My Obsessions: Country Music

You don’t know a thing about love songs until you have listened to Don Williams. Described as gigantic in physical appearance, his voice is equally strong and imposing to the ear. Deep, gentle and yet sure, every sound of it tugs at your heart, leaving you feeling things you shouldn’t be feeling in the first place, thinking about people you shouldn’t be thinking about; if they exist, yet you cannot resist it’s effect. I love his lyrics, his sound. I love Country music. Leave alone reading about it in books, listening to Country songs was my first real experience of love.

LOVE…. that emotion that has been associated with so much good and bad, so much joy and sorrow and all other kinds of emotions, given various definitions and represents something different to every single person in this world. We don’t even understand how much God loves us. We read it in the Bible but we do not live up to that measure of love. And when it comes to the romantic kind of love, I personally cannot begin to describe the joy and pain I have experienced. But if you were to ask me to reference some love songs, I would quickly list a number of song titles from the genre of Country.

From Islands in the Stream by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, to Living on Love by Alan Jackson, to fresh relationship advise from the gentle giant himself, Don Williams. He will tell you that Flowers won’t Grow in gardens of Stone, the ground must be tended, reminding us that we must put in the work for the love to grow and stand the test of time. He sings about falling love, enjoying the bliss of being in love, struggling in love and being heartbroken. God gifted him with a voice that moves your heart within your chest as you listen to him sing.

This gentle giant left this world on the 8th day of September, 2017, leaving a huge feeling of longing in my heart. He recorded some of the best love songs of all time, I never understand why they are rarely played at weddings in this country.  Ooh at mine, they will be heard in plenty. I have also found comfort and reassurance in lyrics like these;

I can see your heart is achin’
He hurt you more than he knew
But should you ever want to love again
I’ll be faithful to you.

You’ve been crying like a willow
When the night bird sings so blue
Trust was broken but hearts will heal
And I’ll be faithful to you.

In this world of pain and sorrow
Where a promise won’t hold true
Here’s a vow you can be sure of
I’ll be faithful to you.

So let me dry away your lonesome tears
Like the sun melts morning dew
And I will wrap you up in true, true love
And I’ll be faithful to you.

In this world of pain and sorrow
Where a promise won’t hold true
Here’s a vow you can be sure of
I’ll be faithful to you.

I’ll be faithful to you…

We all want that kind of commitment in our relationships. But again he is realistic, and sang that Some broken hearts never mend,  and re-echoes this pain in another song, It Only Rains on Me in which he says;

Broken dreams and drowned parades,
Lovers who just slip away
Guess I learn to live that way,
It only rains on me.

The gentle giant agrees that while you’re in love, you sometimes cannot express how you feel but can;

Listen to the radio

“The words I’d say
Don’t seem to sound as real
The songs they play
That’s how I really feel, so.”

You’re falling in love with these songs already, huh? There over two hundred songs he left us with. And you cannot miss his humor in some of the lyrics like I believe in You;

…………………

I dont believe virginity
Is as common as it used be
In workin’ days and sleepin’ nights
That black is black and white is white
That Superman and Robinhood
Are still alive in Hollywood
That gasoline’s in short supply
The risin’ cost of gettin’ by

But I believe in love
I believe in old folks
I believe in childrenhttps://wordpress.com/post/breakinglymyts.wordpress.com/2555
I believe in you.

I believe in love
I believe in babies
I believe in mom and dad
And I believe in you.

We have lived in the Shelter of Your Eyes, loving you Desperately, and believe in Falling in Love Again because there is Just Enough Love, we should be Running out of Reasons to Run, and we are now sure that when all is failing, you gave us a Shot full of Love, to last us Till All the Rivers Run Dry, and all the prayer to say is Lord, I Hope this Day is Good.

There is so much more to write about Don Williams’s music, It Must be Love, but I won’t pretend I know it all. Besides, he is not the only one I am obsessed with when it comes to this genre. The uniqueness of this music introduced me to a whole world of love, pain, and lyrics that are so true, I cannot think of a topic without a Country song to match it. From matters of the heart, to raising a family, to working on a job, to being a soldier, drinking beer, being a man, being a woman, remembering the faithful departed, etc. This music genre explores everyday life, to a point of writing, recording and releasing a song about a particular event just a couple months after it happened. Alan Jackson’s Where Were You (When the world stopped turning) relates with the events of 9/11, when the twin towers in USA were bombed by terrorists in 2001, killing so many people and wounding countless others.

Where were you when the world stopped turning on that September day?
Were you in the yard with your wife and children
Or working on some stage in L.A.?
Did you stand there in shock at the sight of that black smoke
Risin’ against that blue sky?
Did you shout out in anger, in fear for your neighbor
Or did you just sit down and cry?

Did you weep for the children who lost their dear loved ones
And pray for the ones who don’t know?
Did you rejoice for the people who walked from the rubble
And sob for the ones left below?
Did you burst out with pride for the red, white and blue
And the heroes who died just doin’ what they do?
Did you look up to heaven for some kind of answer
And look at yourself and what really matters?

[Chorus:]
I’m just a singer of simple songs
I’m not a real political man
I watch CNN but I’m not sure I can tell
You the difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith, hope and love are some good things He gave us
And the greatest is love

…………………………………………………………..

[Chorus x2]

And the greatest is love.
And the greatest is love.

Where were you when the world stopped turning on that September day?

May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. They left a world full of disgruntled souls. Dolly Parton complained about working 9 to 5. And true, some of these employers are a total thorn in your foot. She said;

Workin’ 9 to 5,
What a way to make a livin’
Barely gettin’ by
It’s all takin’ and no givin’
They just use your mind
And they never give you credit
It’s enough to drive you crazy
If you let it
9 to 5, for service and devotion
You would think that I
Would deserve a fat promotion
Want to move ahead
But the boss won’t seem to let me
I swear sometimes that man is out to get me

The hustle is real. Other artists have shared their opinion on the same like Kacey Musgraves in Blowin’ Smoke, painting the grim side  of being employed and sitting on your dreams. Some of the songs are so inspiring, my personal favorite is Lee Ann Womack’s I Hope You Dance and I cant help but share the lyrics;

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder,
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger,
May you never take one single breath for granted,
GOD forbid love ever leave you empty handed,
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.

I hope you dance….I hope you dance.

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance,
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Livin’ might mean takin’ chances but they’re worth takin’,
Lovin’ might be a mistake but it’s worth makin’,
Don’t let some hell bent heart leave you bitter,
When you come close to sellin’ out reconsider,
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.

I hope you dance….I hope you dance.

I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.

As if love, inspiration and our daily hustle aren’t enough, we pay tribute to those we have lost. Songs like I Drive your truck by Lee Brice, a tribute to a deceased brother, Midnight in Montgomery by Alan Jackson to mention but a few. And more to appreciate about Country music, the Lord is worshiped very passionately. From countless covers of  The Old Rugged Cross, Amazing Grace and What a Friend we have in Jesus, to special dedications like Jesus, Take the Wheel by Carrie Underwood, and reminders that “….some of God’s greatest gifts, is UNANSWERED PRAYERS” by Garth Brooks. You just gotta love it, or you already do but like many out there, do not know it’s actually Country Music.

We could go on and on but this post is meant to be a tribute to one of my all time favorites in the Country music industry, now the late Don Williams.

Oooo Gentle Giant, you may be gone, but

You placed gold on my finger
You brought love like I’ve never known

And with your music;

You’re my anchor in life’s ocean
But most of all you’re my best friend.

Rest in peace Cowboy.

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The Unconscious Bias

I recently attended an event hosted by Zimba Women, a company that uses tech to find innovative solutions to create sustainable futures for African women, which took place at the Innovation Village, Ntinda Complex, Kampala, Uganda. While at first, I honestly showed up to please my friend who works with the organisation, and had planned to stay no longer than thirty minutes, the topic of the evening had me hooked till the very end of the session, which was way past 9:00PM. The discussion was too personal for me that I just had to stay and hear it all. But first things first.

According to Google, Unconscious bias happens by our brains making incredibly quick judgments and assessments of people and situations without us realizing. Our biases are influenced by our background, cultural environment and personal experiences.

I couldn’t agree more. And most times, people don’t know they are inflicting the unconscious bias.

Women are the most affected by the unconscious bias and it follows them everywhere. From home, to school, to the workplace and in all types of relationships. There is always that prejudice that a woman is incapable, undeserving, unqualified, and all other forms of bigotry. Not only does it bury us under the mad, it also takes a whole lot of will power to overcome. And often times, the woman has to endure all sorts of insults and rejection to get to the point where she is accepted. Many, unfortunately, give up the fight because their self esteem is wounded beyond repair. I have a sister who would rather sit away from everyone else at a family gathering for fear of not fitting in. I cannot count how many times, I have personally not risen to the occasion because I was told I can’t or it’s inappropriate. And for a long time, I have hesitated where I should have acted. In the end, you’re left with only regrets. What if’s, I wish I had, etc. Not a fancy way to live, I tell you.

I am also a big believer in the proverb “Charity begins at home”. And in many families, comparisons are a very common form of unconscious bias. I was once called ‘second hand’, in comparison to my older sister because I wasn’t as bright as her in their opinion. But we are gifted differently and my gifts were overlooked at the time. To this day, it’s still the same in a way and I sort of gave up on trying to please them. Lucky for me, I met ‘encouragers’ who taught me that I am enough and do not have to rise up to anybody else’s given standards. I cannot imagine what it would have been like, had that sister been a boy.

Being the youngest in the family, my opinion also often goes unheard or downplayed. Very discouraging but true. And I am not the only one. In Africa, the older person is deemed to be wiser and the younger one must always obey. But it is not always the case. Older or not, we are all gifted differently and can make a difference together. I have seen a number of people in my close circles make mistakes that they have lived to regret, simply because the one person who was right, was younger than they are, and therefore, their opinion did not count.

National exams every year are rated basing on who did better between boys and girls. The most competitive subjects in schools (STEM) are encouraged among the boys while the girl is taught Home Economics like they do not already do the chores everyday they are at home. Generally, the girls are not considered intelligent enough to excel as highly as the boys, yet the opposite is true. I cannot to begin to share about what happens in the workplace. It’s disheartening.

A recent article I read, 15 Eye-opening Comics That Perfectly Illustrate Double Standards In Our Society published at http://shareably.co/double-standards-comics/ clearly illustrates some of these unconscious biases. Example:

Unconscious Bias

And while the girls are the most affected, some boys suffer in the process as well. The weaker ones are called feminine and many other funny names and are often left out or given lesser credit than they deserve. If he has a softer voice, it’s a problem. If he is skinny, it’s a problem. And so many other examples. But if you put this same boy in the same situation as the girl, he will most likely emerge the winner.

Culture has preconditioned us to look at life from an imbalanced point of view. Scripture itself is often misinterpreted in this regard. While the woman was created to be the humbler and much softer in how she approaches life, it doesn’t mean that she is weak. On the contrary, that is where her strength lies and all she needs is an audience. Hear her out and you will be amazed.

A lot has been argued on this subject and movies made out of it. And this unconscious bias spreads further than boy vs girl. You will see it in how people with different skin colors treat each other. The white people look at blacks and other races as incapable of being like them and we in turn unconsciously subscribed to the thought that they are better than us. We dress like them to fit in the world, women straighten their hair in Africa because it is appealing. I personally just learned that my kaweke is actually the natural kind of hair I am supposed to have. I honestly believed it was the worst type of hair ever and did what every other woman before me was doing; I relaxed it. Well, i kinda love it straight, but I am in the process of going back to my roots. I love the freedom of adorning short hair and not worrying about how combed out it must be. Am also tired of the chemicals used to keep my hair sane. Phew! Watch the space.

I could go on and on on this. About the skills am just learning now because I grew up in a place where it was believed that I  didn’t need them. One of those is driving. Yes, is still can’t drive. So lame. A couple years back, I asked a close family member to teach me how to drive and he made it clear that I did not need the skill. The next day, he was teaching his 13 year old son to drive. The boy had just started high school, and I asked myself why he needed to learn how to drive and I didn’t. For a long time, this bothered me and on the day this event was held, the puzzle was solved for me. It all became clear why this had happened. They did not intend to turn down my request, it was a subconscious belief coming to life. I had to let go of the resentment that my younger self had strongly held on to. And there is so much more to let go of, so much baggage attributed to this unconscious bias that I have to clean out. Some of it, I have unconsciously picked up. But that is life. We learn all the way. Every single day.

I am still finding out more on this subject. One of those other things that has been gnawing at me is being referred to as a “Millennial”. I passionately hated it until I learnt that I actually fall in that age bracket and that it is not necessarily a bad thing. Well, depends on who is talking. Lol.

Until next post. #BreakingLymyts

Boss Baby

THE BOSS BABY

I love animations, so much. They are entertaining for one, but even more than any other movie ‘genres’, are very closely related to our everyday life. But as adults, we have that unconscious bias when it comes to sitting down and watching an animation. We downplay them so much like we were born this age, but c’mon, if you enjoyed them as a child, they are still a part of you and every once in a while, you can crush on that popcorn and laugh away watching one.

Unlike you, am a total boov for these stories. I can’t even begin to count how many I have watched. Some of the most entertaining ones have been the uncommon titles. Case in point is Strange Magic. The music was spot on, the character development was impressive and the story line, of course, was haa…so much fun, Unforgettable. When things get rough and I’m unsure, I see my little elf friend singing to me;

“Don’t worry, about a thing. Every little thing, is gonna be alright.”

I better stop there, because I am already getting into the groovy mood. You know Bob Marley lyrics always get one on their feet. And for the boov I am, each emotion comes with its own color. Only those who have watched Home can understand. But imagine this, what if each emotion we felt manifested with a color on our skin. Something like;

If you lie – Green

If you’re happy – Pink

If you’re unsure/uncertain – Orange

In pain – Red

Etc. How colorful would like be? Hahahaha, forgive this boov. Something else I found fascinating in the movie Home, was the representation of the Boov race. It was the typical Human race. The best species at running away. No balls whatsoever to face our issues head on but rather find someone to blame and keep running away from responsibility or being held accountable. A leader sells a lie to their followers and forever they follow blindly and none of them ever stops to examine where the danger is coming from and what can be done about it. We would all rather live in Happy Humans Town, eating all things nice and living with no consequences, huh? We pretend to be so serious, so tuned to an empowering kind of music, when we could just play the right music and celebrate life. That dancing scene cracks me up all the time, even by just thinking about it. Hahahaha. I hear; “My hands are in the air, like I just do not care”. And; “…………..it’s shaking in the most undignified way.” Bwahahahahaha we humans complicate life. And the winner in this movie, was the Boov English. Tihihihihihi, you have to watch it to know what am saying.

One of the most inspiring ones, was Zootopia. At least this title was all over the place. On billboards and showing in cinemas. That soundtrack by the beautiful Shakira was my ringtone for about six months. The song is just inspiring, the chorus says;

I won’t give up, no I won’t give in, till I reach the end, then I’ll start again. No I won’t leave, I wanna try everything, I wanna try even though I could fail.

Just read that again. And yes, it comes with a very groovy beat to shake to. It’s worth a download. I wanna say more about this one but Moana keeps knocking on the door. She is one persistent future leader. She is actually the heiress to her father, the village chief’s throne. She will dare face a demi-god and make him do as she says, to save her people. Oh, the ocean roots for her, so u better watch out. I loved Moana so much, I could re-watch it and still be in awe like it’s the first time am seeing it. Believe me. The music was amazing, and I picked a lot of life advise from there. In one scene, while referring to the stupid hen; or was it a cock, she said;

“Sometimes our strengths lie beneath the surface.”

That line stayed with me and it encourages me to dig deeper withing myself when I feel like I have hit the wall and want to give up. We tend to miss out on great opportunities because we let give up too quickly or our search is too shallow. You have to look farther into the future, paint it and then dig deeper within yourself to find the answers to that which you have envisioned. You might have a different interpretation, please do share in the comments section.

For all the daring, with a strong urge to achieve your dreams, despite the odds, Ballerina and Brave are a must watch. The non-believers in miracles and the existence of an another life alongside our own, Epic is the one for you. The Smurfs too. I want to move on to the title story but the old school guys don’t want to be left out. Shout outs to Shrek, Madagascar, Up, Rango, Lion King, the Barbie movie collection, awwwwww Frozen! This was another great and memorable one. Let it go still plays in households and there times my ears pick it up and the excitement is still as new. But of course the message is strong. At times we hold on too much, while trying not to hurt/offend others, yet we hurt/offend them in the process of trying not to hurt/offend them. The best way to make people around you happier is to stop trying to please them and take care of you. The happier you are as a person, so will those around you be.

Let it go!

A few lines from the song say;

It’s funny how some distance
Makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me
Can’t get to me at all!

It’s time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me. I’m free!

Let it go, let it go

Then there is Toy Story, Sinbad, the fairy tales like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast; I could go on and on.

Now it’s time for my current favorite guy, Boss Baby. This lil man has been making my days since I first watched the movie. I cannot tire of re-watching him. We all know babies are so bossy by nature; they demand what they want and will scream your ears off if it is not granted. But there is another irony to this story, one that shows the other side of humans, especially those who hold a certain degree of authority. And am talking about authority on all platforms. Church, in families and of course the most loved ones; the politicians. But even more importantly, YOU and me. We all, to a certain degree, are authority figures and we have those people we push around, just because we can. But here is why I say so.

Let’s face it, when babies arrive, so much changes. Parents shift their attention from the existing toddlers to the new born, schedules change; and I mean for everyone. Panic when they won’t stop crying. Everything is re-organised to accommodate them. And so was the case in this story, except that this time, we have a baby in a suit and he talks. He is actually a high profile fellow on undercover business. Of course, they eliminate the gruesome task of birth and create a factory for babies that we all at one point believed was a real place as kids. At least, I did. Mummy couldn’t answer my question of where babies come from until much later in my young life.

Boss Baby is a whinny needy little person one moment and the next finds him shouting orders and delegating tasks. I honestly thought about our members of Parliament while watching this. Those moments when; they received tablets like a baby is given gifts, when they are demanding an increment in their perks like salary, new cars, etc, whining about it like life depends on it, to delegating their work to assistants while they take breaks somewhere in the name of a retreat of sorts. They are still being fed and when you inquire about work, they are too busy delegating. They won’t lift a finger. Of course the blame never falls on them but on the “government” like they are not part of it.

It’s not just them, though. It’s all of us. From men who hired their wives to run the home. They are busy delegating when they are hanging out with a woman who is not their wife but expect a faithful submissive wife when they get back home. Or when he follows his dreams, leaving the wife to give up all of hers but she is still expected to be excited about life and being a wife, motherhood and all. To employers who would rather fire you, than know you have something else going on for you outside of work. I have seen a teacher punish one little girl for wearing trousers during holidays. Not at school or to any school activity but during her time away from school, with her family. We also have friends who will boss you around like it supposed to make you famous.

Boss Baby was an entertaining story for me. But the person I am couldn’t help but notice how we abuse authority just because we can. And the things we will do when we feel threatened. We become masters of disguise. True story! One will destroy an innocent life should they feel threatened. Puppies were taking over the world and more people were opting to get a dog than have a child, which did not appeal to Baby Corps and they did what they had to do. In the process, threatened one little boy’s relationship with his parents as an only child and also endangered the parents’ lives. We will do so much to get away with guilt.

The plight of the human race is somewhat highlighted in this movie and I recommend that you watch it and please, do share your reviews.

#BreakingLymyts

 

 

Blessed Assurance

On my knees, I sing;

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

Refrain:
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.

Faith like a child’s is so hard to maintain the older you grow, because the needless worry about things of this world takes over your being like the wave of the ocean slapping against the rocks laid across it’s shores. It comes with a force you’re not prepared for and could sweep you into the unknown depths of the ocean if you’re not strongly rooted where you stand.

Much as we all want it to be smooth for us, life is not meant to be easy. It is meant to be lived and some times will be good, other times rough. And through all this, only one thing can keep us on our feet, pushing on toward that ray of hope in the distance, and that is FAITH! Faith in the Lord Jesus or whatever higher power you believe in.

I am not a preacher but I believe in the saving love of Christ. That His Cross is a blessed assurance of love and mercy for me. Mehn! There have been moments when all the strength I have left is to give it all up to Him who understands what I feel like no other person ever will.

Perfect submission, perfect delight,
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;

Faith, like every other thing in one’s life also has seasons. (Especially if your living a typically normal life like mine.)

The first season is when you’re a child. You have complete trust in the powers above to make everything alright for you. The powers above are represented by God, as you are told and your parents. You just have to ask and you will receive or a gentle explanation is given if they cannot cater to your needs. But your faith in this season is unwavering. You’re totally rooted and nothing can shake you. You can even comfortably threaten a bully in your dad’s name because you know he will defend you.

Then comes the young adulthood season; from your mid teens and stretches to your mid-twenties. You’re discovering things, emotions and learning about consequences. Your wild at heart and do not want to hold back, but the pain associated with making wrong choices and disobedience of advice from those who know better gets to you. Even the lack of advice at all. Then you begin to question your faith in God and your parents, the powers above are no longer that reliable. They are letting you face the storm and you strongly feel it’s unfair. You begin to re-distribute your faith. You put it in friends and other people who are appealing to you, you begin to trust in material things because you feel like to conquer and have a name among your peers is what matters. All meaning of life gets distorted and you sink further and without a strong hand to keep you in check, you get lost completely. But at the back of your mind, you remember the faith your parents taught you and you struggle with sticking to it or finding your own path, after all, it worked or even still works for them like it did for you back in the day.

Angels descending bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

Then comes the season of adulthood and responsibilities. You either return to the faith you knew as a child and rekindle your relationship with the Lord or find a new path you believe will make life more meaningful. Bottom line, you take the path that gives you strength, because at this stage you have realized the mistakes of your youth and can now see the bigger picture and desire to live up to your life’s purpose according to the will of the Lord. You’re more intentional now; you lose some friends and make new ones because of what they represent for you and what value they add to your life. And as you de-clutter your spiritual life, the right people start to come along. They become the angels sent by God to give you guidance and remind you of how much you are loved. In them you find the mercy promised by God and you feel blessed and each day become more grateful for the gift of life.

I have friends who despite the distance between us, have become a daily source of spiritual nourishment. Through daily devotion and scripture readings, they have continued to remind me that all hope is not lost. There are movies that have shown me that my prayer strategy is lacking and through the story line you see how to fight the battles of this world the right way. War Room is one I recommend for all to watch.

What you choose to believe can either bless you or doom you. If your faith tells you that your way is the right way and others are wrong, you better think twice. We are all different and what works for you may not work for the other. We have divided the Lord basing on our human beliefs and this has in turn divided us as His people. We, therefore, have to look beyond what we think is right or wrong and live in Christ unconditionally. Like one song by Rhonda Vincent says;

There are many people, who will say they’re Christians
And they live like Christians on the Sabbath day
But come Monday morning, till the coming Sunday
They will fight their neighbor all along the way

Oh you don’t love God
If you don’t love your neighbor
If you gossip about him, if you never have mercy
If he gets into trouble, and you don’t try to help him
Then you don’t love your neighbor
And you don’t love God

We ought to pray for each other because we are not meant to change the other but lead by example. Jesus did not force any one to change who they were to love Him. He loved us all unconditionally and we saw by His example a worthy way of life, one that will guarantee us eternal life. But not all will believe. He was hanged by non-believers, and by fighting them today or trying to win them over doesn’t guarantee they will truly love Him. Best we can do is love them and forgive those who insult our faith and pray for them.

Perfect submission, all is at rest;
I in my Savior am happy and blest,

Last week, I buried my aunt. And during her funeral service, the one thing that stood out was her strong faith in the Lord. And as the priest delivered his homily, he said that “we did not choose to come into this world and neither can we choose when to leave. Life therefore, is a gift we must appreciate regardless of the challenges we face”. Aunt battled cancer and despite all, she emerged a victor.

I pray that going forward, the season of a renewed love for God grows stronger and that all desires, decisions and choices are made in the Lord. For He only can bring us true joy, peace and satisfaction.

We each have our spiritual foundation and mine is in the Catholic faith, many have persuaded me to change that but it is as good as asking me to give up my identity because someone said so. It is through the Catholic church that I know Christ and honor Him through the sacraments. I will not persuade anyone to change to ‘my’ church, because first its not mine but Christ’s church and I had rather love them for who they are. They are God’s amazing and unique creation. And if something about me draws them closer to the Lord, I pray they recognize Him and not wander far and wide trying to find Him. For me He is always in the Blessed Sacrament, and His mercy, providence and love manifest through my neighbors. I have seen His grace and experienced His love in my daily moments of need. Some look for miracles to see him, some look for other people they believe are anointed to experience the love of God. I believe we all have seen the Lord but we did not recognize him because we have put a limit to who He is for us.

Let’s open our hearts to His Blessed Assurance that we will see Him, that he walks with us everyday and that whatsoever we do to the least of our neighbors, we have done unto the Lord. We are all created in the likeness of God, and we should pray for the grace to see the Lord in each other and be Heaven’s ambassador to those around us.

Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with his goodness, lost in his love.

I rejoice for the Lord is so good to me. His mercy is unending and His love sustains me. May I always recognize His hand in all my life even when all seems dark and low. I pray for all creation, and especially for the human race, that we may all recognize each other as brothers and sisters and live as one in God.

Amen.

 

Nothing

Listening to the only total Country radio station in Uganda, 92.7 BOB FM the other day, and a love song came on in which the singer was apologizing to a woman he loves but had previously cheated on. And he says to her, somewhere in the second verse of the song that; I quote,

“…she(the other woman) meant nothing to me….”.

For some reason that line stayed with me. It’s actually haunted me and the implication of that phrase is weighing heavily on my heart. I thought of the one who broke my heart and wondered if he told the one he left me for that I meant nothing, if at all she knows about me anyway. I thought of what it really means for a man to say to me that another woman, one he actually lay with and enjoyed it, meant nothing to him. She is a woman, and could have given of herself so lovingly, only to be seen as nothing. I wondered to whom else I meant nothing. And how many women out there mean nothing to any given man.

My mind is racing back and forth over this and it has honestly made me question all the relationships I presently have with the male species. From a brother, to a distant relative, to friends and acquaintances. To all who have told me I am beautiful, those who have kissed me or merely intended to have something with me, but somehow never followed through, was it because I meant nothing?

How many other women out there have been hurt because they meant nothing to someone they truly cared for?

On what basis does a man decide that a woman means nothing? And vice versa.

I know there are men out there who have had their hearts broken too by a woman who didn’t really give serious thought to their confession of love. I can think of a few in my past life, some I thought were joking, one thought I would let him leave a woman he had just had a child with just because he feels he loves me. No! I could have been that woman, you know, so I never allowed it. But seriously, any sane woman should never allow herself to come between another couple. No matter what he says or does. We all meet that someone, the attraction is unmistakable but they are taken, and nevertheless, you get tempted and lust gets the better of you. The best you can do for yourself is to walk away and stay away from such a man or woman. Run, run, run.

Relationships are diverse and can be complicated but this is only as far as we let them go. I have learned that we could be straight forward, communicate well with the other person, say what we really feel and all works out well, or we can let fear and high expectations take the wheel and drive our relationships to whatever destination they choose, if they don’t completely make you miss out because you’re afraid to reach out to the other person or totally miscommunicate your intention and lose them.

We have all had a bumpy relationship with someone, be it a family member or a friend or a significant other. The choice is really ours, whether we realize it or not. I have heard people shift blame in regard to this. Some say it is the role of the woman to make a relationship work, which makes me wonder what the man’s role is. If the woman is to make it work, why then shouldn’t she call all the shots? You know, the man takes her name, she gives the orders and he obeys, etc. After all, she lately also has to fend for the household. In a family setting, the younger one is expected to bow to the elder one and they almost always have no say and that is expected to be a fun arrangement that will inspire love and friendship? I don’t think so.

All that said, I do not believe anyone can mean nothing at all. The mere fact that you were attracted to them in anyway makes them something. Therefore, while someone gets your attention, it is okay to tell them but you ought to be very clear about your intentions. A misguided attraction can be dangerous. And if you should relate with the other person, especially for a significant other, do it right. Like a house, build the relationship from the foundation, and along the way, apply the strongest materials to keep it grounded and make it long lasting.

Many times we start relationships for the wrong reasons. I have had men approach me to have children for them and I wondered if I cannot have children, what happens to me then? They leave me for another? Others have wanted me to be their wife to cook and wash and clean, what if I have poor health and cannot do the chores, do I become nothing?

The reason why you choose to relate with someone is important. I have seen stories on the big screen and read some in books, even heard many successful people and life coaches emphasize that a strong WHY is the only fuel for anything to work. Your WHY has to be strong enough to keep you going even when everything seems hopeless.

I am not certified or experienced enough to comment further on this subject and I have only come this far writing because I must reach one thousand words, but the heaviness triggered by the lyrics of that song is one I have personally decided to correct, at least for myself.

I am in this moment reviewing all the relationships I have, especially with the male species and feel so determined to right what feels out of place. To make my intentions clear. And to love unconditionally those I cannot get rid off , like family. And for the friends I will choose to keep, it will be for the right reasons, the WHY has to be clear and they should know about it too. And should they not agree, I will be flexible to re-negotiate the terms without compromising my values and belief system.

With family and my lady friends, the WHY has to be clear as well. And unconditional love will be what I offer, because I want it for myself. I know what it feels like to find yourself standing alone yet there are so many people in your life. But because you are misunderstood and misjudged, reduced to feel like nothing, you dare not reach out. I once read about how to love more by caring less, and the concept defined in that article applies for me. I will put it to use for the sake of loving my people unconditionally.

God forbid the day I will call someone, anyone, NOTHING.

 

 

 

My Obsessions: Travelling

“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.” – Anonymous

God knows this is one of my favorite activities in life. In one word; Adventure. I like to see new places, hear new languages and relate with new people. I love my homeland, so much but there is something knowledge of another world adds to your life, a sort of flavor, just like curry and salt do to what would have been plain soup. Or polka dots on what would have  been a plain cloth; and mix the colors up. Will ya?

Like everyone else, I have a dream destination. The day I will set foot in Venice, Italy, the world will know what ecstatic really is. A dear friend and mentor, Dr.Sabrina Kitaka did me a major injustice during her recent visit to this heavenly city by updating me constantly on the sights and sounds she was experiencing. My imagination never fails me, all I had seen there was coming to life on my phone as I played and replayed the videos and re-viewed the pictures. Am very grateful that she did though, it just lit the fire even brighter for this dream to be a reality. I just told God that this has to happen for me before He calls me home. He is my father, He has to understand what this means to me.

Amen! Thank you, Lord.

“You don’t have to be rich to travel well.” – Eugene Fodor

In Uganda, those who travel are seen as very privileged. Whether it’s for work; where they most times see nothing more than their hotel room and conference venue, or pleasure. Now those who travel for pleasure are super privileged. Don’t even talk about those who get to live abroad. Well, there is a disclaimer for that. These things are making me appreciate my homeland and love it even more. I wouldn’t have known, had I not broken the border barriers between my homeland and the other worlds. Now this may make you think I have traveled far and wide, on the contrary. I have so far only visited our neighbors to the East and South West; namely Kenya and Rwanda in case your Geography is on leave right now. But it’s just the beginning, there are more borders calling me to cross them, and I will.

So many great people have talked about the benefits of travelling and just a few have been quoted in this particular article, starting with the opening quote. But more importantly, we have all witnessed how privileged those who have traveled are. Leave alone your fellow villagers being all over for having visited a great city like London. I mean privileges in knowledge and understanding. You just know so much more than the average person when you travel. From how to make use of technologies around you, understanding rules and guidelines, and also a first hand awareness of what many don’t know. It could be as small as being comfortable in a lift, yet others still throw their insides up just by sitting in a moving vehicle.

“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” – Gustave Flaubert

When you experience new cultures and interact with different worlds, you are humbled beyond kings and entire royal courts, because you realize how much bigger the world is and that you are just a small portion of the larger whole. You realize that you are not the best at anything, that there is more. And this encourages you to dream bigger and aim higher in life because the potential to grow is magnified when you see what has been achieved out there.

“To awaken alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.” – Freya Stark

In your usual world, you know what to expect when you open your eyes, when you step outside the door, and you pretty much can tell what the day will be like until your back to bed at night. But in a strange town, a new place your visiting, the moment you open your eyes and realize it’s not your usual environment, your curiosity is awakened. You get anxious and yet are excited to experience a whole new world. You literally step out into that new town cautiously because you don’t know what to expect but most importantly, you are aware of your surroundings like never before. You are truly alive and awake. Taking in every sight, living every moment as it comes. It’s exciting. On my first visit to Nairobi, I took the night bus, and daylight broke with a view of the beautiful rift valley lake Nakuru in the distance. It was a breathtaking sight. I did not blink for the remainder of the journey to Nairobi. Everything was new, and I wanted to know all about it. Here at home, I could easily use the same street for months without ever noticing a shop or landmark lying there in the open. Do not be surprised when you ask someone the name of a building in town and they do not know it yet the pass it everyday. Yet they will be completely aware of where they are in strange town.

“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” – Andre Gide

I love Kigali, because I found it so peaceful. Just how I like to unwind and relax everyday. Something about this city that just gives me a peace like none I know back home. I cant explain. But of course my beautiful friends just make it all worthwhile. I cannot wait to go back there.

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” – Saint Augustine

We have so much out there waiting for us to discover it and all we have to do it set out and see it all. I am guilty of not visiting the major tourist sites in Uganda and I have already started organizing for this mighty trip around the country. And I will have plenty stories to share with you.

Otherwise, do not confine yourself to just one world, get out there and see more of God’s creation. I see people comment wrongly about things they have never experienced, people they have never met and places they have never been to. While you may feel cool amongst your peers, you are just a big fool for commenting ignorantly about anything. Go there first and talk with facts, then you have authority to talk. And thus, I will leave you with this quote, which is my goal going forward;

“Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.” – Anonymous

 

we need more heroes doing some self-sacrifice to save other people’s lives in Uganda

This is so heartbreaking. We all need to take action to better the service quality in our country.

scare-a-hero

UCI Building Photo from http://socialjusticeblog.kweeta.com/

OVER the last couple of weeks Uganda has talked a lot about the deaths of two celebrities, and the sensationalism around their passing.

Over coffee with the BBCs Alan Kasujja and Kinetic’s Cedric Ndilima this week, they pointed at the front page of Daily Monitor that day and their lead story about the death of Simon Ekongo (22).

My eyes were first drawn to the part of the caption that read, “Simon died at the weekend…” which caused me some mild anxiety for obvious reasons. 

Then I imagined the acute anxiety of the people who are actually related to Simon, and changed perspective because of the reality they were facing.

I have said a prayer for Simon Ekongo, and hope his soul Rests In Peace, and that his family finds solace at this trying time.

The comment about Simon Ekongo that caught me was: “See how this story…

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