The Simple Life

Don’t Waste A Crisis.


Recently I was part of a webinar on crisis communication and it was totally intriguing. Why that webinar? I have decided to expand my range of knowledge and challenge myself to understand different aspects of work deeper. This ensures that once a week I do a webinar in a topic that interests me. So last week I did one in human resources and the one in crisis communication I mentioned earlier. In the crisis communications one, I heard a statement that shifted my axis and settled deep within me;

Don’t waste a crisis.

Stella Kiguta Nganga

A crisis is defined as a season of deep or intense difficulty and danger and the current covid19 pandemic fits that definition. We are facing uncertain times ahead with lockdowns taking effect across the world, overdoses from proposed medications, fear and terror about infection rates and tracing challenges, seemingly looming shortages and outages and the general uncertainty of the unknown. There have been and likely will be more job losses as companies grapple to find ways to keep alive and in reality, there are companies that will be brought to their knees and never recover.

Don’t waste a crisis is such a loaded statement because many of us waste crises.

How do we waste crises? Crises have the ability to strike us deaf and dumb, catch us in sticky mud like back cotton and keep us stranded. Crises shake our beliefs and desires as they strip away our sources of strength thus hinder our ability to walk forward and deal with life. I know it sounds odd to say that we can waste a crisis but think about it for a bit. Did others find themselves in crisis before us? Yes! Did they ALL survive? No! Who did? The ones who took a different look at life!

For many of us, our default setting when trouble or challenges come our way is to ask why or why me. How about changing the questions to why not me or who else should go through this? I know it sounds like madness but that small shift changes perspectives completely. It is a lot like the half full half empty perspective of the glass and that is what I want us to think about.

Every crisis has a lesson for each one who goes through so why not focus on that.

If there is a lesson in every crisis then can there be another way of dealing with it? Most certainly. When we say don’t waste a crisis we mean, learn all you can from every crisis that you may have the right tools for the path ahead. Why? Life beyond the crisis is never the same as life before it thus a new set of skills are needed to navigate this life. How do you navigate a path you have never been down if you haven’t developed a new set of skills to deal? You can’t.

How do we harness a crisis?

  • Shift Perspective: Challenges come to make us strong and the acceptance that there is something to learn shifts our ability to overcome and accomplish more.
  • Ask Questions: Questions are the best learning tools you have in your arsenal. Ask about root causes, trends, rising numbers, locations, patterns of communication, failures, successes and anything else you may be curious about. If you cant find answers from your questions, change the set of questions and keep asking no matter what.
  • Be keen: Keep your eyes peeled or open to see. What is there to see? Reasons for the situation, answers to questions, new phenomena, causes, challenges…anything that helped contribute to the situation, provided solutions and possible lessons.
  • Right Conversations: You will find that not many people see things the way you do and will either think you are mad or discourage you from this new perspective. When your mind shifts or begins to shift, find people who will challenge the thought process without demeaning your position. If you get dismissed, review the response and assess its validity but keep your ground on your thoughts, they will make sense
  • Reflect & Review: Take notes of key lessons, capture your key thoughts and assess them. Take time to think through it over and over until you see the realities coming to mind. Read others comments and ideas to grow your own but capture your thoughts that you can review and deepen them for growth.
  • Stop and Listen To God: Our sure radar is God for he never sleeps or slumbers nor forsakes us. His answers are sure and His word is reliable. His ways lead to life and His love is eternal. He is the answer to all our questions and His thoughts are so much higher than ours that we will understand more as He brings us clarity.

Remember, that every crisis make us bigger, better and badder. Remember that no matter where it comes from, we will come out better because we will never again waste any event in our lives. Remember that God has allowed this situation to build us up and make us stronger and He has the solution.

Photo by Tanya Gorelova on Pexels.com
THE CHRISTIAN WALK

Life Unfolding


There are times in life when the questions are many more than the answers and this is one of those times for me. Often it’s not even about my personal life and the things unfolding there but about the lives of others and the things unfolding there. This has continued to affect my perspective in life for the better.

jn44I grew up happy and relatively uninhibited by life because of the love of those around us. One family that was part of this happy and strong foundation is the Neimeyer family…Larry, Judy, Heath and Ronan. We lived in the same neighbourhood, carpooled to school, went on joint family outings and holidays. It was four adults and five children between the ages of 9 and 5 years. Wow…I see it in a different light now that I have a son in that bracket…mad respect to the folks…mad respect. I remember trips to Naro Moru River Lodge and Naivasha, meals at each other’s homes, playing in the back yard till night fall and being dirty like crazy. The thing that stands out from that time was the warmth, love and family. For about five years life was idyllic, and then came end of primary school and boarding school in high school and we lost touch.

Last year I met Uncle Larry at a restaurant and we joked about how great it would be have coffee soon and catch up. Even as I had every intention of doing so, it didn’t happen as life took on a life of its own. I reconnected with Aunt Judy on Facebook and found some really amazing photography she was taking. Here’s a secret… pictures of scenery and plant life have me hooked without trouble. Anyway, we would chat and I have indeed used some of her pictures in my articles. What none of us could conceive was that 2014 would throw a curveball bigger than a football field.

Early this year Aunt Judy was diagnosed with cancer. It hit hard because I was so used to her sunny disposition and energetic pace in life I didn’t know how to take it. I watched from the side-lines for a while to see if this would change and to my jn56amazement very little changed. All I saw was courage and encouragement for all of us and when she was down she asked for prayers for courage and strength. Every post I saw and still see celebrates life and the daily good. Everyday meant that there was something to smile about. Then I say the most amazing thing I have ever seen…My Tribute  from Uncle Larry about all Aunt Judy’s attributes from A to Z. I cried. I cried because of the depth of love and commitment that this had taken to put together. I cried because I had never seen something like this done. I cried as this amazing celebration of life, love and companionship. I was totally blown away

One Tuesday my sister Tibaga and I went to see them at home. The only thing I can is that it was like time travel. The house is the same one we used to go to with the same warmth, love and welcome. I could see all of us running around, through the kitchen and sitting round the side and back in. The colours were what I remembered…it was like coming home. The heart and soul I remembered from this home was thriving…it was a strong healthy heartbeat. It was true to who I knew Uncle Larry and Aunt Judy to be. The only difference was Aunt Judy isn’t well in the body but her spirit is on fire.

jn44There is a certainty that amazed me. She talks about how excited she is to see people come through her doors. She keeps you in stitches about things that have happened in the last few months. She talks about how we will all certainly die. She talks about songs she wants sung at her funeral. Yet, she is deeply concerned about brining joy to those around her. They shared how they take cards with them when she goes for chemo because they need to share the peace they have found. They talk of nurses and doctors also need the encouragement because they have to deal with frequent losses of their patients. They talk about how everyone there struggles with the pain regardless of creed or faith. It struck me that as they share these stories they smile at each other, finish each other’s sentences and are at peace. It is amazing. We could have stayed there for a couple of days but we understood that she needed to rest and we needed to get home.

It was surreal to see the new depth of understanding of life on display in front of us. It wasn’t denial or simple acceptance. It was like a mantle they have accepted with joy and expectation, walking through and working through the pain everyday yet still looking for the plans and purpose of God in everything. Everyday Aunt Judy posts something on Facebook that keeps us abreast of her progress and following her has taught me a lot in the past few months and left me with more questions than answers as is usual in life.

I am left wondering:

  • Am I so clear, certain and confident in my relationship with God that nothing will shake my belief in Him regardless of the circumstances?
  • Can I honestly tell God when and where it hurts and allow Him to heal it or help me deal with it?
  • Am I eager to follow in His footsteps even when I can’t see the way ahead?
  • Is my heart and soul so connected to God that I see the hurt and pain in the world and do something about it?jn28
  • Is my heart so connected to God that I can see good in all circumstances and celebrate it with Him?
  • Do I really believe God’s word that:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8: 28 

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow — not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

My heart is still working on these questions. This year I have seen more people I know leave this world than any other year in my life and so the questions are asked over and over and linger a lot longer now. Yet I choose to rise and put my hope in God for where else can I go.

jn61If I raise my eyes to the hills, from where will my help come?
My help comes from Adonai, the maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip — your guardian is not asleep.
No, the guardian of Isra’el never slumbers or sleeps.

Adonai is your guardian; at your right hand
Adonai provides you with shade —6 the sun can’t strike you during the day or even the moon at night.

Adonai will guard you against all harm; he will guard your life.
Adonai will guard your coming and going from now on and forever.

Psalms 121 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

************************************************************************

All images in this post courtesy of Judy Neimeyer

THE CHRISTIAN WALK, The Simple Life

Faith


Now faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.Hebrews 11:1

I have been thinking about faith and hope and realised how I cannot have one without the other. If faith and hope are so intertwined, how does one connect with it? They are not emotions but realities I must connect to that will make the walk of my richer every day.

Faith is in simple things like opening our eyes in the morning, getting out of bed, breathing etc. Hope is in simple things like going to work with a big plan, working hard so as to do something with the family. We cannot make plans in a vacuum. We cannot have plans for the future unless we have hope for the same.

There has to be something our lives are hinged on. However, in reality, the hinges differ for everyone. For some it is their personal abilities, others it’s their connections and upbringing and others it is their faith. I choose to hinge my life on faith because it the one thing I have found to stand the test of time.

One thing I have learned in the last few years is that faith grows as I exercise it. Faith is neither foolish nor blind but is grounded in the reality of a relationship with God. It is not sitting around doing nothing and waiting for things to work out. Faith is a connection with God that provides insight and direction. This connection brings out the best in each of us and gives us the balance we need to live and be productive citizens in this life.

Find faith in God an anchor your life to it. This doesn’t mean that the walk will be easy; rather it means that it will be manageable and well-directed.

Uncategorized

Simplicity


O little town of Bethlehem
How still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight

 This is simple but profound. In a small town in the middle of a little known province, a mother gave birth to a baby boy who would grow up to be the Savior of the world. This was no normal affair. He was born in the cowshed, with cows, sheep and goats and other animals watching. His first bed was a cattle feeder as his mother sat close by on the milkman’s stool and dad sat on a bale of hay. Yet, the shepherds and wise men from afar came to worship him, the angels joined in chorus and a wonderful star shone above.

 How often are we unable to see the outcome of our current situation and despair because of all that is around us? Our hopes and dreams are met in Christ and only He and the Father know the unfolding. When we trust Him the plans He has for us become a wonderful reality. Joy can be found in the simple things like breathing in and out, watching children play, thinking wonderful thoughts about those around us and so much more. The beauty of life is in the simple things and these are the things we must focus on.

 Take time to watch life and see the simple things. Connect to God and understand the depth of the simplicity He calls us to live by. It is a wonderful day to be alive.