Tag Archives: about me

Work Advice I Live By

I just read this post and the comment and felt prompted  to respond with some of my own career advice.

woman in red dress using laptop on table

Photo by Ree on Pexels.com

  1. 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.
  2. Fake it till you make, most of us are.
  3. Find that thing that distinguishes you from everyone else on the team and perfect that.
  4. Show respect to everyone from the most junior to the most senior and do not compromise your personal beliefs for anyone.
  5. Demand respect from all the people you work with and it will follow.
  6. 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.
  7. Work is work, give it your best but don’t kill yourself for it. Unless you are self-employed, we are all replaceable.
  8. Listen to feedback and then decide what works best for you and work on improving that.
  9. Trust your instinct when it is time to move on.
  10. 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.
  11. 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?

 

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Pins I have loved this week

Last year I challenged myself to live minimally. There were 30 tasks and although I modified some of them to be more realistic for me, it wa...

We all need some help getting rid of clutter around the house and so I loved this list.

The Boroughs, A Creative Hub In Camperdown

I love this one – the blue couch and slowly I am being drawn to indoor (low-maintenance) plants

Daia Afia Jumpsuit

I LOVE THE JUMP SUIT AND YES i AM SHOUTING

Backburner Friendships

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 😦

Three Random Facts

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Book Review: Always Another Country – Sisonke Msimang

Always Another Country: A Memoir of Exile and Home by [Msimang, Sisonke]
 Buy here

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.

General

  •  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)

Sisterhood

  • 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.

Race

  •  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!

Moms: 

  • 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?

I so need one of these random gift registries

Registries That Should Exist

What else would you add?

 

Friday Feel-Good Jams

Enjoy xoxo

 

What’s in a Bag

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So this is my current handbag that I bought at Maasai Market in Nairobi, Kenya

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Handbag contents

  • Brown notebook and a pen
  • Black kindle / novel
  • Tissues
  • 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????

 

How Old Do You Feel?

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.

12

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.

16

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.

21

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?

 

 

 

 

Characteristics that I value in others

  • 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. 
  • Loyalty.
  • 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?

 

A Recent Menu

So before I turned 30, I wanted to host a fancy dinner at my place and host a couple of friends. Being in a new city and making friends therefore provided the best backdrop for this as I decided to host a bunch of ladies that I have recently come to know whom I also thought would be a good fit to develop new friendships among themselves. The additional backstory is that I have so many cookery books and this gave me the chance to whip one out and base the days’ meal on it. I used Rachel Allen’s book, Entertaining at Home – easily my best recipe book.  So below is the prescribed menu:

Starters

Tomato, mozzarella and tapenade crostini

Mains

Bulgur wheat pilaf

Braised Moroccan chicken with basmati rice

Ribboned carrots with honey and parsley

Green salad

Dessert

Blackberry mousse

Chocolate cake

 

 

 

A Thought for this Monday Morning

The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
    slow to anger, abounding in love.
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

  1. In what ways do you struggle to take God fully at His word?
  2. What are some of your personal life experiences that hinder the development of a childlike faith in God the Father?
  3. How will knowing this truth of Christ now impact how you approach Him in faith?

Prayer

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.

My Positive Trait

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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?

A Relationship I Still Love

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.

Loc updo and custom color by Shawn Lamar Daniels, Atlanta Ga

For a wedding or special date night

The Beauty Of Natural Hair Board

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.

Some more about me ..

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.

 

An area of growth

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.

It always shines the day after

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!!

Niki’s Grove

nkmll 2 copie:  Beautiful illustrations by Niki's Grove | Mo-Saique

Nicholle Kobi

www.nichollekobi.com: www.nichollekobi.com:

How I feel www.nichollekobi.com:

Illustration 315

“Waiting for autumn/fall like..” 2016. 🍁🍂☕️

topimptheamazing: “Beautiful art IG: illustration315 ”

Black is beautiful

Black is strong

Black is me and I love it!!

Concluding Thoughts on the Book of John

On the last night of BSF we typically have a sharing night where class members share with each other lessons and thoughts of the study. It is a very encouraging and motivating part of the lesson as the Holy Spirit continues to affirm that He is the one who reveals knowledge to each of us.

Below see some of my thoughts and I pray that you will be deeply encouraged/challenged as I was.

  1. The Father and the Son act in one accord always. Jesus acted in total obedience and submission to His father and was obedient to death, even death on the Cross (Philippians 2:8).
  2. God is Sovereign – He ordains all things so that scripture will be fulfilled. This was confirmed for me particularly at the trial, crucifixion and resurrection of our Lord – He was in charge at all points, even when He gave His spirit on the cross.
  3. Through looking at the relationship between Father and Son, I was able to reevaluate my identity as a Child of God (John 1:12 -13) and to critically evaluate those relationships that were providing a pseudo identity. It particularly helped to read that believers are a gift from the Father to the Son (John 17:2) and we are securely held in the Father and the Son’s hand (John 10:28).
  4. Believers bear fruit as they abide in Christ. This forced me to look at the Fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) again and ask those around me to help me identify where I am not bearing fruit. It was challenging to hear but definitely true and it gave me another reason to trust and ask God to help me overcome this area of growth.
  5. The character that most reminded me of myself is definitely Peter. Oh how I wish I could say I was like John but I saw repeatedly how self confident I am as opposed to being God-confident.
  6. I was struck at how unbelief in Christ existed throughout the gospel. I had previously thought that it only grow during that Holy Week but it was only present among the Pharisees and the other Jewish leaders throughout His life on earth. However as John explicitly says that he wrote this book that we would believe and by believing we would have eternal life (John 20:31), this is what I learnt about belief:
    • Jesus confronts unbelief to expose the heart. I was particularly challenged at how praying small prayers ultimately demonstrated that I did not fully believe that God is able to achieve significantly above all I can think or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).
    • A believers’ sole identity is in Christ and nothing (or no one) else.
    • God provides evidence for each step of belief.
  7. I also learnt that obedience is the lens that allows us to see the purpose that we were created for. Also, through the depth of my obedience am I able to show my love for Jesus Christ.

Having learnt all of this, I can also say that my discomfort at the number of the unreached (unsaved) also grew. It is appointed for man to die once and after that to face judgment (Hebrew 9:27). My responsibility is purely to share God’s word and leave it to Him as he awakens faith in us and causes us to believe. While scary, failure to believe means meeting Jesus as Judge as opposed to as Saviour and Great High Priest. So I pray that we may continue to share the reason for our Hope when asked (1 Peter 3:15).

 

So what did you expect?

This morning the Mr and I had a little fight. I had to take my car for a service – something that in my horror, totally feels like a dentist’s visit what with the information asymmetry, pain (actual and to the wallet) and the fact that there is a specialist whom you trust but then again, information asymmetry. At the root of the fight though is that ugly word: Expectations.

Any one about to be married, or married for a day and an hour will long have heard the mantra that expectations kill a marriage and that the counter is communicate, communicate, communicate. Our little fight had me reassessing all the different expectations that I had regarding marriage and an assessment of all other expectations I have held since our marriage started.

  1. I expected a partner that would take charge of cars and who would directly engage with mechanics and basically inform me when I needed to do any car-related changes.
  2. Ergo, any fixing of stuff around the house. I would highlight any issues and he would oversee to the fixing – whether directly or outsourced, I am ambivalent. To be honest, a lot of the technical stuff I was happy to delegate away.
  3. All newly weds are told that they need to set time for date night or else … Consequently, I too came into marriage with this (fear-driven) expectation and very early on we both figured out that given the pace of our lives it would be infeasible to designate a specific evening to always hang out. Having said that, when one of us is hectic, there is no expectation to do stuff but when things simmer down, we often hang out.
  4. My family has a habit of starting to plan for Christmas from as early as August/September. His family? Not so much. Initially this made me feel slightly helpless. Besides the family tradition, my personality is such that, you can never be too prepared OR start preparing too early. What we now try and do to incorporate both our idiosyncrasies is to have a lose discussion in September and refine it in the following months. This is certainly imperfect (according to me) but it definitely helps somewhat.
  5.  I thought that I would hate meal planning. Turns out, I love it.
  6. Sometimes as wives we expect that our husbands will become our best (female) buddy. That’s not the case and surely it’s not the reason that we fell in love to begin with. So keep your buddies and work on building a friendship with your husband too.
  7. Before the wedding I had heard of brides that often felt a bit sad after the wedding because things had gone back to “normal”. Did I feel the same way? Emphatically, NO!! After the energy and time spent planning the wedding, I was only too happy to settle for normal.

I must say these lessons are over and above learning how selfish I am, how much space and time alone I require. All of that. Marriage is certainly not the penultimate goal, neither is it my most defining relationship but I must say I have learnt a lot and it has been very fulfilling for me.

Some of my (long) holiday reads ..

  1. If you are not a Longreads fan already, here is a list of their best articles of 2016.
  2. I am all about female friendships and stuff. I also love the authors idea of an article’s club.
  3. My friends and I have these kinds of conversations all the time. Why can’t I ever record them???
  4. Things people say after a miscarriage.
  5. Black Power!
  6. Kindness is the glue that holds couples together.
  7. What to choose when considering a Bible Study to join. We all need tips on how to improve our prayer life. Yep. At least me!!
  8. I guess con artistes are always looking to make a quick one so academia is also fair game.
  9. Short-run solutions to youth unemployment in South Africa. Can young offenders reform successfully?
  10. I love the aesthetics of this home!! This housing option seems quaint, but not for me.
  11. Helping kids to make New Year resolutions. Some help for adults too. More help from podcasts.
  12. Cool places to chill in Johannesburg. And in Uganda.
  13. On identity and what makes us, us. 
  14. I watched the movie Birth of a Nation and liked it.
  15. Recipes: Cooking with soy sauceFragrant Chickpea Basmati Rice with Fresh Coriander.