21 November, 2014

Happy Birthday, Little One

A year ago you were born.

A year ago we held you, kissed you, and told you good by.

A year ago we laid your tiny, pink wrapped body in that little wooden box.

We know the pain of saying good by forever on earth.

Someday we will know the joy of saying hello in heaven.

We love you!!!

19 November, 2014

Hadassah Faith Sweazy

   We have some dear friends from another mission about 3 hours from here that came down to Kisumu to have their third baby. Charlton and Natasha Sweazy and their three little ones, Ava, Boaz, and just born, Hadassah Faith.

Of course Emily and i want to keep Hadassah as she is just a little doll, weighing in at 6 lbs. 7 oz. She makes the cutest little squeaky noises and wears pink like a real princess. 

Ava and Boaz have played much with our boys the last 3 weeks and i have a feeling that they will be a bit bored without them around. Boaz is a laid back, easy going little guy and Ava is spunky and knows what she wants out of life. It was kind of interesting, Ava and Jonathan had a few more go arounds than the others but they also connect more than the rest. At one point Ava sadly left me know that Jonathan called her a greedy woman, and of course Jonathan felt he had all the reason in the world to make that claim. I couldn't help but laugh behind their backs, altho Jonathan has never heard his daddy call me a greedy woman so i'm not sure where that came from. 

When i look at the ratios of girls versus boys around here i can't help but think we need more females. However, i have a funny, strong inner feeling that i'm carrying another boy. I'm fine with that. :)
Pray for Charltons as they head back to their part of Africa today. They have been in Kenya less than a year and adjusting to a new baby without all the comforts of America and nearby family can be a real challenge. I would love to be able to send Emily home with them for a couple of months but at 13, she needs to stay a bit closer to home for a while yet. The time is coming way too quickly when we will release her to whatever calling God has on her life.

I am halfway through this pregnancy, and all things considered i feel ok. I've struggled with a lot of exhaustion and fatigue but i suspect some of it is due to extreme dust. There is road work being done close to here so there are lots of big trucks and taxis driving behind our house on the dirt road, and since it's very dry the dust is terrible. It tests my patience when i do the cleaning and within hours the floors and windows are covered in dust. You can literally taste the dust in your mouth in the back of the house, near the road. Trying not to think what it's doing to our lungs but i keep telling myself that the Bible means it when it says to be thankful in all things. I haven't decided if that verse means we need to actually thank Him for the dust or just thank Him for what we're learning because of the dust.

   I will leave you with a picture that helps the thankful attitude. I'm not one that just thrills at looking through pictures that other people have taken of nature, but this one make me happy. Eric took it one evening down by Lake Victoria. He bought Marlin's camera when Marlin upgraded for all the orphan pics he takes and is having a lot of fun snapping and editing. Looking at those vibrant colors makes me think of earth and heaven......the darkness of life with that glorious light of Jesus Christ shining through.

  This week a year ago we were waiting for our Hadassah's birth. She's now waiting behind those clouds and that thought fills our hearts with peace in spite of the tears hiding behind our eyes. Friday is her birthday and for all those of you who have sent us emails, thank you! It means so much when people remember her and let us know they are thinking of us and praying for us. No doubt about it, the birthday of a child who died is a hard time. This birthday, we'll be picking up some close friends from the airport and i can't help but think that God has such good timing. Even a year later, He's still watching out and knowing our ache and using dear people in our lives to show us His love.

 He's such a loving, tender, Heavenly Papa.

30 October, 2014

  It's been quite the week.

  Make that life.

  Tuesday evening Levi was playing on top of the swing set and what do you know, he fell off.

  The top.

  This was the result.

 We spent 4 hours at the hospital getting X-rays and then the plaster. It's a wrist fracture and the cast MAY NOT GET WET! Yeah, right.

  For some reason today he's a bit short tempered and i feel like a truck ran over me. It was exhausting to spend half the night before comforting him and then sitting, sitting, sitting in the same hospital that we sat and sat and sat with Hadassah. By today i want to hide somewhere far, far away but no, there's laundry to wash, food to cook, and a little boy to comfort and rock. He's not in a lot of pain anymore and it's only a two week cast so we have a LOT to be thankful for.

 And what do you know but that it was Jacob's birthday. So after the hospital visit we picked up a gift for Jacob and headed home to where Emily had baked a cake and was babysitting the 3 remaining littles plus two others. She is an amazing young lady and her maturity is way beyond what mine was at her age. But that's what happens when you are the only girl in a family of boys.

Happy 5th birthday, Jacob!!! 

There's a family joke about Jacob and his "fake snakes," so of course we had to make a fake snake cake. Emily baked the cake and her and the boys had great fun decorating it. And I? I took a nap. 

His precious birthday candle that promptly broke when he tried to wash the icing off. Poor little man.

One of his goofy grins.....we get such a kick out of his expressions. 

Not every 5 year old boy gets his own Landrover for his birthday. He was greatly pleased but i think even Eric was a bit jealous.

   Jacob brings so much joy and laughter to our home. Him and Levi are best of friends and where one is you'll find the other. One of his nicknames is "fuzzy" because of his hair constantly standing on end.

   There's no way around it. We love this guy!

22 October, 2014

  So many things to write about.....so little time.

  I'm going to start with Marlin's big 4-0!!

 We're getting old, people! I well remember my dad turning 40 and i thot he might as well lay down and die. I mean, what worth is life when you're 40? And here we are and i wouldn't trade 40 for 20 any day.

 I planned, along with a few other sneaky people in the compound, a big 40th birthday party on the day of his birthday. I didn't actually think we would be able to pull off the surprise factor but we did. I had Becky, one of the missionary women who does beautiful cake decorating, make a small cake for lunch to throw him off. She also decorated a big cake for the bday party that evening. The small cake worked and it never even crossed his mind that there might be a party instead of a simple supper invite to Tony and Judith's. We walked in at Tony's to the whole compound singing Happy Birthday.

  Yup, we caught him by surprise. The poor littles were a bit confused to walk into a whole crowd of people singing and laughing, hence the reason Jacob is clinging to my hand.

    .....happy birthday to  you.....just so happened that there were two other birthdays that same day so we sang also sang happy birthday to them and to Zac, whose birthday was two days later.

I think he's trying to make it look like MY birthday, but i can assure you, i am still in my thirties. ;) And as usual we have one child digging in the area of his nostrils and poor Jacob looks like he's taking his daddy's old age harder than Marlin himself. 

The cute little toilet paper man made by Tony and Judith, filled with 40 different little gifts. Everyone was supposed to bring 40 things of "something small." People got creative. 

This one was filled with all kinds of useful things like pampers for incontinence.....well suited to a man like mine. ;) 

And we can't forget the food. Judith went out of her way to help me. She did the decorating and made the lattes, (three different kinds). I made the chicken salad sandwiches and another friend, Marji, made the popcorn and chip mix. Thank you friends!! It was a success! 

23 September, 2014

Hangover Hotel...

  Today 4 representatives from Christian Aid Ministries who are here, Tony and Judith (the other Agape/CAM couple), me, myself and i, and of course my husband and a few random children headed out to Hangover Hotel for lunch.

  Sounds bad, doesn't it? Hangover Hotel and a few plainly and soberly dressed missionaries discussing life over sodas at a hotel (meaning restaurant) with the name Hangover attached. As far as we know there's no alcoholic beverages even sold there. Interestingly enough, we didn't notice any people with hangovers. Seems that back in the day it was the place where people went after a night of drinking for a bowl of soup and hence the name.

  To get to the restaurant we strolled back through a small, dirty alley way where at one point a gentleman with large buck teeth and a wide smile hung over a small wall waving at us. We hung a left out of the dirty alley and walked into a rather amazing, spacious for Kenya, restaurant. There were several points of interest that captured out attention. One was a tree growing in the middle of the restaurant, altho it may have been just the stump and not so much growing. We never did find out. The other was a waitress sporting a Cracker Barrel apron with the name Mary wrote across her chest. Neither did we find out if her name was actually Mary or if she just picked the apron up for cheap. It's Kenya and small details like that don't matter so much.

Even you would be welcome!

  We ordered chicken for some, beef for others. French fries (called chips here), a bit of tomato salad, Ugali, (cornmeal mush), and chapatis finished out the meal. I braced myself for tough chicken but to my shock the food was quite tasty and tender. The chapatis were fresh and hot and everything tasted most satisfying.

Making Tomato Salad

  There's another interesting bit of news about the place that makes Americans shake their heads. We were told by other missionaries who eat there that when you order your food, you ask for the "anti-theft" portion. Meaning you want the FULL PORTION of meat, otherwise they will only give you SOME of the amount and sell the rest to others. They will charge you the same price, whether you get the anti-theft version or not. So we ordered the food and before the waiter walked away Marlin informed him we want the "anti-theft" amounts. The waiter cracked the smallest of smiles and agreed pleasantly.

Only the best cuts served here!

 End of story. We got our full portions as far as we know and we realized once again that there are some things we will never understand about this country or their people. 

World Class Chefs... that would make Dwight Miller green with envy!
  I wonder sometimes if America will seem dry and sterile after Africa and if we will miss some of the quirks of this country. I think we might. As i sat there today and watched the people eating and talking loudly (no quiet classy conversations here) i thanked God for the opportunity to experience the craziness and insanity and beauty called Kenya. Somehow i believe we love these people and their "Hangover Hotels" more than we realize. I feel sad sometimes at how little i've really been able to reach out and yet i also know that i'm called right now to stay at home and raise these children that Marlin, God, and i have produced. They are my mission field and i want to live it to the fullest. But anytime Marlin and visiting white people want to visit the Hangover Hotel, i'm available.


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.