book-1209805_640 (1)
You Lord who knows the hearts of all men, show which one of these ones you have chosen to take the place in the apostolic ministry from which Judas turned away to go his own place (Acts 1:24-25). This is an interesting verse showing the disciples carried on depending fully on Jesus even after the resurrection. In the past Jesus had told them to love one another as he had loved them. He taught them that to keep his commandments, they had to remain in his love (John 15:9-10). They knew that when Jesus was in their midst, he always turned to his father for guidance. Even when it was nearly impossible for him, he still stayed in his father’s love. Jesus famously asked for God’s will and not his own will at the garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:42). So the disciples already had the perfect example in Jesus. Although they may have had their favourite candidate to choose when the time to replace Judas came, they knew better than to let their will prevail. They knew in humility to let Jesus choose. In their minds, there was no difference to them whether Jesus was physically there or not. While Jesus was still with them, he told them that he was the one who chose them. They did not choose Jesus (John 15:16). In the old Testament God also told Jeremiah that before he was born he knew him (Jer 1:5). He also said that before his birth he sanctified and chose him to be a prophet. The bible makes us understand that we love God because he loved us first(1John4:19). So even in the house of God where we are all called to serve God in different ways and ministries, it is always worth remembering that only few are chosen (Matt 22:14). These few are not chosen by men but by God. It was God who chose all the prophets and kings of old. God still makes those choices today the only problem as Christians is that we tend to rush in with our choices first and seek God’s face last. We forget that he decides and has the final say. When the disciples sought God’s choice at the start, God chose Matthias. Sometimes God chooses us for a mission and we run away. Jonah is one typical example. God chose him to go to Nineveh to warn them about their wickedness. Jonah decided to run away. He did not want to go. He wanted to do his own will. But God sent a storm and just as the ship Jonah was fleeing in was about to sink, Jonah was thrown into the sea and swallowed by a fish. He was forced to surrender to God’s command and the fish regurgitated him on dry land. Subsequently he went to proclaim God’s word in Nineveh. Today we do not always witness such dramatic selections. However daily we are faced with choices. Choices surrounding answering God’s call or not. Like the disciples, we must go back to Jesus in prayer and allow him make the choices. We have to consciously remember to always seek his will first in all things before we set off. This way, our journey will be made easier. Thank you for reading. You can find more of my meditations here. Photo credit: Pixabay

May his will be done…

Guess what? Today we have a new film on our review Radar. It’s a whole new genre of Nigerian movie. Do you know why? That’s because it is a Yoruba film. Yes o you heard right! The Yoruba tribe is one of the main Nigerian Tribes. There are lots of tribes in Nigeria. However, for some unknown reason, Nigeria as a country categorizes all the tribes into three. They are called the “major” tribes. Please don’t ask me why because I simply have no idea. The tribes are Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo. Now the film for today done in the Yoruba Language. It is of course a language not only spoken by Yorubas but popularly common in the Western part of Nigeria where the Yorubas predominantly reside. The good news is that you do not even have to understand or speak the language to watch this movie. I don’t either. The viewing is made understandable by the genius of subtitling. This was thoughtfully adopted in this movie. So sit back, get comfy as we prepare to dive right into today’s movie. It is called OSUPA which means Moon in English- or so they said! Yes the main protagonist Tokunbo is portrayed by the beautiful Bukky Wright. For those of us who regularly watch Yoruba movies, she is known as one of the fantastic actresses. The film tells a story about what I like to think of as the trials of this lady- Tokunbo. She was a successful actress who got framed when a gang of female robbers were caught while on rampage. Further questioning during detention led the gang to name Tokunbo as their ring leader and sole financier. They claimed that she was responsible for sponsoring and mentoring them. Tokunbo was then detained while on set and later imprisoned. This led to an ordeal that sees her path cross with a Lawyer. He fought her corner in court but whether or not she won the case will be left for you to find out. I hate to be the one to let the cat out of the bag… A few years after the ordeal, Tokunbo found herself with the lawyer. You know the one who helped her earlier?  Yes that one!. Well they began a relationship but shortly afterwards he took ill. After seeking medical help, things took an ugly turn because his health continued to deteriorate. They decide to seek spiritual help but not without paying a heavy price. One that led to consequences for Tokunbo. Tokunbo’s joy unfortunately was short-lived but the outcome of the lawyer’s ordeal had severe consequences for their relationship. I personally was glued to the screen while watching this one. The story is told in 2 parts and rightly so as there were many twists and turns throughout the plot. I thought the production was very good. For a Nigerian movie on home level it fared well. However, the same could not be said for it on an international level. There was and still is room for a lot of improvement. So now for the PASS review Picture&Production  2** Acting                        4**** Storytelling                3*** Sound                         2** Overall, I will give this film a 3***. Some work still needs to be done on the film production in order for it to measure up with its counterparts on the international scene. Many great actors were featured in the film. Big names like Muyiwa Ademola, Bukky Wright, Fathia Balogun, Lanre Hassan just to mention a few names. Yinka Quadri produced this film and did a fantastic job. You can watch the film for free on Youtube Thanks for joining us for another film review and see you next time…Chao! Photo Credit Pixabay  

Film review: Osupa The Moon

Hello again and thank you for joining me here for another film review. As you know watching home videos as we normally refer to Nigerian movies is my new pass time. This week,  I decided to add some specific elements to the film reviews I do. It is just to give you more appreciation of the film and also give you an idea of various aspects of the film i terms of what to expect. I shall be using 5 criteria. I will like us to call it the PASS criteria. PASS stands for Picture&Production Acting Storytelling Sound PASS sounds good to me and I hope it will spice things up. So let us see if this fill will PASS our review… See what I did there? PASS ! Anyway without taking up more time, let’s talk about this film. My first thoughts when I saw the popular “Andy” acting a film called “I used my wife for rituals” was whaaaat? Not again! Well every Nigerian knows that Andy (Kenneth Okonkwo) became popular in those days for his portrayal of Andy as Merrit’s husband in a film called “Living in bondage”. He used her for ritual money and it backfired. If I remember correctly, it ended very badly with torments and madness….. Well, back to the film under review. It is fair to say that the perfect actor was chosen for the role. However, although the theme mirrors every other one previously acted in this genre (condemning such money ritual and desperate money making acts by people), it unfolded very nicely. It started very slowly with the protagonist Martins meeting many misfortunes. He went from fire gutting all his goods to losing his next set of merchandise to one misfortune after another. His wife Tessy attempted to borrow money in order to resurrect her husband’s misfortunes. That attempt was stopped in its tracks by roadside robbers who snatched her bag. This left the couple in an even worse mess. In addition to these tragedies, they now had to deal with endless debts and embarrassments from various lenders. The most prominent harassment was the one from Tessy friend. Rita was the one who lent her the particular money which was snatched from her. The one they never even got to use as a result of the unfortunate act. She went as far as using the couple’s five year childlessness to score a cheap point. She tried to imply that they kept mismanaging funds because they had no children to bring up. Finally the couple sought solution to their problems spiritually by attending a church. The pastor welcomed and prayed for them. In no time his wife conceived but their sufferings were not abated. Things got to a head for xxx when his pregnant wife had to go hungry for him to feed. She presented her food to her husband upon his return from a hard day in the grind. Without any hint that the food set before him was actually meant for her, he descended on the food hungrily. As he started to show his appreciation for the well prepared meal he had just devoured, he noticed her deep yawn. It struck in him the realisation that it was more than a tired yawn but a hungry yawn. He became very upset with her. This led to a chain of unforeseeable events that are brought to a head after the birth of their son. The film is a must watch. I must warn you about the sound quality of this film. In the beginning there seems to be a disharmony between the audio and visuals. It lasts for over 45 minutes before resolving itself. As usual, patience and tolerance will be your key companions while watching this movie as with most Nigerian home videos in this category. There are a few unnecessary scenes but do not let that put you off. Just focus on the story. So now for the PASS review Picture&Production  3*** Acting                        4**** Storytelling                3*** Sound                         2** Overall I will give this film a 3*** on my PASS scale. It is fair to say that there is still room for improvement in the picture production and sound department. 49 minutes is a long time to wait for the sounds to align with the visuals. However, there were nice believable effects in the secret cult scenes. The story line was good. Nothing really new there but the story telling could have been better. There were a few irrelevant scenes that could have been cut out in my opinion. This story is in 3 parts. Each of the parts lasted for 1hour 45mins. Honestly if I was not so bored myself I would not have sat so patiently. However all in all, it was a lovely film with great believable actors. You can find the film to watch for free on Youtube here when you have the time and please come back to tell me what you think about it. Thanks and see you next time! Photo credit: Pixabay

Film review: My wife for rituals

I am going to be brutally honest with you. I sat across you on that sunny afternoon listening to you talk about Him and your current situation and it was the most painful thing I’ve had to watch because you certainly deserve better. You were hurting and there was nothing I could do, I hated that feeling. I always felt I could put a smile on your face no matter how bad you were feeling, that was one of the things I was good at. When you had a bad day you would run straight to me and I would be myself all through but you wouldn’t stop laughing and giggling like a little girl. Moments like this I always treasured. So, to have you sit across me and tell me how sad and bitter He had made you feel and all I could do was listen. All through the time you spoke all I could see was the hurt in your eyes, how dejected you had become. You were resigned to your fate and it was tearing you up from within. You needed an outlet, an escape, I used to be that outlet but today all I could do was watch and listen to you pour your heart and soul out. Something that wasn’t very common with you. You would tell me about your horrible day at work or the difficulty you had coming back home in this crazy town and I would make jokes just to make you feel better. Yet I would always have to probe further just for you to tell me something really personal that was on your mind and now that you came to me with your biggest challenge, I wasn’t ready or I was clueless as to what to say to you. Days went by, weeks even and I still had not recovered from watching you look so gloom, so defeated, all because of Him. I would apologize that I did not check in to see how you were faring because I handled this encounter differently this time around and I couldn’t bear to see you this torn. But for you to question my friendship that really hurt me. I have been here for you for every single step of the way since we have known each other, even when you know how difficult it is for me to do just that. Or do you think it is easy watching the one you want, be with someone else? Your happiness was all that mattered and I decided as long as you were happy, I was okay with that. Now you are not even letting me explain or talk to you, you feel that cutting me off is the solution to make yourself feel better. Is it because this time around I didn’t sympathize with you as you hoped? I did not cheer you up since that will only be a temporary solution to what you are going through. Did I really hurt you that much or are you just deflecting? I don’t think it’s fair for you to treat me like the enemy. Anyway I guess you need time to yourself. You need time to sort through your issues and I suggest you face it head on and stop hiding behind whatever you call “this thing” we have. I won’t have it this time around, I want you to know that I would continuously be praying for your marriage and I hope you can sort it all out soonest. You know I will always be here. Thank you for reading. You may also like others from this series About the author : Ezimen is a professional in the daytime. He loves writing, travelling and having fun! Do you know that you can now submit a post like this? To find out how, click here. Perhaps you fancy reading from others in the community? Find other articles here. Thank you Photo credit: Pixabay

She knows I love her but she is his wife…now she hates me.

Hey there! It’s my first Nigerian film review and I am super excited. I have been watching so many films lately to pass the time here at the HQ. I thought that it would be a good idea to share the fun with you. It is not normally all serious here at the Whispering hope HQ. This weekend, I really enjoyed watching this film- Mysterious child. I had a nice relaxing afternoon watching it. I will normally wait a few days before reviewing a movie. However, that is not the case for this one. This film evoked very strong emotions within me. Sincerely, it was not the first time a home video had done justice to depicting the triumph of good over evil. However, in this particular film, there were many twists and turns. Mmeso a little girl born into the family of a retiree, appeared to have mysterious powers. She showed fearlessness and courage in the face of scary occurrences around her home. Isidinso was her elder sister who on the other hand was physically fearless defending her family in a warring fashion. Beating men up and warding off any physical threats to her father. Awele was the eldest. She was a soft hearted and peace loving member of the family whose kindness was constantly taken for a weakness. Their new home was in the village where the family had recently relocated to after her dad’s retirement. However, no sooner had they arrived than her father’s greedy younger brothers started their quest for all he had and held dear in terms of assets. Her father’s brothers made demands of him which included the re-sharing of a previously divided land. I really found it funny that they wanted their brother’s share of the family parcel of land re-shared to enable them harvest the cash crops. I remember thinking seriously? Palmfruits? cashcrops? Are we in stone-age? You just need to see this film to appreciate their level of desperation over Palm Kernel for ofe akwu!!! In the end, his refusal to oblige them had severe consequences for the family. His brothers decided to go to extreme lengths in their battle against him. The aftermath led to the self exile of Mmeso’s eldest sister Awele to save her life. She relocated to her friend’s house in the city against her mother’s wish for her to stay with family in the city. After wards, she fell out with her friend for being unable to grab the city opportunities at her doorstep. Now with all hope lost, she decided to find her way. She soon received some news that changed her life forever. Awele coincidentally met the village prince who took her into his home and revealed some home truths. Important facts that led her back home. Will she be able to save her family from impending disaster? Will her sister Mmeso rise up to defend the family spiritually? Will their only brother be found alive? You will have to watch by yourself in order to appreciate how the story unfolds. This film gets  5 stars from me. The audio and sound quality were excellent. The graphics – fireworks and otumokpor in this film were fantastically believable. You can find this film on Youtube by clicking on Part1 and Part2 You may also enjoy reading similar film reviews here Photo credit: Pixabay

Film review:The Mysterious child

coast-631925_640 (1)
  I have had a few of my friends call to ask me what they are doing wrong to Mr Right because he has started to act up. He comes home tired and uninterested in them. I am not talking about the ones that come home very late in the night for no reason (that one is another matter!). I am rather referring to the Mr right that seem to have developed an aversion for you. He does not say he is uninterested but his body language hints otherwise. He says I love you so automatically that you wonder if he is just saying what you want to hear. You keep trying to get his attention but even when he gives it, you can tell that something is different. The gospel truth? It may not be anything you did. He may be going through a rough patch, a tough time at work or anything else but your fault. However, before we even start pointing one finger at him as ladies, do not lose sight of the fact that the rest of your four fingers may be validly pointing back at you. I believe that you can allow problems walk majestically into your relationship as soon as you lose sight of the fact that before you became wife or baby mama (as some are now referred to on social media) to this guy, you were his girlfriend, his chikito or better still his babe! Do you honestly still feel like his babe now? Do you think that all these extra levels you have developed your relationship to should diminish the fact that you are firstly and most importantly his girlfriend? The day you stopped seeing him as your boyfriend and feeling you were his mother, police and dictator was the day you crossed the line between marital bliss and perpetual sadness. Marriage is meant to and should only ever be a way to solidify and secure your relationship. I am not totally sure that it was intended to be the end of that special bond that you forged by having a relationship in the first place. You know that moment when one person asked, the other said yes and both fought tooth and nail to keep this relationship solid? Marriage is not meant to break that. Marriage is meant to transform you both into companions with a special bond (by the pre-existence of a relationship) not pull you apart. Do you remember the time of romance, butterflies, excitement, laughter, hot sex, experiments and pleasure between you both? If your marriage is not doing that, then join me as i take you through some simple steps you can take to get things right back on track. Have control over your children: If you have children already you will agree with me that as soon as they start arriving things change. I always liken my kids to a rash. They come either in trickles or at once to take over your whole life. If you do not control them, their need for your attention will spread until they encroach every aspect of your life including your relationship with your man. It is important to set out a routine for them to adhere to. One of the most important ones is the bedtime routine. Yes, bedtime! You have to start from an early age to put them to bed early. If not you will never have time for yourself (which by the way includes your relationship!) If your kids sleep at say 11pm, when will you ever have time for your man? The kids always come first but don’t forget that your relationship was existing first before they came along. They have to exist alongside every aspect of your life not overshadow other areas. That will not be fair to them and to you. You also have to make sure that they have their own space. If you lose control over where they sleep (by letting them sleep in your bed) how are you both going to engage in some adult play? So you see why a good grasp on your kids is the key to a happier relationship Start doing things together again: Doing things together is another important element that keeps your relationship flourishing. The pressures imposed on us by life mean that our relationships with our spouses tend to take the back seat. If you do not spend time together, you start to disconnect from each other. Can you remember how many activities you shared together as a couple when your courtship was in full swing? All those times helped create the bedrock for your relationship and ultimately, the marriage we are referring to here. I agree that it may be quite difficult to find time to go out now that the children are here. So by the time you put the kids to bed early for instance, you can watch a film together, have a meal together, snuggle up together (i did not say do anything else but at least enjoy the company of each other). Try to relax and unwind: This is an important element disappearing from most relationships. When stress levels are high due to the demands of day to day living, it seems impossible to achieve any form of relaxation. Apart from the health benefits of relaxation, it impacts positively on our relationships. You can play a nice soft music to chill out. Wind yourself down by having a bath just before your man retires for the day. That way you are not only relaxed but also very inviting when the time for serious business arrives. The nice fresh fragrance from your body will be a good calming attraction for him. With a relaxed mind and body, you can help dissipate the stress levels and even conquer your nagging tendency when your partner arrives. It is quite difficult to lash out on a calm person and cause offense Always create a conducive atmosphere: This is a very […]

8 ways to win your man back!

Devotion to the sacred heart is the devotion to the essence of God.  It is a devotion to his core, his dwelling place. It is finding God in Christ where he lives. It is a devotion to a system of withdrawal and meditation in the hidden centre of God which is Christ. The word was made flesh and dwelt among us. The word was God. Therefore devotion to the sacred heart is devotion to God in the way that God chooses to reveal himself to us through Jesus Christ his son. To reach the heart of a person is to reach the very essence of that person. For one to reveal his heart to you, he shows you a face of himself that is hidden away from scrutiny. He shows you his very own essence. You can only truly know the person who allows you to enter his heart through their words, thoughts. It is by the expressions of their true and innermost feelings to you that you really get to know them. By this, we can safely imply that one who you are with for ages without knowing their heart is actually a stranger to you in disguise. In our journey with God, to know God is to enter his heart. By entering his heart, he is able to communicate his inner and deeper mysteries into our hearts. We can only ever know this heart and desire of God by knowing his word. His word is the bible. The bible reveals the deepest secrets about God. What he likes, what he dislikes, how to serve him and so on. To search and study his scriptures is to spend time with God. By spending time with God we get to know him, his desires for us and his will for us. The good news is that this word of God was made flesh and dwelt among us. He took our flesh in order to become one with us. By this singular act, he became even closer than ever. In the end, he became able to physically live with us through Christ Jesus. By assuming a human form, he was able to show us the perfect example of true worship by his words, actions and deeds. Jesus is God in his material form. To know Jesus is to know God in a very personal way. To receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist (Holy Communion) is to unite with him in a miraculous and strengthening way. Consequently, we relive his memorial on a daily basis as individuals and as a church in general. The Sacred heart of Jesus provides a means of achieving this true devotion because through this heart, the true meaning and essence of God is revealed. Through the Sacred heart of Jesus, God opens himself to us in a special way, in a unique way that gives a true and tangible meaning to our journey with God. We become embedded in his heart as his mysteries become more revealed as a result of our daily devotion. By our prayers, we acquire strength and favour that enable us persevere and endure the toils and struggles of life. In that Sacred heart, we learn to resound the true desire of Christ which is to always be one with him in the Gethsemane of life. That point when we find ourselves at our very own crossroads of choice. We learn to desire the total abandonment to the holy will of God. Like Jesus we learn to say “God let not mine but thy will be done”. In that heart, we become humbled as we gaze upon his heart. We see our unworthiness but the loving heart of Jesus continues to draw us in and heal our spirit. Jesus is God’s word personified. In the days of old, God sent prophets to his people. These prophets were mortal. They died but God kept sending more prophets who brought various messages of comfort and truth to the people. However, in the case of Jesus, his death emancipated him from the captivity of flesh. He was transformed back into his original omnipotent and omnipresent form. This miracle of resurrection is the tool that has kept him with us as God and stamped his place forever as True God and True Man. Heaven is now no longer locked up. God has stepped out of the veil created by his heavenly residence. He is now with us in an even more special way through the Holy Eucharist. At the last supper, he instituted a bloodless sacrifice of his body and blood in the form of bread and wine. He can now also dwell right inside of us in the Eucharist. Jesus remains our gift of salvation from God. His crucifixion, death and resurrection became mere instruments used by God to unwrap himself to us through the mystery of Christ our God and master. A true devotion to the sacred heart of Jesus becomes a true devotion to the heart of God himself. Find God today …find the Sacred heart of Jesus. Thank you Photo credit: Pixabay You may also like some of my other meditations. 

The importance of a devotion to the Sacred heart of Jesus

businesswoman-1454338_640 (1)
“Stop ignoring people when they hurt you, you must always speak up for yourself!”…This became my husband’s favourite line nearly every other day. I seemed to constantly suffer at the hands of friends and family. “But I am a nice person”, I thought. “I have practiced bearing wrongs in my heart and even garnished it with forgiveness”. They say forgive and forget and lately I discovered that although I had forgiven, I never seemed to forget. Each time I set my eyes on those who hurt me, I screamed inside but on the outside, I plastered a smile across my face hoping that the pain would go away if I blinked back the tears hard enough. I was getting crushed under all the hurt. I felt like I really had mug tattooed on my forehead. I seemed to always be the one treated badly. Well to be fair, I never spoke up. I secretly grew jealous of people around me who stood up to these hurtful people. The truth was that they were avoided by these hurtful people who rather stayed away for fear of incurring their wrath. I certainly did not want to become a screamer however, something had to change real soon as I could feel myself approaching the end of my tether- fast! Well, was I truly being a nice person by pretending all was well when things were anything but well?  I had practiced suppressing my feelings so fantastically that anyone who wronged me would not see a trace of hurt even in my eyes. Yes! my eyes. You know they say the eyes do not lie. Well, mine were champion liars. You could not easily decipher any hurt through them. It was only a trained eye  (like my husband’s) that could tell that I was hurt as soon as he stepped within sight. He did not even need to see me sometimes. Just by saying hello to him on the phone, he could tell. However, lately, he seemed to be running out of patience with me. Not because he was tired of hearing my cliched lamentations and tales of woes at the hands of people I spent all my energy caring about but because he thought I deserved better. When I wrote “6 reasons why you may be getting knocked back”, I was referring in a way to myself. I came to those conclusions after one of such experiences. However, there was a U-turn in character or rather approach that took over my being after I wrote it. I resolved to learn from my own words. I was no longer going to keep being Mr nice guy. Karl was right. I deserved better. I remember when I was a very young girl, I had a bad tongue. I was at the other extreme of self expression where no one’s feelings mattered but mine.You know the teenage hormonal years of self discovery. I initially used to get a buzz from verbally trashing people who caused me even the slightest bit of hurt. Well my mother had many a conversation with me on this matter. I think the one that struck me was when she said , “you know how the bible says thou shall not kill? It is not only referring to killing with a knife. The way you talk to people, you kill them with our words and you are equally as guilty”. I was struck with mortal fear. I am not sure the poor lady meant “now you have to zip your mouth when people hurt you” or, “stop speaking for yourself”. However being a virtue seeking creature as I unconsciously tend to be sometimes, I took it to the other extreme and literally stopped responding back. You see, every time you are in a relationship where you constantly do not stand up for yourself, your feelings or your ideas (all because you do not want to hurt the next person), you are doing yourself a big injustice. By ignoring your true feelings, you are boxing yourself into an emotional corner. Repressed feelings do not disappear, on the contrary, they tend to build up feelings of resentment gradually until they get to a point where they no longer can be ignored. They most definitely explode and the worst part is that they tend to explode at the wrong time. You get to a last straw stage in a simple interaction that may or may not even be related to the person or issue and then BOOM! The screw literally falls out of your head and you unleash all the venom and anger in a what-about-me sort of way leading to overreaction. This leads to guilt and possibly endless apologies (to someone who may not really deserve the apology) that are the only way to make up for your seemingly unnecessary outburst . Do you know what this produces, further repression of future feelings as you begin to experience the fear of a possible re-occurrence of the shameful outburst you are still reeling over. The interesting part is how the brain begins to learn this method of repressing feelings until it becomes second nature. It gets to a point where you even forget how to speak out. Or worse still, you degenerate to a point of fear (even though you may not even realise it or admit it to yourself) You keep bearing this burden until it weighs you down. The solution is just simply starring you in the face. Stop repressing and start expressing your feelings. As soon as you can start it even with the smallest things, you are on the road to recovering your place in every relationship you enter. Contrary to popular opinion, repressing your feelings (for the sake of peace as people like to add) is not a sign of maturity. Maturity to me means; bold, grown up, coming of age. Which honestly in my books means becoming responsible for every aspect of our lives- which includes but certainly is not restricted to speaking up for ourselves […]

How speaking out can save Your relationships

    One gift that is freely given to all irrespective of age, race, creed, wealth, religion and so on is Time… It is one of life’s constants because it keeps ticking away… endlessly… waiting for no one. Sometimes we are conscious of its ticking… and tocking… especially when we are close to a timepiece. Tick…, tock…, tick…, tock…. It goes on and on forever.. as it has done… even before our existence. At other times, we do not even notice as it whizzes by. In just a moment, a memory is forged… created… as time passes by. Sometimes these memories are good ones, happy ones and we treasure them. Other times the memories are not so good. Bad memories come along… ones we will rather forget … However, whatever the memory, in reality, they belong to our past; we remember them and they can make us happy or sad. They can encroach into the present with or without our intention. They can also strengthen or scar our future (depending on if the memory is a good or bad one). The “not so good” memories unfortunately carry within them the potential to linger on longer than we want them to. This is simply because they leave a trail of scars behind which trigger pain and sadness every time we remember them. Good or bad, all our memories are trapped in what I like to call packets of time. For time to trap our memories, they have to be in packets. Not just in minutes or hours but in bigger lumps that allow the events that occur within them to take place and subsequently elapse. Thereby giving them true meaning and substance. We use these packets of time to remember different events within the story of our lives. Time divides… splits itself up as it passes. Into three…past…, present and future. Until we appreciate these three divisions of time…this fantastic way that time branches out, we risk missing out on savouring the events that presently occur in our lives. We find ourselves dwelling too much on things that have happened …which belong to the past or laying too much emphasis on chasing the things that are yet to happen…which will belong to our future. To dwell constantly on our past or future is futile. The present is the real packet of time we can ever have control over. The past is gone…the future which will come remains unknown…but the present is here…now! We may not have the luxury of choosing what we face in the present. But right here… right now, we can consciously choose either to be strong or to be broken by the events of the present. We alone can choose how we allow the events of the present affect us. We can refocus our energies in the positives amidst the challenging circumstances we face. It does not matter whether our predicament is precipitated by our actions or not. What matters is that right here and now it is happening and we have to deal with it. The glass of life can sometimes be half-full or half empty but only you can choose how to view it. Whichever way you choose to see your glass, there is no right and wrong answer. The truth is that the volume of water remains the same but one view gives more peace than the other and it is your choice to find that comfort in the way that suits you best. It is by irritating the mollusc that the beautiful pearl is formed. The Mollusc finds itself irritated by a microscopic organism in its habitat and traps it in its mantle folds. Overtime, this singular act leads to the formation of the pearl. It is this attempt by the mollusc to make the best of its present disturbing circumstance by enduring the micro-organism that triggers the process that forms the pearl in all its beauty. Therefore one decision at a time in your packet of time based on the circumstances you face presently you can make the very best of every situation you find yourself in. Generally, it is easier to cope with life’s challenges when they are dealt with one at a time. Dealing with more than one challenge at every point in time can overburden and prevent one from truly experiencing the present. This is why when live gets too heavy you should try to approach the challenges one moment at a time, one decision at a time in order to get the best results. The present, is also the only one of the three packets of time that can be your last. This fact always remains unknown until it actually occurs. Live everyday like it is your last. Like the last éclair in the pack, you can savour it preciously and make the best of the present. If it is not the last, then that present will become part of your past. Having enjoyed every moment of the present, you can then step with satisfaction into the future. In conclusion, if you have missed out on making the best use of your present, try not to regret. Regrets are a waste of your time and energy. They also encroach on the present. They start with “if I had known”. The truth remains that, you did not know so don’t be too hard on yourself. The gift of hindsight is one we rarely possess as humans. Don’t judge yourself too harshly because in the past you acted based on the information at your disposal then. So take disappointments as experiences that make you more knowledgeable. Now you know and that knowledge will help to shape your decisions in the going forward. What’s done is done. We cannot undo the past. Don’t waste the present regretting. Thank you You may also enjoy some other articles in this series. Photo credit: Pixabay  

Packets of time

I stare at this blank page thinking to myself, will I ever be a writer?? How well do I write? So many people seem to see immense potential in my writing abilities yet I don’t think or consider myself a good writer. Yes, sometimes I write stuff and yes most times I am blown away just reading stuff I have written in the past. I read them and wonder who wrote this? What part of me had this to say? Did it ever occur to me that I was caging a beast within me and writing could be an outlet to show the world the awesomeness trapped in my head or just simply within me?  I write stuff to some people and they immediately say to me that I am selling myself short. Could this be true? Am I my own greatest problem? To these people I would say keep enjoying the stuff that comes out occasionally and feel free to call me out on my cowardice because I truly need to be told the harsh truth. To my quiet and yet crazy self, I would say get over yourself. Why do you fear failure and rejection so much? I certainly need to develop a thick skin, criticism would come and it should be appreciated, be it good or bad, one can always learn from how the outside world views them not necessarily bending and changing to suit your audience but learning to have a voice that the world will stop to listen to. Have I ever considered that I am depriving the world of so much by not speaking or writing as the case may be? I am done being a ghost. I think you all have to sit back and enjoy the craziness, the depth, the awesomeness, the volume of all I have to say and trust me you are going to get a healthy or not so healthy dose of that, if you get what I mean. Meanwhile I do not apologise in anticipation to the people that will be hurt by my message, I simply will say to you ‘you just are not ready’. To the many fans and critiques, I am about to amass please be patient with me as I start on this journey. There will be ups and downs and down under but I say to you it would be an awesome experience and a magnificent ride with me. So come along let me show you a different side of the world. A view so breath-taking you will ask if you have ever lived and you would want to be in this world, I present the world as I see it from these eyes. Hello all this is EZIMEN and to answer the initial question, NO I would not be a writer. I just have a lot to say and I hope you all will listen. Watch this space. About the author : Ezimen is a professional in the daytime. He loves writing, travelling and having fun! Do you know that you can now submit a post like this? To find out how, click here. Perhaps you fancy reading from others in the community? Find other articles here. Thank you Photo credit: Pixabay

My name is Ezimen… am I really a writer?

heart-81207_640 2
Faithfulness in a relationship is very key. It is easily said but not easily done. A lot of relationships are decaying because, of the lack of faithfulness between partners. Some argue that it is not really compulsory in this day and age especially with the advent of various interesting forms of relationships for instance open relationships. From my understanding, an open relationship exists when both parties agree to have other sexual partners apart from their spouse or partner. They agree to bring that pseudo-relationship into the open and remove any secrecy whatsoever. Considering that the reason why two people choose to commit to each other is mainly due to the love existing between them, this love is brought into question through  this exercise. One may argue that the love allows them express these other desires and tolerate each other’s extra marital habits more. Others argued that the removal of secrecy even strengthens the bond between both parties. Several celebrities have expressed these desires openly in their relationships and as such paved the way for their fans to copy. However, when we zoom into this practice with our eyes, some of us are left wondering where the world is actually heading. It is all to me a desperate measure taken by cheating and disloyal people to justify what they do. However by garnishing it with a name like “open relationship”, they begin to also attempt to stylishly shove it down our throats. Well, if a man or woman feels forced into cheating, then he or she was never faithful to start with. It is during the temptations that we otherwise choose to succumb to, that ones ability to be faithful is tested and proven. For example, the Bible cements the status of Abraham as “faithful” after he showed his obedience to God by accepting the sacrificial request made by God of his son – the “long awaited” son of promise. We must all embrace discipline in order to be good at any thing both physical and temporal. Any relationship devoid of faithfulness is truly dead. Time and time again, we see examples of God punishing his people for disloyalty and distraction. The example of the golden calf where people tried to justify their actions as being sanctioned by Aaron a man of God, did not even spare the people from  God’s wrath(Exodus 32). Truly, in this age of freedom and “open relationships”, it appears less relevant to be faithful. The truth remains that one likeness we share in common with God is “jealousy” towards all that we hold dear. After all the heart lies where the treasure resides (Matt 6:21). In addition, the only valid opt-out clause in holy matrimony (adultery), rides on faithfulness(Matt 19:9). Holy matrimony is the display of the sacred union between man and woman as recognised by God and his holy Church. One’s self worth and confidence are called to question as soon as one accepts anything less than this basic standard from a relationship. In a relationship between friends, it’s not too much to expect faithfulness expressed as loyalty. This faithfulness cannot even be restricted to married couples. The Bible even acknowledges that there is a friend stronger than a brother(Prov18:24). The issue of backstabbing, gossiping, jealousy and other vices in normal relationships come to mind and rape a relationship of its true essence. ridding it of loyalty, companionship or happiness for both or all parties involved. Like all decisions, one must cut off this kind of relationship to avoid sin. This sense of endless quarrels, counter gossip and other damages inherent in such toxic associations. Where love abounds, faithfulness thrives. After all even Jesus Christ put it nicely “you cannot serve two masters”. During relationships and courtship, we are availed the opportunity to understudy the human character set before us. As we look through the keyhole of what life proposes to be with another individual, we must make room for human error as nobody’s perfect. Unfortunately, distractions that are mostly material and passing constantly becloud our sound judgement for no reason apart from the main one we acknowledged earlier- indiscipline! People keep choosing things that will pass away like materiality, beauty, status etc over inherent sustainable qualities like faith, hope and love. Faith and believe in each other. Hope of a future together analysed through the endowment of various qualities like tolerance, perseverance through wobbles of whatever sort during courtship or possession of a hopeful quality like smartness and as people commonly call it, “prospects”. Although mostly forgetting that it goes both ways. Lastly, love to resonate through the purpose of every action taken between both parties. I shall end with the favourite admonition of the scriptures “ he who has ears, let him hear….” Let us pray that relationships being the pivot upon which marriage and lasting ties between individuals rotates will be taken more seriously by our generation and not be constantly used as a means to satisfy our canal pleasures and desires…. Love between two hearts should always mirror the love existing between Jesus Christ and his church. As Christ remains faithful to us, may we remain faithful to one another in love….. Amen.   Photo credit: Pixabay

Faithfulness in a relationship

Lagoon cafe is one of my favourite spots in this hospital. It is the place for buying food and drinks during our stay at this hospital. I will not lie to you that food time is one of the highlights of my day. I know people say that hospital food is rubbish and maybe it is. But one gift I am blessed with is that I am easily pleased. It may not be the best food in the world but the main thing is that I like it. As I walk down the hallway with my food bag in hand, there is not a thing in the world that can dampen my spirit. I love the food (at least most days I do). It is one of my main things. It excites me because just eating it and chewing on it releases the burst of hopefully “good” flavours into my pallet. As I swallow each mouthful, I swallow with such excitement as I see more areas of the left on the plate to devour. It’s funny how suddenly the highlight of my day has changed from say having important meetings and deals to close (from just a few years back) to counting down the time to lunch! Life is really unpredictable. You can never know what lies around the corner. Rewind my life 10 years ago and ask that little girl where she thinks she will be in 10 years time and it will certainly not be here fantasizing about food. It’s not the end of the world if you are unable to achieve what you thought was your destiny. Not everybody will be bank managers or wizkids. Someone will clean, someone will drive the bus or someone will just be jobless like me right now (well technically, not jobless jobless but office jobless – if you catch my drift.) The good news is that not all great and successful people planned to be as big as they are today. So it is not the end of the world if you are not presently living the dream, or if your life is not anywhere near a fairytale. What matters in life is not living the dream and having a fairytale life but making the best out of the circumstance you find yourself in. Let us face it, even the said people living the dream are not all as excited and happy as you might think. Happiness is a function of so much more than just material achievements. Something as unremarkable as enjoying a plate of food (especially if it is a plate of the food you crave) may just be all that takes to attain happiness however momentary. Accept your situation but work hard towards being the best you can be within the limits imposed by your circumstance. To me that is true success. Aspire for a better tomorrow but not to the extent that you stop appreciating your today. So if you find that you wanted to be a doctor but somehow life has led you to be a bus conductor, be the best bus conductor there is on earth! Conduct that vehicle like you are an authority at it, take ownership and man the bus like it was yours after all it pays your bills! It does not mean that you may not still be a doctor tomorrow. Just keep working hard and being prayerful. By doing that, you indirectly put yourself out there, the opportunity may arise for you to train as a doctor. You will see it because your head is held high. If you bow your head in despair constantly you may be busy moaning and complaining when opportunities come- thereby missing out on them. So right here right now as I am doing justice to this meal, all I can do is be grateful for all I have. I am being the best I can be and praying for the best outcome for the future. To show my seriousness at accepting my situation, I have now made friends at the lagoon cafe. So sometimes I get extra portions here and there. So hey! I have started taking that advice: I am being the best buyer of food I can be. Now before I take up more of your time, I shall let you go while I work at being the best eater of food! Thank you. Photo credit: Pixabay You may also like: Food frustration  

Hospital Life: The Lagoon Cafe…

gate pic
The beautiful gate was a gate referred to in the Bible book of Acts1. There is a story told about a man crippled from birth. He always went to the gates called “beautiful”. What a lovely name for a gate. This man chose to sit there. His hope was to get enough alms to survive on a day-to-day basis. People must have looked down on him as a beggar with only perhaps a few stopping to throw the odd coin into his hat or cap. But one day, one blessed day, Peter and John walked past and he begged them as he did everyone else. He was given what he needed the most. Which he was not even asking them for- his healing. Praise God! His ankles and legs became stronger and he could walk. He was healed to the extent that he was jumping and praising God. Every day, we sit at this beautiful gate in so many different ways.  Sometimes in prayer and and other times by literally asking for someone’s help. Trusting for an answer to solve the problem we think is most important. The good news is that we only need to persevere in prayer and believe that soon God will send our answer which may take the form of our very own Peter and John to help us in the way that is best for us. You do not want answers to prayers in ways  you think is best but in the way God sees as the most important answer for you. Remember that God’s ways and thoughts are never like ours2. He will also never give us what is not good for us. He is the perfect father3. You must have the confidence when you pray that our God will meet you at that beautiful gate and perfect all that concerns your life4. There is only one formula for this type of answer- Perseverance. Nobody said God cannot answer speedily. However, sometimes, he does not. We have to keep asking without despairing. Remember the word of God says we should keep asking, seeking and knocking and that if we keep at it, we will receive5. These are not my words but the words of Jesus. Jesus even talks about a friend who comes to ask for bread at midnight and is sent away. He tells us that although he was sent away countless times he persists and in the end, his persistence pays off. His friend rises up not just to give him bread but gives him as many as he needs6. So I draw you back to the beautiful gate. The gate of prayer, keep persevering, stay strong, focus on God, have confidence in the knowledge that soon, your answer will surely come! Footnotes Acts 2:1-10 Isaiah 55:8 Luke 11:11-13 Psalm 138:8 Luke 11:9-10 Luke 11:5-8 Photo credit: Pixabay

The Beautiful gate of Prayer

I am sitting here staring straight ahead. What I see is myself in a room full of all sorts. To my right is an endless array of things. Items that comprise both important and useless stuff but I won’t bore you with the details. To my left though is the window. It is not even a proper window. It does not open out fully. On hot days, the window is just wide enough to permit only enough air for us to breathe in and nothing more. There is never extra left for cooling us down therefore we are often left baking and dripping with thick sweat! Well, the reason the window has caught my attention tonight is for a totally different reason. I stare through them fairly regularly because they allow me take in the outdoors. There isn’t much of a view from here but I just sit here all the time telling my son (who by the way is never interested) about how my day has been. While staring out of this window, I tell him how much he is loved, how much we want him to get better and remind him of how proud we are of his resilience and oomph for life. I am not particularly sure that he realises that I am even speaking to him but he enjoys watching me speak. Not in an engrossed way but in a shut-up-mummy kind of way because, I use a tone that cuts through every activity he might otherwise be busy with. The only tone he understands- a sing-ey tone. Well, this nice cool evening, as I was about to begin my speech at 8.30pm, I noticed it was getting dark. Summer was finally over. The long days were finally winding down. I know I have had better summers but this particular summer just seemed to arrive and fly by too quickly. Ping, ping, ping!!! I thought I had better check. It was a very good friend of mine. He was having a good day and just dropped the pings to say hi. Something struck me as we played the ping-pong chatting game. He called me a writer and wished me more success. That … I did not understand. Writer? Me? No way!!! Writers are important people. They are recluse and have no time for other people. I feel like they must also be very quiet and polite. Have a huge sense of humour and read truckloads of books. Real writers must be loners and have no friends to distract them. I also feel like one has to at least have one book apart from school projects and assignments published to be eligible for that title. I was anything but these. I certainly did not possess any of these fine attributes. All I knew how to do was write down my thoughts and nothing more. People keep referring to me as a writer and it always feels weird. I just like to write down things as I see and feel them. I do not possess a degree in writing. I have never published a story. I have too many friends and I am certainly too distracted to sit still long enough to WRITE. I started this piece by giving you a glimpse into my way of thinking, I just notice things. I spend hours talking to people but it gets to a point where you feel like you are taking up their time. Moreover, people hardly listen when you talk to them. They only listen when they come seeking your opinion. So I thank him and all of you who email me and address me as such. Writers are big important people and I am anything but that. Photo credit: Pixabay

How can anyone think that I am a WRITER ??

I have personally come to the conclusion that some people are devoid of feelings. No matter how I constantly try to bear the pain they cause by making excuses for them in my head they prey on my forgiving nature. They take me for a ride and cause me emotional damage. Their hearts have developed hard shells pumping venoms instead of blood around their body. In the end they are transformed into a brick wall barricading any affection thrown towards them. No matter how nice you are to these kinds of people, all they ever seem to do is throw all your kindness back at you. The sad thing is that most times, despite being aware of the possibility of being treated in this way, you still put yourself in the firing line. The advice from well-meaning friends and family incessantly fall on your deaf ears. The harsh reality is that you feel helpless to these weird sorts of friend(s) you keep. You really want to get their attention but they are not budging. Today we will try to analyse some why that might be the case. Perhaps by seeing some of these reasons, we will be better equipped to reassess the course of action that will be best in dealing with such relationships. Here are six interesting reasons why they keep knocking you back :   They are just mean: just so you know from the start, and stop beating yourself up about not getting the attention you deserve because they may just be mean. The same way you find yourself super nice is how they find themselves super mean. Yes like the devil’s incarnate kind of mean. They cannot just help themselves. It is in their DNA. You must accept that there are some people who have a directly opposite character to yours. It’s hard to believe but they too must be wondering how you can keep being so nice in spite of all they are throwing your way. They had a bad childhood: a childhood devoid of much love or expressions of love can leave a child with some deficits in the aspect of reciprocating love. It may leave them without the ability to properly express or show love (since they had no adult modelling such behaviour to them during childhood).Some are too scared to show love because they feel that any display of simple affection or appreciation may be a sign of weakness. As a result, they avoid informal interactions erecting emotional brick walls to put off people like you who come across to them as “nicey-nicey”.No one can claim to have a monopoly over bad childhood as no childhood is perfect. Certainly some childhoods were more desirable than others. That has not stopped people with less desirable childhood circumstances from turning out well with fairly acceptable social interaction skills to go with it.Even the so called fantastic picture perfect childhoods can be very overrated as they do not always produce the best adults too.I accept that what happens in our childhood plays a big role in shaping and moulding us. However, I also believe that at some point (as we become aware and can discern good and bad behaviour) we must take responsibility for our actions towards others especially when we become adults. By seeing the effect your actions have on other people, we can begin to find better ways to treat people. We can also learn more acceptable ways of interacting and making ourselves better people. They are just busy:It may be that you are choosing your moments badly. Ever heard of “bad timing”? You may be a victim. You need to learn to choose your moments better. Some people may not necessarily be mean. They may just be very busy or worse for you, very professional. You need to try not to be too informal at the wrong time. It may be that your nice gestures are always inappropriately timed rendering them ”awkward” and leading to definite rejection. Read the context. You also need to be considerate and “swap shoes” with this person. Perhaps you will have the same reaction to your kind gesture too if the tables were turned. They do not like you:As much as I hate to burst your bubble, this is a big possibility too. The person probably just does not like you. Let’s face It … we cannot be loved by everyone. Even Jesus was hated by the people he was only even nice to. He cured them of their diseases, fed them with manna and even raised some of them from the dead. What could have been better than that? It did not stop him being hated! So you see, it’s not an entirely alien possibility. Some people can just hate you for something or nothing. For even existing, they hate you. For getting promoted…hate! for breathing…beef! Others hate your guts, your face, your swag…. In fact the list is endless. So just accept it and move on because really, it’s no big deal. They are tired: This may be the reason why your niceness is being thrown back at you.. Luckily not everything is about you. They may just be genuinely tired. What they are tired of is another story but the good news is that it has nothing to do with what you have done or forgotten to do. They may be physically tired and stressed out. Perhaps you keep coming to them at the end of their day when they would rather relax before driving home. So although you may not have chosen a bad time, the stress levels leaves them indisposed to connecting with you. As a result, they may come across as very irritable, temperamental and impatient! You need to consider this option and stop beating yourself up. Tiredness can lead to high stress levels. Stress can make people behave in the oddest ways. It has been known to be one of the courses of overreaction. It will be a good idea to assess a person’s mood […]

6 reasons you are getting knocked back

Do you keep getting asked this question? You see, this may be the opinion and vibe you get from some quarters.  You may have always brushed this off as silly talk. Today however, we will do something different. You can engage in an out of body experience like I do sometimes. I like to call it that because it’s a state that can make you feel numb. You replay all the events in your life regarding a particular issue and sit on the side-lines watching as a spectator would. Next you review your actions and imagine it was being done to you. You ignore the reality that you were the one who was the actual actor in the movie that is your life. After that, you zoom on the issue and look closely at it again to see if you will come to the same conclusion that others have reached about you. Well, that was just to give you an illustration about the out of body experience I was particularly referring to as we all know there are different types. This one is not the witchcraft type (ha! It’s always best in my books to clarify things for the avoidance of doubt). Looking at the issue closely, I think technically some of us can really be secretive.  However, it is not for the reasons we are accused of especially when the secrecy in question to has to do with keeping quiet about achieving a mile stone, completing a task, organising an event… you know, those sorts of secrets. You see when there is a task to complete; I believe more in getting on with it than talking about it. After all action they say speaks louder than words. I have found that talking about a plan saps all the strength needed to carry it out. It seems a bit easier to just act things out. For instance if I want to redecorate my living room, I will just get busy with the project. The reason is simple, like everyone else; I am too keen to see the finished work to be wasting any second deliberating or conferring. I want to see how it will look for starters. I am always very keen from the start to remove any pressure that will be imposed on me as a result of creating expectation in people. The more ears hear, the more eyes will analyse my work and ultimately the more pressure I will feel. I am no expert in life but the best things do not start off being perfect. They go through many stages in the refining process. It’s like an artist or writer not exhibiting their work until they have totally finished creating the masterpiece. You do need various kind hearted (and sometimes mean) opinions distracting or tilting your focus. Honestly, starting a project, you may not even know what to expect the work to look like until you finish. If you are like me then you will find that you are just mostly filled with all these little bits of ideas and thoughts about how to go about things like; placing this here or painting that in a particular colour. Ideas upon ideas keep piling up in your head waiting to bubble out and be tried. You may just be quiet about things because you want to be able to make your mistakes privately and learn from them. This is the safety net that you find in the solitude of the privacy you avail yourself by being a bit hush hush… You raise your head from time to time when you need help or pointers. Sometimes talking about a plan so much inscribes it on stone and you feel a bit embarrassed about changing all or part of the plan. You risk worrying about not being taken seriously. This impedes your creativity. Skills are honed after a lot of trials and failures. Something may seem like a perfect way to execute only to begin and the path it will lead to opens up. It can be like a maze sometimes, until you actually start, you really are blind to all the potential twists and turns you are likely to encounter. Before the starting point, these twists and turns are all hazy ideas but as you begin and etch closer to various action points, their potentials become clearer and less hazy. This means some action points are subject to change where impractical. In my case, I have tried and tested this many times and it has worked. I seem to thrive better in that solitude of silence. So when you find that I have accomplished a huge deal and feel left in the dark, please do not take it personal. It was not intentionally done to cause offence. It was done to give me a sense of direction. To remove the distraction caused by scrutiny. To reduce the distraction caused by worrying about bringing disappointment if it failed. Know that of every action I have accomplished, there may have been ten others that failed but the fact that you are still unaware of them means I can keep trying without feeling that I am a joker. So today, it may be a good idea to communicate more with people who love you about why you choose to be private about certain issues. It can be annoying to feel left in the dark even when it is for a positive reason. I hope that by sharing this and knowing you are not alone in this regard and dispel the weight of criticism regarding your need for privacy. Everyone deserves to be able to keep things close to their chest if needed just as long as you also respect the privacy of others. Thank you for reading. Photo credit: Pixabay You may also enjoy some others in this  series  

Why are you always so secretive?

I have always wondered why Jesus came into this world poor. Why not rich with all the luxuries and pleasures of life? He could have conjured wealth if he wanted. After all He showed that he could when he brought out a coin from the mouth of a fish in the book of Matthew1. I think it was because he wanted us to learn how to be detached from the pleasures of this world. Detachment in the loose sense of the word means an inability to connect2 (Wikipedia). It is a state of independence from persons, objects and even ideas. One who is detached is very free from the attachment that can be formed as a result of the influence, pressure or pleasure arising from the use of or association with an object or thing. It is like experiencing but without any sentiment. It may not necessarily mean coldness or aversion but mainly staying objective and not allowing one’s decision to be influenced by the pleasure that may be derived from the activity or object to the extent of being unable to let go of it at any point in time. Jesus did not want us to be distracted by wealth and riches if he possessed them. We could have undermined his ministry and thought “Well, he was able to do that because he was rich enough to afford it”. He constantly wanted us to appreciate the temporary nature of such worldly treasures. Everything material is passing. Heaven and earth as mighty as they are will surely pass away3. Remember that Jesus is the living word. It was his way of saying that “he” was going to stay relevant. By coming into the world in poverty, he was able to connect with both the rich and the poor. His message became universal. How many times have we undermined “celebrities” who try to be humanitarian, caring and loving by thinking that they are not in touch with the realities of the common men on the street? We reinforce that feeling with the thought that they are able to express their kind gestures only because they can afford to. We place them on a pedestal and feel that they are not in the real world. We accept their kindness but reject some of their genuine motives. By being poor, Jesus became more of a man like us all. He automatically showed that he was in touch with our realities. His examples became iconic as they were expressed despite his lowliness and lack of material wealth. He cut through the divide of the man-made strata of rich, poor, fortunate or unfortunate, healthy or sick. The type of poverty that Jesus possessed went beyond earthly poverty based only on possessions and amassing wealth. It also included poverty of hearts leading to humility. He reiterated it throughout his teachings. Jesus shows us the ultimate example by washing his disciple’s feet4. He taught the lesson of humility and service. Service in love and not in thinking too highly of one‘s self. A lesson that keeps us remembering that we are dust and dust shall we return5. Jesus also pointed out the advantage of poverty as a means to perfection. He once asked a rich young man to sell all his belongings and give to the poor to complete his quest for perfection6.Of all the commandments that one can keep, the commandment of absolute surrender, complete trust and confidence in God’s providence completes our selfless service to God. Embracing poverty means thinking nothing of one’s self, stepping out and sharing all we have- material and immaterial with others until we leave our body and soul empty enough to be completely filled by the providence of the spirit of God. The possession of material wealth gives an assurance and confidence in our ability to stand on our feet irrespective of where life throws us. Except we can rid ourselves of this feeling, we will be unable to connect with the complete trust in God that can easily be experienced in poverty. Wealth can be material or immaterial. The wealth we can see and touch is material while the wealth we cannot see and touch is immaterial. Immaterial wealth can also be as distractive as tangible material wealth. Some examples of immaterial wealth include things like power, knowledge and fame. All wealth must be used to glorify God in order to encourage poverty in our hearts. Wealth and worldly possessions are not bad in themselves but they can distract the mind that seeks God. We cannot serve two masters7, so we must choose who we shall serve8. It is always a tough choice we must always bear in mind because everything will pass away in the end. It is in our nothingness that our complete trust in God is exercised. As there is no hope elsewhere but to trust the alpha and omega to turn our situation around while making it bearable as it persists. Such trust has been rewarded on several occasions. In the Bible, the story unfolds about a widow who amidst drought and abject poverty gave Elijah the prophet her last morsel of bread in charity and love9. We see she was rewarded with a constant supply of flour. This is the confidence we have that our God will continue to reward the love we show in poverty. Jesus is also not in any way looking for hand-outs from people. We know some preachers emphasise giving and giving as a means to an end. Some say you give and God will continually bless you. Firstly, what is important is your disposition as you give. We should give without grudging. We must give without showing off. We must give because of love not just because we can give10. See the story of the widow’s mite in the bible11. Jesus emphasises on the sacrificial nature of the widow’s gift. It showed complete confidence in the divine provision of God. Giving must be without reservation and out of true […]

Lesson on poverty

Have you ever noticed the similarity between Later and Tomorrow? They are both moments in time that lie ahead and never come. Their major difference being- the timeline. If we look at the two of them like journeys; Tomorrow feels like miles away while Later feels nearby and more like an arm’s length away. Tomorrow seems far off while Later is the future that feels touchable, foreseeable. What you need to realise is that those timelines are mirages in time. The nearer you get to them, the farther they get thrown ahead. You never realise this until you look back and see that a lot of time has been wasted. The solution? Is to focus on another piece of the timeline called NOW!!! Now! is the time you have. It feels touchable because it is this exact moment you are standing within. Now! Is when you need to start acting. Now! Is the time for change. Now! Is the time to make a difference. Now! Can be the time to break down that barrier that Later and Tomorrow create by their mere existence. Now! Is the time to make that plan. Now! Is the time to move towards that dream because trust me… It’s either Now or NEVER! It doesn’t matter how big a step you take. You can walk. You can trot. You can crawl. You can even stroll into that plan. As long as you keep moving towards the plan, you will solve the riddle about How you will achieve it. The new question will not be about If you will achieve it but When you will achieve the goal you have set out to achieve with the plan. For with Ifs lie probability whereas Whens are more beautiful for they hold the promise of certainty. Until you start to make the commitment right Now, you will never reach the unreachable. Don’t put it off till later or worse still tomorrow. They will never come but there is only Now. If you are waiting for the right time, then you will join the league of procrastinators. It’s an interesting league of moaners waiting for perfection in timing. Achievers realise early that there Is never really a right time. That will be a luxurious train that actions needed to get things done will need to ride on. All that is required is the opportunity resting within the time which is always found in “Now”- That you are alive. That you can breathe. When you can actually make that move. It might not be the best move but because it’s your move, it may be all that is really necessary. You will never know the outcome of that move if you do not try it out Now. If it is the right move, Hurray! If it is not, tick it off your list of moves knowing for sure that it is not a move that works. That allows you conserve your time and energy for other more promising moves in your moves–sack. We have no control over the mix of circumstances life will give us to work within. They are not only constantly coming at us from all angles but there are endless arrays of them. They render the right–timer’s quest for stability before action futile. What we must do to overcome, is to make the best out of what we have got Now. In the uncertainty and chaos that sometimes becomes the definition of life first comes confusion, then endurance, perseverance, attention, stillness… because as soon as you hit rock bottom, there is  a calmness in the despair that arises. Leaving the options available approachable without fear of sinking further as there is nothing left to lose. At the bottom of life, there is no other way out but Up! So pick yourself up today and embrace this opportunity for change which is right here and right Now. Photo credit: Pixabay

The only time to take action is NOW !!!

I was struck as always by the story of the good Samaritan when I read it today. I am sure that I have heard that story like a thousand times. But it is such a beautiful story especially now during this year of mercy as declared church-wide by Pope Francis. It gets me thinking about mercy in a different way every single time I read it. Since this declaration was made by the pope, how (as Christians) have we viewed mercy? What do we think about when we hear the word mercy being spoken about? We should be looking at mercy from two angles: the mercy we are shown and the mercy we can show to others. Similarly, the mercy we are shown can be split further into two categories: The mercy we are shown by God and the mercy we receive from man. It is my opinion that the mercy we receive from God should be the most important object of our attention. For from that mercy flows the grace to show mercy to others and the grace to ignore the failings of men when they refuse to show mercy to us. We truly have no control over the mercy we receive. What we have is the reassurance that unlike man, the mercy we receive from God is unfailing, undying and unwavering. On the other hand, what we have control over is the mercy we can show to others. That is because it is the only genuine two-fold difference we can make-with our lives and in the lives of others. We achieve this with each singular act of mercy we show. Since we cannot guarantee how much mercy we receive from others, God’s mercy exists to perfect every yearning our souls might have for mercy. Looking up at the crucifix, we see in it the symbol of the outpouring of God’s mercy through Christ. Two ordinary pieces of wood transcend time to symbolise the suffering and death of  an innocent man Jesus Christ out of his pure love and mercy towards us. This fount of mercy was outpoured once and for all at the cross of Calvary when a lance pierced the side of Jesus, releasing the water and blood of mercy from Jesus. The grace of God is sufficient for us. When we plant ourselves by the river of life which is Christ, we will not lack mercy. This is the mercy that Jesus refers to in this parable of the Good Samaritan. It is the type of mercy that breaks down boundaries of duty, prejudice, and self righteousness. It is the mercy that humbles us and makes us not only realise our mortality but appreciate that the true meaning of our lives is in reciprocating this mercy which we freely receive from God. Prejudice is rotten. It has infiltrated mankind and made an absolute mess of the wealth and variety with which God spiced up his creation. Prejudice requires everyone to look exactly like you. It is the biggest lie of Satan . It is planted to set all of mankind against each other. It says there should be no difference between people. It makes us fight these differences among one another when we should embrace the power that we acquire as a result of the variety of cultures, languages, races, religions, beliefs and so on that exist in humanity. St Paul says that Christ is the image of God1. When we allow God’s truth flow through us, accept his mercy and do his will, we become like God. We assume this image too. By assuming God’s image, we serve him perfectly in others by showing mercy and breaking down all prejudice and barriers to our mission of service to God. By dismantling prejudice, our lives become richer. We begin to store up our treasures in heaven where they cannot be destroyed 2. What are you doing to make a difference in another person’s life? Mercy is not just a mission for this year as announced by the Pope but a call to a new way of life for those who aspire to go to God’s kingdom. It is not about acquiring wealth but about giving health to the spiritual lives of the souls all around us. It is about affecting others positively. When we are able to achieve this then we can proudly say that we are living our lives in style and with true purpose. May the good Lord continually show us his mercy and strengthen our walk with Jesus Christ today and always. Amen. Footnotes Colossians 1:15 Matthew 6:19-21 Photo Credit : Pixabay

The Good Samaritan – Breaking down barriers for mercy’s sake

My little boy : Mummy I think friends are special that’s why we cannot buy them in shops. They are made for us by God. So we should keep them and not throw them away. Me: where do we keep them then since you say they are special? My little boy : We keep them very close to us. Like my best friend, he sits next to me at school! Me: That’s what friendship is all about darling My little boy: Yes mummy I know what friendship is Me: What is it? My little boy: It is a ship for friends. Maybe I can buy one when I grow up. That was the conversation I woke up to… I wonder what made my son say this but it got me thinking about friends. It got me thinking about how they can be very special. I have had all sorts of experiences with friends. To be fair my demands on friendship are not particularly fair. my number one problem is with ‘returning visits’. This is the main architect of my misfortune with friendships. As a result of my peculiar life with an unwell child, finding the time to visit a friend has become a luxury that I cannot even afford. Good friends really don’t mind and I am blessed to have a few of them. The bad news is that I do mind. I like to pay my own way and in my books, taking the back seat in a relationship for whatever reason is just not fair to the other party. This means that I hibernate very easily. I don’t think it is fair that I demand all this care, companionship and attention from another human being. I recognise my inability to plough back as much energy into the whole process of forging relationships. I do not even come close. Life should always be give and take and as far as I am concerned, It is not fair that my friends do all the giving. As he spoke, I also remembered all the friends I once had. Some were either too far away or deceased. Those were friendships I had no control over anymore. Time or distance had erected a huge wall between us. They were gone but I realised my chance with the friends still beside me. My pride was the only wall blocking these friendly rays from beaming at me. Suddenly, I realised that all these people scattered around me are my friends- My stars. Hearing my son say those words innocently this morning just made me realise what I was truly missing out on. Having friends who willingly stood by me through thick and thin made me realise how fortunate I was. I really had to make the extra effort to keep them close. Just like my son said about his best friend at school. I vowed to reconnect with some long lost friends after all they knew that I never meant any harm by my silence. I really truly appreciate all my friends and hope to be a better friend to them. Life will continue to throw challenges at me but this little reminder from my boy was a wake-up call. Try to reconnect with someone today. Don’t let your pride get in the way. I say hello to you too for taking the time to read my blog. You too are a true friend. With a big smile spread across my face, I wish you a lovely day – FRIEND!   Photo Credit : Pixabay

Friends are like stars

long road
I was jolted back to reality this morning by the screams emanating from the bed beside me. I felt a bit dazed as I collected my thoughts and remembered why I was lying on this bed …yet again. Every effort had gone into the construction of this bed. However, no matter what it looked like, it did not stop it being the narrow, hard and uncomfortable bed that it was. Well, I couldn’t really complain as this room had come to be my home for a few weeks now and counting. That ear-splitting sound was the cry of a little boy one who to my knowledge was born three years earlier. He was unwell from birth with literally one thing after the other going wrong with one system or another in his body. Doctors had painstakingly spent hours, days, weeks and at times months trying on end to keep him stable and comfortable. He was fed food orally and after a while nasally via a tube. A naso-gastric tube was stuck to his face because there was no other way of securing it on his anatomy. While very uncomfortable to insert, it also looked like a signboard on his person that greeted people with the fact about his feeding abnormality. His body kept rejecting it and he was constantly sick with it. His body just seemed to reject every attempt by the doctors to keep it thriving nutritionally. After a while a tube inserted directly into his stomach seemed like the only option left. However, like with the earlier device used, his body seemed to be rejecting this latest high-tech medical device inserted in his stomach to feed him. He was supposed to have a better quality of life with it. In fact, the main consolation had been that having the device will offer faster and more precise feeding. It was even supposed to be more concealed and give him some privacy in terms of his feeding arrangements. The arrival of the tube in the stomach couldn’t have been more perfectly timed. It initially was hitch free. It delivered on every promise. All went well for months and everyone was excited. He was happy and stable. Hospital days seemed well and truly over. However recently, a host of problems gradually started creeping in. The happy boy slowly became constantly upset and crippled with pain. He was constantly arching his back or curling up like a ball. It was definitely coming from his stomach. So once more like every other device before this one, his body did not want it any more. Every attempt to make his body cope with the pain failed. No home remedy could provide comfort. In no time, he was back on the hospital bed and this time it seemed like he was in for the long haul. As I lay there, deep in thought, I was helpless and could do nothing to reduce his pain and constant suffering. I just muttered my prayers and mantras hoping for strength to carry on looking after him as I had done since he was born. I was one of the constant things in his life so I had to stand rock solid to allow the strength in me flow somehow into him amidst his hard painful life. “it’s okay baby’’, I muttered as I approached his bed to comfort him hoping this episode of pain will pass from him as quickly as it had taken hold. His tiny nails dug into my skin as he gripped me tightly and looked up to me with eyes that said ‘save me from this pain’. I just carried on rocking him, singing to him as I had always done and reassuring him that all will be well.’ Don’t worry’, I said,’ hold on tight and it will pass’. ……………………………………………. I squeezed him close and planted a kiss on his forehead. ‘shhhhh…..shhhhhhhh….’ I whispered. Suddenly, his grip loosened. His cries lessened to a shriek and he gestured for me to put him back in his bed. As I lay him down, he wriggled, tossed and turned until he found a comfortable position to keep himself. He stayed glued to that spot for fear that any sudden movements might trigger another bout of pain. Despite his suffering, as I looked down at him, I still felt hopeful. I reaffirmed within myself the belief that although he was suffering, I could not bear anything happening to him. He was my boy. Yes! I had one like him before but fate erected a permanent wall between us and we were separated for ever. Like Fred, he had been afflicted with the same disease but sadly, managed to survive for less than a week. Nothing could be done to save him. He was too feeble to survive. At times, I couldn’t really tell if walking away in death was a better fate. Fred only seemed to spend every breathing moment struggling for dear life. Since birth, Fred had been unwell. From the moment I held him I knew something was not right – mother’s instinct. We tried to balance normal family life with the new hospital life we acquired with his birth. We found a pattern that worked for us. However, this did not eliminate the strain on us as a family. At times the cracks could be seen through our perpetual exhaustion, tiredness and stress levels. We soldiered on daily, determined to make it work. Karl and I took turns looking after each child. He was rock solid and as supportive as they come. He had been there through it all with me. It was hard having a child with complex health needs. Psychologically it was draining. If we had a wand we would have spared Fred all the suffering and pain. We did not seem to be without a chore related to him. His medications, feeds and care had to be done by the clock to buy him some ‘well days’. We seized every opportunity to take the […]

The long road – Part 2

long road
It had been another hectic day on the hospital ward. I arrived with my son the previous day. It was meant to be a test at our local hospital to understand why his tummy was hurting so much. But with Fred, nothing was ever straightforward. I had dropped Mark at school that morning and noticed that Fred looked a bit off colour. I decided not to get him ready for nursery. Luckily, he was not bound by law to go every day. To be honest, I let him start nursery at an early age in order to give me some respite amongst many other reasons. Fred was not the easiest child to care for. He was born with a rare disease that left him having more hospital visits and admissions than you could count on your fingers. He went to a specialist school. By now, every single person who cared for him, or had any dealings with him knew all the warning signs to look out for before his health deteriorated. Everyone had my details on standby and I must confess, I had been called out one too many times and it had got to the point where nearly every other phone call on my cell was ‘Fred’ related. On this occasion, I decided to avoid doomsday by just keeping him in and letting him rest. However, as the day progressed, he seemed to be getting worse. By the time I took him in to our local hospital, it was decided that he had to be transferred to specialist hospital in the city. That was never good news. Apart from the meaning that Fred was more unwell than we thought, it also meant, we all had to travel regularly. That in itself was not a problem but for a family with another son in primary school, a dad working out of town, it always took its toll on me psychologically. All I could see was the road ahead. So all through my journey in the ambulance, these thoughts kept flooding my mind. Each blare from the siren offered me no respite from the throbbing ache that was developing in my head. I had to get him settled into the city hospital which was an hour drive from home. I hoped to get back in time to collect my boy Mark from school. I looked at my watch and panicked. It was nearly the time for his school to close for the day. I called Mark’s school and advised them of the situation. The lady was very understanding and promised to hold him for an extra hour after school closure. I immediately sent an email to Karl hoping he would see the message early. Poor guy! Surely my message was bound to worry him. I hated sending him such alarming mails. Unfortunately, I had no other choice as I could not be in two places at once. I received a beep on my phone. Karl wrote “Honey try not to worry, I will sort Mark out, I am leaving the office now”. That was just the kind of message I needed. Wow! The odds of getting such a prompt response from Karl were very slim as he worked in a very busy bank as an executive financial analyst. I felt a bit settled and looked across the ambulance towards my sedated son who looked so peaceful as he slept. I took a cue from him and did the same. I had no idea how the rest of the day was going to unfold. I felt the tap on my shoulder and was jolted back to reality with the words “Wake up, we are there now”. I am sure that I must have slept for an hour. ……………………………………………………… I was so worried about Karl’s work. Day and night I constantly worried. He on the other hand always seemed unperturbed. We had a Christian upbringing and had learnt never to doubt the constant care that God has for us as his children. However, the past few years had taught me how to be more realistic than faithful. We seemed to have been through more upheavals than a tsunami. While I still had faith, my love for God seemed to visit “specsavers” regularly and so it saw very clearly. One thing was for sure, things were going to keep happening to everyone good, bad, faithful or faithless. I also believed strongly that God had no time to descend his throne to do something that was well within our power to achieve. Karl and Mark came to the hospital the next morning to see us. My husband had tactfully taken the day off work. Tactless because, as far as I was concerned, he needed more than a mere call to this Jimmy Furnace of a boss to do that. I just hope this “Furnace” of a man was not going to get Karl burnt one day in that office of theirs. “I hope you sent an email to your boss” I asked, “before taking the day off”, I added. “You worry too much”, he retorted sharply in a tone that meant, “can’t you trust that I have sorted it?” I was glad to see them both. God knows I needed a cuddle after the kind of night I had been through with my son. I had been given more news by the doctors that seemed worse than all gloomy news one had become accustomed to on the telly these days. The doctors and nurses came with all shapes and sizes of instrument to get all kinds of samples from my son. Blood, stool, urine and I thought they would have made him “spit” a sample if they could. It was all so overwhelming. He lay there helpless with tubes, wires, drips and anything they had to offer him. “Hey mom” Mark said “do they have toys here?” I just giggled because my poor boy was still a child after all. He could not really understand the […]

The long road – Part 1

I remember the time when everyone existed in bubbles. You know that time when all the people who knew about your existence were the ones you saw. When the only people that mattered where those that spanned the width of your optical space. That was the time of what I like to think of as  SILENCE! Yes… Silence full stop! Then, the world was slow…slow in the sense that everything craaawled.  Information dissemination crawled. Technology was limited. Hmm … I really miss it-those good old days. Those were the days when we sent letters in envelopes whose speed of travel depended on how much we paid for the stamps. It was also the time when the spread of news lost priority if the post office was too far away (we couldn’t be bothered). It’s funny because, as sweet as life is now, life was less stressful then. Life was less pressured and we seemed to process things more slowly. It seemed like the largest chunk of information you could send across at any particular time was in a letter. The yarn of tales you could spin depended on how skillful you were at the art of writing. For the less gifted, their letters were as boring as the full A4 paper. There was no give and take in that communication. It took the reader ages to write back a letter requesting clarification. By which time the line of thought would have shifted to more pressing issues. Gone are the days when telephone calls were made from boxes with cords. When the cost of the call was weighed to ensure that only short and precise talk made it to the mouthpiece. There was no time for idle-talk when you listened or spoke, Just gratitude that your loved one was well and cared enough to call. Genuine concern flowed in conversations. Hmm… those good old days ! Now everything moves FAST !!! The speed of sharing information has outrun us such that we have nothing left to say. It feels like we have talked the talk meant for a year in a blink of an eye. To fill up the blanks, we have now resorted to filling up conversations with irrelevant news! We now feed our virtual personalities with information from our personal space. We have deleted the thin line existing between personal news and public knowledge. Conversations have now been redirected away from showing genuine concerns into nosey sniffs. Rocket-speed emails with replies have now been replaced by chats. Worse still, these chats have replaced good old chit chat and taken over genuine communication.  The world is now gradually being switched into a new type of silence. A solitary kind where true feelings are screamed with closed lips and tapping fingers. We definitely lived in less fear and panic in the good old days. But who knows if it was down to more peace or less information?  There are many good sides to all this speed of existence but that will be a topic for another day. I understand that man is a social creature but surely there is a reason why information over load crashes systems. The good old days are now long gone so what survival strategies have helped you adapt to this modern age of speed? Do you prefer it? Please share your thoughts.   Photo credit: (1)Pixabay, (2) Pixabay, (3) Pixabay

Good old days

The last time, we discussed about some ways to know if your child is ready for potty training. As earlier pointed out, it is both an unnerving and daunting exercise for parents irrespective of their level of experience with children. However be reassured that it is not an impossible task.. Once you have established that it is time to start the potty training, you are on your way to getting started with the actual exercise. Today we will focus on some ideas and ways to begin. For more information about ways to know if your child is ready for potty training, click here (1) Buy a potty if you do not have one already. A regular one will do. However let your child’s individual need be the guide. I will personally suggest putting the potty in any room that is comfortable for your child. The living room may be preferred initially. Some children prefer the safety of their bedrooms. For some families, leaving the potty beside the family loo helps the child associate passing motions with the potty. The key is to observe your child and do what you find easiest for them. Remember there are no rules. You are in charge of the whole process. You can decorate the potty area with things your own child normally finds attractive. Stickers of favourite toys or characters may draw them to the potty area. The aim is to initially get your child to be drawn to the potty area. It doesn’t matter if they do not actually use it correctly at first- that comes with time. Just initially encourage your child to be familiar with the potty to help burst any fears and if possible stop them having any potty related anxiety. (2) Patience – You will need to be patient with your child as soon as you decide to embark on this journey. Children become easily scared and discouraged by rebukes and short tempers. Your child might erroneously associate your constant frustration as a reinforcement of their failure. I find that children tend to be drawn more to activities that generate pleasure to them (who doesn’t ?).  When they feel unsure about your response they may tend to hold in the wee. I feel children function better with praise . You cannot possibly give what you don’t have. If you are really stressed, it is unlikely that you will be patient enough to ignore accidents (which characteristically tend to occur at the start of potty training). Try to stay calm. Your disposition matters a lot. Imagine if you had a boss who seemed to pick on every error you made, you will find yourself scared of trying out error – prone tasks. However, a more reassuring boss around you may mean that you become confident enough to attempt more difficult tasks leading to more learning opportunities. Remember that your child is a little person (person being the operative word). This is one reason why it may not be a good idea to feel pressured into potty training just because you feel your child is long overdue. Do not forget that it is a journey for both of you not just your child. You also have to be ready. (3)Use a suitable reward system I will encourage you to use the same reward system you normally use. The existing type familiar to your child will do. Potty training is not different from any other learning activity that you have engaged your child in. Just relax and do not over complicate things by creating a new way to reward your child’s success. I am a firm believer in consistency especially where kids are concerned. Children get easily confused when things keep changing. A suitable reward system ensures that your child’s focus is distracted from the difficulty of learning to use the potty. It will not disrupt the process. This is one of the pitfalls I find with using sweets, chocolates and biscuits as rewards. They keep the child properly focused on earning them with each successful potty use. However for some children, they create a craving that supersedes the learning intended causing distress to the children when they are withdrawn. There is also the risk of tooth decay amongst others.  However, if you’re sure you can control your child then go for it. If that is what you use for your child, let me not stop you (4) Look for cues and signs – During this entire process you have to keep looking for ways to encourage your child to use the potty regularly. You can achieve this firstly by looking for cues & signs and secondly by anticipating the need for the loo. Every child has their own way of acting when they need the loo. You can determine your child’s style by observing closely. Just before they need the toilet, there may be a pattern that emerges. Some children wriggle their bottoms when they need the toilet (common amongst girls) while others pull at their trousers endlessly (in the case of boys). In general some children squeeze their faces, stamp their feet in frustration and pout their lips in an odd way. In extreme cases, some children cry. All these gestures and actions are just the child’s way of expressing how inconveniencing the need for the loo feels (mainly depriving them of their play).  Once a particular pattern is noticed, use this as a way to lovingly remind your child to use the potty. Anticipation will be your way of predicting when your child may most likely need the potty.  For example if it has been a while since the last toilet use, you can give a subtle reminder. If you are on your way out, you can encourage your child to use the loo first. Also, after having lots of drinks, it may be a good idea to remind your child to use the loo. (5) Reassurance – Always bear in mind that children like to make play their […]

Potty training – Getting started

Have you ever been left wondering where the unfulfilled dream of a parent resides? It is found deposited somewhere as a new dream for their children. Long before the child discovers the meaning of life, the unfulfilled parent begins to nurse a new ambition. It starts of as a need to stop the child making the same mistakes they made. The need to save the child overshadows the need to let the child be. It then carries on until the child loses his/her dream and lives the one the parent decides is best! Their opinion is that they know the best way the child has to live. They say they know all the perfect courses the child has to follow. After all as parents, they are armed with the gift of hindsight. They realise all too well where each road or path the child steps into will lead. Is it really our sense of reason at work here? Is it truly the sense of protection we have for our children that makes us hold them back? Could we be developing the need to live out our unfulfilled desires through our children? Perhaps we have begun to see our children as blank slates to rewrite our wrongs with or even as an opportunity to undo the mess we made of our own lives. Are we squeezing them so tightly that they gasp for the air of freedom? Maybe this blank slate is not really ours to draw. Maybe it is for them to find their own strokes? Perhaps these mistakes are theirs to make and ours to guide not guard them from. They will never find their feet if we never let them walk. Mistakes are part of learning. By catching them every time they fall, they will never stand firm enough on their own. When they know we will never let go, they will either run far away or stay too close. If you have a dream you could not fulfil with your life, fix yourself so that you don’t encroach on your child’s life. If your slate of life is filled, clear it up to make room for new dreams. If you clogged your life with junk in the past, even all your children’s lives will not be enough to rewrite yours. By living your dream, you are the only one that is made happy. By filling up their slate, you leave them with the wrong example. The next victim will be yet another un-born child. So the cycle continues until they find themselves existing, yet not truly living. Photo credit: (1) Pixabay , (2) Pixabay  

The unfulfilled life of a parent

I think it is quite natural for us to judge people especially unconsciously based on our own standards. Everyone has a capacity to carry out an activity, a capacity to express a feeling- an emotion. The fact remains that no one will do more than they can. We are created to act, express and function within the limits imposed on us by our individual abilities. The limits imposed on our personalities and abilities are influenced by so many factors. One cannot do more than he is physically or psychologically able to, no matter how much s/he will like to. For this reason, attempting to explain the reasons for people’s limitations and inabilities may be unfair to them. Totally defeating the main aim of judgement which is fairness justified through the complete availability and knowledge of the facts pertaining to a case. Some of us fall short of standards expected from us for various reasons. Ignorance and heartbreak rank highest on my list. The constant sadness and disappointment that characterises broken relationships can lead to heartbreak. As a result of this feeling, some people may decide to safely avoid investing the time and effort required when forging real connections (causing an inability to socialise unpretentiously). While it may appear easier to describe them as wicked, it may not be totally fair since their actions are borne out of the need for self preservation. Ignorance on the other hand can cause a total knowledge gap that can be misinterpreted as the deliberate cause of offence. Although we know that ignorance of the law is not an excuse, it sadly is one of the main reasons why people may fall short of the standards required of them. A typical example is that of Stan my brother in-law. He came to marry my sister in my hometown Ugboko – in Nigeria. In Ugboko it is expected that head coverings are removed by males as a sign of respect when addressing elders. However, Stan was not only from another tribe but also from a foreign land. He was an onye-ocha1 who of course had no clue about our tradition. He breezed in with my sister for a quick ceremony one afternoon. Without much notice, there was hardly enough time to acquaint him with our customs and traditions. In his ignorance, he wore an elaborate hat to protect himself from the merciless sunshine. Stan was quite ignorant about the fact that the disapproving stares he received during the ceremony was because of his inappropriate attire. Although allowances were made for him as a foreigner, he unfortunately judged the atmosphere as cold and unwelcoming. After years of acquaintance with our people and culture through marriage he feels differently. He is now more aware of our omenani2 as well as the things we call nsor3 leading him to a different view about the events of that blessed day. In the same way, our judgement of him is more liberal since we all now realise that he sincerely meant no disrespect. At times too, people are distracted by the events in their own lives. A house move, a new baby, a job loss, a past experience and the usual pressures of life can make people ignore our efforts to socially connect and preserve ties with them. Even though we continuously initiate such relations with them, we should resist the urge to condemn their inabilities based only on our expectations. The ones we place on them as a result of being able to reciprocate in the way we require them to. Let us not ignore the fact that it is hard to care for anyone else if we are not in the appropriate headspace to deliver such attention. Some people can regulate their feelings very quickly, enabling them stop their personal shortcomings from interfering with their interactions with others. However, these are only a minority of people as majority of us constantly fall short. By keeping these in mind, hopefully we will take people’s mistakes and excesses less personally, helping us relax our judgement.  We are all unique and special in our different ways. Let us accept that not everyone will love and care for us in the way we wish to be loved (or even in the way we will love them). We can communicate our displeasures where necessary. With effective communication, we may be able to guide others on how best to treat us. We all need each other but we are not all perfect. We must learn to relax our judgement of others especially when it is based on our standards. We will keep doing our best for one another but although it may fall short sometimes, we won’t stop trying. So what do you think? Do we really judge people by our own standards or are there minimum standards we must all adhere to? Please share your thoughts with me I am really keen to hear from you.   Photo credit :(1) pixabay, (2) pixabay     Footnote Onye-ocha – Caucasian person Omenani – Local traditions Nsor – Taboos

Judging others by our standard.

We human beings are deep creatures. We exist entirely when we exist interiorly. Although we are physical beings with form, shape and presence, our greatest possession is that which transcends the solidity of our presence. When our purposes are interiorly drawn, they become sustainable. In other to reach our full potential, we must cease to perform our actions through our physical beings only. Our physicality must be instruments through which we reach within ourselves. By reaching and being in touch with your interior selves, we can then perform actions that will go beyond the physical. We will emit signals from our beings that will be perceived in the interior part of the beings we see all around us. For instance if one performed a song from within, each sound made would become transformed into a profound melody. People would tend to be “touched” by the unique rendition. The renderer too would become lost in the song as s/he continues to experience the song from within. This experience would remove the renderer from the present and catapults such a one into the beauty and melody uniquely created by him/her. The listeners would then become transfixed as they connect internally with the sound created, leading to their approval and reinforcing the confidence to enable the renderer reach higher heights in pitch and artistry. When you look interiorly, you see beyond the physicality of the person (the being) standing before you. By each word spoken, you sieve through utterances and hear true meaning in mere spoken words. Interior attributes of a person tend to be laid bare by their physical portrayal of themselves. The more they try to hide their true intentions, the more easily an eye that is interiorly equipped can see through the gimmicks. Interiorly inclined people are hardly deceived by the materiality surrounding people. They tend not judge authenticity by only the things fathomable through their five senses. They know that these can easily be altered to fuel deceit. They rather focus their emphasis on the intangible which tend to be the bedrock of true character. The interior minded knows all too well that the shrouds placed to distract true character tend to melt under the pressures of reality. When we look with our interior eyes, we become able to discern the sincerity of the purpose of each action, speech and association we come across. With each encounter we make, we begin to see through acts of love, selflessness, kind-heartedness, greed and even wickedness. If we cease to judge by vanity or physical beauty (that tend to be evident and tangible) but by the beauty of the heart (that cannot be physically seen or disguised) then we begin the journey towards sharpening our interior vision. The interior eye can see through the facades created to distract because, it is almost impossible to hide true purpose from one who is never seduced by materiality. Like the biblical serpent in the Garden of Eden, they soon become awash with subtle clues and hints revealing the true colours of their intentions. Physical things are material. Their materiality creating the perfect recipe for the distraction of our five senses – beauty, wealth, popularity, speech and eloquence and so on are all culprits. In the same way, the actions we perform are more sustainable when they are interiorly driven. When the reason for undertaking a venture goes beyond tangible and material advantages, they become sustainable over time. For instance, if material profit drives a venture, the individual may be distracted from other ways to make the venture successful if the venture proves initially unprofitable. However, if the venture is driven interiorly (by things we cannot see but feel within), its initial failure becomes ignored as an opportunity to saturate the venture with every fervency and tenacity that can be mustered. Low bottom lines, losses and initially low ratings can distract us from the real reason for undertaking some ventures. When we express interior feelings, they permeate and break down the barriers and walls surrounding people. Every time we sincerely express love, hatred, envy, happiness, sadness, greed and so on, they affect people in positive and negative ways. To build positive and sustainable connections with people we must then seek the improvement of the quality of our own interior bank.  We cannot give what we do not have. The quality of our interior banks transforms our personalities in various ways becoming the basis for making or marring our relationships. Relationships lacking in interior connection (positive or negative), become the ones that succumb to the wall of distance. By the gift of interior connection people physically separated by distance can become drawn closer than those within the same geographical location. Those within sight but lacking in the interior unity can sit beside each other and yet be as far as east and west in their hearts. It’s always a blessing to see those who although separated by millions of miles are drawn closer through the interior feelings they share. As a result, one can be all alone but never lonely while another can be surrounded by a crowd and yet…be lonely. Keep your interior man alive by connecting interiorly with people the people you meet. Let all your actions come from the interior today and see the difference it makes to those around you. Photo credit: Pixabay

Mind Power – Why we need to connect interiorly with people

Mark winced and pulled his face. That look was all too familiar. Just like when you accidentally drink a glass full of freshly squeezed limes into your mouth thinking that it was water. It was the same kind of squeezed look I saw on his face. It potentially turned even the most handsome princes into ogres and my boy was no exception. He was lifting his shirt in an upward motion and the next thing I knew, Prrrrr… I heard the sound of wind escaping from his bottom. “Oh no”, I thought, “I have missed it again”. You see, it was time for me to teach my child one of life’s essential skills- potty training. Everyone thought I was giving him this lesson a bit late because he had just turned three. The mums I knew all talked about how their kids were successfully potty trained at 2 – 2.5 years. Every time the question was thrown my way, I not only said he wasn’t ready but I proudly announced that he was to remain in diapers until I felt he was ready. I was his mother after all. I certainly was not going to let anyone pressure me into potty training my son. Most of the children described above were already talking and communicating properly but Mark was not. Personally, I feel this is one of the primary prerequisites for potty training. Some form of communication has to be established between you and your child. It doesn’t have to be verbal. It can be non-verbal. What matters is that you can give a simple instruction and your child can understand. Do not fall into the textbook trap. At times the books suggest ages for potty training commencement. Remember that those ages are suggested based on averages across a wide range of children with different levels of ability. Every child is different.  We just need to stay in control of that decision. In my personal experience, I find that answering these questions can be a good way to start. (1) Does your child communicate with you? Do you think they understand it when you give them simple instructions? (2) Does your child have a way of letting you know s/he is soiled?  This may vary from child to child depending on their communication level. While one child may ask to be changed by speaking, a non-verbal child may take your hand before pulling you towards the changing area. (3) Do you think your child stays dry for up to 2 – 3 hours at a time? You can find this out by taking your child off diapers and leaving them in normal cloth knickers or trainer pants (depending on what you can afford). You can then time how long they stay dry for over a period of time. You can try this on different days to get a sense of how long. (4) Does your child ask for a potty? If the child can already associate needing the toilet with the potty, then you have made progress. This is quite common with children who have older siblings to copy or where a potty exists already in the home. (5) Is your child curious about underwear? Perhaps s/he associates diapers with babies (usually common with kids who have baby siblings). You can tap into this to start introducing the potty. (6) Does your child have a pattern of toilet use? Some children poo after each meal, others at other times of the day, these children have a pattern. However, the last group of kids have no specific pattern. It will be helpful to find out what pattern if any your child has before you begin potty training. To determine the pattern, it may be a good idea to : Keep a record each time you do a nappy change. You can write this down in a journal or paper consistently. You can record it over a period of time (say for a week or two). Be consistent with the record keeping and you will see if a pattern emerges. This will be a helpful guide during the potty training. Make sure this record is kept when there is no upset to the child’s normal daily routine. Some children will not “go” if you are in a different environment e.g. on holiday, of visiting and staying over.  You have to bear in mind that the places you take your child to may be familiar to you but anywhere away from home is not familiar to your little one. If you have answered yes to most of the points raised above, you may be on your way to an exciting journey with your child. It may seem daunting especially when it is your first time but be reassured that it is not an impossible one. We all struggle, even experienced parents know that every child is unique and will attain this milestone in his/her own way. For every parent (experienced or not) the approach and disposition adopted towards this exercise makes all the difference. Next time, we will explore some things you need to get you started.   Photo credit: Pixabay  

Potty training – is it the right time to start?

I looked at my little locks today in the mirror and suddenly had the realisation that my short hair was really not different from a budding plant. Just staring in frustration at the shortness of the locks made me see how similar my hair was to a teeny weeny plant. I recently decided that the best way to get the healthiest strands of hair growing out of my skull was to start from scratch. Years of processing my hair with all sorts of products had in my opinion finally taken the usual negative toll on my once bouncy, full head of hair. Although my hair had all the length that most girls craved for, it lacked weight, lustre, and bounce. I just wanted my old hair back. Right! I did not go for the popular big chop. I decided that a gradual transition from silky to natural hair would be less dramatic. It was definitely the way for me. Technically, I stopped stretching my hair or adding any harsh products to it. I only used oils to keep the hair supple. Little by little new hair growth started sprouting under the over processed locks. In the next one year, I watched my hair texture change from silky to coarse and curly. It had been a long and sometimes frustrating journey. I struggled a lot with trying to learn how to manage my natural hair. Unfortunately, like most African girls, my real hair texture was quite alien to me. It was difficult to accept that I could not just simply run a small comb through my hair like I used to do with my processed hair. I was beginning to understand that my hair needed some TLC(tender loving care) that is, extra wetting here, oiling there, weaving and so on. I looked different too with my hair. It was all a new terrain for me. An adjustment I certainly had to be patient with. So like planting a seed, I had to cultivate and nurture this hair. I finally chopped off all the processed silky hair after growing out just enough natural hair to plait into mini locks. I sure looked different with the short and natural hair plaits. Now I had no hiding place. For the first time in ages, my whole face was out in the open. Like a plant, I had to learn to nurture the hair daily. I watered and oiled generously to keep the hair supple and less coarse. I also had to be patient with the hair. Weed out any knots in the locks that honestly kept tangling my hair. On days when I could not cope with the demands of my hair, I added some extensions to the hair. This helped them last a bit longer giving the hair a break from being constantly combed. So far, I think it is fair to say that I can be hopeful about the future of my hair – my virgin hair . Like every farmer, I hope for a good harvest. One filled with bounciness, straight and sustainable strands of hair that might hopefully see me through to a ripe old age. I also hope that by choosing this natural route, I can hopefully avoid the recession that is suffered by most African scalps with age. I pray that my hairline respects the rest of my head and stays bountiful and abundant overtime. I have so far received mixed reviews. They are mainly based on the newness of the look rather than the hair itself. In case you were wondering what products I use for my hair, they are – almond oil and water. I wash it with mostly a hair shampoo, however, sometimes my toilet soap does the same job. I am trying to live with fewer obsessions and vanities where my hair is concerned. This is my choice and so far it is working. I shall leave an update in due course if I change my mind about products. Interestingly, my hair is teaching me good lessons like – patience while I await its growth, perseverance especially on days when my hair strands are too tough to comb and open-mindedness about different techniques to manage the hair. I feel kinder to myself now that I no longer fixate on the next hair style to wear. This in itself makes it less emotionally stressful. I am accepting my own beauty more. I have my unique look just like everyone else and I am learning not to waste a moment trying to look any different. There are now more important things to do with my day. By using only natural products on the hair, I am learning that I do not even need much in life to give me the best results. Just basic things still provide satisfaction. I am realising that although all the numerous products I used previously had their benefits, they were not indispensable. Life in itself can be very simple. We sometimes overload it needlessly. While luxuries are important elements to spice up life, we must not allow them take centre stage. Let’s not lose sight of simplicity in life. Simplicity does not always mean the presence of “lack” but the absence of “waste”. Poverty can make you simple but being simple does not always mean that you are poor. It can also be a deliberate choice. Have you discovered any new ways to treat yourself? Tell us all about it. I will also be keen to hear about some nice tips on living simply.   Photo credit: Pixabay      

My hair plant

the bible 8
The greatest possession a person can have is the knowledge and understanding of God. It is the only possession that the bible allows us to glory in. The Lord himself says we should not glory in wisdom, might, riches or anything but in the knowledge and understanding of him – the one true God1. Our journey as Christians must be centred on acquiring this knowledge and understanding of God. It is the pivot upon which every aspect of our lives must rotate. If we do not know God, how can you glide through the storms of life? To know God is to ask his spirit to dwell in us. We should invite him into our hearts to teach us his word. Jesus is the personification of his word. He is the word that was made flesh in order to dwell among us2. The bible says that in the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God3. The word of God is also found in the pages of the Holy Bible. It instructs and guides us. With the help of God’s Holy Spirit, we can understand God. Jesus promised us that his ultimate request to God the father will be to ask for an advocate, a helper who will be with us forever. This helper is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is always present with us. We may feel all alone at times but we must have complete confidence in the constant presence of God in our lives. It is a bit like buying a transistor radio. In the good old days, when one bought a radio, it had to be tuned for it to connect to the desired radio channel. If the radio owner had no understanding about the process of tuning the radio and thought that the radio knob was a fancy design, it was rendered useless. It became a mere box, but did that make the radio channel non-existent? The answer is an emphatic NO! Simply having a radio was not enough. Adding the knowledge about how to operate the radio made a huge difference. The radio channel was constantly available to those with adequate knowledge and understanding of the radio frequencies. To them there were boundless options to choose from in order to maximise their listening pleasure. In a way this is how our lives are. Without the knowledge and appreciation of a higher power (God) in our lives, life will not be worth living. It will be devoid of the optimum connection with the Almighty God. The way that points constantly to God is Jesus. The Holy Spirit is the link that connects our own spirits to God. Our full potential will never be reached until we are linked directly with the spirit of God. Without God’s Holy Spirit, everything we believe in will depend on our five senses – on reason. We will keep on needing to see, feel, touch, smell or hear things before they can make absolute sense. Unfortunately, faith that is based totally on these is based solely on reality. Such faith is denied of total connection with the all-powerful God and therefore subject to imperfection. Our senses are imperfect, limited, they cannot transcend beyond the immediate. God is all powerful, supernatural and perfect. In order to serve him perfectly, we must then find another way (a more perfect way) to serve him. That way was the central theme of Jesus’ existence. By his actions, words and deeds Jesus constantly showed us how to serve God. It was a way that had an internal union of purpose with God. A way that was selfless and sometimes irrational. He showed us Leadership by service, abundance by sharing and ultimately eternal life through constant sacrifice of ourselves in service of God. All these tenets were quite contrary to the rational ways in which people generally thought. After Jesus’ resurrection, Thomas doubted the apostles’ account regarding Jesus’ resurrection. He needed to see him, touch him, to “make sense” of the resurrection of Christ. When Jesus appeared again, he rebuked Thomas’s unbelief. Jesus blessed those who believed even without seeing him physically4 thereby showing us the importance of an inward view about the things of God. Our love for God must be sufficient to direct our faith. To find this love is to find God himself because God is love5. The ultimate example of God’s love is found in Jesus Christ who paid the price by becoming ransomed for us. God is all powerful, he makes all things possible6. He is the God whose ways and thoughts are not like ours7. He is the God who causes things to be8. The God who gives life to the dead and calls things into existence that do not exist9. He is the God who does not change10.  He is the God who is not man. The faithful God who is able to do what he says he will do11. He is the same yesterday, today and forever! We have to dispose ourselves in our thoughts and by our actions to God for us to be drawn to God12. God sucks us in with the nectar of his love. Like the bees in the fields, our souls circle, yearning for something higher and more sublime. Our souls keeps searching for truth and looking for love. God’s love draws us in because he is the epitome of love itself. He loved us before we even understood what being loved meant. Jesus makes our journey to God perfect. By knowing him we become firmly established as children of God. We plant our feet firmly along the path that leads to God. We become part of a majestic union of perfection. We become fused with God, God with Jesus and Jesus becomes one with us. It is an ecstatic fusion. Jesus is God personified. He shows us God in his ever loving, ever sacrificing and ever giving form. He shows us how God only desires to be close to […]

Knowledge of God

God on holiday 2
Hello…helloooooo….. I hear myself scream! Knock knock … tap … taaaappppp! I clench my fists and tap on heaven’s door. I have been here for ages. Daily, I have come here but he doesn’t hear me.  I look up…up high. The building is so talllll! I cannot even see where it ends. I hear it is a place of peace. I came here in the morning. After lunch I came as well. I even stole in once at night to see if the echoes from my night screams would make a difference. Everywhere was shut! All was still… all was quiet … and all was cold… Surely my God was on holiday. If he were home, he would have answered me. If he were there, he would have sent his chariots to take me home. He would have told me that everything would be okay. He can make all this pain go away. Yet he stays silent…. My God must be taking a nap! If he were awake, my tears would have dried up by now. My life would have been more bearable. Well, even if he chose to be silent, who will blame him? I am but a speck in his sight. He does not owe me any explanation. He is my God and I am his beloved. I am reassured of his love because I am still among the living. So, I shall stand here waiting for him – come rain come shine! His delay is not without purpose. I want to be first on queue. I can see the crowd approach from afar. I want to be here ready for when God decides to answer. I don’t want to miss the chariot when it comes to carry me home.   Photo credit:Pixabay    

God on holiday

change-1245949_640 4
Change is constant. It is one of the most inevitable events in life. Things change, people change, tastes change, likes change, even dislikes change ! While I am not someone who embraces the idea of a proposed change, I do not resist it when it finally comes. It is funny how the thought of a disruptive incident occurring scares me more than the event itself. I remember worrying and moaning in the past about the prospect of an event occurring even to the point of fear. The weird thing was that when it actually happened, I coped very well emotionally, psychologically and in every way. Well, so change! Yes, as we were saying… is constant. Today however, I am exploring the reason for change. You may want to change something about yourself.  Your look, a habit you have, your routine and so on. That’s good. But what I will like to focus on is why you feel the need to change ? If you can ensure that you are changing for the right reasons, then you will stay on track when the going gets a bit shaky. The path that leads to realizing change is never easy. It may seem straightforward initially but it usually gets to a point where it becomes tedious. When this happens, if you are on that change path for the wrong reasons, you will never make it to the promised land. In my opinion and experience, the best reason for change must come from within , that is, right from the inside. You must be making the change because of a perceived benefit to ‘’you’’. You must be at the centre of this change decision . Your needs must necessitate this change decision. No external force should have the ‘’louder voice’’ in your head regarding the need for change . You should not just change because of anybody-  friend, family, society or celebrity.  If you let them drive your change decision, then when hard times strike along the change path , you are likely to lose conviction easily and fizzle out. This always happens when the change reason is not deeply rooted. External forces can influence the reason why you feel the “need” to change but then you need to analyse how that change will be good for you, it is important to define and know what that change will mean to you and how it will improve the current course your life is taking. Once determined, let it be the driving force for your change. Sometimes, you can discover the need for change on your own. You are an individual who knows right from wrong. So it is expected that sometimes you will find areas to change single-handedly. Your change direction may not even be popular at the time you choose it. However you will know if it will be good for you.  If you then discover that it will positively steer your life in the right direction, go for it! Change can have positive or negative consequences. You must know and understand all the positive and negative aspects to your proposed ‘’change’’. You must not only focus on the positives. Look at it from all angles. Analyse what these different angles will mean for you. It’s a good idea to only choose courses of action where the positives outweigh the negatives (in terms of outcomes) before selection. Let’s look at a common example, you are worried about the way you look. It may be your physical appearance or even the way you materially project yourself to others that bothers you. Friends and family may also be piling the pressure by constantly teasing and complaining . The pressure may be strong enough for you to decide to make some changes. Now, in this case, external factors may be mainly responsible for your change decision. However, all the comments should not  be the sole change determinants. You also need to make sure that these changes will be good for you and that they are what you need to forge ahead positively before embarking on them. Similarly, before you make a change, let it be a change that would be good for you. The fact that it worked for someone else does not mean it will work for you. We have to be careful not to be pressured into doing things by other people because, when the chips are down you will be left on your own (OYO) by those same people. You will have to live with the consequences of your actions. Not even the people who pressured you will share these consequences with you. You only live once (YOLO) therefore, make every change count for you. Photo credit: pixabay  


Famililiar stranger
  I smile at him. He looks surprised. He furrows his brows in curiosity and I bet he wonders if I am okay. I treat him differently. He can do no wrong. Even when others find him difficult to deal with, I make things easier than required for him. I can’t help it. I feel like I know him even though I have only just met him. I want to tell him my innermost secrets so he can laugh with me. He is my familiar stranger. When I look at him all I can see is the one he looks exactly like. You see, there was a time when I had this friend. He was more than a brother to me. Every moment we shared was memorable and precious. But when life happened, it erected a distance between us. As we chose different paths and forged out our existence through the lives we led, we grew apart. Even though we stayed friends, we wanted different things, different places, different dreams, and different hopes. But I miss him dearly. Since he went away, there has been no other like him. But seeing you today has brought all those feelings back. It has brought back that longing for a friend lost through time. I leave you today with a lingering smile. I thank you also for reminding me of happy times. I wish you the very best and hope your dreams come true.   Photo credit: Pixabay          

Familiar Stranger

I love that word perspective. It’s all about how we view things. It’s an interesting concept because one object can be viewed in so many different ways. It can mean different things to the same person(s).There are so many factors and things that can influence that view. The placement of the object can be of utmost influence. The pedestal the object is placed on plays a crucial role because it can either cause clarity or obscurity. The ideology of those viewing the object can affect their perception. The mood (of the onlookers) as well as the context from which it came to be viewed are also factors that affect how objects are perceived. We can broaden the definition of perspective to include our views on issues like politics, fashion, criticism of celebrities, and so on. One fact still resounds irrespective of our perspective on various issues-the true meaning ascribed to that object or true definition of the issue as set out by its originators remains unchanged. It does not matter how we feel about an issue or an object, or what we think about that object when it captures our attention, the point is that it always remains what it is. We are all entitled to our perspectives and opinions. Interestingly those views at times change and are not cast on iron. The issue regarding perspective comes to mind due to the tendency we have of getting caught up and worried about how people view us. For some us, the feeling of confidence is constant. However, there are those whose confidence depends on being ignorant about how they are perceived by others. They become perturbed as soon as they are made aware of some form of criticism against them. We will generally be less troubled if we remained unaware of people’s perceptions of us. However, since we do not exist in a vacuum, our interactions with others reveal their feelings about us. We are made aware of these by utterances, actions, mannerisms and behaviours towards us. We become objects of focus to them. Like the focal point of a lens when a picture is about to be captured, that view depends on what they see or choose to see, what you present, the angle of view, the context of view. In some cases, it can depend on how they feel within themselves. At times peoples’ realization of their inadequacies alongside our unwavering strengths can overwhelm them to the point of frustration. Snipes at us can sometimes be totally unfair, irrelevant and uncalled for. We become their objects of amusement as we get caught in the crossfire between their personal frustration and jealousy. If we let them get into our heads, we will be permitting maximum damage to ourselves for no good reason. We must allow people have their own opinions. They are entitled to it after all. However, we have to always appreciate that the existence of opinions does not always make them correct. We therefore have to find a way not to take them to heart in order avoid getting hurt by those opinions. While some opinions are honest others are only intended to offend and inflict maximum damage. In the end, they are all just perspectives. We can consider them for the sake of objectivity. Such objectivity can lead to adjustments to accommodate others while improving on ourselves. After all, constructive criticisms lead to improvement. However, we must be careful not to let such interactions bring us down. It can be annoying when an idea is not ours. There is not much use fighting it. No one has complete mastery of any subject matter. At every point, there will always be someone more knowledgeable than we are. We too have areas where we excel. Everyone has their own distinctive area of advantage. The best way for us will be to adopt a strategy that acknowledges the superiority of others where applicable. It will help us align ourselves alongside such superiority thereby opening up avenues for learning and self-development. We will then find ourselves improving and acquiring the skills we appreciate in others. Less energy will be expended this way compared to spending time attacking and antagonizing people. What do you think about perspectives? Do you think we are better off not hearing them or perhaps you think they are best ignored? As you know we value your comments. What’s more…. It will be nice to hear your perspective too!   Photo credit: Pixabay    

Perspectives – Why you must stop worrying about what others think.

Money Love 16
The love of money is the root of all evil1. Time and time again we hear this saying. We resolve not to fall into the trap of money love. Unfortunately when faced with money love triggering situations, many of us fail. Why is it important not to love money? Money in itself is not bad. It is used to acquire things required for living. In the good old days, people exchanged goods for goods – barter trade. The system was based on using what you had to get what you wanted. However, our fore fathers found that buying and selling in this way was filled with setbacks .This led to the invention of money. It became very convenient and easy to use. Its advantages were enjoyed by all and soon greed crept into man. The need for grabbing and acquiring money at all costs became the order of the day. The bible says you cannot serve two masters2. You cannot serve both God and money. Money satisfies needs. Loving money however, means constantly choosing money over God. Keeping money at the centre of all decisions, choosing money over what is right. Loving money increases the tendency to give up our principles to acquire it, opening us up to sin and destruction. In the bible, there is a story about King Saul 3. After the war, he chose to take the plunder- sheep and oxen (which in his time constituted material wealth to be acquired from conquered enemies as spoils of war) instead of sacrificing it to God. At times the love of money is synonymous with the love of other material things like power 4.  King Saul decided that he would no longer wait for God’s chief priest to come and give the sacrifice. There he decided to stand in and do the sacrifice himself against God’s instruction. His decision in itself was not bad. It was the impatience and disobedience that grieved God. By disobeying God and not waiting for God’s chief priest to offer sacrifice, he opened himself more to further sin. The sin of doubt and total trust in God’s methods, degenerated into the love of materialism for which God rejected Saul as king5 .From then on, Saul fell out of favour with God and the sin of greed led to his ultimate death. His personal desire for power blinded him from accepting God’s will to crown David. The more he disobeyed, the more he walked into his destruction and final demise. In the New Testament, another example was Judas Iscariot the betrayer. He was initially one of the ‘chosen’ apostles. He was a good man. However, as soon as he started to disobey God’s plan through Jesus, he opened himself again to disaster. One day, Jesus talked about being the bread of life emphasizing on the eating of his flesh and the drinking of his blood6. Jesus knew the ones who did not believe his teachings and he knew his betrayer7. During the conversation, it was clear through Judas’s utterances that he did not believe in this teaching. This disbelief led to Judas ultimately being likened by Jesus to the devil8 . In the end, money love led him to betray Jesus. Unbelief and disobedience stains us as Christians. It turns us into the likeness of the devil whose only nature is to perfectly rebel against God. The sad news is that once this disobedience takes hold, it degenerates into all sorts of sin. By disobeying God, we automatically choose to serve all but God. ‘Self ‘ becomes what is served. To satisfy ‘self’ ultimately leads to seeking things to gratify ‘self’ and what better object than money! Ananias and Sapphira 10 also decided to hold back and disobey. The rule the early Christians had was for each person to sell all they had for the communal good. By joining the fold, one became automatically bound by this rule. However, this couple thought they knew better (disobeyed) and what happened? Greed crept in. The bible says that they held back part of their possessions for themselves and this led to their death11. Many of us do not set out to love money especially as Christians. We know it is wrong. We have this drummed up into us through our lives and we know all the examples. The sad thing is that this does not exempt us from falling into this trap. By disobeying and disbelieving God in even the smallest way, we become open to the danger of money love. We must make a constant and consistent choice to obey God and focus on faith and not on materiality including ‘self’. Everything material is temporary and passing, that is, money, wealth, fame, family, ‘self’ etc . Let us always remember what St Paul said ‘we do not look at the things which are seen but at the things unseen. For the things that are seen are temporary, but the things which are unseen are eternal’12. God is eternal, he gives great gifts13 . By accepting his gifts, we bear fruits of love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control 14 . Let us nurture and grow these, make them our focus and he will meet our needs according to his riches in glory 15        Footnote: 1(1 Timothy 6:10); 2(Matthew 6:24); 3(1 Samuel 15:21-25); 4(1 Samuel 13:11-14); 5(1 Samuel 15:23); 6(John 6:53-59); 7(John 6:64); 8(John 6:70); 9( Matthew 26:15); 10(Acts 5); 11(Acts 5:2); 12(2 Corinthians 4:18); 13(1 Corinthians 12); 14(Galatians 5: 22-23); 15(Matthew 6:33, Philippians 4:19)   Photo credit: Pixabay

Money Love

One reason I love the HOLY WEEK is that, it’s a time the Church forces us to reflect on the things that should be most important to us as individuals. The main things that often slip away amidst the hustle and bustle of life. We are made to reflect on our lives, our death and eternity. We also focus on Christ’s life, death and resurrection and put this at the centre of our reflection, constantly using him as the perfect yardstick for comparing how we are doing as Christians. We resolve to make adjustments to guide us back to the path of salvation when we miss our way. For those on the straight and narrow, it becomes a time to strengthen their resolve to keep being on track. As an old Ibo adage goes “onye lote maka onwu, o mee nwabu”, meaning “when one remembers death, he becomes calm.” Although death is the sure end for every person alive, it is the least visited subject. It is never lightly confronted whether in thoughts or in reality. However, doing so regularly helps us keep calm as individuals. The holy week is also a time when our mortality is brought to the fore front of our reflections. The realisation that all we have acquired in life – knowledge, wealth, possessions, friendships, enemies and so on, mean nothing because when we die, they become irrelevant. What’s more, the wealth of our material possessions cannot  determine what our ultimate eternal destination will be. Acquiring all that life has to offer is meaningless if we do not put them to good use. Do we act selflessly or selfishly? Do we love because we want to gain popular approval or because it is the right thing to do? Do we give to others just because we can or because we care? Do we spend our time reducing the pain and suffering around us? Do we lend a helping hand, provide a listening ear, or a shoulder to cry on? When we manage to be there for others, is it because we want to show off? Holy week summarizes for me what Jesus came to do on earth. It also is a time of appraisal of one’s self. It’s no wonder Lent is the time the Church encourages us to retrace our footsteps back to God. It is a time of reconciliation with God and with man. A time of hope for our eternity and gratitude for salvation offered to all by the shedding of the perfect blood of Jesus Christ for all mankind. Photo credit: Pixabay      

Holy Week

No More Mr Nice Guy
A friend asked me a question today.  He said ,”why have you decided to stop calling me all of a sudden?” That to me is an interesting and direct question. One problem I have with direct questions is that they require direct answers which I find very uncomfortable. Direct answers tend to be blunt truths and for me, they are never an easy pill to swallow. I am known to have one of  the sharpest tongues for a mile. What people don’t know, is that I feel horrible about how deeply my bluntly blurted words cut through people. They slice through their hearts without mercy reducing them to tears like babies. For some lucky tough ones,the words leave them pensive for too long. I learnt over time to sugar coat the truth just to make it a bit more palatable and less hurtful. The problem with that approach is that I end up not saying what I actually mean which in a way is quite frustrating. In the end, this turns all the hurt on me instead. I settled for this approach because of its subtlety, but it is unfortunately very exhausting ! I have also found it be extremely ineffective. I have heard a lot about effective communication and have decided to embrace it. I feel like communication has to go beyond just talking. It also has to include acting appropriately in any given situation. For example, if I feel hurt by someone and feel like shutting them out, then I would. There is no use constantly hitting a brick wall. If the relationship is not working for me then I can just severe it. I invest a lot of energy in making a relationship work and feel like I also deserve to be treated better.It is definitely not too much to ask for! I am tired of being Mr nice guy. I have had to tolerate peoples’  excesses for too long. I even find myself  justifyng “their” actions by making up excuses for “them”. Whereas, I do not even find any reciprocal attitude when it comes to me. It turns out that tit-for-tat rule only works when people pay back hurt not when rewarding good. They just keep hurting me because they have become quite used to my non-reactive mode. Well hey! I have now made a policy U-turn like the Conservative government in the UK. I now act out what I feel. Sorry, but If you don’t like it, you lump it! You can close the door on your way out. I will rather be Billy –no-mates than have a “mate” like you who is really Billy -not -really -a –mate! So yes, I stopped calling you because you are a friends who does not care. You are a friend who are so vain and only bothered about things that don’t add any substance to my life. You are a friend who does not care about anyone other than yourself. You are a friend who only contacts me for what you can get from me. I keep calling but you never return any of my calls. You are always too busy to hang out yet my door becomes “next-door” when you have a problem. My phone number is on redial when you are stuck and you need a mate. Well, my mind is made up and I now weed friends from my life who are grief vectors. You probably fall into that group along with many others. You can shut the door on your way out. Thanks but no thanks! Do you know what the worst part is? On top of everything I have to deal with within my own life, I manage to crack a smile at strangers just to be polite and still get knocked back by their blank expressions!  to walk past people on the hallway and smile at those I make eye contact with. Nothing hurts more than a blank face staring back at you like you are crazy or something. The irony is that these people who leave me feeling so uneasy have no clue that I am made so unhappy by their actions.  I have now made a final resolution to cover that too!  I shall henceforth keep my eyes straight and keep my “hello” to myself. While I would like to carry on being nice regardless of the response attitudes, I still feel that being too nice is definitely a flaw. So I have decided to stop being Mr nice guy and just be normal .  No “hello”, “hi” or ” what’s up”! . I shall just mind my own business from now on and that way I will hopefully stay in control of my feelings and not get hurt. Happy days………..   Photo credit: Pixabay

No More Mr Nice Guy

In The Wall 5
People come in different shapes and sizes, some big, some small, tall, short, fat, slim, ugly, beautiful but I am most fascinated by people who seem most unapproachable. Do you know them? The ones who you find on their own when you walk into a room full of people. You scan through and find them looking like they would rather be somewhere else. They even complete the look with an “upset air”. Everyone tries to avoid them. Wet blankets they are called. Finding a quarrel to pick with everyone around. Not in the least helpful, looking troubled. I am fascinated because, I like to think that there is an element of humanity left in everyone. I also feel that looks can be deceptive. Some people put up a front as a result of bad experiences and lack of trust, thus, feeling the need to hold on to themselves. They fear that even an eruption of a smile on their lips may be taken for a weakness. They build an impenetrable wall around themselves. They smile as they see people shudder and tremble with discomfort all around them. They feel triumphant “yes”, they think “I can now be left alone!” Well, the bad news for them is that, when I arrive, I am not put off by their antisocial character, rather, I keep being friendly until I reach out to that person – The man in the wall. All I see is a lovely person trapped within that shell. Time and time again, I have found that with patience, tolerance and at times tears, I gain their trust. Do you know what I find? I find that some of the best, kindest, loveliest people are wrapped in this shell of hostility. It is the product of all the pains, grudges, knock-backs and tears they have shed because of supposedly kind people like you and me who have constantly taken them for granted. If you are one of those people behind the wall, try not to rule the whole world out as potential heart breakers. I agree that you have constantly had bad experiences, but the good news is that amidst the sea of people that flow through life, those bad ones are only a minority. Too few for you to perfectly generalize and too few to hide away your beautiful self from the majority of good people out there who will treat you right. You need to give them a chance. It is interesting how you get only what you give. Have you stopped lately to think that this new “defensive” wall you have erected may be the reason why people have now continued to run from you? If you give love, chances are that you will get love, if you give hate, you will definitely get hate back in return. Let’s give one another a chance, live and let live. Some people ask me, “How can you stand being around that queer person?”, or, “I can’t believe this person did this nice thing”. Well, there is nothing special about me. We all have it in us to be patient and tolerant if we see beyond all the walls erected around people. Like everything in life nothing good comes easily. Hard work and perseverance are also needed when dealing with people. While I cannot claim to have complete mastery of the minds of peculiar people, I am hoping that by showing them some love, care and acceptance, you can reach out to the man in the wall.   Photo credit: Pixabay

The Man In The Wall

Wakey wakey! I said to my son and he did not stir. I poked him and up he leapt with a smile spread across his cute little face. He was very ticklish. Wide awake! He would catch the tickles if you gestured a clawed hand at him and pulled a face! You see, the past few days had been extremely stressful for this little sausage of a boy as we roused him too early and put him back to bed late each day. We were struggling to make it to his ill brother’s bedside. The hospital was in another town requiring a two hourly commute each way. So to be fair, he had every reason to be knackered. He opened his eyes, lips smiling, and whispered ‘crisps’ , ‘crisps’, until the ‘sps’ sound faded gently away. He kept at it like he was striking a bargain with me for disturbing his sleep yet again. To his dismay as he locked eyes with me, he saw my stern unwavering look. At this point, he employed a more diplomatic tactic. He gave me a big cuddle, the type that leaves you feeling breathless. He then whispered into my ears ‘hello mummy… I love you…’ melting my heart as I thought, ‘Aww…bless him’ . I then said, ‘I love you too darling’. Mission accomplished he must have thought and rightly so. His next words were ‘mummy please will you buy me some crisps today? You know I haven’t had any for aaaaaages’. Hahaha I giggled… who can say no to that! So I agreed and mustered some firmness by adding a disclaimer ‘well maybe this one time since you have asked me so nicely! So as you can imagine, our preparation that day was as smooth sailing and without arguments as it was speedy. We got to our destination as planned and I got him his ‘crisps’ as promised. I even let him choose a flavour to his utmost delight ! As we arrived the hospital ward and observed all the sanitary requirements- hand washing, hand cleaning, coat hanging. We even got cosy by wearing our slippers and my son settled down excitedly into the kiddy chair by his little brother’s bedside. I opened his ‘crisps’ for him and his grin seemed to grow bigger as I handed back the packet of ‘crisps’. I thought his face was going to tear! Afterwards I turned around and carried on with everything else I had to do. As every mum with a poorly hospitalised child knows, there can be tons to do when you arrive. Suddenly amidst all this, I heard a clatter…clatter… clattering sound behind me. My boy in his excitement had poured all his crisps accidentally on the ground! Weeeeeeeeeeee… he cried and as you can imagine, he burst into tears. I tried to console the distraught toddler with a renewed promise of getting him more ‘crisps’ . Which was quite a herculean task, but as I looked down at him once settled down, a thought crossed my mind about how similar to life this whole episode was. After all the build up to eating the long awaited crisps ; the soliciting for, the waiting for, the anticipation of the enjoyment of this bag of crisps and the certainty that once acquired, there was nothing to stop him enjoying and satisfying this crisp craving. It fell through just as he was about to take his first bite. How uncertain can some ‘certain’ events turn out to be? How many times have we been assured we had a job for instance only to get to the interview and get told “sorry we found someone else more suitable” and next thing you know, all the plans riding on that job just fall before our eyes like a pack of dominos. I personally will say always guard yourself. Just because something is certain does not stop the fact that ‘anything can happen’. This way of thinking guards me personally and reduces the level of disappointment I tend to feel given any circumstance. You need to be able to console yourself fairly quickly (like I did with my son). Resolve to try again, find an alternative but try not to dwell on regret . Well, look at it this way, now you know this course of action is not feasible. You are now the wiser for it. That is one positive way to see it. Never lose sight of other possible baskets to throw your eggs in no matter how secure and sure the current basket is. It is wise to give this current basket your best shot so that if it falls through you can be rest assured in the knowledge that it was not for want of effort. As a wise Kin Hubbard once sums it up “There is no failure except in no longer trying. There is no defeat except from within, no really insurmountable barrier save our own inherent weakness of purpose”. Photo credit:  Redeeming God 


Private corner
Have you ever heard yourself think “People don’t care about me” or “nobody even bothers?” Well, while that may be true, have you then wondered if you may have contributed to that? Oh yes! I know we normally prefer to feel detached from the reasons why people treat us the way they do. However, at times we need to stop and take stock of how we may have unknowingly encouraged people to treat us wrongly. I had a call today from a friend. A very good friend. I had recently been upset about her uncaring attitude towards me. My conversation with her was also an eye opener to me. I did my best to express my dismay at her lack of sensitivity towards my plight. I expected more support from her. She in turn pointed out some facts to me explaining why this came to be the case. Our heart to heart conversation has led me to question if I had discouraged her from caring for me without realizing. Privacy! Yes privacy was the main culprit. In the past, people appeared to “care” about me. They asked me questions about things. They asked questions about my condition and how I felt. Answering these litany of endless questions left me overwhelmed. They felt more like “prying” questions rather than “caring” ones. Consequently, people perceived my withdrawal from answering them as a subtle hint that I wanted to be left alone. This resulted in their deliberately deciding to respect my privacy by leaving me be. I am not going to lie, it felt good not been quizzed at every opportunity in the name of “care”. I sometimes jokingly referred to these as ‘information-seeking-CID-tendencies’ or ‘nosiness’ on their part. However, my private space slowly became less comfortable and lonelier with each passing day. I started to wish that somebody would ask me how I was. As days turned to weeks and weeks to months, sadly, nobody asked. I guess they did not want to get their heads bitten off by my harsh tongue or rolling eyes. I felt like screaming for attention but it never came. Everyone assumed I was going to ask for help if I needed one. It became even more embarrassing for me to reach out. I dropped little hints and then even larger hints. My attention seeking also went from subtle to obvious until I had a proper breakdown which luckily a clever friend saw as a “cry for help”. My good friend made me realise that my attitude of pushing everyone away coupled with my vehement refusal to speak or open up meant that no one could help. They could not come into my head to read my thoughts either. So they all just stayed away hoping I was going to come to them when I was ready. As we spoke, I appreciated how lucky I was to have such a friend like her who saw beyond my snipes and tantrums, ignored them and still came to my rescue. For this, I was thankful. Unfortunately, not everyone is so blessed. So I want to open your eyes to see with me why there can be disadvantages to going all “cold-turkey” or “leave-me-aloney” on everyone. While I still want my privacy, I have learnt to acknowledge peoples’ care and concern and to also appreciate it. I agree that can feel very nosey at times but perhaps realising that people only mean well most times can help us to be more patient with them. The problem is that most times though they have no clue how to. To you the friend who is constantly being pushed away, try not to take it personal. It is quite stressful dealing with “stuff”. You can give your friend space, but please, please, still find time to ask how they are as they may have trapped themselves in the private corner of discomfort. It gets lonely at times but knowing you care will make all the difference, trust me! Do not fall into the “I am fine!” trap! “Oh how are you?” and you always automatically say “I am fine” remember it is also a question and an opportunity for you to say you are “not fine” and possibly get help. The thing with care and compliments is that if you keep throwing them back at the giver, they gradually get withdrawn unconsciously too. Perhaps they too become used to your frequent answers and just assume you are fine. You can encourage them with a smile when you are fine and even say “thank you for asking”. That way, you encourage them to ask next time and also reassure them that you do not feel disturbed by their questions. We have to see that though we may not be rude about pushing people away, we may choose to be passive and it can still have just about the same effect of turning people off and pushing them away. So have you ever boxed yourself into a private corner like I did? Please leave us a comment below and let’s hear about your experience. Did you manage to get any help in the end?   Photo credit: Pixabay

Private Corner

I felt a morbid sensation as I walked into the chapel to pray. The morbid sensation one felt, overpowered the peace sought by coming here as the feeling of grief hung in the chapel like a smoke that left you breathless. It was a Children’s hospital chapel where all came to seek respite from the endless struggles their children were going through on the wards daily. While this was the primary reason for its existence, it had a secondary use. It appeared that over the years, parents used it as a place to leave a mark of farewell for their children who had lost their individual battles with different ailments. It was not unusual to see an inscription, a card, a plaque and an endless array of soft toys in all shapes and sizes. I could only conclude that they looked and felt like a summarized version of the grief the parent or “leaver” felt in themselves about events that led to that day. Some looked cute, others looked “not-so-cute”. One constant feature though where the plastic eyes stock on those toys. They left an impression on me that left me cold and a bit frightened to be honest as each eye seemed to tear into me when I prayed. I could not help feeling teddy eyes all over the chapel. So I made a habit of shutting my eyes very tight and picking corners away from the centre of the chapel where all the “eyes” seemed to converge. Today, I just came into the chapel because I felt brave. I recall that on several occasions, I had walked out or rather escaped the chapel because I found it emotionally overwhelming to be there amidst all the symbols, marks and Items of grief in the place. Infact, I came into the chapel because I felt brave enough to ignore the “eyes” and just try to find God and inner peace beneath the smoke of grief that permanently clung to it. As I arrived, I was shocked by the tranquil feeling that greeted me. Since my mind was heavy with anxiety, I was also distracted from the chapel itself and put my new found calmness down to it. It was amidst the prayers that I looked up and meant to stare back at those piercing “eyes” all around me, only to notice for the first time that they were…. gone! It seemed for a second like I had walked in with my eyes closed even while they were agape and an imaginary spec seemed to fall from my eyes. For the first time in the three years I had visited the chapel, I could behold its beauty. I could see the inscriptions on the wall, the paintings in the glass; the chandelier from which hung the brightest lamps I could remember. I was at peace….. At last. I could come here now without the fear of being crushed by those ‘eyes’. It was now suddenly restored to its rightful place in this hospital as “the chapel” where I could find peace. Not a place of riotous emotions centred on grief, pain, loss and sadness. Now it could be a place of hope for the living who struggled, not a place that left one wondering if it was a matter of time before their child became a memory on the wall or better still replaced by a soft toy with a pair of “eyes”.   Photo credit: Pixabay  

The Chapel

free like a child
Hmmmm! I saw these shoes on a lovely lady’s feet sometime ago, I  couldn’t take my eyes off them. They were so spectacularly familiar. They were the most comfy looking shoes you could find for a mile. Lace up, just under the ankle, shoe boots with caterpillar soles. Certainly “the” shoes. Suddenly it clicked! They were a replica of my school shoes some 15 odd years ago. I had the exact same ones. Well, not really exactly the same ones, as mine were in a different colour. It was interesting how this lady who was in front of me chatting away loudly with her friends had drawn up those memories just by choosing to put on those shoes . The thought caused a kind of chaos in my little head as I recalled different events and sorted my thoughts until a smile was plastered around my face. All the time the lovely lady was unaware.   Shoes do it for me. I have always being fascinated by them. Aspiring to own as many of them as I can. It has always being my thing. I have joked about being able to tell a lot about a person by looking at the shoe they wear. In my opinion, shoes bear a testimony about the way people treat their feet, telling further tales about the way they treat themselves. I remember how I cried for ages for that shoe. They were so lovely and comfortable looking. I dreamt about enjoying my long walks to and from school in them. They were not the “in vogue” shoes at the time. I saw them first on someone else and it became love at first sight for me. I had no idea what hole it was going to dig in my parents’ pockets and nothing else mattered as long as I got them! Well, I finally did get them and truly enjoyed walking in them. I wore them everywhere. To school, to church, to parties, for fun… they went well with everything I had or so I thought. Looking back now, I can hear in the distance those disapproving remarks from family and friends who were saddled by my need to forever appear in those shoes. I now realise that those faces they pulled were not due to the sunshine burning their faces, but because of my silly shoes which by then had seen better days. That’s the bit I really miss about being a child. The ability of a child to be so unaware of everyone and everything else and be consumed by self-satisfaction and gratification. All that matters is that the activity or object is appealing and causes some form of enjoyment to the child. It’s amazing and extremely fascinating  how the mind of a child functions. At the end of the day, that’s all that really matters. Adults seem to lose their ability to make simple choices or enjoy simple activities because they over analyse everything. They spend time obsessing about suitability, peer acceptance, rationality, and consequences- material or immaterial. This can be counter- productive, crumpling and even destructive. Ultimately denying and robbing them of simple and enjoyable experiences or activities.  What they don’t realise is that the worst case scenario is failure which honestly, is not the end of the world. It is the brain child for pushing boundaries. You would not have even known it was not an option if you didn’t try. There is less adventure to be had in a life filled with what if’s. However a chance to explore possibilities, push boundaries, learn something new and even add a feather to one’s cheeky cap can only be attained if you stop holding back and just try something new. Look on the brighter side, you would have given it a go, learnt something valuable to take into another experience or at least added a feather to your cap! So you see when I looked at the lady chatting away with reckless abandon and seemingly enjoying herself, I saw her feet. I saw her shoes and they reminded me of my long lost freedom. The freedom I used to enjoy as a child…the freedom that made me love the things I did and do the things I loved. So have you ever been in a situation that made you remember a lovely part of your past? Are you living free like a child? Drop us a line in the comments below. We will love to hear all about it. Thank you for reading. You can read more of my musings here. Photo credit:  From Gaffera  through My Little Window In San Damiano

Free Like A Child