House Help

I’m thankful for Nelly. Our relationship is mutually beneficial. We provide a good job and she helps us in the house 2 days a week. She helps clean, wash clothes, can salsa, make meals and watches Little Bear. She’s wonderful with Little Bear which allows me to go to the market alone or attend meetings at the office. We trust and love her!


Chopping onions for salsa.


Mary teaching us to make enchiladas.


Filling the tortillas for enchiladas.

Beautiful Creation

Watamu, Kenya

Watamu, Kenya

Grey Crowned Crane

Grey Crowned Crane, Nairobi National Park


Hartebeest, Nairobi National Park

Cape Buffalo

Cape Buffalo, Nairobi National Park

Rothschild Giraffe

Rothschild Giraffe, Nairobi National Park

Flame Tree, Malakal, South Sudan

Flame Tree, Malakal, South Sudan

Bird in Malakal

Bird in Malakal

Arial view of River Nile, Malakal, South Sudan

Aerial view of River Nile, Malakal, South Sudan

Doro, South Sudan

Doro, South Sudan

Hell's Gate National Park, where Lion King was sketched.

Hell’s Gate National Park, where Lion King was sketched.

Airplane view of Northern Kenya

Aerial view of Northern Kenya


Cloth Diaper Nightmare

I hate bodily fluids. Blood is ok but everything else, especially the kind we don’t like to talk about over dinner, the kind that comes out “the other” end, royally grosses me out. And changing diapers involves being intimately acquainted with this particular kind of bodily fluid, well more like bodily solid, unless of course… well, never mind, you get the point!

In fact during one of my first babysitting gigs the little 2 year old had such a nasty one that I actually told her not to move, left her in the room by herself and called my mother. She, of course being reasonable, told me that she wasn’t coming over to change it for me so I’d better get my act together and do it. And I did, holding my breath all the while.

This being the case, cloth diapers are the embodiment of nightmare for me.

Unfortunately or fortunately, Bear and I are fairly practical and frugal. Since paper diapers are extremely expensive over here and a friend quite sweetly gave us her gently used cloth diapers, I was forced agreed to see reason and use them.

Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean I like them.

Bear is pretty much immune to being grossed out in any way, so generally I shake what I can off into the toilet and leave it in the bath tub for him to deal with when he gets home. Lame, I know. And yes, he is an extremely wonderful man!

However, THIS week, this week he is gone. I can’t leave diapers in the tub for 10 whole days; one, because I would run out and two it would stink to high heaven. Being the dutiful mother that I am I took one particularly stinky diaper mounded with, *ahem*, and went to dump it in the toilet. To my absolute HORROR I heard a gushy plop. When I looked down there was a slimy, nasty pile on the bathroom floor. (I am thankful it didn’t land on MY foot or the rug.)

I must be more grown up than my high school self because I didn’t call anyone. I calmly, well mostly calmly, grabbed some tissue swiped it up and quickly flushed it down the toilet. Then I rinsed the rest off of the diaper and gently laid threw it into the bathtub.

Therefore this week I am especially thankful for our washing machine that allows me to touch the dirty, poopy, wet, smelly diapers as little as possible.

We Love Music

We love music! Both Bear and I played musical instruments growing up (Although his was short-lived!). All of us enjoy the time of praise and worship at our AIC church. Bear and I also really love country music but finding clean lyrics over the radio is hard. Therefore much of the time we listen to Bear’s collection of classical music, Klove or the children’s catechism CDs given to us for Little Bear. The CDs put Scripture to music and teach many of the basic truths we believe. Little Bear and I dance together in step with the music quite often. He claps his hands, bounces and “sings” right along with whatever is playing. He even gets emotional when sad or mellow music is playing but perks right back up when a happy song comes on.

His face really lights up when Bear sings to him just before bed. We recorded Bear singing “Jesus Loves the Little Children” for the times when he travels and can’t sing to Little Bear in person. So far he sings it in three languages; English, Hausa and Bariba. We’ll have to work on adding Kiswahili and Arabic to the repertoire! Listen to Bear singing below.

United States of America

I am thankful for the United States of America. I am thankful for laws and the officials that help enforce these laws. I’m thankful for a justice system that, while imperfect, works. I’m thankful that corruption once exposed is not tolerated. I’m thankful for the right to vote and that this process is peaceful. I’m thankful to have a voice in my government. I’m thankful that our military protects its citizens. I’m thankful that, while there have been attacks, the last major war fought on American soil was over 100 years ago. I’m thankful that I grew up living in peace, that I could go to school, that I could worship in church and that my childhood was relatively carefree.

Kenya is considered one of the most stable countries in East Africa. I’m thankful to live here. Yet, independence from Great Britain was only achieved in 1963, a mere 51 years ago, after a bloody conflict. Just 7 years ago during the presidential elections, tribalism and politics caused violent clashes all throughout Kenya. Citizens do not generally trust the judicial system or law enforcement officials and mob justice still occurs frequently. In 2003 the government abolished school fees for primary schools but the best schools and secondary school still cost a good deal of money. Kenya has come a long way in a short amount of time but it still has a long way to go.

South Sudan is the newest country in the world. They gained independence in 2011. After a long, brutal, civil war with Sudan hopes were high that South Sudan would have a bright future. However, just 3 years later, politics and tribalism caused countrymen to turn against each other. Now the country is 9 months into another civil war. Thousands of people died, many more are on the brink of starvation. Tensions are high, schools are disrupted, people’s livelihoods are destroyed and many are refugees in surrounding countries living off the generosity of others.

I am thankful for the United States of America. I’m not deluded into thinking we are perfect but we’ve passed through war, economic instability, terrorist attacks and many other hardships and are strong. I pray that these other two countries I love can come through their growing pains stronger and more resilient than ever before.