God is Good

Y’all

*sits down*

I think I’ve been a tad unfair to the reader’s of my blog…to y’all.

Although I have said that I want to write about the good, bad and ugly, I have found that my posts have mostly dwelled on the bad and ugly. Thus far, I have only highlighted my shortcomings (though they are plentiful). So, from henceforth, I will offer a more balanced perspective on my life’s happenings. After all, I hope that revelation of my victories are just as encouraging as my bleaker testimonies.

So here goes, here is a summary of my recent victories [all made possible through Christ Jesus]. It’s more of an update, and I will expand on some of these in later posts.

Get yourself a ‘cuppa’, get comfortable, this is going to be a long one.

UNIVERSITY

This may not mean a lot to y’all but I have passed all my courses of the 1st semester [September-December] of my final year of University. I was under incredible pressure last year so I view this minimum expectation as a victory/relief. (I have come to the realisation that I don’t handle stress very well  but we’ll talk about that later…this is a happy post).

PHOTOGRAPHY

I have a renewed interest in photography thanks to my amazing boyfriend who taught me how to use the manual modes on my camera *dust the dirt off ma shoulder* aaaaaand who also bought me a new camera lens for Christmas. Love you shmuckums

Y’all wanna see piks? 😉 Lemme give you a story first. Although I am not on Facebook, my pictures have been featured as profile pictures for several of my ‘real life’ friends. This is the highest accolade that Facebook can offer. 😛 The following pictures have all been used as Facebook profile photos. Click on the photos to view them in their fullsized splendor.

My Indian Sister Ipshita

My Indian Sister Ipshita

Ipshita's Banner picture...double whammy :D

Ipshita’s Banner picture…double whammy 😀

My German poonum, Carolin

My German poonum, Carolin

Sarah, another German sweetheart. I went in HEAVY on the halo effect, my bad...sometimes cheesy is fun!

Sarah, another German sweetheart. I went in HEAVY on the halo effect, my bad…sometimes cheesy is fun!

oo lala *sigh*

oo lala *sigh*

Y’all, I was sitting in the library one day, minding my own business (as I do), working on the computer when I saw this interesting character walk by (sorry for referring to you as a ‘character‘ Sia). I felt strongly compelled to photograph her (I usually carry my camera with me). So, I mustered up my courage, walked up to her table and she conceded to my request. This was my first (and only thus far) time doing this.

VOILA! #GodisGood

VOILA! #GodisGood

MUSIC

Y’all, this one has a bit of a backstory. I came to Heriot-Watt University to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning (have to keep reminding myself of that). Anyway, when I got here in September 2009, one of the first extra-curricular activities that I attended was choir and I’ve stuck with it ever since. In 2010, I learnt that there were music scholarships available to singers that granted the awardee vocal lessons. I applied for the scholarship and got it!

So, fast forward to a few weeks ago, (27th of February and the 2nd of March) when I competed in two open classes of the Edinburgh Music Festival. In the first class, I performed two pieces: ‘Where Corals Lie‘, a poem by Richard Garnett which was set to music by Edward Elgar, and ‘Your Daddy’s Son‘ from the Ragtime Musical.

I placed third y’all!!!

Where Corals Lie: sung by Dame Janet Baker

Your Daddy’s Son: sung by Audra McDonald

Then, for the 2nd class which was the Oratorio class, I performed ‘He was Despised’ from Handel’s Messiah. This was a competitive class, and the winner was awarded the Sidney Newman medal.

BOOM! durr it is

BOOM! durr it is

BABY LEGGO

BABY LEGGO

God is Good

God is Good

Yes, I won.

On the University's Website

On the University’s Website

He Was Despised: Sung by Alfred Deller (first movement only)

RELATIONSHIPS

God has blessed me with a wonderful supportive boyfriend. In the strictest sense, is this a victory? I’d like to think it is and anyone who knows me well (and my former no-romance-for-Asha beliefs) will understand why. Besides, he (Mr. Man) said that I succeeded in taking his heart and that was a big accomplishment. #blackgirlblush

PURPOSE

I believe that I have found my purpose.  I have found something that I can be passionate about, that I can wake up every morning and be dedicated to fulfilling. Not easy, but fulfilling.  Before I spill the beans let me just say that I often cringe when people say ‘I am a lawyer’, or ‘He is a chemist’, confusing what they do, with who they are. But fundamentally, we are defined by what we do. Ladies and gentlemen, magnificent readers of my ramblings;

I AM A STORYTELLER

…a 21st Century Griot.

I’ll have a separate post addressing this, but I’m really psyched!!!

FUTURE VENTURES

This coming Wednesday (God willing), 20th March, I will be singing at the University Music Scholar’s Concert. An amazing opportunity to share my the talent that God has blessed me with.

The Wednesday after that, 27th March, my friends and I will be performing at a Jazz concert that we organised. I think the planning is a victory in itself. Big ups to Steve King, the Director of music at Heriot-Watt University for supporting this venture.

MISTY - an evening of Jazz

MISTY – an evening of Jazz

*whew* There’s a lot more to thank God for but that’s all for now (your tea’s probably finished or cold). Thanks for reading, I wish you all the best in your Godly endeavors!

What good things are going on in your life? I’d love to hear them. Do share!

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Through the Wire: lastminute.com

Y’all

*deep sigh*

Here I am again…down to the wire. It’s the day before a major assignment (worth 50% of my grade) is due and I have not yet started it properly. Yes, I am scared to take a real good look at the assignment for fear of the smack of reality.

It’s frustrating to be back here after all my resolutions. Y’all should see the noticeboard in my bedroom; it’s populated with motivating messages that I’ve written in a bold green marker. Messages like:

Life Habits. Be more organized and disciplined OVERALL in my life! I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

Life Habits. Be more organized and disciplined OVERALL in my life! I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

Start projects TODAY, not tomorrow. Set timetables and stick to them. Get back on the horse if I fall off.

Start projects TODAY, not tomorrow. Set timetables and stick to them. Get back on the horse if I fall off.

Dear Lord, Please help me to achieve my goals, Love Asha :)

Dear Lord, Please help me to achieve my goals, Love Asha 🙂

Ok, let’s objectively assess where I stand. It’s an essay (3500 words, #JesusTakeTheWheel) and;

1. I have written out the structure.

2. I know what each paragraph will address.

That’s it.

But I know that this time is different from all the other times. What makes this time different? Well, most significantly, I have asked my Christian sisters to pray for me. God, I am leaning on you. I really acknowledge that I need you. As I write this, I am listening to some gospel on YouTube that my sister sent me and having my breakfast.

I’m tempted to write a paragraph to the atheists that may stumble across my blog and lambaste me for using the ‘idea of God’ as a crutch for my shortcomings. Yes, this situation is not ideal, but my God works with the imperfect. He is not my crutch, He is my strength,  my all, I am nothing without Him…whether I have prepared long in advance or not.

“I can do all things through CHRIST WHO GIVES ME STRENGTH.” ~Philippians 4:13

LEGGO

(If y’all have any tips on staying on top of your work and assignments. Especially if you have overcome the procrastination struggle, please share them in the comments below. Ya sister needs them.)

editor’s note: I finished my assignment just in time but it was not the best quality, but that’s what I get. lesson learnt (please God)

Surrendering to fear – my biggest childhood regret

Y’all

*sigh*

My childhood was plagued by an irrational fear of dying.

I remember running to my father at bedtime when I was just six years old as the nightly dread of the grave overcame my consciousness.

me: “Daddy, I don’t want to die!!!!”

Daddy: “Asha, we all have to die. Death is a part of life.”

me: “But I have a perfectly good body, it seems like a waste of a body if I have to die. Why do I have to die and be buried and let worms eat my body??!!!!” (damn…I was precocious 0_o)

Yes, yes, yes…I had been fed the rigmarole (which I believed and still do) that we go to heaven and all that jazz. But, coupled with fear of death was a fear of eternity. What am I going to do for all that time? I had/have a linear concept of time so what was eternity anyway? Just thinking about it, trying to wrap my mortal mind around the concept of forever made me feel nauseous and filled me with anxiety.

This dread colored my outlook. There were moments when it seemed that I was free of it and in exchange, filled with peace, but those moments were never granted any permanence in my psyche.

Let me tell you of a time when my morbid paradigm (or commonsense…you be the judge) stopped me from ‘seizing the day’.

I was about 10 years old, when my family, along with a few friends and I, hiked up to Fort George in Trinidad. It was a lovely day I think…my memory of the whole escapade fails me but there is one incident that is seared in my ‘hard-drive’.

It happened just before we were about to leave. The path we were taking went along a steep grassy incline. On the incline was a tree, and its branches stretched temptingly over the path. I wanted nothing more than to jump up and catch hold of the lowest branch, but…I was scared. I knew that if I missed the branch, I would go tumbling down the path (although there was a fence along the bottom to stop me, I would still get a bit shaken up if I fell).

I stood there…procrastinating (yowza, I’ve been procrastinating my whole life?! #JesusTakeTheWheel)

Anyway, my friend Seka, who was (and still is) considerably shorter than I am, casually walked across next to me, jumped, caught hold of the coveted branch, swung herself back and forth a few times and then let go of the branch with enough momentum to land back onto the path. #likeabawse!

*I wanted to insert an illustration here but y’all have some active imaginations so far be it from me to deny you the pleasure of using them*

The rational part of my brain worked out that since I was taller than Seka, reaching the branch would be no problem for me. But, I was crippled by fear and self-doubt. I dilly-dallied there on the path, giving myself pep talks , trying to work up the nerve to jump. ‘you only live once Asha, you only live once. ‘ Then…

“Asha! Time to go!”

I didn’t jump :(.

The regret of that moment -of surrendering to fear- haunted me for such a long time. It is certainly true that: “You often regret the things you do not do more than than the things that you have done”

My father always told my sister and I that if we detest a characteristic in someone to CHECK OURSELVES because most likely, we exhibit the very trait that we so abhor.

I cannot stand cowardice. 0_o

What about you? What are your regrets? Where there is life, there’s hope…there will be other obstacles to overcome to build my courage! 🙂

Winter Fashion Dilemma Solved

Y’all

*celestial music*

Revelation Time!

So, in Edinburgh, we’re approaching the end of winter. Let me repeat that just in case the Scottish climate gods haven’t heard me. We are approaching the END of winter. And you know what I’ve learnt?

You do not have to look ugly during winter. REPEAT. You do not have to look ugly during the winter.

I know, I know, I hear what you’re all thinking: “Asha, you can be fashionable in every season, EVERYONE knows that!”

Listen, ok, I KNOW that, I’ve seen Vogue and Essence and Michelle Obama’s purple coat but in my defence…

*whiny voice*

…I’m from the tropics ok. We enter buildings to cool down, not to thaw out warm up.  The concept of coats is generally unheard of. At a stretch, I would wear a cardigan in an over-vigorously air-conditioned office. But it was a temporary measure, not intended for stylin’ and profilin’ .

I’m used to having one shot, using one layer of clothing to make an impression…to express myself. So I would dress all fly in Scotland (as I would in Trinidad *cough*sometimes*cough*) and all my efforts were covered by my coat. An ugly coat thus nullified all my attempts at cuteness. When the cold hit me (despite my self-directed pep talks and best intentions), I wasn’t thinking of looking good, I just grabbed my warmest (albeit my ugliest, most un-shapely) coat because all I was concerned with was getting warm and comfortable…yeah…comfortable. That’s the word-that-should-remain-unspoken by fashionistas…’comfortable‘. Because we all know that ‘comfortable‘ is a euphemism for cat-lady-busted.

Example:

-“Mom, why are you wearing those ugly shoes?!”

-“Child, let me be…I’m comfortable

Conversely, on the other end of the spectrum, a snazzy coat can cover up a frumpy outfit. I’m just learning this. Winter fashion is ALL about the silhouette, using layers to keep warm and experimenting with colour accents like a scarf, hat, belt or shoes or even gloves to change the look of a plain coat.

let Aunty Shelly ..the FLOTUS, show you how *sigh*…when I get my money right

let Aunty Shelly ..the FLOTUS, show you how *sigh*…when I get my money right

The infamous purple coat that Michelle Obama wore for the Presidential inauguration

The infamous purple coat that Michelle Obama wore for the Presidential inauguration

*BRAINWAVE*All my sexy ladies looking for love, are you worried that guys are only pursuing you for your bawdy? In wintertime, you’re covered from head to toe, so no worries about that. It’s all about the face. Matter fact, you should try to get into a romantic relationship during the colder months ‘so you know it’s real’. Let me know how it works out for you. However, if you feel pressed to show errbawdy what you’re working with, invest in a short coat 😉

Check me out, flying in my fly coat…ooooo.

full screen this picture rightchea because honestly, we all know that what your life really needs is a screen full of this awesomesauce. Big ups to Nicole Jean the photographer. And just in case you weren’t gob-smacked enough, this picture is straight-from-camera, #SFC, # nophotoshop #getonourlevel

full screen this picture rightchea because honestly, we all know that what your life really needs is a screen full of this awesomesauce. Big ups to Nicole Jean the photographer. And just in case you weren’t gob-smacked enough, this picture is straight-from-camera, #SFC, # nophotoshop #getonourlevel

The conclusion of the matter is; invest in a fly coat that creates/ enhances a lovely silhouette (a fly short coat if your derriere is your pride and joy) and ‘werk’!

Ironically, this realisation has only come to me at the end of my last winter in Edinburgh as I prepare to graduate and head back home to the tropics. #le sigh

Note: fly means sharp, snazzy, stylish

What’s your fashion revelation?