Today, I want to focus on my parents and the values they have imparted in me that I admire and hope to replicate with my children.
- Their work ethic. My parents inspired my sisters and I to work hard, to be our best and not to be limited by gender, our circumstances or other life setbacks. They themselves came from such humble beginnings and accomplished so much that by their actions and choices, you were inspired to try your best.
- Their relationship with money. As far as I know, my parents never bought anything on credit. If they couldn’t save and get it, they did not get it. Also, to save all your money, save even if you have no immediate plans, just save.
- Family first. My sisters and I always knew (know) that we were important and that we mattered to them, that they gave us their best and withheld nothing from us. They loved and even, liked us, and we never doubted this. We are our parents best investment and choice and there is something comforting in that.
- I love that their parenting style did not require them to compare any of us. To them, we are unique, we are individuals and each success was celebrated on its own and each failure dealt with separately. As a result, all five of us are friends and continue to do the same thing with each other to date.
- Faith and the role of God. He is over and above all things, always has and always has been.
- Choice. Marry when you want, there is no pressure to marry or in fact conform because we are women. Study what you want at school – whether Physics or Home science. Learn how to slaughter a chicken or change a tyre, just because you are only girls, you still need to know.
- A love for books. Yes!!!
Posted in books, Heart matters, home, Motherhood/ Parenting
Tagged about me, books, family, finances, life, life lessons, parenting, parents, reading, saving, tribute, values, women, work
I recently went through an exercise to define my top values in life and it made me very reflective because values are something you never think of until someone crosses it then you realise, woah! something is off here.
- My faith in God is something that I feel very strongly about and hope that people realise when they meet me. It guides my decisions, my reactions and my feelings through life. I believe in One God, the Father the Almighty, One God in Three Persons, He died and rose again and will return. That God, even when things in life go against this thinking, my prayer is I stand in my belief in God.
- Family is very important to me. Loyalty to family, love for family. Enjoying your family. My sisters are truly God’s best gift to me and if we weren’t related, I would still want to know. My folks are the bomb.com. I always say that I would pay good money to live with them for a month some where. With the Mr, the idea is to make our home a home so we both have this enabling and loving environment where we both return to and just want to dwell in and enjoy each other. As you get older and refine your circle of friends, you ostensibly end up with friends that are like family and it is important to cherish those as well and invest in them. Friendship is important.
- Serving God and fellow man is another thing of importance to me. If I do not give back to those that are less fortunate, if I am not moved by the plight of those less fortunate than me, then what I have is not worth it. Serving in Church is an expression of my faith and that must be done but I also still delight in that.
- Working hard and being my best given my constraints is important. I love to set goals and work towards them and that feeling of meeting them and sometimes even exceeding expectations is so refreshing. I am not so concerned about being the first or the best, but being my best is good enough.
- How I work hard is by being resilient. I take stock of the failure or the setbacks and then moving forward. I care about meeting my goals and not giving up when things are tough or not going as well as I expected.
- Stability and Freedom that often comes from being educated or being financially stable. Also, from having family or friends do what they say they will, when they will do it. It helps clarify life and make things much simpler for you to really perform at that optimum level. As a worker, I also find that I like the autonomy to make my own decisions and work at my own pace as opposed to being micro-managed.
- Fun and Play because you need to refresh, slow down and enjoy the successes otherwise they are useful and you do not perform at your optimum. For me this looks like reading books, listening to music, hanging with friends and family, journaling, watching telly or traveling.
What are your top values? What defines you and makes you unique?
Posted in books, Heart matters, home, marriage, school, working
Tagged about me, faith, family, friendship, heart, Heart matters, life, life lessons, values
Do you have song that reminds of you a very specific memory?
Posted in home
Tagged about me, music
I just read this post and the comment and felt prompted to respond with some of my own career advice.
- Think of your career as a jungle gym not a ladder and it’s OK to change your mind about your career path, your objective, it’s OK.
- Fake it till you make, most of us are.
- Find that thing that distinguishes you from everyone else on the team and perfect that.
- Show respect to everyone from the most junior to the most senior and do not compromise your personal beliefs for anyone.
- Demand respect from all the people you work with and it will follow.
- Identify the person at your level that the management loves and replicate what you can of this winning formula. Caution here though, you might not get the same feelings they do but it could help with your overall feedback and perception.
- Work is work, give it your best but don’t kill yourself for it. Unless you are self-employed, we are all replaceable.
- Listen to feedback and then decide what works best for you and work on improving that.
- Trust your instinct when it is time to move on.
- Go into each job with a specific goal or lesson that you would like to learn and then compare this with your specific career objectives or goals.
- Be the kind of senior that you wish you had at each stage of your career. Ths has meant extra work for me at times but is personally aligned to my core beliefs and so it’s also been a source of great joy.
Whatever you work at, work as unto the glory of God
What professional advice do you live by?
We all need some help getting rid of clutter around the house and so I loved this list.
I love this one – the blue couch and slowly I am being drawn to indoor (low-maintenance) plants
I LOVE THE JUMP SUIT AND YES i AM SHOUTING
When something is put aside for more important things.
In my twenties and thirties I have learnt that for some of my friends I have made them priorities where I am a back burner friend. The one who gets cancelled on or is on the second group of wedding invites. Equally, I have some back burner friends too 😦
- I am convinced someone might one day want to write my biography so I am cataloguing my life in this blog, journals and keeping significant letters and cards.
- I sometimes cook like I am presenting a cooking show online. This involves preparing all the ingredients in advance and sometimes explaining what it is I am doing.
- I play back all voice notes I send to try and determine whether I do have a good voice for radio. I am not sure I do.
I read this book over the December holidays and was sooo excited, I am not sure what happened and it’s almost four months later that I am here gushing about it. Urgggh!! Please see below my thoughts under the different themes, page numbers are provided in brackets for you to follow.
- This is a book for us women, refugees, blacks (6) and I totally totally agree.
- I love that our time in Nairobi overlap – when she returns from Canada. I know all the landmarks she mentions of Nairobi. It felt so good to read a book about a place that I knew and know of so intimately. Double yay!!
- I thought it was odd that she kept referring to her folks as Mummy and Baba??? So odd coz those are two different languages in my head and I would have gone with either Mummy and Daddy or Mama and Baba.
- I wondered also why she protects the names of her own kids but not Simon’s eldest two. Not sure what that’s about is it maybe that they are adults and the other two are minors?
- The things said to them about a male child being preferred to daughters. And how this is often blamed on the mother in a way that gives the husband carte blanche to stray in the name of looking for a son (pp 7 – 27). I know this reality all too well and all I think is Biology lessons are important for all.
- It’s so subtle but her talking about not participating in the street games and fights as much as the local kids do coz it could turn on you:
“I had to choose how I would distinguish myself and I knew that it had to be safe.”(9)
- The plight of house girls and domestic workers – all too relatable ( 50).
- Having read Pumla’s Rape, it resonated with me how she spoke about the incident of being sexually attacked: her response and that of the adults around her (52 -55). Also, in the light of #MeToo, I thought it quite bold that she opened up about this incident.
- The urgency for them to receive their citizenship. Yeah, I get that (67 – 68).
- I remember the following events but was probably too young to consider their true impact on history: Chris Hani, Mandelas release, the IFP-sponsored murders and the election.
Growing up Foreign
- Being called an African monkey. While that did not happen to me, I know about being called a refugee almost as though it was a dirty swear word.
- And the rules that their mom had them follow because growing up in another country with parents working full time, there is not a big social infrastructure to support the parents. So rules are key or in young people speak, rules are bae.
“… the immigrant child knows that outside is one thing but home is another country.” (83)
“The immigrant child knows that the key to survival is in the inflection points. … The key to survival is in blending in first, in learning how to be just like else as a first step to freedom. You have to know how the inside works before you can stand outside and make everybody laugh.” (90)
“The immigrant child doesn’t make any noise. … She is preparing for the day when she will have mastered the art of being normal so that she can stand out.” (90)
- How she always talks of her sisters, so beautiful and in some way the story is as much about them as it is her. Yay sisterhood.
- I understand when she talks of her discovery of her race in the States. The same thing happened to me in RSA.
- Being foreign in South Africa has shown me that White ones are still preferred to Black ones. Sad but fact!
- On discovering that your mom is not just a role – mom, wife, friend, daughter – but actually a woman with dreams, feelings and thoughts quite apart from me even. GASP, SHOCKING.
- How their mom almost became like an older fourth sister but their dad remained a dad. I find this to be the truth with us too.
“To know your mother as an adult is to finally see that she has lived many more years as a woman than you have been alive. To be a grown woman who loves her mother is to understand that it is no easy thing to raise children so beautifully that they don’t worry about you until they are grown up and ready to carry the complex burden of that anxiety.” (304)
- Class: I enjoyed reading about her relationship with her nanny especially when they were both pregnant. I thought it was the most honest tale by a middle class Black woman that I could totally relate to.
So please go out, buy the book read, it, share it and enjoy it.
Now, to make friends with her in real life?
Posted in books, Heart matters, home, Motherhood/ Parenting
Tagged about me, Books reading, foreigners, growing up., home, Kenya, life, love, motherhood, Nairobi, race, Sisonke Msimang, sister love, South Africa
What else would you add?
So this is my current handbag that I bought at Maasai Market in Nairobi, Kenya
- Brown notebook and a pen
- Black kindle / novel
- Contacts lenses
- Lip something or other
- A pair of sunglasses
- Ear phones and obviously phone
- Pink Wallet
- White power bank
- Spectacles Case
- Green scarf
So, what’s in your handbag????
So while in truth I am 32 years, I hardly ever feel that way. I suppose in so many ways I have age dissonance in that, that’s the number I put down but hardly do I look at myself and think, there she is that 32 year old, nah, nope, never. So how old do I feel? Well, I have three secret inner ages.
At this age, I fell in love with Nairobi. I was also deemed old enough to commute to the Library and church and back home unaccompanied. I also loved taking matatus (public service vehicles) and would delight in selecting the hottest one with the best music or the coolest people. I enjoyed feeling like a grown up even in this really small way.
At this age, I felt grown. School got tough but I managed to draw on my inner strength and focus. By this point I had chosen subjects that would pretty much determine what I studied at University and essentially my career. Now I know many people didn’t take it that seriously but I certainly did and saw each of those decisions as a major cog in the life wheel. I also remember the clarity I felt around these decisions, I was so bold and didn’t even for a second second guess myself or my abilities.
I literally felt like I was on top of the world. I had completed my undergrad and felt like the world was my oyster. I jokingly say, I should have rewarded myself with motherhood because thought I was single, this was the only time I felt the need to bear an heiress 🙂 But I felt young enough to be optimistic and experienced enough to have something under my belt.
In truth though, we have friends who have one or two kids, some who are divorced, others have faced miscarriages – all things that I think of as being done by big people. We have gotten married, changed jobs, moved cities and all that but somehow that’s another person not me. Do you sometimes feel that way or is your life aligned to your actual age?
- Curiosity about one self, people, life or other.
- A passion for life. You have to have that thing that drives you.
- Ability to laugh at one self and others but not in a mean girl way.
- Not being clingy / able to chill with yourself and do stuff on your own.
- Ambition or wanting to better yourself.
- Being comfortable in your own skin and trusting that people walk through life in different lanes and being OK with yours.
- A love for simple things. Yes big luxurious things are great to have, but someone that you can enjoy the small everyday things with is even better.
- A fear of God, I don’t know any atheists/ agnostics because I feel it is important to have a fear of God, an external standard that guides you and reigns in your own inner and crazy self.
What about you, what qualities do you look for in other people?
8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us. (Source)
Psalms 103: 12 reminds us that God forgives fully and removes our sins from us as far as the East is from the West. This truth came up recently when I met a friend to discuss the bible studies that we had both done separately over the BSF break, her Hebrews and me, James.
A theme that separately came up for each of us is belief and how it is also possible for us as believers not to take God at His word and put in caveats that are not there OR that limit our overall ability to enjoy the time spent with Him. And this way, practice unbelief. In my specific case, this came through in the area of prayers. For others in my life, I am able to pray big prayers and believe on their behalf that God is who He says He is and that He can do what He said He will but somehow somehow in my case my faith is muted and I doubt that He will do what He said He can. So my pal rightly asked me: “what’s that about?” And in that moment, I was reminded of the verse that exhorts fathers not to provoke their children to anger by how they treat them (Ephesians 6: 4 NLT).
We often approach God based on our earthly experiences rather than step out of those and experience Him as the eternal Father who loves perfectly. Who has been perfectly revealed through His son Jesus Christ (Heb 1:3) and His living word (the Bible).
This contrasts with the devil who speaks from both sides of his mouth. On the one hand he is the father of all lies (John 8:44) and in the other, the accuser of brethren (Revelation 12:10). However, we also know that Jesus has fully overcome the world on our behalf and though we will have trouble we should take heart and have peace (John 16:33). This means that I can overcome this burden of shame and this fear of intimacy with Christ due to past sin by entrusting my all to Him and believing fully in Him. Additionally, I know that Revelation 12:11 talks of overcoming the accuser through the words of our testimony. By what we declare and what we state can we be renewed and overcome his lies about us, God’s children.
Questions to Ponder
- In what ways do you struggle to take God fully at His word?
- What are some of your personal life experiences that hinder the development of a childlike faith in God the Father?
- How will knowing this truth of Christ now impact how you approach Him in faith?
Lord we thank you that you are eternal yet unchanging, that your word is true and that you can swear by none but yourself which further encourages our faith in you. Forgive me where I have doubted your word in how I have acted, thought or spoken. Help me always to trust in you ( in the following specific areas of my life ) and believe even when my old self wants to doubt. Teach me how to hold onto my faith unswerving and this way to bring glory and honour to you. I thank you that you are a good Father who gives good gifts to His children and who forgives us fully and does not hold our past sins against us.
Posted in books, Heart matters, life
Tagged about me, bible god, Bible Study, Book of James, BSF International, devotions, female friendship, friendship, God, relationship
The tenth prompt from this list asked me to talk of something about myself I like.
Just this week I was reminded that a compliment I often get from those dear and near is that I am a great encourager. I listen patiently and help people to see themselves in a more positive light, I offer solutions to problems and offer to assist with heavy burdens. I am good at strengthening people and getting them to see as strengths setbacks while pushing them upwards and forwards. I hope I never forget this or hold myself back when those in my presence need to be uplifted.
What’s a compliment you often receive?
All of this week I am thinking a lot about relationships and one long-term one that I have is with my dreadlocks.
After seven and a half years, I really really still love my hair. It is now waist-length and just as exciting as when it was first locked. After all these years, I still get excited at having my hair washed, twisted and then styled. Before that I delight myself by looking at pictures online and choosing an appropriate style and then looking forward to the big reveal at the salon. When I see someone with dreadlocks that either have a style I would like, that are dyed beautifully, longer and sometimes even shorter than mine but just look so good, I get the worst dread envy.
And all of the above is how I know that I made the best move and I still don’t regret it. Nah, nope, I am still good. CONFESSION: Come Summer, I do want to trim them slightly shorter, just an itsy bitsy bit.
In the meantime, below are some styles I am looking forward to in the next couple of months.
For a wedding or special date night
I love the braid at the front, it elevates an otherwise boring style
I love the take on the traditional morehawk – but a part of me keeps thinking of the weight on your head.
Posted in Heart matters, home
Tagged about me, dreadlocks, dreads, hair, hairstyles, love, natural hair, relationships, stuff about me, stuff I like
What’s on your nightstand?
My bible, two or three books I am currently reading, a bottle of perfume, two birthday cards from family, a coaster (for my nightly cuppa tea), some paperwork I need to file.
What is an ideal day?
Predictable i.e it goes according to plan with nothing unexpected.
What trait do you deplore in other people?
Dishonesty, lack of conviction.
What trait do you most admire in other people?
Honesty, loyalty and ambition/drive.
What is your greatest extravagance?
Books, tea and stationary.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Hopelessness and having nothing to look forward to.
Who’s your favorite hero of fiction or movies?
Moses from the books by Barbara Kimenye
Mountain or beach vacation?
City, but if I had to strictly choose, then beach.
What do you most dislike about your appearance?
My buck teeth.
Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips. Psalm 141:3
If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. James 1:26
With those close to me, I love to talk. But equally, I tend to say things that are undesirable or hurtful and so my desire and prayer is that I would learn to restrain my tongue, being slow to speak and anger and quick to listen (James 1:19) starting today and always by God’s strength.
Courtesy of this journaling prompt.
Posted in Heart matters, home, life, marriage, working
Tagged about me, belief, Book of James, faith, Jen Wilkins, lessons learnt, speech
Possibly in a bid to cheer myself up after the last post, I found the following images of black women and it made me insanely happy so enjoy!!
Black is beautiful
Black is strong
Black is me and I love it!!