Overcoming Postpartum Depression & Living and Loving God's Blessings

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas in Kenya

It has been an amazing journey so far. I am loving Kenya just like I remembered it. I love the people here.  We have so many great connections and relationships over the past years that has made this so great. I feel safe and secure in our home and very well loved. 
The kids are doing great. They are loving it here. There is always a new person to meet, a new adventure to explore, and lots to learn. 
I do not miss the snow or the cold. I Do miss the Christmas cookies I see all over Facebook, but I will survive. My mother-in-law and I will try our version of peanut butter balls and Bloody Marys on Christmas so stay tuned!  

I have gotten to do some amazing things in my short time. We have been able to provide work for lots of people. Our mud house, which I was against in the beginning, has turned out to be a very great thing. It has bonded us with our neighbors here and provided many jobs for people who normally wouldn't have work. I got really muddy and a lot of the ladies I worked with laughed to see a white woman mudding. I loved it!

Many of you have donated to our Christmas goats and Christmas chicken project. This is a gift that keeps on giving. Most of the people who will be receiving an animal will keep it to keep reproducing. Goats and chickens are a good investment for Kenyans. They don't cost much to take care of or feed. 
We were given a male goat as a gift from one of our good friends. They don't have much to give, but they gave us a goat. We were all speechless. It was such a symbol of respect and gratitude because in the past travelers helped this family out.  
(We have to tie him up because he wants to mate with all the female goats)

Thank you to all of you who have given to our projects. You truly have changed a life. Just a little giving can go a long way here in Kenya. I hope someday you will come to see for yourselves how much you have impacted this area. 

Lastly Thank you to my husband. I am so proud of you for not being afraid to follow your dreams and passion. I am extremely blessed to be your wife, or as our night guard Ben calls me, Mrs. Phill. ( It sounds like Mrs. Feel). 

Merry Christmas and God Bless you!
Love from Kenya,

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

My reason for Kenya

Today was the whole reason I came to Kenya. Most of you know the struggles I overcame in 2010 with Postpartum Depression and my three surgeries to correct the birth injury I endured after my son was born. It was called an obstetric fistula. I was blessed to live in a country where I got the surgery I needed to heal me. 

There are thousands of women in other countries who are not so lucky. They suffer in horrible ways you can research on your own and are outcasts in their own families. Many of these women simply gave birth without the resources or aftercare they needed. Many of these women in Kenya and other countries suffer from FGM or female genital mutilation. This is illegal but unfortunately still practiced. This practice of FGM is a huge reason these women suffer from fistulas. Today I met with this group of 10 women who have a heart for helping women in Kenya. I don't know their stories yet, but many had surgeries and small infants with them. There is a lot of need for this group Freedom from Fistula. One way I will ask is for prayers for this group. My mother-in-law and I have joined this group today. The other way you could help is to sponsor one of these women by helping them purchase a 200 pound bag of maize(corn) so they can feed their families, sell for profit, and start a business. The sponsorship is $30 for one woman. The weather has been dry here so the crops they were counting on didn't bring any profit. 

If you can help it would be most appreciated! Here are two ways to help. You can send money via paypal to phill.klamm@gmail.com.   
You could also send a check to 
6230 Kuehn Road
Waunakee, WI
(Pay to order of SOAR KENYA)

Please send me a message so I can keep record.

Thank you and God Bless!

Friday, December 12, 2014

One person at a time

It's been a little over a week now since we have arrived in Kenya. I was not prepared for the emotional stress I would feel so early on. I thought that nothing will be a shock to me because I have been here before, five years ago, for two weeks. So basically I am an expert on Kenya.

Not even close.  I remembered the kids in ragged clothes and worn shoes. Some have no shoes at all and some wear the same clothes everyday. I remembered the hustle of the city markets. I remembered the dust that clogs my eyes making it impossible to wear contacts. 

I forgot the constant tugging on my heart that I would feel. The need here is so great. It is so overwhelming at times. I started writing it all down in a notebook and it was too much for me to think about. I just prayed to God and asked him to fulfill his purpose in me. That was the day I met that lady in the street and gave her my leftovers from lunch. She told our friend, Joab, "I am hungry and God told me to ask you."  

I can do this one day at a time. One person at a time. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. It isn't overwhelming to me once I give all my trust to God and ask him what he needs us to do. He will make the path clear. He will show us the way. He always does. It doesn't mean it is easy. There have been many tears and lots of anxiety because that is how I normally deal with stress. When you give it all to God he can multiply our blessings by many and the anxiety and stress subsides cause you are at peace. 


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Leap of Faith

Finally my first blog post about our trip to Kenya. We arrived safely and it has been an incredible journey. 

Saying goodbye was so hard. I cried way more than I expected. I miss my family and friends and everything about Edgerton. I especially miss my mom. I cried so much saying goodbye to her. That was hard. She held it together for me though. She was so strong. Plus saying goodbye, I was scared. I was so scared I almost didn't get on the plane scared. There are parts of Northern Kenya by the border of Somalia that have been in the news lately. We are about 400 miles away from this violence with no plans to go near this area. Plus it takes 5 hours to go about 100 miles due to the road conditions. 

I was so angry at God. I asked him,"What are you doing? We did everything you wanted us to do!  We sold everything and planned for this! Is this like a test with Abraham and Isaac but less dramatic? Do you have a different plan?"  I got no clear answer so I took a leap of faith, prayed, and got on the plane. I am so glad I did.

It wasn't about me. It was about my three beautiful children and keeping them safe. I will do everything to keep that promise. 

The long plane rides were exhausting. Emotions were all over the place. When we landed in Kenya, I felt a wave of peace wash over me. This is my home for awhile and God promised to keep us safe. 

Right off the plane it was hot. Sorry Wisconsin. I had too many clothes on for this African weather. The first thing in the airport was a health screen. I can only imagine it was for Ebola. Guess who had a fever? Yep that's right me!  I passed it the second time though. That was fun. 

Once we got our 20 suitcases to the vans where Joab,James, and Titus were waiting for us it went smoothly. We stopped at the giraffe orphanage on the way home which Phill blogged about. It was well worth the $12 if you come to Kenya. We got to feed and pet the giraffes. You could put the food in your mouth and get kissed by a giraffe. It feels like rough sandpaper on your face.   

When we arrived to our home at International Village in Barut, Nakuru I felt another wave of peace wash over me. The villagers greeted us with song and dance. We were beyond exhausted but I felt so safe. We have each other. We have our security guards, our chef, our maids, and our amazing friends Joab and James. They help us with everything we need. 

We are settling in beautifully and the kids are so amazing. Natalie had girls braiding her hair the first day. The local kids follow us everywhere we go fighting over who will hold our hands. Phillip has some good friends. He will have a Lego play date with Gideon soon.  Phillip said," Oh yeah, I know that guy!"  Marquite is still believed to be a Kenyan. When she doesn't answer in Swahili they look confused!  The kids love her. How could you not love her. She is such an amazing, brave girl. 

Marquite and I went to church at Soar Kenya Academy yesterday while Phill and Phill Sr were next door. We got a workout with all the dancing and jumping. I got called out for not dancing enough! 

Today's devotion "I am with you in all that you do. I am always aware of you, concerned with every detail of your life. Learn to look steadily at Me in all your circumstances. Though the world is unstable and in flux you will experience My Presence"

Love to you all!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Two weeks

So in two weeks from today I will be on an airplane to Kenya with my family.  I can't even contain this excitement!!  It is really coming up fast.  I am actually packing my suitcase.  Want to know what else I am packing on?  The pounds! I was at the gym today and I just kept looking at myself in the mirror and it was a moment of terror!  When did this happen? How did this happen?  Is it the stress? Maybe.  Is it the feeling of limbo? Maybe. Is it because I am not training for a marathon anymore and not running with my cross country kids?  Probably a little of that too. I think really if I am being honest- it is what I will call "The last of my favorite American junk food binge"  I won't go into detail what that is, but you can probably guess. Enough already though. This is just a little ridiculous.  I had sushi last night with a couple friends. That's healthy right?  I just keep imagining people who go on those shows like Survivor or Naked and Afraid and they gain lots of weight because they will be starving for a long period of time. I was not selected for one of those shows so there is no need to eat like that!

So the plan is to eat a lot better when we get to Kenya. We won't have access to much junk food which will be good. The kids might not like that, but they are pretty good eaters anyway.  I am excited to be a part of the Kenyan culture. I can't wait to get there.  While I am here in America for two more weeks, just turn your head if you see my grocery cart. This is only a phase!  

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Nine years

Nine years ago today, we got married. I promised to love you in all circumstances from that day until the day I die. I feel like we have seen so much in those nine years.  We have watched loved ones pass away, pets pass away, held our new babies, adoption, raising foster children, moving four times, travel, new jobs, many arguments, postpartum depression, surgeries, personal victories, and defeats. 
  I can remember screaming at you, "Why can't you just be normal?"  In my frustration and exhaustion I saw the worst in you. I saw someone who couldn't be content with the status quo.  What was wrong with you? Why did you have to live in a different reality than the rest of us?  Then I remembered that was what I loved about you the most. That was what attracted me to you in the first place. You didn't think that normal was for you.  You had dreams and goals and planned to pursue them.  You are a change-maker.  You don't just sit back and let life happen to you, you go and make life happen.  It hasn't been easy, but it has been exciting.  In these nine years of marriage, we have grown so much together.  We have had our share of challenges but in the end we always end up stronger.  Our kids are the greatest gifts you could have ever given me. Being able to be a stay-at-home mom has been my dream since I was a little girl.  I will ALWAYS be grateful for you working so hard to support us. I know you have had made many sacrifices for us.  I also know that these next months in Kenya will be an amazing adventure for our family.  You are making our dream to take our kids to Kenya a big reality.  I was thinking a summer, while you saw bigger.  I am so excited to start this journey and watch what God has planned for us.  Thank you Phill for making all of our dreams a reality. I love you more than you could ever know. Happy 9 years of marriage! 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Remembering Kenya

So we are getting closer to Kenya.  We just purchased our airline tickets. I am so excited one moment and then completely overwhelmed the next.  I am anxious one moment and then find a great wave of peace wash over me.  I am trying to keep it all together, but then find myself falling apart.  One thing goes right and then a few things go wrong.  It is exhausting planning for a trip of this magnitude.  I know these things for sure. God has it all under his control.  He has known our plan for Kenya long before it even became a thought in our minds.  God will provide.  He always has and he always will.
This isn't just true for me, but it is true for you too.  God loves each and everyone of us.

I like to go back and remember five years ago when I went to Kenya the first time for 14 days. One of my favorite memories was actually at the airport.  We were on our way to Nairobi after a long flight to London. I glanced down at my ticket. I noticed I was in seat 33B. I asked my husband what seat he was in and he said, "33 B."  Then I looked at my father-in-laws ticket and it said 33 B.
Immediately I started to panic. I am not a fan of flying anyway and still had a lot of anxiety.  I went into my anxious whining.  "Phill, I cannot fly if I am not next to you.  We need to get our tickets switched! Phill, I cannot sit by some stranger for 8 hours. I will have major anxiety. Phill..."

Phill tried to be patient, but I was worse than a four year old child at this moment.  The three of us walked up to the flight attendant behind the desk.  I was still having major anxiety at this time.  The flight attendant took my ticket and started to look up seats on her computer.  The flight attendant handed me my ticket first and told me I had been bumped up to first class.

Suddenly my anxiety subsided, and I looked at my husband and father-in-law and said, "See ya!"  I was already talking toward the airplane.  I didn't even look back to see where those two would be sitting.  I was situated in my awesome first class seat which reclined.  Then a few minutes later my husband and father-in-law came and took their seats next to me.  They got bumped up to first class too!  It was amazing. We got a hot towel, champagne, our own bathrooms, some fancy lobster dish, and the most comfortable bed where we could lay down and sleep the entire flight.  It was so amazing.  It certainly made the trip a lot easier.  Although the way home was awful after we knew how great first class was!

When we got to Kenya, there were so many amazing things that happened.  We met so many wonderful friends and got to visit and volunteer at Hopewell school in Barut, Kenya.  We also got to visit an orphanage with 20 little kids under the age of two years old.  That was a great experience.  One day a bunch of the travelers and I got to hold babies and it must have been nap time, but each and everyone we were holding fell asleep in our arms.  I looked around and it was so beautiful to see these babies feel so comfortable with us holding them, even though we were strangers.

Another one of my favorite memories was when a few of us were all working in the garden at Hopewell.  The sun was so hot and we were tired by the afternoon.  We rotated to spend time with the younger kids in the primary school.  My father-in-law, Phill Sr. had a little boy on his lap.  Phill Sr. started to nod off.  He was awoken abruptly when the little boy pulled out a tiny handful of arm hair off Phill Sr.'s arm.  The little boy was fascinated by the silver arm hair on his arm!  I laughed so hard when I saw this!

We are going to have an amazing adventure ahead of us with lots of new memories. There is still so much to do before we leave.  I have great peace in knowing that God has a plan and I just have to follow it.

Monday, September 22, 2014

A goal and a finish line

Four years ago, I trained for my first marathon. I ended up not being able to do my marathon due to an injury to my leg. I was pretty devastated.  It wasn't because I got hurt, it was because it was a goal that I had for myself while recovering from Postpartum depression.  

Yesterday I was able to finish my first marathon. It felt amazing to accomplish it.  It was very difficult and my legs were screaming at me around mile 15.  I had a time in mind to finish, but I was really just looking to finish.  It took me 4 hours 47 minutes.  I had my husband, my parents and two of my kids there to cheer me on.  It was wonderful to have them there. I knew they were waiting for me, so I could not give up.  I had a lot of time to reflect during this marathon. I remembered the first time I set my goal to do a marathon. I was recovering in the hospital from Postpartum depression. We all had to think of a goal for our lives. I said, "to run a marathon."  It was the first time I said it out loud and from that moment on, I knew I was going to do it.  I am so glad I can now cross that off my list. There may be another one in my future, but these legs of mine need some rest first!  Thank you all for your encouragement and support. I couldn't do this without the amazing support network I had.  

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Monday, August 4, 2014

Material goods

What about all of our stuff?

It is overwhelming to look around and see all of the things we have accumulated in our house over the past five years.  We have boxes of keepsakes in our basement. Rummage sales put a dent in our stuff, but we have so much to get rid of.  Thanks to the internet, we have managed to sell a lot of stuff already but simply taking a picture of it and posting it on Edgerton Online Garage sale.  I am helping my in-laws sell a lot of stuff also. They have a lot of antiques and really cool things that they are parting with also.  My in-laws are so excited to live with a backpack on their backs!

Phill's cousin, Brooke, and her husband and two little boys are living in the Netherlands.  She described the experience of getting rid of material stuff as "very freeing and you won't miss it once it is gone."  I think it will be exactly that.

I attempted to clean my basement yesterday and it was a horrifying experience!   Most of it is Phill's childhood in a box.  Baseball cards, letter jacket, wrestling stuff galore, and lots of pictures. We also kept tons of books and information on foster care. I found my "craft" box which I was looking for. I try to be "crafty" but I am not. (I can't bake, cook, or craft, but I can rip carpet out of my house like a beast!)

Anyway- I am excited to come back to a house-any house will do.  As long as it has a garage and central air. I am spoiled that way I guess!  One day my dream of living by the lake will come true. I would love to live in a log cabin overlooking the lake. I will wake up to a cup of coffee and watch the snow fall over the lake while I work on writing a book, blog, or whatever they have in the future.  I will  have my big St. Bernard dog next to me and I will smile and look back on the life I lived.  One day I would also love to buy a new car. I think that would be awesome!  I picture myself 85 years old though.  I don't need a new car or a log cabin by the lake yet.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Kenya: What about Reese and Tika?

One of the first questions Natalie, age 7, asked me is what about Reese and Tika.  Reese is our 8 year old Peek-a-poo (pekingese/poodle mix dog) and Tika is our 2 year old Yorkie-poo mix dog. When Phill and I first talked about going our answer was yes they are coming with us.  When we started looking into it further and saw all the red tape around taking a pet to Kenya, it didn't look so easy.  One good thing is they are small. That means they could fit in a small carrier under our seat... for 8 hours or longer on one plane and 8 hours or longer on another plane.

Reese would probably  not like it, but she would be fine. Tika would probably be evicted from the plane.  She is still like a puppy in a lot of ways. She would cry the entire flight and since they are lap dogs, would be furious if they couldn't be held. I wish I was like Lady Gaga who flew everywhere with her dog in a private room on an airplane.

It isn't just the flight that concerns me.  There could be a potential problem for my dogs and their health in another country that they are not used to.  Then I also feel that they are our family and even if their environment changes, at least their family or "pack" won't change.  I could see the kids in Kenya running after our dogs and our dogs being so happy to have new friends.

I know if we asked, many people would offer to help watch our dogs while we are gone.  Reese would be happy to be separated from Tika, but Tika is her annoying side kick and loves Reese.

So pet lovers out there my question is to you. What would you do if it were up to you?  Thanks so much for reading.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Kenya: Is it safe?

I have had some concerns from my loved ones, family and friends.  Is it safe?

Well I guess to be honest my answer is no. Kenya is not any safer than anywhere here in the United States.

You see I have anxiety. I have had major anxiety my whole life up until I had Postpartum Depression in 2010.  That was a major turning point for me with my anxiety.  I asked God to help me and he did. From that moment on, I made a promise to God to trust him and not to worry so much. I am not perfect, but I don't worry like I used to.  I would be lying if I said I wasn't anxious to go to Kenya. I am taking my three beautiful children, ages 16, 7, and 4.  They are the most important thing to me in my life. I have to protect them. I have to trust God on this one.

I would also be lying if I didn't say that I have had anxiety while dropping my kids off at school. I am worried that a school shooting could happen in my little and safe town. I worry that when I go to the mall or a movie, I might be shot.  I also worry that if I am on a plane or a bus or running a race, I might get blown up by a terrorist bomb.  When I am out for a long run and exhausted, I worry that it might be the perfect opportunity for someone to abduct me.  It doesn't stop me from taking my kids to school, going to a movie, running or living my life.

To be really honest, I was more afraid of being eaten by a lion on safari than I was of being harmed while in Kenya. We will be in a private, gated, village where there is 24 hour security.  That is more safe than my home now, where I have had items stolen from our cars while we sleep and money stolen from my purse in broad daylight.

We also have a trusted group of over 100 friends in Kenya that would do nothing but protect us.  We are not going in blindly and just going to take risks.  We know not to travel alone or go anywhere at night. We make smart decisions.  My husband has been to Kenya 7 times and the only thing that was really scary was when there was an alleged terrorist threat on a plane from London to the US in 2004.  Luckily officials caught the threat in time and that was when airport security got really tight. Another trip someone took his cell phone. I just have faith in God and in my husband that we will be as safe as we can be while traveling to Kenya.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Our BIG Exciting Move...to Kenya

So we are putting almost everything we own up for sale.  (House, cars, camper, furniture, etc. ) Phill, Marquite, Natalie, Phillip and I are about to embark on an amazing journey.  Our plan is to go to Kenya to live for about a year or so depending on how long we are able to stay.  We will come back home when our time is up. We are so excited to start our journey in Kenya! We have a trusted group of friends who will be making sure we are safe and taken care of.  

Our timeline isn't set yet because we need to do three BIG things first...and about a million little things!  We need to sell our house. It will go up on the market this week.  We will need to get affordable health insurance to protect us incase of any emergencies, and we will need to fundraise enough money to live for the time we are planning to be in Kenya.  

Five years ago I went to Kenya for two weeks. I fell in love with everything about Kenya. I have wanted to go back for years.  I have had opportunities, but never felt right about leaving my responsibilities and my children behind.  When I went in 2009, I had an almost 2 year old daughter at home with her grandparents. I made a promise that the next time I went, she would go too. My daughter just turned seven yesterday.  

My husband, Phill, has been to Kenya seven times. He just got back a couple weeks ago when our church took a group. They had an amazing experience and Phill came back with some great project ideas.  Phill even helped me fulfill my dream of working with women who suffered from the same birth injury that I had after I had my second child. (Obstetric fistula) The only difference between these women and me is location.  I was born in America and I was able to get my surgery paid for while women in other countries suffer greatly. I will have an amazing opportunity to share my story and help other women suffering from this condition. 

Phill and I will be posting a lot about our journey and I hope to someday put it all together as a book.  We just want to say thank you to everyone for all of your support and prayers.  Please keep our family in your prayers.  We feel so incredibly blessed that we are feeling called to do this amazing mission.  We have plenty of room for you to come and visit! We would love it!