A Sunflower Sky







I hurriedly snapped these photos as the light was quickly fading.

~~~~

Walking through the community garden after watering I could see that many sunflowers had already dried up and died.  The plot holders probably haven't watered in quite some time.
Many sunflowers in other plots were much taller than mine too.  
When I was assigned a plot I was told not to plant a very tall variety. I guess some people don't listen well or their sunflowers were self seeded from last year's tall ones.
Nonetheless I was pleased the sunflowers came up and that they got as tall as they did (they are over 6 feet tall).

~~~
It's been a busy and a quick week.
My niece and I had a whirlwind visit with me trying to keep her occupied and busy for the time she was here.
Her brother took her to the annual air show but this year they went to Chilliwack
which has a free air show rather than the one they usually go to in Abbottsford.



We didn't know the one in Chilliwack was free. It just fell at the right time in the calendar.  The free entrance was a bonus and my niece had a wonderful time.
Other than several long walks to the garden and to and from other places, we also went to see the Disney movie, The Lion King.  We both enjoyed it a lot.  The scenery and animals are so realistic looking.
It made me want to go to Kenya again soon.

~~~
Tuesday we went to the annual Pacific National Exhibition (PNE).

 There we went to went to see the farm animals and the always fun, Super Dog show.
My niece had a lot of laughs watching the dogs run through their races.
 
We went early to the dog show to get a good seat.
The dogs move so quickly that it is hard to get a good photo.

Of course we also had corn on the cob, ice cream and a few other goodies that we don't get to eat on a regular basis.

I was seated at the pretzel place having a salty pretzel while my niece had a vanilla one.

It was a very hot day. Thankfully there were several places to fill your water bottles and it seems each year they improve the seating. Of course the seats under the shade get taken up quickly.
After each activity,  my niece pronounced it as her favourite one.
That is a good sign and means she has been enjoying herself.
Nonetheless she is anxious to get home to her own bed. 
She loves to come each year but she is basically a homebody.
Before she goes home we are going to the beach on Wednesday.
On Thursday we will have a small dinner to celebrate her birthday. Her brother will bring the cake.
Then it will be time to get ready for the journey home on Friday.
~~~~
In a year or two, I'm hoping to take my niece on a plane trip. Before then we have a lot of 'training' to do like getting her a bit more independent and less fearful of doing things like climbing stairs, riding the city buses and so on.
 ~~~~
A cousin I see about once a year, sometimes twice, will be visiting in another week or so.
Unfortunately it seems my building will be turning the water off for the days she will be here.  I guess they are upgrading the boiler system.
I have to make some inquiries so I can properly prepare.
I always enjoy a visit with my cousin. She is usually only here for a very short time but this time I told her she needs to stay a bit longer so we can enjoy some outings.  She was game.
When we were teens we were the best of friends but then for many years life took us in very different directions.
In later years we kept in better touch due to my late mom's ill health and now we try to keep in better touch.

~~~

 Linking with Skywatch Friday

 Take care and have a lovely week.

This and That: Beautiful Skies and Various Hobbies



The beautiful sky that greeted my Saturday evening.

Beyond getting rid of clutter I've been preparing for Fall and Winter projects and making a bit of progress.
In February I purchased the fabrics on the left side of the collage (all cotton).
On the weekend I purchased the fabrics on the right of the collage (all cotton, viscose, rayon and bamboo).

I want to make some summer dresses or outfits but I haven't found the right patterns yet. 
I keep looking on line for inspiration and ideas.
I still need notions to undertake the various projects.
These are not for my winter wardrobe. These are in preparation for next summer so I still have plenty of time to find just the right inspiration for the clothing.
The white interfacing at the top of the right hand pile is for a project I hope to make for one of my brothers.This one I'm hoping to start before winter arrives.


The olive green dress below is one I got a Kenyan seamstress to make for my late mom. 
The seamstress was amazing as she sewed up 3 dresses for me virtually overnight.
African women seem to sew without patterns as they know how to measure and cut for various styles.
They are quite amazing in this way.
 I had two similar dresses made for my mom and one for me. I wanted mom's dresses in a very simple cut and wide enough for comfort when seated. I also wanted large pockets in the front of the dress for easy accessibility when seated in a wheelchair.
Mom loved her dresses and at her home going ceremony I made sure to dress her in one. This is the one I have left and on hot summer days I wear it around the house. If I want to wear it out I would have to alter it.


These next few photos are from my community garden plot. I had a good crop of beans and zucchini this year. 
I don't think I'll grow zucchini next year though as they take too  much room in the small plot.
The sunflowers grew very well but the leaves had spots on them.
I will have to try and learn what caused the spotting and check to see whether other
sunflower growers had similar issues.





I harvested kale and lettuce from the small garden.  I could not use up all the kale but the lettuce really didn't grow large enough or plentiful enough though I did enjoy a salad or two. I've had more success growing lettuce in containers on my balcony.  This year in my patio garden I grew mostly flowers which were growing nicely until end of July then all of sudden the garden dried up. I also grew cherry tomatoes and strawberries which grew well.  The peppers, eggplant and zucchini didn't grow well. The herbs grew quickly but sadly, mostly went unused. 

~~~~

In Kenya, Eunice remains at the private hospital so we have had no forward movement in getting her to hospital. But since I posted this on Wednesday night she took a turn for the worse and is back in Intensive Care. The family is desperately trying to raise funds for her further treatment.
~~
Ernest had the plaster changed on his leg and is healing well.

A young friend was robbed of his phone a few weeks ago while riding public transport called matatu (basically a shared taxi van). One really needs a smart phone to survive in Kenya (perhaps in most of Africa these days) as Kenyans do a lot of money transactions via phone and also need to keep in contact with friends and family. Thankfully a young Canadian woman offered to help purchase a new phone for him. That was an answer to my specific prayers.

In other good news, one of the young men I helped to finish an Engineering degree finally got a refund from the university he had been hoping to attend this year.
It took almost 8 months to get the money back.
We are grateful since universities in Kenya  are notorious for being broke.
This is another answer to a specific prayer.
For some odd reason the university insisted on making the refund cheque out to my young friend's mother despite the fact that he is of age and she did not pay his tuition.
This approach had great potential to cause other problems but thankfully everything worked out fine and very soon he will have the funds put into his own bank account.
These funds are needed to apply to graduate school.
More on that as time goes by.


~~~~~

By the time this post is published I hope to be enjoying my visit with my niece so I will "see" you once our visit is over and she has returned home.

 I close with one more photo of the misty mountains.

I really love the sky.



Joining up with

The Close of Another Week

I love the first, blurred photo.
The blurred, coloured lights give it added interest.

(You can click each photo to enlarge).
This was taken just after 5:30 a.m. The light is coming out about an hour later these days.

~~~

I've been busy this week with some  personal business and several things concerning the missions in Kenya.
Eunice is still in hospital in Nakuru, Kenya awaiting the clearance of the bill before she can be transferred to hospice care in her home town.

Much of my summer has been busy trying to declutter and also take care of old business. I write about some of it here on my blog.

While I've been very busy from time to time I take time out by knitting and reading.

These are the coloured, knitted cloths I've made so far. Some will be gifts and some will be for my own use as most of my dishcloths are at the end of their use.  I seem to go through a lot of them.

I like seeing the different colours of cloths in the basket.
~~~~~~

This last photo was taken last night. I love the colour in the sky and the illuminated cross and twinkling lights on the ski hill.  It is getting darker a little earlier now and before too long it will be the end of summer.   Every year I am amazed at how the weather goes from hot to a bit chilly at night on precisely September 1. It's amazing.

I still have so much work to do at home but in a week my niece will visit for one week and we will be busy with different activities and dinners.  My cousin will visit from afar the week following.  Once my relatives are gone I hope to visit with a missionary from Taiwan. She hails from my area but she now makes her home in Taiwan and she comes to visit her family and friends each year.  She won't be staying at my home.  We just hope to do something nice together.

This photo was taken just before 9 p.m. It is getting dark about 30 minutes earlier than a few weeks ago
~~~~~

Here's to the close of another week.
I hope you all had a wonderful week with love and laughter or at least some progress in an area important to you.
Make time to take care of your needs.
Hugs and love.

Linking with

Skies Over Vancouver, Skies Over You




Hello friends,

It's hard to believe but the summer here is almost over.

I captured these beauties in the early morning hours of Monday, August 5, 2019. 

Taken at night at the community garden plots on August 8, 2019.

Just a brief note about the Kenyan missions.  Ernest, the young man who was run over in Kenya (see side bar photos) is recovering well at home. He is escorted to the hospital each week for a check up to make sure everything is going well. The metal contraption (its name escapes me) has been removed. He now wears a cast and gets around with crutches and a wheelchair.

Ernest is discharged from hospital.

Here he is a few weeks later after the medical device was removed from his leg.
Thank you so much to the two friends who helped with his hospital bill.


Night descends quickly but still lots of people sitting in the park.

~~~~

In sadder news, my friend Eunice has been in hospital for going on 6 months in a city called Nakuru, Kenya.  This city is about 3 hours away from her home and she is at this hospital because she requires more more specialized care.  But she really hasn't been doing well for most of the 6 months.  The family has been told to remove her from hospital due to significant unpaid bill but before she can be transported she needs to get a bit stronger.  The bill must be paid before they will allow her to be moved  (a catch 22 situation).
The family is hoping to move her back to her home town and is trying to arrange hospice care there.
Hospice care will take more funds but if she has to be hospitalized in the public hospital much of the cost should be covered by health insurance. We'll have to wait and see how this all plays out because very little is ever straight forward in Kenya.
Kindly keep this need and this family in prayer.
I believe in answers to prayer.


 
 
It's a miracle to know the same sky that covers me here at home covers the people where you are and moreover covers the people in Kenya. Such an awesome thought.

~~~~ 


Joining in with 
Skywatch Friday this week. 
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.



A Productive July Ends

It's been a busy week so far. Nothing terribly exciting happening but all is satisfying.

First up I delivered half of my personal library to a local care home. The recreational advisor saw my advertisement on the local Freecycle and said he would take all the books. So that was a God send since most takers just want a fictional book or two. A great many of the books I donated history books and reference books of all kinds (cooking, gardening, travel, self help and health books, how to books and cookbooks and a great many other topics).  The recreational person I dealt with told me they will sell books to benefit the seniors in their care. I do hope that they will have good success with the sales.



Reading continues with a few good books in my pile each week. My recent reads were The Paris Seamstress, Rebel Queen and The Next Person You Meet in Heaven.  They were all good books and I've listed them in the order of enjoyment in case you are interested.  Right now I'm reading a few books on fashion: Gok Wan's Work Your Wardrobe  and The Way She Wears It  by Dallas Shaw.  I'm relearning a lot of what I once knew and it is good to have a refresher.  Most of my newer reads are borrowed from the library so that I'm not spending the money and adding to my clutter at home.




One of my errands on Monday was to go the beautiful Granville Island. This is a very popular spot with tourists and locals alike but I wasn't there to stroll around and enjoy. I stopped at a store called Ten Thousand Villages to pick up a parcel of small items I ordered on line and asked to be delivered to the store front. It saved about $ 10.00 Canadian on shipping charges which is a lot considering the parcel was very small. If I had heavier things or larger things on order, then paying the shipping charges would be a good idea.  In fact, in my previous order with this company I had the parcel shipped to my local post office.

I'm very pleased with the quality of the products I've purchased from this place so far. I also like that the products are purchased from various countries abroad at fair trade prices. If you'd like to check it out please do because you would be benefiting artisans from developing nations.   If you want to check out the store, please check here.

Some of you might wonder why I am buying things when I am doing major decluttering.  One reason is I like to shop for gift ideas for Christmas and birthdays throughout the year.  This helps spread the cost over many months.

The other reason is that though I have too much stuff, one area where I am lacking is accessories, especially necklaces and earrings which help to stretch one's wardrobe into numerous outfits.

I keep an eye out for things I can purchase at a good price and that will coordinate with my wardrobe, current and planned.  Since I've already donated many clothing items  I will need to supplement my wardrobe in future.  But I don't need anything for awhile and can make do with what I have.  I also have plans to sew some things with the fabric I purchased in Kenya earlier in the year.  I will buy some coordinating fabric here in town to try and extend my wardrobe options that way too. So I can hold off buying new clothing until I know for sure what I really need.  

Last time I wrote about my knees I mentioned that I need to get updated x-rays.  I finally made it early in the week for the x-rays on both knees.  I expect soon to be referred to the center that educates arthritis patients to better manage their symptoms and assess them as to whether they need surgery.

Other than that I've been busy with the usual household things and a bit of shopping for a new wall clock,  yarn and food for the house.

While relaxing in the evening I'm knitting dishcloths for Christmas gifts. It's really the main that I knit and I have built up a little stash.  I enjoy knitting these simple cloths and it helps me feel like I'm doing something constructive while I relax.

I went to the community garden and snipped off some beautiful sunflowers to place at home. I noticed there were some ants in them so I had to get those out before I brought the flowers indoors.

I also snipped some salad greens and brought home. I made a simple green salad tonight with hamburgers on buns for dinner.


The container garden is holding up well. The rest of the garden doesn't look so great and I'm not really sure why. Probably a combination of over watering at times and under watering at other times.

Right now though there are workers out there and so they don't take care how they throw things around. After their work of power washing and painting walls is done I think my garden will be largely finished for this summer. If I have time I may plant some thing from seed just to see if it comes up and blossoms before we get too far into Fall weather.



Geraniums are a favourite in my garden.




I'll continue being busy at home for a few weeks with plans to see a movie or two with a friend and visit with an out of town friend who should be arriving soon.  My house guests won't start arriving until the end the month. Until then I have a lot to keep me busy. That's my update for now. I hope you are all enjoying yourselves wherever you are in the world.



Joining in with Skywatch Friday.

End of July

Hello friends,

The week goes so quickly and Friday is upon us again.

I'm still in summer mode but I'm not doing what people normally do with their summers. I'm not sitting relaxing in my garden or going to the beach or going to concerts. Instead I am doing a major household purge.


After years of purging a few things here and there of my late mom's things, my clothing, and knick knacks, I started purging some of my own papers. Before I knew it it got me into purging my books and wanting to change the furniture around. Why did I start on that?! I was supposed to be purging my papers. I think I was looking for a distraction as I don't like to get into my papers. There is just so much of it to go through.  I also find I can't focus on papers when there are other things that are also needing to be sorted.

I read Marie Kondo's book on the Magic of Tidying Up last year. She sets out a certain order of discarding and sorting which has come to be known as the KonMari Method which has taken off by storm.  I don't exactly follow the method or the order of decluttering but I did learn a few things from the method.  As for the order of decluttering (as depicted in the chart below), I like to tackle different areas as the motivation strikes me. I like to mix things up a bit and do a little of this and a little of that and tidy and clean and reorganize along the way. So many organizing gurus on You Tube run out and buy all kinds of containers to store stuff.  I've learned over the years that this might make things tidy but it only hides the clutter, it doesn't eliminate it.  At some point you will need to deal with it.



In the chart above, book sorting comes before paper sorting. So I guess I am following that rule.  Clothing is the first item to be sorted. I did actually sort a lot of clothing over the past few years, not just mine but my mother's as well and fabrics and so on. It is an ongoing process because I also bought a lot of clothing having gained and lost 50 pounds over the years.

But in between clothing and books I sorted and discarded a lot of miscellany to try and create more "breathing" space. It sounds like I am, or was, a hoarder but I am not. I just have a lot of stuff and I like my stuff to be contained and orderly.  I like everything in it's place but my place is too small for my stuff. That means I have too much of it. I can blame cooking from scratch, shopping for food sales and any other kind of sales (I love a good bargain), craft hobby, sewing hobby & reading hobby.  Now I am at that point in my life where I want a lot less stuff. That is hard when you like to read and do crafts of all kinds and when you were taught to save things for a rainy day or because they might be useful.  It also requires discipline to buy only what one needs when they need it. I will find a way to try and continue with all my interests and do it with less stuff.




Anyway, back to the books.  I've managed to "discard" 10-12 very large shopping bags. I was shocked to discover how many books there were.  It doesn't look like quite so many when they are neatly on the bookshelves.  Fortunately, my local hospital is going to take all of my cast off books but I have to deliver them. I'm hoping to do that on Monday. They  plan to sell the books to raise a bit of money for the work they do with seniors. So it's for a great cause.



In between cleaning and moving bookshelves and deciding which books to give away, I've also purged and cleaned the hallway coat closet. Generally I post giveaways on Freecycle and there are a few women in the community who always ask for my clothing which means they come and get it.  It is always much better to let someone else have use of something that is still in good condition than to put it in the garbage. Friday (today) I will vacuum and get back to paperwork which I'll work on throughout the weekend.

While all this work is going on inside, the exterior walls of my building are also being washed and painted. This should be done not later than the middle of August.  Everything on the patio has had to be moved in preparation. In  the meantime the patio pavers finally got a good washing. They really needed it as they were not washed last year

I have a guest coming in late August and another one in early September so they will find things looking a lot different. Not only that I will be able to enjoy visiting with them in my decluttered home.



They always say when you really declutter you start experiencing shifts in your life. Right now the shift I am experiencing is more freedom of mind and a growing sense of peace and joy in getting rid of a burden.
 


It's hard to believe in another few weeks we will definitely be in back to school mode and back to cooler weather and all the things that come with it. I always look forward to the Fall months when I no longer feel the heat of summer.

All the photos were taken in the month of July 2019 on various days except for the last photo which was taken in June ( I haven't had much time for photo taking). They are all taken between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m.  I've started to notice these past few days the sun is coming up a bit later. Have you noticed that where you live?

I hope you are all doing well and enjoying the last days of summer.  Of course some of you are going through winter season. In that case, I hope it warms up for you soon. I know winter can be quite chilly and rainy in a place like New Zealand.



 Thank you for stopping by to visit.

Joining in with Skywatch Friday.

Skywatch Friday & a Bit More

Hi everyone,

I hope you are all doing well.

I'm popping in to see how everyone is doing. I've been on a wonderful break. I've been enjoying a much slower, relaxed pace of life. I'm not doing anything unique or exciting just enjoying the usual things I do at a slower pace.  Rain started about a week ago and we've been getting a bit each day which is wonderful as it is good for the earth, good for the dams and good for the gardens and natural life. Today (Friday) it was back to very hot weather.



From my patio garden


Amongst other things I've been busy shopping for and preparing for various friends' birthdays and looking forward and planning and shopping for the prezzies I need to get organized for Christmas. I've also continued reading and currently reading books 33 and 34



I also joined a fashion book club where the leader suggests books to read, then we experiment and share the results.  I haven't done any experimenting yet as  the first step is to read the books. I'm not sure I'll have a lot of time or interest in this but I do like to see what others are wearing and it is a nice diversion from the daily grind.

I've been watching a lot of You Tube videos and learned about the Trim Healthy Mama cookbook from some American ladies who vlog. I'd never heard of this plan or cookbooks before but have now ordered them from the library and think I'll be trying a lot of the recipes in at least one of the books. Do any of you follow this plan? People who follow it consistently seem to get great health and weight loss results. I'm afraid I'm not too good at consistency in following plans. I just try to learn healthier ways of cooking and eating and have decided to purchase their most recent recipe book.

I wrote last time how I had been having so many problems with my knees. I have been popping a lot of OTC painkillers, various health supplements (Turmeric, glucosamine and a host of other daily vitamins). I still have to go for my updated x-ray before I am referred to an arthritic program but I am happy to report that the pain levels have been more bearable this past few days.  I continue to walk almost daily and get on the whole body vibration machine for about 10 minutes daily.

Meeting with friends has proved to be a bit more challenging as several have been ill, a hazard it seems of growing older. I always feel great when I get a chance to sit and meet with friends I haven't seen in awhile and I have been able to meet with a few. I hope to get to meet a few more in the next few weeks so I can have a clear slate before company arrives.

My family had a scare a few days ago when one of my brothers almost met his end after a freak accident in his driveway. Thankfully he is fine. After the accident he was trying to rest in his house when he started experiencing chest pains. He went to hospital and they checked his heart and his head as he had smacked his head when thrown from the vehicle when it stopped on the roadway.  The doctors pronounced him okay and after a couple days recovery at home he told me he was very bored and wanted to go to work the next day. He is very grateful that his injuries were not worse and that it wasn't yet lights out for him. So much can change in an instant and we his loved ones and friends are grateful that things were not much worse.

One of the many geraniums from my patio garden

Updates on Missions in Africa

In my last post I wrote about Levi the Engineering student I had been helping in Kenya. He is now in India and getting registered for all his classes.  The entire process of registration and running from building to building when he isn't familiar with the place is somewhat overwhelming.  But he is a determined fellow so he will no doubt see it through.

Ernest is recovering at home though he has lost an alarming amount of weight and he was already very thin. We are trying to help him with funds to buy more produce and food in general as he has only been drinking milk and eating ugali.  Ugali is a  type of thick corn flour mush eaten by virtually everyone in Kenya but it isn't very nutritious.

Eunice is still in hospital and needs prayers as her condition has been weak for some time though somehow she manages to hang in there.

There is no update about Alvin.  For now he continues his participation in the boys choir, his church activities and meeting with various friends.

Carolly is finishing his last week of medical internship and will be graduating in the Fall since he has already passed his medical examination. Well done, Carolly! We are hopeful that one of the Kenyan hospitals will snap him up and give him a paid post as a doctor very soon.

I no longer sponsor Kevin in Uganda.  The community he lives in is graduating from the program. It means they will be able to develop their own businesses for self sufficiency and grow their own food as well as pump their own water.  Hurrah!  The remaining 3 boys I sponsor in Kenya and Ethiopia are all doing well.

Petunia from my garden


I'll be continuing my summer break though may pop in here from time to time (and continue to visit as many vlogs as I can)  and  especially when I want to share a photo or two.
In meantime I will continue reading, tending to my gardens, knitting and decluttering.

Joining in with Skywatch Friday this week.

I appreciate your visit, your comments and your blogging friendship.

Enjoy!

Friday Sky Just Before Friday Sunrise & A Missions Report

  We are officially into the Fall season and the weather is much cooler than it was a few short weeks ago. We have been having a lot of rain...