Monday, January 31, 2011


Best Friends Forever and Ever and Ever and Ever and Ever and Ever and Ever!

Thats what we used to call each other. 

This is my bestest friend, Nikki Paige Watson. I changed schools when I was in gr.2 and, at the time, it was devastating leaving all my old friends behind. But it didn't take too long before I found a new best friend. Nikki and I have pretty much been inseparable since we were in gr. 2. Nikki and Nikole. Nik and Nik. Two peas in a pod. Attached at the hip. Sisters. BFFs.

Nikki still lives in our hometown and really has no desire to leave. She is not the adventurous type like I am and we have very different interests. But none of that matters when we are together. Often when I would come home from college or Africa, she would be the first one knocking on my door. I open the door, she gives me a huge hug, she helps herself to a cup of tea and we sit down together to play crib. Its like I never left. We can go a year without seeing each other and pick up just where we left off. 

She is the most loyal friend I have ever had or met. She will drop everything in a heartbeat if I need her. She will go out of her way to hang out with me. She doesn't criticize me or judge me even when I know she doesn't agree with me. She is one of a kind. A friend like her is hard to find. 

I am blessed that she is my BFFAEAEAEAE!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday Stroll

It's a beautiful Sunday today. Well it looks like it from inside. Clear blue skies, bright sun, snow is melting however, the second you step outside, you are chilled to the bone. I definitely enjoy summer better. Anyways, my parents and I took a stroll along the river. Beautiful but cold. Beautifully cold. 

Mom and I were picking on Dad since he has a robotic leg (well its just a cast). This is his angry face.

My parents are sweet.

I was laughing so hard cause it was so cold.

Friday, January 28, 2011


I had a friend drop off a whole bunch of her old soccer socks at my house last night. I was amazed to find that half of them had not even been used yet! Because they are relatively small, (so they don't take up too much room in my luggage) I have started collecting some for the Rehma boys. So if you have an old pair of soccer socks, please drop them at my place. OK, I guess I should clarify that I don't want just any soccer socks. I want ones that look almost new. I don't want holes or worn out socks.

Speaking of the Rehma boys, I am so excited to see how the people around me have pulled together for these boys. We almost have all their equipment! Amazing! We have a local grad class that has made their jerseys for them. I have a friend collecting money for cleats at his work. Then I had some people give individually which helped us to purchase practice equipment, enrol in a league and play some local games, and have a few outings as a team!

I can't wait to get the boys all dressed up in their new gear!

Pray with us as we go forward with them. We are currently looking for some people to sponsor a couple of the boys to go to school. A couple of them are just so hungry to get to school but are not able to because they just don't have the money. A few of them are in their late teens and have only gone up to gr. 8. Some of them have finished high school but weren't able to get employment or go to university so they have tried starting up their own businesses. Let's just say that they don't quite understand how business works. We want to get them trained with practical business skills.  I have been looking into some business programs as well as some other more practical training courses.

We are also hoping to hold a big soccer camp over the holidays in August. Our boys would be the leaders and we would invite all the local kids to come and enjoy a week of soccer.

So we have lots of ideas. In the meantime, we are still spending everyday with them at the pitch, just showing them the love of Jesus!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sorting through my inbox...

I have started to go through the hundreds of emails in my inbox. Ok, they are not all in my inbox. I do have other folders that I keep them in that are labeled things like "Family", "Africa 2007", "Funny". Over the past few years, I have sorted my emails into these folders but have forgotten really whats in them. Some of my emails could have fallen under several categories. Like if my brother sent me a joke I could have put it under "Family" or "Funny". At the time, I probably just picked one and said to myself that I would organize it all one day.

Well that day has come. I am sorting through all my emails in all my folders. I am amazed at how many pointless emails I kept thinking that one day I would just love to read through them again. There are definitely some really precious ones that I am keeping and some with some great information that I could use in the future but for the most part, I have no sentimental or emotional attachment to any of them. I really don't know what I was thinking when I decided to keep them.

So I am purging most of them. And it feels so good! I am taking advantage of unlimited high speed internet while I can because I know that I won't have that luxury for a while (unless Kenya miraculously discovers high speed internet).

I am looking forward to clean inbox!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Feb 17th - Here I come Kenya!

I booked my ticket back to Kenya. February 17th is the big day of departure! I was just elated as I walked out of the travel agents office. I have been on cloud 9 all day.

It is also a one way ticket!

I know. Scary. But oh so exciting.

Let me tell you the story...

I was originally planning to head back to Kenya in May. I wanted to work for a few months to get the numbers in my bank account a little higher. I also needed to spend some sweet time with my family. I wanted to talk to some people about the Rehma and hopefully gain some support for them.

Well all that went out the window pretty fast. It has not been an easy few months. Pretty much all of MY plans didn't happen. I struggled big time. I could not get a job for the life of me! I must have applied to 15 different places (which is a lot when you consider what a small town I live in with few employment opportunities) and heard nothing. Nothing at all. For weeks. I started getting pretty bummed. I started doubting myself wondering what was wrong with me. One place I applied at hired a 14 year old boy over me! Although, I thought it was great because the owners were Christians and totally take the most random odd beat people on their staff.

Besides the failed job hunt, a few other plans of mine fell through and I was devastated. My health started to deteriorate again which always happens when I am in Canada. And the list goes on.

However, amongst all these disappointments, I got to have the most precious times in the hospital with my Deda before he died. I think he, above all, was the reason I was home. I found such unexpected joy visiting him in the hospital and spending hours at his bedside talking, holding his hand, praying or just being there while he slept. Incredible blessing.

Around Christmas I started getting antsy really asking God where He wanted me to be. I struggled big time. It was probably the first time in my life that I didn't have a plan. I didn't wake up in the mornings looking forward to anything. I didn't know where to go or what to do. I was lost. And I was scared.

Slowly the idea of going back to Kenya sooner started arising in my mind and, thankfully, in the mind of my parents. My dad, of all people, was the one who almost encouraged me to consider going back sooner.

I started praying  and seeking God. I started looking into flights and talking with good people I am accountable too. I debated what to do when I get there and tried to find some actual jobs in Kenya. All this led me to purchase my one-way ticket this morning!

Yup I am leavin' on a jet plane. Don't know when I'll be back again.

You must think I am crazy by now. But trust me there is more logic to it than you think. I am a very logical person. I don't make a decision without really thinking it all the way through. But sometimes God is not a very logical God. Which is not easy for us logical, always planning, realistic folk.

My main purpose for going back would be to work with the Rehma boys (I have collected almost all the equipment the boys need!) and to nurture and pursue a very special relationship in my life.

I would greatly appreciate your prayers. This is such an exciting leap of faith for me! Pray for my parents as their little girl goes off again to Africa this time not knowing when I will be back. Pray for finances (I would love to get a job in Kenya! it is quite difficult though). Pray for my everyday that God would guide me where He wants me and that I would humble myself enough to listen to Him. Just Pray.

Kenya, here I come again!

Two (actually three) special ways to give

I am big on giving. As most of you know, I love giving my time, efforts, money to africa. I am also very minimalistic and choose not to buy new clothes or buy a $2 cup of coffee when I could just make it at home. Thats just the way I am - or the way that I have changed over the past 5 years. I never used to be like this until I went to Africa, saw how much need there is and then fell passionately in love with Jesus who really digs giving. More so, I give my life to Jesus - for Him to work powerfully in and through me. To give up "ME" so that there can be more of "HIM". Ok, this post is not about my devotion to Jesus.

I like smart giving. I like giving that empowers people, is sustainable, and that doesn't make the problem worse. In Kenya, there are a ton of beggars. Yes, they are probably hungry but is giving them food really what they need? OK, yes it is what they need but wouldn't it be better to give them the tools to be able to get their own food?? I hate to say it, but when you give to most beggars, you are really just fuelling them to keep begging.

Anyways, so I love these two ways of giving:

1. Child Sponsorship- Ever since I could remember, my family has always sponsored a child. I used to love getting mail from our sponsor child and seeing how we (well my parents) are helping their lives. My parents still have the same sponsor children that we had when we were young. I now sponsor a child. I actually got to pick my child as I had known her for almost two years. I can't tell you how awesome and wonderful it is to sponsor her. I get the privilege to actually see her a few times a year which is rare for most child sponsorships, but I also delight in her little letters that she sends me. The latest one said "Nikole I thank you that I have not had to be sent home for school fees." In Kenya, parents struggle to take their kids to school  because it is so expensive for them. Usually if their fees are not paid by a certain date, they have to be sent home to collect them. This is so common in Kenya so my sponsor girl realizes how great it is not to be sent home. And I love that she gets to go to school with no worries. If you have never sponsored a child or want to sponsor one I suggest Empowering Lives International (most because I know half the kids and sponsor coordinator is a good friend of mine). Just google them. $30 a month is really not that hard to give up. Just make more coffee at home.

2. Kiva - I have known about this for a few years but it was just last month that I decided to try it. I even gave it as a gift to my brother and father for christmas. It is a lending system where you can lend to people around the world to help them start a business and they will eventually pay you back!!  The great part is that you actually get to chose who want to give to and then track their progress. It is the coolest thing!! So if you really want to give money but figure you might need it back some day, this is perfect for you. Just over a month ago, I lent $25 to a girl in Israel who wanted to start her own DJ business. So my money helped her to buy equipment. I was surprised when I got an email the other day saying that $3.28 of my loan had already been paid off! Wow, she must be a pretty talented DJ. I highly suggest this form of giving. It is sustainable, empowering and you get your money back!

Alright, the third special way to give is to my Rehma boys. I can't tell you how much I love these boys and so desire for them to become amazing men. I will update in a few days of the progress they have made and how you can help my sweet boys.

I hope this has inspired you to give up a few lattes and give a little to some pretty awesome people around the world!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Maybe just a little excessive...

I don't like planes. At all. Which is rather ironic since I travel on them a lot. Last January, I took 6 planes just to get to Kenya. Yup, I did not enjoy that at all. At all.

I think my fear is getting worse as I am getting older. I remember when I used to just trust whatever the travel agent would book for me. My only criteria was price. I just wanted the cheapest flight I could get. So I didn't care what airlines it was or how many planes I had to take or how long my layovers were. But now I have become a bit more picky.

I am currently looking into one-way flights to Kenya for next month (YUP! I am going back! SO exciting! Will write more about that later). The cheapest flight I found on my own was a flight plan to LA then Dubai then Nairobi. First of all, I was excited about getting to go to Dubai but once I found out that the flight from LA to Dubai was almost 16 hours long, my stomach dropped. That flight plan would take me 3 days to get to Kenya. It was through Emirates airlines though, which is one of the top airlines in the world. So I started looking at the Emirates website and what they offered. Then I looked at numerous reviews of the company from many different sources. Then I looked up which aircraft I would travel on and search their safety ratings. Then I searched airplane safety in general. I tried to convince myself that I could bear the 16 hour flight (and an overnight layover in LA) because it is such a great airlines and I would get to see Dubai for a few hours.

However, a few days later I gave up that idea and went to a travel agent to see if she could find me a more favourable flight plan in the same price range. I told her what I was looking for and she said she would need some time to look it up as I was quite specific.

I got a call from her this afternoon with some news. She told me she found another flight plan that was a smidgen cheaper and didn't involve any 16- hour flights or crazy overnight lay-overs. It is from Vancouver to Chicago to London to Nairobi. Not bad. I then asked what the airlines were. She told me that the first two flights were Delta and the last flight was Kenya Airways. Again, my stomach dropped. Not the biggest fan of those airlines. So again I started my research on the airlines, their aircraft, their services, safety ratings, and reviews. I have to say, I wasn't to pleased with what I found. They are definitely not some of the top airlines in the world. I just remember being in Kenya in 2007 and we had to have a 'day of mourning' because a Kenya Airways plane crashed in Cameroon. Ever since then, I have always been nervous about them (even though I did fly home on them last year and it wasn't all that bad).

My mind was racing. Which route should I go? Do I want comfort or a short trip? Or should I should fork out the cash and get what I want???

Then I stopped. And realized that I was getting a bit out of control. A little bit excessive. And realized...

Where is my trust in God?

I have put my trust in airplanes and safety ratings and reviews and man made things but have not once consulted God and put my trust in Him. He is the one who created all things. He created the air, the sky, the land, oceans, airplanes, safety, great systems, turbulence, and all those things. He created the universe and all things in it. So why must I be afraid? He is awesome and powerful and mighty and all-knowing. So why fret?

So I have surrendered it to Him and vowed that I would no longer stress over it. And if I crash into the ocean, I just get to be with my King a lot sooner.

TRUST in the Lord with ALL your heart and LEAN NOT on your own understanding...

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Tumaini Children's Choir

Alright, these are the last of my videos for now. I will try get more videos that aren't just singing and dancing. 

These kids are so precious to me. They are the kids from Empowering Lives Children's Home. This is the first place I went to on my first trip to Kenya in 2005. I am privileged to be able to watch them grow up. Over the past couple years they have slowly formed a choir. They were able to record their own songs, make a video, get some fancy outfits and perform out in the community. They have called themselves the "Tumaini children's choir" ('tumaini' means 'hope' in swahili). It is a special treat to watch them perform. Hope you enjoy (especially those who know these kids!) 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


The highlight of the last few days for me was definitely seeing my cousins again. I haven't seen them since Christmas last year. Now, we have never been super close like some families are. This is because of many reasons. First, they have always lived far away from us so we only really got to see them during holidays. Second, my parents seemed to be ahead of everyone else and had children much sooner. I am the first grandchild on both sides of my family. Third, I was followed by a gang of boys. After me came my brother and then, over the next 9 years, my aunties only gave birth to boys. So I never quite fit in because I was always the oldest (and then years ahead maturity wise) and I was interested in dolls and pop stars while my cousins like toy trucks and lego. It wasn't until I was 10 years old that I got my first girl cousin. Then I had to wait a few years to be able to play with her but even when she reached that age, I was past playing and was more into music and fashion. So all my girl cousins are 10-15 years younger than I am. 

Nonetheless, they are my cousins and I love to see how they are growing up and turning into some pretty cool people. 

My brother, Mark (right), and Micki have always been a cheeky pair. 

Amanda is my only girl cousin on my mom's side. She is 10 years younger than I am. She has an elastic backbone and can pretty much make any shape with her body. It freaked us all out. 

I love my brother!

Me and amanda doing the dishes!

We took them to a local tobogganing hill since they all live in the city and never see snow. At the top of the hill is Jeremy. 

I live in a boys world. They are past lego and now play poker.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Is the ride over yet?

Is this roller coaster ride over yet???

This month has been quite the roller coaster ride for our family. And I am about ready for this ride to be over.

Things seem to climb upwards and then they eventually get over the hill and fall down fast. Then add in some extra twists and turns, and a few screams, laughs, and cries (ok a lot of cries). We turn a corner and things start going up slowly again but then it seems that something happens and we come tumbling down again hard. We spend sometime regrouping and then again some more twists and turns seem to come unexpectedly.

I have always hated roller coasters. I never liked them since I was a little girl.

I hope the ride has at least slowed down a little after finishing the last part of my Deda's funeral.

 Yes, the last part. It has been over the past 3 days. My grandparents are part of a certain culture and faith called the Doukhobors. You can search it on the internet for yourself if you want to know more about them and maybe one day I will write something about it on here. Their funerals last for 3 days and involve a lot of russian hymns and prayers and many formalities. They say that it 'helps with the transition of the soul into heaven'. It is in 6 weeks that we will do another service at the grave sight where they believe the soul will be accepted into heaven(it has to do something with the timeline of when Jesus rose again after being crucified and then Him eventually ascending into heaven).

It is my culture but it is not my faith. I think my grandparents were the only ones who believe in it and none of their children have decided to follow it. However, it does have a rich culture which I have grown up in and do admire in many ways. We did the funeral for Deda because that is what he would have wanted.

So now that Deda is gone, I am praying that life settles down a little bit. My dad is still on crutches (thats another long story) and my dog walks lopsided (again, another long story). But I am praying that this season or 'ride' comes to an end soon. I wouldn't mind to just stop and relax for a little while.

To everything there is a season,

 A time for every purpose under heaven: 
        A time to be born, 
And a time to die; 
      A time to plant, 
And a time to pluck what is planted; 
       A time to kill, 
And a time to heal; 
      A time to break down, 
And a time to build up; 
       A time to weep, 
And a time to laugh; 
      A time to mourn, 
And a time to dance; 
       A time to cast away stones, 
And a time to gather stones; 
      A time to embrace, 
And a time to refrain from embracing; 
        A time to gain, 
And a time to lose; 
      A time to keep, 
And a time to throw away; 
       A time to tear, 
And a time to sew; 
      A time to keep silence, 
And a time to speak; 
        A time to love, 
And a time to hate; 
      A time of war, 
And a time of peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Thursday, January 6, 2011

You make me strong

This verse has been running through my head every second of the day it seems. Two days ago, I opened my bible (the message version) to one of my fav psalms (psalm 18). I read the first verse and I was done. I didn't even read anymore. That was enough for me. That's what I needed to get me through. 

My grandfather passed away two nights ago. 

He had been in the hospital since before I left Kenya. He had an aneurism that burst and he miraculously survived. But as he spent the past 2 and a half months in the ICU, his body seemed to go up and down. He made huge improvements but also had many set backs. Finally on Monday night, he decided that he was done. 

It has hit our family hard. He was the last male/paternal figure in our family. And over the past few days we have realized what an impact he had in our little community. My mother was definitely a daddy's girl so she is struggling the most. 

I will miss my Deda. I didn't realize how much. I was looking forward to him being at my wedding or seeing my children. I wanted more time with him. I am not sure where he is. We had a lot of great talks about Jesus so I hope that Jesus took him home and that he is rejoicing in his new body. 

Pray for our family. We need it. 

I love you God, you make me strong. 

The last picture of me and Deda before I left for Kenya last year.