Tuesday, May 6, 2014

How are you?

Hello friends

I am trying something new today :-) I am blogging from my phone! I have been feeling so bad about promising to be a better blogger and then just not getting to it :-( one of the problems has been the slow connectivity of our network and the other the fact that I am now house mom to 17 little bodies which for some or other reason keeps me tied up ALL the time ;-)

So that worked for all of a few minutes until I realized I cannot get my photos to the right size for using here! So I will type first then load the pictures from my laptop and hopefully there will still be a blogpost to read at the end of the day!

Mom left for the family meetings in Germany and Denmark last Thursday, she was delayed by 3 days in getting away because the German embassy had some issues doing the visa for Paul. Anyhow they finally got away and I hear they are having a fabulous time.

Things are just awful for us financially at the moment. The department subsidy was late and the national lottery has not yet released the second half of what they promised us so we are once again behind on our payments and losing sleep and hair about things like school fees and petrol. Ugh! I know I am a goose most of the time :-) I just wish I could produce those famous golden eggs!! LOL

Our beloved Bernard, TLC's faithful groundsman has retired after 15 years of service to us. In a very moving Farewell message, Joshua (now 21) related some of his favorite and enduring moments with 'Malome' (which means 'Uncle' in Zulu). He told of the moulding Bernard did on his character and how in so many ways Bernard was the father he looked to. His message had us all fighting the tears.

The winter has officially arrived in Johannesburg and things are feeling pretty chilly, especially around the early mornings and evenings. Our winter corn has been harvested and we are husking the corn off the cobs and making feed for the chickens and cows.
We also planted the new winter grazing in two paddocks so we are eager to see how this works out for the cows and how it benefits the reduction of  our feed bill.

Rhys' chicken project has now got a dedicated buyer and things are working very well in this regard. TLC gets chicken and beef from its farm and the new mainhouse gets all its milk, eggs and butter needs from these efforts.

One new way we are trying to bring a little money in is by selling off all our extra items that have been donated in the idea of a 'charity stall' at the local flea market. We have only done this twice so far and have a few ideas of how to increase our profits so if anyone has done a seasonal clean out of cupboards or storerooms please send the things our way - we can definitely see a way to help us out of this money mess by doing this.

Our full nursery of babies are growing up and eating so much good now! We seem to be forever peeling, chopping, steaming and pureeing trays of vegetables. If anybody comes to visit perhaps pop a bag of gems, squash or apples in your boot for us ;-)

Here is a Sunny picture of the children on our amazing new Jungle Gym donated to us by the Noyen-Melendez family. The children spend hours on it everyday and it has helped spread the noise out a little further from the mainhouse which is nice for everybody too :-)

And then just for a laugh here is one reminder of how life goes with a house full of teenagers.

Every now and then I find an awesome picture on our Family Group on WhatsApp. The kids are so creative and so VAIN I can't help but laugh.

Here is one example:

I Love you all

Monday, March 24, 2014

Some Hi's, Lows and Highs!

Hello Friends!

It has been so very long since I have felt able to write anything substantial on this Blog. As many of you know I have been slowly healing after an episode of burnout and depression that consumed me at the end of 2012. Thankfully between you and my family, I have a terrific support structure and I was so grateful to feel safe enough to use it all of last year.

Kieran's death in October set me back a bit as it did all of us, it truly threatened to sink many of us here at TLC but God is constantly reminding us of His love and His faithfulness through all our hurt. We all still grieve in waves that come and go with old memories and new ones that cannot include him.

At the Funeral

In his favourite jacket
The end of the year was dominated by the sense of loss and of how "wrong" everything felt without him. We did our best to continue with the usual Christmas festivities but it was really difficult and the Mainhouse children battled terribly with the idea of being festive at all. We did our usual distribution of toys and sweets to the children in the local informal settlements and then we had a Christmas lunch for the families and volunteers together in the Mainhouse, which turned out to be a lovely, low key event and just what everyone needed.

One of the highlights from Christmas was the donation of the Berg Go-Karts courtesy of the TLC Germany families. The kids just love these and they are so versatile and hardy that everyone gets to enjoy them.

The school year only began in mid January but I was quite glad because it takes a heap of work to get all the children the right sized uniforms, shoes, socks etc and then each school has its own stationery requirements so there are lists and piles of stationery lying everywhere for a week or so. Then this year one of the schools changed their curriculum at the last minute and to this day I am still waiting for some of the textbooks to be available for purchase! Anyway that is all part of the start of school fun :-)

Jerome and Sibu started 1st Grade this year
The undoubted highlight of our first quarter was the marriage of Faith to her Prince Charming, Lionel Abrahams. What a magical day we had! Words cannot do justice to the millions of magical moments during the day so here are some pictures Joanna took throughout the event. Enjoy :-)
The Blushing Groom
The Blushing Bride
 (to her delight, our dad made a special trip out from the UK to walk her down the aisle)

The Wedding Mass was held at Our Lady of Ceder's, Mulbarton Maronite Church.

The Jarvis and Abrahams families unite

Lionel has one sister, Renee and his parents are Carien and Dane.

They chose a Red Velvet Wedding Cake with Creamed Cheese
dressing and a Mixed Berry topping!
 It was Delicious!

My Little Beth also thought the cake was DELICIOUS and hijacked a piece of cake too :-)

 We had a beautiful reception at Misty River, the B&B near to TLC and the weather was so perfect everyone commented because it was preceded by two full weeks of unusually heavy rainfall!

We partied hard :-) These two crashed right under the sound system speaker they were so pooped!
Luckily we weren't far from home so getting everyone to bed did not take too long :-)

As we speak the happy couple are Honeymooning along the South African coastline. We all wish them every blessing and can't wait to have them back home.

I'm going to end this installment here but I have a lot more to say so I will continue with a fresh one soon. The farm has had many developments and there are, as always, lots of other things going on around here like a VERY full nursery, Zoe back at Varsity and Viv in a new office! I promise I will fill you in soon.

I love you all