Monday, November 25, 2013

Another update

Darin and I are in Swaziland right now. He is currently out meeting with people for business and I am just chilling in our room. It is the perfect kind of holiday for me. We do hope to do a bit of sightseeing tomorrow before we drive back to Hammanskraal, but I think we both needed some time to just totally relax.

Things have been busy back at home. Darin’s mom arrived on the 20th and her time here has already been full. Tyson and Jori have been spending every evening at Grandma Karen’s playing card games and begging for snacks.  I am sure they will be trying to wheedle even more goodies out of her now that we aren’t there, but she can handle them! I love a grandma who isn’t afraid to say NO!! Not only has Karen been busy with our kids, but she has also been going on walks and playing with the little ones at TYB. They are already calling her “grandma” J To top it all off, she has been cleaning and painting down in our new cottage, getting it ready for the big move this weekend. Hooray for Grandma Karen. Seriously, I am so thankful to have her around right now. What a blessing she is to all of us.

Yes, the big move will be taking place soon. I am getting really excited about having our own space, but at the same time I am a bit apprehensive about leaving the main house. For all the craziness and noise and the lack of privacy, I totally love it. I think out of the 4 Feys, I will be the saddest to move. We will all miss different parts of being in the main house, but I feel like over this past year I have been doing what God made me to do and He set me in a place where there were non-stop opportunities to serve. I worry (oh yes, I still worry!) that being away, even just a short distance away, is going to change all of that. I worry that my human tendencies of serving self and seeking solitude will grow wild and diminish my passion to be hands on. When you wake up to crying babies and are constantly hearing “Auntie Jonna”, it is pretty hard not to step in and be hands on. So I have these weird fears that I will revert to me old self, and maybe there is some pride involved too, that I will be less “worthy” in some way.

Ok, there is definitely pride, which is pathetic and kind of stinky to acknowledge, but it’s there. It was one thing when our family was living in South Africa, but since we’ve been living in a house taking care of orphaned and vulnerable children…that kind of made us something, and being acknowledged for doing something that so many people thought was all sorts of wonderful and hard felt really good. (How’s that for honesty!) So maybe I fear that by stepping out of the main house we will become less in the eyes of some people, and that is something I really need to fight against because it is so not about me. Really, it isn’t, but I’m just putting the ugly side of things out there.
Ok, then, moving on… I really am looking forward to having a more “normal” family life, if there is such a thing. Tyson and Jori are growing and changing right before our eyes. When did Jori stop needing a step stool to reach the bathroom sink? How is it possible that Tyson can reach my neck to hug me without standing on his tip toes? Not only are they growing physically, but in so many other ways as well. I feel like this experience has been mostly so good for them, sharing their mom and dad, learning to live with lots of other children and all the rest, but I also feel like Darin and I haven’t done all the parenting stuff we should have been doing and it is time for some changes! We are thankful to know that God is good and His grace will cover our inadequacies!

So please be praying for us as we move and enter another new phase of life here in South Africa! If you would also start praying NOW for Darin as he will soon be starting the process of renewing his visa. The rest of the family will fall under him, so he is the key person for all of us. As most of you know, his current visa is business specific for the petrol station and he won’t be able to renew it for the same business as things haven’t gone according to plan…. So, we are just trusting that God will open new doors and smooth out the way for Darin to move forward with a different partner. If there are major roadblocks, we will need to make some big decisions about our future here. Personally, I try to just not think about it right now. We do know that God is in control and we want to be where He wants us to be and we trust that if He wants us to stay, He’ll make that possible!


Early Thanksgiving greetings to our friends in the US! Eat some pumpkin pie for me!

New pictures are up!

New Pictures are up for September, October and part of November! Click here to check them out!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Where we've been, where we're going

With all of the changes that are coming and the talk of back cottages, front cottages, guest cottages, volunteer cottages, main house, across the road and the like, many of you are probably feeling a bit confused. Those of you who have been to Tshepo ya Bana before can probably figure out who will be living where, but if you’ve never been here, which most of you haven’t been, you are just lost!

First, let me share with you a picture that shows where Tshepo ya Bana is in relation to some other places you’ve heard us talk about, namely Tamboti Lodge and James and Juliet’s house, which is also known as across the road and/or the first house we lived in.


There is a little key in the bottom left corner that will give you a better idea of the distance between each location. Before the Big Five were introduced, we often walked to TYB from our old house and I know there were a lot of volunteers who used to walk to Tamboti. The main tar road is in the direction of our old house. Once you hit the tar road, you make a left to head towards the boom gate, which then leads to our kids’ school and then a T-junction where you can turn right and head into Hammanskraal.

This next picture is of the houses and outbuildings of Tshepo ya Bana. You can see a bit of the road which TYB, Tamboti and our old house are on in the bottom right corner, which is also where you will find the key to help you figure out how far apart all the buildings are.


We are currently living in the main house, but will be moving to what is now labeled as the volunteer’s cottage. The volunteers, in turn, will be moving into Mama Joye’s cottage and Mama Joye will be moving into the main house. Who wants to come and help on moving day???

The guest cottage, which you can’t see due to tree cover, is where Darin’s folks will stay in December and my parents will be staying in the new year. It is also where the families of our volunteers often stay when they come to visit, and other friends and family members stay when needed.

The pool area is also mostly covered by trees and the playground and patio, which are between the main house and the garden, are totally covered. We spend a lot of our day watching little kids play out here, keeping an eye on the swimming pool when Tyson and Jori are swimming and just hanging out with visitors when they are around. It is a great space for the kids to run and play and it is nicely shaded in a lot of areas to avoid getting burnt by the sun.

So, now you have a better idea of where we’ve been and where we are going.  Any questions?

Leaving on a jet plane...but first:

Tomorrow I fly to Kenya. I am mostly packed, and starting to get excited. I know that Darin and the kids will be just fine, but the whole p...