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Rags to Riches
Bringing safe water projects to a village is always a story about “Rags to Riches”.  When we go into villages that are desperate for water, where mothers and children are spending most of their time searching for water, gathering wood to be able to boil the water, boiling and straining the water, there is little time for anything else.  Most of the people are living on one meal a day. Small children are taking care of infants, and suffering from diarrhea is common….the picture is not a pretty one.  Compare that to villages where a safe water project is in place which includes clean water, sanitation, and training in hygiene. There we will see children in school, eager to learn. Crops will be growing, food will be plentiful, and mothers will have time to take care of their children and be involved with micro-enterprise.

  


“Life is a journey, not a destination”
-Emerson
I can hardly believe that I am saying this, but I am a little sad that I am not preparing to climb a big mountain this year. I have many good memories tucked away in my memory bank from climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro last year. From the first day of working out to prepare for the adventure, my heart was filled with excitement. Many of you aren’t aware, but the seed to climb Kili was planted in my my mind about 15 years previously when Grant and I took our first trip to Africa. In our travels, we passed Kili and I nudged Grant and said that one day I was going to climb Kili. Years later I received a letter from Lifewater International inviting me to Climb For Water by ascending 19,340’. I knew that was my invitation from God to go for it. The Lifewater team of 16 that I climbed with ended up raising over $110,000 for safe water projects in Ethiopia.

God is so good to allow each one of us to do good works, which He has prepared for us. Literally He has created each one of us uniquely to do good. I am thankful for the spirit of adventure and a healthy body He has given me to help others. At the time, I am waiting patiently for the next adventure that God will prepare for me…..His timing is always good.




Sky Ponders before leaving for Ethiopia 

Rambling Thoughts on Worry

Sometimes I pray for God to shine a spotlight on my life to show me something I need to change in my life, so that I could reflect Him more. I can honestly say that I am not sure when He begins the work or how it happens, but he always answers.

Here is what I feel how He did a work about worry in my life. Years ago, I had a serious problem with depression. It was suggested that I read the book of Philippians aloud for a month. That discipline was the beginning of my healing from depression, but it also gave me principles to use in every aspect of life.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4: 6 & 7.

My thoughts on Worry:
*It drains me of energy.
*It does no good.
*God is my provider….He has never failed me….Why worry?
*Everything I need is in Him. 
*Somehow gratitude plays a big part in destroying worry tendencies. When I am grateful, I am acknowledging God is my provider and there is no reason to worry.
*One day I sat down to write the pros and cons of worry and there was not one pro just cons.
*If my mind is filled with worry, it is harder to hear from God.
Philippians is my go to book, so much that I memorized it one year. No, I couldn’t recite it to you today, but the message of the book are imprinted in my heart and soul.
“I lift my eyes to the hills. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalms
I am forever grateful that God has freed me from worry and because of this I am off to Ethiopia with no worry.


Time to Celebrate
June 9, 2016

“The Classical Disciplines of the spiritual life beckon us to the Himalayas of the Spirit.  Now we stand at the timber lined awed by the snowy peaks before us.  We step out in confidence with our GUIDE who has blazed the trail and conquered the highest summit.”  These were the last words that I read the night before Grant and I left to climb to the basecamp of Mt. Everest.  My life was forever changed on that trek.  Now 10 years later, I am climbing to Mt. Kilimanjaro to celebrate Bridging the Gap’s 10th Anniversary and all the good people that have helped to give over 21,000 Africans clean water, sanitation, and training in hygiene.

Every trip is different and I am excited to see the goodness and God watching over me.  Yes, I am going with a hairline fracture on my elbow.  I feel strong with limitations.  I am going to take the first step, the next step and see where I am led.  I am forever grateful for the Lifewater International Team of 16 that I will be trekking with and the family and friends that I will trekking with.

“I lift my eyes to the hills.  Where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and Earth.” Proverbs

Pennies from Heaven
October 29, 2015
 
In 2007, when Grant and 
I started cycling to raise 
awareness and money for
clean water, sanitation, 
and training in hygiene, 
I started a tradition of
stopping to pick up pennies
and small change off the
road as I cycled. This new 
activity drove Grant crazy,
so he said that he would 
give me double the amount
if I did not stop to pick up 
the coins. At first I thought it was a good idea, but not for long. I realized picking up pennies was a spiritual exercise for me, It humbled me to stop, pick up the coins, and to realize that God was my ultimate provider not only for me but every person who needs clean water. Picking up a discarded penny always reminds me to Be Grateful for the smallest provision from God! Oh, by the way all these pennies go to provide safe water projects.


Finding Your Happy Place
 September 3, 2015



When we started biking in the sixties, we didn’t know that we would end up biking across the USA three times, the East Coast, and soon to finish the West Coast to make a complete circle around the USA. When we learned that millions of people lacked clean water, sanitation, and training in hygiene, we decided to raise awareness and money for our thirsty world on our bike adventures. We love our summer adventures, but when we can combine it by doing good for others, we truly become alive. Blending life is so exciting. 

It is truly God’s purpose to do the good works that God has prepared for us to do and in doing these good works, each of us find our deepest contentment. 

Follow our adventures on Facebook at Bridging the Gap by Giving.


B is for Biking...
June 5, 2015

Whoever would have thought as we were exploring 
the world on our bikes, raising awareness and 
money for clean water in developing countries, 
that the little eyes and ears of our grandsons were 
listening and watching our adventures. Simply
being ourselves and doing what we were created 
to do and in this joyous state, we passed the baton
to our grandsons.

As I biked, I dreamed and wondered if someone 
would follow in our wheel prints someday. I shouldn't
have been shocked when our grandsons came and 
shared that they wanted to do a Coast to Coast Ride 
this summer, but I was. I thought they were so young, then I realized that they had been listening to Papa and Meme's bike ride adventures for years.  I also knew of their character, work ethics, and physical fitness level which helped me to become fully supportive of their adventure.

Grant Adams, a June CHS graduate, and Walker Adams, a junior at CHS, will be biking Coast to Coast. They will begin their ride on June 7th by dipping their back wheel into the Pacific Ocean and completing their ride in Yorktown, VA. You can follow their journey of miles biked by liking them on Facebook: 4 Wheels For A Thirsty World. 

The boys came up with this idea on their own and will be paying their expenses as they raise awareness and money for clean water projects. All donations are tax deductible and can be made by donating  to www.btg4water.org.

All I can say is that I am forever grateful to be a part of this incredible journey that the two boys are biking, and that they are a part of BTG’S team to help provide clean water to our thirsty world.  “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” Helen Keller 


    Autumn Ride
October 22, 2014


As the leaves are beginning to turn brilliant colors, my mind is filled with special memories of our East Coast Ride last October for our thirsty world.

One thing I have learned is to savor all the moments of our bike rides...the good and the bad. Our time in Bath, North Carolina was perfect from the beginning to the end. Paul, our innkeeper, made sure that everything was available to us. His generosity was over the top. He lent us his truck, iPad, washing machine, and canoe. It was a short day, so we took advantage of everything. Leaving was hard, but the way we left, made it fun by biking 6 miles and hopping on a ferry.

The next night wasn’t quite so grand. We stayed in a little dirty little place that made me stop and think about life just a little different. When we walked in the room we were greeted by unpleasant smells, dirtiness, holes in the walls, no pillowcases, dirty sheets, lots of flies, and baring dogs outside. this was our home for the night. Grant had fun killing flies and we went for a long walk and spent time at a library, so not to spend any more time in our room then needed. When I slipped in between the sheets, I was overwhelmed by what I did have: electricity, toilet, water, roof over my head, locked door, and a good man beside me. I fell asleep, very thankful for my dirty little home for the night.



Eating on a $1 a Day:
August 28th, 2014

                   
After returning from Uganda, Africa this summer Grant and I were motivated to eat on a $1 a Day for a Week and then $2 for the second week.  It was an experience that I won’t forget even though it was as though we were playacting compared to the real world.  Almost 1 billion eat on a $1 a day. 

A Few Things We learned by Eating on a $1 a Day:
We savored every mouthful
We wasted nothing. We even licked our plates a few times and if we ate with our hands we got to lick our fingers.  Eating with your hands in Africa is very typical.
If we have to little, we look for more; If we have too much there is an issue of control
As creative people, we try to improve what is given to us
We eat too much on a regular basis
Self control is the is the delay of gratification
We all live under the same sky, so it is best if we share
We see the importance of having a veggie garden in our backyard
You never know who is watching.  Today I received a phone call from our local paper and they are going to run an article on our week of eating on a $1 a Day and our time in Uganda.  Someone gave the paper a tip from these posts
My cholesterol dropped to 172
Since I basically cleansed my body from sugar, I have no cravings for sweets and it is easy to keep your weight down
People can eat for very little money and be healthy

Shirley’s Grocery list:
1 1/4 lbs. brown rice
1 1/4 dried beans
1 1/4 dried old fashion oatmeal
1 1/2 onions
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 banana
1 lb. popcorn
1/2 cup oil
1 lb. wheat pasta
1 T salt

Free from the garden 1/2 cucumber, wild black berries, basil, peaches, and grapes

Grant and I ate basically the same foods, but because he added three items such as coffee, milk, for his coffee, and a dozen eggs, he ran out of food.

“We never become as generous as we were created to be until we realize how much we really have”      - Shirley Adams



God’s Gentle Reminders:
July 2nd, 2013


 
No matter what fun that I might be enjoying with family and friends, God gently reminds me of the great privileges that are mine on a daily basis.  This weekend Grant and I enjoyed camping and water skiing with friends.  One of our daily rituals was going to collect water by boating over to some natural springs for water......there was no turning on the tap.  Each container was 40 lbs, just like the Africans carry everyday and the springs were called Shirley’s Springs.  

God never wants us to forget all that we have and to share our gifts.



I Wrote my First Letter to the Editor:
May 7th, 2013

    The community of Chico lives out, over and over again, the quote by C.T Studd, “The light that shines farthest shines brightest nearest home.”
     Our community relishes in coming together to do good.  Forty corporate sponsors, 100 volunteers and a little over 600 walkers came together for the fifth annual Walk4Water event held at the One-Mile Dam Recreation Area in Bidwell Park on April 6th. It was a fun, educational and inspirational day.
     As a community, we were able to give $24,000 and $15,000 will be matched.  As a result of the Walk4Water, 1,114 Africans will receive safe water, sanitation, and training in hygiene for life. I am forever grateful to live in such a community.  

    Together we are making our community and the world a better place to live.



A Story That Warmed My Heart
March 4th, 2013
Five years ago I visited Chikumbuso, where Linda Wilkinson turned a brothel into a safe haven in the center of a compound.  When entering the guarded gates, once again, I was greeted with hope and the the goodness of life.  Children are learning, singing and playing.  Women take a break from their work of crocheting women’s purses to greet us with song, dance, smiles and hugs.

Aleva, the mom of 5, lost her husband to AIDs and with 5 children, resources dwindling for her, Aleva found herself in a compound.  She struggled to provide for her family, but soon they were eating small meals one time a day, until there was no food.  She began to think about doing things that she never thought of doing just to provide food for her children, but she couldn’t do it.  She cried out to God.

A few day later, Rose, a single mom from the compound, noticed how Aleva was struggling and invited her to visit Chikumbuso. At Chikumbuso she was invited into the community.  Two of her children were able to start school and Aleva started crocheting purses to sell.  Aleva and the two children attending school were given one meal a day.  Though Aleva wanted to devour the food, she saved most of her food for her children.  After a few weeks, three purses sold and Aleva received her first payment for her work.  What happened to Aleva and her children is a story of hope that that happens over and over again at Chikumbuso. 

Chikimbuso is growing at a rapid pace and BTG is looking forward to aiding the school in an up coming water project.



More About Gratitude
January 30, 2013

My choice to make gratitude my theme for the year is beginning to change my heart.  Everyday I look forward to being still and taking a few moments to remember and to write down the gifts that I received today....no matter how big or small.  

Here are some of my entries so far: 

1/21 Massa Rice - Yummy tossed green salad with chopped dates - The process of making a difficult decision - Soft music by the fire - God’s continuous guidance.  

1/25 Painted toenails - Bidwell B&B with friends - Walking in the snow - Laughing - Rainbow over the lake - Gail, my webmaster - Oranges.

“To feel gratitude is a gift to me, but to show gratitude is giving a gift to a friend.” - Shirley Adams 

I am off to write a note to express my gratitude!



My Heart is Breaking
January 17, 2013
My heart is breaking tonight. 

I little over two years ago I was in Mali, Africa and had the privilege of meeting my sponsored my child. I laughed and cried over their joys and pain, ate their food, gave them clean water, talked and hugged, received gifts from them, played with the children, danced with the women, and lived life with them. 

And now many of them are having their lives shattered by evil. I have never experienced what I am feeling at the moment.....it is hard to be so close to injustice. 

Join me in prayer for Malians who deserve sooooo much more.  I feel God gave me the privilege of my time in Mali so that I can hold them up in prayer. I wouldn't have this burden to pray if I hadn't been there. God works in such creative ways.



A Year of Gratitude
January 1, 2013
Happy New Year!
 
Soooo... How many of you make New Years Resolutions? How many of them do you keep? On average, we only manage to keep about 8%... most likely because there is no plan in place or accountability to check our progress. So this year I made a plan. And for those of you who would like to join me, we can even help keep each other accountable!
 
I have an attractive gift box of 52 thank-you cards and a small gratitude journal sitting on my desk.  Each week I plan to write a thoughtful note to  family member, friend or acquaintance. The journal will be filled with thanksgiving on my journey through a year of gratitude. 
 
I started right after Christmas because I just couldn't wait for the new year to begin. I am already learning that it is impossible to feel bitter and grateful at the same time.



Christmas Thoughts
December 12, 2012

At the end of the day, I like to sit by the fire and ponder about the day. I was gazing at our Big Boy Christmas tree and I couldn't help, but think of the abundance we live in.....even our Christmas Tree. Our tree drank 2.1 gallons of clean water on the first day it came to visit and now it is down to drinking 1.2 gallons of clean water daily.

Of the over one billion people that do not have access to clean water, the average person uses about 1.3 gallons of whatever water they can find a day. That is less than one flush of a toilet.

I am forever grateful that we are making a difference for our thirsty world.



Summer Time
May 29, 2012 

There is nothing better then getting up early to beat the heat to go on a bike ride to Forest Ranch and enjoy breakfast with a friend.  Swimming, camping, hiking, gardening, traveling, spending time with friends and the list goes on of summer fun.  I will probably do all of these this summer, but I want to do more.  I want to do what I love to do, to help change the world.

So, what will that look like?  In June, Grant and I will travel to Honduras with Agros International.  Agros International is committed to breaking the cycle of poverty for rural families in Central America and Mexico by enabling landless communities to achieve land ownership and economic stability. We have learned that the root causes of poverty extend across communities and are passed down from generation to generation, and so the Agros development model is holistic, sustainable, and focused on long term results. This commitment to the long-term sustainability of a whole community serves to break the cycle of poverty in all its forms.  We will be visiting a small village, Brisas del Volcan, that was adopted by Bidwell Press approximately six years ago.  The village now has a productive coffee plantation and developing a fish farm and the cycle of poverty has been broken.  Grant and I will be exploring areas that will be soon to be adopted and how we can help with a water project.

I am also looking forward to opening our home for a dinner to show my appreciation to the many volunteers and donors that give so generously to Bridging The Gap By Giving.  Be sure to save the date, August 17th.  There is nothing better then doing the things you love to do to help make the world a better place to live!

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  Ephesians 2:10


A Little About Me
May 10, 2012 

Sometimes I wonder how I came to be who I am…..Why am I so passionate about our thirsty world?   

Gradually my eyes of my heart and mind have been trained to see God’s faithfulness in my life and I am forever grateful of His part in my life. I was one of those little surprises in my parent’s latter years and it was suggested that I be aborted, because of my mom’s health. My mom would have nothing to do with that plan. Yahoo, what a beginning!

I learned many good qualities from my parents: Work ethics, hospitality, living simply, creativity and organization. Of course, there were some teachings from my parents God needed to redeem me from. I was taught not to care globally, but God was gracious to bring people into my life to remold my thinking to be more like Him. 

Grant, my husband, and I went to a church that supported several missionaries, which mystified me. Through biblical teaching and our natural love for adventure my eyes began to be open to see the great disparity between nations. I was trekking to the base camp of Mt Everest, when I saw a man chipping stone on his knees. Santos, our leader, shared that he works 12 hours a day and is paid a little over a dollar. I heard two voices going off in me. My dad was whispering that this man is meant to live this way and that he is content. The other Voice was much louder that said this is not how I created the world to be and I realized how unjust this picture was. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was one of the  teaching moments that taught me that I could no longer turn from the great needs of the world and live a life of comfort without sharing. I was being called to help bridge the gap between my country that lives in abundance and to the people of developing countries that have such great needs.

After coming home, the foundation, Bridging The Gap By Giving was formed and in six years over 13,000 Africans have received clean water, sanitation and training in hygiene.

To God Be The Glory!


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