Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Thesis Update

My presentation went wonderfully and I passed! Now I have some editing, revising and clarifying to do, based on my committee's recommendations, and then I will submit my final thesis.

For the presentation, we had good food and a nice turnout. Two friends from my Swahili class helped cooked Kenyan food (thanks again Courtney and Audrey!!) We used several of my African cloths as tablecloths and I wore the dress I had made in Tanzania last year. It was really a fun defense, despite me being a bit nervous! After I finished presenting, people asked a lot of good questions. I felt like I was able to answer them well and show some of my knowledge and analysis beyond what was included in the presentation.

My parents and Dave’s mom were all able to come for the presentation, which was fun and helpful. My parents stayed through the weekend, though Dave had to work most of that time. I don’t have any pictures from the presentation, and all the pictures of cooking and the food are on other people’s cameras. But everyone went for a walk through some nearby gardens on campus while I met with my committee, and Dave got some fun pictures:

Some daffodils in bloom (speaking of daffodils, the little sprouts in our yard came up farther and they turned out to be tulips after all.)
Courtney got a phone call and Shaun, in typical fashion, was teasing her. My Dad and Dave's mom engaged in some interesting conversation:

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Presentation Update

Just a quick update to say that I turned my draft thesis in to my committee members last week and now I'm working on preparing my presentation for Friday. I will present publicly, and then meet privately with my committee and they will decide whether I pass and what changes they think I should make to the thesis. After that, I will need to make whatever edits they recommend and then submit my final copy to the Graduate School. So there's still a lot of work left, but I'm definitely getting closer to being finished and then moving on to the next stages of life. I can't say that I feel very excited yet, but I see real progress, so it's okay! Thanks for all your prayers.

I said I would give more details about my presentation, so here it is:

You are invited to attend a thesis seminar entitled:

Self-Help Groups as a Strategy for Rural Development in Western Kenya: an Exploratory Study in Butere-Mumias District

Friday, April 25th
Rm 338 Natural Resources
Michigan State University

Presented by:
Sarah Halter
Master's Candidate in CARRS

Kenyan food provided

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Prayers please!

I'd like to ask for your prayers for the next few days. I have about 48 hours to finish up the draft of my thesis to get it in to my committee Wednesday morning. I have editing left, my last chapter to finish up and then I need to get do my table of contents, list of figures, title page, etc. In other words, I have a lot left and not much time. I've been working hard, but there are a few things that I just haven't been able to make progress on. I'm hoping that being on a tight deadline will push my brain into high gear to get those pieces done. I really need grace, strength, clarity of mind and alertness to finish this task in front of me. I am eagerly looking forward to this being done and submitting my draft will be a HUGE weight off my shoulders and a big step towards finishing.

Also, if anyone in the area is interested, I'll be presenting my work on Friday, April 25th at noon and you are welcome to come.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Has Spring Finally Sprung!?

I don't know whether to believe it yet, but since it is slightly warmer outside than inside, I just put the screens back in the security doors. So the doors are open and lots of fresh spring air is coming in! I can hear the wind chimes from our neighbor's porch, lots of birds chirping and a few dogs who seem to be enjoying the nice weather too. Marshall's going crazy running from one end of the house to the other looking out ALL the windows and doors and hearing the spring noises!

I was so excited when I came home the other day, and noticed some sprouts coming up out front that I didn’t even know were there. I was going to plant some tulips in that same spot in the fall, but my bulbs were no good, so I had to throw them out. Now it looks like we’ll have some daffodils instead. I’ll let you know in a few weeks if I got it right! I’m pretty good at identifying veggie plants, but not so good on the rest! It looks like our lilies in the back are starting to come up too. Hurray for perennials.

That’s all for now. I’m still alive, working hard and hope to rejoin the rest of the normal world in the near future. More news on that front soon. But in the meantime, I wish you lots of sunshine, flowers and new growth!

Edited to add: The ICE CREAM truck just went by! I thought that was a summer thing...