A [delayed] Mother’s Day


Mother’s Day weekend we spent rock climbing with friends and freezing in our tent. While we had fun, it was a bit tiring for a weekend, but I was happy being surrounded by friends and enjoying the outdoors with Cedar and Sean. I was surprised when Sean told me, “I’m going to treat you to a Mother’s Day make up, since we didn’t do anything too special on the real day.” Not one to deny a treat, I quickly agreed.

Sean had recalled my comment from months before of “If you ever want to treat me, you can take me to Forresters Arm for a night.” So off we went into the mountains of Swaziland. The air is cool. The fires are cozy. The beds are to collapse in. And the food is enough to gorge yourself on.

Three things I love about this place. 1. Wifi. 2. Dinner and breakfast incuded. 3. It’s away.

I’ll start from the bottom. It’s away. We have found that it’s incredibly and increasingly difficult for us to relax, rejuvenate and connect as a family while staying at home. A lovely hazard of communal living, but still a hazard. Our greatest solution is to be away from home on the days we need some time to ourselves. Forresters’ Arm isn’t so far we have to travel all day, but it’s far enough away that we can’t easily be interrupted.

Dinner and breakfast included. As a special treat for Swazi residents, the owner adds dinner into the discounted price for locals. This is no chintzy dinner. They have a set menu with 2 appetizers, 4 mains, and 2 desserts. All the portion sizes are small, so you could literally have a taste of them all if you like and your stomach can manage. Plus, there’s divinely baked breads and home-presserved jams, veggies and fruits to enjoy. Their dinner is one to linger over. Open a bottle of wine. Stay for tea and coffee. Relax. Take your time. Your seat is yours for the night and you’re invited to be there for so long.

Wifi. No, it’s not because I can just check my email while I’m away. But wifi means several treats. Streaming yoga classes for my body and spirit (a luxury African internet does not often allow me) and the use of our Baby Cloud Monitor. We feed Cedar dinner, tuck her into her luxurious duvet and crib, set the monitor (that uses wifi!), lock the door, and bounce 100 meters to the restaurant. On this Mother’s Day get away, we did just that. Sitting in the restaurant with audio and video to watch our sleeping peanut, while we went on a date. A real date.

Rare are the evenings we get to go out since Cedar’s birth. It’s not that we don’t want to leave her, but that babysitters are limited and places to go within 30 minutes’ drive after 7pm are also very limited. So rare is the evening date. Rare and luxurious.

On this evening, the wine was uncorked. We lingered over an appetizer of salmon slivers on toasted ciabatta slices with cream cheese and herb; spiced lamb curry with fried veggie slices; vegetarian lasagna with feta; plus a dessert of homemade orange ice cream and fluffy chocolate cake. The tea was warm. The lighting low. The conversation hushed. The times good. After leaving the lounge where we’d had our final drink, this tired momma slunk down the rock path to that cozy bed and drifted off.

That afternoon, prior to our delightful dinner, we had planned to take advantage of some other fun things Forresters’ has to offer – babysitter & a horseback ride. With babysitters on staff, we planned to leave Cedar for an hour and head out on horseback to trot around the forest. Alas, our horse plans were thwarted, but a tandem bike enticed us. A tandem bike that originated circa 1971. . .and had a broken seat. . . and only one gear.

It wasn’t past the first speed hump that I went hurtling off the seat, cackling in disbelief as the rear seat had tipped back & dumped me plum off! I climbed back on, righting the seat and trying to sit forward to prevent the seat’s nose from jutting skyward again. No such luck! Sean did the jiggle and wiggle test, but didn’t have any tools, so we decided, “We would keep going,” because to return for tools would mean an utter delay. Plus, I’m always up for a challenge.

Sean switched with me, so I could steer from up front. Steer us I did – straight into the azalea bush 2 feet away. hah! Well, that wasn’t working, so back to our original posts we went.

We made it to the main road and headed uphill. Now, dear friends, I am essentially riding a fireman’s pole. A fireman’s pole. Uphill. While clutching desperately to the handle bars and laughing too hard to care if I’ve peed myself or not. After breathless protests of “No! Really! Stop! I’m going to fall off. I’m falling off!” I surrendered my unheeded shouts & deftly (it actually was deft, which is a stroke of luck if you know me) hopped off the back of the bike. Sean promptly halted the fireman’s pole and we drug that 30 pound beast to the side of the road and collapsed in laughter.

How ridiculous is this? 

How much did we pay to rent this bike? 

Seriously. I couldn’t hold on any longer. 

I just need something to wedge underneath it. 

Our search for the perfect rock ended in finding the multi-purpose water bottle. Tilting the seat slightly more forward than “normal”, we wedged the Klean Kanteen (love these guys!) between the underside of the seat and the bike’s frame. When I plopped my derriere down upon the seat, lo and behold, it stayed! Off we went again. Now I could rest my hands on the handle bars. .. and my feet on the peddles. Let’s be honest, a one-speed tandem bicycle who weighs 30 lbs is not for the mildly in shape mother. That is why I married a-beast-of-a-man who proceeded to haul my behind around town.

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The broken-seat-fixing water bottle

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Obligatory shot on our tandem bike date.

We walked up hills (we’re not crazy!), coasted down hills, laughed and got greeted by the neighborhood watch who welcomed us to his neighborhood. We sipped water from the bottle/seat and snapped pictures that my WordPress won’t let me upload. With a glance at our watches, we did an about face and headed back to our daughter dear, a warm bath, and playing on the grass.

The rest of our time rolled by gently with gentle ease. We played with Cedar on the grass. We lounged. I napped. Sean napped. I soaked in the bathtub. I read my book. We watched a little tv. We had a screaming child in the wee hours of the night (why does that always happen when you leave home and have 10 neighbors all trying to sleep in?). We rubbed our bleary eyes and stumbled to a gourmet breakfast. We watched fires crackle in their places and headed out before the rain.

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Breakfast with the little girl who makes me the happiest momma!

When looking back on the weekend, both Sean & I’s favorite moments came from that ridiculous bike ride. As many parents of young children know (or recall), sometimes the moments you get to discover something new together are more limited with a tiny tot, but we’ve found when we take the hour or three that we get, when we get it and do something different, it’s always a rich reward of laughter, quality time, and just, good memories. A perfect weekend for this woman, wife, and mother.

Categories: Family Life, just for fun, Swaziland Updates | 2 Comments

Doula Project Progress & Needs


We’ve done a little switch-a-roo as to who is the largest stakeholder in this project. Originally it was the hospital, as they and I were the only players, but through yet another God-provided turn, we have all agreed the Siphilile: Child and Maternal Health NGO would instead complete the proposal, receive the funds yall are donating in order to pay the salary of 12 mentor mothers. Their fantastic project coordinator (who happens to be a midwife!) will supervise the 12 new doulas. This organization is committed to excellence and does some amazing work! Check them out at: http://www.siphilile.org/mentor-mothers.html
 

The mentor mothers support families in their communities


 Anyone who talks with me can hear the awe in my voice at how we were connected to Siphilile. There is NO WAY I could have dreamed up any better people to work with. It is the perfect fit I didn’t even have eyes to see. Dare we whisper the Lord could be involved here? In a hushed voice, I praise Him! 
The next 6 weeks will be busy. Proposals completed, funding needs to be released, training plans finalized, materials printed, funding secured, doulas recruited, and everything else it takes to train 12 mentor mothers, 1 project coordinator and 2 midwives. We are so close to having quality doula care provided in RFM’s maternity ward. The joy of the mothers’ attended by our new doulas will be something you hear ringing from the hilltops of Swaziland. Their joy will trickle down. . . 

into their families . . . 

into a passion to mother their children well.  . .

 into a knowledge on how to breastfeed. . . 

into a place of sharing and teaching other pregnant women. . . 

into every nook and cranny of society. That we proclaim will be true! 

I envision that the group of people to sponsor this project will be women and families in the USA who know the intense relief and service a doula provides! 

We have only $4,860 left to raise to fuel this awesomeness for ONE YEAR. 

The average cost of a doula (in the USA) is $500. 

What if you donated in direct correlation to that average cost? Instead of hiring your OWN doula for YOUR birth, you’d be hiring a doula for the births of approximately 200 women! Two hundred! You’d be paying the monthly part time stipend of one Swazi doula.

What an incredible gift. What a joy. What a way to pay it forward, friends. 

When the Spirit Moves or the Mood Strikes, please donate by:

1. sending a tax deductible check to: Manna Global Ministries; PO Box 9240; Riviera Beach, FL 33419

– write the check to: Manna – Swaziland; please include a sticky note that says, “Doula Project”

2. clicking the link “Donate” on the sidebar of this page. (Please note Paypal charges a 3% processing fee and is not tax deductible)

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

Our USA Furlough Trip


Ten thousand blogs could be written about our furlough trip, but since my brother-in-law enlightened me that “you’re dramatic”, it’s probably more like 100 blog posts. For now, I’ll give you one. The one I’ve got in me. The one I’ve got left. The words itching to be shared. 

I’d be dishonest if I said I always look forward to our trips “home” to America. Anyone who’s lived overseas will be nodding. My NGO/missionary/volunteer peeps might say a double “amen.” It’s incredibly complicated to explain, but also infinitely simple to share. 

Going home is hard. Home is no longer the only home. You leave your new home and friends and perhaps language, where you’re probably comfortable if it’s been 1-2 years since you moved there. And everyone assumes furlough is “vacation”, but it. Is. Not. Sometimes it’s more exhausting than the life you paused to come and visit “home”. 

And when you get to this place that you were born in, everything is different. It’s odd and you’re not hip on the lingo (see?! I don’t even know what I need to say there). You don’t know what your sister means when she talks about “the dab”. And people ask …. Interesting questions. 

Oh the questions. First, I know I’m going to repeating myself 100 times. It’s all good. I’m prepared for that, but it still gets hard to with-enthusiasm describe my house, or our work, the next project, and “what Africa is like” (as if I’m an expert! 😳). Second, sometimes the questions are odd. Lol I won’t even go there. But trust me. Sometimes I’m like how does a person seriously answer the question about THAT. 

It’s really, really good to talk about our work. To hear about the lives of our inspiring friends and family who are making great changes in the world. It’s incredible and humbling to hear them say “you’re doing so well” and “we’re proud of you.” I mean, how amazing is it to hear that?! 

We’ve become skilled and gracious (I hope!) at accepting gifts from people we think can’t afford them. Or people we don’t know well. Or new faces and old ones. It’s pretty incredible to hear people say, “I believe in what you do. I’d like to donate this money towards your doula project.” I mean, how crazy does it get, folks?! How much do people spur me on to love and good deeds. 

Let’s go back to vacation. Furlough isnt exactly vacation. As in, it’s NOT  at all. Sure we see family. Yup, I might sleep in til 7, but there’s 1,000 people to see (check out Sean’s Facebook post of all the people we saw), 150 internet tasks to accomplish- like taxes and administrative goodies; emails and projects people come up with for us to do. For an extrovert like Sean, it’s a hay day. Amazing. Pretty good stuff. For an extroverted introvert whose really turned more introvert lately, it’s a lot of work

Furlough was a lot of intentional practice to declare my boundaries, ask others to respect them and demand I respect and hold them as well. There were more meltdowns in America than I’ve probably had in the last 12 months. It wasn’t all easy. It’s tough living out of a suitcase, being really ill in other people’s spaces (even though my family is awesome and gracious and super helpful, I still felt like I was killing people with my cough and probably contributed to my nephew’s hospitalization 😩), and having to schedule time to be “The Boehrig Three”. 

I don’t write this post for a pity party. In fact, if we hadn’t have gotten I’ll, I would have counted it a HUGE success. With the illnesses, it was just a success! 😉 this was the best trip home we’ve had, and I’ve had 4, so I think I’m getting better at it. … or changing my expectations. So don’t feel bad for me. Don’t hear me complaining. I’m really stating facts and aim to paint a picture. That, like everything we humans experience, there’s more going on than we assume is going on. In order to understand, let’s ask lots of questions. 

And thank you, especially to the people who get it. Who encouraged us to say “no”, to rest, to have family time, to sleep in. To the people who asked the real questions, who dug deep into our hearts and shared theirs. Who were forgiving and gracious when we couldn’t see them, and didn’t doubt our love for them because our time was limited. Thank you

Now that’s blog 1 of 100 posts, but I’m pretty sure I won’t get around to 98 o them, so make the most of this one. 

Sala kahle, America! (Stay well) 

Categories: Family Life, Swaziland Updates | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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