Tuesday, March 27, 2012

(Female) Family Politics

I'm a big fan of Asa and I love both her albums. I've listened to both albums over and over again. She's such a great lyricist and all the words in her song make sense. She talks about life as she sees it - whether it is relationships, culture, family problems, politics, war and so on.

One of my favourite songs on her second album (Beautiful Imperfection) is Bimpe. I love the simplicity of the music and the beats, but above all, the song tells a story. It is the story of an unnamed  character, and Bimpe is her boyfriend (or husband)'s younger sister. But they do not get on at all. The narrator accuses Bimpe of overstepping her boundaries, of disrespect, saying bad things about her and of sticking her nose into her private affairs.

Now in Yoruba culture, a wife is supposed to respect all her husband's family members, even if they are younger than her. Perhaps this Bimpe takes advantage of that culture and is rude and disrespectful of her brother's wife because she knows that the wife cannot openly confront her. So in the song, the narrator is trying to send Bimpe a warning to back off and stop disturbing her relationship with her brother.

I tried to imagine myself in that situation.Thankfully, I have a great relationship with my hubby's sisters who are lovely people. But we hear so many horror stories of wife and in-law battles, or the political games that both sides try to play to keep the peace even if they don't get on well. I have friends who are happily married, apart from the fact that they don't like members of their husband's family. And I have friends who don't particularly like the lady that their brother is dating or married to. 

It also seems to be a woman thing, for some reason. I don't hear of wives having battles with their father-in-law or brother-in-law. It's usually the husband's female relatives that are hostile to his wife. I wonder why. Are we females so selfish and possessive that we feel we have to protect our "territory"? Do we see the new woman in a son or brother's life as a threat to our own position? Is there no room in a man's life for other women apart from his immediate family? Questions, questions.....

Anyway, back to Asa's song about Bimpe. Someone needs to tell her to chill and back off - that's what the narrator is saying. It almost sounds like "Your brother loves me, deal with it." I love the way the narrator even calls Bimpe out on some of her own issues - Bimpe is unmarried but she has a child out of wedlock. Bimpe has no manners, but she is looking for a husband to marry. Bimpe, fix your issues and stop minding other people's business!

My other favourite song on the album is "Ore", that's another very interesting story. We'll save that for another day....

Did I tell you I looooooooooooove Asa? Here's a photo of me posing like Asa. The photographer knew I was a huge fan, so he handed me the guitar to pose with. I wish I could actually play though!
(c) Tolulope Popoola

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Blowing My Trumpet

I've been tagged (and nagged) by Aloted so I came to update my blog. It was well overdue! Honestly, I've had the urge to blog several times, but I can't seem to find enough hours in the day. And every little creative spark I have at the moment is going towards my professional writing. But anyway, back to the post:

Aloted and NoLimit came up with this idea for us to reflect and think about ten really positive attributes about us. (Here's the link to Aloted's post - here). I thought it was a great idea as Aloted mentioned, somehow we find it easy to remember the negative aspects of our character and we ignore the positives. So this got me thinking... and it was slow at first, but soon I was able to come up with more than ten good things about me.

So here goes:

Adaptable: I find that I can adjust to situations easily. Sometimes the fear of the unknown gets me worried, but once I'm in a situation, I can adjust and adapt easily.

Generous: I'm able to give and share easily. If I have something and someone else is in need, I will give. I actually find it enjoyable to give because I like it when the recipient is happy.  Sharing my stuff comes easy to me too.

Dedicated: I don't commit to things easily, but once I do, there's no going back. I will make sure I see it through to the end. Whether it's a relationship, a project, an idea, etc.

Creative: Of course. I have to be, I was created by an awesomely creative God, lol. I find that the more I express my creativity, the more I get creative ideas. Whether it's in writing, cooking, interior design, problem-solving, or other things, I enjoy coming up with something new and different.

Curious: Not about gossip or other people's business, lol. I have a thirst for life and knowledge. I love to read, to travel, to explore, to experience new things. I love to ask questions about the big issues in life.

Optimistic: I like to see things in a positive light. I function better when I'm positive about the outcomes of any task. I'm drawn towards happy, good, positive things. I like to dream big and hope for the best all the time. I can't stand negativity, it drags me down.

Loyal: I just am. I haven't got many friends, but I am very loyal to the ones I have. I don't think it's fair to betray anyone, much less someone that considers you a friend.

Thoughtful: I consider all angles before I speak or act. I don't like to feel that I acted rashly or unfairly towards anyone, so I go out of my way to avoid that. If it was unavoidable or unintentional, I always apologise.

Team-Player: I can work very well in a team. I like to share tasks, do my part and make sure that everyone else is doing their part too. I will happily offer to help out other members so that the whole team achieves its goals.

Gentle: I'm usually calm and gentle, not a lot stresses me out. I don't like aggression or drama so I stay well away from it. I like my peace of mind too much to go looking for trouble.

There we are! I really enjoyed doing this, actually. I should recall this post from time to time, when I'm tempted to beat myself up.

So to share this, I would like to tag:  DollJayceeLara DanielsJust DoyinBeliever, VeraSimeoneYellow SisiShortyJust Joxy, EnybeeJhazmyn, ... okay, EVERYONE who has commented on my blog this year!

Stay blessed and favoured!


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Back From My Break

*clears dust off blog*

Hi friends! It has been ages since I updated this blog. It almost feels strange to be writing here. In the past seven months or so, all of my thoughts have been gathering in my head, but I didn't have the time or energy to blog, so I just usually jotted down the important stuff that I really didn't want to forget. I remember a time (long ago) when I could update my blogs almost every day with any random thought that pops into my head.

Many, many thanks to you all for your kind wishes, thoughts and prayers towards me and my family. I really appreciate them and I pray that God will bless you in return. I am thankful for this new phase in my life. It's an odd feeling; knowing that I'm still me, but also knowing that my life has changed irreversibly. Having little FG around means so many different things on so many levels. Well, one of them is that I'm her first role model, so I have to behave myself! lol. I'm also thinking that this is where I need God more than ever before. I now pray that God, if I ever fail in anything in life, please let me not fail at being a parent.

So I'm slowly getting back to my (somewhat) normal routine (working round the little babe) and I'mgetting back to my work. I've started writing in little bursts again. I'm also devouring books like crazy, they're helping me to get my creative juices flowing. Previously, I thought my creativity had dried up cos my brain had switched completely into mummy mode. It felt good to take a break for a while, but it also feels great to be back, doing what I love.

I want to issue an apology to the fans and readers of our series In My Dreams It Was Simpler for the abrupt way we ended the public posts on the blog. Rest assured that I haven't forgotten my promise to keep you up to date with what happens next. So I've decided to continue working on Lola and Wole's story and have it as a separate book. I'll keep you guys posted with my progress on it. If you were not following the series before now, this is the time to catch up with the story because the conclusion is going to be hot!

So here's my quick update for now people, I hope to be back soon!

Stay blessed and favoured,

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Baby Favoured Girl

Yes, that title is right - there's a little favoured girl in my life now! And I'm so blessed and thankful to God for giving hubby and I this wonderful gift. She's changed my life since she came at the end of January, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

When I found out I was pregnant early last summer, I was so excited, yet nervous about many things. I had a thousand and one questions about pregnancy, about childbirth and about becoming a parent. I read books, browsed several websites, spoke to other mums and expectant women, attended all the recommended classes, etc etc. But still nothing prepared me for the overwhelming feelings I get when I look at her. Right from the first scan when I saw the tiny heart beating, till this moment when she smiled in her sleep.

So FG is now a mummy - yay! That explains why I've been missing from my blogs and the internet in general. I decided last December that I was going to give myself a few months of 'maternity leave'. Gradually I'll get back to blogging and writing once again but for now, I'm taking things slowly, enjoying motherhood and adjusting to different priorities.

Stay blessed everyone!


Monday, November 29, 2010

Need to Compare?

It's almost December! Around this time, I start getting worried because the year is almost over and it seems like I haven't done half of all the things I set out to achieve in January. I would hope that every month so far has been productive. Maybe some more than others. Then you think- how am I going to really make this year count before 31st of December? But ultimately, I'm thankful to God for keeping me alive, giving me a purpose, and allowing me to grow older and wiser everyday.

Have you ever felt that compared with "everyone else" around you, your own circumstances are the worst? Do you have thoughts like "all my mates have achieved this, done that, have this or have that"? I'm now exploring this phenomenum of measuring myself with another person's yard stick. Where does it come from? Is it parents, peer pressure, the society as a whole or just my own unrealistic expectations?

It's probably a mixture of all four. On one hand, it drives me to want to achieve more and more (sort of like healthy competition) to ensure that I can boast too, but on the other hand, it makes me think "What's the point? That person just had better opportunities than I have". Like when you hear of your classmate in uni who is now a millionaire, or your friend from high school now running her own fashion empire. You are happy for them of course, but you also compare yourself and you end up feeling very small.

I think it starts when we still are young. You are put in a classroom with 15 or so other 3-year olds. There you are expected to all be at the same level, grow at the same speed and learn at the same pace. If for any reason you don't keep up with the rest of the class, then there's a problem with you. This pattern continues throughout life. You want the latest toys because "everybody has one". You want to wear a certain item of clothing because "that's what all the other kids are wearing". You want to feel like you are similar to everyone. You find yourself constantly looking around and checking to see if you are ahead or behind of your peers. Then you grow up and suddenly you realise that some things are outside your control. Your career is progressing very slowly meanwhile your mates have soared far ahead. Or your mates are getting engaged, married, and launching babies while you are still single. Or your friend has just bought a new flat, while you are still renting or living at home. It all adds up to a perfect recipe for frustration.

But why do we compare? Are we all given the same opportunities? Did God give us the same talents? Do we have the same circumstances? Do we all have the same goals? Do we have the same experiences or backgrounds? No, no, no and no. We don't even have the same genes!

So I've decided, from now on, I'm not going to compare myself with anyone else. I am me. I am unique. We all have our time and purpose to fulfil on earth. My time and purpose is not dependent on other people. Only God is in full control. And only God will I give the ability to push me forward.

Have a good week and a blessed month of December!

PS: It's my sister's birthday today! Happy birthday darling! xxx

Image credit: plmtwine.com

Friday, November 5, 2010

Achilles' Heel

Hi folks! It's been a minute on this blog. I've been doing a lot of work and writing behind the scenes, updating my JDTA blog, writing short stories for magazines and working on our fiction series blog too, so I've allowed this blog to slide a bit. But rest assured, I'm doing great! Thanks to my friends who checked on me - I appreciate you guys!

So what's going on Blogville? I can't believe it's November already! For real, when was it June? Summer is now well and truly over, the days are getting shorter while the nights are getting longer, Christmas adverts are already appearing on TV, and I've had to start taking stock of the happenings of 2010. Soon, we would be making plans to welcome 2011 and then 2012... In everything, I can't complain because I've been experiencing God's blessings and favour throughout the year.

It's been a busy time for me in the last two months. Apart from writing, I've had my family coming over, been taking driving lessons, and generally moving into a new phase of my life. I've also been catching up on my reading, as I've got so many books on my to-read list, it's unbelievable. But I still can't stop myself from buying more! In the last month, I've read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (this was quite a strange book, very different from what I would usually pick up, but it was a very good read nonetheless), The Boy Next Door by Irene Sabatini (I quite enjoyed reading this love story woven around the politics of Zimbabwe), and  Love at Dawn by Lara Daniels (a tale of love, forgiveness and redemption which I thoroughly enjoyed reading) and I'm looking forward to a couple more before the end of the year.

Ever since I saw the movie Troy, I've been fascinated with the main characters in the story, especially Achilles. He was the great hero of the Trojan War and apparently when he was a baby his mother dipped him into a river which made him invincible except for his heel. According to Greek mythology, Achilles grew to become a great warrior and no one could stop him until Paris, a prince of Troy managed to shoot an arrow into his heel. Thus the phrase "Achilles heel" came to mean a weakness or flaw that can lead to a person's downfall in spite of his overall strength. 

This story makes me think that we all have a weakness that can potentially lead to our downfall if we don't deal with it. I can think of many great men who have been destroyed by their lack of self-control when it comes to women. Some people have ended up in prison because of their greed for money. Some people have committed atrocious acts because of anger. And the list goes on. It may seem like it's not a big deal, and just overlook a small flaw in ourselves, but we do need to be careful. I know that I have my weaknesses too, and I have to constantly ask God for grace to overcome them. It can be all too easy to let one thing get out of hand, until we lose control and succumb to negative desires.

If you are struggling with some temptations or something that goes against your principles, please don't ignore it or hope it would go away by itself. You have to take steps to make sure you don't fall. For example, if you know your married boss at work is showing inappropriate interest in you, it would certainly not be wise to go on a dinner date with him. Do what you can to remove yourself from such sticky situations! One little slip of judgement could be all it takes, and before you know it, you are involved in an affair.

Oh well, that's enough sermonising for now, lol. Do head over to our series blog for some news on the In My Dreams It Was Simpler Story and the latest installment. Yours truly is writing this week and I promise it will be a worthy read! 

Make sure you have a very relaxing weekend!


Sunday, October 3, 2010

University of Life

Sometime ago I pondered about this modern world of ours. Something is really wrong. There is a break down of society as a whole. We read of shootings and stabbings daily in the newspapers. We hear of gangs of youths carrying knives and guns to defend themselves with. We hear of marriages breaking up everyday - divorce rates are soaring and people are choosing not to get married anyway. We hear that stress at work is a major killer and cause of many serious diseases. We see the picture of the ideal family unit broken almost beyond repair. We see people sacrificing everything in the pursuit of happiness that just seems to elude them. Why is it so? I think it is mostly because we have placed the emphasis on the wrong things.

From the moment we are born, we are thrust into a society that places so much importance in education and defines us by success in our careers. How? We'll take the life of this typical child. From the day he is born, his parents bought him the best 'educational toys' that aim to give him a headstart in learning skills. His parents do all they can to enroll him in the best nursery school where he is to learn basic skills in speech, reading and writing. After that, he goes on to primary school where he is taught a wide range of subjects to give him a knowledge base that will be useful in future. Fast forward to three years of secondary school and then he is expected to make certain choices in his subjects that will start to define his future career. By the time he is finished with secondary school, success means achieving a place at university to study a degree. This degree will be his ticket to a life-long career. He may need to continually update his qualifications for example, getting a Masters qualification, taking some examinations etc. Success is measured by his job and how much he earns. Assuming he finished education at 24, he spends the next 40-odd years of his life working 9 - 5, Monday to Friday to earn a living. If the UK government have their way, he would be working until he is in his 70s before he can retire and claim a pension. But is that all?

Now I think education is a good thing. I think every child on this planet should be given an equal chance to succeed with a certain level of education. But I find it worrying that we place so much importance on just that - education and career. Is there not more to life than acquiring a degree? Would having a brilliant career make everyone's life fulfilled?

I read something in 'My Daily Bread' a while back. A survey was conducted about what people would want to reflect on in their final moments on this earth. What would they look back on and count as achievements? Strings of degrees? An impressive CV? Hefty bank accounts? List of awards and certificates? No. The main response people gave was they they would want their loved ones around them when they were on their death-bed. Furthermore, the biggest regret expressed wasn't "I wish I had spent more time at work". It was "I wish I had spent more time with my family". Family and loved ones always took priority over education and achievements.

Now if this is true, how come we still have this dysfunctional world? How come we spend the vast majority of our lives either in education or working endlessly pursuing material wealth? How come you can go to university to study virtually any subject in academics or research but there is no university that teaches us about the real-life challenges we face? You can study to become a Financial Analyst but who teaches you how to cope with the grief of losing of a loved one? You can study to become a doctor but where do you study to become a good husband or wife? I can graduate with a Bcs in Mathematics but where can I get a degree in Good Parenting Skills? Those are the things that really challenge us as individuals and no amount of education can help.

If I could change the world, I would shake up the current set-up. I would not be happy in a world where the majority of hours in the week,  is all but committed to working, working, working. A world where the main driving force is money, money, money. When do we have time to actually live? When do we have time to grow and learn to become better people? Why won't we have a society that is crumbling?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Faith vs Common Sense

"Faith is believing when common sense tells you not to." ~ George Seaton

For a while I've been pondering on faith, and its implications for the way I live my life every day. Sometimes when I'm at a crossroads and I need to make a decision, I often have a dilemma. Should I go with common sense or should I walk by faith? Do I go with my instincts? Should I make a list of pros and cons and use pure common sense to make a decision? Should I weigh all the options and go with the most "logical" conclusion? Should the way forward be the most "reasonable" one?

However, as a Christian who has decided to make God the CEO of my life, I've sometimes had to step back and wait for a different direction. The bible says: "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen". The bible also says "Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding."

There are many examples of God asking His people in the bible to make decisions that totally make no sense. God called Abraham to leave all that he knew, his father's house and go to a strange land. God told Noah to build an ark when there was no sea or river around him. God told Gideon to go to war with only 300 men when they were facing an enemy army of over 100,000 soldiers. Each time, it required true faith to for each of these people to override their common sense and obey God.

Still, it can be really scary when common sense clashes with what you believe God is telling you to do. If God says: quit your job and become a full-time missionary in some remote village, what immediately comes to mind? Questions and doubts of course. Like: how will I survive without a regular income? What about my career? Will I be safe there without my family and friends around me? Etc.

Even the strongest amongst us wrestles with doubt sometimes. It's normal, it's natural, it's part of being human. But from my little experience, I'll say that in the end, common sense has its place but faith triumphs over it. As long as your faith is in God and what He has called you to do, you cannot go wrong.

  • Common sense relies on your own limited abilities. Faith relies on God's unlimited ability.
  • Common sense stops when things get rough. Faith keeps going when common sense is exhausted.
  • Common sense says you should play it safe. Faith challenges us to step beyond our comfort zone
  • Faith says one failure does not mean the end. Common sense says you should give up if it doesn't work the first time.
  • Common sense limits you to only what you know. Faith empowers you to stretch your imagination.

Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Five Years

Last weekend, hubby and I celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary. I honestly can't believe it's been five years already since I donned a white dress, walked down the aisle and said my vows. I can also honestly say that it's been the most awesome decision I've ever made.

Looking back now, I can't imagine how different my life would have been if i hadn't gotten married in 2005. Sometimes I try to visualise myself in a different setting, maybe living in a different place, doing a different job and so on. No matter what, I still choose my life now any day. My life now makes complete sense because God arranged it that way. So I've got a lot of things to thank God for, everyday. Sometimes I'm short of words to express how grateful I am when I think about His blessings towards me.

Hey so I've been married for just over 1825 days! In practical terms, it probably means I've cooked over 2000 meals and done more than 1000 washing machine loads of laundry. In that time, we've moved house three times and changed cars four times. We've been on nine holidays together, watched more than 300 movies together, laughed over a million and one things together. We've both made career changes, wrestled with our faith sometimes, made mistakes, but come out stronger. We've enjoyed the good days and learned from the rough patches. We've dealt with each other's flaws and learnt to appreciate each other's strengths. It's been a journey of discovery about myself and about him. I'm wiser now, than I was five years ago, and that's a good thing!

To celebrate, we had a photoshoot - cos looking at our wedding album a few months ago I realised it was so out of date! Then I organised a surprise party for hubby (it was also his birthday) and he fell right into it! lol, he swore to retaliate though, which I don't really mind. It was fun planning the party, making calls and sending texts right under his nose and he didn't suspect a thing! I guess he trusts me! I'm grateful for our friends that came (one of them is a blogger) and kept it a secret from him.

In everything, I'm grateful to God and so looking forward to the next 5, 10, 15 and more years of happy marriage!


Friday, June 4, 2010

New Month and Updates

Hi everyone! Welcome to the month of June! Sheesh, I can't believe I didn't update this blog for over a month. That's not because I didn't have anything to say, but I've just been so busy! Where do I even start from now? May was quite an eventful month, even though I feel like it flew by and I couldn't slow it down long enough to finish doing all I had planned.

On a personal note, I'm thankful I had a good month, I have many many reasons to be grateful to God. He remains faithful, the only One in my life that has never and would never let me down. I'm grateful for another year added to my life, and the many joys I have enjoyed. I'm grateful for my family and friends, for my health and for peace of mind. I'm grateful for provision and protection, for God's mercies, favour and guidance. I'm grateful for answered prayers, and even pending ones.

In other news:

I've started working on a new novel. My previous WIP manuscript has gone up in smoke. While it was a painful decision to throw it away, I have had time to reflect on it and I reckon, no knowledge is wasted. I've learnt a lot while writing it and I dare say, that my writing has improved. I may return to it much later in the future, but I would have to do so much work to edit it, that I fear it may not be worth the trouble.

Myself and some of my fellow writers (of the In My Dreams It was Simpler series) were interviewed for The Mantle. It was a fun experience, and we were thrilled to be approached by Shaun Randol, the Senior Editor to do a joint interview. You can read the two parts of the interview by clicking the links below:

The Mantle Interview (Part 1)
The Mantle Interview (Part 2)

I've got a feature in this month's edition of Reconnect Africa Magazine, also based on the series book. It turned out really interesting, so do check it out here:

Feature on ReConnect Africa

And finally, our group blog In My Dreams It Was Simpler has been nominated in three categories for the 2010 Nigerian Blog Awards! If you haven't already, head over to the Nigerian Blog Awards link right now to vote for us! We are in the Best Group or Collaborative Blog, Best Writing or Book Blog, and the Nigerian Blog of the Year categories. We are up against some tough competition, but it's great that we got recognised for our work! Do pop over there now to cast your vote. For us, of course. LOL

Have a lovely weekend and a blessed month!

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