The Coolest Dorkfest
15 August 2015 at 12:00 2

Low ExpectationsIn June this year, my husband and I headed to India to see 5 people we had never met. This included 2 Russians, an Indian, a German, a Norwegian and myself, of course. And I've only known these people I've never met for 3 years.

Let's rewind a bit...

In 2011, I started playing a team 'computer' game with a few random friends from church called DotA (Defence of the Ancients). It involves 2 teams of 5 who go against each other to try destroy the others base (city). It is a ton of fun when you get 10 people together in what you call a LAN (all players on a network together, but not online). It sometimes involved hours of gameplay (if a few games), even late into the night or morning. It can also be seriously competitive.

Then they brought out DotA 2, but since it was only online, it mostly died out among the group. My husband, a good friend and myself played a lot at some point, but eventually it was just me playing quite regularly. It became my pass time (like anyone who enjoys watching TV in the evenings).

In 2013, after struggling for a year to fall pregnant, my depression started. My life revolved around this obsession of not being able to have a baby and I could think of nothing else. DotA then became the only way my mind rested and stopped thinking about it. It was not always a healthy escape but it got me through so much.

It was more than just a game.

When Lisa met Gwen and David

At some point during all this, I made some friends online. The first being Gwen and David (an Indian and Norwegian). They were some of the rare decent people playing online (online gaming is definitely PG13 sometimes). We then threw a Russian into the mix, Vlad, who invited his friend, Kastyan.



We were a nice group of 5 and even started taking DotA more seriously and practicing team games (DotA by the way is a huge online competitive game between teams from all over the world. It has become a sort of online sport, involving multimillion dollars prizes for the top teams). Our 'leader' David taught and took us a more than just random public matches. It was incredibly fun, and as you can tell, incredibly social too.

A few months later, my husband and I adopted our daughter, but since she was such an incredible sleeper, the regular DotA playing continued.

Sometime in the last year, 2 more good friends joined in - Sebastian and Ørjan (a German, and another Norwegian), friends of David. Also down to earth and fun to play with (I can't tell you enough how rare it is).

A Trip to India


Our welcoming party at the airport. "Suka" is a popular Russian curse word which we mock constantly.

Then one day, our Russian Vlad went on a trip around Asia, where he would eventually land up in India, and Gwen and him got to chatting about meeting up. By some weird chance, we were all able to get to India at the same time (except for Ørjan :( ) so serious plans to meet each other began, and late June we all headed to India.

And it was FRIGGIN AWESOME. We got on better than I could have ever imagined. These 6 random strangers (plus our better halves) got on so well. We were all chilled, no one was annoying and we all went with the flow. It was the best trip of my life. We did get to play a game or two one of the days, but mostly we were a group of friends exploring Bangalore. It is more than just a game.

The Team

Our team name was original Technical Assassins (David's dorky name) and we eventually became Low Expectations, because, expectations were low :))

gwenClinton (Gwen) - our token India. He is the youngest among us (now 21), by far the most laid back and friendly (I think it's an Indian thing). Great sense of humour especially when it comes to Indian jokes. We just love going at each other with African and Indian jokes.

IMG_0005David (lykketroll) - our leader and glue. A VERY patient person who takes all our jokes and mocking in his stride (unless it's that time of the month LOL). He is a teacher IRL (in real life) a generally a really nice guy.

IMG_0007Vlad (vladinstein) - the coolest Russian you will ever meet. He too is so chilled and never makes life difficult for poor David. He happily plays the role no one else wants to, and translates all the Russian speakers for us.

IMG_0004Kastyan (no consistent nickname) - Constantine in English. He is our fiery Russian with probably the least patience, but he has an incredible sense of humour, especially for someone who's English is a second language. I reckon he's my Russian twin personality, apart from the fiery temper (in DotA that is). Also, we had never seen his face. The rest of us have profile pics on Skype and Facebook, but not Kastyan. It was the weirdest seeing him for the first time because in 3 years we'd never seen his face. Lol.

sebSebastian (5eb) - our token German. A fun, down-to-earth guy. Sometimes. Man it's funny when he gets frustrated. He just growls and curses himself. But always fun to play with and a very nice guy.

orjanØrjan (Haggisofnorway) - our 'cool' friend. He was probably that popular kid in high school. I am uncertain why he plays DotA but he plays nonetheless. It's fun watching him and David argue, since they are friends IRL. Ørjan always says how bossy and different David is in DotA. He also has a great sense of humour and he and I usually break out in song in game.

lisaOf course there's me too (lisamoo) - I have been classed as the dorkiest, and also the most 'unique' since I am the only girl and black (lol).

I've made some great friendships and travelled across the world to see them.

It's more than just a game.

And here is the proof:

How To: Survive Parenthood
13 July 2015 at 14:49 0
Parenthood is bloody hard. It's less "skipping happily in a field", and more wiping noses and bums (in that order). Some days, especially when I need to juggle two small kiddies alone, it feels like life as I know it is over. So I have come up with a 12 step survival survival:
  1. Admit that you are powerless ...especially when you are outnumbered. They need to be fed, and changed, redirected and entertained. You can do nothing about it but surrender to their will.
  2. Only God can restore your sanity The days that never want to end, will. God will grant precious moments to keep you going. There's also wine.
  3. When things get really tough, play dead. This includes sleeping while they sleep, if possible. I got the baby and Liya to sleep at the same time. Miracle, I know.
  4. Take inventory of your life Do you have both kids? Do you have both kids bags, and nappies, and food, and juice, and snacks, and extra clothes, and something to keep them busy and a backpack 'lead' to keep the walking ones within reach?
  5. Admit to other moms that you are struggling No one likes a goody-two-shoes mommy with the perfect child/brat. Share the struggles with the mamas/papas. Share the wine.
  6. Remove any dreams and hopes pre-parenthood At least until you're 50. There's no going back. You are a parent forever and theres nothing you can (legally) do about it.
  7. Pray to God to remove any shortcomings you battle to overcome You need to keep them alive. You can't forget them anywhere. You gotta love them (but not always like)
  8. Make a list of any friends/family caught in the cross fire Tantrum in the grocery store/at your best friends house? Threw food at your mother-in-law? Baby got diarrhoea the one time you got a baby sitter? Make a list.
  9. Make amends with those people Making (buying) a cake. Don't visit again. Pay the babysitter extra.
  10. Continue to keep inventory of your life Learn from your mistakes, like that one time you forgot the nappies and tooting toddler exploded at the grocery store.
  11. Trust God to get you and your kids through their adolescence.  If there's one thing I've learnt, we all suck at this. I've had no choice but to believe that anything good that comes out of them will be because of Him.
  12. Having survived parenthood, support and love other parents struggling.  It's only 18 years (30 if you have more kids/kids that won't move out). Share the love, but hold off on the advice and scary stories.
That is my 12 step survival guide. I may have stolen some pointers. Keep at it moms and dads. You can do it!
Grace: Misunderstood
28 May 2015 at 15:17 1
grace-misunderstood I grew up as a "Christian" - I believed in Jesus, because that's what my mom told me. By the time I was 13, the idea of a God creating me was appealing, and I chose to love him. By 17, I could no longer live up to his standard, so I turned away from him. Finally, I met my husband and got married, and we found a church together and started taking Jesus and life seriously. I thought by then, I had it down. Then my world was rocked just a little bit, and over a couple of years I slipped away. How could a God who loves me not let me have children? I went to church and was involved regularly. I was mostly good, and where I wasn't, I knew I was only human and needed God for that very reason. I believed he'd forgiven me for my rebellion in my teen years, so it wasn't that either. So it must be that he wasn't anything I believed him to be. I felt I wasn't good enough - I wasn't serious enough about church, I wasn't doing enough quiet time, I wasn't ready to go up into Africa to give my life for him. That must be why. Everyone at church was perfect and happy, and life just seemed like one big lie. Truthfully, I was only lying to myself and misunderstood grace completely. I believed the love and adoration of this Jesus needed to be earned, and I had to achieve certain things to be worthy enough. Even after all the years in my church hearing about Jesus, learning about Jesus and even TEACHING about Jesus I did not get it! The love for us, from God, is there - it always was and it always will be. We cannot earn it; we cannot lose it.  We think we need to be good enough, but no matter what we do, we aren't - but he loves us anyway. We fail him daily with our thoughts and actions, big and small - but he still loves us. There is always someone much worse, and there is always someone much better - but he loves us all the same. How can we do anything but adore and serve this awesome God who loves us so much? He never promised us sunshine and no rain. Never ever ever. In fact he says:
In this world you will have troubles... But take heart! I have overcome the world!
So what is grace then? What is happening when prayers aren't answered and tragedy strikes? It's life, but Jesus is right beside us holding our hands and drying our tears, because he loves us. That is Grace. And when we embrace it, we have a promise of eternity with God. All the pain will be gone. You see, I thought I could earn favour with God by doing the right things, but I can't! It's impossible. It's already there, and I just needed to accept it. The the pain is now bearable, I feel less alone, and I have eternity to look forward to. That is grace.
Pure Delight
23 April 2015 at 07:40 0
imageI was reminded on Sunday, a few days after bringing home our son, of God's faithfulness. In 2 short years, I went from being blind and ignorant, to a little less blind and ignorant.

"Delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart". Psalm 37:4

In the turmoil I faced not being able to have children, God spoke to me and gave me this verse. I convinced myself for so long that God didn't want me to have children - I should be happy without it, but it was still killing me. In the midst of my despair, He reached out and spoke to me, and through some divine intervention, I finally understood it. Delight in the Lord. My whole heart attitude changed, and I began to truly delight in our Saviour. For so long I thought I wasn't worthy, and that this was a punishment. I misunderstood it completely. You'd think growing up in the church, I would've known better, but it's a different scenario when you're the one actually drowning. We are worthy. No matter what we've done, no matter how many times we've screwed up or even been angry at God, he still loves us. When I finally got it, I was able to take true delight in Him and then, in His perfect timing, life began falling into place.

"There is nothing we can do to make God love us more and there is nothing we can do to make God love us less." - Philip Yancey

We decided on adoption, and met our daughter a few days later. She came home with us 2 weeks after that. I struggled with parenthood and the loss of having my 'own' child, but still I steadily looked for God, in wonder and in anger. He still heard me and He still answered my prayers, and saved me from myself. Two years later, God gave me the verse again, 3 days after bringing our son home.

"Delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart". Psalm 37:4

Small Wedding, Big Marriage
23 January 2015 at 09:00 3

5 years ago today, Bryan and I said our "I do's" surrounded by many loving friends and family, at our church in Lonehill.  It was short and sweet, and I was the happiest I had ever been.

Our wedding was quite unique, in many ways. Compared to most modern weddings, it was very low-key, mainly due to the fact that we had no budget for it (and neither did our parents). This didn't stop us from getting married though. We also had a morning wedding, with no formal reception or meal or anything fancy. And it was perfect.

But I didn't always feel this way - at my actual wedding as I mentioned, I was so happy - I mean, I was getting married to the man of my dreams, united not only in marriage, but before God with all our friends and family. But a year later, after going to the 6th lavish wedding with a 5-course meal, I felt like I didn't get the wedding, proposal or engagement I deserved and I cannot tell you why I battled with this (maybe it was my hormonal problems, or my former naive and shallow self, or just feeling like if everyone else gets it, I should have it too) but I just did and I felt so hard-done by.

Then I grew up a little, and our marriage started to grow, and I loved Bryan more and more every day, until I realised how amazing that day was, as is. It was just the START of something wonderful. Looking back 5 years ago to that single day, I can't believe I felt so 'entitled'. I truly had the best wedding I could've imagined.

So I couldn't afford to buy a wedding dress, but I got to use one of my best friends' dress! What an honour. And we didn't get a fancy reception, but people brought and contributed and we all shared a light meal on a beautiful Saturday morning. My guest list wasn't limited, and our church and now family was the wonderful place we said our "I do's" with praise and worship to the wonderful God who brought us together and has brought us so far.

What I had to learn about marriage is its not about the wedding - the wedding is amazing but it doesn't define your love or your marriage... It is just the beginning of that journey. And I learnt that about raising children as well - oh how I longed to be pregnant and raise a new born, but God needed to show me, in His all-knowing way, that there is so much more to these ideals, and I am a better person, wife and mom because of it.

Thank you Jesus!

Late Night Ponderings
3 December 2014 at 01:39 0
Can't sleep. Probably because I had two naps today, one right before dinner. And my sleeping is all messed up since we tried to stop my meds and I guess I'm still waiting for everything to settle again? I'm trying not to stress about the long day tomorrow, or my hubby going away this weekend or the end of a long year. I'm working on getting out of this rut. It will pass. It's really not so bad. But what to do when I can't sleep? I wish they had never stopped my meds. It was too soon to 'try' something else. I was just getting to a good place, enjoying my work and loving and accepting who I was. Now I am almost back at square one. Sleeping too much, fighting with Bryan and Liya and Pauline, failing at being a mom, and becoming a recluse. Feel like I've burned out over.. nothing. But God is here. What would I do without him? All I wonder is if I'll be like this forever. Will I always battle? Will I always relapse into this 'silly' sadness? I really hope not.
My Faith
11 November 2014 at 22:34 1

This post has been on my heart for a while, but it has been so difficult to write because I know most people either know this, don't want to or don't care. But this conviction has been heavy on my heart, because something so wonderful cannot be kept to myself. So I hope if you're one of those that think this is lame, untrue or can't be bothered reading, you will just spare a couple of minutes to hear me out, just this once.

Did you know you are incredibly, unconditionally loved? I know this as fact no matter how "lame" you think it is. There is a God who has been with you since the day you were born, through the good and bad times in your life, even through the awful things you may have done, and his love has always remained the same. Whether you have hated him, kept him at a distance or believed what will be will be, he loves you. There is no one who loves you as much as he loves you today.

It has taken me 27 years to 'get this', and I am sure my understanding is still limited. My life was ruled by rebellion and guilt, because I actually always believed in Him, but I didn't feel like I was worthy of who I believed he was. That was my own battle. And instead of accepting his love, the guilt and lies told me I wasn't good enough, so instead of running toward this love, I ran away from it.

As I sit here typing this, I cannot recall any radical event in my life that brought this on - no blinding light, or vivid dream of God telling me to wake up! It has been a gentle nudge since the day I was born, of God calling me to be by his side, and then finally turning to him when all hope was lost. And he still changed my life and showed me his love, despite everything I had ever done.

You have an inheritance to this love, just as much as I do, whether you believe, understand or think you deserve it or not.

Talking about my faith is so tricky, not because no one really asks (and I really don't I hide it), but it's so taboo and people are so scarred by man. I was reminded tonight that our hope and trust is not in man, but in Jesus the Son of God, and all the things that are man-made - especially religion - with the best intentions mostly take us away from God.

When I started to come out of my depression, God revealed how much he loved me, just the way I was. I'm still nothing special, not on human-standards anyway, but to Jesus I am so loved and I've learned to love my humour and other 'plain' talents because He gave them to me. And the point I'm really trying to get across is that it applies to you as well, no matter where in your life you are right now. If he can love someone like me, make someone like me a mom to a beautiful little girl and change my insignificant life, he can do it for anyone.

And if you think this 'Jesus' thing isn't for you, you're wrong. If you think there are too many unanswered questions, you're wrong. If you think giving your heart and life to Jesus will spoil and take the fun out of life, you are so wrong.

I read a book called "More Than A Carpenter" which is about an atheist who was bent on proving Jesus was not our God and saviour, and in doing so, he proved it was in fact true. If something like this interests you, I will be happy to purchase the book for you and have it sent to you (Kindle and Hard Cover). I loved it, and I am really happy to buy you a copy.

Please send me an email if you would like me to send you the book. If you have any question whatsoever, you can also email me or leave a comment. I would love to get in touch.

When Bryan Met Lisa
19 August 2014 at 11:44 1
Lusito Land 2008

This is Bryan and my "Love Story"; how we met and got hitched.

I met Bryan about a month after my 21st birthday (he claims we met previously, but I can't recall it clearly). I had been in some questionable relationships up until this point (I don't know how my mom loved me through it) but was now concentrating on the last year of college and an internship, which would be my very first exposure into the working world. And of course, that's where I met him when I wasn't even looking. He was such a dork - he had khaki pants, long hair in his face, and the first time I saw him he was hunched over his computer. I didn't for one second ever take fancy to him during my internship, until the last day - I got drunk and my judgement was compromised, and suddenly I was dating him. I remember telling my mom after we'd been out on a few dates "He's not my type. AT. ALL." I really wasn't keen on him, and I really didn't expect things to last. He, on the other hand, was telling his folks I would be the girl he'd marry.

A few short weeks down the line, I fell head of heels in love with him. It hit me by complete surprise, but once I let myself fall for him, our love just grew and grew. And that's how love works, doesn't it? Sometimes we're attracted to good looks, sometimes we fall in love with our best friend, sometimes we get drunk and land in Mr. Right's arms.

So here I was a young woman, just starting with life, and had met the man I would marry. We soon moved in together (into a stable which had been turned into a "home"...) and started our careers.

We both claimed to be Christians, but we had both wondered off that path, and I guess we were both trying to ignore it in our relationship - after all, we both knew deep in our hearts we shouldn't be living together. However, we were both drawn to a local church at the end of 2008, and this is where God really started working in our lives and hearts.

We had previously left a church, because they had told us we shouldn't be living together and the arrogant obnoxious youngster I was didn't want anyone telling me how I should live. When we found our new church (Village Church Lonehill), God slowly started working in our hearts. We were loved, and never once judged and a few months in, through the support of our love for each other, the church encouraged us to get married. We were never told, guilt-tripped or forced into anything. There was something very loving and understanding about their approach that can only have come from God himself. (And don't get me wrong - what we were doing was not ok - God loves us despite our hearts and lack of understanding, but he honours us when we honour him).

We got engaged in August 2009, and together we grew a real and proper love for God and each other. Near the end of 2009, we wanted to honour God fully before we got married, and I moved out. We only moved back in together after we were married in January 2010.

Our love story continues every day. It isn't perfect, and it most certainly isn't just between Bryan and I - it is a very serious and wonderful commitment we made before God 5 years ago, and every single day.

About Us
27 July 2014 at 21:55 0
My husband and I created this website in 2009 soon after we got engaged. We used as a wedding website, where people could find info on our upcoming wedding and RSVP to it. Soon after we were married, I began using it as a personal blog and I would write now on then on all sorts of random things, from holidays, to our pets, to eventful days such as The Home Affairs Saga. I used to only write once in a while, but have recently started writing more, with 2013 and 2014 being the most life changing years of my life (so far). Reading through some of my old posts, I realised it really captured our memories like nothing else could. So what started as a small wedding website, has developed into a life memoir for our family. I must warn you - my posts are brutally honest. You will not find perfect people in this family - we are broken, we make lots of mistakes and sometimes we want to kill each other. Despite everything, I know we are perfect for each other

A Little Bit About Our Family

At the time of writing this, we are a family of 4. Bryan, my best friend and husband, and father to our beautiful daughter and son. Me, a whirlwind of emotions, who tries (and sometimes fails) to be a good wife and mother inbetween. Our daughter Liya who is soon to be 6, and our son Tobi who is 3. We met and adopted Liya in 2013, when she was 11 months old and she forever changed our lives. In 2015, we adopted little Tobi at 3,5 months. The 'glue' of our family is our saviour, Jesus Christ. Bryan and I found our church in 2008 and together we found our place in His family. We honoured God with our marriage just over a year later as we said our vows in the very same church. We are still there, 10 years since we first found it, honouring God and Him honouring us and our family. Our church is more than just a building or a community, it's truly our spiritual family and the church we plan to grow in for the rest of our lives (God willing). I cannot imagine our lives any other way, and truly I know it was also God's plan for us.

A Little Bit of Personal History

Bryan was born in 1977 in Zimbabwe. His family lived in Harare, were well-off and happy, until they decided to move to the USA. Bryan spent 10 years travelling and working throughout the States, before he came to South Africa in 2005, where he began building his life from scratch with R700 to his name. I was born and bred in Joburg, South Africa, in 1987. I had a good childhood and not-so-good teen years, but the most important part of my youth was the Christian input from my mom. We went to church as a family, I got baptised at 13 and Jesus has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I felt like life really settled and made sense when I met Bryan at the age 21 (Bryan was 31). We had without a doubt found each other at the right time, and after such difficult teen years, I felt like I had finally found my place in the world, and my destiny with my soulmate. 3 eventful years into our marriage, we adopted the most beautiful little girl who we call Liyalethu. She was the answer to years of prayer and longing, and she changed our lives more than I could have ever imagined. In the total 8 short years, we have experienced hard adjustments and the incredible rewards of marriage, starting and running a successful business, infertility, life-changing missionary trips to Mozambique, adoption and mental illness. I wouldn't change a single thing. I stand now with a complete heart for Jesus, which has been purified by fire. I have the most amazing life I could have ever asked for but it has not been easy, and I am not even close to 'good enough'. But we have Jesus and that's all we ever needed, and all we'll ever need.

Mozambique Outreach 2014
19 July 2014 at 21:01 0
Tomorrow Bryan and I leave for our 3rd trip to Mozambique with a team of people from our church. It's just before 9pm and Bryan is FAST asleep (how does he do that??) and just 2 hours ago, we dropped Liya off at very good friends of ours. And for the first time I feel a little less excited and a little more sad, because we're leaving our baby at home. I miss her so much already. There's no way I can sleep at this time, so I decided there was no better time to start writing about our trip. This blog has become such a great life memoir for me, as I look back on when we first created it for our wedding, and some of my first posts when life seemed so simple and I seemed so naive. It's like looking through old photo albums, except I also get to see how much my thinking has developed and changed. So tomorrow I get up at 4am... 4 hours before I usually get up, lol. (I am really hoping to kill some bad habits while on this trip, but I know it won't be a problem). Mozambique is always such an incredible experience, mentally and physically, but especially spiritually. I am so excited to share what God is doing in Moz, and how He will change our lives once again. And it's so bittersweet, because every day I'll be missing my baby and thankful it's only 1 week. I'll post all my updates when we get back - in the meantime, please keep us in your prayers.