Saturday, December 28, 2013

As 2013 rolls by.........

I'm sitting here, watching the almost still street below from my window and amazed at how quiet some parts of Calabar can be and thanking God for such peace and quiet in the midst of the hustle and bustle of this world. 

As usual, my mind wanders and I begin to take stock of 2013 ( actually began doing that since I got in here); I am amazed at how quickly this year passed by.  I am reminded of the very many things that happened this year, in my life, in the nation, in the lives of friends, of families, at work, in my business, etc.

I am reminded of the very difficult and almost mind bending, painful decision I took at the beginning of the year (the strain and emotional anguish was inexplicable) and how God has practically held my heart in his hands and cradled it slowly but surely back to some form of normalcy. He's still cradling it, and healing it and He has provided all I need to get back to normal.

I am reminded of how many times I travelled this year both locally and internationally and how God kept me through it all and always brought me back home to my loved ones safely.  

I am reminded of God's grace with ThistlePraxis Consulting.  I couldn't even pay my staff full salary in January and I cannot say we did so many projects this year, but God has brought us to a fantastic close of year.  It could only have been by grace. I cannot but chuckle at the new amazing supernatural opportunities that opened before our very eyes - ThistlePraxis in 17 countries and 4 continents.  Only grace. 

I am reminded of the possibilities and joys and laughters.  The new babies I blessed in church and in families dear to my heart; even a royal baby; the new marriages full of hope and life; the new homes and cars; the new opportunities beyond my imagination; I can only just shake my head and look up and say - thank you God.

I am reminded that I am not perfect; I still wrestle with: anxiety, control, Perfectionism. Anger. so many many things. But as this year rolls to an end, I will continue to work on them as God helps me.

I am reminded of the knives in my back and the arrows close friends have shot into my heart. The side glances ad the mocking smiles. I have been through a tough time, and have a bleeding heart to show for it.  But I am dealing with it.

I am in the same vein reminded of the times I have knowingly and unknowingly offended close friends and loved ones and I have made a mental note to call up everyone before the 31st and make peace.

I am reminded of people who lost loved ones and can't seem to find or feel any form of joy as the year rolls to an end and I just mentally reach out and cradle my loved ones around me and hold them tight. 

I am reminded of the love I have been privileged to receive this year. From many whose names I will not mention.  Standing by me, for me - in the place of prayers, taking unplanned flights to check on me and ensure I have not disappeared, calling, loving, blessing and encouraging me. I am reminded and I am grateful. 

As I sit here at this window, typing away, I am reminded of so many things.  The joy and undiluted bliss on my father's face as he walks into his house in Calabar. The prayers and thanks my parents have offered on my behalf. 

I am reminded of how blessed I am beyond measure. I look around my home.  I walk into every space, every space in this house, touching the walls and the furnitures. Thanking God for a home, a place to call home. I'm looking at my extra large green garden and the trees. I recall just yesterday afternoon, the fresh coconut in my garden was plucked and my parents and big sisters drinking and eating and I am watching them and smiling.  I am a very loved woman, very very. and the song in my heart just went: 

Father, to you Lord, be all the glory
To you, my Father, be all the honor
To you Daddy, be all the glory,
Power, adoration for evermore

Because verily, verily you are good,
Verily you are God
Jesus you are good.

Onye nje'mo onu
Na ra ekene, mgbenine

I am reminded of my love, my children - my tonnes of pure joy and happiness -;  I am reminded that this year is passing by and it has been an eventful year for me.  Very eventful. And I can only bow my head and say THANK YOU LORD.

As the year rolls by.................

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


My third book - Things I've Learnt - is a small coffee table, a kind of read-while-you-wait, type of book. It is dedicated to Love, Friendship, Wisdom and Intuition. And then it is dedicated to the SOMH. After it's release, I have gotten quite a few text messages and bb messages from some 'amebos', asking who the SOMH is.  I always laughed it off and wondered why people let their curiosity get the better of them.  However, I have gotten so many of the questions, so I decide to answer. Curiosity they say kills the cat o. Anyways, I will tell them who the SOMH is.

The SOMH is my best friend, my sweet, my honey bunch, my bestie, my sugar pom pom, my darling, my sunshine, my moonlight, my crying partner (SOMH doesn't cry, just hugs me tight), my prayer partner, my tea and spice, my gist provider and coordinator, my time machine, my angel, my listening ear, my ever dependable shoulder to lean on, my music box. I can ride the rough bus of life because the SOMH is my support beam.

The SOMH stole my heart and helped me start all over again. The SOMH taught me to trust again. Always available to hear my complaints - never tired, never waning. When night fell upon me even when it was still daytime, the SOMH made me see it was just a veil and with one finger, shifted it away and I saw the sunlight again. The SOMH is the only movie I can watch, the only song I can sing because I learnt to see and sing again.

The SOMH helped me get to 'the place' - that place of loving love and not being afraid to love again. That place where doing good and being good is not for buying acceptance. That place where my happiness is sacrosanct and my joy is a pleasure. That place where I'm comforted of all the rivers that ran dry. That place where my laughter is not curtailed but released.

SOMH, You bless me, you saved me from myself, you love me like no other love I've known.  You said I didn't need to be perfect. By your side, I learnt to forgive myself and make better use of my gifts and self. You remind me that I do enough.

I love you SOMH.  I love you so much my heart sings. You are the song in my head when I wake up, the smile on my face as I kneel to ask for direction for each new day. You are the reason why I walk as if I dance and I wriggle my waist as if oil wells dwelt between the meeting of my thighs. You are my love and my desire. You satisfy my soul's lasting encounter with the inexplicable. You are my toxin and my antidote. You are my love and my romance. You are my love and you are my desire.

What more can I say? Let me end with the words of Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861):

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, --- I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! --- and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

The SOMH, let me love you now and forever more...........

When people make you lose respect for them

Ok, Finally on Saturday December 14, I launched my second book Break The Alabaster and released a third one - Things I've Learnt.

Fantastic event though my some of my reviewers didn't show up and didn't have the courtesy to call me and explain why or even give me reasons why they chickened out.  It was to be an all male panel to review the book. Only one man - Usen Udoh - out of the four showed up.  Then I got three ladies to sit in the review panel and it was awesome.  Usen did a fantastic job being the only man in the panel. The Moderator - Sister Bisi was super! Audrey, Ireayo and Jeniffer made the difference.

I sat down there while the book review was going on and somehow my mind wandered back and forth and I began to write another book in my head.  I just wondered why some people do the things they do. What goes through their mind when they do those things and how they truly feel when they have done those things.

Things like being disrespectful.  Things like being late to an event.  Things like not showing up when they have promised to.  Things like leaving your work undone and expecting you to understand. Things like speaking ill behind your back. Things like snickering behind your back and smiling when you turn. Things like hiding, hoarding and coding information even when it is unnecessary. Things like lying. Things like half truths.  Things like competitive behaviour.  Things like acting all more holy and spiritual than Christ.  Things like ....... I don't even know sef.

Sometimes, we do not realise - and this has nothing to do with age - that it is easy for us to make others lose the tiny bit of respect they have for us when we behave in a certain way. I deliberately treat people with respect no matter who they are because my motto always is - no one knows tomorrow. I painfully admit that because people don't have respect as adults, they also bring up badly behaved and very disrespectful children.  Children who see you and look at you and wait for you to say - Hi dear, how are you? before they greet you.

I sat there thinking and as I stood up to speak my closing remarks, and I got to make some comments about not caring what anyone thought of me - I could see some people snickering and making faces at one another.  I smiled because they only did what I expected of them to do - be small minded as usual.

I stood there and though I was speaking, I concluded in my mind that I only require people to respect me and not love me. Love without respect can be fleeting but respect brings love that is lofty and lasting.

So I will keep my respect. I will be true to myself.  I will be true to my word. I will truly support the people I have said I will support.  I will treat people with respect even whe they do not deserve it and teach them to respect me. I will insist on being respected rather than loved because I will earn it. I will cut off people who disrepect me especially if they are just incapable of having respect for me or anyone.

I will not allow people to lose their respect for me. That I concluded as I finished speaking.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Make I do marry jare. Really?

Our souls are not hungry for fame, comfort, wealth or power. Those rewards create almost as many problems as they solve. Our souls are hungry for meaning, for the sense that we have figured out how to live so that our lives matter, so that the world will be at least a little bit different for our having passed through it. - Rabbi Harold Kushner

I'm sitting here this morning at the airport lounge waiting for the boarding call. I'm trying to read the day's newspaper and I notice two young ladies walk in and sit down.  They looked like ladies in their mid twenties. As they sat down close by, I couldn't help but over hear their conversations.  One of the ladies was saying, "I can't wait o. I really can't.  I've finished youth service, what am I waiting for?" When I heard that, I could almost say out loud what her next sentence was going to be. True to my thinking she blurted out - " if he is not ready, I just have to move on with my life.  I have to marry next year, 2014 must not pass me by".

The second lady concurred and said, "Yes o, after school, wetin remain?" At that point, a deep sense of sadness enveloped me.  My mind drifted to many places all at once.  Is this what we teach our daughters? Is marriage the heights of all achievements? To aim less and less for themselves? Where is the place of dreaming? Where is fulfilling purpose? 

Should marriage the ultimate for our daughters? Do we pay school fees up to tertiary institutions so that their only ambition in life is to marry and 'settle down'? 

As I ruminated on this, the quote above flashed in my mind. Life in general, without recourse to being male or female, is meaningless without purpose.  One of the things that have always driven me has been the realization and delivery of my God ordained purpose.  However, I realise that many people do not even understand purpose. And because we do not understand purpose, we cannot teach our children how to understand, realise and deliver their purpose in life.

I have six daughters - biological and adopted - and everyday, I have promised myself to push them to understand purpose. To understand that the world has to be a better place because we passed through it. I will embrace their choices to marry when they please but I will not make marriage the ultimate of their lives. I love being married, absolutely.  So please do not get me wrong - I am a HUGE fan and ardent supporter of the institution. However, I do not see it as the height of achievement.  Nah.

I think we bring up our girls knowing so much yet so little about marriage.  We teach them to cook, clean and be proper women in preparation for marriage but we forget to teach them the basics of life and living and wholeness and self love and self worth and awareness.  We forget to teach them about growth and meaningful contributions to life. We forget to teach that a status such as "married" is not a measurement of your being but that passion is important.

We forget to teach them about finances in marriage or that they should work and have their won money to support the marriage and not be a loose limb. We forget to teach them that marriage is the most intense relationship you will ever have in your life because it brings out the real you. It exposes your selfishness or selflessness and shows how unloving or loving you really are eyond the 'I love yous'.  I could go on and on.

Maybe I'm just being radical.  Maybe I'm not being realistic. Just maybe.  Dem don call boarding.  Make I go.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Ini, the African Feminist?

Two days ago, I learnt I was listed on the 2013 AWP Network Power List (  Shocked and flattered as I was, I found it was linked to my Twitter account and someone now sent me an email asking me to explain why I call myself an African feminist.

So I began thinking of it – How am I an African feminist? Then I recalled Rebecca Mae West’s take on the subject: whenever I do anything that differentiates me from a doormat, people call me a feminist.

I am a feminist because I stand tall and high on women issues.  I like the word because it identifies me with a community of confident and radical women, many of whom I respect, both as individuals and for what they have contributed to the development of the world as we know it. These ancestors include many African, Asian, Latin American, Middle Eastern, European and American women of all colours and creeds, past and present. 


I am an African feminist because, in the words of Minna Salami - ‘The truth is that feminism is an absolute necessity for African societies. We rank lowest in the global gender equality index; have some of the highest numbers of domestic violence, the highest number of female circumcision and other harmful traditions.’

I am a feminist because I believe that is nothing wrong in being ambitious and successful as a woman and also be a good wife and mother.  Women are good balancers and we have much more capacity than we can ever imagine.

I am an African feminist because I am committed to fighting the very many injustices that face African women.  Patriarchy and culture relegates women’s work and abilities to common vestiges and this I disagree with.

I am an African feminist because women are still seen as having half brain and not created as equal beings.  The churches preach it, our fathers carry it out and our mothers train their girls to only attain to marriage    after everything else.  Marriage has become what defines a successful woman. I disagree because God made marriage so the man should not be alone as God knew the man cannot be alone. He needs a woman!!!!

Being a feminist doesn’t mean I hate men. Nah, I love men, I do men, and I’m married to a man. It just means I do not want to be treated as a second class citizen or a half human.

I am an African feminist because I believe that it is a man’s job to respect a woman but it is a woman’s job to give him something to respect.

I am a feminist because I know the higher my standards, the higher the quality of life I live.

Rebranding Yourself

There’s been a lot of talk about re-branding our country.  So many schools and universities of thought have come forward with their take on if what we need is a re-branding or a values re-orientation. Others think the re-branding would come if we had electricity as our main source of power supply and not the generators; if the roads were not patched but really resurfaced; if our political system was better organized and if we understood how our national image affects our economy.

As women – corporate executives or entrepreneurs, there may be need for your personal re-branding. Many of us are doing excellent work in our offices; our businesses are doing well but with today’s technology and the fast paced business world we live in, a multifaceted personal brand is important.

Re-branding is all about perception. How do people perceive you, your work or your business?  What comes to mind when they see you; when your name is called or your business is mentioned? I am not a brand strategist but I know that having a strong personal brand is not negotiable if you must so well in whatever industry you find yourself.

What does your work say about you if you are in the corporate world?  Marshawn Evans, author of SKIRTS in the Boardroom notes “For women, it is especially important to define and redefine ourselves in the workplace, the boardroom, or even the corner office – for the lucky ones.”

It is essential to “cement” your presence based on the value that you or your business brings.  There should be something compelling about you that a prospective employer would headhunt you for; there should be something enchanting about your business for customers to buy from you rather than your competitors.

Louise Mowbray, a personal brand strategist gives the followings tricks of the trade:

Personal brands need to be four things: compelling to their market; authentic; consistent; and known.

1. Find out how you are actually perceived or what your reputation is. Ask a variety of people.

2. Spend time exploring what it is about you that is compelling to your target market.

3. Ask yourself if what you are offering is authentic. If not, it will breed only mistrust.

4. Make sure that your message or what you deliver is consistent. If it is erratic, it will undermine your efforts. 

5. Create a personal brand statement outlining who you are, what you do, how you do it and why it is compelling . . . and use abridged versions of it consistently wherever appropriate.

6. Explore how you can make your personal brand known to your market or audience and then act on it.

I have met quite a number of women and of course men, who cannot tell you in five minutes who they are, what they do and why you should meet or know them.  This in itself can make or mar your job or business potential.

As Mowbray puts it, “the desire to build a personal brand must come from: a strong intention, drive or greater purpose to be and to build something beyond the norm and of course you need a powerful impact to do this.”

For me, so many things can actually speak about your personal brand than you stop to think of. Your email address is one. won’t get you a second or s serious first look. The ringtone on your phone can actually be personal brand plus or minus. Your call (business) card is an important in the personal branding business.

Facebook is now in our consciousness and so many of us are getting on Facebook for social networking purposes.  I have found it to be a key business tool if used properly but what kind of messages, pictures and updates go on your Facebook wall and profile? This speaks about your person.  I learnt prospective employers now learn much more about an incoming employee on their Facebook wall than they do on their CVs. Remember, personal branding or re-branding is all about perception.

My question now is – What is your take on Personal Branding versus Company/Business Branding? How does a personal brand impact on a business or an organization?

Na wa

Na wa o!!!

didnt realise how long it has been since I last placed a post here. 

Hmmmm, this year has been something else to say the least but as always, I swim and refuse to sink. 
God has been my voltron as Bidemi will say. 

I intend to do this more often as I have had to write quite a bit of things in the past few months.  Most of the time, spent inside the belly of an airplane.  God has been faithful, so faithful.

Not all my posts will be based on only work issues. So get ready.