Fear, Gift, Talent, Parable of the Talents, Matthew 25:14–30, Bible,Servants, King, Ron Reynolds, The Gift

The parable of the talents accorded in the Bible (Matthew 25:14–30) fascinates me; it makes me ponder at how often we are quick to judge people especially those whose lives we get to read about, yet fail to see and acknowledge the similarities in what we do. Because of the length of this post, I have written it in two parts. So here we go…

The parable narrates the story of a rich man who went on a journey. Before leaving, he called his three servants and gave each of them a talent. To one servant, he gave 5 talents, to another he gave 2 talents and to the third servant he gave 1 talent. The first two servants went ahead, invested in their talents and gained interest, while the third servant hid his talent by digging it into the ground until his masters’ return. On the masters’ return, he was impressed with his first two servants obviously because their talents yielded increase but was disappointed with the third servant and banished him from the kingdom. This scenario reminds me of a saying that ‘your gift will make a way for you’. The saying is true and it did work for the first two servants who put their talents to use and got rewarded.

Most people who hear this story express and relinquish anger and disgust at the third servant, they blame him for not taking action or for being greedy and not being contented with what he was given and I wouldn’t blame you for thinking so because I once had that notion until it dawned on me that many of us are like the third servant and do things similarly to him.

I read a book called ‘The Gift’ by Ron Reynolds. According to Ron “inside of every human is a gift to be used and shared, it’s a call to help, to save or to rescue; a talent to be nourished or an idea that needs to grow”. Back to the story, the first two servants nourished their talents and that led to more talent deposited to them. I wouldn’t say putting their talents to use was easy as I’m pretty sure they went through phases like doubts, unbelief and fear. None the less they gave it a thought and went into action rather than sitting and wallowing in contemplation like most people do forgetting that the circumstance of today was as a result of yesterday’s thoughts. The third servant, on the other hand, wallowed in envy and jealousy. He didn’t realise that he could have been a hero since rooted in every man is a talent or a gift that needs to be shared.

The irony of this story is even though sometimes we are aware of what to do (I say ‘sometimes’ because often times we are clueless) we often get complacent and act foolishly like the third servant did. While pondering on this, I assume the third servant acted the way he did as a result of fear because fear comes in different forms. For example, we fear what the outcome of our actions might be or what others would think about us and this is often a contributing factor to holding one back from being productive. Aside fear, we get lazy, procrastinate and shy away from responsibilities and forget that everyone is embedded with a gift or a talent and that heroes are ordinary people who rise up to the challenge of life but do not recognise they’ve got the strength embedded in them until someone shows them or as I like to put it, until they take up the challenge to find out for themselves.

Another factor that could prevent us from using our gift is what we tend to believe. For instance, many people think they have nothing to contribute to the world and I really like how Ron Reynolds puts it. He said ‘a gift is to be used and shared’ in other words, a talent is not to be left dormant or buried. We need to rise up and understand that by not using the gift deposited in us either from birth or the ones developed over time, we only limit ourselves to several opportunities yet to unfold, opportunities to learn, grow and make an impact in our generation and those gifts will lie dormant, rusting away if they are not being exercised.

I believe every individual has been deposited with a talent and these talents varies from gifts of eloquence – to speak in public and talk to nations, encouraging and healing rather than speaking ill and gossiping about others, it could be the gift of teaching- being a coach, a mentor, a counsellor, an actor, a poet, a singer, an artist, a writer, lots and lots of talents. The amazing thing is, these talents have been set in place for us and we wouldn’t be brought to earth if they weren’t. I strongly believe we’ve been created to reign and where we reign is where our Creator reigns and he would only breathe on what we attempt to improve.

Today, I would like to educate you on how I stay safe and how you can keep yourself safe and share tips to look out for so you don’t get caught up with the wrong guys.

I used to be a victim of hackers ( I say ‘used to’ because at the time, I didn’t know what I know now). One time, they hacked into my yahoo account and sent silly messages pretending to be me and they also sent links to my contacts to click and view (I am aware some of you if not all have experience this as well). These links can sometimes be embarrassing as they contain ‘not so good images’.  Not only did they hack into my yahoo account, they also hacked into my Skype account to send links and my Facebook account to write a post. Luckily for me, I realized quickly and took necessary steps to prevent this from repeating itself.

There is a probability you are aware of what to do to remain safe online and there are obviously several ways of being safe but I would be sharing a few which I feel are not often mentioned when the issue of online security is brought up.

Number one tip  for me, was to learn to avoid remembering my password or username on my personal computers or laptop when it pops up, especially when it is unattended. (I know it saves a lot of time when it comes to remembering passwords, nonetheless hackers might track down information when a person remain signed in). Presently, I make an effort not to remember my password and username on my laptop.  It is strongly advisable you do not tick the option to prevent your credentials from being stored on the computer too.

Secondly, I cultivate the habit of logging out of sites that involve my signing in at all time. Also, I avoid signing in to unknown wifi spot when out or leaving my Bluetooth on when it is not in use. This is because, I don’t want to leave anything to chance. Most importantly, I am cautious of what sites I visit. I try avoiding sites without https:// as can be seen below

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If the page is not secure/ or safe, I could always try finding the site by typing the https// before the URL in the location bar that way my information won’t be stolen by eavesdroppers and attackers. For instance, when trying to visit a website called ‘Stay Safe Online’, (for the purpose of this post I have used a dummy web page) rather than being tempted to put ‘staysafeonline’ in the URL, I make an effort by inserting ‘https:// staysafeonline’. Try and put this in practice – it would help a lot.

Additionally, something I find annoying which is another means by which hackers tend to strike is by sending out malicious web link while pretending to be an authentic site. This is known as ‘Phishing’ this means, the emails they send to a person looks genuine and they request for that person to reset their  password. Unfortunately these emails are dangerous because they look real and when you click on the link it would give the attacker access to your personal information.

Also, I am very careful what link I accept and what I share with others as I do not want to cause others to be victims. Also I am weary when opening attached files or clicking on web link in emails.

Below is an email I got from a fake Amazon team asking me to change my password as it has been reset.  Obviously I didn’t reset my password whatsoever, so I was tempted to click on the link provided and change the password. This is often our first impulse when we receive such emails. Luckily I suspected the link and didn’t sign in. Then I asked a friend of mine who also confirmed the email was fake.

1Lastly, hackers pretend to be authentic by altering URL addresses with the aim of causing confusion and if you fall for it would infect your computer with virus or spyware. For example, what hackers do to deceive people is rather than put ‘Citybank.com’ in the url, the attacker uses ‘citibank.com’. (As you can see, the difference in both sites is a letter ‘I’). This method of attack is called ‘Spoofing (Masquerade attack)’. As I always suggest, be on guard always when you receive a link from what you believe to be a well-known source.

This brings me to my conclusion. You might be wondering ‘what is the big deal with securing my device?’. One out of many which I believe is what most of us are always concerned about is the issue of ‘Identity Theft’.  This occurs when forms of identity are obtained in ones name and if this happens, the hackers might use your personal details to set up a bank account or obtain credit cards, loans and benefits in your name. So you want to be very mindful of people manipulating your details.

I hope my experience and how I try to stay safe has shed light and help you understand why it is important to keep yourself safe online.

Please feel free to make contributions or suggestions. Let us educate ourselves and reduce the number of people that get hacked.

Till I write to you again, stay safe and educate others to do same.

sea-2213348_640Starting your menstrual cycle is one of the most exciting stages in a girls’ life. Growing up, I was so excited about starting to experience significant changes like growing hair in my private regions and so on. At this stage, I felt like and anticipated to start my menstruation. You can imagine how I felt when I found out; so thrilled I jumped for joy.

However, I didn’t quite understand why one had to bleed from the vagina, all I knew was “I’m now a woman so should take proper care of myself; bath regularly, be neat at all times and that a man was not supposed to touch me down there, else I’d get pregnant”. So, I grew up with this mentality. Unfortunately, I did not know when to expect my next flow.  Luckily for me, however,  I had warning signs that got me prepared for the month.

Like my younger self, some teenagers might be so excited about seeing changes in their body and starting their period but are not clear on when to expect their next flow.

In this article, I would briefly highlight syndromes to look out for in your body and how to calculate your flow. If you’ve got any concern please speak to an experienced female or visit your general practitioner ( GP) or your health care provider to explain these changes.

Let’s get started: 

January 

Let’s assume the first day I bled was the 20th of January. Prior to that, I had symptoms which often varies. Some of the pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) includes; Backache, Ache in the breast, Migraine, Feeling irritable and moody, or surprisingly swell in the hand.

Often times, these signs do not stay the same each month. The signs you get before your flow needs to be noted.Your body is wired differently so you may feel some of these and not all. As you become familiar with your body, you would understand when next to expect your period.

Furthermore, keeping track of how long you bled and how heavy, normal or light your flow was is necessary as it would help you prepare for the next month.

February

So let us count my period cycle.

The first day I bled was on the 20th of January and the next time I saw my flow was the 16th of February, this means my menstrual cycle is equaled 27days. In other words, I should expect my next flow on the 15th of March.  Take, for instance, I had my last period on the 17th of February, it means I have a 28days cycle. Therefore, my next period will be on the 16th of March and prior to this day, I would get one or more syndromes as stated above. If you haven’t got some of the syndromes I mentioned earlier, feel free to comment on what sort of syndromes there could be.

Assuming you experience one of those syndromes early, it means you are likely to start your menstruation on time and if you feel the symptoms later, you can predict that your period would start late. Something I forgot to mention, sometimes you might experience a later or early flow, especially during the first couple of years of starting your period; and could possibly miss a period altogether. This is completely normal. However,  those who are sexually active should have a test as a missed period could mean you are pregnant. Furthermore, there is a possibility of your cycle changing as you get older.

Wheesht (long sigh)!! I know this is the longest I have ever written, but I hope this has been a lot helpful. If you already knew how to calculate this, you’ve refreshed your understanding and if you’re new to this you’ve also learned something major. 🙂

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Congrats to the queen for being the longest serving head of state since her great -great grand mother- Queen Victoria.

The queen has reigned exactly 63 years, 217days today in an ever changing world with strength and an “enduring spirit”

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