October Song

Somehow, every month, there seems to be a song that gets a hold of me and doesn’t let go till everyone around me is sick of hearing it. Occasionally I get sick of it myself, and have to take a break. This month, however, it’s the lyrics of Carolyn Arends’ “Seize The Day” that got my juices flowing. I’m still in the throes, thought I’d share, so here:

I know a girl who was schooled in Manhattan
She reads dusty books and learns phrases in Latin
She is an author, or maybe a poet
A genius, but it’s just this world doesn’t know it
She works on her novel most every day
If you laugh she will say

 

Chorus:
Seize the day – seize whatever you can
‘Cause life slips away just like hourglass sand
Seize the day – pray for grace from God’s hand
Then nothing will stand in your way
Seize the day

 

Well I know a doctor, a fine young physician
Left his six figure job for a mission position
He’s healing the sick in an African clinic
He works in the dirt and writes home to the cynics
He says, “We work through the night so most every day
As we watch the sun rise we can say…

Chorus

I know a man who’s been doing some thinking
He’s as bitter and cold as the whiskey he’s drinking
He’s talking ‘bout fear, about chances not taken
If you listen to him you can hear his heart breaking
He says, “One day you’re a boy and the next day you’re dead
I wish way back when someone had said…

Chorus

Well one thing I’ve noticed wherever I wander
Everyone’s got a dream he can follow or squander
You can do what you will with the days you are given
I’m trying to spend mine on the business of living
So I’m singing my songs off of any old stage
You can laugh if you want – I’ll still say…

Chorus

 

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Ready-Made Man

Who wants a ready-made man? Ok, who doesn’t? I spent time last weekend with a sweet young woman who recently became my friend, and as we shared our dreams and plans for the future, she told me she has no intention of working for anybody, and preferred to own a big shop instead. I thought it was a lovely idea, and even though I wondered how much she would make from that, I didn’t say anything because I’m not business oriented and there is a lot I don’t know.

But as she began to paint a picture of the shop, of its little room with two couches, a lovely rug, a TV set, a microwave (for the kids’ lunches) etcetera, I started to wonder where she would get the capital to start off in such a big way. Then, as if reading my mind she turned and said, “I have to marry a rich man oh!” Aha.

We spent the next two hours talking about our opinions, which turned out to be as different as night and day. It’s not like I want to marry a poor man, or that I mind a man who has money, but I don’t believe a man’s material possessions or lack thereof should be such a big issue in determining whether I’ll marry him or not. In the end we agreed to disagree. But in spite of that, I went away with some questions.

1) Is it wrong to want to marry a man who has (in her words) “made his money waaaay before he met you”?
2) Is it acceptable to say, “I am not ready to suffer with or for any man, they are not worth it?”
3) Does the fact that a guy doesn’t have a car mean that he is not ready to marry? (“How would we move around?” , she asked innocently)
4) How many of us are prepared to live without a Generator, deep freezer or microwave? How many of us even know how? (Do you know how to use firewood properly or how to smoke fish for preservation? Lol, half kidding!)
5) Are we talking about money and who pays for what in our relationships and courtships, or are we waiting to get married and be unpleasantly surprised that what you think is not what he thinks?

Answers anyone?

Wetin Wives Dey Do…Sef?

Have you ever wondered what makes one wife a “good wife” and another a “bad wife”? Parents, The Bible, the church, society and Nollywood have all done their part in creating the impressions we have of what a wife should and shouldn’t be. Yet I can’t help but wonder at times what a wife is required to be and do, and what she isn’t, especially when I hear certain stories, or come across certain things, like this excerpt from a book I read almost a decade ago, which I have posted below. Here goes.

“But I do not know any wives; I have always been with my father. If I marry him, what shall I have to do?”
“You must love him, honour him and obey him; you must study his interests, do all you can to help him, be patient with his faults, kind and gentle to him; you must see that his meals are ready at the proper time- that his clothes are nicely kept.”
“I see; it is just like being a kind of housekeeper.”
“No, Miss Diane, it is not exactly like that; you should try to keep his books, write his letters, read to him when he is tired.”
“Then it is like being a kind of secretary or clerk”, she said.
“Not exactly that,” said Mrs. Hopeton. “When he is dull you must cheer him; if he is downhearted amuse him; if any trouble comes you must teach him where to look for comfort; if he is tempted to do wrong you must guide him.”
“Then it is something like being a curate”, said Diane.
“A curate? No, not that.”
“But Mrs. Hopeton, do you mean that a wife has all that to do?! In that case it is useless for me to attempt to be a wife. I could not get through one-half of it.”
“Then”, said Mrs. Hopeton, “Content yourself with loving him. If you learn to do that, everything else will be well.”
– Married for Her Beauty (Bertha M Clay)

Am I the only one feeling the poor girl? Guys, what exactly do you think you are getting when you decide to make someone your wife? Girls, what do you think you are getting yourself into when you agree to become someone’s wife? For those “lucky” ones who are married, is it what you bargained for? I’d appreciate your honesty, cos I’m not getting any younger, and I’d really love to know, wetin wives dey do…sef?

Hey Girlfriend, Let’s Talk

I started talking to myself yesterday. Hahaha, those who know me well may roll their eyes, knowing full well that I have always talked to myself. While some consider this a symptom of psychosis, in my opinion a little soliloquy never hurt anyone. It is no news that my pastor’s message yesterday was for me, because by God’s grace I am always where He wants me to be at every given season and so I can rest assured that He’ll be speaking to me in the little things and in the big things.

I was therefore expectant and a little intrigued when I heard the title of the message; Self Dialogue. As pastor went on however, a dozen light bulbs went off in my head and I was practically transformed as I sat there listening. Oh, would that I could tell you all the things he said, but the bottom line was this; it is a very good and productive thing to sit yourself down for a good chat regularly. We read once again the story of the prodigal son who collected and wasted his inheritance even while his dad was still living. And we saw how he “came to himself, and said to himself…” and as he talked to himself, and reasoned with himself, his solution came, and even turned out better than he could have imagined!

I learnt that it is more than the soliloquy that has always been a part of me; it is a serious, honest and even cathartic dialogue that leads to increased clarity, confidence and focus. We talk all the time, but the talking that really brings on the change we seek is the one we do with ourselves. The woman with the issue of blood also talked to herself. She assessed her situation, dialogued with herself and she got what she wanted.

How different would my life be today if I thought to have a good talk with myself from time to time? Some mistakes would never have been made. There sure would be relationships I would never have entered, trips I never would have taken, habits I would have found strength to break so long ago, and dreams that would have been birthed. As painful as the thought of pain needlessly borne is, I take solace in the fact that it is not too late to start. In fact, what better time to have a long talk with my inner girlfriend than now with the new year only a few days away? A hot milky mug of my favourite ginger and honey blend, a pen, my journal, and we are ready to go.

I am taking a very important step this week, and I already started talking to myself about it. I can’t tell you what a difference it’s made already; how full of potential, responsible, intelligent, beautiful and lovable I am reminded that I am. You’d imagine that I should already know that, right? Well, I forget, but at least now I don’t need anyone else to remind me; I can just remind myself!

 

25 Random Things About Me

1. My last thought every night is the thought of God.
2. I never go out of my house without a book or magazine to read.
3. I prefer skirts to trousers.
4. I can’t eat margarine or peanuts…my face will break out in the morning.
5. I’d rather have Amstel Malta than any other drink.
6. I have a thing for older men.
7. I am happiest when I am teaching.
8. I don’t like it when people pile up things I’ve done wrong and then later tell me they don’t like what I did “that day”, or worse still, what I’ve been doing; I’d rather be told as it happens.
9. I love shades of red and pink, and don’t like yellow and white. Excluding underwear, all the yellow and white things I have are gifts.
10. I CANNOT whistle. (Resist the temptation to teach me, many have tried.)
11. My memory is my best friend and my worst enemy; I’m amazed at my ability to remember words exactly as they were said, but have a really hard time remembering actions and happenings.
12. I’m hot tempered.
13. I enjoy mimicking people.
14. I love music, listen to it as often as I can, and sing when I have nothing to listen to.
15. I adore babies, but not kids in general (gasp!). I can tolerate them though, if they behave.
16. I feel very deeply about The Christian Union, Uniben /UBTH and consider having been a part of it one of the greatest joys of my life.
17. I think sex a wonderful expression of God’s love for us, and really do not get why people like to pretend about it, especially religious people.
18. I am sensitive to grammatical and spelling errors, but I’m hopeless with other kinds of details.
19. I am easily hurt.
20. I love touching and hugging people.
21. I’m praying very hard that God gives me the chance to host my own talk show someday soon.
22. I don’t like wearing clothes and wish I didn’t have to. I would have been very happy in Eden. Please bear with me if you knock on my door and it takes me ages to let you in.
23. It bothers me a lot (maybe too much) when I’m misunderstood, or when I tell the truth but am not believed.
24. I’m “supposed” to be extroverted, but I’m not outgoing. I’d really rather stay home and read, watch TV or talk with friends.
25. I cannot comb another person’s hair, help pierce their ears, or do anything for them that can cause even the slightest pain. You say “ouch”, and I’m out.

Just A Thought

For most people on facebook, you can’t read their profile until you’ve been accepted as a friend. However, there are a few who don’t bother with protecting their profiles in that way. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that really, but something just hit me, (yeah I know, me and my “aha! moments”). I found a friend for whom I’ve been searching since the year began, so I happily clicked on her name to add her. I didn’t know where she’s been, where she lives now, where she works, how she’s doing, y’know…and I was excited at the thought of catching up, reading her profile and stuff. But when I clicked on her name to add her, her profile opened, so I read her info, her wall, and could have viewed her photos but I was in a hurry to add her so I went and did that, then got lost in work until I was notified that she’d accepted and I clicked on her profile from my yahoomail box.
That was when I noticed it was missing; the excitement I usually feel when someone I really like or care about accepts my invite and then I can see their profile and all. Of course I’m happy we’re on each others friend lists now and though there really isn’t anything I can do now that I couldn’t do or hadn’t done before, I like to think it doesn’t change anything. Or does it? Perhaps not in this case.
I immediately thought of the difference between a wedding night with someone you’ve already slept with, and one with someone you haven’t. And much as we try to be fly, or “21st Century” we gotta admit it does take some of the shine away when we fail to stay in God’s plan and wait till we’re married to enjoy our partners intimately. And though a lot of people think I’m silly, or I sound like a man (and a chauvinistic one at that) when I half-joke that I can’t marry a man I’ve slept with, I was reminded of the reason in a very clear way today when I clicked on my friend’s profile and didn’t know what to do next. I really do not want to have seen it all. I know there are many reasons to wait, and this is just a tiny one, but it has never been so vivid to me before today, the picture of business as usual after the wedding, on a “honeymoon without the honey”, like my beau would say. We really should try to give each other something to look forward to.
I don’t mean to offend or sadden anyone; we’ve all made our mistakes one way or another. This isn’t even a real article or anything. It’s just a thought…

Spiritus Sanus In Corpore Sano

I’ve been in pain for the past five days. I can’t run or squat without wincing, neither can I walk normally, even though folks don’t seem to notice, and I brought it all on myself. How? It’s a short story. I spent the New Year with my boyfriend’s family, and my short stay there included visits to his grandpa, Omooba Johnson Adeboye Omololu (of blessed memory) who was ill. He actually started getting better before my return to Lagos, so I was half surprised to hear in mid-January that he had passed- half surprised because he was 105, and who gets to live that long these days?

My desire to go and pay my last respects was however tempered with my trepidation at the thought of meeting his extended family for the first time. In my mind, it was one thing to be fussed over and pampered by his mum, dad and siblings, and quite another to be scrutinized by aunts, uncles and cousins, especially since I’m “omo ibo”. I was more than nervous; I was petrified. Anyway, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, so the day came and off we went.

Now those of us from the Niger Delta know that if you choose, you can be ramrod straight while greeting an older person (except, of course, he or she has gray hair, and then you only alter your position slightly in which ever direction, as long as you moved, lol) and that if you already greeted them once, say in the morning, you really can’t be bothered till it’s time to go to bed. As a matter of fact, the Urhobo greeting, “mi gwo” literally means “I am on my knees”, but are we ever? So when I realized I wanted to spend forever with this Yoruba boy, I actually had to practice bringing my two knees to the ground morning, afternoon, evening and night, and every other time in between- greeting for sitting down, for staying at home, for breaking wind and of course for just being.

To the glory of God, the burial ceremony went well and I had an interesting time! Everyone was warm and welcoming and funny and sweet and despite the fact that I couldn’t understand their language, God’s favour was constantly with me. But of course, I had to go and do something silly. Instead of me to continue my normal kneeling style, which is putting one knee down and then the other, I got carried away by the sight of other girls going down with both knees in one swift move and getting back up just as fast. It didn’t occur to me that they’d been doing it all their lives. So I tried it. And I was immediately sorry, but not as sorry as I would later be when I had to go up and down stairs. It hurt so bad, it was truly a shame. I regretted letting Lagos life take me away from my workouts which used to be so important to me. I knew I had to return to my exercise mat and my skipping rope as soon as possible.

But just as those thoughts went through my mind, one of my beau’s cousins called me to come and look at Baba as he lay in state. I went there and looked in, and perhaps because I had never stood so close to a lifeless body, it hit me like a ton of bricks- he wasn’t there. Baba was just not there. It was a body, dressed in nice clothes, but the man wasn’t there. And I wondered, why do we go through all this, keeping an empty container around and calling it a person and even talking to it, when the one we loved, who ate and drank and laughed with us just isn’t there anymore? And if this is how we will all end up, why bother? Why spend time and money on a covering we will leave behind? No wonder the Bible says that we have “this treasure in earthen vessels”, or as another translation puts it, in “jars of clay”.

So can we forget all about being fit, since we are only in these bodies temporarily anyway? Perish the thought. Three days after, I can still feel the pain in my poor legs, and that tells me something; I owe it to myself and to the Holy Spirit whose temple my body is, to be a good caretaker of my body as long as I’m here, by the things I choose to do, and the things I choose not to do. But I will also exercise myself unto godliness by studying my Bible, praying, meditating, and the hard part- OBEYING. I will monitor and censor the things I accept through my eyes and ears like a model watches her diet, and in the war against sin I will push myself beyond the limits of my natural man like an athlete running as to win the prize.

Striving for a healthy spirit in a healthy body will not be easy. I know my body will ache for the first few days when I resume my workouts. I also know that my natural self will cry out and protest being denied the indulgence and sensual pleasures it has grown accustomed to. There will inevitably be mornings when thirty minutes will seem to hold more promise spent in bed instead of working out or praying. There will always be gorgeous eyes and lips to tempt me; as willing as the spirit is, this treacherous body of mine is what it is, after all. God help me then, and forbid that I give up altogether, or lose sight of what is most important. Balance is key, because when it’s all been said and done, the words in 1st Timothy 4:8 (The Message) remain true; “Exercise daily in God—no spiritual flabbiness, please! Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever.”

As good as being physically fit feels, it would not do to get carried away with it. I’d rather remember my Creator in the days when I have strength, because youth and beauty fade away and in the end, the body is put back in the same ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it…