Maureen – I forgave myself and set out

Have you ever been in a meeting where the suited up peeps are discussing complex stuff and you have no idea what it’s about? She would totally pretend and nod. Who wants to look dumb in front of super smart peeps?  Under the table, she would be on Google, because its such a wealth of wisdom, why not take advantage. It has backfired once when she was caught, but you pick yourself up, make a comment on a light note and move on.

Let me introduce you to Maureen, the woman whose inspiring us today. She encourages, inspires and motivates many, with a purpose of bringing out the courageous lioness from a wounded woman. That might be the title for her book one day! To break the ice, she pulls of dance moves that just make people like us who have left feet want to shed tears.
Real tears! When you are going through tough times, she encourages you and stretches out her hands to pray for you or even bless you in the way that she can.

One day, as she sat in an exam room ready to take on the paper, with her blue pen and sharp mind, something strange happened. She couldn’t write. She knew the answers but she just could not bring herself to write. She later found out that those were the moments her dad was fighting for his last breath. That was the lowest point in her life. Losing her dad. He was gone. Never being able to see him again, still brings sadness to her eyes. The thing that brings back her beautiful smile, fills her heart with joy and keeps her going in all the phases of life’s journey, is her beautiful family. She is a wife (with a hyphen after her second name) and mother of three blessed children.

For many years, she held back interaction with the things she always wanted to do, chasing her dreams. Time went by and she just wasn’t able to. After a struggle that took tremendous effort to get out of, her biggest win today is being able to forgive herself and move on into greatness. She now fully understands her worth and is ready to take up a challenge despite the little fear that always nags at her. Now she pats her back as she constantly surpasses her targets, with every woman she impacts positively, for every event she moderates successfully,  for every step she takes wearing her four inch heels into achieving her dreams. She speaks confidently while addressing people during her moderating sessions. From a girl who was so afraid to share what God has placed in her, to a woman who is confident to speak to people, and give guidance as other speakers shares their experiences. Maureen works hard to give hope to women especially where marriages are concerned. She is passionate about marriage. Extremely passionate.

Maureen Radoli – Ogwel, a prayerful woman. She is the Head of Personal Finance at Centonomy, A Relationship Coach and Events Moderator. A Kenyan woman. A woman of many talents.

Check out Maureen on Instagram @maureenradoli_ogwel or email her on nradoli@gmail.com

You Again – Kenyan Film

Last week Thursday, actually about a week before, my colleagues and I were excited about the premiere for the movie, You Again – The Kenyan movie. We had watched the trailer, some of us after Nick had shared and we loved it. So when we saw it was premiering, we quickly locked down the date. A girls’ night out. It was scheduled for 6pm. We debated in the office whether to wear heels and ensured we were rocking mustard or yellow, (yes there is a difference), accessories. That had us run a little late. We got to The Junction at about quarter to 7. The setup was at the lovely outdoor space, next to Big Square. A beautiful setup, white chiavari seats, big screen, great sound and lovely people who honored the dress code. We started by taking photos, feeling good about ourselves. We finally found a good spot where people seated in front were the same height if not shorter. As we were getting comfortable, it began to drizzle. At first, we brushed it off. A few minutes later, it started pouring, despite the Mc’s positive vibe of just light showers. Soon, we all scattered for shelter. This trio deviated a little to Miniso as we waited for the organizer’s solution. They made a quick decision to shift to the food court and decided to set up there. It took a while to set down the equipment, carry it and set it up on that floor. The one thing I must say is that Nick Mutuma and the entire cast have a great support system. Guys carried tables and seats, ran around, followed up with the sound guys. It was an amazingly united front. The Mc kept giving progress on how far off they were. The amazing thing is the guys who had come for the movie waited it out. Guys caught up, shared meals and enjoyed their drinks patiently. You could tell Nick looked nervous but he really tried to keep calm, in his very dapper mustard coat.

you again

When the movie finally started at around 9.37pm, it was the best one hour spent. It was so real and relatable. I laughed, sang along, enjoyed each part of it. When it ended, I still wanted more. Not to mention Neomi Ng’ang’a was super hilarious. The sound and video quality were great according to me. I was so happy we stuck it out and even more proud of the amazing Kenyan cast, technicians, directors and all people involved in delivering such an amazing movie. I would have listened to the whole acknowledgment speech by Nick but it was 11pm, My friend and colleague, Tessie wasn’t having it and I needed to traverse to the other side, the village. Please look out for You Again and make sure you watch it. It will be worth it. I didn’t give any storyline so that you can watch the trailer here. Go on now.

Parent – Being present

Most recently I think life and its experiences has had me helter-skelter and in the process, I wasn’t being a present parent. Sometimes you are so busy. On the day I realized that I read the note for Munchkin one, to carry beads to school, the previous night, I knew I had to slow down and focus on being an active parent. I have already judged myself enough but if you want to judge me too, I guess I can’t stop you. I am glad to say I have learned to think on the fly, stall the fear for a bit. Between Papa, Nanny and I, we quickly got hair beads and were able to have them in school by Friday morning. Needless to say, they did the ornaments class a week later but that is not the point. So I decided to focus, even if I am super exhausted after a long day at work, a side hustle, whatever, I will check the diary. Just checking homework and our son having nothing to edit, because he is bright will not cut it. Grateful to God for his smartness, I think he got it from his Mama.

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Munchkin 1’s necklace – He made it himself

I now decided over and above the usual conversations, after work, eating and brushing teeth, I would have to incorporate an activity for us to bond over. So yesterday with Munchkin number two we changed my bedsheets. I usually find it such an uphill task but she enjoyed changing the pillowcases and jumping on my bed while struggling to look at her short self in the mirror. She is so hands-on I could actually leave her and just let her make all our beds. The pride she has on weekends when she shows me that she made her own bed, at three years is so exciting. I am so grateful for my hubby and nanny because I am not the one who has imparted that one. I hate making the bed. There I said it.

For Munchkin number one, I read about how to teach him to balance on the bike by holding his shoulders instead of the bike. Apparently, it teaches him to balance better. We will be trying that today. Yesterday we got back to reading together, something we hadn’t done in a while. On Sunday, I let him have chili fries, and he enjoyed them. He is officially grown up. As I look forward to him graduating later this month, I am so grateful for being a Mum and even more importantly having a great Dad by my side, a spot on Nanny and such brilliant Grandparents, Aunties and Uncles. Aunty Mumbi is the favorite, I am often requested by the Munchkins, to send her videos saying hi or goodnight or just that they love her. I don’t take it for granted. It can be tough balancing work, business, life, parenting and running the home.

What is going on?

Do you feel alone often? Could you be in a room full of people and yet you couldn’t feel more lonely? Is it still lonely despite having friends and family? If you are in that space, it can be a strange feeling. You might wonder what happened, was it something you did, someone you are, or something you offered that you no longer do? Have they forgotten they have a daughter, son, sister, brother, cousin or friend? Is it that they are super busy? Is life moving on the fastest lane? Or maybe, just maybe, your phone is broken. It doesn’t work anymore 😂😂😂

shutter stock image

This is a shutter stock image

For you and I, the answer to some of the questions, if not all of tha constant, changes. You’re shaken up and thrown off balance. You can barely find your footing. You are trying to get yourself out of the sand but you seem to sink faster than you can imagine. As this happens, the phone stops ringing. You are probably in too deep that if it rang, you would not be able to reach it.

When you try to reach out to family, either you don’t have the strength or your throats constricts, you can’t talk or you are too embarrassed or too emotional. You stay under the radar for a while beginning to realize that you now can’t control what’s going on. You no longer do everything you could before. You are no longer physically able, you can’t afford it or you are so mentally drained, more and more, they seem impossible. A little time passes by and now you are angry. You begin to think you are the only one who reaches out. You go quiet. The anger fills your mind and heart. At some point, you stop and discover it’s just you and the nuclear family. You begin to learn things about the Mister that you did not know. You start playing with plasticine more. You discover Rainbow Ruby is a cool cartoon. You are now narrating the story to your children. You are reading more, trying to hear your thoughts more. Writing down your plans even if you are not exactly sure where you are at. Reading more of the word. Hearing and learning to fully rely on God. Beginning to understand His purpose and how you are His child and He has been taking care of you. He was in the background so you probably heard him from afar previously. Your inner voice, the self-absorbed you, was leading the way. Now He has changed the narrative. For Him to remind you that He is God, he has changed the game. Uprooted you from everything and the person you previously adored or thought would pull out of the darkness. Because He says He is a jealous God. He needs for you to gain perspective. It’s only for a season. Trust the process. Have a less lonely day. He is there with you.

It didn’t pass me by

I make several prayers in the morning in different areas of the house, while walking to the road and a specific one when I get to the bus stop. I pray that whatever is mine does not pass me by. This prayer first started on a day where both a neighbor and a friend, drove by when I was at the stop. It was so painful knowing that it was a missed opportunity. I would have shouted their names but I try to act with decorum. Most times. Of course, this was the day I had 100 bob in my nice black wallet. Bus fare to the office is 80 bob. How I got home that day, it was the grace of God.

So this morning, as usual, I said my prayer. A few minutes later, a lady stopped her crisp clean, white car. From the greetings she got from the stage managers, (if I may call them that), it seemed she carries people, most mornings, for a fee. The guy said, “westie” and its almost as if he called my name too. I went in without any hesitation and quickly belted up. It was so warm in there. To be honest, I miss my car, sometimes. She said hi and introduced herself. A beautiful lady with subtle, nice makeup, very cool glasses, short like me, with the warmth that would have children confessing, despite their previous agreement, that they stole cookies from the yummy jar. I take time to warm up but somehow I also introduced myself and we got to chatting. We started with the weather, because, well, doesn’t everyone. I asked what industry she was in, she said Tech. I shared that I work in a company that transforms lives through capacitating people to create wealth. The conversation went deeper and we talked about budgets. Personal budgets. “Who lives without a budget?” She asked with so much shock on her face. I answered, quite a couple of people do. If you there, I see you. Don’t be shy. She went on to tell me about how she lost her well-paying job just sometime after her son was born, the job she got after this paid 10k. Even with this, she budgeted. She also told herself, it had no option but to work. She cut the unnecessary things. So relatable, I am working with basic needs. She has since moved into better-paying jobs, doing business, she still sticks to her budget. And really follows it through.

During our conversation, she would quote God a lot. She is a believer. Family and friends may have looked down on her when she was down, she focused on God. Her former colleagues would laugh at her rice and beans as they ordered from the cool restaurants, of course picking all the yummy meat delicacies. She got hurt but she soldiered on. On the days she could not afford the RnB, she would drink tea and guys would say she loved tea. It wasn’t about loving tea, she needed milk to breastfeed her baby. It was not easy, not at all. She got through it.

One story that really came close home, was when she talked about githeri and ugali being the only meals she would feed her family (siblings, baby, and nanny), based on what she could afford. It reminded me of a conversation I had with my family, telling them that beans, green grams, and ugali would be our staple food for a while. And it has been. Look how healthy we are. There are mornings I open the sufuria and I can tell the food will not be enough for my peeps if I carry, I leave it. Bless my colleagues for sharing their lunch on the days I can’t fight their lovely aromas. I got a little emotional as I resonated strongly with her life story.  She spoke to me. This was like a well-written proposal. It had the introduction, all the mambo jambo that goes into the body, and then the conclusion. She concluded by saying, we should remember it’s a season. It will not last forever. God is building character and patience. We should trust Him always. We also both agreed that sometimes we get impatient and work at trying to convince Him that we have already learned the lesson. I do that quite frequently. As I finally got to westy, reluctant to leave, I took her number. I would call her one day and just tell her she really blessed me today. Or she will read this post. I will still reach out. As I untied my seat belt and got out of the car, I knew that God didn’t have to put up a billboard on Waiyaki way for me to see it, as I sometimes expect, written in capital letters for emphasis, with my name as the opening statement. He will use whatever means He sees fit, all for His glory. This lady had a lovely name, like one of my close friends. I will never forget her. In fact, I am tempted to be there at the same time tomorrow. This time with the exact amount. She didn’t charge me today because I didn’t have exact fare, it required some change which she didn’t have. I tried to insist but she said, God had sorted me out. Truly, He had because that would be what I ate for lunch. I had such an encouraging ride. It really helped to remind me to keep at it. To continue chasing, working, trusting even when it seems so grey, or like it has taken too long. What was mine, did not pass me by. He answers, even the one-liners.

Next post, we talk about debt from my perspective as well as a friend’s. See you then.

Follow up, keep at it

Hello, welcome to my channel…Oops blog post. These streets have been quite cold. This girl has been hiding from everything. Is the right word hiding (insert thinking emoji here)? Maybe, maybe not!  I actually have realized that increasingly, my friends have been saying I have been a little quiet, I don’t show up as I did previously and maybe I am a little reserved. Is it true? Yes. There are some holes that you can fall into unconsciously.

For those who know me a little more than the surface, you know life has sometimes thrown curve balls and given me lemons or should I say guavas? And yes, I have made the best guava juice I could possibly be able to, with both ripe and unripe guavas. I hear many call me strong and partly I believe it. But I also know that strength is relative to the observer. For a long time, when the Mister was sick, I stood through it all and fought and held on to my faith with every little thing I had. It worked. I made it. He is a walking miracle, one I have seen literally being pulled from the enemy’s jaws by a faithful God. Fast forward to now, healing continues by the day and truly I am still in awe.

What happened to the “strength” I supposedly had? I think it was a defence mechanism. Super girl, just jumped out and took charge. She prayed, believed, worked, nurtured, basically stretched herself out completely. It worked well for as long as it could, until the reality of carrying the load that came with it began to show. Slow at first but catching on pretty heavy lately. This sounds so strange because from the normal eye view, I should be less stressed, relieved and getting back to normalcy. And for some time, I honestly thought I was until I started to feel exhausted and frustrated with everything. I do literally mean, EVERYTHING. Its hard to manage running a home in all its aspects, tough times at work, your mind (which fights with itself) and many other dynamics.

The answer to the question how I was doing, became automatic without even thinking through it. I would always answer, “I am good / okay / fine.” The inner circle though began to see the strain, but I still saved face or at least tried to. Friends and family would say, if you need help, feel free to ask. Does one ever really feel free? I am not too sure. Everyone in life is going through something tough, the magnitude I believe, is what is different. And yes, you know the help is genuinely offered but you are afraid. I’m not really sure of what.

Back to the present, I am grateful for the people who don’t give up at the “I am good answer”. Those who push a little further, those who pray for me, those who call to make me laugh or even talk about themselves (especially because they know I will only give the fake answers when they ask about me) and throw an encouragement in there because that’s the best way they know how, the ones who say they want to hangout and sample food or a drink (flavoured milk of course). For those who ambush me and force to show up at my house, especially because they know I will always say I am busy. Thank you very much for cracking the shell in your own way. I have been going to a dark place without me fully realizing it and to be honest that’s how depression creeps in faster than you can butter the second slice. Yesterday in the middle of my insomnia and chest issues, I watched an amazing video about a couple who have been married for ten years with a blended family of six lovely children. My greatest take home from them was they got professional help to be able to sustain they family and get along. It was difficult and, on some levels, still is. And they do visit counsellors once in a while, both at an individual and at a family level. Point of my narrative is I will also go back to my professional help. I have been dodging it, I don’t even know why. Even as I do that, always check on your people. If you notice something different, be persistent enough to follow up. Don’t think of being in their space, you are required to be there during such times. They will appreciate you more for it, once they are back to their normal state of mind. I will continue with my narration, even though it’s a bit personal for the purposes of helping someone else or even myself. This is a heavy one so I will leave it there for now.

Feel free to leave a comment or encourage. Chao

 

 

Belief

Most teens in urban areas are extremely conversant with technology. Ask me, my younger sister was born in 20** well let me just say she is a teen because she will might read this.. 🙂 They are able to use phones much better than we can. They have easier access to the lyrics of favorite songs and artists, heck they even have videos real time. Some of us would have to wait until Young Nation is published each Sunday, for us to cut out the lyrics section and stick it on our Kasuku exercise book. Most probably, it was the 32 pages one as you had to buy it from your savings. It would be placed right next to your bed, at the risk of being asked if all you do is just cram lyrics as opposed to reading. Reading then was considered the ultimate. It probably still is.

My sister got her Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) results yesterday and I must say she is the brightest in our family with 433 marks out of 500. If I convert my marks, yes when I did KCPE it was out of 700, I scored 375. I remember being disappointed as I had truly hoped for 600 above. Anyway, I digress. There was a lot of excitement and celebration at home yesterday and this will carry on for quite a while. She already has a good exemption from house chores for a while. But then again, remembering the fact that our parents are Africans, hoping mum and dad are not reading this, that exemption won’t last very long. Hahahaha

From a big sister perspective, I am extremely proud of her. I celebrate her, her hard work, tough spirit and especially her belief in herself. She reminds me a bit of me with her bubbliness, loudness and the belief that she can do anything. In fact, that has given me a renewed spirit. As we grow older for whatever reason, we become more reserved, some of us, and we start doubting the belief that once had of ourselves. I know I have. So today, I am encouraged by that beautiful teen who totally believes in herself / himself and views the world as the place where they can grow their abilities and faith. For the ones who attained their desires, remember it’s easy to get to the top but maintaining it is tough. Keep at it. Put in the effort and follow your dream.

In the same exam, there are other young girls and boys who are like me, when I was 13 or is 14. They feel a little or a lot disappointed that they did not make it to what they desired. Dear teens, we are gifted in different categories and talents. For some, the level of grasping is fast and simple while for others, we have to read a little more. For others, talents like playing football, singing, playing an instrument, cycling, public speaking among very many different talents come naturally. They will be others. Accept the marks but don’t let it pull you down. Let it be a motivator. When you are admitted to that high school, start a fresh. Put your best foot forward, yes in education but also in the talent you have, give it your best. Continue to believe in your dream and work hard for it. I believe in you and so do your parents, relatives and friends. Believe in yourself, it makes a difference and a big one at that. I know my audience may not be teens, but whether it’s a family member, a friend, a younger sibling, please encourage and celebrate them.

Always remind your cool self

 

Ladies and Gentleman, with that in mind, I am looking at setting up a forum before Christmas to celebrate and encourage these young ones before they go to high school. Do you have some words of encouragement, a story to share? Do you remember what you scored in KCPE? How did it make you feel? What are you doing today? In whichever field, employment or entrepreneurship. This will help them face their future with hope, self-belief and determination seeing people who have made it. Guiding them and walking with them through the journey of life. Kindly get in touch with me, click here to send me an email and let’s ensure that we make a positive impact to our upcoming generations.

On a separate note and project, do you remember when we used to write letters to each other while in high school? Did you have a pen pal? I remember my grandmother would write letters to us, my cousins and I, and she would send the stamps inside the envelope so that we would not have to incur any cost of replying to her. This really helped with my writing skills, it also gave me something to look forward to while in school, especially high school, on the days we would receive mail. And yes, I mean an actual letter, hand written and put in an envelope with the receiver’s name written in calligraphy. Good old times.

Anyway, we are in the process of setting up a local (by this I mean Kenyan) pen pal club, a place where our children, sisters and brothers, in high school will get to write actual letters, have pen pals. The main aim is to open up their minds, writing and communication skills to their age mates in different regions, environments, school and or counties. This will help them appreciate the various parts of our country, the magical places that each has grown around, the various sites that they have and enable them to be able to one day visit and be in the other teen’s shoes for a day or two. In addition, they will learn how to step just a foot away from that computer, tablet or phone and just do some old school writing. Maybe even have a pile of letters to show for it. Are you a parent of a teen and would be interested in growing these skills? Do you have a younger sibling or have a friend with a teen? Click here to send me your details and I will reach out you.

A hearty congratulations to all the great teens that sat for their KCPE exams and may your dreams come true. Continue to work hard in both your education and talent. Above all, ALWAYS believe in yourself and thank the Almighty. You can do anything you set your mind to.

 

Mama Munchkins’ tales

I remember the concerns of family that Munchkin 1 was late to speak. I remember how I would say words to him, hoping and praying that he would repeat only for him to give me the cutest toothless smile. On the good days, I would wake up and say each child has his/ her own timing for their milestones. On the tougher days, I would remember all the questions of “Bado hajaongea?”,Does he have a heavy tongue?”, “Have you seen a speech therapist?” And to be honest, I actually thought of seeing a speech therapist. And I doubted myself and even wondered if it had anything to do with me being his mom.

Today the little man is 4 years old and is a major chatterbox. I sometimes find myself saying we should watch the cartoons in silence, or asking him to go play outside, I am human. The responsibility of being a mother, a parent at that, is one of the toughest ones. It has no unique manual for their personalities, their milestones, their way of communicating. Prayer and mom’s groups and sharing with friends and family is what gives a guideline.

My Munchkin 2 was born in April 2016. She was a unique beautiful girl who put her hand on her face, at an angle. This meant that she couldn’t pass through the birth canal without breaking it, her hand that is, or crushing her skull. When they checked if I had dilated while in labor, she actually had her hand to say hi to the nurse and Doctor Kigen. So yes, the caesarian section happened. For me, it was horrendous, especially because I compared it to the natural delivery of Munchkin 1. The first few nights, I cried daily. And Munchkin 2 cried a little louder. She had colic. So here I was barely able to pull myself up to breastfeed, and her cry would already wake up all my neighbors. I almost got to postpartum depression. I always remember heartily how Dad would come home to help me bathe her, and thankfully he didn’t mind. It actually became our ritual. And he helped me get out of the darkness.

Each clinic we went to, the pediatrician would ask if she cries that much as she looked for a better option to calm the colic. Finally Bonnisan offered a sort of relief, at least it was better than the two other options we had tried. Dad would be present for all the clinics, to the point the pediatrician thought he was the better option to calming Munchkin 2 down. With time the colic faded off and we now enjoyed more coos than cries. I enjoyed breast feeding as I always had until one warm October morning when things started changing. Dad got sick. At first I thought it was a short illness but it ended up being really serious. He was admitted in hospital for over a month. (That’s a story for another day, I am still not ready.) Life changed. In between the running to the hospital and home, thinking about him, munchkin 1 & 2, not eating or taking fluids well, the breast milk started reducing. I decided to go the formula way while still trying to substitute. Dad’s condition was getting worse. He had brain surgery. I would rarely see my children as I spent the day in hospital. In the evening, I would try to balance the energy between chatting with Munchkin 1 while trying to breastfeed Munchkin 2. The milk was so little. She would cry until I substitute. It took me a while but finally I accepted that it was torture to her as she wanted to suckle but there was nothing. I finally gave up breastfeeding. And for the first time, I will accept and share that I thought of myself as a failure. I wondered if she had gotten enough immunity, if I had been unfair to her and yet her brother had a longer time to enjoy it. It took a while to accept it. Its tough being a mummy.

I introduced packet milk to her as the cost of formula was too high in between all the other things we were experiencing. She loved it. She became less edgy and soon enough she slept longer hours. In fact in a week or two she mastered the art of sleeping through the night. As dad got better, I got more time to spend with my babies. Now she is one and a half years, I am grateful that she is doing well healthy, chatty and the sweetest ever.

Munchkin 2Her brother, whom I thought had an issue with speech is teaching her how to talk. I am so grateful for my nanny who hang in there with me and took up a greater responsibility to allow me to balance between hospital and babies. Today dad is well, he is almost back to his optimum. Thanks to the 2016 April mums who stood with me and encouraged me, we have a lovely bond because of our babies.  Thank you to my family and great friends.

Mums be encouraged that it always gets better. And babies grow, a day at a time. And God protects them and gives us grace for each new day. I just might get a third born to enjoy the breastfeeding experience once more.

Dare to follow your own path

Greetings earthlings…

I have had such an interesting time with the crazy feedback that my friends have gotten lately from the “new craze” app Sarahah.

Before I get into my perspective, clearly most people have zero chills. I have gone through the couple of messages shared by friends and people I follow on my social media platforms. Popular questions have been along the lines of whether one is dating, when they will get married, why they are not allowing others to be involved in the planning of their wedding, (the funniest one yet) among others. Then there are the comments that you should definitely marry that girl or get married by that guy (nyakua mjamaa juu kuna shortage). From this, it shows people are quite curious to know what exactly is going on in one’s personal life, with others actually giving you the statement to go ahead and marry them. My main question, is this based on our posts and shares on social media that always portray a smooth, fun life with successes, zero failures, lots of love with bae and all things going perfectly? And no, I am not excluding myself, I am in this bandwagon. For people who probably believe social media to be where their whole world revolves around, this is a dangerous angle of looking at life.

Onto the positive comments, they were defining how strong, hardworking, dedicated or committed the individual is which is great. The ones I would that caught my eye a bit more were the ones that ended with when I grow up, or when I get to a certain level,

………………………………………… …..wait for it …………………………………………………………

“I want to be just like you.”

I have been in this situation as well, until not too long ago. Remember the way you use a certain cooking oil because your mum used to use it. That’s not necessarily a bad thing because mums are always right, right? Munchkin 1 and 2, I already know your answer is yes. I digress. I totally understand how you would appreciate and love how someone you have admired. One who has set a certain standard for you, one who has achieved great milestones, getting themselves to become forces to be reckoned with at work, in entrepreneurship, or through their talents. I just want to challenge us to work towards greatness – Yes, BUT thrive to do things differently, instead of  “I want to be just like you,” dare to follow your own path, be the best version of yourself.  I have at some point in my life wanted to be like someone I truly admire and one who inspires me. And until about a year ago, I wanted to do so many things as they had done them, heck I wanted my career to grow like them, to have my own home at the age that they had theirs, wanted to do my wedding in a similar way. I actually wanted to be just like them (this might have required going round the mugumo tree seven times, If this even works, anyone tried??).  They were role model, they still are! I would never have been exactly like them. I can however, be the best version of myself.

Learn from others, consult, read wisely, network, travel and expose yourself to the many opportunities and experiences that are available. Be inspired by the people who you consider exemplary, successful, those who have such an organized way of doing LIFE so to speak. However, open up your mind to different ways of getting there, heck your limit can be a different type of sky. Have that uniqueness that differentiates you from everyone else. Allow yourself to move from a Copy Paste situation into your own way of getting to the proverbial TOP.

Back to Sarahah, how do you pronounce this?, my perspective on it is that it can be a great tool to honestly give positive feedback or criticism that will help an individual to build a stronger, more effective version of themselves, tackle their weaknesses and embrace a channel towards self-improvement. Would you like to try it from that angle? If yes, feel free to leave a note for SheeGal on ShirohRuby.sarahah.com

As I am about to leave, the other one that this app has brought out is matters regarding depression.

An example of a message speaking about depression.

A couple of us have gotten it asked or commented about on this platform. This is a very crucial matter that I would like to join hands with friends, who would be free to speak about it,to start a sort of group, a safe space that can help. It has happened to many of us, it can get really dark, but you can also get out of it. Friends willing to partner, hit me up.

Until next time.

The Big Three Oh Actual 

The big three oh or is it dirty 30, was something I was quite anxious about. I had set some things that I thought I would have achieved by the time I got to that age. To be honest, there are some things I haven’t gotten around to doing, but then again, in my three decade learnings, we have our own plans and God has his. So I am praying that His will be done in my life and that He guides me on what is of more importance.

So on my actual birthday, I had bought a dress for it, which I wore and felt pretty sexy about. I put on those heels and promised to stick it out the entire day (I usually wear my heels for a max of 6 hours before I start feeling like my feet have grown an extra ¼ inch in width). I had focused on happiness from within and tried to just take a chill pill on all else. In context, for the last month I have been having serious high and low moments as far as energy and being happy is concerned. Anyway, so as I was driving to work, I got a few phone calls (yeah yeah I was using my earphones) and to be honest, I didn’t mind the attention. For most of those I spoke to, they went through the emphasis of the big three oh. It was interesting to note that for some it was just the beginning of life, it was getting onto the third floor and they spoke of a more analytical, keen, focused kind of stage. For others, it was that huge monster called thatee, it was downhill from there, it demanded one to have gotten to a certain level, and it was when hardships ideally became more consistent. I definitely chose the beginning of life, being positive was what I wanted to focus on.

In the middle of the day, I got to a situation that threatened to make me angry. For those who know me, it takes a very short while to move from calmness to anger. The funniest thing was asking myself, now that I am thirty, what should my reaction be? Age is just a number, more importantly, should I start folding my sleeves? Of course not, the dress did not have sleeves, well… that and the fact that I don’t think I can even through a punch. Yap I said it, I am extremely scared of physical fights. I decided to just calm down and give it thirty minutes (see what I did there) before I reacted, just to ground myself.

Moving on, evening came and as I drove home to pick the Captain, I reminisced a lot about how far he has come and his healing. Of course I chose what he would wear, I love doing that (just so that he doesn’t quickly pull out a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, don’t tell him I said that). It was so amazing to know he could actually go out. So of we went to the location for the dinner. It was so humbling to find 6 of my close family members, one of whom included my dad. I have been a daddy’s girl forever, but my dad doesn’t like mushy events. So for him to be there, it was truly 30, so sweet and emotional. And yes my tears were very close.

The highlight of the evening after enjoying the delicious meal and wonderful conversation, was my melted ice cream surprise cake. Thank goodness I did not see it. So the lady who was handed to the cake by Sista Nice, decided not to listen to the clear message of putting it in the freezer. This was after she was told twice. What made it worse was after she delivered the sad news, she went ahead to bring what was left of the cake solo, not with like six of her colleagues to sing happy birthday as they usually do. They had done it to a lady just minutes before. Even she didn’t believe that cake was worth presenting, yet she did anyway. After some exchanges we asked to speak to the manager. This was even worse. The guy came with a fixed mind with the story he had received from his colleague, he also came with one of the staff from the kitchen. This we knew because she had an apron and a protective net on her head. The long and short was he didn’t bother to even ask what our side of the story was. So we gave it to him and asked him to come up with a solution. He came back offering sweet potato pie which we refused. Finally though we got to speak, on phone, to his manager who was kind enough to waiver our bill and offer to deliver a similar cake the following day. All in all, the element of family for me was enough to make my evening grand.

On Friday evening, dress number two was pulled out, bright as the sun and I had a drink up with a couple of my friends and family members. Those who could stand all the loud music and lots of drinks, milk and hot beverages of course. This was the most fun I had had since my early 20s. It was so amazing that I even lost a few hours. Needless to say I got home after the sun had risen. The night went from light conversation, to ice cream cake, to shots, to deep conversations shared, those that would probably never have come out of our systems if both parties had not partaken the milk. I am glad for all who showed up, were represented and contributed to my Jager bomb shots among many other drinks. I really needed to have that one night, with most of the people who I truly love. And let loose, I really did. The best part of it was that people came out from my different circles, it really reassured me. It’s been a bit hard lately.

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Delicious cake

On Saturday mid-morning, I felt like my head was 30 kilos, (yap, 30, thatee everywhere) on its own . Three of my friends had promised to take me somewhere out of town and I was still keen to prove that 30 was just a number and energy was what I had most. So off I went to meet up with them. I had a piece of KFC chicken to fight the hangover, the oily part of it really helped. So they whisked me away to Machakos county, Ol Donyo Sabuk Resort to be specific. It was quiet, serene and just a nice way to let all the alcohol get out of the system. We had lunch and just enjoyed the ambience. I might have not been of extremely great company as my old body worked out hangover manenos, but they were fantastic company.

The Macmillan’s castle, on the foot of Mt Kilimambogo was our next stop, just ten minutes away. The locals took us through some history about Macmillan including how he was seven feet tall, how guests would have to clean their feet before entering his castle, and the design of the castle being as a result of the hills in ol donyo sabuk area. We went round the castle and even to the bunkers underneath the house. That was a scary part for me as I thought of all the crazy things I had seen in movies, not to mention the darkness in some areas, and the creaky stairs we used to go down. Each of the three locals who were our tour guides had various versions of the stories that went on underground in the early 90s. That was a funny scene as they tried to out shine each other.  Macmillan’s story was shocking, with such a huge castle, they didn’t have any children. Apparently though, he really valued animals, to the extent his horses and dogs had very big spaces to call home. This opened up my eyes to how I should tour Kenya a little more and enjoy understanding the rich history it has. So grateful for my people for taking me there.

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Macmillan Castle

In between the various events though, I got some elements of stuff I want to do and a few things I would like to change. I have scribbled a few down and will work on finishing it off and just having clearer goals. I appreciate the gift of life a whole lot. The people around me have really been strong pillars as I tackled this year, which was quite challenging. I am proud of myself. I didn’t think I had some capabilities and inner strength that I now know exists. I hope I can share that story one day, just to encourage people who has gone through something similar with a loved one.

Based on my three day birthday experience, the big three oh is good for me. I would love to get to 85 like my grandma, who is a June baby as well. I can’t forget my two munchkins who make my life worth living. They are a huge part of why I would want to live longer. Thanks so much to each individual that wished me a happy birthday through whichever medium. I am grateful to God for life, good health, family and friends.

Here is to many many many more.