Love what you do?

Except you’ve been living under a rock, you have probably heard the famous quote by Marc Anthony, “Love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

On a morning like this, I beg to differ. I love to write and it comes naturally, but it’s felt like such a chore in the past few days to be honest. I’ve discarded draft after draft, feeling like I’m not putting out my best work. It doesn’t help that I’ve gotten less sleep lately, no thanks to my son’s new sleep pattern. I’m not sure who told him 2am is a good time to play. I’d rather be asleep then Son, please and thank you.

Sometimes you struggle even with what you love doing and that’s okay. I’m in no way excusing indiscipline, that’s an entirely different topic. This morning’s struggle was getting my workout done. It’s something I’ve enjoyed incorporating in my morning routine, made even more enjoyable since my husband gifted me an array of colorful gym clothes. Working out and looking fancy? Win-win I must say. I laugh when I remember how as teenagers in secondary school, we would do anything to escape the mandatory morning exercise. Fake an illness, fake menstrual cramps, hide under our bunk beds, just about anything to get away from a morning jog. Even fancy gym clothes wouldn’t have made it appealing. In retrospect it was actually a nice way to begin the day, I guess the school administration was also trying to get us to imbibe positive habits but you know what they say about teenagers and routines.

This morning I barely exercised for 10 minutes before rolling up the exercise mat and tucking it away. We live to try again another day.

Everyday Living and Inspiring

Sharing her Everyday Living and Inspiring us today is Doofan Hiikyaa. She wears many hats; wife to the love of her life and best friend Orgem, stay at home mom to two adorable little girls ages 7 and 3, sister, friend, alongside her growing profession which you’d read about in a bit. Doofan loves music, books, journaling, travelling, and pretty shoes. She is an unashamed Christian. Let’s hear from the proverbial horse’s mouth.

I Live In…

Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. We’ve been here for the past 5 years. The opportunity to learn to speak and write French has been the highlight of my experience here. We’re looking forward to a new adventure which includes learning to speak German as we move to our new location soon.

I am…

A Pastor, Marriage Counsellor, Writer and Author. I pastor alongside my husband, we’ve pioneered two branches of our parent church in the past 7 years. As a Marriage Counsellor, I’ve officially worked counselling married couples and conducting premarital classes since 2018.

My day begins with…

What I have on my to-do list which I usually write before bed the previous day. I won’t call myself very organized but I try. Anyway, that list helps me do my work as a wife, mom, pastor and marriage counsellor more effectively. For example, on a school day, I would wake up earlier than usual so I have enough prayer time and prep time to get the girls ready for school in good time.

After drop off, I get back to my home office (a little corner in my spacious bedroom with a table and chair). PS When I build my dream house, I’ll definitely factor in a home office that doubles as a library with walls covered with books. I’ll just be happy looking at my books even if I don’t get to read them all.

Work for me is…

Writing, reading, preparing courses, and even praying, making and receiving calls, over-the-phone counseling sessions, and on few occasions I’ve had to go over to families that need my attention. I allocate a specific amount of time for every task for the day and try to keep to it. There’s of course break time to check on or be checked up on by my husband (it’s our unwritten ritual which we both think is romantic). I nap for an hour every afternoon while our maid watches the children, oh so refreshing that religious one hour siesta!

As my work day unwinds…

It’s time to pick the girls up from school. I start preparing dinner between 4pm and 5pm to be ready just in time for my husband’s arrival. We have dinner together every evening at 6pm, it’s a family tradition. I love that we can unwind and enjoy a nice home-cooked meal together even though I recently discovered cooking seems more like a chore to me. I just do it in loving sacrificial service to my family (don’t judge me), and the fact that they think I’m the best chef ever! What can I say.

What I enjoy most about my work is…

Oh I love everything about it! It’s been such an honour working with individuals and couples to bring help, healing, wholeness and fresh enthusiasm to marriages and homes. Leading many to have and enjoy a successful and happy marriage in the bond of covenant gives me a deep sense of fulfilment. I absolutely love my work, I see it as a ministry but I’m thankful I found a way to bless lives, enjoy myself and make some money at the same time. As a pastor, nurturing young believers until we see crystal clear growth and transformation in their lives is priceless, this I do not for monetary reward. No man pays like God, He never uses and dumps a man or woman yielded in service to Him and others. I count it the highest honour after being married to my husband.

The challenging part is…

Getting emotionally attached to people’s problems. Some nights I find it hard to sleep when there’s a couple whose marriage may come to a sad end if things don’t go right. I feel responsible but I remind myself that I didn’t call myself, God did, so I trust him for the right words for every uniquely troubled relationship. There have been good and not so good results, but I like to focus on the good, it gives me hope.

To unwind, I…

Watch movies every weekend with my husband, have sing-along sessions with our girls, read a good book, just lay on my back and meditate with calm music in the background, or do nothing!

If I were to choose between work-life balance or work-life integration…

Hmmm it’s complicated when you’re working at home, but I believe everything that’s important in my life should be properly prioritized, nothing and no one should suffer neglect. My relationship with God comes first then my husband, my children, my ministry/work. When I was writing my book Marriage Dipped in Blood, my husband suffered the most! It felt as though I was cheating on him with my book writing project. Lol! But we talked it through. I can’t ignore wife duties, the Marriage counsellor must practice what she preaches, right? We may not be able to balance work and family life but we could come to a compromise…sort of, so I’d say I believe in work-life integration.

If someone were looking to start a career in my field, my advice would be…

Make sure your motive is love for the people and let God’s Word be the basis for whatever you teach or whatever advice you give don’t let your emotions get in the way. Be as discrete as possible, you must never use anyone’s story as an example without their permission, relationship matters can be very sensitive. Finally, live what you teach and preach, the life you live is the loudest message you could ever proclaim.

Bonus question; Go skydiving or eat raw fish?

Sky diving definitely. I’m not adventurous with food.

Thanks for sharing, Doofan!

Doofan considers herself a loyal friend. In her words, ‘If we connect in any way, you can count on having me in your life for a long time, relationships are my greatest assets-priceless!’ You can connect with her here

Destination Addiction

“Beware of destination addiction, a preoccupation with the idea that happiness is in the next place, the next job, and with the next partner. Until you give up the idea that happiness is somewhere else, it will never be where you are.”
– Robert Holden

All in or feet first?

Someone close to me recently bought a house. When I called to congratulate her she told me how gruelling a process it was, with hidden charges springing at her left, right, and centre. I asked why the charges weren’t explained at the time of making the initial down payment.

Her response was food for thought; “I really don’t know, but maybe it’s a good thing. If I knew every detail I probably wouldn’t have gone ahead with the process.”

I’m such a planner by nature. I like to make plans ahead and know as much details as possible before embarking on a venture. I’ll read reviews and product descriptions before buying even the simplest things like diapers.

Today however I made a spontaneous purchase. It’s been a long day trying to figure out how to navigate the product I bought. The more I look at the features, the less I understand. Will I return it and go for a similar product with details that I fully understand? Time will tell.

Tell me, what’s your style? Do you go all in or like me test the waters with your feet first?

Right away!

To know my Dad is to know that he likes to take his time. In doing things, in making decisions, it’s even seen in his easy gait, sauntering into a room with that quiet confidence of his.

As children if our schedule for the day involved going out with Daddy, we knew to start asking early enough what his plans were.

Daddy what time are we heading out?”

“Right away!”

Right away could mean after he had a long relaxing bath, enjoyed a good breakfast, watched the morning news, and entertained the never-ending stream of visitors while having his leisurely cup of tea.

If it wasn’t an emergency, there was no rushing him. It even became a joke amongst us, “I’ll get to it right away!” became a response my siblings and I gave each other when we didn’t want to be hurried.

The events of the past year have got me acting like my Dad. Prior to March 2020 early mornings used to be a blur; wake, pray hurriedly, rush to shower, get dressed so fast you’ll think it was an Olympic sport, pack my bags, head to work, and if at all breakfast featured it would be eaten while responding to emails.

These days it feels so good to have a more relaxed routine, more time to pray and meditate, workout, prepare a healthy breakfast, and even have a leisurely cup of tea like Daddy.

If we do go back to working fully from the office I hope I find a way to strike a balance and remember to enjoy the little pleasures of the morning, Daddy-style.

The power of persistence

“A river cuts through rock, not because of its power but its persistence.” – Jim Watkins

This is me cheering you on, encouraging you to go for your goals this year. Take things in bite sizes, but remain tenacious. You’ll win if you persevere.

It’s also a note to myself.

Cheers, Iember

Weight loss secrets?

Years ago I uploaded a photo of myself on Facebook, and someone commented ‘watch your weight.’ I don’t even remember the photo but I remember that comment clearly. This isn’t someone I’m friends with. I hadn’t seen or spoken to this person in ages, we once sang in the same choir in university and that was it. (I know, I know! I should tell you guys all about this chorister side of me, and how my music career packed up before it even begun.)

I was surprised at the audacity and irritated by his rudeness. If BMI is anything to go by mine was borderline underweight at the time, so I wondered what it was about the photo that made him post that comment. I guess I’ll never know.

I don’t know what it is about the New Year that makes people resolve to lose a few pounds and jump on every weight loss challenge out there. In my opinion you’ll see longer lasting results by building healthy habits over time, rather than jumping on a fad. Good health after all is beyond the figures on a scale.

If weight loss is one of your goals this year, go for it! If it’s not, just as well. Either way, do you and let others be. Also remember “You have put on weight” is not an appropriate greeting. You’re welcome.

Biggest Accomplishment?

As we usher in the new year, a trend I’ve observed is everyone and their cat listing their accomplishments despite all that the year 2020 threw at us.

Ours is a generation of serial entrepreneurs and multiple streams of income, and while that’s great I think hustling is overglorified. Social media doesn’t help, an anthill ends up looking like a mountain when all the filters are applied.

I’ve had to cut off from a lot of content on social media as I’ve found myself questioning my choices and making comparisons instead of being thankful for my wins. My time is precious, I’m intentional about focusing on the right things.

If like me you find yourself getting inundated by this lavish display of achievements, please take a breather.

I’m all for going after your goals, but even if your only success in 2020 was learning the phrase ‘unprecedented times’, you did well.

Happy New Year!