Becoming

Every time I jump on here to write something, it has in the text box “share your story here”.  I’ve been struggling the last week in being able to put my story into words. Not my life story, not some grand artistic gesture of authorship, because I promise you, you will never receive such a thing from me. But I truly believe that week after week, we all have a story bubbling up inside of us to be shared. And sometimes words on a page (or phone in my case) is the only way to share the story.

So, here we go..

I will not hide my faith from anyone; at least I hope to never hide it. I also will never push or force it on anyone, the same way I hope people wouldn’t push their beliefs on me. And so to live in the middle ground of not hiding, nor pushing, I will confidently and comfortably share about my faith (hopefully) in every post I write.                                        This one is no exception.

I feel like God has me in a very unique place in my life. While some people feel that the universe, or karma, or whatever else decides and dictates where our lives lead, I choose to believe that God directs my life. But what I don’t believe is that God is some puppet master just making decisions and bossing me around! So, if you can track on this middle ground that I’m walking upon, I’ll jump back to this “unique place” I’m at in life.

At the beginning of February, I decided it was time to tackle a new area of my life, and that was my personal health. I decided that I needed to be building a healthy life for myself in eating properly and living an active lifestyle. This was a difficult change for me as I have always been so self conscious of weight, and for once in my life, rather than worrying about “getting fat” if I ate too much, I set a goal for myself to gain weight while keeping active, to finally get to a healthy place in my life. Around the same time I started this change (with the help of someone trained in health and nutrition) it was decided that my current position at work was demanding lots from me, in the form of time and emotional investment, which had me finding myself emotionally and physically worn out. As you can probably guess, this also had my mentally drained and therefor not being able to give as much of myself as I would have liked, in areas I really wanted to participate in. So, on February 1st, I gave up that position and went down to relief, which meant I would only be called to work when someone couldn’t work their shift. I worked all of 2 days in the whole month of February.

In my last post, I talked about wanting to control my emotions.  Well, let me tell you the first 2 weeks of February were tough, having a visa to pay, bills, groceries to buy, and a husband that went to work day-after-day to provide, with me not contributing at all, my emotions were everywhere but under control.  I started to want nothing more than to sit on the couch, sleep, and comfort eat, which went against everything I had decided to do 2 weeks earlier with my desire to build a healthy lifestyle.  It was a tough slugging 2 weeks.

Now this is not to say that my whole 2 weeks were self loathing sadness. My anxiety would eventually get the better of me and cause me to get up, get some things accomplished and my days would have their ups and downs.  In the midst of these up and down moments, I had a choice to make, to spend time in my downs, or to spend time reading, praying, reading my bible and ultimately growing my relationship with God. In the midst of these moments, I was reminded of dreams and passions I had years ago. Dreams of working with young people and being able to take them around the world to do missions work and help people.  Albeit a small start, I started making plans to take a group of youth to Regina to work in the soup kitchen and help some people a little closer to home.  In reflection of where I was at personally, I also grew interested in pursuing my certification in health and nutrition to be able to “coach” and help those around me who might have also been struggling in an area similar to my own.

As these dreams and passions bubbled to the surface and I felt my momentum increasing, it only took a single thought to stop all of those dreams and passions dead in their tracks.

Why?

Why was I spending all of this time and effort to take these kids to Regina? When in all honesty, it takes so much planning, and I could quite easily just volunteer my own time and avoid some of the hassle, and be just as effective!

Why was I wanting to go through all the time and energy to study health and nutrition, when it’s crazy confusing, not my strong suit, and I’m already working with someone who knows all this stuff and can help me!

Why. One small question that so drastically affected what I was doing in my life. I spent more time dreaming and praying, questioning why things were going the way they were going.  Amidst all of this time, I came to one realization that re-focused everything for me.

I would rather leave my life in God’s control and take leaps of faith knowing He holds my life, than for me to take blind corners, with my hands on the wheel having God in the passenger seat.

This became the answer to my why. Ultimately, my life is about so much more than just me, and what I want. God know’s me, He knows the dreams and plans and hopes He has for my life. And if I have real faith, I will allow God to continue to direct and lead my life knowing that He’s making me into the woman He wants me to be.  I confidently believe that God has walked through all of the dark, sad, defeating, unhealthy, troubled times in my life with me (not that he made them happen to me, that was 100% my own selfish doing, He just picked up all the pieces) and has brought me to this moment, right here, right now, with these dreams and passions, because I’m going to become who I needed when I was young for the people around me.

I’m becoming a woman that decides to go for it and take advantage of each new beginning, no matter how it looks! And regardless of what makes sense in my mind, I’m here for a reason and God will handle the rest, because my whole life will be a journey of becoming who God wants me to be, to love the ones around me.

In this journey, I have to start small.  God started this dream with me, a small, young, insecure, basic, simple, small town Saskatchewan girl who was willing to dream big.        And maybe thats why I’m in Manor SK, population 312.

To start small, stay humble, and dream big.

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Emotions

Emotion is defined as: a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others. 

This week, I’ve learned to not always trust and act on my emotions. However, I have also learned that emotions are powerful and influential in ones daily lives. And I’ve learned that sometimes, if it weren’t for my emotions, I would make significantly more stupid and ridiculous life choices, and I can now see how 99% of my previous ridiculous choices have been made out of pure emotion. 

Then, I had another thought. How does it make sense that my emotions can both absolutely make my day! And also cause some of the most ridiculous, self-destructive behaviour and choices?  So, I did some more thinking. Let me share 2 more important words with you. 

Negative is defined as: consisting in or characterized by the absence rather than the presence of distinguishing features, not desirable or optimistic, a word or statement that expresses denial, disagreement or refusal. Render ineffective, neutralize.

Positive is defined as: with no possibility of doubt, clear and definite. A good, affirmative or constructive quality or attribute. Consisting in or characterized by the presence or possession of features or qualities rather than their absence.

Can you see how positive or negative emotions have the ability to sway us? 

I’ve done so much thinking about emotions lately. How they affect my choices, how sometimes I don’t have control over them and feel rather that they have control of me. 

I’ve decided to challenge myself. I made a goal in 2017 to make the gym and eating healthy something I enjoy, in hopes of making myself a healthier, fitter, stronger version of myself. Well, I’m adding to that. I want to strengthen myself emotionally this year as well. I want to enjoy emotions, rather than fear them. I want to resist the urge to impulsively act on emotions. I want to exercise my right to decide what emotions I feel and which I don’t (which, contrary to popular belief, we do actually have control over.) I want to challenge myself to just feel things. I shocked myself with how often in this week alone, I’ve had a negative emotion come over me and almost instantly run through my go-to list of things to do, eat, say, watch, distract myself with, in order for that negative emotion leave and replace it with a “positive one”. And my-oh-my, how deceiving those positive emotions can be sometimes. 

So here’s my list, my plan-of-attack if you will, in how I plan to approach my new challenge. 

  1. Feel an emotion, without reacting. I mean, ya, if I’m sad I’m probably gonna cry. I’m a woman, I can’t help it. But when I feel overwhelmed, I don’t need to eat. I can simply feel. When I’m angry, I don’t need to yell. Just feel through the emotion. While, at the same time, if I’m happy, I don’t need to celebrate with a big bowl of ice cream, or half-a-dozen of my favourite cookies! I want to see what it’s like to live my life feeling emotions without instantaneous action based on the emotion. (If you haven’t noticed, I’m a very emotion driven woman) 
  2. Re-evaluate my “go-to list” of things to do, say, eat, watch, or distract myself with. So that even when I do run to that list, what I choose on that list will result in a true positive emotion, that I will be proud of.
  3. Write things down. When I notice that 3 times in one day when I got angry I ate a cookie, I need to write that down! I might also need to leave myself a note on the cupboard door to walk away if I’m there out of anger! But I need to be honest and identify what my coping things are for my varying, and oh-so-complex emotions. (Yay womanhood) 

I realize as I’m writing this that literally everything in my life is based off my emotions. My tone of voice, my facial expressions, the emoji’s I use when I text. Everything! What I’m hoping to achieve from this challenge of mine, is some form of control and understanding of my outward coping and behaviour linked to good and bad emotions. This will not happen in a day, week, or month. This will be gradual, and probably be altered once or twice throughout the process, but I’m so ready for it. 

Emotional challenge, here I come! 

Growth

January 6th, New Years resolutions are in full swing. Some probably being kept, some already being broken, some people still deciding what they want their resolutions to be!

I’m a planner, an organizer and I’m very methodical. Things are typically written down, dated, given a time line and a plan B just in case. And for the longest time, if I didn’t have all of that done and in place (especially with my New Years resolutions) I felt like a failure and like it wasn’t going to get accomplished.

I’m so used to hearing “New Year, New Me” and quite honestly it’s probably a phrase I’ve used once or twice over the years. And while this is great for some people and the exact kick in the butt they need to get rid of those bad habits, start good habits, or whatever it may be, this is not the motto I want to go into 2017 with.

I have had quite the journey in my 22 years. I’ve gone from the happy-go-lucky, over achiever, to the insecure, unsure young girl with some very addictive, self destructive behaviour. I settled into my self destructive behaviour for 2.5 years and those were my years of desperately needing a “New Year” for a new me, because I was so displeased with the Me that I had become. I struggled and fought an internal battle of becoming to woman I needed and so desperately wanted to become.

I can sit here now, and quite confidently say that the woman I was in 2016 was who I fought to be!

  • I’m proud of her
  • I’m in love with her
  • I’m impressed with her
  • I’m confident in who she is
  • I believe she is who God created her to be

I can also sit here now, and confidently say that the woman I’m going to be in 2017 will be growing and building on the woman I found in 2016.

I want 2017 to be a year of growth. To continue to act and live in a way I’m proud of, that causes me to fall more in love with myself and the life I’ve been blessed with. To accept the mistakes I make and choose to learn from them, rather than to beat myself up over them. To nourish relationships with friends, family, and strangers! To have a flourishing marriage with my amazing husband. To chase dreams and to walk confidently in the life I’ve been called to live by a God I’m growing closer to daily.

I sit here with a smile on my face, remembering the days in my past when I didn’t even love myself, and constantly asked myself how anyone could possibly love me, if I didn’t even love myself. Thinking I was destined to live a life on my own, on this never ending journey in pain. And now looking on to 2017 completely content with who I am, simply wanting to keep myself growing, feeling more incredibly loved than I ever imagined possible!

Do what you need to do to make 2017 the best year yet. Create a life you love, be confident and happy with who you are, and push yourself to grow.

Happy 2017 everyone

Restart

Well, here I am. Back again after a few months absence. 

Okay, so it’s been over a year. But who’s counting. 

I’m back for a whole new set of reasons this time. And whether someone stumbles upon this blog of mine, or if no eyes other than mine ever glance this way again, I hope to stick with it this time around.  

I’ve recently been encouraged… inspired, if you would, by a friend of mine. Who religiously blogs, once a week, while she’s on a journey of seeking, self-discovery and ultimately change. In one of her more recent posts, I was reminded of a time when I sat down with my journal, and genuinely wrote my heart out, on to those pages. I was reminded of what a strong, encouraging tool it is to write, and reflect. Not only to see where I’ve been, but to push ahead to where my dreams were taking me. 

And so here I am, back again, restarting in a New place, a new time, with new motivation and passion. To not let myself flounder and fall anymore, but to reflect, recharge, and push on. To share my heart, the lessons I learn, both easy and hard, the “light bulb” moments I occasionally stumble upon, and to give myself something to build upon. 

I’m hoping I’ve done what I needed to, to “unsubscribe” people from notifications of this blog, as I hope to write once a week and would hate to bother those who were here years gone by for stories of Africa. Because as much as I hate to say it, I can confidently tell you, the humble mutterings you will find on here now will pale in comparison to the days spent in Kenya. 

So, here’s my first note to my new start! 
Until next week, friends. 

Adiós ✌🏼

#Firstworldproblems

I haven’t written anything since I got home. I literally mean nothing. I haven’t written in my journal, to the newspaper, no emails to family or friends and I definitely haven’t written a blog in a lot longer than I care to admit.

The honest truth behind it is that I somehow fell under this preconceived notion that because I’m not in Africa anymore that number one; I don’t have anything significant to say. And two; even if I did have something significant to say, no one would read it because now I’m just another 20 year old, small town Saskatchewan girl, trying to get a decent job and figure out adulthood. I’ve realized in the past week that both of those preconceptions are incorrect. It’s taken me a few days to put this together, to get my thoughts in order and get them from my mind to a piece of paper, but the reality of my life is that the person that wrote in Africa is the same person I am now, and maybe even a little wiser and smarter than I was in Africa. And then again, maybe not! But I like to think I am 😉

I want to keep sharing my thoughts with you. They aren’t profound, they likely won’t drastically change anyone’s life or flip your world upside down, but maybe you’ll relate. So, here we go.

Life is hard. It’s not just life in Africa or a Third World Country that’s hard. It’s hard right here at home too. This world sucks. Sometimes it hurts, a lot. And let’s be honest; it’s not fair. None of it is.

In developed areas of the world where we are lucky enough to live, it’s surprising to me how many of us, myself included, would love to take a trip or visit a place or even live in a developing part of the world when we have everything we could possibly need or want (or so we think) right here at our fingertips. And I’ve struggled to try to understand why we so desperately get excited to leave! Aside from the obvious of helping people.

Here’s the conclusion I’ve come to. We live in a society the tries to be completely accommodating; tolerant if you will, of every person, race, religion, sexual orientation and anything else you can think of. We are also fed these ideas day-in and day-out, around every corner that enough is never enough. When do you finally “make it” so to speak? How much money is enough? What size of house is substantial? How many cars are satisfactory? When will I finally know if I am who I was meant to become? I don’t know if any of us really know, at least I’ve never met or talked to anyone who could answer that. And I feel like these are things we all deal with, whether you’re a Christian, Atheist, Teen, Adult, Humanitarian, Gay, Single, Married, Divorced or otherwise. We have tried to become such a diverse, tolerant society, that I believe we’ve actually created a society full of bigotry, prejudice and discrimination. All the things we’ve strived so diligently to do away with.

When we’re presented with the idea or possibility of travelling to a place where in all aspects of reality, the basic needs of life are most important and people strive met them day after day, I think we feel a sense of correlation between how they live life, and how we think life should be lived. I think deep down, we know that if we have food on the table, a roof over our heads, a source of income to provide for ourselves and those around us and a heart that’s beating, we have really do have enough just in those things alone. The thing I think we desire most however is to be somewhere that doesn’t tell us everywhere we look that we don’t in-fact have enough. That we do need more and that we should be better. And for whatever crazy reason, against all our better judgment and everything we feel, we believe it. And so starts the chaos that is life.

This is something that I have personally struggled with in the 2 and a-half weeks since I’ve been home. I catch myself wondering why, after 4 months of not caring if I had make up on no matter how many people saw me, to contemplating and debating on if I want to leave the house without it on because people might see me or judge me. There’s something that’s been told to me long enough to make me believe that that’s something I need to care about being here. But it’s not! A dream I have right now is to build myself a tiny home. Totaling 350 square feet. Big enough to accommodate everything I need and nothing more. And then I wonder what people would think, what if people want to come over visit and it’s not big enough. Then I remember that it doesn’t matter how big my house is. There’s a coffee shop and about 6 restaurants 5 minutes down the road if I were to really feel like I needed more space and lets be honest, the great out doors that I would have in my back-yard would be more than satisfactory. But there’s something that’s been instilled in me that says I need a big house to be happy or amount to something. These are the things make me miss Africa more and more with every day because I know that these things would never be present in my mind there. These are just 2 examples of the things I struggle though, and I realize that these are just 2 examples of things that each and every one of us struggles through.

This is not a message written to my “Church Friends” to make you feel guilty. Or to everyone to make it seem like your life isn’t that bad and your blessed to live where you do! This is not something written to shove in the faces of people who feel make-up is 100% necessary before you leave the house. To anyone reading this, I hope that those are not the things you take away from this. I hope and pray that with all that I am, that when you read this, you go on with your day to day life remembering that all you have and all you are, is more than enough. Who you are and where you are right now is exactly where you need to be with the exact resource you have, to help and effectively love the people around you.

Stick it to the Man, as I’ve heard it said. Don’t believe that you need to be somewhere, looking a certain way with certain resources and social status to be good enough to make a difference.

One Child at a Time

I’ve been waiting to tell you all a story about a little man I’ve fallen in love with since being here. Not waiting for any specific reason really, other than having the right words to say! So here we go.. 

This little boy’s name is Kelvin. When I first met Kelvin he was standing in Kibera Slum with tears in his eyes, on the brink of spilling down his adorable, full cheeks. He had blood crusted in his nose and down around his mouth, and dried blood staining the collar of his shirt. He was a sad, hurting, broken little man. After his mom was found, she informed us that Kelvin or “kevo” as the kids called him, had been bleeding in his stool for 4 weeks and from his nose for 3 days. This little man was much more sick than we thought. 

After discovering this it was discussed that he needed to go to the hospital, to be checked out and treated but last time Jacaranda did something like this, they were left with more medical bills than they knew how to pay, and so were hesitant in this situation. I simply told them to get him to a doctor, and the cost would be covered, as small or large as it might have been and at the time, none of us were too sure! I was simply praying and trusting that whatever would be needed would be provided. They took Kelvin to the hospital, did blood work and urine samples to figure out how we needed to help this little man. They started him on antibiotics and wanted to see him again in 2 weeks. 2 weeks of those meds had stopped the bleeding so they could begin treating the other bugs and illnesses he had but again, wanted to see him in 2 weeks. After each check up, I would give Lilian, who is one of Jacaranda’s medical workers, 1,000 shillings which doesn’t equate to much more than $10 U.S. Dollars and ask her to buy them groceries when she took them home. This made sure that while Kevo was taking medications, he wasn’t taking them on an empty stomach and that Momma Kevo was also eating and could be taking care of Kelvin. 

After the second 2 week check up, the doctors were so happy to see that he had gained over a kilo and was doing very well on the medication! The doctors spoke English and were able to tell me that him and his mom having food every week was a huge blessing and making a difference in not only Kevo’s health but also his moms! 

I found out after that appointment that Kelvin’s mom had recently taken herself to the free clinic and was starting to take her own medication to get herself healthy again as well! That made my heart incredibly happy! After that appointment Kelvin, his mother and I, went to the play park at the hospital and I was overwhelmed, seeing how much the relationship between that little boy and his mother had changed. He was no longer an after thought to her, another mouth that she couldn’t manage to feed. And he wasn’t a sad, hurting baby anymore! There was nothing but smiles and giggles shared between the three of us as Momma Kevo put him on the slide and I waited to catch him at the bottom. It was truly an amazing day. 

They said they didn’t wanted to see Kelvin for another month, but when Lilian went to take more groceries to them and to see how he was doing 10 days later, he had taken a turn and had become extremely ill, not able to keep any food down and was lethargic and weak. Once again Lilian was a huge help and took him to the hospital for another check up to find that Kelvin had an amoeba. Now considering his situation in the slum, it’s not all that surprising yet truly heart breaking knowing the progress he had made up to this point, only to be set back. About 10 days later, after mom and dad had arrived to visit, we were able to go to Kibera to see Kelvin and his mom, see their home and how they were doing! She showed us that she had recently moved into a new place, and it was beautiful; cement floor and tin roof! I was so happy for her! She also informed us that Kelvin was doing much better, only getting a little bit sick. She had also baught a large thermos and was hoping to somehow find money to buy supplies to make tea and coffee to sell to workers in the slums now that rainy season had started! I can only try to explain the excitement and hope I felt for this woman and the pride and joy you could see in her eyes! We were able to leave her groceries for that week, as well as all of $8.00 U.S. dollars in order for her to start her work. How crazy is that?! 

At the end of the month, actually, the day mom and dad flew home, Kelvin had another appointment. At this appointment they informed us that, (like the little fighter he is) Kelvin had pulled through, gained a few more kilo’s and was back on track! In fact his progress was so great he doesn’t have another check up for three months! After this appointment, with my heart absolutely sky high due to answered prayers and a tough little fighter pulling through this sickness. 

My point in all of this is not me being in the right place at the right time, or me being a hero and saving the day for Kelvin and his mom. This is to share with you the fact that these people desire nothing more than to work, to be healthy, and to care for their children and families but can’t do it on their own. I looked at this mother of 3 children, trying to take care of 2 younger sisters in school, a sister with a 10 month old baby and a sick mother and baby of her own, not to mention herself being sick! I thought about myself on a day when I have a head ache, wake up with a sore stomach or just have a plain old bad day. I wouldn’t have half the motivation that she has to do any of the things she has to do and I sleep on a nice bed, in warm blankets, with clean clothes and eat 3 meals a day. I have nothing but absolute respect for that woman, doing everything she does with not even half the luxuries I have. But all it took, was someone caring enough to love her and her child, to give as little as 10 dollars every 10 days to make sure they had food, and to help her get a leg up in an honourable, safe job, praying for them everyday, and look how far they have come as a family. 

Today, this little boy was able to go to the same children’s home where his sister is. Where mom can visit both of her babies whenever she wants, the kids are clean, healthy and taken care of and where they are safe from the life in the slums that is dangerous for so many, but especially chuldren. 

This is what Jacaranda Ministries does. This is what they want to continue to do and want to do more of. But they can’t do it on their own. If you would like to be a part of someone’s story, be a part of truly blessing them and enhancing their future, please consider sponsoring a child through Jacaranda. You may think it’s just for education, but Jacaranda strives to do so much more than pay for “just school fees”. They go above and beyond with every child they come into contact with, and I ask that you seriously consider partnering with them in this.  I promise it will be the most rewarding thing you ever do.
** if you are interested in sponsoring a child feel free to email me anytime at casey.nicole@outlook.com 

Thank you doesn’t seem like enough, but, thank you anyway. Your willingness to help is impacting the world, one child at a time.  

 

The Power in a Story

Often times throughout my adventures here, I find myself overwhelmed with emotions, yet at a loss for words to describe the things I’m feeling and want to share.  I want to share with you the amazing victories of these people, the ways they have been fighting and improving life for themselves, but also of the pain these people go through, the struggles they are facing and the hardships they find themselves in the middles of, and how it’s changed my heart and made me feel, and I feel so conflicted.  Which is more important? Which deserves more focus? How can I effectively convey both aspects of life here? What message am I sending home?  I want people to know that people here in Kenya need help, but that doesn’t mean they are helpless.  I want people at home to read what I write, and feel motivated to make a change, to give; give of time, money or resources, to help, whether that’s helping people here in Kenya or people right next door.

I want to tell you about all the times I was happy and filled with love and joy being here with these people and experiencing these things, but there are moments when I get home after a long day and go to my room to do nothing but sit, and be idle, trying to wrap my head around everything I just experienced or make sense of my emotions.  Some days I really struggle. I hurt and I cry and I wonder what in the world I’m supposed to do with what is going on not only all around me, but inside of me as well.  And I never know which part to share with you.  I don’t want to share only stories of happiness and excitement, when there are equal amounts of sadness and pain.  The moments of happiness wouldn’t be what they are without the moments of heartbreak, so it’s only fair to share both sides of the same coin.

My hope is that from my time here and the stories I’ve been able to share that people would desire and dream to do something like this for themselves. I feel however, like that requires so much care and attention to the words and things I share.  I don’t want to make it all sunshine and rainbows, only to have someone experience something like this and realize that there are very real, harsh, intense emotions that come along with the happiness and excitement! It would also be silly of me though, to share simply the intense emotions of sadness or heartbreak and scare people from ever wanting an experience like this for themselves.

So, rather than debate with myself as to what to share, I simply decide with each piece I write, and story that I share to be real and 100 percent honest with you.  The realness of it is that every day at school with the kids and the teachers are filled with smiles and laughs, the odd tear or two, and the struggle of children who just don’t want to listen! 😛  And at the end of the day I come home pretty tired, pretty worn out, yet satisfied with how I get to spend my days.  And days when I hear stories of a family who is hoping they can find money to pay rent so the landlord doesn’t lock them out of their home often leaves my mind scrambling and my heart crumbling at the struggles these people face.  There are days where I feel guilt over the fact that I’m sitting in a safe home with wifi telling you these stories knowing that 10 minutes down the road in my back yard are people still struggling through life as per usual.  I also have a smile on my face everyday, seeing the people working on the side of the road selling fruits and vegetables, shoes, hats, or whatever they can in order to provide for their family.  Those are the parents that, while it might be easier to throw in the towel and let life work itself out, get up every morning, get themselves ready and work.  And they work all day, wanting to provide a better life and better future for their children. And I’m incredibly proud and thankful for those people.

I think about all of these things on a daily basis, the happiness, the sadness, the guilt, the thankfulness, just to name a few and I wonder to myself, what in the world does a 20-year-old girl think she’s going to be able to do for 43 million people living in Kenya?  I had a realization recently that while I’m here I have to do what I can with what I have for the people God places in my life.  I need to care for the people who need to be cared for, to teach the kids that need to be taught and hug the people that need to be held. I also need to share these stories for whoever might take the time to read them, where ever they are in the world.  Because maybe, just maybe, and it has become my prayer, that through my stories other people will choose to do the same.  To step out of their every day lives and to go on a trip like this. To allow God to use them to help other people.  What if, just maybe, through my stories both of happiness and heartbreak, 100 people make that choice to help those in need. How much more of an impact could 100 people make on the 43 million people in Kenya than when I first started?  And so I share these honest feelings and stories of struggle, or victory, of relationship, of heartbreak, and I pray and trust that they aren’t for nothing and that God will use them. That he will use them to impact you.