Hold my hand.

Cherry-32

In the past three months I have journeyed through a valley, yet I find myself more in love with Jesus than ever before.  At the Dwell conference this weekend I was touched by the Holy Spirit in a significant way and in this time there was a complete shift that took place in the depths of me.   As the sweet presence of God surrounded me like a blanket every burden I was carrying lifted off.  The weight of His glory replaced the weight of the world I was carrying on my shoulders.

I went from feeling the dark shadows of life surrounding me to sensing an unquenchable   joy erupt from deep with.  In an instant my smile intensified and the longings of my heart for a greater glimpse of Him became insatiable.

I’ve always walked closely with God but it’s as if my soul has been exposed to a new dimension.  A new glory realm and an increased sense of His goodness. His kindness. His complete perfection that governs my every move.

It is in this time that God has revealed to me that my greatest ministry will come from the Valley.  In the Valley there is an anointing.  In the Valley there is revelation. In the Valley there is deep intimacy with God.  I will draw near to Him as He has gone into the future to prepare a way for me and in kindness He follows behind me.

 

Psalm 23

Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

 

The wrap around presence of Jesus covers me and the hand of God reaches out to hold my hand.  His words to me this past week  reassure me that in spite of what I face, His hand is reaching out toward mine.

My prayer is that as you read these words of The Father to me, you would know that they are the same words He echo’s over you in the shadows.

May these words resonate with your soul and draw you to imagine reaching out your hand and placing it in His.

 

Bon, I am here. I will take you through this Valley.  When the shadows overwhelm you, hold onto my hand- your faith will be held firm as you grasp a hold of my hand. I will hold you.  Fear not, for I am with you. I will take hold of your hand and I will lead you. I will not let go. I will provide. I will bless.

Do not loose heart.

– Jesus

 

This entire week God has been showing me continuous signs of His hand reaching out toward me.  Through scriptures confirmed and a song that come on the radio. He is constantly reassuring me that His hand is in mine.

 

Isaiah 41:13-15 Living Bible (TLB)

13 I am holding you by your right hand—I, the Lord your God—and I say to you, Don’t be afraid; I am here to help you. 14 Despised though you are, fear not, O Israel; for I will help you. I am the Lord, your Redeemer; I am the Holy One of Israel. 1

 

My circumstances haven’t changed. Everything remains as it was.  I still face challenges and choices yet with my hand in His I am bold and courageous.  All is clear. My mind is sound and my heart is in a place of rest.

 

Ephesians 1: 17-18 (TPT)

“My prayer for you today is that the Father of glory, the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, would impart to you the riches of the Spirit of wisdom and revelation to know Him through your deepening intimacy with him.

I pray that the light of God all illuminate the eyes of your imagination, flooding you with light, until you experience the full revelation of the hope of His calling- that is, the wealth of God’s glorious inheritances that he finds in us, his holy ones.”

 

Dare to imagine. Dare to dream.  A perfect God calling your name, reaching out His hand and beckoning you to come as you are.  He does not come with judgement nor condemnation, He comes with an intimate call.  A still small whisper, He is calling you, His work of art created with a love-filled purpose, to place your hand in His.

 

Why I chose no drugs in childbirth

225164_10150178607916891_2588327_nIn response to my previous blog post, a good friend of mine, who is an anaesthetist, asked what my reason behind not taking pain medication or having an epidural when giving birth was?

I have nothing against epidurals at all and in fact with Mila I asked for one.

What happened was, it failed dismally. It only worked on one half of my body and so I was left in agony, pinned to a bed, feeling as if I was being stabbed in the side. I had no ability to stand or control my pain as the midwife kept rolling me from side to side (whilst bringing me gas).  I remember looking at her with a venomous eye and saying, “will I be paying half price for this epidural, or the full price?”

After hours of pain the irritable anesthetist was then called back just before it was time for me to push.  He dosed me with so much anesthetic that when I did push… I couldn’t.  I felt as if I was pushing my eyes out of their sockets and my brain through the top of my head.  My floppy legs felt separated from my body and I had no control. I felt as if the epidural prolonged my labour (labour was 27 hours in total) and after the birth I had to wait most of day with a catheter attached before I could get up and walk.

This experience was what gave me a desire to try it without and to explore the more natural route.  I figured, if I had control over my pain and could walk and breath through contractions then it would be far better… and it was!  Not only that, I believe that the prolonging of the labour as a result of the epidural had a negative affect on Mila at birth as she was completely exhausted and therefore limp when she came out.  The doctor’s had to suction her nose and rub her ferociously in order to get her to cry.

With Sam I chose to go without an epidural and it was quick and seamless. Yes of coarse it was painful, but not nearly as painful as it was when is was localised to one half of me. I also knew that I had to control myself.  I didn’t want to complain or scream through the pain as I had chosen to go without the drugs- it was a decision I had made.  Screaming would ruin the experience for everyone around me and it would be a sign of me loosing control.  As soon as I had given birth, I held and breastfed Samuel for 2 hours with skin to skin contact and then got up and helped Dylan give him his first bath.

So to answer my friends question- I wouldn’t want to go the epidural route again.  The pain of the epidural was far worse than going without it and having control over my body and mind is far more appealing.  There was a sense of peace and calm that came over me as I contrmplated the fact that God made us to give birth this way. Also, if all of our mothers did it in a self- controlled manner then so can I.

My friend said something interesting and that is that she gets the feeling from some women, that their choice to go without pain medication is more of an emotional choice- where they almost want to be seen as a hero (and so they tell everyone and anyone repeatedly that they had no epidural.)  Perhaps someone in their life had placed this expectation on them, that in order to truly be a woman and “earn your motherhood stripes” as it were, they must go the 100% natural route?  Perhaps this is true for some? Who cares anyway?

There are others, who favour the natural route and would prefer to control the pain as apposed to not having control.  I am also lead to believe that epidurals can slow the process down and I really want nothing more than for it to go quickly for the sake of me and the baby.

There is so much pressure or  “mommy guilt” placed on women these days.  An unspoken pressure for one to do things a certain way, right from conception through to when your child is grown- there will always be many different schools of thought.  For mom’s who have caesar’s and epidurals I have enormous respect and admiration for you.  At the end of the day what is most important is that your baby is safe and that it is prevented from being starved of oxygen or placed under distress at birth, for whatever reason.

My belief is that one should go with ones gut. We are all different. What works for some may not work for others.  We are all in this road together and ought to support one another as apposed to judge.

 

Three things to do when waiting to give birth

There is noting that can quite compare to the feeling of utter suspense when waiting for the arrival of your unborn child.  Every cramp, tightening of the stomach and slight wince of pain immediately catapults you into a world of wonder.  Is it now? When will it be and how long will it take?  Was that wee or my waters breaking?  For those who know when the date is set, I can imagine the suspense is as intense as those who have natural birth.

In my current state of pre-natal tension (I am now 39 weeks pregnant with a slowly calcifying placenta), I thought I would offer some thoughts on what one can do to help curb the expectant anxiety of the moment as well as give one strength in the moment.  Perhaps these thoughts will be more helpful to first time mom’s, especially those wanting to have natural birth?  Having experienced giving natural birth twice before, one with an epidural that went wrong, and one without the pain medication, I feel that I am a lot more equipped for what is to come.  I think back to the first time I gave birth and I somehow wish I knew then what I know now.

My thoughts and advice…

  1. Rest now- mentally, physically and spiritually

The term “nesting” has been so real to me, especially now that I am having my third child and running a business at the same time.  It is almost to the point where I have become slightly obsessive and have needed to truly take a step back and “let go”.

I have re-decordated, re-arranged, re-planned.  I have become a drill sergeant when it comes to the routine that Mila and Sam are in and I have not stopped working.  In the past two weeks I have been to bed at 2am on two occasions in an attempt to complete all the work that I have on my plate prior to my little ones arrival.

I was convicted of this obsessive behaviour when my sister approached me with a scripture that rang true.  The scripture she had for me was from Psalm 127 and speaks of how those who “toil and labour, waking early and staying up late, do so in vain as the Lord is the master builder and he is the one who builds the house”.  It then goes on to speak about how “children are a reward from God, like arrows in the hands of a warrior, are children born in ones youth”.

I have realised that all of my attempts to control every detail of my business and life before this baby arrives are futile and that now is the time to step back and to let God “build this house”, as children are the greatest reward.  This baby is a blessing from heaven and whilst I sleep, God will take care of  and build “my house” for me.

After this revelation of the kindness and care of God toward me I am determined to rest.  He longs to bless us and to show himself strong on our behalf.

2.  Take your time

My labour with Mila lasted 27 hours in total.  I did not know what was going on with my body and what to expect.  Contractions seemed to start and then stop and then start again.  I was overcome with frustration and was left completely confused with regard to what was going to happen next.  I remember walking with Dylan to the ATM at 2am, then going for a brisk walk in the pouring rain later that morning, after having been sent home from the hospital because the contractions had stopped.  I timed contractions to the millisecond but as a result only become more and more anxious and exhausted.

With Sam I knew labour would take a while and so I took my time.  I had a sleep, took deep breaths, read my bible and watched the most magnificent sunrise whilst breathing through contractions in the comfort of my own home.  When it was time to go to the hospital I knew it was time as the pain was intense.  It was almost as if in a state of rest and peace I was able to hear what my body was saying.

My mind was focussed and determined and I knew that all would be ok.  I knew that I needed to remain calm and take control.  I used the time to pray over my baby and to expectantly ask God to reassure me of his love and power.  In this state of mental peace my labour process was accelerated and I was able to give birth without drugs and without even a shriek (only a slap to Dylan’s hand when he attempted to massage my back) …and crazy gasps of gas from the gas machine just prior to the delivery.

For those of you who choose to have an epidural or a caesar- this would not be the case but my first experience of a failed epidural, when I had Mila, caused me to choose to go without one when I had Sam.

3.  Relish every moment.

I am overwhelmed at how fast time flies.  Mila will be 5 years old this year and it feels as if I was walking through the rain to quicken her labour last week!  The last five years are like a blur they have gone so fast.

In my longing for this baby to come I am reminded to capture every moment in my mind and heart and not to let time rush by in a haze.  Focussing my attention on the peripheral things of life- like bills that need to be paid and tasks that need to be completed will only rob from this precious, God ordained time.

To all the moms out there who are about to give birth.  I pray for peace over you.  May you rest knowing that it will be ok.  In a state of calm may you be given wisdom and guidance and a surreal knowledge of what it is you should do when the moment of giving birth comes.  May your birth moment be a powerful, awe-inspiring moment.  A moment of rest, joy and excitement, a moment of unprecedented strength and capacity.

Whether you are drugged up for the pain or not, you can do this!

 

 

 

 

 

The wonder of almond milk

About four months ago I became fed up with the way Samuel (my 22 month old son), was in a permanent state of “snottiness”.  He had become accustomed to living with two green stripes protruding from his nostrils and a chest that sounded like it was about to take off.  He had been to the doctor a number of times for an infected chest and at 18 months he was admitted to hospital with bronchial pneumonia and told that he had “chronic rhinitis” (an allergy to dust mites).

It is common knowledge that dairy products are mucous forming but I think that we have become so accustomed to eating dairy that the thought of removing it completely seems far too mammoth a task.  I decided that it was time and I have never looked back.

I have called this blog post “the wonder of almond milk” as I’ve discovered something that has literally performed wonders.  After only one day of taking Samuel off cows milk and placing him on the delicious home made almond milk, my little man is totally snot free.  The recipe (see below) is super easy and fuss free.  It is full of nutrients and digestive enzymes that help one digest the milk properly.  The most rewarding part is that he loves it as it is creamy and delicious.

Lactose intolerance occurs when your small intestine doesn’t produce enough of an enzyme (lactase) to digest milk sugar (lactose).  Normally, lactase turns milk sugar into two simple sugars — glucose and galactose — which are absorbed into the bloodstream through the intestinal lining.  If you’re lactase deficient, lactose in your food moves into the colon instead of being processed and absorbed. In the colon, normal bacteria interact with undigested lactose, causing the signs and symptoms” like the one’s Sam was experiencing.

One of my best friends has a little boy who is extremely lactose intolerant and would, as a result of his allergy, suffer from extreme stomach cramps.  She referred me to an amazing blog.  This tasteful and aesthetically appealing food blog is called “shades of cinnamon” and is where I found my almond milk answers.  I highly recommend that you follow this beautiful food blog!

The post that has helped me was a post called “a guide to soaking and activating nuts and seeds”.

Please see our newly adopted, delicious almond milk recipe below:

 

ALMOND RECIPE

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup of raw, unsalted almonds

5 cups of filtered water

A clean stocking or nut bag

A large jug and high speed blender

1 tsp of salt

1 tablespoon of raw honey (or more if you want a little more sweetness)

METHOD:

Soak one cup of rinsed almonds with the salt, overnight in a jug of water (4-5 cups will suffice).  In the morning blend the almonds with the water in a high speed blender.  Pour the blended almonds through a stocking into a large glass jug.  I place the stocking over the lip of the jug.  The milk left in the jug is your milk which you can sweeten with honey if you wish.  It is creamy and delicious and will last about 3-4 days in the fridge.

I take the pulp in the stocking and dehydrate it in the oven at 50 degrees for about two hours (it’s important not to go over 50 degrees as the nutrients will be destroyed).  I then take the dehydrated almond pulp and put it through my kenwood “mini mill” to make almond flour.  I have made some awesome almond flour pancakes with this flour but of coarse, the flour can be used for making breads, biscuits and more.

DSC_0603 (2)DSC_0622 (1)

I am of the belief that one should experiment with ones health, in order to find answers that work.  We are all completely unique and so what works for one may not work for another.  It’s about finding what works for you.  If you, or your children are battling with sinus problems and chest infections, why not give this a try?  There’s nothing to loose.

If for some reason you have run out of almond milk and need it before your almonds have soaked overnight, I can recommend a product called “Koko”.  It’s a delicious coconut milk drink found at Dischem and is naturally sweetened.  It is quite pricey and so I only resort to this, or woolies oat milk in emergency situations.  Be warned -the almond milk from woolworths is expensive and tastes horrendous!  It also only contains a minuscule amount of “almond pulp” and a bunch of other nonsense ingredients.

To read more on the health benefits of almonds, click here.  You will be amazed at the incredible health benefits of this “wonder” food.

Enjoy!

Pregnant with swine flu, pneumonia and an insurmountable work-load…

IMG_0768

This was the state I was in two months ago, I was “knocked up” and down (both at the same time)!  This is the reason it has been two months since I have had the strength and capacity to write.

It’s incredible what being so sick, never mind pregnant and unable to medicate myself with anything other than panado (does nothing), can do to ones energy and frame of mind.  It’s taken me over a month to recover but I’m pleased to say that I’m back!  I would like to share my thoughts on what my “winter season” has taught me and hopefully inspire you acknowledge the season you are in without allowing your physical and emotional state to govern your actions and life-decisions.

At this time I felt weak, emotional, self-absorbed and downright pitiful, in spite of the fact that I had just received the most incredible news of a miracle growing inside of me.  I began to question where I was at in terms of running my business as well as my capacity as a mother who longed for rest.  I felt overwhelmed with the responsibilities I had to face with a husband who is not around at the moment (studying an MBA).  I was on the brink of complete burn out when all I needed to do was lift my eyes to heaven and “weather the storm”.

Four things I learnt that I should and should not do in “winter”:

1.  I should avoid making life-altering decisions that could drastically change my coarse- the fog of my emotions can lead me off course.

2. Avoid “venting” and complaining, it causes distress and confusion for myself and those around me.

3. Cover myself in a blanket of prayer.

4. I should make time for rest (something I am terrible at doing), after all it’s great to “sleep in” when the wind is howling outside.

As I look back I am reminded of Psalm 84: 5-6 that speaks about “passing through the Valley of Baka”.  The Valley of Baka is the valley of tears.  It’s the valley we go through that is characterised by fear, doubt, depression and weakness, this scripture gives a new perspective on what we should do when in this place.

5What joy for those whose strength comes from the LORD,

who have set their minds on a journey with God.

6When they walk through the Valley of Weeping,b

it will become a place of refreshing springs.

The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings.

7They will continue to grow stronger,

and each of them will appear before God.

In John 16:33 it says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  

The reality for me is that when I look to myself as apposed to God I become disillusioned, I lose perspective and all contentment disappears in my futile striving for something “better”.  It’s in these seasons that we see people let go of their marriages, start adopting self-destructive habits in attempt to gain momentary pleasure, let go of God-given gifts and talents as well as opportunities.  It’s when we allow the winter season to overcome us that we live for the now without the understanding that “this too shall pass” and that summer will come.  We attempt to take control, to “fix the problem” rather that merely surrender to a God who loves us and longs to take us by the hand and reassure us that He overcame it all for us.

There’s a story in Matthew 8:26 that applies to this very state we get ourselves into: verse 23 “Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping (what the heck?). 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”(I can relate to this fear of drowning) 26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid ?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.  (Jesus is the one who made it calm)

Im pleased to say that my winter has now passed and life is good.  I have a protruding belly and bum (they get really big the third time around), a holiday booked in December, a great business, a loving marriage and two beautiful children.  I have never felt so full of contentment and vigour.  When I close my eyes and think of Jesus, I see his smile.  The storm did pass and I am stronger for it.

May your valley’s become a refreshing spring and may you be strong.

He is good.

Peace…

 

A love letter to my daughter

Dear Mila

Four years ago at 5h10am, after 27 hours of labour and a failed epidural, I gave birth to a miracle- that miracle was you.

My heart almost stopped beating when your limp and tired body was taken from mine.  The nurse was instructed by the doctor to rub you in order to get you to cry.  Hot tears flowed down my cheeks as they suctioned your nose to get you to breath.  When they handed you back to me, your naked skin on mine, I knew my life was changed forever.

You are the delight of my heart.  Each moment I look into your flawless face and dark brown eyes, I stand in awe of a God that is a God of purpose, of intention.  He searched you and he knew you even before you were conceived.  He knew that one day He would create a child that was so full of passion and desire to love and be loved.  A sensitive soul with an inquiring mind.  A creative genius who would one day think up ideas others never had, a child who would hear the whispers of Heaven and follow their trail toward greatness.  His eyes saw your unformed body and he mapped out your days in His book, even before any of them came about.

Then, in a secret place, when the time was perfect He began His work, His masterpiece.  He had planned everything to perfection.  He knew exactly what to do.  He knitted you together in my womb and spoke words of life, blessing and praise as He pondered over the joy you would one day bring, immeasurable, unquenchable joy to all around you.  He saw His work and beamed with pride at how wonderful you are, how fearfully and wonderfully you had been created.  He then spoke and said, “Her name must be Mila Grace, which means favoured one, covered by the unmerited favour of God.”  He then made a declaration over you that could never be broken and it was this:

” I have searched you Mila, and I know you, I will know when you sit and when you rise, I perceive all of your thoughts from afar.  I discern your going out and your lying down; I will be familiar with all of your ways.  Before a word is on your tongue, I will know it completely. I will draw you into me on every side and I will always have my hand upon you.  You can’t run away from my Spirit, my thoughts for you outnumber the grains of sand in all the universe.  I will search your heart and know you, I will create in you a pure heart and I will renew a steadfast spirit within you.  You are mine, I will never leave you.  Look to me, my radiant one and your face will never be covered with shame.  You will have choices to make.  I will set before you blessing and curses to choose, but CHOOSE LIFE.  As you make me your delight I will give you all the desires of your heart.  Ask of me and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.  Anything you ask of me, according to my will will be granted.  The price has been paid in full, you are free.  I have called you for such a time as this so go, run free.  I will make your feet like the feet of a deer so that you may reach the very heights of all that I have to offer you.  Do not hold back, Be BOLD and very courageous. Do not be afraid, remember I am with you and I will never leave you nor forsake you.  My plans are to prosper you and not to harm you, they are yo give you a hope and a future.  You are mine.   Adventure with me Mila on this journey called life.  It will be wild it will be good.”

We love you more than words could ever express and we praise God for giving us the privilege of raising you as our daughter.  It is a job we do not take lightly.  We have dedicated you to Him and pray that you would always choose to run free in the paths of His commands, the paths that lead to a life of fullness and joy.

I will love you forever, unconditionally, immeasurably much.

Love Mom

The words of promise from God to us, are taken form the following scripture references: 

Psalm 139, Jeremiah 29:11, Deuteronomy 30:19, Psalm 37:4, Matthew 7:8, Acts 1:8, Psalm 2:8, Galatians 5:1, Esther 4:14, Psalm 18:33, Joshua 1:9, Deuteronomy 31:6
281955_10150261369157044_5187004_n 283455_10150261370542044_3109936_n 282102_10150261370857044_3397101_n
265151_10150261369577044_3114849_n 265030_10150261371052044_1413164_n

283413_10150261369447044_6535479_n 282782_10150261370007044_2703831_n 271192_10150261371287044_6498295_n 268368_10150261370082044_3060183_n 269669_10150261371387044_245411_n 270447_10150261370427044_6164798_n 281712_10150261370712044_4235969_n

Mila at only a few days old.  Pic’s taken by my beautiful friend Kristy Carlson.

The Sweet Sound of Grace

The other day my friend posted a quote on instagram that got me thinking.  It said this, “What Sussie says of  Sally says more of Sussie than of Sally”.  Essentially what this is saying is that judgement of a person does not define the person but rather the one doing the judging.

I think that with out realising, I have fallen into the trap of judging others.  But not only am I guilty of judging I am guilty of worrying about the judgement of others toward me.  I often become consumed at the thoughts of others that I am left maimed, with time wasted and the life sapped from me like a moaning child would sap it’s mothers strength.

I know nothing except what everyone knows.

If there when grace dances, I should dance” 

– W.H. Auden

Here are some of my thoughts surrounding the notion of grace and judgement.

1. “Hurting people hurt people”.  If I am judging others it means that there is hidden hurt, emptiness or issues in me.  Perhaps it’s jealousy, insecurity, selfishness- whatever it is, being ungracious toward others will only harm me.

2. People are far too busy worrying about themselves to remember my issues.  We think that people care about our issues but they are actually far more concerned about their own.  There’s no point in being consumed with worry over what others might think.

3.  If I was perfect then I would have no need for God or growth as a person.  Striving for perfection and feeling like a failure when I don’t attain it is exhausting.  Expecting perfection in others is unrealistic.

4. Not everyone is going to like me. If we were all the same and had all the same interests and passions life would be very boring.

5.”A rich mans heart may be under a poor man’s coat”- Scottish Proverb.  Each person has their own point of reference, their own set of parents, strengths, weaknesses their own struggles.

Oh momentary grace of mortal men,

which we more hunt for than the grace of God.

– William Shakespeare

I once read a beautiful book called “Whats so Amazing About Grace” by Philip Yancey.  I will never forget the opening story.  It was about a prostitute he encountered that was renting out her two-year-old daughter to men interested in kinky sex as an attempt to support her drug habit.  Her child could earn more in an hour than what she could in one night.  This woman had hit absolute rock bottom and had nowhere to turn, she was asked, “why didn’t you go to the church for help?”  Her response was that of naive shock, “Church!” she cried, “why would I ever go there?  I was already feeling terrible about myself, they would only make me feel worse”.  In the bible Jesus was where the sinners would run to for grace, for forgiveness, for a second chance.  It is sad that nowadays some who are in the darkest, most sinful places feel that the church is the last place they would want to run to when in fact Gods heart is for the lost and broken, those needing grace the most.

Oh how I long to hear the sweet sound of grace both in the church and in my own life.

Mom: A Toast To The Perfect You

It’s Mothers Day in South Africa today, Happy Mothers day to all the beautiful mom’s reading this blog! As I sat down to write my beautiful mother a card, a myriad of thoughts surrounding the woman that I desire to be started to flood my mind.  I began to think about the verse in the bible that speaks about “The Virtuous Woman”.  Proverbs 31 talks about the woman of noble character and is a detailed metaphor of feminine wisdom in the context of a family and a community.  This verse is a toast to woman, honouring us for who we already are in the sight of God.  This verse was never written to keep us held with a noose around our necks as we live lives comparing, striving and feeling like failures when we “don’t match up”.

The intention of this verse was never to re-affirm our insecurities and have us feeling unaccomplished as women.  We are covered by the grace and mercy of God through Jesus Christ who loves us and, through our frailty sees us as beautiful, perfect, worthy, whole.  Perhaps this verse was meant to be an ode to who we already are.  As we live out who we believe we already are in the sight of God we will be more and more virtuous.  I believe that who we say and feel we are is what we will become in reality.  There is power in the spoken word and our words are an overflow of our thoughts.

Taken from Proverbs 31, this is who I believe you are:

– You lack nothing of value and are far more precious than jewels.

– The heart of your husband trusts in you and he gains from you.   You are reliable and have his best interests at heart.  You are a blessing to your family. – You have willing hands and your worth is far more than the money you bring to the table.

–  You provide hope for your family and are generous to the poor.

–  You are clothed in strength and un-threatened by the strengths of other men or women around you.  You walk your own path and are not overcome by “comparing”.

–  You are not driven by fear and anxiety or worried about the safety of your family.  They are safe in Gods hands and He loves them even more than you do. –  You take care of your inner and outer beauty.  You take pride in your physical appearance because it is a reflection of the inner you.  You are beautiful in your own unique way.

–  You are clothed with strength and worthy of honour and respect.  You can be joyful and laugh at the days to come.  The future is bright.

–  You encourage others with wisdom and you are kind.  You do not gossip and slander those around you.

–  You look after your children and husband well, you are not lazy. –  You are imperfectly perfect.  You are beautiful.   You are you.  

My mom, far left.
My beautiful mom, far left.

26605_374440121649_7924785_n

My mom is the hot biker chick, second from the right.
My mom is the hot biker chick, second from the right.  She is and always been a hard core woman of adventure.
My beautiful sister and mom
My beautiful sister and magnificent mom.  I just love them!!

Lemon cake and the love language of quality time.

I am sure you have all heard of Gary Chapman’s book “The Five Love Languages”, if not, I can highly recommend this read for anyone wishing to love with intention, in a way that speaks to the unique make-up of the individual you love.  Chapman’s book outlines five ways to express and experience love: gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service, and physical touch.  Chapman uses the metaphor of a ‘love tank’ to explain peoples’ need to be loved.  To discover ones unique love language, one must observe the way your loved one expresses love to others, people tend to naturally give love in the way that they prefer to receive love.

Whilst I completely agree with Gary Chapman’s theory I truly believe that every child speaks or yearns to be spoken to in the love language of “quality time”.  I have noticed how Mila’s good behaviour diminishes when I am stressed and preoccupied.  When I am rushing from one meeting and task to the next and have not taken the time to engage with her, to talk and play with her, to look into her eyes and care for her emotional needs.  I am reminded of the saying, “if the devil cannot make you bad, he will make you busy”.  I have noticed that when I am too busy my tolerance levels toward my children become depleated.  It’s as if they call out through the whirlwind of life to be noticed, to be embraced.  Baking with a child is a time for imparting knowledge, giving affection and talking about life lessons.  Baking can be a time for thinking, breathing and being at peace.

So last Sunday we decided to bake a delicious LEMON CAKE.  This VERY simple and delicious recipe was passed on to me from my friend Janine Day who I am sure also received it from a friend, who received it from another friend.  It’s one of those recipe’s people will ask you to send to them.  The cake is so easy to make, its extremely moist and light.  Please feel free to share it with others as I share it with you today.  I hope you have as much fun baking it with your loved ones as I did.  This Sunday is my sister Chan’s birthday lunch and so we will be making a birthday cake on Saturday to eat on Sunday.

Here it goes…

LEMON CAKE

Ingredients:

-110 grams of Butter (room temperature)

-1 Cup of Castor Sugar

-2 Large Eggs (room temperature)

-1 and 1/2 cups of self raising flour

-1/2 cup of milk

-1/4 tsp salt

-Rind of Large Lemon

Method:

Cream butter and sugar and beat eggs in one at a time.

Beat well.  Sift flour and salt and add alternately with milk, add the lemon rind.

Pour into greased loaf tin and bake at 180 degrees for 40 minutes.

Remove the cake from the oven and place on a plate.  Pour over the juice.

The Juice:

1/2 Cup of castor sugar and 1/2 a cup of lemon juice.

Stir over heat to dissolve the sugar.

Pour over the hot cake and leave it to cool.

IMG_8843

IMG_8877

IMG_8875

IMG_8878