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More than a day….

It is not unusual to hear some people refer to days like Valentine, Birthdays and Anniversaries as just another day. I think differently, first of all, every day is a blessing in my world. Another chance to do right, live better and do more.

Special days are even more important as they mark the start of something new. Each recurrence presents an opportunity to evaluate how well you have done, applaud yourself or course correct.

The thought of an applause worthy Special day gives me an adrenaline rush since I get to give myself a treat for a job well done.

O well, you can say I love celebrations in whatever form, after all we only get to live once. So when our tenth anniversary came knocking, we could not resist the urge to celebrate.

As I dreamed up ways to make this more than just a day, an amazing Black Friday Deal too good to be true popped up on my screen. You can call it a coincidence, I will choose miraculous. I watched my dream escape to the island of Cape Verde become a reality; the right price and an irresistible deal and Voila, Project Verde was activated.

Four hours later, we touched down on the beautiful island of Cape Verde somewhere off the West African coast surrounded by the Atlantic ocean. Blue beaches, lovely resorts, great foods, beautiful sunset and world class hospitality.

Project Verde Goals accomplished…….

A well deserved celebration of ten awesome years of growing and learning together. As we celebrated, we are reminded that we are better today because yesterday we chose tomorrow together. We believed, we worked and now the project continues.

Life is a project with milestones along the way, so think of today as a milestone in the ‘Love’ department. Even though, some folks say ‘love don’t cost a thing’, love does cost something, it is in the action and the sacrifice. It is never idle, it is always doing. So whenever an opportunity presents itself for love to be expressed, sound the alarm and make it loud and clear that you love and you love for real. Don’t just sit back and watch today go by, find a box of chocolate or whatever tickles you and take sometime out to celebrate love and friendship.

Because love is a beautiful thing, make this Valentine more than just a day…………

Happy Valentine Day!!!

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Never too late…..

I often marvel at the elasticity of the human spirit, something in us keeps striving, keeps pressing and keeps trying until we have more than an aha moment.

Meet Ms. Grace or ‘mummy’ as i like to call her and yes this is a real person and a real story.

A few months ago, we all listened to a young lady speak to us at a Women Conference on the topic, ‘Dare to Dream’.

Mummy is in her late fifties and I found it surprising that she was as excited as we younger folks. Fast forward to a few weeks later, she whispered to me, I have started sewing again. Even though I don’t know if that spark lit a fire, I was just excited that someone took the learning and acted on it.

Exactly one year later, while gisting away, she mentioned a store, I didn’t probe much because we were talking about more important things. On a Sunday morning right after church, she slipped an invitation into my hand.

Mummy was opening a restaurant, she called it ‘Souper Woman Kitchen’; Souper I guess because of the mainly soup dishes that she will be serenading her customers with.As I look more closely at the word ‘Souper’, I think of the closest English word to it ‘Super’. 

Ms. Grace is an example of so many ‘super’ humans out there striving, pressing and demonstrating the elasticity of the human spirit.

At close to 60, Ms. Grace listened to a young lady tell us that if we don’t take action, our dreams will remain what there are ‘dreams’.

She took action, not just one, several little steps. Souper Woman Kitchen opened, I missed the opening but heard that she is excited about this new opportunity.

As I reflect on this story and my interactions with Ms. Grace,  I recall that she was always on time for all meetings (Discipline), listened with intent  (Deliberate), acted on what she heard (Determined) and was very comfortable around young people (Teachable). I find that you gain a lot of fresh insight from being around younger folks.

Now and in the years to come, it is not OK to dream and write goals, be like Ms. Grace and take action.

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Here is wishing you the best life has to offer, see you next week…….

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Hi, We are Idorenyin and Thelma Mbang

We love to tell stories that draw out lessons from every day life.

If our stories strike a cord with one person, then our day is made.

Life is a journey, it leaves imprints along the way; good, bad and sometimes just plain ugly. As you go through daily life, keep your 👀 on who you are BEcoming.

We hope you enjoy our post each week, don’t forget to leave a comment, subscribe to read more stories and tell your friends about us.

Here is wishing you the best that life has to offer

Idorenyin & Thelma Mbang

Time for Everything

This week has been a reflective one for me as I go through a major transition – changing seasons. I knew what I had to do many months ago but I needed confirmation, the confirmation came and then I felt confused. I remember the line out of an earlier post that said, ‘you never know what lies on the other side until you open the door’. Well, I opened the door and stood glancing at both ends, move on or go back. I chose to move on, grateful that the process that led me to this point gave me more than it took away from me.

For everything, there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away. A time to search and a time to quit searching. A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak.

Ecclesiastes 3:1‭-‬2‭, ‬4‭-‬7 NLT

This week, I feel like singing, Oh yes I do. God always gives me a song for each season that I go through. When I cry out to Him, He responds with a song.

Click to listen to “Olorun Agbaye” by Nathaniel Bassey featuring Chandler Moore and OBA

Excerpt of Lyrics – Olorun Agbaye

You are Good, you are kind
You are more than these
I’m lost for words trying to describe you
Elohim, Elyon, Aleselewi
Your Greatness is all I see
There is nothing you cannot do
There’s no mountain you cannot move
If you have said it
Then you will do it
Cause You have a Track record
Of keeping your Word
And you’re not about
To stop doing it now….

Click to listen to “There was Jesus” by Zach Williams featuring Dolly Parton

Excerpt of Lyrics – There was Jesus

Every time I try to make it on my own
Every time I try to stand, I start to fall
And all those lonely roads that I have travelled on
There was Jesus

In the waiting, in the searching
In the healing, in the hurting
Like a blessing buried in the broken pieces
Every minute, every moment
Where I’ve been or where I’m going
Even when I didn’t know it
Or couldn’t see it
There was Jesus

These two songs have been on replay for me. What song has given you comfort as you go through the seasons of life? Feel free to share in the comment section below and let’s sing along with you

Note to Self – Through life’s changing seasons remember that He says, “I know the thought that I think towards you, thought of peace and not evil, to give you a future and a hope”. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Have a great week!

Faith Through Her Eyes

An email from the Daycare centre on a Saturday morning was unusual. Our guess was right, it was unusual. It was a one-pager informing all Parents and Caregivers that someone at the Center tested positive for COVID-19 and affected parents will be contacted for further details. Up until now, the Center had been up and running through the hectic months of the first wave of the pandemic and there was no case recorded. This was the reason why we felt comfortable sending our daughter back in September.

My husband and I discussed the content of the letter, hoping that the call will not come to us or anyone else for that matter. Thirty minutes later, my phone rang. The call was from an unknown number. A nice nurse from Public Health confirmed our identity and proceeded to inform us that our two-year-old daughter had to go into isolation for 14days. How do you begin to isolate with a two-year-old? We wondered…

I moved with her into one of the rooms and moved Dad and the other children to other parts of the house. Even though, most of what the Nurse said still felt like gibberish to me, at that moment, I was calm and felt a sense of peace. You know the type of calmness that you feel when you know that power to save comes from only one source and you have got to trust that source.

As we began to settle into our new routine, I began to feel a stream of ‘what ifs’ flowing out of me. My daughter went about life normally like nothing was happening. She was making the most use of our new box, classic childlikeness, the kind that Jesus loves.

Observing her, the writer in me began to engrave these words…..

Faith like a child requires trusting like a child, trusting requires freeing yourself from the situation and handing it completely to God.

She played a lot and watched TV, I am sure she felt something was wrong since her movement was now restricted but she didn’t stop doing what children love to do, she played as she will always do, recreating a new playground in her isolation zone.

Through her eyes, I saw that when we go through trying times, we keep moving not ignoring the pain and inconvenience but doing so despite it.

She cried too, all she wanted was to walk out of that room and over to the side of the door where her two siblings stood. This new life was abnormal and she wanted out. Occasionally, she will crawl up to a masked Mama seeking comfort and reassurance.

We too will have days when we will cry through the pain wishing that someone will shout ‘cut” as if it was a movie. When the words don’t come, we cry to a figurative mama and then in her arms, find the courage to live through the day and the next and many more until finally, we hear the words ‘Cut’.

She ate and slept too.

We are fully human so even in the face of trials, we must still eat and sleep to keep alive and healthy enough to embrace relief when it finally comes.

Watching her truly felt like reading through a script. To pass time, I tried to force myself to read, it didn’t work, so I switched to my playlist on Spotify. A few weeks back, I created a line up of five songs and right now they felt so perfect for my ears. The songs felt carefully selected for a time like this. It felt like ‘Someone’ knew that a time will come when all I could do was worship. In my walk with God, He has always sent me a Song and a Word for the night. The word came through an encouraging sermon. Sitting in the pews, I kept saying, this word is for me. I meant it on a different note but turns out He meant it on this note. The word was simple, reminding us that pandemics of this kind are not new, history has witnessed several of them and on each occasion, man found a way to keep living.


We are to keep living, called to be the light no matter the situation, reminded that God’s plan for us is not on lockdown and implored to pray for the peace and welfare of the land because therein lies our peace and welfare. What a word! Simple and clear. So at times like this, what is required of me is to stay calm, shine my light by obeying simple instructions like wearing a mask and staying isolated. I found the courage to pray not for my child but for every child in the Daycare and the caregivers too. I stopped thinking about us, we have God and because He lives, we can face tomorrow. And even if tomorrow doesn’t come, there is a place prepared for us.

By Day 2, my daughter stood guard at the door, shutting out everyone who shouldn’t be in the room. She knew everyone needed to be outside that room, even though she didn’t know why. She touched her mouth and said “mouth”, her way of asking for her mask. She probably thought we were playing dress-up.

I stared at her most of the time as she repeatedly asked for hand sanitizer and even rubbed some on her musical elephant.

Our ‘what if’ moments were scary, my mind played tricks on me as we went from symptom to symptom. Nothing lasting more than a few hours. Time went by and finally the last call from the Health official confirming that we could come out at midnight. The rest of the family were on the other side of the door, happy that the barriers were finally down, we celebrated as a family.

At birth, we called her Faith and this season, I saw Faith through her eyes.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. (Hebrew 11:1, Bible)

Note to Self -When we believe, it is not as though we feel or sees it but we know it. We just do.

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Have a great day!

You are ‘Fired’

2020 will go down as one of the most unusual years in my lifetime. It was different in every sense of the word and forced me to think differently about life. For the first time, I saw people struggle and hoard toilet paper. Not even money could protect from the sting of death that lurked freely while we were grounded in our homes. The world stopped long enough for wildlife to imagine that humanity had evaporated and the streets were now free to roam again.

My biggest take away in 2020, was a reminder that we all need to strive for self-sufficiency in the areas of food, water, clothing and shelter. The bare necessities of life in the words of Baloo in Disney Classic’s Jungle Book. Growing up, most households had a garden with enough to feed the family and someone with the right skill set to ensure the other areas were covered. This year, I found myself wondering if we would have been able to guarantee food for our households if we could not go out for a long while.

As we spend this month reflecting on the different seasons of life, we will like to spotlight a tough season that some people have been through or could go through at some point. The words, ‘You are Fired’ became synonymous with the reality TV show ‘The Apprentice’. Those words give you a peep into the real world of grown ups. Everyday, hundreds of people hear those words. Nothing really prepares you to receive that kind of news. I know many people who have heard those words and I narrowly escaped hearing them myself.  In the build up to that moment, I cried so hard and then made a note to self that if ever, I hear those words, I will like to be better prepared.

Following a conversation with a friend, the idea of an ‘Active Plan A’ was birthed. An active Plan A is an intentional effort to do your best to be prepared for any wind that life blows your way. Life can be tough and the tough get going because they prepared for Day X. Day X is not the name of a movie, it is a day when you are temporarily displaced as a result of sickness, a downturn in the economy, political instability, natural disaster or a ‘you are fired’ moment. Usually, everything happens very quickly. You have a job at 10 am, you are happy, chatty and relaxed. Fast forward to 10:30 am,  you get a call from your Manager and you leave his/her office unemployed, dejected, depressed and clueless.

Is it possible to feel bad but remain in control of the situation skipping the clueless state. The answer is yes and one way to do that is by preparing an Emergency pack.

If you live in a disaster prone environment, you are always advised to have a fully stocked emergency pack. Your emergency list will usually contain dried foods and water(Food), safe haven (Shelter), medication (Health); Flashlight, pocket knife and blanket (Protection) with a prescription of the quantity that will last for a defined period.

Look at that list again and take a cue from it as you build your active plan A. Set aside some money every month to cover for food, shelter, health and protection for a pre-defined period. That period is unique to you, it is the amount of reserve you need to keep your eyes dry when life is not so fair. I have seriously considered the thought of growing my food and added that to my list of things to do someday.

As I studied the book of Proverb 21, the fifth and twentieth verse stood out for me with these words,

“Good planning and hardwork lead to prosperity” and

“…fools spend whatever they get”

Simply put, a wise worker doesn’t just work, but like the ant, puts aside something for the winter months. Winter months for the ant can be compared to seasons of temporary displacement. If you ever hear the words, ‘You are fired’, tears may provide temporary relief but it will not take the words back. When you have a plan, you can walk out of your Manager’s office with confidence that everything will be alright.

Note to Self – Begin today to prepare for the uncertainties of life and when tough seasons come, let your heart not be troubled, stay positive, keep moving and trust God to order your steps back to safety.

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Have a great day!

Go Easy on Me!

As a child, I remember playing the video game ‘Street Fighter’, I liked the female fighters a lot and leaned in their direction for choice of players. Street Fighter allowed me to do things that could only happen in my imaginations. One of the female fighters always started a fight with the words, ‘Go easy on me’. I wondered why she said those words because she had the ability to fight any of the others. I guess it may just have been a tactics to play on the psychic of her opponent.

Those words ring true in our relationships with others. In the words of John Maxwell, “Everyone you come into contact with is fighting a battle”. Some people are going through hell, while others are in hell. If only we can see what goes on in the real world of others, maybe, just maybe, we will go easy on them.

There is a story commonly told about a man who had given up on life because nothing seemed to be working. He decided to take his life. As he attempted to commit suicide, a passerby observing what he was about to do asked if he could have his clothes. At that moment, he realised that even though he felt his life was bad, someone else was fighting a fiercer battle.

Unfortunately, our faces mask a million truths, our well-layered makeup hides a billion bruises and an ocean of tears. A lot of people around us are ‘walking problems’, carrying a burden that pulls them down daily, been dealt a hard blow by life. While some bounce back like a ball, others stay down for a long time or forever. Even though they say a problem shared is half solved, some problems remain a mystery hidden deep down in the heart. All you see are physical manifestations like silence, inexplainable anger, use of bad words, senseless confrontations, bitterness or sarcasm because ‘hurting people hurt people’. When you see the tip of the iceberg, remember that beneath the surface lies a different world that can only be summed up in two words ‘down’ and ‘out’.

An unanswered hello, a call not returned, a message not acknowledged should naturally trigger annoyance but why not give the benefit of doubt instead, clarify before jumping into conclusion and taking action. Life is hard enough, do not make yourself someone else’s prayer point; Heaven responds to persistent prayers. Do your part daily not to complicate the lives of the people that you meet. 

As I fight my battles and you fight yours, don’t compare, judge or try to figure me out; if you can’t lift me, leave me. If you have not walked in my exact shoes, you may never understand my tears, comprehend my battle cries or even my victory dance. There is always light at the end of the tunnel and joy indeed comes with the morning but while I wait, please go easy on me!

Note to self

‘Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another as God forgave you’.

Ephesians 4:32 (Bible)

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One and The Same

There is a story deep within me that needs to be told. An interesting adventure my life has been. In all the places I have been and with all the people I have met, I realise that we all have the same needs, similar wants and the same desire for love, respect and recognition.

From the streets of Abuja to Cotonou,  Yaounde to Ottawa,  Paris to Brussels, Hamburg to Abu Dhabi,  New York to London, we all want food on our table, a roof over our heads, something to move us around, money in our pockets, clothes on our backs and a little extra. We are all the same in that sense. Even though some were nurtured in winter, others in harmattan, spring, autumn or fall, same red flows through our veins. Similar in so many more ways than one.

We are born, we live and then we die. In living, we make choices faint as scribbles or bold as pen markings. Each stroke a unique component of our stories. My own stories are not too different from yours because no matter when and where they played out, they seem to strike a chord. Simple stories that point in one direction.

Fixing my gaze on the sky above, I realized that these stories tell of daily choices that reflect the interaction of divinity and humanity. Stories that point us to a loving God and Father who has a thing or two to say about everything I do. His words, captured many years back, still applicable today, with each verse telling the story of me.

We are one and the same, created for his pleasure, commissioned to go forth and shine our light pointing men, women, boys and girls back to him. Our words and actions tell a story. Great people who were subjected to like passion as we are, still accomplished great things for him. We too can, and like them, we can also hear Him say the words, ‘You have done well, good and faithful servant, enter into your rest’.

Because the created only thrives in the hands of the creator, I remain like a pen in the hands of the ‘Ready Writer’. Each passing day, I pray that my life tells a story of love, sacrifice and eternity. 

What story are you telling?


May each story lead more to walk the path that leads to the streets of gold.

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Heart cry for Nigeria!

Our post this week is short and reflective of our thoughts about the situation in Nigeria. This week has been a particularly challenging one for us. We have struggled to find the right words to write but words have failed us.

Our prayers and thoughts go out to all the families that lost Loved Ones during the protest against police brutality in Nigeria this week. May God grant the souls of the departed rest in his bosom.

As the protest began two weeks back, the whole world watched with pride as Nigerians took to the streets to protest peacefully. A protest is a good way to communicate displeasure and air out grievances. Everything was done impressively well and everyone complimented the unique Nigerian version of protesting.

Suddenly, the lights went out and there was chaos everywhere. The loss of lives aggravated the situation resulting in violence that led to the loss of more lives, burning and looting of public and private property.

As Nigerians, no matter where we find ourselves, this week reminded us of the very long list of things that need to #End for Nigeria to work.

As Christians, we keep praying for God’s perfect will for Nigeria to manifest in our lifetime. We are also awakened to our responsibility to rise and do the great exploits that God has empowered us for such a time as this. We are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. The world will know that we are Christians by our love.

To Nigeria and Nigerians everywhere, may all this birth a new dawn in our thinking and force a change in our actions. We should no longer play with the opportunity we have to choose those who lead us carefully.

There still is a Country.

God Bless Nigeria!

Think like an Employer

Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty. (Proverbs 21:5 NLT)

At the start of every year, most companies have a goals planning session where the management team reviews the prior year’s performance of the company and develops plans for the year in view and beyond. These companies care enough about their entity to spend time planning. In our various roles at work, some of us have taken part in these sessions directly or indirectly. This type of strategic planning sets the company up for success and clarifies the focus areas for the year. Good for the Company, right!

Unfortunately, for some of us, that is how far our planning goes as our own lives stay plan-less, focus-less and vision-less. 100 years from now we wonder why the Rockefellers’ are still rich. Well, to put it simply, you helped them plan and build but forgot to transfer those skills to your own life and family….what a shame!

Hard words but necessary to push us to pay attention to the way things are done in the businesses that we work for and take the learning home.

A few years back, I was the budget contact for my department. Even though I wasn’t a fan of the numbers and the gruelling review process, that experience gave me insight into how planning works in the corporate world. I realized that the company had a plan for this year, next year and five years ahead. I took the learning home, leveraging on an Excel template that one of my colleagues graciously shared with me, we modified it to suit our own needs. The template helped us plan financially, track our inflow and outflow and stay accountable. It also enabled us to make informed financial decisions over the years. We also have an informal goal-setting activity where we chat casually about how far we have come as a couple and a family and where we would like to go beyond this point. Having this conversation forces us to put things in place that propel us to our future state.

I remember the words of the scripture that says,

“But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? (Luke 14:28 NLT)

When you plan, you are counting the cost; when you count the cost, you are wise; when you are wise, you are acting like you were created in His image and likeness. Think of how orderly the creation story reads, a plot designed by the Master Project Manager.

We all go to work for at least 264 out of 366 days every year, as you interact with your employers, think of their business model, if it is successful and ethical, learn from it. Adopt it shamelessly and incorporate it into your life and home. As we approach the end of 2020, you can start now to review and plan for the coming year.

Note to Self – You are the CEO of your life and home, so look around and where you find a good business model, think like that employer, put on your hat and mind your business well.

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Have a great day!

Just Surfing…

One day, while I was sitting in the living room, I heard the words, “Hey Google, show me ballet practice lessons”. As it is programmed to do, Google obeyed and in no time, hundreds of ballet lessons downloaded. This request was made by a child.

Just then, a thought came to me, what if she asked for something that she wasn’t supposed to? Well, Google would have done its job and rolled out lots of information. I realized how easily information would be made available to that child and how much could be opened up to her instantly. This could be a good thing, but also a scary thought at the same time. The internet can also provide a ‘short cut’ to finding quick answers as I have watched my own daughter recommend “let’s ask Google” several times. Even though her recommendation wasn’t bad in itself, we noticed that it started replacing simple tasks like thinking things through or searching out the meaning of a word from the dictionary.

One of the major problems we face today, is information overload. There is information everywhere, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Surfing through the internet, we can now find in five minutes what would have taken our grandparents years to discover. With just a click, we can know what is happening thousands of miles away in real time as if we were physically there. This again is meant to be a good thing. But the danger for us, especially the younger folks is that the internet is not able to distinguish who is asking.

Growing up, we got all our information from school or our parents. Parents were able to provide appropriate explanations or highlight that “you are not old enough for such topics”. For most children, it worked! You had a choice to either forget about the issue or wait till you were old enough.

The Internet is a great tool, a good source of information and avenue for communication. But it is also like a ‘bottomless pit’ and a border-less space if not well monitored. It sucks users deeper and deeper and has often lead some to experience anxiety, depression, discontentment and even loneliness. Some countries now have Cyber Addiction Rehabilitation Centers to help pull addicted users out of this pit.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

It is important to remember that search engines, internet sites and apps are not programmed to distinguish a child’s voice from an adult’s, positive from negative content, truth from lies etc. However, most apps now have built in age restrictions, limitations and child safe features. As parents/guardians, we owe it to our younger ones to moderate their interface with the internet, ensuring that it is a safe space for them. We can teach them early not to be overly dependent on the internet by simply directing them back to resources like Dictionaries, Atlas and Encyclopedias and letting them see us use these resources too. This recommendation may seem archaic, but we need to remember the scripture that says “whoever causes one of this little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone was hung around his neck and he were drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18:6 NKJV). Research also also shows that our over reliance on technology is making us become mentally lazy as we now rely on the internet to think for us. Simply put, the more of ourselves we give to the Cyber world, the more it takes from our Reality!

Note to self – In the cyber world, you are your best defense!

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Have a great day!

Young and Restless

Sometime ago, I used the words ‘Young and Restless’ to describe myself in a team introduction video. A few months later, I met some younger folks who were now where I was over a decade ago and I realised how much I had become ‘old and rested’. ‘Old and rested’, an interesting way to describe myself right! What does it mean to be ‘old and rested’ you may wonder? While it is ok to be ‘old and rested’ when you are actually older in age and in your sunset years, it is unacceptable to be ‘old and rested’ in your ‘Prime’. But that is exactly what comfort does to you, left unchecked, it could make you ‘old and rested’. You stop creating, you stop thinking, you stop growing. You just sit there and grow ‘extinct’. This is not contentment, I love contentment. This is called accepting; accepting that you are there when you are still here. Accepting that you have achieved when you can still achieve more. Looking around and being the best in the moment and forgetting that you can be better. ‘Old and rested’ is cutting your journey short because you seem to have achieved the human metrics of success but deep within you, hunger pangs nag.

As I spoke with the younger version (YV) of myself, a job opportunity showed up, it was a dream job by all measures, everyone was applying. YV had no interest in applying, we talked about it and reviewed its merits against an article we all read as a team earlier that week. It was an article by Jordan Raynor on time management. Jordan highlighted that ‘not all good opportunities are good for you as some were ultimately distractions’, Hmm! We agreed this was a good opportunity but I let YV think through if it was the right opportunity or a distraction. The next morning, YV gave me an answer, a well informed one. The spreadsheet and other projections of where YV wanted to be in life screamed DISTRACTION – Case closed. I was impressed by the decision, and even more impressed by one of the reasons shared for not applying for similar roles. In YV’s words, ‘my brain will die in that role’. It was clear that YV knew that this was not the road to travel and chose to stick with conviction. YV was young and choose to stay restless.

Over a decade ago, I was fresh out of University with a degree in Political Science and International Relations and a goal to change my world and become the first female Secretary General of the United Nations (UN). Life happened and let’s just say I wandered. In the process, I learned so many lessons and met so many people. Even though my steps didn’t take me closer to the UN, I am thankful that I took those steps. One day, the scales fell off and I began to realise that in so many ways, I had become ‘Old and rested’. My brain felt fried, I felt burnt out but like many, I chose to stay on because of the perks. The first female Secretary General spot is still open, I don’t know if it is still the path for me but I remain focused, who knows one day I may still be first at something as I carve a niche for myself and make impact. Sometimes in life, you need to decide that no matter how far you have gone off, you will choose to wake up, create a safety net and begin that painful journey back to where you were really going.

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Young and restless is a state of mind that we should walk in until we take our last breath because you are never too old to be young and restless. Give of yourself until there is nothing left to give. Invest in yourself continuously, keep learning, unlearning and relearning. When you feel like your brain is fried, turn down the heat or get out of the pan and you will realise that your brain still works. Surround yourself with individuals of all ages and from all works of life, they keep you balanced and in touch with reality. Older folks share their wins and losses and tell you how to avoid traps based on experience. There is an African adage that says, ‘What an old person can see sitting, a young person can not see standing’. Your peers keep you accountable as you have walked this path together. Younger folks remind you of the person you used to be and wanted to become. They also remind you to stay relevant or get out of the way.

Your interactions are enriched when you can glean from each other and maintain a healthy equilibrium. Remain connected to your true self, map out a straight path for yourself and stay true to your path, retracing your steps or simply starting all over when you miss the mark. I am reminded of the scripture that says,

I love how this scripture removes any cap that our human minds may attempt to place on achieving greatness. Knowing God and knowing your place in him positions you to be restless until you finish the work that he has positioned you to accomplish on earth.

Note to Self – I know that I still have alot to offer and there is room for me to grow and be more. Until God calls me home, I will remain Young and Restless.

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How to End 2020 Strong (Finance Edition)

Before the pandemic, going to the movie theatre was one of my favourite things to do! There’s something about being in a dark room in front of a big, loud, screen, watching the journey of a lovable character unfold. I enjoy everything about being in a movie theatre – the stories, the special effects, the soundtrack, and of course the snacks. Extra butter on that popcorn please!

Something I particularly enjoy doing after leaving the theatre with a companion is walking out still high on all the action and drama, and asking them… “So what did you think?!” We usually end up discussing the movie’s twists and turns all the way home.

The year 2020 has played out like something out of Hollywood, hasn’t it? Mystery viruses causing a global pandemic, leading to world-wide panic, lockdowns and economic crashes to say the least!

But just like any movie, the ending is what makes or breaks the entire plot. The good news is that unlike Hollywood, we actually have some control over how the story of our 2020 will end. Yes, even when it comes to our money.

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So, in this post I would like to share 5 Ways to End 2020 Strong financially!

  1. Replace all negative thoughts with positive ones

I often hear people say things like: Throw out 2020, Cancel 2020. I’m not exactly sure how you throw out a whole year, but that’s besides the point! Don’t allow nihilistic thoughts like these to settle in your mind. For better or worse, thoughts will determine the decisions you make the rest of this year. So if you think 2020 is a piece of trash that deserves to be thrown out, then that’s exactly what it will turn out to be.

If you have already settled on this way of thinking, please suppress these negative thoughts by saying positive affirmations out loud such as, “I will make the most of what’s left of 2020” and “I will set new goals and accomplish them.”

  1. Pick ONE financial goal

In order to set yourself up for a glorious 2020 finale, avoid stretching your focus over too many ambitions. Pick ONE financial goal you would like to accomplish, and put your energy towards that. Now is not the time to save for a mortgage down payment AND buy a car AND pay off all your loans

Pick one goal that will mean the most to you. Write it down, be as specific as possible, and give it a deadline (e.g. I will save $5,000 by December 15th 2020). I recommend doing this thoughtfully and prayerfully so that your goals are aligned with God’s purpose for you and the rest of your year.

Although your ONE goal should be challenging enough, make sure it is also realistic based on your circumstances. This will prevent the feeling of disappointment once the curtains are drawn at the end of 2020.

If you have the capacity, any extra goals you accomplish beyond this single one will just be the cherry on top of the cake!

  1. Many small steps = One big leap

I previously mentioned that your ONE goal should be challenging. However, it is human nature to lose motivation from time-to-time when working towards anything worthwhile.

The best way around this motivation hurdle is to break big goals into smaller milestones, making sure to celebrate each small milestone along the way. 

Believe me, this little celebration, even something as simple as getting up and dancing for one minute (my favourite form of celebration), will go a long way to keep you motivated until the next small milestone!

  1. Establish a Plan

Now that you have the ONE goal broken into smaller milestones, how are you actually going to make it happen? You will need an actionable, written plan

Do you need to negotiate a higher bonus based on your performance? (Yes, bonuses and raises are STILL happening this year).

Do you need to take one or two extra clients to make your goal achievable? 

Can you bump up your household savings rate by cutting out unnecessary expenses?

Listing out your plan and placing it somewhere visible will prompt you to take the steps required to make your goals a reality.

  1. Share the goal with someone who will support you and keep you accountable

Be careful who you discuss your goals with! Please don’t discuss your goals with that one person whose approval you are always seeking. They are the same ones who will be the first to poke holes in your ideas and plans. 

You know who I’m talking about! 

One positive thing about the pandemic is it has forced people to seek community online. Social media spaces like Facebook groups have quickly become a source of accountability when used appropriately. 

That’s it! These are the 5 steps I recommend if you are looking for a strong ending to your 2020!

I want you to imagine December 31st 2020 and the joy you will feel because you accomplished the goal that you set TODAY. Can you see the box office headlines already?

“Your 2020: A year deserving of accolades, ovations and awards!”

The End

Today’s post is a Guest Feature by Yewande Fadojutimi. Yewande (Yeye) is an ER Doctor, Blogger and the founder of ‘Her Wealth Grows’, a platform that she uses to educate and empower women to make better financial choices. She loves God, loves to sing and travel. Yewande is married to Korede and they have two lovely children. You can follow her on www.yeyefadoju.org for more content on personal finances.

Thank you Yewande for sharing your thoughts with us on Personal Finance, God bless you.

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