Thursday, December 31, 2009

Thankful for 2009

Wow, 2009 is almost over! Did the year fly by quickly or what? Can anyone believe that all the hype about entering the new millennium was actually TEN years ago? Soon it will be 2010 and another decade will begin. Time flies, they say, and it seems like it is spinning even faster nowadays.

This time last year I was looking forward to the year 2009 with hope and expectations. I had a long list of hopes , dreams and ambitions. I had a list of prayer requests and petitions that I placed before God to help me achieve by the end of the year. Now it's the last day of the year, and I am really grateful to God. Nope, I didn't get everything on my wish-list. But I have gained so many wonderful things in this past year, and I have received so many blessings from God, that I cannot but be grateful.

I'm thankful to God for my blessings. I have been overwhelmed many times when I think about how good God has been to me. I can't list them all but I can mention a few:

I'm thankful for my family: mum, dad, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws, etc. Sure, once in a while somebody gets on my nerves but I know I love them, and I cannot do without them.

I'm thankful for the simple joys of peaceful sleep. I have slept and woken up everyday in the last 365 days.

I'm thankful to God for meeting all my needs. I never had to go hungry or beg for anything in 2009.

I'm thankful for the good times that I enjoyed, and the not-so-good times where God was my strength and hope.

I'm thankful for laughter and fun in my life. There are too many sad and lonely people in the world today.

I'm thankful to God for adding another year to my life. I celebrated a birthday in perfect health, surrounded by good friends and family.

I'm thankful to God for the many wonderful new friends I made this year. Especially my fellow bloggers who have become my friends and sisters. Aloted, Believer, Writefreak, Nolimit, Diamond Hawk, GoodNaijaGirl and more. And to my writing mentors: Abidemi Sanusi and Dr Tade.

I'm thankful for another peaceful, happy and fulfilling year of marriage. I know I am so blessed and privileged to share my life with a man that makes me happy, believes in me, loves me, supports me and wants the best for me.

I'm thankful because I'm older and wiser now, than I was a year ago.

I'm thankful for protection and safety. I went through 2009 without any accidents - amazing.

I'm thankful for the trips around Europe I enjoyed during the year.

I'm thankful for the progress I made with my work this year. And the opportunities I have to explore further in the coming months.

I'm thankful to my co-writers on our blog series: Latifa, Jaycee, Icepick, Flourishing Florida, Diamond Hawk, Ayodele, Writefreak and Rayo. Thanks for believing in my idea and working with me.

I'm thankful because I've moved closer to God this year.

I'm also thankful for the many lessons I've learnt this year:

I've learnt to depend on God more than ever

I've learnt that respecting my husband is the key to a peaceful marriage

I've learnt to be more patient

I've learnt to appreciate the important things in life

I've learnt not to compare myself with anybody

I've learnt that I should choose carefully whose opinions I take on board

I've learnt to receive criticism graciously

I've learnt that a positive attitude wins in the end, even in the face of overwhelming odds.

I've learnt that pride and sacrificial love are not compatible.

I've learnt to be humble and content with what, who and where I am at the moment.

For 2010:

I want to be completely in tune with where God wants me to be, what God wants me to do and at His perfect timing.

I want to be more and more like Jesus everyday.

I want to achieve my potential with my writing.

I want to become a better wife, sister, daughter and friend.

So help me God.

Now I'm counting down to 2010........................!!!

Happy New Year to everyone! May 2010 be the best year ever in all aspects of our lives!

I'm off to church in a few hours. How will you see in the new year?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

As The Year Draws to a Close

Hey everyone! Hope you had a Merry Christmas and you are rounding up 2009 on a great note. I had a nice time over the Christmas period, with time spent hanging out with family and friends. And of course, lots of things to eat, and the exchanging of gifts. Apart from the small hitch of some of my Christmas shopping being delayed in the post, and hence some people not getting their presents, it was all good.

That is, until I heard the news about the Nigerian terrorist. Until that Boxing Day, I never thought I would hear of a Nigeria attempting a suicide bombing... ever. In fact, for many hours, I was at a gathering of friends and we were all speculating that perhaps the guy was not even a real Nigerian, and was just an imposter posing with a Nigerian passport. Until CNN, Sky News and the BBC released (and keep releasing) further details of who he is and the stories surrounding how he became a terror suspect. I have read countless blogs, articles and commentaries about the story and all the angles, even some wild, crazy speculations. All I can say is, the guy did Nigeria as a nation and all Nigerians no favours at all. It's hard enough trying to shake off the negative images we already have as fraudsters, a corrupt nation, a failed state, etc now we have to deal with the added 'terrorist' tag. I can just imagine how much more difficult it will be for ordinary, decent, honest and hardworking Nigerians to get a visa, or travel around the world. I know how I feel every time I travel around Europe and my passport is given extra attention at immigration desks, and I am subjected to extra scrutiny. This latest incident will only make it worse. Sigh.

So what can I do? As one person, I can only continue to uphold Nigeria's name by showing the rest of the world that one individual's actions cannot and should not define who the rest of us are, as a nation. I will continue to proudly declare that I am a Nigerian, and no, I am not fraudulent, neither do I have any intentions of blowing up airplanes.

Moving on, I am thankful to be alive to see 2009 coming to an end. It really did fly by so quickly! Thankfully, I'm ending the year with many many many reasons to be grateful to God. I've grown older and wiser, learnt many lessons, received tangible and intangible blessings, made new friends, travelled to new places, enjoyed some new experiences and fulfilled some dreams. Yes, it's been a wonderful year.

I'm looking forward to 2010, it looks like it's going to be a very interesting year. Here is wishing everyone a wonderful year 2010! May we spend the year in perfect health, may we move many steps forward in achieving our dreams and may we all be far better people in 2010 than we've ever been. Happy New Year in advance!

Thursday, December 10, 2009


I got my first rejection letter from a publisher yesterday. It is a rite of passage for every aspiring author :) In fact I got a text from my published writer friend to say congrats! Apparently it means I am now a real writer! lol.

As far as rejection letters go, this one's not too bad actually. The publisher said "Unfortunately with the publishing industry in it's current state, I felt your novel would not be commercial enough". I want to remain positive, so I will take that to mean the novel was not completely rubbish, and her rejection is simply down to economics and timing. I've heard of editors giving some really funny reasons for rejecting a novel to the tune of "Do yourself a favour and don't give up the day job"! So FG will pick herself up and carry on. As someone else said, it can only mean I'm one step closer to meeting the right publisher.

The fear of rejection was one of the things I was so worried about when I first decided to start writing, but I think I've had to see it as one of the things that come with the business side of writing, and not take it personally. Even the most successful authors who have won long lists of awards for their writing had to face rejection at some point. Determination and resilience is an essential strength to have in this game, and a thick skin is also very useful!

On to other news:

To say a big thank you to our readers and supporters, we are running a competition and giveaway for the next three weeks on our series blog! Check it out! This is the first one and entries will close on Monday the 14th. There will be two more competitions and prizes until Christmas, so make sure you click over to the blog now and enter. You could be a winner!

Hope you enjoy the rest of the week and have a great weekend ahead.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

More Internal Musings

Yesterday around 6.00pm, I was on the concourse at Liverpool Street station. This might sound like a rather random or mundane bit of information for me to be blogging about. But right there, in the hustle and bustle, the crush of commuters, the sea of suits and ties surrounding me, I suddenly realised that I was no longer a part of them. Yes, them. The City of London workers. The impatient mob of commuters, rushing for trains, jostling and elbowing anyone in their path, every determined step they take, timed to perfection to catch their train, with the platform number programmed in their head, a quick snatch of the evening newspaper to read on the train, and a satisfied smile if they find a seat in the carriage nearest to their exit at their destination. Some of them, on the phone speaking to husbands, wives or children, telling them "I'm on my way home now honey, just about to catch the 6.18 train". Some of them making plans or changing plans with friends they were supposed to meet up with after work.

I used to be among that crowd and yesterday, I paused for a few moments on the concourse and thought how different my life is now. I have been out of the 9 - 5 for fifteen months, and by yesterday I already felt like an outsider. Not that at I'm complaining at all. I used to think that was the only way to live, that was the only way to work - being an accountant working in Central London, facing commuter hell Monday to Friday. I wrote this post in October 2006, and at the time, I was fed up with the lifestyle and I knew I could not carry on with the 9 - 5 indefinitely. I was thinking that I needed to find a job where I didn't have to commute like that everyday. It has been three years since I wrote that post, and I am so glad and grateful to God, that my little dream is coming true. Even if it's something as small as having the freedom to work from home. I may not have the millions (yet), but my quality of life is already vastly improved. Hmmm, I may revisit this topic in another three years' time.

So what was I even doing in Liverpool Street in the thick of the evening rush hour? I was on my way to a Creative Writing class at the Southbank Centre. I had attended one last month and I enjoyed it very much, so I was looking forward to learning new ideas yesterday. And I did. The tutor talked about blogging, writing short stories for traditional print publications, and also writing for an online audience. I made a note of many of the good points he raised, and I will be implementing some new ideas. One idea I'm taking further is our blog series, so keep an eye on it and I'll be letting you all know what's coming next.

I can't believe the year is drawing to a close so quickly. I was almost alarmed when I looked at the date today and saw it was 19th of November. It's like I blinked and seven months of the year just flew by me! The thought makes me feel like I have to redeem the time wisely, everyday I have to achieve something. It may be learning a new life lesson, it may be finding a better way to do something, it may be gaining a new level of knowledge about myself, it may be drawing just that little bit closer to God and having more of His grace rubbing off on me, it may be encouraging a friend, it may be becoming a better wife. Everyday, I feel like I should be a better person when I go to bed, than I was when I woke up.

Okay, I'm off to make the most of the remaining minutes of this day, I'll be back soon with another update. Enjoy the rest of the week.


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Musing and Rambling

Excuse me if this post is a bit all over the place.

I've had a couple of inspiring weeks, both spiritually and professionally.

Spiritually, I'm grateful to God for the many lessons I've learnt in the past year. If I was to write them all down... it would take too long. Okay, I guess I could share a few....

Since I left my job, I gave up my income, so I've had to learn to depend on hubby financially. That was one huge step for me because I was brought up to think I should never rely on a man to provide for me. I think God needed to teach me this lesson because earning my own income made me proud (not in a good way), such that I could give hubby attitude if he wanted to know what I was doing with my income. I also felt like I didn't need him to agree with me regarding any purchases I made, afterall it was my money, not his! Now I'm a lot wiser and calmer, I'm also less wasteful, realising that I don't need to buy everything the fashion mags are throwing in my face. I'm also learning to be humble because I've made the mental shift from thinking "it's my money" to "it's our money".

I like the way God uses the mistakes I make and turns them around for my own good. Several times I've been kicking myself for making a wrong move, and then a couple of days later, I realise that the mistake I made was actually a good thing!

I've been learning to trust and rely on God every step of the way. I've had to pray that God should help me to be better organised with my time (and stop procrastinating). I think I'm a lot better at managing my time now unlike in 2007 when I was swimming in oceans of time without structure, and still not managing to be productive.

God has been helping me with good ideas, inspiration, meeting the right people, organising my work, prioritising my projects, etc. I think it was a great idea to make Him my CEO. lol

Professionally, I've been attending a few literary events at the Southbank Centre since the beginning of the month. So far I've attended three book readings including the Booker Prize reading, a Book Club discussing Sadie Jones' "The Outcast" and a creative writing class on blogging. I've learnt a lot, and got some great ideas for my work. I've also met some really nice people that I intend to keep in touch with.

I'm considering the idea of getting rid of my anonymity. I know a lot of people know who I am but I have still managed to cling to the idea that I'm still an anonymous blogger. Hmmm.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Monday, October 12, 2009

When the Bible is Silent

As a Christian, I believe that the Bible is the Word of God and He has put in there guiding principles for me to live my life by. I’m often amazed at how God uses the Bible to speak to me concerning a situation I’m dealing with, or a choice I have to make. Sometimes it’s a direct commandment, sometimes it’s a guiding principle, sometimes I have to discern what to do from the examples of other people’s lives recorded in the bible, sometimes it’s not my choice but my motives that I am reminded to examine. Several times I might have even made a decision and I just read the Bible to know if God approves or not.

But sometimes I know we face choices that the Bible is silent on. Perhaps it’s a situation that is peculiar to our modern society that did not exist in biblical times. Sometimes it’s a cultural thing, something that the Jewish people did not agree with, but it’s acceptable in our own culture. Sometimes the Bible doesn’t always give us the answers in black and white and we have to find other means of arriving at our own conclusions.

The other day, I was watching a TV programme about space travel. The scientists on the programme were talking about how much time and money has been spent by the US government on the Space Programme and how Russia, China and some other countries were also dedicating mind-boggling sums of money to space exploration so that they can claim territories on the moon and other planets. There was an argument afterwards as to why we human beings have not finished solving the problems we have on Earth, but we are going to space. Someone mentioned that if we dedicated a fraction of the amount of money we have spent on space travel to humanitarian causes, we can end world hunger and world poverty. So where does the bible stand on this? Should we be exploring other frontiers, or should we solve one problem before we go and look for more?

I was listening to the radio a few days ago and the speaker was talking about the choice between burial and cremation. Apparently some Christians have been torn between buying expensive land for burials and choosing cremation as a cheaper option. The bible is silent on this topic, but in biblical times, the Jews placed a big importance on burial. Meanwhile the Greeks, Romans and other cultures cremated their dead. The speaker was saying that if we were faced with such a choice today, will the Bible be a conclusive reference? Should we go by the Jewish culture or should we ignore that, especially now that the world is a crowded place and burial land is now at a premium?

Then there are other personal issues like whether or not to have children. The bible does say that we should “go forth and multiply” but nowadays there are more and more couples that make the decision not to have children for valid reasons. Should we say they are wrong? What about the genotype of your future partner, if you find out that you and your fiancĂ©e are both sickle-cell carriers? What about the choice between keeping a pregnancy that resulted from abuse or getting rid of it? What about the issue of a choice between staying in a bad marriage and opting for a divorce? What about culture versus Christianity on the issue of polygamy? (Yes there are some Christians that defend polygamy. I was shocked when I found some books and resources where some people argued that many of the great men in the bible were polygamous and God still blessed them). So if that was not God’s plan, why is the bible silent on such a major topic?

Sometimes the issue is not even that the bible is silent, but it seems to contradict itself. There are many passages that suggest the exact opposite of each other. We then have people split into factions, each side quoting the bible to support their stand. Many churches have been split up over issues that the bible does not have a clear answer, for example: female church leaders, polygamy, eating certain foods, what to do with church leaders that sin, and many more. These generate countless questions that we can debate for hours and years but ultimately we have to come to our own conclusions.

I feel that if I come across a question or a choice that the bible does not adequately address, I have to then go to God directly and ask Him what to do and what to believe. I know don’t have all the answers, I don’t have the full picture and I certainly can’t solve all of the world’s problems. I have one way of knowing if I’m taking the right step: peace. If I feel at peace with my decision, then I’m confident that I’m in God’s will. Now it’s not my place to impose my own view or my own choices on other people for what works for me is not necessarily what will work for everybody. Only God sees all and knows all. I’ll let Him be the judge.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I Like Being Me

She was my friend, from way back in secondary school. Back then I was an awkward, insecure teenager not sure of who I was. She was the pretty and popular one, the confident one, the one with all the social skills. Everyone liked her – from the principal, to the staff and to the students. Everyone wanted to be her friend. I was the painfully shy and quiet one that hardly ventured out of my shell and the few close friends I had. I used to wish I was like her, I wished I had some of her beauty and her popularity. Fortunately, I wasn’t jealous of her and she was a very nice girl, so we got on brilliantly in spite of our obvious different personalities. We were very close friends throughout secondary school days; we had secret codes that only two of us could understand. She was the only person I could willingly allow to read my diary, which is saying a lot as I was quite a guarded person back then.

We remained friends after secondary school. We even went to college together, becoming friends with another girl and together the three of us formed a close knit group. After college I came to the UK to study and she remained in Nigeria, but we still kept in touch. The distance was never a problem, she came over once a year and a simple phone call was all it took for us to resume our friendship where we left off.

Okay, fast forward to last week. I logged onto yahoo messenger and she was online so we started chatting. We had been talking about normal girly stuff for a bit when I mentioned that I cut my hair off cos I wanted to start over and that’s when the conversation changed.

She said: “I don’t have the courage to do half of the things you do”

I was like “What? What things?”

She said: “You do brave things. Like cutting your hair and starting over. I could never do that”

I said: It wasn’t a big deal. I just didn’t like my permed hair anymore”

She said: “It’s not just that. You travel a lot, you eat all kinds of foods when you travel, and you quit your job to become a writer”

I said: “lol, that’s just me becoming more adventurous”

She said: “I wish I was like that. You’re my role model”

I can’t remember what I typed next cos in my mind I was like “REALLY!”

Thinking about our conversation later, something interesting struck me. I couldn’t believe that I had spent a lot time when I was younger wishing I was more like her, but all the while she was wishing she was more like me! It was quite a revelation to me that she could even think of me as her role model, something I had never even imagined myself to be, except maybe to my little sisters.

I’m glad I’m no longer that awkward, insecure teenager. I am now secure in who I am. It’s such a blessing to realise that I am the best person to be. God made me, ME for a reason and I’m not meant to be trying to be anyone else. It’s when I stop trying to be someone else that I appreciate who I am. And that’s when I find out other people want to be like me.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Meeting No Limit, Encouragement, etc.

Hiya folks! Hope you week has been going great so far. And happy new month- it's already September! Does that mean the year 2009 is almost over? Wow, now that's a scary thought! Where does the time go nowadays?

I've had an interesting couple of days since last week. Last Saturday I attended a friend's (she's a fellow blogger) baby shower and I was introduced to Ms No Limit! It was really great to meet her. She's as bubbly and friendly in person as she sounds on her blog. She's also a great stepper o, don't mess with her on the dance floor, lol. There isn't a dull moment with her, and by the end of the evening, we were chatting away like old friends! It's always nice to put a face to the blog persona and I definitely hope we meet up again! What do you say girl?

Then on Sunday, hubby and I continued with our church-hunting. We have tried five churches so far. I know that sounds weird, but I'm actually enjoying it! It feels nice to be warmly welcomed at the end of every service, given special attention and the ministers try to recruit you to stay with them, all the while saying "Nice to meet you, hope to see you again next Sunday!"
Hubby and I smile politely but make no promises. I was telling my friend the other day that eventually we would settle somewhere, a place where "the Spirit leads us to" but for now, we just haven't decided yet.

I had cranky Bank Holiday Monday, didn't do much at all, even though it was the day everyone else in the UK set aside to have some fun. I tried to get some work done, but I was battling writer's block and raging hormones, so I shut off my laptop and went to read a book under my covers for the most part. But thanks to a good friend, Dr Icepick who encouraged me to get my writing flowing again, even if it didn't make sense at first. He has said he is willing to help other blocked writers, for a small fee (I kid, I kid).

Which leads me on to what I want to say about encouragement. Sometimes we are full of zing and energy and we can take on the world. But there are also times when the burden becomes to heavy, the pressure is mounting, or strength is failing, and you just need someone to get alongside you to encourage you to keep going. I'm very grateful
for friends, bloggers and family members who have been a great source of encouragement to me over the years. Sometimes I need a word of encouragement to lift me up when I'm down, sometimes I need a sharp word to prod me out of my despair.

Simple words like "You can do it!" "Keep Going!" "I believe in you!" are really great for motivating someone, and you never know if it was something you said that gave someone the courage to pursue a dream or fulfil a lifelong ambition! So I would like to say a big big THANK YOU to all of you, my friends and fellow bloggers for your kind words of encouragement. I treasure them, and I pray that God will reward you abundantly in return!

Enjoy the rest of your week!


Saturday, August 29, 2009

My Summer Break

Hey blogville peeps! Just a quick update cos I've been quiet here for a while. I've had a very interesting time in the last six weeks. So much has happened, I don't even know where to start blogging from. So I kept procrastinating until more than a month slipped by! How's it been going on blogville? I've been slacking so much lately, it will take me forever to catch up. I've managed to update my Journey Down the Aisle blog recently, but I haven't been writing much else.

Hubby and I have been travelling to some cities in Europe, then we've had family and friends coming and going because of the summer holidays, there have also been places to go, people to see, four weddings, two birthday parties and all the other social events that increase when the weather is nice. I never thought I would say this, but I really can't wait until the holidays are over and things get back to normal so I can resume my usual routine.

The travelling has been fun though! I've definitely enjoyed lots of quality time for hubby and I to reconnect, away from the pressures of work and everything else. We've been to Eindhoven, Bremen and Paris in the past three weeks, and the lovely memories will last a life time. I finally went on the Eurostar that I had been hearing so much about, finally got to see the Eiffel Tower! Sorry I'm feeling too lazy to sort through the photos and upload them.

When I've had some downtime, I've been catching up on my reading, which is good cos I need to keep myself inspired. I've recently read two fiction novels, The Pirate's Daughter and The Outcast, and two non-fiction books: Love and Respect and One Love, Two Colours (this one I particularly enjoyed cos it was very personal but also thought provoking). It was great to be reading again. In the busyness of everyday I sometimes forget how much I love reading, how good it feels to be so absorbed in a good book that you lose track of time, how much books have the power to change your mind and even challenge your beliefs. I used to enjoy reading books, magazines or newspapers on the commute but now I have to remind myself to pick up a book occasionally.

Anyhoo, God is good o! I'm really grateful to God for His blessings over my life. Sometimes I forget, and I just need to count them again to realise that He really does loves me. Sometimes the enemy tries to magnify my challenges, but I magnify my God in response. The other day, at a family gathering some people were making noises about when hubby and I would have a baby. I just kept a smile on my face and told them I was enjoying myself too much at the moment. They didn't know what to say! lol

I hope you guys have been catching up on the gist on our series In My Dreams It Was Simpler . If you haven't, make sure you head over there right away! The drama is really hotting up!

Have a great weekend and remain favoured.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Church-Hunting, Blog Series

Hey people! Hope life is going great and you are enjoying the summer sunshine! Is anyone going on holiday somewhere exotic? As for me I've had a very busy couple of weeks. Writing and editing is fun, but it can get frustrating sometimes! I can't complain though, it's my job and I don't think I would love to do anything else :)

I did go for the Caine Prize readings (EC Osondu won- yay! See more info here) and I took some pics, but I'm feeling too lazy to upload them right now. I had a good time though, meeting other writers, listening to the readings and networking afterwards.

So we've been back in London for about two weeks, and settling in quite fine. I need to start finding out about transport links in my area, and useful things like the banks, post office, corner shops and so on. Meanwhile, hubby and I are now looking for a church in the area to attend. Some of our friends have been suggesting one church or the other. So last Sunday, we decided to try a branch of Redeemed not too far away. We were a bit wary, as we haven't attended a Nigerian church for five years and we had gotten used to a very different setting, but we decided to try it. Perhaps just the once, so off we went. Then at the end of the service, hubby asked me what I thought. Honestly? Okay I liked the praise worship and the message was good, but I just felt under a lot of pressure. What pressure, you might ask?

I don't know if it was just me, but I felt the pressure to conform, pressure to fit into a certain "type", pressure that people are watching you and they will immediately judge you based on the most superficial things.

For example, I couldn't help but notice the competitive size-ups I got as soon as I entered the church. Seriously, it was like people looked at hubby and I from head to toe, scrutinising our appearance before deciding if we were worth bothering with or not. Now I may be wrong, but that impression I got was too strong.

Then there was the pressure to "dress up". Don't get me wrong, I like looking good, but Nigerian churches take it to extremes when you feel you have to dress a certain way before you are good enough to appear in church. I've heard the argument so many times over that most people give. "When you want to go and see the queen/go to work, you dress well, so you must dress well too when you want to go and see God". Yeah right, I say. Like God is sooooo impressed by whatever I wear to His presence. He is not like us that judge people based on their outward appearance. I also think that kind of implies God only lives in church, and He is not with me 24/7 which is rubbish. God sees me when I'm in my living room, not dressed to impress and He hasn't told me yet that my outfit is not fit in His presence. LOL

Furthermore, there is the pressure to impress/oppress others. When hubby mentioned his job to someone, the first thing they said was, "Is that the car you drive?" Seriously! I found it quite amusing to be honest. Is that what people do - go out and buy cars they can't afford simply to impress people in church? So church is now where we go to show off our latest acquisitions, whether it's cars, clothes, gadgets and what not. Na wah o!
Apart from the pressures I mentioned, there are also some other minor issues of time-keeping, gossiping, looong messages about giving before the offering and so on that I have with the average Nigerian church. So by the time I put all these things in context, I said to hubby that we should either develop really thick skins or continue church-hunting! Any recommendations, good people of blogville?

If you are not already following our blog series, what are you waiting for? Click to read all the posts so far: In My Dreams, It Was Simpler . Yours truly is writing the post for this week (as Lola), so make sure you check it out and leave a comment! We would all really appreciate it.

Here's a little snippet:

I left Maureen’s flat in disgust. Why are the girls looking at me as if I’m just a trouble maker, lying about Dayo to Titi? I told them Dayo was married, I mean, I saw the photos with my own two eyes. Yet Titi is telling everyone that she went to Dayo’s house and didn’t see any evidence of a woman living there.

That's all folks! Hope you have a great weekend ahead!


Saturday, July 4, 2009

Back in the City!

It's been almost five years since I moved out of London, but I'm back again. When I left, I was a single girl, off to do my Masters in Nottingham. That was September 2004, but now.... how things have changed :-)

We haven't even been in London one week yet and already our bike has been stolen! LOL.
We had padlocked it with a chain to the bike rack in the compound, and yesterday, hubby discovered that both the bike and the chain had vanished. I found it quite amusing, what a nice way for the reality to sink in - Welcome to London! We're now going to have to buy a new bike and a much stronger lock and chain! But apart from that, we are settling in quite fine. I've been unpacking our stuff gradually and I'm almost done now. We don't have our phone, cable and internet connection set up yet. I'm blogging with hubby's mobile broadband that he uses for work so I can't use it for ages. I'll be glad when we've got that sorted.

In the meantime, I'm carrying on with my work and I'm really pleased to be out of the funk I was in a couple of weeks ago. You wouldn't believe what I read in my Word for Today on this past Thursday the 2nd of July -(daily readings)

"So, choose to see it God's way. Let it go. Do what you've been called to do, and watch God vindicate you royally!"

Which was exactly what I had been trying to do since I wrote this post. It's amazing how God speaks into situations that we go through, reassruing and encouraging us to keep going. Otherwise it's easy to get discouraged and lose focus of what is really important, and allow other people to misguide us. Especially when it seems God's way doesn't conform to other people's accepted way of doing things. I just need to remember to trust God, that even when things are not going so smoothly, His plan for me is still the best, and it hasn't changed.

I can't believe it's July already! Like wow, the first half of 2009 has quietly slipped away and we are already in the second half! It sure makes me feel like I blinked and missed it. Anyhow, I'm enjoying the mini-heatwave going on at the moment, and I intend to make the most of it this weekend. I'll be at the South Bank - the London Literature Festival is happening there for the next two weeks. The Caine Prize readings are on Sunday evening (more info on the shortlisted stories and the writers can be found on their website here), and Helon Habila is making an appearance on Monday evening. It should be interesting!

Hope you have a great weekend whatever you do!


Sunday, June 28, 2009


Thank you all for your encouraging comments on my last post. I do feel a lot better now, after venting, lol.

For most of last week, hubby and I have been packing and moving our stuff into boxes, tidying up, and clearing out our house. We are just about ready to move out tomorrow afternoon. I'm going to miss our house! I'm still not sure if I'm excited about living in London again, but time will tell :)

Our new flat is not connected to the internet yet, so I'll be offline for a while until we settle in. Hopefully it shouldn't take too long to unpack and get used to the new place. Till then, have a good week, and remain blessed!


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I'm Upset

In the past two weeks I've been feeling rather down and discouraged. I love my family but sometimes they get on my nerves!

It all started when my mum came round to visit for a few days. I suspected something was up when she told me over the phone that she and I had a lot of "important things to discuss". If I had known I would have done all I could to avoid the discussions. But she's my mum, isn't she? I can't exactly ban her from coming to visit me in my house.

So she came, and promptly started talking about babies, or the lack of them in my house. Gosh! I wanted to tell her to shut up, it was that bad. I know she's worried, concerned and what not, but can she please just drop it! It's not up to her, it is something she can't control. Usually when we talk on the phone, I can switch off the conversation when she mentions babies, but I can't exactly shut her off when she's in front of me. She got me so upset that I retreated into my shell and hubby had to ask me what was wrong. When I told him, he promptly went to tell my mum to stop bothering me. But by then I was already very upset.


That wasn't all, oh no. She kept asking me about "when I would start working again". I explained I am working, the fact that I work from home doesn't mean I'm idle. But she kept going on and on. Especially when hubby and I told her we would be moving back to London soon. She and my aunt just said, "Oh good! So you can start working again!"

*shaking my head*

I got so tired of explainingto everyone, I actually got quite depressed. I even started considering taking a job again, just so that they can shut up and get off my back. By the time my mum left, she had done a fairly decent job of making me feel like a failure. But I came to my senses after praying about it and God helped to see things clearly again.

Oh dear God, please help me to shut out negative voices and focus on what You have called me to do.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Blog Series, Other Stuff

Hi all! Hope your week is going great. I've had a mad combination of writing, research and frustrating driving lessons, in the last 10 days. Writing has been generally productive, but I still feel I should be doing more (more FG, more!) to feel a sense of achievement. Apart from that, my driving lessons have been hilarious. The instructor is a very funny middle-aged Scottish bloke. When I told him I was a writer, the first thing he said was: "you better not write about me". I didn't promise him anything though - lol.

I've just finished reading Chimamanda's collection of short stories, "The Thing Around Your Neck". My sister gave it to me as a birthday present (thanks sis!). It seemed to me that some of the stories ended rather abruptly, and I'll need a Phd to understand some other ones, but overall, I really enjoyed reading them. I'm waiting now for that next novel...

Hubby and I are off to Denmark tomorrow morning, just for a couple of days. It's one of those places in Europe that you don't hear much about, but when you scratch the surface, the cities, people and culture start to look interesting and you want to explore. I'll bring back Danish Butter Cookies and packs of Legos. I'll also be on the look out for ghost of old vikings, wearing horned hats, lol.

And finally please check out a new blog, put together by me and seven other great bloggers! It's a new blog series called In My Dreams, It Was Simpler and we will be needing your comments, suggestions and other feedback! 

Thanks and have a great week!


Friday, May 15, 2009

The Blank Page

You know the one.

When you pick up your pen to write in your notebook. Or open a new Microsoft Word document and you are faced with a white, blank sheet of paper.

Some days when I pick up my pen to write, the words come tumbling out, the ideas keep flowing, I'm on a roll and my arm aches to catch up with the speed at which my brain is churning out words. But that's actually the exception. Most other days, I spend ages staring at the blank sheet of paper, willing something to happen. Sometimes I manage to scrape a few sentences together, but sometimes I give up after a few torturous hours.

Someone asked me recently, "do you schedule some time to write each day, or do you wait for the inspiration to come and then write when you feel like it?"

Good question. If I had to wait for inspiration all the time, then I would hardly ever get anything done. So most times I have to grit my teeth and force myself to write something, anything.

Or to put it another way, as I read in the "Writing a Novel and Getting Published for Dummies" book (paraphrased):

As a writer, you must realise that the blank page is not your friend. The blank page is scary, and it is your enemy. Cover your pages with words. If you force yourself to write 1000 words everyday, in a month you would have written 30,000 words. Words which you can edit and correct later. Remember, you cannot edit a blank page.

That's a lesson for Favoured Girl.

Have a great weekend all!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Thank You!

A big thank you to everyone who wished me a happy birthday either on my blog, on on facebook or phone calls, texts and so on. God bless you all!

I had a really great day from beginning to end. I spent most of the morning and afternoon chilling with hubby and receiving calls. He waited on me, cooked breakfast, gave me nice presents and all. Awww.

Later in the day, we got dressed and went out to meet up with friends for dinner. It was so nice to celebrate with close friends, including hubby and my lil sis. Lovely birthday I had, with good food, great drinks, fantastic company and engaging discussions :-)

I had a very special guest there too - our one and only Believer! It was sooo nice to finally meet her, she's a beautiful person inside and out. It didn't feel like we were just meeting each other, it was as if we have been friends for ages, which we kind of are, via blogger, facebook and telephone calls. We even found out that we live in the same estate in Lagos! Now that's amazing - (girl when next you are off to Lagos, I'm coming along!) She brought me some lovely birthday presents too, including a book titled "How Not to Write a Novel". lol! What can I say, she's beautiful, sweet, smart and she's got a great sense of humour. Babe, we'll definitely meet up again soon!

So I had a great start to my new year, and I look forward to accomplishing a lot more in the next twelve months. So that in another year's time I can look back and say I've had the best year ever. I want to move forward in my relationship with God, progress in my career, become a more loving person and reflect Jesus more and more. So help me God!


Thursday, April 30, 2009

Adding Another Year

You know you are getting old when a fourteen year-old is shocked you know who Ciara is. Two young friends of mine were talking about music videos and one of them was trying to remember the name of the singer who released a song featuring Justin Timbalake recently. When I helpfully suggested it was Ciara, she looked at me in surprise and asked: "How did you know?" .... and I'm like, why shouldn't I know? Silly girl. lol

It's my birthday this weekend, so I do know I'm getting older. I've been in a bit of a reflective mood lately, it seems that life moves so fast nowadays and I need to hurry up to catch up with the days. On a good note, I'm feeling really positive too, because I am definitely growing more mature everyday. It might sound funny but I know I'm a much wiser person now, than I was a year ago. I've learnt many lessons in the past twelve months and I'm still learning more. Bring on the wisdom!

I'm very thankful to God for adding another year to my life. I'm not comparing myself to anyone else, I'm very happy with who I am and where I am at the moment. I have everything I need: I have God, my family, my health, my friends, enough money to meet my needs, abundant joy and peace of mind. And I also know I have a bright future ahead of me! So I have reasons to give thanks.

On that note, I'm going to celebrate this weekend with hubby, my lil sis and a few friends. Will have a drink on you all! xx

Have a great Bank Holiday weekend!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Honest Scrap Award - 10 Things Meme...

Thanks to Justdoyin and Afronuts, I have received the Honest Scrap Award, thanks a lot guys!

Here are the instructions I have to follow:
1. You must brag about the award

2. You must include the name of the blogger who bestowed the award on you and link back to the blogger

3. You must choose a minimum of seven (7) blogs that you find brilliant in content or design.

4. Show their names and links and leave a comment informing them that they were prized with Honest Blog Award.

5. List at least ten (10) honest things about yourself. Then pass it on!

So here goes ten honest things about myself (gosh I did the 30 things about me recently, sigh!)

1) I'm currently reading, of all things, a book called "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing A Novel". I picked it up over the weekend and I've had fun reading it so far. Who says you can't learn something new from a foolishly titled book?

2) Recently I developed a craving for spaghetti carbonara that I can't explain. I have eaten it six times in the past week already.

3) I have never gotten drunk.

4) I'm addicted to ASOS. Help, they've taken all my money!

5) I'm ashamed to admit I'm a secret fan of the Pussycat Dolls

6) Sometimes I'm amazed by how God awswers my questions before I even ask Him

7) I have a bad habit of not finishing the projects I started or having a good idea and letting it go to waste. I'm on a mission to change this flaw.

8) I need to get fit again, without spending hours and money at the gym. (Summer is coming and I'm eyeing a nice dress!)

9) I can't wait to get Chimamanda's new book "The Thing Around Your Neck". It's been getting great reviews everywhere and I'm excited. (Check it out on amazon)

10) I have sudden flashes of childhood nostalgia sometimes. I think I'm growing old and longing for the days of playing ludo or snakes and ladders with my friends.

There, all done! I'm supposed to tag seven people, but I'm sure this award has gone round already. But if you haven't done it yet, feel free to tag me as the giver!

Hope you enjoy the rest of the week!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter! I hope you guys are having a great time during this season. I have been enjoying myself too, relaxing and feeling a bit guilty for eating so much chocolates. I promise to be a good girl when the season is over.

In the meantime, here's a reminder of the the reason why we celebrate Easter:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.(John 3:16-17)

Yep, Jesus is the reason. And Jesus is Alive!

During the Easter service in my church today, I was struck again by how relevant the Easter message is, both to me and the whole world. It was as if the message became clearer, even though I must have heard it hundreds of times. If Jesus did not come to earth, if Jesus did not die for me on the cross, and if Jesus did not conquer death and rise again, then all Christians are wasting their time. Because that would mean we believe in a huge lie or conspiracy. It would mean there's no point in trying to live right here on earth. it would mean there would be no Resurrection after this life. No hope of a life afterwards, spend with God in eternity.

But if He did come to earth, performed miracles, died on the cross and rose up again, then that's good news! Actually, it's more than good news: it's life-changing news! It means He loves me and sacrificed himself for me. It means He has taken away my punishment for sin. It means I have a hope and a future, not only in this life, but in the one to come. It means I have victory over sin and death. It means I have an assurance that the same spirit that raised Jesus from the grave, is living in me and able to help me accomplish all that God has in store for me. That's exciting isn't it? I am excited to share this good news with everyone who reads my blog! It's not something you can sit on the fence about, you either believe in the Easter story or you don't. But I'm a living witness, Jesus is real, He is alive and He has saved me :)

I was listening to a programme on the radio on Friday, a debate between some scientists and Christians. They were talking about historical and scientific evidence that Jesus did actually live on earth, He died and was buried, but He was later seen again by over 500 people. They also mentioned the historical origins of Easter, and how it was originally a pagan festival until the Christians started celebrating Christ's resurrection about the same time. It was an interesting debate and I learnt a few interesting facts, but nothing changes the fact that I believe in Jesus, His death and Resurrection.

Hope you enjoy the rest of the break and the coming week!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Owe Me An Explanation?

Hey people, hope you all have had a great week. I've had a fairly productive week, but don't ask me what I did. Okay, I'll confess now, I won't be able to make my initial deadline (sob!), so I've had to put it back a bit more. Although having set one did spur me on a lot, and helped me to focus intensely for a few weeks. I stayed up till odd hours of the morning writing and typing throughout last week. At the moment, my body clock is totally out of sync with the rest of the world. Last night I woke up at 10.30pm and went to bed at 5.30am, only to wake up again this morning at 7.20am! God dey sha, He is my strength so I can achieve what I have set out to do.

I was looking through the Blogville Awards blog a few days ago, and came across this post about former bloggers. People who, for one reason or another, have stopped blogging completely or have made their blogs private. On one level, I understand that blogging is an essentially personal choice and nobody is compelled to keep a blog, or update it regularly, or even invite other people to read it. However, looking through that list, I felt like I had gotten to know these people that I had never met, and I missed them. We used to read and comment on each other's blogs, we shared laughs and sorrows, we were part of the Nigerian bloggers' family. I felt like they owed me and their other readers an explanation for quitting. In some way, they were obliged to keep their blogs going because they had given us a glimpse of their lives and kept us wanting more. It's like having a friend who suddenly cuts you off without any explanations.

It's the same thing I feel when I learn that my favourite character is leaving a show, or my favourite band is splitting up. Even though it's their choice and their career, it's tempting to ask "Why? Stay, please don't leave!" or "Don't split up the group!". Even if the TV show carries on without them or the group members go on and try to forge solo music careers, things will never be the same again. For example, I loved Destiny's Child as a group, but I don't particularly care for any of them as solo artists. Strange huh?

On to other gist, it's my mum's birthday today and I'm really grateful to God for her life. She is fully back to good health now and it's truly a miracle. When I called her this morning she said she was thanking God and looking forward to opening her presents and cooking up a storm for a get-together in the evening. I laughed, wished her happy birthday and then called my grandma to congratulate her too.

As for me, I'm having a chilled out weekend, doing some work and generally loafing around. I can't wait for summer to arrive. It feels like this is the longest winter ever! Have a wonderful, relaxing weekend everyone!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Life, Death and After

Today I am reminded just how unpredictable this life is. Most of us hope and expect that we would live long enough to see our children and grandchildren. We think we can always count on there being another day called 'tomorrow'. But who really knows how long we are here for? Who can estimate how much time we've got left to spend on earth?

Case in point: Mr X woke up this morning, he had breakfast, said goodbye to his wife and kids, went to work as normal, and suddenly his wife gets a phone call, "Mrs X? I'm afraid your husband has been involved in a fatal accident...." and things never remain the same. Even if it is not an accident, it could be an illness. Right now I can mention two people who have been battling cancer and the doctors have told them that there is nothing more they can do.

Some weeks ago I read a book called "The Shock of Your Life" by Adrian Holloway, about three teenagers who died in an accident. The story follows each of them on an imaginary journey of what happens to them after they are dead. Reading this book made me think about death in a different way. When somebody dies, we grieve, we make preparations for a funeral, we bury them, pray that they rest in peace and carry on with our lives. But what happens to the dead person? The book attempts to cover some of these questions and you can read more on their website.

As a Christian, I believe that death is not the end, it is a separation from earth and current relationships, but there's more. I believe that Jesus Christ conquered death on the cross, and I have accepted Him into my life, then I am sure that after I die, I will see Him again. I will go to heaven and live with Him there for eternity. It doesn't mean that the prospect of death is not scary but I have this confidence that I have a far more wonderful experience after I leave earth.

Being conscious of what happens when I die means I am now more aware of how I live. If this world is all there is to life, then we can do whatever we like, live our lives without any obligations to anybody, satisfy ourselves with all the pleasures we can think of, etc. But if I know that my choices and actions here on earth will determine where I spend eternity, then it's up to me to ensure that I live right, according to God's principles. And I am ready to face Him, even if my life ends today.

So if I asked you: where would you be after you die, what would your answer be?

Saturday, March 7, 2009


I look up into the sky
I see a dark blanket
Twinkling with hundreds of white dots
I also see the moon
Glowing silently but with pride
Knowing that even though
It has got
No light of its own
It reflects the light of one
Brighter that it
With this reflected light
It rules the night sky
Not even the stars can compete
It makes me pause and think
I have no glory of my own
I cannot shine by myself
But if I allow my emptiness
To be filled with God’s grace
My weakness
To be replaced with His strength
And my struggles
Be replaced with His ability
I would start to shine
Not of my own
But as a reflection of Him

Copyright © FG 2009

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Never a Bridesmaid

I've just read Vera's current post and it occured to me that I've never been a bridesmaid too! Ever! I guess that's because I was a bride first.... hmmm....but there's no rule that says married ladies can't be bridesmaids is there?

So instead of "always a bridesmaid, never a bride", my own issue is quite the opposite - I've been the bride, never the bridesmaid!

I know there's a lot of stress involved, there are outfits to buy, accesories to coordinate, a bridezilla to deal with, a bridal shower to plan and all that, but I want to experience it all, at least once!

Okay I need to do something quickly to rectify this... let me start contacting all my friends getting married in the next few months. Then I need to start praying for my other single friends to meet their husbands really soon so I can be asked to be a bridesmaid.

Ok, I'm off to do just that.

I'll be right back.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Mixed Gists

How's it going bloggers and readers? I hope you've had a great week, whether you've been at work or at school battling the approaching deadlines. Even if it hasn't been a particularly good one, at least it's over now and you can look forward to a happier, relaxing weekend. Plan something fun for yourself, or just unwind with your favourite pleasures - whether that is shoe shopping, a tub of ice-cream or a good book.

I've had quite an eventful week, starting last valentine weekend. Hubby and I usually go out for dinner on valentine's day but this time we decided to stay in instead. In the morning, we exchanged gifts, cards and kisses -and in the evening, I made us a nice home-cooked three course meal. Hubby loved it a lot and said my cooking was better than any restaurant meal he had eaten! That's great, cos that means I'll experiment a bit more and surprise him with another fancy meal soon. So that's how I spent my valentine's day and I couldn't have wished for anything better :)

I got back into the swing of things with my writing this week and made progress which I'm pleased about. I still feel like I'm going much slower than I want to so I've set myself a deadline of March 30th to finish the first draft of my novel. (By God's Grace!) There, now that I've put that date on this blog, I hope I'll have the added incentive to accomplish it!

I've been missing my baby sister all week. (She's not really a baby anymore, but I'm four years older than her - so even when she's 60 she'll still be my little sister). I really need to give her a call soon, I've run out of excuses and yahoo messenger just doesn't cut it anymore. Besides, I have this feeling that she needs to talk to me, just as much as I need to talk to her. Isn't it funny when you call someone for no reason, there's usually something important happening in their lives that they need to tell you?

Something else came up this week, hubby got a new job - yay! I'm really proud of him and thrilled with his progress. This new job is based in London though - so- you guessed it! We might have to move back into London soon. Now, me and London have a funny love/hate relationship. I moved out of London in 2004 and have quite happily settled into a cosy arrangement where I visit London once in a while to do what I need but don't have to deal with all the hassle of living there. It's a useful place - lots of friends and family live there, I can get access to Nigerian food shops, my writing class and most networking events happen in Central London, I used to work there, etc etc. But there are downsides too, which I'm not looking forward to. Anyway we'll see how it goes. Hubby doesn't start the job until the end of April so we've got time to sort ourselves out. Time enough for me to get over my reservations.

I'm planning to have a quiet and productive weekend, fingers crossed! I'm reading a book at the moment, The Evidence Against Her which is something very different from what I usually read, but it's interesting and I hope I learn lots of useful stuff from it. Have a great weekend too, whatever you do!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Random Things About Me

I got tagged to write this note on facebook - 25 things about me - so I'm putting them up here as well. Enjoy!

1) I’m very shy and quiet when I’m in a crowd of unfamiliar people. But with my close friends, I’m playful and talkative.

2) I process information for weeks. For example, I could watch a movie on Monday, and still be analysing every scene a week later. Or I could read a book and be thinking of an alternative ending to the story 2 months later.

3) I'm such a keeper. I hold on to emails, letters, text messages and birthday cards for as long as possible. I still have letters my friends wrote to me when we were in secondary school, birthday cards from three years ago and more.

4) I would rather spend money on experiences like travelling, enjoying good food, going to see plays and shows than buying stuff. I think life is for living, not for accumulating material things that only depreciate. For example, I would rather spend £2000 on a nice holiday than on the latest “IT” bag.

5) I love listening to music. Even when I'm working, I have to have some kind of music playing in the background, or in my head. Can't stand absolute silence.

6) I learn songs quickly. I can hear a song twice and learn all the lyrics off by heart. Sometimes this is good, because people are impressed when I know the latest songs off by heart already. Sometimes it is annoying because I pick up songs that I don't even want to.

7) I try to avoid getting addicted to anything. When I realise I have started liking something too much, I stop doing it immediately.

8) I have a terrible sweet tooth. I love things like ice-cream, chocolates, yoghurt hmmmm.... Never put me and cake alone in the same room.

9) I am a night owl by nature. That explains why I’m awake at 2.43am typing this. That also explains why I hated the 9 – 5 work routine.

10) I recently cut all my hair and decided to start over. I realised perms and weaves don’t work for me.

11) I can be so disorganised, procrastinating with work even when I have deadlines fast approaching.

12) I have a very low boredom threshold. (I’m already getting tired of this meme).

13) I am very loyal to the people I really care about.

14) I have just started learning how to drive. Hey, better late than never!

15) I admire naturally fashionable and stylish people but I’m quite clueless with throwing things together and coming up with a striking outfit. Who can help a sister out?

16) I love reading books and magazines. My dream holiday would be: sun, sand, sea and a heap of good reading material.

17) I'm very indecisive but I can be very stubborn once I’ve made up my mind.

18) I absolutely hate feeling guilty. I would go out of my way to avoid upsetting anyone, and if I have then I’ll apologise at once.

19) The worst thing a person can do is to betray my trust.

20) I’m not really a TV person. I don’t watch many shows because they require commitment to follow. And I don’t like watching the news; most of it is depressing stuff anyway.

21) I’m obsessed with my kitchen and bathroom. I don’t care much if every other room in the house is untidy but I can’t stand a dirty kitchen or bathroom.

22) I like cooking and trying new recipes. Dear hubby gets to eat all my experiments – good or bad ;)

23) I usually spend ages brushing my teeth, often more than thirty minutes. (Totally random, yeah?) Well, actually that’s because I’m daydreaming at the same time.

24) I love photography – just haven’t found the time and commitment to focus on it.

25) I love God and I’m complete in Him.

I thought I should throw in a few extras:

26) I love travelling! I love the planning, the anticipation, and the excitement of discovering a new place, a new culture, trying new food, etc! And I love taking photographs and collecting souvenirs. *Sigh* If I could get a job as a travel writer, that would be just perfect.

27) I love seafood - give me shrimp, prawns, mussells, squid, scallops etc over chicken or beef any day. When I eat out I check for seafood on the menu first.

28) I'm a gadget girl. I love getting a new gadget and getting to grips with it, reading the instruction manual and what not.

29) I really want to learn a foreign language - French, Spanish and Italian top my list.

30) I'm still not sure if I want to have kids..... Oops, did I just type that, the in-laws mustn't read this...


Thursday, February 5, 2009

More Life Lessons

I've learnt to appreciate the peace of mind that comes from God.
I've learnt that other people deserve to be forgiven when they upset me.

I've learnt not to let the sun go down on my anger.

I've learnt that what matters is not really my comfort, but what I have been called to do.

I've learnt that I need to let go of my pride.

I've learnt that I need to be more patient.

I've learnt that I cannot expect to live without God's strength.

I've learnt that money is good, but it should not be abused.

I've learnt that I am inherently selfish and I need God to help me deal with that.

I've learn that I can't or shouldn't even try to hide from God.

I've learnt that even when I don't understand the situations I find myself, God is still in control.

I've learnt that I need God's grace to carry out the tasks ahead of me.

I've learnt that I have been called to serve others, not the other way round.

I've learnt that God is never late, He's always on time.

I've learnt again, that God is faithful even when I'm not.

I've learnt that God is absolutely crazy about me!

Who would like to know the story behind the whole list of lessons I've been learning? lol. I had been having a rough time in the week and a half, feeling angry and disappointed with God, stressed out and tense, etc. At the beginning of the year, I prayed that I didn't want to fall sick this year. And guess what? I went down with the flu last week, just at the time when my parents-in-law were coming to stay with us!

It wasn't my best week, I can tell you that. I was stressed out, tense and worrying over every little detail. And to make matters worse, hubby and I had a series of arguments that had no head and no tail, which is very unusual because we hardly ever argue.

I got fed up of feeling awful yesterday morning and decided to have a lengthy conversation with God. And while searching for answers to all the many questions in my heart, God really spoke to me and reminded me that all I needed was His strength. But most of all, He restored my peace of mind and my joy.

Meanwhile January, the first month of 2009 is gone! Did I blink and miss it? lol. I have a few things to accomplish this month, mostly to do with my writing, so I will start working harder on it. I don't want to wake up and realise it's April and I'm still making excuses for my slow progress. I updated my writing blog today so please check it out and leave a comment. Thanks!

I wish you a really great month of February!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Ghana Trip

I finally got round to writing this post, after procrastinating for weeks. It's been sitting around in my drafts for a while, but I must warn you though, it's quite a long post.
When my dad suggested to my sisters and I that we should visit Ghana during our holidays, we were all really excited and up for it. I thought it was a great idea because I hadn’t visited any other African country before, and it would give me a chance to meet up with my friend from uni, who was also home in Accra for the Christmas break. Initially, I thought we were going to fly, but my dad suggested we should take the car instead. After some persuasion, I thought it would be fun. The whole journey took us about 12 hours – going from Lagos to Accra, and then another couple of hours to get to Elmina, a historical town along the coast. We stayed in Elmina for two nights and then spent another night in Accra.

Our journey began early in the morning at 7.00am. We wanted to set out of Lagos early so that we could get to Ghana before night. Our first stop was at a petrol station to fill our tank to the brim, then we headed towards Badagry. It took us about two hours to get to Seme, which is the border between Nigeria and Benin Republic. The border was bustling with people, as travellers mingled with traders and hawkers. There was also a brisk trade in currency exchange going on, as people needed different currencies to trade between borders. Crossing the border was relatively smooth. We had to get some documents to take the car out of the country, then customs officials asked to check our luggage and made a few other checks and within thirty minutes, we passed through “no man’s land” (which is the small space between the two official borders) and crossed into Benin Republic.
It was my first time entering another African country and I was curious so I paid attention as the car drove into Cotonou. The first thing I noticed was that there didn’t seem to be as many flashy cars on the road in Benin, compared with Lagos. All the cars we saw were small or moderate cars. We saw the usual mobile phone networks – Glo, MTN and the like – had a big presence in Benin too, with recharge cards sold at road sides. We were surprised when we saw ladies riding bikes! But our driver explained that in Benin, bikes are not just for public transport, people also used motorbikes as their means of private transportation.

The public riders wear a visibility vest to distinguish them from private riders. They also have a lane for bikes on their roads which is really useful, so they don’t run into the path of cars, like the riders do in Lagos. Apart from that, the only other notable difference was the French language. I could take a photo in Cotonou and if you didn’t know, you would not be able to tell that I was outside Nigeria.

We journeyed on, passing through Cotonou and driving towards the other side of the country. We passed a number of small towns and villages on the way. Our journey through Benin was relatively uneventful, we ate snacks we bought at the border and watched the countryside as we drove by. The next border we had to cross was the Benin-Togo border. Again, we had to go through the documentation checks, the driver had to fill out paperwork for the car and so on. While we were waiting, I started to take photos, but I was told that it was illegal to take photos at the border and if an official saw me, my camera would be seized! I promptly put my camera and snap-happy finger away until we had crossed into Togo. Here are some photos I managed to take:
Togo is quite a small country and it took us less than an hour to get across it. We drove mostly along the coastline and we could see the Atlantic ocean and the nice beaches.

We soon got to the Togo-Ghana border and again had to go through a time-consuming process of getting paperwork for the car, then customs checked our luggage again. Eventually we were clear to go and we got into the border town of Aflao. The road was a bit rough for a few miles but it was under constriction so we soon left the bad bit behind and enjoyed a smooth ride into Accra. We passed by several police and customs check points on the way, checking that we had the right documentations, and checking our luggage time and time again. I have to say though, that I thought the police in Ghana had a friendly attitude that Nigerian ones don’t have!

We took a short break before we entered into Accra, stopping at a filling station to stretch our feet and buy a few snacks from the small supermarket. My sister had an MTN sim card, and we had been told it would work in Ghana so we had loaded it with enough credit before we left home. We were glad and surprised to realise that it cost less to call Nigeria from Ghana, than making calls within Nigeria!

Around 7pm we got into Accra, just before it started getting dark. We drove past Accra Mall (the equivalent of Palms Mall in Lagos), the Presidential residence, a busy market (I can’t remember the name) and a few other places of interest. I noticed that the traffic was orderly, the streets of Accra were very clean, all the traffic lights worked, and there were very few bikes on the roads. We didn’t stop because we still had a journey of almost 130 kilometres to cover before we get to Elmina. Some photos of Accra:

We arrived at Elmina around 9pm, by this time it was already dark so we couldn't see much of the coastal town. We went straight to our hotel, where we checked in. We were given the family suite which was really nice. We all had a shower and ordered dinner from the restaurant. The menu was good – we had fried rice with a really nice chicken and vegetable stew, as well as beans and fried plantain. After dinner, my sisters and I started watching a Nollywood movie but before long, we turned it off and went to bed.

The next morning, we got up bright and early and had breakfast in a nice chalet by the beach, which was part of the resort we were staying in. Some photos of the resort:

We left the resort with my dad’s friend who is a tour operator, to see the main attraction in this part of Ghana which is Elmina Castle. It’s one of the many forts built by the Portuguese when they first came to Africa to establish trade links. But in the 17th century it became a depot for the transatlantic slave trade and its dungeons housed many slaves captured from all over West Africa to be shipped to the Americas. (You can read more about the castle and it's history here).

We were taken round the castle by a tour guide. The tour included a history of the castle and its links with the slave trade. It was a very informative experience for me personally because although I had heard a lot about the slave trade, seeing the castle and images in the museum really brought it to life. It seemed almost impossible to believe that such things actually happened but the evidence was right there for us to see.

After the tour at Elmina, we went to the museum to see some of the items and exhibits of the town and the slave trade era. We left Elmina Castle, and took a short drive to Cape Coast to see Cape Coast Castle too. This castle was also purpose built for the slave trade and one fact that the tour guide pointed out to us was that the castle had dungeons for male slaves on one level and a church right above it! In those days, the slave masters still attended church services and called themselves Christians. I was wondering what they did to silence their conscience and perpetuate such wicked acts against their fellow human beings. I spent quite a long time in the museum at Cape Coast castle digesting a lot of information about the slave trade and its impact on Africa and history. There was a lot more information and artifacts at Cape Coast than Elmina Castle, but if anyone is interested in the history, I would recommend a tour of both. Here are some pics I took at Cape Coast:

I won't bore you with all the other grisly details that I saw and heard about during the tour of both castles, but its a trip I would recommend to everyone who wants to know more about Black history. At the end of that day, my sister mentioned that it made her appreciate the presidency of Barack Obama even more.

The rest of our holiday went well, the next day we visited Fort St. Jago before we left Elmina and went to Accra. We had fun in Accra, hanging out with two of our friends who took us to lunch, a short tour of the city and chilled out in a nice bar afterwards. By the time we got back to our hotel it was very late. And because we had to get up early in the morning, we decided to call it a night.

The next morning, we packed our stuff into the car and began the long drive back to Lagos. In all, it was a lovely experience and I would definitely visit Ghana again, but next time I'll fly!

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