Peace🕊

Silence is the sound of peace. True or false?

Today morning, the antenna of our radio was not in the mood of working. All we kept hearing were muffled noises unless someone stood just next to tip of the antenna. Because no one is paid to just stand still for an hour or so, I switched off the noisy box.

Then there was silence.

Only for about a micro second, the atmosphere was silent. The birds’ songs broke through immediately. The clock that had been tick-tocking could then be heard. Children within the neighborhood going to fetch water passed by and I could here them singing a song that I have never heard before. It wasn’t ‘Pilili palala’. They chorused a different song as they beat their ‘bidomola‘ and then I smiled. Silence can’t be the sound of peace, or is it?

Alot has happened in our country and yet 2021 has just begun. Just yesterday, the heavy rain caused havoc and jam here in Kampala. Elsewhere, business owners watched their noisy machines like refrigerators shut down. Generators were turned on but not for long. Zero silence vs. Absolute silence and seemingly no peace in the two scenarios.

Is silence the sound of peace?

The word peace appears close to 380 times in the Bible. It is opposed with the word ‘war’ like in Ecclesiastes 3:8. It is related with healing and joy. It goes alongside grace and mercy. The Psalmist in chapter 34 vs.14 urges us to seek peace and pursue it.

A completely silent area with no sound of gunshots means there’s peace, right? Does silent treatment bring peace between the parties involved?

I believe it can be nerve wrecking when you’re heading to work or school but you are also stuck in jam with cars hooting from all directions. If you lost your sense of hearing in that moment, would it be much more peaceful?

🙃Do we pursue silence or peace? Do they always come in one package?

Stuck🐾

Like chewed gum beneath the sole of an old shoe.

What a weird feeling. What a weird way to begin a well-thought-out and edited blog post! No fireworks. What a weird way to end the year! No bonfires. No whatever it is you usually do. No old car tyres burning in the village. No large gatherings. (Atleast that’s what was announced on the radio yesterday morning). Just like my country men, I definitely feel stuck.

Someone asked me to evaluate my year just the other week. In the process, I realised I really don’t like evaluation.

I could write a lot on how fantastic some things turned out and what I hope to change. I could and always have because I did not feel stuck then. Even if I did, I simply don’t remember. I know I wasn’t trying to push forward into a new year. I am usually preparing to be surrounded by a large crowd (more than 20 people atleast) so that it feels like I am not entering the new year alone. Like all those people are pulling me along. This year, even with family around and friends a call away, it just doesn’t look like opening the new year will be accompanied with the same old energy.

My new resolutions are usually fairly ready by now but this time round I feel quite disoriented. It is like I’m working on an endless jigsaw puzzle. A thousand half-ideas and thoughts hard to put on paper. A million feelings hard to decipher. Half said prayers. Me locked up in my own mind. ‘Well, get out of there,’ so you’d easily say. So I have told myself but it’s like nothing is shifting.

I am actually surprised that I was able to type all this out. I might probably reread this and also tell myself ,’Chic, you actually put an idea on paper’ but to be honest I currently feel stuck like chewed gum beneath an old shoe.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. (2Corinthians 4:7-10)

Stuck but not alone🌿

Inspired by a friend who posted a piece entitled, ‘Need of Grace’ http://hismarvelousworks.blogspot.com/2020/12/need-of-grace.html

The art of salting food

First of all, I want to thank my friend for forcing and patiently waiting for me to produce this post.😆 #YouKnowYourself.

It’s been a busy season for me ever since I last wrote something for my blog but thanks be to God, I am alive and still haven’t mastered the amount of salt that goes into food when cooking for a big number of people (that means I can ably write from a learner’s Point of View🌿). So, not to brag but I still get complaints about the saltiness of my sauces especially.

I come from a group of Ugandans that takes pride in preparing amazing thick pea sauce. I still don’t know if it’s our traditional staple food but I am certain that it’s something I have feasted on time and again from childhood. My mom has two styles of preparing it; with fresh peas or dried peas. I have managed to learn the ‘dried peas method’ but have successfully failed to present the perfectly salted version😂 (atleast for now).

The first time I prepared the peas, I forgot to add salt after frying the onions and tomatoes before adding the pre-boiled peas. It was truly horrible. The saying goes ‘A burnt child dreads fire’ and that child must approach the fire again in a wiser manner. I didn’t forget to add salt the next time but unfortunately, it was very little in everyone else’s opinion but me.🤔 I took a step back from preparing lunch and allowed myself to delight in my aunt’s ‘masterpiece’ two days later. The following week I tried to cook a sauce similar to hers but only a few members of the house approved. ‘Tasty but no salt,’ is what others said which really meant it was not tasty at all🤣.

Just this week, I put way too much salt in the french beans (according to my palate) but no one complained except my youngest sister. Looks like I still have a lot to learn for her sake but luckily I have discovered when frying eggs separately for each person, to ask how much salt they prefer. Turns out, everyone has their own different taste.

So how do I master ‘the art of salting food’ especially for a meal intedend to feed one group of people that don’t like the same thing? How do I deal with people’s opinions about my cooking, my blogging, my random art scribbles or anything I set my mind to do? Do I snap my fingers in their faces (especially if they have a seemingly negative opinion) and tell them to go prepare their own sauce? (🤭sometimes I am really tempted to do so).

What is the advantage of living in a social space where people can weigh in their suggestions and opinions? In as much as I don’t want to encourage cyber bullying or any form of aggressive judgement, it’s necessary that we, to whom the judgement is passed, learn to sort the truth from nonessential opinions. I value feedback even when it sends me to my room grumbling because deep down I know somehow-someday it will build me. My sauce may never taste perfectly salted for everyone😂 but if I can listen to the people I am cooking for and learn to value but filter their opinions, hopefully I can make a better version each time I cook.

Here’s some professional advice as well https://www.mexicanplease.com/art-seasoning-much-salt-use/

Dear reader, afraid of starting your own restaurant franchise or publishing your novel because you worry what others will think, that’s my seemingly crooked but salty advice.🧂

A Sunny day🌞

In my homeland, the rains usually come in September and last till November ( https://www.nkuringosafaris.com/climate-uganda/ ) . Since we are in October, it’s been long since I woke up to a day that doesn’t look gloomy. So I decided to cease the opportunity and write something that will throw us back to our days in Primary school.😁 You probably landed on this blog post in particular not because I sent you a link, so kajambo to whoever sent it to you and I am grateful to you that’s following. This is extremely random just like the weather today.

Birds chirping and chit chatting in mama’s tall palm trees
Towering over us as their gently dancing shadows are cast over the veranda
Where the family of sugar ants run around looking for some ka sugar
Sweeter than the bread crumbs stored before yesterday’s rain.

Maize seeds basking in the sweet sweet kasana
Hanging up there with the clouds in all it glory
As this week’s laundry gets it chance to dry up as well
Not forgetting grand papa’s gu thick sweater
Which will end up covering one of us dosing in the chair tonight.🤭

Hope set high that the rays won’t turn into drizzles
Which nevertheless won’t manage to dampen my joy
Not just because I stepped into sunlight this morning
But also due to this wonderful feeling I get knowing this is just a glimpse of the future ‘sunny day’💫

👣Oh when the saints, go marching in…may we be among that number.

Dare to Slow Down🕓

Apparently the more you grow, the more you know. Yes, I use the word apparently because it’s what I have heard over time but I doubt it’s 100% true. It appears that in this era many people don’t really want to know! Even with Wikipedia being one click a way, more and more people prefer to read in between the lines, keep up with the headlines and just stay aware. When you mention ‘the Fourteenth Amendment of 1866’ , people will definitely be amazed when you bother to explain it in detail but don’t act too surprised when you discover they left their ears at surface of your speech.😂

We want to be aware of a lot of things but not to sit down and gain more insight. I can attest to this because I could be the largest culprit. I also want to contribute when people hold conversations on a certain matter so I will head to Google and store up bits and bobs of what I heard as I passed by the TV or radio. ‘It’s safer to stay on the surface,’ so they say. Maybe that’s why we don’t enjoy school because Photosynthesis isn’t a trendy conversation starter🤭.

Okay, maybe discovering how former slaves become citizens in the US or how plants make their own food is not something you are truly bothered about. But do we even linger on what we call ‘our treasure’? Someone will be quick to say, ‘Yes, Kads, yes I do!’. Well kudos to you because I believe Slowing down is a skill we desperately need to acquire.

But dear Bible-reading Christian, when was the last time you meditated on a verse, prayed about it, took an entire hour to see how this verse relates with the entire chapter and then with the entire Bible, invested more time in discovering who wrote it, to whom and why? Hmmm…

I was clearing up my screenshots to create room for more only to discover that someone had posted Hosea 6:3 on their WhatsApp status over 6 months ago. I didn’t even bother to read the whole chapter then and just two weeks ago, someone read aloud Hosea 6:1-3 and I was amazed by this ‘new’ verse😂😂😂. ‘Verse 3! Where have you been all my life?’.🌿 I know God’s word appears new everytime we go back to read it but will we? I also know many of us don’t have the patience to dig deep in the moment. I pray we can gain patience. Just pause and imagine that you might not get the opportunity again to read Hosea 6. Make the best use of the time. Slow down.

I know if I say ‘Gyenda Mpola‘, I become the enemy of time. The enemy of many. I will say it again ‘Kakana‘ and again ‘Yetonde‘ . I don’t even like it when my mom shouts from across the room ‘Twarakuri omujabiriro‘ but I am learning to love it and apply it to my Bible Study time. ‘Yetware‘.😁 ‘Mot mot‘ or ‘Gyenda Buhoro‘ however you prefer to hear it. Don’t tie time with God alone plus your Bible on the fast-paced train of this present age. ‘Boss! Kendeza speed ‘. 🕓

To the Blind old man

I recently misplaced a notebook, one of my numerous notebooks, and it’s been quite hard to find it because my family knows all the other books I write in but that one. ‘Isn’t this the blue book you have been looking for?’ they ask and just after my hopes have risen, I shake my head and leave them puzzled. This has made them realise that I write alot, anywhere and everywhere including the walls. I guess one of the reasons I started a blog was to try to keep most of my writing in one place.😆

💚Some notebooks are received gifts so I try my best fill them up in honor of these people. I value wherever I write and in the absence of my blue notebook, I decided go through a different book that was a gift from my uncle. It holds about 50% of my written thoughts from the last two years of my high school. I was excited when landed on a piece I thought deserves to be stored here but I am posting it in a slightly different version. If I had the chance, this is something I would read to a cheerful blind old man;

I wish I could just peak into your heart,
And see how a soul so dauntless can exist in so much darkness,
Discover how you make up your mind and offer your love to a world you cannot see.
I want to tap into that courage that moves you out of your shell,
To make you believe that your cane will not lead you into a ditch,
To know that no snake shall be placed into your palm,
And to rest assured God is tenderly watching over you.
I beg to be the beggar just this once,
That I would gain even an ounce of your thousand-watt smile,
That my heart would be blinded to all these fears,
That I might walk a mile with you in the shadow of your maker’s wings.🌿

Precision

My sister and I have to clean the verandah in alternate weeks as part of our chores. Last week was my turn to spend close to 20 minutes daily ensuring we have a cleaner home. It’s during this time that I wander off into my thoughts especially if the verandah is not too dirty. One day, for some reason, I was less distracted and for the first time in forever I noticed the ventilator of the garage. I just don’t remember seeing that one in particular for all the many years we have lived in this house. I’m referring to the ventilator that’s not above the garage door. It’s like a very small window that’s obviously been there since the house was built.🤦‍♀️

I shared my ‘discovery’ with my younger siblings and they all agreed with each other that I’m more blind that the optician thinks.😂😑 It’s not just the ventilator they were referring to. In that moment, I wanted to run straight to one of my WhatsApp chats and deny having an eye for detail. I had taken it as a compliment then but I’m starting to think it through. Maybe I should take it as a challenge.

I know having the ability to be exact, accurate and careful is a talent for some people but I also believe that it’s something we could all learn to do. Paying attention to detail isn’t a skill that should be left to students in a BioChem lab or those in the Art Studio to master. It’s something useful that should be applied to most of life’s activities. Besides discovering the ventilators in our houses or the cobwebs in them🕸, we could also learn to pay attention to the people around us being careful whenever we hold conversations with them.

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;

James 1:19(ESV)

Three special steps that are key in building a better rapport with everyone. I will leave you to work on each step in detail. So maybe the next time you chat with someone over a cup of a hot drink, you should work on being a better conversationalist and in a not-creepy way take note of the kind of beverage they prefer plus the amount of sugar.🙂

The Ventilator 😄

The Saucepans won’t wash themselves

This lockdown period due to the COVID-19 Pandemic has come with multiple sudden changes in our home settings, our day-to-day lives definitely, technology not excluding social media(but really, anything always causes a buzz on social media), urgent changes in the way the government operates and so many other things in so many countries. Some people have gained weight and others are losing it way to fast. The story is different depending on the circumstance the teller is in but I know one thing for sure, we’re all learning new things daily.🧐

Some of us are watching the news 24/7 so we’re constantly learning what’s happening out there. We’re also learning new things about those we live with for example who’s a tongue roller and who’s not😛, discovering our hidden talents like singing in the shower now that we have all the time we need or memorizing the number of tiles in your apartment for God knows what reason. Some of us are learning from our mistakes. Maybe hiding near the dog’s kennel is not the best spot in a Hide and Seek game.🤭Someone is definitely learning how to turn that maize flour into porridge or posho(maize meal) probably because mummy has to breastfeed the new baby or the big sister who used to mingle the posho has to wash all the laundry that has accumulated. Oh yes, you have probably learnt that posho is the new rice in most Ugandan homes because either the rice run out in week 1 or the government food rations fell upon your homestead. The story is different.🙃

My story begins at 7:40 in the morning. I’m on saucepan duty and yesterday’s pans won’t clean themselves. I’m also on supper duty so I usually wash the utensils after supper and reserve the day’s saucepans to be washed in the morning. It’s less tiresome if I do it that way but still a time-consuming task. The saucepan that requires most patience is the one used for mingling posho. The first step is to fill it with water to the brim i.e. soak it and I must soak it overnight or I’ll end up washing it at 9:40am. Two hours not less! The soaking allows the remnants to peel off the surfaces easily. I then use a small stick to scrape away the rest from the saucepan. The inner side of the saucepan is easier to clean but bottom requires a little more energy. Once I see the water is very turbid, then I can pour that first round away. I add more water with a little soap to soak the stubborn bits. The rest of the story is magic😂, a scourer, soapy water, a final rinse with clean water and a prayer for just enough sunshine to dry all the other saucepans within a nick of time. I am happy and so is the person going to cook.

💁‍♀️”The saucepans won’t wash themselves,” is something my mom is likely to reiterate the whole morning if I don’t wake up as scheduled. They definitely won’t wash themselves😌 but can we clean ourselves?

I know I’m not the only one who misses their friends. Getting together and being soaked in words of encouragement to allow our ugliness to peel off. 💙Maybe you’ve found a way to stay in touch with them and are being filled to the brim or maybe some of us have enough family members around us to do the soaking and that’s beautiful but not sufficient. Sometimes the people we hold dear hit us with painful criticism, just like the saucepan meets the scrapping stick. The coach tells you your kick stinks and benches you in the next game. The teacher and your parent say you’re not putting in enough work. That is eventually useful but not sufficient. Okay, maybe we may go through tough and painful times. Boda boda accidents, sicknesses, or losing a close relative. Times that might eventually transform our lives tremendously. I imagine the saucepan doesn’t enjoy the scouring part but it’s inevitable. Inevitable but not sufficient. Remember it’s still all soapy. Minus that final rinse, I cannot use that saucepan to cook. So who must do the rinsing?🙃

Nothing happens in our lives without God’s consent but we constantly fail to believe that. If we don’t have faith to beleive that God is ever present, then life really is meaningless. I believe that he sends us friends or helpers to keep us on track. He allows their words to build us towards him, break us away from our sinful nature or dump us into a ditch so that like Gideon in the vinepress, we encounter God. Sometimes he watches us be swallowed by a giant fish. All this happens and we should be able to see God within the turbid and soapy process. When we see God, we should be able to hold on tight to every promise he says and be led to him by Christ.🌿

“If you ever get a chance to hang out with Mack, you will soon learn that he’s hoping for
a new revolution, one of love and kindness—a revolution that revolves around Jesus and what
he did for us all and what he continues to do in anyone who has a hunger for reconciliation
and a place to call home.” _ from the novel The Shack by William P.Young.

It is true that God is with us every step of the way, in the soaking, the peeling, the scraping, the scouring and only Jesus can give us that final wash that reconciles us to God.💜 Jesus said to him(Thomas), “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6,ESV). Jesus is the final rinse. This is the week the Bible shows us Jesus’ journey to the cross. Go ahead and dig in. While you’re there, pray for us all. Happy Easter and may your saucepans be washed in time.🤗

The kind of love that remains

💜I can’t remember the very first time I drew a heart shape but it’s something I am so accustomed to doing. I won’t call my self a fanatic because my i’s have regular dots and not hearts. (Shout outs to the fanatics). However, I love the ease with which the curves just form when I decide to beautify my writings.♡ It’s never as perfect as the digital version. Ofcourse one curve will be larger than the other or the sharp pointed base will appear blunt instead, which I don’t mind because every mistake in art is a design.🤣 That’s a saying I adapted from my teacher of Art in High School and it is always saving my time from trying to perfect my Art.

Here is something we are all familiar with. In my 5th year in primary school, my classmates and I learnt about the mammalian heart and studied its structure. That’s when I discovered that the heart is more than just two symmetrical curves joining together. It’s a four chambered organ made of muscle fibres that contract rhythmically all on their own to pump blood to the lungs and the entire body. Its actual natural shape is similar to what we draw but ofcourse 90% of the people reading this blog probably know this already. They know it and 60% ignore it. We still draw our simple heart shapes♥️, bake heart shaped cookies, send emojis with heart shaped eyes😍 and never stop to remember how the actual heart looks. We do it cause it works for us. Our hearts are comfortable with that.

Apparently, the heart wants what it wants. The heart has a mind of its own. Guard your heart for from it flows the spring of life and so on and so forth. My understanding of these heart analogies is that our brain compiles immediate responses and thoughts like in the same duration of a single heartbeat. For example when someone says listen to your heart, they obviously don’t mean concentrate on the ‘lub-dub’ sounds through a stethoscope but listen to your impulsive thoughts. What is your understanding?🧐

As we think longer about that, let me add on something else for you to chew on. The heart is very deceptive, isn’t it?

Quite or very deceptive, selfish and incompetent and incomplete( I wanted to type imcomplete first but my autocorrect changed it to incompetent giving me another descriptive word). It’s also manipulative.

Piano music often reminds me of one of my selfish acts. I met this girl in High School called Xtina and the only reason I became closer to her was to be friends with her biggger brother who was a year older than me. I thought that would make me a cool kid in school.😎 When I saw her brother, I instantly wanted to be her friend. Xtina was in many classes lower than mine so that wasn’t the ordinary classmate friendship. I asked her to play piano for me when she told me she had been learning and encouraged her to break our of her shy-shell. I truly wasn’t interested in developing her confidence but my heart kept convincing me that I was helping her out of ‘love’. “I wasn’t too selfish as long as I wasn’t hurting her.” “It was a win-win situation.” I never got to meet the brother before me and Xtina stopped talking. My selfish heart considered our encounter a complete loss for me. I eventually stopped talking much to her pretending to be super busy. Was she hurt? Ofcourse I didn’t care. I followed my heart in and out of that situation. I can’t advise anyone to listen to their heart now. The human heart can be very deceptive. So what do we do?

Now fact is, there’s no perfect heart. I cannot draw one myself and we can’t love perfectly no matter how many self-help books we read. “How to Love your dog in 10 days🤣”.

1 Corinthians 13 paints a perfect picture of the love God gives us and the love we ought to reflect onto others but how do we do this selflessly without expecting anything in return? Hard, right?🙃It’s never in our efforts that we can achieve true godly perfection. If we’re after something God-like, we have to seek him first. Repent, be renewed, receive from him and allow the Spirit to reflect this love onto others through you. Love is a gift God gives us freely through his Son. Ofcourse, I speak of the kind of love that remains.💕

Version 2.20

Happy New Year! One of the things I was taught by a brilliant mind recently is that in as much as people, including myself, prefer to use ‘Happy New Decade’ instead of the old-fashioned Happy new year for 2020 in particular, a decade count can start in 2015 and end in 2025. Dear genius minds, allow us to bask in the concept of celebrating our ‘new decade’ but whichever works for you, I am glad you crossed over.

There’s also a familiar phrase that appears in most conversations all-January; ‘New year, new Me’. I don’t know if everyone who uses the phrase in their speech means it when they say it. However, I am certain that on top of 2020 marking the start of a new decade for many people, it also means change. It is as if the new year fills people up with a desire to start afresh. I’m also not certain if that is not just an effect of peer pressure but I know we have all been there before. We begin planning never to sleep off in a Maths lesson, to eliminate procrastination from our lives, to let go of a nasty old habit like piling up dirty socks, to start gardening, to visit our primary schools so that we can donate all the textbooks filling up our shelves, discover the location of Mount Sinai and finally learn the lyrics to all the songs on our music playlist. Crazy resolutions!😲 Amidst all of the planning, some people get slightly depressed because the new list looks exactly like last year’s. ‘Why didn’t I change? Why am I the same old John ‘Doe?’. They simply cover up the depression assuming last year just wasn’t their year and maintain the same goals. I will do it this year! Some people just add the word ‘more’ because they are completely satisfied with whatever they achieved. If 2019 was the year to be kind, 2020 is the year to be more kind. It spices up things a little. I will do better this year! There’s also a category of people that realise they went over the top with the whole concept of change last year. We react differently to the new year but nevertheless, there’s that feeling of ‘newness’ all around us. New year, a newer better version of me! Version 2.20!😏

Another thing I recently learnt is that my WhatsApp Messenger is version 2.19.352. I know people good with numbers that would perfectly remember that entire sequence ten years later. I don’t know if that’s a hobby or a gift but all the same I stand in awe! I believe before the WhatsApp crew updates the app, all the ups and downs are taken not of. Whatever is up, is maintained and improved. Whatever is down, is scrapped off and replaced. But the app remains the same, a messenger app with added and improved features. There is a detailed explanation of what you can do with WhatsApp in the App stores. It will never turn into a food delivery app and neither should we insist on drastically turning ourselves into a ‘new us’. Change is healthy but only if we are slow and steady to see if and where it is necessary. Imagine WhatsApp got rid of the crying-laughing emoji all in the name of change😂

Before you run around telling people how you want to change in the next 12 months, recognize yourself first. Sit down, get a cup of tea or coffee or a glass of juice and notebook. Write down your ups and your downs. What are your character traits? What makes you happy and what makes you sad? What habits are you proud of and what are those you want to trash? What are your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats? What principles do you stand by? The one human that you need to be honest with is you way before you present yourself to others. Understand your environment as well and the current circumstance you’re in. Then point out where change is necessary. My prayer is that you’ll allow God to guide you search your heart cause he definitely knows you best.

What is your current version?

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