OH SO LONG

Since the last blog.  Many reasons, so this one will be long.  So much has been happening, I feel like I am 99 and about to die! Kicking off with some good news… Jackie is alive!  Yes the Jackie, my ex neighbour of the lil house we own behind the mall, well she is still the neighbour of our tenant.  Our tenant said she died, I was so heart sort and horrified at again the reality of how short life can be.  I was overwhelmed and still am with the constant fight I have of helping the homeless who are addicted to substance to choose life and not the streets and homelessness etc etc.  It’s hard at the best of times, especially when you connect on a special level with a few.  I don’t think this is favouritism (just thought I would say this), I think it’s God appointed relationship.  Anyway I was at the church two Saturdays ago ranting and raving in anger at the state of things… a collective effort of the various ministries that use and abuse the church. That’s how I see it in a moment of frustration and perfection.  Once I sort, fix and “put that thing back where it came from, so help me, so help me!” (Anyone know which movie I am referring to?) Once all is back in order, I calm down, the anger disappears and I realise that God is doing something significant in all the chaos.  I am then filled with peace, joy and happy thoughts as I realise everyone is trying so hard.  My problem is that I am also trying hard and I have been trying hard to keep the church in some sort of order (like a mother keeps a home) for 14 years now (in April).  Mercy was there to hold my hand and catch things as I flung them into the air.  Anywho, in the midst of this my cell rung and it was Jackie from Ackermanns who was supposed to be dead! But is actually alive.  I was so glad to hear her voice and couldn’t help but blurt out, I thought you died!!  It was her mom who died, not her.  My tenant misunderstood what she saw and told me and I told those who knew her… just a few thankfully and I corrected the error asap.  We again collected a massive donation from her.  Thank You Jackie for being alive! I told her how I was in Ackermanns and I almost confronted a staff member and thought I shouldn’t as it will all be too raw for them still.  I explained how bad I had been feeling at not going around and that I was coming up with a plan to reach out to her youngest Jamie in some way or another. Sjoe… how wrong we can be sometimes.

So supper tonight best describes the way I am feeling and the way my life has been going in the past few weeks… one big mess, that tastes alright.

ImageI am not a good cook, infact I only have about 5 – 7 recipes that I know off by heart, the rest are box meals or warm up meals.  Today has been busy and rough for me, so providing a meal for the family… is not what excites me.  I looked in the freezer and hauled out some tenderised steak pieces, nuked them in the microwave.  I overdid the defrosting, had to cut up these tough pieces of brown microwaved meat.  Yuk, now what, well I reached for the wholewheat pasta (trying to be a bit healthier, but hey the wheat kills that idea).  Then realised that I have no pot to cook it in as on Wednesday Chris put popcorn on the stove and then went out!!! Yes people he left the building.  Thank God Beth is still alive, the pot not.  So without a pot I was going to have to microwave the pasta too, double yuk.  So I did what I don’t enjoy doing on a Monday is going to the church, I went to find a pot. Pot found, pasta cooked.  I found some instant sauce and broke up some frozen peppers, yes frozen… don’t know why I put whole peppers in the freezer!  And walla supper is ready.  The kids and Chris got it down their necks, mine is still lying on the arm of the couch.

Life has been too busy.  Today is Monday, it’s supposed to be a day off, I have to fight for this… as I don’t battle with boundaries.  Chris needs me to spend the day with him and I know I need to.  But I always have so much ‘stuff’ to do.  We also can’t but help talk church on Mondays, it’s our life, so we can’t cut it off.  But trying to find balance is good and healthy, we can’t work everyday.  I wanted to spend the day in bed as I have been in so much pain and don’t sleep well.  But I got up and decided to deal with life.  I phoned to get a quote for a CT Scan for my jaw.  Booked an appointment with Dr Dan the back (and jaw) man. Phoned to wish Wendy (aka best mom in law in the world) happy birthday.  Then went to drop off paperwork, buy Tammy a harness, drop docs off at the Night Shelter and stuff at Op Die Plaas.  Dealt with one of my “guys” from the shelter who arrived early this morning, I just can’t get a ‘day off’ from them.  Then Chris and I went off to visit the Folks, rushed back for the kids. Sat waiting for E for 20 minutes.  He decided to help clean the classroom, while we waited not knowing what was up.  We barely made it to our appointments. Chris went to the doctors to get some sleeping tabs for his looooooong flight. He is off to Canada tomorrow night via New York. And me for Dr Dan.  Well Dr Dan said I must never ever leave it for so long before I come to him again.  He is so good at what he does, but what he does is so painful, so I avoid going and then the pain I already have just gets worse and it’s all a big problem.  I had been feeling for a while that the pain I have is not the ‘normal’ pain and that I needed to go visit the specialist. I also didn’t want to do this as when I have before he has operated.  Not needing that again. Anyway eventually, after a year of feeling I needed to go, I went.  I took Ilse with as after my last visit to him I don’t feel totally comfortable with him. He has known me for 21 years now and I have had four ops.  He took forever chatting with me, held up all the other clients, he always asks me about my faith, confirms that I am still married to a ‘priest’! And, basically he is fond of me. But for me that’s awkward and in todays world not something I can or should trust.  But what I know for sure without doubt is that he is the best doctor at what he does.  My silly little jaw part is nothing compared to all the thousands of people he helps, he deals with car accidents, cancer growths and all the horrific facial disfigurations that some people face! Hey that’s a pun!  My mom thinks he is a rubbish doctor, as I had four ops, she says getting it right the first time would have been the win.  But only I, having the body, can appreciate and understand what skill he has and what relief he has brought and how he has done what was best at the time etc.  So I definitely don’t think I need an op, but he still wants a scan.  Thankfully the scan price is coming in at about R3000 right now, this is another reason why I have been avoiding this.  Friends have been telling me it could be up to R16 000 depending on what I needed.  Right now with staying in the church flat we are able to pay this.  The specialist confirmed that it’s muscle spasm and suggested I go to Dr Dan for intensive session, but what would also bring immediate relief a two week course of some drugs.  Schedule 4 drugs, I don’t have a clue at all when it comes to these things and in general I don’t do drugs of any kind.  When I am really battling I will take a myprodol, other than that I face sickness without any added help.. I stay sick longer as my body has to find harder, but my theory is that I don’t get sick that much, because my body is used to fighting alone.  Anyway when it came to this prescription I couldn’t wait as I desperately needed relief.  I am usually tense, rude and abrupt, but with added muscle spasm that starts on the left side of my forehead, intensifies in my neck and travels right down to my left hand… it’s been on a whole new level.  Funny when I try type another with out the ‘a’ it changes automatically to ‘mother’, so true I have been on a whole MOTHER level.  Kind of like when an animal has a wound, especially a caged animal, when you go near it and try touch the wound, it snaps at you out of fear you will cause more pain.

That’s me, a snapper.  I managed to get the subscription on Friday, I disappeared from the golf day to go ‘get the drugs’.  Popped a pill and felt immediate relief and was already nicer.  I had two days of one tab, two days of two tabs and then the rest of the two weeks were supposed to be three.  Well I haven’t got there yet as on Wednesday morning I took the three, the day was interesting, I felt awful, warm, fuzzy, unstable… no time for that, kids had to get to piano, thankfully Chris jumped in and drove us, good thing as by the time we got to piano I had to lay flat on the piano teachers couch.  I managed to recover, we bought calamari and chips and rushed home, I could feel it didn’t really want to go down, but hey do I listen to the way my body feels… No! Rushed off to a surprise birthday drinks get-together at a friends restaurant – a well known, large restaurant on the waters edge.  Next thing I felt seriously ill, ran for the bathrooms and got the kitchen entrance by mistake… vomited, ran in another direction and got the sushi bar… vomited (the dude looked at me, then looked away and carried on pealing the avo), then found the toilet entrance, right by the main entrance… vomited and finally the last lot made it into the toilet.  Spent a rough night convulsing. Chris read the instructions and it’s clear that you can’t just come off them as you will convulse… well I don’t listen, tried to stop, took one the next day, missed a day, felt awful, took another one and now I think I am done… what awful drugs, my arm is half dead… not my idea of dealing with spasm… make it numb and loose feeling?!  I know it’s not the specialist fault and more because of my lack of being able to handle drugs, or alcohol or coffee or…. thought I would just add the others for fun.

Beth did make the school band! Which was an absolute highlight.  Most likes for any of my status’s on Facebook! So in future if I feel I need some ‘liking’, I might just say something like Ethan got into the school band…

I also collected a 48 minute documentary called Beg to Differ, on homelessness and begging in SA.  I am in it… not sure if I like what I see  when I see me, but the whole mission of the movie is great and an excellent tool sharing the need to help organisations like the SW Night Shelter with others.

Jules comes over in a week. Can’t wait for that.

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Still sucking at exercise, could have done a Park Run this morning, but I am not ready yet!  This year has been dismal with exercise, massive fail, but I am about to change that, March here I come.  I needed to swipe my gym card 3 times during Feb, so that I could reach the requirements to half the fees after a year… looks like I after a year of swiping a gazillion times every month, I stuffed it up in my bday month. I only got two illegitimate swipes in (walk in / swipe / walk out ).  I forgot to do the 3rd on the last day of Feb! Feb is always too short, it’s Feb’s fault, not mine… ha ha.  Oh well, thank fully the gym fee I pay is really fare, so will just try again for another year!  Chris & I would like to maintain the Gold (yes Gold!) status we have with Vitality, so it’s time to get my butt into gear.  I was great in the first two weeks of Jan, then I went away, got sick, got better and got tired (won’t say lazy, cause my days have been anything but) … now it’s time to get right.  

 
ImageI set today aside to visit my mom, show her the fancy car and just love on her.  I miss her and my dad.  The only thing is I also offered a single mom of one of the cuties that comes to Op Die Plaas preschool to help her out from time to time and have her boy spend time with me.  What time?! Well I explained it would be ‘join in’ on the crazy life. Well she asked for today, so I thought cool, just take him with.  I didn’t know if my dad would let him in the house (not going to go into detail), also didn’t know how my mom would cope with the deferred attention.  But they were both so WONDERFUL.  My dad tried to explain what a peacock was in Afrikaans… massive fail, ha ha, us Buresch clan are so bad at speaking anything other than English (and swearing).  My mom loved him and was really cool with it.  We hang around a bit, then I told my dad I was taking my mom and kids to the mall and for lunch. We bought lovely goodies for Antonio, B & E also dipped in.  Then we made our way to Fish Hoek beach, which was oh so lovely.  Ethan wanted to swim, no costume, no towel… so I raced off to Pep Stores in the Merc, parked in a dodgy spot, ran around trying to find something that would serve as a costume – PE shorts was it, payed and prayed that car was ok. Made it back in 10 min, B had a costume on already, so they had fun. We all did! It was great, Antonio’s face when his feet hit the water was priceless.  He was making lovely stinks in the car all the time, thankfully finally when we were about to leave my folks he said he needed a poo, we sorted that out and made our way back.  But the stinks didn’t stop. I told his mom we would come around about 5, I thought Antonio was ‘done’ with us, but as we got closer to his home he became more and more certain that his mom wasn’t there! At first she wasn’t, which was a comfort for him as he verbalised his need to get back into the car. Poor thing, I think I over did it, shopping, beach, restaurant, driving far, my house, my folks house, dogs… all a bit of an overload. Thankfully she arrived with a bit of an opportunity for me to help with a need, then a few tears, a big hug and I was off. Raced to Woolies, bought burgers and stuff for 7 guests in 10 min flat, made it home as the guests arrived.  Great evening with lots of chat and laughter.  One of them was Rob who I was in High School with… it’s so funny how life is a journey and sometimes the ones you meet long ago… return.
 
Today I spoke to X, who I have been trying to connect with, hopefully he will be at church tomorrow. I tried to find him at the traffic light, but just missed him, Jules said he was in my home and she chased him out. While I was grabbing lunch with Mel, I was certain I saw him fly past the window, I sent Chris out to look, but he couldn’t find him.  I posted that I was looking for him on Facebook, knowing that a local friend would see him soon.  The friend found him and let him speak to me on the phone.  Also when I locked up church after guests arrived (it hadn’t been locked properly after Mercy did her Saturday clean), Y came across wanting to know if he would be welcome at church tomorrow… silly billy!  We are all missing him so much and so concerned about him, I offered for him to shower at our place first as not being stinking really helps!  Was hoping to see Z tomorrow as well, he has been doing so well.  But apparently he is on the binge again and blames me for not having his flyers and poster advertising his skills ready.  We had an agreement to wait for the printing until he got a cell, which I gave him money for, but he didn’t use it for a cell, so I wasn’t going to do that twice, thought he can buy one with the hundreds of rands people give him every day while he begs.  He had managed to go to 4 or 5 addiction support group meetings and connected with the Night Shelter Social Worker a few times, was doing so well, now not.  I will still have his flyers ready for him tomorrow, with a blank by the cell number and the board has been ordered with a blank by the cell number.  Nice to have someone to blame for your lack of listening and willingness to take responsibility.  I don’t get hurt by it, it actually doesn’t bug me at all, what bugs me is having to wait and watch and see these guys repeat their mistakes all the time, being given opportunity all the time and not stepping forward for long enough to break the life they have fallen into through choices & circumstances.  What bugs me is knowing that God is the answer, seeing them come to that understanding, but choosing not to live in it.  Hmmmm I have told XYZ of them that as soon as I have a break in the next week or two where I am not running from one direction of urgency to the next, I am going to come with MY begging board.  I will stand next to XYZ and tell the public the truth, I will beg the public not to give cash, but to rather give drugs or drink, because that is what there money buys.  
 
On the up side… In 24 days my sister comes for a 2 week visit, I am looking forward to that! And already thinking of all the fun we will have.  

NO TITLE FOR THIS ONE

Sitting here in the lounge, kids in bed & Christopher in the aircon bedroom, I am alone, while Tammy dearest is fast asleep in her basket, so not so alone.  I am in my birthday suit, which is not a pretty site considering I have failed gym for the last month and am a few days away from turning what feels like three hundred and seven.  I feel so free, I need to bath as I have sand in my toes from an earlier walk on the beach, but prefer to blog first.  It has been awhile!  We have had so many internet issues that I almost gave up at one point.  My previous Mac laptop was stolen by a drug gangster neighbour of ours next to the Strand Campus, well I was on the verge of offering him another one, because I honestly felt he would have more use for it than I do.  I can’t stand when things don’t work!  It is especially hard for me, because I can only manage to do a few things on this very fancy laptop, which is way to clever for me.. but when the internet won’t connect and the little I do know is useless, I get more than fustrated.  We hit January with a house move and a church office move, it was actually two church office moves, because we sent the admin section to SW and the rest to Strand.  We then left the staff to get on with it for two weeks while we were away, poor things.  We did leave them with a mobile device, but basically there were all pretty done by the time we got back and eagerly awaiting a phone line.  Today is the day that it got sorted.  The most lovely Mr Telkom guy came to our rescue, he is the one that was officially sent, who we have met before and found to be a complete gentleman and excellent at what he does.  On Monday Chris and I drove pass two Telkom technicians attending to a job, we decided we couldn’t wait any longer and ‘hi jacked’ them to the office to see what they could do, it lasted a day and we were back to nothing.  Thank the Lord it is all sorted now, well at least at SW, telephone line is in at Strand, just waiting for a stronger source of internet.  It’s amazing how much of an affect this all has on everyone, especially me.  Hence not even trying to blog, because it worked, didn’t, worked, didn’t… not good enough for me… the “german” in me “wants to only hear one click”!

I have also been so ill.  Last year Jan I jumped on a plane and visited my sister in thick snow for a week and then connected with Tracey in Amsterdam for a few days as well.  With the change from extreme (well it is for me) to hot, I was sick for two weeks.  I thought I had escaped that effect this time around, but nope, 5 days later it got me and I have been really battling.  There has been no time to rest, none at all, also my fault, because I choose not to, Chris tries, but I don’t listen.  The loving, concerned and caring people that I have in my life have given me all sorts of medical advice, home remedy recipes and names of products to buy.  I mostly smile, say thanks and actually completely ignore them.  Not that I want to, but most just won’t understand why I am so stupid not to take up there offer to help me get better quickly.  I am IMPOSSIBLE.  That’s the only way to describe it.  One of the most loveliest friends I have made me promise to go buy a packet of dried ginger and eat it all up.  I did buy it, but dreaded the first bite, it was awful, I then ‘conveniently’ left it on the coffee table in our lounge for a little while, right next to where Chris was sitting… walla all gone.  I said later that I felt so ill and that I couldn’t pallet the taste of the ginger, he said it was great and that possible that could be why my illness wasn’t rubbing off on him in any way.  When I was young I had an experience with a cup of tea, which left me never wanting to drink anything warm with any type of granules or bits in it ever again.  I hadn’t yet been exposed to coffee, so haven’t tried that and don’t ever want to, because of the likeness to that bad experience.  Every now and then I will drink half a cup of rooibos, but it is so seldom and as soon as I am reminded of any bits at the bottom and can see them, I stop.  This is my hangup, well one of them!  So no med lemon or alcoholic hot tods for me.  The other thing I have is a pathetic inability to swallow tablets.  I take Myprodol when I really have to for jaw pain, but it is a shocking sight, I literally vomit it back up as I am trying to get it down and then have to re swallow the lot, half choking and splatting out sylvia and water everywhere.  I take Myprodol only because it is the drug I trust after 4 jaw operations.  Others drugs I don’t trust, so not only is the swallowing an issue for me, but I just don’t trust drugs and also don’t want them in my system.  So I have been sick for a week now and am slowly coming right.

My gym budding has probably lost hope by now, I am hoping Friday will be the day that I return!

Being away was great, but overall I was so homesick, ridiculous that I couldn’t just live in the moment.  Since being back it has been non stop busy.  Vision Sunday in church went well, as it was expected.  In one way I don’t want to get excited and think about the vision and all that we are believing for in the lives of people & our community… because every year we put a vision forward before God, He delivers over and above.  I am thinking is it possible again, am I able to walk into all these promises, all this vision, have the passion, the energy, stand in faith, make difficult decisions, walk on new roads, make new relationships etc… Maybe if I don’t get excited, don’t talk about it and don’t think about it … it will all just stay away or … i don’t know.  But NO, It will happen, with or without me, God grows His church, I need to get into it, get going, before I know it the end of the year will be here and I will find myself again looking back and reflecting on the growth in me and in the church.  Can’t believe that Mid Feb is here! All the birthday wishing I have already missed.

One of the hardest things that I have been dealing with is the loss of momentum that has happened in the life of someone God had me on a journey with, I am still in his life, but he has taken some major steps backwards.  Today I connected with him and reminded him of our love and concern for him and that the door to help is always open.  I talked through some options with him, offered to trash the drugs he had on him, offered him personal daily assistance.  But I knew he wasn’t ready yet, he walked away from me crying.  I didn’t cry, because I feel that even though tears haven’t been flowing, my heart has been crying for the two weeks that he has been back on the street.  I know that there is always someone else in need of help, this Sunday another man who is sleeping rough came to church, funny enough the one who walked away, told this one to come to church and speak to Jo, she will help you.  Well I briefly connected with him in the morning, but then he disappeared.  Thankfully he was back in the evening, one thing led to another as they do and we were able to take him to the shelter that night.  Unfortunately he left the next day.  Not because the shelter is a bad place, it is an awesome place.  But because he is not ready for help and refuses to be bound by structure and rules.  Society is not a free for all, we all have to learn to operate within it’s realms, most homeless people don’t want to.  It’s a constant battle.  When I got the low down of what it was exactly that he didn’t like, one of the aspects was that he said he doesn’t want to be told to help to clean up or do any duty.  Another was that he wants to be free to have a drink at the end of the evening.  He returned back to his usual begging spot, where people daily give him money (PLEASE DON’T), tonight he will probably get a meal, something to DRINK, but probably no sleep, because the little he does have will have to be protected by staying alert.  He is beaten up almost every night and told not to sleep here and not to sleep there.  Every morning the kids and I drive past one of SW’s most well known homeless people.  On Tuesday morning we had to stop at the traffic light and were actually dead next to him, he could have been dead, the way he was lying there under a sheet.  We saw people walk right past him on route to work.  The kids were looking and I said how sad it is.  Beth added that there should be a home or a place for people like him who battle with their addictions.  My kids are so aware of drug addicts and what ‘they end up looking like’. Don’t know if that is a good or bad thing… thinking good.  I reminded her that people like him who are so far gone in their addiction, want help, but just can’t bring themselves to the point of positioning themselves in a place of help.  And that as much as they try they leave as no one can keep another captive against their own will unless it’s because of a criminal offence.  Being an addict is not criminal, maybe it’s time it should be… because it’s criminal agains themselves.  They are their own worst enemies.  They need to be protected against themselves.  Beth immediately concluded that there should be a safe place somewhere where we can lock him up and take care of him until he is better.  I WISH.  Another one of my regular ‘pals’ was seen begging at the traffic light, he told me a week prior that he had a job, but usually he ends up being fired.  A friend phoned after seeing him on the beg again and asked after him, I said I would summons him for a chat, he arrived at church on the Sunday morning and with a massive smile told me he had a job, I snapped with “then why BEG?!”  He said he had nothing else to do on the Saturday… I was off to Strand so told him to meet me at 11:30 am so we could chat in detail, he didn’t, but I will wait… he will come back!  The key here is to allow a space for them to come back.  For most addicts, family have given up, society gives up, what we as a church can’t do is give up, we have to HAVE HOPE, we have to keep the door open.  So even though on the outside I am appearing ok and am used to dealing with these sorts of things, it is getting a bit heavy in my heart of late.

Just when I thought all of that was enough… being sick, loosing ‘sons’ – finding them and then loosing them again, internet… I found out that our ex neighbour, the one from Victoria Park, where we still own a little house… died.  She died on Saturday of a heart attack.  We connected so well to her and her husband and the kids,  Chris spent time counselling them, Beth played with her daughter and Mom & Pops were pressurised by me to take one the puppies their dog had, which is now the spoilt rotten Biscuit which they love so much.  She worked at Ackermanns in Cape Town and thanks to her generosity as store manager we were able to bless thousands of people with shoes, clothing and bedding. She continued to do this for about 5 years.  Our tenant says the children called an ambulance but by the time it got there which was quickly, she had already passed away from a heart attack.  Now this just makes all the heaviness I have in my heart even heavier.  Thank the Lord I managed to go to my first women’s bible study last night, first official one as a ‘member attending’ and not the leader, organiser or person from the church office.  We have 3 morning women’s bibles studies, which are wonderful, but mornings are working time for me… so we launched in faith an evening one for the office working women. It was wonderful, 7 of us, which was perfect, because we all had time to share and listen.  The speaker was Ann Voskamp from Canada.  She is just too perfect, I love her voice, love her look, love her story.  The study is titled ONE THOUSAND GIFTS, it is just perfect for the ‘season’ I find myself in right now.  Thank You Lord for a Word in Season!

Golly gosh, this has been a long one.  I think I am back now, so more to follow.  Good news on the sister front, but I will have to phone first before I share.

HOME

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What makes a place a home? This has been on my mind and heart.  I think it has to do with the sense of knowing where you belong, where you work, serve and have purpose.  That’s why as lovely as England, Scotland and Whales are it’s not my home.  6 more sleeps and I will be home, seems silly, cause 2 weeks or so ago I was counting down 6 more sleeps to get here.  We are enjoying ourselves immensely.  We are so incredibly blessed to be experiencing what we are.  I think of all the places we have been, I love Helensbrough for the ‘small country life’ where my mom grew up and Liverpool for sure for the ‘city life’.  It’s funny how your mind paints a picture with the information you have, my mom has given me bits of information over the years, it all adds up now that I have been and seen for myself.  But in my mind I saw something different.  Going to see Lagarie House with Jules, was something I wanted to do for a very long time, it was a significant event.  Whilst we were there, my sister was over whelmed with emotion, I go into functional mode and find it hard to tap into those emotions… she phoned my mom and they both cried together, whilst we walked around. It’s a beautiful house built in 1901, it was donated  in 1950 to the Scottish Navy, for care of their children that had come into need.  My mom and her 3 siblings were one of those families.  Even though the house is of a decent size, I find it hard to believe that up to 80 children were taken care of in it.  My mom speaks of how they used to walk to school, through the forest, fields and over a river… I can now picture it clearly.  What a beautiful town it is.  Jules was exhausted by the time she got home that evening, if I thought I was an emotional being, she takes it to the mountain top. My meeting up with uncle Bobby for the first time was just lovely, what a loveable man.  He said I look the double of my mom, Jules kept on petitioning for some kind of likeness to my mom from him, but he wasn’t giving it… (she can’t stand that she looks like our dad).  Altogether it was a special day and as I walked away from it all I could think of was how life has changed, unfortunately not so much for my mom (just can’t share on that), but definitely yes for my sister and I.  And a thousand percent yes for Ethan & Beth.  Life can be so cruel, but there is always the potential for turn around, for new beginnings, for a brighter future.  I feel so privileged to be living the life I live.  Thank you mommy for constantly demonstrating what it is to push through the hard and ugly difficulties that come your way, still. 

Jules and I managed to survive our differences and enjoy our time together.  She misses the sense of family so much, so before I get here, she is already building up on emotion, by they time we connect a bit of a release of pressure is needed, we then find our rhythm and get into sister mode.  We definitely had some good laughs and the hero of the few days was Chris, Jules adores him, he was definitely handy to have around, as he is able to bring the peace between us.  

Back to Liverpool, well we only had half a day and a morning in it, but I managed to get a small sense of what it was and really liked it.  Funny, because I had no idea I would.  Again it’s amazing how your mind builds up a picture.  We connected with John & Eli in the evening in Chester (very similar to York), had a wonderful time chatting.  They recently returned after being in South Africa for 3 years, we love that we get to connect with Church family when we are over.  Another couple which we are so tempted to visit, but just have to hold back on our mission to travel all of the UK! is Dave & Sue in the South, thankfully they will be at LIFE in February, so we will just have to wait to see them.  Gosh, we drove and drove and drove yesterday.  The radio kept us entertained, with the constant belting out of what must be Britians most played song on radio right now: Timber… well not sure of the actual name, by Pitbull.  Such an addictive tune, but wow they play it a lot.  We finally reached Norwich, had a nice swim at the hotels fitness club and then settled in for hours of British TV, laughed our heads off at some comedy.  Had a good rest and here we are 8 am in the morning, pitch black outside.  In an hour or so Paddy and Jennika will collect us for a nice big breakfast.  Tomorrow Chris will minister at the two campuses Paddy leads, it’s going to be good to see familiar faces, because we have been there before, not so long ago.  

On Monday we will make our way to Amsterdam for the last bit of our adventure, we have 3 days to explore.  Again I am overwhelmed by God and His grace, His love.  Life it too much to consume, I need God in order to make sense of it all.  As much as I love the opportunity to explore, to take a break, I am reminded of what makes home home.  It’s the people, the familiarities, even the smell of the place.  I do not have that here, but I see that Jules does, I see that others do too. 

A LOT TO KEEP ME QUIET

We have been doing so much and internet connection has not been great, so I am behind in blogging.  On Sunday we drove 3 hours in the cold, rain & dark to get to Aberdeen, so Chris could preach at Jules church.  We had a great time, with thankfully a great response.  Nothing like people responding to salvation. We then had lunch at an amazing Indian Restaurant with the Indian Pastor VJ and his Scottish Wife Alwyn, plus their two bouncy boys.  I love taking relationships further, finding out more.  We ate like kings and it was great having VJ as the expert on what to order.  I asked him where he grew up and what his life story was (trust me to get there).  He met his wife whilst studying at Aberdeen University, studying Theology.  At the time he was an elder at the Aberdeen Assembly of God.  The local Baptist Church needed a pastor and offered him the opportunity.  The reason why he was studying was to gain the theory he needed in ordered to go back and join his parents mission in Deli.  I can’t remember the exact detail, but basically his parents have dedicated their lives to saving children.  They have rescued thousands of orphans, transformed their lives and shared the Gospel with thousands of thousands of people.  They have a conference centre, that can accommodate 6 000.  They train up pastors from all over india.  VJ has a  brother and other siblings who are helping his parents, but we sensed and deep yearning within him to return and in saying that we also saw how committed he was to where God had placed him.  What an amazing couple!  Yay, we now have another “pastor” couple we can call friends.
Vj
We then had a quick drive around my sisters neighbourhood.  Chris was impressed and said that Jules and I had both played it down.  The water waves of the North Sea were roaring, but we still sent Chris out the car for a quick photo.  Made sure Jules had her hot chocolate fix.  Also met Jules boyfriend James.  Seems lovely.  I thought I would just get it over with on the spot and told him that I think they should marry!  He immediately responded with a look of acceptance and a sincere appreciation that I felt that way… he then gestured to propose on the spot.  I quickly halted that with a “gotta go now, cheers, nice meeting you.”  Jules is so deserving of ‘the one’, one that loves her the way her heart needs to be loved.  She is so sentimental and romantic.  Basically she wants someone to hear her, hold her and adore her.  He seems to want to do all that. He has also seen her at her worse (let’s not go there, as I am not talking about looks, but behaviour), he has been around when she has been so tired, she goes barmy (I do this too), she has had her period, she has been in constant pain from root canal, claustrophobic, OCD in full swing, the lot… and he still adores her!  I am happy for her, like her, I do hope he is the one, as there is nothing worse than investing into something that has no future.  Yes it does define your future and help take you to what you are really meant to have and be, but the long way round get’s tiring and sometimes we just need to drive right into where we need to be.  I hope he is her “drive in”.
We then drove back ‘home’ to Aberfoyle… in the dark, cold, rain.  I am don’t really handle all the driving and thought, can’t believe we thought this was a good idea! Got back exhausted.  We had plans to venture to the biggest mountain in the UK in the morning, Ben Nevis.  But we weren’t sure if we could face another day of so much driving.  Well we did and we don’t regret it, what a day we had.  MAJESTIC is the word.  I have always had a hearts desire to explore the beauty of the highlands, well I know why, because I knew it would be surreal.  We still find our being here surreal and have to reach out and touch things to affirm that we are actually here.  Chris adores nature, he kept on drinking in the sights, it’s ridiculously beautiful.
Had a great chat with E & B on the phone, lot’s of talk of boys from Beth! Chris had to jump in with a stern word… and it seems Ethan has 4 girlies following him around! Oh boy, we have Teenagers!
Last night after eating a ready made Tesco pizza and watch a whack load of British TV… (one of the programmes confirmed, I am addicted to sugar… and it’s not my fault!)… I decided to google some info on where my mom was brought up.  Years ago my mom and sister made a trip down to Helensbrough, they had a look at the Children’s Home where my mom was taken care of, it was no longer a home, was sold in 1983 to a developer who turned it into 4 apartments.  Tomorrow Jules will be with us and we will meet up with Uncle Bobby, my moms younger brother.  I have never met him before.  It’s going to be weird, but good to finally meet him.  I google earthed the area and looked up the street of the Chidren’s home, Legarie House, Torwoodhill Road in Rhu.  I didn’t realise it was so close to the waters edge.  Looks like a nice area.  I then clicked on a link which took me to a report on the Children’s care between 1950 and 1980 in Scotland… a lengthy report, detailing all the abuse etc.  The home my mom was sent to with her identical twin, older sister and younger brother was mentioned in great detail.  My mom has told me of some of what happened.  I know that she is a survivor… but the whole thing just leaves a me speachless.  Hense no sleep after that.  I do still want to visit the area, get a sense of what surrounding my mom grew up with.  One of the hardest things in life is trying to understand why people are so cruel, but often the answer never comes.  God is the one who holds life in His hands, he knows the start and the finish. He understands the source.  Thankfully God is my source, thankfully my mom knows God well, praise God that even though my immediate family are so very SPECIAL, they are all saved by God’s grace and in a close relationship with Him.

THE SOUNDS

It’s early here in Edinbrugh, around 6 am. The window is wide open thanks to Chris, forget the fact that it winter, he was hot last night and lay on topImage of the covers with the window open letting the icy air in, hence me sleeping in my thermals. I am up now and the sound of rain and church Bells is amazing, add the snoring! I am so glad Chris has had a good sleep. We were so tired last night. Had planned to go out for a meal and a late comedy show, but barely made the meal. The last time we went to a comedy show, it was a disaster. I walked out at the start, I had had a stressed day, then someone sent me a message which upset me even further… I was exhausted and not feeling like I could laugh. Chris is not one to give in or up easily. So he stayed as long as he could (it was Nic… The Jewish Xhosa speaking South African guy). Eventually his concern for me got the better of him… He found me rolled up on the floor by the main entrance up stairs. Well I am sure we weren’t going to have a repeat of this, but it is still fresh in Chris mind. As soon as we landed we found the hotel, was so excited about the locality… Right on the corner of the Golden Mile. We love the IBIS hotel, we get such good deals and the rooms are simple with white sheets. No frills, just the basics, which is perfect because all we do is sleep there, too much exploring to do to stick around. So we got straight into it and went up to the castle. Amazing, with such great views. The special treat was the sunshine that kept breaking through the clouds, it took the bite off the chill.

We then made our way back at 4 pm in the dark! put more clothes on at the hotel and lay on the bed for a bit, our feet were cramping up… Probably from the flight and no use then overuse! It was so tempting to just fall asleep, nothing like lying flat after having to try and sleep upright on an overnight flight.  Because it gets dark so early and the time is two hours before SA it is an adjustment, we decided to go out. We walked around town getting a feel for where everything is and the. Had a lovely pub meal that we couldn’t finish and decided then to call it a night and get the rest we needed… Chris is stills getting some.

Today Jules is traveling down from Aberdeen, can’t wait to see her. We would like to visit the ‘monk’ island and explore the harbour area a bit… Going to be a great day, I am sure filled with lots of laughter between Jules and I.

I can’t stop thinking about LIFE, keep on whattsapping them!

Sunday going to be really good, I have a great expectancy for what God is going to d at Aberdeen Christian Fellowship.

NIP, NIP, NIP

Busy, busy, busy was the day. I kept on speaking out the words, “I am tired” some how I think it helps, but it doesn’t. I somehow think if people hear me saying this they will do something, but they don’t… Chris did, he said “stop it now”.

Today I faced a challenge. It felt as if someone was trying to bite at my ankles. Last time we went away, Chris had the same thing, different story, eventually at Schipol airport he had to let it go. I have let it go. I have a HUGE respect, huge isn’t the word, MASSIVE respect for Pastors D & P, our bosses. If I think of one day in the ministry for Chris and I, compared to all the years, situations, scenarios and people they have had to deal with…. Golly gosh, yet they never stop. Today is their wedding anniversary, congratulations, lots of lover to bot hog you.

A thank you also to Lisa Bevere who posted this: This is my year of dangerous living…I’d rather speak & be labeled judgmental by others than remain silent & be judged a goat by God. Faith, hope, love & righteousness have a voice.

boarding now….