Uhuru Gardens

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nairobiA few weeks ago I mentioned that Ray and I attended a cake festival here in Nairobi, but I neglected to mention that it was held in Uhuru Gardens. I didn’t take many pictures because there was too much going on, and my hands were full of cake, but here’s a few snapshots of the sculptures in the park. Maybe next time we make it out there I’ll get more. 🙂

Taking the tuk tuks

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In the video we posted on transportation quite a few months ago, we showed the boda bodas (bicycles) and matatus (14 passenger vans), but we left out a few others. Motor bikes and tuk tuks. I’ve always been fascinated with the tuk tuks, but I’d never ridden one until recently. Every Tuesday now, I take one from the main road to the compound where I teach guitar lessons for a friend’s kids.

These things are pretty cool.

transportation

They’re very compact, but they come equipped with cush seating, large speakers with surround sound, and even flashing lights (the blue light on the ground in the picture actually flashes a bunch of different colors). Matatus are equipped the same way, but I prefer having a private vehicle that lets me stretch out and breathe in the fresh air as we bump along the road.

Hopefully soon we’ll get to walk you through what it’s like to ride in a matatu in the big city (our last video was done in a small town). It truly is an experience anyone who comes to Kenya must have.

In the meantime, here’s the last video on transportation if you missed it (it was one of our first vlogs, so don’t judge). I also want to point out that at the very end of the video that is a woman carrying her baby on the back of a motor bike. You see that a lot up country.

Wifey knows best

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Curried carrot soup recipe below

My husband is a creature of habit. If it were up to him, he would eat chapo and beans every day of the week. I like to mix American and Kenyan food, but he’s always skeptical of my concoctions. Tonight I announced we were having ugali and curried carrot soup (he sometimes eats ugali with with mala, sour milk, so I figured why not eat ugali with something that actually tastes good?). We went back and forth about chapo this and rice that, but I stood my ground.

In the end the soup turned out extremely tasty, but the ugali was a bit too thick (I was so focused on proving a point with the soup that I figured ugali wouldn’t be an issue… pride goes before a fall, eh?)

Anyway, Ray really enjoyed the combo, and as creatures of habit are wont to do, he’s asked that we have it again tomorrow with rice.

Curried carrot soup recipe

1 med onion, chopped
3 tbs oil
1 tsp curry powder
2 tsp flour
3 1/2 cups of beef stock
1lb carrots, peeled and sliced
Salt and pepper
1-2 tsp lemon juice
2 tbs cilantro
1-2 spicy peppers

1. Heat oil in large pan and cook onions until soft
2. Sprinkle curry powder and flour over the onions, stir, pour broth in, and bring to a boil
3. Add carrots, salt, pepper bring to a boil then simmer until carrots are tender
4. Remove pan from heat and purée the soup (I just mash it with a fork or pestle)

5. Bring soup to a simmer and add cilantro, lemon juice, and peppers.

 

How S’ambrosia is getting her groove back

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Just so you know, today’s topic won’t be incredibly novel to most of you, especially if you’re a married Christian woman. In fact, it’s likely that you’ve discussed this issue with your friends or read about it within the past few weeks. A friend of mine even added her perspective to the mix just last week (check it out).

As was typical of me, prior to actually being married, I believed that this could never happen to me.

But alas and alack, it did.

Now, I’m not saying folk music is the devil, but…

I should have known something was up when it came time for us to move and I had to reduce the amount of songs I had on my dad’s computer to fit into my flash drive. The anxiety-ridden task of choosing which songs to delete and which ones to keep was one I had to perform in a small amount of time, so rash decisions were made and inevitably, regret ensued.

My music library contained a combination of worship songs – like the intense kind of worship that makes you want to weep until assuming the fetal position or rocking back and forth incessantly is the only source of comfort you can find – and some rad folk music. I had just recorded an album and was looking to create more music that could hang with current trends, so I figured that listening to some popular stuff would help me make that happen; therefore, I ended up deleting most of the worship songs to make room for the folk songs. So ultimately I came to Kenya with very few worship songs in tow. Apparently I had completely forgotten how big of a role worship music plays in my devotional life.

Jesus is Lord over iTunes too

Whenever I’m doing chores around the house, it’s a given that music will be playing. Now that we have WiFi in the house, my iPhone has revoked its paperweight status and become a useful smartphone again… around the house at least. (It’s difficult to access WiFi elsewhere.) Anyway, because of the wonderful iCloud feature, any song that I’ve ever bought on iTunes is automatically available to stream on my iPhone, even if I deleted it in a temporary lapse of judgment.

As I was washing dishes the other day, a bunch of those intense worship songs that I thought I had lost forever began to play successively at the behest of the shuffle button on my phone, and as each song played, my face got uglier and uglier as I struggled to sing the lyrics through my tears. Songs about an intimate covenant with God played, reminding me of a time when I could hear such words and not feel like they were a foreign language. Songs of joy regarding the freedom we experience when the rivers of God rush into the lowest place came up next, opening my eyes to the drought my soul has been experiencing.

That night I could do nothing but whisper to God, “I miss You.” And there I was, back in the fetal position again.

Oh Lord, I don’t want to be one in this number when the saints go marching in

If you haven’t guessed it yet, I have fallen into the category of women who feel like marriage has cause their relationship with God to decline. Okay, maybe caused is strong verbiage, but I can at least say that marriage sometimes pits itself against God when it comes to my daily priorities and decision making abilities.

Now, like any other woman who’s talked about this issue, I’m not blaming my husband. As I’ve mentioned before, he does a great job of keeping us on track with our Bible discussions as a couple, which is key to our growth in God, but that does not take the place of my one-on-one time with the Lord. I mean, as much as we are one flesh, I still have to stand before God one day and give account of my actions as an individual. He still expects us to search Him out and to seek to commune with Him on a daily basis, regardless of what our marital status may be.

Ray is gone for most of the day, so I have plenty of time to saturate myself in the goodness of God.  What have I been doing instead, you wonder? Well, first thing in the morning, I pull out my iPhone. Then I get on the laptop and start working on transcriptions or writing. Transcriptions usually take hours to complete, sometimes even a full day, so before I know it, it’s late and  I have to hurry and clean the house before Ray gets home so I can pretend like I’m a responsible wife. We have Bible study before bed, and sometimes I get some cool revelation and sometimes I don’t, but it depends on my attitude and how open I am to receive it. There are days where I yawn through the whole thing and I just want to get back on the laptop. Honestly, the longer I spend neglecting my personal devotional time with the Lord, the more frequently those kinds of days occur.

Remembering the good ‘ole days

The height of intimacy in my relationship with God was definitely my college years. It was my joy to spend hours in worship exploring new ways to encounter the beauty of Christ or to read the Bible and get crazy revelations to journal or share with friends. In those moments my heart felt like it was thriving in the fullness of Christ. Even writing this now, my heart feels so crusty and cold in comparison. There was a time I could feel the weight of God’s presence when I would worship. Does being married mean I have to say goodbye to that? I should hope not.

My friends used to tell me about how marriage and family affect their devotional life with God, and I would think, “Well, duh, you have to make time.” It always seemed like such an easy fix to me when I was single. Now that I’m married, I can’t concede and say that they were right and it’s difficult; I just have to step in front of them so I’m the first one in line to receive the finger wagging from other single ladies.

I’m not as busy as I tend to proclaim I am. Yes, I have a lot of responsibilities between work and taking care of my husband and home, but those things don’t keep me busy every second of the day. When I wake up in the morning I can spend time with God, I just don’t feel like it. When I get online and hours go by with me just reading random schtuff that has no significant bearing on my life, I could be spending that time with God. When I refuse to stop playing Candy Crush until I’ve used all of the lives alloted to me, I could be spending that time chatting it up with God. Sometimes I even just lie in bed and do nothing. I could at least be living in an awareness of God’s nearness to me.

My contribution to the conversation

As I’ve been typing this blog, I quickly realized that I didn’t actually have a point. I even ended my first draft by typing, “I don’t know how to end this… is there an answer or am I just venting?” I had to walk away from the computer for a while to get what seems like too simple of a response from the Lord. It came in the form of a Scripture:

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

All of those excuses we give for why we can neglect our time with the Lord seem valid at the time, or at least we can talk ourselves into believing that they’re valid, but what would happen if instead of choosing a nap, I chose to renew my strength by meeting with Christ in our secret place? Or what if I woke up in the morning and turned to gaze upon the fairest of ten thousand instead of turning on the television? I know we like to use television as a way to unwind or defragment, if you will, but I want to learn to defragment by pressing into Jesus.

Learning to implement these desires in this phase of my life has been and will be a challenge, but I’m tired of telling God how much I miss Him before I go on about my business and my plans for the day. It’s definitely about time this girl got her groove back.