hiking while it’s still green

Posted by pamela on Feb. 23, 15 | 1 COMMENT

A little less than two years ago, a colleague told me to, “Get outside and go hiking while it’s still green.” I had just  moved to San Luis Obispo, and Sada (colleague soon to become good friend) was telling me some of the ins and outs of my new town and region. The rainy season was coming to an end, which would soon mean that the green would go away and the dust would come again — beautiful in its own way, but not the green that desert eyes learn to savor. Sure enough, within just a couple weeks, the hills lost their brilliance and returned to shades of brown.

Today's view of Bishop Peak from the top of Cerro San Luis.

Today’s view of Bishop Peak from the top of Cerro San Luis.


Rain drops on the leaves of a wild cucumber plant.

Today Ben and I went out on a hike to one of the first hikes I did following Sada’s words of wisdom, a hill called Cerro San Luis. Although it was threatening rain, we decided to hike anyway. Near the top it sprinkled on us, and then we relaxed under a tree when the rain came down a little heavier. Just before were about to start up the hill again, we said hello to a hiker headed down, and she commented that we looked so perfect with the big tree around us and said she should take our photo. I gladly shared my iPhone with her. A minute later, she continued down the trail, and I was left blessed by the kindness of this woman to notice, speak up, and capture a precious moment for us.


Waiting for the rain to slow.

I am humbled by life these days. It was just two years ago that I was preparing to move to California, to start a new job and build a new home. And here I am with more than I could ever dream of, and I am humbled by this life filled with blessings. As we hiked today, it was a precious time to soak in the beauty. In this season, the green hills and wildflowers in bloom are such great reminders of beauty and blessings. May they never be taken for granted.


A California poppy.


Wild sage so wonderfully fragrant.


Lupine, purples and greens.


Wild cucumber.


A rainbow on our way down, a stunning reminder of God’s goodness.

warm welcomes in south asia

Posted by pamela on Feb. 11, 14 | 0 COMMENTS

In the last two and a half weeks, I have visited communities in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and India. South Asia is a new discovery for me, and it has been rich with flavors, smells, textures, colors, and all-around beauty.

I have been welcomed so warmly in each location, and I wish I could have spent longer to share stories, particularly with the women I met. These warm welcomes have included flowers, drinks, and food. One of the new things for me has been being greeted with flowers – single flowers, small bouquets, garlands, and flower petals (tossed both on and at my head). I love the beauty. In homes, I was regularly greeted with sugary tea made fresh when we showed up at their door, and a few times, with fresh coconut water. At my last stop of the trip, Jyotshna decided to not only make tea, but suddenly sweet dough was being fried up as well for a warm and yummy treat.

It has been fun to be welcomed so openly and with such warmth. It has made me think about how I choose to welcome visitors who show up at my door – both the expected and unexpected. I hope I exhibit some of the warmth that I felt on this trip.

Here is a little photo journey of some of those welcomes.



My first flower garland… in Sri Lanka.



These flowers were on a table, but similar ones were tossed at me as well.




Coconut water: sometimes in the coconut, sometimes poured into a glass.




May the sugary tea commence, sometimes in beautiful tea cups.



Green papaya fresh from the garden, served with salt. (One of many fruits I was served, most were not documented.)


Making fresh fried dough… oh so yummy.



A wonderful little feast at my last visit for this trip in Assam, India.





memories of roses

Posted by pamela on Dec. 06, 13 | 0 COMMENTS

I love roses, and I love that I can get beautiful single stems at the farmer’s market here in San Luis Obispo. I love them for their beauty, and I love them for the memories they hold.

When we first moved to Jordan, we moved into a new building and the garden beds were empty. We had moved from the tropics where everything grew fast and large, but this was the desert. The little, scraggly rose bushes we planted looked like little sticks in comparison to the veritable jungle we had left behind. I remember doubting that they would ever becoming something grand.

In the coming years, those little sticks became rose bushes that looked me in the eye with branches heavy with flowers. Pink and white flowers that were so incredibly fragrant. From the gate to our door I walked by these bushes every day, and I would stop to smell the roses. It would just take a moment, but what a lovely moment.


Now my flowers are more ‘perfect’ and less fragrant, but I love them all the same. Maybe some day I will again have rose bushes. Until then, I am content and thankful for the farmer’s market.


three weeks, three locations

Posted by pamela on May. 29, 13 | 0 COMMENTS

Three weeks, six cities, two countries on different continents, travel by foot, car, 4-wheel drive and plane. Not a particularly abnormal three weeks of my life. In California I enjoyed wine country, in Michigan I was blessed with another week of stunning spring, and in Ethiopia I discovered regions I had not yet visited. Now I am back in California and am looking forward to a few weeks during which I will not be visiting an airport or living out of a suitcase.

week 18: San Luis Obispo, CA, USA



week 19: Kalamazoo, MI, USA


week 20: Ethiopia


i love coming home

Posted by pamela on May. 09, 13 | 0 COMMENTS

a photo a day: week 17

location: San Luis Obispo, CA

As much as I love to travel, I love to come home. I love familiar feelings of places that I know, that share a piece of my story and a part of my history. I intuitively knew that this is different than nostalgia, but I could not make that thought tangible, so I looked nostalgia up in the dictionary.

Nostalgia is “a sentimental longing or a wistful affection for the past, typically a period or place with happy personal association.” (New Oxford American Dictionary)

This love of coming home is not a longing of the past. Instead it is a sense of belonging and a placement within history. My home is my haven where I am free to create and to simply breathe. It is my place of peace that I share with loved ones. Every time I move, I work to make my new house my home as quick as possible, and I am glad to say that as I fill the pores of this house with the smells of cooking and her walls with my photos it is becoming a home, a place I love to come home to.



a photo a day: discovering beautiful lands

Posted by pamela on Apr. 12, 13 | 0 COMMENTS

Weeks 12 & 13

Location: Cross-country Atlanta, GA to San Luis Obispo, CA

After last bits of laughter and fun with family, dad and I towed the trailer across the country. It was long day through both beautiful and plain country and then we arrived at the ocean and drove north to find my new home in San Luis Obispo. Beautiful. Right now the land is green and full of stunning flowers. The strawberries are fresh and from the local farmer’s stand. I am soaking in the goodness before the season changes to bring brown colors and different fruits. I am blessed.


a photo a day: the glory of spring

Posted by pamela on Mar. 28, 13 | 0 COMMENTS

Week 12

Location: Atlanta, GA

This was a week of welcoming spring. I believe that there is a magical two weeks, sometimes it lasts as long as three, where spring puts on a grand show. Out of a barren wanter during which the trees of stood barren and cold come buds, then beautiful flowers, and finally fresh green leaves. Trees take their turn showing off their beauty before they slide into the green that will grace their leaves through the summer. If you blink, you will miss it.  I try and soak in every single bit of the glory of spring so that I can have my fill while it is here as it never stays for long.


a touch of my garden’s beauty

Posted by pamela on Oct. 30, 12 | 0 COMMENTS

I love my garden in Kigali. It is a wonderful haven – a place in which to escape and be filled with peace as you soak in the beauty around. Although plants grown year around on the equator, with the rains, the garden wakes up and the colors become more vibrant. Here are a few pictures I took on a walk through the garden a few weeks ago. This is just a small piece of its beauty. I wish we could meet for a cup of tea or a Saturday brunch and soak in its beauty together.

a flower to start the week

Posted by pamela on Jul. 18, 11 | 1 COMMENT

These flowers just seemed a beautiful photo to start off this week. I grew up around frangipani trees in Fiji where they were used to make wonderfully fragrant leis. In the evening their fragrance is the strongest – inviting you out to enjoy a perfect island sunset. But, since I have not been back to Fiji for more years than I care to mention, this picture was taken at the Tennessee Aquarium in the butterfly exhibit earlier this year. If you live in the area (Chattanooga, TN), you should carve out some time to visit the aquarium – it makes for a wonderful day when the islands are far away.

kiambethu flowers

Posted by pamela on Sep. 05, 10 | 0 COMMENTS

The flower garden at the Kiambethu Tea Farm is amazing. And, since I still love the happiness of yellow, I thought I would share this one with you.

lunch at kiambethu tea farm

Posted by pamela on Sep. 05, 10 | 0 COMMENTS

One of the things about traveling for work is that there are few down-days or days when I can just soak life in without my subconscious ticking through my to-do list. I love those quiet times, and that is what Kiambethu Tea Farm offered me yesterday.

Kiambethu Tea Farm is located on Banana Hill about 45 minutes outside of Nairobi. It was the first farm to start growing tea, and you can feel history everywhere you walk. Marcus and Fiona, granddaughter of the original farmer, live in the farm house and invite people into their home for a tour and lunch each Saturday. The tour starts with an explanation of the tea growing and production process and the history of the farm. After a short walk through original forest, you have a home-made lunch on the lawn surrounded by beautiful flower gardens. Though the farm is a fraction of its original size, there are still 2 acres of tea, a number of cows, chickens, and an extensive vegetable garden; these are the source of nearly everything you eat and drink while on the farm.

If you are traveling in Kenya, you should carve out some time for a Saturday lunch tour at the Kiambethu Tea Farm. You will be well rewarded for doing so.

rwandan wildflowers

Posted by pamela on May. 27, 10 | 0 COMMENTS

I love wildflowers. It feels like God is smiling when they litter the landscape.

sunflowers in the field

Posted by pamela on May. 14, 10 | 0 COMMENTS

I am headed into the field again today – this time to help install some hand pumps. The wells have been drilled and the cement pads put in. Today, the cylinder, drop pipe, rods, and hand pump – the final parts necessary to get water. I don’t remember – it is either 5 or 6 wells… so excited to join the team today. And here, some fields are filled with sunflowers being farmed, which adds to the beauty of any day.