Little by little…Fills the Pot

There is a Swahili proverb that I learned growing up in Kenya that says “haba na haba hujaza kibaba”. This means “little by little, the pot gets filled”. This vivid image reminds me that in many things we undertake, it takes perseverance and a realization that most things worth having don’t fall into our laps. They require successive stages of effort in order to get to our goal.

My son Caleb, who is almost 4, got me thinking about this concept when we went to the swimming pool this past weekend. He has only been in the pool a few times in his life and during those times, he clung to our necks like a barnacle! So this past Sunday afternoon, we embarked on our new swimming adventure at an outdoor pool not far from our house. I got Caleb excited about how fun it would be to swim and also warned him that he would have to be extra brave since the pool water was likely to be quite cold. I also told him his life jacket was like a super-hero jacket that would help him float.

After a scenic drive through vast farmlands, we arrived at the pool and Caleb walked up to the pool all kitted out in his swimsuit, life jacket and goggles. I knew that plunging him into the cold water at the outset was not likely to be a good idea.  So we started off with him dangling his feet in the pool as other kids splashed around us. “It’s cold, mummy“, Caleb said cautiously. I told him not to worry and that if all he wanted to do that day was dangle his feet in the water, then what was fine. There was no rush.

After some time, I got into the pool and asked if he wanted to join me. He agreed and clung tightly to my neck. I strolled around the pool with the water at my waist and every so often, dipped a little lower in the water. Before long, Caleb started to view it as a game and I could feel the grip of his arms around my neck loosening. I then asked him if I could put him in a horizontal position with my arms under his belly so that he could try kicking his arms and legs to move around. He tried it and although he was unsure at first, he loved it! He then noticed some pool noodles lying at the side of the pool and asked if he could try one. Before long, he had pushed me away and said he wanted to float on his own, his legs and arms kicking excitedly. You can imagine what a proud mama I was at that moment. It had taken baby steps over the course of 1.5 hours to get him to this point but he was already seeming so much more comfortable in the water than when we had first arrived.

Caleb’s swimming experience reminded of two things: one, it takes patience to ‘fill a pot’ slowly rather than engulf it in water but usually the final result is sweeter, more hard-earned, more memorable! And two, our children really depend on us for so much, but there comes a moment when they are ready to do things on their own and even though my son is only just approaching four, I feel that he is becoming so much more independent. It is an interesting phase we are in!

Little by little…fills the pot. I see it in so many facets of my life. I remember when I first started using weights during my exercise a few years ago and I could barely do a tricep curl with 3 pounds. Now I find 10 pounds manageable. It took months of progressively increasing the weight. The expansion of our family didn’t happen overnight. It took months of trying to get pregnant and then a miscarriage before we finally had our first child Caleb and subsequently our second child Naomi. My faith in God is something that has taken many years to grow and bloom. It starts with a small seed of faith that grows into a tree of complete trust and dependence on God. Similarly, it has taken many steps to get to the point where I am finally applying to medical school. But each step brings me closer to my dream and it will mean so much more to me when I get there!

Little by little…fills the pot. Don’t give up on whatever you are working towards or believing for. Some days will be difficult, some days will be easier. But your effort and faith are not in vain. Progress is being made, however slowly it may be.

Caleb with his 'super-hero' goggles, ready for his swimming pool adventure!
Caleb with his ‘super-hero’ goggles, ready for his swimming pool adventure!
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Day 3 of the 30-Day Challenge Finished!

Welcome to Day 3 of the 30-Day Challenge! It’s not too late to get on board for a journey into creating better habits for your mind and body. For those of you who are already on board, how is the challenge going? If you haven’t already done so, please pick a friend who can hold you accountable to the challenge. Challenges like these are always easier with a buddy to give you some support (thank you subsaharangirl for keeping me accountable)! Everyone, if you can just make it to the end of these 30 days, you are well on your way to forming great life-long habits!

Today’s update is short and simple:

  • Fitness: I made it to the pool after putting the kids to bed and swam 26 lengths in a 25 meter pool for about 30 minutes. I usually do breast-stroke but I’m hoping to branch out and do more freestyle (front-crawl) as this works different muscles and it gives me more of a cardio workout. Swimming is a great exercise that works many areas of your body and there’s just something uplifting and calming about gliding through the water. It is a great exercise for those of you who have sensitive knees that cannot handle high impact exercise. It is also relaxing if you are pregnant and don’t really want to be jumping up and down too much. If the pool area has an attached sauna, this could also be a good opportunity to get in some relaxing “you” time (not if you are pregnant though, the heat is not safe for that little bean). Swimming can also break the monotony of any other exercises you may have been doing during the course of the week. Shaking things up in the variety of exercises you do can help prevent boredom and burnout.
  • Nutrition: The past 2 days have allowed me to see what is working and what is not in MyFitnessPal and I think I have finally settled on the amount of calories I need to sustain my weight, workouts and breastfeeding. This comes to about 2800 calories daily. It seems like a lot but I do have to keep in mind that I have a fast metabolism and do not gain weight very easily. If you are using MyFitnessPal to keep track of your calorie intake, it may take a few days of tweaking the program to settle on what goals make sense for you. The calorie intake that the program initially suggests is just a ball park and you may have to adjust it depending on your circumstances (like I did). Based on my new settings in MyFitness Pal, all my nutrition goals were achieved for the day! My focus for next week will be to try some new foods as I tend to eat the same foods over and over.
  • Spiritual: During my devotional time, I decided to start reading the book of I Thessalonians since I tend to skip over it for some reason. The first two chapters were Paul talking very warmly and effusively about the church in Thessalonica and what struck me was how much camaraderie, self-sacrifice and support there was among them. Now of course most churches of that time (and today) had various issues simply because of being made up of people, but it reminded me that the concept of the ‘body of Christ’ is so important. We cannot ‘do’ our faith alone. Just as we need others to help us achieve our goals in life, we need others to help us in our faith, both when we are high on a mountain of blessings or deep in a valley of difficult circumstances.

Day 3 of the 30-Day challenge is finished! We are already half-way through the first week everyone. Great job! Keep going!

Courtesy of woravit.w at freedigitalphotos.net
Courtesy of woravit.w at freedigitalphotos.net