kleiman creative writing contest

Love, Laugh, Live: A Backstory

A lot like Minnie pic by Ithan Hurd

“From time to time, we all must go into a landscape—be it inner or outer landscape—where there are no hiding places. Allowing the stark awe and silence to aid us in both communing and confronting the depth of ourselves.

We fear emptiness because we know that within those places of nothingness we will come face-to-face with who we are and gaze into the internal mirror. But what is the alternative? Shall we go our entire life without hearing our own voice . . . without ever having met who we are when isolated from all?”
― L.M. Browning

I’ve been writing online on and off since I started Uni in 2008. I know this because it was during the hey days of the Blogger platform (a lesser equal of WordPress). I would spend hours poring over blogs by Sydney Liann from The Daybook and Lauren Whiting from The Yellow Farm.

I was there through their engagements, marriages, baby deliveries, everything really from the other side of my laptop.

And I’ll tell you this: If you’d have asked me then, I would have denied it, but I so deeply, badly, desperately wanted their married by 19 lives.


As you can tell, my story didn’t pan out like theirs. Thank you God! I got out of an okay relationship that I was working hard to make successful (building the dream) and fell sweepingly into the wisps of love with my husband.

The thing is, our love story, like all epic ones, began in the middle as a more bitter than beautiful beginning. To have made it this far could only be by the hand of God. But if you think about it, when it comes to love and life, every bitter thing is sweet. Maybe not on impact but God sweetens and makes all things beautiful in their time. It’s no wonder some of the greatest love stories speak of great battles and wars. And since we’ve been seared with the same scars, I guess maybe God feels that war stories like ours need to be told.

I began working my writing muscles by writing about that kind of love but over time, I’ve come to remember that love is broader.

There’s a sea of great folk muddled in the pits in a world of pain that need love. There’s scores of young girls and ladies parting their thighs for the jolt of hearing the words ‘I love you’. That breaks my heart deeply because the coochie is not a speed train to the heart. There’s only one way to get there and it’s long and winding. It’ll ask for all of you but it’ll be worth it.

There’s God whose every motivation, action and thought is summed up in the word love. We misunderstand Him and ask the wrong questions sometimes because pain fogs up our glasses.

I’m not saying that I’ve got all the answers but I’ve made a point to give myself over to love. To remember it. To remember why. To remember the author and to heal hearts while at it.

Love is the ministry. Love is the calling.


I had a dream in 2015. In the dream, there was a man (who looked a lot like Kris Vallotton) praying for people and prophesying over people. He pointed at me and only exclaimed one word: “Creativity! You are full of creativity,” And I started to weep. “There is a level of pain that you have gone through in your life that has corrupted and robbed your bank of the sweetness of God.” I wept even more.

It made sense. I had began the 1.0 version of this website around that time and I kid you not, I didn’t know how to pose for photos. This exasperated my first photographer and my husband who doubled up as back up.

“Smile more,” they’d say. I just didn’t know how.

I wanted it to look natural and like me and I used to seethe at This Is Ess because dear God! How does she always seem so happy and gorgeous at the same time? It didn’t make for the best photos but I got the hang of it after some time.

It’s funny because like I mentioned here, like make up, laughing in a photo where it’s real and beautiful at the same time felt like it was for some people but definitely not me.

The greatest lie of all time can be bound up in two words: someone else. ― Bob Goff Click To Tweet


So when I started my YouTube channel this year, and took up make up, a strange feeling started coursing through me. And that feeling was belonging. The more I saw myself on screen, the more I felt I belong there. It rewired my brain and gave my yes accompanying visuals.

You know what’s even better? I sort of found myself laughing freely. I wouldn’t stop and think about how I looked while at it. I just… laughed. And it felt good.

In fact, my favourite videos so far are the ones where I laugh to tears.

I love it!

And I guess in part, I owe it all to This Is Ess. I now get it. She was probably always in the moment and laughing her heart out and yes, the photos came out great because sometimes you can pause time and capture joy.

I’m a laugher and I owe it to you chica.


I have this uncanny ability to freeze frame and whip up a story from a 30 second observation. I call it professional type level people watching. It’s something the hubs and I have in common.

People are fascinating and even the most mundane of lives just needs a fresh pair of eyes so wonder can set in. Did I mention that it’s why I’m Wonder Woman?

And even though movies are about an hour and a half long, they’ve taught me something meaningful.

Everything’s a story. Everyone’s living a story and great story tellers know how to sniff it out.

There is no ordinary, no basic in this thing called life. We just need a fresh pair of eyes to be drawn to the seemingly mundane and boring even in our own lives.

Reminds me of this grace filled post that one of my oldest friends Mary (her website here is a gem) shared with me during my first year of marriage.

You see, in this age of distraction, of how-tos, need-tos and must-haves, it’s easy to be focused on getting (even if it’s an aspect of someone else’s story) rather than being content with what you already have and the story you’re writing.

I learned a while ago that pulling out measuring sticks to the show reel of other’s lives will make your heart sick.

Why is everyone hungry for more?

“More, more,” they say. “More, more.”

I have God’s more-than-enough,

More joy in one ordinary day

Than they get in all their shopping sprees.

At day’s end I’m ready for sound sleep,

For you, God, have put my life back together.

Psalms 4:6-8 MSG

I just love that!

What if we lived knowing that we are living in the enough of God? The everyday more-than-enough of God? The more-than-enough that has factored in every situation, every outcome and possibility that could come your way? How would your life change if you lived as though this was true for you? Because it is.

Like I said, we only need fresh eyes and a renewed perspective.

There is grace enough, strength enough, all you need enough of to accomplish what you need to accomplish today. When you think about it, aren’t the successful ones the ones who were faithful stewards of their everyday enough?

Living an abundant, running over life will need you to be conscious of every moment, of your everyday enough. Because after all, you will live tomorrow in the fruit of today’s enough if you are faithful to steward it.

I guess that sums up my ethos here.

Love. Laugh. Live my darlings!


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