Second Time Around: Living In The Present!

loveAs you are reading this, are you really happily married? Or are you still searching for the perfect guy/girl to sweep you up your feet? Do you sometimes tremble at the thought of a relationship? Or do you glow when you think of an old-time affection. Do you sometimes feel like, gosh! “It should have been”… or “that was meant to be my soul mate”…Have you ever walked away from a relationship feeling like you have lost it all or a new chapter of life is about to emerge…’not knowing where to start from again…’how do I begin to love again, How do I leave the past behind me…how do I move forward? There’s HOPE!

So, because a lot of us spend too much of our lives in that junkyard called regret. We tend to focus more on what might have been, could have been, and should have been. Maybe we think that by replaying it over and over we can change the outcome. But we can’t. The only thing we can control is what we do today, in the present.

The fact is that, the more we replay yesterday, the further we get from today’s opportunities. And the further we move away from today’s opportunities, the tougher the road back becomes for us. Opportunities never look as good coming as they do going. And they wait for no one, so we need to be attentive and grab them. They come in many forms, and they can come from any direction. But one thing’s for certain: they can be seen and seized only if we live in the present.

Whatever has happened in our life in the past, has happened for a reason and a lesson. And since we cannot undo it no matter how hard we try, let’s wipe the slate clean and go on to what’s next.

We all make mistakes. Jonah’s mistake caused a storm that threatened the lives of everyone around him, and ended up taking him all the way to the bottom. But that’s not the end of his story: “From inside the fish Jonah prayed to God. And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land. Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time” (Jnh 2:1 & 10-3:1).

Our God is a God of second chances—and third, fourth, and fifth ones too! “They are new every morning” (La 3:23). Today is a gift—that’s why it’s called “the present.” So repent of the past, seize the present, and start living again!

May God help us all!




An Odyssey into the Joy of Reading!

read 2Does anyone remember those days when, you were governed by the powerful un-spoken words of a parent? They give you one hard stern look, and you’d better grasp that message, especially when it is meant for correcting or communicating some private message too heavy to spill.

One of the few lessons I learnt while growing up amongst the multitude of passed-down diverse culture was “Child, just keep it real! While one of the toughest punishment in my home for not keeping it real came from my strict disciplinary Lagos-born/Delta origin mother, readily scolding me with her looks, such that makes a baby whimper! You know, like when a baby finally passed gas after a very hard time of reflux! Now followed by lashing of words that sometimes comes out like she’s multilingual when she’s angry…“Eh! Before I open my eyes, Go and carry your books! Or sit in your room, think about your life then Read Your Book! And God help me if any of her sisters happened to be around, Oh no! It becomes a group of supported bilingual women in pursuit of life drill, debating and deliberating point of correction. Their utterances in support of themselves and disagreement with the child in question. Such comradery allies!

So, as these community of better-life-for-a-better-child allied confer, I’d ignored them, especially when it’s in a second language, walked questionably to my room, pass my older sister’s room, who’s also glued to her boring Barbara Cartland books, either recovering from a bad sinus congestion – again! It’s into my oily dull-pink wall bedroom, the shade of a broken hearted impatiens flower! Just what I needed!

Slouched unto my lower bunk bed, with my skinny legs raised upwards towards the springs of the vacant upper bunk – which has now turned into my personal go-to library and curiously meddling through my book collections. What do I read today? African literature books? Where do I want to be transported to today? Chinua Achebe’s Arrow of God? With the debate of struggle between old ways and new; tradition and change. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn? Reviewing one of the greatest American works of art yet condemned as obscene and racist.

Leon Uris’s collection of concentration camp stories? Oh no! Another night of depressing imagination! The way of white folks by Langston Hughes – a dreamy night of what could have, but never was! My collection of exchanged “forbidden” Mills & Boon from my reading companion who lived across the street (that’s usually hidden inside the big textbook) or the glorified collection of newly released Pacesetters from CMS bookshop where my class mate’s mother Mrs. Scott was the head Librarian and would always allow us to borrow and return upon completion. Hmm, my assigned punishment turned into my glorified escape paradise! Here, I get to travel like Wole Soyinka’s Ake back in time to the events of the story am reading. I called it my transformation lounge, my joy of reading!

But as I grew older, now with my own children whose passion am trying to fire up into becoming literature lovers, not that it’s working anyway! But I’d wondered, if I could use those techniques I was trained with to make them love crawling up into a ball with a good book, at least one! Am wondering…’was it meant to be a good punishment? A motivation? A challenge? Or just a parental order, dismissed with no intention or explanation?

Lately, every now and then they will ask; do you still curl up with a good book and shut the world out? Do you still keep a diary that records your feelings? If you are thinking back of those days and smiling…Ok, maybe I did get something good back from their tough love. Ah ah! And maybe I can finally admit it and pass it on to the children, not when they still think Romeo and Juliet died for no reason; how else will they know…if only they will embrace the journey! Someday.

Written By Yinka








Friday night conversation with Yinka – collection of short stories (Terms of Endearment – Part Two)

create stirm( Continued From JULY 19th.)

Ovie is not always around anyway… ‘Who is Ovie? Omolara snapped back in disgust. Wondering what was going on now. She needed her cousins to explain it all to her.

Ovie is the typical know-it all girlfriend we are aware of, but not interested in hanging out with. Tall, dark skinned and skinny with puffy show-off bosom that dances along with her excitement during her showcase of telling tales of how her new fiancée Afam had begged her to marry him.

On campus, rumors has it that she’d escorted a friend to Calabar for a traditional wedding and ended up seducing the groom’s older brother, who was also in the process of planning his own wedding far away in Canada to a lady he’s been dating forever – until he came home for his brother’s wedding. He met Ovie dancing away to the beats of the local drummers who had come to usher in the bride, Ovie was the center of attraction, it was like she’d secretly paid the drummers to flow with the rhythm of her hips, the local beads around her neck and waist also in acknowledgment of the beats of the drum, all rising and falling in unison with Ovie’s captivating wide laughter and exaggerated passion. Afam got entangled in Ovie’s web on the dance floor. A web of confusion and catastrophe started on that dance floor!

Sharing a room with Ovie wasn’t a very good idea, her cousins knew that too, but then, she couldn’t stay off campus alone by herself in a fancy apartment she’d requested for. Her last letter to Ayibari had indicated “a spacious 2-bedroom apartment with 2 baths and a kitchenette” If only she knew where she was coming to.

So, who in the world is Ovie? And why do I have to stay in this room with her? Ayibari quickly pulled out an extra thin mattress from underneath the main mattress and suggested they quickly return to town before it gets too dark. Trying to avoid any more questions from Omolara, Ayibari and Ifiemi quickly pulled her out of the room and unto the main porch of the main building.

Sharing a room with Ovie is going to be a big challenge for everyone, especially Omolara. But knowing deep in her heart the reason for her escape, Omolara might have to deal with it. She will manage for a while and move on later. Ovie is always set in her ways. You pass by her while she’s standing outside the lecture hall, boastfully showing off her gold-plated engagement ring, and she could easily detect your body deodorant, tell you the name of a fragrance you’re wearing and if allowed tell you it’s the fake product you have on! And of course give suggestions on where to get the “real one”. There’s always a commotion ready to explode when Ovie is around. She has a particular group of girls who usually hang around her day and night, thrilled and captivated by her “performance” – a rare star! They’d called her once – but Ayibari claimed the girls were just hungry for recognition, intimidated by her fake life and needed to feed from her crumbs, her fake wanna-be crumbs and her true identity is only known by Osa her younger brother she’d banned from ever coming to visit her on campus.

As life would have it, Osa has encountered another gambling problem again, was on his way to meet his “famous big Sis” to fix it or else…

To Be Continued…

Written by Yinka.


Triumph of the will at the US OPEN TENNIS – by Kevin Lawrence

tennisThe road that leads to victory for any passionate sports lover is to follow through with a very dedicated role model. For me growing up it was through my late uncle, Mr. Awopegba who happened to be a National Tennis Champion and coach. He was fondly called “The Cannon Ball of Africa in the late 60’s.

Through his mentoring, I’d acquired the passion and the skills needed to align my steps and follow through with the fundamentals of the sports. My youthful excitement seeing all the medals and trophies displayed in his living room, rewarding days of training at the National Stadium and playing at Lagos Lawn Tennis Club have all prepared my mind for the outcome of the victories behind the US open finest players, and their history of triumph.

So, there were several firsts at the US Open Tennis tournament in Queens NY this September; Cici Bellis became the youngest player to win a match at the tournament at the age of 14, and the youngest American to win a match at the US Open since Mary Joe Fernandez….. I can go on and on about her firsts, but I will be doing some injustice to Kei Nishikori of Japan who after playing two earlier matches in the tournament that lasted over 8 hours, stunned the tennis world by defeating the world number one tennis player and current Wimbledon champion in just under 3 hours and become the first male from his country and indeed Asia to reach a Grand Slam final in modern era tennis.

Nishikori heaped a lot of praises on his coach Michael Chang who himself was the youngest male player to win a Grand Slam championship in 1989 when he won the French Open at the age of 17.

Serena Williams also joined an elite group of women by winning her 18th grand slam tournament and looks on to challenge Steffi Graf who has 22 Grand Slam under her belt. Serena has always attributed her success to family support from her parents and siblings especially Venus, another champion in her own right.

The most enthralling story of the just concluded US Open is that of Marin Cilic from Croatia who last April tested positive for the stimulant Nikethamide contained in some glucose tablets bought by his mother. He denied any foul play but was banned from the game for 9 months later reduced to 4, as the Court of Arbitration for Sports although accepted he accidentally ingested the substance but did not fully exonerate him.

Marin Cilic said he had lost motivation after the ban but with the help of his coach Goran Ivanisevic, a former Wimbledon Champion he says he was able to go out there and have fun again. After the win he stated, “I feel it’s very inspirational for all the other players out there that are working hard and sometimes losing motivation,” “I would definitely feel much stronger if I would see somebody like me accomplish things like this.” He also went on to say that “It’s all hard work from the last several years,” he said. He added that his team had taught him to have fun while playing and that he’d had the best time of his life during this tournament.

So, for all of us out there who have had set backs and are currently lacking some motivation, surround yourselves with the right people who exude positive vibes and show interest and belief in you. Most of all prayers and hard work can make a whole lot of difference.

Written by: Kevin Lawrence

Edited by #Moving Forward With Yinka






‘Count-Down to Leisure Time: Our Ease or Misery? – by Kehinde Oguntunde.

houseDo you ever wonder that someday, your kids will be grown? And when that time comes, things are going to be a lot different. The garage won’t be full of bikes, electric train tracks on plywood, doll houses, or unfinished “experimental projects”. You’ll be able to park your car neatly in just the right place and never worry about stumbling over skateboards or scooters. When that day comes, the kitchen will be incredibly neat. The sink will be free of sticky dishes, the garbage disposal won’t get choked on wraps of new toys, or paper cups, the refrigerator won’t be clogged with different kinds of kid’s meal, and we won’t lose the tops of bottle milk, butter, juice drinks, or the mustard.

The water jar won’t be put back empty, (that’s if Daddy refills the jar), the ice trays won’t be left out overnight, the leftover of any pretend tea party will be tidied up and the chocolate drink will stay in the cups and not on the floor. When that day comes, as a mother, you will actually have time to get dressed leisurely. A long, hot bath (without any panic interruptions), time to do your nails (even toenails if you please!) without answering a dozen questions and reviewing spelling words, having had your hair done that afternoon without trying to squeeze it in between racing a sick child to the doc and a trip to the orthodontist with a kid in a bad mood because she lost her favorite sneakers.

When that day comes, the back seat won’t be a disaster area; we won’t sit on pencils or crayons anymore and there won’t be candy and chocolate wraps everywhere. We’ll be able to ride the car in peace and quiet and be able to listen to your favorite radio station. When that time comes, you will return to normal conversations with your spouse. You know just plain kid’s talk. “Gross” won’t punctuate every sentence seven times. “Yuk!” will not be heard. “Hurry up, I gotta go!” will not accompany the banging of fists on the bathroom door. “It’s my turn” won’t call for a referee. And a magazine article will be read in full without interruption, and then discussed at length without mom and dad having to hide in the bedroom to finish the conversation.

When that day comes, we won’t run out of hand soap (due to constant washing of hands), or pringles and juice. My spouse won’t lose his keys. We won’t forget to shut the refrigerator door. I won’t have to dream up new ways of diverting attention from the gumball machine whenever we go to the store . . . or have to answer “Mummy, is it a sin that you just ran the red light?” . . . or promise to kiss their baby dolls goodnight . . . or in future, wait up forever until they get home from dates . . . or be ready for a debate during homework . . . or endure the pious pounding of kids jumping on the bed especially when you have a serious headache. Yes, someday when the kids are grown, things are going to be a lot different. One by one they’ll leave our nest, and the place will begin to resemble order and maybe even a touch of elegance. The clink of china and silver will be heard on occasion. The crackling of the fireplace will echo through the hallway. The house will be quiet . . . and calm . . . and always clean . . . and empty . . . and filled with memories . . . and lonely . . . and we won’t like that at all.

And we’ll spend our time not looking forward to that day but looking back to yesterday. And thinking, “Maybe we can babysit the grandkids and get some life back in this place for a change!” Now I understand why my mum asked us to let our baby stay home for one more month before he starts daycare.

Written by:

Kehinde Oguntunde

Edited by #Moving Forward With Yinka


He LOVES me! He loves me NOT! He LOVES me! He loves me NOT! ‘come on Ladies…’about time to attack this mask called “Domestic Abuse”

abuseThe sound of the siren outside my bathroom window, the pounding beat of my chest frustrating the little confidence and I hope I have left, the pain and fear of letting out my sobs, the rush of the cold water from the shower now falling hard against my bare back, sharp pains shooting through my battered skin, that same tender olive skin he’d vowed was all he needed to see on a cloudy day! Am confused! Should I cry out for help?

Or should I continue under the pangs of desperate falling cold water? I am drenched in my own blood! Probably woke up again after passing out from his habitual aggressive beating. But my feelings always fail me. I let my emotions get the best of me. “Oh. He loves me, I know he does! “Honey, I need help to manage my anger issues, ‘Baby, please don’t leave me! I will never be the same without you! “Sweetheart, it’s the devil… and with that, I am a lover’s-fool again, for the 100th time of my life.

But right now I think He’s gone too far, the knife, the hot water, the hot iron, the baby’s bassinet! Oh no! The baby! W-h-e-r-e I-s m-y b-a-b-y? And my neighbor’s questioning looks, always nosy anyway, out of fear they had called 911 this time…everything is happening so fast! I think am loosing it? No, I have actually lost my mind! Is this love? What to do…

So, all in the name of love, we accept the unacceptable, we explain away the pain, we justify and rationalize every blow- physical and otherwise, at times we blame the victim.

All in the name of keeping up appearances, we remain silent to the glaring indications, we remain blind to the blatant battle signs, we remain recklessly optimistic that somewhere, somehow, the abuse will stop all in the name of love. Maybe one day, the abuser will stop and return to the doting loving person you once knew…

But enough is enough! Let us break the cycle of silence! Let us shed light to this dark aspect of so called love! One time is too many for a loved one to raise a hand, or even worse a weapon to the one whom they profess to love. One time is enough for you to know that you are worth more than that; you are a gem and a treasure to those who genuinely care for you.

You are created as a peculiar being, made to fulfill a given purpose. Do not let your light be snuffed out early all in the name of love.  Speak up against love that leaves you black and blue; speak up against love that leaves you feeling worthless.

Let’s break the cycle of ABUSE- ‘Bad Unnecessary Senseless Experience. Reach out and Get help today!

Written by Toyin Erinle for #Moving Forward With Yinka

Introduction by Yinka.

                   Violence help hotlines

Call the hotlines below for help if you have been hurt by someone you know or have been attacked by a stranger. You will not have to pay for the call, and you can ask to have your information kept confidential. Even though these calls are free, they may appear on your phone bill. If you think an abuser may check your phone bill, try to call from a friend’s phone or a public phone.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline

  • Call 800-799-SAFE (7233) or 800-787-3224 (TDD).
  • Staff are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • More than 170 languages are available.
  • You will hear a recording and may have to wait for a short time.
  • Hotline staff offer safety planning and crisis help. They can connect you to shelters and services in your area.
  • Staff can send out written information on topics such as domestic violence, sexual assault, and the legal system.

9/11/2001 (13 years ago) … ‘What Were You Doing?

911September 11, 2001 was one of those days I’d reluctantly dragged myself out of bed, grudgingly and trembled at the thought of another long accounting meeting with Yonkers partners from Healthcare Business Resources. Not so fun! especially when auditing aged A/R and reviewing cash balancing report was the goal of the day! My mind was focused on two things: ‘Lunch with my team members at Chillis down the road and the baby-bump I was still trying to hide!

But, 300 miles away, tragedy and despair was lurking at the corners of the earth. A group of terrorists had hijacked four planes, crashed 2 planes on purpose into the World Trade Center towers in NY, soon after they ‘d smashed a third plane into Pentagon in Arlington Virginia. And close to home, only about 80 miles away – a fourth plane was stopped, but crashed into a field in Pennsylvania.

The tragic events of that day left many people dead and injured. The twin towers were completely destroyed, and their collapse caused damages many blocks away. An entire section of the Pentagon was destroyed as well. In Pennsylvania, the National Park created a memoriam; a garden of wildflower in the spot where the plane crashed and the victims were buried.

There was a media blitz, an arena of confusion, turbulence and commotion everywhere you turn to! My supposed-accounting meeting was immediately cancelled amidst confusion and anxiety of what next to do? How to help? Where to go? Who to call? When to go?

Tonight, as New York turns on the many bright lights that shine into the night sky where the world center towers once stood. Today, at the Pentagon as military officials hold a wreath-laying ceremony. This moment in Pennsylvania – close to home; as people ring two bells called “The Bells of Remembrance” at the exact time the plane crashed, I pray that, we the observers alive today, reading and giving the stories will appreciate life, no matter what challenges we are facing right now, it is very important that we never forget what happened, the people who died, the people who became heroes, and those that are still mourning loved ones lost.

Always Remember…



‘A moment in the mind of a Child!

mind child 1The mind of a child is unparalleled. Their consciousness is animated yet exceptional, pure and unique. It consistently bursts and bubbles with imagination and fearlessness. They do not see boundaries, only possibilities. Have you ever tried to tickle, excite, amuse or enchant a child’s creativity? Aha! What you get in return is a whiz kid!

  • Sometime ago while visiting an aquatic fun center in Maryland with close friends and family, I couldn’t help but join in a serious conversation the children were having. Their ages ranging from ‘awesome 3 to intellectual 13. Whatever that topic was, it was definitely an eye opener. It changed my viewpoint about their mindset
  • Far away in Disney Hollywood Studio, about 600+ children and parents waited patiently on a long line outside the FROZEN summer fun show theatre, intense heat on our backs, sweat pouring profusely, but who cares! The children’s enthusiasm on seeing the cast of Frozen melted the grinding heat and turned our expectancy into an excitement camping
  • During a dance recital for the children, I couldn’t but help notice the uproar of excitement when the theme song was changed to Arianna Grande’s “One less problem”. Hmmm, my curiosity wasn’t let loose until I got the full story behind the young artist, from the mouth of the children

Their aquatic conversation was, “What Would You Do, If Jesus walks into this room? It was an objective question, because they also offered 2 options (1) PRAY or (2) CELEBRATE. With affirmation and confidence the eldest uttered “Aunty, I will celebrate, and I have my reasons. He cleared his throat and started in a melodramatic gesture, “If Jesus walks into this room right now, I will jubilate, celebrate and will rejoice in His second coming! ‘Because, I have been praying all my life for his coming, and He’s here, not next door, not back door, not a street away – but here, He picked me! So, it’s party time to celebrate him” the younger ones around him all got excited too, agreed to his selection, decided on a large pizza and started jubilating in unison.

Oh Boy! Astonishment was an easy term to define my feelings. I was totally blown away (like you see in animated comedy where a certain bird sings so off-tune it pops or bursts), am smiling and grinning with such awe and a new level of respect for these young minds. Nice!

So, the group of devoted parents on that long Frozen line in Disney waiting for their turn to sing LET IT GO with their children, the new pop artist that’s finally ‘Gotten one less problem hit song booming away in their little minds and the “Celebrate-when-Jesus come kids’ idea is just a few of the soothing reassurance of devotion and sincerity in a child’s mindfulness that declares a state of active-open attentiveness. We tend to forget that a child will observe our thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. We as adults need to be mindful of how we appreciate or express life’s value in front of them – in everything we do and what we feed their minds with. So how do you go about instilling a growth mindset in a child? Unlike some adults, children are able to retain and analyze information and, more importantly, imagine concepts. Understanding their minds requires attention and interaction, but trust me, it’s worth it!

Every child wants to know about the simple things in life as well as the complex. Their ability to learn, think, meditate and ponder truly is a gift that God has given them; they have to be nurtured properly every time, not just when an occasion demands it. But E-V-E-R-Y-T-I-M-E!

Today, I am hopeful that someone will connect with a child one-on-one in terms of building a progressive mindset. To retrace steps back to when they were that age and compare the built-up of their own mindset over the years. ‘Ask a child: “I will like to know what you are thinking about” What you hear is the opposite of your own unsung melodies, of what should have been but never did. Tap into the mindset of a child. Stimulate it, bolster it with positive influence, between their aloofness, there’s a message for us. After all, I have learnt from them to (1) celebrate more (2) commit/dedicate more (3) discharge/let it go when necessary. And am still submerging in their young wealth of knowledge. Be a part of an active mindset of tomorrow’s eminence.

May God help us all.




I am a C-A-N-C-E-R-V-I-V-O-R …‘what kind of survivor are you?

scar 2

The last time I checked for the definition of survivor in the dictionary, I was really amazed to know that it signifies left-over, remainder or residue. Did you just raise your eye brows in surprise like I did? That is rather crude, right? How can? After that rough journey, that’s it? ‘Someone is labeled a residue? Hmmm.

According to the term survivor means “one who outlives another,” from survive. Meaning “one who has a knack for pulling through adversity” Okay, now I like this better!

I remember the year after my cancer surgery, I was not very comfortable when Susan G Komen sent me the 3 day walk participation paperwork and addressed me as Survivor Yinka! I had to go back memory lane to reconnect the link to the date of the diagnosis and then, oooh! That’s true – I did survive the 12-hour-marathon-cancer surgery. Oh, yes, I am actually a survivor, and then a certain kind of boldness, calmness and grace empowered me to be an advocate for the cause! – I then eased into the program and was ready to carry on proudly with my survival-ship story. Yes! I did survive Medullary Thyroid Cancer!

So, for every one of us that knows someone who’s overcome or still battling one kind of challenge in life (not necessarily cancer) either a fatal accident, relationship breakdown, a certain illness, the loss of a loved one, an addiction, a broken heart, job loss, divorce, rejection or depression. The moment we are able to acknowledge that there is a problem, face the solution boldly, we are able to move on into another sphere of productive lifestyle – we have automatically also become Survivors! Even embracing someone close to you and helping them deal with the situation qualifies you as a survivor. Why? Because you connected one-on-one to help ease the much needed transition. Yes, you did!

As we approach National Cancer Awareness month,’hoping someone will look at the term “survivor” in a more approachable way as opposed to seeing it as “residue or remnants’. To embrace the term like a soldier at the war front with one thing in mind: Victory by all means! To connect with a cause that celebrates survivorship and be a blessing unto others. Only those deeply and personally touched can understand the impact of a tragedy, which I think can classify anyone with a close encounter to be nominated as a survivor. I see survivorship as a legacy to behold, a surplus in life, beauty for ashes and finally – a proof that there’s really a God that works miracles in us and changes our tests into testimonies! I am a living example!

 May God help us all.


Coming soon:

American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk event on OCT 17th.