Lately in our Lives:
[If you're a blog-skimmer, just scroll on down to the pictures at the bottom.]
- My parents visited for 2 weeks. We loved every second of it!
- Kitchen construction is mostly finished. Sean installed a pantry. I organized the shelves. Sean put in plumbing, I like washing dishes in the new sink. Let’s be honest, Sean did almost ALL the work, but I shared in the enjoying of his hard work.
- We’ve decided to live in Swaziland at least 4 years! (Just two more, 4 total). We’re adding one extra year to our original 3-year commitment. While we could get really excited thinking about the Post-Swaziland phase of our lives, we realized it’s just not time for that yet. However, with a baby coming in February, we feel comfortable committing to just one year more for now. We’ll re-evaluate as time goes on. Largely, we feel like we’re only getting started in some of the community work, so it’d be leaving too soon if we closed up shop in a year. We’re discussing how having a child will change our focus (obviously) and how it’s likely Nicole will shift her focus from lots of out-of-the-house ministry work, to more ministry with a child in tow, and from the house. We’ll keep you abreast of those shifting tides.
- Nicole’s going to work on an intern-application process. Like most things we do, we can’t imagine this being like too many other “conventional” internship ideas, and we have no idea if people will come. However, Nicole felt an urge to prepare some in this direction, so that IF and WHEN someone inquires, we’ll be ready. We don’t have much space for lots of people, nor are there lots of “projects” that we need foreign hands to complete, but we DO love sharing our lives, love sharing what we’re learning, and enjoy pouring into the lives of people considering full-time ministry, overseas work, etc.
- Summer is kicking up with a few days of rain blessing our land. It just makes you want to dance!
- I, Nicole, am feeling pretty good as I hit the half-way mark in my pregnancy. Taking advantage of second-trimester energy to kick up the exercise, planting, garden labor, and all-things-crafty in my free-time. There’s a lot going on in my heart these days, mostly joy and peace. And no, I probably won’t post belly photos. I’ll spare you that much skin. ;) Clothes-on photos may be found from time to time.
- After a few weeks off with my parents coming, I was excited to head back to the hospital this week. The newspaper reported some very sad news while I was “off” that a laboring woman was told to leave the labor ward and walk around outside (common practice if she’s not into active labor yet). Apparently something happened, which resulting in her squatting over the tile floor and pushing her child out. Reports declared the child died from head trauma, while nurses didn’t rush to attend to mother or baby. I have no idea IF it’s true, if the mother was still in the labor ward, or was indeed walking outside. The negative publicity certainly affects people’s desires to birth at this specific hospital (yes, the one I volunteer at). The trauma to the mother, and nurses who seem to have neglected her points to a broken, hurting world. My heart aches for more to be done to make sure the safety of these babes and mothers. My heart aches for hospital leadership to lead the staff towards greater compassion, better practices, skill development, and personal & professional times of refreshment (can we say “Overworked?”). I’m thankful I have relationships with the nurses that point me to lean in and ask questions before pointing fingers. I’m thankful I have relationships with a few moms that allow a bit of education and empowerment to color their choices and actions.
- I keep meeting more and more young, single expecting women. In our little Masini community alone, I met four (three whom I didn’t know about). Oh Lord! Our lives are broken without you. Single mothers are incredible women, yet my heart aches for the hardships facing their young, unemployed persons. Show us ways to educate them, connect them to employers, and draw them to You who gives all love, self-worth, and answers that we often seek through others and ourselves. May I be a bit of the hands and feet to help them on the journey. May I be eager to give many cups of cold water, advise mothers of these young mothers on when to take them to the hospital, and empower them with education, so they might have CHOICE over their ambitious, budding lives and those of their children. Lord, heal our heart and our land from fatherless children and broken-hearted young mothers. There is another way. Let us find it together.
- Sean’s organizing some “farm visit” days with a permaculture farm here in Swaziland. I guess we’re first on the list and hope to connect loads of cool people to loads of other great people, so the ideas may flow & creativity blossom along with our crops.
- Thor keeps chasing goats out of our yard. He joyously watches from under the truck for any unsuspecting goats who venture in our front gate. With a simple, “Yah Thor,” he bolts down the driveway. He has just to butt heads with any horn-bearing mama goats, but Sean did catch his being drug out of the yard by a goat. He says Thor attached himself to the poor goat’s ankles. Serves the pesky, plant-devouring heathens right! We give him lots of treat and take him everywhere dogs are allowed (and some places they’re not).
- We felt really, really, REALLY loved by family, friends, and some strangers when my parents surprised us with gifts from some youth and adults from Greenford Christian Church (our first care package!), some very crafty friends, a few random friends, and family. People blessed us with encouraging notes, notes of joy and prayers for our pregnancy, and all around LOVE. I think I’ll just read one every day until forever. :D Slowly I’m churning out the thank yous, but if you sent something – thank you!!!