Just Like Boiling Milk.

I recall my teenage years with such gusto as I write this post because of how much we were tried and tested when it came to upholding certain values. I think the most recurring one being patience. And I’ll always give my parents a ‘thumbs up’ for that. Especially now that in my grown up years, I am able to look back and appreciate those moments. Back then, the reaction they got was probably the fed up growl. Goes something like ‘a silent arrgghh accompanied with an ugly smirk,’ I’m sure you know of it. That’s because the moments they chose to give you a chore always happened when you were doing something that was much more fun and interesting. The classic one was after dinner, when you’re watching a nice program or movie and your mother calls you out, “Kawi, go make for your dad & I some tea.” Or, early Sunday mornings when you’re having your last-minute snooze.

Now, have you ever stood there watching and waiting for milk to boil? For what seems like a couple of endless minutes, the milk is just settled there, being white and looking pretty. No bubbles, no sign that there’s something going on in there. Then just when you decide to look away, that second, the milk rises and it’s a race between time and your reflexes. How quick can you turn off the burner before the milk overflows? Funny, that when someone is watching from a distance, they can see the progress of the milk as it gets to its boiling point. From when it starts heating up and steaming. My mum would walk into the kitchen and throw in a “make sure the milk doesn’t pour.”

The other day, as we prepared breakfast, I happened to complain how it takes ages to boil but when it happens it’s instantaneous. My friend was sitting a little far  from the cooker, so she could see what’s going on. And she goes like, “but it’s steaming already, so it’s not far off” and bam! It hits me, isn’t life just like that?

Life, Life Lessons, Boiling Milk

We could be at that point where we are evaluating our lives, but in as much as we want to count our blessings one by one because they’re way too many, for some reason, we’re not able to. I think it’s human to feel like you’ve stagnated, even when there’s so much going on. Most of the time, we either don’t recognize our milestones or we underestimate them.

“Just like boiling milk, when you’re the person watching it, sometimes it might feel like you’ve stalled. And just when you’re at the brink of giving up, you rise…”

… It catches you unawares, that you have to deal with reflexes and reactions. Fortunately, there’s someone out there taking notice of these things and giving them more credit than we do. Watching you and seeing the potential you have and as you slowly crawl out of your shell, relentlessly bubble up and overwhelmingly flourish. That all you have to do is be patient with yourself, continue getting warmed up and eventually rise raise – because you can’t be contained anymore, just like boiling milk.

To a 3-day week and 4-day weekend! Don’t we all love ourselves a festive season?

Signing Off ~~~ *Kawi*

Guest Post: Never Taught in Class.

Post by Samuel Muthomi a.k.a Dj Somi.

When Kawiria asked me to be a guest writer, I was gobsmacked because I’m a big fan of Kawi’Snippets (Stupendous Tidbits).  Her blog has been an inspiration to me and many others. Sharing her life experiences made me realize that it is sharing ones weaknesses that helps other people in their need, not your strengths. I hope to share some of my life experiences that you will never be taught in any class.

Guest Post


Humility Makes you Grow.

Humility sets one on the path to success. Pride will keep one from growing, because one is not willing to learn. Let’s get one thing clear, no one has it all together! I have been successful on the academic front, not because I was the brightest student in class, but because I was willing to learn. If you humble yourself, you become teachable because you are willing to learn.


Remember Pleasant Memories. Forget the Rest.

We can never reverse the past. Sometimes with hindsight, there are things one wishes they had done differently in life. At one time or another in life, there is someone who has deeply hurt you. Learn to let go because regret and resentment doesn’t hurt anybody but you. Learn to forgive others even when they do not deserve it. Be grateful for the good in people and choose to remember the good things about people, the good times and the positive experiences. Pleasant memories are a choice; do not dwell on the negative memories.


Make a Difference. Give.

It is the smallest gesture or thoughtful assistance that makes the biggest impact. My folks have taught me to be generous even when you don’t have plenty to give. My folks came from humble begins and the little that God has given them, they have used to educate a lot of people and help others set up their own business. It feels one with so much joy when you assist someone and help them realize their potential and fulfill their purpose in life. When God gives you the vision, he gives you the provision for it. My vision this year was to start Kipaji Agency Limited and help nature talent. I hope I can make a difference in people’s lives.

Guest Post


Good Friendships Take Time.

To build a good relationship, one needs cultivation, work, and time to build a deep connection with someone. Every deep connection requires communication, commitment and companionship. You don’t need many friends to make it in this world, but a few good friends. Focus on having good (quality) friends not many (quantity) friends.


Serve Other People.

We are God’s stewards and God does not give us gifts, talents and abilities for our own benefit. Our gifts, talents and abilities should be used to serve other people. I’ve always had a passion for music and deejay’ing but I’ve learnt over the last one year, that God didn’t give me my artistic ability just so i can enjoy it. It took me a couple of months of soul searching for me to realize my vision and dream of music being an avenue of service others. Ubantu Festival was thus birthed as a celebration of the historical, cultural, artistic & philosophical legacies of Africans from past times to the present.


Integrity is the Key to Leadership.

The big things in life do not create a good leader. Living a life of integrity doesn’t mean perfection, we all stumble at times. Leadership is built on the small things of life. Our integrity will be tested in our homes, relationships, work place e.t.c. A politician who lies to his wife will lie to his constituents. That is where ones leadership is tested in life. Ones private integrity (behind the scenes) choices of life, makes one a great leader.

Guest Post


Short Term Thinking Robs your Future.

Short-term thinking is one of the great weaknesses of today’s culture. It reminds me of the trending socialites who rob their future to enjoy today’s fame. A person who focuses on short-term gain is doomed to fail. It reminds me of my school mate in Lenana who went into a life of crime after finishing high school and is now serving life imprisonment at Kamiti. Short term thinking sets one up for years of un-payable debt to future generations.


Signing Off ~~~ *Kawi*

This Is My Confession…

*Cue in Usher – Confessions* I unashamedly forgot my blogversary! 5 years down the lane. Told you I’m really bad with dates, so bad that I keep getting panic attacks that I’ve forgotten some important date, like someone’s birthday, an anniversary or even a deadline. Thank God for planners and reminders. Not that I effectively utilize them either, so another thank you to family & friends who have an amazing memory of all things relevant. The relief that I get when I confirm that I’m still within the time is inexplicable. But all in all, on time or not, it’s better late than never. I think that’s the life saver quote of all time “better late than never”, the moment you say that, no one’s got anything on you. So today, I celebrate my 5 years of blogging *cheers to that*.

Blogging for me, serves as an avenue to relay my thoughts – mostly based on my experiences and life lessons. Not that they are intense or anything, but they’re worth sharing anyway. I think everyone needs that, and most people do it in a way that best suits them, whether through writing, art, music, service, or just being you.

Just the other day, I was thinking of how competitive we humans are. So competitive that we forget the essence of who we are, what we do or why we’re doing it in the first place. We get misguided as we try to figure out or pursue our purpose because we base our abilities on what the people around us are doing or worse yet, have. So it becomes, “but first … let me see what my neighbor/friend is doing, then see how I can do it better.” Rather than, “this is my thing, let me see how best I can do it.”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying competition is wrong. I’m just saying if competition is the basis of how good you are or how good you can be at what you do, then that’s the problem right there. I won’t lie, that I’ve not been a victim of comparison from a competitive level. Sometimes I look at my blog here and I’m like, “so and so is pretty good at it”, “so and so’s blog is doing pretty well from the looks of it.” And somehow, a special kind of pressure checks in and I feel the need to do the same or try do the same in a better way, but that’s not my way. So I talk some sense to self and so far I haven’t yet succumbed and that’s what kept me going all the years, just in case you were wondering. No hiatus. I know where I want to get with it, can’t say baby steps anymore, I mean, 5 years down the lane?

Current Situation: Hanging out with a bunch of clowns who totally make my days when I’m with them. Leave days do rock! Oh, I also celebrated my 1 year anniversary too (on 16th Dec) at Chase Bank. I kid, not celebrated per se, but that’s a tiny victory considering I never envisioned myself in banking 1 year go. And this channel (blog), that I shamelessly undervalue most times, heavily contributed towards leading me – smack in – right there.

Friends

(Clowns from extreme front to extreme back) Dion, Flo, Kawi, Lon Jon. Hubby and Homies!

 

Signing Off ~~~*Kawi*

 

Blueberry Type of Breakfast

Remember the phrase, “there are two sides to every coin?” It’s always used when tackling serious things, like resolving conflicts or debates. Let’s use it for lighter moments (maybe not) like when you wake up, because I don’t think there’s a better way to explain the mixed feelings one experiences. If you could feel the same way each day you wake up, that you’re able to pull a Bey, “I woke up feeling like this … flawless”, how beautiful would that be?

It’s like each day when you wake up you subconsciously flip a coin, and the side it lands determines how the day is going to be – I don’t know which one we would say is the head or tail. We can’t use the “you woke up on the wrong side of the bed” phrase any more because some beds are against the wall, others, the significant other is on the other side, and others apparently have circular beds – which I haven’t seen yet.

Sometimes you have so much energy to conquer the world, other times, you just want to place yourself somewhere, take a chill pill and claw on anything that attempts to ruin that set-up.

Its days when you have the energy to conquer the world that you think of tantalizing and bubbly edibles like blueberry pancakes and shakes. That you can drag yourself to the kitchen and transform your thoughts into actions. Trust me, from experience, this doesn’t happen every day, at least in my case. I wouldn’t even encourage the mister to think so, or he’d be disappointed…lol. It’s virtually impossible, the mind might want but the body, the body is always the challenge. Though we try.

Here goes the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  •  1/2 teaspoon salt
  •  1 1/4 teaspoons white sugar
  •  1 egg
  •  1 cup milk
  •  1/2 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla essence
  • Blueberries

Recipe

  1. Whisk milk, egg and vanilla together in a jug.
  2. Sift flour into a large bowl. Stir in sugar and salt.
  3. Add the milk mixture. Whisk until just combined. Stir in extra vanilla and blueberries.
  4. Set aside for a few minutes – depends on how much time you have.
  5. Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat.
  6. Brush pan with butter.
  7. Pour the mixture onto the frying pan, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake.
  8. Cook each for 3 minutes or until bubbles appear on surface. Turn and cook for 3 minutes or until cooked through.
  9. Transfer to a plate. Cover loosely with foil to keep warm.
  10. Repeat with remaining mixture, brushing pan with butter between batches.

Blueberry Shake

  • Endless scoops of vanilla ice-cream, strawberries and blueberries
  • Pour all of them into the blender and let it do all the work for you.
  • Serve chilled.

It would be more proper to serve the pancakes hot, but considering you’re making many of them, you can serve them warm. Plus I think they taste better that way. Complement it with a blueberry shake to achieve absolute satisfaction.

Blueberry Shake

Let’s leave this here. Have a yourself a super-charged 4-day week!

Signing Off ~~~ *Kawi*

#TBT: Leftover Snippets.

Looking Back, TBT, Throw Back

I realized that sometimes when I write a post, I actually have some wise counsel *cough*. So as a #TBT, I revisited some of the posts that I thought sounded somewhat wise – or better yet, inspirational. I tend to forget about things I’ve written in the past, so it served as a good reminder to myself as well. You know how we do with left overs, we mix a bit of everything to make a delish meal. Here goes the leftover snippets, it reads…

“It’s all about you. What you want. In your situations. Just when. You bring value.”


IT’S ALL ABOUT YOU.

You wish that the people got to know you first before judging you by what you say about yourself. Because truth be told, most of us don’t do justice to ourselves. Maybe that’s why we lose out on good jobs, great opportunities and so on. Unfortunately, the world ain’t patient or that kind to you, so one has to figure how to get these “unwelcome questions” right. I think the trick to answering them is loving YOUrself, loving what YOU do (it doesn’t have to be what you are at work, it could even be what you enjoy doing or what you’re really good at). For instance just because you are a sales man and you don’t like what you do, that doesn’t define you. You define yourself. You could be a sales man who writes really well or who loves public speaking. How do you go about saying who you are when you have varied statuses? Go for what fulfills your heart and own it. You get better at it with time. It leads you to knowing what you want and then you chase it. When you get it, you will be able to even say who you are and what you do much better.

At the end of the day, it’s about doing some really good work with what you’ve got. Ain’t it? And sometimes, all you’ve got is YOU! So how about YOU love what YOU are involved in because the world rotates around YOU!

PostUnwelcome Questions


WHAT YOU WANT.

Don’t be belittled by things you don’t have, if you really want something, you will get it, not necessarily now, but you will eventually. That’s because you will work towards getting it. So don’t lose hope, it’s somewhere around the corner.

Sometimes life operates like a road with traffic lights. It’s not every-time you’re on the go, sometimes you’ve got to wait and other times you need to stop and give others way or even help them get to where they’re going.

“You will get all you want in life if you will just help other people get what they want.”~ Zig Ziglar

Post: Friday Fives


IN YOUR SITUATIONS.

“It’s funny how situations make us feel like the grass is greener elsewhere, whilst the grass that we’re not watering is what we had earnestly asked for because it used to be the greener grass that we’d eyed ages ago when we didn’t water the grass that we’re now seeing as greener!”

How we don’t put an effort into making better what we have. Then we look at other people and think wow, they have things going for them. Nothing comes easy, even when from the outside it looks like someone is having it easy, they’re are going through their own struggles to get there, they’re putting in effort to have things going for them. So in as much as the grass always looks greener on the other side, know that there’s someone watering it and maintaining it. Such that if you got that green grass you admire, you also still need to maintain it. Working at it and for it *whatever it is that makes you feel like you got it* never stops.

Post: Friday Fives


JUST WHEN.

You know those things that come easy for you – yeah you know them – I would compare it to a meal you love cooking, you have it on your fingertips, you can even cook with your eyes close and still get it right.

On the other hand, you’re faced by things that make you feel like you’re totally doing it wrong. Leave along getting it wrong, because you don’t even get it in the first place, this can be frustrating. This could be like cooking a new or unfamiliar meal. One that you even had no idea existed, so you have to skirmish your way through learning how to do it. Chances are that you’ll be hard on yourself with the outcome. You’ll feel like it’s not good enough, it’s not that sweet enough, it doesn’t look so appealing, maybe others won’t enjoy it. And so is with many things in life. Especially those that don’t come to you easy.

Just when you think you’re getting it wrong, you’re probably getting it right. Just that you’re intimidated by that wrong feeling that you miss out on what’s going right. We really cock-block ourselves sometimes, it’s a matter of believing in yourself, hard as it is.

PostThee Local Shepherd’s Pie and Snippets


YOU BRING VALUE.

Do you ever think of what value you add to the person(s) you meet or the people you spend your days with? Because what’s friendship if you don’t add some value to someone? If you don’t feed off each other? Yes, friendship is a symbiotic relationship. I usually say that if I meet someone and we hit it off, at least let us have a conversation that will somehow build each in one way or another, even if for humors sake. Like leave someone laughing their guts out or happy about themselves or what they do.

What makes someone irreplaceable is not who they are or seem to be as individuals, but the value they bring to your life, even if for the moment you interact with them.

There are people you meet and you feel like they’re sucking the life out of you, like you’re offering too much of yourself yet you’re getting nothing in return. While there are others you meet that speak life into you and the moment you part ways, you feel re-energized, and given a chance, you’d not want to let them go. What are those things you value in your friendships?

PostIrreplaceable Values in Friendships


And that’s it folks. Have a super Thursday.

Signing Off ~~~ *Kawi*

Guest Post: Understanding Celebrity and Success.

Post by Pete Njenga.

A week ago, fellow scribe Kawiria proposed that I do a guest post in the ‘What’s Your Story’ section of this site. Well, who am I to deny such an affable, lovely lass some words we can hopefully learn from? What gives me that right?

“Mama mama nataka kuwa rapper,
Mtoto wee umenishinda,
Nataka kuwa famous kama Kalamashaka.
Je ukishindwa?
Please nitakupa kile unachotaka,
Nataka tu kuwakilisha hip-hop culture.
Acha kuwa mjinga, 
Ni sawa tu.
Next utaiba,
Si hata hiyo, ni sawa tu?”
- Nazizi, Ni Sawa Tu.

So began the song that introduced Nazizi to the Kenyan music scene. She would later be christened the First Lady of Kenyan Hip-Hop. With Wyre and Bamzigi (who later left), Necessary Noize topped charts in East Africa and brought us household anthems such as Bless ma Room, Shujaa, Kenyan Boy Kenyan Girl and several other hits. This is just one example of someone who sought celebrity from the start, and thankfully got it.

Thing is, almost everyone wants to be famous. In fact, the ‘Zuqka’ pullout in Daily Nation has “Be Famous” as its tagline.

We are so attracted to fame and fortune, that we spend hours watching other people making money from TV shows that supposed reveal their “ordinary” lives. We then wonder how these same people are successful while we are not, forgetting that we made them rich as we bummed on the couch through TV ratings, and buying their merchandise. For the uninformed, reality shows such as Keeping up with the Kardashians, Nicolle Richie & Paris Hilton’s The Simple Life, even The Bachelor or The Bachelorette – these are all scripted.

Here then, is my story when it comes to fame, fortune, popularity, success and the celebrity lifestyle.

Back in the Day

Growing up in the 80s and 90s, I was a victim of Tall Poppy Syndrome both at school and in my neighborhood. Unpleasant as it was, I do believe this is the single most important thing to have happened in my life.

For this reason, I did not succumb to peer influence, never got the chance to hang out a lot with neighbors and friends and ultimately, learned to restrict my support group to my immediate family and others whose well scrutinized objectives and intentions I could trust. I was taught early on in life to define my success, and to never let the noise of other people’s opinions drown out my inner voice.

In high school and at University, the situation was somewhat remedied by the fact that I was amongst equals – at least academically. Here, merit is what determined one’s progress and our backgrounds rarely interfered with how we related to one another.

Fame, Popularity and Celebrity

The reason I am telling you about my background is to illustrate how I have escaped being hopelessly beholden to fleeting and material possessions that the few use to elevate themselves and look down on the majority who opt not to think on their own.

Thankfully, I remain impervious to the sway that politicians, musicians, TV and Radio personalities, the filthy rich, actors and others wrongly considered celebrities, do have on the masses. Their lifestyle, shenanigans, and whatever else they are up to does not stop me from “kuria na kunyua” (eating and drinking) as we often say in my mother tongue.

Many of us have lost our sense of purpose and abandoned self-esteem, unduly influenced by those we look up to as role models and blindly emulate. People whose lives are not worth celebrating are now what our youth hope to become when they grow up. The rich who amassed wealth by running down public companies and embezzling funds pretend to now guide the youth on how to become billionaires and business moguls. Politicians continue to flaunt their ill-gotten riches while Kenyans do not even pause and wonder how these guys got up there. What kind of sheeple have we become that do not even pause to think?

Precious Illusions

Looking at the current leadership we voted into office in 2013, it pains me to realize that very few of them are in office for the right reasons. At the workplace, few go to work every morning for any reason besides making money at end-month. Many Kenyans have hopelessly subscribed to a misleading quest for money at all costs, thanks to common stereotypes about making it and success. It is for this reason that many have turned to crime, other continually fall for get-rich-schemes and our youth are now at the mercy of sensational and transient fads whose main thrust is making money and spending it as fast as possible, sans any thinking about securing the future. We are continually comparing ourselves to others and will do anything, including crime to outdo them.

We have so far forgotten that it makes more sense to be a person of value and not of success. As Albert Einstein prompted many years ago, we need to examine ourselves yet again and re-order our priorities, asking ourselves? “What is really important?”

In May 2013, I wrote a post that detailed what I hope would be my legacy. This should be in no way any one else’s legacy and I do not mean to impose my will on another person who also has the presence of mind to make their own decision.

What I continue to urge you is that we should take another keen look at what we place priorities on and aspire to be. Is it famous people of questionable character or is it deeds and initiatives that make the world much better? Are we willing to do anything, including criminal acts, to gain riches or can we instead take time to improve social conditions?

What does it mean to have succeeded? Here is something from Bessie Stanley, but often attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson:

To laugh often and much;

To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;

To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;

To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;

To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition;

To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.

This is to have succeeded.

What drives you?

I end this post with some words by the man who wrote The Prince. Take time and give the following some thought:

“The great majority of mankind are satisfied with appearances, as though they were realities, and are often more influenced by the things that seem than by those that are.” ~ Niccolo Machiavelli.

Thereafter, do the needful.

* * *
All said and done, do you still crave fame, popularity and celebrity status?

Is this allure influenced by your peers, role models or the very substance of what such a life entails? What does success mean to?

We believe that there are different strokes for different folk … ni sawa tu.

Mini House Party.

During my last birthday, I made a few commitments to self and listed down a few realistic things that I’d like to have done before the next one. So I was revisiting the post to remind myself of what I still need to work towards. Or if I have managed to do them, I can start on a new list, because there’s still so much more to be done. It was such an encouragement because I realized that I have managed to accomplish at least over 70% of what was on the list. But it doesn’t stop with the tiny victories, some of those things listed are not projects that have an end date. This was just to get me started, and then keep up those activities for a lifetime.

The point of the post was to tell you a little more about a friend I treasure – not that I don’t treasure the rest, it’s because last week was her birthday, and I thought, maybe I don’t talk about my friends much on here. She goes by the name Elizabeth Njeri, I prefer to call her Njeri, but she’d introduce herself as Elizabeth (pronounced with an s instead of z). She’s not as complicated as I make her sound. On the contrary she’s extremely simple and down to earth, but don’t let that deceive you, she’s pretty confident that it may intimidate you when you first meet her.

Friendships

Photo shoot with the girls – Naomi (left), Njeri (Center), Mariah (Back Center)

I met her when I was doing my post-graduate diploma at KIM (Kenya Institute of Management). As you would know by now (if you stalk my blog), I make acquaintances easily, because I can be the chatterbox. Although, I have a special place in my heart for people I share similar interest with. With this in mind, we gradually started talking after class, sharing notes, and reading for exams together, before we knew it, we were in each other’s lives.

She had (still has) a best friend called Naomi. I won’t say her pet name, because I think she’d literally skin me alive if I did. They think I have one too many readers, but I don’t disagree, I secretly hope so too. I shared classes with both, and by virtue of hanging out with Njeri, I became Naomi’s friend and then Mariah’s too. I’m that chic. I intercept friendships and hijack all of them and they become my best friends too. It’s either I deserved them or they deserved me.

That was 2010, fast forward. Since then we have been there for each others milestone. From birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, engagements, name it, we try. What I love about them, is that they’re as real as real gets. Whether it’s about how you’ve made them feel, how you look, or your outlook on things, the feedback they give you is legit. They always challenge me to be a better person and a better friend. I know I can suck at friendship things, but they’re aggressive about it and I more than love it.

When the opportunity to host a ‘birthday dinner’, better yet, a mini house party for Njeri presented itself, we dug right into it. It was supposed to be a surprise, but I forgot to mention that nothing gets past her. Pulling a surprise on her is becoming our vision. By the time she was getting to our place, she knew something was cooking. And of course there was a lot cooking.  From delish food, drinks, some really competitive scrabble, old friends meeting new friends, and because we were having so much fun, we almost forgot to cut the cake. I secretly wish everyone had…lol, that cake, you know the kind that melts in your mouth. Only problem is we were also over-fed.

We live for such moments, when your friends become more like family. Njeri, to a new year and many more ahead. This one is definitely going to be one of the best. It was an honor celebrating it with you. It will always get bigger & better :-)

December is here and Christmas is around the corner, my favorite time of the year. Happy new month lovelies!

Signing Off ~~~ *Kawi*