Saturday, 7 December 2019

Blossom

"He has made everything beautiful in its time” Ecclesiastes 3:1
Christmas is only a few weeks away and its a great time to show people just how much we care. As we celebrate God's gift to mankind through the birth of his son Jesus, we can celebrate and encourage people around with words that endure.

So just before you tick off your Christmas shopping list as all done, check out the Blossom Collection by Hersides. `Blossom’ inspired artworks are an encouragement to us all to allow ourselves to become all we were created to be.

Infuse your child, friend, wife or yourself with a word that is sure to make eyes glitter with hope every time.

Order before the 25th of December to get 10% off with Discount code: CHRISTMAS10

Click to see Blossom Collection

Sunday, 1 December 2019

Holiday Giveaways









Every week this month, you get to enjoy one of my books for free on Kindle. Follow the schedule and links below to get your copy.

Kindle free eBook Schedule:

Love's liehttps://amzn.to/2sqqYZt  
Sunday, December 1, 2019, 12:00 AM PST to 
Thursday, December 5, 2019, 11:59 PM PST

Sleeping Bagshttps://amzn.to/2ReyXDz
Sunday, December 8, 2019, 12:00 AM PST to 
Thursday, December 12, 2019, 11:59 PM PST

Sunday, December 15, 2019, 12:00 AM PST to 
Thursday, December 19, 2019, 11:59 PM PST

A Time to Healhttps://amzn.to/361fESn
Sunday, December 22, 2019, 12:00 AM PST to 
Thursday, December 26, 2019, 11:59 PM PST

Debbie's Diaryhttps://amzn.to/2rKrFwk
Sunday, December 29, 2019, 12:00 AM PST to 
Thursday, January 2, 2020, 11:59 PM PST


Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year !!!

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Rainbow in the Fountain


With all the saddening news around, it’s very easy to miss out on the beautiful things in the world—simple pleasures like the rays of the sun forming rainbows in a fountain you pass every day. Sometimes, you have to stop and look to really see the joys of life. They’re all around you, little blessings that make you smile.

Forget about the troubles engulfing your heart and turning it cold. Look around you. What do you see? At first, you may see a maddening traffic jam that inspires rage in your heart. If you look beyond that, you may see the clouds parting slightly or new rays of sunlight welcoming the day. You may notice birds flying as they search for their meals.

As you continue to observe beyond the obvious, you may smell the fresh scent of dew on leaves as the wind rustles the trees around you. You may hear running water flowing in a nearby stream.  As you take in the world, you may begin to appreciate the fact that you’re able to experience this world because you’re alive and living in it.

But maybe this experience of beauty is disturbed by a flickering thought about a business meeting or deadline you’re about to miss because you’re still stuck in traffic. You need to push that thought back because the situation is beyond your control. There are solutions. You could get out of the car and walk the rest of the way or join your meeting by teleconference. What matters is bringing your mind back to the world you live in.

Since you’re thinking about work, you could start to appreciate just how much your life benefits from having a reliable source of income. If you work for a non-profit, you could think about the good you’re doing in the world. Maybe you’re not going to work. Maybe you’re taking the kids to school. You could look in the back seat and smile at the little faces smiling back. There’s a blessing in being a part of shaping the next generation. There are joys in being a host and guardian to a little person who could someday change the world.

There are beauties in every situation, no matter how bad it looks at first. Many times, you just need to look beyond the obvious to see it. Finding the rainbow in the fountain releases a song of joy in your heart that refreshes your body and soul and fills you with gratitude. Gratitude takes away the tendency to be envious and unnecessarily competitive, which in turn prevents your body and bones from rotting with bitterness.

Finding joy gives you joy, which frees you to just be, and in being, you become who you were meant to be—a little happier, a little freer, a lot more fulfilled. Find your rainbow in the fountains you pass every day.

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Sustaining Creativity

Image by Colin Behrens from Pixabay
Ideas are like a puff of smoke, up in the air then disappearing in an instant. It’s amazing to think that something so small as an acorn can grow into something so great as an oak tree that transcends time. Look around your home today; you can count almost a dozen everyday labels that once began as an idea. Think of it: companies like Twinning, Careem, Houzz, Apple, Disney and Coca Cola all started with a thought. However, the transformation of that simple thought into something that still touches people’ lives so many years later only happened because someone decided to act on that thought.

I love small businesses, and as an Entrepreneur and Intrapreneur, I thrive on ideas and live to transform those ideas into reality. People have asked me, “How are you so creative?” and “How do you come up with these thoughts?” Well, over the years, I have come to realise that the process of transforming a simple thought into reality is the fuel for an unending well of creativity. There is something about seeing the end product of an idea that sparks even more creativity for my next project, despite the hard knocks I know I’ll have along the way.

So, here are a few pointers to follow to ensure your well of ideas never runs dry:

  • Take every thought seriously.
  • Start small and scrappy.
  • Improvise with what you have.
  • Learn from the hard knocks along the way.
  • Finish what you start.
Take every thought seriously

Great ideas are everywhere but are camouflaged as ordinary thoughts. You’ll be amazed by the number of life-transforming ideas flashing across your mind that you don’t give a second thought to. To build your creative spark, take your thoughts seriously. You may be listening to the news when you hear about an issue someone is facing, and you say to yourself, “So why can’t they try this or that?” Eureka! Gold mine struck! But what did you do with that thought? Ignore it, brush it away, laugh it off? I hope not. What you should do is dwell on it a little longer. Process it. Think about the problem again and your proposed solution. If it struck a nerve with you, chances are there are others out there who may find your solution very useful. So, give it more thought; the longer you think about it, the more it will develop, then you can accurately assess its viability. 

Start small and scrappy

So, you have the idea and are faced with the incredible task of making it a real thing. The best way to go about that is to do something, anything. Just act on it. When I was in my teens, I wanted to write Christian fiction books and get them published. However, in the west of Africa where I lived at the time, there were only educational book publishers. When I was done writing my first book, I spent a considerable amount of time trying to find someone to publish it. After a while, I realised that this was a tall order, so I decide to self-publish. Since I had very little knowledge of the publishing world, I started learning about that industry by writing short stories on small pamphlets and self-publishing them. I learned a lot, which came in very handy when I decided to publish a full novel. That concept of starting small and scrappy and stayed with ever since. You’ve got to start small, so you can learn from the experience and perfect your act as you go along. 

Improvise with what you have

Next to starting small is improvising with what you have. It’s a great idea and yes, you have started small, but it’s fine that it doesn’t exactly look like the idea you have in mind. Keep the grand picture in your mind or on your wall but use what you can access today to transform your idea into a real thing. You can’t wait till you get the billion dollars from the angel investor. Take out your piggy bank and use your own funds to start. Maybe your dream is to get it in colour, but you only have access to black and white right now; go with that until you can access all you need to make the colour thing happen. What I have realised over time is that as you pursue your idea with what you have, you attract what you need. Investors invest more when there is a prototype that works or at least something to show for your thoughts. Ask all the start-ups that were acquired or funded: Amazon paid $580m to acquire Souq.com, and Uber paid $3.1billion to buy Careem. Concrete results attract better investment. Do something with what you have now. Just get started. 

Learn from life’s hard knocks along the way

At this point, you’ve got to develop a thick skin to withstand life’s hard knocks. You can’t quit every time you hit a bump in the road. That’s just not going to work if you want to build on and sustain your creative spark. Hard knocks are good and sometimes open the eyes of the overly optimistic person who is trying to pursue an idea that is not technically viable. And sometimes these difficulties reveal your mistakes to you and what you need to start doing things differently. Sometimes you get knock downed completely, for example, losing your lifesavings in a bad business idea. Failure is just part of life, as natural as breathing, so you’ve got to make it your friend. My kids tell me failure is an opportunity to learn–yea, I don’t buy that with them when it comes to exams–but generally, the concept is right. You should focus on learning from your mistakes but not getting destroyed by them. Review your errors, make amends, start again if need be, but keep going. Get over it. When it comes to failure, such is life. And that comes with drowning out the naysayers too; keep your eyes on the goal and keep going as long as you have ascertained that your idea is viable. 

Finish what you start

Finally, I’ll say please finish what you start. Nothing kills creativity like uncompleted projects. There is just something about finishing a project that releases the brain power to start something new. Uncompleted or abandoned ideas are like a plague that hangs above your head. They hold you back and cloud your thinking. Personally, I wouldn’t start something I can’t finish. The idea of not finishing it will just haunt me for life. If you want to have your creative sparks firing on all cylinders, then finish what you start. This doesn’t mean finish your entire project in a sprint. It means break up your idea development into phases, then start and finish phase by phase. Every time you complete a phase, you release the creative power to start the next.

Creativity is synonymous with ideas. Ideas are synonymous with thoughts. So, here is one more thing to leave you with; if your ideas are fueled by your thoughts, what are you feeding your mind? Is what’s going into your mind via your five senses stimulating you to think differently or simply maintain the status quo?

They’re your thoughts, so you decide.


Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Life goes beyond the here and now


While reading through some news headlines recently, I was struck by how the selfishness of some can adversely affect others. Such thoughtless actions are often fueled by the the mindset that all we have is here and now. This made me remember the article that I had written a while ago - simple yet profound truth about focusing on the life  beyond the here and now. 

8th January 2013

“Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it. Don’t indulge your ego at the expense of your soul.” 1 Peter 2:11 (MSG)


Honestly, the earth is a very lovely place to live in, especially if you’ve got the means. We have parks to play in, mountains to stare at, water sports to enjoy, clubs, nightlife, and other forms of entertainment that make the earth a fun place to live in. And then there are the people—the people we love, the people who love us and make our life worth living. In addition (now this is the best part!), we’ve got machines and computers—cars, laptops, emails, vacuum cleaners, and other gadgets that make our daily chores easier.

It’s very easy to get so carried away with the goodies and the nice things in our world that we forget that everything we see today is only a fa├žade—a shadow of the real thing. It’s so easy to assume we’ll live forever that we forget that our stay here on earth is brief compared to our stay in eternity. It’s just natural to focus on the here and now, on what we can see and feel, and ignore what may or may not happen in the future. The study verse above puts it nicely and offers a good perspective—don’t make yourselves cozy; this world is not your home. 

In as much as you may want to have earthly relevance, don’t indulge your ego at the expense of your soul. Simply put, don’t place so much emphasis on satisfying your present that you ignore the repercussions that will come with your actions in the future. Not too many people believe in a life after this one and so they live only for today and now. But think about it—what if you’re wrong? What if there is a life after this one and the quality of life you will live then will depend on how you are living now? Would you not rather live a godly life with the hope of a peaceful afterlife than live selfishly only to discover that there really is a life after this one? 

The preparations for an afterlife are quite simple: Don’t indulge your body in practices that diminish the value of your soul—cheating, falsehoods, jealousy, hypocrisy, backstabbing, murder, to name a few. Remember, our days on earth are in fact numbered and when all is said and done, you will stand trial before the Lord of life and explain, in detail, everything you have done while you were here on earth. Live wisely; don’t indulge your ego at the expense of your soul.
 

Thursday, 1 August 2019

Socially Virtually Ethically Correct

As someone who works in technology, I have seen how technological advancement has helped reshaped our society. We have modern medicine today that has saved the lives of a lot of people. Infant mortality rates have significantly declined due to better hospital facilities available to pregnant women. We have aids to enhance our lifestyle and have given opportunities to people who may otherwise have been left in the dark. An example is the use of subtitles in movies, that help people with sight disabilities follow a movie by reading along.

We can speak to our families even if they are thousands of miles away with the aid of the mobile phone. We can see people from miles away with the aid of video calls. We can give our support to a worthy cause even if we have never set foot on the location before with the help of digital currencies and transfer mechanisms. The world we live in today is easier in many ways, enhanced by technology and way smaller than what generations before us knew.

In the same vein these technologies that have improved our lifestyles and opened opportunities have also brought significant pain and misfortune to people when used without ethical standards. Somehow, we have managed to transfer the meanness we see on the streets into the virtual world. With the advent of cyber bullying and identify theft, the life of another human can be forever destroyed with the stroke of a few keys on the key board. In today’s world its so easy to do good as well as evil to anyone anywhere in the world than it was many years back.

As followers of Christ, our standard of living has not changed even if the times have changed. One of the principles of Christian living is to be careful to live your life in a way that edifies others and not in a way that brings others down. I’m sure we all agree on that and if asked we will most likely say 'yes I live a decent life and I don’t hurt others'. Maybe you don’t (at least not intentionally). In your physical life, of course, that’s squeaky clean but let’s take a walk around your virtual life. Let’s imagine someone showed up in your virtual world and asked for a tour of your life online would it still meet God’s standards?

Would you say you apply the same standards in your physical and virtual life? Let’s see. If I asked you, 'would you tell a lie'? Your answer would be 'no I don’t. I am completely honestly'. That’s true but when you post a modified picture of yourself on social media that’s definitely not telling the truth is it? Ha! Ha! very funny. Okay maybe trivial or just a little bit embellishing. What about when you reshare a video of something that happened that is malicious? How have you upheld the standard of being fair and honest? What about that vicious comment you left on a post that surely has no iota of compassion or love?

It’s easy to see our virtual life as separate from our reality when in truth it shouldn’t. While times change, through the bible we see that God’s command of love, mercy, justice and kindness remain the same. As Christians it’s time we hold up that standard. Think again before you post the picture-perfect holiday you just took, when everyone around you is trying to figure out how to pay their house bills. How is that post edifying in any way? How is that post encouraging to your brother next door? I am also guilty of this by the way, we all are.

My charge to you and I today is that we live in this now socially virtual world with a high sense of responsibility not just to yourself but to others. Question every post you make, think about every comment, every tweet, every picture and ask yourself will this lift someone up or will this just satisfy the greed and cruelty of the natural human heart.

Let’s be ethically correct and use the technologies available to us today responsibly--with the heart of christ.


“Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.” 1 Corinthians 8:13

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

A guide, the proviso, and a guaranteed outcome

Let’s play a game, shall we? It is a simple “what if” question and answer game. Let’s assume your best friend advised you to play the National Lottery. What are the chances of you winning big? If you knew your chances were one in a million, would you still play the lottery? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, the odds are against you winning.

What if your best friend said she was in possession of the winning numbers? Would you play the lottery? Maybe, maybe not. Perhaps your decision would depend on how much you trusted your friend. What if you saw the winning numbers? Would you play the lottery? Definitely! The stakes would be in your favor. Presumably, you would play the lottery because, having seen the winning numbers, it would be impossible for you to lose. You would have the winning ticket!

What if someone told you he had seen your future and had the blueprint for your success? Would you listen? Maybe, maybe not. But what if that person was willing to show it to you, I mean to hand over your life’s blueprint? Would you listen? I want to believe you would. What if I told you God has seen your future, He knows how everything in your life will play out, and, as a matter of fact, He knew even before your life began? What if I told you He knew the day you would be born, and He knows the day you will leave this world—and even how? What if I told you He knows the exact steps you need to take in order to succeed in this life? He knows which of your relationships will prosper and which ones will bring you pain. He knows the route that leads to your desired end. He knows what will bring you good fortune.

He knows!

And the good news is He desires to hand over that blueprint to you, but only if you listen and obey His commands. In Isaiah 48:18, God declared to His children, How I wish you had obeyed my commands! Your success and good fortune would then have overflowed like a flooding river. It’s amazing how easily people complicate their lives even after the all-knowing God offers a simple how-to guide. We complicate our lives when we choose not to listen to Him. More troubling is the fact that we still choose not to listen even when this guide offers a lifetime guarantee of overflowing success and good fortune. How can anyone miss out on an offer like that?

Well, you tell me, how can you miss out on an offer like the one God provides? Today, God wants to hand over to you the master plan for your life along with a lifetime guarantee of success and good fortune. However, it comes with a proviso: that you listen to Him and obey His commands.

That Simple!

Will you jump at this offer? Honestly, I think you should. Take some time today to really study the writings in the Bible and ask God to give you some directions in your life. Ask Him for the blueprint—the instructions on how to build your life according to His plan. Tell Him you are willing to listen and obey His words. We’ve had enough of the aimless wandering, meaningless pursuits, and irrelevant achievements; let’s all make a commitment to listen and obey.