Thursday, 16 December 2010

How about dancing in the rain?

I am a fan of Taylor Swift. What!!! Really!!!Some people have said to me in surprise. Some have said her songs are more for teenagers (I am one at heart) and some have called her cheesy because of her fairy tale looking videos and sounding lyrics, but to me she is different and refreshing (I blame it on all those romantic movies and novels I have read) and there is just something about her that I love. I have seen a number of videos of some of the live shows she has done and I was amazed how much of a natural entertainer she is. The girl is talented, no wonder why she received a number of Grammy Awards.

Being in love is such a beautiful thing. A line from one of Taylor's songs caught my attention, I really liked the picture of being in love that she painted in her song Fearless - 'I don't know why but with you I'd dance, In a storm in my best dress, Fearless'. Love is Love can make people do fearless things, things which they would not necessarily ordinarily do (my emphasis here is on the good things) to show how much they love someone. Like Miss Swift if I get the chance I would definitely not mind doing something fearless like dancing in a storm in my best dress with the one I love :) ... well as long as it is not thundering and its not a hail storm (the blame for entertaining such thoughts still goes on those romantic movies). I think it would be crazy, fun and one of those moments we would always remember and smile. Do you think that love can make people fearless and do crazy things????

I like what Proverbs 15:17 says about love 'Better is a dinner with herbs where love is than a fattened ox and hatred with it'. As for me I chose love. This Christmas I am looking forward to expressing my love to family, friends and  even strangers in various ways. Love is the answer to a lot of life's problems.
In case I do not write another post before Christmas, May you all have a love filled Christmas filled with joy and lots of laughter.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Hello Lord

Once in a while I come across a song that expresses exactly where I am at and what I am feeling. It would seem like the song  was written with me in mind. I came across this song and I instantly fell in love with it - it describes so well the place I am at. Here are the lyrics - so beautiful:

Hello Lord by Sara Groves from the album Conversations

Hello Lord, it's me your child
I have a few things on my mind
Right now I'm faced with big decisions
And I'm wondering if you have a minute, cuz
Right now I don't hear so well
And I was wondering if you could speak up

I know that you tore the veil
So I could sit with you in person
And hear what you're saying but
Right now, I just can't hear you.

I don't doubt your sovereignty
I doubt my own ability to
Hear what you're saying
And to do the right thing
And I desperately want to do the right thing
But right now I don't hear so well
And I was wondering if you could speak up

I know that you tore the veil
So I could sit with you in person
And hear what you're saying but
Right now, I just can't hear you.

And somewhere in the back of my mind
I think you are telling me to wait
And though patience has never been mine
Lord, I will wait to hear from you
Oh Lord, I'm waiting on you

Right now I don't hear so well
And I was wondering if you could speak up

I know that you tore the veil
So I could sit with you in person
And hear what you're saying but
Right now, I think you're whispering

Yes, I am going through stuff and I have been praying and asking God for guidance. I can't seem to hear Him speaking to me. All I seem to hear is silence. I am faltering. I feel like I am stuck, stuck in one place and I just don't know how to get unstuck. Could it be that He is whispering???

Monday, 27 September 2010

The 'Joys' Of Singlehood

My post today is inspired by a statement that one of my friends put up on their face book profile recently. I have to admit, I have a  love and hate relationship with face book but for some reason I cannot seem to stay away from it. Anyway, this is what my friend posted, "Is it really that wrong and awkward to be still single at this age? Most of my peers are still single so whats the big deal then.....I'm gonna smack the next person who brings up this issue....let the man be PLEASE!"

'I am with you bro, I am with you' was what I immediately thought. The pressure... I know it, have experienced it and sometimes is too much and can be annoying. When people especially loved ones begin to think that its about time you graduated from single-hood into marriage they say and do all sort of things to get their points across. For instance:
1. Friends begin to give your number to people they think would be well suited with you in the hope that they could be the 'one for you'.
2. Aunties and Uncles begin to talk to you about how your parents are just about the only ones in the immediate family who do not yet have grand children.
3. People begin to tell you that you are such a wonderful person and that it is amazing that someone has not yet 'snatched' you and they hint heavily that could it be that the problem is with you, that is, maybe you are playing too hard to get.
4. Friends openly accuse you of being too picky and that if you continued like that you would never get married.
5. Friends and family will as close as interrogate you when you mention a friend of the opposite sex. They suspect that there could be more to the relationship that you are telling.
6. People will begin to make statements like 'What? Being a bride's maid again?'
7. Telling people that you are waiting on God and His perfect timing stops making sense to them and they tell you to be realistic. Really? What could be more realistic than trusting the God of all flesh who knows the hearts of man and knows what is best for me and when?

Anybody, at this place or maybe it's just me and my friend? Just wondering.

Monday, 20 September 2010

The Story of Two Friends

Two friends were chatting one day when one of them suddenly says:
Friend 1: Oh, I got an idea.
Friend 2: Really? What?
Friend 1: Let's do this and that on facebook.
Friend 2: Uuuhmmm,I am not sure that's a good idea.
Friend 1: It's just to see what an experiment. 
Friend 2: Ok then. How do we go about it?
Friend 1: We will have to do it on your facebook though. You know we can't do it on mine. I can't change what I have there so it  has to be on yours.
At this point friend 2 is shocked but then pauses and thinks about it for awhile. Curiosity of finding out people's reactions prevails and besides, friend 2 argues to them self, it's not anything negative or that could paint a bad picture of me.
Friend 2: Oh, well why not? Let's do it, maybe no one will even notice or comment.

Within minutes messages from facebook, texts and phone calls are pouring in for Friend 2. After 3 hours Friend 2 decides to remove the post from facebook before many other people see it and drive her crazy with their questions and comments. 
Conclusion : Never do it! Never share very personal stuff of facebook.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story

Image from here

Anyone watched this movie? If so what did you think?

I find it hard to find good movies these days. Movies with real substance and that inspire me. A lot of the movies nowadays are about stunts and effects and honestly, although it is all impressive I am not a great fan. Such movies rarely have an impact on me, ask me a couple of days after watching, most of the times I can hardly remember what the movie was all about. I have to admit though, I have a great loveeeee for what some call the cheesy movies, I love to laugh and happy endings:)

I was very touched and inspired by the Ben Carson story. What a wonderful mother he had. She was a woman who encouraged her children and wanted so much for them. She emphasized to them all the time from the time they were young that they could be anything they wanted to be. Even when he was a grown up man Ben often found himself remembering the encouraging words of his mother and being re- inspired by them all over again. There is a lesson right there for all parents and future parents we can build our children, encourage them, show and let them know that we believe in them - it makes a huge difference. God help me - I want to be such a mother to my children and so much more.

Other movies I have watched based on true stories that inspire me include Miss Potter and of course the Blindside. Any suggestions anyone????

Monday, 30 August 2010

Me and the Violin

I am crazy crazy crazy about this song especially the instrumental at the beginning and end. I think Chris Tomlin and his team did an excellent job.
This song is special to me because it reminds me of one of the things on my dream list I have to do. I want to learn to play an instrument and play in an orchestra. It's official my favorite instrument is the violin - here is to living my dream in the near future.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Confessions of a Somebody

From the title of my blog post I am sure you  can tell that I am going to make a confession of some sort. Well here goes.
For a long time I never understood those people who dance (whether or not they are the only ones doing so in the congregation) and go as far as to to cry in church especially during praise and worship. Talk about those people who shout out whether in agreement or because they are touched  by something - I found it embarrassing and at times even thought they were showing off. I would always say to myself  that I would never be caught doing such, why embarrass myself I would argue.

I have a friend who was like that, my word he was on fire. He was not apologetic when it came to the things of God. I am not sure if I told him at some point but I thought he was over doing it and I tended to be a bit embarrassed when he started doing his thing. I just didn't understand, I had no idea, I never knew it was possible to love so deep, to give one self in reckless abandon to God and not care what other people think.

Fast forward to the present day I have realized that I am becoming that person. Lately I have found my self in  another world during praise and worship oblivious of everyone and everything around  me, dancing, singing my heart out and lifting my hands in praise to my Father. Unbelievably, at times I am one of those two or three people doing that and I do not even feel embarrassed (even though I have occasionally seen questioning glances my way), I just respond to what I feel. If I feel like dancing for my God then I do it, sometimes I am so awed by His greatness and goodness such that I can not help but sing my heart out for Him or shout. Yes, it looks like I am becoming one of those people. Believe me even I am surprised I have become that person but oooooh I love my Father very much. 

Heya the love I am feeling for God these days is like a fire in my heart. Oh, now I understand my friend and all those people I thought were overdoing it and I think I can even understand it where the Bible says that David danced before the Lord such that his wife was embarrassed and rebuked him (2 Samuel 6:16-23).When you know what you know or have seen what you have seen nothing can hold you back from giving  all of you in reckless abandon to God. Now I know better than to say I will never do that.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Is it Practical? (Follow up post)

Do you remember this post? I was talking about principled dating (courtship) and if it is practical or at least possible in this day and age. Well, I took the advise of my blog friend LDP and I read the book When God Writes Your Love Story by Eric and Leslie Ludy. This is what happened...

One day I was chatting to a certain lady who like me loves to read. I happened to mention to her that I was looking forward to reading the above mentioned book, if only I could get my hands on  it. She said it sounded like an interesting book and she would ask around among her single friends if anyone had a copy. Fast forward about 2 weeks later the lady surprises me with a copy of the book and it had a CD too, of one of Eric's and Leslie's songs called Faithfully - great song and beautiful lyrics. 
'I wanted to surprise you ', the lady told me 'I knew if I told you I wanted to buy the book for you you would not agree and I wanted so much to bless you with something'. What can I say, this is just but one of the pleasant surprises which God has been throwing my way lately. Isn't God good at doing things that make one go aawwwww and want to cry with joy?
I quickly dived into the book and I was not disappointed at all. The book is an enfolding story of how two people made life changing decisions to give God unlimited access to all aspects of their lives including their love lives. As Eric puts it, it was 'him moving out and God moving in' taking full control of his entire ship (his life). There are many lessons to be learned in this book and one thing I liked about it is that it is real. Both Eric and Leslie tell of the challenges they faced, how at times they broke down and what they did to keep going and waiting on God. 
Do you know that you can start being faithful to your future spouse long before you meet them? Or that we can use our families as our practice fields for our future marriages? I will not go into detail about the book but I would encourage all those singles who desire to have God write their love stories read the book. It is very inspiring. 

At the end of the day the 'sweeter song' of true love and romance is sung on a ship that is headed against the tide (borrowing some lines from the book). It is not easy to play by a different set of dating rules that include having God as the captain but it is possible and the best route to take, as far as I am concerned  - well speaking for myself that is. I totally agree with Eric and Leslie, 'our generation needs ordinary people who choose to love God in extra-ordinary ways and lovers who will ask "what would Jesus do?" and then really do it'. God bless our generation!!!!!

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Letter to Shona

Dear Shona,

I know that I have told you many times in my Word that I love you but I want to emphasize it yet again here. I love you so much that I did not even spare my own Son, the one who is a part of me so be assured that I will not with hold good things from you (Romans 8: 32). Never doubt my love for you Shona because it is alive and my promises that I have made in my Word be assured that I will carry them out (Numbers 23:19). Keep trusting me knowing that I am your refuge and fortress, and that my faithfulness to you is a shield and a buckler (Psalm 91:2,4).

I know that of late you have been going through a challenging season. I have seen you falling but I  have been right there by your side picking you up and helping you to stand again. I have seen your broken heart but remember that I am close to you because in my Word I say that I am close to the brokenhearted and the crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18). It might seem like you are stuck in one place and I am not responding to your calls but I am. That very first time you called out to me I heard you and I answered you  (Isaiah 67:24). I have sent forth my angels whom I have commanded to guard you in all your ways and in due time (Psalm 91:11), at the right time what you have asked for will come to be. I see how you do not give up and keep holding on to me, trusting me, you shall not be put to shame my daughter but you shall speak of your testimonies before kings (Psalm 119:46). I am a faithful and loving Father, blessed are those whose trust is in me for they shall not cease to bear fruit (Jeremiah 17:7-8). When dry seasons come in their lives they are not anxious for they know I am with them and that those seasons are stepping stones to their promotions and are refining times from which they emerge better people and spiritually mature.

Have you been getting my messages? I hope so. I always send blessings your way everyday. I know that sometimes you expect big things but remember my blessings come in all packages - big and small. Remember that toddler who you met the other day, the one who kept smiling, waving and blowing kisses your way? What about that other toddler who told you that your hair looks nice and engaged you in a conversation about milkshakes and Ben 10 (smile)? That was me. I like using children as my messengers, they trust me unconditionally and obey me without resistance or questioning me or my being. That is why I have said of them - my kingdom belongs to them (Luke 18:16). What about the woman who blessed you with money to go for that conference that you told me you wanted to go to but couldn't afford at the moment? I will keep sending you my blessings every single day so be on the look out. The depth of my love for you is much deeper than you think and never doubt that I love you and that I am always with you.

I love it when you talk to me. Talk to me anywhere. When you are waiting for the bus, doing your shopping, taking a shower in fact anytime is good for me. Talk to me especially when you are feeling low and do not feel like talking to me - even then I will hear you and I will respond. Looking forward to talking to you already.

Lots of Love

Your Father (The great I AM).

P.S Remember to bless others as you go about your business everyday for you are my shinning glory and my love shines out to others through you.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

The Secret of the Box (Not so secret anymore)

The above pictured box is a very special box for me (I could not resist including the flowers too). I call it God's box.

I do not remember were I originally got the idea from, but some months ago I decided to have a box where I would throw in things I wanted to pray for  - big and small, the idea being that once a request was in the box I would have to stop worrying about it because it would now be in God's hands and no longer on my 'worry list'. Unfortunately :( I have always been one of those people who think a lot, I mean really think and worry but as you all know worrying does not solve anything at the end of the day. Why not trust the Creator of all things Himself, the all knowing God, the One who can do something to change the situation and enjoy a worry free life instead.

Although I have not had this box for long, I am seeing progress. When ever I see the box it is a remainder that God is in control. Often I open it up and go through the pieces of paper in there, and I feel reassured. There have been times I have been tempted to snatch back some of the things I have put into God's box so that I can do something about them because I feel God is not acting fast enough but I am learning to trust Him and be patient. I don't know if it's just me but I love being in control or at least feeling that I am in control but hey I am learning and discovering that it way way better to have God in control and in the driving seat, one cannot go wrong that way.
So if someone asks me to pray for them, I add their request into the box. I feel that someone needs prayer I add their name into the box and the area I feel that they need prayer. It gives me great joy many a time to just look at the box and say, 'God, thank you for taking over. I am now live in Your rest'.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Cardboard Testimonies

We carried out a similar exercise like the one in the video at church the other week and I cried. Yes, I am a weeper, a big one especially when I am touched by something. People opened up and shared intimate things about their lives which one would not have known just by looking at them. Indeed there is no one like God, it is only in Him that we can find peace, healing, restoration and rest. For me the exercise was a remainder not to look at people and think that all is well  with them or that they do not have any problems or have never gone through some terrible experiences. A lot of people out there carry heavy stuff inside of them, stuff that eats them on the inside. Thank God for those who know God, have allowed Him to work in them and have made a conscious decision to make God their resting place and strong tower, but there are millions of other people out there who don't even know God (by choice or not by choice) and live burdened lives.

I have made a decision that I am going to try reach out more to others. Yes, sometimes I forget and sometimes my efforts do not bear fruit, that will not keep me from continuing because I know I will definitely make a difference in some lives. A smile, a simple hello or how are you doing? can make a world of a difference to some one. Somebody might walk away feeling much better with the knowledge that someone cares after all or that someone can end up opening up to me and I can tell them about Jesus and they might end up receiving Him into their lives hence get the peace, rest and healing that they are craving for. Frankly speaking, the possibilities are many and after all, they say it is the small things that makes a big difference.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

New Discovery

I recently discovered a new author by the name of Francine Rivers. I have already read three of her books within a short period of time. I just had to share, in case there are avid readers like me out there who are looking for interesting Christian books.

The first book I read was The Warrior a book which is Francine's imagination of Caleb's story. This book made me see the story of the Israelites leaving Egypt for Canaan in a different light and I was impressed by the man who Caleb was - a man of great faith, whose trust was solely in the Lord irrespective of the grumblings and complainings of those around him. No wonder why he stood out and was blessed by God.

The one I just finished is called Redeeming Love. This one kept me up several nights since it was hard to put down. This is an amazing story which is based on the story of Hosea, the prophet who was told to marry a harlot/prostitute as an allegory of God's relationship with Israel. I was totally taken by the love of one of the main characters Michael for Angel the woman God told him to marry. She was a woman who had known pain and abuse most of her life since she had been sold into prostitution at a tender age of 8. This is beautiful love story of a man who loved unconditionally. She ran away, he followed her and bought her back. She put up barriers, he patiently worked on breaking them down. She refused to love or return his love, he loved her anyway. This story tells how deep the love of God for us is. God is indeed an amazing and loving God, I want to love the way He loves.

Do check out this author. I am sure you will not be disappointed.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

The Little Big Man

I am very excited, I was a guest blogger on From Now Till I do, you can read my post here. Thanks Chichi it was an honor for me to write a guest post for you.

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is that of Jabez (1 Chronicles 4: 9 -10).  A very short account of the man called Jabez but one which is very significant. Bruce Wilkinson in his book Prayer of Jabez refers to him as the Bible's little big man. His story is found in one of the least read sections of the Bible which is made up of the genealogy of the Hebrew tribes starting from Adam but is a most powerful story. I agree with Bruce Wilkinson that there was indeed something special about Jabez that warranted mention of his story in the middle of a long list of names. This man Jabez inspires me very much.

From the story it seems like Jabez was just an ordinary in the beginning and his greatest burden was his name which prophesied over his life negatively. Jabez means pain and I am sure this was not a name that he was proud to have but this or any other circumstance did not stop him from stepping out boldly to make his requests known to God and we are told that God did grant him what he requested.
Wow, this says a lot to me. There is hope for anybody out there, no matter the situation or the circumstance. The secret is in not letting negativity or circumstances get to us. Irrespective of what we think, what others think we should be bold enough to step out and pray to our Lord pouring out our hearts. Look what He did for the man Jabez, a man who could have just accepted that he was destined to a life of pain and suffering - he could have just given up on life, but he did not. He knew there was more and he was going to go after it and he got it.

'And therefore the Lord [earnestly] waits [expecting, looking, and longing] to be gracious to you; and therefore He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on you and show loving-kindness to you.' Isaiah 30:18. Isn't it wonderful that the Lord is longing and looking forward to being gracious to us. In my mind's eye I can see Jabez lifting up his hands towards heaven jumping and saying 'God your search is over, I am here be gracious to me'. As for me I decided that I am going to take advantage of God's graciousness, He is looking for someone to bless? Then I am that woman.
Blessed is the one whose heart is stayed on the Lord in all circumstances and who understands and knows that it is only God who determines who we are and what we become.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Life through the eyes of children

I love children. Here are some of the reasons why are love them:
1. They are blessing from God.
2. They are innocent, open-minded and so receiving.
3. I love their curiosity and guts to ask or seek to understand things.
  In Mark 10: 13-16 Jesus told His disciples to let the children come to Him and even said anyone who does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it. See that's how significant the character and being of children is, even God sees and speaks of them highly.

This past month I had two experiences with children that cracked me up and made me appreciate children all over again. Well, maybe its just me but hope you will also see the humor.
On Sunday, 3 days ago exactly one week after Father's day my phone rings in the morning as I am preparing to go to church. I see my friend's number flashing and wonder if all is ok because I know that usually around that time she will be on the way to church or already there. As it turned out  she was on the way to church but my niece and nephew had been talking about me between themselves and had actually voted that I should come to see them like tomorrow as per their discussion (so sweet of them that they miss me that much) and so my friend thought it would be lovely if I could talk to each of them for a few minutes. After talking to my 6 year old nephew I was greeted by a 'Happy Father's Day aunt S', from my 4 year old niece. I thought I had heard wrong, but when she repeated it again I knew I had heard right. I could not help laughing. In the background I could hear my nephew shouting ' Aunt S is not a father, or a man she is a woman and besides Father's day was last week'. It made me laugh even more. Despite the continuous comments from my nephew my little niece would not be moved and was insistent on wishing me happy father's day and so I collected myself and accepted my fathers day wishes with love and appreciation. She was one happy little girl and she made my day.

Second story. About three weeks ago I was invited for dinner at my pastor's house. He has got four children, whom although I know have never had the chance to interact much with. M their 3 year old daughter, a gorgeous little girl who in my opinion is the most amusing of all their children, started off by watching me from a distance. With time she moved closer, kind of circling around me as if unsure or deciding something. Finally, curiosity got the best of her and she moved very close to me and began to rub my arm, briefly stopping to look at her fingers and then rub again a little harder each time. The expression on her face as she did this was priceless. 'Gotta rub it off, gotta rub it off ' she seemed to be saying. The way children think about and see things - so precious. She had been wondering why I looked darker that everyone else around and in her mind's eye I think she thought maybe I had painted myself and so she wanted to find out if that color I had painted myself  would rub off. It was only when her mum called out her name amidst bouts of uncontrollable laughter from me and other people in the room that she ran off laughing. I love children - they are a constant source of laughter and happiness usually brightening up an otherwise ordinary day.
Does anyone have funny stories about experiences you have had with children? Please feel free to share.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Life's Lessons

Last night I went to an event where Randy Clark of Global Awakening was speaking - powerful man of God. It is something I had been looking forward to and I could not wait to go. We got there me and my three friends and we were very excited. The place was packed, nonetheless we managed to get seats and join in the program.
All went well for me until it got to the time when Randy after praying that the Holy Spirit speak to us, encouraged those who felt that God had given them a word of knowledge for someone to come up and share and then pray for each other. As people shared and prayed for each other, I was suddenly enveloped with a heaviness on my spirit and I just could not seem to be able to pray and so I went and sat down - big mistake. So whilst others prayed for each other  and God moved I was sitting down doing nothing I am ashamed to say. It felt so wrong but instead of fighting the heaviness I felt I let it envelop me. 

Later as we went home my friends were talking about how awesome it had been and how God had touched them, a voice said in my head 'See what you missed. Should have prayed with the others. Now you will never know what you missed'. I knew right then that was the voice of the devil, he had just used his tactic of convincing me to do/not to something and then condemning me and laughing at me for having listened to Him. Yes, I felt very bad and knew that I should have known better and should not have listened to my flesh  and  feelings. The Word its self in Romans 8: 6 warns about setting one's mind on the flesh 'To set your mind on the flesh is death but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace'.

This morning God gently reminded that as His child no longer do I always operate by what I feel for doing so can leave the door open for the devil to come in and rob me of what He has in store for me and steal my joy. Thus my dance with God continues - a lesson learned, a gentle remainder from my Father makes me a little wiser and helps me dance more and more according to His tune, not mine.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

A Pleasant Surprise

Did anyone have the pen-pal craze when they were growing up? I did. I have always been a curious and inquisitive person and I was fascinated with communicating with people from different countries and cultures. I would happily use my pocket money to post letters abroad, it was worth it to me. Unfortunately, with most of them we would exchange a few letters and then that was it. I would try writing several letters and if there was no response I knew that was it. Each time that happened I would be disappointed and I would start all over again searching for new ones.I clearly remember pleading with God to give me pen-pals who would continue communicating with me and whom I would eventually meet and I actually wrote it down in the diary I kept then. Well, God answered my childish longings and he blessed me with three pen-pals now more of e-pals with whom I have been communicating with for years. From this I have learnt that God cares about what I want even if its something that sounds silly at times and that no request is insignificant before God. Be specific with God and share with Him all the desires of your heart - big or small - because He cares.

Anyway, two weeks ago I received a surprise phone call from one of my pen pals/e-pals and she was in London for two weeks (she is from Netherlands). We were both so excited and we made arrangements to meet. I went over last week and we spent a fantastic day together sight seeing and catching up. Yes, God has blessed me with wonderful friends from all walks of life and for that I am grateful.

That's my friend in the purple top. She is an amazing person and I am blessed to have her in my life. Girl, thanks for creating time in your hectic schedule to see me.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Is it Practical?

Has anybody read the book I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris? A friend of mine recommended it to me some years back but frankly speaking the title did not make the the book very appealing to me and I was critical about it even before I read a single page. Recently I managed to get my hands on the book and I must say - why in the world did I not make an effort to read this book earlier? I was impressed by the way that Joshua Harris wrote about his decision and his views on dating. Many times I found myself laughing out aloud as I read the book. It is not an ordinary no dating book and the writer emphasizes that he is not against dating per se but against the way people perceive dating. He advocates for honoring God, the other person and oneself. As I read the book I could not help but agree with most of the things he pointed out about the cons/disadvantages of dating the ordinary way i.e that it creates an artificial environment hence the possibility of overlooking some crucial things about a person, it is mostly about feelings and what we feel and yet feelings change all the time hence the need to look at more than what we feel.
Ok I said, this is well and lovely but then how is one supposed to approach relationships and that's when he talked about principled dating or what some call courtship. This is when one enters into a relationship with commitment in mind and the aim of the relationship is to get to know each other and decide if the individuals are compatible. This process can involve taking part in activities the other person likes, meeting their friends, mentors, family  as a way of really getting to know each other. Generally, it is up to the couple to decide the kind of things they want to do during their courtship. This is just but a summary but I must say this book changed my outlook on relationships and it got me excited.

Fast forward - A couple of days ago I was discussing with some lady friends about relationship issues and I was enthusiastic to share what I had read in I Kissed Dating Good-Bye. Their response was a disappointing one for me. I mean these were all christian ladies and I thought they would appreciate the concept of honoring God even in dating and relationships. Most of them seemed to say 'All the best if you are want to do that kind of thing cause in this day and age it does not work'. One of them did not beat about the bush and asked me which man for instance would want to have a first kiss at the altar in this day and age and I shall not go into detail about other stuff.
Dear readers what are your views? I would love to hear your thoughts or even experiences. Is it practical to have principled dating in this day and age whereby individuals can  decide to wait to get physical until they are officially married? Or may be it is something which is not practical? Do you think courtship/principled dating is old fashioned?

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

The Apple of His Eye

A few weeks ago someone said some very unkind and discouraging things to me. The words of this person kept replaying in my mind and it was eating me inside. I could not understand why they would say such dispiriting things like that and in my face too. No one has ever said such things to me before - at least not in my face. In my view it had been uncalled for. When I got home I shut myself in room and wept. I was hurt. 

Days later I was chatting to my pastor and I found myself telling him about the incident and to my embarrassment I burst into tears. He took me aside, prayed with me, shared with me some scriptures and reminded me that no one can define me or what I can be but God. I felt much better afterwards but a part of me was still not at peace and could not forget those hurtful words.
The next day, I distinctively remember it was a Monday my pastor sent me a text that read in part "... Have a great day knowing that you are the apple of His eye and He will vindicate you" (Scripture reference:  Zechariah 2:8 - ...for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye ). That got my attention. Eeeeeeeeish (wow) just thinking of what that scripture meant touched me beyond measure and humbled me. I am the apple of God's eye and he/she who messes with me is accountable to God - there was a declaration right there that God is on my side and he would vindicate me. Right there and then I made a decision to let go and not take to heart what the person had said to me... I mean being the apple of God's eye and all I was important to Him even if others thought lowly of me. I am glad that my pastor sent me that message with a reference to Zechariah 2:8 - it brought me back from sorry land, bitter land or where ever I had been floating.
True to His Word God has vindicated me, the words of the person who spoke negatively about me have been proved wrong and still continue to be proved wrong. I am sure they have been surprised at the recent events in my life. That is God for you - He takes care of His own and is very protective of His children.  

Maybe recently or in the past you have had some hurtful things said or done about/to you that you can not get over. Remember that you are the apple of God's eye and those who have hurt you should beware for '..the Lord saves His anointed...with the saving might of His right hand' Psalm 20:6. He will vindicate You, you do not need to fight your own battles - let the Lord take care of you. It is not even worth being bitter or hateful towards those who have hurt you, let God be your defender.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Movie and Puddin' Night

We are having a movie and pudding night at my home group this week. I am very excited because we are going to watch one of my favorite movies  Facing the Giants. I was sharing last week with the other group members about how much this movie touches me each time I watch it and they all got excited and said they wanted to watch it too. We try to do different things together as a group, the last time we had a braai since the weather was all nice and sunny. This is my first movie and pudding night, am used to movie and popcorn nights hence I am looking forward to it. I also hope that everyone will enjoy the movie and will be encouraged and strengthened to face and defeat whatever giants are looming in their lives. One thing I know for sure is that no problem or situation is bigger than our God. For us His children the end result of anything we are going through is obvious, we are definite victors and we do not need to even doubt that because the victory has already been won for us - its sealed and stamped.

I love and enjoy my home group. Because I have been moving around a lot the last few years I have never had the opportunity to experience the joys of being part of a home group. Praying for each other, being there for one another and sharing the Word has been part of what I have been appreciating. These guys have helped me through difficult times and I just hope that they know that I will be there for any of them when they need me.

Image from Amazon
So coach Taylor, Brooke, Brock and David it will be lovely to see God revealing His Glory through you again. (I have now lost count of how many times I have watched Facing the Giants). I hope this time I won't get emotional and cry because there are some parts that always get me - yes they always get me. 
Talking about Christian movies do you know of any interesting christian movies out there. It would be great if you could share titles or even summaries - I would love that.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Seeing beyond today

I vividly remember when I was growing up, one of my uncles who when ever we met would usually take me by the hand and say out aloud "This one is very intelligent. You'll see, she is going to go far in life. You just wait and see". As a child I would just laugh and run off. I never understood what he saw in me that made him have so much faith in me - now that I am grown up if I could have the chance to see him I would ask him but the fact is he saw something in me. I was just thinking about my life the other day, where I have come from and where I am going , I realized that my uncle actually prophesied over my life. Now that I am older and spiritually mature I understand it was God right there speaking through my uncle, telling me that I am not ordinary and He had great plans for me, plans to prosper me and to make His glory revealed through what He would do in my life. 
Life is a journey and I know I still have so much to achieve but that which I have achieved so far is something I can shout about and I look forward to a bright future because I know God is in control.

Whilst it is awesome to have someone or people believing in you like my uncle did, I also realize that as an individual it is crucial to believe in yourself and declare a bright future for yourself. You do not need to wait for anyone to tell you that you have so much potential and you are capable of achieving your dreams. It is very important to be able to see beyond today and prophesy positively into your future using the Word of God irrespective of your present situation because the Word of God is powerful and " living and active, sharper than any two edged sword..." Hebrews 13:12. What the Word of God says you are, you are, what it says you can do then definitely you can do it. Believe me you will be amazed at the results, you will be wowed over and over again by the power of the Word of God - I know I have and I am still being wowed.

The more we speak the Word of God into our lives the more our lives change and begin to take shape. I have made up my mind to make it my responsibility to prophesy over my life and the lives of my loved ones - making it a priority to say what the Word of God says and not what I feel or what think or what the world thinks and says. I hope you will join me and also begin to prophesy positively over your own lives knowing that God will never fail you  and that what He says in His Word is absolute truth. You have a bright future ahead of you.  

Friday, 30 April 2010

On my Ipod

Image from here

Music is one of the things that keeps me sane on those days when ordinarily I would feel like I am going crazy or I would be simply cranky. That is why I always make sure that my ipod is always fully charged before I leave the house. I put on my head phones, play my carefully selected music and I feel much better and am able to refocus on what matters the most. At the moment here is part of what I have:-

Hillsong - My compilation would not be complete without Hillsong. E.G - One Thing (I can never get enough of this song), Son of God, This is Our God, Hallelujah, To Know Your Name and Blessed.
Don Moen - With Creator King, Wonderful Magnificent God, Arise and We Wait.
Chris Tomlin - Mighty is the Power of the Cross, I Will Rise, How Great is Our God.
Barlow Girl - I Need you to Love Me, Never Alone.
Michel W Smith - Let it Rain, Agnus Dei, You Are Holy Prince of Peace.
Casting Crowns - Praise you in This Storm, Who Am I.
Jeremy Camp - There Will Be a Day, Give Me Jesus.
Third Day - Call My name, Born Again.
Tammy Trent - You've already Shown me, Shine.
Rebbecca St James - You are Loved, Alive.
Then I have a whole lot of other songs from Zimbabwe, some purely in my mother tongue and some a mixture with English e.g by Pastor G (he is an awesome singer), Mai Charamba, Bethany, Celebration Choir etc.

Well to be honest its quite a list so I will stop now but also on the non Christian singers I have the likes of Avril Lavigne, LeeAnn Womack, Kelly Clarkson, Pam MacBeth, Faith Hill, Martine Mccutcheon, Dolly Parton, LightHouse Family, Brad Paisley ..... I am rambling ain't I?

Have a Great weekend everyone.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Could it be that...

--> --> --> -->
...wives or should I say women generally when it comes to relationships need to lighten up a bit sometimes. Some one forwarded me the story below and  I must say it cracked me up.

Smiley from here
They have been married for a long time. As usual they have their ups and downs. One day they had a big fight and things are falling apart. He was disappointed and she was angry.
After one week of silence treatment from her wife, he approached her with papers and pencils. He suggested that both of them sit down on the dining table and write down on paper what they are not happy about each other. They will then exchange the papers and discuss.
So the wife started to write without looking up because she has a lot to write about her frustration. The husband took a long look at the wife and he too started to write. After fifteen minutes of writing, they look at each other and exchange the papers.
The husband looked at the paper full of complaints. She was angry. When the wife looked at his paper, she was embarrassed and quickly tears away her own paper. On his paper, he wrote for two full pages:
"I love you, honey".

What are your views or thoughts???? You are welcome to share.

Friday, 23 April 2010

A generation with a difference

Some time ago I wrote about my journey of finding a church where I felt at home, I am glad to say that my search is over. I have found a church where I do not only feel at home but where I have been amazed by the level of love and care that people have for each other.

Our pastor always encourages the congregation to mingle and get to know each other and last week was one such week. He made us go into groups and we did various activities one of which included sharing a little bit about ourselves with other group members. I was greatly impacted by the story of one 14 year old girl in our group. I always see her around helping especially in the technical department and I always thought that her family were also members of our church. She told the story of how when she was 10 years old she decided to visit our church (I think more out of curiosity) and she never left because she fell in love in God and how the 4 years since then have been the happiest in her life. As she shared her life's story I was touched beyond measure. Here was a young girl who from the age of 10 decided on her own she wanted God to be a part of her life despite the fact that her parents do not even go to church.
What also impressed me is the impact she is having on other teenagers and her community. She told us of how she visits one girl who has a very rare disease and so she cant go to school or play with others. She brings her school work, encourages her to eat and not to give up on herself. At the moment she is trying to organize a fund raising project to raise some funds for some disabled people at some center in her community. As she talked I could not help but wonder if her parents were proud of her or appreciated how blessed they are to have a teenage daughter with such a big heart and who instead of being a nuisance like other teenagers was doing things to be proud of. I know I would be proud if it were my child.

Imagine having more young people with such big hearts, who know God and who want to make a difference in the lives of others. The more I read the papers, watch the news and look around the more I see how important it is for us to pray for our children- those already born and those yet to be born so that they make a generation with a difference, a generation that will stand up and stand out for their love for God and make the world a better place to live.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

ITS MY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, today is my birthday. I must say of all the birthdays I have celebrated so far this one is by far the most unique. 
Last year: This is part of the delicious dinner that my friend Tee prepared for me.

This year: Some friends have offered to take me to see the movie below. I am looking forward to watching it because I am a fan of Nicholas Sparks but I am preparing myself for a twist or sad ending because most of his books/films end like that - remember The Notebook, A Walk to Remember and Nights in Rodanthe. We are catching the 21.00 movie cause this is the only time it shows today and its the one we all want to see (uuuhm and tomorrow I have to wake up early to go to work - I will survive :)

Image from here

Once again I have been amazed at the number of people who have remembered, it sure makes me feel loved and treasured. Thank you Lord for my life and all my friends and family who care so much about me.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Love O' Love

 Image from here

Almost every morning on my way to work I usually meet a certain couple near the traffic lights that lead directly into the city center. Usually they will be walking hand in hand lost in their own world and when they get to the traffic lights they part ways after a hug and kiss (sometimes several). I have also noticed that when they are a distance away from each other at times either of them calls the other and then they wave to each other several times until one is out of sight. To me it is apparent how deeply in love they are with each other. Meeting this couple has become one of the things that I look forward to every morning. 
If I am to judge by their age then maybe it is safe for me to assume that most likely they have been together for quite awhile, that's why I am 'vowed' by them. They remind me about the beauty of love and that for anyone searching for true love hope should never be lost because it does exist - many are a living testimony.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Shaken but Still Standing

Yesterday something happened that shook me greatly. For awhile I had a pity party for myself and kept asking God why, oh why Lord? I was shocked, hurt and felt like I was a failure. Then I remembered the story of Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah in 2 Chronicles 20. I have always loved that story and yesterday it brought me back to my senses. I realized that complaining and having a pity party was not going to get me anywhere. When trouble came to Jehoshaphat and his people in the form of 3 armies that were surrounding them preparing to attack, although he was afraid the first thing He did was to "...set his face to seek the Lord", he did not call upon his friends to help him attack his enemies neither did he moan, complain and question God - he chose to seek Him. If you read the story you will read about how God responded to the call of Jehoshaphat and his people - it is a beautiful story, one which I am taking some lessons from in my "time of trouble".

For those of you who can spare a minute or two please pray for me, I would really appreciate that. I have made up my mind to run into the strong tower of the name of the Lord were I know I am safe (Proverbs 18:10) and I am assured that all things will work together for my good (Romans 8:28).
Have a blessed Easter everyone.

Friday, 26 March 2010

This 'n' that

Lately there have been a lot changes in my life, one of them being that I moved to a new town. So far things are going well but initially I was concerned about whether I would find a good church to go to since the church I was going to before I moved is not found here.The place I have moved to is a very small town, one of those places where most people know each other or at least are familiar with each other. There are very few shops especially clothing shops so if I want to do some serious shopping I have to got to one of the nearby big towns.

The first week I arrived I googled up the local churches, had a look at their websites and I selected the ones I thought I would be most comfortable going to. I am one person who loves church and I usually go to church most Sundays unless something beyond my control prevents me from going. So my first Sunday I went to one of the churches I had selected. I was taught that as a Child of God you are never a stranger in His house but in this particular church I failed to feel comfortable. People were occasionally glancing my way and yet no one came to greet me or talk to me. It made me feel very uncomfortable. I could not figure out if it was because I was the only one of me there or if it was because they rarely got new people and so when someone new came people would be curious. After the service I just picked up my Bible and notebook and left but I knew this was not the place for me.

The second week (last Sunday) I went to another church and I think I have found home. From the moment I arrived people where coming up to me greeting me and engaging me in small talk. I immediately felt at home. Someone even got me a drink and the Pastor came over to greet me and I was like "wow". After the service more people came to chat with me and I never felt out of place plus the service was good... oh I loved their praise and worship session. So I will be going there again this week and I am looking forward to making it my church. 

Has anyone gone through this kind of thing? I guess its one of the down sides of moving to small towns where there are fewer churches to choose from especially for people like me who are rather particular about the churches they go to.
Have a blessed weekend everyone!

Friday, 19 March 2010


This song is very special to me. Late last year I went through a season where I was going through life in a haze. I couldn't tell if I was coming or going and I just couldn't see or figure out the direction my life was going.
I would sing along to this song countless times. When I listened to it I would enter my own little world because it would touch me deeply and stir me up. It was my way of communicating with God, letting Him know that I was hanging onto His promises that He made in His Word and that though I could not see where I was going I believed  He was walking 'with me through the cloud into the sun'.  I also looked up a couple of Scriptures which I would continuously mediate on every chance I got and slowly but surely things began to be clearer and shape up.

When going through difficult times it is very easy to break down and concentrate on what we are going through. Our challenges can easily become all that we think about and talk about such that they begin to dominant our lives. I have learnt that this is not the best way to handle our challenges. I have learnt that when we go through hard times and we find ourselves unable to think straight and take on a positive attitude we should confess what the Word of God says. The more we make confessions based on the Word of God the more the situation will change and the more our burdens will ease up. Talking from experience the Word of God works, what the Lord promised to do He will surely do, if only we can have faith in Him, trust Him and NEVER GIVE UP - Isaiah 53: 10 -11 
       As the rain and the snow
       come down from heaven,
       and do not return to it
       without watering the earth
       and making it bud and flourish,
       so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
       so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
       It will not return to me empty,
       but will accomplish what I desire
       and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Guess What?????

I graduated!!!!!Yes, last week and it was an awesome event. Although I had to travel back and forth from where I live (I have to admit it was a bit tiring), the journey was worth it and I was able to see my friends and catch up.
Here are some pictures for your viewing

Snacks at the reception after the ceremony.

My friends and I posing for the camera (Check out my funny pose).

It was rather sad though that most of my classmates could not make it for the ceremony but those of us who made it we tried to enjoy on their behalf :) and will be sharing photos with them. The journey of studying was an amazing one. Besides benefiting academically I was also able to make new friends, travel a lot and learn a lot about other cultures. I am definitely a much wiser person than I was before I began the programme. I thank God for opening the door for me to be able to do this.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Complicated and Confusing? or Straightforward and Simple?

I am a great fan of Elisabeth Elliot and couldn’t agree more with what she says in her book Quest for Love that dating and relationships have become very complicated and confusing today.  Talk about radical feminism and the language of rights and equality which she says ‘seem to be the only acceptable language today’, have added their fair share of confusion to relationships.  For instance, if a man and a woman have lunch together, each wonders, ‘Will he/she freak out if I offer to pay? Or if I don’t offer to pay’. One just does not know what to expect anymore.
I spent some time in Scandinavia and I was surprised to discover that it was the norm that when you went on a date with someone it was usually assumed you would split the bill unless the man offered to pay for you.  I found it weird because back home when you go out on a date it is the man who always pays in fact most guys would take pride in doing so. Thank God I had been warned in advance and I saved myself from embarrassment. Maybe I am the only one but there have been times were I have found myself tiptoeing when it comes to dating.
Everyone has their views about dating and relationships - the dos and the don't s and so on,  but as a Christian woman I believe that I should make wise choices in line with the Word of God. I am very grateful for Boundless a web magazine which I got to know about through the blog of From now Till I do. The web zine discusses all sort of issues like dating and courtship, marriage, being single, careers and faith issues. I have been able to get insight on many questions I have had for a long time but had never gotten satisfactory answers to. Now as I continue to read this magazine I feel like I am growing in wisdom and have been making more informed decisions especially in the dating arena.

Occasionally I come across stories and people who inspire me; in fact I have an Inspiration Folder where I collect stories, pictures and anything that inspires me and I love going through this special folder whenever I need a dose of inspiration. I want to share a true story I came across years ago but have forgotten where I got it from or who wrote it but anyway here goes, I hope it inspires you the way it always does me :-

 Author Unknown

While waiting to pick up a friend at the airport in Portland, Oregon, I had one of those life changing experiences that you hear other people talk about, the kind that sneaks up on you unexpectedly.
This one occurred a mere two feet away from me. Straining to locate my friend among the passengers deplaning through the jet way, I noticed a man coming toward me carrying two light bags. He stopped right next to me to greet his family.
First he motioned to his youngest son (maybe six years old) as he laid down his bags. They gave each other a long, loving hug. As they separated enough to look in each other's face, I heard the father say, "It's so good to see you, son. I missed you so much!" His son smiled somewhat shyly, averted his eyes and replied softly, "Me, too, Dad!"
Then the man stood up, gazed in the eyes of his oldest son (maybe nine or ten) and while cupping his son's face in his hands said, "You're already quite the young man. I love you very much, Zach!" They too hugged a most loving, tender hug.
While this was happening, a baby girl (perhaps one or one-and-a-half) was squirming excitedly in her mother's arms, never once taking her little eyes off the wonderful sight of her returning father. The man said, "Hi, baby girl!" as he gently took the child from her mother. He quickly kissed her face all over and then held her close to his chest while rocking her from side to side. The little girl instantly relaxed and simply laid her head on his shoulder, motionless in pure contentment.
After several moments, he handed his daughter to his oldest son and declared, "I've saved the best for last," and proceeded to give his wife the longest, most passionate kiss I ever remember seeing. He gazed into her eyes for several seconds and then silently mouthed, "I love you so much!" They stared at each other's eyes, beaming big smiles at one another, while holding both hands. For an instant they reminded me of newlyweds, but I knew by the age of their kids that they couldn't possibly be.
I puzzled about it for a moment then realized how totally engrossed I was in the wonderful display of unconditional love not more than an arm's length away from me. I suddenly felt uncomfortable, as if I was invading something sacred, but was amazed to hear my own voice nervously ask, "Wow! How long have you two been married?"
"Been together fourteen years total, married twelve of those," he replied, without breaking his gaze from his lovely wife's face.
"Well, then, how long have you been away?" I asked.
The man finally turned and looked at me, still beaming his joyous smile.
"Two whole days!"
Two days? I was stunned. By the intensity of the greeting, I had assumed he'd been gone for at least several weeks, if not months. I know my expression betrayed me, I said almost offhandedly, hoping to end my intrusion with some semblance of grace (and to get back to searching for my friend), "I hope my marriage is still that passionate after twelve years!"
The man suddenly stopped smiling. He looked me straight in the eye, and with forcefulness that burned right into my soul, he told me something that left me a different person. He told me, "Don't hope, friend ... decide!"
Then he flashed me his wonderful smile again, shook my hand and said, "God bless!" With that, he and his family turned and strode away together. I was still watching that exceptional man and his special family walk just out of sight when my friend came up to me and asked, "What'cha looking at?"
Without hesitating, and with a curious sense of certainty, I replied, "My future!"

Lesson: How a marriage or relationship turns out is depended on what the people involved decide to make it. The decision and initiative is up to us.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

What kind of legacy?

I was flicking through the TV channels the other day trying to see if there was anything interesting to see  when I came across a programme which was talking about Princess Diana. Although I watched the programme for just a few minutes it got me thinking. Princess Diana died more than 10 years ago but her legacy still lives on. When she died I too was heart broken, she was someone I had grown to love. I remember watching on TV millions of people mourning her and the pictures of the many many flowers people all over the world sent her stuck to my mind for a while because I had never seen anything like that before.

Princess Diana left her own kind of legacy and so have many others both high profile  and ordinary people who have passed on. What about me? One day I too will leave this world to be with the Lord. Just the thought of being with the Lord in heaven excites me. No more pain, sickness but then what kind of legacy am I going to leave behind. My family, friend's, colleagues, neighbors, fellow brethren and so on when they think of me what will they remember about me? Will they smile because of fond memories that will come to their minds or will they frown and not want to think about me?
I realize that whatever legacy I am going to leave behind will depend on how I choose to live my life today. Do I reach out to others, am I a shoulder to lean on when I am needed and do I practice my love for other people?

The following is an excerpt of what singer Nicole Nordeman had to say about what kind of legacy she would want to leave behind:

I don't mind if you've got something nice to say about me
And I enjoy an accolade like the rest
You could take my picture and hang it in a gallery
Of all who's who and so-n-so's that used to be the best
At such'n'such ... it wouldn't matter much 

I won't lie, it feels alright to see your name in lights
We all need an 'Atta boy' or 'Atta girl'
But in the end I'd like to hang my hat on more besides
The temporary trappings of this world

I want to leave a legacy,
 How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love? Did I point to you?,
Enough to make mark on things,
I want to leave an offering,
A child of mercy and Grace who blessed your name apologetically,
And leave that kind legacy.

As for me I this is how I would want to be remembered:
  1.  As someone who refused to live life as an observer but who chose to step out and take initiatives to positively impact the world around her. 
  2. As a person loved with a passion, dreamed big, took chances and trusted God  unconditionally through the good and bad times.
  3. As a woman who stood out as a good wife and mother.
  4. As someone whose life radiated the glory and beauty of God.
  5. As a person who though might have made mistakes, learnt from her mistakes and never let those mistakes define her or her future.
  6. As someone who thrived for perfection, giving her all in whatever she did no matter how big or small the thing was.
Well, this is me and the kind of legacy I would like to leave behind. What kind of legacy would you want to leave behind? How would you want to be remembered - please do share your thoughts.

The Good Changes

Perhaps I am a person of contradictions but here is the thing – I like doing new things but I am not a huge fan of change. I like planning ...