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.

 

 

Living in a Tabloid-Infested World (Marriages and Relationships)

new 5Until 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?

love me 1Do 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 boo or 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!

love 2mEvery 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 andlove me 2 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?

new 2Of 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…

new 3So, 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?new 1

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!). 

Yours in HOPE as I share Pink’s “Just Like Fire”.

Yinka.

Approaching the Elephant in our room.

DSC_0919Here 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.ele 1

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.ele 3

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!ele 5

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?ele 4

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.

Yinka.

 

 

 

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

ready 1

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.

 

 

 

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

IMG_8989 (1)

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.

 

 

 

 

Are you GOLDEN, MATURED & SEASONED? –‘Here’s a glimpse of what to expect at the upcoming TOTAL WOMAN CONFERENCE! (For the Graciously-Ripe and Germane OLDER ADULTS @ 55+

4 MORE DAYS TO GO!!! (‘Countdown to Glory!)seniors 2

Dear Senior Girls! ‘My Ripe, Relevant & Resourceful Mentors!

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?spring 3

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.  seniors

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!

Yours in HOPE,

Yinka.

Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow…

love 2m

Here we go again! It’s another Valentine’s Day – FEB 14th.

I guess it’s another day for everyone who claims or pretends to be in love, falling in love, crazy about someone, or just a routine gesture of forced emotions to declare their un-solicited affection. It is indeed another season to pretentiously or sincerely spend money on un-wanted flowers (that eventually will wither and decay in the trash can), another reason to spend a little more on chocolates, expensive dinner and some humungous teddy bear that eventually becomes a hoarder’s delight.

Hmmm, don’t get me wrong! Am not against celebrating this much-ado-about everything event called Valentine’s Day! I think over the years I have gotten a fair share of my own fantasy and now so used to simply not waiting till Feb 14th to tell or show those around me how much I really do care about them!

Gone are the days when my girlfriends and I would just marvel in excitement and laugh out loud or calculate the cost of the goodies or the sizes of those spooky looking love-deprived teddy bears we used to receive then in our single-girl season…it’s so funny how naïve and ridiculous we were then (lol).love 3m

I mean like, ‘Oh, cos he gave me a huge teddy bear and boxes of assorted Cadbury chocolates….’Aha, he’s the perfect guy! Or “Oh no, He made me a custom-made gigantic valentine card (oh yes, that was the in-thing then, lol) – and the best part of it all was the drama behind the presentation of the card/teddy bear and chocolates! It’s like a young guy going to face a panel of decision makers regarding his future love life. (Lol). “Eh, please kindly accept this as a token of my love” the lover boy would say as beads of sweat gather on his now creased forehead, hair nicely combed back, shoe well-polished and shinning you could still smell the fresh shoe polish, hands trembling as his newly acquired packet shirt is all buttoned up and seems to be choking his neck” His Blue jeans perfume carrying on even after his disappearance. (Lol). Boy oh boy! Phew!

But today in history, where has all the luxury and comfort of romances gone to? Do people still even make those custom made cards, carved out with the letters of the recipient’s name or heart shape? With those long captivating poems that mesmerize and keep your heart dazzled in the awesomeness of fondness? Those things usually come delivered even days before Feb 14th, so by the time its Feb 14th, you are either in love with the sender, thinking about the sender or you are approaching a different route in discovering love elsewhere. Awww, good old memories.

Falling in love was made to be simple, direct and un-complicated.love 1m

Now it’s been replaced with non-tangible things, irrelevant platforms and advanced technology that causes friction and disability in true expression. Where has showing love gone to? Is this display of yearly affection guaranteed? What happens next valentine season? Will this love still be evident?

I will be moving past those memories, but lovingly taking every bit of lesson learned from them. Loving those I choose to love does not limit me to Feb 14th.  Showing my affection sincerely is a 365day- thing for me. Or even better, some days when I just feel compelled, connected and in tune with what deep affection has to offer me…

Hopefully, we all can genuinely celebrate today and tomorrow and the day after like we STILL are in the valentine-state-of-mind. That really, it’s not only about lovers and couples, but sincerely for everyone or anyone who’s made an impact in our lives, someone who’s touched us so deep inside that their marks leave good memories to cherish… for that someone who out of all the thousands you’ve ever loved, just stands out and truly understands you, for that friend who’s not even thinking of celebrating today because they don’t have a reason to, for that person you know grieving the loss of a dead loved one, for that single who’s wallowed with condemnation and rejection, for that heartbroken-used-to-be-in-love pal who’s given up on love. This is the moment, the time to reach out and hold their hands…or give them your audience.love 2m2

Hopefully, by the end of today, we can boldly say, ‘Hey! I will still love (be there for you) tomorrow and always. But, as for me, I will love you even better than today, if tomorrow comes. It’s a promise.

Yours in HOPE as I share James Durbin “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” (one of my favorite rendition).

Yinka.

 

 

 

God of Broken Things by Wadza Mhute.

I was having a discussion with my friend about therapy for Christians. My friend is seeing a therapist for work-related trauma but she had doubts about the process because she is a Christian. She moved passed initial misgivings once she started seeing a therapist and realized the need to speak to someone about her issues. Then a day later another Christian friend casually mentioned advice her therapist gave.broken 2

The message I was receiving from these seemingly random discussions was the need for me to look inward. It seems, at least to me, that once one receives Christ then the need for personal reflection takes a back seat and we are sometimes mired in religiosity and fail to understand ourselves. As Christians we speak to God through prayer and He speaks to us in many ways including through His word. In our prayer time, however, do we ask God to show us ourselves? This oversight maybe the reason a person who has been saved for 20 years still drinks spiritual milk while a new Christian is already on solid food.

I am not advocating for therapy, that’s a personal decision, but I am pointing to the need for introspection. We must take a step back, look at our lives and question why we think and act the way we do. This requires an openness to honestly view ourselves the way God sees us, through His lens without justifications or excuses. When you give your life to Christ, you are made whole and old things pass away. The issue with some of us is that we hang on to those old things without realizing. How will you know you need God’s help in certain areas of your life if you don’t analyze your thoughts and actions?broken 1

Change comes from a broken spirit, when we truly give up our lives for Christ. Living on the fence as a Christian, especially in this increasingly dark world, is not an option. We need to shatter the facade of being alright when we are not. We need to move from pride to humility. We need to understand our need for God everyday, every minute in everything we do. That requires brokenness. Often we ask God for help but behind the scenes we are working to solve our own problems.

David – the man after God’s own heart – understood his need for God. His words in Psalms show a man who knew his human limitations. However when he committed adultery and then murder, the Lord sent Nathan to show David who he had become. David did not even recognize himself in the story that Nathan told him. His internal decline had been a process that eventually manifested physically.

Therefore introspection is not to be done once but continually. We can never be too spiritual to accept that we are not perfect and as surely as sin entered this world, we will not attain perfection, only Jesus earns that distinction. On this side of eternity we have work to do. God is patient and merciful, He is waiting for your broken and contrite heart.

Psalm 51:17

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.

Written by Wadza Mhute for #Moving Forward With Yinka

 

 

 

Dangerously living in a fool’s paradise.

coolio 1

It’s a beautiful, sunny day and you are going outside to take a walk and enjoy the brush of the heat on your skin. You change your mind, head back inside. Suddenly, you remember that you forgot to take your cell phone with you. But, you want to spend quality time with yourself un-interrupted, like meditate as you stroll around the neighborhood. You don’t want to be reminded of that heart ache you’ve been trying to bury, or that disturbing message you’d received that got you twisted and confused.  The back lash from the grapevine!

Instead, you go back inside, grab a bottle of water and sacrificially bury your cell phone inside the kitchen closet and walk out of the door; chin up, chest out, feeling proud of your little courage. You are certainly on a roll! Phew!

Wait-a-minute! ’Congratulations! Awesome bravery…but, for how long?

I remember in 1995 when the song “Gangsta Paradise by Coolio was just coolio 3released. Every house party in Port Harcourt then played it like they dined and wined with Coolio himself! I didn’t understand the content of the lyrics much, but we all just hummed to the chorus and showed off our hot steps.

Apparently, until much later when I sat down to watch the movie it featured in: “Dangerous Minds” Starring Michelle Pfeiffer as retired U.S. Marine Lou Anne Johnson, who took up a teaching position at Carlmont High School in Belmont, California, in 1989, where most of her students were African-American and Latino teenagers from East Palo Alto, a poverty-stricken, racially segregated, economically deprived city at the opposite end of the school district., the film was released to a mixture of mostly negative critical reception, but became a surprise box office success in the summer of 1995, leading to the creation of a short-lived television series.

At the end of the year, the teacher announces to the class that she will not continue teaching at the school, which prompts an unbridled display of emotion from the students who refuse to let her leave. Overwhelmed, she decides to stay. Hmm!  Yeah…’stay back with the same students who had wickedly crawled up her skin into misery! Who does that?

So, our life is filled with twisters – indecisions, contemplating over lifelong struggles, overcrowded schedules, impossiblecoolio 2 demands from friends and families, unrealistic expectations, emotional bankruptcy, and physical exhaustion. During those turbulent times, how did you handle it?

Growing up, I would run and hide under my blanket or just bury myself in a good book and block the world out until the storm passes over! But now, my blanket is consciously pulled off by my 3 wonderful children reminding me that  (1) Homework needs to be reviewed (2) Dinner needs to be served! (3) Mom! life goes onjust step out of that blanket and get-it-together!

So, I have come to two realizations; first, there will always be another storm and second, what I must do is learn how to prepare for storms before they hit or deal with the storm and move forward!

As we approach the end of the year, let’s think back to the past months and review the reasons why we have been stagnant, stuck or suppressed? any reasons why we just need to bury some hatchets and start afresh?  Have we embraced solitude after a storm?

‘Are we sincerely seeking God’s face for direction? how about how brave Michelle Pfeiffer was in the movie as she dealt with challenges that made her stronger and daring even at the face of death? Or Coolio’s heart rendering concerns on how we live our lives in false declaration?  ‘are we still in tune with personal goals to do better? Are we addicted to social praise? Craving for recognition or acceptance by a confused world itself?

Why do we still always end up hurting each other, with our bashful words and resentful attitude? Even as we portray such magnitude of holiness, while our personal mirror sees us as Pharisees? ‘Aren’t we still living in that hooded paradise? Hopefully, by the time we begin the countdown, our hearts will take us to places our emotions dare to thread; so that our mind, body and soul will be renewed for 2016.

Yours in HOPE as I share one of my favorite Coolio’s music/Dangerous Minds soundtrack: “Gangsta Paradise”

Yinka.

“I know what you did in the past” – ‘SO WHAT!!!

Moving ahead of  “I know what you did in the past” entitlement attitude. Time to shout back, “So What!”

It is another Friday evening with my “gang” (as I fondly call my once-a month-girls-hang-out colleagues). We are sitted at our favorite spot inside Ms. Tootsie on South Street; waiting patiently for the Chef’s special to be served. For a change, I ignored my obsession for their collard green; (always slowly cooked and delicately garnished with smoked turkey chops). Staring at us, our abandoned funky glasses that looks like an inverted pyramid, begging to be touched; un-finished virgin Piña Colada, Lemon Drop Martini and Long Island Iced Tea. Tonight, it’s my turn to pick a topic of discussion for all to debate on before we hit the karaoke room to display our happy kidsawkward singing sensation.

Not today! (arrgh!) My mind is just so crowded. Could it be am under stress from prepping for the Autism talk coming up soon? Or could it be tension from my current Law & Ethic class with my very critical professor giving me a tough time that’s bringing up this scholarly headache, probably from reading about all those outrageous legislative amendments! Where do I begin? No matter what, I must produce a topic for my girls-night-out! Phew!

And then the light bulb flickered on inside my head! The tabloid had it.

BLINK! My eyelashes flickered in excitement!

With sudden exaggerated confidence, I cleared my throat and asked: How do you defend or confront your past stories? Why should you try to defend an old error you made in the time of unknown? Should you fight to prove a point? Or just let it be? After all, it was in the past?

I settled back in the lumpy cabin chair, grabbed my drink, picked out the drained cherry and gulped it down with a sigh! An obvious smirk on my face as I watched the reaction on the faces of my dear friends: The fashion conscious Oriental accounting guru, who can give a lecture on the importance of bikini wax! The chocolate-skin Jamaican groover with killer dance steps and large heart, who still dreams of approaching Usher for stealing her dance moves, hmm! The soft-spoken, emotional and always in-love Caucasian, ah! Don’t mention cupid near her! And the very outspoken full mouthed, full-bodied and very affectionate African-American, whose southern accent flows freely when she’s excited!

Tell me ladies, how do you fight back?

Our entitlement attitude defines how we react and respond to what we know or hear about other people. It is like an ownership title or power we have over someone or something revealed to us in confidence, trust or at a time of vulnerability. It can be our boastful privilege of the known amongst the unknown, Our rights to the exposed and broken in spirits, it is the burden of the weight of another person’s secret and how we secure it within the depth of our hearts or how we tend to view them, even after the vow for secrecy or confidentiality has been made. For a moment, we could be judgmental or biased without even knowing it, which is okay; just for that moment, but not for long. It is not our path, not our business or our story!

So, recently there’s been shocking photos of the British royal family giving a Nazi salute in 1933 on the grounds of Balmoral, their castle in the Scottish Highlands. It was taken from a recently unearthed family film, and has sparked a controversy in Britain; the ancient footage of the queen being coached into a Nazi salute by her uncle Edward was taken at a time when she could not possibly have understood the gesture’s significance. Film shot eight decades ago and apparently from Her Majesty’s personal family archive has been obtained and exploited in this manner. The very words: “Queen filmed doing Hitler salute” are, however, so innocently delicious that no tabloid could fail to run this antique trifle.

And her reply to the tabloid? “So What! “It is my past” “Not yours! Deal with it!

Wow! That was a very good one. Wouldn’t life be so much easy-going if we all can boldly lash back by saying ‘So What? “What you going to do about it? “It’s my story and my property” “What gives you ownership or entitlement over my past?” What makes you think you can pull me down because you know something juicy about my past? “That was then, and it was all a plot you never got a part in then” So “beat it! (Lol) Of course, it’s meaningless. Of course, it’s a wonderful scoop. We reserve our right to feign outrage.

Ask yourself today, how have I handled my entitlement attitude? Do I puff my chest out and claim ownership over the story-teller? Do I dominate their weakness because I know the button to push to ridicule the storyteller? Have I been compassionate enough to feel the pain or burden of the storyteller? Have I used it negatively for my own selfishness? Have I uplifted or inspired the story-teller?

No matter how we see it, it is still their Story, Their Past, Their Blunder, Their Pain and Their Lapse. Sometimes that place they don’t even want to remember or re-visit ever again. When we are told a secret or when we are confided in, we are more or less the preferred audience at that time, maybe a very special one. Because it usually takes a lot for someone in pain to open up about a worrisome past. That does not make us a tell-tale superhero or a local broadcaster. The only part we play is either to encourage or inspire. It is not our story to judge or juggle with. It is a silent call for help, one clothed with regrets or sad memories. Let’s get rid of the anchorman mentality!

Here is a quick fix for someone reading this; when approached or ridiculed for a story from your past, develop the courage to smile as you say “SO WHAT” and mean it like you don’t really need a reply either. Yeah, it is a Rhetorical question! What gives us that sense of entitlement anyway? Part of it is found in the middle of the word entitlement itself: “title.” We think people “owe us” because of the title we hold in their lives: Oh please! Time has changed, people are moving forward with new beginnings and new mindset. I am like those boys in the picture above! The change in time doesn’t have to bother us! I also had stains from life’s tragedy, still living and am still howling ‘So what! – ‘like we all don’t have a sweet and sour past? I do, and so does everyone reading this too, but thank God for his mercy! He made all things new! We are all in a better place today as we move forward in life!

Yours in HOPE as I share “Moving Forward” Victory World Music feat. Montell Jordan, Ricardo Sanchez & Israel Houghton.

Yinka.