Thursday, November 11, 2004

Lynn's 30th

30th, Skogheim, Holiday, Camp

Looking back over the Chronicles, I see that the next update was supposed to have been written in about July, when we would have been living Pretoria for a year. You would be correct in assuming that life in Pretoria is so busy that I haven’t had time to put together an update! Six months have gone by since the last one – and what six months they have been.

My working days were indeed increased sometime in May, so I am now working four mornings a week at the church. This is really a great job, very fulfilling, and I am feeling very useful here. The extra hours did lead to my resigning from my other admin job which I was doing from home. I was making terrible mistakes in my work and dropping the balls I was supposed to be juggling, so we (employee and employer alike) felt it would be best to let that one go!

May was my thirtieth, with a celebration in early June – nearly thirty people gathered at the church for soup and bread (very elegantly), with a come-as-you-aren’t theme (open to interpretation, but the idea was for people to come looking different to how they normally look – in some cases this was interpreted as fancy dress, and in other cases it was simply ignored!) It was a great evening. We were treated to some hilarious entertainment from some local residents, and another piece by some Joburgers a-la “Whose line is it anyway”.

In July we went to our second Annual Reformed Evangelical Conference held in Skogheim, just near Margate. This year there were no broken toes, but we all got terribly sick – Nick missed several meetings while he was in la-la land trying to get better. The boys also had runny noses, watery eyes, fevers – apparently Skogheim is famous for inflicting diseases on its delegates.

August was the month of the RBA Power Camp. This is an annual camp for the youth of the Reformed Baptist Association. It was an excellent weekend, with Glen Thompson recruited as the speaker – who was well received by the youth. Nick attended the camp last year, just for one night, to lead the worship, but this year we decided to go as a family. I knew I wouldn’t be able to attend the meetings, but I enjoyed getting away for the weekend to the CYARA/YFC campsite. Nick graciously looked after the kids so that I could participate in the teamsports and obstacle course on the Saturday – next year it might be the other way around! I came away bruised, battered and exhausted, but loved it. August was also the month of reacquainting ourselves with a cousin of mine who lives right here in Pretoria, but who I hadn’t seen for about 15 years – and the Chronicles were instrumental in our meeting! Had a lovely visit with them and my mom’s sister.

Directly after the RBA weekend, we joined my parents at a holiday resort near Harrismith, located right next to the Sterkfontein Dam. It was a wonderful week of relaxing and having a break from household bores – a cleaning lady came twice a day to service the chalet, so we weren’t even obliged to wash dishes! Nick played his first ever game of squash with my dad, and did pretty well at it. One morning we left the boys with my mom, and my dad, Nick and I took a hike (or a strenuous walk) up the mountain (okay, hill). We suspect that we were walking on the northern most parts of the Drakensburg. The views of the dam were spectacular, and we could overlook the whole resort. The boys were angelic, and enjoyed the time with their grandparents. (Thanks again, mom and dad!)

In September, Nick flew to Stellenbosch for five days for the BNA Assembly (that’s the Baptist Northern Association). He had a good time away, although was frustrated at the some of the issues cropping up and becoming trendy in Baptist Churches. This was Nick’s first visit to the Cape, and he was really impressed at the beautiful surroundings. The boys and I had a dreadful time while he was gone – apart from missing him, we were carless as one of the wheels needed urgent fixing, so for almost the entire long-weekend I was without wheels. Both boys were sick with temperatures and vomiting, so anytime we got a lift with someone, I had to take along a plastic bag in case (and it was needed!). Needless to say, I was really glad to see my beloved husband again!

October was really busy. Nick shouldered an extra bible study while Pastor Martin was away on long leave in the UK, which meant that Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings were taken up with ministry – apart from the extra preaching at daughter churches on Sundays, and visitation at other times. Nick celebrated his 28th birthday at the end of October, which was a week-long celebration! We started off with a dinner date the Tuesday before, as one of our church members gave Nick money to take me out to dinner for his birthday. On the actual day, Saturday 30th, Nick’s mom and sister popped around in the afternoon, and then we had some friends over for a late afternoon braai, followed by bible study, which was closed with cake and celebrations. On Sunday we attended another braai organised in Nick’s honour, and on Monday we watched a movie, the tickets for which were a birthday present.

Now November is upon us. We are anticipating that life will slow down dramatically in December, as all of the bible studies will shut down for the holidays. Of course, now is the time that year-end things start happening. We recently attended the boys’ nursery school concert, which was quite tedious as you have to sit through all the other classes’ items, but it was fun watching our own kids on stage, looking shell-shocked at all the people staring at them, forgetting all the actions of the songs they were singing along with, and generally looking very much like they were trying to hide!

Nick was asked if he would consider a call to a Baptist church in Malelane as their pastor, and some correspondence was entered into. However, in the end they decided on someone else. He will likely be appointed as an elder in our church next year, pending the members’ acceptance. It looks like we will be in Pretoria for a little while yet unless the Lord has other plans, and although Nick is keen to move on, we are also happy to stay.

Caleb and Aaron have entered the next phase of interaction with each other, a good one this time. They have discovered that brothers can be good things and useful for playing with. They often still irritate one another, but can amuse one another quite well. Aaron’s vocab has increased, but we seldom know what he wants because he is missing several consonants in his speech, so ‘car’ is ‘dar’; ‘dog’ is ‘dod, voof’, ‘Caleb’ is ‘Tadid’ and so on. He says, “mommy, mommy, mommeee, mommeeeee, MOMMEEE” until he has my attention, then proceeds to jabber something, and gets frustrated when we don’t understand. He is quite a boyish boy though, a very able climber, and generally very happy. The two of them are terrified of insects. When a moth flew in the front door, the screams that ensued would have been more appropriate for someone thrown into boiling oil. They have both had chicken pox – Aaron had only a few spots, but contracted an adenovirus on top of his chicken pox which landed him in hospital for a night as his chest closed up. Caleb, although spottier, thought himself quite well enough to continue life as normal. We realised how much Aaron was aware of his brother’s presence at playschool, although they are in different classes, when Caleb couldn’t attend for a few days. The little brother was beside himself when he saw that Caleb wasn’t going with him! He turns two next month.

Saturday, May 01, 2004

In which Lynn finds a job

What have we been up to in the last few months? As predicted, life in the Clevely household did change somewhat. The boys have settled into three full days of playschool, I found a job and Nick has become even more busy. I could leave it at that, our life in a peanut-shell, but let me elaborate to glorify our Lord who directs our paths.

Well, after many weeks of job-hunting, I became a temp for “Only the Best” personnel agency. This was fairly successful and even quite enjoyable, despite being thrown into the company of complete strangers and having to pick up where the permanent person left off. Fortunately not too much is expected of temps, so between answering the phone and the odd bit of faxing, I got some reading done and polished up on my short-hand skills, just in case. It was quite disconcerting not being able to find a job, since I have quite varied work experience and wasn’t aiming particularly high. However, the Lord had the right job waiting, and I am now the proud secretary/PA to Martin Holdt, our pastor at Constantia. I currently work three mornings a week, although we anticipate it will be extended to four mornings in the near future. It is about four kilometres from home, and takes 15 minutes in the morning to drop the boys off at playschool and get to the church. I love the work, the environment, and of course, have a super boss! Looking back, it was clear why none of my other job applications were successful - God had His plans perfectly set up, we just had to wait for His timing.

I am also now playing guitar for Sunday School, for the open session. The kids range from about three years old to 16, so finding songs that all will enjoy is a cross I must bear. I occasionally play in church as well in the evening services.

What can I say about Nick that wouldn’t be a surprise? His workload is constantly increasing, as is his library. A church member took Nick to the OM book sale where he was ecstatic to have over R1000 of books bought for him. He picked up a lot of good commentaries, usually priced around R300, at a tenth of the price. Our Saturday night Bible Study, held in our home, is constantly growing. This last Saturday we had a record of 20 people, with barely enough chairs to accommodate. It was brilliant! Nick has been going through his “Decalogue” assignment with the group, so we are dealing with ethical issues from a biblical viewpoint. Some fiery debates have been sparked, but all in good spirit.

Watch out for Nick’s debut album. He has put down a vocal and guitar track for three of his original songs, at Malcolm Finlay’s studio, Macsound. It has long been Nick’s desire to record, and opportunity finally came knocking. He will be doing more sessions over the next few months and we’ll see where it leads.

He will also start preaching at Emmaus, Constantia’s daughter church, more regularly to gain experience. The Friday night youth group is a small group which is plodding a bit, but Nick is raring to go with his new series on evangelism, starting next month. We pray that this will bring the kids into the group.

And the boys, oh the boys. They have hit on a delightful game called “I want what you have” and it starts as soon as they wake up and gets played regularly during the day, except for when they are at playschool, where they are separated. The rules are simple: 1. Locate brother. 2. Establish that he is really enjoying what he is playing with. 3. Remove said toy. 4. Whine, cry or shout when offended brother tries to retrieve article in prior possession. It’s a great game. Sometimes I let them sort themselves out, but I try to have a wooden spoon handy at all times, which speaks louder than I do. When they’re not playing the game, they’re lovely children. Caleb turned three last week. He can be quite funny in the way he describes things, like Jesus being on the cross, then going to heaven, then falling out of heaven and “tjoep”, into his heart. His theology needs a bit of work, but he has the general idea. Aaron has a small vocab now, although usually his words are interchangeable. “Daddeeeeee” can mean “daddy” or “mommy”, or in fact, any other person he knows. “Teddeeeeee” means “teddy” or any soft toy which could pass as a teddy. He has learned shoe and juice, mostly because they sound so similar, and bottle, which sounds like “ottl”. Uh uh (with bent elbow presented to you) and uh (with a nod) are other favourite communication tools. He is still a tiny boy - hopefully he will undergo a growth spurt before the age of two, at which age they are apparently half their adult height.

Friday, January 16, 2004


It has a been a busy period, and now that the Christmas rush is over and the holidays have ended, it is back to a relatively normal schedule. Things will be changing for the Clevely household this year as I will be going back to work full-time (job still pending). The boys will both attend playschool three times a week, full-day, and Nick will have their delightful company the other two days. It will be a tricky juggling act with one car between us, but we will muddle along.

We were generously sponsored for a holiday during December, so we took the opportunity to go up north and visit Glen and Antje Thompson while there. It was good to be away from home, although the accommodations we booked over the internet were of the kind that make you long for home! Nevertheless, we had an enjoyable mini-break. On our way home, we stopped in at the Potgietersrus Game Breeding Centre and Zoological Gardens, which we imagined to be a zoo. The first section was a zoo, but the rest of the bushland was inhabited by zebras, giraffes, buck of some sort, and various birdlife. It was surprising to have a game drive in the middle of town, and it was so big that we got thoroughly lost and drove around for well over an hour before we saw the light of day again.

Christmas saw us celebrating in usual family tradition, with the kids opening gifts on Christmas Eve after a superb meal at my parents’ house. Unfortunately I was sick with a stomach bug, which was passed on to Nick the next day, making the prawn braai on Christmas Day with Nick’s family slightly less enjoyable. The kids were well stocked with toys for the year ahead!

For New Years we were back with my parents, this time for a stir-fry and games evening. Balderdash, Battle of the Sexes, and Pass the Pigs were enjoyed by all along with good, strong coffee. My uncle and aunt were up from the coast to join in the celebrations.

Then, from one holiday extreme to the other: We were sent on the Grace Minister’s Conference at Mount Grace in the Magaliesburg. Mount Grace is a five-star country hotel. My parents babysat for two nights and three days (and yes, they survived) while we delighted ourselves in the beautiful surroundings, drank teas and coffees of all types, ate, and rested when we weren’t in lectures. It was the first time we had been away without the children since Caleb was born, so it was a welcome change. We both were challenged and encouraged, particularly by Dr Joel Beeke’s sessions on practical ministry issues.

Our holiday period was nicely ended off with a visit from Nick’s brother, Mark, over from Scotland. He was with us for two nights and turned out to be a great source of entertainment for the kids. Good preparation for his pending fatherhood later in the year.

Nick has decided to put his Masters on hold for this year to pursue private research and study in order to better prepare himself. This will be a busy year as he is now getting involved with youth work on Friday nights, and wants to start a hospital ministry as well. He continues leading three bible studies and teaching guitar lessons, along with other various bits and pieces. He was invited to preach at Germiston Baptist twice and at Hartebeespoort Open Baptist, both churches having quite small congregations. All in all, he is getting good all-round exposure and experience at Constantia Park Baptist.

I have taken over the crèche facilitation at church and am still teaching Sunday School. I am also on the hunt for a job - hopefully by the next issue of the Chronicles I will be settled into a new position!

Caleb’s imagination is really developing now. He tells us he is a lion, a baby tiger, Shrek, Donkey, and a host of other characters, mostly from the videos he enjoys. It seems that he is losing some of the tempestuous two-year-old attitude and is settling down and becoming more compliant again, for which we are thankful. He has inherited his mom’s allergies and hay-feverishness which cause him to be miserable a lot of the time, but when he’s well he’s a really happy child.

Aaron now has the run of the house, upstairs and downstairs, inside and out. He walks fairly confidently and is starting to lose the drunken swagger. He is a naughty lad - not so much in the rebellious, I’ll-do-what-I-want-even-if-you’ve-just-said-no type of way, but more in the way he wanders around looking for trouble. You can see by his eyes the way his little brain is ticking over, thinking of some mischievous deed to perform. One of his favourites is throwing toys in the toilet. He also enjoys emptying drawers and putting hats on his head. No intelligible words have come forth, he usually just shouts and waves his hands if he wants something. He and Caleb are starting to really enjoy one another now though - although it’s more the case that Aaron loves his older brother and laughs at anything silly that Caleb does. We got through the first year of having children close together, and now are seeing the benefits.