Welcome to our blog. Stick around for awhile, and feel free to contact us with any questions.

Day 3

The third day of Kate's absence was more eventful, or at least busy than day 2. Kate and Makena went to visit Northbrook Metropolitan College where Makena is considering starting her higher education career. She had an informal interview and was told that based on her portfolio she would be accepted. Congratulations to Makena. There are still hurdles to overcome for this to work out, but the first step is done.

Makena and kate school

Back on the home front, I hung out with a friend who's wife just passed away from cancer. She was our friend as well and we are missing her. I was asked to officiate the funeral and have been working on that with the family. Sad, but I am glad we can be here for each other. 

Here is a newly updated wish list. Don't forget to let me know what you have bought or are buying so I can remove it from the list:

Nintendo Joy-Con (L/R) Would like 2 sets
OXO Good Grips Silicone/Stainless Steel Tub Stopper
maple flavor
nyquil
children's fever/pain/allergy meds
Flintstones Children's Complete Chewable Multivitamin
Zahler Flax Seed Oil
grownup vitamins
Gillette Venus Women's Original
Strathmore Series 400 Sketch Pads 9 in. x 12 in. - pad of 100 (as many as possible)
Bad Byron's Butt Rub
Ultimate Ears UE Boom 2 Brainfreeze Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
pool noodles
frisbees
Dodge balls
New Super Mario Bros. Wii
CO-Z Bee Smoker
A4 Portable LED Light Box
hair clips
watches
Christmas ornaments!
Steve Jackson Games Munchkin Deluxe
Reese's peanut butter cups
jodphurs size 27 waist
Microsoft Surface Pro (Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB) – Newest Version
Microsoft Certified Surface Pen, Stylus Pens with 4096 Pressure Sensitivity
Huawei MateBook X Pro
penny Whistles
lady p or shewee
sheet music for flute and piano
unlocked cell phones (current)
ipad
boots size 8.5
hair feathers and hair beads
polymer clay

Link to Google Document which includes Amazon links for many items:

Wishlist


Day 2

The second day without Kate was rather uneventful. Don't get me wrong I do appreciate quiet, mundane days, but they are just not exciting to write about. 

Life continues on on The Shire, and Kate, Makena, and Starlette had fun visiting with friends in England. I heard they went to the beach. I cooked for the children, and they continued with their schooling.  

I warned you it was boring, nice and quiet. 

 

Here is Starlette enjoying a book with Matthew Barrow

 Here is something Kate posted on Facebook:

Put yourself in my shoes...

People going out of their way to see you, make you feel comfortable, feed you, and give to you...

It is really difficult to receive these acts of kindness...

I am struggling. I really am.

People are good, kind, and amazing...

Believing in one's self that we have value is SO HARD. Who knew this would be as difficult as it is?

 

Don't forget about the wishlist. If you are going to buy something from the list please let me know. They can only carry so much stuff back without spending tons of money on excess luggage. When someone buys the item I will remove it and update the list. Thanks. Without further ado here is the list:

Nintendo Joy-Con (L/R) Would like 2 sets
OXO Good Grips Silicone/Stainless Steel Tub Stopper
maple flavor
nyquil
children's fever/pain/allergy meds
Flintstones Children's Complete Chewable Multivitamin
Zahler Flax Seed Oil
grownup vitamins
Gillette Venus Women's Original
saddle pads
good saddles
bareback pad
brush boots for horses
grooming kits
Strathmore Series 400 Sketch Pads 9 in. x 12 in. - pad of 100 (as many as possible)
Bad Byron's Butt Rub
Ultimate Ears UE Boom 2 Brainfreeze Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
pool noodles
bridles
frisbees
Dodge balls
New Super Mario Bros. Wii
CO-Z Bee Smoker
A4 Portable LED Light Box
western saddle
hair clips
watches
Christmas ornaments!
lead ropes
Steve Jackson Games Munchkin Deluxe
bow and arrows
rope halters
Reese's peanut butter cups
jodphurs size 27 waist
Microsoft Surface Pro (Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB) – Newest Version
Microsoft Certified Surface Pen, Stylus Pens with 4096 Pressure Sensitivity
Huawei MateBook X Pro
penny Whistles
lady p or shewee
recurve bow
sheet music for flute and piano
unlocked cell phones (current)
ipad
blender jar
boots size 8.5
hair feathers and hair beads
polymer clay
side reins
small saddle for star
Western saddle plus blankets
16.5 inch English saddle
stirrup leathers
safety stirrups in various sizes
reins

And here is a link to the Google document which includes links to Amazon for many of these items:

Wishlist

 


Day 1

Yesterday was our first day without Kate, Makena, and Starlette. They are now safely in England visiting friends and Makena will be visiting an art school while there. They will fly off to the U.S.A. in a few days. In the meantime life continues here on The Shire in Kenya.

First of all, I received a call from Edith's principal at her school. He told me Edith had problems with her shoes and I needed to come to pick her up and get new shoes. So I set off to Nakuru town with Butterfly, Emma, and Eowyn in tow. Butterfly had not seen Edith in a few months due to being off in Nanyuki and so was looking forward to seeing Edith.

We picked her up from Shinners Girl's School and headed to the mall. Twenty dollars later she had new shoes and was ready to return to school. However, we were not ready for her to go back just yet.

We did a bit of shopping and had pizza and french fries for lunch. We then stopped at The Cheese Palace (yep that is its name) for cheese and ice cream. (We didn't eat them together the cheese is for burrito night on Thursday.) We dropped Edith back at school and came home.

So far so good. Butterfly is helping with the horses, which she normally does, but she is doing a bit more to make up for Kate's absence. Emma and Eowyn are pretty much continuing their lives normally. (Though Eowyn did sleep in Kate's spot in the bed.)

We talked to Kate via Facebook Messenger video last night. Our connection was not great but she and the other two seem to be well and having a good time. They already have visited a few friends who have moved from Kenya to the U.K.

Wonder what day 2 has in store for them and for us back here on The Shire?


USA Bound


20181008_095759

These three are flying out tonight. First stop for a few days in the U.K., then on to the U.S.A. for almost two months. We will miss them but are happy they have this opportunity. 

Here is a link to a list of things we hope to get while in the U.S. and bring back to Kenya: 

 

Wishlist for USA trip


Busy Month, Busy week

20180827_135501
taking the girls shopping for school supplies with puppy in tow!

School fees are paid for this term. Edith and BT are in high schools both are boarding, and we also sponsor a third orphan for whom this is the final term of high school. Then Sarah M is finishing her culinary practicals for her cooking school, also paid. The older girls are living their lives and doing well. Grace is almost 24 years old now, in a customary marriage, and expecting a baby in January! So I guess I'll be a grandma soon!

Andrew is finishing his time in Oregon and will be traveling with my dad down the west through Yellow Stone and seeing a bit of the USA before settling in Texas where he will decide if he wants to attend school or continue working. He already has jobs lined up, and it is exciting to see him growing into a man!

Makena, Starry, and I are traveling to England at the beginning of October to visit a school for Makena and to visit some friends, then on to Texas, California, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania (visit another school), Arkansas, back to Texas, then back to Kenya.

 I am planning a women's health educational meeting for Wednesday. Both men and women will be there. This will be the first time for me to speak to the men at the same time! I will be distributing over 40 menstrual cups. Each cup is $39.48, but I am asking each person give $5/cup so that only the folks who really are keen to use it will take it. I have learned that when I pass them out freely, they are not as respected and valued. This is my first attempt at actually charging a small fee for them. I hope I am doing the right thing! We must live and learn as we go along.

P1380241 (2)Our Horsepower program is doing well. We have 5 horses going now! We still need stables and fencing, etc... but that will come in time. This month is jam packed with school, meeting, horsepower... not to mention, I am trying to sell 9 Great Dane puppies and find homes for 9 kittens, too! So far, I have managed to sell a few puppies and find homes for 8 kittens. They all live with us until the 19th so it is pretty manic around here!

As you may know, we are still trying to raise travel money so I can visit people in the US. We need $1,924 to reach our goal. Our biggest issue is that when we do these kinds of fundraisers, some folks who give regularly toward our project decide to divert their normal gift to the designated item, in this case, airfare, so that means we struggle on the normal monthly stuff... With that said, August and September have been difficult. We are butchering rabbits and pigs to feed the carnivores (including dogs, cats, and humans). We don't have much to eat in the garden, really. We can only eat so much kale and sweet potatoes... but we are grateful for those things! But in all of these things, we are so grateful to just be ALIVE doing what we love. The rewards are so beautiful smiles, lots of giggles, happy hearts, proud parents, and so much more...

I think during my USA trip, my hope is to raise awareness of what we are doing in Kenya and how unique it is. The only horse therapy programs in Kenya I know of are ours and one other in Nairobi. . Kenya is around the same size as Texas, but our population is DOUBLE. In Texas, over 87 Horse therapy programs are listed on Google. Who knows how many more there are that weren't listed in that search. Imagine double the population in Kenya and only TWO Equine therapy programs... Needless to say, we don't lack for children with needs.

 


Less Facebook for Johnny

TMertonStudy"Thomas Merton described those early Christians in the wilderness as people “who did not believe in letting themselves be passively guided and ruled by a decadent state,” who didn’t wish to be ruled or to rule. He continues, saying that they primarily sought their “true self, in Christ”; to do so, they had to reject “the false, formal self, fabricated under social compulsion ‘in the world.’ They sought a way to God that was uncharted and freely chosen, not inherited from others who had mapped it out beforehand.”

 

 

This is a quote about the early Christians who left the Roman empire for the desert. They did so in order to practice a faith untainted by the empire's influence on the church. This appeals to me on so many levels.
 
This morning I was scrolling through Facebook, as I often do while taking care of my morning business, and I was struck by just how much I do not like what I see on Facebook. So much hate and misinformation being spewed. It is as if the screen provides some kind of need to become the worst we can be. I tried the whole unfollow thing, but some folks I unfollowed for posting political junk are people I otherwise like. Then there are the people who I tend to agree with, but they post something so stupid and offensive I click the unfollow link. (Blatant racism will get you booted altogether as one of my connections.) By the time my unfollow link cooled off I was left with only a handful of real people in my feed. The rest was filled up with groups and a musician or two.
 
I ended up re-following everyone and trying to ignore the bigotry, false news, and just plain ignorance. It is getting harder and harder to do so, at least on my phone. Interestingly enough I see a more wholesome feed when using my computer. Either way I am inclined to become more like those desert dwelling early Christians, "who did not believe in letting themselves be passively guided and ruled by a decadent state,” who didn’t wish to be ruled or to rule." 
 
More books, less Facebook for me. 
 
 

Even winning the lottery has its struggles..

Why can life be so difficult at times? On the outside, we can look at some of our friends and just see all of the glorious things that make their lives look so splendid and perfect... Maybe they are living their dreams or even living YOUR dreams, and you just wish you could be like them...

But the reality is, no matter what path you choose to take, there will always be issues. It may look so easy, but even the person who wins the lottery has to deal with all of the people who will rush after him looking for help and a 'piece of the pie.'

Life is hard. Even in the good times there are struggles. And for some of us, we have the ability to make it look like everything is ok on the outside. But down in there is turmoil, anxiety, stress, and struggle. Always try to remember to be kind. Let us love one another, never making assumptions, and listen with understanding no matter what we think is going on in each other's lives. 

 


It is not as costly as you think!

Holy smokes! I am researching how much it costs to get horses' hooves trimmed in the USA, and I can't believe it! In the USA, the cost of getting a full set of shoes put on is usually $120 per horse not including the actual purchase of the shoes! Average cost of just a trim is $45. No wonder you guys think owning a horse is expensive!

20180812_091533Owning horses in Kenya is extremely affordable!

Let us just look at Farrier costs first.

I have 4 barefoot ponies, and one fully shod Thoroughbred.

(My Kenyan Farrier has been trained by experts from all over the world. He shoes the finest race horses in Nairobi, all of the horses in my area, as well as horses all across Kenya. He is BRILLIANT and professional. He continues to be trained every year to update his knowledge, and he is great doing barefoot horses as well as shoes.)

With that said, he put on BRAND NEW shoes on my thoroughbred yesterday. The shoes cost $25. The trim and putting the shoes on for all four feet cost $7. That is right. $7. He did barefoot trims on my ponies for $7 each, plus he charges $7 to travel all the way from Nairobi (3 hrs) to my house. So yesterday, I spent a total of $67 to do my FIVE horses. When I am not buying NEW SHOES (which is most months), I only spend $42 a month for FIVE horses to get their feet done. Compare that to $120/horse or even $45/horse for just a trim in the USA! So with my five horses the way they are, it would cost me $300 a month in the USA as apposed to $45. Right there, I think you can see that having horses here is much more cost efficient than my USA counterparts!

Now let us look at how much it costs to feed my horses. I buy bran for the ponies who eat 4 times a day. Then I have bran, barley, and horse meal for my thoroughbred. I spend about $0.60 a day per pony x4 ponies, and about $1.50 per day for my thoroughbred on feed. That is $3.90 a day for five horses (*educated guess). A 5 gallon jug of raw molasses is $8 and lasts half a year. Salt licks are $6 and last ages, so I am just going to round up to $4/day... So I spend about $120 a month on feeding FIVE horses not including hay.

Hay is the expensive stuff, but if you can buy it when it is 'in season,' it can go for as little as $1.50 a bale. We use a bale a day or so... in certain times of the year, hay can be over $3 a bale. So let's just say it is $2 for now. That is $60 a month on hay. See? This is where horses are expensive, but still, can you see how owning a horse or five is DO-able?

So we spend about $225 a month to own 5 horses. This doesn't include vet expenses which are few because I do the deworming and injections myself. I do not have to pay to board my horses, nor do I have to pay a licence fee or anything. So that is it! $225 divided by 5 horses equals $45/horse. Not bad!

Tack is another expense, but we have been fortunate to have some donated, and we have bought some items. I must say that this is an area I hope to fulfill when I visit the USA, but in the mean time, what we have is working. We have all second hand items, and we don't mind.

Transportation of horses is THE BIGGEST expense ever. This is an issue I am hoping to combat by getting our own horse trailer one day... but ultimately, doing horse therapy is not as expensive as one might think!! 

This is another reason I believe Horse Therapy for disabled children is a viable project in Kenya!