Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Guerilla Garden

We are blessed in my city to have a lot of guerilla gardens.  In case you haven't heard of guerilla gardening yet, it is gardening on land that the gardeners do not have legal right to use, often an abandoned site or area not cared for by anyone.  We get a lot of guerilla gardening happening on the sides of city streets.  A lot of them are small little gardens planted around trees.

Guerilla gardeners certainly add a lot of beauty to the city and brighten up all kinds of neglected areas of land where people pass by.  These little gardens bring a smile to my lips and joy to my heart. I like to take photos of these gardens whenever I can.

Here is one guerilla garden.

And here is a  pretty pink clouds...just because ... it's Skywatch Friday.

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If you are new to my blog and you haven't yet read about Little Linet and her cleft palate challenges, please read here. We'd love to have your support. Thank you.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

African Market in Vancouver

I had the great joy to attend an annual African Market today and had a good time shopping, eating and chatting with people.

The market was organized by the Canadian Network for International Surgery (CNIS).  You can click on their badge on my sidebar and it will take you to their website if you'd like to learn more.

Here are some of my photos from the event. Unfortunately, I did not think to get a photo of the people selling food or of the dish I bought. I bought a dish of injera, cabbage with carrots and lentils. The spices MADE the cabbage and lentils divine.

A long view of the CNIS courtyard. If you look at the man and woman in the center back you will see the gospel singing duo from Kenya:  Alex Ominde and his famous wife, Mary Atieno Ominde.

One of the many vendors selling Kenyan jewellry.

Rasta-man icon, Bob Marley image.

Pioneer Kenyan gospel singer, Mary Atieno Ominde and her husband, Alex Ominde,  provided a short and rousing musical set of wonderful gospel music in Swahili. (Sorry for the poor photo quality).

This table is organized by a local education foundation that raises money to send Luhya children to school.  I spent a lot of time talking to the lady who started the foundation. It was good to speak with a local who knows so much about the Kenyan situation and is committed to helping children get an education.

This lady sells books through Barefoot Books.  I bought the three you see below and I hope to gift them to some Kenyan children.

I also bought some Ghanian soap for my mother and I. I haven't used these before but I've been reading wonderful things about them. I purchased the beautiful necklace from a young Kenyan student who is starting her second year of university studies in Vancouver.  Her mother makes the jewellery for her to sell and make pocket money.

Events like this are always wonderfully uplifting and inspiring. During the gospel singing several African brothers and sisters danced for joy before the Lord. I thought I captured a lot of it on camera and was looking forward to sharing with you. However I found out my camera did not record. I did manage to capture one song (minus the exuberant dancing) on my phone. Once I upload it to youtube I will share it here. In the meantime, if you have not yet heard about Little Linet and her prayer and financial need, please read here. Thank you so much for your visit.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Sky Over the North Country 2

I LOVE this series of sky photos which were all taken on an August evening between the northern BC towns of Chetwynd and Dawson Creek, British Columbia (far western province in Canada).

August is usually a good time to travel to this part of the country.   The days are still relatively warm and sunny. By mid-August you still have sun but you can begin to feel the slight chill in the air as the weather transitions to Fall/Autumn.

For more beautiful skies from around the globe, click here.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Little Linet ~ Update August 2012

The last time I wrote about Little Linet she had recently had her front teeth removed and she was having problems eating. She is now undergoing testing in preparation for cleft palate surgery.

All photo credits:  Jonah of Missions of Hope
Here is little Linet with her mother in their home.

Here Little Linet looks cautiously into the camera. I wonder if she knows what is really in store for her?  Probably not as she is still very young.

This is the environment in which Little Linet and her younger sibling live.   As you can see they are very poor and there is trash all around the neighbourhood because there is no garbage pick up.  There is no way the family could manage to give the little girl surgery without outside help.

Little Linet's next medical test will be on August 28, 2012. Shortly after that, we hope that she will be pronounced a candidate for cleft palate surgery. Then she can be free to run around and play like other children.  Her mother can also be free of the worries about her little girl's future because of the cleft palate disfigurement and the related health issues. Please join us in praying for this little girl and her family.

If you can help Little Linet to get surgery and perhaps give the family some assistance with food needs afterward, I would love to hear from you. We accept donations via Pay Pal. Donations can be sent to kerichojoy[at]gmail[dot]com  No amount is too small.

Please feel free to share this word with your friends or in your church or social circles with a link back to this blog or to Jonah's at Missions of Hope. Thank you so much for your help. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Sky Over the North Country

This photo was taken on August 14, 2011, driving from Chetwynd, BC to Dawson Creek, BC. I love this photo because of the country road leading to the full moon.

For more Sky photos from around the world, click here.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Preparing for the Wedding

The eldest of my nephews is getting married on September 1st. It is a garden wedding in a hot city (semi-arid) so I didn't know what to wear. I wanted something cool and unfussy.

This is what it looks like on but that isn't me in the photo.
I found just the dress on line.

It is quite comfortable and very light in weight though lined.  I like the colour very much.

I am thinking of buying these Birkenstock sandals for comfort and for keeping cool. I actually had my eye on these since long before I decided what I will wear to the wedding.  Now is a  good time to order them on line.  I should have them by the time of the wedding.

 I think I've also found a dress for my niece who doesn't normally wear dresses. This maxi dress is very light and cool.

Since she is much smaller in the neck area, this higher neckline will be great for her.

You'll notice the dresses are both simple and flowing.
I think this shape is my new favourite for dresses and I will likely use it as a base pattern to make myself some new ones.

I'm glad to have the "what to wear" decisions out of the way so now I can focus on planning for the trip which will also include a birthday party for mom and visits with other relatives.  There is a lot of activity to pack into a couple of days.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Bee on Daisy

there is more than pollen and dust on this flower. Look at the top of the flower (where the petals meet the centre of the flower) and you will see a stray hair. I presume it blew there with the wind.

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

For the Love of Reading

Many of you know that I set myself a modest reading goal of 24 books this year. Though I like to read, I also like time for other things, including simply "vegging out" so I don't usually read more than one or two books a month.

Sometimes I get into a phase where I crave reading.  If  I happen to be reading a good book, it spurs me on to read even more.  This week was such a time.  I had the delightful experience of reading a book called The Obamas by Jodi Kantor.  The book gives good insight into what drives the Obama's forward in their mission in political life. It also provides a look into the transition the Obamas made from life in Chicago to the White House in Washington, DC.  It also gives some good insight into the workings of Washington and the White House itself. I found it quite interesting overall.

After enjoying The Obamas, I finished reading two other books that I had only partially read and set aside. I was also able to read one of the many books in my stash.

The first book, It's Easier to Reach Heaven than the End of the Street is written by doctor Emma Williams.  She and her family moved to Jerusalem in 2000 for a several year stint as her husband works for the United Nations.  A month after Dr. Williams arrived in Jerusalem, the second Palestinian Intifada erupted. While living and working in Jerusalem, Ms. Williams met and mingled with both Israelis and Palestinians on a regular basis.  Her book gives us a balanced view of the situation in Israel before her husband, and thus the entire family, was transferred to Senegal, West Africa.

I started this book in late May or early June 2012 but only read it a few pages at a time. It is densely packed with information and human tragedy.  I couldn't read more than a few pages at a time and read about half of the book in this manner.

Then I decided I might get more out of the book if I read it quickly.  The second half was read over a day long period. It is a deceptively small book but is just over 400 pages long with small print and tons of footnotes and explanations. If you have time,and are so inclined, you can do a lot more research into many different aspects of the life and history of Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian relations, by following up on the footnotes.

The book is hard to read because one is confronted with the reality of what is really going on in Israel. There are hardships on both sides, but most people will only tell you about the hardships on one side or the other, and it is difficult to get a balanced view through the media.  I think Ms. Williams has done us all a service by writing this book and she has written it in a fair and balanced way.  Please read it if you can and try to keep an open mind.

Birdsong by Sebastian Faulk, is a book of love and war spanning three generations.  It starts off with a young Englishman, Steve Wraysford, who has an illicit love affair with Isabelle Azaire in France.  Unbeknownst to him, Isabelle gives birth to his child, Francoise, and ends up returning to her husband.  The story then moves us through Steve's service in World War 1 and his eventual meeting and marriage to Isabelle's sister, Jeanne.  Through the rest of the story we find out that Jeanne and Steve end up caring for his young daughter when Isabelle dies an early death.

I found the first part of the book rather tedious. Oddly enough, it started getting interesting half way through when reading the realistic and horrific descriptions of life for the soldiers in the trenches. The descriptions of life on the front lines transports you to the front lines and you can feel the discomfort the soldiers must have felt. Overall this book was a satisfactory read but it did not meet my high expectations given the critical acclaim it has received.

The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent, was good enough that I picked it up and finished it rather quickly (over a 24 hour period).  The first part of the book did not flow very well and the story seemed to take awhile to get going.  Once I got half way through the book and the main story was really underway, I could not put the book down.

The book isn't light reading in terms of it's subject matter. It concerns a fictional account of the Salem witch trials and the horror of what happened during those times.  The author is a descendant of Martha Carrier, one of the women arrested and hanged in 1692 on suspicion of witchcraft. Martha had refused to confess to being a witch and went to her death rather than confess to something she never did, and thereby save herself.  The story is told through the eyes of Martha's young daughter, Sarah.

Overall, I found it quite heart wrenching and it drives home the point that truth often comes with a high price.  Moreover there are good people in the world who are willing to stand for truth despite the cost.

Though this work is a fictional account of the trials, it is a good education for someone like me who never knew anything about the Salem witch trials and was only vaguely aware of them. The author provides a brief history of the Salem witch trials at the end of the book and a set of discussions questions for book club members.

Perhaps one of these books will be added to your reading list this year. If you do read any of these books, I'd love to hear what you think of them.  After a week of heavy reading, I think my next book will be something a little lighter in tone. I will see what I can find in my book stash.

Happy reading!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Taste of the Punjabi Market

I had a great visit to Vancouver's Punjabi Market. I've been meaning to go down Main Street around 50th Avenue to peek into the grocery stores and see if I could find henna for my hair. I did indeed find Henna.  I was very pleased with my selection and the cost of the product but the real test will be in how it works.

Before going to the market, I got a tip from my friend Jo about buying samosa pastry sheets to use in making samosas.  I had never heard of this item before but I was able to find it at the Punjab Food Center.  I was also able to buy some coconut cream, curry and a few other items for future cooking adventures!  Some day I'm hoping to try Jo's samosa recipe here.

The Punjab Food Center has such an amazing array of spices. These two photos show the bagged spices but the store also carries a lot of bulk spices.  When I have more time I will take a better look at the spice selections.  I  was also impressed with the selection of "exotic" flours and oils. I know where to return when I need a special ingredient.

I didn't have a lot of time at the Punjabi Market because I had many other errands that day.  I only had time to hurriedly snap some street scenes and storefronts to give you some idea of the stores in the neighbourhood.  I bought one very nice cotton maxi dress for my niece. I am tempted to keep it for myself and use it as a pattern.  But the better idea is to perhaps go back and buy another one to use as a pattern.

Of course all that shopping made me hungry.  I asked the owner at the Pumjab Food Center where to get good samosas in the area.  He said anywhere would work.  I stopped at Jubilee Restaurant & Sweets and had a wonderful lunch.  I could only eat about half of the food on my plate. It was all very good though I found the pakoras were dried out.  I think it was because it was very late in the day, almost dinner and the pakoras were probably prepared for lunch.  I will have to go back another day and try some of my favourite dishes. I found the eggplant dish (green "blob" on the right side of the plate)  especially good and the chapati was very nice too.

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If you missed my post on Little Linet in Kenya, please read here

Tuesday 4 ~ Books

Welcome back to Toni Taddeo's Tuesday 4 . Books are such a big part of many people's lives. Maybe we should talk about that. 1. Do y...