When Normal is Beautiful

Only those who witness the nightmare these kids survived can begin to grasp the enormity of the word that Steve, our dear friend from Kenya, used to describe the current status of the Sanctuary of Hope (SoH) family:  “normal.” He seemed a bit sheepish to employ this simple descriptor while speaking to a gathering of…Read more When Normal is Beautiful

Every Child A Priceless Gift

Nairobi, June 2010 Frail little Esther melts miserably into her mother’s lap. Her eyes swell with tears. Absolutely still and expressionless, she neither sobs nor whimpers. Noiselessly, tears simply overflow and trickle down her cheek. Mama Karau stands next to me, grim but resolute. Already mother to twenty-two former orphans at Hope’s Promise (HP) Sanctuary of Hope (SoH),…Read more Every Child A Priceless Gift

The Battle for an Orphan’s Heart

There were no surface clues to the shadows of her soul. She was elegantly dressed, silver-hair perfectly coiffed. I met her recently at a Pamba Toto sale. She engaged me in conversation, warm and articulate. She questioned me about Sanctuary of Hope, the home for orphans in Kenya that Pamba Toto benefits. I told her…Read more The Battle for an Orphan’s Heart

Let It Be Me – Response to Terrorism in Kenya

Horror still clutches my heart like an apparition from beyond the grave. “It is over,” Kenyan President Kenyatta assured the world on Tuesday. Some of the perpetrators are dead. Hopefully the rest are amongst eleven people detained in a sweep of Kenya’s exit points. And yet the echoes of their evil acts reverberate long after they…Read more Let It Be Me – Response to Terrorism in Kenya

Each One Small and Beautiful

My aesthetic-loving mind exploded the first time I stumbled upon the “small and beautiful” magic of Kazuri (Swahili for “small and beautiful”) beads. Invited by my friend Debbie Lee, my mom and I toured the workshop with her. Stunning women dressed in exotic batik fabrics leaned over a vast array of clay shapes and colors…Read more Each One Small and Beautiful

Faces of AIDS – when statistics become people

Sophia is dying. Skin and bones hover in uneasy truce between life and death; neither demand dominion for the time being. Her bed is her closest ally. Waking or sleeping, she has not left its confines for three weeks. We crowd into the compact, murky space. Ruth settles on the bed next to Sophia. They…Read more Faces of AIDS – when statistics become people

Where true joy can be found

I know a place where unhindered joy pulsates. But you won’t believe it when I first take you there. Perched on the edge of desolation, humble and inconspicuous, a gray cement block building crouches behind ramshackle shops. Barefoot children play on a pile of rubble, and rusty-corrugated-roof shacks lean on either side. Before we go…Read more Where true joy can be found

One of the best days of my life

"The place God calls you to is where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet." Frederick Buechner In August 2011, deep gladness flooded my soul. I pulled out bits and pieces for the pursuit of creativity - markers, paper, beads, and wire. Eager Sanctuary of Hope (SoH) children surrounded me as I explained…Read more One of the best days of my life

Weeping With Us

There is a grief deeper than words, a swirling current, sweeping a heart in relentless crashing tide. Grief lurks, shocking companion in the loss of a loved one, slinks from the shadows when we stumble upon a situation that we cannot comprehend, or change. Never sought out, it hunts each of us down sooner or…Read more Weeping With Us

Leaving a job I have loved… but not the passion (excerpt from a Nepal travel journal)

Ten years ago, nestled in the cozy living room of a newly-acquainted Kenyan pastor and his wife, Pastor and Mama Karau, eating chapatti and ugali, I never could have imagined that someday we would ride an elephant together in Nepal! From that first meeting, I was intrigued by these new friends. The devastation of human…Read more Leaving a job I have loved… but not the passion (excerpt from a Nepal travel journal)