Mid-January Update

Happy Tuesday everyone. I hope your week is going well.

I'm still taking things a bit slowly, doing my household routines and enjoying a bit of television and reading. The quiet suits me. 

I've also been a bit busy with the Kenyan missions following up on a few women we've been helping including Rose who had a baby not quite 2 weeks ago and Janet who opened her small hair shop.

I also have friends in Kenya who've lost loved ones due to Covid recently. I'm praying for them during these difficult times. Pastor Jonah will be heading to Kericho from Nakuru today (Wednesday Kenyan time) to deal with land business. Long ago I posted about the widow we were helping obtain Letters of Administration from the Kenyan courts so that she could administer the estate of her late husband who died intestate (without a will). I think it was early December when the court granted the order and since then we've been undergoing the legal process to register land titles for the land (the primary asset in the estate) and that process is nearing completion. Land title deeds will provide some safety and security for the beneficiaries. Jonah will also be attending the funerals of the fathers of two men he graduated with from Bible College. Sadly, they have died of Covid and one of the sons has had to fly in from the USA to lay his father to rest. Please pray for everyone to keep safe during their travels and funeral attendance. 

My reading has slowed from last year. This is a conscious decision so that I can focus on other things, spend more time reading the scriptures and rest more.  Of course I'll always have a book handy because reading g books just comes so naturally 

The collage shows the books I'm currently reading. I also have an ebook I forgot to include in the photo. 


Dinner tonight is something I usually make during cold winter months: roasted potatoes, onions, carrots, celery, cabbage and beef sausages. Coleslaw was served along with it and it hit the spot. Last night we had chicken and rice soup. The chicken was leftover from the roasted chicken and greens we had on Sunday. Wednesday I have to go out so we'll have chicken cordon blue from the frozen food section and I'll make a nice green salad to go with it.  It feels nice to have the dinner menu sorted ahead of time and to make a plan to use leftovers to avoid food waste as much as possible.

My play plans tonight include making good progress on finishing Portrait of a Scotsman. Enjoy your day or evening wherever you are in the world. 


Rose & Janet Update

 Hi friends and fellow bloggers,

Rose has now been discharged from hospital as of Tuesday morning, January 11, 2022 Kenyan time.  She has to return for wound care in 5 days then again in 2 weeks so she has not gone home yet. She is staying with a friend so she can be closer to the hospital. Hopefully it can work out for the doctor to make home visits in future for wound care and follow up.

 





New mothers and newborns need a lot of things. We've helped Rose to purchase the above items and other necessaries to help her get underway.

Kindly continue to keep her need in prayer.

We also continue to seek prayer for Janet. 

She is the lady who was chased away from her ancestral home when she had to move back there after her failed marriage. Her brother dismantled her roof, burned the house and threatened her life. Janet has 4 daughters and is trying hard to make a go of a shop selling hair products and related grooming items.



Her brother is in jail and charged with some criminal offenses for what he did to Janet. He is a poor villager so he has been unable to raise the bond until he awaits trial. The bond is extremely high for a Canadian let alone a poor villager. While her brother has been in jail, Janet and her daughters feel much safer.  However she needs continued prayer for several things 1) business success 2) emotional and spiritual strength 3) stability for her daughters and 4) funds to eat and send them to school.  

She is also being pressured by the village elders who are now realizing that Janet's brother could go to prison for a very long time. They want Janet to speak to the police on behalf of her brother. As you can imagine, this places her in a very difficult position. She needs prayer for wisdom and strength concerning this matter also. I have shared my views and thoughts with the Kenyans who have been my hands and legs to help Janet through this time. My assistance to Janet will end soon and it would be nice if I could find someone to help her with monthly needs. Would you pray about whether you could be her help? Thanks so much.



It's Done!

Hallelujah!

As of Thursday, Kenyan time, Rose has safely delivered a baby boy.  Rose had to have a C-section and she will be released soon to recover more fully at home.  Her husband has raised about half of the required funds which will need to be paid prior to discharge. 

Mom and baby are doing well. I'm sure Rose is most relieved given the challenges of carrying to term. I'm grateful for those of you who prayed for Rose and her child.  We are overjoyed that the long drama of pregnancy challenges is over and that baby has been safely delivered. I learned that Rose had not been expecting another pregnancy. In fact for the past several years she was quite certain that her child birthing years were finished.  I know that happens sometimes for mature, older women.  But baby's conception and destiny are not a surprise to God who gives life and I'm thankful to be a part of the safe entry into the world.  I hope I get a chance to travel safely to Kenya and back after Covid and see the baby myself.

 



Quick Changes in the Weather & Short Kenyan Update

I'm easing into 2022. Most people seem to jump right into their activities, plans and goals once the New Year arrives. I tend to slide into the year and take things slowly.  

The main priority in the very early part of the new year is putting all the Christmas decorations away and catching up on any housework that may need doing after making two big holiday dinners (Christmas Day and New Year's Day) within a 7 day period.  This year we had turkey dinner for Christmas and glazed, roasted ham for New Year's dinner. It was all good and appreciated by family but it takes me days to catch up with all the washing up afterwards.

I mentioned the new planner I ordered but it won't arrive for another 10 days or so. In the meantime, I'm just using a wall calendar to keep things organized. I've got several appointments this month but due to inclement weather I'm postponing an appointment here and there.

This is what the sky looked like on January 3, 2022.  I really liked the colour in the sky.



The next photos show how it looked when the snow started falling again. It snowed for a few hours and stopped in early evening.  We're supposed to get another wallop of snow on Wednesday night.  How quickly the days change. 

You can see in the bottom photo that the snow is coming down very thick and fast.  In fact the snow sounded a bit like rain.  I guess that means the snow was filled with water and it was raining 'icicles'.  At least it is considerably warmer than it was a few days ago when I was having trouble keeping warm enough indoors.





I'm thinking I should try to clean the bird bath and the feeders for the birds but until the snow eases it's a bit pointless.

How is the weather where you are?

Do you do anything special for our feathered friends?

 

Late breaking Kenyan Missions of Hope update:

Some of you may remember Rose, the mature, pregnant woman in Kenya. She has had a difficult pregnancy and almost lost the baby once or twice. She is now in the hospital in Kericho, Kenya awaiting delivery. The doctor will do a C-section and Rose will remain in hospital for about 5 days. Health insurance will cover approximately one third of the cost (or 30,000 Kenyan shillings of the total 100,000 shilling cost). We need to raise the rest of the funds. 

Please keep Rose, the unborn child, her health care team and the financial needs in prayer.


Word of the Year - 2020 - 2022

 

As the new year begins I thought I would take a moment to review my words of the year for the past few years and see how accurate or helpful they were. 


Theme Word for 2020

In my search for my theme word I discovered I didn't have one! That was the year that things got off to a very bad start when my nephew and the horse he was riding were struck by a moving train in a blinding snowstorm. At the time (and continuing to now), we have been unable to make a road trip to where he lives or to where any other loved ones live. As the year progressed, a lot was accomplished including reading a record number of books, sewing and mending, a bit of painting and furniture rearrangement, setting up a shelving unit to act as a kitchen pantry and a significant amount of decluttering which included copious amounts of paper and documents.

Theme Word for 2021

Completion was my theme word for 2021. I chose this word because I had been in the middle of trying to accomplish many things for a few years and progress was not fast enough for me.  I felt I needed to complete some things so I could move forward.  It turned out to be a good word for the year and I accomplished a lot of the things that had been on my list for a long time. 

At the start of the year I set a goal of reading 45 books, a reduction from the previous year.  The reading goal was again reduced to 25 books with the idea that I could accomplish more around the home if I spent less time reading.  However I ended up reading a record 69 books. I don't read as voraciously as some people but I usually have a book on hand for the quiet times or late at night when I am unwinding.

In 2021 I also limited the time spent on crafting.  However, I did make a few dishcloths to keep in my stash which dwindles at birthdays and at Christmas. I also completed an afghan throw as a Christmas gift for a dear friend. She surprised me by saying she had been waiting patiently for me to make one for her, lol. She had seen many other afghans I had made and gifted to family members and other friends.

One big digital project I wanted and needed to complete took up almost half of the year.  Completion date was far past the original timeline of mid - January 2021.  It was early June 2021 before it was all done. Several other people were inputting and so the delays were caused by their other time constraints.  Needless to say I was thrilled when everything was finally concluded!

That digital project needed to be done before I could commence a larger scale digital decluttering project. To date I've deleted thousands of photos and documents, unsubscribed from countless online newsletters, blogs and vlogs and unfollowed multiple social media accounts. I've always had an innate curiosity and desire to learn new things or keep on top of subjects and issues. These days I no longer have the energy or time to do it all.  Like many other people, I am trying to focus on the things that matter most although I admit to still trying to do too much.

Beyond the digital realm, I accomplished a lot in the physical realm of my home.  The decluttering of all things large and small continued along with a few modest decor changes which I had started late in 2020. Some of the decor changes included:

  •    Unpicked, washed, re-stuffed and restitched a few kapok cushions
  •    Purchased a blanket ladder for the living room
  •    Purchased 4 new to me dining chairs to replace the antique ones I gave away
  •     Purchased a lot of planters and plants
  •    Purchased a small chest freezer 
  •    Purchased a new lighting fixture for the dining room   
  •    Purchased 2 area rugs (dining area and living room) and blackout curtains (living room)

 



I got long curtains to reach the floor

This is to replace an all silver fixture

Two area rugs which are interchangeable between dining and living rooms.

 

These projects had been on my list for a very long time but I either didn't have the time or the budget. Even seemingly simple things take so much time.  For example, the kapok cushion refurbishment sounds rather simple.  But it took a good week or more to unpick the cushions, take out the stuffing which flies all over the place, wash the covers, refill the cushions (again the kapok flies all over the place) and stitch the cushions back up. I also had to go to the fabric store to buy muslin to make more covers and check the on line shops for a few, new cushion covers.  It's a 'small' project but altogether the time commitment put me off of it for some time. I'm glad it's done now.

For the other projects, I needed to make time to sit down and scour the internet for best prices, then try to coordinate colours through photographs before buying. Inevitably something ordered does not work and you have to try something else. It all takes time.  I wanted to spread the purchases out over several months so it would not have negative impacts on helping people through the Kenyan Missions of Hope. Feeding people and getting them medical care is far more important in the long term than whether I get a blanket ladder or an area rug. But in 2021 it all came together and I was able to spread out the purchases (most are pictured above) over the year.  This helped the budget. I've written about most of the above in various posts during the year.

The intention of all of changes made in the home is to make things "cosy" and to 'finish' the spaces.  I also wanted to open up space in my small home and use it more effectively.  The purpose of something like the chest freezer is to take advantage of sales on fresh and frozen foods and from time to time to cook and freeze ready meals. 

I can't begin to tell you how difficult it is for me to decide on what to buy.  Not just because of cost but also because my decor style is rather eclectic. Consequently everything looks like a 'mish mash' and doesn't always go together the way I'd like. I'm trying to change that.  Since I'm not a spender when it comes to home decor and I don't tend to change things every year, I need to try and stick to a theme I can live with for awhile. I chose ethnic/tribal bohemian.  This way I can incorporate plants, some of the African items I picked up in Kenya and some of the First Nations pieces I've had in my possession for awhile.  I hesitated in this decision because once I decide to sell, I think some people will have an issue with seeing beyond what I have in terms of decor. These days people seem to like the hotel look where I live and it has been trending for long. In any case, that is what I've decided and if, and when, the time comes for selling, I can pack up some of the pieces and store them away.

A lot of outstanding paperwork was also done in 2021.  I'm mostly caught up but still have to sort and shred a lot of paper. I also have more work to streamline the closets full of clothing and shoes. This job seems to be a never ending one because I've been giving away things for years.  The problem is I keep buying clothes and shoes due to weight gain then weight loss over the years.  I expect to lose more weight and so I see more clothing purchases and clothing decluttering sessions in my future.

In conclusion, completion hasn't been fully realized in 2021 but the majority of things that needed action were acted upon.  I was also able to clear away a lot of old things and whatever is left will likely be dealt with much more quickly.

Theme Word for 2022

Now that 2021 is over, I've decided to pick a new word for the year.  My new word is "refresh".  The meaning is to "give new strength or energy to; reinvigorate."



When I think back over the past 5 years I realize I have been through a lot. The death of several close family members and friends, near tragic accidents of loved ones, personal health challenges, an accident in late September, responsibilities with the Kenyan Missions of Hope, and a global pandemic over the past several years have all been a bit much to contend with.  Prior to that, I had many very emotionally and physically taxing demands relating to care giving of two now deceased family members. I have responsibilities for one family member.  I don't regret any of this but the time demands did mean that I had to put a lot of my own life and needs on the backburner.  Some things piled up which now have to be dealt with. 

I am grateful for everything I've experienced in my life, the good, the bad, the ugly. It all made me who I am today and every year I hopefully learn and grow into the person I'm meant to be.

I'm very grateful to God for helping me through everything and keeping me strong enough to deal with what was on my plate.  I will continue to move to complete things in 2022, but I am also moving into a rest and refreshing stage.  I have some ideas about how I will go about it.  My story is to be continued as days, weeks and months go by. 

~~~

 "Maybe you're not perfect, but you're willing to actually look at yourself and take some kind of accountability. That's a change. It might not mean that you can turn everything around, but I think there's something incredibly hopeful about that."
--Brie Larson

 "[I]f you are grateful for your life ... then you have to be grateful for all of it. You can't pick and choose what you're grateful for."
--Stephen Colbert


Gratitude December - Days 25 - 31

Hello everyone!

I trust you all had a very Merry Christmas. I was well organized ahead of schedule for Christmas this year. Christmas Day was nice and easy and I was able to make Christmas dinner at a leisurely pace and enjoy the quiet. Since Christmas I have been struggling with a bad cold and am just trying to keep warm. I have my heat on full blast but it is still quite draughty/drafty. I'll be glad when the new week begins as by then we are forecasted to return to normal seasonal temperatures.

December 24th was my last post for Gratitude December. Today I will include my gratitude items for the rest of this month.

December 25 - I'm grateful for the annual celebration of the birth of Christ. Though we all have different traditions it is so nice that there is a special day set aside to honour this historic event even if the actual day of Jesus' birth is not precisely on December 25th.  Some people celebrate Christmas up until January 6th or the Feast of Epiphany.


 

December 26 - I'm grateful for the turkey we had for Christmas dinner because it is a traditional meal and there is always someone in the family who needs to keep up traditions for the other family members to enjoy. Sometimes I don't feel like making these big meals but I know how disappointing it would be to my late mom and sister to know that and how disappointing for my family members to see and experience a holiday without the traditional holiday feast.  I also feel good when I'm able to prepare the meal for loved ones. Added advantages are leftovers to eat and that  means less cooking for a few days. So many things for which to be thankful for from a simple roasted turkey.

December 27 - Winter storms have been harsh across the entire province during this Christmas season. I'm grateful I have shelter because it started snowing on December 24th and has been very cold since then.  Earlier in the month I said I was grateful for shelter but I'm even more grateful during very cold (and very hot) days. There are many who are on the streets or in Single Occupancy Rooms (SROs) that don't have any heating despite the fact that the city has a by-law requiring that rented SRO properties be heated to 72 degrees Fahrenheit.

December 28 - I'm grateful I have a good yarn stash. When the mood strikes I can start a project without running to the store.  In this case I've started making a  'happy' (yellow and white) coloured dishcloth.


 

December 29 - I'm grateful for my extra long, faux fur coat, hat and heavy duty winter boots on a very chilly day.  A snowstorm was expected today but I decided to go for a walk to the library and felt able to do so because I have the right clothing and foot wear.  Along the way I received 3 compliments on my coat.  I seldom get a chance to wear such a warm coat in Vancouver.  It requires a cold, snowy day not a rainy day otherwise the 'fur' would get matted.  I always get several compliments when I do wear it because people in my city don't wear such coats. You will be more likely to find a long faux fur coat or a real one, on the streets of Ottawa, Canada or someplace like Moscow, Russia. Men especially seem to like the long coat.  When I left the library to run one last errand before making my way home again, the snow had started to fall and there weren't that many people out for a walk or for errands due to the cold.

 


December 30 - I'm grateful I spent some time over the holiday to sort through and get rid of some old papers. I've still got a long way to go but most of the small boxes and tubs of papers are sorted.  Once I get through sorting the next piles I'll begin shredding.  It will be a happy day.


 

December 31 - I already know how I want to end the month of gratitude. I'm so very grateful I've made it through 2021 and that my loved ones did as well.  

Personally, I've made great strides in getting through a lot of  'old business' in 2021.  I've also done other things like work on crafts, read a lot of books, attended to health issues (some of which were unexpected), kept up the family connections and forged ahead with the missions in Kenya. 

I will begin the new year feeling good about the state of things at home and I'm cautiously optimistic about everything else in the world.  

I am grateful that I was able to send everyone on my Kenyan list a small gift to make their Christmas Day special. I was able to send to everyone on the for sure list and on the maybe list and also to one who was not on the list. In addition,  I added some other unexpected things that came up:  eye examination for one person and a contribution toward eye glasses (more funds required before glasses can be ordered). There was also an urgent need for funds to begin a legal process of getting land titles registered (half the funds required have been sent). Since January is planting season, funds were also sent for one farm/shamba which provides maize (corn), variety of vegetables and tea for 4 households for the coming year. 

 

I've linked to the needs as mentioned in previous posts. As always, if you are able to assist the grassroots people in Kenya we would love to hear from you. You can find a Pay Pal button to the right of this blog (click the red flower).  Alternatively, you can send me an email (at the address on my Blogger profile page) if you need more information. I'd dearly love to find monthly sponsors for Janet and her daughters in the photo above. Someone who could help while Janet establishes her business and someone who could help the girls with school fees.

Last, but not least, let me end by thanking each and every one of you who visit this blog and take the time to read my posts. A special thank you to those that also take time to comment. If not for you, I would have already closed this blog.  But faithful readers and commenters give motivation to continue. You are appreciated.

I also want to wish each of you and your families and loved ones a very Happy New Year. My hope is that 2022 will be a better year where we can get back to meeting and spending time with friends and loved ones near and far.






Gratitude December- Day 24

Today is Day 24 of Gratitude December. I'm grateful that I was able to meet a friend for coffee and exchange of gifts. We haven't been able to see one another more than once or twice per year during the pandemic so it was so lovely to have a long chat over hot coffee.

She loved her gifts. The main one is the throw I made but I also sent gifts for her husband and 2 boys, both of whom were very excited.


I'll be taking a bit of time to enjoy the holiday and hope to upload a list of Gratitude December items when I return.

All the very best to each and every one of you and a very Merry Christmas. Stay safe. 💗 

Gratitude December - Day 23

Hi friends and fellow bloggers,


I had a post ready in draft for day 23 of Gratitude December.  I must have accidentally deleted it because I can no longer find it.


Today I'm thankful for this booked entitled,  Braiding Sweetgrass authored by Indigenous botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer.  This non-fictional work is about the world of botany as described and explored through Native American eyes. The book was published in 2013 but I only just learned about it. I saw it was highly popular with various celebrities and my curiosity made me wonder why a book about plants was so popular.

The book is sprinkled with real life examples illustrating the knowledge the author wants to impart about plants.  It is very clever, informative, educational and byvturns, surprisingly moving. 

The reason the book gets a special mention on my gratitude list is because gratitude is a key attribute of Indigenous cultures.  The book helps us to see gratitude as practiced by Indigenous cultures and shows us how connected we are to the natural world and how far we have fallen away from respect for the earth and all it provides.  My hope is that the book will help people to become connected once again to the earth and help us to take better care of her.

Have a wonderful rest of your week and a very Merry Christmas.


I will likely post one more day of gratitude December, then take break before resuming to finish Gratitude December. I'll add the gratitude items in one list/blog for the days I miss posting.

To my regular readers, please accept my apologies if you haven't had a comment from me in awhile. For some reason I only seem to be able to post comments intermittently on most blogs. It's frustrating but I'm sure it will resolve in time. In the meantime, I ask for your indulgence. Stay happy and stay safe. MERRY Christmas 🎄🎄🎄


Gratitude December - Day 22

Hello friends and fellow bloggers,

Today's post is Day 22 of Gratitude December.  I'm grateful that the Coquihalla Highway has been reopened to commercial traffic.  The reopening is about 1 month earlier than initially expected through the hard work of so many workers, engineers and so on who worked around the clock to reopen it.  


Photo credit:   BC Ministry of Transportation

The highway is a major route that connects the City of Vancouver and the other municipalities in the Lower Mainland with the rest of the country. While it was closed the supply chain was badly affected. Truckers had to use alternate and very dangerous routes to move goods. It will be awhile yet before this major highway is reopened to recreational traffic but today's reopening is definitely good news!

Photo credit:  Darrel Dyck, The Canadian Press

There will be major upgrades to the highway going forward.  Upgrades that will try to strategize around climate change issues so these repairs are temporary in nature.  BC Minister of Transportation, Rob Fleming called the reopening, a Christmas Miracle and I would agree.

Gratitude December - Day 21

This post is for day 21 of Gratitude December.

I'm grateful that in this day of internet, email and social media, there are still people who like to connect in the old fashioned way.





These Christmas cards and others not yet hung, have given me smiles 😊.

What about you dear reader? Do you still send or receive Christmas cards? If you receive them do you display them somewhere?

Mid-January Update

Happy Tuesday everyone. I hope your week is going well. I'm still taking things a bit slowly, doing my household routines and enjoying a...