Saturday, March 25, 2017

|| the nursery ||

On the fourth Saturday of each month, we have no church activities.  We are supposed to spend that time with our family.  Regardless of the Saturday, Leon still has to work in the morning.  But we try to do something different (lunch at Fig or a Lusaka day) if it's the fourth Saturday of the month.  Today, we took a little picnic lunch and went to our friend's nursery.  

My go-to quiche was the perfect picnic.  Cucumbers (cuncummers - as Liesl says) and sweet tea rounded out the lunch.

The dam is filled and so pretty!!  

It is filled with water lilies.

The flow has slowed down but a few weeks ago, the kids and I stopped to look at the dam on our way home from church.  The water was gushing over this spillway.  I think this was the first time I've seen flowing water since living here.  This particular dam has never been filled since I've lived here.  So it is nice to see it overflowing with water.

What a lovely Saturday.  Unfortunately, I didn't get photos of the actual nursery where she sells the plants.  But it is so nice to have a place near where we can buy beautiful flowers, trees, and shrubs.  And the people who own this farm and the nursery are very dear and special friends of ours.  

Monday, March 20, 2017

|| lately ||

I've just gone through an incredibly difficult season of my life.  Having two littles is apparently not something I excel at!  :) Throw in financial stress on my husband and life in a third world country and life has been a bit cray-cray!!

I know I have a maid but (for example) I don't have a washing machine.  It died about six weeks ago.  There's one dryer to share amongst ten of us.  And in the rainy season where things don't dry out on the line very quickly coupled with laundry that has been hand-wrung for a spin cycle, uh...a load in the dryer takes twice as long.  This means that when your two year old has a nasty glandular and ear infection and throws up everywhere, your laundry is simply overwhelming.  (ugh)  You have to scrub out your laundry by hand on a  Sunday night so the maid can concentrate on the mountain of towels that rivals Mt. Kilimanjaro and the mats that you have sprinkled over your (lucky you!) stone floors.  Good thing THOSE wash easily!  

Then, just as soon as your two year old finishes her round of antibiotics, your seven month old breaks out in conjunctivitis.  Yay!!  Now the inner germy freakazoid that has been surpressed since living here comes out in full force and every single surface gets washed with bleach water.  Forbid that anyone else should get the dreaded pink eye!

BUT YOU HAVE A MAID, people scream in the States.  Ha!  Well, my trusty girl is on maternity leave and I have a cheeky replacement that causes trouble with the other girls about once a week.  She leaves work early, sometimes hides from her duties, insults the other girls (which is a very big deal here in their culture), and sometimes even tries her hand at stealing from you.  Yay!   Cute, isn't it?

I have really been struggling to find the good in anything in life.  It's terrible.  I'm terrible (the Devil screams in my ear).  I know there's worse situations that others have dealt with but life has felt absolutely insurmountable lately.  I want my visit to the States to be NOW.  I'd really love to go to a clean grocery store with a variety of vegetables and fruit and push a cart that actually works.  I'd love to stop offending everyone.  Hey, I'd just like to be a pleasant person again!

Here's a few things I'm learning and maybe they'll be a blessing to you.  (I didn't say...I have learned - meaning: completed.  I *am* learning - meaning:  in progress.)

1.  STOP listening to the Devil.  He hates you.  You are God's child.  God is working in you (Philippians 1:6) and therefore you are the Devil's enemy.  Find your identity in Christ.  Feelings of worthlessness?  Treasure the Scriptures for inward strength.

2.  Let the LORD fight for you.  Interpersonal problems with others?  "For the Lord is (my) judge, the Lord is (my) lawgiver, the Lord is (my) king; HE will save (me)." Isaiah 33:22.  He is the Judge.  He is the Lawgiver.  He is the King.  I am the subject.  And the pronoun the Bible uses is "our".  So, God is Judge, Lawgiver, and King for all of us!!  Therefore, problems are out of our hands.  They are in His hands.

3.  STOP, and I mean, STOP comparing yourself to others.  Social media is amazing.  I love it!!  It's good for so so so many reasons.  But how easy is it to fall into the compare trap?  I consider it a successful morning if I brush my teeth, shower, read my Bible, AND eat breakfast by 11 am.  Rarely do all four of those boxes get ticked each morning.  II Corinthians 10:12b, "...but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise."

I could title the above picture:  my favorite afternoon activities - lifting weights and reading a book on American history.  But the reality is:

Favorite thing:  fingers!

Sisters, let's all be kind to one another.  You never know the inward battles being fought behind the closed doors of someone's heart.  Do you see the Mom who looks all polished but brushes friendship aside?  Yep.  I bet she could use someone to burst through the doors of kindness and say - hey!  I'm here to help you. You're not alone in your feelings of worthlessness.  Do you see the Mom who drops her kid off at church nursery early with the diaper bag full of crum, not a change of clothes for the blow out and the car seat crusted in spit up?  Hug her.  She's had a rough week.  Do you see the Mom who is so forgetful you think she's thrown her brain out with the baby's bath water?  Yah.  She's also looking for her brain and is so frustrated that she just...can't...get it.....together.  

I have two goals with my social media:  to stay up to date with my family and friends and to portray how good (great!) life is here.  But I never want you all to think that my life is just peachy-keen, squeaky-clean, perfect and easy.  It's not.  That's why I wanted to share a little of the downside and how GOD is teaching me to triumph.  I haven't been triumphing lately.  I've been surviving.  But with God's help, there's gonna be some triumphing going on over here!! 


Monday, March 13, 2017

|| Zondi ||

When most (all) people hear that we employ maids on the farm, their instant thought is:  💰💰💰.  Wow!!  They are so rich!  

To which our reply is:  😂😂😂 


We employ maids because that's part of the culture here.  It's not necessarily an indicator of wealth.  We are expected to have maids to create employement.  Salaries buy food, clothes, and school fees.  

When I was first married, I resisted having a maid.  I actually am one of those very strange humans that enjoys housework.  But that lasted about 7 months into marriage.  An older, wiser farmer's wife told me, "Because we don't have to iron our clothes or wash our dishes, we can concentrate on other things - things that really interest us.  So find out what your interest is and do it."  I didn't get it at first because I *was* interested in housework.  Now, I get it.  My interests include: my kids, doing the farm accounts, baking, my shop, and just plain living life here, which, to be honest is quite exhausting.  If I had to scrub my floors and wash every single plate and utensil, I wouldn't have time to be a human.  

My maid (pictured above) is named Zondi and I absolutely adore her.  She's on leave right now.  Every year, employees get one month of paid leave.  They seldom take it but they are paid for it.  Then, a woman receives three months of paid maternity leave.  About six or seven weeks ago, Zondi started fainting at work.  So I made her go on her month's leave and then go on maternity leave which started this month.  And she's supposed to have this baby any time!!  I'm so anxious for it to be born!!  

I feel a massive responsibility towards Zondi and her family.  Her husband is Leon's right hand guy.  Her little girl is six months older than Liesl and the second baby will be 7-8 months younger than Jules.  I remember as a little child in Sunday school hearing the story of Ruth.  It always intrigued me that Ruth went to a field to glean from the reapers.  The fact that providing for the poor was expected and common place.  That is how it is here.  Instead of a resale shop, we have our employees to give our extras to.  Today, I took two bags of baby stuff to Zondi's house.  It is so nice to know that nothing is wasted here!  There's always willing hands to use and take our extras.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

|| where I'm at right now ||

This thing called being a parent is the most exhilarating thing I've ever done in my life.  It is also the hardest.  I love being a stay at home mom.  But, wow, it takes a lot of energy.  

For perspective on what it's like to be a mom over here, I thought I'd share the hardest thing for me right now in this stage.

THERE'S NOTHING TO DO HERE!  Life is boring! There's not many places to go!  Only two places in our town for take out in a pinch! Just as the scale tips towards "life is difficult here", it also balances out because this is a wonderful place to raise a family!  I'm so glad my kids get to grow up on a farm.  But I do miss the public library, the zoo, the park, museums, and the drive thru.  

I had to get serious about a schedule for Liesl and I.  I've been holding my breath until January because I'd assumed that I would resume homeschooling my two nieces.  Apparently, I don't have to pick that task up again for the forseeable future.  (I was sort of wondering how I was going to juggle that along with my two kids in my tiny house. So, it is a welcome relief.)  Now, the year stretches before me and I know I need to have a schedule to make our days productive and to keep us both sane!

I'm going to loosely try a bit of pre-schooling just to keep her active.  Just today, she said her memory verse for the first time by herself.  That's a great step for a two year old!  

We do go to the capitol city once a month which is fun.  And, we sometimes have play dates with other little friends.  My friend from Germany with her two kids (almost the exact age as mine) is back in town.  There's a new farmer's wife with a little baby in town.  And I'm giving some thought into starting a bimonthly (or monthly) 2's and 3's play group for learning.  There's so many littles in our town because there's such a large ngo and missionary community here.  So!  Lots to look forward to and work toward.  It just takes planning and thought.  Any advice or ideas are so welcomed!!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

|| meet an employee ||

I have to write some of these things down as they're just too funny for me to forget.  Maybe you'd enjoy sharing in the laughs, too.  :)

Meet Mutale who is one of our three gardeners.  From a clinical perspective, I'm not sure what birth defect he was born with but his left arm and leg don't work super well.  But that's the extent of his limitations.  He's funny.  He loves football (soccer).  He's in tune with the happenings of the farm, the surrounding neighborhood, and politics.  He's faithful and reliable to work and works as hard, and even harder, than his limitations allow him.  He loves animals which is unusual for the average person here.  So he cares for our....6 dogs, one rogue cat, several guinea pigs, and countless rabbits.  And, he's funny.

So the other day, as I was walking past the garden, I saw three white eggs sitting by the tree nestled in the grass.  I thought to myself, "What are these eggs?"  They look like eggs from a chicken but they look hard-boiled.  Why would hard-boiled eggs be sitting here in the grass?"

Just then, Leon came walking down the pathway.   So I asked him what these rogue eggs were doing in this unusual spot.  He called Mutale for an explanation.  "Bwana, they are who eggs," and he carried on talking and explaining.  I immediately switch off.  I actually missed the initial explanation, the "who eggs" part.  I really thought they were hard boiled eggs.  To find out they weren't, my mind and ears turned to "off".  

In the midst of the veeeerrrrrry long explanation, Leon looks at me with a smidge of a smirk.  "Do you know what he called them?"  

Me:  "No." 

Leon:  "Who eggs."  

Me: "Who eggs?"

So does anyone want to guess what "who eggs" are?

Second Mutale story.

Last winter, he asked me to restock my shop with lotion (or as they say here "rotion").  The reason?  "Madam, our skin is becoming lik-E tortoise."  😂😂😂 🐢🐢🐢  An American accent would say "tor-tis".  Here, tortoise sounded like "tor-TOISE".  Needless to say, he had to repeat it a few times for me to get what he was saying. hahahaha!

Oh man.  He makes us laugh.  

Answer to the question above?

A "who egg" is in fact an owl egg.  Who? Who? Who? Lol!

So glad for little laughs sprinkled throughout life.  Keeps us sane!