Happy F-F-F-Fourth of July

Perhaps for the last time for a while, I’m spending this fourth of July away from the USA. {My Dad and I were trying to remember last night when last I spent one in the USA!} This is my second Fourth in good ol’ South Africa. (I can’t remember how many I spent in Scotland.)

Now. In case Geography isn’t your strong suit, South Africa is in the southern hemisphere.

And in case Weather and Climate aren’t up there too high on your skills list either, that means it’s winter here.

And in case you just don’t know, just because we’re in Africa doesn’t mean it’s always hot.

The Free State (the province where Bloemfontein proudly presides) is known for its cold winters. It’s on the “high veld” at a high altitude {Goo-Goo says 5-odd-thousand feet}. On a high note, the highs can reach the teens on winter days (50s and 60s Fahrenheit). On a low note, the nights tend to below f-f-f-freezing.

Meaning: It could snow. On the fourth of July. What?

All the flags, Hermanus
{Our flags, flying in Hermanus: South Africa, America, and the UK — but we’d prefer the Scottish flag! Can you believe the Bear has a passport for each?}

So I’m celebrating this F-F-F-Fourth of July by honouring the memory of the Boston Tea Party. A hot cup of non-British tea (or six) is warming me up today, and mayhaps I’ll switch over to coffee as often as is reasonable.

Next year I’m having an extra hot dog. Blackened on the grill. With ketchup instead of tomato sauce.

In other news, I only briefly braved a glimpse at these here internets last night to let you know we’d safely arrived in Bloem. I want to more thoroughly report that the trip was fantastic. On our first day of travel we took off at about half past ten in the morning and arrived at our first destination around six in the evening, and the boys handled the travelling beautifully.

The Tank snoozed and played in his little car seat and chose very convenient times to be hungry or to need a change. The Bear enjoyed colouring in a specially-chosen-for-this-trip colouring book (about Pirates) and enjoyed stickering in a specially-chosen-for-this-trip sticker book about trains. Arrrrggggh and choo-choo! And he took a lekker nap in the afternoon.

With the presence of road works delays and the fact that we had to get back in the car, day two was a little tougher. We nevertheless persevered, taking off early and arriving comfortably in Bloem in the mid-afternoon. And e’erbody said Amen.

Thank you for your prayers. HH and I marvelled on more than one occasion at how smoothly things have gone this past week. A week ago we were packing suitcases and selling most of our stuff and trying to decide what to send to the States and tying up a dozen other loose ends. Now here we are, safely a thousand kilometres away with the logistical challenges (and some hard goodbyes) behind us, and two months of recovery and peaceful days (and then some transition!) ahead of us.

The Bear has asked a couple more times about going home and sleeping in his own bed, but he is handling things very, very well. We believe in the power of prayer, and during this season, as we were sometimes too exhausted to pray much, we’re so thankful for friends bring requests before the throne of our behalf.

What a good God we have, Who decided at the beginning we’d be able to speak to Him on behalf of one another.

And for the freedom we enjoy to exercise that gift from heaven as and how we choose, with gratefulness I wish my fellow Americans a Happy Fourth of July. And I wish my dear British friends a Happy Rebellion Day. {Call it what you will, I’m pleased with the outcome. 😉 } And to everybody else, Happy Monday!


The Hard Parts

His three-month-old blue eyes stare up at me, a white crib from an Ikea in Edinburgh framing the perfect picture. Though he’s flat on his back, his legs gallup with joy: he sees he’s about to be picked up. Held. Fed. Cuddled. Loved. And that irresistible smile seems to take over his whole face, and it would be impossible for me not to smile in this meeting.

Even at 3 am.

Every once in a while I see this smile and ache a little. It will be a different smile, one four months past this one, when this little smiler gets introduced to my Mom and Dad and sister, and so many of my friends.


But even then, together in the Carolinas, still there is family here, the family we’re leaving behind and trusting to return to again soon.

And I’m twice over aware that these moments pass by so, so quickly.

I suppose this is a part of the way life teaches us perspective. This won’t last forever, so savour the moment and seize the day. Remember to number your days, and revel in the joy that heaven is forever and there will be no more goodbyes there.

If you have kids, and grandparents nearby, count your blessings.

If you have kids and grandparents far away, how do you cross the distance to stay connected?


Travelling Tuesday: The Stories of an Expat

As our departure from these stunning southern shores approaches, I find myself trying to capture the memories like photographs in my mind. It feels like this place still has so many stories to tell. Although some doors closed quickly, and others opened far and wide, so that the way forward for us seemed so clear, still there’s a part of me that wishes we could linger a bit longer. It’s the way I sometimes feel after enjoying a wonderful meal: the conversation is moving to the living room, to more comfortable seats, perhaps teas and coffees, I am still in the dining room, not ready to blow out the candle on this season in South Africa.

There are stories that haven’t yet left my fingertips, ones I look forward to sharing with you here, about what presently is and once was but soon will no longer be. I was asked recently to write about living as an expat in South Africa for a magazine for expatriates (chiefly international families in Belgium). The magazine has gone to print and, with a nod to the glorious magic of the world wide web, I’m able to also share the electronic version with you right here.

If I’ve done this correctly, you can click to read and mosey on over to pages 50 to 52 for some of my thoughts on life in SA. {But rest assured plenty more thoughts will be coming your way right here!}

I hope your week is going well, friend. And I especially hope your travels bring you right here, to glorious South Africa someday soon. Happy Tuesday!


He’s an Alien…but at least he’s legal!

Hi guys and gals! Thanks so much for your prayers and encouragement! I heard from the Hubs this afternoon and his interview went swimmingly. He said they only asked about five questions and he was in and out in no time!

After copying a gabillion documents and stressing to get everything together, we are very pleased with this outcome! He can now legally live and work in the US, and I rather think that’s a good thing. And I’m so excited the Bear and I have already baked oatmeal white chocolate chip cookies to celebrate!

As you do.

I will now insert some delightfully happy photos of our now three month old to say thank you to you for your prayers and encouragement. We took some special three month ones to follow the series but they aren’t ready yet. So here are some others.

I don’t mean to brag but, did you know the Bumbo is a South African invention?

And did you know that this little South African-American boy is mine? tehe.


So Hero Hubs will be picking up visa at the consulate tomorrow, and then flying back to the Cape late tomorrow night. Good thing Goo-Goo and Gammy are here to help hold down the fort, hey? Now we just have to get ready for this big ol’ transcontinental move.

As you do.

Thanks for your prayers!


So I Married An Alien

You think I’m joking, but I’m not. Despite all his wonderful qualities, in the eyes of the government of my homeland, the Hubs is my alien relative.


We’ve been in the process of sorting out that alien relative status for a couple of years now. I suppose it’s to be expected, really. Our family feels like a geography lesson. I’m from the USA, he’s from South Africa, we met in Scotland, he asked me to marry him in South Africa, our first born arrived on the scene in Edinburgh, and our second right here in SA {in 90 minutes or less!}. The Bear’s passport collection reminds me of Jason Bourne’s. Somebody was gonna have to get some government papers to get all this sorted out.

Tomorrow is a very important day for our little international family. Hero Hubs will be on his way to the Consulate in Johannesburg to get a spousal visa for the US. You know, in preparation for that transcontinental move I told you about. It would be nice if we returned to the US and he was able to stay legally for more than 90 days, and allowed to work, ya know, because we like to eat. And bake.

So I’d like to ask for your prayers for my alien relative of a Hero Hubs, if you’re the praying kind. {And even if you’re not and you want to try.} Please pray that everything will go smoothly with his flights and getting to the consulate, that he’ll have all the documents he needs and be granted the visa without a run-around, and that he’ll be able to pick up his visa the next day and head back down to Cape Town.

This is a reasonably trying time as our lives feel a bit like a balancing act at the moment. But God is meeting us around every corner, and I look forward to sharing more of that with you soon.

I’ll give you an update when I hear what happens! His interview is at noon tomorrow! Spanx for your encouragement, friends!


Travelling Tuesday: Time Travel

When we arrived in SA nearly two years ago, we stayed in a little short-term holiday apartment. There wasn’t much space, so we had to put the Bear wherever we could find a spot…


I suppose I’m reminiscing after sharing the news. I look back and remember: he was non-walking, non-talking, slightly mischievous, and barely one year old when we arrived.IMG_6760
IMG_6696 IMG_6866

We started going for walks to explore the beautiful area where we live.


We soaked in the new (warmer) surroundings


and browsed the exciting new things we could purchase from our car window.


There were a few ups and downs as our things arrived from the UK and we settled in to our new place…


The scenery constantly blew me away. (And still does.)


Sometimes it feels like ten years ago, but other times it feels like last month.


If you take the time to travel back for a moment, and to consider all the changes that have taken place between any-then and right now, I imagine a few lessons will come to heart:

Life changes quickly.



You won’t pass this way again.



Soak in the moment before it passes you by.


This moment


and this moment


and even this moment


…they’re all gone.

I imagine if we could travel through time, we’d still realise you can only ever make the most of this moment — the one that you’ve got.

Lord, teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. {Psalm 90:12}

May your travels hold you firmly where you already are this Tuesday.