Less is More

We have made the brave decision to go on a 6 week detox as a family.  I still don’t even have a very clear definition of what that looks like, but I have a vision of where I want it to go and I am aiming in that general direction with a kid under each arm and a bunch of information in my head and a solid as a rock husband behind me with a kid on his back and we are doing this thing. 

Thing is, I don’t have a lot of answers, I don’t have solutions or ideas or plans for everything we need to change in our life.  But I am becoming aware, more and more, that it’s not about having it all laid out.  If I need to get it all together before I can make changes, I will most probably never make changes.  So I’m starting with SMALL STEPS – You all know how much I love those words.  Small, tiny steps. 

Step number 1:  No screen time for 6 weeks.
Okay, I realise this doesn’t seem so small, but it’s been a long time coming and we seriously needed an intense screen time detox.  More about that another time. So for the next 6 weeks, kids have no screen time at all, except zoom sessions.  Parents have screen time during office hours, for work and communication purposes.  And the rest of the time, we are looking each other in the eye.  We are reading books, real paper books, we are playing with play dough, and have turned all the lego out unto the floor and we are sorting and building all our lego sets.  The kids are playing piano.  We are cooking together. We are doing chores together.  We are doing life. Away from screens.

Step number 2:  Less toxins.
So, I don’t know a whole lot about this yet.  But I’m learning! Suddenly our youngest child is dealing with eczema, and I am trying to navigate meds and treatments that honestly feel like balancing bad and worse.  So I am going with less.  NB – I am not judging, I am not prescribing, I am not recommending… I am making my own decisions for my own child and I have decided to go with less, as far as I can.  Less chemicals, less toxins, less synthetics.  More natural, more pure, more organic. I don’t even know where to start, so today I started with a bottle of natural laundry detergent from a health store.  It’s pretty funny.  Out of everything, I’m buying natural laundry detergent.  Why, you may ask.  Because it’s one less thing that I need navigate.  It’s one more thing crossed off my wishlist for a cleaner, more pure, more natural home. 

So this may be a good time to explain – As you might have noticed, I’m not starting out on a full on detox and staying without a bunch of things for six weeks.  I’m starting out with a  goal, a dream, a wishlist, and I’m working my way towards it in simple small steps.  Making intentional decisions about what I buy, what we eat, what we spend our time on, what words come out of our mouths, what thoughts we are pondering, what we are listening to etc.  Conscious, intentional, well informed decisions.  And it starts with a bottle of laundry detergent. 

Step number 3: Less wasting time.
I’ve put our family back on a schedule.  Everything is worked out and detailed from getting up all the way through to going to bed.  Because I need to be accountable for what we are doing, and how we are doing it.  Today was day one and pretty much the only thing that happened according to schedule was getting up this morning.  But hey! We got up on time. 6 Week vision. Bigger picture.

Step number 4: More connection.
I’ve been repeating how important it is to nourish ourselves body, soul and spirit.  And part of our schedule is committed times for intimacy with the Lord, feeding on His word and praying for each other.  We are nourishing our spirit in that time.  We have committed family time, time for fun and games and lego and mud messes and jokes and deep conversations and heart to heart connection.  My desire is to fill myself and my family up with more of what really matters.  More of what is truly nourishing. 

Less of the bad stuff, more of the good stuff. 

6 weeks of focussing on choosing less toxins, more health – Body, soul and spirit

Messy Moments

Psalm 51 must be one of the most impactful parts of scripture in navigating my journey through motherhood.  The richness and fullness of which I won’t be able to capture in just a single blog post.  But I can capture the words that impact me today, in this moment.  And I believe so many mothers out there need these words to impact their overwhelmed, sleep deprived, somewhat anxious hearts too. 

David cries out to the Lord in this chapter, so ashamed of all the mistakes he has made, so ashamed to realise that God knows it all.  And so very aware that he can’t turn it around in his own strength.  But as he repents and turns his heart towards the Lord, he utters these words…

“I know that you delight to set your truth deep in my spirit.

So come into the hidden places of my heart

and teach me wisdom.” – Psalm 51:6

My mothering heart is so undone by this prayer – It brings me to a place where words simply die down. A place where all the many plans I try to make to do the best, be the best, and raise the best kids can only be surrendered at the feet of the best example of parenthood.  The Lord takes delight in sharing His heart, His Truth, His comfort with us.  He LOVES seeing how we are set free by His guidance.  And all it takes is an invitation… Come into the hidden places of my heart and teach me…

He doesn’t make it hard for us, He knows the battles you already fought today.  He understands your struggles.  He knows the weight of your responsibility.  He knows how many times you were up last night.  He knows how concerned you were over that high fever.  He knows the way your heart wrenched when you heard that cry as some little one fell over their own feet running through the house.  He knows how many times you checked your bank account as you were planning the meals for the week ahead.  He knows what it would mean to have those burdens lifted off your shoulders. He DELIGHTS in bringing you into that secret place where He ministers to YOUR heart. 

I guess one of the most valuable lessons I have learned lately is that it doesn’t all have to be perfect for this encounter to take place.  I have spent many days and weeks and months in frustration because I felt I was unable to “create” a moment, to set the stage for an encounter that would have value.  And I kept missing out, because my house was never as tidy as I wanted it to be, it was never as quiet as I felt it needed to be, and I hardly ever had a day where I felt proud of every moment of parenting… Instead I felt ashamed of the mistakes I had made, I felt messy, and tired, and imperfect.  And in my own heart that disqualified me from an encounter where the Lord would bless me with wisdom and courage and strength.  Until I had a glimpse through the eyes and heart of David.  And I learned that the moment doesn’t have to be perfect, it doesn’t have to be staged, it doesn’t have to be an hour at 5am filled with fireworks and gold dust.  It’s more than okay if it’s a moment filled with grace where a tired mom is sitting on a messy kitchen floor.  Because as she feels Jesus touch her face, and smile over her children, and not care about the dirt on the floor, she melts into a moment with Him where she can receive from His heart.

Be intentional. 

Take that moment. 

Pray that prayer. 

Receive that wisdom. 

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 ❤

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

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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A Light and a Lighthouse

Meet Anneline, a light in a dark place, a refuge in the spirit to many who feel defeated, a beacon of hope to those who have none and a gentle whisper of healing to the brokenhearted.

Earlier this year we got a group of people together and had a prophetic worship declaration in Bloekombos, a township on the outskirts of the Northern Suburbs of Cape Town.  We arrived at the church building around 9am on Thursday morning, unloaded our instruments and children, and started worshiping.  It was easy to focus on Jesus, because there was no one else there. Literally – there was no one in the building, except for the 6 people from our team, and my two kids.  We had a fantastic time.  God poured out His vision for the area, He flooded us with prophetic songs and spiritual strategy for the mission He had set out for us.  About three hours into our meeting I opened my eyes and noticed this lady sitting to the one side of the hall.  She was praying, pouring out her heart before her Father.  She was fixed on intentionally worshiping her Saviour, and it was clear to see for all who were there.  We ended the morning session by praying for her and hearing a bit of her testimony.  The Lord healed her back right then and there and His joy in her heart was so tangible and undeniable.  We also heard why she only arrived towards the end of the meeting and not at 9am as she had planned…  There was a rainstorm the night before – a beautiful thing about the Cape winters.  It was beautiful to me, because I lay in bed that night listening to the sound of the rushing water and strong winds.  I loved it!  The smell, the ice cold in the air, the warmth of the sheets and fluffy pillows and feather duvet around me.  This lady had a very different perspective.  You see, her little wooden house wasn’t waterproof.  In fact, the wood was so damaged that she had to prop up her roof with a loose pole standing in the middle of her kitchen, just to keep the roof from collapsing in on her.  But this night specifically, Anneline and her three kids were not able to sleep, because they had to clear out the water that had leaked in by using buckets and bowls and cups.  Everything was wet.  All their clothes, their beds, their blankets, everything.  That’s why she was late.  That’s why her three children were not able to attend school that morning – because they were up all hours of the night, dishing out the rain water that I so enjoyed listening to.

My mind was blown.  Here was this lady, smiling from ear to ear.  She had so much JOY.  She was jumping and laughing and dancing because God just healed her back, she was apologizing for being so late, she was testifying of Gods goodness and faithfulness, and then – so by the way – as an afterthought she mentioned that her house was flooded.  But she was our guide in the township as we went on our mission there, and she was the brightest light of us all.  All day everyday while this declaration was running, she was involved and THERE.  And smiling.  And testifying.  And spreading joy and love and peace and goodness and Jesus.

Fast forward a couple of months – We really wanted to help her out and fix up this house that was giving her problems.  So Brown eyes and a friend of ours went to her house to go and check it out.  It became quite clear that a quick fix would not be a very effective solution, as the damage was so extensive and even if we did our best to repair the issues that were most important at that time, there would most certainly be new important issues soon after.  We got a new dream.  We want to hand this light a key to a lighthouse.  We decided to try and give her a brand new home altogether.  The land that her house is built on is rented, and therefore she has permission to put any structure on her piece of rented property.  We got a few quotes for nu-tec wendy houses that would more or less fit in the space she has, and we got so excited about seeing her in a brand new structure.  A structure that doesn’t leak.  A structure that has a roof that stays up by itself.  A structure that she can call home.  We contacted her to arrange a time to come and measure her little property, just to make sure we don’t ask for quotes for structures that won’t fit.  So early one Saturday morning, Brown eyes and I packed our kids in the car and off we went to measure Anneline’s house.

We stopped across the tiny little street, and made our way through the maze of small houses and young children to where we know Anneline’s house is… only, there was nothing.

Just before 6 am that morning, Anneline awoke to a smoke filled house, and the cries of her children, the sound of her son trying to kick open the door of their house that was engulfed by flames.  She managed to get her youngest little girl through the window, and her son broke the door open just in time and they were all able to escape with just a few minor burn wounds.  No one knows what happened.  No one saw what happened.  And no one can give any explanation.  But suddenly, there was no house to measure.  There was nothing. 

Anneline’s friend searching through what was left of the purse they found among the rubble

We spent a couple of hours there that morning, and we were blown away by a million small mercies.  Mercies like the man a few houses away, that started cleaning the site as soon as it had cooled down enough to touch, and he worked all day, mostly by himself to clear the mess.

When we returned late afternoon with food and clothes and blankets, the property was clear and neat and COMPLETELY cleaned out – JUST because of this man’s diligence and hard work. 
Small mercies like this light who invited us into her neighbors house (since she didn’t have one), and who through all of the trauma kept a magnificent smile on her face and peace in her heart and kindness in her words.  People from all over the neighborhood came and went that morning – they all came to encourage her, and they all left with a smile on their face and a heart full of joy because of her.

A few weeks ago we got a couple of pictures from Anneline.  Pictures of her current house, the one she built out of corrugated iron.  The tiny little 1 room house that she shares with her three children.  And it has her personality written all over it – she immediately made a little flower bed around the house, to spread the joy and love and content in her heart with those around her.

At the moment this house is a roof over her head.  But it still leaks.  It is tiny.  Just because they all fit in doesn’t mean it is big enough for them.  And it is still on our hearts to provide her with a new structure that is bigger, safer, waterproof and fire resistant.  We have decided to spread the love, and spread the story of this amazing and inspiring lady, and pray that people will team up with us to provide the funds or donations to make this dream a reality.  If you feel led to contribute in any way, please contact us at pocketsofbeautyblog@gmail.com, or leave a comment below with your contact details and we will contact you.  Also please share this post far and wide, and let’s get as many people supporting the cause as possible.  I will continue to update on the process as we go along, so please follow the blog to ensure that you get the updates as they happen.  And please stand with us, financially and in prayer to care for this woman who always puts others needs ahead of her own.  I strongly feel that enabling her will certainly not stop with her, but have a ripple effect on her entire community.  Because that is who she is.  That is the heart and character of the God she serves.  Help us to present her with a pocket of beauty.

A warrior and a song

My very first blog post – How exciting! I can think of so many places to start, and yet the words don’t come quite as easy as I would like them to.  For years I have been wanting to write about the two most thrilling moments in our lives up to this point – the moments our children were born.

I will never forget the month we decided that we were “ready” to have a baby – Hahaha… yip, we were “ready”.  So out the door went all the contraception.  After all, it takes most couples an average of 6 months to get pregnant, right? And that gives us time to sort out all the itty bitty details to prepare for parenthood…right? I just can’t help but smile as I am typing this.  How young and innocent we were.  So imagine our surprise when 3 weeks later I started vomiting, not being able to keep my eyes open during the day and only capable to stomach fruit salad.  We went out and bought the test but kept it for the next morning.  At 4am I was woken by what seemed to me like a torchlight piercing through the haze of dreams of little babies everywhere.  It wasn’t a torchlight.  It was the Morningstar.  I had left our curtain open before we went to bed that night, for some fresh air.  And when I saw that star, I KNEW.

Fast forward 9 months Continue Reading