11 November 2009


I don't really know where to start telling about our recent vacation. I guess starting at the beginning ... and all the prayers we prayed for this vacation.

Since we have many children, the success of our vacation depends 90% on the weather. Any one who has children will agree that a vacation locked inside a wooden cottage, due to bad weather, is no fun!

Over the years it happened that we took our vacation between August and October. We don't need to plan our vacation around school holidays, therefore these months are 'out of season' and a little cheaper. When we started planning our vacation, 4 months ago, we were hesitant to go the same time as last year - the beginning of October. Although it was a great vacation, some of the days were rainy and others weren't warm enough to play in the waves and on the beach for long. On top of that, Christo's shop manager’s wife was expecting their first born during the first week of October, so we could definitely not leave the shop during the first 2 - 3 weeks, and we also had to take into account that babies don’t count all that well... So it happened that we booked our vacation for the end of October into the first week of November. I had no idea how the weather would be, but strongly sensed the Lord was asking me to trust Him. It was like He was telling me, He is planning the date of our vacation.

For the next 3 months at least one of the eight of us who could pray at the breakfast table, asked the Lord to bless the weather on our vacation. The Wednesday before we left on Friday, the children and I checked the 7day weather forecast on the internet. It didn't look good... Strong winds, clouds, rain on at least one day, the temperature only in the high teens. For the children sake I held my faith high and declared that God would make a way, we just have to keep praying and trust in Him. But I had to admit to myself I was questioning God's timing for our vacation. It cost a lot of money and we can only afford a vacation once a year. Also we were desperately in need of a break and now it seemed like God's Hand wasn’t on our vacation. Still I could hear God's soft voice asking me to trust Him, even asking me, why I don't trust Him! So I made a mental decision to forget about the weather forecast and only trust my Heavenly Father, who knows exactly what my family and I needed in the next 10 days.

On the Friday we arrived at Brenton-on-Sea, the weather was beautiful. We arrived at 16h00 and quickly took a walk down to the beach.

On Saturday morning, David's birthday, every one was ready for the beach at 8h30. It was the perfect day! No wind, no clouds... Perfect in every way! We played for hours in the waves and sand.

On Sunday morning it was totally overcast! We didn’t really mind too much, we needed a break after hours in the sun the previous day. Heidi-Mari, CJ, Josua and Christo got a little too much of the sun, while boogie boarding. As a rule we don’t put on sun block due to all the bad chemicals in this stuff, only drink a supplement specifically for protection and we have studied the benefits of Vitamin D for the body, which you don’t absorb when you use sun block. But Christo will write more about this on his health block. Christo also needed some rest after the stressful drive on Friday and I was thankful just to be with my loved ones.

We went to the Knysna Waterfront, ate pizza at our favourite Italian cafe and had ice cream. The children NEVER get ice cream, due to their diary and sugar sensitivity, but on our annual vacation we spoil them as often as they like. Since they take in a lot of Vitamin D and fresh sea air, they show very little of the side effects of diary and sugar that we are used to at home.

Daniel’s first ice cream! He was only 9 weeks old with our previous vacation.

Monday morning it was only partly clouded and we went down to the beach, to discover a very strong wind. CJ had a lot of fun, flying his kite, at stages hanging on to it for life!

Christo, CJ, Heidi-Mari and Josua tried to boogie board but the strong wind made it extra cold. Josua very easily develop hypothermia and got out of the water first.

Christo took the little ones to collect sea shells.

Christo and Heidi-Mari trying to pack up the sun screen tent, before the wind blows it away. They weren’t very successful, until CJ gave a hand!

After a few hours we decided to go back to our cottage and CJ made Christo a nice espresso and for me a decaf cappuccino. CJ is a real barista and makes the best espresso and cappuccino you can wish for (Yes, we took our espresso maker along - Christo and I cannot get out of bed without real coffee!)

The rest of the day we just enjoyed each others company.

That night Christo went on the internet to check the weather. I didn’t even want to look and felt the familiar disappointment and doubt – What if God wasn’t going to bless our vacation? The weather forecast was dooming: from Thursday it would rain every day till Monday!! Christo and I prayed together. After praying Christo said he knew God’s Hand is on our vacation, God knows better than us what we need and we still need to trust Him. Again I made the decision to trust God, although it seemed like the weather was not exactly what we’ve asked for.
That night ever thing changed. Tuesday and Wednesday were beautiful days. Only a light breeze on the beach and the children had a ball.

We went to the beach in the mornings and returned at about 12h00 for lunch.

In the afternoons we either went into Knysna for dropping off or collecting of our laundry and a coffee (our personal barista need a vacation too), or let the children have their afternoon nap (Christo and me too), while the older children read.

In the afternoon, Christo would take CJ, Heidi-Mari, Josua and Danika to the beach to fly their kites and take a walk,

while I would play with the little ones in front of our cottage. Daniel, David and Andrew were so content to just play on the grass in front of our cottage.

Wednesday afternoon Christo took the older ones, CJ, Heidi-Mari and Josua for a boat trip on the Knysna lagoon and to the Knysna Heads.

The Knysna Heads are famous, not only for the grand sandstone cliffs, which tower above the entrance to the Knysna Lagoon, but also for the many recorded shipwrecks which have occurred over the past 150 years. At first glance, this entrance does not appear to be dangerous but submerged rocks and moving sandbanks, which deflect winds and powerful currents, make it highly respected by even the most experienced skipper. In the past it has been described as one of the most dangerous harbours in the world!

They took a walk through the Knysna Waterfront looking for books and had pizza afterwards at Cafe Mario. The little ones and I had supper and we went to bed early (we needed it).

Thursday, with some clouds, was perfect timing. We wanted to drive to Plettenberg bay for ice cream and a walk on the Plettenberg bay beach, showing the children where CJ, Heidi-Mari and Josua played in the lagoon in front of the Beacon Isle Hotel, six years ago.

CJ, Heidi-Mari and Josua six years ago in front of the Beacon Isle Hotel at Plettenberg Bay.

At Plettenberg bay there wasn’t a trace of rainy weather and the clouds was passing.

Friday was perfect again. No trace of wind or clouds and hours on the beach playing in the sand and waves. Friday night CJ and Heidi-Mari baby sat their siblings while Christo and I went out for supper. For the first time in 15years we had an evening out by ourselves, while on vacation. In the past I often felt our vacation is only about the children, with very little, if any time for Christo and me. This vacation was different. Thanks to our older children, who became very responsible over the last year, Christo and I had precious time together - especially the evenings. We had a braai every evening (for readers outside South Africa – it is almost like a barbeque, roasting meat over an open fire). CJ took responsibility for the braai, every evening.

Heidi-Mari and Danika prepared the extras. We alternated mixed salad, potato salad, baked potatoes in the oven, ‘roosterkoek’ (bread dough – made in our Panasonic Bread Machine, yes we took it along - roasted over the open fire);

‘Stick bread’ (putting the bread dough over a wooden stick and baking over the open fire;

and ‘braai sandwiches’ (sandwiches spread with butter and a little honey and topped with onions and tomatoes and toasted over the open fire).

Saturday and Sunday were perfect again!! No sign of the rain forecasted earlier the week. God turned the weather totally around. While having pizza at our favourite Italian Cafe on Saturday, the owner told us they are expecting heavy rains from Sunday night, even floods…! He was surprised that Knysna was having such nice weather, we weren’t surprised - we have connections in High Places!

As we drove back on Sunday, we literally drove into a storm. The Cape had stormy, rainy weather the whole weekend. Christo had a hard time getting us home safely, but also in this God was faithful.

The mountain streams running down the mountains as we enter the Hex river Valley showed us just how much rain the Cape had over a very short period.

Today is Wednesday and it is still raining in the Cape – it feels like we’re having winter again. Friends of CJ went to Port Elizabeth over the weekend. Port Elizabeth is 500 km to the other side of Knysna on the Eastern coastal area of South Africa. Rain normally starts in Cape Town and then move along the Eastern coast. While CJ’s friends were in Port Elizabeth it rained. How strange, over the weekend it rained in Cape Town and rained in Port Elizabeth, but in Knysna, right in the middle, we had the most beautiful, fair weather!

The Lord was so faithful during this vacation – although it was a huge test for our trust in Him. Thanks to the Lord of the Universe!

Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.

Ps 37:4


Petra said...

So happy for you that you enjoyed such a strength-renewing vacation. God is very faithful indeed!

Sonja said...

Linnie,dit klink so wonderlik!Ek is bly julle vakansie was so n groot sukses. Dit was sommer nou lekker lees! Ons bid ook altyd maande voor die tyd vir ons vakansie en dit is voorwaar die moeite werd!

Claudette said...

I found your insert on your vacation very interesting. We are planning to go to Keimoes, Upington over the holidays, this means taking a 8 hour drive with 2 babies (6 months and 14 months)and a 4 year old. We are trusting to have a pleasant journey. I was wondering, do you think it is a good idea to have the babies sleep for most of the trip? If yes, what natural product can I give them? Your input would really be appreciated. Thanks

Linnie said...

Hi Claudette
Thank you for visiting my blog!
I never gave my babies anything to make them sleep, there is no natural product for that and anything from a pharmacy WILL be harmful. You can however give them chamomile powder sachets (not more than 1 sachet every hour) to keep them calm (available at Eirene Health Shop in Durbanville). But it will not cover up boredom or hungry children. You still need to keep them stimulated (read them books, let them draw, having a few blocks ready) keep their blood sugar levels in balance (whole food) and keep them away from sugar and MSG the day before and while you take the trip.
The best you can do is to plan your trip around their regular sleep patterns. For example, try to get on the road as soon as possible after they wake up in the morning. This way they will not be tired and irritated by the time you get on the road. Plan your stops around their sleeping patterns. If you know baby sleeps every two hours, make sure you stop in the two hour period, while baby is awake.
I will suggest you sit between the two babies, to take care of their needs and stimulate them.
Hope this helps.

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