Category Archives: Family

Downsizing my life?

I’ve been toying with this idea of downsizing for a long time. I’m not even sure I know the full extent of what downsizing entails but the idea of LESS is becoming more and more appealing to me.

As I get older, as I see my children bloom into their life’s purpose , I can’t help but wonder if this is it? What started as a whisper somewhere deep inside of me is becoming louder and louder and it’s a voice saying that no, this is not it! This life which Christ came to bring us is not just THIS. He has purposed us for life, life in abundance. And abundance of GOOD things. Not an abundance of strife, debt, getting by, working long hours, tiredness. No. Good things. When I sit down and truly consider the things that cause me strife, I see that they are the things that I don’t need to have in my life anyway and since I invited them in, I have every right to kick them out.

You know you read these stories of people who just sell up everything and start over by living really simple lives. People who left the Big City to go live on farms and home school and grow their own food and basically turn Hippy (sorry to all the hipsters). Now while I don’t want to get any closer to Mother Nature than going for a walk in the local park, I have to admit that the idea of being FREE is really tantalising.

All those romantic notions of “it’s not the size of your house, but the people who are in” and “my home is where YOU are;”  call me crazy but all of a sudden I really believe them. Why stay in a house, spend a fortune for it’s upkeep, spend a fortune on a bond for the best 20 years of your life, have beautiful crystal glasses to drink out of on special occasions, drive a fancy car when you have to work REALLY REALLY hard to afford all those things and… then you die? And don’t get me wrong, I LOVE nice things, I really do. I love making my home beautiful and impressing my visitors with my fancy place mats and I like working really hard too. But quite suddenly, I’m questioning my reasons, I’m questioning my choices. I think I’d prefer to work really really hard for experiences with my husband and kids – like travel opportunities and amazing holidays and SEEING the world and doing all those things in my very city which we never do versus fancy cushions in my living room. Again, there’s no judgement here, for the last few years all I’ve whinged about is getting a fancy new kitchen in my house, so if that’s you, I pray you get your fancy kitchen soon! But I think I’ve reached a point where I want to live simply in order to be free from stress and to free up my time, my efforts, my finances for things which I hold dear to me.

My thoughts are muddled, my ideas are hazy, but my mind races at the thought of being FREE. I want to live in the full freedom that Christ offers, first spiritually but secondly all that comes with that freedom. Free from other people’s opinions, free from doing things because the Jones’s say we need to do it, free from wanting things because that’s what the magazines and the TV say we need to have, free from debt and from the fear of not having enough money. Free from the fear of “lack.”

It’s not impossible, I know people who have taken hold of this idea and who are flourishing, people who are living their best lives, simply. Other’s may see their lack as limiting and sad, but in their lack they have actually found the best kind of freedom.

I suppose I’d view this differently had my surname being Oppenheimer or Branson, but I’m talking about myself as a normal middle class wife and mother in a normal middle class family (depending on what you consider normal of course). Times are tough and if the Word is to be believed, times are only going to get tougher, I don’t want to be suckered any more into this shiny sparkly white picket fence dream about how I should be living. I want to just LIVE. My best life. NOW.

When you have to clean your own house…

I will start by saying I miss Zoleka. I miss having someone to clean up after me… ok, let’s be honest, she used to clean up before me, after me, over me, under me. I did no cleaning whatsoever and I miss having the luxury of having someone to take care of all that *stuff.* I can’t lie and say that I can’t WAIT to get home tonight so I can clean up the supper dishes and tidy up a bit. No. Last night I washed four pots. FOUR pots. My husband did the cooking – with FOUR pots? I never use so many pots when I cook, just saying. FOUR POTS??!!


I must be honest and say that it isn’t half as bad as I thought it would be. Also, can I just say how I LOVE cleaning products. My word. It’s like getting new stationery. And they smell so good. When I wasn’t cleaning, I would buy whatever would do the job at the cheapest price. Whatever Zoleka asked for, I would get with very little thought. Now, I’ve taken the art of shopping for cleaning products to the next level. And it has made such a difference. Our laundry smells like lavender fields, our toilets smell like cherry blossoms, our laminate floors smell like real oak. Ha! I’ve had to reorganise my kitchen and make a whole new cupboard for all my special cleaning goodies. And this is no slight on Zoleka at all, but it’s amazing how when you take ownership of something, how you do it right, and you can notice the difference immediately. Now that I’m in charge of the cleaning, I CLEAN. And I make sure everything is clean ALL the time. And it’s given me a weird sense of satisfaction.

I only do washing once a week on a saturday morning, and because the weather has been so glorious this has been a breeze. Let’s have this conversation again in Winter when it’s cold and damp all day long. Grrr. Hubby has already been talking about a tumble dryer and considering we’re only doing 2/3 loads a week, I don’t think it’s such a bad idea. I work through the house room by room, I start with dusting the furniture and windowsills, then I sweep and husband mops behind me. We each do a bathroom and I like to do the kitchen myself. And that’s pretty much the house cleaned for the week. On the little things that need to be done daily: I sweep the kitchen floor every night and I wash the toilets every chance I get because toilets get manky fast when you have two small children. The kids wash out the bath for me and they make their own beds everyday. Thankfully, there isn’t really time to make too much of a mess in the evenings so the house stays relatively tidy during the week. I’ve also started a wash-as-you-go policy, so that dishes don’t accumulate in the sink for the poor sorry sod who has to wash them that day. Even the kids wash their own plastic goodies every time they have a drink or meal; they have 6789 cups of water a day and that usually means 59 cups per day and they like to take out a new plate or side plate for every.single.thing they eat. I actually feel bad for the dishes they used to create for Zoleka now! Now they use one cup for the whole day and rinse it and fill it as they need to. I haven’t tried to do any ironing, I’ve left this all for the lady (A) who will be coming in from this week to help with the bigger stuff – changing the linen, wiping down cupboards and walls, etc. I just cannot bring myself to iron clothes, I can do anything but I can’t iron. Or rather, I don’t want to. Depending on how fast A works, I may get her to do ALL the cleaning once a week and then I’ll just maintain during the week… we’ll see.

I’ll tell you what cleaning my own house has done for me. As I said, it leaves me feeling very satisfied, I also love knowing where my stuff is at all times because I PUT it there and we don’t have any fights over who used what last, and where they left it. Essentially, Mr Nobody has moved homes because he doesn’t live with us anymore! I love how the kids have started taking responsibility for their belongings and how they have become real helpers around the house. Oh, I’m starting a rewards chart for chores this week. More to keep them motivated than anything else. I want to reward them for being good helpers, I want to show them that hard work pays off… but not for the normal things I EXPECT them to be doing anyway, rather for pulling together and making this work for the family.

One of the things I miss about not having full time help is the all-day-every-day delivery address. We have security in our street but I don’t exactly want them collecting all my incoming packages, that’s a bit out of their job description. Secondly, the on hand baby sitting service. Man, this is probably the most difficult thing to be without. I can’t just zip to the shop quickly to pick up something and leave the kids at home. Date nights will be few and far between, and all my extra curricular activities, read:girls breakfasts, church meetings, dinner parties, etc, will have to be carefully planned.

But so far, so good. It has been an eye opening experience… like who would have thought that dust collects SO quickly on furniture or that the kitchen bin fills at the rate of speeding light and needs to be emptied every five minutes. Or that a dirt smudge on the kitchen floor would cause me to twitch nervously. Unbelievable really. Ha.

I’m not saying this is our plan forever. But I do think this plan is sustainable for us, for the foreseeable future at least.

Who cleans their own houses? Or do you have full time or part time help? Why have you chosen to go with that particular option? 

Wordless Wednesday. Ok, not really. It’s just Wednesday.

It’s difficult to keep this photo post wordless because behind each photo is a story that needs telling. Sorry if you follow me on IG and have seen most of these already, but for the purpose of posterity, I need to write about them here too.

One of our new favourite things to do is to swim at the gym while our pool at home is still going through its metamorphosis from green to blue. From swimming season to swimming season, I always wonder if they’ll remember HOW to. Liam does, I want to get him into a stroke correction class, he is doing really well. Is it too soon? Hannah needed much coersion to let go of the pool noodle again. She had just learned to swim unassisted at the end of last Summer, so we need to be in the water a lot for her to regain that confidence. Rocky bit a massive hole in our pool net, and replacing it is proving very costly… which was fine during Winter because we weren’t hanging out around the pool much, but obviously with the warmer weather, I do freak out at the thought of one of them falling into the pool – swimmers or not.


Remember we lost a tooth? Well here’s the gap to prove it. Can you see how the new tooth has already pushed out? It’s inching its way forward but it’s way bigger than the original tooth was so I don’t know that it will fit! I wanted to take him to the dentist but with no medical aid savings left, I don’t know if anxiety of losing teeth truly warrants a visit? Even if the new tooth doesn’t appear to have space, what can the dentist do? Give him braces, no? So we’ll just wing it and see how they all fall into place.

This is 4 and 5. I say “smile!” and I get weird faces. This was the day they left home. I had to appease them with a lots of snacks and a dip in the paddling pool. Yes, that’s a Fizzer AND a piece of fudge AND popcorn AND a juice. I’m THAT mother, folks!


Ah yes.. so this is when they actually left home. Guys, it’s tough for kids to be away from their grandparents. In my utopian version of the world, grandkids would grow up in close proximity to their grandparents. If your kid sees your parents often, consider it a blessing. This day they were desperate to go to Durban and no amount of explaining could deter them from WANTING to go to Durban to see their granny. Eventually I said OK JUST GO THEN. Not in the least expecting them to pack their bags and GO. Bless! They didn’t go far, not to worry.


So I decided to give them a new experience. Do you remember walking everywhere as a kid? We used to walk everywhere. To the shop, to the park, to the local community swimming pool, to catechism on a Friday afternoon, we even used to walk to school everyday! And guess what? My kids walk NOWHERE. We take Rocky for a walk, yes. They ride their bikes on the road, yes. But they never walk to a destination. So I figured a walk to our local shopping centre would be a treat. And it was. For them. I can’t say I didn’t miss my car. But yes, my plan was to pick up just a few items, and we shared the load on the way back. We bought ice creams to cool us down, I showed them how to cross at a traffic light – although I was terrified to even cross the road, people have NO regard for the rules of the road, it’s FRIGHTENING!


Poor photo quality here, but look how big Rocky is. If he stands on his hind legs he is taller than the kids. Him and I are almost nose to nose when he stands on his hind legs and puts his front paws on my shoulders. He is a puppy in a grown dog’s body. He is so wild, he doesn’t listen and he is still really jumpy. In his defence, we haven’t been to a class in ages, but man alive, he is SO playful. He likes the kids to ride him like a horse. His favourite thing to do is to steal something so that we can chase him around the yard for ages. He LOVES this game. IMG_20140823_153314_edit

This child loves bubbles. Which child doesn’t, right? We got the most fabulous party pack this week (please note we received 7 party packs between Liam and Hannah this week, and we’ve been to 3 actual birthday parties in the last few weeks). Anyway, in this particular party pack there were bubbles, a loom band set, another craft which we haven’t opened yet, a gorgeous little bracelet and necklace which Hannah hasn’t taken off…and… one little sweet. What a perfect party pack! We loved it. I guess if you aren’t doing a full on party and just sending packs to school, one can splurge on the pack. It was a refreshing change!


This was at one of the parties we went to. It was at The Yard. What a gem in the middle of Woodmead? Perfect summer venue if anyone is planning a party soon!


Hop scotch. Can I just say it’s a lot harder as an adult. Jumping about like that is hard work with everything wobbling and jingling. It’s like a workout really. I was exhausted after playing for 10 minutes. And these kids are cheaters! The rule is if your stone lands on a line or outside of the number, you forfeit your turn, right? Well apparently not with 4 and 5 year olds.

How cool is that Frozen cake pop cake? Pity I didn’t get a detailed photo, it was really cool. All the little girls were in their Frozen dresses… I had to fight with my girl to wear a regular dress. But she did. I win. Yes.


Growing up can be sad

My son lost his first tooth. I think it is too early. I think it is too soon for him to be losing teeth. What next? University? A girlfriend? Marriage? It’s just going too fast. Make it stop.

Mothering is a weird thing hey. Some days I am so happy that they are grown, that they can wipe their own bums and sleep through the night and fetch my slippers and BE QUIET when I tell them to. But on the contrary, I feel this sadness that they are growing so fast. I posted a photo on IG the other day of Liam. I took the photo and then I stared at it for ages, and I kept staring back at my real life masterpiece. It was the first time I noticed how his face has completely changed. There are hardly any signs of babyhood left. His face and body are lean, there are no dimples on his thighs and when he is in his swimming trunks, his body looks like it belongs to a BOY, not my little pudgy pudding. Hannah. Oh my word. She used to have this big protruding baby belly that would turn the corner before she did. It’s gone! Her skin feels different, it feels like mine, not that smooth marshmallow-y baby softness.. big girl’s skin! Her arms can wrap around my neck almost twice. I remember not so long ago that her fingers could barely grasp around my neck when I’d take her for a back ride. And I’d laugh and tell her to hold on tightly, now she strangles me with her long arms and I have to tell her to loosen her grip.

I don’t know how much time I have left for them to fit onto my lap. I remember sitting on my daddy’s lap well into my schooling days.. because we would watch the news and then I remember moaning because I had to go to bed because I had school the next day. So with this hindsight, I trust I still have a few more years of a kid curled on my lap. But already it’s getting awkward because it’s all arms and legs and poky bum bones and I’m like WHEN DID YOU GET SO BIG?

I’m so grateful that they are both feelers. That they both love to be touched and held and cuddled. There are many moments in my parenting future that I am dreading… puberty, boyfriends and girlfriends, school projects, slamming doors and ALL that. But one moment that will truly break my heart is when the cuddling stops. And I KNOW it will happen, that’s the cycle of life, it’s a normal progression, I get that. But man, it will hurt. I still hug and kiss my own parents but I know that if I tried to sit on my mother’s lap I would most likely render her injured, ha. But I wonder if she misses it? I need to ask her that. Maybe she’ll respond in a comment, mom? 🙂 Does the growing up part get easier? I know that each stage comes with wonderful things, I can’t wait to have a teenage Hannah – shopping together, going for spa days while the boys go to watch the soccer (although I think Hannah will want to watch soccer with her dad more than she’ll want to get her nails done with me). Getting her to colour my greys and ogling over movie stars… I look forward to those times. As I do with Liam… I look forward to fostering a relationship where he’ll talk to me about stuff, I pray everyday that my boy and I will be able to talk about STUFF. That he’ll feel safe talking to me about STUFF. All sorts of STUFF. And hanging out together, playing Xbox or Playstation or whatever is cool for teenage boys in 2022.

Marcia recently asked if we were concerned about our age / getting older. And I truly am not… but when I think about age in the broader sense… as in time passing, getting older, the years rolling by… my heart does gallop a bit at the thought of these babies of mine growing into big people. Doesn’t yours?

You see this first picture? It feels like it was yesterday. I can remember the stress, the anxiety, the overwhelming tiredness of this very day as if it happened yesterday.

And you see this picture? It WAS pretty much yesterday. Time hey. Blink twice and you may miss it.

kids and me

Mozambique and going away with people you like.

I don’t know that this post is about Mozambique or just about going away with your family and people who you like. I think it’s actually the latter.

Don’t get me wrong, Mozambique is beautiful. The thrill of taking your passport, getting it stamped to go into another country, while still being only 6/7 hours away from your home, bumping over sand dunes and waving at the locals who just seem so happy amidst such sad poverty, walking down to the beach and spending time that close to the beauty of nature. Swimming, tanning, eating, relaxing… it was amazing. Also, slipping into the sunshine mid Winter is a delicious sort of treat, isn’t it? But this morning I was emailing a friend and we were talking about our holiday and I said to her “I could go to Mars with these crazy people and I’d still have a good time” or something like that…

And that got me thinking.

Going on holiday is WONDERFUL. I thank God for these opportunities, and I am grateful that the kids get to experience different things and places. But I think what made the holiday was spending time with my immediate little family, and my extended family. I am so glad we LIKE each other. I am so glad that we can go away and laugh and laugh and laugh. You know sometimes you go away with people and it’s awkward… like some want to go here, and others want to do this, and this person wants to eat that, and it can just be awkward even if you’ve known these people all your life. And you vow that the next time you go away, it will just be your spouse and your kids and THAT’S IT. But this holiday was really chilled, and I think that is what actually MAKES the holiday. I came away feeling good and rested and like it was money well spent.

Ponto is a poor village, it is pretty run down and if it wasn’t for the magnificent beaches, I don’t think ANYONE would go there willingly. But it’s also safe and kind of homely and you don’t feel like you’re in South Africa at all. There is sea sand everywhere, no tar roads, just sea sand! I embraced it and walked around with dirty feet for the whole time we were there. Common household items are expensive at the local shops, I think we paid over R30 for 6 eggs! So if you’re going self catering, make sure you carry enough of such items. The sea food is cheap and easily available – and delicious. There is lots to do, but you could do none of it and still have a perfectly awesome holiday. You don’t need to have a big off road vehicle to visit Mozambique. We left our cars at the border and the place we stayed at transferred all 10 of us plus our luggage and food. I think getting there was half the fun. We took anti Malaria meds even though the risk was really low because we were just over the border and it was off peak, but we didn’t want to take the risk with small children. You have to carry cash and lots of it because very few places actually have card machines and there are no ATMs. The great thing about this place is that whether you’re there on a family holiday with little kids, or you’re getting away with your lover… it caters for both. We’re already planning our next trip out there!

Tomorrow’s Wordless Wednesday will be dedicated to some pics from our time away.

Death sucks, but it’s not the end.

So everyone. You know I like to keep things light hearted around these parts but I simply cannot ignore this story that landed up in my feed. I read it yesterday, then pretty much trawled Mindy’s blog over 24 hours and I cried and cried as a read the story of Ben and his family. I cannot shake them from my head. I feel so heartbroken over this loss of life, over the sickness that took this little boy over such a short period of time. And I am awed, floored and completely amazed at the faith of this family as they’ve lived through the loss of their son and brother. In the space of a few short months, Ben went from well and healthy to dying of a cancerous brain tumour. And I’ve read of many families who have suffered through the same loss, but I think it’s the way Mindy writes… her honestly, her bravery, her love for her boy, that really gets me. How she describes his illness, his fight. And her testimony of God’s grace and goodness through it all. There’s nothing I can write here that will articulate this story, as well as she has done so on her own blog.

 Anyway, I know that each of us are shocked into the realization of how short life is when we are faced with the death of a loved one, or when we read stories of people, especially children, dying. I don’t really want to give you another post on how we must cherish every moment. We know that already.

I just need to say something about being a mother and having children. Or something like that. Truthfully, I’m not really sure what I want to say. I want to say that I hope I never need to bury my child. I want my life to follow the natural progression as it was intended: that I will grow old, I will drive my children insane with old people stuff, I will see my grandchildren, and that they will happily bury me at the ripe old age of whatever. We all want that, right? I want to say that I can almost bear the thought of losing a parent – I say almost because I know that will be the hardest time of my life when it comes, but there’s some peace in knowing that I KNOW where my parents are going – the other side of heaven. There is this comfort when a believer dies. Also, I think it is easier to accept an older person dying. Don’t get me wrong, it will be difficult because I can’t imagine my life without my mother and father in it, but I will be accepting. But I don’t know how I would feel if I lost my child(ren). My mind cannot fathom the idea. I want to cry a thousand tears when I think of Mindy and I don’t even know her. But I sympathise with her because I have my two healthy beautiful children and if I woke up tomorrow and one of them wasn’t there, I don’t know what that would do to me. And then I read about this lady’s strength and her faith in God. And it blows me away. She didn’t have a long time to process and accept what was happening to her boy, you understand. It wasn’t a long illness. He was well, and then in a few months, he was dead. And yet she is so strong. She knows where her boy is.

I guess I want to say that I love my children. That I didn’t quite understand how MUCH I would love them before they were born. I didn’t understand the depth of love a parent could feel for a child. I want to say to the mothers out there who are going through a hard time with a new born – it doesn’t last forever. It goes by SO quickly. Please don’t wish these times away, I know I did. But don’t. It’s so short and so precious. And I know it feels like you are going to die from tiredness but hang in there. I want to say to the parents with children who have learning disabilities, or lifelong illnesses – I don’t claim to know your struggle, but I know your child is ALIVE. And while a child is ALIVE, there is POSSIBILITY and POTENTIAL and POWER. I want to say to parents who are battling to pay school fees, pay the bond and car payments – don’t give up. These struggles SUCK when you are in the middle of them, trust me, I know ALL about it, but those situations are temporary, we find solutions, we sell a car, we get a smaller house, we get backlisted until we figure things out and get rid of that judgment against our names, we can fix those things. I think I want to say don’t let the STRESS of living KEEP you from living. Guys, it’s the truth – we don’t know how long we have. We just don’t. All those things I said before about not wanting to bury my children, I wish I had a guarantee, but I don’t. But I do know that I need to be making memories with these kids of mine every day, I need to be making every damn moment count. I can’t be worried within an inch of my life about crime and paying bills and my weight, when it takes me emotionally or physically away from just giving my children memories. I don’t know how else to say it. Don’t get bogged down by life, just like that email that does the rounds says, on your death bed you are not going to be worried about how many hours you put in at the office.

Are you stressed about something right now? Don’t be. Give yourself a serious pep talk, I promise the problem you are looking at right now, is not as bad as you think it is. Don’t even give that situation a chance to steal another minute of your joy, your quality time with your kids, your sanity. It’s not even worth it.

And I have to say this even if you don’t believe it. Even if I lose followers. If I don’t say this, I will have missed an opportunity to tell you about Jesus and that’s what I am called to do, so just listen. If you don’t know God, if you haven’t accepted Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, won’t you think about it? I don’t know where I would be without Him. I don’t know that I could live another day in this fallen world with all its problems, if it wasn’t for the fact that it is temporary and our real home is in Heaven. And I don’t want to get all holier than thou on you, you know me, I am not like that, but I just feel like we need to be talking about these things guys. It’s hard out there, we need JESUS!

My wish for myself, for you, for your families is that we live in the moment, that we let go and let God, that we value this opportunity to be ALIVE and use it to impact the lives of those around us and that we enjoy every moment doing so. Love on your kids today, even if they are particularly testy and annoying between the hours of 5 – 7pm. Be kind to your partner with all his/her “faults” because we all have our issues and sometimes turning a blind eye isn’t a sign of weakness, it is an act of Grace. Take it easy in the traffic, phone your bank manager and make payment terms, drop that grudge and pick up the phone and talk to that person already. Don’t let anything hold you back from living your best life. This is my wish. Xxx

And to the Sauer family, I wish you a peace that passes all understanding as you revel in the memories of your precious Benjamin.

Lessons learned from kids who pray

I don’t think there is ANYTHING cuter than listening to a child pray. We try to stifle giggles, as I don’t ever want them to be put off their own unique style of talking to their daddy in heaven, but my word it’s difficult to contain the laughter sometimes. You got to hear the things these kids come up with. Husband and I cover our faces and sneak looks at each other and sometimes I just cannot be serious and I let a small giggle out and have to quickly convert it into a coughing fit because coughing they understand, laughing during praying is, however, severely frowned upon.

But this is nothing new. I remember praying as a child with my brothers and sister and parents. Getting the giggles was contagious and happened often. One of us would start and before long everyone would be hosing themselves, tears streaming down our faces – over nothing in particular. But sometimes it’s just difficult to be serious all the time, isn’t it?

Hannah’s latest prayers include asking Jesus to please make Rocky stop crying early in the morning because she needs to get her sleep in so that she doesn’t feel sleepy in the day because she absolutely does not want to have a nap in the day. Her words, not mine.

Liam prays for his nieces and nephews. We’re like WHO are your nieces and nephews? He says “but you say that?”

They pray for rain – not so that the trees and flowers can grow – but because they want to wear takkies tomorrow and if the sun is shining mommy is going to make us wear our slops.

They DO NOT want their aunty or granny to pray EVER because “they pray for tooooo long” apparently.

Hannah prays for Kanyiso at school because he is so naughty, and he needs help to be a good listener when teacher talks. Again, her words not mine.

They pray for each other’s sores and bumps and bruises, which is fine. But when a person wants to mention every single blue mark, mosquito bite, that time when I bite my tongue and it was sore, that time mommy smacked me and it was sore. And then ask for HEALING in JESUS NAME! Woooooo, I HOSE myself.

And then of course the mentioning of every single person we know. From the oldest to the youngest. Look, I’m happy to just group people. Parents, siblings, nieces and nephews, friends and so on. Jesus knows, OK. But to mention everyone by name – while the clock is ticking way past bedtime hour. Sometimes it’s funny and sometimes I need to reign that in and yell AMEN just to get them to STOP ALREADY.

What about asking for help to be a good boy or girl. No, not because it is what we are called to do, no. They ask for help  to be good children so that God can give them a prize. A prize? Now I’m not sure what’s been whispered to them in their dreams, but I’m pretty sure God is not like me who hands out prizes (read: sweets) for good behaviour.

And how they pray with a hidden agenda: please forgive Hannah for that time today when she didn’t want to share her toys with me. Loosely translated, what he is actually trying to say is: WINK WINK NUDGE NUDGE YOU ARE SELFISH HANNAH AND YA, NOW I’M TELLING ON YOU TO GOD.

One cannot be serious when listening to a small child pray!

I love how they are uninhibited in their requests. I love how they truly trust that God will make it alright. Talk about coming boldly before the Throne!!

Anyway, I was reading this excerpt from Paul Miller, A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World, (full article here)

It sums it up PERFECTLY! It’s long but READ IT!

Jesus wants us to be without pretense when we come to him in prayer. Instead, we often try to be something we aren’t. We begin by concentrating on God, but almost immediately our minds wander off in a dozen different directions. The problems of the day push out our well-intentioned resolve to be spiritual. We give ourselves a spiritual kick in the pants and try again, but life crowds out prayer. We know that prayer isn’t supposed to be like this, so we give up in despair. We might as well get something done.

What’s the problem? We’re trying to be spiritual, to get it right. We know we don’t need to clean up our act in order to become a Christian, but when it comes to praying, we forget that. We, like adults, try to fix ourselves up. In contrast, Jesus wants us to come to him like little children, just as we are.

The difficulty of coming just as we are is that we are messy. And prayer makes it worse. When we slow down to pray, we are immediately confronted with how unspiritual we are, with how difficult it is to concentrate on God. We don’t know how bad we are until we try to be good. Nothing exposes our selfishness and spiritual powerlessness like prayer.

In contrast, little children never get frozen by their selfishness. Like the disciples, they come just as they are, totally self-absorbed. They seldom get it right. As parents or friends, we know all that. In fact, we are delighted (most of the time!) to find out what is on their little hearts. We don’t scold them for being self-absorbed or fearful. That is just who they are.

This isn’t just a random observation about how parents respond to little children. This is the gospel, the welcoming heart of God. God also cheers when we come to him with our wobbling, unsteady prayers. Jesus does not say, “Come to me, all you who have learned how to concentrate in prayer, whose minds no longer wander, and I will give you rest.” No, Jesus opens his arms to his needy children and says, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28, NASB). The criteria for coming to Jesus is weariness. Come overwhelmed with life. Come with your wandering mind. Come messy.

What does it feel like to be weary? You have trouble concentrating. The problems of the day are like claws in your brain. You feel pummeled by life.

What does heavy-laden feel like? Same thing. You have so many problems you don’t even know where to start. You can’t do life on your own anymore. Jesus wants you to come to him that way! Your weariness drives you to him.

Don’t try to get the prayer right; just tell God where you are and what’s on your mind. That’s what little children do. They come as they are, runny noses and all. Like the disciples, they just say what is on their minds.

We know that to become a Christian we shouldn’t try to fix ourselves up, but when it comes to praying we completely forget that. We’ll sing the old gospel hymn, “Just as I Am,” but when it comes to praying, we don’t come just as we are. We try, like adults, to fix ourselves up.

Private, personal prayer is one of the last great bastions of legalism. In order to pray like a child, you might need to unlearn the non-personal, non-real praying that you’ve been taught

So instead of being paralyzed by who you are, begin with who you are. That’s how the gospel works. God begins with you. It’s a little scary because you are messed up.

Become like the little children Jesus surrounded himself with. When Nathanael first hears about Jesus, he says the first thing that comes to his mind: “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46). It is the pure, uncensored Nathanael. When Jesus greets Nathanael, you can almost see Jesus smiling when he says, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” (1:47). Jesus ignores the fact that Nathanael has judged Jesus’ entire family and friends in Nazareth. He simply enjoys that Nathanael is real, without guile, a man who doesn’t pretend. Jesus seems to miss the sin and see a person.

It is classic Jesus. He loves real people.

God would much rather deal with the real thing. Jesus said that he came for sinners, for messed-up people who keep messing up (see Luke 15:1-2). Come dirty. 

How many burgers are too many?

It seems 3 is the number. I’m going to tell you about my weekend, count how many burgers I consumed. Apologies to the cows who were harmed in the creation of this post.

On Saturday, Hannah was invited to her school BFF’s birthday party at Spur. We decided to do a daddy/son day and mommy/daughter day seeing as Liam was not invited to the party. So while the boys went for waffles and whatever else, Hannah and I chilled at home, FINALLY made her Barbie jewellery stuff that she received as a Christmas gift (I may or may not have hidden it away just so that I didn’t have to bore myself to death crafting with my kid). Turns out it was fun and easy and she was thrilled with her new jewellery. Then we went to the party. Long story short, it was a joint birthday party for the two sisters, one turned 4 and the other turned 8. So there were a lot of parents and children. The parents of the party said the adult guests could order anything they wanted off the menu. I was like OK, there are 40 parents here, how MUCH is your bill going to be??? Anyway, I ordered a burger because I thought it was moderately priced (a regular burger is almost the same price as a salad, and does it look like I eat salad? No). I always enjoy a Spur burger, Hannah had fun, it was a good party.

Saturday night, we had made reservations with some friends at Duke’s Burgers in Greenside. It was my second time at this place and I was once again impressed with my burger. Because I had had a Spur burger less than 5 hours before, I opted for a veggie burger which consisted of roasted butternut, basil pesto, grilled haloumi, red onion marmalade and mango chutney. Served with sweet potato wedges. I cannot explain the deliciousness in writing. I’m one of those people who have to eat meat with everything, and who believe that veggies are basically boring. I mean I won’t even order salad as a starter. That I even opted for a veggie burger is a surprise in itself. That I ENJOYED said burger is an even bigger surprise. The food and company were great. I would highly recommend you visit this place.


Yesterday after church, we took a drive to a prospective school that I’m looking at for Liam – just for Hubby to take a look at the facilities as he isn’t here in the week when the school does tours. We discovered that we were quite near the Burger King. Now let me tell you, Husband has wanted to try Burger King from day 1 -he is a huge fan. We’d driven pass a few times before and the queue has always put us off. Then one of the moms at the kids’ school told us about the lovely play area and how it was a good distraction while waiting in the queue. Well the queue wasn’t that long and husband stayed with the kids in the play area while I ordered the food. All in all it took me 15 minutes from the time I stood in the queue, to the time I collected our food. Not bad at all! The park is fabulous. I would let me kids run around there even if I wasn’t going to Burger King.. not sure that that is allowed but hey. Burger King food is good. We thoroughly enjoyed our burgers, apparently the onion rings were a fail in the Husband’s eyes, but other than that, I’d give them a thumbs up. Even the kiddies burger looked wholesome and the veggies on the burger looked fresh and crispy still. Well, as wholesome as a beef burger gets, of course.

We went home and I had to lay on the couch for the rest of the day. Stuffed. I even had a nap which I don’t particularly like to do because I’m not a good daytime napper. I don’t want to see another burger for a very long time. I am officially burgered-out. 

Another one bites the dust. Good bye family xx

So I’m losing another sibling to Australia. Last Friday my brother and nephew boarded a flight to Sydney. Forever. Today the rest of the family (my SIL, niece and nephew) leave. As you know, my eldest brother and his family have been in Oz for many years, and now my other brother goes to. Boo hoo.

I think it’s amazing how small the world has become. I think it’s awesome that we have the freedom to live where we want to live, to do what we want to do and not be restricted by age, the colour of your skin or how many degrees you have. It’s amazing to be alive in a time where the world truly is your oyster, and for that I am grateful. However. It is sad. Goodbyes are always sad. No matter the water under the bridge, no matter that there’s Skype to keep in touch… when I think that it will be a loooooong time before I see them again, it makes me quite sad. Especially for the cousins.

But I wish them well! I hope that this adventure will turn out to be the best thing that’s happened to them! Can you imagine being able to just start over? It’s like getting a second chance at life!

So au revoir family. Until we meet again. xxx

My two big brothers xx
The Andrews Clan


Our family is growing…

Well that got your attention didn’t it.

I think I blogged about our desire to get a dog over a year ago and that desire has finally come to fruition. Let me explain that the delay in getting a dog was all on me. The thing is, I know that bringing home a new puppy, is pretty much the same thing as bringing home a new born baby. There’s pee, poo, crying, sleepless nights and general mayhem as the family adjusts to having a new element. ALSO, the expense of having a puppy is (so far) comparative to that of having a new baby, it’s ridiculous! Then there’s duties that need to be drafted up – who will feed this new addition, who will bath him, who will pick up the doggy poo? Who will take him for walks, and play with him? Sounds just like having a new kid, doesn’t it? I WANTED a dog, I just didn’t want all the other chores that go with having a dog. Mainly because I know all those chores will come down to me. With hubby away, and the kids still too small to really be held responsible for anything, this dog is MY problem. Yes, of course, I am going to get the kids involved from day 1. Throwing pellets into a bowl, and making sure the water is always full is a simple task for them, picking up dog poo will probably be the most exciting part of their day and taking him for walks while he is still little enough for them to walk HIM versus HIM walking them in a few weeks (he’s going to be a BIG boy)  – ALL this stuff is still fun and exciting for 3 and 4 year olds to do. But I still have to monitor and make sure and pretty much do it myself while allowing them to THINK they are actually doing it.

So late last year when we had that little breach in security and someone got into Zoleka’s room, we upped the security by putting burglar guards on the few windows that didn’t have and we decided there and then that a dog was no longer an option, it was a necessity. We are the only house on the street without a dog – and not surprisingly the only house that had someone rifling in their garden, after checking with our neighbours and neighbourhood watch. A dog doesn’t prevent crime, but it is a deterrent. Also, the kids have been whining for a dog. Hannah LOVES dogs, Liam likes the IDEA of a dog, but is actually terrified when confronted with one. So last week we met with a breeder and I have to admit that I think I could have actually taken 3 or 4 of these little things home. They were all sooooo cute! But this little one sort of chose us, he was all up in our faces, Hannah picked him up and I don’t think she put him down until we were ready to leave. He is JUST like a baby, loves tummy rubs and being held in the crook of your neck! Me thinks he is going to be a needy little fella – exactly what I didn’t want, but you’ve got to see him… you can’t help yourself, he is seriously sweet. I am not an animal person, I like my pets outside and doing animal things, I don’t believe in treating animals like humans. But guys. This dog. I don’t know. He may change me.

So without further ado, I introduce to you Rocky. Well I think his name is Rocky. Currently it’s the only name we all sort of agree on. I want to call him Mufasa, Hannah wants to call him Bingo, Liam wants to call him McDonald and hubby wants a name that sounds like he is a beast, a killer, a dog you do not want to mess with. Anyway, I digress.. here he is!

 rocky 2

rocky 1

rocky 3

I was concerned about getting a Rottweiler, they just seem scary and unfriendly, particularly if you have small children. But so far, they (these dogs) have proven me wrong. We met two grown Rotties over the holidays, big and scary looking but playful and rather sweet. Then Mrs FF really put me at ease because she has two Rotties and she loves them (she did tell me many other horror stories about how they dig up irrigation systems and are TOO playful but I will turn a blind eye).  And then of course we met Rocky’s parents when we visited the breeder. They are big and scary looking alright, but surprisingly gentle. Hannah was all over them as big and scary as they were. Liam… not so much. He did eventually warm up and even picked Rocky up, check this out:

 rocky 4

 So we pick him up on the 26th January, he will be weaned, cleaned, dewormed, poked and tagged and all those other things. Can’t wait! Look out for many more tales about Rocky. Hope I won’t have to call these tales the “Rocky Horror Show” that’s all.