Archive for July, 2010

July 30, 2010

Strangers at My Door


There is a reason why you are told, never, Never, NEVER open your door to strangers and it is not always because they might be potential serial killers – though there’s that. But you could find yourself unknowingly playing host(ess) to a cast of loony toons.

Or at least that is what I found myself doing on that fateful day (remnants of Nollywood…that fateful day 🙂 ). We were having lunch when the doorbell rang. As I was closest to the door, I elected to open it. We have a Close Circuit camera; did I use it? Oh no. I had to go open the door.

I saw these two people standing outside my door. A guy and a girl. The girl help a portable DVD player while the guy had this backpack on him. They looked normal enough. They introduced themselves and said they were Korean students studying in Malaysia.

Oh students…I immediately smiled (I mean, I was once one right?). So they asked if I was a Christian and relaxing even further I answered in the affirmative. All this while, I was speaking to them through the grill. I did not open it. I am not that naive! yes, I know a gun can be pointed at me through the grill, but hey, I kept it closed.

Ok. The Church card. I was more willing to listen especially when they went “God bless you.” Next they said they wanted to share something about their Church with me. I already attend a fabulous Church and I was not really interested in hearing more but for the sake of the Gospel and all that, I decided to listen. Then they asked if they could come in. I waited a beat, then let them in. My BIG, strong Husband was in the house to whatever.

When they were seated, the guy fell to his knees and turned intense. OK. I’m from Nigeria, we see all sorts of things there and we are a pretty religious set but I mean, really! I decide to ignore it. When he is done with that, they put on the dvd and begin to evangelise. They talk about the Trinity and God the Father. We were agreed on that. Then came the weird stuff.

They said just as we had physical mothers, we also have spiritual mothers. In other words, as there is God the Father, there is also God the Mother. OH. KAY.

You see, in Nigeria you are usually a Christian or a Muslim or Traditional African Religion, or a weird mix of both. We have some weird mixtures and variations but basically, religion wise, we are a simple folk. God the Mother was. . . well.

I listened politely, asked them to please hurry things up and meanwhile said my own prayers inside me. Dear Husband pretended he was just a ghost haunting the house. At one point they invited him to share in the discussion. He told them he had ‘things’ to do. Finally when they were ready to go, they asked when they could come back again. I told them not to. I would think about what they said but I would prefer if they did not come back. They thanked me and left.

I was shell shocked to say the least. In my Christian walk, I am trying, really trying to live by the grace of God. Living my life as God, my father would want me to is a daily challenge. Why would I want to further complicate things with a Mother God…Mother/daughter relationships are not the easiest for goodness sakes!

I still don’t know what to think about the whole episode but I am sure of one thing: I am never, Never, NEVER opening my door to a stranger again. Unless he’s the postman -I’m expecting some books.

July 26, 2010

What Do Your Scars Say?


It is virtually impossible to go through this life without any scars; we have all, at one time or the other, been wounded by life. Some of us have the badges outside where people can see them and for others, these wounds are buried so deep inside they have not even had the opportunity to heal. Some of these wounds were inflicted on us by other people while some were self-inflicted. Whichever the case – whether people or self inflicted – they hurt.

Most wounds eventually heal. Not all. But most. Still, while they heal and may not hurt anymore, the memory of the pain may still be as fresh as though the wound were still bleeding.

These scars could come from a variety of wounds: a broken home; a relationship gone bad; a bitter divorce; a betrayal, loneliness…whatever the source, I think wounds to the heart are the hardest to heal. Probably because the damage is internal and many times, difficult to detect so it festers. Also because many times, we cannot help prodding and poking at these wounds until they start to bleed again. And even when they do eventually heal, it takes some time for the scab to fall off. Needless to say, these scars are the evidence of life.

I have not been exempt from life, somehow in my short existence, life has managed to leave it’s mark on me. Although many of the scars were people-inflicted, the majority were self-inflicted. I got into things I should not have and read meanings that were not there into situations that did not exist. Real or imagined, these wounds hurt a great deal and I have the scars to show.

I went to Church recently and the Pastor decided to preach on scars. Well, not on scars exactly but they came up. He said a lot of things and I cannot put them all here (don’t ask me why). But something caught my attention. He was speaking about destiny and said we are all meant to be examples. He went on to define the Greek word for example which meant Tupos.

One of the meanings of the word Tupos is SCAR. So you get where I am coming from. This is what he said:

“Your scars can also be an example; There is something about what you are going through that will help someone”

That got me really thinking. It was one of those ‘Aha’ moments in my life. I have gone through some stuff that made no sense to me. I kept asking God, why He would allow someone He loves enough to send the only child He had to die for, to suffer like that. The whole thing was crazy! On an intellectual level, I knew and believed that all things happen for a purpose but when it came down and personal? I just felt tormented. Period.

But even though I grew up reading the Bible and I had read this countless times, when I heard again the way Jesus told Thomas, who had been doubting, ‘touch my wounds’ (John 20:27) I just melted. OK, He did not say that literally, but when a man tells you to put your finger into the wound at His side, I think that should qualify.

Jesus was also wounded, physically and emotionally. He was betrayed by those closest to Him; His friends deserted Him when He really needed them; even His father whom He was REALLY very close to, turned His back on Him. I cannot even begin to imagine how He felt hanging there on that cross, being given a criminal’s death, while His mother watched. Like being sentenced to death by hanging and your mum is just there, weeping helplessly and you know all you have to do is say one word and that torment will be over but you just can’t say anything. So you look on helplessly.

Jesus had to go through all that so we could identify with Him. For that moment, God turned His back on His son for our sakes yet He did not stop trusting in His father. At least we know that regardless of what we are going through, He is not going to turn His back on us. We have that assurance. Whatever we are going through cannot be as bad as what Jesus went through for us.

In the same way, we need to embrace our scars. They are like a signpost saying

IF I COULD GO THROUGH THIS, SO CAN YOU!

It gives meaning, it gives perspective to my own scars and even my wounds. It helps to know that all that madness was not someone’s idea of morbid humour. If I can help just one person stand because I fell, then the falling was worth it. If just one person is healed because I was injured, then the injury makes sense. No, I am not a saint. I will not willingly allow myself to be injured even if I know it will help someone. My pain threshold is remarkably low. But I will not prod and poke at my scars either, neither will I be ashamed of them. They are my testimony.

July 23, 2010

Flip Your Switch!


Flip Your SwitchI keep wondering how many things in life simply flow naturally, maybe springs and waterfalls (perhaps!!!). More often than not, we are necessitated to put things in motion. Quite frankly, your vehicle engine will not move of its own accord, it requires the user to get it started. Whether by voice recognition or some other form of technologically advanced technique, you still need to get the engine rolling. Your living room may be well decorated with exquisite chandeliers and warm light fixtures but without flipping the switch, the lights remain as simple decorations.

The laws of physics have clearly demarcated the lines between what we consider as potential, static endowments against that which is activated, kinetic, and in motion. Potential energy is defined as energy possessed by an object by virtue of its position and/or composition. It is energy stored within, with the innate capacity to be transformed to other forms. Kinetic energy is said to be energy possessed by an object due to its motion or advancement.

Every human being was born with a measure of potential to a specific purpose and end. Each individual is uniquely identified to be different from the other. Specific characteristics, qualities, habits, proclivities and endowments make each individual distinct from the next.

Every now and then, human resource professionals have categorized people by their intrinsic attributes, skills and abilities. Essentially, each person is recognized for what his/her potential is at present, and what such potential may be developed into (going forward).

Recently, the award winning entertainer, Dapo Oyebanjo (a.k.a d’banj) released a new single dubbed “Endowed”. He possibly attempts to depict the potential deposited within (and without, who knows). Somewhere in between, he also cuts across gender lines, implying that endowment is a generic thing, and irrespective of gender. Both male and female are endowed with potential.

Thinking through, this quickly paints a picture of the ‘said to be’ greatest nation in Africa, Nigeria. A country absolutely endowed with innumerable wealth of both human and natural resources, nonetheless plagued by poverty, dilapidating infrastructure, corruption, power failure and dysfunctional parastatals.

To this end, it becomes sufficient to conclude that endowment is not an end, talent is just a resource, ability is only a starting point, and potential is not enough!

Crude oil has got enormous potential but as long as it sits still in subsurface source rocks, it remains potential alone. It must be explored, located and subsequently produced and refined to create benefit and profit.

It is the same way with every individual, society and nation. Until you put your endowments to work, you remain a beautiful chandelier in a dark house.

Potential without activation leads to stagnation. Stagnant water tells the story better. You, as an individual, need to set your potential in motion. Convert your ideas and concepts into useful benefit. Activate your abilities and flip your switches.

Even corporate organizations periodically pen down what they see as their core competencies, strong points, sellable edge, based on what they consider to be their skills, potential and endowments. Then, they activate a strategy to create profit from their potential.

As such, the challenge remains yours to take your potential and set it in motion! Irrespective of the fact that the environment may be limiting and frustrating, the buck certainly stops at your desk. It’s time for you to activate. Walk through these suggestions and see how:

  • Document your potential
    • What can you do? (Ability)!
    • What do you like to do? (Passion)!
    • Are you a go-getter? (Characteristic)!
    • Do you have a unique style of doing things? (Gift)!
  • Develop activation strategies
    • How can you use what you have, what you do/like to do, into useful benefit?
    • Pull a group of like-minded friends together and brainstorm (over a meal/few drinks possibly).
    • Seek a mentor who’s activating his/her potential in a similar regard.
  • Do your potential…..convert your innate abilities…set your vision in motion.

Whatever your potential is – starting a business, establishing a political frontier, motivating people, teaching, entertainment (in its varied forms), sales and marketing, public speaking, reasoning and analysis, writing, advocating, philanthropy etc, it’s time to flip the switch.

Are you still wondering and pondering? Get going right away….Just do it!!!

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written by Kunle Durojaiye

July 22, 2010

Are You Stuck?


I saw something absurd the other day. A highly engineered and specially designed high-performance race car stuck on a 35-mile-an-hour downtown street.

That is not what that car was made for. That is not what its creator (Enzo Ferrari) envisioned for it.

This 6-speed, F140 Aluminum V12, 4700cc engine with 660hp was built to go 0-60 in 3.8 seconds and race at 217 miles an hour (2010 specs). But here it is… stuck.

I see this absurdity every day.

But not only in the streets—in office cubicles, conference rooms, huddled behind computer screens, and dragging luggage through airports.

People who were specially engineered and designed with special talents, skills and abilities who are traveling down the wrong road, with their potential stuck in first gear; trapped and unable to race.

That is not what their creator had envisioned for them either.

Are you…

1. Stuck. Traveling down the wrong road? Are you in a job, company or business that has you boxed in on the slow lane? Is it keeping you from being able to get out of first gear and challenge your greater abilities?

Sometimes it’s not the car; it’s the road the car is on.

2. Traveling with Pintos? Are you going slow because you are keeping pace with ordinary cars, when you were designed for racing?

Sometimes it’s not the car; it’s the cars it travels with.

3. Are you even aware that you are a race car? You were specially engineered and designed for speed… to race. You were built for greatness. I’m not kidding. You are a miracle of machinery. Yes, you… the one reading this. It’s likely you have never even experienced half of what your top speed is.

Sometimes it’s not the car; it’s the one given the responsibility to drive it.

If you ever really gripped the wheel, braced your neck and punched the pedal with all your might… the awesomeness of your innate potential will shock and exhilarate you.

Punch it. NOW!

Who else do you know has greater innate potential than they might realize or be utilizing? Forward this post to them:http://darrenhardy.success.com/2010/07/are-you-stuck/

So, are you stuck? Are you on the wrong road, traveling with the wrong people, unaware of your true greatness? In the comments below share with everyone what you are going to do to “punch it” in your life, starting now.

Darren Hardy is the visionary force behind SUCCESS magazine (www.SUCCESS.com) as the Publisher and Editorial Director and the author of what is being called “the modern day Think and Grow Rich”, The Compound Effect—Multiplying Your Results. One Simple Step at a Time (www.TheCompoundEffect.com). More from Darren on his blog (http://DarrenHardy.SUCCESS.com), Facebook (DarrenHardyFan) or Twitter (@DarrenHardy)

July 21, 2010

One in A Million


Reviewing this book by Priscilla Shirer was a pleasure. I learnt so much from reading it and I can definitely say that it ministered to me.

I have a more detailed review on the group blog of Being Mrs V. To read that, click the badge below.

July 17, 2010

Book Review: The Wolf of Tebron


The Wolf of Tebron

The book opens with a battered, wounded wizard, fleeing the forces of darkness. His desperate attempt to save his family from the invaders is only partially successful as his protective spell does not hold completely. He is able to save his son, barely, and hands him over to a bear for safekeeping.

We see the son, now a grown man. He is a young blacksmith and has the gift of mindspeaking to animals. We are introduced to Joran and we get a glimpse of his family, where he has always felt like an outsider. Two things seem to motivate our young hero: anger and a need to belong. With these motivations crystallized in our minds, the book begins.

Like all good epic fantasy novels worth their name, there is a journey. So our hero embarks on a journey into his dreams in search of the wife he sent away. At this point, enters the wolf of Tebron who before now was just a shadow, existing in the fringes of Jaron’s life. Jaron saves his life and gains a travel companion. Together they brave the elements and many times, Ruyah the wolf is what comes between Jaron and certain death.

His quest takes Jaron and his four-footed companion to the house of the moon where he meets the moon’s sister Cielle, who is not really the moon’s sister after all. She gives him a souvenir, which she claims will save his life and sends him on his way to the Palace of the Sun.

From there it is one adventure after another. They get to the Palace of the Sun and move on to the Cave of the Wind. Their final destination is the Sea. They face different trials on the way and both Ryah and Joran come close to death, which each needing to save the other. Eventually though, the wolf gives his life to save Joran’s.

This is a book about a journey and a man. But it is more that man’s journey into himself. Joran discovers himself. By letting go of his anger and bitterness, he finally becomes at peace with himself and finds belonging.

It is also a story of great love and how the power of love can cause deliverance. Love propelled Joran to keep searching for his wife, even though he had convinced himself that it was anger that drove him. In the same way, love saved him from death; love for and of the wolf.

The use of imagery and strong metaphor is gripping. The reader’s imagination is engaged and the plot is not predictable. Which is a good thing as we keep turning the pages to find out what is around the next corner.

This is a very good book from C. S. Lakin and already, my husband is quite hooked.

C. S. Lakin is a multitasker. While running a bed and breakfast inn and raising two daughters, Lakin wrote three novels and a cookbook. In addition to The Wolf of Tebron, her mystery novel, Someone to Blame, winner of the Zondervan first novel contest, comes out in October 2010. Born into a family of writers, Lakin is also a member of several writing groups including American Christian Fiction Writers and Christian Authors Network. Now working on her ninth novel, Lakin also has experience developing television series and is a member of Christian Filmmakers. Lakin currently lives in California where she is a freelance copyeditor and writing mentor.

Title: “The Wolf of Tebron”
Author: C.S. Lakin
Publisher: AMG Publishers/Living Ink Books
Website: 
Category: Youth Fantasy Fiction
Publication Date: August 2010
ISBN-13: 978-089957-888-0
Page Count: 248

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publishers free of charge.