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