Going Green

As a mom and a wife, one always carries the responsibility of feeding the family, and feeding them with healthy foods.  I’ve met moms who absolutely LOVE this task of creatively searching out new meal ideas and calculating nutritional intake and finding exciting ways to get their kids to eat everything we want them to eat for them to be as healthy as they can be!  I’ve also met moms who don’t consider any of these things at all – their kids are fed, they are happy and life goes on.  And I’ve met just about every mother in between… And firstly, let me say this: Mom… there is no judgement from me, to whatever side you find yourself on.  I am also not writing this post to show off, or intimidate, or make you feel like you’re not doing enough.  I’m writing this post because I am the mom that often feels like I’m not doing enough… I’m the mom that sometimes gives my kids cereal for supper, or dry white bread for a snack.  I’m the mom that mostly  sometimes forget to check up on their water intake and when they are asking for water at night when I put them to bed realise that they never had water to drink during the day… yup. And yes, they know where and how to help themselves, but as their mom it is still my responsibility to guide them and make sure they actually do what they know how  to do.  And sometimes I fail miserably.  This post is for the mom that knows she wants to do more, but doesn’t always know how.  The one that doesn’t always know where to start.  And I don’t always know how, and I don’t always know where to start.  But this week I started here, so I am sharing what I started doing, and hopefully it will inspire you or motivate you or cheer you on momma, because we all need a bit of that too, sometimes.

Looking at our lifestyle  and what we often eat, I feel like my family follows a pretty balanced diet (cereal for supper and all).  Sometimes we have ice cream on the beach, and sometimes we go weeks without anything sweet at all.  I don’t have meal plans.  I don’t check nutritional intakes.  But I want to try to know that I am helping our bodies be healthy.  So I decided to make 1 change, and start small.  I’m not removing anything from our diet – we are not cutting our diary, or meat, or sugar.  For this first, small change, I am introducing something healthy as a daily extra.  Something that is easy and quick to prepare, low cost, and refreshing.  I am making smoothies.

I did a tiny little bit of reading, because I want to be informed about my decisions and the actions I take towards my family.  And what I read led me to put together a green smoothie that is jam packed full of good stuff for our bodies.  Here is what I add, and why…

 I start off by pouring 2 cups of water into my blender, and then I add 1,5 cups of greens…  The greens I chose are spinach, celery and parsley.
Spinach because: It is loaded with vitamin K, vitamin A, Manganese, iron, vitamin B, vitamin E, calcium, vitamin C, protein and even omega 3 fats. Sounds like a multivitamin all by itself doesn’t it?
Celery because: It is an excellent source of antioxidants, and our bodies need all the help they can get to get rid of the bad stuff we are exposed to everyday.
Parsley because: Also fantastic antioxidant, but so supportive towards our kidneys and urinary tract system.


This is what it looks like after these ingredients have been blended together, and I know it looks gross, but bare with me – It is a green smoothie afterall…

 

 

Next up is fruit!  I add 2 cups of fruit, and I grabbed what I knew would always  be easily available – Apples and bananas.
Apples because: Once again one of my new favourite words – Antioxidants.  But also important for dietery fibre.
Bananas because: Honestly… I like them – I’m sure they have a whole lot of fantastic benefits, but I just love them as a fruit so they are in 😉

 

 

The seed food group is something that I always struggle to incorporate into our diet… I know they are healthy and have so many benefits, and they can be sprinkled over salads or baked into rusks, but I just don’t like them that way.  This was an easy fix to my problem.  They get chopped up and I don’t even know that they’re there.
Pumpkin seeds because: They are great for immune support, are high in omega 3, and they are anti-inflammatory!
Sesame seeds because: They are a good source of Iron (who knew?), calcium and magnesium.

 

As a sweetener I add dates because, well… they are sweet.   They also carry vitamins and minerals but are a good source of energy and fiber so it adds some sweetness to the entire mix, but it’s still a healthy option. And last but certainly not least, I add a spoonful of coconut oil, because: My brain is tired most of the time.  Coconut oil has been researched as having amazing benefits for the brain, and I can testify of experiencing brain fog lift when I started taking in a teaspoon of coconut oil a day.  My memory improved and I was able to think more clearly in a matter of days after I started taking it.  So I wanted to include it for the whole family.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is really a quick and easy and affordable way to make sure my family gets in a massive amount of vitamins and minerals and fiber each day –  I call it our green milkshake and although our 3 year old song has tasted it twice and still hasn’t decided to jump on board, our 8 year old warrior loves it.  A big role player in choosing these ingredients is how affordable they are.  We go to a local little store that sells fruit and veggies, and we love supporting their fantastic quality and prices.  I would love to someday make these smoothies out of my own garden – but for now, this is what I can do.  And it makes me feel happy.  I may not be the best cook, or even a creative one.  I may not always remember to give my kids water.  I may not be able to afford organic fruit and veg.  I may sometimes give them cereal for supper or dry white bread for a snack.  But this is one small change that I am capable of in this season of our lives.  I would like to do more, as all moms do.  I would like to everything, as most moms do.  But for now, this is the one change I can make.

By the way, to support myself with the water drinking issue – I grabbed these beautiful glass bottles on sale this week.  I fill them with water and some lemon, mint and blueberries, and the novelty of it seems to motivate us all (even the 3 year old) to drink more water. So cheers to that!

To every mom reading this post, let’s be kind to each other – let’s share more, judge less, and all do what we can to care for our families and each other.  Comment on the post if you’ve found some creative and easy ideas to help you care for your family better, I would love to hear about it, and I’m sure other mommies would to.  Because every mom carries Pockets of Beauty, and they might not look the same in all of us, so let’s stand together and let your Beauty shine ❤

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A day in the life…

Welcome to a day in the life of… well… us.  We recently spent a week in the village, and I spent an entire day walking around with my phone in my hand, taking pictures of everything we do in a day.  Disclaimer: All our days are not the same, but this general picture gives a decent idea of where we are, what we do and what it looks like.  Continue Reading

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At the foot of a hill

It has taken me weeks to work up the courage just to sit down and even attempt to put into words what we have experienced lately.  I may fail… words may fail… but maybe, just maybe, some of what my heart feels will pour through and touch something inside you…

It was 5 weeks ago that we packed our suitcases and backpacks and camping gear and hit the road at 3am to kick off the drive to Zimbabwe.  Much of that first day on the road seems to be a blur to me, I think mainly because we had just finished a busy weekend and we were tired, but also because it was just such a thrill to be contained in a small space with my three best people.  We talked up a storm, and savored our time together with not much else to do than enjoy each other.  We spent the night in Pretoria and the next morning at 4am we started the 2nd leg of our journey.  We drove and prayed and prayed and worshiped and drove and prayed all the way to the border.  Four hours after we arrived there, we entered Zimbabwe and we PRAYED and drove and PRAYED and PRAYED and PRAYED.  The roadblocks in Zim were no surprise to us, we had received a fair amount of warnings – but they were no less intimidating, and I believe we literally prayed our way through most of them.  We slowly made our way to Lake Kyle, just outside Masvingo, and even though we had our first and only encounter with the police on the road late that night, we arrived at our first destination and Peace flooded us as we slept and rested for the days ahead.

Our family at the magnificent Lake Kyle

In the garden at Norma Jean’s

The following afternoon after another 5 hours on the road, we reached the small village where Pastor Jairos and his family had prepared our home for the next few days; a small school building which had been emptied out and filled with beds and blankets.  After meeting the local chief later that evening, we settled in and had another peaceful nights sleep.  The next morning before the sun had even come up properly, we were woken by the smell of smoke and soft sounds of someone preparing a fire outside our “house” – this ritual took place every morning that we were there.

The fire was prepared early enough, and water had been carried from the borehole, and warmed, so that we could wash before the day began.  The kindness and servant hood we encountered in these people had us at a loss for words most of the time.  We set off to start the prayer visits that had been planned for the day by Pastor Jairos.  But he surprised us with a stop at the great Bangala dam which is hidden a few km up in the hills near their village.  It was so beautiful, so magnificent, so peaceful.

For the next couple of days we drove into the hills until the bakkie couldn’t go any further, and then we walked further until we reached the homes of people that have stayed so hidden from ‘society’ that our white skin colour sometimes actually frightened their children.  While we prayed and ministered, the children would sit at a safe distance and just watch us, some of the younger kids actually started crying when they saw us.  Some of them couldn’t wait to touch us, some of them were too afraid.   And I hope that when we left, we left behind love.  I hope that the peace of the Holy Spirit was so tangible that the fear and uncertainty wouldn’t be remembered, but that they will always remember our smiles, and the gentle tugging of the Spirit, calling them into a living relationship with Him.

The home of the first family we visited, at the foot of the hill

 

I hardly ever carried my own bag, this dear lady took it off my back at every stop, and carried it for me

All in all our days looked the same, we walked, we prayed, we shared meals at the homes of people we had never met, we walked some more.  In the evenings we held crusades, we showed the Jesus film, we worshiped, we prayed, we worshiped, we danced.  The kids slept wherever they were when they got tired, they ate whatever they were given, whenever they were given it.  And yes, we used any kind of bush or bit of tall grass or tree that presented itself at the time of need for a toilet.  Everything was so new, and yet so familiar.  I will never forget the feeling I felt one morning as we were walking from one hut to the next… at the foot of these rolling hills…  Meeting these people… Sharing Jesus… I couldn’t contain the gratitude in my heart, and as my tears were flowing I just thanked the Lord for bringing me here, with my family, doing what we were doing, with Him, for Him.  It felt so surreal, knowing that a year before this moment we had never even imagined that this would be our lives.  In the wink of an eye everything changed.  He changed everything for us, around us, in us.  And He fulfilled a desire so deep in our hearts that we didn’t even know existed – a desire to follow Him everywhere and anywhere.  And here we were… anywhere…

Our kids weren’t the only ones who slept wherever they found a spot – Little one sleeping under the tree

We saw people meet Jesus, we saw healings and miracles, we saw hope in and for a nation that has been taught that hope is gone, we saw perseverance in a people who knows that it’s not over, a people who is waiting with great expectation for God to heal their land.  One of the moments that touched me to my very core was after the church service on the Sunday morning.  It was the day that we left the first village, and they asked to pray for us before we went.  A team of ladies gathered around us and laid hands on us and prayed.  But one woman knelt down in front of me where I was sitting, she put her hands on my dusty feet, and laid her face down on her hands and prayed for me like I don’t think I’ve ever experienced anyone praying for me ever before.  She was praying and crying so passionately that when she stood up and walked away, my feet were wet from her tears.  And I felt her prayers rising up inside of me, breaking chains, casting out fear, stirring up Love.  And I thought of Jesus, interceding for us… at all times…  And I realised again, It’s hardly ever about me.  It’s always about Him.  It’s always about what He wants to reveal, and to whom He chooses to reveal it.  It’s always about His love touching ANYONE, at any time – even me, in a tiny village, at the foot of a hill, in a foreign country that many would call broken.  But Hope is alive, never failing, always pursuing, always calling for just one step out of the boat; and stepping onto the waves we see that the water was never an uncertain place at all.

I hope that these pictures would do a better job at describing our journey… I still find myself at a loss for words.  But I know that He revealed to us a treasure deep in His heart, a Pocket of Beauty.

Our expenses for this trip has not been covered yet, if you feel that you would like to make a donation towards this trip specifically, please find our bank details on www.pocketsofbeauty.co.za, and reference your payment “Zimbabwe”, or contact me at hello@pocketsofbeauty.co.za

 

 

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500 Snoods

Two weeks ago we strapped on our brave faces and the whole family headed to the local home affairs office.  Passport applications in hand we stood in queues and lay on chairs and read storybooks and sang songs as the morning went on.  If you haven’t been through the process recently, here is a breakdown of what happens… You hand in your application form and head to the cashier to pay.  Once that is done, you get to sit and wait until your number (which is activated when you pay for your application) is called out over the intercom.  Firstly you get called to the photo booth to have your picture taken, then you get called a second time, this time to a consultant who handles all the paperwork and takes your fingerprints and signature etc.  Brown eyes and I have to be with our two kids through every step as they are still little and the staff require parents to be present all the time.  Not a problem. We’ve got our goodie bag packed with colouring books and snacks and juice, I have the plastic sleeve with all our receipts and paperwork, our little song is strapped into her pram, and little warrior is quietly playing a game on his gaming device.  Everything is going so SMOOTH!  For a moment I felt so proud of myself for being SO organized… so ON TOP of everything.  Finally the first number is called!  Little warrior – No problem! We have the sleeve with the papers, and one of us can just take that and walk up to the photo booth with him, all sorted.  The challenge came literally 2 minutes later when the next number is called… Our song.  Okay, it’s okay.   Brown eyes just reaches over for her paperwork, we leave the pram in the isle and carry the goodie bag with us.  Our hands are a bit full, and it took a minute to find the right receipts but we got it.  While the ladies battled to get the camera at a height that suits our warrior, and the ladies next door battled to get our 2 year old song to sit still and look at the camera I heard them call my number… and then Brown eyes. Uh-oh. It ended up being a back and forth for the next hour getting all four of us at the photo stations and consultants as our numbers were read.  What an adventure!

We were already notified that the kids passports are ready to be collected, so soon soon we will have them all in hand and be ready for our trip!

Our TRIP!

We will be going to Zimbabwe for the first time ever!  The Aflame team will be visiting Jairos Shelele, our Aflame partner in Zimbabwe.  He has planted two churches there, and we will be visiting them, spending some time with the leaders and having crusades in the surrounding villages in the evenings.  From there we will visit Alfred Jaka in Masvingo where we will be having a conference with their church, and will travel with them for a few days to a few places where they are involved.  We are so excited to be joining this trip as a family!

All our expenses to make this trip happen adds up to about R24 000. We are hosting a fundraiser for the sole purpose of raising funds to support this trip.  Pockets of Beauty will be selling LIMITED edition snoods/infinity scarfs in 3 colours.  These snoods can be ordered via our online shop or facebook page for a LIMITED TIME ONLY! I chose the pink/salmon colour to represent Pockets of Beauty, the green colour to represent Aflame ministries and our BRIGHT and beautiful house in the Transkei, and the stone/grey colour for my friends that prefer neutral colours 😉

So PLEASE order your snood TODAY to support our mission trip and help us to cover the expenses!  We need to sell 500 to cover the total expenses, so buy one in every colour, and then buy a few more for your friends.  Also remember that you do not HAVE to buy a snood to support us, we greatly appreciate donations too!

Spread the word and pray for us while we prepare and pack and pray for our Zimbabwe Pocket of Beauty.

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Adventures Still Calling

Instead of sending out a newsletter for the month of April, I have decided to share a new post on the Pockets of Beauty blog with some of the news from  the last few weeks (and months).  Hope you enjoy!

Sneak peek of some of the prints we will be using for our products

Please ‘like’ and ‘share’ our new Facebook page!  It really helps to spread the word on what we are doing, and it is a convenient way to share our blog 🙂
You can find us on Facebook by clicking here

It will be exceptionally helpful in spreading the news that I have started making a Shweshwe (in honour of the beautiful Transkei) range of handmade products , to sell from our website and Facebook page in support of our family’s mission fund.  So PLEASE support me by sharing Facebook posts, the blog and by showing your friends and family!

We had the great privilege of visiting the Garden Route recently, and seeing our family and friends did our hearts well! We ended the 2 week break with a celebration in the forest when my sister and her knight got married.  It was the most special weekend filled with love, family and JOY!

We are back in the Eastern Cape with refreshed hearts, minds and spirits and so excited about the BIG things that are happening! As many of you know, Aflame ministries bought a piece of land in the Transkei and we are so excited to have the opportunity to spend more time (longer periods at a time) in the village where we currently have our Sunday meetings.  We are beyond grateful for the team that volunteered to come all the way from Cape Town to fix our little house, and we are so looking forward to receive them and see our property being prepared for the fruitfulness that will flow from there!

A couple of weeks ago after our Sunday service, our lovely translator asked us to go and pray for a mama on the other side of the village – she was sick, and couldn’t walk to come to church.  We arrived at her house unannounced and the look on her face was so priceless – She was given a pamflet of aflame ministries a while back, and recognized Henk from that photo.  She couldn’t believe we had come.  Just a couple of weeks before that, Aflame ministries together with a Cape Town missions team was running a crusade in the village, and this mama had sent out children to the road to call the team to pray for her.  The Team was too far away to see or hear the kids and the mama was passed by.  But this time we came.  She was healed that afternoon, and she spent the rest of the week walking from house to house with her bible, testifying of how Jesus healed her (she couldn’t walk to even her neighbours house for almost a year), and praying for everyone she visited.  That following Sunday she walked to church to attend the meeting.  This is ONE woman, being touched by Jesus, and being a living testimony, one that cannot be denied, to all around her! Hallelujah!

Please continue to trust with us for a missions vehicle for our family – The Transkei roads and terrain is rough and transporting our whole family with luggage and equipment has become a necessity as we will need to all be together for the longer periods that we spend there.  If you feel in your heart that you would like to make a contribution towards this expense please find our banking details on the Pockets of Beauty website and use the reference “Gift – Transport”.

In more personal news, our little Song has just turned 2 years old! We celebrated her birthday with our family while we were visiting, and shortly after her birthday she got to spend some special time with her GREAT grandpa as he came down for my sisters wedding – such a blessing indeed!

Our little warrior is doing so well in homeschooling – he has joined a ball skills soccer/cricket class which he loves!  With all the sewing that has been happening in our house, he has asked me to teach him, and for the first time ever I have some understanding of what it must have been like for my dad when he taught me how to drive… My nerves were shot the first few times and all I could say was “Slowly! Slow down! Careful!”, but he is getting the hang of it and I am looking forward to MANY fun projects with him!
Thank you to everyone that follows our story – Thank you for your support in prayer, in communication, and in finance.  I realize that in giving to us financially you don’t necessarily always see the specific fruit of what you sow into our lives, but I cannot testify enough about the times that we stood facing some payment that had to be paid, or some expense that had to be made, and the Lord has stirred your hearts (countless times) at exactly the right moment – Bank notifications have arrived at the most incredible moments (such as standing in line at the till at the grocery store) and always add to the testimony as it enables us to also sow into others lives! So thank you to EVERYONE – Even the nameless ones that choose not to reveal who they are when making contributions, I cannot express our gratitude for your love and support!  At the end of November just as we were about to leave Cape Town, two of our dear friends gave us a rather large Pick n Pay voucher as a gift.  I put it in the back of my wallet, knowing that there would come a ‘right’ time to use it.  And yesterday, when I stood facing long grocery list, I remembered about that voucher, and even though we haven’t seen our friends in 5 months, it felt as if they were walking through Pick n Pay with me, holding my hand, carrying my heart, and feeding my family.  So THANK YOU, you do not know how much your gifts mean to us, but we appreciate it with all our hearts!

All the glory to Jesus for the way He cares, all the glory to Jesus for His plan and provision to reach the remote Transkei villages.  It is BEAUTIFUL to see His plan unfold, it is BEAUTIFUL to see Him weaving the tapestry of our family into the picture He had in His heart for us.  And it is a blessing to share it with you!  All our Love xxx

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Home is where the Heart is

Saturday 26 November 2016, The moving truck finally pulled up to our little house.  We stood watching as all the boxes we packed the weeks before were loaded.  All the hard work and tears that went into those boxes finally paid off.  As the belongings we gathered over the years were carried out, we spent time with precious friends who all came to say goodbye.  The tears were already flowing.

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Loaded into the truck – Ready to go

About two hours later our house was empty and silent.  I stood in the lounge and looked out the window and soaked in the memories that lived there.  I couldn’t stop the tears.  We spent the next few hours just sitting in the empty house, having one last cup of tea with a handful of those we love.  Laughing.  Crying.  Remembering.

We loaded out tiny car with a few things that were too valuable/fragile to go on the truck, a few sets of clothes each, and our cat.  The tears freely flowed as we drove through the beautiful Cape mountains. img-20161126-wa0038IMG-20161129-WA0000.jpg We soaked in the scenery and thanked the Lord for the most beautiful season we had spent there.   And my heart didn’t ache as much as I thought it would.  Table Mountain in the rear view mirror didn’t look quite as heart breaking as I thought it would.  And instead of sadness, I felt free.  Instead of being bound by grief and memories,  I felt freedom and light and I knew once again that home is where the heart is, and my heart is in Jesus.

We spent the night at my parents and the next day made the trip to our new home! We arrived the night before the truck, and were received by our friends and fellow team members.  We slept wonderfully that night, knowing that the hardest part of the move is over and done.  Moving all our things into the new house was the fun part – hard work of course, but FUN! So early the next morning we were up and dressed and ready for the phone call that told us the truck had arrived.  We were all standing around when Brown Eyes phone rang and our little Warrior shouted for joy because he knew what that ring meant.

I was ready!! All our boxes were numbered and colour coded and I had already run through how the morning would go and what would go where a hundred times in my mind.  But the phone call wasn’t as quick as I expected… Brown Eyes tone of voice didn’t sound as I expected.  He looked at me and shook his head…

Our truck had hit a low hanging power cable in the neighbouring town, it caught fire and they didn’t realise it until someone stopped them.  The fire station was just around the corner and their response was immediate, but the fire had already consumed the inside of the truck where our things were.  No one got hurt, and there was no extensive damage to the truck, but all our furniture, all the boxes we packed, all our instruments, clothes, toys, my grandmothers sewing machine, my wedding album… it was all gone.

Brown Eyes and his friend made the trip to the truck to see if anything could be salvaged.  They came back with a table and two benches, two yellow toy cars, my pot plants and my wedding album.  Suddenly our new house seemed really big.

Upon hearing the news, my heart was filled with a peace that completely transcends all understanding.  Because how is it possible to have peace in the moment that you find out that everything you owned had burned to the ground.  Not only peace consumed me, but also joy.  Home is where the heart is…

The most difficult moment by far throughout this experience was hearing Brown Eyes voice over the phone when they opened the truck and saw the remains of the content.  I could hear, feel, the pain in his voice as he looked through our damaged things.  And that was hard.

But people all around us started phoning and sending messages, people started making donations and lending furniture.  And today we will move into our new house.  We will move in with different things… fewer things… But a much deeper knowledge of how God can and will and does turn every evil-intended thing for the good of those who love Him.  As I type this I have a deep longing to reach for my bible, and quote scripture on these pages, as I always do.  But I remembered yesterday that because our suitcase was already so full, I packed our bibles into a box.  It would only have been a few days and then I would’ve been able to take it out again.  I’m sure that small things will pop into my mind over the next few days and weeks, memories of things that I packed that I won’t see again.  And I’m sure that I will miss the sight and feel of many of those things.

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In our new house with what the fire didn’t destroy

But my heart is steady.  I have JOY.  I have PEACE.  I am flooded by LOVE.  And Jehova Jireh is my provider.  And He does it magnificently.  Grace on top of grace.  So a huge thank you to everyone who has already contributed in any way towards building up again what was lost.  We are exceedingly grateful.  The Lord has called us, and He restores us, and as an instrument in this process He will bless your generosity and love and kindness.  Our hearts cannot contain the kindness we have experienced since this tragedy hit.  And we pray a blessing over you all for your open hearts and hands.

This journey has not been anything like we expected.  But it is turning out to be more beautiful than our hearts have ever seen.  It is richer, deeper, and more grounded in the Fathers love and heart.  And we are happy! We are joy filled.  We are free.  We are home.  In a (really) new Pocket of Beauty.

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