Tag Archive: moments with a mom

So i was nominated for this Spread Love Challenge by TheFabLetters which is this super interesting blog i stumbled on a short while ago where two women write letters to each other which become the premise of the blog posts. Some really good stuff there.

The Rules:

Write ten four word sentences about what love means to you.
Share your favorite quote on love.
Nominate ten other bloggers for the same.

Now normally i wouldn’t be down for this type of thing, but the opportunity of misdirecting with a classic Jack Handey quote:

loveAnd then writing some stuff on love and highlighting some bloggers i think you should check out [altho doubt i will come close to ten] makes it feel worthwhile…


Let’s be honest, that concept was clearly drawn up by someone in the bath reading a romance novel – can anyone come up with ten four word sentences that do love any justice at all?

i tried…

Love is messy. [Too few]

Love is a messy. [Too clunky]

Love requires work. [Too few]

Love is incredible. [Too few]

Love is really incredible. [Feels like the word ‘really’ got thrown in there just for word limit]

and so on…

The point being that you can’t adequately sum up love into sentences of four words or less. In this microwavic instant gratification culture and society most of us live in today, it is easy to be fooled by the idea that everything can be squeezed into 140 character or less Twitterial moments, but the truth is they can’t. Not adequately anyway. Which is the second time i have used the word ‘adequately’ in this paragraph, making it now three times too many…

Relationships cannot be jammed into tweets or even blog posts. They can’t be summed up in a song or even fully contained in a book. We can give hints and whiffs and ideas and metaphors and the audience can feel like they ‘get it’ but they never really do. Love has to be experienced and lived out and figured out and patched up and chased after and clung to and only those love-ing will ever really truly ‘get it’. Get it?

So we can make four words bumper stickers on the ‘Love is…’ theme but they will be completely and ridiculously inadequate.

‘Love is messy’, comes close but behind those three words lie ten thousand more. Experiences and moments and glances and sorrys and frustrations and make-ups and silences and ballads and bad movies and walks on the beach and sunsets and great meals and hard decisions and money issues and commitments and single tears and out of control laughter and… did i reach my word limit yet?

Jack Handey has it close enough. Love is liking someone a lot and choosing to do life with them in all its beautiful, painful and messy ways and not letting any of those categories be too much to continue on with the commitment you have made. Whether we are talking marriage or friendship or family. Love is saying, ‘i will see you again tomorrow.’

And so much more. [Ooh, ooh, four words]

There are a bunch of bloggers who i appreciate but the big ones like Sarah Bessey, Nate Pyle and Jamie the Very Worst Missionary are way too big and important to use their valuable time compiling Spread Love Challenge challenges…

But some lesser known types who i enjoy and would love to see tackle this [in a legitimate way, not in the cheatery way i did] are Bek Curtis whose blog Perfectly Flawed says it like it is… Lily Ellyn who, when she is not pushing out articles on Relevant magazine, has an eclectic collection of different thoughts and words called Such Small Hands… and of course my beautiful wife Val, aka tbV, who i would just love to see blog on anything as she is ridiculously talented, as you can see in On Afternoons and Coffeespoons, but rarely makes the time to do so… [there’s something worth starting a petition about] and also Candice Fourie and her most excellent Moments with a Mom is another one who writes powerfully but too infrequently…

i will finish this off with one of my favourite quotes about love in the guise of being a quote about being real and it is from The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams:


[For a post titled ‘You Will Be Known by the Love’ click here]

[For a piece looking at Ten creative Ways to Love, click here]


This year I’ve been married five years. WHOA. It seems really long but at the same time, it seems to have passed by so quickly. Mine was different to most because Matt and I started out our married life by having a baby one month into being married. (Long story for another day but God used and still is using our journey through that immensely for His glory!) If that’s not being thrown into the deep end, I don’t know what is. 

The essence of marriage is that it’s not about you. You’ve taken vows with someone whose happiness you put before your own, whose well-being you attend to before anything else. Making them happy should essentially make you happy. But it doesn’t always work that way.

Marriage of course, is going to have highs where you feel like all is right with the world, there are butterflies in your tummy, there’s walking like you’re floating on the clouds, where you see everything in the world through your rose-coloured, love-tinted glasses but marriage starts to get difficult when you’re in the valleys. And believe me, they’re going to come if they haven’t yet.

There are so many pieces of advice that people give you when you start and while you’re walking through, your marriage journey. Funny though, the best piece of advice I’ve ever got was yesterday.

Here it is and it seems so simple: when you believe you’re struggling in your marriage and you start to feel discontent about how your relationship is panning out, you’ve taken the focus off your husband/wife and started focusing on your own wants and needs, making them more important that your spouse’s. Other-centeredness versus self-centeredness ~ that’s the basic idea.

How true is that? I can just think about that in the context of my marriage. If I start to feel like I’m unhappy or I start grumbling, it’s usually because I’m not getting what I want, not fulfilling one of my needs instead of caring about what’s best for Matt or what Matt wants. When I heard this yesterday, I looked back at my marriage and when it’s been tough, I’ve always tried to fight to make myself happy or make my needs more important than Matt’s.

Jesus is the ultimate example of other-centeredness. He put others before Himself in all things. The cross is a perfect picture of what it looks like to sacrifice self. That’s what marriage is about. Sacrificing selfish desire DAILY, and putting the focus on your spouse.

I was totally convicted of this yesterday so I’m talking to myself here, more than anyone. We’re all a work in progress and of course, marriage is a covenant between two flawed human beings so there’s bound to be times of hardship and misunderstandings but I believe this could help me going forward:

When marriage gets tough, I’ve probably shifted from other-centeredness to self-centeredness. I need to turn the spotlight off myself and onto my spouse. Prioritizing my spouse again, and not myself, might just start to fix things.

“Marriage is meant to be more about your surrender than about your satisfaction.”

[To follow Candice’s amazing blog, Moments with a Mom, click here]

[To read a Marriage through the Years story from Year 6, meet Karen and Alex Powell over here]

Candice family

When you have a baby, just getting through one day without falling asleep in our cereal is the biggest achievement. As my two ninjas get older, I’m beginning to realise that raising kids, as much as possible to be Jesus kids, doesn’t just consist of trying to make it through the day in one piece, making sure that homework is done, ensuring that veggies are eaten and that naps are taken. God actually relies on me (and Matt) to give our kids character building lessons, to teach them Godly values and to show them how to be Jesus to people. Because we’re the closest people to them, we’re the first example they’ll know and see ~ ahem. The pressure is great.

Noah, my 4 year old, is at school in the mornings. At the start of the year, he was at another pre-school where he was bullied. It impacted him and his little self-confidence and character a lot. As his mommy, it was just the most heart breaking thing to have to walk through. Needless to say, he’s in a different school and loving it BUT even though Noah and I walked that path, and it was horrible, it gave him a chance to learn an important lesson. Because he knows that being ugly to other kids hurts, because he’s experienced it himself, he knows what it feels like. He identifies. So everyday when he gets out the car at school, and we walk into class, I say to him “Mr Noah, you be the little boy who makes another girl or boy smile today.” Look, he’s 4 ~ and he’s totally not into sharing at the moment and really is feisty so of course, he’s got his moments where he’s not even close to bringing a smile to someone else, but rather a flood of tears. But every morning as his mommy, I pray “Lord, help my baby help someone smile today” ~ and I try remind him at the start of every day as he heads into his classroom. He’s never come home and told me he’s been a smile-bringer but his teacher told me the other day that he prayed in class and this is how his prayer went “Dear Jesus. Thank you for our mommies and daddies and please help us to be kind to each other today. Jesus doesn’t like it when we’re ugly to each other. Amen.”

Candice Noah TylaI’m trying my best to teach my kids to bring and be joy to the people around them. By doing that, they’re demonstrating Jesus, even in the small things, like sharing Lego blocks or by asking another little girl or boy if they’re ok if they fall and helping them up ~ it’s a tough one to teach a little person who’s still trying to figure out what they want in life and who they are in life, never mind trying to be a light in someone else’s but we take it one day and one prayer at a time.

There’s also the practical side of things like trying to get my kids to be involved hands on with people who they wouldn’t normally get to interact with, to get them to see and be face to face with kids who don’t have as much as they do.


I read up a couple of weeks ago about this idea of suspended coffee. I’d never heard of it, and its apparently an idea that’s in operation all over the USA but I was totally keen to try it.

Suspended coffee works in some coffee shops, where if you buy a coffee, you can say “One decaf to go and one suspended.” In essence, you’re paying for two coffees but one is suspended. Someone in need, for example, a homeless person, a family in need ~ when they come into the coffee shop, they know to ask for a suspended coffee and they receive a free one because of you, paying for one. Stunning idea and really just demonstrates an act of kindness and giving to those who can’t even afford a simple luxury of coffee in the morning.

So, because I’m not really a coffee drinker, I decided to rope my kids in when we do grocery shopping, in a kinda “Suspended Grocery Shopping” idea. When I take my two little ninjas in the trolley down the aisle at the grocery store, whatever they choose as a treat, they throw another one in the trolley for “a baby who doesn’t have one.” Living in South Africa, my kids come into contact with loads of kids who are less fortunate than they are so I pack the extra goodies in my car. It’s never anything big, maybe like a sucker, or a packet of chips, or a boxed juice, but my kids are slowly learning that things that they have, some kiddies aren’t fortunate to have themselves. When we come across a little girl or boy that is in need, we can dig into the stockpile we have and hand it out. Not only is it a blessing to the little kiddie in need, but it’s a HUGE blessing to my two babies to see how much joy they bring to someone by just sharing something they take for granted everyday. Again, it’s being someone’s smile, even just for a few moments.

Being only 2 and 4 years old, my children still have so much to learn. They are only just beginning to find out what they’re capable of, and just because they’re tiny, doesn’t mean they can’t change the world for good, for Jesus. My kids and I have this little line we always say. I say to them “I may be small” and they end it off with “But with God’s help, I can do big things.” Me, as their mommy ~ I have to show them now that even the smallest things now, make an eternal impact ~ and that’s not restricted to their age at all. I pray every day that my kids, starting now at 2 and 4 years old, will start to realise the kind of impact they can make on the world.

[my friend Candi has also written a great piece on how to be a parent of young children when it’s not so easy and you can follow her writings on her blog titled ‘Moments with a mom.’]

[For another great story on raising your children to be World Changers, click here]

so more than 1000 people have viewed the post my friend Candi graciously shared with me about being a parent of small children when it doesn’t necessarily go well or feel good all of the time [which for this little blog is a lot of people which has been exciting to see and will hopefully continue to encourage those out there who may be struggling with some of the same stuff] and so this is a sequal of sorts to that.

firstly Candi has a recently started blog [with just one post] called Moments with a Mom, which she is hoping to write some more for and that first post is really worth a read so please go and check it out and leave some encouragement for her there if you appreciated her story at all.  

but then Candi sent me a video link for a 6 minute video clip by a woman called Nicole Johnson [who i had never heard of before so can’t verify whether any of the rest of her stuff is worth checking out or anything] titled ‘The Invisible Woman’ and so i watched it and it got me really close to tears [which as a lot of you know is quite a feat, altho it seems less and less these days, maybe i’m just being exposed to better stuff or maybe this old hard-hearted dude is finally softening a little?] and so i encourage you to watch it. 

i think it is specifically aimed at moms or maybe wives, but i think it’s a great piece for all of us to watch, just in terms of being aware of what we add to the ‘making someone feel invisible’ phenomenon, and also because i imagine each one of us feels a little invisible at some time or other and would love a friendly reminder from God or the people around us that we do matter, that we are seen. so give it a watch and i’d like to hear your thoughts afterwards:



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