In the time that we’ve been back together as a family, it’s been a week of waiting and watching what happens. While our circumstances may seem discouraging, we’re finding encouragement and support in our family and friends.

Horse truck over pit at mechanic's shop, May 2012
We've found a mechanic who is looking at our horse truck's problem — he's optimistic that the breakdown isn't fatal, and we're waiting to see if he can get us on the road again.

We have loved our time with the Steenkamp family. Our girls enjoyed playing with kids again, as it’s been a while since we’ve been completely surrounded by other children. The girls learned the dynamics of playing with older boys, and we’re glad that we have friends with such nice boys to introduce our girls to!

However, the Steenkamps have headed off to the hot springs at Waiwera for a long-anticipated holiday, leaving us to house-sit as long as we like. Without them, however, the house is echoing and empty, and our girls are missing their new friends.

I’ve enjoyed working in the Steenkamp kitchen where there’s a Thermomix for me to play with. It’s been nice to make meals in the Thermomix so I can assess the quantities offered by the recipes (yes, it makes more than enough for our family) and see if it would be a good fit for our lifestyle and diet.

However, our house-sitting stint came to a dry end when we ran out of water. The water-tanks that supply the big house ran empty, and it was strange to be in a house and unable to use the taps. It seems easier to be washing dishes outside by the truck rather than carting water into the house to wash at the sink. It’s also difficult to keep a house clean without water — there’s none to wipe up with, none to wash up with, washing the clothes is impossible, and there’s none to even drink. I’m still pondering the spiritual significance of being in a house without water.

Girls sleeping in little living room, May 2012
We're delighted that our girls have learned versatility in sleeping circumstances. (Calista and Delaney are on the couches, Aisha and Brioni are on the floor.) As long as they're warm, the four girls don't seem to mind if they're sleeping on something soft or not. It makes putting them to bed in other houses very easy.

I’m also still contemplating the experience of being questioned closely by Ammi on our spiritual and parenting philosophies. She has said that she was attracted to the way our girls were especially loving to each other — while in complete freedom — and she wants to hear more about why we do things the way we do. She saw something in our family that she desires for hers.

This is a great compliment — but not to me or to David — to our children. We are constantly reminding ourselves not to interfere, but to model the behaviour we want to see. And our girls are so intent on being lovely and loving that — given the complete freedom to express themselves however they want — they choose to be nice and kind to each other.

This is a wonderful affirmation of the way David and I are parenting. The fact that someone can spend several days with our family and it causes her to question her core parenting philosophies encourages us to continue parenting in freedom.

Double rainbow, May 2012
This evening, Aisha spied a [double] rainbow in the sky. Rainbows are harbingers of hope, and we feel hopeful for the future.

I can never present the whole picture of our family on this blog. I can only share snippets from our days. However the testimony of those who have met us and spent time with us is enough to reassure me that those who haven’t spent time with us will be won over when our paths cross in the future. And so we look forward to spending time with you all, too!