Thursday, December 17, 2020

A Very Merry Christmas

Hi friends,

I hope you are all well since my last post. I've been getting things ready in my home and running errands all related to Christmas.  

Sky Watch

Before I get into the news I want to share a few sky photos.  The first photo was taken on December 14th in the late afternoon.  The next photo was taken a few days earlier on Sunday, December 12th mid-afternoon after a particularly wet weekend.

Over the next 2 weeks the forecast is for half rainy days and half sunny days.  That's better than what we usually get at this time of year.

I'm grateful for the odd days of sunshine and the glorious views but truthfully the rainy days haven't bothered me much because I'm indoors and keeping busy.

Christmas Preparations

On Sunday night I finally got out the Christmas ornaments and did the decorating.  I'm glad to have the decorating done. Now I can enjoy the twinkling lights every day as I await Christmas.

The small tree, the mantle and bookshelves have all been decorated. I love my little tree because it is pre-lit and doesn't require many baubles. I gave away my larger one and this is the second year I've had the small one which is a perfect size for the living space.

This is the Chinese armoire I moved to the empty wall. I've added a few sparkly lights and glittery balls though I have yet to hang the elephant head mosaic on the wall.

The plants at the top of the mantle are a new addition. They were not doing well on the floor as the space is too drafty.  They are all tropical plants and I hope they will do better at the higher level.  The poor ficus lyrata (on far right) have been having a really rough year and I'm amazed they have survived. Some of the leaves are still recovering.

I painted one wall and touched up some doors. I have more to do but this will be it until after Christmas. I wanted to move the small Asian amoire to the wall so I painted the one wall first.

Before I added a few glitter items to the Chinese amoire, this is what it looked like just decorated with Kenyan artifacts and a Himalayan salt lamp for a Hygge-ly glow during the winter nights.


This is the Christmas mail I picked up at the post office today (Tuesday).  I'm always happy to receive cards and letters since hardly anyone I  know sends a card these days. I too have drastically reduced the number of cards I send.

I'm expecting 5 more parcels to be delivered to the post office and at home.  Most deliveries have been late and I'm hoping these ones will be delivered before Christmas as two of them contain Christmas presents. I also have a box of chocolates which I ordered for a Christmas fundraiser that I need to find time to go pick up soon.
Home Projects and Activities
I tried to put this box of shelving together. It's missing some pieces but I tried anyway. 
I need more time to figure it out since the pictorial instructions were somewhat useless and the snaps that hold each shelf up won't stay closed. If I cannot figure it out I may have to return it but I'm hoping I can figure it out. I bought the shelves with castors so I can roll it out of the way when I'm cleaning.

On my reading list:
I completed this book by Kristen Harmel. I highly recommend it.

I am now reading, The Girl with Seven Names. It's very interesting and is about a young activist from North Korea about her early life and ultimate escape from North Korea.  I found out about her on You Tube through a Ted Talk video when she was invited to California to speak about her experiences.

This is what I've been making and eating for dinner this week.

Ginger stir fried chicken with onions and snap peas served with brown rice.

Fried bannock bread to accompany the leftover ham and bean soup.

Pork chops roasted with capsicum and onions served with penne pasta in pasta sauce

Submarine sandwich and an orange

 Fried pork chop with brown rice and stir fried Baby Bok Choy, yellow peppers and onions

Kenyan Needs

Last but not least, I want to mention the needs in Kenya which are great at any time but especially now after the great floods, the locust invasion, the Covid pandemic and the Christmas season.  Many more people than usual are without any form of work and there is little government help. 

If you are in a position to help at all please consider doing so. It would mean a world of difference. This year my help will be more modest.  In recent years I have always worked with Pastor Jonah to do something special for a needy larger group be it widows, orphans, school kids or the internally displaced people (IDPs). Most of the latter have now been given land to start life anew and though they are likely still in need we have lost touch with them or they have moved out of the general areas where we try to serve people.

The list of recipients I can try to help is shorter this year and I've itemized the basic needs below. If  you would like to contribute to any of them kindly contact me at my email or send a Pay Pal donation to kerichojoy [@] (the address is without the square brackets of course but I have put them there so the bots and spammers don't pick up the address).  If you have difficulty leave a comment  below as to how I can reach you back. If for some reason you still have difficulty accessing, I can also send you a Pay Pal request for payment to the email of your choice and in the amount of your choice.  It would be lovely if we could make Christmas a bit brighter for these people.  

All dollars amounts are given in Canadian currency.  If you need assistance with converting these amounts to your currency let me know and I can help you.  Most of these listed needs are ongoing needs but some of them are specific to Christmas, like food and clothing.  It is customary in Kenya to have at least one meal of chicken on Christmas day and a treat to buy one new change of clothing. The clothing takes the place of a gift since the village people have very little in the way of clothing or material goods.  The dollar amount beside each item is the bare minimum and does not cover the cost of the chicken in the food amounts (food amount covers things like tea, sugar, maize flour, rice and oil). If you want to add a chicken it will be another $15-$20 Canadian). Things in Kenya are expensive but we do our best to keep wants and needs to the barest minimum.

Here are the needs of people I help through the hands and feet of Jonah and Alvin in Kenya. Some of them I help each month and some I help only when I am able to do something more.

People I have been consistently supporting each month

Eunice - in hospital - contribution of any amount for medicines (blood $55 Canadian dollars a pint; medicines for blood pressure and blood thinner - approximately $40 Canadian dollars each) + special diet ($205 per month).

Ernest - diabetes medicine $55 monthly; vitamins $30 monthly; food $55 monthly; food for Christmas week $25; new change of clothing (thrifted) $25, transport ($20)

Alvin - food for Christmas week ($25); data bundles ($25-$30); clothing/shoes ($50); transport ($20).

Jonah - food for Christmas week ($25); vitamins ($30); data bundles ($50); clothing/ shoes ($50); transport ($40)

People I help intermittently

David - married travel tour operator with 2 children and a wife. His business has been greatly affected since Covid started. Food is the main need and beyond that, education costs.

Sarah - single mother with 3 children living in one of Nairobi's slums. Food is the main need and like any parent in Kenya there are costs associated with educating the children. All kids return to school in January 2021.

Stephanie - single mother with one child under 1 year old. Food is the main need and baby things.

Carolly - single man who recently began working as a doctor. He only makes $256.00 Canadian per month at a maternity clinic in a small village.  The money must stretch to cover his food, housing, data and transport needs, and the needs of his sister and grandmother (3 households). I also help him from time to time with things like phone or transport costs). Sadly Carolly lost his grandmother yesterday.  She suffered a stroke in the spring and gradually got weaker.  She now rests with the ones who have gone before. Please pray for her children and grandchildren as they are devastated.

Update:  I have now sent Christmas food package to several people: Ernest, Alvin, Jonah and Sarah.  Since it is Christmas I added a few hungry people who were not on the list above:  Elijah (with 7 family members), Charles (6 family members) and Rose (several family members). I also intend to add David who has 3 additional family members. I gratefully received a donation from one of my blog readers. There is still time to send a donation so please don't worry about when you can send it if you are planning to send something. The people will be glad to have some help to buy food and medicines at any time.


Things are moving along here and I still have many projects to complete. I'm hoping that before and after Christmas I will have accomplished a lot more and can start the New Year with a clean slate. I am actually a bit behind but I am pleased with my progress and I think after Christmas dinner is done I will be able to accomplish a lot.

I will be taking a break from posting until after Christmas but will still access email daily. Update:  I had a lot of difficulty posting photos, centering them and even typing out this post so I apologize for any misspellings as there are more than usual. I've tried to correct them after posting.

God bless and give you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas. 


Linking to Skywatch Friday


eileeninmd said...

Your Christmas decorations look so pretty. I like the tree and mantle. Your elephant mosaic is beautiful. You look ready for Christmas. The meals look delicious, I should try the chicken and snap peas, looks yummy. Have your tried looking for a youtube video for putting the shelves together, they have videos of everything lately. Take care, enjoy your day. Have a happy weekend!

Joyful said...

Hello Eileen, thank you for your visit and your kind comments. I haven't looked on You Tube yet but I will. I know there are videos on practically everything these days. I hope you are enjoying your Christmas preparations so far. Have a great day and a great week ahead. xx

affectioknit said...

Your decorations are beautiful!...Merry Christmas!
~Have a lovely day!

Pamela M. Steiner said...

I love your decorations...that little tree is perfect and it looks so pretty next to your fireplace. I love your Chinese Armoire, and also the interesting artifacts you have. I always enjoy visiting a home where a person has traveled a lot has so many interesting things to see. Your meals look wonderful. You are very creative in your cooking and make it look so good and attractive. I wish I could help your dear friends in Kenya. I can see the need is great. Our funds are very limited and we have so many needs around us here so we have to be careful, but I will definitely pray that God will send the right people who have the means to help in these situations. Thank you for making us aware of the needs of those who truly are in great need. We don't realize just how good we have it until we see how others are forced to live around the world. It really puts things in perspective here. I pray you have a blessed and wonderful Christmas. Will look forward to hearing more from you after the holidays.

Joanne Noragon said...

I do hope your plants are happier up from the floor. They are lovely, as are your Christmas decorations. I really like your tree.

Mari said...

Your plants look good on the mantle and hopefully will do well there. Everything looks festive! I think the stir fried chicken looks so good!

Mari said...

Can you check your paypal link? It says it's blocked when I click on it.

Joyful said...

Hi Mari, thanks for letting me know. I will definitely check into it but in case there are more issues my Pay Pal address is kerichojoy(at) have to put (at) so the bots and scammers don't pick up the address. I hope it works for you.

Joyful said...

Thank you so much Pamela. I love how encouraging you are about my cooking as it doesn't come so naturally to me. My late mom was the wonderful cook in the family and one of my brothers too. You are right that we do not realize how good we have it compared to many in the villages all around Kenya (and the world). When we travel to these places we get a much better perspective on just how fortunate we are. Thank you for your prayers and Merry Christmas to you.

Joyful said...

Thank you Joanne. I'm not the best decorator. I think my least favourite Christmas activity is decorating the tree, lol but I do like to see pretty lights at night.

Joyful said...

Thank you Mari. The stir fried chicken was a nice change from the usual stir fried noodles I make (with beef, chicken or pork).

Joyful said...

Thank you so much Teresa. Merry Christmas to you and your household too!

Jeanie said...

You have been incredibly productive! Where do you find the energy? I'm impressed!

Your home is beautiful. I love the placement of the tree in front of the fireplace -- it's such a good focal point and your mantel is so cheerful. I think it was inspired to put the plants there (even if it wasn't a matter of temperature). They give nice height and color and work so well with the holidays. It's beautiful. Some of the deliveries are slow here, too. They say it is because lots of the trucks have been repurposed for vaccine delivery and if that's the case, I'm happy to wait.

Your food looks delicious. I haven't had breakfast yet and it's making me hungry!

Joyful said...

Jeanie, thank you for all the kind words. I'm glad you like my home :-). Before I moved the plants to the mantel I had my Kenyan elephants and other Kenyan ornaments there (now they are on the armoire). As for deliveries, they have been slow for quite some time here due to Covid 19 protocols, significantly increased parcels being sent and reduced staff levels during much of the Covid period. Now the post office has ramped up staffing as they do every year at Christmas.

Spare Parts and Pics said...

Furniture assembly can be so frustrating sometimes. Have a very Merry Christmas!

Nancy Chan said...

Beautiful sky photos especially the one you used for your blog header. I like your Christmas decorations. It is going to be a simple Christmas because my boys will not be back due to movement restriction. Hopefully, the restriction will be relaxed by end of this year. Some DIY furniture are easy to assemble but some are really frustrating. Very nice meals you have prepared for yourself. Have a great new week and a Blessed Merry Christmas.

Lady Fi said...

Your home is lovely and festive. Enjoy!

Joyful said...

Very true. Have a Merry Christmas with your loved ones.

Joyful said...

Hi Nancy, I think most of us will have a much quieter Christmas this year. Thank you for stopping by. I hope you and your husband enjoy your Christmas.

Joyful said...

Thank you for your kind words Lady Fi.

carol l mckenna said...

Gorgeous sky shots and you are one busy lady ~ beautiful Holiday decor and great post ~ lovely home ^_^

Happy Holidays to you,

A ShutterBug Explores,
aka (A Creative Harbor)

Joyful said...

Thank you Carol. I appreciate your kind words. Merry Christmas to you :-)

Practical Parsimony said...

I love the pictures of your home and Christmas decorations!

stardust said...

The sky is beautiful and made me feel bracing air. Your tree is just nice size framed by other decorations on the mantel piece. Cards and twinkling decorations make people into festive mood for sure. Your dishes must warm up both body and heart. Cooking is one of the best ways to make people happy. I will enjoy secular Christmas with respect to the real meaning of the Christmas. Wish you a Merry Christmas and a Bright New Year.


Joyful said...

Hi Yoko, thank you for your visit and your very nice comment. I hope you enjoy your Christmas with your children and grandchildren. I hope to read more from you in the New Year. May it be a good one for us all.

Joyful said...

Thank you PP. Merry Christmas to you and Tommy!

diane b said...

Beautiful decorations.

Joyful said...

Thank you Diane. Merry Christmas.

Aditya Narayan Mohanty said...

Merry Christmas. Take care. Hope you will support back by Visiting my blog.

Joyful said...

Thanks for visiting. Merry Christmas.

Penelope Notes said...

The elephant mural is gorgeous and the decorations on the fireplace mantel warm up the room. But it’s your generous spirit of giving over these many years that is lighting up the lives of others. Merry Christmas to you and all those you have cared about!

Joyful said...

Thank you Penelope for your kind words. My biggest hope is to motivate others to be generous in giving also. Thank you for stopping by. Have a very Merry Christmas.

Himawan Sant said...

Your Christmas decorations are beautiful. Looks well prepared.

I:m sorry about the situation in Kenya, hope that many organizations will be moved to provide assistance to help them.

Merry Christmas to you, your family and your friends.

Joyful said...

Thank you. I hope you too had a very Merry Christmas.

Lowcarb team member said...

So lovely to see your photographs here, thank you for sharing them.
Sending good wishes for the Season and hoping that your 2021 will be a happy and healthy one.

All the best Jan

Joyful said...

Thank you Jan. All the very best to you too in 2021. xx

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