The Gift and the Curse


Two things:
One: (I need to post this story but I’m truly struggling with the intro. I’ll fill it in later, after I’ve stringed my thoughts better together. I was saying something about Netflix and Castbox and Spotify. And how you can tell where people’s heads are at from the footprints they’ve left behind there. At some point the idea of a chef’s ingredients in his pantry came into the picture, hahaa, but I put it aside.)

Two: Do you notice how snobbish a writer sounds when they’re talking about the books they’re reading and they go around dropping author names? [Insert snotty accent and a pinkie raised in the air] ‘Ham On Rye’ by Charles Bukwoski’. Or, ‘The Artist’s Way’ by Julia Cameron.

Dropping author names, I feel, talks down to the reader. Makes them feel like they are not as exposed, as cultured and as disciplined as you are. As though they are talking down at you

I only read Kindle.

These are the three books currently on my bookshelf:

Ham On Rye
‘Ham On Rye’ is about a boy coming of age in 1920s LA.

His folks are immigrants from Germany, Henry is an only child. His Ol’Man is a jobless delivery guy, he dresses up every morning and drives away in his car because he doesn’t want his neighbors to think he’s without work. He’s big on putting up appearances. His mum is a stay at home mum.

Henry is… growing up. And you know how growing up is a difficult thing for a child to do, no?

You don’t who you are and what you’re not, what you like and what you don’t. Everyone around you – your folks, teachers, siblings, pals – is constantly pushing their proclivities down your throat. You gradually develop a distaste for these things because they were forced down on you. 

That’s how rebellions are birthed.

(I swear I had an illustration for this but I can’t recall it.)

Anyway, what’s truly heartbreaking about this book is how Henry’s dad needles him until he (Henry) is without a sense of self or personal worth. This particularly unsettled me because I understand, first hand, how the words that come from our mouths as parents can build up or break down our kids.

Henry at some point thought to himself, Surely, these can’t be my parents. I was adopted and they don’t like the person I’m becoming.

There were regular beatings at home and fights at school. Henry grew angry, aggressive, churlish and easily sparked. Dark energy that birthed only more dark energy.

I kept reading because I was rooting for Henry. I wanted him to have a win. Any win. 

The arc of the narrative took on a less weighty, less dark tone when Henry was in 4th grade (how old is that?) and the only things on his young mind were babes, breasts, booty and booze. 

Then there was wanking, lots of it. And severe acne. And cigarettes. Temp jobs. Running away from home. Almost joining a street gang. Dabbling at college. Making and dropping pals. More pointless drunken brawls to nurse his broken spirit. Hangovers. World War II. 

Does Henry get a win at some point down the line? Does the underdog triumph?

Read the book to find out.

Here are some quotes from Henry’s story that cracked me up:

“Her breasts were something that no mere mortal would ever see—they were only for kings, dictators, rulers, Filipinos.”

“A fat woman came out from behind the curtain. She had body odor. I could smell her strong odor as she walked past. Her smell was mixed with the smell of the church, which smelled like piss. Every Sunday people came to mass and smelled that piss-smell and nobody said anything.”

“After English class one day Mrs. Curtis asked me to stay. She had great legs and a lisp and there was something about the legs and the lisp together that heated me up.”

“We stayed quite a while and asked all sorts of questions about God. Like, how tall was He? And did He just sit in a chair all day? And did He go to the bathroom like everybody else? The priest never did answer our questions directly but still he seemed like a nice guy, he had a nice smile.”

“Why did I come here? I thought. Why is it always only a matter of choosing between something bad and something worse?”

“Your parents don’t give you much love, do they?”

“I don’t need that stuff,” I told her.

“Henry, everybody needs love.”

The Artist’s Way
‘The Artist’s Way’ is a self-help resource for blocked creatives. It has tools to help them unblock themselves – an exercise a week for 12 weeks, free writing in the mornings (morning pages, she calls them) and taking your artist self on a date every week (what I call Play time).

I learned about this book from Patricia Kihoro’s comment section on IG. 

I am reading this book because I’m curious about who we are as artists, but mostly because I sometimes feel cursed to be chosen as an artist. 

I especially feel this way on the days when:
– I don’t have enough money to spend on the useless things that bring me joy
– I don’t beat copy deadlines
– I’m bored working alone from home
– I wear bad underwear
– I’m sluggish
– I’m testy from stewing in my own energy
– I’m anxious about my next necessary career/writing move
– I’m not confident with whatever I have written
– Whatever I have written and shared isn’t getting reader engagement online
– My workday begins closer to noon because mummy duties took priority and ate up my prime writing time in the morning
– I remember that print media is a sinking ship and I’m not pulling myself together to pull myself out in time
– My Daily Nation editors don’t run my stories

Early on in the book, the writer shares 10 basic principles, one of which is, “Creativity is God’s gift to us. Using creativity is our gift back to God.”

The Happy Sleeper
This book is a ‘science-backed guide to helping your baby get a good night’s sleep’.

And I like that, the use of the term ‘help’. It sounds gentle, optimistic and maternal. ‘This can be done, Bett. Your baby can sleep for 12 straight hours. Wipe that scepticism off your forehead with a handkerchief.’

As a new mum, there are three things you want to nail: your baby’s feeding, your milk production and your baby’s sleep.

This holy trinity of new motherhood. (I made that up. Feel free to use it wherever, whenever.)

What I’ve encountered from experience is that if you nail one of these three, chances are high you will nail the other two: if your baby is feeding well, he is stimulating your breast milk production and is gaining weight to sleep better at night and at nap time during the day. And because he’s sleeping better, you are sleeping better and are getting the rest you need to produce milk in excess and get up before sunrise to pump it out; you will have such excess that you can freeze some for later.

The Holy Trinity.

I totally nailed the milk production with Muna. I didn’t quite nail her feeding or her sleep.

In hindsight I couldn’t help her feeding, what I could help was her sleep.

And as much as I wanted to, I didn’t know how to help her sleep better. I remember when she was four months old, I brought her into our bed and she never quite left. And up until today – she’s five now – Muna doesn’t know how to put herself to sleep or how to return to sleep.

At bedtime, either me or GB will need to lay in her bed with her until she’s completely snoring. Sometimes, in the middle of the night, she will leave her bed, walk down the corridor in th dark and climb into ours. Like something of a night walker. 

It’s sweet but at the same time it’s not.

You don’t want to sleep in the same bed with a toddler. They fart directly into your nose and it goes straight to your lungs. You’ll still be catching your breath when you feel a kick to your liver and an uppercut to your jaw.

Having a second baby is a second chance to fix what you didn’t get right the first time around.

My pal recommended I buy this book to help me nail Njeeh’s sleep.

Did I? I suppose I did.

I’m convinced that I thought about self-soothing so much that he began sucking his thumb to soothe himself to sleep. Suffice to say, from when he was two months old, the boy was sleeping from 9p.m to 4a.m. He would wake up in the middle of the night – as we all do – but he would suck his thumb to soothe himself back to sleep.

I sort of felt cheated because I wanted him to need me more. Hahha. 

Anyway, Njeeh is now six and a half months old, and is losing some of these capabilities.

I know – I know – there is something I’m not doing to help him progress. I have to go back to this Sleep Bible. 

Now the next thing to think about is, how will I kick this thumb-sucking habit?

My salonist is killing me!
Turn the lights on

Comments (2)

  1. Mercy Kambura

    Both my babies are thumb-suckers (sounds so …weird … when I say it like that), they are now 6 and 3 — and they still suck the thumbs. 3 is more hooked to her thumb, she can’t sleep without it. 6 is getting over it, but she will occasionally suck to soothe herself especially just before she falls asleep. I tried everything, and they still sucked the thumbs. I decided they won’t be sucking their thumbs when they’re 35, they’ll stop when they want. Thumb sucking makes the calmest babies, FYI.

    • Bett

      It does, to be honest, it makes them quite calm. And independent, because they can while away with that thumb in their mouth. Entertain themselves, as well. Alone. Like a smoker, hahhaa. Only reason I want to stop him now is cause of how it gets in the way of their growing teeth.

      PS. ‘Won’t be sucking at 35’. L.O.L. You totally killed me.

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Florence Bett-Kinyatti


Columnist Saturday Nation Writer Craft It Author of best-selling ‘SHOULD I?’ and ‘HOW MUCH?’ ~ Guiding word: Overdrive Subscribe to our Newsletter👇🏾 eepurl.com/igmN8P
  • Dear God, 
It’s me again.

I don’t pray as often as I need to, You know that. I don’t kneel by my bed in child-like humility, as Muna does. I don’t whisper a prayer in the morning. Or at noon. Perhaps just in the evening. 

This going-to-church habit is a constant false start. So is reading the Word. 

I’m often guilty but I also know: You and I have a language only we can understand. 

I speak to You through this gift You bestowed upon my Kale shoulders, this gift to write in colour. It’s a gift that sometimes feels like a curse, a burden I have no choice but to pursue. 

Yet other times – most times, actually – it’s the very breath of my essence. Everyday I sit to write, when the words flow from my head and heart through my fingers to the page, I feel You next to me. 

You are here, Lord. Hovering. Lingering. Swooshing about in Your regal robes, like a character from Bridgerton.

Sometimes You get so close I can feel You breathing on my neck and I’m like, ‘Err, God, do You mind, personal space?’

And You chuckle uncomfortably. ‘He-he, of course. Of course.’

I’m here to tell You, Thanks!

I hosted my first in-person event last March, Lord, thank You to all the lovely ladies who granted me their time and full attention. 

I’ve carried them in my heart since and every day, my prayer is that You bring them closer to the life of abundance they each seek. To their own version of wealth. 

I always call them by their name: Becky. Purity. Lindsay. Wangui. Naomi. Shiqow. Mercy. Liz. Winnie. Polly. Nduta. Lynet. 

And Mike. 

Dear Lord, I’m prepping for my next in-person event in June, Inshallah. 

Walk with me as I get there. 

Love always,

  • Highlights from our first-ever in person event hosted by Craft It and @financialfitbit 
Thanks to all the lovely ladies — and gent, hehe — who honoured us with the privilege of their time and attention. And colourful energy. It’s been weeks since and it’s only now that I’m coming down from the high. 

Thank YOU!

🎥 @mikemuthaka 

#craftit #author #MakeYourMoneyMatter #personalfinance #money
  • I am a woman.

I’m strong. I’m brilliant. I’m like a comet shooting across the sky, I’m so bright you have to put on shades to see me.

I’m almost 40, I’m almost fully realising myself as a woman and the power of womanhood I possess.

I’m so powerful that if KPLC connected me to the national grid, I’d power up this country and we’d never have another blackout.

Ho! Ho! Ho!


To recognize and celebrate International Women’s Day today, I’d like to recognize and celebrate eight women.

I have eight things to give away to each of these women:
a) Two tickets to my upcoming event on March 18 with @financialfitbit Theme is ‘Make your money matter’
b) Three autographed copies of my book ‘Should I?’
c) Three autographed copies of my other book ‘How Much?’

To participate:
1. Like this post
2. Tag women who deserve a win of either event ticket or book (tag as many women as you like)
3. Tell us what you’d like her to win and why she deserves the win
4. Make sure your tagged women follow @_craftit and @financialfitbit 

Here are the rules for the giveaway:
— One woman, one win
— Winners will be contacted via DM
— Giveaway closes at the end of this week, Inshallah, on Sunday 12 March
— Only open to people living in Kenya

All the best!

(Swipe right to see the women I’m celebrating.)

#craftit #internationalwomensday
  • My 2022 word of the year was Wholesome. 

Wholesome meant engaging in moderation and in pursuits that didn’t leave me feeling yucky.

An example: there’re weekend nights I’d go out then have too much to drink. On the drive home, I’d tell GB to stop the car every half mile so I could throw up on the side of the road. Then I’d take three working days recovering. 


No more of that nonsense.

Now I have only two doubles of Singleton whiskey and chase it with water. I eat less food and I eat better. I take my supplements. I treat myself to an early bedtime and arise with my body clock, no alarm.

I spend a lot more time hanging with my kids, Muna and Njeeh. 

I buy fewer things. 

I play the piano. 

I created a disciplined routine for my work and take Thursdays off. 

You catch my drift…

Wholesome has become my lifestyle. 

(By the way, I was asked, ‘Where does this word-of-the-year come from, Bett?’ I don’t know about other people but for me, the words present themselves when I’m journaling. My spirit tells me what it needs; I must be still enough to listen and brave enough to obey.)

My word for 2023 is Overdrive.

My two books have unlocked new opportunities for me as a writer and creative. As an urban brand. I’d honestly not foreseen them. 

I know that if I adjust my sails to where the wind is blowing, these opportunities will translate to wealth.

Last Friday, I listed all the work I’m already doing and all the new opportunities – potential and realised – knocking at my door.

I asked myself, ‘What am I taking up here and what am I dropping?’

The response, ‘None – we go into overdrive and smartly pursue them all.’

#craftit #urbanguide
  • Years ago, my best friend said to me, ‘Bett, we’re almost 40 – forget makeup, let’s take care of our skin instead.’

I had to laugh because this was coming from Terry. Terry my Kisii pal, this fine gyal with skin the colour of honey, the only practising SDA in my circle. 

Terry had spent her 20s and early 30s sleek with Arimis. That’s right, the milking jelly with a lactating cow on its logo. 

Arimis addressed all her skin pickles back then. It was her problem fixer. Her Olivia Pope. It’s the one thing that always said, It’s handled.

Now here she was preaching to us about a consistent skincare regimen in the AM and PM.


It wasn’t until Terry shared her selfies on our girls WhatsApp group that I stopped laughing. It wasn’t until we stood next her – and took these selfies – that I reeally stopped laughing: Terry’s skin was youthful and toned, plump. Hydrated. Moistured but not shiny. 

It looked like it had been kissed by the Greek goddess of radiance. 

So we gathered around her feet and said, ‘Forgive us, master. We are ready now. Teach us everything you know.’

She did. 

Terry and I now spend plenty of time before work and before bed squeezing out little portions of expensive skincare products from expensive tubes, we layer them on our face in a calculated measure.

This serum here is for the circles under my eyes and the fine lines around my mouth.

Turns out I’ve been giving away too much of my face: I’ve been looking too hard, laughing too easily.

I’ll have to spend the next year into my 40s with my eyes half shut and laughing little. I'll have a resting bitch face.

Don’t blame me, blame the retinol.

And age.

#craftit #urbanguide #urbangirl
  • I’m Bett. I’m the author of your favourite books about money. I’m hosting an in-person event in March, Inshallah: This is my personal invite to you.

#craftit #moneymaker #moneyinkenya
  • I am hosting my first money event this March, Inhsallah. It’s the first of quarterly events I have planned for the year. 

(Give me a moment here so I pull myself together long enough to write this. I’m smiling very hard right now, ha-ha, I look like a donkey.)


The event will be in-person. On a Saturday morning, a loose three hours which, I am certain, you’d have burned on some other pursuit you couldn’t account for later. (I’d probably be oiling the hinges of a squeaky door or decluttering my sock drawer.)

My guest host for this edition is Lynet Kyalo. 

Lynet is a personal finance coach under her brand @financialfitbit She also hosts @getyourbagrightpodcast 

Buy your tickets from our Market.

Early bird tickets are discounted until the end of this month.

Limited slots available. 

#craftit #millenialmoney #moneyevent #moneymaker
  • Sometimes I sit down and read my own book. 

Odd, huh?

Reading my own stories is like an out-of-body experience. Or getting introduced to myself again. An outward journey inward.

It’s fascinating.

I also read because I need to improve my writing for my next project.

We call them the Elements of Craft: things like sentence structure and punctuation, word placement, story length etc, they all inform your reading experience.

This is what makes the book easy to read, and has you turning the pages.

Cop your autographed copy and #betteryourmoney 

#craftit #howmuch #millenialmoney #moneymaker

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