Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas Newsletter Finished!!! WHEW!!!

I believe that I now have my 2014 Christmas Newsletter finished, so here it is:

I've even created a folder in which to store this and future Christmas Newsletters:

While I'm at it, I'm going to share a link to my empowerment blog:

This is my version of multitasking, I'm afraid...

Thanks for reading!!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Ainsley Jo's Christmas Newsletter (2014)

The best kinds of gifts aren't always the most expensive ones 
but, instead, 
the ones that truly come from the heart.

Season's Greetings To All Who Read This!!!

What you're looking at now is a stab at writing some sort of Christmas Newsletter this year.

I realize that not all people who read this celebrate Christmas, but I hope you'll enjoy this newsletter even if you don't.  I have no problem with saying "Happy Holidays!" in order to pay respect to those who celebrate other holidays, but I still love to share and celebrate how God sent Jesus into this world to live among us.

In a sense, that was a lot like what has happened to me.

I've always cared about homeless people and have wanted to help them, but I believe that having become part of the homeless population has been an education of what it feels like to actually BE homeless.

Thankfully, my homelessness was what I've often referred to as being homeless princess-style.  That is, I wasn't reduced to having all of my worldly possessions reduced down to what fits into a shopping cart and sleeping curled up over a grate trying to keep warm in nippy weather.

I'm also very thankful to report that I'm no longer part of the homeless population and haven't been since September 22, 2014 when I officially signed the lease on the apartment where I'm now living.

This happened a year and 13 days after officially becoming part of the homeless population on September 9, 2013.

Even though I was able to "couch" with friends (one time for three months until they needed to remodel their home) and spent just under a month in a nursing home right before signing the lease (went ahead and stayed in the nursing home to both reap and give benefits from the experience until I signed out for good on the first day of October), there were things I'd taken for granted at one time in my life such as having my own kitchen where I could cook and a toilet to use without thinking about who might be desperately waiting outside the door, and it was a celebration to get them back again.

Although (as I'm now living in Muncie and would like to live in the Anderson area again in time) where I'm at now won't be the very last place I call home, I believe it will be my home at least until late next September.  After that?  I'll know closer to the time.

For now, I'm really enjoying myself and have lots of really great neighbors and lots of activity.  Yes, there are things that I wish would hurry up and happen (such as getting my minivan up and running again after it finally stopped on me back in August, not to mention having my own laptop and a WiFi connection -- or, at least, something I can afford -- so that I can get online from my apartment building and, hopefully, from my own apartment as well).  Of course, there's some business involving a "day" in court that I hope will take place more sooner than later.

I won't go into all of the details about everything now, as anyone wanting to will be able to keep up with me at least some by visiting the links I'm providing.

As it's getting late and time to leave the library before long (not just because it's closing but, also, because I want to get back home without too much walking in the dark on this rainy day), I think what I'm going to do is to make the rest of this newsletter a bunch of links as I return to my train of thought about how Jesus was born among us.

Actually -- as the weather (as it stands now -- but, when it comes to Indiana weather, who can tell!?!) is supposed to be pretty decent, though a bit colder this week, I don't believe there's much doubt that I'll be returning to the library again, so I think I'm going to temporarily sign off at this time and get back to you on Thursday.

Today is Tuesday, December 16, and the library where I go won't be open again until Thursday -- and, besides, I have all kinds of things to do in the meantime.  Therefore -- God willing and the creek don't rise -- I'll see you back here on Thursday, December 18...

(to be continued, so, stay tuned...)

It's now December 18, and I'm back here picking up where I left off.

And it turned out that I spent most of the time selecting music, so I'll pick up the next time I have a chance...

(to be continued, so, stay tuned...)

Monday, December 22...

I'm still picking out songs to go with this newsletter.  So many great songs that it's hard to select which ones to end up using.

However, I heard a wonderful rendition of a favorite Christmas story by Johnny Cash, and it will be the one I'll use for the final one, as it sums it all up.

Anyway, Murphy's Law is acting up overtime today, but I'm still progressing in getting this finished.
I'm going to try to get everything to hang together as it's supposed to.
For starters, here's a link to the online introduction card I designed in June.  If you want to see the URL to it instead of simply clicking on the above hyperlink, click below:

I think I'll go ahead and show all of the links as URLs so you will know exactly where they will send you in case you're not comfortable to going to unidentified places.

Since designing it, I came across a new (to me) writing/posting/social site and am starting to get active there, so I'm going to give you the link to my portfolio there as well as another link re: how to join it as referred by me, if you like what you see...

I've also written a blog with the theme of empowerment that can be found by going here:

By going here you can get an idea re: what was the story that made me decide once and for all that this blog needed to be created:

This will take you to the latest entry in this blog:

and this will take you to the latest entry in my empowerment blog:

I believe that the best way to learn about what's been happening over the past five years would be to say that a lot was taken from me (including--but not limited to--one Mommy, two aunts, one uncle, several cousins, lots of friends, and one home) but a lot was also given to me in the way of new friends and new adventures.  Someday, I'll be seeing my loved ones again -- and do, at times, even now, in dreams and memories -- and it's time to take care of what is at-hand.

There was a story that the late, great Paul Harvey liked to tell around Christmas that was about a guy who chose to stay home from Christmas Eve Midnight Mass instead of accompanying his family there, because he just didn't "get" that Jesus business.

It was a cold, windy, and snowy night, and he was glad to be in relaxing in front of the TV with a can of beer in his hand.

He was startled by a noise that sounded as if somebody was throwing snowballs at his window, and he got up to bawl out the neighborhood kids whom he suspected were responsible.

Instead, he found that the noise came from birds flying at the window (thinking that it was open space) in hopes of entering the inviting-looking living room where they could keep warm.

The man felt sorry for them and decided that he could at least let them into the garage, so he opened up the garage door -- but the birds kept focused on the picture window and kept hitting it.

He waved his arms to try to motion them into the garage, but they ignored him.

He finally got behind them and made noises in hopes of scaring them in the right direction, but that just made them more confused.

Frustrated, he began talking to himself about how he wished he could turn into a bird long enough to lead these poor critters into the warm, safe garage -- and, at that moment, he heard a church bell ring, and, for the first time in his life, he understood about that Jesus business and knelt in the snow to turn his life over to the One Who came here so long ago as a baby in a manger and grew up to know firsthand what it was like to be human!!!

In a smaller sense, that is what has happened to me:  getting to know things such as being homeless, being in a nursing home, etc. up close and personal.

If I were to write about things like this, I couldn't be told that I don't know what I'm talking about, because I do!

You'll also be hearing about a very special angel in my life named Larry Van Ness (a.k.a. The CanMan).  If you read enough of my writings, you'll be learning more about this amazing man who has taught me a whole lot more about how important it is to recycle as much as you can.  You'll also learn that I had three encounters with him before our friendship stuck for good.

There are more details in my writings about this, but I'll give you the years:  1966, 2003 (or thereabout), and 2013.  The first time, he was just a name.  The second time, he was an interesting person and a guardian angel of sorts.  The final time, he and I became -- and still are -- the best of friends!

On this note, I'm going to sign off because I've given you enough information (as in a thumbnail sketch) so that you can dig deeper if you wish.

Finally, I've created a folder for this and future Christmas newsletters, so this will link you to it:

Have a very blessed holiday season in whatever way/ways you celebrate it!!!

Ainsley Jo :-)

A Place For My Christmas Newsletters To Go

Christmas Newsletter 2014

(reserved for next Christmas newsletter)

Stay tuned for more Christmas Newsletters in the future!!!

Monday, September 29, 2014

I Seriously Need To Be Cloned!!!


So much has been happening that my head is spinning -- so, I've come to the conclusion that the best way for you to keep up with me is just to check out some of what I've been writing lately...

It often seems as if I've just caught you up with me a bit when the news I've shared has become history instead of current events -- with this being true even in this age of 21st Century E-communication.  Of course, the fact that I don't always have access to the Internet has a bit to do with it.

Anyway, here's how things stand now on Monday, September 29, 2013 where it's now (as of when I'm typing these words) a little after 11:30 in the morning and heading towards noon.  By the time I finish this blog-entry, it will probably actually BE noon, if not a little or a lot after.

Let's take this summer when I was about to write about various activities in which I was involved.  I began writing them down but ran out of time to continue.  I'll, therefore, have to (hopefully) go back and catch things up later.

But I'm now going to share some links to part of what I've already written.  Some of these links will blend into each other, but I'm going to include them anyway.

Even so, I won't include them all but will, instead, point you to a couple of locations (writing sites of which I'm a member) where you can easily find out more:

Referral Link For Bubblews (in case you'd like to join as referred by me -- but it won't force you to join even if you click on it):

Referral Link For Persona Paper (same as referral link for Bubblews -- that is, where you go if you'd like to join as referred by me but it doesn't lasso you in should you click on it to check things out):

Now, here are the links I've selected -- which will be followed by an update:

Go here for the update:

That's all for now...

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Things Fall Apart -- And, Then, They Come Together So Perfectly!!!

Right now, I'm writing about what's been going on in my life lately, and this is going to be a continued post, as I can't do it all in one day due to time limitations.

But, to make a long story short, I'm writing some posts now to accomplish this and will be adding them to this page until I'm able to bring you up-to-date.

After I'm able to bring you up-to-date, it will be time to go on to another page.

For starters, I've created another blog that I believe is very important, and I'm going to be sharing a link to it right here:

"Empowerment!"  A Journal Of Many Journeys -- Mine Included

I'm also going to include links to some things I've written -- but I'm sharing the SPOILER first...

That way, you won't have to worry yourself through some of the parts leading up to the spoiler (which is my most recent current event), as it has been a pretty bumpy ride getting to this spot...

At this time, I'm going to have to begin to sign off, as not only is the library about to close for the evening (early, as it's Saturday) but I also have a timed taxi that will be awaiting me at half-past-five.

This will return me to the nursing home where I'm currently staying until my apartment becomes available (and I'm getting closer and closer to that goal all of the time to where I believe that this is going to happen right here in September!!!

(to be continued. . .Today's date is Saturday, September 6, 2014, and I don't see myself getting back online before Monday, September 8. . .)


Monday, August 18, 2014

Murphy's Law & Seeing Mrs. Murphy

For starters, if you haven't already, please read my last post.

Now, onto some new stuff that will give you an idea of what has been going on with me.

Right at this time, I'm just about to break camp at Krannert Memorial Library, which will be closing early all week.

I know that I'll be here until at least tomorrow, though my plans are to start to head back to Anderson either Thursday or Friday.

Although I'm having a wonderful time here on campus when the new bunch of freshmen are just starting to arrive for a few days of orientation before class begins, there are still some dramatic factors playing here that would fall under both the category of Murphy's Law and Seeing Mrs. Murphy (When it comes to the latter term, just read or watch the original Cheaper By The Dozen.).

I'll be writing more about my visit tomorrow and beyond, but I'm just going to ask you to click on the following two links, as they will tell you all you need to know for now -- and, likely, more than you WANT to know...

In The Right Place At The Right Time

Sometimes, There's Just No Stopping The Call Of Nature!!!

Enough said for now...

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Rose With A Goal To Do Away With The Thorns!!!

Awhile ago, I was contacted on Facebook by a woman named Rose Kamunge who lives in Arusha, Tanzania on the continent of Africa.

She was seeking people to help her to bring about some major changes in how the local women and girls were perceived and, thus, treated.

She had already started to carry out this mission but knew that she would be needing far more help than what she currently had if the changes she wanted made were to become permanent.

Thanks to having the miracle of Internet access here in the 21st Century, this project has more of a chance of becoming increasingly real.

As of this post, I have written several things about this (including how others have picked up on the information from reading this and would like to find ways to participate), and Rose has come up with a couple of writings for sharing the overall situation and for getting started on putting an end to it.  I will share links to these writings at this time...

"This One's For The Girls"...

So, What Are We Going To Do About Tanzania?

Green And Serene In A Drama-Filled World

An Interesting Thing Happened On The Way To Tanzania...

Please Help Empower These Beautiful Women And Girls!!!

The following two links lead to pages on which I've pasted some information from Rose.  The information contained in the first document is a kind of overall story (with more details and descriptions of the needs) of what is going on over there, while the information contained in the next one is a sketchy game plan.



This, as I've indicated,  is a post containing links to the beginnings of this movement going viral.  It will remain the same, as it will remind us of our beginnings and how far we've come.

In order to share updates, I have created another blog about empowerment.  It will not only contain updates about this mission but, also, will share other examples of how we can make the world a better place by simply blooming wherever we happen to be planted at any given time.

To get to this blog, please click here...

Thank you for reading this!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Conceptual Framework For The Maasai Women Empowerment Program...



August 2014

1:0 Introduction and background information on the overall situation
1: General Overview about the Maasai situation Ngorongoro.
The Maasai  are one of the few ethnic entities still holding on to the traditional lifestyle in the midst of globalization. Despite the traditional nature of the Maasai culture, it is not immune to the change process from internal as well as external forces in ecological, political, economic and sociological terms. The pace of change has been slow until the last decade when the effects of the liberalized economy in Tanzania began to have impact on the Maasai livelihood systems. The speed of socio-economic change process, among the Maasai of Ngorongoro has been accelerated by the forces of globalization.
This change process has serious implications for such a traditional community which has been sidelined by the mainstream development process for many years since independence. Women are more affected by  these processes by virtue of their marginalized position in the Maasai community where women are relegated to the lowest social position.
Such implications range from poor participation in the educational development process in the country which means externalization from participation in the political arena which has a consequence in poor representation. The sum total result of which is lack of participation in the policy formulation processes. Up to now there is no policy on pastoralism which is the mainstay of the Maasai livelihood system. Reluctance of the government to recognize and support the pastoral economy of the Maasai has resulted in the scale up of impoverisation of the Maasai community over the years. This overview description is applicable to the Maasai community across the board in Tanzania.

1:2  The context of Ngorongoro District
The context of this proposal is Ngorongoro district  which is one of the five Maasai districts in the country.
This district is unique and different from the other four districts on one fundamental account, that is conservation of wildlife. The district is part of the Greater Serengeti Ecosystem and is therefore the home of many species of fauna and flora. The World famous Serengeti National  Park and the Ngorongoro Conservation area where the Ngorongoro Crater is situated are one of the most visited tourist destinations in East Africa. These two wildlife sanctuaries  have made the government to focus more on wildlife conservation at the cost of pastoralism without regard to the reality that the abundance of wildlife in these areas which interfaces with the Maasai life in the villages is attributable to the nature of the Maasai culture which discourages use of game meat hence preventing killing of wildlife. Maasailand is the only place where wildlife have found a safe home and friendly environment. This is attested to by the peaceful co-existence of wildlife and livestock in the Masai villages in the district.                            
Due to this peaceful and friendly co-existence between the Maasai and wildlife, most of the areas now used for conservation like Serengeti National Park were carved out from Maasailand, a reality which has caused alienation of prime land for pastoralism. While wildlife grazes in the Maasai villages, destroying crops and killing their livestock without any compensation, the Maasai livestock are never allowed to enter into the Serengeti National Park  for grazing even during very hard times. This is one of the factors which increase the level of poverty in this community.
Ngorongoro district is unique and different from other districts because most of the land in the entire district has been legally declared as wildlife conservation of one form or the other.
In the Ngorongoro highlands which constitute 59% of the total district, there is Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority. This area is governed  and managed by a government parastatal and yet there are over 80,000 Maasai living in this area. The Multiple Land Use is the model of management of this area. To balance conservation of wildlife and human development in this area remains one of the most challenging job in the area. The livelihood system of the Maasai in this area is strictly regulated by the NCA authority, impeding a natural community development process like in the other villages in Tanzania.
As if this is not enough, the remaining 41% of the district land area is yet governed  by another conservation legal framework. This area has been declared a Game Controlled Area with its restrictions on human development activities. This makes the entire district, a government conservation area where human development is hampered by conservation laws and policies. The overall impact on the socio-economic arena of the Maasai pastoralists is acceleration of general poverty.
Against this background, MIMUTIE WOMEN ORGANIZATION commits itself to put in place a women empowerment strategy to enable women to address challenges affecting their lives and their economic position in the community. Some of these challenges are caused by both internal and external factors and forces within the the Maasai cultural environment.
MIMUTIE WOMEN ORGANIZATION  strategically empowers the women through the following interventions through interventions in the areas of;
·        Cultural development of the Maasai pastoralists.
·        Improvement of the natural resource management through the use of the strategy of Community Based Natural Resource Management enshrined in the cultural framework.
·        Economic empowerment  by focusing on women empowerment and education of girl children.
This proposal is meant to enable ECEPA to implement the last component of its program.


2:1   Cultural Context

It is not possible to understand the concept of community based  development process in the Maasai community without  a fair understanding of the cultural context .

 The social organization system of the Maasai  is based on the age-set system. Boys of one age group are initiated into one age set and undergo cultural training during the entire period of their worrioship which is ten years. At the end of this period, they become fully knowledgeable about their own culture. This is therefore the way cultural values are passed and perpetuated across generational lines. This applies only to boys only.

Women are not part of this ceremonial arrangement of cultural training. Girls  are not grouped into age-sets like boys. As they get married, they take the status of  the age-set of their respective husbands irrespective of the age.This is where the social marginalization of women begins in the Maasai society.

The patriarchal nature of the Maasai culture relegates women to the lowest social status and this marginalizes them from ownership of property and control of the same. This male dominated social arrangement works against women development. As a consequence of this, few girls are sent to school as compared to boys. This accounts for the highest level of illiteracy among women compared to men. This has been proved by various studies.


By virtue of the partriarchal social organization of the Maasai society, women have had few opportunities to access formal education. Hence illiteracy remains a major problem which also externalizes women from participating in leadership  and decision making processes in the socio-economic development arena.  This also accounts for poor participation of women in the political representation.
In the socio-economic arena, decisions in terms of planning and implementation of development activities are carried out by men. This whole process is responsible for the current social status of women which is characterized by economic poverty and political powerlessness.


Statisticts demonstrate that in the standard 4  and standard 7 national examinations, girl children perform very poorly and in most cases drop out of school. The reasons for this can be listed as follows;

·        Poor status of the mother who in most cases takes care of the needs of her daughter.Fathers in most cases are not willing to support their daughters who are sent to school under the government pressure. For them, they want their daughters to fail so that they can be married off as soon as they come out of school.
·        Girl children who are mostly day scholars go back to their respective bomas where the cultural system encourages them interact with boys and participate in traditional dances. This makes them think less of education and do not even bother to do their homework.
·        Distance between school and the village can be 7 kms and children get tired walking to and fro without lunch. This discourages them to continue with schooling. They see this as the source of suffering rather than the source of happiness and hope.
·        Poverty of parents is also a factor. Some parents my wish to educate their daughters beyond the first level or even through the third level of education but they are constrained by poverty.
·        Poor quality of teaching environment in its entirety---few teachers, inadequate teaching materials, lack of books, etc.

There are many more reasons for this problem but these are the most fundamental ones.


The Maasai community practices transhumant pastoralism
which means seasonal mobility of livestock to access water and grazing in a context where land is communally owned and used for pastoral production. For the pastoral economy to be productive, availability of adequate water is a necessity. But up to now, the problem of water ranks as one of the most important and critical problems which constrain socio-economic development of the pastoralist Maasai in the Ngorongoro district. This problem takes a high toll on the livestock during the dry season every year. Human beings share the same water with livestock and wildlife in many areas. The amount of calories and time expended by women who trek long distances to fetch water for their families are immense. More than 80 % of the people have no access to clean water. Safe water does not exist at all.

Foundation Steps...Based On The Following Strategy:


1:0   Establishing a small office in Arusha for easy communication and networking . This is very basic for getting the organization off the ground and ensuring linkages and networking with likeminded organizations, individuals and government institutions.
2:0  Fundraising for the initial foundation investments for establishing office.
3:0  Development of a website where the organization can upload relevant information and data on the newly founded MIMUTIE WOMEN ORGANIZATION.
4:0  Lean staff of three persons(coordinator , program officer and secretary).
5:0  Development of strategic plan for three years timeline.
6:0 Organizational capacity development strategy for the staff to enable them become adequate to the tasks in their respective job descriptions.
7:0 Networking with local and international organizations and individuals who can support the efforts of the organization to implement its activities.
8:0 development of operational strategy based on the Strategic Plan.
9:0 Operationalization of the Strategic plan using the developed operational strategy
10:0 Fundraising as a continuing activities as the organization takes off the ground.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Keeping Up With Me On Charley Mock's 81st Birthday (August 9, 2014)

INTRODUCTION:  What you're reading below was originally written as a Facebook Note on my author page there.

However, I also wanted to put it into this format so that it will also be able to be read by people who aren't members of FB...

Today just happens to be the birthday of one of my high school principals.

It also happens to be the birthday of one of Anderson's neatest people, Paul Bickel, as well as that of a longtime friend and co-worker of my mom's, Martha Lee (both she and my mom now passed on).

The reason I refer to Charley Mock as "one of" them is that he was the head principal during my freshman and sophomore years at Markleville High School.  When we consolidated with Pendleton High School to form Pendleton Heights High School, he became an assistant principal.

It's hard to believe that enough time has passed to where he and I have reached our current ages!

When I listen to oldies stations such as

WERK 104.9 FM

I'm taken back to those days again.

If I had been told back then where I'd be in life today, I believe that I would have a very hard time believing it...Speaking of radio stations, I'm happy to report that


91.7 FM

is still going strong!!! 

I can remember back when it was a closed-circuit high school station that was broadcast only through PHHS' public address system for a limited amount of hours per day.  The call letters stood for With Encouragement from Ernest Miller (who became our head principal at the new high school).  Joe and Jan Moore (the June and Johnny Cash of speech teachers) were the ones who put their know-how into it in order to launch it, but even they couldn't have done this without the encouragement of Ernest Miller!!!Now, I can pick it up in AJ's Groovy Igloo just as I can WERK -- and for a greater distance as well!!!

Speaking of which...on my way back to Anderson from a recent road-trip, I stopped by PHHS for a little bit.  Even if what I saw going on hadn't been going on, I probably would have stopped there, anyway, as I find it wise to make stops to keep my radiator from overheating enough to totally kill my motor before I can get it replaced.

However, I stopped longer than I actually needed to for that purpose, as our band was practicing for Band Day.

I'm still perplexed why I haven't found any mention of them in relation to Band Day in the local news when they were so good (and I'm not just a prejudiced member of the PHHS Class Of 1971!) that they really should have placed in the competition.

All I know is that I heard them that day and really loved what I heard!!!

I thought that they were really great way back when, but they have improved incredibly with the passing years!!!

Anyway, I'm now trying to kill several birds with one stone:

1.  Wish my former principal (and others who were born on this day in various years) a very happy birthday and a great year ahead.

2.  Put something interesting on my Author Page by sharing this as well as sharing the last (to date) entry I made in my main blog three days ago that will keep you up a bit with me:

and -- (almost) last but not least -- share a page that will, surely, prove useful to residents of Madison County, Indiana (where we DO have plenty of bridges --with some of them bearing the name of former County Commissioner, Paul Wilson, who also used to be on WEEM way back at the beginning...):

3.  This page was founded by Kevin A. Powell, and it's called: 

Stolen From Madison County, Indiana

Please share it around!!!

Since I said (almost), I will close with a very important fourth bit of info...

4.  Please go to the following links to find out more about women who are being forced to live in the Dark Ages (or worse) here in our "supposedly" enlightened 21st. Century...

Rose Kamunge 

shared this tragedy with me, and I shared it with

Snoopy Puckett

who took the ball and ran with it...

The point is that we can all do something to make life better (or worse) than what we left it.  As was pointed out by Clarence The Angel to George Bailey in my very favorite movie of all times, It's A Wonderful Life, each life touches another life in some way or another!!!

This is my Author Page here at Facebook, and I would like to think that I'm using my God-given talents in this area to make the world better for my having passed here instead of worse.  I pray this is so!!! 

I KNOW that it's so with our wonderful local personmark, Larry Eugene "The CanMan" Van Ness who is about to get to the 10,000,000th tab he's saved for Ronald McDonald House since he started doing this back in 2003.  I can't say enough nice about him!!!

On that note, I'm about to shut up beyond sharing one more link with you.  This link will talk about some writers (me included), a couple of recording artists, and an adorable 67 year old man who collects cans and tabs, but put yourself in this picture as well and celebrate where you've been planted to bloom...

As another Anderson personmark (the late, great Jane Toner Scott) used to close her wonderful newspaper column...

...that's all for now...

Thanks, again, for reading!