I Did a Thing!

I Did A Thing.

I really like to say those words, I realized. Hehe! But really, I did do a thing, guys. A really, really BIG thing (At least to me it is).

Growing up, I always had a musical gift, which my mother nurtured and encouraged constantly. She was always encouraging me to sing and reminding me how gifted I was. I did vocal classes as a child, took piano lessons, and also wrote music a lot. I don’t quite remember what age I started but I know that I probably wrote my first song (that I was content with) at age 10 and that I did music training (piano and voice) all through high school. As a child, many times it felt like she was just forcing me into hobbies that I wasn’t too keen on (mostly because all these lessons would happen on the weekend or over the holidays while my friends were out playing). So, I went for all these lessons because my mum had asked me to, but not really because I was trying to nurture a gift or go anywhere with it.

In my high school (S1 to be exact), I was fairly active in the world of music. I took piano lessons at school, did voice training and was a part of the school choir. An announcement was put out for auditions for a school play and, of course, mother dearest encouraged me to sign up. To cut a long story short, I trained and practiced hard for that audition, but on the day of the audition, just as I was about to begin my song, two boys that used to bully me walked into the room. I froze, barely sang and wished the ground would swallow me up in that moment. I never really sang in public again after that. Well, I did, maybe twice or thrice after but with wells of fear inside of me and an extremely shaky voice (from the fear). In short, after that incident in my S1, I never really sang again or nurtured the gift that God had given me. I let my fears get the better of me. I let the fear win.

Fast forward to 2019, I was on holiday in Canada, visiting my mum, and also getting some well-deserved rest at the end of the year; I felt God tell me to step out into boldness with my gift the following year (2020). He asked me to record and release an album or EP and to join the music team at church. I joined the team once I got back and started writing a song that very day that I heard the instruction. The writing process was long and hectic this time round because I’d been so out of practice with my writing. I hadn’t written any blogs, poems or anything creative in over 2 years, so to say that I was rusty is a bit of an under-statement, I’d say. As I started the journey to write music, I was quite excited. Excited to be venturing into new territory, and to be revealing a new side of myself to the world. But I was also very fearful, still, because it was ground I hadn’t tread in over 10 years and there were fears I had never really addressed. But I chose to look passed the fear and just do. And so, I did. I did a thing, guys. I released a song 😊.

I had mentioned earlier that I was a little rusty with my writing so putting together a whole 6-8 songs for an EP was more difficult than I thought, so I decided to just start with what I was able to do to avoid procrastinating the gift into the next decade of my life. I wrote two songs. So, I took myself to the studio to begin the process and I recorded one, which I happened to release on Valentine’s Day. I’m officially a recording artiste y’all. I still can’t believe myself when I say that; but also, it’s been such a long time coming, I’m glad I can say that. So, anyway, the point of this is to let you all know that I wrote and released a song and you should check it out (it’s attached to the end of this blog). But also, to say, that whatever that thing is that you’ve put off for a long time, it’s not too late to pick it back up again. Pick that talent up and dust it off the shelf. Don’t focus on the fear, don’t focus on your weaknesses; instead focus on your gifting and how you can share that with the world. Don’t let fear have a hold on you. Do a thing! You are capable of so much.

Stay Blessed,

Do a Thing.

Love and Light,

To you and to yours

Marlie Keishamaza

A Special Kind of Victory

Have you heard the story of the army that defeated their enemies with music and song? And, yes, it’s a real story, not a fable. I noticed something profound in the Word the other day; something which I believe is too good to be kept to myself. It’s a story of how the Israelites won a battle against the city of Jericho before they even brought out any guns and ammunition (or whatever weapons they used in those days). They won a battle with their music. And I’m not talking about a figurative battle or like a dance battle of sorts. The army of Israel won against the city of Jericho through song.

Joshua 6 tells the story of the Israelites, preparing to go for battle against the city of Jericho. Now, I don’t know much about battle or fighting, but I’m pretty sure that to go into battle, an army needs to, first of all, prepare, and then go into the battle and actually fight to stand a chance to win. That seems pretty obvious, right? Well, God is not a God of the obvious, He’s a God of the extra-ordinary. You’ll see why shortly.

“And the Lord said to Joshua: “See! I have given Jericho into your hand, it’s king, and the mighty men of valor. You shall march around the city, all you men of war; you shall go all around the city once. This you shall do six days.”

Joshua 6:2-3

The first thing that stood out to me is that, God told Joshua that he had given them victory over Jericho even before they went out to fight. I mean, we’re just gearing up for battle Lord, what do you mean “I have given Jericho into your hand”, we haven’t even approached them yet. But here’s the thing- with God there is always victory. God had already seen the end of the matter and so He spoke with confidence to Joshua about what had already been done. In the physical, the Israelites were just gearing up for battle, but in the spirit- God’s point of view- the battle had already been won. God doesn’t work or speak according to what you see in your current circumstance, He sees the end of the matter, which is always victory if He’s involved.

The second thing is that God is not a God of the obvious. He usually does the extra-ordinary or asks for the extra-ordinary and peculiar. When you look all through the Bible, you see how God performs very extra-ordinary miracles with ordinary people. I mean he parted the red sea so the Israelites could go through it. If that doesn’t scream extra-ordinary, I don’t know what does. You would expect that if He’s going to give you victory in the area of battle, you’d at least have to show up to the battle with your weapons ready and then he’ll take it from there. But He is a God of the extra-ordinary. The truth is that, if you want God to do anything for you, if you want to experience victory in your life, you need to step away from the familiar and walk, in obedience to God’s word. Don’t tie yourself in to doing what seems familiar or what the more obvious way to do things is. Seek God before you go into every battle (that could be a new assignment, a difficult conversation, a new task, business, anything), and then obey exactly what He tells you to do, even though it seems not to make any sense. He’s a God of the extra-ordinary, a God of the impossible. The best and most obvious way to achieve victory with God is to walk, in obedience, not to do that which seems obvious. Allow yourself to do something different today, allow yourself to venture into the unknown, to do what feels strange and absurd. If God spoke it to you, the end can only be victory. Focus on Him, not the current circumstance, not on what seems familiar and obvious to you. There is victory in obedience.

“And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.”

Joshua 6:5

I don’t know what you’re going through today, or what you’re seeking God about currently but I can assure you that it ends in victory. Allow yourself to step away from the obvious and unfamiliar. Do that thing that seems scary, do that thing that seems not to make much sense. God is on your side and you already have the victory. He has given Jericho into your hand. Even before you go into battle, He has won it for you; but in order for you to experience that victory you need to walk, in obedience and move according to His plan, not yours. Whatever it is that you’re going through, whatever situation you’re facing- you have the victory in Jesus. Just walk, in obedience to what He’s asking you to do. It will not end in tears 😊.

Stay blessed.

Love and light,

To you and to yours

Marlie Keishamaza

Live in the Moment

Me as a child

As a child, when asked about what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always had an answer ready. But aside from a career option I thought befitting for myself, I just wanted to grow up. I think that would have been my first and final answer if asked the right questions. I just wanted to grow up. In fact, I was almost itching to be an adult. Being a child was boring and restraining, I thought. Adults looked like they had so much freedom and independence and I just couldn’t wait to get to that place. I mean, imagine being able to go wherever you want, whenever you want to without having to ask for permission first. Being able to stay out as late as you can and having your friends over at home all the time. Sounds like a dream to me! Or at least it did as a child.

The thing is, I was so focused on how fun and glamorous adulthood looked, that I almost didn’t quite live as a child truly should. I just couldn’t wait to be an adult. There was no time to live as a child, which is quite funny because I now say “adulthood is a scam”, at least five times a day LOL. It’s not entirely a scam, actually. I don’t think so. But because I was so excited to get there and had built all these high expectations of how much better my life would be once I got to adulthood, I was severely disappointed when it began. I thought I’d have less problems, and less setbacks because being a child is just one giant setback. I mean I can’t do anything without permission. Sheesh! Needless to say, I was disappointed. Greatly. In fact, adulthood is quite the opposite of what I thought it would be- more problems, more setbacks and way more responsibility. My biggest responsibility as a child was probably making sure my homework was complete before my parents asked to have a look at it. Oh, and maybe making sure my younger siblings were behaving, since I was the first-born child, a.k.a the deputy parent. Adulthood looked so much better than childhood and I couldn’t wait. I told my parents all the time, I talked about it with my friends. I probably told anyone who cared to listen that I just couldn’t wait to be an adult.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I think anticipation of the future is a good thing. In any case, its better than a nervousness and fear about the future. But as they say, “everything in moderation”. You can still have a hope and anticipation of the future while still enjoying and embracing your current season of life. Just because I’m looking forward to something, doesn’t mean that my life should come to a complete halt until that thing happens. First of all, it’s important to ‘make lisaach’ before you throw your expectations out to the wind like that. As you get excited for the next season of your life, first understand what it’s about and what it’s going to take on your end. What will be required of you in the next season? How much work will you need to put in? What would you like to remember the most after the season is over? So many things. If for example, you’re going to be a first-time parent, it’s absolutely wise and recommended that you learn about the next season you’re entering into. In fact, these days there are all sorts of lessons on first time parenting, from what to do while pregnant, to bottle feeding, to what to carry in your hospital bag. There’s so much information available. And parenting is such a beautiful privilege that many people look forward to, so by all means, read up on it, and allow yourself to get excited. However, if you choose to wake up everyday and only speak about the fact that you’re going to be a parent soon, that it starts to affect the other areas of your life, you might be moving towards the negative extremes. Maybe, don’t do it? If you choose to sit around and put your life on hold because you are only focused on being a parent and are just preparing yourself for that time, the other areas of your life might suffer a little bit. Allow yourself to live in the moment you’re in. Whole-heartedly, joyously, and with content. I think that’s where I went wrong with my anticipation for adulthood. I first of all, knew nothing about the responsibilities and challenges that automatically come with being an adult. And then I wished and hoped for it, every time I wasn’t happy with even the slightest thing or when I saw something around me happen that I assumed to be a perk of adulthood.

I remember being in high school and just being so eager to leave that wretched place. So, what did I do? I started to act like an adult, even before the time had come. I did what I wanted, when I wanted it and many times refused to follow school rules. (needless to say, I was quite disappointed to find out that rules still exist even outside the four walls of high school). I picked my subjects based on which ones would get me out of school the quickest, and left school as often as I could to allow myself to taste the ‘freedom’ of the outside world I couldn’t wait to enter. I actually didn’t even finish my A levels because I felt like I’d been in school for way too long (I had a mini gap year in my high school and also re-did a class). The moment my AS results came out (1st set of final exams under Cambridge-there’s one in both classes of A Level) and I learnt that I could join a number of international Universities with my AS grades as opposed to full A Level, I told my parents I was done and needed to be released from the grappling shackles of boarding school and of high school. I made a few bad irrational decisions because I was in such a hurry to leave my current season of life. And yes, it greatly affected certain parts of my future, if you’re wondering, so it wasn’t even worth it, unfortunately.

So, what am I saying? Allow yourself to enjoy the moment and season of life you’re in. Don’t be in such a hurry to get out. Make plans. Allow yourself to dream and anticipate. But don’t start trying to play puppet master in your life and orchestrating things so you can reach your next season faster. It usually doesn’t work. Let life take its natural course. Allow God to be the true author of your life. Have an expectation of your next season, but fully live in the current one. Don’t skip way ahead of yourself. It will end in tears. Probably.

What season of your life are you in currently? Ask yourself what you can do today to enjoy the present moment. What choices do you need to make or not make to ensure you’re not getting way ahead of yourself today? Everything happens in its due time. I promise you. Enjoy your current season. Live in the moment.

Stay blessed,

Live in the Moment.

Love and light,

To you and to yours

Marlie Keishamaza

Getting Comfortable

I love comfort. Many of us do. In fact, we desire it in so many different aspects of our lives. We always look for comfortable clothes and shoes, a comfortable chair to sit on, friends who make you feel safe and comfortable enough to be yourself. We generally desire comfort as human beings, if you ask me. And can you blame us? Comfort is comfortable. (ha ha. I don’t know if that’s a pun, or a lame joke or something entirely different but we move). I don’t think anyone of us is wired to want and seek that which is uncomfortable; many of us just learn to get used to it.

As a lover of the comfort zone, I can also boldly come out and say that nothing ever grows from comfort zones. Nothing at all. Or at least, not that I know of. The thing about comfort is that it keeps you where you are. Stuck. In the same place. Not wanting to move, because you’re happy and contented with the way things are. Let me give you a very simple example that I’m sure most of us can relate to. Picture yourself at home, resting, on a day when you really have no work to do or have intentionally decided to put it off so you can rest. You think about what you want to do. Will you sleep in till lunch time? Will you binge watch a series or catch up on the movies you’ve been dying to see? Or maybe you’ll sit down and read a good book. Basically, as little movement and physical activity as you can get in that day. You decide on what you’re going to do. Let’s say you’ve chosen to read a good book. You find the perfect spot on the couch, get your drink and your snacks to munch on as you read, and cover yourself with a nice warm blanket because it’s a cold day. You’re living the life. Then the door-bell rings and you have to stand up to open it, or maybe you’re dying to use the bathroom; or perhaps your glass needs a refill. What do you do? I mean, it took you hours to find the perfect spot where you could sit and read your book and enjoy it, then you prepared yourself for the long read by sitting with your snacks and drinks in hand and then a visitor has the audacity to knock on your door at that very moment; your bladder dares throw a tantrum right there. But here’s the bitter-truth of the situation. The only way for you to know who’s on the other side of the door, the only way for you to get rid of the excess liquids hanging out in your bladder, is to actually get up and do something about it. I get it, you were comfortable and happy and really had no plans for anything else beyond that, but life is constantly throwing things at you and the only way to get better is to grow. The only way to grow? Well, it’s to step out of your comfort zone to allow growth to happen.

Photo by Rosie Kerr on Unsplash

If you want to be a millionaire; to be rich enough to look after yourself well and also add impact to your community. Guess what? You’ll need to step out of your comfort zone of just one income stream. You’re probably going to have to find more income streams for yourself and learn the habit of saving (even off unexpected income). The more fun and comfortable thing to do is to spend all the money as it comes, on all the things you want and need in this life. If you want to have a better relationship with God, you’re going to have to give up a few hours of your morning so you can pray a little longer or read your Bible more. Perhaps you want to be smarter; to be the type of person who has a little knowledge on a lot of different topics. Maybe you’re going to have to read more than you text and check your social media; you’ll probably need to trade in all your favourite movies for documentaries. I think you get the point. Here’s the thing- there’s nothing bad about the comfort zone. It’s not a sin or an abomination to humanity. But the question is, how much has being stuck in the comfort zone done for you? You can sit down and ponder on that question and give yourself an honest answer. There is no growth in the comfort zone. There is no growth in the comfort zone. There is no growth in the comfort zone.

So, think about it this way. If there’s anything you’d like to grow or improve at. Just prepare yourself to step outside of your comfort zone to get it or achieve it. One of my major comfort zones is sleep. I LOOOOOVEEE to sleep. Ask anyone that knows me. I always make sure I get 8 hours of sleep, and on certain special occasions I even go for 10-12 hours of sleep. I love sleep, man. Love it. But here’s the thing. There are so many things I miss out on during the day because I’ve chosen to put sleep as a number one priority. I am probably my most comfortable when I’ve had a good 8 hours of sleep, but I also don’t always achieve the most out of my day when I get a good 8 hours. There will be times in my life where the situation dictates that I have to get up earlier than the sun to be able to achieve a lot more from my day, and so I’m learning not to subject myself to the comfort of sleep. It’s good, yes. But there’s only so much I can achieve while I sleep.

Think about the things in your life that you’re extremely comfortable with and have accepted as a norm. it could be your income, the state of certain relationships, your grades, anything. Now, ask yourself what you can do today, this week and this year to improve the state of those things. How can you step put of your comfort zone to ensure that when you look back at those areas at the end of the year, you’ll be able to see progress you’re proud of? Allow yourself to step out of your comfort zone today. Allow yourself to stretch forth.

Stretch Forth
Photo by madison lavern on Unsplash

Stay blessed,

Don’t Get Comfortable.

Love and Light,

To you and to yours,

Marlie Keishamaza

On Your Marks, Get Set, Prepare

I’ve mentioned the class I’m taking called Harvest Institute, right? Get acquainted with it. I’ll probably be mentioning it quite a lot this year (maybe even a little bit after), so it’ll do you well to get used to it now so you can keep up 😊. So, in 2020, towards the end of the year, I felt God whisper to me that I should take this class in 2021. Now, here’s the thing, I’d watched a number of my friends go through it and suffer through the immense pressures and demands that come with the class and had already decided with myself that I probably wouldn’t take the class- at least not any time soon. But God had other plans. LOL. Anyway, I truthfully still didn’t feel like taking the class even after God told me, but I know that God is a good Father and that when He asks us to do things it’s for our own good and will serve a good purpose, so I signed up.

It took a while for it to really sink in that I’d be taking this class or for me to really come to terms with the fact that I was, but eventually I caught on strong. Having had a number of friends who’d taken this class before and a few close friends particularly, I knew that I’d have support from people who’d been through it and stayed the course and that gave me great comfort. So, I asked questions- all the questions- the fun parts of the class, the challenging parts, the favourite things, that not so favourite things-everything. I wanted to fully understand what I was signing myself up for (that I had no choice out of) and mentally and practically prepare myself in the best way I could.

Sometime towards the end of last year I was praying with a friend of mine over a word I had received from God at the beginning of the year that really hadn’t manifested and I was growing weary of waiting. (I’ll tell you a story of the waiting season one day). My friend and I would spend time on our own praying and hearing from God throughout the day and then hop on a phone call right before the top of the lunch hour to share anything we think God might be saying to us about ourselves or each other. I remember one of those days as we prayed, she asked me, “If you knew the President was coming to your house, let’s say on Christmas day, what would you do”? I thought about it for a bit and responded. “I’d probably organize my house a bit better, make sure it’s in tip top shape and buy a few things if I need to.” “Exactly”, she said, “you would prepare”. Why would I prepare? Because I’m anticipating and looking forward to his visit/arrival, to put it simply. So, in the same way, as I waited on that word from God to actually manifest, I needed to prepare for it, not just sit around aimlessly until it magically happened.

I think that preparation is a very important process in life, which can many times be overlooked or ignored. I know I do all the time. I’m in a season, I think, of learning to prepare for different stages and phases of my life and it’s a very rewarding process. Before I took this class, I had friends who had taken it before, like I mentioned. I found out from them as much as I could about the class to get an idea of what to expect and how I could prepare. Procrastination and I are good friends and I think that many times procrastination doesn’t give me the leeway to actually prepare because I push tasks off until it’s almost too late and so my preparation and execution processes happen almost in the same breath. I purposed that I wouldn’t let procrastination take centre-stage in 2021 and so far, I can say I’m doing alright. I made a conscious effort to prepare for the class before I even stepped foot into the first one and I’m super glad I did. Two of the things that I knew about the class were- that you had to write a book and publish it by the end of the year, and that you were required to blog at least bi-weekly. So, what did I do? I prepared. I actually wrote a number of blogs last year (including this one. Tee hee) in preparation for this blogging exercise and I came up with a very clear target and execution plan for my book, which is what I was missing those two years before, where I had the book idea and never got round to it. I wrote out a couple of blogs (also ideas I had sat on for a while) and kept them on my laptop in preparation for the year. I also started putting together ideas for my book last year so that I wouldn’t struggle with procrastination and then drown in pressure at the last minute. The results? A settled mind and some organization in my life. I don’t know if it’s just a me thing, but I find that most of the time, my inconsistencies are brought about by poor planning and lack of intentionality. For example, with my YouTube channel. I started out quite well for the first two months and then the consistency started dropping slowly. Mine was never a lack of content because my mind is always bursting with ideas. I just didn’t plan and prepare well enough for the weekly content targets that I had set in the beginning. I would have done so well on the consistency if I had planned to shoot a number of episodes in one go, which I can then release over time according to the consistency that I had previously set. Same with this blog, the content was never really the issue, it was more poor planning and lack of intentionality. I would have ideas but have 10,000 other things to do and before you know it 3 months have past since you last posted and you suddenly don’t feel like posting anymore or don’t see the point. (It also affects your following because your audience loses a lot of interest with a lack of consistency.)

What am I saying? That preparation can save you a whole lot of inconsistencies and many mishaps in the things that you’re doing. I’m feeling the pressure of the class a little less because I started preparing for it before I started by writing a few blogs, setting targets and schedules for book writing and by coming up with a clear weekly schedule for my time that incorporates all H.I activities as well as my personal and other work activities and obligations. It’s genius! So, if you’re like me and you suffer with the procrastination bug I used to have and just major inconsistencies, prepare, prepare, prepare. It really goes a long way. Preparation is ultimately more important than the work you have to do, because if you prepare enough and prepare well, you won’t need to spend much time on work. You’ll know exactly what to do and how you need to do it. Those are my wise words for today. Whatever you set out to do, prepare for it first, it’ll make the execution a lot easier for you and possibly a lot quicker too. You can thank me later. First go prepare.

Stay blessed,

Prepare.

Love and light,

To you and to yours

Marlie Keishamaza

Dialogue vs. Monologue

Just imagine with me for a second, that you’re a parent, and you love your children dearly (as every parent should). You care about them so much, and want nothing more than to see your children prosper and excel. If you’re a parent already, just think about your children and how much the above is true; no need to imagine. Okay, now as a parent, because you love your children, you want relationship with them and you want to have a great relationship with them too, right? (Those imagining, stay with me). Now imagine (we’re all imagining now), that your children come to you and approach you whenever they want something, or just need to rant. They sit down and start to pour out their problems and tell you all the things they really need or want you to give them; and then as soon as they’re done talking, they stand up and walk away. Yes, immediately. They don’t even wait to hear one word from you in response. Nothing. Even though, being older and wiser than they are, you probably have some good wisdom and insight to share on the very things they’re ranting about. Or maybe you just want conversation beyond their needs. You want to know how they are doing, to tell them how you’re doing and what you’re up to and maybe remind them that you love them and want to see them do well. We were all created for connection, so no one definitely wants to just constantly be on the receiving end of someone’s rants and requests without ever being able to have any real conversation aside from that. Right?

Now think about your relationship with God. Does it resemble these children’s relationship with their loving parent? Do you find, many times, that your relationship with God is mostly about asking Him for stuff or venting about something on your heart? I recently heard someone say that ‘prayer is a dialogue, not a monologue’, and it really sent me into deep reflection. Many times, I go to God and present all my issues, rant about my problems and ask Him for stuff I need or want and then my prayer session is over. But here’s the thing. God wants to spend genuine, quality time with me. God wants to spend genuine, quality time with you. Yes, He will provide all that you need. Yes, He will listen to you; He will comfort you with open arms, but He wants so much more from His relationship with you. He wants you to truly seek Him and spend time with Him, and talk to Him, just like any earthly parent would want to spend time with you and talk to you. God is a gentleman and He has given us the gift of freedom and free-will so He won’t force himself on us. He’ll talk to those that choose to talk to Him and spend time with those that give Him time. But He wants to spend time with you. He wants to talk to you.

I was challenged by this same person (who said prayer is a dialogue) with the question, ‘how many times do you ask God how he’s doing?’. How many times do we come to God and ask Him how He is; ask Him what we can do for Him? We usually always approach God with our own wants and needs and never think to ask Him about what He needs or what we can do for Him. God wants us to extend His Kingdom here on earth and each of us has something on the inside of us to contribute to that equation. But it’s possible to go through life having done nothing in line with what God called you for because you’re so focused on your own agenda and never stop to ask God how you can fulfil His. God loves you. God cares for you and He wants to spend quality time with you. Allow yourself to just bask in His presence and to hear from Him. Don’t just go to Him to speak non-stop and never listen. It grieves Him when you don’t spend time with Him.

“Call to me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things which you do not know.”

Jeremiah 33:3

My challenge to you this week, next week and always. Okay, let’s start with this year. My challenge to you this 2021 is to sit down and actually spend more time with God. Set aside a time daily for you to talk to God. And in that time allow yourself to both talk and listen. Each day might be different. On some days you might talk more than you listen, on some days you might listen more. And on some days just allow yourself to sit in silence, with some worship music and just bask in His presence. God loves you and He wants to spend time with you. He’s a good Father and He cares for you. Jeremiah 33:3 says, “Call to me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things which you do not know’. God can show you glimpses of the future and He can give you the answers you so desperately seek. All you need to do is call to Him. He will listen, but most importantly He will answer.

This year, may you never forget just how much you’re loved; and how much the Father wants to spend time with you. I pray that you walk with Him daily and allow yourself to listen more. Remember that prayer is a dialogue, not a monologue- that means that it’s a conversation between two people not a speech by one person. Listen to God more, don’t just speak to Him or at Him this year. Let’s agree to do that together, yeah?

Stay blessed.

Love and light,

To you and to yours

Marlie Keishamaza

Watch Your Words

I’ve always heard phrases like “watch your words”, “your words have power” and other statements about words and the need to be cautious with them. There was a point where I didn’t understand that talk and truthfully just laughed at people who spoke like that.

I recently re-watched a great movie called A Star is Born. I love that movie; particularly the music in the movie but also the message that it carries and how it paints a clear picture of how fame many times consumes people. But aside from all that (and the fact that the movie left me in tears), I learnt a very very major lesson from the movie on the power of words. The movie is about a big superstar musician (played by Bradley Cooper) who meets a regular girl (Lady Gaga) who has dreams of being a big music star. They get to know each other, and eventually fall in love and get married. The girl becomes more famous and celebrated and slowly starts to change to fit into a certain stereotype and also starts to put her career as a top priority in many instances. Her husband, who fell in love with her because of her simplicity, started to feel distant from her because she became way too focused on her career and had less time for him and he resorted to drinking and smoking heavily which he had greatly reduced when he met her and started to feel a connection. Fast forward to her manager (who was the one who kept feeding her ego and encouraging her to fit into the generic mold) noticing that he was unhappy with the change and afraid to speak to her about it. He approached this man and said some really mean things to him and “fed him poison” as I like to call it. He mentioned that he was a terrible husband and was holding his wife back from a great career and he was terrible for doing that. Meanwhile, the poor man had never mentioned to his wife or even insinuated that he wanted her to leave music or let go of fame. Yes, he was disappointed that she had changed and they weren’t spending as much time together, but he wanted so much to be a supportive husband that he chose to say nothing. Anyway, immediately after the manager said those mean things to this husband, the next scene is him committing suicide. What a tragedy!

Here’s the thing about words and the things you say to people. They really have impact and go a long way (both negative and positive words). I keep telling people that 99% of the confidence I have is a lasting impact from words my mother spoke to me when I was younger. She constantly affirmed me and called out the greatness in me. I’m still eating the fruits of her words today. I landed on this Bible verse some time last year and really meditated on it. I read it in several versions, said it out loud over and over. I even created a verse image and made it my lock-screen image for a while just so the words could saturate well into my mind. “Let no corrupt word proceed from your mouth except what is good for the necessary edification of others, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” Now, here’s what really stood out for me from this verse. 1- don’ let corrupt words proceed from your mouth; that could be lies, negative talk, deprecating talk or anything along those lines. Just don’t let negative stuff come out of your mouth- about you, about others, about your country, nothing. Your words have power. The second thing that really stood out, which, truthfully was my biggest highlight, was that your words must impart grace to the hearers. Notice how the verse doesn’t specify who the hearers are. Many times, we focus on being kind with the words we say to others and disregard the words we say to ourselves. Both matter. I once read a quote that said “Before you speak, ask yourself this: is it true, is it necessary, is it kind. A very good three-way test to go through before you open your mouth to speak.

I really, truly believe in the power of words. God created the world with words. Words have the power to shape certain realities around us. But that’s a topic for another day. Just be careful with the words you say to other people. The truth is that you really don’t know what people are going through, so don’t just open your mouth and start blabbing nonsense that isn’t imparting any grace to the people that are hearing your words. Just because someone is out and about, just because someone is smiling, doesn’t mean that their life is fine and dandy all the way. People have issues, insecurities and so many other burdens in this life. Don’t add to that weight. Be kind and careful with your words. They could impact for a lifetime.

So, my challenge to you today, this week and always, is to be careful and intentional with the words you say. Make sure they’re imparting grace to the hearers. Let your words be true, be necessary and be kind. I’m sure you’d want and love the same for yourself, and for those you love. Don’t be the reason someone thinks of suicide or cries themselves to sleep at night. Be the reason for someone’s smile every day; be the reason someone believes in the goodness of people.

Stay blessed.

Love and light,

To you and to yours

Marlie Keishamaza

Allow Me To Re-introduce Myself

Hi, my name is Marlie Keishamaza. Haha. Just kidding. You know all that, don’t you? But anyway, I am here to re-introduce myself, so I guess leading with a name intro is fair, no? I’m actually not sure what to say in this intro, re-intro thing I’m doing (no surprise there). I just feel like a re-introduction is necessary because I haven’t blogged in literally over a year, and unfortunately COVID-19 isn’t even a valid excuse because that literally would have been the best time to pick this thing up, in my opinion.

So I’ll tell you a bit about why I’m here; that’s my introduction. What brings me back to this blogging lifestyle? Why am I here? I’m sure you’re DYING to know. Or maybe no, lol, because I’ve been gone for so long and you probably moved on and found other more interesting blogs to follow. I’m sorry, I’m sorry. But I’ll be more consistent this time. And that’s on period! So this year, I’m taking a leadership class called Harvest Institute, School of Leadership. I took a really bold step and signed up and I’m going to be an author at the end of this year. Okay, let me explain. First, of all, I’ve had this book idea for like 2 years (this shall be the year that procrastination really leaves me. AMEN!). Anyway, so I took this bold step and joined Harvest Institute-a leadership school/space in Uganda. We go through different classes and programmes throughout the year and have a number of short -term and long- term assignments, one of which is to write a book by the end of the year. So I’m grateful, even before I start, that this space is kicking me out of my procrastination. I really need that. This year, I’ll be a regular here. I’ll put up weekly blogs and share my lessons and experiences with you like I was before and maybe teach you some of the things I’m learning.

Let’s talk a bit about what’s been happening since I last blogged here (2018, right?).  It was so long ago, I don’t even remember when it was. I started a YouTube channel- called Randomly Marlie- where I talk about my life experiences and share lessons I’ve learnt and just share stories and snippets from different parts of my life. Pretty much what I do on this blog but in video format. I also lived through an entire pandemic (I know everybody did, haha, but I just want to point out what’s been going on around me since). Anyway, I also featured in my first film. A short film about Uganda and the arts, titled- Rhythm of My People- which was entered into a short film competition; and even though we didn’t win, we are all so grateful for the opportunity we got to work with each other and for the networks we built on that set (You should check it out on YouTube by the way). Did I mention I was the main character in the film? My name was Nakalanzi Della and I was a laid-back, fun-loving, guitarist and painter with an uptight lawyer for a sister. I also belong to a certified association of MCs called Emcee Portal through which I get a number of my emceeing gigs. That freelance struggle was difficult during Corona season. Oh! And one more thing- I’m a singer now. Well, almost. I’m working on releasing some music this year as well. I already have two songs written currently and the first one is pretty much almost ready, so stay tuned for more information on that. If this year goes according to my plans, I might have an album or EP out by the end of the year. So yeah, quite a bit has been happening in my life while I’ve been gone. Haven’t just been sitting in silence doing nothing.

Since I don’t really know what goes into re-introductions (or if that’s even a thing). I think it’s safe for me to just end this blog here. I’ll be posting a new blog up weekly, so make sure you pass by here every week to get your fix.  Also, say a prayer for me as you read this, and tomorrow, and every day. Pray that I have the strength and the grace to stay the course and that I don’t completely lose my head along the way. Think you could do that for me? I’d appreciate it a great deal. Until, next time,

Stay blessed.

Love and light,

To you and to yours

Marlie Keishamaza

New Beginnings

I love the beginning of the year. I don’t know why. I just do. I wouldn’t go ahead to say that it’s my favourite time of year (that would be August for obvious reasons) but I just really love it. Something about a new year screams new chances and new opportunities- a chance to sort of do-over, all the mistakes from the past year and to re-invent yourself as much as you can.

Many people cursed off the year 2020, for many obvious reasons. It came with a lot. A lot that we all weren’t prepared for but many people somehow managed to stand out in the midst of it all and I think that’s incredible. Anyway, a new year is here now. Whether you wrote off 2020 or it was the best year of your life, a new year has come and we must take charge and plan for it as best we can. I think my favourite thing about a new year is the chance I get to set goals afresh. Make a clear plan for the year, set goals and targets and find people to hold me accountable where necessary; each year my goals and plans get bigger and bolder and my disciplines get better (although I still feel like I have a long way to go in that area). This year, I’ve set some really crazy targets for myself. One of my biggest goals for this year is to write a book. I’ve been talking about it since 2019, and been in and out of writing since then too; but this year, I will finally put ink to paper and write the book I’ve been dreaming about for two years. I’ve also set personal goals for the year in each of the 5 capitals and broken them down into bite-sized pieces with monthly, weekly and daily targets. I’m taking on so many new challenges this year and I’m both nervous and excited; but mostly excited because at the end of the year after I’ve followed through with my goals, I’ll be able to look back with a smile and say “you did it, Marlie. I’m proud of you”. Pandemic or no pandemic, lockdown or no lockdown, my goal this year is to focus on my goals- no excuses, no stories and I know that I can do it if I put my mind to it, so help me God.

 Yes, you can now address me as author or future author from this point. I will respond. You can start to prepare your monies for the book and the book launch. And you can also prepare to read a blog from me every Tuesday of this year. I’m back at it and I’ll be doing this weekly. Please subscribe if you haven’t yet (I’ve been doing YouTube for so long; the vloggers lingo is stuck with me lol). But yeah, like the blog, subscribe, or whatever WordPress calls it. I’ll be dropping something weekly; it’s one of my personal goals 😉.

What are you looking forward to this 2021? What is your breakthrough goal that you’re going to fight to achieve regardless of how 2021 turns out?

Stay blessed.

Love and light,

To you and to yours

Marlie Keishamaza

Ugh. Rules!

So this past weekend, on Saturday evening to be precise- tragedy struck in Kampala town (I think it was Mukono actually). A boat carrying about 120 passengers capsized along The Victoria and many lives were lost, some people still unaccounted for (it is Monday as I write this) while a number of lucky people made it out alive. I am completely saddened by this incident, especially since majority of the lives lost were young people (under the age of 35). I have friends who lost friends on that boat also and so I feel a sense of loss because people close to me are grieving and no one ever wants to see a friend hurting.

 

I was reflecting on this whole incident the whole of yesterday and a number of things came to my mind. The first thing is that life is short and we must learn to value the people we have in our lives enough to make peace with situations. Never allow  your self to end a conversation, to go to sleep, or to simply part ways with someone when you’re mad at each other. Clear the air, voice your concerns and just let everything off your chest because you never really know when the last time will be. The second thing is to never ever give your self the illusion of time. So many times we shelve our dreams or put them on hold for a later time because we’re simply afraid to start or waiting for “the right time”. The sad and brutal truth of the matter is, however, that we never really know how much time we have so we had better start that thing like yesterday. There’s no better time than the present (although I just made reference to the past lol). Pick that dream up off the shelf, dust it off and begin.

 

Anyway, those were just a few things that popped into my head that I thought I might share as well but aren’t actually the main point of what I came here to write about today. One of the bigger reflections that came to my mind from these unfortunate events is the importance of rules and regulations and more importantly- the importance of following these pre-set rules. From what I gather (and I am not writing as a news professional or a witness-just thought I’d put that out there) the boat was overloaded and from the pictures I saw the life jackets were not worn for the entire duration of the boat ride. I saw pictures from the start of the trip where almost everyone was clad in their bright orange life jackets and as the journey went on they slowly started coming off. Here’s the thing that occurred to me about this whole thing. As Ugandans first of all, we have this terrible habit of not wanting to follow rules and thinking we’re above the law (I’m not excluding myself from this equation, we all have our moments). We always prefer to do things at our convenience not considering whether it’s lawful or not (it might just be a human thing actually, let’s not castigate Uganda). We like to have a good time and live our lives to the fullest without taking into consideration what the possible consequences of our actions could be. Yeah, I know, where’s the issue with all that? Well, here’s the thing. Usually when people put rules and laws and whatever you want to call it in place, it’s because they have foreseen certain circumstances (which we may fail to see) and are taking preventative measures against the possible negative outcomes of these circumstances. A person or people usually have taken the time out to analyse a situation and look at all the positive and negative possibilities and protect whoever might be at stake from any tragedies. And then here come us stubborn beings just looking to have a good time and going ahead to completely ignore all the precautions just so we can “live our best lives”. I mean think about it- by the time someone came up with the capacity load for the boat, they had thought all these things through (or at least they should have) and knew that it would be a high risk factor to have beyond a certain number of people on the boat because of things we (humans) can’t completely control like the tides and proper balance. I’m not blaming the people on the boat for anything that happened, all I’m saying is that as people we need to start learning to take precautions more seriously and not look at them as deterrents to a good life or a good time.  Someone much wiser than us who actually had the time to, thought about everything beforehand and put measures in place to protect us. When we refuse to follow rules and regulations we choose to not protect our lives and the lives of the people dear to us. Just imagine if all the people on the boat had insisted on being the right number that was expected to board the boat and had all insisted on wearing life jackets (all the way through)- the chances of a tragedy this grave would have been far less. Think about it- really! Don’t trade a lifetime of fun and purpose for one quick thrill by not following safety precautions. That’s all I’m saying. Even the Bible exists to guard us and protect us against different battles and circumstances in our everyday life. I’m learning this now, more and more with time. I find that usually the times where things are going well in life are the times where I’m reading my Bible and actually following the counsel that it bears. And usually when I think I know what I’m doing and decide to do things according to my own will and feelings is usually when things end up going awry and ironically I end up agitated and unamused.

 

For the longest time I believed that “if it’s your day to die you can’t escape it, no matter what you do”. I’m not so sure I believe that anymore. Many a time it is the rules we don’t follow and the situations we get ourselves caught up in that land us in trouble actually. The Bible mentions that, “With a long life I will satisfy him And let him see My salvation”, meaning God’s promise to us is long life, of course going hand-in-hand with all His counsel for us. It also mentions that “If you walk in My ways, keeping My statutes and commandments, as your father David walked, then I will prolong your days”. Not that this is meant as a threat, but it goes back to the point I’m trying to explain -people much wiser than us foresee certain circumstances and protect us from them. And then in we come with all our stubbornness and excitement, do the complete opposite of what we’ve been asked to do, and then blame the world around us when things go wrong. Think about all the rules your parents set growing up and the trouble you landed in by choosing to go against their rules. I think you see my point now.

 

We need to learn to start heeding authorities and trusting their counsel if we want to protect ourselves from tragedies as much as possible. We can still have fun while following the rules. We can still live our best lives within certain confinements. (If anyone knew me a few years ago they wouldn’t believe that I am speaking these words. I still don’t believe myself sometimes lol, but yeah). I just thought I’d share some of the wisdom that came to me as I was reflecting on this tragedy. Have a blessed day as you read this and remember to do what is asked of you by authorities, it could save you a whole lot of trouble.

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