Friday, April 20, 2018

My kids, My Adults - Part Jesse

 So the baby was born in 1998.  Jesse certainly arrived into our lives like a bomb.  He certainly was the most helpful and often when we had to leave the kids at home alone Jesse would step up to the plate as the most responsible one.  We often had to leave our kids home alone during school holidays even though all of them were under the age of 10.  Jesse would make lunch for the other 2 even though he was only 5 years old.  One thing about Jesse was that he could talk, A LOT.  Whenever we went out to the shops or anywhere for that matter, he just seem to have an endless supply of words.  One day I asked him to read all the adverts in the motoring magazine.  And so started his passion for cars.  He knew that every Tuesday, a new FREE magazine would come out and he would want to walk to the shop to check out the new stuff.  I bred a new kind of animal by doing this.  Jesse would learn all about cars this way.  He went to 3 primary schools, Star of the Sea, Sea Point Primary and Rosebank Junior.  By the time he reached Rosebank Junior he was given the keys to the gate. Unlike his brother and sister, Jesse applied to high schools on his own and merely asked me to sign the forms.  He got accepted at St.Josephs in Rondebosch and never looked back.  He did however feel in Grade 9 that he, along with his fellow class were being marginalized by the teachers and wanted to leave.  Again he applied on his own to move to another high school.  He set up a meeting with the Principal of the School Mr Grove, to discuss his grievances.  At the end of the meeting Mr Grove requested him to stay as he thought at that point in time that Jesse was Head Boy material.  Jesse stayed and eventually became the Headboy in 2015.  Jesse passed matric with 5 distinctions and has now gone on to study towards a BComm Acc degree towards a career as a Chartered Accountant.  At his matric dance I arranged an Aston Martin for him to use for the night.  Unlike the other matriculants he got to keep the car the whole night and drove his partner around and eventually got home at 2am.  I didn't sleep much as it is an expensive car.  He loved it and will always remember that night. 

When my kids got their drivers licences, I bought all of them a car, not an expensive car, second hand ones but a car nonetheless.  

Jesse got a hand me down from Jason, a Honda with pop up lights which he disliked immensely.  He sold it, bought a Jetta, sold that, bought a Fox, sold that, bought a Corsa, swopped with his sister, sold that Honda, bought a Corsa, sold that and bought a Polo, sold that and now bought a Honda from Debbie's sister.  He started out with a R15k car and now has a R100k car in the space of just over 2 years.  All we've done is input R13k.  His entrepreneurial skills has come to the fore.  My fear now is that this one is going to go soon.  Oh heaven help us.

Jesse has always cared about us as parents a lot.  He always liked to be with us.  If we were going anywhere even to the Waterfront he would jump in and come along and just care enough to hang on to his mom.  I always wished that one day he would meet a young lady so that she would know what it would feel like to be treated like a gentleman.  Jesse has so much to give everyone apart from monetary stuff.  As I typre this I am glad to report that he has met a lovely lady and he is officially a boyfriend.  He has a new sparkle in his eye and you can see the difference in him.  His love for God is evident in his life and his involvement in the youth on Friday night has led him to meet this lovely Christian girl.  
 Both my sons are committed Christians but in different congregations in our church.

Jesse is a natural leader and it has shown in his ability to take charge of any situation from being involved at the table selling CD's at the Folk Festival to being on the organisational team at the schools Jazz Festival to being the PA to the Festival Director of the Cape Town International Jazz Festival.  He takes his job seriously.  God has blessed this boy with an amazing talent and I am sure that he will go very far in life.  I pray that I will live long enough to see him succeed beyond his wildest dreams.

Jesse, give it horns by boy and just Let God.  He is blessing you daily.

I love you to bits.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

My kids, My Adults - Part Jason

Jason in Grade 7 at Sea Point Primary receiving an award.
An Outshoorn Ostrich Farm visit
 Jason is such a special son.  I have such varied memories of Jason as he has grown up.  One of the earliest ones certainly was when he was a baby, he would want mommy's milk a lot.  Whenever he would wake up at night after feeding he would cry non-stop.  One night I eventually pushed him in his pram through to the lounge and closed the door.  He cried for 2 -3 minutes solid before I fetched him.  I think that may have scarred him for life.  That was when I realized that raising kids was not for sissies.

He spent his primary school life at 2 schools, viz Star of the Sea and Sea Point Primary School.  At both schools he excelled academically and by the time he got to Sea Point he was doing exceptionally well.  He often finished top of the class receiving various merit awards for his efforts. 
Shamwari Game Reserve. Happiness

 Being shyish in primary school certainly changed when he got to high school.  At Westerford High School his life changed in so many ways.  He discovered his love for God here and with the support of guys like Garrett and Roger.  Watching him change was amazing.  He was never a bad kid but his character and love had grown.  However his academics had suffered in high school as he really suffered from FOMO.  He always had to be where the action was and always felt left out if the action was somewhere else.  It was also in Grade 11 that he learnt to play the guitar.  His gradual progression through the guitar ranks led to start leading worship at Common Ground Church.  He progressed from leading worship using the acoustic guitar to using an electric guitar.  His playing improved by the day and as his confidence grew, so did his style. 

Matric dance with Amy Fourie.

 he started experimenting with new ways of doing old choruses and it worked.  Listening to him play has become such a pleasure. 
Leading worship at Common Ground Church

We are so super proud of him.  In 2013 however suffered his first of 3 Epileptic Seizures.  The first 2 happened within 3 months of each other and the 3rd one almost 3 years later.  I don't understand too much of things medical but it always alarms me that the doctors want to take him off medication when they've only just put him back on.  The one good thing for us and not so good thing for him is that they said he should not participate in any alcoholic activity.

 Another one of Jason's passions is surf coaching.  He loves kids and being in a position of surf coach encourages his passion.  Jason is naturally loud and since coming to know the Lord his extrovertedness has helped in his coaching.  He is able to command attention of up to 80 young people at a time and is often called upon to lead these large groups with a team of other coaches.  They get paid shocking salaries but at least it supplements the small amount of pocket money that I can afford to give him.  Here he is coaching his nephew Rylie with his cousin Richard looking on.  Below he is seen coaching a local celebrity and being filmed for a television program.  When he comes home after a coaching session or sessions he is absolutely exhausted and takes a nap for an hour or so.  

So this is my second son who is now 23 at he time of writing this blog.  He is due to finish up his studies this year.  He is studying Organisational Psychology and will finish his Degree this year.  As the years have gone by from Primary to High School and University, his desire to educate himself has gotten better and better and his marks has improved as well.
Passion, Surf Coach

We are super proud of this young man who is destined for greatness.  God has bestowed on him an amzing gift of leading worship.  My prayer for him is that God would open doors to use him in a way that would affect and influence many people.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

London is calling - Part 2

This whole Visa thing can be quite stressful.   Our planning for the application of our visas was rather stressful on me, I think I aged about 10 years.  When applying for our Schengen Visas a few years, most of the groundwork was done by the travel agent so all Debbie and I had to do was show up at the Embassy and present ourselves and our passports, it was that easy.

This time around however,w hen we applied online they asked a lot of questions and thankfully we could get a letter from Renata stating that she will cover all our expenses.  The applications are done online and so is the payment with the Visa costing R1522 per person.  Once you've paid they send you a checklist which has to accompany your passport when you go in to do the handover of documents.  This is where my stress levels went through the roof as according to the list you had to bring a mountain of documents with you.  Everyone that's been also tells you to take a whole mountain of paperwork with you.  Debbie and I quarrelled about this because I said yes we have to do this and that, but my wise wife said just do this.  So we literally took the bare minimum of paperwork with us.

Our appointment at the TLS Company was funny, because when I took out our paperwork, the lady who helped us said "Is this all you attaching?"  My heart skipped a beat but it was too late to turn around now.  I think I lost a few kg's that morning.  Debbie kept telling me that I am stressing too much.  There's not a lot once can do once everything has gone in and the wait was quite something for me.

Well 2 weeks later and we get an e-mail notifying us to collect our passports.  I was not sure personally about the whole Visa thing when Debbie and I went to collect the passports I was fumbling like hell.  Opening our passports and seeing the Visa in our passports was like a dream.  I was so thankful.

Finally I could say, WE ARE GOING TO LONDON!!!!!!  Only a few friends knew about this trip and supported us wholeheartedly.  Now we can officially splash it out on Social Media.  We are going with the bare minimum of finances but we are going nonetheless.  I am officially excited to be going overseas with my family.

I will report back on our journey which starts in June.  Debbie, Jason and I fly on TAAG (Angolan Airlines via Luanda and Lisbon.  We then catch a connecting flight from Lisbon to London on BA and that flight is on Business Class.  Cant wait for the spoils.  Jesse and Ashleigh fly Qatar Airways to London via Doha.

Renata has scheduled a family meeting on Friday 29th at 14h00 to discuss our responsibilities for the wedding and our itinerary for our stay.  Its gonna be good.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

My kids my adults - Part Ashleigh

I met a guy many years ago in Jhb, named Peter Karadas.  He had a daughter called Ashleigh.  I loved that name so much Itold Debbie that if we ever had a daughter, I would name her Ashleigh.  Any other kids could be named by Debbie, but my daughter would be Ashleigh.

I remember watching her being born, when the Dr delivered her, I just burst into tears.  Tears of joy I must add but tears nontheless.  She was the most beautiful baby I had ever seen, even my friend Avril said so.  All babies look like prunes to me but Ash was so beautiful.  Amazingly she had blond hair and amazing blue eyes.  She was such an easy baby, even sleeping through the night at 6 weeks of age.

This undoubtedly is and always will be my favourite picture of Ashleigh.  She would often just walk around our garden mumbling away even when she couldn't speak.  She was always a shy child and a real mom and dad's girl.  This pic was taken at our friends Cathy and Warren's home in Jhb.   Throughout Primary and High School she always worked hard, or so we thought and always ended in the top percentage of her class. We even moved house because she wanted to go to an all girl high school.  She passed matric very well and obtained a bursary to study towards a B Comm Acc Degree.  She eventually obtained her Honours at the University of Cape Town in 2015 and graduating in 2016.  We are so very proud of her achievements.

Your kids are always your kids and when Ashleigh came to us at the end of her University life to tell us that wants to move out it came as a huge shock.  Shock turned to excitement as she ventured out.  We always thought that she would stay home for a while to save money while doing her Articles but she had other ideas. She passed both her Board exams and is now in her 3rd year at Price, Waterhouse Coopers as a Senior Associate.  She would need to start making some decisions regarding her future at the end of the year.  I would love for her to go and experience life overseas anywhere and to travel a bit before knuckling down to her career.  
Ashleigh will always be my baby.  If she calls for anything I jump.  Debbie says that she has wrapped me around her finger.  So what, who cares.  My baby will always be my baby.  She has been blessed with good health and her latest venture into dancing has been awesome.  She is just beginning and has progressed so fast.  She has come out of her shell a lot and has a good positive mental attitude.  Thank you pumpkin for being a blessing and for achieving what you set out to do.  You future is looking bright and mom and I are always here walking alongside you. 
She's going to hate me for doing this but here she is doing her first dance exam.  

Love you madly.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Love of my Life - Part 2

I have often wondered how different our lives could have been if we mad e small decision earlier in our lives.  

Many years ago, I was faced with a decision of going into full-time ministry, the choice was East London or Johannesburg.  I spend a lot of time deliberating, praying and seeking counsel so as to make the correct decision.  God laid on my heart that Johannesburg was where I had to go.  That decision ultimately decided a course which God had designed for me.

During this time in Jhb (Johannesburg), I had cemented my friendship with my now wife, Debbie.  I shudder to think how much could have changed if God had pushed the East London button.  God knew what my life required as far as a partner was concerned.  Meeting Debbie was one of the best decisions that I could have made, ever.  I mean lets just put this in perspective, I am no Painting at all.  Debs is really beautiful and she could have chosen any guy out of a million.  She ha the world at her feet and yet, she chose me.  My life had changed.  Before we dated we developed our friendship and the minute we started dating in September of 1989 I knew that this was the woman that God had set out for me to marry. My only regret was not being romantic with my proposal.  I think I was too nervous and did not want it to be too official just in case she said no.

Popping the question to her parents was not easy.  As a mixed married couple, we were aware that her parents might raise an objection.  We decided that we would not ask the question but rather just present ourselves as a couple getting married and whether we had their blessing.  It was a nerve wrecking evening over dinner as both of tried to conjure up the courage to talk about our love.  It ended up being really easy as her Dad gave us his blessing almost immediately.  Debbie's mom said yes but with some reservations.   

We had a small wedding 8 months later with the reception for about 60 people at Debbie's dad's home.  My dad could not make the trip, which was sad but my mom and family came up to celebrate with us. I must be honest and say that the entire day was a blur, it went by so quickly that I have to look through our wedding album to remind myself of just what happened.  I remember that our wedding meal cost us R3.85 per head as it was bobotie (I think) made for us by Mrs Aldridge, who was a friend of mine's mom.  

Our honeymoon night was spent in the JHB Sun Hotel which was very nice.  We then went to the Drakensberg Sun hotel, Fish River Sun Hotel, my parents house in Port Elizabeth and to Carmel Guest Farm.  I think we traveled too much in too short  a space of time. We eventually just decided to go back to Jhb to our little flat in Berea.  

Our life together has been an interesting tale from experiencing accommodation challenges in areas like Berea, Yeoville and even Hillbrow.  You might be flabbergasted at that, but in the late 80's and early 90's these were very good areas to live in.  We eventually moved around quite a lot.  From Berea to Yeoville to Edenvale, again to Edenvale then Cape Town.  Started our lives in Muizenberg for a month, the Heathfield for 6 months, then Fishhoek, then Fishhoek again where we stayed for 10 years.  From Fishhoek to Rondebosch (so that we could get our daughter into an all girls school), then back to Plumstead, Plumstead again and now in Lakeside.  We have moved a lot and have become experienced in this, but my greatest desire is to be able to buy my wife a home.  

She's the Love of my Life and deserves so much more.  We take things for granted when we have them and often complain about stupid things.  But at the end of the day we have each other and the support of our kids.  I do believe that God will make a way one day soon to grant us the desires of our heart.  

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

The love of my life - Part 1

I was always a very shy person growing up, but Christ brought some special people into my life since getting to know Him on a personal level.  One such special person is my wife Debbie.  I met her on the docks of Port Elizabeth where we were both volunteering on the MVS Doulos.  She had long flowing hair and the hugest smile ever coupled with the most incredibly beautiful face. The first time I saw her was love.  I knew then what 'love at first sight' meant.  well lets put it this way, I met her, she does not remember meeting me.  Two years later we met again at a YFC (Youth for Christ) camp in Magaliesberg.  I knew then that God had placed this woman in my path as she literally came to the camp for the day and I saw her amongst 1200 young people outside the tabernacle.  Again she has no recollection of this meeting,  But I stuck to my guns and continued to be as charming as ever.

Debbie started working for YFC, which meant that i would get to see her more often as my group of friends also were involved in YFC.  So Debbie, Robyn, Avril, Cecil and I became good friends and got to hang out quite a lot.  
There was a hiccup at this point though, Debbie volunteered at a home in Pretoria and would go out there once a week to run programs.  Her dads car was not too good so i always felt bad that she had to drive out there from Edenvale in this old car.  So I let her use my car every Tuesday, not knowing that a guy she had a crush on was driving my car every week.  I did not know this until he said to me one day that he could not get my car into first gear.  Well I took my first gear and never let her use my car again. How could this guy called Tom, an American Missionary drive my car.  I was not happy.

We eventually 'connected' at my ex-girlfriends 21st birthday party.  We danced the whole night and getting to look at her amazing beauty the whole night certainly was a bonus.  The fact that we both loved God was the major bonus and everything was just right.   I knew then for sure that we were meant to be together.

Debbie brings me great joy and getting to live life with her is amazing.  This year, 2018, we get to celebrate 28 years of marriage.  We are so blessed.  There have been many hardships along the way but God has brought us together and we have been amazed at His provision and blessing through it all. 

She is the most amazing mom who loves her kids to death.  Just this week Jesse had to go to Johannesburg,  Jason is housesitting and with Ashleigh living on her own the house is quiet.  She feels so lost as she just wants to care for her kids.  Thank heavens for our little Yorkie who has now become the Object of Affection.  I just LOVE her to bits.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

London is calling - Part 1

There are a couple of issues here regarding our trip. 

Firstly the pound is ridiculous and the thought of paying  R30 for a can of Coke is absurd or R60 for a cup of coffee is crazy. 

Anyway lets back peddle for a bit before i get depressed.  I am a bit of a competition junkie, ever since high school when i won my first prize which was a pencil sharpener when I was in Standard 5 (Grade 7). In matric, i won a brand new car which I gave to my dad.  It was the first brand new car he ever owned.  fast forward a few years and we won a trip to Europe on a Meditteranean Cruise followed closely by a prize to Shamwari Game Reserve for our whole family for 4 days.  2 Flat screen TV's and some jewellery and stuff and the list goes on.  

In October of 2017 BP ran a competition to win 300 000 Avios points.  So hold that thought for just a moment as every time that i fill my car up I get to go into the draw.  My sister called me in December to tell me about this wedding which is happening.  (See previous Blog).  We are all excited about this but nobody knows how much bucks this trip is going to cost.  2 days after the call from my sister I get notified by BP that I won the main prize.  What a blessing is that.  However the only place that the Avios really works for us is on British Airways and there were no flights to the UK available.  But we get to fly from Lisbon to London, Business Class for only R800 return.  A huge thanks to my son Jesse who has done all the arrangements for this trip.  He has been amazing.

Debbie, Jason and I will fly on TAAG Airways (Angolan Air) from Cape Town to Luanda then onto Lisbon.  We will then catch a connecting flight to London on BA from there to arrive in London on June 28.  Jesse and Ashleigh will fly on Qatar Airways via Doha and arrive a day later.  Its a pity we could not all fly on the same flight but passports and other stuff caused a problem with our bookings.  So in total our flights are costing us R42000 which is a saving of R25000 as flying at that time is peak flying time.

The excitement in our home is tangible.  My dream as a dad was always to travel with our children and its finally coming through.  The cost is beyond me but to give my children the opportunity to see the world or a portion of it at least means the world to me.  I hope tht this experience will ignite a passion for them to want to travel someday.  If God blesses me abundantly, I would also like to tracel around Italy with them.  So far on our trip we have been given many ideas for when we are in London, the ones that particularly interests us is the 4 hour boat cruise on the Thames River and a trip on the London Eye which is about 35 pounds.  1 or 2 museums (because its free) and definitely a breakfast somewhere with a view.  I am willing to pay for that.  According to my calculations that is going to cost me at least R1000, just for the breakfast.  But that is what we do here in Cape Town so why not carry on that tradition in London.