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It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Updated: Nov 27, 2023

Hello friends.

It has been a hot minute since I have reached out through my website.

This is the 13th Autumn I have been raising money for the group of children we sponsor in Kisumu, Kenya. It is hard to believe. Where has the time flown by? I wanted to share with you an update on the children in Kenya as well as present to you my fundraiser for the holiday season. I am excited to show you.


40 Books in 365 Days

As of today we currently sponsor directly 10 children. Five are currently in Form 3 (grade 11), two are in Form 2 (grade 10), two are in Grade 8 and one is in Grade 6.

They are all doing well.

Last year we had three students graduate from high school. I am excited to tell you that the young man who had graduated with honours is now in a 4 year Law Program. A special fundraiser was created for him that raised enough money to pay for all 4 years of school right up front. I am so grateful for the people who contributed to his higher education. I believe he will go far and make a difference.

One of the young women is now taking Beauty Therapy, thanks to her church raising money for her first year school fees. The other young woman is saving to go to school to become a Kindergarten Teacher. I am so happy for these children who we sponsored from 2015-2022.

One last student who graduated two years ago is studying construction and he is doing well in school.



Unfortunately, I do have to share some sad news as well. One of our students who was in Form 3 passed away this past summer due to acute malaria. Unfortunately, the family came to our contact too late for help and she passed away 40 minutes after arriving at the hospital. This was an incredible shock and brought deep sadness among the children and her community. I never thought that some of the money we raised through 40 Books would be going towards a coffin and the most beautiful dress this girl ever owned. One of our own students spoke at the funeral and apparently delivered a beautiful speech.

She was a football player and loved to sing. She quite often would go visit her relatives during her holidays as home life was very difficult. She was the 6th born out of 7 children. Her siblings did not go past grade 5 due to poverty. She had a beautiful smile. She will be missed.


We still have three children who ICF has lost contact with. They left with their family's without a word and we have not been able to locate them. If they were to return or let us know of their location, we would be happy to continue sponsoring their education.

The school is progressing well with the enrolment of 115 kids, 5 teachers and ,a cook, a cleaner and a driver. Next year they will have Grade 2 ,in addition to the classes they have now which are, The Reception, PP1(kindergarten) Class, PP2 (kindergarten) Class and Grade 1. The PP2 class graduated on the 19th of October, thereafter the school will close until January 2024.


9th Book and Bake Sale

Our 9th Book and Bake Sale last May Long Weekend was once again a great success and we broke a record again. The day was hot and smokey, but it didn't stop people from coming out, buying some books, munching on some goodies, eating some hotdogs, chatting with friends and supporting our cause. It's my favourite day of the year. I love seeing familiar faces of those people who come every year to the sale. This coming May, we will be celebrating our 10th Book Sale. I am not going to lie, it is going to be a little crazy in our household that week as our twins will be graduating high school on the Thursday before and their prom is on the Friday. So, we will most likely be asking for extra help that week with baking so that we can celebrate the girls and their accomplishments as well as celebrating a milestone with our book sale.


I myself have had a great year practicing my photography skills and getting out into nature as much as I can. I can't begin to tell you how excited I get when I run into a certain kind of bird or come upon a landscape scene where the lighting seems perfect to me and the composition aligns.


The Goods...

I am excited to present to you my

Moments in the Canadian Rockies 2024 Calendar as well as my new

5-Pack of Blank Greeting Cards. Some of the proceeds will be going directly to

The Innocent Children Foundation to support the 9 children we still sponsor in Kenya.


The cover of the calendar this year has a lot of meaning to me. I would love to share with you a story.


I had left my house around 4:30am to head out to the mountains for a day of photography. I had planned on going to one location in Banff to see the sunrise. But, I should have known better because when I decide to play with Mother Nature, my plans don't usually go the way I expect. The sun started rising as I approached Canmore, so I thought I should just head into town and find a location to take pictures instead of Banff. However, I had no idea where I should go. The one spot I always like to go to is not a spot that I want to go to on my own, so that was quickly ruled out. So, I started driving around town...stopping at different locations, walking around "lost" and thinking I am going to miss a photographic opportunity. I then drove into Spring Creek thinking I could find a picture of the Three Sisters there. But, there was so much construction blocking off possible locations that in the past would have been ideal. I then stopped my car and closed my eyes to take a breath. I suddenly thought of my good friend who lived in Canmore who passed away this past winter. She used to walk the paths in this area and take pictures of the birds. I then went inward and asked her "where should I go?" I slowly opened my eyes to see where I had stopped and realized I was by the Canmore Opera House and the bridge where I had once taken a picture of the sunset. It was the right location. I could feel it. I got out of the car and walked onto the bridge. There infront of me was this beautiful view. The sun was just starting to kiss the mountain tops, a small cloud was hovering and there was a beautiful reflection in the water. I felt so many different emotions in this moment. "Thank you my friend", I said out loud. Once again, even from beyond, she was there to help me see through the fog.

This picture is also in the month of April, which was my friend's birthday month.

I have stories for each of the pictures I have included in this calendar and I will share them over social media in the next month. Each page has a nature quote as well. The monthly pages has special dates and has a note section which I was told in the past people really enjoyed. This calendar was made with intention and a lot of thought. It's not just a calendar with pictures of the Rockies, for me, it's a calendar representing beautiful moments in nature.


The cost for each calendar, like every year, is $20.00



I am also offering a 5-pack Blank Greeting Card Collections once again this year for a special discounted price of $22.00. My cards are regularly $5.00 each. In a world filled with technology and convenience of just sending off a greeting by text or email, the art of giving a person a real card has become more special. It's something that they can hold in their hands with a thoughtful message from you in your own hand writing. Send it by mail...well, you have made the experience complete.


I also have individual cards available as well for sale. You can find them on my website.


Ok, enough with the chatting. Where can you purchase these items.

The first mail out and deliveries will be starting the first week of November.


There are several options.


E-transfer

1-You can message me HERE (scroll down to contact) and let me know what you would like to purchase. Then you can e-transfer me the payment.

Mailing within Canada is $5.00

Free Delivery in Okotoks.

Free Delivery in Calgary with the purchase of 3 items or more.

Free Delivery in High River, Black Diamond, DeWinton with the purchase of 2 items or more.

Or you can pick up from me.


Credit Card

2-You can purchase by credit card through my WEBSITE

Mailing within Canada is $5.00

Mailing Overseas and the US is $15.00

Use Coupon Code: OKOTOKS for free delivery in Okotoks

Use Coupon Code: CALGARY for free delivery in Calgary with a purchase of a combination of 3 calendars and/or 5-Pack of Cards or more

Use Coupon Code: FOOTHILLS for free delivery to High River, Black Diamond and DeWinton with a purchase of a combination of 3 calendars and/or 5-Pack of Cards or more.

Use Coupon Code: PICKUP to pick up from me.


Bricks and Mortar

3- As of November 1st the cards and calendar will be available for sale at the following locations.

-Sweetgrass Deli in Okotoks

-Little Apple Cafe and Bakery in Longview, AB

-The Okotoks Art Gallery beginning November 17th


-Rebel Bean Roastery in Okotoks.

You can also pre-order my calendar on the Rebel Bean website. While visiting their website why not consider purchasing a Coffee Advent Calendar. 25 days of coffee adventure beginning December 1st. It's a great way to get through the craziness of the month. Click HERE for more details.

I am also selling our Karma Coffee from Rebel Bean Coffee Roasters. This is a Medium Roast Coffee Available in a 200 gram bag. They are $12.00 each. Only available by e-transfer and by delivery or pickup.




-Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts- Buffalo Mountain Lodge and Emerald Lake Lodge. There you will also find some different Blank Greeting Cards that are not available on my website as well as my Calendar. You can find them at the front desk at the back. Just ask to take a look.


Well, I think that is all that I want to share with you right now.

I want to thank all of those who have supported us through our fundraiser these last 13 years as well as all of the support and encouragement on my photography journey.


Wishing you a wonderful holiday season.

Take care my friends and family

Much love

Rikki









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1 Comment


Flory Stepa
Flory Stepa
Oct 24, 2023

Thanks for the wonderful update to all of your offerings. I love ❤️ them all.

You are a beautiful soul my friend & keeping shining bright

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