Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas festivities...

It is hard to believe that it has been our SECOND Christmas in Los Angeles! It is fun to think back to how different things seemed last Christmas when we had only been here for a few months! Things seem way more familiar now even though we miss friends and family just as much!

We had planned to have Christmas dinner with some seminary friends but Izak was so sick with flu that we had to give going out a skip and instead rest at home. Despite this, we were still fairly festive!

The Steins brought us a little Christmas tree to use this year... (It is the same one that Wynand and Delila used when they were here!)
Look at how sweet the little miniature ornaments are:

We had a couple of packages from back home which we could put next to the tree!
Pat (our landlady put up some fun Christmas lights for us outside our home!)
And even let us use one of their wreaths!
Then... on Christmas eve... we heard a knock on our door and and found no-one there, only these beautiful home-made stockings that Ina (our other landlady) had made for us- stuffed full of fun goodies!
We had such a fun Christmas despite not feeling 100%... we opened our gifts from home (will put up some pics of some of the things we received in a later post...those that have not been eaten yet!) and also we got to speak to family over skype which was such a blessing! And to top it all off... Pat and Ina brought us some Christmas dinner which just added to the day's gaiety!

We hope that you also had a lovely day with family! It just blows my mind to think that Jesus came to earth as a baby- the humility of that action is so powerful (Phil. 2:6-8). I think it hits home even more so now, with us expecting Blue! What a blessing to be expecting a little one over the Christmas season...

Lots of love!
Your festive LA Bakkes'

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Blue's shower at Lynette's, An African rocking chair and Whitney's surprise birthday bash!

Izak wrote his final Hebrew Exegesis exam this morning and he has one more exam to write today and our third semester will be O-ver! It is hard to believe that this is my last semester being a student alongside Izak at TMS! It has been so much fun and I am so thankful for a year and a half of solid studying and learning! What an incredible opportunity!

A couple of weeks back my friend, Emily Joki held a Baby Shower for Blue at Lynette's house. It was such an encouraging experience and I am still pretty close to tears when I consider the love and fellowship from that morning! 
You'll be pleased to know that I have pictures to assist with the telling of this story!
First of all... the Botes' home was so beautifully decorated! It was incredibly festive and fun! Here are some pictures of the decor:

And... GUESS WHO SURPRISED us with a visit all the way from San Jose???? The Gillies! I was so blown away that I cried... TWICE! They are such a precious couple and their love blows me away!
Here I am squeezing Mary Gillies with some serious South African love! It made it feel like I had family there!
Look at the tasty food selection:
Here is one of Brenda Frields (my EWG leader and on the left) and Christine Dixon on the right (many of you heard about her through the amazingly encouraging emails she sent us when we were applying to come to TMS)...
 Here are Christina and Brenda from our Mainstream Fellowship Group's Bible Study:
Meet two sweeet Sem wives and their new little one's:
Jessie and little Judah:
And... Rebecca and Adonias:
It was such a blessing to have all these special ladies in the same room at the same time! Life in LA can be so busy and it is rare to find moments like these...
Here is one of me with Pat and Ina (our precious land-ladies):
 This is my friend - Emily Joki, who organised the shower:
Whitney and I (Whitney took the pics...)
And dear hospitable Lynette (So pleased that it was at her home!)
Emily read a beautiful and inspiring letter to me...
And then all the ladies prayed for Izak, Blue and I: (This was so sweet and a real highlight for me!)

Then... to the gifts! And there were soooo many!

Ending off with the unveiling of an African-looking rocking chair... and matching footstool from a few of the ladies!
 We are so blessed! We have been given such lovely gifts and such precious friendship while here. It really is incredible to see how the body is so loving and that the Lord provides such encouragement and blessing through His body!
It did not take long for me to get Izak to set up the rocking chair and the foot stool! I believe it was that same evening! (I love it when he does DIY type things- he can really pull it off!)

And then... Whitney's surprise birthday bash! Her husband Jason, organised some of her friends to come round as a surprise and it was fun to hear how surprised she was! (Rebecca and I travelled together and the traffic was an absolute nightmare- so we weren't part of the initial 'surprise crowd'!)
Here Whitney is... with some of her friends:
Jason (Whitney's husband...)
Making some AMA-zing home-made Pizza! Mmmmmm.
And the Wii games kept a constant crowd entertained!
Well! If you have made it this far, you are in need of a prize! Hehe. Thanks for reading! It has been a fun but very busy time and I hope to have more news soon!
Please feel free to leave comments and let us know about your news!

The Bakkes'!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving with newlyweds, Breakfast in Marina Del Rey and a walk on the beach...

We have just had a lovely Thanksgiving 'break'. You'll be pleased to know that it wasn't entirely fun-free! We shared Thanksgiving day with Brian and Polly and we have pictures to prove it! Brian and Polly only got married on the 29th of October and I documented their special day a few blog posts back... So imagine our delight to be able to share their first official Thanksgiving as a married couple! 
Here is a picture of a sign they had up on their bookcase: :)
They have already made their home so 'welcoming'... love this pic of the two of them!
Plus, the American Football was on: (which is typical for Thanksgiving day, I believe...)
The table set:
Here are the newly weds in action doing the final preparations:

Then, to sit down and enjoy the feast:
Our lovely hosts:
Then, on Saturday, we were invited by friends of ours whose family own a restaurant and we got to go to the 'test run' for the reopening of the restaurant after four months of refurbishments! The restaurant is called J Nichols Kitchen and it is in Marina Del Rey, which is close to the LA Airport (LAX) and +- 40 minutes drive away from where we live. The J Nichols Restaurant reminded us so much of JBay's InFood! We felt a bit like we had made our way to Jeffreys Bay in 40 minutes!

So, the deal was that we had a limited selection on a menu but that it was FREE! Wow- what incredible food. Seriously- I had a breakfast BLT and it had the most lovely flavour combinations. Izak had a more traditional breakfast, but even his scrambled eggs were exceptionally tasty! What a real treat. Nothing like an incredible breakfast to start the day!

After the breakfast, we headed down the coast for a little drive. Here is a little map showing the area that we were in:
These are some pics from our drive:

And then, here are some pics from our walk:

It was such a beautiful day and it really helped us feel like we had gotten away! Being outside and breathing in fresh ocean air just does something to our souls! 

Psalm 8:3-4, "When I look at Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You care for him?"

Thanks for reading!