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February 2015

Entries from January 2015

Today

Today was a busy day. Our friends Andrew and Madeleine came over. We made pizza and got to spend time with them. It was so lovely. Of course, their time here in Kenya is short, and it was goodbye at the end of the day for a long time... I will miss having them near.

That is our life. Most folks do not stay long. They come in to our lives just long enough to be good friends then leave. Still, we have learned a lot from them and I am extremely grateful to have them in our lives.

Also, today, our cow June was mooing like crazy. We took her to a local bull... so nine months from now, we should have a calf!

And one more suprise today, our friends Helen and Kenya Mutiso gave us some water!! What a sweet gift! Water is so precious, and we are extremely grateful.

 


Happy Birthday Emma Caite!

Today is Emma's 8th birthday. Eight years ago she was born in our little house in Racecourse Nakuru. We will be going out to lunch, her younger sister ~Eowyn will be coming along as well. Emma's plan at the moment is to eat at Java House, which is an American restaurant. Not my first choice, but then it's not my birthday. Afterwards is home for cake.

Emma Caite is eight

 


Elvis

Elvis is alive and now living with us on The Shire. 

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A few years back we met an English couple, Matthew and Michelle Barrow. They have been coming to East Africa for 20 years, and during that time rescued several street boys. Most of whom have now finished high school and are looking for the next phase of life. Elvis Kira (above) is interested in agriculture and has come to stay with us for this year. As we are learning to farm he will be as well.

Ours was a seemingly unlikely friendship, The Barrows and The Brooks, that is. They are a few years older than us, more conservative, English, and follow the rules more often than we do. Yet we continue to find ourselves together, and I usually don't hide when they come over. Now we even have one of their boys staying with us. 

Hopefully with Elvis and Michael (our farmhand) we will be able to produce a good amount of food this season.


A Future and a Hope

I was thinking of pushing the pause button and reversing the story back to the beginning, but even with my new laptop battery, there is not enough juice for that story at the moment. How about we just go back a few chapters to the beginning of A Future and a Hope?

Jeremiah 29:11New King James Version (NKJV)

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

When we left organized religion we needed a way to express our faith. A way that did not depend on meetings, crackers, preachers, songs, nor holy books. I cannot actually remember the circumstances surrounding how we came to that passage in Jeremiah, but it provided us with a bit of inspiration on how to live out our faith.

Kate had been wanting to work with orphans for a long time, this inspiration gave us a mission statement. (I still needed one of those back then.) We decided to take in girls and work toward providing them with A Future and a Hope. It was really that easy. Was God involved? Pushing us? Inspiring us? I like to think so, but either way we now have 9 girls, who seven years later, have radically changed lives.

They have hope in their futures. Just the other day Edith (who is 12) was saying how she would like to grow up to be a singer. Record songs and do that whole thing. She loves singing. This was a girl who came to us without hope, without the ability to even imagine beyond wanting a Christmas dress.

Others in our house have modeling ambitions, medical career dreams, and of course they all want to marry Justin Beiber. The point being that not only can they hope in the future, but they have some confidence that we will fight to see that future for them. Some of those dreams anyway.

I grew up in a house where I did not have to worry about what was for dinner. My mom and dad provided what I needed. Not necessarily what I wanted, but there was family and security in that family. That is our orphan care philosophy, give the children what they are missing. Family.

With those parental and sibling bonds struggles are wrestled with till they say uncle. We can cry together, laugh together, and we all share hope in the future.

I look forward to seeing what these children become 10 years from now. I wonder who I will be 10 years from now?


19 Pizzas!

We had guests yesterday and Kate, being the overboard kind of person she is, decided to make 19 pizzas. Yes 19 pizzas. 

Which could explain the attitude this morning. 

Actually going big is one of the reasons that I love Kate so much. She does not do anything half way. If she cannot throw herself into it a hundred percent then it is not worth doing in her mind. 

Which could explain how we have managed to do anything over the past 20 years.

When she decided that caring for orphans was the way for us to go, she didn't go and build an orphanage somewhere. No sir. She opened the door and said "welcome to your new family." She poured herself into the girls. Not something that I can do easily, apparently I am emotionally stunted or just too unaware. Kate has loved and is loving these girls completely. (Even when they make it hard, which is often.)

Which could explain the beautiful children we now have.

I was happy living in a rented house and paying, or at least trying to pay, bills each month. Kate insisted there was a better way and suggested we should buy a piece of land. I immediately said it would be impossible, we had never successfully raised a large amount of money before. So she threw herself into it, and in 30 days raised $34,000, and changed everything for us. 

Which could, does, explain how we are now living on almost 12 acres of land.

Kate is the driving force of this family. Without her I would be sitting in my Mom's house playing video games.(Which on some days does have a certain allure, but I love this woman and this life.) What is wrong with me? Getting this emotional at the start of the year cannot be healthy.

Twenty years next month. 


Happy New Year!

 

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Image courtesy of [satit_srihin] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


I am back dating this to the first, it's the thought that counts right? We spent the day chilling at home enjoying the last moments of a smaller household. Our Kenyan girls have started returning from visiting their friends and relatives over the December holiday. We are glad to have them back, but it does equal more work and noise, so on the first we tried to breathe in more deeply while we still could.

 

What does 2015 have in store for A Future and a Hope? I cannot predict it all but we will be planting as much food as we can manage this year. I am starting to plan out where what will be put and what to put in the ground. So far I have a spot for some yellow corn. There will be lots of digging over the next couple of months and piling up of dirt.

We have another girl that will be starting high school this year. Everyone else will continue where they are. Andrew (our 16 year old son) wants to start a project with a small motorcycle. He wants to chop it. Kate was able to get a piano last month so 2015 will be full of music lessons. Not so sure everyone is thrilled about that one, but hey sometimes you have to make your kids do what you want them to do.

I do not really do resolutions. Mostly because they become rules in my mind and my nature is to break rules. Kate doesn't do them either, though I cannot remember why she doesn't. For those of you who do make New Year's resolutions you could consider adding donating to us on your list. The list that you plan on keeping that is.

Happy New Year. May 2015 be full of blessing, happiness, and the strength to make it through the dark spots.