The mission – get dad mobile again.

My dad, Brian McCrindle, is not only my personal hero, but also a hero and father figure to many others.

IMG_6361
My wedding, 10 years ago. Photographer : Dror Eyal

My dad was always the first person that someone would call on when they needed help, he would always be there for someone in need at the drop of a hat. Dad is the eldest of four boys and the true patriarch of our family. He was a man who always looked after his health, ate right and exercised all throughout his life, the picture of perfect health. He was an Iron Man athlete, a veteran Comrades Marathon (89km) runner, an avid cyclist, a swimmer and an all round sportsman.

On 24 June, 2018, dad had a bicycle accident and broke his neck. Dad is now a quadriplegic. During his months in ICU where he fought for his life, his true athletic spirit really came to the foreground. Through desperate prayers, a fantastic medical team and around-the-clock care from his devoted and loving wife, Anne, dad has now reached a point where he is able to breathe by himself during the day while making use of breathing support during the night. He is still paralyzed from the shoulders down but is going for extensive physiotherapy and rehabilitation every other day, with rest days in between when his lungs need it. The most amazing thing about this human being has been his sense of humor through it all and his truly heroic, admirable spirit. Dad has the most amazing mental strength. Not once has he felt sorry for himself, not once has he asked “why me?” Not once!

59e3df12-1bd8-4f82-9047-6d292169f90f

Anne has been a God send. I will never have enough thanks in me to give her for the love and care she gives my dad.

Her precious life with my father changed in a split second, but she too has not once wavered from her love and devotion to him. The life they once shared together was filled with weekly adventures and new experiences. Their days look a little different now, but side by side they remain.

My father was in ICU for almost a year. Needless to say, his medical treatments do not come cheap and private medical insurance can only take you so far. All of the ongoing monthly medical expenses pose a real challenge, as one would expect for an injury as severe as dad’s. With him needing a wheelchair for everything, everyday, their little yellow Honda Jazz isn’t quite sufficient enough to get them around very comfortably anymore.

Wheelchair-Accessible-Vehicle-FIAT-Doblo-VE62AHJ-Blue-5

That above said, aside from monthly medical costs that dad still needs to cover, it is my goal to try and raise enough money to buy a wheelchair friendly vehicle for him by this coming Christmas so as to give him a bit more comfort and ease with his mobility challenges. What an amazing gift that would be. The goal is to buy a pre-owned Fiat Doblo panel van vehicle which has been kitted out with a wheel chair conversion kit which will cost R345 000 / $22 697.

IMG_6306
Beanie buddies and granddaughter cuddles

If you find that it is within your means to help raise this money to get Brian mobile again after everything he has been through, and constantly goes through each day, then please do consider supporting this initiative, and please help spread the word.

Simply click on the link below:

https://clickndonate.com/get-brian-mobile-again-goal-r-345-000/

Please select the PayFast option for the simplest means of transfer.

IMG_6577
Note: The maximum limit per single PayFast payment is R10,000

From the bottom of my heart – thank you!

Lindy-Ann

It’s a…

DG baby profile_1744.jpg

Thank you to everyone who commented on last weeks update video, we definitely felt all the love! It’s so fun to share this journey with you!

Without further ado it’s a BOY! A third Boy!

third boy copy.jpg

Yes, to answer the obvious question, we were trying for a girl. It was a little sad for me, at first, to know I will not be braiding the hair of a daughter of my own, but that’s ok, I have plenty of wee girlfriends to borrow!

I’ve also been having lots of revelations about being a #boymomforlife over the past few days and I realized it suits me. As my husband reminded me, I do actually like superheroes, Star Wars, and “boy” things.

I was also reminded that as a boy mom I have the honor of raising my boys to be good men. Men who are respectful, supportive, gentle, strong, loving, compassionate, and faithful. Men that could be humble leaders with integrity, wisdom, and discernment. Future husbands who would love and cherish their wives and encourage them to pursue their dreams too. To be fathers that would be present, involved, and willing to model THE Father’s grace-filled love for their own children. Simply put, to be men like their daddy (full disclosure: he would say to be better than him).

DG fam announcement_5502

These are my prayers for my boys and I’m humbled at the task of raising these three arrows.

That said, we’re not perfect, I mess up daily, but that’s where the grace and loads of prayers come in. That’s why we have mommy mentors, grandparents, and teacher friends to lean on for help and to give advice. “It takes a village to do life well,” as Emily Ley says. What a relief right?!

Whelp, it’s going to be a wild, noisy, dirty, sweaty adventure filled with sweet moments and I look forward to sharing it with you, in addition to the usual creativity, inspiration, tutorials, and fun here on the blog!

cheers,

kdg

A Love Culture – part 1

IACW_W 3546

A lifetime ago, when I worked full time (and then some) for an amazing architecture firm in DC, we talked a lot about mentorship. There was always the debate about what was better, organic mentorship or assigned mentors. I can see it both ways. I personally prefer to mentor, and be mentored by, people I’m drawn to. Alternatively, what happens to those that don’t really connect or are too shy to put themselves out there to be mentored?

For better or for worse, my firm chose the organic approach in mentoring, as with design in general. It became a sink or swim situation for people; a culture that you either fit in or you didn’t – and you simply moved on. In addition to mentorship, we used to discuss personality types. The thought process was if you understood where your bosses, peers, or subordinates were coming from, then you would know how to relate to them better. Again, this was a part of forming the firm’s culture.

Even though I’m no longer in the workforce, I still find these concepts relevant and important to cultivating healthy relationships. I also believe love languages play an important role in how we can learn truly love the people in our lives. They way they prefer to be (as opposed to the way we prefer).

Print

My mentor, Anita and I talk about this a lot. She shared with me that their family took the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test to identify each individual’s personality types and the results helped refine how they relate as a family. It was a revelation! Using what we know about my-ENFP-self, my ESTP husband, and our boys, we can learn to adjust what we do (and how we might prefer to do it!) to create an environment where they thrive and develop into who they are meant to be.

Just like in the firm setting these tools can help us form the culture of our families. From the things we prioritize and value to how we relate to each other. Each child is different and often what works for one does not work for the other, but hey they are our kids, we don’t want them to leave our firm…

er family, due to the culture!

Let’s make the decision to mentor and motivate our kids, love them they way the receive it best, and relate to their specific personalities. Then we can be a generation of families that raise each other up, honor our differences, and spread love.

Here’s to developing a culture of love!

kdg

Check out these resources for more:

Personality: Myers Briggs  | Quick MBTI test | GEMS  

Love Languages: 5 Love Languages | For Children: Love Language

Stay tuned for PART 2 on creating your own family culture in the coming weeks!

IACW_O 3545

Love is in the air.

Ahh February, the month of love. Haters will say that every month should be about love and love should be celebrated every day. While this is supposedly true, commercialism has given ‘Love’ the month of February. I hope that doesn’t mean it gets eleven months off!

If you are curious to read up more on the origins of Saint Valentines day, click here.

Katie and I are excited to share with you our ’14 shots of Love’ photo challenge. Whether you celebrate Valentines day or not, we do all celebrate love.

William Shakespeare is my favourite poets of all time. Much of this has to do with the fact that my childhood home literally sat in the middle of Shakespeare street in Brakpan, Johannesburg. We went on to study him in school and by this point I was convinced I knew him better than anyone. My favourite writings from him came from his Sonnets. I want to share one of my favourites with you today to inspire you to embrace, appreciate, and celebrate love this February (and beyond).

Sonnet 116

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no; it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

-William Shakespeare

I hope you enjoy this photo challenge and I can’t wait to see what wonderful love-filled imagery floods our social media sites. If you play along, please tag your photo with #IACWLOVE2018.

Valentine Photo List 2018

Much Love,

la

An inspiring love story

IMG_1702 copy

If you have been following our blog for a while, you would have read that my mom passed away just before my wedding, 8 years ago. But there’s a second chapter to my story that I am inspired to write about. My dad got remarried to one of his oldest and dearest friends. She was a pillar of strength for our family during our hardest times and a few years after my mom’s passing she and my dad finally got together. With all the love and support under the sun for each other, it has only been a pleasure to see them so happy.

They have truly become an inspiration for me and I’m sure other couples out there who know them, too. Their kids are now grown up and independent. They are super fit and super healthy and they truly embrace life with hearts filled with joy, love, and kindness, not to mention boat loads of energy and zest. When I grow up I most certainly hope to follow in their footsteps or in their case, bicycle tracks.

A few years back they got this beautiful painting as a gift for their anniversary and I have always admired it as it really captures the essence of their relationship so beautifully. While we were reminiscing one afternoon as sunset approached, sipping on fine red wine, I blurted out that it would be a good idea to photograph them and reenact the painting. So we did. This is the result. A super fun spontaneous moment has become such a warm memory for myself and the kids. My poor husband was holding down the fort in K-Town at the time.

dad anne

I have grown a lot over the years. Although  the hardships are difficult, they also have the ability to refine. I have grown to see love as always evolving. I think the secret to a lasting love, is not a perfect spouse, a perfect self, or a perfect environment, but rather two hearts who commit to finding each other constantly as life, individuals and circumstances change. I now find myself falling in love with my husband in new ways everyday and for this I am truly grateful.

With love,

la

Vintage Rose

1DSC_7516

This past weekend we had the joy of spending an afternoon celebrating a special little girl at this gorgeous venue, Vintage Rose.

What a beautiful venue! In the heart of Pretoria, South Africa, the older homes boast larger grounds and vintage architecture. This old Pretoria home has been converted into a venue which hosts receptions for weddings, birthdays and pretty much anything your heart may want to celebrate. It has beautiful large trees and plenty of grass for high energy children. This child friendly, charming place has an incredible eye for detail. Anyone who knows me knows I have a vintage heart and this heart was not disappointed.

I was in my element. So many pretty things for my eyes to feast on. A self catering venue allows themselves the opportunity to focus on design and detail while the client focuses on food and family. A beautiful afternoon was had by all and love became the true hero of the day. Love for this special child, love for each other, and for me, love for good design.

So if you are in the Pretoria, Centurion Johannesburg areas and you are looking for a beautiful venue full with love and details. I highly recommend this little treasure. After all, art really is in the detail.

Shout out goes to my assistant photographers, Jarod, Dylan and Mia.

1DSC_7918

Much love from this vintage girl,

la

 

 

My thankful heart

image 1

Katie and I both seem to have the ‘feels’ this week.

As I sit at the deli up the road from the house, I watch the children playing in the sand. I’m always taken aback at how easy it is for them to make friends. Sometimes it’s literally a matter of seconds. I envy their openness and kindness and while I would like to take credit for this skill of theirs, I think I’m a lot more shy and reserved than they are. I praise them for this gift whenever I can as I want them to see the good in people every chance they get.

When you choose an expat life the first thing you lose is your support system. Everyone you know, everyone who knows you is gone, everyone who would be there for you at the drop of a hat is now at least 2 flights and a day away. You find yourself alone. Really alone. When I first moved to Kuwait I would never be caught dead in a coffee shop by myself or at the movies alone. Now it seems like such a simple thing which really isn’t a big deal and dare I say it, even nice at times. I think that shows how much I have grown and changed over the years and how living abroad has toughened me up. I will never forget the time I moved into my first place with a car boot (trunk for my American friends) full of Ikea specials. I dragged each box up to my apartment by myself one by one and when everything was up I began to unpack and build. I remember sinking to the floor in  despair when the instructions called for me to ask a friend to hold one side of the wardrobe while I set up the other. “Ask a friend?” I laughed, what friend?! And that was the moment I realised that life really isn’t always going to go according to plan, script, or instruction.

Over the years I came out of my shell and learned to make friends, friends that would ultimately come and go given the nature of this expat travel region. I still feel blessed to be close to each one of those friends to this day. As, Katie so beautiful puts it.

“my heart has been left in pieces around the world in the hands of our family and treasured friends”

(she’s one of them)

dg_2415

My friends and my family back home support us from a distance with understanding and love. Overtime as we travel home for holidays they are there with open arms and open hearts and even more so… open homes. It’s not easy living out of people’s homes as a family of 5 and yet they take us in so graciously. They babysit my kids so I can make doctors appointments, they drag us to remote places to experience hidden gems, they feeds us with familiar tastes from home, but most importantly, they love us as if we never left at all. So to all the friends and families supporting loved ones over seas, from the bottom of my heart THANK YOU! Thank you for keeping the connection across thousands of miles and many years. Thank you for making the world a smaller place and thank you for making my world a colourful world indeed.

Cheers with a thankful heart,

la

Sensory Overload, and our first misty morning.

DSC_4977 copy

There’s something about going home. Whether it’s just to your childhood house you grew up in or your home country you travel back to.

And then there’s something extra special about coming home to Africa.

The minute I step off the plane, it’s like breathing out. My shoulders get lighter and my troubles seem far away.

It’s winter here now and it’s spectacular. The temps are so wonderfully mild. Our middays are reaching 22’C (70’F), but the mornings bring with them that winter chill I still fondly remember.

What strikes me the most about my first few days here is always the sky. The air is so clean and fresh. Such contrast to the desert life. I posted about our famous dust storms in Kuwait a few weeks ago and how, for the summer seasons, it seems that we live in a sepia world. When I land in South Africa, all my senses come alive, as if every colour is showing off. Every landscape is standing proudly at attention. I hear every single bird chirping, I have no idea what birds they are, but oh boy do they serenade. I smell every flower in full fragrance, the rains on the horizon before they fall, and every earthy grain of sand. Textures are in abundance and the influence the land has over it’s people and local design is unmistakable.

1DSC_5082

My children are filthy. I’m talking about scrub them in the tub and leaving a dirty ring in the bath kind of filthy. And I LOVE it! They are out the house and exploring their environments every single day and I couldn’t be happier about it.

DSC_5054 copyDSC_5069 copy

This past week we woke up to one beautiful misty morning. It was magical. My eldest ran outside to share in my joy and found her very first dew drop.

DSC_4964 copy

DSC_4951 copyDSC_4956 copy

Aside from the land and her people, being around all our family and friends again is so special. Listening to the cousins playing outside, the familiar belly laugh of my brother and the kind words of my dad. The sweet giggle of my new niece and the warm comforts and hugs from loved ones who truly know you.

Yes, going home is special. 

Love from Johannesburg,

la

 

Have the last word

No one stops to think what their last words may be to someone they love. No one stops to think about the last words written either. I do.

The reason…

My mother Meryll, passed away due to complications from surgery at the age of 49. I was 27. My mother never got to meet my children. They will never get to know their grandmother. The last written words I have to remember her by are found in a hand written journal from her time in hospital. When she had a pipe down her throat she used this journal to communicate with visitors and nurses. Sadly, these are the last words I have from her. Not words a daughter would ordinarily choose to keep, but precious words none-the-less. The content of some of her sentences are really hard to read but just seeing her tangible hand writing makes me feel closer to her.

mom
My brother Warren, Meryll, Me

I sit here almost 8 years later reflecting on my own little family and I am faced with the reality that tomorrow is not promised to anyone. I have so many questions for my mom and would give anything to be able to sit down with her, I would drink coffee and she would have her favourite Rooibos Honey tea, as she always did, and we would talk for hours. I would ask her not only questions about parenting, but questions about marriage, too. She died 3 months before my wedding. So many things were left unsaid. So many big issues in life I have had to figure out for myself, moments where having my mom around would have come in handy. No offence Dad, but advice on birthing, delivery, and postpartum really can only come from a mom 😉

My last spoken words to my mom were “I’ll speak to you soon” – I never did.

1IMG_08581IMG_0857

Below is the last entry she ever wrote in that book, what bothers me more than her last few written words, is the fact that there is more than half the book left blank; so many things left unsaid and still so many pages left open, waiting to be filled with words never written.

1IMG_0860

My plan is to leave my 3 kiddos a journal specific to each child. Of course when it comes to generic news I will most likely type something up and print out 3 copies to insert, dated, into each book. I hope that one day when they’re old and grey these books will be relevant, but if life has other plans and I have to check out early,  I’m glad I will be able to leave them a few of their mother’s words. Good words, positive ones, funny ones, inspired ones, words of love and devotions. Words of pure heart. Memories that all too quickly seem to fade.

So I encourage you, if you have ever wanted to pen something, or a collection of somethings, to your children, do it! Do it now! Online images will move down your timeline, out of site and out of mind, but classic handwritten words, are priceless.

kids

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart” – William Wordsworth

with love,

la