Today I learnt a new type of meditation known as visualisation.   Within it, I was asked to visualise my favourite place. A place I would transport myself to in my mind’s eye. So that i can visual-eyes it.   When I pondered, I realised that there was no other place I wanted to be in. It was not a holiday , it was not a beach it was not with anyone … but it was with you… my family.   You see, to visualise is to don visual-eyes that locate you wherever you are. So that even …   When eyes cannot see you, my loving eyes see you.   When your presence cannot be felt, my heart feels your warmth.   When you are far ‍♀️ and I cannot physically hear you, my ears hear you.   That’s why in my mind, we remain one and inseparable as it is always meant to be.   I carry you In my heart everywhere I go. I visualise you. I look within and I see you.   Your presence comforts me.   It envelopes me and guides my actions.   Though distance may build walls around us, in my heart, I feel the warmth of your love.   It transcends time and space and locates me even when my heart yearns for a moment with you.   The happiest memories of my life are forged within the nest of love that you create with your presence in my life.   Right here in my heart, as it was many years ago, i find my home with you, deep within my heart. I suddenly realise that you have been with me the whole time.   As I visual-eyes I pluck the courage to bask within the nest of peace that I will always call home.   Thank you for reading. Photo credit: Pixabay  

Poem: I see👁 you

Hello everyone,   I wanted to share this poem with you today. I feel happy because when I wrote this poem, I was feeling many emotions.   I was supporting a friend…. being there for her so that she could be more strengthened to support her child. We said so many things and I could relate with many of her fears.   Mothers…and fathers too … are strong people and sometimes, we worry when we set our babies free. Children grow up so quickly and we can sometimes feel lost when this prospect lands at our doorstep. Today, she sent me a message saying that all went well with her child. I praise God for her. She let me share a small part of this huge journey with her child. This poem is my gift to her…to you…and to all who look after a child. I have titled the poem “Love cradled”. I feel that the love for a child begins in this way from a mother’s perspective.     Love cradled  Despite the pain and anguish of bearing a child. A mother’s love lingers. Through sickness, hunger in the midst of plenty. Voraciousness despite satiety. Cravings, distaste, tiredness, tears, triumphs. A mother’s love tarries. Waiting to behold the one who nature crafts meticulously. Who the dawn of each passing day brings closer to perfection. Love nurtured Then the d day arrives. The long awaited bundle of joy comes squealing with lungs of steel. Announcing an arrival like no other. Mother hopes for the best. As each passing day reveals the extent of personality, strength, weakness, hope, bleakness, brightness encased within the bundle of joy. Mother nurtures what nature brings. Trying her best to make the best out of this raw love nature befit    Hoping to present a masterpiece to add to the sea of personalities that fill the world Love surrendered  Hoping the best has been done. Mother releases that which she has spent day and night nurturing. Have I done right? Have I done enough? Mother wonders. But time will tell. If the strength residing within the special joy bundle mixes rightly  with mother’s lessons. Or if with pride misguides and misdirects what mother intended. But only time can tell.  Only in time will we know But we are reassured that the apples never roll far from the tree. Iron sharpens iron and no one ever planted corn and reaped cassava. So… trust that mother’s child will be like her.   

A Poem for you titled : Love Cradled

Loosing an article that I have written is a bit like losing a piece of me….   I pour myself into each article that I write. I don’t even know why I write sometimes. It is just an extension of my personality that I feel fortunate to possess the ability to express.   Sometimes I wish that all I did with my life was – write. I could do that you see, but maybe I haven’t yet figured out how to make it worthwhile.   Words have form and shape to me whether they are said out loud or written. That’s why I can’t stand it when people swear.   It’s not just about being polite but I literally see blood being splattered every time people prefix their statements with … bloody.   The worst is the F word.   I work around with images of coitus as the person speaks and vomits it within every statement. It’s hard to explain how upsetting it is to condone the psychological images people build into simple conversations.   So back to the article I lost which I was telling you about…..   So I said I love writing, remember?   Well, I can never really understand it when someone tells me that they are unable to write. I guess it is the same way that I can write that they can’t write. In my head, I just feel that if you can have an opinion and possess cognitive ability, then you should be able to write.   Right?   I guess I am wrong though because it may not be so easy.  Let’s use my husband as a case study. He never likes talking or over exerting himself.   A sort of cool dude.   So one day I asked him why he had constantly refused to come out of his shell.   “Well, there is no shell to come out of”,he said.   “How can you climb out of a shell if you yourself are the shell? Imagine if I asked you to be quiet and sit still how will you feel?”   “No way!”I screamed. “That’s impossible”.   “Aha!, do you see how you feel right this minute that you contemplated my “sit still” request?”,he asked   “Yes”,I said   “That’s exactly how I feel when you ask me to be as vibrant as you are”.   Hmmm…   That gave me some perspective. I have stopped asking that of him or anyone for that matter. People must all be allowed to exist and express themselves in the way that suits them.   So….Yes!   I digressed again as I always do.   I was telling you about how I wrote a juicy article this afternoon and somehow lost it. Well, that reminded me about when I lost another article in the past.   It was my portfolio assigment at university.   Oh that one was horrible.   I was set an assignment with 3 sets of tasks.   One was a 2500 word essay, a 15minute narrated powerpoint and another 2500 essay with appraisal forms.   I toiled to produce that portfolio.   I also decided in my very finite wisdom not to write any draft in a book first but to type it straight into my laptop. That was me finally succumbing to pressure. Everyone seemed to laugh at my out dated style of always writing in books before typing up my work.   I wanted to save time and it did feel good to type the work directly. Sadly, as my luck turned out, on the day I decided to save the final copy of the essay, I made a booboo.   Listen to this…   Instead of control C (Copy), I pressed control A (Select all), hit the back space (Delete) and clicked on control S (save). Then in splits of seconds, 2 months of toil vanished.   Seriously, who does that?   I had not even saved any other copy elsewhere.   Oh…   I even had a draft in my flash drive but guess what? I could not find it!   The submission date was 2 weeks away.  I also had an anatomy and physiology exam tucked in between the submission date and me. It was such a horrible time.   I went to the lake and cried.  I spent the next 2 days crying. I felt so exhausted. Where was I going to start? I had even lost my reference list because it was all in the same document. After the 2 days of crying, I managed to shrink the submission date by 2 days.   Next morning, while brushing my teeth, I looked in the mirror at my red eyes and thought   ….hey girl, you can’t just fail!   That was how I summoned the courage, plucked the strength and started all over again.   To this day, I feel that the new essay I produced was better than the first one. I learnt so much about myself doing that portfolio.   I learnt that I was resilient, a fighter and that I could not just accept defeat. I became very creative and my speed was super.   Who needs an easy life when we can use pressure and stress as free fuel eh?   Last minute essays are bad for you especially if you have not previously done any reading. But you knew that already didn’t you?   So although that ended well…   Let’s come back again to the juicy article I wrote this afternoon and managed to lose   That’s a different matter. An essay is academic and can have a happy ending when it is lost. But can an article enjoy the same fate?   An article is metalking without moving my lips.   Reporting what has happened or what I am thinking via a piece of paper/ media- whichever way you want to describe it. It’s very hard to get the second take of the article to be as emotive as the first one …I think. I have lost a piece of […]

Nursing Diaries: Losing a piece of work

Sorrow… That’s all that engulfs me every time I am lost   Whenever I sit down and feel my emotions, they are as raw as they are real. I bring them to life through the words I weave. With each print, my feelings take shape and form within the pages of white paper.   But then again we all have this creative ability and we express it in different ways. Expressing it allows us to share in our divine connection with God. It allows us to humbly be led from within.   To embrace our creative existence is to embrace God the source of all creativity. The things we craft are not ours but God’s…presented to us through our feelings and emotions but expressed by us through our craft.   Whether we sing, dance, write, paint or act, we are all the same. We are seeking to find ourselves through the works of our hands…to find the hidden tunes in the beat of life.   What we have to give the world will be decided by the being who leads us. When and how we will succeed depends on our destiny. Even though we do not find material benefit from our creativity, the immaterial benefit of having the ability to express it is a gift to be treasured.   My soul is aggrieved because what I have created is now lost. I wrote an epistle and poured myself into its creation. Night and day I was a slave to my ability but the end product justified all my hustle. On the day I sought to present the beauty of my creation, it was lost and never to be found no matter how hard I tried.   What does this mean? Why did God allow me access to the creative vault? Why did he give me the tools I needed to retrieve it and take it away from me again. I made a beautiful thing out of the grief that had me bound. Now that it is lost, I am aggrieved anew.   As I sit contemplating my loss, I am reminded of my humanity, my finiteness and insignificance in the grand scheme of things. I am a slave to my creator. I realise now more than ever why I must not let this setback be a distraction from the ultimate goal of partaking in creation as God intends. Or else I would be as lost as the artefact I seek.   I endure pain in many ways mostly because of the emotions they stir in me. Emotions are powerful and they rule the world. Wars are fought, peace is restored by those empowered to steer the emotions of others. Learning how to steer our emotions towards our intended goals is more of an art than a science.   When I lose what I create, it is so that I can become light enough to immerse myself deep within the fount of my creativity. The lighter I am, the more I can acquire. All loss is gain because in the end all is vanity. I did it before and so I will do it again. I will not fear because I am deeply rooted within the river that never runs dry.   I need to still my soul. Calm my spirit so that I can reach deep within. With God, all things remain within reach only if we believe. All hope is not lost. If it has not happened despite my efforts, that means it is not yet time.   Thank you for reading

Creative loss

I heard something interesting in the news today. China has banned Christmas Is that even possible? Banning Christmas? Well, this country has certainly defied the norm and banned Christmas. As a Christian, I should shout but in reality, I am not sure that I disagree.   Ever since I arrived the shores of obodo oyibo, Christmas has appeared to have more to do with Santa than Jesus. I have listened and watched the media gear up for Christmas from as early as October. Children are encouraged to be at their best behaviour so that come December the 25th, Santa Claus would visit the bottom of their Christmas trees where he would deposit presents to reward their behaviour.   In fact there is even a big hullabaloo about sighting this Santa Claus fellow on the Christmas eve in the sky. That is made possible by a pre-arranged gimmick by the National space agency (NASA) to convince children about the reality of a man that only exists in our imagination.   In my eyes all I can see and hear beneath all these is not evil but capitalism. Driving sales and profits being the main rationale for the season. You can see how much easier it is for these clever people to achieve their numbers just by focusing all their campaigns on something as popular as Christmas. Therefore, the big companies cash in on the idea. They offer sales, low prices, stock clear-outs and you name it just to make their balance sheets look sparkly for the end of what happens to be most of their financial years’.   It is not actually a bad thing per se. We do live in a society that needs to be viable. Low sales, low profits means that businesses slowly die off. That leads to a chain reaction of events including unemployment, poverty, hunger and homelessness. Next comes crime and problems because people have to survive somehow. The social system of benefits may pick up some of the tabs but with no income coming in, it too will crash. So yes, sales are very good and a positive step towards economic sustainability.   However what we need as Christians is to redirect the focus of Christmas. The motive behind an action determines how we judge it. So basically, we can both be doing the same thing but if we have two different reasons for doing it, we will judge the outcomes differently.  Rather than drive Christmas towards Mr Clause and focus it on capitalism and materialism, we can redirect the focus to be on Christian values that are focused around Jesus Christ. Love, giving, kindness, compassion and so on can be the renewed purpose for patronising these merchants.   As Christian parents we must strive to pull our children towards the true Christmas spirit.   Or else, what will we be teaching our children?   That Christmas is a time of receiving, writing lists, making demands and making endless demands on our overstretched resources. We will be teaching them about filling the Christmas trees with things that we do not really need while we miss the opportunity to teach them to be prudent and kind.   If we can emphasise the truth about Christmas instead of just the capitalist idea of sales, then maybe Christmas would still be about buying things to give in love to those around us instead of only expecting to get from everyone. Christmas should be a super duper love feast because Jesus himself was born on that day for the sole purpose of sharing himself with us entirely and eternally.   We will be more able to then value all that people around us give us not just the material presents that they buy. There are some among us who give up their time to be with us, their attention to help guide us, their love to support us. Do we teach our children to recognise the gifts they bring to enrich our lives with? Do we let the capitalists spend all their time and resources selling the Santa Clause idea to us rather than we as Christians taking the lead on selling the free gift of Jesus at Christmas with the world? Let us think again about what we teach the next generation. Although China may have banned Christmas, let us revive the spirit of Christmas in our hearts and lives. Let us place an embargo on the capitalist, wasteful, self-indulgent idea of Christmas. Let us embrace the Christmas that reminds us to love, to give and to share.  After all as they say, It is more blessed to give than to receive. Thank you for reading. Photo Credit: Pixabay

The Santa Clause

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Childhood memories…. Of us all sitting in the sunshine Playing in the sand and rolling in the mud with reckless abandon. We had way more fun than the children we nuture would ever dream of.   I remember the tales by moonlight we heard or were told On dark hot nights while we waited for NEPA to bring us some light. The National Electric Power Authority that we saw as Never Expect Power Always…NEPA indeed! Something that should have been the people’s right was given as a privilege to us Even though our parents payed huge bills for electric we never used.   I remember the days when children’s programmes only lasted from 4-6pm When we made our games as we went along without asking for too much When it was enough to eat rice on Christmas Day not write long endless lists like tax collectors     I digress though….as usual   Day in day out we had each other for company… We had our fill and never imagined a day would come when we will live apart. But such is life. It happens and we sail away on our dreamboats in pursuit of our inner desires. Sometimes I wonder if it has all been worth it? The longing for old times keeps me up at night .   Life happened and took us on our separate ways. To pastures new we sojourned in search of bread and butter. To the tunes we once listened to I indulge myself until I sail back in time. I hear all the laughter ring in the silence of my heart. It deafens my ears and kindles my constant longing for the good old days.   I realise now that what I long for resides in the good old days. I long for you, my brother, my sister, my parent, my friend I long for the joy you brought into my life. Although I have all, I am impoverished by the constance of your absence   Although you are far from me I still feel your love It warms my heart like a blanket wrapped around my shivering body on a cold winter morning. I refuse to set these sweet memories aside for now I just want to bask in the warmth of that reassuring love.   I now live far away from all the noise and joy of true family and friendship I admit the hurt it causes my heart. Like a spear it cuts through deep To the extent that I cease to make my heart available to form new ties My heart is frozen over with my longing for you.   We are all grown men and women But in my heart we are still the children we once were. I want to roam the streets in reckless abandon in search of everyone But I know you are safe where you reside, far across the world.   Thanks for reading Photo credit Pixabay

Longing for the good old days

I have just opened my eyes and its 4:20 am! Well, this has not happened by accident. It’s because I wanted to watch the boxing match everyone has been talking about for days. The hype for this match has been epic!. The WBC heavy weight title fight between Tyson Fury (TF) and Deontay Wilder (DW). For starters, when I watched the last pre-match interview, TF looked really different and in a good way. Trim, fit and awesome. But so did DW too. Trust boxers… each man had been telling us how good he was and how he would wipe the floor with the other. I really wanted to see it unfold firsthand. So I am very excited but rather than break the silence, I would put my thoughts down on paper. Let’s see if you enjoy the match as I am doing right now. Ring Entrance TF makes his entrance first. As I said earlier, he looks trimmer and sharper. He has also chopped off his signature beard. Errrmmm…. I am not too sure making too many changes is such a good idea. I am a gypsy at heart myself but we’ll see. Oh! something else has changed from the last two times I watched TF. The “return of the Mac music is not on cue”.  I am a bit worried now at this point. I just feel like he has jinxed the fight but we’ll see. DW. I was surprised that he was booed at he made his entrance. He is at home for Christ’s sake. We shall see what that is all about soon. Anyway, he enters the ring wearing a cloak with feathers all around the neck, a crown and half of a face mask. If his intention was to be a lion, he certainly missed the designing memo because he looks more like a vulture. He is not making any big body moves. He looks pretty calm considering all his pre match comments. Perhaps he is in the famous Zone that we hear athletes enter during competitions. But there is a thin line between entering the zone of athletics and entering the zone of fear. Hear ! Hear! Rounds 1-3 The first 3 rounds have been for TF so far in my opinion. Wilder has been unable to land any massive punches at this point. I hear DW will normally knock people out within the first 4 rounds. I just feel that if TF can  hold him off until the end of round 4 he will stand a chance… Round 4 DW seems to be coming out a bit more. More of those his famous right hooks beginning to show. But his reach is shorter than TF’s. DW has been very unable so far. He walked in looking like he was in the zone. But with each punch he is unable to land, I wonder if that was fear I saw in his eyes at the start. TF has been so confident, doing his foot walks, throwing punches and really moving around. DW just appears to be chasing him around most times. Round 5 This is our chance. Go TF! Sorry, did I just give away my bias? Come on, to be fair I am British so it’s not surprising. Compadre and all. First few seconds in and  I have seen a few combos from TF. Fatigue appears to be setting in now to on both sides. TF has not been very active in this round. His punches appear to have decelerated. Fewer punches, less movement. He is not as sharp as he was in the first few rounds. To be fair even though I hate to admit it, DW looks stronger in this round. Round 6 OMG I can’t believe the match is still on… I think DW has a plan and TF needs to be aware. TF has won the previous 5 rounds in my books. A flash card on the screen appears to have given round 2 to DW. Seriously, are these referees watching the same fight?  If he wins a few more, then DW will need a knock out to win.  DW is trying to reach but can’t seem to get to the gypsy king. I imagine that an unsuccessful punch would be more exhausting than land an actual punch. TF just locked in a few punch combos and DW had to use some high blocks to save himself. DW just finally landed a successful punch. He probably plans to knock out TF but that may not be a good idea for him because the gypsy king means business. Round 7 Wow. Round 7????? Here we are in round 7, I certainly did not see this coming. I really need a wee but I can’t bear to miss a moment! DW is not even able to land punches TF is controlling the fight. He looks confident and still active. Infact he looks stronger than he did in round 4. Nice right hand by TF now. Wow some nice combos too by DW and TF looked like he was in trouble as a result. In fact he had to lock DW to save himself. These punch combos seem to have boosted DW’s confidence. Psychologically that seems to have brought them back on equal grounds.  We can’t rule out DW. This was such an interesting round that it seemed shorter. Round 8 They have to dig deep now. It’s been a settled round so far. TF physically towers high above DW so much. It’s unbelievable that their height difference is 2″. TF’s confidence, foot walk and body language are all goading  DW. Some nice jab combo from TF at the moment and so far, he seems to be clinching this. TF is a total tease. The round ended with DW landing some nice jabs and TF’s body language appearing to suggest indifference. Round 9 This fight is turning out to be value for money for all TF’s fans. A swelling is quite visible now under DW’s right eye. It’s amazing how confident TF still looks. […]

Wilder vs Fury: WBC Boxing Championship Fight

The LOES! Seriously, is that even a thing? Well, let’s make it a thing just for today. I cannot even take any credit for being nice to the lady I gave a coin to make up her change on the bus today. She was so grateful. The funny part was that when she sat back down in her chair, she found the elusive pound at the bottom of her big bag. As you will expect, she came back to give me the coin. But I declined it. “Take it as a gift from me to you,” I said. “Oh bless,” She said replacing her initial hesitation with gratitude. But still I cannot take any glory for that act. I was just paying it back as they say. Having experienced such kindness from a stranger myself in the past. I was desperate to replicate that feeling towards someone else even in the smallest of ways. How many times have I been dug out of a deep end by people- strangers. I don’t know about you but I never seem to find so called close friends to care enough to be as selfless as I have experienced from many a stranger. With my feeling of disappointment sometimes, I use it as a gauge to measure my own self. Could it be that I too have not been a friend indeed when they were in need? Could it even be that I have expressed ingratitude in the past when they did smaller things albeit unknowingly? Could it be that I have implied that I prefer to be left as an island of my own wanting no help from others? Or maybe my attitude has sometimes left me vulnerable. I can be boastful and proud of my achievements sometimes. A flaw I find difficult to apologise about. But a flaw that may be the culprit for the price of alienation I now detest. But alas the other part of the story lies with them. I cannot take all the blame no matter how magnanimous I can be in heart. It takes two to tango.   Somehow strangers always step up to the plate. I like it and can never find them to say enough thank yous. So I hope that by paying back the kindness towards another stranger I too can somehow say my piece. Actions they say speak louder than words. Although, I have not done enough to match all the kindness I have ever received, I hope that one day soon I too may be worthy to join the league of extraordinary strangers. Photo credits go to Cool guys whose pictures helped bring this story to life 😉 Picture 1 Picture 2 Picture 3 Picture 4

The League of Extraordinary Strangers (The LOES)

Hi, my name is Sweetie and I am pleased to meet you all. It’s so much fun to be in this photo shoot outside the house and covered in leaves.. Mark took me out with mummy and I think it was really thoughtful! Haha…I imagined this would be the teddy’s vote of thanks for all the attention he got today. If you are like me, you have one silent member of the family sitting around the home. Teddy bears and soft toys? How could we ever survive our kids without them. Well this one is called “Sweetie”. Well, I will tell you how she came to be found outdoors covered in leaves and looking like a samurai. We went stone picking. Stone picking is a lovely fun family activity. These are the items you need: 1. A plastic bag for collecting the stones 2. Your fingers for picking the stones😀 3. A footpath or safe road with stones lying around 4. Lots of imagination- to save you picking clustered sand instead of stones 5. Lots of energy for fun. Oh! Did I forget to say-some good weather if you are in luck? It’s a nice activity that costs absolutely nothing but promises to be lots of fun for all the family. It can get your children all excited and give you the opportunity to spend some quality time with the kids. A note of warning though- It can get very messy because some of the most beautiful stones tend to hide in the mud🤡😂😂 But please don’t let that stop you. Stone picking must be an art. It is the process by which you let boredom push you out of your sulky corner into the streets in search of pebbles. It sounds funny but in all honesty that is simply what it is. Nothing more…nothing less. After collecting the stones, you will need some time to get them washed. I usually soak them with some soap and bleach to kill any germs and make them safe for handling. You can let them drip into an old towel and in no time, you would be ready for some fun with the kids. Today, we chose to arrange the stones into different shapes. It was so much fun. It allowed Mark use his imagination.To all the kids out there, keep having fun!! Enjoy the rest of your day. Thank you for reading

Teddy’s day out (Activity)

I tell you the things I see in my mind’s eye when they are shut. I do so because I think that they make you see into me. They give you a glimpse of my true self. But when things unfold I realise that I should have been more silent. Those words should have sat within my fragile self like an egg within its shell.   I see you when I lose all control. You come to me to remind me of who I am. As I set my eyes on you all animosity fades. The bitterness I feel melts away as your presence warms my heart. The hardness that freezes my heart over is thawed by the warmth of your love.   I kiss your forehead in my mind’s eye. Within the earth I find you. I see through the roughage that enshrouds you. I recognise you even with your disguise. My spirit finds you within the tempest of my anguish.   It’s okay… It’s okay. You whisper through your hard lips of clay. I see into your spirit and the view is clear to me. As I look right into the hidden beauty encased, I hear you loudly and clearly.   It’s okay… It’s truly okay. I miss the times we used to share just you and me together. I remember them and I smile   Now you think that I am crazy. All because I act like I do. I am not crazy. I am just a boy in love. I love you more than love itself. Maybe that too is a crime… my crime. But I will not be found guilty.   There was once a time When I would not have minded where this love would lead. But now I do. Your words reveal how lonely my love for you is. In the heat of anger truth often unfolds. Within the arrows of cruel words lie the darts of reality.   I will not emburden you with the weight of a love it appears I alone hold true I take it right back into the depths of me. I will carry this love-cross alone. I see now that the love I shared with you was meant for me. The last piece of love I offered you within it lay my sanity.   Thank you for reading.

Love Shroud

As ridiculous as it might sound, it does take a lot of courage to let go of stuff… When I say stuff, I mean things that you have, own and acquire over time. You buy some, you get given some, you steal some (not steal steal, but take when no one is watching), or you just have some. In the end, you find that you have all this stuff cluttered around you. Well for some, they are not just clutter, they are their belongings. I had a recent encounter when I stayed at a hotel on a short family break. When I walked in, my first impression was that of serenity. It was quiet both literally and paradoxically. It was a room with a luxurious looking double bed, a table from which protruded a tv stand that held what appeared to be a 40 inch flat screen. There were also some soft lightings on the ceiling. The room was free of clutter. I felt so relaxed as soon as I beheld the simple furnishings. That was when I began to imagine a world free of clutter. In fact it was an impossibility for me even though the idea was very alluring. You see, when I planned my living space, that was the idea before life happened. The entry of wife, kids, new family and friends meant that I lost that serenity. Suddenly one gift or purchase after another left my life overflowing with stuff. My walls became important display spaces for nearly every milestone on earth. I hung up pictures and paintings on every space and set up a gallery of memories with them. I agree they were lovely but that did not stop them being noisy. Please let’s not talk about the fridge. That doubled as a magnet holder and reminder. The silly capitalists with their endless sales and adverts have left my closets overflowing with shoes, clothes and other things that I can only categorise as bric-a-brac. My house now feels like that of the old lady who lived in a shoe only I am a man and my problem is not that I have too many children just that I have too much stuff. Rather than spending all this money escaping to hotels just to experience the peace and tranquility of a clutter free space, perhaps I should just declutter my stuff. That my friend, is easier said than done. Where would I start from? Each stuff that I possess contains a memory of the moment that brought it to life. I think it’s now a bit like autism if you ask me. These things are an extension of me. I can’t throw them away. I used to be able to donate them to charity. Tie them in the respective charity bags and hand them to prospective new owners. Then it did not feel like they were being thrown away. They were re-homed. I experienced the peace of knowing that they were not just being incinerated. Well that all ended when I read in a group type thing forum that they did not always end up in good condition by the time they got to the supposed charities. As a result, they got disposed off. So now, I am back to where I started. I feel like I am officially a hoarder. When I manage to relinquish ownership of stuff  I buy even more. I do not buy new stuff any more because I literally have no space for a new addition. It’s good because I save money…but not really though if I still spend it on these secret escapes. I have toyed with the idea of acquiring a new home for stuff  but you and I know that it will only worsen the problem. So yes, unlike most, I cannot have a spring clean.   Thank you for reading Photo credit Pixabay

It’s no use having a spring clean

I opened Otito’s box this weekend. It is a box where I stored away the clothes, toys and personal effects he used in the weeks preceding his death. I suddenly realised that the batteries were still in the toys and had to go through the torture of rummaging the box to sort out his toys. The thought that I would have felt worse if the toys got ruined powered me through the prospect. I built myself up for it all week. I was very aware that seeing Otito’s stuff was always my greatest trigger. For this reason, I kept on putting off the simple task. On Sunday, without even thinking about it after church, I just went for it. On one hand, i think that feeling very uplifted after what had been a lovely church service gave me the boost that I needed. From one trouser to the next, I sorted through. After that I brought out one toy after the other. Initially, I avoided setting any of the buttons off to avoid hearing the sounds of what were once the soundtracks of our lives. In my usual clumsy way I dropped one of the toys on top of the heap and that set off the cacophony I was desperately avoiding. To my utmost surprise, the feelings I began to experience were anything but raw grief. I began to smile as one sound after the next took me back to my boy. To times when his little fingers set those same sounds off. Times long gone came flashing before my eyes. My grief was real but suddenly it felt kinder to me. It was not pulling at my heart but somehow, it felt like a dull ache. The sounds warmed my heart and I even found myself smiling through tears that seemed more like tears of joy at the time. In less than a few minutes, the familiar sounds cajoled the boys from the different parts of the house where they were otherwise busily lost in their own worlds. The sounds lured them and as Mark walked into the room followed by Karl, I began to struggle to switch off the toys. I wished that I was alone in the house as I would have loved to indulge myself. Mark began singing along and It became a bitter sweet moment for us all. There was a serenity within it all as Mark sang that I cannot really explain. We were all together yet lost deeply within our individual thoughts. We began smiling at one another and enjoying the toy sounds while selfishly holding on to our individual thoughts. “These are Otito’s toys mum. What are you doing?”, Mark asked me rather protectively. ” I am just taking the batteries out”, I said. So we spent the Sunday afternoon thinking about Otito. We also watched some videos from when Otito was a baby playing with Mark. It was just nice to see our boy again. I had forgotten how happy he used to be amidst all the pain. I am so grateful for all the lovely videos we ever made and still make. It is so funny how much we forget over time and how quickly grief and pain replace every joyful memory when they strike. It is such a blessing to be able to revisit some old but beautiful memories. Thank you for reading If you enjoyed this, you will find more articles like this here Photo credit: Pixabay

Death at my door (DAMD): Smiles

Lots of students are hit with the harsh reality that university education unlike any other entails a lot of writing. What I prefer to see as “feedback”. It can be seen as something (data) that serves to inform future steps. (Glick M 2011). It happens when a person is allowed to give an opinion about how an activity or interaction has gone. It can be a good or bad opinion. It is usually delivered to someone else or maybe the organiser or other people involved in the activity or interaction. It is not enough to read many books as a student. There is also the need to relay what one has read to evidence understanding in such a way that can only be arrived at by critically analysing all that has been read. There was a report carried out in the US in 1990 by the Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCAN). In this report it was determined that upon graduation, students should have acquired skills in literacy, computer usage data analysis and evaluation. In a nutshell, they should have information gathering skills to take into their lives. (Department of Labour 1992). The problem with getting information as a student is knowing what information to get or if what has been gathered will be relevant. The risk is usually in using only a small set of resources irrespective of the problem at hand. This poses the need to acquire this information literacy by learning to find a link between the use of the librarian, faculty and information technology resources available to meet the requirements of the problem at hand. (Weiner 2010). Interestingly, becoming informational literate helps improve our overall awareness as students. It cannot be acquired without sharpening very many aspects including our writing, analytical and listening skills. In the process we learn how to summarise what we have read from various sources into a few words. These become the feedback that we present in the form of assignments, essays and exams. Our writing is also show that we not only understand overall learning outcomes for the course but are able to apply our knowledge specifically to help solve the problems presented by the assignment, essay or exam. It also provides the opportunity for our hard work to be graded. This ultimately ascribes value to our degrees once attained. Information gathering is a cumbersome task. We need to have a fair understanding of what the question is because it is the basis for the whole exercise. It guides the search. Planning the search for the information needed to answer the question require time, patience and strategy. When information is found, questions regarding the suitability of the source of information become necessary. The helps to give the final product derived from the information some credibility and integrity. It is important to know more of the work and why. It is also important to know when the article was written to determine their relevance to the question being answered. In addition, the student has to find ways to put down what has been learnt. Where a quote is used, the marks to determine their start and end should clearly be applied. Techniques like paraphrasing, summarising and mind mapping can be used to sieve out relevant information regarding the question that the essay is required to answer.(UNPAC 2017). Only after all this has been properly done understood then begin to validly engage in a full analysis of the information that has been gathered. It may also include disturbance thoughts, doubts and in-depth analysis. This is the evidence of understanding that academic writing presents. In the end, the learning provider creates a fair system for submission. This allows the work done by students to be checked for similarities. The aim is to reduce copying, cheating and plagiarism. It also encourages students to use references and citations where multiple sources are used. (UNPAC 2017) Personally I feel very daunted by this concept of academic writing. It has now dawned on me that knowing how to write is only one piece of the academic writing jigsaw puzzle. Citation and referencing are certainly good skills to take on board. They would help a person separate facts from their  personal opinions as they write. Improving on communication skills to aid interaction with others helps to check and share ideas. This an article was about writing awareness and the requirements for attaining an academic level of writing. It looked at the importance of researching widely during academic writing tasks. It emphasised on the seriousness of the exercise and showed that there was no room for students to droll over the idea of using appropriate citation and referencing in their work. More importantly it focused on the need for appropriate citation and referencing to give credit to sources used.   Thank you for reading as always. There are many other posts like these. Do you know you might like them? Click here Photo credit : Pixabay   REFERENCES Department of Labour (1992) Secretary’s commission on achieving necessary skills. Accessed 6 Aug 2013 Margaret Glick (2011) The Instructional Leader and the Brain: Using Neuroscience to inform practice. Corwin press pp113 Chapter 5 Weiner S L (2010) Information literacy: in neglected core competency. Educaus 33(1) Google scholar. UNPAC (2017) Northampton  

What’s all the fuss about academic writing?

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Letting people we love make their own mistakes is an art that I feel we all need to master. For those of us who give ourselves entirely when we care, we can sometimes unintentionally burden people with the level of care and affection that we shower them. It’s hard for them to understand why we just never back off but we only “nag” them because we care. Well I don’t feel that I nag but that’s they word that gets thrown left, right and centre when you keep on warning about the impending disaster. How many times have I seen someone I love ten steps away from a move that will lead to disaster and panicked? Countless times. I have expressed my panic and received sticks in return. Leave me alone … I know what I am doing … It’s my life, my rules, my mistakes!   These become the broken record they play to my listening ears. Yet when the disaster strikes the record changes to Don’t say I told you so or why did you not stop me! Should I have pushed harder despite their express declination or was I right to respect their feelings and let them do things their way? It’s such a hard balance but veering towards the latter means that you allow peace reign. You also show them respect and love by stepping back. This in turn gives them the chance to discover things by themselves. This reminds me of an African saying. I shall just translate it … Don’t tell the child to stay away from flames because when they feel the heat or get burnt from it as a result of their curiosity, they will never play close to the table where the lamp sits. Many people learn better from their mistakes and experiences while others like to add other people’s experiences to their learning pool. No matter how much you scream or honk at them, it feels like they chose to ignore the advice because it came from you. Being a familiar person tends to make you get taken for granted after all they say a prophet is hardly known in his hometown. What better age to live in than now when opinions abound. The internet is filled with chat rooms and fora of all sorts with people sharing and sometimes exaggerating their experiences for full effect. Many are also surrounded with family and friends who volunteer unsolicited advice. While that can be a pain, it can also be a treasure if you have the right level of discernment to help you sieve the chaff from the grain. Trust me discernment is a skill you acquire over time! I have just escaped an interaction with a loved one on the verge of making what I think to be a costly mistake but their mind is made up on their preferred course of action. As usual, I have to swallow the bitter pill of respecting their decisions and taking the difficult step back. It takes a lot of courage to let sleeping dogs lie. So tell me, have you found yourself in this situation before? What did you do about it? Thanks for reading. Photo credit: Pixabay There are many other posts like these. Do you know you might like them? Click here

Shhh…Stop telling me what to do!

If you have been sailing through life and never failed at anything, it is difficult to appreciate the gift that failure can bring to your soul. I feel so sad. Failing again and again has bashed my self esteem. it has made me question myself. Am I really good enough? Perhaps I have been very lucky up till this point and escaped with many near misses that I have not noticed, how narrow my escapes have been. That is pretty much how I feel right now. I am so angry with myself. The more success has continued to elude me, the more frustrated I have become. I have tried everything within my power to succeed and it just feels like the more I try, the more I tumble down the slippery slope. I partook in a test that depended on how someone else other than me judged my actions. If they judged them as safe, I passed but if they determined my actions to be dangerous, however innocuous my intentions, then I failed. Every time a tentative feedback was given, I felt judged even though it was sometimes corrective.  By the time the judgement was finally passed,  I felt like an extra switch had been put off and my confidence nose- dived…dimmed one switch at a time. Why could I not see that all I had were just a litany of miscalculations? I just could not understand how I could have been so daft. It’s interesting how we view ourselves compared to how we are viewed. Sometimes, we allow ourselves trust the judgement of people around us (especially if they are external and not prejudiced) and rightly so. However, it does not stop it being very heartbreaking to sit and listen to them talk about how we actually come across. While we mustn’t spend time worrying about how others view us, we cannot totally ignore them. As they say, everyone cannot be wrong at the same time. Failure was an alien term to me until I joined the bandwagon. I really could neither relate with nor excuse it. It simply did not exist. It was a stamp for weakness. But recently having suddenly tasted the pill of failure despite the heavy doses of hard work and optimism I had mustered, I began to appreciate failure. I began to see how the elusiveness of the target could either be a propeller or dissuader. I began to appreciate how failure could secure success or destroy egos. I had no idea that I was such a bad loser until I began to experience failure. I had enjoyed so many victories, I did not know how to fail. Failure really sucks trust me but the truth is that as long as we are trapped in our humanity, it is a phenomenon that is sometimes inevitable. Survival of the fittest!  You are not the only one on a mission to succeed so sometimes others will have their own turn…Let them shine after all when you were a winner, they too watched you take your turn on the pedestal of success. So in order to experience the lessons hidden in failure, we need to learn how to fail. Failure helps us realise that we are human and as such we can never be perfect always. It helps us pay more attention to the things we will normally overlook. It not only makes us aware that what we are trying is not working but pushes us to find new ways that can work. Failing is not really losing, It is in reality a postponed victory. Losing is when you stop trying to find a way to win. Every one will get their own turn only if they keep trying. One thing failure does best is make the victory even sweeter when it finally arrives. Failure provides an opportunity to learn more accurately as we strive to aim higher in our attempt secure success. Failure allows us go through a process by providing us with experiences that strengthen our awareness of success. In order to achieve this, failure helps us listen more closely to the wisdom in the hidden lessons that we can build on as we edge closer to victory. The journey to success that is stretched longer by failure is  the journey that sculpts and fashions  us into tougher beings as we strive and never give up. The one who attains immediate victory knows only the way that works while the one who fails severally before experiencing victory knows not only the way that works but is also the most certain about the ways that don’t work. This knowledge secures the victory once attained because there will be no reason to drift away from the path of success. If we can be kinder to ourselves when we fail, we will be less scarred by failure. Failure is nature’s way of telling us that we are not ready. Failure does not mean that you are not good enough, it just means that you have not yet found the way. Look at it this way, even if you have the best car in the world, you cannot drive from point A to B if you do not know the way that leads from A to B. Even if that car is a Bugatti, the man on a bicycle who has the map or knowledge about how to get from point A to B will get there before you. This does notmake his means of transportation better than yours. Therefore, when we fail, let us stop taking failure personal. Let us start asking the right questions about why we are failing or what we need to get us to where we need to be. Let us go back to the basics if we have to. We must keep trying until we find a way that works. In the end we will be rewarded not only with the victory we seek but with information about so many other ways that may equip is in other endeavours. […]

The power of failure- Why a bit of failure can be a good thing.

Seriously…. How many children do I have? Well, in reality and to most ordinary parents, this would be their most savoured question. It is like the one they expect and hope to be asked as soon as their parental status comes to light. It may go in the lines of …so how many children do you have?… It will be the opportunity for most parents to go on about the number of children and possibly how cute they are, how old they are, what they are up to. Some might even add a moan or two about how “stressful” parenting is…. Well, blady, blah blah. For me, that question is the one I dread as a parent. The question is like a needle that stings my heart leading to an eruption of extremely distressing emotions. Sound strange? Well, welcome to my world. I used to have very many children and now for some reason, I am left with just one. One lonely child who is now not only left with me, but left alone without a sibling. What a wicked world! Sadly, they all died. My child is only 7 and she has been through the works with me. Well, before you turn on the pity, I just want you to know that I do not actually intend shedding any more light about my situation. Please don’t give me that look…don’t I know it? Well, worse things happen so get over it! Anyway, the reason that question creates a huge emotional sting for me is because when it pops up harmlessly, it leaves me clueless as to how to approach the answer fairly. Technically, I have 2 possible answers I can say I have just one child. But you see, the question is ambiguous if you ask me. How many children, triggers numbers in my head. I had numbers to present to this quiz master but now I have just one child left. To be fair “do you have?” specifically refers to the present tense. You know, like the current state of affairs…which would be 1! This brings me nicely into my second possible answer. I  can say I have one “left”. This also satisfies the answer in the context of the present. However, it also creates an awareness of a change in status quo. “Left” kind of brings the existence of some other persons who were but who now are not here into the knowledge of the quiz master. It’s like dragging them into a party where they are really no longer welcome. At least not to the living who are always inconvenienced by this knowledge. Yes, I insist that creating this awareness is always an unintended inconvenience posed by my response which the hearer has to deal with. Apologies begin to spring up by the askers who suddenly wish they did not ask. Or worse still, who start to worry that by leading me to this response, I will suddenly become so upset that I need one thousand apologies to feel better. No, the apologies do not make me feel better. They only scratch the elephant that enters the room with claws of pity. I won’t break just because I make you aware of my status. Remember I provided the answer even though you asked. So there you go, I have spilled the beans. It’s ok to feel troubled by my answer. To worry about how I might feel afterwards but please don’t fixate. Don’t let it take over the rest of the conversation. Don’t let it make the mood sour. The reason I chose to give this answer has nothing to do with you. It has instead to do with my angels. I just feel like it will be so unfair to give an answer that does not acknowledge their existence in this world however fleeting. It is also not fair on me. It psychologically and emotionally takes a lot from a man to be in this position… to move from being the “one time father” of many nations and to becoming the father of one clan. So that answer gives me a sense of pride too. Its not easy to be me. To cope with as much losses as I have had to. It’s my only chance to show off my strength as a person. Yeah yeah…it sounds lame. Well, it’s not my fault that I no longer have victories at soccer, or straight A exams to boast about for my angel children. But I am still proud that I am still standing here in one piece living and coping with the void that their departures have created. Cheers!   Photo credit: Pixabay

Question of the day: How many Children do you have?

Looking ahead can be impossible when you loose someone you love. I welcome you to unite your heart with mine today. We lose the ones we love in different ways. Some fall out of love with us, some abandon us and some unfortunately…die. Of all the losses, death stings the hardest because with death comes a finality. In death lies the impossibly of a reunion with the loved one at least not in this world. However, in death lies freedom. Freedom from all the limitations that life can bring. Limitations of suffering, poverty, distance , time and even … sickness. Death can conjur sad memories… only if you let it. We all experience our thoughts. If you think about something hard enough, you will feel it soon enough. When we lose someone we love, let us be comforted by the life we once shared with them. Let us experience the thoughts about the good times, the happy times, the laughter, the gains, the milestones. This is an important gift from them to us.The privilege of sharing in their joys and sufferings can not be taken away by death. Therefore no matter how death chooses to come, let us experience those thoughts. Let us realise that death is the ultimate end to the journey of all life…. There are no timescales. When it’s time, it’s time. Sometimes it feels too short in our eyes but it is long enough for the deceased. “Fulfilment is not found in the number of days lived. It is found in the unquenchable joy that fills each day. Life may be short but the joy that fills each moment makes it perfect!” … Let us allow those feelings take their roots in our heart because at the end of the day, it is not how far our days on this earth are stretched that matter. It is how well we live and enjoy each of those days we live.. The more you think it, the more you believe it…. Let us forget the if’s, why’s and but’s that bring tears and focus on the gratitude of being part of the story of what was once the life of the one that once shared our lives. I love you all very dearly and I thank you for supporting us through this most difficult time. So I ask you this, in light of what we have just talked about above: “Is there any one you have lost to distance, heartbreak or quarrel?” You have the chance today to make your peace with them and be part of their story again. Don’t leave it till too late you never know what lies around the corner. Make that call you if have the time today!   Thank you for reading If you enjoyed this, you will find more articles like this here Photo credit: Pixabay

Death at my door D.A.M.D (Musings of a grieving parent) Part 8 – MAKE YOUR PEACE

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I remember the first day I heard Yanni’s music. I was young, maybe 17 or 18 years old. I had gone to visit my boyfriend at his own university. It was a very hot day. A typical African day. I remember sitting outside his room trying to get as much fresh air as I could to cool down my burning body. I had many thoughts on my mind. I was not really sure why I decided to sit outdoors. It was a busy hostel. One of the types outside the campus. A studio flat but in those days, we called it a self-contained room.  By student’s standards, that was cosy. Well, as I sat outdoors taking in the atmosphere, watching all the students hustle and bustle about their business, there it was…. The sound of his music… It sounded like chimes.  extremely melodious. My ear canals picked up the sound from somewhere and one thing those ears of mine never did was deceive me.I looked instantly towards the direction of the music. It came from a room about 3 doors away. I sat there taking in the music and hoping there will be no interruption in the power supply to cut my enjoyment short. I knew it was the kind of music that I wanted to listen to. The chords were so calming… so foreign, so different, so me…. I did not know who the musician was but I sincerely did not want the music to stop. I listened to track after track and suddenly the heat did not matter any more. Suddenly, my worries seemed to float like butterflies on the chords of the music. everything seemed to melt away into nothingness as I listened. I had never experienced that feeling before. It had energy. It was rippling through me and making me happy. Then suddenly, the music stopped. It came to an end! I wanted more there was no way I was letting go. I had tasted this musical fruit in the most unlikely Eden but I was certainly not repenting of it. I wanted another bite, another mouthful. In fact, I wanted my own tree. I walked to the room and tapped the door gently. “Hi bro”. I said as a guy opened the door. He was very muscular and stern looking. My fears ignited and I panicked. I certainly did not think this through. I hoped  for my sake that my quest for this strange music would not land me in trouble, There were fears at the time about cultists in this school. I wondered if my move was really a good idea. He looked at me and nodded. He was not looking too happy to be disturbed I guess or maybe that was just how his face was. “O boy no vex abeg”, I began to speak but loosing my courage by the moment as he seemed to frown a bit more as I spoke. ” I really enjoyed the piece of music you just played. You have such fantastic taste in music. Please I hope you will not mind telling me the name of the artist?” He seemed to relax a bit and even smiled to prove it. “Yanni”. Thanks, I did not realise anyone else was listening. People don’t usually like my type of music around here. They call it weird and boring because it is not hip- hop”, he said. We both laughed. “They need their heads testing”. I said thanking him for the information. ” I have never seen you here before”, he began saying as he took a step outside his door. That was the scary thing about asking boys simple questions back then in school. I hoped he was not getting any ideas. “Yes, I am just visiting my boyfriend”. I said smiling, knowing I had burnt any cable of attachment he was intending to throw my way. “Nice one. I hope he knows he is a lucky guy. Only a few ladies with class appreciate my music”. he said. “Thanks”, I smiled shyly. Well sorry guys, that’s all I get to tell you about my first Yanni encounter over 15 years ago now. I have not stopped listening to Yanni ever since. Many have also discovered him through me which is an absolute privilege. He is just an amazing composer. Recently, I had the priviledge of watching him play and it was an even more mind blowing experience. He is one of those people that you could listen to all day. He is as talented as he is inspiring. He seems very interested in connecting personally with his audience. He does not just throw the music at you but gives you some background to nearly each piece. This gives substance to the music. There is no sweeter feeling than eavesdropping on the reason why artists create their pieces. Were they happy, sad, heartbroken or in love when they created the piece? Filling up the human curiousity, giving us the gossip behind the scenes makes the experience even more memorable and remarkable to us as listeners. While you can enjoy the piece as you want, telling us the story behind the piece gives us the added advantage of enjoying it as the artist intended for it to be enjoyed when he was creating the piece. He is also a very spiritual person and puts a lot of thought into his work. He obviously makes a very strong connection with a being higher than him to be able to create each of those mind blowing sounds. In fact what I find most intriguing is the fact that he creates every piece of sound in each piece he presents. I have some favourites and I invite you to listen to them too. These are top on my Yanni playlist. …Deliverance, Playing by heart, Playtime, Rainmaker, Nightingale, Nostalgia, Truth of touch, Aria…. I could go on and on…. I often listen to Yanni in the mornings when I take my walk. I experience an ecclesiastic feeling […]

The sound of his music- Listening to Yanni (A personal tribute)

Are you a one night wonder? A flash in the pan? Do you feel like you start many things and never get to finish one before jumping into the other? If you answered yes to any of those then you are like me. In fact we should be twins. The problem that people like us have is that we are multi talented. We have many abilities. We are the victims of our art. The danger of knowing how to do too many things is that you see opportunities everywhere you turn. Each new opportunity looking sweeter and more alluring than the last.  Spontaneity is fun. In fact do you know that some people- the-not-spontaneous-and–over-careful-ones even envy us? That is so funny. What they do not see is how crippled we are by our “very own” selves. We look all around us and all we see are lots of “coulda woulda shoulda’s” stacked around us. We could have done this better if we tried harder… we would have done that better if we stuck by it long enough or should have done this instead of that one we are doing now. We even think that we don’t do regrets when the English meaning of those feelings is just that! Deep down, I wish I were more patient and more careful. I do try to suppress the urge to jump in, out and away from things.It’s so hard to stop myself. I have asked my self why I jump about. Here are some answers I came up with: Some things are just too boring to do. Yes it’s really true and hey… that’s not my fault darling! Some things are just as boring as…i don’t know, colour white? You just do them and they just go on and on and on…forever Some things are too slow. I wonder how people do slow paced. Like pleaseeee….”hurry up!” It takes the life out of Alive when things come together so slowly Some things are more complicated than they seem. Yes. I put my hand up… sometimes I misjudge and underestimate things. In the end I find the next exit as soon as I hit hard times. Life is too short! Some things are too exciting to resist. Ha! This is another one. I need to have a go at the juicy stuff. How was I to know that the one I was bent on doing would be outdone by some others in the future. Some exciting prospects that I bump into are simply irresistible. If only that word choice did not exist! Things are just exciting until new ones come along. I keep on getting sucked in.  So my friend,  I could go on and on but I think you get the point…. It is quite an exciting and adrenaline filled ride on my roller coaster. However I think that at some point when the stock-taking time of life arrives, it is important to look again at the way we live our lives and see if we are really living optimally. Surely my way is exhausting and counter productive. This is why I have decided that the way to go is to spice things up. Although, that said, I don’t want to become boring either. I just want to find a way to enjoy the best of both worlds that’s all. I want to find a new way to enjoy my doses of spontaneity but with my eyes open. Tone things down a bit. Stick by stuff a bit more. You know? That sort of thing. So here is some advice I have for me. I think that if I stick with my own words, they will keep me on the straight and narrow as regards jumpology 😀 : Stay calm always. This is my numero uno advice to moi. Let’s assume for a second that people have 50grams of adrenaline when they get excited. I bet mine shoots up to like 50,000 in less than a minute. I get over excited about things and I am really sure that a bit of calmness would help me see things clearly before delving into them. Think again about the next course of action. Things are not always they way they seem. All that glitters is not gold. So rather than allow my heart take over the decision making, it may be time to engage the brain- common sense as they call it. Do some research. It will be a good idea to take the time to research into stuff before plunging in. I need to learn to find out all I can about something before doing it. Asking questions especially from those already doing what I am trying to get into will help me learn more about what ti expect. It may even spring up some hidden surprises. Things that only those with prior knowledge can feedback to inquisitive minds. Stick at things even when they get tricky. That’s not a sign that I should leave but that I should persevere. I have to give myself time to learn. Until something is learnt and mastered, it may seem tricky and even impossible to do. Thank you so much for listening to me today. It was a rant that has left me feeling tons better than I did before starting. You see, nobody is perfect. We all have our flaws and challenges. Trust me, everyone is striving to improve one thing or another about themselves. Sharing this will hopefully help me and other jumpers like me. Cheers. If you enjoyed this, then please click here for even more. Photo credit: Pixabay

Thinking out loud….Jumpology… Why can’t I settle for one thing?

Hmmm…. That’s all I can really say Honestly, I totally give up on trying to pack these boobs! Yes, you heard right…my boobs. See nobody told me when I was a little teenager waiting patiently for my blessed jugs to appear that they will later nose dive as they have. For goodness sake I am not even 40 yet. I cannot even bear thinking about how they will look like when I hit the big 4-0! Will there even be anything left to pack? Haba…. e no good o. Well I will give you a background to help you feel my pain. I remember when I was in Senior Secondary School year 1. All my friends had grown their boobies. I mean full fledged ones. I did not even have any trace. It was so annoying. Seeing as many of them had began to sprout theirs as we finished primary school, it was not surprising that I had become very impatient with mother nature. Surely I was not going to be forgotten! I had too much brain-dowment ,perhaps that was why my physical en-dowment was lagging behind. At one point, I even contemplated putting some foams in my bra-tops…. Oh those blessed bra- tops. I had worn the glory out of them. sometimes I wondered why my mother even bothered. There were no breasts to even cover. I am sure if the manufacturer knew me, they would have named the underwear “chest-tops” for my sake.  I like to think that I had very good friends (never mind what they may have said about this subject behind my back) . None of my friends said anything to hurt me. They knew more than most that where I was lacking physical endowment, I compensated for with my sharp tongue. So what if I had no boobs? Had they not heard about late bloomers? That was my bold face talking. The gospel truth was that I was hurting even though I never showed it. I ignored the looks on their faces when they talked about their puberty related woes. Imagine them crying about painful menstruation when some of us did not even have boobs. Please don’t get me started on the silly red ninja. That one took her time to arrive. Story for another day. So having waited for more than a few years for my blessed boobies, I spent most of the time praying for sizeable ones. After all the patient dog always ate the fattest bone right? I even planned what type of bras I would be buying. I expected that I would be endowed with large sized paw-paws. I did my research on how to avoid the back pain many of my friends attributed to their over sized boobies. Then, just before the end of my secondary education, my boonies finally arrived. Haaaaallleluyah! It happened so quickly and even embarrassed me in the process I am not going to lie. I went home one summer holiday bare chested as usual and resumed in September fully bloomed. The blessed boobies arrived with a bang and who was  I to even complain? My prayers had been answered. They say be careful what you wish for but this time, I wanted every “large surprise” that I could get. When school started, I did not go unnoticed… at least not by the boys. They had their heads turning and even some lips wagging. I got nicknamed “young shall grow” that term. I was not even sure if it was a compliment or mockery. Whichever way, I took it in my own stride and ignored it. Those were the glory days. The stupid boobs did not grow as large as I wanted. They were not even the standing ones. Oh don’t tell me that you had no idea about breast categories? Well, let me enlighten you. There were those that stood at attention, those that always pointed downwards, the ones that came with eraser nipples the types that managed to escape with a paint on nipple. Seriously, the last category were boobs that looked like God had run out of nipple material during boob production. Well, since my intention is not to paint you a picture of the boobs I finally got, your guess is as good as mine when I say I was very disappointed with what I got considering how long I had waited for the blessed boobs. Thankfully I was a christian and did not lack in the department of faith so  I hoped for the price in future. I heard that there was a Canaan of maturity where women acquired literal milk (for their children) and honey (for their boob sucking and squeezing husbands). In that boob Canaan, all boobs bulked up and responded to life by growing big enough to satisfy their owners.I waited and bore my pre-motherhood disappointments forever looking forward to welcoming my husband and babies one day. As a result, my wedding day became my happiest day for more reasons than normal as you are now fully aware of. Bang, bang, bang…. I wanted to start having children without any further ado. He, like all men had other ideas. We need to plan, we need to save he said. Let us not rush. We need to give them a steady future….all that was bla bla bla to me. I needed my kiddies. So one day, period got lost in the post and bam! I was pregnant. Happy days…. I watched daily as my boobs metamorphosed into huge jugs. By the time the babies arrived, I was as huge as a cow. I breastfed them. The more I did, the more they grew. After the initial boob pains of breastfeeding, I was blossoming, blooming. I went many cup sizes up. I achieved bra cup sizes that I could have only ever dreamed of. My cleavage was so huge. I did not even need push-ups to bring the breasts together. Happy days… Sadly after the last breast feed, I did […]

Woman being… Why are my boobs so small?

So today is a Friday like no other. I have had a roller coaster day. It started off very promisingly but waned along the way…. I had an interview to attend. Supposedly the first step into the rest of what has become my new life. I was previously a kept man you see. I had everything being done for me. I did not even need to lift a finger. Money was not an object. Well, that was then… this is now and… the story has changed. A simple disagreement led to a disaster and now I was left to fend for myself. I know what you might think. You will say, is that even a problem? Well I say  it is my problem and a big one at that! I had forgotten how to earn money, pay my own way. I had actually forgotten what it was like to be broke! So that was why I was excited when I got a call from this agency yesterday asking if I could do a job for a reputable company. There was a sense of urgency in the guy’s voice because they wanted someone that could start ASAP and yours truly here- moi was available. We went through all the usual agency-agencee pleasantries. What was your last role? What are you looking for in your next role? Do you think that you can do this role? Those sorts of questions. After surpressing my irritation at these barraging (because don’t forget, I told you that he was the one who called my phone), he decided to put me forward for the role. Come to my office to fill out the formality forms and I will secure you an interview tomorrow, He said. Which by the way is today. So I head up there, fill forms, chit chat, get a time slot for the interview, get the venue details and then waltz off. Happy days! We’ll not until ring ring, my phone goes off. Hello I say Hiya, is this Azuka Mordi? She asks Yeah, you ok? I say I’m good thanks. She says Who’s this? I say still waiting for an intro that did not seem forthcoming! Oh sorry, you came to our office earlier today to fill out forms. She says Luckily for her, that was my only interesting outing and it was not difficult to remember. I have some good news Azuka, She says We have secured an interview for you for tomorrow (Which is today. we had this conversation yesterday …don’t forget) Errrmmm like seriously? Was securing me an interview even in dispute? Don’t worry I did not actually say that. Those were just my thoughts screaming loudly. What I heard myself saying was Oh, that! ok? What time and where? She fills me in with the details as if I did not know or as if it was ever in doubt! So we will send you an email confirmation of all the details. Let us know how you go tomorrow. We are really committed to matching your skills to a job. she says Ok thanks, bye. I say bye bye she says. I hang up feeling like that was so weird! seriously. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx So tomorrow arrives, which is today where I am standing right now and I feel ready for the interview. Mind you, I spent half the night awake practicing all my competencies, scenarios, skills etc for the interview. I then took my time to go through the email that the agent sent me the day before. Suddenly, I felt that spring arrive in my step. This would be a good day. I thought. I would smash this interview and secure the role of my dreams. The agency did say it was temporary but that the firm always kept their candidates on. So nothing to worry about there. I arrived the interview venue 15mins early, good interview ethics in place. I smiled at everyone. I had all my learnt scripts to heart and was waiting to spill them all out. My goal?  To mesmerise the interviewers of course! I aim to please. Come 11.00, interview began. Tell us your skills, tell us a time when xyz happened. How do you handle pressure bla bla bla. You know the usual interview stuff. I had done my research well. I was jabbering away. Good eye contact, good communication, good rapporting. They were smiling, they said they were happy with the spill I gave. Job done! We are happy to offer you this 6 week role! SAY WHAT??? 6 miserable weeks? You mean that all this spill and not sleeping my beauty sleep and I forgot to add, spending the last hour vomiting those first class answers was for only a 6 week role??? GRRRRRrrrrrrrrrrr I did not say that to them though what do you take me for? Composure in tact, smile on point Oh thanks for the opportunity I say I shall make the best of it and who knows with my dedication and hardworking, you may change your mind. We all laugh. Then she says just as we shake hands It will last only 10 weeks. That’s the service level that we need to cover. I hope this will be ok? Oh yes that’s fine I say. Still smiling. She walks me politely out of the office into the lobby where we fill some forms and I take a few ID card photos. In the end I say goodbye, promising to commence on the start date. My face is tearing from the smiles. As soon as I leave the building, I turn the smile upside down into a frown. GRRRRRrrrrr again I am so angry. 10 weeks? I for no just bother myself to day learn script na? I for just do am anyhow anyhow. As if that is not enough as I walk on outside the path that leads to the bus stop guess what happens next?  It starts to rain HAAAAAaaaaaaaa I am soaked to my socks before I even get to the bus stop. […]

No TGIF feeling today!

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Hi guys! Thank you so much for staying hooked to our website. It’s always lovely to know you guys are with us every step of the way. So I have been asking myself this question a lot lately. Career change…. to be or not to be? I honestly do not know what the answer to that question is but I am hoping to find out somehow….and fast! As some of you may not know (especially those new to this website) Karl and I are…or rather were full time carers to our son Otito until his demise early this year. The whole idea of setting up this website last year was (in addition to many reasons) to create an outlet for us to express the different emotions we were going through while we were resident with him in the hospital. It turned out to be a whole year long! A year ago what began as a very roller coaster ride led us to finding ways to cope. Our son was hospitalised and there was no hope of a discharge date in sight. With each passing day, he grew more and more fragile. However, we kept our spirits up by spending lots of quality time together as a family amidst our chaotic lives. The journey although tough and almost impossible at times failed to kill us but it sure did make us stronger. Well, sadly he died…. but such is life…. Tell me about bitter pills. This one was huge and we had to swallow it with every strength we could muster. Till date, the effects of that huge pill of life we swallowed with the passing of our son has left us scarred. With each passing day, the scars are becoming more bearable. It is now taking its place amongst many other  scars of life that we bear. Like every warrior, we are proud that we are overcomes by God’s grace. One thing that was apparent when it happened was that we still had to find a way to pull ourselves up and carry on. If not for any reason, for the sake of our son – Mark. Our hero. He had been through the last year living the hospital life with us and although we sadly had the worst outcome since the financial crisis, we still had to find a way to bail ourselves out of the emotional dip we were collectively experiencing as a family. I remember how the grass looked a duller shade of green. The roses were ugly and the skies seemed too grey to look at through the tears we shed. Thankfully having our boy Mark, gave us every reason to move on. Moving on was a bit difficult to do. At every emotional corner it felt like the ground was being pulled from beneath us. We knew not to dwell on those feelings but to confront each day as it came. We had good days, bad days and everything in between. One more thing that felt very strange to adapt to was working…. I wished a lot that I had the luxury of a holiday….a year long vacation to take our minds off things. Some time to grieve and even heal for that matter. Sadly, our lottery tickets were yet to yield the kind of fruit that would have guaranteed such a break. We had to soldier-on on that front as well. One thing I knew for sure was that having been through the last 4 years with a sick child, I was changed forever. I acquired a different view of life while walking that road. One I like to think of as a privileged view. I am sure that it was the type of view the elders boasted about. The one that gave them the advantage of seeing beyond what the youthful eyes could not even behold while standing on a mountain. It was a view that only came through experience. What does not kill you not only makes you stronger but also wiser, I say…hear hear! Now my dear friends… here I am! I have no idea what this big future holds for us. Hopefully some nicer more positive things to pull us out of the feelings we have experienced in the last few months. I have absolutely no idea what to do next (career-wise ) All I know right now is that whatever I choose to do from now on with the rest of my days must be something that makes a real difference. It has to make a difference in the life of others. It has to be more than just earning a wage. Anyone can do that. What we gave our boy was care, love and affection irrespective of his challenges. It elongated his time on earth. He thrived not only on our love but also on the excellent care he received from lots of medical and non-medical people. Trust me, the list of people to thank for their input in Otito’s life is endless. Sitting here today, one thing that consoles me is the level of connection we have been able to achieve with loads of people especially within the last year. It was all thanks to that little man. The people who come frequently to mind are his nurses. I will never forget the way they loved and cared for him both in our local hospital and at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) London. They were like his mums and dads on the ward. They just understood my boy and even though he was hard to please. They knew all his special needs, specifications, demands and still loved and looked after him just as he was. It was actually a fantastic relationship to witness…filled with true love… never wanting him to change who he was but forever helping him to make the best out of the life that he had. They say “you only live once” he sure had a hell of a ride with every member of his team!  My boy did not come into my […]

Career Change? To be or not to be?

It’s a privilege to experience “misfortune”…especially as much misfortune as I have managed so far. But defining misfortune can be quite relative. What I consider it to be may not be the same for the next person and vice versa. What misfortune can bring with it is a new lens from which to view life. A lens that can easily be misplaced or sometimes lost if the only focus is the misfortunes. That lens is empowering. As a result of that misfortune, you become able to relate in a powerful way to occurrences that you would otherwise ignore, overlook or even underestimate. Acquiring this lens helps many people feel more compassionate and sensitive to the struggles of people in the most touching ways. People struggle and are seldom able to express the extent of their pain to others. It can be empowering to keep it all in have your “business” close to your chest but as the challenges pile up, they can leave you feeling overwhelmed. Challenges can also be alienating because suddenly you realise that you are only alone in the depth of knowledge and experiences you deal with daily. It’s hard to connect with others unless they can “get” what you mean when you “say” or “feel” the way you do. Don’t feel so alone because if you start to look through the empowering lens of your misfortune you will navigate through your struggles more easily. Through the lens of your pain: You see people for who they really are You suddenly filter the noise that otherwise surrounds most of us. You realise that it’s not really selfish to look out for yourself. You see that while many may like you to believe it’s selfish to look out for yourself, it is their first response to you when you need them the most. It’s not all bad though …. The lens of misfortunes helps you see the friends you otherwise overlook. The best of them are not as flashy as the clanging cymbals because they too bear or have borne a pain like you do and can relate easily with you. Turn those lemons that life gives you into healthy juices that will nourish your life by doing the best you can with the challenges you are faced with. It may be nearing the end for you but at the end always comes the start of a new chapter.  Thank you for reading Thank you for reading. You may also like to read other articles like this. They can be found here. Photo Credit: Selfie

The lens of misfortune- A blessing in disguise

It’s so beautiful to have you in my life. I was just thinking about how long I have had you in my life. It’s been my most successful and longest career. Of all the things I have got wrong and messed up sometimes, you are the one I always get right. You get me and I get you. You are the only key that can unlock my doors. You see what others don’t see on me. I can be me when I am with you. You hear what I say even before I speak. No matter how I hide you always find me. You have been with me through thick and thin. The pains and joys of life are more palatable because you are by my side. You let me shine and step back when I fall because you cushion the impact with your presence. You only want me to live free. I would never have carried out many crazy ideas if you did not believe so strongly in me. You are the most silent friend I have who speaks volumes with the depth of your patience. I envy you because you are everything I wish I could be. You have all the beauty I could only dream of. You are annoyingly handsome with the most irritatingly long eyelashes. You are as crazy as Otito was. Ever quiet and regarding people. You will never be as sweet though because you are now old meat! But you are my love. I tell you always but today I want to celebrate you. You know I hate making public declarations of my love for you but life has become so uncertain that the much we express about those we love when we feel can may be all we can give. It makes no sense writing eulogies for dead people who would never read them. I want to celebrate you because it’s important that you hear and know you are loved while you can. God bless you my darling….. Thank you Thank you for reading. You may also like to read other articles like this. They can be found here. Photo Credit: Selfie

For you… love.

It was magical to be able to visit the hospital again since my boy answered his call… The members of staff were as warm and welcoming as always. To me they are family and it was an absolute joy to visit them again. A whole lot had changed on the ward since the whole year that I lived there. For starters, the corridors had been given a new lease of life with a paint splash. Everywhere looked brand-new. Also some of the staff had moved on from the ward and new ones had replaced them. It was really nice to see some old faces who knew Otito again. I spent nearly an hour saying hello’s and catching up with all my hospital friends, medical staff, support staff, canteen, social workers etc. It was so uplifting. In fact, it was a strengthening experience from a grief point of view. As I walk along the corridors, I still experienced magical feelings of the memory laden foot- steps I took down the hallways. Every nook and cranny reminded me of my boy but not in a sad way. My brain was forgetting the pain that those memories once conjured. I could gradually feel my memories metamorphose from pain to fondness. It was nice to remember my boy again through the faces of the familiar staff that surrounded me on that visit. It was magical to remember him on the corridors and in his favourite places around the hospital. As I walked through the streets, I remembered him on the sidewalks, the gardens and I even attempted to look through my eyes “then”. It was incredible how in those precious moments with my son, we were both carving Indelible memories for me to hold and treasure as I was doing and hoping to always do during my visits to  the Great Ormond Street Hospital -GOSH. I knew that in time I would move on from the hospital life but it was nice to be able to enjoy and treasure those moments for as long as they lasted.  I could not see everyone but it was not surprising considering that I did not stay too long. GOSH would always be home for me because as long as the walls stood, my memories will always come to life when I walk through those great big sliding doors. So the Peter Pan magic was real for me today. Like a child I still believe in it. My boy is now flying high in a place where he would never grow old. I remain eternally grateful to all the wonderful people behind those walls at GOSH for giving me those 4 special years to share with my boy! Thank you for reading. You may also like to read other articles like this. They can be found here. Photo credit: Pixabay.

The Peter-pan Magic! – My visit to GOSH

Sometimes you cannot really predict what lies around the corner. I know it is one of those cliche’s but honestly, I literally appreciated the meaning of that statement when I stepped into the corner from the hospital today. I was just taking a stroll to clear my head when I noticed a beehive of activities brewing in the center square. Queen’s square is around the corner from the Great Ormond Street hospital and this Saturday  there was a fair. The organizers were not leaving anything to chance. They had set up the fair rather quickly. It seemed to have sprung up from out of the blues. Endless tables clustered the square. On them were so many different wares all displayed in order to sell for charity. Lovely trinkets, bangles, beads and fancy jewelries drew my attention. I do love a bit of bling.There were books, bric-a-brac and all sort of things. Some tables looked like someone’s house had been emptied out for the auction! Children ran around gaily and the face painting stand had a queue forming rapidly. There were some OAP’s{ Old Aged People} practicing their singing while others seemed to be dancing. Some people sat on the chairs while some tables at the end of the square had home-made food. The lovely smell of pastry filled the air and an interesting looking man in a red hat shook a tiny bell fiercely in his hands screaming out the next activity about to occur in the church nearby. Ding ding ding  rang his bell…. ” The ballet will be starting in five minutes” he said a bit inaudibly. I could hardly make out what he said in the din. As I stood by in the corner taking it all in, I heard a guitar being strummed. It blared through the public address system and I made my way towards the stage. The stage stood cleverly at the center of the fair. As the man strummed his guitar, suddenly a lovely dancing tune was created by his band and they all sang and played. Soon some people formed a circle before the band. It was really a happy atmosphere and so I let myself go. I let the music take me like a lover wooing his beau and in no time I responded by joining the dance. It was as fun as it was groovy! Happiness like the one I beheld on the day was contagious…. There was laughter everywhere. It did not matter what emotional baggage or problems we all had. In that moment, we were happy and that was all that mattered. So this time, something good lay around the corner from the hospital. For once it was not any bad news or event but a good piece of fun and enjoyment and the best part was that it was free!!! This piece was written as a thank you to Mary ward center who were the organisers of the Queen’s square fair. It was really fun and you made people happy that day. Many thanks to you also for reading. You may also like to read other articles like this. They can be found here. Photo credit: Pixabay.  

The Fair at Queen’s Square

Looking ahead can be impossible when you loose someone you love. I welcome you to unite your heart with mine today. We lose the ones we love in different ways. Some fall out of love with us, some abandon us and some unfortunately…die. Of all the losses, death stings the hardest because with death comes a finality. In death lies the impossibly of a reunion with the loved one at least not in this world. However, in death lies freedom. Freedom from all the limitations that life can bring. Limitations of suffering, poverty, distance , time and even … sickness. Death can conjur sad memories… only if you let it. We all experience our thoughts. If you think about something hard enough, you will feel it soon enough. When we lose someone we love, let us be comforted by the life we once shared with them. Let us experience the thoughts about the good times, the happy times, the laughter, the gains, the milestones. This is an important gift from them to us.The privilege of sharing in their joys and sufferings can not be taken away by death. Therefore no matter how death chooses to come, let us experience those thoughts. Let us realise that death is the ultimate end to the journey of all life. There are no timescales. When it’s time, it’s time. Sometimes it feels too short in our eyes but it is long enough for the deceased. “Fulfilment is not found in the number of days lived. It is found in the unquenchable joy that fills each day. Life may be short but the joy that fills each moment makes it perfect!”… Let us allow those feelings take their roots in our heart. The more you think it, the more you believe it. Let us forget the if’s, why’s and but’s that bring tears and focus on the gratitude of being part of the story of what was once the life of the one that once shared our lives. I love you all very dearly and I thank you for supporting us through this most difficult time. So I ask you “Is there any one you have lost to distance, heartbreak or quarrel?” You have the chance today to make your peace with them and be part of their story again. Don’t leave it till too late you never know what lies around the corner. Make that call you if have the time today!   Thank you for reading. Photo credit: Pixabay. You can watch the video by clicking below. Cheers

Death at my door (D.A.M.D) Part 7 Looking ahead after a loss…stay strong!

Today on the D.A.M.D series, there is a bit of a twist I must say. Did you notice something different about the title today?  I omitted my usual “Musings of a grieving parent” caption. You did? Well done!!!  It is with good reason though. Today, the piece is about a grieving parent but not my muse. It is a poem sent in to me by a very special friend Agatha. I have know her for the type of short while that feels like ages. If you have ever met someone who fills your life with joy and the beauty of her intelligence, then you have a friend like the one I bagged in Agatha. She plaits words and has a distinct voice that pierces through her work. I find myself  feeling very excited every time I read from her. Special thanks to you her for this lovely poem. I am really touched by the words and the web of emotions that I continue to experience overtime I read it. She has a fantastic blog where she shares her special romance with the webs she alone can twist with words. Please make sure that you can check it out here. Its called Black girl wanderlust.  I hope you enjoy it too. The beauty of poetry is the way its meaning transcends all intention. Enjoy! Now. There is a boy-sized hole in her heart That is the twin of the child-sized pain sitting In the pit of her belly. In the pit of her belly Where he first resided before he was Where his sinews were joined with bone And flesh was wrapped around his awesomeness. Now it is an empty room Where the fire of his smile has gone out And the ghosts of his memories flit around in the shadow. II That slight quaver you hear in her voice – No, that is not the sound of shattering glass Nor the hint of quiet desperation as it seeps Through a tightly woven mask of placid acceptance This – this here is the sound of a willow; supple Swaying gently in buffeting winds Safe in the knowledge that though this river swelled, Swelled and burst its banks Though its raging waters lap at her roots like tongues of fire She will not be swept away. They hold firm, her roots; Buried deep in a nest of love   Thank you for reading. You may also like to read other articles like this. They can be found here. Photo Credit: Pixabay.

Death at my door D.A.M.D Part 6 A Poem – By Agatha (Poet and scholar)

This series was created to share with our readers the thoughts and emotions of a grieving parent dealing with the monumental tragedy of losing a child. Enjoy! TOO SOON TO MOVE ON I woke up this morning feeling like I could take on the world…. However, somewhere along the line, as the day went along, I soon lost all my mojo, All I really wanted was to just have an early night. The problem though, was that it was just noon and nowhere near bedtime. That was how it felt sometimes… on days when I entered grieve mode. Personally, the weekends are the hardest for me. Weekends used to be the highlight of the week for my family until a few weeks ago when Fred decided it was time to begin his exit from this planet. It was the one time all the boys used be together. I remember fond memories with all of us in the little room that was Fred’s cubicle on the hospital ward. Fred, darling Fred… without a care in the world. Mark?  …he would attend the activity centre where he loved to play. Karl and I? …we mostly watched movies to pass the time. We later converged before the end of the day to take Fred on walks as soon as the nurses thought he could be taken out for the day. I honestly would not have done anything differently about our family time. It was so ordinary, yet so special. Now since he passed, the weekends have become quieter. No stressful trips to London. No looking for what to entertain the boys with. No changing diapers. No listening to Fred’s music for the umpteenth time….No stress! That is good right? Well, that was our normal, our routine and “our thing”. This new normal was something I had desired for so long and had given up on ever experiencing. This new normal feels strange without Fred in it. I still feel so apprehensive about settling back into normalcy. I feel like it’s too good to be true. I know that it isn’t and I am teaching myself to relax more. I am trying to unlearn having to wake up constantly to do Fred related chores- diapers, medicines, feeds, safety… I am trying to unlearn being on alert every minute. There are so many normal things that have become strange to me now, but… I am taking baby steps trying to learn to be normal again. Some friends have been asking me “what next?” …. As a matter of fact, make that … everyone asking me and being on my case! I know they mean well and I probably need the nudge but it feels so wrong to treat my Fred…my pain… like a chapter in a book that should be snapped shut. Well I don’t want to. I want to linger on…fiddling with that chapter. I know I shouldn’t but it seems so disloyal to let go and simply…move on as all propose. Did he mean so little that I should move on so easily?The ripples from the blow life dealt me when she decided in her infinite wisdom to let Fred slip away are still so profound that they are still spreading through my every vein… my every heartbeat… my every step. All I want is to savour and hold on to it for that bit longer because they are all I now have left… I know I should be thinking about what my next move should be in this new normal. However, somewhere in my head, I think it is too soon. It just seems so unfair after all the special times we shared with our son that we would just move on so easily and so quickly. I am trying to clutch at them. Sadly as much as I would like to stay melancholy, my brain is moving on faster than I would want it to. That too is a good thing as well right? I have found sleep to be my trusty companion. It helps get me well rested and more refreshed to take on each day. It is just that the weekends are so quiet…. I am going to talk to Karl about this today. I will find out if he is experiencing these emotions too. You never know. Do they not say a problem shared is halved? Perhaps we can find new ways to fill up the silence that is quickly filling up our weekends. The weather is getting warmer too, so perhaps we could even go out on our family walks again. Find new ground because I am not sure that we can possibly pick up from where we left off even if we tried. So if you are out there, trying to cope with the devastating loss of a loved one, I want you to know that we can all get through this! Thank you for reading

Death at my door D.A.M.D (Musings of a grieving parent) Part 5 – TOO SOON TO MOVE ON

This series was created to share with our readers the thoughts and emotions of a grieving parent dealing with the monumental tragedy of losing a child. Enjoy! THE SPRING CLEAN Our spring clean this year was long overdue and today we decided to start with a clean up of all our phones and devices. The main reason for this as the primary starting point was that unlike other areas that needed a proper clear-out in our lives- given the events of the last few weeks, our devices were the most volatile and dis-organised. We had many pictures and videos which had suddenly evolved from being mere captured moments to becoming treasured moments. The demise of our son two months earlier, meant that he stopped being captured in our moments from then on. Our devices unfortunately were subject to loss or damage. We had to hold on to every memory we could milk off them. There seemed to be a sense of urgency in carrying out the clear-out although I honestly could not tell why. Although having the memories stored in this way kept them to hand, they unfortunately also made us stumble into our son’s videos or pictures very suddenly. Such sudden appearances of his images were sometimes welcomed and comforting but at other times they were very upsetting depending on the state of mind we were in. It became necessary to keep them safe elsewhere. That way we could reach them when we felt readier to confront them. It also had another alluring advantage of freeing up the space in our devices thus creating room for us to capture even more memories as life sadly went on. Interestingly, something happened as we sorted through our devices. Our emotions swung into overdrive. What we did not bargain for were the surge of emotions that came flooding out as we sorted through each memory that each image or video we came across pulled into our consciousness. What started off as an innocent exercise began turning into a gruelling experience for us all. In no time we were in bits. We thought we were doing well and feeling strong emotionally since our loss or why else would we have felt courageous enough to begin this exercise? Each memory seemed to stick us right into a lane in our memories where we stood watching each event depicted by the capture photograph or video unfolding. We wished we recorded each event more or better still that we started the recording earlier. We filled in all the blanks in our minds as we relived each moment with our late son in those photographs. We confronted the foolishness in the dreams we revisited as we remembered nursing them when those images were captured. Would that we could have known what lay just a few years, months, weeks or even days ahead from when we took those snapshots! Our  activity today made me feel like a child pulling at scabs, fascinated by their appearance and yet not knowing the pain that lay ahead after pulling sweetly at it. The allure of curiosity overshadowing all common sense. I wondered if there was even any wisdom in capturing so many images as one walked through life. I questioned the sense in storing them. I missed the power of depending on only the mind to recall memories as was quite customary before all this technology. A time when memories in our hearts faded away with the passage of time until they lost their potency as painful reminders and reduced to just a dull ache. I toyed with the idea of deleting them all but I knew better than to make any decisions while overcome with emotion. As we all tried to get through each last image, I could see us all crumbling but pulling each other along as we talked through the different emotions we were going through. My little strong son Mark said he wished his late brother Fred could visit us sometimes. He made this painful wish in his usual innocent way. My broken heart ground to a pulp as I explained the impossibility of his simple request. He claimed to understand as he sat on my lap in silence while we all put each memory away in the file we had opened in the removable hard drive. With the last one done for the day, we heaved a sigh of relief. The dull absence of the sunshine to warm our hearts clouded up what was left of our day not only in the literal sense but in every way. Afterwards, we switched on some happier songs on the sound system to tune us out of the emotions we had just unexpectedly confronted, I saw again how we began to brighten up even without any sunshine in sight. The torch of hope was kindled again as we swayed to the beats. We knew the importance of letting life go on. One foot in front of the other, one day at a time would mean that surely one day soon the memories would not hurt so badly. We had to trust as we always did that there was nothing without reason. Our boy Fred was safe in the place where not even the pain of his disease could ever get him. So here I am standing between the isles in a shop where I came to as an excuse to get some air. I am staring blankly and wondering if I would ever open that hard drive ever again? I know I am as curious as a cat and won’t resist but that will have to be sometime in the future when I too feel far away from today, far away from the pain, far away from the emotional drain…. Thank you for your time. Hope you can join me again next time! Just so you know, there was Part 3 last week. Click here to catch up. You may also like to read other articles like this. They can […]

Death at my door D.A.M.D (Musings of a grieving parent) Part 4 – THE SPRING CLEAN

This series was created to share with our readers the thoughts and emotions of a grieving parent dealing with the monumental tragedy of losing a child. Enjoy! BACK IN TIME I keep walking… I keep taking one step after another. I keep putting one foot in front of the other. Sometimes it feels like I can feel my feet being printed in the ground as I take each step.   I walk for dear life. I walk to keep you near It’s the one thing we used to share. I can’t stop myself.   And then came a comforting thought as I walked today….   Perhaps all I need to do is retrace my footsteps. Perhaps all I need is to walk backwards. Perhaps 6 million steps back is all it will take. To get me back to the time when you were here.   I would probably need to walk back in time till I find myself … Till I find myself pushing you along the path we used to thread together. With my eyes closed I can feel your little hand in mine. I can see your big eyes looking up at me. Asking me to lead you on as only I could do.   Come along my love and I will take you to the place you loved. I will guide you to your place of freedom. The place you wanted to be all along….   Now all I have is your song. With your song I make that journey every day. With its melodious tune I am guided back to the time When you were here right next to me humming along.   Now all is quiet but right here in my heart you are never silent. I can feel your presence near. On the strings of the cords that you played. I can see the marks that your fingers made.   I want you back! O how it hurts so…. But to have you back will be to wish more pain on you. My only wish is for you to fly free. Sometimes it’s hard, most times it’s easy   To see your face in the memories we carved on still paper. Feels like my heart is being stabbed with a dagger. But catching that glimpse gives me every reason to be strong It makes me long for you but keeps my heart warm on cold nights.   How can all of life point to the exit sign? How come all we have is a box full of memories? How do you pack up a man’s life in a box? How come it all fits in even though you were larger than life?   But back in time my love is where  I know I have to go Back in time is where you live Back in time is where I go when I want to be with you Sleep sweetly my love…. Thank you for reading. Just so you know, there was Part 2 last week. Click here to catch up. You may also like to read other articles like this. They can be found here. Photo Credit: Pixabay.

Death at my door D.A.M.D (Musings of a grieving parent) Part 3 – BACK IN TIME

This series was created to share with our readers the thoughts and emotions of a grieving parent dealing with the monumental tragedy of losing a child. Enjoy! ACTUALLY BURYING MY SON I had times were my thoughts were marred by the inconceivable idea of committing him to earth. I thought all sorts. I had all sorts of images about the decomposing and loneliness down there in the grave. As a mum, I felt subdued, helpless and on the receiving end. That was when I decided that I had to take back control of my thoughts. I could not let them control me. I like to think that we experience our thoughts. If we begin to think there is a snake in the room, even though it is not a statement of fact, we soon begin to feel scared or unsettled. I did not want to lose control of my feelings. One of the reasons why death is scary is because unlike most experiences, there are stories about those experiences from those who have been through them that can either throw more light on them, reassure us or scare us. With their accounts, we begin to separate fact from fiction and ultimately gain more understanding about the issue. Death is one experience that by virtue of its finality remains a mystery. No one has actually come back from being dead to tell us about what it is like. There are no real tangible facts. All the facts that exist are intangible explanations that require more than the five senses to make sense of. People tend to adopt a “faith” to help make sense of it. Sadly not everyone has a faith to help.The uncertainty surrounding the death experience fuels anxiety leading to various reactions to death. Shock, fear, grief, loss, anger, confusion and the list is endless. We as humans are made to make sense of things by mirroring them with our past experiences. This helps us understand. So if I tell you that I broke my leg, you are most likely going to remember (draw on a past experience) where you either broke your leg (experienced yourself), nursed someone with a broken leg, or knew someone who broke their leg (experienced by proxy). Either way, you will tend to understand better because you have felt that sort of pain before. Unfortunately, no death experience is felt by any of us directly, it always happens to someone else. This means that we can only make sense of death by thinking about it in the way we can understand. We may worry about how the deceased feels. In my case I worried about my boy being “lonely” in his grave, I worried about his skin “decomposing” and looking horrible. I worried about him being “trapped”, not moving etc… all these are characteristics that affect people who are alive and really nothing to do with the dead. A dead person can feel nothing and therefore can sense nothing because all life is gone from the deceased. The things that lead up to death are a process that release the person into the state of being…. dead. For some the events that lead to their death are peaceful, for others they are tragic. Either way, without these processes, death will not occur. They will then stay alive, just like the rest of us who they have left behind. It is only if the deceased was alive that they would experience the feelings of pain, love, laughter, joy, sorrow, worry and so on. It is important to try to consciously stop trying to make sense of the feelings of the body of a dead person. To stop worrying about how the dead “feel”. That word “feel” is a word that only makes sense when you are “not dead”. The deceased that we think about are in essence “dead” and therefore have no need or ability to feel things. They can neither feel anything on their physical bodies like wounds or decay nor can they feel any emotions like pain or loneliness for example. I prefer to experience a feeling beyond what my senses can call factual to help release me from being imprisoned in by grief. You can think of the dead as free from pain, disease (in my son’s case), free of being limited by whatever circumstance held them down while they lived. It may help you experience happiness amidst the sorrow. It also does not make any factual sense … which is the whole idea of this line of thought. Being dead cannot make sense beyond the lifelessness of the deceased that is left behind for us to deal with. To enter into any understanding about death, we have to find that way to connect interiorly in our being either through faith or deep spiritual exercises. As this may be a feat possible for only monks and mystics, I am afraid, we may be better of leaving the dead well alone. I also saw my son one last time before he was committed to earth and although `I had built myself up for a disastrous experience, it was one of the most emancipating experiences of my life. He had began to transition into a state of oneness with Mother Earth. There was no trace of resemblance with my beautiful boy. He was simply gone! It helped me free him in my heart to be buried. You know when he initially died, he still looked so beautiful and peaceful in the chapel of rest where he lay. Somewhere in my head, it kept feeling like he would wake up. I knew he could not because he was gone but it did not stop me wishing.This increased my anxiety about having him buried. I felt a lot of comfort knowing he was in the mortuary. In my mind, I could only feel comforted that he was “asleep” in death … in that cool fridge. Sadly my emphasis in that statement was on the “asleep” not on […]

Death at my door D.A.M.D (Musings of a grieving parent) Part 2 – THE COURAGE TO SAY GOODBYE

Do you feel like you lack the punch life needs? Haha…welcome aboard! That’s what I thought when I was a little girl. I was not born strong…I am not really sure anyone was born strong to be honest. Living life is the journey that makes or breaks you. Think about it this way, you will never realise how much you have grasped a course or subject until you are tested. No matter how much you read and rehearse it, there is no simulation that can perfectly mimic the exam day. The tension and adrenaline rush,the uncertainty surrounding what the question might possibly be ….chai! Nothing prepares you for that part unless you sit the exam. In the exam hall, the panic attack can make you fail the exam not even the lack of knowledge. The beauty of that failure is that you can use it as a stepping stone for further preparation and subsequent success. That’s the opportunity that life gives us. In living life everyday, we are confronted with many situations that prepare us for many things that lie ahead in future. We may never realise all we have deposited within us until the need arises to use them. Have you ever heard yourself say this before: ” I wonder how you coped? or I am not sure I would have survived it if that happened to me?” Well if it’s any consolation, I have said that too. The thought about an event or possibility of an event that lies ahead can be more draining than the actual occurrence of the event. That is just because when the brain is not thrown into a situation, it can overthink it to a state of panic. It goes into overdrive and tends to think the worst in preparation for the event. That can leave a person totally drained and overwhelmed by an event that has not even occurred. Well the good news is that you are not alone. All I can tell you today is to be strong in your mind. Stay trusting yourself and you will not fail. If I tell you today that I trust you to smash that interview won’t you believe it? Or tell you that I trust you to stand up for yourself will you not see the sense in it? Don’t wait for anyone to tell you that because you have the ability to tell it to yourself. Just believe it…. The good thing about “believe” is that it is the main ingredient that conjures faith and strength. Remember what they say “if you think you can you can” and I say to you today : if you think you can’t you not only can’t but you loose the oomph! Is there anyone in your life or any situation bringing you down and making you feel small? Ignore it because it is not what “they” think of you that counts, it is not even what “you” think of you that counts because you are human and can get things twisted sometimes. It is what “God” thinks of you that counts. You do not even have to be religious for God to think wonderfully about you. You don’t even have to believe it either, he just does. Julia Cameron in her book “The Artist’s Way(TAW)” describes God as an acronym for Good Orderly Direction. I too see the sense in that especially for those that struggle with the God concept. If you listen to the voice within… that still small voice of reason, you will locate that Good Orderly Director that guides all of life and creativity. For me he is the King of kings, the Lord God almighty and the author and finisher of my faith. For you he may be described or named differently. There is strength deposited in you. You have the punch life needs. As you live life, let the circumstance that appears to crush you mould you into that person you will become. Ignore the urge to complain so that you will learn the lessons life is teaching you. Those lessons form the building blocks for that strength which you admire in others. I have a plan to reach out to you and guide you as life has guided and taught me to. Together, we will strengthen each other. Nobody knows it all. Feel free to leave me a comment about your thoughts. Don’t forget to share the post so that others who struggle can be reached. There is hope even as little as a whisper to be found in every situation in life. Thank you for reading. You may also like to read other articles like this. They can be found here. Photo Credit: Pixabay. You can also watch the video by clicking on the link below.

You have got the “Punch” too!!!

This is going to be a very interesting write up. I say interesting not because I think that its contents might interest you but because of what I am actually doing while writing. One setback a writer has is the inability to show in real time what he or she intends to describe especially when the discussion is about is something in motion at the time the writing is supposed to be taking place. What am I doing? I am trying to tell you what I am doing now.  Now….I am painting a picture of a city. Actually I am colouring it in more like! I certainly cannot be trusted to paint because I am too fidgety! Earlier…. I found myself in a shop… It was a stationary shop in town. This one was with a twist. Everything was so colourful… so beautiful. There were tons of notebooks, jotters, journals, diaries, pencils, sticky notes, pencil cases… I was spoiled for choice. It was the most beautiful stationery shop I had ever been in. There was every colour of the rainbow in that shop. I got so excited that I felt like a child again. In an instant I began missing my mom. I had that dejavu feeling-  like she was somewhere in the shop asking me to stop staring at everything. The thought made me smile because deep down inside I was happy she wasn’t there to stop me. What’s more, I had my own money to spend! Why am I telling you this? You see the feeling I was experiencing was one I liked to give myself from time to time. We all go through different forms of stress in fact who doesn’t? Stress is part and parcel of life. We all say we like to wind down sometimes. But how do we do that?  Do we perform actions that make us feel more stressed without even realising? Or do we actually find ways to wind down? I have always been the sort of person to buy myself a birthday present every year. Call me self-indulgent but I’ll tell you one thing: …“ everyone needs to be spoiled”… Waiting for someone to spoil you can be overrated. It might come with its own baggage. Who better to take you out eh? You know what you like … you know the restaurants you love to dine … you know what you love to wear … you know where to go … and so on. So you see, I was not wrong afterall… You have all the answers!!! Giving yourself a treat does not have to be expensive. I love a spot of window shopping any time any day. As the Queen of impulse buying, is my only survival strategy. Some people like to eat… Sweet chocolates biscuits you name it. Getting yourself to walk past a cake shop might be enough to add that extra spark to your day. Whether you actually buy something is up to you. Do you remember that thrill … that buzz … and that feeling of excitement you felt as a child when you were invited to one of those colourful places that made you daydream?  Well, you can still let yourself feel that buzz again even now you are grown-up. The good news is that unlike when you were a kid, there is no one stopping you from buying what you want now! So every once in awhile when life gets as stressful as we know it can get, take some time out to give yourself a treat. Finally … I have just completed that painting…sorry…colouring. The splash of colours on the paper is one of the things that always excites me. It sets my imagination ablaze. The thrill of witnessing the transformation of a white piece of paper as it turns slowly into something beautiful is what I find most elating. I feel like no matter how useless I am or  how hopeless things are, this provides a chance for me to do one thing right. Never mind the fact that my only contribution to the masterpiece is a few strokes of my colouring pencil, it is my own part and I got that right!  It passes the time and helps me feel useful. When we feel useful, then we can feel happy and glad to be alive. So even though you don’t know me and I don’t know you, we have one thing in common: we are all people trying to do the best we can with the one life we have. Life is too short not to take time out to spend time doing something for yourself. Try it today. Live free! Thank you for reading. You may also like to read other articles like this. They can be found here. Photo Credit: Pixabay.

An easier way to spoil yourself

This series was created to share with our readers the thoughts and emotions of a grieving parent dealing with the monumental tragedy of losing a child. Enjoy! For the next few weeks, I have decided to pen (or type) down my feelings as I walk my way through … and hopefully …walk my way out … of the weight of the emotions that have taken up abode in my heart since my son’s demise in February this year. I, as usual, refuse to let this whole experience be the end of me… but a rebirth. I am absolutely certain that within this circumstance, there will be many lessons to learn. Hopefully many interesting emotions too! I can certainly testify to the fact that I have been swept by many so far.  I will tell you about this one that I feel I have just come through: GETTING HIS FUNERAL SERVICE DONE We had the final service in memory of our son at the St Christopher’s chapel at Great Ormond street Hospital London. It was special. After a lot of e-mails and phone calls back and forth between the chaplain and I, we pulled it off! When Fred died, I was not really sure about how the next hour would be because it hardly made any sense to me. All I knew was that I was not going to let myself worry. The worst had happened and in my mind, everything would be easier…fall into place. Nothing could possibly be worse than his death. I set out asking questions and being initiated into a new world of funerals, flowers, invitation cards, thank you cards and what have you. One by one each activity slipped into place. We were directed to the Coop funeral services by another lovely parent whose daughter had also sadly passed away. She reassured me about how personal and comforting their service was. I knew I had to contact them. Although I had been referred to many other directors locally, I could not shake off the reassurance in this woman’s voice. So I made the call one morning and booked an appointment. The atmosphere was serene and comforting when we arrived. They put me at the centre of all the discussions to my discomfort. As a woman of African origin, it was quite difficult for me to have these discussions when my husband was present. It just felt disrespectful. He was the dad too. Interestingly there was a cultural shift in my favour. My husband was too westernised to care so I ignored the discomfort and let myself enjoy being at the centre of the deliberations. It began to feel comforting that I was being indulged in a sense as the “Mother of the child”. As soon as the signatures and payments were done, the Coop funeral services took over. They handled bringing our boy back home and all I really had to do was focus on giving him the best send-off. The day of the funeral service was a day of remembrance. We had all Fred’s nursery rhymes on cue. We had no hymns per se. What we sang were two of Fred’s favourite nursery rhymes. Row your boat and Twinkle little star. We all shared fond memories of him throughout the service. His lead consultant, Ward sister, School teacher and Former PA to the consultant gave lovely tributes to my boy. There was laughter and love in that chapel that day. It was filled to capacity with all his team. It was amazing that everyone could find the time to come and I will remain eternally grateful to everyone who attended physically. Many hearts were united with us from all over the world… those who could not attend in person. I appreciate all their prayers too. It was also a memorable experience for Mark who now is left without a brother. He kept asking if he could play in the hospital Activity Centre because he had missed not being in the hospital for that reason. It was lovely that everyone who attended made the day special for us as a family. We all felt fired up with strength for the event of the following day which was the day Fred was to be committed to Mother Earth. We did not really want to invite anyone because we were very conscious of what Fred meant to everyone. He was a special cheerful boy and we worried that it would be too much emotionally for some. On that sunny Friday morning, we arrived the Cemetery all set to go on that final walk with our boy. But guess what? We met all the nurses in his Local team right there waiting to walk with us. It was amazing. His consultant was in attendance, some  representatives from GOSH, even Mark’s class teacher attended. We also had friends, Family, Fred’s school Driver, people from his school….we were blown away. Now I am sitting here this sunny Sunday afternoon thinking about how blessed I have been because of Fred. He drew all these people into my life. All this love, comfort and support network now surround me. I am blessed because he was mine. I feel honoured to have been the one who bore him. We hope to learn more about Propionic Academia because Fred once walked this earth. His life may have been short, but it was long enough for him. This is a vote of thanks to everyone who has stepped into our life in the last 4 years. We love you all. Not forgetting all of you online who have supported us through this most difficult time. We appreciate you too. Thank you for reading If you enjoyed this, you will find more articles like this here Photo credit: Pixabay  

Death at my door D.A.M.D (Musings of a grieving parent) Part 1 – THE FUNERAL SERVICE

Feminism should not create the yardstick by which women should express themselves. It should create a platform to enable women showcase and express their diverse natures and features as women “isms” crop up as soon as a minority or sect feel that their rights are not being adequately upheld. Their voices are either not heard or misinterpreted. I have never heard of “male-inism” to be the opposite of feminism. That’s because men by their nature feel very sure about themselves. Some of them even take it a step further by feeling that they are in full custody of self-expression. Somewhere in the history of men and women, the need for feminism came into being to uphold the rights of women. It arose to address issues concerning women. It came about to bring equality between men and women. To say to mankind “hey what is good for the goose will not kill the gander. In fact it can actually be good for the gander!” I do not think that the true purpose of feminism is to suppress man’s expression of himself. The purpose of feminism is rather to create an avenue for accommodating women’s needs. Feminism should give women a voice so they can express their views and ideas. It should make them realise that their opinions matter too in every aspect of life as do men’s. What I see sometimes is the existence of what I like to call neo-feminism. It’s like a twist to the real ideology of feminism. It is an ideology that proposes that women have now come of age and have now evolved from the position they struggled to attain-as equals with men, to a point of superiority to men and unfortunately even women who fail to imbibe their ideologies. The neo-feminist says “I am superior” and you know what, I will do all I can to prove it!” So this ideology begets a new group of women who create new norms and rules about what qualifies or disqualifies you as a feminist. They dictate these by their actions, ideologies and comments in the media. They in turn begin to feel superior to the rest of “womanity”. They do this by imposing their “perfect feminism” over women through their endless attempts at telling them what to do. They dismiss other women who do not appear to fit their mould while portraying their feminist images and incantations needlessly. They would want to fool us into regarding the for-bearers of this said feminism as archaic. Our grandmothers, great-grandmothers and ancestors in the good old days once stood disheveled as they struggled to pay their own way in a world that treated them as second class and mostly articles and properties tied to “man”-kind. Where they found jobs, they were seldom remunerated fairly or appropriately. They had no say in all matters including those that affected them directly. When they stood, they found the time to give other less privileged women a voice. They worked to include all women in their fight. They did not segregate them into pseudo-groups. When they clamoured for female emancipation during their hay days, It was with style, grace, eloquence and dignity. They were to me even more feminist than we all will ever be. They were the truly oppressed who lived in a world were women did not matter as much. Yet their unity of purposed paved the way for what we now enjoy to a large extent as equality, unity and ultimately feminism. Are they less feminist than women perpetually portrayed as feminist through their mostly material self projections in the press?   Thank you for reading. You may also like to read other articles like this. They can be found here. Photo Credit: Pixabay.

International Women’s Day : Beware of the “Neo-feminist”

WORLD BOOK DAY That was celebrated worldwide yesterday….. However, before I tell you my thoughts about it, I want to just say THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR KIND, WARM AND COMFORTING MESSAGES. So back to world book day… Little Mark and his daddy shared a book while on the train earlier in the week. In this day and age books have now taken different shapes and forms. This applies to books meant for children and adults. On that day, the book in question was an audio book called “Nuts in Space” written by Elys Dolan. The truth about books and children is that when you throw “Lauretta” into the mix, what you get is a massive mistake🙀. You won’t believe it but as much as I love reading books, I hate reading stories to children 🙈. There you have it…I said it! I just find it boring and I don’t mind admitting it. As an African parent, I can confess that I have no recollection of stories being read to me as a child. Stories were “told” to me mainly by my dad. These were very interesting stories by the way. Story telling is a very important and popular part of African culture but it usually ends there. Even in the villages and cities, people gather round to talk about their day. Visitors come to homes and bring tales with them. Stories about their experiences, other people’s stories and not forgetting “rumours”😀. I remember “tales by moonlight” on NTA network service as a child. I even remember “storyland by Jimmy Solanke”. We sat and watched-listened to them. Anyway, the culture of writing down the stories is not as popular as telling them. This is one of the reasons why many integral parts of the culture and facts about ancestry and ways are beginning to be watered down. Simply because elders die with their wisdom and knowledge leaving many guessing. Books provide an avenue for preservation of thoughts, ideas, fact or fiction. When you write something down, you trap it. You trap the thought as it is and you trap the memory created by that thought process in the pages of that book. When you are absent, a book also evolves into a tool that speaks for you. It also educates other people about the facts they contain. They create a coherence in the flow of thoughts that can then be learnt by others, built on, discarded or just kept for future generations. As an African in diaspora, I loved the book culture I met. The book culture inculcated in children from the cradle. Books here create a bonding opportunity for parents and their kids. They can help create stability in a young mind. For example the fact that the child will be read to can be the one thing they find to be constant. Books can also be comforting and soothing to a child by surrounding the child with the voice of the reader when they are being read to. So bearing these in mind, you will appreciate how lost and inadequate I felt as a mum about the whole “book project!” The good thing about confronting ones fears is that it is the first step to finding solutions. When you bury your head in the sand, you stay down but when you lift your head up, you find hope. This led me to discovering that I could use the one thing I was almost locking away from my child- Technology! The good news for parents like me in this world has been the introduction of technology. While there are many arguments for and against uniting kids with technology at an early age, I cannot really take a side. At least not today. What I can do though, is tell you about my observation : “Technology can be a saviour for mums- especially if you have been as stressed (caring for a sick child) as I have been these past couple of years. What I think can become a problem is when you let technology take over parenting. There should be some supervision and guidance in order to maximise the benefits of technology for kids. The interface that technology provides for children is not only entertaining and amazing but it is also fun! It helps create memorable dexperiences for children. What I love about it is the return patronage element it always has. Children keep asking for devices and wanting to play with them. It also holds their attention for longer than you can barely boast of with kids- including toddlers. Just as I was about to bin the silly time-consuming devices, I stopped to take a closer look at it. I examined the annoyingly obvious characteristics of technology and balanced it against my parenting inadequacies (especially my story-book- reading-hatred). What I got was a solution! So imagine carefully mixing play time and study time with some technology. What you can end up with is an engaging interaction between you, your child and the gadget. In the end, as long as you can get your child’s attention (which by the way can be a Herculean task for you the human and an “easy-peezy-lemon-squeezy” task for the device), you may actually end up teaching them some useful skills. I have learnt to use this new trusty companion to my advantage. You will be judging Mark wrongly if you saw him playing with my phone. It is the one tool that has helped him learn to read and now provides access to tons of books and educative games to help keep his little inquisitive mind fed. At last…. I can now sincerely join the world book day celebrations this year! We enjoyed many books this year. We have listened through the year to stories being read to us by different devices while all we had to do was sit back, relax and pay attention. I have not had to worry about my no 1 parenting flaw of not wanting to read to […]

World Book Day

Hello … I just wanted to share this quick post with you today. I played a simple game but guess what? It got me thinking about life. I hope you enjoy it. So yesterday in the spirit of  boredom bursting, we decided to play “snakes and ladders” with our son Mark. I am not sure of it was a good idea but I will let you decide . He cried every time a snake bit him but soon burst into laughter every time he climbed up a ladder. He laughed happily at every other player as soon as they met the ill-snake-biting-fate but was not too happy when they ascended any ladders especially when such rises meant that he got overtaken by such a player. In no time, we began to laugh right back at him as soon as the snakes bit him which as you can imagine led to more crying. He began to see that if he wanted us to sympathise with him, he had to stop laughing at our misfortune. All in all, I think it was a good way to teach him some valuable lessons. “Snakes and ladders” is a game that feels a bit like life. You never know what lies around the corner when you step into each day…as you do on each tile, there might be a snake lying around to bring tears to your eyes. But you need to change your focus to be able to move ahead and enjoy life. Like we taught our son, focus on the ladders because snakes are inevitable. You have no control over either snake or ladder but you have control over how you let them make you feel. So here are Four valuable lessons I always take away from the game called “Snakes and Ladders”. Lesson 1. Focus on the joy that climbing up a ladder brings. Focus on the ladder that lies ahead. Ignore the snakes of sadness, deceit, sickness, poverty. Dwelling on them will not change them. They will only make us sad. Lesson 2. Do not laugh at others when they encounter their snakes. Remember- if you laugh at peoples’ misfortune there will be no one to console you in your time of sorrow. Lesson 3. Be happy when others progress. Just because they climb their ladders and overtake you, it doesn’t mean you will not succeed. Remember the sky is big enough for all the stars to shine. There will be big stars like the sun and small stars. Don’t worry about what star you are because no condition is permanent. Lesson 4. Don’t expect people to be happy or sad just because you are happy or sad. It is not a competition. Live your life. So tell me, have you played any games lately that felt a bit like life? Thanks for reading. You may also like to read other articles like this. They can be found here. Photo credit : Pixabay  

4 lessons about life from “Snakes and Ladders”- the board game

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What can one possibly do on a journey that lasts 5hours? I decided in the spirit of organisation to plan the whole trip to a “P”. Snakes and ladders✅, Word search          ✅, “I spy” tactics✅, oh…and I forgot Light refreshments✅. About 3 hours into the journey, I was exhausted. I could not sleep because unlike most people, I don’t sleep in public! Haha….only because you fart when you sleep- My husband just managed to add behind my ears. Well, such is life, we are all endowed differently and controlling wind is not one of my strong points. Anyway, we began playing games and by the time the colouring began, Mark twisted himself into knots trying to get the colours in the box. My 5yr old was frustrated. “Mum, the train keeps moving and ruining my work”, he said for the umpteenth time. It was perfect to me given the circumstances. But the little man was not having any of that. “I want it to be perfect!” he moaned. One part of me wanted to ignore him but he had said it so many times and deserved some attention- bless him. Me: it’s fine the way it is Mark Him: No mum it is not. If only the train could stop for a moment ! Me: But it won’t Him: crying Me: you have to accept that the train will keep moving at least for now and keep doing your colouring. Don’t you like to colour anymore? Him: I love it mummy. Me: Then try to focus on enjoying what you are doing. It doesn’t really matter. Soon you will find a way. Him: still crying – but I want it to be perfect mummy. Me: but it can’t though. Nothing is ever really perfect. You just have to keep trying Him: I can’t try mummy, it’s not being perfect Me: try again Him: No mummy, I don’t have to try again because that is not even working. I have to try HARDER. Maybe trying harder will make it perfect. Me: smiling because that made sense but I then said “keep trying that’s the most important thing whether it’s trying “again”, or trying “harder”, just keep trying and don’t give up on your colouring. Ignore the train and enjoy what you are doing. Him: ok mum. …and that was it. There was peace. He began trying harder as he had proposed earlier and suddenly the bumpy ride did not matter. He stopped fussing. After a couple of hours, I glanced at his doodle pad and it looked better than the first time. That’s life really. We all keep trying hard…very hard and sometimes too hard. Life doesn’t have to be such a chore. It doesn’t have to be so difficult. If we change our focus it can make a big difference to the same life as we have found it to be. The bumpy ride, the ups and downs are sometimes constantly there just like our train. So it makes sense to just enjoy what we have to do. Enjoy the job at hand, enjoy the company of friends, enjoy the decisions you are privileged to make. Enjoy the food you have available. Just live life to the fullest. Don’t go emptying your bank account on a shopping spree by the way 😀 Just do the best you can within the circumstances life chooses to impose on you. Have a fantastic day people. Thanks for reading. You may also like some other articles like this. Find them by clicking right here. Photo credit: Pixabay

When things get tricky : Do you try again or try harder?

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I remember when Otito was born… Life went wrong. We felt lost. In an instant everything came crashing down on us. We were at the centre trying to make sense of it all. A simple birth had turned out to be a disaster… One that was heading in the direction of the disaster we had a few years earlier. At times we reached out to others but it felt like the more we did the more we were misunderstood. Social circles disappeared, best friends walked away. Not because they did not care but because they could not care. They lacked in them the ability to be for us the comfort we sought in the new circumstance we found dictating our lives. It would have been easier to bury our head in the sand and pretend that by locking away our feelings, our problem will disappear and Otito will be perfect. But we knew that although the ground we stood on was sinking, we still had to find a way.  It was only then that we were able to raise our head up from the sand. That was when we understood that we were never alone to start with. We were surrounded by people who wanted to help. They were all new to us, but they could only take our hands if we reached out. That is what we saw when we found you …. We saw your smile and it gave us hope. We heard your voice and filled us with joy. It was not the kind of joy or hope that made our pain go away. It was rather the kind that melted away the fear. You have stood by us from near and from afar. You look after us as a family. To you it’s just a job. To us it is a lifeline, a job only you do best. We know sometimes you get it wrong and nobody said you were perfect but the fact that you keep trying means Otito’s life is what fighting for. You see, you came into our lives when we were at our lowest. We thought all hope was lost when our son Otito was diagnosed. But you did one beautiful thing. You never hid anything from us about the full extent of our reality. We have never felt ignored, fooled or taken for granted. You have treated us with respect and preserved our dignity as a family in more ways than one. The more we reached out to you, the more you stood firmly by us. Always reassuring and never pushing us away. We could never have carried this burden without your expert help and strength. For this we are thankful…. The end of the year for most people ushers in the yuletide season but for us it means way more than that. It is always a time of reflection for us as a family… a time when our consciousness is drawn to how lucky we are to still have Otito in our lives. The end of this particular year marks the fourth year in the fight to keep Otito alive and stable. It has been by far the most difficult year for him as a person. In our eyes it has also been the year when the depth of your knowledge about his condition has been tested the most, weighed on a scale but never found wanting. There have been times when we have wondered about the sense and worth of this fight…times when the illness has made Otito less of a boy and more of a patient. Times when he has been reduced into a literal ball of pain curled up in his cot. At those times our strength has been drawn not just by Otito’s zest for life but by the reassurance of your expertise and unrivalled professionalism in carrying out the duty of care to him. We have found our way as a family. We have found our rhythm during this most difficult year but never without you all being beacons shining brightly and pointing us in the right direction. There have been those who touched our lives in ways that have not been medical but which we have found invaluable. Some found us and touched our lives without even knowing us directly. Although they remain far away from us, their contributions and works of charity have doused the fire of stress and chaos that sometimes envelop us as a family. Their efforts have nearly eliminated our confusion and struggle at times. Some others have supported us emotionally, psychologically and even spiritually with their prayers. We thank …. Rays of sunshine, Gosh Charity, Family fund, Newlife Charity, Campbell burns trust…Just to name a few… You plastered a huge smile on our faces when you touched our lives and spilled that ray of hope in Otito’s life. Let your benefactors know that your drops of kindness to us although little to you, were big enough to enlarge our ocean of love and support. He may never personally understand your kindness but we see his positive energy and know that if he could he would appreciate you. We thank you all… For everyone who runs, walks or clicks their glass to different charities we want you to know that your kindness has touched us in different ways and made us believe that love and kindness still reside in this world. We thank the huge online community who have supported us by reading, liking and sharing the content on our website. Your kind comments and e-mails have meant the world to us all here at the Whispering Hope HQ. We also thank The Naked Convos for providing us with a good constructive distraction. We say thank you…. As we step into this New Year with Otito, we have no idea if our rollercoaster ride with him will be bumpier than we are used to. What we hope for is that however high or low it goes, it should be smooth. We know we’re not alone and trust in your presence directly or indirectly in […]

An Ode for Otito as he turns 4…Dedicated to every one who has ever supported us.Thank you!

Walking out of my room today I had a lot on my mind but try as I may, I just could not settle. It was like all my racing thoughts wanted me to think them all at once! It was the craziest feeling…my thoughts all wanting to be thought about at the exact same time. My heart raced, I blinked too many times. On the outside, I was really cool as a cucumber but inside I was anything but cool…I felt mad! A lot had been happening in my life and the last few hours saw me reaching the end of my tether. I had so much on my mind to the extent that I could not even complete one thought before another sprung up, crushing whatever was initially on my mind. I tried to refocus on the new thought but then another sprang up, then another and yet another…. I found myself going down the lift, still standing tall when in reality I was about to be crushed by these endless array of thoughts. My emotions were running riot. I just wanted to scream. I wanted to cry too and then laugh all at once! If I had more than one mouth then that would have made my life easier. At that point I realised that like my thoughts, I could not even choose a suitable way to express my feelings. Tip…tap… tip…tap…. I could hear the sound of my feet behind me (or so it seemed). I walked down the long corridor that led outside. I desperately needed to calm down. The thought that I was by myself  at last was very comforting. Honestly I would have messed up any attempt to speak to anyone the way I was feeling. I focused on the sound of my feet…. Tip… tap… tip… tap…. Then the giant sliding doors flung open on my approach. That now- beginning- to- be- relaxing sound was drowned out by the sound of rain hitting the hard ground of the streets. I stood under the canopy at the entrance and let myself watch the rain as it fell. I looked up and the sky was grey– very grey. It looked even greyer today. I followed the rain with my eyes and began to see everywhere it landed…. It landed on cars that in turn splashed the puddles on people as the cars swished by on the street. It landed on a woman I remember her because she wore a white jacket, grey frilly skirt and very high heels (I wondered if she would not have been better off indoors as those shoes were definitely not safe in the rain). I smiled as she jumped to avoid the splash from the tyres in vain. It was such a funny sight. I just smiled. That was my first smile that day… Pitter…patter…pitter…patter…. The raindrops made a cacophony of sorts as it hit different surfaces. The streets, the rooftops , cars, people… in fact everywhere! The strong wind added character to the rain. Wooooooh…woooooh…. The wind seemed to scream fiercely. It blew up the rain cover as a mum pushed her toddler in a buggy. The little tot screamed as some drops splashed on her. It was a girl (or at least I thought she was with all the pinkness surrounding the otherwise cosy buggy). Next was the turn of a dog that ran by looking for shelter… then down the road. There were men in reflective vests pushing wheelie bins into a big green truck Beep….beep…. The truck blared from its stationary position as the bins were being raised into the van to empty their contents. Afterwards, another group of men were standing in raincoats and seemed to be arguing about something down the road. It just felt like they were all putting on a film show for my viewing pleasure. From where I stood, I felt well entertained. As the rain subsided I ventured in. I needed to be a part of this day. I could not resist taking in the view. Green trees, a hedge with a little fence, children behind running about happily at play. I only managed to walk down the road and decided to return. The strong smell of coffee drew me instead. I decided to follow it to the Costa shop where I relaxed and savoured a cup. Right there when I sat down to have my coffee, I realised that not once had I even remembered to focus on the thoughts that forced me out of the building in the first place. So I decided there and then to take at least a walk at the height of my emotion laden day. The fresh air and outdoors can have enough distraction in them to keep you calm and possibly a bit more settled. Have you discovered any other way to keep yourself more distracted on a stressful day? Please leave a comment below to tell us all about it. Thank you for reading You may also find more stories like this here Photo credit: Pixabay

How to stay calm on a stressful day

I wish I could take all the pain, all the hurt, all the struggles you have all been through all this time. I wish I could wipe it all away and make everything okay I wish I could tap you, wake you up and then we will all be happy that it was all a dream. But my love it is real, so real it hurts so bad. I can’t do that- make it go away as much as that is all I want to do. What I can do though is take your hand in mine and sit right here beside you. Although I am miles away I will do my best to be here for you as best as I can. What I can do is be here for you and ask you to let me know what you want me to do What I can do is pray for you and all the family especially during this trying time. What I can do is stand by you and make you know that I care too. This life is a puzzle with more questions than answers. It is ok to feel relieved by the knowledge that she is now gone, now free, now at peace It is ok to know that she has no more pain and she is now at rest It is ok to be reassured that because she lived a good life, she must be now resting with our lord It is ok to lay awake at night in tears and only long for her It is ok to wonder where she is now and if she is fine there It is ok to wish you could see her one last time to tell her how much you love her But one thing is sure she knows and never doubted how much you all cared for her She is not alone but in a better place where she can soar like an eagle Though you are far from her, she is in a better place where nothing can hold her back. Though we can’t see her now, she is waiting for us until we are all reunited with her never to be parted again Though she was weak and frail, she is now beautiful again. She is now stronger than she ever was. She is now our angel interceding especially for us all What we can do now is remember her as she was. What we have now are all the memories of her from the first time we set our eyes on her and felt her warmth to the moment    we said goodbye. Keep in mind that when the ones we love answer the sweet call. They are set free. No longer   trapped in a body, in a place or restricted by time. So we can carry them around with us in our hearts and never be far away from them. Let us not dwell mainly on all her pain and tears (though we will never lose sight of them). Let us at this time remember all her laughter, all her achievements, all her successes, all her struggles ,all her joys. Let us not only remember the pictures of her that were the most recent ones Let us not only dwell on the pain we could not save her from. Let us not only remember the things that make us cry. We will celebrate her life in total. Let us flick through the album that was her whole life….every day, every moment both those we shared with her and those she had by herself I cannot imagine the way you all feel now. But I can assure you that it will get better. There will be smiles again in your home when you think about her. Time will make everything better for you all. Try not to drown in this grief as large and as deep as it is. Don’t suffer alone… Let   those you love in. They only want to help. The only want to be there for you in the way they can. They may not always get it right but at least let them try. It is true that we all may not know how you feel but it doesn’t stop us all caring. If you reach out we will be here to catch you, to hold you. But we too on our part will let you work through your emotions and feelings the best way that you can. Only know that I am here if you need me. God will bless and console you during this difficult time. May her beautiful soul and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God Rest in Peace….. Amen Thank you for reading. You may also enjoy some of my musings here Photo credit: Pixabay  

Take heart my love…

Hi everyone. Thanks for tuning in again today for another Nigerian film review. You know how we do it! I tell you a little bit about a film I have watched and we check on our PASS scale to see what the film scores. Today, the film under review is called “My sister’s cross” I was very excited as soon as I saw Queen Nwokoye as one of the actresses in this film. My guess was that she was going to be a trouble making gbagbati as usual. However on this occasion, she was rather a peace maker. Well a type of peace maker. Yes I say a type of because she was a no nonsense peacemaker. In fact no sooner had I adjusted to her kindness than she got provoked into a heated argument with her step mum and your guess is as good as mine regarding her reaction. Well, I will get you up to speed. Queen Nwokoye acted as Nwanneka who had two sisters Nwando and Chizaram. She appeared to be the bread winner because the first scene showed her splitting firewood and doing a rather manual manly job. She lived with her sisters in her deceased father’s compound. However, on the other wing of the house was her step mum Achalugo who had two children Ikenna and Nmeri. Her son was all for family peace and unity. However his mum Achalugo and his sister did everything to cause chaos and anarchy between their section of the family and Nwanneka’s. Achalugo the step mum tried to stop Nwanneka and her sisters from rightfully feeling free in their home. She even tried to stop them cultivating their late father’s land but did not succeed in convincing the elders ndi ichie. They urged them all to live in peace. Queen loved her sisters so much to the point of turning down several marriage proposals from well meaning suitors. She did not want to be distracted from giving her siblings the care and attention they needed since they were all orphans. In the end, Her sisters later moved on positively with their lives. Chizaram won a scholarship for further sponsored study while Nwando got married to a rich man. She was genuinely pleased. However shortly after her sisters moved on, she stopped hearing from them. A visit to the city to find out about their welfare led to the discovery of some harsh realities about the true character of her sisters. This had harsh consequences for her and in the end she paid an ultimate price. The film unfolded nicely. The storytelling was quite fair. There were a few unnecessary scenes because they did not need 5 parts to tell this story. I think the film could have done with extra editing. In my opinion it would have saved time and made the story more interesting. I feel the storyline was a bit exaggerated and so I did not find the conclusion very believable. All in all it was a good watch.As you know, that is my opinion. You will have to watch it and tell me what you feel.  Am I being too hard on them? As for sound quality, it was ok. No disharmony whatsoever between audio and visuals. I also thought that despite the film length, it was engaging and the scenes flowed nicely. The acting was very well done. The actors were all believable. There were a few newcomers but honestly they did themselves proud. There is always room for improvement but for today, we can pass them on that one.So for what you have been waiting for. The PASS scale Picture&Production  2** Acting                        3*** Storytelling                2** Sound                         3*** Overall, the film unanimously gets a 3*** from all of us here at Whispering hope. You can watch the film for free on Youtube here. Don’t forget to come back to tell us what you think. Photo credit: Pixabay    

Film review: My sisters cross

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

The beauty of a precarious and tumultuous stage in life is that it becomes the time when all the lessons life intends to teach are actually learnt. It is the time when you are down and out. It is the time you finally begin to “pay attention”. The only thing left to do apart from wallow in self-pity is to start to use all our self-will to pull us out of the bad situation we find ourselves in. I personally have found that the only way for me to make any sense of my own life is to see life through everything else around me. Feed off new energies- positive energies. Since life has decided to keep pinning me down I have decided to keep rising up. I can now finally see. I used to live a very fast paced life. At the break of every dawn, it always felt like a whistle was blown. It was a rush to prepare to start my day, a rush out of the door into the car hoping to bit the traffic (which was silly now I think about it because I never managed to!). I got to work, rushed to hit all my targets, rushed my break, rushed to close in order to get home early enough. I was always so knackered at the end of the day. Honestly, I even rushed through sex at night with the hubby just to get me some sleep and start the whole cycle again. It was like I became the hamster in the cage. All I did was rush, rush, rush. It gave me a buzz. I even seemed to enjoy moaning about how stressful my life was because I honestly made no effort to slow down. Well, as soon as life started gradually to pin me down, the first emotions I felt were not relief from rushing but grief. I complained about my life until that point but the minute its course was set to change, I fought it. I tried to combine my work with caring for my son. I kept telling myself I could do it. It was hard to accept the reality that my son was not going to be safe in any regular crèche. All I could see was everything I could not have. Everything I was missing by being a carer. Everything I ever really wanted was slipping away- and very fast. With each passing day as my son’s health grew direr, I began to confront the prospect of giving up my job. It was emotionally strangulating- until I began to pay attention. You see, the secret of survival is to stop looking for what you want. Especially when you know that you cannot have what you really want. Stop searching. It’s like when you look too hard for your keys, you never find them. How about when you try too hard to remember a name or event, you never remember- until you let go. As you tilt your attention completely away from the puzzle of the lost key or forgotten name, suddenly, you will remember. Amidst your new quest, it slips right back into your consciousness when you least expect it to in a kind of eureka fashion. At my lowest moment, I decided to stop trying too hard to be who I wanted to be but to embrace who I had suddenly become. It was hard to find anything to do with all the time I spent beside my son both at home and in hospital. There was so much time. Don’t get me wrong, I was very busy in reality as a carer- I was doing feeds, changing nappies, giving medicines, nursing my son back to health and so on. However, I felt idle inside as a person. Deep within, I felt like I was wasting away. I remember thinking about if this was now going to be me? After all the years in university? All the years building my career? All my dreams? It was weighing me down way more than all the physical exertion of caring for Fred.The physical aspects of caring became my only means of escape from my crumbling reality– all because I was not paying attention. I began one day to notice during one of my walks one spring morning that a small leaf had grown on a tree. I suddenly discovered a trail of slugs too along the path- that made me smile each time I passed by. I found myself looking forward to seeing as much of them as the weather could permit. I noticed a cat along another path every morning and found myself wondering about it on days when it failed to appear. For the first time, I began to SEE my surroundings. I had all the time in the world now. Suddenly, a new world seemed to open up to me. I began to see the rips in shirts and tops around the house. I opened my needlework set for the first time in ages. . I redid my husband’s trousers meant for the bin and converted it into shorts and in no time, I acquired a sewing machine. That gadget can now testify to completing many a project with me. I went from doing up my interiors to redecorating for friends who have to date given me endless referrals. I used to love colouring and drawing as a child. Hmmmm, I had an idea to revisit that as well. I changed my walk direction the next morning towards the book store and bought a simple colouring set to get me started- nothing fancy. In no time, I was colouring so much and getting a real buzz. Before long, I was busy borrowing books from the library. I suddenly had time to pursue other aspects of my life that otherwise lay idle. I suddenly stopped only having ideas but also bringing them to life. It was an empowering feeling. Surely the boost my life needed- like […]

Wipe your eyes and pay attention

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

Well as the title suggests, today, I stretched a bit too far. However, I can bet with you that is not in any way what you think. It’s not my finances, time or anything that (normal) people stretch but it was good old me that was stretched! When I say good old me, It is 100% me! Well I woke up this morning bright and early – early riser and all that (yay!) as I have become since I became a parent carer. You know the funny thing about that is that my brain tends to wake me way before the alarm clock (and unnecessarily at that because today as you know, I am in a hospital ward where that is done by the lovely nurses). Well my frustration did not reduce my need to do what I always do. I did what I have done from time immemorial against every giggle, advice or look from my disapproving parents, siblings, husband and wait for it… kids! Yes, silly kids that I once provided accommodation for (pregnancy and all that). I STRECHED! Yes you heard right… I stretched. In the mornings when I wake up I always treat myself to a satisfying stretch. Like a cat (holla to all the cat women out there !!! ) I always stretch. For all you stretch haters out there, as silly as this might sound, a stretch is the true meaning of being alive. It puts the “WAKE” into A-wake. It should be an art form because skilled stretchers like me can bend and twist into different shapes and positions. Do you know what the most prestigious part is? It is not a skill you can learn but a TA-lent (shaking my head up and down) that only a few of us are blessed with. Stretching is a bit like marmite… You can either stretch or you CAN’T! There is no room in between for fence sitters (blowing raspberries). A good stretch cannot even be rushed because after you execute a proper stretch you literally feel taller- no make that longer. In summary, a real stretch makes you ready to say “bring it on!” to your day. Well, just because I think you now have an idea about what a stretch means to me, we will continue (smiling). So I was enjoying one of my innocent stretches this morning when KRRRRrrrrrr…….. Something snapped! Next came the panic as I was hit by an excruciating pain garnished with a swallowed scream. I know others might call that scream muffled but it will not be a befitting description for the scream I just experienced. It was the type of scream where you open your mouth wide, draw the breath to scream out but at the same time, realise that your child is sleeping next to you, you do two things at the same time. Take a big blink or better still squeeze your eyes shut and Squeeze your mouth shut, letting not even as much as a sigh but swallowing very hard The next thing I felt was a ripple as goosebumps covered every inch of my body in a rippling way. I finished off the experience with very quick panting like the type we are taught in ante-natal class (I know the mums and nice dads who attended antenatal will know the panting i am talking about). I felt like the “Tom” in Tom and Jerry cartoons after yet another crash into one of Jerry’s traps with green wind escaping from my ears and eyes. I managed to hold in green wind from escaping my bottom (eeeurhh).All these happened in splits of seconds and I heard that internal scream reach deep into my soul and allowed the hot flush flow down into my tippy-toes. I automatically removed my palms from beside me and relocated them right behind my neck cupping them as my head seemed to get heavier Amidst all these, an interesting thing was happening in my head. I began hearing voices. At that point I was not sure why. It was either my nearly broken neck was affecting my brain or all my haters were haunting me. I felt like i could hear them in my head laughing hahaha… that serves you right! Well to be fair they could have gone all Awww…. bless you on the outside but I bet they would have laughed secretly at my expense. Anyway, as I bore my pain and approached the nurses station, hoping for a remedy, neck in hand, I narrated my ordeal amidst their giggles and pity, I began feeling uneasy. A sense of grief enveloped me as I listened to the ladies tell their stretch tales one by one. It was a secret sadness that I could not even bring myself to express. It had nothing to do with the pain I was still feeling. It was just because I felt lost. I had not actually managed to stretch completely before the accident. I felt shorter- Crinkled like a sheet. Squeezed like a piece of paper. Rumpled like an item of clothing desperately in need of a nice ironing to bring it to life. In fact I also was worried that I looked different- In an unstretched kind of way. Suddenly I remembered that I found my first grey hair last week. Could this be old age. Panic struck me! could this type of mishap be what i had to become accustomed to post-grey-hair and all that? So this is actually a cry for help! I need some tips on how to survive the next few unstretched days before my neck comes back to life. Cheers for reading. Photo credit: Pixabay If you enjoyed reading this, you may also like other topics in this series.

I stretched a bit too far!

I have the best iPhone in the country. I call it the best because it has stood the test of time in my books. It went through the Olympics, Queen’s diamond jubilee, Royal wedding, general election, Obama’s re-election and most recently the Brexit! I do not really see the need to replace it because I have formed a kind of bond with this chic. Yes Chic is the name I call my iPhone because she is one of a kind. For the roles she plays in my life, I am certain that if it were human it would be a woman– tough as old boots and as tough as they come! Apart from the societal milestones we have marked together, my two successful pregnancies were captured using that device. I forgot to mention that it holds tons of memories filled with photos and videos to show for all our time together. At one point, our time together kept being interrupted by messages that said “you are out of memory”. It became so clichéd.  I kept being told to delete some information to create more space. At no point did I consider erasing any memory. Instead, I expanded her storage capacity in order to give us more space to forge and store new memories. I do not mind that I may have overdone it, being a bonafide–tech-know–not that I am as I have bought every extra space on the cloud to keep us soaring. My husband cannot hide his jealousy because he keeps going on about how useless all that attention I give my phone is. Well, I don’t care as long as it enables her deliver on every promise she made me from the start when this love story began. She allows me carry my world in the palm my hands at all times. In my books, nothing else can beat that! She has ensured that every memory is never forgotten and always a fingertip away. My Chic is as lovely to behold as she was from the start. Her body still looks crisp and new. I invested a lot in her outer covering when we were first brought together… after all every lady needs her adornments. I religiously ensured that her home was in the faithful “case”. This phone has been through different regimes because I installed update after update until she became up to date with this day and age. All in all, it delivers on its promise of fantastic iPhoneism. In all honesty, we have also endured a rather bittersweet relationship at times. This has been mostly at the hands of my temperament, kids or moods. As for the kids, she has endured a fair share of disrespect but has forgiven all for my sake. It has been used as a teething tool, a toy, a hammer and most recently a pacifier. We recently formed a parenting partnership and honestly, she seems to have the knack for it better than I ever will especially during difficult times. It possesses excellent and enviable skills due to the endless array of apps she has acquired overtime. My son learnt to read his first words with her help. He learnt his writing and has consistently become better in these areas through the different activities she enables him engage in. She is the only one that can keep him quiet when he starts screaming for attention at the wrong time especially when we are outside the house. Unlike me, this Chic has kept an open mind as regards envy and jealousy. She was not bothered by the adoption of new devices and gadgets into our home. iPhone6, iPad, camera, Satnav and the rest of the brood of gadgets do not even bother her because she knows that they do not have it in them to endure the type of shocks she can. So time and time again Chic has shown her superiority and always beckons due to her strength and toughness. Well, as I look through the time I have spent with this Chic of an iPhone, it is with grief that I am allowing myself confront the prospect of a life without her. Right now I am enveloped in a cloud of sadness and disbelief as I accept that perhaps everyone is right. She may be truly on her last days…I cannot imagine the prospect of life without her. I am sitting here with her on my lap and sadly she has been unresponsive to every tap, press and even whisper. Save for smacking her (which I never do to anyone except myself during a mosquito outbreak at home in Africa). She is here staring back at me with a blank expression. My husband gave me a warning in the past about backing up all the memories I have stored and shared with this Chic and thankfully I have secretly adhered. I kept my compliance very close to my chest for fear of tempting fate. I love my phone. I will never replace her while she still lives. I take all my vows very seriously especially when I use the three magic words “ I love you” on a creature– living or not grrr! I am instead promising to make adjustments to accommodate her frailty because I am certainly not letting go; at least not without a fight! My plan A is to buy other equipment to support her for the rest of her life. Like a camera, camcorder, GPS, laptop. Paper map, Walkman…  o dear (gasping)… the list is getting endless… and just put her to her traditional use-making and receiving calls…Surely this should add a few months or even years to her age. I shall possibly acquire a backpack to carry all my newly acquired auxiliary equipment. I suspect that the weight of the equipment will keep me quite sedentary and hey listen to this! She might become jealous because we will spend less time together with my attention split between all those gadgets. Therefore for now since I don’t […]

Short story : Time to say goodbye to Chic…my iPhone best friend!

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 ??

Life can be so unpredictable. One minute to the next can be so dissimilar. There was sad news today about a young man locally who was killed in a collision while crossing the road. It was such a shame, a shock even. When I got the news update on my phone, I just automatically assumed he was going to be okay after a few treatments in the hospital. Sadly, he never made it. While saying my prayers for the repose of his soul, I remembered his family. It was all quite surreal. The thought that this time yesterday he would not have known he would meet his demise today. It made me shudder and ponder about how much of a privilege it is to still walk this earth. Living the life we have become accustomed to with our son Fred, we have come to appreciate more the value of life. One would think that the unpredictability of Fred’s health from one day to another will keep him permanently at death’s door. Thankfully we are blessed  to still share each day together as a family. Things like this put our lives into perspective. We all go out every day and carry out our daily activities. Some of us are healthy while others struggle. In the end, we are all still here. When life seems unbearable, it is a fact to keep in mind. Some things will always take centre stage in our lives  – family for starters. It all boils down to family at the end of the day. Spending time as a family irrespective of  where we are or what we are passing through is very important to us. Problems will come and go but we must always pray that the pot of success will drop by our door steps very often. It is important not to allow our minds to be consumed with how to acquire material wealth or success. Although they are meant to make our lives more comfortable, they are not supposed to take over our lives. Let us still find time to pay attention to those we love and care about too. Friends and family alike In the end, we do not know how long we have to stay in this world. All we can do is make every living moment count. Let us create memories and hopefully pleasant ones. They are the real treasures to acquire. Someday soon we will come to realise that they are the most important. The memories we share with people when they are still alive become lasting treasures that we can hold on to when they are no more. It is my prayer that all of us who have to survive every day will find the strength to soldier on daily. Photo credit: Pixabay

Emergency : A reminder about how unpredictable life can be !

I have just woken up and it’s 2am in the morning . The more I think about it, the more I realise that I have not just “woken up”  as I would like to think. I have just been woken up by the sound of my husband purring into my ears. You know how they purr after the children have gone to bed and they have probably sat up most of the night beside you doing something or nothing? In fact I think they just draw you with their eyes until you can literally feel their need for you burn your skin till you wake up! Well, that type. I wanted him too but not in the way he thought. It was more in a cuddle me I am freezing kind of way which honestly would not have been the case if he pulled the duvet back on my body when it came off instead of doing whatever it is men like to do when their wives go to bed!  In the end, it turned out to be as eventful as always. However, here I am after all the groove  not able to go back to sleep. It’s funny how the night feels so cold because the day was otherwise excruciatingly hot. You would not believe my African origin if you saw my exasperated look today during all the heat. It was not just the exhaustion and discomfort of the heat that struck me today, it was the feelings I experienced that were more interesting. Unlike others, the peaking of summer today was tormenting for me. While many basked in the joy of having the long awaited summer, I grieved. As the heat hit my skin, I was just tired of still being here in this situation- urrghhh!. My son was still poorly in hospital and all I wanted was to take him home to enjoy the summer. The swings would have been better than doing the acrobatics he was limited to on his bed. Some fresh air in the park would have been nice for him. A roll in the sand would have been better rolling in his bed sheets. I just felt so frustrated like a child. I wanted to just screaaamm.  I also wanted to cry and even run. I really wanted to be anywhere but here. Then I remembered I was not even the sick person. How was my boy even feeling, being here instead of in his safe haven- at home. Suddenly I became flooded by guilt. It felt like all my feelings were running riot. Each feeling popping up but being discarded as irrelevant almost in the same instant. It was an overwhelming feeling of helplessness. I just felt exhausted by the yoyoing going on inside me. I had to remember as well as recite all my mantras. I needed to reach my core, my center, the depths of my soul. I had to find my inner peace… . The prayers and songs that always made me realise that as bad as things were with him, they could have been much worse were said. I still needed a distraction because try as I may, the thoughts just kept pouring in. I was not going to let them drown me. Never! So, I spent the next few hours dissipating my negative energy into a colouring book. It still ended up being a futile exercise because for a strangely odd reason,  the pattern I created resembled an old wrapper (an African material tied around the body)  that I once owned and hated! I knew I needed to take a break for a few moments. It was time for plan B which never failed. It had been my go to plan every single time I felt stuck. I did it today as always…. I took a walk… A looooooong walk. The beauty about walking was that it always felt exhilarating at the end (at least for me). Procedure: Your legs just carry you. All you need is to put one foot in front of the other. In no time, you get lost in your own thoughts and start to sort them out in your head. The next thing you know, as you sweat and take in the nature around you, elation comes ever so slowly but surely. Then comes the turn of the happy hormones to get released by your brain making everything much lighter and better.  At least for me, this is always the case. You see, I am only human like the rest of you and the nice weather unexpectedly triggered a recollection of lovely memories that I had once enjoyed but could not recreate immediately. I desperately wished and longed for the happier, more stable times. There was a sense of urgency attached to my need to escape the present and with each passing moment (of even hotter and steamier sunshine as the sun rays beamed down mercilessly), all I wanted was to make everything stop!!! My brain just fixated on these thoughts until I started to feel broken. I started to go through my gratitude list in my head as I walked. Thanking God for all we had now and trying to replace the sadness and helplessness with gratitude for all I had. The beauty of a gratitude list is that after you have physically written down all that is going well in your life, and all you do is thank God for the items that make it to your list one by one, Even something as silly as being able to chew a very delicious bar of chocolate can make it to the list. Over time, you remember that list so easily even when you do not have the paper to hand. Yes… that’s because dwelling on your gratitude list always made you realise that for instance if you were sick or sicker than you are, you would not even manage to enjoy your life in its current state. So while i embarked on this […]

Summer Blues : How the much anticipated “heat wave” left me distraught.

I have just concluded tonight that the worst and most sure way to fail is to resolve not to fail! Hahaha maybe I did not really mean it in the way it just came out. It’s just that my experience today has left me in no doubt that as soon as one decides to make a resolution; it appears God (nature or however you prefer to put it) takes it so seriously that the first few minutes after you make the resolution these forces unleash the testers at you, honestly! It’s just like when you decide to stop shopping and spending ridiculous amounts of money on items you don’t really need. Have you ever noticed that in no time, sales and mouth watering price slashes happen to make you doubt the timing of your resolve? How about when you give up the booze and walk into a free booze declaration by a friend at the unlikeliest moment! How irritating is that? I can go on and on with the examples but I think you catch my drift. Today was one of those days. I resolved to increase my fibre (fruit and vegetable) intake. But guess what? No sooner had I made my mind up than a nice parent appeared with a yummy tub of Pringles (surely saying no would be rude.) She even specifically said that as soon as she saw it on the shelf in store, it had my name written all over it (everyone knows that I have a relationship with Pringles). So I walked away from the parent’s kitchen, tub in hand, salivating like crazy. Just one crispppp I thought. But I knew like always that that one crisp especially on an empty stomach will be equal to ten crisps until the tub was empty. I got to my corner of the ward and tied it up in 4 plastic bags (cursing the manufacturers of the said crisps for making them so irresistible). Next came the array of deliciousness at the lagoon restaurant! This morning, they had the yummiest of the yummies or rather crème-de-la-crème of the palatable kingdom on display. It was supposed to be a trip to buy some vegetables and a light meal. I just kept avoiding any eye contact with the lady dishing out the portions of food for sale. I definitely had to escape without the question “so, what will you be having today” because that would have been an automatic YES from me! Luckily she was preoccupied with another customer by the time it reached my turn. The nice young man on duty went straight to business and asked me no further questions. My day went well after that with enough water, vegetables and fruits. For lunch I had a lovely bowl of rice and some fish. However, just as I was about to give myself a hi- five for a job well done, I met that parent from earlier who innocently asked me if I enjoyed my Pringles. Although we discussed many other things, she had unknowingly replanted the crispy thought in my head. As we chatted in the parents’ room, I summoned the last ounce of courage to decline the yummy pizza triangle one of the parents had thoughtfully bought for everyone. Right now I am trying my best to resist finishing the full tub of crisps but so far I am nearly half way through. The good news is that I had enough food through the day to keep me away from the full tub. Now that the craving has been quenched, I can set myself up for a better day tomorrow. So while I will not call this day a complete disaster, it is fair to say that it did not really go as perfectly as planned. Thanks for catching up with me today. Have you noticed these tests in your own life after making simple resolutions? Or do you think it’s really just me? Photo credit : Pixabay  

Why I nearly turned down a harmless tub of Pringles

specsavers post
As you know, I happily went to Specsavers after my regular opticians failed me last week. I told you all about it the last time but if you are just joining in on the gist you can read all about it here. The D-day for my appointment arrived even earlier than I planned because in my usual over-zealous nature, I decided to attend the store just by GOSH where my son is still an inpatient. I was not really coping without my reading glasses and decided to check out this nearby store (no harm in trial and all that!). I was as excited as a child who had been given a bowl of chocolate (I am surprised I said that since I hate chocolates!). Well the Specsavers same day advert I saw online fuelled my desire to try and so I decided to go for it. The bad news was that I did not have the common sense to decide that early. I arrived at the local store at about half past one in the afternoon and a nice lady took my details. She said my glasses could not be ready on the same day since she could only fit me in for the very last appointment of the day (to be fair I arrived at this store without any prior notice). It was a bit of a letdown for me (honestly I felt like that chocolate holding child from earlier only this time, the chocolate had fallen to the sandy ground!) but she noticed my expression. She immediately offered me an earlier slot to enable the glasses to be processed on the same day. You cannot imagine how I felt. My luck was definitely changing for the better. I was seen by another lovely lady who was very polite and had a comforting tone to her voice. In the next couple of minutes, my eye test was done and I was told to come back in an hour for my glasses. Do you know what the best part was? I was informed that the sight test was free. I had unknowingly walked into a store offer which I grabbed promptly with both hands. It all sounded too good to be true. One hour? I decided not to go back to the ward. I just sat around soaking up the atmosphere at Brunswick court. It was a bit windy but cool enough not to miss my jacket. I enjoyed a spot of window-shopping which by the way is one of my favourite hobbies and had light refreshments afterwards. By the time my hour was up, my glasses were waiting for me at the Specsavers store. It was super exciting. I was very thankful and left that store feeling well looked after. I can only say that they deserve 5 stars for the service I received that day. If you find yourself strolling by Brunswick court and in need of an eye test, I recommend Specsavers 100%. If you are lucky, you might even find a nice offer floating around the store like I did. Photo credit : Pixabay    

I really should have gone to Specsavers first ! – Part 2

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

specsavers post
So for some odd reason, my glasses gave up the ghost- it capooted ! That happened like a fortnight ago. I have since struggled. However as usual, there has been no time to fix the poor spectacles. It broke in two but in a way that thoughtfully spared my lenses. That was surely a good thing right? I was sure that it was going to be a simple case of purchasing new frames + cutting the old lenses into the new frames. I had the common sense to buy cool frames this time (not the previous granny type that just ‘thankfully’ broke!). It had to be a top notch one. I went for a French-connection pair this time and I definitely loved the brown colour. In my eyes, it suited my skin. Well, back to the present. I made time today to sort this glasses issue. In fact I was even excited. Not even because I was fixing my specs but because of the cool new frames. I got to my opticians just early enough not to need a prior appointment. Well, the lady at the desk looked like she had a chip on her shoulder. My first impression was that she had woken up on the wrong side of her bed with the look she had on her face. She just stared at me and said “yes, how can I help you today?” (in a ‘why are you here so early in the morning’ kind of way!). Well, I explained my mission and before I could finish she slammed me with “sorry we cannot do that cutting of old lenses thing. It’s just not something we can offer you” (in an ‘I know this was a time waster’ sort of tone). Errrhm she did not even ask to see the poor glasses stuck in my hand, neither did she ask to know my name or even offer me a seat! It was just sooooo annoying. But trust your girl to show her cool front. I beamed a smile at her, my political mode in full swing (sometimes diplomacy can take you places if you catch my drift). The smile seemed to irritate her because she did not even let me say anything before saying “well, is there anything I can help you with today?” OMG this was faster than being discharged from A&E with a minor injury! I was not having that at all. I shot her a disapproving look and next thing I knew she was trying to sell me a pair of frames. It was surprising that she was not even offering to replace my new frames with new lenses but was rather more concerned with selling me new ones from her shop (I had sat myself down by now). I just declined because honestly I was surely bound to overact if I attempted to respond to this lady. I left so speedily that I forgot to collect my prescription because honestly I was not going to come here ever again. The silly optician’s workshop as I like to call it was a long commute from my house. I only came there because I did my grocery shopping and mobile phone upgrade there as well. In my books I was a loyal customer and deserved to be treated better. I was quite surprised that I was being treated this way. Honestly the old staff I knew here looked more interested in the customer’s eye health. They perfectly disguised the fact that their aim was to sell you a pair of glasses when you visited. In fact they offered me a fantastic deal the last time I came for my eye check. I don’t think their response would have differed from this lady’s but at least I would have probably paid for a new pair by now. Those ones left you feeling valued every time. The rate at which companies turn over staff leaves you wondering if they care about their customers and staff! Yes! I added staff because surely if the staff are properly remunerated, treated and valued they will not be looking for greener pastures every time. It is just so frustrating for customers who have to start getting used to new staff and new characters endlessly. I wish I could do the whole glasses shenanigan online or using an automated telephone system. At least that would feel like a more consistent and less frustrating process. Well I zoomed off home and found the Specsavers close to my address. Which by the way was cheaper to attend based on proximity. These silly opticians from earlier had me spending a fortune to attend their appointments which I honestly overlooked because of the nice crop of staff they had. I even dug out a half price eye-test voucher (which received curses earlier when they popped in through the letterbox). I had wondered at the time how on earth Specsavers got my details. Well, that has now turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I was a bit apprehensive as I made my way in. I felt hurt and fragile. I really was emotionally hanging by a thread. I needed to sort this glasses situation sharpish! I waltzed in there in the afternoon with my sad face. The young man I met was very cheery. He asked what I wanted and I told him. He even said they had a lab on site. He immediately asked to see the old and new frames (which was a pass mark straight away in my books!). That showed that firstly he cared about what I was saying to him. They also could not cut my old frames into the new ones (but only because my new frames were bigger grrrrr). However, his first option he offered me was to cut new lenses into my new frames. I felt like doing a dance ! Finally…. someone who cared! Do you know what the funniest part is,the price he offered me was way more expensive than I was offered earlier at Tesco opticians. I not […]

I really should have gone to Specsavers first!

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

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

My little boy Bubba has had an extended stay in hospital. He is autistic and as a result it is nearly impossible to keep him entertained. I have tried different types of techniques, toys, books, colouring and so on.  The main setback is that as a result of his autistic constraints, he does not really understand how to engage in the activities. Where he pays attention, it is just fleeting. The truth is that the activities tend to upset him, ultimately defeating the main reason for play. However, cause and effect toys are the only ones he tends to play with. These cause and effect toys are mainly toys that appear to respond to his touch. He spends hours pressing noisy toys and basically driving everyone crazy with the repetitive sounds (the joys of having a musically autistic son!) Well recently he took the noise to another level. He began to show a preference for toys with flat batteries. So the music emanating from the toys he pressed either screeched or drawled. Some went woozy towards the end. I remember listening to one toy play “Mary had a…Mary had a…Mary had a…” for hours on end until i could hear that half nursery rhyme in my dreams. The worst part was that my boy got even more upset when i changed the batteries to fix the problem. He just was not interested in Mary’s little lamb with the fleece white as snow part. As far as he was concerned the broken (about to give up the ghost battery) remix was best. We let him have his way while we all bore the brunt of the “latest remix” in our dreams. So now it is safe to say that I have had to succumb to “good old technology” to rescue us all. I bought him a good old tablet! I like to think that I had no other choice and this was certainly my last resort. He had rejected every toy before the tablet. He declined every possible substitute. It was tablet to the rescue or nothing! There was a loud cheer as soon as we all realised that it seemed to be love at first sight for Bubba and the tablet.  Honestly, the moment needed a kind of christening to seal it. The best part was that there was no risk of any screechy, woozy or annoying repetitive sounds. So bless him, he is now so entertained. I have since discarded the screechy toy for fear of a relapse to old ways. I have bookmarked a nursery rhyme channel on it so now he has non-stop fun as he listens to track after track. His repetitive nature is still at play on the tablet. However, the sounds are quite jolly, bearable and have the added bonus of non-screechiness. There is still some drama when we take the tablet away but that is quite normal for him. The tablet is now providing lots of learning opportunities for him through music, more movement and even verbal attempts as he hums along. He listens to channels that encourage lots of early learning for example alphabet songs, numbers songs, object songs, countries songs, days of the week songs and any song you can think of. We no longer worry about him getting bored. Since being on this admission with lots of pain and entrapment in his cot, the tablet has become a close companion. It even helps to keep him distracted during scans, pain episodes, unpleasant moments with needles and lots more. For a child with a high degree of autism who is non-verbal and always lost in his own world, the tablet creates an opportunity to connect with him. Since he now gets entertained differently mainly through music, I can sing along. Sometimes he makes eye-contact, smiles and appears to enjoy spending time dancing or humming along with me.  These moments are very well treasured because he seldom connects in this way. I am very excited that I made this wise investment that seems to be opening up ways to get through to Bubba. I know I had my reservations about the whole technology thing for children right from the start. However, I am learning not to lose sight of the advantages as well. I think the key thing is to: Monitor what you download on the tablet. Make sure you are always aware of what content your child can access Ensure that it is always used with adult supervision. So tell me, have you changed your mind about technology recently? Did you find out as I did that it can have its perks or maybe not?   Photo credit: (1) Pixabay; (2) Pixabay

Technology can be good for kids too

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

City palaver
Wow…Posh…Affluent…Excellent…Beautiful…in short effizy1 (as my fellow naija2 people will say) Those were my exact thoughts as I walked into this room. It was the destination for an event I had been invited to. I am not normally blown away by interiors but this one certainly stood out to me. Its beauty seemed all the more glaring because some moments earlier as I journeyed here, I was quite sceptical about what to expect. I am definitely convinced that there can be some organisation to the chaos of city life. If I had (by some work of magic) appeared inside this room, I would have died of fright if I looked out of the window. There was so much hustle, bustle and chaos outside these sound proofed walls that made the sight before me so unreal. As I write this piece I am what the English man calls “mesmerized”. It is not every day you walk into a place and feel so overwhelmed. You see, I am a suburban chic, just what you will call a country girl. Well, country to me but without the horses and farms if you catch my drift. I live in a regular town with a post office, shops within walking distance and church not too far away. Nearly everywhere I need to go to is either a walk or bus stop away. I love the simplicity of my life. It is devoid of any extra stress or what you might call hustle and bustle. I once hailed from a city different from the one you see around here. Over there, people crowded the streets and corners while going about their business in search of their daily bread. Morning alarms were irrelevant. I remember being jolted back to reality daily by the sounds emanating from gigantic loud speakers permanently positioned within earshot where possible. In reality, the main noise culprits were far away- they only let the public address systems take all the blame for the incessant noise! The ever familiar “call to worship” was sang so loudly, it banged your head early in the morning zapping you back to reality cutting through the serenity of your peaceful sleep. That was a city where people groomed themselves painstakingly daily while harbouring thoughts about how to get from their places of rest to their various destinations. The awareness of the task ahead left each person strong-willed and as determined as a soldier. There, going from place to place was not a task to be undertaken by the fainthearted. When some distance and commuting was involved, more skills were needed. Smartness and sharpness was required to negotiate which okada3 or keke 4 to jump on. The decision about putting on the helmet provided by the okada-rider5 was based more on sanitary rather than safety concerns. While one decided whether or not to use the rather stinky and mostly flimsy helmets provided, the okada zoomed off anyway. The bus alternative although safer, did not appeal to most since it meant being stuck in traffic. Agility was also needed to jump in and out of the bus. Not forgetting the eagle eyes needed to see your bus stop before bellowing at the conductor to stop! Well, this gives you just a glimpse into my supposed city travel arrangements- of old. Yet, here I am thousands of miles away in yet another city equally filled with hustle and bustle. Definitely more organised but yet not devoid of stress. I have reached the conclusion that stress is synonymous with city existence. I cannot still understand why some choose to afflict themselves with city living. I know it is a hub of opportunities, jobs and amenities. But give me slow paced any day. As my bus travelled by, I could not help but notice how little the houses were. All cramped up, stylishly erected side by side mind you, with no more than a sideways arm stretch between them. I heard the costs were high here too. Community and togetherness were usually lost as people here worked around the clock to keep up with their responsibilities especially financial. So while contemplating all these, I arrived at my destination. I was greeted by a smartly dressed lady. After exchanging pleasantries, she directed me to the precise hall. One look around it from where I was standing and I was blown away. I was not sure if it was the long journey or my over-excitement that set my thoughts towards another room where I hoped to relieve myself. I let my eyes follow the signs. On my way out, I stepped back onto the corridor with a red carpet entrance. There were also lovely silver banisters with thick ropes joining one banister to the other. Honestly resembling the celebrity star-studded entrances to events we see on the television. I found the door I was looking for. It was marked “ladies”. As I get in to do my business, I wondered how the rest of the day was going to unfold.   Photo credit: Pixabay   Footnotes Efizzy – Nigerian pidgin slang describing show off or proud display Naija – colloquial word used to refer to Nigeria as a country Okada – Motorcycle Keke – Motor tricycle Okada rider – Motorcyclist

City palaver- My reflections about how overrated city life can be.

    You know you are having one of those “agama lizard” moments when you wake up in the morning and feel a gust of pride. The type that makes you shake your head and  think “do you know what? …I think I am doing well. I am definitely on the right track! ”. While I do not like to be self-indulgent, I still feel everyone should be entitled to one of these moments from time to time. You can call it the spice of life!     Yes! So as I was telling you,  I felt ”agamalized” one  morning when amidst my chores- like a million things to do before 9 AM, my 4-year-old walked up to me. He said “mummy, we have a lot to do today” “Do we?” I asked looking puzzled. “Yes mum”, he continued, spreading his fingers. “We have to pray, do our Bible story, do our learning and then play!” he exclaimed. I could feel my heart bursting with pride as he counted the list of activities on his fingers. It was to him the perfect to-do list that had to kick-start his little morning.  As every mom knows, it is difficult to establish routine let alone have your child request that you remember not to spoil his morning by following another pattern. A routine is a pattern formed by performing an activity on a fairly regular basis. For a child, it is best achieved by repeating the same activity consistently. Consistency ensures that the child gradually learns, appreciates and embraces unconsciously the importance of the activities set out daily. I find this to be very important especially in homes that experience unavoidable disruptions. In the eyes of a child, it becomes also, a chance to spend quality time with the parent. You can call it a bonding time. It is also a nice way to create some stability for the child. By looking forward to the activity, there becomes a certainty attached to the occurrence of the activity (once established with consistency and patience) that creates this stability for the child. Ultimately children gradually learn to see routines as moments to look forward to getting your undiluted and undivided attention for a few minutes or hours every day. While we cannot ever have complete control over every aspect of our lives, we can at least control the fun we create and subsequently enjoy with our children. Some of the activities we choose can involve the rest of the family too. For example in my home during prayers we each take turns. This turn taking allows each person to freely express their requests to God however insignificant. The aim of this activity is not only to encourage the praying habit (which is not a bad idea) but the consistency created by the need to pray (at set times) gives the kids something to look forward to as the time approaches. Expressing their prayers in their own words, means we as parents, become presented with a chance to also indirectly teach them how to use their words. The praying exercise for example began with few words being mumbled by my boy. However, in no time, litanies of requests began to stream in (as his language and speech use improved). This improvement in my opinion was encouraged by consistency, patience and encouragement. My boy once expressed perfectly his need for God to provide breadcrumbs for the birds in the park. Any form of time you share with your child, in the same way, can become an indirect way for you to help the child develop any of their early learning skills. Take reading skills for example. If you relax and enjoy simple stories with your child, s/he will learn to read by merely listening and copying you. This helps reduce the anxiety that children tend to feel when they are being taught. You can make it into a game and reading can become fun. Writing can similarly be developed by scribbling, colouring. Picking beads, threading games and so on help encourage motor skills that strengthen the hands for writing. As long as these are done consistently and patiently, your child can simply enjoy the fun. . Spending time with your child ensures that you also get a chance without even realising it to model good behaviour to that child. Children tend to learn by example. Have you noticed that if your kids spend time with the wrong children they tend to imitate wrong behaviours and characters? That’s because children are like blank slates. They are really innocent so they tend to be like the person or people they spend the most time with. Unfortunately, bad habits die hard so it is really important for our children that we spend as much time as possible with them. Simple activities like banging pots, pans, scribbling on paper, chopping up newspapers, messing about with noisy bags and so on can be very exciting for kids. Many parents find that even when they buy the most expensive toys for their children they still end up playing and having the most fun with basic things around the home .You don’t need to spend a fortune on high-tech toys especially if you cannot afford them to make your child happy.  All that children really want at the end of the day is simply our attention. It is important to note after making this point that a balance must be struck between giving the child attention and indulging or fussing over the child. Remember we said earlier that the whole point is that the child needs to spend quality time with you. It is easy to fall into the trap of overindulging them. We must also know when to ignore naughty attention-seeking behaviour while constantly acknowledging good behaviour. If we keep telling them off even when they do the slightest thing it may be counter-productive. It is always worth remembering that all our children want is to get our attention – positive or negative. It is quite easy to unknowingly make mountains out of molehills when children reject their meals (which is quite typical of most toddlers). The thing to realise is the fact that to your child, they finally have your attention! What better way to get it than by winding you up? It really does take time, practice as well as consistency to master all the skills required to be super parents! I wish […]

Feeling Agamalized – How spending time with your child can feel rewarding

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

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