This past year was bursting at the seams with an abundance of blessings and treasured memories. I've started this new year in the same place I started last year! In Virginia! And my travels since my return 15 December to the States are taking me back and forth from Virginia to Pennsylvania and soon to Indiana and then returning to Virginia to leave again for Kazakhstan on 2 February. Last January I went from Virginia to North Carolina back to Virginia to Indiana back to Virginia then to Texas back to Virginia down to North Carolina to Virginia to Pennsylvania and then back to Virginia before boarding the plane that would take me to Kazakhstan. I am still amazed at the most amazing people that have crossed my path as I've traveled on the journey. Sweet friendship have been made and memories that I will treasure for a life time.
Kazakhstan filled my heart with great joy in 2009, as well as breaking my heart for the hardship and conditions facing its people. I count it a great joy and privilege to be able to serve the people but especially the children of Kazakhstan. They captured my heart in 2000 and this love has only grown.
I have been so amazed and touched by all of you who help in so many ways for me to carry out this work that I have been called to do. It wouldn't happen without your financial support and for that I am eternally grateful. I am even more grateful that you not only give of your finances to help in the work here but in the notes and encouraging words I receive. Each one I hold close to my heart especially on the days that the great needs all around me can seem a little overwhelming. Thank you, dear friends, for joining me and Interlink to care for the least of these.
To use well the time I have been given and to finish well the race before me takes preparation, discipline and the support of my dear friends who carry me through with their prayers. I am ever so thankful for each one of you.
Since arriving in Richmond, Virginia, I have been checked head to toe by my regular doctor, GI guy, eye specialist and a neurologist. The Neurological doctor made me laugh with his dry "Well, if it was a brain tumor making your pupils fixed and unequal for this long, you would be dead. Since you are sitting here, I'll assume you aren't dead!" That was a good thing. So, no brain tumor, though he did do a through examimation. My blood work does show a predisposition to having auto immune issues which bilateral Iritis is, but otherwise my report was good. With eye drops the pressure in my eyes are within normal range so, all in all, I'm good to go.
The nutritionist I've been seeing identified some food allergies and reconfirmed the need to eat food that is truly good for me. Range feed meats, eggs from chickens that have run free, raw non-pasteurized milk, fresh veggies and fruit from locally grown sources that don't use chemicals and pesticides, whole grains soaked and not processed, no processed foods, no artificial sweeteners and very little sugar is the basic diet. In other words, eating like our ancestors did. What is put into the body makes such a difference to how it is able to heal itself and run properly. It is amazing how much money is spent on drugs and running to the doctor yet people don't want to spend on food that is actually good for them. If the body is feed well, it can preform well and medical cost would be lower.
Well, that is my little soap box lecture for the new year. I never have eaten much processed food but have now identified with the nutritionist's help a few foods that I'm allergic to. With the changes in diet I am feeling so much better.
I am excited about this new year and all it holds. I know I am blessed and have much to be thankful for -- no matter what! I will rejoice in all things because rejoicing is a choice not a feeling. I will count my blessings even in the midst of storms. I will cling to the dear friends I have been given and not hide during the times life seems overwhelming.
I am truly thankful for each one of you who are joining me on my "Epic Adventure," whether it is for a short walk on the trail or for a long haul. Each one of you is a treasured and most valuable gift.
Happy New year, dear friends.