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Saturday, September 30, 2017

The Week Flys By & There is So Much to Learn

Hello friends,

It's been a very busy week  and I managed to get a lot done.  Top it off the weather has cooperated so nicely. Instead of the rain we were anticipating at the end of last week, the weather has remained sunny and even quite hot at times.


My little garden has seen it's better days but is still blooming so I'm enjoying the colour.

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I don't think I've ever shared in this space that I have intentions of writing a book. 
It has been on my list of things 'to do' for awhile now.

My mom and other family matriarchs are no longer alive.  Once I am gone there will be very little remembrance of certain things, especially the spiritual heritage but also other important family information. 
If you have ever grown up in a family knowing little about your family background you will appreciate how important it is for someone to leave a record behind for you. 
Even a partial record is a true gem to the recipient.

My late mom and I had plans to co-write a book but she changed her mind along the way.  The actual planning and writing was too stressful for her to contemplate when she had so many other things on her mind. She loved to share her stories orally.  She wasn't technologically inclined and we could never get to the point of capturing her stories on recorder or video due to competing priorities. Whenever I thought we might finally be at that point her health or some other issue would demand attention.

For my part, I've made a modest start by drafting a rough outline.  I've even written a few rough chapters.  However there is still a long way to go to finish and to redraft before it is ever published.  Let's face it, time challenges are huge these days for most of us. There are only so many hours in a day.  If you are a beginning writer such as myself, it takes a certain discipline to figure out how to move forward and to actually do it.

My "classmates"

Last weekend I went to a presentation by a local best selling author. Her talk inspired me to get serious about the writing and helped me understand that the writing needn't take years and years.  I now have a much better idea about the publishing process, through both the traditional publishing route and through self publishing. I also have some rough estimates of costs associated with the process. There are also Christian publishing and Amazon publishing to look into.

Over these past few years  my blogging friend, Linda from Spiritual Memoirs 101, has also been a huge encouragement.  I first came to know of Linda when she still published a blog called Grandma's Letters based on her missionary experience in Kenya. We share a love of Kenya and of missions.  Through reading her blog posts at Spiritual Memoirs 101, I've kept alive, the idea of writing as a future possibility.

Now I need to get organized and make a plan for consistent writing. From the outset, I've only ever thought of my memoir as being for family members but that  may change. For now, it is enough that it is for family and it is important I get it done for that reason alone.

I also have a few children's books in mind and I'm hoping to get those to a wider audience.  The hard task will be to find the right illustrator as I have a very specific style in  mind.  I have done some searching for just the right illustrator but haven't found the right one yet.

Anyway enough about writing for now.  There will be more to come at a later point in time.

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I've also been very busy this week with a number of seminars.  One of them had to do with fashion challenges.  It is helping me assess my current fashion sense and style preferences, as well whether I am actually implementing what suits me fashion-wise.

Once upon a time when I was working I had a very classic style and I enjoyed the look. Now that I am retired I've gotten into a bit of a style rut.

Over the past year or so I've been trying to build up a nice wardrobe that meets my current needs. I've made some inroads into building a look but now I need to take stock and figure out what is missing.

All of my purchases have been things that have been on sale.  It means I did not always get what I wanted in the colour I wanted.  That's what happens when you shop end of season sales.  Now I must take stock of where things are at and I think start looking at capsule wardrobes.

The concept of a capsule wardrobe is to be able to mix and match many looks from a smaller quantity of clothing items per season. Nonetheless I find it still adds up to a lot of clothes and more than I would normally buy. I suppose that is why I never quite have the outfits I need. I also don't do a good job of coordinating the colourways and items needed per season. I just buy what I like and hope it goes with other things in the wardrobe.  This approach also results in too many clothes and nothing to wear.

My goal will be to pare down the number of clothing items I have and better assess how everything goes together.  Then I can fill in the gaps and only purchase what will round out the wardrobe.  The other thing I am trying to pay attention to is buying clothing for my body type.  This is much harder than it sounds (at least for me) and makes finding just the right items that much more difficult.  All in all though, I've had fun looking at what other ladies deem to be 'nice' outfits and learning about their struggles and challenges in trying to dress well. The group I am participating in even had a woman from Kenya join in. Small world!

Another interesting webinar I enjoyed this week was a Christian seminar presented by Donna Partow's of Women's Empowerment University. I heard of Ms. Partow through a friend of mine but didn't realize that she had an online university with extensive topical teachings.

The one I took the other day was just what I needed and has reminded me of the importance of making time for deeper intimacy in my prayer life and walk with God. Intellectually of course, I already know this.  But it can be challenging to ensure one keeps space in daily and weekly life for spiritual matters. Over time I am making small changes here and there in hopes of having quality time and more time for my spiritual life.




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I rounded my week with a free seminar in my community on nutrition and reading food labels. None of this is really new to me but I do so much appreciate the chance to review the information once again. When with a group of ladies and enthusiastic team leaders, it is so much more fun than reading and learning on my own! We even did some line dancing and had healthy snack as breaks from the presentations.


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Life is always better when one takes time to smell the roses so I made time to do one of my favourite things; visit the waterfront and take photos.

It was such a fantastic day.
I strolled along the waterfront, took photos, had something to eat, sat on a log and watched the waves and talked to others looking at shells on the sandy beach.

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This critter enjoyed fetching a stick from the ocean.

Unfortunately I forgot my camera at home and had to rely on the phone camera.
In bright sunlight the photos are never quite as good.
Or at least I haven't figured out how to make them look as good *smile.



Thanks for reading me today. 
I know it was a long post.

Enjoy your weekend.

Joining in with Skywatch Friday 
and

Thursday, September 21, 2017

September Sunset

Much colder weather definitely arrived last weekend and carried through most of the week. We also had some rain. The first in a long while. 







We didn't have the best summer.
We had very inclement weather until well into May.
After that we went directly to extremely hot weather interspersed with very smokey skies from all the wildfires burning to the north of us.
Once that was over we went directly to very cold-ish temperatures and rain for a few days.
The current forecast is expected to be sunny for the rest of the week. I'm not sure what the temperatures are going to be but I'm already "missing"summer because winter won't be very far behind.
We Canadians do like to complain about our weather.

At times when I want to complain about things like the weather, I remind myself that other places have seen much worse and are dealing with real devastation.
There doesn't seem to be such a thing normal weather anymore. 
What we used to count on for seasonal weather no longer exists.
 A few years ago I heard a Canadian Climatologist say we should now learn to expect the unexpected in terms of the weather.  So these days I never quite know what to expect and I take nothing for granted when it comes to the weather.

I can only hope and pray for the best in the sense of peace and safety and protection of property and persons from destruction when the worst in weather arrives.

As we transition into Fall I am grateful for some things that the summer months brought.
There are many things to be grateful for, some smaller, some larger:
  • the ability to make progress on my long 'to do' list 
  • putting in a garden though the planting season was much later than usual 
  • getting my cataract surgery accomplished and not having any problems with it
  • visits with long time far away friends and relatives
  • most friends and relatives were fine and unaffected by wild fires and wild fires did not get close to my home (however one relative and his family members had to be evacuated)
  • my friends in Kenya did not suffer personal violence during the recent elections (another election will be held next month because the country's Supreme Court invalidated the August election)
  • all my friends in USA came through Hurricane Irma more or less intact and with minimal property damage.
Hurricanes, fires and recent terror attacks and threats in various countries have created a lot of fear and anxiety amongst people, including me.
My faith in God and thinking about the basic essentials in life which I need to be happy (my list: shelter, water, food, relationships, hope & love) are a huge help in keeping calm and carrying on though the storms of life (literal and figurative).


 Have a blessed weekend.
I pray peace to you and your families.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Goal Met & Some Sunshine, September 13, 2017


Hello friends,

I'm so excited to be able to say I've met my reading goals for the year. 
It was an eclectic mix of books for sure.

My official reading goal is modest . I've only selected 35 books for the year.
I already have a few more books on the go but these are various coloured icing on the cake :-)

I hope all is going well for you wherever you are.

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I'm so pleased to know that many of my blog friends in Florida have now reported they are safe after Hurricane Irma and they all came out reasonably unscathed. Thank God for that though I am still waiting to hear from one friend in Orlando.

Hurricane Irma also left many Canadians  stranded in the Caribbean.  Some on holiday but also residents and seasonal residents, students and business people.
Canada has airlifted 1,652 citizens out of the Caribbean since Saturday, according to the latest figures from Global Affairs.
Some Canadians are unhappy that the government help arrived a bit later than the help for the citizens of other nations. Some are thinking about those who travelled to these hurricane prone countries even though there was a severe travel advisory against travel. I'm sure there will be much more in the news to come.
(Source:  CBC News, September 13, 2017)

Closer to home the wild fires still rage across a good part of my province, next door in Alberta and farther east in the Province of Manitoba.
Yesterday, the BC Wildfire Service reported that as of September 12th, there are still 136 wildfires (over .01 hectares or larger) burning in the province.
So far in  the fiscal year 2017, the province has seen 1,246 wildfires burn 1.28 million hectares. That compares to a 10-year average of 154,944 hectares burned.
(Source: The Georgia Straight, September 12, 2017)

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Weather here is quite a lot cooler than it was a week ago. I'm needing a bit of adjustment as I'm still using summer covers and have my windows wide open all night.  Last night for the first time I felt a distinct chill and a cramp coming on. Reluctantly I realized it is soon time to change out the linens and blankets change my habits a bit to accommodate the cooler climate.

The days are beautiful and sunny though I realized last night that the sun sets over 2 full hours earlier than it did in the middle of July. I miss the longer days but Fall is one of my favourite seasons.
The only thing I don't like about Fall is that Winter will arrive soon and it seems to be a longer season than Fall, Summer or Spring!


I haven't had time to clear out the garden.  I've decided I will probably just leave it until the Spring.
Joanne from Cup on the Bus,  reminded me that the birds can come and eat over the winter if I leave my garden as is.  It makes good sense given that my city is not usually covered in snow for very long.
I know in previous Winters I have enjoyed watching the birds come to peck around in the garden and am always grateful then that they have a garden to come and peck around in.



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Friday, September 8, 2017

Loss of a Legend


Today the world lost a bright light, a legend in the music industry. The gentle giant known as Don Williams.  He was only 78 years old.

I'm so very sad and I join his millions of fans around the world in wishing him God speed to eternal glory and comfort for his wife and loved ones.

I first heard his music when I was baby sitting for a neighbour at the young age of 16. I've been a fan ever since. No one could sing a song and make it sound so sweet like he could.

Don Williams was a master crooner. Virtually every song he sang is a favourite of mine. But this one I share with you as it was one I often played. It's called "Lord I Hope this Day is Good". I think this concert was in South Africa.




Even when I travelled to Kenya I was astonished to hear his music in so many taxi rides I took. It seems his fame extended all around the world.

This documentary of his trip to Harere in Zimbabwe, Africa is also a favourite of mine.  You can't help but be touched by the sensitive, kind nature of this gentle musician. You also will be touched by the opening song by two blind street musicians playing on battered and home spun instruments. It speaks to the love the people had for this amazing musician.




#RIP Don Williams

Those of us who loved your music will truly be missing your light and love.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

My World Tuesday

Hello everyone,

Greetings from Vancouver where the temperature is still like the middle of summer . 
The weather forecast for the day was 34 Celsius and sunny skies.  The weather will cool off considerably by the weekend.




I guess then it will be time to clear the garden. I usually just leave everything until the Spring but it makes more work for me then to put the garden in. 

If I clear it before the Winter this year it hopefully means I will be better prepared to put my garden in next year.
I wonder if I will ever get the hang of the "gardening thing"?
I'm lucky to get some containers planted each year to enjoy some beautiful blossoms but this year due to prolonged rainfall during the time when we should have been planting gardens, there were fewer options for the starter plants I wanted. I even went to many more places to look for them. I finally got most of what I did plant from Costco (the red geraniums below) and Home Depot (the pink petunias above and black eyed susans below).



Forest fires continue to burn throughout the province and across the southern border in the USA.  Earlier this week very remote communities in Manitoba to the east had to be evacuated as wild fires started there. This was a huge effort because so many people had to be airlifted to safety and taken to Thunder Bay and Winnipeg.


 The area where the fire is burning is covered in dense forest interspersed with a multitude of lakes and so is difficult to travel in and out. 1500 people from a First Nations community had to be airlifted to safety.
 
(Source: CBC News)
(Source: CBC News)

The air quality index for Vancouver today looks like this. 



I postponed my appointment with the Travel Clinic where I intended to get booster shots for my out of date vaccinations because I thought it was going to be 34 degrees today and sunny and hot. I thought I'd go at the end of week when it is expected to cool off.
In making my appointment I discovered that Yellow Fever vaccination used to be good for ten years (the stamp I have says mine is good for ten years). Now the World Health Organization says you do not need a booster shot and one shot is enough for a life time.
I hope my stamp doesn't cause any problems for entering Kenya.
The travel clinic says that affected countries know the updated advice on Yellow Fever.

Sky overhead today, September 5, 2017

Joining in with Our World Tuesday today.

Monday, September 4, 2017

A Bit of Progress

Hi friends,

Last time I wrote about having cataract surgery. It has been 1 week since I had my 2nd eye (left eye) done and I am doing well. The actual surgical procedure was a little more uncomfortable than the 1st eye (right eye) during the procedure but not so bad. After I got home and put some drops in it seemed to be better and I haven't had any issues since then. In about 3 weeks I will return for my last visit to the eye specialist and she will give me a reading prescription. For now I am using the dollar store reading glasses which I had already been using.

I've spent the last week trying to catch up on a whole lot of things: Kenyan missions, laboratory appointments, posting and receiving mail, paying bills, a lot of reading and visiting with a good friend.  I don't get to visit with my friend that often and it is a true delight when I do get to see her.  She is a very busy lady.  She is busy ministering daily to elderly people in care homes of whom have no one to help them.  She just takes the time to help them with their day to day needs, sit and visit with them, pay attention to them, read the word and pray with them.  She will even do special things like give them a pedicure.  They love her so much.  She also takes time to pray for me on a daily basis.   I appreciate my time with her and the love she shows in various ways.

The weather here continues to be in the range of 26 Celsius to 31 Celsius and will continue at least through the early part of the week. There has been very little rain in the past two months and we've had about a tenth of our usual rainfall. The wildfires that started a few months ago to the north are still burning.  Read more here
The entire province is so dry and new fires pop up all over the place including not so far to the east of where I live. Just earlier this week wildfires started in the Province of Manitoba and many people have had to be evacuated.

In my August 4, 2017 post, I wrote about the national elections scheduled for August 8th in Kenya. The elections have come and gone. The incumbent President, Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President, William Ruto were announced the winners. The NASA opposition coalition took the outcome to the Supreme Court of Kenya, arguing that the elections process was not fair and credible, particularly as it came to the transmission of election outcomes results. Last Friday, the Supreme Court rules in favour of the Opposition and ordered that another election be held within 60 days.  Please continue to pray for free and fair elections and a peaceful and clear outcome.



My friend Jonah's mother in Kenya has been struggling for her life.  For quite some time she has been in and out of hospitals, some farther from home, some closer to home.  Advice has been followed, surgeries performed, medicines prescribed, yet there has been no resolution to her health challenges. It has been a stressful time and worrying time for her family and those who care about her. She has been through a lot physically and I believe it is prayers that have sustained her.


After a very long time I am now hopeful that she has the right help. She is currently under the care of a doctor from Louisiana, USA and is doing much better. Inn the last few days her improvements have been dramatic and she is being weaned off of various medications. I do hope and pray that this improvement will be sustained through God's grace but for the foreseeable future she remains in hospital under doctor's care.

Also the young girl with lung problems has been back in hospital with chronic pneumonia. After purchasing medications for her I am hopeful she will be able to return to school.  I pray too that her strength will increase and her health improve daily.  Whenever the Lord enables me to get to Kenya again, I plan to meet the young girl and see what can be done to help her with better nutrition.  She is on my heart because she is so young and totally reliant upon the good wishes of her school for an education and even for all of her day to day needs.
                                      


I started this post with an entirely different subject in mind.  Instead this post primarily about Kenya came out however in the typing of it  had an awful lot of technical problems.  I hope all the typos don't appear in the published version. If they do I will have to correct later. I've never experienced such a problem on blogger before. I hope this is only temporary.

 God bless you and give you all a wonderful week ahead.

African Music & Happenings