Saturday, December 31, 2005


Today a year ago, I became Martin's wife!!!!!
Happy anniversary Smoef!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005


Tuesday, the sun was shining bright & with almost a 70F outside, how could we not go for a long walk. Martin & I drove to our neighboring state Kansas.
Pitts burg, KS is a very small town about a hour from Joplin. We've wanted to go there, for we heard they had a pretty good Claw Paws, yes a pet store, in town. So we drove down there & saw this as an oppertunity for an adventure... we enjoyed Pittsburg's Wilderness Park very much. The park looks 'dead' if you first take a look but once you start walking & the deeper you go into the woods, the more life you find... Small orange flowers, little purple berries & birds.
We enjoyed our walk thoroughly, & went by Claw Paws, were Martin got 2 more editions to our aquarium. 2 Skunk Loach's. They make us think of little Wiener Dogs, with their long noses that 'sniffels' everywhere.

Our day finished off with a packet from South Africa – See the pic attached. Biltong & Droe Wors, Milo & Stoop with Tempo's!!!! Baie dankie Mamma!!!!

I received a letter from my best friend in SA, Iska!!! BAIE DANKIE. She is by far one of the most special people in my life!!! Full of joy, & loves the Lord.

Monday, December 26, 2005


FIRST DAY AFTER CHRISTMAS... everything red is marked 50% or 60% off.

Martin & I found a new hobby, and I have to say it is amazing how much time we've spent on water color(this is the american way of spelling colour...) painting!!! Yip, we are picking up a hobby both of us loved (& never had the time or resources to develop). When we are good at it, we might just post some of our 'art pieces' on the blogg...

Enjoy the last week of 2005!!!

Sunday, December 25, 2005




Our Christmas Day with Malva Poeding

Our day started with a cup of coffee, a text message from PA & MA Bravenboer... (Baie dankie dit was 'n lekker Kersgeskenk!) & the reading of our Christ's birth. We opened our gifts & talked with my parents before church @ 10:30.

Julie came over for lunch and we had Chicken & Wild rice, with herbed Carrots & Salad. I set the table in white, green & brown. Ouma Iska gave me a set of white, silver & gold place mats & napkins so I used that to decorate our first Christmas Table. We weren't even done with our main coarse before the Malva Poeding was brought up... Well this is not that common but we immediately ate our sweet caramelized Poeding & vanilla ice cream...

We finished our Christmas Day with a movie - Stealth (I'll give it a 7) & a walk around the block as the sun set @ 5pm.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

This will be my first "Grown Up" Christmas without my family... Martin & I will be in Joplin, starting our own traditions!
Christmas Things I need & don't have because my mom always had them...
a Pretty Christmas Table Cloth,
a Big fake Christmas Tree & decorations (accumulated after 25 years of marriage).
Pretty Christmas CD's & pretty christmas plates...
MAKE YOUR OWN TRADITIONS is what my Aunt in Perth would say... so this year I will not be thinking of Christmas without my family BUT as my first Christmas as a wife, a daughter in Law and one day a mom. I'm looking forward to having my first Christmas as a Bravenboer.

To all the other Brave Travelers all around us who will spend their Christmas far away from home, MERRY CHRISTMAS or GESEENDE KERSFEES! Make your own traditions!!!

May Jesus be the center of your gift giving.

Thursday, December 22, 2005


This week was filled with laughs, Christmas Parties and gifts. This is truly a festive time of the year. Monday morning at work we received a Christmas basket filled with chocolate goodies from our Summer Comedian "Bone". We stuffed our faces with delicatessens.

Tuesday, our Missions Department had their Christmas Party & shared their left overs...

Sara & Jon Hill had a open house Christmas Party on Tuesday night, and we stayed the entire time. We decorated our own cookies, and watched Brian Reagan (a comedian). Sara did a very good job with hosting the party. Even Presley, their umbrella cocketoo got to say 'hello' for a couple of minutes.
Our friends Andy & Charnette came down from St. Louis to share in the Party. They got engaged on Saturday, and we are so excited for them. The plan is to get married in August, in South Africa. CONGRATS GUYS, WE ARE HONORED BY YOUR FRIENDSHIP.

Last night, Lueda came over and we had a early Christmas. Lueda got us a slow cooker (& recipes) - jaw drop present. Martin was so ecstatic for she bought him the Music inspired by Narnia CD & a CS Lewis Devo book... She knew! For me, a Thank You Journal just what I needed & a Devo's book from Bruce Wilkinson.

Today was my first 'sleep in' vacation day. It was marvelous. I think I could do this everyday!!!
For those of you who are traveling to family over this festive time. Drive Safe!!! And enjoy the family!!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Friday Night was our annual Christ In Youth Christmas party! It was in a neighboring town, in a historic house. It was a real cold winter’s night... but that didn't stop us from having a good time. We shared same good laughs & played a fun game... (amper soos Noot vir Noot). Our friends, MD & Allyson were counting contractions (5min apart at that time), and their little girl, Avery was born Saturday morning just after 6am. Yes, she stayed at the Christmas Party until 9pm!!!
The picture is with one of our dearest friends, Lueda! She is a woman after God's own heart! Blessings Friends, Jani

Sunday, December 18, 2005


It is interesting how after dating & getting married you still get surprised by your partners hobbies. Well after we got back from South Africa in January, Martin introduced me to - THE LIFE OF AN AQUARIUM GEEK. Growing up, my hubby had allot of fish... and had this dream of having his own marine aquarium when he grows up... Well now that he is grown up, it was time. BUT with our travel schedule, and the HIGH maintenance marine fish require... It was a lose-lose situation. After some very intense discussion, we decided it would be wise to rather buy fresh tropical fish, than have nothing.
So in August, we took the leap and bought a 30 gal tank... Set up and getting the water levels (pH and that sort of thing) ready took about 6 weeks before we added fish! By week 4 we bought our first 2 invertebrates - a yellow apple snail & a ghost shrimp. They dampened our fish craze and staring at a tank with a piece of drift wood and Amazon plant. Now we were amazed by how fast our snail was growing and were the shrimp was hiding.
Four months later, and a lot of trauma, our tank is stabilized. We lost all 4 our Gouramis, and our snail to parasites!!! We now have another smaller tank for our plants, for stabilized growth and for the smaller newer plants. A total of 10 ghost Shrimps in this 12 gal tank! Martin's 30 gal Aquarium Ecosystem consist of a school of Silver tipped Tetra's, & White Clouds, 2 Angels & a German Blue Ramirez. 2 Different species catfish - 3 Panda Coreys & a Farlowella Catfish. Having an Aquarium is by far one of the most intense & fun hobbies you can think of. Martin is on the internet all the time finding more info, reading books on Aquarium plants etc. I was transformed into a Pet-shop junky, and love it.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


This is the newest member to our CIY family. Libby Jo was born Sunday morning to Erin & Nate Karnes. She is the cutest little thing!!! We are having a shower for Libby today at our office ~ you know who can party more than CIY!!!

We are doing well. Downtime is always welcome! Martin & I will stay in Joplin for Christmas. Our small christmas tree died already, so we might have to get a second one... 2 in one Christmas!!! Be Blessed during this time... if you are hot in Africa or Cold in the States!