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An awareness worth accepting: Embracing AUTISM!

An awareness worth accepting: Embracing AUTISM!

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Have you recently felt a kind of jubilation within your heart upon completing a project, a job or an assignment? Self-appraisal aside, how would you score yourself? Thumbs up or down?

Did you feel accomplished? Frustrated? Burned out? Confused about your career path? Are you still wishing you could have chosen a more fulfilling goal to work towards? Do you crave for acceptance or recognition from others to celebrate your victory? How would you describe your goal-driven-desire even without achieving any of the things listed above?

A couple of Sundays ago, right after church, my girlfriends and I (Kene & Tinunke) allowed our kids to play together in the lobby as we got carried away deep in a concerned conversation about career choices and how our African parents played a huge role in strict decision making for their children!

Hmm! Tell me about it! ‘We echoed amidst deep laughter, hip slapping and a cheerful pat on the shoulder as we exchanged stories of a confusing and oppositional remembrance of our struggle to decline our parent’s choices of profession for us then! Ah, you must become a Medical Doctor! Or ‘an Engineer! Or a Lawyer! …’Lol. Thank goodness we eventually followed our heart’s desire, then or later!

After decades of enduring and attempting to be like my mother, the civil service accountant or trending after the steps of my father, the articulate site developer/Land surveyor… ‘It just wasn’t my calling…’it didn’t last long! ‘Years of boring TD classes and assorted French curves with cursive initial of AOG engraved on both sides! Long sessions of Math tutoring when really my mind was focused on watching ‘Wild Rose’ Phew!

Many people are still living stress-filled lives because they never sought and discovered God’s plan and are still trapped in jobs and careers that simply do not fit into. Every day, they feel like the proverbial round peg being jammed into a square hole – isn’t that a painful and frustrating experience? Meaning…people never experience fulfilment in their work because they are in the wrong line of work to begin with just to fulfil other’s needs!

There was a passion hidden deep inside of me, yet unraveled, but always rearing its way out of my consciousness. It has to be something greater than me and I waited…and waited…and waited…’until I set my eyes on Peter, the cutest 5-year-old boy, recently diagnosed with Autism Spectrum disorder…I became his behavior therapist…’that was 14 years ago…He was my first client as He helped pave the way for my passion working with special needs children.   #LifeGoals

So, since we are in April, and its world Autism month, ‘ask yourself…’how aware am I about the term Autism, and how understanding or accepting am I, when I relate with someone with Autism? ‘Am I tolerant and capable of coping or communicating with someone on the spectrum? What difference can I make in the life of someone with Autism? Or how can I be useful to the family of a child with Autism?

It is easier to proclaim we care about someone with a disability or illness or even carry a banner of awareness when our hearts reject all the flaws that come with it!

We sometimes carelessly use hurtful and inappropriate names (crazy, weird, awkward, sickly child or dying woman) to label others just because we feel they are vulnerable or we think we are stronger than their situation? Hello? ‘Got perfect life?

Here’s one of the 10 things a child with autism would like you to know and accept, before judging…

Listen to all the ways I’m trying to communicate.

It’s hard for me to tell you what I need when I don’t have a way to describe my feelings. I may be hungry, frustrated, frightened, or confused but right now I can’t find those words. Be alert for body language, withdrawal, agitation or other signs that tell you something is wrong. They’re there.

Or, you may hear me compensate for not having all the words I need by sounding like a little professor or movie star, rattling off words or whole scripts well beyond my developmental age. I’ve memorized these messages from the world around me because I know I am expected to speak when spoken to. They may come from books, television, or the speech of other people. Grown-ups call it echolalia. I may not understand the context or the terminology I’m using. I just know that it gets me off the hook for coming up with a reply.

By Ellen Notbohm from the book Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew, 2nd edition (2012, Future Horizons, Inc.)

We all want to be successful in our chosen profession. Whether we believe in what we do or not. Our goal is to nail it and keep moving. Your office may be downtown or just inside your front door. Your work clothes may be an elegant suit or ragged jeans and a stained t-shirt. You may be paid in cash or with crayon drawings and sticky kisses like me! It doesn’t really matter because none of these things alone makes us successful in the work place.

Our success comes from the lives we touch with real acceptance…full acceptance of all the shortcomings! #Autism Acceptance

God empowers His plan in us, but when we step into our own agenda or a plan created by anyone else, we are stepping into and relying upon our frail, limited strength. We will soon be empty and stress will flood in, filling the emptiness with anxiety and tension. Don’t waste another day just doing the “next” thing. Take a long, hard look at your work, your job, and your agenda to make sure you are in the right place – doing what you were created to do in this world.

Do more this month, volunteer to be of assistance to a family with a special needs child, and love them genuinely for life!

Yours in HOPE!

Yinka.

Autism Care Network UK

Autism Care Network, Dubai.

 

 

 

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What MY HEART needs to know…TWC’17.

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They say “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” I-n-t-e-r-e-s-t-i-n-g! Would that be through food or tummy rub? Hmm. Just thinking-out-loud here!  #TimeToRefresh

I am yet to come across the proverb about the way to a woman’s heart, or is the way INTO her more important? flowers? empty promises? trust?  #TimeToRenew

But a woman’s heartfelt emotions never lie, even though she hides the bruises under her sleeves, her heart never stops beating, even when crushed by mere words. #TimeToRestore

In my Aunt’s house in Port Harcourt, where I spent my young adult life while in the University…’there is a huge kitchen, women around the kitchen table and topics that turns heads.

Young and vibrant as I was then, I couldn’t wait to fall in love and prove to them that their talk was cheap…or so I thought!

In that kitchen, there were always women who came to visit my Aunt from different walks of life for motherly advice: There were the single and high maintenance, married and moody, separated, divorced, recently rejected, frequently abused, hidden scar carrier from youth, runaway bride and complicated relationships.

Some came glamorously dressed in their flashy cars while some had to trek or take public transportation with a cranky crying baby strapped on their back. They were always inside the kitchen talking or standing by the sink wiping away tears.

And in the hearts of those women, there was always CONFUSION, HELPLESSNESS & FEAR.

Fear that this time around that mastered recipe of life won’t work for their current circumstances.

That the man who promises love and life would never propose! Or think they are not good enough!

That the single young adult girl will walk down the aisle only when she’s ready, and not when the society dictates or  calculates her biological clock!

That the man in their life will leave his meal unfinished and their marital bed untouched!

That the man they think they know will soon find pleasure in someone else’s arms or home!

That probably she has served him too much affection or not enough. That he is already too full of life, or hungry for something or someone else, and that it will be their fault.

That the womb that’s been praised so much would begin to alert restless in-laws to raise eyebrows and question the delay of childbirth or the loss of a baby?

That the wide beaded hips that swayed to the beats of the drum he so much-loved to hold would never carry the weight of his off springs?

That her place and destiny to propel would never be supported due to His insecurity or male chauvinism!

That the cold hands of death would ever separate them… so soon!

Matters of the heart of a woman may be hidden or tucked away behind the soft succulent tissues of her bosom; covered with fancy fabric woven with care, but also attacked by the  fingers that created the woolen fabric!

I don’t know about you, but for me, I want my heart to know it is okay to heal and beat again… ‘that just like any woman reading this right now to know that:  Hidden behind my skin so fair, soft and tender, that part which has been cracked once and still healing is finally ready to show the world… ‘I GOT THIS” by God’s grace!

So, as we begin to countdown to the upcoming TWC’17 on April 27th to April 29th 2017, permit me to indulge you in some surprises in store: IMG-20170330-WA0012

What should YOUR HEART expect at TWC’17 ?

  • That its time to put the past behind you and…’REFRESH, RENEW & RESTORE

  • Relax in a luxurious 2 night stay at a beautiful golf resort/conference center

  • Get served Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner…’just as you like it!

  • Participate in a One-on-One counselling to discuss those topics we keep locked up

  • Engage in Me-Healing sessions: Will I be heard? Who gets what I am going through?

  • Listen to inspiring ministration from speakers and worship team

  • Indulge in Girls night!! Shhhhhhhh. It’s a surprise! #WeGotGameNight

  • Comedy night.., ’maybe laughter and good jokes is really all a girl needs to warm up her heart! #GuessWho’sComingTonight #FemiObama

  • Workshops & Breakout sessions

  • Support group building and bonding for challenging workplace issues

  • Morning power-walk and Zumba session

  • Share your story and inspire others… #ShareYourStoryInPhilly

As you read this, ask yourself…  ‘What is a valued centerpiece in my heart? Is my heart an arbitrary harbor of commotion? A solitary confinement for hope…ONLY I bear the burden deep inside as I suffer and smile to portray a perfection that is nonexistent? Does anyone care?

Have you ever considered that perhaps God isn’t longing for you to come to Him with perfect, polished prayers, with fifty-cent words and flowery language? Have you thought about the pleasure God experiences when you simply approach him just as you are, fragments, bruises, warts and all, because He loves you? He delights in your attention. He takes pleasure when you come to Him simply because you are His.

Total Woman Movement has a spot waiting for you. Join the movement today! www.totalwomanmovement.com

Yours in HOPE

Yinka.

 

 

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Oh Snap! I have a TEENAGER in my house!

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

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

Well…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why?

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

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

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

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

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

Happy 13th Birthday, Sophia!

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

Yinka.

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More to come…

Yours in HOPE!

Yinka.

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

 

 

 

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Accepting the “Shift in our Atmosphere”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If the same old routines worked.

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

But things keep changing.

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

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

Yinka.

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

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Patching Old Scars with Fancy New Stitches

scars 7When you hear a good old song play, what do you do? Do you jump up and begin to dance excitedly immediately to the rhythm? Or pretend you’re not feeling the vibes?’ even as some of your body parts unconsciously continue to move to the beats, and eventually you give up on your hidden-emotions, throw up your hands in the air like you-just-don’t-care!

Or like me…’do you run up to the front of a live performance with arms akimbo, mouth wide open in exaggerated amazement as I ignore the prying eyes of onlookers and begin to groove to the beat, then suddenly pointing to the band and mumbling…’Hmm! Hmm! Hmm! You-sure-can-jam!

One of the most memorable live musical shows I attended was one of the performances by Lagbaja (Famous Nigerian Artist) in 1996 at Ikoyi court, Lagos. My friends and I were mesmerized by the high quotient of percussion instruments that consisted of congas and talking drums, this new and upcoming group obviously drew its principal inspiration from the traditional highlife music of the 60s, as well as western jazz. Its emergence was just what we college kids needed then, a breath of fresh air!scars 2

The lyrics of one of the songs played that night “Baby Tani Ko Fewa” (Babe, we’re asking you out/babe, marry us) got everyone thinking deep about the current status of their relationship. Especially dealing with our choice of life partners, their profession and the outcome of the choice made. I bet every bachelor in there without any future-ambition-plan must have felt like “Yeah! Speak the word Lagbaja“Tell them”. LOL!!

That was almost 20 years ago, and the message behind the song sent each one of us thinking about our lives for a very long time. There was passion to love life to the fullest then, But what about now? I can barely sit through another live performance without thinking of all the numerous tasks left undone on my to-do notebook. Thinking of it alone, drives me nuts! Argh!

So, aren’t some good-old-love songs from our past similar to certain scars we dread touching or tracing? Aren’t they similar to sewn lines left by stitches? Some are with bitter experiences of break up or mistakes, while others require a modern version for the lyrics to give new hope, maybe for a new relationship. Whatever that music is that’s a memorial from the past, it sure must require some kind of pampering or nurturing now if we still feed it. Don’t you think so?scars 10

The reality is that we are all “banged up a little.” In the book “A Farewell to Arms” Ernest Hemingway writes, “The world breaks everyone and many are strong at the broken places.”

But are we allowed to hide those emotions behind those silly love songs or pretend to self-soak our sorrows in gospel songs as needed? Are we allowed to subdue our talents or gifting in order to kill time? Nothing could be further from the truth. Hurt may be inevitable, but misery is optional. How we respond to pits and pain and lyrics of songs is our choice.

Today, we can either surrender to the negativity or create an identity that feels at home in our musical-pit or we can embrace the pain of the scar and learn from it.

We can either settle for a life defined by pain or we can harness the power of our pain and use it for good.

We can try to ignore the pain and hope it all goes away or we can face it and let God heal the broken places.

We all have hidden scars, fresh wounds and broken places. The good news is that God is drawn to broken people. In fact, He accomplishes His greatest works through those who are most broken. We all can testify to that!scars 9

If you are reading this today and have had flashbacks of a particular song where the lyrics literally gives you goose bumps…’do you blame it on other people’s shortcomings? Or wallow in self-pity? Or struggle with your mind by creating escape routes? Are you still in denial?

Isn’t that a ‘Once-Upon-a-time-story? Are we still dragging our ‘when-I-used-to-be’ into our ‘emerge-now-self? Isn’t it time to literally find a good needle and thread to stitch up the loose ends, the scars or loop holes in our lives so we can finally emerge?

scars 6Does discouragement make you want to quit – until an email or text of encouragement lands in your inbox?

Or do you just pray for that challenging situation or chronic pain to be taken away – I know I do, until I realize that God uses it to keep me desperate for Him. What are you desperate for? A new stitch? Or a new love song? Choose wisely!

Yours in Hope as I share “Shawn Mendes” – Stitches.

Yinka.

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Those moments. Priceless and Irreplaceable.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yinka.

 

 

 

 

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

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

TRACE IT!

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

FACE IT!

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

ERASE IT!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yinka Lawrence – Team Workshop Moderator.

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

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