A Foodie At Heart

As a little girl, I used to eat under a tree, due to food induced itis that overwhelmed me every time I saw food. It wasn’t an issue with timing because even breakfast was a struggle. Interestingly, this sleep took a short vacay when I was served my favorite meal at the time. I remember I disliked greens, the ‘they are good for you’ song did very little for me.

My younger self would probably be so shocked at how much I’ve evolved. How much my palate has grown. For a few years I used to take wheat grass to inspire my bowels to move. We all know that wheat grass tastes like desperation, because what else can drive you to drink some green water with floating strands? But it worked, and that was all that mattered.

My taste buds have acquainted themselves with adulting. I really like the greens now yes including jute mallow (read:mrenda), I like the taste of apple cider vinegar, kombucha, baobab, broccoli, beets, dill, chia, arrowroot, the list is long- oh, how we grow.

Food is more than just a feel good affair for your senses that leads to satisfaction. It is about purpose, I ask myself what the food is doing for my body and that is half the battle, the rest is swallowing, and some self belief that the food is good for me.

I watch baby K as she makes faces when she tastes foods for the first time, sometimes she cringes, other times her saliva is like a waterfall as she anticipates the next bite. While eating the foods that she loves, she will hold the bowl to make sure that you do not take away her food.

Some tastes take some time to grow on us, the lack of pleasant undertones doesn’t take away from the nutritional value of the food. There is a notion that the most nutritious foods taste the worst, as though the lack of appeal in taste is a pre-requisite to be a super food. Taste preference however, is subjective, and perhaps how a food is prepared influences the taste.

“Mama, what is your favourite food?”, miss K asked me a few days ago. I didn’t have an answer, as my cycle greatly influences my food preferences, and this week I just want greens, last week it was fries. My preferred source of nourishment, strength, and filling fluctuates each week, but my spirit man has one source, it is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.

It is easy to start a meal, and fail to finish it, for one reason or another. One thing I always strive to do is to finish my food. My prayer and hope is that I will have the same resolve to do the will of God, and finish it. And that sleep, boredom, distraction or whatever other form of itis will not keep me away from partaking.

When it comes to the will of God you do not get to serve yourself and choose the portion on your plate. You take what you are given and trust that He who created you, knows you intricately well, and has assigned you your portion and your cup, and made your lot secure.(Psalm 16:5)

How does your food taste right now? May your taste buds evolve and may you be nourished and strengthened for the journey ahead.

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“My food,” said Jesus, ” is to do the will of him who send me and to finish his work.” ~ John 4:34

The Gazillionth Question

‘Can I eat this?’ that is the one question Baby KK asks herself every day. She wants to taste everything, especially books. The sound of paper, has her salivating and ready to slurp it up. Sometimes she will pause before putting it in her mouth, sort of waiting to see if you are going to take it away. Other times she dives right in, and your pages are spread with saliva.

Miss K and Ky ask (most times) before they do something that they are not so sure we’d be happy about. They do not eat books, thankfully, but from time to time, you’ll find that their curiosity overrides what they know.

Sometimes, it is a gray area, or something that looks like it will be so much fun. It can even be a great idea, just done in the wrong place. Can you imagine mud in the bathroom? While it is so much fun to play with mud and to jump in muddy puddles, it is best done outside.

I see myself in these little girls. In their mischief and joy, and love for the Lord, I see glimpses of the little girl I am within. As I watch them play together, sing out loud, create little DIY projects, ask the gazillionth question and lean in for a cuddle, I see them as God sees me.

They are children, who sometimes think they know more than they do, but they still need me to teach, guide and instruct them. When they are in unfamiliar circumstances, I feel them look to me, and hear them ask if it is okay for them to do certain things. A question begets another, and before you know it I have answered the gazillionth question.

Perhaps that is how life should always be, though I think I know, and I thought I knew how 2020 should have panned out, I need to sit down, ask questions, listen to the Lord’s instruction, and follow His teaching on the way that I should go. I should value His counsel and trust that He has got His eye on me at all times.

2020

The year (one of the many) of the Lord’s leading.

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I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
    I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. ~ Psalm 32:8

Caught In The Sand

Doubt, is darkness that sometimes masquerades as light, other times, it is a voice that shouts louder than the truth. It doesn’t always out rightly oppose the truth, it just pokes holes in the garment, and the wind starts to blow.

I went to the beach a few days ago, and the wind was really strong. I fixed my eyes on the waves, but the wind was distracting. I couldn’t quite see it, like you’d see the waves crash at your feet, but I could feel it. It was loud. I felt like I was in a tunnel, as it blew louder, it blew stronger and the fine particles of sand entered my eyes, ears, hair, eye lashes, and clothes. All as I tried to hold on to our kanga and empty sand buckets.

My senses were fixated on the wind, in the bustle of trying to keep the sand away, I lost sight of the waves. The beauty and allure of the waves was an afterthought, as I was caught in the sand.

That is what doubt does. It keeps you busy, it overwhelms your senses, keeps you too distracted to focus on the truth. It won’t come out and discredit the truth, it will ask subtle questions like, ‘Did God really say…’. That sounds familiar, right? It’s exactly how Eve was deceived.

Life circumstances will always interact with your senses. They may not always agree with what the Word says, they may poke holes on the garment of your convictions and you will begin to hear and feel the wind.

In the moments where you feel overwhelmed by the wind and the sand, remind yourself what you know to be true. Focus on the One who spoke the ocean to being, the One who tells the waves that they can only come this far, the Once who has power to silence the wind. Focus on Him, immerse yourself in His truth and watch the doubts fade away.

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36 While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 37 They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 3He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39 Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” ~Luke 24:36-39

Because He Said So

Conversations with toddlers are rarely linear. They are not void of twists, turns and repetition. You ask them how they are, and before you know it they are sharing what they ate for dinner, what their mama does and ’embarrassing’ family moments. Something like when their sibling farted without saying excuse me, and this ends with one ended roaring laughter. You laugh, because their laughter is hilarious, and, laughter likes company.

Parents are highly esteemed in toddler’s minds. Long before they start seeking to understand the reasoning behind their every move and instruction, they believe wholeheartedly. They believe that if mummy or daddy said it, then it is true.

Their parents shape their world views. When you say something contrary to what mama and daddy have said, they will respond with a ‘But, you know my mummy said’ and then proceed to educate you on the truth according to mummy.

What a great responsibility parents have, especially because children are holding on to their words and treasuring them in their hearts. A responsibility to speak truth, to speak kindly, because what they say forms the foundation of their children’s thinking.

Children believe what you say, because they trust you and know that you love them.

Reading the bible reveals what God says about us. He speaks boldly and lovingly, and proclaims His love for us as a father. Do we as His children listen out for His voice and cling on to His words? Or do you struggle to hear the truth amidst the noise of your surroundings? Do you walk in to situations saying, ‘But my father in heaven said….’ or do you cower in fear and quake in your boots when Goliath taunts you.

Because He said so. That is the reason we believe. Our confidence comes from who we are in Him.

Because He said so we believe it. He is a man of His word.

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is that we are! ~ 1 John 3:1a

Bonus track:

I Feel You

Under every tough skinned girl is a soft underbelly.

It is easy to portray a tough exterior, especially because you may not want people to walk all over you. So you toughen up, but deep within, when the world quietens down, you feel the beauty, murkiness and mixed nature of your feelings. You feel big emotions, small emotions and mixed emotions.

I see this with my girls. They have different personalities and an illusion of crocs skin, but their underbelly is the same. Soft, malleable and sensitive. They’ll say things like ‘I’m a big girl, I won’t get hurt. Or, ‘Even if I fall down, I won’t cry’

When they hit the ground, it is a whole different story. When they are aggrieved, the tears flow, and then the choir begins.

When one hears her sister crying, she cries as well. Even louder than the aggrieved party, and then the other one starts crying. Before I know it, I have a symphony, more like a brassy, wail. I think their voices complement each other and one day we will have a beautiful trio .

The tears say, I see you, I feel you and I wish I could make it better. That is the essence of our faith, the spine of our sisterhood. You don’t have to go through it to feel it. Our tough exterior shouldn’t neutralize our empathy. It shouldn’t blind us from the reality of pain. Our soft underbelly should make us sensitive to the voice of the Lord, sensitive to the hearts of those around us. Our ability to feel, should drive us to our knees where we can truly uphold each other,and present our grievances and situations to the Lord.

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. ~ Romans 12:15

Grayscale

I always knew God was big. This week I was reminded just how magnificent He is as I watched a 4K video of Mars.

Yes, I know, I’ve gone a little too far, because Earth is beautiful, and it is filled with reminders of how great our God is. A trip to the ocean usually helps reset my outlook. But, this virtual tour of Mars blew me away. The creation story took on a new meaning, I had a deeper understanding of God’s magnificence. I stood, and continue to stand in awe of God.

As I watched it I kept thinking, the Lord who created the world cares deeply about me. The one who spoke Mars and Earth in to being, knitted me in my mama’s womb. And, He has a beautiful plan for my life.

I was floored.

My fixation on my miniscule worries that have no eternal value are a distraction. They occupy spaces in my mind that should be magnifying the Lord. They keep me thinking when I should be worshipping. They amplify the voice of reason while muffling the One of the Most High. They make Him seem too small in my eyes.

Too small.

This is the real tragedy. That I could go through my days distracted and miss out on the fullness of the purpose of He who placed me here.

I see little reminder of this in my day. I’ve been fascinated by Ky’s role play sessions. I watch her play with her teddies and mimic their voices. It is entertaining and insightful, it reveals what she thinks about life.

A few days ago I heard her telling her teddies that her husband had gone to work and he’d be back to go the gym later. Her ‘husband’ sounds just like her daddy, Peter. Her experience of being in our home is shaping how she sees the world.

Life’s experiences can be like an Instagram filter on the way you see God. Our pain and disappointment can dim the brightness on our perception of Him. They rob Him of the contrast of His kindness and sometimes all we see is the grayscale of pain and agony.

Yet He is still God. And He is still good.

Some seasons in life can be harsh, through the tears it may be hard to see God as He really is. I pray that through the mountains and valleys we will see our God for who He is. That His light will always illuminate the darkness we may face. That His hand will always be swift to save, and that we will find sweet comfort in His arms. And see Him as He is. Magnificent.

Play-Schooled by My Daughter

We were together but apart.

Though we inhaled each other’s carbon dioxide we were not bonding as much as we should be. We shared the same space, but our minds were worlds apart. And the dissatisfaction begun to brew.

Proximity doesn’t always equals connection.

This is a lesson that I learned earlier on in the work-from-home period. Now that our babies are home for a lot longer, it is more evident that we need to be deliberate about spending time together connecting as we do things that they enjoy.

A few days ago, Miss K said to me, “Mama, today you haven’t even played with me.” I looked at her a little confused because, I was sure that my crawling on the floor and roaring like a little lion ought to be classified as play. It was playful, but, on that given day, she had a different idea on what our meaningful play time should look like.

I’ve been reading a book on babies and their milestones, and the power of play therein. One of the things that I’ve gleaned from it is that we should have a Golden hour of meaningful play for each child. I have three children, three hours of play back to back feels quite daunting. Though, I’m learning to break it into chunks and spread it through the day. Some times, a cuddle session is like a balm to the soul, other times, it is playing the girl’s makeshift tent or visiting their restaurant for every meal.

In Ecclesiastes we read that there is a time for everything. Now that our babies have lots of time as they are home, we need to make time for meaningful play. Time to instruct our children in the ways of the Lord. Time to teach them the word, and to show them how to apply what we learn.

This morning, the girls woke me up saying, “Mama, we want to be like Daniel. We want to pray 3 times a day.” Their resolve had them scooting next to the windows as they faced the East praying. I mentioned to Peter, imagine what would happen if the army of children prayed that diligently. If prayer was a prioritized part of their lives.

I don’t always get it right. Sometimes I feel like the hours in the day are not sufficient . Sometimes I am overwhelmed by my own thoughts and realities. But, I take great comfort in the Lord, I am encouraged that His mercies are new every morning. He remains faithful even when I falter.

Perhaps, all that is needed is a willing heart, and a sensitive spirit to discern when the opportunity presents itself. Ultimately, there is grace, strength and help available.

Because you are my help,
    I sing in the shadow of your wings.
I cling to you;
    your right hand upholds me.

~Psalm 63:7-8 NIV

The Trust Fall

I trust gravity, but I hate trust falls.

The dynamics of aligning my body and taking a leap of faith in to the arms of people beneath me, hoping for dear life that they will catch me is unnerving. The exhilaration faded in my teens, now at one of my heaviest weights I am of the school of thought that we can trust each other without falling.

My girls do not share my sentiments. They absolutely love doing trust falls. During our devotion on trust, I introduced them to the concept and once they were sure that I had their backs they got falling. And they fell smiling.

Miss Ky run to me beaming, ‘Mama, again. Let’s do it again, this time, I want to fall lower.” Miss K, reiterated excitedly, “Mama, me too!” I watched them fall in to my arms for fun. They were so sure that mama would catch them.

Perhaps a childlike nature is needed to enjoy trust falls.

My first trust fall was all fun and games, I was a teenager, and I weighed about 50 Kgs. My team mates hands were interlocked into a sturdy net, something that reminded me of a woven hammock. Gentle and secure. My second trust fall felt like crash landing in a desert. It was abrupt, bumpy, and it brought me very close to the dust of the earth. I was sweating from fright.

As I’ve grown older , my detest has increased. Life, especially this year, has felt like a series of trust falls from higher platforms. I’ve felt fear. I’ve tasted saline from my eyes, I have racked my mind in worry, and I have cried out in despair.

I’ve not known the words to use to describe this season. I know that God is good, and that He can be trusted, but sometimes when I feel thrust in the air and at the mercy of gravity, there peace evaporates.

The lyrics of Palm of Your Hand have been a huge comfort. My resolve is to :

So I will stop and breathe
Rest here in Your goodness
I know You won’t leave
It’s my confidence (Oh, it’s my confidence)

I know that the hand that will catch me is gentle, strong and secure.

Here I am in the palm of Your hand
Nothing can take me away
Nothing can take me away

The Lord is not intimidated by my ‘weight’ or my fears. His love is enough and His palm is secure.

There’s not a height, or a depth
Not a lie inside my head
Not a fear or offense
Nothing can take me away

I don’t know what the rest of 2020 holds, but I know who holds me, and nothing can take me away.

That is my confidence.

5 Ways You Can Help Your Child Work Through Their Emotions (COVID-19)

If you got 100 shillings for every time you heard the words ‘mental health’ in this season what would you do with it? We are constantly reminded that this period is leaving a lasting impression in our minds and hearts. Children are not exempt. They too are feeling the reality. Different emotions are bubbling within, and they may not be able to paint a clear picture of their rainbow of emotions.

You may catch glimpses of it in their behavior, in sudden outbursts, in a desire to be your shadow at all times, in moments of song and dance, in their sleep patterns, and the adventures of their imagination.

If there was a time that parents needed to be keen and present, it is now. In the midst of the struggles that we may be facing, remember that these little ones entrusted to us cannot fully comprehend what it is going on. They need our help, our answers, our love, more than anything they need our presence – both physical and mental.

Children are smarter than we give them credit for. They see the unseen, and feel what is not mentioned. They may not know how to read, but they may be able to connect the dots.

A week cannot go by without my girls mentioning Covid-19 and what they miss about life BC (Before Corona). They are feeling the change and they miss human interaction with ‘the village’.

A few days ago, sweet Ky came and told me, “Mama, I am feeling sad. I don’t know why I’m feeling sad.” She has been vocal about what she misses, and her desire for Corona to be gone forever. On this particular day, her emotions felt big, and tears flowed. Covid-19 is a tiny virus but children are feeling its effects in a big way.

As a parent you need to:

  1. Cut them some slack. It is stressful all around. Allow them to express themselves, their joys, hopes, dreams and frustrations. Feelings of sadness do not make them ungrateful.

2) Remind your children : It is okay to feel your feelings, but you do not have camp there.

Now is not the time to stifle emotions, because they will become a ticking time bomb. Allow them to feel the emotions and show them that it is possible not to be consumed by the emotions.

3) Talk and listen

A simple conversation can get honest answers flowing if you are asking questions that allow them to express their hearts. Allow them to deliver the truth through the medium they prefer, it might be a long off-key song about Corona and kindergarten friendships, or a mural of ‘Corona through the eyes of a toddler’, you know the type that you have to squint and engage your imagination to understand.

Here are a few conversation starters and activities you can consider referring to as you talk.

  • What do you miss doing? What’s your favorite memory of doing it?
  • Who would you like to have a play date with? What would you do at the play date? (Make a play date wish list to be reviewed later)
  • Where do you miss going? Who would you go with? What would you do there? What would you wear? (Write a checklist and plan to do them after Corona)
  • What have you enjoyed during this quarantine period? (Write a list and see if you can do it again)
  • What makes you smile? What makes you laugh? (Take a picture smiling together)
  • What makes you sad? What makes you feel like crying?
  • What are you grateful for? (Make a thank you list you can both refer to when they feel overwhelmed)
  • What would you like to do with mummy/daddy more during this time? Whats your favorite part of the day? (Capture these times and make memories)
  • What do you love to do? What do you want to do when you grow up? ( Have a role play game including this)

Actively listen to your child and apply what you hear. You may not be able to visit their friends, but you can call them, make a DIY gift for them, or do an activity together online.

4) Prioritize an uninterrupted time slot with your children to play with them, pray for them and offer physical reassurance. Hold them, hug them, let them know that they are loved, and that this too shall pass.

5) Teach them how to respond to times of crisis

In life there will always be things that can trigger anxious thoughts. As much as you try shield them, show them how to respond to seasons of difficulty.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. ~ Phil 4:6 NIV

The One Who Sees Me

I sat by the bed, sorting laundry, and floating in my thoughts. Baby K lay on her play mat swatting her dangling toys amidst squeals of joy. A few minutes passes before she realized that no one was besides her. She begun to cry out, it was a different cry, a panicked cry that asked, ‘”Where is everyone?”

I spoke up and said, “I am here, I have been watching over you, even when you couldn’t see me.” Immediately I uttered those words, I knew that I too needed to hear those words.

My failure to see the Lord does not signify his absence.

Some seasons in life can seem very quiet, almost lonely, and it may seem like the Lord has walked away from you. Your prayers turn in to cries, asking the Lord why He has forgotten you, asking where He is when your walls are crumbling down. Asking where He is when chaos is the order of the day.

Even in the stillness and chaos He remains God. The present darkness does not diminish His light, The battle you face, does not undermine His power. He is still God.

In Genesis 16, Hagar was on the run. She had despised her mistress, Sarah, after conceiving a child with Sarah’s husband, Abraham. Sarah was vexed that her servant could openly treat her badly, and after a consultation with her husband, she dealt with the matter.

She dealt with Hagar in an unfair manner and it sent Hagar packing and running off in to the wilderness. Hagar had an encounter with an angel of the Lord. Upon inquiry, Hagar told the angel that she was fleeing from her mistress. The angel of the Lord, instructed her to go back and submit to Sarah. He told her that the Lord would increase her descendants so much that they would be too many to count. He instructed her, gave her a promise and gave her hope.

The angel of the Lord also spoke to her further regarding her offspring and instructed that he should be named Ishmael because the Lord had heard her misery. The angel of the Lord shed light on Ishamel’s personality, this knowledge would also play a role as she parented him.

Hagar was comforted. This encounter changed something within her. It gave her direction, wisdom and grace for the days to come. Verse thirteen says, “ She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”

How beautiful it is to see the One who sees you. The One who sets you back on track and works all things out for your good.

As you sojourn on this earth, I pray that you will encounter – in a vivid manner- the One who sees you.