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: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Recently in Our Lives

I’m doing some internal work about releasing myself from guilt, so I won’t apologize for not blogging lots. However, I recognize I’ve been blogging less, so in an effort to just share a few things, here’s some recent happenings: 

– I decided that assisting our baby in taking naps was a good thing, so I’m trying to do better about that. She responds well and it’s mostly working for us when we’re home. 

Mkhulu Magongo wants to organize a water scheme for his section of Masini. He’s asked Sean for help. Sean asked for a committee. He’s delegated some inquiries and recording of information to said committee. 

– We had rain!! It’s dry season, so it’s usually quite crispy and brown, but twice in the last week we had a nice sprinkle. Enough that outdoor work halted. 

– We enjoyed another Christmas in July party! Such fun to have an excuse to gather with friends, feel connected to our traditions from home (for most of us are from the northern hemisphere), share dirty Santa festivities and enjoy life on a Sunday afternoon. 

– our church’s forward momentum seems to have rolled to a stop. We’re a bit weary of trying to push start this 3 ton car. Onward and upwards! Slowly, but surely we hope! 

– I, Nicole, am enjoying another Beth Moore Bible study with some other missionary ladies. I crave the homework sessions and videos we watch when we’re together – mostly because having someone else teach me fills me. Ah! I love it and love how the Spirit within me is stirred! 

– Yes, I’m gettin pretty excited about home health changes I have seen through the Plexus Worldwide products I’m using and sharing with Sean. 😊 I haven’t earned enough to drop all of our supporters, but I did pay for half of my order through the business. Yahoo!! 

– Speaking of supporters, look for an email from us. We’re aiming to reconnect with folks through Skype, so we’d like make it a date!!! Feel free to contact us with your best times as well! 

– Five months. Cedar Lucile is 5 months old!!! She’s a little peanut of course. She still sports a toothless grin, which I love. She hasn’t rolled over yet, which Sean loves to try enticing her to do. She laughs a lot, is generally quite content, enjoys playing on her tummy, back, or when she’s sitting or standing with our help. Recently she’s become unhappy to watch me in the kitchen. She fusses and groans until I hoist her up and let her hold (and drop!) recipes, mini zucchinis, or wrappers. Her little hand just waves open and closed repeatedly as she stares at it, willing objects beyond her reach to teleport. Her cradle cap has mostly cleared up. I’m still breastfeeding and that’s going well. She is more distracted during the day and would rather play than eat, so I’ve had to get creative when we’re away from home. She squeals a lot, adores her glow-worm and seems to recognize faces on skype! 

– Thor continues his valiant defense of our homestead. The neighbors thought Sean killed their big dog because they heard it yelling mercilessly one night. They were relieved it was only Thor who caught the dog’s hind leg on its way through the fence, terrorizing it as the mongrel tried escaping!

– our garden flourishes! Soon we’ll have bananas from the first tree we planted when we moved her. I can’t wait to feed Cedar her first ethically grown, organic, LOCAL banana! 

– We’ve got a meeting slated in a week to discuss the formation of some farm tours. An idea for small farmers doing creative, lucrative or replicable things to open their farms for anyone to visit and learn on certain days in the month. The visits would rotate location, but also be educational. We’re really excited about talking with 2 other couples practicing permaculture here! 

– We still hope for interns or longer-term folks! 


Categories: Family Life, Swaziland Updates, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

A Birthday Everyday

I’d like to live everyday as if it’s my birthday because you’re free on birthdays. 

On birthdays you shamelessly sleep in. You eat three bran muffins for breakfast while letting your daughter snooze in your arms. You let people tell you you’re great and never once do your faults come to mind. Because it’s your birthday and birthdays are for celebrating YOU and being airy and light and sweet.

On birthdays you exercise because that’s the kind of year you want to have. You let other people cook you dinner and even request the meal because they offer and it IS your birthday after all. 

You sit on your loveseat and read Whiskey Beach and love every second. You wash dishes with a smile and sing more and really enjoy. 

On your birthday, you don’t feel guilty about asking your husband to watch the baby while you shower. Or bring you another muffin. Or hand you your water. 

Why is it that birthdays are the days we enjoy? Really dig deep into life? Why do I cheer myself on to eat another piece of cake on a birthday, but nearly shame myself for a cookie on Tuesday? 

I need more birthday-kind-of-days. Days where I ask for help, accept invitations to not cook, live outside guilt when I want to just sit and read my book. This year, I’ll make more days where I just laugh when my daughter pees on me. When I sneak out of bed to wash dishes in silence, drink tea in solitude and study my bible in dawn’s breaking light. This year I’ll cheer myself on to eat cake if I fancy it, sit with my sleeping daughter in my arms for just a little bit longer. And graciously let people say I’m good and believe them. I’ll have more days where I really reflect and believe I’m offering something to this world. In the form of more humus to my soil, if that’s all I’ve got! I’ll have more days of walking outside into the sun and declaring, “Here I am! Rock me like a hurricane!”

Yes, birthdays are fun because they’re different and a celebration we don’t always get. But if everyday were a birthday kind- of day, I’m pretty sure I’d be in such good practice that when the actual birthday showed up, I’d be ready to up the ante. 

So here we are birthday. A chance to celebrate the day my mother birthed me (good job mom!), the day I entered the world with a wail, the day that has gathered parents and sisters around me from the beginning. Then school friends and in the lucky years – grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. And now the day gathers in-laws, a husband, and a daughter, as well as new friends. It’s pretty great, this day. 

And I raise my cup of tea to you, self, on your birthday. Keep at it. Stay true. Spend yourself wisely. Live spontaneously. Love intently. And you know, rock it like a hurricane. 


On birthdays you can tell your husband, “Quick take a picture of.”  He will. And even if it’s poor quality, you’ll love it forever. 


Snuggles, naps….


Reading your book for two, uninterrupted, glorious hours. 


Mischievous miss NOT napping, but you laugh and scoop her up because it’s that kind of day!


And presents from the one who knows you so well that he gets you EXACTLY what you’d buy yourself. Except slippers, but you bought those last week anyways. 


This girl does birthdays with cake. Triple-stacked this year. The one candle apparently represents that I’ve got one year til I’m 30. 

Categories: Family Life, just for fun, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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