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Monthly Archives: December 2014

Sending off 2014 (the favorable, the awful and the mishap) and how I discovered my own strength!

year agoHave you ever been in a position where you feel like…Yes… ‘You finally got something done! All the goals you’d created at the end of 2013 have matured and still yielding fruits…nice!

Or are you at a crossroad of a certain goal you created around this time last year that is yet to show case itself?  You know you started 2014 determined and expectant, but along the way something un-expected happened and you get side-tracked or distracted. You’ve practically dragged yourself through the days, the weeks and the months hoping and still expectant. You are not alone! 40% of goal writers are also in this dilemma, but because we are still alive today – ‘there is still time to catch up!

If you are reading this…you are definitely a part of the reason why I am still keeping the faith and encouraged to keep writing and sharing real life’s event through everyday-people’s views, challenges, joy, concerns and testimonies.

Eventually, I’ve learnt that there is a purpose for everyone we meet. Some will test us, some will use us, and some will teach us. But most importantly… some will bring out the best in us. And trust me, it has been all of that for me looking back… but I am buoyantly taking the lessons learnt from it and striding into 2015 with a cheerful mindset, like…Ok! I discovered me!

So, this is a special salutation to all my readers:

“When I thought hope was what you could buy with self-pity, when all I could think of was creating an outlet for passionate expression, even when life’s issues frustrates and dictates above the edge, I found my strength in you, I discovered what lights up my fire and you helped me chase after the match. Little did I know that the same passion was also helping in building me up. Little did I know that our hearts of human tenderness often begins to beat only when we allow and discover a particular pursuit that absorbs us, frees us, challenges us or gives us a sense of meaning, joy or passion. Ah!  I am most grateful and say a big heartfelt Thank you!

For encouraging me by building this blog and also believing in me that there’s more and what’s next? and sincerely always pushing me to just keep writing even when I tell myself I’m done and tired. For constantly tolerating my ‘craze-now/cool-later attitude’ Thank you! (even though I seldom say it) I am grateful and I acknowledge your gifting! smiles… (You know who you are!) God bless!

For everyone who’d find another “New Post from Moving Forward with Yinka” in their mailbox, or a certain commercial-like name (anthonialawrence.com) and would re-consider opening it to read – I say Thank you (I know, sometimes it can be annoying right?) For everyone who’s approached or applauded me with “Hey, that was a beautiful article you posted! “I am inspired” or “You touched me” or “Thanks, that message was for me” “Good one, Yinka” “I love your blog” – I say thank you! (I am more inspired when I know my message is digested).

For my support group at Therapy Sol and Shelter who always welcomed me into their community whenever I needed to spend time with them – a big thank you! For all the readers who were courageous enough to send in their comments or posts or articles – I say thank you (you made me shine more with your bravery!) For all the people I wrote about (living or dead) – thanks for giving me a story to relate to!

For the grace and wisdom to answer some challenging comments, I say thank you for bringing it on! For reconnecting with my college alumni group AIESEC after 20 years and living-forward with them, thanks guys – you still rock!

For the love of poetry/dancing and dragging my family to watch Shakespeare in the park with me in New York City! or for Zumba class… ‘Priceless memories – I say thank you! ‘love you all for life!

For my Greater than Cancer team & My Day out with the Ladies group – You are the best and un-forgettable!’ love you all for real!

For having the courage to discuss the issues of Sexuality, Love, Abuse, Survivorship, Pain and Relationship! I am most grateful to all my guest writers for sharing their platform of awareness and hope. Believe me, you’ve made a difference in someone’s life!

For all those we lost in 2014 – I pray perpetual rest be granted unto them. For new lives and new birth, I pray God’s guidance and protection.

It’s been a beautiful and rewarding 2014. I have gained very useful knowledge. I have been comforted with sincerity. I have rekindled the true meaning of friendship. I have learnt to embrace fondness without breaking a heart. I have learnt to pick my battles. I have also laid down the burdens of aged and disruptive relationship. I have opened my doors and welcomed new tenderness in other people’s shortcoming. I have inquired from God and have learnt to appreciate beauty through the little things I’d been taking for granted. I am a whole year wiser and drunk with life’s passion to succeed, and ready for greater things to come. I hope you’ve all been able to discover some “new strengths’ in 2014.

Thank you everyone…’because you believe in me and made it happen in 2014! ‘See you in 2015 with more of me!

Yours in hope as I share one of my favorite Whitney Houston’s song below.

Yinka.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The reason for the season…

xmas 2As I sat in my car enduring the short traffic I usually encounter on my way home from work, I had so many things on my mind. One in particular struck out and it was my act of giving. I guess I was growing weary of giving; is it my time, resources, money, or emotions without actually receiving anything back. I was actually concluding in my mind that this giving thing has got to stop.

All of a sudden, the presenter on the radio station I was “actually not listening to” said something that jolted me out of my thoughts. I’ve heard it a zillion times, in fact, I’ve preached about it to others. It’s the fact that in this season of Christmas, God GAVE, not just an ordinary thing, but His own BEGOTTEN Son. How great that is. How marvelous. This piece would not have come to limelight but for a question that my daughter asked me. She said why did Jesus had to die, why did God had to give His Son. Then the incident in the car all came back to me.

When you give yourself, the gift never has to be returned. God puts us in our present position for a reason. You may think you do not have enough, but think about those who have nothing at all. Giving doesn’t necessarily means monetary, it could mean several things. Here are a few examples:

*Mend a quarrel.
*Seek out a forgotten friend.
*Write a long overdue love note especially to your spouse.
*Hug someone tightly and whisper, “I love you so.”
*Forgive an enemy.
*Be gentle and patient with an angry person.
*Gladden the heart of a child.
*Find the time to keep a promise.
*Make or bake something for someone else anonymously.
*Release a grudge.
*Listen.
*Speak kindly to a stranger.
*Enter into another’s sorrow.
*Smile.
*Laugh a little.
*Lessen your demands on others.
*Treat a client like you care and not just a case number
*Apologize if you were wrong.
*Turn off the television and talk.
*Give someone a treat.
*Do the dishes for the family.
*Pray for someone who helped you when you hurt.
*Fix breakfast on Saturday morning.
*Give a soft answer even though you feel strongly.
*Encourage an older person.
*Point out one thing you appreciate most about someone you work with or live near.
*Offer to babysit for a weary mother.

In this season of merriment, let’s make Christmas one long, extended gift of ourselves to others, unselfishly, without obligation, or reservation, or hypocrisy.

This is the Christ we celebrate on Christmas.
Merry Christmas everyone.

Written by: Kehinde Oguntunde

for #Moving Forward With Yinka.

 

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Life’s issues exhausting? ’Time to fix our eyes on…

fixOur Emotions: Affection, Despair, Rage, Shame, Sentiment, Passion, Excitement, Pride, Remorse or Anger can be a great motivator in our lives and also a great enemy at other times.

According to Watchman Nee, author of Spiritual Discernment, “Emotions are the believer’s number one enemy – not the devil, but our emotions” That’s why we always need to have a sincere talk with our feelings and check-in with our mindset.

When we live our life emotionally exhausted, there’s no fun in it. Practically everyone I know growing up had dreams of great adventure, love-passionately, fun, family and friends, Right? If we take a look at our current lifestyle and consider how the reasons listed above has caused an emotional energy crisis in our life, then we can connect with the renewable resources that’s needed to fuel our emotional energy and plug up the leaks draining us. Certainly, we’ll feel better about ourselves, our relationships and our lifestyle.

About 23 years ago, I survived a horrific school riot. Myself and two other Polytechnic students managed to escape into a nearby bush and were rescued by an elderly villager who shielded us against the brutality of angry student-demonstrators and also harbored us from the more-angered mobile policemen arresting students on sight. We took solace alongside the villager’s jolly wife and their four children inside his un-completed 2-bedroom house, by the outskirt of Bori in Rivers State. No electricity or running water – we were so terrified and uncertain about our future and cried our hearts out every minute until we ran out of tears! But they treated us well, provided us food until the 2nd night when a vigilante team and police escort came by to rescue us and delivered us home safely.

That was one crazy –memorable period of my life. I was emotionally drained, demented and displaced! Myself and the other 2 students who escaped together, formed a special bond that’s made us best of friends since then. If a fly had mistakenly perched on my nose, I would ball into uncontrollable tears! literally! It was a messy emotional distraction! The effect/aftermath of the riot!

So, again I‘ve had to fight that forbearance battle! but this time around with my chin tilted up and the tears that came was to celebrate freedom of expression and not fear. My eyes were fixed on God’s purpose for me to learn from those challenging issues I couldn’t wish away, erase, rewind or wipe off with white out! But with grace, to press the play button and move forward instead.

Bouncing back, I realized that if we give God the reins of our heart, we’ll surely find stability. But then, we have to give Him all the reins or we’ll still be in danger of pulling in the wrong direction as we run our races. If we pick and choose which emotions we will submit to God and which ones we’ll allow free rein in our souls, we might still be unstable and wounded. We’ll end up holding on tight as the emotional roller coaster turns us upside down and leaves us spinning in circles.

Friendship breaks when it’s not nurtured, Family ties gets knotted when love is conditional, Marriages fail when we run out of the emotional energy to reach one more time across the divide of anger and silence. Dreams die when we kill the enthusiasm to hang in there and face all the obstacles that may come with it.

Today, I am encouraging someone reading this to Hit Rewind, Click Delete, and Stand Face To Face with whatever mistakes or heartbreak or emotional coaster they’re riding on. To be able to identify what made them feel emotionally exhausted and to say “NO MORE” to that which deplete them, so that they can create more space in their life for saying “OH YES” to that which fuels their spirit, soul and body. Here’s what I’d do differently… Focus on the play button and ‘Fix my eyes on God!

Yours in Hope as I share one of my favorite songs below.

Yinka 

 

 

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Discovering our charm in Christmas. ’Do not miss the Beauty!

nat king cole If there’s anything I’d always look forward to while growing up, it was the beauty and the manner of preparation devoted into the planning of Christmas festivity. It was a Gansallofamily tradition.

This was the season of open-invitation for all friends and family, to casually drop by and join the feast. No invitation needed. It wasn’t about the presents (as we fondly call it), the hectic weeks ahead of shopping with my mom (reluctantly at Balogun market as she exercises her bargaining power!) or the much expected visit to Kingsway Supermarket to see “Father Christmas” (which my 8-year old son thinks is a weird title for Santa) on that very short train ride inside the departmental store, or the exaggerated leap of joy upon receiving the same boring plastic doll from Father Christmas, again!!

It wasn’t about the new emerald-green A-line cut dress, ironed and trimmed with pretty red ribbon and matching church hats, new underwear (finally from Marks & Spencer!!), colored knee-high socks and shinning patent shoe! It wasn’t about the clattering of glass cups, and oriental dishes that’s now causally making their way to the formal dining room.

The beauty of Christmas then was about sitting in my dad’s office (attached to the main house) smiling and grinning ears to ears as he brings out his favorite vintage cartridges collection and starts playing Nat King Cole’s Christmas music! The beauty of Christmas then was my mom dragging out the now dusty and stored away boxes containing the collapsed 6 feet tall Christmas tree, ornaments and flashy foiled lined trimmings, shimmering and dazzling in gold, green and red! With Nat King Cole blasting away “O Holy night…’and my dad humming to it…and as the lights are turned on, the blinking effects was an official announcement that. Yes! Its Christmas again, I get so excited and become animated as I pick up the phone to announce to my friends or boast away about the beauty of the star on our tree top… the beauty was that star! And my greatest achievement was helping my mom setting up the tree…

Well, not until a close friend invited me over to her house in Ikeja to marvel at the Christmas décor professionally done in their huge compound! It was great! But got fired up when it rained and became hazardous. But my joy was still in the beauty of the star on my tree top at home! That gave me comfort and re-assurance that I helped in re-creating the birth of Jesus.

Today, as I am blessed to have my own children who also relish their delight in the beauty of Christmas, and as I am still chasing after my 3-year old who consistently would stand in front of my tree and pull off the ornaments! I have made it a tradition to tell them the stories and the impact of the star, which even before I get a chance to finish…they’ll end it with…’seriously Mom…not again! That was donkey years agoHmmm.

I hope I can bring out the essence behind it so they don’t miss the beauty of christmas as they wait on Santa!

So, as we head into this busy holiday season and dance between the days of Christmas and New Year, as we decorate the doors and the hearths of our homes and communities, let’s be intentional to decorate the doors and the hearths of our hearts with ribbons of God’s grace.

Even as we face the stresses of our lists, and our tasks, and our activities, and our heart burdens, let’s commit to remembering that the best present is His presence. He’s our Hope, our Peace, our Joy… our Beauty. Let’s live with eyes lifted to the Gift of gifts, Jesus Christ. May we not miss the beauty.

Yours in hope, as I share one of my favorite Nat King Cole’s Christmas song…

Yinka.

 

 

 

 

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That Priceless “Free Hug” over the Ferguson verdict

Take a look at the world through the eyes of a child. An innocent child, who is mainly concerned about mundane issues, and then try to explain to that child why there is unrest in Ferguson and protests across the country based on the decision in the Michael Brown case; don’t base your explanation on race, class, or social status. I am sure this will be a daunting task, now imagine that this particular child has been through emotional trauma most of his/her life, even tougher, right?

Well this is the situation that played out in Portland, Oregon last week, when the lives of three human beings (yes dare I use that label), converged in a simplistic, subtle, yet emotionally charged moment in time.

Photographer Johnny Nguyen, who is of Asian descent, captures a powerful image of 12-year-old Devonte Hart, an African-American boy giving a “free hug” to Sgt. Bret Barnum a white police officer in a tense atmosphere  during protests after the “Ferguson Decision”. Does anyone see the connection here? Or am I the only one seeing this?

In the middle of an uproar, sympathetic Sgt. Barnum is concerned about a little “black kid” with tears streaming down his face, Devonte is concerned about police brutality towards young black kids, and Johnny Nguyen captures an intricate and intriguing image that is sending a very strong message across the globe.

In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character”. The image and the story behind it brings an aorta of hope that maybe someday we may see change, or maybe in the words of a lesser known King (Rodney) “Can we all just get long”.

There isn’t much more to say again after you catch a glimpse of that un-forgettable picture, read about the moment and if your heart-strings don’t get tugged at, then you need to rethink your humanity.

I still worry though about the future, once the media leaves and Ferguson stops trending on social media, what have we learnt from this tragic incidence? What do we tell the children? Most parents want to raise respectable children and try to teach them about justice, peace, and the pursuit of happiness, yet we are unable to explain to them why there is so much injustice, violence, and unrest in the world all over.

My 8 year old-son over the summer periodically asked me if Syria’s dictator, Basher al-Assad had been captured or killed in the wake of the Syrian War after he had seen countless gory images on the news. He still does not understand why a man wants so badly to remain in power when his own people don’t even want him. Go figure!

Written By: Folarin Lawrence for #Moving Forward With Yinka.

Edited by Yinka.

 

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