From the rising sun on a wet Wednesday morning of May 10 in the year 1972, a baby girl was delivered into the Gansallo family house, at the famous Island Maternity Hospital on Lagos Island. Indeed, a wide-eyed cry announced my landing which foretold a bewildering future.
The astonishing resemblance of my late paternal Great-Grandmother, Lady Sophia Mori-Lewa DaSilva was so noticeable, I was instantly nicknamed “Atupa Parlor” after her (meaning the bright lantern that brightens a room) or sometimes “Emi Mama l’oke” (grandma’s breath) usually indicating the strong enduring personality of her industrious nature and philanthropy.
Today as I turn 50, I am beyond words on how many descriptive adjectives I have left in me from Professor Alo’s semantics class at Uniport, which is so unlike me. But deep inside, I can feel this colossal triumphant jubilation going on, it’s like there’s a non-stop praise gig happening! And am being invited to celebrate.
So, sometimes in life we get the chance to start again, we breathe deep to stand tall. We are offered a choice to either deal with the hiccups life throws at us, live with it or leave it behind.
We prepare to make our way without knowing whether the future will wait for us to catch up on missed opportunities… or we just brave it, with our faith, with love by relying on our reflective light.
For me, this is the morning that I’ve dreamed of. The anniversary of all the enchanting and whimsical events I have encountered! Jubilee of unbelievable but jaw dropping testimonies! Reminiscing on all the principled life skills and platform for spirituality my Mother has instilled in me, the importance of education and values of setting goals mentoring from the most astute man I know, my late father.
My Gratitude Runs Deep.
And my journey begins, with steps so few, that a child could count them.
A new dawn… forged by the force of life itself.
And if I have spent a lot of my life trying to understand why and how absurd things happen, trying to have boundaries, and then trying to enforce them. Well, I’m finally understanding that I don’t need to be loud or demanding to have healthy boundaries. I don’t need to determine how other people behave around me. I just need to pre-decide how I will react when other people behave otherwise.
Setting healthy boundaries means being clear about asserting one’s mental health capability, especially when you clock an important milestone.
And with my ongoing Project 50 and beyond to mark this milestone (www.project50andbeyond.com) I pray for wisdom and ask God to determine my thoughts, words and actions.
As this is just the beginning of a potpourri of untold stories in my memoir. . . ‘The Fragrance of Memories’
Yours in HOPE, as I share one of my favorite songs “Dependable God” by Victor Thompson.
Our births are, and will always be one the most profound common-place of miracles. An event deeply remarkable and phenomenal. A timeless deed that immediately but intentionally and briefly makes angels of us all.
Then life evolves as we get older, we flicker on a screen of ‘how it could have been’ by folding and unfolding upon our mind’s eye which brittle like a crushed dove’s wings. We suddenly begin to accept that our health is also another gift from God, especially after overcoming a diagnosis, but we sometimes take it for granted.
Still, it hangs for its dear life on a thin-thread as fine as a spider’s web. While the smallest err can make it snap, leaving the strongest of us helpless in an instant, as the weaker hearts wobble. And in that instant, hope is our only protector, and love our cure-all.
Life is fueled by learning new things, encountering new people, or sometimes handling challenging paths. But there will always be laughter when joy sips in… ‘tears when disappointment emerge un-invited… making exaggerated but clearer revelation a must for us, as loss or gain of mutual affection we have forged in friendships over our lifetime would only last us all the remaining days on earth.
While a child, I mastered the act of overriding discomfort with the thoughts of accepting everything washed away as a fresh potential dawned. Eventually, in every wave of change, there comes a new beginning. To embrace strengths, tackle weaknesses and keep dreaming.
My next floor is filled with flights that’s taken many forms by relying on God’grace. It seems unfurling like feathers… tickles and enchanting… a compose of soaring upward into light… a fresh gratifying department that runs deep… A retreat from the unknown and total disconnect from pain or unprofitable bonds towards a visible joy!
Aha, approaching 50 has enabled me not-to-feel the need to be understood, included or accepted regarding worldly expectations. It’s granted me more time to sit back and observe, as I realize that literally not everything life dishes out needs a reaction as I begin to trust my intuition more.
As we begin Year 2022… ‘What’s your next flight like? A bustling or empty enterprise? Is fear keeping you tethered.. terror clipping your wings? Hey, No shaking! Hope can still lighten the sky, while Love will continue to make us courageous!
And at the end of climbing those steps, what mattered most is not what the curious monitoring-world expects, or whether we blow, hide or fly… or even where our journey takes us in life.. but what guides us home… from age to age… ‘and-where-we-come-to-land! Because in the end, we all become memories.
There are many things about life in which you have no control. Accept those things as part of the way God created you. Your ability, race, culture, language, nationality, and many attributes of your physical being are God’s choices, for a purpose.
Counting down to… #Enchanted 5.0 #Project50andBeyond #JustWOW #MsGansy@50#CancerFREEdeclarationOfGRACE
There 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!
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 theydisgrace 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
I 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!
The 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
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!
Thank 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.
Today, 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.
For 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 thatcancer, 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.
What 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!
Because 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’
Until you have experienced monsters, mayhem and mind-blowing-murdering-brawl in your marriage, every talk about “happily-ever-after” is just a joke!
But things could get better or worse, Right?
Even if you are celebrating recovery from overcoming hurts, hang-ups and habits from a sour relationship’ every life coach or love expert might as well go-jump-into-the-lagoon-with their “pocket-sized-advice” #Talk-To-The-Hands! (eyes rolling in utter disgust!)
Or when you hear of another marital discord or relationship break up in the news or through your favorite social media news feed, do you panic in forbidden excitement of what could have happened?
Do you crave for more juicy and gory details of how it finally collapsed? ‘Especially when there’ve been so much signs and tales of the doom day in the making?
Do you get jaw-dropped-drooling when you see those fantastically orchestrated display of fake and formed affection between lovers on social media and get frustrated at their outward display of fronting or intimidated that your own lover isn’t calling you booor bae or one of those petty silly names and not a show-off superlative lover or romantic like theirs? #InstagramShowOff #FacebookFakePerception
Aww!! Don’t get mad. Be glad you’re not part of that staged game!
Could someone please remind me that courtship is the fantasy land we lavish on soulfully, blindly and recklessly while marriage is the real thing-lifetime do or die institution? Everyone is admitted based on their initial feelings, initial agenda or initial determination, not fully aware of the consequences and sacrifices to be made. You either pass, fail, repeat or retreat! The choice is yours! Let’s keep it real, marriage is a tough institution! Period!
Seems like we forget in a hurry that every real marriage or relationship has its own appointed season of doomed-roller-coaster turbulence and sometimes requires plenty of space and measurable pace to heal and grow? Even the best marriage counselor text-book coping strategy just won’t cut it? ‘Am talking about the “Oh, no you didn’t”, “That’s It, I can’t take this anymore! Am out of it” moments. Phew!
Every married-couple I know play their amateur scripted part at one point or the other during their life time together. No denial or finger-pointing here. Most of the time either to prove a point to the world…like “Trust me, I got this covered! “Hey, look at us, we are still happily in love or just managing whatever is left! Any witness? Lol!
Okay…Nice… I think we all like that we can wear a mask every now and then to fool the world! But for how long can we pretend and hide behind the facade? Living in oblivion, but behind closed doors facing the reality? Pretending that everything in our marriage is purrfect!! When, it isn’t? Allowing social media to help boost our hidden insecurities and keeping up appearances? Who are we trying to fool? #shoo!
You see; a typical sophisticated glamorous churchgoer looks on with disdain as the winsome “I-love-Jesus” bracelet worshipper next to her raises her hands and sings with reckless abandonment. But secretly, in her heart of hearts, I wonder if she longs for that same marital/relationship freedom? What if she muses before commonsense pushes the wonderings aside? Especially when she’s been played on emotionally or physically? And what’s the church doing about her state of mind? Knowingly and unknowingly?
One of the lessons I learned from my parents, who by the way are still married and together 53 years and counting after several decades of hilarious family drama was T-O-L-E-R-A-N-C-E!
I’ve had to ask my mother..
How do you do it, this woman? ‘Why are you still married, eh? Aha, me I can’t take such nonsense oh! (I would boast in my immature voice of a young adventurer with a deep sigh of disgust!)
“Ah, it gets better” (my mom would respond with a smile, one that reveals a survivor’s un-told story like one of Terry McMillian’s characters).
What Exactly? I would ask with a cynical look. The pattern of sex? Adaptation or Tolerance? Fatal attraction or physical distraction? Which one precisely? Or its okay to be bombarded by fly-by knights? Dis-tasteful attackers?
Of all the hardest lessons I learned in my own marriage was struggling with accepting the fact that…’I can’t fully change my husband! whatever the illusions I’ve created of “the perfect man” was just a fantasy. #AintNoKnightInShinningArmour
I had to learn that only God can touch his heart and change him, in His time, for His purpose, only. No matter how much we get to wish for a little bit of this or a little bit of that in that partner…we still have what we have, the issue at hand is..’. Learning to let it work out for our good while we strive to be all we can for ourselves…living life with a purpose to fulfil destiny by being valuable to self, as the transformation emerges. And leaving the rest to God. #DiscoverPassionInSelfWorth
No feminist value here, just common sense survival kit from my 23 years of knowing Kevin, my husband. We’d learned to invest in ourselves-together, pursuing our passion together and not consumed by all the faults and flaws from our past, learning to detach from the triggers of the demons along the way…
So, here I am this month celebrating my 19th-year wedding anniversary and content with my life. Oh-My-Word!!It hasn’t been a smooth sailing 19 years of our married-lives together, but an eye-opening, challenging and educative 23 years of unconditional friendship! And we are still learning and growing and dealing with the hurdles together which makes us appreciate our differences.
Years of waiting for conception and several miscarriages and frequent hospital admission and cries of babies and diagnosis and surgery and build up tension and family impact and losses and gains! has made me more appreciative of all the things our past has taught us! Good or bad…at the end of the drama that comes, we are still together!
Today, if you are reading this and either Married, Single, Divorced, Separated or just confused about being alone or with someone, especially with how cruel and intimidating social media has portrayed perfect-picture-marriages that wake up in glamour and go to bed in dirt and depression, flashing make-belief images of their lives together, only for the tabloid to pick up their bitter crumbs….The world is watching!
Let’s ask ourselves, is there a smile on our face that stirs others to want to join in and experience those moments of sudden glory or grief? Is there a scowl on our brows that make others turn away because the “mandated religious life” of keeping up appearance is too hard? Too boring? Too restricted? Do our hidden scars of inadequacy, insecurity and overbearing feelings in our marriages still keep us rooted behind that door? Are you a “prized trophy” in your relationship or is your marriage a staged one?
Today, it’s not about counting wrong doings, hurts, dwelling on missed opportunities of what could have, should have or would have been or even how many times extra marital-cum-extra-curriculum-activities have played their parts in our lives, and how we’ve allowed it.
For me, it’s more of the lessons I am able to take away from it, understanding why and how ‘Big Hurts Have Opened the Door to freedom…
Doors which a lot of married people today are so afraid of going through, so afraid of approaching it. Either to save face, fulfil family/personal obligation, they hang inside, suffer inside, survive inside, pretend inside, and develop multiple personalities, all because of deprivation of self-worth behind that door.
But for how long?
I am hoping someone reading this will dig deep into their main purpose of the union and discover each other, for each other without limits! I am still here because I believe I am God’s work in progress. What about you? #Goals #DealWithIt
Issues of Undeveloped Emotions, Unresolved Conflict and Unmet Needs will need to be dealt with and forgotten before bruised hearts and damaged egos become cold hearts, and after a while with no help, turns into hardened hearts that wander in lonesome misery and commitment trap, the new title for the 20th century marriage and a sex crazed culture we live in. Discover what lights up your Fire, either in your marriage or relationship or discover your self worth and light it up! #JustBelieve #NotImpossible!
PS: I’m wishing a Happy 5th Wedding Anniversary today, to the most amazing and genuine couple ever! (You know who you are, Love you much Y & M!).
Here I am trying to breastfeed my 2 month-old-baby, MY GOODNESS!! She’s making such a fuss! It seems like she’s having difficulty latching on or even not sure how to work my nipples! I smiled and said to myself, “Oh, it’s my third baby, so I should be a pro at this” (inward consolation thing). Phew!
I’m admiring this beautiful full curly black-haired baby, her tiny cheek so soft and round like one drenched with precious memories of the sweetness of a baker’s delight; A sugar-covered-jelly donut! Her little black eyes twitched as the bright morning reflection of sunray brushes over her face.
Ah! My post-cancer baby! So squishy and velvety, radiating the most enchanting features of love and beauty.
But there was a problem.
I wasn’t getting enough direct eye contact from her.
Is it that those around me didn’t recognize it or had decided to ignore it? Am I the only one seeing the mighty footprints? Or was I getting paranoid for no darn reason! After all, that’s what I do 5 days a week for other families.
My heart skipped a beat! And when it finally found its way back to my body, it broke into a million pieces when she wouldn’t trace my finger across her face! I quickly went shopping in my brain and bargained for all the best nursery rhymes I could find. Fetched all the Early Intervention child developmental milestones books I could read! As a therapist for child-development myself, it was harder for me to accept the intruding delay that could be, but so much easier for me to bring in all the best child developmental services in Delaware county into my room.
Even though it was my own child needing early childhood intervention, my commitment was stronger than that of Lady Brienne of Tarth in Game of Thrones. #GOT
So, Elephant in the room is an English metaphorical idiom for an obvious truth of chaos that is going unaddressed. The idiomatic expression also applies to an obvious problem or risk that no one wants to talk about, discuss or address.
In the real world where you and I live, it is regarded as our state of mind! It is that nicely swept problem that forcefully resides with us; based on dis-approval, denial and dis-illusion.
But, in the make-believe world we feign, it is an abode for that hush-hush marital insecurity issue, it is that heavy feeling of pain and anguish when one is being used and betrayed, it is that status-quo inadequacy, it is that child still wondering if the term ‘bastard’ is a middle name! It is that sexuality problem never discussed and still un-resolved/that beautiful young lady wondering if true love really still exists after a horrid heart break!
It is that delayed passage of breakthrough or diabolical hunger and quest to make it big and fast in life! It is that infertility no-go area discussion! The nights of free-flowing tears on the loss of a baby or pregnancy, those complicated medical results, un-resolved family drama, carried on from generation to generation! All those frightening controversial issues which is so obvious to everyone who knows about the situation, but which is deliberately ignored because to do otherwise would cause great embarrassment, or trigger arguments or is simply a taboo. What’s the fear? That we could be judged? that the issue ought to be discussed openly, or it can simply be an acknowledgment that the issue is there and not going to go away by itself!
Aren’t some of the things we go through today similar to an Elephant in a room that’s impossible to overlook? like seriously!! ‘Hello…’Am still here!
Issues that involve social taboo, discussion of race, religion, gender equality or even suicide. Should the people who might have spoken up decide that it is probably best avoided?
I don’t think so. How else would the elephant make an exit? Or am I wrong?
Could it be because our infirmity has now become our identity or because our crisis now defines who we are and forms the familiar guidelines of our life?
With the entrance of an elephant in their room, some people use their weaknesses to get the attention they crave or to keep from assuming any responsibility in their own lives, but not with a huge animal like an elephant starring you in the face day in day out!
What about our own situation that’s so glaring, yet we cover it up with nicely packaged-fragrance, expensive line of make-up with ambiguous price tags to suck in the scars or marks? Or that sensual erotic 6-pack image that attracts only what the eyes can see as the soul bleeds and begs to run far away from its misery!
Isn’t that a cover up for obvious problem or difficult situation that people do not want to talk about?
Our helplessness can be our most powerful offering – Only if we are willing to be honest and transparent. Admitting the obvious. Sometimes it is a lot easier to just stay in the room and wait than to struggle toward the light without acceptance.
Can you see yourself in this room, with an invisible elephant? Have you been trapped or paralyzed by the pain of loss or rejection or the weight of an intruder in your personal space? Are you taking care of a child with special needs and feeling overwhelmed? Have friends betrayed you and left you lying by a pool of crushed hopes and dreams?
God sees your helplessness. He knows your heart and hears your desperate cry. Stand up today to that intruder in your room, and let God direct your path.
Yours in HOPE as I share ‘Am I Wrong’ by Nico & Vinz.
Have 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 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!
I 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?…
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”.
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?
Do 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.
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!
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!
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!
Ahh! 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.
To all the Planning Committee Members!! Take a bow…To my Team Moderators! ‘You are the best. Absolutely awesome!
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?
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.
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 Exclusivefor more information on quarterly updates.
Yours in Hope as I share TWC 2016 photo recap and video clip. (See below).
Permit me to steal a moment of your time as I ponder on the importance of your presence…
‘Do you know that there is so much for you to look forward to at this conference? Here’s an opportunity to mingle, share and learn. This is a time to discuss topics like how to maintain cordial relationships with in-laws, how to embrace and adjust to a new or different family dynamics with married children.
Are you an empty nester? Separated? Divorced? Or Widowed? Do you sometimes feel lonely and abandoned? You crave for something fruitful to fill the void in your routine life?
HELP IS HERE!! There is a session at this upcoming TOTAL WOMAN CONFERENCE that’s tailored to meet your needs! A cozy room has been set aside with beautiful greenery in the backdrop, prepared just for you! All for you!
So, come discover how YOU can be relevant and still be compatible while being fulfilled within your God-given maternal positions. Join in and learn how to embrace inter-cultural marriages, how to resolve relational conflicts and also stand in the gap for our immediate family in time of distress. Come discover and revive buried dreams that can be translated into financial independence.
Need more information? Visit www.totalwomanmovement.com to be plugged into the movement that will Heal, Enlighten, Liberate and Position you for a better tomorrow!
Connecting with “The Total Woman Movement” – A Refuge of Comfort in Brokenness.
I once attended a sorority party about 2000 miles away from my college in 1992. Our Destination: University of Calabar! Excitement mode activated! Trust me, I had carefully packed away my popular orange halter-neck dress, with matching brown lace up mules, and my hairstyle? Aha! I’d travelled all the way to Onne villa (outside Port Harcourt) just to patronize the best hair braider in the whole of Rivers state! Phew! Such youthful exuberance! Silly painful vanity!
Halfway through the journey, I began to feel feverish and tired! Oh no! It can’t be happening to me… I was aching all over, ah! It must be M-a-l-a-r-i-a! Oh great! How can this be happening to me? I had so prepared for this day! This wasn’t in the plan!
My temperature was spiking, this fever has no respect for my opinion! In fact, ‘it has come to stay like a desperate housewife! My travelling team was terrified! “How can it be (I was getting helpless).
Anyway, without much ado, as if that fever was a red flag, the party was cancelled due to serious vigilante watch as opposing rival confraternities were in the midst of a serious war. We all spent the night off campus, in a rented hostel.
Six other girls and I shared 2 adjacent rooms. It was a night I will never forget. Amongst being confined inside our rooms, noises of gunshots blasting throughout the night, as we became more frightened we looked to each other for support.
In the middle of nowhere, we became each other’s trusted companion, well, we had no choice but to wait and see what the morning brings forth.
The fear and helplessness we felt that night brought back horrific memories of abusive pasts, stories of years of abusive upbringing, relationships and stolen childhood. Storylines that 7 beautiful, intelligent and oh-so-cool girls have never dared to talk about!
Tales that have been buried for years with those clicking fancy bangles, baggy Pepe jeans, colorful trendy t-shirts, shining pink lip gloss and fake make-believe smiles! oh boy! Did we vent!
“Ah, I was molested by my neighbor when I was 10!’ “I couldn’t tell anyone”
‘I was raped by my uncle when I was 12, I’d wanted to commit suicide”
“ I was never touched, but told constantly that I was ugly and a weakling”
“ My mother’s boyfriend was veryaggressive, he would beat me up and rape me, I couldn’t tell anyone, I was too frightened”
“I was betrayed by a senior in school, she raped me, I can’t trust anyone anymore”
“I watched my father beat up my mother for years” “He told us he loved us, but couldn’t stop hurting us” “His anger was uncontrollable”
“I was raped inside my house”“I was ganged raped and molested at a party on campus”
and on and on and on…we all talked into the early hours of the next day…sleep eluding our consciousness…and we were never the same after that day…forsaking the beauty that material things have managed to conceal, our hearts were on fire!
Party forgotten and ignored, we had released everything no one had ever inquired of us… or the story our culture forbids by acceptance or utterance! we released the dark secrets that harbors lingering pain! ‘the substance of our current day frustrations and rejections…’stories we could not confess to priests during penance…or even during deliverance…’stories that family traditions sweeps under the carpet as generation to come wallow in confusion…’these were stories hidden in misery and denial…but, we had to travel all the way out of town, be confided into a hostel with bullets flying outside our windows….just for those stories to surface. We all had closure after confiding and crying out about it and promised to seek help after. The burden is now shared, not to be chastised or reprimanded, but to begin healing and moving forward.
Ok…that was 24 years ago! I have lived past those stories, but currently still living amongst those who are unable to talk about their story…’Abuse stories or even use their experiences to help raise awareness and help someone going through it.
What’s your Abuse story? Broken dreams or failed relationship? Or what’s that Abusive storyline you played a part in? years ago, that is still lingering and haunting you presently? You know why it’s still trailing after you. But to get closure to it, someone else somewhere right now is going through the same ABUSE you encountered…and the circle is continual UNTIL you Seek help, Campaign against it! Create a platform for awareness!
Let’s celebrate a season of closure and recovery…’like when a heavy burden has just been off-loaded from our shoulders. A sense of commitment and togetherness…like ‘Wow! I am not alone! I thought I was the only one!
Since that day, I have learned to respect and look at those ladies differently with respect and courage, for speaking up about their abusive past. And today, I am hoping our stories could save a life or two! Or is it still happening?
So, if you are reading this, ask yourself…’Does my fragrance (that beautiful perfect-picture image, I carry with me effortlessly) have fragments (stains, shame, sorrow, abusive stories)? Am I really truthful to myself? Am I still hiding behind the veil of pretense and still hoping that one day I would wake up and say “It never happened” – Ah! If you are reading this and have ever encountered any form of abuse (sexual, verbal, physical or emotional) – don’t let it define you. When we talk about some of our stories, it helps someone else going through it or someone who’s gone through it and still struggling with acceptance of the shame of the aftermath.
Our fragrance did have fragments! And it was time to break it open, not to ridicule each other or laugh at each other but a time of total submission, after all, we were all skeptical we’ll make it out of that place, alive. But we did, and now, there’s a story to be told to help uplift someone going through something similar…our Alabaster Jar just got cracked, and the spill is totally healing and comforting, what do you think?
Are we even aware of the comfort in our brokenness? Do we know that refuge from our circumstances and contentment in the midst of mishaps is found in the center of our surrender. Or is it in our brokenness?
If that is true, then why are so many women still living lives with little or no joy based on their past? I’m afraid that we have bought the lies of the enemy (the abuser), allowing him/her to steal our joy. Discouragement, weariness, disillusionment, shattered dreams, and unrealized goals are some of his/her favorite weapons, but the truth is that the enemy can only use what we allow him/her to use, “Our destructive abused past”
It is time for us to reclaim surrendered ground. Do you sometimes think you are fighting the same old battles you have been fighting for so many years? I do. Clinging to familiar pain because we find our identity there. Consumed with our own agenda, while our joy is buried under a mountain of self loathing.
Today, there’s HOPE! There’s a better tomorrow and it can be brighter than the past, the abusive past! Join the movement that comforts the abused today. The Total Woman Movement. Come as you are (BROKEN) learn how to release your inner fragrance (STORY) and let the scents relieve your life’s dents. (HEALING).
Today is World Cancer Day, a day that unites us all by recognizing the impact that cancer has on the worldwide community and our role in taking action to finish the fight.
This year’s World Cancer Day theme, “We can. I can,” encourages us all to explore what we can do – individually and collectively – to reduce the global burden of cancer.
In 2012, over 1.6 million women worldwide were estimated to be diagnosed with new cases of cancer according to the American Cancer Society’s Global Cancer Facts and Figures, 3rd Edition. That statistic shows how critically important it is for us to rally together to ensure that no one will ever have to face this disease alone.
My hope is that, even as you read this, you will consider taking time to reach out and encourage, uplift or show your support the best way you can.
And after today, when tomorrow comes, My hope is that you still consider reaching out to those closest to you that have been touched by cancer, and celebrate their life and the dedication you have to ensure no one else is touched by this disease or left alone.
Whether it is someone who was recently diagnosed, someone who has been a survivor for decades, or someone who has lost a loved one to cancer, it is important to let them know that on World Cancer Day, your thoughts are with them.