17 things in 2017

So, *drum rolls*, 2017 is finally coming to an end, and what a year it has been. If I had to use three words to describe it:  a stretching season, heartbreaks and vulnerability. Looking back, I think this was one of those years where, had I known what curve balls life would throw, maybe I’d have skipped it altogether and re-joined  yall in 2018 (chuckles). That said, I thought to put up a post with highlights, lessons and memories from 2017 (in a nutshell), because it is always good to reflect and put some perspective to past experiences for posterity’s sake. Here are 17 things in 2017.

 

  1. I am exactly where I am meant to be, in the grandness of life, and my journey is mine alone to make. It is often easy to forget (and hard to believe in all honesty), that we are right where we are meant to be, but over the years, I realized how profoundly true this is. Every experience – the good, the bad, the ugly- moulds me to be a better human, if I allow it. So even in the thick of things, I remind myself that it is part of the journey.
  2. Family matters, family is important. Always grateful my family supported me the best way they could when I was struggling with Postpartum Depression, and even now, they are an anchor and my support system.
  3. Life is about seasons, and reasons. People will walk into your life, some for a season, and some for a lifetime. I think one of the most important (and heartbreaking things) for me this year was the realization that for some friendships, the season had ended. What started out as a beautiful friendship, had run its course through life’s issues and my friends and I had drifted apart. The visits become fewer, the calls sparse and the texts spaced out. And it is okay to know when the seasons have changed – that’s just how life is.
  4. In the same breath, it is okay to walk away from toxic relationships, places and spaces. You owe it to yourself to have peace of mind, and if something or someone doesn’t grow you, then it is only wise to walk away. Here’s the thing I realized, it takes so much courage to walk away from toxicity and to own your space. Here’s to shedding dead weight in 2018.
  5. Grief is not linear. I realized this when guka passed on in August this year, and I blogged about it here. Grief is personal, so people who’ve experienced loss will express it differently. Some wail, some cry for days on end, some lock up their emotions for days and then break down after the funeral… however one does it is really up to them (provided it is addressed, otherwise it never really goes away).
  6. Sometimes you just need to plunge and do it anyway. It’s been one year since my son and I moved from home, and what an exhilarating ride it has been. Fell in love with my not-so-new town, and making beautiful memories.
  7. Health is wealth. So many times we take good health for granted, until hospital visits remind us to be grateful. This year I learnt, if I am healthy, then I am wealthy because it means I have the capacity to chase after my dreams and goals. And when the kids are not sick, there is so much to be grateful for.
  8. Change is good. Change is scary. Change is inevitable.
  9. Journaling is such a profound tool. This year, in the midst of my storms, I have learnt to put my thoughts down in their raw and unedited form. It’s therapy, putting words on paper. It is exhaling. It is venting. It is clarity. It is the purest form of expression in my opinion.
  10. Take time to be spontaneous and adventurous. (I am giving you the side eye Tina). Sometimes, in the humdrum of daily life, it is easy to lose glimpse of our sparkle, what makes us shine, what makes us, US. Sometimes, breaking away from this monotony with a random adventure is the way to go.
  11. Love is a beautiful thing, start with the person in the mirror.
  12. Cherish the moments with family, friends and loved ones. A day will come when those will be the last moments to hold on too.
  13. Be kind, but kind does not equate a doormat.
  14. The sum experiences that make our life are inextricably linked to why we are still alive. And this is one of the highlights of my year. PPDKenya is finally starting support group therapy sessions from January 2018. More details in this post.
  15. Dream big. Write the vision down, it will not tarry. I remember way back, watching Victoria’s Lounge and thinking how awesome it would be to be on her show. Well, that did happen, and the show aired mid this year, and we are grateful for the feedback and the many moms who reached out. In all honesty, this did give the impetus to start the support group therapy. If you missed it, catch the video here.
  16. Mental health matters. Mental health illness can affect anyone, regardless of their colour, social status, educational background or religion. Mental health matters.
  17. Thankful to God for yet another year. I cannot wait to see what 2018 holds in store.

Happy New Year everyone! And thank you for reading and sharing on the blog.

Featured Image shot at Olooseos Resort

Taking stock 07

You don’t have to be a fantastic hero to do certain things; to compete. You can be just an ordinary chap, sufficiently motivated to reach challenging goals – Sir Edmund Hillary

It has been a long while since I did my ‘Taking stock’ series, I got to a point where I started questioning the progress of this blog (we are 1 this month, yay!), whether it was making any impact in anyone’s life, whether I was living my most authentic self… and above all, whether every piece was really from the heart. I guess as a writer you get to a place where if a piece you put up is not heartfelt, it is simply okay not to write. Then again, this ought not be a reason to bask in the infamous writers’ block.

So, in the second half of this year, I am getting myself more committed to this series, and generally just blogging, on Postpartum depression, motherhood, life lessons and everything in between. Here’s the 7th installment of the ‘Taking Stock’ series. Catch up with previous posts here.

Making: Every second count. I realized just how much time slips between my fingers when I am not paying attention to the moments ticking by. Plus, I guess sleep is overrated, but I just can’t seem not to snuggle after snoozing…

Cooking: Coconut rice, because sometimes dinner has to be whipped up real fast. Hello tired mommy.

Drinking: Pink Rosemary Lemonade as seen on Cooking with Jaz in this post. So so good, who woulda thought you can put Rosemary in a mocktail?

Reading: We Need New Names by Noviolet Bulawayo.

Wanting: An extra day between Sunday and Monday.

Wasting: No opportunity to read some more. Those hours we keep losing in traffic, cussing at the overlapping matatus, and wishing we had extra hours once we got home, can actually be put to good use.

Enjoying: This season of my life.

Loving: My twisted braids. It’s been more than one year since I last had any hairdo after I went bald.

Marveling: At the fact that vulnerability is never easy, yet it is one of the most liberating things anyone can experience.

Smelling: Oranges. Oranges are in season now, so get that Vitamin C to keep the cold at bay.

Wearing: A pair of tights (and falling in love with my curves)

Knowing: The truth that I am loved, that NOTHING can separate me from the Love of God. Such profound truths in this.

Bookmarking: Owaahh’s blog. He has such a knack for proper storytelling, so much so that it is almost impossible to read allll the recent posts at one go, saving some posts till the next story is told 🙂

Giggling: at something I read somewhere today, “That someone has the personality of a guava”

Thinking: about the fact that my munchkin turns 5 in just a few months.. so surreal!

Feeling: Like I’d do with a set of wheels. The dust! Soon…

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Loved this look sooo  much.

 

Taking Stock 06

30 days down, 336 more to go. It is amazing how, just the other day it was all ‘New Year Resolutions’, new me, more gym, less carbs, more prayer, less clutter… and the list goes on and on. I have done resolutions, and didn’t quite feel like they worked for me, simply because changing the calendar does not necessarily mean my heart or attitude has changed. And so, against this backdrop, I made a decision to consciously live in the present, to make the most of every opportunity, to hog for opportunities for grace and to show up in the lives of the people that matter. Here’s the  6th installment of the Taking Stock series. You can check out the first one here and see where it all started 🙂

Making: the best of my coaching/personal development classes. This must be one of January’s most amazing gifts for myself.

Cooking: Ugali Cake. Who knew dusting ugali pieces dusted with flour, rolled in eggs, coated with breadcrumbs and deep fried could be so yummm? I should share that recipe sometime soon, Goes amazingly well with a cuppa tea 🙂

Drinking: Lots of water. Seems green tea takes some getting used to…

Reading: He-motions by Bishop Jakes.

Wanting: To live my God-given purpose, and a relationship with God. My heart aches for this.

Wasting: No cash. Hello budget tools, spreadsheets and percentages 🙂

Enjoying: Creating a weekly planner. Helps put so many things in perspective as well as figure out the energy sapping activities from my everyday activities.

Loving: My nuclear energy plant boy 🙂 Fourgoingonfourteen, and too witty.

Marveling: At how, some of the hardest seasons molded me in the best way possible. beauty for ashes.

Smelling: nothing really. I’d want to be smelling roses right about now…

Wearing: a hoodie.

Knowing: The truth that ‘bila Yesu ni vanity’. Plus the fact that we do not need to be looking for love in the wrong places.

Bookmarking: blogs on Postpartum Depression. The online community consists of resilient mommas and papas, who have beaten the odds to transcend this condition.

Giggling: at the ‘microscocope’ bit in this Bull’s Eye Clip 😀

Thinking: about all the amazing people who have impacted my life, from as far back as high school. It is amazing to have friendships that transcend seasons and life stages.

Feeling: Grateful.

 

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I want to be here so bad… freedom, exhilaration, life. Peace.

Taking Stock 05

15 days into the new year, I am reflecting on how this half month has gone by so fast, yet elated that I am making progress with the three key things I has set out as the year rolled on. It will be amazing to take stock 18 later on this year. For now, here goes.

Making: progress with my resolutions, hah!! Waking up for me is a cornerstone habit. According to Charles Duhigg, he of the ‘The Power of Habit’ book, we all have that one habit which, when changed, has the capacity to transform our lives forever. It’s gotta be waking up early for me. This = consistent devotion, morning pages and exercise, which is important in my view.

Cooking: (Planning to cook) roasted butternut soup. Seems like everyone in this house got a cold!

Drinking: Lots and lots of water. Realized this has a very positive effect on my skin, here’s to  more glasses… of water!

Reading: Just finished reading The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. Started on Managing Your Emotions by Joyce Meyer.

Side Note: Randy Pausch was a professor of computer interactions at Carnegie Mellon University. As was the norm, every professor pondered on the question, “What wisdom would you impact on your students before leaving?” A last lecture of sorts, only that for Randy, it was indeed his last lecture. The book is a publication of a speech he gave for the same, which you can watch here. It is a poignant look at a man’s battle with pancreatic cancer, his childhood dreams, his family and choosing his style of living in his last few months. Great read, it will shift your perspective!

Wanting: zero blackouts. Seems like the clouds sneeze and power goes off. Sigh*

Wasting: No opportunities, however they come.

“We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.”
― Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

Enjoying: Weekends with special people.

Loving: My morning routine.

Marveling: At how much 4 years can change a person, and grateful for the four years another has been in my life. Oh how fast they grow!

Smelling: rain on sand, what’s that fresh smell?

Wearing: Exercising pants.

Knowing: Emmanuel, God With Us. God with Me. I am Never alone. This truth has changed my attitude.

Bookmarking: The Idea Room. Amy is such a creative, if you love DIY, recipes, makeovers and everything in between, thank me later.

Giggling: at an awkward dance-ish pose the sister made the other day on a particular photo… It’s an internal joke, you  know, the kind that no one else finds funny? yeah, such.

Thinking: about, and appreciating the fact that we all have different paths in life, and that what worked for person A, may not necessarily work for Person B.. and that’s just how it is.

Feeling: Energized!

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**Featured Image Photo Credits and above at Olooseos Adventures and Resort**

Taking stock 04

There’s just about 30 days to the end of the year, yikes!! It is both exciting and terrifying for me. It has been a roller coaster of sorts, but perhaps the most amazing thing that’s happened for me is to be in this space, healing from Postpartum Depression, seizing each day, living in miraculous moments. This particular post is reflective; makes me appreciate the strides thus far, and the ‘small victories’.

Making: mental notes of the things I need to do to improve my life, like making early mornings a permanent fixture.

Cooking : not. thinking about coking masala fries. *side eye to the fitness videos on my laptop*

Drinking: Water, lots of it. Actually realized it is one of the reasons I have few breakouts on my skin, win!

Reading: The Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason. If you want to be financially literate, there is no question about it. This is a profound read, with some of the simplest tips to help you.

Wanting: cuddles.

Wasting: no time on Whatsapp. LOL, yall who tell me I have been MIA 😀

Enjoying: this school holiday. April and August holidays were very difficult in terms of readjusting my schedule to fit little mammal into my Work-at-home schedules.

Loving:  Kari Jobe’s album, Majestic.

Marveling: At the fact that Psy’s, remember the Korean one-hit wonder? he of the Gangnam style vid? Yup, him, his YouTube video has garnered close to 2.5 billion views to-date. Mind boggling if you asked me.

Smelling: the rain.

Wearing: dresses lately, and loving it. feminine and chic, especially when you are a bald head like me 🙂

Knowing: that there is so much to be grateful for, even when things go awry. I see it every time I open my gratitude journal.

Bookmarking: Medium. Such an intriguing site IMO.

Giggling: at a conversation I had with my little one recently. something in the line of him paying for my pedicure, because chipped nails. He is very keen. 🙂

Thinking: about my friend L and her baby <3

Feeling: excited about progress in the journey that my life is.

 

**Featured Image Photo Credits: Mom 🙂 at Ololulunga, Narok. Little guy in the trees

 

Taking Stock 03

Hey!!!

Feels good to be back on the blog. Took some time off, partly swamped with lots of work, partly getting perspective as the year draws close to the end, yet still finding myself in the journey to healing from Postpartum Depression. There are good days, and there are hard days, hard days when something as insignificant as undone shoe laces from a fussy kid in the morning just throws me off balance (some day I should blog about the shoe chronicles, whew. I look back and see the many times Jesus has had to take the wheel, 2 wheels actually plus the spare wheel.)

This is the 3rd in the ‘Taking Stock’ series, part of the reason for this monthly series is to take time off and snatch away a moment or two to truly live in the present, notices what’s in my surrounding and just about be grateful for a lot (even against the background of my beloved countries scandals and quagmire 🙁 ). You can check out the first of this series here, and the second here.

Making: sense of this phase I am in currently. Any ladies out there feel the need to connect with other ladies, sisterhood? I miss this aspect of my life dearly, and it seems elusive, so much so that when I think, here it is, it slips right away between my fingers…

Cooking: nothing actually. It’s what happens when you do some 300 kms in just a couple of hours, and get home tired as can be, but still want to blog 🙂

Drinking: masala tea. I cannot get over my addiction to tea. My friend helped me in this regard and let me know I am a proud member of the Chaivinist group. For my international readers, Chai is the Swahili word for tea, and chaivinist a slight corruption of chauvinist, gerrit?

Reading: My gratitude list. Daily, I make an attempt to write 5 things for which I am grateful for, regardless of how crappy my day has been. When I do this, I am always reminded of the question “What if you woke up today with only the things you were grateful for yesterday?” Food for thought.

Wanting: To get my 2016 diary soon.

Wasting: no chance to read my little guy stories at bedtime, read his Bible and cuddle before planting a fat goodnight kiss on his cheeks. When you have suffered PPD, you know too well these small things make a world of difference.

Enjoying: the many family functions. The season is here!!!

Loving: The birthday black-forest cake we got Aunt Iryne from Maorpi Foods. Delectable, Delicious, Sweet, oh-so mouth watering. If you are a sweet tooth, Shiro Thuo, the brains behind Maorpi, is your go-to girl!

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Look at all these yummy goodness, Maorpi Foods surpassed my expectations! <3

Marveling: at how, whenever I put my mind to something, the excellent result speaks for itself 🙂

Smelling: the earthy smell, you know the one that soaks the air when the first fat rain drops hit the dusty ground? That one.

Wearing: PJs and a marvin hat (baldie and the cold chronicles)

Knowing: That the suffering of this present life, does not compare to the glory that is about to be revealed in us, and for us (Romans 8:18) – This verse has kept me going in the past few weeks when I have questioned so much that does not absolutely make sense…

Bookmarking: two websites that chronicle the journey and challenges of cancer, and the place of grace. Many times I read these blogs teary eyed, because of the rawness, the reality of cancer, the hope in eternity. The two are Mundane Faithfulness (initially managed by the late Kara Tippets, and whose legacy continues under the ever graceful leadership of Blythe Hunt) as well as This Life I live (run by Rory, a man whose beloved wife suffers advanced cervical cancer, and the blog is where he chronicles his journey, a glimpse into hope, music, love and sweet memories)

Giggling:Its 2AM as I post this, not quite giggling at anything.

Thinking: About my son’s future.

Feeling: Grateful.

**Featured Image Photo Credits: KD Post

Day 27 – Taking Stock 02

This is Day 27 of the 30 day writing challenge. 3 days to go. *does the happy dance* Last week has been a little hard for me, especially with disciplining my son. I can’t tell the number of times I think about sending him to Pluto with a one-way ticket… then I am reminded that grace is available. What better way to come to this realization than to take stock one month later? This is the second post in this series, you can check out the first one I did here.

Making: the best of my morning hours. Still inculcating in myself the habit of rising at 4AM, some days I struggle and snooze through, some I wake up so excited about a new day. As a mom, I have found this to be one of the best ways to steal time for myself to do my devotions, read, and blog, without asking why someone is wearing a potty on their head.

Cooking: Its 5:30AM, thinking about my favorite cuppa tea 😀

Drinking: Lots of tea, and water, and missing wine!

Reading: (Still) Dreams from my Father by Barack Obama. Added a devotional, Women of the Bible by Jean E. Syswerda & Ann Spangler. Put the Goldfinch by Donna Tart on hold.

Wanting: to see my niece, L’s baby whose baby shower we attended sometime back.

Wasting: no chance to eat avocados and bananas. Yes.

Enjoying: my own company.

Loving: Music by Aaron Keyes, and especially Trust You. Thank you Gathoni for this!

Marveling: At how the 30 day writing challenge has panned out! Learnt so much about Postpartum Depression and connected with many people (and moms) across the globe.

Smelling: freshness. Know that lingering smell early morning? The smell of opportunity and chances to win at life!

Wearing: Pajamas, rocking baldie 🙂

Knowing: The truth that anger and shouting at my son is not the way to go (it is so damn hard sometimes 🙁 )

Bookmarking: Aaron Keyes on Youtube, and Carol Ofafa’s blog, the Petticoat, for the needs forgotten. Gotta love her ‘About Me’ Page 😀 (plus, who still wears petticoats?)

Giggling: at nothing, really.

Thinking: about 1) my spiritual walk and 2) Companionship

Feeling: Energized for the new week ahead, and a little nostalgic.

 

**Featured Image Photo Credits: Patricia Esteve

Taking Stock 01

For a long time I have been wondering how to really sit and live in the present on the blog, and practically. Not in the past, that is gone, Not in the future, that is not yet here. In the now. Stumbled on Taking Stock on This is Ess blog (undoubtedly one of Kenya’s best fashion stars, gotta love how passionate she is about what she does), who was inspired by the template on Sydney Poulton’s blog, who lifted the idea from Pip’s blog! What a long chain – feel free to keep the chain going-. It certainly is a great way to stay in the present, in a frenetic-paced world, what with the constant buzzing of our tabs, popping of our Facebook notifications, ringing of our phones…

So here goes. Would love to look back at this one year from now and marvel at the changes made, the strides made, and any adjustments if need be.

Making: a pencil holder from used tissue rolls with my son, a DIY project of sorts. Check this website out if you’d be interested 🙂

Cooking (tonight): cornmeal crusted fish fingers with ugali and kale. Been craving fish lately, my son’s roots manifesting perhaps?

Drinking: Lots and lots of tea. And to think I’d tell mum taking copious amounts of tea was for aging ladies, see my life Momma!!

Reading: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, and Dreams from my Father by Barack Obama.

Wanting: The night potty training phase to be over… hello 2AM alarms!

Wasting: no opportunities to connect with my little man!

Enjoying: Connecting with other moms on different platforms, talking about Post-Partum Depression (PPD).

Liking:Loving Jaye Thomas’s song, We Love Your Name.

Marveling: At how strong Sitawa Wafula is, such an amazing lady.

Smelling: Mandazi. How apt when I am working on eating healthy…

Wearing: Jeans, old school rubber shoes, and hooded sweater. This hair though, need to get the baldie look back.

Knowing: That I am never alone, in my PPD journey, in my struggles, in life.

Bookmarking: Fish recipes.

Giggling: at a conversation my son had with my pal yesterday.

Pal: What is the name of your Sunday School Pastor?

Jay: Pasta?

Pal: Yeah, Pastor.

Jay: Pasta is in the food thermos 😀 😀 😀

Thinking: About someone who used to be special, and a littu teary-eyed about it.

Feeling: Hopeful. It’s been one of those days…

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Been staring at this throwback pic or a while, wondering what this little girl’s dreams were…

**Featured Image Photo Credits: Courtney Fitzgerald of Our Small Moments.**