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 back....it 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? 

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

30 Years is a long time to not have a mom

in loving memory of my mom, Monisola Bakare Adefolalu
August 1945 to May 1986
 I was startled a little when this morning I did the Maths and realized  it had been 30 years since my mom passed. I am not sure why but I just felt stunned. How is that possible and more importantly how had I coped? I was just about to turn 18 years old when she died and now I am just about to turn 48. I was a girl then and now I am a  full grown woman, wife and mom myself. In fact, if I squint long enough I can see '50' looming over the mountains. *smiling*

But the truth is 30 years is a long time to not have a mother....so thankfully I may not have had MY mother but I have had and still do have mothers or shall we say mother figures. Yes, all through the years after my mom, Monisola Bakare Adefolalu died, God did what only He does best. He became my Mother. Yes, God has been my mother and He has been awesome at it. Today, as I remember my mom, I just want to thank some of the women through whom He has mothered me. 

Aunty Silifa, Mama Banco: I cannot think of any major event in my life that She has not featured in. She is my mom's junior sister and she has gone over and beyond the call of duty to be there for me and mine. I will always love you Aunty Silifa.

My mother-in-love, the woman we all call Nana. This woman was so wonderfully nice, that she scared me. Lol! My sister and I used to joke that she could not be real and that the joke would soon be up. Nana, thank you for proving us wrong. I will always cherish my memories of your love and care for me as a young wife and mom. I don't know how I would have coped without you. 

The one and only Mamandant, Mrs. Grace Adefolalu. What a force to be reckoned with! Her life and many testimonies supported my Faith growth. Her wardrobe supported by Fashion growth. Mamandant (a name my dear Uncle Joe coined for her being the wife my Uncle, the Army Commandant)  has one of the biggest hearts I know. She was and I am sure still is a woman who made things happen. She enriched my growing up years. There is no doubt about it.

My Aunty Anire Adefolalu, my Ishekiri Aunty that I love so much. She had spunk! She married my favourite Uncle in the whole wide world and so I loved her automatically. But it would have been difficult not to. Till today, she is still the caring woman I lived with at a time in my life when it was all about me. I had no clue and she made no fuss. I remember being in my own home years later and wondering how on earth she coped with my bad behaviour. But she did. I was quite the brat. Having to deal with 'brats' of my own......her patience I could not match. Life is such a boomerang. What you give, you will surely get. Thank you Aunty for giving me support and patient love.

Mrs. Grace Adindu. She was the Head of the cleaning team at my first job. Such a loving, soft spoken woman who more or less adopted me from the moment we met. I remember being pregnant for my FBS how she would go buy me eba and okro from Ehingbeti near our office at Apongbon. That was my craving: Okro soup and ponmo. Don't ask. And iced cold milk in a Mallam mug. Mrs. A, as we called her, always made sure they appeared at the right time. Just before I started shaking like a junkie in need of a fix. Lol! Love you Mrs. A and I pray God sends you a special blessing for all you were to me back then.

Mummy Otuyelu. She was the Mother of the Day at my wedding. That shows what she means to me. I rarely see her these but I hope she knows how much her care for me all those years back meant to me. She gave me my very first Jacquard Iro and Buba. I needed it for Olamide Phillips Ibitoye's' traditional wedding. For my two first births, this woman will bring basically a whole provision store to my house as a gift. God bless you Ma. Thank you.

Miss you both so much.
My Aunty 'Me-Me' Mercy Croffie. This is part of the family that makes me part Ghanaian. I think what I liked the most about her when I met her was her simplicity. And her Jollof rice. Lol! Seriously though, she has, since I met her, always had a soothing word for me; always encouraging me. You know how you feel someone is just 'on your side' even though you have no hard core evidence? That's how I feel about my Aunty Me-Me. Thank you Aunty Mercy for making me feel this way.

Please join me in honouring my mom, Monisola by celebrating these Salt Magnolias in my life. Pray for them for me. And then think back over your life and pray over all the women who have been there for you too starting with your own mom. And then pray that you and I will be like the above women to some other younger ones coming behind us. That some day, one 40+ woman will sit back thinking over her life and thank you for being a 'mom' to her.

Because, I promise you,  30 years is a really long time to not have a mother....

If you don't have such women in your life.

I am so happy and give God my highest for ensuring that THAT was not my portion.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

There is Fire on the Mountain

Psalm 14:1 That man is a fool who says to himself, “There is no God!” Anyone who talks like that is warped and evil and cannot really be a good person at all. 

I don't know about you but every time I've read or heard this scripture, I've always felt it was talking about some other person.  I know there is God. He's my PapaGod after all. The fools are out there. Not me. I'm not an Asiwere. Me? Mad woman? No way! 

Today, in church, as I listened to Pastor Seye Kosoko, my confidence dipped. Why? Because I came to understand that whenever we let our cares and anxieties; our life issues; our needs and greeds; our dreams and desires take over our minds and rule our hearts we are basically saying there is no God. The real 'god' in our lives is the sum total of the 'idols' we are chasing. 

So we can say we believe there is a God all we want with our mouths,  but we need to check what occupies our thoughts 90% of the time to see who's really sitting on the throne of our hearts. God or Self.  If it's really just all about us and what we want, need or feel we deserve. Then, we are just trying to use God to meet our selfish needs. And if that's the case, then we are saying there is no God. Just an ATM in the skies. 

So, fools we are. Stark raving lunatics! Asiweres as tne Yoruba Bible puts it. 

We need to repent. Our generations. Our Nigeria. Need us to be wise people. 

Nigeria needs wise intercessors. 

In case, you haven't noticed, there is fire on the mountain. 

And we are all just here chasing stuff. 

May God open our eyes to see what's really important in this season. 

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Please Don't Just Say "Happy Wedding Anniversary"

I'm so stoked! I was at just the perfect church service this morning! Pastor B was just on point! She spoke my heart! Yes, there might be "rubble" in my life; divine promises yet to be fulfilled but still, I'm alive, my health is back and my MGM and I are celebrating 23 years of marriage! Glory be to God! People, we must learn to focus on where God's final destination for us. Not on the 'Keke maruwas' of life trying to jam our motocar and derail us! 

Anyway, you will agree that 23 Years of Marriage is not beans and My MGM and I know this all by ourselves. That's why today is such a testimony to God's faithfulness over our lives. Twenty-three years! Our personal 'BHenz' brand' is still going strong! I myself am amazed that we still stand. No, really. I mean if I told you it's been all sweetness and light, would you believe me? Please don't be carried away by all the stuff you see on social media. Do you know how easy it is to type 'lol' while you are crying inside lying sick on your bed? Anyway, let me leave that matter. 

All I can say is this: Hand over heart, I have lived a wonderful 23 years with my MGM and I look forward to twenty-three more with him and only him by God's grace. And yes we have been blessed with three truly wonderful children and in a flash I would take a bullet for any four of them BUT if you have known me for a while, you will also know there have been times I would have gladly pulled an "Oscar Pistorios" number on my husband! Lol!  And I know same goes for him. 

I have so many favourite photos of BHENZ but these are my top 7 today!
Truth is, no matter the quantum of love you go in to marriage with, that love will be tested and trials will come. But I do believe our love continues to be refined in the process and that we will always overcome these trials. Not by our might but because of God!  The One who has watched over us all these years! Today, that's why we are grateful. That's why we are so thankful. 

So,  I would just like to ask you to help us appreciate God!  Please don't just wish us "Happy Wedding Anniversary".  Close your eyes, lift your hands and say "Lord, I thank you for keeping MGM and Salt's marriage. Thank you for their home and family! Blessed be your name!"

And then spend another moment raising up all the marriages you know. Including yours. Let God be the centre in those homes. Let His wisdom prevail. Let His agape love reign. And let His say be final. In Jesus Christ's name. Amen. 

Thank you if you prayed. Now come, join my MGM and I! Let's sing Imela unto our Lord, the God of Love who is Love!! And whose love has kept our marriage till this day!


When I think upon your goodness;
And Your faithfulness each day
I'm convinced it's not because I am worthy -
to receive the kind of love that You give.
But I'm grateful for your mercy,
and I'm grateful for your grace
And because of how You've poured out Yourself,
I have come to sing this song out in praise

Imela, Imela (Thank You! Thank You!)
Okaka, Onyekeruwa (Great and Might creator of the world)
Imela, Imela, (Thank You! Thank You!)
Eze m Oh (My King)

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Being Still is not the same thing as Doing Nothing

I created and shared this poster on my Facebook page yesterday.  I had been talking too much about my situation. Mostly to myself. In my head. But still, I was tired. Really tired. I'm pretty sure God's eyebrow was quirked when He spoke these words to my spirit.

"Then, why not just shut up?"

I was not amused and I told Him so. Which is fine.  He is God after all and could see my thoughts anyway. So no point pretending. But as I thought about it, I knew God was right.  Sometimes, as Christians we need to just sharrap, be still and let God be God in our lives. 

But I also think that for us Christians, being still is not the same thing as doing nothing. Yesterday morning I chose to be still by having a praise and worship jam! I needed it. God deserved it.  You see, shutting up so I free my lips to raise High Praise to my God was just the best way to mute the voices and thoughts I didn't want to hear. 

Sometimes, being still could mean taking your mind off you and thinking about someone else to help. It could mean giving up on that Plan B; making God your only way. Sometimes, I blog to be still. Sometimes, I watch a movie. Praying is a good way to be still too. Especially the kind where you talk less and listen more. And sometimes, being still is just that. Being still. 

Stopping. Being Quiet. Resting. Chilling. Trusting God.

When you read the words of that poster, did a thought drop in your heart about something you need to be still about?  How about you ask God how He wants you to be still? 

He will tell you and when He does, I ask to understand and obey.