autumn. then suddenly it wasn’t.

18 10 2014

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We have been thrilling in the beauty of Autumn (see two posts back).  It has been thrilling to see the range of colours and especially the golden glow surrounding us.

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Just look at the variety of beautiful sights we have been able to see every day.

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This is a view of the State church steps. Every. Single. Statechurch  in Sweden is beautiful… IMG_3708 (Medium)

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As good Africans, experienced in balmy climes and equatorial temperatures we knew one of our biggest challenges would be the cold. 

And it came suddenly. 

Snow arrived last week (at least ten cm of it)

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and since then it has been quite noticeable WINTER:

Yesterday morning the themometer read –11 deg (celcius). Hear that, our bushveld buddies, where it was about 42 deg C this time last year?  -11. 

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And suddenly everything is a totally different kind of beautiful.

Obviously, we are reacting like most equatorial Africans would react. With fright, complete overreaction and fear at having to drive through it all.

But the roads are cleared of snow early in the morning, our winter tyres are on, and we put on our big girl THERMAL undies (and big boy ones for Deon) and step out to enjoy it. 

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This is our view from our lounge.  How blessed are we???

Right now we are watching as ice accumulates on the river more and more, and some lakes are almost frozen over in the area.

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We cannot help but be ‘kyk-daars’ in all this exquisite beauty.  We stop the car, pull out the camera, point in several directions at once, acting like complete tourists.  But just LOOK at this view…

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Those mists… that colour… this was on the way to school on Friday. We turned the car, drove to get a good view and relished the gorgeous gifts we get to appreciate while we are here.

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So, while we expect to wake up to a white world again tomorrow, we share some of the experiences with you, in whatever climes you may find yourself.

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and then the whole night sky danced a whirl of grace

14 10 2014

Life has been busy. 

School keeps me totally bent over – in prayer for what to do next and sometimes in laughter at the delightful things the kids do. 

Deon has been helping to put a roof on for some friends. His body aches with the work but he is making a difference. 

Our first winter snows have fallen… but that will get a blog of its own.


And then.  Between a skype chat talking of my grandfather’s brave brother who died in WW1, being honoured at the Tower of London tomorrow;  Reading of and looking at video clips of a horrific accident in the area where I grew up, wrecking over 50 cars in one go; Between the signs of real messy human life, God shows up.

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There is absolutely no way that a camera can capture it… these are token efforts. 


I wanted to dance, weep, laugh outrageously and lie prostrate all at once, at this, our first dance of the Northern Lights.  I could not work any buttons on any device, but Deon captured these as I stood laughing-weeping. 

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  We stood watching the night sky, with vague cloud shapes. A friend nearby had sent pictures from their place, and we caught a glimpse of green cloud before dashing inside for cameras. 

As we stood outside watching the vaporous clouds, darkness all around, expectation was building.  The cloud shapes were pretty and definitively not like the usual African skies we have come to know.


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But then suddenly beams began dancing, light began moving and pipe organ pipes of grandeur flashed. 

There is no reason for such beauty to exist in the world except for a loving gracious Father to bless His little ones with His presence. Each millisecond showed a completely new skyscape.  Each moment, we can see His care. 

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Underservingly being pursued with relentless love – His boundless GRACE. 

Zephaniah 3:17New Living Translation (NLT)

For the Lord your God is living among you.
He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
With his love, he will calm all your fears.

He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”IMG_3824 (Medium)


all the lovely colours of autumn

2 10 2014

And what lovely colours they are!  I may wax a bit lyrical here, but for the first time I can see why people are inspired to write long odes, compose songs and publish lots and lots of photographs about it.

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Excuse us.  This is our first real Autumn.  Sorry, South Africans.  What you get is not really autumn.  The colours look pretty in a few spots for a week or two.  Emmerantia Dam looks totally gorgeous. and a few streets in Parkhurst.  But the rest… it just is not the real thing. 

And definitely not what we got in the bushveld: all the leaves turning a dullgrey-brown and two weeks they all like crumpled and crumbled underfoot. 

This Europe, northern Europe place, can DO Autumn.  Wow. 

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From the small plants with vermillion leaves to the blueberry plants mimicking ruddy sunsets to the large trees across the river flourishing splendid golds, the wish overcomes me to pull out my paints and try to capture each gorgeous hue and size in their flashiness.

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These views are daily delights and I treasure each gift of beauty we get to experience.


One of the blessings of autumn (especially early autumn) is the abundance of berries to be found in the wild.  We got to go along and pick blueberries and lingonberry. 

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The trick is to find just the right spot, that has not been thoroughly gleaned and where the berries get enough sun to grow sweet and big.

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Then you use super-uber berry pickers to get as many off the bushes as possible in one go.

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Stop for a really good fika along the way.  (Come to Sweden and I will teach you all about fika. It is well worth learning about). 

Then load all the wonderfully great harvest into the car. 

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That is about where the fun stops for a while.  Cleaning, sorting and preparing berries is not great fun!  But making delicious blueberry crumbles, lingon sylt (awesome jam that goes onto EVERYTHING here), and having a freezer full of berries for the coming winter is a wonderful prospect.

(Deon has a theory-story here. Boy meets girl at berry picking.  It is all so romantic. Glances shared over rosy berry bushes as the sun shines down on happy faces.  Talk flows, and they glow  with the thrill of the capture.  But this could all turn so sour after trays and trays and trays of purple finger tips digging through berries where too many stalks have been left, boredom of yet another load to be cleaned and the same stories being retold.  It could be a test of true love! Perpetual blue finger tips just don’t appeal t a sense of romance .. )   

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We have had lovely sunny days, but the cold is here already!  We had several mornings of –7degrees Celcius last week, and the wind blew several of our gorgeous golden treasures from the branches over the weekend.  The change is 2 days was quite remarkable!  So I grab and store every sunny moment in my memory for the dark days coming. 

While I am not yet sure it would be my favourite season, I am enjoying our first real Autumn ever.

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