Hi friends,

Sorry to be a bit silent here. Though I have been visiting many of your blogs I haven't posted anything "new" for awhile. I've just been consumed with communications with Kenyan friends who have been through so much in the aftermath of the killings that took place in the small coastal town of Mpeketoni.
I mentioned before that the government promised to help the bereaved families to bury their loved ones.  But so far we haven't had success in tracking down the help.

My friend's laid their loved one to rest on Saturday in the Rift Valley far away from the hot and humid coast.  In Mpeketoni which is a small place near Lamu (a popular tourist destination), the mortuary is very small and can only accomodate 3 people at a time. When 48 people were killed in the first attack and another 9-15 in the 2nd attack (I read different numbers), you can imagine that the small town was not able to accomodate the need.  Bodies were piled one on top of the other and unrefrigerated as the community. I have photos but they are too graphic to post. The hospital staff and others left behind were doing their best to cope with the tragedy but many government officials were immediately fired after the tragedy occurred and there didn't seem to be enough outside help for the first few days.

I wish all people were as innocent as these children at Lk. Elementaita
The papers reported that some government officials handed out funds on Thursday at the hospital though there was a discrepancy in the amounts provided to the bereaved. My friends had returned to the Rift Valley in the wee hours of that morning with their loved one.  Also several news reports stated that about 38 families had not yet claimed the bodies of their loved ones.

Many of the people who died had families in far away places. The cost of travelling, accomodation, eating, and transporting their loved ones, and making funeral arrangements was just too prohibitive for most people. They would have to wait for some kind of help from government or well wishes. In the meantime, the bodies were/are decomposing in the humidity and I read that the stench near the hospital was overpowering. These are very sad times for all affected. Then on top of it all, I read that just yesterday 5 more people were killed in the same general area after official statements that the area had been secured. It really makes you wonder what is going on.  The insecurity in the area is why I wanted to get my friends out of there as quickly as possible as their lives are not too secure when there is no one to protect them from harm and danger. At least at home they will have their kith and kin and know the lay of the land.  For the locals who remained behind, many of them moved into the bush.

I know some people don't believe that prayer will help the circumstances but I do. I pray for the country as a whole and for the many people I know.  I also pray for all those people who I do not know who need help. I ask any like minded people to pray with me.

Once my friends got home and laid their loved ones to rest, one of the sisters of the deceased had a heart attack and ended up in the hospital.  Her blood sugar reading was very high no doubt due to the terrible stress that she and all of her extended family had been under given the circumstances of her brother's tragic passing and their lack of funds. I'm happy to report that she is now she is stabilized and I believe has been able to return home.

In my own life things here at home I've had a lot to keep me busy as well.

I've been back to the eye specialist where the surgeon pronounced the eye surgery and recovery as "excellent". I told him I had been seeing a black dot in my left eye whenever I was fatigued. He dismissed it as a floater. I didn't bother to say more. I have had floaters before and they were a lot different than this one I have been seeing recently. I also notice that as long as I am keeping rested and don't over strain my eyes, the black dot doesn't pay a visit. So I will just try not to overly strain my eyes. I go for another eye check up in a year.

Before the weekend came around I went for a quick trip to see my mother.  We had only a few hours together but it was good to see her again.  We were also able to get in a lot of visiting and organizing (of her space).  I was very tired when I got home and haven't been able to do much around the house since then. I brought back a lot of mending for my mom so that is "staring at me",  lol.  I've also started putting together the next care package for her because I'll be going back to see her in a few weeks.  I need to accompany her to an appointment with a specialist.  Before I get to that I've got 5 parcels I need to organize and send off in the post.

On the road again
One of my cousin's who had her own very close call with death in February (prayer pulled her through a horrendous time) lives very far from me.  She is visiting her sister who lives just over an hour away from me. She contacted me and we will be getting together this weekend.  It will be so nice to see her as it is a true miracle that she is still on this earth.  She will also make a special visit to my mom also on the weekend.  This had been in her plans before she landed in hospital fighting for her own life.

A few days after my cousin leaves, another friend and I will get together for a barbeque at my home.  She is a new friend from Peru who absolutely loves it here in Vancouver.  We've met a few times and now I've invited her for dinner.  I'm looking forward to relaxing on the patio with her.  A few days after that I have a family visitor who will stay for a  week or more.  I have much to get organized before then and I need to get rested so I can enjoy my time with my niece. I always look forward to spending time with her.

Until I see you or read you next, take care and hug a loved one.

Updates on Prayer Request

The President of Kenya made a public announcement about the attacks on Kenyans in Mpeketoni, saying that they were politically motivated attacks; not Somalie terrorist activity as had been reported by media outlets.  For a multitude of reasons, many Kenyans were outraged by this statement.  Al-Quada had taken ownership of the attack and have made other attacks on Kenyans due to Kenya having sent it's army into Somalia in retaliation for pirate attacks on Kenyan tourists.  Some people say this is not the time to be playing politics and heightening tensions in the country between political factions.

From my perspective it matters not so much who instigated the attacks but whether the government is on top of the security issues and can protect it's people as well as it's visitors.   Ordinary Kenyans are frightened and tourists on which Kenyan's economy is quite dependent will stay away from the country if their security cannot be assured. I know these are trying times for the Government of Kenya and for the people of Kenya, so our prayers and support of the people are still very much needed.

The second aspect of the President's public statement was that the funeral arrangements would be taken care of by the government so that those who died could be laid to rest with dignity. At first blush this sounded like a God send.  However it has not been possible to ascertain where and when the promised help is going to be available.

Government officials in Mpeketoni seem to have been fired, the place is/was in chaos as far as police and government presence.  Funeral homes in the vicinity are over run with the business of burying the dead and they have no information for anyone needing to access Government assistance with final disposition of their loved ones remains.

I can't do much from afar but I even tried writing to larger funeral homes in Nairobi and tweeted questions on Twitter to try and learn how the bereaved could avail themselves of Government help.  One funeral home quoted me some astronomical fees ($ 2662.00 - $ 3636.00 Canadian just for the transfer of the body from the coast to the highlands. A lot more funds required for washing, embalming and coffin). I wrote them back and thanked them but said the cost was simply too high and out of reach for your average villager, and this foreigner.  They said that the high cost is based in part on being based in Nairobi.

My friends enquired of several other funeral homes by telephone and the fees for service were all prohibitive for me, let alone most Kenyans.  There was no response to my Twitter inquiries.

In the meantime my friends have been doing the best they can in Mpeketoni, going on faith and very little money.  It is hot and humid on the coast and so they have moved the body of their loved one to a mortuary where there is ice.  The remains need to be properly care for while they try to find out how to transfer the deceased back to their home community which is non-stop drive of 12 hours, from the coast to the highlands.

We are working on other solutions and my hope is that my friends will depart Mpeketoni today (Thursday) for the long journey home with their loved one. I'm hoping that later my friends can still receive the government assistance once the government agencies have a chance to get organized.  I read today that the government was now providing food and blankets to those affected by the tragedy in Mpeketoni.  New police officers had been installed to replace those that were fired for being derelict in their duties (the government's charge, not mine).

Your prayers are much appreciated and I thank whole heartedly all those who have already prayed and continue to pray. They are a true encouragement to the faithful. God bless you much and may God bless and keep Kenya.

Saturday ~ My friend's loved one was laid to rest today. At last the family can breathe a sigh of relief after the long saga endured since the terrorist attacks on the coast a week ago.  Please continue to pray for this family. The father of the deceased lost his wife not so very long ago also.  It is so much for one person to endure and he is reeling from his losses.

Please Pray

 Ephesians 6:18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.

Dear friends,

Tragedy has struck in Kenya and touched the lives of my friends.

Some of you know that Somalian terrorist group Al-Shabab attacked upscale Westgate mall in Kenya  on September 21, 2013. Many were killed and more terrorized.

Then Sunday night Kenyan time, 48 people were killed in Mpeketoni near Lamu off the coast of Kenya.  One of those killed was my friend Jonah's cousin. Jonah is there now with family members to recover the body of the deceased and bring him home to Kericho for interrment.

Carnage outside Mpeketoni Police Station, Photo Credit: Daily Nation News (Kenya)

On Monday, terrorists killed another 15 people in a 2nd attack on the people of Mpeketoni.

May God protect the police and the innocent and bring additional security.

I ask you to pray with me for Jonah's safe return home and for the means to assist the family in the all costs involved with final resting preparations.

Please also pray for the safety and peace for the people of Kenya and for the Government of Kenya to get on top of the insecurity in the country.

I'm Tired

It's a little like wrestling a gorilla. 
You don't quit when you're tired - you quit when the gorilla is tired.

Robert Strauss

I didn't exactly plan to tidy up and declutter fabrics and craft items today. In fact, I had hoped to continue with the sorting of my papers from a few days ago as currently I've got them spread through the entire front room.

But you might remember that I told you I was given some free fabrics.  As I began washing and sorting the fabric to determine what to give to an elderly friend, I realized I needed to go through my yarns too.  That prompted me to sort through all the yarn I've got and re-arrange things. Then I started sorting through a  lot of my quilting fabrics and re-arranging them in different containers and areas of my home.  After that I sorted through the few crafting books and patterns I have and put them in an accessible wicker container.  I then went through all my crochet cotton and put them in another basket that I can easily access.

Altogether this took virtually all afternoon and evening in between a few phone calls, cooking, dishes, etc.  It poured rain early this morning and again late tonight.  In fact it is pouring heavily as I write this blog post and there were some claps of thunder and bolts of lightening which made me jump.  I'm so tired now  and it is very late but I need to put my feet up for awhile before I go to sleep.

I've got a little shopping buggy.  Like the one in the photo but with a different fabric cover.  I've filled it up with goodies for my friend (fabrics, yarns, pattern books, crochet cotton).  She is going to be getting different people to make things for a bazaar she is organizing to raise funds for her church.  This is my contribution to her cause.  I'm also donating a bunch of crocheted caps I made last winter for her to sell at the bazaar.  I made them to sell myself so I could raise funds for people in Kenya but I never got around to it.  I can always make more later. Right now my goal is to declutter and organize my small space for better efficiency.

In a wardrobe in my bedroom I have 2 more plastic tubs to go through.  These are filled patterns and seed beads.  These belonged to my mom who had a lot of crafting materials. I didn't want to throw them all away when she went into a care home.  Bit by bit I'm sorting through the things I brought home. I keep a few things and give away the rest. I still have a couple tubs of papers that belong to her that I brought to my home about 3 years ago.  I also have more tubs of books, cds, clothes and photos that are still in out-of-town-storage.  Most of the non-personal items will be given away but the photos I will have to go through and decide what to do with them.

But first I have to finish sorting my own things. That takes time.  My next step will be all the papers I have in a big wooden box and in bags currently strewn from end to end in my living area. Once this is done I will have accomplished a major task.  A lot of this paper was already sorted over time but I've got to go through it carefully, save a few pieces and destroy the rest.  Then I still have my file cabinet to go through.  I went through the file cabinet documents about 1 1/2 years ago and now it is mainly filled with this and that so much of it can go.  After this paper stuff is dealt with, the rest will be so much easier to keep on top of.

I can't wait because, my space will look and feel less cluttered and I'll have things more organized for crafting and other hobbies.  I'm hoping that my crafts will ultimately be put to good use and help Kenyan and local missions.

Monday the paperwork continues and perhaps on Tuesday too.  Then I will give myself a break for awhile.  I can only do decluttering for short periods of time.  At the same time, I like to make some real progress and feel like I've accomplished something when I'm doing work around the home.

  When one is tired it is always important to stop and smell the roses. I took these rose photos a few years ago.  I love roses in every colour, don't you?  

This week my way of smelling the roses will be to hopefully get to Spiderman 2 on Tuesday (cheap day) and I hope to get together with one or two friends for a chit chat over coffee.  If the rain let's up, I have some work to do in the garden.

I hope you have a lovely week.

A Frugal Week

Hi friends,

I hope you all had a great week. I have had a busy and productive one. It was a good week.

I started the week with making a baby quilt for my soon to be great-niece or nephew who will be born any day now. It is exciting awaiting the arrival of a new baby. The quilt was sent off in the post and arrived yesterday.  Since I did not purchase any new materials and had all the necessary fabric, thread and batting on hand, this was a very cost-effective gift.

Early in the week I visited a new to me university in the city. It is a small, private American university. I went there to ask questions and gather information for a friend of mine who is contemplating attending there. I was very impressed with what I learned and the fact that the university seems very responsive to real needs of students.  I do think though that the cost of tuition is a bit prohibitive.This little outing was very interesting for me and brought back my own excitement about being a student so long ago.  Other than the cost of the bus ride ($3.50 Canadian) it didn't cost me anything for the outing.

The night before my meeting at the university I received a coupon from  Michael's Craft store for 50% off a regular priced item.  I am adding large balls of yarn to my stash in different colours.  I don't need the yarn right away so I am going to buy 1 large ball of yarn every now and then.  The usual savings I would have on one regular priced item is 40% off.  This time it was 50% so I saved $6. (Canadian) off the total cost.  I also bought  6 small balls of cotton (at a savings of  $3.00). Altogether I saved $9. on yarns.  I'm hoping to make something different with the balls of cotton to be unveiled later if the project is a success. Normally I make cotton dishcloths and I really enjoy making them. Now and then though it is nice to make something different and add to my repertoire.

Yesterday I spent $14.30 (Canadian) on veggies, fruit and a small bag of pita bread (celery, carrots, romaine lettuce, mandarin oranges, bananas, pita bread).  The romaine was about $.50 off and the pita was only $.99 cents.  Though I am now trying to reduce my carb intake (no more bread baking, sigh), I haven't had a sugar spike when I make a veggie/pita (whole wheat) sandwich so now and then I buy the pita at this good price. At the supermarket it is about $2.50 for the same bag.

Today I purchased a few roma tomatoes ($1.49 per pound) and a small head of green cabbage ($.69 per pound) for an additional $5. (and a bit of change) spending on vegetables this week.  I haven't had any mandarin oranges since the winter and so I splurged to have for snacks.  Good thing the oranges are smaller ones.  I've also managed to find small bananas on my last few forays to the produce market. Having smaller oranges and bananas is a good thing because I have to watch the sugar intake.

I do use a lot of veggies and I like to have a variety of them each week. I also like to have a variety of fruits though bananas, oranges, apples, lemons and limes are the staples. It used to be that veggies and fruits were the least expensive things to buy in my neighbourhood.  But these days nothing is inexpensive.  I just try to scale back and buy those items that are not so expensive or are on sale in any given week.
An example of healthy soup made with fresh produce.

Last week in the produce store the zucchini was $1.59 a pound.  Today the same zucchini was $1.79 a pound.  I've noticed that since new owners took over at the neighbourhood produce store, a lot of the prices have increased considerably.  The quality however has gone down. A lot.  The new owner is now charging virtually the same prices as the chain supermarket across the street.  But the supermarket has much better produce.  For example, the small, shrivelled lemons on offer at the produce store were 3 lemons for $2.00 (Canadian).  The supermarket across the street has much bigger, fresher ones and you pay about $.89 each.  You couldn't get 3 for $2. but you can get 2 large and plump ones.

The other day my friend was shopping at the same produce store.  He felt he was overcharged so he got them to re-do the tally and discovered he was overcharged by $10! That is a significant over charge. They blamed it on the new cashier who was just learning the ropes.

Basically, it really pays to shop around.  It also pays to keep your eyes open for changing prices at your favourite stores. Don't be afraid to ask questions of the cashier and to put things back if you find the prices are too high.  At the larger supermarkets I always try to watch the cash register and have saved myself a lot of money this way.  Often the inventory being scanned has not been reduced in the system so if you don't catch it you may be significantly out of pocket.  If you know the prices you can always tell when you are paying too much. I speak up immediately (before I leave the store) and have the problem corrected before I leave.  This saves me a trip back to the store to sort things out later.

I save all bottles and containers that have a recycle fee attached. Whene I have a shopping bag full of bottles and cans, I take them to the supermarket for a refund.  They limit the amount of recyclables they take at any one time but it works for me since I can't have too many piling up in my small kitchen before they need to be returned for the deposit.  Usually the amount I get back for a full bag is around $1.40 Canadian and this week was no exception. I'm given a chit for the refund which I can then cash out when I go to the check out counter.

This week I also made $2. on a scratch ticket sent to me for my birthday.  This is like found money since I didn't have to do anything to get it but scratch the numbers.

I was also able to save several dollars on a donation of airtime to a Kenyan friend. Sending money to foreign countries can be costly, especially when multiplied many times over the course of a year. I never know when there will be a discount off the fees but when they do happen, I try to take advantage of them.

When I went to the pharmacy last night to pick up my medication I did some browsing around the store to see if anything I needed was on sale.   Just before I was going to pay for the items I checked my email and discovered that I could use a coupon that would earn me 16,000 (a  monetary value of about $20.).  I collect points so I can buy staples such as toilet paper, eggs, milk, butter and coffee and whatever else I may need.  What do you think I did?  I mentioned it to the pharmacist that I had points if I waited until Saturday and and she kindly offered to have someone put back everything I had taken off the shelves. I said I would be back Saturday. I did go back and I ended up earning 34,000 (16,000 of them I will get in a few weeks). That is like a dollar value of around $55. and will come in handy for use later.

Have you ever used Freecycle?  You can post offers to get rid of your no longer needed items or you can post want ads.  I usually post things to give away but a few weeks ago I responded to a give away for a bunch of unused fabric. The lady who was giving away the fabric kindly brought it to my home today because she had given me the wrong address when I went to her home just over a week ago. She is moving so she is working hard to declutter.

I'm keeping the larger pieces at the front of the photo. The other two piles will go to my friend.

I was able to sort through all the fabric today and decided I will only keep the largest pieces of muslin. I intend to give the coloured cotton and smaller pieces of unbleached cotton, to a friend of mine.  She's told me she will be organizing a bazaar to be held in the Fall just in time for Christmas gift buying. I told her I would donate a lot of yarn for her other friends to make things to sell and also give her some things I've made. I know she would like to make some quilts too that's why I want to give her the fabric but if she changes her mind I will donate the fabric to the thrift store.

I unearthed these quilt pieces this week while I was sorting a few things.  I should sew them together soon.

Besides sorting through my fabrics and seeing what fabric I could keep of the  new stash, I've been sorting through papers. This is one of my least favourite jobs.  But it saves money for it keeps you home when you could be out spending. It also helps to go through old bills and statements to compare expenses over the past year before you through things out. It helps to see where you can tighten up spending.  A lot of companies now charge a few extra dollars a month to receive a paper bill. I really detest that because I prefer paper bills which I can sit and compare with other paper bills over time. I've just discovered that my telephone provider is increasing fees by $2. a month and another $2. a month for paper bills.  Now I will have to call and make sure I  get invoices by email.  I also need to see where I can shave costs from the communications bundle I already use to save costs on internet, telephone and television. I was overcharged for some television costs so I need to deal with that too and have a few other things to discuss with them. By the time I am done I may find it cheaper to move my telephone service but I try to avoid making service provider changes if I can get some good service from customer service representatives and save a few dollars here and there.

I'm a paper keeper.  I keep all kinds of receipts, statements and documents. Problem is I don't have time to keep it all sorted. Slowly I am getting to that point. I'm working on a system that will work for me and still allow me to get rid of much of the paper I've been keeping for far too long.  It is a long process. Once I'm finished with the paper clutter, there are still many photos, books and crafting items to reduce. For the latter I like to try and use up as much of my craft items as possible and then see what I no longer want or need before donating it. It is also a source of pleasure and relaxation but only to a point. If there is too much clutter it is no longer relaxing and it has been at that point for some time.
All in all I had a frugal week. 
Every little bit of savings day after day and week after week does add up.

Whatever I'm able to save helps me to help Elvis (see right side bar) and others in Kenya.

What was your best frugal practice for the week?
What do you do with your savings?

Safari Fever

Some of you will remember I started a little knitted sweater some time ago for my as yet unborn niece or nephew. After my initial start, I haven't felt much like knitting so I decided I'd better make something else.

I settled on a very simple baby quilt. Since I don't yet know the sex of the baby, I am making a unisex blanket.  I bought the prints almost 2 years ago and the muslin backing a year ago. I don't remember when I purchased the brown fabric which I've used for the binding but I'm sure glad I had it in stock.  I absolutely love the African themed prints. They remind me so much of the wonderful times I've had on safari in Kenya over the years.

My inspiration for this little quilt came from Jenny of the Missouri Quilt Company. I was inspired by the quilt process she described but the finished quilt is obviously quite different (size, number of squares, no borders, etc.).

The baby will be born any time and I need to get this quilt shipped out as soon as possible.

Square blocks.  I started out with 8.5 x 8.5 inch squares and made generous seams.

I used muslin for the quilt back.  I made 3 inch binding, attached it to the top of the quilt by machine and to the back with a whip stitch.

Quilting is a simple stitch in the ditch.

Finished quilt size: 32 inches x 36 inches (81.28 cm x 91.44 cm)

I've given it a little pressing and folded it for mailing.  I hope to ship it out on Monday.

I'm so glad I managed to use up some of my fabric stash and make something for a wee member of the family at the same time.  

My goal is to finish the sweater in time for the baby to wear in Fall.  It is far too hot where the baby will live for him/her to wear a wool sweater over the summer months.  The finished sweater should fit about a 6 month old child though I guess that depends on how fast the baby grows. It should be ready before September when the baby will be about 3 months old and summer will be at an end.

I've also completed my hexagons for the African Flower Crochet Quilt. I'll try not to upload any more photos of this quilt until I've finished attaching all the pieces.

Besides working on these projects I've had a busy week shopping, a bit of indoor cleaning and a bit of gardening.

I sent mom her monthly parcel so that entailed a bit of shopping. The contents vary each month and this time there was:  chicklet gum, raw shea butter, a large container of Vicks and tube of Baby Oil Gel. The mail often gets to her the very next day if I send it early but this time it took two days.  I think it is still a quick delivery given the mail has to be sorted at both ends before it gets to her. I'm hoping to visit her again too just as soon as I can get past a few appointments and such.

In my garden, spent some time dead heading all my plants though I fear I may have done this a little too late.   I'm not much of a gardener but my plants do not generally go to seed quite so quickly.  I plan to have guests on the patio soon and need to try and revive my plants and get my patio cleaned up.  Though I love looking at flowering blossoms the outdoor jobs are not my favourite (for reasons I've explained before) but they are necessary.

Just over a week ago I took out a few books from the library.  I completed one of the books, A Weekend in Paris by Robin Susskind. It was a nice little summer read.  Nothing too heavy but still satisfying because it deals with themes of love, travel and adventure.  This book is probably geared to the young adult set (of which I am not a member,lol).  I still enjoyed the book quite a lot.  Probably because it is set in Paris.  A city I still dream about travelling to one day.

Now I'm off to finish The Paradise Guest House by Ellen Sussman.  This book is set in Bali a year after the 2002 nightclub bombings.  Jamie, an adventure guide, has gone back to Bali to reconnect with the man who saved her from the blast.  But upon landing she starts having traumatic memories of the bombings.  I'm at the part where she has travelled back to Bali against the advice of her mother.  She has settled into her room at the Guest House and is dealing with a pesky young man (child of 14) who wants to work for her and won't leave her alone every time she ventures out.

The Glacier Gallows by Stephen Legault is another book in my reading pile.  This is a mystery about a tragedy that strikes during an expedition through Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. I think it will be an interesting read by a "new to me" Canadian author.  Apparently it is the 4th book in a series.  Though I haven't read the other 3 books I'm hoping it won't make a difference.

Yesterday after running some errands at a local mall I decided to take in a movie and use one of my free passes. It was a toss up between "Spiderman 2" or "The Immigrant".  I ended up going to "The Immigrant" because it was playing in the mall I was at.

Marion Cotillard plays Ewa Cybulski, who along with her sister sails to New York from their native Poland in search of a new start and the pursuit of the American dream. Through unfortunate circumstances Ewa is driven into a life of prostitution and a complex and volatile life with with two men, played by Joquin Phoenix and Jeremy Renner. It is quite a slow moving, heavy (as in intense) and dark (as in lighting and subject matter) movie. All the actors give strong and moving performances, especially Cotillard, Phoenix and Renner but even the supporting actors are good and help bring this movie to life. The movie shows just how difficult life was many of those who came to America trying to make a better life.

I've got loads more more to do this week.  I'm looking forward to it.  I like checking things off my list.

How is your world this week?

Tragedy strikes during an expedition through Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park - See more at: http://vpl.bibliocommons.com/item/show/3672663038_the_glacier_gallows#sthash.gGZ60y6a.dpuf

It's a Beautiful Day!

Beautiful hydrangeas. This photo is from my archives and was taken on a walk last summer.

Hi friends,

Just popping in to say "hello". I'm keeping very busy with this and that. I've been tidying in the garden, reading, crocheting, mending, cleaning, shopping, going to appointments and trying to catch up with a few friends.

Still lots to do but today as I went out I was feeling ever so content with the world and felt so happy.

When one feels happy they want to reach out and "touch someone".

The sun has been shining, the weather is warm and I am happy.

Don't misunderstand me.  Not everything is right in my world right now. I have worries and concerns just like the next person. I also have many pressing cares and concerns that sometimes weigh on me. But now and then I stop and remind myself that God is in control.  Yes, he is!  Sometimes I want to control and manage every thing in my life.  One thing I love to do is find solutions to any issues I face.  But now and then, I hit a wall and a roadblock that I cannot surmount or find a way around.  It is then that I am stopped in my tracks and realize that I do not have the ultimate control. 

When troubles do come and seem overwhelming, I am reminded of the holy scriptures that tell us we should cast all our cares and burden on him for he cares for us. (1 Peter 5:7).  There are some things that I go through or that that loved ones and friends face that are trying.  Though I can try to help, it is God alone who knows all things.  He knows why things happen and what the outcomes will be.  I just need to trust that it is all GOOD what ever happens.  God's Word says "All things work together for good to them that love God  to them who are the called according to his purpose". (Romans 8:28)  These verses help sustain me in a troubled time and help me press on in prayer and hope.

Whatever is going on in your world today, I pray that each of you have moments of joy and happiness.  If you are dealing with overwhelming matters of life, try to give your cares and worries over to the great "I am" for he really cares for you.

If any of you have time, please also continue praying for my friend Jonah in Kenya who is waiting for the Lord's answers in his life.  Also for my friend Elvis who hopes to finish university very soon (August).

We still need a bit of help to help for Elvis to finish strong, both for his living costs in July and August and for graduation fees.  If you can help at all, please do let me know how and how you can send the support (pay pal, e-transfer, etc.  If you can use Money Gram, Western Union, or World Remit, you can also send directly to Kenya and I can give you the details.

Another photo from my archives.

I am still on a bit of a blogging break but I do visit blogs and leave comments almost daily.
Have a wonderful day!

Happenings in My World

Hello everyone, I hope this post finds all of you happy and healthy. Health is such a wonderful gift. If you have it please cherish it. If you don't have it, remember that you are worth looking after and do what you can to keep it or improve it. I'm learning all this myself. Some of us are slow learners but every one of us can learn.

Over the past several weeks I've been back to the grindstone doing everything I can to get my blood sugar levels down. I'm exercising each and every day, taking my medications faithfully, testing my blood glucose levels, going to sleep earlier, trying to make sure only good foods are prepared and served and just generally trying not to get overly stressed.  I have some days where my sugar levels are doing very well and other days where it is very high even though I do all the right things. For example, last night before bed, my blood glucose was 5.7 (normal). This morning it was 7.5 (slightly over normal).  After a breakfast of cold cereal with fibre, 1% milk and 1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds it soared to 17.5! That is unreal. My blood glucose is always higher in the first half of the day.  Even if I eat my usual breakfast of oatmeal (with cinnamon, goji or strawberries and flax meal) my blood glucose is still at about 11 or 12 ml. I still think that is way too high so I've been experimenting with exercising on my stationary bike after each meal. I am better at it some days and not so good on other days though I keep on doing the best I can and feel that it will all help make a difference.  (I already know that eating vegan helps but I am not quite that disciplined.  Perhaps in time with all the changes I've made over time I will end up with a totally vegan diet but for now I still eat a bit of cheese, dairy and chicken/meat/fish).

My doctor wants to increase one of my medications but I am resistant to the idea.  I know that increasing medications is not going to solve anything in the long run though it may help in the short term. That is why I am now exercising every single day rather than a few times a week. I will give it a bit more time and then go back and see the doctor to discuss with her. In the end I may increase the medications but first I want to try everything else possible to correct the problem.

I LOVE pansies.
In addition to that I've gone for my annual eye check and discovered that I had a retinal tear in one eye.  I was very shocked but apparently it comes with age and affects some people who are quite myopic which I am. There can be some very bad consequences of an unchecked retinal tear. In my case, I went to the eye doctor on a Wednesday afternoon and by Thursday morning I was at the retinal specialist's office. By Wednesday morning of the following week I was at the downtown Vancouver hospital getting eye surgery.

I didn't really have time to ask a lot of questions as the eye specialist was and is super busy. I found out he is one of the best in town (I didn't know of him before I was referred) and suffice to say that the surgery went well. There was no pain from all the light beams directed into my eye. What I did find a bit painful was the pressure on my eyeball from whatever was used to keep my eye open. It wasn't exactly painful but the pressure exerted on the eyeball was making my eye fatigued and sore.  By the time the doctor was finished zapping my eye I was so happy!  I return to his office in a month's time for followup.  Everything seems fine afterward, though I've noticed I tend to get eye strain more than I did before. Perhaps this will subside in time.  All I can say is that I am grateful the problem was found and corrected in record time.

It poured heavily on Sunday

In the meantime, I've been keeping very busy this Spring with a myriad of things: planning and preparing my small garden, buying a new patio table, Spring cleaning around the condo (declutter my drawers and closet shelves, wiping down the kitchen), taxes, paperwork, running to different doctors, reading, and life in general. Of course most of you know that the simple tasks of planning and preparing meals and blood glucose monitoring takes oodles of time.  So all in all, I am keeping rather busy.

Starter plants waiting for their pots.
The Paradise Guest House
Weekend in ParisBecause I've read a lot of books early this year I've decided to increase my reading goal for the year from 25 to 30 books. It's no problem as I've got hundreds of books on my "to read" list. It is just a matter of finding some of them at the library or the second hand (thrift) store.  I may have to increase the goal again before the year is out since we still have 7 months left in 2014.  I'm reading at a leisurely pace.  In fact I haven't been doing any reading for a few weeks so today I will pick up a couple of library books (the two you see in the photos). They look like light, fun reads.

Last but  not least. I've dug out a work-in-progress.  It's the African hexagon flower crochet throw/blanket I intended to give as a Christmas present in December 2013!  I've managed to sew all the hexagons together now.  By laying it on my double bed I can see that I still need a few rows of flowers and I've run out of the yarns I've been using. I either have to carry on in different colourways (perhaps too much difference in shading) or try and find more yarn (easier said than done though I could perhaps order on line).

My hexagons are randomly placed and are not all identical. I've used 4-5 shades of yarn in different order and have sewn them together without much thought.  It is too time consuming to keep laying the throw on the floor or my bed to see how to arrange the hexagons.

I still have to fasten the ends at the back and add another row before deciding whether to buy more yarn and continue.

I'm pleased with the overall effect. 

Right now I am experimenting with the yarn I have on hand to finish adding one more row.  I can then see whether what I have on hand will work or whether I need to buy more yarn.  After seeing how heavy the throw is getting I might skip the idea of making a cover for a double bed. But, you never know, I can always change my mind.

Chicken cacciatore is bubbling away on the stove.  This is something I never make but am tired of eating baked and roasted chicken so I thought a change would be fine. I don't generally eat much pasta  and thankfully it doesn't tend to cause any huge blood glucose spikes. I almost decided on boiling some steel cut oats for the foundation of the meal but I'll save the oats for breakfast.

I think tomorrow's menu for lunch and dinner  will be a nice green salad with canned salmon and a hearty vegetable stew.

Keep well everyone. I may not be posting for awhile as I'm going to be busy catching up with friends and work and relaxation around the house.

Joining in with My World Tuesday

A Trip to Town

Hello friends,

I had to make a trip downtown on Wednesday.  My destination was the Eye Clinic at St. Paul's Hospital in downtown Vancouver.  It was my first time to the clinic and the first time I've been downtown for quite some time.

I managed to snap a few photos of the sky and some reflections which I share in this post.  Unfortunately I was running a bit late for my appointment so I didn't get as many photos as I wanted.

It got a bit windy before I left the house and a bit cloudy. I thought it was going to rain but it turned out to be a rather warm day; nothing too unbearable and certainly a lot better than I was expecting.

We've just come through a long weekend. It is always a long weekend on the last Monday before May 25th in Canada and is called Victoria Day, honouring Queen Victoria's birthday.  It also marks the unofficial beginning of our summer season when camping enthusiasts begin their camping season in the many camps and parks.  In my area (Vancouver/Lower Mainland) it usually rains on this long weekend.  Though rain was predicted and heavy clouds gathered, it actually didn't rain. Quelle surprise (what a surprise), lol.


Moon View

Hi friends, 

These moon shots were all taken within a few minutes of each other in different locations. 

Happy Skywatch Friday.

If you haven't read my post about Elvis, please read here.

Enjoy your weekend!

Note: Dear Bloggers, I've temporarily disabled the mobile device view while I check out some things. If you are on a mobile device and have problems viewing (post and side bars) please let me know.

Around Town on a Small Bus

These photos were captured as the sun was going down and in a moving vehicle, hence the graininess.

 I hope it adds to the atmosphere, lol. 

Under the train tracks for the Light Rapid Train system (LRT). 

Science World, a great educational centre is the globe on the left. It lights up like a diamond at night.

BC Place, venue for concerts, trade shows, sporting events, etc. is seen just under the LRT rails

Dramatic shot of the sky
On the outskirts of Chinatown. We are at the backside of the Dr. Sun Yet Sen Garden

Entering Yaletown, a newish neighbourhood in Vancouver. This is a southwestern view along Pacific Blvd.

One blurry shot of the heart of Yaletown and one of my fav streets. This used to be a warehouse district.

A famous breakfast place so named because the original location was so small you rubbed elbows with your neighbour. This isn't the original location and it appears to be bigger tho I haven't yet been inside.

View after sundown. This is looking west at English Bay in the West End. You are looking at the Pacific Ocean straight ahead.

A few palm trees at the waterfront. The temperature in Vancouver is milder than most parts of Canada so palm tress can grow here.
Joining in with Our World Tuesday today.
If you missed my post from yesterday, please click here.

Thanks for your visit!

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