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Dear Katsy

Dear Katsy,

On Sunday at church, our pastor honored someone who joined you in the presence of our father in heaven. He departed on 26th December. As you might imagine, my heart went racing to the day you departed so suddenly. I remembered it like it had only freshly happened. I wish that is all it had been, reminiscence! It was not. The feeling of pain pierced right through my heart just like it had on the 20th of December 2017 after Shane Brian and I had had that brief conversation with an evidently broken doctor who had to break the news to us. I remembered how difficult it had been for her to tell us that you had gone. Brian yelling at her and demanding that she get to the point and say what she knew she had to say.

Eventually she collected every nerve in her and told us, “She is gone.” Those words pierced like a sharp sword right through my heart. I did not know what to do or how to feel. I was numb for a few seconds. I looked at the monitors (heart rate and oxygen) and while the oxygen one had gone flat, the heart rate one still had some life. There was a pulse. Shane asked if what she was seeing on the monitor was a pulse and the doctor said it was a pulse but it was all the work of a machine. That is all we needed. We rushed to your bedside and prayed for you to come back. What we did not want to understand is that you had tasted Glory!!! It was so sweet! Why would you want to come back to pain?

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We knew where you were going but we were selfish. We wanted you too. We were not prepared; we were not ready, just not yet. Whether we would ever have been ready is another thing all together. What we were sure of at that moment is you had slipped out of our lives and it was not fair. Do not even ask fair to who! Anyway, you tasted Glory and you were not going to compromise. We were left with no choice but to respect God’s will.

So Sunday was kind of tough with thoughts of you, trying to constantly push them away because I did not want to start crying. I went to Jajas as is our Sunday custom. In the evening when we were back home, something happened. Our Tal Tal who had not even made three when you departed made one of her usual imaginary phone calls. She usually makes imaginary business phone calls, telling the recipient on the other side how she has a meeting etc. On Sunday night, she made one of those interesting phone calls only this time she made it to you Katsy. I was shocked but chose to conceal my shock in order to hear her conversation. It was the usual, business conversation, “Hello Katsy, I am going for a meeting, I will see you later, ok? Kale Katsy we will talk later.” You were on my baby’s mind Katsy and it is heart warming.

So on Monday I called Paula and asked her if I could have Sean for a few days. I wanted to have a part of you with me. She told me to pick him in the evening. He was a little grumpy when we picked him because he had just woken up from his nap. It was not long before his spirit was high again. We were soon in the car saying bye to Mama Paula and the girls. No sooner had we driven out of the gate than Sean started talking. He talked all the way to our home. I was amazed at how similar he was to you. He is so very friendly and carefree. He starts up conversation with any one and everyone. He is so friendly and he likes talking. Oh he is also a clean freak. I have never met a three year old who asks to take a shower, both in the morning and in the evening. He is amazing!!!

At night he insisted that he wanted to sleep in my bed. Of course I let him. But you best believe Talia, Aine and William were not having any of that so I got displaced. I took to the floor. I had all of them in my bed and they giggled into the night amidst my threats to lock them in the living room if they did not sleep. Eventually they all fell asleep although Sean took a little longer. It must have been the new environment. He gave excuses as to why he was not sleeping. His left eye was paining, he said; then it was his stomach, then his leg, then and his right eye. Eventually he could no longer hold his eyelids open any longer and so he gave in to the sleep demand.

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Today I want to thank God and also to thank you for leaving for us Sean. A part of you is still alive in him and I am grateful for that.

HEIRS OF AFRICA

I had a conversation with someone recently who was giving me the excuse that he is not actively involved in community transformation because he wants to make a couple of millions and get involved in a “big” way. Not so long ago, I had the same mentality. I thought that without money, a lot of money, there was not much I could do to transform the community around me. I am grateful for the enlightenment I have since got that has changed my mindset. Life is so short but some people literally take a gun and end it prematurely.

I have been enlightened to know that I don’t need money to change the world around me. Please do not get me wrong, money does help but the lack of it should not be the excuse for not taking part in bringing positive transformation to those around you. I do not look down on those who use it to create a lot of good in the world. However, the lack of it should not be a reason for anyone to sit back and do nothing to change what is around them for better. For instance, one does not necessarily need “a lot” of money to give a motivational or educative talk to illiterate members of his community who see nothing wrong with littering waste of any kind wherever they are. One does not need “a lot” of money to pass on practical skills to juvenile criminals who were unfortunate not to afford education and subsequently turned to theft for survival. We have to interact with people who need to know there is still some good in this world, that they are not forsaken.

We are so westernized that we have adopted their culture into our homes and families and even communities. We build houses with such high walls, and there is nothing wrong with that, but only if we could make time to know those around us. I grew up in an estate where every parent knew every child and every one knew everyone. Children got out in the evenings and played together and parents were seen chatting one with another. The neighbor’s parents did not hesitate to discipline another’s child for fear of being reported to the authorities for “abuse.” In fact, in those days when the neighbor disciplined you, they helped you to tell your parents that they had indeed given you a few strokes of the cane. Your parents would then add you some claiming that the neighbor had been lenient with their punishment.

It is sad that we have lost sight of the power of community and the ground beneath our feet is shifting because we no longer celebrate our origin. Punishment is now labeled “abuse”, we the young parents are often told not to spank our children. “Talk to them, they understand,” we are told. We are struggling so hard to be everything but ourselves that we have lost sight of our heritage and the people around us. We have abandoned our inheritance and left it to the colonialists to rape, ravage and exploit. Then they return to us the tattered pieces of our land and peoples and call it AID.Screen Shot 2018-12-14 at 00.19.17

A wise man once said; “I can show you a man who has lived by standing at his grave.” The man who has lived has touched lives and people mourn him because the memory of him is a reminder of their deepest loss. I see so many people who make journeys to see the graves of the ones they love because to them, the connection is one not worth forgetting and they hold on to the ideals of that person, they move on in life holding the mantle of the one who has passed it on.

We are a product of our ancestors who shed blood to see that we had a home a place to calls ours. It may not look like much but neither does a diamond before it’s polished. We must go back to our roots

NO COMPROMISE ON HAPPINESS

I have been blessed to live a full life. A life of so much that I need a day to tell you about. I have also had pain and anguish and seasons that left me winded. I sometimes went to bed in tears and frustrated and wondered about this God who could let me go through depression.

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I carry scars of battles I have fought and some of these are still raw. I woke up each day telling myself I am going to be okay and I was but I should have been saying; “This is the day that the Lord has made and I shall be glad in it.”

We are constantly letting the world tell us what should define happiness and yet all these things are temporary and dynamic. New clothes, new shoes, new car, new house and so on and so forth! These things never satisfy for long and before you know it you are in the rat race again to find something new to please you and boost your temporary happiness. I know that it sounds cliché, but you can only find happiness within and your happiness must never be compromised! If you love from a space of nothing, you are giving nothing. You have to fill your heart with joy and the only way that can happen is if your spirit and your soul are bound. The spirit carries the fuel for your happiness but it has to be unlocked! You have to look for the keys in the bible and meditate on them. There is no way you can enjoy the fruits of the spirit if you are not planting the seed for them.

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I am now fiercely protective of my happiness and I am living each day knowing that it’s a gift. Gifts are treasured and looked after and are shared! So for my gift of each day I start with the person who has given it to me.

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I thank him for it and I talk to him about my plans for it and I ask him to give me the courage to face whatever trials might come through. I then try to live the morning of the Proverbs 31 woman. I rise before my household and ensure that my household has a decent morning meal. I then go forth into the day knowing that the Lord who has given me this day is sustaining me and he has given me the joy to carry me through because his word told me so. So the mantra I want to share with you is we can’t compromise on happiness I mean real everlasting, ever present happiness!

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NO MAN IS AN ISLAND

One of the best quotes I have ever heard is that we are human because of relationships. I literally paused to think it through and I tried to decipher and elucidate this thought in my mind and came to my own deductions.

From before we are born, we have to be formed by a connection between opposite sexes and we are then formed and come into existence. We are at the core of our beings a product of a relationship whether permanent or temporary. At a point in time two people came together and whether intentionally or unintentionally, you were living proof of their relationship. In fact someone once said, “We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.” ― Herman Melville

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I know you are waiting for me to make a point but here it is.

There is no way you could exist without a relationship and you can’t live without them. That is why when a person commits a crime they are incarcerated, which is the same as being detained. They are denied the ability to relate with society until they have made good the commitment to become upstanding members of society and are then allowed to rejoin society. The mandatory detention is to remind them how important human contact is and that it is to be treasured; not to be undermined or mishandled. The pain of being out of relationship has the ability to make anyone lose his or her humanity.

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In the past year, I have lost three people that were all dear to my heart. As I grieved over my loss, I started to learn that the pain of seeing someone die is not only about their physical person, it is the loss of the connection with that person. The sting of death is in the cutting short of the cord that you have been weaving with this person. We ‘remember’ this person because we celebrate the relationship we had with this person and the place they hold in our hearts.

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Every aspect of life is about living in communion with one another and that communion is community. At every turn we have to be mindful of those that are around us and not miss the opportunity to create a new beginning or simply to be the turning point for one another. To live means connection and connections are part of living.

 

CHILDLIKE FAITH

God blessed me with three amazing children. I recently took them to the water park to swim and play. I sat on a bench and watched them as they cheered and giggled and the shrills of pure joy were so infectious as  they jumped in and out of the water fountains.

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I looked at their innocence and thought to myself; “How simple life is; how unadulterated their belief system is.” When a child says; “Please may I have some juice,” they simply are asking that! They are not going to ask where the juice comes from, or if you have the ability to make or purchase it! They expect that you have it. That is simply it. In the event that you tell them there is no more juice and offer them an alternative, for as long their thirst is genuine, they will take it.

As I watched them jump in the water screaming and laughing as the “the big bucket” poured on them water, I thought to myself this is what childlike faith is. It is not just in the belief of the fact that God has got this puzzle called life covered, it is living in its fullness that even when you don’t get what you believe is owed to you, you are perfectly content with what he has offered as an alternative. Not looking at it as second rate but as the best thing for you at that time and there is nothing better!

I went through a season this year where I had planted doubt in my heart, where I thought that if I serve a loving God how could he let all these things happen to me and the people I love. I was angry, disillusioned and distressed all the while covering it with a smile and still giving of myself without question or limit. I made numerous appointments with God because we needed to have some closed-door meetings. I debated with him and gave him my ‘buts’ and ‘because.’ Each time he said; “Could you listen to me please.” I would quiet down for a split second and go back to my previous argument. He sat there looking at me and I could hear him say; “I am here when you are ready to listen, not try to get me to see your reason.” I felt completely at a loss, walking in circles in the desert and couldn’t find my way to the oasis. Then I broke and let go! I went to him lay in his lap and wailed. He engulfed me in his arms and just soothed me. I felt complete rest and there was my answer. I was asking of God for a want not a need. The wants are temporary and the needs are permanent. What I needed to stop feeling the thirst was not the Fanta I kept asking for!

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God is a parent and we are His children. There is nothing more to it. We are naughty sometimes and we throw tantrums and even storm out thinking He doesn’t know what we are talking about. Just like you would look at your baby and think; “Look at him/her.”

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He looks at us and with all the love, which is far greater than that for our own children, waits for us to just turn to him. To BELIEVE that he will come to us in our time of need and take over completely and all you have to do is hold out your hands and say; “Daddy carry me.”

ALL IN GOD’S TIME – TALES OF A PROUD MUM

My Aine made her debut arrival in January 2013. It was the perfect New Year’s gift. As human beings, we usually make our plans and try to organize our lives in ways that we feel suit us. However, usually God has different plans for us and He organizes our lives in ways He is sure most suit us. That was the case in this chapter of my story. You see, my husband, son and I were born in November. My plan was that all my children be born in November. I also planned that there would be a three year gap between my children. I therefore “knew” the time I had to conceive and I made my “plans” around that timing.

When that time came, I started putting my plans into ‘action’ Screen Shot 2018-10-12 at 16.36.53because according to me, my baby had to come in November. However, to my dismay, the next month, I still experienced the usual female monthly challenges (If you know what I mean). Well “THAT WAS NOT THE PLAN” I thought to myself. If I had not conceived in that window, my plan was totally ruined. I had to make one of two decisions, either to wait until the following year to try and actualize my plan of having all my babies in the same month, or I just work on having my baby so as to at least get my desired age gap. So I decided to do the latter so I would not lose on both my plans. Little did I know that God had another plan for me.

For the next one year, I faced disappointment every single month. I started to pray fervently for God to give me the desires of my heart. With each passing month, I was more disappointed than the previous one. God surely knew what I wanted and what I wanted would bring glory to His Name; so why was He not giving it to me? I did everything humanly possible, I had calendars and alarms and… you name it. Nothing worked!

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A whole year passed by as I watched my second plan bear no fruit. I was very frustrated, even bordering depression. A few of my friends whom I shared with and asked to pray with me all told me the same thing, “stop thinking about it and trying to work so hard for it, just relax and it will happen.” How was I supposed to stop thinking about something I wanted so badly? Why were people so unrealistic with their advice? I couldn’t stop thinking about it even if I tried. I knew and did everything I needed to do in order to increase my chances but nothing worked.

One day I was having one of those tough conversations with God. I asked Him if He was surely going to let me have only one child even when He knew the desires of my heart. I cried out to Him and told Him that if it is what He wanted for me, then He should give me peace about it. After having that conversation with God, the one thing I know for sure is that He gave me peace. I stopped fussing about what was not happening and started to enjoy what I had. I deleted all the calendars and alarms and all the other crazy things I had in my phone. Heck I even resumed taking my glass or two or… many of wine. My life went back to normal after a whole year of turmoil.

I was so peaceful that I didn’t even notice when a month passed without me experiencing the normal processes of life as a female. Even when I started feeling constantly tired and sleepy I blamed it on fatigue from work. I took leave so as to get some rest from work, which had been hectic the last couple of weeks. During my leave, I still slept a lot and was constantly tired. I then got a thought to have a home pregnancy test and alas!! It was positive. I will not bother trying to explain the kind of emotions I experienced that morning.

The first three months of the pregnancy were so tough that I told God that I understood why He took His time. After that, I had a smooth ride and In January my little princess arrived. The joy in my heart was indescribable. God had finally answered my prayer in His time. The one thing I learnt during that time is that we cannot make our plans independent of God.

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God has got us and He knows what is best for us. All we have to do is TRUST HIM ALWAYS!

TALES OF A PROUD MUM- MY SON

I want to share with everyone the joy that my son brings into the Atubet family. God trusted me with His precious gift in 2008. He is the first born of three. We call him William at home and many people call him “William the Great” which I believe is not by mistake. He made his debut entry with a statement of exactly who he was going to be. He cried in a bid to notify the entire hospital that he was hungry and needed to be fed regardless of whether the doctors were still working on his mother or not. His tone of cry was tough enough to make the nurses heed to his demand. They whisked him out of theatre into the nursery where I later learnt that they fed him with a spoon or two of glucose water.

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Two days after his arrival, we were sent home. I immediately put him in his own bed because I did not want him to get used to sleeping next to me. He did not complain about that all. He has always been independent, from the day he was born so this was no surprise. He has also never really been fussy except when it was shower time. From the day that we got home, my son had an amazing self-made sleeping schedule. After showering and feeding, he went to bed at 8pm. He never woke himself up to feed or demand to be fed. Instead, as a first time mother, I heard that the baby must feed every four hours and so whenever I woke up to take my painkiller, I would get him out of his bed, feed him while his eyes were closed and then put him back to bed and he continued sleeping. He slept at 8pm and woke himself up at 8am. He would also sleep for a big part of the day. He was a perfect baby.

He is a very ambitious baby who is eager to discover new things as well as adventure and do things that are mysterious. Subsequently, he walked the day after he turned eight months. I have never seen somebody so little walking but there is a first time for everything. After realizing that he could walk, he then decided he needed to run and running he did. Oh the number of accidents he had! His forehead had a semi permanent protrusion. He often closely looked at his Dad and I while we were talking as if he wanted to contribute to the conversation. It’s no wonder that at nine months he had started uttering some words. For example when he woke up from his afternoon nap, he called his nanny “EDSHA EDSHA…” Her name was Edsa. By the time he was one and a half years, he was able to communicate a number of things effectively.

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When he was two years old, his speech was so good my uncle told me to take him to school. I kept saying I wanted to wait till he was three years old but my uncle said I was retarding him. So when he was two and a half years old, I took him to school. At the end of his first day at school, his teacher told me that she had forgotten his name and so she called him “Mr. Man.” My son is not one to keep quite when something does not rub him the right way and so I was eager to hear his response on that. Apparently he turned to her and told her, “I am not Mr. Man, I am Mr. William.” And that was his name for the rest of his years in the school.

He is a born leader. It is in his DNA. Right from nursery school, his teachers told me that he was their self appointed assistant. Every time a teacher stepped out of class, he stood up and went to the front of the class and commanded everyone to keep quiet. He then started teaching them whatever the teacher had been teaching. When I asked the teacher if the other children actually listened to him, she said he was so authoritative in his tone that they all listened to him. That went on even to his first two years of primary school.

He is very athletic and he is such a “dare boy.” My brothers rode motor cross bikes and he admired all the riders. We often heard him make noises of those bikes’ engine when he was playing alone outside. We told him that if he wanted to ride motor cross, he had to learn how to ride his bike on two wheels without the supporting “wheelies”. That very day he asked his father to take them off the bike and he started riding a two-wheeled bike. He fell off a number of times but he got up and kept going. He learnt how to balance in just one evening. Speak of determination! When he was four years old his grandfather surprised him with a motor cross bike. It was waiting for him in Busiika and as soon as he saw it, he jumped onto it and headed for the rump without any protective gear, not even a basic helmet, leaving his grandfather almost getting a heart attack. My son is not scared to take a risk.

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Because of that, my heart was not ready to allow him to get into that sport. Thank God there was an alternative sport that he loved maybe a little more than riding.  He started playing football at a very young age and has a deadly left foot.

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His love for football (he is also very good at it) gives me hope that one day I will live in a mansion somewhere in the rich suburbs of Spain because he will be one of the richest most wanted footballers in the world. His current idol (Christiano Ronaldo) will be sending his sons to mine for coaching.

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Aside from football, he also plays basketball and plays it well. He has represented his school and won won for them a number of basketball matches. I remember in his former school, he was popular during the matches and when he was unable to play, his presence was always felt.

My son is very intelligent and he loves a good challenge. When he was in year one his teacher used to give them mental maths tests before class started. He loved it a lot and it was probably the best minutes of his day. One day I met with his teacher and she told me she’s always on tension when William enters class because he now transferred the challenge to her. She told me that the moment he enters class he gives her a mental math challenge. He still loves math and the bigger the challenge the more enjoyable for him.

My son is self-motivated and he is a go-getter. I recently changed his school from a Cambridge curriculum to an Accelerated Christian Education (ACE). The latter curriculum has an individualized learning system and every child moves at his/her own pace. To me, this is the best curriculum for my extremely competitive son. He thrives on challenge and when he had understood how the system works, he started working for an award they call the “Honor Roll.” He did not get it in the first term and so he put his teacher to the task of explaining why he did not get it yet he did the most number of “Paces” in his class and his average score was 99.4%. She told him it took more than just class performance; it also included smartness both in and outside of class, discipline among other things. He told his teacher that he would get it the next term. I have never seen him work so hard since he started going to school. Indeed at the end of the term he got the Honor Roll award and I was a proud mother.

I am so grateful to God for my son. I know what every mother feels for their children in a special kind of way but my son makes me feel like God favored me and gave me the very best.