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Monday, February 27, 2012

February Photo a Day Challenge....Technical Difficulties

Surprisingly, I have kept up with it! But the lovely Kenyan internet has not kept up with us. :-(  We have been without internet for a few days, but I came to Nairobi to do some business and fortunately I have internet at Hampton House!

Still, it is not fast and I have a LOT of catch up work to do, so I chose to just upload the post and pictures of Maina's birthday instead of the FPD photos. I am determined to complete the challenge to the very last day ~ to follow through ~ so, stay tuned.... :-)  (Even if you don't care to see these random pictures of things, I still have to say that as this is my super public accountability for my practical practice of following through with a project and completing it from start to finish! :-)
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A First Birthday....at 15

Maina turned 15 years old and celebrated his birthday for the very first time! He was elated!
Kenyans do not really celebrate birthdays. Though  there is a growing population of Kenyans who are more Westernized and are beginning to do such things, the average Kenyan - the vast majority of Kenyans - would never dream of having a party to simply celebrate their birthday. In fact, many Kenyans have no idea when their birthday is. 
None of my boys knew their birthdays when they came to live with me. We have tracked down their birth certificates over the past few months. The day I told them their actual birthdate was a like a gift itself. A few of them really asked “I have a birthday?” Not only did they not know their birthdays, a few of them were off on their ages by a few years! It turns out that Maina, who thought he was 12, is actually turning 15. And Patrick, who thought he was 15, is actually turning 19 this year!
Maina has been looking forward to this day for weeks! His first birthday cake....
His first birthday party....
His first birthday presents....

And he got to celebrate it all with his new brothers. What a joy it was to tell Maina that his life is worth celebrating! We rejoice ~ with hamburgers, fries, birthday cake, balloons, birthday banners and presents ~ because he was born! 
Thank you to those who give to and support His Cherished Ones! Maina’s life has ben changed because of you! 

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

I got a little behind. Actually, the first one I missed was because I didn't want to think about a photo of me, even if it was a favorite. But here it is, I like this one....

FPD #21: A fave photo of me
 This was Valentine's Day last year and I love it because I so clearly remember that exact moment. We had just taken some adorable pictures when I said, "Julia, give Mommy a kiss." She did, with a big hug, then said, in the most animated voice, "We LOVE to kiss!" Such a goofy girl! And as her vocabulary has grown this year, so has her humor.
And I just love this one. :-)

Then, I didn't do last night because there was no stima (electricity). That's a legit excuse, though, right?

FPD #22: Where I work 
in a house full of potty training boys...
with a shamba, where I (the girl who knows nothing about farming) seem to do an awful lot of advising on planning, planting, and harvesting... 
with lots of sweet baby play time... 
 and a search for land and decision making beyond the capabilities of my small brain!...
surrounded by the love of precious babies...
and a few new goats.
And all but two of those pictures were really taken on the correct day. I think I'm doing pretty darn good with the photo challenge.  (Remember, I blamed one of these missed days on circumstances beyond my control.) And remember those expense reports from last week? Finished! This is the month of follow-through! And that, my dear friends, is an act of God. Maybe those New Years Resolutions will be real this year after all. 

Oh, I almost forgot about today's photo. 
FPD #23: My shoes
For that, you can go back to Day 12. I didn't look ahead and I already did this one. 
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Monday, February 20, 2012

Handwritten....ahhhh :-)

FPD #20: Handwriting
The handwritten start of my day....journal, memory verse card, calendar to-do list. This is how it works.

I like handwritten things. I still journal every day as part of my prayer and quiet time. I still write in my old fashioned calendar. The iPhone/iPad calendar aps are awesome, but I still like my calendar. And with all the memory verse aps and high-tech ways to memorize scripture, I'm still on the notecard method - and it works for me. :-)

I know it is not clear, but do you really think I'm going to put a picture of my journal writing this morning on the internet? :-)
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Sunday, February 19, 2012

It's part of the job

FPD #19: Something you hate to do...
Expense reports!!! Definitely one of the parts of the job that I do NOT like to do! But here's proof that I do them anyway. This afternoon, in fact. Now, will I get them completed and emailed to Kris? That is the million dollar question. Although, if this February Photo of the Day is any indication as to my newfound ability to stick with something, I'd say I am on a pretty good roll! Maybe these expense reports will get done before the end of the month!
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Letters to Julia - some prayers for you

Dear Julia,

I hope that you know how much I love you! I pray that my words are always uplifting, loving, and encouraging to you. In order for that to happen, I know that my heart must be full of the words of God, because "out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks." (Matthew 12:34)
These are some of the verses that I have been praying over you the past few weeks.
May you grow to know these truths and believe them in complete confidence....

"For you created my inmost being;
You knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Your works are wonderful,
I know that full well."   (Psalm 139:13-14)

"You know with all your heart and soul that not one word has failed of all the good things that the Lord your God promised concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one of them has failed." (Joshua 23:14)
I also pray every day that the Lord will give you a heart like His and begin to develop your character into the girl He has created you to be. I pray that you will have a heart to serve, to be kind, and generous, and that you would show compassion to others in all that you do.

"Put on then, as God's chosen one, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience." (Colossians 3:12)

"They {you} are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous and ready to share." (I Timothy 6:18)

That you would be a "...servant of Christ, doing the will go God from the heart, rendering service with a good will, as to the Lord and not to man." (Ephesians 6:6-7) 
So, baby girl, those are some of the things I have been praying for you.  May you always know that God Himself created you. He created you for great things, and He has given you all you need to accomplish those great things. You will touch many lives, and the character of the godly woman you will become begins today! 

I love you, you beautiful, precious, girl!
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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Kenyan Dinner

FPD #18: Drink
We had dinner at some friends' house this evening. Juice is served. That's how you know you are an appreciated guest in a Kenyan's home - juice served before dinner. Well, once of the ways you can know. :-)

And then dinner....
 Thanks, Obalas, for a nice evening.
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Friday, February 17, 2012

Time is precious

FPD #17: Time
One of the things I love about my Mac is the long battery life! And I love that I can have the time calculator on there, too. With power going off and on, it really helps to know how much battery life I have left. And power has been going off and on a lot lately! Strangely, for the first month I was back, it rarely even flickered. This week, power has been going off a lot. I love having a computer that lasts through most power outages. They usually don't last more than a few hours at a time. Computer time is precious time during outages.
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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Thank you, First Baptist of Jal, NM!

FPD #16: Something new
We got five boxes full of baby blankets from First Baptist Church of Jal, NM!!! Our aunties were absolutely thrilled! They cannot wait to use the crocheted ones when they take babies out to the hospital. Even in 90 degree weather, they wrap babies in a hundred blankets here. Even though our staff has learned that that is not necessary, we still do take plenty of blankets when going to the hospital just so we don't have to hear the comments from everyone, including doctors, and have to defend our actions. It's just easier. And the aunties think these crocheted ones will be perfect for that!

And the best part of the packages, from the babies' perspectives anyway....the boxes!!

Julia's immediate reaction when she saw the boxes on the floor was, "A choo-choo train!! We need to make a choo-choo train!" So, she lined them up and instructed everyone on what to do.

 Notice Julia's changing position. She is such the little bossy girl! She even tried to be the caboose and push the train. Fortunately, the babies are all too young to have any idea that she is bossy. We're still working on it, though!
I wasn't so sure David and Maina would like it. They don't really like new things, and neither of them like to be touched or put into places, but they loved it! I was there for 45 minutes after I took these pictures and they never got out!

Thank you, FBC Jal!! This was a wonderful gift!
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Phones, lovely phones

FPD #15: Phone (a day late)

Trena + Phones + Kenya = Drama. I can't count how many phones I have had since I moved here. They have broken, been lost, broken, been stolen, broken, had technical difficulties, broken. I've had my share of phone issues.

Some people are surprised by the ease of communication here, the accessibility and affordability of phones and airtime. I tell you, everyone has a phone here. They may not have electricity to charge the phone, or enough money to top it off, but everyone has them. You can buy phones for as little as $10. There are no contracts, and you can buy phone credit in any amount above 10 cents. I have been through my share of cheap Kenyan phones. I guess they simply aren't designed for much use.

So, here is my beautiful ghetto-phone, and I tell you, it is high-tech kind of nice by Kenyan standards! I'm not sure how much longer it will last. It spontaneously turns off every 2-3 hours, the screen flickers off when I press the left side buttons, and the keypad blacks out for a few seconds when I press the right side buttons. I'm just praying it hangs on a few more weeks until I can get my phone that I (er...Kris) ordered on eBay!
And here is the best use of this phone! Julia's lifeline to Nana....and Nana's lifeline to Julia!
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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Hearts, treats, and Julia's sweet words

FPD #14: Hearts
Well, that's easy to do on Valentine's Day. Julia and I made white chocolate cake batter blondies for the aunties and babies. The babies got their own little tiny hearts.

We also made brownie cupcakes. Yes, one of those Pinterest pins that I actually did! Of course, I am not a food photographer so they are not the beautiful pictures you would see on Pinterest (and probably weren't as good as the ones in the picture I pinned either), but here is proof that we made them.
 brownie batter on bottom
 covered with strawberry cake
 with buttercream frosting
We delivered cupcakes to our wazungu friends, the ones who might appreciate that sugary sweetness. Kenyans don't really like our kind of sweet, although they will always pretend to! They don't want to miss out on the American goodness....whether they truly think it is "good" or not.

Julia decorated more valentines that we put on Kenyan biscuits to pass out to some of our friends. These were the ones we passed out to people who would have no idea what to do with a cupcake.
Happy Valentine's Day!
YOU are God's greatest Valentine. He loves you today and every day!
(message in Swahili & English)

Julia got such a thrill out of passing them out to friends....the man who grazes his cows on our road, the askari (watchman) who stands outside of the gate a few houses down from us, the ladies who sell us vegetables on the street in town, the people in the Posta who always help us, the burned man in the bank parking lot who always waits at our car, the old mama at the shop at the end of our road where we buy bread and eggs, and the boys who always ask to carry our bags for us when we are shopping in town.
When we were talking about giving people valentines, I was so touched to see it all click in sweet Julia's head. This morning after she ate breakfast, she couldn't wait to hurry and finish so she could the special valentine out to Ambrose, our groundskeeper. "Mommy! Today is the giving day! We can give them the love that Jesus put on us and the sweeties!" 
 Can't you just see the sheer joy on Ambrose's face?! He felt so special.
And as we were talking about who we could show God's love to today, she had such sweet thoughts. "Mom, you 'member the burned man who wants oranges? He is just sad. Maybe sweeties and love will make him happy." I love this little girl!

After a busy day of sharing God's love with our friends ~ some whom we know, and some whom we do not ~ we made it to the baby house to give our aunties and babies their Valentine's treats!
This was perhaps one of the best Valentine's Days of my entire life!! I am 36 years old, have never had a "real" valentine on Valentine's Day, never been on a date on Valentine's Day, and as much as I want that and can't wait for that to happen, I must say that it is going to have to be pretty darn great to top this Valentine's Day!!! Truly an amazing day, and so full of God's love that it just poured out all around us.
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