On Denying God and Our Identities

I can't believe I am actually writing another post before the end of the year, but here we are. Haha. I think I will be staying away from end of the year reviews. I'm finding them increasingly narcissistic LOL, not to mention the year was just steady and normal; I'm incredibly thankful for that. The thing with those reviews is they make normal and the mundane seem depressing. My year was anything but depressing: very challenging, yet normal, predictable. The world, more generally was a different beast but yeah, my greatest achievement this year was surviving it. And that's all I will say about it. I might change my mind on this later, (and that will be okay too) but for now nope.

A picture of sunset because...why not? Plus the sun is definitely setting on the year (ha!)
Anyhoo, in the spirit of thinking about the year that ends tomorrow (yikes!) and the one that begins on Monday (yikes, again), I remembered the story of Peter denying Jesus. I remembered because I recently read it again. You know, Jesus predicting beforehand that Peter would deny him, and Peter being all sanctimonious, responded no dawg, we are ride or die. Except, that was not true. Peter denied Jesus three separate times. It made me ask how we often deny Jesus in our lives. How often do we hide that part or maybe some other parts of our lives, just to fit in or so people don't think of us as weird.

When it comes to identity, as I have often said on this blog, my most important one comes from my faith in God, and my privilege as a child of God. I don't even blast these enough. And several identities exist nowadays; and you and I know some people wear their identities like a badge, telling everyone who cares to listen that they are this or that or that or this; whether you care to listen or not. And they are unapologetic about it too. Frankly, denying God doesn't always look like what Peter did; it's usually not as blatant. Most times, it looks like submerging the part of your life that is Christian or whatever part of you that you seem to hide.

Since everything this week has been geared towards or framed as a New Year's thingy, I suggest that in the coming year we all find ways to be true to ourselves, whatever that means. A lot of times it means not caring too much about what others think or say about you. That thing can be very paralyzing: worrying too much about what others feel about you. Sometimes you have worn so many shells that the true you has become buried deep and can't be found. So in the new year, endeavor to not always be so desperate to fit in/for people to like you that you cower, or deem your light, or act differently. If this is unnecessarily abstract, allow me to give an example. Sometimes, I'm a little bit reluctant about wearing certain kinds of weaves/wigs. For one, I hate stuff that brings unnecessary attention to me since I genuinely hate being the center of attention. Not to mention, I was thinking twice about doing my loud and big, but fine braids. It's not that I was ashamed, I just was not in the mood to explain my hair to every curious tom, dick, and harry. When [non-black] people ask questions about how my hair changes so often or questions about specific style (forgetting that us black women are expressive with our hair); having to field all those questions (especially to several people) sometimes makes me uncomfortable. Instead of doing what I wanted anyway, I was ready to not do something I genuinely felt like doing because of some other people. Nah, we are leaving all that BS in 2017. Be yourself as much as you can without being obnoxious or ridiculous. There are many facets to us human beings; share your individuality; add color to the world; SHINE.


Love, and some glitz (for the new year),

I

Friday Reflections

1.) Refugee, strawberry-picker, Economist, U.N. Whistleblower, and now tech entrepreneur.

2.) Secrets of super siblings and families. I LOVED reading this old TIME's post on successful siblings. In a society obsessed with romantic love (which is typically the least durable love), it was great to see a little focus on siblings.

3.) Also, Gina Rodriguez is my new fave.

4.) Nigeria is headed for a serious demographic problem; and a serious public health and social crises if it doesn't evaluate the availability (or lack of) of contraceptives and birth control options.

5.) Unwanted pregnancies are not prevalent in Nigeria alone. I read somewhere (and I feel my mentors and teachers and senior colleagues knocking me for daring not to cite but sorry abeg) that teen pregnancy has reduced drastically. What is a more of a problem now is the rate of unwanted pregnancies among 20-29 year olds.

6.) It's not even far-fetched: I mean one look at your Instagram feed confirms number 5 above.

7.) Kim or Khloe Kardashian? Listen to Obama answer in this rapid-fire question series.

8.) Gosh, I miss Obama.  Don't we all?


Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas, people. It's amazing to be alive, hale, and hearty for another  Christmas. I remember last year's Christmas very vividly. Anyway, I woke up this morning thinking of those with heavy hearts and not in a good place. I think it was from seeing  people in Nigeria complain about the fuel scarcity and general hardship, and also from this Notbellarose's skit and this one. They were kinda supposed to be funny (she's a comedian) and they were, but they were also just sad. Which way Nigeria? So yeah, if you spent Christmas in an entirely terrible mood or with a heavy heart for whatever reason, please remember that Christ HAS (not will, not may) overcome and this too will pass. I'm certain of God's goodness and I know he never fails.



It felt like my first Christmas on social media (obviously not lol) but I just seemed to be in every one's living rooms and parties and stuff, and everyone just seemed to be having a good time, which is awesome!!




Meanwhile, for some reason the shade in me in increasing as this year ends. I'm praying it all goes away by 2018, because I can't handle all this sass all by myself.  Way too may shades to throw lmao. Just kidding (or not?). I'm sending good vibes and positivity down everyone's way. I think I did a terrible job with blogging this year, but honestly...there just wasn't time. It's the same old story: I was really busy. Or perhaps, it was poor management of my time? Let's just say blogging was not at the top of the priority list.

I'm thankful for all my pressies from family and friends, but most of all I'm thankful for the people in my life. Enough of the rambling, I hope you had a great Christmas. If you didn't, I hope things turn around for good in your life. And if this is my last post this year, have a great rest of the year, folks. Go into that new year, and slay!

Merry Christmas again, folks.

All my love,

I

Friday Reflections

1.) The peace that comes from turning off notifications on your phone is underrated.

2.) I almost didn't post this,  because of the fear of being tagged a sourpuss or ruffling a few feathers, but I'm glad I did. We can and will unlearn certain things.

3.) Okay so, are you having end of the year blues? Read this.

4.) The right way to handle politics. Do you agree? Or must we be ruthless and dogged in our politics?

5.) These life-changing hacks for wrapping gifts, because duhhh, it's Christmas and you better have bought something for people you love.

6.) Selective empathy: why do some victims of tragedy garner more attention and support than others?

On Seasons and God's Perfect Timing

My last post was incredibly popular and brought very many new people to this blog. Welcome! I somewhat feel like a fraud now, because I'm usually not that riled up in what I put up here. However, I warned you here though LOL. Seriously, thanks for stopping by for whatever reason. Maybe you absolutely agreed with everything I wrote like the several people who messaged me. Or maybe you didn't, like some others who have taken a jab at me indirectly on social media (đŸ˜‚ ), that's fine too. I am more than open to discussions about it, and about patriarchy generally. There is a lot of unlearning that we all need to do because of how we have been socially conditioned, so let's keep the discussion going!



I promised to be Zen in a subsequent post, I meant it. Remember these playlists here and here? This post is somewhat similar, not because it is a playlist but because it was inspired by a song. The song is called Seasons and it's by Hillsong. This year is coming to an end and it's so easy to feel frustrated. Perhaps many of the things you had planned did not happen. It was supposed to be this year. You WROTE it down. You had FAITH powerful enough to move mountains. You were hardworking and tenacious. And most of all, you prayed. But the year was mediocre, it was just there...average. No highs, no lows, just flat. It's  understandable that you would be tempted to question God. Before I go on to how that song ministered to me, I want to express an unpopular opinion; which is, most of life is really just that: steady, with nothing earth-shattering happening. I think we need to learn to embrace the mundane.

though the winter is long even richer
the harvest it brings
though my waiting prolongs even greater
your promise for me like a seed
I believe that my season will come

More importantly, we need to understand seasons. It's like that song says, winter comes for us all. One of the greatest principles God laid in the foundations of the earth is that of time and seasons. There is summer, and then it goes and gives way for fall, and then fall introduces winter, which is usually hard on people. But eventually, and SURELY, winter would end and give way for spring. So maybe you are in winter now (like those of us in the U.S. literally are haha) and it feels like it's hard. You have to remember—trite as it may sound—that this season WILL pass. Spring has to happen and for that to happen, winter has to disappear. In fact nowadays, with *ahem* global warming and climate change, winter just glides right into summer. Whatever the case is, WINTER MUST SURELY END. What nature gives us with these actual weather seasons is the gift of patience, the song says. We can adopt this principle to fit our lives. Your season will come. Just wait.

Like a seed in the snow
I've been buried to grow
for your promise is loyal
from seed to sequoia

If you Google sequoia, you would see it's very big and it's roots spread out exponentially...but even that started from a teeny weeny seed buried. If it wasn't buried, it would never have grown. God's principle and promises are loyal to a fault: seeds [previously buried] can and normally become evident for the whole world to see.

i can see the promise
i can see the future
you're the God of seasons
i'm just in the winter
if all i know of harvests
is that it's worth my patience
then if You're not done working
God i'm not done waiting

Sometimes these seasons are set in stone, other times God is flexible and works according to other preordained plans. God takes his time, and where we only see a tiny portion, God has the whole view. And when it's time, you WILL know. So relax, and enjoy your current season as best as you can. Knowing God and from past experiences, it will be worth our wait. And seriously, if God is not done working, why should you be done waiting? Keep expecting. Be expectant.

for all i know of seasons
is that you take your time
you could have saved us in a second
instead You sent a child

I felt like I needed to put this out here for someone to be encouraged. But really also for myself.  [Y]Our season WILL come.

Love,

I

Why Skinny Girl In Transit’s Finale Was Problematic And Why We Should Do Better

I write this with awareness of a part of my history. I have a history of being known as somewhat of a sourpuss, because I tend to analyze and overthink everything, especially when I have time on my hands like I currently do (Yay for Christmas holiday!). I don't really know how to just observe something for fun. I have to nitpick and check for subtexts and underlying messages. It irritates many people. Case in point: Friday’s season finale of the web show, Skinny Girl in Transit (SGIT). Hmmph. Of course it was cheesy, fun, lighthearted, and yes it had us grinning from ear to ear. But after it was done, I had way too many problems with it. For a little bit of context, SGIT tells the story of Tiwa, a 30 year-old Nigerian OAP* trying to lose weight, whom we follow, through the ups and down of her dating life; her dramatic Yoruba mother; and her chirpy, but spoilt younger sister. It’s fun, and as with most shows these days with black female leads, she does a lot of self-sabotaging. But it’s fun. Last season, she met this Yoruba angel**, Mide. Mide is the quintessential beau. He is FINE—read, drop dead gorgeous—RICH (owns several corporations in Lagos), generous (hellooo!), and just all round cute. Everybody loves Mide. The problem is—and I started to notice this season—Mide is a little bit controlling. He is excessively jealous (he would randomly show up on her jogging route to surprise her and make sure she doesn't talk to boys) and has a little bit of passive aggression. But, Mide is cute. So we love him. We love their relationship. We oohh and awww every time they kiss.

Now something happened (I don’t want to say what happened for two reasons: first, so as not to spoil it for you should you decide to watch the show. Second, it does NOT matter what happened). Anyway, Tiwa had offended Mide, and he got very angry. So angry, he had been planning to propose and then decided not to. Now, here is where the problem comes. First of all, Mide was so angry, he told Tiwa to get off his car IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT on the streets of Lagos. Okay let’s just say that was in the heat of the moment.  How about this: he ignored her for weeks while she attempted to contact him. She went for weeks without eating and sleeping, she quit her job, and almost practically lost her mind because of this guy. Yet he didn’t deem it fit to talk to her or even acknowledge her existence. This narrative of women as helpless and lost without a man makes me uncomfortable. In the season finale, they made up (sorry for the spoiler!), but only after she got on her knees, wept at his doorstep like a homeless person, and almost practically proposed to him. CRINGE. I’m quite angry that even I found their reconciliation cute, because honestly the so-called Tiwa’s offense was grossly exaggerated. I don’t even care what she did, like I put on Instagram, Mide’s response (or lack of) was emotional abuse. Don’t date men who hold you to ransom emotionally. The signs of emotional abuse are always so glaring, and somehow we still always ignore/miss it. I know SGIT is all fun, so I don’t blame the writers or those involved; what’s worrisome is how much we overlooked it. What’s worrisome is that the domination of men is so prevalent, it is our normal.

Now consider what's happening in real life with Kevin Hart. I don’t want to butt into married folks business because it’s really none of our business. But everyone knows Kevin Hart allegedly cheated on his PREGNANT wife. God, men really are scum (as they say on Twitter) LOL. Anyway, somehow she forgave him. Good for them. And I really had no opinion about the whole thing until I saw his most recent interview at the Breakfast Club and I wanted to puke. Guys, we need to do better at holding men accountable. When women do the slightest thing, we are supposed to grovel. When men do the worst thing, we are supposed to just ignore it. Hart kept insisting he wasn’t a perfect man. And to his credit, he took full responsibility for his actions, but kept insisting it was God’s punch in his gut to knock him back to reality. In his words, him cheating on his wife was a "blessing in disguise". [Insert gif of that white guy doing a double blink] As in, come again for big fudge?*** Gosh, men are so freaking entitled. The gall!! Jesus Christ. I couldn’t believe my ears. In the interview room of three men and one woman, ALL three men have at one point in the past cheated on their wives in what was a public cheating scandal. This idea that full grown men need to hurt and humiliate women they supposedly love, before they can actually grow up is nonsensical. I mean, I read the New York Times interview with Jay Z and I thought, aww this is so amazing and mature; you know, the way he handled questions of his cheating. I really admired it. In retrospect, that was a whole load of BS. That one was allegedly cheating on his wife while she dealt with miscarriages. Who are these people?? And how does this even work?! What sucks the most is, black women bear the brunt of this rubbish the most. Black women are ONLY ever described as strong after enduring the worst emotional and sometimes physical abuse from idiotic [and mostly] black men. This is why we need feminism. The awareness that comes with it implores you (at least me) to demand better, to require better, and never settle for less. The awareness reminds you it’s better to die old and rotten alone with 12 cats than be with a man with no respect for you. It helps you be comfortable all by yourself and never, ever settle. And if for any reason, you make the mistake of getting together with scum, feminism tells you there is a way out.  You don’t have to be stuck, there are literally more than 1 billion of them on earth; find another one. I told my siblings that dating, as a feminist, is way better than when I was ignorant and didn’t know any better. Because not only will I always hold you accountable, I flat out tell you what I expect from you. This has made me emotionally healthier.  My tolerance of BS is at an all time low. Thank you Jesus for waking me up, and for the wisdom to (try to) constantly see myself and my power as a strong, smart black woman, who rocks.

If this felt like a rant, it’s because it is a rant. We need to do better as a society. Demand better. Raise better sons. And make sure men are held accountable for their actions.

This is a hostile return after such a long break hahaha. Forgive me. I will be back to being Zen in subsequent posts ☺

Love,

I

*On air personality
** a  Nigerian colloquial used to describe a good guy. Coined as the opposite of another colloquial, Yoruba demon, which is…pretty self-explanatory.
***An Easter egg only fans of How I Met Your Mother can understand hahaha

Friday Reflections

1.) How can a party that stands with and for so many vile people proclaim itself as Christian?

2.) An actual rocket scientist. And she is a black woman. Yea, we ROCK.

3.) The new woke Christian.

4.) Luvvie says White women need to get their shit together. You know what? I agree with her.

5.) Some great essays from 2017

6.) Thank you black women in Alabama. You rock.

7.) Christmas break is hereeeeee!

8.) I really, desperately needed a break and now that I have one, I'm taking full advantage. 

Friday Reflections

1.) Some questions to ask your partner before marriage if you want to avoid divorce.

2.) The career advice to give a 25 year old

3.) How Dr. Eric Kandel, a neuroscientist and nobel laureate, spends his Sundays. I follow New York Times' Sunday Routine, and that's one of my favorites!

4.) Going with your guts.

5.) This unlikely friendship will probably make you smile.

6.) Billy Bush's story. I like that he acknowledged his fault in all of this. I also wonder why one party was rewarded with the highest office of the land, and the other  practically lost everything.

7.) "In a world that wants us to whisper, I choose to yell." -  Luvvie, dishing out truths


Friday Reflections

1.) 200 women who will change the way you see the world. I can't wait to lay my hands on the book.

2.) If I buy all the books on my Amazon wish-list, I probably won't be able to afford my rent :-( I want them allllllllll

3.) I HATE public transit and transportation systems. Like, literally ALL of them.

4.) I also HATE speaking to customer care representatives; it is incredibly exhausting and time wasting.

5.) Ignorance. I've been thinking about that concept a lot.

6.) Anyway, how was thanksgiving?

7.) For all my traveling wahala, mine was good so it was worth it.

8.) I just have to figure out how to go back to real life.

9.) Meanwhile I drank more wine yesterday than the entire year combined. AND I need more right now.

On Thanksgiving

Someone mentioned that social media is filled with people tensioning others; that "there is a lot of brokenness debts, failings and troubled minds behind loads of those beautiful photos. Don't let anyone's beautiful cosmetic reality make you feel like your real life is ugly."

I disagree.


Of course, those things all exist. But there is also a lot of beauty, joy, happiness behind many pictures as well. The amount of joy depicted in some of these pictures mirrors the reality of those in the pictures. Not everyone is putting up a facade. The truth is, you have to find your joy even if people are seemingly (or definitely) better than you. Remember, comparison is the thief of joy. Because people WILL always be better than you. I don't care how great you are. I recently found out about Steph Curry's best-friend, Bryant Barr. They were both players in college, and neither of them was expected to become a superstar athlete. But Curry defied the odds and became...well, Steph Curry. Barr on the other hand went to Corporate America, and made his own way. He shared a story of Curry once stopping by his office and finding Barr's cubicle at work so fascinating, he (Curry) asked for a photo of him (Curry) to be taken while pretending to be on a call. Curry had never done such a thing; work in an office for someone. Imagine that being your life: never having hunted for a job, or have an annoying supervisor, or talk to annoying clients over the phone. People therefore, find it incredibly hard to believe the Barr isn't jealous or envious of Curry. Whereas Barr insists if you really knew him, you would know how content and secure he is in himself; so much that he and Curry enjoy a great friendship and there is NO envy. Their wives are best-friends; they are godfathers to each other's kids; they were best-men at each other's weddings. Contentment will give you peace unlimited. It will help you understand that  individual paths and purpose differ just like day and night. It will help you understand that God's will is the best choice ultimately. It will help you face your own journey and mind your own business.

That's where I am currently. I can't speak for tomorrow. Today though; this season, I am incredibly content. This thanksgiving, I challenge you to be content, to find peace. Like I put on my insta stories (which I've been using more than usual haha), what I am most thankful to God for is replacing my fears with immense joy and great power. I'm thankful for MANY things, but those top the list this year. Does it matter that life isn't perfect? Maybe. Does it matter someone is exponentially better than you? So what? Find peace anyway. Find joy anyway. God gives these things in great amount.

Anyway, that's where I am this thanksgiving. Incredibly thankful. I hope you are too.

Love,

I

Friday Reflections

1.) When anxiety attacks.

2.) The best birthday gift ever hahaha

3.) Can you imagine being over 6ft tall, black, burly and then thinking of nowhere else to shoplift, but CHINA, where...wait for it, you stand out like neon pink in a pale room. Stupidity at its highest order.

4.) I mean, imagine being so stupid, the president had to call to bail your behind. And I know their parents TAUGHT them better. They are just a bunch of entitled, spoilt, ungrateful brats. Yes, I'm irritated.

5.) Sigh Gabby Douglas just made a huge mistake; attributing rape to immodest dressing. Ugh. The thing with patriarchy is that we are so socially conditioned to accept it, even when it hurts us, we don't recognize. The victim in this case was assaulted by her doctor during her medical exam. So it had nothing to do with how she dressed!

6.) Rape has NOTHING to do with how the victim is dressed. Absolutely nothing. Stop policing what women wear!

7.) That being said, as a society we have to learn t forgive. We can't just banish and sanction people forever for every mistake they make. In this case, it was clearly stupid. But in some other cases, we banish people for thinking differently than us!!

8.) Be careful so that in your bid to liberate people, you don't further imprison them.

On Comparison Being The Thief of Joy

Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose, Maria. Earthquakes. Tornadoes. Nuclear powers threatening each other like kids on a playground. Jesus needs to take the wheels

I wrote that intro two months ago in September. And things are probably worse now. Let me re-write one for this season:

A revolution against sexual assault in all of America (yay!). Prevalent gun violence. And a tax bill that threatens to ruin scientific pursuit as we know it. YES, if Jesus doesn't take the wheels, we are doomed ha. May God help us!

Okay so moving on. I want to write about comparison. I have had this draft for a while, but this week, and in different capacities, it was something that kept coming up. That phrase 'comparison is the thief of joy' is NOT a lie. It is incredibly true. I feel like the world is currently set up for us to compete. It starts from childhood: parents compare their kids to other kids. Some of us went to schools that literally pit us against each other by giving us positions at the end of each academic term—1st , 2nd, 3rd etc. When you are doing exceptionally well, like I was in primary school, it feeds your ego. However, when you step off that high horse and proceed to a secondary school like mine, and you have to compete with the best people, it crushes your ego and self esteem. I think that position thing is incredibly stupid, by the way.  Social media is structured for comparison too. It is probably the hallmark. Don't even get me started on social media as a tool for comparison.


So yes, we are set up to compete and compare ourselves to others. It's really toxic. Sometime ago, there was a story out of Lagos, of this primary school child that poisoned his/her classmate because the classmate consistently came first, while the perpetrator consistently followed behind as second. They were like in primary four or something ridiculous. And she/he regularly poisoned him for months or so, till the victim fell ill. That is brutal.

See, there are two possible outcomes from comparing yourself to someone else. First, you probably realize you fall short in the comparison, when you find them better than you are. You then become enveloped with envy, jealousy, and bitterness. Your self-esteem suffers because you start feeling incredibly insecure. The next thing is you're stressing yourself because you chose to compare yourself with someone on a different journey than you. This kind of stress can not only spur you into hatred, it can make you make irrational decisions that harm you in the long run. The final straw on the camel's back that convinced me to make this comparison post public, was listening to a message by TD Jakes tonight. The title literally had nothing to do with comparison, so when  I heard him mention comparison, I was like whoa. Yup, this is NOT a coincidence. He said you will never have peace if you keep comparing yourself to others. Instead deal with the cards God gave YOU or you'll be perpetually miserable.

A second outcome is pride. Perhaps you actually are better than that person. But so what? Pride is intoxicating as hell. And it comes right before a fall, and it is just as, if not more foolish. The Bible has lots of warnings against pride and boasting. It feeds your ego unnecessarily; it breeds self-conceit and self-righteousness. The Bible warns STERNLY against comparison. Don't even compare your spirituality: as in, "I'm a better Christian than lagbaja". No. And some of you don't say it outrightly, you imply it. You boast of your spirituality or how you can pray the devil back to hell; how you spend one million hours in His presence; how you are able to discern His voice. Okay, it makes you feel better about yourself for a little while, but what happens after? Misery.  See, God understands that he gave differently to different people.

So you see neither outcome benefits you.

Not to mention, comparison just pushes you. It pushes you so much, you find yourself basically living your life for others; doing things for the wrong reasons.

"It is better to be a great sergeant, than to be a poor general." -TD Jakes

Don't go about doing something you are average at because it feeds your ego, thereby neglecting what you are excellent at because I gats be better than lagbaja. Don't kill yourself. Respect your lane. So I am making a conscious decision to really, really face my lane; to not compare myself to other people. You should too.

Love,

I

Book of the Month: The Underground Railroad

Let's just pretend like I didn't just abruptly stop this book of the month thing for a while, shall we?

I hate slave movies; slave T.V. shows; slave books even. I don't like them; which is why I refuse to watch movies based on slavery, even those that have won all the awards. I think they are really horrible, and while I appreciate the need to tell these stories and remind people of America's horrible past, I'm also uncomfortable with the fact that the black movies that win the awards are specifically those that depict black folks as subservient. The ones that depict us a defiant; as math nerds; as extraordinary, are snubbed.


So the book, "The Underground Railroad" was not really my first choice in the list of books for my book club for that particular month--September. Yes, I'm only just getting to write about it.  But my first choice, Hilary Clinton's What Happened was removed from the list. So I went with this and I don't regret the decision. I think it's necessary for this society we live in to see the atrocities black people were exposed to. I include excerpts from the book at various points in this post to give you an idea of the monstrosity I'm talking about.

It's written by Colson Whitehead and is an alternative history novel that tells the story of two slaves in the 1800s as they make their way to freedom from a Georgia plantation through the Underground Railroad. In real life, the Underground Railroad was a series of safe houses and a network of secret routes that black slaves used to escape to into free states.  In the book, the underground railroad was actually a subway system.

The book focuses on Cora, a black slave, but devotes single chapters to other characters like Cora's grandmother; Caesar, who was also on the run with Cora; and a slave-catcher, Ridgeway. We are first met with Ajarry, Cora's grandmother, who was snatched from West Africa and dragged across the ocean on a slave ship.The book proceeds to tell us about Cora who has been excommunicated on the plantation, after her mother ran away and abandoned her. Later, Caesar approached Cora with the idea to run away from the plantation; an idea she wasn't first welcomed to. Eventually, she had no choice but accept Caesar's proposal, given the situation on the plantation with the slave owners. So the bulk of the book is about their long journey to freedom. They also had to question their own morality on the way, after being faced with a series of hard choices that depended on their survival.

"Lucy and Titania never spoke, the former because she chose not to and the latter because her tongue had been hacked out by a previous owner." (p.47)

I think it's a great book. I also think it's traumatizing and very infuriating that people in that century, some ancestors of white folks, were that inhumane. While reading, I often had to pause for a while just to catch my breath, and be thankful for my freedom. In the book, we also see how black women were being sterilized and black men were used as experiments to track the spread of syphilis. To say this book demonstrated the horrific and monstrous actions during the slave era would be an understatement. The humiliation, the fear, the sexual and physical abuse. It was a lot.

"...they gathered on the front lawn. Randall's visitors sipped spiced rum as Big Anthony was doused with oil and roasted. The witnesses were spared his screams, as his manhood had been cut off on the first day, stuffed in his mouth, and sewn in. The stocks smoked, charred, and burned, the figures in the wood twisting in the flames as if alive." (p. 63) 

But even then, we see some white people, who stood on the right side of history, by helping the slaves escape into freedom, even if it meant risking their lives and their families. We also see bravery and courage in Cora, who risked her life for the ultimate prize of freedom.  I wonder, if Cora had known the horror that was ahead, would she still have embarked on that journey?

The truth is, the book was painful to read. But perhaps it will help people further understand the anger in the African-American community. The fact that centuries after, black people are still being oppressed and racism is still pervasive is unfortunate. Perhaps, people will understand that although slavery ended a while ago, the legacy was still passed on from generation to generation.
You know, sometimes, people say:

African-Americans complain too much

Or express similar sentiments.  It actually sounds like Well, better be grateful for the opportunities you're given; As though they are still visitors, when the truth is their ancestors built this land. Not to mention the generational privileges they missed out out. People often forget that even if it's just knowledge your parents were able to pass on to you; or if it's that one house that has been passed from generation to generation; it's still some sort of privilege. Up till very recently, blacks did not have the same access to loans, mortgages etc. that whites did. These are inherited traumas that still affect lives of black people. And this is just scratching the surfacing. There are way more, but first things first is acknowledgement.

Anyway, the book of this month is poignant, it's necessary, it's worth every minute.

Love,

I

Friday Reflections

1.) My fashion nationalism.

2.) Grey's Anatomy had it's 300th episode yesterday, and it was incredibly great. I love that it incorporated what makes Grey's Grey's. It was beautiful. And of course, tears inducing.

3.) Grey's Anatomy is truly my happy place. I have watched most of 299 of those 300 at least twice!

4.) Shonda on the 300th episode. So emosh...

5.) Winter is here!

6.) So someone legit equated pedophilia to VIRGIN Mary and Joseph. You guys, American politicians are exhausting.

7.) I think, for me, the most infuriating is how people really believe them when they call themselves "Christians". Religion is nothing but a weapon of oppression for many Republicans. Family values my foot.

8.) Gentle reminder that Jesus is a calm in the storm.

9.) I'm super thankful for peace. Can't quite explain it...but peace.

10.) I was reading old blogposts on this blog. I really have grown. And that's another beauty of blogging; when I see an old post, I am able to tell where I was in life and my emotional wellbeing at the time of writing.

11.) I truly am thankful

On Resetting The Clock

This post was due on Sunday, but I forgot to post it. I wasn't even too buy, I just forgot.

That being said, everyone knows daylight savings ended on Sunday, November 5th in the U.S., at least for those of us on the eastern standard time, and some on pacific standard time too. So what's daylight savings; for my Nigerian or non-American friends, or just my friends who aren't conversant with it. It's pretty much advancing the time on the clock sometime in March or beginning of spring, so that evening daylight lasts longer. This means in November, close to winter, we fall back. When the clock struck 1:59am, instead of moving to 2:00am, it became 1:00am again. It's the perfect natural experiment (yes putting my researcher hat on). Not to mention, we gain an entire hour. The cost of this of course is stepping out of work by 5:30pm and everywhere is already dark. That's never fun for anyone. I also imagine depression peaks during these periods not just because of the holidays, but because of the early nights. But don't quote me on that, please.



Okay so, since daylight savings ended last year [of course my devices automatically adjusted. Even the cable box fixes itself] I have not reset my wristwatch. I thought of it as an experiment. Lol yes research hat on. I wanted to see how fast (or so) a year could be. So for most the past year, my wrist watch (the one I wear most often) was an hour behind. For clarity, between November 2016 and March 2017, my watch was correct. The rest of the time, it wasn't.

Let me just say a year is LONG. It doesn't just fly by. A year is actually a very long time. It's funny because the usual thing to say is, "this year flew by so fast" etc. In reality, or the truth is it did not. A year is a long, long time. We also like to say, "life is short". Again, in reality life is actually long. The average life expectancy in the U.S. is about 78 years old. Think about that for a second, SEVENTY years is a helluva long time. I say all this to say, make the most of it. Really, it's that simple. If it sounds cliche, it's because it's the truth. Start that thing now; start a habit now; start it now; and watch the ripple effects in a year. I think about where I was last year the last time I changed this watch, and God, I'm so much better. I don't mean in the sense people usually would; I mean I'm more confident in my abilities; I have put in more work; and to some extent feel a greater sense of peace. Also sometimes when progress is gradual, we rarely acknowledge it. We only get hyped about sudden jumps; huge changes. But life is actually a cumulation of small and incremental progress. One example I can think of is my learning of French language: and this is the WORST possible example ever, because even I know that's the one thing I slacked off on the most. Still, I'm a much better French speaker than I was last year. You want to lose weight? Start right now. You want to write a book? Or get better at a skill; give some minutes every day for the next year to that thing you want to see a difference in, and see if there won't be change.

Reset the clock, and start all over again.

Love,

I

Friday Reflections

1.) I always believed Meredith and Cristina's friendship was the most special TV relationship ever...well, Grace and Frankie's comes pretty close.

2.) I also believe Lily Tomlin might be the funniest person on earth

3.) Emotional labor and gender inequality: women are fed up.

4.) The thing for me, with perseverance is that it's a double edged sword. On the one hand, you have to learn to realize when to STOP. On the other, you can't be too quick to give up. This author thinks so too.

5.) I remember telling my sister we don't need any more sophisticated technology on our phones; how about channeling all that genius to solve serious health issues. This is a welcomed development.

6.) Husband and wife share both sides of their love story

7.) "Human beings are inherently good judges of character, but we ignore that gift for our temporary and fleeting feelings" - Me

8.) Look, even I realize how cheesy it is to freaking quote yourself, but I said it while chatting with my siblings and it looks like a really good idea. So, don't judge me.

9.) Fingers crossed, and praying really hard for something. And I will come back here to testify in Jesus name.

10.) I have had some of these in draft for monthsss. Ugh life really does happen, but I'm back :)

On The Balance Between God's Grace and His Discpline

If you think God would strike a person down/hate a person for divorcing a spouse who was probably abusive, then we don't serve the same God.

If you think God allows any and everything in the name of "grace"; if you think freewill means we can do what we want and how we want as long as we "love", we probably don't serve the same God.

Yes it seems contradictory. The truth however is, just as the grace of God is sufficient and we DON'T need to work for it, so it is that those whom the Lord loves, He disciplines. Now this is a hard part. No one wants to hear that. We, our generation in particular, is notoriously morally rebellious; so to be accountable to an unseen God is pretty much an abomination. But the truth is life is more than you and your feelings. Yes, they are valid a lot of times, but I'm pretty sure God never ever promised a life with  no struggles; I'm also pretty sure he never gave us a carte blanche to do what we like, you know as long as it makes us feel good or it's "our choice". Er no.



Rather he tells us to ENDURE our race and to not be bugged down by sin. This can be broken down into many spheres. But that verse in Hebrews 12 continues by stating that Jesus endured the shame and pain on the cross because joy awaited him. So should we strive to not get bugged down by life's struggles and the temptation to sin. Because a lot of times, a lot of things look like an expression of freedom; when you really are a slave to to that thing/vice you can't exist without. Of course, no one is perfect, and we do NOT work for grace. It's given freely.

"You mean to tell me it's beyond just 'loving'?" "I thought as long as we 'love' [read tolerate and enable all sorts] we'd be fine?" Yeah no. God disciplines those he loves. He does. As far as I know, any good parent disciplines their kids. I don't care how perfect you were as a child, at some point your parents must have disciplined you.  It doesn't mean they stopped loving you. It doesn't mean you had to do anything to secure that love. For most of us, our parents love us no matter what becomes of us. Indeed, most of us have been loved by our parents the moment we were conceived.  Yet, every once in a while we did things that went against the very principles and values they instilled in us. And we got punished for it. We endured the discipline, mostly because we had no choice haha. I think we can extend that to our relationship with God. I think we should strive to do right by God. We will probably sometimes fail at this, but try anyway. It's really tricky talking about God's discipline because it can get blurred with this picture some people paint of Him: as a vindictive being waiting for us to slip so He can be like "Gotcha!!!" and then strike us. No. The bible says he is SLOW to anger and abundant in compassion; lovingkindness; mercy.

So two things: one strive to do right by God. Second, fix your eyes on Jesus and don't give up too easily when you fail. Endure, endure, endure. God is NOT a bellhop whose main function is to be at our beck and call and give us what we want, when we want it. No. Hard times build your character, your strength, your endurance, your perseverance. Hard times here encapsulates everything: from living right, to career, to relationships, to work...anything you value, really. The Christian life involves hard work anddiligence...don't get it twisted.

It's an interesting balance between two extremes: God never hates you; it's the sin in you He hates. Yet because of the magnitude of his love for you, he'd rather you not do certain things. But hey, it still is your choice. Just know, every choice, EVERY one of our choices has consequences.

Love,

I

P.S: I think I'm backkkkk to blogging. I missed it and actually just need a creative outlet so I don't get stifled by other things I enjoy doing.

On Powerful Men and Sexual Assault

I know; it's bad. There is no excuse, really. It is also [somewhat] deliberate. I'm so sick of deadlines that I didn't want to be bound by one. I also kinda didn't have the time. Yeah, so those were actually excuses. I don't even think I'm back to regular programming. Anyway, everyone has heard of Weinstein, the alleged predator who has...where do I even begin? You know the rest. I wasn't actually following the story as I was just sick of disgusting men taking advantage of women, so I didn't read the expose or any of the think pieces that followed. I did however read Lupita Nyong'o's op ed on New York times. I was so furious, I penned some thoughts on Facebook. It had been a while I actually posted a status on Facebook or anywhere else, how much more a long rant. The conversation of posting thoughts on social media is for another time. I think I want to blog on that too and on many other things really, but I don't feel like right. Anyway,  find below my rant.

Friday Reflections

1.) There is the struggle to write. And then the struggle to actually post them. The latter was my thing this week. I had stuff to post. I just did not get to it.

2.) How to be alone.

3.) Am I just in need of good ol' inspiration, or is this the most inspiring story ever? Gosh. God is good.

4.) My favorite fall thing is to get excited about all my shows being back on. But some of them have been so disappointing lately that I couldn't be any less bothered. Either that or *gasp* I just don't have the time.

5.) Adulthood is feeling excited about new sheets.


Friday Reflections

1.) The week her husband left her and her home was burgled, she got a grant to begin a project that would pioneer breast cancer research.

2.) Shonda Rhimes, first woman to create three hit shows with more than 100 episodes each.

3.) I don't know who Cardi B is, but I stumbled on these words of wisdom from her. She was spot on.

4.) Julian Assange, a man without a country. I don't think I have ever seen a more egoistical maniac, with a boatload of narcissism to boot. And his fans need to tell him to tuck in his misogyny. I mean the man did compare himself to Gandhi...to Mandela...sheesh

5.) Hilary Rodham Clinton, first woman to win a major party’s nomination for President.

6.) It's crazy how much we can achieve if we put our hearts to it.

7.) Apparently, the world is ending tomorrow. Ha.

8.) I think my dentist has ghosted me.

9.) I [literally] just started the show Grace and Frankie, and a character's name is NWABUDIKE! I mean, talk about representation hahaha. They call him Bud though. Bud...? Seriously?



ON THE POWER OF WORSHIP PLUS A PLAYLIST Pt.2

Here is part one. You gotta give me credit for promising to be back with a second part and actually coming back. Especially considering the week I have had. But heyyy no complaints here at all.



Did you enjoy those [from part 1]? Anyway, here goes a second part.

4.) Grace to grace, by Hillsong.
I love this song because it reminds me of a fundamental aspect of Christianity: the grace of God. It also reminds us that Christ died for us. That foundational truth is so easy to forget. We just live our lives, profess a love for God, but how often is it in our consciousness that Christ actually DIED for us. He paid our debt. We were asked recently how often we remember that Christ resurrected. We all said Easter. It's not that we don't know. Of course we do. But we take it for granted, for lack of a better word.

My debt is paid...
When I see that cross, I see FREEDOM
When I see that grave, I see Jesus
From death to life, I will sing your praise
In the wonder of your name/grace
How my soul will sing your praise
How wonderful are my Savior's scars....victorious

5.) Waymaker by Sinach
You know I gotta rep Naija. Like the title, it extols God for who He is: a way-maker. I first heard this song during the Olowogbogboro challenge. Yes, I'm a latecomer like that. First of all, y'all know that was one heck of an experience, so it's no surprise the song found and gave meaning to my life. Let's just say I really needed light in my life at the time. And God's presence indeed was all the light I could ever need. So yes it acknowledges the presence of God. This song reminds you God is still in the business of meeting needs and listening to every prayers. He truly is.

Way-maker, miracle-worker, promise-keeper
Light in the darkness
My God that is who You are
You are here touching every heart
I worship You
You are here healing every heart
You WIPE away all tears and mend BROKEN HEARTS.... Yaaassss

6.) Touch the Sky, by Hillsong
No shame in my game. I love Hillsong. Period. This is a mini testimony for me. And I think it's the first in these songs that sort of tells our own perspective more than declare who God is. In that it explains God as an anchor. When it's less about you, and more about God and others, that's when you begin to soar. If you are going to reach the top, you have to learn humility. I hear for a good marriage, you somewhat die to self? Well, in this relationship with God, it won't always be all about you. And that's sweet, because watch how you touch the sky when your knees hit the ground. He who wants to lead or become great, must first be a servant. Hey I didn't make the rules. Haha.

My heart beating
My soul breathing
I found my life when I laid it down
Spirit soaring
I touch the sky when my knees hit the ground
Everything I am...reaching out I surrender

Again, I will stop here for now. I think I will be back next week or make this some sort of regular update. I don't want to bombard you all at once. Of course, there is the off chance that you already know all of these songs haha. Still, I hope you reading this inspires you to truly dig deep to find what these songs mean to you. I'd love to hear that. Let me know what you think.

Love,

I

TLDR: seriously? C'mon now it was just a list. Oya go back up and read everything :p

On Complaining And My Challenge

Oh this is good. This affects everyone. Everywhere you go, people are complaining. About the economy; about their political leaders; about work; about traffic; about social media; about their future; about their families. Pretty much about everything under the darn sun. Now don't get me wrong, I complain too. Ha I'm chief complainer.



Sometimes we even complain about something that's absolutely okay. We complain even if things are great. It almost feels like the norm to just complain about something. I don't know how and when this culture of complaining permeated our lives his much, but it has. And it keeps eating at us. To be clear, there ARE MANY things wrong with the world and with us, and we are sometimes right to complain.

However, I am now almost convinced some of us just like the sound of our own voices while we complain. At the risk of sounding ignorant; I have to say when you hear the ridiculous thing some folks complain about, you really want to smack them. Myself included. I'm not even talking about silly first world problems now. I'm speaking more generally about someone, who maybe has a great job, a great family, even occasionally affords the yearly vacation, but is still hard pressed about how life in Nigeria/America/insert whatever country is so aggravating. Bla bla bla.

I have given enough disclaimer: I get it; life is hard sometimes. Other times though, we are just ungrateful brats.

I heard myself complain [again] sometime last week. I was whining to myself about the unrealistic amount of workload I had. Then I called myself to order. How about first STARTING the task before even complaining. Now remember my challenge here: and my success with it, if I say so myself?

I want to start another one: to stop complaining. I have decided that for every time I get the urge to complain, I would do two things instead. First, thank God for the other things that are wonderful in my life. For many of us, this should come easy because there are really many awesome stuff going on. The second thing to do rather than complain, is to do one thing towards alleviating what I want to complain about. So let's say I want to complain about not getting enough sleep, well then go to bed earlier, Ife. Even if it's just 30 minutes earlier. Or suppose I want to complain about how messy somewhere is, then start cleaning. Or suppose traffic is what bothers you, leave home early.

Of course the above is assuming everything you complain about has to do with you. Sometimes it's others. Then just remember you can't control how others behave. Find peace in that. You only really have control over how you react.

So this is my challenge as well as yours. Check yourself and try to reduce (maybe not completely stop) how much you complain. Yes our political leaders suck (this can literally apply to most countries of the world ha). Yes the economy is bad. Yes you need a better pay (don't we all?). Yes yes yes. But also yes, you are alive and well and doing ok. You will be fine. We all will.

TLDR: stop complaining. Be grateful and be more proactive.

Love,

I

P.s: I am not trivializing anyone's struggles at all. I have mine too and have just realized we can better manage our struggles. Fin.

Friday Reflections

1.) What is God's will for my life?

2.) Why do we find it so hard to enjoy the mundane, the normal, the boring? And yearn so desperately for excitement all the time?

3.) "My sister sells flat tummy tea on Instagram. I mean she's got hella followers, but what's her endgame?" Lmaoooo Insecure has the best, THE BEST dialogue on TV currently.

4.) This great story of how a rich man opened his home to victims of Irma.

5.) I've always talked about how Cristina Yang is my favorite fictional character ever. Period. The thing though is, I feel like if I knew someone like that in real life, I probably would not want to be her friend haha.

6.) I'm starting another Whole 30! Whoop....to share my experience or nah?

7.) I started reading a great book today, so I will probably have a book of the month. Yay. Haa it's been too long I posted one of these.

8.) Gosh kindness is such an important attribute. I mean, smarts is good. Gee, everyone is smart in some way (this is NOT true lol). Seriously now, human decency, courteousness, kindness are so rare nowadays.

9.) Why we fell for clean eating; an obsession with "clean eating".

10.) Read this post explaining why the author is transitioning away from veganism.

On The Power of Worship Plus a Playlist

For the longest time, I never really liked songs. I didn't get their appeal or perhaps, I just wasn't interested in them. So the way people describe having magical moments? Well, it never applied to me. This extended to worship songs as well: songs we sing to God in worship.



As far as I was concerned, when speaking of worship as a concept, my favorite way to remind myself of God's awe has always been through the Bible. I feel like some people love to sing, some others pray...I believe mine is reading the Bible and talking about God. So whenever I would see people crumble in tears during worship sessions, I used to be surprised. To me, praise and worship was mostly about having a good time—albeit  in God's presence.

Well all that is beginning to change. More recently I have been listening to songs that are exceedingly powerful. Songs that, by themselves speak to the greatness and power of God. Gosh, Hillsong Choir is pretty astounding. They are a group of highly talented individuals.  It goes beyond the singing (which in itself is great); it extends to the writing and overall production of the songs. The lyrics of their songs are filled with depth and meaning.

I now truly understand and believe those who emphasize the act of worship as an essential aspect of worshipping God. Anyway, in that vein I decided to share (I love to share, don't I?) a list some songs that have spoken to me recently, and of course I also say one or two things about them. I also think ever since joining the presentation team in Church—which  involves posting the lyrics of songs on the big screen among other things—I find myself appreciating the true meanings to those words I post. This is another way my life has been enriched since choosing to serve.  Anyway, here we go.


On How To Make a Decision

I came across a plan on YouVersion. I have to digress to talk a little about YouVersion because it's absolutely fantastic, and wherever you are in life, you can find something that speaks to you and helps you grow in your faith. Anyway, this plan was on decision-making and I knew I had to share some of what I learnt. Because people are very concerned, borderline obsessed with making decisions. They want to know if they are making the right decisions, and if so, is there a better alternative? How can I pick the one that best serves me? What if I pick door/option A and in the future it doesn't work out. How can I pick between two jobs, or two schools, or ahem two men? I do not have all the answers for you. I do however have some suggestions based on a recently completed plan on YouVersion, whose name currently eludes me now. Good thing is the actual points are not forgotten...at least not yet.


1.) Consider The Consequences
Of course, pray about it first. This goes without saying, and especially for Christians. So now that you have prayed, when making a decision, first start by considering the potential consequences of your actions. Every action has consequences, good or bad. Remember that. An interesting analogy for that is Deuteronomy 28:1-6. It contains a lot of blessings. My favorite  being:

"Wherever you go and whatever you do, you will be blessed" - Deuteronomy 28:6

And us Christians, ha. We love those one liners, or verses that we can just mumble all day like incantations, with the hope that a constant recitation would somehow automatically get rid of all our problems. To be clear, quoting bible verses is awesome. Constant meditation is even more awesome. The thing though is we need to consider contexts a LOT. In Deuteronomy, for instance, God gave those blessings conditional upon certain commandments to his people. Now, if you go down a bit to verse 19, you will see serious curses that are the exact opposites of the blessings above. Consequences people. For every action, there is a reaction or what's that thing physicists say? Just figure out what the consequences are for each potential decision.

2.) What Would Jesus Do?
A saying almost as old as time itself, but rarely ever actually acted upon. This goes without saying. And how would you know what Jesus would do? Check out his word.

Huh, do you want me to read the whole Bible Ife just cos I want to make a decision?

Okay, fine. What kind of a person do you envision yourself to be? What kind of a person do you want to be? God demands justice, kindness, and humility. So how does the choice you make embody these values? Which choice makes you more kind, humble, and just? How does the choice affect your character?

"Imitate God, therefore in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God." Ephesians 5:1-2

"No, o people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he  requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." -Micah 6:8

3.) Do Unto Others As You Want Done Unto You
This is as basic as it says. And it was Christ's golden rule (Matthew 7:12). Making right decisions is really a habit that grows on you. But taking the above three points into consideration is something to look into. Just ask God for wisdom if you need and He will give unto you.

Finally, and just as important is trust. Seriously. Trust God. Trust yourself; that you made a decision and just have the faith that you made the right one. Let it go. Don't make a decision and then linger on for ever, wondering. It's how some people are already married, but a gazillion years later they are still wondering if their lives would have been better if they chose to marry the other loser asking them out. RULE number one after having made a decision is YOU NEVER KNOW THE ROAD NOT TAKEN.

what if I had....

But if I chose this instead....

NO. So many variables work together for an event and to recreate a choice would mean taking into account every variable and counterfactual. I shouldn't get too technical. The point is you have made a decision, STICK by it. Commit to it and see it through. And don't let the fear of making mistakes with your decision paralyze you into inaction. Indecision is itself a decision.

TLDR: consider consequences; act like Jesus would; do unto others what you would have done unto you; don't let fear keep you from deciding; and once you decide, commit to it.

Love,

I

P.S: the actual writing of blog posts isn't what frustrates me. It's every other thing: production, if you will. Things like adding pictures, formatting, sharing on social media bla bla ugh. I just wanna write abeg. Anyway, have a good week. I had such a productive weekend of fun and work that I'm beaming with pride. Weekends like this convince me adulting ain't so bad after all. Haha. Go on and rock this week, beloved.

On Faith And Doubt in One's Self

I don't have any wisdom to dish out today. If anything, I am presenting what some might call a conundrum.

How often do you doubt? How often do you have tons of questions for God? Do you often wonder where practicality, or perhaps common sense ends and faith begins?

C'mon be realistic.

I'm pretty sure you have heard at least some variation of the above. Faith, to me is such a multi-complex issue that I never get tired of reading about it or listening to someone talk about it.



I watched this and was reminded of "what it feels like to doubt, to be overload with skepticism".

Something recently got me thinking:

I'm not qualified for this

I can't get this

This is not for me

Be realistic Ife, you can't do this. You simply are not enough 

Now, I am of course a Christian and I know there is a general consensus among Christians to "pray like you are incapable/haven't read/insert whatever else AND that to act like/read like you haven't prayed", which for the longest time to me meant:

Yeah, God is capable...BUT it's still up to you as an individual to achieve/do/get that thing.

See, if it was entirely up to you or me, if it was completely within our power, why do we need God? I now know there are numerous answers to this. Like God himself believes in a strong work ethic and in discipline. Like God is not a bellhop that brings you whatever you need/want whenever you need/want it. We need God for more than just our earthly desires, which you probably only desire in the first place so you can feel superior to others.  I know now that a relationship with God isn't just about me, me, me. A relationship with God is an anchor for my soul.

But then again, I'm not always clear minded enough to reason it out that way. If I had no faith in God, there are many things that I would never, ever try. I'm very rational and it can often present as pessimism. The thing is I really, really hate wasted time. And in my opinion, many things are mere time wasters.

I have now learnt (and still constantly learning) that God is limitless and anything is possible. I have also learnt how faith can open your eyes to see what's IN you. To see what's WITHIN you. Faith, is indeed empowering. Yet faith is also knowing God CAN do this, but he doesn't necessarily always want to or have to.

It wasn't till later in life when my parents were trying to make an analogy about my life in one of my dark moments, that I found my name could also mean "the will of God". I began to understand even much more about my life, because as you should already know, names are or can be a powerful force in a person's life.

So now I ask myself, I want this, but does God want this? Because while I only see a teeny weeny part of the whole picture, God sees and knows the entire picture. He is all-knowing. So I just do. I then remind myself about the things that truly matter. Whatever that thing is that you want to go crazy about; I'm almost certain it's not your WHOLE life. It really is just a part of your life. Of course in my case, it is an important part of my life that I desire and trust that God will help me achieve. But it's just that: a PART of my WHOLE life. Ultimately, even if God doesn't give me this thing I want desperately, it doesn't make Him any less great or any less mighty.



I refuse to be controlled by my wants and needs. And you should as well.

What's the point of this story? I already hinted to it above. I was close to not attempting something this past week. It was too big a dream, so I quit. I swear those online motivational speakers would have ripped my head apart hahaha. A la if you can think it you can do it yidi yada. Yeah, no. Please there are tons of things you can dream and can't do.  I digress. Anyway, so I told myself I was not that lucky. And was about to keep it moving. BUT. Now, this is a huge BUT. But...somehow, God gave me the grace and humility to actually tell my sister about it, who immediately admonished and charged me. She reminded me of past achievements. This is gold. Always, always remember where and how God has come through for you in the past. Surround yourself with wise counsel. God really used my sister for me and I decided to go for it. My prayer is that I come back to this blog to testify.

"Today I have faith, but I can't make any promises about tomorrow." - Joseph Solomon


Therefore if you are in doubt or confusion about something hard you want to do... GO FOR IT. The truth, cliche as it might sound, is that unless you try, you'd never know. What if you fail? But what if you fly? You say, but my faith isn't enough. Lucky for you since you only need faith the size of a mustard seed, huh? A healthy dose of doubt is good. A healthy does of fear is good even. It gives you perspective and some humility.

Now if your doubt isn't about a particular thing, perhaps about God in particular. That's very understandable as well. You will seldom find a Christian who hasn't been there. Work through it, and of course pray for clarity. God always, always shows up.

"Before you doubt me, doubt your doubt. And you'll see they are just as empty as the tomb that I walked from."

Selah.

Love,

I


Friday Reflection

1.) Happy new month people!! What's your plan for the remainder of this year?

2.) How Did You Feel About It? A short story by Chimamanda Adichie.

3.) A lot of times people conflate the social pressures to get married with actual desire.

4.) "I’d never use the word 'hubby' or write a laudatory Facebook post about him performing a basic life task such as cooking dinner." Read this interesting piece about the author's desire to get married.

5.) Read this fascinating and heartbreaking story of a modern day slave. Everything is so chaotic about the story, and blames for the miserable life the woman lived could fall on a number of people. The truth though is that if that couple (parents of the writer) had just treated Lola like a decent human being, perhaps it would not have been as awful.

6.) The curious case of Christians and alcohol. Isn't it so interesting how one person can channel their own personal principles as universal tenets of a religion? It still happens.

7.) Were people waiting for a reason to bash Joel Osteen? Indeed the whole fiasco said a LOT about American Christianity. But what baffled me wasn't that his church did or did not allow people in during the flood; it's that Joel Osteen is worth 40 million. You guys, FORTY MILLION. HOW? Like... what is one person doing with so much?

8.) Houston, Benue, Sierra Leone...all on our hearts.

9.) Man, Kenyans are so lucky they get a do over with their elections. If only us Americans had the same luxury (side eye).

10.) Okay something quick about number 8. Don't be that person that whines about the world paying attention to one catastrophe and ignoring another; it is not a misfortune competition. I used to be this way too, but quickly realized that everyone would NOT be angry about every injustice or every misfortune.

11.) You know what though? If YOU feel a tragedy isn't getting enough coverage or mention, then YOU start it. DO something. Create a go fund me and publicize it. Disturb all our timelines about that tragedy; do whatever you can to bring attention to it. Just stop with making folks feel bad about sympathizing with others or worse, making the victims feel bad about their own tragedy.

On Staying Woke And Resisting Anxiety

Everyone understands anxiety (well, many people do). And we even sometimes are able to conquer it, we know the signs...and as Christians we are well aware of what the Bible tells us about anxiety and worry. We know God is for us. We have read and read and read page after page in the Bible telling us who we are in Christ. In fact on some days we feel peaceful and free and content. And all of a sudden, the next minute or day, life happens. Anxiety creeps in and you have to start to adjust all over again. 


Well, we have to continually guard against anxiety. To do this, we must renew our minds daily. In other words, we have to STAY WOKE. The truth is before we even set our feet on the ground each day, satan is going to try it. He will attempt to mess with our heads. Our minds. Our thoughts. Our feelings. Then enemy seeks to get us down. To destroy us. We are now aware of this. After all, in battle and in war, you must first understand the strategy of your opposition; of your enemy. Now that you do, what shall you do?

RESIST. Learn to equip yourself with and arm yourself with the word of God. God has given us the authority to resist. Replace anxious thoughts with reassuring thoughts of God's words. We also have to get to the dwelling place with Jesus. Thereafter you will remain at peace despite what the day throws ahead of you. I didn't say that means you would have a completely easy day. It means you are clear headed, you are filled with peace, and most of all armed with wisdom to handle whatever happens. This is all tried and tested folks.

Part of that wisdom, for instance is picking your battles wisely. Don't let a bad five minutes destroy an entire day. Don't let an awful short conversation with an awful person affect your entire conversations for the rest of the day with decent people. Do whatever practical thing you need to do to protect your sanity.


My motto for the remainder of 2017 is that Goodness and Mercy WILL follow me ALL the days of my life. And I will dwell in the house of the Lord. In fact, I feel like my theme for the rest of the year is DWELL.  I will dwell and thrive in Christ. Look, the year might be close to being over, but it doesn't stop you from setting new themes and goals and resolutions. It shouldn't stop you from living as full as you can. Four months is a LONG time. 

"Those who dwell in the shelter of the most high will find REST in the shadow of the almighty." -Psalm 91:1

So yes, I will mostly be minding my business and dwelling for the rest of the year by God's grace. It reminds me of one of my favorite verses: "for I bear the mark of Christ, let NO ONE trouble me." As you can see, I plan on maintaining my peace while dwelling in God for the rest of this year and for the rest of my life even. 

Therefore as you go back to school, work, living fabulous, or whatever else rocks your boat, remember this: You will be okay.

I sincerely hope I remember it as well.

Love,

I

On Three Things To Note As Summer Ends and Schools Resume

I should have been more consistent these past few weeks. Even I know that. But I wasn’t kidding when I said the end of summer was making me a bit nervous. BUT I am somewhat in the groove of things and about ready for summer to end. I’m not worried about keeping up with blogging when I became way too busy. If I can plan in advance, I will be fine. That said, you can keep up with me on Instagram.

I don’t know why I don’t upload pictures of myself more on this blog. It just…I don’t know. I guess since I’m not a fashion or hair blogger. You probably can’t even call me a lifestyle blogger. Anyway, I took some real professional quality pictures [by chance] today with my iPhone. Here:









So three things for today.

One: As schools begin to resume, if you can afford to, you can be of help. One way to do this is donate to your local school board(s) to offset lunch debts for underprivileged kids. Another thing is to call up local charities, who sometimes have Amazon wish-lists. It is probably not as expensive as you imagine. But yes I find that when people feel helpless, doing stuff like this can help relieve burdens. In other words, be the answer to someone else's prayers.

Two: Hurricane Harvey. Sigh. Natural disasters are awful. There is only so much anyone can do to prevent them. That said, what people need now are SOLUTIONS. So yes indeed our hearts are with them. Our prayers are with them. But you don't need to tell victims this. Pray in the privacy of your house for them; you don't need to post the prayers online. Why? You ask. Well, someone online gave the best analysis for this. You see, some people stranded in the flood don't have access to power. The only access to information that can help them by providing rescue or some sort of haven is probably through social media. Such people will scour online hashtags for any information at all. Now imagine your floods of "Our thoughts and prayers are with you" obscuring actual, practical steps and provisions to save their lives. They definitely need prayers and KNOW many are praying for them. So  give way for them to see how God is coming through for them. Thank you. So in that vein, if you are posting on any social media, please post numbers of rescue organizations, places they can get help, news on what's happening etc. I saw that some took offense to this reasoning, calling it an assault on their religion. You guys really need to chill with this sensitivity and fighting for God ish. God didn't send your behind to be his defender, okay? Okay. Thanks again

Three: A conversation with my mother today about a friend who failed reminded me to reiterate this. Failure is NOT and will NEVER be the end of this world. I say this because I know it. There are not many things I can say with absolute authority because I run away from absolutes. This ONE I know without a doubt: you can RISE from failure. People often remain stuck after they fail. Instead of wallowing in it, just regroup. Create a new vision for yourself. Start again. Have you realized you have failed so badly, the school asked you to withdraw? You did bad. But you can come back from it. Maybe take a minute to figure out what works and doesn't work. But GET BACK UP. It will be hard, but you will be fine.

Well that's it.

For those headed back to school or maybe even starting college for the first time, good luck! Here is a throwback where I wrote some words to live by in college.

Love,

I

Photo credit: my sister