Thursday, December 13, 2007

Africa pictures!

I have posted four more albums online and hope to get another two up by the end of the week, wait, that's tomorrow! We'll see.

This will take you to one of the small albums and then you can see the rest from there.

Enjoy! Be sure to check out the other blog for more stories of my African adventures and don't forget to leave me comments!

I cannot stress enough how much I love the comments! yea!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


That's right, today is the anniversary of my birth 34 years ago on Dec. 5, 1973. Wow!

You know, that in Kenya I am still considered youth and that someone in the office thought that I was 28. I love this country!

Anyway, a country song came out several years ago, I mean, it was awhile back because I think I was maybe living in Tennessee at the time. Anyway, it finally truly does fit me.

She'll turn 34 this weekend,
Go out with her girlfriends
Drink some margheritas
cut up and carry on

There'll be guys and they'll be come-ons
She'll probably get hit on
But she thinks all the good ones are gone.

Her momma called this morning,
said, I'm worried about my baby,

I can't remember the rest except for the 'other words' that Rubes and I used to sing, which I'm not going to share since I think my mom might read this. (it's not really that bad, but now you really want to know, don't you.)

Well, Mom called this afternoon (early morning there) and sang happy birthday. Then she started singing this one.

I am 34 and unmarried but I am not alone. I am living in Africa and will eating Japanese for my birthday tonight with 7 friends, 1 Canadian, 2 Americans and 4 Kenyans. That's amazing to me and I absolutely LOVE it!

Not to mention that Texas Laura called me this morning to wish me birthday cheer and I skyped with Rubes and my mom. I have eaten chocolate chip cookies I made and shared tea with my office and guards at my apt. I have had tons of emails and singing and even got a beautiful necklace and earrings from a coworker. Not to mention the freakin' awesome birthday card and gift from Rubes (the first three seasons of Facts of Life, man I love that show!).

So as I go out tongiht and this weekend (there's a place across the street from me that has live music and I have friends in town so we're going out, we figure across the street should be fairly safe anyway.) I don't know if I'll be able to get a rita or if I'll get hit on or not but I don't care. I'm going to have a great time, beacause I'm 34, I'm sexy, and I'm glad to be alive! (trust me if you've never ridden a matatu, this is a big accomplishment here)

I want to add though that the other day I was walking to Amanda's and some guy drove by, leaned out his window and hollered, "Hey, Baby! Nice ass!" It made me smile. I probaby should've been offended, but I wasn't, I admit it.

As Pheobe says in a Season 2 Friends episode (it's all I've been watching for the last two weeks is season 2), "Officially I'm offended, but that's so sweet!"

"She'll turn 34 this weekend . . ."

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


My sister, Rubes, has started a little fun business on the side of her already packed life. She makes this amazing jewelry and has a website. I highly recommend her, regardless of my bias. I think that you should all support her by buying at least 4 items each. In a way you are supporting my work here in Africa, too. Each time she sells something it helps her pay to ship a little treasure to me. (It's expensive to mail stuff from the States to Africa!)

Anyway, here's the link and I'll put in on the sidebar as well. ENJOY and shop to your heart's content!



Christmas at the office

I'm in Kenya, as you know, and it's in the 70's and 80's and just glorious weather. However, it's very different from all Christmas's I've known so it's taking awhile to get into the spirit. Now, I'm listening to Christmas music never you worry. I'm looking for a poinsettia today to take home and it's going to be great. However, they put a tree in my office today and it's the saddest thing I've ever seen. It really is. I'm not sure if I try to fix it if it will hurt someone's feelings or not but seriously, this is SAD.

Quote of the week

"If you farted consistently for 6 years and 9 months, enough gass will be produced to create the energy of an atomic bomb."

The Standard Nov. 26, 2007

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

October 2007 report

Habari yako, rafiki! (How are you, friends!)

That’s right, watch out I’m dangerous. I know just enough Swahili to get me into trouble now. My Kikuyu is even worse, I only know about three things in that tribal language. Kikuyu are the largest tribe in Kenya. The current Kenyan President, His Excellency Kibaki, is Kikuyu and my host family, Rose and Moses Mbugua, are Kikuyu. I have sat through church in both Swahili and Kikuyu and don’t really have a clue with either one, but praise God for His Holy Spirit that allows all tribes and tongues to worship the same, one and true God together. Amen? Amen!

Figure 1-3: Within the first twenty-four hours Alida and I walked to the nearest Java House where I had my new favorite beverage, a Malindi Chai Latte.
I made it to Nairobi, Kenya, with no major problems. I switched airlines at the London/Heathrow airport and had to go through customs to get my luggage and get to the new airline. That was a hassle, but I survived and arrived with all of my luggage, praise the Lord. I also now have an England stamp on my passport. London is really tight on security and luggage allotments, just be forewarned.

Alida met me at the airport with the taxi driver and it was so good to hear her voice. God is good. He knows what we need and provides. I needed a familiar face and there was Alida, broken hand and all. I was dropped off at my guest house where I stayed for the weekend. I made it to my room about 10:30 pm or so and just stood there crying, “I’m here. I’m here. I’m here. I’m really, finally here.” It was overwhelming to finally have made it to my destination. My orientation had all been valuable but it was long and it was so good to be in Kenya.

These are my host parents. I moved into their home the following Monday and stayed for a week. I’ve been living there off and on since my arrival depending on my work schedule. May I introduce Rose and Moses Mbugua. They are Kikuyu and live in a village outside of Nairobi on a farm, unlike those back home. They are business people and have three grown children. I have met their oldest daughter, Joyce, and her daughter who only speaks Swahili and calls me her friend. Below are photos of our house and things from the farm or nearby. Rose raises about 100 chickens as layers. They also have four cattle, with one that is producing milk and they have a small herd of sheep. Moses also decided to plant about 300 birds of paradise because he thinks that they are beautiful and they sell well. The below flower is one that is just in the front yard.

Figure 2: This is a fruit growing in the front yard and is called a tree tomato. I don't know if we have these in the States or not. I hadn't had one. It has a tangy-bitter taste and the seeds, which are what you eat, look like tomato seeds.
Figure 3: These are coffee beans from a nearby farm. They are picked when they are red and then shelled. They are then dried and shelled again. The bean that's inside is what is roasted and ground for coffee.

I’ve only been with my family for two Sundays. The first Sunday we went to both the English and Kikuyu services. It’s not uncommon for visitors to stand and introduce themselves, so Moses taught me to greet the congregation in Kikuyu and they all applauded and giggled. It was fun. The two highlights of attending the church there (it’s ACK – Anglican Church of Kenya, a large denomination here similar to Episcopal) were the dear retired teacher that translated during the Kikuyu service and a member of the youth (youth here is differently defined). The following Saturday I was in downtown Nairobi and just sitting down at a coffeeshop to wait for Alida. A young woman stopped to shake my hand and I had no idea why. When she started talking she told me she was from church. I recognized her at that point and it was such a blessing to me! I thanked her for stopping to greet me and that I really appreciated it. I was about to burst with the excitement of it all. I hadn’t been in the country for three weeks yet and had already run into someone I “knew” in downtown. Thank you, Jesus!

The other Sunday, Moses and I went to a different church for a special fundraiser that they call a harambe. The top photo is of me in a tea field because we were in the Limuru area which is known for its tea. I hope to take more time in that area someday and really take a tour – some of you know my tea addiction. This may not be a good idea, but I’m going anyway!

Figure 4: This is Moses holding a hand of dried rice that is ready to be hulled. Part of the area that we traveled through has marvelous rice and we pulled over to look and purchase. It really is good. That is the rice drying on a tarp below Moses's hand.
Figure 5: On our way back we stopped at the Del Monte shop near the hectares and hectares of Del Monte pineapples. We bought pure juice and fresh pineapples. This is Mary and I with the best pineapple I've ever eaten.

I moved with my family on Monday and on Tuesday took a road trip to Embu for a partner meeting that my host father is a part of. It was he and Mary, a neighbor and friend who is a pastor in the ACK. The meeting, praise God, was in English, but I am not always good with this new accent so I didn’t understand everything.

The next week Moses dropped me off at a different guest house where I would stay for two weeks and take Swahili lessons. Alida and I shared a room for a week before she left for Eldoret, northwest of Nairobi, where she is working at a hospital with community health. The next photos are all from our adventures while living near downtown Nairobi.
Figure 6: Nearby was the “safest street in Nairobi” right in front of the Israeli Embassy. We snuck some photos from down the street.
Figure 7: It's almost election time here in Kenya and this is a rally for the incumbent, Kibaki. The banner reads “Vijana kwa Kibaki” or Youth for Kibaki. However, I discovered the “youth” means anyone 40 or so and younger. Hooray! I'm a youth!?
Figure 8: This was a big day. We went to the Village Market which was not what we expected but an upscale mall full of ex-patriots. The best part of the day was that I bought my first Dr. Pepper since the day I left Kansas in July. IT WAS TASTEY!
Figure 9: This is where I took my language lessons. Ruth was the mwalimu (teacher) and Sister Svetha was the other student in my class. We had our lessons each morning in the hut behind Sister. Right near downtown, we had class in a hut.

This is from an email that I sent to a friend while I was in language school. It really says where I’ve been and sometime still am now. “I'm getting used to being here slowly but surely. It's so different when you're in another country and/or culture longer than a few weeks. I still occasionally am amazed that I am here particularly when I'm sitting in my room and then breakfast which is fairly western. Then I walk outside into my language class which even though we are a stone's throw from downtown Nairobi, is in a hut. Sitting there with my classmate, a Catholic Sister from India, learning Swahili from a Kenyan I realize, ‘Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore.’”

Figure 10: Family is important here and families get together on average once a month as an entire extended family. This is the home of one of Moses' brothers. The women were making that much tea because there were so many people there.
Figure 11: It may be a rural area but there are apartments going up everywhere. Nairobi is expensive and so people live outside of town and commute. Sound familiar?

There is much more to say and not enough room to share it all with you. I encourage you to check out my blog at There are links to more photos and a lot of other great information like shopping, language and resources. I try to keep it pretty updated.

I have my own office now and have started decorating with pictures and postcards from home, my books and some Kenyan treasures, and of course, a map of Kansas (thanks to the Lazy T!). I’m getting settled in even more next week when I move into my own apartment. I don’t have any furniture really yet, but that will come. Someone is loaning me a mattress until I can find a bed. I’m hoping that Moses will help me buy some great furniture and then that we’ll be able to find a way to carry it to the fourth floor. The apt. is close enough to walk to the office and I’m close to a couple of grocery stores, at least three shopping areas, several restaurants and a couple of churches. Since I will not have a vehicle here those are great things. We’re guessing it will take 30 minutes to walk to work. Guess I need to start getting up earlier.

Earlier this month we had an HIV/AIDS Learning Tour here from North America. There were six participants and we all learned so much. I will be much more involved in the future but since this was three weeks after my arrival, I really was learning right alongside the participants. It was tremendous. We traveled, visited, ate, learned, and shopped with villagers where CRWRC is working in amazing ways. God is alive and well here. There is poverty, there is disease, but there is a mighty, mighty God that we all serve and He is above all of that and the hope that we saw will not be easily forgotten by any of us who were there.

I am blessed to be here and am reminded of each of you often and that you make it possible for me to be here. I have heard from many of you that you pray for me often and I thank you and I thank God for those prayers often. I know that they have pulled me through on more than one occasion. I want you to know that I thank God for you and pray for each of you often as well. I miss you. I really do and I value every personal email and letter and postcard that I receive from you. They are saved in a special mailbox in my email or posted in my office.

My US supervisor, Ruth, was here from Grand Rapids this past month and I have validated that the current plan is for me to be in the States in June 2008. Beyond that there are not details but I plan to be in Minnesota and all over Kansas and I look forward to hearing about you. However, there’s no need to wait that long, drop me a line now and let me know what’s going on in your life. Share with me the everyday and the amazing. I want to hear all about how God is working in your life just as I am sharing how he is working in mine.

I cannot thank you enough for all of your support and I will leave you with my mailing address here in Nairobi, my blog and email addresses and photos of the HIV/AIDS Learning Tour.
May each of you be blessed. Godspeed,

PO Box 66490, Westlands
00800, Nairobi, Kenya


Figure 12: These girls are in sewing class to become tailors. It is a two-year program. The 'trousers' hanging are sewn on paper because it's cheaper than material.
Figure 13: Stephan, me and Nema sit in the clinic waiting room while one of the tour participants has an HIV/AIDS test done. Stephan is a program consultant and Nema is the HIV/AIDS Coord. for East and South Africa in the CRWRC.
Figure 14: This is an HIV/AIDS test. The person's blood is on the end and it takes only 15 minutes for the results. One of things that this community asked us to share was that you need to know your status. Don't be afraid to be tested.
Figure 15: This how we often wash our hands prior to eating. Someone pours the water and you often don't have soap. You sometimes get a napkin to dry your hands.
Figure 16: We didn't speak the same language but the children loved to have their photo taken and then see it on the screen of my digital camera. When we arrived they were working on their alphabets by writing them in mud. That's way more fun than paper!

Figure 17: In each village we met the mamas (grannies) who were raising their grandchildren and other children in the community whose parents had died of AIDS. Here they are singing a song for us and then showing us baskets and purses they make to sell.

Figure 18: What would a good Dutch CRC trip be without a picture of a little Dutch girl in front of a windmill? This is a CRWRC board member who is indeed Dutch from NW Iowa. We all shared Wilhelmina's in the van.

Figure 19: We met several people who were HIV + or who were caring for those who were. These people have hope and joy and in turn gave us that hope as well. Knowing someone's status is a personal decision to tell. I cannot offer that information to you.

September 2007 report

Again, why aren't the photos copying, I wonder.

Hello sisters and brothers!

It has been many miles (or kilometers) since last I wrote to you. I have much to share with you and have tried to keep it succinct, but be warned that this is a long update. It should be an easy read though since there are lots of pictures. Be sure to check my blog for more stories, thoughts and photos.

Figure 1 Travel is done in three main ways in Senegal: walking, donkeys and vehicles. These men are taking onions to market. There is a large area near the ocean where they do market gardening and grow onions.
Figure 2
The last time I wrote to you Chinyere and I were preparing to leave for a long weekend with one of our partners in Linguere, Senegal. It was a long hot weekend, but it was such a learning experience. I was fortunate that this was my first trip. We were in rural Senegal on a farm, talking about cattle and milk production and agriculture. While I did not grow up on a farm, I have family that were/are farmers and ranchers and quite a lot of this conversation was familiar to me. On our way back to Dakar we came into a dust storm (figure 2) the likes of the US Dust Bowl days. This was an amazing storm to watch unfold as the sands from the Sahara Desert blew from the north down upon us.

Figure 4 Jatu works for CRWRC Senegal and took the three of us out to Goree Island for a day. It rained the whole time.
Figure 5 This is one of the beaches that we went to while we were in Senegal. We paid to be at a less crowded beach. This particular one was near a hotel.
Figure 6 We did not have a washing machine and most people do their laundry by hand. We paid a woman to do our laundry but did a few things on our own at the apartment as needed.

Our time in Senegal wrapped up just in time. We had said farewell to Melissa, a CRWRC intern, a few weeks earlier as she went on to Sierra Leone and Chichi and I were getting very anxious to get to our final destinations as well. I learned so much about development from Wyva as well as how to work at helping my volunteers debrief. The last week we were in Dakar really brought everything to a sense of “ah-ha!” The dots were finally connected for me as I began to see the grander picture of development and all its intricacies. Looking back, it was such a blessing to have spent five weeks there. *To clarify: Chinyere is the same person as Chichi and she is the new Bridger for West Africa going through training with me. Wyva is the Country Consultant for Senegal/Sierra Leone.

Figure 7 Winston and Sarah took us on our tour of Bamako to orient us to the area and CRWRC Mali’s work. Winston is a Country Consultant for Mali and Sarah is a HNGR intern from Wheaton in Mali for six months. She’s doing research on excision. We really were looking at ideas for how we might be able to run our own orientations and incorporate aspects of training into areas within the city where we will be working.
Figure 8 Life is lived differently in West Africa. This is a picture of one of the markets. You can buy things in stores, but most things can be and are purchased at the market. It really is quite similar to the State Fair. Lots of venders trying to get you to buy their products. It’s colorful in every sense of the word and everyone is trying to get a bargain.
Figure 9 This is part of the new government complex being built in Mali by the Niger River. It is being financed partially by the Libyan government. Libya is very involved with Mali financially. Please pray about where that relationship may lead.
Figure 10 The younger folks from the office went out to see the night life of Bamako. Unfortunately it rained and we could find none of the live music that we had heard so much about but we had a good time anyway. Two of those pictured are short term interns and one is staff and then me and Chichi (in the center). It was the first time that the weather had cooled down nicely. It was gorgeous! We came home and I thought it was perfect. The house guard was wearing a jacket with the hood up! I guess it’s all relative, no?
We arrived in Mali on time and with all of our luggage. We spent a nice weekend with Scott and Mary Crickmore, CRWRC staff, in their home just relaxing, watching movies and enjoying one another. We’ve stayed with them our entire stay and eaten like queens. Mary is a good cook and has been teaching us how to cook using the foods available. We’ve focused on making “comfort” foods for our volunteers for when they need a break from more traditional foods. We have talked about a little of everything with Mary. She is the West Africa Ministry Team Leader and has been in Mali with CRWRC for 22 years. She is one of the people who helped create our position so we are in good hands.

We discussed medical issues to look out for with our volunteers, how to pack a non-refrigerated picnic, how to shop, where to go and what to look for. We’ve discussed how to help people debrief as well as how to orient them to their surrounding culture. We’ve also looked at changing a tire and how to plan your work day in a job with no local supervisors (which at this point, neither one of us have). Mary has had us reading a lot but we stop when the work day is over and spend time enjoying a card game, Dutch Bliss (of course), and lots of movies. We’ve had opportunities to worship in English and get to know others serving in Mali with CRWRC as well as Christian Reformed World Missions (CRWM). And, what would the trip be if I didn’t get to play Dutch Bingo! That’s right, I’ve found two connections to folks back home. Lynda, new to CRWRC, went to Dordt College with Marty C. and Dawn and Gene have stayed at Beth K.’s parents’ house in Downs! BINGO! Let me just say one thing, “OF COURSE!”

Figure 12 pots for collecting water for various needs
We spent our time doing a variety of things as noted above. Two other things that I would like to mention include visiting two different villages. It is the rainy season here so we didn’t do anything but day trips since many roads are impassable. We spent an afternoon with two women who have to use a boat for part of their trip to and from the village and Bamako when they need to travel during the rainy season.

One of our visits was a “first contact” to a village just past Fana. Through a series of events, Mary had found out about a group of Fulani women that were interested in literacy classes. We went there to see what level their interest was at and make sure that they understood what our level of involvement would be if something were to happen. The meeting happened in French, Bambara and Fulbe with a little English thrown in for our sake. There will be a follow-up visit shortly to see if they are still serious and discuss how to begin the process.

The second village visit was to meet and interview a Christian cotton farmer. Part of my job is to encourage people to engage in advocacy on all levels. This takes many forms and Mary is working on a video about the US Farm Bill’s cotton subsidies that are adversely affecting the lives of cotton farmers here in Mali. Chichi and I will be starting work on an article that came from our interview. The man was well-informed and taught us a lot. He is a man of God who until recently was the president of his church district for 19 years. If you are interested in learning more about the US Farm Bill and its effects on Mali cotton farmers, please contact me. I encourage you to learn more and contact your US Senators soon, as they are scheduled to vote on the farm bill this month.
Figure 13 Our interpreter with Etienne, the cotton farmer, talking with Mary and Chichi outside Etienne’s home. We connected with Etienne through a CRWRC partner.
Figure 14 This women is the wife of Etienne’s oldest son. She is standing next to a large pestle in the yard. The pestle is used to pound millet and leaves into edible forms. This size is one that many women would work in at the same time.
Figure 15 This is how food is cooked in many villages, over an open flame.

After 2 ½ weeks in Mali, six people from CRWRC traveled to Niger for the West Africa Ministries Team biannual meeting. Here we had leaders from Senegal/Sierra Leone, Mali, Niger and Nigeria. We did a site visit, took a leisurely boat ride up and down the Niger River, worshiped, exercised, ate, slept and prayed together as we learned from one another and our various ministries.
Figure 16 The Mali Team: Chichi, Sarah Callicutt with Wheaton College’s HNGR program, me, Mary Crickmore, Lynda Dykstra and Winston Bosch wearing our matching outfits. It’s typical for groups to match for special events so we decided we should follow tradition for our meeting. Each person chose their own style and we’re all different. It was fun!
Figure 18 The site visit that I mentioned previously was to a Muslim village where one of the Niger partners is working. We met with many involved in the micro-credit/savings groups. Mary had been there in April and taken some video and it was so different since it is the rainy season right now. This is one of the villagers standing next to her hut.
Figure 19 We had all just settled down for the gathering and it started to rain so we moved into someone’s hut. We, the visitors, were all in and then the men came in and they said that we needed to wait until the women came into the hut as well. Most people take off their shoes when entering a house and certainly before sitting on a mat. It began to rain quite hard while we were in there and the area outside of the doorway was semi-flooded but the rain had stopped and the water receded by the time we moved to another spot for a bit of lunch.
The idea of the work of CRWRC is community transformation. We heard a lot of things that were outward signs of that transformation but discussed later if true transformation was occurring. Just because a husband allows his wife to be a part of a micro-credit group, does it mean that he is thinking about women and his wife in a more just way? Or is he just happy to have her earning money to contribute to the family? How are we to judge that and who are we do so? Sometimes work and learning don’t provide answers, only more questions in which we must struggle to see what God desires in His Word.
Figure 21 This woman and I share the same name but they referred to me as “old Amy” since I am older. While she looks older, she already has 12 children. I told them that I have none and the husband said that he would pray that I would get married in the next year, God willing. This is a totally Muslim community. In the West African culture it is very important for women to be married and having children. You have less value as a woman. Your value is even less if you are unmarried and/or barren.

Figure 22 The rainy season comes with many blessings and difficulties. The blessings include that crops can finally be planted and harvested and it’s a bit cooler. However, travel is more difficult during the rainy season. One of our vehicles got caught in the middle and had to be lifted out of the flooded road.
Figure 23 This is Sarah, Lynda, myself and Chichi on the boat ride up and down the Niger River. It was a cool and relaxing ride and we saw a hippo! Add that to my wildlife list: camel, monkeys, lizards and bugs galore, hippo!

It was a really beneficial week and I was welcomed wholeheartedly as a part of the team, even though I will be a part of the East Africa Ministry Team in less than a week. I praise God for all of the learning that I have done over the past two months. I feel better prepared for the task ahead, but I understand that there is much more learning to do. Thank you for all of your prayers. I hope that you can see how you have blessed me, how God is answering your prayers. I have remained healthy minus a cold and a serious mosquito attack and I praise God for all of the traveling mercies I have been granted.

Forgive me for the length of this update. I hope that you made it through it all. I have cut it several times and deleted several photos. This has been a tremendously busy time and I really wanted to share it with each of you. The next month will be crazier still perhaps as I transition to Nairobi. I fly out of Mali on the 14th, arriving in Nairobi the night of the 15th. I have my first Discovery Tour of six visitors arriving about three weeks later. There is much to do between now and then to say the least, but I hope to keep in touch and send another update before it gets to be five pages long! I promise that there will be wildlife photos in the next update as well.

Thank you, brothers and sisters! I praise God for each of you and long to hear how you are doing.

July 2007 report

I thought I'd give you a little light reading. This, and what follows, are the enews pieces that I send out to people every month or so. So if you haven't seen them or really want to read them again - have at it! ARGH! None of the photos copied so it's just the text. Sigh.

Hello friends and neighbors,

Praise the Lord, I have made it to Dakar, Senegal! My luggage arrived the next night, not having made the plane in Houston. I’m getting used to the time and the weather. I am 5 hours ahead of Central Standard Time. The weather is hot and humid, at 10pm last night we had almost 80% humidity.

Let’s catch up . . .

Thus far, all of my training has been beneficial (you never know). I had a great time in Canada. Mission Prep in Toronto was amazing. I built some strong relationships, as you can see.
Figure 1 - CRWRC interns: Melissa Dilworth, RN - Sierra Leone; Chinyere Nwachukwu - Nigeria & Mali; Amy Thompson - Kenya; Alida Fernhout, RN (good Dutch CRC gal) - Eldoret, Kenya
Figure 2 - The Nigerian and one of the Americans celebrating Canada Day on July 2
Figure 3- The Mission Prep team in Toronto at Tyndale University
Figure 4 - Niagra Falls (US side viewed from the Canadian side)
Figure 5 - Joe(5), Amy and Chinyere on the Maid of the Mist

It was wonderful learning from people who had spent large portions of their lives overseas in ministry as well as being surrounded by such a great diversity as is offered by Toronto. We went to a mosque and spoke with the Imam. We learned about Hinduism and visited Little India. We ate in Chinatown and shopped in the Kinsington neighborhood. Not to mention our twice daily walks to the local neighborhood Second Cup. They knew us well and I am sure are sad that we are gone. We watched a movie from Bollywood and one of my favorite movies and a true classic (given to me by some good friends before I left) Cinema Paradiso.

When our two weeks of training was finished we had some free time and took in the sights of downtown Toronto including the harbor and the CN Tower as well as heading to Niagra Falls. It was great, really.

Finishing training I headed back home for 6 days where I enjoyed time with the family. It was awesome. We all cried as we parted ways but I have been in touch with everyone since my arrival. The folks were the first ones I called with Skype and we’re all very proud that mom figured it all out.

The journey to Senegal took about 34 hours, a car ride, four planes, several tasty airplane meals, a few in-flight movies and little sleep (none of it comfortable). My blog talks about what we’ve done thus far and I hope to be adding more pictures shortly. Here are a few to whet your appetite though.

Figure 6 - This type of tile flooring is in a lot of homes and businesses as well as on sidewalks. It's cheap and prettier than concert and enough so that you don't need to carpet.
Figure 7 - Mangos growing in a yard just outside of my balcony.
Figure 8 - Mosque on the Atlantic Ocean

I hope to send an email once every month or two but encourage you to check out my blog at for more details and photos on a more regular basis. Feel free to email me with any questions you may have and I will work on getting back to you. I hope to be posting some solid information on HIV/AIDS soon. I am leaving for a work trip to a small town to visit a partner, so I will be offline until sometime next week and will typically only have internet while I’m at the office and not involved in other meetings and assigments. I have started my work now and have much to do! It’s fun, scarey and exciting! I’m enjoying all that I’m learning but looking forward to being finally settled in Kenya. I’m so encouraged by all of your emails and blog comments, please keep them coming!

Monday, October 01, 2007

The good Dr.

Alida is my roomie here this week. We’ve been through various stages of training for our time in Africa. We’re with the same org. but she’ll be working on community health in a town 6-9 hours away (depending on the roads).

Anyway, she just told me that I have a special gift. I am finishing off my first Dr. Pepper since I left Kansas on July 17. Today is Sept. 29. That’s a long time to go without the good Dr. I’m a bit excited and drinking it perhaps too quickly and it’s making me burp, ok, so I’m belching. It’s not attractive. I know it. But it’s just the two of us in our room.

It’s not pretty but it’s a part of me. Love me or leave me.

BTW: My most beautiful Dr. cost me 120 shillings (which is about $2 USD). I had a glass of wine for supper and it cost the same amount as my Dr. Pepper. WHAT?! That’s the cheapest wine I’ve ever purchased and it wasn’t bad. It’s about the most expensive Dr. Pepper I’ve ever purchased, but dang! It was worth it! They’re hard to find and worth every penny I tell you! Every penny!

Alright, I’m OK now. At least I’ll be OK until I’m finished and then I might mourn. Just a bit.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

finally here

That's right.

I am finally in Nairobi. I'm pooped. But it is soooo good.

I'm living with a family right now which is wonderful and yet I do not want to live there. I am anxious to be on my own and have my own space and quit living out of a suitcase. It's something that I need to let go of and get over, but I'm struggling right now. I move into a guest house for two weeks to take Swahili lessons but then back to the family. It's good. I know it's best and I will learn so much culture etc. But still. I want to be on my own.

It comes down to control. I don't have a lot in my life right now and I WANT IT!

I'll survive.

Just a quick note. I'm needing some information but it's in someone's office where there is a closed-door meeting. I supposed to have a meeting with all of those people today, in fact, 16 minutes ago was the sceduled start time. I wonder if they'll break for lunch or anything. Then I'd have someone to go ot lunch with anyway.

I ate the best darned pineapple ever yesterday. We bought it from the DelMonte fields. YUMMY! supper was soooo good with that as the dessert.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

8 oddities about me

Rubes tagged me from her myspace, so here are 8 oddities about Amy.

1. I won a cowchip throwing contest when I was in grade school.
2. I hate to sweat.
3. When there is no music playing for too long, I almost always start singing "God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman" and have no idea why.
4. Ruby's germ fear, I am concerned have rubbed off on me a bit.
5. I had 8 fillings redone over the past 6 months.
6. I know most of the lines to one of the best movies ever, When Harry Met Sally and I don't care that SOME people think it's a chick flick.
7. I'm hair challenged and had my best friend do my hair before school until I was like a junior in high school.
8. I hate going jean shopping. I would rather shop for a swimming suit.

If you feel so inclined as to make your own list, let me know.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Farewell Senegal!

That's right, I fly out of Dakar this afternoon to land in Bamako, Mali. I'm looking forward to this because it means I'm one step closer to Kenya - yea! I know that I will learn a ton with the people that I will be working with as well. I'm trying to enjoy these moments where my brain isn't stuffed while I can.

I have added another B&B on the sidebar and want to mention it here, too. Some friends of mine (actually, it's Carrie the Adventurer's parents) live up in Alaska and have a beautiful B&B that I highly recommend. It's just beautiful, the food is fabulous and the hosts are a delight! Not to mention that the address is on EASY STREET! How great is that!

My time in Senegal has been mostly good. I'm not very happy with the fact that there are lizards IN MY SUITCASE and in my home, but God and I are working on that one right now. We're starting with tiny lizards. I get the creeps just talking about them though.

Here's a picture of the one I shooed out of my suitcase last week. I thought I was going to die.

Anyway, many blessings to each of you. I've got just enough time to add the picture and shut the computer down before we head to the apt to get our stuff and drive the airport. yippee!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Africa pictures!

Hello my friends! If you are interested I have posted two albums of Africa pictures. They are the same ones if you have been on my other blog. If not, enjoy!

I've limited webtime and hope to post a thing or two latter but there's some good stuff on the other 'business' blog if you get a chance.

the farm

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

hey there

What's going on folks? It's been awhile. I'm up in Canada, eh, for some training before I head out to Africa. Yup, two weeks from today I move to Africa for at least a year. Craziness!

I'm currently on the phone with my sister, so I can't focus. Gotta myspace her now because she's disappointed no one has 'myspaced' her yet.

Be sure to check me out at my other blog at

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Africa blog

I've written several posts for the Amy in Africa blog but they have yet to be posted. Sorry about that, I know that you are all dying to read it all.

It is a moderated blog. They apparently had someone that wrote something that almost got him kicked out of the country, so they now edit blogs. I hope that the speed picks up, though. This is just another step in my continuing patience education.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

My favorite!

While Stuey's favorite is me, his Aunt Amy, his Aunt Sarah-Ruby loves him, too. My mission from her was to take a picture of the new teeth he was cutting when she visited 2-3 weeks before I went down south.

Mission accomplished.

More Stuey

Stuey and his folks


I went to Dallas to see my baby last weekend. My nephew, Adam Stuart, loving referred to as THE baby or Stuey is 6 months and has two teeth. He's so darned cute I can hardly stand it. I am a maniac with the camera so here ya go. Enjoy the show!

The movers

I just had to show off some of the big move from a few weeks ago.
(Can you tell that I finally got around to taking care of my photos?)

I wanted to show off my fabo chairs! My friend, Jeff, refinished them for me in only 13 months! Pretty amazing, huh. OK, so I'm being a bit silly, but they really are amazing. He literally brough them over just in time to pack them into the trailor. Now he has my table since I won't be needing it for awhile.

This is Aunt Sue, who came up with Dad to make the journey. The pimp hat looks good on her doesn't it? I have no idea where it ended up. As you can see, she loved it a lot so she may have swiped it. hmmmm.

Most fabulous!

This is a picture of us ready to dig into the best dessert EVER. Seriously, I cried the first time I ate it and it's amazing. It's from an Italian resturant at the Mall of America and rocks the planet! It is chocolate with chocolate ganache, hazelnut and a hot fudge sauce, all served warm. Unbelievable! We bought the whole things for P Morty's going away. Rumor has it that there will be one at my going away this Saturday. I can hardly wait!

Festival of Nations

St Paul has this great tradition of the Festival of Nations. We went. We ate. We shopped. We watched awesome traditional dancing and costumes. We had a blast!

Friday, May 04, 2007

weekend update

I'm going to the Festival of Nations tonight and I can hardly wait! Lots of treasures from all over the world to buy and foods to eat and music and dancing and wines from around the world!


I know that you are jealous. Admit it. You wish you were me.

I'm also flying out to Dallas tomorrow to see Ang and TX Laura. yippee! Coming back Sunday night so it's a quick trip.

have I mentioned "Yippee!" yet. Yah, I'm excited.

Talk to you next week and don't worry. There will be PICTURES galore of the baby and his favorite aunt - ME!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Give your best

This is a great outlook, I hope that I live more like this each day.

Africa blog

Yup, I have a new blog about my journey to Africa.

There's not much on it yet . . .

Open to suggestions. What do you wanna see?

Friday, April 13, 2007


That's right. I'm heading to IOWA this weekend. I know you're all jealous. I'm going to NW IA for a friend's nephew's baptism. We're going to visit Karissa and see her new place and office and we get to head to Sioux Falls, SD to go to the new (and now closest to the Twin Cities) SONIC! I can hardly wait! I love that place! Route 44 here I come!

Lynnae's brother, Brian, is getting married this fall and I'm going to miss it, being in Africa and all. So I'm taking down the gifts this weekend. I'm just going to give them to Shannon, even though Brian will appreciate them, I am sure. However, today is his birthday and I don't want him to die of embarassment on his birthday, ya know. But it's so much fun to give lingerie!

Have a great weekend, my friends!

Thursday, April 12, 2007


Have any of you ever taken this stuff? It's a liquid vitamin/mineral supplement. It tastes like vitamins, but seems to be good. I guess I can't really talk much yet. I tried out two different flavors last week and then opted to go with one and started it yesterday so I need more time.

I'll keep you posted.

(I do have a friend who sells it though if you're interested.)

reading and theft

I'm trying to read a book suggested by a dear friend. It's about an outpost/mission built in Kenya way back in the day. I want to read it, I really do. I'm just having a hard time getting into it. I'm not thirty pages in and it seems to take a long time to get anywhere. I guess I'll take it to Iowa with me this weekend, maybe that will help, some solid time reading uninterrupted.

I work with volunteers one a large scale now and we have one in particular that is a dear old lady, she steals. She takes books and such by the bag. Now, we got them donated to us, but still, they are for the patients. I put a big sign on the door, we'll see if that helps. I think she might be taking an extra meal voucher each day, too. Not certain on that one. My understanding is that she has money, this must be why. She keeps taking things from us so that she doesn't have to buy them.

Does that make me mean? Does it mean that I have an oversensitive sense of justice? hmmm, need to work on those things. I am judgemental and am becoming more aware of it when I'm doing it or after I've done it and try to correct it. I'm not everyone's mother. I'd like to rule the world - my ideas truly are brilliant and my ways are sure. Maybe I can work out something with San Nakji and we can rule together? He and his wife can be Mr. & Mrs. President and I'll be the Queen.

Maybe that idea needs some work.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Open House

I'm having an open house tonight to hopefully sell a bunch of my stuff. I have a lot of Creative Memories stock as well as furniture etc, that I really do not want to have to pack.

packing is icky

Should be fun, but as usual, I'm not totally prepared and need to get my butt outta work early so that I can finish it all up. Not to mention that I was up late last night preparing for a couple of presentations EARLY (for me) this morning. They went really well though, so that's alrighty, I guess.

I can tell that my morning is going to be the far more productive part of the day for my brain.

I miss you all! 2-3 days a week I have access to a computer at lunch. I need to get back into this!

Have a great day to you all!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

AFrica update

I have an appt. at the International clinic in a few weeks.

Should have the finalized orientation schedule by 4-10 (I hope) and will know much more then.


Working on getting everything together for my work permit to go through.

That's what I know for now.

Happy Easter

It's been awhile and I'm still at work today, but here's wishing you all a wonderful Easter. For a great read, jump on over and visit the Friar.

I've struggled lately with what to say. What to say here, to people in live-time and on other blogs. I'm enjoying listening and reading, but am having a hard time focusing enough to comment. Hard to develop rational, thoughtful words that seem to matter, or sometimes words that make sense.

Occassionally I feel like I'm floating through some cloud-like haze. hmmm, maybe I need a nap?

I'm decorating eggs with some firends tonight who have never done that before (where have they been?!) and tomorrow brings tea with a bunch of friends at two different times throughout the day. There's little better than a good cuppa with friends and sharing new things and old things and thoughts of all inbetween. (the first tea is a friend's new place and the second is at a great tea shop that my friends have yet to visit)

Sunday brings Easter. What a glorious day! To remember so vividly the joy of my life. THat my Jesus loves me so much that not only did he take all of my sins upon him and die a horribly humiliating and painful death that I cannot imagine, but he has the power to RISE AGAIN!

Praise the Lord, He is Risen, He is Risen INDEED!

Really, what can I say after that. Love and joy to each of you.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The move

Well, the move is bigger than anticipated. I will not be moving into this great apt closer to all of my life. Instead, I, ummm, well, I uh, I am moving to . . .


Yup, found out yesterday. I don't have all the answers by any stretch and will fill you in as I get more info but this is what I know, my FAQ if you will (thanks for that idea, Carrie!).

Amy's Africa FAQ

1. WHAT?!!?
I know, I've said this numerous times myself. I've always had a part of my heart desiring to serve God in ministry overseas, I just never expected that it would be in Africa. I don't know anything about Africa really. Serious. Nothing.

2. Um, then why are you going?
Valid question that I have asked myself more than once. Two main reasons. Amazing position and more importantly, God said to Go.

3. So what's this 'amazing position' of which you speak?
Thanks for asking, friends and neighbors. I will be working with Christian Reformed World Relief Committee - CRWRC - (from my church denomination). I'm going to be what they call a bridger and it couldn't be a more perfect job for me. I will be working with the home office here in the States to help them better prepare the volunteers that will be coming to Kenya. I will work with the partner organizations where the volunteers will be places upon their arrival. I will also work with the volunteers upon their arrival for some final orientation and then follow-up with the partner organizations once the volunteers leave. It's a hope that this hwill help eliminate some cultural problems that have been happening over the last couple of years.

4. You say you're going with your church denomination, does this gig pay or do you have to raise your own financial support?
Funny you should ask. CRWRC is providing a match for what I raise. I will need to raise 10-15k. They are providing fabo training (3 months prior to arrival at my destination along with housing me with a local family until I figure things out there) and other things. If you would like to be a part of my support team, just let me know and I'll get you the details.

5. You keep saying Africa but you can't honestly be going to live everywhere, it's a big continent, not like, oh, say Austrailia.
You are right. I will be based out of Nairobi, Kenya and should arrive there around September.

6. When do you leave then?
I will leave in late June or early July to start three weeks of training at Echo ( I think this is the correct site) in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. I then head to Senegal and Mali before heading over to Kenya. It is a 12-month assignment from the time I leave for training.

5. Are you excited or scared?
I want to jump for joy and throw up all at the same time. It's awesome in so many different ways but terrifying, too. It's a long way from everything and everyone that I know and love and yet, what I believe I'm supposed to do now.

6. Where will you lay your pretty little head to sleep until you desert us all?
I have confirmed that I can stay in my current apt. until the end of April when my lease ends. After that I have at least one friend who will let me dwell in her basement for a wee bit. The place I was going to move into will refund most of my deposit if they can rent the place out by the end of the month. Yea! (They are showing it tonight!)

7. Didn't you just start a new job? What about that?
I have been in my current position almost three weeks as of today. I took this job for a few reasons: like the people, the job and there's the large factor that no other job had been offered to me in my year-and-a-half of searching. The Africa conversation began in Nov. and just didn't seem to me to be solidifying at all. When I accepted this position I made no commitment, verbal or written, as to how long I would stay.

8. Wait a minute. Are you an addict? What are you going to do about all that fabo scrapbooking stuff that you sell?
You are right. I love to scrapbook and I hope to get a whole lot done prior to my departure. I will also be trying to sell my stock and will make one final huge order. I will be ordering several digital packages for the Storybook for myself to do while I'm in Africa. That will be the easiest way to make those albums. I may need to make one upon my return for the memorabilia, we'll see.

9. What will we do without your amazing, although lately quite spotty, blog entries?
Never fear, I will have regular acess and a digital camera.

I know that there are more questions and more things to tell, but I'm at work and really must do some work now.

Sometimes I just have to say to myself, "Africa? Really, God? Wow. OK."

Thursday, March 08, 2007


I am still alive.

New job going well.

Moving in 2.5 weeks to better, bigger apt.

Have to leave now to pick up dry cleaning and hit bank before they close and I run into Bible study late.

Hugs to all (well, at least to some of you that is)

Saturday, March 03, 2007

seriously You have got to go here for the best darned poetry around.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


That's right, ladies and gents. Liberal won in the race against Olney.

The winner was Jessica Lash (whose mother works with mine) with a time of 63.16 against Olney's 73.5.

We won! We won! I ate so many pacakes I might explode!

Ahh, but I'll be hungry again by supper! IHOP here I come!


This is my mom in getting ready for Pancake Day parade. That's my Dad's retirement present to himself there that electric street-legal golf cart. I was bummed it was in the shop while I was there for Christmas.

I've already made pancakes for the staff this morning, will finish off the batter at lunch and then head to IHOP for supper. Remember, the race starts at 11:55 this morning (CST).

You get all the scoop (doesn't seem to be updated yet) right here.

I'll keep you posted on the winner!

Pass the syrup!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

It's Pancake Time again!

You are all waiting, I know, so here's the first installment of the Pancake Day celebration.

Some of you know that my dad retired last summer. He now spends his time serving on the Pancake Day Board and as the official tour guide of the Pancake Day Hall of Fame Museum. (I am SO jealous! Almost makes me wanna move back to Liberal - not really.)

This is the new Pancake Day website, so be sure you check it out. There are no family members running this year, but we decided collectively to give others a chance this year.

Prepare yourselves. Pancake Day aka Fat Tuesday aka Shrove Tuesday is fast approaching - NEXT WEEK FEB. 20.

You can even get a free short stack at all IHOPs.

That's the quick of it for now. Enjoy the excitement of the anticipation of it all!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Job update

OK, well, here it is.

The news you have all been eagerly anticipating.

I have a new job. I start Feb. 26 in the Volunteer (I'm not one, I get paid more than I do now!) Dept. here at the same hospital on the 2nd floor instead of where I am on the 6th floor.

It's not my dream job, but it will be a great job and it won't be the one I have now. There are parts that are great, I'll be interviewing, training and placing new volunteers and planning their parties (love that) and fun stuff.

I'm looking at new places to live right now in a different area of town so that I'll be closer to my church and most of my friends since I spend so much time on that side of town anyway.

Not giving up on Africa, though. Who knows where I'll be next year?

Get married anywhere!

THIS is crazy and I kinda like it. Who knew? Not that I'd really go this way, but who knows? When I actually get to this point, I may not care where, because really, isn't the who much more important.

It's fun though, huh.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


We all have gifts that can, and in my opinion should, be shared. Here's one way to make that happen.

I love thinking outside the box and how can I help others with what I've got? Lately, I've had several new friends over to make cards. I had a ton of paper that I wanted to use up so we've had a ball making cards like maniacs. OK, so really, I'm the only maniac, but we're having such a great time! It's a way that I can give to my friends. I'm also going to a women's transitional housing residence in March and May to share a craft with them to teach them fun things and provide them with something small that they created.

When you create something yourself, it's an awesome thing. You hold something in your hands that you made. That you created. That's a part of you and says something about you and what you care about. Not everyone is good at everything and that's not the point, thank goodness. The point is to learn to think creatively and stretch ourselves. To enjoy what surrounds us and what is simple.

Joy. Giving.

joy in giving.

Thursday, February 01, 2007


This is about as football as I get, so here ya go.

In a never-ending effort to attract the unchurched, some churches have considered translating their unfamiliar terminology into familiar football phrases. Although these definitions are not the best football and certainly not the best theology, they would help initiate football fans into the complexities of church life.

EXTRA POINT: What you receive when you tell the preacher his sermon was too short.
FACE MASK: Smiling and saying everything is fine when it isn't.
BLOCKING: Talking endlessly to the pastor at the church door and keeping everyone else from exiting.
DRAFT CHOICE: The decision to sit close to an air-conditioning vent.
DRAW PLAY: What restless children do during a long sermon.
END AROUND: Diaper-changing time in the nursery.
END ZONE: The pews.
FORWARD MOTION: The invitation at an evangelistic service.
FULLBACK: What the choir sees while the sermon is delivered.
HALFBACK: What the organist sees.
HASH MARKS: Stains left on the tablecloth after a potluck.
HEAD LINESMAN: The one who changes the overhead projector transparencies.
ILLEGAL USE OF HANDS: Clapping at an inappropriate point in the service.
ILLEGAL MOTION: Leaving before the benediction.
IN THE POCKET: Where some church members keep God's tithe.
INCOMPLETE PASS: A dropped offering plate.
INTERFERENCE: Talking during the prelude.
LINEBACKER: A statistic used by a preacher to support a point just made.
PASSING GAME: The maneuver required of latecomers when the person sitting at the end of the pew won't slide to the middle.
QUARTERBACK: What tightwads want after putting 50 cents in the offering.
RUNNING BACKS: Those who make repeated trips to the rest room.
THROUGH THE UPRIGHTS: Getting things done via the elders or church board.
TOUCHBACK: The laying on of hands.
TWO-MINUTE WARNING: The chairman of the board looking at his watch in full view of the preacher.
—William Ellis, Leadership, Vol. 15, no. 3.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

From up North

Ten Commandments, Minnesota Stlye:

1. Der's only one God, ya' know
2. Don't make that fish on yer mantle an idol.
3. Cussin' ain't Minnesota Nice!
4. Go to church even when yer up nort.
5. Honor yer folks
6. Don't kill. Catch and release
7. There is only one Lena for every Ole. No cheatin'
8. If it ain't yer lutefisk, don't take it!
9. Don't be braggin' about how much snow ya' shoveled.
10. Keep yer mind off yer neighbor's hotdish!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Tag from SN - part dos

1. Name a movie that you have seen more than 10 times. When Harry Met Sally or Princess Bride or Moulin Rouge or . . .
2. Name a movie that you’ve seen multiple times in the theater. Another one that's a bit embarassing to admit to but Titanic.
3. Name an actor that would make you more inclined to see a movie. hmmm?
4. Name an actor that would make you less likely to see a movie. Ben Stiller
5. Name a movie that you can and do quote from. When Harry Met Sally or Princess Bride
6. Name a movie musical that you know all of the lyrics to all of the songs. too many from which to choose
7. Name a movie that have been known to sing along with. You mean you aren't supposed to sing a long with all of them?
8. Name a movie that you would recommend everyone see. have to think on this one
9. Name a movie that you own. A Christmas Story - "you'll shoot your eye out, kid"
10. Name an actor that launched his/her entertainment career in another medium but who has surprised you with his/her acting chops. Marky Mark
11. Have you ever seen a movie in a drive-in? yes.
12. Ever made out in a movie? during at home yes, in the theatre, doubtful.
13. Name a movie that you keep meaning to see but just haven’t yet gotten around to it. Babel
14. Ever walked out of a movie? yes, just walked into a different one
15. Name a movie that made you cry in the theater. all the sad ones
16. Popcorn? for the movies, if someone else buys, but I prefer milk duds - the perfect movie food
17. How often do go to the movies (as opposed to renting them or watching them at home)? Not often now. 2-5 times a year, not enough
18. What’s the last movie you saw in the theater? I think it was the Devil Wears Prada?
19. What’s your favorite/preferred genre of movie? comedy or drama
20. What’s the first movie you remember seeing in the theater? Annie or Savannah Smiles

Tag from SN - part one

I, too, will divy up the fun into two posts.

1. What ended your last relationship? friend - ugliness; dating - demands
2. When was the last time you shaved your legs? Christmas? It's winter, good grief, I need all the warmth that I can get
3. What were you doing this morning at 8am? getting ready for work
4. First thought after waking up this morning?My back still doesn't hurt much!
5. Are you any good at math? eh, survivable
6. Your prom night? good times, ending at Denny's
7. Do you have any famous ancestors? more likely infamous
8. Have you ever taken out a loan to pay for school? for both degrees and not at all disappointed that I did
9. Do you know the words to the song on your myspace profile? I would hope, but Rubes usually changes everything. I think it's the Love Medley right now, but not certain
10. Last thing received in the mail? Sterling Bulletin, the weekley paper from the last place I lived.
11. How many different beverages have you drank today? 3 chocolate almond cookie hot tea, water, chai
12. Do you ever leave messages on people's answering machines? why wouldn't you?
13.Who did you lose your CONCERT virginity to? umm, bit embarassed - Billy Ray Cyrus, I think
14. Do you draw your name in the sand when you go to the beach? beach? I grew up in Kansas - no water, no beach
15. What's the most painful dental procedure you've had?All my wisdom teeth removed at the same time. The last tooth I could feel before he added more pain killer
16. What is out your back door? I live in an apartment - no back door.
17. Do you have any plans for tonight? yup, make up and my photo for the church directory
18. Do you like the ocean? eh.
19. Have you ever received one of those big tins of 3 different popcorn? yup, don't like them though, if I'm going to recieve popcorn, I prefer it to be kettle or cinnamon - yummy!
20. Have you ever been to a planetarium? If so, it didn't make an impression where I remember it.

21. Let's take a deep breath before we continue.

22. Something you are excited about? SCRAPBOOKING!
23. What is your favorite flavor of JELLO? strawberry.
24. Are any of your great-grandparents still alive? Sadly, no, I only remember one.
25. Describe your keys:I have 5 keys - key chains include a pickle from Sechler's Pickles, an orage one from Fleet Farm, an I "heart" NY that Chris gave me upon her return from vaca and I really have no idea what else is on there. That's only the main chain, I have several others.
26. Where do you keep your change? tossed into my purse, maybe my coin purse or the change spot on top of the book shelf in my bedroom for Stuey or the quarter dish in the living room for laundry.
27. When was the last time you spoke in front of a large group of people?Sunday at church
28. What kind of winter coat do you have? a tan peacoat sorta thing and a giant black down monster of a thing.
29. What was the weather like on your graduation? nice, well, it rained the morning of grad school grad, but was nice that evening when I graduate, which really doesn't matter since it was all inside.
30. Do you sleep with the door to your room open or closed? open or it gets cold, that and my apt. is ghost-free.


I've thought about posting a couple of times recently but just haven't made it here.

So applied for a job yesterday (and several last week) and interviewed today on the phone. Not close to enough money, less than I make now but still in the Cities. Not going to work.

I'm not super excited about any of these positions but keep applying hoping they will lead to something.

Africa has me frustrated. The orientation I wanted to attend starts tomorrow and my boss wouldn't give me the time off at all. Then, the gal I've been working with in MI didn't get any of my 3 messages saying that I wasn't coming and left me a message today to see when I was coming home and telling me what hotel I was staying at for the weekend. ARGH! Communication with her is a trial to say the least. I'm very frustrated on that front.

I have to get my photo taken for the church directory tongiht. Another frustration. I don't want my photo taken. OK, I don't want my photo taken by myself. There has got to be a better way to do singles in a directory. Besides. I don't need a free 8x10 of me. I guess I'll send mine down to my folks. The directions tell us to dress according to who we are you know casual or formal and that we can bring props. I wanted to wear a feather boa but was told that was inappropriate by Rubes and Lynnae (who is getting her photo tomorrow and doesn't appear bothered by the whole ordeal). So what if I look a bit hookerish (I wouldn't, I would look fun and festive). Jesus loved and hung out with hookers.

Plus, got my hairs cut last night and think I have to get someone new. Really. There's just such a difference after having it done at home at Christmas and then with the new gal. Bit of a bummer, I'd say. Argh.

We have a 5 year old girl for a patient right now and she loves her call light. I've been watching a movie with her (Mary Poppins). She's calling again, I'm off!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

My famous dad

This past summer there was apparently a steam engine traveling the country and it stopped in my hometown for about 30 minutes. My dad happened to be driving by and pulled over to take this photo, making sure to get the town name on the building just above the engine.

He then entered it into a contest and won! This photo will be the photo given to each Chamber of Commerce member for the new year. He's autographed it and it will be haning in businesses all over town. How fun is that! He also got $100.

My dad retired last summer and is finding many ways to fill his time. Today he's driving to Amarillo TX to have an engine fixed and pick up a door and a shower for my cousin. Wish I could just do that sort of thing. Oh, yea, we're in very different seasons of life.

Pretty cool though, huh.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Are you there, Steve?

God's Many NamesOne day my four-year-old son asked me about God's name. I explained God had many names including Father, Lord, and Jehovah. After listening to my long explanation, my son asked, "Can I just call him Steve?"—Vicki Crooks, Klamath Falls, Oregon. Christian Reader, "Kids of the Kingdom."

this was too cute not to share

Thursday, January 11, 2007

little crazy

OK, so that's a lot of photos. I have a few more ready to go but thought I would give you a break and post them tomorrow. Enjoy!

NW Kansas

Mom and I thought this was hilarious, Rubes wasn't quite as amused but thought it pretty funny, too. This is on the hearth at my folks house.

Goodland is where Rubes lives and a giant painting is their claim to fame.

Gma & Gmpa

We all got to feed little Stuey and then hope he didn't spit it all back up on us. Dad's belly was a great place for a nap, Stuey loves his Grampa!
The dogs weren't really sure what to do with this little creature. They were afraid and yet wanted to be a part of things. They behaved though and didn't jump or lick.

Mom has been waiting for this moment for a long time and is ready to spoil at every turn. Stuey loves his Gramma Butzie!


Kara and Steve are the youngest on this side of the fam, from my mom's younger brother. Kara's 16 and Stevie is at KU getting a double major in journalism and something maybe? I'm sure that Rubes will correct me. They're good buds and typically siblings, as you can see.


Aunt Janet owns a quilt shop and this is her holding the baby on Christmas.

Gran only wants gifts that she can eat or wear so I took her out to eat a little burger joint the 26th. That is she and I there after we ate and before I got sick with the flu. fun.

Since Angie is a daddy's girl, Stuey will be a gpma's boy, I'm sure. But how freakin' CUTE is this picture!

Nothing like fam at the holidays

Steve is a sushi lover so we gave him a sushi making kit that included this swell headband. Too bad I can't remember/read what it says. I think it's "bonsai" or "komikazi?"
Kara was our little on until Adam came along, now at 16 she's not a little girl anymore!
Gran and her fabo furry scarf thingy.

The BEST Christmas present

We all agree, Stuey is the best present this year hands down (although I really do like my luggage with wheels).

Merry Christmas from L-town

UB and Rubes after church Christmas eve.
Kara and Steve with Stuey.
I just ordered a pillowcase from with this picture on it. How fun is that! I had a gift certificate and had to see how it would turn out. I'm so excited!
Robby-Rob came over to see Stuey. We know that everyone only came over to see the baby, not us. We're OK with that, that's why we all went home, too.

Christmas is tiring!

Steve and Gran took a nap amidst the Christmas mess. Later, Ang, Stuey, Kara and I all fell asleep on the folks bed. How can you not enjoy a good nap with the fam?

More fam.

This is UWub and the first great grand (his grandkid). What about that stach!?
Mom and Rubes
UWub and the Pimp Queen

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Dad's side of the fam

Three generations, dang it,wish Dad had been in this one! Ahhh, nothing says Christmas like the traditional Christmas pimp hat!

My Dad grew up in small town America and we always go over there for one day over the Christmas holiday. This year, we celebrated at my Uncle's new bar the Lazy T. We had a good time. My dad is the oldest of 3 and they were all there with 4 of 6 kids. Of those kids all of their kids (2) were there minus one husband. Not huge, but good size. This was the first time anyone there had seen Adam, we had a grand time.

We stopped by Aunt Freda's (like Freida, not Fred - ah) to show off.

My dad's side has celebrated Christmas with pizza for years, at least since I was in jr. high or high school. It started with Grandmother's brother and sister-in-law gave our family gift certificates to the pizza place in town for Christmas each year. yea for pizza! We used to also always have an angel food cake with a candle and sing "happy birthday" to Jesus. This is the first year that we didn't read the Christmas Story from the Bible before we opened presents. We were out of our element and it threw us off, I think.


Now that I've got the photo thing working, I'm getting busy here.

I haven't even started with any of the good family (aka BABY) pictures, but I'll leave those for tomorrow. I know, you're all waiting with baited breath.

Have a glorious evening, dear friends! I'm off to celebrate a birthday with a classmate!


This was just a super fun photo from a farewell last year.

This was just after Thanksgiving. Ang, Chris and I went to the Ordway to see White Christmas, which was, of course wonderful. It was actually on Angie's birthday (this is not my sister, incase you are confused) we decided to dress up. What says Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday like feathers, glitter and plunging bright red dresses? Too bad you can't see the fabulous shoes I was wearing!