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 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.
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.
We 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.
Tuesday 28 Feb
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!
Thursday 16 Feb – Friday 17 Feb
On 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.
A 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….
Posting letters under the 500 year old post box tree
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.
Friday 10 Feb
On Friday 10 February 2017 we headed of on an epic family trip across South Africa. Armed with 3 boxes of school books, activates and road trip games, 3 boxes of food, a box of kitchen and bathroom things, a box of towels, half a suitcase each of clothing, a tent, a gas bottle, whistling kettle, wash basin, porridge pot, a few camping mattresses and our bedding and pillows we headed off into the some known and some unknown days of life on the road.
We had our first few days planned out so we had managed to arrange to have lunch with Neil’s’ aunt in Kokstad – where we were able to have a glimps into Neil’s cousins new water bottling factory. Over the last few months we have been to a taxidermist, coffee barrister and now the water bottling factory – all of which we’ve found people making a living from passion, skill and natural resources – all of which do not require 12 years of institutional schooling. Something we are beginning to see happening around us more and more…..
We were so pleased that we managed to see 2 special family friends for a quick cup of tea in Kokstad. Tucked away from any signs of city life one always feels so refreshed being up in their mountain home. We then drove back down the mountain to spend a wonderful evening reconnecting with old friends.
What an amazing life they have buying and selling cattle, horses and goats from the Eastern Cape to sell in KZN. The children were even treated to a 5:30am hike up into the mountains to go see and check up on the goats. They loved helping pick some up and watch the herd boy feed the orphan goats. As sad as we were to bid farewell to friends we had not seen in so many years we are excited for the journey ahead and that we will be coming back past this way when we return home in 3 months time…..
11am 10 February 2017 and we have bundled 6 of our little people and ourselves into our big blue car, hitched up our trailer and we off!
So much excitement here as we spend the next 10 days exploring our beautiful land before arriving Cape Town. Yet this is so much more than just a 3 month trip around South Africa…. as we drive past the the corn fields – white – ready for harvest… We hear our Father calling…. not just for this trip but for our life – our story – our song!
This is my Story this is my song – praising my saviour all the day long. Silently the house sleeps as I pen my thought about today. But today didn’t start at 4:30 am this morning when I silently crept through to find my cup of tea and tin of biscuits. Biscuits made with the deepest love of a friend knowing how much they will speak to my heart in this crazy time we are stepping into….. No, this morning started many, many years ago. You see the day I was born my story begun and the day Neil was born his story begun. A great deal of which is lost in memory and a great deal I would like to choose to forget. The truth however is that we cannot sugar coat, rewrite or deny our story because it is being sung every day and once a story is sung it is out there for the world to see and share.Our stories are however made up of different books and chapters and right now we are writing one of the most interesting books of our life.
For about 18 months God has been speaking to us about going and walking in what he calls us to do. This has been through many dreams, prophesies, words and such. As I have time and I feel they are relevant I will share some of these profound truths God has stored up in our hearts. We didn’t quite however see what this was building up to until suddenly – here we are…… packing up on a 3 month road trip across South Africa.
You see this was not what we planned – actually nothing that has happened in the last 2 years is what we planned. Two years ago we bought our dream home and as I stood, teared up, I couldn’t believe God had given us the opportunity to live in such a beautiful home. My heart was so full. At this time our 7th child was born and so many people questioned and commented that that was when the words – This is my story, This is my song began to play in my mind. With full hearts we planned to live in our new home forever….. Continue reading
So it was said all those 10 years ago that if you homeschool using living books, read about heroes and give then freedom to play that you will see what they learn filtration info their lives. Well I will say we have had discussions about topics and sometimes seen a game reflect something they have learned. But never have they become absolutely engrossed – without our input. Then last month we decided that for the boy’s birthdays, next month , we would fulfil their life long dream of going to Kruger National Park. Well, oh my, suddenly the children are leading all our learning. For handwriting is a South African poem, geography maps of the park and historical places and for history we have been learning about the history of South Africa. We have all sat enthralled as we have read about so much history we were unaware of. Our hearts have been stretched, pulled, ached and rejoiced. We have climbed mountains, hunted, fought wars and pulled wagons with people long forgotten. It has truly been an amazing term with the children leading and asking for more and more. This reached a climax this week when we asked a friend to sew the girls some bonnets for the dress up box. Oh what fun these have been! The boys soon caught the fever and last night we were greeted at the dinner table by a group of “voortrekers.”
The children instructed us that we had to have baked potatoes and meat for supper – so that we could be like the voortrekkers and we had milk tart for pudding. This was followed by a play that they had created that told the whole story of Dingaan and the Voortrekkers. Out of a few dress up clothes and a simple meal such a fun, memorable evening emerged
Today was a special day here in South Africa – it was time to once again vote for the people we see fit to lead our nation.
20 years ago we stood before a land mark decision for South Africa to become a nation in which all are recognised, acknowledged and valued. The past 20 years have faced many challenges. There have been many amazing advances forward but still many disappointments and disillusionment have filled many, many lives. So today as we look upon yet once again a restless nation we all fell hopefully empowered to yet once again help make a difference in this beautiful land.
Our children have not missed the hype and excitement building up around them. Time spent in the car, at breakfast and dinner have been bristling with discussions about different parties, what makes a good president, how one votes and how having a seat in parliament works. Today we were able to take our children with us to vote, they were allowed to stand in the hall and watch how it all came together. Their excitement has been so tangible all day. So yes this vote of ours today may mark a change in South Africa’s history or it may not. It did however begin a shift my children’s minds and hearts toward their love for our land, their future right to vote, their voice in the country, their place as adult citizens and how they too have a responsibility to make a difference in the future of this amazing country.
This could not have been summed better than just after we voted Nate comes to us and says, “When I”m an adult I won’t be voting – because people will be voting for me!”
Nate’s own political party’s badge – Rainbow Nation Freedom
Our weather here in South Africa has been amazingly HOT about 40 Deg C (104 deg F). With effect that we haven’t ventured out the house much-except to the swimming pool! So today I decided no matter what the heat was we were going on a nature walk in our botanical gardens.
When we pack for a nature walk food is a must, but so is our nature bag. In our nature bag each child (and mom) has a drawing book, we have pencil crayons and crayons as well as other stationary, tweezers, magnifying glass, zip lock packets and such.
So even though we were wilting ……..we put on our cheerful faces and headed out.
One of the highlights is to ring the old ship bell that stands at the entrance to the avenue of Plane Trees.
While reading all about the bell’s past adventures….
Then as in all families with little people nothing goes well till the tummies are full. So we found a fantastic picnic spot! Please note the new lunch boxes – they have changed my life! Instead of one box for all – everyone has their own packed lunch what a pleasure 🙂
Then special times of bonding together. I love how close the children are and that even though the age gaps are big they still love to hang out together.
Everyone took turns swinging each other around in circles
Whilst chasing a lizard up a tree – some investigated whilst others clambered up an old vine entangled around the tree.
Little people learned how to use a magnifying glass.
We were chased by geese.
While some terrapins came to say hello….We took some time to draw what we saw.
We went for a nature walk and besides seeing some interesting birds Maiden #1 managed to just miss been splatted on by a hadeda.
As we strolled along we stopped to look at some bugs and interesting plants.
We listened and laughed and ran and crept. We took time to day dream and just be.
No we didn’t do maths, or language arts, we didn’t write a report or carry clipboards. But we learned SO much. We learned to stop and take time to just enjoy being together in nature. We learned to just stop and be still. We learned that goslings can make us shriek with delight while terrapins held us awestruck. The Hammerkop’s cry kept us captivated while while mysterious paths keep us intrigued.
“Mommy, is God as big as those trees?”
“Wow” stands in silent awe and then: “What a huge God we’ve got”
A day well spent I’d say!