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.

Roberta

Roberta

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 πŸ™‚

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!!!

Goal!

Goal!

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 ❀ 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. πŸ˜€

Ciao!

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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

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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 πŸ™‚

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!

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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!

Ciao!

Let’s Have A Catch Up!

Well thank you, Mona, for the kick in the butt to write a blog πŸ™‚

Where to start? The radio show I talked about in my last blog was so much fun! I had nausea all day that day, for nothing! The hosts made me feel like we were sitting in a comfy den, chatting over coffee. If you missed it you can click here: Sandi on Maternally Yours radio

The first weekend in September I traveled to our nation’s capital to visit my friend Rana, her husband Mohammed and their son Azooz. They were here visiting from Abu Dhabi. So wonderful seeing Rana. She is like a sister to me and I cherish our friendship!

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I can’t believe how big Azooz has gotten!

On Monday morning my dear friend Danielle came visiting!

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We had a wonderful breakfast with Rana and then she dropped us off…

We visited The Mall, the Lincoln Memorial at one end, and the new Martin Luther King, Jr Memorial. We even saw President Obama when his helicopter flew just above our heads at the MLK Memorial.

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Oh, and this happened first thing Monday morning! I didn’t let it prevent me from walking all over DC!

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I just did this…

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And continued on.

On Tuesday I spent about 5 hours walking around Arlington National Cemetery. What an amazing experience.

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The servicemen and women in this section were born in the 80’s and 90’s very sobering. I found myself whispering, “thank you”, over and over.

Then it was time to fly home. Wednesday morning I drove to work and then went to my chiropractor Ian Schtulman’s office for an X-ray. Diagnosis… Fractured 5th metatarsal. That’s a fancy word for broken foot. So I am now wearing this gorgeous fashion accessory…

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That night was girls night out… Nothing like hanging with the girlies! I met some new friends who are just as awesome as the old gang!

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Friday brought me to the International Institute for Health Care Professionals where I have the honor to teach student midwives. I have to say its the highlight of my week… Here are some of my girls at lunch with me…

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Saturday I was suppose to run the 9/11 Heroes Run, but broken foot wouldn’t allow me. So I got up early to support my friends who were running it and took pics!

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Saturday night was my friend Lorie’s 50th birthday party… It was a wear all white party, which I thought was an awesome concept… Then I found out why…

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Yes, that’s me, all did up!

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I was spared the color fun due to my broken foot πŸ˜€

Sunday morning spent with family at Life Church Jensen Beach… The part of the week I really look forward to! I stopped for a sunrise coffee…

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Sunday afternoon spent having a BBQ with my friends Ed and Elizabeth… Watched my Dolphins win their season opener and the Serena win the US Open… Phone call from midwife colleague Tammy to GO NOW to an address she texted me… She had three births going at the same time! What an honor to assist one of my former assistants and be present at beautiful beginnings…
This is me charting on the electronic medical record on my iPhone (technology rocks!!) and assisting the baby with breastfeeding at the same time πŸ™‚

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At midnight the birth workers, having been present at 5 births total this beautiful Sunday, gathered at the Irish pub for libations and to exchange birth stories… I love these beautiful women!

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Poured down the rain on the 70 mile commute on Monday morning. Cranky from the rain or lack of sleep? Nope… Thankful for the busyness of my life and for the rain to nourish my space here on Earth. I was rewarded with this, just as I pulled into work…

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Busy, busy week working all my jobs… Monday & Wednesday the Birth House, Tuesday & Thursday SLB Billing (my midwife billing service), also did a ton of paperwork to help a sister midwife get caught up. Thursday night, Life Groups (another highlight of my week), Friday teaching in Boca at the midwife college.

Wednesday, September 11 was my baby Tiffany’s 28th birthday. We also buried my Uncle Russell at the So. Florida Veteran’s Memorial Park. Uncle Russ was my mom’s little brother and Tiffany’s Godfather. He will be missed. He was quite the jokester!

And then off on another travel adventure to catch a baby in the Virgin Islands…

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I missed baggage check in by TWO MINUTES, so had to change flight to 8 hours later… Not a big deal. Had a yummy breakfast…

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And hung out in the Admirals Lounge for the day. Even got to watch my Dolphins win the 2nd game of the season! I “checked-in” on Four Square from the Admirals Lounge and American Airlines TWEETED about me on their Twitter account… How cool is that???

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Ill post an update from St. John in a couple of days… Need to make breakfast and get ready for the beach πŸ™‚ Here’s a couple teaser photos…

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Sunset

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View from the flat I’m staying in.

I hope everyone is having an amazing September!

Ciao!

What a Week and a Half

It’s been 10 days of up and downs, but things are improving!

Last Sunday a bike ride after church and then a drive 70 miles northΒ to Melborne to visit Nick in the hospital. Very sick, my boy 😦  He had surgery for this unknown infection in his left leg at 0700. Ask for prayers for healing… so many responses… THANK YOU!

Monday drive 70 miles south to job at the birth center. Call on my drive home, Nick being rushed back into surgery after spiking at 104.6 temp.

Tuesday drive 70 miles north to see Nick. Things not looking good. Surgeon says he may have to amputate to save Nick’s life. Lots and lots of prayer and healing energy, lots of emails and messages on facebook… my friends are AWESOME! Still no work on what this infection is.

Wednesday. Drive 70 miles south to birth center drive. In the late afternoon we’re told that it’s Group G strep… I’ve never heard of it. Conversation with my friend Julie so positive and full of light. Great suggestions! She also sends texts which I forward to Nick. I go to my Wednesday night bible study and everyone asks how Nick is… prayers said, uplifted by everyone’s spirit and positivity. Go to wifi cafe to read up on this G strep and it doesn’t look good. The first study I read 1 in 5 die. 2 of the 4 that survive have amputation. I decide to meditate on his leg and body being WHOLE. I went home, tucked Sydnie into bed and went for a 45 minute run… forgot to set the RunKeeper, but think it was about 3 miles total.

Thursday… NO IDEA WHAT I DID… LOL Oh wait! Tiffany and I ran the billing business all day… sheesh, I have NO BRAIN! Nick got his PICC line. That is an indwelling catheter in his subclavian artery so they don’t have to keep poking him for blood draws and resticking for IVs every 72 hours. Nick will be receiving long term antibiotics through this port for approximately a month.

Friday… Drive 80 miles to my college teaching job. Had a GREAT class. I really, really love teaching midwifery. LOVE IT. Then 10 miles north to the birth center to hook up with my girls and a 180 mile drive across the state to the west coast to see the mother of US midwifery Ina Mae Gaskin’s film premier and a meet and greet with her. Thank you boss lady, Miriam, for the trip… you’re the best… I still think the highlight of the trip was the stop at the TACO TRUCK in the middle of nowhere (South Bay) on the way over. FYI: I only ate the pork with the onions and cilantro… yum!!! Then 180 miles back to the birth center, where I spent the night, exhausted!

Saturday… Drive 70 miles north to home. Catch up on housework, saw the grandkids, did a nice bike ride. Nick improving. Doc cautiously optomistic. No temp over 100 for 3 days!!! Woo hoo!!!

Sunday… rode my bike to church 4.25 miles. Then rode it home, but took the long way…

Gorgeous day for a long bike ride!

Gorgeous day for a long bike ride!

My butt hurts, LOL. But it was a GORGEOUS ride! Lots of time to think and not think and just enjoy the wind in my hair. Nick update… surgeon says Nick is doing so well, he MIGHT go home this week! Last Tuesday he told him he’d be in hospital for at least 3 weeks! He will keep his PICC line in and continue on the long term antibiotics, but be at home. This is awesome news!

Monday… 70 mile drive to birth center job. It’s EARTH DAY and we’re celebrating. So much fun! Nick is still doing well and is waiting on news whether he gets to go home this week.

On the Dukan front… I’m eating very well, but my weight isn’t budging. I was starting to get VERY discouraged, but had a pep talk with myself. I know the Dukan Diet works… I mean everyone that follows this blog knows that. I also know that stress causes cortisol levels to rise, which makes it difficult to lose weight… I’m thinking my cortisol levels are through the roof this past week and a half πŸ™‚ My weight is 164. I’ll take that, for now. I’m focusing on my boy and that’s what is important. I’ll just keep eating right and it’ll happen.

So that’s the update. Waiting on word on whether he is going home today. My mom and sis are on the way there now. I’ve been skyping him on days I can’t be there. And I am so grateful for the technology that we have!

Skyping with Nick

Skyping with Nick

My bike... a gift for which I'm grateful :)

My bike… a gift for which I’m grateful πŸ™‚

Ina Mae Gaskin at her movie premier.

Ina Mae Gaskin at her movie premier.

So that’s my week… what have you been up to? How is your exercise and food choices going?

Ciao!

Exercise – Hiking & Walking Adelaide

I am really enjoying my time in Adelaide. I’m staying with a lovely family, who are healthy and active and I’m eating good, fresh, organic food and getting tons of exercise!
I’ve met up with several people from MeetUp Adelaide and have done some amazing hikes in the mountains, beachside cliffs and national parks. Here are some stats and pictures…

Waterfall Gully up to Mount Lofty. Very steep!

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Belair National Forest… Lots of Roos and koalas!!!

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And yesterday a beachside cliff hike and swimming and a 90 minute reef snorkle (my calves are red!) and then another hike… Wonderful day and only one pic! LOL, my hiking companion took a ton of pictures so hopefully will have some to upload soon!

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So, lots of exercise, good food and sunshine! I hope everyone out there is getting at least a 20 minute daily walk in! Get off the computer and go out now πŸ™‚
Ciao! xoxo

Travel – Australia

G’day Mates!
So I’ve been in Australia, on business, for 10 days and thought I’d share some of my pictures with you. I can’t express the happiness I have strolling through a park and seeing koalas hanging out in the tree. Not a zoo, just a national park. And the kangaroos and cockatoos and kookaburras and Galahs. Pretty awesome πŸ™‚

The family I’m staying with eat all organic and mostly gluten-free which is wonderful. Good healthy eating, lots of hiking and fresh air! I met some people from Meet-Up here and have hiked a couple of times with them.

Here’s the pics…

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Three koalas in a tree πŸ™‚

Magpie… You lookin’ at me?

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I made yummy gluten-free coconut muffins…

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And another sunset…

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So, that’s the first ten days… I’ve got a few recipes to post, hopefully in the next couple of days!

Ciao!