Updated on February 12, 2017
I Love You Day
My husband I decided not to celebrate Valentine’s Day when we were married as there are various legends and stories about how Valentine’s Day came to be celebrated. Some of these stories were lovely stories that seemed very plausible while there were other stories that we were not happy to embrace.
As with every “special day” on our calendar, Valentine’s Day too, has become a highly commercialised occasion and everyone is frantically looking for a way to “surprise” the one they like/admire/love, etc. with businesses asking ridiculous prices for cards, treats, meals and flowers.
When I was in high school, there was a Valentine’s Day Card box and you could anonymously post a valentines card to someone you “liked”. I always wondered if I would “make it” on someone’s list of girls to “like” to receive a Valentine’s Day card. My concern was selfish and mostly very disappointing as I never received a card, except when I was in my matric year, and then, I didn’t know who sent it anyway. With my history of disappointment in the whole Valentine’s Day concept, it is no wonder that it holds no great appeal for me.
About 7 years ago, I was mulling over the whole Valentine ‘s Day hype. One thought led to another and I began to think of the Biblical principle of love and affirming others, especially those closest to us. I decided to try something different that year, the idea was inspired by something I had seen on T.V…..
It all came about when I was watching the My Friends Tigger and Pooh TV series that we had taped for our children to watch when they were little. I have been a fan of Winnie the Pooh since I was a little girl, so I would sit with my children and watch this series that has been developed based on the Winnie the Pooh characters.
My favourite episode was the episode when little Roo realises that it is “I Love You Day” and he wants to give his Mama a gift. He spends the whole episode trying to find a way to give his mother an “I Love You Day” gift. Each attempt fails and finally all he can do is to say “Happy I Love You Day” and give his Mama a hug. This is of course ended up being the best gift of all.
We as a family have a tradition, which we began about 7 years ago and which we do actually celebrate on the 14th of February. We call it “I Love You Day”.
And so …. For the past few years, we celebrate I Love You Day as a family to express our appreciation for one another. We make special decorations, bake a cake and have a special meal to celebrate God’s love for us and our love for one another. We also find ways to express that love to others outside of our family like baking cookies or sometimes inviting other family members to join us for our meal or just sending a special message to someone to let them know how much we appreciate them.
Family traditions are important and very meaningful when they focus on building one another up. I love that our focus is on others and making them feel special as opposed to that terrible concern I had as a young girl, wondering if I would “make it” on top of someone’s list of people to “like” to receive a Valentine’s Day card. Read More
Posted on January 19, 2017
500 ml Rye Flour
250 ml Sugar
10 ml Baking Powder
2 ml salt
250g Butter at room temperature
1 can (420g) unsweetened pie apples
125 ml sugar
2 ml cinnamon
Measure the dry ingredients for the pastry into a mixing bowl.
Rub the butter into the dry ingredients using your fingertips to form a pastry dough.
Cover the pastry and allow to rest for half an hour (I usually leave it in the fridge).
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Use half the pastry to a line a 27 to 30 cm diameter ovenproof pie dish, or a 30x20x5 cm ovenproof dish.
Combine the apples, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Spoon the mixture into the pie dish and grate the remaining pastry coarsely over the filling.
Bake for 20 minutes or until the pie starts to brown.
Serve warm or cold with ice cream or cream.
Posted on January 2, 2017
Today, I had the opportunity to see my friend who has recently moved about a 7 hour drive away from us. She and her family just happened to be house-sitting a few houses up the road from us this past week, but with us being away camping and birthdays and new year, among other things, we have not been able to get together.
Knowing that today will be her last day, I sent her a message last night and asked her if she would be able to get together with me today for a “power chat”.
My message to her read: “….I was hoping to visit before you leave, for a power catch up at least (you know those quick awesome visits we have)….”
We both laughed and commented on how appropriate the words “power chat” are to our friendship.
It got me thinking. I have precious friends who live far away, but somehow, when we connect, it is as though we only saw one another yesterday. I have friends who live near me, in the same suburb too, whom I don’t get to see often because life just has a way of happening, but when we make time to get together, those moments count, because they are like oxygen to the soul.
Power chats, are those moments, no matter how short or how long, when two people reconnect, recharge and re-energise one another. You cry together, laugh together and share your heart.
Updated on December 2, 2016
The home schooling community has literally exploded over the past few years. Fifteen years ago, one would hear of a brave family who had chosen to home school their children and it was a surprising, if not a somewhat shocking thought. “You dared to take your child out of school to home school them?” “How are your children supposed to socialise when you keep them away from other children?” “What about giving them a competitive edge in a school setting?” “You are depriving them of being exposed to different things offered at school.”
Families decide to home school for a variety of reasons and each situation is unique. The bottom line is that parents feel home schooling to be the best option for their child/ren.
Today, we face a new dilemma. The home school community has become the target for many a business, and why not? The opportunities for outings, special groups for specific technology, art, sports or science programmes, to name a few, are overwhelming. In fact, there are so many activities on offer that one becomes frantic in searching for “the right extra mural” for one’s child. I have seen mothers running from one thing to another to expose their children to as much as possible and risking burn out from the constant busyness.
Could it be, that at the back of our minds, we are desperately trying to prove to society that our children are indeed socialised? Or could it be that we fear that we are depriving our children of opportunity?
The way I see it, is that our children will naturally be drawn to the things that interest them and our role is to wisely direct them as they pursue their purpose and destiny.
In the words of King Solomon:
A man’s gift makes room for him, And brings him before great men. Proverbs 18:16 (NKJV)
Updated on November 20, 2016
Count your blessings name them one by one …. Many of us are familiar with the words of this hymn by Johnson Oatman, Jr. published in 1897.
As a South Africa family, we have been celebrating Thanksgiving for the past seven years. We have embraced it, not because of our pioneering forefathers, but for our heartfelt thankfulness for the year that has passed. For us, it is a time of reflection over the past year, before it comes to an end, to give thanks for the year we have had, every blessing we have received and every lesson we have learned. It is a time for us to count our blessings.
Looking back on this year, I have learned to be thankful for daily blessings. To live one day at a time. I have spent my life preparing (or attempting to do so) for the “what ifs” in life. Whether it be stocking up our cupboards with food that is on special, or buying gifts ahead of time for loved ones, or planning down to the minutest detail what we need for a dinner party or birthday party. This year, there was no planning, there was no stocking up, just living one day at a time.
Give us this day our daily bread has become more than a rote prayer or a Christian cliché, it has been a reality. When Jesus told us in Matthew 6 not to worry about what we will eat or drink, He was teaching us to trust God for our basic needs. I have learned what it means to trust God.
When we can trust God for our basic needs, it is easy to learn to trust Him with our future, with our dreams, with our hearts desires.
My favourite lesson I learned this year was that God is my Father and just as a good father desires the best for his children, so Father God desires the best for me, for you, for all of us. I am so thankful for a Father who loves me.
I am thankful for how He has given us some of our silent hearts desires that we have not shared with anyone, like the beautiful antique dressing table I received as a gift this year or the overlocker I was given yesterday that I have put on my list for “one day”, and my children’s brand new bicycles they were blessed with.
I am thankful that my family has been healthy and that we have been able to be together as a family.
I am thankful for my husband who provides, protects and leads us.
I am thankful for my children who are teaching me so many things about life and the meaning of relationships and delighting in God’s creation.
I am thankful for my extended family and my precious friends who are like family to me.
I am thankful for my beautiful home and the beautiful country we live in.
I am thankful that my life has purpose and that I am on the road to fulfilling my destiny.
So, no matter where we live, whether our country celebrates Thanksgiving or not, let us be thankful for what we have, for who we are and for whose we are, let us count our blessings at the end of this year. You may be surprised at how blessed you were and how blessed you are.
Updated on November 20, 2016
Faith if not an emotion, it is a belief system.
I have been in many meetings where charismatic men and women stoke the emotional fires of people to believe. I have been carried on that wave and ridden that wave of emotion trying to increase my faith. I have found that faith, true faith cannot be cooked up, it cannot be stirred by man. Faith comes by believing from deep within you that the impossible is possible. It comes by a change of heart and a deep understanding that the One whom you have faith in is real and will do what He said He will do.
Faith is a personal relationship of complete and utter trust.
Posted on September 25, 2016
This is one of my many recipes that I have tweaked in order to substitute wheat for rye and cornflour. It is delicious and most of all it is suitable for those who suffer from wheat intolerance.
½ cup rye flour
½ cup cornflour
½ cup castor sugar (or sugar substitute)
2 tsp baking powder
± ½ cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 Tbsp butter
± 1-1 ½ cups stewed apples
Cinnamon and castor sugar for sprinkling over the top
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Butter a 1 litre glass oven dish. (I used wax paper on the bottom to make it easier to lift the squares out of the dish once ready to serve, but this is not necessary if you serve the cake from the dish).
- Sift the dry ingredients together into a bowl.
- Using a 250 ml measuring cup, break the eggs into the cup and beat lightly with a fork, fill the cup to the 250 ml line with milk.
- Add the egg mixture, vanilla and butter to the dry ingredients and mix for a minute with a beater.
- Pour the batter into the prepared dish.
- Arrange the apple pieces on top of the batter in rows.
- Bake for 20 minutes then sprinkle with cinnamon and castor sugar, cook a further 5 minutes or until done.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Updated on April 9, 2016
I don’t want to be filed or boxed in by a label. I want to be free to grow, develop, change, adjust and express my true self.
The truth is that we have all been labelled, boxed and filed in someone’s mind. A while ago, I saw the process happening right before my very eyes. I was asked which church I went to and my honest reply was “I don’t belong to a church at the moment”. I saw the open, interested look shutter and I knew I had been labelled … what? I don’t know, it would be a wild guess to try and imagine what label I had received but it was there nevertheless. I was not asked why I do not attend church at the moment. It was an open and shut case. My church should not define me. Rather, my relationship with Christ and how I follow Him should be the true mark of my Christianity.
What pictures do the following words bring to mind? They will give one a good indication of how we label people:
homeschooled unschooled American African poor wealthy lazy stubborn blonde snob musical arty sporty vegetarian plain dyslexic ADHD
Some labels are nice, kind, uplifting and some labels are even huge compliments and that is great. These are the labels that are honouring to a person. These are good labels to keep.
Other labels are unkind, full of negative criticism, nasty, sometimes cruel and sometimes debilitating. These are the labels that are a problem in our society because they are the ones that will not allow us to see the beauty in a person’s spirit or to acknowledge growth and change when it occurs.
Still other labels contradict each other such as someone may label one a “patient” person and another will label that same person “impatient”. In essence this would then indicate that the labeller is determining the labelling according to his/her own outlook on life and their personal assessment of the labelled person.
It is so hard to throw off the labels, step out of the box and leave the filing cabinet when others will not acknowledge the truth of whom we have become. Furthermore, sometimes we are so conditioned by the labels bestowed upon us that we feel insignificant, insufficient and unable to break the hold those labels have over us.
There is a major striving to get rid of labels in our society by freedom of expression, freedom of religion, freedom of whatever, however, it is still considered okay to label people as “lazy”, “impatient”, “snobbish”, “pathetic” or whatever other negative label one can apply to their behaviour.
So often our Christian love is conditional, based on another person’s behaviour or label we have given him/her. Think of Jesus, when Simon Peter denied Him; He did not label Peter a traitor and refuse to have anything to do with him afterwards. Rather, He gave Peter an opportunity to redeem himself. Peter became the leader of the church and was a respected and honoured man.
Instead of labelling, boxing and filing a person, why not take the time to really know and understand them so that you can both grow into better human beings. After all, would this not be considered “Unconditional Love”?
Why not bestow on a person edifying, encouraging, acknowledging, uplifting and positive character trait labels and ANNOUNCE them instead of filing them.