Father’s day brings about mixed emotions in me. On one side, I celebrate my husband and father of my kids who does all he can to support and bring up our sons. On the other hand, I try really hard to remember what it was like to actually have a father. For many years, I have watched with longing as many of my friends interact with their dads who were so involved in their lives. I have not seen my father in many years and some of the times we have spent together have not left happy memories. However, the fact still remains that he is my father.
Neither Here nor There
Whether my dad was absent or present, loving or not – nothing can change the fact that I am his seed. Who knows how I would have turned out if I was the seed of another? Would I have ended up a genius or an alcoholic, a success or a failure? After many years of internal struggle, I have come to realise that my dad is now old and fragile and needs me more than I need him now. Whether he was present or absent in my past, the truth is – he needs me in his present. I refuse to allow the past rob me of my present, God is able to release the pain and burdens of our past, if we can just let Him in.
Fathering or Not!!!
Yes many dads did not realise the consequences of their actions, some did but were not strong enough to choose the right priorities. So for those of us who never really had a father figure in our lives – let go, forgive and give in to love. Allow God to heal your past and stop carrying the burden of that pain. If you can reconcile with your dad – do and free yourself from any grudge before he goes to his grave. If he is no more, learn lessons from what worked and what didn’t – let your kids benefit from your experience and knowledge in a good way. I thank God for those who have stood in the gap to provide support as men when required.
For single parents who are raising kids by themselves, I understand your plight. I watched my mum toil for many years to give us a good life. Be encouraged that you will reap the rewards of your labour. Do not faint…press on and keep moving. Your children will one day rise up and call you blessed.
To all parents, choose to be a better mum or dad than your parents. Whatever happens to you in life, do not allow any bad experience to cheat your child out of a good and happy life.
Happy Fathers Day Folks.
To a better life….Temi.
I am not an avid gardener, but I got pretty bored of a bare garden of parched brown grass and envying my neighbours’ lovely gardens. One of my neighbours encouraged me to dig out a border and plant some flowers to start off. Late last year, at the tail end of the planting season I eventually decided to plant some bulbs. In the past I had always bought plants and just transferred them from pot to earth, so I can see quicker results. These plants tend to die because I do not really take good care of them or something was surely wrong with my propagation system.
So I embarked on testing my patience by planting some bulbs. After the first month, absolutely nothing happened – I watered, tended and watched but nothing. All my knowledge of plant life and biology went out of the window as I began to panic. I actually lost all reasoning and assumed a cat or fox must have been to my garden and dug up my bulbs. So when I could no longer bear the suspense, I dug up a few to see if there were any changes. Strangely enough the bulbs were there; intact but still the same as when I buried them.
My garden adventure actually reminds me of what happens in our lives. Sometimes we do all we can to get ahead in life. We plant our seeds in jobs, businesses, careers, education or whatever we know to do. We water and tend our seeds, time goes by and it seems nothing is actually happening. Reminds me of my business as well and other things I have embarked upon. I started a business a few years ago and I have had a really good run so far, but I do get impatient sometimes and want exponential growth NOW (go buy a pot plant instead of bulbs)! Some business seasons have not been smooth as is common with start-ups and sometimes I do ask myself why bother.
Having worked as an employee for almost two decades, it’s so much easier to report to work and do what was required of me. But now there is no looking back as I have planted my seed and it will be totally wrong to let those seeds grow without tending them and getting the rewards my plants can provide. Flowers have a nice way of beautifying a garden, so does hard work, resilience and fortitude beautify one’s life but these results do not happen overnight and require a certain level of dedication.
The tending might take a while and results may be delayed but it does not mean the plants won’t grow. I must be honest; my green fingers are far from developed as I have not been faithful in watering, tending and weeding my plants all the time. Mother Nature has also lent a helping hand with rain and sunshine in addition to a few tips from my neighbour and the internet. The resilience of the plants has shone through and they have grown!
The Symbol of Hope
My plants have become a symbol in my life. When I feel overwhelmed, I just look in my garden at those lovely flowers. They are yet to open their petals but from where we journeyed, I know they will surely do that soon. At the same time, I must ensure I get rid of the weeds that rise up and want to choke my plants. The weeds represent different things to different people and can mean doubt, uncertainty, low self-esteem etc. If you are a melancholic like me you know that is one of our greatest fights – winning the battle of the mind. It is such a relief to have God to call on, so I can tell my mind to take a break and stop the analysis!!!!
In life we will all have challenges of various degrees but we should never stop watering, tending, actively doing what we can and being hopeful. Hope in God and at the right time your flower will bloom.
One of my favourite bible scriptures…
Though the fig tree does not blossom and there is no fruit on the vines, [though] the product of the olive fails and the fields yield no food, though the flock is cut off from the fold and there are no cattle in the stalls, Yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will exult in the [victorious] God of my salvation! The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds’ feet and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual] progress upon my high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]! Habakkuk 3:17-19 Amp.
Enjoy the planting season….Temi
www.businessfirststeps.co.uk defining passion, developing ideas and creating business opportunities.
Photo1 courtesy of zeafonso sxc.hu.
In life, we all have to make choices….
Choices to wake up happy, choices to wake up sad.
Choices to make up for the wrong we did or to just let it slide.
We choose those we want to be nice too and who we want to ignore.
Everything we do in life is about our choices more and more.
We choose to quit when we face adversity or to go on and overcome
I know sometimes our strength abates and we think we can’t carry on
But the resolve to keep moving is a choice we have to make
We choose our friends and mark our foes, we choose to give and take
Every day I ask myself “what choices are before me today”?
Will my choices make my life better and will it make my friends stay?
If I choose to smile, what effect will it have or if I chose to frown will it spread all around?
I want my choices to have a positive impact in the lives of the people around me
So when I sleep, I sleep with peace that love has found me.
So today I ask God to help me make the right choices as I pray
So I can be a blessing and a joy to all those who cross my way.
One of my favourite quotes is “choices are the hinges of destiny”. A true saying as our choices decides our destiny in life. Whether we make good ones or bad ones, they all form the future we have to face.
www.businessfirststeps.co.uk. One of the choices I made.
Commit your works to the Lord and your thoughts will be established Proverbs 16:3
An Outing of Fun
A while ago, I decided to visit a friend of mine who lives in another town about 2 hours away. I packed all the necessary stuff I thought I will need for the journey. Ushered the kids into the car and off we went. Armed with my faithful Satellite Navigation System, I thought nothing could go wrong.
Now since I had my Sat Nav, I assumed the journey will be easy. I didn’t even try to get my bearing before I left home. So driving out of my neighbourhood, I got stuck.
HELLO, SAT NAV CAN YOU HEAR ME!!!
The Satellite Navigation system could not pick up a signal therefore could not offer me directions. Now since I had no clue of the direction I should travel, I had to park the car and pull out the old A-Z map and find at least the right motorway. I also had to call my friend for further directions of how to get to her home. If I had assumed that the Sat Nav might fail, I could have at least mapped out my route before I left home using a route planner. My dependence on the Sat Nav cost me greatly, I lost time, I was stressed and with kids at the back of the car…well you can just imagine the rest.
The Joy (Not!) of Gadgets
I learnt a lesson from that experience though. We are surrounded with so much new age technology and modernism – iPads, android phones with loads of apps, iPods, social network sites, Skype, conference calls, online shopping…the list just goes on. We have unconsciously become insensitive to the voice that lives within and the reliance on the natural ways of doing things.
Living in a modern age is robbing us of our God-given instincts. We have become lazy to do and quick to allow our gadgets to do it instead. My concern is what if they fail? I expect my phone to tell me when my kids are to get ready for school (God help me if I forget to set the alarm!), when their dinner will be ready, when it’s homework time, when someone wants to chat, when it’s someone’s birthday.
Yes Birthdays! Last year I changed phones and never got the chance to upload the birthday reminders. Guess what! I have forgotten so many birthdays since last year, it’s unreal. I am not talking about random friends; I am talking about family and close friends here. My normal self stores birth dates in my memory bank but since the advent of phone reminders, if I could I will forget mine too.
You want to change career, you type in answers to a few questions and the system pops up the ideal career. No more internal questioning and survey of your skills hey! You need to read your bible, I don’t know about you but online lesson plans with daily reminders has been the only way for me a while now.
Sharpen Your Internal Instinct
I am all for gadgets – after all they make our lives so much easier. But I think we need to minimise our dependence on them and not suppress our instincts. Our instincts should help us make the most important decisions in life not the other way round.
Modern age technology should help us sharpen our instincts and not suppress them.
I am learning to train my internal instincts and I expect my gadgets to fall in line too.
Photos courtesy of Ambrozjo and Ilco sxc.hu
When Is A Good Time To Change Lanes?
When you are driving on the motorway and you reach slow traffic, do you remain in your lane or find the fastest moving lane and swiftly navigate your way down that stretch of road? I have done that quite often then realised that I actually joined a slower lane. Not only that, I start counting the cars that are now behind the car that was ahead of me, then I get pretty mad for changing lanes.
Is This My Chosen Path?
Life can be like that sometimes. You start off on a path and decide to change lanes – lanes could be career, college course, relationship, anything. Then you look back after some years and think “hmm! Maybe I should have hanged in there” or even “Thank God I quit when I did”. Whichever option you choose, I realise life must go on. There is no point regretting the past as you can’t go back to rectify it. Something I need to constantly remind myself!!!
Real Life Interpretation
As soon as you change lanes be ready for the consequences. There is no point doing a ‘me’ on the motorway – counting cars that are now behind the car you were tailing.
Real Life Scenario – looking at what people who started the journey with you have now achieved in their careers, relationships, finances, education etc. Doing so can slow you down, stall your car or even knock your engine. Then you may have to wait for roadside assistance to fix or tow your car away.
So whatever lane you find yourself today…just keep on moving and looking ahead. You may choose to stay in your lane as it might be the route to the right destination. Alternatively if there is an opportunity to change lanes, make sure you use all your mirrors and you signal appropriately.
As you journey I wish you happy motoring on the motorway of life….Temi.
Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It’s perfect when it arrives and puts itself in our hands. It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday. John Wayne.
Photos courtesy of sxc.hu Stylesr1, Fkdeluxe & Dlockeretz.
Road Blocks and Diversions
Sometimes we are forced to take an unscheduled detour off the motorway of life. You may have mapped out your life in a certain way – decide when you want to graduate from college, get married, have children, start that career or business etc. But life just doesn’t always happen that way, does it?
No Entry Sign
After redundancy, I started sending out my CV to recruiters, I used to be so excited by the number of calls I used to get from recruitment agents every day. I remember one of the job interviews I attended and they were informing me of the long hours involved including the occasional Saturdays. I could not believe I was trying to convince them that I could do the job when I did not have any form of childcare arrangement in place. Anyway to cut the story short, I realised soon enough that working for someone else was not going to happen for me at that time.
Road Closed – Diversion
The inability to find the right role that could fit in with my family life forced me to dig deep into my skills and talents vault to start the discovery of what else I could do. I had worked in the accounting sector for so many years and it seemed Profit and Loss was all I knew. After a lot of soul-searching and business consultations/advice, I started putting my strengths and weaknesses together to find out what I wanted to do with myself so I could get back on the motorway.
The road to discovering my current career as a business consultant was bumpy, with many stop signs, potholes, no parking zones, road blocks, no entry, one way systems, I even got the occasional tickets for parking in the wrong place.
Road blocks or diversion can happen due to many reasons, one being major road works. Now there are various types of road maintenance such as:
- Surface Dressing: Bitumen and chippings are used to restore skidding resistance and seal the road against surface water every five to seven years.
- Planing – The old top layer is replaced with new material
- Total reconstruction – This fundamental rebuilding of a road
(text courtesy of Somerset council)
Some of us might just need surface dressing every few years, some planing – prune the old layer (re-train, new knowledge etc), while some of us need a total reconstruction of our motorway of life.
If you are going through a total reconstruction, you may have discovered that it takes a while to get the road back in order so patience and perseverance are important. Whatever you do build well, construct with speed bumps so you can slow down and check your speed from time to time. Line the road to make sure you stay in the right lane. Always use a map and above all – enjoy the rebuild.
Don’t be so eager to get cars on the road until it is fit for purpose. There might also be a need for others to use the side streets whilst the road is under construction. So if you are ever forced to take a diversion on the motorway of life due to road maintenance. Don’t despair or panic, just allow God to recalibrate your journey.
Photos courtesy of Mzacha and Broken Arts sxu.hu.
A Modern Tale…
Okay, boy meets girl. Girl likes boy but boy is not really her ‘kind of guy’. Boy makes girl feel good, he is very polite, nice, good, regular not over the top fun. But still boy is not girl’s ‘kind of guy’. Eventually girl discovers that there is no ‘ideal’ guy. What she needs and what she wants are two different things. Luckily boy hangs around long enough for girl to realise that boy is genuine and is what girl needs. Boy and girl get together, get married and get on with life. Notice I did not say happily ever after because every day HAPPY does not exist in real marriage. You get the good times and you get the downright lows!
Once girl marries boy, the ALTERATION PROJECT begins. First its the clothes, the subtle ‘good buy’ in our bid to change the way they look. I was so guilty of that, innocently adding clothes to his wardrobe for ulterior motives, wanting to conform my man to my ideal. He was grateful for the presents but some were an outright NO! It took me a while and a lot of returns before I realised that you can’t change a person if they do not want to change.
Then you graduate to other things, why don’t you make friends with this person, let’s visit that person, this is a good job for you etc. All in our bid to change the person we married for who they are into what you think they should be. Some of the suggestions are good, I am all for helping your spouse fulfil his/her ‘destiny’ in life but we need to check our motives. I mean once you change your partner from the one you married, then you start living with someone else. What guarantee is there that you will like the new HIM/HER?
It also works the same for some men too, they marry a nice docile wife who is quiet in her own way. After a couple of years you start complaining about her being too homely, not outgoing etc. My question is aren’t these the things that attracted you to her in the first place?
Maybe now you hate his jokes, I mean the jokes that used to make you double over with laughter. Now he needs to behave a bit more mature after all he is not in his twenties anymore. The quiet one needs to engage people a lot more, surely there is more she can talk about. The intellectual needs to be a bit more diplomatic with his facts, so he doesn’t come across pompous. The life of the party needs to stem it just a little bit. The list goes on but why change what attracted us to them anyway.
Focus – the Good or the Bad
I am fortunate enough to have met a great guy and over the years I realise that he is what I need and more. What I wanted 12 years ago did change, I now know that the supposed glitter and gold ‘the Denzels of this world offer’ fades over time. Thank God, I came to my senses when I did, I could have missed a great guy by focusing on an ‘ideal’ that didn’t really exist.
After a few years of marriage you slowly (emphasised as it takes a while) realise the important things and discard those things that clog the wheel. So what if he combines odd colours, if he is the quiet type or if your man likes to behave a little ‘different’ at times. The important thing is to identify a good combination and do your bit to make it work. Like someone rightly said – apply the 80/20 rule, if you get 80% good, then 20% in-between is not so bad.
Is There an Ideal for Me?
I loved bellanaija.com’s article – the myth of an ideal man. My point of view is two people come together from different spectrums of life to live and love together. What seems ideal today can pale into insignificance in no time. I mean what has 6 feet 4 inches got to do with washing the dishes? Any good marriage requires hard work, why do we think the Hollywood stars file for divorce sometimes within a few years? Good looks don’t guarantee a good marriage, hard work and a lot of compromise does, well I learnt that anyway.
So if there is anyone out there thinking “is he/she my type?”, wake up and remember ideal doesn’t exist. As we celebrate Valentine’s day, I intend to focus on my man’s good qualities rather than pick at the other bits God is working on and that feels good!