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Kodi Shines! by Folarin Lawrence

So, I watched America’s Got Talent #AGT last night with my kids and witnessed a spectacular triumph with Kodi Lee emerging as the Champion.

My kids, 15+, 13+ and 8 at first were not as thrilled as they were rooting for Detroit Youth Choir, since we are now Michiganders, #PureMichigan! so I got my thinking cap on and did my best ‘Yinka-take’ on the issue.

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Kodi is blind and has Autism Spectrum Disorder. When it was discovered that he loved music at an early stage, that became the one positive coping strategy He maintained against living in this world where a child is ‘boxed-in‘ because of their ‘disability“.

But He was still able to steal the hearts of viewers and voters alike with his silky voice and renditions of classic ballads.

According to his mother,  “We found out that he loved music really early on. He listened and his eyes just went huge, and he started singing, that’s when I was in tears. I realized he’s an entertainer. Through music and performing, he was able to withstand living in this world because when you have autism, it’s really hard to do what everybody else does. It actually has saved his life playing music.”

Ordinarily, He is like a little kid and his affect is typical of someone on the spectrum; but when he gets behind the keys and opens his mouth; It’s like, you have been blessed with the presence of an angel.

There is no doubt in my mind that this young man is not just “special(as the generality of people want to label him) but divinely gifted.

It is also evident in the support of his family and his interaction with his Mom, siblings and Dad. It is obvious that they have spent countless hours working on his “strengths” and his love for music, giving him the courage to go out there and not just thrive but also shine brighter than anyone else.

Each and every child with special needs or not, has been endowed and divinely blessed with unique gifts! ‘and that’s what makes us all SPECIAL.

The high point of the night for me was after he had been announced as the winner and was trying to celebrate and his mother took his stick from him so he can have a happy “tantrum” jumping as high as he dared and clapping with a huge smile on his face.

I challenge parents today to observe closely and find that spark that lights up their child’s imagination and brings them joy of accomplishment, believe me it might be the most mundane task, but when you find it, celebrate it with them every time they work hard or feel faint about it and enjoy watching them blossom.

God’s Peace,

Kevin Folarin Lawrence – is an active member of Man Voice@DCN and “My Child Thrives” – by DCN,  a Developmental Care Network Support Group on What’s App & FACEBOOK for families and caretakers of children on the spectrum/disabilities. He can be reached at kevin@dcnmail.org

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Lover’s Delight: The Shulamite Woman Challenge.

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To celebrate my 22nd wedding anniversary this week, I’d decided to go down memory lane by sharing the mysteries and amusements of my courtship days with my three very assertive children while also planning a surprise lyrical-poetic date with my husband. #Spontaneous.

I wanted to challenge myself with that epic romantic charisma of Abishag, a certain biblical sister who knows how to step up her game and keep her man complete! (oh yeah, King Solomon’s beloved).

To fester excitement, I began searching through my garage for reflections, until I eventually came across an old box labeled ‘old pictures and letters’. With great expectation like that of Pip, but a lurking resentment of someone delving into a hornet’s nest! I dived into the pile. Oh boy, am I in for a surprise?

There I found my memorabilia of poems and short stories, collection of blurry old pictures stored away from over three decades starring back at me.

I felt guilty.

Then a pang of helplessness, like I have abandoned treasured friendships and memories to decay away in dusty old boxes. Urgh!

And, that’s when I saw it. Tucked away as if waiting for this day to declare its long-denied benefit! I pulled back the musty flaps and slid out what appeared to be so long a love letter!

Scribbled fragile treasures of pure declaration! Intimate words of sacred devotion from the heart. Romantic gratification of pampering words, carefully expressed through the mighty power of a common pen and paper put to work!

Oh my world! Such alluring hot raps! 

Doodle Through The Bible_ Song of Solomon 8 Faith Journal entry for Good Morning Girls (GMG) Bible Study, Free printable PDF Coloring page link at the website_ Also visit the new FACEBOOK page!Pile of Hallmark cards, love letters, created since ’1994. Carefully-cursived to illustrate a lover’s desire! Coherent selection of diction that emphasizes outpour of affection from my then boyfriend, now turned husband, with his pictures deliberately taken from L’fait studio after a patterned haircut from Choices Barber to tinkle my fancy and probably keep others at arm length.

I decided to share with my children…

Oh, what a scene! The kids started with that mocking ‘Aww… ‘so cute…

Then they burst into laughter…

“This-is-so-lame! So torturous! Who does this?  the kids exclaimed with such an annoying exaggeration!This is so archaic! ‘Were you guys in some form of Shakespearean poetry class? Why not send a text or a cute emoji to express yourself instead of writing a book! ‘There are over 1000 emojis to describe that speech” they exclaimed! Less poetic but extremely apt.

Oh-my-world!

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So, many of us still have over hundreds of letters, poems, pictures with friends taken over decades of youthful discovery all stored away in casual boxes, collecting dusts, enticing molds, just like mine. Some shouldn’t be part of us anymore, some will be needed to bring the spark back into our love/sex lives, while some, we keep to remind ourselves of what love can do on crummy days.

Don’t you think the Song of Solomon is a lot like those letters hidden in the box I found in my garage? Nicely tucked away between the introspective book of Ecclesiastes and the prophetic book of Isaiah is a work of poetry that memorialized mutual attraction, romantic love, sexual desire, and enduring marriage between a man smitten and a woman bedazzled.

 

 

The Book of Song of Solomon | KJV | Audio Bible (FULL) by Alexander Scourby

To convince these kids, I devoured the pages of the Song to discover what the couple did to make it work. Well, after almost 3 decades of thinking we know it all in our marriage…’What I saw was that they flirted and fought, made out and made up, served and savored, and never stopped exploring new ways to keep their marriage fresh.

The Shulamite in the Song was a wise woman who took deliberate action to keep her marriage strong. Sauntering up to her husband as he’s overseeing the fields, whispering in his ear, Her warm breath teased his neck, Flirting with him still.

‘Come, my beloved, let us go to the countryside, let us spend the night in the villages.

Let us go early to the vineyards to see if the vines have budded, if their blossoms have opened, and if the pomegranates are in bloom, there I will give you my love.

The mandrakes send out their fragrance, and at our door is every delicacy, both new and old, that I have stored up for you, my beloved. (Song of Solomon 7:11-13).

Oh dear…I didnt just cook these up folks,  because God made sure it was in the Bible for a reason. I don’t think it took too long for Solomon to change his schedule, cancel his meetings, and pack his bags to hang out with her!

Why is it that passionate romance routinely fizzles out over the years? Hallmark romantic cards has been replaced a single speechless or invisible social message! soul mate so easily becomes a roommate? Why does the rapid heartbeat of excitement in the early years morph into the heavyheartedness of disappointment in the later years?

There are many reasons why passion cools, but it doesn’t have to. That certainly isn’t God’s plan. He has a much different desire for our passiona and sensuality in marriage.

Doodle Through The Bible_ Song of Solomon 7 Faith Journal entry for Good Morning Girls (GMG) Bible Study, Free printable PDF Coloring page link at the website_ Also visit the new FACEBOOK page!

Do we understand that sexual intimacy will change as we grow older. Hormones wane. Libido lessens. Stamina decreases. Bodies don’t always cooperate. Acrobatic moves decreases. That’s a given.

But I believe intimacy can grow and mature into something sweeter, deeper, and more profound than any clothes-ripping frantic frenzy ever could be.

Today, if you are reading this, ask what’s your/my Shulamite Woman Challenge? and who can satisfy the last aching abyss of the human heart?

Are we still in awe or astonished at how creative our thoughts can be when expressing ourselves? Can our words carry volume and live long after us? Life schedules, challenges and sophisticated social networking devices replaced the fun-fare of meaningful expression?

5 Things We Learn from the Shulamite Woman about Female Sexuality

Our love/sex Lives comes caffeinated with surprises. Modifications. Transitions. Alterations. Dispositions. And with the changes, we realize that every confidence, every affection, every devotion that is not based on a personal relationship to God will be reprobated, not only in the experience of the individual, but in the history of the world. Overtime.

I am hoping someone reading this will become more Shulamite-like through the lessons of pateince, consistency and perseveance, while love finds its root!

Yours in HOPE as I share Alicia Keys – No One

Yinka.

 

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Casualties of our TO DO list

7ef30640-8491-4a96-8fa1-bce282bc656fSince my Son became a teenager and an avid soccer lover, I’ve learned the act of making his passion my focal point by heeding intently as he speaks, nodding in agreement or squinting my eyes from oblivion to keep alert every now and then as I watch the dimples on his boyish cheeks deepen.

I have also mastered hiding my boredom without rolling my eyes as He excitedly recites the history of every single soccer player in Europe.

Whether I pronounce Kylian Mbappe properly or I mix up Dybala as a Tottenham Hotspur player instead of Juventus or when I confuse Kane as a PSG team member! Phew! But, s-e-r-i-o-u-s-l-y ‘what-do-I-know?

His constructive tutoring and contagious zeal are always enhanced as I venture into supporting his winning-failing team. Well, I guess am still obligated to believe in them whatever happens on the field!   #UpManchesterUnited

He once went to see a soccer match at the stadium between Liverpool F.C. & Manchester United.  Of course, he was all geared up in his favorite Manchester United scarf, hat and T-shirt.  All Excited! Expectant! Victory-Mindset!

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But He returned home sober, angered because His team lost, most of his main players were absent and probably that’s why they lost. He managed to console himself with that notion.

Oh Vinny! It is okay to still be happy with your team!

But in the mind of my young lad, mentally, He’s figuring out how to reset his task list, scratch off the feeble players, redirect his focus on how and why the opposing team scores, introduce strategic pointers, replace weak defenders with agile offence or even be able to coach the team one day.

Oh, He is making a conscious effort to also scold their old manager, Jose Mourihno, for holding back his best players: Nos 9 Romelu-Lukaku of Belgium and Nos 6 Paul Pogba of France.

He was angry at Liverpool for allowing their strong players, Nos 11 – Mohamed Salah of Egypt and Nos 10 – Sadio Mane of Senegal walk with victory and gloat over his team.

This is ridiculous! He groaned as he replayed the match in his mind.

His strategic to do list was invented!

Game of Thrones Arya's Kill List Arya Stark

 

After watching GoT (Game of Throne) religiously, one of the most appealing part for me was Arya’s character. Arya Stark’s list was invented when Syrio Foral, her fighting instructor  was killed.

He was Ayra’s sword fighting instructor, life mentor, and her only friend in King’s Landing. His death at the hands of Meryn Trantis was what lit the spark under Arya Stark which eventually lead to the list.

Her revenge to do list was ignited!

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When Oskar Schindler arrived Krakow in 1939, He was ready to make his fortune from World War II. Even though He joined the Nazi party primarily for his personal/political expediency, He eventually began to staff his factory with Jewish workers for similarly businesslike reasons.

When the secret service began exterminating Jews in the Krakow ghetto, Schindler arranges to have all his workers protected to keep his factory in operation, but soon realizes that in so doing, he is also saving innocent lives.

His compassion to do list was created!

So, emotional needs can be every bit as acute as physical ones.  That’s because we all subconsciously create lists of things to do.  We create tasks to accomplish, shuffle within the timelines, stretching out yard sticks to measure our plans based on trending dispositions. Sometimes, forgetting that underperformed tasks when only simply written down will not always make us effective archievers, but day dreamers and unrealistic chasers.

Those visual cues or mental notes of things we intend to do… ‘Hit or Missed Opportunities. Sometimes going as far as scribbling down goals from our imagination, crossing them out when completed or, imperfect due to pressure or just lack of motivation.

The setback with our to-do lists is usually the process.

Understanding how it can also give way to panicky outbursts when tasks we haven’t completed set in to distract or discourage our movement. ‘Can we begin to make plans for ‘what’s next so we can be free from fixation anxiety, especially when the orderliness does not materialize? ‘Can we still discover happiness and purpose when our well-planned list becomes a blurry puzzle? ‘Can we embrace our detour gracefully and not dwell on what we feel, want or know?

How well do we understand the blessings or biases behind the change, the delayed rude awakening of life’s expectations? How fortunate are we to thrive in following the new lead and understanding, perhaps that for a moment, we need to be constantly aware of our tendency to revert… to be back the way we were. We cannot always mold, manipulate or miscalculate our own destiny if we are still casualties of our expectations!

To be continued…

Yours in HOPE,

a-filha-de-Gansallo, Yinka!

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A light for her pathway – Autism Journey

 

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As the month of April comes to a close, many have spent the month bringing
awareness to the many faces of Autism. As any parent or family member who has
a child on the Autism Spectrum knows, this life is exactly that:

‘A Lifelong Experience’

I am blessed with two sons, both on the Autism Spectrum.

Now that they are grown, Ages 21 and 22, I can reflect on the many moments, early on before diagnosis, when I was full of doubt and confusion, thinking I was a terrible mom and simply did not know how to raise children.

What I didn’t realize was that I was being prepared for a life of adventure, smiles and small victories that would be major accomplishments in my eyes. No matter what, we are still parents. Parents of children that have so much potential and as their parents, we must remember that we are their best advocate.

We are also the ones to teach our children the life skills they need to survive in this unforgiving world.

As my sons have grown older, I have realized how much more they need assistance in everyday social situations. When children are younger, supports tend to be everywhere, but as they grow older, those supports seem to be less and less, especially if the child functions high enough to go to college or have a job.

Teach your child to be a good citizen that can function in society to the best of his/her ability. If your child is very young right now, this may seem a lifetime away however, before you know it, you will be looking at each other saying “Now What?

Keep in mind, while this may seem overwhelming at times, remember there are others who have been in your shoes and you CAN do this, and so can our kids!

Never be afraid to reach out to those in similar situations for support.

Together, with prayers, patience, community support and love, we can nurture young minds and raise resilient adults when we focus on their potentials now.

Written by: Valerie Lawson.

 

*For the past 3 years, Valerie and I usually meet one Friday in a month after clinicals at different Panera Bread locations to brain storm on assessment & treatment planning for children with disabilities, pray about challenging caseloads, talk- deep about life, laugh out loud & silly like teenagers over bowls of clam chowder as we continue to implement developmental disabilities initiatives. I met Valerie in class during  my practicum/residency program Fall of 2016).

Valerie is a Behavior Consultant with DCN Autism Clinic in Michigan, a caring and devoted mother to two young men with Autism, ages 21 and 22 years old.

Yours in HOPE!

Yinka.

 

 

 

 

 

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My 20-Year-Wedding-Anniversary Reflection.

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As crawling gives way to toddling and then striding, so does every relationship that would stand the test of time! It is like a child moving more steadily through the physical world, un-perturbed by the unknown rough pathway ahead, but determined to thrive.

Our relationship with others should always crave for improvements and ability to reject being the ultimate mentalist! Or self-appointed mind-readers we think we are. Only if we make room for acceptance.

How often have we erringly misjudged the mental states of others, such as their background upbringing, sexual orientation, feelings, thoughts, intentions, baggages and deceptions because we feel there just isn’t enough vacancy in our hearts, anymore?

Should we allow our minds to navigate deeper into the cross-currents of the broader social world while we struggle with our differences? Is there really a perfect mate? And for people who have given up on searching or loving, should there exist a fundamental difficulty in trusting again? ‘Fear of series of strong headwinds, uncertain tacks, and treacherous eddies?

 

So, here I am today, August 14th 2017, exactly 20 years ago my ever so-loving-Father walked me down the hallway of The Marriage registry at City Hall Lagos, into the arms of the one true love I would ever encounter! The same bespectacled-guy I met 3.5 years earlier who couldn’t keep his eyes off my one-nation orange halter-neck romper and wouldn’t get off the wall of the newly opened Club Towers night club to dance, who’d pledged the same night jokingly ‘He would marry me someday’ on the dance floor at The Whyte’s party on Glover road and then, Oh-my-word! ‘eventually showed up at my home church, Holy Cross Cathedral by making himself comfortable in my family pew, singing Agnus Dei, like he took Latin classes in college, showing off in his brand new well ironed patterned shirt, brown suede penny loafers while driving the smallest blue car ever driven in Lagos! … #Daewoo Tico

#WE DO…then in 1997, and 20 years later…#WE STILL DO

20 3Phew! It wasn’t easy…trust me, but was worth the fight to keep on keeping on!

From the misconception of what the romantic novels we read say about marriages, to the soap operas and knowledge based books or audio we tune to! From the no-experience marriage counselors or confused life coaches sprawled all over, to the perception social media breeds about what marriage should be…that’s just 1% of the back-slap advice compared to what your destiny has to offer you…’there is no manual or directory to the quick fix we all want to know.

After decades of seeking internal peace…I’d realize Oh my goodness! I don’t know it all, He doesn’t know it all either, we are actually both still learning, and our ultimate wisdom should come from God. Alone. Period.

Isn’t it like someone giving you a relationship advice and it just doesn’t work? Their wisdom, your wisdom and my own wisdom are limited. It’s subjective and faulty. And while the implementation of earthly wisdom can and often does bring some benefit, it will not always lead us to the safety and ease we long for deep inside. Some marriages must surely pass through the burning funnel for a couple to become certified companions, while others would fall along the way if their hopes of survival is based on other people’s manual and perceptions.

20 6Let’s face it. Relationships can be cruel, Life can be scary and marriages that have refused to hit the rock after series of extended-third-party-family-or-friends-interrupters-involvement-busy-bodies melodramatic episodes have finally shut-the-front-door after them…’what’s next?

If you are reading this and wondering, How-in-the-world-did-THEY-do-it? I know right? I usually ask myself too (lol). But, God’s wisdom is perfect. It leads my heart, mind, and soul to safety and rest in a world that is filled with scary realities and uncertainties. You just have to name the challenges… We have both walked through it together…24 years and counting.

I am hoping someone reading this, at any point of their relationship would also tune in to God’s wisdom – when we hear it, yield to it, apply it and obey it – we will live in peace. Not the world’s peace – God’s peace. We will be at ease with all imperfections. Not with perfect lives, but with lives that are led and not controlled by fear and anxiousness of what tomorrow would bring in their marriages, relationships, courtship or friendship. We can and will experience peace in spite of the chaos in our relationships. Be encouraged!

Yours in HOPE as I share our wedding dance/favorite song “FOR YOU” by Kenny Lattimore.

Yinka.

 

 

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A Quiet Time For “MY HEART” – 3 Days to TWC’17.

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Have you ever felt like you were being swept away by the torrential floods of life? Challenges at work, relationship drama, family issues, failing expectations, a feeling of inner restlessness, doom and gloom?

Phone rings! Loud notification alerts from our various social networks! Doorbell chimes! Neighbor’s dog barking uncontrollably, kids yelling, crying or slamming the door! Co-workers absorbed in the moment and unknowingly loud with their body language! Unhealthy noises from inside our heads, you know, the one that constantly breeds anxiety and flashes a list of things we are yet to do or yet to accomplish… ‘in a minute, an hour, a day, a week, a month, a year..

Ah! don’t we all despise that thinking ground that builds restlessness and pushes us back to our edged-corners? I know I do!   

How many times have we rehearsed that perfect smile or posture, flashing only the part we want social media to see and validate? When was the last time 50 of those 1000 make-believe social media acquaintances actually connected with us one-on-one in our everyday circumstances?

Really, think about it…’deep in our hearts aren’t we just as lost as the next person reading, drooping or envying our well-packaged-showcase! If only…

How do we silence the chatterbox-world and hear from God? Does He really know our hearts? #DiscoverQuietTime@TWC’17

Oh no! This is certainly one of those days you just need communion more than ever! Just an encouraging word! A returned handshake from a stranger or a deep bear hug that soothes and set butterflies free inside us! We all need that communication both with God and men. God can quieten our spirit and refresh our soul even in the midst of a storm! We feel blessed for having good friends, mentors and colleagues to give us insight on that painful circumstance or a different perspective about our decision on life. We need it. #DiscoverHope@TWC’17

Because, yesterday I saw men as trees; huge and dominating my emotions! oppressing my job, toying with my passion, intimidating my ministry, billowing smoke into my future plans, putting a clog in the wheel of my progress…’now had become bags of stones tied to my ankles causing me to drown in an ocean of anxiety, confusion and negative thoughts, I saw myself sinking fast in this quagmire of negative feelings. #DiscoverHealing@TWC’17

I dropped to my knees and in my very sober voice, screamed from every cell in my being, “G-o-d  h-e-l-p  m-e!  ‘Have  mercy!  ‘Did He? ‘Does He know my heart?

O yes He did! yesterday, today and tomorrow as well! That is His strategy-communion:  Either through inspiring words of wisdom and management strategy from a dear friend, an edifying message from a sister, testimonies of God’s faithfulness and prayers from a spiritual mentor, joy and reassurance from the Holy Spirit,  insight from a book and positive messages on thriving on the job. #DiscoverTrueRelationship@TWC’17

12 hours later I wonder why it took so much to lift me out and cause me to soar on the winds of renewed hope, joy, optimism and vigor? I realize He made me multifaceted and so He ensured I had communion on every level in every way I needed to…’wow!

So as we count down to the remaining 3 days into TWC’17…’I am urging every woman to take a trip down memory lane of all the things still holding their hearts captive, to look into the face of the next woman you meet on the corridor of hope and flash that real authentic smile of freedom and togetherness! #DiscoverOpenDoors@TWC’17

Let’s do our hearts a favor by allowing it to examine the things that limit or forbid our communion with God. Let’s send our hearts a message…’that it is time to go on living in the fullness it was created for; to know and accept that we are not victims ANYMORE but victors in the risen Christ!

Tell your heart that it is okay to relinquish the rogue that’s been manipulating your quiet time with God, whispering false tales of desire into your ears…’Tell your heart it is time to uproot the hurts or stories or the baggage still tying you down! Whatever hindrances are lurking  in our hearts, it is time to start building up our real healthy-infectious-smile and assume clarity of vision!

I am hoping someone reading this will understand that even if he or she may hit rock bottom today, that it is okay to discover the need for a quiet time within their hearts, that no matter how far away we have been, that our emptiness will always drive us back to Him.  #DiscoverFulfiment@TWC’17

And as we Ponder, Prepare, Pack, Park and Parade the floors of Chubb Conference center for God’s visitation this week, with acceptance and assurance in our hearts, We pray “We will no longer see men as trees or the work place as a dark mine field or our past as a threat to our future! And we say thank you in advance for…’Communion!!

Yours in HOPE as we share Donnie McClurkin’s ‘I Need You’

Yinka & Enitan

TWC’17 Workshop Committee

 

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That MY HEART may go on…

                                          Countdown to TWC ‘17 (Part One) do 4

Do you ever feel a strong pang or spasm within you whenever you recall a certain disheartening event from your past? Even though it’s meant to be locked-up and discarded far away from your subconscious, it still finds its way to interrupt the joy you thought you have built for the present day, and shatters all the dreams for your future plans.

Some call it unforgettable memories; many call it the past that never left; to others, it is the wound that never heals! Whatever name it’s called, believe me, every single woman reading this has experienced dealing with one or more!

We’ve all had that heart fracture, heart split, from the goofy lover-boy from down the street with tales so tall it hurts! Some from intimate family issues that never were resolved, complicated relationships, loveless marriages, lost love due to separation, divorce, death or childhood trauma that’s now affecting our adult lives.

We all know someone still battling with the weight of the pain from their past, that’s crippling their heart and holding them back from approaching a whole new life that God has in store for them!

Isn’t it time to walk out of the ICU of our mindset? After listening to people who have walked similar paths?  Isn’t it time to trust our hearts to beat again and move on?

How do we explain the fear of the thought of sex or just being touched even with the one we have been married to? Or why the addiction to sex is just a carryover of the foundation we were forcefully introduced to during our innocent childhood? Or why we have to be so insecure and never able to trust anyone again, calculating and playing vigilante with every prospective suitor? especially after trust has been broken, either mentally, physically or emotionally? How do we allow our hearts to go on? How do we love again…

“Ring-a-ring o’ roses, a pocket full of posies, A-tishoo! A-tishoo! We all fall down”

What do I do when instead of spontaneous falling and getting back up again in my childish glee and giggle, I am held down by the shackles of trauma… molestation… fingering… rape… incest… emotional neglect… physical abuse? And we hide under the umbrella of a barbaric culture that silenced the victim’s voice but uphold the face of the culprit! should we just bury it in a place so far deep in our subconscious, that it ceases to exist? Hmmm or did it really happen? Have we been brainwashed to believe it never happened? What do you think?

Volcano: 1 in 3 people were abused in childhood and carry these scars to adulthood. Sequelae: Fear of intimacy, Sexual acting out and Addiction

Frigidity: Anger, bitterness, resentment, Post-traumatic stress disorder, Dysphoria, irritability Sleep problems, flash backs, Anxiety, Hyper-vigilance.

Come April 27th to April 29th, all of the above and more will be discussed at the 2017 Total Woman Conference by seasoned speakers who will also be providing one-on-one counselling.

Forget the hurts of the past, Forsake unwholesomeness,  Forge ahead in the power and authority of Christ, Forge into new frontiers of love peace & prosperity”

And because sometimes, life is a game that will always be played on, but God’s love is always unconditional and never changes! Let’s be deliberate by being a part of the movement that aims to turn our pain into gain and propels us to become THAT woman God predestined us to be.

Don’t let the pain you are going through deter God’s purpose in your life.

To be continued. logo-tw

Yours in HOPE

Yinka & Enitan.

TWC Workshop Team.
http://www.totalwomanmovement.com

 

 

 

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Oh Snap! I have a TEENAGER in my house!

house-2When you are alone, in privacy, during the most intense period of your day, are you always calm? composed or just tolerant?

When you are in the shower or sitting on the comfort of your toilet bowl at home, does your mind begin to play a crossword reality check game with you? Do you drift or wonder into oblivion? Or you focus on some relaxing memories as you try to ignore images and flashes of the next chapter of your life?

Well…

I-do-a-lot! In fact, that is one craving routine for me! My bathroom is my go-to solitary hide-out!

As a kid, anytime I need to escape the piercing words or the back-hand slaps from my mother after I have really crossed the lines, I would go hide inside the toilet with a novel, preferably Penny Jordan’s M & B tucked inside my Brighter Grammar book, a pack of bazooka bubblegum, can of waterboy spray, drummer-boy air-freshener;  and a short prayer hoping that by the time I come out much later, my mom and her stop-over-to-visit-anytime siblings are not waiting for me in the dining room to dissect and analyze my “queer and mysterious apocalyptic ways”

house-10Hmmm, Aunty Virgie, ‘I told you she’s weird! I bet she talks to herself and her unseen pals, ‘We need to take her for charismatic deliverance! They would whisper among themselves as I sneak by and pretend not to understand their language and creep back into my room.

And today, It’s no secret in my household that, my bathroom is still my ‘thinking and hiding zone’ especially when I bolt the door behind me to keep my prying kids out! Phew!

“Open the door mommy, I need to tell you or show you something!

‘I-am-busy-now! I usually scream back as I return to my indulgence with a deep sigh of relief.

Ah! The serene sound and soothing effect of the running hot water on my skin, creating a tornado of misty steam, the aromatic lemon grass scented candle dropping its wax in unison to the beats of the water splashing….such bliss!

house-11So, my oldest daughter just became a teenager, a dainty one and not as dramatic or crazy or a firecracker as I was at her age!  #ThankGodForThat

And the more we grow together under the same roof, the more I become weak in the knees seeing how much she reminds me of me then in so many ways!

I stumbled upon her journal and there goes pages and pages of pure undocumented short stories she had written over the years, and a recent write up about her spiritual encounter at “Breathe girls only retreat” organized by  About One teenager ministry @ #BrightmoorChristianChurch and her joy at spending time alone too…in the BATHROOM!

My heart did a backflip two-miles away from my body until it dawned on me she-shares my-passion-for-writing! and for all I care, could be writing the story of my life!

And I thought about my own life … my own past … my own relationship with my mother!

And yet … there are many times when my life does not exude that joy, maybe when I was a teenager…house-12

Why?

Maybe I have forgotten what it was like to witness the wonder of His presence in my life. Those times when my life was too crowded for God, and I just needed to breathe again…

Today, whether you have a teenager under your roof, or you know a teenager who looks up to you as their roof, how much do you really know them? How are you fueling their lives for tomorrow’s story they intend to write about?

Isn’t it is so easy to relegate our spirituality to religious activity? When all they really want is to learn the path to follow? When we allow them to do more or all of the talking, while we wait on them?

house-6Oh Yes!!  There is a teenager in my house! and just like God longs for us to forever run into His arms, sharing every hurt and rejoicing in every victory, that’s exactly how every teenager yearns to wrap their emotional-arms around us, completing the peace we so desperately need!

Won’t you Join in today? and live a life that celebrates the amazing truth that opens the doors to a teenage-heart!

Happy 13th Birthday, Sophia!

Yours in HOPE as I share Jonny Diaz’s Breathe.

Yinka.

 

 

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Creating space for the time of your life: Introducing Total Woman Conference 2017

ret-4Is it almost time already? Another upcoming all-women-lets-talk-about-us-gathering? Oh-my-goodness! I am so pumped up with vigor and vitality, even I am amazed at the rate at which I have surpassed my exercise goals to date! #CurvyGoals

I am getting my body in shape and looking forward to more jubilation with the girls and at the same time cleansing my mind for all the goodies it will be receiving at the electrifying upcoming Total Woman Conference 2017!

Come Thursday, April 27th to Saturday 29th 2017, do you know that the beautiful two-toned pastel decorated hallways of Ace conference center at Lafayette Hills in Pennsylvania would again be hosting yet another rewarding and even more gratifying 3 days/2 nights women only conference? Organized by the acclaimed Total Woman Movement? #SoExcitedForTWC2017

So, if you are like me, who’s super-honey-crisp apple-high, excited and almost packing for the event; #Accept-My-TWM-High-five!

logo-twOr if you are still wondering or contemplating what’s up with this year’s conference that requires your precious time away from your preferred activities, your hard earned money or the invasion of personal space as you share a room… You-are-not-alone but in for the thrill of a lifetime with other ladies who are on fire for God and ready to help you spell the word “HELP” by just revealing the secrets of splendor in togetherness!

Do you know that as you read this, the founder and planning committee of TW Movement are busy working day and night to create a personalized “go-ahead-and-flourish baskets-workshop” just because you are fondly thought of? #Special.ret-6

They are so thrilled that you will be making time out of your busy schedules to mingle and network with other ladies who have journeyed through life’s experiences and are overflowing with available and tangible resources to help you move forward to the next level in life #Seasoned

Am talking about women who have been there, done that and are finally at peace, established and rooted in the comfort of their gifting, excelling in all profitable aspects of life and are ready and equipped to pass the baton over to you #Settled

This year’s conference promises…’nourishing, fulfilling tools we need as women and that extra burst to push past our finish line! It promises not to just scratch the surface but to delve deep into the roots of the emotional, financial, marital, career and entrepreneurial aspects of our lives. WE COME TO BE TRULY EMPOWERED TO MOVE, It promises closure to those open wounds we have been fanning for too long! It promises to build up our hopes in times of hopelessness as it gently leads us up and out of our fixation by guiding us into the new “all we can be us”.

ret-2This year’s conference promises to walk down with you to the root, deal with that, walk you up the fruit, deal with that, and walk you up to the mountain top and giving you what it takes to remain there. #ToolsToExcel

So many lessons and treasured memories I have received from the past TW conference, and so many more I am anticipating at the upcoming 2017 Total Woman Conference…the question is are you ready to create space for that time of your life with TW Movement?

It’s one thing to keep attending seminars and workshops religiously without getting the message and putting it to work thereafter! Finally saying ‘Oh, so this is it! Or “Oh yeah, I got this”, ‘Isn’t it time for us to walk out of a conference and confidently look our demons in the eyes and say OK now, I got this, you’ve got to go!! – Literally, isn’t that the reason why we come together in the first place? To help each other kick out the strongholds, nourish each other with tools needed to move forward and exit the seminar with a satisfied smile on our faces?

We come in with a burden, we walk out lighter with strategies to move to the next level!

Are you on a career path that seems to lead nowhere and wondering how to switch or re-direct your purpose? Is it a difficult relationship or a marriage about to hit the rocks? Or that incident from the past, that’s now a mental health issue but too embarrassing to discuss? Is it still brewing? Did you experience being raped, rejected or relinquished? Hmm, believe me Sisters, You are not alone!ret-7

Would you like to discuss how to achieve stability as a single mother or a widower? Are you looking for a path to recovery? Are you a care giver of a special needs child or family member, overwhelmed but fully obligated to keep on living? Intimacy discussions and how to set the mood right for a happier marriage? Are you seasoned and experienced? The younger ladies might learn a thing or two from you!

Ladies!! We are all either natural rule-followers or rebels, we try to live our lives righteously and then allow grace to come in when we don’t. We repent and thank God for His grace when we miss it knowing we have been redeemed by His mercy. Are we not so special and settled when we live freely from the bondage of falling short? So why are we still living in the past?

How many times have we had a voice saying to us ‘Just look at the mess you made?  See what you did? I told you not to do this, and you didn’t listen to me! Now look at you! ‘Instead, God reached down into our holes, lifted us up and out of it, and He dusted the dirt and shame off us! Even hugged us with the most loving and comforting embrace, with no sign of bitterness, disappointment, or anger. #Settledret-1

Is that not grace? God’s unconditional love and forgiveness in our life, especially when we don’t deserve it.

Today, if you are reading this! Do-your-victory-dance! Hooray!!’because…

You are being invited to a one of a kind Holistic Conference!

TWC 2017 is here!! To help you move out of your perceived comfort zone, to take charge of the task ahead of you, live life to the fullest by God’s grace! Which is that same freedom we are called to live in.  #BeSecuredSettledSatisfied

More to come…

Yours in HOPE!

Yinka.

*** For more information and signing up, visit: http://www.totalwomanmovement.com

 

 

 

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REBUILDING HOPE after a loss.

shine-2There comes a time in our life when we should start thinking about what we will leave behind after we die.

Well, not everyone enjoys talking about it anyway, but we should! Like, Y-e-s-t-e-r-d-a-y! Because we will all pass away someday.

What will be our legacy? How will our lifestyles be recorded into the annals of history?

Are we aware that this is a deep healing and gratifying moment that could also beAdvertisement  our only chance and opportunity to pay it forward or celebrate life by creating a setting for others to follow? 

So, do you remember how you felt when you lost someone close to you? You witnessed dreams and aspirations snatched away coldly leaving behind dark visions of despair and uncertainty about the future!shine-4

Did your life take an unexpected turn when people you love are diagnosed with a terminal illness? The big question we battle in our minds over time as we witness their pain and struggle with recovering and treatment is…’Will-They-Ever-Make-It?

Or will they disgrace death and defeat the grave? No matter what, our lives and their new journey would never be the same again.

Aha! Because an irreplaceable vacuum has been deposited in our hearts.

The fairytale life we had always dreamed of for them is no longer possible. Is it okay to question God at those very hurting period we witness with them? Or be like Job and continually keep seeking His face in the middle of it all? Is there still hope after all?  #EmpathyLeadsToHope

ekoI still clearly remember the night when my parents went out for an event….

It was Christmas of 1980, my dad wanted to impress his guests that night and had driven them all to watch Bobby Benson’s High-Life band play at the lavishly furnished ball room of Eko Hotel at Victoria Island Lagos.

Jubilant! Excited! my cousins and I (who had come visiting from Port Harcourt and UK) danced around our Christmas tree in the adult parlor as we waved goodbye to our parents, flashing our hand-held sparkler fire works! And as my dad’s car zoomed off the street, we were left with traces of rays from the street lights that eventually nudged us back inside.

But, my parents never came back that night or the next day!

Nothing prepared me for the tons of relatives who stomped into our house for the next couple of months!

There was constant whispering, cleaning or attending to unfamiliar faces who had pressed the loud doorbell that always made our dogs, Jolie and Julie mad and bark uncontrollably!

shine13The warm-natured relatives from my mother’s village in Delta State had hired a commercial station wagon named “Eni Afe” (the one we love) to transport them and their bags full of African pear and Garden egg directly from Oshimili Local government to my door step on Lagos-Island!

Oh by-the-way! Did I mention that they were always humming a moody native song and slapping their heads or their hips! Pointing to the sky as if blaming God for not being on time to the rescue! Or were they blaming the automobile company for the accident? I could barely pick their language, but was always able to identify the word “moto” as they begin to use their wrist to wipe away invisible tears.

And every time I would glare at them in fear and confusion wondering where they kept my parents!!

Ah, I-s-i-o-m-a ’Nne m (meaning My-good-head daughter or good-luck-girl-child) they would exclaim and carry me off into a non-auditioned Igbo dance and bury my head in their humongous Saturday Night-talcum-saturated bosom, like I needed to be smothered because I was missing motherly affection! Oh well, at that time, I guess I was anyway…Phew!    #ILoveMyMothersPeople

shine-14

And on the other side, my father’s Lagos-Brazilian quarters family members would all stroll in, in their meticulous apparel, puffing and huffing about how Uncle Kay (my dad) just won’t stop smoking, drinking and driving! their high stiletto competing with their pitchy British accent as they search in their patent fancy bags for a glass-beaded rosary that will be used to sanctify the house or search for their fancy hand fan even as the ceiling fan was in full motion!

I watched as they try to escape the cold nose caressing from our dogs! Their house helps or driver sneaks up behind them carrying home-baked bread and fruit baskets brought from Tom Jones area, covered with beautifully embroidered napkins.

Oh! There you are Yinkus baby! Everything is fine oh? We must book a mass for the family! Let’s thank Saint Christopher and Our Lady of good counsel! Or ‘has anyone gone to Catholic Mission to report this to the Arch Bishop? I will have my driver come get you for the weekend to play with your cousins at Ikoyi club” And then a big hug consumed with choking concentrated overdose of vintage Hermes perfume! 

Ah! play-with-my cousins-at-this-period? Hmm…’No-thank-you-Aunt! #MyFathersDramaticPeople

But, Why-won’t-someone-tell-me-what-ever-happened-to-my-parents

shine-11Thank goodness for older and notorious cousins who were very crafty in stealing top-classified family information! Last I know…they saw my Dad’s car somersault several times and crash into the edge of the reef at Bar beach!

All 4 of them (My dad, mom, late Uncle Siji and Dr. Alagoa) lost consciousness and were rescued by a nearby white garment church congregation having a vigil at the same time on the beach!

Okay…so they made it out of Eko Hotel and crashed into Bar beach on their way back home. Severely injured with the car written off! Both on admission and physical therapy for several months as I was left in denial about their disappearance until they returned home, not the same as they left in December, but alive.

At that moment and such tender age, nothing could have soothed or comforted me enough! For all I care, I could have been an orphan-in-waiting until they eventually came back home with bruises and scars so pronounced, even our dogs wept for them! Literally.

shine-12Today, as you are reading this…In homes and hospitals and confinement across the world, friends and family will soon gather around to usher in the New Year, beautifully decorated tables filled with warm, scrumptious food and gifts to give. Blinking lighted trees with trimmed gold ribbons!

It is Christmas!!

However, this day will be nothing like holidays of the past for many people.

Broken hearted families who’ve lost loved ones will struggle to keep hope alive, Friends with terminal or life threatening illness will have to struggle to catch a glimpse of what a painless season without medication or treatment would be, Lonely but committed soldiers covered in the dust of battle will patrol foreign borders, fighting for what they believe in, while their families back home long for word of their safety.

The homeless will make their way to the nearest soup kitchen, hoping for a warm meal and a smiling face as so many celebrate this day of abundance.

eko-2For some, an empty place at the table will be a painful reminder of the loved one lost or a failed relationship.

A worried husband and dad will sit at the head of the table, wondering how he is going to tell his family that he just lost his job.

A wife, struggling with emotional turmoil of an unfulfilled marriage, a beautiful young lady, wondering if the joy of the season is worth celebrating due to rejection and loneliness.

A family with a child on the spectrum still waiting for a miracle. The list of wounded hearts and unmet needs is brutal.

So, tell me, how do you create or find time to rebuild after you lose someone to death, ailment or disagreement? In all my 6 years of surviving that cancer, I have continuously struggled with the changes that’s taken over my body, my mind and my perception about life and people. I had to crave the urge to keep hoping for a fruitful life; medication, treatment and all by creating time for people in need!

For others, it is still denial of what they can’t understand and are still refusing to accept. That there could be hope because God says so, that we could still find joy and happiness even while going through that phase in life.

How do you intend to help someone going through all these the few days remaining in 2016? Would we rather patronize the needy by dropping by a shelter to suit your conscience? Send text messages or gifts when really your voice of encouragement is what they need? Label them as unfit or dying when really only God can dictate that journey! Hmm.

shine-5What gives us hope today? Even with friends and loved ones dying or shutting down around us, how do we comfort them?

You see, when we convince ourselves that life will be better when we have more money, when we find the right mate, when we get the kids raised or build the right house. We tell ourselves that our life will be complete when our spouse gets his or her act together, when we buy a nicer car, when we get that promotion, when we are able to go on our dream vacation or when we retire.

We keep trying to find joy, contentment and peace in lifeless places and useless things.  When really, we just need to be more thankful for being alive and seek the real meaning behind the lights on the Christmas trees, it’s not about the ornaments or the beautiful wrapped up gifts! Or the beautiful glittering ribbons.

It is about building HOPE for tomorrow! and why we need to celebrate life more…especially with those going through tough time this season.

And because I witnessed my parents come out alive of that ghastly car accident at Bar-beach that had the next day newspaper headlines as “Miracle on the Beach” I certainly have no choice but to keep trusting and hoping in God even as my own strength and flesh falter sometimes!

shine-3Because I-have-been-there-with-you, on both sides…I know the feeling of a blurry future when sickness knocks or when a loved one is lost or when we lose a pregnancy/baby…the vacuum is so uncomfortably evident and can never be filled!

I am hoping someone reading this will allow their heart to beat again after a loss.

Let’s spread the love of Christmas by bringing HOPE to someone really in need of affection today and comfort the weak at heart more.

To all those we lost in 2016. Let’s be rest assured that the peace the birth of Christ brings this season is surely abiding with them.

Yours in HOPE! As I share David Gokey’s ‘Tell Your Heart To Beat Again’

Yinka.

 

 

 

 

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