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Showing posts from 2011

We are here

Oh my goodness I have so many word racing around in this tired brain.  There is so much I want to share with you to tell you about this amazing place!  We are stunned speechless, I think it could also be the exhaustion by God's faithfulness, His majesty and the blessing of this opportunity.  Japan is incredible and that is just our little... suburb...I will learn the correct word.
Hope you are well Much love  Philippa
And please if I can pray for anything, please let me know

Christmas... and tears

I'm feeling a little teary and my tummy is sore and my nose is leaking.  In 2 days we say goodbye to family and hello to a new life.  I am so excited for the new journey, but my family is so important to me! I am the eldest of 4 children, the almost oldest cousin and niece and in 2 days I say goodbye to them.

It was the loveliest Christmas I have experienced in a very long time. It was free from worry and stress and the Grinch was not so grinchy.  The Christmas tree was the prettiest I remember it being.  There weren't as many presents, but there was so much love.  I missed my sister and her little family sooooo much!  We were thankful.  It was a sweet spot, a safe place and my tummy is getting more sore as I write this.  And I'm battling to see the screen as the tears pour down...and my nose is leaking...

I am privileged and excited and I am nervous.  And the littlies are a bit unsettled.  Our God is most faithful, most loving, most beautiful and I know He knows.


Swollen-eye girl

My husband suggests I change my e-mail to swolleneyegirl@something.somethingelse.  It has something to do with the look of my right eye.  Little children, mine, were playing rough in my bed.  One child, the boy, pushes the other child, the girl, and that child lands on/in my eye.  What happened as a result is a fracture in the bone behind the eye.  Not really a problem, but I blew my nose a bit later.  This pushed air through the fracture in the sinus and it popped my eye out of the socket.   Luckily I was able to put it back.  I have to rest my eye and not blow my nose for 10days.  But God is so faithful, it could have been worse, the eye doctor blessed us with huge discount and another patient offered us a free family photo shoot.

And in other news we will be picking up our visas on the 28th of December!!!!!!!  God is so faithful and we have seen miracle upon miracle happen!  We know He will continue to move all mountains!  Please continue to pray for us!

As sore as my eye is I am f…

Its Christmas time and all I can think about is Japan!

Ooh its Christmas so very soooon  and I can't wait... to go to Japan!!!!!  I love Christmas  normally, normally I have all these ideas in my somewhat jumbled-mama's head (only a mother will know what it means to have a jumbled head) about the kind of Christmas I want for my family.  And most years I don't get it right, and next year I know I will, but this Christmas all I can think about is... Japan.  And Christmas movies!

We watched Polar Express recently, it was a treat for Alexander which went down favorably with me.  And I just loved that the message behind the movie was that the celebration was about the spirit of Christmas not Father Christmas, or the gifts, but friendship and loving one another.  Please don't get me wrong and wonder whether I remember to put Christ in Christmas, I do and I don't.  I so believe we should honor the birth of Christ, but 25 December is a bit off.  But I also believe that it a wonderful time for people to especially honor Christ …

If God is love...

If God is love (which He is) and we believe that we are God's representatives then shouldn't our first response be to love?  For the longest time I have felt more and more strongly that God wants us to live simply.  He will continue to bring revelation and new words and heal and do miracles, but He will do it all out of love.  And His instructions are really clear: "Jesus said, 'Love the LORD your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.'  This is the most important, the first on any list.  But there is a second to set alongside it: 'Love others as well as you love yourself.'  These two commands are pegs; everything in God's Law and the Prophets hangs from them." Matthew 22: 37-40, The Message   

This kind, beautiful, strong, gentle man, Jesus, loved people.  He lived among people and laughed with them.  He favored the company of "sinners" to that of the religious "right."
Passing along, Jesus saw, a man at his wo…

The wait

My kids are not good at waiting.  They look sweet here but in the real world if they had to sit or stand anywhere waiting for us they'd be moaning.  In the same way if anyone could tune into my frequency they may hear a bit of a moan.  Actually they'd hear a rumbling nausea.  Its not a panic, because I know as I know as I know that God is doing exactly what God does.  And I trust Him.  Its just something like: there is so much that I have no control over and so much that still needs to happen, how Lord?.

And there have been a couple of low days and then amazing teaching.  A low day happened on Friday when the wheel on our beloved twin pram decided it just couldn't anymore.  And it happened in a busy shop and nobody helped me.  And that was after the lady in the Post Office determinedly avoided smiling at me.   But I had been reading something about that in Oswald Chambers.  I can't quite remember exactly what he said-I just know it was a lesson in keeping your peace …

4 Years of marriage

I woke up this morning to a smell I couldn’t quite place.   It was a manly smell that I haven’t smelt in a month as my husband has been participating in Movember.   Before I’d even had time to put my glasses on (which means my seeing eyes are not seeing much) he’d handed me a stone shaped like a heart with the most perfect hole in it.  I kissed him and wished him happy anniversary.  At this point he jumped out of bed and grabbed a small black and gold bag out of his cupboard.  Inside the bag was a box and inside the box was the most beautiful, thoughtful present I could ever had hoped for.  Emiel had, in the last couple of weeks, found a coin from Swaziland. He had taken the coin and had it put on a silver chain… for me.  Swaziland is my heart place, my safe place if ever a physical place could be that.  We went there for a few days on our honeymoon because I wanted so badly to show the man I loved the place I loved.  And it was as if Swaziland was on display just for this introductio…


I am so tired and I am sure I am going to be called away before I even get to write what is on my heart.

Today has not been the greatest.  It has been twilight-zone-ish.  We are in this really intense place in our lives and because everything is moving so quickly a slow day feels even slower.  

And my heart is really quite sore.  After our big walk  Emiel and I watched the movie The Bang Bang Club.  Oh, my goodness.  I have always been so against Apartheid and for years actually felt embarrassed for being white.  I was horrified watching this movie, that I know so little about the struggles in my beloved South Africa.  I felt mortified by the human depravity and the brokenness.  And it strengthened my resolve to live the way Christ did on this earth.  I want to love as he did.   I want to treat people with respect and see the Christ in them.

While we watched the movie my mom phoned to let me know that a guy from our previous church had died tragically in a motorbike accident.  I didn…

a walk we'll remember

I am sitting in front of this laptop in my walking gear.  I am pretty tired and my feet are sore.  But we accomplished it!!!!

God really blew us away today.

Yesterday I was despondent.  Very few people had asked how our preparations were going and our sponsorship list wasn't increasing.  In the midst of all this self-stuff, I felt God just telling me to look to him and not to people.   I am not battling in trusting that God is going to do miracles and move mountains.  I guess I just thought it would be through people and well... through our efforts.

I was already emotionally tender and then I felt physically sick.  I was in pain.  My children have both developed an allergic reaction to the stuff our blustering wind brings.  Alexander has been coughing and Beatrice leaking from the eyes and nose, Oh and she is teething!  This morning (we woke up at 4) Emiel had a spasm in his back.  He says it felt like someone punched him.  Beatrice's eyes were glued shut from all the muck.  …

Plis Ghelp

My darling son Alexander is always asking us to "plis ghelp."  He does it with everything.  It's not that he can't do it alone he just doesn't want to.

Alexander is an electrical storm type child.  He is so sweet and loving, but he has the tendency to get so worked up over the littlest things.  His moods can be treacherous (NO to refined sugar!!!!) and he is only able to calm down if we remain absolutely calm throughout.  So when he asks me to "plis ghelp" him drinking his juice first thing in the morning I'll do it.

(On the juice:  we juice veggies and fruit every morning.  This way we know that they will get in good nutrients even if they're not interested in eating much the rest of the day.)

This morning as I did this God just highlighted that Alexander does not like drinking the juice, but he this does by asking for help.  And I think God was pointing out that we need to learn to ask for help when we find ourselves in tough times or situat…

Five Minute Friday: Grateful

It is Five Minute Friday again, a time for free writing.  For a period of 5 minutes write without correcting or backtracking.  Head over to Lisa-Jo at the Gypsy Mama and try it.

I was an emotional mess today, not that anyone would know. With all the excitement the familiar loneliness crept in.  And then I felt such a sense of God just saying "I am in control.  Stop looking to man."  And then I got a message and then later a call.   The reality is overwhelming at this moment, but I am so grateful that I don't have to look to the reality, but to the God who makes the impossible possible.  Even as I sit here I am reminded of relationships once bruised and now healed. I get to listen to my daughter gently snoring and know that my son is sleeping down the passage.  My husband has taken the challenge and is determined to become the man he is called to be. And  in just over a month we will board a plane to Japan.  
Thank you Lord

Much love Philippa

A Walk to Japan

This Saturday coming, so the 26 November, we are doing a walk to raise some financial support for our air tickets and the rest of the things needed to actually make this move.   What we've asked is that people would sponsor us R10 per km.  We'll be walking 30km/ 18.64114miles(so says my handy converter on my phone.)

Please pray for good weather and happy little people.  Emiel is going to push them in our spiffy twin pram.  I might try push but I am not nearly as fit as my dashingly fit, cycles, runs, surfs daily husband.  I walk.  Please also pray for the darling people who will be walking with us and obviously that people will join their hearts and support us.

Then another fundraiser will be a surfathon my husband feels brave enough to undertake.  What he'll do is surf for 9 hrs.  It will be a case of 3hrs in 15mins out.  Will let you know when that is.

And another fundraiser that I have been dying to do will be a ladies tea (not as naff as it sounds).  I  am going to giv…

Learning to have generous heart

My husband is my hero.  I adore that man more than I can explain, even when he makes me mad.

What I want to share with you I have discussed with him.   His response was something like: Not something I'm happy about, not really what I want everyone to know, but I want to be real.

My husband has had a really hard time with being generous.  While I know it affects so much of the way God blesses us, I don't blame him.   For so long a poverty mentality has haunted my husband.  I am so grateful to see him moving past this, but it has been really difficult for him.

A recent event in the midst of all the craziness going on has brought this thing more to the surface.  We went to a worship event at our previous church.  It was a fundraiser for the band Wholehearted to go to the UK where they will be raising support for an organisation called Thebmalitsha that loves and looks after the disenfranchised in South Africa, particularly the Western Cape.

As we arrived I asked Emiel if he…

Our Japanese Family

Just wanted to post a link to where we'll be working and fellowshipping.  We're so excited!  Did I mention I picked up my passport today? Woohoo!!!!  Please continue to pray.  Our mountain is kinda huge but the mountain mover is All-powerful!

Church of Praise International

And the school is Church of Praise International Christian School.

And this is Ikeda City.  Which (I think) is our new home town.

What is family?

I used to believe family referred only to blood and marriage the church I went to and then to marriage.  I don't believe that anymore.

In an e-mail from Japan we were told that our church family over there has donated furniture for our new home.  And then a while ago we were told how they'd moved it into our apartment.  This really boggled my brain.  People we have never met are looking forward to our arrival.  And then I was reminded that the Body of Christ is a family.  Why has it taken me so long to know that?
For years I've ranted about church unity.  I think it is far simpler than church unity if we remember we are family.  Children with the same Father who loves us.   
God has not made His desires for us so complicated or to high to reach, we have.
Hope that gets you thinking a bit Much love  Philippa

Five Minute Friday: Grow

Had I known growing would have been this painful I might have chosen a different life.  But then I would have not seen the beauty that comes from growing, the healing, the life.  I know that if I had not chosen this life I would not be wife to the man who has helped me grow, or mother to the two beautiful children I am privileged to watch grow physically, emotionally and spiritually.  I would not have experienced my beautiful boy child of 2 and a half saying "I love Jesus."

Growing is not easy, but grow I will.

I think of the grass that manages to push its way through the cracks in the cement.  I think I grow like that.

And now I feel rewarded for having chosen the life of growth!
Hop on over to Lisa-Jo's blog Gypsy Mama and join in on 5 Minute Friday. Much love Philippa

I eat potatoes... with butter

I eat potatoes.  Everyday for lunch I eat potatoes smothered in butter and salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Oh my, so good!
I remember listening in on a conversation at a spinning class years ago.  The discussion was on food and what one needed to eat to lose weight. One of the ladies proclaimed her love for the all-faithful spud.  The instructor told her love was not out of place so long as she never dressed her potato with a sauce.  The poor woman was heartbroken (she was Irish.)
This potato diet of mine has helped me lose a mass of weight.  I’ve dropped not 1 but 2 pants size and I’m showing a shape that I don’t recognize. Wow.  If only I’d known that through my brief encounter with an eating disorder, the meal replacement milkshakes, the appetite suppressant drops, the Weight Watchers and Weighless (I am really not bashing the last two, they were just not for me).  How much time have I spent worrying about my body?  How much time has been spent on me?
I really was heavy for a…

Mmm, what can I say... God is good.

This is our new twin pram.  Friends of ours gave it to us on Saturday night.  It has two seats as you can well see.  Alexander will sit in the front, even thought he'd rather be in the back.  It has a huge basket underneath.    We were, to be completely honest, blown away with this gift.  Our friends have 3 little people two of which are still pramable.  I know God is going to bless their generosity.  We've always wanted a twin pram.  I'd done research when I found we were pregnant with Beatrice.  God so knows my heart and His timing is so perfect. And this beautiful new coat was also a present, a gift from the same friends.  The wife has been to Japan in Winter.  And it is very cold!  I have wanted a coat like this for soooo long!  Woohoo! 
And.   We are now in possession of 3 of the passports!!!!!  (It's just mine that still has to arrive-please pray that happens with speed)
Much love  Philippa

Fish of the Seto Inland Sea by Ruri Pilgrim

When I started this blog way back in 2000 and something, I named it a thousand blue fish because my mush for brain told me that was the name of Ruri Pilgrim's book Fish of the Seto Inland Sea.  I'd just read the book and had obviously been moved by it enough to 'name' my blog after it.  Truth be told  it was only when I began packing up our house that I came upon the book and my error.  And then to make life just that more interesting, I only remembered the story when I Googled the book last week.  Why I Googled it I don't know, but the result was quite startling.  This book by Ruri Pilgrim, a JAPANESE woman, is set in JAPAN around what is called the SETO INLAND SEA.  I decided to Google the Seto Inland Sea and just guess where it is... Osaka, where will be living is on the coast of the sea.  I provided this lovely little map picture thing to show you.

Five Minute Friday: Unexpected


It was more than unexpected the day our pastor asked us to go to Japan.  All I could do was burst into tears as he gave the details.  We would both be teaching and Alexander would go to the school.  They were looking for a nanny for Bebe.  They also have an apartment for us.  Unexpected to say the least that the questions we'd been asking were being answered.  We have been waiting so desperately for God to send us, to start us on our road.  And now we are going to be further then our dreams could have taken us.

I don't why trusting and waiting would give a result unexpected, God is always faithful.
Five Minute Friday is a writing exercise.  You write freely without stopping and correcting for 5 minutes.  Its quite liberating.  Why not drop by Lisa-Jo at Gypsy Mama and join in.

Much love

A recipe!!!!!

I am so excited to share this recipe with you.  It came upon me in a flash of food brilliance and I'm soooo stoked. My apologies for the photo's that don't really do the veggies justice.  The meal is a vegetarian supper that could so easily be made vegan by simply switching the butter with olive oil (or your oil of choice).   
What you need: 1 large carrot 1 brinjal/aubergine/eggplant 1 medium sized sweet potato 4-5 ripe tomatoes 1/2 a green pepper 1/2 a punnet mushrooms (I used button, but would love to try it with brown mushrooms) 3 large garlic cloves 4 tbsp butter  2tbsp water
Preheat your oven at 200C/ 392F (ok, that is the direct conversion on my phone.)
 Slice your brinjal and cover liberally with salt.  Leave it in a colander in the sink.
Slice the sweet potato and layer the bottom of a roasting pan. 

 Cover the sweet potato with slices of tomato and finely grated carrot.  The photo is not quite right, because it should be tomato then carrot.  
Put in the oven.  At…

Little girls

I was so scared of being mommy to a little girl.  Beatrice you have so changed my heart,  you are a precious, bubbly sparkly little girl.

Please don't let me fall asleep...

The light on the side of my face really is very hot.
My eyes are itchy and I have a kink in the back of my neck. Without my glasses the blurred spot my eyes are attempting to fix on is not holding my concentration.
I can feel my body beginning to slacken (is that the right word?) and my jaw beginning to droop.
Come on Philippa, pull yourself together.
I start tapping my toes inside my shoes.
Music plays, ladies singing sultrily to men they don't want but need.
It's not working and my eyelids are starting to slide over my eyeballs.
I can't believe this, I'm battling to stay awake in front of a group of artists staring at my face...

No, this isn't some freakish nightmare.  It's God's sense of humour and something that has made me smile.  When I did my first one-year stint at varsity (that is a whole other series of posts) the art school needed models.  For some strange reason I so desperately wanted to do it.  But my insecurity and body issue stopped me f…

Snot on my cardigan

When I first became a mother I was overjoyed with my bundle.  I adored him and most aspects of motherhood, but lets be honest nothing grossed me out more than runny noses or 'oopsies' after feeds.  As much as I loved Alexander he was kept at a distance until he was properly wiped.  This squeamishness comes from being repulsed by wet tissues, vommitting children when I baby sat as a teenager, the way chicken skin gets soft when boiled, soggy biscuits, bad smells, etc.  The list is really extensive.  I am very well brought up though, so few people will ever witness my gag reflex.

And then came baba number 2

With Alexander I was constantly worried about so many unnecessary things, but when Beatrice popped out and my milk was not sustaining her she went on formula.  It was that simple.  Something in me changed.  And so the morning I left for my first day at my temporary receptionists job, dried snot, the slimy kind, had to be wiped off my cardigan.  I know it might sound soft, b…

A change of heart involves circumcision: Part 2

Everyone knows Jeremiah 29:11" For I know the plans I have for you, " declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."(NIV)  Like everyone else who has read that verse you hold onto it, pray it over yourself and give it to the people you know who are in a tough place.  That's what I did.  And then a couple of weeks ago I decided to read it in the Message and whoa, something changed, something came to life.  The Message (Remix version) has verses but they are grouped together.  For example when you look for verse 11, you'll find 10-11.  Here goes:

10-11This is God's Word on the subject: "As soon as Babylon's seventy years are up and not a day before, I'll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.

Did you see that? It is only afte…

A change of heart involves circumcision: Part 1

We are parents who decided to have our son circumcised.  For some reason we had the idea it was common practice in church circles and were a bit taken aback when our friends reacted the way they did.  Most simply debated it, some freaked out and another darling friend tried a very generous form of persuasion.  But in all that we knew, as we knew it was something we were supposed to do.

 Circumcision is such a touchy subject and there are definite camps as to whether it is good or terrible.  But a good circumcision is done cleanly and swiftly.  Is there pain?  I'm sure there must be.  I just know in my heart of hearts that God did not ask such thing of His people for the sake of randomness. 
Emiel and I were stuck in a hole for so long.  We both were desperate to be in the will of God, but were not willing to let go of some of our muck.  I want to explain this so you see the journey but I am sure it might not come out as I'm hoping it will.   Because of this, that and the other…

Five Minute Friday: Remember

I am trying hard to remember each time God has faithfully led us.  I am wanting gratefully to cling to all the good He has already done and not focus on the HUGE mountain ahead of us.  He has been so good!  I am married to an amazingly wonderful man, when I had prepared myself for the possibility that would never happen.  I have had two miraculous pregnancy's and deliveries.  We have never gone hungry, maybe not eaten all the foods I would have liked... Money has just arrived when we've needed it.

I know that I will one day look back and remember the good He has done with us.

Why not head over to Lisa-Jo and try the 5 minute challenge.

Much love

Getting our passport

I am sure you are all wondering just how exciting the experience was.  Well, to be completely honest the only negative part our time there was our beautiful boy child.  Alexander is really testing our patience.

Parenting note:  Consistency is the most important thing about discipline.  
Please add Rebecca to the list of prayer needs.  She is a Zimbabwean who is desperate to for a job that will provide more for her family.  The job she earns now is commission based and she happens to be in the slowest area.   I was just so aware of her mother's heart and her willingness to do anything.  Please pray for her.  
And I want to encourage you wherever you are, pray for your government and honour them.  I really know and believe that if we are faithful in lifting up our countries to God He will move and heal.   I also want to implore you, when dealing with the people who work in the jobs you are so grateful you don't have, treat them with respect and love. 
Please continue to pray

Passport photos!

Oh man, God is soooo good!

We went and did our passport photo's this afternoon in preparation for our trip to Home Affairs early tomorrow morning.  What an experience.  Alexander, darling heart, refused to co-operate.  The end result is an angry, mug-shot type photo.  Beatrice is teething again.  Her photo is the only shot they could get that didn't have gob running down her chin or her tongue hanging out.  Emiel is gorgeous sporting the early stages of a Movember and me well, what can I say, its a passport photo...

Please pray that the passport process goes quickly!

And on other fronts Alexander and his daddy really, really cannot eat sugar and gluten!  They bounce and then pass out.  Not cool.  

Much love