07 September, 2014

12 weeks

  I can't sleep and maybe, just maybe if i sit and write, then sleep will come.

  This week marks the 12th week of pregnancy and with every other child, even our first, i put away my too tight dresses and donned the wardrobe that told the world that i was to be once again a mother. I always wore them with a sense of relief, at finally looking pregnant instead of just fat.

  Today i put the dress on that i was wearing when we found out we were losing our long waited for little girl. I looked a bit in the mirror and then quietly put it away. I thot it was because it seemed to large but i realized later it was more than that. It seems that i am finding out that even healed people still fill with raw pain and tears.

  How do i wear the same dresses that i wore when carrying her? When i see those dresses i think shock and agony. They seem to me as if they carry pain huddled in their gathers and pleats. Yet somehow, i will put them back on, because sewing a whole new wardrobe is not feasible.

  And strangely, through it all, i seem to see my mother. I know what she would have done. She would have cried and then did the next thing. Which would have been to pull that dress over her head, zipper it up the back, knot those ties and face life. She would have chosen happiness over a new life beginning and refused to allow self pity to pull her down.

  So tonight i cry and allow that grief to happen. I won't pretend that right now all i want is Hadassah. I do.

  But i also know that God is good, good, good and He is bigger than pain filled dresses and hearts. I want to walk with courage and faith and so tomorrow i choose joy. I choose joy only because i am walking with the One who holds both Hadassah and this new child in His hand and His ways are perfect.

  Please pray for me that i would continue to choose joy and trust through this new journey of anticipation mixed with pain.

23 August, 2014

Eggs in the Nest

I think i'm a troubled woman.

Or at the least, a spoiled one.

And it's all the baby's and my husband's fault.

It's heading towards midnight and i just polished off an egg in the nest, fried to perfection with crispy, buttery edges, egg whites firm and just a bit of gooey lusciousness in the egg yolk.

I call that troubled. But really, is it my fault? A woman with child does get such strange cravings at odd times.

Take, for instance, sunday  mornings at church. You would never dream that the missionary lady with the spiritual face and expanding waistline is actually not hearing what the persons behind the pulpit is saying. Instead of reverently searching her heart, she is dreaming of Big Mac's, dripping with sauce and oozing with cheese. She is lifting crispy, salty fries to her mouth and sipping on ice cold coke's from a soda fountain.

I never did get the whole "hungry for a pickle" thing when pregnant. Why a pickle when you can have something that makes you fat?

So tonight as i was laying in bed and dreaming of an egg in the nest, (or hole or whatever you call it) i happen to mention to Marlin about how i was debating going to the kitchen and frying me up one and what do you know but he disappears "to get a shower" and shows up 10 minutes later with a perfectly fried, buttery delight. Buttery because HE never cooks as if a mission board is peering over his shoulder to check on how much butter he's actually using. That's why his food is good and mine mediocre. I can never quite shake the guilt that someone might actually find out we use butter instead of margarine, in spite of me trying faithfully to convince the little ones in the family that toast with Blue Bland is quite delightful.

But really, it's quite disgusting how my self control flees when a new Weaver takes up residence inside myself. I crave mashed potatoes. I eat mashed potatoes. I crave batter fried fish. I eat likewise. Black currant ice cream? Bring it on. (and just in case the mission board reads this, my father paid for  the ice cream, bless his heart)

The list goes on as does my girth. Eventually i'll go back to the lifestyle of no white bread and mashed potatoes but for now, it makes me happy, and we all know if mama ain't happy ain't nobody happy.

And for the record, the mission board is really quite gracious regarding food, and naturally that extends itself to pregnant, spineless ladies. I really do try and watch our butter consumption but sometimes you just need a buttery fried egg in the nest in the late night hours.

16 August, 2014

Baby Weaver

  So i'm 8 weeks pregnant.


  I have the normal nausea and hormonal upsets that happen with a pregnancy which makes for some interesting and sometimes depressing moments. Such as when i'm holding a conversation with someone and they have no idea that i'm wondering if i can hold my stomach bile down or if i'm going to have to run for the toilet. So far i haven't had to run but it's come close. It's those moments when i wonder what in the world God and ourselves were thinking to try the overwhelming responsibility of bringing another Weaver in the world.

  But we're excited and not really scared. Hadassah is such a part of our lives that there's no way to explain it. She is and was such a little gift and her sweet presence is as much a part of us as any of the children.
Whenever i think of her, or we talk of her, it's always in the context of her being with Jesus. And grandma. I see her so clearly. She's so incredibly beautiful and her spirit will go with us wherever God calls us next.

  However, we will be getting ultra sounds to make sure everything is ok with the new little Weaver. Because it does seem almost impossible to think of having a perfectly healthy child after first a miscarriage and then Hadassah but i can truly say our hearts are at peace. God is in control and that includes this tiny baby. Big Daddy Weav also says that we're going to find out if the babe's a boy or girl and of course everyone's rooting for a girl. And yet even Emily says that she thinks she'll be almost as excited if it's a boy. They all just want a BABY.

  Whether this child is a boy or girl, he or she will be equally longed for and equally loved.

26 July, 2014

Good bye

My dad having devotions at our church the last sunday before they left. 
  So the 10 days were finished and it was time for my family to head home. The last sunday at our church, Jason, my brother in law, had the sermon, and my dad had devotions. After church we all stood at the back as usual and the people came through shaking our hands and it was when the choir came thru that we realized they were singing a special song for the visitors. "We will nevah, nevah, forget you....." It was a tear jerker and i tried not to think of when they sing that song for us.

  Monday, my family experienced the animal market where you can buy all kinds of handmade goodies, and then home for one last meal before they flew out of Kisumu that afternoon.

   Dishon, our Kenyan friend, had eaten several times with us while they were here and my father took a real liking to him. Which isn't surprising because most people do. The first day Dishon ate at our house when dad was here he had ice cream. For the first time ever. My dad loves ice cream and promptly bought two tubs at the grocery store and while my kids inhaled vast amounts in an ice cream induced state of bliss, Dishon watched closely. The adults watched in amazement as he stood up, gripped the ice cream scoop and promptly laid two mounds by his bbq chicken sandwich and coleslaw and began eating it all together. I figured that was the end of the ice cream experience as i simply couldn't fathom bbq sauce, mayo, and ice cream making any kind of happy marriage. But no, after that was polished off, and after seeing that the white children were pouring coke over their ice cream, he proceeded to lay several more mounds of ice cream on his bowl and flooded it with coke, still using his bbq sauce and mayo smeared plate. He then informed us that while he's never had ice cream before, he likes it very much. Which is pretty amazing because many Kenyans, after tasting ice cream, don't like it because it's much to cold and sweet. So we told Dishon to come the last day that my family were here and he could once again indulge in that icy sweetness. And he did.

Marlin, Jason, Dad, and Dishon......i really, really don't want to think of the day when we say good by to Dishon. He has become part of our family and it tears us to pieces to think of someday saying good bye. 
Dishon and my father 
And i had to add this picture. This is the real us. Dirty clothing, torn jeans, and nose excavators. It's who we really are. 

 Marlin and i took my family to the airport by ourselves because Marlin knew that deep down inside i wanted to see them off. I didn't even know i wanted to and was planning on staying home with the littles and letting the older ones go along but wise man that he is, he knew myself better than i do. I was so glad to go, once i got over feeling guilty at all the sad puppy faces back at home, and as i hugged them good by and cried, i knew that having them in Africa was a highlight in my life.

Masai Mara

Hippos and more hippos
  Thursday morning Marlin, my father, sister Eileen and her family headed to the Masai Mara. Oh, and Zachary. Me, myself, and i and the remaining gang stayed home to keep the home fires burning and to clean house. The Masai Mara makes me a wee bit nervous since i managed to get an infected appendix the last time. You're in the middle of nowhere so if an emergency happens you simply pray a little harder and hope the doctor/nurse on site knows his stuff. But that's not why i stayed home. The Masai Mara isn't exactly cheap and neither did a 5 hour trip in a van with 19 people crammed in a vehicle with 14 people capacity look very appealing.

So let's get on with some pictures.

Part of the wildlife scene......oh wait, that's my sister and her family. :) 

My dad hanging out with the rhinos.

King Aslan

Yes, seriously, he did have his hand on that rhino. 

The Savannah

How cool is this picture? Love that tree. That's Marlin and my dad wrapped in Masai blankets. It gets downright COLD in the early mornings.

   Good times, good memories.

25 July, 2014

Lake Victoria and Kibuye Market

   Tuesday morning saw Marlin and the family headed to Lake Victoria for a boat ride and to see the hippo. Kind giving person that i am, i chose to stay home with the two youngest and Emily and make brunch for when they came back. And the thot of a two hour ride with 14 children didn't especially appeal to me. Not to mention that i've seen safer looking rides.

Thankful that God hasn't called me to be an African fisherman.

Titus the boatman with "the crew."

Hippos are the number one reason for deaths caused by animals. If you get between them and the water while they're grazing on shore or vice versa, woe is you. They've been known to snap boats and people right in half. Another reason i decided to sacrifice and stay home. Nevermind that most of the children were along. 

My dad checking out the lake and the hippos. 

Home for pepper gravy and biscuits. This is where we ate all our meals. The carport is the ideal place for hosting anything from prayer meeting to suppers. 
  In the afternoon the men headed to Kibuye market, one of the largest markets in Kenya. Taking children along is not wise so Eileen and i stayed home and babysat the hooligans while the men strolled through the metal working and furniture part of the market. 

Ok, not just furniture and metal but cabbages also. 

And sewing......

Jason is part owner of a furniture store. His looks quite different. 
At least he looks happy.

My father just could not understand why they wouldn't build work tables to at least be able to stand while they work. A clear sign he thinks like a German, not an African. 

Minnows anyone? A delicacy to the Kenyan.

  After the market Marlin drove the van home and dad, Jason, and our friend Dishon, took a tuk tuk. 

A long, bumpy ride

Kenyans don't feel a need for any personal space, which you tell by the size of their public transportation vehicles. 

22 July, 2014

Chicken Intestines and Chai

  Yesterday my dad, my married sister Eileen, her husband Jason and their crew of 6 children headed back across the big pond. They are planning a day and a half of sight seeing in London before they fly back to the good ol' USA.

  It was so much fun to show my family Kenya. One of my favorite things about my dad is that he is so not racist and it showed. He was often surrounded by smiling faces even if they didn't get everything this white "mosay" (old man, a term of respect) was saying.

  Last monday we headed to John and Benter's place, a couple from our church, for an authentic Kenyan meal. So after an hour of bumpiness and potholes and goat and cow dodging, and a 15 minute walk, we arrived.

Heading into the "dala" 

Living room straight ahead, goat enclosure to the left, and a sleeping hut to the right. 

John and Benter

  We were ushered inside and were asked to pray a prayer. That's tradition, especially as many Kenyans believe that the white people bring blessings, such as fertility to both man and mammal, and even crops. We then sat and were served steaming hot chai and mandazis, a first for my family.

Cousins eagerly waiting. Oh, the joy of your very own cup of scalding tea. 

My sister Eileen and her husband Jason, with their oldest child, Ina to the left.

Amazing how much furniture they squeeze into a room. Every couch and chair has spotless, wrinkle free, embroidered cloths carefully placed on them in every home i've been in. Sadly, til our crew leaves they're no longer any of the above. Joseph, the bishop and pastor at our church, and his wife Becky, kindly consented to go along. They're from Belleville Pa and are serving their sixth year in Kenya.

We then headed for a walk to a tiny shopping centre while the ladies got a massive feast prepared. It truly gave my family a taste of Kenya, walking between sugar cane fields and feeling that hot, African sun beat down on their heads. 
The white man and the African expounding to each other. John, the man on the left, is a young man from church who has been a member for a number of years. He would very much appreciate a wife, as he made known at a youth seminar where he shared that the "Lord's return is imminent so get married quickly." Amen.

Of course we hadn't taken enough water for that kind of hiking and would you believe we could buy bottled water at a little store in that tiny "shopping center." So one of the ladies had the privilege of carrying our water back to the "dala." What can i say. Marlin just wasn't up to carrying it on his head. 

Back to the house for a feast and what a feast it was! Boiled beef, fried beef liver (can't believe i'm going to say this but it was DELICIOUS! I've had it wrapped in bacon and drenched in bbq sauce. I've had it grilled and baked with onions. One word. Nasty. But this was really good, much to both my shock and my sister's.) There was chicken fried in oil and chicken stewed in a tomatoey broth. There was rice, fried cabbage, potatoes, chapatis, ugali (always ugali!), steamed sukuma, (a  type of greens and the children loved it. Go figure.) There was chicken intestines. For some reason that was pretty much untouched altho our innocent brother in law, Jason, consumed a bit, thinking it was just chicken. Which it was. Kind of.
The meal was wonderful and the "mazungus" thoroughly enjoyed it. After the meal, we were all given sodas for dessert. And i really don't know why i have my head resting on the back of the couch, looking for all the world like i'm in need of a nap. Now that i think of it, maybe i was. Heat, much walking, and copious amounts of food have a way of doing that to a person.

The ladies hard at work in the kitchen, making all that food over little fires. American women? You are SPOILED! It's ok, you can't help that you were born an american but don't take it for granted. And be willing to leave your comfortable kitchens if God asks that. Speaking to myself here because i have an American kitchen in Africa. I love African women. They work HARD but you don't hear them complain. They always have a big smile for visitors, which is more than what most women could say if they had to serve their guests food cooked over a little fire with little or no ventilation in the cooking hut. 

The food has been served, the soda's drunk. It is now between 3 and 4 o'clock in the afternoon and time for the final speeches, prayers of blessing, and introductions. I don't know why introductions are saved til last but it's how it's done and it works. So John and Benter gave a small speech first, then everyone had to introduce themselves, including the row of Kenyans sitting behind Joseph and Becky where you can't see them. Afterwards Joseph read some scripture, we stood for prayer and then were dismissed. We drove into the compound at home at 6 o'clock, just in time to clean up and head to Mark Beachy's house for supper. And would you know, she thot we might just be in the mood for American food and would you know, we were. :) 

  It was a great day, albeit exhausting, and we are so grateful that John and Benter were willing to host us. So thankful that my family got to experience it and make lifetime memories. 

  And that will have to do for this blog post. I will try and quickly add more posts but there's simply to many pictures to do one post justice. Because there's a boat ride on Lake Victoria to see the hippos, there's Bible study, there's supper by Lake Victoria, there's the market, there's tuk, tuk rides, and there's the Mara. And other things i can't remember. 

 I'll be back. :)