Book Teaser 6: THRIVING CREATIVES

Friends, I’ll share just one more teaser as I plan for upcoming exciting and beautiful content for you my creatives. Enjoy the read from my book THRIVING CREATIVES. This is an excerpt from the business chapter.

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Most creatives tend to be creatives first, then business people second. There are, of course, some that are just as business-driven right from the start but the majority that I have encountered are more concerned with creativity initially and then learn business skills along the way. I am no exception despite having an early exposure to trade.  While in the third year of my secondary school, I developed a real love for Microsoft Power Point. It was one of the first computer programs I learnt and through experimenting with the different templates, I found out that I could make gift cards and bookmarks. My mum, who is super awesome, bought a laminating machine for me to make bookmarks. She officially became the first investor I would ever have through that action. She encouraged me to sell the bookmarks in my boarding school and I sold each at 3,000 Ugandan shillings. The first school term I did this, I sold out! That was the real beginning of my journey of being turned into a business person and not only a creative. From that moment on, it’s like something within me had been ignited. 

This thing called business enabled me to make my own money and it felt super empowering. Thereafter, I made sure that I often had something to sell. When I got to university in 2008, paper bead jewellery had become rather trendy.  I remember going to one of the craft markets in Uganda and buying necklaces and bracelets in bulk. I’d then take them with me to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania where I was studying and finally sell them there for 3 to 5 times the price of purchase. I sold all my jewellery to my fellow university students. The interesting thing is despite the ridiculous profit margins, they were cheap for the Tanzanians because of the difference in the currencies and standards of living in both countries. I also sold new clothes that I’d bought from the wholesale imports shops downtown in Kampala during my university years. The first person who introduced me to these clothes was my sister-in-law – Happiness. She opened up yet another world for me. I became thoroughly intrigued by fashion. 

My desire to do business was insatiable. This did not mean I was suddenly great at business. Later, I learned so much more when I opened my first ever formal business. It was after opening up the House of KEA that it dawned on me that business was not just buying and selling or making and selling, for that matter. It was a whole new world with different rules. I realised that selling within the confines of school with such a ready market of hundreds or thousands of students was different from selling in the real world with numerous tastes and preferences. I quickly realised I had to grow as a business person or I wouldn’t survive in the market. Since then, I have become a perpetual learner of business. 

Since 2015 when I started the House of KEA, I have subscribed to business magazines and websites such as smallstarter.com. I have also gone for different growth programs such as The Creative Enterprise Program by British Council and Nesta, YALI’s Regional Leadership Program under the Business and Entrepreneurship class, one-on-one business coaching and any business seminar I came across and was available for. I am eager to learn and soak in all the knowledge I can get because I know now that as a creative that wants to make really good money from my creativity, I must learn to think and act like a successful business person. That’s the only thing that turns a creative hustle into a creative business. 

The things I share in this chapter therefore are lessons I have learnt and experienced through different avenues. They have proven useful to me and I know they will be useful to you too. 

***

That’s it for now folks, I hope you enjoyed the read. Again, the rest is in the book and it’s only 50,000 Ugandan shillings.

Love,

Keziah.

Book Teaser 5: Thriving Creatives

Hello again friends,

Yet another short teaser is here for you, from chapter 6 on the health of the creative.

***

With a big vision comes the desire and need to live a long and healthy life. I can’t talk about this with good authority because this has been one of my weakest areas. I’m certain you’ve had some sleepless nights, seated at a computer doing some posters or videos if you are a graphic designer. Perhaps you have spent sleepless nights editing those photos if you are a photographer. Or, as a fashion designer, you know what it means to sew from sunset to sunrise and all the way back to sunset. These creatives and many more know what it means to work tirelessly with little to no break as you do your best to beat those deadlines. For some reason, the time never seems to be enough though still, you never say no to work because you need the money or because you feel you’ll ‘find a way’. Yet, that way somehow almost always involves sacrificing your health in some way. 

If this is you, stop! You need to realise that as you labour to do one more project for one reason or another, the price you are paying may not be worth it. I can’t count the number of times I have personally slaved to complete deadlines and felt like a zombie right after completing the deadlines. 

***

Want to read more? It’s all in the book.

Love,

Keziah

A creative rooting for creatives.

Book Teaser 4: Thriving Creatives

Hello once again friends,

In this post, I will share a short excerpt from another chapter in my book – chapter 4, on good connections. In this excerpt, you will learn a few networking tips. For the rest of the tips, you need to buy the book.

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Networking Tips

A networking opportunity could find you anywhere. Some good places to network are social gatherings, at business and innovation hubs, your church, conferences, parties, and just about anywhere else where there is social interaction, whether it is offline in conventional physical settings or online in chatrooms etcetera. You are essentially building rapport so that you have a door open to build trust in the long term. That’s how you should look at networking. Here are some practical tips for you:

  1. Carefully study the people in the place you are going to and the place itself then prepare appropriately.  What kind of people are you going to meet? What’s the purpose for the meeting? What’s the social expectation by those people, if you know of any? How do people behave when there? 
  2. Get over yourself. You might think that it’s pretty strange that I offer this as a tip. What do I mean by this? I suggest that you let go of any superiority or inferiority complex, and any other fears that may be going through your mind. All people are valuable and the purpose for networking is so that you can form valuable relationships that could potentially add value to your life and your business. At my suggestion that you get over yourself, you may feel offended. If you do, ask yourself why and deal with that reason. Recognise that good networking will enhance your life and business in a significant way. 
  3. Be physically presentable and show up on time. The first impression counts and before you open your mouth to speak, people will judge you based on your appearance. Looking good also helps you feel good and, when you feel good, you’ll be more confident in your speech. 

***

That’s it folks.

Watch out for the next post.

Regards,

Keziah.

BOOK TEASER 1: THRIVING CREATIVES

I have a book coming out soon and I am besides myself with excitement. As the first in a series of teasers, I would like to share an excerpt from the preface of my book. Also, I worked with an extremely talented artist and company that brought my book cover dreams to life. A huge thank you to Moving Ads and Derrick ThaPriest. This cover has a special place in my heart.

Thank you for understanding my design brief and illustrating from scratch! This one, I believe, will go down in history. Without any further ado, here is the first teaser from THRIVING CREATIVES – A Creative Entrepreneur’s Guide:

” On a calm, drizzly afternoon, while writing the very first draft of this book, I decided to play a song I had just discovered by a Kenyan artist I’d never heard of named Mutoriah. The song – Tosheka – featured Bensoul, another Kenyan musician. Tosheka is a soulful love song that evokes nostalgia for a place you may or may not have been to in the physical realm. It is, however, a place you’ve certainly been to spiritually or emotionally at the very least. It’s a place of warmth, love and beauty, where everything in the world is great. The video was shot in a picturesque room and beautiful spaces always speak to my heart. It had a vintage look which I loved very much. However, more than all this, it was the smile on Mutoriah’s face that really gripped me. He looked happy and the joy could be seen in his eyes. It looked like he was living his best life – a purpose-filled life, and seemed to be drinking in the entire experience with child-like wonder. I was completely drawn in. That smile struck a chord in my heart because, for me, it represented a happy and fulfilled creative. It is for that smile that I am convinced God has called me to work with and facilitate the growth of creatives so that more of them can be happy and fulfilled in their work.”

You have to buy the book to read the rest but until the physical copies are released, watch out for the next teaser to give you the next juicy bit of suspense.

Be blessed.

With love,

Keziah.

LOCKDOWN AND HAIR

Lockdown found me battling hair insecurities and not knowing what to do next with my hair. For those that don’t know, going to the salon was no longer an option during lockdown though I heard later that people actually used to sneak into salons and lock the door to make it seem like there was no one in there. I wasn’t that adventurous. Previously, I had been attempting to transition to natural hair fully and so for about a year, I hadn’t put any relaxers in my hair. I simply kept plaiting and using wigs on very bad-hair days while cutting off the relaxed tips gradually. 

When lockdown stepped in, I had to cope. Two things happened in lockdown that helped me greatly: first of all, my headwrap-tying game improved greatly as you can see in the images below and, my mum became my official hairdresser even though she was paid in love and hugs. I am forever grateful for her. 

Lockdown also helped to show me that I wasn’t going to manage a fully natural look. I can almost hear the natural sisters protesting in my head even as I write this. Well, every time my hair was combed, I was in so much pain because of the entangled hair and my sensitive scalp. I always found myself resisting the urge to pick up a pair of scissors and end the pain for good – by cutting off the hair. Even if I left my natural hair exposed to air for only an hour, it would get entangled and would be painful to comb. So, what did I do? After tying all the headwraps I knew how to tie for lockdown seasons 1, 2 and 3, I accepted my fate. I trekked(because boda bodas were not yet operational) to a supermarket that had a wide range of relaxers and found a mild hair relaxer. I was done with natural hair for real. I even combed it out and took one last set of photos as mementoes. I attached one below. 

After this memento-making ceremony, my sweet-mother-turned-hairdresser relaxed the hair for me. I was so happy. Guess what though? After washing the hair, I thought to myself how they really were not joking about the mildness because my hair still looked natural as you can see below. I have to admit that for a moment, I wondered whether this is what some naturalistas(ladies with natural hair) have been doing all along; and they just refused to share the secret. The positive side is that my hair is much easier to comb now and every combing moment is no longer a pain moment. This mild-mild relaxer arrangement works for me. 

Well, if there is any lesson I have learnt, it is that hair is different and so are scalps. Sometimes you simply need to keep experimenting until you find something that truly works for you. Perhaps another lesson is to simply be creative. There is always a solution for you nearby. I am thankful to God for my mum who did my hair throughout lockdown and even suggested the mid-way hair solution that ended up working for me.

How did you ladies cope?

Until next time, I’m signing out with love. 

What I Wish People Would Stop Doing (Day 19 UgBlogMonth)

It’s never too late until it’s too late, and it’s not yet too late. I’m delighted to join the #UgBlogMonth Challenge albeit only for the final three days. It’s commendable that the Ugandan Blog Community is doing this. A new era is certainly with us and blogging is becoming a mainstream activity in Uganda, or at least more respected and loved than it used to be. 

On to the business at hand: there is one thing I truly wish people would stop doing and that is…(drumroll)…COMPLAINING!  

I feel that complaining can be likened to a sick person drinking poison in the hope that people will rush to his or her aid because suddenly things are harder. My point is that complaining actually makes you feel worse and not better. I’m not presiding as judge over this matter. I am in the defendants’ corner with the rest of the world, erring on the side that’s guilty as charged. There are all types of complaints. Some complaints are clearly easy to judge; the complainer may be loud and obnoxious. And yet it’s the subtle complaints that are even more dangerous. You know them, don’t you? Those that seem justified because after all, someone or the ‘universe’ is behind the cause of pain. Moreover, you are human and you deserve to air out the injustices in the world. Right? Maybe not. 

In his book Secrets of a Millionaire Mind, T. Harv Eker talks about the negative impact that complaining has on your ability to get rich. He even goes as far as saying that if you stopped doing this one thing, it would dramatically increase your ability to earn more. He goes further to mention that he has given this advice to his clients over the years and it has tremendously made a positive difference to their finances. He says that rich people with a rich mindset don’t complain. And even if they did, no one would pay them any attention because people don’t take too kindly to complaints about the size of a yacht, for example, especially not while so many others have ‘real’ problems. 

I am more conscious about the need not to complain and I grow daily in that regard. Some days are better than others. Yesterday in particular was not one of my strongest days on this front. However, I am grateful that I am no longer in the frame of mind where I’d make justifications for complaints. I feel terrible when the negative energy from the poison of complaints runs through me and I am instantly in a better place mentally when I choose to stop complaining. More than this, I want to be rich, I mean who doesn’t? I have no illusion that not complaining is a magic wand that will put money in my pocket. However, I know and believe that a better attitude and outlook in life greatly affects every action therefore instilling more willpower to make better choices daily. If you make better choices daily from a point of choosing to focus on the positives rather than the negatives, the opportunities instead of the challenges, you are then able to move everything in your life forward. 

That does not mean that we aren’t allowed to be sad. That’s a normal human emotion dependent on circumstances. However, to complain or not to complain is fully a choice. Yes, you read that right! We can learn to control our emotions and completely remove complaining from our default settings. This is one thing I really wish everyone would learn to do. 

Thank you for reading. If this is your first time here, subscribe, like, follow and comment below. 

Stay safe. Stay happy. Stay grateful. 

Resolve to stop complaining.

Regards, 

Keziah. 

HIS IDENTITY, YOUR IDENTITY

When I first wrote this piece a few years ago, I wrote it to myself as a reminder of my identity. It was first titled “Insecure Girl”. I shared it with a few friends and one of them shared it with a friend of hers who worked at power FM who read it out on her morning show and put it on their facebook page. I was overwhelmed by the reach and impact it had. I edited it today and I am posting this as a reminder to us of who we are. I pray this will encourage you. More to that, this is an invitation to anyone who doubts their position and identity to rest in God and have peace. Swim in His love.

 

HIS IDENTITY, YOUR IDENTITY

 

You walk into a room

And cower in a corner,

Afraid that people will see

The insecure human in you.

 

Sometimes you stand in a crowd

And boisterously brag,

Just so people won’t see

The fears you hide.

 

The past clings to you like a leech

Tugging at the strings of your heart,

The evil enemy reminds you of past sin

Saying you will never be forgiven.

 

You accepted Christ but you still struggle

With hate and envy

Bitterness and distress

Impatience and restlessness.

 

Some days are great

So you say to yourself, finally am here,

Finally I’m perfect

Only to stumble yet again.

 

Your partner walked out the door

After promising love to you

For a moment making you feel complete,

So you ignored the God-sized hole in you.

 

And that hole, it grows deeper and deeper

As you go farther and farther away,

Away from the King’s embrace,

Away from His peace.

 

But do you know my sister, my brother?

Do you really know your worth?

 

Your righteousness is not measured by

how many wrongs you did or are yet to do.

Nor is it measured by who left you

Or who stays.

Nor by who would not love you

Or who says they do.

 

Your price is not measured by who is better looking than you,

Nor by who doesn’t come close to your good looks.

Your heart is not valued by who cares for you,

or who won’t and can’t.

Neither is it measured by who hurt you,

And who won’t.

 

You are valued by the most high.

Your worth is measured by the creator

Who made the earth, sun, stars, birds, lions,

Fish, trees, shrubs, flowers and more.

A King so great yet He made you in His image,

Fashioned and created you for Him through your freewill.

 

You were called for the highest cause

Even though you are not without flaws.

You were made for the glory of the King

To make manifest your greatness rooted in Him.

He made all the delicate inner parts of your body,

And knit you together in your mother’s womb.

 

So, forget all who would not love you

Who would not care about you

Who did not see your worth.

Let go of insecurities

Forget all your past mistakes

Forget too, your good human efforts to get to Heaven.

 

Open up your heart to the King

A renewed spirit in you may He implant

In Him may you find your Identity.

You are a CHILD of the most high

You are ROYALTY

His grandeur shines on you.

 

When you fall, get back up, dust yourself up

And get back on the path.

When you rise, exalt Him.

Christ lives in you

And through the Holy spirit daily transforms you,

Renewing your mind.

 

Rest in your identity

See yourself the way He sees you; redeemed and loved.

Nothing and no one will ever separate you from His love.

You are stamped and branded for the Lord of Lords.

You are His, I am His, We are His

And in Him we find our identity.

 

Have a great week. With love, Keziah.

NOTE: Most of the images used on this blog currently, are downloaded from the internet through random searches. Where an image source is not acknowledged, this blog DOES NOT claim ownership of it and we therefore acknowledge alternative ownership. Thank you.

 

The Silent Times

A larva is the active immature form of an insect. The example of a larva is a caterpillar. The caterpillar starts out as an egg and then graduates to this form where it is able to move freely. All it does in this stage is move and eat. The eating is important for its growth. When it has finally reached its full length and weight, something else starts to happen. It transitions into an inactive stage called the pupa stage. On the outside, it feels like nothing is happening but on the inside, it’s a fast paced action scene. The caterpillar is rapidly changing. It’s tissue, limbs and organs are being completely changed and what emerges from the pupa looks nothing like the caterpillar. It’s now ready for it’s adult stage – the butterfly!

butterfly_life

I have realized that many times, our growth patterns are very similar to the butterfly’s metamorphosis stages. In different seasons, we or our ventures are at different points of the cycle. Before a business is launched, there is a lot of planning happening behind the scenes. Conception happens and then what was simply an idea starts to take form as it is shaped into an active business. However after the business is launched, there is a period of a lot of activity, a lot of movement and a lot of feeding because just like a larva, a young business requires a lot of food – money and other resources. There can come a time though, when it is seems the tide is changing and one needs to retreat into a space where new ideas and new ways need to be formed. During this stage, on the outside no change might be perceived. It might seem that nothing is happening. However, on the inside new tissue, limbs and organs are being formed.

Unlike the pupa stage of a butterfly, we as humans can go through the pupa stage several times. Any time we are getting ready to make a significant change, there is a period of considerable thought, in-depth research and consultation, planning, strategizing and praying. In that stage, on the outside, people may not see or believe that any change is really happening. The pupa seems like the caterpillar just took a nap. The insects around it might wonder why it’s taking a nap. However, on the inside it’s working. It would be pointless at this point for the caterpillar being changed to be concerned about what the insects on the outside are thinking and doing. All that matters at this stage is that it minds its business and completes its work of change. When it emerges as a butterfly, the insects around it will say, “oh, that’s what was happening! It’s beautiful”.

It’s okay to take an external pause for an internal moment of reflection. It’s okay to slow down in your venture to strategize better so that you can pick up the pace much better. It’s okay to go through periods of change. Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher said “the only thing constant is change”, so it’s an inevitable part of growth.

Growth to the next stage of your life or any venture you undertake may have several pupa stages whereby you are certainly not in the larva form but you are definitely not in the adult stage yet. In those moments, you need to take an external pause for internal change. When that season comes, know what season you are in and know that it’s okay. Mind your business in those times of your life and make those necessary internal changes so that when you re-emerge, a new and better thing manifests itself to the outside world.

The silent times of the pupa stage where there are more internal reflective conversations are a necessary part of life. Embrace them. Keep in mind though that the butterfly must emerge. So when that stage is done, get out and fly! Get up and act!

Warm regards,

Keziah.

NOTE: Most of the images used on this blog currently, are downloaded from the internet through random searches. Where an image source is not acknowledged, this blog DOES NOT claim ownership of it and we therefore acknowledge alternative ownership. Thank you.

Celebrating Dead Cows

A story is told of a prophet and his disciple traveling through a countryside. They came across a poor family of five – a couple and their three children. They lived in a pitiful hut and had only one malnourished cow for livelihood. The family partook of the milk from the cow and barely got by day by. They were poor but content and grateful that at least they were surviving.

The prophet did an unimaginable thing however. He secretly ordered the disciple to lead the cow away when the family was unaware and push it off a cliff. The disciple never forgave himself and returned to visit the family years after, to apologize for his wrongdoing.

However, in the place of the hut, there stood a mansion and cars owned by the same family. When the disciple asked them how they had made the drastic change, they told him that the disappearance of their only source of survival forced them to look for other ways to survive. They acquired and enhanced skills and used them to keep growing financially. The absence of their one comfort zone spurred them to think beyond their circumstances.

Drawing from the moral of this story, complacency and mediocrity are not things we should get familiar with. We need to want more and aspire to more. Sometimes we hold on to comfort zones that are like that cow. We feel safe because “at least we have something” and we argue that the little something is better than nothing. We forget though that being grateful for what one has does not equate to complacency. Complacency sets in as a result of a deep-seated laziness or premature settling, and loss of hope for more than the prevailing circumstances.

We need to eliminate those unhealthy comfort zones which are holding us back from achieving more. For some, the comfort zones may not be as bad as the malnourished cow. They may even be attractive medals and achievements which have given the false impression that one has made it and therefore has nothing more to work towards. Whatever your comfort zone, you need to acknowledge it and recognize that it is keeping you from something greater.

There is a need to “kill” those cows that are limiting you. Killing them may simply be a mental process that requires a change in perception and attitude. However, killing them may also involve a physical and more tangible expression such as moving to another city, ending some friendships, stopping some habits, learning a new skill, etcetera. The basic point is you must rise above and beyond those limitations.

One of my favourite quotes is by Marianne Williamson. It says,

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.

There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

After such profound words, not much more needs be said. My prayer and hope for you is that as you travel through 2018, you will think and act big, and develop habits that lead you to succeed in your plans. Wipe out excuses and mediocrity, and push for the manifestation of the greatness in you.

Love, Keziah.

PS:

Last year, my personal themes were boldness and gratitude, the boldness to seek out new opportunities and an attitude of gratitude at all times.

This year, my themes are discipline, execution and excellence, the discipline to stick to the main plan and execute things I have set out to do so that I will achieve excellence in all the goals I have set.

Reading my themes scares me, and that is a good sign, because it shows I have set a high bar that is worthy of my pursuit. I am challenging myself.

Positive growth is something we should always pursue. A healthy identity and knowledge of yourself is key to your growth. You are more than what you previously told yourself you are.

So BE MORE!

NOTE: Most of the images used on this blog currently, are downloaded from the internet through random searches. Where an image source is not acknowledged, this blog DOES NOT claim ownership of it and we therefore acknowledge alternative ownership. Thank you.

 

A Love Identity

As humans, we want to be loved and accepted. We desire intimacy with other human beings and wish for affection. However, very seldom do we recognize that love is a very conscious experience. It demands effort. It requires work!

1 John 4:8 says God is love. God is also spirit. Much as we are human, we are spirit too and when our spirits are connected to God, we assume the identity of God too. We are love.

A knowledge of being love, does not guarantee actions of love. That is why we sometimes act in ways that exhibit a lack of love. We need to follow through with tangible actions that express love.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 New International Version (NIV)

“4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails…”

The above verses show us a picture of what love is. It may indeed sound like a tough call and a very daunting task. However, all it takes is a conscious choice to act it out.

Let’s assume you are holding a grudge against someone for justifiable reasons. When you have the knowledge that love is supposed to keep no record of wrongs and that you are love, you then have the power to set yourself on a path of true forgiveness and new beginnings. All you need to do is act by forgiving the person and letting the grudge go.

On a different note, we ought to appreciate the love we receive because no one owes us any love. They choose to love us just as we choose to love.

Love also requires that we adopt an understanding nature where we step into the shoes of the people we love and make room for their shortfalls, cutting them some slack while still encouraging them to grow. We must recognize that for us to grow, someone made the allowance for us too.

Our identity is love, so we should daily transform and renew our minds and actions in a direction that shows love and lifts others up rather than tears them up.

Have a merry Christmas tomorrow, let’s show some love.

Love, Keziah.

NOTE: Most of the images used on this blog currently, are downloaded from the internet through random searches. Where an image source is not acknowledged, this blog DOES NOT claim ownership of it and we therefore acknowledge alternative ownership. Thank you.

Gratitude, the Right Attitude

One thing I picked out of today’s sermon is that saying thank you, and meaning it, is a way to let the giver know that you greatly value whatever they have given you. It is not enough to think that your internal feelings of gratitude will suffice. Gratitude has to be vocalized. As we wind up the year and meditate upon the different things that have happened, I’d like us to give thanks to God and to the people in our lives. Say thank you to someone today and honour them with your words and other forms of gifting.

Gratitude is the right attitude at all times. Even in the bad times. King Solomon said in Ecclesiastes that there is a time for everything. I believe the time for gratitude is all the time. Yes, all the time. When bad things happen, we feel bitter and hurt, and think that there is absolutely nothing we can be thankful for. I want to challenge you to look back at the bad things you’ve experienced and how you came out on the other end, when the sun had come out again. More often than not, you will find yourself wiser and stronger, especially if you dealt with the situation in the right way, with the right attitude. In the very least, at least you will be more knowledgeable and able to avoid making the same bad decisions again.

Of course there are tragic things that happen that break the spirit so badly and it becomes close to impossible to see anything good in that time. However, even in those kinds of situations, the fact that you are still alive and breathing is for a reason. You can choose to see the world as all black, but you can also choose to consciously find something to be grateful for, especially if you are still alive because that is already a sign that God has more plans for you.

I watched a video last week of a lady who had been in a fatal car accident that left her in very bad physical shape, unable to have normal bowel control (so she moves around with a bag), unable to walk (so she is always in a wheel chair) and unable to have children. What struck me though is her attitude. She said she decided to let go of her fear and insecurities and look at her situation positively. She adopted children and gives them the love others denied them. In addition, she speaks to millions of people about her situation and how she chose the right attitude. She is grateful for what she has and has let go of what she doesn’t have or can never have. I was moved beyond words for she is truly amazing. Not many have the strength to mentally recover from such a situation.

To bring it back home, on a personal level, even though I was bitterly hurt after my last relationship, which I thought was supposed to end in marriage, I still said and still say thank you to God that it ended. Imagine crying so much that the pain becomes a physical pain, soaking your pillow but still, with your lips saying, “Thank you God for I know and trust that you have a plan. There are clear reasons why this has ended and I will focus on where you are taking me rather than where I have been”. It was painful. Very. My words of gratitude did not take away the pain but my attitude is what mattered. In fact, this morning in church, I kept saying to God over and over, thank you for the tough times I went through this year. I thanked him especially about that relationship ending, and with real gratitude too, because I know now with certainty, that man was never the man for me. It does not make him a bad person, it simply means he wasn’t right, for me specifically.

And of course, gratitude is the right attitude when you are highly favoured and blessed with your heart’s desires. Give thanks for family and friends. Give thanks for life, health and work. The list of things to be grateful for is endless if you are honest with yourself.

Yes, there may be a lot you don’t have. Yes, there may be a lot you hope to achieve. However, there is a lot that you have already achieved. Celebrate your achievements even when they seem little. Celebrate people with a joyful heart.

It’s a season to be grateful but continue the spirit of gratitude beyond this season for the season for gratitude is every season.

A happy gratitude-filled festive season to you.

Love, Keziah.

Tangerine Sunsets

Imagine sitting on a beach gazing at a tangerine sunset while sipping a strawberry mojito. Now imagine that you could do that everyday. Furthermore, imagine that all day, every day, your days felt like they were filled with perfect, warm, irresistible tangerine sunsets from the beginning to the end of day. Wouldn’t that be breathtaking?

Sadly, that’s not how life is designed. The rain is as real an occurrence as the sunshine. Some days will be great and others not so great. At every level, there will be challenges of different kinds. It is simply how life is.

So how does one keep hopeful, determined and enthusiastic? Three things.

 

One.  Persevere.

To persevere is to continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty.

Pearl, a pageant contestant, gave a speech at the recently concluded Miss Malaika Ghana. She spoke of perseverance and how she believed in herself despite the discouraging remarks from naysayers who told her she was too old to contest and therefore shouldn’t even try to enter the pageant. She persisted and persevered. Through her hard work, intelligence and natural gifting, she rose to the very top five and finally took home the crown as Miss Malaika Ghana 2017. It would have been sad if she had given up at the point of being discouraged by others.

 

Two. Become a problem solver.

It’s important that one learns to enjoy solving problems. When you view each new challenge as an opportunity to solve a new puzzle and rise to the top, your perspective towards the bumps along the road will change. You start to see those bumps as opportunities to find solutions that will be beneficial to you and others. I can guarantee you that it is not easy and many times you will feel like giving up but I urge you to practice renewing your perspective each time, and solving those problems!

Last week my industrial machine had a ball of thread stuck between the enclosure where the bobbin case goes and the feed plate. As a result, it couldn’t stitch. I tried to get someone to fix it because I was worried that if I opened the machine up, I might have made the situation worse. However, as chances would have it, the technicians I reached out to were too busy to come over. At that moment, I told myself I needed to find an immediate solution and stop the hiccup to avoid any more time wastage. I put my “engineer’s cup” on and went to work. I unscrewed the plate, removed the needle and presser foot, and started removing the threads. After a little while, the solution was solved. I had never done this before. The situation taught me that being pushed into a corner isn’t such a bad thing for it forces you to think of a way out. In addition to that, it helps you grow and become more knowledgeable.

 

Three. Create your own tangerine sunsets.

When faced with a cloudy and rainy day, sometimes you need to deliberately paint some rainbows by being grateful for all you have and taking the time to celebrate what you’ve already achieved.

Enjoy your upcoming week of tangerine sunsets and strawberry mojitos.

Cordially,    Keziah.

 

NOTE: Most of the images used on this blog currently, are downloaded from the internet through random searches. Where an image source is not acknowledged, this blog DOES NOT claim ownership of it and we therefore acknowledge alternative ownership. Thank you.

In The Storm’s Heart (3)

Let’s close this mini-series on strength with a poem I wrote a few years back. If you forget everything else, just remember to reside in strength in the heart of the storm.

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Photography: Daniel Msirikale

Strength…

Strength is not the absence of weakness

It is standing when your knees are weak, and hoping when all is bleak

 

Strength’s eyes laugh while it’s heart cries

On its lips you’ll find smiles, when its tongue is filled with wounds

 

Strength is not the absence of weakness

But rather the presence of perseverance

 

To an enemy it says, come have a sit, dine with me

For I will not be shaken by your sting

 

It is the child that looks straight in the face of adversity and says

I am young but willing to fight

 

It is that subtle assurance in a storm

That everything is going to be okay

 

Strength is losing and yet knowing you have won

It is picking yourself up piece by piece and loving yet again

 

Strength is not the absence of weakness

It’s simply the presence of strength

-the end-

 

Until next time, I will keep you in my heart and mind.

-Keziah Elaine Ayikoru-