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Hello Chai Geng!

I am dancing with joy because y'all have doubled!! Thank you so much for being here!
How are you doing? How's your body, mind and soul really doing? 
Me I am better than I was last newsletter. Nothing much changed but I got better at checking in with and extending more grace to myself so yaay!  
Personally, I wanted August to come with some answers for my built environment career but I am still Jon Snow - I know nothing😂. I don't know if the Master's programs I have applied to will accept me. I don't know whether I will be working or studying next year. Sijui! At first this state disturbed me but most of the lessons I am about to share with you helped me remain hopeful in uncertainty

Family wise, the baby brother turned 8 months and he doesn't stop narrating stories that we can't understand; he's just adorable. The 5th & 6th born are now whole 5th and 7th graders, where did the time go? The 4th born, Sereti passed her IGCSE with flying colours. We threw her a party and I made my first vlog of it! Mum also had her birthday this month. Even though we are still self-isolating in Narok we sent her cake and experienced the moment via video chat  I am grateful that I get to be surrounded with so much love on the daily.
It had to be ✨
I am also grateful that I am alive and well to share the lessons August taught me. So get your favourite beverage, find a comfortable position and let's sip ✨ Shall we?

1. God's ALWAYS got you.

As the levels of uncertainty increased, my belief that God is dependable and has good plans for me started to shake. "Has he really got me all the time?" Yes, ALWAYS! God has promised to NEVER leave me nor forsake me ( Deutronomy 31:6 ). And God is not a human to lie or change (Numbers 23:19). In beginning to trust this again, I was reminded to not give up hope and to keep trying until God's good and perfect and pleasing will prevails in my life; actually it is probably already in motion (Romans 12:2).

2. Creative work is work

I realised that I had believed that the art of story telling using words and visuals was not work. I had internalised this every time I was told that I should just do my creative work on the side. So deep was this internalisation that even though I took a gap year to focus on my creative outlet, I still thought of it as this unserious pet project. However, while looking at possible communication internships it finally clicked that this is serious work that people actually do and get paid for. Granted, Chebet Naserian the brand is currently only paying me with joy and good health but kwani the only thing that defines work is whether you get monetarily paid to do it? I refuse. You should see me making plans and setting goals! I even added digital content creator on my LinkedIn. This is officially my main thing. I can always do the built environment things on the side😏.  
My new blog layout. No longer holding myself back! Go check it out!

3. Check in with yourself

In addition to thinking that creative work is not work; I also thought doing something you thoroughly enjoy is not work. Therefore, I did not think I should get tired from creating. However, the traitor that is my body was not having it and forced me into a break. This occurrence pushed me to become more intentional about honouring my mental, physical and spiritual needs. Here are some ways that Dr. Nicole Le Pera shared on the Hey Girl podcast: Extending forgiveness and compassion to ourselves; Understanding that people are more a product of their conditioning than of your individual projections; And drawing boundaries with that in mind. I will let you have a listen for the rest. I have found that the simple act of asking how I am doing and waiting to hear the answer has made a big difference. The mood check-in feature on the Mindshift app makes this even easier to do.

4. People will let you down.

You can bank on it! 🎶 You can put a hundred grand pon it!🎶 Lol, anyone else enjoying Burna Boy's new album? I used to genuinely believe that people always do what they say they will do and if they can't they will surely communicate. I knew how wrong I was when my Master's application referee ghosted me after he agreed to write my reference letter. I tried everything I could but nothing. Well, apart from these three lessons I learnt. Firstly, don't make it about you. My default was to try and connect his lack of response with my perceived faults as his student. Then I remembered I was not a mind reader and only he knew why. Secondly, plan for when (not if) people let you down. Have other solid options. Still, those options could let you down so thirdly - trust that God provides; like when the referee who had not responded to my request initially, randomly emailed me to ask if I still needed a reference.
Here's the link. It is also one of my favourite podcasts.

5. What I think matters. 

I really care about what people think of me. It is where most of my anxiety, perfectionism and respectability comes from. I had tried to keep this in check with the, "what people think doesn't matter" attitude but it just did not work. Especially when all the applications I made meant that what people thought about my skills and experience actually mattered. A conversation with a friend shifted my perspective when he asked, "Fine you have applied for the Masters but what do you want and why?". Instead of wishing that people think I am good or worthy enough. I now know that my goodness or worthiness is not dependent on what they think. That ultimately what matters is what I think about them. Are they a good fit for me? Is their program aligned with my purpose? In as much as what others think of me may influence my career advancement, what I think matters more. Si it's my life, ama?

6. The quality of the dough affects the quality of the pastry

I made the best cinnamon rolls this month. They were oh so heavenly! The secret was that it was the richest and softest dough I had made yet. That's not all, judging by the title of this newsletter you should already know I love drawing parallels between food and life experiences. So think of human beings as every day pastries (I am not a cannibal I promise) and think of what they consume and experience as the dough. Wholesome substances and activities make wholesome people. Can I start calling my G.O.A.T s fluffy cinnamon rolls yet?  
P.S: I saw a preppy kitchen pumpkin cinnamon roll 
recipe which I can't wait to try. Also because we stay resourceful, I swapped yoghurt for cream cheese as frosting and it worked! 

Preppy Kitchen's Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

7. Live like you are dying tomorrow

I am sorry to have to end on such a grim note  but I have seen so much death that I am beginning to really live this lesson. After losing Uncle Kirui in July, we lost Uncle Martin in August. I still haven't fully processed it - wasn't he just comforting mummy after Uncle Kirui's death? Loss is as painful as it is certain but he left us with many joyful memories and life lessons. His kindness, excellence and charisma impacted each of us greatly. Looking forward to seeing him again but it is goodbye for now. My hope is that I still have a long life ahead of me (Y'all! Imagine how lit Issue #600 of Chai with Chebet will be?!) but I could also die tomorrow. As a result, I am giving my family, friendships, dreams, every issue/blogpost/video and my God my all. That's what  living like I am dying tomorrow means for me. I plan to further explore this under the soul & purpose work category of my blog this month so be on the look out.

And  there we have it - the 7 lessons August taught me. I hope they warmed up your soul and fired up your heart the same way chai does for me. Feel free to forward or share the email with anyone you think might enjoy it. 
Over to you, what lessons did August teach you? Looking forward to hearing from you!
Wishing you a beautiful September! 
Light & Goodness, 
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