Sunday, 26 June 2016

Death as an incentive

I dreamt that I died last night. For the first time in my life, it did not scare me. I accepted it. Death was warm like a blanket. Cosy like a hug. Agreeable like a friend. 

Hell no!!!

Excuse my French but that is exactly what I yelled at the devil when I knocked sense back into my head as I woke up.  And to be honest, I wasn't really swearing. I was just telling the goat where it belonged. Abi? Yes, I have much to do on this side of eternity. It may not seem like it sometimes but I'm sure that when God spoke into my substance those many eons ago, what I have experienced to date could not have been all He said! 

But you know, thinking of death helped me think. I don't know about you but there are some people that I have decided not to relate with as part of my pursuit of peace. In short, I don't like them. I thought they were good but they showed me they were bad for my health so I cut them off. I wish them well but have chosen not to renew our relationship. Will this keep me out of Heaven? *shrugs shoulders* We or shall I say, I shall see.

Dying alsogot me thinking about my tomorrow. For real. If indeed I know I will not  wake up tomorrow, what will I do right now. If you knew you wouldn't wake up tomorrow, what would you do today? Right now?   

Already, my list has 8 items. I have posted this to invite you to join me in making this list. Let death be your incentive too. Let those people go and live your Life now. Move beyond the hurt and exhale into a new page of your relationship. That's life. Pleasure and Pain. 

And yes, I know. We shall live at least 70 years. Yes, I know but what if we don't? The people who are dying at 9, 16, 39, 48, 65? How are you better than them? You are not. It's all God's Mercy at play and He dishes it out as He deems fit. 

Remember, it is God that is Sovereign. Not you. 

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Thank You Daddy ( A letter to my Father-in-Love)

Dear Grandpa Suleja. 

That's what the children and I used to call you to differentiate you from my Papa, my Prof who was Grandpa Minna. Thinking of you right now, various words tumble around in my head: Hardworking, Practical, Simple, Blue Jeans, White shirts rolled up at the sleeves, Caring, Funny, Sweet tooth and Storyteller. A lover of Nolly and Bollywood movies. And of course, a fan of Crime Investigation, World's Dumbest videos and Wrestling shows! I smile now as I replay the sights and sounds of you and my LBS laughing out loud as you watched some funny show on TV.  Precious memories. One thing is sure, you loved to enjoy life, tell stories and to laugh. 

Daddy, your son, my husband is one of the most hard working men I know. I believe he got this trait from you. All your children did I think. Thank you for teaching your children the value of a good name and honest hard work. I  remember how as you got better and began to walk a little, you would say 'soon, I'll be able to go to the Factory and keep an eye on what those funny people are up to'. Even then all you wanted to do was work. To help. To contribute to your son's success. Sitting in that wheel chair all day was not your cup of tea at all and we all looked forward to that day with you but God is Sovereign. 

You were a jolly good guy.
Thank you for a jolly good time
Daddy, thank you for always being kind to me. As a young wife, as far as I know you  were always on my side. You always looked out for my interests.  I recall the time my team from work were going to Calabar for a retreat. My colleagues wanted Afang, fish and palm oil. I just mentioned it to you in passing but before I knew what was going on you had personally sorted it all out! My colleagues were blown away by the military precision with which you put it all together. One of them, till this day still talks about. I mean, how many wives can boast of a Father-in-law who would personally organize food stuffs for her any chance he got? Anytime you visited, you would always come with bags of every Ibibio wife's dreams. That's just who you were. The man who made things happen for those he cared about. I will always treasure these good memories I have of you Grandpa. 

Thank you Daddy for the good memories while you were alive. But you know what? I just have to thank you especially for the good memories I will have of your going away. Not the actual burial and all that. I mean, the time I got to spend with family in Calabar; the old friends I got to see because of you. True, there were some sad, emotional times, There were even some stressed, loud and angry times. But mostly, we had a good time gisting, laughing, eating and dancing! Boy did we eat! I for one refused to eat rice through out. How can? Eat rice in Calabar when there are all kinds of soups to demolish with pounded yam! Lailai! And my waist can testify! 

Yes, we had a good time. At least I know that I had a good time and I have you to thank for that. As your daughter, my sisterinlove said, the only thing I would trade for the time we had together, would be to have you back alive with us, well and whole. As that does not seem to be in the works, I shall just encourage myself with your final gift to us all. Good times. Family time. Great memories. You would have loved every moment of it had you been there........Did you see my Mom yet? And Prof? How about my Uncle Abiye or Uncle Augustine? I bet if Pastor Eskor knew you were our Dad, he would surely walk up to you and ask about us. 

*exhaling* Who knows how things work up there anyway.....but I hope in my own God given time to find out by myself....

For now, Daddy, I am truly grateful to you. Thank you. Rest in peace. You deserve it.

Mama Akan.

PapaGod, thank you for holding up my MGM and his siblings as they pulled this off. Thank you for being our Source and our Cover.   Thank you for every single person that prayed for us and stood by us during this time. Thank you for bringing everyone in and taking them all back safe and sound to their various destinations. PapaGod, when all is said and done, it is to you I owe my greatest thanks.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Pray. Don't talk (Dealing with Family wahala)

JMy family and I just buried our brother, husband, father, uncle, fatherinlove and grandad. We did cry at some points but generally, we all just celebrated his life. I mean, four children and eleven grand children! To weep as those without understanding would be even sadder than losing him. In all things we gave and will continue to give thanks to God! He took us to Calabar, was our Source, made all things including the weather favour us and brought us all back safe and sound! Come on! What an awesome God we serve.  

Back home, as I now get ready to go back to work, I'm just tired. Head pounding, knees and body aching yet very Thankful. Very. Yet in  the midst of the good, I've had the sad. Shockingly sad. There are times you just wonder why you give so much only to be treated so badly. I have no words to explain how I feel right now. And to be honest it's better I don't speak. It's such a pity though cos you do your best for those you love and they just take you for granted. Treat you anyhow. Talk to you anyhow. I guess they feel they don't really need you anyway. They are now all knowing and all wise. They believe your stress is too much. You know what?  It's fine. There comes a time in one's life when you just step aside and let Life have its way in the lives of those you love. Siblings, Spouse and Children.  

I may not have my own words to describe how I feel right now but I have these words: Do not let the bad behavior of others steal your inner peace. For now, that is my stance and it shall be my state of mind. To each his or her own. As you make your bed, get ready to snuggle up in it. 

As for me, I'll just continue to do what I am learning to do better. Shut up. Chill. Pray. 

I see now, it'll pay me better than talking. 



Friday, 27 May 2016

Letter to my children on Day 2 of being 48.

First of all, thank you for my birthday card. I love words. You will not understand how much your words written in your own handwriting mean to me. I will treasure them for ever. I mean it. 

You three are my world and I really just want you know. My prayer is that knowing you have my unconditional love as well as God's will keep you lifted no matter what. Your Papa and I just want the best for you but never let us or anyone else push you to a place where you feel pressured to do or be anything. Sometimes, I think we parents don't realise how our desires for your best can easily become too much pressure.  A friend's child committed suicide recently. I can't imagine her pain. I don't want to ever know it. He left a note that suggests the pressures of life got to him. At his young age? What pressures? Grades. Girls. Goals. 

Please never feel pressured. Please never feel pressured. Please never feel like you can't come to me to talk it out. I admit I may not handle all talks well but I've never been a mom to three young people before. I'm a learner. But I'm always here and no matter what, my motive is love. So please know you can always count on me. Always. And as you know, I count on God. That brings me to my next point.

Your walk with God. Please cultivate it. See, life is not meant to be this tough. It's hard because we rely on Self so much. Trusting God brings peace and contentment. Above all, it removes fear. Once a day, find time to spend with God. I'm sure there is an App out there that can help you. Lol! But seriously of all the things I tell you THIS is the most important. A life without God is a very dark place. You know I pray for you all the time but more and more you need God direct. Not via Mommy. 

Be there for each other.  Build each other up. The world is mean. Be each other's safe haven. Do it for me. Please. Being nice to people outside counts for nothing if you don't start from yourselves. I know siblings sometimes fight and get on each other's nerves but at the end of the day, each of you must know you've got each other's back. 

So, here I am 2 years away from 50 and I promise you there are many things I thought I would have done by now. Many include food. Hehehehe. But I've not. But I'm content. I'm at peace with my NOW. Trusting God for the next step. I'm married to a great guy that I know loves me and I have three children that I'm so proud of. I feel so blessed to be your mom. I look at you guys and I'm amazed. I wish you could see yourselves through my eyes. Or better still through God's eyes. You'd never feel anxious again. 

Anyway, my point is: Live guys! Enjoy your now! Treat every day like the precious gift it is. Show up and just be the best YOU that you deserve. Don't compete with anybody.  This life is not a competition. Just Do You! Respect people. Be compassionate. Don't judge anybody. You don't know their full story. Treat people as you would want them to treat you. 

And yes, get tight with God. He's More Powerful than I am. Lol! 

From my heart


P.S. Yes, this is going on my blog. But at least I share with you first. Lol! 

Salt Essien-Nelson
''As long as my God is in it, it will always end in praise"

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Living Awake

I struggled with the title of this post. It's not capturing what I have in my heart. But I'll not stress it. I'll just hope that the post itself will clarify my meaning. Someone died over the weekend. The first thing that hit me after the shock was the regret. Let me explain. 

I think I ran in to him a week and half ago in the elevator lobby. I think. It's that 'thinking', that's what I regret. If I'm not sure then I was probably just standing there mindlessly lost in thought unaware of the LIFE going on around me. Looking but not really seeing. I regretted not being fully engaged in that 'now' of my life. If I was, maybe I would have said more than an empty 'hello '. Maybe I would have asked how he was? Bantered some elevator chit chat to and fro. And maybe then I would be sure it was him I saw. 

But I didn't because I did not know that would be the last time I was to see him (assuming it was even him *sigh*). This is what we do people. We are living 'asleep'. Walking around robotically...not fully aware. Not fully engaged. I guess it's because we think we'd have a 'next time'.

When was the last time you were in the moment with a loved one? I mean really in the moment? Think about the people you work with, live with, go to church with. What's your last memory of them? The ones you really care about at least. What did they say to you? What did you say to them? What color were they wearing?

It's a bit frustrating cos I still don't think I'm communicating. Holy Spirit help! 

Mindfulness! That's the word I'm looking for! Thank you Lord! Yes, people I'm asking us to practice Mindfulness as we go about our daily lives.  Especially in our day to day connections with people. I want to do this. If I meet you I want to be in the moment as best I can. I want to be able to remember what you said, what you did, what you wore. The last look on your face.

Most especially I want to remember if it was you I saw or not. 

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Be Careful What You Are Jealousing.

I can't count how many calls or mails I've received over the years from people wanting to know why I'm so 'happy' all the time. The first thing I say to them is that it's clear they've missed some of my Facebook posts and/or blogs. I am for sure not 'happy' all the time. And I wish I could say my joy is always complete because I know who I am in Christ. But that too would be a lie. In my head I always know it but there have been many moments of my life that have not reflected what I know. Let's just say that Depression, Crazy Anxiety and Self-Doubt and I are no strangers. 

But over the years I've grown and as I've grown I've picked up some Godtips on how to deal with my issues. Yes, Salt too has those. Please, gasp  not like the young lady I spoke with today.  There is NO living being sans issues. Not one. Don't mind all the smiley, photoshopped and filtered photos you see all over the place! Read between the lines. Be wise. And above all, NEVER compare your life to any life you see on social media. Many times, I believe we are just putting our best foot forward. 

For me, I love to engage people, post and share. It makes me happy and I hope it inspires people to seek the God that has kept and blessed me. Plus, I like to post like I do to show the enemy that he can't steal my voice. No! I refuse that! I might be weeping as I hit that smiley emoticon but if just one person is touched? I'm good! That's my chief motive. I want you to think: if Salt has and can because of God, for shizzle, so can I. Because of God!  (please don't tell my children I just used the word 'shizzle'. Lol! 

See, here's the thing. The devil is using social media against us. Nothing new there. He twists good stuff all the time. Make up your mind today to not be one of his victims. Or to stop being one. You may see my posts, photos and blogs. It may look like it's all nice and rosy. Mostly? I can't lie. It is. BUT, I promise you this: Salt has struggles too. All you are seeing is a 'perpetual WIP and woman dealing with struggles too' wrapped up in the Grace of my PapaGod. Please don't jealous me. Trust me.  You don't want my life. 

What you want is more Grace from God to live YOUR unique, one of a kind life to the glory of God! 

I mean it. 

P.S. Thanksgiving, Praise and Worship? Best non-drug antidote to Depression ever! Try it. 

P.S 2. A mail from Ekene Onu, an Instragram post by Kim Pothier and finally a one hour gistfest with a young lady today inspired this post. 

Saturday, 14 May 2016

The Nameless Woman from Abel

2 Samuel 20 : 22
Then the woman went to the people with her wise advice, and they cut off Sheba’s head and threw it out to Joab. And he blew the trumpet and called his troops back from the attack, and they returned to the king at Jerusalem.

Many times, I read some parts of the Old Testament Bible and just shake my head. The people back then had some serious issues. Human life was just so cheap. Kai! Thank you Lord for Jesus Christ! But that's not the point of my post today. Today, I'm just here trying to figure out how to be powerful yet nameless. Let me explain. 

Before I explain though can you do me a favour and go read all of 2nd Samuel 20? Then come will help you better understand this my post. 

Read it? Good. Thank you. Now, who is the hero of the story you just read? Who saved the day in Abel? Sorry? What did you say? Some woman? A woman? Yep! It was a woman alright! Do you notice that the Bible doesn't care to tell us her name and since I've come to believe that God put all we NEED to know in His book, I take it He is saying we don't need to know her name. 

Guess what else we don't need to know? We don't need to know her Age. Marital status.  Visa status. Tribe. Biological status. Academic or Professional qualification. Pedigree.  Where or how much she buys her clothes. If her accent is bush or phonetically engineered. But what do we need to know? 

That she was a confident, wise woman that commanded respect!!!! She had the confidence to approach Joab. The Bible clearly says she was wise. And the people of Abel listened to her when she spoke. Not just women o! Not just children! Not just the young men! ALL the people including the elders of Abel listened to her wise advice and followed her instructions! 

And that, dear reader, was the end of the hothead Sheba. And that was how the city of Abel was saved. Thanks to a woman whose name the Bible doesn't care to mention. 

Because while names are important, it's the story behind us as people, our contributions to the planet, the legacies that we will leave behind for people to read and talk about; how people will feel about us after we are dead and gone....

All that, I believe, is what will give our names or anything we claim to be TRUE and LASTING meaning. 

Or how do you see it?