Friday, November 27, 2015

They Don’t Realise It

Bog Boy was in the kitchen washing dishes. I was chopping potatoes. Big Sis was tidying up the counters. Little Sis was hanging around, just chilling.

And suddenly Big Boy ran out shouting, “It’s the 27th!” He came back with one of our old iPads that they use and took a photo of their little sister.

For them, it’s all about documenting her growth.

But for me it’s so much more. Every month since she’s been home, there have been two little souls that make sure that on the 27th, the day commemorating her birth, a photo is taken. A joyful picture. Something to look back on and smile.


That wasn’t so on her birthday. There are no pictures to look at. The day she was born was a day of confusion, painful decision, sorrow. We don’t have photos of her first days. Nor of her first 27th. And other photos are general. But unlike the first day, her first birth day, the anniversaries of it are rejoiced over.

That means a lot to me. It’s one thing to know I love her and rejoice over her. But it’s another thing to know that her siblings value her so much, think of her birth day so much that they cannot pass it’s marker without doing something positive about it. We may not have photos of her past ‘birth days,’ but we will ever cherish all the photos we have today. And sometimes, that’s all that counts. Knowing that a future is guaranteed. It doesn’t undo the past, it doesn’t undo the fact she now has two mothers, but it shows the JOY of having two mothers too.

She has two mothers because she came home to a family. The photos are a symbol. A symbol of how needed she is. Of how necessary and important she is. A symbol of how she left someone’s arms in order to be taken into someone else’s. It’s about beauty out of ashes. These two just don’t realise it yet.

Lessons Learnt This Year


So, how have I grown or improved this year? Or what have I learnt? What mistakes have I made that won’t be made next year? What did I gain?

I can’t say I’ve improved, but I can say I’ve definitely learnt!

1) Parenting is HARD! But it’s also rewarding. But man, the whole realisation that, “They won’t be perfectly obedient and happy and clappy all the time” isn’t nice. I want them to just be perfect little angels. Ha ha ha, not gonna happen. Look how long it’s taking me as an adult to become the child God wants me to become! But sometimes they surprise me. And hey, it’s a win when your children say they’d rather spend time chatting with you than playing. It’s not all doom and gloom.

2) Not everyone who claims to be reforming is actually doing so. I’ve met too many young people who refer to themselves as being extremist in diet or dress, but are not. Don’t believe their labels. By their fruits you shall know them! And anyway, why do we label ourselves? It creates an “us” vs “them” mentality-very divisive and patronising. We’re all sinners saved by grace.

3) People do change. I’ve seen young men my husband has ministered to being willing to study and change their habits. I know lesbians who have not only left those practices but are ministering to fellow lesbians to forsake their former lusts and love God supremely. I’m not saying desires go away. I’m saying that in the same way someone single can remain celibate till the day they die, these lesbians are leaving their lifestyles and living fully for God. (But at the same time, earlier on this year I have enthused about young ladies who enthusiastically proclaimed their spiritual growth only to find they backslid. So I’ll say.. “People do change..for now.”)

4) Not everyone who asks for studies on modesty actually wants to carry out what they’ll read. You’ll get church visitors or Facebook stalkers or attendees of conferences that we’ve been at, asking for studies on modesty. You give it to them in plain black and white… And that’s it. Nothing happens. Oh well…Just give anyway, you can’t judge or presume someone’s lack of sincerity. Yours is to share anyway.

5) Some mental health problems are spiritual. Some people go through depression, (note I said “SOME,” NOT ALL) because they are self-absorbed and narcissistic. The world revolves around them… until they realise it doesn’t! Then they lose their grip on reality and sink into a pit of “woe is me.”  Self is not dead but they think it is. Only God can open their eyes.

6) Not everybody who claims to be a missionary actually is one. What they really mean is that they want to go on mission trips with other people but when it comes to being a daily missionary in their own lives, they don’t know what that means. It’s not a calling, even though they claim it is. Let’s live it, people.

7) There are way too many married people out there who complain that marriage is “grueling” and parts of it are “excruciating.” No wonder people end up settling or deciding they’ll never get married. They’ve been brainwashed into thinking that’s the best they can get and that no matter what, there’ll be times when you hurt each other on purpose or blast each other with angry words.

8) The old African tradition of respect is dead (and I’m obviously more cultural than I thought I was!) When I was growing up, we knew that we never referred to married people by their first names. Ever. Even if they were only a year or two older than than you.

We knew that once someone became a mother, that was another reason not to refer to them by name.

Anyone around three or more years older than you also wasn’t addressed by their first name.

We also knew that we never referred to church elders by their names either. But today you can be talking to someone in their twenties and they say to you, “I wanted my friend to meet uThandi noNdaba.” My hackles rise and in my head I’m saying, “Whoa, did you forget you’re black!? Didn’t your parents teach you any manners?” Yep, I’m more traditional than I thought.

9) I’m too soft on people. I don’t know how to be blunt. Need to work on that instead of what I currently do which is point out a flaw once then when it comes up again, keep quiet. I’m talking about hypocrites, not people who don’t know. If I tell you once that punching me is wrong, it’s not good of me to keep quiet the next time you punch me. It’s still wrong and you know it. And I shouldn’t keep quiet about it.

10) Just because it excites you doesn’t mean it’s for sharing. I had begun an album of my sewing projects,  but then became uncomfortable with the whole idea. Why show off what I’ve done? What’s the reason behind saying, “Look at what I’ve made?” It’s an awesome feeling, being able to wear something you made. Or knitting someone a scarf. But it smacks of self-praise to then share pictures with others. So I took it down.

11) Adoption is the most amazing way to solve a problem. The love you feel for your child cannot be described. That said, unless God Himself talks to my husband, this will might be our last adoption. We believe we are done. Now to advocate for the orphan in new ways too.

12) I have absolutely wonderful friends who remember the strangest things about me. People who’ll ask me if my husband will let us get to the 5 children I’d originally wanted. Someone who’ll ask me how my nephews (sons) in Jo’burg are doing. I must thank God every day for sisters I’ve never met who love me so. Girls who’ll write crazy comments or remind me that they’re praying for us.


Work on being up front. Pointless my being unable to lift someone, instead ending up sinking with them. As I was telling my husband this morning, even Jesus had ‘levels of closeness.’ He had three top friends, then the 8 and then Judas who he was trying to help but never took to mountaintops nor asked for special prayers. It’s time for me to also prioritise my friendships and time. God tells you when someone is outside of your help. You can still love them, ask them how they are, but don’t waste your precious time bringing them to your bosom where it’s easier for them to pierce your heart. Some things are better left to God. There’s a reason Judas didn’t feature much except for all the wrong reasons.

May the upcoming year be one of more growth and learning from the past. May we be missionaries in every aspect of the word, all the time. May we be genuine and selfless. May we think about the pictures we post and the message we’re trying to spread. May we either adopt, or help someone else adopt or foster or give to the orphan or helpless. May we study and apply what we’ve read. May we be an ‘African when with an African,’ like Paul was with the Jews. (In terms of not offending them needlessly) May we be open to change and spiritual growth. May we accept the fact that without God, parenting His way is impossible. May we learn to kindly be honest with people- it about where we are on our spiritual walk (stop with the labeling), or where we see that they are not helping us nor genuinely wanting our help.

Above all, may we walk with God and see with His eyes. Love with His heart. Be who He wants us to be.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Let’s Start at the Very Beginning

Joshua 4:4 Then Joshua called the twelve men whom he had appointed from the children of Israel, one man from every tribe; 5 and Joshua said to them: “Cross over before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and each one of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, 6 that this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?7 Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever.”


Alright, I spoke about it before, but when a young lady found my old, old posts and we laughed at a particularly pathetic post, I decided to just delete everything. I’ve been undergoing a metamorphosis anyway and had deleted certain pictures that didn’t fit my understanding of modesty, so..this was part of the ‘growth.’ The problem with finding a blog NOW is that I read it from the beginning, even if the person began in 2008, and to me, it’s as if they’re writing today. I didn’t want what I wrote in 2008 to tarnish the person I am today.

So, we shall start at the very beginning. Just not today.

I’ll re-introduce myself to new readers and I’ll pray that this time when I talk about my background, experiences, events that impacted me, no American will tell me, “That was in the past, it’s time to get over it.”

My blog is about my life. I believe I’m entitled to write about what’s happened to me, even if it includes things that happened while I was in the womb! Not that this was about experiences that far back! And more importantly the things she was telling me to get over are things that still happen today. A bit hard to not connect the dots now isn’t it?

So, we’ll start at the very beginning. Feel free to ask any questions about how I formed a certain principle or understanding. People keep urging me to write a book and sell it, but my life is too busy for that and honestly, I feel bad making money from God’s goodness to me. It just doesn’t sit right with me. So I’ll share a slice of my life and hope we all gain from it.

Be kind. These are going to be my memorials, my altars to remind the children of modern Israel of how God led me and helped me obtain victory. These will be stones that will show you that the same God of Israel is our God today and He is faithful.

Join me as we go back into time.

Just not today.

Thankful Thursday- Sign Language

IMG_6339 (1)

Some time ago, probably two months ago, we (The Big Two and I) started teaching little sister some baby sign language. We know that receptive speech comes before expressive, and with speech going to happen later, I figured learning ‘sign,’ which is easier for babies to perform, would be a great experiment.

It’s been great. We know she understand but you don’t know how much she’s taking in till you see her doing certain things without prompting. She knows to wave when she’s parting or someone else is walking away, even though she only said, “Ba ba” yesterday. She knows “light” even though her hand faced inwards instead of outward when she noticed the light had been turned on and was “telling” us about it. She knows (as previously mentioned) that when she hears the word “pray” she must put her hands together.

It’s the little things that she does with her hands that remind us that she IS learning, is forming connections, is understanding how things go together.

As soon as she hears her dad’s car engine revving, the hands start waving goodbye. Little connections that show baby development is going on.

And sometimes body language says a lot too! These days she’s put herself on a new sleep schedule. So, I decided to give her her bottle before her first nap then let her play, seeing as she hadn’t been sleeping immediately after her bottle. Instead, she goes to her cot, pulls herself to standing position and holds onto the side. Looks at me like she’s saying, “Come on, work with me here, old lady,” and kept looking expectantly at me.

Slave that I am to her whims, I picked her up, changed her poopy diaper, and in she went. And she slept. No speech necessary, no crying or moaning, just a meaningful look and showing me what she wanted. The brain is an amazing thing!

Thankful for learned and unlearned non-verbal communication.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Does Your Wife Know What You’re Thinking? Part 4

I recently began a series focusing on the type of men that will have happy wives. Today’s question is based on this scripture, Prov 31:28 “Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.”

Once again, the usual disclaimer. I use stories from my life because I want to show that it’s possible, and because I don’t live with other couples. Maybe the husband does those things publicly but at home he’s a brute. Better to never use someone else because I’ve seen people praising certain evangelists and preachers and I’m thinking, “If only you knew…”

Today’s question asks the men, “Does your wife know?” Does she know what you think about her? Do you praise her?” A genuine Christian woman does not do what she does for praise. She doesn’t do it so you acknowledge her, BUT like water in a dry desert, your praise falls on her parched soul. Being a homemaker is a humble task. People make fun of her, people think she doesn’t ‘do’ anything. She needs a champion. And that champion is you.

The compliments said to her are lovely. Even the ones that don’t seem like compliments but show her efforts are noticed. One day his comment that he likes that I exercise because it means I value my health, and being able to be at my best to take care of our precious treasures mean a lot. He has always been open that weight and size don’t matter. But exercise means I value my body temple. And he values it too.

I get so shy but pleased when I hear from his colleagues, “Husband has said so much about you.” or “I can’t wait to meet you, when can we have dinner? We’ll take you out. We’ve heard so much about you that we just have to spend time with you.” It means a lot. It means a lot to know that he shows pictures of what I’ve sewn to other people. It means he recognises the time spent, the money saved and the care taken. When he’s standing preaching and he comments, “My spiritual wife…” or tells them, “She’s the most beatiful woman I’ve ever known” it makes my heart leap then I want to go away and hide because I hardly feel spiritual nor beautiful and he’s setting me up to fail when they meet me in the flesh.

That’s what your wife needs. She needs to know that she’s appreciated, her efforts noted. She needs to know she’s not useless, but totally needed by you. She needs to know her work means something, for in the world’s eyes, it almost means nothing.

It shows her that you love her. You love her for who she was when you met, and you continue to love her now for who she has become. She knows she is valued, appreciated and wanted. She might never actually realise it, but when those words drop effortlessly from your lips to OTHERS, not only to her, then she knows she is your crown, your queen, your glory.

Wouldn’t that add to her happiness as she journeys along with you?

Monday, November 23, 2015

I Wrote to Her Birth Mother


No week goes by when I don’t think of our girl’s birth mother. I’ve decided that when we go get her new birth certificate and name and surname change done, that we’ll keep her first name and make it her third name now. After all, I had wanted the Sotho translation of the name but dear husband and that DJ who I still don’t know…

So anyway, I was so happy to know that birth mother was interested in knowing how our girl is doing. I wasn’t sure if she does get in touch to read the updates I send or not , so asked our social worker who tracked down her social worker and let me know that she’s definitely wanting to know. Made my day. And it made even easier to type up yet another update.

I told her about her 4 teeth and how she’s bitten her daddy and I. I told her how she has certain likes and preferences…I told her about how she gets onto her tiptoes and digs around the top compartments of her cot instead of sleeping and plays with wipes…I told her  about how my husband always mentions ‘our’ girl at the various churches he preaches at. I know that will mean something to her because one of the things that really made her go ‘wow’ was my husband telling her and the birth father that once we knew ‘our’ girl was coming home, he was bereft. He wanted his girl and he felt awful going to go preach at some church without his girl with him. As I said before, he lamented to me, “ But how can I go preach as if everything is ok? It feels like my girl is missing, lost…”

That feeling -for me- has arrived. For our son. I miss him. Don’t even know him. Nor of him. But I know he’s coming. And as I write to our girl’s birth mother, I wonder… “Will our son have been abandoned somewhere, or will his mother have made an adoption plan? Will she want to meet us, or would she rather not? How old is she? Will we meet his father? Will his birth mother want updates, or would she not deal with reminders of her son’s presence? Would it be too painful?”

What I do know is this. In the same way I (told our girl’s birth mother that I) love ‘our’ girl, I will love ‘our’ son-the son we’ll share with his first parents. I will love him as fiercely as I love our girl. As fiercely as I love my big two children.

I never knew I’d be telling someone that I love ‘our’ girl. How weird adoption is. Bittersweet.

Foto Fun From Facebook

I shared this last week just for fun. Our girl is a great fitness coach, that’s all I’ll say about her shenanigans!