Featured

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!!!

Featured

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.

We will love to hear from you, so leave a comment, subscribe to our blog to read more stories and share this post with a friend.

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

Featured

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

The Brighter Side of Meeting ‘Not So Great People’

At the back-end of most introductions, is the usual phrase ‘Nice to meet you’ that we have grown so accustomed to using. I wonder how many of us wish we could go back in time to retract those words. If you have ever felt that way about someone, you have just helped me define a ‘not so great person’.

At some point in our lives, we have encounters with people that we can only describe with negative words. I had one a few years back when someone I considered a friend openly mocked my lifestyle with a snide remark that proclaimed that I was going to be doomed to a boring existence simply because our idea of fun differed. I recall feeling embarrassed to be called out in front of so many people for no apparent reason. While everyone laughed about it, I withdrew into a shell and disappeared. I have had other encounters that can easily fall anywhere on the spectrum of bad to really bad. In all those encounters, I could trace a similar thread, someone tried to use their words, actions or position to put me down.

In life, you don’t get to choose how you are treated but thankfully when it comes to how you respond, you have the power to exercise your freewill. Each time you choose the right response, which is not what the person expects, you take back your power. I have moved past a few bad encounters, some were easy to let go, others hard, a few are still work in progress. Through these experiences, I learned that the less airtime I gave the person or situation, the easier it was for me to move on and focus on the big plans that God has for me. I also learned to only give room to people or situations that are necessary for the process of my ‘becoming’, because not all life lessons are meant to be learned first-hand.

Even though, I received a public boredom sentence which is mild compared to the acts of bullying and cyberbullying that a lot of people face as they go through life, I can say, boring is unlikely to make the list of words that describe me. The moral of the story – you can rise above the ugliness and evolve into a beautiful soul with a story that contrasts everything that was meant to weigh you down.

I know we can all remember someone who rubbed off on us the wrong way. I like to think that amid bad encounters, lies a sweet learning that only that encounter could bring about. Yes, with all boldness, I can say everybody I have met in life has been a major contributor to who I am. Tough times and the people who present themselves as vessels/enablers in the process have helped me do things differently, shaped my perspective, forced me to take steps that I probably will not have taken if I was surrounded by niceties.

The brighter side of meeting ‘not so great people’ lies in having the right attitude that sees everything life throws at you as something to learn from. If you let the process work on you, you will be a better person as a direct result of each encounter. I told myself early in life that everyone I meet either points me to who I should or should not become. Roy T. Bennett said, “Everyone you meet is a part of your journey, but not all of them are meant to stay in your life. Some people are just passing through to bring you gifts; either they’re blessings or lessons.”


So, when next you use the phrase, ‘Nice to meet you’; mean it with all your heart because everyone you meet has a purpose and place in your life.

Note to Self – In all the places I go and with all the people I meet, even though, I may not always be glad that our paths crossed, I will take the blessing and the lesson.

We love to hear from you, so like, leave a comment and tell a friend. Don’t forget to keep your eyes on who you are becoming.

Have a great week ahead!

A Father’s Hand

One of the words I heard very often as a child was the word ‘strict’ used so many times to refer to my father. I too soon realized that he was a very strict man. He had a reputation for being straight forward, uncompromising in his beliefs and very orderly. You only needed to have one encounter with him to know this. Even in his eighties, his lifestyle has remained unchanged. I am sure that some of my attitudes and behaviors today, can be traced back to him.

Photo by Immortal Snapshots from Pexels

My father would often tell us that if we think he is strict, we should have met his father. We heard so many interesting stories about my grandfather but one of them always stood out. If my father or his siblings committed an offence on Sunday, being the Sabbath Day, my grandfather would postpone the discipline and on Monday, it would be meted. He held the values of his Sabbath Day but at the same time, he would not let an offence go unchecked. Grandpa was a Pastor, Dad is too. I come from a generation of Pastors and this apple did not fall far from the tree. I would have loved to meet my grandfather, I often wonder if he would have been one of those grandparents who spoil their grandchildren, but from the stories I have heard, I doubt it. I am sure the phrase ‘Spare the rod and spoil the grandchildren‘ would have followed him to the grave. He was a disciplinarian and was particular about the way he raised his children and my father in his own unique way walked in the shoes left for him. He even had a rod of correction (ROC) for each one of us with our names clearly labeled on it. Each time, it was to be used, we would each sort and bring our factory reset stick (aka ROC).

Many years back, when we all used land lines, long before cell phones became the ‘thing’, I was sitting with my father and the phone rings, he answers the phone, hands it over to me and says “the call is for you”. I collected the phone and it’s a girl on the other end. By the way, I was probably about 14 years old then. He stayed there and did not move while I took the call. As you can imagine, that was the shortest call I have ever received. It was more of a ‘hello’, ‘okay’, ‘thank you’ and ‘bye’. After the call, my dad looks at me and says “Seek ye first the Kingdom of Book, and all others will be added to you, including a woman”. While that seemed like a weird thing to say coming from a father, I got the message that some things are more important and deserve all our focus and attention at each stage of our life. But more interestingly, I also learned that he had the Bible so implanted in his heart that every example he would use came from that source. He also taught us humility as a way of life, he did not just teach us, he lived it!

My wife recalls that her dad always said, ‘His word was law’. Those were his words on marble. She goes on to recount that without a shadow of doubt, she knew who was in charge and trusted that he will not knowingly lead her and her siblings in the path of danger. In the good old days, the sign ‘Beware of Dogs’ had many underlying meanings including the indication that within these walls lies precious jewels that I am willing to protect with my last breath. A father acting out his unique expression of ‘God’ness, as he plays the role of protector and provider; becoming a little child’s closest resemblance to Black Panther, Captain America or Iron Man. My father in-law is an amazing man, anyone’s wish for a father in-law. I watch him give of himself to those he calls his children, even bleeding in the process and yet looking for ways to do more. Sometimes you wonder what is wrong with him? But then I realize that deep down, it is the father nature acting out. Anytime, I look at his children, I can clearly see him in them.

A Father’s presence (negative or positive) is expressed through the lives of his children.

Every father has a responsibility to leave his imprints on his children. A constant reminder of whose hand guided them through life – “A Father’s Hand”

Photo by Juan Pablo Serrano Arenasfrom Pexels

A father’s relationship with his children is one of the most important relationships that exist. Fathers are the first image of God their children see and this often affects how they see and relate with God as they grow through life. The good fathers of old talked less but were present and modeled lifestyles worthy of emulation. A friend recently told me that while his father was not the talking type, he always remembers walking into the room every morning and seeing his father on his knees. That image is implanted in his memory for life. We fathers of today seem to talk more, but we should balance the talk with our presence to enable us model the talk. As I remember the story of the dying man’s wish, I encourage fathers not to sacrifice their responsibilities at home in exchange for the pursuit of money and other distractions of life.

With the current trends of negative world events such as rape, hate, racism amongst others, I can not help but think that what we have today are more men with children than fathers. Fatherhood is a responsibility, not a title you get for birthing a child. It is an intentional act with eternal value. God is looking for men like Abraham who will ‘command’ their households after Him and teach their children to walk in the way. More than ever before, the world needs fathers to rise up and teach boys to be Men and girls to be Women with a consciousness of their self worth and full knowledge of Who they are, and Whose they are.

My grandfather did well with my father and I will let you be the Judge on if my father did well with me. I am certain of one thing, it is my responsibility to raise my children in the way and I am committed to taking daily steps to achieve this goal. I believe that the examples I live out will put my son in a position to do same. To all of us fathers and prospective fathers, we owe it to our sons to make them into the men that God wants them to be, but more importantly, into the Fathers that God wants them to become.

Note to self – If your child were to turn out exactly like you, will you be proud of the person you raised?

We love to hear from you, so don’t forget to like, leave a comment, follow us and tell a friend. Keep your eyes on who you are becoming.

Have a great week ahead.

Before You Say ‘I Do’

My friend was getting married in another city. I was all excited and planned to attend but was taken aback when I told my husband about it and he opposed. It was a flight away, rough town, and I would have to spend a night at a hotel. I guess he had his reasons but I couldn’t believe it. We were only a few months into our marriage and this was the first time we had a serious conflict of opinions. I was used to having my mother influence my decisions – Yes, No, or Okay but here are the conditions. Now it seemed my husband was going to assume that role.
 
Two possible reactions. Go into a rage, ask why he wants to ‘control me’, and question the basis of his decision… then tell him I’m a grown woman, I can decide for myself, and proceed to do what I wanted… OR… Remind myself that I got married to a reasonable man and he has my best interest at heart, and that I signed up for this kind of interference when I said ‘I DO’.
 


WHAT DID I REALLY DO WHEN I SAID ‘I DO’?
 
People often desire that marriage will bring out the best in them and that everything will be beautiful and blissful. Some assume they’ll always have things go their way especially if their spouse expressed love for them during courtship with several acts of selflessness, but what sort of union would it be if one continually made sacrifices while the other carried on in jolly land, no shift, no change, no adjustments?
 
My husband’s mentor often said, ‘marriage is the crucible God uses to shape sons’. The events of your life as a couple are opportunities to grow, change, evolve, gain mastery, become wiser, learn humility, become a better team player, and ultimately become the best version of yourself. This would be the case in a healthy union where each party truly seeks the good of the other. In this case, marriage would make you.
 
But can marriage mar you? Ah! Listen to the stories of pain, hurt, abuse, deception… but this doesn’t have to be your story.

That’s why each person has a lot of work to do before you say ‘I DO’. You need to ask yourself real and hard questions such as: What am I really doing? What am I signing up for? Who am I permanently bringing into my space? Who am I giving a position of continuous influence in my life? and who am I empowering to make potentially life altering decisions on my behalf if ever I am unable to. You need to know before you say I DO.
 
So talk, listen, ask questions, pay attention to the answers, observe, investigate, do your background check, pray, discuss with mentors, seek counsel from elders, pray again, and seek to understand things that aren’t clear. Open every cupboard so you can be sure there are no skeletons, and if there are, you decide whether you’re comfortable living with that for the rest of your life. Bottom line – deploy all your arsenals and do your part to know as much as possible before you say I do.


So…
How did we resolve our matter?
We sat and discussed, and he shared his concerns and together, we came up with a way to let my friend and her husband know that we care for them and are happy about their union. It didn’t matter at all that I was absent. Her wedding was a beautiful celebration of love… and as they lifted their glasses to toast to unending love, I revelled in the one I had, with assurance that he’s got my back.

Note to self: Take responsibility. Do your due diligence. Look and be sure it’s safe before you leap!

We love to hear from you, so don’t forget to like, leave a comment, follow us and tell a friend.

Have a great day!

Today’s post is a Guest Feature by Anietie Bature. Anietie wears many hats, she is a Singer, Songwriter, Engineer, Blogger and Vlogger. She is married to Kingsley Bature and they have three lovely children. She is the voice behind two of my favorite songs ‘My Whole Life’ and her recently released single, ‘Today’. You can follow her on http://www.anietie.com.

Here is her new song ‘Today’ for your listening pleasure.

Thank you Anietie for sharing your thoughts with us on relationships.

I Love my Friendships ‘Organic’

Today is June 6th, just another day you may think, but one worth taking a stroll down memory lane. As my first friend in life marks her birthday today, I cannot help but remember all things friendships. Interestingly, we met in our mother’s wombs as they sat close to each other chatting away for the most part of nine months. While our mothers hung out, we little fetuses developed our own unique chemistry. She came out one month before me and gained seniority bragging right. I can imagine that she came over to say hello as soon as I arrived. I have made so many more friends since that encounter in the early 80’s and as I grew up, my family moved around a lot because of Dad’s job; which means I had to make new friends at least every three years. I stayed in touch with some and lost some along the way. I guess you can blame it on time, distance and maybe just my unwillingness to expend the required energy. Alexa and I stayed close and regardless of distance, we always found a way of reconnecting and playing catch up.



Fast forward to Present day, as my family and I transitioned into a new city, we received some friendship referrals from our dear friends and family. While I appreciated the kind gesture, I found myself responding to one of my dear friends with words that conveyed that, as much as I will love to inherit your friends, I prefer my friendships ‘Organic’. She is a fighter and since she felt strongly about it, she made her case, I agreed to take the number with my own set of terms and conditions.

The thing about friendship by referral is that most times, they tend to be like genetically modified foods (GMO). They inherit the genetics of the founding relationship, creating an unconscious expectation that if you are a friend of my friend then you must be like my friend in most ways. Sometimes, GMO friends assume a closeness that has not yet materialized. Trust is often assumed and the relationship skips the test and trials that strengthen the bonds of a true and lasting friendship.

I am not opposed to meeting people through people but I prefer to follow up each encounter with close observance before opening up my world to new people, letting things take a natural flow. After all, you can’t go wrong with slow and steady. When things are rushed, it could lead to broken trust and create a situation that rocks even the founding relationship.


Organic friendships on the other hand, evolve and take baby steps because friendship that last is built over a period of getting to know each other, testing boundaries, and gaining trust over time. People make friends for all sorts of reasons – character, religion, political affiliation, tribe, physical appearance, fashion sense, popularity, wealth, and status. Even having a certain type of accent will easily make this list. Just imagine with me for a second that the ability to speak with a British or American accent can bring with it a certain type of audience, quite amusing I must say. My personal take on making friends is that you start by looking out for people who think like you and share your values, remember only birds of the same feather flock together. Then you would need to put in the time and energy to grow and build because relationships like every other thing in life requires effort. I find that if you invest in relationships, you can be sure that you have an emotional bank somewhere that you can rely on in certain seasons of life.

Recently, I read that you are the average of the five people that you call your friends. If this is true, then you need to ensure your circle keeps you balanced, motivated and uplifted. I try to be very intentional about my friends, I don’t like ‘wahala‘ (unnecessary trouble) and as I think of my ‘Five’, I feel a smile building up, like a proud hunter happy with the day’s catch. I think of my friends as Team Possible, they believe in me, cheer me on and are not afraid to look me in the eyes and confront me with the bitter truth that reminds me of who I am, forcing me to auto-correct. They do not get blown away by the wind or washed away by the tsunamis that may hit my life. Under the scorching sun and the thunderous rain, they eat with me, laugh with me, pray with me, cry with me and play with me.

You will go through many seasons in life, good, bad, ugly, and indescribable. You are not meant to walk alone, spend some time reflecting on your inner circle and ask yourself two simple questions – will I go to war for these people, take note of your answer. Then ask yourself a second question, will they go to war with me? Let your answers lead you to take action.

Note to Self – A friend that sticks closer than a brother is a product of a deliberate investment to grow the relationship. Go organic and enjoy what true friendship has to offer because in life, the right relationships matter.

We love to hear from you, so don’t forget to like, leave a comment, follow us and tell a friend. Keep your eyes on who you are becoming.

Have a great week ahead.

A New Kind of ‘You’

We all enjoy the new, something about it brings about excitement, especially in the early days. ‘New’ could be a friend, car, house, outfit, job, city, or adventure. All the energy we expend on this new love of ours, you will think it was made in heaven. As you go through life, you will discover that each time you show up at a new school, job, or place, you become an instant trend as the new kid on the block. Some thrills last a long time while some go by in a day.

On this occasion, we were all newly hired filled with all the excitement in the world. It felt like we just hit the jackpot or maybe we actually did. At the back end of a rigorous recruitment process, the phrase ‘you are hired’ usually brings smiles that can only be imagined by the mind’s eyes or captured in a picture perfect moment. Fast forward to Orientation week, we went through company presentations, games, a few laughs, little chats and side bar discussions and some food. In that little room, lifelong friendships and alliances were formed, as destiny forced a convergence of minds and value systems.

Finally, the last Presenter walked in, nicely dressed in his signature three-piece suit, you could tell he was carefully selected to hit the high notes. You can call him the Poster Boy of ‘what good looks like’. Employers like that formula a lot, they tend to show off their best in the hope that the newbies will chart the same path. Of all the things said in the two-day event, all I remember were the few minutes when he said the words, ‘You are your own brand –You Inc’. For me, that was a subtle reminder that you could try to be Me and fall short at it or you can ‘Be You’, the best version of you and do wonders with just the right effort. After all, ‘Nobody can do you like you do you‘.

We all left pretty excited and ready for the journey ahead, each one to their own thing.
I began to chart my own path, with every action, inaction, decision or indecision forming its own tile in the puzzle. It was a different type of story, My Own Story. If I were to paint a picture, some days were bright and yellow like Summer, others were orange and flowery like Spring, a few were cold and dark like Winter and who knows what colour it was in the Fall. Even in the darkest of days, amid the tears and despair, I chose to look up and stay thankful. I met many kinds of people in so many places, so different I could use a different adjective to describe each one. Some encounters pulled me up, others had no effect while a few tried to tear me apart. Each encounter leaving a unique imprint on me, the good I chose to stay and the bad I daily erased.

Everyone needs an anchor, in the words of the Songwriter,

“In every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil”.

Indeed, ‘On Christ the solid rock I stand because all other ground is sinking sand’. Through all my days on this side of eternity, God’s word has remained my anchor. As I search the scriptures daily, beholding as in a mirror I am being transformed into His image and becoming better at it with each passing day. He says I am fearfully and wonderfully made, the fine art of the most creative of Creatives, with a piece of him in me, stamped fit for purpose. Here for a reason, endowed with the ability to do all things because I have been so enabled. I find meaning in his word as my eyes of understanding are open to see that a man’s worth is not defined by his worldly possessions, the men of timber and calibre that surround his table, the titles he bears, the work of his hands or the Ivy League Schools he attends.



I am Thelma, I am Idorenyin, I am who God says I am, the apple of his eyes; I can do what God says I can – All Things and I can go where he says I go. I have found me!

A new kind of me, beautiful beyond description, totally in control of what moves in and around me. You are changing too because this season, you decided to stop, allow our words sink, and carefully consider how you respond to trends. Now we all know what to say and do when next we hear the words, What’s Trending? Watch out because just like me, you have gained control and in your own way, start to trend.

Have fun shaping your world.


Note to Self: Be Bold, BeYOUtiful, Be a New Kind of You.

We love to hear from you so do not forget to like, subscribe, leave a comment, and tell your friends. As always, keep your eyes on who you are becoming.

Have a great week ahead!

Whose Shoe is it?

As I walked casually in simple slipper that cost me less than $10, I do not recall the conversation in exact words but I think it went something like this, ‘Nice slippers’ and I must have replied, ‘Thank you, that is why I bought it’. (I heard that version of response from my cousin and since I have clownish tendencies, it stuck).

We kept talking, and then I heard the words, ‘it’s Hermes right’. I had myself a good laugh because it was no where near Hermes, it just had a ‘H’ looking like design in front of it. I knew that Hermes was not the cheapest of designers, so as I drafted this article, I decided to humor myself some more. A quick google search and the figures $700 popped up on my screen for a slippers, this is the point when my ancestor will exclaim Hian!(pronounced He-an, also known as What!). While there is absolutely nothing wrong with wearing a Hermes slippers if you can afford it, but on this day and at that time, it wasn’t what I was wearing. So, for the young shoe lovers who want to own the nicer things of life, please don’t fake it when you cannot afford it, be real to yourself.

Let me paint another picture, the name Chimamanda Adichie represents intelligent, eloquent, great writer and good speeches; you know like ‘The Danger of a Single Story’. If you know her and you are familiar with her work, you will agree with me that Chimamanda knows how to speak English for sure. So, imagine her on a podium giving one of her fancy speeches and she says in a poetic voice without flinching ‘the sun shined bright inside the African sky’. Guess what, even though we all know that the statement sounds a bit off or maybe straight up wrong, we are likely not to think too much about it because Chimamanda said it.



As I reflect on this, I realized that when we humans see something on someone that we place a certain value on, something in us transfers the value of the person to the thing. So if you think highly of someone, even if the person blots out complete rubbish like the picture I painted earlier or all of a sudden dresses silly; a part of you is likely to think that what the person said must be the new right and the dress code is the new cool.

But why will we do that? I guess we are just human. Which means if you invest time, energy and resources on branding ‘You’ Inc, then everything falls into place like clockwork. You worry less about what you wear, who you are wearing and those type of things that ordinary folks break bank for. You begin to define what trends within your circle and become the trend yourself, an Influencer of some sort. So invest in developing yourself and becoming a master at something, make it something that is good and adds value. One day, you will wake up and realize that your small voice counts and maybe just maybe in your own little way, you start trending.

We all love a beautiful pair of shoes and more, these simple shoes assumed the persona of the owner, and began to speak. Every shoe tells a story, what is yours saying?

Note to Self: Invest in ‘self’ over ‘things’ because in the end, it is not the shoe that matters but ‘who’ wears the shoe.

We will love to hear from you, don’t forget to like, comment, follow us and tell a friend. Remember life is a journey, so keep your eyes on who you are becoming.

Have a good week ahead!

League of ONE!

We had just finished our exams and with just one week left to our holiday, we had no studies and nothing to do in school. I cannot remember the class exactly, but it was Senior Secondary (High School). My friends and I decided that rather than go to school, we would hang out. One of us lived close to school, so his house was the chosen location. On that fateful day, we were dropped off at the School’s gate, we pretended to go in, removed our school shirts and went off to our friend’s place. We had a great time and then it was time to go back to school. The plan was to get close to school, put on our uniforms and wait at the gate for pick up. All was good, our plan was well executed and on our way back to school, we even discussed how we could pull this off again everyday till the end of the week.

Just then, one of our teachers drove by and recognized us. Screeeeech…… we heard his car tires stop as he pulled back. Anytime I think of that event, I still don’t know how five boys fit into his really small car. We even damaged the door of his car in the process. He drove us back to school, it was a Military school so you can imagine what happened next. I will give you a sneak peak, we were flogged without mercy. A combination of our offense plus the damaged car fueled the extra strength behind each stroke. We paid dearly for the insurance he wasn’t going to claim from us on the car.

I recall getting into trouble for other things I got involved with, in and out of school. At some point, I began to notice that other people would do things and seemingly go free, but the moment I tried it, I would get into trouble for it. And by the way, these were not all necessarily “bad things”; it could be a certain trend or “opportunity”, the moment I got in, I would get burnt. It was more like God was telling me that the “crowd” was not ‘my thing’.

Photo by Life of Wu from Pexels

I remember that while I was in University, I went into school to buy a vital textbook from a lecturer for a coming test. As I got close to his office, I saw about seventy percent of my classmates trooping out of the building, advising that I turn back, apparently the Professor was not responding to anyone. I wanted to turn around, when my friend said to me, “let us go in and get turned back ourselves” so despite popular opinion and other voices, we went ahead and you can imagine our surprise when we were greeted by a very receptive Professor. In fact, that was the nicest we have ever seen him and he gave us all we needed. Hmm…. My guess is, one person probably went in to meet him, and with a completely different experience or circumstance, got turned away by the Professor and on their way out, turned everyone back with their version of the story. It may have been in good faith or it may have been an “if I cannot get it, no one else should” but we would never know right? As with such cases, we are never able to trace the culprit. If you try to ask, person A would say person B told me, person B would say person C and it would become the never ending story! But seriously, I wonder how many people got turned back that day! It is possible, over ninety percent of the class.

Have you found yourself taking a decision because of one person’s or a few people’s experiences? Have you turned back when you should have moved forward? Or moved when you should have stayed? The Late Stan Lee, writer of the super hero stories we have come to love shared that he was told to trash the Spiderman super hero story when he first wrote it. In Stan’s word, “If you have an idea you genuinely believe in, don’t let some idiot talk you out of it”. I will add, don’t let the crowd talk you out of it, no matter how many or how loud they are. Today, Spiderman is on the screens with a world wide audience and raking in billions for its producers. If Stan was moved by the crowd, Spiderman would have been shooting webs in the trash can, unknown to the world.

From my experience, I have seen that when people don’t want to take a risky step forward, they try to pull as many people back with them. They create what I call the “crowd mentality”, get a few people in, make their voices loud and try to suck you in. Don’t be their victim! Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path. Don’t get sidetracked (Proverbs 4:26, 27a NLT)

To achieve great things, some of us will need a “League of One” moment.

From Abraham to Joseph, Moses to David, Jesus to Paul, these great men had their League of One moments. Each of them had their “AHA” in a solo moment. In fact, for some of them, God literally took them out of the crowd as far as a wilderness for that moment of clarity and self discovery.

Photo by Ethan Jones from Pexels

I have seen a lot of trends come and go and the crowd followed, and in most cases, many of them lose out. Some have suffered huge financial losses, faced arrest for mistaken identities, lost their jobs and even died in the process of toeing the path of the crowd. Standing away from the crowd may be an unpopular choice, you may even lose some friends but in those moments, you gain insight and the courage to launch.

Note to self – Don’t shy away from solitude, because in the end, just like in the beginning, when you give an account of your life, there will be a STAGE, SPOTLIGHT and ‘YOU’

We will love to hear from you, so don’t forget to like, leave a comment, follow us and tell a friend. As always, keep your eyes on who you are becoming.

We wish you all the best that life has to offer!

Because of You – A Mother’s Day Special Edition

Indeed, I can say I am blessed amongst women to be raised by four strong women. Some came before me, while other joined along the way. Today I salute my Mom, My Mom in law of blessed memory and my Grandmas (also of blessed memory). As I stared at a picture that my daughter drew of me with almost eight hands representing the different roles that I juggle daily, I am reminded that I am who I am today because you all charted this path so graciously. You were such great models. I can go forth to do greater works because, like an arrow, you sharpen me and now I am free to wander to places that you could only imagine. Mothers!

Who sat and watched my infant head 
When sleeping on my cradle bed, 
And tears of sweet affection shed? 
My Mother.*

Growing up, we will get so excited when a new dress was bought, we could not wait for the next outing to wear our new dresses. My Mom on the other hand, always had other plans for our new clothes. The plan followed this pattern all the time, new dress goes to the bottom of the suitcase with the perfect response, ‘Were you walking naked before the dress arrived?’ A good question but still a tough pill to swallow. We quickly recognized the pattern and normalize to our fate in life. We had only two options, live with it or return Mom to the Mom store and ask for another Mom or a refund. But the second option only exist in dreamland, so we lived with it. A grown version of me appreciates the lessons more as I have grown to determine what trends I follow and not allow trends rule me. I also learned to be more than comfortable in my skin.

Pexels.com

Who taught my infant lips to pray 
And love God’s holy book and day, 
And walk in wisdom’s pleasant way? 
My Mother. *

Mom taught me the Bible as she doubled up as Sunday School teacher at some point in my life. She lived out the lessons from the Bible in a few dramatic ways. As I flash back in time, I remember when it was party time, we will get so excited to go but Mom will always insist that we eat and not only eat but finish the food if not, there will be no party. I hated those moments because the food will feel so tasteless and the mountain before you looked like it was never going to come down, yet the clock kept ticking. Again, Mom had the perfect response, ‘you want to go to the party and start behaving like people who don’t have food at home’. You can say I have been saved from getting angry when the food service doesn’t get to me at occasions like weddings because Mom’s voice stuck and I always try to show up with a full belly or at least know to behave more gracefully when the food doesn’t get to me. It takes skill and practice to stay calm at these events when you get cut off from food service especially when you are so hungry or so close to the food.

Mom used everyday events to shape our character and she was not afraid or tired to go down the unpopular or uncool path. One of those days, my clique of friends agreed to show up for a birthday party dressed alike. We all agreed to wear boots. At that time, the only pair of boots that I owned were rain boots. I was young and foolish and guess what, my little mind was prepared to show up to the party in rain boot. My way of fitting in with the girls. Trust Mom, she had her own plans and boots were not a part of the plan. I cannot remember her reason but knowing her so well, it probably had to do with teaching me a silent lesson on Peer Pressure. Imagine for a second if I showed up in rain boots that day. O well, on that very day, Mom’s unpopular position saved me from a scar that may have earned me a bad nickname, lots of laughs and a bruised self-esteem. The other girls had fancy boots on, I did not and honestly after I realized what type of boots were expected, I did not care. I was simply happy that Mom in her strange way saved me from that embarrassing situation. The party was fun, no one noticed I did not wear boot and even if they did, the party lasted for about three hours and we all went our separate ways.

My Grandmas on the other hand taught me what to expect from my future in-laws, not in words but in action. They both loved their son and daughter in-law so much. To Dad’s Mom, my Mom could hurt no fly, she loved my Mom so much and I remember her taking short walks every single day to ask my Mom what she wanted to eat whenever we visited the village. In fact, it was a taboo for my Mom to cook when we visited, if she did, Grandma will ask if her food was no longer tasty, their relationship was made in heaven. Grandma always told my Mom that when she was tired of cooking for her, she will know. On that fateful day, when she took her last breath, we all knew she was tired but not without saying goodnight with one last meal. I watched my Mom and Grandma closely and when I became of age, I prayed that God would give me a Mom in-law just like my Grandma. Yes, he did, even though she went to be with the Lord early, I enjoyed ten years of food exchanges, lovely gifts, laughs and teasing, African Magic and Zee World forced down my throat. Even in her sick bed, she wished she could do more, wanted to do more and all she asked of me was to take care of the children, her children. Every single memory of her leaves a smile on my face because she was just right for me in so many ways. More importantly, she raised a son who loves God so dearly and for that I am thankful. In Idorenyin’s words, ‘Mom’s watchful eyes reached far into the future to protect her children from threats yet to come’. The Mother Eagle.

And can I ever cease to be 
Affectionate and kind to thee, 
Who wast so very kind to me, 
My Mother? 

Ah, no! the thought I cannot bear, 
And if God please my life to spare 
I hope I shall reward thy care, 
My Mother. *

Moms have a tough job, sometimes it requires them being uncool for the moment. I would like to dare all mothers out there to set the pace for their children to follow. We, each and every one of us will give an account of what we used our influence as mothers to do; build or destroy, pull up or tear apart, instruct or ‘destruct‘.

So today and always, we say thank you Mom for teaching us life in those simple daily interactions and being bold and intentional about it. Thank you to all mothers for wearing this badge of honour so gracefully. God Bless you!

Note to Self: Remember, we are not called to be ‘sexy mothers’, we are called to be ‘godly mothers’ raising godly seeds who are like arrows in the hands of a mighty warrior.

We will love to hear from you, so you can click the links below to like, share your own Mom stories in the comment section, follow us and tell a friend. Do not forget to keep your eyes on who you are becoming in life.

Have a great week ahead!

*Poem – ‘My Mother’ by Ann Taylor

What’s Trending?

Back in High School, one of my numerous nicknames was ‘Trendy’, so you can say I know a thing or two about trends. Something, someone, some place or some news is always trending. Some trends last a while, others go by so quickly.

Today, amid all that is going on around us, I find it rather interesting that designer face masks seem to be making waves in certain parts of the globe. As I wonder what use the outfit matching mask will have after COVID, I am reminded that trends typically do not last forever because with humans, yesterday’s new is today’s used.

Ankara Face Mask


I remember a time when being a skinny Nigerian girl was not the ‘in thing’; at that time, ‘Big and beautiful’ was the only face of beauty or so we thought. I got teased a lot for my skinny frame and received several ‘you need to gain weight’ lectures from everyone and anyone. My mom even shared her own tales of being told that she will not have babies because her waist was too tiny. Imagine that!

But, all of that changed in one night when a Nigerian girl with a tall and skinny frame was crown ‘Miss World’. In 2001, Agbani’s victory was not just a win for Agbani but a win for all skinny girls who had been subjected to so many laughs. That night, Agbani was trending and a host of slim beauties began to trend too. Interesting how nothing about them changed, just a temporary shift in how we perceived ‘Beauty’.

Agbani Darego (Miss World 2001)



Every story has a moral, in this case I will say, don’t make fun of others when you are trending, don’t feel bad when you are not trending and be careful what trends you follow or choose not to follow. Some trends add value if you catch the profit buzz, others add nothing to you or your immediate environment.

I have seen a few trends in my own lifetime. Once upon a time, cool guys hopped or bounced and all of a sudden teen-aged boys everywhere, were bouncing to an invisible beat. After a while, it faded away, leaving them disfigured and confused about the place of the ‘bounce’ in adulthood. I have also noticed the gradual convergence of the bust and hem lines, someone once said at this rate, all that will be left will be a belt. O how can I forget the dangerous slits in all things dresses and skirts that look like a pathway to where they should not lead. Some days, I feel like I may have just walked into the Garden of Eden. I remember that back in the days, makeup was used for touched up purposes, but now they feel like mask, and the wonderful ‘before and after’ pictures that splash all over the internet feel like you were handed a scam; leaving behind a trail of broken and disappointed hearts. Young boys wearing trousers that sit closer to the knees than the waist. While some even got into trouble because of ‘Bopdaddy’. The list is endless.

Pexels.com

While some trends are good, others are just a waste of time and energy and you don’t have to feel out of place if you decide to take a rain-check on them. I will like to invite you to do two quick exercises with me.

Quick Exercise 1 – Find a trend worth following, it must be life giving, value adding and make a visible difference to you and those around you. Something that give you a legacy and leaves a smile on your face at your 85th. COVID-19 has led to an increase in charitable causes, you can hop on that trend and decide to stay on even after the pandemic has become the stuff of history books. What is in it for you? Joy, satisfaction and a blessedness that only givers can feel.

Quick Exercise 2 – Resist the urge to jump out of impulse on the bandwagon of the next feel good trend and gain private victory in self-awareness, discipline and self-control.

Remember trends come and go so quickly but they leave behind different imprints on us all. In the words of William Shakespeare, “Know thyself and to thyself be true”, you are more than a trend and trends should only define you if they are worth following. I hopped on a trend so many years back, this one is tested and trusted and for some reason it has lasted more than two thousand years and counting. We are not called to be conformist blown by every wind of doctrine, we are called to shine the light and lead the way.



Note to Self – When next you search out the words – What’s Trending on the News, Facebook, Instagram, Google, Pinterest, Twitter or Snapchat, look well before you leap.

We love to hear from you, so don’t forget to like, leave a comment, follow us and tell a friend. As you go through Life’s journey, keep your eyes on who you are becoming.

Stay safe and have a good week!

%d bloggers like this: