Welcome to Mommyhood

As I sit down to write this blog and to update you on my life, my baby/ my daughter is currently screaming and throwing a temper tantrum because she doesn’t want to sleep.

Whenever, I write a blog, it takes me days because I want to give y’all the perfect words and the perfect description of what I am going through and experiencing. My goal is to share with you how I am growing and what I am experiencing.

For the past few weeks, I have been taking care of one of our babies who just returned home from the hospital, my daughter, the screamer. I have felt like a single mom, a bad mom, a terrible mom, a fantastic mom, a crappy mom, a tired mom, an impatient mom and a very, very, very frustrated mom. I am sure many of y’all out there can relate (except you men.) I am a first-time mommy and my daughter, is a little girl who has faced malnourishment, abandonment and heart problems all before her second birthday.

What’s it like being a first-time mom to a little girl who screams all the time, who never smiles, and has a lot of issues? Well it’s very frustrating and overwhelming, and sometimes I feel like I am being a horrible mom when I leave her alone to scream her heart out because I just can’t handle her cries anymore. (She will seriously scream an hour without stopping.)

These past few weeks have been some of the hardest weeks I have faced here in Uganda. I have felt like a failure quite a bit. I haven’t had a full night’s sleep, I’ve been struggling spiritually, my emotions have been out of whack, and I have had to change my sheets almost every day because there is poop or susu on them. The only time I have spent with God this week was to cry out to Him over my baby and my frustrations. On top of that, do you know what the worst feeling is?!? It’s when someone undermines you as a mom and I have experienced quite a lot of that this week, as well.

I reached a point in this week, where I decided I wasn’t giving my best to this little girl and that I was being selfish-I was failing at balancing her and God. BIG MISTAKE there (it makes your life 20x harder…) I decided there was some things I absolutely had to sacrifice in order to love her well and to be okay spiritually. The first thing to go, was my beautiful, wonderful sleep. Before she would get up in the morning, I would wake up earlier and spend time in my Word which has seriously made my life and my days better.

The second thing I had to lay down, was my pride and perfectionism. Let’s be honest, I am never going to be the perfect mom; no one is (sorry to burst your bubble.) However, I can be a great mom by praying over her, her future, her personality, her brokenness-that is one thing, I can do with excellence, and it helps with the frustrations especially when she is screaming right in your ear.

The third thing, I am still trying to get over, is control: my enemy, my nemesis, my downfall. Do you know it’s okay to let other people help you? Do you know it’s okay to let other people take care of your baby even when they do it differently than you? Yeah…I am still learning that one, it may take me a few months…or years. The truth is that this is super hard for me, but I believe, if I get over this desire to control, then I’ll be less stressed, frustrated, and burdensome, and my daughter will be better because of it.

While the last few weeks have been incredibly tough and overwhelming, my desire for my future family has grown immensely. These weeks have taught me a lot about being a mom, but they have taught me more about the importance of marriage. I believe that in these few weeks, God has made me a better mom and wife for my future family, and I am thankful for this experience.

I love my daughter very much, and when she does smile, it is the most rewarding thing in the whole world.

If you survived this far, thank you for hearing my frustrations and my lessons of caring for babies.

Love,

Mommy Mzungu, Mommy Baby, Mommy Chosen, or simply, Mommy Mace.

Prayer Warriors:

  1. Pray for healing over Chosen’s body, both spiritually, emotionally and physically. In the next month or so, she will be having an operation done to correct her heart murmur; I am believing this operation will change everything for her and that her body will be healed.
  2. Pray for strength, energy and yes, patience for this mommy. She’s about to take on two babies at the end of this week-mommy of twins is what they say, so I will need all your prayers.
  3. It hasn’t hit me yet that I won’t be spending Christmas or my birthday with my family this year, and it’s my first time away from my family for both. I don’t exactly know what I am asking for, but please just pray for me for these next few weeks.

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Two Months of Loving

Hi Friends!

Can you already believe it? I have been here for officially two months..well actually yesterday was two months. Anyways, these past two months have been incredible as they have taught me so much about having confidence in myself and in my relationship with God. While these two months have been challenging, there have been some wonderful moments.

I thought I would share with y’all what has happened in these last two months to give you an idea of what kind of adventure I am on over here.

  • The first night here was quite a night, and it’s a night I’ll remember forever. I became the last person in customs and then my organization got the dates confused and never came to pick me up. Don’t worry, I arrived safely to my location. Also, lets take a moment to congratulate me on not freaking out or crying, but on laughing through the situation.
  • I visited one of the hospitals here in the first week of living here, and left numb and broken. In that moment of being there, I truly realized that I can’t fix everything and can’t control everyone.
  • I rode my first motorcycle/boda boda…The motorcycles here aren’t the same as the ones in America, they’re much MORE terrifying. Actually, all the driving here is terrifying.
  • I am a mom of 11 kids (take it in, it’s hard to believe too), the number keeps rising as we keep rescuing more abandoned babies. Two of my kids have special needs, one of my girls is currently in the hospital fighting malnourishment, and the rest are running around being terrors with the cutest smiles on their faces. I have never loved anyone in my life as much as I love these babies; I even sacrificed my sleep for them (that says a lot.)
  • Every time I walk into the village, in the afternoon, I get attacked with hugs by the older kids. It’s seriously one of my favorite things in the whole world.
  • I was sick for two long weeks, it was the worst and I cried a lot…for my mom. I had to get IV’s, injections and lots of drugs to help get my body back to normal. If you want to lose weight..I got a plan for you, just move to Uganda and get sick for two weeks-works like a charm. But in all seriousness, this was a very humbling two weeks as I learned I can’t do everything on my own. Shoutout to my roommate and my Ugandan mom here who washed my hair, made sure I ate and took my meds and stayed with me late in the night while I received my IV’s.
  • I can count on my hands how many cups of coffee I have had while living here, and I have never been more thankful for KFC and Pizza Hut.
  • I teach a homeschool class and let’s just say it’s challenging. However, it is so rewarding especially when you see a kid’s face light up when we do something fun, or when you tell them they’re doing a great job.
  • I saw a goat get slaughtered, I then ate the goat and now I’ve gone vegetarian…well until I get back to the good ole USofA.
  • I have received many marriage proposals, stares, winks, and “Hey Mzungu, you’re beautiful,” from lots of Ugandan men. Don’t worry, dad and mom, I haven’t received a good offer yet.

Life here is very different and challenging, but totally worth it. Everyday, I learn to rely on God a little more, and each day I fall more in love with His character and who He is.

Thank you for your love, your support and your prayers. Please know that whenever you encourage me, support me or pray for me, that it is not in vain, but that it is giving me strength to live here and to love my babies.

PS: If you would like to get involved with life here in Uganda and what Mercy is doing there are three ways:

  1.  We are need of 22 sponsors for our kiddos. We have a few in the village who need a sponsor and we have several non-residents who are also in need. If you are interested and feeling God leading you to give, please contact me. (WhatsApp or Messenger only.)
  2. If you would like to support me financially, I would be incredibly grateful. I am still in need of about $1800, but I know God will provide these last few dollars. If you message me, I can give you the information of the link where you can give online.
  3. PRAYER!! We could always use your prayers. On the side of this page or at the very bottom, you can see the ways you can pray for Mercy and myself.

 

 

 

Do I Love it Here?

Do I love it here?

That is the question that I receive all the time, and prepare yourself, you’re about to receive the truth and the reality of life here in Uganda.

Like any place I have lived in, there are things I love about that city and things I absolutely hate about it. For example, Bradenton, Florida, I hate the traffic, the snowbirds, the beach, the length of time it takes to get anywhere, but I love the people, I loved my church there, and I loved the babies I took care of and their families.

Same goes for Uganda. I hate the driving here, I hate the fact that when it rains my shoes get absolutely destroyed. I hate how my body is always dirty even when I take a shower because of the dirt and dust. I hate the fact that I have to sleep in a mosquito net every single night, and I hate all the flies here, seriously they are the worst. Imagine the flies during summer time in America on steroids and then multiply then times a billion and you have Ugandan flies. I also hate that there isn’t chickfila here…but I am learning how to cope with that.

I hate the fact that my babies were all abandoned by their moms. I hate the fact that my babies have faced extreme malnourishment and that many of them have to spend weeks in the hospital to recover. I hate the way the hospitals here care for the children and even the older patients. I even hate some of their rules and regulations on protecting these kids.

However, none of the things I hate here could ever in a million years compare to how much I love it here, nor could they ever take away from the joy I have here. Yes, I have bad and lonely days here and yes, there are some things I absolutely hate, but they will never ever take away from the love I have for these babies. These babies are my sons and my daughters, my children. I’m a mama at 21 with eight babies and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

Here are the things I absolutely love and live for here: I love that when I walk into the babies home, all my babies come crawling or walking to me with the biggest smiles on their faces. I love it when I see my babies laugh and smile and giggle when I tickle them and give them attention. I love it when I hug my kiddos and they hug me back and then cling to me.

I love it when I see progress in my kids. I love it when I walk into the village, all the older kids attack me with the biggest hugs and then hang on me and follow me everywhere. I love it when my babies accomplish little things like walking and when they light up when music is turned on. But what I love the most, is I love loving these kids with the gift God has given me. These things I love make it worth living here.

 

Here’s to One Month!

Well friends, I have officially survived one month (and one day) here in Uganda, and there has already been some crazies and some goodies and some really uglies. In one month, life has literally flown by as I seriously feel like I just left North Carolina yesterday. Yet, in my one month here, I have already experienced so much already. I think I shall start at the beginning to explain my first month here.

The beginning, the Crazy: Flying to a country alone is one thing. Flying to a third world country by yourself, then being the last person stuck in customs because your visa is having issues, then getting forgotten at the airport by the organization you are serving for is a-whole-nother thing. Don’t worry though, I didn’t cry, I didn’t freak out (patting myself on the back.) Instead I belted out a Veggie Tales song…in my head, and told myself, if God got me this far, he’s going to protect me and keep me safe till I get where I am going. Sometimes there are hurdles we have to jump through to get where God wants us to get, and while we are jumping through them, we have learn to fully rely on God and I had to in this moment.

The Past Few Weeks, the Good: Do you know how much joy can boom in your heart when you hear the sound of a little baby giggling because you are holding them, paying attention to them and giving them something their own parents couldn’t give them, love? Yeah, I didn’t know how much joy I could experience until I met my little babies and heard them giggling when I began tickling them. I didn’t know how much love my heart could handle until I said yes to loving these babies for the next several months. I didn’t know physical exhaustion could be so worth it when it came to loving and caring for these adorable, precious kiddos. (Today is actually my day off, and as I write this I want to run down to the village and see my babies and give them kisses and hugs.)

The Bad Days, the really Ugly: While there have been some great days, there have also been some really bad days where I have felt lonely, numb and broken. However, these bad days are always the days that God teaches me to rely on Him and to trust in His Holy name. This week, especially, has been one of those tough weeks where I have lost my patience and was extremely frustrated, but God reined me in and reminded of His goodness and love.

This week, I got hit, smacked, punched, and pinched by a four/five year old, and I didn’t cry because it hurt, I cried because I lost my frustration, I cried because this is all he knows. I cried because it was a really tough day and because I failed. I failed to love him in that moment. I didn’t react in anger towards him, but I also didn’t choose to love him in that moment.

Moment of Honesty: These bad days are really bad because I don’t know how to explain to my friends and my family the emotions that are running through my mind and that are flooding my heart. Life here is very different, and I haven’t learned how to explain my emotions and feelings, the things I am seeing and dealing with yet. So I am asking for your grace when I can’t explain to you how to pray for me because I am dealing with so much here.

But here’s to my first month here! Here’s to living life fully for God! Here’s to saying yes and being obedient!!

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My First Two Weeks

Hi Friends and Fam!

I have been trying to write a post about my first week here since last Thursday, and now, it has turned into a blog about my first two weeks here. It has honestly been the toughest thing to write and even now, I am struggling to come up with the right words to say and to share.

My first two weeks here have been…challenging, absolutely wonderful, lonely, incredibly amazing, heartbreaking, and amazingly adventurous. I thought about telling you of all the new experiences, or the places I have gone or the things I have seen, but it didn’t seem good enough. I then thought about sharing of my first night here and how I almost didn’t get through customs, or about my first experience in a Ugandan hospital where I was ready to go full-crazy American on them, but I felt like my emotions and experiences would get lost in translation.

So, I finally decided that I would share with you what I am thankful for. Two weeks of living in a new country can really teach you what you’re thankful for.

  • I am thankful for healthy babies who have loving mommies and daddies. I am currently caring for a malnourished baby, and it puts things into perspective.
  • I am thankful for clean hospitals, incredible nurses and wonderful doctors. I am thankful for the rules and the organizations our hospitals have.
  • I am thankful for American systems, procedures and the laws we have in place to protect our children.
  • I am thankful for our traffic lights, our speed limits, our road signs, and our paved roads with markings on them. I will never complain about someone not using there blinker or someone cutting me off ever again.
  • I am thankful for our diversity of people in America. It can be incredibly tough being the only white girl; I have been stared at, proposed to and laughed at.
  • And finally, I am thankful for our food. I miss you Chickfila. (In all seriousness, stop posting pictures of food on your social media, please and thank you.)

Before I left someone told me, I can’t fix it, and that I am truly learning. I am currently praying that I will have a better understanding of the Ugandan culture and their systems so that I can be better equipped in loving and caring for these babies with excellence.

Please continue to keep me in your prayers, and pray for my sweet babies.

Love you all.

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Thank you!

Well Friends! TOMORROW my journey begins as I board my flights to head to Uganda.

Many have asked how I am feeling…and well, it’s starting to hit me. My emotions, my nerves, the tears, the goodbyes, everything is hitting me like a tennis racquet hitting a tennis ball. It comes fast, and it smacks hard. My mom literally surprised me with Christmas morning this morning, and I broke down crying. (If you’re a guy reading this, this is nothing unusual…some women cry a lot 🙂 ).

One of the emotions I have experienced this week (and the past few weeks of being in Wilmington,) is complete awe. Many of y’all know, I hate Wilmington and that it is incredibly hard for me to be here. However, these past few weeks I have felt so loved, so supported and so encouraged from the people of this city. Everywhere I have gone, people have heard my plans, my goals and my vision and they have been so supportive to the point where I wanna cry from feeling so loved.

So to everyone who I have talked to, prayed with, and seen in these past few weeks, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support. Your support and prayers have done more than just encourage me, they have carried me as I have prepared for this new season.

I know this next year is going to be difficult, but knowing that I have so many people praying for me and supporting me is a huge relief and just incredibly wonderful.

So here I go, on my next season of life with all five bags of luggage, heading to a new town, in a new country, with new people. Accompanying me and my five bags, is my faith in God and the Holy Spirit guiding me and directing me.

Thank you for your prayers.

XOXO,

Mace

PS: So many have asked how to contact me and keep in touch with me. Well you can follow my blog, add me on facebook and instagram, or contact me through whatsapp and email. I can’t promise quick responses, but I can promise I will look at them, get distracted and then respond hours or days later.