So there are a million challenges going on simultaneously in our world today. There’s the Ice Bucket challenge, 20 things about you (obviously resurrected because I know there was something like this some time in 2009), and tons of others. There’s also the favorite scripture challenge, and my friend Francesca (I have to stop blogging about this girl, haba) nominated me to put up my favorite ones. I decided to put them up (did that on Facebook) but I also decided to open it up to my Christian audience.

What is your favorite scripture? What are your favorite scriptures? What speaks to you? What gets you out of difficult situations?

While you think of it, here’s what I put up…

Here’s accepting Francesca Onomarie Uriri‘s challenge to put up my favorite Bible verses. Ok, so some of them are not complete verses but I’ll do a bit of a context for each of them…

Here goes!

Titus 1 vs 2 – “God who cannot lie” Not like He won’t lie, He can’t. Even if He wanted to, this is the one thing He cannot do. This scripture for me is what gives the entire Bible the legs it stands on. It is such a comfort on days when I feel blue!

Psalm 107: 20 – “He sent His word and delivered them out of their destruction” – Sometimes, we dey take our hands find trouble (can I hear an amen) but God’s word rescues/snatches/delivers us. Super grateful. Super super grateful!

Joshua 1: 8 – “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success” – ‘this book of the law’ for me refers to whatever my hands find to do per time. The only one who can negate the promises of God concerning a person is? That person. So if the book of (whatever law – school, work, the Bible, whatever) departs from your mouth, and you don’t meditate (work at it, devote productive hours to it), you will not make your way prosperous, and you will not have good success.

Selah (said in the voice of my Pastor, The Rev Goodheart Obi Ekwueme).

So, who to nominate? My sisters – TokesRajiAdaora, Nike, go for it!

Over to you people, share yours!

 

Two weeks ago, I decided to take advantage of INEC‘s registration exercise to get a voter card. What’s all the activism for if I can’t vote? And so far, the chances that I will be in Nigeria during the elections in 2015 are very high.

So it was off to Government Secondary School in Lifecamp that Monday morning to get it done.

Got there about 8am, and if I had any sense, I would have known (from the crowd I met there) I didn’t stand a chance. I would also have known that heels on the day wasn’t the smartest idea. To be fair to myself though, I actually believed I would be able to get it done and then head off to a training I had fixed for past noon; looking back I’m sure even God must have been giggling at me and my plans.

9am and INEC guys still hadn’t come. There was no place to sit and my shoes were starting to hurt. People were gisting with the Police guys and promising them heaven on earth. Me? I was sipping lipton.

9.31am. INEC guys came in a white van, and as they were unloading their stuff a police truck came (siren and PSA included). A lady (whose appearance, voice, and intonation reminded me of Dame Peshe) announced that people who had registered before should leave or they would face the “full wrath of the law”. If I had a pound for every time I’ve heard that phrase in this our Nigeria I’d be super wealthy.

Anyway, noise warnings from the lady lasted another 20 minutes, and then the police truck left. By this time we’d been asked to write our names on a list so we’d be attended to.

The men seemed to get theirs done without a fuss, but we ladies had to have two separate fights over the order of names on the list. #CatFightTinz

One torn list and a few exchanged curses after, our list was sent in to the INEC guys and the wait began. About noon and no where getting close to getting registered, I left. Plus I had a visitor (and the attendant cramps) that demanded I leave and sort myself (forgive the TMI).

Got back about 2pm, and it still wasn’t my turn. Matter of fact, it became even clearer that it wouldn’t get to me. I chatted with various groups of people and apart from the INEC guys still dealing with lists they collected on Saturday and Sunday, I learned from more than one group that the police (who were at the doors to ensure people were orderly) were collecting money to facilitate quicker entrance to meet the INEC guys.

Still, I waited. Most of my day had been wasted anyway. I was content watching everything from a safe distance.

About 3pm, people started getting testy. Being the last day of the registration, with no extension in sight, people were agitated. The police started using belts and things to get people to disperse. Was really disturbing for me to watch for a number of reasons.

1. Ebola – as we all know, body fluids are a vehicle for the transmission of this virus. The sun was scorching so of course people were sweating. Some others were spitting (yuck), and a few others were cleaning out their nostrils on every inch of ground they could find. Now people were thronging, pushing, a few of them fell, it wasn’t pretty. Absolutely disgusting.

2. Whipping people. Really? Really? Why on earth? Do you blame the people for becoming restive when some of them had been there since 6.30am and then because some others who came about noon had ‘tips’ for the police, they got bumped to the top of the list for registration?

I spoke to one of the policemen whipping people, and the conversation is reproduced below.

FGS – Sir, it’s 4pm. Won’t it be better to tell these people what their options for registration after now are, instead of whipping them?

Police – Did you see me whipping anyone?

FGS – (A little shocked at his question) Yeah! I’ve been standing and watching you for the last 30 minutes. I feel like…

Police (cuts in) – You are making allegations against my person! I am an officer of the law! Do you know what we are doing here?

FGS – Yes I know you’re supposed to keep the peace, keep the people orderly, but you’re not supposed to whip…

Police (cuts in, super incensed now) – Did you see me whip anybody? If you talk too much I’ll take you to the station…

FGS (cuts in, a little ticked off) – stop spitting on me. And are you threatening me? Are you actually threatening me? (To be honest I was a little flustered, but I don’t know why I was smiling)

Police – You can write anything you want to write! I don’t care! I am an officer of the law…

FGS – (cuts in) This is not a productive conversation, you’re not listening to me, and you’re still spitting on me. (And I turned and walked away).

I tweeted.

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And yes, I took a picture.

2014-08-25 16.47.39Good thing was, he didn’t touch anyone else (least till I left about 5pm), and I caught him stealing glances at me from time to time.

No, I didn’t get registered.

The End.

 

Happy birthday baby!

Posted: September 6, 2014 in FUN!!!
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How did I even meet her? To be honest I don’t remember, and I’m not sure it was anything extraordinary, like she dropped out of the sky during an event I attended or anything.

I just know that over a couple of years we’ve gotten closer, and even closer in the last 18 months. And I couldn’t be happier. There’s nothing more assuring than having a friend who you know ‘gets you’, and always has your back (even when she doesn’t agree with everything you do).

This girl? Stellar. I remember when I had a really difficult time believing something I thought had a bit of life in was really over. That Sunday, I rang her and I could barely speak, I was crying that bad. And she listened, not sure I made a lot of sense but she listened, and then she asked if she could pray with me (see my razz friend forming posh). And she prayed. And her prayer was simple, heartfelt, and I knew God listened. I just knew. And of course, I was wailing by the time she finished because she’d made me laugh earlier. She doesn’t know how much that call/prayer meant/means to me, and she probably never will, but I’m eternally grateful (and it is the reason you’re getting actual gifts for your birthday Missy, nothing says I couldn’t have given you a handmade card!! :)

A must–have quality for my friends (well not really but it helps… a lot) is that they should be able to cook. This one? Yes! Yes! Yes! And she cooks for me, even when she is fasting (never mind that she’d probably be cursing me the entire time she’s cooking o, and to my hearing. Sigh.) Her darling brother (wink) and I put in special requests for jollof rice on Sundays, and when the Spirit of the Lord is upon her, she complies. Otherwise, she’ll scold me into forgetting I wanted rice in the first place!

Thank you for giving me a home in Lagos babe, thank you for always making me laugh, thank you for driving like a crazy gorgeous, black woman, and telling me things like, “you will come down from my car now if you don’t stop (whatever it is you want me to stop per time)”. Thank you for always being there. Always. I hate that I cannot be there for the birthday do today (which you’ve been talking about since January, S-M-H), but I know you will have a fabulous time, and if this gets read at the dinner, this is the point where everyone who came without a gift should either stand up and leave, or write you a cheque (not playing). *Insert stern face here*

As you turn the big 30 today baby, God bless you. I bless you today with everything I’ve got, everything that is in me, every bit of me beseeches the Lord to bless you. And give you peace. And make His face shine upon you. And bring you into your own Canaan, your own land flowing with milk and honey, overflowing with the bountifulness that you desire. May the heavens continually be open for you, and let God (even today), stand in battle against anything/anyone standing in your way. You will excel, you will stand high above your peers. People will look at you and see God, His glory will never depart from your habitation. Amen.

Thank you. For being you. I love you lots.

Happy birthday Francesca!

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Who is the calm one? Sigh..

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The person in front is prettier. End of!

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Oh this was lovely! Francesca made this… I don’t even know what entered her that day.

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Ah!!! And she made this the very next day. Hian! What manner of love is this? Please, go easy with it biko

And she's gorgeous!!! Super gorgeous!!!

And she’s gorgeous!!! Super gorgeous!!!

I was at House on the Rock The Refuge today the 31st of August, a few hours before the ‘ember months’ broadcasts start flying around on Blackberry, Twitter, and Facebook. Miss me with that nonsense please. God bless you.

I digressed; church was many shades of amazing! To be honest, the only church that compares to HOTR for me is my home church, Hillsong. There’s something about the amount of care and preparation that goes into readying their services that makes it super exciting for me.

I was blessed by the testimonies, especially the lady whose sister God snatched from death, and the guy who now has two flexible, well-paying jobs. There was the single mom whose son has now come to Christ and is now in university and away from his rough friends, and yes, there was the guy who heard a word from Pastor Goodheart in 2001, ‘ran’ with it and has now received a mandate letter from the Federal Government to bring his 9-year-old dream to life! Exciting stuff, God is truly amazing!

And then Asu Ekiye took to the stage, and I couldn’t sit down! Yes! Yes! Yes! From the first song till his team left the stage, I was catapulted to several times in 2013 when my darling aunty Pat and I would play loud music on the days before she fell ill, and then days when she didn’t feel a lot of pain.

Sometimes, I would wake up to Yinka Ayefele, some other times it would be Kefee (of blessed memory), and then of course it would be Asu Ekiye blasting through the roof. How no one ever reported us for disturbance I don’t know, and you know how paper-thin walls can be in England.

It always annoyed me when she did that (because I have the craziest sleep patterns); she’d leave the music on (at its highest), and then open my door just so I’d hear her sing along to it. When I opened my eyes she’d say, “eye no go rotten” or “sleep no be death”. If I frowned, she’d say, “I just came to visit you o, you don’t know if I’m an angel”, and that would make me smile. I miss her to pieces.

And so when Asu Ekiye started to minister, I danced my heart out in honor of God, and in honor of my aunty. I flashed back to the times we’d play these Nigerian traditional tunes, and then I’d dance to show her the steps I’d put on during my traditional marriage (even when I wasn’t dating anyone). I remember asking to check if my bum was shaking or not. Lol!

I miss her. I miss her. Kai.

P:S – At this point I shut my moleskine and concentrated on the service. So I wouldn’t cry too much. :)

A few times this week I’ve had cause to use this phrase “may we not become the thing/person we criticise” and after I used it this evening while chatting with my darling girl/expert tensioner Francesca, I decided to write about it!

First off, I was pushing off to Lagos on Tuesday for a meeting/meeting some actors on location and I met Nasiru at the airport. Now, Nasty (what we affectionately call him) is a long time friend and former boss at the BBC World Service Trust while I was there.

Nasty is a very good friend of mine (offline and online), and probably doesn’t remember how he encouraged me sometime in 2009 when I had a really rough period because of one silly diary I found. I remember everything you said to me Nasty, and I’m super grateful!

Anyway, so we talked about our old office, and how things have changed, how people we thought of in one way became a totally different thing, and I expressed fears about the corrupting effect power has on people. Nasty was quick to remind me that not everyone is misled by power, and we wrapped that conversation with “may we not be the thing/person/people we criticise”.

The day before I was trying to register for a voter card (didn’t happen eventually), and I remember thinking all sorts of angry thoughts because of the really stressful day I ended up having. These thoughts included everyone who had something to do with the really shoddy preparations for the registration, including the policeman who threatened me (chronicle coming up soon). And while I talked to someone about it later that evening, he tried to make excuses for a few of the people I had it really bad for. Of course I didn’t want to think of it, but I did (later), and I hoped people would give me the benefit of the doubt when I needed it.

And then there was the conversation with Fran earlier this evening, we talked about a somewhat mutual friend and the drama she gets at home. While I agree that she definitely could have it better, I also know that it’s very few parents who would intentionally set out to hurt their kids. And so I said to Fran that I pray we don’t become the parents our kids talk to their friends about, the ones who give them loads of drama.

There’s at least two more instances this week that I’ve used this phrase, and I honestly don’t remember if I came up with it or if I read it somewhere, or if someone said it to me. I just know that it’s worth taking a minute to reflect before we chew the next person out. Not saying to cover evil or condone ‘anyhowness’, but people make mistakes, and we can too.

Have a smashing new week!

 

PS: It’s Francesca’s birthday next week, and I’m super excited! Francesca is a beautiful daughter of Zion, and has become one of the strongest arms I lean on, always there when I need her. I would go on and on now but there’d be nothing to put in the card, and she’s the kind of person who would refer me to this post just to tell me I’ve said the same thing twice! Love you long time B!

PSS: She wrote for the first #31Days31Writers series, and she’s so intense! Loved her piece!

PSSS: God please do not let anything happen to Joan Rivers (who is reportedly on life support). She might have a really caustic mouth but I really like her!

The Word of God will do you good, anytime!! I have been remiss with publishing my church notes for a bit, so this week we’re catching up! The theme for the service (which I attended in June and totally looooved) was ‘Man/men of steel’. There was a guest minister, Pastor Sam Oye and his message was titled: ‘The Making of a Man of Steel’.

Steel is an alloy which is the product of two metals fused together to produce something that is durable and of a higher qualitative value.

This hybrid created by the fusion is done for three reasons

  1. Ordinarily it is ductile (it appears strong but is not as strong)
  2. It is malleable – it cracks/thins out under pressure
  3. It is less desirable in its raw state.

The process of fusion involves ‘smelting’ or metamorphosis. This process is never pleasant – tears will be shed, habits will be dropped, personal excuses for weaknesses need to and should go!

The weakness of the metals are removed during the smelting process, giving way for the additional materials that make it more durable, of greater quality and high value.

Three characteristics of a man of steel

  • An ordinary man with extraordinary grace and wisdom
  • A common man with uncommon character and courage
  • A normal man with unusual grave and undeniable results

A man of steel needs three types of people in his life

  • A coach: someone to make you uncomfortable with where you are per time
  • A virtuous wife. Ruth 3: 11, Proverbs 12:15, 31:10. ‘Virtuous’ is from the Greek word ‘Chayil’, meaning able, efficient, resourceful, rich, healthy, valiant, forceful, and mighty.
  • The Holy Spirit. 1 Samuel 10

Dear men, Adam was in his garden (tending it) when God brought Eve to him (or caused him to sleep and then formed Eve out of him and then brought her to him if you like the long version of things).

What are you doing? What garden are you tending? Have you found your purpose in this life or are you swaying with every wind of doctrine?

[Written on the 26th of June]

Service today was powerful! Whoop!

When I’m in Nigeria, there are very few reasons why I won’t attend House On The Rock The Refuge in Abuja, and first four of a possible five reasons is I’m probably not in Abuja!

This particular Sunday, coming after a particularly horrible week both locally and internationally – Gaza, Air Algiers, Boko Haram, Ebola (hian!) – there was a real sense of fear/panic around me, and I promise you I was checking my calendar and things.

But God always has a word for His people, a word of peace, a word of comfort, a word of hope. And so I listened to testimonies of how God delivered a guy from violent death in an accident where the villagers were asking, “where are the dead bodies?” He came out untouched.

I listened to ‘Praise In This Age’ worship God like a man adores a girlfriend who just said yes to him, heartfelt, feeling in every single word, it was the kiss of my day. He has an incredible testimony too, God delivered him from a violent death too… He was pronounced dead after his accident et al but he’s alive today, with the most ‘goose-bumps inducing’ voice I’ve heard in a while! Dang!

Tehilah choir? Minstrels of life! Whoop! Instrumentation at its peak, and their excitement is always palpable, even when you’re sitting upstairs! Love them! Watched my sister bumping her head (with the cutest smile ever) as they did a hip-hop number today, love, love, love!

The Word. My Daddy Rev Goodheart led the church in a session of prayer, and brethren if you’re not praying for Nigeria you’re on a looooooong thing! What!! How can we be ranking highest for everything evil? Why? Can we not see there are evil forces at work? What else can we do but pray to the God who created us (and this country) to deliver, defend, and preserve His own?

Defend, deliver, and preserve us oh Lord. We will take precautions (like not hang around dodgy places, practice strict hygiene and stay aware of how to minimize risk to Ebola, etc.) but we know if you don’t watch over us and our cities, our efforts are in vain.

Rev Goodheart preached on the help of God, and 7 ways to engage it. Did I need this word or did I?

  1. Admit and acknowledge you need God’s help. No point if you feel like you can run things yourself. Deuteronomy 8: 2. Isaiah 66:3
  2. Denounce/release anything that might ‘help’ God or attempt to share his glory. Yes Sir! Take your eyes/hopes off them! Isaiah 50: 7. Psalm 147: 10-13
  3. Acknowledge/thank Him for past interventions. Works both ways – He comes through for you, but while you wait your faith stays unshaken cos’ you know if He did it before, He can/will do it again. Psalm 103: 1-4
  4. Ask/pray for His help. Hebrews 4: 16. 1 Kings 18. Don’t get weary with it. Ask!
  5. Activate divine help by praising. Psalm 23:3. 2nd Chronicles 20.
  6. Anticipate a God-given strategy will be made available. God always gives instructions when He wants to come through for you. Obedience to divine leading delivers you from destruction.
  7. Keep your eyes on the victory. Have you done everything you should do? Stand. Keep calm. Let God do His thing. Give God what Pastor Obi called ‘sleeping praise’! As in, sleep!

I had a great time at church, loved it! Looking forward to the dedication of the church in September, and Tehilah’s concert! Fingers crossed I can make it!

Written on the 27th of July.

A few things told me I was ready to do an entrepreneurs edition of #31Days31Writers:

  1. I’d run the entrepreneur interview series on my blog several times, and not only did the articles get great feedback, they opened new doors of opportunities for the business owners. I have however been remiss in sourcing entrepreneurs for that category on the blog and so I thought, why not get the entrepreneurs sell themselves?
  2. #31Days31Writers (again on the blog) was a massive success the two times I’ve run it! Again, great feedback, the amazing stories and perspectives from the writers, and it was such a joy having fresh content every single day of the month!

And so I thought, why don’t I dedicate one edition solely to entrepreneurs? Why not celebrate the brilliant young men and women braving the odds working through unfavorable circumstances to keep their dreams visions alive? Why not offer them this platform to showcase their services, strengths, and unique edge?

Why not?

And that’s it folks, this is your space!

Criteria

Be an entrepreneur (defined by Google as “a person who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit”). Is this you? That’s all the criteria you need!

 

Send 500 words, covering the following

  • What do you do?
  • Why you stated your business/what gets you excited about it?
  • What year did you start this business, and where?
  • Immediate challenges you faced then and what you did to deal with them?
  • Where do you see your business at the end of the year, and in five years?

That’s it! Please send in a photo with your submission – could be of your products/address/whatever you feel compliments your work; feel free to create one for this if you want. Send it to dfairygodsister(at)gmail(dot)com with your name and #31Days31Writers as the subject of the mail, and you’re in!

I’ve got 25 slots open, and the first people to send in their entries, get it!

Start sending in your entries in already!

 

Hi guys!

Been a while I wrote, and I’m sorry… I’ve written a lot of stuff, but as always, the challenge is typing it up for it to make sense for you!

Anyway, something happened last night.

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I was in Lagos last week, and driving to a super interesting service with my girl Francesca we saw so many people crossing the expressway just under the pedestrian bridge. Francesca was super upset (and to be honest I was puzzled by it) but seeing this guy yesterday evening just broke me.

People, please let’s be a bit careful. As we drive, as we walk, as we sit in cars driven by other people, we must be careful. Nigeria (especially) is in a bad place with all sorts of things snuffing out lives (ebola, Boko Haram, Cholera, etc.); the least we can do is cover our bases.

Have a good weekend everyone!

I haven’t been in my village for a good number of years, save the 24 hours I spent in 2010 for my sister’s traditional wedding (there’s got to be a separate chronicle for that someday)!

Anyway, so my cousin was getting married and I told myself that somehow my trip to see Momma would fall within that period. And it did.

The story about the trip to Asaba from Abuja is here; yep it’s the story about the ‘beggi beggi’ woman.

Cue Friday afternoon, and the 25 minutes drive to my village from Asaba; my father believes he’s from a town though, never says he’s from a village. :)

Occurred to us that apart from a 24 hour stint in 2010 when my sister had her traditional wedding – got in from London that morning, road trip to the village, met what I could of the traditional wedding and left the next morning – I’d not been in the village in at least five years so Daddy (Lord bless him) gave a running commentary of pretty much everything that had changed. ‘Changed’ here could mean it’d gotten better or completely gone South by the way.

I ended up tweeting some of the things he said… let’s go grab those off Twitter then.

Screenshot 2014-07-13 21.59.33 Screenshot 2014-07-13 21.59.51 Screenshot 2014-07-13 22.00.03 Screenshot 2014-07-13 22.00.15 Screenshot 2014-07-13 22.00.23Whoop!

Was awesome seeing my uncles and aunts, and super awesome to just take a nice stroll around. People in the villages lead healthier/simpler lives than all of us town folk o, regardless of what privileges we thing we enjoy. For example, I had roasted corn and pear (oka n’ube) and the corn was harvested from a farm near by. Fresh, succulent, and soft!

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Yes Sir!!!

By the way, electricity was also a lot more constant than what we have in Asaba, no jokes. And I hear they are not saddled with bills (fixed or energy charges) that we town folk have to deal with either. Next thing y’all will hear I’ve relocated to my village o!

Before I forget, do you know where bitter kola comes from? So I was strolling with Uncle B (my favorite of all my father’s brothers), and he showed me this tree and told how bitter kola is derived. Plus he has lots of the ‘ugolo’ trees on his land, anyone want to bring us an export proposal?

Screenshot 2014-07-13 21.59.17And you know you’re in the village when your uncle stops a random stranger in the street and introduces you to them because you’re related!!
The evening, the morning, wedding day!

Got up early, did some work and then a bit of reading, and then prepped for my cousin’s wedding. She still didn’t know I was around, he he he.

We got to church and I think the last time I was inside this particular church I was a child. As in child, child. Still looks beautiful though, wonder why we don’t invest in ‘protecting’ all these aged buildings. See potential tourist site o…

Took pictures with my uncles, and a selfie with uncle B!

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Went off to the reception, and things stood out for me so I tweeted (me and Twitter sha)…

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Na wa!

 

Eating, dancing, and gifting over, it was time to head back to Asaba, and I didn’t want to go.

Pertinent note from Daddy as we crossed the Niger Bridge and I wondered why people were risking life and limb to board buses on the bridge going into Asaba.

Apparently, if they board on the bridge, the trip costs N100 because it is classed as ‘local’ (because some people see the bridge as part of Delta) but if they board anywhere in Onitsha (even if it’s just before said bridge), it becomes an out-of-state trip and it goes up to N150, maybe even N200.

And that my darlings, is the story of my trip to the greatest village/town on earth!

 

 

PS – Written on the 11th (and completed on the 11th) of July.