Tuesday, May 31

What do I want to talk about today?

How my weekend went? Something I read somewhere? My thoughts? Or that which most preoccupies me? Abi the state that I am in right now? Long story...but like I always say...let's go there. Who knows where this muse will take us??

Again, twice during this long weekend, I came awake and couldn't sleep...again...and when I searched, I found I couldn't really place my hands on any reason why I should have woken up...well, it may be that I was 'woken up' to pray, God Himself kuku knows there is much prayers to be said for me...hahaha...but since understanding that the Kingdom is not about 'self', I hesitate to direct prayers at myself anymore. No matter.
Could it be that, psychologically, my mind is stressed, preoccupied, and while I am not 'actively' thinking about those things in the middle of the night, they still 'preoccupied' me? Does this even make sense? So many questions, so few answer. Sigh.

Anyway, how did my loooong weekend go? Always something to do...always! Friday night I was at the most refreshing vigil ever (Pastor Mo!!! Keep on keeping on..). Saturday morning, the Bliss babes ended up in town shopping for our Old People's Home (remember the Garage Sale?)....afternoon: I was at one obscure place (obscure to me because I never go that lungu before!) around Oregun for an old school mate's 40th birthday. It was so exciting because we laughed and laughed and generally forgot all about life's problems. Laughter really doeth good, oh yes it does! (am grinning!).
Then I got home, tired and spent, fell into bed...and promptly...did not sleep!
Sunday morning: I (along with a dear friend), stole away to be with Him  at the beach for a few hours of alone-ness. That was some experience.
Monday....omg...that rain that began around 4am (yeah, I was awake) and lasted for hours had me curled up tight under that heavy duvet (I dare not forget to give it up to NEPA, they tried o, like my sister would say: the light was so in her face she could find nothng more to do with it! Lol) and prayed to not have to get up. What bliss. What bliss...but alas! I had a cookout to attend that afternoon. My friend and 'besto' (rolling eyes) Mandy is one 'mean' cook. OMG the food...baked potatoes, salad, fried rice, small chops, some incredible ginger drink she concocted, barbecue chicken, that cup cake! (are you salivating already?? I hope you remember this when I eventually invite you to a Bliss Food Fair...when and if). We hung out at hers: good food, great company, chatted and generally laughed for hours until it was time to go...

Promptly at 3am this morning, I came awake, of course. And when I checked in on my emails to read my devotions, Isa 41.13 was speaking:''...fear not I will help you'. And that made my day, I had a huge grin on my face, and was reminded  of Zephaniah 3:16-17 'on that day they will say to Jerusalem, do not fear O Zion (Zainab), do not let you hand go limp...the Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save, He will take delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing". Awww! Abeg, you too judge, what more is there to be said?? What? I suggest you claim these words..cos I know you do need them as well!

And once again (though why I need the daily assurance, I have no idea), I am convinced that HE KNOWS. He just does. So, am just gonna be grinning all day. No place for fear.

Take a cue, and relax.

Be free oh!
PS/one day, one day, absolutely one day, I shall write a short blog! 2 paragraphs!!! Sigh.

Friday, May 27

2 things on my mind today: Vent, or Muse…who knows where we would land?? Let’s go there….
Ok, I confess, I have marriage on my mind. I mean, for so long, I didn’t care, as in, it didn’t matter if marriage happened or not, and I told (abi na say I convince myself) that I see a pattern in my life…things always came late to me, always…but when it does, it certainly causes me to gasp and gape and wonder. So I thought ooh kayy, maybe this is another journey that takes time again…so I accepted, and didn’t ‘care’ at all.
Remember we agreed that this blog will never be pretentious? Better not to say it here than having to lie. Besides, na my blog, so na my business! (tongue out…oops, unladylike, huh?? Lol).
Anyway sha, moving on. So! I hung in there, not really bothered whether man look my side or not…and most importantly, didn’t even give them face. We already sorted out that part where age was a factor, right (see ‘I have Come Unbound!’). However, the older I got, the more I found out that the men are deceived by my stature o, they actually believe  am a young girl; even some things have their downside. *Sigh*
So. Now. I am ‘aware’. I think I want to marry. I believe I want to marry… I know I want to marry. BUT. To who?
Married people, some singles too, all have ideas about the ‘perfect’ man. Common! Even I see him in my mind’s eye. Who doesn’t? In fact, I have a list, whether in my head, in my mind, in a book, wherever, I have a list (and yessssss, tall dark/light/chocolate and handsome dey dia!) which I modify every day. (and just so you would know, my list has 2 sides, the qualities I would like him to have, and those I pray for me to have for him). Marry your friend, they say. (Eeeerr, which one? Dem don all marry already! Ok, the one with whom we shall become friends when we meet? Confusion: but no matter, that mystery will solve itself sometime). The one who you can laugh with, be yourself with (I am saying the things people say o) and so on and so forth. Advice and more advice. Words of wisdom, and more words of wisdom. But, of all the things I have read, of all the things I have heard, of all the things I have seen of marriages, the one I am convinced of is you gats marry a man who shares your values. Do you have any? I value family. I am that true African who just believes in ‘family’, I may need my break from them or just get plain fed up o, but knowing that you have them to call on when you need them is so comforting. How does he treat parents and siblings and the mai gadi, the okada men, and the under-privileged? A man should know what his responsibilities are and take them serious o. A man should know what he is about, (I mean, we cant both be confused na, abi??) for those times when me I dither! A giver…and a lover – the whole essence of humanity. Is he a lover? Does he love? If yes, what? These are things I do not think I should  compromise. But then, that na me.
I read an interview of Michelle Obama this morning, and she had this to say about her husband. I am not quoting it because she is someone to reckon with but because it struck a chord in me, and also confirms some of what TD Jakes also said in his book ‘Before You Do’ (…’Anything!’ I add. I recommend that book oh).
On whether she knew Obama would be president when she met him: "Absolutely not. No, I'm just kidding.... I knew he was a special person. And it had nothing to do with his education. It had nothing to do with his potential. …. It was how he felt about his mother; the love that he felt for his mother; his relationship to women; his work ethic ... he wasn't impressed with himself.  And he was funny. And we joked a lot. And he loved his little sister ... he was a community organizer. I really respected that”

But far from reading, what I believe is to know what you want ("What do You Want?"), and to pray for the grace to handle challenges as they surface, because surface they must…after all, man is subject to change, isn’t he? (by man, I do not mean just the male man, the female man too!)
So for those who are in like shoes…while I am not the voice of wisdom, I don’t believe you should listen too hard to other people and/or allow their principles and beliefs to override yours, actually a combination of all we hear is only confusing. But being surrounded by so ‘great a cloud of witness’, you need to find a balance, when (actually) you know exactly what you want. Both of my parents weren’t Christians, but I crave whatever it was that made their marriage last 32 years…
There is such a lot to say about this matter, but let me restrain myself, the blog don dey long.
Ok, I guess I successfully ‘mused’. Even if I say so misef.
Oya, make everybody talk im own. Married and single alike…share.

Be free oh.

Tuesday, May 24

Sex

3-letter word: can be pleasurable, can be destrutctive, what you get absolutely depends on how you approach it!

Reading the newspaper this morning, I knew I wanted to talk about SEX. It occurred to me that this thing has be gnawing at me for weeks (since the former (now now he is 'former' o) IMF Chief Dominique Strauss-Khan saga began!)
What a sad story. All these stories of great men falling because of this 'little' thing called SEX. Dominique Strauss-Khan, Arnold Swarg (whats the spelling of his name again??)...in case you haven't heard, he had a child (about 13 years ago) with his housekeeper....his wife never knew until he opened his mouth a few weeks ago (sleeping with the enemy you would say?)...Albert Odulele, Pastor in the UK, Tiger Woods to mention a few. Strong men, powerful people, important men. The idea is not to mention names and point fingers, after all, we all get our own for our bodi, and e fit no be sex sef!

But the DSK thing: from day 1, that story just gives me goose bumps. How? How? How?? Violent rape oh. Not just sexual harassment. That he pounced on her, and put his privates in her mouth (eeerrr, wondering why she didn't bite, I mean, that would have been the instinctive thing to do, right?). No one, absolutely no one, besides God and him and her, knows what transpired that day, but what we do know, is that a man, powerful, rich, possible next President of France has been brought down to his knees, embarrassed beyond repair. Career, gone. The wife is quite supportive now, but who knows what is next, the family will never be the same again, and that is for sure.......damage has been done, one way or the other, even for those who seemingly have moved on.

But, this blog is not to talk about whether DSK fell into a trap (if yes, Arnold nko? Tiger Woods nko?  the rest of them nko?). No. It is to register my profound fear about the power of this thing called sex, created by God to be 'beautiful,' according to our preachers, but within the confines of marriage. Why is it such a strong force of destruction?? Why 'it?' Why not gluttony, money, and some other 'big' things?? Ok, ok, I know people have been jailed for money-laundering and all sorts but you must agree with me that those stories are never as sensational as this issue of sex!

Lord God, we need help. These things that begin as 'little foxes', aptly described in the Holy Book...grow up with big teeth to devour and strip and expose and disgrace and embarrass people when they finally become 'people' to be reckoned with, yes, then! Not when you are an unknown (in fact, isn't that why we get away with it?). I know I 'shouted' something on the blog 'Accountable: To Who', because...it starts in the very little things o! It does, and if not nipped...haaaa! I concede: I am shouting. This is beyond sex. Its all of those things I love to do. It may not be every day or even every week...it may be once in a while, once in a blue moon, it just surfaces and I indulge like a cat with cream...on and off, on and off...feeding it, condoning it, indulging it...until the day it finally DSK, Arnold and Tiger Wood's me!

I am profoundly afraid (goo fear) and must #DoSomethingAboutTheLittleFoxesIntentOnDestroyingMyVine!

My people....never think for a moment that it cannot happen to you just because these people seem so far removed from you...little lies, little stealings...small small gossip and talking too much, sharing confidences entrusted to you (did I just 'pun' or speak bad grammer?? abegi!) etc etc...haaaaaaa! I dey shout o.
'Let him that thinks he stands take heed lest falls...'

Be free oh. Be free. Try.

Friday, May 20

Garage Sale (in aid of Charity)

I gats talk about it ke...however not??

May 7th 2011, the day we had long-awaited for the Garage Sale that we had planned since January, and one with which we (well, let me say, I) had generally irritated everyone by practically getting  in their faces. But you are all strong people; some of you were not even moved, I didn't get a single thing from some! Never mind, you have another chance in November....oops! B, did I speak too soon? Lool.

The Sale itself was great and uneventful! It was full of colour and gaiety and such fun...however, arriving at that was no small feat! I will not even bore you with details of the work involved in getting the items, and generally getting them ready for the day, the arrangements on the day itself....let me not go there). We had bagun to hunt for a venue since January oh so the Sale can happen on March 5th...we wanted a garden, but then that meant having to use someone's home...and we just knew that no one would be willing to open up their homes for a crowd of people they do not know, but...we sha had hope...the hope which was 'so defered' it made our heart sick! Very sick indeed.

Anyway, we kept praying and this went on for the next few months! We couldn't believe what God was up to! Haba! We were praying, and speaking to people!! Kilode?! Whither this venue for this Sale? Whither???

Then, of course (in His own time), He miraculously gave us Bibi's Cottage Restaurant, I mean, the owner literally told us to go ahead....and that's how we had a colourful day...(hmmm, reliving the day) men, women and children alike flooded this venue and we had fun, and such favour with the workers at the venue.
I promise to upload pictures subsequently (provided I know how to do that on this blog o!!!)

I use this opportunity to thank everyone who was part of it one way or the other, don't worry if you were not, as long as you are in my radar, you will do something for the Bliss Group ai! I can assure you that the next item on our Keep My Light in My Window Project is in the offing....watch this, and other pages!

 
As always, I like to talk about what I take away from whatever I have been a part of; it was (once again, sigh) reiterated to me that God does His thing, in His time...you cant rush Him, the one who is Timeless. We had despaired, we were ready to go pay 50k for a venue (imagine, we were raising money for Charity, and we had to give away 50k, painful, yes, but we felt we had no choice at that point), but on that same day, nick of time, we got this. Where in the Bible does it say something like '....wait, I say, on the Lord....' e hard but how for do?? How for do?
Personally, am still waiting for many things, the most important of which is a house (I cannot stop talking about this) but, even though we cannot explain why it hasnt happened, I will 'wait on the Lord' oh.

Show love to someone, be 'charitable'...a smile, a gift, a word, a hug, anything...just....help the needy...be charitable....the greatest of this is, of course, LOVE.

Enjoy the weekend...and be freeeeeeeee oh.

Thursday, May 19

NYSC

This issue is still making waves, so I figured I could post this since its been sitting duck for weeks...
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I remember vividly when it was announced that the services of NYSC members will be employed during the election process, I listened in on a program on Smooth FM 98.1 where one lady vehemently disagreed that they should not be used because of the fear of ‘post-election violence’, she also argued that these were fresh inexperienced (and mostly really young) graduates, some even came from abroad to fulfill this mandatory duty, and if they have no ‘allegiance’ so to speak, to the Nation of Nigeria, why would they be expected to whole heartedly discharge this very important duty? While she was not predicting post-election violence even then, we all know the reputation of some Nigerians where elections are concerned. If something does not happen the way they feel it should, there would either be bombings or shooting or machetting; in short: death! It is just history, unfortunately.
Needless to say, the young lady (I forget her name now) was so right! Today, true to form, we are mourning, amongst many others, young men and women whose lives have been abruptly cut short.
I never served, so I do not know if I would have enjoyed it or not, but while some hated it and called it a waste of a year of their lives, others love it; that (very drab, if you ask me!) uniform just made them have a sense of purpose!
Unfortunately because of these deaths, (though this is not the first time corpers have lost their lives in their areas of posting) attention is now finally on yet one more aspect of the country that needs fixing as a matter of urgency. Gowon created the scheme in ‘a bid to reconstruct, reconcile and rebuild the country after the Nigerian Civil war… with a view to the proper encouragement and development of common ties among the youths of Nigeria and the promotion of national unity". And also ‘it is primarily to inculcate in Nigerian Youths the spirit of selfless service to the community, and to emphasize the spirit of oneness and brotherhood of all Nigerians, irrespective of cultural or social background. The history of our country since independence has clearly indicated the need for unity amongst all our people, and demonstrated the fact that no cultural or geographical entity can exist in isolation.’  In fact, shey the Scheme even support NYSC members who meet and marry someone from another state on camp, abi? You would agree that the idea behind it is laudable, however, the implementation process nko? Things got worse as the years passed…difficulties experienced in camps, difficulty getting ‘good’ posting, in fact, people with the longer legs got the best posting, post-NYSC is another issue because there are no jobs waiting (depending on which category you fall of course: leg, no leg, long/longer leg!). We will not go through all the issue surrounding this so-called National Duty.
I do not know if the solution lies in out rightly scrapping the scheme. I am pretty sure some people have gained from having served, but what percentage of people as opposed to those who can only recount tales of woe? Perhaps it is time to go back to the drawing board and have another look: How has the scheme fared? How far have we moved away from the vision? Is it achieving its aim or not? Off the top of our heads, we would say a resounding NO, of course, and unfortunately for the Nigeria I know, no matter what the government promises, it may not get better, biko note I said may oh. But determination can move any seemingly insurmountable mountain. It only means finding the right person whose sole aim is to make it better, not to enrich himself in the process! Dora at Nafdac deserves commendation after all., so it is do-able.
I join in mourning the deaths of every single person who died during that violence, the God that I serve is loving but He is also a God of justice and will visit evil upon those who take pleasure in it. Because they love ‘cursing, so shall it come upon them, because they hate blessing, it shall be far from them!’  (Ps. 109) and much more. Na God word.
God help us...as we strive to be free...


Accountable? To Who?

Na wa o! My able followers...did you guys wonder where I had gone? If yes, why didnt anyone say?? *rolling eyes o*
I did promise I was going to re-post this here when my blog eventually comes alive...
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My Bliss Group had a retreat on Saturday morning and I need to share what I took away from it.
I hope this blog will not be long because, me I shall say everything that is on my mind o, so just be warned. Ehen.
In no particular order (of thoughts) lets go there…
Who are you accountable to? You would say God. Then again you may say yourself. Whether the former or the latter, how has that helped you? Are you on the straight and narrow?? We fall everyday (apologies to those who do not because I do, as in, per second per second, if not in the physical action that you see, in my thoughts! No sooner am I confessing one than I am committing another! #IFall! Abi.
Ok, so…how has your being accountable to God or to You helped you? Our daily walk is fraught with mistakes and errors and regrets, we never get it right, that’s why that song say ‘to be like Jesus…’ it is a work in progress. So, at this retreat, our thoughts and study brought us to the point where we knew that we needed some kind of ‘mentor’ or someone who can hold our hands in times of trouble, someone who can set you straight when needed, a (for want of a better word) physical ‘Jesus’ who would be there exactly how you need him/her! Holding the rod, the staff, shoulder to cry on, a listening ear, whatever and however you need him/her to be.….many crosses, of different sizes and weight, it’s impossible to do it alone! Who encourages you? Helps you? Pats you on the back? Corrects you? Pushes you to believe in yourself? Stops you? We need help, we need SOMEONE. But your motive for needing help has to be pure. People we look up to are falling around us, publicly being embarrassed. Can you imagine what it would take for them to come back up? If ever? But think about it for a moment: the things that led to this fall started looooong before now and in very little ways, and I know, just as surely as the sun rises and goes down, that God had warned, in many ways and through people as These Thing grew but stubbornness, and the refusal to accept the existence of the problem have resulted in the terrible results we now see happen. We gats nip it in the bud o. As in, NOW. What is The Sin that doth so easily beset you? I refuse to believe that everything is the devil’s fault, no. The Bible says to ‘lay aside every weight, and The Sin. Everyone has one, don’t shake your head, Mr./Mrs. Pious. Money? Sex? Booze? Gossip? What? There is something.
So, I see that I need someone, to whom I can cry and shout (you know how we now say ‘I can’t shout’), omo, I need someone to whom I can shout ‘heellpp, I am (about) doing it again!!!!’ Accountability, but can I trust you? Yes YOU.
However easy it is to say we need someone, e no easy! Hey, I don’t want to tell my business to anyone!! Why? Because we ALL JUDGE ONE ANOTHER. It is the honest and bitter truth that you cannot trust your neighbor, especially that one that is inside the Church with you. YOU CANNOT. It is bitter…because na true. Chikena.
Mais, apart from say you are there judging me because you think I am the perfect spiritual sister (that’s your thoughts, not mine. I didn’t tell you I was perfect, you determined I am, by what yardstick, I do not know. How can you easily forget that it’s the heart, the motive that matters, and that what you see my not necessarily be what is? So please, biko, don’t judge me a second time by saying you thought I was perfect and here I am, a terrible sinner! *rolling eyes*). Yes, so apart from you judging me, hahaha, you would be horrified by what I tell you! And you will be unable to wait to tell the other person! You are not in any way matured enough to handle this info (guys, I need to remind you that sin is sin. Weda it is lie lie, it is abortion, it is fornication, it is prayerlessness, willfulness, sin is sin).
But for me to really get this help, because I need it, I am tempted to find someone who I think, or know suffers, or has suffered the same thing that I am suffering, in other words, looking for someone who would be ‘lenient’ and condone what I (have) am doing. No.
We cannot drift through life without someone to hold our hands. Despite the challenges of getting this someone, how deep is your desire or need to ‘walk the straight and narrow?’ Ok, you don’t need anyone but God, how has being accountable to Him helped you? Answer now. Aren’t you worse off because you feel that He can’t (physically) see or do anything to you, as and when? (I am sorry, Lord, but You know what I mean here!).
Also, you don’t necessarily need a friend with whom you can swap stories! I tell you mine, you tell me yours! Hey, my need for help may not be on the same level as yours, I may be at my 38th year at the Pool of Bethesda, you may be at your 1st year, but I trust you to help me. The emphasis is on ME. I am being selfish here without apologies. Don’t wanna be publicly destroyed and disgraced when I get to the zenith of my career or ministry or life! I need to nip IT in the bud NOW. #ASINNOW!
Ah, But I really, honestly cannot tell anybody….nooooo, the embarrassment will be too much. Ok. Stick with it, help yourself. But someone said something profound that ‘light-bulbed’ in my head: the moment you put a ‘voice’ out something that you thought was sooo big, it becomes ‘meaningless’. You realize that it wasn’t even as big a deal as you thought it was. Ssccheeeww. Light comes on, darkness just goes, it just melts…*waving hand*.
Since there seem to be no sure way of getting it right, of getting the right person to be accountable to,  the right person to mentor,  the most obvious (or not, otherwise it won’t be a problem now, abi) is to pray and ask God to lead the way to the right person, who is also dependent on God to ‘have a word in season for him that is weary’. And if it is God Himself you want to be your 'mentor' all the better, but, bros...be serious!

And in case you are getting it wrong, this is all encompassing….life. Career. Ministry. Marriage. Work. Everything.
Please raise your hand if you don’t need help o.
A la Tuface: I wanna be free…
Be free oh! #NipItInTheBudNow.