Archive for April, 2010

April 26, 2010

Who Are You – Really?


It is not uncommon to hear that someone you know wemt off to “find herself”. I have not had that experience myself, but I am constantly wondering if I am (and how to become) the person I was originally meant to be.
I believe that everyone was created with a purpose and for that reason, we all have some attributes and characteristics that are uniquely ours. You are you and that is all there is to it.

However, life in the form of our areas of socialization – family, schools and people around – happen. Then we add movies, books, pop culture and what everyone else says we are supposed to be and then that which is particular to us begins to erode until we are left with part of who people say we should be, part of who we want to be and another part of who we think we are with nothing of who we were originally intended to be.

This has been a recurring issue for me. I would hate to go through life and discover that I only lived a half life; nothing like the full and robust life I was supposed to live, because I never cared enough to find out who the true me was.

With that in mind, I keep paring down and questioning myself. That idea I expressed, was it mine of was I just miming what had been put in my head? The feelings right now, are they genuine, a true reflection of what is going on inside me? Or am I just feeling that way because I have been taught that is how I am supposed to feel in such a circumstance? These and many more such questions run through my head.

I want to be as true to me as I can be; honest in my thoughts and emotions. Especially in my emotions. That is one place where we all find it so hard to be honest. Let me explain. When your friend yells at you in public, you get offended. Are you offended because you truly felt mortified or is it because, even though you know and understand this friend and are aware that he/she meant nothing by the yell, you still feel that the right emotion at that point in time is anger?

In searching for the me I was meant to be, I am allowed to make mistakes. That way, I get to discover the me I was definitely not meant to be. In knowing who I really am a little bit better, I learn to love that lady a little more. Until you begin to know who you were meant to be, to get acquainted with the person that lives inside you, you will not begin to see in yourself that wonderful person God sees. And until you can look at yourself with those eyes, you will never be satisfied with what you see in the mirror.

We are all wonderfully and fearfully made. God thought everything He created was good and you are not exempt. Yet we continue to live with that sense of dissatisfaction with who we are and continually compare ourselves with others who may or may not be satisfied with who they are. You cannot be Beyonce – there is only one Beyonce. Neither can you be Simon Cowell 😐 you can only be the person that you are and love that person (stretch marks and all).

That has been my desire; to love the person that I am. And with each day that passes, I am learning to love that lady in the mirror a little more. This was reinforced as I browsed through Oprah.com and stumbled on this lovely article by Anne Lamott. In learning to know and love yourself, she said:

There’s always something ending and something beginning. Yet in the very center is the truth of your spiritual identity: is you.Fabulous, hilarious, darling, screwed-up you. Beloved of God and of your truest deepest self, the self that is revealed when tears wash off the makeup and grime. The self that is revealed when dealing with your anger blows through all the calcification in your soul’s pipes. The self that is reflected in the love of your very best friends’ eyes.

I am an Oprah fan (somewhat), that is, I watch her when I can but it is not a do or die affair. I have been to her site maybe once or twice but I can assure you, after reading this article, I will be a more regular visitor at that site. To read the full article, click on this link How To Find Out Who You Really Are by Anne Lamott – Oprah.com.

Whatever you do, strive as much as possible to be authentic to the person you were created to be.

April 22, 2010

When Life Knocks You Down Focus On The Positives


Sometimes, life knocks you down. This is a very real fact of life. You are not always on top of your game. Things will not always go right for you. Forget about what that Preacher said; being a Christian is not an automatic pass to a pain-free life. That is the plain truth. What matters, what counts is how you choose to see being down and if you decide to remain there.

I had been feeling a bit down and overwhelmed with life. I guess for those who really know me, it is understandable. Yet, even for those who do know me, there were other contributing circumstances to my state of mind. Some things I have been trusting God for are still…well, let’s just say I am still trusting for them. Only they seemed to be taking an awful long time and I started focusing on the negatives in my life. As a result, I found it impossible to blog with anything resembling enthusiasm (bearing in mind that this blog is really about encouragement).

Then yesterday I got a mail from a mailing list I subscribe to. It was from Darren Hardy of SUCCESS Magazine. It was a simple message, nothing flowery. But this caught my attention:

“Point is, as long as you are on the right side of the dirt, no obstacle really matters.

…So it’s okay to get knocked down; its even good for you—it’s the beginning of growth. And it’s okay that it smarts a bit. And it’s okay to give yourself some recovery time. Now just try and reduce the time it knocks you out. And get over the idea that life sucks for you.” (Read the rest of the post here)

That got me thinking. There were so many things that were going right for me. True, the negatives were there and they could be oppressive, but that was my choice: what I wanted to focus on. So I gave myself permission yesterday to hold my pity-party (and not even my closest and dearest knew about that) and today I am focusing on my positives. Coincidentally, I remembered just this minute that today is Thankful Thursday. No better day to start being positive right?

In that spirit, I am really grateful for Darren Hardy and his publication. I have never seen a copy of SUCCESS Magazine – not in Nigeria when I lived there and not in Malaysia now. So I have no opportunity to buy one. But reading Darren’s blog is almost as good. By the way, if you haven’t, subscribe to his blog.

I am also thankful for the best family in the world – mine 🙂 I do not always make them happy, but they always stand by me 100%.

My husband is the best. I am not saying he is perfect, just that he is close 🙂 I appreciate his presence in my life and how he goes out of his way to make me smile. Thanks, love.

It is raining outside and that has made the temperature cooler. What this means is that the air-conditioning will not have to work too hard to keep us cool.

I have made the most awesome friends since I arrived Kuala Lumpur. Thanks so much guys for your love and the way you keep checking up on us to make sure we are doing fine.

I realise that there is so much to be grateful for and that in itself is a gift – the ability to see the positives in life. Before I sign off, I’ll recommend two sites to you:

April 16, 2010

How To Live The Life You Want To Live: Roz Savage


“She was so full of life! Never missed an opportunity to live an adventure.”

I turned to my right to see who was speaking. It was not even someone I really knew. . .well, I might have seen him once or twice as I went jogging early in the morning but that was it. How did he hear about today? I shrugged and moved amongst the people gathered by the graveside, eavesdropping here and there.

She held my hand when my sister died,” one lady said through her tears “And I had only started working for her a week.

On and on like that, I circled the guests there. They could not see me anyway. So I listened to different stories about what an influence I had affected their lives positively or how I had inspired them by the kind of life I had lived.

All of a sudden, it all faded and I am just sitting in front of my laptop, trying to write this post. But as I write, one question keeps popping up at the back of my head: what is my life saying to people?

That was a scene from what I would love my life to have meant to people around me. But how close to reality is that scene? If I should go today, what then? Thinking about this could inspire gloom in my heart, but I think it was Eleanor Roosevelt who said that it is not too late to live the life you would have lived or something to that nature anyway. With that in mind, I know I can still make a choice to live my life differently. But if that is not enough motivation, I have Roz Savage to emulate.

Roz Savage was a management consultant and project manager at an Investment Bank. She had a comfortable income and a house in the suburbs. One day she sat down and wrote two versions of her obituary: the first was what she would have got if she continued with her present lifestyle while the second was what she really wanted her obituary to be like. They were vastly different. In her mid-thirties, she decided to change her lifestyle and live the obituary she wanted.

She had spent her years after her Oxford law degree, pursuing material satisfaction; and she had that in abundance. She lived in a big house, had a happy marriage and exotic holidays. And she ended up having an affair. Roz was unhappy deep down inside. What is not so surprising is that she was a Preachers daughter (in her case, both her parents were ministers). Like every old fashioned PK would know, material possessions are usually short while growing up. I suppose this fueled her desire to have. It was after she left her husband that she decided to write the two obituaries. That was when she knew something had to give.

So she gave up her job and began rowing. Yes, rowing. She set for herself an extreme rowing challenge and in 2005 signed up for the Atlantic Rowing Race. The race was from the Canary Islands to Antigua in the West Indies and she was the only one to row solo. It was 103 days of self realization as she had to battle with the tail of a hurricane and nearly got washed out to sea. Although she came last in the race, she completed it. She made it to the finish line.

She came to a place where she could honestly say that her experiences

…made me realise that happiness never comes from material wealth. It comes from inside, and from experiencing the world and having adventures.

She has set a challenge for herself to be the first woman to row the pacific – solo. She has already completed the first two legs of her journey and is getting ready for the third and last leg.
This British rower had the commitment and determination to change her life and also to grow as a person. It has been an incredible journey thus far. She is a motivational speaker, author and an environmental campaigner – a United Nations Climate Hero. Her message is simple: We have only one earth. She wants people to know that every plastic bag that is used ends up in the ocean. Rowing is how Roz chooses to give back.

So maybe you cannot row, I know I cannot. But it is never too late to set your life on the course you would prefer it to take. It is so easy to get stuck in a rut and to keep doing the same futile thing day after day. It is easy. But easy is not always the way to go. It is time to take one bold step towards adventure and a fuller life. Personally I am not interested in being the first woman to row solo across the pacific ocean. However, there is something to be said for a woman who was able to halt the avalanche that was her life and turn herself around with quiet determination and a strong will. With Roz Savage as an inspiration, I know exactly what I am going to do to live that life I would love to have lived. And I will not have to leave my husband to do that.

April 11, 2010

Book Review: Sleep, It Does A Family Good


Author: Dr. Archibald D. Hart

Publishers: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

This book was received free of charge from the Tyndale Blog Network. They requested a review in return for the book.

Sleep, It Does A Family Good by Dr. Archibald D. Hart takes readers on a voyage of discovery. It contains what you need to know about sleep; your sleep cycle and how sleep affects your family.

He started with a convincing argument on why the family needs sleep and went on to detail what sleep does for a person. He identified five stages of sleep and tied the importance of sleep to the health of the body.

Sleep has its patterns and those patterns can quite easily be interfered with. One of such disruptions for instance, is jetlag. However, Dr. Hart mentioned six ways to restore the body’s clock and these are:

    1. Going to bed at the same time every night
    2. Getting out of bed at the same time every morning
    3. Exposing yourself to lots of daylight as early as possible
    4. Darkening your home environment one hour before daylight
    5. If you have to stay up late one night, get to bed earlier the next night
    6. If you know your sleep will be deprived ahead of time, such as when traveling, try sleeping some extra time ahead.
The chapter which caught my attention was chapter 8: Sleep and Your Marriage. In that chapter, the author stated that sleep could make or break a marriage. He said

Sleep deprivation makes you cranky, irritable, angry and unhappy. How can you possibly communicate, listen or empathize? You become critical and judgmental, even depressed, and these all have an effect on the marital relationship.

He went on to examine ways in which sleep deprivation could affect a marriage and proffered some solutions.

Another fascinating concept was that of the ‘Sleep Bank’. It turns out that just like the financial bank account, there also exists a sleep bank and that sleep bank can be overdrawn or in the red. He suggested ways of managing the sleep bank so as to avoid a sleep deficit.

If you have a newborn in the house, this book is definitely for you. It teaches practical ways of managing your sleep bank even with the seeming sleeplessness of the baby and tips for getting back to sleep.

The book is fast and easy to read, I could barely put mine down. It contains a lot of real life examples with step-by-step tips and guides on acquiring a better sleep life. One unique aspect of the book is the way the author approached his subject from a Godly angle. Although the spirituality was not blatant, the writing was clearly God-centered.

A lot of families in the US are losing sleep every day due to one sleep disorder or the other. This situation is not limited to the US alone but is common in most urban cities.
I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in a healthier life.
April 10, 2010

Loving the Negatives: Love Dare Day 7


The Love Dares are becoming more…daring. Not like they are impossible or even terribly difficult to achieve, just that they are beginning to take a lot more effort. Which is a good thing. The last dare I did was Day 6 so I’m going to the next dare.

Love Dare Day 7:

Love believes the best… “[Love] believes all things, hopes all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:7

Get two sheets of paper. On Sheet One, write down your man’s positve qualities. On Sheet Two, write down his negative qualities. Put both sheets in a secret place – one you can remember because we will go back to them later on. At some point during the day, pick a positive attribute from the list and thank your spouse for being that person.

Which was the easiest list to make? What did u learn about your own thoughts? What did you thank your spouse for? Are you praying? What’s God revealing to you?

So I got the sheets of paper and wrote down my man’s negative and positive qualities. I thought I was going to find the list of negatives easier and it was – somewhat. The list of positives, after a while I got stuck. So I moved on to the list of negatives and a funny thing happened. Each time I thought up a negative quality, I suddenly remembered like two positive qualities and had to go back to the other list to put them down. And it went on like that. The result was that I had more on my list of positives than on my list of negatives. Yet I was so sure the negatives would be more.

What that tells me is that we tend to magnify the negative qualities in those we love. Sure they are not all perfect (hey, neither are we for that matter), but the mere fact that we found enough in them to love means that the bad might not be as bad as we like to make out.

One other thing I realised was that most of the things I had in mind for the negative list were not really negatives at all. They were just the stuff that made us two different people. So he had his own unique ways of doing things…no problem. The important thing was that things got done.

Have I thanked him for something on the positive list? I have not gotten to that yet. But I will.

I wish I had done the Love Dare before I got married. I am glad I’m doing it now, while my marriage is still relatively spanking new. I am learning a lot, not just about my man but about the person that I am. I have always thought that I had a pretty good idea of the person I am but I am discovering a lot that I did not previously know.

I will definitely keep blogging about this experience as we go through the Love Dare on the Being Mrs V facebook group. Oh and we are also praying through Stormy Omartian’s ‘Power of a Praying Wife’ book. But I’ll choose another month to blog about that. Guess our men cannot have too much love or prayers.

April 9, 2010

Update: Reviews and Challenges


I received a copy of the book, Sleep, It Does a Family Good by Dr. Archibald Hart in my mailbox yesterday. I dived into it almost immediately.

For reasons a few of you might know, I am presently sleep deprived so this came at a really good time. I have already tried one of his tests and like I suspected, I am sleep deprived. I am almost done and I hope to post a review quite soon.

On another note, I have been a bit lax about the Challenges and Dares. Maybe I might have a good reason as I have not been too well the past couple of weeks, but really that is no excuse. I am getting back on the horse again and I promise to keep posting.

As for this month’s Marital Bliss Post, I already have something up. I posted a question last week or maybe a couple of weeks back? Anyway, I asked a question about how often you can forgive your man (or woman) for cheating. Check it here.