REALLY…It’s OK to have Standards.


About a week ago one of my neighbors dropped by to see my little princess and inevitably as she “ooo-d” and “aaa-d” at the baby, she confessed that she had very serious baby fever. For those who have no clue what that means, it’s basically when a woman’s ovaries figuratively start clamoring for utilization based on the purpose that our creator intended. I laughed encouragingly and asked her what she was waiting for, urging her to join my club. This prompted a very lengthy vent session from her about all the challenges of the current dating scene and how she was finding it very difficult to meet a guy who met her – to use her own words – exceedingly high standards.

For me this was like déjà vu; it reminded me of myself about 3-4 years ago when I was still dating; no, actually trying to date and getting quite frustrated in the process. I have never believed that there is one particular right place to meet your ideal mate or one wrong place for that matter. It all depends on where both of you are in terms of readiness for commitment. For example, people always say you would never meet any one serious in a bar; however two of my close friends met in a bar (thanks to me) and are now happily married with a child. Point is, they were both ready to settle and just happened to meet as they were both out having a drink. No harm in that right? I also know people who meet in church (the most supposedly ideal place to meet a partner; allow me to have a face-palm moment) but their unions broke up faster than you could say happily ever after. I’m sure you get the gist of it.

So there I was. Determined to settle with the ideal man. (As I later learnt, therein was my problem and why I was attracting all the wrong men). I dated all varieties of potential partners and came up dry. Why? They all had one thing in common. They believed that my standards were too high and unrealistic for an actual man to meet. This perturbed me to say the least. Why? As I explained to each of them, I did not develop my standards from a steamy fiction novel, or those Mexican soaps that all the local channels are now pummeling us with. For the record, I am not a fan of those soaps but if you were born in the 70s like me (yes, I’m proud of my age and the fact that I look almost a decade younger) you know all about “No one but you” and all the girls had a not-so-secret crush on Antonio Garcia (swoon)! So just to clarify, that is not where I developed my high standards from.

Back in the day, when I had just completed high school I was just like any other teenage girl. Carefree, party going, totally unserious about life, you get the drift. I’m also a little ashamed to admit that I didn’t have much of a standard; I could go out with practically any guy. So I can relate with some of the young girls today. I would probably be pretty much the same if fate hadn’t brought into my life two men who changed the way I view men forever. The first one was my campus boyfriend. He was a gem to be quite honest; I just don’t think I appreciated it at that time. He was (and still is actually) the perfect gentleman and treated me like a lady. He was responsible and dependable and honestly, way ahead of his time in terms of maturity. He was the guy who taught me that there is distinction in how real gentlemen treat women. Unfortunately for him I was not yet ready for such serious intentions and we went our separate ways, remaining good friends.

After I finished campus and got a job, I met the second man who would impact my standards permanently. All my girlfriends actually used him as the benchmark of an ideal man. He treated women with a deference that was rare even then, and that went for all women, not just me. He believed in the traditional definition of being a man. Opening doors, pulling my seat for me, provision & protection…..he basically treated me like a queen. And spoiled me for all others in the process. Unfortunately yet again life had something different planned in the cards and eventually we split up.

Needless to say, those two men taught me something very important. That I deserved to be treated with respect. That I deserved the very best that a man could offer. That I was worth it for the man who would meet, or even surpass my standards. That it was ok to be treated like a queen – because I am a queen. That I should not settle for callous, fleeting relationships ending in disappointment. Or God forbid, one night stands. That it is ok to walk away from a man who does not treat me the way I desire to be treated. Those two men were the ones responsible for the high standards that I developed as a result of my interaction with them.

So when I was trying to date and all those other guys would mock my standards, saying that I couldn’t possibly get a man who would meet them, I would simply smile and walk away. Those poor guys never stood a chance because subconsciously, my mind and heart would never entertain being treated at a lower level than what I had become accustomed to.

After a while of seemingly meeting all the wrong men I simply decided one day to stop dating. I was rather frustrated and figured that I might as well get on with other aspects of my life instead of searching for what seemed like an impossibility at the time. So when my neighbor was complaining about how hard it is to get a decent partner, I could really relate having been there and done that. What really irked me though was how much both men and women would mock me for maintaining my high standards. It’s almost as if it was a sin to know exactly what I wanted and not to be afraid of going for it. I was actually an outcast. A dreamer. It would have been the easiest thing in the world to abandon my standards and just make do. But I stuck to my guns. Dug my heels in. I resolved that I would rather be alone than be with someone who would disappoint me.

It wasn’t easy though. I was constantly plagued by the thought that maybe I had missed my shot. I mean I had dated two great guys – what was the chance of getting a third? For a while, I was so terrified of being alone that I went out again and again with men that I would not normally have even given a second look. I had begun to buy into the narrative that there were no longer decent guys left out there. However I was never settled and my conscience constantly pricked at me; reminding me I was better than this. That’s what eventually led to me leaving the dating scene completely. I actually sat in my house for three months and this was when I started to enjoy my own company. I actually found solace in my solitude and finally got over the fear of being alone.

Ironically as fate would have it, this is also when a really great guy just appeared. Ok, that’s not entirely accurate. I had known him for a while; I just never knew he was available. And in case you’re wondering, he literally blew my standards out of the water. Thankfully, this time I was more than ready to settle down. Till today I smile at the thought of all those people who told me that there was no living human being who could meet my standards.

The point to this whole narrative is that it’s ok to have standards. And it’s perfectly ok if the bar on those standards is high. It’s ok to want more, as long as you’re realistic in what you are looking for. Your standards ought to be based on experience and facts and not on fiction or fantasy. You need to believe in your standards and not give up at the first sign of failure. Most importantly, you need to have patience and will power to wait. People with standards do not go desperately searching all over as I later learnt; they wait for the right opportunity to present itself. They are not afraid to stand out from the crowd and are often very comfortable in their solitude. They do not seek affirmation in pointless company just for sake of fitting in. And the best part is that eventually, they do get what they are seeking. They eventually end up with a person with an equally high, if not higher standard.

There is nothing more attractive than a man or woman with standards.



Of Bleeding Hearts and Giving…


I have always been a bleeding heart. You know, the kind of person who is excessively sympathetic towards those in unfortunate circumstances. I have been known to give in to emotions on frequent occasions and take up charity causes for people I don’t even know. Some people (read cynical people) find this naïve and a little foolish but what can I say? I’m just wired that way.

Parenting is the art of carrying your heart outside your body. Most parents know this. For those who aren’t parents allow me to explain. Imagine if you had to carry your heart outside your body (in a bag or whatever) and keep it safe from any harm so that it continues to keep you alive. Do you get the picture now? It’s a nerve wracking, heart tugging situation. Pun intended. Kids have a way of softening even the hardest of hearts, whether you show it or not.

Before I had my son, I had pretty much mastered the ability to hide my bleeding heart from most with the exception of those who know me pretty well. From the moment he was born, that situation negated itself and to add insult to injury, I realized that I had become excessively emotional. Anything even remotely sad made me cry. Movies. Novels. Articles in a magazine. Animals dying. Well that last one has always reduced me to tears to be quite honest, from the time when I was old enough to understand that animals do not have the same life span as humans. We even had a pet cemetery growing up. The stuff of Stephen King novels. It’s a wonder our house was not haunted by the spirits of all the cats and dogs that we buried there in shallow graves that were later dug up by wild pigs. In case you’re wondering, we lived right next to Ngong Forest.

Where was I? Oh yes, parenting. If you’re a parent you know how sad you get when you see a poor little homeless kid on the street begging for a meal. You know the way your eyes well up when you see those features appealing for medical assistance for a child who has some never-heard-of life threatening ailment. You know how angry you feel when you see a child being mistreated by someone who should know better. You know how helpless you feel in all these situations because while you can only do a little to help, deep inside you always wonder, what if that was your child?

That’s the craziest thing about parenting. You see your child in every situation involving a child. Even when you’re not with your child and you hear a little voice cry out “mum’” or “dad”, you’re bound to turn towards the sound; a second before you realize that it can’t possibly be your child calling you. That’s what having a child does to you. It makes you crazy vulnerable and impossibly soft as marsh inside. That’s the feeling of your heart being outside your body.

Now that I have my second baby, a beautiful graceful princess, I find that my bleeding heart has imperceptibly gotten worse. I suppose with my son being older I had toughened up slightly but I now find myself back to the fears of having an infant sorely dependent on me for her every need. If you have a small baby you can certainly relate to the constant checks on them to see if they are still breathing. Almost as if we don’t actually expect that they will successfully do that on their own. I tell you, babies are undeniably over dependent. Incredibly instead of driving you up the wall, this just makes you grateful every day for the blessing of your little baby. Especially when you hear the story of someone losing her precious daughter to a choking incident. Or another to an unfortunate school bus accident. Or yet another whose child is missing and is presumed kidnapped. It literally breaks your heart and all you want to do is go home and hug your child as tight as you can.

Because that’s when you realize, as you have always known that your child is your heart. Literally and figuratively. You are carrying your heart around outside your body and praying desperately that no one rips it out of your hands and hurls it to the ground, smashing it into smithereens. I imagine that’s what it would feel like, multiplied by a trillion, if something ever happened to your child. I can only imagine because even though it happened to me, I’m still pretty sure that I cannot adequately capture the pain that a parent feels when that heart is ripped away from them. I cannot put into words the fervent prayers of the parent whose child’s life hangs in the delicate balance between medicine and divine intervention. Words cannot describe the gap that can never be filled where once there was a child but a parent had to bury them.

In a nutshell you will never be the same again. Once you become a parent, it changes you. It defines you. It grows you and makes you the best person you could ever be. You could literally give your life in a heartbeat in exchange for your child if it was required of you. I still cannot watch Denzel Washington in John Q without wailing from beginning to end.

Incredibly with all the stuff I’ve said so far, it’s still the biggest blessing that you could ever experience. Like I said, you will never be the same again but for the coolest reasons ever. My son changed me forever and already my little princess has made her unmistakable imprint on my heart. It’s literally the best thing that will ever happen to you and the greatest, most rewarding journey you will ever walk. Just make sure you find a good strong bag for your heart.

P.S. If you’re a bleeding heart like I am, please go to Baby Ivannah Alusa Limo and help if you can. Whether or not you are carrying your heart around in a bag.

Update: On 15th July God decided that Baby Ivannah was too beautiful for this earth and took her with Him to dance with the angels in heaven. We rejoice, even amid our streaming tears, that she touched so many hearts and brought so many together in a common cause. We pray for strength for her family, that they may celebrate the precious measured moments they shared with their beautiful angel whose smile and gorgeous eyes we had all come to adore. Ivannah, we know that you are in a better place.

She’s Out! Hello Alayna!

My beautiful little princess had her first photo shoot and as usual, as we have now come to expect, lived up to her diva-ness…

DSC_0128AOFPTwo months ago, I was taking pictures of my friend Ronni’s over-sized belly while the tiny person living insider her practiced kickboxing.

And recently, I was introduced to this tiny person. Small… Beautiful… And still practicing kickboxing.


Please excuse my baby fever, but new-borns are so unbelievably tiny that I honestly believe I can find a spoon big enough to eat them with.


Just a little over a month old and she already has a strong grip on reality. A strong grip in general, but the reason I reference “reality”, is that she doesn’t look dazed like most new-born babies tend to look. She was very aware of my movements around her and followed me keenly with her eyes as I clicked away at my camera shutter.


Truth be told, while looking into her eyes, I felt like there was a keen mind back there trying to figure me…

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I’ve been meaning to write a post for the longest time but somehow time just kept going by till I woke up a couple of days ago and realized that we are halfway through the year already! Isn’t it strange how time used to crawl by when we were in our teens and early twenties? I still remember literally dying to grow up and now that I finally have (I think I definitely qualify) time moves at warp speed! You literally blink and its Xmas barely after the year has begun!

Anyway as I lay there looking back at the last six months, it hit me that I had gone through so much since January that it literally felt like a couple of years and not just half a year! Honestly I have come such a long way in the last six months, experiencing more than my fair share of happy, not so happy and downright depressing moments. I thought it only fitting to share a post on taking stock of my year so far, especially the lessons I have learnt.

Expect the Unexpected.
I started out the year with great expectations and a relatively solid idea of the direction that I wanted my life to take. However sometimes God has a rather wry sense of humor or is that what they call “works in mysterious ways”. This year life has thrown me so many curve balls that I am still spinning. At some point I began to wonder what I had done wrong because apparently when it rains, it pours; in my life, it was raining cats and dogs. Eventually I learnt to take one step at a time, one day at a time and take the good with the bad. This wasn’t easy and several times I honestly came very close to completely caving in. However it was at those moments that I found my greatest inner strength and somehow kept going.

A great support system.
One thing I have discovered……ok, re-discovered is that I have the greatest support system in the world! Without my family and my friends I honestly wouldn’t have been able to get through some of the last couple of months. I have a very interesting family. For the most part we will stay out of each other’s lives and mind our own business; we are generally not very good at asking for help, even when we need it. However we have a knack of sensing when one of us is in trouble and rally to help. I have never appreciated my mother and my sisters as much as in the last six months. From the start of the year to date they have flocked around me like geese; providing comfort, advice, hugs, support, help with the baby….anything that I could think of and a lot that I hadn’t thought of. They have dropped in on me in moments when I did not even realize I was drowning and pulled me out of my misery. They dropped everything in April to accompany me on what would have been a sinking sand pit of misery had they not been there to hold me up at the funeral of my son’s dad. My mother has never spent a night away from her husband in 44 years of marriage (!!!) and she spent two nights in Eldoret with me and my sisters just to make sure I was ok. One of my sisters sat with me the entire night I was in labor, only leaving at 3am to return at 7am to continue her vigil. Not even the nurses could keep her away. Since my daughter was born, my mother has made it her personal duty to ensure that my kitchen has a constant supply of uji, soup and a variety of fruits. I could go on and on and it still wouldn’t do justice to the support I have received. For this I will be eternally grateful.

Life. And Death.
You never really truly appreciate life. Until you have a brush with death. Or lose a loved one to its cruel hand. That’s just a sad fact of life. I’d never lost anyone really close till this year when Aidan’s dad passed away. You honestly don’t recover from the loss. You just learn to live with it. And hopefully, if you learn the lesson right, you try to never again take the ones still with you for granted. This loss was particularly hard for me because after so many years of hostility and estrangement, we started speaking again early last year. It was strange really but he was one of my first coaching clients. He had gone through a particularly rough patch and I offered to help him put his life back together. By the end of last year, his life had undergone a transformation and his future couldn’t have looked brighter. Even his health was on an upward trend. Till today I still believe that he stuck around just long enough to reconcile with his son. It’s almost as if he dedicated his final year on earth to leaving a legacy that his son would be proud to be associated with. And when that was done, it was time for him to go. The only thing that gives me consolation is that we set things right before he went; I don’t think I’d have lived with myself if I had denied him that opportunity.

His death put so many things into perspective for me. We waste so much time holding on to very petty hurts which don’t really matter. People still get so amazed that I would actually offer to help someone who once hurt me and that alone tells me how much baggage we are lugging around. Forgive those who have wronged you today and move on with your life. Life really is too short to hang on to stuff that doesn’t matter. If it does matter, then do something about it. If it doesn’t, let it go.

A week before Kip died, my husband lost his job and then two weeks later, lost one of his best friends. In between all this, I was still having an extremely difficult third trimester with exceedingly horrible reflux and heartburn which ensured that I barely slept each night. Just when I thought that things couldn’t possibly get any worse, my husband’s back gave out and he could barely get up, leave alone walk. There I was, 37 weeks pregnant and seemingly carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders and now driving him to physiotherapy. I was honestly at the end of my rope. In case you have never experienced this, it’s probably the hardest thing in a world for a man to be helpless; especially one like mine who was used to taking care of me. I remember seriously wondering at this time what we had done wrong to God to attract all this misfortune. In the midst of all this and even with my human doubts, I continued to trust and have faith in God that we would be OK. The interesting thing about adversity though is that it clearly shows you who’s truly in your corner. People that we previously thought would help us out mysteriously became unavailable and our support came from very unlikely quarters. The best part (should I say silver lining on the dark cloud) was that we became closer than ever. We’ve ended up spending so much time together in the past 3 months and I can honestly say we are stronger now than ever before. What I learnt? You may not be where you want to be but you are always exactly where God needs you to be. Always appreciate your current circumstances because you are there for a reason.

Two Great Men.
I have two great men in my life. My husband. And my son. Spending a lot of time at home has opened up my eyes to that. Work has a way of obscuring what’s really important in your life. These two have literally spoilt me rotten, waiting on me hand and foot. After my daughter’s arrival, they have been a rock in my life. Taking her for a walk when I need to nap and she won’t sleep, burping her, rocking her…you name it, they have done it. Initially we were really worried about the effect a new baby would have on my son but after the first couple of days he took to his big brother role like a duck to water. He absolutely adores his little sister and is constantly offering to help out with her. Her dad has been phenomenal to say the least. For me parenting the second time round has been a breeze thanks to his endless support. One of these days I will write a blog post titled “Real men change diapers.” He grabs any opportunity to bond with his daughter and it’s simply amazing to watch. Through the constant care and attention of these two gentlemen I have learnt that no matter what life throws at me, I am still among the luckiest women in the world.

My Beautiful Princess.
I saved the best for last. 🙂

After an extremely eventful third trimester, my beautiful little girl finally arrived two weeks shy of her due date. By the last month I was exhausted due to sleep deprivation, partially immobile thanks to the strain on my pelvic bones, and extremely cranky and irate. You can therefore imagine my relief when the doctor announced that I was in the initial stages of labor and immediately admitted me. However my daughter was clearly not one for quick appearances and I had to endure an additional twelve hours of pain before she made her grand entry, screaming her indignation at the top of her very healthy lungs. I really want to say that all the pain and agony I had gone through was forgotten the second I held her in my arms, but I would be lying. However, the truth is that she was totally worth it. I remember looking at her in awe and marveling that she was really mine, it was quite surreal actually. I kept touching her little fingers and toes and her little button nose as she slept peacefully, checking to see if she was real. She was the most gorgeous thing I had ever laid eyes on and I fell in love with her immediately.

We brought her home after a couple of nights in the hospital and just like riding a bicycle, soon fell into a familiar routine where she fed (surprisingly) on a regular 3-hour routine allowing me to finally get some much needed sleep. She turned 6 weeks this past Thursday and I marvel at how fast she is growing. Right now she is needy and dependable on us for her every need but I know that within no time at all, she will be crawling and then walking and after that, time will just fly past. So I am treasuring the midnight and 3am feeds for now, in as much as I am groggy and barely lucid during those feeds. I look forward to her beautiful dimpled smile when it does appear, which is like a sliver of warm sunlight in the cold July weather. I adore her cheeky side glances and cheerful gurgle like sounds when I wonder what’s going on in her little mind and what she would say if she could speak right now. I adore all the tiny little moments with her because I know all too well how soon it will all be a vague memory. From her I have learnt that life is so precious and we are all on borrowed time. I intend to enjoy the time I have with her and all my loved ones to the full for the time I have been granted.

When I look back at the last six months, I can see clearly that the journey to this point has certainly not been easy to say the least. One thing I know for sure though is that despite all I have been through, it has certainly been worth it. The rest of the year will certainly have a lot to live upto and I look forward to grabbing it by the horns.