I'm a dreamer at heart and often I like to fly by the seat of my pants.

I suffer from depression and have for most of my life. I am no longer willing to stay silent about it. My hope is to share with others about this disease so they might understand it a bit better.

"I dare to believe!"

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Meet My Brother

Meet My Brother

Some of you may wonder who is this “brother” that Berta is talking about? Why is she so excited about his visit? Please allow me to take a few minutes of your time and share what is on my heart.

Some basics: {The rough population in Lusaka Zambia is 5 million people, where only 5% of the people are employed. Many orphans live in the streets and have no one to take care of them. There is little food, little shelter and poor water.  They bury approximately 200 people a day due to Malaria, Aids, Starvation and other diseases.}

Bishop Naison Nyonyo lives in Lusaka Zambia with his wife and family (he has 5 children of 7 still living at home).  He is a pastor and district over seer in Lusaka and surrounding areas where he supervises some 98 churches.  This is all done via city transit (which means a glorified mini-van that holds perhaps 18 people PACKED side by side).

At his local church he has approximately 500 people in attendance each Sunday.
They sit on rough made benches and pack as many in as will fit, be that standing or sitting (it is not a large building).

There are 125 orphans that his church feeds daily. Their once a day meal consists mainly of "n'shima” which is made from mealie-meal (mealie-meal is similar to corn meal) this is boiled until it reaches a thick, pasty consistency. “N’shima” is their main food source of nourishment. Sometimes they may also serve “kapenta” which are small whole fish, caught locally (about the size of minnows). Some days they serve “rape” (much like collard greens) along with “n’shima”.  They accomplish this with approximately $50 a month.  Some months the money is short and the children do not eat.

The majority of children have no place to call “home”, nowhere to sleep, no blankets to keep them warm and no shoes on their feet.  Believe it or not it does get cold in Zambia Africa.  Their winter months are during our (USA) summer months.  The temperatures drop into the 40s and stay cold enough during the day to need jackets.

The Zambian government does not offer help as we do in the USA.  They have to pay for their children to go to school, books, uniforms, supplies and PTA (Parent Teacher Association) fees.  If ANY of these are not paid, the child cannot go to school.

MANY young Zambian girls of ages 10 – 12 are sent out by their families to the streets to become prostitutes to bring money home to feed their families.  Often times these girls do not live long due to violence etc.  Soon they mature into young women, get pregnant, contract AIDS, pass the AIDS to their babies and the vicious cycle repeats.

I realize in the BIG picture this is just one place in a 3rd world country… but it happens to be the place that my heart aches for.  In Bishop Nyonyo’s case he one man trying to make a difference in his community.  Educating and feeding 125 orphans. He is not a rich man, he only has what is given to him.  His children have education only because someone helps to send them to school, he only has food on the table for his family because someone cares to share their blessings with him.  There are times when his family does not eat… he has been blessed to be able to feed his family on a regular basis of at least one meal a day now.  But he has seen years of only feeding his family once a week…yes, I said once a WEEK.

Yes, we have many issues in the USA… we have slums, hungry families, families without jobs, families without homes… we in America should be ashamed of what we have allowed our country to become.  WE have the ability to take care of our own… we have the knowledge, we have the technology and yet in our own country we find similar situations as they do in 3rd world countries.  We CAN change it.

So this is my brother, no we do not share the same physical gene line, but he is still my brother. He is a humble man, he does not draw attention to himself, he does not seek appreciation, or the clapping of our hands… we just share a common heart… this IS my brother and I’m proud to be his sister! 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Growing Old Gracefully (True Confessions)

Growing Old Gracefully (True Confessions)

Why is it a lot of time we don’t know what we have when we have it, until we lose it?  When I was younger I thought of myself as a “Plain Jane”, a “Wall Flower”.  I was not among the most “popular” girls in high school.  As I proceeded into my 20s, I found myself a mom and wife, it was my “life’s dream”.
Even after children I still had that great figure (but was not conscious of it at the time). I continued to think of myself as “below average” in the looks department.  Always sizing myself up, comparing myself to others, thinking I’m still that “wall flower”.  This way of thinking continued through my 30s.

I hit 40 and life was changing, a divorce, children grown, and a new phase in life for sure. However my self-image continued to be unchanged. Until one day I was sharing with a friend my feelings of my poor self image.  They spoke to me with words of encouragement and suggested having some fun with a photo session. Can I just say “WOW”, to my amazement the woman who was in the pictures surely could not have been me, could it? She was beautiful! Finally after 40 yrs of a bad self image, I began to see myself in a “different light”. All those years I spent downing on myself, not pretty, too this, too that etc etc… and now my eyes were open. Not only was I beginning to see the beauty inside, but also the beauty outside.

Now I find myself in my 50s, and oh boy times have changed.  Unfortunately my poor self-image has returned.  With my aging process has come; aches, pains, and adult asthma, all of which has caused a bit of slowing down, add to that grey hair and I’ve also discovered way too many extra pounds on this small framed body (something I have NEVER struggled with before). 

In today’s society we have the “thin, young, flawless” women thrown in our faces every time we turn on the TV, look in magazines or see bill boards as we drive down the road.  Where are the “real women”?  

I KNOW I’m not the only woman out there that deals with this problem.  I ask myself: “how do I grow old gracefully”?  I know it has to come from within me, within my heart and mind, to look at what God has to say about it. However I have not be able to “grab hold” of that solution and apply it. I need to see myself in that “different light” again, this time accepting with grace, the gift God has given me, and that is the gift of life, be that life, young or old.

Psalm 139: 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; 
   your works are wonderful, I know that full well.