Summarizing Current Life Happenings

Hi friends and fellow bloggers,

 

I hope all of you are doing well. I've been seeing that many countries have experienced huge snowfalls over the past week. Where I live we were also expecting snow but it never arrived in my neighbourhood.

Sky this Week

The sky this week has been heavy with rain.  I was actually hoping for some snow for a change of pace but it looks like rain in the forecast for the next few days at least.

The sky on Tuesday, January 25, 2021

 
I got this little surprise on Monday, January 18, 2021. These pansy blooms popped up in a long neglected pot.

The sky on Monday, January 24, 2021

 Cooking

Cooking is a daily need for most of us. Here are a few of the things that have been on the menu this past week.

 

Cabbage and navy bean soup in tomato broth


Shrimp and vegetable stir fry over steamed rice

Spaghettini and Parmesan cheese with Kielbasa sausage and vegetables

Ham and pea soup with freshly baked bread rolls





I baked some bread and gave a loaf to my nephew.



Christmas Wrap Up
 
Mail has been slower than usual over the Christmas rush due to Covid protocols. But all mail did eventually arrive.
The winter Pea Coat I bought for my nephew arrived and he came to try it on. Thankfully it fit him perfectly and he liked it very much so I won't be needing to return it.
 
Two lovely little books arrived from my online friend in Folkestone, England. I enjoyed reading The Little Book of Mindfulness and the gratitude journal will be very useful. I'll start using it when I can get through my major project and a few other things so I can be more mindful when writing in it.This time of year is always super busy with the Annual General Meeting of the Strata (key things being annual budgets and inevitable strata fee increases), city property assessments, property taxes, property vacancy declarations and filing of federal and provincial taxes.




 

 Gifts from a friend, Joy in 
Nottingham, England

She always sends wonderful packages of interesting things.

 Reading

I haven't really gotten into reading yet. But these books are currently in my 'to read' pile.


Slowly making my way through this book.


I borrowed, The New Bohemians Handbook thinking I would get to see a lot of lovely decorating photos. I was disappointed that the photos are so small.

This is a newly borrowed book by Kristin Harmel. I read two of her books just before Christmas and enjoyed them so much so I'm looking forward to this one.
 

Home Improvements


Before Christmas I mentioned that I will be making a few home improvements mainly to help things function better for daily living and to assess what might be needed or detracted from my home as I continue with the decluttering.  Some of it is minor maintenance.  

The first improvement was painting one wall in the entry way and moving a small Asian chest/armoire from the living room to the freshly painted wall.  I also touched up the door to my bedroom and master bathroom (more to come in those areas later). The second improvement was to install a new range hood. I've gone without one for so long and I could not keep up to the accumulating grime on various surfaces. I was very happy when my brother bought me a new range hood and installed it for me as my Christmas gift. Before he did that I cleaned behind the kitchen stove and painted.  I laughed when I saw the upside down bow he placed on the range hood after installation. He wanted to make sure it looked like a Christmas present, lol.

 

The third item was to order some shelving for the kitchen to address the lack of a pantry. I have been wanting to order one of these shelving units for the longest time and have been checking them out both on line and in the retail outlets. I wanted a particular specs and I finally found one on Amazon which I ordered and received just after Christmas. I tried once shortly thereafter to set it up and it fell apart. I never tried again until last night and I'm pleased it went much more smoothly and seems sturdy.  I am very pleased with it and think I should have got one a lot sooner.

This is a work in progress. I am still rearranging and deciding what goes on these shelves.

But so far I'm loving it! It's a huge improvement ton having food on the floor and a small cart where everything was forever overflowing (as in the below photo).

 

Kenyan Missions

Over the past week we managed to get a new smart phone for Pastor Jonah. It will soon be time to send monthly medical, food, nutrition support and seeds and fertilizer to a few families. If you can help at all, please send your  donation via Pay Pal to kerichojoy[at]gmail]com (taking out square brackets). Otherwise we would appreciate if you could continue praying for the needs of the villagers. Thanks so much! 

Over the next while I'm continuing to work on my digital project. I don't expect to be back to regular blogging until it's finished but I pop in to read blogs here and there. I hope all of you continue to stay as safe as you can while we all await vaccinations. I don't expect to get mine until at least the middle of summer, possibly a bit later depending on how the roll out of vaccinations goes and whether our country gets the vaccinations that have been ordered for us.

Take care.

Note: I had trouble uploading tonight and the fonts kept going awry. I tried to fix it.

A Quick Stop

Hello everyone, Happy Friday and happy weekend to all of you. 
 
I know the daily news is dreary and sometimes frightening, for many of us right now.  But here's to hoping that you will find something to make you smile or give you joy this weekend.
 
Where I live we've been deluged with rain and also a couple days of extremely windy weather.  I heard the meteorologist say the wind was moving southeast after it left us.
 
I was glad to see the backside of both the rain and the wind even if was only for today.
When you get the days like today you forget all about the rainy days.
 
I've been wanting to capture some waterfront scenes for all of you for quite some time. 
I'm glad I was finally able to do it.


These scenes were taken from a place called Ferguson Point in Stanley Park. Anyone who has been to the Teahouse Restaurant across the street will know how to find the point.  This is the first time I've stopped at the point and I'm glad I did even though my visit was brief.


There were a lot of people out walking and cycling.  When we get so few days of sunshine over the winter months everyone makes good use of them. I do hope they are all taking precautions as well. Recent reports from our head doctor are showing a trend downwards in our province.  But the outbreaks are now happening in places that were largely unaffected by Covid in 2020. 

I continue to take care and have only been out twice in 2021;  once for groceries and once to the post office. I will make another post office run very soon to deal with purchase returns, and possibly make a stop at the pharmacy. Those will be my only outings in January.

It will likely be mid-summer up to late autumn before I am in line for a covid vaccination so I continue to be as careful as I can be.  I am more concerned for my loved ones who live up country because the numbers are growing so big in the areas where they live. I will try not to fret too much and deal with my concerns through prayer.  That's the best any of us can do.


 

As you can see by the photos, the sky was very clear today.

I saw some wispy, low lying clouds as I took the photo looking toward the building in West Vancouver.
 

Since I last wrote in this space, I've been super busy working on a personal project which is very labour intensive and approximately 2/3 to 3/4 complete.  By the first or second week of February it will be completely done.  Once it's done I will rest briefly before buckling down and getting rid of old papers and more digital files.  I cannot get rid of excess files first out of fear I might inadvertently get rid of papers or digital files that I need for the project..

I haven't been as up to date with all the household routines during this period. It's mainly the dishes that I never quite seem caught up to doing. I was trying to get all the dishes done by hand and sinks washed and dried by the end of the day but it doesn't work if I have too many other things to work on and want them done quickly. I do continue to try my hand at new dishes or old dishes with a twist.  I didn't take photos of all the dinners but here are a few.

First up is a sausage and chickpea in stewed tomatoes over steamed rice. It was very good and I will make it again. I made the chickpeas in my instant pot (pressure cooker) which I cooked for 12 minutes. That way they would be able to cook for awhile in the stew mixture without breaking apart from overcooking.

Chickpeas and sausage over steamed rice.

The next dish is an Italian New Year's dish made of lentils and pasta. I think the Italians use smaller, round pasta but I could only find rigatoni at my local grocery.


Last but  not least, is a dish of creamy chicken breast, seasoned roasted red potatoes and finely sliced sauteed kale with onions and garlic. It was my first time making the chicken with the sauce and it was quite good.

 

I haven't done a lot of reading but I did read this fascinating historical book on the life of Father Yungbluth (Youngblood), Oblate Missionary to the First Nations and Metis people of the Peace River District (PRD). The PRD is located in the northern part of two provinces, British Columbia and Alberta. I knew this father when I was younger or at least I met him at various funerals he officiated.  He was already old at that time so I'm glad someone has set his story down for posterity. He was really a colourful character.


Kenyan Missions Update

In Kenyan missions, please pray for Pastor Jonah who was robbed as he alighted a bus Friday night (Kenyan time) after having travelled from the countryside.  He had gone to attend court to aid a widow who is seeking a court sanctioned land grant.  Many times villagers die intestate (without a will) and the land succession issues never get properly dealt with. It can create a lot of problems.  

In this case, the widow's husband died without land title but I understand her husband didn't have recognized title either as it rested with his late father.  The process is not yet finished but in about one month we hope it will all be successfully completed. We have been hiring legal help here and there and paying all the court filing fees because the woman is destitute.  In the meantime, we also now need to buy a new phone for Jonah so he can continue to communicate and make financial transactions (This is how most Kenya villagers now do it.  Most foreigners have a difficult time grasping this because they wonder how a villager can afford a smart phone. They pretty much need one because it is a lifeline to doing so many things, especially when you don't live close to a bank or a hospital).

 As always we welcome your participation in these undertakings if you are led.

Keep well and enjoy your weekend.

Joining in with Skywatch Friday



Looking Back, Looking Forward

Hello friends, 

I'm popping in briefly to usher in the New Year. I'm easing my way into 2021 as I started the year feeling very tired. I'm still working on an intensive paper project and I find it difficult to find "free" time each day to work on it but I'm doing my best and I hope I will be back to usual activities in a few weeks or possibly sooner.

Let me wish you and all your loved ones a blessed 2021 as we begin this New Year. I'm grateful that my friends and family and I have made it this far and I look forward to a breakthrough in 2021 through this pandemic in a way that will see us being able to meet up once more in person. That is my hope like I know it is the hope of many of you.

 


Though I'm technically still on a social media break I have been reading a number of your blogs here and there but I've restrained myself from commenting so I do not get too distracted.  Some of you have written about choosing a theme word for the year. I too have been doing this now for a number of years but only realized a few days ago that I didn't choose a word for 2020. I guess it's just as well since my year got off to a really bad start personally and then got worse for the entire world as the months went on. I'm so glad to see the end of 2020 and I'm truly hoping that 2021 will be much better for us all though it will take some hard work getting there.

The year wasn't entirely bad. I have to say that I had one huge benefit in 2020 and that was time. I finally had to stay put and couldn't go anywhere.  I was very good about social distancing and keeping to my very, very small bubble.  So it meant that I had a chance to do a lot of small jobs and odd jobs that don't usually get done. 

I was able to work on catching up with taxes that had not been filed.  I also finally started working with a new financial advisor.  I have modest investments but I want to make sure they are handled well. Then Covid -19 hit so it's anyone's guess where things will end up.  I was also able to continue downsizing and got rid of some larger items that took up too  much space in my smallish home (6 huge, antique dining chairs to a cousin of mine) and 1 large, motorized wheelchair.  Friends have been fundraising to do some work on the chair and gift it to a needy person.  The funds are now in hand but now it's a question of when and how best to undertake the repairs and get the wheelchair out of my home. I will be so happy when that day comes but I have to wait for my very busy friend to move things forward.   I've given away a lot in 2020.  The decluttering is something I've been working on for years already but decluttering never really ends.  In 2020 I decluttered lots of books, clothing, knick knacks and the large items I've mentioned. I also decluttered a lot of digital files and photos and made some progress on paper files. I also underwent a successful colonoscopy "do over" and got half way through fitting a partial denture before Covid -19 hit. I'm not happy with the fit so far but don't expect to return very soon for further work. I should at least call the denturist.

In reviewing what I achieved in 2020, I decided that my theme word for the coming year is "completion". I intend to continue with all the time consuming clean up of paper and digital clutter, clothing and odds and ends. I guess I need to add photos to this task because I even have boxes of mom's old photos. Many of them are photos I gave her so they are duplicates and triplicates. Hopefully the task will not be that difficult and if I only make a start on the photos that is okay as the paperwork is what is bothering me most (perhaps I should just save cleaning out the storage room for 2022).  I hope that by December 2021/January 2022,  this huge decluttering task that reflects decades and decades of accumulated 'stuff' will be done.

Completion will allow me to put the past baggage (stuff weighing me down mentally and emotionally) and focus on new activities, new beginnings, new plans and so on.

Another thing I spent a lot of time on in 2020 was cooking. I don't actually enjoy cooking all that much except from time to time I do enjoy baking. However, one needs to eat and especially during this time when one cannot get to restaurants it is important to invest some time and energy into cooking. Particularly, if like me, you get bored with the same old meals you need to put some thought into creating variety.  The word variety is a matter of perspective however since I'm not one to go all out and learn all kinds of new dishes. I prefer to tweak and vary dishes I already know how to make or create my own dishes as I go along.  A little meal planning also helps me minimize food waste though I don't usually plan more than a few days to a week ahead.  I've found planning for 2 -4 weeks at a time doesn't work for me and cooking ahead doesn't work so well either.

Here are the meals I made since the New Year. I don't tend to eat breakfast or lunch that often but I might snack on some leftovers before making dinner which is the primary meal of the day.


January 1, 2021 Store bought frozen lasagna, sour dough toast and green salad with feta cheese




January 2, 2021~ Chicken and rice soup with dumplings


January 3, 2021 ~ Stew:  sausage, navy beans, barley, sweet potatoes, russet potatoes, kale onions and carrots in chicken broth


January 4, 2021 ~ Tiger Prawns in soy/chili sauce served with spaghettini and stir fried onions, carrots, mushrooms, zucchini, Napa cabbage, garlic

January 5, 2021 ~ Seared, marinated tuna steak (soy sauce and sesame oil), served with steamed rice and salad (honey, orange, ACV, oil dressing)

Wednesday's dinner will be hamburgers on buns with french fries and green salad.

Thursdays' dinner is roast pork and mashed sweet beef and potatoes.Friday's dinner is fish and chips or sausages and roasted potatoes. will be spaghettini, meatballs and salad.

 

I had a goal of reading 45 books in 2020 and read 67 though I didn't spend much time reading until late March when we were restricted from going out to all but essential services.  The library was closed for most of the year due to Covid. Instead the library increased the digital inventory which meant I mostly read ebooks. I discovered it is quicker to read an ebook than it is to read a paper book.

 

I planted 2 gardens as I usually do.  The first photo is my patio garden which did reasonably well. But due to Covid 19 I never spent much time caring for the community plot (second photo) and it didn't do too well.  I've asked my nephew's girlfriend to do the gardening in 2021 and she agreed.  She was experimenting with patio gardening in 2020 and seemed to enjoy it. All she needs to do is buy the seeds, water them and weed. The compost and tools are all provided.





Last, but not least,  the Kenyan missions kept me busy. 
 
We worked unsuccessfully to have a young Engineering graduate join university studies in Canada. He is now looking for opportunities at home and also exploring the possibility of Master's degree studies in Europe. 
 
Ernest was hospitalized twice due to serious leg injuries (first due to being run down by a vehicle and second due to a bad fall on a muddy path). He is now recovered and wishes to try to find work. Due to his diabetes T2 and Covid 19 concerns, his doctor advised him to stay out of town (thus no looking for work).  We've been trying to keep him nourished through food and vitamins as well as cater to his monthly doctor visits and medications.
 
Eunice continues to be in hospital far from home and has her ups and downs. The Lord has kept her this far and she has hung in there for 2 years. We provide special food every month to keep her blood as strong as possible and also intervene with medicines (eg. blood thinner) and other things (eg. oxygen, blood transfusions).  We were hoping to make some progress with moving her back home in 2020 but other things took our time. We still hope in 2021 to be able to move her somewhere close to her home. The issue is she needs an intensive level of care but she comes from a village near a small town. She would not have access to the same level of critical interventions if we move her home. On the other hand, she would be nearer to family members who could potentially visit her once we are past this Covid pandemic. It is very sad that she is far from home and no one has been able to visit her since March.  We also continue to try to get her the small pension to which she is entitled and will need a lot more prayer on this need.
 
Pastor Jonah too has had a few health issues (serious food poisoning and root canal problems) that we've needed to deal with. The root canal work ended up being very stressful and also very expensive. In the end the right services were provided after trying at two different hospitals and the work was either not properly done in one place and no service was provided at the second hospital due to the overly long queues of people every day for a week.
 
Carolly, my young doctor friend found a job in a small, rural clinic which provides primarily maternity services so he has been delivering a lot of babies. Sadly, his grandmother died just before Christmas so some small helps were needed unexpectedly.
 
There are many other people too numerous to name who needed food relief during this past year and especially at Christmas. We are grateful for what we were able to provide.

 ~~~

Summary

I didn't have big goals for 2020 due to almost losing my nephew through being struck by a train and having a guest visit just before the Covid 19 pandemic was declared.  Like everyone else, I was focussed on trying to educate myself, about the pandemic, implementing safety protocols and discussing with others in my family and in Kenya how to keep safe as well as providing food and masks when quarantines were put in place. I knew I would be decluttering in 2020 so I focussed on that rather than making new goals.  The grinding household tasks were balanced with cooking and reading.  There was one new thing I wanted to do in 2020 but had to forego, and that was taking a weaving course.  I am pleased overall with what I managed to accomplish in 2020 despite it being a strange and challenging year. 

 As I look forward , I don't think I will have much time for crafting in 2021 though I will probably do some crochet and simple knitting here and there.  I hope to read at least 45 books, complete my paperwork decluttering, some small painting projects and general maintenance work. Every summer I plant my patio garden and this year will be no exception.  Though as I mentioned, I will have someone else take care of the community garden for the summer.
I've been pondering how better to serve the Kenyan missions so there may be changes on the horizon.  The first step  will be seeking direction through prayer. In the meantime we continue to serve a few people and their families in different parts of Kenya.
 
 If anyone can contribute to the important work of feeding, clothing and helping the people with medicines and so on,  donations will be gratefully received. You can send through Pay Pal to kerichojoy[at]gmail[dot]com
Thank you in on behalf of the people.
 
Last but not least, thank you all for being faithful readers and blogging friends. I really appreciate you all and am so glad to know you through blogging. I wish a great year in 2021 for each of you and to all of your loved ones.



Update

 Hello friends, This is a quick update on my friend Ernest in Kenya. In my last post I shared that he had to be admitted to hospital due to ...