Thursday, August 21, 2008

Nostalgic for Africa


This morning I was just going about my daily routine of getting ready for work, taking out the trash, watering the flowers, locking up the cottage, when I heard a dove coo. That single sound crumbled my insides and made me so homesick for South Africa. That is one of the sounds of Africa for me, and here it was taunting me from its perch in little Ripon town, California. I was just minding my own business, doing my life, here, in California, and then Africa calls and tugs at my heart again. Its left me in a state of nostalgia, random images and memories of "my" Africa keep popping into my mind. Sometimes it feels so far way, physically and "emotionally", and then a single coo can bring it back in an instant colliding into my new life here, I still feel far away, that truth is just more present in my mind. I am all too aware of the part of me that is missing because I left it behind in Africa, where it will probably always remain, a part of me apart from me.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Joy Full

The summer holidays are quickly coming to an end. Back to school is in every store. Makes me think of the CNA advertisments in South Africa (CNA was a stationary store), after the Christmas/summer break (both one and the same), the jingle haunted and taunted every school child as it rang in their ears "back to school, back to reality"...shiver.....

The beginning of this summer season we were clueless as to what this next year would look like. We knew Josh was doing his teachers credential, but we didn't know if he would be in the internship program (therefore have a paid teaching position as well as getting his credential) or in the regular student teacher program (in the schools every day but not paid, and have other classes too). Josh took some summer courses online so that he would be "intern ready", so that if a position opened up and they were willing to hire an intern then he would be "ready". At the same time we were trying to prepare ourselves for the alternative, and be "ready" for that. Either direction is going to be hard for us, Josh will be busy with school and school. But in terms of finances the two options are opposite extremes! With the student teaching program I would be the sole breadwinner, my earnings only just covering our bills. With the internship we will be better off then we have ever been. For the last three months we have been living out the phrase "hoping for the best, expect the worst". I utterly trust God in whichever direction he wants to take us.

When I first thought about this year and our potentially very tight budget, I had a really hard time with it, one reason was because we weren't going to be able to see coldplay!! (how silly is that!). The fact that I had a hard time with it distressed me even more. I wanted to have a good attitude. God really challenged me on my attitude that evening (this was before our trip to Canada). I retreated upstairs to my bed (my favorite place to read my bible and spend time with God). Every verse I read was about being tested and considering our trials and suffering as joy. The more I read the more the weight lifted off my shoulders and my attitude changed. I literally came downstairs a changed person. I was actually excited for this potentially hard year. I was excited for what God wanted to show and teach us through it all, that he wanted to refine me and work on my heart. That he wanted me to learn to be content. That it would make our marriage stronger in Him. I had peace. Even though it is all still very much up in the air, I had peace, confidence, that whatever happens, we are loved by an awesome, and faithful God who is our provider. YAY!

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
James 1:2-4

This time last week we had resolved ourselves to the fact that Josh would be going into Student teaching as nothing had come of any of the jobs he had applied for. So Josh signed up online for classes and went to Starbucks to pick up an application (we thought a Starbucks job, would work well with his school schedule and bring a little bit in to help financially), he ended up having an interview at Starbucks. Later that evening Josh's dad called saying that one of the schools had called back. Josh had an interview on Friday......

Yesterday they called and he got the job!

It was like a weight lifted off both of us in that moment, a weight I don't think we were fully aware of, it was almost unreal. I have always loved the saying " peace is joy at rest and joy is peace dancing", demonstrating how the two go hand in hand....well I am definitely dancing!! What a faithful God we serve, our awesome provider!!! This year is going to be tough, and God knew this and lifted some of the weight by providing for us in a big way. Just like Him and his perfect timing to be last minute!! Ha ha!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Happy Birthday Chris

Yesterday was my brother Chris's Birthday. He would have been 23 years old. This is one of the last photographs we have of him. He died suddenly at age 12 from Meningitis. I miss him. I find it interesting that around the anniversary of his birth and his death I start having alot of memories and thoughts about him, even 11 years later. Usually there is a day or two around these times where I feel sad, and it takes me a while to realise why. Yesterday was one of those sad days. I woke up at 6:30am and my first thought was that it was Chris's Birthday so I whispered a Happy Birthday wish into the early morning air and then fell back to sleep. When I awoke again at 9:30 I forgot about it. I got up and had a hard time finding anything to wear to church, that we were already late for, this invariably was a steep slope to feeling sad and frustrated for me. So Josh suggested I stay home, I did, and easily persuaded him to stay too. It was only then that I realised again what day it was. Suddenly I was overwhelmed by how much I miss him. I miss not knowing who he would be today. What he would look like and be like. Then I thought about where he is, I smiled at Josh through my tears and said "I bet he is having the best party ever!". I am so thankful for Chris, although his life was short, I am so thankful I was one of the privileged ones to not only share life with him and to know him, but also to be his sister. We started a tradition to have Hawaiian pizza on his anniversary's each year. His first birthday after he died, we wanted to do something fun to remember him, so we joked that we should have a sleep over with his Friends, watch The Mask (his favorite movie) and eat Hawaiian Pizza...we never had a sleep over but the Pizza stuck, and sometimes we watch a Jim Carey movie. We didn't have a pizza yesterday (we are on a strict budget) but Josh blessed me by making miniature pizza's with crackers and cheese and other interesting things from our fridge, baked in the oven. It meant alot to me. I look forward to the day that I can introduce them one day in heaven. Until then I have plenty of great memories to share about a special boy who has touched and changed my life for ever.
Happy Birthday Chris!

Friday, August 8, 2008

My Gentleman

Off to an interview....I had to document my dressed up gentleman....Oh how I love him.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

run

This was what the sky looked like when I went for my run yesturday morning. I took this photo with a disposable camera that got wet when we went rafting down the river last weekend. This is why I love running in the mornings.

Due to the hot temperatures that come with summertime here I started going for my run in the mornings before work. I love running in the morning. It's tough rolling out of bed and making myself go. There have been a couple of mornings where I have let Josh (too easily) pursuade me not to go. And then I regret it when I try and run in the afternoon heat. But mostly I have mastered the technique of not thinking about it too much. I robotically climb out of bed and into my running clothes, eat a trusty banana, stretch a little and head out, by myself. Josh does not enjoy running in the mornings so its just me and my thoughts.

I love these mornings, before the world wakes up. Its so still and quiet. The only sounds are the birds cheering me on, the sprinklers spinning, my feet methodically hitting the road and my prayers silently spoken and lifted to God. Although I miss running with Josh, I have come to treasure these times by myself, the time with God.