Our Story Our Song Continues……

Oh my life simply slips past sometimes….. So our days in the cape slipped by. This chapter of our Story and Song has been written.

We ended up spending less time at Living Hope than we had expected. Instead we found ourselves helping with the informal settlement fire rescue operation in Hout Bay. As well as simply spending time with people – hearing their stories – singing our songs with them during the time that we danced our lives together and they became a part of our story.

God worked

God worked it that we spent the last month of our trip staying back in the granny flat we had previously stayed. And he blessed us in so many ways. Kadin loved being apart of the music school. Nate was enjoying his dance lessons, and the twins were going to Brownies. Juggling these and youth groups on Friday night and canoeing lessons it felt like we were living here. Then one morning – 3 weeks before our date to leave.

The trip home was an adventure in itself – we stopped and saw so many places of interest. We even slept in the car at an Ultra City! We visited friends and arrived home on Easter Sunday. As we had however rented out our home and we were back early and had no where to stay once we were back. So 2 more weeks were spent staying with friends – whilst God revealed all the reasons we had to come back when we did – we stood in awe of his perfect timing and planning in our lives.

So arriving back resulted in us – once again – moving house and trying to settle into some sort of routine from our nomadic lifestyle. This has been somewhat achieved – however our feet are already itching to be on the move once again…..and so our story continues.

Our Story Our Song Day 27 – Living Hope

Monday 6 March and Thursday 9 March

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Today was a special day as we were finally able to go and work at Living Hope. We had a wonderful morning helping out on the farm. It is a lovely concept whereby Living Hope uses a farm to teach people how to run a business whilst teaching them how to grow their own food. It was really great meeting new people and hearing their story and their songs.

The little people really enjoyed spending time with the farm animals. The day was however fairly hot and we were slightly frustrated in that we were not able to help much with the two little people attached to us. We headed out at lunch time and found a beautiful spot under some trees near Kommetjie beach. After lunch we joined in with the kids club which is run in one of the poorer areas.

The idea being that many homes are unsafe and children don’t always have food so the children can spend their afternoon there and then take a warm meal home with them. We played outside with some of the children for a while whilst we waited for the kids club to start. As 2:30pm they began to play very loud music and children began to arrive from all over. They then played some games outside before moving inside for some songs and stories. It was a well organised program and the children all loved it. We did however find it very very loud and overwhelming for most of our children. As we realised things were about to fall apart we decided to leave for the program ended. It was a busy but good day.

During the day we had met a lovely American missionary family who invited us to have supper with them. It was a quick meal with little people needing to head home but been a great opportunity to quickly connect with other people and to hear a part of their story and their song. We have found this tapestry of God’s family to be something so beautiful that we can meet with strangers and without awkwardness or fear we can embrace on another and spur each other on in our journeys we’ve each been called to run.

On Thurs day we return to Living Hope and once again helped pack and pick veggies on the farm. We had spoken at length about the children’s club and realised that they had so many volunteers there that there wasn’t really much for us to do except watch others volunteer. So we rather went and helped prepare the food for the children. But even here we realised that there were already so many volunteers that we were more in the way than a help…..

Seeking God’s will

It was time for us to seek our father and hear what it is that he wanted us to do. To keep going to Living Hope (where they were already flooded with volunteers) or to seek h20170306_143708is will in other areas……

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Our Story Our Song Day 21 – Day 26 – Settling In

Tuesday 2 March – Sunday 5 March

20170305_081801 20170305_121909 20170305_124836 20170302_085328The next few days were spent establishing some sort of routine and settling in a bit after almost a month on the road. Our 4 older children moved into our tent while the younger 2 and ourselves moved into our friend’s bush lapa. What a luxury this off road caravan is! We had our own fridge, freezer and gas stove! Our stay in the bush lapa was certainly one that we would recommend to others! Garden living took sometime to get used to but we soon managed to settle our normal routines into a very different setting.

One real joy and blessing of homeschooling is that the children can easily adapt to a new – very different – environment and just pick up with life from where we left off. I had a good smile though when after breakfast they all asked to please be excused from the mat!

It is however a beautiful thing to see what we read Charlotte Mason tell us about year ago being played out now. We read how she insisted it was very important to work on one habit at a time and to lay down firm rails into a child’s life so that these habits would be established throughout life. So we began. Teaching them to make their beds, fold washing, be kind, talk nicely, ask to be excused, how to sweep, how to wipe a table, to complete their work, read their bibles, pray every morning and so on and so on. So often I felt we were wasting our time and effort. Yet I hear my heavenly father utter the same words – “train up a child in the way he shall go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Yet here in a different time and space I am watching with awe as my children are actually doing these things on their own.

My heart sang

With us not all sleeping in the same space and there being so many garden and friend distractions we have found it difficult settling in and have family bible times. This was really concerning me and then we started chatting in the car and the children all began to tell me what they had read that morning on their own. Yay. My heart sang. Yes family bible time is so important and still a corner stone in our family. Yet here I’m seeing that I no longer need to hold their hands so tightly and be responsible for their spiritual growth. Those years of encouraging them to read on their own and valuing that in our home has now allowed them to begin to walk their spiritual growth with God themselves. And they don’t need to wait for me to bring them water to drink… they know how to go to the father on their own!

Divine provision

On Wednesday we realised that our car brakes had been making a funny noise. So Neil took the car in to sort those out and we found that they needed to be repaired immediately (eeekkk R1500 cash suddenly required) but we knew we had to have it done. The next hour Neil gets a call with someone wanting to give us R1000! How amazing is this God that we serve! Not having the car for a day was a blessing in itself as it meant we could all settle down and just gather ourselves.

We took time to visit the Castle – which we had been learning about in history, as well as the water front.20170303_114918
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We went for a Saturday morning walk along St James beach with friends and then spent the day on Fish Hoek beach. I honestly didn’t realise how much we love being at the beach!

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We visited a church on Sunday and had a picnic in Tokai forest with my cousin in the forest on Sunday afternoon before being treated with a roast for supper back at “home.”

A somewhat busy but yet calmer week in that we had a base to come back to each day. I must say that I’m constantly loving the how going on a trip such as this, and emerging yourselves into people’s everyday lives has really deepened and strengthened relationships and friendships – within our own family and with people we didn’t know that well before –  in such a forever way.

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Our Story Our Song Day 20 – We Go Camping

Wednesday 1 March 
So we woke early and packed up our trailer not having a clue where we would be sleeping tonight. We had a special time praying with the family we were staying with before we headed off to get our police clearance and be introduced to Living Hope. We’d hope to be able to work into the one area but as they had a gang shooting there last week no one can work there at the moment. I went off to the mom’s group with our 2 little people and Neil took the others to go and see the farm.

I loved being with the moms. However, it was fairly structured in that I didn’t get much time to chat to the moms. But it was good to meet them. At lunch time we needed to find some picnic bits and pieces which we enjoyed at Imhoff farm. We spent sometime looking around the farm stalls and estate agents. This gave us an opportunity to share our story and our song as we asked if anyone knew of a place for us to stay.

20170305_081458We had a quick play on Fish Hoek beach before settling that we are going to take up the offer of our friends to camp in their garden. This journey is crazy and not turning out how we expected. Camping in a garden! We are literally living in the moment, seeing God simply supply our daily needs. This having faith is hard work, I’m tired!

Parenting ain’t easy…

Being Mom on the road is hard work too. Everyone needs a piece of you all the time. With camping in the garden, routine is out the window. One little person in particular is taking strain with the lack of routine. The moaning and complaining and arguing wearies me to the bone. Why does every instruction I give result in her responding with…. “No – I have an idea actually.” Me saying “No” means nothing except providing a challenge for which she can rise to. Having no routine as such has lead to a downward spiral of “but, no, But I want to , I don’t want to , actually ……”

Yet Being Mom is something we become when our little people enter into our lives – not something we just do when we feel up to it. So even when the road is long and the days endless if we choose to stop. And ask. And listen. Our heavenly father whispers his wisdom and truth into every disagreement. He leads us on and upward as to how we should keep moving forwards.

Our Story Our Song Day 19 – History and Music

Tuesday 28 Feb 

FC Georgio (1998)Today we had a fun family day exploring the Southern Suburbs. We went up to Rhodes memorial and read all about Cecil John Rhodes. After a quick sarmie picnic we hurried back to the flat-let we were staying in so that Kadin could get ready for his first violin lesson at Beau Soleil. Kadin having this opportunity is one that he has waited for since he was 2 years old so this is a very significant moment for us all. He loved his lesson. He was invited to play with the orchestra so we quickly hurried home and he had half an hour to practice the pieces. He is so excited as there is a concert in 2 weeks time. Even once he was home the music didn’t stop. Gabi – with whom we were staying with – organised for another old homeschooler friend to pop in and play violin with Kadin while she played the piano or harp. After which Kadin plopped into bed at 10:30 exhausted – but oh so happy!

 

 

Our Story Our Song Day 16 – Fish Hoek Beach

Saturday 25 Feb

20170225_095042By the morning I can no longer dwell on or consider the “what if” and what will be of the next few days. Living in the here and now is all that afford ones sanity. So waking early and noting that the tide would be out soon, we worked hard to bustle ourselves off to Fish Hoek beach.

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Oh and what a treat was in store for us! As we arrived a train pulled into the station. Then as we walked onto the beach a team of old school fisherman were bringing in their nets with their great catch of yellow tail fish. What fun we had watching and jumping out the way as they hauled it all ashore.

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This time even opened doors for us to speak to various beach goers about the fish, where they lived and their lives.  With some we could even testify to the goodness of Jesus within our lives. After this excitement our children hurried to the sea to splash and dig in the sand.

Before long a siren broke the calm and the white flag of shark alert was hoisted upon the flag pole. What fun it was watching people 20170225_102639who were already 2 meters away from the ocean dash further up off Fish Hoek beach, in case the shark were to jump ashore. So much excitement for one morning was awesome. The girls also made another 9 year old friend upon the beach. This was an answer to prayer for them as they have so missed all their friends at home.

After all this great excitement we were able spend the afternoon catching up with old friends and meeting their 5 and 2 year olds for the first time. Amber-May particularly loved her time in the park with Hannah. The evening was then spend catching up with another friend from way back when. Aaahh the sweet, sweet flavour of friendship and what we learn from each other. We spent a great deal of time discussing identity in Christ – which is something that God has gently been teaching us in the past year. How beautiful to see Jesus knitting the same threads throughout his body. The most profound moment was her statement that “at the age of 6 I gave my life to Jesus but only at 40 did I start living with Jesus.”

Before we knew it we saw that it was 1 am and we hurriedly said our farewells. Meeting old friends from a story that was written here 15 years ago and being able to bring truth and perspective into some very hurt lives is something we seem to be doing without that being part of the plan. It’s a prayer that through us healing will come through God using us here.

Our Story Our Song Day 14

Thursday 23 Feb 
20170223_123525This morning dawned bright and sunny but Neil and my moods were far from reflecting that. I could hear what I always tell the children,  “You can’t let your situation determine your mood,” swirling  around in my mind but yet the reality of not knowing where we would be staying next week was weighing so heavily upon me. My stomach ached and I could feel myself slipping into the panic mode I had lived in and needed to choose to fight off so many times in the past 2 years. At least I can now recognise it but try as I may I could just not fight it. How I miss the sweet fellowship at North Hills Church at home. Someone to go visit and to call and pray with you. We were sinking… All I could say was that I felt like I was on Survivor and was waiting to be voted off and sent home.

It’s not often that I get into such a bad place within my mind but when I do I feel like there is simply no way out or forward. I had begun asking on gumtree and searching Facebook and property sites in all earnestness, we began to talk about Neil maybe needing to get a job while we are here so we can pay for rent….. we were doing, making a plan every minute. Yet deep down I knew none of this would work. I knew it was all wrong but I had to do something. I had to make a plan I had to save us from not having a place to stay!

Then Living Hope called to move our meeting to Monday. So now the questions rage…. Should we be going to Living Hope? Does God want us to work into another area? We have committed to a time of serving how does that look and where will it happen?

After breakfast we called the children together to pray. Such simple prayers they offered. Simply asking God to show us the way forward and where we will stay. Everyone prayed right from Riley and Maisy we all offered up our prayers and requests.

After which they all offer up words of encouragement and what was on their hearts.

Nate shared the words from a song that said: “The mysteries of our God revealed” They are revealed but we don’t know when that will happen… now or a second before when we need them.

Kadin said he kept thinking of the scripture: John 17 – where Jesus is praying for all the believers to be unified. The exact scripture God had given us the week before.

And Lily read Ephesians 3: 14 -21 – A Prayer for the Ephesians: “14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family[a]in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”  

All these words so encouraged for us all! It is so amazing having your children on team with you.

The whole time I kept thinking of the name of a friend of ours that we had not seen in the last few years. I know she’s had a tough time so I had only wanted to have fun when we saw her and not burden her by asking if she knew of anywhere we could stay but I kept feeling to contact her…..

So after our prayers I sent out a quick WhatsApp to her to say we were in town and hoped to connect sometime but we didn’t know if or where we’ll be next week.

20170223_074558We then managed to do some school work and Neil met some work deadlines before setting out to explore Simons Town and Boulders beach. On the way we stopped at estate agents and 2 other places to see if we could find accommodation. All fruitless efforts. I was still feeling an absolute melting down panic boiling within my mind and yet somehow since we had prayed my soul was at rest. I am finding so strange how in the last while I find myself often walking in these two different realms at the same time. Maybe someday I’ll learn to trust the kingdom realm to let go and just rest in what I know – deep within my soul – is right and peaceful.

20170223_143324Whilst playing at Boulders beach I checked my phone and there was a message from my friend saying she has two rooms for us to come and stay in. I’m not sure why we are to stay there or how it will work as it is far from Living Hope but God has clearly directed us to her door so it’s with excitement and anticipation that we will enter into the next part of our adventure.

What a better way to end off a miraculous day than to spend the evening with old friends catching up on the past 7 years whilst watching our kids reconnect and watching today close over the sea and mountains below. What an awesome, faithful God we serve!

Our Story Our Song Day 12 – 13

Tuesday 21 Feb – Wednesday 22 Fed

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By 9am we were packed up and on the road again. We knew that we had a long trip ahead of  us and we were all keen to get to Cape Town now so no sight-seeing was planned – just a long haul straight through to Cape Town. These kids are just amazing. They astound me with their ability to travel. Yet I see how the short trips we had to Pretoria last year and our trip to Kruger – where they all happily spent their day in the car looking for game proved to us they were able to do long hours in the car. This along with a prepacked bag of road trip activities, from sticker books to strips of contacts paper with little things to stick onto it, keep them all busy. We have also discovered the joy of audio stories that we are enjoying as a family, but I am constantly surprised that the biggest hit is for me to read while they draw or colour in. So the day quickly passed and suddenly were popped over Sir Lowry’s Pass and there below lay false bay! So much excitement filled our little contained space that I thought the car would explode.

20170221_135117We took a slow drive through the Cape flats – passed all the shacks adorned with satellite dishes and the roads piled with sand from the gale force winds blowing in from the sea.
Eventually we found our way to our friend’s house that we are house sitting and were all so excited to finally be here. Our happy day was topped off by a run on Fish Hoek beach – while the wind pummeled the shore the children chased the gulls before devouring chip rolls in the car and were all so ready to fall asleep as soon as we were back at the house.

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Wednesday was spent surprising old friends and showing the children some of our old favourite spots in and around the Southern Suburbs. The highlight of the day must have been the children’s first sighting of the squirrels as well as having lunch upon a rock Kadin used to love jumping from when he was 3 years old.

Kids were in bed at a decent time – for a change – and we intended on going to bed early. As we were locking up Neil picked up a pillow that was just outside the veranda door. One of the children had spilled something on it so I had placed it there to dry. Suddenly he jumped back as he lifted the pillow and there lay a puff adder snake!

Once the snake collector had come at 10pm to collect it and we had made sure that the fire we could see in the distance – was in fact not going to come any closer – we crept into bed. Only then did we realise how God was and is still so in control of the tiny details of our lives. Had I not put that pillow there the snake would have come into the house and if we had picked up the pillows earlier the snake would not have been so docile and would probably have struck.

Knowing all this I know with all my heart that God is for us and we serve such a mighty God and yet the fear and worry of the unknown place to stay next week is beginning to gnaw at my mind. In this unknown place I ask on Facebook if anyone knows of somewhere we can stay….. A friend messages to ask some details…. And though she can’t help I see that the last time I chatted to her on Facebook was in 2010 and what’s more there it is the link to a website that I have been looking for years. Royal Kids. I have wondered for years now who this group was that brought in untouchable children and raised them as prayer warriors for the nation. As I revisited their website and was reminded of the power of prayer we are realising that tomorrow we really need to pray together as a family! And yet the questions plague and the worry entangles. My stomach aches grow and Neil’s stiff neck makes sleep somewhat unrestful…..  Is this really where God wants us? Have we heard wrong? Should we just go home? I remember Neil’s prayer at supper – God please give us a place to stay compared to Kadin who simply prayed “God show us the next place we are to stay at.” Oh the faith of a child.

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Our Story Our Song Day 10 to 11

Saturday 18 Feb – Monday 20 Feb

2017-02-18 22.40.50Heading off from this quaint little town we wove our way along the Western Cape coast line to meet up with an old friend and his family. It’s amazing how a decade can pass and sweet friendships simply reunite and pick up again. Matt didn’t think we’d all fit into his house so he arranged for us to stay at a friend of his holiday house. Oh my what a treat this turned out to be. We have found ourselves on the bank of an estuary with a jetty, fishing, crabs, prawns, sea slugs and a myriad of birds 3 steps off our veranda. Not only this, the family staying on the property – not well off by any means – have taken us in ensuring our every need is met! They have fed us cake and vet koek and honey, they have seen the gas for the stove is full, they have done our washing and taught the children all about the tides and the myriad of creatures they have discovered.

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A true homeschool moment – Mom, we playing Bartholomew Dias! We collecting shells for the guinea women!

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The jetty from our veranda

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Doing some nature study on tides

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Identifying this slippery sea slug Kadin found in the estuary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the close of today I quickly popped out the house to get some things from the trailer and a man popped his head over the wall and introduced himself to me by saying he’d been watching our children all day – his veranda also leads onto the estuary so they had been playing in front of his yard a fair amount- and he wanted to check if we did in fact have six children. He then continued to comment on how amazed he was at how they all looked after each other and helped each other. As we chatted further it turned out that they were wanting to find out about home schooling and Matt had told them we were coming so they had been waiting for us to arrive to talk about it. So there it was our story – our song! Weaving briefly into another’s life before each one going off on their own melody again. Yet for one short refrain we get to sing a stanza with a predestined appointment. What a mighty God we serve!

We were also able to spend sometime frolicking in the natural rock pools. What a delight to this mommy’s ears to hear my little people exclaim with glee at all they have found and discovered and then linking it back to stories we had read about tidal pools and their creatures last year!20170220_145940 20170220_083957 20170220_143752

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Our Story Our Song – Day 8 and 9

Thursday 16 Feb – Friday 17 Feb

IMG-20170221-WA0008On the  morning we re-sorted the trailer and packed up our tent to set off to explore the Cango caves before heading towards Klein Brak Rivier / Mossel bay. This was a fascinating drive as we had read a story in our homeschooling books about a tittle Khoi boy who had lived on the one side of the Outeniqua Mountains  and it was too damp and how another tribe had lived on the dry side of the mountain. Well as we drove through the Outeniqua mountains we headed up past green shrubbery shrouded in thick mist and damp and as we rounded the corner to the other side of the mountain we drove out into beautiful sunshine beating down on a dry arid terrain. As we looked back we were struck by the beauty of a thick misty cloud dripping over the top of the mountain and dissipating into nothing as it flowed over onto the other side! Nothing like “school’ coming so vividly alive!  As we piled out of the car into the hot small Karoo sun Kadin whipped his violin out of the heated car. He then remembered someone saying he should ask if he could play his violin in the Cango Caves. So he did just that! He asked and they were so thrilled to have him play – as it used to be used for orchestral concerts until people began to vandalize it – so what an experience for him and us all to have him able to play in front of a group of tourists deep in the belly of the earth – Beautifully Surreal is the only word one could use to describe that Mommy moment. Once we had thoroughly explored the caves and all there was to discover here we journeyed back down the mountain on towards Little Brak River. A tiny town next to Mossel bay. We were so blessed to have friends pay for us to spend two nights in this lovely little holiday house that was one road away from the beach! The first thing that struck us here was the lack of burglar bars. As we asked the neighbour if we could push our trailer into the back garden she just laughed and told us that we could just leave it right out on the street, next to their unlocked car! What?! Were we still in South Africa? Coming from Hilton where five armed robberies in a night was not an unusual occurrence this just boggled my mind. I must say I was a bit weary sleeping in this unfenced, un-burglar barred, un-beamed house. But as they children ran up and down the streets and buck poked their heads out of the bush to nibble on the lawns I began to relax.

20170218_093352A lovely next day was spent at the Mossel Bay Dias Complex Museum exploring many aspects of South African history. Piecing together bit by bit the story of our beautiful land. It was quite amazing reading the stories of the people who had walked these places 500 years ago and the next morning be walking in the same spots. This all seems so momentous and larger than life, yet each of these people was just a man living out the calling and days allotted to them by God. From Bartholomew Dias to the slaves that were traded to the Guinea Women who were randomly put down on the African coast to search for Prester John to the Ship’s cook, to the Native African killed by Dias and to the King of Portugal, they were all just living their Story, their song….. each of their lives touching on one other at some point creating a bigger Story and Song of our land. No matter how insignificant or small we may seem we are all part of a larger story – one that will sing to the glory or God – or not….

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Posting letters under the 500 year old post box tree

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It’s our prayer that on this trip and into our future our lives will constantly bump into those around us and that it will daily tell a story and sing a song of devotion and worship to our King.

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