Monday, December 29, 2014

|| Christmas sugar ||

Here's our little Christmas sugar!  Cute dress compliments of Omie and Opa.  :)  Goodness, this child brings us so much J-O-Y.

Once again, the husband scored on his Christmas gift for me.  It can't get any better than that, I'm sure.  And he liked my gift to him...double score.

We have had a lovely Christmas season.  It's been just the right touch of busy and laid back.  I fully expect New Year's Day to be very relaxed.  New Year's Eve, we will party with a fun group of friends.

I have been missing a "home" Christmas this year.  I'm definitely setting my hopes on going back to the States for Christmas in a few years.  We've got a lot planned in 2015 so it won't be Christmas 2015 but maybe the next year???!!!  That would be great.

Upcoming for 2015:

- a wedding to attend via NYC!!!!!  (first time for me, second time for Leon)
- visiting with my parents
- seeing my Oma!!!
- a trip to Indiana and the West at the end of June and the month of July 
- our little girl reaching important milestones (walking and talking...can't wait)
- milk production coming UP (praying for that!)
- beginning a MINI school in our compound for the children
- I have a secret little endeavour I'd like to embark on in the coming months

Hope you all are having a lovely Christmas season, too.  

As they say here.....Compliments of the season to you.  :)

Monday, December 1, 2014

|| pruning ||

A friend here owns a nursery.  It has been her hobby and now turned into a lovely, thriving business.  On my veranda is a cute topiary plant that needs trimmed OFTEN.  My friend has said the more I trim the plant, the fuller it will be.  The more I trim the plant, the more flowers it will produce.  Esta has said that many people feel afraid to truly prune plants properly (p-p-p!!)  She doesn't understand why that is when through the pruning, the plant emerges more beautifully.

I often think of that correlation with my spiritual life.  How often is God trying to prune me, trying to make me a better person and I fight the pruning.  I KNOW I fight the pruning.  I fight often.  Who likes to be pruned?  Ouch.  

Just like those beautiful roses above emerge from a harsh pruning, so my life would be more beautiful if I would allow the Master Gardener to prune what is necessary.

I have been going through a season of harsh pruning.  I seem to be hitting a wall in my personal and spiritual life.  But there is no escaping the pruning.  I know I am God's child because "Whom The Lord loveth he correcteth...." [Proverbs 3:12].  My prayer is that I will bend to the pruning and emerge more beautiful for the Saviour's glory.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

|| on being a mother ||

Motherhood has surprised me.  I was grossly unprepared for the middle of the night feedings, not knowing what to do with a crying, sometimes screaming, baby, and the hormonal ROLLER COASTER.  Wow oh wow.  

My brothers and I are within three years of each other so I have literally one memory of anything baby-related in our house.  Also, I am not a "baby" person.  Yes, I love to hold and cuddle babies but once they begin fussing, I quickly detract from all responsibility in their regards.

I never really entertained thoughts of motherhood especially before marriage.  Once Leon and I met, I knew we would want children (duh!) but I was too focused on marriage to think about the soft, fuzzy feelings of motherhood.  

Now I am a mother.  It sounds strange to type that even today, three months into this journey.  Now someone looks to me with the same importance that I have always reserved for one person, my mother.

The joy that this child has brought to our little home is beyond compare.  She is one loved child, let me tell you.  She is kissed, adored, cuddled, spoiled (eek! trying to reign that in), sung to, and entertained. She is one lump of kissable sugar....chubby cheeks and all.  

I am so thankful for the blessing of being a MOTHER.  :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

|| progress ||

Several years ago, Leon's herd became infected with TB.  At the height of the infection, he had to ship off over 80 cows in one load to be slaughtered.  His herd was cut in half as a result of the disease.

By the time I came to the farm in 2012, the TB was getting under control.  He had all of his calves caged separately over the entire garden to prevent the disease from spreading.  He was doing regular TB testing at six month intervals.  And, he was slaughtering any cow that showed signs of the disease.  Since the end of 2012, each veterinarian visit would produce better test results than the previous visit.

In November 2012, he bought a second dairy farm which is just a few kilometers away.  While such a purchase was an added bonus, there were many problems as the previous (missionary/NGO) owners had let things deteriorate.  One of the problems is the lack of water which makes it difficult to run a farm.

Once our herd had been declared TB free, one of Leon's goals was to move all of the dairy cows to one farm.  Well, we just received our TB free certificate from the vet a few months ago.  The main farm has had the irrigation upgraded to provide more grazing for the cows.  Now, we are just waiting for the rains to come (any day now!).  

My Mom captured these photos one morning while she was here.  It is beautiful to see our farm through another person's eyes.  

Monday, November 10, 2014

|| three months ||

I remember reading Nicole's blog (sorry, I can't figure out how to link to her blog on my ipad!!) about her little guy, Keegan, at three months and how he was sleeping 8-10 hours at night. I remember thinking, there is nooooo way that will happen with Liesl. Nicole is such a lucky mother.

Well, when you're in the throes of the newborn days and sleep deprivation, it seems like your baby will never sleep longer than a few hours. But it really does begin to happen at one point! 

Last night, we put Liesl down at 7pm and she woke up at 6:30 this morning! 

She is our little munchkin and we are just in love with her.

It is very hot here. So sometimes, Liesl gets two baths a day. With no air-conditioning in our house and temps in the high 90's, it gets a little toasty. I love the hot weather and rarely complain about the heat.....just wish we had a pool. :) Our main pool has leaks which need to be fixed. My nieces have a big blow-up pool but it's in the shade. If I swim, I want to be in the sunshine!!

Enough rambling for now. We are all well here.

Hugs and kisses to our friends and family in the States. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

|| polishing my diamond ||

last night out to eat....we had REAL BURGERS (I finished mine faster than Leon!!)

So last week, Leon and I escaped away to Johannasburg for a few nights.  It was lovely.  I think all new parents should quickly get away for a few nights after their first baby is born.  

One of the things we had to do while there was get my ring polished and make sure the diamond was still secure (it was, thank goodness!).  Slipping on my ring set again was kinda like how the getaway was for our marriage.  Polished, clean, fresh, and sparkling.

My goodness, my husband treats me like a QUEEN.  He gave me way more spending money than I had anticipated and said, This is for YOU.

the avenue leading to the shopping centre

Let me explain one little thing about living here.  Friends, you get OUT of the country to do your shopping.  I know, I know, I know it sounds extravagant to jet away for a few nights and jet back just for shopping but it's NOT.  It's necessary and normal.  While we have a few diamonds in the rough here so to speak on the shopping front, it is nothing like a first world country.  Yes, we buy a few things occasionally.  I can buy Clinique, Estée Lauder, a few outfits, etc...and necessities for Liesl (onesies, a few outfits) all in the capital city.  But it is expensive and limited.

But I wouldn't trade living here for all the good shopping in the world.  I love living on the farm.  And living in a third-world country makes going on holiday that much more special and exciting.

Anyways, my diamond is sparkling, literally and figuratively.  Leon gets home tomorrow from visiting his uncle in SA.  My mission today is to get the rest of the house put back together and organized after our recent remodel.  My work is cut out for me.  :)

Monday, October 13, 2014

|| another new week ||

this was the Sunday morning day breaking

I think tomorrow we will be moving back into our house. Leon is working so hard to get all of the work done.  This morning, we had two painters, one electrician, two builders, and one general worker hustling to get the job completed.  We have increased the size of our house by 50% by adding on Liesl's room and an office for Leon.  I can't wait to share photos when it is finished.

I am excited to live under one roof again.  We are sleeping in the spare room and "living" in the lounge of our house.  There's a door that separates the lounge and the bedoom/new addition which makes this possible.

One thing I have enjoyed while sleeping in the spare room is the mornings.  I am waking early these days.  Often, I just lie in bed with the fan whirling above me and the curtains pulled back for air flow and watch the day break over the fields.  It is lovely.

Here is an encouraging thought from my O. Chambers devotional this morning.

"If you are going through a time of discouragement, there is a big personal enlargement ahead."

I hope everyone has a fantastic week.  Most certainly, we will enjoy this week.  My Mom is winging her way here for a much anticipated visit.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

|| moving forward ||

Life is pretty grand, folks!!

I sleep almost eight hours at night and the world couldn't look rosier in the morning. I give the best smiles and laughs because well....when the sun's shining and a person feels loved and their belly is full, that's the thing to do. 

Silly momma gets a little stressed when I scream a lot but hey! That's what little stinkers like me do to keep everyone on their toes. Anyways, I sometimes have bubbles in my belly and those hurt. I wanna make sure my Momma knows loud and clear when I'm uncomfortable. 

It's gettin' hot here and word on the street is that I'll get to go swimming in a real pool this weekend. But for now, Momma and I are going to get the wages for the workers done in the office so we can have a fun Friday. 

Hope you have a fun Friday, too.


Monday, October 6, 2014

|| rogue pelican ||

A few weeks ago, Leon came to our room after register and asked if I wanted to see a bird.  While we both have a mutual appreciation + love for birds, my first reaction after feeding an infant in the middle of the night was, "Huh?!" He said, "No, really.  It's interesting.  It's a pelican and the watchmen found it in one of the paddocks next to the cows." 

Now my interest was piqued.

I could not believe my eyes.  I'm not sure I've ever been that close to a pelican.  I didn't realize how big of a bird it really is.  

It is very strange that such a bird was found on our farm.  According to the map below, we are northeast and northwest of two large national parks in our country.  The pelican could have come from either of these.  It was probably sick and/or old and wandered away from its natural habitat.  

What an interesting find on an average weekday!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

|| Saturday morning brunch ||

So Leon has gone to Southern Province and that leaves me here with this little lump of sugar.  I've taken a pass on naps for the entire week (waking during the night is now normal and doesn't always require daytime rest apparently).  Well, sleep was demanded this morning.  So after feeding her at 4:30, finish packing Leon's suitcase and food stuffs for the weekend, opening my shop (I'll have to show you that in another post), it was time to get a few extra winks.  Yay for sleeping until 10 in the morning. This clearly requires a snazzy breakfast in celebration.

I'm not a big breakfast person but often awake ravenous these days.  So I asked our amazing cook to make an omellette with leftovers from last nights steak kebabs.  Beef fillet.  Mushrooms.  Tomatoes.  Extra Cheese.  Delicious.

Oh.  We have a maid.  Did you know that you do, too?  Your maid's name is McDonalds and she regularly serves you from the $1 menu and sausage biscuit as you're running to work.  Or maybe your maid is Dunkin' Donuts with a small hazelnut coffee and toasted bagel with cream cheese on the side. Your maid at lunch is Chipotle where she serves you tacos....chicken, please, with guac, cilantro, and sour cream.  Oh. That's right.  You have the faithful maid, McDonalds.  $1 menu, coming up. Hmmm...!  As extravagant as it sounds that we have maids, it's really not extravagant at all.  It provides necessary employement for industrious women here who feed their families.  

So I sit here cross-legged on the floor with my little sugar this morning, looking across the fields, thanking The Lord for ALL His goodness.  Blessings innumerable if I'll only look around me.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

|| October Goals ||


/\ enjoy time with Mom
/\ strawberry jam
/\ strawberry pieS
/\ homemade bread
/\ baby room finished, set up, and organized
/\ house re-arranged and re-organized after new rooms are finished
/\ chicken coop painted
/\ farm books finished for fiscal year

So, the entire family is going on holiday at some point between now and October 31st.  One left yesterday, three leave today.....and the farm is quiet.  That means: no school for me and lots of free time.  My Mom comes in two weeks so I have a few weeks to get ready for her arrival and then enjoy lots of time with her.  

The baby room and office are nearing completion (slow + steady wins the race).  Right now, we are sleeping in the spare room (right around the corner from our house) and living in our lounge (meaning, our kitchen and lounge are functional, our bedroom is not).   But WHEN those two additional rooms are finished, HALLELLUJAH AND AMEN, we will have room to spread out.  One ENTIRE room for Liesl and her baby things. One ENTIRE room for Leon and his books and desk.  (angels are queuing up to begin singing now)  That also means that our lounge will become more of a sitting room/kitchen area.  I will be able to unpack more of my kitchen things that have remained in barrels since I was married.  I'm getting excited just typing this out.  

I want to set goals for this coming month.  If I don't take advantage of this extra free time, the month will slip by and things will remain unfinished.  When my nieces get back from holiday, we have to finish a few more weeks of school.  So now is the time for me to get busy.

Monday, September 29, 2014

|| Just As I Am ||

Yesterday in between Sunday school and the morning service, I was feeding Liesl in the baby feeding room.  Over the speakers of the church was "Just As I Am" playing.  Spontaneously, I began singing along to the words.  Then I realized what I was singing.

JUST AS I AM, tho' tossed about
With many a CONFLICT, many a DOUBT, 
Fightings and fears WITHIN, without,
O Lamb of God, I COME! I COME!

My pregnancy was fairly easy.  The labor and delivery of Liesl was easy; yes, it really was.  These past 7 weeks?!?!  My goodness.  They have left me absolutely whirling.  I think almost every time I talk to my Mom, I tell her how much I'm struggling.  And often, there are tears accompanying these words.

How many people do we actually accept "just as they are"?  I know I don't really accept many (any??) "just as they are".  It is our human nature to compare, to criticize, to analyze and wonder.  But Jesus Christ, the Same, yesterday, and today, and forever, accepts us just as we are.  

Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because Thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come! I come!

Honestly, I don't even accept myself as I am.  I am far too harsh on myself.  Thanks to the eye-opener the book The Spirit Filled Temperament was, it is one of my character flaws.  Today and this week, I will be thanking The Lord for His redeeming love and His new mercies that are new each and every day.

Friday, September 19, 2014

|| day late and a few dollars short ||

....but here's a few photos of Liesl's one month birthday.

In the barrels that arrived [TWO DAYS before her birth, hallellujah], were lots of cute presents from my family for Liesl.  My aunts sent this adorable monthly tag set.  I probably wouldn't have been super motivated to take monthly pictures on the exact day.  But with this motivation, who can resist?

Milk bubbles are my favorite.  And, boy, does this girl ever have a busy mouth.....lots of personality right there.

Oh and the cute stuffed elephant is from LIesl's Omie.  :)  Another keeper I know we'll treasure.

These past few days have been a little rough.  Liesl received a few of her immunizations.  I thought all the yuckies would be finished after one day.  Well, I don't think so.  After a [calm but inner-pacnicked] phone call to my Mom and lots of reassurances from her, Liesl gave me one of her smiles and fought like the dickens as I wrapped her up for the night.  Just what I needed to remind me that my little girl is O--KAY.  

Friday, July 25, 2014

our milk

Living on a dairy farm, it easy to take for granted that when we run out of milk, we just get more from the seemingly endless supply from the chiller. Unless of course, the milk truck has already come for the day. We get full-fat, unpasteurized, unhomogenized, raw milk from the cows every day. We also have a cream separator for cream or if we need skimmed milk. 

I love the milk here! At lunch time, it easy to drink two cups of milk. And since I'm pregnant, I've figured it must be good for the baby so....consume away, girlfriend. 

I have yet to make my own yogurt but it is definitely on the to-do list. Leon and I would love to experiment with cheese in the future. I've made cottage cheese and ice cream. We get so many dairy products for "free". (Big, huge air quotation marks around the word FREE.)

Since we don't buy milk by the gallon, like the U.S., I thought I'd show how we store our milk for daily consumption. There are so many things that are normal for me now but when I think back to my first visit almost two years ago, I was so enamoured about certain aspects of the life here. 

That metal can above is the main milk jar for the big house. We fill it probably once a day, maybe twice. The employee is Kelophister (pronounced Calfista) and she is our packing room girl. She makes the butter, records the milk, makes cream, etc.

Then, the milk is poured as needed into small glass bottles. 

I keep four at our little house and it lasts about a day or so. 

So this is how we get our milk. Uncomplicated and "free". :)

Thursday, July 3, 2014

preparing a field

I have learned a lot about farming in the past year of marriage (obvious understatement). One of the most surprising things for this suburban girl to accept was that fires are normal. Fires are dangerous. Fires aren't always necessary or welcome but they are normal. And sometimes, fires are absolutely needed.

To prepare a field, Leon has to burn it to clear the rubbish grass. Then, it is disc-ed (via tractor and disc-er). Finally, the field can be planted.

We aren't crop farmers. But each year, Leon has to plant rye grass which is our winter grazing grass for the cows. Barner grass is also planted in January for baling in April/May.

Fires are also used to make fire breaks to protect the grazing for the herd. Last year, one of our employees was burned quite badly making a fire break on a windy day. Often, locals will burn fields to chase the rats so they can eat. Disgusting, I know, but that is their reality here. We make fire breaks to protect against these types of fires on our back property.

A few weeks ago, Leon was preparing his last field for planting. I captured a few snapshots because the burning process can be just SO pretty especially in the afternoon light.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

peanut butter

Here, it is common for ladies to make their own peanut butter. I don't relish the taste of our local peanut butter. I prefer imported! The nuts used in local peanut butter is groundnuts. 

Anyways, our cook (who is super industrious) has begun making peanut butter to sell to our family's restaurant.

First, the nuts are roasted in the oven (mmmm...smells delicious).

Then, Eunice takes handfuls of nuts and rubs them together to remove the skin.

Next, she takes the bowl outside and tosses the peanuts in the dish. I would say this is similar to separating the wheat from the chaff. :) 

Lastly, the nuts are put into the blender and blended until smooth. This renders the most delightful smell in the main kitchen similar to that of a Reese's PB cup factory (not that I've ever visited such a factory but one can imagine...).

And that is how she makes......

Monday, June 16, 2014

a few pretties around our place

Leon and I absolutely adore our little cottage. It is long and not so wide. But the rooms are a nice size so even though it is only a bedroom, bathroom, and kitchenette/living area, it feels spacious (minus the complete lack of storage). It also has a veranda stretching across the length of the cottage. We eat our dinners outside on the veranda and also have some comfortable chairs for relaxing. I'd love to give a little picture tour sometime. I should do it soon as we will be adding on a small nursery for the baby.

I've recently begun printing free printables found online to pop into this frame. It's a nice way to change things up a bit. This is my most recent finding. I love the watercolor look of the flowers.

We have some stunning spray rose plants in the garden. A little cutting placed in this cute vase is a pop of cheer in the small, dark corner of my kitchen area.

This is another new plant. Thanks, Mom, for the birthday money to get a few pretties at the nursery! I'm hoping this plant will thrive in its little corner.

God has been so good to us lately despite life's difficulties. We have each other and are exceptionally happy together in our marriage. Our needs (food and raiment, I Timothy 6:8) are abundantly provided for. We enjoy stunning weather here and abundant sunshine. 

I read this passage last week and thought it timely.

Psalm 103:2-5

Bless The Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:

|| Who forgiveth all thine iniquities ||
|| Who healeth all thy diseases ||
|| Who redeemeth thy life from destruction ||
|| Who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies ||
|| Who satisfies thy mouth with good things so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's ||

How good is our God!

Monday, June 9, 2014


(three of the seven of us)

I don't share much of my every day life here and today was too nice of a day not to share.

First of all, the nieces and I are on a one-week break from school. Secondly, we had beading this morning. One of our friends sells jewelry at craft fairs. We get together and make things and it helps her out. Plus, we ladies get fellowship and a nice day together. If it's a holiday or a reason to celebrate, we will have a nice big breakfast before beading that the men come to as well. Then we get busy. 

I'm not the crafty/beady type. I normally come for a few hours to chat, have some coffee, and try to make one thing. In an unusual turn of events, inspiration struck this morning and I got busy beading. I think one of the biggest hindrances I find is that I don't know all of the tricky techniques that make beading so spectacular. I'm limited to just stringing beads on one single strand which is a bit redundant.

(half of my contributions for the day)

Today was such a lovely day. There was lots of laughter and chatter in English and Afrikaans. 

We are entering winter here and it can be quite chilly. Soon, we will have a fire blazing in the fireplace on beading mornings.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Friday school

Sunshine. One of my favorite reasons for living here.

Extra coffee. A rare treat now that I'm pregnant.

Part of our school room.

Simple motivational tool.

I try to keep school on Friday as simple as possible. Last year, we didn't have school on Fridays because the girls went for a play date/craft time with other homeschooling children at a friend's house. This quarter, I realized that it was a necessity.

Fridays used to be "my" morning. Grocery shopping and cappaccino's were the Friday morning routine. However, the benefits of getting caught up in school is worth the effort. 

Another reason to be happy this morning is the promise from God's Word that...
"Light is sown for the righteous; and gladness for the upright in heart." Psalm 97:11

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Adventure in the bush

One of the fun things we did with my family was a rhino walk. My brother had gone to see a rhino in '09 but this seemed a bit different from his experience.

First of all, we missed the caption on the side of the safari truck. This was going to be a WALK. We were told it was a small walk to see this animal. Cue: unprepared.

We picked up another tourist. She was in full safari gear. She must have been thinking, "These people are such tourists." And to think that two of us are from Zambia!

When we got to the drop-off point, we had to sign a waiver form. At that moment, we were informed that this was a two-hour walking safari through the bush!

After a slight protest that we weren't equipped due to misinformation, the kind driver drove us around the park. 

We saw beautiful animals.

It was definitely a memorable experience on a gorgeous day.

Thursday, April 10, 2014


Let us LABOUR therefore to enter into that REST, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
Hebrews 4:11

For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. 
Hebrews 4:10

At the top of this page in my Bible, one of the headings is "rest attained by faith". 

Oh what a message for me today! How the frustrations and irritations accumulate in less than twenty-four hours. Problems with my ipad, problems with the internet, frustrations with school, frustrations with school work, frustrations with pupils, misunderstandings, a poor night's sleep, being hormonal because I'm pregnant.

AH! Just stop. Please let me hide!

No, just let me rest. Let me, let me LABOUR to enter into God's rest. If I am in His rest, I will cease from my own works (frustrated, irritable, short temper).

What a prayer for me today to claim by faith. This Christian life is living, breathing, daily walking, daily choosing to follow our Guide. It is a choice to be claimed by faith.