Monday, 31 January 2011

Sweet Sunday - Banana Loaf Cake

This lovely loaf is a great way to use up over ripe bananas, but its so delicious I find myself intentionally over-ripening bananas - regularly!

This recipe makes a loaf with a light cake consistency, not a heavy stodgy loaf (which I know many people - including my hubby- love).  It's a tasty addition to your breakfast or tea table, and my kiddies love it for a snack or with some chocolate spread on it for lunch.

Banana Loaf

200g light brown sugar
2 large eggs
280g bananas, well mashed
125ml sunflower oil
10ml bicarbonate of soda
150g plain flour
100g whole wheat flour (brown bread flour works well too)
65ml milk
125ml of rolled oats to sprinkle and 1 banana, 1/2 of it cubed, 1/2 finely sliced.

Preheat the oven to 150C or 300F
Grease a standard sized loaf till well, and line the bottom with baking parchment.

Beat eggs and sugar together until very fluffy. Add the banana, and beat until smooth. Add the oil and bicarbonate of soda and beat again. Add the flour and the milk and mix on a low speed until smooth. Fold in the 1/2 a cubed banana and empty mix into the greased and lined loaf tin. Sprinkle the oats on the top of the loaf, as well as the finely sliced banana to decorate. You can also sprinkle a tablespoon of brown sugar over the loaf to make a delicious caramelised topping.

Bake at 150C/300F in a fan oven OR 170C/340F in a conventional oven for 50 minutes, or until golden brown. A sharp knife inserted into the cake should come out completely clean.

Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes and then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.


* This recipe doubles up well, cook the loaf tins side by side on the same level for best results.
* A single recipe makes 18 regular sized muffins - bake at 180C or 355F for 12-15 minutes
* Both the muffins and the loaves freeze well. Wrap loaves in baking parchment and then cling film. Defrost a loaf in a low oven for 40mins or on the counter overnight. Muffins can be defrosted in a jiffy in the microwave.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Out on London Town - Part One

I love it when we have people come to visit. It forces us to get out and see our beautiful city, to put the mundane on hold and escape reality for the day. We've had a friend, Anders, over from Belgium the weekend. We havent seen him in three years so its was wonderful to introduce him to our boys and spend the day out in London. 

Anders, the kids and I on the tube to West Kensington. 

We decided to do something that would be fun for everyone, so The Natural History Museum was our first stop. We decided not to drive in, but rather to park and catch the tube - suffice to say this was the kids' highlight of the day! 

Our first family photo this year.

The Natural History Museum is a very beautiful building. I actually typed "one for the most beautiful" and then deleted and retyped it - London is full on incredible architecture and its something Im passionate about. I can't start about it. SO I'm just going to say it beautiful, and let the pictures speak from themselves. 

Its an incredible place to take you kids - there are rooms upon rooms of animals, interactive displays on everything from ants to human biology and its FREE! Its easily as entertaining for parents as it is for your little ones. If all goes well, which for us it didnt. 

Levi is at the point of dropping his afternoon nap. With it, he doesnt go to sleep till 10pm, without it its rough.  He fell asleep on Friday afternoon so didnt get to bed till late, was up early and therefore, you guess, miserable as anything by the time we arrived. It was a near disaster after the first 15 minutes. Lying on the floor crying, not wanting to be held, not wanting to listen. WE were those people you always feel secretly sorry for, while pretending not to notice. We knew he'd be tired, we did extend him. We, as a result, suffered the consequence. It was HECTICALLY busy, and being the Natural History Museum it was FULL of equally distressed, frustrated children... I'll leave it at that, I'm sure you can imagine!

The kids then both fell asleep, and left us to wonder around the V&A museum across the street, and then saunter down to Harrods, but i'll save that eye candy for tomorrow!

Next time we'll be there as it opens. We will go on a warm sunny day (not a grey sleety day with sub zero temperatures) when everyone else is out at the park. We will see the dinosaurs because there wont be a 30 minute que, and Levi wont be tired and have lost the will to live. And we'll have even MORE fun than we did this time! Because despite the drama - and it was full on at the time - we had quite a lot of fun!

Sweet Sunday will be up this evening! Till then, xxx

Thursday, 27 January 2011

For Moms.

Im just back from an impromptu visit to the hospital. I gave the new dad a call to see if the new mum was up for visitors, and hightailed it out of here the second he said yes! There's nothing more precious than watching someone you know well, becoming a Mom. For me its one of the most special things in the world to witness, and I feel privileged each time I get to sneak into the maternity ward for newborn cuddles and new mum heart to hearts.

Levi, June 2008

Levi, June 2008

Motherhood settles upon a woman like a mantle. She is instantly changed forever. Do you remember what it was like? Im certain its different for each of us - but we all make that same transition. For some its the easiest thing in the world, for others the biggest challenge they will ever face. The wonderful thing, is that each time, with each child (even to the same mum), its unique - and its always beautiful. 

So, today, Im just posting a reminder. A reminder of first love. That new born smell. Their warm pink skin. 

Asher, November 2009

Their tiny warm bodies. 

Asher, November 2009

Just watching them sleep. 

Asher, November 2009

Learning what they don't like.

Asher, December 2009 
Learning how to comfort them. 

I encourage you - take a look through those newborn pictures. Be reminded of their sweet faces, which I feel guilty to say I hardly recognise at all. Be reminded of the sweetness of the gift, now that we're mucking through the swell of daily life with children. Just pause, and take in where they are, because if you're reading this you know all too well how fast is going. How fast its going to be gone. 

And Rejoice, before hopping up to put on another load of laundry. How blessed we are have baby clothes to launder. 

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Eat Cake, Its Wednesday!

Today one of my very favourite people in the world had her beautiful baby girl. The day before yesterday one of my very best friends ever had her little boy. Its been a week of beautiful babies being born, and I'll admit, I've been a little distracted. And maybe a tiny bit jealous. I don't want a whole new tiny human just yet, but seeing those sweet little newborn faces certainly pulled at my heartstrings! 

In celebration of new life (any excuse will do really!) I've been baking. I have not, however, taken any pictures of said baking. Im perfecting recipes, and THEN you can have them. That and, somehow, my camera battery has mysteriously disappeared. Its not in the camera and I didn't take it out! Somehow, my boys and I have eaten through 4 dozen muffins in a week. Berry muffins, carrot muffins and then banana muffins. I cant make anymore just yet! 

I figured I best start updating the "Cakes" tab, or its going to be "under construction" forever. So here is something really basic - a birthday cake from back in November. Recipe soon to follow! 

Hope you've all had a wonderful Wednesday! Happy Australia Day! 

Monday, 24 January 2011

My friend's daughter has been kidnapped!

Please join us in praying for our friend Cath, and her daughter Bella, who was kidnapped by her biological father last week tuesday, from Durban, South Africa. Investigators are certain he has left the country with her. He had limited visitation and is a very wealthy, powerful man with very shady connections. He has at least five passports,  (that we know of) one of which is American, and had apparently been planning her abduction for months (clearing out properties, bank accounts, selling cars etc).  He has connections to obtain fake identities and move through borders, so please pray that Bella is kept SAFE and protected from whats happening around her, as he continues to try and dodge authorities.

He has the international resources and connections to disappear, but please pray with us that his dark plan will be foiled and that his plans will come to light. Every lead investigators have had has turned cold. They are out there somewhere and this poor little girl, who is only 2, has be taken from everything she knows and loves.

Please join us in praying that this little girl is returned to her mum, unharmed and soon. Please also pray for Cath to remain strong, as I cant imagine a more difficult thing to have to go through.

For updates and news add Catherine Krog on Facebook - the images are slowly getting through to the international press and cases are now being opened in countries where they know he has connections.

Cath's latest status
hi all, Brad Nathanson is dealing with the investigation. please if anyone wants to donate money towards the large reward offered or towards the investigation, Brads bank account details are as follows : BRASON SECURITY SERVICES ccABSAHILLCREST (632005)A.N. 4048621789 Please put BELLA's name as a reference! Thank you, Catherine

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Mum's Muffins - Sweet Sunday

The other day I set out to make these family favourites. You can see how that DIDNT happen, HERE. I finally got my act together and made these lovely muffins today. These are wonderfully simple, and the best muffins ever.

Once you have made up the basic recipe, it will keep well in the fridge in a sealed container for a week - so why not make double?

Mum's Muffins (makes between 12&18, depending on the size of your pan)

1) Beat together 1 1/2 cups of brown sugar and 2 eggs until well creamed.
2) Add 1/2 a cup of oil (sunflower or canola work well) and beat again.
3) Add 2 1/2 cups of wholewheat flour (I used brown bread flour), 2 cups of milk, 1 tsp of vanilla essence and beat until well combined.
4) Add 2 cups of digestive bran (available at heath shops) or 2 cups of crushed bran flakes (see notes) and 2 tsp of bicarbonate of soda and beat on a low speed until well combined.
5) Add up to a cup of your fruit of choice (optional) and top with raw oats, coarse brown sugar, or thin sliced fruit to make them look pretty!

Fill well greased muffin pans to the 3/4 mark and bake at 180C / 350F for 20mins. Lower the baking temperature slightly if using a fan assisted oven, or they may rise too quickly and a little skew.

*You can add any filling of your choice. I added a few finely grated carrots and some mixed spice to these today. Other ideas included a few mashed bananas, berries, grated apple, raisins, nuts, seeds or rolled oats.
*The batter keeps well in the fridge, in a sealed container, for up to a week.
* Once bakes these muffins freeze really well. Defrost in the microwave for a delicious, fast breakfast or tea time treat.
* To make crushed bran I put 3 cups of bran flakes into the mixer on a low speed before I start. Alternatively you could pulse in a food processor, or crush in a zip lock bag with a rolling pin.

Happy Sweet Sunday!

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Coq au Vin - French cooking made simple

I need to say SORRY in advance - my recipes just seem to have stories and extra advice all along the way. I cant help myself. Its just who I am. Forgive me,  please?? Or just skip to the end and find what you're looking for there - I forgive you!

A lot of people are easily intimidated by making food, especially any style of food which they haven't grown up with, or with names in other languages. The meals can be perceived to be difficult to make, with recipes drawn out over pages and long casserole cooking times which can even make a mother who can keep five kids on a schedule and run a household, feel inferior and incapable in the kitchen. NO LONGER LADIES!

Food for me, is not intimidating. There is no meal or recipe under the sun that makes me think "oh heck - how??" or "I can't". There is no number of guests that makes me feel incapable. Ok, maybe if I had to feed more than 300. I'd need a team I trusted and a bigger kitchen than I currently have access to, but the fear there is logistical; it's not about the food. My mom always cooked but she wasn't and still isn't a foodie. She was a single mum with two girls and food just wasn't a major focus, so I don't know where I got it from. Wait, that may be a lie. I'll tell you the story of how "food" and I met another day. TODAY I'm showing you how to make a french classic, SIMPLY.

Cooking and baking are VERY different. Cooking is NOT an exact science (baking definitely is!) - I very seldom work from a recipe. I read four or five recipes for the meal I'm keen to make, get a feel for what's involved, look at what I've got available and then work by feeling, whether I'm cooking for 10 or 100. I'm not naive - I KNOW this is a gift. Its a precious gift from God that I will NEVER take for granted - but in this gift I've found freedom to help others break down their perceptions of "difficult" food - break down the walls that make it look like HUGE amounts of work, and beckon you gently out of your comfort zone. SO with that in mind, let's move onto the purpose of the post.

Coq au Vin is a French meal, traditionally cooked with a rooster. The tougher, gamier meat than chicken needed a longer cooking time, and how it was made varied across France, from home to home and region to region. It's important to remember that recipes developed because people used what they had to use- if the didn't have enough of one thing, they'd substitute in another. You too can develop your own versions of this dish, but here are the basics.


One chicken, jointed into 8 pieces (I used one pack of thighs, and one packet of drumsticks instead)
200g or 7oz of lardons (cubed bacon will work here too)
10 whole shallots (peeled) or 3 onions, quartered - shallots are lovely and sweet, but not a necessity!
a few pieces of garlic, crushed - I used about 1 tablespoon
mushrooms - smaller are better than large ones chopped, but use what you have. I used around two cupped handfuls (400g or 14oz)
Red wine, I used a whole bottle but you could substitute in some stock if you needed
Thyme (I prefer fresh, but dried will work just as well)
Bay leaves - 5

To make this go further you could add some chopped carrots, too.
Serve with mashed potatoes and steamed green beans or other green veg.

There are two methods of doing this, the difference being when the wine is added. Method 1 is a little quicker, Method 2 uses one less pot.

Method 1:

1) To start, empty your bottle of wine and bay leaves into a pot and place on a medium heat to reduce a little (not essential but helps to make for a richer sauce).
2) Brown your chicken pieces in a little olive oil in a large cast iron casserole, three or four at a time. If you don't have a casserole dish which is suitable for stove top use, just do this in a pan and transfer them to a deep ovenproof dish, once they are browned. Place them to one side in a bowl.
3) In your casserole, fry your lardons and shallots until they are browned on a medium high heat. Add your garlic and let it fry for a minute. Turn off the heat.
4) Turn off the wine which has been simmering and reducing.
5) Throw a handful of plain flour over your chicken pieces, stir them up in the bowl so that they are all well coated. (I forgot to do this the time I took the pics, so had to thicken it later - this way is MUCH easier!) They should be WELL coated, just keep adding flour until they are no longer sticky and wet.
*** ASIDE HINT*** when you're casseroling, I find this the best way to thicken sauces. Covering your meat like this generally provides the perfect amount of flour required to thicken the amount of liquid required to cover your meat and a few veg.
6) Add your chicken to your casserole dish with the bacon, shallots and garlic. Put in your thyme, season well with a good pinch of salt and pepper, cover with the wine reduction. If there isn't enough wine to cover over the meat and veg (see pics for whats OK) then add a little chicken stock (or any stock except maybe fish!) or just a stock cube and some water to bring the level up.
7) Turn your hob back onto medium high until the casserole starts to boil

Method 2:

1) Brown your chicken pieces in a little olive oil in a large cast iron casserole, three or four at a time. If you don't have a casserole dish which is suitable for stove top use, just do this in a pan and transfer them to and deep oven proof dish, once they are browned. Place them to one side in a bowl. 
2) In your casserole, fry your lardons and shallots until they are browned on a medium high heat. Add your garlic and let it fry for a minute. 
3) Turn down the heat and add your bottle of wine and bay leaves - simmer a while to reduce it a bit, or just move on if you're pressed for time. 
4) Throw a handful of plain flour over your chicken pieces, stir them up in the bowl so that they are all well coated.
5) Add your chicken to the casserole, use a spoon to get them deep into the juice and nearer to bottom of the pan. Season well. Bring up the stock levels as in Method 1 if necessary. 
6) Turn your hob back onto medium high until the casserole starts to boil

To cook.. 

Either transfer the casserole (lid on) to an oven heated to around 160C or 320F for an hour, or as long as is needed to cook through the chicken joints. (I sometimes lower the heat and cook it for longer if this suits my day). Add the mushrooms  at around 1/2 an hour into the cooking time and turn the chicken pieces at this point. 

OR reduce the casserole to a simmer on the hob - simmer with the lid on for around 35 minutes. Turn your chicken pieces and add your mushrooms around the 20 minute mark. 

Troubleshooting: Your chicken pieces should be cooked through with no pink juices, and the sauce should be thickened by the end of the cooking time. If your sauce isn't thick enough mix some cornflour and just enough cold water to dissolve it in a cup, and add to your sauce a little at a time on a medium heat on the hob, until you reach your preferred thickness. Allow 3 minutes of simmering to ensure the cornflour cooks in and doesn't give the sauce a floury taste. If your chicken isn't cooked through, put it back in for another 15 minutes, and check again. 

When in doubt, leave it in the oven at a low heat for longer - slow cooking can do NO harm. 

-This meal freezes well. 
- Marinating your chicken overnight in the wine and then removing the chicken and starting the recipe as per above makes for extra tender, flavour filled chicken. 
- The french would fry their mushrooms in butter before they added them, Its not necessary but adds nicely to the flavour! 

Friday, 21 January 2011

A Summer Tango

One of my very most serendipitous afternoons in London was in the late summer of 2007. We were newly weds, and I hadn't quite gotten my head around cooling off quickly after a confrontation, so I used to go for a walk. Well, this day it turned into a tube ride into West London, a bus ride on a randomly selected route and a final destination of Regent's Park in London.

The heat of summer meant that I was in a simple sun dress, and had I been in Africa where I grew, up the stormy clouds which moved in in the early evening bringing with them the most beautiful light, might not have caught me so much by surprise. It was my first London rainstorm.

As it turns out, someone puts in a dance floor in the park in the summer, and young and old from across the city join in in the most beautiful ballroom dancing! I lost about 2 years worth of photos when my harddrive on my lap top crashed last year, and I had thought that these were among them.  While I would trade these in a heart beat for the pictures of Levi as a baby which are gone forever, Im greatful I came across them.

Originally I seem to remember having shot a few more in colour, but only one was on the disk in the pile I was sorting through. SO there is but one to show you the wonderful light by storm clouds.

My lasting ache when I look at these photos, is that when it started to rain, the dancers started to leave. Had they stayed and had the light not changed, I would have been a VERY lucky girl. But, then again, how often do you get to photograph the dancers who have spilt off the floor onto the walkways of the paths of Regents Park, dancing in late summer light?

This year I may PLAN it. I may just sneak a look into their "events board", just see if I happen to notice a date and a time and mention of dancing shoes. I may happen to stumble into Regent's Park with my camera and I may be blessed with incredible light.

This year I may get the shot I was longing for this day. These were taken in the first 2000 shots of my first ever SLR. Ive taken in excess of 30 000 now and have a much better camera. But sadly, I doubt I will be blessed with the combination of factors that made these shots possible. But I can hope, right?

Thursday, 20 January 2011


Perhaps my intent dislike of making mash is due to the scale I've sometimes had to make it on. Im not sure if you know this about me, but Im a caterer. Recently I've been feeding lot of people at church events, as I manage our kitchen there. Mash is OFTEN on the menu. Soft and fluffy under the topping, crisp and baked as the topping, pushed into a dish as a "pie crust", lets face it, its versatile stuff! 

A few things you might not know about mash:

- Use fluffy potatoes rather than waxy potatoes, and if using waxy potatoes crush them, dont mash them, or they will turn to runny gloop. For your local varieties consult google - there are 1000's! 

- Mash freezes REALLY well. I froze tablespoons of it into iced cube trays while weaning my babies, great to add with any other puree'd vegetable or even fruit, as it reduces acidity and tartness. Also a great way to thicken up a quick veggie soup. NOWADAYS I freeze it in the portions we need in zip lock bags, and defrost in the Microwave on high. It needs a good stir when you are done defrosting it.  

- Around 150g or 5oz of potato offers you around 30% of the RDA Vitamin C, 11% RDA Thiamin, 24% RDA Vitamin B6, 3% RDA Iron, between 10-15% of you RDA for Magnesium, Potassium and Copper. In otherwords, Potato is quite good for you! 

The best way I have found to make mash is to make it in bulk. I always use up any potatoes that are needing using up quickly, buy popping on a pot of mash. I generally only peel half the potatoes, and cube jacketed ones in too. I use my biggest pot, and then when they are cooked through, I bang them into the Kitchen Aid! Any mixer would do. I put them in hot (or not!) and mash them on a low speed for a minute. Then I stop the motor, add salt and pepper, a knob of butter or splash of olive oil, and start it slow again. I add as much milk (straight from the carton) as its needs, and then let it go till its perfectly smooth, only two or three minutes. 

The benefits of using a mixer are more that just reducing the work - I find seasoning is much more evenly mixed in than I manage to get it otherwise (maybe im just lazy!) and that its the best way to flavour your mash without over or underdoing it, as it gets mixed in SOO well. 

Some ideas for for spicing up your mash!

- add creme fraiche (low fat) and chives or salad onions for creamy mash with a zing, great with casseroles.
- add a little grated ginger or lemongrass for serving with fresh fish
- add a little horseradish sauce for serving with a great beef roast (go easy as it can be strong) 
- crush your potatoes with a little seasoning in the mixer and spoon over mince or fish pie bases, spray a little olive oil over them and pop the dish under the grill for a delicious crispy potato crust. 

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Muffin recipe, oh muffin recipe - where art thou?

I have thousands of recipes. Some are precious and represent years of reworking and modifying. Some are family standards, which are simply the taste of my childhood, not necessarily the most amazing recipe, but one bite and Im right back in Mom's kitchen. There are always a few "projects", where Im baking through twenty different versions of the same thing to find what works well, and making my own recipe. Then there are the rest - magazine pull outs, books, scribbles copied from a magazine while waiting for a midwife appointment (I stopped this when I realised you could just take a PICTURE with your phone...). Most of those I've never ever read, let alone cooked.

When I, or rather my tummy, decides that I NEED a family recipe, I'll stop at nothing to get it done. I cant think straight or even focus on basic tasks, like laundry, (or blogging evidently!) without being consumed by the thought of it. Even Hubby knows this. He BOUGHT these pink silicon muffin pans en route home from work last night because he knew I wanted to make Mums Muffins, and my tins were out from a delivery.

Darling Hubby came in like a Knight in Shining, yielding muffin pans, only for me to NOT BE ABLE TO FIND THE RECIPE. I knew that calling Mum wasn't an option - with the time difference she'd definitely be in bed, and while that hasn't stopped me before this certainly wasn't a "culinary emergency". Last time I had a "culinary emergency" was serious case of new baby blues (aka hormonal wreck) so even she didnt moan about getting up to read me her milk tart recipe from the file. Baking is my therapy - and my family know that. No one gets in the way when they know that Im baking for therapy, rather than recreation. They've never tried and I thank them for that.

When I do get recipes from Mum, I get them emailed, I print them, I use them, I leave them in the filing pile with the post for a week, batter stained and doodled on. When I finally get around to doing that pile of filing, I think "WHY would I put this here? Its on email, lets chuck this copy" and then, two years later (yes, I haven't made Mum's muffins in TWO YEARS) I search through a heap of emails, not to be able to find it. So we made these (above) ones, not NEARLY as good, but I suppose they are quite nice.

Im going to get the REAL recipe from Mum tonight. Im going to print it, file it and save a copy to my recipe folder. Then I'm going to blog it. Maybe more than once, just to make sure I never loose it again. They are just so easy, so perfect, and the batter lasts in the fridge for weeks. REALLY.

So whats the point in me giving you the recipe for the above muffins (which was my intention when I sat down to write this post) baked today in desperation only to offer disappointment ? Well, I suppose there isnt one, really. So I wont. Unless you really want it. In which case, I'll email you a picture of the recipe text from my iPhone.

Till then ...

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Levi's first day at nursery!

I remember the feeling of him shifting into my ribs. The little tick-tick of his tiny hiccups. The very first kick. The very last kick. I remember prodding at my bump, while sitting on the operating table having my spinal done, to wake him up to say goodbye to him being just mine. I remember his first nappy change, his first breastfeed, his first bottle feed, his first bowl of cereal. I remember it like it all was yesterday.

I couldn't understand why my heart was so heavy at that moment, when I felt his last shift and thump into my ribs as the epidural started to work. I was minutes away from meeting my baby. It's what pregnancy had been preparing me for. I was getting to meet my baby! I know now that I felt heavy in my heart because I knew it was the last time he was going to be all mine. The last time I could completely protect him. The last moment before the outside world take its grip on him. I never thought about it again until today.

Levi has never been to school before today. You'd never have guessed. He looked for a hook to hang his bag on the second we walked in the door. He made a break for his classroom before we could even get his raincoat, which he INSISTED on wearing rather than his winter coat, off over his head. He excitedly bolted, as if there was a race to be won, and settled himself on a chair between two other little boys (one hanging on to his dad) to build block towers.

He never looked back. He didnt say goodbye. I watched him a while through the window. My heart swelled with pride and with pain. My eyes brimmed with tears. This time I knew all to well why I felt the way I did. Today I got to meet my little boy. He went to bed, still my baby, but this morning HE chose what coat he wanted to wear. When we bought it, I said it was for school. When he woke up, I said today was school day. He wanted to wear his raincoat. He put his own bag on his shoulders. He fed himself breakfast. He grew. I'm not entirely sure when. At two and a half he doesnt really talk yet, so its easy to forget. He's a little boy. And all too soon, he'll be a man.

And that, ladies, will make us OLD!

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Its coming!

Sweet Sunday WILL be happening.. just a little later in the evening when my boys are down. Im starting a blog revamp. As with all things, it will take longer than I'd like. And it wont be amazing all at once either - I'll have to do a little by little. So, please, bear with me!

Hopefully a pretty picture will distract you from the chaos around. No? Oh well. I tried. Hopefully there will be a new treat to add a little bit later, to make your Sunday just a little bit sweeter, or your Monday a little bit brighter.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Matters of the Heart - Please read and share

I know I still haven't mentioned WHY I went to South Africa, or whats happening with Dad, but I wanted to do a post that did the whole situation justice. I just got home from the doctor after finding out that the reason I cant seem to drag myself out of bed or swallow anything is that I have Tonsillitis. Im on LOTS of meds and feel awful, so Im going to summarise.

Dad caught a virus in November. It has done irreparable damage to his heart and while he is on medication to keep him going and keep him alive for now, we have no idea how long the medicines will work for. He is on the top of the list of a heart transplant in South Africa, and now we wait.

My family and I would really appreciate your prayers. The reason I went back to South Africa was to spend a little time with him, and for him to meet his grandsons. At that point we didnt really have a clear idea of what was going on.

Its a grey cloud, misty feeling waiting on an organ. You know that the news you are waiting for is going to be another family's worst day - ever. You know that while you will be celebrating, they will be mourning. We will get to have our Dad and our Gramps around to see in another year, they may not even have been given the opportunity to say goodbye.

Please join us in covering the donor and their family in prayer. In all likelihood the donor is a perfectly healthy adult man, probably with a family of his won and young enough to still have his own parents alive. They are the ones with an immeasurable loss ahead of them. The last heart donor in the country was a 17 year old boy. He hadn't even finished school yet. He was involved in an accident that damaged his brain stem and his family were generous and caring enough to donate every organ that the transplant committee could use. That day a family lost a brother, a son, a grand son and many lost a friend. It was the darkest of days for them, yet they offered life to many. At least three otherwise terminally ill people were given a second chance. Three families were given their loved ones for another season.

Dad's cardiologist said something that put my heart at rest. I couldnt pray for someone to die! Who do I think I am that I have a right to pray to trade one mans life for another? Until he said the following the mugginess of emotion had robbed me of this important truth. Whether Dad needed a heart, or not, would alter another man's fate. The dates we would be born and die was known to the Father before we were even created. There is nothing we can do to alter that. We can simply pray for a generous enough family, who are willing to give the ultimate gift - part of someone they love, when they are having to say goodbye.

Ive taken a lot of med and Im REALLY tired, so Im heading back to bed. Please, just join us in praying. Praying that dad stays well. Praying for that family. Praying for all those who are spending their last days on earth - their relationships, their experiences.

If you aren't already registered - find our how to register in your country as an organ donor. When our Father calls you home, you may be able to leave the gift of life behind.

Most of us would take and organ for ourselves or a loved one without hesitation. How many of us would give one? Did you know that organ donation is not presumed, its voluntary. In most countries your family can not make this choice for you after you have passed away - YOU need to make the choice and register.

To register in the UK

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Since 1 April 2010 in the UK
  • 785 people have donated organs
  • an additional 1,912 people
    have donated corneas
  • 2,536 people have received
    the gift of sight
  • 2,077 people have received transplants
  • 7,863 people are still waiting for transplants

To register in the US check on google, as it differs from state to state. I know in CO you can make this choice when renewing your drivers license card. It seems that the site to look out for is called "Donate Life". 

United States Data

  • More than110,000 people need life-saving organ transplants in the United States.¹[Solid organs: Hearts, kidneys, pancreases, lungs, livers and intestines.]
  • There were just 8,021 deceased organ donors in the United States in 2009. A total of 21,855 organs were transplanted because these donors gave the gift of life.
organ donor statistics
 organ transplant statistics
  • Each day, on average, 18 people die in the United States because of the shortage of organ donors.
  • Every 11 minutes, a new name is added to the national organ transplant waiting list.
  • Each year, more than one million people need lifesaving and life-improving tissues, and corneas.²  [Tissues: Heart valves, cardiovascular tissue, bone and soft musculoskeletal tissue, and skin.]
  • Approximately 9,600 people need lifesaving organ transplants in New York State, of which approximately 8,000 people are listed in the greater New York metropolitan area.³
  • In 2009, there were just 423 deceased organ donors in New York State, 285 of them in the greater New York metropolitan area.

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