Monday, November 17, 2008

Musical Kur 2008

The last weekend in October, Ruth Anne and I entered Riverleigh's Fancy Dress Musical Kur.  What's that??
Well...Riverleigh is the name of the stables where we ride.  A musical kur is a dressage test done with a theme and to music.  And fancy dress means you ride in costume!
Each year, Riverleigh holds this event to raise money for a special charity.  This year the money went to a local children's home.  We all had a great time!  And lots of money was raised.
My theme was disco.
Ruth Anne's theme on Blue (the white/gray horse) was "Blue's Time" (Blues music).
And, her theme on Roxy (the brown/bay horse) was "My Little Pony."
Josh even got to dress up as an alien and run into the arena after one young lady rode to the theme "Men in Black."  He was so excited about being an in "Ben 10."
OK...I hear you laughing at my picture! :)


Thursday, October 16, 2008


Hello All!
It's been a while..ok...a long while since I've written.  My parents and my brother came for a two week visit while the kids were on holiday, so I've just gotten back in the swing of things.
While my parents were here, we took a trip to Victoria Falls.  Victoria Falls can be seen from Zambia or Zimbabwe.  We stayed in Zambia at a beautiful hotel right on the Falls.  On arrival at the hotel, we were greeted by tribal warrior dancers.  Josh made friends right away (big shocker).  By the end of our stay they had made Josh their "chief."  The hotel had a gigantic swimming pool.  I was so excited about swimming since it was extremely hot in Zambia.  Plus, we were no longer in Joburg where the pool water never gets warm!  I was in for a huge surprise when I put my foot in the was freezing!  I guess I'll have to visit the Congo...or some place like it to finally find nice, comfortable swimming water.
Anyway...we all enjoyed several different activities while at Vic Falls.  The whole family went on a safari drive at one of the local game reserves.  We saw about 22 elephant enjoying a mud bath.  We saw hippo swimming in the Zambezi River and lots of buck.  We also went on a Zambezi river cruise and watched the sun set on the river.
My dad, Ruth Anne, Josh and I went on a horseback ride through another park.  My brother, Jason, Josh, Kurt and I took a helicopter ride over Victoria Falls.  It was amazing!  Jason, my mom and Kurt went on an elephant ride.  They had a wonderful time.
Each time my parents visit we get to see more and more of the beautiful continent of Africa.  God is an amazing Creator!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Subject Choice??

Tonight was a parents' meeting at Ruth Anne's school.  It is time for the grade 9 students to make their subject choices for the rest of their high school career.  Choose subjects?  Is that like art, drama, typing, home ec, band, etc.  Uh...not exactly.   It is not choosing electives (like in the U.S.)  The students must choose three additional subjects to Maths, Afrikaans, English and Life Orientation.  And, these subjects are not easy!  They can choose from Accounting, Art, Geography (not maps), Business Ed, Biology, Physical Science and History.  When they make their choices, they will have these classes from grade 10 to grade 12.
Ruth Anne will add Geography, Biology and Physical Science to her schedule.  She is excited about those choices, but other students are really struggling to decide.  In many cases, for students continuing there education at a university in South Africa, these choices will determine what you can and cannot study at university.  It can be a huge decision for many students.
Overall, I like the way school is done in South Africa.  But it has been a big mental adjustment for me, coming from U.S. schooling.
Ok...I said above that Geography was not maps.  Well, it's not all maps.  They do some, but more like topographical maps.  It also involves studying atmospheric maps and phenomenas and the weather!  Students study earth's formations, like geology.  And they will study human resources.  It is one class I would definitely choose!  I love rocks and weather!
What classes would you choose??

Spring is Springing!

Ok, Spring hasn't completely sprung yet, but...I'm in a short sleeve shirt!  And, I'm wearing sandals!  I've even begun doing some spring cleaning.  Rebecca, my ex-house worker, came and cleaned the windows.  I washed the bathroom curtains and several blankets before putting them away.  I'm lovin' it!  I haven't completely resigned the cold weather.  It is the beginning of spring and we could get a cold front.  But I'm going to enjoy the weather we are having now to the fullest!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Top 10 "Tag"

I was reading the blogs of two of my friends, recently.  Both of them said they would love to live somewhere else, but are sure that God has called them to the place they are in at this time.  Funny enough, one would love to be in the U.S. but is in Africa, the other would love to be overseas but is in the U.S.!!
Anyway...I got to thinking that I haven't seen a "tag" in awhile.  So I thought it is about time that I initiated one!  So here it is...
Name 10 things you love about the place where God has you right now.

I'm in Joburg, South Africa.  Here is my Top 10.
1.  The weather!  Joburg has sunny winters and almost no humidity all year round.  Temperatures average about 24 degrees C/80 degrees F.
2.  The landscape.  Our side of Joburg is full of mountains and hills.  They can make driving hard, but they make for some beautiful scenery.
3.  The people.  I have friends from many cultures...white, black, mixed race, Indian (from India), Japanese, Portuguese, Afrikaans speaking, English speaking, tribal language speaking, middle-class and poor.
4.  In 10 minutes, I can be at a really nice mall.
5.  In 20 minutes, I can be in the country.
6.  In 30 minutes, I can be at a game reserve and pet lions!
7.  I get to ride a horse whenever I have time.
8.  My kids go to a really good school.
9.  A petrol/gas station attendant fills my car with petrol, washes the windows, and checks the oil, water and tire pressure.
10.  There is a wonderful choice of fresh fruit, vegetables and fruit juices.  And they are cheap, also!

I know I can think of more things...but I said
Angie and Bonnie, it is your turn.  I'm tagging you both!  So, what do love about the places God has called you to?
Hey and Liesel can be "tagged" as well, since you are now enjoying life in the States.  But, if you say you love having snow 7+ months out of the year, everyone will know you are still new to living in the North!
And to others, thank the Lord for where He has you.
Jeremiah 29:11


Monday, August 11, 2008

Little Drummer Boy

Josh and Kurt began drum lessons at the end of May.  Both are doing well and loving it!  Josh has incredible rhythm, if we can just get his coordination going.  He keeps telling me that he wants to play the drums in church for Christmas.  Hmmmm....we'll have to think about that one!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Back to School

Today the kids went back to school.  They've had a four week winter break!  This was Josh's first day at The King's School West Rand.  Ruth Anne has been at King's since grade 2 (now she's in grade 9).  We were going to put Josh in King's next year for grade 1, but his class is completely full and there are 40 kids on the waiting list for grade 1.  So, when a space opened for the year (grade 0 or kindergarten), we moved him from Little Discoverer's.
Josh was very excited about going to "big" school with his sister.  At 6:30 this morning, while he was sitting at the table eating breakfast, he looked out the kitchen window and asked, "Why is it dark outside?  When is it morning time?"  We got to school, he met his teacher, then he headed to the playground.  Surprise!
He seemed to have a good day.  He saw his friend, Keon, that he knew from Little Discoverer's.  He learned the letter "A."  And his class is making sock puppets tomorrow.
Ruth Anne got her exams scores from last term and did well.  I don't really need to say it, but...she was not as excited to be at school as Josh was!


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Josh's New Do!

Josh has been dying to get his hair braided (plaited).  He's been asking and asking.  So finally I organized with a lady in my Bible study, Tryphina, to plait his hair.
Friday morning, I took him up to the stables to meet Tryphina.  After several minutes of discussion between her and some of the other groom's wives, and in a language I didn't understand, it was decided that she would sew his hair instead of plait it.  I think, since I didn't understand what they were talking about, that his hair was just not long enough.
Well, Tryphina started on Josh's hair at about 10:45 am.  I went off to ride Ivy quickly while Ruth Anne watched.  When I was done riding, I joined the group...the groom's wives plus their children stayed around watching, as well.  His hair was about half way finished.  It was definitely a painful you can see by the grimace on his face!
Just before noon, his hair was done!  He loved it.  Ruth Anne told him that he was "looking so good, man."  But Josh said, "No.  That's not what you're supposed to say.  You're supposed to say, 'OH Yeah!"

Monday, July 07, 2008

Winter Feet

June, July and August...the 3 coldest months of the year in Joburg, South Africa. And, we are now in the middle of them!
One young lady who rides at the same stables my daughter and I do, said, "I now have my winter feet." I knew exactly what she was talking about. Starting in June (or when the first cold front hits), I get my "winter feet." That is, my feet get cold and stay cold all winter long! Sometimes they are colder than other times...but they don't really warm up until September! I don't go without socks (awake or asleep) until late October or November. Ok...I don't shower with my socks on.
Just so you are not confused...houses in South Africa have no central air conditioning or heating. So, the temperature outside can get warmer than the temperature inside the house!
My two best winter friends are my tea/coffee cup, which warms my insides as well as my hands, and my hot water bottle. As I type, my hot water bottle is sitting on my lap. I usually keep it filled with hot water all day long. My kids put their hot water bottles in the bed to keep their feet warm when they go to sleep!
All this to say...I do actually love winter in Joburg. The skies are a clear blue with no clouds. The sun warms you up and there is no rain! I can live with a cold house when the weather outside is so gorgeous!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Life Boring??

I know I haven't written anything for a while.  I don't know...I guess I feel like nothing exciting has gone on...just the same old routine.  Maybe life is just a little "boring."
And yet, when I got to thinking about it this morning, my days are quite different.  On Facebook, I get a question of the week to answer.  This week's question was, "What do you spend most of your day doing?"  As I thought on the question, I realized that there is not one thing I spend most of my days doing.
I don't spend most of my days working on the computer.  I don't spend most of my days in the car.  I don't spend most of my days grocery shopping.  I don't spend most of my days cleaning or washing or cooking.  I have a really flexible schedule.  Each week has its routine.  And, each week has things on the schedule that can't be changed.  For example, every Monday morning our team gets together and prays about the week ahead.  Every Wednesday afternoon I lead a Bible study.  Every Monday afternoon, I take Josh to speech therapy.  But, other things in my schedule change.  I don't always grocery shop on the same day.  Some days, Kurt and I go out to lunch.  Some days I have to stay home and get a Bible study prepared.  Some mornings I get to go with Kurt to a Bible study in Soweto.  I guess that is the beauty of being a missionary and a mom!
So...I may not have much to write about on my blog that seems really exciting. life is definitely not boring!!

See you soon!

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Heart of a Child

When Ruth Anne was very young and said really "cute" things, I always said, "I should write that down."  But, I never did!  Now that Joshuwa is saying "cute" things, I'm still forgetting to write it down...except this time!
Every night, I read Joshuwa a Bible story, sing a short song, and then he says a prayer.  This one particular night, after our routine, we began talking about something as I was walking out the door...I don't remember exactly what how the conversation started.  
But, Josh said to me, "Everybody loves Jesus."  I had to reply, "No.  There are some people who don't love Jesus."  To that he said, "Oh!  How sad!  I must pray for them."
So, if you are one that doesn't love Jesus, please know that my son prayed that you would come to love Jesus just like he does!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Term One - Athletics

Hello Everyone!

Wow! We have been so busy lately! School has been hectic, especially this term for my daughter, Ruth Anne.

Before I begin, I must tell a story. The first time my husband, Kurt, and I came to South Africa, we came for the "All Africa Games" in 1999. Basically, the "All Africa Games" is pre-Olympics for the continent of Africa. We stayed with a family whose son was in the Olympics in Atlanta and was competing in the "All Africa Games." The first night with the family, I asked them what their son did in the Olympics. The mom replied, "He's an athlete."
"Ok." I thought. "Should I ask, 'In what sport?'" But, as I contemplated asking, she continued, "He runs the 4oo." "Oh!" Light athlete runs...that must mean he is in Track & Field!

Well...I learned that lesson well. When we moved to South Africa, Ruth Anne entered grade 2 (same as in the States). The first is divided into 4 terms with 2-4 weeks break in between...the children were taken to the "athletics" stadium for a fun day. Parents were invited to attend. So, Kurt and I went. Ruth Anne ran the 60m sprint and came in 2nd place. We were excited for her. The next week, we received a notice that she had made the athletics team! And, she has been on the team ever since.
She's spent her years running the short-distance sprints and added long jump a few years ago. But, this year, she found out that she could run longer distances and loved it! They had an in-school competition and she won the 800m race by a good margin. So, she began running 800m along with 100m and long jump.
So, this term has been full of athletics practice everyday until 3, netball practice one day a week and horseback riding! Ruth Anne's last competition against several high schools, she won the 800m (pictured).

Josh also had "Sports Day" at his school. He ran several fun races. It was a joy to watch all the kids have fun running and cheering. The parents even got to run. Kurt's race and my race are NOT pictured on this blog - for obvious reasons!

Now, this first term is coming to an end. Our kids will get a three week break. I'm sure we will continue to be busy...but maybe we can sleep in a little bit later for the next three weeks! Yea!!


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Necessity or Luxury?

A computer...many would consider it a luxury...especially here in South Africa. Many only have a computer through work. Some have one at home, but don't have internet access; and if they do, it's usually dial-up (which is charged per minute). There are few with ADSL like we have. Schools don't require children to use a computer for school work.
Each Monday, our team meets for prayer. The other missionary family on our team was having problems with a computer, laptop, they just bought. Out of the two weeks they've had the computer, it's spent a week in the shop. And it still wasn't right. So I prayed for them as they faced the frustration of a broken computer...and their meeting with the technicians. I even thought then, it may be a "luxury" but as a missionary, it really has become a necessity.
We use it to communicate with family and friends in the States. We send out prayer updates so our prayer partners know how to pray for us. We communicate with other missionaries and our bosses! We have many forms for our organization to fill out on the computer and send in using the internet.
I think if you ask anyone in the States, computers are a necessity...but could we get along without it? Yes, we used to...a long, long, time ago. I taught computers for a couple of years while living in Virginia. I saw a student of mine about 10 years after she had been in my class. She told me she remembered me talking about the internet and how we would use it to send messages and letters to people by computers. She said she thought that was the dumbest thing she had ever heard! Now look where we are today. We hardly send letters by mail anymore. We use the mail to get packages of things we bought over the internet!
So...has the computer become a necessity? Or is it a luxury? A need? Or a want?
Well...Monday, after our prayer meeting, I came home, went over to my computer to check email. When I touched it...the screen turned blue with a large error message in white. It said to restart the computer. When I did, it wouldn't restart. A file was missing! Oh, no! I take it to the shop. The new hard drive (6 months old) has crashed! And only some of my information could be retrieved. Now I'm using my daughter's computer until I can get a new one!
My answer? A computer is definitely a could I post this message on my blog!
Janna Kay

Thursday, February 07, 2008

My Friend

My Friend, Blandinah and her son, Emmanuel

This is my friend, Blandinah. We met at her wedding! We were invited to the wedding by her husband, Pastor Aaron. They were married in a village about 4 hours from Joburg. The wedding lasted 2 days! Sunday night, after the last celebration, we gave them a lift back to Joburg. Blandinah had never been to Joburg! About an hour outside their village, she fell asleep and only woke up at her house in Joburg.

Imagine...being in a small town then waking up to a city of 9 million people! What a shock, I'm sure!

Over the first year of their marriage, Blandinah and I became good friends. She fell pregnant and our family was so excited about the baby.

But...she left Joburg to go back to the village before Emmanuel was born. In their culture, the wife returns to the village to stay with the mother-in-law in order to learn how to care for the baby! Ok...think about it...going to live with your mother-in-law...for learn about caring for babies! For some people, that is quite scary! For some, it may be more scary to go to your own mother!

Anyway...Blandinah returned to Joburg. Emmanuel was precious and we enjoyed spoiling him!

After a few months, Blandinah returned to the village. She returned to take care of her mother-in-law. Wow! I still have a hard time with that part of their culture. Didn't she need to be with her husband? Didn't he need to spend time with his son?

However, I recently found out that she was not only caring for Aaron's mother, but she was finishing high school. I am very excited for her.

She came back to Joburg during the Christmas/Summer holiday. It was good to visit and see her again.

She is leaving tomorrow to go back to the village. This is her last year of high school. After this year, if she passes all her exams, she will have her degree and will return to Joburg to stay! I am so glad she is determined to finish. I know it must be difficult having a husband and baby and needing to study. I am sure she will do well.

But I will miss my friend.

Blessings, Blandinah. I pray that the Lord will help you understand and remember the information you study and help you recall that information when you take exams.

Janna Kay

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Stress Free

I don't normally read "Fwd:Fwd" emails, but a friend sent one about reducing stress...I don't have much stress...but I thought I would read the advice it gave. I was surprised by the number of suggestions listed that have worked for me...and there were a few I need to try. I've compacted the list...thought I'd share it with you all! Blessings!
1. Pray without ceasing. Talk to God on the spot. Try to nip small problems in the bud. Don't wait until bedtime to try and pray.
2. Go to bed on time...get enough rest! Get up on time so you can start the day unrushed.
3. Say "no" to projects that won't fit into your time schedule. And, delegate tasks to capable others.
4. Allow extra time to do things and get to places. (My husband is great at this!)
5. Simplify and unclutter your life. Remember less can be more!
6. Live within your budget and don't use credit cards for ordinary purchases.
7. Eat right.
8. Carry a Bible or good book to read while waiting in line. (My husband and I hardly go anywhere without a book.)
9. Get organized so everything has its place. (I even organized a cooking when someone asks "What's for dinner?" I can tell them! It has helped me tremendously!)
10. Take your work seriously, but not yourself at all. (Ok...this I could definitely improve on.)
11. Everyday, find time to be alone.
12. Write down thoughts and inspirations. (Blogger is a great place to share those!)
13. Keep a folder of favorites Scriptures on hand.
14. Do something everyday for the "kid" in you.
15. Laugh. Then, laugh some more!
16. Make friends with godly people.
17. Talk less and listen more.
18. Be kind to unkind people. They probably need it the most.
19. Develop a forgiving attitude. Most people are doing the best they can.
20. Every night before you go to bed, think of one thing you are grateful for that you've never been grateful for before and share that with God. (This I must start doing!)

Hope this encourages you. Maybe you know of some other ways to reduce stress or simply make each day easier & better! Love to hear from you!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Oops! I Did the Wrong "Meme!"

My mom with Joshuwa.

Well, Angie...I thought when you tagged me that it was for the same one you were tagged for! Sorry!
Now, I have to think of 20 things my mom taught me. (The other took a lot less thought!) it is: My list of 20 things my mother taught me!
1. To smile and share that smile with others.
2. To enjoy having people in my home.
3. To be involved in church wherever Jesus leads.
4. To drink coffee black!
5. When it comes to cooking, to clean up as you go!
6. To read my Bible through (although I didn't do it in a year; it took 3!)
7. To enjoy being short.
8. To LOVE shopping!
9. To love working with youth.
10. To appreciate and learn sign language.
11. To be a Baylor Bear!
12. To find joy in life.
13. To treasure my family.
14. To enjoy crafting.
15. To love reading.
16. To love "murder mysteries."
17. To be dependable.
18. To praise my kids.
19. To support my husband.
20. To love the Lord, Jesus!
Thanks, Mom! I love you!

Friday, February 01, 2008

Ouch! I've Been Tagged doesn't hurt at all to be tagged! Who wants to be next?

Four jobs I've had:
1. Working in the payroll dept. for American General Insurance Corp. (now AIG)
2. Teaching Math in Texas (grades 8 & 9)
3. Teaching Math & Computers in VA & NC (grades 6, 7, & 8)
4. Missionary in South Africa
Four places I've lived:
1. Houston, TX
2. Ft. Worth, TX
3. Durham, NC
4. Joburg, South Africa
Four movies I've watched over and over:
1. You've Got Mail
2. Ever After
3. Pride & Prejudice
4. Flicka
Four Shows I watch:
1. 24
2. Animal Cops Houston
3. How Do I Look?
4. Clean House
(Except for 24, these shows are on South African satellite TV)
Four Places I've been:
1. NYC
2. Mexico
3. Zimbabwe
4. Cape Town, SA
Four people who email me regularly:
1. Barbara Myers (our cluster prayer advocate & I'm team prayer advocate)
2. Mom
3. Angie Lechner
4. Wanda Andrews
(I do IM regularly with others like my dad, my brother, Bronnie, friends from NC, and Kurt...yes...that way I don't have to go all the way outside to his office!)
Four favorite things to eat:
1. Mexican food
2. Chocolate chip cookies
3. Popcorn
4. Pineapple (You can get it with chili powder at the market!)
Four things I look forward to this year:
1. Riding Ivy (my pony)
2. Family coming to visit us in SA
3. Holiday at Moolmanshoek (& horse riding every day!)
4. Losing 4 more kgs (8.8 lbs) - I had gained way too much weight in America last year!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Pictures a few pictures of Joburg this summer. For those of you used to green, it may not seem all that lush...but we've had an exceptional amount of rain so compared to normal summers is very green. The winter is especially brown in Joburg, so it's nice to see the green grass and the beautiful flowers.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

And please don't come back for at least a month!!
Ok...I know rain is important and it is a wonderful blessing from the Lord.
But...I haven't seen the sun since Friday and it's been seen sporadically before that! I feel like it's been raining solid since November! Yes, we've had some sunny days, but not like we are used to during Joburg summers.
On the is so green here! For those of you that have visited during the winter months when we get absolutely no rain, I know green is hard to imagine!
As soon as the sun comes out, I will go outside and take pictures. The grass is lush, the bushes are full, and the trees are a deep green! It really is beautiful!
And...come winter, we will all be wishing for a little rain and a little more green.
So, although I would like to see the sun and feel it's warmth on my face, I am enjoying seeing the the beautiful hills of Joburg filled with green.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Time Flies!

Wow! I can't believe it's been a year since the last time I wrote! The year simply got away from me. And so much has happened. I'll catch you up...quick!

Our family went back to the States for 4 months. It was our "Stateside Assignment" with our mission organization. It was a time to visit Baptist churches and share with them about our ministry in South Africa. It was a time to gather more prayer support. It was also a time to visit with our families.

We took 2 trips during out time in the States. We went to NYC with my parents and my brother. We saw "The Phantom of the Opera" and "The Lion King." We also did some sight seeing. We went on a cruise with Kurt's (my husband) and his family...sister, niece, brother & sister-in-law and other niece. Ruth Anne and I went horseback riding in Cozumel and then the whole family (Kurt, Ruth Anne, Joshuwa & I), along with Kurt's mom went on a dune buggy ride off the coast of Mexico. We really enjoyed our time with family.

The kids went back to school as soon as we arrived back in South Africa. Kurt even started the teacher! He began teaching at the local Theological College. We were able to get Joshuwa into speech & physio therapy. He is talking so much clearer now! Ruth Anne took over training her young horse, Roxy.

Christmas arrived. We stayed around Joburg most of December. We got away for 3 days, staying at a place called Moolmanshoek. Kurt rode a horse one day, but Josh, Ruth Anne, her friend, and I rode 3 days in a row! It was great!

Ruth Anne passed grade 8 and began grade 9 on January 9th. She seems to like her classes. Joshuwa is in grade 0 (Kindergarten) at the same school as last year. He loves school!

Enjoy the pictures. And, I promise to keep writing...all year long!


Janna Kay