DEFINE SUCCESS

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, success is defined as a favorable or desired outcome. Most often society tries to set the standard for success for us, giving us timelines and deadlines. George Herbert, a British poet who lived in the 17th century said ‘He who is not….

Handsome at twenty,

Strong at thirty,

Rich at forty,

Wise at Fifty,

Will never be handsome, strong, rich or wise. I do not agree with his timelines because in life, each of us operates on different time lines. Ray Kroc was 52 when he began working for Mcdonalds and eventually bought out the owners in 1961 at age 59. His estimated wealth was USD$600 million at the time of his death. Others gain wealth earlier in life and by the later part of their lives may be worth nothing. We can give example after example on this.

Really, in this article I do not wish to say much. Success should be what you define for yourself at whichever stage in life you find yourself in regardless of what society says or thinks. For some people, in this moment in their lives, success is receiving a promotion at work; work hard and go for it. For some other person, success is being able to complete a higher education. For another success could be her ability to be able to get her baby into a routine and being a good mother. To another success could be being able to make it through the day battling the constraints of an illness or a circumstance which seems to be choking life out of them.

Whatever age you are, or whichever stage of life you find yourself in, define success for yourself and work hard to attain it regardless of what society says. I really want to hear from you today. What is success to you at the stage you find yourself in? And if you will permit me, I will share your comments for us to know that indeed success means different things to different people so we should allow people to define success for themselves.

The Power To Unmake Your Vows

By the powers vested in me, I pronounce you husband and wife! What God has put together let no man put asunder.

The bride and groom will be laughing happily and casting suspicious glances around. Is the power to put asunder to the marriage in the hands of those that came to celebrate with you or in your own hands? Before I got married, one of the advice I was given is that marriage is like a frozen forest. There are all kinds of wild animals and horrific creatures in there but they only come after you if you go and awaken them with your actions.

In my few years of marriage I have come to realize that marriage is a very delicate situation which should be handled with utmost care. I have heard stories upon stories about indescribable things that happen after the beautiful and buoyant ceremony we all can’t wait to experience and just before I put this piece together I stumbled upon an old friend who happens to be going through such in her own supposed to be bliss.

I am no expert in this institution and we won’t even delve into how to choose the right person and red flags to look out for and all since that is a topic for another day. For now let’s assume you have been pronounced husband and wife and no one is to put asunder. Let’s look at some of the basic things you as a partner in the marriage can do to put asunder to your own marriage.

Nana and David 2019

Ignoring the little things -when you eliminate the three magic phrases; Thank you; Please ; Am sorry. Sometimes we take things for granted and assume when our partner does something they are playing their role anyway so there’s no need for appreciation. And really, this person is so in your space and can annoy you so much. But we have to be very intentional. Courtesy in marriage is a must. Just live daily! Forget what they did or didn’t do yesterday and renew your love and admiration for your partner each morning just like the steadfast love of God is renewed every morning. Sounds doable right?

Song of Songs 2 :15

“Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom”.

Keeping toxic relationships – One of the issues which seem to be common amongst marriages which were not able to stand has been unfaithfulness. Some deliberately cheated and others were accused. Beware of exes and co-workers.

James 4:7

“If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them”.

Disregarding the needs of your partner – physical, emotional, financial, spiritual needs. Am sure one of these days we’ll hear of a wedding between someone and a phone. We love our phones so much and pay so much attention to it, ignoring our partners intentionally and unintentionally. Someone said her husband does not even have conversations with her but can be on his phone for hours talking to other people. I am a number one culprit and am trying to work more on my laptop so am on my phone less. At least being on the laptop seem a bit more like you are doing something important than being on your phone. But in all am making a conscious effort to reduce my screen time.

Romans 12:10

“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves”.

Comparing your partner to another person or your marriage to another is very unfair and unfortunate. No human being is perfect and so no marriage is perfect but if you decide to focus on the negatives, you can even find enough reason to leave. If you decide to focus on the good however, the bad will diminish. After all, you are not perfect either.

2 Corinthians 10:12b

“But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding”.

Showing disinterest in sex especially the wife, however when the man shows disinterest in sex (which is not too often), it affects the woman more psychologically than vice versa.

1 Corinthians 7:4-5

“The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control”.

Sweeping issues under the carpet – for some issues after the heat has died down and reconciliation has occurred especially under the sheets, there might not be a need to bring it up again. However other times due to words which were used and things a partner did not really mean but said out of anger, it is important that you talk about it, own your parts and apologize properly so that none of you will harbor anything in their heart.

1 Corinthians 13:6

“(Love) does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth”.

Not praying together-As simple as this might seem, your individual preferences and quite time styles can come in the way of the two of you coming together to kill ten thousand as the bible says. And this creates room for issues to escalate.

Ecclesiastes 4:9

“Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor”.

From things I have seen, heard and experienced, I know that the power to unmake your vows is in your own hands and no one can take that from you unless you allow them to. The next time you attend a wedding and the couple try to make you feel responsible for their ‘asunder’, just send them a link to this post!

Happy Fathers’ Day

Daddy, I love you, and all my life I have been striving not to disappoint you. I wish you made it easier for me by putting your love into words sometimes. I figured it out eventually, but it took me so long to realize that you asking me if school was good, was a summary of ; I love you; I missed you whiles you were away; I wish you never went away for this long period; I am so proud that you are working so hard; You make me so happy; You are the reason I work so hard; Seeing you succeed means more to me than you can ever imagine; I wish I could give you the whole world and not just what you need; You are the best daughter in the world and any man will be blessed to have you; You inspire me; Am very grateful to God for you because you bring so much joy to my life.

                                                                                                                                   From a Daughter’s heart.

Recently I was told of a father who refused to attend his sons’ school programs and all those extra activities that parents have to really sacrifice their time and money to be able to attend. He said his sons are even lucky he is in their lives and provide their basic needs and his reason was that his own father did nothing for him. From my own thinking, I hope to provide for my children what I did not receive because I would want them to have a better life.

We are celebrating fathers this weekend and I’d want us to look at the four types of fathers you may encounter. We celebrate all of them in the hope that the love we pour on them will encourage them to be the best they can be.

The Soldier DaddiesThese fathers are great fathers, great providers who work hard to provide the needs of their family. They are just not emotionally available. The ones you refer to as ‘Sir’ and put your hands behind you when you are talking to them. They are great disciplinarians but there is not much expression of love to create the balanced environment the family needs to thrive. Most ‘Soldier Daddies’ were not exposed to affection from their fathers either and so had no first hand example. But a man who has received God’s unconditional marvelous love has no excuse of not having an example of what total expressive and executed love is. Dear ‘Soldier Daddy’, rise up and show your daughter what wholesome love really is so she can identify it when the time comes and the son to be able to exhibit it to his own family in future.

The Absentee Daddies – These fathers are always busy, working and travelling all the time and make time to ‘father’ only when it’s convenient for them. They try to make up for their absence by showering the family with lots and lots of material things. Fathers living abroad from their families come to mind when considering the ‘Absentee Daddies’. Dear ‘Absentee Daddy’, work is important and money is good and some circumstances may be beyond your control but we love you being present more than the gifts. Please make us priority.

The ‘ Mummy Will Come and Meet You’ Daddies – These fathers are over-compassionate and are unable to discipline their children as they ought to and shift their responsibility unto the mothers, mostly making the mothers look bad in the eyes of the children and allowing the children to have their way. To the ‘Mummy Will Come and Meet you Daddies’, we won’t say much but leave you with these two scriptures;

Proverbs 13:24

Whoever spares the rod hates their children,
    but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.

Proverbs 29:17

Discipline your children, and they will give you peace;
    they will bring you the delights you desire.

The Wholesome Daddies- These fathers are the all rounded great Daddies we all wish to have. They are not perfect but they have allowed the word of God and the Holy Spirit to guide them in this very difficult role of fatherhood. They provide, are emotionally available, have time for the family and serve as great role models to sons and good examples to daughters for what they should look out for in the future. Most of these Fathers did not have an example to look up to but have surrendered to the one who called them into this role and so are not afraid to be vulnerable in giving and receiving love.

I encourage all fathers and fathers to be to allow the Lord Jesus himself to make them the fathers He called them to be.

A Year after School

I remember during my final year in uni, my girlfriends and I always imagined what life after school was going to be like. And during such discussions we spoke about how we will have our dream jobs a year after school, buy a car a year after school, , get married a year after school and the list went on. Thinking back am wondering whether we were just being wishful or we had some strong faith that made everything possible a year after school.

It’s been nine years since we graduated and although some of these dreams have materialized, some are yet to. It’s taken almost a decade to reach where our young minds thought we could reach within twelve months. The truth is for most young people the best achievement you will attain a year after school will be finishing your national service and for some , having your first real job. And that is fine! There is no rush in life. You actually need to take your time to make all these major decisions and twelve months really might seem like a rush.

It’s currently graduation season, and it’s exciting to see graduation hats flying all over the place and with current trends, graduation photo-shoots happening everywhere.  Some friends and I passed through Times Square a few weeks ago to enjoy some city bustle and right in the center of the crowd was a graduate proudly posing in her gown to immortalize that great achievement. When I look back now I wish I had been more adventurous professionally and not stayed at one job for nine years. Nevertheless, I believe I worked hard, taking up almost every project I was interested in and allowed myself to grow. Working on weekends and travelling does not really put other aspects of your life in a standstill at this point and that was our lifestyle. Am happy I was able to apply myself to my immediate environment and beyond.

 Ecclesiastes 12:1 1Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, “I find no pleasure in them”-

Dear fresh graduate, the year after school has so much to offer but probably not much of what you envisaged. At this point you are most likely in your early twenties explore the numerous opportunities that will come your way. Serve God with your time and your energy. Don’t rush into any commitments you are not ready for. Enjoy this season of your life and don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. This is the time to try new things and fail and try again. Gain all the experience, take up that volunteering opportunity, and accept that job offer even though it’s not your dream job: you’ll definitely learn a thing or two. A decade from now even if you’ve still not found your niche in life, you will be grateful you lived and learned.

Work, work, work!!

Am eager to hear the fantasies and expectations you have a year from your graduation. I will be glad if you share. If you graduated a while ago let me hear which dreams you’ve been able to achieve so far and which ones you are yet to and whether the targets you set for yourself were realistic.

Are Old Friends the Real Deal?

Friendship is a choice and its one of the most amazing relationships ever. Unlike family which you gain by default, you choose who becomes your friend and who you share your life with. Friends can make and unmake you. It is one of the most important lessons I have learnt in life. The people you associate with determine how far you go in life and that is indubitable. Someone can argue that I hang out with this group of people but am not like them.

 Psalm 1

Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,

The moment you start walking in step with someone, sooner than later you are going to stand with them and before you know it you are sitting. Most activities happen when we are seated; eating, drinking, chatting, learning and the like. You are indeed who you sit with to a very large extent.

My ‘Mama’ always says that old friends are the best and your only real friends! Those friends you’ve had since elementary school and high School. The ones who have eaten from your mother’s kitchen and know where you began. Those who knew you when you had nothing to your name and have genuinely stood by your side, celebrating with you and crying with you. And sometimes have given you wrong advice because they didn’t know any better. They are the ones you feel most fulfilled when you share milestones with. You look back and see how far you’ve all come and you can but give thanks to the Lord.

What if the many years of investment don’t pay off and the very people you long to share your joys with are not happy with you, are jealous of you and talking behind your back? What if life happened and you grew apart and seem to be living in totally different worlds now? My mother’s closest friends are her friends from her teenage years. And am talking about real friendship! The type which has turned into family. It’s beautiful when you have the privilege of being with someone you chose through the changing scenes of life. But I’d say it’s ok too if the investment didn’t pay off and you have to start over and make some really good friends right now in whichever stage you find yourself in. The history you share with someone may be great but wouldn’t you rather choose a friend you have a future with rather than a past?

Let me hear your thoughts and experiences. Are you privileged to still call your childhood best friend your BFF? Or have some friends you invested so much time and love in done you dirty? What kind of friend are you, and would you like to be your friend?

To The Single Lady

Are you sitting down, arms folded waiting for a knight in shining amour to come and sweep you off your feet? The last time I checked you needed to be standing to be swept off your feet. Its good to stand. Stand for yourself, for what you believe in, for what you are passionate about. I love to stand for those I love and all I need to be strong for. Standing, though may seem passive is not the easiest of tasks.

Lady, stand tall wherever you are, in whatever you are doing and if a knight happens to be passing by, he might sweep you off your feet.

This moment you will call singleness is actually wholeness!! You are single but whole. You are free to pursue your dreams and give it your all. Get that degree you’ll need later, go for that promotion at work, learn a new language, take cooking classes, hang out with friends and have a good time, begin to live your dream and venture into things you are passionate about, get into a routine of regular exercise and whatever you do, do not forget your creator!

Never get tired of being with yourself. You are all you,ve got. So learn to love you and enjoy spending time with you. It is when you have come to love you that you can be able to pour into another who will come your way. If you are empty then you’ll have nothing to give. And just so you know, wholeness or completeness is not in someone else. Most often as women we tend to seek fulfillment externally but no one can fulfill you except your creator. Be that whole single lady who will attract her like and together with God at the center of it, the two shall become one wonderful piece.

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Enjoy your life

Share with me how you are enjoying your life as a single person, the adventures and the experiences you are gathering, the self-development path you are taking, the things you have achieved that you believe you couldn’t have achieved if not the blessing of wholeness this season of life presents. If you are no longer single, let me also know how you enjoyed that season of your life.

Bye Bye 2016

This beautiful year started on a Friday. That was quite interesting, long weekend, more time to celebrate the new year. I was on cloud nine with high stress level as well. My wedding was in eight days so I didn’t get to celebrate the birth of this wonderful year till the ceremony. And I must say I had my share! If you are the new year resolution kind of person am sure you had a page full of ‘things to accomplish this year’. Most of us just try our best to break bad habits and replace them with good ones. Because each one is a result of his habits. The first time I came across this saying by Albert Einstein:

“Madness is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results

I felt nothing could be truer than that!

We all begin a fresh year expecting new things, but are we ready to change our old bad habits to new good ones in the direction of the great things we are anticipating?

Some things are just not within our control, and God will give us grace. I read this statement from someone getting to the end of this year and it made me sad and hopeful at the same time:

Anyone who makes it to 2017 needs to add 2016 survivor to their resume. What a terrible year!”.

And it got me thinking  “was 2016 that bad”? To some its been a wonderful wonderful year. To others its been an extremely difficult year . I have examples in both directions and in between all around me. The truth is every year is a full package! Good, bad, ugly, beautiful, delays, speed and so on. Its different for each person. To those who had a blessed blissful 2016, I stand with you to give glory to God. And to those it hit hard, I want to remind you that its in the valley you grow! Being alive is enough to give glory to God and hope for a better 2017 because its definitely going to be your turn soon!

Lamentation 3:22-23 says “it is of the Lords mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: Great is thy faithfulness.

Enter 2017 with joy and hope, and wake up each morning ready to experience His mercies and His faithfulness.