29 January 2009

Making Memories

The day our little girl was born, was one of the most joyful and thankful days of our life. Our firstborn was a boy and now… a little girl.

A Girl to dress in pink, a girl to play dolls with, a girl with whom I could have tea and cake when she grew up, a girl to plan a wedding for one day, a girl who would become my best friend. She was my second baby and with the optimism of a young mother, I believed I was prepared for all the changes and challenges a new baby could bring to the house. I was confident and looked forward to taking my newborn baby home.

After two days at home, I realized that she was crying far more than I could remember my first born ever doing. She would start complaining with her little voice at eight and nothing could stop the increasing pitch of her cries.

When she was 5weeks old, CJ turned three years. I remember decorating the living room for his birthday party, the night before his birthday, with a screaming baby. That night I had to admit to myself, my little girl, was a colic baby! It was a terribly, fearful moment in my life. My sister was a colic baby. I was 5years old when she was born and I could clearly remember the effect my sister’s cries had on my mother. Would I be able to handle this baby?

Many days I just could not take it any longer. I would call the babysitter or a neighbour and just leave her for an hour or so to go and sit on a bench in the park, sobbing in hopelessness. What had happened to my expectations for this little girl? I thought that I must have been doing something wrong, as she did not want me. That was my main concern that she didn’t want me…

Over the following months she developed eczema. At 6 months her body was as raw and red as liver and pus came oozed out of her skin.

I visited a homeopath who immediately told me she was allergic to dairy and MSG. These ‘toxins" entered her body through my breastmilk. That whole idea was foreign to me. I was a qualified Dietician and never had anyone ever taught me that the mother had to watch her diet when she breastfed. Only chocolate and coffee could reach the baby through the breastmilk. I immediately stopped drinking milk and eating cheese, ice cream, cream and all processed foods loaded with MSG. As time went by, we also learnt that I had to avoid wheat products. Read more...

Gradually my baby’s condition improved, but the scars were there. The damage was done. I remember looking at my sweet little baby, that didn't cry any more from seven in the morning till seven at night, wishing I could just turn back time and prevent her from crying so much in those early days.

As time passed by, this sweet little baby became a toddler and a beautiful little girl, but I was so startled by those first few months, that real bonding didn’t take place.

For years I cried out to the Lord, to please restore our relationship, to please wipe out the memories of those first few months! My husband prayed for years, for the restoration of our relationship. And then just before her ninth birthday, it hit me. We had to start doing something together, just the two of us. We needed to spend time together building new memories.

She was now the most beautiful young girl and she wanted to please me with everything she did. It was my greatest desire to love this girl with all my heart. But what could we do, and how were we going to do it with three smaller children and baby number six on the way? One afternoon, while driving home from a mall, pondering on what I could buy her for her ninth birthday, I saw a big advertisement on scrapbooking. I didn’t have an idea what it was, but the advert said, 'The Newest Hobby'! I love to be creative and decided to stop at this “Scrapbook Shop”. And there my journey with my little girl changed and years of prayer were answered. The lady at the Scrapbook Shop was so friendly and helpful and on my girl's 9th birthday we gave her some scrapbooking tools. I also arranged for the two of us to take an introductory course on scrapbooking. So, off we went. Today, almost 3years since we started scrapbooking once a week for 2 hours, we have made the most beautiful pages filled with memories.

But more importantly, we started building new memories by sharing this precious time together. Many nights we would start scrapbooking and by the end of the night she would have shared her dreams and hopes with me. We’re now best friends!

I have realized how important it is to let every child know, that we want to spend time with them, that we want to be with them, that we don’t just love them, we also like them. They must experience that they are special.

They are God’s gift to us.
Through our scrapbooking evenings, I’ve sacrificed time, to be with her. The time I’ve invested in these evenings, will reap a harvest that I can’t comprehend now. In the very near future she’s going to be a young woman, and I want to be the one that she trusts with her dreams and fears. I believe these Scrapbooking evenings are going to be the key to her dreams and fears.
I once read:
“Love is to gently run your hands over someone’s soul, till you find a crack, and then fill that crack with your love, for it to heal.”

Through our Scrapbooking evenings I am able to keep my hand on her heart, ready to fill it with love, whenever she needs it.

I do not miss my Monday nights of scrapbooking with my daughter for anything in the world!

22 January 2009

Well done, good and faithful servant

The tiredness is starting to build up. The days are packed with activities. CJ is now working separately from Heidi-Mari and Josua. And since the beginning of this year we are actively busy with the little ones too. Danika, Andrew and David are doing their studies through Lapbooking. Daniel is starting to sleep less at night - all my babies' sleeping patterns change when they turn 6months. Their normal once a night feed turns into 4-5 times a night. That doesn't make it easy on Mom's emotions!

Today we planned to wrap up CJ's Poetry Mini Book for LLATL, and he wanted me to check it before putting the final product together. Heidi-Mari and Josua haven't had a Konos fun day since the year started and we put today aside for that.

We planned to do Danika, Andrew and David's colour lapbooking this afternoon and hoped they would be able to play in the sandpit while we are busy in the morning.

Daniel is currently in the pattern of sleeping at least 90min in the mornings and we counted on that to make the morning a success.

Everything went according to plan. We took Andrew and David to the sandpit with aeroplanes, cars and animals to play with. Then I went to put Daniel to sleep while CJ, Heidi-Mari and Josua prepared for their activities.

While I was putting Daniel to sleep I remembered that Christo and the boys were going camping this weekend and I still had to do some laundry before then. I realised this could potentially interrupt the well planned morning. I can so easily get distracted by activities, and then struggle to focus again!

As soon as Daniel was asleep, I grabbed the laundry basket, to discover with shock that there were at least 3 bundles of laundry! I would just start doing it inbetween the fun. I quickly peeked in at CJ and gave him some suggestions and praise. Now we could start with the fun. Heidi-Mari and Josua are doing the Muscular System (of the Human Body) and today we're going to make faces and draw pictures illustrating which muscles do the work. For that I got the camera ready to take some pictures.

Danika was drawing next to us and we had a good laugh at all the silly faces Josua could pull.

Then reality struck.....

Andrew and David started fighting about the same aeroplane, the orange one! I ran outside to sort it out, and as I ran past the scullery remembered the laundry. I quickly popped in the second bundle and decided we would put the first bundle on the line when we took a break. Before I could reach Heidi-Mari and Josua (they were waiting for me to help them trace the outline of a face so they could draw the muscles), I heard Danika crying. She had tripped over something and hurt her knee. I quickly stopped by and gave the necessary tender, loving, care. Back to Heidi-Mari and Josua, only to hear Heidi-Mari announce Daniel was awake.

This is where I realised it is down-hill for the day. The morning was too short - as usual. It was almost 12 o'clock and there was so much more fun to do. But the little ones needed lunch by 12h30 to keep their blood sugar levels normal, and this afternoon was Christo and my coffee date. In the next hour, we had to wrap up the Konos fun, had to prepare lunch, I had to get dressed, Daniel had to be breastfed and needed a dry nappy and clean clothes. I also realised there was still one bundle of laundry to be done and it was the bundle with CJ's horse riding pants, which he need by 16h00 this afternoon. I wasn't even sure if there would be enough time for it to dry on the line. On top of it the little ones were by now starting to get cranky. David had a dirty nappy (only I am allowed - or have the stomach - to change a dirty nappy). Time was running out, and it felt like I was spinning out of control. A feeling I'm used to in situations like this, knowing that I alone am not enough for all this.

By 13h10 Daniel and I jumped into the car. The babysitter had arrived on time (thank you Lord!), everyone had lunch (except me - no time) but Daniel's tummy was full and his bum was dry. I was exhausted and fled defeated. How many days would end like this? I have all the expectations of a great fun day and at the end the little foxes like sibling quarrels, crying toddlers and injuries take up our time and we have to settle for 'trying again tomorrow'.
For a moment I allowed myself to lean back and try to figure out what had happened the last 3 hours. I actually cried out to the Lord. Adrenaline was pumping through my veins and I felt like hyperventilating. Lord help me!! I don't now how to do this. Was this really going to be the pattern of my days ahead? What am I doing wrong? (I'm not a very organised person - could that be the reason?) For a split second I questioned my motives for homeschooling my 7 children. Was it all worth it? Are my children actually benefitting from this .... chaos?

And then I heard the soft voice of the Lord in my spirit: "My daughter you are in My perfect will. This is the reason I created you, you are doing it for Me. You bring Me glory through receiving all the children I wanted to give you and raising them up in My ways. Right now you don't have the full picture. You will only have the full picture in Eternity. Then I will show you what I have accomplished through you and your children for Myself and My glory. This is not about you, it is about the purpose I have for you and my children.

Take courage, my daughter, I will reward you One Day. Keep on keeping on. I do know the sacrifices you are making in raising a Godly generation. I do know your tiredness and frustrations, but this is a very special time of your life. This is My calling for your life. Be faithful and in due time you will reap the fruit of your obedience."

I could feel His peace settling in my heart. I could look back at the morning and have hope and joy in my heart. This is worth it. I could remember the pride in CJ's posture when he showed me his Poetry Minibook, I could remember Heidi-Mari's remark, 'the Muscle system is such fun Mom', I could remember Josua's shyish laugh when he saw the pictures of his silly faces,

I could remember my two toddler boys' laughs of joy in the wet sandpit;

I could remember Danika's thankfulness after I'd kissed her injured knee, I could remember little Daniel's sleepy face against my breast.

I don't want anything different in my life. This is the precious time. I will keep on keeping on.

Tomorrow I will start again, love my children, train my children and have fun.

I will also take every challenge that comes my way, for one day in Eternity I will bow before my Lord and hear the words: Well done, good and faithful servant, Enter into the joy of your lord.’ (Matt 25:23)

15 January 2009

Remembering the 'Lasts'

Have you noticed how quickly babies grow? Here is my tiny little newborn baby

(Daniel 1st of August 2008)

and five and a half months later he said the powerful words: “ma-ma-ma-ma!”

(Daniel 14 Jan. 2009)

Aren’t those the most beautiful words? It is the 7th time I am hearing it and still it is like heavenly music to my ears. I cannot help stopping everything, to just enjoy the sound of it. Before long he will start crawling,

(Brother CJ start crawling Aug. 1995)

then he will try out his first steps

(Brother CJ start walking 1995 Nov. 1995)

and in the blink of an eye he will be a young man.

(brother CJ Dec. 2008)

Yesterday was Daniel’s first “ma-ma”.

We all jot it down, or as in my case, make a mental note - the “firsts”.

The first time you hold your tiny little baby in your arms;

(Daniel 2 hours old Aug 2008)

the first cry; the first time you look him in the eye; the first smile; the first tooth;

(Sister Heidi-Mari Oct. 2003)

the first step; the first time he wrote his name; the first musical instrument exam; and the list goes on and on.

But do we remember the ‘lasts”?
The last time you could sing him to sleep in your arms; the last time you fed him on your breast; the last time you could read him a story on your lap;

(Mommy and brother Josua Aug 2004)

the last time you changed his nappy; the last time he cried out because he was afraid of the thunderstorm; the last time you were allowed to dress him; the last time you could give him a kiss, without him giving you a shy smile… Some of these baby- and childrearing chores are time consuming and tiring, but what a special time it is.

The other day a young, exhausted mother wrote me a letter. Her baby was almost one year old, and they were going through a tough time. Baby resisted going to bed at night, tried to stay up as long as possible, woke every 3hours for feeds. During the day only Mommy was good enough to fulfill baby’s needs and everything in the house come to a standstill. She cried out desperately for help.

I believe the battle against resenting your baby is won in your heart’s attitude. It is won by embracing motherhood and remembering how quickly your baby will pass this stage. It never lasts forever. Ask me, I have 7, and I believe that this is the reason why I enjoy every baby more and more.

It is such a short period of time that your baby is dependent on you alone. My firstborn is now 14 years old and I long for just one more opportunity to crawl up behind him, rubbing his back, holding his puffy, little hand - I long for the time he was dependent on me for life. He has grown up so quickly and is now starting to spread his wings.
Please enjoy every moment of your baby/toddler. This is the most precious time of your life.

A wise woman once wrote to me reminding me, ‘these are the never years'. Never enough money, never enough time, never enough sleep – but always enough love. The sweetest kiss of a baby; the toothpaste-flavoured kiss of a child on his way to bed; the sleepy kiss of a husband who is just as tired as you.

These are the busy years, the wonderful, hectic, impossible years. Soon the children will be grown and I’ll have plenty of time to organise my house, to sew and to cultivate outside interests. I wonder if it will be as wonderful as I sometimes dream it will? Or am I in the middle of the wonderful years… right now?

(Brother David kissing Mommy)

12 January 2009

Meet the Lues Family

We are currently a family of 9 members. Daddy - Christo, Mommy - Linnie and 7 beautiful, blessings from the Lord - CJ, Heidi-Mari, Josua, Danika, Andrew, David and Daniel.

On the 30th of March 1991, Christo received a "good thing" and I became his Helper. Prov. 18:22 says, "Whoso findith a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord"

It is my heart's desire to be my husband's delight and please him in every aspect of my life.
This year it will be 18 years that I am learning how I can help my husband in every possible way and honor God by becoming a real help meet to my husband. Prov. 12:4 says, "A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband"

CJ is our first born son. He is 14years old and is becoming a young man. A young man that I am proud to call my son and a testimony of the grace of God on parents who are still learning how to train up a child in the ways of the Lord. CJ has been home schooled from his 1st grade and he loves horses.

The day Heidi-Mari was born, I rejoiced in the Lord for giving me a baby girl! Heidi means 'blessing', and that is exactly what this girl of mine is. Heidi-Mari is now 11years old and her mothers right hand in taking care of the little ones and preparing meals for the family. Heidi-Mari absolutely loves ballet and takes ballet classes twice a week.

After Heidi-Mari, we thought our family was complete. (We didn't have any knowledge of God's heart for children.) But I had this deep longing for another baby. I fasted for 40 days in prayer, to seek God's face concerning another baby - before the 40 days were over I was pregnant with Josua. What a joy this baby was in my life!! Josua is now 8 years old and a very special child with a very high calling on his life. He has a very curious mind and loves to visit with his Dad in the Healthshop. I can't wait to see what God is going to do through this bright boy of mine.

During my "unplanned" pregnancy with Danika the Lord started to reveal to us His Heart for children. Praise the Lord for this beautiful little girl! Danika is now 5years old and is walking in the footsteps of her big sister. She can't wait to go to ballet every week and had her 1st ballet concert last year. This morning se changed her baby brothers nappy for the first time, and was so proud. Her biggest wish: to be a mommy!

Andrew was our 1st child after we surrendered my womb to the Lord. Andrew is a Mighty Warrier for the Lord and he is already walking in that calling, although only 3years old. Isn't it precious to see our children blossom in personality and character for the Lord. Andrew is my most obedient child and the Lord is going to do great things through this big giant with the tender heart.

David was born 16 months after Andrew. He has the sweet spirit of David in him. He is also the clown in the house, can make anyone laugh and his eldest brother absolutely adores him. He just wants to be like his big brother, and wants to ride horses. David's 2years is an example of life in abundance!
When I was pregnant with Daniel, we believed I was carrying a girl. What a surprise when this baby boy popped out. He was even wrapped in a pink blanket the 1st hour of his life, until his big sister got out the green blanket. Daniel was our 4th waterbirth baby at home.

I am addicted to babies and Daniel is just a confirmation. Every minute with this baby in my arms is pure joy. He is now 5months old and adorable. There is never a moment that a brother or sister isn't available to entertain this sweet baby.
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