Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Zekveld LA exit, First Christmas in Cali and poinssettias on my doorstep!

Well... The Zekveld's have departed! They are busy road-tripping across the USA and are on their way back to South Africa. Andrew has been posting pictures on Facebook which has been great to keep up with all that they have been seeing whilst  being on the road.

Here are some pictures of the Bookstore's farewell for Andrew:
  Here Obed had everyone laughing because he wanted to sing out "For he's a jolly good fellow!" which is strictly more British it would appear judging from the uniformed American response! Hehe! Obed's comical response was along the lines of: "What? I love that song!" Which just caused even more erupting laughter! The conversation then led to envisioning Obed jogging along, listening to "For he's a jolly good fellow" on his ipod! I love how we can enjoy the blend of cultures in rich friendships like we do here.

 Izak and I worked hard at making our little home more festive for the Christmas season!
We didn't have a great deal of space to work with... But we got some help from the Humansdorp Bakkes'! They sent us a Christmas package (Which I opened ahead of time! Eeeek! Sorry about that! Izak reckons he will try to hide them from me in the future!) We got this cute hand-made Christmas card... (Heleen's sketches are phenomenal.)
Here is the outside of the card:

 Here is the inside of the card: (with a sketch of the Humansdorp Bakkes'! So creative!)

 We also got these little South African flags in our Christmas parcel, and I came into the room, and Izak had put them up on the curtains! I just LOVED that he had done that! It just made our place feel that little bit more like home. :)

Then, we picked up some fairy lights:
 And Izak "Light Engineer" worked his magic: (Notice the South African flags! I would  not have allowed the messy'ish bed into the picture otherwise!)
 Then, to add to the festivities... We got some unusually (by South African standards...) scented candles: (They really make one hungry with yummy Banana nut bread and sugar cookie scents- mmmm!)

 For our Christmas breakfast, we had WAFFLES with raspberries, ice cream and hot chocolate fudge: (This was after chatting to our family- which helped work up the appetite!)
 Needless to say, we didn't need lunch til about 4 that afternoon! 

 We made the Ina Paarman "Chicken Breast Rolls with Olives, Mozzarella and Tomato" dish. I would definitely recommend the recipe! (I made it back home and for olive pesto, you can simply blend some olives (green and black ones if you have some) and basil, parsley and olive oil... Not sure if it meets the 'true pesto' standard- but it works for this recipe!
Here is a link to the recipe:

The Grace Church Christmas concert was on for four days (Wow! I wish you could have been a part of it! What an exceptional experience!) Well, they had a great number of these poinsettias up on the stage and Izak got given some and brought them home! (He knew it would truly make my day!) So without further ado, meet our joyous, festive poinsettias:

 Doesn't it look so welcoming?!? I love the impact that plants can have!

Well, so this has been our first Christmas in California and it has been a blessing to lay-low. Izak and I both had colds and it was actually good for us to stay home and do very little! 

 We are flying off to San Jose to visit the Gillies tomorrow. We are really looking forward to it. They got us tickets to come and see them, and we are so grateful to not have to spend a great deal of time on the wet roads (It has been raining so much here! Apparently, we have had the highest rainfall in LA in ten years.)

Thanks for reading our blog! We look forward to hearing from you...

Monday, December 13, 2010

Shadow Hills house-sitting, Christmas concert with the Gillies and Ventura with the girls!

Well, we are back in our little house but we had a fabulous time house-sitting for the Stein's. As I mentioned before, being able to take hot-tub study breaks worked very well for us and having an extra room really helped facilitate studying too!

Here are some pictures of the beautiful house:
The beloved hot-tub:
 A place to read and relax outside:
 A view from their garden reveals the beauty of the area- Shadow Hills. Who knew parts of LA looked like this???

 We met up with the Gillies (their son was playing in the orchestra for the Grace Baptist church in Santa Clarita and we were invited to go to a spectacular Christmas concert!) I wish I could post pictures, but I was fairly useless at pulling the camera out that evening, so you'll need to take my word for it! Here is a picture that I found on their website:
Since all the guys had loads of studying to do for the finals this week, only the girls got to see Ventura. Vicky, Whitney and I went exploring together. (Whitney actually works at the Ventura hospital...) We had breakfast at the Hausers house before setting off, it was French toast on raisin bread- what a winner!- Meet Jason and Whitney Hauser. They are also a seminary couple.

I truly put on my Bakkes cap (Almost all the Bakkes' I know are avid photographers!) and I took Izak's canon and tried my hand at capturing Ventura on 'film'! Needless to say, I used the incorrect setting for many of them, but you may just get to see some of Ventura after all!

Here are some glimpses the our walk down roads near the ocean:

We stopped by at an old Catholic mission: (And I tried to be fairly artistic with the water fountain!)
Then, something else that I have noticed is that California has a flag too, and so people will sometimes have both the American flag up plus the State flag. (I actually spotted this in Shadow Hills for the first time...)

Whitney took us to a look-out point and you will get to see Ventura from above:
 The above picture is of the lookout point- the cross was planted by the same mission- if I recall correctly. (If you go into this image, you will see islands in the background. I have no idea which ones they are, but it was great to see how clear the view was!)
Here is another one of the cross:

Ventura reminded me quite a bit of Port Elizabeth... I think it may be the pier, but there was something else about it too. Here are some pictures of the pier and beach:

A surfer in the distance:
Andrew and Vicky are leaving on Friday! We can't believe that they are off! And Izak has his final exams this week. Theology 1 is on Tuesday and the Hebrew final is on Thursday. We plan to go and see the Gillies during the Christmas break and are really looking forward to some relaxation even though Izak has to work for Grace Books and also work ahead for next semester! Pheeew! It is amazing to see that the semester has drawn to a close and the Lord has enabled us... one day at a time. Thank you for reading our blog and we look forward to being in touch!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Thanksgiving farewells and Thanksgiving day with the Morton's!

As promised last time, I have some pictures courtesy of Vicky from the EWG and Sem wives end-year meetings. (Here is her site, if you would like to check out more of her photography...

She even captured me sharing for both meetings, so you will feel like you were part of the action! :)
Here are Vicky and I with Brenda Frields, our EWG leader:

Here I am sharing about what the Galatians study meant to me: (Each table had someone share...)
We had a lunch together with all the other EWG groups and it was good to hear from different ladies about how the study has blessed them and also to spend time getting to know one another better.

Later that same day, we had our last Sem Wives meeting for the year. The theme was 'Fall' and here is a look at some of the tables: (The one in the foreground is ours...)
Here is one of Vicky and Rebecca: (Rebecca and her husband Aldo have become friends of ours too! They are originally from Virginia.)
 That evening, it was our table's turn to share the quick devotional passage and I got to do it. I read Psalm 63... (Thanks once again to Vicky for documenting the day so actively!)
Here's a snippet from what I read:
Psalm 63:1-4
"O God,you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory.Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands."

Our Thanksgiving break was only one week long and Izak had to work extra hours at the bookstore. During the break, he had an important research paper to write on 'God and time', 5 Books to finish reading and then also writing a brief review on each book, 2 sermon outlines and lots of Hebrew homework to do... So you can imagine that it was not a break at all, in fact, it was a busier time than normal! (At one point it just seemed like an impossible feat, but he has worked so hard flat out and it looks like he may have the majority handed in on time.) It is only by God's grace that he managed what he did... In fact, he is still working away as I write this!

We were invited to the Morton's for Thanksgiving dinner where Bryan and the Zekveld's would be too.

Here are some pictures from our first American Thanksgiving dinner: A picture of the table set:
Bryan carving the turkey:
 Izak relaxing:
 Vicky, Andrew and Bryan seated at the table: Such delicious food! Incredible turkey, sweet potato with pecan nuts, macaroni and cheese (ALWAYS a winner!), cranberry sauce, beans, rolls, salad... And for dessert- pumpkin pie and home-made cheese cake!

 Another reason to love America - these are all disposable: (Including the cutlery!)
Our hosts: (Jonathan and Meredith Morton)

We all had such great chats and the day had such a natural, relaxed feel. After the meal we played a complicated dice game that Bryan tried to teach us all and we were introduced to a game called 'Catch Phrase' (it's quite similar to 30 Seconds for the South Africans). It was one of those evenings when you are reluctant to go home and your tummy is a little sore from all the laughter and your heart is warmed.

We are busy house-sitting for the Stein's and I will post some pics of that soon. 

The house-sitting has been a pleasure! Who else gets to have 15 minute Jacuzzi study breaks while in seminary???

I am often amazed when I think about how good my life is. When I look back at where the Lord has brought me from in the past and the true hope I have today! I am so thankful. Woohoo! 

Keep in touch! We would love to hear your news.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Big paper due, a hearty South African braai and musical fountains

It's our last week before the Thanksgiving break and it is our last week for both "Every Woman's Grace" and "Sem Wives" for the year. 

Izak had a big paper due for this week and here he is preparing for his Hermeneutics paper in the library:
Look at his pile of library books!
Then we had a "South African braai" this weekend! We were invited to the Plodinec's place (they have been back in the States for a while but are usually stationed in South Africa in Polokwane- at Christ Seminary...)
Here is a link to their info: 
Well, we had Dr Drew (also a South African) providing some REAL South African Boerewors, Biltong and Droe Wors! WHAT A TREAT! We even had milk tart for dessert! Here are some pics from the braai:
This is Lynette and Mr (Dr) and Mrs Cruygen:
Here are Andrew and Vicky and Dr Drew's wife, Holly:
Here are the men mingling! (Steve Plodinec is the obvious braai-er! Ie note the apron!) :) The other men are all African seminary students...

And your very own friendly South Africans:

  Izak had a 'teachers' meeting for our Bible study on Friday evening and I went and wandered around an impressive mall in Glendale! I witnessed this incredible musical fountain to a great Frank Sinatra song. Soooo romantic! Here are a few glimpses: (I simply stumbled upon it and it was so well done- the fountains water movement was synchronized to the music!)

 Then, here are some pics of the little walkway of the shopping centre... Such a pretty setup:

Vicky took pictures from this morning's Every Woman's Grace time and we'll try and get some pictures of the Sem Wives Finale too for you to see...

Izak has to work extra hours during the break and he has plenty of work to do in exam preparation as well as a big research paper that is due when school resumes. 

We are having our first "Thanksgiving celebration" with Andrew and Vicky plus we plan to go and visit the Hauser's in Ventura next Saturday...hopefully! So, more pics to follow. 

Speak to you soon!