Informations Systems Consultant

2015 in review


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 990 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 17 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Winning is not everything if the basics and the core that is our inner thinking and belief structure is a mess. We have those who have lazy wins – where the other party did not prepare well and as such they did not put up a formidable fight. But those that have smart & consistent wins are a delight to watch even in their worst defeat. I like what my Arts teacher at Kakamega High School Mrs. Mushira used to say “It is more blessed to get a clean B than a corrupt A or a lazy E – when God knows you have put in your best and it is whatever grade then he is glorified in it and blessings abound” This qualifies the bible verse that says ” Little is much when the Lord is in it” Reuben Odanga the gifted film maker likes to quip this one.

We have countless examples of God using little with Bible Characters of old for his Glory. Remember David the small shepherd boy with a sling and five stones? Then there is the boy at Jesus’ meeting that had five loaves and two fish. I am reminded of Abraham and his small acts of obedience. Do you recall Moses the stammerer and his shepherd’s stick? I pray that anyone reading this will be challenged to use what they have however small with total abandon and all the skill they have in faith. It may look small, it may even be termed mediocre like they taunted David saying he was bringing dog fight tools to a war of mighty men. But when small combines with faith a winning combination is revealed. It is also true that others may mock your efforts and say small things yield small results which is a principle held by many; that should embolden your resolve to put up a brave fight.

Another bible example is of the four leprous men who had been left behind when their city was attacked. It was tradition and religion prohibited communing with leapers let alone tending for them. The disease was not only highly contagious but fatal. In 2 Kings 6 & 7 the story of faith amplifies the struggling steps of the four leprous men to a mighty sound like that of a huge army. In faith the leapers said to themselves paraphrased as: “If we stay here we die of hunger, so we better go into the city of Samaria and die on our feet trying to get something to eat and drink than die a coward’s life”. This mighty sound scared a Syrian Army that had won many battles (maybe lazy wins or otherwise since their core beliefs were thwarted by only sound without sight or they could have been winning by scaring tactics which now turned to them). In my village one stout boy at the Maturu stream we here we had gone to bathe challenged me to a fight. Now for a brownie – town boy opponent at that he knew he would emerge victorious. He looked tough and very muscular. He was the “first-body” of the area. Thank God a vehicle sounded from a far and I took the opportunity to shout “Lori ya mkate”. The second he changed stance to look at the road, I quickly threw a fearful heavy jab  that hit him square on his left chin. He fell down and rolled into the stream. All the village boys burst out laughing as I took to my heels. I kept dodging him until we were of a sensible age. Was that genuine winning? No! He would have thrashed me proper if it was fair.

What is it that scares our small efforts? Remember Walmart started as a small retail shop. Large Corporates like IBM, HP, Microsoft and Apple started from home garages. They must have had little space – improvised workstations and little pay if not at all. I am challenged to do my little as unto the Lord with gladness and refined skill. Play music and refine your skill until Kings want you before them always like David did to Saul. Serve the tables until the patrons only ask for you like Nehemiah the cup bearer that served King  Cyrus so well that they became solid friends. This resulted in rebuilding a wall that many years lay in ruin. General Stanley McChrystal speaks authoritatively in his book Team of Teams ” We should all lead like gardeners” whose excerpts were published in August 2015 by fortune.com gives an insight of how small acts in tact and intricate detail help armies and leaders achieve victory. For a well decorated soldier this truly is a knowledge base that is astoundingly rational but still connects to faith. In the bible God helps a King to pick a gardener to lead the army of Judah for his passionate detailing of the palace gardens.

Gardening is divine – first all things used in the trade are God determined. God provides the seeds, the soil, the weather patterns and the harvest. All he requires from us is obedience and devotion as of true faith in this score. Gardening is all dependent on God. It is then obvious how he instructs Isaac to plant during a dry drought and upon this obedience (Psa 24:1 “The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it” NIV) we see the first ever recorded a hundred fold harvest. Just as an orchestra conductor God expects us to harmonizes the different instruments, notes and sound to produce good quality music.In the preparation of the land, details like strokes used to break, timing of harrowing, tilling technique, soil enrichment with specific nutrients, seed preparation, seed selection, weather reading, weather timing, seed positioning, weeding, pruning etc require  disciplined concentration and faith in action. My uncle retired Major Saya is so intune with his dairy cows that they know him – he feeds them, washes them, talks to them, walks them and has a routine well oiled for them that they produce gladly. It is in the small acts that brilliance calls us. It is the small details and faith that God’s victory is revealed. Once we had visited Uncle Retired Major Saya to watch Harambee stars  and he looked disturbed. He was one of the few owners of greatwall black and white television set in the village of Mausi and such attracted many of us soccer fans. Upon sharing he mentioned how the nappier was unhappy – this took me by surprise. ( Soon I will write on Plant Conversations now that I am enlightened) He then showed me the variations in colors of the popular dairy farmers grass. He mentioned how the manure dressed on them was not well seasoned and the strokes of the cuts was not as advised. This affected the nutrient levels and as such their unhappiness translated in Nekesa and Shimuli (his highest yielding cows then) having digestion problems which lead to a lower yield that day. This kind of details mastering is what delivers consistent winning.

How well do we know the little we have? How do we connect the dots of those details into our strategy? I am learning and hope to get a little better grasp each day.

 

IT IS NOT A DISASTER


I believe in what is practical and real but; fantasy is always a thought away – when spoken in faith then thoughts become great actions that change circumstances. We can spin the ugly into impressive truth – we can tune instruments and dull notes into polished music pieces. There will always be some urgency and nature’s principle dictates for each way there is an opposite. It is also true in every urgency there will always be still moments and slow events.

We all have dealt with emergencies one way or another. Even for those that meant running down the stairs to catch a glimpse of a beautiful girl one more time before she exited the building. Others are life critical and meant employing our first aid skills and engage in multi-task to make calls, bandage a wound, pray and fan the patient all at the same time.

What is evident that in all that craze and foray in emergencies – however short they may be there are always still moments. In many a movie we always are taken aback by the count-down to a bomb blast and the hero in split second precision looses his bound hands, saves the girl, works through a maze of other barriers and miraculously works out the sequence required to stop the bomb. All in the nick of time.

It is this  belief that art is a reflection of mankind that whatever the disaster we could save the day. Like the heroes in the movies, when we are calm and face adversity with tact and composure then victory is sure.

We have faced some stormy times in business and as a family too. We have had to deal with an emergency after another in quick succession. This caused a lot of anxiety and grounded our faith. Help never came from the quarters we were sure of, neither did it come from those we thought it could. Through it all we had only ourselves – got no sympathy vote – we had to just stay put.

The experience opened our eyes to a new level of faith. Where as a child you pray and believe and with the analysis of the Hebrew boys (Shadrack, Meshack & Abednego) we also had to say in prayer that if God chose not to save us then it was still okay.

From objective analysis we did what was expected of us – finished assignments in time and within budget, invoiced as scheduled but payments took longer than usual.

From September 2014 many things went south, business dwindled, payments were slow and inconsistent which translated into bulging overdrafts. The overdrafts were a shy replenish to company deficits and never fully fit. So when they were due – the deficit kept growing and the strain continued.

Cost cutting measures were a sigh of relief but often short-lived. To remain competitive there are costs you cannot afford to cut and in many cases to fully optimize you need to increase some costs. We have had difficult discussions with clients, suppliers, bankers and God. Especially when we lost our unborn baby.

We have been scared and the dread of what was to follow gave us confidence. Most importantly we now truly believe our help is from God. He raises those you never expect to come to your rescue. This does not mean those that did not help are your enemies; far from it – God makes it all beautiful for his glory.

I dare say that the forecast of the Elnino is not a disaster in waiting but unveils opportunities for our leaders (that is you and me) and the collective efforts from all of us to give of ourselves (time, energy, expertise, skills, talents and money) for God’s glory. Plan to help – ready your tools, money and all manner of help for a great work ahead.

THE GOOD SHEPHERD


The Good Shepherd

Luke 15:4 Give the insights of a good shepherd. He that leaves 99 sheep that are secure to look for one. It reminds me of the David story when he fights the bear for one sheep and later on he fights the lion to free one sheep. This passionate leadership denotes the value of one and every sheep.

Every time a groundnut falls as I chew a plateful of them – I always find myself involuntarily looking for it. It means I value the sweetness and the minerals it gives. That means I look for one even though I have a plate with hundreds of them. What is it that you value?

Gifts & Super Gifts


The social media scene in Kenya and beyond was awakened on late Saturday by the flamboyant gift one husband  received from his wife of one year business woman Laura Akunga.Laura Akunga

 

 

 

 

 

 

The photo of the said gift had a price tag for a caption and surprisingly the censoring of the number plate did not hinder leakage of the actual details.Lauras Gift

 

 

 

 

This is no ordinary gift within the majority of Kenyans but it is also not an extra-ordinary gift when one loves or for the romantic at heart. In history we have countless romantics and lovers that gave body organs, built world wonders, exquisite, bizarre ,expensive gifts even to the point of death. Shakespeare quips in his love story Romeo & JulietMy bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep; the more I give to thee, The more I have, for both are infinite

The Bible recounts in Songs of Solomon vii: vi

“…for love is strong as death,
    jealousy[a] is fierce as the grave.[b]
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
    the very flame of the Lord.
Many waters cannot quench love,
    neither can floods drown it…

That is why philosophy embodies the words  “In love & in war all is fair“. There are those that cannot imagine a scenario where they can gift anyone high value things. Then there are those that can cross valleys, rivers, mountains and rivers as R.Kelly lyrics in his song Angel for the one they love. No value is big enough to express ourselves in love.

The story of the Taj Mahal is a story of one emperor who built it to show his love.

Taj Mahal

The Hanging Gardens was also a symbol and gift of love.

Hanging Gardens

Governments and countries resources of old and to come have been run-down on loves account. Where leaders wanted to make statements of love to their lovers. In this case Laura needs to be allowed to do as she pleases for her love. She needs to be spared the vitriol in social media for she has used what is at her disposal to honour her man in her fashion. Rev. Lukas Njenga once advised me that a person shares his love language – the most important thing is to align your showcase with the other person’s love language. There are ladies who cherish flowers as gifts. There are those that would not hear any of it. There are those that cherish cows and many other different things. So he went on to say – our expressions of love need to be in line with the person’s love language to be fully appreciated and connect.

Have we had Laura’s husband complain that the gift is not his love language? No. Even if he differed the way is was offered with cameras in the glare and friends to boot – no man worthy his salt can raise a complain then. And now that everyone knows the color of the vehicle gift and number plate – he might not be comfortable using it lest it be branded ” Laura’s gift car” whenever it drives past onlookers.

I am sure he has offered his fair share of quality gifts  to Laura. If we will ever come to know of the details that is another story. He may not be as “showy” as Laura. For she is a strong brand and nothing from her is short of a script and camera. As a branding entrepreneur we have to give it upto her. She waltz into news, rumours and dances her way into headlines. Remember she chose to wed the man on valentines day – 14TH February 2014. And her wedding was nothing short of a celebrity affair. I was privileged to make the invite list and to say the least it was charming.

Salute to Laura’s bold love statement – cheers to the many lovers who have given good gifts and super gifts. Big-up to “sponsors” (my friend Victor Ogolah and Spencer Okach introduced me to this word) who repeatedly give Demios, Vitz and other good tiny cars among other gifts to the “sponsees”.

The Gain in Losses


Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have – life itself.” ~Walter Anderson
The song ” It is well with my soul” by Horatio G. Spafford is said to have been composed when he seemingly had lost his children and the better part of his riches. It depicts a man anchored in faith and wet in the spirit not by tears of the tortourous elements of this life but of resilience and fortitude in God. His confidence and joy remained undented and are embodied in each line of the song’s lyrics:

  1. When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
    When sorrows like sea billows roll;
    Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
    It is well, it is well with my soul.

    • Refrain:
      It is well with my soul,
      It is well, it is well with my soul.
  2. Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
    Let this blest assurance control,
    That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
    And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
  3. My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!—
    My sin, not in part but the whole,
    Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
    Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
  4. For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
    If Jordan above me shall roll,
    No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
    Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
  5. But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
    The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
    Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
    Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!
  6. And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
    The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
    The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
    Even so, it is well with my soul.

Winston Churchil once quipped “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.

Where do you draw such robust enthusiasm and tenacious joy? The ruffle that any kind of loss brings is unsettling and can remain a nagging quiz to our humanly minds and bears like no other heavy burden to our hearts. I believe only faith in God is this achievable.

This last Saturday, I was privilledged to catch up with my TV. The hours we clock at work and attend to other pressing matters many a times make it almost impossible to sit infront of the TV and watch anything. We always glance as we rush about or stare at it as our brains churn unto other issues. I am grateful time availed itself to watch the TV. I caught up with a movie that was showing on Star Gold channel named Club 60.

Club 60 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

The movie is not your common bollywood flick with a villain and a hero. Far from it, this is an all engaging story around the losses that life brings. The story starts on a sombre note when Dr. Tariq & Saira loose their only child and son. This not only unsettles them but takes a heavy toll on the father Dr. Tariq who even attempts to take his own life. The wife Dr. Saira suggests they move from Pune to Mumbai. They move into the a flat they had bought for their son Iqbal. They are met by an overly jovial and friendly neighbor Manubhai.

Manubhai is a very cheeky character – he is frivolous with life and goes about with full abandon. He is keen on recruiting the new couple into the Club 60. He comes out as a very nosy neighbor – he shows up unannounced – speaks his mind and heart – quick to indulge anyone and everyone in his chatter.

Club 60 1

 

 

 

He is oblivious to the loss the couple are coming to terms with. He is confronted by Dr. Tariq when he unexpectedly pops into their flat quite late to ask for ice cubes. Even then his enthusiasm and joy is unruffled. He comes back with their common friend from Club 60 Dhillon also grappling with a loss of his own and had called at Manu’s. He changes the mood of the couple from sombre to celebratory.

In the whole movie it unravels the loss of each of the club 60 members loss behind the facade they put out for all to see. It showcases their struggle to adapt and steps towards generous living. This startles Dr. Tariq into the reality that he is not the only one who has lost – to his surprise he learns that Manu faced the flogging that life can bring and still afforded to smile and live free.

My pick from the movie is that there is a lot to gain even when we have lost. David Sirlin aptly puts it in his book Playing to Win: Becoming the Champion that “Losing is part of the game. If you never lose, you are never truly tested, and never forced to grow

 

BALANCED WORKOUT


Working out your body requires tuning in to how you feel. As men we often want to do as many reps as we can – lift more heavy weights but there is a beauty untold in finding mobility, building a technique and going natural. That feeling keeps you going – it rejuvenates and refreshes the soul. The benefits are not only physical but can be seen all around. You stop being a machine but rather become a coach of your body and spirit.

As a coach, you look at all aspects of your team i.e your body. You have to read, consult and reflect deeply on your inner self. Our body is a combination of muscles, flesh, sinews and joints which are co-ordinated by our heart, mind, spirit and soul. It therefore calls for a very tactful approach to achieve a balanced workout. As you begin you will want to do routines to get your body believing. What keeps anyone going back after they have achieved their short term goals is the pursuit of a balanced healthy body.

According to Anthony Odiero my friend and a renown personal trainer – the body has five big muscle groups. These are the gluts, biceps, triceps, shoulders and chest.  A balanced workout therefore entails exercises spread across these muscle groups. The exercise regime you choose determines how they build and tone up. The intensity can create agility of the same or severe them – this is where skill and technique is required to avoid injuries and or how to heal them through a different exercise regime.

Cardio is a great inspiration to the body. Do not use it as a measure of anything. It is a warm-up activity and can be used as a healing exercise. When we overly rely on cardio to build up our workout sessions we loose sight of a balanced workout.

Fitness is a delicate balance and as such it is always a pursuit. You have to build outwards and inwards each time you work out. This requires intense exercise sessions on different parts of our body. This achieves alot and anyone who is a regular in such can ascertain to that great feeling each time they workout. But it does not stop there – nutrition and lifestyle choices are key to a truly Healthy Physical Self.

In my pursuit I have tried many exercise regimes and continue to build inwards and outwards. Frank, our insanity trainer at they gym commented this morning of the progress he can see physically. Fabio the aerobics instructor noticed how flexible and swift my moves have become and urges us on. Nick has inspired us to rhythm in his zumba classes and today we had a new  lady team of trainers whose exercise regime is a mix of kizomba, pilates and yoga stretches.

It has been two years of consistent workout and its AMAZING!!! to many more years of balanced workouts…cheers

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