Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Desperation Fuels Passion




We had a great weekend service at Mavuno Church a couple of weekends ago. Prashan Devisser was our surprise guest speaker. Prashan is the President of Sri Lanka Unites which is a movement founded to bring about reconciliation in post war Sri-Lanka. At 28, he heads the 2ndlargest youth movement in Sri Lanka and the fact that it’s a Christian based organization in a country that holds a little over 10% Christians as well as facing some pretty strong anti-Christian boundaries is no small feat.

I got the chance to hear from him during last year’s Fearless Summit and it was by far one of my best highlights from last year so I’m joyful he came this year as well. He talked about Desperation. I thought it was the perfect way to kick off this month’s sermon series, #FantheFlame. 

Before I get into that, I read a story last night about a young student who asked his spiritual advisor, “Master, how can I truly find God?” The teacher took the student out to a river which ran by the village and asked him to step in. The student did and all of a sudden the teacher put his hands on the student had and held him under the water. A moment passed and the student was thrashing and beating his hands upon the air and the waters. Still, the master kept him under. Finally he released the student and as he came up, lungs aching and gasping for air, moments passed and the teacher said to him, “When you desire God as much as you desired to breathe the air you just breathed, then you will find God.”



I love this imagery. It opened my eyes to the fact that I keep asking God, why am I still stuck here, wanting more but not experiencing more. Still living in the fruit of yesterday’s victory and as a result not just experiencing today’s mediocrity but all the trials and failures in my Christian life that come as a result of this passivity. Today as we sung “I surrender” at service, I realized I hadn’t. As Prashan spoke about ignoring God’s call to greatness and instead choosing comfort and security and building on our Plan B, plan C, plan D, I realized that was me. 

Let’s forget the world’s definition of desperation as it pertains to relationships and empty pursuits and think about it in heavenly terms. You see, desperation fuels passion. If I’m desperate for God, it leads to a passionate pursuit of Him. A passionate pursuit of God leads to a passionately lived life. That’s what I want. I don’t want to just go through the motions, good grief! I wanna live! 

Prashan added that desperation isn’t solely about our own pursuit of God, but our pursuit for God to move on behalf of other people. We should be as desperate for others as we are for ourselves. That’s another thing to pray about. “Lord, give me a cause to be passionate about. Make me a person who is desperate to see You move in the lives around me.”

The question I'm yet to answer is, what about people who say, "I feel like I'm desperate for God, I do my best to show Him I am, but why am I not seeing a change in my circumstances? Why can't I wake up tomorrow morning and be the Paul of my generation?" So we'll talk about that as the answers come in.






photo credit: Leonard John Matthews via photopin cc
photo credit: floyduk via photopin cc
 

Monday, July 29, 2013

A Lazy Weekend: Pictures

Nothing like a recap of the weekend to make your Monday Blues all the blue-er :-(

 









Bloglovin Profile


Hey guys, I'd really appreciate a follow on Bloglovin. It's an easy way to keep up with all your blog reading, instead of having to memorize tens of blog addresses, so I love using it, I'm sure you will too!

Thanks & Blessings!


Friday, July 26, 2013

Confessional Friday: Link Up


 



1. My worst fashion offense of all time has to be sports jacket and girly flared skirts my whole 1st year of College (Strathmore Uni dress-code curse) I'd show you a picture but no way!


2. The most embarrassing song on my iPod #TeamSamsung :-) is probably Furi furi dance by Jimmy Gait - the song isn't embarassing, me dancing to it whenever I hear it, that's embarassing!

3. The last white lie I told was to my mechanic.


4. The celebrity I most wish would disappear is Amanda Bynes, Lindsey Lohan, Honey Boo Boo's mom (sorry)


5. Sometimes, I wish I could make all my dreams come true!

6. My childhood crush was David Beckham, yup I started long before the Americans caught on, I have the biography, the 1000 piece puzzle, the gajillion press clippings - yeah!

7. I've never turned down free music.

8. Praise make me a nervous wreck. 


I appreciate people talking about what I've done well.achievements or anything, but I get nervous when they make too much of a big deal out of it. We have a Kiswahili saying, "Mgema akisifiwa tembo hulitia maji" that basically translates to "if you over-praise the winemaker, he'll start adding water to the wine" basically meaning the quality of whatever is praised starts to diminish. Blame that for my fear.

9. I'd rather watch paint dry than listen to someone try to explain something he clearly has no idea about.


You know the type, never wanting to admit they're wrong or asking a junior for their input and who get their power from making you feel stupid, especially people in authority. Yeah, a hunk of burning issues right here!

10. Much like a train wreck, I can't turn away from watching Real Housewives of Anywhere and my Spanish Telenovelas - I'm hooked!


Barren




One thing that will never ever change is that barren land will always produce barren fruit. It's easy to see people who "have it all together" and react with jealousy or indignation or bitterness and think, "why them and not me." Truth is, for them to get to where they are, a lot was done in the secret room while we weren't watching.

For Jenn Johnson or Steffany Gretzinger or Kim Walker-Smith to sing the way they do, they spend crazy amonts of time getting to love and know God. It's a challenge to me, and to you looking at whoever you look up to and should make us think, what can I do in the secret room? What work am I putting in when no one's watching?

"It is spiritually impossible
to have a heart in one condition
but produce fruit of an opposite condition.
The condition of your heart
will affect your actions,
and your actions
will reflect your heart.

But God has changed your heart!  And He is doing even more!"
(Henry Blackaby - The Man God Uses)




Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Turning Around a Bad Morning






The cute angry guy above represents exactly how my day is going so far.

I'm not a confrontational person, so when someone gets unexplainably mad at me, or wakes up on the wrong side of bed and unleashes on me, I have a problem with that. A couple of days ago, I was driving and some bus conductor comes and starts hitting my car yelling at me to reverse so he passes. I rolled down my window and said, "Now why are you shouting at me, do you really expect me to move if you talk to me like that?!" and you know what, I switched off the car and rolled my windows back up and blasted my volume. Just call me little Miss Passive Aggressive.

This morning just took the cake, here's how it went:


Me: (walking merrily to wherever I'm going, having a good day, unbeknownst to me that's about to change)
Them: Why did you lose those keys FOUR YEARS AGO?!
Me: What I dont even remember that happening!
Them: YEAH YOU DID YOU STUPID GIRL!!!
(Well they didn't actually call me stupid, but that's what I heard/how I felt, hey, I'm a girl, sue me!)
Me: OK fine, I'm sorry
Them: WHAT ARENT I ALLOWED TO EXPRESS MY EMOTIONS?!!!
Me: Okay Fine!

Then I sulk for  a while until they realize they overreacted, break the silence and everything's fine again, if it's family I forgive, anybody else...going in the never-forgive-never-forget-mental box. Strike 1

The same thing happened literally an hour later with somebody else after I was 10 minutes late to get somewhere. TEN! You have to understand, normally when I'm going somewhere, I'm 30 minutes early, and I leave 20 minutes late, so going off on me for my 1st time ever being late?! #overreactmuch? I was just quiet and put a smile on my face but really I felt like:




I don't get it, do I have a sticker on my forehead saying, "Be rude to me for stress relief!" Do you really think you're going to get any productivity out of me after being rude to me.

I bind you evil sticker on my forehead and I declare a great day ahead!







photo credit: ~deiby via photopin cc

photo credit: The PIX-JOCKEY (no comments, only views!) via photopin cc

Purposeful Pain v. Paralyzing Fear


Every morning, the 1st thing I do is check my e-mail. I'e subscribed to a few great devotionals and today I read one from Faith Gateway that I absoluely had to share with you guys. I'm only gonna post a little bit of it, so if you want the rest, click here


"Quite often, our pain has purpose; but just as often, we don’t see it. Instead, we focus on the fear of what might happen if our grip should slip.
The difference is, however, that even if we let go,
God hasn’t let go of us. He doesn’t. And He won’t.
There are times when we can’t hang on with our own strength, and other times when there wouldn’t be much point in doing so. It’s then that we have a choice: stay coiled up, pristine, and remain useless; cling so tightly to what is familiar and be so stressed by our fear of the unknown that we snap; or yield to what God would have us do, even if that means letting go.
And having faith that He hasn’t. He doesn’t. And He won’t.

Father, give me discernment to know the difference between purposeful pain and paralyzing fear. Make my heart and spirit pliable enough to receive Your divine instruction and faith that enables me to hold tight or let go, trusting Your perfect guidance."


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Trends: White Watches

I hate to admit it but my sissy beat me to this one. A couple of weeks ago she bought a gorgeous white watch (which if lost may or may not be found at my house hehehe) and she kinda introduced me to this trend.

I love wearing a watch and for the past couple of months I have been obsessed with finding white things to add to my wardrobe. A couple of weeks ago I bought a great white sweater I'm looking to find a pair of black leather leggings to wear with. Anyway, thats a story for another day, today, I wanna inspire you guys to get out there and find a gorgeous white watch because I feel like this is a trend that can take you through every season. 


Whote Watches Trend



For my Internet Shopping Pros:

1. Michael Kors sport jewelry $610 - houseoffraser.co.uk
2. Chronograph watch overstock.com 
3. Marc by marc jacobs watch macys.com
4. Nixon Watches digital watch islandsurf.com 
5. Oasis stone jewellery $31 - oasis-stores.com
6. Leather watch bonprix.co.uk


For a local option, we saw some great ones at Thika Road Mall, so keep your eyes peeled.












Where It All Began

 

I recently got an offer to do a little writing for a Real Estate Magazine here in Nairobi, and one of my bosses asked me  if I always knew I could write and if this is something I planned etc. Well, not really. In High School, I was that girl who used to stack up like 5 compositions during the weekend and hand them over to my English teacher to grade. I used to journal a lot...A LOT! After High School, I shifted gears to writing poetry and later on music.

So I've always loved to write, but I never 'planned' to go anywhere with it. I don't think I'm that good at it, (grammatical and spelling eras errors galore! lol) However what little I can do, I owe it all to my dad who was a real writer and was very good at it. 

My dad was a journalist and I remember always being so excited to go home and say, "I was the highest in Composition!"

So, yeah. Everything I do, I owe it all to my family. Where I begin is where they begun, and on that note, here's an essay my dad wrote all the way back in High School which won best essay in some competition. He won a hardcover Biology textbook! Ha! Anyway, I love his story. The imagery is great. Hope you enjoy it.


 






 




GEMS: Growth Enterprise Market Segment


First published on Dream Properies Ltd Website on 23rd July 2013

We could soon own shares in some of our favorite SME’s. Yes, you read that right. This is as a result of the CMA together with the NSE and the CDSC launching the Growth Enterprise Market Segment (GEMS) in January this year. The Segment aims at providing a more facilitative framework for Small & Medium Enterprises (SME’s) to access listing of the approved securities exchanges.

A great example of a listed small comapany is Home Afrika, a property developer here in Kenya whose shareholders recently assented to the company’s bid to establish a Sh10 billion consolidated fund. This fund in addition to the use of REIT's will finance Home Afrika projects as well as its expansion into other countries in Africa.

One of the great results will be deepening of the market & increased investment opportunities in Kenya. So, before you head down to your next business meeting or go off for a round of golf with your associates, allow me to break it down for you, just so you can face the question, “Are you planning on listing your business yet?” well armed.

What exactly are GEMS?
GEMS market is a platform that can be used by growing companies to raise initial and on-going capital provided by the public, while also benefiting from increased profile and liquidity. It’s an alternative method of harnessing savings at a regulated environment to suit their needs. The main aim of the GEMS counter is to create an avenue for firms with high growth potential to access venture capital through public markets to expand their businesses and raise their profile. GEMS is the easiest counter to get listed on because the entry barriers are set much lower than those of the Main Investment Markets (MIMS) and Alternative Investment Markets.

What Types of Companies is Eligible?
The GEMS is open not only to the SME’s but also a broad spectrum of companies whether they are large capitalized entities or small companies.

Why Should I List My Company?
I. Access to capital to fund acquisitions as well as for growth (You can also use your listing to expand your market for example into the rest of Africa)
II. Boost your public profile with customers, suppliers, the media and investors.
III. Create value and liquidity for shareholders; because your company’s value is independently assessed, shareholders can realize their investment, liquidity is stimulated and your shareholder base may be broaden.
IV. You may offer share incentives (stock options) to employees to encourage commitment and improve productivity at work.

Costs & Benefits?
I. Stamp Duty: Exemption of stamp duty and VAT on the transfer of listed securities for the Investor and no stamp duty payable on share capital or increase in share capital of a company listed on the exchange for the Company.
II. Tax Incentives: Kenyan Investors and members of the EAC pay a withholding tax of 5% on dividends while foreigners pay 7.5%. For the Company: 40% issued share capital listed tax rate 20%(5yrs), 30% issued share capital listed tax rate 25%(5 years), 20% issued share capital listed tax rate 27%(3 years)
III. Legal Costs: Legal and other incidental costs relating to introduction is corporate tax deductible.
IV. IPO Costs: Tax deductible to both investor and company; therefore leaving more value to shareholder
V. ESOPS: CIS set up by employers on behalf of employees to invest in listed shares is exempts from income tax
VI. Capital Gains Tax: Suspended for investors for listed companies

What Do I Need to Qualify?
I. Incorporation status: Public company registered under the Companies Act.
II. Minimum Authorized Issued and Fully Paid up Share Capital KES 10 Million ($114,168.00)
III. Shares in Issue At least 100,000 in issue.
IV. Pre Listing Accounting Requirements Audited accounts for one year of operations (no profit requirement)
V. Post Listing Share ownership: Within 3 months of listing, at least 15% of the shares must be held by not less than 25 shareholders (excluding employees of the issuer or family members of the controlling shareholder)
VI. Track Record, profitability and future prospects prior to listing, audited accounts for one year of operations. There is no requirement to have made a profit, during this time.
VII. Working Capital and Solvency: Adequate amounts of WC for at least 24 months after Listing
VIII. Number of Directors: Five directors, one third non-executive. The directors must have completed the Directors. Induction Programme (DIP) or must complete the same within 6 months after listing. They also should have had no bankruptcy, fraud, criminal offence or financial misconduct proceedings for 2 years
IX. Board and Management Experience: At least one years’ experience running the business.
X. Lock-in Period: Controlling shareholders cannot sell for at least twenty four (24) months, their entire stake

Sounds Great So Far, So How Do I List?
To list on the GEMS counter, a company is required to retain a nominated advisor (NOMAD) by appointment through a written contract. A NOMAD is basically a firm or company which has been approved by the Nairobi Stock Exchange as a nominated adviser for the Growth Enterprise Market Segment (GEMS) and whose name has been placed on the register of nominated advisers published by the NSE. Only one NOMAD should be contracted and retained prior to listing and through the entire period of listing onwards. This is also a requirement as good corporate governance practice.

Where Can I Find a NOMAD?
NSE registered nominated advisors are listed below:
 African Alliance Investment Bank
 Burbidge Capital
 CBA Capital
 Emerging Africa Capital
 Faida Investment Bank
 Kingdom Securities
 NIC Capital
 Standard and Mutual
 Dyer and Blair
 Standard Investment Bank
 Horizon Africa Capital Ltd.
 AIB Capital Ltd.
 CFC Stanbic Financial Services.
 Dry Associates

Hopefully these points will help you make a bit of a well-informed choice when it comes to this venture.

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Monday, July 22, 2013

Dependable & Passionate


I read this today and it just wrecked me. Bad things happen yes, but here's to living in a government of love and not dictatorship. Here's to celebrating a God I can depend on, a God passionate for justice and a God who's quick to set things right. 


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Date Night Outfit

How awesome is this outfit. It's a Kim Kardashian inspired look and I think it would be pretty awesome to wear to a night out on the town or to dinner with your beau.


Date Night to Come 1



Maxi dress ladiesfashionsense.com // Preen wool lined jacket: net-a-porter.com // Studded purse: $53 vestryonline.com // Jessica Simpson african jewelry: macys.com // Glitter nail polish: etsy.com // NDI White Rose Centerpiece: burkedecor.com








Thursday, July 11, 2013

Kenyan Home Security Industry


Written for Dream Properties Ltd. Website, first published on 11 July 2013

We’re a few days into the month and if you’re lucky money has come in. Unfortunately money has probably also gone out. One of the people who might have gotten a chunk of it is your Home Security Provider, or as we might know them, “That watchman at the gate.”

With the level of insecurity in the world today, an investment you need to make is with protecting your physical assets from theft and damage. Most gated communities have a guard to open and close the gate for you but have you checked out their credentials? Do you know their names and ID numbers? How ready are they to combat a gang of criminals should they come chasing after you? Will they protect you and your family or be the first ones out of the gate running away?

Most of us would agree that we would do everything within our power to protect those we love. Sadly though, often times, we get what we pay for and for most of us that’s a professional gate opener and closer. It only takes 1 minute or lapse and the worst consequence may be released. 

It’s time we, in our different communities need to resolve not to take a chance with home security services. The Kenyan Security Industry is well established and most Kenyans can name several reputable security companies in the market.

Many neighborhoods now are banding together to resource for a professional security company (a quick Google search can set you on the path to a good one) to ensure the safety of their property and families – and maybe also to ward off any threat of crime or violence.

Be sure to check that your chosen company has all the relevant insurances including the efficacy (failure to perform) insurance, and make sure they offer 24/7 response, on every day of the year. 

Make sure to regularly audit their services and ensure efficiency. Another good tip is to request the company to circulate the guards after a period of time. In the end, these are still strangers and as much as it’s great to build a rapport with a good guard, it’s equally important not to have a bad guard be too familiar with your schedule.

Be sure to check out some of our furnished properties which do come with security support.

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Moving on Up!

Hey There, 

Thanks to all your love and support, I finally gathered enough momentum to move this blog to a website! I'm super thankful to all you who faithfully drop by and leave sweet encouraging comments. I'm not exporting this blog so I'll leave it up for a while for History's sake at least until I have a significant number of posts on the new site, but all regular posting will now be going on at 


I really hope to see you there, I've been working hard on the site and refining the look of it, the writing and delivery style and I hope you come by and see it.


You can also follow me on 


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Friday, July 5, 2013

Prayer of Confession

LORD JESUS CHRIST, I CONFESS TO YOU THAT I HAVE NOT LIVED MY LIFE AS JOHN THE BAPTIST LIVED HIS: TO GIVE WITNESS TO YOU. I HAVE SOUGHT TO BE THE ONE WHO SHINES. I HAVE WORRIED ABOUT WHAT OTHERS THOUGHT OF ME. I HAVE CAREFULLY SCULPTED MY PERSONA. I HAVE SET MY GOALS AND I HAVE MADE MY PLANS. I HAVE BUILT MY LIFE AS A CAREFULLY CONSTRUCTED HOUSE. I HAVE MANAGED MY RELATIONSHIPS AND I HAVE DRAWN PEOPLE AROUND ME WHO HAVE SEEN LIGHT IN ME AND AFFIRMED MY LIGHT.

LORD, I'M EXHAUSTED.

I'M TIRED OF TRYING TO SHINE. I'M TIRED OF BUILDING MY KINGDOM. I'M TIRED OF MAKING MY PLANS. I'M TIRED OF PRETENDING TO HAVE THE ANSWERS. I'M TIRED OF MAKING PEOPLE THINK WELL OF ME.

AS JOHN IN THE WILDERNESS, HELP ME TO TAKE UP THE EASY BURDEN OF WITNESSING TO YOUR LIGHT, THE TRUE LIGHT, THE LIGHT COMING IN TO THE WORLD. MAY MY LIFE BRING GLORY TO YOU. MAY OTHERS GLORIFY YOU BECAUSE I HAVE WITNESS TO YOUR GLORY.

AMEN.

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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Effect of the 2013 Budget on Kenyan Real Estate

I wrote this for Dream Properties Ltd website, first published on 2 July 2013

A major downside to the highly anticipated budget unveiled last month is the new taxation mode that might put off any new real estate investors. Property developers have been raising concern over this issue since the unveiling of this year’s budget when National Treasury cabinet secretary Henry Rotich said the government will re-introduce the capital gains tax.

The resounding fear is that it will take a lot of time and resources to make a single transaction because of the new KRA procedures and legal fees which will come up with the new taxation mode. This will have a negative impact on the cost of housing and the consumers will have to bear the burden.

Most developers agree that real estate is still a growing industry and should be given support. Developers need to be encouraged and the taxation mode should not be seen as a move to oppress them. 

Capital gains tax was abolished in 1985 to encourage investments in properties and securities. But these sectors have grown significantly compared to 30 years ago. Kenya is ranked the 10th economy in Africa and first economy in east Africa and possesses a unique location and resources like the port of Mombasa that attract investors who are able to reach other countries easily. The reintroduction of this tax means that the taxman will take his share whenever land, houses, stocks, bonds and other marketable assets change hands. 

Henry Rotich explained, “This will allow wealthier members of our society to also make a token contribution toward our national development agenda.”


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