Monday, April 28, 2014

I had a great weekend with Pam at one of her Gluten Free Expos in Nashville TN this past weekend. It was a fly in, stand for six hours and talk fast to lots of people and fly home late at night. This woman was tired and in a world of hurt. It was fun to watch Pam do her thing that she is so passionate about. Such a busy working Mom and she still has energy to help other people with this autoimmune disease that she has live better and even have fun along the way. I am a super proud Mom. Both of my daughters are great and always make me proud to be their Mom.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

It has been over a year since I last posted and another birthday has passed. The grandkids are getting bigger and so much more fun to interact with now. Little Henry seems to like his Nana a lot and runs to greet her. It makes me smile inside out.
I have spent two weeks with my older sister who is dying with cancer. It was not a pleasant two weeks as she was not so sick as she was old. Old beyond her years and that made me sad. The last two to three years have been physically hard on her with illness and those illnesses have taken their tole not only physically but emotionally on her and it makes those around her not knowing where to land when with her. She can be ready to work hard at one time and then be ready to go "home" the next meeting. I don't think she knows what she wants and it depends on who she is with and sometimes who will give her the most sympathy. It has been truly hard for her and she does deserve a great deal of sympathy, but she is now living off of that and not using her own reserves to forge ahead. It is just easier this way as it takes less effort. It is the same mentality that the homeless get into after being without for so long that they loose the will to do for themselves because it is easier to do without and hope that someone else will do it for them.
As I look ahead to the next 25-30 years of life, God willing, I wonder what I will do with it. I have no job or vocation to take up my time. My hobbies no longer keep my interest. TV is a waste land of crime and broken relationships that bring sadness to ones heart. God, I need to find a new purpose for my existence here as just existing to go to meetings, lunch with friends, and spending time with my kids and grandkids while fun doesn't seem to have purpose in the long run. What am I here for NOW? I don't want to be complacent with where I am and have nothing to look forward to.

Friday, March 8, 2013


It's my birthday Sunday! Mary and Pam have planned a nice afternoon for me to celebrate the day. Sunday is hard to get us together as we all have obligations that keep us parted. When I was little in a small town, Sunday was spent visiting your grandparents after church. We first went to my Mom's parents for a few hours and then ended up at my Dad's parents until supper time. Then it was time to watch Gunsmoke or Bonanza. It's really too long ago to remember which. This was easy to do as both sets lived in the same small town and were just minutes away. Not so anymore. My girls didn't grow up like this as grandparents were states away. Now only two of my grandchildren get to have this relationship with one set of  grandparents. But, I get to see them today and will spend the night and tomorrow for my birthday. They like it when I spend the night with them and I like it too. Times are different, but that doesn't mean they can't be just as good or better.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

It will be one year on Sunday

It has been a year of mixed emotions. Ones of deepest grief and ones of great loneliness. There are times of extreme gratitude for those who prayed for Ray and for those who continue to pray for me. I have found hope in my GriefShare Group and with my Stephen Minister. My daughters, who carry their own grief, and I have spent even more time together than before. As Ray said in the hospital the week he died when the grandchildren were playing, life goes on. Now we will have two more grandchildren added to our family by Thanksgiving.

Our family and Ray's brother's family will gather at my house on Sunday afternoon to celebrate and remember Ray's life so that the grandchildren will remember and eventually learn who Grandpa Ray was.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

It has been too long!

I have wanted you to see the children and the schools we visited in Kenya, but the days have not been as good as I would have liked so sitting down to write anything earlier would not have been good. I reread the quote I left for you in the last blog and it took me back to Kenya and the mountains, the people and mostly the children. That was good so here goes...

This was our first school. These children have been checked in and have seen the doctor. They are now receiving any medications and their instructions from our "pharmacist".

This was another stop at what we believed was a Catholic run school. These children were lined up to receive their chewable pill for deworming. This was a major emphasis for our trip along with relationship building.

We visited the Dept. of Children Services Nairobi Children's Home. We were not allowed to take pictures while here. We did get to visit with all of the children and checked on the ones who were ill. This children's home takes in children left on the street and keeps them until they are six. The ones that are handicapped, blind, cerebral palsy, or other permanent ailments are then sent to another facility, the rest are hopefully adopted by places like Tumaini or are pick up by their parents. Otherwise, they are just let go.

This is what most of the school class rooms looked like in the villages. Some "chalk" boards were walls painted black. They have Christian teachings everywhere.

We attended church here on Sunday and returned on Monday to have a free clinic for the church people and anyone they talked to. We saw nearly 200 people that morning.

There are not too many pictures of children here, mostly places. The reason is I was checking in all of those children as they came in nonstop so I only had time to take pictures before or after my work. But I saw them or at least half of them as Kathy and I shared the Triage duty.  It was a unique blessing.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Out Of Africa

I haven't gotten very far on finishing my adventures in Kenya, but life has been busy. As I told you earlier I spent my 60th birthday in Kenya and my daughters had a birthday party for me when I got back with just family. One of my gifts was from my nephew Dave and his wife Cheryl. They hunted down the out of print book, "Out of Africa" and the movie of the same title with Meryl Streep and Robert Redford.

Our driver told us many times of Karen Blixen who wrote this book. She had this large coffee farm in the pre and post WWI period. There were hospitals and schools named after her. Street names and buildings and there was even a museum. She was highly esteemed by the Kikuyu people for her generosity and ability to allow them to remain who they were without making them Danish or British.

Well, I finished it on Sunday finally. It was not an easy book to read. She was a storyteller and that is what this book was. She would tell a story of people, places, events, and her thoughts on them and then put them in appropriate groupings. Once I finished the book I watched the movie.  It must have been filmed after the rainy season as everything was green instead of the yellowish brown that I saw. It was simply amazing and even more beautiful than I remember. Watching Streep and Redford wasn't bad either. The movie had only small portions of the book in it as it also was a collection of stories from many of her writings.

I want to leave you with a partial quote from the book written under Karen Blixen's pen name, Isak Dinesen. "I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills...It was Africa distilled up through six thousand feet, like the strong and refined essence of a continent...In the highlands you woke up in the morning and thought: Here I am, where I ought to be."

Thursday, March 24, 2011

My days at Tumaini

We arrived in Nairobi late on the 1st of March and stayed in a B&B in town and left on the 2nd to drive to the Tumaini Home about an hour away. We unloaded, unpacked our own stuff into our huts, and began to sort out the school supplies from the medical supplies. This took all afternoon mostly due to jet lag but also to a new found  time known as Africa time. While we had a mission to accomplish, life took on a simplicity here that is hard to find in the US.
The Tumaini Home is in the mountainous region of Kenya so the air was different than NC, it was not as heavy with oxygen or humidity. With those of us with a touch of new found asthma this made the climbing a little difficult but not undoable. Tumaini was free of pollution from the city so the air was clean and sweet smelling, if you like to smell a farm. I missed the smell of horses though, which I did not see any of while here.
The children here were different from the children in the schools we visited. The children here were mostly healthy and well fed. These children had on clothing that was clean and fairly well fitting. These children were loved on. That was not always the case in the schools we visited or the public institutions we saw. This is why Tumaini is special. These children have a chance to grow up to be health adults in a country of gross poverty. They will have an education and know that people love them and care that they survive.
The children did not always look "happy", they are in an orphanage, but they are in one that allows them to be children as best they can. It felt good to be among the children and "mothers" here. You sensed God's lovingkindness, gentleness, and hope. It was good to be here and a good place to just be.