All is well that ends well!

Priscilla Takondwa:

My bae forever and ever. Please check out and follow her blog. She is a sturdy well of wisdom and awesomeness.

Originally posted on S a n c t i f i e d:

Anyway, here are four things Ilearntfrom my not-so-little episode (which I shared yesterday)especiallyafter God clearly told me to shut my little trashy mouth because He is God. And I am just Alheri.

God > Alheri. Forever has been. Is. Forever will be.

Grace is NEVER earned– Godalreadyloves us to infinity- nothing can make Him love us more or less than He already does. Infinity no upper or lower boundaries, it is the be all and end of all. Similarly, we cannot earn the grace of God by what we do (or do not do). When we pray for people, or do good things for them, we are not torely on them for appreciation. We cannot wait upon peoplefor our motivation. We do things because God says we should, and notto win the admiration or praise of others. We cannot earn the respect of others by what we…

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Perhaps Your Present Needs You

Perhaps The Present has been rendered a beggar, a pauper in rags with arms upstretched in desperate hunger. Your pockets are heavy with three manners of currencies- Time, Gratitude and the most valuable of all, Attention. But ever-too-often, when you dip your hands in, as The Present sits waiting, a glimmer of hope in her eyes, your charity is misdirected. You would rather keep your coins for one more deserving, you say. Alas! If only you knew, the beggar you wait for is growing inside her. If only you knew, that the seed of life planted in The Present rendered her expectant. If only you knew that by feeding her, you feed the one that you await.

Too often, we toss her withered body to the dogs when we fail to stop and feed her.
She is pregnant with meaning, with dreams, promises and desires- with The Future. And The Future will only grow if we gift her Time, Gratitude and Attention. Her offspring is annulled when these three- reserved for what is to come- are withheld.

For she, too, was once a babe, growing malnourishedly in her gone mother, Past. And when Past birthed her, she died to become a bitter memory. And when she was birthed, her infancy was agony.

So feed her.

Gift her the Attention, for with it, the cravings that the Future she holds brings can be purchased.

Gift her the Time, for with it, her weakened bones are strengthened, and there is life in her again.

Gift her with Gratitude, and direct this to her maker, for only He knows where this is to be invested.

Let Trust, Faith, and Hope be the only things you kept tucked in your pocket- for they are the only things that The Future needs that you can give.

Major Thoughts on Majors and Major Life Plans and Majors

First, a simple acknowledgement;

That to romanticize the idea of following one’s heart is folly.

(A dose of awareness is called for.)


And now, a handful of realizations;

That to put a lid on those dreams and ignore them altogether is agony.

(And agony burns.

It wakes one up at the oddest of hours.)

That to deem, in the name of practicality, dreams that could one day leave important dents in the world a waste of time is tragedy.

That to call The Dreamers fools, and The Dreams unsound is spiteful.

That to fear, for the fear of the fears of the masses about your fearless longings calls loudly for courage.

And Courage is easy. And Courage is tough.

And Courage is seeing those fears but imagining alternate realities.

And Courage is insanity.

And Courage does not have to rub the status quo the right way.

And Courage shifts, and Courage shapes, in ways that Normal doesn’t.

And many times, Courage is the companion of One’s Own Truth. The divinely deposited.

And Truth is Liberating, truly.

So decide.

Decide to undecide the things decided in the midst of fear.

Decide to mount on the wings of Courage and soar into the heights of your dreams- to hoist the sails of Courage and sail into the albeit turbulent waters of your calling(s) [Because Discovery]

Undecide fear

Undecide The Usual

Undecide safety

Decide wild

Decide novel

Decide YOU.

Unprofessional Prayers: This Is Living

Feeling the need to pray, I got down on my knees and I asked God to reawaken. The parts of me that once booming with life, fell into a comfortable slumber. I prayed that He ignite my heart once more. I told him of the constant distraction on my mind. That looming thing that I cannot name that stands in the way of my focus on Him. That competes for His attention. That would rather escort my mind to any place other than thoughts of Him.

My prayers weren’t loud. No sweat was sweated. Tears were shed, but only a couple of warm ones that glided down my cheek and were gone as fast as they came. I didn’t concern myself with memorized exaltation. There were no IWorshipYous, or ThankYouForYourFaithfulnesses, ThankYouForWhoYouAres, ThankYouForYourLoves, PleaseForgiveMeForMySinses…

My prayer was rather unprofessional- on hunger. My prayer was on need. Conveyed simply with everyday vocabulary. My prayer reminded me of His promise to draw closer to me when I draw close to Him. It was the whisper of an ache to thrive and truly live. For the abundant life that he promised, and for which I long.

I am aware, anew, that living without living in Him, is not living at all. A thought came to me. To stop holding my dreams and desires tightly in my clenched fist, hidden behind me as I step into God’s light. As if to keep them away from Him. As if he is the snatcher and shreader and burner of dreams (and as if these are tasks he executes while he laughs fiendishly). As if those dreams aren’t more precious to Him than they are to me. As if they aren’t His.

To be engulfed in His love, renewed by his presence, strengthened by His joy and in tune with His Spirit- THIS is Living.

Love and Grace, Grace and Love

I have had to sit myself down many times and realize that I don’t need to break a sweat to convince God that I am worthy of His love.

To stop trying to earn, or buy, or deserve God’s Love. To understand that His love is not to be purchased. His love is not dished out when I do good works. His Love is not a matter of what  I do or don’t do. His love is not rationed. His Love is deep, and it is wide, and it is true, and steadfast, stretching to the highest of heights and going even to the ends of the ages.

38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[b] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

“Grace does not oppose effort, but it does oppose earning.” His Grace is not to be earned. So receive it, douse yourself in His love. Accept it and live life abundantly in it.

Understand His Grace. Understand that in its very nature, Grace is weird and unfair and crazy and illogical. Understand that it is a vastness into which you can plunge with all your fears, and doubts and questions and confusions and inadequacies. Understand that it’s an expanse where you can fall freely, where none of these have to be hidden. Understand that Grace is that place where you can fall and know that you will ALWAYS be caught in His love.

So stop fearing. Stop thinking God’s allergic to you, and all the complexities that come with you. Stop thinking that God does not occupy all the places your mind wanders off to. Stop seeing God as one who will take your life away, and dull your living.

Stop thinking there are prerequisites to His Love. Stop defining God through the eyes of men, and seek to see Him with your own eyes. What a tragedy to never know His beauty because someone else’s understanding of Him got in the way.

If you are weary, know that He loves weakness- his strength is perfected in it.

If you are at the end of your wits, know that when he’s trying to be a fool, he is wiser than man’s greatest wisdom.

So stop trying to do God’s job for Him.

Stop trying to clean things up that he took care of already.

Stop trying to be worthy of His acceptance.

Stop feeling guilty.

Jesus, Wonderings and Wanderings

If you are like me, and have grown up hard in that church game, something happens to you. Something happens when you’ve grown up hearing bible stories. When you’ve grown up going to church every Sunday. When you’ve grown up singing Jesus Songs and reading Jesus Books and going to Jesus Camps. The stories lose their wonder. The books lose their depth. The Camps lose their meaning. It becomes routine, and it becomes religion. And it breeds questions. Questions that you fear asking, because “God knows,” and “operates in mysterious ways”. Because you’re busy having it figured out.

You start to wonder how much of this truth you claim to have is really yours- how much of it you own. You start to wonder if yours is true salvation, or if it’s a loosely-fitting hand-me-down faith that you have on. You start to wonder why some of the worst people you know are Christians, and how some of the most love-joy-peace-patience-kindness-goodness-faithfulness-gentleness-and-self-control embodying people do not know Jesus. You start to wonder why there are so many politics in the church, why praise team members can’t wear pants, why church mothers cringe when they hear that a seventeen year old has a boyfriend. You start to wonder why Jesus, in many, looks so unattractive.

You start to wonder. And wander.

You start to wonder, and on some days your wonderings are bottled up and kept simmering- bothering you as you sit in church, struggling to listen to the sermon. Other times, you loosen the cap and they float out aimlessly, levitating in the expanse of confusion and fear.

You wander, and your wanderings take you places where there is comfort. Where you are okay with just being. Where maybe it’s okay not to pray for a little while. Where maybe you feel a lot imperfect, and not so on top of your game as you used to. You wander because frankly, the things inside of you right now have become a little messy, and it’s a mess God can’t live with, but you can deal with, so maybe it’s best to be apart.

There is a story Jesus told. A father and his son. A son who didn’t feel he wanted to be with the father any more. A son who upped and left, taking all his treasures, to live his life, free of his father’s rules, free of his father’s work, free, free, free. A son who later returned, broken, and in need of his father. A weary son at a distance. Broken, and coming home. His father saw him far at a distance and he ran to his son. Threw him a humongous party and everything. As if he had never left. As if he had never upped and left to live his life, free, free, free. As if there was no mess in his heart that was just a bit much for The Father. As if it wasn’t best that they were apart.

I’ve gone through my little droughts. My spells of questions. But one thing I have learnt is this, “What good are questions if they ask for no answers?”

I’ve seen this Jesus that multitudes claim in a very few, but in the few that I’ve seen, His light has shone so bright and lovingly that it leaves me convinced that yes, this is the path for me.  And yes, I want to know him for me. That yes, my walk may look different than most. That yes, some rules may be broken. And yes, I, too, am accepted by the God that I worship. So hello brokenness. Hello surrender. Hello questions, walk in and have a seat, and have long back-and-forths with Jesus.

I haven’t blogged about Jesus in a while. My walk with Him has taken some very interesting turns. The bottom line, however, is that more than ever, I am cognizant of how held I am. I cannot come away from this truth that I believe in. I feel so held. As if no matter how far my heart or mind may wander, there in God’s arms, I remain, held, held, held. As if God has me tightly clenched in His fist. To be quite frank, considering the weird aliveness I feel when I am in God, its the perfect place to be stuck.

This is one of my all-time favourite songs;

He is my light, my strength, my song;
this Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!

No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand

Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.

Traditionally Speaking

I’ve never been a great follower of tradition. When I am to bow, I stand up tall. When I am to avert my eyes, that is when they flick from side to side, taking the view in inch by inch, giving me away. When I am to keep my voice low, it rings loudly.

When I am to like, I love with a fire in my soul. When I am to sob, wails scratch their ways out of the back of my throat. When I am to sway, I dance with a madness that would leave you concerned.

If I were to follow tradition, my soul would sit quietly and abide by the rules. My life would flow slowly in the channels carved out by tamed forces. My tears would stay closed in, welling and welling, but never drawn out. I would be the breath never breathed out. The sky never flown in. The ocean that stretched on and on- perfectly still and unmoving.

So that no ships would sail.

“Buy” Me “The Netflix”

There was a woman behind me on my trip to New York city who does not know what Netflix is. I had no idea that she was there, sitting behind me, looking at another lady in a seat across the aisle from me. The lady across from me was hispanic, 30 , maybe, with her jet-black hair tied tightly in a bun at the top of her head. She sat up straightly, I remember, because I saw her and thought how I should, too. She held an iPad with a cracked screen in her hand, and she was watching something on Netflix. We had only one common thing, this lady and I- the fact that we were unaware that the lady behind me was watching her with a curiosity.

As we neared New York city, as trees became buildings, and wooden structures morphed into high concrete and glass that sought to kiss the sky, the lady across the aisle received a phonecall. Hastily, she clicked on the cracked screen of her ipad several times, until the picture froze- a woman running out of a building calling out to someone. She answered the phone.

She had left her baby in Springfield with her family, she said into the phone.

She couldn’t take him to work with her as she cleaned hotel rooms, she said into the phone.

She had a new job and this time she was bent on keeping it, she said into the phone.

Her family agreed to keep him until she could secure childcare, she said into the phone.

Then, Netflix resumed, but only for a few minutes. Her phone rang again.

How are you, baby, she asked into the phone.

You having fun? she asked into the phone.

Spanish into the phone.

I will see you soon, baby, she said into the phone.

More Spanish into the phone.

Okay, baby, let me talk to Grandpa.

Spanish into the phone.

Back to Netflix, but before she could press play again, an “Excuse me” from the woman behind me (the sort of an “Excuse me” which said “I have been waiting to talk to you between your calls and Netflix.”)

“What are you watching?”

It’s a movie called (I can’t remember), she said.

“Oh, I like those actors.”

A mildly disinterested but still polite chuckle and a Yes.

“What is that device you are watching on?”

It is called an iPad…

On went the conversation, with the mother of a son she was hustling for educating the eavesdropper on the ins and outs of Netflix and iPads.

There I was, mildly amused at the thought that most back home would not believe that an American did not know what an iPad was. Hede!

While I am on this, I have remembered. Tchuzi kaye. There were some teenage missionaries that visited my friend’s church some years ago. One of them, Ivan, a freckle-faced boy with piercing green eyes, mentioned Reese’s Candies. Puzzled, we inquired about them. What sort of candies were they?

“Oh my God, you don’t know what Reese’s Candies are?!”

No, Ivan, we do not. I wonder what Ivan would say if I had not known what an iPad or Netflix, were and asked him. Anyway, tchuzi over.

I won’t lie, it’s silly, but I internally chuckled when the lady explained about these things. I chuckled and thought, my cousin Nelia in Suntche village does not even know what an iPad is. And I know that upon learning the fact, what, with her Africanness and all, the matter would inspire a pity-tinged tone by any such Netflix/iPad educator. As if life is somehow bleak without such technological advances. Because obviously, on account of her Africanness, it would be owing to the fact that she is so ignorant.

On went the conversations and I laughed to myself. At how our not-knowing some things as Africans serves to reinforce our plight. Confirms our lowliness. But tell me, since when was not-knowing synonymous with ignorance? Not knowing iPads on my side of the world is a tragedy, my friends. Take a moment to pity the not-knower. Not knowing an iPad as an American is simply an opportunity to be explained-to.

Chonde, don’t hesitate to speak up if I am reading too much into this.

But anyway.

“I should buy The Netflix for my television.”

Yes, she said, with a tinge of suppressed laughter. Me I was laughing, yo. “The Netflix.” “Buy.”

Can I just say, my darlings, that I Cannot, Even?

Can I also say, like my cousin wrongly would, Palm To Face?

The bus was arriving a the station at this point, and the journey was coming to a close. I was anticipating meetings ahead of me with certain people, and my mind ran away to thoughts of them before I could eavesdrop more. But now I am reminded of it. It’s funny.

I just thought I would share that.

Gilmore Girls (on “The Netflix” awaits).


When you have traveled alone as much as I have, things get…complicated.

Especially when you over-think, and over-plan, and make sure that you are there well, well, well in advance.

Because truthfully, well, well, well-in-advance is much better that suitcase hauling madness dropping things everywhere- dropping  neck-pillows, boarding passes, books, even bride price- running ungracefully, sweating profusely in the hoodie you wore because in that airport, the temperature is remote-controlled, but not by God.

When you are like me, you have had to go to close by places and far away lands (and close-by places in far-away lands), alone.

Then you realize that it is quite a shame that you have only two eyes with which to read the many signs to get to the gates to get to the flights to get to the far away places or close-by lands.

Then you realize that your two ears must do an impeccable job of being alert and listening, to grainy voices that speak Englishes dipped thickly in foreign tongues. Then you realize that for the lone traveler, headphones are not always the best idea, and that Emeli Sande just may have to wait for when the captain turns off the seat-belt light to serenade your soul.

Colorado Bus-Ride

You learn that No, there is no conductor on the bus and No, do not hand your dollar-twenty-five to the bus driver.

Yes, feel the shame he intends you to feel when his eyes bore into yours Questioningly.

Yes, feel a pang of guilt when yours look back helpless, Answeringly.

“In the machine,” he says. It whirrs.

You walk away wondering why he didn’t try to hide his annoyance.


Sitting on a quiet street outside Lincoln Community School, you think, not for the first time, of how alike this weather is to October at home. Save for the humidity. Which yanks your pores open and fills them with moisture. Then dust. Hello, break-outs.

I am a beautiful, fair faced angel on the inside and that’s what counts.


You wave goodbye to your mum and dad, unbeknownst to you that your suitcases do not intend on journeying with you.

“See you in Boulder,” they, the suitcases, say. But of course you are too busy waving to mum and dad, that you do not hear them.


Ah. That bored-looking woman who held the now familiar logo in her hand with her bored-looking wee lass. The wee little lass who said, obligatorily

“Pleasure to meet you,” when really, you knew she didn’t care about meeting another student from another country in Africa to take on another (what was it, 45 minutes?) 45 minute-long bus ride to a clove of green-roofed buildings.

The wee little lass and her wee little sass as she eyed the pack of gum you offered which her mother told her with one look she was not to have.  (Is that really how it happened?)

The little girl’s outfit was a pink rainbow, yo. Pink rainbow. Red and orange and pink and blue, but all still pinkish.

You were the only one with a flight at that time, the bored-looking woman said, while yawning.

It didn’t occur to you that this would be a pattern.


Eh, koma the way the children run after the wobbling white car. With such speed and determination. Such big smiles for distant cousins from distant places where no children run after cars. Such big holes in their shorts. Running fast, to be first to touch it when it slows to a halt in front of Agogo’s new iron-sheet-roofed house. Then shyly line themselves along the wall for mum to get out of the car hand them a hundred kwacha To Share- all one million of them, at which point their neat line breaks up into a mad frenzy and, when they think you’re not looking, they do weird obscene dances that you highly doubt are appropriate for children their ages.

But I digress, you were not alone on that trip


When you are like me, you plan, plan, plan. Make sure your passport’s reachable always. Nobody likes a fumbler fumbling through her bag for her passport while they wait in line. Make sure you are calm, you will not crash this time. You will not be the exception to how safe flying is. You will not miss your bus stop. You will get on the right train at the right time, do not sweat it.


Eish but with those newly done micro-braids, I hope your hairline doesn’t suffer. But they last long, as we all know. And they look neat. Future leader? You definitely look the part.

 via Jozi waku Mauritius

If this plane crashes, may God forgive all your sins, Known and Unknown. Said, thought and done. Words, thoughts and deeds.

The clouds outside your oval window are so thick, so dark and, judging from how violently the plane is shaking, not playing at all. Holding tighter to your seat will not help you in any way, shape or form, my darling. Say your prayers. Those loud African American college students filling the middle aisle certainly are. So say them loud, say them proud.

If you are to die, let it be while you say the name of Jesus.

New York City

Where, oh where is that email. What did it say? Did it say I should look for the words Three Dot Dash, or for three dots and a dash? Or for my name? Eish, abale.

Drag your luggage this way. Drag your luggage that way. Look left, look right. As if you are safely trying to cross the road, but that’s not it. Where is he? Ah, there he is.

“Hi, I’m Priscilla Takondwa Semphere,” you say, pointing to the the placard he holds with your name written on it.

“Where are you going?” he asks.

“Three Dot Dash…” you say clumsily, after a  most awkward I-thougt-you-were-joking laugh.

“Yes, but where,” he asks.

You frown, and pull up the email you were finally able to find.

“Affinia Manhattan Hotel¿” you half declare, half ask.

“Alright, then! Welcome to New York City!” he exclaims, his new-found enthusiasm causing you to jump a little, a little jump you disguise as a shift forward to get to the waiting car with him.”Sorry for that. Security measures.”

And given everything you have heard about America, you can’t help but wonder if security measures would be in place if your skin were a different colour. But he was nice the rest of the way, so you let it go.

You let it go.

Northampton, Massachusetts via  Jozi

You let it go, ma’am” you repeat. A little rudely mimicking.

Eish but Priscilla where on earth is this boldness coming from?! Hm! Zoketsa zedi.

“I’m sorry, ma’am. but don’t you have a 50 ml restriction? This is not even 20 mls.”

Ah, ah. Again, I ask, where is this boldness coming from? And over mildly scented Nivea lip balm. A kiss of smoothness.

“Ma’am. Please just let it go.” You let it go and look at her offended.

Do you honestly look like a ‘ma’am’ to her?


Clementines in a cardboard box, £1.69 per kg. Honestly, you would not pay that money for those normal looking “clementines” (simanachesi awa? Tangerines? Ih, kaya mani). Right after the clementines in cardboard for one pound sixty-nine per kay gee, there is a wall of… just…utter unLondonness, to be frank. The ugliest green and the ugliest white in the ugliest manner. Such an ugly scene. Some sort of a building. If this was 2015 and you had your Samsung Galaxy with you, you would take a picture of this and put it on Instagram. You would tag @thesanmi and the caption would be,

“This is the London they never show you. #omg #thirdworldsavesfirstworld”

But you are not alone on this trip. Again, we have digressed.

See, if you are me, and you have travelled mostly alone, you don’t really see things. Something about travelling alone doesn’t permit you really looking and taking in. Because your eyes are constantly on the signs ahead of you. And you have a place to be. And you have a set destination with set and scheduled plans. But see, there are those moments when you permit yourself to see, and when you do, the memory lasts forever.


Green, green, green. Blue, blue, blue. Water, and school uniforms. Noodles with a sunny-side up egg on top. A first for you. Guitars and people and books and waves and a peek into the future.

Humidity, but the refreshing sort.


This one is a journey that only you can travel. Nothing odd about doing this one alone. This one is a journey where the only signs you read are probably in your heart, or hidden somewhere in God’s mutterings. And then sometimes they are personified. In this journey you are not allowed to not see. You have to, my dear. Here, you are the only one on the queue, so feel free to fumble through your bag, fumbler.

Here, handing the driver the bills is okay. If you need to learn that the bills go in the whirring machine, handing the driver the bills is a sure way of finding out.

“There is only one way to learn. It’s through action. Everything you need to know you have learned through your journey.” – Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

Rules for Engagement

Those who seek to know me

Must have the upper arm strength to dig

Must have tools for excavation

Must seek not only to look, but to truly behold

Must not only see but perceive with the sharpest of eyes.

Those who seek to love me must have perception

Their soul’s eye must be sharp and catching

They must have patience, to teach as I learn to love, to learn as I show them how I am to be loved

The ones who dare to knock on my heart’s doors must know

That I do not open it to strangers.

That when I do let people in it is, at first, to sit down and converse over hot beverages

That I do not walk them up to my mind’s bedroom to see the most intimate places of my soul

That if you are to stay, it is with waiting, as I learn how to share my private space.

Those who are insulted by their discoveries must kindly bid their goodbyes

There will be no need for plate-smashing, door-banging exits

There will be no strength for lung-bursting screams that crack my heart’s windows

There will be no appreciation for belittlement

They must kindly bid their goodbyes and walk out, heads preferably held at level-height.

Those who choose to stay must roll up the sleeves

For sometimes the house that my heart is is falling apart, so we mend

Sometimes, the carpets need cleaning, so we bend

Over and over, cleaning and scrubbing

Sometimes, the dirty work is loving

Frustration is grime,

and passion takes time.

Mostly, sit with The Lord, for he sits with me.

If you do not understand what you see, sit anyways,

in abandon with me. Maybe listen. Maybe learn.  But do not spit on the ground before him,

Or I will spit in your hot beverage, my friend.


I don’t imagine that was how you envisioned my spit in your mouth?