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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

I Love Seeing Them Mature

Look at this handsome guy! My Chintada's photo updated yesterday! I love that you can really see how much he matures from photo to photo. Plus, I think pale purple might be his color.

You can click on the picture to make it much larger.


Monday, February 23, 2015

Midwest Winter: What They Don't Tell You

This post is not related to sponsoring children, or children in any way, for that matter. But, I planned it up and liked it and couldn't think of anywhere else to post it.

The other day, I got a letter from one of my pen pals, who happens to live in California (the warm part). She said something along the lines of "The winter here is getting bad because I had to wear a jacket outside and sweatpants to bed." I wanted to send her back a howler (happy potter fans?). Don't worry, I'm not really mad at her, I just came to realize that people that have lived in warmer climates their entire lives really don't know what winter is like. They picture winter as pretty snow, romantic fires, and hot chocolate. Sure, winter includes those things, but it turns out, life actually goes on during winter and there are several things we have to put up with that aren't exactly mentioned in the "Dream Winter Scenario".

1. Wind Chill

I wouldn't be a proper Midwesterner if I didn't mention wind chill. It is literally the bane of people's existence around here. We call the wind chill the "feels like" temperature. This is the temperature that your skin feels when it goes outside. It can be pretty ridiculous. For instance, I woke up this morning to this:


Oh, but look, the sun is out! That makes it so much better, right? Keep in mind, they don't cancel school around here until is gets to be around -25 wind chill. 


2. Car Parts

Did you know that parts of your car may actually not work in the extreme cold? Going out to your car, starting it up, and driving away sounds like one of the easiest jobs ever. However, in the cold, it's not that simple, on occasion. For example, when it's -18 degrees windchill, your engine has to run for a little while to work properly. I think I use half of my gas in the winter just letting my car run in the parking lot. On top of that, windshield washer fluid is only guaranteed to work until a certain temperature. For your information, -18 degrees is too cold. Lastly, do you remember, a long time ago, to high school chemistry class, when you learned that warm air moves into the area with cold air? Well, that happens with your tires too...


3. Ice Scraper

If, by some miracle, you get your car started and ready to go in the morning, chances are, you'll have to scrape the windows. This is basically an every morning thing. Some mornings are easier than others, depending on how heavy the frost was, but your ice scraper is pretty much your best friend in the winter. Don't waste time on the $1 ones. Spring for the one with the long hand and the snow brush.


4. Snow is Ugly! 

I know, I know, I'm popping the winter dream bubble. But, I live in a city. Snow is only pretty while it's falling. Then, people start driving around and it gets disgusting. This is what snow really looks like most of the winter: 



5. Black Ice

Such a fun part of winter! Black ice is a term for when a very thin layer of ice forms on the roads. It's so thin that it's basically impossible for drivers to see. However, it is just thick enough to prevent your car tires from gripping the road, causing your car to slide in pretty much any direction it feels like. If you've never experienced sliding sideways through a stop sign, then you probably don't live in the Midwest. 



6. Road Damage

Thankfully, I live in a city with an excellent snow removal team. That is one thing that I don't mind paying taxes for! The snow plow drivers in my town, after a snow storm, get out onto the roads around 2 a.m, so the roads are basically clear when it's time for everyone to commute to work. The snow plows use pounds and pounds and pounds of rock salt to melt ice and snow off the roads. Rock salt is amazing! However, the combination of the rock salt and the heavy plows, destroy the roads. The roads in the winter become riddled with pot holes. That's why you hear that joke "The Midwest has two seasons: Winter and Construction." 


7. Filthy Cars! 

Rock salt not only destroys roads, it makes your car filthy! You can pretty much expect your car to look awful from the day the first snow falls until the day it's warm enough to get a car wash. Usually, from about November to March, your car looks like this: 



8. Winter Road Conditions

Luckily, the great state of Illinois, and I'm sure other states in the Midwest, have a winter road conditions map. This becomes something people check often. It tells you exactly what to expect when it comes to driving somewhere. When the map is green, you don't have to leave early to go to work, as there is no snow and ice to worry about. 


Hooray! The roads where I live are clear! 


Well, I hope you enjoyed my little winter rant. It's all in good fun. It's off to work for me! 







Friday, February 20, 2015

Winter Blues Made Better

Today, under the threat of yet another snowstorm, I am officially fed up with winter. We've had ice, snow, freezing rain, and too many below zero days to count and I'm sick of it. We will most likely get another three or so inches of snow tonight, for me to scrape off my car in the morning. Blech!

But, my grouchy mood was elevated a bit when I found two letters in my mailbox. Letters and love from two sweet kids.

I'll first share my letter from Sadiya. She is 10 years old and lives in India. She wrote this letter on November 21st, 2014.

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Dear Sponsor Kayla, 

Greetings to you in the name of Jesus Christ. I received your letter. I like to read your letters. Thank you very much for your photos. I received them. My studies are going well. My best subject is Hindi. This month my project provided me a school sweater. Christmas season is going to come. In our project, Christmas dance program practice is going on. I will participate in dance program. Pray for my family members. I also pray for your family. Thank you. 

Your Loving Sadiya

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I also got a letter from Derrick. It sure hasn't taken him long to get chatty in his letters. 

Derrick is 12 years old and lives in Uganda. He wrote this letter on January 12th, 2015. 

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Dear Kayla, 

I greet you in the name of Christ our Lord. I hope this letter will find you well. I am doing well now. We have holidays until early February. I am happy for the letter you wrote to me. I was happy to learn what is done in your area when a child loses a tooth. In our area when a child loses one of their teeth, he is told to put it where a rat will come and take it and put money in its place. The child keeps checking until he finds money and is very happy. 

How was your Christmas season? I had mine with my family members and on that day we went out as a family to watch some presenters. 

At my project I am in the football club. I am also in the hair dressing class where I am learning how to cut and trim hair. My teacher at the project taught us how to keep our bodies clean and about life skills to help us make good choices in life. 

My bible verse to share with you is Psalms 23:1 "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want." 

I thank you for being my friend and please keep on praying for me to be successful in my studies and to stay healthy. May God bless you for all your support and love. Happy new year. 

Derrick

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Monday, February 16, 2015

Weekend Letters

Good ol' President's Day. A mail holiday. Booo... Haha. But, I do also have a day off from work, so I figured I may as well post the three letters that I received on Saturday.

First up, I got a letter from Kwizera Yves. He lives in Rwanda and is 9 years old. This letter was written on November 17th, 2014.

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Dear Kayla, 

Beloved parent, I greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. How are you doing? For me, I am well an my family is also well and they love you very much. At school, this previous term, I managed to obtain 78% marks and next year I will be joining Primary Five. My favorite subject in class is English. In Rwanda now, it is raining in plenty and due to this, our kitchen has collapsed so pray with us as to get another kitchen. Thank you and God bless you. I an my family thank you for the letter you recently sent to us. I send you greetings from my family too. I would like to thank you for the verses you sent me. We are now in holidays and God bless you. 

Yours Lovingly, 
Yves

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After that letter, I received two letters from East India, one from each of my kids there. I'll share Nandini's first. 

Nandini is 9 years old. She wrote this letter on December 10th, 2014. 

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Dear Kayla, 

Greetings to you in the sweet name of our our Lord Jesus. I am fine here. Thank you very much for your regular love, prayer, and support. I have given the half yearly exam. Please pray that a good result with come. Thank you very much for contacting me through letters. I am positioned in grade 3. I like to study more. I like to play the game hide and seek. I like to make pictures. My favorite bible verse is, "I am the way, truth, and life." Please pray for my bright future. 

Your Loving Child, 
Nandini

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Now, the letter from Chintada. Chintada is 18 years old. He wrote this letter on December 17th, 2014. 

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Dear Kayla, 

Greetings to you in the name of Jesus Christ. I and my family are doing well by the great God. I hope and pray that everything will be going well with you. 

We will have a pre-Christmas program at the project, so we are preparing a new dance, songs, suits, and bible verse. We are decorating the stage colorfully. Do you prepare for this program? 

We had a competition at the project. I participated and learned many more things from this competition. It was very nice for me. (I wonder what kind of competition it was). 

Now, the weather is very cold here. What is the weather feeling like in you area? 

Please pray for me and my family. I am praying for you every day. 

Thanks. In Christ's Love,
Chintada

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Waiting Children from the Miraj District

I talked to the fine folks at Compassion and found out there are several children waiting for a sponsor at project IN-868. This is the project located in the Miraj Red Light district in India.

For a quick summary of the area, I will share a few details. This community is named after its main business, which is prostitution. Many, many, many women in this area work in the sex trade, most not by their own choice. Many children and young adults (both female and male) are lured into the sex trade by pimps, sold into the trade by their own families, or kidnapped and then sold into the trade, either as prostitutes or pimps. The sex trade is literally so ingrained in the community and in families (passed down from generation to generation) that most people don't see it as anything wrong. Or, if they do know it's a horrible lifestyle, there is really no way to escape it. Organizations, like Compassion, are working to help the children in this community. Compassion teaches the children that they are so loved by God, that they are so loved by the Compassion staff, that education is extremely important, and that there is a future for them outside of the sex trade.

It will still be a few weeks before I receive the packets, but I have the information for 10 children coming my way. I am going to post their pictures and very basic information about the children. If you fall in love with one of these children and feel lead to sponsor them, please let me know, and I will reserve that child for you when I receive the packets. Because I don't have the packets, I do not have any detailed information for any of the children yet.

If you need to contact me in any way, please email me at Groth.Kayla@mail.ic.edu or talk to me on Facebook (for those that know me there). 

Here are the waiting children:


Shubham is 10 years old. His birthday is June 3rd, 2004.


Shradha is 8 years old. Her birthday is April 21st, 2006.


Saifali is 12 years old. His birthday is October 17th, 2002.


Sanjiwan is 6 years old. His birthday is May 12th, 2008.


Pruthviraj is 6 years old. His birthday is May 7th, 2008. 


Stuti is 3 years old. Her birthday is October 5th, 2011.


Bhakti is 3 years old. Her birthday is September 3rd, 2011.


Samrudhi is 4 years old. Her birthday is May 29th, 2010.


Jagruti is 5 years old. Her birthday is May 15th, 2009. 


Stuti is 3 years old. Her birthday is November 26th, 2011. 

It's Xhuliano's Turn!

Yesterday, I shared my two letters from Florenc and today, it is time to share the two letters that I received from Xhuliano.

Xhuliano is 14 years old and lives in Albania. His letters were not dated, but I think I am posting them in the correct order.



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Dear friend, 

I received your letter and it pleased me so much to hear from you. Here in my country it is too cold. 

In December, we celebrate the new year with fireworks. As a traditional food, we have turkey and baklava. On November 28-29 it was the Independence Day. We celebrated this day with the Albanians of Albania and the Albanians of Kosovo. And you? How do you celebrate the Christmas and the New Year? With who do you celebrate them? I celebrate them with my family. Here in my country it is too cold. What about there where you live? How is the weather there? I wish you good luck. 

Love, 
Xhuliano

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Hi my friend Kayla, 

How have you been? These days I am taking the holidays of the New Year. I will celebrate the New Year with my family. And you? How are you going to celebrate them? 

I hope you enjoyed Kristin's wedding. I liked your photos a lot. They look really nice. 

I wish to you and your family "Merry Christmas" and "Happy New Year." My birthday is on December 28th and I will celebrate it at my uncle's house. 

I'm ending this letter with so much love. 

Xhuliano

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Two Lovely Letters from Florenc

Today I received two letters each, from both of my Albanian young men. It is always so exciting to see that WV orange in my mailbox.

I always enjoy hearing from Florenc, but at the same time, his letters are typically heartbreaking, as well. He and his family really do go through a lot of struggle, especially with his mother's failing health. I really feel for Florenc, who is deeply affected by it all.

Florenc is 15 years old. This first letter was written on December 4th, 2014.


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Greetings my dear friend, 

I was very happy to receive two letters from you on the same day. I opened them and read them two times. Then I showed them to my parents who were very happy to hear from you. I know that my parents make the best efforts to give me the possibility to finish high school, so I'm very thankful to them. I'm doing my best to learn English at school. In this way, I'll be able to find a better job in the future and help my family. As for me, I'm in good health, but one day when I came home from school, I found my mother sick and I was really worried to see my mother laying in bed. My brother was there, staying near her, while my father had gone to call the doctor. So before the doctor came I did some chores and cleaned the house. My mom was very please and she asked me not to worry because she was going to be fine. The doctor came and gave her some injections and left. 

The weather is changing here and is getting colder. We have had some rainy days and some sunny days. I'm closing this letter with the best regards from me and my family. 

Lots of love from,
Florenc

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This next, short, letter was written on December 22nd, 2014. 

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My dear friend Kayla,

I was very happy to receive your letter and I was even happier when I opened and read it. After reading it, I showed it to my parents. After they read it they told me to write a letter back to you at once. 

I was glad to hear about G's birthday and my family and I wish him "Happy Birthday" and a long life! 

G's photo where he was eating his birthday cake was very nice. 

I'll write again soon, my friend. 

Lots of love,
Florenci 

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