Shepherd's Home Birth Story (& a little discount code...)


To go along with my new pregnant lady print I wanted to share Shepherd's birth story as it seemed fitting they go together. I had it typed up to post with the print blog but life is busy so I didn't get to finish it until now. I love reading birth stores and I know I am not the only one so I wanted to add mine to the millions that I am sure are all over the internet of life brand new. For this labour we decided on a home birth. We initially planned on having him in hospital but about half way through my pregnancy I had this growing subtle desire for a home birth. I tentatively brought it up with Jason one day while we were walking, unsure of whether he would go for it or not, and we then resolved to ask our midwife a million questions and pray about it. In the end we decided that as long as everything checked out healthy and baby was in a good position we would go for it. At 11:50 pm on October 13th, 2017 he was born, crying and perfect.


Oct 12th- In the late afternoon I started having contractions. They just felt like very strong braxton hicks contractions mixed with a little pain. They were mild though so I could fairly easily ignore them. I had them all through the night and through the next day. Some woke me up in the night but mostly I slept through them and only some of the ones during the day made me stop and breath a little. I knew people had contractions like this off and on for sometimes weeks before actually giving birth so I didn't pay much attention to them.

Oct 13th- It was a Friday which meant we had a Bethesda team meeting at our house. I was still having the contractions through our prayer time off and on and then left to lay down half way through the meeting because I was so tired from not sleeping well the night before. Sometimes they were like clock work 10 minutes apart and other times they were way more spread out. We went about our day fairly normally and I waited until the afternoon to message our midwife saying that I was having pretty consistent contractions but that I still didn't feel like I was in labour. It was more of a heads up that things were moving.

By evening they were beginning to get much stronger and were consistently 10 minutes apart so Jason put Ira to bed at 7 like his usual routine and we made sure everything was tidy and in place like we planned for the home birth. Everything was so normal up to this point that Ira had no idea what was going on which was really nice. He had no idea he'd wake up to his brother in the morning. Neither did we for that matter. All that day if I laid down or rested they tended to ease a bit and get further apart so I wasn't convinced I was really in labour yet.

8pm- I went to lay down because I was so tired and wanted to see what resting would do to the contractions. I was only going to lay until 8:30 but slept until 9 waking with each contraction every 10 minutes. By 9pm I had to start really concentrating through them and couldn't lay down and just breath anymore. I was also starting to shake a little bit during them if I got cold and thats when I knew that it was really starting. It was the first time I felt something similar to going into labour with Ira. I don't know about you but I need to be warm when I am giving birth or I get so tense. Heaters and hot water bottles and my water bottle with a bendy straw are essential.

9:19pm I messaged our midwife Sandy to say that I was definitely in labour and that things were starting to get intense. It was hard to even send messages at this point. Jason realized ok this is happening and got our bath tub clean incase I wanted to use warm water for pain relief and he got our bed/room ready with a big plastic sheet on the mattress. Sandy replied asking if I wanted her to come and I said she could probably wait a little while. I think I was afraid she would come really early and I would only be a few cm's dilated with still a long way to go. I progressed so slowly during Ira's labour after transferring to the hospital and eventually had to have my water broken to really get things going that I wanted to hold off as long as I could before I got her to come. (Sidenote: my midwife lives close by so I wasn't worried about her not making it in time. I knew she would be here quick once I said come.)

10:21pm I messaged Sandy to come.
Up until this point everything was intense but manageable. I was coping really well on my own and as much as it took all of my attention to focus through the pain I was doing really well. I was in my own little world and so focused. Then all of a sudden it shifted and the contractions got really intense and much closer together, I threw up and then realized I was likely a lot further along than I though I was. I could't wait for the midwife to arrive. I remember looking at the clock and praying to God that he would be born before midnight. I don't know why but I think I remember thinking that as hard as this was I felt I could definitely cope until midnight.

10:40pm She was here and had all her things set up. She had done a home visit a few weeks earlier to plan where everything would be and where she would put all her equipment so it was really smooth when she got here. I didn't have to worry about a thing and I just remember finishing a contraction when she arrived and looking over and smiling. She said, "you are doing great" and I was so thankful for her presence. Midwives are amazing. She checked the babies heartbeat and it was perfect. At this point I was on my knees leaning over our couch. On my hands and knees was the only position I could find any relief from the pain in between the contractions. Everything else hurt too much so I just stayed there the whole time breathing deep.

Shortly after she checked me to see how dilated I was. I was already 8cm! Jason and I just looked at each other in disbelief. That was the best thing she could have told me. It took so long to dilate my first time that being so close to the end after what felt like such a short time was an amazing encouragement. I was like I can do this!

At this point Jason had the shower all ready so I could sit with the warm water running on my belly but I ended up not needing it. He also messaged a friend to come over while I laboured incase Ira woke up but he never did. He slept perfectly through the whole thing! I actually sat on the toilet for a few contractions to have gravity help with the last 2cm. After about 3 contractions I threw up again and Sandy got me to move to our bed where she had set up a pile of pillows so I could lean on them and still labour in my hands and knees. She said very few things but when she did it was perfectly timed encouragement or direction and exactly what I needed to hear. She gave me the perfect amount of space while also being present. I felt very safe. She said the pressure would get intense soon and I would feel the need to push. Jason was right there giving me water when I asked for it and Sandy kept putting gentle pressure in my feet and legs that helped so much with the pain. Pretty soon I had to push. I would lean into those pillows and push with all my might. I don't remember how many contractions but it was very few and then I heard her say to Jason that on the next one he would come out. He did!

11:50pm Shepherd was born. He cried so loud and it was beautiful.
She handed him to me between my legs as I was still on my knees and I got myself turned around so I could sit and snuggle my boy on my chest. That moment. It's my favourite. I would have kids over and over just to have that feeling of them seconds fresh resting on my chest. Oh. My. Goodness. It's my favourite. I remember saying, "he's so tiny!" and then looked at Jason in disbelief and said, "I am so glad we decided to do it at home!" I was in shock in every good way and just couldn't believe it. It probably seemed long for you reading this because it was a lot of writing but for me I only felt like I was in labour from 9pm so it was much quicker than I expected.


Something I wanted to say is that I loved both of my births. I don't think one way is better than another. They were clearly different but I loved my hospital birth and I loved my home birth. I loved and needed the extra care and attention I received from my OB and nurses after I had my first baby. I needed it and would have struggled a lot more with the early postpartum days. I also loved having a baby at home. It made everything seem so natural and there was an ease to it that I don't think could be had at a hospital because of transferring and all of that. It was so familiar and smooth and going to sleep with my new baby in my own bed and then waking up to have big brother join us is what dreams are made of. Both were perfect. 

Since you made it all the way to the end here is a coupon code for the pregnant lady print! 20% off valid until March 15th 2018! 

Use LABOURPRINT123 at checkout or click HERE

Pregnant Woman Print. New Listing on Etsy!



The pregnant woman print is probably my favourite one but that could be because it it very applicable to my life at the moment as I just had my second baby. The original design for this print was one I did personally for myself as I meditated of the truths and scriptures I used as prep and encouragement for labour. I now have it hanging on the wall by my babies changing table and he looks at it every time I change his nappy. Since the one I did for myself was my own silhouette I figured I should better do one in a more generic mama shape so other women could use it as prep for labour too. 

It has a lot of scriptures that God showed me as I readied to have each child as well as birth affirmations and things I wanted to remember. I think the main scripture verse for me this time was Proverbs 31:25. Strength and dignity are her clothing and she laughs at the time to come. Birth is such a vulnerable time but not in the negative way the world views vulnerability. It is a beautiful vulnerability and in that God kept speaking to me that I am strong and dignified. 

I also love the detail of the subtle crown on her head. When I was creating mine God kept speaking to me that I was His royal daughter and I felt to wrap the vine around in the shape of a crown. I love it. I love creating with God because that was not a detail I would have thought of on my own but it is one of my favourite parts. 

If this print is for you or someone you know head over to my Etsy store HERE and get yourself a copy. It will be wrapped and sent from Cape Town with all the love. 


A Gardener's Daughter Testimonies

One of the best things about having my Etsy shop is that I have people purchasing my art work for incredible reasons. I love to make art but love it even more when it can encourage someone on a deep level. When you create with God there is always a message attached and my prints are full of messages and truth that isn't from my heart or mind but from His.

The first order I ever had at A Gardeners Daughter shop was one of my lungs prints. The lungs is one of my favourites because it is full of words and songs that God was speaking to and singing over me personally about speaking out and using my voice even though it is not the loudest or clearest. Everytime I look at it I am reminded that it is His breath in my lungs and that even though my voice may be merely a whisper it is strong and powerful. After I sent the order out and let them know it was on the way the customer replied saying they bought the print to give as a gift to someone who had just had a lung transplant. They wanted them to be able to read it and be encouraged in their recovery. I mean, hello! Knowing my art is being used like that makes heart soar to the moon and back.


Another person bought a lion print to give to their brother because he had just had a back surgery!

I know there are two brain prints hanging in psychologists offices. How great is it that there is something to look at while waiting in their offices that reminds you that your mind can be renewed and your broken places healed.


One more story is that one person ordered a crown to give to a younger girl she had been mentoring. She said that as she talked to the girl she would always try to encourage her with the truth that when you become a child of God you become royalty. When she came across my Etsy page she saw the crown print as the perfect gift for the girls baptism.



Leaf Print. New Listing On Etsy



The leaf print started with God speaking about renewal and refreshing and about his care for us. He breathed into him the breath of life/ Renewed/ When I speak the weary places will sprout. From there it turned into how refreshing should lead to praise and that as you worship you will become filled with love and fervency. Because your steadfast love is better than life my lips will praise you (one of my favourites)/ You will be fervent, zealous, and passionate.   

What I love most about this is that it is a beautiful circle. Refreshing will lead to praise which will grow passion for God with will in turn be refreshing because God's desire is to fill us. 

So this is really a word for anyone but especially for you if you feel weary and in need of an encouraging pick me up. God will meet you. He will water you and bring life again to your wilted leaves if you give Him the opportunity. You are loved. You are cared for and you are wonderful. 

A World Restored / Book Cover Design


A few weeks ago a beautiful powerhouse friend released her first book and I had the privilege of doing the cover art work. She had a vision for what she wanted so I drew up some sketches and we worked together tweaking the final details until we felt it was just right. If was a bit of a process as I often find that doing art with God can take longer than I plan but I have learned to trust the process and my sensitivity to Him as I add to an artwork. There are many times even with this book cover where I sat down and couldn't get anywhere with it and then there were other times where God's inspiration flowed and I'd have a big part done rather quickly and I knew that's exactly what it was meant to look like. Thankfully God honours deadlines and we got it done in time to send to the editor for printing.

The book is called A World Restored and you can find it on Amazon here. I haven't yet gotten to read it myself but Kimberly walked me through it section by section to get a feel of the book and it is definitely going to be a good read. You can also check out her website here.

Just figured I would share a few pictures of the process. They aren't set up nicely and are a bit messy but I barely took any while I worked on it so these will have to do. As per my usual style these days you will see some hidden words amongst the details if you look closely. To see the final cover you will have to look on the Amazon page :)







World Print. New Listing On Etsy



It's been a while but I finally have a new print in my Etsy shop and it is one I have wanted to do for a long time. You can find it here. I love maps so I have always wanted to do a print of a world map and this is the first one. I have a few ideas for another design with different meaning as well so we will see when I get to do that one. Probably someday when my heart is filled with wanderlust and I want to pack our family up and meander the streets of Europe. 






Lately I have been finding that I start a design with an idea from God and a few verses that often don't seem like they connect at first but I know that they are meant to be part of it. This one was similar but as I sought God for more words and verses to fill the shape I saw the story He was painting. I started with the truth that He will go with you wherever you go and give you guidance there. I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go, I will counsel you with my eye upon you. (Psalm 32:8) Then I also felt to include verses about peace and the omnipresence of God so I started on the left with peace. (I didn't plan on putting them in Canada but its appropriate considering Canada is a nation of peace makers!) Peace in knowing that God is with you, that He upholds you in His righteous right hand, and that He is King on the throne. Then there are lots of verses about how His plans for you are for good, that He will help you, and that He will show you the path to take. You shall have no difficulty in finding the way if you watch Me. Lastly on the right there are verses about how He is always there for you, that there is no where you can go from His presence, and that you are loved. Where shall I go from your spirit. Where shall I flee from your presence? Even there your hand shall lead and hold me... for you know me. (Psalm 139, in my own words)

I don't usually write those things out but I guess I was suppose to for this one. Those are the main points but there is so much more in the details of this print that you will have to look for yourself. I think there is a special truth in there for each one of you so check it out. 


Be at peace knowing that He is with you wherever you go and that His plans for you are good.

Love Jill

17 Months Old & Happy Fathers Day


I hope everyone had a good Father's Day! We got Jason a warm housecoat to weather the winter in and made him lots of good food, complete with a black forest cherry cake. It was a really good day and he deserves to be celebrated for how wonderful of a father he is. He and Ira have such a good relationship and I love seeing how it has deepened and developed. This boy loves his dada and no-one can be as silly or get him to laugh quite as hard as dada can. He gives the best bear hugs, thinks of the funnest games, and lets Ira play the piano with him! What more could a boy ask for? He is also faithful and selfless and patient and wise and all of those amazing qualities as well. As a wife and mom I am so thankful for Jason. He has matured and grown so much since becoming a father and takes care of us so well. I love that I can be gone for the day at work and not have to worry a bit about the two of them because they always have such a good time together. I am usually away waiting for Jason to send a picture of whatever silly antic that are up to at the moment. I can't wait to see him hold and love our newest baby boy in October! Happy Father's Day Jason! You are the best! 






Ira will be 17 months old this week which is something we have a hard time wrapping our minds around. He is becoming more and more of a little boy and less and less of a little baby everyday and we are completely enamoured with him. Here are some of the silly highlights from him in the past while: 

- Since he was little (littler? he is still little haha) he has specialized in animal noises. I would consider him a professional at being a dog, cat, elephant, lion, cow, horse, duck, penguin, snake, bumble bee, monkey, owl, sheep, fish, and a few more I can't think of. Our house is basically a zoo. 
- He sneaks hugs and kisses all day long. 
- He is a wild thing in every good and wonderful way and lives for wide open spaces like shopping mall hallways and the aquarium to run around in. 
- Everything is "Woah!" 
- He likes the sound of motorcycles. 
- He loves to snuggle up and read books. 
- He is still afraid of bubbles in the bath tub but also weirdly loves bubbles so you have to make them in a ice cream container and put it by the bath and then he plays and plays with them. 
- He is gentle and kind. 
- He loves babas, especially little tiny ones. We saw a two week old a the mall last week and he was so happy. I can't wait to see him interact with his little brother. 
- One of his favourite games is to push the couch out from the wall, pick one of his stuffed animals out, and then have you chase him with it around and around in circles. He laughs his head off and I think he has done thousands of laps in his short few months of walking. 
- He LOVES to sing. We have a mini whisk that is his special microphone and he walks around the house singing all the time. Lately he has been closing his eyes and raising his hands as if in worship but he usually peeks a little to make sure we are seeing him do it. It is the funniest thing. 
- He likes to watch Paddington Bear and videos of the baba aka himself. 
- He says a lot of words. Some common ones are cracker, flower, mama, dada, ball, water, car, tractor, all gone, tree, teeth, nose, eye, cheese, Gogo (Grandmother), star, whale...etc. 

I could go on and on. He comes up with something new everyday and I try to record and remember them because most of the time they are so silly and he is onto the next thing in no time. He is a dream come true. 

We took these pictures yesterday after Ira had some of the cake we made for Jason and therefore a bit more energy than we could burn running around the living room. Jason always takes Ira to this field called the Vlei to play so it was the perfect way to relax on a special afternoon. 

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