29 March 2009

Eighteen Joyful Years!

In the beginning of January 1987, I had just finished school and was very excited about the new season I was about to enter. During this time, my aunt wanted to introduce me to a young man, who was a part time magician, in the entertainment business with her husband, a comedian. I thought it a good idea, but when she wanted to arrange dinner for us at her place, he wasn't interested. Around the same time my aunt's husband went to hospital for a minor operation and my dad paid him a visit. The same time my dad visited my uncle, the young magician, also came to visit. The next day he called my aunt, and said he had met my dad and wanted to meet me. She arranged the 'blind date' the next week. Within weeks we knew we were going to marry, but it was during the time when feminism was spreading like a wildfire and my mother believed a girl should get the best education possible, to prove her value.

My mother was very strong and my dad didn't really oppose her. But, almost 3 years later, December 1989, two months before my 21st birthday, my dad agreed to our engagement. 15 months later, on the 30th of March 1991, I became Mrs. Christo Lues - my biggest dream come true!

Today, it is exactly 18 years ago! Wow! I can still remember waking up early that morning, knowing this was my wedding day! On this day I was going to marry the most handsome guy I knew. He had chosen me from many other young women, to be his wife.
It still feels like yesterday that I walked down the aisle, on the arm of my father, seeing my bridegroom and beloved, waiting in front of the altar. It was a beautiful wedding, everything exactly the way I wanted it to be.

During these 18 years our marriage has had its ups and downs. I had a steady, calm, content dad and a very strong, feministic mother. Thus I did not grow up with much of an example for a godly marriage. But, we both knew the Lord from childhood and by the grace of God we were still virgins when we got married. This taken in account we had dated for 4years! I do believe this is what kept us together during those difficult years.

We both have very teachable spirits. The Lord Himself had taught us His way for marriage, parenting, children, homeschooling, medicine and discipleship. Every time we stumbled onto His truth, we repented and made the necessary changes.

We have had 3 miscarriages, teaching us the value of life. We joined Walk Thru the Bible and went through every one of Dr. Bruce Wilkinson’s teachings. I stopped my medical profession to become a full time mother when our eldest was only a few months old.

After six years of marriage and being fully into the rat race of success, we cut up all our credit cards and got rid of every penny of debt – not without major tribulation! We stopped using modern medicine and totally turned to natural medicine (due to the severe illness of our eldest boy when he was 15months old and the colic of our baby girl). In 2004 (having 4 children) we surrendered my womb to the Lord, and asked Him to bless my womb and give us all the children He wanted to bless us with. Shortly after that we learned about Above Rubies and Colin and Nancy Campbell’s life changing material.

I also received the book, Created to be His Helpmeet, through the daughter of a very special friend (she was only 19 years old and not even married yet), a year after the birth of our 6th baby, when I went through a bad patch in my personal life, which had a negative effect on our marriage. All these ministries and experiences have enriched our marriage tremendously.

Today I know much more about being a submissive wife, created to be a helpmeet to my husband. He needs me to become everything God intends him to be.
Today I know my husband loves me and looks after me, like his own body, and I praise the Lord for that.
Today I am the blessed mother of 7 beautiful children, who give me the opportunity to grow in faith, love, holiness and self-control.”

Therefore today:
I want to thank the Lord for being our eyes, when we couldn't see.
I want to thank the Lord for keeping us and teaching us through every hardship and tribulation.
I want to thank the Lord for His grace, forgiveness and love during times of foolishness.
I want to thank the Lord for people through whom He could teach us to glorify Him in everything we do.
I want to thank the Lord for my loving husband, who works hard to protect and provide for me and our children.

I want to thank the Lord for the precious children He has given us so far.
I want to thank the Lord for the gift of life, and that in abundance!

Looking back over 18 years, I rejoice in the Lord!!

26 March 2009

Pyjamas for the Girls!

Six years ago I had to make a ballet costume for Heidi's first ballet concert. I hadn't made clothes for years and it was quite a challenge. Since then I have had to make another four costumes for two more concerts and have now come to enjoy the challenge.

Not only does Heidi-Mari like ballet and ballet costumes, she also likes pretty, feminine dresses. Since you only get hipsters and skirts and no dresses in the shops, I had to learn how to make dresses. Last year I did a few basic dressmaking courses and started experimenting with different textures, styles and patterns.

Once a year I visit sewingpatterns on the internet, preferably when they have an end of season sale, and order my patterns directly from them. This year I decided to try to make some pyjamas and doll clothes for Danika’s dolls.

As soon as I received the patterns from overseas, I couldn’t wait to start cutting the fabric. But I had to restrain myself during the week and work only on weekends. Since I have really come to enjoy making clothes, it was very difficult.

Last week I finished Heidi-Mari's pyjamas! Just in time for her visit with Daddy to Durban. I also made for Danika. Look how beautiful my two girls look in their pyjamas.

Unfortunately, it seems like autumn is knocking at the door. I will need to start with winter pyjamas, very soon!

18 March 2009

Growing into Motherhood

Do our babies grow from newborn to 1 year old in a few days? Do our toddlers grow from their difficult 2 years old to a much more moderate temperament at 4 years in a few weeks? Do our teenagers grow from the difficult ‘who am I?’ at 13 years old to a confident 17 year old in months?

Unfortunately, NOT. To pass all these different milestones takes time, training, diligence and patience, both for child and parent.

Why then are we as mothers so hard on ourselves?

This morning while brushing my teeth (!) the Lord very softly spoke to my soul. You see, the last few nights were really tough with my baby and two toddlers. I didn’t get much sleep. As a result, this morning I just couldn’t be all smiles and good cheer. I even messed up by being impatient with the little ones at the breakfast table. I also wasn’t an encouraging, loving wife to my husband. I really felt like a total failure, hopeless and tired.

While I was brushing my teeth, the Lord smiled down on me, and showed me the above picture of my children growing slowly into maturity. The same time He showed me, I am growing into maturity. I could sense He wanted me to look back on my life as a mother and realize how much I had grown over the past 15 years. He didn’t want me to feel like a failure. He wanted me to walk out of that bathroom with hope, knowing He is working in me. He wanted me to rest in Phil 1:6 “6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you (me) will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;”

I will stop being so impatient with myself and my growth in the Lord. I will walk in His hope and unconditional love!

15 March 2009

LLATL Lapbook

Heidi-Mari started this year with the LLATL red book in English (her second language). To make it interesting and stimulate her creativity, we've decided to do all the phonics-, spelling-, grammar- and story telling assignments in a lapbook.

Here are the first 4 lessons, that forms the first part of the year's curriculum:

With the first fold she illustrated phonics, grammar, blending words and putting the sentences of a story in the right sequence

Paging to the second fold:

Here are guides for spelling, sentence- and story making:

On the last fold are some fun assignments: Illustrating her family tree, putting words in alphabetical order, making a calender, the days of the week and months of the year.

Heidi-Mari really enjoyed completing this lapbook. I think it is a real fun way of learning language.

10 March 2009

Above Rubies weekend

This weekend we packed 3 500 Above Rubies magazines to send out to 475 readers throughout South Africa and neighbouring countries. We even rearranged the furniture in the house to have enough space. Christo is very good at organizing a production line and here we are:

Heidi-Mari put the address labels on the envelopes. Josua stuck on the stamps. Christo, Danika and CJ put (1000’s!!) of small tiny stickers at the bottom of page 25 of every one of 4 000 magazines.

Here you can see the piles of Above Rubies ready to be put into the envelopes.

After the magazines have been put into the envelopes, I (with Daniel in the Ergo on my back) update each individual subscriber’s record on the computer. Each Above Rubies Reader has her own address card containing information about everything posted to her since the date of her subscription.
While at the address card, I check on previous information I may have received – maybe a new baby on the way, a baby that is now due, prayer requests or any other news the reader had e-mailed me. I love to know more about each Above Rubies family and value their calls and e-mails very much.

We started on Saturday morning and by Sunday night all the Above Rubies magazines were in envelopes or boxes. Unfortunately we couldn’t send out all at once, since our local post office had only 150 stamps available and we needed 500. We are still waiting for the other 350 stamps, and hope to send out the last envelopes by the end of the week.

05 March 2009

A Busy Weekend

On Sunday CJ took part in a Cross-country-show-jumping event in Stellenbosch. The Lord has really blessed us with two very special families that take CJ along with them, whenever they take part in a horse riding event. They don’t have boys, only young girls, and since CJ isn’t afraid of physical hard work, he is more than happy to take the place of a young man helping with the horses.

CJ has also been blessed to take care of a young woman’s horse and to ride her horse as often as he wishes.

About six months ago I began asking the Lord to provide a horse for my son to ride on whenever he wanted to, a horse he could build a relationship with and a horse he could use for show jumping. We could not afford to buy or stable a horse, so it could only be by the miraculous Hand of God that it could be possible. At the end of 2008 there was a young woman in her final year at university who stabled her horse, Silverball, at the horse riding school. Since she was writing her final exams, she didn’t have time to exercise her horse on a regular basis. After enquiring as to who she could trust to look after her horse while writing her exams, CJ was recommended.

CJ has a very sensitive spirit and he and Silverball immediately understood each other. Since then CJ is still riding her horse and both horse and rider have improved tremendously over the past 4 months.

When CJ learned about the event in Stellenbosch, he contacted Silverball’s owner and asked permission to take him to the event, to which she agreed.

On Sunday Christo dropped him off at the riding school at 06h00, so he could help load the horses in the horseboxes and transport them to Stellenbosch (no easy task!). We would follow shortly after. Unfortunately we left home a little late - to pack breakfast and snacks for 7 children is no small task!- and Christo had to push a little to make sure we didn't miss CJ’s first performance of the day. We have a custom to always pray for God’s protection, no matter where we go and how long the drive. This time we also asked God to help us to be on time. Wow! Did God answer our prayer. As we stopped, Christo heard Silverball and CJ’s name. He was about to start the first leg of the event – the show jumping. Typically me, being an extrovert AND a mother, I started running, with Daniel in the Ergo on my back. When I got within eye-sight of CJ, I started waving and shouting “We’re here, we’re here!” My poor boy, being an introvert and 14 years old, only slightly nodded at me. Praise the Lord, we made it.

And were we excited when CJ finished with a clear round! In 2008 CJ took part in two show jumping events, but since he did not own his own horse and had to lease an available horse from the horse riding school, he could not build a relationship with the horse, which resulted in a poor performance! Part of the reason for this clear round, must have been that he rode a horse that was used to him and him alone and the trust between horse and rider was clearly bearing fruit.
Next was the cross country event. They had to ride a 1 km course, going through water pools, jumping over hedges and up and down hills. My boy could not wait to do this and I was praying intensely for my son’s protection!! Again he did brilliantly and beamed with excitement and joy! He did two classes and both times he did excellently!

Even greater was the joy and praise when he finished 2nd in the one class and received a blue rosette. As you could imagine, he was the hero of the family!

I must interrupt myself for a moment. Nancy Campbell, Founder and Editor of Above Rubies, is my role model and mentor. Over the last four years, I have listened to almost all her teaching CD’s. One of them had a testimony on how she and her husband trusted the Lord to provide opportunities for their children in their talents and gifting, since they could not afford extramural classes. Her testimonies have built the basis for my prayers for my children; to trust the Lord to provide opportunities for each of my children in his or her calling.

This event was clear proof that God is trustworthy to provide for my children, where I, humanly speaking, cannot.

All the glory to our Lord, for keeping our boy safe in His Hands and blessing him with a great performance!

The other children, enjoying Sunday’s event. Josua was armed with his binoculars to keep a close eye on his big brother!

David fell asleep in the car, after all the excitement!
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