31 years ago we met for a casual dinner in Umdloti. 

My husband and I. 

A marriage researcher once said that it is interesting to recall the first 48 hours of meeting your husband. 

The experience could tell you about future marriage patterns, and that was the case in our situation.

Ruth Alexander-Smith and Rene Roos provided a festive meal on the public holiday of 21 March 1992. Human Rights Day. 

I was studying Fine Arts and Andrew were completing Medicine.

“You surprised your sister for knowing SO much about art that night and we talked enthusiastically until the cricket match when South Africa played Australia.” 

Sport still remains a passion, which is shared between our son and you. 

Back then, Ruth and Rene were celebrating their new home that they were renting together in Umdloti, South Africa. 

Good food is still a part of our love language in celebrating milestones. Over the years Andrew has extended into the kitchen to produce incredible ice-cream, chocolate fondants, sauces and meals leaving our taste busts focusing on nothing more than the present moment! Thank you!

We have enjoyed “Surprise encounters” and turnaround opportunities. Turning bad situations into good ones. Making a plan work by overcoming obstacles. (my car had broken that night, so Ruth made the extra effort to borrow Andrew’s car to fetch me.) 

Our daughter is an example of a turnaround experience. She had felt unconfident in school maths but hanging in there, focusing at her own pace gave rise to her ability to grasp abstract formulas associated with the degree she is completing now in chemical engineering. Andrew’s confidence in her, his belief in her ability encouraged her to hang on a little. (I love the way he knows his children!) Incredible story.

Some themes of that first night continue till our present day:

Surrounded by great family and friends, sport, art, unique experiences, sharing of knowledge and wisdom, laughs, deep moments, flirtatious and teasing moments in love, visions for the future and the most bizarre happening turned out to be a destination for one of our children. 

South Africa was in Australia to play cricket versus Australia – this was the additional reason for that dinner. Today our eldest son lives and is happily married in Australia. He was a cricket player and has now changed to rugby league! A good story in itself. 

21 March 1992 – we met.

4 years later on this day we got engaged. 

5 years later on this day we were married. 

You are one of the finest knee surgeons around always fighting for excellent hospital care and conditions and continually updating yourself with the best treatment for your patients. 

I am an artist. 

Many have asked how we got to be together. 

A smile flies across both our faces and I do believe you tell the story best! I do not tire of listening to it. 

You are still my walking encyclopaedia😍, you love me and take care of me. Together we have birthed the greatest gift canvases I could ever have asked for. 

Joshua John, always rememberd, Luisa and Luke married to precious Rachel. 









My heart’s orchestra right there, playing out the most exquisite tune to my ears and showing me a full palette of colours.

On our first anniversary apart, this is a proper love letter for you Andrew De Vlieg, Thank you for 31 years of knowing you. Thank you for supporting all my creative projects and for providing for so many people to enjoy the freedom, joy and comfort that art has brought to them and to me. 

Thank you for the many adventures, intentional holidays and celebrations, being there through the heartbreaks and discomforts. 

The highs and the lows have led to this space between us that is safe, trusted, weathered and anchored in our faith that to this day still brings the glue to our marriage. Thank you Jesus for being the light that does not judge but loves unceasingly and in turn shows us what it is to love, to be a peace maker and a peace keeper. 

We fall short of perfection but we aim for gold ,believing that God believes it is residing inside us all. So we awake with clean canvas and adventure new landscapes each time. The land is beautiful. 

“May our future be bright and filled with a living hope that will never fade away“ Psalm 23:18 tpt