Sunday, February 27, 2011

Unsolitary Sunday

Nick's morning message was just beautiful - I couldn't possibly describe or retell it all, but we were left encouraged and challenged by the life of Barnabas in Acts, rather than being burdened with a 'go and do likewise' mandate. We had some SA visitors at church - Mark and Pam Cvitanich who I have previously mentioned, and their daughter Kim and her husband visiting from Hamilton. I knew Kim when we were both quite little girls in South Africa, at Honeyridge Baptist - then vaguely through the years until we went separate ways. We tried to work out when last we had seen each other, and it must have been a good 10 years at least! It was lovely to reconnect with this grown-up version of her and Paul, her hubby - both are doctors, currently studying to specialize in different fields. Again no photos (what is wrong with me), so I've done the unthinkable in lifting one of Kim's facebook photos...hee hee....Another missions DVD in the afternoon service - just incredible - then a spur of the moment braai with Andreas and Danielle. They make their own boerewors (translation, literally 'farm(er) sausage') which is the real thing; we took some bread along, Danielle made salads (beetroot and canned peaches made an unlikely but delicious combination) and there you have it. Mmmmm!!! Don't drool over your keyboard while I describe the pudding - lemon flavoured luxury yoghurt in meringue nests, topped with cherry juice...

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Catching up

Good to be home again after a week of full days at work. It's remarkable how different my temp assignments have been in nature, and the variety of reactions there have been from the permanent staff...for some people, a temp is like an appliance or a stick of furniture - purely functional and inanimate; not greeted or spoken to. For other people, the temp is seen as one of them - a person to be engaged with and included in the staffroom chatter. This category keeps it interesting! We were hoping to do something outdoorsy and family-oriented but the weather was not hopeful. Instead, the day brightened when Andreas and Danielle called in to say hello, Andreas having returned from SA on Friday. We stood in the kitchen with our cups of coffee around a plastic tub of store-bought Anzac cookies...gesellig!
Following youth last night, the boys wanted to have a game of Taboo. We were amazed at their giving and receiving of clues! They can play quite a competent game. This led us to lunch which was toasties, and then I spent the afternoon in the kitchen, baking and preparing for Sunday's lunch.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Midday thoughts

The Christchurch earthquake has really been the subject of everyone's thoughts and prayers since Tuesday. It's surreal to be reading about the devastation, death toll rising and eye witness accounts that are almost exclusively the featuring stories while I'm sitting so comfortably in an air-conditioned building with plenty of water to drink straight from the taps, food to eat, a home to live in and no missing family or friends. I may as well be reading about earthquakes in Chile. But then I have people phoning in who are looking for the telephone number of Civil Defence so they can declare themselves safe - refugees from Christchurch who have made their way here to seek shelter and stable ground. I've taken calls from people offering their homes for accommodation; I've had people phoning in wanting to know where the distribution points are for drop-off of food and clothing. And it becomes real. There are real people wandering the streets of Timaru who look like tourists on holiday, but who really are the shell-shocked with demolished homes or who are simply needing to get away from the City. There are people at the Caroline Bay Hall with tragic stories of loss - real loss, not just a bit of smashed china. Some of them have absolutely no idea what the future holds and how they will survive. It's real. And I'm at work fielding calls from angry subscribers who had a newspaper or eleven delivered while they were away on holiday. Like seriously, you're distressed about that??

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Waaaaaa, waaaaaaa

Absolutely not a single photo to be had for the day...I went to work, leaving Nick in charge as the chauffeur with a set of instructions and appointments. He had to get both boys to the dentist and then both had music lessons. I don't think he's much enjoying doing the mom thing! Caleb had to have a tooth pulled but you never would have known by looking at his cheerful face, and Aaron was the recipient of a filling and several injections. They both still had floppy anaesthetised faces when I saw them after work which was the cause of much giggling.
I was gripped by stomach pains around lunch time - the rest of the afternoon I was hunched over and shivering at the reception desk trying to sound friendly and engaging but really wishing I was home! We suspected appendicitis but by the time I got to phone the after-hours line the pain was easing. The very kind nurse on duty took a long time talking through all the symptoms and possibilities and suggested that I had had a form of gastro which presents itself as colic, with nausea and fever. I do have great sympathy for babies if that was colic!!
I asked Nick to buy bread on his way home from bible study but when he got home he had none...there was no bread to be had at the garage, and apparently Pak'n'Save was also running low or running out - a lot of food has been taken to Christchurch and/or distributed to refugees in temporary shelters here in Timaru. I suspect there will be a run on milk and other staples too. Anyway, Nick went off to Simon's bakery and put in a few hours there to help out with the influx of orders - it's a practical way to help in the crisis!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Earthquake, II

Aaron did not like the idea of going to school in a slipper so made a concerted effort to get his socks and shoes on – which he did, and quite ably. For such a bruised foot he is doing pretty well. During the morning Nick phoned to ask if I’d like him to make soup – what an amazing offer! It’s been rainy and a little cold today, just the right weather for a pot of pork and veggie soup (and what a great soup it was - and such a treat to come home to tea already made). And then, just like that at 12.51 pm, the building started shaking with an earthquake – I hadn’t seen the air-conditioner maintenance man come in but it seemed that he was running about in the ceiling. The general cry of “get into a doorway” went out pretty quickly and I think we were all quite severely rattled with the rocking and jerking and rattling. This one again had its epicenter in Christchurch, with a magnitude of 6.3 but only 5 km deep. We had a few more big aftershocks in the afternoon, and even now at the time of writing (19h50) there has been another little tremor. Our prayers are with those in Christchurch who have lost their homes or been badly injured, and all who have lost loved ones in this disaster. The death toll was up to 65 at about 6 pm, and climbing as more bodies are pulled from rubble. (Thanks Catherine for your comment on the blog - please keep praying!)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Herald this

I’m doing a week’s temp assignment at the Timaru Herald – answering phones, receiving faxes and so on. It’s fairly mundane work, and more so because not much is expected of a temp, but it’s interesting nonetheless to see the inner workings of a newspaper – disappointingly, it’s nothing like Clarke and Lois! When Nick and the boys fetched me at five, Aaron had a super show-and-tell for me of his bloodied toe…a wood chopping accident which had happened about five minutes before they were due to collect me, in which a sharp chunk of wood landed heavily on three of his little toes, cutting quite deeply into one. No breakages and no stitches necessary though, thank the Lord! The weather has been magnificent today, lasting late into the evening - normally a hot day would give way to Southerlies and turn cold by late afternoon. I took a short drive south of Timaru but alas, in my excitement and haste to go photographing something, I left my tripod at home so ended up being frustrated with most of what I did. Still good weather though and great to be outdoors.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Oh so Kempf

Following our morning service, Rene invited us around to his place (technically the invitation was to get together as Bronwyn was in Christchurch; I invited us there). I took some left-overs and mealies (corn on the cob for you kiwis and other non-SAcans) and we had a good meal together – sorry Bronwyn, next time we do it with you too, hey? The boys moved off outside for some backyard soccer while Hannah stayed glued to the computer, hard at work on some graphics. Watched another missions DVD in the afternoon service; again a very moving account of what God is doing in tribal missions and how entire tribes have come to faith in Jesus through the His Spirit and the preaching of the Word. Very exciting!!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Of animals, models and food

And what of today...Nick found a hedgehog in the back yard while he was cutting and stacking wood and shuffling pinecones from one location to another. The boys were understandably excited, and made a cosy little home for it from which it quickly escaped, only to turn up in the front yard later to snack on some discarded corn chips. They are a little germy though so one has to be careful with thorough hand-washing afterwards. Nick did his fortyearly clothing shopping today, having found some good threads on sale at Farmers. His wardrobe is needing a bit of an update anyway as he no longer preaches in a tie (apparently only 18% of UK bankers and corporate types wear ties are finally breaking free from the restraining noose of conformity {but will they be burning them, I wonder??}). I pleaded, cajoled and coerced Nick into posing for me for a blog pic - I think he makes a smashingly good model but he is convinced that this is not his forte. Had an unexpected invitation for tea from the Camerons, who took us out to the Sukhothai Restaurant in town for Thai food...and what great food!!! We had a most excellent meal and evening despite (or because of?) getting really silly with food-in-teeth gags and the like. Thanks Matt and Rachel!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Mr and Mrs Swimming Pool

After the euphoria of the last two days, it was back to a regular 'out of the clouds' day - good thing, otherwise the family won't get fed, washing doesn't get concentration on anything serious! I had an orientation at the Timaru Herald where I will be temping next week (nothing glamorous - reception and answering a busy telephone) first thing in the morning, and then I was largely at home the rest of the day, other than a Subway lunch date with Nick. We had Leon, Magda and Lisa Swanepoel around to tea - shocking that it's taken nearly a whole year to do this!! Actually today marks a year since landing in NZ, so happy anniversary to us. It's been a big and busy year. Anyway, had a really lovely evening with the S's over mexican food (quite a drastic breakaway from the usual lasagna) and then as the evening was just so gorgeous - still and warm with just the right sort of clouds - we took a short walk to Dashing Rocks. My hat was totally off to Magda who had no problem clambering over the slippery rocks in her wedged sandals! I'm clumsy enough with sports shoes on.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

{I've got that floating feeling}

Have you been anxiously watching this space? Hmmmm? I'm VERY pleased to say that, 25 hours after walking through the Prospective Employee's doors, I am now Hired Person!! I was invited for a 'formal' interview today with the Lovely Lady and her husband, though never has one been conducted with more giggling from both female parties. At the end of it we looked at each other and said, "so, should we do it?". And we did! A contract is being drawn up so the formalities will be signed, but there is just so much excitement on both sides. I start on 1 March, working 10 hours a week for now with a view to extending the hours, and at that time I will detail the who, where and what of the job (but for now, this is the beautiful building in which I will be housed). I can see God's hand at work here in so many ways - the timing, the prompting, the dreaming and even the nontraditional format of my CV which was best suited to this position. He has brought all the little disconnected puzzle pieces together in perfect order and each piece interlocks perfectly!
Danielle and Petru came around for a girls' evening while Nick was out at an elders' meeting. We watched a teaching DVD together - it was the first time I'd ever listened to preaching in Afrikaans!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

You did what????

The orthodox method of job hunting has simply been failing so I'm trying a different approach. It's called the "Pretend to be Confident and seek out your Dream Job" approach, where you think up what you'd most like to do, have it spontaneously seconded by a friend whose strength is getting people motivated, and then go ahead and ask the Prospective Employer if they're hiring. I really had no such intention of doing this when I left the house today to buy a ukulele for Aaron, and as such was garbed in a rather dowdy combination of clothing, accessorylessness, non-hair and just a thin scraping of make-up. Not a great start to pulling off such a mission, but I just had to do it before courage failed. Thus attired and prepared I marched up the stairs (timid people creep; confident people march - one must get into character) and thrust forth my hand in exuberant introduction. The Prospective Employer graciously smiled and nodded and although her first thought was "oh dear, another walk-in I'll have to turn away", the more we chatted the more excited we both became about what seemed to be a possibility. I left the meeting in high spirits - as high about the fact that I'd done something so brave and daring as that I'd met such a lovely, lovely person...whose identity I'll not share just yet in case the whole thing falls through!! But watch this space....
The boys started their music lessons this afternoon. Aaron loved his bright yellow, brand new uke and was keen to get into it straight away. His lesson was first and he kept staring out of the window and avoiding eye contact with his teacher...nerves? Caleb's violin lesson happened later and it was such a thrill to see him standing with his hired instrument tucked under his chin, the right pose and grip being taught as the first thing. He needed no encouragement to practice, and indeed we all had a turn on his violin. It's remarkable to me how you can drag a bunch of hairs across a string and it produces such a resounding note!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sew-sew low-low

So, firstly...the 17-lines-of-stitching cushion turned out really well despite several of the threads breaking and needing redoing and the frustration thereof. As soon as that was done I tucked into a Euro-sham cushion cover for the bed, but since I don't have an actual inner for it yet it will lie dormant! Of late I've been battling my old enemy: Depression. Usually it stays well hidden behind the bouncy exterior, but to be true to you, readers, I'm not really all that perky (at least not all the time!) The extended fruitless job hunt, the grey skies, small health issues and I suppose a genetic tendency toward it all came together to have a party. And just how many cushions can a room need? I've been desperately reminding myself that God is faithful, good, kind and that His purposes are my ultimate goal. It's just difficult to be playing the waiting game. But so help me Lord, I'll stick it out and remember Your promises! Apart from the Word, I'm also thankful for the friends He's put around me who seem to pop up with a word of encouragement or just a spot of silliness at the right times.
The high point of my day was calling in at the boys' school again for more photography - specifically of music lessons but I happened upon an art class too. Always fun seeing Caleb and Aaron in action in their school surrounds. Caleb acts like the other kids in pretending I'm not there but Aaron's eyes, no his face, no no, his whole body lights up when I sneak into their class. It's so sweet. Quickly grabbed what shots I could of them while no one was looking :)(Above: meet Hannah, who has taken to snarling and/or growling at me. I haven't figured out why but in the meantime I'm doing it back).
Nick, meanwhile, left late afternoon for more lumberjack stuff. Or does lumberjackness refer only to the actual cutting down of trees? I'm not sure, but he was home late with a trailer load of really huge pieces of tree which still need chainsawing and splitting. I love the smell of fresh pine, even at 10 o'clock on a crisp, moonlit night.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Just picture it

Well I spent the largest part of the day putting together a photo album which has been pending for about a year. Got nearly 100 photos printed (on special at 11c each, now was a good time) to finish off the collection of 'best of 2009' photos, which then had to be sorted and grouped and arranged. Ran out of photo corners quite soon but the hard part is done, really. Also spent some time sifting through 1,000s of pics on the Mac to pull out my favourites for 2010 which will then receive a similar treatment. The boys had a 'play date' with some new friends Ben and Josiah after school so I only collected them at 5. They enjoyed their time there and had also had a good day in school by all accounts! No Monday blues for them. We are so thankful that Caleb is making friends this term - I think with a new class and new groups forming he has been able to find a niche better. After tea Nick got the boys engrossed in a game with bionicles and shooting and weapons and things - all very civil and peaceful actually despite the object of the game! I started another cushion cover while they were so amicably occupied but have given myself a rather tricky task of gathering up 17 lines of stitching across quite a heavy fabric. Oi!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Double the inspiration

Sunday School, doctrine class and the Adult Bible Class all started again today after the very long holiday. Our Sunday School classes have shuffled about a bit and completely mutated in form now, with mine expanding from 4 at the end of last year (it doubled in size over the course of the year) to 8 at the beginning of this year. I'm pleased to say that Caleb is in my class now and he, along with several other chatterboxes, certainly adds some interesting flavour to the class. Continuing with our missions month, we watched a powerpoint presentation on the ministry of the Cubao Reformed Baptist Church in the Philippines - very inspiring. I twisted Danielle's arm into coming around in the afternoon again, so she joined us for a very strung-together meal of baked potatoes (some were homegrown) with cheese or pasta sauce, stir-fried veggies and frankfurters. It sounds better than it looked on the plate :) We started discussing lamp shades and the possibility of home-made ones as I've been wanting to do something for ages with two wooden bases which are sitting uselessly in the cupboard and eventually had a light-bulb moment with an idea for constructing a frame (many hands make light work). More on that in the next couple of days when I'm satisfied with the end result. Watched the second part of the Taliabo story in our afternoon service.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Pigging out

How do bumble bees fly with their huge bodies and tiny wings? God put some of His creatures together in such a humorous way, I'm sure - or does the impossibility of such a clumsy insect simply serve to point out that God's design by far supersedes our engineering abilities and understanding?
Had a good family day at home for the most part - at one stage Aaron was doing homework, Caleb was reading, I was sewing and Nick was mowing the lawn. All good domestic bliss! Nick found that some of our potatoes were ready for harvesting and gathered in a sturdy dozen or more. In the evening we packed off to the Camerons for a Swiss meal - never had had such a thing so didn't know what to expect but had taken big appetites just in case. Good thing because we ended up eating heaps - it's similar to a fondue thing where everyone cooks their own stuff on a communal griddle thingie, with individual mini pans tucked under the griddle for grilling cheese and putting it all together. It's a grand idea and worked well, even for the boys who thought that cooking their own stuff was da boss, like, yo. Two pigs arrived during the eating (I mean this in the literal sense, not that we became pigs although there might be some question in this regard) and were duly housed and watered. The Clevely adults challenged the Cameron adults to a game of Taboo, following on from our enjoyment of the game on Friday. It's always interesting to see who the real competitors are and who the players-for-fun are. I confess I fall into the former category and had to restrain myself from post-mortems on each round, and filling in answers for the other team! An excellent evening all round, thanks Matt and Rachel.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Young at heart

The skies were gray; it was chilly and dark and I felt somewhat gray myself. Just one of those days where you'd like to stay in bed and not be bothered by anyone! Felt a bit better by afternoon time though when I met up with Rachel at 2.30 to look at a house. Went directly to the school after that and waited for the boys for quite some time, especially since Aaron decided he needed the loo right after the bell went. Just got home in time to collect Caleb's piano things and his scooter and helmet and rush him off to Joan's for his lesson. At 7.30 we had our first youth group meeting for the year - we've had some ad-hoc gatherings in the past but have now formalized a fortnightly meeting. At exactly 7.30 we were still the only ones there - Nick had brought his electric guitar and amp and got himself mic'd up and everything to sing to an empty church. But a few minutes late(r) we had 8 enthusiastic high-schoolers. Had a short time of worship followed by a half-hour Mark Driscoll DVD which was excellent, then popcorn and juice and games. We taught the kids Taboo which went down well especially for those who could get past the nerves and giggles and actually describe the given objects! Good fun and we look forward to the next one.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Arr, me hearties...

(Well the title has little to do with the post but read it with much pirate expression anyway). Dropped the boys at school then came home to do work on the brochure for the school. Nick was the speaker at their chapel service (assembly) today and taught them a new song which involves jumping about and waving of arms - quite fun. We had to be back to collect the boys an hour after that so instead of going all the way home (all 9 minutes of the drive), we browsed around the Crow's Nest for a while. Nick found some great books, four for $1, for the boys. My bathroom projects are now complete (well, for now anyway until the next idea falls upon me) so here is the whole effect, complete with Nick at the computer in my craft room just across the passage from the bathroom.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Some ol' sticks tied t'gether

Okay, for you crafty people who've been asking if the driftwood project was successful...yes it was! I have another bathroom project on the go so will photograph again in the morning with the completed effect. Caleb asked what it was, looking very unimpressed by the whole thing. I told him it's a vase; he asked how on earth it could be waterproof. The simple answer lies in the cut-off plastic ice-cream soda bottle around which the pieces of driftwood have been glued. I found some sticks in the garden onto which I've hung a few fish to complete the marine effect.The boys have been duly enrolled in the Timaru School of Music held on the Waimataitai School premises; Aaron in ukulele and Caleb in violin. They start lessons next week and are super excited. Caleb will continue with piano this term as well. Had our church QGM this evening...sometimes the talk is arranged like our chairs - circularly! But it was a good meeting with positive outcomes.