19 December 2011

Shake it off!

Yesterday we had a powerful sermon at Church. It is the kind that makes you want to change how it is that you view incidents in life. Made me feel re energised to end the year well too. It was a lesson well delivered.

Most of us have had a challenge of sorts in our life. The kind that makes you think that you are the first one to experience it. It might be pain of loss or separation. When this happens we get so disoriented and thoughts of quitting are not far off. We often wonder if God can be with us at such times. Mainly because people around us may not be so supportive of us.

It is comforting to know that God knows each one of us personally. He has it all planned out, the stuff that we encounter in our lives. And for those called by his name, he does not allow anything that will overwhelm us to happen. Yes challenges do happen but he is there with us. And since he is with us we can call on him to fight it out for us, to his glory. There is nothing more pleasing to God than when we can firmly say that we have made it thus far by his grace.

There is a Sunday school song that says that we serve a real big God. It is easy for kids to envision that. But for grownups, we often do not grasp the might of God. That is until he comes down and lifts us up of that hopeless situation, do we proclaim that we could not have done it without God. We realise that he allows trials in our lives so that when nothing else will work, when we have reached to the end of ourselves, he can step in and make a turnaround that leaves us convinced that indeed only he could have done it for us.

Often times in my life I have noticed that God uses silent reminders to get me back close to him. Times I do get caught up in stuff so that I do not spend enough time with him. It just goes to show that since I am his he is not about to let me wander off. God is possessive of those that are called by his name. I have often had him intervene in the most spectacular ways in my life.

So back to yesterday's sermon. A story is told of a farmer who had several donkeys on his farm. All of them were good donkeys that worked hard and he was proud of them. All except this one donkey. He was not so good looking and was often times lazy. He did not perform to the expectations of the farmer. But since he belonged to him the farmer decided to keep him just as well.

And so one day the farmer received news that one of his donkeys had fallen in a well. He was quick to enquire which one of them had fallen. On being told that it was the lazy one he was not so concerned about him. In fact he instructed his workers that since the donkey had decided to bury himself, they might as well aid him. And so the farmers and his workers, shovels at hand, took off to bury the donkey alive.

But something amazing happened! Each shovel of earth they threw in, the donkey would shake off, step on it and come up. And soon the farmer realised that instead of allowing himself to be buried alive the donkey was climbing higher and higher out of the well.

Often times in our lives people may write us off. They see no hope for us and go ahead to declare the same. But for us who have the Jesus on our side all may not be lost yet. It is when we are down to the last level that God gives us strength to Shake off whatever is pulling us down, step on it and rise up above it by his power. And so the next time you feel bogged down and discouraged just remember the story of that donkey. And do just what he did. Shake it off, Step on it and come out! With God on our side, we will do it.

May God give you grace to use this revelation in whatever situation in your life. And may you come out victorious all for the glory of his name.

Let me wish you all a very Merry Christmas and blessings in the new coming year!

06 December 2011

When God comes down.

I watched the movie the passion of the Christ yet again. Given, I have seen it many times before but this time I watched it for detail. I was convinced that there was something to learn in the way Jesus gave his life painfully for me. I watched the way he was popular while he performed miracles.  A crowd puller too.

It is amazing how one has a following when they have something to offer. Doesn't matter how one acquired it but the fact that there is something to offer  is a guarantee of a following. But watch for that same crowd when the going gets tough!

I noted that the crowd started thinning when he was in tribulation. He was left with his disciples and family. But even in the garden when he went to pray, his disciples slept! Later Peter denied him three times. But all along his journey to the cross his mother trailed him. She actually felt his pain at different levels of persecution. Ooh the calling of motherhood!

What actually stood out is that after all the mocking Jesus went through, after all the pain and distress, God showed up after all. And that is what stood out for me. Made me think that while all that was going on it seemed to those watching that all was lost. If God was his father then why didn't he save him from the pain? His mother was agonising all the way. Why would God let his own son go through so much pain for whatever cause? Few people believed he was was the son of God then.

It made me appreciate those who stand with me when things get rough. Could be emotionally or else, but I have seen God bring people in my live who are just right to help me deal the particular situation. Without whom it would be unbearable. And they come equipped really well for their purpose too. Sometimes when all is calm they stay on. But sometimes when their purpose is fulfilled they move on. Perhaps to yet another mission.

But the most amazing thing happens when God steps in a situation. Not to say that he was not there all along. When God comes down all changes for the better. It might have been a hopeless situation but he turns it around. He does it in such a drastic way that anyone watching is left with no doubt that he has done it. All testify that no one else could have done it but God! What wonder to behold the hand of God in someones life. Even better to experience it! It leaves one with no doubt that God is at work.

I have witnessed situations in my life and of people around me that leave no doubt that God does come  down to rescue and save. That God is in the business of reaching out to his people. Often times such are people who have not lost the faith. Those that keep hoping and trusting in him. I have found it very useful for me to claim God's promises in my life. For God is a promise keeper too.

And so when Jesus accomplished his mission on the cross, an immense  manifestation of God was seen. Darkness spread all over the land. The earth shook too. It was God's way of affirming that he was in control. That with the mission accomplished, was his time to come down. Times it appears like it is too late in our lives for God to do anything. But yet if he wants to accomplish something then we just have to wait on his time. Might be painful, overbearing too. But until his purpose in our lives is done then we just have to bear. And when he does show up we are able to see the meaning of that phase in our lives. It also serves to build our faith and testify to others of the might of God.

Don't give up on God, coz he wont give up on you. Those lyrics of a popular praise song. It is true that no matter what the situation may be, God is in control of it and at the right time he will come down to save and restore. Might seem unbearable but he is still there. Working behind the scenes so that it turns out just right for you. And when all is set he will make it all beautiful in his time. What a wonderful God he is. How comforting to know that he will come down and save me in times of trouble and sorrow.

01 December 2011

He reigns!

Anyone who has ever been in a situation whereby only God can save you will identify with me. It has been a gruelling time for me. It has been a time when there is no need of telling anyone what it is that bothers you. Because sincerely, no one can fit in your shoes. The last two weeks have been my time in the garden. Let me explain.

I listened to a favourite televangelist speak about the seasons of our lives. He spoke about night seasons. About God of my tight places. I needed that message at that time. Jesus went through three phases agonising the cross. Started out with the wilderness experience. If you have been through that one you know. I identify with the loneliness because it is a time of alienation. A time when you look around and realise that most of your friends are gone. For me, several years ago,  it was a time that God used very well to prove to me that he does supply all my needs. It was a very useful lesson on depending on him.

Then came the garden experience this last two weeks. Jesus went through this the night before crucifixion. He reached out to those closest to him to pray with him in the garden. Yes, they were loyal and went along with him. But pray they didn't. He found them asleep! The garden experience is one where by all around you seems to be going on well. Those around you may sense that all is not well with you. But know little else. I smiled through my garden experience these last two weeks. But inside I was falling apart. Literally.

It is tough acting like all is well when you just want to stand on a rooftop and scream. I took this time to challenge God. I asked him questions no one else could answer. I spoke to him, literally. It has not been easy these two weeks. At some point I would cry so hard my eyes all puffed up. Then I would wash my face and put on a smile. I hang on to God's promises, my lifeline. Tough time, that.

Alas, the light is shining. It is always darkest just before dawn. I know for sure that storms in our lives serve to make us strong. The calm that follows is something to treasure. Then again, how can we be victors when we have not been at war. It is only one who has come out of battle that he knows the taste of victory. And appreciates it well. I know that my tears were not in vain. I know that  God is fighting my battles for me. It may not be through a method I am familiar with but he is. I am convinced because I am beginning to see some light.

There is a peace that comes in knowing that God is in control. Being who he is, the creator of the universe, he knows all that will happen in our lives. He is so mighty that with him on our side we need not worry. But sometimes we do. Because all could seem so dark. But he is in control. Sitting on his throne. I know for sure that he is God of promise. It is claiming the promise that at times is agonising.

Am more convinced now that there is power in prayer. I have witnessed so much change when I pray. I also know that God treasures our earnest petitions. They are what moves his heart to move obstacles in our lives. Yes, this day, I am convinced more than ever that he is more than able. I carry a great testimony of God's faithfulness. And strength. With him all things are possible. Nothing, not even our tears are in vain.

19 November 2011

He makes me lie down in green pastures.

This morning I beheld a rather interesting scene. I saw this maasai man walk past me. I could tell he was maasai because of his long pierced earlobes and his dressing. He walked past where I was. What actually made me notice him in the midst of so many people was the the sound of a lamb bleating.

He was carrying a bottle of milk. I imagined that must have been taken from an ewe. Right behind him was this little lamb that was following him up close. Following the lamb were two other sheep. What surprised me was that the animals were following the maasai man on their own accord. He did not need to coax them like usually happens. He was just this common man making his way around with three sheep following him in a city estate. Effortlessly.

That scene will not leave my mind for a while. I wish I could have had time to ask that man why the sheep follow him so faithfully. Why there is no effort on his part. Why they trust him to follow him so. Could it be about the bottle of milk he carried? But that was no reason for the bigger sheep to follow too. In my own thinking, those sheep must know him well. He must be their owner. And that really got me thinking. I thought of the love the sheep must have for their owner. A love that is full of trust. They follow him where he leads because they know that he can do them no harm.

It was a picture of trust. I thought to myself, this must be the perfect picture of Jesus the shepherd and we the lambs. This must be the way he wants us to trust and follow him. Confident in his love and faithfulness. Knowing that no matter where the road leads he will take care of us. Doesn't matter that the road could sometimes get rough and unfamiliar. We can go along because he goes ahead of us! He is willing to take on anything that might stand up in our way. We are covered!

God ministers to us differently. I believe that scene this morning had such a powerful message to relay. That it is just fine to follow my shepherd. To follow where he leads me. Though often times I may not know what lies ahead of me I can still trust him to carry me along the difficult patches. That he understands more than I do how to handle different situations in my life. I am now looking at the 23rd psalm in new light. Because today served as a special reminder of the Lords commitment in leading those that are his.

How I pray that I will find strength to follow. To trust him with all that is mine. To not question but just follow. Knowing that no matter what I am safe in the father's arms. Because the good shepherd he is, he gave his life for me. I am bought with a price. He will take care of me! He will fight my battles for me.

A Psalm of David. the Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside the still waters.
 He restoreth my soul; He guideth me in straight paths for His name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.
 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; Thou hast anointed my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

09 November 2011

To love and to cherish

Cherish. Such a sweet word. It just rolls off the tongue. It holds deep meaning too when you cherish a person. With that comes nurturing as well as holding dear. No wonder this word was coined in the marriage vows.

It feels good when one knows that they are cherished. There is a good feeling knowing that you are of good value to another. It is a deep rooted desire of most ladies(did I hear all) to have someone cherish them. And with that comes the desire to have someone who to call your own.

Starts early in life too. I remember growing up we used to play the parent game. Complete family set up with a daddy and mommy and some unfortunate kids who were forced to do our will. Even at that age, we realised the importance of the roles played out and more often than not the mommy would be this easy girl who was approachable but could be stern at times. On the other hand daddy would be this little boy, who we'd manage to coax into the role.

Now then, it is rather disheartening listening to ladies nowadays actually go on about how they are not into the marriage thing. It is hard enough listening to them going on about how unreliable the brothers come these days. What I glean from the ladies is that they have no problem being on their own and only need the brothers to help them make a baby or two and soon they are on their way. If you ask me, I would rather one who has tried out a relationship that did not work out than just deciding mm-mm that's not for me.

Two problems present in this scenario. The children that come out of this are usually lost for lack of an identity. They do not identify well (if any) with the absent parent and thus one area in their development is not well defined. The other problem with this is that much later on this parent realises that they need companionship and usually this comes too late in life. You see, human beings are cut out for company and the more intimate the better.

For those of us who have made a life commitment the challenge is to continue to hold dear that who we are married to. Given, we could be tempted to take for granted that we have one who will always be on our side. But God in his wisdom appointed that we do not forget our responsibility to our beloved. And this can be expressed in so many ways.

It doesn't mean that the cherished one is without fault but we cherish them still. Not withstanding that they do not qualify some of the time. Or most. But just knowing that they are cherished is the oil to keep the commitment alive. Simply put it means that they will never be without the affection of the one that holds them dear. Now, if that is not such a lovely thing tell me what is.

If you cherish someone it means that you have deep love for them. Like a mother who cherishes a long awaited baby. Such a one will smother the little baby with so much love and affection. All her actions communicate just how much the baby means to her.

Or like a couple that has found lost love. When they come back together it is with so much zest and they find pleasure in rekindling their love for each other once more. This time, they are all set to make it work. And it usually does work well for them.

Same case with the teenage girl who learns to cherish her friends after falling out with them for a while. Usually the friendship is smothered with so much care it usually lasts so much longer after those formative years.

And so it is that for all relationships to work well we need to nurture them well. Only in the presence of this kind of commitment can we get the kind of warm feeling associated to those that we care deeply about and by extension share in the knowledge of God's love for us by providing such wonderful people in our lives.

01 November 2011

When all is said and done.

We all need someone or something to fall back on. This keeps us going and makes our lives bearable. We have a free will to decide what it is that we fall back on. Some people settle for the security of their wealth and jobs. Others go for family and friends. Yet others know that despite all that they are or may have, they need God to see them through this life. A wise choice, I might add.

It is amazing how much is achieved when one knows that they have backup. It is said that behind every great man is a woman. Not surprising too how much children who have the support of their families can achieve. It is all about having someone to look up to and back us up. Someone who inspires us and keeps our hopes in life alive.

I remember growing up thinking just how great my father was. I believed that he was the most knowledgeable person alive. That inspired me in so many ways to seek knowledge like him. I was amazed at just how much he knew. He still amazes me to this day. Even in my teens I thought of him as the strongest man around. The confidence in him made me go to lengths I would not have without the inspiration. I learned a great lesson growing up.

We all need someone to go along with us. Life would be meaningless without family and friends who make our days brighter. Even our workmates help bring in the variety of life. How much more those who share our Christian beliefs! The world would be one boring place without the all these people. It is amazing what a difference having company makes in our lives.

Most of us thrive in encouragement. It is the engine of most relationships we have. Someone who sees the positive in us and seeks to bring it out. That person who recognises our potential and seeks to bring it out. And we all need such a person in our lives. A mentor, a lifeline. It helps even more if it is one of a higher standing. This comes with security of knowing that we have one who will step in and take charge.

The life we are living nowadays is one that is so lonely. It is difficult juggling life's demands. In all this we need backup to go on. Someone to bring meaning to the demands and struggles of life. To pick us up when we are weary and worn. One who is strong enough to fight our battles. And stays with us when no one else will. One who understands when others don't. That one person who is ready to lay his life for us.

As Christians we are privileged to have a loving saviour who is also a friend. Satisfying too. We all need someone to really talk to in times of trouble. Even in happy times. One who knows our story well too. Such is the one who can tell our story well because they help us weave it too. And knows what is good for us even better than we do. Such a privilege to lay my life in the hands of a loving God. And surrender my all to him who is all knowing to mold me.

14 October 2011

sexual innuendos

Slowly we are going to the dumps. As a society and a people. The deteriorating morals of our society are a pointer to just how far gone we are in this. And we have only ourselves to blame. Because we take anything that comes our way. Right or wrong.

At any one time a people should have a set of principles. These govern the way things are done and prevent extremes. And so the idea of taking in all sorts of stuff that comes our way is not right. It begun with the explicit TV commercials that had strong insinuations to sex. We protested a while but then went silent after a while. It is nothing but cheap to compare an object like a car to  female anatomy.

With the reign of unrestricted Internet now, what we are going to see is even more ridiculously devious acts. Once those addicted to the stuff get all so used to the same, they go in search of a new high. This could come in various forms all which are unacceptable in society but which all seem good to the user. What we have is a culture of feel-good people who will go to any length to achieve this feeling however short lived.

It is no wonder then that a girl would go on radio begging a man to go over to her place for some action. And in explicit language too. This seems to me like a person who has got to a level of what feels good for them is a must get, no matter what. And to beg for it too? So desperately too? We all need to be worried of this trend. This is the society our kids are growing up in. And it does not discriminate, could even suck in those old enough to know better. Needless to say, if exposed to any rot one gets used to it after a while. And so what we need to be fighting is the exposure. To an extent this might help especially to impressionable minds like the children.

It is indeed frightening how many people go on radio discussing intimate details to listeners. And all too willing to hear presenters. The results are a conversation that is well peppered and served to a willing audience that soaks up details and even finds humor in the same. Needless to say, anything sex is a crowd puller. Advertisers know this fact well and use it too. So did our society long ago in the years of ere.

Those people of old knew all to well the sanctity of sex. Thus they discussed it in low tones. Even those societies that gave sex education to unmarried girls did it under the watchful eyes of elder women. Anything close to a display the goods, so to say, was immoral. And should be. It should not be too hard for anyone to know that what is easily available is taken for granted.

And so what we as a society should be fighting for is to replace those old time lessons with modern more relevant ones. Given in a way that the youth can identify with but also keep their dignity intact. This way, sex is neither a taboo topic nor made so cheap so that it can be had with no holds barred. That way then the society will not be so open to foreign ideas on the same that serve to give a misguided idea of how a God ordained gift should be utilised.

03 October 2011

Yesterday I visited a cyber. It has been a long time since I did. I realised that so much has changed since the last time I went to one. What I witnessed yesterday is food for thought to all the parents out there.

I sat at a station next to this young boy. About 9year old, I would say. It took me a while to familiarise myself with the place and in the process I chanced to glance at him. My neighbor for the next several minutes. That little guy had me staring. He had several tabs open. And kept shifting one to another. I took the opportunity to have a look while my computer was loading. He had one face book page which he kept updating, A game running and yes an adult page too.

Forgive me for snooping but I just couldn't help but notice. So as this little guy sat there flipping tab after the other in enviable speed, I sat there wondering. Did his parents really know what he was up to? Being a Sunday, had he had an opportunity to go to church? And the cyber attendant, did he not know what this guy was up to while constantly criss-crossing the room? Is it all about cash for him?

At this point I was very afraid. Any parent out there should be too. I mean, if our children are turning to cybers to view what is forbidden at our homes then we have a huge problem brewing. No wonder kids nowadays are getting it all wrong! From the way they do adult dances to the texts they send each other. We are exposing kids to stuff that is not meant for them and in the process messing up with their thinking. There is even a clip of children dancing in the most lewd way with adults clapping and cheering them on!

The direction of any people is determined by the kind of kids they bring up. Kids brought up with the fear of God grow up with their morals intact and know where to take life's challenges. On the other hand when parents completely leave their kids to the world they learn all there is because after all the world does not care about who they become. It is all about an audience to them. And this is the case on our TV stations as well. Radio stations too. The media exposes our kids to all sorts of stuff, no holds barred. You can imagine sitting in a matatu with your child, having to listen to a detailed discussion about cheating spouses, with people calling in to give their own experiences. All around you everyone else is having a ball!

Back to my little friend. He called the cyber attendant at some point. He was having trouble opening a link on face book. A link of some popular musician. Now if you ask me, we all need to be careful what music our kids listen to. And keep informed too. It is quite sickening watching a video of some musician, with tattoos all over his body, only half dressed chanting God knows what to some excited female fans. Resulting in half the women throwing themselves to him in a frenzy.

And so my little cyber friend may not be alone. Most likely what he viewed yesterday will be discussed at his school break, alongside his excited peers. God forbid they should try acting out the same. I believe there is a solution about this. Parents need to constantly talk to their kids about stuff. And keep a listening ear on the ground too. Even control what is viewed at home. Freedom only comes with responsibility. And our kids are far from responsible yet.

Only last week we got an interpretation of a song done by a west African musician. The words are appalling! As much as am guilty to having listened and enjoyed the song mainly for the beat, that brought a close to my enjoying it any more. Because I am no longer ignorant to the meaning that was not understood to me before. But there are kids and people listening to this song, innocently enjoying the beats. What makes it worse is that the said musician is coming to perform in Kenya this week.

They say that what you take in obviously has an effect on you. People get affected by music they listen to which has  hidden meanings and codes. Needless to say we all need to be careful and get involved in what it is our kids are listening to. Join in with them so that we get a feel of their world. That way we shall be able to point out the dangers that lurk in all these places that they may be too young to grasp yet. That does not mean I will enjoy listening to some musician chanting what seems to be a song, interjected with groans and pants all so exciting to the youth but pure disgrace to me.

27 September 2011

Fiction aside.

Everyone has something they are looking for in a relationship. Even when people get married, they have an idea of what they expect from their partner. Some expectations are realistic, others far from it. More often than not, people get into marriage expecting Prince Charming to remain just that and live happily ever after, no obstacles involved.

Growing up, I read with zest so much romantic fiction that it begun to look real. I mean, in the mind of a young girl, the story of Cinderella only serves to evoke visions of an out-of-this-world experience in the arms of the Prince. I took the story in, all of it including the pumpkin bit. You see, most fiction that young girls read tends to overlook the part about working at the relationship and any flaws involved and concentrates more on the happily ever after. Thus the idea of what is involved in a relationship only presents half-cooked.

Back to reality. Any relationship is hard work. Even having a healthy one with the kids is loads of work. How much more one that is more intimate. I have been listening to young ladies cry for love. I get to listen to their expectations and what concerns me it the fact that most of them are not willing to work at it. They mostly want to meet a self-made man who has made it in life and theirs is to partake of the sweat of that dude. Well, if that happens the better. But more often than not this man will be married to another.

What concerns me is the fact that most people nowadays want ready made everything. God in his wisdom ordained it that one has to work for anything. All that comes to us by any other source is bound to crumble at some point. Labour is just part of the deal. It is what makes it all worthwhile. We tend to take for granted anything that we have not worked for since it comes to us the easy way. Forgeting this. Easy come, easy go.

And so anyone who feels ready to get into a relationship should prepare for all that goes with it. That way, it will come as no surprise when dude prefers to spend some time with his mates watching a game of football. And she spends a whole day at the salon just getting pampered and having some 'me' time her own way. There need to be some form of independence in any relationship otherwise one partner could end up gasping for air.

Time is of great value in a healthy one. With the passing of time, what bothered us about the other slowly fades. And there is understanding. Especially of things that cannot change about one another. And so the issue of the toilet seat does not bother us as much. Or how to squeeze out the toothpaste. We have adjusted to sleeping like a baby amidst the snoring too. Little things, really. Although it may not have seemed so at the beginning.

And so lessons in patience for our young ones are in order. They could serve to sift real life expectations from fiction. In turn this could save a generation. One that seems to view marriage as such a tall order and a loss of identity. Instead they could view it as it was made to be. A union of two imperfect individuals who work at moulding each other until they eventually fit in together. And this takes time and patience mostly. And a lot of dedication to the cause.

Perhaps if the benefits are pointed out it might be more appealing. After all the work put into a marriage relationship, there are is benefits. Companionship being top of the list. So also comes well adjusted children. With an experience of growing up with two involved parents. From who they can learn how to do the same in turn. Thus the chain continues. Of people who are willing to work at relationships. And do not shirk the effort involved. Rather look at it as a stepping stone to fulfilment.

19 September 2011

Women on a revenge mission?

Lately, there have been many cases of women beating and injuring the men in their lives. It seems that they have learnt from the men and learnt rather well. And so women are choosing to battle it out physically and leaving a trail of injured men in their wake. Men too embarrassed to admit that they are hurting and cry softly in their hearts.

It does not make it justifiable for a woman to beat up a man. Neither does it the other way round. But it is happening more and more nowadays. The patience levels between spouses and and those dating is lower. Issues that are best solved in the silence of the night, are now being broadcast to all and sundry. All this has been happening. But now the roles have reversed. The hunter has become the hunted.

Contrary to the women, the men are not talking about it. They choose to suffer in silence lest they become the laughing stock of their peers. And so a man will bear with the battering in silence mainly because he's  dependent on his wife or he has the welfare of the children at heart. Both no excuses to stay in an abusive relationship. And so now counsellors are having to contend with preaching the same gospel. But to a different audience.

Women are more stable economically these days. We are seeing more and more self-made ladies. And they are bent on going for the highest. Nothing will stand on their way. Not even their husbands. That's if they do not help them achieve their set goals in life. And so more and more men are starting to feel like they are in the way of their wives' quest for success. And face dire consequences when they protest. Leading to relegating of roles.

A man's basic need is respect. A woman's Love. And so when those ingredients are lacking in a relationship there is bound to be trouble. Respect a man and he will walk the desert for you. Love a woman and she will give you her all. Unconditionally. And so when a man lacks respect from his wife two things happen. He could either wither and be a broken soul or he could come out fighting. The women have learnt the two options very well. But now prefer the later.

She might not get physical if her man is loving and supporting to her. Even if he is wanting in other areas. But she will not take a husband who does nothing to support her morally and is not loving to her. Or is a hindrance of sorts. This is the type of man who will face the wrath of a woman on the move to the top. No stopping her. Men had better learn to love their wives.

A man who has been physically abused is a sorry sight not just to his wife but to his kids as well. He presents the picture of a fallen hero. Whereas he should be leading his family along he barely can lift his head to direct them. A real sad state for the kids who should be looking up at him as their model. And so a woman's role even while pursuing her own interests is to dish respect to her husband. And he to love her.

Failure for each party to keep their side of the bargain is the root of trouble. A case of unfilled roles leads to each party having a feeling of dissatisfaction that often culminates in a breakdown of their effectiveness in performing their roles. And that, is usually the beginning of trouble.

12 September 2011

Cry, the beloved country.

Picture this. A family lives in a one roomed iron sheet house. A complete family. This is the only home the children know. This is where the tired head of the house comes to rest at the end of a hard day laboring at a construction site. And this is where a mother, tirelessly works day after day to make a home worth coming to for her hubby and school going kids.

The situation is so bad that food is anything that is affordable within the set budget. On the day hubby does not secure work at the site, then the family may have to go to bed hungry. The mother will try all she can, including trading some vegetables just outside of their house. Just so she can get something to put at the table for her children when they come back from school after trekking a while.

The family survives on less than a dollar a day. Even with the rising food costs. That means that they have to make sacrifices even more. The children might have to skip breakfast so that they can have supper that day. They grow up wishing that life was better but have to bear with the way things are. They work hard at school with hope that things will be better some day. But do not go far because school fees, though subsidised by the government, is still not cheap.

And so life goes on. The man of the house can barely manage to feed his family, leave alone pay the rent. Or clothe them. It is a life of desperation for the family. And they live in a neighborhood where most people share this situation. Hope is but a distant glimmer. The children hear about families that have all they need. They see children from rich families looking out of their family car on their way to school. They wish they would ride but once in the school buses that go by at the main road. They can only look down forlornly as they trudge on to school.

School is not fun either. There are no warm snacks at break time to warm their little tummies. They take a break and play in the open, hoping for a miracle for lunch. That mum will have sold some greens and made something for lunch. These children life entirely on hope.

In the evening, the scene is repeated. The children take what is on offer for supper before retiring to bed. That is usually a mattress on the floor of the one roomed house. The bed is for mum and dad. Sometimes the wind blows in cold air to their sleeping space through the open space below the door. Nevertheless, they sleep on.

Then a break appears. A neighbor has spotted some leaking oil from a burst oil pipe not far off. Soon word spreads throughout the slums. Everyone scrambles with whatever they can to catch some. All they can think about is how much the oil might help their family situation. Nothing about the danger of the action triggers in their minds. Just anything to help them survive another day.

This is the scene of what happened today in a kenyan slum. So many people lost their lives in a fire caused by an oil spill. And so before anyone lifts a finger to accuse these people with a they-should-have-known-better attitude, please stop to think. Human beings are born with an instinct to survive. And will go to any lengths to do so.

Meanwhile, our government needs to come down to the level of the common man. Try and see if the shoe fits. It is not fair that some people have more than they will ever use in their lifetime while others watch over the fence with nothing to eat. It is time to have the welfare of the people at heart. Let everyone show their humane side by doing something for the sake of another. While you push those overladen trolleys at big chain supermarkets, think about that guard at the door and drop a loaf of bread to him. It might make for a pleasant surprise for his children. And you will be none the poorer.

If anything has to change, it will start with me and you. All of us caring about those around us. It might even catch on with our leaders. And there, we might have our beautiful country back. With people who are so beautiful at heart. Caring for each other. As well as it should be.

02 September 2011

Battle of the sexes

It seems everywhere you look nowadays men are fighting to retain their status and women are fighting for theirs too. The family scene is the most obvious in the scenario. More women, by virtue of their financial independence are now willingly taking over the affairs of the family much to the chagrin of their men.

Their is a divine order for the sexes. I believe all religions agree on this too. That the man is the head of the family. For a good reason too. Men make more rational decisions because they focus long term. Women, on the other hand make more rushed decisions. Women are more emotional and that's how God intended it. For a woman to be a leader in the home but more on matters of emotions.

A new born child knows that he gets sustenance from mother. He grows up looking at his father as the strong one in the home by virtue of his size (and booming voice?) but knows that he can run to mother when he is hurt and in need of reassurance. He can also get anything he wants from his father through his mother. It is mother that will pick him up when he falls and hurts himself. She is most likely the one that will take him for the visits to the Doctor and soothe him later. Even in discipline matters it is mother that will softly sit him down to explain the consequence of his misdeeds after punishment.

On the other hand, the man takes up the difficult tasks in the home. It is him that needs to fix the broken tap. He is responsible of all the menial jobs and if he cannot do them has to find a way of having them done. It is better for him if he can fix basic stuff though. He is the one that will move the heavy furniture around when wifey desires a new look in their living room.

It upsets the set standards when either of the two try to take up the role of the other. And often leads to conflict between the them. Some times it is best to just flow with it. But that is fast changing. More and more women are asking for more on their plate. And getting it. The only problem with this is that what this means is that we have more exhausted mothers at hand. From juggling demanding jobs to running high-charged families in modern day setting. What this means is that the woman is too stretched to sit down and genuinely listen to her child at the end of a demanding day leave alone find some quiet time with cubby. Even time to offer guidance to the help on the running of the home is limited.

We are fast becoming a 'fast' community. The faster an issue is dealt with the better. And it is spreading to relationships too. Every where we are looking for a quick fix. So that anything that does not work for us is quickly replaced because we cannot afford to waste time on it. And so a man who will not fulfil his role in the home is fast tagged as inadequate. And a woman that cannot cook the way his momma did is not well trained. Suffice to say, every role requires some experience. Momma did not become an excellent cook overnight.

It takes a wise couple to allow each other to grow into their individual role. Given, after sweating it out trying to fix the cooker the first time cubby will do a better job next time. And so with the wifey's home making abilities. They can only get better with time and encouragement from cubby. As opposed to each comparing the other with someone who not only has experience at hand but several bruises and burns to show for it.

In the long run, no one looses in the relationship. Each is so busy battling with their God-given roles to even think of trying their hand in the other's. Which leads to fulfilment at the end of the day in knowing that they not only did their part but also gave their significant other a chance to perform what is rightfully their duty.

It is said that behind every successful man is a woman. This is not to say that all a woman does is just sit back and watch him make it. The wise woman will continue to offer the necessary emotional back up to her man. She will do all that she can to bring out her man's capabilities to the fore. How she does that is as individual as all families. Sometimes back breaking, sometimes easier. And she will be rewarded in enjoying the fruit of her labor. Success comes in different forms. Could be in material or in bringing out the good in a person so that they are able to do their best. At whatever level.

The man on the other hand will have a fulfilled wifey when he has done all that he can to support her. It is even better when he recognises her soft strength and learns to draw from her wisdom. Given, God gave the woman that sixth sense for good reason. It is so that she can use it to give counsel to her family and so that she can know when to take up issues that are beyond her to the right place. On her knees. An awesome task if you ask me. But equally rewarding.

26 August 2011

Down memory lane

Growing up back at the village was fun. Didnt seem like much fun then but I appreciate the peace and tranquility there now. Everyone knew everyone else and was responsible for the other. We took time to stop and chat our neighbors and even spent a whole evening exchanging stories after a hard days' work.

I liked the way we did stuff together. We, the children would organise to perform chores together at different homes in turn. Some of us would be cooking while the others worked. Somehow the food tasted better when we had it together in a group. And the stories were never ending. So was the laughter.

Going to school was a joint affair too. Up until class four when I went to boarding school. We woke up early to prepare to go to school. More often than not there was one or  more kids waiting outside to walk together to school. We talked all the way and only ran the last bit of the journey when we heard the school bell ring. In the evening it was one large party again, headed for home.

We learnt so much that kids nowadays do not get to learn. Walking home in the evening, we had to be on the look out for each other. There was always the danger of that man or other who lurked in the shadows awaiting little children who was more of a mother's imagination than reality. Often times as we walked, we would suddenly stop talking and stand, when one of us imagined they had seen a shadow cross our path. We would all huddle together and take off in different directions screaming. At this, someone from a homestead nearby would come running to find out the cause.

The most fun came at Christmas time. This was a time of merry making and special treats. Aside of new clothes which were unwrapped just a few days to the day for fitting, were the delicacies. But we had Christmas carols too. This is what used to happen. The older boys and girls would meet up in the evenings to practice songs. Then the last few days to Christmas, they would go from one homestead to another just after dark to sing. There would be this large number of youths trudging into a homestead, who would come, sing two or three songs before proceeding to the next homestead. They of course expected a token from the home. A chicken here, or some bread.  This they would put together and hold a party on Christmas day evening.

There were stories of village folk who did not wake up to meet these night guests who would have a smelly surprise at their gate the following morning. What surprises me today was that there was no talk of these youth misbehaving while they went about singing at night to earn their Christmas party. If one dared to go beyond holding the hands of a girl they would not only be the talk of the village and beyond but would invite gossip on their parents on their parenting skills!

The most exciting of all was Christmas eve. We would usually go to church for a service that was meant to usher the birth of Christ. There were performances from different youths. There were always some grownups given the task to ensure all went well. Considering one of them would be our headmaster, we all went out of our way to put on our best behaviour. After all, none of us wanted to have their name called out on the list of shame at the school parade when schools reopened.

Things have changed now back at the village. Folks don't have much time to hold chats one with the other. Children now ride in school buses to school and thus don't get to play and even socialise as before. People have put up high gates and serious dogs, you don't dare just walk into some one's home without notice. The Christmas carols are no more. Many people have left to go work in big towns and only meet occasionally. Life back at the village now remains a distant memory of what it was before.

I often think that our upbringing is ideal for our African setting. I mean, at the end of the day so many social ills were evaded then. But then with the changing lifestyles things had to change.

24 August 2011

Oh no, not now!

This morning many families are sad. Their source of livelihood is no more thanks to the nocturnal demolitions of the Nairobi City council around Donholm. It is a desperate mood all over the area. Imagine waking up to go and open your small business to find everything including your stock in disarray.

True, these people might have encroached on land meant for the road expansion. They might not have taken seriously eviction notices from the city council. Some of the notices might date  to years back. And yes these small traders know that they operate on space that does not belong to them. But to come and find all their investments spread all over, while they sleep? It is nothing short of inhuman. How, then do these people put a meal on their table especially considering the upward movement of all basic commodities? Sugar is now retailing at shs.385 for two kilos, while a few months ago the same cost Shs.205.

Perhaps the best approach might have been for the council, after serving notice to the traders, to erect a sign near the stalls reading 'These stalls are due for demolition on August 24th 2011. Please vacate before then'. In which case, no one would come up and claim ignorance of the demolition as it would be visible to public and all.

I spoke to  one of the longest existing trader with a small duka for the past 10 years. He had this resigned look as he told me that that was the norm of the city council. He had a distant look as he told his story. You see, he is a family man, with children in high school. I left him, but my heart went out to his and other families that will have to come to terms with the new turn of events. I also noticed some angry looking youths, surveying the damage and speaking in low tones. Helplessness was the mood on their faces.

There are ways that serve to crush a people's spirit. Then desperation sets in. When that happens, none of us is safe. Not to mentions the lives that are directly affected by these actions. All the people affected by this will have to find an alternative source of income. Some methods, not so good. Perhaps then, an alternative might have been provided for these people. So that they can go on making a living for themselves.

I appreciate that the demolitions might be to make way for development of a better road network. That the City council might be acting within it's legal measures. But their way of doing so leaves a lot to be desired. I wonder, did the person mauling the kiosks  pause to think of his actions? Or he reasoned that what has to be done has to be done?

I feel for the way we as a country deal with the issues at hand. Perhaps we have lost the human touch in our dealings with one another. This should be a concern for all because what affects some will affect us all. It is a dangerous trend for a country people to be treated so inhumanly by those in authority. Yet these authorities should serve the very people. I believe that there is a better way of passing across the message. After all, society identifies with leaders and authority that can come down to their level and reason with it. It is indeed a sad day for the traders around Donholm and for all their dependants.

15 August 2011

Do teenagers have a mind of their own, really?

I have read enough literature on teens to last me a lifetime. But still nothing has helped me understand the workings of the mind one such in my household. I mean, how do I understand that the little baby I cuddled in my arms just a few years ago would rather I was invisible to her lately? How is it that I can no longer have a mom-to-girl talk with her without being accused of invading her space? Can someone explain to me when I stopped being her mommy and acquired a set of horns on my head?

It was kind of comforting to read an article this past saturday on the woes of having a teenager. I kept nodding all the way down to the last sentence and it was comforting for me to realize that what I suffer is a natural phenomenon. But that did little to explain the state of affairs. I laughed aloud when I read with glee the part about rolling eyes. I mean, why do teens today feel that they have to roll their eyes to get the not-so-pleasant message accross? And size one up in such a way that implies that they-feel-nothing?

The author of the article must have had it with her teenager. Because she sounded warning that soon the teenager would go past that stage into responsible adulthood. Often times I am just wondering if my teenager will ever regain her feelings someday and get a feel of being family with us again. That's because right now the family that appears to have more influence on her is her peers. And if you ask me, that is the perfect picture of a two-horned beast complete with a tail and fangs. Cross-eyed too.

You see, peer pressure being the undoing of most is what causes most teens to veer right off the road and suffer immeasurable misery to themselves and family. And so the sooner a family realises that they are fighting with influence born of someone else's teen who does not necessarily hold the same beliefs as theirs, the better for them. Then they can begin to gather the right arsenal to hit back. I have realised that denial works well. Especially of gadgets that usually fall in the wrong hands of the youth.

I am even beginning to enjoy myself. But I wonder how long my joy will last. Teens always find a way of bursting your bubble. But lately I find joy in saying no to what I should agree to with no effort.  I find myself wishing that someone would come up with a tracker for teens. A mind reader. Or that a few years of youth would be frozen. Then the teen can come back to consciousness when they are much older and responsible. And know better. Crazy musings of a mom dealing with a classic teen.

I got to hear stories from other moms of the tales of their teens. Some were downright crazy. But most of them were told by mothers, voices full of emotion and eyes wide open for emphasis on how their once little darlings have turned into tormentors of sorts. And so I realized that parents everywhere need to pray for safe passage for their kids as early as when they are born. That should help cushion them against the events in their lives that the parents may have little control over.

10 August 2011

I like an article in today's nation newspaper on GMO maize. More so because it is done by a genetics expert. Her knowledge on the issue has prompted her to come forth and rationally sound caution on consumption of the same. I take her seriously because she has supported her argument with solid facts. I for one did not know of the serious side effects that can go up to successive generations on consumption. That procedures have to be done to test the GMO products for safety in human use.

Experts from all areas should come forth and educate the public on issues affecting them. This is the way to go for our country. Ignorance can be very costly for most. Better to be forewarned. The current drought situation might have been alleviated if the warning sounded by red cross early this year had been heeded. The government could have resulted in seeking safe alternative food for the people other than making a rushed decision to go for little understood alternatives in the name of GMOs.

Morality issues too have been  left to chance. There has been talk of the filth that is going on in learning institutions. What is more surprising is that most of us are still in denial. In a current story of a students been expelled on moral misconduct in a girls' school, a parent is suing the school. If I was the parent I would take more time to get the real story behind the allegations. The truth is that there is a crisis in the waiting as far as morals go for our youth. And little is being done to arrest the situation.

It takes a few knowledgeable people to turn a situation around. It is not easy changing the way a people think or view stuff. Most have taken a laissez-faire attitude in life and are reluctant to do stuff differently. Most could not be bothered enough to question stuff, even what will directly affect them. Until they are squeezed to the corner. Like in the case of the unga revolution. Or the rising fuel prices.

Perhaps if all stood up to what is not clear our society would be much better. Starting from our neighborhoods where facilities that were meant for the public are no longer such. Or when services that are meant to be rendered are not fulfilled.  I saw this sticker in a matatu that encourages passengers to speak out if the driver is speeding. The matatu was speeding alright and all was quiet.
Have you been to a place, where you got service that you felt should have been better and left quietly?

I once stood at a queue in the banking hall for an ATM card replacement. I watched some people come in right from outside and fix themselves in the queue. Surprisingly, no one asked questions and actually way was made for them. After a few such, I asked a gentleman right behind me why that was happening. He seemed to have been resigned to it and it was like he did not mind. The next person that tried to queue jump, was not so lucky. And we got better organised service.

Often times we let off issues that would be resolved if we did speak out. Then when it has gone too far we start to blame the authorities while it could have turned out differently had we spoken out. It all boils down to each one of us doing what is morally expected of us and taking responsibility for one another. Because at the end of it all, what affects any of us will trickle down to us. Inevitably.

05 August 2011

In your shoes.

At my work place there is a programme where people from various departments sit in with those who provide direct services to customers for a feel of their work. It is called in-your-shoes programme. It works well because then we all get a feel of how it is dealing directly with customers.

I wonder if we should use that method outside of work. Take our members of parliament for instance. Imagine finding one of them at the bus stop very early in the morning, trying to catch a matatu to work. Then when the matatu gets there, the same mp struggles with all the rest to secure a seat. The mp then sits in the matatu for say one hour in traffic jam, forced to listen to endless chat on classic 105 about stuff that is is best told to a counsellor. His pleas to the matatu conductor to bring down the volume or better still change to another station are met with a blank stare of you-will-know-who-is-boss-here.

Getting to town, the mp might have to jostle with the rest of the crowd from as far as bus station to get to parliament buildings. What a walk that would be for the then sweaty mp. At the end of that day he would walk back to the bus stop to catch a matatu home and sit for another hour or two before getting home tired and all the wiser. I am sure that we would be surprised to hear the same mp passionately campaigning for better road networks or even a revamp of our railway system to cater for the increase in population in our city.

Take the case of hunger in Kenya. Over the years, we have had drought come and take lives though not as severe as the one we are suffering right now. Yet little has changed to encourage a change of lifestyle on those affected. It is easy for most to reason that the affected should initiate change. That is until they do a bit of background check on their lives.

I watched news last night with compassion. A mother in the drought ravished Turkana was massaging a childs' stomach to try and ease hunger pangs. Another held out a child so malnourished to even cry, for the cameras. Imagine for a minute what these people are going through. May be if a truck load of our leaders were to be ferried there, and live out just two days on the ground they might get a feel of life there. No food available and harsh conditions. No hospitals close by. And then we might just see our armed forces sent out to these parts to drill out bore holes and build hospitals for these people. That way, even when there is drought they can still water their animals and even learn to grow fodder for the same with the available watering holes.

It is nothing to be proud of really. Having faces of hungry kenyans splashed on front pages of world dailies. What a way to be known! Ooooh, you come from Kenya where their hunger all the time. Surely we can do better than this. We can seek a lasting change so that despite what the weather hands us we are prepared and can take it on and move to available alternatives. Just as well as should be, really.

One mp is doing it already. The youthful Mike sonko of makadara. I hear that he hates to see any form of suffering  and will even step out of his car to do what he has to do. This does often times get him in trouble because he is quite passionate of his peoples plight. But he has worn peoples hearts because he identifies with their plight. He knows what it is to have the staple food unaffordable to most families in kenya. He knows what it is like to sell small wares out in the sun all day and has built sheds for his people. He knows the youth's cry for want of work to do and the pain of a mother who cannot afford a meal for her family. No wonder he is so popular with the crowd.

It is obvious that once you step into someones' shoes abeit for a moment you can identify with them. So much change in the world came about by people who actually came down, status and all and got a feel of life in less fortunate places. These are the missionaries who come to Africa and highlight a people's suffering and drum for funds to be sent for them to initiate projects. Many families have had contact with these charitable organisations. There was even a story of one boy in kenya, many years ago who could not afford to go to school. A swedish lady decided to sponsor a child in Africa. That boy was him and went on to a reputable university in America and has come back to put up an organisation, complete with a school for the less fortunate. Many children are now benefitting from this, all because he has been there. He can identify with them.

Maybe we can all consider this idea really. In our different settings we can all try to live out a few days in the shoes of those who have no voice to air their plight. Might even help those who take stuff for granted to realize just how fortunate they are and reach out to those who are not so lucky. Seriously.

03 August 2011

It is incredible, this bond.

I remember the first time he held her in his arms. She had just come into this world and it was their first meeting. I remember noticing that she just seemed so snug in his arms. And for the first time opened her eyes. I smiled though I was so tired.

Hubby and our last born are so close. Sometimes I think they read each other's minds. The bond started way back. Even as a little baby only he would soothe her. He would lay her on his laps and bingo, she would soon float off to sleep. Something the rest of us might have been trying a whole afternoon. He learnt to sing to her. Made up songs that must have sounded like angel music only to her.

There have been incidences that have driven the two closer still. I watch these two and get the understanding of a father's love anew. But my heart aches too. For all the children that have never experienced a daddy's love. I wonder how it might feel. No one to fall back on. No one to call on for strength and protection only daddy offers. I hurt for the ones who have not experienced love but pain in their daddy's hands. There is comfort though that  God is a loving father. It only takes for them to reach out to him.

While we all go around with our business, we rarely stop to think of the role that a father plays in shaping his children. Let aside the provisions but a daddy who plays out his God-given role is worthy of honor. Sad to say, in this age dads are not taking their roles seriously. Young dads who did not mean to begin parenting find themselves in a position they did not bargain for and the only way is to beat a hasty one. Leaving behind equally young mothers who have little or no support to bring up the child.

Even mature daddy's do not escape the blame. There are countless children who only identify with their daddy as a source of income. Conversation is limited and only when necessary. These children grow up with a distorted picture of what a father should be. They have no feel of a daddy's love, no special memories with that special person in their lives.

I once listened to one such lady. All grown up now and working. She was having some issues in her relationship. Listening to her rant and rave all I could hear was a cry for love. The man in her life was all loving to her but with no experience at love she did not know how to love him back. Instead she was inwardly looking for something to lay him blame for. I thought how different the scenario might have been if she had come from a background of an involved father. She might have identified some of what she was going through from such a previous exprience.

Children grow up watching their parents. They are watching everything from the way daddy treats mummy. Even when things are not well between the two they see. They learn that relationships can be worked out when they see the two most important people in their lives come back together after falling out from a misunderstanding. They learn that daddy reacts differently from mummy about issues. These lessons, they take into their adulthood. And are beneficial.

And so as I watch hubby with our little girl I hope that she is learning from his being there. That she will know enough about how to relate with the opposites in a healthy way. That even as she goes through life the knowledge of his love for her will give her strength to handle whatever it it that may come her life's way. That she will grow up, secure in daddy's love.

28 July 2011

Here we go again.

School's out. That should bring a ripple of excitement to me as a mother, but does it? Well, it does but alongside too is that I am holding my breath. Literally. So I cleaned out the fridge last weekend in anticipation, preparation maybe. And started to restock on stuff that would interest a person, who has been behind gates for a while. While there, I begun to think back of my days in boarding school.

Those were the days. In class five is when it all begun. Then, I viewed it as torture leaving my warm household to go live with total strangers. I remember so well the first day. I was so small, not even able to wash my clothes well. I will never know what prompted my parents to take me to boarding school then. Perhaps for lack of good schooling nearby.  I would cry myself to sleep the first few weeks, but wake up to the stern reality that I was on my own and there to determine my destiny. I missed my family terribly. There is nothing worse for a child than to sit there spooning a hot bowl of porridge while thinking of mummy's special breakfast back home.

There were all sorts of stuff to scare a little girl there. First, the headmistress was stern. And I mean real stern. She would look your way and you would begin to confess your sins beforehand. Then would come the slap. Memorable, bint-el-sudan scented. The lingering scent(smell) would be a constant reminder for the rest of the day that you had to behave yourself otherwise. And she wore glasses.

The school was a mission one. That means that there was a big catholic church(mandatory), convent, hospital and inevitably a grave yard. That bordered the school fence. And so on some saturdays, we would revelently watch over the fence as people buried the dead. Which would give us nightmares for days. There was even talk of ghosts. And so you can imagine waking up to go to the wash rooms at night, when it's all so quiet, with the tall trees swaying outside and only the security light on.There were no curtains too. Perfect recipe for terror.

With time I learnt to wash my clothes well(even the white blouses) and to put all sweet memories of home back. That was my first lesson on patience and the power of hope. Hope that tomorrow would come and I could go back home to mummy. Hope that after a while I would get out of that place to a better place. I did get out of that school to the secondary school right across the fence, yes. By then I knew enough about getting what it is I wanted and the fight for survival. Tough little cookie.

And my kids complain school life is hard. Even with the special diet, and teachers who make calls to parents if there is an issue, the works. I tried telling them how we grew up once but was met with rolling eyes. And so I am preparing to welcome theme home. That will involve some sacrifice on my part and hubby's too. Like learning afresh how to knock on their bedroom door and ask that the volume be brought down. And hubby will have to reliquish his hold on the remote. We also have to get used to the now-you-see-it, now-you-don't syndrome. How else do you explain the close to empty fridge that you are sure was well stocked just a few days back?

And now for the seven things you dont know about me. OtienoHongo, here goes.

-I am a firm believer of God, depending on divine wisdom to guide my daily walk.

-I cherish promise keepers. If you make a promise please keep it and if you cannot please state the same.

-I love watching Dr phil is no secret. Anything that helps me understand the working of the mind is cool.

-I laugh a lot. Loudly too. If you can make me laugh, then you are close to my heart.

-I feel deeply for issues of atrocities on women and children. I guese I dislike those who push their weight around.

-I love white chocolate.

-I aspire to highlight issues on every day life.

25 July 2011

Weekend with friends

     This past weekend was rather interesting. I made time to visit with my lady friends, one who has a son named van dame. It was a rather interesting visit because at van dames' house I found him, brother and dad watching football.
There is something about men watching football together that I cannot quite put my finger on. Sort of like a 'comrade' kind of feeling. Ever tried making conversation with guys watching a match? Kind of like talking to oneself.
And so yesterday at my friends' house we got to spend about an hour just conversing. Just the two of us. It was there that I learnt a lot about house dressing.
     My friend is a designer of anything house beautiful. And so she took me through photos of stuff that she makes. Simply beautiful. And she does it with a passion. She showed me samples of stuff she makes and I was left in awe. From beautiful curtain dressing to beautiful seat cushions in all shapes (sweets?). At some point we had to enlist the help of a not-so-enthusiastic van dame to help put up some fabric. All this time the football match was on.
     There is something divine about two women going through beautiful stuff together. We spent most of my time there peeling layer after layer of fabric and shared lots of stories in between. Pure girl talk. We castigated men and football and their lack of interest in all things nice. Occassionally we would take a peek at the three men seated watching football, oblivious to all else. We were  in our own world abeit with those three totally football absorbed men.
      A beautiful house is soothing to the soul. It feels good going home to a beautifully decorated house. The interior decor of a house tells a lot about the owners. From the colors used to the way things are put together. I once visited a friend of mine and was amazed to find so much pink in her bathroom. She said it had a soothing effect on her. My bathroom is mainly green. The color of life.
     Coupled with my discovery of the beauty of splashing colors in the house, came the realisation that each one of us is gifted in different ways. We just need to go find out what it is that we enjoy doing effortlessly. And if it makes us money as well, then the better. Just as my friend has found out.

20 July 2011

Of regrets and the I told-you-so consequences

All of us have regrets. Something that we did well knowing well that we should not have but went ahead and did it. With the expected result. Remorse. It may have been something as minor as taking some pocket change from mum's purse and having to face the consequences on getting caught. Or something big like a husband who out of rage was responsible for killing his wife. Once the deed is done, then the regrets begin. That is unless the person involved is not of sound mind.
I hear these stories all around. They are the stuff magazines are made of. Some even come out as inspirational music serving a warning to others not to go down the same road. All serve to confirm that there are always consequences of not following the rules of life. Whether set by the state or church. I have heard such stories most of my life. Like the one of 20 year old Laban. I knew him way back as young boy. He was a classic case of a normal boy growing up in a city estate with a loving family. His parents worked hard to give him and siblings a noble life. But somewhere along the way Laban lost his track.
At 16, when most boys are in the discovery stage Laban discovered more than was good for his age. That, coupled with the pressure from friends was his undoing. And the start of his family's woes. He could no longer pass for the quiet boy we all knew in the neighborhood. Suddenly he did not care to go to school. Even after countless attempts to resolve the many issues he had with the adminitration which culminated in his getting expelled. And when after his parents tried to talk him into joining another school, he was least interested.
Laban now begun drinking most of the time. His mother would discover empty cans of beer in his room. He was not even trying to hide his bad behaviour. The neighbors begun to complain. Clothes had begun missing on the drying lines. Shoes could no longer be left outside their doors. And Laban's parents understood where all their missing cash ended up. Laban had found a way to service his new hobby. The drama continued for several years. His parents had to step in and bail him out every now and then. That was the norm in their lives for quite a while.
No one knows for sure what happened. Considering that all the threats, talks, then counselling had not helped to change his waywardness. But one day Laban changed. He says it was like he woke up to an  OMG realization. It hit him that he had lost so much. Like time that he should have been at school. That he had become a pain to his folks. It dawned on him that his former peers were now out of school and in college. That is the day last year, that Laban decided to pick up his life. He is lucky that he had supportive parents who agreed to put him back to school. And that is where he is now. Doing what he should have done four years back. And so full of remorse.
Not so many people are lucky to get away with few if any repercussions. Some people regret their actions for the rest of their lives. And end up adding misery to their loved ones too. Some actions have such dire consequences that they haunt a person for the rest of their living days. These are the ones that hurt most. When at a person reaches a point in their lives and they realise that they could have done it different. Better. This becomes a sore thumb in their lives. A constant reminder that maybe, just maybe they wish they had known better.
Makes me wonder why the sound of reason does not appeal until it is too late. Perhaps it is in exercising our free will that we often go offtrack. And with dire consequences that are often times life changing. Just maybe we should all think things over more before taking action. Especially if they are on the not-to-do list.

There are countless stories from people who take rebellion trips every now and then. We see it on the news every day. And different people have different ways of trying to rid themselves of guilt. Some take to drinking to try and momentarily forget their mistakes. But wake up to the same staring them in the face the following day. Or  take it out on others. Perhaps expecting to share their misery. Yet other people take time to look inward and search their very soul. Even turn to God for help. An act of surrender to a higher power to help. That in itself is a step towards recognising that human beings are bent on doing wrong and just their will power is not enough to stop them. Constantly.

14 July 2011

I wonder, is it so bad?

It seems our girls are out to catch fun at whatever cost. Seeing as we now have another death under mysterious circumstances of a college girl. Just this month a university student was murdered and by unknown people. The cause of her death has not yet been determined, and now this? Another college student studying journalism was found dead at some lodging in Nairobi. What is similar in both cases is that both these two girls met their death while out having overnight fun with friends.
Interesting to note is the fact that in both cases the girls seem to have been intent on going out abeit in dubious circumstances. In the case of the latest death, the girl in question was out drinking with a foreign friend. And while there, her boyfriend did show up and an argument ensued. Now that in itself tells a lot. Wrong place at the wrong time.
No wonder some people are making business out of relationships. Now in Kenya, one can have their spouse or friend tracked to the last detail with recordings. And it is no cheap task. Interesting to note, people are paying so much for the service. Maybe they just need to know just where they stand in the relationship. Which means that they have reason to doubt their partner. Even among the young.
I watch the program cheaters sometimes. I'd say I always feel for the one that has been cheated on. It is so humiliating to discover that someone that you hold dear to your heart is having it with someone else. What I wonder is how the graphic discovery aids in the person's esteem. I saw one such episode where a lady, married for the last thirty or so years, came out spitting venom at her husband on being caught out. She accused him of not finding time to be with her. And thus justified her having an affair. Now that got me thinking, how many times do married people disregard some complaints from their partner as mere bragging just to suffer the same fate later? Whereas if they actually did hear what it is the partner was saying and took some action a disaster might have been averted. In the case of this couple on cheaters, the husband was actually on set later admitting that he might have caused his wife to stray!
Which brings to fore the damage that occurs when those in a relationship are not listening to their partners. It is obvious that a partner may not provide the all-round needs of the other. In which case then the two need to work at finding an amicable way of letting each one pursue their different interests without suspicion.
The latest girl that died was obviously with someone other than she should have been with. And the dubious circumstances could have led to her death. Obviously, her boyfriend who turned up later felt cheated.
The need for openness in relationships is obvious. This might not go well with the partner but at least they do get the message that they need to work at it. And the partner gets a chance to air their feelings. In which case noone has an excuse to do wrong.
What has changed is that more and more people, now more than ever are willing to give up on their relationships at the slightest disillusionment. It seems that the minute one discovers something they do not like in a partner then off they go. Any relationship comes with a degree of committment. And one does not just get up one day and decide that it's off. Partners need to walk together. But most important listen to what it is the other is telling them. Lest they get the message from less appealing sources.

12 July 2011

No alternatives, just work at it.

So much is changing in our society. I read the Saturday Standard with awe. So now women, both married and single are freely seeking for options when they do not get fulfillment in their relationships. And these options come in all sizes and shapes.Was even more amazed to read a follow up article that was in agreement with this. That makes me wonder, what has gone wrong with the marriage institution nowadays.
Growing up, we were taught to believe that marriage was for as long a both partners were alive. I grew up seeing couples who were not-so-perfect struggle to make their marriages work. And yes I believe that their patience bore fruit. And some happy children too.
I think that people are giving up too soon on their partners. Given, it cannot be easy, two entirely different individuals coming together and expecting harmony from day one. Obviously this calls for work. It means that anyone who is open to commit should be ready to shoulder responsibility as well. By that I mean that even when what one gets is not exactly what they expected, they should not throw in the towel. Maybe everyone should pay more attention to the vows they make at the marriage altar. For better or for worse.  This might mean that you marry this handsome hunk who makes your heart flip every time you look into his eyes who gets involved in an accident and is not as appealing as before. Or this beautiful girl you cannot wait to take to meet mother who you discover is more keen on her friends than she is to be with  you. Could be even worse.
What then, do you seek other ways of finding happiness although still remaining with your partner?
One thing that is for sure is that there is no way of working out a relationship if the word alternative jumps to mind at every disappointment. If I am getting fulfillment elsewhere, why bother with what does not work for me. And that marks the down way for any relationship. I believe we all need to be constantly reminded that relationships are lots of work. That was well catered for within the African culture. Take this for instance.
A girl has just turned nine. She is encouraged to visit with her grandmother more. Or her paternal auntie. On such visits, the girl is groomed to do major house hold chores. She knows to fetch essentials for the family needs. She learns to cook the traditional foods too. She sees auntie prepare food that is full of energy and not necessarily appealing. In the evening, she gets to help out serving uncle with the evening meal. She watches him heartily enjoying the meal and thank auntie for the wonderful cooking. Soon uncle is sleepy but still manages to catch up on the day's happenings with auntie. Little girl learns that a satisfied man is a happy man.
Mary, for that is the girls' name turns twelve. It is time to learn about birds and bees. Auntie takes up the role effortlessly any time Mary comes to visit her. She talks to her about men. Tells her what makes a man happy. She tells Mary how important it is for a man to get acknowledgement from his wife. Mary learns to make food that is worth to be served to a hungry hard working man. She watches her auntie keep her mouth shut on the occasions that her husband comes home in a foul mood. It appears to her that her auntie, just like mother back home knows how to appease an angry man.  Auntie goes on with her chores. Mary learns that silence is golden sometimes.
At 21 Mary is all grown up and ready to start her own family. She has with her a wealth of knowledge on what she is about to step into. She is well ready for the good and the bad times. After all, she has seen instances like these before and knows how to go about it. This does not guarantee that her marriage will be problem free but she knows how to go about issues. After all, auntie and mum still uphold their marriages even when things get tough.
Mary is well adjusted in her marriage. Though she is a modern woman, with a job of her own she knows that her happiness comes from a firm marriage. She will do all that she can to make it work. She is well adjusted for the task. There is no turning back and no way of letting the marriage fail. Mary knows from experience that when she makes her husband happy she will be happy herself. You can only get what you give.
In today's life, we lack real and down -to-earth models for the girls. Today's woman learns about relationships from watching television. She lacks the experience of actually watching someone struggle to make their relationship work. And so the girl grows up lacking the necessary skills to uphold a relationship. And she is not to be blamed for that. After all, with the changing times, what time is there to even go visit and learn from others.
The cracks begin to show soon. Unlike Mary, today's girl believes in finding a home ready for occupation. With minimum effort from her. She believes that happiness awaits her in a relationship. With minimum effort. And so when that does not happen she is fast to go seeking it elsewhere. After all, isn't she responsible for her own? Thus the influx of foreign ideologies to happiness. Today's woman is going roundabout looking for happiness. Forgetting that happiness takes effort. Just like everything else in life.
2:41:00 PMby tulip