Monday, December 26, 2011

December 24th continued ...

Fr Christmas always drops off  one present for each child on Christmas Eve.

The children are always super delighted and have so much fun getting into the Christmas spirit.

After all the excitement died down, the cookies and carrots were put out for Santa, and the children went to sleep. It was time for the magic to begin.

Santa set up all the gifts around the living room. The children were so blessed. Each of them received a pile of gifts. By midnight all was peaceful!

Things started off quietly as most of the little ones were a little taken aback at the idea that all the gifts in their pile were actually "THEIRS".

BUT they soon got into swing of things and it didn't take long before the lounge was carpeted in gift wrapping and toy packaging :-)

Mbali was delighted with her giant hippo and it accompanied her all throughout the day

In the late morning we were joined by the Mainhouse kids (seen here receiving the gift vouchers brought by our generous friends). We had organised to have a braai which is something we haven't done for ages due to the high cost of meat nowadays.

We all had fun, there were smiles all round and the New Farm became a family retreat for the day.

It was the first time in over 2 years that we have been "just the family" and everyone felt the difference.

 Many of you will remember, Nadia was our first victim of the chicken pox and unbelievably our poor little Warren woke up Christmas morning covered in spots but as you can see he didn't let that dampen his Christmas spirit.

We were able to use the time to reconnect,

Play some ball
Have some farm fun
And  best of all
just put our feet up for a little bit!

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our friends for their  support this year. Without you we would not be here, we have watched countless homes closing down under the strain this year and we can but thank God for our worldwide body of friends who always remember us.

We love you all

Please bear with me!
I have been trying to post a blog about Christmas for the whole day but my connection is so slow, my pictures would not load and my kids are all in overdrive so I've been upping and downing all day!

In the end I decided I am going to try do it in a few parts because of the bad connection. So keep checking back 'til you have the whole story!

Friday 23rd!



We bought our tickets ... no small cost for 14 kiddies and 4 grown ups!                                                                   WE GOT TO THE ELLIES AND WE'RE WATCHING THEM SCRATCH AND SWAY WHEN ...


DARK ...







Friday, December 9, 2011

Hello Friends

Just a quickie.
On Sunday Mom and I were returning from a hospital visit to Joshua, who was hospitalised after a serious injury at a music concert. We stopped at a traffic light as we got off the highway and a man smashed the window on my side, grabbing the handbag from my lap and running off. In the struggle my right hand ring finger was snapped into two pieces and my left arm was cut by the brkon window glass.

I had an operation to insert two pins to help hold the finger together and was released from the hospital on Tuesday. I have a follow up operation in weeks.

I'm doing better but still a little groggy and more than just a little frustrated at having to use my left hand to do everything!

We still plan to move this coming Wednesday and Christmas still looms on the horizon despite having lost all my identfication cards, credit cards and cell phone! 

Thanks to all of you who found out via the grapevine and have sent little messages :-)

I will endevour to write again soon.

By the way we have TLC SA Christmas calenders for sale at R150each. One with  wildlife and one with TLC kids pictures. Drop us an email and we'll hold one for you :-)

We Love you all

Monday, November 28, 2011

Another Birthday, Blisters and Bonhomie

Hello Friends

Isn't she gorgeous! Even when things are difficult it is such a pleasure to share my life with these fabulous little people.

First and foremost may I apologise to those of you who recieved what appeared like SPAM from us! I'm afraid neither I nor my PA knew about the "BCC" protocol for group emails and so it arrived in many mailboxes looking decidedly suspicious!

The email was to encourage people to sign up to receive the new format TLC newsletter! Please sign up on the TLC website - the November News will be sent out on Wednesday :-) Remember to send me feedback as I am trying to learn and improve all the time!

The last little while has been exhausting! It has been another financially sickening month for us here, we are all working like crazy people trying to find money to pay for the silly things like bin bags and toilet paper! It's so ... yucky!

In between the stress of that we have had a birthday ...
Christian turned 6 on the 20th. He was treated to the usual breakfast in Mom's bed :-) And he recieved several little goodies in the post which he was thrilled about! Thank you to everyone who sent him something, it always makes them feel so special to get their very own post!

He was spoiled the whole day and then had his breath taken away when his Godmother Sonya arrived here with a brand new PUPPY! He has named her Star. She is 7 weeks old and will be our very own "family dog" on our new farm!

Add to that the arrival of 2 not so fabulous creatures! 
One was when Nadia picked up the Chicken Pox!
But nothing gets this little girl down! Despite the itches and the "owies" she was able to smile and only had one really sick day.

And then Mighty got a Conjunctival Infection that kept him off school for 4 days!

It is weeks like these that I really feel like the mother of 11 and I am counting the days along with my children to when we get to have more SPACE!

The Christmas season is upon us ... Uncle "Elf"red is ready for some Christmas present pick ups :-)

And the kiddies are SO READY FOR CHRISTMAS!!!

Here they are at a little Carols party held by a local youth group :-)

The Kirsty Watts Foundation set up a new playground for the Creepies and they just love it!

Please remember us this festive season! I know everyone is having a tough time but if you can spare a little to help us out we would be so very grateful. We should have a secure online credit and debit card facility added to our site in the next little while so look out for that :-) It will make donating a little easier!

Also I have had some beautiful feedback from our Adopt a Cot sponsors. Thank you for that. Remember you can become a sponsor by signing in on the Adopt a Cot Page on the website and I will send a monthly report on what's been going on in "your" cot.

Well that is most of the news for now, the rest is mostly boring stuff. Keep in touch and let us know what's happening in your life, it means the world to me to hear how you are all doing :-)

We love you all

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Are you living your heart song?

Hello Friends

It has been 2 weeks since my last post and a lot has been going on but I don't want to make this a V~E~R~Y long post so I'm going to condense the bits I think you won't mind too much about and then spend the rest of the time telling you about my trip to Kwazulu Natal with Similo and Nadia's parents!

So in brief:
The New Farm is coming along nicely. We are busy changing accounts from the old names to the new, putting in security fences, walls etc and trying to get to grips with all the "little bits" that will need doing when we move in. In this regard I am desperately on the hunt for beds and mattresses if anyone has a contact I need 8 minimum but 15 ideally!

TLC is being hassled by nightime visitors again - wanting to carry away anything not bolted down. The Christmas season is almost upon us and this is always the case around this time of year. It is such a pest! Luckily our guards have managed to foil them so far but the interrupted sleep for us is GRRR!!! We are still having to spend more money than comes in, despite every effort to reduce this we just cannot go without certain items, security, staff or petrol and so we walk by faith.

The Nursery roof has begun to leak very badly and we are ever so grateful for the donation from TLC UK towards getting it fixed! Our 31 babies are all doing well as are our volunteers.

Mainhouse kids are all in the midst of exams - the preparation time seems to be paying off so thank you all for your prayers!

The new website continues to get a lot of visitors and we ask you all URGENTLY to sign up if you want to recieve our newsletters! The new mailing software requires each recipient to OPT-IN and I cannot send you the Newsletter unless you have signed up!


This little bit goes to the title of this weeks post...
Every now and then God gives us an extra little gift ~ a special opportunity to do something amazing, something extraordinary and something so startlingly beautiful that you remember that your heart can sing!

Most of you will have read and maybe sensed that I had some anxiety and not a few reservations about being asked to drive Similo and Nadia's mother to her family home in Kwazulu Natal.
Most of my worry was that I had no idea where exactly I was going, what I would find when I got there or how we would be received.

So I set about making a plan :-)

First I got Alfred (our driver) to visit the parents in the hostel where they were living and enquire, very friendly like, whether or not they would be able to direct me properly if I drove them. When he came back to tell me we thought it best to get Bernard (our Groundsman) to go along when I went so that he could interpret and offer some "respectability" to the whole advernture :-)

Then I hired a car! Wohoo! I got to drive a brand new Toyota Fortuna 4x4! Heehee, THAT was an definate perk!

Then I went shopping! AND HERE GOD WAS SOOOOO GOOD! We have this rewards card at the PicknPay where we shop and it turns out I had not claimed the rewards for several months and I was able to use these to buy a PILE of groceries and toiletries for them and it didn't cost me anything! The rest of the story has pictures!!!

SO the stage was set. I roped Anne in to come along and share the experience, we fetched the folks, packed the car and set off to the general area of "Van Reenen".
Through the Natal Drakensburg

We got to Van Reenen in just a few hours and I was driving merrily along when Veronica (the mom) started gesturing wildly for us to take a little service road just of the  well known Van Reenen Pass, 1690m above sea level!

So I took a breath, thinking this was where the 4x4 was going to come in handy, only to find that in the 6 years since she was last home the road had been beautifully graded and maintained and it was a smooth trip along an incredible view to the place she calls H~O~M~E!.
The view from Van Reenen's pass service road!

The whole world seemed at peace up here and Veronica could not keep her face from smiling the broadest smile ever! We drove a little way listening to her breathing catch ever so slightly and then she pointed right and indicated for us to stop.

This is what we found

Her Aunty Kethiwe, looking confusedly up the hill at this huge white car with it's multi coloured occupants. It only took a few seconds and then she started waving fiercely and weeping as she was overcome with the realisation of who had just arrived!

A sweet sweet rejoicing as aunty and niece were reunited.

We were welcomed in and seated as guests of honour. A mystery was solved for us in a few minutes as one thing we at TLC had always wondered about was Veronica's ability to use certain commonly accepted aspects of Sign Language. We thought perhaps after her stroke someone had taught her a little but then we met her Cousin Nathi ~ he is the same age as Veronica and they grew up together and he is mute. He attended the Catholic School for the Deaf in Ladismith and learned Sign Language there. Growing up he had communicated with Veronica in Sign and so it was natural for her to try communicate this way when she lost her speech.

I will not lie it was a bizarre experience for me to be surrounded by excitedly spoken Zulu and not understand a word and yet be able to communicate fluently to this young Zulu man who could barely make himself understood to the family around him. It was a strange strange experience and he was SO unbelievebly thrilled, he chatted and chatted about his life in the hills with the animals and his fear of snakes and ... and... and ... ~ I had to laugh at God's sense of humour really.

After the initial shock and excitement settled into general contentment we unloaded the car of it's gifts and this unleashed a whole new buzz of excitement and we were instructed to wait while Kethiwe called the neighbours to come and see this "miracle".

Turns out calling the neighbours only takes about 40min!
They live across the valley!
After a time, they joined us and we were invited to share tea with the headman ~ a great honour. They filled plates with the gifts I had meant for them and Bernard acted as our interpreter as we shared their joy and some sorrow as they filled Veronica in on all the news of the village and of the death of her Grandmother, Mother and another Aunt. All of strokes similar to the one she suffered during her last labour.

After a few hours we really had to leave and so we took a final photograph, neighbours and all and then we left them behind, waving us off with Blessings in the air.

On our journey home, we just knew that God was happy.
Look at the silver lining he presented us with as a parting gift!

I have had a lot of blessings in my life but I can tell you that THIS ONE left me feeling the same way I imagine I would feel had I got to hold God's hand for a day.

It truly made my heart sing!

God Bless You All

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

On the updraft!

Hello friends

For so long now, things have felt heavy and burdensome so it is with great joy and relief  I share with you that slowly, slowly things are settling down.
Last night's sunset :-)

After the blessing of the donation of the security wall, the new farm continues to be a beacon of hope and a future for us all at TLC. Rhys has completed planting the lucerne grass seeds that will be used for the winter to feed "our" herd of cattle. The rains have come and the fine green tint hesitates just above the rich dirt - funny how it can only be seen from afar and is not nearly as impressive right up close.

In honour of the legacy of the family that has lived there and been great custodians of the property I believe God always intended for us, we have called the farm "Albert's Rest". It is dedicated to the memory of the families second son, Albert, who passed away tragically and is remembered in various places on the farm. He will be our guardian angel I am sure.
A Donation of furniture! A couch and TV/book cabinet

A donation of pots, pans and miscellaneous kitchen items! Thank you Bidvest Foods!

As everyday ends I am a full day more grateful for the knowledge that we will have a real home soon :-) The kids are starting to really rub each other up the wrong way with each passing day and it will be so good to have S-P-A-C-E :-) We even have a company offering to decorate one of the rooms for us, so that is certain progress :-)
Ok, so maybe they don't mind the lack of space so much!

The new website is getting a LOT of visitors! Thank you to everyone who has forwarded the address to friends and family! Our Newsletter is almost ready to send out so make sure you have signed up for it on our homepage! And the Adopt a Cot program now has new members too who have pledged their R100 per month to help us keep those heads in beds :-)
It's her birthday on Friday! She will be 3!

On Thursday I am taking Similo and Nadia's family home to their family in Kwa-Zulu Natal. Thank you to the special friend who donated some money to help us buy them a few survival items :-) We are so grateful and I promise I will tell you all about THIS adventure for sure!

A little craziness is good for everyone!

Exams are looming for most of our kids and so everyone is a little highly strung but that is a good thing ~ I think, it means they are taking it seriously. We appreciate all your kind thoughts and prayers.

We Love you all

Monday, October 24, 2011

At Last ... It is LIVE

Hello Friends!!!

Great news so a very short post for now ...
The ALL NEW, beautiful and long awaited TLC website is now up!

Please take some time to help us by proof reading and looking for bits that aren't quite up to scratch :-) We appreciate your feedback and hope you are as impressed as we are with the fabulous work, Lauren Lopes has done for us ~ thank you to RICOH for all the support with this project too!

Feel free to email us your thoughts and comments and then ...
SPREAD THE WORD and let's get new people clicking into it ... just another way we are trying to keep heads in beds over here :-)

Oh, and if you are an adoptive family or a volunteer and would like to have your profile reflected feel free to send us a good picture and a write up that we can use, we'd be happy to add more profiles :-)

We Love You All

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Birthday, Blessings, Blimey and Bliss

Hello Friends,

Well it seems God is on a mission to remind me just how much He cares for us here at TLC and how much He approves of the direction we are doing with the farm.

But first things first!!! A BIG HUG AND THANK YOU to all of you who contributed to mom's birthday!

She was away for 5 days with Joanna to the Kruger National Park and so we took advantage of the time to do a mini-makeover on her bedroom and bathroom.
We were able to get rid of that disgusting mattress and replace it with a fabulous, new, firm one.

We had enough contributions to get new linen and a few spoily goodies for her too. I also managed to get a narrow shelf for her bathroom which means the things in buckets next to the bath could be packed neatly :-)

Then the Blessings!

We had a lovely visit by some friends on Saturday, they brought with them new linen for each of the mainhouse kids and a set for mom's new bed! They also were able to take a walk with me around the new farm and were very interested in the plans we are putting in place to bring the farm to a place where TLC doesn't have to worry about food everyday. We discussed the bits and pieces and I was able to show how essential it is to have Securing the premises be our first big project becuase without good security any further investment is likely to be plundered.

These wonderful and generous friends have agreed to finance the building of the perimeter wall!
The comfort this has brought me is indescribable.
The devil knows my weak points and the idea of moving into a place where my children may be in danger has had me sleepless for weeks.

 I have been struggling with anxiety for such a long time now and every week we here of a family, neighbour or local resident who has been attacked and murdered on near by properties. Just last Monday a family we know from church and who lives next door to the kids school was tortured and murdered out if spite. The young son of that family was in the same chatechism class as our boys, Carlton, Brett and Erin and it is a heck of a job to explain to the kids why these things happen!

SO it is truly a HUGE blessing to know that our perimeter will be secured and my little family will be safe! Thank you my friends.

There are other blessings too :-) We have 2 babies being adopted this week, we have had a big donation of dry goods, mielie meal and other bits and pieces which have kept the hunger at bay - thank you to St John's Preparatory, Rialto, Libstar and all our friends!

Now the "Blimey" part!!
SO for all my non-english speaking freinds :-) "Blimey" is from the British part of my heritage and it means "Yikes" or "Oh my!"
This part is because last Thursday I managed to get the foster care for Similo and Nadia finalised. And at the same time the Child Commissioner has asked me to transport the biological mother (who became disabled after a stroke) back to her rural village in Kwa-Zulu Natal. I am delighted to do this for her ofcourse as I know the life she leads now is a very, very hard one, it just surprised me that the comissioner sincerely cared enough for this mother to try and make a plan for her. So now I need to hire a 4x4 because otherwise we would have to park at the police station in the nearest town and cross the mountains on foot for 10 to 20km! Doing that with a lady who has compromised balance may take a great deal longer than would be safe.

I would like to make an appeal to those of you who can assist, I would like to buy some food, a plastic washing bowl and some blankets etc to help settle her in there best. She will be living with her grandmother and I do not want to make the burden bigger than it already will be.

Finally, the "Bliss" part :-)

For the most part we always feel that we are failing in someway, that we are not succeeding in achieving all our goals. And then ... we get a little boost that transports us to a place of bliss.

This week our Blissful moment came when Joshua was elected to be a school leader in 2012. It is a tremendous achievement and he has worked so hard to be recognised in this way. We are so proud and thrilled for him and with him!
Here are 2 pictures, one of him helping feed the animals with Amy and one of him at the beach where he went on holiday recently with some amazing friends :-)

I'm afraid that is all I have time for at the moment.
We Love you all