Posted by: placeofgrace | November 2, 2010

For the battle is the Lord’s

I have written my third subject today. Again it went horrible. I did not finish, actually I did not do a lot of it. By now I am certain that there is no way that I can pass this exam. I do not know what to do, I do not know how this came about. I’ve worked so hard during the past four years. I simply cannot work harder, I cannot do more.

So I feel like giving up hope – and now the Lord has given me this:
1Sam 17:37 “All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s and He will give all of you into our hands”

I just need to trust Him, He knows what is best, He knows the plans that He has for me, He will net forsake me! Even if I have difficulty in trusting Him.

Please, please pray for me.

Posted by: placeofgrace | January 27, 2010

Being offbeat

It’s been nearly two weeks since our classes started.  Life is hectic, the pace is incredible and I will have to dig even deeper to keep up.  But at the same time life is wonderfull, things are going along smoothly, even if it is at the speed of light. 

Okay, not that smoothly, we did have two (maybe three bumbs) allready this week.  I had to take Laura to the doctor for stomach ache.  Even though it was the first time I took her to this specific doctor, Nestus took her there last year for the the same problem.  Apparently last year he already diagnosed a sensitive colon last year, but that message did not get through to me.  He gave us a list of foods she should avoid and even gave some advice on losing weight (not much, mostly watching less TV and getting more exercise) and for the moment at least Laura has taken it to heart.  Since she now realise that bread and Coke would increase her discomfort she already started making adjustments to what she eat.  Since I cannot watch her all the time to make sure she sticks to her eating, it is a great relief if she is willing to do it without my full time nagging ;)

The other bumb was with Pieter.  He is currently doing Grade R (our term for the pre-school year) .  He has grown and developed so much during the last few months, but his speech is still not really what you would expect of a six year old.  He looks at life from a different angle and would often give offbeat describtions of things.  He would ask me to take the orange’s clothes of because he wants to eat it (skin it).  He call a shirt with buttons and a collor a “manhemp” (a shirt for a man) – because that is what grown-up men wears to work.  When is he put under pressure or if you expect him to do something he don’t like he would just ignore you.  The result of this is that the teacher at school can’t get him to name colours, or forms or sometimes draw or whatever else he needs to do.  A few weeks ago I asked him the colours in a book, he knew every single colour I showed, he named every item and every form.  The next morning when we did it again he simply told me to put on my glasses and see for myself!! 

With this in mind I totally understand why the teacher asked me to have his development evaluated.  She want’s to know where she should focus in her work with him.  She really is a nice woman, Enettie were also in her pre-school class four years ago.  She cares very much for her children and she is soft and tender when working with them.  But it still upsets me.  I just so much wanted life to be easier for my kids. 

I also wanted to blog a little more, but now I have to go study.  I just first want to add a photo of.. Pieter learning to write his name.

And our first schoolday this year -

Posted by: placeofgrace | January 20, 2010

Trying to lose weight on somebody else

I need help!!

Laura, my oldest child, is so beautifull.  She has darkbrown natural curly hair, brown eyes, natural red lips, long lashes…  I usually think she looks the way I would have loved to look.  When she was small I used to describe her as my little girl with the stars in her eyes.  She has this beautifull big personality.  She is dramatic, confident, grown-up and responsible.  There are time that I feel that I like her more than any other person on earth.  She is so interresting and bright.  She is intuitive, creative, caring. 

She also have trouble reading, I think she is a bit dislectic.  For a short while during her grade 1 year I worried that I was wrong about her intelligence.  Obviously she still worries about that.  We started to homeschool her last year, found the most amazing help in “The gift of Dislexia” and the reading has improved.

She had trouble fitting in at school, finding friends that understands her sense of humour, being acceptable in a very competive school.  All of that caused a dive in her selfconfidence but the past years homeschooling cured a lot of that.  She started to look happy and have stars in her eyes again.  She sings and dance and teases everybody.  At home she is important and takes resposibility for lots of things I would not yet have expected of her.  She loves her younger brother and sister and especially Enette looks up to her.  Enette believes Laura can do everything well:  “She can cook, she can bake, she can sing, she can dance, she can draw, she can paint, she can make jewelery, she can write essays in Afrikaans and English, she can do Maths, she can do experiments, she can solve problems, etc, etc…..”

Unfortunately my beautifull child have a problem with her weight.  I realised early on that everything is not as it should be, I saw that she is more pudgy than anybody in either our families has been as children.  I did not want to make an issue out of it, but I took her to our local pediatritian when she was about nine.  I thought it looked as if her hormones had become active too early and as if her breasts started to develop.  He said I should not worry, everything is as it should be. 

She continued to gain weight and a year later I took her to our family docter, asking him to do bloodtest to determine if everything is OK.  He did some test and then said her suger is not really right but also not really wrong.  He said I could give her Glucophage to see if she would lose weight but mostly I should try to adapt our diet to low GI.  I gave her the Glucophage for a month, it made no difference and I did not want to continue if it is not really neccesary.  I asked a friend (nurse) to do regular fingertip blood tests on all of us to see what our bloodsuger is doing while I adapted our diet as far as possible to low GI.  Laura’s bloodsugar turned out normal at every test. 

But she kept on gaining weight.  Then last year in September we decided to investigate the possibility of going on Atkins with her,  I researched the effect of a high protein diet on children and found nothing that indicated any damaging effect.  On the contrary, it looked as if it could be rather possitive.

In October we went on Atkins diet, she weighed 61kg when we started (12 years old and about 1,50m long).  She lost weight very slowly, for the first three weeks she lost about 0.5 kg a week and then it stopped.  She lost nothing more but at least didn’t gain anything as well.   We moved on to the further stages of Atkins since I did not want to continue with only proteins for months on end. 

We went on holiday and had the Festive Season, we did not stick stricktly to our diet but tried not to fall off totally.  She only gained about 0.5kg, but in the past two months she also grew a lot in length. 

Two weeks ago we started with our homeschool program for the year, life picked up where we left of  last year, and Laura started eating again.  I am not certain how it happened, I only realised that she is eating everything she can put her hands on again.  Yesterday morning I weighed her again, 64,5kg!!  She gained nearly 5 kg in three weeks!! So we decided to start all over again with Atkins since she at least did not gain weight on it.  This morning I walked in on her unexpectedly, and there she is eating a toasted cheese snackwidge again!!

I do not know what to do to help her anymore.  None of the healthy ways of dealing with this has helped, and she doesn’t understand the seriousness of the situation.  I do not want to cause permanent damage in her experience of her body, I just want to help her to be healthy.  She weighs nearly three times as much as Enette, who is only two years younger than her.  (Ok, Enettie is totally at the other end of the spectrum!)

She does not like sports but she loves to jump on the trampoline and ride her bicycle.  Due to the safety situation in South Africa, unfortunately the children cannot ride their bicycles around town (outside the yard) as people get mugged and killed for bicycles and cellphones.  But she jumps on the trampoline and I even force her to go to the athletics practice.  There she would simply walk around the track when everybody else runs, but at least it is something. 

Except for the fact that I do not know what food to give her to help her lose weight, my biggest problem I think is the fact that she does not take responsibility for this.  She takes resposibility for nearly everything else without hesitation, but here she does not care.  I am so scared of pushing  her to the other side and that she could develop anorexia or something, and at the same time I am scared for the result this overweight would have emotionally on her.  I love her more than I love myself and I do not know how to help her!!

If anybody have any advice, please, I need it.

Posted by: placeofgrace | January 19, 2010

Come and see for yourself: He is faithfull

So today is the second day, and it is not as bad as I thought.

Yesterday morning, when classes opened the principal opened with Psalm 34:9.  I realised that for some time now I did not take comfort from the promises Father gives us in the Bible and I thought maybe I should really do myself the favour to spend more time with the Bible again. 

Today, yesterdays challenge proved true allready.  I have to go buy books for this year.  Last week Friday I made an optimistic estimation of R3000.  Yesterday it moved up to R5000 and today R7000 seems more realistic.  I only have R2000 left of last years bursary.  I requested the university to transfer this R2000 to my bankaccount in order to be able to buy books.  I’ve made this request already on the 5 th of January but due to yearend procedures they did not do it yet. 

I had to as my dad if I could money from him, I asked for R3000 and undertook to return R2000 as soon as I receive my bursary money and then pay the rest back in time.  He said he will transfer it to me on Sunday (he did it too).  He also insisted that I do not pay it back, he wants to help this year.

Yesterday I wanted to start buying books and then my dad’s money were not yet available – so Nestus had to transfer some of our household money to my account. 

This morning my dad’s money showed up in my bank account.  Not R3000 as I asked but R5000 like I need!!  Together with my own R2000 that will available by Saturday I will have everything I need to buy all the prescribed books for this last year. 

Even though my earthly dad acted as the instrument I know it is my Heavenly Father that is faithfull.  In all the years I’ve studied my dad never gave on his own accord, and he only once gave me money because I only once asked him for it.  (I have a serious problem with pride)  And this time he not only gave me more than I asked for but the exact amount that I need, before either of us knew that is what I would need.  To me it is simple, only One Person knew what I would need and He provided up front.

I also worried so much about this years academics.  The Honnours degree in Chartered Accountancy is reputed to be extremely difficult with a very low passing rate.  Even though accounting is very difficult some of the other subjects are also nearly impossible.  To me it sounded as if Auditing are the one that bowls most students out. 

Today we had our first Auditing class and although it sounds difficult it seems that the biggest problem here is the application of theory to practical problems.  Untill last year we were expected to study the theory and give that back, now writing down theory would be of very little value since we will write open book exams and all the theory is in the book that would be next to me.  This year it has to be applied.

Now this gives me so much hope. I studied Social Work before where everything were application from the beginning to the end, I passed it and I’ve done a Masters degree in it, I therefor must have the skills needed to apply theory to practice.  I am now confident that I will be able to successfully study and pass Auditing.  At last I think my previous studies and live will become handy in my new chosen field.  

All in all, I see light at the end of the tunnel.  I have the money to buy my books, I have the ability to pass this degree and I will even have enough time to continue homeschoolling my kids.  

Again I saw for myself:  He is faithfull!!

Posted by: placeofgrace | January 18, 2010

Our own kind of Halloween

So, the little dog survived.  We took her to the vet and the bay foetus was removed (without an operation), medication was given and now she sees herself as an extention of me.  Following me everywhere I go.

The girls are well on their way with their schoolwork. Today is the first day that they gave to cope with the allocated work by themselves untill I get back home by 1h00.  If they have problems, they have to put it aside and we’ll do it this afternoon.   I just hope and pray that we will cope through this year.

This past weekend was partytime again.  We had one party for both Enette and Pieter.  There were 20 children, nearly as many adults, a watercastle and lots of cake and sweeties.  Since we are not American and Halloween is therefore not part of our culture, we can do it any time we want.  So Enette wanted Halloween as the theme for her party.  (Okay, we don’t know anything about it, only that you may dress up and be anything you want to)  Enette wanted to be a friendly witch, so we rented a pink (yes pink) witch costume and I baked a cake that looked like a broom.  We had a Tyranoraurus Rex, a Pirate, lots of princesses, a rugby player, two bagladies and lots of fun….

Then afterwards, we had a braai and yesterday morning we had a brunch with other friend.  Last night we had cell meeting and inbetween my student friends started to return to Potchefstroom and they all came to greet us.  We had people in our house since Friday afternoon untill Sunday night at about 11h00!!  Somebody said last week our home is very happy, even the dogs all want to be there….  It seems the same goes for humans ;)

Posted by: placeofgrace | January 13, 2010

My superhero husband

We are so tired, both me and Nestus.  We had an eventfull night, and the night before as well.

We live in a small community with three houses and two flats.  Basically it adds up to four families and a single guy all living very close together while trying to each have a life of his/her own. 

Three of these families have dogs (including us).  So the canines also form an integral part of our community.  We have the only two male dogs but they have been “fixed” :) , so the poor guys can try but that’s it :( .  One of the bitches became on heat and since our boys had nothing to offer, some other dogs in the neighbourhood did their part for the continuation of the species.  So she got pregnant. 

Unfortunately her owner does not have a very strong urge to take care of this young girlie dog.  Actually she has no urge, so we took over the caretaking.  And we were worried during the pregnancy.  Spotty, a foxterrier mix doggie,  became very big and since we saw a very big dog taking his opportunity, I really got frantic.  But she is not mine, and there was very little I could do. 

Eventually I decided to spend a few Rands on the vet just in order to get peace of mind and to be able to get some sleep again.  He said its okay, she probably just have a lot of babies but if anything go wrong we should just bring her in. 

Since her owner did not take any notice of her, she eventually moved right into our house.  Our dogs sleeps inside and she simply came with them. 

On Tuesdaynight she went into labour and first 3 pups were born.  Then about 7 hours later three more were born, two of them were stillborn.  Here my dearest husband came to the rescue.  The last one of these three were stuck and he simply sat down next to her and helped her.  Then he helped clean up and in the morning took care of the two dead puppies.  This took place at about 3 in the morning.

Then last night, Wednesday night at about 1 o’clock, he realised there is still one unborn fetus.  The bunch of puppies were crying and moaning because Spottie, their mom, keep getting up.  He followed her to figure out what is going on, and since then he’s been taking care of her.  The dead baby is still stuck inside her and we will be taking her to the vet in half an hour, when they open up.

Apparently I am a very quessy kind of person.  I get so nauseus (don’t know how to spell it, too tired to look it up), I simply cannot help at all.  Nestus on the other hand can sit down and help with all those gory stuff and juices, eeuw ;) .

O yea, and Spotty is now ours, her owner have no intention to pay for the vet so we negotiated.  We will pay for the vet and then she is ours…  So now we have three dogs!!  A bit much but she really is a very sweet girl.

Posted by: placeofgrace | January 7, 2010

Did you see…

This past weekend we went to Pretoria to support a friend in need.  So we had a little city time.  We hate the traffic but we love the malls.  Here in Potch we have the Mooi River Mall, is it nice, even beautifull, but really it’s still a small town version of a Mall.  On the other hand we also only like the BIG malls only once in a while.  We had to spend the whole Sunday in Menlyn Mall and in the end it was so tiresome.

But what I actually wanted to talk about is Ster Kinekor.  Our movie theatre in MRM is nice and new but you cannot watch movies in 3D and they only started showing New Moon on 1st of January!  Everywhere else it’s not even showing anymore!  Goodness, I still haven’t seen New Moon :( .

In the city the movie theatre’s have 3D and when we have a bit of city time we usually try to fit in a movie in a nice theatre.  So on Saturday night we went to see Avatar in 3D.  It was amazing!!  It was a visual pleasure.  The story was nice, not very deep or new or full of new insights.  Just the normal thing of human nature that tend to destroy everything it touches.  But the world of Pandora was beautifull, the Navi was gracious…  Okay, I do not have the words to describe…

Then on Sunday, after we’ve done what we went to do, we decided to go see Avatar again, this time in an IMAX theatre!! And again it did not disappoint. 

So, whenever we see any friends now, Nestus tell them they should go see Avatar, immediately, tommorrow, as soon as possible ;) .

Today we’ll go swimming, tonight we’ll visit a friend, who know’s what we will do tomorrow, but we will still tell everybody to go see Avatar.  It was fun.

Posted by: placeofgrace | January 5, 2010

It’s a new year, it’s a new day

An here we go again. Last year was like a roller coaster ride, I really hope this year won’t be on a runaway train!!

We had such wonderfull, restfull holidays. In SA everything stops by year end. So we went to a friends’ farm in the Drakensberge and we spend a lot of time home, doing nothing, or visiting with friends etc. An now it is birthday time again, Pieter and Enette, and we can only have real birthday parties once the schools reopen, in order to have kids available to attend the parties!!

Enette also starts homeschooling this year, I am a bit worried that I would drown the poor child in too much work, but this same fear were last year ungrounded in Laura’s homeschooling, so hopefully it will prove the same. With Laura I now have a clear idea of what my girl can do, what she likes and how to get her going. 

In terms of my own studies, I am now doing my Honneurs degree in Chartered Accountancy and it promises to be difficult. I will just have to work hard, hopefully inbetween all the studies and homeschooling the kids there will be a little time to comb my hair and brush my teeth everyday :) .

I have no idea if there will at all be time to blog, maybe there will, maybe there won’t.  If there is a moment available I’ll try, please stay with me, remember me and keep praying for us.

Posted by: placeofgrace | August 26, 2009

Too old not to be grown up

Sometimes I feel very old, especially amongst the very young student I share my daytime with.  They turned 21 this year, I turn 40.  I really am old enough to be their mother and sometimes stuffy enough as well.  Normally I cope quite well amongst them, but sometimes, like today I get so frustrated with their lack of commitment, their inability to grasp how much they were given.  I am doing B. Com, Chartered Accountancy, and if you do not know what that is, just take my word for it, it is very difficult, very complicated.  Only those who really exelled in maths and accounting at school can take it and only about 10 % of those who set out to do it, manage to eventually become CA’s. 

I really am surrounded by the most intelligent young people this country has to offer.  I have to work very hard to keep up.  I must admit, I am very surprised that I am at all able to keep up.  These kids passed their final year at school with between 6 and 11 distinctions!!  Back in the day when I attended school, nobody could do that.  We only had 6 subjects and you were only allowed to do a 7th subject if you were exeptional, and to have a 8th subject you needed permission from the minister of education.  I was not allowed a 7th subject and I only managed 1 distinction.  It was not even in accounting or maths.  You see, I really have to work very hard!!

Working hard is not my problem, my problem today is simply how these kids waste their opportunities.  They miss classed, don’t prepare, don’t do their assignments, don’t do the exercise etc etc etc.  And then they say all this work is simply too much!  If they do not pass, exeptionally difficult, exams, it is the lecturers fault!! How on earth could it be his fault if I am capable of passing with much more responsibilities and much less gray matter to use?  Sometimes it really bowls me over. 

On the other hand there’s lots of very nice and commited young people attending class with me.  Some of them really have a hard time but at least they try.  I am certain a few more years in life experience really add a lot to the studying experience.  Even though these kids can sometimes frustrate me, I realise I would have done exactly the same if I tried to study this course when I was 18 to 22 years old.  Actually I did the same, only a gracious Heavenly Father know how I passed my previous studies, surely it was not due to the effort I’ve put in.

In the end, I am really glad to be a little more grown up.  Still a long way to go though!

Posted by: placeofgrace | May 7, 2009

Precious

Since today is very crucial and stressfull for our family, my focus during this whole day has been children.  Vulnerable, young, mostly innocent and totally depending on us.  It really troubles me that such beautifull gifts from a loving an gracecious God could be abused, maltreated and very often used by adults to enhance their own agendas. 

One of our friends has been divorced for five years.  He had very serious problems at that time in his life and it contributed to more than just half the reasons for the divorce.  He suffered from PTS and was a drug addict.  He was manipulative and untrusworthy.  From time to time he disappeared for days on end, only to return black and blue after being assaulted by drugdealers, without his cellphone and once even without his car.  What I am trying to say is, he really did a lot of damage to himself and his family.  At that stage his ex-wife allowed him to see his children, but then she found somebody new to love her, got married, and now refuse to let him see the children.

Since then he cleaned his life up, he went to two or three rehabs and now he is  building a new life for himself.  But he cannot see his kids.  Only once in two years she allowed the children to come visit recently, and only under the supervision of a friend.  I saw these kids, they miss their dad.  They want to spend time with him, in the few hours they had, they hugged him, climbed all over him, kissed him and hanged on to him.  Why is it so difficult for adults to get passed their own hurt and disappointments, to be able to go on with their own lives and allow their children to have as normal an upbringing as is possible in such unnatural circumstances. 

During the past few days I went through a small bit of nostalgia for the carreer I left behind me.  I wondered if the article I had published in a British social work magazine could be found on the internet.  So I did that stupid thing – I googled myself.  And then, there in front of me appeared an article of a blog or something, posted in 2007.  It related to case I worked on in 1996, where I was the probation officer in a sexual offence court case.  Here in 2007, the same family appeared in court again, only this time because the father pimped his underage daughter – last time it was his wife (the mother).  I remember in 1996 it came out that the mother had already taught her by then 5 and 7 year old daugters to pole dance naked. 

And then I remembered, also in 1996, our then provincial minister of health, stated clearly that the prevention of  HIV infections is not a value based issue. 

Really it seems to me, most things must be value based.  Maybe not so much on our own view of life and what it right or wrong, but very much on the value we place on our children.  If we value them as precious gifts, given to us to afford us the opportunity to impart a bit of ourselves into them, to allow a bit of ourselves to continue into the distant future through what we teach them, and what we give them, the opportunities and love, the caring and nurturing.   I cannot think of a greater gift than children to adorn our lives, it is all we have that has any meaning, and that will continue having meaning long after we are gone.  What we invest in them, will still have meaning long after they are gone, through their investment into their children, and so on and so on. 

Why do we find it so difficult to stand back, and for one small moment, stop thinking only about ourselves, and our own immediate needs.  Why is it so difficult to allow other, especially our children, to live life to the fullest (their fullest, not our idea of it).  

I once heard something that went more or less like this:  “Children are not only small people, they are adults in training”.  I really think they should be allowed to become the adults God intended them to be.  May He give us the grace to help them become that.

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