24 April 2010

The 'Coffee-holic' in my home!

There is a little boy in my home who absolutely love to clean my cappuccino cup!

It isn’t his fault his oldest brother makes the best cappuccino in the Cape.  
And after he finished my cup, there is still Daddy’s espresso cup to clean.

“Now this was a real good one!”

“Now I can start my day!”

17 April 2010

Goat Mother or Sheep Mother?

WHAT’S IN A NAME?   by Nancy Campbell

Recently I was reading a booklet entitled, “Train Up A Child” by Doug Duncan.  He tells the story of a New Zealand sheep farmer who diversified into raising goats.  This farmer noticed a difference in the way the sheep and goat mothered their young.  The ewes would stay in close proximity to their lambs, always ready to protect.  The goats, however, would invariably herd their young together into one spot on a knoll and leave them while they went off to forage for the day.

I checked this out with my father.  Considering he has been a world champion sheep shearer and shorn well over a million sheep in his lifetime, I thought he would know a bit about sheep!  He confirmed that ewes will never wander away any further than earshot form their lambs.

As I thought about this, I wondered if this is the reason we now call our children ‘kids’.  Is it because we have become a society of ‘goat mothers’, who are quite prepared to leave our little ones and go off for the day?  Of course, you’ll remember how often God talks about separating the sheep from the goats!

Are we ‘goat mother’ of ‘sheep mothers’?  A challenging question.

As I have talked about this with some young mothers, they have decided to call their little ones, ‘lambs’ instead of ‘kids’.  They immediately noticed a different attitude toward their children.  They feel more motherly and gentle.  It’s easy to scream at ‘kids’, but not so easy at ‘little lambs’.  In fact, a generation ago, it was common to hear parents call their children ‘my little lambs’ or even pray, ‘keep my little lamb safe through this night.’

I have also decided to stop using the word ‘kids’ and call my children what God says they are.  I still forget, but I’m gradually learning.  I notice that nowhere in the Bible are children referred to as ‘kids’ or even ‘teenagers’.

What shall we call them?  Apart from ‘children’ and ‘sons and daughters;, there are other names we can use.  These will make us realize how precious and wonderful our children are in God’s eyes.  Let’s have a look at what God calls them…
A heritage from the Lord
The fruit of the womb
Olive plants
Corner stones
Sighs and wonders
The work of God’s hands

Our children will become what we call them.  In fact even the word ‘children’ is a powerful word when we understand its true meaning.  It comes from the Hebrew word ‘banah’ which means ‘to build’.  A child is ‘a builder of the family name’.  This is what God is interested in - building godly generations.


References to what God call our children:
Gen. 33:5; 48:9; Joshua 24:3; 1 Chron. 25:5-6; 26:4-5; Ps. 127:3-5; 128:3-4; 144:12; Is. 8:18; 29:23-24; 40:11.
Since a read this article by Nancy Campbell, about 6 years ago, I could never call my children kids.  The word just got stuck in my throat every time I wanted to say it, but I also couldn’t call them my little lambs, although I wanted to!  It sounded strange and unnatural. Still, the idea of my children being my lambs, were always upfront in my thoughts.
This year as autumn hit South Africa and the nights become colder, I discovered that Daniel and David had outgrown their pajamas.  I had just finished Danika’s princess dress and my sewing machines wasn’t put away yet, so I decided to make them new pajamas. Last winter I bought thick pajama material, but only made CJ a warm top.  I had enough left to make Daniel and David’s pajamas.  
They absolutely loved their pajamas!  

David couldn’t stop telling me how nice and warm it felt on his skin the first few nights he put it on.  And then as I took them in my arms, I all of a sudden could say it!  They felt just like little lambs and every time I called them my lambs the love in my heart for them just grew! It was so liberating to call them by the name I had for them in my heart for all these years! 

They are my lambs, and I am their sheep mother, keeping them near to me, so I can train them.
I just came from a children’s party this morning.  The birthday child (who turned four), his brother and all the other children, except my children, are in playgroups and state schools every day of their life, while the mothers are pursuing their careers and hobbies.  I couldn’t help but notice how obstinate and far astray these kids where and they were only between 4 and 8 years old!

As I was putting my little lambs in bed tonight I thanked the Lord that I’m a sheep mother, raising little lambs under the guidance of the Good Shepherd! Without the Good Shepherd’s guidance I would never be able to do this!

Dear mother, what are you raising?  Lambs or kids?

Extra Readings on Raising Daughters Fit to be Graceful Pillars for a Palace

I think you will all agree with me, in today's culture it is difficult to find Godly Women who truly mirror a Proverbs 31 and Titus 2 Woman.  
Over the past year I've found two blogs that really built into my life, renewing my mind and softened my heart towards my husband and children, to become a more Godly Woman, with the vision to please my Heavenly Father, more and more, every day. 
The Authors of these two blogs both wrote postings related to Raising Daughters Fit to be Graceful Pillars for a Palace. 
Kelly Crawford at Generation Cedar wrote on modesty and Mrs. June Fuentes at A Wise Woman Builds Her Home gave practical steps on how to go about accomplishing the great task of raising daughters, fit to be graceful pillars for a palace.
I'm learning so much from these two Godly Mothers, both blessed with eight Blessings!  
May you too be bless by their teachings!

09 April 2010

Raising Daughters Fit to be Graceful Pillars in a Palace.

May our sons flourish in their youth like well-nurtured plants. May our daughters be like graceful pillars, carved to beautify a palace.”   Ps 144:12 New Living Translation
When my mother visited us in March she brought my Matric Fear-well dress with, to give to Heidi-Mari.  Heidi-Mari tried it on immediately.

I couldn’t believe my eyes!  It was almost like I looked at myself, 25 years ago! Could I ever have imagined, the last time I took that dress off, that my daughter will one day put it on and look so beautiful.
My mother’s intention was that the girls would use the dress for there dress-up playing. 

Since the last dress I made for Danika for her 6th birthday, had seen better days, 

I promised her that I would make her a new dress to play dress-up, with Heidi.
When I was halfway with the new dress - it normally takes me 3-4 weeks to finish a dress, I only have time for sewing on weekends - the girls got an  invitation to a Princess Party.  They were so excited.  They could both wear their new dresses to the party!

Last weekend they attend the girly party and looked so beautiful!

Look at all the Princesses, playing ‘pass the parcel’! 

As I was looking at my daughters I remembered a teaching by Nancy Campbell - The Flourishing Mother has a Vision.  I would like to share some of Nancy’s ideas on raising Daughters for the King.
In Ps 144 the psalmist gives us a picture of the kind of sons and daughters he would like us to raise. 

12 May our sons flourish in their youth like well-nurtured plants. May our daughters be like graceful pillars, carved to beautify a palace. (New Living Translation)
There are two things about Daughters:
Graceful and Pillars. 
Lets first look at the Pillar.  What is the function of a pillar?
  • To support a structure
  • Bears the weight of a structure
But there is even more, than just a pillar.   Our daughters aren’t compared to just ordinary pillars.  No, the Psalmist talks about the pillars of a palace.
What is he trying to say by linking daughters to the pillars of a palace?  Think about the pillar of a palace.  It is decorative, ornamental, a beautiful feature.

Womanhood/femininity is beautiful!  Women are the crown of God’s creation - created out the rib of a man to be a gift to him!  Eve must have been the most beautiful woman that walked the face of the earth!  In the old Testament we read about so many beautiful woman!  Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Abigail, Esther.
The Word describes Rebecca in Gen 24:16 as ‘very beautiful to behold, a virgin...” and Rachel in Gen 29:17 as ‘beautiful of form and appearance.‘  We also read about Abigail in 1 Sam 24:16, ‘she was a woman of good understanding and beautiful appearance...‘ and Esther was a ‘young woman lovely and beautiful.”   And it is in the Bible that we read this!  God actually wrote about the beauty of women!
Our Daughters must embrace womanhood, their femininity, walking with heads held high. Proud that God created them to be beautiful.  But firstly, we as mothers should model to our daughters beautiful womanhood. That we embrace our femininity, a gentle and quiet spirit, not a spirit of rebellion against men, always knowing better than them. 
Are you a woman who delight in being beautiful, not only in spirit, but also physical? Although Paul desired women to ‘adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.” You can still be physically beautiful and rejoice in being different from men - beautiful in appearance, a beautiful gift for the man God brings alongside you!
Today there are so many young women whose virginity, womanhood, femininity is being robed from them - due to the feminist movement of the 70‘s. Women don’t walk in the glory of being the crown of God’s creation.  They don’t even have the desire to be a woman, don’t even walk or dress like woman any more.  
Please Mothers, teach your daughters to be pure, graceful - to embrace their beauty.  Young women don’t care how they look anymore.  Lets teach them to dress beautiful, be graceful.  When Heidi-Mari turned 8 years, I started making her dresses.  

I had to make her dresses, you either don’t find dresses for older girls or the dresses (and for that matter any clothes for older girls, age 8 - 12 years old) don’t compliment femininity.  It rather tends to expose their bodies in an ungodly way.  How can I teach my daughter to be modest and pure, when she wears clothes that says the opposite?  It is scary to see little girls exposing their bodies, they don’t even know what they are saying with their clothes. 
But there is more than just being a decorative, ornamental pillar in a palace.  Pillars are strong, it’s main purpose is to bear the weight of the building.  

Do we raise our daughters strong enough to raise a family, that can change the nation?  On the contrary, you may think, you don’t want your daughter to raise a family! It is not for you to decide.
Have you been prepared for the weight of motherhood? I was never taught about Motherhood, not even marriage, being a wife and preparing a meal for my future husband. No!  I was prepared for my career.
Dear Mothers, lets start preparing our daughters physically and emotionally to be wives and mothers.  Train them in the kitchen. 

From this year I’m intentionally giving Heidi-Mari training in the kitchen, so she can one day prepare healthy, tasty food for her husband and family, that is also a delight to look at. 
Lets train them to be strong in convictions and faith (we can only trust God as far as we know God – Teach them about God and His miracles).   Teach them about purity and modesty, Walking with God, Understanding God, Fearing God!
Prepare them to carry and bear the weight to raise a family, which is their Highest Calling! In our household of ten, Heidi-Mari and Danika already knows the weight and responsibility of a wife and mother.  They know it is no easy task and I pray that God will use me, despite my sinful, selfish nature, to model to them the joy of sacrificing for my husband and family. 
But we as mothers must also make sure our daughters are physically strong enough! They can have a strong spirit, but without a strong body it is going to be hard.  When is a good time to start preparing their bodies to be strong for Motherhood?  Should they start three months before they want to fall pregnant? No!  We start preparing our daughters to give birth, with their birth – that is their future calling.  
The moment your baby is born, you put baby to your breast, the best nourishing.  Everybody knows breast is best, but do we believe it and act on it?  
Do we train our daughters to breast feed their babies or are there bottles for their dolls?  Heidi-Mari and Danika always throw away the bottles that comes with their dolls, they breastfeed their dolls, just as I do.  
We have to understand as mothers, childbearing is not a negative to our bodies and communicate that to our daughters.  

We are created for childbearing!  If we are physically healthy and well we can go through pregnancy, childbearing, nursing, raising a family and it will not physically overwhelm us. 
God created our bodies to function perfectly for what it’s created to do.  But then we need to be well nourished, eating whole food, not live on white gunk food!  If you are well nourished you won’t have problems during pregnancy and childbearing or problems after birth.  We do live in a fallen world and our bodies did deteriorate over time since Adam and Eve, but it is not meant to be the reason for the 75% of problems in infertility, miscarriages, caesarians and postnatal depression!  Do you want to give your daughter a start like that?
See ahead, not just getting through the day, but prepare them for the future.  My daughters are already embracing motherhood and looking forward to the day, when God grants them the privilege to bear children.  Lets start preparing them, it is our responsibility!!
If we continue to just let them have coke, sugary food, white processed food, devitalized packaged food, we are preparing the way for them to have difficulties. 

Are you preparing your daughters to be the pillar for the palace wall? Beautiful, strong, bearing the weight, have their baby’s.  
I’m living as healthy as I possibly can, making healthy food every day and our daughters grow up in a healthy way.   I have normal childbirths, with no interference during pregnancy, childbirth or afterwards. 
The woman of today suffer from so many illnesses (Christo see them every day!)  Woman can’t mother their children with all these ailments.  That weighs you down in mothering.  You have to be in top health.
Lets prepare our daughters  – no junk, white fast food!
I don’t believe it is pregnancy and childbearing that put you out of shape.  Our lifestyle puts us out of shape.  Women have fewer children than the previous generations and they are more overweight than the previous generations.  Think of the lifestyle of women of previous generations.  They were hardworking women.  
Recently I ran into some friends, I haven’t seen for a long time and in most of cases I’ve been shocked to see how they’ve changed physically since they’ve entered their forties! Mostly due to a hysterectomy, tubal binding and/or hormone replacement therapy.  None of these are necessary if you just let your body function the way God intended it to.  Having babies is preserving my body!  
How are you raising the daughters in your home?  Are you doing everything in your power to raise daughters suitable to beautify a palace?  

Will the ‘palace’ in which your daughter will one day raise her family, be able to uphold by her strength and wisdom, will she be a strong, graceful pillar...? 

07 April 2010

A Place Through Prayer!

On Monday the 29th of March, CJ placed at the Agri Expo Show Jumping, with Emma’s Last (nickname Darby)!  This is the first time CJ received a place with Darby!

In 2009 CJ had an amazing year receiving dozens of rosettes in show jumping and other events around the Cape Peninsula, with Silverball.  Then in November 2009, during the Junior Championships, Silverball’s health deteriorated within days and he had to retire as a competition horse - Silverball is now 21 years old!
This was a time of much heart ache, since Silverball was CJ’s first eventing horse and an amazing answer to prayer.  

The riding school where CJ takes lessons, has this young, very wild horse, Darby.  Since Darby isn’t trained enough yet, to be a school horse for students and since CJ showed much talent in handling any kind of horse, they asked CJ to exclusively ride and train Darby.  CJ didn’t have a horse to ride and accepted the challenge. Very soon it was evident that over time and with much training CJ and Darby could be a great team for show jumping. 
During February and March, CJ took part in a show jumping and a cross country event.  Both times Darby was wild, too fast and disobedient.  So, when I heard CJ was going to take part at the Agri Expo, I was stressed!   On top of it, Christo would not be able to go with CJ, as he always does.

It was the day we opened our health shop in the new premises!
We decided I would go to watch the show jumping - for moral support and to take pictures (which turned out not to be nearly Christo’s quality!)  I was very stressed about the show jumping. During the cross country event in March and during training lessons, Darby bucked a few times, resulting in my son landing with his face in the sand!  Over the past two months CJ intensively trained Darby, but he still needed much more training hours before this wild, young horse would be tamed, or so I thought.  
On the Sunday night before the show, I couldn’t get peace.  I stressed a lot, but knew fear was not from the Lord, I was not supposed to worry and I must take my fear to the Lord and trust Him for my son’s safety.  I was nursing Michael a few times during that night and prayed constantly for CJ’s safety and a quiet, obedient spirit in Darby.
I took Josua, Andrew and Michael with me to the show and Heidi-Mari and Danika looked after David and Daniel at home.  There was a spirit of excitement and expectation as I arrived at the beautiful grounds where the Agri Expo was hosted.  Dozens of riders in uniforms parading and waiting, on their proud, well groomed horses, as far as the eye could see. CJ would took part in the 60cm, 70cm and 80cm show jumping.  In the 60cm there were 58 participants, in the 70cm 49 participants and in the 70cm 21 participants.  We were in for a long day!
Eventually, around 12h00 it was CJ’s turn to enter the arena for the 60cm. I was surprised beyond belief!  Darby was a totally different horse, than a month ago.

CJ’s intensive practice with Darby, over the past few weeks, 6 days a week and two extra lessons with a very experienced trainer, made a miraculous difference!  They did a beautiful calm round, but Darby unfortunately kicked the last pole!

Every time when CJ entered the arena, I prayed that God would help him do his best and it was evident that God, as usual, was answering my prayer!
In the 70cm, CJ was the 3rd participant, but the first rider didn’t pitch so, CJ was second in line.  As he walked into the arena I immediately saw he’d forgotten his course.  His eyes was searching the arena and I cried out to God, to please help my son - “Let him find the course!”  I knew his competitive spirit, I knew how hard he’d practiced with Darby and I knew he had high expectations - he cannot lose this show, because he forgot his course! The first three jumps went well, but he didn’t have an idea where were the 4th jump was.   
In show jumping you are not allowed to cross your own tracks, between two jumps.  How was my son going to find the next jump, concentrating on his movements and controlling his horse?  I was in for another surprise! With great care and authority, CJ guided Darby between the jumps, searching the arena for the 4th jump, while making sure he didn’t cross his lines!  It was brilliant riding!  Next, his instructor shouted a clue and immediately he was back on track!  Focused and in total control, he approached the 4th jump and finished the 10 jump course in a clear round!  I was overjoyed!  As usual every one could see that I’m CJ’s mother, by my excitement!  
By finishing with a clear round he qualified for the 80 cm jump off and I prayed even harder and had Heidi-Mari and Christo in prayer too.  “Please Lord, give my son another clear round, and please Lord, give my son a place, but not my will, Your will be done!”
CJ did the jump off in 48 seconds and for a long time was in third place. Since he was 2nd in line of the approximately 25 riders for the jump off, it felt like hours watching every rider, listening in great anticipation to their finishing times. It became clear that he was standing a chance to get placed under the first 10 riders!  The shortest time was 42 seconds. 
I almost yelled out with joy, when they announced the winners and CJ got a 5th place! 

Oh! The Lord is faithful! After a very successful 2009, with Silverball, CJ had to start all over again with Darby. But the Lord has a plan for CJ, to prosper him, not to harm him. He gave CJ and Darby a breakthrough!  Thank you Lord!

At the 80cm Darby kicked the #5 jump, but by now horse and rider was exhausted after a very long, hot autumn day and considering that, they had a beautiful performance! 

Afterwards CJ told me he hadn’t even expected to be near the first 10 placements! He only hoped to have at least one clear round. His aim was to have Darby calm and steady in the jumps. Using the Agri Expo as a ‘training event’!
Josua and Andrew was so good during the long day.

Andrew having a once off ice cream treat for being so good!

Josua with his ice cream!
And little Michael... 

He was in the Ergo most of the time, nursing and sleeping, while his mom was taking pictures and getting overjoyed with excitement.  (For South African Readers, the African Carrier is almost exactly the same)
During the whole event, I constantly SMS/texted Christo and Heidi-Mari for prayer requests and updates.  At one stage Heid-Mari replied back, asking me how I could handle all the stress.  This was the first time I handled the day so relaxed, I usually go home halfway through the day, using the little ones as excuse, but totally stressed out.  
I believe nursing Michael made the difference.  Every time a mother nurses her baby, two hormones are released.  Prolactin and Oxytocin. Prolactin is a ‘love hormone’, which is why the more you nurse your baby, the more you fall in love with your baby!  I can testify that this is true! 

I’m not only falling in love with my sweet Michael more and more (if it is possible) but also with the rest of my children!  I don’t want to leave my children.

Oxytocin is a relaxing hormone and make you feel calm and often sleepy. I can’t help it, when I lay down next to Michael to nurse him, I always fall asleep! It is reported that Mothers who exclusively breastfed their babies, have lower levels of anxiety and depression than mothers who bottle-feed their babies. 
In nursing Michael through out the day, Oxytocin helped me cope with my stress!  The Lord is so good, and He indeed made our bodies wonderfully!
Thank you Lord for protecting my son during the Agri Expo and giving him a place. 
Thank you for keeping Heidi-Mari, Danika, David and Daniel safe at home.
I praise your Wonderful Name!
PS.  While CJ was participating in the show jumping he didn’t want an ice cream when I bought Josua and Andrew’s. So on his request, I took him and Heidi-Mari (because she looked after her brothers and sister so well on Monday) for frozen yoghurt at Tygervalley Centre, on Wednesday. This time Josua looked after his brothers and sisters, while they were fast asleep. They didn’t even know their mother was away!  
What a special outing it was, with my two oldest children and my youngest!

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