Thursday, 5 December 2013

This too shall pass

Several years ago I was called out to Joshua’s school for a meeting with his teachers. He'd suddenly started limping and the teachers were worried. He'd not been involved in any physical exercise that could have caused the limp neither had anyone seen him fall. Of course, as a parent I was worried as he'd been fine when I dropped him off earlier that day. The school nurse checked him for any broken bone or bruise but found nothing, absolutely nothing. With a smile I took my limping son home. I noticed he was not just limping but dragging his right leg as if it was crippled, practically lifeless. I watched as he dragged the leg while playing oblivious to the panic in my heart. What could have caused this limp in addition to every other thing going on in my little boy's life? At least he doesn't seem to be in pain but I didn't like the way he was dragging his foot. It’s bad enough having to explain to everyone that my cute little boy had no words now this! This went on for three weeks and just like it started my boy started walking normally again. Since then we've gone through the aggression and hitting, screaming, crying cum laughing, scratching almost self harm phase. Josh would just jump off his seat and start crying and screaming, absolutely inconsolable. I understand the medical explanations but it hurts when you can't help your child's behaviour and all you could just do is try to hug the pain away. *Sigh* At that stage I would envelope myself in sadness expressed in tears but it never assuaged the situation only made it worse as I would not be good company to be with or around. It took a while before I realised this "moments" only lasted for a while. They were uncomfortable, unpleasant but they soon passed away. I have lost count of the number of times I was called out from school and work so much I thought I could not cope anymore....but I coped very well and also found favour with my lecturers and bosses. It was during those trying moments that I got a Masters, Diploma in journalism, produced a radio documentary, got two professional certification etc. Looking back now God is indeed faithful. I am encouraged by Psalm 23:1-4 “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, and he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me”. In those challenging perched moments God will refresh your soul after all scriptures says “he provides waters in desolate heights” isn’t that amazing!! Be reassured whatever is making you cry, breaks your heart or seems impossible this day shall also pass way. IT’S JUST A PHASE. I still get those odd calls from my son’s school but I have a better perspective and I tell the situation I AINT BOVERED!!! To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. Eccl 3:1-8

Friday, 22 November 2013

PHAT DIARIES 2.

I had a friend back in secondary school and she had to be the most "foul mouthed" person I'd ever met. During one of her many fights with the boys in our class, she told her sparring partner that "it would have been better if the boy had come out as his mother's monthly menstrual flow instead of him defiling the environment with his face". The poor boy was a mental wreck that day and never got into any verbal exchange with my lovely friend and so did the boys in the class-they all avoided the undisputed foul mouthed fiend like a plague. Ironically, the lady in question was a beautiful lady. On a normal day, you would never imagine she could hurt a fly but appearance indeed could be deceptive. Her words cut like a knife and she was never afraid to use them at will-a sharp mouth wench she was. I dare say given the chance she could stir nations to war with her tongue. If she could send able bodied boys running for cover with mere words imagine what would happen if her words were gentle and warm? Words are powerful. Proverbs 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof”. It is a beautiful experience when you meet people that use words to build up, encourage and entertain. It’s the second in the series of the PHAT DIARIES BY VICTORIA AGHUNOPUA OTONO one thing about village girls that just never seizes to amaze me, their responses to strangers when they say hello. na wa ooo chei, its either the hello is returned with an uncontrollable laughter or a fight hahahah e.g what is it na! is it by force kwa! lemme o! lemme me! hahahahah. one major characteristics of black eye pencil in the village is its versatility i mean the black lips, thick and haphazardly drawn eye brow that looks like the devil just had a makeover ( abeg bros D i no sey na jeje u sit don, na jez example i dey sight hahah) and the by force beauty spots, well spotted that even the flying bird will recognize it. Any way all the hot village champions clap for ya sef una too much. hmmm my pipo sey "one good turn deserves another" but is it all good that is paid with good? what came between the old man and young man 2years later? hmmm the clash of the titan and the gods, here comes iheoma the Helen of ugbuefi kingdom. hmmmmm! it was an unusual day at the stream, it seemed like people were not interested in having their usual play with nature. Relax, that was what is looked like from afar. As iheoma, the shining diamond, the purity of the river and the eyes of gods approached in her royal cuteness, children ran out from the stream to hug her. she was exceptional, she possessed a voice that calmed Amadioha whenever he wanted to strike, a voice that brought Sango the god of thunder to ugbuefi land to cool his anger, the voice that brought Yemoja out of the sea to pick shells. iheoma was the voice Munaego the goddess of wealth and the most beautiful woman that lived. she was a shadow.(hmmm, i painted a picture of a beautiful shadow, an impossible reflection my imagination created! yes, Munaego can only be seen amongst shadows). here comes the big BUT iheoma lived with a curse that revealed that, she must never marry the man that she loved, she will have kids, she will struggle, she will help people but she won't live long. who wants to know how Munaego became a shadow? Any way, the story of iheoma is my favorite bedtime story hahahahhahha, auchh!! telling you that story will be a little distraction from my PHAT DAIRIES. "abeg commot for road, shey na bcos u dey drive dis yeye moto na him make u wan commot our ear wit ur pimpim' chei why are people so aggressive? my people, sometimes don't blame some people for their quick temper because if you were given a minute to wear their shoes, hmmmm! (you don't no the gravity and the weight of pain a lot of people are passing through as a result of the ironies of life) the young man driving the so called 'yeye moto' was only using his horn to create an awareness that a car was coming. hmmmm people sha! "baba!baba! it's me the young man you met at the pub 2 years" this world is spherical, what goes around comes around, no matter how long it takes, people will always meet again. the only factor that might delay is time, what separates us is distance and what ends our existence is death. baba is very excited to meet an old friend that spiced up his sense of taste with that well made, garnished snail with pepper pomo featuring shots of kaikai. me wey like beta tin like shepele, abeg o, if na u wey meet person wey do you beta for past, shey u no go like make dat kain tape play again? (hahahhaha, na confirm Naija mentality b dat) Sharp baba! he couldn't even wait for further introductions, he helped him self into the car and sat down like a chief.(baba oni baba...pomo tins, snail tins, kaikai tins, chilling with old friend hahhahah) hmmm baba had something on his mind. when you see a man with papas cap, big googles and pipe in his mouth seated in front of car with his arm resting on the window and a young fresh man in clean suit driving, hmmmmm see gobe oooo!!!! as they drove, the young man kept on gisting baba about the city and the new development especially on the side of the government who have refused to change their tattoos of corruption, embezzlement and bribery. As they drove slowly because of the bad road, due to the negligence on the part of those in power, they never knew they were driving into a surprise. what happened? NEXT ON PHAT DAIRIES...

Dilema of a Single Girl

Once again it’s that time of the year!! Christmas is in the air and the streets are already lit with festive lights. Dublin city centre is agog with early shoppers jostling to get good bargains and probably a quick dig into that endless list of "Santa's list". I didn't have a shopping or to do list rather I was aimlessly gazing through every brightly lit window shop until a particular window dressing stopped me in my tracks. It had got to be the most glitter studded shoe I'd ever seen! I imagined myself in "dem killer heels" and was in the store before I could control myself. Seriously, I was practically drooling over "dem" heels until the price tags caused my saliva glands to malfunction. It was way out of my price range but what the heck its Christmas-A TIME TO SPLURGE. It was the perfect party shoe but I wasn't much of a "parry person". Not that I don’t like parties but the idea of walking alone into a room filled with mostly strange faces sometimes churns my stomach. It would be awkward seating at a table among strangers whom you have absolutely nothing in common with and nothing to *gist* about. Sigh!! So how does a single girl survive the party filled Christmas season without losing her dignity? I was discussing online dating sites with a couple of friends the other day and was practically in stitches at the responses I got from these marvelous ladies. Seriously!! Their answers ranged from online dating sites are for "lemmos", to its unchristian like" and “all manner of creeps troll the internet”. I agree all manner of "creeps" troll the internet but I am on the internet as well and I'm no creep. The world as we know it has advanced into a global village as a result of the WORLD WIDE WEB. Political revolutions are being spurred on the internet and religious leaders have embraced newer media platforms so what's wrong if love is borne via a media platform? Truth is the internet could be a dangerous platform to form a love relationship because "ANYONE COULD BE ANYBODY" on the internet. It allows the creation of a false reality (have you noticed how everyone seemed to be living the good life on FB?). I have met my fair share of "creeps on the internet but I have also made some great friendship through this platform (I will be gisting you about that in my next post). Like my good friend said “we have to meet people somehow” and since the world has moved online, there might be opportunities there as well but BE CAREFUL .Moreover because a dating site says it Christian does not make the people you meet there "holy angels" and this line of thought applies to every other platform that you meet people through. I know loneliness is hard to deal with especially during the yuletide seasons but it’s be better to be safe than sorry. So whatever platform you seek to enjoy the season just BE CAREFUL. p.s I hope my "killer shoes" don't end up abandoned in the closet with others but find its way to rock some parties this season...SO HELP ME GOD

Thursday, 21 November 2013

DY RELATIONSHIP CLINIC

I hate going to the hospital! Hospitals are meant for the lame, wounded, broken and weak. None of those labels applies to "macho me". I am thankfully hale and hearty. However despite my best intentions, I find myself sometimes seeking medical attention not necessarily because I'm ill but to check that everything is in tip top shape, don't want any nasty surprises down the lane. If I can visit a physician to prevent unwanted and undesirable ailments albeit unseen or probably showing symptoms, then it stands to reason that I should visit a relationship clinic for relational issues. We live in a broken world with people carrying lots of emotional garbage around despite the many attempts to cover up. That is why there are definitely bound to be fireworks despite their better intentions when a man and woman come together in a relationship and it takes concerted efforts by both parties to make it work. Most couple don’t set out to hurt each other but they eventually do. Deny as much as you can but we sometimes need external help especially from knowledgeable professionals to make this “relationship project” work. I can treat a common cold with over the counter medication but I cannot carry out surgery on myself but require the services of registered surgeon that specialises on that ailment. Does that make me less "macho"? I DON'T THINK SO! I'd rather reach out for help than self medicate and die in pain. Many people have been hurt prior to marriage and many are being hurt in marriage. For some it’s a continuous cycle of pain that is unfortunately being transferred on the children. These unhealthy trends if left unchecked will affect even generations yet unborn. Some of us don’t even know how to show love or give love (guilty as charged!). That’s where DY relationship clinic comes in. “DY Relationship Clinic (DYRC) creates a platform for members to share and celebrate the successes in their relationships to encourage and uplift other members at difficult times” I met DYRC founders Deji and Yemi Adenuga over seven years ago (Yemi is one of the reasons I’m a size 18...she makes a mean efo riro and Uncle Deji can pound yam fit for a king). I love and admire the honesty and friendship they share as a couple and I have seen this dynamism in their family life carried into every project they undertake (did I say, they’ve got the Midas touch as well? They sure do). I would say they are each other’s best cheer leader; each encouraging and supporting the other not intimidated or challenged by the other’s success. With over twenty years of marital experience, this couple definitely know what the relationship journey entails. So come December 13th 2013, the DYRC is cordially inviting you to its Christmas dinner and seminar. THEME: "THE LANGUAGE OF LOVE" VENUE: HERITAGE KITCHEN, UNIT 61 MILLHILL IND. ESTATES. LUCAN, DUBLIN IRELAND. TIME: 6:00PM PROMPT PARTICIPATION FEE: SINGLE €30:00/ COUPLE €50:00. Seriously the more informed we are on how to handle relational issues the less divorce we would have. Remember, happy couple makes a happy family and a happy family makes a happy society. Now how and where do I get a man to take me to the dinner? Chei! The dilemma of a single girl!!!

PHAT DIARIES by Victoria Aghunopua Otono aka mamalet.

I've got "crazy" friends that drive me nuts!! From my early age I seem to have this knack for rolling with the Brady bunch. Crazy friends I can manage but what do you do if the Craziest of them all is your family member? The apple does not fall far from the apple tree they say..lol. well, my baby sister takes the ace in CRAZY. Her middle name Aghunopua in my local Afemai dialect means "pure heart" and she spews goodness mixed with lyrical madness. from the stables of the self acclaimed MAMALET-whatever that means-Its the PHAT DIARIES.
first episode of PHAT DAIRIES!!! it all started on the first day of February 1989. while some were born on a platter of gold, some with a silver spoon, some into the struggles and hardship of life, my own started in black and white. hahhaa! yea black and white sounds like an old tv, old picture or some kinda graphic but it's actually the nicknames my parents were called because of their skin colors. mum was fair and dad was a dark, tall and handsome guy.(old age is telling though lolz). hmmm how did the story begin? lets go back to 1989. abeg my people, wetin concern ogogoro with poor man headache? A young man walked into a pub on the first day of February, an introduction into a month of love but his was kicked off with a story of heart break and disappointment. it was a cool evening on the streets of fatia fayemi an area very close to the popular ojuelegba under bridge. This young man walked into the pub sober with his heads down dragging his feet like his legs were so heavy, CHAI!! poor shoes, an innocent of victim of the frustration of man. "madam gimme one shot of kai kai" that was the first word that came out of his dry lips. its was unusual to have such costumer at Mama Shade's ever bubbling pub, as a result of this, people were astonished at his sight, there and then he became the center of attraction. un gingered, he sipped his shot of kai kai with his point finger in his mouth, stuck between his teeth, eyes rolling as he looked into the air shaking his head in regrets. one major characteristic of old men, 'dey no dey ever mind dem business' hmmm na lie i talk? ' my son while are you so sad? you look like the whole world is on top of your head. hmmm papa i know you care, but do you know if this young man understands your heavy grammar? lets find out. the young man had already felt the aura that someone was in front of him, the figure had blocked the little light that was around him and the voice hit his heart making it beat fastest like the race was almost over. slowly, he brought down his head to see the person who cared so much about him. he said " she's a sickle cell, we can never be, it can never work, 5 years of endless pleasure, she hid that dark secret, what happens when AS and SS meet? will i let innocent kids suffer because of lust? the old man cleared his throat and smiled, he said " standing at the peak of a mountain, what will you do? relieved at the thought, the young man ordered for more shots of kaikiai, this time the kaikai came with a sumptuous plate of well garnished snail with some pepper pomo ( i could ask for more lols). lost in the sweetness of their exciting refreshment they laughed so hard and filled the air with their funtastic discussion which only them understood, chei the effects of kaikai. one thing about Nigerians who meet themselves and discover they speak the same language, they automatically become brothers. After so much fun together, discussing about women ( where two or three men are gathered, abeg wetin be main gist apart from money and drink? na yash na lol). the young man tips the old man for making his evening and relieving his pain before he left. two years later, they meet again. this time, the titan meets the gods. who will win? PHAT DAIIRES. written by victoria Agunupua Otono aka Mamalet...

Monday, 18 November 2013

Never Alone

She sat cross legged in front of the television flipping through the channels with a remote. It’s the second week in November but the screens were already inundated with Christmas adverts. "The commercialization of Christmas, I can never understand", she muttered as she gently rose to her feet to fix her second cup of coffee. She needed the caffeine to get through the drudgery of the day. Her flat mate was away on holidays so she had the whole apartment to herself. It was a much appreciated silence as her flatmate could be very loud and noisy but she missed her sporadic burst of laughter and unpredictable nature. For a brief moment, she considered going over to her Nanna's for the weekend but she killed that thought before it could take hold in her mind. Nana had been putting pressure on her to get married; more so since her younger sister got engaged and was set to marry before the New Year. She didn’t think she could be nice to the seventy two year old woman today, she didn't think she could be nice to anybody today! She wanted to curl up in a ball and cry. She wanted to open her mouth and give vent to the frustration she was feeling inside. She just had this huge urge to cry. She wanted to simply cry! She was so ALONE. The sudden sound of the telephone ringing startled her . It was her Nanna! The sprit old woman had a way of showing up anytime she felt despondent. "Hello honey, are you ok? I just had this irrepressible urge to call you. Is everything ok baby? her familiar raspy voice continued leaving no room for her grand daughter to answer. "I am fine now", the young lady answered and indeed she was. Her Nanna had that effect on her. Her voice was cool, comforting and welcoming.In as much as she was avoiding the old lady, her grandma was a constant yet gentle reminder that she was not really alone and that brought an elusive smile to her face. One of the challenges of living abroad is that constant feeling of loneliness. Far from home and everything familiar I would most times long for my brothers and even the thought of seeing good old chief (my dad) sounded like a good idea...Lol. I had made new friends in my new home, but it never seemed enough! I had settled in my local church but that didn’t seem to fill that nagging void either. It took years of unnecessary tears and self pity before I learnt that because I was feeling alone didn’t mean I was alone. That nagging void I felt at the pit of my stomach could be filled but not with food as I’d been doing but with the lovely relationships I had around me, waiting to be reaped from. I had to consciously break through clouded vision and embrace the relationships around me. God wants us to reap from the lovely relationship He’d mapped for us-A LOVELY RELATIONSHIP IN HIS PRESENCE. You don’t have to feel alone or disconnected anymore. I remember the statement made by the late Pastor Teddy parker who committed suicide after telling his congregation that he “felt” God was not listening to him. Feelings most time don’t mean real! They could be as erratic and sometimes unpredictable as the weather-cool now and warm the next!(talk about a tumulteous Irish weather) "Don't equate the presence of God with a good mood. God is near whether you are happy or not" Max Lucado. God is not erratic. He says “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Heb 31:6. It’s not about how you feel, ITS WHAT THE WORD SAYS. Don’t let your circumstances or feelings distract you from the TRUTH, YOU ARE LOVED AND NEVER ALONE.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

SPEAK OUT

I was deeply pained when I read about a pastor that committed suicide a few days after he told his congregation that God was not hearing him. Rev.teddy Parker, a father of two, shot himself in the head with his own gun after Sunday service at Bible Mount Zion Baptist Church Georgia while his family and congregation were still at his church waiting for him for the next service. Reports say He'd told his congregation that he no longer felt a connection with God."I try to pray but I don’t feel like God is hearing me,” Parker said to his congregation “I try to serve but I don’t feel like God is using me. And there are times in your life when God purposely withdraws from you, he doesn’t withdraw for the sake of leaving you but he withdraws so you can grow and mature.. That sounded to me like a desperate plea for help and not a sermon. A lot of comments I have read on Parker's unfortunate demise has been quite unkind given his position as a pastor. Many wonder why "a man of God would commit such a dastardly act as suicide". He is a man of God nonetheless A MAN. The poor man may have had issues that he could not share with friends lest he be labelled "O YE MAN OF LITTLE FAITH". His family had high expectations of him, the congregation depended on him to have it all together and God knows what other matters the poor man had looming over his head that drove him to make such a "deadly decision". Let’s leave the theoretic of Christianity out of this discourse for a moment and be real-FOR ONCE! Many Christians find it difficult to admit being overwhelmed by some of life’s many challenges and put up a facade built on lies. We are afraid to be real to ourselves and to others. Christian admitting challenges is perceived as a sign of Weakness. “What would people say?” we wonder. So we keep up the pretence. 2Kings 4 recalls the story of the widow’s oil and God’s divine provision. She’d lost her husband and her 2 sons were about to be taken away, talk about a whooper-of-a –problem. Did she keep quiet? No! Did she seek out help? Yes! Was her problem solved? Yes- but not till she shared her problems. In 1 Kings 19 Elijah was wallowing in self pity and depression until God appeared to him and offered him a reprieve from his “problems”. Sometimes talking about your problems and crying for help is not a sign of weakness but STRENTH. 2Cor 12:9 "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Next time you feel overwhelmed or burdened, don’t hold it in SPEAK OUT and you’ll be better off after. P.S. Be mindful of who you share your problems with. Seek professional help if you have to.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Stop Building Walls, Start Building Bridges

I'll be sharing a post from one of my favourite writers on a devotional topic close to my heart. Truth is, when it comes to loving others and showing affection, I'm down right scared of being hurt and would shy away from being vulnerable with another person. I have been hurt so many times not unlike many people but for some recovering from past hurt takes longer than most....so be kind in judging me. However, I've dared to open up to others again by giving the best of myself to the people around me and causes I believe in and that my friend is WORTH EVERY OUNCE OF MY LOVE and a guaranteed fast track to Healing and a joy-filled living. Like I tell myself, "don't wallow in self pity,stick your head outta your a*** and make every moment count". Don't dwell on the hurt, RE-CHANNEL your emotions and you'll be SMILING AGAIN. ENJOY RICK WARREN. “The Lord stood with me and gave me strength so that I might preach the Good News in its entirety for all the Gentiles to hear.” (2 Timothy 4:17a NLT) When you’re lonely, you need to focus on others and not yourself. The loneliest person in the world is the guy who's self-centered and wrapped up in himself. God wired us to give our lives away, to help others, to think of others and not just ourselves. If you want to break out of loneliness, stop saying, "I don't have any friends," and start being a friend. Stop focusing on yourself and instead give yourself away. Instead of focusing on yourself, you need to emphasize others' needs. Loneliness is often a fear of love. We're afraid to be open. We’re afraid to be vulnerable. We're afraid to share how we really feel. We're afraid to step out and risk a relationship because we might be rejected, and we know what that pain feels like. When we fear love, we don't give ourselves away, and we're guaranteeing ourselves loneliness. We set ourselves up in a self-imposed prison of solitary confinement that is absolutely unnecessary. Give your life away! When Paul was in prison and about to be executed, he said all his friends had left him, but God was with him. That gave him the strength to reach out to others and complete the work God had given him: “The Lord stood with me and gave me strength so that I might preach the Good News in its entirety for all the Gentiles to hear” (2 Timothy 2:17a NLT). The key to overcoming loneliness is to stop building walls and start building bridges. Stop building walls between you and other people. Start building bridges. Take a risk. Begin to help other people. Years ago, Corrie Ten Boom was engaged to be married to a guy who suddenly broke off the engagement and married her best friend. She was devastated. She came home crushed and lonely and isolated. She asked her father, "What do I do with a blocked love?” He said, "Whenever you have a blocked love, re-channel it.” There are thousands of people in the world who need your love. Re-channel it. If you hold it in, it's going to dry up and wither away. You need to find a ministry, a place you can use your talents and gifts to help other people. Give yourself away. When you do that, the loneliness will dissipate. Talk It Over Why is it sometimes easier to hold love in than give it away? Who are the people around you who need your love today? How can you share it with them?

Monday, 4 November 2013

Make an effort

My friend looked as If she had seen a ghost. Well, figuratively speaking, she had seen a ghost-A beautiful ghost! I looked like a page out of a fashion magazine! No wonder my friend kept staring at me with mouth wide open. "Close your mouth before fly enter", I kidded and gently took my sit in her kitchen. "You win lotto?" she asked jokingly as she spun me around to have a better look at my ensemble. I had not won the lotto but just decided to put an effort on how I looked. You see, I am not your regular fashionista but I love fashion. I love the idea of looking good and applaud every woman or man that stands out in a crowd as a result of their daring fashion choices. Most times, I envision myself all clad up in the season's trendy best but alas some of these styles wouldn't suit an ample bosomed lady like moi and that's putting it lightly. As much as I love my clothes and shoes over time I've become slack in looking put together especially during the week when I'm home doing nothing. It’s not unusual to see me dashing about in town in simple jeans or slacks nothing out of the ordinary except with my hair most times in disarray. But I wasn't always like this. There was a time I truly cared about how I looked and made an effort to look on point either at home or when out and about. That day while reaching out for my usual uniform of jeans and jumper, I had an epiphany. I discarded my first choice of clothes and picked something else. Looking back at me in the mirror wasn't the usual slobby mum but a beautiful trendy lady. I looked good on the outside and felt better on the inside. There is something about putting on beautiful clothes that gives a boost to your self esteem especially if you’ve got a healthy dose already. Expectedly, I got a bounce on my feet and loved the stares I got on the street. I felt beautiful. Looking good takes concerted effort and so does success and great relationships. They don’t just happen by wishful thinking. Prolific Minister and writer Joyce Meyer once said the grass looks greener on the other side because it was obviously well watered and pruned! It takes deliberate effort to achieve a beautiful well watered garden. Many people desire the magazine styled lives or relationships that we most times read about in romantic novels and think it’s nigh impossible, I BEG TO DISAGREE. Like my friend Pastor Kingsley Okonkwo of David Christian Centre would say “YOU CAN HAVE THE MARRIAGE OF YOUR DREAMS. If only we can rise off our butt and MAKE AN EFFORT “Do you see someone skilled in their work? They will serve before kings; they will not serve before officials of low rank.” Proverb 22:29. You may not feel like it but try anyway. It is always worth it. It may seem difficult but it would be worth it. Look at me! I’m getting compliments like I was sixteen ....lol. P.S Thank God, I made an effort to look fabulous this morning; I met a long time admirer on my way to the groceries store. Like my friend, he stood and stared at me with mouth wide open. The rush I felt was worth the extra effort in front of the mirror!!! SORRY!!!! don't have pictures to upload yet, my phone fell and crashed.Would have a replacement in the next two days. Thank God for insurance.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Choose Well

Life is full of choices and we are faced with a barrage of these choices daily. What to eat, where to live, what to wear and how to behave in the face of acceptable cultural and societal conventions. Should I or Should I not? Can I or can I not? Every choice no matter how silly or mundane carries its own relative consequence. As I sit typing this post after eating a fresh bowl of spicy pepper soup with unripe plantain-you guessed right, absolute heaven- my mind flipped back to the choices I made in the past; my reactions in the wake of difficult situations. How I allowed hurt and bitterness to drive my choices and its ensuing consequences. A great writer once said "we are the product of our choices" and that's so true. When life throws you lemon you have the option of making lemonades or gritting your teeth from biting into its acidic juice. That same lemon can be bitter or sweet depending on how it’s used. It’s easy to forget we have choices when we are hurt or offended. Wendy Blight writes that "we can surrender our hurt or hold on to it. We can harbour bitterness or extend grace". The truth is if you look back at your life in years to come would you be happy with the choices you make today? I have become more deliberate and calculative in the choices I make. I have learnt to choose peace over worry and faith over fear. You see worry and fear are not productive feelings rather they are energy seeping emotions so why live with them? My new guiding principle is "worry looks around, regrets looks back But FAITH LOOKS FORWARD". I CHOOSE TO LIVE BY FAITH! I choose LIFE. When faced with situations I can’t handle, I quickly roll it over to the person who has the track record of coming through on knotty issues and the rest they say is easy peasy.”Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."Philipians4:6-7. What an assurance we have!!
Since moving into my new house, my bills have increased and so has my FAITH. The lord has not brought me this far to ABANDON ME....never!! My God does not swing that way. Good choices are not borne from emotions rather from a position of grace, love, joy, kindness, forgiveness and CHOICE. I have also made a choice to LIVE AND ENJOY LIFE "not conformed but transformed by the life giving WORD OF GOD. What about you? Be mindful of the choices you make today, make the right ones.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

What God can do

It’s been a busy yet amazing couple of days. It all started when I received a call that I'd been allocated a council house. "Hello", the woman at the other end of the call repeated as I remained silent. I didn't believe my ears at least not till I held the keys to this fabulous looking brand new two bed house. It wasn't your typical council house in a decrepit estate but a lovely house in a new family friendly environment –the houses were barely four years old. Gently, I walked through the glass doors, tentatively opening the doors to the rooms and pinching myself to check If I was dreaming or not. The rooms were bare and the floors cold beneath my feet as I'd taken off my shoes to feel the floors. With mouth wide open, I opened this much appreciated gift in my hands. It had a walk in closet for my very many shoes and lots of other storage places. “HEAVEN DIVINE”, I yelled as I ran up the stairs like a little kid in a candy store. You see, I had applied for a council house about six years ago but barely imagined myself getting anything like what I'm seeing. What I was viewing was beyond my imagination. The lord had surpassed my imagination! It had to be Jesus I told myself as I rolled on the floor in awe of His majesty. Words could not describe how I felt but He that had given this beautiful gift understood perfectly where my praise was coming from. You see it’s easier for the proverbial camel to pass through the eyes of a needle" than it is to get a council house these days. A lot of people had to lobby public representatives most times to no avail. I'd never bothered going that route. I just don't know how to "lick asses"(no offence meant pls), so I'd allowed my application to simply be!. The last time I got a call from the council representative to update my details and I'd bothered to ask about the status of my application, I WAS TOLD THERE WERE TEN THOUSAND PEOPLE AHEAD OF ME. With that number, where would I start the lobbying from? Who would even lobby for insignificant little me, with no political or economical muscle whatsoever! So I handed the matter to the only muscle I could pull, JESUS. Can you now understand a bit of my PRAISE? God bypassed the ten thousand people to favour ME! He did not just give me any house but gave me a BRAND NEW HOUSE to do what I would with. Standing in front of me was a canvass of a house to decorate as I wished. This God is SIMPLY AMAZING. He is the HELPER of the helpless, FATHER of the fatherless and HOPE of the hopeless. He DEFENDS the defenceless and HE HAS BEEN MY DEFENCE. In the land of my sojourn the lord has PROSPERED ME. Since this year, I've opened a lot of presents from one who understood my fears and had spoken life back into my lifelessness (told you, I've plenty gist's for you, would unfold them in time). Let me tell you what this has God has done for me. like Obed edom in 2 Sam 6:12-19, a situation meant to bring me shame has inadvertently been my stepping stone to glory In less than three months I have been blessed with a new house and a new car without any assistance from any one. I neither borrowed nor begged-ALL HIS DOING. Aside from the material blessings, I'm blessed with a group of youths that I teach and a wonderful choir that I lead. Everyday this motley crew of young boys and girls bring delight to my heart. Did I mention that that there is LOVE IN THE AIR? Well that's gist for another day but its part of what MY GOD CAN DO. PS that's not my new place just me sneaking in a picture before ministers meeting.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

INTERSECTIONS

Decisions! Decisions!! Decisions!!! It’s never easy making decisions is it? If you are like me with a closet full of shoes with varied heel lengths, style and colours, making a decision on which of my prized collection will see the light of day becomes a make or break affair. Truth is, some shoes make the cut based on comfort, events, colour etc. but I have two or more favourites that I'd like to wear every day and everywhere if possible. However before reaching out to select the purrrrrfect shoes, I consider some of the afore mentioned criteria including checking if it matches my outfit, will I be walking or driving, high or low heels? With a myriad of options, it is important that I carefully make my decision. After all what is worth doing at all is worth doing well! Women and wahala! When did something as inane as what shoe to wear become a PHD project...lolol. We make decisions every day and every decision has its consequence-Good or bad. It’s like trying to cross at an intersection. It looks easy but also potentially dangerous. A cardinal rule of crossing at an intersection is to STOP; consider traffic on the road before making a move. It is also important to consider your destination before crossing. You don't get to an intersection and jump into the road. That would be silly and dangerous. Life is a journey and at one point we would get to an intersection and would have to make a decision to either cross or remain at one point. The Israelites found themselves at a crossroad during their sojourn into the wilderness. They'd left the familiar toils of Egypt but were now being pursued by their former captors. They needed to move on but their past was not ready to let them go. The future was not familiar and the familiar past was pain filled. Ahead stood the formidable red sea and behind a vengeful army. They panicked and cried! It is only human nature to panic in the wake of challenges isn't? In the wake of the unfamiliar they panicked! They never imagined with their little minds that there could be a way through the WATERS. They preferred to go back to a life of slavery instead of the bold choice of a life of freedom. Thank God they were not alone at this crucial point in their journey. The lord was with them. He parted the red sea before them clearing the road into their future. He also destroyed the Egyptian army thereby sealing the door to their past. The choice of who to marry is a major intersection in life. You are valuable and marriage is a LIFE LONG COMMITMENT, so don’t just make that leap without looking. Sheri Rose Shepherd shared the following advice on her blog. 1. Look at the fruits of what follows that person and ask yourself where they will be leading you. Keep in mind NOT all open doors are from God. 2. Take a hard look at your future and ask yourself if they would help you find your purpose or distract from what God has for you. 3. Ask yourself “would I be growing in Christ by walking out life with this person or project? Before you walk away from where you are for a new venture PRAY HARD. When the beginning excitement phase is over is this something or someone you would want to stay connected to when challenges arise? Ready to make that decision now? Look well before you take that leap!

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Barely enough is MORE THAN ENOUGH.

Love is a beautiful feeling isn't? Everyone desires to love and be loved in return. Beyond the mushy feeling and exchange of endearment, I have learnt love is a choice and decision. People don't just fall or trip head over heels in love, that's kids’ stuff. Real love is a conscious effort and decision by responsible adults to pour the best of each other into one another; to serve and be served. It is not a blind eyed decision or a tingling sensation running down one's spine. It's a conscious choice sustained by hard work and commitment. My good friend and special boo shared with me that love cannot be defined by itself but can be described by its attributes such as kindness, forgiveness, sharing, etc. Since every human is born with the innate desire to be loved, it’s a wonder why many people make very poor choices in love. This can be blamed on a warped societal concept, sexualisation and commercialization of love. For those who'd been hurt in love, climbing back on love's merry wagon becomes an arduous and painful task; you worry if your love will be reciprocated or even wonder if you have any more of yourself to give. I'm not an expert on love but I do understand God's kind love. This kind of love is about giving, not just anything but the best of you even when it’s inconvenient... "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” This kind of love is neither selfish nor blind. "But I've given away the best of me and only get hurt in the end", you say. Well, take a closer look, deep within you'll find there is still something to give. Don't believe me? Let me tell you a story about a lady who found herself in a very painful situation and was still expected to be generous with her next to nothing provision. Death had stolen from her and hunger now threatens to squash what was left. She had nothing left in the world except a hunger riddled son and a "handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug" 1 king 17:12. This woman had a lot working against her. She was a widow-a dead broke widow at that-with a young mouth to feed. She had lost the one she calls darling; the man that plants tiny kisses on her nose every morning and made sure there were provisions for the long winter night. She'd lost her husband and best friend. Now she faces losing the one thing that's left of him to hunger. In the throes of her pain, waltzed in Elijah requesting to eat from what's barely enough for her family. HABA!!!! Elijah could have gone anywhere but God sent him to this particular woman who had "barely enough". I believe God wanted her to overcome her fear of giving, get her focus off her inadequacies and unto a generous God, that's why Elijah came knocking at her door. "Do not fear...make me a small cake from it first and bring it to me" I Kings 17:13. I perfectly understand the woman's reluctance and dilemma. The truth is for people who'd been hurt one too many times, the fear of being hurt again underlies their reluctance to be love or better still give love. But I love this widow’s bravery! She dared to pour the little she had into God's able hands and she experienced such an awesome infinite supply. She didn't hold back the little she had but poured into the right vessel-GOD’S VESSEL. I know what it means to be broken, hurt and emptied of joy but in giving to others in service, I've been replenished. So you think you have nothing to give or are you afraid to give yourself, take a cue from the widow at Zarepheth and you’ll realise that when “barely enough” is poured into God, it becomes “more than enough”.

Friday, 6 September 2013

He Never Left Afterall

Not me silly.....Jesus! I've been on hiatus for the past 5 months and that my friend is a very very long story. I promise to keep you updated on the adventures I've been through, the lessons I've learnt and how grown up I've become. Truth be said, I've been a bad friend but guess what I'm back and I'm going nowhere. Unlike my now humble self, Jesus never leaves His friends no matter the situation-NO EXCUSES! He sticks closer than glue. If there is a person that sticks closer than a brother according to Proverbs 18:24 that person dear friend is Jesus. When Jesus is on your case, HE IS ON YOUR CASE! Remember my last post titled HE CAME BACK? How Thomas thought he'd missed out on one of the greatest experiences in his life? I'm sure he would have loathed the other disciples for boasting about how the master broke through their fear riddled hearts and sealed doors to show his nail pierced hands cos I'm sure I would have hated them all especially that Peter lol! Thomas must have blamed himself for breaking rank and stepping out for a breather only to miss Jesus' appearance. Sound familiar? It does to me! I've lost count of the number of times a seemingly innocent action becomes an overblown misadventure that leaves one reeling, struggling to find balance and wondering if you'll ever get another chance in life or in love. Some actions or inactions or effects of poor choices might make you wonder if you'll ever smile again, achieve desired goals again or if you'll ever find your niche again? Guess what? YES YOU CAN! The other disciples thought Thomas had missed out on that great appearance even Thomas despite his outward show of bravado thought he'd missed out but he inwardly craved His master’s re-visitation just like you and I. John 20:26 states that “A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them". Thomas stayed in the locked room this time hoping Jesus would visit again. Every person that at one point has been broken wants to be whole again.
My friend, Jesus never disappoints as he actually came back into that hope filled room and attended to one person's inner cry for a re- visitation. I love Jesus's conversation with Thomas "Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe". Imagine the surprise on Thomas's face because Christ wasn't there when he made that statement he thought. That's the shocker dear friend; Jesus is ALWAYS WITH YOU, watching out for you even in seemingly hopeless situations. He has promised never to leave nor forsake you and HE KEEPS HIS WORDS. Although he did not come immediately and poor Thomas must have whimpered like a child but HE SHOWED up as He always does and He will for you too. JUST STAY IN THAT ROOM.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

He came back

He'd missed him! Jesus came back and Thomas had missed him. All the disciples were agog with the news of the master's return and he'd missed Him. He couldn't understand what the fuss was all about anyway because he won’t believe them until he saw "his nail pierced hands and sides- better still not until he'd put his fingers through them. There was no convincing Thomas despite the excitement amongst the disciples. As far as Thomas was concerned Jesus was dead and buried, his tomb stood as evidence of his demise. "Maybe the disciples were hallucinating", he thought. "It must be the pressure from hiding. Fear has a way of messing up with the senses you know. Try hiding from those blood thirsty Pharisees, you'll start seeing things I bet you". He mused within himself. The other disciples must have felt sorry for him. He'd missed the greatest event of his life. What a mighty loss! I would have felt sorry for Thomas too if I'd witnessed such a mind blowing occurrence. They'd seen the master beaten and crucified. In fact they'd taken his body for burial and that massive tomb stood as a constant reminder of the hurtful past few days. Now, He’s risen and Thomas missed it! How sad! Poor Thomas! Fortunately, that's not the end of the story. The bible records in John 20:26 that a week later whiles the disciple were together in the house again, this time Thomas was with them, guess who showed up? JESUS. I'm sure Thomas was shocked. He probably thought he'd never withness what the other disciple did and may have to live with the guilt for the rest of his life. Thomas had missed out at His first appearance to the other disciples but Jesus was not going to let him miss out on the resurrection story. It was not enough to have second hand information about the risen lord but Jesus was going to give Thomas a personal visitation. Many times, I've found myself missing out or falling short of everybody's expectations including mine. That point that you wonder if you'll ever do right by any standard- A SEALED TOMB MOMEMT-and suddenly a ray of light shows. It’s no longer a sealed tomb moment but A JESUS MOMENT. Thomas may have stepped out briefly for a breath of fresh air but he missed Jesus. He'd been a faithful follower but he still missed it. Jesus did not judge him but came back for him because Thomas was important and SO ARE YOU. We all miss it sometimes but don't despair Jesus is ready to meet you just where you are. Maybe you'r battling a drug addiction, alchohol, anger or even fornication it does not matter. DON'T GIVE UP ON YOU BECAUSE GOD DIDN'T EITHER. Like the parable of the lost coin in Luke 55, Jesus is meticulous and tenacious in His search FOR LOST SOULS. You are part of a family-a very important one at that. Jesus came back for Thomas; He came back for me, HE IS COMING FOR YOU.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

slowly but SURELY

Hurray! I have lost a whopping 6kg in a month!!!!. I'm so excited and very pleased with myself. I was shopping yesterday and decided to stop by at a pharmacy to check my weight. imagine my surprise when the result came out...almost screamed the shop down(apologies to the attendant that I hugged and the poor shoppers that thought the pharmacy was under attack when they heard this crazy black lady dancing and screaming at the same time.... poor joshua must have been very embarrassed. The things I put him through!) My excitement stemmed from the fact that my weight loss program was actually working. I'd made some serious dietary and life style changes but nothing prepares you for the outcomes of some actions don't you think? I don't particularly have a laid down regime but I do take lots of green tea and that boosts my energy levels. Infact, I'm addicted to green tea. I've practically stopped taking regular tea-no more sugar and milk for this lady. Losing this extra lard of fat is a very big feat for me since I've been desperate to be slim and healthy for a long time. Right now, I'm motivated to push the envelop further. Cant wait to show off a slimmer and healthier me in the summer. Already, I can visualise my now delectable self in a tribal bodycon dress with no bulge in sight and no constricting girdle as well.....lol . In january, I made a decision not to buy any new outfit till I reach my target weight. it'll make the idea of shopping for the unveiled new me more exciting. In the words of Joan Rivers, "my body is a temple and this temple need redecorating"...lol Hard work sure pays and I'm determined to win this battle of the bulge. ISIOMA WATCH THIS SPACE!!

Monday, 4 March 2013

Queen of the road

For many reasons, I dreaded driving on any motorway.The road seems long and endless. Moreso, all those cars dashing past at 120 kilometres per hour scared me especially the noise and the rushing wind that made my tiny car rattle. Some times, I thought my good old banger would be blown off course but it was all in my imagination....that didn’t stop my knees from trembling anyway. I wished I could increase my snail pace driving but I was just too scared to try. I'd read the book on road traffic rules but just could not see myself putting my foot on the pedal and increasing my speed. How sad! I had the car and read the manual but application of knowledge was difficult. Part of my fears included the different traffic laws that applied in driving on Irish roads. It was a huge departure from my Nigerian experience. Back in Nigeria- at least when I lived there- anyone could drive on the roads as laws were not enforced. (What laws? there were no rules!) I drove a car for a year without knowing how to reverse! I never envisaged any danger to myself or any other road user at that...lol (I MISS MY COUNTRY!!!) Driving on the Motorway is not for the faint hearted. There are even signs warning inexperienced drivers to stay off. It was a road traversed by the brave and I was not that yet. I envied my friends who at the slightest inclinations would pick up their keys and zoom off in their cars motor way or not. I had to always pray myself up, days before embarking on any long journey. Seriously, I'd rather drive on the smaller convenient local roads with convenient speed limits than brave the express routes. In as much as I could, I avoided the motorways but to my dismay realised there are some places that you just have to use the motor way to access. Motorways allowed quicker access to distant places and most have tolls applied! Most times I'd use the public transports just in a bid to avoid driving these routes but it wasn't always convenient especially with a kid in tow. *sigh* But things are different now, HALLELUJAH!! After a while I've become queen of the road. I learnt that drivers that ply the motorway did not do so overnight....time and constant use built their confidence just like FAITH. It was not an overnight experience or wishful thinking. It took determination not to be limited to smaller driving experiences. "In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil". Hebrews 5:12-15 Faith is simply confidence in the word of God. Believe you are what the word says. Have what the word says you have and can do what the word says you can. Ironically many are still living in fear? Like my driving experience, you've got the car, learnt the traffic rules but are afraid to put your foot to the pedal? Maybe it’s the speed limit that's scary or the rushing wind caused by other cars dashing past? Don't be! Remember, there are some places that only the Motorway can get you to. Most times it’s the only option else you'll be stuck in your tiny world. These confidence only comes with constant immersion and trust in the word of God. “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen.” Mathew 21:21 Don't let fear hold you captive and deter you from enjoying and arriving at your future in style. Sometimes arriving on a bus is not as glam compared with driving your own car. In a public bus you don't call the shots. Develop your own faith! You can only go so far riding on another person's experience. I no longer dread the Motorway; in fact I enjoy driving on any motorway. It's not so long and endless as it initially seemed. However to do that, I had to let go of fear and develop more confidence on what I've learnt from the road user’s manual and my experience from driving on smaller roads. infact, i speak confidence to myself! YOU CAN DO IT TO. P.S I still don't like paying tolls! But tolls are used to maintain the highways like faith tests are necessary to grow you. SO ENJOY

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

A New Beginning Everyday

He noticed some people snigger as he climbed up the alter to share his testimony....but he didn't blame them. He would have sniggered himself if he were in their shoes. How many times had he come to this same place to say he was done with alcohol only to find himself right back where he started. Everyone knew his struggle with alcohol abuse. How many times had his marriage been on the verge of collapse because of his countless drunken stupor. But today he was really tired. Alcohol was rubbing him off the chance of living a good life with a happy home. He knew better than everyone else how many times he'd been in that position of brokenness but he'd rather be here than anywhere else. Finally, He'd recognise that he couldn't get rid of his destructive habit on his own. He needed a superior power to break this vicious circle lest he finds himself right where he most dreaded. Finally, he'd found it in the holy spirit and a support network of true friends who don't judge him by his mistakes but were in his life to help him....that's why he didn't mind the sniggers because this time it was different. He was truly having a fresh start. For many years I was in that very same position. It seemed shame and failure had a stronghold on me. I would complain and cry every day. I could not truly share my challenges for fear of being judged weak. My life was stuck in the past and I could not see beyond it. I was in a very dark place until I realised it was possible to have a new beginning. Imagine my delight when I realised the past could not hold me captive or prevent me from enjoying life. Mind you, it was an uphill task and several times I slipped and fell back into depression but I managed to find my feet yet again. It doesn't matter how far gone you are in a negative circumstances or destructive behaviour, you can have a new beginning and this offer is not seasonal but an everyday experience. You may find yourself repeating those mistakes despite your better intentions, I want you to know good intentions can't help much but faith in Jesus and the Holy Spirit would break every sinful cycle in your life. HE IS STRONGER. God does not desire Sin to have dominion over us. YOU CAN OVERCOME. The joy of a new day is the light it offers no matter how dark the night was. Are you ready for that fresh start today? God's love is like fresh bread straight from a baker's oven simmering with healthy goodness and ready to serve(now I want to eat bread....Agege bread to be precise. it’s a special kind of bread made in Nigeria. You can’t duplicate it serious...lol. If it aint Agege bread then it’s not Agege bread!). If a new beginning was not possible, God would not have sent his son to die for us. Lamentations 3:22-23 "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness" So let's give that filthy feeling of failure a big kick in the butt and enjoy A NEW BEGINNING THAT WE DESERVE.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

PRAISE PEP

I'm not a fan of energy drinks. Not that I have anything against them but I'm already hyper without need for extra help. I remember back in the days a good friend's brother would call me "Igbo"-weed-because of my loko attitude. Now imagine somebody already thought to be on weed now taking energy drinks that are purported to contain stimulants...I leave the answer to your imagination. Energy drinks as the name implies are beverages that give extra burst of energy and act as physical or mental stimulants. It contains chiefly caffeine found in tea/coffee and sugar. The purpose of energy drink is to give that extra punch when one is physically and mentally depleted or exhausted. I read a study recently that said some people mix energy drinks with alcohol to make a high energy cocktail. The study revealed that people that consumed this mixture felt alert and sober though they were drunk. So the theory is when you are low and in need of something to stimulate and enhance performance, a can of energy drink would do the trick. However this not without ensuing health risk because of its contents if over consumed. The truth is any energy drink like alcohol only disguises the problem without solving it. Sometimes what the body need is rest and not a mixture of cocktails. These beverages can only go so far. If the body is stimulated briefly and the person achieves his or her immediate goals of performing herculean tasks, what happens when the next round of tasks come along and the root issue not tackled? It becomes a vicious cycle that may if not properly checked destroy the body. There are a lot of people that are drunk in pain and challenges but walking around with sober faces because they've learnt to disguise their problems with a cocktail of beverages-figuratively speaking. That they appear sober does not change the fact that they are drunk. A cock tail of energy drink and alcohol is a temporal measure; it doesn't last and would soon fade away. It’s just a fa├žade that will crumble with time and under pressure. STOP HIDING! STOP THE PRETENSE! I have embraced what a sister blogger describes as PRAISE PEP. When faced with challenges that seem insurmountable I simply praise myself out of the pit. In the past few weeks, I've had reports that almost dragged me into a pit of despair but I refused to go down that route. There is nothing glamorous about the pit so why should I go there? A friend called me recently crying and bemoaning her situation. The more she complained, the more situation felt omnious. HOLD IT RIGHT THERE! it’s ok to cry but don't drag yourself into the pit of depression. Instead of lamenting, praise God in the midst of your challenges and that would change how you see things. The author of Psalm 77 found himself in a difficult positition. He was weak and in need of help but he recalled the faithfulness of JEHOVAH and his spirit was lifted. Donald Lawrence,the gospel artist sang "sometimes you've got encourage yourself in the lord". Praise is not denying the situation but acknowledging the power of God to help you overcome. Praising God changes your perspective, releases vitality and reveals the lion in you....not a scrawny cat that scrambles at every trial. Who needs energy drink when PRAISE IS ALL YOU NEED!.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

bag that shoe peeps!

Hurray! My good friend and loko sister has joined the blogosphere and I'm so excited. Her blog is about everything shoes, bags and fashion. I'm not a fashionista but I love my shoes especially my heels....I'M MAD ABOUT HEELS. There's something about a lady in heels. It adds an extra sexiness to her wardrobe and look. Like every woman, I'm a loose cannon in any shopping mall. I dart from shop to shop with absolutely no idea what I want but my eyes seems to zing to the perfect shoes. I'd choose a perfect shoe over clothes anytime. I've got shoes in both rooms in my house since I no longer have space to keep them in my room; poor Josh has mummy's shoes hidden under his bed(note to self...get proper storage for your shoes and mind your room woman!). I love that I LOVE FASHION but there was a time I didn't care what I looked like or even what people thought about me. I was very sad battling post natal depression so looking good was the last thing on my mind. However when God began His healing work in my life, it started reflecting on the outside. The truth is God is interested in both the content and the container.I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;your works are wonderful,I know that full well " psalm 139:14. What better way to adorn this wonderfull work of art(your body) than to make it look fab albeit decently and within your means!!likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control" 1Timothy 2:9 This year, I had to deliberately discipline myself from buying shoes at the spur of the moment as I've got more shoes than I need and even more that I've not worn(time to sort those unwanted shoes babe) I have no problem getting the perfect shoes but not every woman is that lucky. I realise some women struggle to get the right shoes for the perfect outfit. It’s not unusual seeing a beautifully dressed woman wearing very ugly shoes and that my friend is every fashionistas nightmare. So that's why “bagthatshoe” comes in handy. It’s a helpful guide to helping every fashionista bag those special shoes and accessories to glam up any look. The blog is also a creative outlet for my dear friend, Omo as she’s a nutter for fashion. One beautiful benefit of the blogosphere is it enables everybody to put their creative ability and talent to good use. For majority of people, the internet with its ensuing challenges has been a blessing in disguise. It has given everyone a platform for expression which was otherwise unavailable or limited via traditional media platforms. You have uncountable people who’ve broken through the World Wide Web via the blogosphere. I’m thankful for the internet as it’s a means of sharing the gospel and the enriching work of salvation with others. For my friend it’s an opportunity to promote her skills and help you bag that purrrrrfect shoe. C’mon, check out www.bagthatshoe.com. You’ll love it

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Transformed by LOVE.

I loved horror movies!!! The gorier the better! I remember laughing through The Blair witch project when it was released. My friends on the other hand were scared shitless and screamed all through the movie. It was simply hilarious! Can't remember which was funnier? My friends or the movie that was tagged the scariest at the time. It was just a movie not reality....silly! I was never really a fan of the action movies so could never sit through a film by Rambo, Steven Seagal or all other macho type men but bring on Zombie the flesh eater, evil dead 1&2 etc. These were my favourites for some unfathomable reasons not some silly romantic films. I despised girl flicks. They were pointless and plain unbelievable. Who writes or believes this crap? Love was a MYTH. My disdain for love stemmed from a childhood that was starved off love. I never experienced the hugs, kisses, or gentle words that are some of the expressions of love. My parents weren’t overt love people, they weren't built that way. I recall with laughter the first time, I gave my father a christmas card; he brushed it off with a shrug and a gruff thank you. I knew my gesture embarrassed him....outward expression of love still embarrasses him. So I conditioned myself not to FEEL. More so, I transferred my warped childhood experience of love into my relationship with God and men-expecting nothing but rebuffs, criticism and judgement. But somewhere deep inside, the little girl in me loved Mills& Boons-romantic novels that celebrated happily ever after. It was a deep set hunger that my subconscious desired to be with filled but never found. I envied friends whose family basked in display of affections. So watching horror movies and showing indifferece was a facade I built to deceive the outside world and unfortunately myself. Over time, I became conditioned by events and circumstances until JOSHUA CAME ALONG. I must confess nothing prepared me for motherhood- not the ante-natal classes or the nine long months of waiting for the delivery my son. I never experienced the sudden rush of love that every mother talks about when handed their new babies. Ours was a relationship and bond that grew with time. With Joshua I have learnt to love and be loved in return. Love can be spontaneous but the spark can be quenched if not kindled daily. It requires daily commitment to remain in love no matter the circumstances. Who knew a special little boy could break the reserves of my lacklustre heart and turn this horror movie loving woman into a mushy little girl. Dearest Josh, in the six years you've come into my life, I've learnt what it means to forgive and be forgiven. I'm not ashamed or afraid to publicly display my affection for you with a hug and a kiss. Only you could teach me that love is not a feeling but commitment and It is hard work albeit an enjoyable one. I have learnt to be protective, selfless, share, patient, tolerant and humble enough to say sorry when I’m wrong though I’m older and could always claim to be right. Through you, God has transformed this cold heart of stone into a warm heart of flesh. Now I know how the Disney character in BEAUTY AND THE BEAST was transformed by love into a dashing prince through the power of LOVE. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Above all, I have learnt to experience God in a new way through the eyes of another human. When you look at me, you don't see imperfections but LOVE wrapped in the finished work of grace and I've come to see myself that way too. Finally, I can no longer stand horror movies. I tried watching "The hills have eyes" the other day but could not look beyond the trailer. Thanks for helping me grow into a better person. P.S. To celebrate Valentine's day, I'm not cooking dinner but would order Chinese take-away. I'm not in the mood for any culinary adventure after my disastrous stint in the kitchen trying to make pancakes. however will be trying out that recipe I found on spicebaby.com for SPINACH IN AN OMELETTE...YUMMY. http://www.spicebaby.com/combos/spinach-in-an-omelette-mix-up-your-egg-recipe.html#&panel1-1

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

My pancake disaster

Its Pancake Tuesday and I'm so excited. Actually anything that has to do with food excites me how much more a day that CELEBRATES FOOD! Pancake tuesday heralds the begining of lent, a prelude to Easter. In the christian calender,Lent is a time of abstinence. So Pancake tuesday traditionally celebrated in the Uk and Ireland is the last chance to indulge oneself...What better way to indulge than to swaddle one's stomach with suger ladden food! To mark this memorable day, I chose to make pancakes myself instead of buying ready made ones. But the problem was, I've never made pancakes before. I'm best at eating than cooking or anything else for that matter. Fortunately for me, I'm blessed with friends who are fantastic cooks and delight in cooking for me so I barely slave it out in the kitchen( don't be jealous, its the annointing I carry...lol). Maybe its the ecstatic look on my face when I eat, the way I savour food on my lips that make people enjoy seeing me eat and out do themselves in sending mouth watering delicasies my way..haaaaaa! So off to Youtube I went to learn the art of pancake making. The recipe and 5 minuute process seemed simple enough. However 30 minutes later, my efforts in the kitchen was a classic disaster! A non-stick frypan got burnt, the kitchen became smoke fiiled and I had to open the windows. Graagh! how can a simple task of making pancakes be so hard.
I did make Nkwobi on friday and it was delish! Finally, I came up with something that tasted and looked like pancakes though it took me 5 painful and very shameful attempts to arrive at the final results.
I duff my hat in respect to every good cook out there, I'll never complain about other people's cooking AGAIN. If Pancakes be the food for love, I'll be single for a very very very long time..lol.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Disturb Us, Lord

I just had to share this poem. Its an excerpt from a book I'm reading titled YOUR KINGDOM COME,written by Daniel Kolenda. The book emphasises the importance of prayers in a believer's life and exposes the dangers of complancency in the place of Prayer. I'm just on page seventeen and already excited about what other pages have to offer. There is so much treasure to be unveiled in this book and I'm blessed to be reading it. Would do a much insightful review later in the week. Of a fact, power is released when a beliver prays. I pray that we'll be alert to the benefits of prayers more often. I hope you enjoy and are challenged by this brilliantly written truth as much as I was. Disturb us, Lord When we are too pleased with ourselves, When our dreams have come true, Beacause we dream too little, When we arrived safely, Because we sailed too close to the shore. Disturb us oh lord, When with the abundance of things we posses, We have lost our thirst for the waters of life, We have ceased to dream of eternity, And in our effort to build a new earth, we have allowed our vision of new heaven to dim WRITTEN BY SIR FRANCIS DRAKE, 1577

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Time to be brave.

I read an interesting post on UCB devotionals and it really inspired me. It’s about living fearlessly. The concept of struggles is not a strange phenomenon to the human existence. Since sin entered man, there has been the constant struggle between good and evil but with Jesus came victory. Sometimes man in his frailties can be overwhelmed by struggles and fears constantly. Have you ever watched a movie that shows a drowning man being rescued? In his fear, the drowning man struggles and flaps his arms but most of his self-efforts mostly drain him of energy. However, as any life saver knows, you cannot save a drowning man unless he stops struggling. It takes bravery to be calm in crisis. It takes bravery to lean on the arm of an unseen saviour and trusting He is able to rescue by FAITH. Fears cripples and rubs a person off the ability to live a full life. It has the possibility to kill before an unlikely or envisaged negative circumstance does. The Irish government has made plans to reduce the number of police men and close stations to curb public sector spending’s. This announcement has left people fearful about security of lives and properties on the back of a waning economic situation. The day I heard the news, I simply prayed and handed my worries to God. Of course fear almost crept into my heart but I refused it access into my heart and home. In past years, I would have had a panic attack and crumbled under the negative news but I realised it was time to be brave and not fearful. My new mind-set did not happen over by night, it was a gradual process and a conscious choice to be brave in times of adversity. In the words of Playwright David Mamet, We all die in the end, but there’s no reason to die in the middle. Sometimes a medical diagnosis has the potential to kill than an actual illness. I did an HIV/AIDS test in 2004 and before the result came I contemplated jumping from the first floor of the hospital laboratory if the report was negative. I almost had a heart attack when the doctor came with an ominous look on his face only to tell me I needed to come back for the results which turned out to be negative. Phew!! I have learnt to exchange every lie with the truth of God’s words and in that I have peace. So can you. It is time to grab the bull by the horn and live the abundant life that is in Christ Jesus. It is time to be brave and that includes the mountain of dirty dishes in my kitchen sink!! "For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment" 2 Timothy 1:7

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Battlefield of the Mind

I use to think God had forgotten me or maybe I wasn't even on His to do list. I would look at certain situations I'd gone through and question if God was fair. Challenges does that you know. The mind gets so messed up that a positive outlook seems like an over stretched ideal. I read a story on UCB devotional on how elephants are trained "They did it by controlling the animal’s thinking. When a baby elephant was being trained, a rope was put around its leg and then tied to a wooden post secured in the ground. The elephant, which was not yet very strong, pulled at the rope but was unable to break it or to pull up the post. Eventually it gave up. From that point forward when the elephant’s leg was secured it believed it couldn’t get away—even though it was fully capable of escaping, and had been for a long time. It remembered its struggle". The rope tied to the elephant's feet over time conditioned its mind that it would forever be in bondage. A person that has suffered abuse and rejection in life comes to expect these in life. Infact most women that experience abuse, almost always go into destructive relationships that depletes them; until they get the intervention they need. The first place that failure hits is a person's self worth. You feel useless and unworthy of love. The person starts to feel they deserve to be hurt and sometimes unconsciouly seek out pain. They even reject love when it comes knocking. After experiencing pain for so long, I became suspicious of love and feared rejection. I allowed my past experiences to condition my present so much that I was only existing not living. I basked in fear always afraid to launch out or even take a risk. Until I broke free. You see God created us to live and not merely exist irrespective of what we've been through. Fear of failure robs a person off the opportunity to live a life of DOMINION. We are meant to kick life in the butt and determine to LIVE THE GOOD LIFE. This can only happen if we decide to enjoy everyday no matter what may come our way. Moreover, troubles don't last always "For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!" "Corinthians 4:17.. In everybattle the enemy first seeks to bully the opponent into submission. This is the strategy Goliath used in intimidating the israelites before David came on the scene in 1 Samuel 17. The elephant like you and I can break free of captivity of the mind because with God all things are possible "You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world" 1 John 4:4. until a person avails of the weapons of warfare in the Word of God, he or she is destined to perpetual defeat. The beauty of it all is we are fighting from the winning side. isn't that amazing!!

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Celebrating GOD in an usual GEM

Its amazing how situations sometimes turn out isn't? When the most unlikely circumstance ends up producing the most unusual results. Its times like these that I marvel at how God works. How He makes something beautiful from improbable sources. You just can't fully fathom the mind of God, He's simply mind boggling. With God it doesn't matter your background or your lineage or how seemingly unqualified you are.. He just wants a yielded, hungry and trusting heart. This post is inspired by a sister and a friend.
Comfort and I met in secondary and a bond was instantly struck between us. we shared a lot of interests and had the same crazy sense of humour. I was the giant beside her small frame and we somehow always got into trouble TOGETHER...more like trouble always found us and we basked in mischiefs.*sigh* those were the days. One striking feature about my darling friend was her amazing and infectous laughter. Comfort could laugh at everything and anything. Her brown eyes were always lit up with a hint of a smile waiting to burst forth into laughter-most times out of control. But beneath that happy go lucky attitude, comffy as she's still fondly called had a secret that she never shared with anybody not even with her buddy. I found out over a bowl of garri(food ofcourse....the FBI should take hint) that it wasn't all rosy in paradise. Her bubbly character hid the trauma of a painful childhood without a father and a single mother struggling to provide for her children. This is not unlike how a lot of kids from less priviledged homes suffered but my friend's experience and ensuing attitute was different. Comfort would never let out whether she'd eaten before coming to school or even if she had the requisite money for lunch. it wasn' pride just a positive attitude that God blessed her with. The day she shared her challenges with me with tears in her eyes, my first reaction was that of shock. I couldn't believe that she could hide her struggles from me her best buddy!! Then my shock changed to respect. I respected her positive attitude even at that age....we were less than 15!!!. I on the other hand was never good at handling uncomfortable situations but thank God for second chances. My friend did not allow the challenges of her childhood deter her from enjoying and filling her days with laughter. With Comfort, I have come to learn NEVER to allow circumstances drive the narration of my life. Human existence is prone to challenges but we have a choice to either let the prevailing circumstances make or break us. Comfort chose to allow her childhood drive her to God and success. If you've experienced pain and poverty, you wouldn't want any relationship with them, serious! She never became bitter or was embittered by her parents poor choices. I was in Nigeria on holiday last year and had a reunion with my dear friend. I was sincerely amazed at how far she'd come. Sitting opposite me was a beautiful woman with no trace of the trauma of her childhood; all gone, transformed and helped with the grace of a loving God with children of her own. Comfort is a success in all sphere with a career, a loving family and an unquenchable fire for God. I celebrate you comffy as you mark another birthday and I'm so proud of you. Your life inspires me on how God can make something out of nothing. If only we believe and let Him more often than we do. God does make something beautiful from the dust and COMFORT IS A LIVING TESTIMONY. .....and yes even after all these years, she still laughs crazy. Thanks for letting me share your story.

Monday, 4 February 2013

The truth of the matter

It doesn't matter if nobody believes in you, BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. It doesn't matter if some people believe in you, BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. It doesn't matter if everybody believes in you, BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. People change and emotions are fickle. The people who celebrate you today might be the same ones that will carry pitch forks and attempt to crucify you tomorrow. You are the protagonist of your story. It doesn't matter how slowly the character of your story develops, its not over yet as you are still evolving. Remember, the plot is gently unfolding and so is the character development. You say there is too much drama in the story, yes dearie, it makes the book a better read and the movie a better watch. The twists and themes are necessary to weave a dramatic climax. If there were no suspense in a movie, then its not worth the watch. The characters in a story do not query the author except in George of the the jungle and see what happened to the animals that did(lol...Thank God we have a loving not a vindictive saviour) . Believe in yourself and the judgement of the author. HE KNOWS WHAT HE IS DOING You may not be the gun slinger in an action movie or yours might not even be a comedy but a small low budget classic series...its a story anyway and whatever the role you are created to play, play it well. Moreover every creative genre has its audience so you are relevant. ONLY YOU CAN PLAY YOU IN THIS STORY. I've realised that people that listen to the director of a movie come out shining. The director has a vision in his head and will help the character portray his/her best and not mislead. Stephen was a character in a big budget movie but he had a small role; he was chosen along with six others to oversee the daily distribution of food. He could have complained that the job was degrading given his CV but he understood that his little role was necessary in the bigger picture. From a small audience of widows and motley crew of believers he evolved into speaking before the most learned people in the land and got a standing ovation from Jesus at his death " But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed steadily into heaven and saw the glory of God, and he saw Jesus standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand" Acts 7:55. I've survived some situations that I thought I could never do. Truth be told some left me scared but looking back now, those situation have only been stepping stones for my growth. The scars are just gentle reminders that I AM A SURVIVOR So you see, it doesn't matter how many times you've erred and made wrong choices, God is still in the business of forgiveness and restoration. The truth of the matter is that you matter to God and you have a role in this story. Now let's give it another go. SCENE 75, ACT 12, ACTION!!!

Friday, 1 February 2013

Don't give up.

She'd had enough! Who wouldn't? Nana had been married to her husband for 12 years and half of those he'd spent in a drunken stupor. Sometimes he'd be so *wasted* that she'd be called out from work to take him home. These days she feels more like a child minder than a wife. She could barely recollect when they last made love or experienced the intimacy of marriage. How had it all gone wrong? Where did she go wrong? She'd tired of begging him to consider the trauma of his drunkenness on their ten year old son; the effects of his dad being carried in daily like a rag doll as result of alcohol abuse. She was tired of feeding him like a child when he was too drunk to feed himself. She'd had enough of the whispers and snickering’s when she's out shopping. "Pity stares" as her son would call them. Right now, she'd had enough of hiding her head in shame and was calling it quits! The church had prayed but her husband seems to be getting worse than getting better. She believes it’s better to opt out of her sinking ship of a marriage than drown with it. But something keeps telling her to hold on and not give up yet. You see, when her husband was not drunk, he was the sweetest of all men; loving, caring and always eager to help out. Initially, she'd remained in the marriage because of her son but today she'd realised her reasons were deeper than that. She still believed in miracles. She still believed in God and she remembered her marital vows. Nana is not alone in this quagmire. For a brief moment consider how many times you've felt like giving up on people and situations when they fall short of your expectations. A couple of days ago, I stumped up to my room in typical dramatic Gladys style and slumped on my bed vowing not to get up until God came down and gave me some quality face time. Earlier on, I'd been helping my lad with his reading and writing. It was all going well till we hit a brick wall. I didn't throw a tantrum like I would in the past but I wouldn't be Gladys if that moment was devoid of drama hence my melodramatic conversation with God. Overtime, I've realised God takes every moment of our lives seriously. No emotion is too small to bring before Him. He wants your cares, worries, laughter etc. If it matters to you then it MATTERS TO GOD. God did give me quality face time as I requested… lol. Galatians 6:9 "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up". It so easy to give up than pushing for results. But we only reap a good result if we endure and push through. Perseverance is never easy but always worth it if we keep the goal in mind. How many projects have you given up on and wondered what would have happened if only? The bible says in Genesis 1:26 that we are made in God' image and as far as I can recall GOD IS NOT A QUITTER. He never gave up on man hence He sent Jesus to reconcile us back to the father through his death and resurrection. I heard a story once about an athlete that competed in a race. Along the way, he sprained his ankle but continued nevertheless. At the finish line he was asked why he didn't quit when he hurt himself. He told the reporters that his country did not send him to the games to quit. "I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me--the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace". 2Timothy 4:12 I have purposed not to let little hiccups deter me from my goals. The next day, I was back to my motherly duties with heaven's own seal of assurance that I WOULD REAP A HARVEST IF I DONT GIVE UP! To my amazement, the lessons flew without a glitch and I wondered what my stress was about previously. LESSON LEARNT: God cares about everything that concerns you. DON'T GIVE UP trust Him to work all things together for your good. YOU JUST CHILLAX.
P.S Teaching is not my forte at all..lol but I'm learning patience. "For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing " James 1:3-4