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Accepting the “Shift in our Atmosphere”

camp-5When something exciting and unexpected jumps at us during one of those cloudy days of our lives, how do we manage the emotion?

Have you ever questioned or struggled with certain circumstances that sometimes come to you suddenly as a pleasant surprise, a shocking revelation or a hurdle of nerve-racking challenges or indecision? A test or a leap of faith?

So, the moment my father’s powder blue Volkswagen Beetle drove off the visitor’s parking lot of Rima house (my hostel), I knew one thing was certain that day! I-was-doomed!

1-     Maybe Mr. & Mrs. Gansallo were not my real parents after all (I was probably adopted or kidnapped as a baby)  or

2-     Maybe my mother, being the tough Up Bendel’ woman she claimed she was, was just at her best to frustrate me and drive me to my early grave! While my father, all dressed up in his favorite Cuban shirt was too terrified of showing his emotion in public, and of course, didn’t want his wife to nag him all the way back to Lagos, reminding him of how much He had spoiled me rotten!  Phew!camp-4

I was just 11 years old, and my parents had just dropped me off in the deepest forest, concentration-camp-like boarding school, about 400 kilometers away from home!

Who does that? How did I get here? Why do I have to travel far away for secondary schooling? All the way…to FGGC, Sagamu! Ogun state. Whatever happened to schools down the road from my house?

OMG! They really hated me! I thought to myself as I cried myself to sleep that night on my upper bunk bed, Ohhh, so even my pet name “Atupa Parlor” (the glowing lantern in a room) didn’t mean anything to them again. I-have-been-robbed-emotionally!! 😦

In my solitude and grief, I found comfort in the company of about 50% of my old classmates from primary school who were also dropped off by their parents, who had also driven back to Lagos, smiling happily and about to enjoy all the luxuries we were missing here at the boarding school.

It took me days to adjust to the tons of rules passed down by Madame Chaudhry, my bulbous Indian house mistress, the early morning bells, the sluggish and sleepy-eyed tweens and teenagers in fancy oversized nighties or awkward red-checked house wear, the long walk to the massive dining hall where breakfast is usually consumed as fast as it takes to say the grace, the mandatory early morning assembly gathering as our beautiful flawless light-skinned British-accent VP (Mrs. Odusote) begins her ‘oh-not-again speech!

‘Girls! Girls!’ ‘Wake up to your future” or “Oh dear! Bad Girls,  My heart bleeds for you…blah bla bla!camp-6

That’s the moment I always remember my parents actually did something great for my future. Yeah, dropping me off in the middle of nowhere to emerge a doer amidst the craziness behind those tall walls overnight. Such transformation! From that fragile, tiny over-pampered girl into a grab-the-horn and move-it woman! – all by the grace of God.

Today, here I am eagerly packing and sending my 10-year-old son off to his school’s 5th grade science club camp, deep into the woods and pure lakes of Michigan. Aha!

Here I am feeling my heartbeat double and triple as I merge into the season of change that’s launching God’s plan for my desire, reflecting on my own younger days away from home, diving into the grace to start well and end well, leaving the past behind and summoning on courage to continue the journey, of my main purpose of leaving home!’ but even this kido isn’t moved or sober or afraid of change. He’s elated! Oh Vinny! 😦

And am here freaking out and remembering the day I had to push all of him, 9lb+  out of me that early morning in April at Pennsylvania Hospital!

“Mom, wake up to your future! I will be just fine!camp-1

That was all I needed to hear to bounce back to reality. My VP’s piercing words of advice “Wake up to your future” That was my lesson and the booster I needed afterwards that made me travel another 1,000 kilometers away from home to attend college and even further and further as destiny calls…

If you are reading this and feel a kind of disconnection to your dreams or passion or niche for life, honestly ask yourself…‘Am I waking up to my future? or ‘living it in my dreams?’

You see, because you know you want something! You deserve that GOAL! You crave that PATH! ’It breathes and oozes your name in every aspect, it speaks your language and has your DNA of perfectionist spread all over it! But you aren’t really prepared for the pomp and pageantry that could come with it. That was my own personal excuse for years..

camp-7The crowd cheers you on, you’re like a super star in your little corner, a small fry in a broken pan…a small fish in a big lake, the bill board has your image space vacant, its waiting for you.. ‘but what’s holding you back? Are you also afraid of taking that bold step into your assigned destiny? Are you afraid of Change? The journey? Transition issues?

The carving process called change knocks us into a deep slumber of uncertainties…maybe, well maybe it isn’t time yet! Or maybe I will wait and wait…till the baby boomers launch your ideas in their retirement plan!

How do you manage change or adjustment or transition? Do you look at it as an avenue to finally launch your life’s purpose or could it be that you are God’s brewing subject in the making all the while? So happens that, NOW is just the right time and right place! You just never saw it coming. Did ya?

Or, have you ever gone through a period of discouragement or disappointment? because you tried once and it failed? Perhaps you’re in one right now. Believe me, I’ve been right there with you. Trust me, I’ve hidden in the cave with Elijah, under the gourd plant with Jonah, and finally sneaked into the desert with Moses. #FearOfMovingForward

Our fear and discouragement of accepting a change comes when there is a gap between what we always expect and what we eventually experience, like when there is a gap between what we hoped would happen and what actually does happen. #GreatExpectations

Believe me, our blessings is hanging in the atmosphere. It’s the move or shift we ignore everyday.

garlicAre we aware that there are people God places in our path for an eternal purpose? The beauty salon or barber shop stylist you patronize needs to see God’s love in your smile.

That unplanned stop where you run into an old friend who needs encouragement is really an opportunity sent by God.

You get a text or email from an unwanted friend and ignore the burden of a lonely soul, Does she/he need to know that you care … so she can know God cares?

Where are we looking? Behind us? At things of the past that make us cringe in fear for the future we don’t know, are we still reveling in the glory of a past long gone? Let’s look for God in our circumstances … in the people we meet … in the unwelcome intrusion of a neighbor … in the infuriating behavior of a co-worker or the exasperating antics of a teenager.

camp-9‘Moving forward, onward or along is an acceptable shift for our atmosphere.

Rooted to the same circle of confusion is a deadly disease we take for granted, because it’s a safe prescription and a very cheap one to manage. ‘We are what we MOVE.’ – Yinka.

If you are meeting resistance in your hopes and dreams, then you’re most likely on the right track. Because the devil wouldn’t mess with you if you weren’t a menace to his plans and a valuable asset to God. #Goals

Today, I am hoping someone will wake up to their future plans by turning their dreams into reality. By turning uncertainty into sureness. Take the risk and make it happen, surprise your dreams by dragging it into the future.

I am hoping that someone will eventually let go of debilitating discouragement, procrastination, fear of change or just plain old-fashioned waiting on someone for a move first, and take hold of their next shift! Change is the only constant.

I know I just did by moving forward into my next assignment in life, and still in AWE of God’s goodness.

In my conversation with God and my daily journal, I’ve had to pinch myself back to reality saying “No human could have done this for me, But God did!  All because of His mercy and compassion, overlooking my craziness, errs and mishaps, He picked me out to be moved and used for his glory! and is still moving me forward”. #Praises

**Thanks again to everyone who made my transition easy! Wow! ‘am still beaming with love and affection for the book I received during the ‘love-filled see-you soon send off dinner’ ‘I appreciate it.

“It would be all so easy if you had a map to the Maze.

If the same old routines worked.

If they’d just stop moving “The Cheese.”

But things keep changing.

-Spencer Johnson, M.D.  “Who Moved My Cheese?

Yours in HOPE as I share Jason Nelson’s ‘Shifting The Atmosphere”

Yinka.

 

 

 

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Ready or Not, Here I come… ‘Should I drop the MIC?

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ready 7Have you ever approached a new birth year (birthday) with some kind of mixed feelings about some beautiful or bitter experiences you’ve carried through to-date?

Does your birthday celebrate your progress or make fun of your weakness? When you finally decide to mentally flip through the events of yester years, do you either marvel or sigh at the thought of certain happenings?

I-D-O-N-T-B-E-L-I-E-V-E-I-T! ‘Kind-of-feeling?

I know I do. Often, I wished I was still that innocent 10-year-old birthday girl adorned in my Peter Pan collar blue and white polka-dot sun dress dancing away to the rhythm of Evelyn King’s 1982 ‘Love Come Down! With not-a-single-care-about-tomorrow or even aware of whatever love was coming down! Until I was asked to take the MIC! ‘And then…

So, I just finished celebrating my 44th birthday (say “Whaaaaat!”)… Yeah ’All-of-me-is-organically 44 years and still growing! (Lol). ‘And am loving it! Fate has been feeding me with un-avoidable memories as a special delicacy, one forbidden to chew. Don’t know if it’s a coincidence or not, or more of a déjà vu kind of feeling.

Could it be my medication or hormonal changes? or the so-so-busy schedule I have entwined my life in? whatever it is, I am so ready to take it on and move forward with new hopes. Even as am not so close by to my childhood home and missing all the bells and horns I would have received for another celebration, thank goodness for true and genuine friendship ever-present!

ready 2I am so thankful for silly little things like…singing off tune  with my 4-year-old daughter in the shower, wet toothbrushes serving as our pretend-mic!, OR discussing puberty tolerance with my sprouting oh so-grown tween! (Phew! Teenage dramatic years here-we-come!) OR trying to understand the sudden mother-son bond with my dimpled-face middle child-son! OR playing star war’s Dart Vader with my adorable Autistic students or just being silly and child-like!

Those moments. Priceless and Irreplaceable.

The days of… Am I ready for another treatment? Another blood work? Another scan? Another therapy? Another celebration? It was as if I always just needed a reason to celebrate life to remind myself that I was still living!  But really? Why not? Who wouldn’t? Why not celebrate life when we have it? When our tomorrow is not given.

Today, it doesn’t matter anymore if comedians invented the mic drop, they have arguably played a larger role in popularizing it than their hip-hop counterparts. Like when the character steals the microphone from the emcee, screams into it, holds it out, and drops it to the floor. Isn’t that how our life’s journey is? We pick us, start-up then drop it off…out of?…ready 3

Nowadays, the unknown stretches before us and all we can see are the mistakes we have made and the opportunities we have missed.

Fear has brought us to our knees and we are more desperate than we have ever been in our life.

If you made it to the next birthday each year, be more thankful. Are you ready or not for what’s next? Not really. Still wondering why the MIC should be dropped? Maybe we all need to refocus and adjust our perspective. Don’t you think so?

Life is never going to be perfect this side of town. Never! If you are waiting for every problem to be solved, every circumstance to be just right, every issue to be resolved, you are in for a long wait. Set aside your comfort. Forfeit your convenience and embrace change.

The movie 8 Mile (2002) brought an explosion in interest in rap battles and free-styling, but Rabbit never drops the mic: When he finishes his climactic freestyle and prepares to walk off the stage, he just passes the mic back to his opponent. Are you ready for that? I know I am. So help me God with my personal baton.

Yours in HOPE as I share The Fugee’s “Ready or not”.

Yinka.

 

 

 

 

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2016 Total Woman Conference Fragrance 216: “When the KNOTS began to unfold”

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Do you remember where you were the evening of Thursday, April 21st 2016? Any recollection of your final place of destination? Were you super excited as you packed, parked and paraded the luxuriously furnished maze-like corridors of The ACE conference center in Lafayette Hills?

TRACE IT!

IMG-20160430-WA0006Do you recall the big smiles on the faces of the beautiful ladies at the registration table as they celebrated your attendance with your personalized welcome package? Did you feel the aura of peace and yearning on the faces of women, miracle-expectant, longing-to-be-released into what the retreat has in store for them’ Holding on to the promises of the weekend.

FACE IT!

Indeed, even as the news of the death of the Artist formerly known as Prince was featuring on the lobby radio, the sympathy and grief expressed from those who remembered his 1984 hit song “Purple Rain” was pleasantly compensated by the huge appetite of an accessible sovereign Prince of peace everyone had come to encounter. There was Hope!IMG-20160423-WA0002

ERASE IT!

If you attended…’My guess is that you are still in awe and total amazement of the wonderful enrichment of those 3 days…’I know I am still basking in the rich fruitfulness of the ministration from all the speakers. I know just like everyone too, words wouldn’t be enough to express or explain the beauty and luster of the early Morning Prayer walk around the winding roads entwined within the golf course as dew drops amuse our awakening! IMG-20160422-WA0011

Ah! The early bible lesson in the glass covered patio as the high ceiling fans conduct a circular-halo above us, in unison with our outpour of praises! (One of my favorite mornings yet this year), the clattering of heels and the giggling of deep laughter that turned 3 generation of women into one-body, as we all danced in-tune and off-beat with the Zumba instructor (who knew…’these women still got moves), the smiles and excitement on the faces of women as they gathered around the buffet…all exuding radiant fragrance of a good-sense-of-WE BELONG HERE!

20160422_204039Ahh! The messages: the new hash tag to discover for bothersome wishers in our lives! The breakout sessions that were so deep yet so true, every woman felt a connection to the speakers! The heartfelt concerns for relational challenges. And best of all…’the anointing that loosen all the knots we carried into Lafayette Hills…

Oh-What-an-Awesome-Event!!  Oh-what new hashtags to live with…

#let go of insecurity and take hold of your true identity

#let go of comparison to others and take hold of your God-fashioned uniqueness.

#learn to say…’shut the front door after you

#let go of shame-filled condemnation and take hold of grace-filled acceptance.

#let go of crippling bitterness and take hold of radical forgiveness.

IMG_9061To all the Planning Committee Members!!  Take a bow…To my Team Moderators! ‘You are the best. Absolutely awesome!IMG-20160424-WA0013

For whatever still makes us needy after this event? For whatever makes our heart seem like a love vacuum? For whatever makes us doubt God’s love irrespective of what we are going through?IMG-20160430-WA0007

I hope we’ll be able to remember from the messages on Thursday, Friday and Saturday that we cannot expect imperfect human beings and relationships to satisfy our heart cravings. Only God can satisfy. Only God can untie the knots and keep them loose. Whatever tied-up knots we are experiencing.IMG_8961

Maybe we can learn to stop expecting others to meet our “love-vacuum” needs and instead ask God to help us to be rooted and established in the fullness of His all-satisfying love. Need more information about the Movement? Visit http://www.totalwomanmovement.com.  Look out for TW Insider Exclusive for more information on quarterly updates.

Yours in Hope as I share TWC 2016 photo recap and video clip. (See below).

Yinka Lawrence – Team Workshop Moderator.

 

 

 

 

 

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“What’s in this ‘TOTAL WOMAN CONFERENCE for me? I’m just a YOUNG ADULT! (If love is a game, would I still want to play? #TWC 2

What’s UP my YOUNG, SMART and DYNAMIC ladies? Have you been wondering why there’s so much HYPE about the upcoming Total Woman Conference? How do you manage the  blank space in your life? Do you know that there could be something tangible in this upcoming conference for you? I honestly believe so!taylor 2

taylor 3Oh Sure! It’s like, totally flashing the hashtag #goals on social media while at the same time, Mary J Blige’s “No More Drama” blasts on the radio. Did you smile to yourself and quickly tweet about it? Or you remember Taylor Swift’s lyrics and you chuckled to yourself, Like’ yeah right! – But still went ahead anyway, and tweet about it! ‘Sweet! I know I would…

Aha! That’s exactly what you should be expecting at the upcoming conference…’because that and some more relevant topics tailored to your “Circumstances“Drama” and “Situation” would be discussed and resolved at this conference. But with who?taylor 4

So, because everyone’s needs are different, everyone’s desire and perspective about life, love, and relationship transcends what they know…we all still need to be enlightened.

Here’s a great opportunity to sit down with Michelle Ayala-Rivera; International Motivational Speaker and Author, whose passion is inspiring young adults and at-risk youths to excel in life and achieve their full potential.

taylor 5Topics like: Addressing issues of peer pressure/influence, purity, singleness. Comparing and trying to live life up to the standards of what you” see on social media/trying to live like the Joneses (the “perfect” people we see online”), struggling with false aspiration lifestyle? How to discover you” and live life accordingly.

Need more information? Visit www.totalwomanconference.com  to be plugged into the movement that will Heal, Enlighten, Liberate and Position you for a better tomorrow!

Yours in HOPE,

Yinka.

***WATCH OUT for #TWC 3 – “When Senior Girls meet” OLDER ADULTs 55  (#Ripe, #Resourceful and #Ready).

 

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Comparison – by Kehinde Oguntunde

As I went about doing my kitchen chores, I couldn’t help listening to my children’s conversation.comp

“You do not color outside the line”, said the big sister to the little one.

“I know, but it’s my homework, not yours”, she responded.

“Mummy never likes it when we color outside the line, that’s why she likes my painting better”, big sister replied.

At that instant, I knew I had to interrupt their conversation before it escalated into something else. Truth be told, I have always loved neat and beautiful paintings (I was an excellent art student back in high school) and I (unconsciously/consciously) made my older daughter tow my footsteps.

The younger sister on the other hand, detests anything that deals with coloring. In a nutshell, I find myself comparing my kids with each other or perhaps comparing them with me. I’m sure most of us can relate to this.

But the truth is: COMPARISONS ARE DETESTABLE.

If you want to be a miserable mortal, then compare. You compare when you place someone beside someone else for the purpose of emphasizing the differences or showing the likenesses. This applies to places and things as well as people.comp 4

We can become so proficient at this activity that we sustain our addiction through an unconscious force of habit. Inadvertently, the wheels of our thinking slide over into the ruts of this detestable mindset. Comparison appears in at least two forms.

First: We compare ourselves with others. You can imagine the results already. It is either you are prompted to feel smug and proud because your strengths outweigh others weaknesses . . . or, more often, you begin to feel threatened, and inferior because you fail to measure up. Striving to emulate a self-imposed standard, you begin to slide from the pleasant level of achievement of the real you to the sinking sands of I don’t know who. This sometimes leads to extreme role-playing where you try every way to adapt and alter your portrait to fit into someone else’s frame.

In simpler terms, you’ve given away your real personality for a phony disguise. That’s detestable! Paul wrote about similar sentiments to a church that had become known for its comparison cliques:

“We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise”. (2 Cor. 10:12 NIV). The very next verse tells us, “Our goal is to measure up to God’s plan for us”. Not for someone else, but for you, personally. God’s great desire for us is that we fulfill His plan for us in our own lives. In His way—His timing.comp 3

Second: We compare others with others. This is worse than unfair; it’s senseless and often, cruel. Children suffer most from well-meaning adults who show off one child’s talents in front of another child in some misbegotten effort at motivation. This relates to the illustration above with my kids. That sort of comparison is toxic. It poisons a child’s self-image and smothers the very motivation the parent was seeking to arouse.

But children aren’t the only victims. We find ourselves comparing preachers and teachers; church philosophies and orders of service; soloists and song leaders; personalities and prayers; wives and mothers; families and friends; homes and cars; salaries and jobs; husbands and fathers; luxuries and limitations; pain and pleasure.

That’s detestable! Why not accept people and places and things exactly as they are? Isn’t that true maturity? Why not accept and adjust to differences as quickly and enthusiastically as God forgives our wrongs and stands behind our efforts to try, and try again? When love flows, acceptance grows.

Written by: Kehinde Oguntunde for #Moving Forward With Yinka

**About the writer**

Kehinde works as a Data Integrity Specialist. She is happily married to Sola. They both reside in Philadelphia and are blessed with 2 beautiful girls and an adorable boy! She enjoys working with children, reading, writing and of course singing with her husband.

 

 

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Turning Our Brokenness into a Support Channel for Others!

We have all been broken or bent. Cracked like clay, crumbled like a free doughnut and crushed by spoken words sometimes taken too personal. We have been bruised when something outlandish, far-out, unusual or peculiar happens to us. And I mean to all of us!

What do we do, when Life throws at us: Cold blankets of unexpected deals? After praying and waiting…what do we do? We stand? Who do we stand with? Who’s going to hold our hands and stand with us? And every time we clamor within our minds, trying so hard to fix it alone, we end up living in denial. Am I reaching someone?

For a moment, let’s pull aside the heavy luxurious curtain of pretense (our mindset) tie it back neatly with a new tassel (feelings) and confirm our spirituality is in place (balance). What’s left?

 

When we are broken, we feel like a foreigner in our own native land. Part of the reason why we shy away from getting help and latch on to a “hush-hush world” is basically because we are still afraid of either discovering ourselves through other people, and I mean, other people’s short-comings or strengths, our ability to comfort other people, and also ability to allow others to comfort us when we need it.

For some, it’s an act of weakness or pride, to show it or give it. But we all need it. Everyone needs to be comforted, one time or the other! God may very well send someone your way who needs a person who understands.

 

Who else can help a woman who is struggling with delayed motherhood or a wayward child other than the mother who has welcomed a prodigal child home? Who can encourage a woman going through a rough patch like the woman who has come out of that same darkness and into the light?

Who can help a woman struggling with marital discord like the woman who has seen her marriage transformed from decayed clanging cymbals of contention to a beautiful symphony of love? Who can help a woman struggling with the pain of a shameful past like the woman who has exchanged her tattered sackcloth for a princess’s robe?

 

Today, I am hoping that someone will say…” because I have gone through something’s (brokenness) that makes me comfort-able, I will be encouraging someone, who in turn will also encourage someone else. This week, I pray that God will show you someone who needs to know the comfort that He’s given me. Not to be ashamed to tell about the struggles we have had in our own life, but to be an encouragement to someone who needs to know that there is hope for a better tomorrow.

 

‘For WALKING (comforting me) and showing your support towards cancer awareness, I am truly grateful. Thank You! May we always find reasons to celebrate victory and survivorship with each other, and also remember those we lost along the way.

 

‘Yinka.

 

 

 

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We All Need A Push, A Positive One.

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A mother eagle knows that if she waits for her young to get out of the nest and fly on their own initiative, it’ll never happen. So she pushes them out! That’s radical, but they learn to fly and fulfill their destiny.

When we set goals for ourselves at an early age, one of the greatest task ahead of us we take for granted is also setting up a method to discourage any form of obstruction, roadblocks or distractions along the way! Because surely it will come.

So, after finally meeting up with my publisher, He took a good spectacled look at me and my over-the-years -oh-so-long manuscript and smiled. Girl! It is time. Time to quench that thirst! The world is waiting for your story! It is time to launch it! Was I ready to let go? Probably not, because the story in us never ends – with each new day in our lives, it’s always a new beginning, a resounding awareness, hope arises, new characters are given birth to and old ones unfold.

To succeed in life we must sometimes stay within our strength zone to observe our qualities, but continually make constructive move outside our comfort zone to be able to observe, learn, study and eventually move forward.Have you ever accomplished anything of significance while you were in your comfort zone? Think about it. The answer is ‘no,’ isn’t it? We don’t like moving outside our comfort zone. We resist it. We like to feel safe and secure. We don’t want to look foolish or fall flat on our faces.

And as we get older we naturally tend to become more and more complacent. That’s a problem, because complacency kills passion. It reduces us to average. It clips our wings and keeps us from soaring, no matter how much we want to. It takes initiative to succeed at anything in life. It requires us to take risks.

Positive risk through “push” is aligning our passion with crazy faith. Connecting with the right crowd at the right time is very important. Passion prompts us to leave our comfort zone and cross the threshold of our doubt. It pushes us out the door, so that we can get going on the journey in life that God designed for us.

Hoping someone to push on their door of opportunity as opposed to knocking, to pray for divine connection to their greatness and lean not on their own understanding or the selfish zeal of hungry opportunist. So step out in faith, take the initiative, take the risk – Do it!

‘Yinka.

www.yinkalawrence.com

***Thanks Gregg.

 

 

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