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Archive for October, 2008

A case of the Blogcks

Darn it, I have a major, major case of the Blogcks, that nefarious condition that sneaks up on you in the busyness of everyday life. The blogcks is a very shady pseudonym for Bloggers Block or Writers block, that i not so inspiringly have decided to write about today.

Yes, the blogcks…this is whats happening to me now. For days so much has been going down in my life, the Master sometimes doesn’t go easy on His trials of fire, and i’ve been feeling the need to vent and rant on here but I couldn’t. My mind would go blank everytime I think about blogging. Strange. But i’m sure all you bloggers have experienced a case of the blogcks.

I guess it also comes down to an unconcious pressure that comes from being a part of a vibrant blogging community. Like some unspoken expectation that everyday, you log on to blogspirit looking to see what everyone has written. Then you start getting this nawing feeling in the back of your skull that you aren’t on the days updated list. So you feel the need to write something clever, something moving cause everyone else’s entries are just so darned good and you can’t stand not to be counted. Ego demands it.

But, here’s the catch. For the life of you, you can’t seem to think of anything that will be good enough. Your mind goes further into the blank. Soon you start screaming at your inner self. “What the effin hell is wrong with you, you’ve got tonnes of stuff you can blog about….Yeah but i’m really busy write now and besides, the internet keeps timing out.” Excuses, self condemnation, guilt, ego, Blogcks.

So there we go. I’ve added an entry that you’ll all stumble onto shortly. It’s not pretty, clever, probably not too interesting but it will give the allusion that I’m as good a blogger as the best of you. And you’ll respect me. And you’ll keep trying to find out what other shenanigans i’m gonna get up to on my blog. And the next thing that will happen, several undeserved bloggers awards?! Mwah ha ha ha ha

Er…probably not.

Alot more Blogcks me thinks.

Shalom

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Riiiiiiiiiigght!

For the last few days i’ve been in a completely bamboozled state of being. Interesting how we can make so many plans for our lives and meanwhile, Abba is up there shaking His Glorious head in bemusement. The All knowing God has majorly different plans for our lives but we’re not too bothered about that, now are we?

We think we can control everything. We’re not even interested in His plan for our lives. Oh sure, we all make a good show of it with each other, “oh i wish I knew Gods will for my life”. Lets be honest here…No your don’t! Cause we’re selfish and self driven and His will usually means self sacrifice and giving, not receiving and being pampered. We want what we want not what He wants us to have.

Anyways, I wanted so many different things for my life and I had this pretty good idea of how to get them, when to get them. To say that this year has proven me soooooooo wrong is the understatement of my 29 years. The Great Master has pulled move after move to show me that I am so incapable of being Him.

You see, I have a very analytical mind. I turn things over and over in my head. My wife calls it mental O.D. I need to figure everything out, see how all the pieces will fit together, all the possible outcomes, all the angles. This makes it very difficult for me to be still and let God handle the heavy lifting.

Don’t get me wrong. God is good; In fact He is super awesome. But you have to agree with me that His way of doing things not to mention His timing are usually quite…well…ridiculous, totally unexpected and most definately not the way we’d do it. Examples. Telling a 90year old geezer that he’s going to have a son. A starving widow to give up her sons last meal to feed a fugitive prophet, telling a coward to lead an army of only 300 men to defeat nations of hundreds of thousands, making a skinny little mulaalo the greatest king of Isreal and the most mindboggling and prepostrous of all examples, saving the world by shedding His Glory & splendour and becoming one of HIs creations, one of us, a Man.

Whats my point. My point is that this year has to have been the most curve ball, exciting, freaky, not exactly-according-to-plan time of my life. So much has happened to me that I honestly can’t say I’m ready to handle. I’m just no where near the man who I need to be to be handle all this stuff. Right now The Master has called me to something thats so ridiculously amazing and yet equally daunting & terrifying. I’m swinging between moments of Praise and Depression. Who needs drugs when you have life?

But this keeps me going:

2 Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” and Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Isn’t He great. He speaks to me even now as I write this. What a Glorious and Wonderful Master. He knows i need encouragement, He knows i’m scared and full of doubts and He doesn’t condemn or judge. He speaks with authority, love and firmness. He reminds me that He will never leave me nor forsake me. Though the rivers threaten to overflow, though the fires burn hotter, i shall not drown, I shall not even have a whiff of smoke on me. He Himself will lift me with His victorious right arm. And what do i need to do?

Be still and know that He is God, not me.

Shalom

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Uganda.Ungifted by nature

I’m quite concerned right now.I have heard from a friend who lives in Entebbe that everyday now, there has been road work in preparation for the Tripartite conference to be attended by 26 african heads of state. By road work, i mean they are washing the road. Literally. Over 30kms of it too.

Now, i don’t know about the rest of you, but the image of guys on the road with brushes, blue bar soap and jerrycan’s of water is extremely depressing. Does anybody else think that this is a terrible sign of the multitude of underlying problems that are slowly but surely eroding this country away. Washing the road????

Back in the day, the rogueking and I learnt a truism that kept us sane. “Never under estimate the ingenuity of idiots” How else on earth can we justify scores of men and women, getting up everyday, earning a living by going to wash a road because some presidents are coming and we can’t afford to look bad and all because another idiot decided to embezzle the funds that were meant for building a proper highway with good drainage?!

As you can tell, i’m extremely frustrated. No, I’m disgusted and outraged. This is just one of the many symptoms you can observe in this country. And scarily, every one of us seems to be quite comfortable continuing with the status quo, deluding ourselves as we drive around in our ancient second-hand japanese cars, yapping away on our expensive trendy cellphones and living the good urban life. People, this country is sinking under our feet! Our economy is mostly held together by the thin threads of airtime, bank loans, Beer and donor funding.

In ancient times, inorder to distract the people from the truth about the state of their poverty and disease, the Roman emperors would put on spectacular shows in the Great Colosseum; you know gladiators, christians being killed in spectacular fashion by lions or something, you’ve seen the movies. This is what the powers that be are doing here. Hosting CHOGM and the queen, 26 presidents, encouraging the proliferation of booze, tabloids and pastors attacking another pastor on sodomy, MP’s being propositioned with prostitutes while they’re supposed to be on a secret investigation retreat, foiled bank robberies which were supposed to be aggravated assault yet no guns were reported anywhere near the bank…I wonder what next?

I’m not a political activist or a doom preacher, but people, we need to wake up and smell the sewage. The wool is being pulled over our eyes as our society, economy and morality goes to hell on an express train. What can we do about this? Well I’m not really sure. But for starters, lets all stop deluding ourselves that Ug is the most developed country in Africa, that we have everything we need and are right on track. Trust me, we are not. Just looking at Rwanda next door; they had a genocide just over 10years ago but have bounced back and surpassed us in nearly everyway.

But, we do all have great power in our individual circles of influence. When there is something you can do-as the nike mantra goes-just do it. Many small actions repeated multiple times can cause the mightiest change.

Somethings gotta be done or else, we truely will be Ungifted by Nature. In more ways than one.

I’m out.

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Dishonesty…the best policy?

My wife is not all happy with me. Every married man knows, that thats not a good place to be. What’s the reason you ask? Dishonesty. Yes, you heard right, DISHONESTY. Ironically, not my dishonesty but another mans! Ok I guess this is begging to sound like “Secreto de Amor” – for those who don’t watch Ugandan television, that’s a terrible south american telenovela.

The man in question, is a carpenter.

A little background. Two and half months ago, I commissioned the said carpenter to make my then fiance’s and my dream bed. He said it would take 3weeks. I liked his work, his smooth professional demeanor and nice office setup. Without hesitation, I gave him 50% down payment. The deal was set.

3weeks later, and 2weeks to my wedding, no bed. I’m not worried. The worst he could take is another few days, just on time to have it delivered so my new wife can find it after the wedding. Yeah right! Up until the wedding day i was calling him. He continued to speak smoothly and assure me how the polish needs time to dry properly and so it would be ready for delivery Saturday, the day after my wedding! Did I mention i had given him the balance of 50% just so i wouldn’t use the money on wedding stuff?  

Frustrated and besides being stressed out enough by the wedding itself, i let it be. I had my wedding and went for my honeymoon. I return at the end of the second month of his workmanship. Guess what, it’s still not ready! I don’t believe he’d done anything at all! When I asked to see my bed, he assured me how he doesn’t work like that and he will present me with a finished product. Somehow, I wasn’t convinced but yet the nice guy in me who believes people are generally honest, let him be. He gave another week deadline. Besides, the thought of abandoning the whole thing after all this time didn’t seem like a plan. It’s the third week now and all i have are pretty slick receipts.

After this all my wife decided to take over and follow up. I gave her all the info. She called the dude. She was warmly recieved with a healthy dose of arrogance, standoffishness and more dishonesty. She lost her marbles. She doesn’t want the bed anymore. *sigh*

Whats the moral of this story?

Is dishonesty the best policy in Uganda now? Why is it so easy for people to NOT keep their word and deliver a product? To lie with such finesse? Getting a product made or a service done in this country seems to be impossible without dealing with dishonest men, women and yes, even children. Carpenters, mechanics, employers, MP’s, Ministers, Pastors. Everyone is aware of the Temangalo/ NSSF saga. More dishonesty. Whether its 1000shs or 10billion, everywhere you turn lately you can’t escape this.

I am extremely concerned at this alarming trend. Greed and impatience seem to be the jet fuel that propels this unsavory character trait. Everyone is trying to make a quick buck with the least amount of time & effort and the easiest way to do this seems to be dishonesty. The average business person seems to have no regard for their reputation any more. Just fleecing their customers at every opportunity. Disgusting.

Can someone tell me, how are we-atleast those of us who pursue progress and integrity-supposed to get anything done when surrounded by a system of dishonesty? How do i get a simple bed without my wife feeling like we’re navigating the intricate lies, intrigue and reveals of a cheesy south american soap opera? 

I need to develop and sleep in peace.

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Am I a “Real” Man?

This is the question that has plagued me for a while now. What is a real man anyway? How do you spot one? Where can I find one to be a mentor? Questions, questions and more questions!

A couple of years back, I hit the age of 25 and had what I call, a Quater-Century crisis. I was going nuts because I couldn’t define who I was and what I was doing on God’s green earth. My dad had recently passed away and I was distraught because I realized I didn’t know the man. I didn’t know what he thought of me, or what he thought of himself. A son needs his father to tell him who he is or atleast who he can be.

I realised that for one thing, a Real Man doesn’t leave their children asking such questions. A real man is not defined by the size of his pecs or his bank account. Nor by the number of women he’s bedded or the size of his spinning rims. A real man isn’t even defined by conquering industry and becoming a billionaire or conquering a country and becoming a life president. 

So what is a real man? I started asking lots of questions and reading lots of books. It’s been a long journey of learning and revelation but I can finally say I think i’m beginning to understand what a real man is. Or atleast I can show you who one is…

I bet your all waiting with baited breathe eh? Well in a nutshell, a real man is Christ. He’s the perfect embodiment of what a man should be. He espouses the qualities of love, character, integrity, vision, purpose, strength, courage, leadership, justice, right attitude, teacher, spirituality, wisdom, knowledge, compassion, discipline and more that define a real man. 

A real man is a man who changes his world for better, whether the world be his home or his workplace or actually the world. A real man makes things move forward. A real man never leaves things (or people) the way he found them but leaves them better. A real man is the foundation of the family. Real men don’t fail their wives and children. Real men don’t cut corners or run from responsibility. Real men respect everyone and are respectable. Real me live by principal and not popular opinion. Real men stand and fight for whats right, even if it costs them their life. Real men are strong but never use that strength to abuse or bully but to protect and nurture. Real men, as the bumper sticker says, love Jesus. Bishop T.D Jakes suggests that if you were to fix all the men in the world, you’ll have fixed 90% of the world’s problems.

To me, that suggests that it’s extremely important for men to discover their power and purpose. Our world is in desperate need for real men of standard. I just finished reading an amazing book given to me by the lovely Mrs. Apprentice. It’s called Understanding the Power & Purpose of Men by Myles Monroe. Every man should..no…MUST read this book. It isn’t optional. You will be transformed by it. You will gain such a unique understanding of the mighty responsibility and power that is our reason for being created. We are basically designed to have dominion over all the works of creation. Being a man is not a joke or some ambigious priveledge. In the words of Spiderman’s Uncle Ben, “with great power comes great responsibility” 

Too many of us struggle with our identity and purpose, with the world and circumstances we live in. Gents, until you learn and embrace the path of a real man, God’s kinda man, you will never have a true sense of worth and fulfillment nor leave a legacy of true worth.

And we all know, we men love to be remembered.

I want people to describe me in that almost Godfather Mafioso manner, “Now that there, is a real man, real cojones!” but more so, i want to hear the words from The Master Himself, “Well done good and faithful servant. This is my son, in whom I am well pleased. Come and enter into my joy”   

So what kinda of man will the world remember you as? 

Shalom

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In true spirit of pursuing excellence and growth, i thought i’d share this little something from Chris Widener a motivational and personal development speaker.I’d encourage you to sign up for his weekly ezine. I hope this engages the warp drive in all of you to grow way beyond the life your living now.

Some time ago, I spoke to a group of salespeople in Kansas City as they kicked off their new team. It was exciting to see them get excited about making a difference through their work.

The topic they assigned me was “Simply the Best.” So as I prepared, I asked myself, “What characteristics would help someone pass the “Best” test? That is, what are the characteristics of those who become the “best” at what they do? Here are the thoughts I shared with them:

The Best are Optimists. You can’t get to the top if you don’t think that there is a top or if you think you can’t make it. One characteristic of those who reach the peak is that they always believe that things can get better or be done better. This pushes them on to be their best.

The Best have Vision. They can see ahead of the pack. Their eyes aren’t locked into the here and now. They see the bright future and what things will look like when they reach their destiny. While working hard for today, they live for the future! They do what Stephen Covey calls begin with the end in mind.

The Best Relentlessly Pursue Excellence. The status quo is not for them. They want to be the best and experience the best. And that means giving their best. They go the extra mile so that in everything they do, in everything they say and think, they are striving for excellence.

The Best have a Life Long Habit of Personal Growth. They don’t want to stay at the level they are at. They want to grow in their work, their intellect, their spirituality, their relationships, and in every area of their life. And they discipline themselves to put themselves in situations wherein they grow. Personal growth doesn’t “just happen.” You choose to grow. I always suggest what Zig Ziglar does and that is to enroll in “Automobile University.” Whenever you are driving around, listen to a personal or professional growth tape or CD. Over the long run you will grow. Also, read more. The old saying is true: Leaders are readers. So are those who pass the “Best” test.

The Best Understand that They will be Pushed by the Competition – and They Welcome It. Like the lead runner in the race who has someone on his heels, the best know that the competition is right behind them. They love it though because they know that the competition keeps them from becoming lazy and resting on their laurels. Instead, the competition pushes them to go faster and to achieve more – to remain the best by forging ahead.

The Best have a Quest for Leadership. Someone has to lead – it may as well be the best! Those who attain it get there because they want to. They want to lead and help make a difference. And they want to be equipped with the skills necessary to lead others on to a better place.

The Best Leave a Legacy. They aren’t in it just for themselves, though they will surely reap the rewards of being the best. Rather, the build things that last beyond themselves, things that can be enjoyed by others as well.

The Best are Adept at the Two Most Important Pieces of Time and Personal Management: Prioritize and Execute. Just like weight loss boils down to eat right and exercise, personal management boils down to prioritize and execute. First, prioritize your activities. The important stuff goes on the top. Then, execute: do them. The best have habits and discipline that get them to the top by doing the best things and doing them first.

The Best Focus on Building Relationships. Success does not come alone. Everyone who achieves much does it with the help of countless others. How do the Best get others to help them? They treat them right. They embrace them and help them. People become the best because they help other people, and people like them.

The Best Make no Excuses. When they fail they admit it and move on. They get back up and do it right the next time. They let their actions speak loader than their words. They stand tall and do the right thing the next time. No excuses, just results.

The Best Understand that the Good is the Enemy of the Best. Yes, they could say, “this is good.” But that would mean they have settled for less than the best. Many people think that good is good. Good is not good. Good is the enemy because it keeps us from the best. Choose your side: the good or the best. The Best choose, you guessed it, the Best.

The Best Dare to Dream. While others live the mundane and settle into a life they never bargained for, a rut, the Best dream of a better life. And then they take the risks necessary to achieve their dreams. They live by Teddy Roosevelt’s quote: Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs though checkered by failure, then to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the grey twilit that knows neither victory nor defeat.

Want to be the best at what you do?  Take inventory on the above characteristics and then start moving to bring your life in line with the characteristics of the “best.” Then when you get to the top you will know that you have passed the “Best” test.

You are Made for Success!
Chris Widener

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I’m sitting at my desk totally flabergasted and stunned at the blessings The Master puts in our lives, usually innocously diguised in the unlikely package of a young friend. I have a friend, my dearest and best friend after my wife, an amazing young man who goes by the alias the rogueking. I’ve known him for close to 8years now.

We met unceremoniously at the very first internet cafe in Kampala years back when being a geek wasn’t as cool or profitable as it is is today. We were in a sense digital outcasts, but we didn’t care. We had passion, vision and loads of naivete. We became fast friends very quickly due to our shared interests in quantum physics, robotics, space/time, videogames, lord of the rings, the dark knight, ironman, superman,  xmen and ofcourse, The Great One…Oh did i mention we really loved all things form & function related to computers? Yeah as you can tell we were and still are, thoroughbred geeks 🙂

He immediately took me up as his older brother and I saw the brotherly relationship i’d never had with my own brothers. We began to dream and soon, an urban legend was born. The first of its kind production house. Well truth be told all we had were two CD-RW’s which we later upgraded to Lexmark Jumpdrive Flash disks -128MB we were kings! The company had it’s great highs and some very deep lows. It sadly doesn’t exist anymore. I failed in some of my responsibilities and the firm collapsed. It took me a while to get over those mistakes but he never condemned me, never bad mouthed me or blamed me. I can’t tell you how much that meant to me. It was the love of the Master manifest.

Anyways, time came for me to get married recently and I needed a bestman. A bestman isn’t just someone who matches your height or looks good in pictures. He’s supposed to be someone who u can totally confide in, rely on, pray with, seek counsel and generally someone who will lift you up as a man. Even among my married friends, I couldn’t think of anyone better than this totally unmarried and maritally inexperienced man. His wisdom and knowledge and faith are way beyond his meager years. I absolutely had to have him by my side.

I just read some powerful writing he had done on one of his blogs, The Darkness I can honestly say i’m lost for words. Even after all these years of intimate friendship, ridiculously long hours working together, I thought i’d seen the complete genius of my friend but I find i’m still pleasantly surprised by him. Dude you rock. But i also see clearly the kind of person I have been blessed to know, despite all the darkness in his past, he’s still matured into a true light in the earth. He inspires me and humbles me at the same time. The size of his dreams, goals and endeavors is mind boggling. He dabbles in writing, art, technology, food connosiuer, decor, spirituality…He is a true Da Vinci, Rennaissance man.

So whats the point to this ode? Well, my point is that Iron sharpens Iron. The greatness that I have in my life is a direct result of having amazing great people like the Rogueking in my life. We all need to have friends who lift us up, who are of such refined and yet raw intrinsic worth, people to whose lives we can contribute the best of ourselves such that they bloom into the greatness that The Master created them for. In doing so for them, we are also richly fed and transformed. I believe we all need to work harder at not only finding such friends to surround ourselves with but more importantly to ensure that we are the type of friends that can sharpen others and be sought out. 

The other point is really just to edify my friend and let him know that I think the world of him and i’m forever blessed because you call me “Bro”

Forth Eorlingas, to a Red Dawn.

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