Last night I woke up and thought how much I appreciate the 4 men with whom I am travelling around the world. Once again I realized that I must be specific in my appreciation. So now I take my laptop and type my detailed appreciation I have for them, that is for my special husband and 3 sons. I will read it to them once I'm done. You are welcome to read it too and then go write your own detailed appreciation thoughts for your loved ones.
I deeply appreciate the fact that we have been travelling the world for 7,5 months and that they still love me AND like me! It's really special that they appreciate me and tell me that. (Although I do what ever I do for the Lord, It's good to hear from time to time that others see what you do.) It was quite special when Charlie jokingly told his dad yesterday that if he ever even thought of leaving me, he(Charlie) will call him the biggest fool on earth. I took that as a compliment!
I love the hugs that all 4 of them give me periodically all through out the day. It's so special how they all give compliments and say nice things to each other and to me.
Sometimes we decide to play a board game or watch a movie and find ourselves 2 hours later still just talking, enjoying each others company and opinions and stories. And this during this tour where we spend all our awake hours in any case in each others company- we still love to be with each other. We laugh a lot – at each other and with each other- this create good companionship and safety. We pray together – often. And I see that the saying :"A family who prays together, stays together" is true.
Sometimes we decide to play a board game or watch a movie and then we actually do it and have great fun. We play a game of cricket, always passionately, always playing to win. We walk for miles and build precious memories. Although fatigue sets in after 10 km of walking, no one complains but they rather cheer each other (and especially me) up with a joke or even a song(although no one in our family can realy sing!) I appreciate that we do things together, sometimes simple things, sometimes spectacular things and they appreciate and enjoy them all. I love it that we really have fun together.
There are many specific things in their characters that reveals itself while on this tour, things that I would not have known if we did not do this. That is part of why I appreciate them so much (and appreciate the world tour so much!) Let me be specific – it is the idea behind this writing of mine.
We are like rolling stones this year. We never settle or have time or opportunity for each to create a personal space for himself. Sometimes we live in a big house , sometimes in a very small apartment and often in only one room. No matter where our house is or what the size is, they are always excited about every new place. They have found ways to see the best in every place and communicate it with each other – that way we influence each other to focus on the good and not the bad. There were times that each had his own room(although that did not happen often), but there were more times that each did not even have his own bed, often we had 2 beds for the 5 of us. It never created problems. No one ever moaned about where and how to sleep and was always just very glad to have a bed. How often when we pray, I hear one of them thanking God for a roof over our heads and a bed to sleep in. The wonder is that if they have their own room or a comfortable bed, they always speak their appreciation. What I realized is that this tour had taught them to never take any thing for granted and to really be thankful in all things.
As with the rooms and beds, we also have new workspaces every 2 or 3 weeks. Sometimes every one has their own place to work, but most of the time, we have to share a desk or even all 5 share the same dining room table and have to clear it when we eat. I have not heard them moaning about this. I see them take their books or computer and start to work, until the bell rings for break-time. Then we thoroughly enjoy our break – together. As I write this, I realize what a privilege we have to live life together in such a degree of "togetherness", but I also appreciate that all of us still enjoy and treasure it so much. I especially appreciate my 2 teenage sons for genuinely loving and enjoying our time together.
Another thing that I sincerely appreciate is that they do not complain that they do not have other friends here and now. They know that they have friends back home(and they do e-mail and facebook with them), and they know that there will be time for even more friendships to form later, but for now they are 100% content to have only each other as friend and companion. To see them loving each other, laughing, talking, sharing with each other, being best of friends, brings a very warm feeling to my mother heart. To realize how much the 4 of them respect each other, is surely special, very special. Here I must also mention Dawie J specifically. This 9 year old boy is travelling the world with 4 adults and doing a great job! Although we play with him and do things that he likes, we more often do adult things, and he never complains, he just go along with a chunk of clay in his hand, creating sculptures all the way.
They all work very hard. Dawie ( the older one), sets the tempo and the rest follow his lead. We all work in the mornings, but quite often in the afternoons as well. It is only Dawie J that strictly works mornings only. If any one complains, it will be because they do not have enough time to work. I'm the only one asking for more time on the road and exploring all the new places. Yes, I realize now that I am the only one complaining , and that because they work too hard! But let me give this appreciation as well: when I do suggest an outing and it falls inside our budget and time schedule, they go all out in enjoying it.
We are in a different city every 2 or 3 weeks. That means that Dawie must drive on strange and new roads every 2 or 3 weeks and also with a different car. Together with that, I must add, is the fact that he always have 4 back seat drivers(one is sitting in the front), who all give advice and directions and shout warnings. He does not complain, he just concentrate and drive. I think that he has learnt to only listen to Angie, our GPS and respond on our voices only if there is a certain urgency in our tone. We have always reached our destination on time and safely. A safe and confident driver, a good navigation team and lots and lots of Grace have helped us so far. Yesterday we were many kilometers from our house in Marseille, not knowing where we were or where our house were, not having a map or a GPS, but with those 3 components we managed to return home, without ever worrying or stressing, only laughing and encouraging each other. So with this I guess, I say that I appreciate my husbands driving skills and willingness to drive and the family working together as a team.
Another thing that I truly appreciate, is that they eat and like my food. I heard Charlie answering a question some one asked about how we eat and whether they like the new and strange places and food, in this way: "My parents buy whatever is on special in a shop. Sometimes it is strange food, but we like it. Most of the time we eat carrots and potatoes, because they are the cheapest everywhere. But you know what, my mother always manage to make something new out of them, and we like that." We almost never eat out, even if we are on the road all day. It is simply too expensive and our budget won't last. I make picnic food at home and we carry that with us, we find a spot underneath a tree, and we have a feast. What I appreciate is that they never complain, they never ask to go to a restaurant and they always say how much they enjoy the picnic. Here are still more appreciation on the eating and on how they have adapted: At home there is always food and snacks in the cupboard AND Grandma is there who is always more than willing to feed them. It is different on tour. Our food is planned and measured out, even the snacks – if there is any. The meals are so that everyone can only eat the amount that was planned per person. If they want to eat in times between meals, they must ask if there is something available and quite often the answer will be:"There is some water". They do not complain, but love it when there is a snack available. We do have a system in place the past 5 months:- when we go buy food, each one of the boys may pick one treat(with an amount attached to it) to spoil them with . They have become so wise with this, that they team up, and each will buy a packet of snacks which they can all share and with planning it will last long enough until the next grocery shopping expedition. In summary, I appreciate their sincere enjoyment of each meal, their appreciation of any type of snack(even if it is some baking experiment of mine), their creativity in planning, the fact that they never moan or take food without asking and how they took ownership of the food budget and feel the victory with me when we end up within our budget each month.
Yes, the whole budget thing is also something that they have adapted too so well. They understand it so good and together we all strive to live within our budget. I have never heard any one complaining if we could not do something or buy something because it was too expensive or will put pressure on the budget. I appreciate it how every one, Dawie J included, are such good stewards of what we have. I appreciate Dawie, the father, who keeps book of every expense in detail, and discusses our finances with the whole family on a monthly base. The boys have spoken their appreciation about this and admitted how much they have learnt from this.
I appreciate the fact that the boys respect and honor and obey Dawie and me. It is wonderful that they listen, ask good questions and allow us to teach them about life and all it's choices. I also appreciate it that they teach us to "practice what we preach", that they challenge us and even say when they do not agree with us. Although it is tough to hear, I appreciate it when they tell me when I am wrong and that they always forgive in abundance. I love it when they admit and agree that I am right.
I appreciate all of them taking on extra responsibilities on this tour. There is no help around the house(oh, how I appreciate Isabella and Katrina back home!), but all 4 men pull their weight. I appreciate that the men takes care of the evening meal and Old Dawie often also help with the main meal at lunch time. They are all responsible to help with the cleaning of the house when it is time to leave. Boy oh boy, do we operate as a well oiled team then. Our aim is always to leave the house cleaner than what we have received it and we go all out to accomplish that. I also appreciate them for the other type of responsibilities they took on. Tinus, always ready to serve in whatever way we need him, mostly on the technical side. Charlie takes extra evening meal shifts and plays with Dawie J quite often. Dawie J does whatever chore we give him to do. Dawie, the father,lead by example in sharing responsibilities. He spend individual alone time with each of the boys to speak into their lives like only a dad can, he helps in the kitchen, he always had to find the "right" church to visit(and he did an excellent job), he keeps me very happy. Yes, I do appreciate them for helping where ever there is a need, and always with a good attitude , never complaining.
There is definitely more things that I do appreciate, but for now, this is a mouthful. Needless to say, is that I appreciate God for giving me these men whom I can appreciate so much. I say thank you to my men and I give Glory to God. Dawie, Tinus, Charlie and Dawie J: Your lives surely glorify God! May He continue to bless you in abundance. Thank you for spilling those blessings all over me.