The Simple Life

Living Honestly


I have discovered that I don’t know as much as I think I do and it has been very liberating to admit that it.

I have a soon to be twelve year old son whom I call my young king. He is the most amazing young man but is also challenging to raise because he is brilliant and has acceleration. As he is getting older, he is more confident and tells me things I couldn’t tell my mother until I was in my 30’s. Last year in a conversation as we were driving, he turned and interrupted me saying, ‘…but mum, you are always mean to so and so.’ BOOM!!!! I know, that could be an abomination in some quarters but in our conversations, as long as you can explain your point you get heard so I took a deep breath and asked him to explain.

We talked out the matter and he pointed out actual situations where my dealings with the person in question were actually selfish and according to what I wanted with little or no regard to what was good for them. In fact, in that situation, it was always my way or the highway and of course I got my way time and again.

What is interesting to me is that even though we think our offspring don’t notice our behavior, they are keenly aware of what we think and like therefore know how to deal with us better than we think. We think we have a certain measure of control or we are solid but they can see through the cracks and build their lives around our responses. They know from experience how we will respond to each situation and they meet us step for step.

I have come to understand that parenting is about me growing up and living truly as me and teaching him the same instead of giving him a list to live by. I have already established that living by the smart point system I grew up doing doesn’t work so as I live true to how God made me and who He says I must become is the best classroom for the young king to become the same. It also opens up honest discussions about the realities of my faith and how it is applied practically and helped him develop a faith that is his own.

This means that we talk a lot and we go to many places together and he knows everyone who is important to me. It also means that I have deliberately built a village of people around us who love God and ask God about how to deal with us and respond as instructed and who we ask God about and respond appropriately. It means that I am not the only person of authority in his life and therefore I am accountable for every action I take. It also means that I have backup and support to deal with issues I cannot understand so there is always help.

That my friends, is the best way to live; connected, vulnerable and accountable to be everything God has said you must be. #NoExcuses #NoLimitations

The Simple Life

Running To The Shift


Pushing past the limits in our minds can be a daunting task at times. When I began the life shift, I knew one thing was for sure…I wouldn’t do was run. Yes! I was absolutely clear that was one thing I would never do no matter what. You see, the last time I run, was in my third year in high school when I used to be on the cross country team. It is hard for some to believe but yes, once upon a time I ran cross country and I was good.

Today marks fifteen months and twenty one days since we began the work of shifting my life and I can say without blinking that the best days are ahead of me. Several months ago, I tried adding jogging to my routine and stopped after a few steps because of pain in my chest and left ankle. It was hilarious how quickly I stopped when I remembered how much trouble I have had with my left leg. Somehow it is the one I have injured most. In 2017 I twisted the ankle twice between Jan 30th and Feb 28th then I dropped a pallet on my first toe in late November only to severely twist the angle again in Feb 2018 that I had to change my workout.

I promised myself that I would never do high impact exercise.

As I watched myself, I realised balance was a challenge as I started walking because of my left ankle. Many roads in my neighbourhood are murram and I often slipped on the uneven gradient and on little stones. It was tempting to stop all activity but something in me would not let go. I remember telling coach I was scared I wouldn’t be able to do many exercises and he simply said,

‘Do what you can for now and grow the range slowly. ‘

So I started walking and have reached three to six kilometres at least five days a week for about six months. Recently, my body begun asking for more intensity. I don’t do the gym so the only option right now is to add running…terror!!! What fascinated me is how easily my mind moved from terror to ok, let’s do this. Simple sign that I had grown. Oh I loved it.

Photo by Aditya Aiyar on Pexels.com

I realised I won’t wake up running so I started with intervals of alternating a three hundred metre jog and walk until I covered the daily distance. In time, the walking distance is shortening and the jogging increasing. I have learnt to keep a set pace for a set distance and gradually increase the pace. Initially I kept to the routes that are tarmac but I have added the gravel roads closer to my home because there is less traffic and fewer distractions that allows me to really focus on the task.

I now understand that my life is school and school gets incrementally harder. I now see every session as a class and look for something to learn that will lead to permanent shifts. It is intense because there’s lots of processing as I zone into the jogging. Sometimes insight comes through during the hardest sections of the run. It is as if my mind fires on all cylinders when my body is pushing itself beyond its comfort zone. This is the most unexpected class and I love the lessons.

The Simple Life

Coming To The Table


Recently an excursion to the mall flipped a switch in me. We were in the parking waiting for a delivery and the lady bringing the item arrives and says a glowing hi to my sister then turns and introduces herself to me. I know her from our youth but I haven’t seen her in at least a decade. Now, remember I have changed and I was shielded by a Fedora hat and sunglasses so she doesn’t recognise me.

I smile and say, “Hi, I’m Kyesubire.”

“Look at you! Why are you hiding yourself? How are you? It has been a long time!” she gushes, pulling off my sunglasses and sharing a hug. She had absolutely no idea who I was until I introduce myself. We chatted for a bit then parted as she left the premises and we went into the supermarket.

Photo by Henry & Co. on Pexels.com

As we walk out towards the car, I notice a gentleman reaching into the boot of a silver Mercedes and I’m blown away when he turns to close the boot with the right bag for shopping in hand. He’s tall, has kind eyes, a partly grey beard and very stately posture. He could easily fit the bill of tall, dark and handsome. I know right? You need to stop shaking your head… I do appreciate God’s creation.

Just so I don’t get caught looking, I turn to follow my sister when I hear him say, “Hi Kyesubire.”

It startles me because he says it right with emphasis in the right places. For those who don’t know: Kyesubire is pronounced Chesubvire with a very soft ‘bv’ pronunciation. I have long gone by the short form Kyesse, pronounced Chess, but let me just put it out there, the days of that short form are numbered…very numbered, so start adjusting.

Anyway, back to the story…

My head was spinning for a long moment because I have no idea who he might be. All the same, I stopped, turned back slowly said hi, chatted for a few minutes and then ⚡⚡ boom! It hits me like a bolt of lightning. I remember his name. Whoop, whoop! I just want to scream, shout and dance around the parking. You can only how it is if you have met someone you cannot remember a name yet you were friends as kids? Imagine my surprise because even though, I haven’t seen him for 6+ years, he even remembers where we last met and what I was doing.

It surprised me that even with the Fedora hat and cool sunglasses I wore, he knew me; I was instantly recognisable. Yes! I am recognisable. (Cue happy dance, in my head at least before I heard Papa say, calm down…this isn’t it.

He’s aged well from our more youthful days when we bullied each other, sung in choir, attended bible club and simply played or hangout during our free time. He shared stories of traveling and meeting the parents of others in the group and being reminded that they weren’t old when we were growing up. They were our age, working their fingers to the bone to provide for us just like we are doing for our children.

As we left the mall and headed back home, my mind was racing, processing, searching, asking, wondering, when did one recall and the other didn’t? My thoughts circled back to the fact that despite all the changes growing up has created, one had no recall while the other had instant recall…what caused the difference? Is it even a big thing?

This life isn’t about who remembers you or not, likes you or not, talks to you or not, it is about being and doing you as God has revealed to you. What are the odds that a guy I’m chatting with God about is His son on assignment to remind me something? What if our conversation was to answer a question and lend strength to another? What needs to shift in my mind from that conversation?

I settle into a stock take moment about life and what I bring to the table.

Photo by Mat Brown on Pexels.com

The only thing I bring to the table is what God has planned and asked me to bring. There is Kyesubire shaped gap in my immediate world and I must rise up and fill it according to the manufacturers design. I cannot want to do what others are doing or be someone else because the gap I am to fill will be empty and that isn’t a good thing for the world.

Each one has to do their part so that all of us can reach the peak of our communal impact. I choose to live consistently on the upper hand to know the action demanded by God for each situation and bring that on board for the good of the community.

I so love God.

The Simple Life

Change On The Inside Shows On The Outside


Last October I had just reached some major milestones in my weight loss journey and was now confident I looked good. Walking from the food court to the supermarket I was aware heads were turning and I smiled. One of the best things about being a girl is excellent peripheral vision (it drives my young king nuts). Anyway, over to my right, I noticed a guy exit a shop, look my way, look away then took a double take. I turned to his direction and was pleasantly surprised to see it was an old friend. He was staring and he knew he was caught when I smiled and waved at him. 
It is you?
Yup! Been working on the weight!
Damn! You look good, wifey should see you.
She’s here?
Absolutely.

Shortly his wife joined him and greeted me politely until I said hi and she recognised me. Ha! We were laughing at her so hard and could have picked her jaw off the ground. I honestly didn’t think the change was that drastic but then again… We hang out a bit and all the while I marvelled how comfortable I was standing there for over half an hour in kitten heels without pain in my knees. This was proof of change. Finally, we separated and walked into the supermarket. At the fresh food section, a gentleman walks up to me.

Photo by Khairul Onggon on Pexels.com

‘Hi! I think you are a beautiful African woman’ he says. (I’m like what!!! People still do these things?)
‘Thank you,’ I reply with a smile. (wait a minute…what else would I be? I am chocolate complexion born in Africa)
‘My name is Harry and I am from Dubai’ he says (should that mean something or make me swoon).
‘Kyesubire, from Kenya.’ 
‘I like the way you look so natural,’ he says looking me over from top to bottom.

Now, now! I assume he meant that I look good despite the short natural hair and the lack of makeup, but surely; did he expect me to fall over at his feet and worship the ground he walks on because of those compliments and the fact that he lives in Dubai. By the way, I doubt the Dubai part. Anyway, he asked for my number and contrary to my usual behaviour, I gave him and the onslaught of messages started.

The messages were irrelevant as he was trying to butter me up for something and I saw it from the start. He believed that compliments would get him into my good graces and to the point I would do anything for him. Ha!! Finally, in December he exposed his motive; he wanted a local business partner for a business whose details he wouldn’t fully disclose. Really? You want me to attach my name and personality to your plans because you have called me beautiful? How foolish do you think I am? He took off at full speed when I said, I would run the idea by hubby and then do some due diligence on him so I needed a copy of his passport for the same.

Photo by Kat Jayne on Pexels.com

You see, my identity and confidence are in God and He is the one who lets me know who to associate with or not. My beauty has been a place of transformation by revelation and conversation with my Father. My father’s daughters are the most beautiful in the land and we know or are gaining knowledge of the reason we have such beauty and it is for His honour and glory. So some funny unknown ‘businessman’ will not use me a ploy for whatever and if you want to do business with me let it be an open venture.

In reality, if I hadn’t come to the above realisation, things could have been different. I was struck how easy it is to get trapped into things when we are insecure. 
#NoExcuses #NoLimitations #KnowThySelf

The Simple Life

Finding The Way Home Is Personal


I keep being asked if I didn’t fear God would smite me for calling Him names. I was like ‘No! I believe He is big enough and can handle it after all He didn’t strike David dead and others who did madness so I don’t think he would strike me down.’ Was I naïve? Maybe but seeing that I was being honest…He would have to handle it and I was right.

He came through, hugged me, loved me and rebuilt me. He pushed me through the people He sent to help and demanded nothing but full attention and work to get better. He sent me teachers to give the needed skills. He sent people who wouldn’t take nonsense or excuses from me. He made a way to walk through the valley of the shadow of death because the valley is a place of learning just like the green pasture is an important place of growth and rest. In reality, nothing is like people say and I could fully count of His word to perform.

Indeed I have found the joy of the Lord is my strength but it is a different concept. You see, when I understood that there would be valleys, I would feel the shadow of death, fear would come close, loss would show its face but His rod and staff, yes…His rod and staff, they will comfort and guide me; He will send His angels to watch over me; He will send me help from the holy hill. The difference has been how I find Him and connect to His plan His way in even in the darkest hour and there were many dark hours. Yet in the darkness, He was the one who was right next to me all the time.

One thing is certain, I will never tell anyone to just believe like I used to. I now ask hard questions and push for honest answers that will lead to learning the right choices for walking and strength to stay the path. Sometimes all it takes is an emoji from one who knows me, a look from one of my pillars, a slice of cake and black coffee, a good book, a moment watching the sunset, a tear shed in the privacy of my workout, a walk in the estate, thirteen-page journal entries…there was never one way to deal with it. The only thing I know for sure is His rod and staff…no platitudes, no affirmations to chant, just dealing with issues one at a time.

The way out was to categorise life into sectors: emotions, faith, finances, the marriage, friends, family etc. I dealt with the issues sequentially in an order that worked for me. It has been the hardest but sweetest journey because I have tools, I have proof, I have support and for that I am aware that I am privileged.

There has been an increase of strength and joy in my heart and I owe it to God because of the dark times that have drawn me closer to him, given me the skills I need for navigation and trimmed off my madness and the sense of judgement I had against those who were struggling. The struggles have made me stronger and more compassionate and I hadn’t even noticed it till my sister said, ‘I like the person you have become through the challenges; you are nicer and more compassionate.’

So if the trouble will help another person down the road; bring it on. There is a method and a purpose for the madness so bring it on. The reality is that each of us must deal with the issues and rise to the fullness that awaits us. Here’s to more conversations about life and mental health.

#NoExcuse #NoLimitations #MentalHealth

The Simple Life

When It Came Knocking I Knocked Back


In the last several years I have had the privilege of facing some very challenging times in life that have led to dealings with depression, anxiety and despair. Did I just say privilege? Yes I did. I had the privilege of facing some things that shook me to the core, messed my belief system, blew my dreams to smithereens and left me standing bruised, burned and in tears in the middle of nowhere. Those who are very close to me know the depth of these challenges but they don’t scratch the surface of what others I know around me have gone through. 

I wasn’t the one who couldn’t get out of bed daily. I wasn’t the angry, moody one. I was the high functioning, externally confident, high performer who was dying on the inside. 

I remember battling the thought that I shouldn’t feel so low if the joy of the Lord is my strength. I remember standing on the Word, it failed and fell apart. I remember asking, how could I be so sad and miserable when God has promised to lead me in green pastures by cool waters? Had I lost the plot? Would I ever recover? Am I crazy to be feeling the way I am?

One of the greatest moments of shift was when I mentioned my struggles to a very dear sister with the fact that I was seeing a shrink. Her response was a simple “so?” What? How? Her response took me aback because I expected her to run for the hills and never come back. To discard me as broken. To judge. Then she helped me understand. She too had struggled and sought help from a shrink and doors opened to healing and strength. 

I began the journey to healing that day and it has been quite a journey. It is still a walk and the best part was finding people who share my faith, have been through it or are actively helping others through it without losing their faith.

How did I make it back? Am I even back? Yes I am back and it has been quite a journey. 

The biggest challenge was rebuilding my faith. It fell apart because it was premised on things and actions rather than a deep seated love relationship. I had all the good girl things ticked; served in church, went for bible study, shared my faith, led youth groups etc. and I thought I was solid. When the foundation fell out and my life wasn’t working as I trusted it would and I was left with nothing, I realised that my foundation was actually on sand and I didn’t even know. The loss and failure triggered a crisis of faith and trust that triggered deep depression, anxiety and despair that only I could dig my way out. 

What did I do? 
I let go of expectation. 
I let go of people. 
I let go of hopes and dreams. 
I let go of the wanting people to make me happy. 
I understood that where I am is a result of the choices I have made and I can make another choice to get out. 
I understood that certain people won’t stay even if I wanted them to and so I found ‘my people’ and we held each others hands. 
I outsourced my faith and asked people to pray for me when I couldn’t pray for myself. 
I asked God to cut the crap, come, sit next to me and teach me Himself who He is or just get out of the picture completely. 
I was done with unreliable people and that included Him if He wasn’t going to show up.

I know many say it is audacious but when you are at rock bottom and have nothing to lose, you can only go upward with those who decide to walk with you. 

Let me tell you… 
God showed up in full force. 
He held me, 
Uncovered all the levels of madness and false expectations I was living by, 
Showed me all the lies I had listened to and given strength.
He taught me the things that would get me from one end to another. 
I learnt that the things that will get me out of that place may not the same for my sister or brother so I don’t use my way out to tell people how to get out. 
I ask them to find their answers at the foot of the cross.

Mental wellness is a personal journey that can make us stronger if we let it. Surprised I’ve been on this journey? Just imagine how many others around you are in this track and you don’t even know. 

Let’s begin to have honest conversations about mental health. 

#NoExcuse#NoLimitations#MentalHealth

The Simple Life

Mental Health & Life


We are hearing more and more about mental health issues yet many of us won’t talk about it. There is still a lot of stigma around it that we don’t talk about it. So many questions and stereotypes that we don’t want to talk about it that are hurting our nation.

Most of us would rather die than admit that we have or have walked through mental health challenges because we are scared of what people will say about us. we are worried if we will lose our place in society. We are told that it will bring shame to the family if it is discovered that one of us has dealt with these issues. We say things like, she just needs to snap out of it, just get your stuff together, how can you be depressed and you are a Christian and many more strange things like it.

Why can’t we just admit that we have had mental health challenges or someone around us is working through them? What is so wrong with saying we aren’t coping with life and need some help? Why is there such a stigma around mental health issues? When did it become ok to side line people because of their personal challenges? Would you talk badly about someone with cancer or diabetes or hypertension or any other physical disease? So why do we talk badly about mental health challenges when they are just a disease like any other?

There is the mother who went to bed one day and couldn’t wake up the next because her body was too tired and this struggle led to depression. There is the young person raised in a home with exacting standards to be maintained who just got tired of being someone they aren’t and shut down. There is also the man who hasn’t reached where he wanted to be by now and life isn’t improving but the pressure ‘to be a man’ is more than he can bear. There is the person who has ended up with depression because of a debilitating disease.

There is the couple who have lost a baby and she is broken beyond repair and is barely hanging on but since she was the one who went through the situation no one thinks he is hurting. There is the father whose adult son has died and he doesn’t know what to do with the grief. There is the person who had great hopes in their job but has just been made redundant and he cannot face his family to tell them the truth. There is the pastor who is seeing his congregants growing as individuals but the growth isn’t translating to a vibrant congregation. There is the couple who hoped for happily ever after and till death do us part but now they cannot stand each other.

Mental health challenges are closer to you than you could even know. In fact, they could easily be within you and you aren’t even aware. We need to be more considerate and willing to learn how to manage this as it is indeed a part of life.

#NoExcuse #NoLimitations #MentalHealth