#faves: Bible Verses

I got my first and only bible when I was about 14. It was a gift from my auntie. I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it- was I supposed to read it like a story? I couldn’t quite figure it out but wanted to make an effort to read because I wanted to strengthen my knowledge and understanding of God.

To this day, I haven’t read the bible cover-to-cover. Many of the verses I know and love come from church service. I’m also really fond of the ‘Bible App’ (available on both iOS and Android) which I downloaded about a year ago. It notifies you of a daily verse, allows you to highlight your favourite verses and enables you to connect with your friends on it and see what they highlight. It’s a really cool way to grow your knowledge of the bible.

So courtesy of the bible app, here are 10 of my favourite verses.

 

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I love this verse because it’s a reminder that He’s got a plan for each and every one of us- and it is a perfect plan. No mistakes.

 

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A couple of Sundays ago, I sent this verse to my youngest sister Tania and she asked me what it means to be made fearfully. I actually never thought about it. It made me reflect and do some research- in the bible ‘fearfully‘ is used in the context of respect and reverence i.e. “fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom“. My understanding is that this means we are created in the highest regard by our Maker.

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When you are worried and fearful, this is the verse to remember. How comforting to know God walks with us even in the darkest moments.

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Guidelines for love. I don’t think there’s much I can add to this that isn’t already said in the verse- perfection.

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Discipline is never easy and but always worthwhile. This verse captures that accurately.

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The strength of the Lord is in me. Powerful.

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I love this verse because it is a reminder that even after preparing to face a challenge, it’s important to commit that challenge to God because ultimate victory rests with Him.

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A wonderful reminder that no past mistakes or failure can cripple us.

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Every situation we face in life leads us to fulfilling our potential.

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Put your hope and faith in Him- he will not let you down!

Would love to hear some of your favourite bible verses! Share below in the comment box.

T

© Tessy Maritim

Birthday Behaviour

December 13th is my date of birth. I remember in my younger years, I would wait with great anticipation for my birthday morning. Birthdays were exciting because my family would wake me up with their croaky morning voices singing ‘Happy birthday‘, my Mom would make me a yummy big breakfast and later I’d meet my friends & family for a birthday lunch.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve realised that birthdays, surely, should mean more than just a materialistic celebration or gifts. A new year represents new possibilities and a second (or third) chance to get things right.

One thing I know I need to get right this year is my health. For a long time, I have forsaken my health while I pay attention to what I thought were more important things such as doing well in university and working hard in my job. But these past few months, I’ve reached a new low in my lack of health-care. My foodie-ness is through the roof. I eat when I’m cold. I eat when I’m tired. I eat when I’m hungry. I go to the gym but not as regularly as I should. I think my body has had enough.

As I turn 21 this Saturday, I want to make a few commitments to myself:

  • I promise to eat clean – clean eating is consuming food in its most natural state, or as close to it as possible. More clean eating tips here.
  • Drink at least two litres of water a day.
  • Go to the gym at least 3 times a week- Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday (flexible depending on schedule)
  • Reducing sugar levels from 3 spoons to a maximum of one spoon and gradually decrease until I wean myself off completely.
  • Go to the doctors’ twice a year for a health check. 

This is here as a reminder to myself and for you to keep me accountable. If you spot me anywhere eating a burger, spaghetti bolognese or pizza, please take a picture of me as I dig into my food and tweet me or post a picture on my wall and remind me that I’m backsliding. Seriously.

It will be really difficult! Apparently it takes more than two months before new behavior becomes automatic – 66 days to be exact. But I know when I look back a year later, I’ll be thankful for these changes.

I’ll leave you with this song- Happy Day by Patoranking, which I love and will be dancing to on my birthday. Happy born day to me!

T

© Tessy Maritim

Undressing Women, Undressing Society

Last week Uhuru Kenyatta finally responded to the outrageous undressing of women. And for once, I agree with him. He grasped and articulated well what most people have seemingly missed in this fiasco.

To me, it seems as we undressed women, we were also subconsciously undressing ourselves. We revealed what makes up the fabric of society- rape culture is rampant, misogyny is manifested everywhere.

I think I get why Uhuru Kenyatta’s words in this video make us extremely uncomfortable. It’s because we don’t want to be called out. I’m obvs not misogynistic; I don’t undress women on the streets. Yet, without flinching, you grope a woman in the club when she walks past you. Without flinching, you add alcohol to her drink to make it harder for her to say no to your sexual advances. Not as bad as those whose misogyny is publicly seen, right? It’s the classic case of the glasshouse.

Uhuru unapologetically and rightly calls us out for turning a blind eye to what happens in our own backyards and then turning around to yell at others for what they do in public. If you truly think undressing women in public is barbaric- you must identify the issue for what it truly is- rape culture and misogyny.

Rape culture manifests in our society deeply and widely. It’s the idea that male sexual violence has penetrated our society to the extent that it is normal. When a man makes comments about a woman’s body on the streets; when rape is blamed on how short your skirt is; when a man sexually assaults his niece- it’s because of rape culture.

I’d like us to deal with this issue for what it truly is. It has little, if anything, to do with safety and security, and more to do with how we view women. And that’s not something Uhuru Kenyatta can fix. We could have police presence on every street in Kenya and there will still be men beating their partners at home.

If you think you truly care about and respect women because you’ve condemned their public undressing, look at your own life and those around you critically. Because if you would still have sex with a girl when she’s drunk without consent, you might as well strip her in public.

 

T

© Tessy Maritim

Monster(s) In My Head

We all have things we worry about. I certainly do. My anxiety is particularly worse when I’m alone. The scope of anxiety extends far wider than it should when you are alone because your mind is idle. If you’re not occupied doing something, your mind takes the opportunity and runs wild- sometimes with positive thoughts but more often than not with negative, poisonous thoughts.

I think my anxiety is far worse when I’m away from home. I spend most of my time alone and if my mind is not occupied, I start to think about home. I’ll remember that I haven’t heard from my Dad in a couple of days. So I’ll text him and wait on a reply. If there’s no reply after an hour I check to see if he’s seen my message. After another hour, I’ll text my Mom, my sisters, my cousin(s). And sometimes there’s no reply from them also. At that point, I get obsessive and stop everything I’ve remotely been doing and focus on waiting for a response from anyone. Why is no-one replying?! From there, it all goes downhill.

If you’ve been in a similar situation you understand how paralysing it can be. The worst thing about anxiety is that you don’t stop until you solve what you’re worried about- and sometimes that’s not possible.

Most times, you’ve created a situation in your head that actually does not exist. Or rather, as they say, “You’re mind becomes the devil’s workshop”. I’ve realised that sometimes you just need to focus on keeping productive.

My sister Tebby sent this list to me a while back with things to do to keep busy (I’m quoting her exact words from here):

  • Buy a pot and seeds and grow a plant.
  • Go ring window shopping (get fitted and all lol)
  • Cook something special and have a special dinner for one
  • Hire a bike and ride ride away
  • Go to the park and run
  • Make some flavoured water
  • Draw something
  • Do push-ups. Loads, the right way

Create your own and refer to it whenever you feel anxious.

As I conclude I’d like to highlight something very important- sometimes anxiety can be kept at bay with simple activities like going to the gym or cooking. But be aware that there may be a more complex underlying mental health matter that you need to speak to a medical professional about. Don’t let your mind paralyse your existence.

T

© Tessy Maritim

#faves: Things To Read

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fave; a thing or person loved, preferred and adored

I’m introducing a new segment on this blog called #faves. I’ll be sharing some of my favourite things so if there’s anything you’d like me to do a #faves post on, let me know. 

I like to think I’m an avid reader. I really do enjoy a good book. But I lack one thing- consistency. It could take me a whole year to finish a book. My sisters always make fun of me for this actually. They love to read and find it funny that when they see me 5 months later, I’m still reading the same book.

But when you do find me reading, I’m very particular about what I read and how I read. I don’t like to borrow books I prefer my own copy. Books are so personal and I like to highlight and be able to refer to it over and over again, and sharing books makes that difficult.

I’m not much of a fiction person. In fact, there’s only one fiction book I read that I truly loved- Chimamanda Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun (obvs). She writes so vividly and deliberately. As much as I appreciated the historical and political importance of the context of the book, I reveled in the love journey of Richard and Kainene. I love that Richard seemed to never truly understand Kainene. He was always trying to figure her out yet that somehow made their relationship all the more mysterious and intense.

Another one of my favourite books is Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. I didn’t enjoy it for the first couple of chapters because it relied too much on examples I felt I couldn’t relate to. But after a while, I was hooked (my reading rate even became faster than usual). It had some really important lessons about patience with challenges, waking up early and the ten thousand hour rule.

He teaches about patience in the book through an example of a woman who was given a problem to work out that she had never learnt before. She tried and tried and after approx. 20 minutes she got the answer. The reason she was able to figure it out was because she took time with the problem. Many times in life we encounter problems and take a couple of minutes trying to find the solution and if we can’t find it instantly we throw our hands in the air and give up. This example taught me the importance of sticking it out when it gets tough.

Gladwell also uses Chinese farmers as an example of why we should endeavor to wake up early. He explains that due to the nature of farming, farmers needed to be awake early in the mornings to sow the seeds that would later allow them to reap a bountiful harvest. He uses a powerful quote to sum it up- “No-one who rises before dawn 360 days a year fails to make their family rich”. Literally, this would apply to few of us. But it’s an important lesson in various contexts. Waking up early can really transform your day and in the long run, your life.

My other favourite lesson in Outliers is the ten thousand hour rule. It’s simple- on average it takes ten thousand hours to become a master in a field. He gives examples of the long hours of practice people like The Beatles and Bill Gates put in to be where they are. It really puts ‘microwave success’ into perspective.

 

I don’t usually read Forbes magazine. But this month’s edition featured the indefeasible Tabitha Karanja, a woman I adore and admire. She is fearless and a pioneer. It’s always amazing to read about people so passionate about building Kenya and Africa. She’s definitely my kind of person.

 

Would love to hear if you’ve read any of the above! Or share any of your #faves below in the comment section.

 

T

© Tessy Maritim

Lollipop Moments

About 2 months ago I watched this very eye-opening TED talk.

Lollipop moments. We create them. We are part of them, everyday. Something that may seem so meaningless to you could mean the entire world to someone else.

During my students’ union elections I was on the receiving end of various lollipop moments. When I decided I was going to stand in the elections, I didn’t know where to start. I had never done this election thing before. I was excited but very nervous.

I decided to text all my contacts- friends and acquaintances alike. I needed to at least tell the people I knew so that they could vote for me. What surprised me though was their response. Many of them I wasn’t particularly close to. But in the week leading up to the election, they were the ones who were there for me most.

They offered to help hand out my flyers, they used their networks to get societies to endorse me, they told their friends to vote, they came with me to my lecture shout-outs, they gave me ideas for my campaign, they helped me go around student accommodation over the weekend to put up posters; they encouraged me. And as if that was not enough, on the night the results were announced, my friends came to be with me and cheered so loudly when I won.

I was touched that people could pick up my battle and fight it as if their own. Those are moments to celebrate, moments to cherish.

Embrace the magic of small moments today. Someone out there needs it. And if someone has given you a lollipop moment, go on- let them know.

T

© Tessy Maritim

 

Who’s Streets?

Sometime last summer I was walking home from visiting a friend when a man yelled “Uko na nyonyo poa” (Swahili for “You’ve got nice boobs”) as I walked past him. I turned around and gave him the dirtiest look I could. I felt so disgusted, so embarrased, so violated.

This was definitely not the first time this happened. Neither was it the last- unfortunately. Many of my friends have experienced the same- sometimes worse.

So I was delighted to see this video on my timeline last week.

There have been various criticisms of this video, which I won’t go into right now. But being a woman who’s been harrassed many times on the streets, I resonated deeply with this video. The main question for most people was “Is this really street harassment?” Sit back, that is not the point.

Rape and sexual harassment is rampant in this day and age. Because of this, you find yourself constantly looking around to see if you’re being followed. Most women have been taught to always be on the look-out. You are often scared. Mostly anxious.

So I’d like you to imagine what it’s like when a man makes loud, obnoxious comments about how you look or how you are dressed as you walk on the streets- you panic and wonder what he could do next. You pick up your pace. You repeatedly look behind. As if you are not uncomfortable enough.

Let me state categorically that I do not speak for all women- some comments are genuinely kind and I agree. However, it’s not about determining what counts as kind or what counts as harassment. It’s about an appreciation of the context and society we live in. It’s about respecting women and being aware of the fact that your comments could potentially make her (more) uncomfortable.

It upsets me that men are conditioned to think that they own the streets. That it’s okay to shout obscenities at a woman as she walks. That a woman must respond to your advances. That it’s okay to slow down your car and follow a woman as she walks. As if you are not uncomfortable enough.

Grrr.

T

© Tessy Maritim

New Beginnings

There’s something so refreshing about being able to start something again. Clean slate. No residue. That’s how I feel right now, as I write this new post for my new blog.

I started writing for my first blog in October 2011. I started strong and with vigor, as you tend to, when you embark on a new project. But over the years, I slowed down and other things began to take up my time.

I’m here because I want to start again. I’m at a very different space in my life right now both mentally and emotionally and feel like I need a fresh start with this blog thing. My thoughts have matured and I hope that’ll be reflected in my writing.

My blog was cathartic to me and as I soon learnt, for others too. That’s, for me, the best part of having a blog- being able to connect with people you have never met or spoken to. It’s special.

I actually wanted to delete my other blog before I started this one. When you look back at writing that represents what you once thought or felt, it can be a little uncomfortable and sometimes embarrassing. But I met a friend of mine this week who taught me something- you don’t need to erase the past to start afresh! Your past is just that- the past. It does not and cannot dictate who or what you can think or be.

 

So here’s to the past, to the great and not-so-great times that will be shared here and to the joy of new beginnings. Yay!

T

© Tessy Maritim