errand. He's not gone for longer than 3 minutes and when he returns he finds the worst - life is forever changed. Another work place accident. Another life lost that has a catastrophic rippling effect. My heart bleeds for that young apprentice - how do you ever look at life the same way?
I am just as sympathetic to the other workers at that factory who will never again just go to work.
But mostly I am sad for the family that has lost their husband, father and friend.

When our pastor was telling us about this accident last Sunday, I began to shake. Partly because this story is all to familiar. Mostly because I wondered how I could possibly help. How, with all that I had been through and all that I know, can I reach out to these people to let them know that they are not alone? To tell them of the hope that Jesus offers.

That is when I realised that after nearly two years of being so solely focused on myself I am finally become strong enough (only by God's mercy) to start to look to others and to feel as though I might be of some help. Right from the start of this journey I have maintained that God would not put me through this journey if He did not need to teach me some lessons, to make me stronger, more useful. Is that not after all the reason we are here: for God's glory?

Quite be 'accident' I stumbled across a wonderful website a few weeks ago. Ann writes beautifully. He words are healing. Her story is powerful. I believe God needed me to find her writing, so that I could learn from her, so that I could be more and live more fully. She says this in one of her wonderful posts:

God only makes strong tools out of those weak enough to know they need Him.

And maybe that is what has been happening this last 2 years. More then ever, I KNOW that I need Jesus. I am not strong enough to face this world alone, to carry my burdens or to be of any use to anybody. But with Jesus, in His strength, I am.

My heart has been beating wildly all week long. It is freeing and humbling to know - to KNOW - who I am in Jesus. To know for sure that no matter what, He is in control, He is working it all for my good and to not just believe it but to see it in my life. I am so filled with gratitude! And now I am also beginning to fill with the wonder of possibility. The possibility of, together with Adrian, finding a ministry and working for Jesus. I want to help others to know Him and to use what I am learning to walk a little with somebody else on their journey.

Pray with me that God will show us where we are needed and how we can serve. Pray also that we remain humble before Him and completely aware of our dependence on Him.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

New Start

Tomorrow we pack up our things and we are moving into our new home. We are giving us a fresh start. We cannot wait!
A new space in which we can grow into a family.
A new space free of pain and dark memories.
A place were Adrian and I can truly become one, free of the fear of stepping on and damaging memories.

This is my way of honouring both men in my life.

McBrien Drive will become Adrian and Ansia's. It will be the place that we will fill with memories and fun and happiness. Adrian deserves this. Our marriage and our family deserves this.

I am leaving Jouke's space and the memory of our life together, clean. We had a great life together and we were truly, truly happy. This house was our place and it will now forever be Jouke and Ansia's.

I'm not sure how I will feel when the house is empty and we finally have to say goodbye. Part of me is really, really sad. Sad that another part of the J&A story is over, sad that we had to say goodbye at all. Another part is excited to be moving on (quite literally) and this amazing chance for a brand new start.