How Do You Know You Are Ready to Have a Baby?

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So how do I know I am probably ready to have a baby? Because recently a lot of signs are pointing that way.

 

GIF og Baby disturbing his mom. How Do I Know I Am Ready to Have a Baby?

 

In the last month, two friends disclosed that they are expecting, and my eyes welled up with tears. Profuse congratulations followed. Babies are always born in God’s perfect timing, even when they were not planned for by their parents. I concluded that you will know you are ready to have a baby when you cry when your friends tell you they are pregnant.

When you catch yourself ‘stalking’ babies everywhere; in the grocery store, at church, at parks, you are probably ready to have your own. The height of my baby fever was in 2014. But I was in college then and starting a family was the last thing on my mind. Recently, however, I can’t help but stare at the beautiful doe-eyed young ones that I come across. I also jump at any and all babysitting opportunities. My nephews are the best to play and cuddle with.

 

Cat stalking baby. How Do I Know I Am Ready to Have a Baby?

 

Once you are satisfied with your career, you are probably ready to have a kid. You know that time of uncertainty between graduation and your dream or satisfactory job? It can be frustrating to add a baby to the mix while trying to figure out what you want to do with your life. It becomes easier to move on to other checklists when you figure things out.

Not so fast though, babies are not all cuteness and cuddles. They also come with poop, diaper rashes, disease, expenses and sleepless nights. Here is to hoping God gives us the grace and strength He gave our mothers to raise us.

 

GIF of a worn out mom rocking baby day and night. How Do I Know I Am Ready to Have a Baby?

A happy belated momma’s day to all our lovely “mamis, mummies, moms, mums, madres, mothers, mamas”.

All GIFs courtesy of Giphy.

Lititz Pennsylvania

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I visited my friend in Lititz- a quaint town in Lancaster county Pennsylvania that was voted the coolest small town in America in 2013. There were a few things that caught my eye as I went around.

Board reads "Lititz founded 1756"

Lititz boasts of one the oldest girls’ boarding school in America, Linden Hall. The Moravians founded the school in the 18th century because they believed that women deserved an education. I attended a women’s boarding high school, so I loved learning about Linden. My friend shared that Linden is now  a preppy school, and has some of the richest students from the far East. Apparently they pay for goods in the stores with $100 bills.

Linden Hall, Lititz

There is a rock in the springs park down town  that reads “Gottes Brunnlein hat wasser die ful” , German for “God’s fountain has overflowing water.” Lititz’s German founders erected the rocks  around spring. It forms a river that has crystal clear waters. There were countless high school students having photo shoots there before their prom. The parents were furiously taking pictures of their teenagers, probably to post on Facebook later. The girls looked beautiful in their gowns, and the boys looked great in their suits and ties.

Kerubo at the Lititz Springs Park

The stores in Lititz are incredibly artsy. From the Candy*ology to Back Home Again to Tomato Pie, they are well-laid out and full of unique merchandise. The vendors wrap your purchases in gift bags for free if you request. Art ranges from folk to modern. We enjoyed a cool Passion iced tea from Tomato Pie Cafe.

The town smells like dung when you first drive in. Possibly due to the big Amish community that farms. The commercials on the radio were advertising gun shows and gun stores. Quite different from the Jersey radio stations. I noticed some young Mennonite women having lunch at the park. They don’t mind their pictures being taken, unlike their Amish counterparts.

Picture of mennonite young women at the springs park Lititz

I learned that Lancaster is pronounced “Lang kiss stur”. Some of the buildings in Lancaster are still surviving from the 18th and 19th centuries. As you may know, the Amish community is proudly self sufficient and does not adopt to modernity such as electricity and vehicles. I got a novel from my friend ” The Seekers: Amish Cooking Class” that I can’t wait to delve into. It’s been a while since I read a romantic novel with a mystery.

 

 

 

Taking Stock: Dadas Lounge April YouTube Videos

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Hey friends,

I have had an exhilarating month. If you have been on this blog, you know that I have a daily writing challenge this month. I am sick with a cold and sore throat and the last thing I want to do is to write. But I have to beat resistance.

On the days I did not write I made videos for the YouTube channel I run.

My friend Angela Okhupe and I made a video on 4/3/2017,  sharing what we wish we knew before coming to the U.S. This was a fun video to make and has the most views on our channel.

4/5/2017: Angela Okhupe was featured again. In this conversation, we shared how to maintain mental wellbeing in new environments.

On 4/11/2017, I had the pleasure of hosting Ali Merante. She shared how losing her father and marriage helped her realize her true calling; nursing. She is slowly but surely going after her dreams.

Dadas Lounge is a space where young African women with international experiences hangout. Our careers are important to us, so we try to keep up with the constant immigration changes. My best friend from UPenn, Grace Waweru shared how the new administration is changing H-1B visa rules on 04/14/2017. Grace is a paralegal and specializes in processing H-1B visas.

On 4/21/2017, I put up a video featuring Ronique Forgie. She had written a blog post on how she was done with comparing herself to others on social media. I had also gone through the comparison journey. We made an amazing video sharing our struggle and how we relate to social media now.

The hardest video I’ve had to edit so far was this makeup tutorial. I have a new found respect for women that make tutorial videos. My friend Ibukunoluwa Oni is a makeup and hair artist. She is the founder of Omoge, a beauty consulting venture. She and I had a wonderful time playing with makeup. Thank you Ibk.

Finally, Dadas Lounge had its debut vlog.  I opened up about being overprotective with my siblings. I am constantly hovering over them, and I realized I needed to change that bad habit.

One more video and I will have met my goals for the month. Today, I was editing a video I made with Asia Luna on the contributions of recent immigrants to the U.S. economy but I lacked the energy to finish. Asia and I went to high school together and she is currently a student at Binghamton University. She is also from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Stay tuned for the video, and please leave a comment on how I could improve the channel.

 

 

 

 

Thoughts From The First Week Of Work

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All that matters is hard work. I am constantly checking myself to ensure that I am being efficient. Thanks to my Praxis advisors I have learned of efficiency tools like the Podomoro technique, a system where you work for 20-25 minutes, take a 5-minute break and start again. After 4 sessions, you take a longer break. This technique has been great when I am working from home. I work for twenty minutes and use the five-minute breaks to make the bed, do the dishes, or use the bathroom. With a full-time job, a boot camp and a YouTube channel, every minute counts. Work, so far, has been showing up and getting my hands dirty.

Marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an exciting field. I had not considered a career in marketing until two months ago. While SEO is a powerful tool, the work that goes on behind the scenes is not sexy. It has been hard work since the first day. One of my deliverables last week was to analyze our backlink strategy. I must have gone through at least three hundred backlinks. But I enjoy all of it, and I am learning so much. This past weekend, I geeked out with a friend over marketing, lead generation, and SEO. I have known him for two years but it wasn’t until recently that I understood what he does.

There are amazing influencers in the marketing and optimization world. These individuals provide incredible content for free. Moz, Hubspot, and SERoundtable have quickly become my best friends. So has Barry Schwartz of Rusty Brick. They offer daily insights on growing as a marketer. I am also following, Leisa Miller, a budding marketer. Leisa, I am still waiting for your first newsletter.

Great co-workers make work feel like play. Today they told me, yet again, to stop dressing so formal.

I am grateful for this journey and excited to go to work tomorrow.

Salsa Night

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couples dancing salsa

 

I have a love affair with the Latin culture. My favorite Netflix show is, Celia. The show tells the life story of the Cuban exile singer, Celia Cruz. I love the food, and I absolutely love the dancing. I joke that if I were not born in Africa, I would have loved to be born in Latin America.

This weekend was epic. My husband and I came to visit family in Syracuse for my nephew’s third birthday. I also got to meet up with one of my best friends from Kenya, and her mentee.

Last night my two friends and I went dancing at La Familia de La Salsa. Between eight o’clock and nine o’clock past midnight, the studio offers a salsa lesson. At ten o’clock the studio turns into a dance floor for amateurs and professionals alike.

Dancing is such a joyful venture. I am particularly enamored with Latin dance genres such as Salsa and Bachata. Last night I had a great time hanging out with like-minded people with a love for dance.

In college, I tried out for Latin dance and swing dance groups. There is something about these two dance types, and dance in general, that draw me to them. Have you ever seen a younger sibling working overtime to keep up with their older brother or sister? I have a seven month old nephew and you can see how eager he is to run after his three year old brother. When I see excellent dancers in these two dance forms, I am the younger sibling dying to keep up.

I had the honor of dancing with one of the tutors at the studio. What a great dance that was. His grace, and precision in preparing me for the next dance move made me bold in my dancing. When I was not dancing, I enjoyed people watching. The best dancers in the room were such a joy to watch. Their grace reminded me of the tranquility of a flowing river.

Watching the men and women dance showcased God’s perfect plan. There is so much beauty to the man leading and the woman following. A good female dancer will follow the man’s lead gracefully. The man may take risks but ultimately provides strength, and guidance to the lady he leads in dance.

Find Your Voice And Cut It In Half!

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Dale Carnegie's How To Win Friends and Influence People

 

I am embracing brevity in writing. In month two of Praxis, we write every single day. On the days I do not write, I edit and upload a video to the Youtube channel Dadas Lounge.

For this exercise, I am rewriting this book review.

When I heard of How to Win Friends & Influence People, I dismissed it as a manual on how to manipulate people.  I thought only self-interested individuals would care for such knowledge. After reading this book I have resolved that everybody should read it. 

This book reminds us of simple truths that we all know, but fail to practice. Carnegie emphasizes the need to live out these truths. I felt much better about myself in the few instances that I applied these principles.

Just the introduction had me on the edge of my seat. Carnegie emphasizes the power of treating others as we would have them treat us. He says that understanding how others think is the key to getting to them. 

Biggest Takeaway From Part 1

All humans crave sincere appreciation. When we are complimented, we become approachable. When we are criticized, we become defensive. The way we react to situations is similar to how others would react to them. The author challenges us to give honest and sincere appreciation every chance we get.

In dealing with people, Carnegie recommends “using the right bait to hook a fish”. Every body has interests that matter to them. If we speak to those interests, then that individual becomes amenable to listening to our interests. By starting from another’s interest (right bait), you are able to hook them.  

So how do you find out what the best bait is for your target audience? By genuinely listening to them. More-so, do research on them. Find blogs and articles they have written. Spend a few minutes on their social media platforms. You will quickly get a glimpse of what matters to them.

Biggest Takeaway From Part 2

Always remember people’s names. According to Carnegie, a person’s name is “the sweetest and important sound in any language[to them].” Replace the phrase “I am so bad with names!” with a mechanism to remember names.

Carnegie also encourages us to emulate dogs. Have you noticed how excited they get every time their owner returns? Have the joy of  dog. Be thrilled for people. Have a genuine interest in people. Spend time with them, learn their language, know where they come from.

 

Biggest Takeaway From Part 3

Carnegie argues that the best way to win an argument is to avoid it. In arguments our first instinct is to fight back. This chapter urges us to act in a manner counter to this. First, he recommends that we find areas of agreement.  Next he suggests that we see promise to read up on our opponent’s stance and ask them to do the same. This shows mutual respect and minimizes arguments. 

 

 

Biggest Takeaway From Part 4

Leaders should suggest ways to improve things, rather than give orders.  Recently, a friend confided that her boss had berated her over the quality of her work. Meanwhile, she had sent updates to her boss for two weeks. Not once did her boss suggest she edit anything. According to Carnegie, a leader should begin with praise where it is due and then suggest improvements.

Anybody who want to sell ideas, or products needs to read this book.

The War of Art

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in Book Reviews

In the War of Art Steven Pressfied encourages creators to fight what he calls Resistance. At only 165 pages, this book was an easy read. The chapters were followed by a page’s worth, sometimes a paragraph’s worth, of text. I truly should borrow a leaf from Pressfield. The point isn’t how many words one writes,  but rather how well a point can be communicated in as few words as possible.

 

Pressfield defines resistance as the obstacles creators have to overcome to achieve anything. It is  a force within us that prevents us from sitting down to write, create music, paint, or whatever other creative or artistic pursuits we may have. In his words, resistance becomes evident when we partake in

..any act that rejects immediate gratification in favor of long-term growth, health or integrity. …any act that derives from our higher nature instead of our lower. Any of these will elicit Resistance.

 

Steven argues that siting down every day and creating, whether or not we feel inspired is the only way to overcome resistance. He notes that resistance is greatest when we want to move from a lower level to a higher one. “It hits the panic button right when we are about to cross the finish line.”

 

Pressfield outlines some of the greatest ways Resistance manifests itself. Procrastination ranks first for obvious reasons. But he also mentions things like sex, self-medication, causing trouble, drama, criticism, self-doubt, among others.   He suggests that resistance can be evident in whom we marry. Supposedly, we marry individuals who have overcome resistance because we view them as role models and want to emulate them. All these things either offer us instant gratification, or act as a way to excuse our failure to live to our full potential.

 

My favorite quote from the book is

When we conceive an enterprise and commit to it in the face of our fears, something wonderful happens. A crack appears in the membrane. Like the first craze when a chick pecks at the inside of its shell. Angel midwives congregate around us; they assist as we give birth to ourselves, to that person we were born to be, to the one whose destiny was encoded in our soul, our daimon, our genius.

 

Essentially, overcoming resistance means getting up every single day and facing our fears. If an aspect of our lives does not scare us, then we are definitely not growing. My second favorite quote is

If you were meant to cure cancer or write a symphony or crack cold fusion and you don’t do it, you not only hurt yourself, even destroy yourself. You hurt your children… You hurt the planet. You shame the angels who watch over you and spite the Almighty, who created you and only you with your unique gifts, for the sole purpose of nudging the human race one millimeter farther along its path back to God

 

This book is  a must-read. Writers may argue that they are undergoing a “writers block”, artists may claim they lack “inspiration”. In the end all that matters is consistency. However little our productivity. For him that means sitting down at his desk every single day and writing. We overcome resistance by doing.

 

The difference between an amateur and a professional in Pressfield’s opinion is that a professional knows that inspiration will not always be there. While the amateur awaits motivation, the professional chooses to work everyday. Sometimes in the process of mundane hard work, he/she is able to draw inspiration. The amateur on the other hand solely depends on inspiration. The rest of the time, he succumbs to resistance

 

Resistance fun fact from the book

Did you know that Hitler wanted to be an artist? Apparently, he moved to Vienna at eighteen and wanted to study fine arts and architecture. But because resistance got the best part of him, we never got to see a painting by him. Instead, we got a bloody war.

 

Resistance is the enemy. Start whatever you have always wanted to do now. Don’t wait till you are on your deathbed.

 

Today I Learned To Communicate In Marriage

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Today I learned to be a better communicator in marriage. When two opinionated people get married, stepping back is not always easy. I reminded myself what is more important, a welcoming home or winning a stupid fight.

Inevitably such conversations come with some crying but some agreeing. As this is a private matter, I cannot disclose too much.

However, it is important to swallow our pride sometimes and come to an amicable agreement. So give and take.

As a part of the Praxis thirty day writing challenge,  I have to write every single day of the 2nd month of the boot camp. I had hoped to post a video up today but that is only half done.

Despite everything, I could not let resistance win. I had to write something, however small.

So goodnight and good luck to those of us in marriage.

 

How To Find Meaningful Work

Posted on Posted in Marketing

 

image of 4 young african women (Kerubo Wall, Misco Mungai, Kate Kiama, Joy Zawadi)

 

Up until this January, I was obsessed with finding out exactly what career path I should pursue next. I had left a job in supply chain and logistics and wanted the next career move to be perfect. Day in day out, I made it a goal to beat myself up over THE CAREER I  was meant to have. During my interview process with Praxis, T.K. Coleman recommended that I read How To Find Fulfilling Work by Roman Krznaric. I will write a book review another time.

The author encourages his reader to write 5 different careers they would be if they lived in 5 different universes. He also asks his reader to consider whether their motivation is; money,  passion, etc.

Beyond reading this book, I prayed a lot. I prayed that God would show me what He created me for. In the end, I was able to find the start of a fulfilling career through a hobby.

After we started making YouTube videos for Dadas Lounge, I found myself digging deeper into how to define a target audience. The more articles and videos I read and watched, the more I learned about targeted marketing. Eventually, this led to a strong desire to understand search engine optimization. While I had heard of SEO before, I had never considered it as a career option. Today (barely three months down the line), I started a full-time job as a marketing coordinator. I spent my day analyzing backlinks to see the SEO value they create for the company.

I know I am passionate about this field because I started working in it even before anybody offered to pay me for it. At the recommendation of Chuck Grimmett, I read Moz’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO.  In addition, I ‘bumped’ into individuals like Barry Schwartz; an SEO expert.  Even Google executives reply to his tweets. His website provides valuable insights for anybody interested in keeping up with Google’s search engine optimization changes.

In my case, I took a risk and applied for Praxis. A program I initially feared was a scam. This is the best career decision I have made yet. Second, I found a way to change the world in my own way. Through conversation. Dadas Lounge directly led me into the world of marketing.

In sum, finding one’s path probably doesn’t have a set of rules. Instead of ignoring what makes us come alive, let us see what aspects of our hobbies could evolve into a career.

 

 

Update: Kerubo 4 Digital Advertising

Posted on Posted in Marketing

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article inspired by nina4airbnb.com. I spoke about a job in digital advertising that I wanted but was scared I would not get due to my limited experience in marketing. During the phone interview, I was informed that the company was no longer looking for an intern, but for a full-time marketing coordinator. The good news is that they still wanted to consider me. After the call, I sent this follow-up email. This version is edited.

 

Subject: The value I would offer your company on my first month

Dear x,

I would like to reiterate my genuine pleasure in speaking with you yesterday. Moreover, I believe that both you and I could benefit from onboarding me as a part of your team.
 For starters, I would help [X Digital Advertising company] rebuild and restructure your website to include testimonials from past clients. I would also start a blog section. I built this personal website and this pet project website in a month. Given the chance, I would do the same for Digital Advertising.
 Second, I have a good camera and would love to make video introductions of the some of the team members. Whenever I search a company or tutorial nowadays, I always click on the videos section on Google. In many cases, video is a better way to communicate than text.
 The reason I did not go ahead and build another website, was for SEO purposes. Had I built another website, the duplicate content would lower the rank search results for your site.  I have read up on SEO through Moz’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization and I am applying the recommendations to my own websites. I want to continue gaining practical experience with your company.
 As a Praxis apprentice, I have access to a talent pool of over 150 other participants and 8 advisors who have experience from coding, and web development to leading sales and SEO. If I need any help whatsoever, I know I can count on them to help me figure it out.
 With me, you get an avid learner, a teachable individual, and an initiative taker. I hope your team gives me the chance to help you to better serve your clients.
 Thank you
I am not sure whether this email had a part to play in my getting an in-person interview. I have to believe that it did. In my past interviews and follow-ups, I never contemplated a “forward tilt” mentality. Instead, I would bring a copy of my resume like everybody else, and send a standard thank you email afterward. Ever since breaking the mold,  I have learned that employers care less for my credentials. What they truly care about is that I bring value to the table. In my in-person interview, I showed the CEO and his three co-workers that I had what it took.
I have not had a job interview like this before. In fact, without being paid I was already working in marketing and search engine optimization. In college, I applied for jobs in banking, in insurance, in consulting etc. I did not know nearly enough about these industries. At interviews, it showed. I was not passionate enough about them. Some argue that passion is overrated. However, one has to have enough interest to think of ways to add value to a company. In addition, I did not learn about value creation in college. I learned how to craft a cover letter and resume.
The great news is, I got the job. I had a great time interviewing with the team. Now comes the hard part. To create the value and do so consistently.
Wish me luck!