Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Kenya: Missions of Hope ~ Stories of God's Goodness ~ Part 1

Hello friends and fellow bloggers,

In Vancouver, British Columbia where I live, the weather and temperatures have caught up to the season. Summer came late to our area but went on until well in to October. Our summer came late, I believe it was in June and we had a lot of rain until then. Then we had next to no rain and severe drought conditions by the end of September.  Things certainly do go to extremes these days.

Today though the real news is what has been happening in the Kenya Missions of Hope initiative.  I'm pleased to share some wonderful news of Kenya and the bit of humanitarian and missionary work that my DH and I carry out in that country.  Some of you may remember Eunice who was suffering from a condition of chronic anemia. It wasn't her only health condition. She has other conditions related to goiter and high blood pressure but the anemia is what sent her back and forth to hospitals on numerous occasions.  After being admitted and discharged from several hospitals, she again was transported by medical ambulance to a private hospital in the City of Nakuru, Kenya, located several hours from her home village. (You can locate Nakuru in the map below by looking northwest of Nairobi). She was admitted in February 2019 and she was there all throughout the pandemic. During that time she almost went home to Heaven on more than one occasion but after intensive care at the  High Dependency Unit (HDU),  she was able to bounce back. Truthfully I am amazed at how God kept her and helped her each time because I really thought her time to go home to Heaven had come.


Between 6-8 months in the private hospital it became clear that the expenses would be far too much for what our little humanitarian group could comfortably deal with.  Private hospitals and even government hospitals in Kenya are notoriously expensive and often procedures are done with a fiscal purpose in  mind rather than a health related outcome.  We could not afford the expense of proper treatment at the hospital where she was admitted and truthfully we didn't even know what proper treatment would entail since we were never told how the hospital could treat Eunice.  They wanted to do some kind of surgery but could not say how it would help her if at all.  We simply could not support doing surgery on a weakened person with multiple health conditions without knowing how it was supposed to help her.

The hospital didn't really want to keep Eunice after the first year because of refusal to go forward with surgery. In addition we were not paying all of the hospital costs.  We were however paying for the intensive interventions that were required from time to time. We also paid for a private nurse to attend Eunice, Eunice's medicines, toiletries and special foods prepared by the hospital. After it became clear that the hospital was not really treating Eunice except when her condition took a serious downturn, Jonah and I discussed the need to try and move Eunice back to her home (hospital).  I strongly felt that at least Eunice could be visited by some of her family members or assisted by them in some small ways once pandemic restrictions were relaxed. 

As you know the pandemic went on for quite a long time so nothing was able to be done about the move.  Moving Eunice would not be easy due to the prohibitively expensive ward fees that had accrued at the hospital.  It was only just before Jonah departed Kenya for Canada that he was able to undertake the travel for meetings with high level hospital officials in 2 different cities and  research and arrange with a new hospital for Eunice's  placement and arrange medical transportation for the transfer. All of these preparations were very costly.

At the new hospital, Jonah was assured by the new doctor that after several months of medical treatment and physiotherapy, Eunice would be able to go home.  I was cautiously optimistic given everything that had transpired over the previous 3 years.

Eunice has been admitted to the new hospital for going on at the hospital now for approximately 7 months. She has grown in strength and during that time.  With the help and assistance of one of her sisters, she has been able to go to her own home for overnight stays to see how she does. She has been doing well but is at this point still in hospital. She will have more home visits until she is hopefully discharged.

We are very happy for Eunice.  To God be the glory for keeping her, helping her and giving us the right medical contacts both to get her transferred and to rehabilitate her. She isn't home yet but we are grateful for how far she has come and I truly look on this outcome as a miracle.

Please continue praying for Eunice to be completely healed and able to live life on her own again. If you are able, and want to contribute to the work of helping the villagers in and around Kericho who need medical, food or educational help there is a Pay Pal button on the right of the blog. We also covet your prayers for these dear ones and for us so we can be guided in the humanitarian work. God bless.


Thursday, October 20, 2022

Skywatch Friday ~ October Vibes

Site of the new subway station at Broadway & Main

Hello friends and fellow bloggers,

We've had record setting temperatures over the fall season but on Friday we are finally expecting some rain.  The other day the meteorologist reported that since July to the present time we have only had 16 mm of rain when the norm would be just over 160 mm of rain. No wonder the tree on my patio died. It had been looking sickly for a few seasons and it has finally succumbed. I'm a bit sad but it's not going to matter much. 

Within the year or so the strata will be uprooting all the patios and is contemplating not having any gardens at all. The weight and growth of them (dirt, plants, roots, water) has the potential to become problematic for the structure of the building. No decisions have been  made yet and there will be a special meeting to discuss all the results and options going forward once a report is ready. I think I would rather confine my gardening to containers on the patio and have a bit more footage to arrange furniture.

In the meantime here are some photos I took of the sky when I was out and about running errands earlier in the week.  I took these photos just as thd light was fading. I thought the ones with the trolley lines set against the sky were quite interesting.  A lot of those lines will be likely be eliminated once the new subway system on the Broadway corridor is running (target is late 2025) but I don't know that for sure.











 

In my reading stack this week I found a wonderful little book called The Birds of East Africa. It is short read of approximately 200 pages and is a sweet little tale set in Nairobi, Kenya. The style is along the lines of Alexander McCall Smith's #1 Ladies Detective Agency books.

I'm now reading the best seller The Distant Hours by Australian writer, Kate Morton. It's an interesting book about family secrets connected to 3 elderly sisters living in an imposing and decaying castle. 

I picked up both of these books at the thrift store on a whim and wasn't expecting much from them but they are both turning out to be satisfying reads.

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I also picked up a set of sheets and pillowcases at the thrift store. I wouldn't have purchased them but they were a good price, minimally used and I like blue and white. This set is by Tommy Hilfiger but strangely they look quite wrinkled even though they are not 100% cotton. I don't iron most things including sheets. By the time they are pulled flat onto the mattress most of the wrinkles will disappear.

Each piece of the 4 piece set was sold individually.  I didn't notice that the two exact same pillowcases had different prices until I got them home.  I'm guessing two different clerks priced them.  I paid about $26 dollars in total for the set. I think the price is okay given what new sheets cost and these appear to be little used.

Have you found any good thrifting deals lately or read any good books?

I'm joining in with Skywatch Friday this week. Thank you for stopping by!



Wednesday, October 19, 2022

How I'm Dealing with Digital Clutter

I meant to post this last Friday but got busy.  It was another dry and beautiful, sunny day last Friday and I got busy with catching up to housework and I got carried away making this post more full some than I first meant to, all of which delayed the publishing.

I've been fearful for a few years now that my computer was going to give up the ghost.  Believe it or not my desktop is more than 12 years old!  My laptop (very slow to do anything) is a little bit newer but not much. Sometimes the desktop shuts itself down and other times it turns itself on. I've been told that it's because I usually only put the computer to sleep and don't shut it down completely each night.  I got into the habit of only putting the desktop to sleep because I started experiencing difficulties with starting it up again once it was turned off.  I was afraid that one day it just wouldn't turn on so I began putting it to sleep instead.  Anyway the computer issues have been going on for at least 5-6 years already.  Every now and then I'd copy files onto flash drives to save what I might really need in case the desktop died. I have countless photo and document files on the hard drive and a lot of unorganized files too. I was holding on to everything 'as is' until the visa process for my DH was completed. As of June 2022, that is all finished now when he received his PR card.  Since then I've also finally purchased a new computer. I decided to purchase a mini Mac computer at the suggestion of my brother who also has one and highly recommends it. I know they will be coming out with a new mini Mac 2 soon but I didn't want to wait until then to make the switch.

I need to put the computer files in better order before I plug in the new Mac and transfer files.  I'm terrible at keeping digital files organized as I create or use them but I hope to do better going forward.  I've gone through about 4 rounds of digital clutter clean up over the past year (computer drives, email, cell phones, deleting many online subscriptions, reducing the photos I take and the blogs I post until I get things the way I like).  Things are looking much better than they have in years.  In the latest digital declutter session I eliminated close to 5000 files and reorganized many more, most of which were photo files.  As I mentioned, I blog far less than the early years of blogging. It's because I've been trying to slow down the rate at which I create more digital clutter. Once I'm better organized I hope to take a more disciplined approach to dealing with photo files for blogging and/or other purposes and be more selective with other digital files.

So to answer the question implied in the title heading, I am deleting excess digital files and keeping only what is essential. This is a multi-step process and has to be done with a view to what is needed for blogging purposes and family purposes.  I guess I also need to plan for how these things should be deal with at End of Life (EOL). Most of us have digital footprints all over the world wide web and need to think about what we have and what we would like done with it when we go.  I try to keep my personal output (photos and other ID) to the minimum. Not just for EOL reasons but also for security reasons. (Click on infographics to enlarge. Please note I did not create these graphics myself but found them on the internet).


Decluttering is such a long and more complicated process than one thinks of at first blush. I never realized how many issues it would bring up as I started on the journey of serious decluttering. These few thoughts are specific to digital declutter but they could be extrapolated to clutter in general.

Some examples of significant issues that might arise for you include:

1) what do you get rid of and why? There are some things that obviously need to be saved: important documents, family papers, tax information, etc. but there are other items that perhaps are not so obvious. For example, patterns for various hobbies.  These days so many patterns you buy are only available in digital files and a lot of new things one wants to learn are also in digital files.

2) what do you keep and why? Some things we keep for legal reasons, work reasons, family and so on. It's good to consider what you no longer need to keep. In my case I can get rid of a lot of duplicates of  digital historical family documents and photos. I have so many bad photos or photos I will never use or even ever look at again so the 'delete' button has been and will continue to be, in regular use.

3) is there a way to declutter but still keep sentimental items? For example instead of keeping the item/s your loved ones have could you keep a photo of the item?  You may want to print it as a hard copy rather than have a simple digital photo. It really depends how best you would enjoy it.I first learned of this tip from one of the decluttering gurus. I think it was Peter Walsh, organizing guru from Australia. He is one organizer who really resonates with me and makes so much sense. He gets right to the heart of issues and simplifies things that seem difficult.

4) how much clutter should you leave at EOL for someone else to deal with? Have you identified someone who is also agreeable to deal with your belongings, including your digital footprint (Facebook, Google photos, blogs, Instagram, LinkedIn, websites, etc.) after you're gone?  Is there anything you need or want to get rid of before that time comes or is it okay for someone else to see everything? Do you have a place where your assigned person can access all your passwords and given thought to specific instructions you might have? For example, you may want to have your various profiles deleted or you may want them kept for your loved ones to look back on. The problem is that others may not know you have passed on if you leave everything 'as is'.

5) have you thought about why you may have so much stuff to deal with in the first place? For example, some of us were responsible for disposing of items belonging to loved ones.  It takes a lot of time to deal with it all and in the meantime you need to store it somewhere.  How much can you deal with if you yourself develop health issues or if you are elderly and no longer have energy and physical ability to deal with the 'stuff '. Even digital clutter takes energy to deal with though it has the benefit of not being physical heavy for you to go through and action.

6) do the things you own add to your joy as Marie Kondo, organizing expert would ask? do the things you own make your life more enjoyable or less enjoyable? In my case, without keeping on top of filing in a way I can go back and find things later, I find it takes away my enjoyment of digital files and is also time consuming, frustrating and anxiety producing. When I delete excess files and focus more on the things I want and can organize, I enjoy going through and looking at digital files much more.

A few resources you might like

These resource links  might be helpful to you both for general clutter and digital clutter.

Colleen Hammond, Business Consultant gives tips for learning to let go of things that have sentimental value. Is it clutter?   

Joshua Becker, minimalist guru offers some ideas about how to minimize sentimental things

Peter Walsh, organizing guru, has this to say about what your clutter says about you.

 The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning:  How to Free Yourself and Your Family From a Lifetime of Clutter by Margareta Magnusson 

Decluttering Memorabilia - How a Professional Organizer Guides a Client Through the Process

Dealing with digital clutter: What it is and 6 places to practise digital minimalism

Declutter Your Digital Life 

How to Execute  Digital Declutter Like a Boss: 8 Steps 

 


 

Conclusion

It feels good to get rid of clutter in general and that includes digital clutter. It frees up space and more space gives us a feeling of freedom from having disorganized possessions and freedom from the anxiety of not dealing with things in a better way. I'm on a journey and although the journey of decluttering never really ends, the tasks do shift and the amount of stuff we go through in any season of life also changes.  It just depends on how much we have to begin with, how much we accumulate along the way and how much we want to, or are able to declutter. For each of us it will be a  unique journey.

I'd love to hear where you are with your decluttering journey and whether you have included digital decluttering in the plan.

Thank you for stopping by and extra thanks to those who take time to comment and share their thoughts.

Monday, October 17, 2022

Tuesday 4 ~ The Four Seasons

Glad to have you back for Toni Taddeo's Tuesday 4.

The idea is to promote blogging and friendship and allow you to get to know yourself and others through 4 questions asked each week.   

Let's talk about the seasons. Summer has just passed and we have begun our journey into autumn.

1. How would you describe each of the four seasons? 
 
Fall - crisp, cosy, nature, gold and orange, long shadows, bare branches, layers, spice, hot beverages, heavier food, busy, sad because winter is coming
Winter - cold, rain, heavy rain, gray, very little sunshine, short days, unpredictable, indoor activities, heavy clothes, anticipating spring
Spring - renewal, joy, new shoots, leaves unfurling, wonder, green, colourful, birds
Summer - heat, sunny, too much watering of the garden, unpredictable, wildfires

2.  How do you generally feel during each season? Do you suffer allergy, feel tired, sad, happy, energized? What does each season do for you?
 
Generally I feel a lot of joy and energy as soon as spring arrives.  I also feel a bit of anxiety because I'm always behind in getting the house in order and the gardens planted in readiness for summer season. I usually get behind no matter how I try. Though I love the autumn season it is also when I suffer the most with physical ailments such as cold, flu, aches and pains and stuffed nose due to allergies. I also suffer from stuffed nose and congested sinuses during spring when all the new growth happens.
 
Despite the physical discomforts I love both spring and fall best. Sadness also attends me (and many other locals) in the fall season because I'm sad about the coming winter.  We get very little light in our winter months and the sky seldom breaks clear.  I feel tired for much of the winter season due to the lack of light and I make a special effort to get out to concerts and movies and other social events so that I don't stay in the house for too long a stretch.  Outings are not that affordable any more but still I look for special events that are doable & affordable.  I also try and get friends to join in with me for a social outing.

3.  If there is to be only one season for you to live in, which one would it be and why?
 
Probably the spring season. I absolutely love the joy and happiness I get from the reawakening of nature all around me, the end of gray and dark skies, arrival of the longer, sunny days and people out and about after a winter of hibernation. It is also my favourite time of year because of the cherry blossoms that happen in April. The blossoms are just stunning and one of the great joys I look forward to each year.

4. What color(s) do you associate with summer, winter, autumn and spring?  Example: maybe summer is green, winter is white..etc.
 
Fall - orange, gold, yellow, red, brown, tan
Winter - gray, blue-ish gray, brown, earth tones
Spring - white, blue, light pink, dark pink, red, yellow, lavender and so on.
Summer - every colour of spring, various shades of green,blue of the water and mountains

Thanks for stopping by!

 

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Mid Week Check In

 Hi friends and fellow bloggers,

Today I'm sharing some photos taken over the past week. We are experiencing drought in my province and our summer like weather continues.  Today all over the province we had temperatures you might expect in August or September even though we are now well into autumn season. 

The gardens were finished long ago.  You can see in the photos (below) some patches of yellow (dead grass) and the Dogwood tree on my patio actually shriveled up and died. It hadn't been looking healthy for awhile. I didn't do much this year to the garden because by next spring I'm expecting the entire patio garden to be dug up in order to replace the membrane which has been examined and shown to be leaking.  

The weather is perfect for me for walking because it isn't too hot or too cold. The walking I've been able to do more frequently is helping me feel stronger than I have in awhile.  But the lack of rainfall is a huge concern. On Tuesday's weather report, the meteorologist said we've only had 16 mm of rain so far in October when normally we would have 160 mm.  To be fair, we are not quite half way through October but there doesn't appear to be any rain on the horizon for at least a week. It seems that we either have record rainfall or record number of days without rain. You might remember that we had a very long spring with a lot of rain and our warm weather didn't arrive until May when DH arrived. It has been quite good weather for him as he gets accustomed to the climate and seasons here.






 

The photo below shows my new nail colour. It's dark blue though it looks black. I usually go for rose or burgundy tones.  This time I wanted something different and I chose this dark colour which I quite like.  Some women wear black but that doesn't appeal to me. Next time I will try a neutral or natural tone if they have it.  The place where I have been going has a very limited supply of regular nail polish colours and a very extensive range of gel colours. I use gel on my fingernails but I like my finger and toenails to match. They are usually 'off' in colour.  It won't matter much because soon I'll be wearing closed toes and when the much colder weather arrives I'll give the pedicures a rest. Nail technicians always remark on how short my nails are. I usually have to trim them before I return to the salon because they tend to break or peel as a result of always dipping my hands in hot water to do the dishes. I tend not to wear rubber globes though I really should because the dish detergents and hot water are very hard on my skin too.

Last week, I went to the thrift store to find something for DH. Not only did I find something for him but I found this stunning glass leopard vase for me. I've wanted one for awhile and kept checking various sources however they were far too expensive. When I saw this one I couldn't pass it up though I wasn't actually looking for one at the time.  I promptly brought it home and filled it the next day with carnations and mums just in time for our Thanksgiving holiday meal. Real and faux flowers are my only nod to autumnal decorating.



Besides going here and there I've also been very busy at home.

Firstly, I found water damage in the master bathroom when I had a friend over to recaulk the tub and regrout a small area of the tiled wall. As he cut away the grout, it was evident that the tiles were coming loose.  A bit of investigation turned up the water damage and it needed to be patched and repaired. It took the better part of Saturday and I'm glad my friend was here to do the unanticipated work.  A full renovation of the tub & shower area will be needed but hopefully the repair job will hold  until then.

More decluttering was accomplished this week and my focus was on getting the tools organized.  One kitchen drawer, the tool box and a bag of tools were all cleaned, sorted and rearranged for better flow.   I still have a small tub of tools and odds and ends to sort through; most of which will probably be discarded. You can see I keep a bag of disposable gloves but I never wear them. I seem to have a lot of bamboo skewers and interestingly they come in handy for a lot of things besides cooking.




Last but  not least, I completed weaving the ends of several dish cloths I knitted some time ago. I always save up a bunch of cloths and do the finishing all at one time.


I've restarted my physiotherapy and RMT sessions after several weeks break.  I'm expecting to be fully finished with all the therapy by the end of November. I'll be glad when that comes because it is difficult trying to coordinate 2 different therapist schedules with my own and the cost is very expensive and even more so now with a recent price increase.  By the the time you talk and update the therapist, you  really get only 15 or 20 minutes maximum of therapy from a 30 minute session. Even with partial coverage there is no way I can afford an hour long session.  

Once the sessions are all done we will likely all be in high gear for Christmas.  I can't believe I'm saying that already but before you know it, Christmas will be here again.  I'm hoping to have more time to enjoy the lead up to the season this year. 

Thanks for dropping by my corner of the world. I hope to also read your updates soon!

Monday, October 10, 2022

Books to Films

Once again it is time for Toni Taddeo's Tuesday 4 in memory of Toni Taddeo. Today's subject is books turned into films.

Here we go:

1. What book turned into a film did you enjoy?

I enjoyed The English Patient very much and The Life of Pi as movies. I'm sure I've enjoyed a few more books turned into films, like Out of Africa (more on that later) but I cannot remember them at the moment. 


2. Did you ever find the film version of a book to be better than the book or was the book better than the film and which book was it.

The English Patient was a book that for my taste was a far better film than book.  I guess I watched the film to see if it was any better than the book and it was!

3. If you could decide what book should be a movie, which would it be and who would you get to play the main characters?

I've enjoyed so many books over the years and many of them have been turned into films which I've enjoyed.  Generally I find that books are better than the movies. But sometimes I am surprised.  For example, the movie, Out of Africa is based on bits and pieces of several books by the author Karen Blixen (pen name Isak Dineson) rather than one book.  The movie puts all the relevant pieces of the author's life together for you to enjoy a cohesive story.  After seeing the visually appealing and emotionally touching movie, I read all of Karen Blixen's books about her time in Kenya and also several books by other expats living in Kenya.  They were all very interesting and enlarged my understanding of the nation of Kenya, especially her colonial past.




An interesting book to turn into a film would be  The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert. It's a highly unexpected kind of book from the author and I thoroughly enjoyed it. My pick for the main character would be Jenna Coleman, the British actress. She played Queen Victoria in the historical mini-series of the same name. I think she would bring a great depth of character to the female protagonist in The Signature of All Things.  Another book I'd like to see turned into a film is A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry. I don't have suggestions for actors but I think all the roles need to be played by South Asian actors.

4. Have you watched a movie and then had to go read the book or has the opposite occurred and influenced you to see the movie?

Yes indeed. I've both watched movies then read the books and also read the books then watched the movies. Out of Africa is probably the most impactful movie causing me to do a lot more reading of books by expat authors in Kenya and also Kenyan authors and authors from other African nations. Probably the most famous or well known of these is Nigerian author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I thoroughly enjoyed several of her books especially Half a Yellow Sun which tells the story of the Biafran War.

Well that's it for this week.

Thanks for joining in and come again next week!




Monday, October 3, 2022

Tuesday 4 ~ Bug Out!

 

Hi friends and fellow bloggers,

Welcome to October and welcome once again to Tuesday 4 in memory of Toni Taddeo, hosted by her good friend Annie of Cottage by the Sea.

Where I live we are still in summer mode and the autumn hasn't really arrived yet. Perhaps in another week or so. In the eastern part of Canada and USA there have been high winds, tree splitting winds and buckets of rain and several hurricanes. Since the east coast is experiencing hurricanes and tropical storms let us explore the topic.

 1. Expert survivalists and weather experts say it is wise to have a bug out bag handy in case of evacuation, hurricane, earthquake or any emergency. You can see online how to create one. Do you have an emergency kit or bug out bag?

Yes, I have an emergency kit consisting of a small suitcase and a backpack. The backpack has the barest essentials if there is no time to grab both bags.  Where I live we are likely to experience emergencies relating to wild fires, flooding or earthquakes. Hopefully we will never have to deal with any of it but being a bit prepared takes some of the edge off the possibility (just a little anyway).

 2. Do you have plans with your family on where to meet and what to do in case of emergency? 
 
Whatever plans we had need to be revisited and updated because family composition has changed since I last updated the kit.

 3. Do you keep your phone well charged and your gas tank topped off ? Is your flashlight kept fresh with batteries? Do you have a list of what to go where to go? 
 
Yes and I try to keep the power bank charged up. I have so many flashlights and battery operated lamps. I need to invest in more batteries as I seem to be low on what I need.

 4. How about a little stash of emergency goods and foods to last a week or two? They say it pays to do this.. do you?

I have meal bars and water from the emergency packs you buy at the store and I added a bit more. These need to be changed out from time to time as they get old but I don't change them as often as recommended.  I figure that they will still be "good enough" in a pinch even if the taste is not quite as good. I'd like to buy some dried foods but whenever I've looked into it it seems like they only come in very large quantities. It's probably time to look on line again to see what is available. Update:  I found a Canadian company called Good2GoCo that has a wonderful selection of foods and other items in small and large quantities. The foods and water have a very long shelf life so I think this is where I will be purchasing from soon. The food is sourced from Augason Farms which is based in Utah and so you can purchase from a number of retailers (Home Depot, Walmart, Amazon, Winco or from Augason directly).
 
In other news, I haven't blogged about the Kenyan missions.  While Jonah and I have been busy getting organized we have also tried to continue with some missions efforts from afar. I hope to provide a short update in the not too distant future.  If anyone would like to contribute to the work the donate button on the right hand side of this blog is always open. If you should experience any problems/issues with it, please let me know and I can try to resolve it. Thank you and God bless!
 
Thanks so much for stopping by!
 

 



Neighbourhood Street Scenes

Hello friends and fellow bloggers, I hope you are well today. These are photos I took on a recent walk in the neighbourhood. You can see the...