Friday, November 2, 2012


Happy Birthday Day

Days for Girls

(a day late, but you know what they say... better late than never)
I feel so blessed to be a part of such a great organization. 
Founded in 2008 Days for Girls has been changing the world one pair of panties at a time! 
  How is that possible?
Every Girl. Everywhere.
Days for Girls aim is to empower
girls and women worldwide
to have access to sustainable quality
feminine hygiene, health, education
and dignity ​ by 2022.
This is done by sending feminine hygiene kits to girls in developing countries.
Each kit contains
1 Pair of panties
2 shields
8 liners
face cloth
2 large Ziploc bags
(aka the world's smallest washing machines)
Instructions for use and care.
A bar of soap is also added when they reach their destination.
That one pair of panties included in the kit changes the girl's . . .INSTANTLY!
Imagine, not having to look through garbage heaps on the side of the road, using paper, leaves, dried animal dung, cardboard, old rags pretty much anything you can find to block or try to stop their periods.  Imagine not having the means to be able to purchase what was needed each month. Imagine going to the store and there is NOTHING on the shelves to be able to purchase even if you were able.  Imagine using anything absorbent that you happen to "find".  Imagine washing disposable products to try to be able to use them again.   Imagine.....   for 100's of 1000's of young women around the world they do not have to imagine, for this is their reality. 
To a woman in a developed nation any of the above scenarios seem unimaginable. We go to the store and face a wall of options, dozens of choices,  with applicator or with out, with wings without, heavy days, light days, thin pad, long liner, regular, ultra thin.... the list goes on. Then we have the audacity to get upset when the ONE style we prefer is out of stock.   Imagine life without those options.... 
If you can imagine even a portion of the struggles girls in developing nations face, then you can imagine the change a hygiene kit can make. In that instant, there is hope.  Hope opens doors.   
Based on a montly cycle lasting 7 days & each kit lasting aprox 3 years, each kit reclaims
 252 DAYS of living.
Days where they do not have to stay at home
Days where they can go to school
Days when they will not have to feel like they do not belong
Days they will be educated
Days that that they will be able to work
Days where they can support  their family
Days when they can participate in life!
252          DAYS
6048       Hours
362, 880      Minutes
21222800    Seconds
When she receives a kit she will no longer have to saty at home when her period arrives.  Education is possible,  an educated girl WILL change her world.

Imagine the possiblities..... 



Friday, October 5, 2012

5 min Friday free write.....

I recently linked to Lisa-Jo's site via another blog I read and was immediately drawn to the concept of a 5 min free write,  

"No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation.
Unscripted. Unedited. Real"
Every Friday at one minute past midnight a new writing prompt is posted and off you go.....  well I totaly forgot about it at one min past midnight so here I go now..... with a little bit of trepidation.
Oct 5
Your Welcome  - politeness
Welcome to our Home  - hospitality, graciousness
Welcome to the world -  Excitement newness
Welcome to the family - Hopefulness, wondering
Your welcome to try....  - Fear, adventure, learning
you do not want to overstay your welcome....  - oh oh.
(Ugh phone rings...answer or let ring.. right now it is NOT a WELCOME interuption... )
Welcome to my world, when I sit to do something I often get interupted. In a house of 5, and 2 extras under 4  2 days a week, it is inevidable.  Sometimes those are welcome interuptions such as a visit from a friend,  or a quick kiss from my sweetie.  Other times they are not so welcome, the knock of a child on the bathroom door when you just NEED 2 min of quiet.  We have all been there.  
BUT How often am I the interuption?  How often are my interuptions welcome, or unwelcome?  I pray that I do not overstay my welcome, that when I knock on the door people truly desire to welcome me in - Do I even think about such things in the moment?  Or do I just assume? 
there is one with whom I know without a doubt I am always welcome...  I am thankful that I know without a doubt when I knock on the door of heaven one day I will be welcomed with open arms, and that on that day there is no overstaying one's welcome because I will finally know where home truly is.
(Shoot, I over shot by 1 min.. must have been the phone call or first time jitters) 
Sticking to 5 min was a little tough, once I got started I wanted to keep going. The urge to go back re read, re type was strong, old habits are hard to break.  I look forward to next week and playing along again. (maybe I will even remember at one min after midnight....)
Five Minute Friday     Click the link to join the fun.  I know all my scrapbooking / journaling friends will love it.  (O.K. Some of you will and others are thinking... here she goes again preaching the importance of Journaling -  Remember only you can tell YOUR story!)
Happy writing

Saturday, May 26, 2012

"WINNER" in the lottery of LIFE....

Be it by simple luck of genetics, birth right or purely by the luck of the draw I have won the Lottery of life, as have most of you!  The lottery of life is not a major influx of cash, though we are wealthy, it is not a new car, though in all likely hood we have at least test driven one in our lives, it is not flashy or rare, but it is most valuable.   The lottery of life winners are winners simply because of where they have been born.  I win because I have been born in Canada, in North America.  Others win because they were born the USA, parts of Europe, Australia and a handful of other developed nations in the world, nothing more, nothing less simply LOCATION of birth. 

That's it.... LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION -  they say that is the key element in business, in retail product placement and now lottery winners!   By simple location of birth we are wealthy, the vast majority can easily provide the essentials of life food, clothing and shelter, with out much trouble.  Remember I said ESSENTIALS of life, not the EXTRAS.  So many people, simply because they were not in a Lottery winner LOCATION at birth do not have the LUXURY of providing the essentials.

I challenge you to take 18 min of your time and watch this TED video....  and maybe YOU can help someone win the lottery despite their location.

Together we can make a difference.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Graduation..... what a beauty.

Today's wordless Wednesday was a no brainer.  Graduation of our second daughter has taken the spotlight.  Hard to believe, time flies......

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Wordless Wednesday take 1

Working on a new WED feature....

I have to confess this is not a new idea fresh from my own head, I first saw it on a friends blog
Hopf In Niger , I love the concept of a day dedicated to photos, life as it is right now etc.  I have since found a few other sites that do similar things. The concept is quite simple, we all know the saying a photo is worth 1000 words, post a photo or photos on Wednesday, and let them speak for themselves. 

I am going to give it a try.  I know that means I have to be on the ball, to get photo's ready to roll each week, I am hoping it will motivate me in a few ways.  First to pick up my camera again, Second to actually download them and deal with them and finally to share and blog regularly.  Let's see how it goes.  First photo(s) to be added today....... I hope you enjoy !

Friday, April 27, 2012

Trash & Blessings

I love it when all the pieces fit together, especially in unexptected ways. Turning trash to treasure, and blessing many people in the process.  

Inventory is never a fun part of any job, this year as we faced a warehouse downsize, inventory certainly was going to be a bigger challenge than ever.  We counted and sorted and the trash pile grew.  There were lots of useful things that had been sitting on the shelves not selling, in some cases for years, we needed the shelf space, so they were getting the heave ho.  So sad, these were perfectly good products that had huge potential to help someone.   I asked my boss what his plans were and he said he would like to donate them somewhere but did not know where to even start.  WAHOO... I jumped in and told him that I would ask my connections in Niamey, Niger, West Africa if they thought the items could be of use.  Doc Ace assured me that he thougth the items could be put to good use.

That was all I needed to hear, we were off and running. I packed up the "trash" and took it home.  Thankfully my husbands office has this HUGE empty basement area that we are able to store things if we need to.  So off to his office went the 5 very large boxes of "trash" to be stored untill I could figure out how to get it to Africa.  Worst case senerio it would take a couple of years and return with team members heading back after some time home in Canada in 2013.  I was o.k. with that - but kept my ears open and let a few people know that I had things to send to Niamey.  The prayers went up and I waited...

God had a much faster plan.  Just before Easter, my momma called to say that they had a speaker at their church from Niamey, and that she was going back in a week.  YIPPEE!   I sent of a quick email, asking her if she had room in her suitcase..and if so would she mind taking a few items with her.  Not only did she have room, she was only travelling with one suitcase so I could send a whole FULL suit case with her.  God certainly was putting the pieces of the puzzle together.  So I packed up 48 lbs (limit is 50 - but you never quite know how close scales are. so better to be safe than sorry, or paying the over weight charge.) of wrist supports, knee braces, cervical collars, walking boots and a few other odds and ends.  Said a prayer that they would get into the hands of those who can use them and off they went.

Yesterday I received an email from Deborah an occupational therapist that works at Galmi Hosptial, several hours outside of Niamey. The Suitcase had arrived at the hosptial yesterday, simply marked Gamli, with no "attention to" or proper address, they had no idea what it was, where it came from or who it was for.  Peices of the puzzle, coming together yet again. A doctor at the hospital opened it, took one look and said, this is for Deborah.  She was over the moon excited - and stated that she had been praying last week about their need for wrist supports.  The suitcase had just what she needed, God had answered her prayer BEFORE she prayed it.  I had picked the trash, packed the suitcase and sent it on it's way BEFORE she even uttered the prayer of need.  How utterly cool is that?   God is in the business of BIG PICTURES,  He sees them and put the peices of the puzzle together in perfect order.

I sit in awe, I am blessed beyond measure to be part of the big picture.  I wonder how the pieces will fit together for the next suitcase, there are still several boxes good "trash" to go.   Secretly I hope and pray I will be able to carry it and deliver it, to see in person the final destination.  A girl can dream.  In the meantime I am happy to put it all together at this end so that our trash will be someones treasure.  Blessing all who are part of the BIG PICTURE.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Lets fight.....

Today is International Malaria Awareness Day. 

Malaria is deadly, Malaria is preventable.

Read more about malaria awareness day and what can be done here.

Education is key.

The best Christmas gift I received this year was from my family, mosquito Nets for 2 families in Niger, West Africa.  To these 2 families this is the gift of life, and peace of mind.  Knowing that they are protected from the mosquito's at night, the mosquito's that carry the deadly disease, the disease that worries mothers & kills children.  A simple mosquito net used correctly will save lives.  Let's fight for these lives.  If you would like to know more about purchasing mosquito nets for families in Niger, please take a min to look at page 3 of the Alliance Gift Catalog and page 22 for the donation form.  $25 can save a life... or 2 or 3 depending on how many are sleeping under it. 


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Simply sad....

So many things in my life are good.  It is not perfect, but it IS good.

Simple things truly make me happy;

Family & friends.
Watching a one year old discover bubbles.
The first signs of cherry blossoms showing their pink ruffles.
Hearing my favorite song on the radio.
A good book, or a good cup of Cinnamon coffee.
A random meeting with an old friend in the mall.
Laughter, the kind that ends with tears rolling down my cheeks . . . . . . . Truly simple things!

Too bad life is not always simple.

Sometimes things happen that strip that simplicity.

Things that on every level are complex. 

Today at the beginning of my relatively simple happy life,  I read this...
Up In Flames

A blog entry written by my friend Chantelle, director of the Niger Vocational Girls at Risk School, this is where I was in September of 2011, working with the girls, learning from these girls, falling in love with these girls.  I left a chunk of my heart there with these girls.  Today as I read, my heart was broken, deep down in a I am helpless, what can I do sort of way. 

Up in flames... very litterally,  a few days ago, the local market, the market I shopped in, bought fabric in & walked through, was burned to the ground. Chantelle's blog entry shows before and after photos, it tore at the core of my beeing.   Before I even finished reading I had tears streaming down my face, and I felt totally & utterly helpless.  WHY?  Do these people not struggle enough?  HOW will they even begin to rebuild?  It seems so unfair   So many people who had so little to start with now have nothing..... litterally NOTHING but ashes and chared messes where livelyhood once stood.

Fire is devastating in any uncontained form, but like this it is unfathomable.  Homes & jobs can be lost, all that a family has can be wiped out in the blink of an eye.  We truly have no comprehension of such loss here in North America where we have fire regulations, insurance,  built in sprinkler systems, not to mention resources to rebuild.  In Niger, where the economic situation is bleek at best, a land where water is scarce, famine has a stronghold & where refugees are streaming in from surrounding countries  by the 1000's, adding to the stress on resources, a fire like this has unmeasureable consequences. 

My heart is there with these people, as they try to look ahead to what comes next. Praying they find the strength, resources and courage to move forward.  Wondering if there is anything that can be done from here.  It is complicated...  sending $$ may be easy for us, but is it best for those there in Niamey?  Culturally is it best for them?  Is that what need?  Or do we go, with hammer in hand to help build?  Work beside them as they reclaim their livelyhoods?  No matter what happens,  one thing for sure, it is going to be a long, long journey. 


Friday, March 30, 2012

Something worth thinking about.

In light of my last post, this photo really pulled at my heart strings.

I have looked at this photo for a very long time this is what strikes me.

The first being, I can not even begin to imagine this life.  My life in North America is so very different.  I realize that my observations come from a very naive and inexperienced place. A place that however naive is compassionate to the plight of this group of people. I believe that such photos raise awareness, and when we are more aware, we are better able to adjust our way  thinking and be people of action and advocacy.
It looks hotter than hot.

This well is HUGE.  ( Has anyone ever fallen in????)

I guesstimate that there are close to 200 people in the photo ( I tried to count, but my eyes are not that good)

There appears to be at least 2 or 3  pots / containers per person.

I look and I wonder how many people come to this well each day?

How big are their families?

I wonder how far they have to walk?

I find it interesting that both men and women gather at the well.

I wonder how long this well has been active and how long before it runs dry.

Just a few of the things that popped into my head...

What do you see? What strikes you? 

I hope in the very least it makes you thankful for the running water in your home.

On a side note I would love to give credit to the person who took the photo, but could not find the original source.  I will continue to look, and when I do will happily  post proper credits.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

World H2O day.....

Awareness is key. 
Thinking about a world - or area of the world - with out water is difficult for many.  Especially those of us who live and grew up on the "wet" coast.  In a city where the annual rainfall is1117.2 mm per year finding water is not a problem.  It's simple, we turn a tap and voila safe, affordable, clean water for anything we need.  24 hours a day, 7 days a week, it is available.  On the rare occasion the water main is turned off for maintenance, we think we suffer.  We get notice of when that suffering is  o happen and are given an approximate time line.   We "prepare for the disaster"by filling pots & containers, refrigerating, and if it is going to be a really long time we fill our bathtubs  "Just in case".  We think we suffer. HA, we do not know the meaning of the word.  In my small home alone there are 8 sources where water comes into my home or yard.  Water is available in a wide variety of locations.  From my home I can drive for less than 1/2 an hour in several directions and end up at the ocean or at a fresh water lake, where I can swim, and enjoy many recreational activities.  Water is certainly NOT scarce. We are most fortunate, we should not take this life giving resource for granted.

"Water" source ... notice the garbage and the goats
However, that is not the reality for 100' of 1000's of people who live in climates where they see under 20mm rainfall per year.  If that rain comes in "HOT" season, the water often evaporates BEFORE it even hits the ground.  Then imagine not having a tap, imagine having to walk for  2 kms or more to fetch water only to have to CARRY it back home, on your back, on your head, in buckets by hand.  Only to have to repeat this task again the next day and the next and the next, every day of your life when you require water.  This is how you obtain the water you will use for EVERYTHING, drinking, cooking, gardening, feeding animals, bathing - E*V*E*R*Y*T*H*I*N*G.  In many cases the water source is small, stagnant, polluted, shared with animals, used for bathing and laundry,as well as 100's of people who also walk several kilometers there and back daily just for water. Scenarios like this are ones we in North America can not even begin to fathom. Yet this is REALITY for millions in this world.  Water, the most basic of human need clean drinking water is not something they ever take for granted by these people.
"drinking" water in a market stall in Niamey

Women gather at the well for water

As with most things, unless you have experienced this first hand you can not fathom the issue.  Awareness and education are KEY.  That is why we need world water day.

Here is a little history of World Water Day

If you are looking to be able to help,  here is  a link to the Alliance Compassion Catalog  see page 4 on wells and helping get them built.  Page 22 is the form to fill out in order to give. 

This is my friend Adam, a village leader, drawing water from one of the wells built as an Alliance Compassion project. The well is just a few 100 meters from the center of his village.  It provides fresh, clean, safe water for his village of about 1000 people.  Saving them 1000's hours of "water walking" annually.  Adam has also said that the health of his village has improved since the well was constructed.  That is an invaluable gift.  It is the gift of life, of health and most of all the gift of HOPE for the people in Teppe.  It is is life!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Remembering March 1st.....

March 1st,  marks what would have been my Grandma's 98 birthday.   98, I can not even imagine what life would be like to be 98.  The world has changed so much in the past 98 years.  One thing I know for certain is that had she still been with us she would have adapted, tried new things, laughed as she said, I am too old for this and above all she would have LOVED watching her great grand children grow up.   As a child I knew beyond measure that I was loved by her, and when my girls came along  I KNEW that she adored them, nothing made her happier than a visit with her Greats! 

Oh how I miss her, certainly time has lessened the ache, as we have learned to do life with out her. The old adage "Absence makes the heart grow fonder" is certainly true, especially on this day,  Her birthday!  I always remember even after 14 March 1st's, without her.  So today, I pulled out the scrapbook I did for her memorial, and remembered all that she meant to me.  Sure there were a few tears,  but mostly my heart is full of gratitude for all her life meant to me.  For all she taught me.  Ultimately for the gift of laughter, the ability to laugh at one's self, and to enjoy a good joke or prank here and there.  She will always be remembered with a happy heart, for I know that is how she would want to be remembered, with a smile in our hearts and laughter on our lips.

Gram, I miss you, I love you, and today I remember with a huge smile in my heart.  Blessed beyond measure because I had the privilege that is shared by only 10 others in this whole entire world, the privilege of calling YOU Grandma! 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Sometimes it really is the little things in life....

So, O.K.  I confess, I love Pizza!  I know in terms of health benefits it is not the healthiest choice, but, well if the US congress  can justify pizza sauce as a vegetable, hen really can it be that bad for you?   Mocking aside, I love pizza in almost any form.  My Grandma used to make a fruit pizza that was yummy for sure.  I have a recipe for chocolate pizza that is fun and easy and also yummy, however my fave is still the standard thick crust, tomato sauce variety.  Oh the topping combinations are endless, so really it is never the same pie twice. 
Until it comes to left overs, it may be the same pie, but it is never quite the same the second day. That was until today, no more microwave reheat for me, and putting it in the oven always takes too long.  Well low and behold, you can get crispy, right out of the pizza oven goodness, from your fry pan.  Thanks to Pinterest, for the awesome hint.  
Dry frying pan, medium heat, pizza, covered for 3 - 5 min = glorious crispy crust and ooey, gooey cheesy goodness on top.  Pizza left overs will never be the same again. 
Now the question is, do I share this with my family (who I know do not read here)  or just let them figure it out for themselves and leave more left overs for me. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

The imagination gift.

"Di where do you buy imagination?"
      "Hmm, Miss B you to not buy imagination, it's a gift."
"Oh, but I want to buy some more."
      "Sorry babe, you just can not... but you can make the most of the imagination that you already have"
"But how do I get more then?"
        "God gives you more when you use what you have, why don't you go play with the doll people""
"Sure o.k.  I am going to make them buy some imagination, just pretend o.k."
     " You do that..."

This girl makes me smile. I love these short conversations with the 3 year old I look after part time.  One can learn so much if you just  listen.   Things we loose as we grow up, imagination, and the willingness to try most things without worry about what others think.  Imagination, creativity, acceptance and love are all so pure when looking through the eyes of childhood.  Growing up is so over rated, we loose so much of what makes this world so good.

I am certainly not saying I want to go back, because certain things about childhood, those things that rob us of that purity and acceptance are not something I would ever want to relive.  I am thankful for my child hood, all the ups and downs that made it the ride that it was, for it is that ride that made me the woman I am today.   

The sweet imagination of a child, it truly is a gift.  One that should be nurtured and encouraged, one that I truly enjoy watching in full swing. Boxes that become stoves, trains, drums, fireman hats and who knows what next just let your imagination be your guide.

Have fun and use your imagination today....