Bubbles In Her Belly

She swayed her legs like a little girl whose joy bubbled from her belly, though she was well over Fifty, the little girl in her was present. As she lay on her belly, she was lifted, her being leaped with joy. Her hair up in a bun, as her pen stroked the pages beneath her nose. She started slow as she looked around but once she got into it, she didn’t look up until she was done. The words came flowing, like water gushing through previously dry pipes. In that moment, the world stood still, she had found quietness in the midst of the activity around her, a moment of silence; she was on a date with herself, sorting through her thoughts,  finding clarity.

I smiled as I looked at the lady, her peace was palpable. The busyness of her surroundings did not affect her, she was constant even as the weather shifted. She was. The winds blew but she lay still.

Her image has replayed in my mind over the last couple of days, I’ve had a series of what feels like 26 hour days, where it is only by the grace of God that I’ve been able to balance all of the roles I play. As I’ve been immersed in my surroundings, answering to the ‘Mummy’ and ‘Mama’ calls from the girls, I have craved silence. A time to be still, to hear beyond the noise and then move and be present in the movement.

I went for a reading workshop a few days ago and one of the activities that the teachers do with the children is teach them how to be active listeners. They blindfold them and ask them to listen for a minute and say the sounds that they’ve heard. I tried it, and I loved the result. Sitting there and listening showed me that there are things I don’t hear when I am fixated on one thing and running from one thing to the other. In the silence, you celebrate diversity, you identify sounds that you’d not have picked up.

Yesterday I read a devotional online that highlighted Psalm 46:10,

He says,

“Be still, and know that I am God;

    I will be exalted among the nations,

    I will be exalted in the earth.”

Stillness precedes knowledge.

This hit home for me, it’s difficult to know God as you run around like a headless chicken. When you still yourself, you hear things beyond your environment, then peace and joy can bubble to the surface from the depths of your belly.

The Valkyries by Paulo Coelho has been such a heartwarming read in this season, as I search for stillness and practice the art of listening first before I run. It makes a great difference when you listen before you act.

Here’s to finding quiet, pursuing stillness in the midst of the chaos.

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The Stretched Out Mama’s Melody

We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play the one string that we have, and that is our attitude.

These words by Charles Swindoll struck a chord within me; attitude matters. I’ve been missing on these lanes, mainly because life happened, I’d love to know when life doesn’t happen. It is not stagnant and that is the beautiful thing about it, it is fluid, and the sooner we adjust the better. You can’t remain an ice-block in hot soup, sometimes life is a lot like broth, it has some chunks that we like and others we’d rather do without, but we soldier on and chew those chunks because you can’t exactly be picky with broth, you take it as it comes.

One of the chunks that I love is that my girls are both toddlers. Where did time fly to? Just the other day, I checked in to hospital to deliver sweet little Ky, and now she is all grown. I have two toddlers, and I am here adjusting to all the milestones, it is surreal, a beautiful blessing to be part of.

The skipping of naps though, is one of the chunks I would rather do without. Nap time is half time in my day, when I can recharge, think and write. It doesn’t help that they wake up before Mr Sun has worn his yellow coat, it is usually bright but still dark. One day of less-than-what-I’d-consider-adequate sleep is fine, but a week of that, has me pulling a my recovering hairline, bubbling with negative emotions and questioning myself. This is the roller-coaster of being a mama in this season.

Thankfully, by the grace of God, lest I take any credit, Ky is sleeping better at night. She is self soothing, waking up once a night is much better than the night time circus we had going on, with her jumping up like Jack-in-a-box every other hour. To God, I say “THANK YOU!”, I know I rambled about my lack of sleep here before.

On a lighter note, I hang out with a group of mums last week, bless them, and we concluded that God made women adaptable to sleep deprivation. Regardless of your gender, sleep is important, no-one was made to zombie around full time.

My attitude is under construction, it is an area that needs some divine help, but I am taking it a day at a time. I am certain that next week I won’t be where I was a few days ago. It is what I have within my control, the string in my hand, I’ll play it each day and create a beautiful melody note by note.

 

Borrowed Eggs

Sunday naps are beautiful, refreshing, not too short that you wake with a headache and not long enough to turn you in to a night owl after dusk.

The one day that I hope and pray that my girlies will take a nap is on Sundays, nap time is usually my golden hour(s) of peace. The rays of the sun warm the room, the birds chirp melodiously outside and for a few prolonged minutes the thought of Monday doesn’t cross my mind. I can think. I can breathe. I’m at peace.

Before I had children I didn’t used to take my siesta time as seriously, I’d watch movies instead of sleep, now, I sleep to recharge and I wake up with a rekindled love for life. My siesta is therapy for my soul.

Yesterday, Ky refused to nap. Forty-five minutes of my siesta time was spent trying to convince her to sleep, but curiosity trumped sleep, so she hang out with daddy as Miss K and I slept. It was such sweet sleep.

When Ksena woke, I was on the phone, so she went to join the fun part of K squad ( daddy and Ky). Nobody told me about the 3 year growth spurt, where the appetite of a teenager lives within a toddler. I often hear the words “Mum, I’m still hungry,”, I am waiting to see her chunking up. After naps she wakes up hungry, ready to eat whatever she finds.

When she walked into the room, they exchanged pleasantries with Ky being happy that her sister and friend was now awake.

“Ksena, what would you like to eat?”

“I want,” she said as she paused to think, “The egg Shiku (Kyria) likes?”

“Which one?”

“Borrowed eggs.”

Peter looked at her, processing her strange request for borrowed eggs and then it hit him that it was boiled eggs. I guess she always hears something that sounds like borrowed (homophones and toddlers are chuckle-worthy series of posts for another day.) She likes boiled egg whites but won’t touch the yolk because it is, wait for it, dirty. Yet the dirt is not an issue in sunny side ups, omelets or scrambled eggs. Toddlers!

As I reflected later that night, I realized that there are so many times that I go to God asking for things but using the wrong name. I was comforted that because He is my father, He will know exactly what I mean and give them to me according His will and in His time.

What a beautiful feeling it is to know that we have an open invitation to the King of Kings, and we can share our heart’s desires with him, both the polished and the unrefined, and though we may stutter or say the wrong thing, He will understand.

He will not give us borrowed eggs that we will in turn have to repay, he will give us boiled eggs.

 

“No-You-Didn’t”

As a mother, the first six months of a child’s life are the most stressful. It’s not necessarily the child, but the way that the hormonal imbalance makes me perceive things, post-partum blues are real. Colic and reflux seem like the Himalayas at the time, while in retrospect they are more like Ngong hills.

When the hormones balance out, I begin to see the Sun on the horizon, I hear the birds chirping, I feel the stone I kicked stub my toe, I feel the velvety softness of my baby’s touch, I laugh from the depths of my belly, and the extra weight begins to go.

I can see clearly.

Having two little ones with a small age gap, well, small is relative considering it is a two-year difference, can be hard. But, as they grow they become friends, they can play together, they desire to spend time with each other and it is so beautiful to watch.

Until they fight.

And when they fight I become Mama the ref, my titles increase, and I realize that being younger doesn’t necessarily equate to being innocent. The transition from innocence to knowing what is right and wrong, well a little of it, happens overnight. But the coos, giggles, and smiles remain constant, so it is easy to be led to believe that the little one doesn’t know what she is doing, but she does.

Sharing doesn’t come naturally, saying ‘please and thank-you’ is not part of the default settings of a human being, and there lies the work of a parent, repetition, trying to constantly draw them back to where they need to be.

Ky was not ready for the responsibility that comes with knowing right from wrong. So she pushes the boundaries, and when I say ‘No thank-you Ky, please don’t bite your sister,’ she wails, her soft smile turns into a ‘ no-you-didn’t ‘ kinda wail.

She takes offense.

Looking at how she deals with the correction made me reflect on my life as a child of God. Watching how overwhelmed and upset she becomes looks very familiar to me, the stories that I made up when God said ‘No’ suddenly come flooding into my mind. At the time, I didn’t care that He was right, all I wondered is why He would want to hurt me, to hurt my feelings. Yet all He was doing was for me.

As parents, we correct and discipline because we love our children and want the best for them. God is no different, if anything, it is He who set the example that we should follow. My challenge to myself is to be less offended and begin to see the correction from His perspective, after all, it is for me.

The beautiful thing is that in two minutes, Ky forgets that she was upset and even goes to play with her sister. She’ll flash me a two-toothed smile, nod her head and then charge towards Ksena laughing.

Perhaps this is why the Lord desires for us to remain like children, that we will know at the bottom of our hearts that we are loved and that He disciplines us because He loves us.

 

Cocktail of Balance

No two households are the same, that is what makes marriage a cocktail of balance, it is half-cup of what you love, a dash of what you both like and half-cup of what your spouse loves, sprinkled with some happiness. You and your spouse may have been raised in the same town, estate and even gone to the same school and church but once you shut the front door, the law of the house prevails. Your parents rule the empire.

When Peter and I were dating, we talked about pretty much everything under the sun, well, many things under the sun, the things we haven’t talked about I trust that we’ll have many more days by God’s grace to discuss. One of the ‘hot topics’ was birthdays, where I shared my expectations based on the culture in our home. His family didn’t use to celebrate birthdays, you could easily forget a birthday, while we in the Mbugua household used to countdown to birthdays, it was an annual excuse to binge on calories and get presents.

Our tradition in the K household has largely been influenced by my expectations, remember the cocktail of balance? This is the cocktail at work. Over the years, my expectations and traditions have changed. It’s become less of an outward celebration and a lot more of introspection, sort of like new years eve for many people. The eve or morning of my birthday is a time of quiet reflection where I thank God for the year that has been, start a new journal and set one goal for the year.

Last week as I ushered in a new year, my heart was filled with gratitude. Looking back at the year that was had me in tears, I was so overwhelmed by the Lord’s goodness and sustenance. Part of my reflection was choosing contentment.

Over the last year, I have watched my contentment seep through my fingers because I’ve been too busy looking around me to really see what was in my hands. ‘Happiness is an inside job’, you can have ‘perfect’ conditions and still be unhappy, it’s a choice, a deeply personal decision to rejoice regardless of the circumstances.

‘Anger is cruel, and wrath is like a flood, but who can survive the destructiveness of jealousy?’ Prov 27:4

Many times I blame the devil for my discomfort, but to be honest, many times I am unhappy because I’ve brought it on myself. I chose to admire the grass over the fence instead of asking myself how I can best grow my grass.

I’ve adapted a verse for this year, ha! it sounds cliche, but let’s see how it goes, ask me next year, won’t ya?

My goal is to stay within the boundaries of God’s plan for me (adapted from 2 Corinthians 10:13b NLT)

Psalm 16 is one of my favorite Psalms, for me it embodies accepting God’s perfect will for my life, acknowledging that He loves me and cares for me while choosing to thrive where He has placed me.

I do not know what the new year holds, but I do know He who holds me.

Here’s to contentment by choice.

 

Broccoli

After an hour of being  frustrated by internet speeds and Survey Monkey that wanted to re-think every instruction that I keyed in, I was happy to see Ksena when she walked in.

“Ksena, can I serve you some lunch now?”

We exchanged pleasantries as she told me all about her day. The pink sticker on her arm made her particularly happy. On Tuesday she had a nappy-haired super hero who cheered her up despite being under the weather. Today she has a blonde princess whose great at tidying up.

“Ksena, can I serve you some lunch now?”

“Mama, no thanks! I want broccoli.”

“Sorry, what?” I asked as I looked up from the screen. “I want broccoli,” she responded with certainty in her voice.

“But what about the food I’ve made. You like Chapo…” I said as I looked at her, “Yes, but I’d like some broccoli, please.”

In all humility, I went and made broccoli for her and served the florets in a bowl, she ate them with such glee, drunk her water and said thank- you.

Hubs found it strange that I was so shocked about what she wanted to eat, but I was so confused by her ‘I only want broccoli’ food preference. I introduced Ksena to broccoli a few months after we started weaning and she’s loved the little trees since. Broccoli reminds me of veggie tales.

As I watched her eat the little trees it occurred to me that if you give your body healthy things it will crave healthy things. In the same way, if you feed your Spirit the things of God, your Spirit will yearn for those things.

Here’s to craving broccoli for the body and its equivalent for the Spirit.

 

I Shall Wait On You

As my day slowly comes to an end

When it seems my strength is gone
As the hours seem to pass by slowly
When all I try just seems so wrong

 

Within my heart I seek inspiring words
A psalm that will lift my spirit high
For so often when I feel this tired
Even on my bed I have no desire to lie

 

I reach within my soul for divine energy
I seek with my inner voice to deeply pray
Finding I have such a great need of You
For Your soothing spirit to come my way

 

And as I pray silently and so sweetly
While I also gently embrace Your name
I find I shall always wait on You Lord
Knowing my happiness I will again regain
For You are the great power which saves me
The blessed assurance my heart only knows
And happily Lord I will always wait on You
Because with all my heart I love You so.

 

Copyright © Wendell Brown | Year Posted 2015