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Tag Archives: Yinka Gansallo-Lawrence

I called him Daddy – by Folarin Lawrence

When exemplary men pass, it is often said, ‘They left vast vacuums or huge shoes to be filled’.

This is spot on where Edward Adebisi Lawrence is concerned, it has not sunk in and it very well may never do so as I continue to reminisce about his place in my life. I can only pray that I can have half the effect he had on me with my son.

In the last few weeks, I have read and re-read several tributes written by those whose lives he touched or those he mentored from broadcasting to print media. A lot was said about his mastery of words and excellence in administration, his vast knowledge of virtually anything you wanted to talk about without unnecessary embellishments and always being able to meet you at your level of understanding. 

I did not spend as much time as I would have loved to spend with my father, and if there is anything I regret in retrospect it is this one. My father was a fantastic and extraordinary human being who although to many achieved great heights in his career, his body of work speaks for itself but I know now that he only showcased a fraction of what he was capable of which may be hard to believe for most.

He was a loving, bubbly mound of knowledge and wisdom who smiled and laughed with his whole face, the dimples on his cheeks growing ever deeper in those moments. He shone so bright and lighted up every gathering he graced with his presence. He was strong in his convictions and fiercely proud of his stances. 

Growing up in our culture, men did not really profess affection but we knew we were loved by their actions. My father was an exception as I can recall many times he told me he loved me, and his actions sometimes with tough love showed it as well. I used to tell stories of when I went to visit him when I was younger, we would have deep conversations sometimes rather unpleasant but sincere, but this became so much better as I got older and began to communicate on the same wave length; we would talk about music ranging from Yusuf Olatunji to Bob Dylan, from Fela Anikulapo-Kuti to Johann Sebastian Bach.

We also discussed world history, current affairs and everything in between, these discussions were done over a meal that he prepared himself, usually his special smoked fish pepper soup, rice that he would garnish with symmetrically sliced tomatoes and onions, while the rice steamed.

Bizlaw was not perfect, he was flawed just like any of us, but I can proudly say today that he was an exceptionally special human being who had to live his life on his own terms in many ways unbeknownst to those who were lucky enough to have spent some time with him in some capacity or another. For me he was that caterpillar who morphed into a butterfly but was not allowed to fully spread out its wings to  the full extent of its splendor even with the lofty achievements and homages paid to him.

He will always be embedded on my mind and I will never forget his reaction when he did not attend a particular occasion that he was supposed to attend on my behalf, I was angry with him and he said “Junior, it is just a ceremony laden with sentiments, I’m sure you really know how I feel about you and Yinka”.

In the past year I have come to lean on this as to what is important or necessary as opposed to what is mundane and contrived. As someone who means the world to me puts it “Be intentional with the things that are important” #movingforwardwithYinka

So, today being the 1st year memorial anniversary, I am imparting to Mofiyinfoluwa (my son)… “Grandpa’s body and bones have most likely turned into dust or in the process of doing so, but he still lives in the indelible memories of him I have safe-guarded, that I can recall at any time” – memories like my father driving me in in his yellow Mazda with the wood grain steering wheel and dashboard, then taking his hands off the steering wheel saying “Look, Junior! no hands! and then seeing the scared expression on my face and assuring me that I was safe and not to worry, I was all of seven years old at that time. 

I love and miss you man.

God’s peace. 

Your Son,

Kevin Ayofolarin Lawrence.

 

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A Shift in Perspective for 2020!

A Shift in Perspective for 2020!

Let me start by sincerely asking… ‘How are you doing? Are You Okay?

For many people, 2020 has proved a challenging and tedious year. If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that resiliency always wins! For some, storms of illness, financial difficulty, social unrest and depression have overwhelmingly swept upon once-peaceful lives.

Quarantines and social distancing have prohibited many from joining with family and close friends for nearly a year, and as Year 2021 approaches that will likely still remain the case for many.

More than ever all the small things have become bigger.

We’ve gone to bed puzzled and perplexed at night, woken up with uncertainties of what could be… not knowing what the next day, week or month would bring.

From eating in a restaurant to seeing a movie, to physically being able to hug a friend, or embracing outrageous political differences with little space to vent, to just listening to each other’s heartbeat when anxiety sets in, unveiling heartaches when headlines deliver sour news, or proclaim happy-thoughts when sudden glimpse of hope comes with the morning dew! we no longer discount the small aspects of life that were once so accessible.

2020 has shifted us to recognize those small things, and the large impact they have: More time alone with our conscience!

What has more time spent alone taught you?

Are we still holding back on circumstantial boundaries? Do we see only difficulty in every trial we’ve encountered this year? or forge ahead like an optimist, see the opportunity in every difficulty?

How can we evaluate these things and come back to God with a grateful heart for such revelations or new ideas?

Hmmm… ‘This year has brought so many of us to our breaking and emerging points. Family bonds once trusted are now tested, trashed or tremendously treasured! friendship values once secured are re-evaluated for sincerity or lack of depth to fill the void and empitness we now face. Loss and pain have plagued every one of us in 2020, in moments both fraught and debilitating.

From sympathizing with friends, families and clients who’ve lost loved ones to giving mental health support and encouragement about the after effects and lifelong scars of losing a baby, a mother, a father, a brother, a sister, grandparents, all alone… in a-cold isolated pandemic period.. that literally steals the comfort of a warm embrace… ‘an unbearable grief, experienced by many but talked about by few but riddled with (unwarranted) shame, and perpetuating a cycle of solitary mourning.

We have comforted each other over virtual platforms as though we were there in person! burial rites are performed in a swift due to gathering restrictions, saving the tears to swell up behind face marks or allowing some to run freely on our screens, behind the walls of isolation.

Some of us were bold enough to celebrate milestones, weddings, birthdays or graduations in very restrictive gathering! Some, grateful for an opportunity to start afresh, rebuild broken relationships or mingle again without knowing it would probably be their last in October… #RIPMrsPatriciaEwetuya-Daramola.

A shift in perspective can take us from complacency to content.

Uncertainty can be powerfully intimidating, yet we must make decisions.

Perspective is key in finding joy despite the circumstances this season.

So, like my 9-year-old daughter would explain after going through her scheduled social stories without wearing her prescription glasses, “My perspective on events is much like wearing a pair of glasses. Certain lens will help me see the blur of fear, unknown things approaching or confusion, where another lens can provide me with much needed clarity”

More quality time spent with my 3 kids and Husband of 23-years in 2020 has taught us all Calmness & Clarity.

The perspective that some of the difficulties we face now perhaps are growing us in new and exciting ways. As scary as they look now, we have no idea what kind of good God is spinning out of it.

So, as we approach Year 2021, ditching all the uproar of 2020 behind, it can be easy to feel hopeless, anxious, or even bitter, however we can choose to not fall prey to these feelings.

We can partner with God to give thanks, despite the circumstances… and continue to look up to Him!

This past holiday probably looked different around the dining room table, but connection can still occur. Video chats and phone calls will be a resource to utilize well, but real connection can still occur from such unlikely platforms.

Perhaps gratitude can be found in using these options, and we can have authentic communications of where we all are in heart and mind. This is something to be thankful for, to have exchanges beyond the weather or superficialities, but to dive deeper into outlooks, our state of mental health!

We are all struggling, but we are not struggling alone. Because there is Hope.

Again, whether you find yourself celebrating or grieving these days, feeling hopeful or hopeless, actively choose to trust God to set you free of past battles. For His ways will surely prevail in the end.

We should not discount the faith He is building in us during this time either, for through these hard times He is revealing more of the character being born in us. Birth is painful, but it results in new life.

Perhaps these hardships are birthing a new vibrancy of life for us as we approach 2021.

Happy New Year, Stay Safe as we move forward into 2021.

Yours in HOPE as I share Whitney Houston’s ‘I LOOK TO YOU’

OlaYinka

 

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Emerging from The Threshing Floor

I once travelled with a childhood friend and her family to their village for Christmas decades ago. Our destination was to the eminent village of Oraukwu in Anambra State. Approximately 20km southwest of Awka, local govt center, and about 500km (7 hour-drive) to my home in Lagos.

Adventure Mindset,  checked! Mystified Expectations, checked!

River Niger Bridge, Onitsha, Anambra State.

As a teenager then, leaving my usual Lagos city life at Christmas and pledging to spend it outside my home for the first time came as a huge surprise to everyone, but I wanted more, so much more than the usual-fancy block-street carnival party that’s always been religiously celebrated by my Lagos-Brazilian Quarter families every Christmas.

So, here I was, surrounded with very little understanding of the Igbo language spoken around me. But I was most certainly comfortable with the usual ‘Ndo’‘Kedu’ ‘Odinma’ etc. greetings from well-wishers, even as my girlfriends and host were my interpreter! Lol.

Of all the pleasant people I met, the magnificent houses built like National Theater or something magical from a classical movie tucked away behind clouds of trees and dusty unpaved roads!

The fleet of exotic cars lined up as baseline to the entrance of gigantic gates, of all the flames from exposed make shift kitchens blaring up and convincing everyone of palatable feasts in production.

Of all the performances by the energetic village dancers or new exquisite soup like Oha to consume, I was more thrilled by the action of the group of women assigned to cook. 

Oha soup
Oha Soup

I stood astonished watching as their bodies swayed in unison, wiping away sweat from their foreheads while their laughter deepens, bare feet stamping over spread-out sack-like cloth on flat ground, digging their heels harder as if deliberately commanding the out-sprout of the contents inside the sacks.

With such naïve inquisition, I later learned it was a usual process of shelling the seeds of cucurbitaceous (squash, melon, gourd) plants which after being dried and grounded will be used as major ingredients by the women cooking. 

Wow! Such an intriguing resonating revelation!

That was the very first time I encountered the term ‘Threshing Floor’ in a cultural context: an evolution and transformation of seed/ grains. Well, until I attended the just completed heartening ‘Emergence Conference’ powered by Esther’s Preparation Room.

What-an-Awe-inspiring gathering of Purpose-driven Professional women on a Mission for God!!

What an exhilarating Thursday evening of deliverance from those fancy adornments we use as cover-up and fronts to please the world!, what a deliberate cry of mercy to disconnect from what/how the world requires women to look like, a purposeful drive to adopt 3-unknown prayer buddies! ‘beautifully delivered by Minister Raeni of Nehemiah Troop Prayer Ministry!

Oh, what a remarkable and powerful Friday of prayer/prophesies that exposed and released the hidden seeds during our threshing floor seasons, the rebirth of emergence within every womb of a woman by Sister Nike Fabemgbe of London Agape Prayer ministry!

And that awesome Gala evening …the KIB Foundation Launch and SHEroes Award night! ‘seeing teams of like minded people from all works of life, coming together to bring out the Abilities in all given diagnosis of Disabilities in children, especially in Africa!

Literally, could our lives be likened to those seeds, hanging on in (sacks) and refusing to undergo garnering? ‘What happens to us at the threshing floor? Self pity? Deliverance? Security allowance? Divine provision? the difficult discussions of life we dodge? And then, what happens after? When we allow the husk, the chaffs holding us back to loosen up and become renewed?

Can you relate to that? I do.

So, often during the times of our greatest challenges or need, we may find ourselves giving way to the stress and strain that comes with it by battling one another; forgetting who the real enemy is: 

Our Refusal. To undergo. The Basic Process of Threshing.

Visions are delayed, Harsh words spoken, friendships are broken; we choose sides and draw lines.

Feelings get hurt. Betrayal runs deep. Psychological sack cloths that are supposed to be spread out and trampled over like we are walking around the walls of Jericho to bring out the savviness in us, are still being hung up as emotional decorative mirror and admired like a lesser god in our hearts! 

It gets harder to forgive and keep moving forward. And sometimes we get stuck, right there in the broken mess of it all. 

We wobble on a spiritual tightrope, fearing the slightest misstep off the threshing floor will toss us back into the canyon of God’s disapproval.

Hmmm.

Today, as you are reading this, I pray we all come to understand the blessing and pass on the lessons learned from those challenges we encounter during the season we find ourselves on the threshing floor, to accept it as a mission for evolution, materialization and possibilities to be used by God. 

To see ourselves as those seeds or grains loosening up from the chaffs of impossibilities, out of the sacks of limitations and into a new season of our lives. Not necessarily as a punishment, but as re-birth!

*** A big salute to all Esther’s Preparation Room, Katherine Israel Bolarinwa Foundation (KIB) and Emergence Conference Planning team! 

As an organization, we are humbled by the mandate we have received from the Lord to raise a new generation of professional Christian women who will dominate and impact their sphere of influence for the Kingdom of God.

There is a cultural shift coming and EPR has been positioned to be on the cutting edge of this new movement. We are actively preparing to rollout our various global programs which will empower each woman to (i) raise her leadership lid, (ii) sharpen her skills, talents and gifts, and (iii) identify the niche audience/market she’s called to serve“.

Adenyke Israel-Bolarinwa 
Executive Director
Esther’s Preparation Room (EPR)
http://www.developmentalcarenetwork.org

Thank you EPR, Women who have experienced challenges, who are not afraid to cut through threshing sacks, willing to emerge, stem the tide of childhood mortality in Africa, Women created to improve the well-being of the African child, by giving them a chance to ultimately pursue a full life – beyond any dis-abilities, any diagnosis or any discouragement!

Thanking God for an awe-inspiring 2019, as I embrace and welcome everyone to year 2020, A new year of ‘Boldness in Moving Forward”

Yours in HOPE,

OlaYinka Gansallo-Lawrence

DCN Founder.

As I share…’Lauren Daigle’s Rescue from Grey’s Anatomy!

 

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