Saturday, April 19, 2014

A Special Event on this Sacred Weekend

Hello friends,

It is a special weekend for Christendom when we mark the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ, otherwise known as Easter by most people.

The month of April was actually set aside to worship the Anglo Saxon goddess, Eastre, the goddess of birth and fertility. Eastre was symbolized by the rabbit.  Eggs and rabbits symbolize birth and fertility in many cultures but I am not sure how the eggs and rabbits came together to be associated with Easter since rabbits do not lay eggs.

Emperor Constantine gave the edict of the Easter rule in 325 AD whereby Easter had to be celebrated on a Sunday between March 22nd and April 25th.

These days many Christians celebrate Resurrection Sunday rather than the early pagan worship of the goddess Eastre.

This is a special time for me when I remember the sacrifice that God and his son Jesus gave for all mankind that we might have the gift of eternal life.

This year, the holiday weekend has an added significance for me.

A young Kenyan man I call my little brother has become a married man. His name is Enoch and his betrothed's name is Angela.  They are both members of the Kalenjin tribe and come from Bomet, Kenya.

(The red symbol "B" shows the location of Bomet in relation to the city of Nairobi at "A". If you travel north and slightly west of Bomet you will get to Kericho. Travel even farther north and slightly west of the Kerio Valley National Park and you will see the location of Eldoret, site of the huge prayer meeting over the weekend).

The wedding was held in Bomet, Kenya.  My friend Jonah had a difficult time getting there on time as it seems he had to compete for public transportation with those heading to Prophet David Owuor's prayer meeting in Eldoret, Kenya.  Matatus (mini-vans which transport the public for a small fee) were in short supply on Good Friday, the day of travel.  Over 500 buses and many matatus were in demand to transport the countless people from all over Kenya and neighbouring countries who flocked to the town of Eldoret to participate in the prayer meeting.

You can see how muddy the village roads are. It has been raining a lot and it is difficult to drive through this mud in the village.
In the end, Jonah made it to the wedding and I was able to get photos of the special day. I'm sharing a few of them here so you can see what it is like to have a wedding in the village.  I am always amazed at how people in general, and women in particular, walk through the mud all dressed up and with heels on and yet they don't seem to get dirty!

Here is the happy couple. I wish them a long and blessed union.

I want to thank those of you who read and commented on my Elvis post. I am still praying for financial supporters who can help make his final term at university a reality.  Time is short. If you can help, please let me know. You can read more at the GoFundMe post at the right of this blog.

Have a wonderful and blessed weekend!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Friday, April 4, 2014

One Easily Met Goal

Most of my friends know I am quite an avid reader. I always thought of myself as an avid reader anyway until I started keeping track of what I read and realized I am not such an avid reader after all. If I read 20-24 books a year that is a lot for me. Reading this amount of books is not so challenging that all you are doing is reading. In fact you can take long breaks between books and still read that many in a year. I do like to do other things with my time besides reading so 20-24 books each year is enough.

This year I set a goal of 24 books and have already read 22 of them. I hadn't planned on it but the weather has been inclement and I haven't felt much like doing the things I normally spend my time on. So I've made more progress than usual. I will have to increase my reading goal but need to make sure I don't continue to neglect my Bible readings. I got out of the rhythm of the Bible readings when I had to deal with some family matters and then I didn't get back into my routine.  I like to read a little bit out loud while listening to someone (on a Bible app) read the same verses.  It makes the words come alive for me.

I know many of you are readers too.  But if you are not a regular reader, I encourage you to set a modest reading goal for yourself. It's not too late to set a goal for 2014!

I'm also pleased to share this mosaic of today's sky.

I wrote yesterday of the forecasted rain but was pleased to get some breaks in the clouds and rain for even a short while today.

I hope you are are all enjoying your day.  Please do check out my sidebar Go Fund Me appeal for Elvis in Kenya. God bless.

Frugal Notes:  For those that like to save money, this is one of the least expensive hobbies you can find.  Books these days can be purchased super cheaply at your local thrift or second hand store. You can find a lot of popular fiction in these places and you can also find lots of reference materials. Sometimes I even find full sets of Christian reading material that have earlier been purchased from television offers.  If you would rather not spend the funds no matter how little, you can also borrow books from friends or trade something they want of yours or you can borrow books for free from the local library.  Four (4) of the seven (7) books in the photo at the top of this post are from the library.

Have a wonder - ful week!

April Weather

It poured heavy rain today.

This is the weather forecast for the week.

While it appears we have rain for the next two days, I am pleased to see sunshine in the forecast for over a week! This is better than the forecast I saw yesterday which saw very little sunshine in the next week. 

I was so pleased to see beautiful skies earlier this week. It must be getting close to warmer temperatures and more frequent sunny days.

I am hoping to get to the new movie "Noah" tomorrow if my friend doesn't have to go in to work.  Another friend and I will try out a new to us Indian restaurant on Saturday.  I can't wait to taste the food.

I hope you are all enjoying your weather wherever you are.

Skywatch Friday

Monday, March 31, 2014

March in Pictures

Dear friends,

I hope you are all doing well. I have had a slow March in many ways compared to the norm. I've needed to get caught up on my rest this month.

But alas it is that time of year when major bills must be paid and taxes must be prepared so that wakes me up a bit, lol.

This month I tried a few new bread, soup and banana bread recipes. I had good success.

It has been raining a lot here and still a bit chilly. But the sunshine is starting to return at long last.

These mosaics give a hint of the month of March around these parts.  I hope you like them.  

We had a lot of rain this month and snow on the mountains but the sunshine is returning.

 Have a wonderful week.

By the way I invite you to read my sidebar "Go Fund Me" project to help Elvis in Kenya. Would you keep him in prayer? Thanks so much!

Joining in with

My World Tuesday

 Mosaic Monday

this week.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Cross in the Night Sky

On a recent walk to the local library I captured these photos of a church cross.

These were the best night photos I could capture on a cell phone. One day I might have a good camera to capture the illuminated cross at night much better. For now these will have to do.
The cross reminds me of the price God paid for my soul. It also reminds me of the two greatest commandments set out in Matthew 22: 37-40

37 ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

These form the basis of my love for helping people in general and my love for missions in Africa.
It explains why I help people like Elvis who is hoping to finish medical studies in Kenya this summer. There has been a hiccup in his studies due to recent striking and rioting at universities in Kenya but with God it may still be possible to finish university. It has been a long road for Elvis.

Although I do help Elvis and write about him and others in Africa, from time to time on my blog, sometimes others think the ministry is for me alone.  The good news is that anyone can help if they would like to help.

Please know the Kenyan mission is for anyone and everyone.  That is, anyone that wants to help.

If you feel so inclined please contact me and I can let you know how to send funds to Kenya. If you don't want to help or cannot help, that is fine too. I'm not here to try and pressure anyone. The decision is yours alone. If you are a believer, you can always pray. That would be awesome.

I am here to help raise awareness for those that wish to help on the mission field to Kenya. Once trained Elvis will have a much better opportunity to help himself and his family as well as bring health and healing to those who need medical care.

If you wish to learn more, please read about Elvis at the sidebar (top right of my blog).

Have a wonderful weekend.

Skywatch Friday

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Frugal Shopping - What Would You Buy ?

What would you buy if you had a "free" money to spend at a pharmacy to the tune of $60 (Canadian, 582 SA Rand, $58 Australian, 32 pounds sterling, 38 euros, $53 American dollars, 124 Brazilian Reals)?

I shop at a pharmacy where you get points for buying certain items. The points accumulate each time you shop and sometimes the store promotes specific items giving you more points to get to certain spend levels more quickly. This money is like "free money" (of course the store is not losing money but they ensure some of their profits goes to these rewards programs to build customer loyalty).  As a consumer, this kind of thing only works like free money if you are careful not to purchase things you don't need just to get points. Sometimes you get lucky and are able to get 20x the points on something you really need. This is the only way to build up points quickly.  Otherwise it can take some time.

I don't like my point levels to get too high because then I have a hard time spending it all at once.  I also would have a hard time carrying my purchases home from the pharmacy which is about a 10 minutes walk away.  I've learned that it doesn't "pay" to spend only part of your points.  You lose out on the full value when you do that.

Since it is close to the end of the month and I intend to spend my all my points and stock up on things I don't usually buy unless I'm spending point dollars.

I looked at the sales flyer and made a list. I came up with the following items

  • ketchup (used mainly in barbeque sauces for marinating meats).
  • creamo (sometimes used in my coffee or cereal though I use it less and less due to fat content).
  • bacon  (again, something I seldom buy but stock up on when the price is right. It's good for breakfast now and with eggs or waffles. It reminds me of holidays with the family or university days when I had an English breakfast once a week on weekends.
  • eggs (I seldom eat eggs for breakfast but use them in baking).
  • bags of frozen fruit (I use these in smoothies mixed with greens and in muffins).
  • butter (I use butter in baking and on the rare occasions I eat toast).
  • coffee (I stock up on cans of coffee when it is on sale. I always have enough. When the price gets too high and sales are no longer good I've decided I will stop drinking coffee).
  • plastic cling wrap (It is used for so many things).
  • dish soap (I have a dishwasher but also do a lot of dishes by hand).
  • dry cereal (sometimes I like to have a few boxes of cereal on hand for when I don't want porridge).
  • ice cream (An item I've thankfully cut down on. A treat now and then is okay).

It is clear that there is very little on this list that you would associate with a pharmacy. I don't actually need paper products, make up, over the counter medicines or much in the way of household cleaning products right now. In the end I eliminated the creamo and bought some toothpaste and household cleanser for my bathtub. I also spent a few extra dollars and purchased a very large bottle of shampoo. It was on sale and I had a dollar off coupon. This will last me about 2 years as I use so little at a time.

This is my receipt after the shop. I spent $5.27 of my own funds & saved an additional $45. and change off the original sticker price plus my $60. "free" money for a total of $145.27 savings.

In addition to all the things you might associate with a pharmacy in North America, the pharmacy also carries lots of snack foods, frozen fish and convenience foods, pops, breads, pastas, spices, specialty food items, sauces and paper products (toilet paper, tissue paper, paper towels).  I am allowed to spend my points dollars on any of these items but I cannot spend them on medications which I do not need at the moment in any case.

Saving funds this way really helps me stretch my dollars so I can send funds to my sponsored children through Compassion International and help people like medical student Elvis.  I also try to help Jonah in Kenya who still assists elders and others with medical costs, food, etc.

Kenyan women I was able to bless one Christmas.

 Elvis will be graduating in August and is getting close to the finish line. We have one more semester to go.

I would appreciate your prayers for both of these men.  
If you feel able to help financially I'd be happy to hear from you.
I hope to say a little more about Elvis next time since I really need to try and help him finish the year

What would you spend on if you had a free $60.00 (sixty dollars)?

I'm looking forward to reading your replies.
Have a wonderful rest of your weekend. x

Weekend Bake: Banana Loaf

Hi friends,

There are certain recipes I continue to search for and refine. One of them is Banana Bread. For something so seemingly simple, I still haven't found a Banana Bread recipe I really like.
Most of them seem to be too moist. I want a dense loaf that is more like a bread but with banana taste.  I don't want a loaf so moist that it is like pudding.  I also don't like big chunks of banana in my loaf though I do like to see the seeds. I'm also looking for a recipe that doesn't use such a lot of sugar and oil.

I tried this recipe tonight.


¼ cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar (I used 3/4 cup)
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream (I use Greek style plain yogurt instead)
1 cup mashed fully ripe bananas (I used 2 bananas because that is all I had today)
2-1/4 cups flour
1-1/2tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 cup chopped walnuts (I meant to add the walnuts but forgot)


HEAT oven to 350ºF.
BEAT butter and sugar in large bowl with mixer until blended. Add eggs and sour cream; mix well. Add bananas and combined dry ingredients; mix just until moistened. Stir in nuts.
POUR into greased and floured 9x5-inch loaf pan.
BAKE 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 min.; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely before slicing. Refrigerate leftovers. 

When I transferred the batter to the loaf pan I was immediately pleased.  The batter is much thicker than the previous recipes I've used. However I could tell it was also going to be very dense.  I also could have used slightly more banana in the mix but I only had 2.  It was enough for a pleasant banana flavour.

Sorry for the shadow on the banana loaf.  It was late and the lighting was poor.

Taste test:  Good but rather rubbery. I over mixed the batter.  You are only supposed to mix until moistened not beat it together well. It was getting late and I wasn't paying good attention  I will be more careful next time.  I used my tin loaf pans rather than the silicone pans. I find silicon bread pans are terrific for bread but give my muffins and quick breads a "jelly like" consistency at the bottom. Good for certain types of muffins like strawberry or raspberry but not so good for things like banana bread, IMHO.

I like this recipe much better than the other recipes I've tried so far. I'm going to enjoy tonight with a cup of rooibos tea before bed.

In weather news, we've been having a lot of high winds.  It is helping to chase away the clouds and bring out blue skies and sunshine for several hours a day though there is still an unseasonal chill in the air.  Several of my friends have been battling with the flu bug or bronchitis. I myself have not been feeling that great for about a week but have managed to thwart getting a bug. I am trying to get more rest and drink plenty of fluids.

 I hope your weather is cooperating wherever you are and that you have a wonderful weekend. Hugs. xx

African Music & Happenings