Category Archives: Heart matters

Sunday Reads

Recipes

Book Recommendation

Our Book Club read for March was Toni Morrison’s The Source of Self Regard . I was really eager to get into it because of everyone’s reaction when she passed away in 2019, there was such sadness at the loss of a great literary mind YET, I had struggled to really get into her writing. Prior to this read, I had only read God Help The Child and I quite enjoyed it.

General thoughts

  • Her command of language and how she uses it to say what she says. I felt like I was in primary school turning to my dictionary for every second word but it was worth it. As a wordsmith she contorts language to do and say exactly what she needs to do and impart the feeling she needs.
  • Her writing confirmed that you can’t be such an accomplished writer and not read widely. Girl reads. Widely.
  • How she talks about language and what it can and can’t achieve. You feel it and you enjoy the experience of it all.
  • What IS African American literature? Is it a separate thing and/or what actually defines it. Also the hoops it has to jump through to be understood or taken seriously. Gave me twice as good as them to get half of what they have vybes. But we the readers are so much richer for this because the writing is so much better.
  • I enjoyed her talking about her writing process and how she thinks of it / approaches it. 

Now to some specific themes and quotes that I loved from each of them.

The Foreign / Being Foreign

  • In the second essay she talks through Camara Laye’s book of how a white man would migrate back to Africa and how he prepares himself.  Even then, there is still some caucasity.
  • The idea of home and how layered it is. No one knows this more than me, what is home and what makes it home?
  • She refers to James Baldwin in her tribute to him as follows: “your life refuses summation … and invites contemplation.”
  • Frederick Douglass talking about his grandmother, and James Baldwin talking about his father, and Simone de Beauvoir talking about her mother, these people are my access to me; they are my entrance into my own interior life. And that is so true, we understand ourselves best by looking at our families and those nearest and dearest to us.
  • Writers, like water, have perfect memory. 
  • But writing is not simply recollecting or reminiscing or even epiphany. It is doing, creating a narrative infused [ …] with legitimate and authentic characteristics of the culture. 

the Afro-American presence in American literature

  • The so called every day life of black people is certainly lovely to live, but whoever is living it must know that each day of his “everyday” black life is a triumph of matter over mind and sentiment over common sense. And if he doesn’t know that, then he doesn’t know anything at all.  
  • I simply wanted to write literature that was irrevocably, indisputably black not because its characters were, or because I was, but because it took as its creative task and sought as it’s credentials those recognised and verifiable principles of black art. 
  • Others are “raced” – whites are not. Or so the conventional wisdom goes. The truth of course, is that we are all “raced”. 

Language

  • when language dies, out of carelessness, disuse, and abuse of esteem, indifference or killed by fiat, not only she herself, but all users and makers are accountable for its demise. 

Other themes, she covers but I did not get any specific quotes on, include, female empowerment, the press, money, human rights, and the artist in society, 

Best chapters 

  1. Racism and Fascism
  2. Home
  3. Wartalk
  4. The Slavebody and the blackbody
  5. Hard, True and Lasting

It is not an easy read at all but certainly worth the time and energy (and dictionary checking). Get it, this is a 5* from me.

When do you get time to read?

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  • Post baby, I have not been able to get back to sleeping through the night consistently so when I get up, I fire up my kindle and read and then if it’s an interesting book, I might read for another 90 – 120 minutes
  • As I wait in a queue, or for an appointment. While I wait for someone.
  • If the book is really good, I also will read over lunch hour.
  • Certain TV shows don’t really require a lot of attention so I might read or read during the commercials or in between two episodes.
  • Obviously before I sleep.

2022 Reading Goals

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  • I want to read more non-fiction books this year in research fields I am interested in and those I am not.
  • Co-read books with loved ones.
  • Despite the successful reading year in 2021, I am hoping for quality rather than quantity of books read.

Any reading goals for the coming year?

What I like about me

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Going through this old post and it made me reflect on those things about myself that I totally love:

  • I am fairly calm in a crisis;
  • I have a list for pretty much any occasion;
  • I can see the humour in any situation;
  • I am loyal and dependable to those I love;
  • I remember dates and anniversaries and will reach out appropriately.

What are some things about yourself that you take pride in?

Christmas / Birthday Wish List

What is on your wish list?

Some sweet parenting moments around here

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  1. Dropping off the Toddler at school and seeing how excited she is to see her little friends and the teacher;
  2. Putting on her playlist and seeing her face light up and watching her sing along to her favourite parts;
  3. Watching her interact sweetly with another child in the park, a restaurant or anywhere really;
  4. Seeing our family and close friends just love her and react to her;
  5. She loves books and might cry at night if you do not read her a story;
  6. Hearing her laugh with her father just before he puts her down;
  7. … actually every father-daughter interaction is a tearjerker;
  8. We have been teaching her seTswana, Kiswahili and English and finally she is getting better at expressing herself and I love it 🙂
  9. Her full belly laugh at anything big and small;
  10. Watching her character develop and figuring out where she is like me, her dad and mostly, just herself.

Heart Lessons From a Toddler

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We are halfway through the BSF Study of Matthew and the lesson I am getting in this season of my Christian walk is just how similar I am to my toddler. And it is a very humbling lesson.

I obviously have a toddler and spend so much time with her. Now toddlers are amazing little people. Funny, impulsive, willful, have no idea of what danger is or what could happen in ever situation. They are loveable but can also be tiring and that is exactly how I have seen myself revealed through the first 13 chapters we have looked at thus far.

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. (James 1:22 - 25)

In the James citation above, we see that when we look intently at God’s Laws, we should our true selves magnified and this should draw us to repentance and to a deeper and more mature relationship with Christ. If we look, feel drawn to a particular response and then just as quickly forget, then its pointless. So while tough, its encouraging that I can see myself as maybe God sees me and this has two results. One, that I am striving towards God in deeper obedience to His will and two: it is helping me parent my daughter differently. Even when I mess up or frustrate Him, He still loves me. There are consequences to sin and all the mess I get into and while painful, I can trust God that His love and ways are perfect. I should and will show my daughter the right way, emphasize that, discipline when she falls short but over and above that in all ways I will continue to love her and show her that she is loved. Ultimately, my heart is filled with such gratitude that this is the God I love and serve and how faithful to me He is. What a faithful and loving God.

Sunday Reads

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Recipes

Friday and December’s Jam

Play loudly, dance gently DO NOT break a sweat. ENJOY 🙂

Sunday Reads

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Brene Brown’s simple advice for parenting when you feel like there’s nothing left to give. So useful for this time but a good tip to have with your partner or co parent.

Also, some productivity strategies for moms who are stressed about doing it all.

So many ethical questions in this piece but I loved reading this profile of a professional baby maker.

How people use their time reveals so much about them and their position relative to various other markers: class,citizenship, gender and other privilege.

… also, moms do not get much time to spend on themselves.

Young Mom, You Can Read the Bible

Although unpopular, I have read some very thoughtful pieces on the fluidity of gender from a Christian perspective and that has been very educative.

Because we always need tips on how to organise our kitchens.

Recipes


Oatmeal Pancakes

Salmon Patties (Salmon Cakes!)

More salmon recipes here

A Lemony-Perfect Pot of Rice

Yogurt Marinated Chicken

A Friday in July

From my favourite spot in the internet:

* a TV show, movie or book you’re into right now
* what you’re looking forward to
* something that’s worrying you
* a dessert you’ll never refuse
* would you rather have flight vs. invisibility?

Right now I am reading some awesome books: The Weekend, Good Company, Unsettled Ground. Nothing really good on TV right now.

I am looking forward to taking my daughter for a visit to my parents later next month.

Worried about whether we will ever get to herd immunity with such varied responses to the COVID-19 vaccine.

I will never say NO to ice cream. Nope!

I would rather have invisibility. All the conversations I will be able to listen to and places I can hang out and not worry about being seen.

What is your response to this pop quiz?

A Role Model for my Little One

I really enjoyed watching Amanda Gorman, the young poet who spoke at President Biden’s Inauguration. I caught myself wishing that my little girl would one day dream big and then work towards achieving her goals and desires. Go girls, go!!

A Book on Female Friendship

Big Friendship: Call Your Girlfriend hosts Aminatou Sow, Ann Friedman on  their memoir | EW.com

Here is the blurb:

Now two friends, Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman, tell the story of their equally messy and life-affirming Big Friendship in this honest and hilarious book that chronicles their first decade in one another’s lives. As the hosts of the hit podcast Call Your Girlfriend, they’ve become known for frank and intimate conversations. In this book, they bring that energy to their own friendship—its joys and its pitfalls.

An inspiring and entertaining testament to the power of society’s most underappreciated relationship, Big Friendship will invite you to think about how your own bonds are formed, challenged, and preserved. It is a call to value your friendships in all of their complexity. Actively choose them. And, sometimes, fight for them. (less)

I read this book in August and it was amazing so get it. But I don’t want to do a review as much as talk about the one thing it made me think of.

The authors talk about a challenging period in their frendship where they were not getting on and they went for therapy together. Either in the book or in the many podcasts promoting their book I listened to they ask how people resolve conflict in a friendship and the process to get a “friend” therapist a specific type of therapist different from most other relationships.

This made me think of a troubled friendship last year that just fizzled out. We had a misunderstanding – not the first we had in the years of friendship but I suppose we are both moms of little ones now and pressed for time and sleep which probably accelerated it all. And then since then we have just ghosted each other. So this is what the book made me think of:

  1. After all the many fights over the years, why was this the one that finally led to the estragement?
  2. Over the years, were there many “missed” moments where we didn’t see the other and that escalated over time?
  3. Could we ever move past this and if not, what would it look like to formally dissolve the friendship (especially where we have so many friends in common)?

Having thought that, I think the impasse is a resolution because in the past when I have cared, I have formally spoken about it with a friend so this is an answer of sorts.

How do you resolve conflict in you friendships?

What Story Will You Tell?

And I’ll testify of the battles You’ve won
How You were my portion when there wasn’t enough (That’s right)
And I’ll testify of the seas that we’ve crossed
The waters You parted, the waves that I’ve walked

I am having a tough week and this song has been challenging and speaking to me. Hope you are blessed through it.

Family Rituals I grew up with

There are some things I randomly think of and I am reminded of growing up.

  1. A big Sunday breakfast with all the trimmings, then Church followed by a late big lunch and something light for dinner.
  2. For all our birthdays, we would buy a birthday card and hide it from the birthday girl as we all signed something heartfelt.
  3. Attending Carol service on Christmas Eve then coming home together to prepare for Christmas Day.
  4. Hearing your birth story from my mom and now that we are all dispersed, she calls at at the exact time you were born. I get my call at 8pm.
  5. When I was in high school, my sisters and I on a Friday night would dance together and just unwind.

What are some of your own family rituals?

The remix you didn’t know you needed

Happy Friday also, I am not a Burna Boy fan but this one ….

Our love is safe

Talking of love yesterday made me reflect on the type of love I have with my Mr and why it is the perfect love for me/us.

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Very early on when we were dating we had a discussion and decided that while we felt we could marry each other we probably needed a longer dating period to confirm this decision. So each year since then, we would discuss whether we were both committed to continuing with each other. Even now on our anniversary dinner, we still ask each other this question as well as reflecting on the past year and dreams for the next.

More than this though was the fact that very early on, he was very clear in his intentions but he also went out of his way to accompany his words with actions. And this meant so much to me especially given the last two people I had liked who couldn’t be bothered with decency. So, our love is thoughtful, not about fireworks but stability – which I have learnt is a value that means so much to me – but it is true to both our characters.

How would you describe your love?

Of Crushes and the Bible

I grew up in Church and mostly attended Christian schools right until I completed my Undergraduate studies. So obviously when I started feeling attracted to boys, the Bible somehow also came in.

I am currently doing this study of Philippians with a friend and was reminded of this guy whom I had a crush on and would frequently send him this verse:

I thank my God every time I remember you.

Philippians 1:3

As I have since learnt, it was so out of context but boy did each text message always end in this verse and how thrilled it made me (and I hope him) feel.

Greet one another with a holy kiss.

2 Corinthians 13:12

Urgggh to be young and silly again.

Parenting under Lockdown

The lockdown has shown me that there are two types of working people: those with children and those without.

I have occasionally thought that of the working parents, some were better than others but today, it hit me as they say in Kiswahili kila mtu apambane na hali yake (each one to contend with their situation / bear their cross). I also read this post that chronicled how some parents are sharing their child care needs – each of us is doing what needs to be done. That is all.

So how are we sharing the responsibilities?

  1. We discuss calendars on Sunday evening and coordinate so we do not have clashing calendars. This is necessary because one parent works in the morning as the other does child care/ house and all those demands.
  2. We each took on more around the house based on interest and strengths. Having said that, I suspect as the mom I do more 😦
  3. Early on, we shared with our respective bosses and teams the situation at home and the impact on overall availability and deadlines.
  4. We regularly check in with each other because its tough for each of us, on different days and in different ways. And we need to carry each other because as I keep saying to the Mr, if we think we are hanging on by a thread now, we cannot afford to break down or get sick.
  5. I/ we both dropped our house cleanliness / tidy standards because no one has time or energy to keep those up. Also, no one is visiting the other so whatever.
  6. Lastly and most importantly, to be easy on myself. I had some grand plans for this year, both in terms of school, work and personally but God in His sovereignty has placed me here and now. So I occasionally say to myself, chill, be easy.

Underscoring all of this is such great privilege that we both kept our jobs and work in fields that allow us to work remotely. Coupled with this is a child who has the beginnings of being resilient and who rolls with the punches given by Mama and Papa.

So how are you coping?