This year I attempted to read mostly fiction. I think I needed a break from all the heavy theological/philosophical tomes. Though I still read plenty of that stuff online, in newsletters, and magazines.
So here is what I read in 2011 (In reverse order):
About halfway through this list I realized just how terrible an idea this was for a blog post. Yet I was halfway there and couldn’t stop myself. If you made it thus far, congratulations.
I’m on Shelfari if anyone is interested in connecting there:
Also on Goodreads:
Our year started off here at A Future and a Hope pretty much like everyone else’s, with January. (I’ll let you in on a little secret, it will end the same as yours as well.)
One of our big accomplishments this year was constructing a nursery school. I say our because we are one big happy family here, but really it was mostly Lonnie and Patty along with Ali who got the job done. Lonnie raised the money and came with the vision of starting kids off on the right foot in the educational system. (Not to mention giving them nutrition and love.) Ali gave us the space and lots of foreman type of help. The school is built and now awaits furnishings and decor.
Who knows, in the future we may open a primary school (elementary) as well. Whatever it takes to give kids a hope in their futures.
We got a visit from a graduate of Youth with a Mission (YWAM.) I know. Who would have thought we were YWAM compatible? I’m sure Josh is not so sure we are, but nonetheless he came. Besides refreshing us with his faith and energy, he brought a Wii to replace ours. Our original one (thanks Matthews) had it’s disc drive go bad. Guess Andrew played a little too much Super Mario Brothers.
The children had a safe loving place to live throughout the year. A major deal for them. They also went to school, and hopefully learned at least one or two things.
We added a new boy to our family. He lost his mother to H.I.V. this year and now stays with Ali, Virginia, and the other boys. It’s been a rough year for him, losing your mom can do that to you.
There’s more, but if my posts become too long I get a lecture from Kate.
I will mention that we are grateful to all of you who donated and continue to donate to our work. Without you we could not even have cared for ourselves, let alone all these children and families in the community. The finances this year were o.k., even with all the craziness going on in the world economy. I’m not saying we were rolling in dough, in fact we can always use more. But only a handful of times, well maybe two or three handfuls, did we actually completely run out of money. You know those times when you have to figure out how to feed everyone, pay the rent, and all of the other demands life makes of you?
Thanks again. Many blessings on the New Year.
2011 has been one of those years. You know where many good things have taken place, but they are sometimes hard to see through the mists of all the bad things that have gone down.
I'm looking forward to 2012. Not ,that I think nothing negative will happen, but at least it's a fresh start.
We will continue to care for the children God has brought us. We will continue the work in the community with the poor, sick, and oppressed. That alone is a full time job, yet I feel some new opportunities are on the horizon.
One of the ones I am most excited about is expanding our work with local prostitutes. I'm not sure how yet, but I want us to move forward with those young ladies, especially with preventing pregnancys and staying as safe as possible. All as part of our "orphan prevention" strategies.
Not that my plans always work out, yet I gotta try.
Emma and Éowyn were pretty much born into our current family dynamic. So when the orphans no more go on holiday, they get upset.
Emma and Éowyn kept asking when the girls would return, over and over again.
In fact, it is only recently that Emma noticed she wasn't exactly the same color as the Kenyan girls, and she has asked some questions, but I don't know if she quite understands WHY the girls live with us and who they are. In her mind, they are her sisters. End of story.
Of course Éowyn is still too young to even notice certain physical differences, but I find the psychology of it all interesting.
Edith and Grace are home and the others return any day. I cannot begin to describe to you Emma and Éowyn's excitement!
I love seeing the bond between all of my kids. It is there even in the older ones, but it is more openly expressed in the more free young ones.
I have a beautiful family,
Just what is Boxing Day? Used to be that on the day after Christmas wealthy folks in the U.K. would give their servants gifts. These gifts would be in boxes, thus the name Boxing Day. I know, makes perfect sense right? Nowadays Boxing Day is essentially a bank holiday/shopping day in the U.K. and some of the commonwealth countries as well. Kenya being one of those countries celebrated Boxing Day today. Though I have yet to actually met a Kenyan who knows what Boxing Day is.
The girls are starting to make their way back to our house. (They have been off visiting friends and relatives for the December school holiday.) Once again the house is filling up with laughter, singing, squealing, arguing, and all the other stuff girls do.
Time to prepare for a New Year and get back into the grove of helping provide A Future and a Hope for those who can’t seem to find it on their own.
Christmas is usually such a stressful time. Gift buying and wrapping, cooking, planning, light hanging, people pleasing, gift unwrapping, messes to clean, tummy aches... It IS hectic, right?
Am I the only one who feels this way?
This year things were quite simple. We went on a trip, ate good food, and forgot about all the hustle and fuss of it all.
We watched Christmas with the Kranks last night, and I feel as if the writers of that movie had a great thing going until they decided to make Tim Allen's character selfish for not wanting to do all the Christmas stuff.
My point is, it is nice to not be stressed with performing 'Christmas' but enjoying it instead.
I got my kids one small gift and then had some guys build a sandbox for the family. They each got a second gift from grandparents.
I think we have some more care packages coming from grandparents, but having few gifts this morning meant less cleanup and more enjoyment of the gifts received. I am blessed to live in Africa this time of year, and I am thankful to my family and friends who helped us have a very sweet, simple Christmas!
I am happy they have presents, but it is convenient they are spaced out time wise. They won't be overwhelmed at once. I hope this post comes across the way my heart is feeling it.
A few days back I mentioned that we wanted to help around 100 families eat chapati for Christmas….
Ben loaded up this tuk tuk (a three wheeled taxi contraption) with the food. You can see the flour on the bottom with the cooking oil on top.
These are ingredients that many people we know simply cannot afford to buy in a big enough quantity to cook chapatis for their whole family.
Why do we care if people have chapati for Christmas? Because we’re eating Christmas dinner. If we are eating a special meal than we want to enable as many folks as possible to do the same.
Don’t get the wrong idea and think we only feed people on Christmas. No, we do this each and everyday. Christmas is about a special meal, the rest of the time we attempt to feed as many people as possible with whatever we can afford. (We also prepare around a 100 meals a day for our homes and team.)
We do it for grandmothers like this one; forced to care for her orphaned grandchildren.
I leave you with this young man. He will eat chapati for Christmas, and if we have anything to say about it, will eat his Christmas dinner wearing a new pair of pants.