Monday, July 6, 2015

Smoky Skies & July Update

Hi friends,

I hope you are all doing fine out there in blog land. It has been sizzling hot here for weeks and feeling hotter each day.

Partly it is because there are now about 170 fires burning throughout the Province of British Columbia.  Partly it is due to very hot temperatures which have shattered 100 year old records.  And partly it is due to a total lack of rainfall. It is very dry around here and there is no predicted rainfall soon. The smoky skies come with smoke filled air and warnings to stay indoors if elderly, have diabetes or other health challenges.

Skies over Vancouver are very heavy with smoke.

In other news I have been busy with doing my bit to help Kenyans in need. My friend's grandmother, Sellina who is 101 years old and still lives on her own was visited by her family about a week ago. She looks very good for her age doesn't she? However she is now suffering the effects of advanced age. Her daughter took her to the hospital and there they gave her a good check up as well as some blood and painkillers for arthritis and aching joints. Then on Friday just passed, Sellina underwent surgery on her leg for a venous injury that happened some years back and was starting to destabilize her. She is now recovering in hospital.

Please pray for this dear woman's recovery and that she will be able to clear her hospital bill in full once she is discharged soon.

Sellina at her home.

I am so happy to report that the little girl named Baby Fidelis and her family through the help of their advocate,  Mr. Wanjau, have been able to raise the funds to travel to Canada for surgery. Surgery for baby is now scheduled for August 18, 2015. Mr. Wanjau has applied for travel visas and if all goes well should have them in about 2 weeks.

I have sent the funds for baby's mom to help her with clothing and other personal travel needs. The three of them (Baby, mom and family advocate) will all be in Canada.  They will be here for long as the weather transitions from hot summer to cooler weather to chillier winter so they need to manage throughout several seasons before returning to Kenya. I want to thank John and Crystal Mary for helping with costs of special travel needs for Baby and her mom. Being village people they don't travel much and will need the very basic items.

Please pray for: visa approvals, and successful and safe travels to Canada, successful surgery and recovery and adequate funds to cover all the needs. If anyone would still like to help with these matters, you may send Pay Pal to kerichojoy[at]gmail[dot]com

Baby Fidelis and her mom

Also Mr. Wanjau's organization is helping approximately 47 families in Kenya who have children or adult children with severe disabilities. They need our help with food, clothing and medicine on a monthly basis. It amounts to about $50 US dollars a month for each family and they need faithful supporters.

I have just sent some funds to help with 3 families on a one time basis but am hoping some of my readers can help Mr. Wanjau feed these children and their family members on a more regular basis. If you can help let me know and we can discuss the best way to send him the funds. Since he will be leaving for Canada at the end of July, we should work something out in advance of that but if you can't meet that timeline, please don't hesitate to get in touch anyway. I'm sure something can be worked out. Please pray as to whether you can give a one time or on-going monthly support or whether you can share these needs with others and that God would meet the needs. The burden on Mr. Wanjau is great for he relies completely on well wishers in a society where most people do not value the disabled children and parents have to hide them or lock them up.  Mr. Wanjau's dream is to build a centre and a school where these children can be housed and cared for.

Flowers from my neighbour's garden.
Joining in with Our World Tuesday this week.
Have a look at other awesome skies.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Birthdays & Fireworks

Hello friends,

I trust those of you in Canada and USA had a wonderful July 1st and July 4th respectively. It is wonderful to celebrate birthdays.  Canada is now 148 years old and USA is 239 years old.

Those of you who have been reading my blog for awhile know I love fireworks.

On July 1st Canada Day I was able to watch fireworks from my patio. Though I don't have the best view I did manage to see some good bursts of colour and I did not have to deal with trying to make my way along with thousands of other people to get home after the display ended.

A few nights later, I captured a fantastic fireworks display on television. Seattle had a fabulous display of lights and I had a front row seat on my sofa.


This year the Honda Celebration of Light will celebrate 25 years of free fireworks in Vancouver.  Here is a little promo for the event that will be held July 25, 29 and August 1st. This is a fireworks competition and this year's competitors are: China, Brazil and Canada.  I don't watch every year but whenever I have, it has been thoroughly enjoyable.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Liebster Award Times Two

A big "thank you"  to Bethany of Liberty or Death  and John of John's Island, for nominating me for the Liebster Award. The Liebster Award is a way of learning more about fellow bloggers by asking them questions. Read all about the Award and its rules here. I answer Bethany's questions first, then John's. Normally I do  not engage in awards and answering questions.  Today I'm making exceptions because I want to encourage young Bethany in her blogging and because John has been so kind to me as a fellow blogger.  Thank you to all who visit and comment.

Questions from Bethany

1.  Why did you begin blogging, and how long do you think you'll continue?

I like being positive and finding reasons to be happy, joyful or content.  It seemed that a blog would be a good way to help help me stay in that mindset. Back then I was dealing with several big changes in  my life and learning to make adjustments.  I had also just returned from my first visit to Africa and wanted to challenge myself to live more simply, be a good steward and support others in Africa in a more sustained way.  Since those early days I have expanded my blog to deal with numerous other interests: health and cooking, reading, missions in Kenya,  travel, photography and my appreciation for the natural world (sky, flowers, gardens, etc.).

For the last two years, I've thought about ending my blog but I am still here. I will continue as long as I feel I am not yet "finished" but these days I blog a little less frequently. I'm also trying to manage my time better in relation to reading and commenting on blogs.

2.  What is your go-to meal for when you need to cook something quickly?

It would have to be some kind of soup. I make a variety of soups with whatever is on hand.  Some of my regular soups are:  vegetable, turkey and rice, spinach, fish chowder, lentil, navy bean & ground beef and pasta or ground beef and vegetables. Now that I have a pressure cooker it is more of a joy to make soup because it is much quicker. I make spinach soup on stove top and blend it in the blender.

3.  You're shipwrecked on an island; what one thing would you have with you?

Lots of books to keep from getting bored.  Otherwise a radio & some batteries  to be able to listen to the news and some music.  A smartphone wouldn't last too long without a power source to keep it charged or I might want one of those with me to research, text and make calls.

4.  If you could choose any profession, what would it be?

Humanitarian aid worker or a missionary.

5.  If you could meet any of your long-distance blogging friends, which ones would you most like to meet?

There are several blogging friends I would like to meet. Too many to mention really but closer to home is John of John's Island. Really he is from Seattle, a beautiful city with a climate almost like Vancouver's. John and I share a love our our beautiful coastal cities as well as other interests.  Others I would like to meet include my friend Jo of Memorable Meanders.  We met in Kenya when she lived there for a year and I've been hoping to visit with her again.  She and I share a love of humanitarian work in Africa. My blogging friend Caroline of England blogs at Lonicera's World, Images and Stories.  I'd dearly love to meet her as I've been reading her wonderful stories for years.  She is ill right now and not blogging much anymore.  Another English woman I'd like to meet is Joy who blogs at  Loving Crochet.  We have a mutual love of gardening, crafting and missions in Kenya.  Last but not least, there is Lala who I've been following for years. Lala is a stylish woman who currently blogs at My Castle in Spain.  She is also a multi-talented artist who creates in a number of mediums. Over the years I've also learned that Lala support work against FGM in Africa.

6.  What's your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Until relatively recently I always ordered Neapolitan ice cream because I couldn't make up my mind as to which of the 3 basic flavours I like best. These days I prefer Vanilla ice cream and I add fresh berries to it.

7.  Describe a perfect day.

A perfect day is warm but not too hot, a gentle breeze blowing, a walk or ride to a quiet park full of greenery or along a quiet, sandy beach.  After I've savoured the sights and sounds of nature, I would like to sit down at a nice cafe with a great cup of coffee and a wonderful book. Otherwise, i would like to sit and natter with a good friend over coffee or lunch.  In the old days I also enjoyed having a walk with my mom and my sister.  Unfortunately that is no longer possible but we always had fun just conversing, looking at the beauty around us and having a coffee or light snack at a local market. Another perfect day is spending time visiting Kenya and meeting with Kenyans everywhere I go.  Or spending time meeting the widows and orphans and sharing in fellowship with them.  They say that Kenyans are some of the friendliest people on earth.  In my experience they are some of the friendliest people I've met to date.

8.  If you could witness any event of the past, present, or future, what would it be?

Oh wow, that is a difficult one to answer. I think I would love to go into the future and see the land of Kenya in 50 years and then again 150 years after it has experienced democracy for 100 and 200 years respectively.  In the last 7 years I've seen much positive development in Kenya despite their numerous and on-going challenges and political turmoils.  They also have to contend with active terrorism on their soil.  Despite these hardships they press on and hope for a better Kenya and a brighter future for all.  It would be exciting to see how far the country can advance with the passage of time.

9.  Have you ever been in a choir or singing group, or played an instrument?

As a child I sang in a very small church choir.  In elementary school I was in a chorale speaking group. While I've never been good at playing an instrument,  I taught myself to strum a guitar with a bit of help from my mother.  It was a form of relaxation for me and I loved to sing in my room after homework was done and on weekends.  I've long since given up both guitar playing and singing.

10. What is the most encouraging thing anyone has ever told you/or that you've ever read?

This is difficult to answer because I look for inspiring, encouraging and positive things almost every day and I've been the recipient of many encouraging gestures. I think  I would have to say a most lasting impression is left by my maternal grandfather who always believed in me and my ability to do well in school. He was a huge supporter of higher learning for his grandchildren. It was as a result of this that I attribute my success as a student.

11.  Would you share a favorite quote or Bible verse?

A favourite scripture is "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." James 1:17

Questions from John

1.  Would you share a favorite quote and/or a favorite Bible verse?

"Be somebody who makes everybody feel like a somebody". Kid President

2.  How did you get interested in blogging?

I can't quite remember how I came upon a few blogs that I found simple, peaceful, meditative, beautiful and grateful in their response to life. Their blogging examples inspired me to start blogging as a way to do the same.  To inspire myself to maintain and build a positive frame of mind and to stay gentle with myself.  All of us are constantly bombarded daily with negative people and negative things. We must sometimes work to find the good and the beauty in every day life. As the saying goes "life is a journey not a destination". (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

3.  Which one of the four seasons is your favorite and why?

I've always loved Fall. I think it is a spectacularly beautiful season with the multi-coloured leaves. I also love the crisp air. Once September 1st arrives, I always feel the distinct shift from warm air to a crispness in the air.  I do however feel sad about the approaching Winter season which seems to go on for so long.

4.  How do you follow global news ... TV, radio, internet, or other? Or no news for you?

I read a tremendous amount of news daily on the internet. That is my preferred way of getting the news though I also watch television news now and then. I prefer the speed of internet news and ability to skim through stories or to spend more time researching something in depth.

5.  Do you have a favorite bird or flower?

The pink flamingo has always been a favourite of mine just because it is so exotic and different from other birds where I grew up. But I also love the eagle. As for flowers, I have too many favourites.  The delicate, yet hardy, Pansy is a one of them and I grow them each year. I think they remind me of a pleasant time in childhood where my family was living far away from relatives.  Each day when I walked to school through the morning dew on the grass in our yard, there were also some pretty Pansies. 

6.  Do you have a pet(s) and, if so, what kind(s)?

My pet Turkish Angora cat died some years ago of cancer. I have never gotten another cat mainly because I don't have time to properly care for a pet. In future, I do see myself having another cat or possibly two. They say it is good to have a companion for your cat so we shall see about how many I end up with.  I also love tea cup and lap dogs. When I was a child I preferred dogs and always had a German Shepard. Times have changed and living in the big city makes owning a large dog somewhat more difficult.

7.  What is your go-to meal for when you need to cook something quickly ... 30 minutes or less?

Various types of soups.  Enlarged description above in answers to Bethany's questions.

8.  If you could travel anywhere in the world and stay for up to one month where would you go?

Through various countries and major cities in Europe or down the Dalmatian coastline. There is too much to see in Europe so I'd probably limit to two or three countries to start my explorations. Travels in Africa are always fun and interesting. I'd like to expand my travels in Africa to include: Ethiopia, Egypt, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia and South Africa.

9.  Do you have hobbies other than blogging? What are they?

Yes! Too many probably and there are still things I'd still love to learn.  For now my hobbies are: reading, crocheting, sewing, quilting, knitting, photography, cooking/baking, travel.

10. If I were to visit you in your hometown, what would be the first place you'd want me to see?

My preference when travelling as a tourist is always to get an overview of a place I think when someone is new to my city, one thing that would be good to do is to take a ride on the 'hop on, hop off" bus. This way you can cover a lot of the key places of interests in the city and get on and off the bus at the places you like. Many major cities of the world have this tour bus service.

If you don't have time or interest in the bus tours, I recommend a trip to Granville Island located under the Granville Street Bridge. While there, take a little boat "bus" around the inlet and see the city from the water. It is a refreshing ride. Also, you can go to the Harbour Centre downtown near Gastown. You can purchase a ticket to the observation deck where you can see the city on a clear day.

You can also take a sea bus from Waterfront Station to Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver.  It is fun to ride over the water from one municipality to the other and look at the city skylines as you travel in either direction. Once you get to the Quay in North Vancouver, you can eat and shop at the many market shops.

Last but not least, you can hop on the Light Rapid Transit (LRT) and take it all the way to New Westminster.  This is the original LRT rail in Vancouver and is above ground so you can see the city as you travel.  Once you get to New Westminster, get off at the Quay and there you can enjoy the waterfront as well as some good food and shopping.  Afterward stroll along the waterfront before returning to Vancouver. Enroute you might want to stop at the famous Metrotown Mall if you have the energy for more shopping and if you have time before the shops close.


One thing I haven't done is identify several bloggers for this award. My reason is simple, I've found that most people I know won't participate. I think a lot of people (including myself) think answering a lot of questions is irritating and also sometimes intrusive. Yet, it is also true that those same people (myself included) LOVE to read the answers that others post. lol.

If you are my blogging friend and you haven't answered any awards lately and don't mind doing so (the benefit is others get to know you better and you get some new readers), then please let me know.
I will be more than happy to feature you on my blog and prepare some questions :-)

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Night Skies Around Vancouver

These night sky photos were taken hurriedly as "drive bys" or "walking bys" in various degrees of night sky.

The first 3 photos were taken on the Lion's Gate Bridge connecting Stanley Park in Vancouver with North Vancouver and West Vancouver.

This next photo was taken from the Salmon House on the Hill restaurant in West Vancouver where a few of us gathered to celebrate my nephew's graduation from university.

A photo of the graduate and his girlfriend who also graduated but on an earlier day in the week.
Both of them will commence their master's level studies in their respective fields come September and are now on much deserved holiday.

Church in the 'hood. Photo taken with cell phone in late evening.

Joining with Skywatch Friday. Have a look at the beautiful skies from around the world.

Thank you for visiting my sky post.
Have a wonderful weekend!

African Music & Happenings