Knowing the next steps did not make it any easier, I knew, I knew with a calmness and peace only He could give. Knowing came much quickly than I envisaged. Having to choose between two loves rubbed on me the wrong way. I love law, I choose law, fell out and then fell back in love with it, I love admin, it comes natural to me. After months of combining same, I had not pictured a future of one without the other. But I knew, having to choose which one, i would let go of somewhat.

Yet I struggled, oh how I struggled, why did I not embrace it? My thoughts… I firmly believed (do not ask me how and why), that there was a conspiracy to frustrate me (No, that’s truly how I saw it). Life had been good, beautiful and dandy, my birth month the prior year brought one too many needless clashes. Some days I mused, if I only understood why? Our paths were different.

I spoke to myself, “you are not your chosen field” that’s not you! An expression perhaps, but certainly not you. My emotions where a roller coaster, up one day, deeply suspicious and distrustful the next. Knowing the clouds of suspicion and distrust blinded my view did not help. Through dimmed eyes to guard my soul, I nit-picked every word and action. Questions flowed within me, ‘if the one you trust, trusts them, surely you can, right? But still…

The Word was my source of stability and sanity, no room for negative emotions, my watchword to not throw petty parties. One thing I did learn, pettiness is not cool and an unacceptable response for a messenger. Surely my Mirror never was petty.

Daily I battled, the dying the flesh was in moments. God’s view point kept me from losing it. I hung on to His word, for I knew therein only I found sanity. My medium of expression thinned, my dance on the fringe of explosion widened. This was not the plan. Did I have a right to feel betrayed? I mean, God had showed me the path to walk, why fight the vessels used to prompt the way to go? But I fought.
My body language roared rage, did I doubt God? No! Was His will desirable? Very much so. Yet there was in me that which fought what I perceived to be the forceful taking away of all I had chosen without conscience. A part was willingly, yet another was poised for battle.

So, pride had to die, flesh had to be put under, all other voices silenced, in the place of study and communion. It has been a journey, I am not fully there yet but the struggle is less than a few months back.

© 9th July, 2018

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“Someone’s job might be at stake, let it go”

The bane for bad services, one that is as old as culture here in Nigeria. We have over the years placed or misplaced our empathy and sacrificed quality service in its place. Paid for service I must say. It is one thing for an issue to be one off, but another for a repeat occurrence. Where do we draw the line? At what point do we begin to demand that the services equate the payment? After all, if we insist, a ‘family man’ might just lose his job.

I look at the situation I currently have battled for two days, and wonder! Has our culture done us a great disservice? Or have we, hiding behind the cloak of culture, done ourselves in? Culture was made for the people, never people for culture, but where exactly do we draw the line? Why are we willing to accept less than we have paid for because a repeat offender might be out of job?

So many thoughts, am I being unfair? Unreasonable? This situation has almost sucked my blood if I may. Most upsetting is that fact, there just would be another incidence with this same person in the nearest future. I probably would be inclined to look away if it is a one off but then again, would that not make me part of the problem? Just when does a culture check get activated? At what point we would declare this far and no further to the trigger of poor service quality? Surely a business has a right to insist a vendor step up their game for a mutually beneficial relationship.

Starring at the back and forth in the email trail is just as exhausting as the myriad of phone calls undocumented, surely the culture of save a job over quality service would not come back to bite another day. For today, I demand that the quality be as offered and agreed upon.

© 3rd July, 2018

It seems like a distant past, when all my focus was to pass Delf B1. Same month, a decade later. The songs bring back memories, memories 10 of a world that shaped me.

Je serai la, toujour pour toi. I will, not because I want to, but on the altar of pleasing the One who cares for me. I hear the sounds, music, laughter, silly banters, I get to count it all in my half year count my blessings. There was my favourite teacher M. Moctar, il vous enseigne comme si I’enseignement d’un bébé,
So, I look at my now and wonder in another memory 10 would any of these truly matter, would I even recall them. My predominant memories are joyful ones, the punctuations of unhappy ones I dig to pull out. What sounds am I creating? What pictures have I painted?

I look back with gratitude, grateful for a road taken I would ordinarily never trod upon. Grateful for a success just on point a alliance francais, pour mes amis who made six months in the unknown worth every moment even our disagreements.
Today my thoughts are not filled with questions bothering on whether I would pass Delf B1, when would my going to law school be fully sure. I wonder if I can truly rise above pettiness particularly when in my head I do think that’s the appropriate response, of my lack of emotion to the bloody mayhem is normal, I think about creating colourful memories with friends, kinda rest assured rent renewal is hitch free…

Fleeting at the best it all is at the end of the day. My next memories 10 is going to eclipse the one just gone by. However, I get to experience it not a day at a time but moment by moment. So here and now, I choose to guard my heart. For therein are my next decade birthed.

PS: note to self “Oghale pettiness is of the devil”.

© 27th June, 2018

They say that I am dead, I hear them speaking in hush tones about how I died and I shake my head in amazement at their words. How can I be dead? No, how? I only just finished preparing the meal N’kem would eat once he returns from work.

Standing in the corridor betwixt the kitchen and living room I can all but taste the food right now. There is something about fresh sea products, Crocker fish, periwinkle, ngolo, snails…hmm I had left nothing to chance with the preparation of the native soup. The rush of wind sucked in deeply, and the fall of her bosoms left a smile on Toritseju’s face.

Teejay her nickname by loved ones, turned in the direction of the living room, let me go and stare down the faces of these crazy ones in my house. Whatever next would they come up with?! Strains of “hush now my baby” floated down from the stairway, oh! My darling cupcake must be up. In a bid to shame my unwanted guests I almost forgot my precious would soon awake for a meal. Glad that N’kem got around to fixing that device 7 months back, saves me the trouble of running up every now and then to check if my princess is up.

We have been married for seven years today, and it was only yesterday we had first met at the goal setting seminar Rockens Foundation organised. You never know where fun lurks, save if you are open to smiling back at strangers, Teejay mused as she took the stairs two at a time with a soft blush on her face. Olanma was a few weeks’ shy of two years. My first fruit who took forever to get here, sighing deeply at my recollection of my waiting period’, as I pushed open the door, revealing a rainbow coloured room with an underlining theme of nature.

I didn’t have much of a resistance from Chukwudi when I had stated firmly no pink room for our princess. ‘No one is going to indoctrinate my child that certain colours are for certain sexes’, shaking my head in recollection of how I had stood with both hands on my hips, hair dishevelled, in a tee shirt and cream shorts and quite ready for a fight as I stared down at Chukwudi in the living room where he sat. He had simply stared back with an entertained look on his face, ‘babes, whatever you want to do with our princess room is fine by me, and where did you pick up the pink theme as being our choice from?’ he queried, as he got up from the sofa to drop his glass. With a bemused look on my face, a slight tint of my head to the right, ‘I thought you said a pink theme while you and Mama discussed just before she left for the village?’ ‘No, she was suggesting a pink theme, I did not acquiesce, and besides we have always agreed that whatever you wanted would be it.’

The purple ruffled rug which lay askew towards the east end of the room, pulled Teejay back in time. Ola with a smile on her face was sitting up, on her soft blue duvet. The toys section on the northern part of the room was a sight, and as always Ola had gotten a number of the toys to create a trail from their section down to the middle of the room., Teejay noted as she took a sweeping glance over the room. Somehow, her pillows ended up on the floor; how she did it was still a mystery to Teejay, as she picked up the yellow, green and brown pillows and piled them at the bed’s end. ‘Mama’ Ola whispered, rubbing vigorously on her eyes. ‘My angel’, Teejay responded lifting her up from the bed and nestling her on her right side with her hips as a support. ‘Hope you slept well? Huh’ I asked as I gently brushed my lips against Ola’s forehead, Mama loves you much’. ‘Love you too Mama, Ola responded giving her a big hug, and leaning her head on Teejay’s shoulder.

Dropping Ola as they got down the stairs, go to the living room, “Teejay said, ‘your aunties and Uncle ‘Seno are there’, Mama would be with you in a bit okay, let me bring your meal. Going right as Ola made for the left door, walking a bit halting as though unsure of her next step. My princess was always a sight to behold the first 30 minutes after she awakens, particularly the way she drugged stepped.

Turning, I walked into the living room, I looked intently at the faces there, Sis Seye ever the mother she was sat on the edge of the blue sofa, with a straight face and refusing to look at Teejay, ‘only Toju would have thought to make a living room look like this, such soft and bright colours, white, blue and green Sis Seye remarked’. The wall is sea green with white flowery patterns running all through from top to bottom. The cotton binds where white with baby blue draping the windows half way once the white binds where pulled backwards; a white centre table with a pale green tray sitting on it, blue sofa with checked green throw pillows. ‘Toju! That girl was something else’. ‘Sis Seye, stop talking like am not here, kai! What is it?’ Sis Seye turned and looked at Teejay, ‘Toju she said, you are simply amazing, stubborn and a spoilt brat, letting out a chuckle and shaking her head. ‘How I spoilt you is beyond me, but no more of that.’ A bright smile lit up my face, ‘I sure am not complaining that I am spoilt!’ playfully, sticking out my tongue at her.

See Olanma o! Ifeyinwa exclaimed, ‘Mummy’s princess when did you wake up and come down? ‘Now aunty Ify, Ola responded going to give her a hug. ‘That’s my baby, do you want to eat? Yes aunty, Mama is bringing my food for me, walking back to the dining table and pulling out her seat. ‘Okay o, Teejay please bring my baby’s food o!

Teejay walked back into the kitchen, this sudden forgetfulness was not good at all, ought to have served Ola’s food. Picking up the plate of indomie noodles with vegetables and boiled egg, Teejay walked back to the living room. ‘Seno was telling a tale of some incident that happened years back to the only person I could not quite place, laughing softly as I recalled, and that is one story that would never go old. I was but 8 years old, ‘Seno was 10 and Sis Seye was 16 years. Momma had sent them on an errand to Mama Bukky’s place to pick up some supplies, while they strolled along the foot path which served as a short cut in the estate, ‘Seno had seen 3 cute puppies and proceeded to prod them by throwing small stones at them. ‘I never recalled where exactly the mother of the puppies appeared from but the race in reaction to her wild response was not today. I did escape with a cut on my leg; my right leg from the hedge as I ran through, more like broke through. Soft giggles swayed Teejay’s petite body in recollection of the incidence. Momma had not found it funny though, endangering her baby she said as she scolded ‘Seye and ‘Seno, as she insisted that they should have known better.

There was the rubbing of tyres on the interlocking drive way, ‘N’kem is back’, Teejay mused quickly rushing back to the kitchen. I had kept his meal in a food warmer. One of the things they had in common was their love for hot food and pepper, aah! food was no food without pepper. Native soup and oatmeal was n’kems’ favourite dish any day, any time.

Chukwudi walked into his living room, all stood as he entered, he looked at the faces of his sister Ifeyinwa; she lived two towns away. The good roads made it seem like she was a street away, ‘k’edu Ify? A’dim dede, she responded barely meeting his eyes. He turned and looked at Toju’s siblings Sis Seye and ‘Seno welcome, hope you have rested and are eaten something? He inquired. I didn’t feel like eating aburo mi, Sis Seye answered, as she wrapped her arms around him in a big bear like hug. She lived two bus stops away on Lakomolo Street with her family. The surprise party for Toju should be just perfect he mused, the notice had been short but he was able to get them to come.

Please sit down, he said, a soft thunder escaped with the slam of ‘Seno and Chukwudi’s palms in a friendly shake, and a hug, bros mi, how na? ‘I dey o, ‘Seno replied. ‘Make yourselves comfortable, let me go and change out of these’ Chukwudi said, turning to go inside. ‘Hi baby, he greeted Toju, why is she so quiet this afternoon?’ he mused. ‘She ought not to be back so soon, he thought, no this was not the plan; phew! There goes the surprise anniversary party, as she has seen her siblings and Ify’. ‘Daddy, Ola called, ‘am eating my noodles, welcome home’ He turned, towards the dinning, ‘hey princess, how are you?’ planting a kiss on her head, ‘how was your day? Did Miss Mary take good care of you today? ‘Yes she did,’ ‘Se you would finish your noodles as daddy’s girl? ‘Yes daddy,’ she stated.

‘Okay, finish your food Ola.’ Now am hearing things, Teejay muttered to herself, who will tell N’kem? The stress with this pregnancy was quite different from Olanma’s own; seems like I get tired so easily. As she carried the tray with Chukwudi’s meal to the dinning, how is eating coming my angel? She said looking at Ola’s plate, almost done, now that is a good girl! Where ever was ‘Rume? Teejay wondered. She usually would have been here, on a day like this. She is family, ‘Rume of life, my friend from way back in secondary school. People had always stated how we looked alike, till date we still don’t see the resemblance but then we’d always answer to ‘beji’ ‘ejima’. Who didn’t like to be a twin?

Platter, platter I heard, I know those footsteps, even in my sleep I’d identify them, muttering and blushing as Chukwudi came down in a sky blue cut jean and a chocolate brown tee shirt. He had bought me a matching one, when he travelled to Ghana three months back. Baby, where are you? He called as he strolled into the living room. Sis Seye sat up straight, ‘aburo mi, wa joke gesturing to Chukwudi with her left-hand beckoning on him and patting the sofa with her right.

Those voices again, would they please stop talking, hian! Sis Seye, ki lo de?’ Teejay queried. So, what is the plan? Sis Seye asked Chukwudi, we would just head out to the restaurant without any formalities seeing Toju is home earlier than usual, plans have to change’. Forget about the anniversary dinner just yet, I mean what is your plan searching Chukwudi’s eyes with hers. Plan? Sis don’t confuse me, what plans again biko nu?

Didn’t Bankole and Obinna discuss with you, Sis Seye asked turning to look at ‘Seno. I had asked them to come speak with you at about 3pm ni’. No, I didn’t speak with them but I recall seeing their missed calls on my two phones. Okay, since I am here, we might as well discuss, what is it about? ‘Ola baby, please go call your mummy for me, remember hold the railings as you go up the stairs.’

Dr Kennedy called me Sis Seye said at about 2:30ish. It is Toju. She fell asleep while driving home from work at about 1pm today. Suddenly he looked at the lady sitting by Ify, Rume!

Today, I realised and so did N’kem that the speakers in hush tones were right and we were wrong. I am indeed dead.

© 17th October 2016

We are in the sixth month of 2018, it looks like the rest of the year will be a blur if I do not take deliberate steps to live and truly live. Years back we held a party back in my Father’s house in June and tagged it “Count Your Blessing”. Since then I always have it in my mind to take out time and count my many blessings.

The fact that I can post this day is a blessing to be counted. So many things I am a grateful recipient off. Some days I am sure I did not pause ling enough to truly express my thanksgiving. For live, for family, for friends, for creativity, for a career, for business, for accommodation, for ministry, for colleagues, for skills, for health, for organs functioning well, for ability to choose, for mentors, for sound mind, for discernment.

Just like I have come to realise, counting like words is therapeutic for me, it helps me bring my focus on the right Person. I can never be too thankful, nothing is ever too small to be appreciative off.

Count His goodness
Count His love
Count the times He turned up right on time

Count for love
Count for laughter
Count for the times it seemed a blurry

Count with gladness
Count with cheer
Count with a heart ever gratefully full

Count, count and yet count. For each count reminds us nothing we have is ours truly worked for but a gift given because the Greatest Gift ever is a Giver. Let my words ever count of many a time I was a recipient of love in diverse ways, and more still let my words ever count of the times I will be a recipient of love in ways unimagined.

© 14th June 2018

Do I have a message?
Or am I the messenger?
Yes and yes. Both I am.

My Bible tells me that I am God’s letter to the world. The world being people I meet, interact with both physically and virtually. I know I am God’s letter. I know that I have a message too. My life is a message and a message carrier, more often than I care to admit or sometimes accept, it is not about me and certainly not for me (Ouch!). There are days I look forward to the time and place where the moments of struggling will be over. That on this side of eternity I will find rhythm to my beat.

Learning to see as God sees is my current study. One thing I sure did not envisage in my walk is that people will try me (Try: to test the authenticity of who I am, my reason for being). Knowingly and unknowingly, they try me and will still do that even in the next minute. It is a conscious position to remember that we all are Image-Bearers of God. I can be petty, meeting people at their point of lack of home training (in my opinionated opinion), but knowing it’s not Godlike tugs at me afterwards.

People Management is a skill I shall conquer. You see my life, my purpose, the whole essence of who I am, why I am here, is to pass along a message. To be salt, to be light, to be a runner for God. The recipients are people, they are very ones who try me, try my patience, try my home training, try my emotions. How do I not stain the message I carry with my choices and responses to this trying? How do I choose time after time to shake it off when I can somewhat get away with vengeance? Just how?

I focus, I look intently at the One who sent me, I pour out my frustrations on Him. Some days all I can do is be still before Him, no words to be said. I let the Holy Spirit be the Holy Spirit and lead me. I am for Him, my choices always have to show I delight in His will, not because He demands it but because I truly do delight in His will. The beauty of a message is in its purity, an unstained form as given.

I am a messenger.
Yes, I am a message.
For His good pleasure.

© 7th June, 2018

2 Corinthians 3:2-3 The Passion Translation (TPT)
2 For your very lives are our “letters of recommendation,” permanently engraved on our hearts, recognized and read by everybody. 3 As a result of our ministry, you are living letters written by Christ, not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God—not carved onto stone tablets[a] but on the tablets of tender hearts.

It is a beautiful day, it began just right, my normal routine flowing one into the other. So, I danced to the moments, gliding along mindlessly in some tasks, pausing to take notes of details in others.

My first email of the day did not have pleasant feedback but I have decided in my head, I can and will live with it. I just need to ensure I do not get petty afterwards. A path I have chosen to follow, winked at me.

I have been at a place where I have had to make a choice. A choice between two loves. To follow my first choice of career path in Legal or that of admin. Admin comes naturally to me, it is something that has always been a part of my life. I recall the day I knew I had to pick, at least in pursuit of growth in my current dispensation.

The myriad of emotions I battled with was unforeseen, just as the offer to choose came with a huge whack from my blindside. Speaking and writing do help me process my thoughts a whole lot.

Another email came in and my emotions rotated round in a full circle. Livid does not quite capture my rage! Part of the intensity I feel is my not speaking much about it. This bothers on trust issues with possible options to speak with.

I have pet peeves regarding work I deliver. So suddenly discovering by looking at the colleagues’ work, it was but an upgrade version of what I had prior sent in to the requestors. You see I had sent same to this other colleague and had asked him for his input (seeing as we are supposed to be working together). The stalling in responding to me after a few promptings made sense, but it only fuelled me.

How do people dish out what they cannot eat, even if fed in error? This is something that I cannot wrap around my head. Alas! Master these are the people of whom the directive “do good to those who do you evil” is meant for. Writing has given me a measure of release (Already ranted to another colleague). Scribbled someplace else.

God help me, because I sure do need it right about now. The things and people who try my faith! *sigh*. It’s in the following week I would know for sure if I gave the devil a foothold. Peace!

© 9th May, 2018

PS this is me days later (today 31st May, 2018), I still speak less in my office. Thankfully with God by my side I fought (still fight) the urge to be petty and I am winning.