A mission to Kenya

I had the opportunity this month to travel to Nairobi and Sakwa, Kenya on a mission trip with Mission:Hope, an organization headed by my friend from all the way back in middle school, Natalie West Evans. Natalie is also the wife of the pastor at my church.

I invited Maya Bond-Duarte, a graduating midwife student from the school I was teaching at, to come as well. WHAT.A.TRIP!

We arrived in Nairobi very late in the evening, and were greeted at the airport by Roberta Peterson, our host for this trip. She is an incredible woman from NC that has a heart for Kenya and lives in Sakwa doing amazing work! We showered and hit the sack after 19+ hours of flying. Up early and a hearty breakfast and off on a 6 hour, bumpy ride to Sakwa. On the way we stopped at the Great Rift Valley viewpoint. What views we had!

Natalie, Roberta, Me, Maya and Petranila

Natalie, Roberta, Me, Maya and Petranila

We had two main objectives on this trip. To provide educational seminars and a clinic to the women of the community and to spend time with the children at the Hope Educational Center, where Roberta is the Matron.



We held our seminar at the church. Words cannot even begin to express the joy at seeing 170+ women sitting in that church listening to health education seminars. We spoke on the importance of care during pregnancy, breastfeeding, family planning and HIV.

Women's Health Seminar

Women’s Health Seminar

Maya, Evelyne and I saw about 50 women for various and assorted ailments in the church, while Michelle (part of the NC team) saw women in an outer building for HIV testing and family planning.

Maya, Evelyne and I saw about 50 women for various and assorted ailments in the church, while Michelle (part of the NC team) saw women in an outer building for HIV testing and family planning.

Evelyne Osano is an amazing woman. She lives and works in Kisii, Kenya. She is a registered nurse and her husband is a pastor. They have a beautiful little girl named Blessing. Evelyne works full time at a local hospital and then comes home and runs a clinic, financed with her own money. She loves her community THAT much! It was an honor to meet such an amazing woman. She inspires me to do more!

Evelyne and Me... Love this amazing woman!

Evelyne and Me… Love this amazing woman!

Me, Evelyne and Maya

Me, Evelyne and Maya

Showing Evelyne the medical supplies that I collected and brought with me. Donations provided by many of my midwife friends and the birth centers they work at.

Showing Evelyne the medical supplies that I collected and brought with me. Donations provided by many of my midwife friends and the birth centers they work at.

The next day we got to spend time with the kids!!! Oh my, what wonderful kids! We read to them, sang with them, were welcomed by them, made rainbow faith bead bracelets with them and danced with them!

This is Natalie with the kids :)

This is Natalie with the kids :)

Me teaching the kids the Hokey Pokey!

Me teaching the kids the Hokey Pokey!

I love this photo of Maya!

I love this photo of Maya!

Me reading Bugs, Bugs, Bugs to the kids.

Me reading Bugs, Bugs, Bugs to the kids.

Reading to the kids.

Reading to the kids.

Natalie and I on Field Day with the kids.

Natalie and I on Field Day with the kids.

Maya tying the bracelets on the kids. Natalie read the story of how Jesus is our friend.

Maya tying the bracelets on the kids. Natalie read the story of how Jesus is our friend.

I even kicked a GOAL in a soccer game!!!



We had AMAZING food at our host home in Sakwa!!

This lunch was provided by the local ladies on our Women's Health Seminar day... YUM!!! Goat, greens and ugali... Mmmm, Mmmmm!

This lunch was provided by the local ladies on our Women’s Health Seminar day… YUM!!! Goat, greens and ugali… Mmmm, Mmmmm!

This little man stole my heart. On the day we were doing the Women’s Health Seminar he approached shyly and asked if I had a pen he could use for school. In 4th grade they stop using pencils and use pens instead. I gave him the pen I had brought from the States. He goes to the public school in town. As the days went by, he showed me each day that he still had my pen and let me know he was using it in his studies. On the last day we were there, he and other public school children were standing outside the Hope Educational Center watching the children put on a presentation just for us. As I left, he gave me a hug and said, “Thank you my friend, for the pen”. My heart melted! On our journey back to Nairobi I asked Roberta what it takes to sponsor a child to go to school at the Hope Educational Center. $60 pays for a years tuition, uniform, satchel bag and some supplies. YES, THAT IS SIXTY U.S. DOLLARS, A YEAR! A hundred dollars will help sponsor a kid and supply the school. I will sponsor this young man for many years. He will forever hold a place in my heart <3 If you are interested in more information, you can contact me privately at sandiblankenshiprm@gmail.com.

I left part of my heart in Sakwa, with this little guy!

Here are more pics of the kids… lots more.

Maya reading with one of the wonderful teachers watching.

Maya reading with one of the wonderful teachers watching.

My naughty boy

Saying goodbye

The walk home

Walking home

Tomorrow… the Safari. :D


A Response to ‘Women Against Feminism.’


Thought provoking!

Originally posted on iwantedwings:

Imagine this:

The year is 2014. You are a white Western woman. You wake up in the morning in a comfortably sized house or flat. You have a full or part-time job that enables you to pay your rent or mortgage. You have been to school and maybe even college or university as well. You can read and write and count. You own a car or have a driver’s licence. You have enough money in your own bank account to feed and clothe yourself. You have access to the Internet. You can vote. You have a boyfriend or girlfriend of your choosing, who you can also marry if you want to, and raise a family with. You walk down the street wearing whatever you feel like wearing. You can go to bars and clubs and sleep with whomever you want.

Your world is full of freedom and possibility.

Then you…

View original 1,400 more words

On My Way, Home Sweet Home

I’m sitting in the airport hotel, dressed, packed, phones charged, coffee in hand excited to be going home.

It’s been a fantastic work trip that included some play time. Two adorable baby boys born 2 weeks apart in China, time spent getting to know 2 more families who I will love and cherish… So blessed to have been welcomed into their homes and be with them while experiencing the beauty of birth. It never gets old for me, no matter how many times I’m present at a birth.

I also traveled to Jinan, China (near Bejing) to teach staff at the hospital there about the importance of water birth and breastfeeding. Beautiful city, lovely people!

I also was part of a month long virtual race in June. Held by fellow blogger Tatjana, the Midsummer Sun Kilomathon was a great way to get in that much needed exercise. It was HOT here in China and Hong Kong, but I did it. In fact I completed 107 kilometers which is 66.5 miles!

I finished off the trip to Asia with a 5 day trip with my friend Lillian “Alice” Sanpere to Ubud, Bali. We stayed with Robin Lim who runs Bumi Sehat, a non-profit birth center where care for the locals is free. What a giving, loving, honorable woman. Doing so much to ensure that babies enter this world gently. Alice and I were invited to be part of a birth there and it was magical.

So, I’ll let the photos do the talking. I’ve got to call for the bell cart to get my stuff over to the airport.
















Dukan Diet – Days 9 & 10 – A baby and an update on Tiff

Eating strict Dukan, feeling groovy! Feeling very good about the diet and the exercise. I set a goal to do 25 miles by July 1st, I surpassed that this afternoon! It’s the 11th! Woot!!!

The support I’ve had for Tiffany from family and friends, local and afar, has been amazing. I feel so blessed. Tiffany is feeling overwhelmed by the generosity. A reply yesterday from her had me in tears… My love, Tiffany, you DO deserve the love and support of all these people. TIFF had her heel set and she’s now in a cast up to her knee, no weight bearing for 6 weeks. Hard with four kids, but she’ll be able to do it with continued support. She had pain relief initially we the cast, but now that her swelling is going down, she’s actually having pain again. The doc will put on a smaller cast Monday, to support it more.

And…. A baby. A lovely wee boy slipped into my hands yesterday afternoon. This is my 2nd of the two babies I came to China to assist earthside. I’ve said it a few thousand times and will continue saying, I am so blessed to be present and in service to families at their births. I came home, had dinner and did 5K, faster than I had in a long time (which is slow for most, but fast for me… At least I’m out there, lol). A birth high… Feels so good!


During this run I also restarted C25K because Jenni and Sadie are doing it (my oldest daughter and my granddaughter). They started yesterday, too. So when I get home, we’ll be up to speed with each other and can run together. We’re doing the virtual kilomathon together this month and a 5K near home together in September. Three generations running together… How cool is that?!?!

Dukan Diet Days 7 & 8 – PP&PV – and a mom’s worse nightmare

Sticking to the diet, I have a scale that’s accessible and I’m down 7 pounds from when I left the States! I’d like to see a bit more, but I’ll take it!

Also getting walking in every single day and lots of water!

Just before walking out the door for church yesterday morning, my iPhone rings with a FaceTime call. It’s Tiffany!! My youngest (she’s 28, but still my baby!!). Horror registers on my face as I realize she is in a neck immobilizer on a back board!!! And we have a crappy signal and I CAN’T UNDERSTAND WHAT SHE IS SAYING!!! Fear gripped my heart, we lost the connection! I called right back and Joey (her hubby) takes the phone outside of the ER to tell me my child had fallen 10 feet from the attic to the living room, tiled floor. They’ve just arrived at the ER by ambulance and they know nothing. I go to church. Praying upon all that is mighty that my baby is OK. Please don’t let her have a head injury, please let her be whole.

Lots of X-rays later, she has a shattered heel, no head injury (PTL!!) and is bruised on much of her body. She’s in a great deal of pain. In fact she just called me crying :(

I set up a take them a meal page and my family and friends are doing what they can to be there for her… I am so grateful for the amazing people in my life. Please keep Tiffany in your thoughts and prayers. Here’s a couple pics, one is her foot and one is her back.



One more speed bump for us to get over…


Dukan Diet Redo – Day 4 & 5 – PP/PV

I’ve had a busy first few days in Shanghai getting settled in, meeting new people, finding the grocery stores, etc. I am staying with friends of the couple I am here to assist and they are all lovely. On Wednesday I got to hang out with the awesome kids at Amy’s house and then came back to the flat I am staying in and met a pretty awesome 5 1/2 year old… she thought I came to Shanghai to be a “wife” for Amy, too stinkin’ cute.

Day 4 Food:
Breakfast: 2 tea eggs
Lunch: salami (yes, I know that the fat is too high for Dukan, but it’s what was available, lol) and 2 ounces of low fat cheese
Dinner: Beef stir fry
Snack: FF Greek yogurt with flax seed
Water: 1300mL
Exercise: Walked around all day and didn’t calculate that, but did an intentional interval walk: 1.9 miles

View from the balcony of the flat I’m staying in. It’s been around 70 degrees and hazy since I got here Tuesday evening. The sun peeks through the haze every once in a while :)

Thursday was Day 5:
Breakfast: 2 fried eggs and a sausage link
Lunch: Iced coffee and FF Greek yogurt
Dinner: Cauliflower stir fried with ginger and spicy something!! Yum and some beef stir fry, as well. So yummy!
Snack: FF Greek yogurt
Water: 1500mL
Exercise: 2.2 interval walk + walking around all day.

I have my blue tooth keyboard hooked up to my iPad so typing is so much faster and easier!


It’s Friday afternoon here, just found out the Miami Heat lost to the Spurs… argh… they need to get it together!!! I’m off to explore the streets!


Dukan Diet Redo – Day 3 – Attack

So now I’m in Shanghai. Nice 2 hour flight delayed by rain, but settling in. 

Breakfast: Tea Eggs

Lunch: Roast beef and FF Greek yogurt

Dinner: Chicken breast, garlic scapes

Water: more than 1500mL

Exercise: 2.25 miles + tons of walking at airport!

I’m excited to be back in Shanghai. Looking forward to a visit in Hangzhou after this baby is born. 


Run or walk this June and earn a beautiful medal!


I’ve signed up and I’ve invited my Facebook friends to sign up… What a great way to get some exercise this summer and it’s for a good cause! I’m in China for most of June, so my walks will be here… Where will yours be?

Originally posted on run eat life:

I loved my first virtual race so much that I thought I’d do it again! In April I raised over $1,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I would like to top this in June!

This June, run or walk 1k each night or run or walk a 5k any time in June to earn this beautiful medal (designed by Lahela Schoessler).

medal photo small

How does this work?
You can chose:

  • Run or walk a 5K fun run any time in June and enjoy the midnight sun! Take your kids, your spouse, your best friend and run or walk together!


  • Run or walk 30K in June. Run or walk 1K every evening and enjoy the midnight sun or break up the 30K any way you like. 30K is 18.64 miles.

How much will this cost?
$25 entry (profits will go to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society). $30 for participants outside…

View original 75 more words



Go spend 22 wonderful minutes watching this video on my friend Sandra’s blog… you’ll discover the wonderful POSSIBILITIES!

Originally posted on A Promise to Dad:

I feel a deep need to share this with you.  A video I came across almost exactly four years ago today.  A video that changed my perspective at a time that I needed it desperately.  Make sure you watch the part about the dandelions.

I am in a place right now that requires me to find the positive.

View original


Wow! So, Merry Christmas! It’s been a few weeks. I really miss blogging!!! I have so little time to do it, but I must get better at posting.

I have 3 jobs… yes THREE! So I have very little time to do much else but work and squeeze in some exercise!

I’ve fun two 5Ks this month and begun doing Galloway Half-marathon training. This week we ran 6.34 miles so 10K +!!! I actually did it. I’m definitely feeling it today, lol, but the joy of actually finishing surpasses all of that!!!

6.37 miles which is a little more than 10 kms!

6.37 miles which is a little more than 10 kms!

This morning at church, my friend Natalie took photos of the families… this is the one she took of my clan…

Front: Jose, Sofia, Shane & Sadie Back: Joey, Tiffany, Sydnie, Me & Nick

Front: Jose, Sofia, Shane & Sadie
Back: Joey, Tiffany, Sydnie, Me & Nick

After church my son and I decided to take a bike ride to breakfast….

On the way to breakfast!

On the way to breakfast!

And then a different route home…

Bike ride home from breakfast.

Bike ride home from breakfast.

And a few pics to round things out…

Color Vibe earlier this month!

Color Vibe earlier this month! Elizabeth, Linnea, Me and Michele!


My new bike!

My new bike!

Saw 50 Shades the Musical (which was HYSTERICAL!!!!) with my girlies!

Saw 50 Shades the Musical (which was HYSTERICAL!!!!) with my girlies!

And a night out with friends that turned out to be quite profitable for Sadie and her rubberband bracelet sales!!!

And a night out with friends that turned out to be quite profitable for Sadie and her rubberband bracelet sales!!!

We had Christmas dinner at GOLDEN CORRAL! Can I tell you how much fun it was not having to cook and clean?!?!? And it was WAY cheaper than Thanksgiving! We had a fantastic waitress named Natasha who took very good care of us and we got to eat all we wanted to!!

I also had 2 out of town business trips this month! One to San Antonio, TX and one to Tallahassee, FL (which even though it’s in my state, it’s a 7 hour drive!) And assisted on a couple births, one a water birth :)


So that’s my December wrap up! It’ll probably be next year before I get another blog post in! LOL