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Reality check

A while back I was bedridden, for weeks. I was not in the position to perform most of the activities I normally do. My body could not allow me. At first I thought it was something that would last for maybe a day or two but then days started turning into weeks. That period of my life was very unique. I could not do simple things like waking up getting out of bed and making breakfast. I could not take care of my family but instead had to learn to let them take care of me. I love being tidy and organized, I could not have the luxury to clean up and organize our house. At times I’d try to push myself to do it but my body could not allow me.

This made me reflect on a lot and also realize a lot. It was a learning experience. Through that experience I have learnt to appreciate intentionally. I have learnt that health is not something to take for granted. I thought of people in hospital beds who could not move and I chose to not complain but rather learn. I got to know who’s in my corner, who I can call, who can count on, who genuinely cares about me and guess what, that circle is really small. I learnt that in such times you want to talk to people who lift your spirits, people who encourage you, understand you, have been there before and understand your journey. People who wish well for you and care to check on you or just simple things like prepare a meal for you.

I could not take care of my husband, I could not serve him food, I could not do dishes or laundry. I could not take care of my son in the way that I wanted to. This was also a lesson for me in marriage. It’s not always about what you give but it’s also about letting yourself receive. I allowed myself to be cared for, at first it’s hard because as a stay-at-home-mum I am so used to doing most of the house chores and maybe thinking I know how to do them best and it would have been easy to order my husband around on what to do and how to do it then get mad if it wasn’t done my way but I did not choose that route, I chose to appreciate his style and know that he was doing his best to support me. I ended up realizing he actually does somethings better than I do, shock on me.

I realized I did not have to be a super woman to be a great mother. When I could not get out of bed I’d have my son sit next to me and we would work on fun projects or have storytelling moments and spend time together. I realized that cooking and feeding my son does not make me a good or bad mother, that doing what is expected by the society of me as a mother does not guarantee I get the mother-of-the-year award. There are so many ways of being a parent and being there for your child that makes me a mother.

I realized I love what I do. In most cases being  a stay-at-home-mom is not considered a job and one feels the need to explain or justify, at times it’s considered wasting ‘your education’ but guess what? No, it’s not, it’s a full-time job. I wish people would stop asking stay-at-home-mums when they plan on going back to work, they are working! I realized I loved it. Being in bed and not being able to do a lot, what I missed most was what I do for my family in the house. Every single thing that makes the house a home, I enjoy doing. I enjoy preparing meals for my family and seeing them enjoy it even on days I have over-done the salt, Mama’s food is always the best. I love cleaning up and organizing. I love running errands around our home. It’s a position I respect and love. I learnt to appreciate and love what I do. I hope you reading this appreciates what you do.

When your health is compromised and there is nothing you can do, you learn to appreciate everything and especially those things that you do not think about like walking, being able to open the door with your hands, taking a shower and dressing up, going to work and actually being able to perform your duties, hugging your loved ones and so on. My biggest take away was knowing God more, thinking about Him and the much He has given each one of us but it’s sad we think about blessings in different ways like material wealth and societal standards forgetting there is much more to life than material riches. Learn to appreciate your own wealth which is very unique to you. The second take-away is appreciating my support system more and knowing who is in my corner and who I can count on, and on this I also asked myself this, what kind of a wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend am I? I am working on being a better person in every aspect of my life and being better to the people in my life. The kind of support system I had at that time made me want to be a better support system to those in my life. It’s good to be challenged to want to be better.

I was to post this on my social media accounts but I felt it would be too long to do so and remembered I have a blog that I use as a gallery of my thoughts. I hope you enjoy the read!

Featured Image by https://www.facebook.com/Jacksonmwangiphotography/

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Long distance relationships

We got into a long distance relationship barely six months after we had started dating, actually known of each other’s existence. We both knew it was a possibility but we dint think it’d happen that soon. It’s one of those things you know but rather not think about or prepare for so when it happened it felt like quite the shock. I did not want to let go of the relationship but then I knew nothing about being in a long distance one. He was moving to a different continent, one I had never visited, one I could not visit easily and he was basically going to start a new life. This was so confusing for me, I honestly did not know what I wanted but on the other hand Mr. did not look at all confused about the state of our relationship. He had no questions about it, he was sure distance was not a reason enough to break it off. I think that gave me the confidence to dare to try. Thing is we had more work today since we were only at the beginning of the relationship, six months was not enough to really know someone but then since we started dating we had spent so much time together, he was literally where I was everytime and I was where he was every other time and we used to talk a lot and we felt that we knew each other enough to take the risk. I however promised myself to be very alert and run away at the sight of the first red flag. That is what I told myself, lol. We were in it for years. He would travel anytime he had a chance so I’d say minus the days he would visit, it was a total of maybe two years.

One way or another since we were already in this we had to make it work. I’ll share our story of how we made it work and if you’re in one know that this can work and it’ll work. The first thing that made it work for us was communication. We had a rule that we had to talk daily for atleast two hours in total and chat every chance we got, thanks to technology that was so easy to do. Thing is we were in very different time zones and this was honestly stressful but the we came up with a plan and with time we had a schedule and we had a specific time allocated for calls and then we’d chat through out if we were both awake. I had promised myself that if he went for two days without calling or texting me I was done with the relationship and I was so serious about this because communication is all you have in long distance. If you do not communicate what else will you do? It’s not like you’ll see each other at the end of the day. The only excuse to me is if you’re in the military or if you live in a really remote area and you have to walk for a very long distance to climb a tree so as to be able to make a call or you’re very sick and in hospital and you honestly cannot manage to reach me otherwise nothing else would make sense to me, no excuse should be used for not communicating for days. What I believe is that if you’re committed to someone you’ll make the effort of at least wishing them a goodnight or just checking how their day was, but again that’s just my opinion. I don’t get how you’ll have a pretty normal day, go to work and all and forget to check on your partner who you’ve not seen in quite a long time, to me that’s a red flag to be honest. Communication played such a huge role and it made me feel that truly the relationship was real and not just in my head. If you are really committed and serious about your partner, communication will be the least of your worries because all you want is to keep talking to them day in day out.

The second was trust. During that time I got a lot of advice of how long distance relationships do not work. How no one can be truthful in that kind of relationship. Let me ask one thing, does it mean that seeing your partner on a daily basis makes them truthful? People living together have no trust issues? Such opinions never moved me, I cared less. I did not spend a night sleepless wondering whether I should trust Mr. or not reason being I did not want that to be an issue especially with the fact that I could not really control much. One thing that really strengthened this was back to my first point, communication. We never gave each other reason to start doubting each other and on the other hand if this was an issue i’d have rather walked away than spend sleepless nights thinking and crying over questions I could not answer or situations I could not control. I must say though, if he did not communicate effectively I would have had trust issues, if I did not communicate effectively, he would most definitely get trust issues. If you are already in it just choose to trust your partner and show them they can trust you, it really makes the relationship easier. I remember Praying and asking God to help me not let trust be an issue in the relationship, I mean we already had distance and time zones to worry about, I just dint want more worry on my mind.

Third is commitment. We worked on showing each other that we were genuinely committed to the relationship and that we both wanted it to work. We kept encouraging each other, well Mr. was better at being positive, I was more of an emotional wreck, the moment he’d say he missed me tears would just fill up my eyes so yeah he had a lot of work to keep encouraging us. Commitment doesn’t have to be a lot of work, simply show interest, simply be there when needed, make your presence felt in ever possible way, make sure that your partner feels they are a part of your life. The good thing about not seeing each other every so often is that you end up talking a lot hence getting to know each other so much and this really creates a strong bond and other than that it creates friendship. When you’re genuinely committed to someone, showing the commitment won’t be anything hard to do at all.

Friendship. Choose to be friends. This way even when you have issues and don’t feel like talking to each other, the friendship part of the relationship will help get over the issues. At times it’s easier to talk to friends more than your partner but when your partner is your friend it’s a plus because you can be free and feel safe to talk about anything. We chose to be friends and we became such good friends such that at times I’d call him and tell him I wanted to talk to him as a friend and not boyfriend (at the time) this was mostly when I was on the wrong though, when I wanted a free pass at being forgiven, haha. Jokes aside though, friendship plays a huge role and it also creates a safe space knowing you have a true friend in your partner and guess what, that friendship just keeps growing and becomes even better with time. You get to understand each other in ways that will amaze you.

Find fun things to do together. Have dates on video calls, come up with fun quizzes you can do through a phone call. Send surprise sweet long messages every now and then. Have a video call where you’re both eating and it’s like a date. These are some of the things we used to do and they were so exciting that the relationship would feel renewed. Talk about how the relationship will be when the long distance is over, fantasize and dream and looking forward to such days is always so good. You feel excited. I remember Mr. would keep telling me that one day the long distance would be over and I’d forget what it felt like and to be honest I felt like that was impossible but guess what?! I honestly forgot what it was like. I know it was not easy but I can’t remember detail to detail yet it always felt so real and like it would last forever and never end. We had set time for doing Bible study together, I think it was every Sunday afternoon, where we’d just read the Bible together on phone and share a few things, no a lot of things, Pray together and start the week on that note. Any time we set to spend together was to be respected and taken seriously. Plus we really needed God for strength, long distance was no joke.

Honesty. Be truthful, be genuine, be honest. When someone is not honest trust me you’ll know. That gut feeling!! Yes that one. If you’re always questioning, there is something to be addressed. If you raise issues and they are never addressed or addressed for a day then the next back to the same old story then there is no honesty. One thing about this is that you have to be really truthful about yourself. For instance I knew everyone around Mr. not physically but he’d mention everyone he interacted with, like family and friends. Same case to me, he knew all my friends and family. If he lied or if I lied we would have known the moment long distance was over. It’s been years now and since I joined him everyone I have met or everyone he has introduced me to is not a stranger to me, maybe I am to them, I don’t know but then he’ll introduce someone and say how I know them and I’ll be like “Aaahh nice to finally meet you…” at times I just say it in my head. I don’t want people to keep asking how I know them, oh but it’s obvious, if you know a husband to someone, the wife most probably knows you. You just have to be truthful in every aspect however small if you want to build a future with your partner post-long distance. You have no choice. Leave no room for surprises. Of course you might not share each and every small detail but share enough to make your partner know they know you so that just in case something happens that you dint plan for or see coming your partner won’t be too surprised, they will most likely be disappointed but since they know you they will also know you were capable of such a thing. In short, be honest, no surprises.

Do not leave any issue unsolved. When things are not going right, talk about it, don’t leave any stone not turned, don’t bottle up emotions. Don’t wait for the next time you’ll be face to face to solve issues, no, solve them right there and then. If you keep waiting and piling up issues trust me the next time you’re together face to face you’ll be ending the relationship because of the many unresolved issues that cannot be solved at that particular time. If talking is hard, send a text and say ‘Hey, I have some issues we need to talk about’ and when you get a chance talk making sure you address everything. If it’s your partner with the issues, listen to them and together find a way to move forward. Do not be too quick to judge or jump to conclusions, if they did not reply a text or pick a call, don’t try coming up with scenarios of why unless you are so sure about it. Always be ready to listen, slow to anger and slow to judge. This is usually easier said than done though, I admit at times I’d fail miserably at being quick to anger but with time I figured it helped in no way. Make it effective problem solving, you don’t want to go for days without talking to someone you have not seen in months, back to my first point, communication is all you have. We would talk about every little or big issue we had that same day or the next and made sure it was solved before moving past it. That continues even after long distance, you keep addressing issues at hand, while still hot.

Finally, what I got to learn from long distance is that I got to grow so much as a person and Mr. also got to grow a lot as his own person. When you spend so much time with yourself you get to know yourself a lot and that way we had much more to give to the relationship because we were both at a place where we knew what we wanted, we had invested a lot of time into the relationship talking a lot and getting to know each other without distractions, like just talking all the time and sharing a lot. I ended up feeling like it was tough but it is something we needed to grow. The person I was at the beginning of the long distance was so different from the person I was at the end of the long distance relationship, Mr. too, the changes I saw and the growth I saw was nothing short of fascinating. I don’t know where we would be if the long distance did not happen but I know I’m happy with where it brought us. It was years yes, but the patience you get to learn is worth it. Part of Romans 5:4 says endurance produces character.

Those in long distance, hold on strong, it works! Shut out the noises, focus on your relationship and distance is not an excuse to break a relationship, if you’re committed and put God first, nothing should stop or discourage you.

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Marriage and wife-ing during lockdown

Hi there! I’ll start by saying thanks to everyone that responded to my previous post and got a tip or two, the encouraging words and positive feedback as well as criticism keeps me going! Well, of course apart from being driven by passion 🙂

How has marriage and wife-ing during this period been like? I can’t believe it’s been over two months of being indoors. Who would have thought of such times? Being indoors with another human being all the time, every second of the day can be quite something, good thing is it’ll be what you choose it to be. Exciting? Tiring? Exhausting? Adventurous? Your choice.

I hate boring, I hate stressful, my choice was to make it exciting. It’s obviously been a weird time, everyday looks like the other, our role is to basically just follow the rules given and we chose to make the best out of it. So how do we navigate this? One by playing games, we are more of board games people, no actually we are specifically monopoly people and the first time playing monopoly just the two of us looked funny, we are used to playing the game in groups till we realized we are enough to play our favorite game, I mean do we have a choice? Did I just start talking about monopoly? Forgive me it’s the love for the game, my point was playing games in general. Find games that excite both of you and do them, what’s stopping you? You don’t have enough time? Well, I dint think so.

Two we focused on talking more and even getting to know each other more. This I will emphasize, communication! Don’t be too busy with chores as a wife or things that need to be done as a husband and forget to talk every so often then only talk when there is an issue to be talked about. Communicate often about anything and everything. Ask how your partner’s day was at the end of the day, ask how their night was every morning, even if the answer will most likely be the same during this period but this is a period to really strengthen what you have through communication. You even get to know your partner more and better. You end up really enjoying time spent together and you’ll actually end up feeling like it’s not even enough leave alone the fact that they are on your face every other minute. Talk about a squirrel you saw passing at a nearby tree and how it stopped and looked like it was thinking about the dinner it had last night. Do animals have structured meals in a day? I mean anything and everything.

Find things to do together such as cooking. Cook together every so often. One might be cooking, the other might be keeping them company giving stories, of late I enjoy being the one seated in the kitchen for company giving meaningless never-ending stories and getting the ‘thank-you for keeping me company as I was cooking’ try it as wife, it’s fun. Read the Bible and books together, watch documentaries and TV shows together, take walks together and talk about the trees, when was the last time you talked about trees and the soil? We recently took a walk along the beach and it was refreshing! Much needed. We had no hurry to come back indoors, we observed all safety measures as required and we talked about the sand and the water, the water was so cold, summer is still not here but then the day was a hot day, the water just dint want to warm up I guess. We also had a picnic on the beach, we had packed a few snacks not forgetting an avocado of course, we just sat there and enjoyed nature, it was so quiet and beautiful. We played with the sand and stones, a Kenyan game we’d play when we were kids, it involves playing with five small stones, throwing them up one by one and making sure you catch them before they touch the ground, I forgot the name. What’s the color of the soil at the back of your house? How many huge stones did you pass as you took the walk? Everything can start a conversation. Find new recipes and try them out, they are all over the internet. Simple and easy recipes that won’t leave you tired and exhausted. That is one thing we have done a lot the past few days, a lot of new recipes, some turn out okay most great and you are left wondering where were you all this time you recipe! Make the meals together then eat together!

Making every day a learning day. I decided to learn something new about my husband every single day and I end up asking him random questions then after he answers I will also answer so that he gets to learn something about me too. There is one I’m really curious to know though, how many strands of hair he has on his head, that’ll be exciting to learn, it requires a lot of time though, oh yea that’s not a problem! I’m already excited thinking about it, such an amazing thing to learn!

Have sex! Yes I said it, I’m in marriage, sex was created by God for marriage to be enjoyed and for procreation. Do it anytime you have the chance. Make sure you enjoy it. It’s great for bonding as a couple and obviously great for the relationship. As a wife don’t get angry at your husband and decide the punishment is ‘not giving sex’ trust me, he won’t learn a lesson from that, he’ll just feel unloved which will lead to more issues. If you’re angry talk, communicate your frustrations. According to various sources (books I’ve read before) sex for a man is a need the same way for women love, care and attention are needs. I don’t know how true but it does make sense, I am no expert though. Have sex and not just sex, enjoyable sex for both parties! Show some love to your person. Cuddle on the couch, hug each other, steal a kiss every so often, remind your significant other that you love them, reassure them they are important to you. Words and touch can go a long way. Our goal is to make each other happy as much as we can because we want to co-habit in peace and also for men just a reminder, happy wife, happy life! You’re welcome.

Everyday doesn’t have to be exciting or adventurous. Some days are just okay but most are exciting. It’s a confusing time for everyone but one thing for sure is that you can find ways to brighten a day. Making it a success has to be team effort, every partner has to play their part and that’s the only way it’ll work, not just one party trying to make it work and the other has no interest. As I said before I hate being bored and i’m also not an indoor person, not at all so this has been such a unique time for me, let me say for us, we are both not indoor people but we have to make the best out of it instead of complaining day in day out and feeling bad that things are the way they are when we have no power to change a thing about it.

If you’re married write to me let me know how you’ve been working through this with your partner, maybe I can add a tip or two. If you’re not also write to me and let me know how you’ve been navigating this unique time we are currently in. I really hope that everyone is trying to make the best out of this current situation. One more last thing, always Pray together.

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Motherhood during quarantine

It’s been a while since I posted a blog post and I have a good reason for it, I’ve been busy working on making the best out of the quarantine situation that it really occupied my mind and made me forget about consistency. I guess that makes sense in my head, I’m not sure if it does after writing it down though.

How have you been? How’s the social distancing treating you from your end? Leave a comment down below and let me know. We can have social distancing physically but in this space kindly feel free to be all up in my space. I just want to talk about how it has been on my end. To begin with it’s not a totally new experience for me being entirely at home since I have been a stay-at-home-mum/wife since T was born almost two years ago. The other thing that makes it not-so-knew is the nature of Mr’s job allows him to work from home every now and then so yes, I have been on this street for a while now.

Nevertheless, this is of course very different in it’s own uniqueness. A global pandemic that is new to everyone that has made some of the normal things no longer normal like visiting family and friends. I chose not to view it as a challenge but rather an opportunity to create a new normal in my life. 

T is a toddler, anyone with a toddler knows the kind of energy they have, how fast they get bored, the tantrums they decide to throw at times, the much they love attention… the list is endless. If you do not come up with ways to keep a toddler busy you might feel like you’re going crazy. With toddlers or even kids in general you definitely need some sort of structure, some days you might stick to it others you  might not, bottom line should be do no be too hard on yourself, do what you can.

I noticed this when T was around 1.5 years and I knew I needed some sort of structure and that is when we started homeschooling him. We decided to start when we realized he was at a stage where he would clearly understand what was being communicated and he would also find ways of communicating, most times at that age it was of course difficult understanding some of the words he was trying to say but we figured it was a good starting point and since I was the one staying at home, most of the homeschooling work was on me.

The kind of program I started with was informal. No specific structure to follow, I’d just focus on what was of interest to him and enforce it, for instance he loves singing and dancing so I’d come up with educational simple songs and slowly he began grasping things and would be very excited to learn new things. The other thing we really focused on was not treating him like a baby but rather a growing human being in that we avoided using baby language on him, if he did not pronounce a word well we did not repeat what he said but rather said it like it should be. That has been helping a lot in his communication and language skills. At times it’s easy to repeat what a baby says exactly how they say it but then this does not really help them grow, if you get what I mean.

One other thing that I started doing intentionally was involving him in what I do around the house. When he is bored of learning something or coloring and I have chores to do, instead of just sitting around and watch him throw tantrums or get bored I move on to the next duties and if it’s chores I involve him. If it’s laundry i’ll allow him to ‘help’ me do it even if that means being messy but then with time he gets it right, I do it with no expectations, I just let him be part of it and it’s okay if to him it’s a game. When i’m cooking I’ll let him sit in a corner in the kitchen and I’ll give him a few spoons and bowls and he loves copying what i’m doing and I kill two birds with one stone, baby is having fun and busy, cooking is done and then we will load the dishwasher together and move on the the next chore which might be cleaning the house. That way I found myself getting so much done rather than waiting on him to sleep the try and rush through chores. By the end of it we are both tired and can both rest at the same time and I don’t have to try and do everything in a hurry with the fear that he might wake up before i’m done. Win-win ‘insert smiley face’

With time he has learnt a lot and as of now he has specific chores assigned to him that he LOVES, like taking trash to the bin, dare you take anything to the trash bin when he’s watching you, don’t you know that that’s his duty? This made my work as a stay-at-home-mum so much easier and enjoyable and the best part is the growth I see in him and interest in being involved in certain things. I will not lie and say it’s not tiring, it is, very! but the rewards make it worth the while.

During this quarantine period we have had to add more activities to his schedule since being outdoors is very limited and how we went about it is divided programs. There are programs he associates with me and others with Mr. My activities are more of the boring ones like formal learning activities like numbers, letters, coloring and the like then the fun ones that involve developmental toys like blocks and lego, fun activities that involve games are his dad’s. The things with toddlers their concentration span is very short, you have to keep coming up with ways to keep them entertained but once you have that figured out trust me, you’ll enjoy parenting!

I cannot believe it’s now almost two years since I became a mother, it’s an experience one can never be ready for and it’s so unique and intriguing. I try to think of what my life used to be before T and I cannot remember. They come into your life and change it completely. The least you can do is enjoy the journey with however much or little you have. The best and most valuable parts of parenting are the moments you spend with your baby, may it be an hour or two in a day, may it be every single day, just make sure you give the best and enjoy it, they grow up so fast and before you know it they are off to make their own babies.

One thing I have learnt so far as a mother is how to not be overly attached to our children in the sense that they are their own human beings, think about it, do you always want your parents all up in your business? Of course love them, care about them but remember they have their own life to live, work on instilling confidence in them and nurturing independence. Do not be paranoid and anxious over every little thing concerning them. Remember things like kids fall down and get hurt then GET HEALED don’t allow the moment they fall get you into depression, they need you sane and healthy and happy. If you’re married do not put your kids before your spouse, your kids found you together and will grow and leave you in that house (or most likely a bigger better one) together to go make their own homes, so make sure you water your relationship otherwise it’ll wither and you’ll have a very hard time letting your children grow and move out to make their own lives since you made them your life. Always remind yourself that God is in control and He gave you those children to guide not control. 

Let me know how it’s like for you being indoors and what you have been doing to keep up!

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3%

We all want to be good at everything. No one wants to think of failure or being bad at something. When failure happens it’s obviously a terrible feeling – I respect and admire anyone who’s bold at accepting failures and even talking about the experiences – I am always so hard at my myself when I fail at something because of high expectations. I am working on this though because I believe to achieve success there must be failures along the way. Let me take to you back to my days in school. Many years ago, before high school I was a bright student, always top positions, first or second, high grades, good at every subject. Getting to high school everything changed. I was competing against so many other students, it was overwhelming to say the least, I wanted to always be a top student but that proved difficult. We were so many students from all over the country. I met students that were way smarter that I was. Form 1 wasn’t so hard, I maintained good grades, top positions and I was good. 

Come the second year of high school. I do not know what went wrong. I started getting poor grades in one specific class – Math – for some reason I could not understand the equations. Math started hating me. It affected my overall grades and position. I was really struggling with this subject. It stressed me out. Math made me question God. I remember one afternoon I was taking a walk to the dining hall to do some revision and I was talking to God – literally and out loud – about Math, God what did I do to you to deserve this? Where did I go wrong? Why can’t I understand Math? What do I need to do to pass this class? Why do I feel so stupid? These were all the things I was asking Him. It was such a burden to me. Whatever I did, I just could not understand Math.

It got to a point where I gave up and stopped trying, Math class became boring. I developed a negative attitude and decided Math was not for me. This made my grades drop even more. You can obviously guess I failed Math in the National exams. I mean, it was just not for me. After High school my goal was to join University and take a course that had nothing to do with Math, regardless of what course, I just wanted to run away from this thing called Math, I did not get how people were so good at it, how? I did not understand anyone who loved Math, why would you? I settled on Media and Communication, which I had highly qualified for because my grades in theory and literature were so good. I got in and I was excited that I was done with Math. I would see Business and Engineering students struggle with math equations and I’d just be like, thank goodness I escaped that.

Shock on me, I cannot remember which exact semester but I remember getting the program of classes at the beginning of the semester and there was this class called ‘Foundation of Math’ can you imagine! I thought I had escaped this nightmare. Was I in the wrong course? Had they confused the classes? What was going on? I dreaded that class. By now my attitude towards Math was a total wreck, I was never excited to go to that class, I was always tired. After struggling so much with class I came to my senses and realized that actually it wasn’t that hard, it was my attitude, I decided to try and give a little bit more. I would ask my friends to explain to me after class was done. I also consoled myself by saying it was just one class, one semester and I’d give my all since after there would be no more Math. I performed well – I think average – I was happy that I dint not fail. That was it, I was done with Math.

Second year of University, beginning of semester we get the program and guess what, Economics and Foundation of Math 2! I thought we were done with this?! I was now done and tired. What? I felt like it was marathon after marathon. I felt like going to the administration and letting them know that they were making some mistakes. I could not believe I was dealing with this again. This time this class was hard – maybe it was my attitude. I remember during the finals or CAT, I cannot quite remember of that semester I was completely clueless. I regret saying this but the guy sitting next to me noticed and offered to help. He placed his paper at a good angle and I peeped. Exam was over and I was just excited I wouldn’t fail. The results came back and he got his paper first. He had passed! He had 43/50. I was delighted that I had copied from him, I was so sure I had passed.

My turn to get my results came and I could not believe my score. I had 3%. Well, first thing that went through my is that it was a 0% then it hit me and I remembered that I had copied from someone who had passed. I knew there must be a mistake. I thought of going to complain to my lecturer and ask for a remark then it hit me that I actually had no idea of what the complain would be about. Like I could not even explain how I got the 3%. Thing is I copied in a hurry and instead of copying the formula I just copied the final answers and you remember those questions that had three parts, if you failed the first part then you failed every other part. I have never had such mixed reactions. I was proud it was not a 0% but then I felt so stupid. That’s when I decided I wasn’t going to feel this stupid again. I began working on Math day and night. Finals came and I had a B. I could not believe it. I remember calling my parents and telling them I had not failed in Math. Math was such a roller coaster for me.

Math taught me to accept and appreciate the fact that we are all gifted differently. No one can have everything. I decided to focus on my strengths and leave Math to those that loved it regardless of whether I understood why they loved it or not. I guess Math did not just like me, which i’m okay with. I have other strengths that like me. Lesson learnt – I am never copying again, never. I learnt the hard way. Let me just be myself and not focus on what other people do because we are all gifted by God differently.

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Love

I feel like I have read, seen, come across and heard so many stories about marriage and most of them seem to be negative. There are very few (in my opinion) that stand up to speak out the better part of marriage. The scary stories are way more than the good ones, the ones that give hope, the ones that make you want to be part of marriage.

Marriage is an institution created by God. It definitely faces challenges but I believe the most important thing should be for both parties to be honestly committed to each other and then above it all put God first. That should be the triangle. When faced with challenges, take it to God in Prayer, not to the world, not to in-laws, not to friends. Most of the time this route may not help.

I have not been in marriage for long, just a few years. I am no expert in marriage, but I am learning on the journey. I had a different picture of marriage in my head before I got into it, I used to judge marriage from what I saw in the society. For instance I thought certain roles in the house were for the wife and the husband had no business in them whatsoever like cleaning the house, laundry and such. I thought it was very necessary for a woman to have her own money and to add up a man should move into a woman’s house so that just in case the man decided to cheat or leave he doesn’t throw out the woman and kids, he was the one to leave. All these thoughts came from seeing so much from the society and feeling like a woman needed to protect herself. This made marriage in my head feel like a war room – come to think of it – instead of a place of joy, happiness, support, love and growth.

When I moved to the States to follow Mr. M, I basically left life as I knew it behind and dropped everything. I am from a very close knit family and this was such a huge change, I have never been away from my parents’ home for more than two months, this was going to be tough, I knew, I left my friends behind, I left my business behind. It was an entirely fresh start. Was I scared? Very. Who wouldn’t be? I was very scared and very excited at the same time. Reason for being excited was because I was tired of the long distance relationship, it was just not for me, I was ready to up and leave to join Mr. M. That was very exciting. On the other hand it was scary because it was SCARY! Everything else about it was scary. I was eight months pregnant. I was starting over. I did not know where to start, what to do?

We got to the States and I immediately had water in my tummy – literally – I missed my family so much, my friends as well, but life had to go on. I actually did not know culture shock was taking a toll on me till way later when i’d look back at a certain scenario and realize something, like how I handled things did not feel like me. I used to feel so lost, not myself. I was trying to figure out who I am amidst so much. I felt like I was in a cloud or something for such a long time.

Mr. M knew how close I am with my family and friends and he knew how hard it’d be for me to be away from them. That is when marriage happened. That is when I saw marriage in a very different way from what I had imagined. How he responded to the whole situation still amazes me when I think about it. He literally did everything I thought never happens in marriage. He gave me time to acclimatize, he took over all house chores – that is when I knew I was in America, where I am from this was not common – laundry is done differently, I was used to hanging lines, I did not find hanging lines in this side of America we live in, he taught me everything step by step, did laundry every other time till Takaso was about six months. I remember the first time I did laundry I was shocked that it was actually a lot of work, like one gets really tired, I thought machines made it effortless, lol, but the sorting and carrying laundry baskets and drying them is just as tiring.

He’d come from work and cook on days pregnancy decided that I felt like sleeping the whole day. He started actively looking for people i’d connect with. He’d come home and say that he met this guy and he thinks his wife and I would be really good friends and he’d make arrangements for us to hangout, I remember one of my currently very good friend now texted me one night saying her husband gave her my contact which he got from my husband. That’s how we began chatting and talking. Every time i’d just stop and be like, wow so this is what support in marriage means and being there for each other, those small things are the ones that matter most, for sure.

This challenged me to want to be a better partner, more respectful, more loving. I think the energy you give is the same energy you will receive. Mr. M gave me a lot of positive energy and that challenged me to want to give that back – the more you give, the more you receive. Baby was born and this time I freaked out FOR REAL! What do I do with a baby? Where do I start? Where is my mother? I remember when we were discharged from the hospital after he was born, as we were driving home and it was just us I kept looking at him wondering what I am supposed to do with a baby. How do I know what to do when he cries? Well, the answer to that was breastfeeding but then what about when he was not hungry? The questions in my mind were overwhelming. What if I don’t know how to hold him properly? What if he falls? What if he gets hurt? What if I put on too many clothes on him, how do I know he’s too warm? Or cold?

On the other hand Mr. M looked so calm and excited, how was he able to be excited when I was freaking out? We had a whole human being under our care! With no manual or help. I asked him how he was not freaking out and he said that God gave us this baby who is a Blessing and He will show us how to go about it. Oh man! Such faith is what I needed at the time. True to his words, I cannot believe Takaso is now almost two years old! I don’t think I held him the wrong way at any point, how would I know though? Lol. Though I’d video call my Mum every other day, I am sure she would have noticed and pointed it out, African mothers notice EVERYTHING. Plus Mr. M would do all kind of research in regard to babies and how to go about them. Anyway, I am just trying to console and assure myself that at no point did I hold Takaso the wrong way. Why am I so stuck on this thought though?

I got postpartum depression, which I did not know much about but I was definitely prone to it as I had suffered from anxiety disorder for a few years (well, this is something I am not really open with, I am actually already feeling vulnerable. I might write about it sometime in future) so I was not shocked when postpartum depression happened – I have talked about it in a previous post – how he handled it and me also stood out for me, it painted another different picture in my mind. Slowly I began appreciating marriage and noticing the small steps, small wins. You know when you live with someone day after day you get to know them really well, you get to notice all the little things you might not have known before. This was it for me, I noticed so much that I did not know, I got to know truly what marriage is about.

 

Marriage in God is about unconditional love from both partners, it’s about a man submitting to God and the wife submitting to the husband, it’s about understanding and support, it’s about holding each other accountable in a loving way. Supporting dreams and being a cheerleader. It’s about forgiveness because yes, your partner will hurt you and will make mistakes. It’s about compromise and sacrifices. It’s about being one and working as one. No marriage is perfect, no man is perfect, no woman is perfect, but God is perfect and He did not create marriage by mistake. If you’re in it whether woman or man, give your all. Also remember that all relationships are different, love your partner for who they are not who you think they should be.

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Sweet tooth, me? No. But…

I am not a sweet tooth, never been but I have a few specific things that I like for a while, get stuck on them till I feel that I have had enough of them and i’m done, onto the next. Sort of cravings, I can say. There is this one item that I have however been unable to get enough of, I actually want more and more of it.

I had never tasted a home-baked cake till Dee made one. I was actually hesitant to taste her cakes at first because honestly I am not a fan of cakes, chocolates, candy and ice cream. Yes, I know, I am serious. I remember she’d always be like “Just have a bite, I promise it’s not too sweet, just the right amount of sugar, you’ll like it” That still did not make me like cake, I used to ignore her at times, she knew and she gave me time. So many times she brought me cake and it’d sit in the fridge for days because I forgot that there was cake in the house. It took months for me to warm up to the idea of just tasting her cakes.

My dislike for sweet things started a few years back when I was working on losing weight. According to my BMI I was a bit on the heavier side, blame it on fries and fried chicken. Doing away with sugar was not hard because I have never been a sweet tooth. Somehow psychologically I did away with anything that was sweet – unnecessary sugars in the body. It got to a point where I just did not want any of it, completely, till I got pregnant and I guess either the baby or the body started asking for what I had kind of deprived it. I started craving passion juice, from this specific restaurant called java and it was sweet. Since then I opened the door to more sugar cravings. Little by little. Next was ginger ale since I moved to the States and there was no more Java, the baby or body decided that we were now on ginger ale, which I had so much of, I think about it now and I am like, how did I take all that sugar, where did it all go? Got to a point where I had so much of it and I did not want more, I cannot even look at it right now, I had more than enough.

I woke up one day and we had no bread for breakfast (I love bread) and the only thing that could go with tea that morning was Dee’s cake. I clearly had no option but to finally eat cake. I did. I loved it! I was shocked that I loved cake. I called her and asked her if she had baked some more because I wanted more of it. She said I was joking, she did  not believe I had eaten it. I also could not believe I was asking for more cake. I am not a cake person at all, I cannot emphasize this enough.

I started asking for cake and cupcakes every other time. Anytime she was baking I’d go visit her to have a piece of cake, I am not kidding. It slowly turned into a favorite. Everyone who has tasted her cakes loves them. You can see it in their eyes when they taste it. You can hear it in their voices when they say how yummy it is. You can sense it in everyone who has tasted her cakes. It’s not once we have hangout at her place as many as five people waiting on her to bake a fruit cake or vanilla or chocolate cake. 

The best part about it is that she does it with a passion. She loves baking, she can be up baking at midnight because she got inspired by a certain design and she decided to be creative about it. She can wake up at 4A.M to bake for her husband to have for breakfast, how sweet is that. Clearly when one does something as a passion, it turns out to be the best. The second thing that amazes me is how she uses healthy products, she never compromises on the quality of her cakes. She will use the best of products to deliver. If you have tasted her cakes you know what I am talking about, if you haven’t, what are you waiting for? You are missing out! The third thing is how creative she is with the cakes. I won’t even say much about this, just look at the featured image. Looks like a picture I have downloaded from pinterest. That’s her work.

The kind of cakes you eat and you are not left with the guilty feeling of having too much sugar or carbs and you don’t feel the need to work it out. I don’t know if there is healthy junk but her cakes are definitely that. I don’t think I should even use the word junk, it does not taste or feel like you are having junk. I keep saying Dee’s cakes are healthy and organic and there is this friend who tells me there’s nothing like healthy cakes – well till he tasted her cakes! Guess what, he made an order not so long ago. I can confidently say he loves them. 

Those cakes made me love cake so much that I felt the need to learn baking. Which I did, with the help of Dee of course, step by step guidance, she taught me how to bake. I baked a banana cake with some orange peels, I don’t know what name we give to such a cake, maybe fruitcake? Does it qualify? Well, Dee’s cakes have turned me  into -almost – a sweet tooth, which I do not mind. If these are the kind of cakes that will make me one, well I am ready!

If you live in the Boston area, you have to try Dee’s cakes, you just have to. To those of you in Kenya, I will try figure out how they can be delivered to you because I just have to share this joy. I cannot believe it’s cakes I am talking about! 

 

If interested in her cakes reach out to me on my social media pages. Also share this article, it’s full of sweetness and joy! 

Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/manguru_sharon/

Facebook :https://www.facebook.com/MuneneSharon 

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Homa!

I don’t know if it is just me, I feel like saying you have the flu instead of I have homa (a cold) sounds more boujee, you know. Maybe it is just me but I really doubt it because I know a lot of people who say they have a flu instead of homa. Well, let me tell you how that messed me up big time here in the States of America, ha!

This happened when our son was less than six months old. Being a first time I was definitely always paranoid and alert looking out for anything going on with our baby. He got unwell, not that serious but then I was a first time Mum. After a day or two of him looking unwell we decided to call his pediatrician. I called and said that I thought that the baby had a flu. Remember I was still very new in the States, less than one year old, I was still experiencing culture shock. Immediately I said I thought he has a flu the pediatrician freaked out so bad. He was like, “Wait, what? Are you sure? Oh my you really need to rush to the ER and since he is breastfeeding make sure you too get checked. I am calling the ER right now and letting them know that you will be taking him. Please do not ignore this.” After he hang up I was very confused, in my head I was like this is something not worth freaking out for, I mean homa? Why would I need to rush to the emergency room because of homa? Why was it so serious? Then again I told myself this is a new country they seem to deal with issues very differently and I actually appreciated the fact that the pediatrician was so caring, even to make the appointment for us. He actually called an hour later to check if we had left, I just felt so good someone cared so deeply about our baby. Joke was on me.

We went to the ER that afternoon, Mr. M had to actually take time off work since we were told to take it seriously. We get to the ER and we were immediately attended to, we did not have to wait on any line. This was definitely our day! We are all taken to this room, to do some tests. All this while i’m surprised at how homa is considered so serious, remember I wanted to sound boujee so I kept using the word flu. The doc began the tests, they were so many! Especially on our baby, at some point I even got scared and was about to ask them to stop, it was just a baby with homa! The tests took forever. We even had to change into those hospital gowns. They checked our ears, eyes, mouth, hands, feet! It was so weird.

After the tests were done and the doctor walked out I asked Mr. M why they take the flu so seriously. I said it in English, he looked at me shocked and asked “Si nilifikiria ni homa mtoto ako nayo? ” (I thought the baby has a cold) I said ” Eeh ni homa na sielewi mbona tumefanyiwa hizo test zote, ningekunywa tu maji ya ndimu, mimi ata sina na nimefanyiwa tests.” (Yes it’s just a cold, I actually do not understand why I have had tests done on me yet I am not sick) He looks at me with this confused look and I wonder what is wrong and he goes “Well, I don’t know how I missed the part you used flu because here flu is completely different from a cold, it’s taken seriously, it’s like malaria or something” My jaw dropped! What was this? Me trying to sound classy, wow! So the doctor came back to them room before I could even digest what I had just heard,

“Hey ma’am it looks like you and your baby are quite okay, you do not seem to have the flu but then you can come back in a few days so that we can be sure and maybe do some more tests to just be sure because at times the flu can hide in the body but for now just take a lot of drinks, i’d advice if you don’t like water try some ginger ale and vitamin water and also keep warm and if you haven’t gotten the flu shot make a point of doing so. That’s all for now you’re all set to leave.”

How exactly was I all set after using the wrong word? After being classy had just flopped? After wasting almost 2 hours on tests we did not need?  After Mr. M taking time off and wasting it instead? How exactly was I all set? This little village girl would have just stuck to the correct words and leave classy words alone, I mean?

We went to check out and this is when it hit me that actually the staff at the hospital was keeping a distance, literally-to avoid the flu. When we came in they had to rush us to an empty room because of the flu! Ofcourse no one wanted the flu, when we were on our way out one of the nurses asked if we were sure we wanted to go back home because having the flu especially for a baby is not safe, she advised that we should think of staying a little longer, she was keeping her distance as she spoke to us. I just gave her the a look to show I wasn’t in the mood to talk, how do you start explaining your embarrassment? Saying you actually did not mean you have a flu but homa! homa! We went to check if we had any bill and they told us we did not have any we were all set, again.

We left and I was so happy to leave that place, ready to go grab a ginger ale, lol. We then get a call from the pediatrician checking on how we were doing and how it went. I could not pick that call, I did not feel like saying sorry I wasted your sympathy and care, you know, because I wanted to sound boujee, oh my! Mr. M spoke to him, I can’t even remember how that call went. Two weeks later I get a letter addressed to me in the mail box, actually two. I love getting letters, I don’t know why. This one though did not make me happy. It was a bill for the flu tests. Can you imagine! It was also not cheap, nowhere close to cheap! Nowhere. One was for our baby the other one was mine. I was shocked because  of the figures and two because the insurance had covered a good amount and what was left was huge! because I had homa, can you imagine paying thousands and thousands for homa. Who told me to want to sound classy? I actually wished I had said homa and told the doctor to google what it meant. This was honestly heartbreaking. Paying that money was a pain, because of the words I chose. I also thought we were all set? Did it mean I did not know the meaning of that too? No one mentioned about waiting for the bill, culture shock!

Since then I have no time or interest in wanting to sound boujee, classy, sophisticated, a know it all…name it, let me stick to being the village girl, it clearly suits me best.

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The Different One

My sister and I are very different, we are complete opposites, extremely. I have to emphasize this. Growing up this was a big issue reason being it was the source of each and every conflict we had. I could not understand how she did not like the things I liked, how she was not interested in activities that were of interest to me such as being outdoors, how we did not like the same type of people, how we did not share opinions on various issues, how we were not like-minded. To me this was bizarre, I mean considering that we are from the same womb, this did not make sense at all and it led to fights between us every so often. Every time we fought my parents kept insisting on one way of solving our issues which was that we should appreciate our different natures and know that we are different individuals with different personalities. It was not that easy since I was the outgoing, social and very playful one. I always wanted my sister to accompany me everywhere, actually have fun and not pretend to have fun to please me, well at times I did wish she would tag along and pretend to have fun, that’s how desperate I was to hangout with my sister but then she was not the type, she is an indoor kind of person, she keeps small circles, she is somewhat an introvert and likes being by herself, worst part was that she could not even pretend to enjoy tagging along my adventures.

The other thing was that I was the kind of person – I use was because it’s something I’m working on changing – that did things to please others to avoid hurting their feelings. I was never the kind to say mean things (this does not mean I did not think them, excuse my manners) since I thought that hurting feelings is a crime – literally. I did not get how my sister did not care about my feelings, how she was always so brutally honest (still is) and did not feel guilty about it, that to me was strange. This made me cry a couple of times – or more – and every time my parents kept saying I should understand my sister’s nature but to me she was mean, how did they expect me to understand that? 

Then growing up happened, independence started kicking in and I began meeting and interacting with more people. This time I was no longer under my parent’s wings when I started appreciating growing up with a sister like mine. I appreciated the fact that we were so different and that had helped and prepared me in ways I could not understand before. The people out there were so different! This started in high school. I was in a boarding school, I met girls that would steal clothes, this was insane to me, others would insult people and live life like it was no big deal. Others entertained men yet we were in school to study – I grew up with the mantra that men are not good for women, I am laughing as I write the this funniest part being that I am a mother to a boy, to think someone’s child will be told to keep away from my son because he might destroy her future is hilarious. I don’t know if these days girls are told this about men and how they should stay away. Back to my point, so yeah most of the personalities I saw were quite outrageous to me, in University it was actually worse, this is where I met everything and everyone you can think of in terms of personalities. Compared to them, my sister was nowhere near mean in my mind. Thing is I found myself not judging anyone since the talks I got from my parents were stuck at the back of my mind, I was actually amazed and I wanted to interact with more people. I ended up even being close to my sister since at this point, my world was so much bigger and she was no longer strange. I would call her to share stories of the crazy personalities I came across.

I began appreciating the fact that everyone is different. At times people would question how I did my things and in my head I’d be like, ‘well you are the one with a problem if how I do things does not make sense to you’ then with time this changed to, ‘oh, how do you do it yourself?’ With time I began being more curious and I remember there was this particular phase in my life that I’d walk up to someone and ask very random and unexpected questions (all my old friends would know this) I was genuinely amused to find that my sister was was not strange at all. I then began a journey of growth, getting to appreciate everyone who was no like me, at this point I was very okay with not being like-minded with everyone, I’d even try and see what I can copy from those that are different from me. I began noticing strengths from my sister, things like being principled and not easily swayed by anyone, my sister has never succumbed to peer pressure, on the other hand when it came to me I will not comment on that for now, let’s just make assumptions. I admired the fact that she is brutally honest, she will say it to you as it is, this was surely a virtue I never had just because I thought hurting feelings was not okay but then on the flip side I realized I do not help by sugarcoating. 

It has been such a journey. Just by the mere fact of growing up with a sibling so different from who I am opened my eyes. It has helped me be able to create relationships and friendships and appreciate everyone for who they are. It has helped me not judge because I do not like being judged, it has helped me reduce expectations and rather be open minded and allow room for knowing someone well and understanding where they come from. It has simply helped me appreciate God’s creation. When it comes to self growth I am at a point where I will appreciate and listen to opinions given, at times I will fight back especially if it has something to do with my body size, still working on how to control this , but most of the time I will sit down, analyze and decide what to take from the advice and what not to because then knowing that everyone is different has made me know more about myself, what works for me and what does not.

 

Oh currently, my sister and I are best of friends – who thought? The gift of appreciating the differences.

 

Comment. share and like. See you in the next article.

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Little village girl chronicles

I am honestly overwhelmed by the response I got from my first post, that was so unexpected, I did not think the readers would be more than a handful, I did not think i’d get any comments leave alone likes, it was a confusing and pleasant surprise. Thank you so much to all who took their time to read and leave comments, I really appreciate the support.

I have held on to this dream for so long, I have written so many stories in my head and now that it’s live I feel like I should write them down all at once, they are so many, I find stories in everything I do, every experience I go through, I also love telling stories about other people’s experiences (of course with their permission) so if you feel you have a story you want told, email me.

Back to where I left it at, being pregnant in a new country, actually in a new continent was not one of the easiest experiences, apart from the cravings doctors had different ways of dealing with the pregnancy, systems were very different, I was so excited but then so afraid at the same time, I used to live with my parents for the better part of my pregnancy as my husband was abroad and so being far from them was a bit tough. One thing I will forever be grateful for is how supportive my husband was, he was so patient and willing to hold my hand through this new experience which made it feel so easy.

Culture shock is one thing I cannot quite explain. It started right after I stepped out of the airport gates. We traveled during winter, I remember my husband telling me to pack very warm clothes because it’s too cold and I told him I was expectant meaning I had warmth for two which was already too much for me and I did not need any jackets. I was so stubborn about it. The minute I walked out of those gates, I will never forget that feeling, I felt like my fingers were being cut off, I couldn’t feel my face, the cold was like nothing I have ever experienced, I ran back inside to try find something warm in the suitcases. Picture me in the airport right at the entrance, pregnant, opening up suitcases trying to find something warm, which i did not find because i was serious about being warm for two and i ended up not carrying any warm clothes, the solution was taking my husband’s jacket, i think he used the words “i told you so” though i’m not sure, you know you have to be careful about what you say to a pregnant woman, well we laugh about it now.

That was the first culture shock, actually no , there was one just  before that, this was quite embarrassing,  at the airport I went to use the bathroom (at that point and time I used to call it the washroom/loo, to me bathroom meant the actual shower, i’d ask around for the washroom and people would take a few seconds to understand it’s the bathroom i’m looking for) the first thing I noticed was that the toilets were almost overflowing with the toilet water, back in Kenya the water is usually down there, not much. I walked into the first one and thought it was blocked and had drainage issues, went to the second one, it was the same, third one.. fourth.. I wondered why such an issue had not been addressed in the airport but then I noticed that people would come in and help themselves raising no issue, i decided to follow suit. I went, used the bathroom and immediately I was done the toilet flashes, itself! I think i jumped in shock, i was sure that the pipes had now burst, took a few seconds to realize the toilet had flashed itself, after knowing I was done, where had I seen this before? Nowhere! I am a little village girl, where would i have seen this?

 

I was asked what i replaced the java juice with, I replaced it with ginger ale, it did not quite do the work but it was close.