Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Birthday Mom!

If you know me well, you know I like to preface much of what I say.  With that said, this blog post is more for me than it is for those reading it.  However, I want to thank you for taking the time to read this; there are few things I appreciate more than the opportunity to talk about my mom. Below, you’ll find what I would have said five years ago at my mom’s memorial had I had the strength.  May my words honor her.

My mom passed away on her 48th birthday.  For some reason, I find this strangely fitting.  As much as her death devastated me, I’ve never doubted that God took her exactly according to his time.  My mom was the kind of lady whose life would come full circle.  I have yet to meet anyone who appreciated life the way my mom did.  My pursuit to be fully me, authentic in all I do, stems from her influence.  She was so comfortable in her own skin, never trying to be someone she wasn’t.

My mom was a woman of adventure. In her short life, she trekked through the Amazon jungle, searched and found her birth parents, started two successful companies (one of which was a private-i company) and mothered four children. She even looked into joining the FBI, but she was too old to apply:)

I am committed to honoring my mom with my dreams and actions.  My mom was the kind of lady who would not only tell me I can be anything I want to be, she would help me research how to become it.  That’s why my sister and I often joke about our over confidence in things (Angela saying she knows she can become the United States president if desired.  Me saying I can become an astronaut if I were willing to move across the country). 

When I was in first grade my mom went to New York City.  Her excitement following the trip stuck with me.  I became obsessed with all things New York; I even did my sixth grade state report on New York. My mom saw my excitement and promised me that when I turned sixteen, she would take me there for my birthday. Growing up, we didn’t have a lot of money. Our family vacations consisted of driving four hours to visit Grandma and Grandpa in the desert.  Thus, I didn’t take her promise lightly. And sure enough, the week I turned sixteen, my mom and I took my first of many trips to New York City.

I remember an interesting conversation we had years later regarding the trip.  She asked me if I ever doubted we would go to New York for my sixteenth birthday.  I told her it never crossed my mind; I never doubted it.  She used this conversation to illustrate the power of setting my mind to something, the power of creating dreams and living to see them come true.

As my wedding approaches, I find myself missing her more and more. I wish she were here to see me now, to be at my wedding, to see my new home, to go shopping with me for a wedding dress. But I’m a better person because of the trials and pain I’ve gone through. I’ve learned that there is pain in this world, that life isn’t fair, and that my only hope, is the hope I have in Jesus, the hope of believing I’ll see her again. I love you mom. Thank you for the twenty wonderful years you gave me. 

Monday, April 5, 2010

2 months!

I was just thinking about Kenya today...well, everyday, but especially today. I am so excited to return in just two months! I've been praying for our summer team, that God would create a sense of community and unity amongst us, and he would use me in whatever way he wants. I've been praying for a servants heart and that I would be prepared for the 8 weeks we'll spend there.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Last day at Oasis...

Today was my last day teaching at Oasis of Hope. I was just telling Allison that I'm so so happy that I ended up helping Leyla teach everyday. It really helped make up a huge part of my experience here. I wasn't expecting to do that everyday, but I'm so glad that's where God put me. I'm having trouble putting my thoughts into words tonight. I've written about ten sentences...only to erase each one because it didn't come out the way I wanted it to. I am so grateful for my class, knowing their faces, learning their names, and spending 6 consistent weeks with them. Since I'm short on words tonight, I've just decided to post a lot of photos...

Joel wearing Jordan's glasses

Cleophas- I know I already posted this picture...but
tell me you don't want to see this outfit again?

The next 3 pics are hairstyles that I have been given here...

Amlango doing my hair the girls house...

Amlango doing my hair again, Janet on the right
Peter and sister Lucy

Tonight was SO great! We had dinner at the girl's house. There were 28 of us in total! Rebecca made chipati, rice, green grams, meat and potatoes. She was so laid back about
preparing dinner for us all. Allison and I were talking tonight about how selfless
and greatRebecca is...she's wonderful!

Allison & Alfayo (nicknamed "King of Shimo" by the last Saddleback team)
Me and Dorcas being weird
Eso and me
Me carrying Jennifer with Isaiah on my left

Yesterday we went to the boys house. The 8th graders just finished taking their KCPE test and we celebrated with dancing and sodas and a lot of laughter :)
Jose, Edwin, Pato (in the back), Moses, Martin and Steward in front of him, Shaban (with just his head & shins showing, and Stone being held by them all...
Shaban, Moses and Allison
Me and Moses hanging upside-down
Me and Moses with our new glasses

Oasis pictures...
Emanuel, Sarah, Me and Dan with his face 1/2 cut off
Sarah, David, Kevin, and Emanuel (taken in my class)
Today was my last day teaching at Oasis and I wanted to do something different
and fun. I decided to have the class use watercolors because Leyla said most
of them have probably never used them before. It was a success!
Right: Bevin, Sarah, David, Dan, Emanuel. Left: Brian, Peter, David, and Dan
Here are the 5 siblings who I've blogged about many times...Pato, Ajix, Amlango, Irene and Lucy...they also have 2 younger siblings...Erica and Peter
Art project from my class
My class (w/their finished water-colored projects)
Oasis of Hope kids outside for the flag ceremony before class
Sisters -Alodi and Dorcas

Last Sunday at the girl's house...

Amlango doing dishes
Rebecca taught me how to use a non-electric sewing machine at the girl's house last Sunday. You know, the kind where you have to use both of your feet for the petal. I sewed this apron all on my own! I've been so proud of it, I even dreamt that I was wearing it to sleep last week.

Nancy, me, Lucy, Jordan and Allison dancing/singing to "All the Single Ladies"

Monday, November 9, 2009

Guess what I saw today?

At 3:00 today I saw a Black Mamba outside the boys house (House 2)!

Of all the African snakes the Black Mamba is the most feared and is known for being aggressive when agitated or confronted and will strike with deadly precision. A single bite can have enough venom to kill anywhere from 20-40 grown men. They tend to become extremely aggressive and will readily attack, especially if they can not escape. Many snake experts have cited the black mamba as the world's most aggressive snake, being actively aggressive and attacking without provocation. If confronted by a large threat, such as a human, the Black Mamba will aggressively defend its territory. When in the striking position, the mamba flattens its neck, hisses very loudly and displays its inky black mouth and deadly fangs. It can rear up around one-third of its body from the ground which puts it at about four feet high. When warding off a threat, the black mamba delivers multiple strikes, injecting large amounts of potent neuro- and cardiotoxin with each strike, often landing bites on the body or head, unlike other snakes. The average length of a specimen varies between 2 to 2.5 metres but an exceptional case was recorded of 4.5 meters.

P.S. It was already dead.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

November 8

On Friday night we went over to the boy's house (House 3) and just hung out. Allison and I helped Anthony prepare dinner while the boys played Uno, danced and took a ton of pictures in their new sunglasses and hat:) It's been so great just going over to their home and spending time with them.
House 3 pics...

Allison giving Ovi a "zerbert" (Her word not mine)
Isaiah and me
Allison & I. This is my first time firing chipati. I burnt my ankle from hot
oil splattering, my fingertips were super sore by the end of the night, but it
all helped in contributing to my sense of accomplishment
Here is Juliet (from Rwanda & who also lives on our compound), Anthony
(who watches over the Boys at House 3) and Dan our favorite taxi driver

On Friday morning/afternoon we went with all the Oasis kids to "The Show." "The Show" is sort of like the OC Fair, but with only 3 rides, A TON of agriculture, and a camel ride instead of an elephant.

Pics from "The Show"
Jordan, Allison and me

Joel & Collins (Collins is one of the boys in class)
Etau and Joel (I think the tallest & shortest of Oasis)
Emanuel & Kamua
Sisters-Jennifer & Ester
Sarah, me, and Rael (Sarah is also in my class...I just love her)
Sisters-Ajix and Lucy
Jennifer in front, Simon on the left, Wendy, Joanne, and Celine (and Ellie behind her)
Best agriculture at the show
Me and Sarah

The following pics are misc. that I just want to share...

Lucy and Ester
Me & Steward (holding a stick that Jeffery gave me & I've carried in my backpack for the past 3 weeks...the stick has gone missing & I joking told the boys that there is a $ reward if its found)
This is the road we walk down everyday to and from Oasis...isn't it just so beautiful? Allison took this pic while Jordan and I are racing some kids from Oasis down the street
Clockwise-Me, Cleophas (our night guard...who is SO happy & cheery all the time), Jordan, Emanuel, Hannah and Juliet. Here we are waiting for Dan to pick us up. It's raining outside so 7 of us (Allison is taking the pic) all crammed in this little guard house...about 3 ft x 3 ft in size. At one point, I rapped Fergie while everyone danced. Right now there is this dance club at "The Show" called "Omega 1" (the music is so loud the entire town can hear it and it goes on till about 6 am! ) Allison called our dance party "Omega 2!"

Allison, me and Cleophas
Cleophas in my favorite outfit of his! I just laughed out loud
for like the tenth time looking at this picture

Below are some pics of the 7 boys who attend & sleep at Oasis of Hope. The center just bought them little mattresses this past week. We had dinner with them on Thursday night at Oasis. That night really affected me. We walked into the classroom I teach in everyday to see 7 beds set up. I was so stunned. I knew they stayed at Oasis but I guess I didn't really think through the reality of it. And to think, just 2 days prior they were sleeping right on the concrete floor really just made me so sad. But the boys are wonderful and funny and we had a great time! They gave Jordan, Allison and me nicknames. Jordan is Moses, Allison is the virgin Mary, and I am Princess (hmm...not sure why they have Biblical names and I don't...) Jeffery has called me Princess all are more than welcome to do the same...haha...I just made myself laugh out loud again.

Pics of Oasis of Hope Boys...
The boys getting their mattresses for the first time

Michael carrying his new mattress and me. Michael is also in my class.

Here is a pic of our dinner (french fries and chicken) and sodas taken in my classroom.
P.I.G. (Stands for Peter is Great), Emanuel, Etau, and Ero
Me, Michael, and Paul

Charles, Jackson, and Emanuel

On Thursday we went to a prayer meeting at Kitale Forest for the 8th grade boys who will soon be taking their KCPE test. It was so fun because we were able to watch the boys from House 2 perform a dance! Then we had lunch with the 8th grade class. I said I felt like a proud mother with how many pictures I was taking of the boys that afternoon.

I know this is tiny, BUT I had to include this pic of me and the entire
graduating 8th grade class at Kitale Forest.
Allison, Steward, and me
Here are the boys dancing...So funny...Moses started teaching me the dance last week...I'm terrible at it, but it consisted of a lot of it was worth it these two boys (complete strangers) came up to me (Princess) at Kitale Forest and asked to take a picture with me. I felt famous and awesome for a brief moment!

Paul, Jose, Pato, Steward, me, and Moses