Thankful …


I am so grateful to the Lord connecting us to Sibosiso. He runs one of the two chicken businesses on our property and is slowly buying the business from Sean/Manna. 

We met Sibosiso through not-my-favorite circumstances. It was about 2 am; we didn’t know him; his wife was in labor. The ambulance was hours from being available, and no one else was around. We were annoyed because it was 2 am. And if we’re someone’s early-morning-transport-option, we kind of like knowing. But we discussed and decided we’d better go ASAP. She was in real labor and babies don’t wait for khumbis. So we took her, their daughter, the husband, and the community health motivator (who had told them to call us. I wasn’t getting into another birth-in-the-Bakkie story!) with us to the hospital. 

Within minutes of getting her into the labor ward, she had birthed their second daughter. In the car, on the way home, Sibosiso told us that his wife was so skinny and didn’t look pregnant because he had no money to feed her. Although he was rand-less, he rustled up money and walked to our house the next day to pay us the fee we charge for late-night-hospital-runs (otherwise we’d be full-time at this!). I was kind of impressed. He beamed when he spoke about his new daughter. 

And now he’s worked himself quite into our lives. He is perhaps one of the most joyful folks I know. This chicken business excites him. He’s always beaming as he hustles around on the bike, hauling his trailer. He’s a fast walker. I mean in record time he covers the 2.5 miles to the grocery store. He doesn’t dawdle. Now he’s got a bike and the man just races around. 

Tonight, I went out after dark to fetch my charger from the car. There’s Sibosiso in the dark standing over his bike. Red light on the rear of his bike blinking, as he works to secure a flashlight to his handlebars. I greet him and then he spills forth the day’s events. He sold 18 chickens today! 18! To a homestead the next town over.  And he’s grateful for their support. And he’s got an order for 10 chickens to be delivered Monday to the clinic’s nurse. I can hear his smile penetrate the darkness. 

I’m so thankful. 

Sean and I have decided he’s either a saint or a fantastic conman. Because we hook, line, and sinker think he’s a solid guy. He cares for his family; works harder than any man we know; and is genuine. It’s nice having he and his family around. And in the landscape of ministry work, of working with people and in community development, sometimes the triumphs are few or scattered. Sometimes you dig for something or someone to be grateful for. At times you doubt anyone’s life is better because you’re in it. But I’m thankful for Sibosiso. Because our lives are better for having him in them. He doesn’t take advantage of us. He cheers our spirits. Humbles our pride. And motivates our creativity. He’s a companion in the garden at times, or a smiling face to wave at as he races to town. It’s cool too see. It’s nice to know him. 

Categories: just for fun, Kingdom Coming Related, Swaziland Updates | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Doula Training for RFM Hospital Update


As I type this, there is a team of staff, administrators, and midwives at RFM a hospital having a meeting regarding forward progress on training doulas to volunteer and work in their Labor Ward. This is HUGE news! This would mean trained, PAID doulas on staff and present almost every shift in the hospital. The doulas’ ability to care for each woman, or those in high need, could drastically change the atmosphere and outcomes of birth experiences for every mom. It could bless the nurses in allowing them extra support forward the laboring moms as well. Plus!!! They’d be Swazis and long term “answers” to the needs!! Please, please join me in prayer and jubilation! They are discussing all the logistics needed to move forward with hosting a training at the hospital. 

Pray that this project would not go forward if it will not bring God glory. 

Pray that the midwives and future doulas will be a unified front and a force to be reckoned with of compassion, knowledge, and quality care. 

Pray that the trainer would help this transition. 

Pray for the future doula trainees – that we might be connected to them; that the Spirit would be strong in them; that this job would align with their calling and mission; that they might affect great change in this country. 

Pray that God would be glorified and HE would move to transform the labor ward into a wholesome, life-bringing place that births empowered, knowledgeable mothers who ripple affects into their communities, as well as healthy babies. 

Categories: aDventures in Doula-ing, Swaziland Updates | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Momma-ing


Our last week has been tough. All kinds of things came to a head under this grass roof. 

Cedar started out as this gentle, easy baby who slept great, hardly woke at night and ate like a voracious crocodile (you’ve seen those cheeks, right?). Around 4 months that changed. She’s still sweet and gentle and easy-going, but only when she’s playing. When she gets hungry, she doesn’t want to eat. She’d rather play, try to catch her daddy’s eye, stare at the banana trees or wriggle around than eat. In fact she launches herself away from me. (If anyone dares to mention something about my milk not being enough or her needing solids or food or pickles or to stand on her head, I’ll reach through this phone and slap yah!). She arches and wails and flings about as if to say, “ahhhh!! The boob!! Not the boob! I don’t want to die!!!” If I wasn’t so busy holding her on my lap, I’d video this so I can laugh about it later. It started funny. But 6 weeks in, I’m a bit over it. 

And then all the sudden her naptimes became crazy too. I won’t even go into the inconsistencies and my inability to get much done during her naps. This was keeping me from going places and being with people because I’d have a baby who didn’t eat and didn’t nap and forgive me, but I got a tad overwhelmed. 

Fast forward to desperation and frustration. Yes, night times were still mostly great once she fell asleep, but naps! Oh they were rough. And not just for me. I mean, the little dear was tired! Overtired! And her blockhead parents didn’t know how to help. Bless her soul for her patience and continual love for us. 

Desperation met a really great “sleep training program.” It’s worked for loved ones. It’s worked for friends. It’s worked for a lot of people. It did not work for us at this time. 😞I tried! I wanted it to work! Some naps were better, but we all ended up sleeping less at night and Sean and I were at each others’ throats for 3 days. Finally. At 12:30am, I pulled the plug. I said, “No. We are not doing this. We are fighting and she can sense our anger! We will not try this again until we have come up with a unified approach. I’m bringing her to bed with me!” So we played in bed until 1:30. I ate a snack (in the kitchen!), Cedar had a snack. Then off to peaceful sleep she went. 

We all woke up a bit groggy the next day. And now her cold (oh yah! She had her first cold and fever and starting to teeth all in this last week, too!) turnd into MY cold too. I felt like crap. And pretty much treated my family like crap, too. 

Enter a somewhat frustrating day over “now what?!” when it came to naps. We improvised and she napped in the carrier some, cried a lot, didn’t eat much, and I kept checking those diapers. Pee meant we were hydrated. Dry meant I started to worry. I found a new book (because the programs and books always work, right?) and voraciously read with one hand, while I rocked that crib with my other. 

Thursday morning, at 5 am, I got frustrated again and thought, “This cannot go on!” So after finally getting little miss back to bed, I told Sean I was going for a walk. Me and Jesus, we did some talking. I did some confessing and venting. And I realized, I was tired. And an idiot. I was a tired idiot who had done it again. I had gone on facing tough choices and new roads with only my measly brain and efforts to support me. 

Lord, I’m so sorry. When it’s just me, I’m tired and cranky. I’m impatient, easily frustrated and consumed with forcing things to be better. I’m selfish and inconsiderate when I’m doing it on my own. Oh! But it could be different! It needs to be different! With your indwelling Spirit, I could be kind, patient, loving, peaceful, fun, and easy-going. I could be fun, Lord. I could have something other than this baby or her sleep patterns to discuss with my husband. I could snuggle her and play and enjoy her. And I’ll bet the sleep stuffs will sort out better when I’m relaxed. I bet she’ll eat better when I’m not bracing for world war 3. Oh! I’m laying me down. Fill me up today, cuz you know I need you something fierce. 

And, well, what more is there? I cannot be lovely or patient or full of grace without Him. And I really want all of those things. My family needs me to be more of these things. 

So I recommitted myself to living with the Lord’s presence and the Spirit living through the me. Who cares about housework? What’s it matter what I get done today? Loving my baby and loving my husband are enough work for this day. 

And the last 2.5 days have been amazing! I have God’s patience. It took gentle reminding to not growl in frustration when she’s wailed and thrashed and threw herself back. I quit trying to force my timetable on this little human. Instead, I remembered that she IS a little human, my precious little one, and she deserves respect and kindness. And she deserves for me to build a relationship with her – to know her likes and dislikes, to get to know how she feels most comfy to sleep, how she likes her food, which toys she giggles with, when she needs quiet, alone time, and when she needs to be with me. 

So after a hairy few days of “sleep training” aka failing, 2 sick people, and a renewed Spirit within me, our days are so good. So bright. And you know what? Naps and nursing and bedtimes are so much more fun! Plus, they’re actually happening without crying or fussing – at all! It’s amazing how easily I forget that my death grip on control only sucks life from me and my family. Yet, my open palms of surrender to Christ brings fresh, vibrant, joyful life to this grass roof and the people who love under it. 

 Cedar on Friday. Drifting off in her milk coma.  

  

She woke up, played quietly with her lovey, then fell back to sleep. No tears. No protests. This momma was thrilled!

  

She and Thor have finally discovered the other one existed. She loves his fur, and he’s keen for the extra attention. 

Categories: Family Life, Kingdom Coming Related, Public Confession | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

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