Hazy Days

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Young love

For as long as I can remember Sam has loved Jemma T. He switches out of rowdy nonsense boy mode and into sweet gentle loving boy mode around Jemma. This year their ‘young love’ has deepened.

Jem often talks about her ‘Sambo’ and that she loves him so. And Sam tells me, quite matter of factly, that he is going to marry Jemma one day.

They are the picture of sweetness – and if they ever do get married it’ll be a story of sweetness too!

This past week I managed to capture their sweet relationship on film. Enjoy this series and don’t forget to say ‘ahhhh!’ at all the cuteness of it!
Jemma and Sam after a wonderful afternoon at Kirstenbosch …

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“Oh the crowds! The heat! My poor feet! Oh Sambo, won’t you carry my bag for me?”

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“For you my Jemma, I’d carry the world…”
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“Uh, Sam? Are you sure we are going the right way? Did you check the map? I think we should stop and ask for directions…”
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Such sweetness! If we arranged marriages, this one would be a natural choice. We even love the in-laws!

Israel @ Lunch Bunch

In keeping with our "round the world" studies from last year, the Lunch Bunch kids kicked off this year with "Israel"!  Studying countries that contain family members always makes the experience much more fun.  Even if we don’t get to see said family members :(  But we have had loads of fun learning about Israel and it’s lit the "I want to go to Israel!" flame in my kids! And made my flame burn brighter.

My sister kindly sent me some ideas of what to look into with the kids.  We spent the first week finding Israel on the map; learning about the flag and some Jewish customs.  They got to blow the shofar, too!  That was a big hit.  And they learnt how to say "shalom, abba" – to say to their dads at home.  We talked about Jerusalem and other parts of Israel too.  I don’t have many photos, as I kept forgetting to take them (or, more specifically, to ask someone else to take them, since I was mom-on-charge for this one).  But I do have some pics of the kids’ artwork from the first week.  Sucker sticks for the star of david and some blue paint to complete the picture.  I was really chuffed with Sam for spotting the hexagon shape in the middle as we were packing up.  One of those proud mommy moments that really has nothing to do with my parenting or anything really, but gave me the warm and fuzzies :)

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The following week we learnt a little more about Israel.  We looked at the seven species and we learnt about our family in Israel.  I showed them pics from my sister’s blog of the desert skies, the Negev where they live and all the Glik kids.  They were all suitably in awe of the sheer number of them (6) and even more gobsmacked to hear that there was another one on the way.  Yes, it’s true.  And I’m delighted!

One of the seven species is wheat (and another is barley).  So, in keeping with the theme of wheat, I premade some challah dough (by hand, Kelly, you’ll be impressed with me!) and the kids had fun rolling it out and making their own little mini challah loaves. Glance down below at the bottom right hand photo – some of us needed more protection than others :)

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All rolled out, plaited up and ready to go!

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And out of the oven – mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!  Eaten hot with butter and honey – mmmm!

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This week we had a surprise in the mail!  I got a registered letter:

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And inside it we found a card game of Israeli animals; a book on cities in the Negev; a beautiful calendar picture of a lovely cistern in the Negev; all the kids’ names written up in Hebrew and … a letter for each of the kids from each of the Glik kids!  The 5 bigger ones of these sweeties each gave the kids a letter.

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You should’ve seen the looks on the kids faces when they heard that someone wrote to them all the way from Israel!  I read aloud their letters, after they opened them.  They each got a little bit of Israel in their letters too.  Sam got a piece of flintstone, Caleb got a desert flower and some pottery, Ben some money and Jemma also got some Israeli money.  Very cool!  Thank you SO much Glik family for all your contributions!  You are stars!

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This is one of my favourite pages from the book my sister sent – that tiny piece of pottery that they found is ancient – and look, it matches the colour and pattern of one of the ancient bowls in the picture!  Love it!

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In researching for our lessons together, I’ve found a fun online site to learn about Israel that the girls have taken an interest in.  All this Israel talk has them and Sam longing to go to Israel.  Sam burst into tears two days ago when I explained that we just couldn’t go any time soon.  Big fat hot tears pummelled his cheeks.  Oh for Star Trek travel!

Fortunately, he didn’t remember his little cry the next day at Lunch Bunch.  After the excitement of the letters, he went off to play with his buddy.  He spent most of the afternoon in thick cahoots with Jemma – the woman he has decided to marry (at the tender age of four!)

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My sisters

I have two lovely sisters.  One turns 25 next week and we get to enjoy celebrating with her on her birthday.  The benefit of living in the same city.  But, the other one is far away in Israel.  And I miss her very much.  My folks have recently returned from a visit to the family in Israel where they had 6 glorious weeks.

On their return they brought with them a few things for all of us, including some gifts from Kelly.  My favourite being these very cool pants that are loose and flowwy and look almost like a skirt.  I promised Kelly photos and had some fun fooling around, hence the silly photos!

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Another gift to me came in the form of Kelly’s best friend.  (Although they came of their own accord and not in my parents’ luggage!) The Maayan family have been neighbours of sorts to Kelly and her family for some years now.  They share a vision for the desert and the gospel.  They share a love for Jesus.  They share a home church.  And they share in their love for one another.  Half the Maayan’s 5 kids are great friends with Kelly’s 6.  Always in and out of each other’s houses.  And, in Karen, Kelly found the best friend she has not had in Israel as a neighbour up until this point.  When the Maayans felt led to return to Cape Town, it was a great loss for Kelly in many ways.  But, having the Maayans return to Cape Town has meant that I have had the wonderful blessing of meeting this precious person in my sister’s life.  Most of our knowledge of each other is through emails and photos.  When I heard that they were here, I was very excited to meet up with them.   And, so we organised a visit and had such a lovely time chatting (mostly about how wonderful my sister is!) that we forgot to take a photo until the kids that had come for the visit were all strapped in the car.  Here is Karen.  And below are my 3 eldest with her 2 youngest.  Tali (8) and Hannah (6) got along with Kiera and Katie like they had always been friends and they all had a grand time.  Poor Hannah was very sad to leave, but we hope to get a chance to see them again in the future when they settle down in Cape Town in the next few months.  What a blessing to meet this special woman who has been such an encouragement and good friend to my sister.  Meeting her has made me feel that much closer to Kel.  And made me miss her more!

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Little Joseph

Fellow Christian homeschoolers, Brigitte and Craig V, have three sweet children.  Their youngest is little Joe.  Soon after he was born, they discovered he was blind.  This was indeed devastating news.  But the prognosis has only deteriorated since then, involving neurological problems.  The stress on this poor family is astronomical.  And yet, despite the heart-ache, despite the pain, despite the feelings of helplessness, they continue to trust in Jesus – their faith is testimony to His greatness and a wonderful and true picture of the words from the old song "Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus" featured here in this YouTube video.

Please pray for little Joseph and the V family (not related to the video) as you read this, their most recent newsletter…

15 May 2010

To our dear family and friends,

Many of you have been asking for an update about our darling little Joseph. The last one was dated 12 April, and was written after our awful measles marathon. Thankfully that is now in the past and in the course of time we have all, except Joseph, been restored to health and strength.

As always, your care and concern and your prayers for Joseph and our whole family are very much valued and appreciated. We believe that it is because you are praying that we have kept going. The situation with Joseph is very sad indeed and it is stressful for us as a family to be experiencing what we are.

After staying with Brigitte’s parents for four weeks, and having recovered sufficiently to cope, we went home on 17 April. Joseph was still having seizures although he is on medication to control these. On Saturday 24th he had a bad day with many seizures so the neurologist decided that another EEG was necessary. This was done on 1 May and the following week we had an appointment with the neurologist. Her findings are not good and are not positive.

They are that Joseph has severe epilepsy which apparently is unusual in such a young child. This situation has arisen because his brain is dysfunctional. Even though the architecture of the brain is in place the brain is not functioning as it should. The huge concern is that the neurologist says that the brain is not developing and maturing as it should. She says that the problem with Joseph’s eyes has come from the brain.

This is a very serious and complicated situation, the cause of which is unknown. Tests are still being performed on the blood samples which were taken a while back. So far there is no obvious or probable cause or reason for Joseph being as he is, and we have been told by the Professor of Neuro-development at Wits University that something randomly went wrong early in the pregnancy. Sadly this is the result.

Please pray about this problem with the brain and the seizures. They are closely linked.

We have been asked a few times what the future holds for our little Jo-Jo. We do not know and the specialists don’t seem to know and have given us no prognosis. What we do know is that our heavenly Father knows the situation exactly and that little Joey is in His loving hands.

There was also a further problem with Joseph’s eyes. Unfortunately the right eye has not grown and scar tissue has developed inside the eye and closed up the pupil completely. The ophthalmologist will not operate again as this will cause more damage, so at present there is no vision in the right eye. The left eye has grown a bit, and there seems to be light perception. What Joey is actually able to see is unknown and to what extent the brain is able to interpret visual perception is also unknown. Please continue to pray about Joseph’s eyes, especially that the left eye will not develop scar tissue and that it will continue to grow and develop.

It is crucial at this stage for Joseph to have effective occupational and physio-therapy to stimulate all his senses and improve his muscle tone. He has been seen by a very helpful occupational therapist in Cape Town and will also be seen by a physiotherapist. We have been advised by a few people that the Baby Therapy Centre in Pretoria, which is an integrated sensory practice with different therapists, does very good work with babies.

With assistance from very kind friends, we are taking Joseph to the Baby Therapy Centre at the end of May (the girls will go with us). He will have one assessment session with all the therapists and two therapy sessions over three days. We are hoping to get some good direction from this visit. We ask you please to continue to pray for little Joey. The situation seems to become more bleak as the weeks go by, and yet we are often reminded by friends that it is under God’s control and care.

The Bible says that nothing is impossible with God (Mark 10:27) and we know that He can heal Joseph completely if it is His plan and purpose to do so. We are encouraged in the Bible to keep on praying (Matthew 7:7) and to present our requests to God (Philippians 4:6). Our request is that God will heal Joseph completely; however, it is not our place to make demands of God or dictate to Him. Brigitte says that we must ask God for the best possible answer to this situation knowing that God knows what is best for Joseph and for all of us, and to this end we ask you to pray for us.

We also ask for prayer for all the specialists and therapist who work with Joey, that they will be given special insight and guidance into his problems, and how best to treat them. The Pretoria visit will be from 25-30 May and we ask for special prayer for everything involved in this trip i.e. for safe travelling, good health for the whole family, especially Joseph, positive input and a good, effective therapy programme for Joey.

There are two questions which we are often asked:

Are you angry about what has happened? The answer is that we are not angry but very deeply sad, and words cannot describe how hurtful it is to see our darling little baby as sick as he is.

Don’t you ask why the Lord has allowed this to happen to you? The answer is that the entire creation was affected when sin entered the world. We live in a fallen world and are all affected by it in different ways. What we need to do is to ask God to be involved in our situation and to help us, knowing that He is in control of everything and of our lives.

Thank you for praying with us and for us. Please continue to uphold this situation before the Lord in your prayers. We are thankful for the kindness and help from so many of you in different ways. May God bless you.

These Scriptures have repeatedly come up over the past week:

Deuteronomy 33:27 The eternal God is a resting place, and underneath are the everlasting arms …

Matthew 10:29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.

:30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

: 31 So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.

John 14:1 Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.

: 27 Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.

PS: The last few days Joseph has again had seizures and there are many other days when his waking hours are plagued by epilepsy. The result is that time which could and should be spent in therapy, stimulation and interaction is totally wasted. Apart from the potential brain damage that seizures cause, the medication is not without negative side-effects. We feel that Joseph’s quality of life is being greatly compromised and are asking for specific prayer that the epilepsy and whatever is causing it will be brought under control as the situation urgently needs to improve.

Lots of love

Craig & Brigitte

(posted with permission)

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