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Salt of the Earth

A lot can go wrong with a meal when the cook has not learned some secrets from more experienced hands. A long time ago, I learned that when cooking with dried fish, you have to rinse off the excess salt with cold water before you begin, and taste to determine if you have enough salt already before you attempt to add any.

You see, salt is used to preserve fish and several foods. It’s effective because it draws out moisture from the food and thus impairs the growth of food-spoiling microbes. In fact, Bethany Moncel, in her article – Six functions of salt in food – states that many disease causing microbes are unable to grow in the presence of salt. Interesting.

I am yet to see a fully stocked kitchen that doesn’t have salt in it. This ingredient is a must have and is used in several meals. Even some desserts have a pinch or some  other small measure of salt in the recipe because small amounts of salt intensify sweetness. I use it in my chocolate cakes – super yummy. So apart from its own flavor, salt enhances other flavors.

Did you know that salt counteracts bitter flavors in food? I just found out; and salt also reacts with some food molecules to release additional flavors that make the food more aromatic. Awesome. No wonder Jesus calls us the *SALT OF THE EARTH. So as salt is to food, so we are to the earth – preservatives and flavoring agents.

In preserving, we are to create an unconducive environment for anything that seeks to spoil, damage, corrupt or bring about decay and death in our spheres of influence. Preserve your earth – the people, systems, and environment around you. It seems we’ll need to pay attention, observe the trends, identify the problems and the root cause, and then do something about it. Our role is definitely not to stand by and do nothing.

As flavor enhancers we have to endeavor to bring out the best in every person and every system we interact with. Seek to add value always and to make things better. There’s a poster I saw in a public restroom a while back. It said ‘Please leave this toilet better than you met it’. That says a lot.

Be aware and live like one who is aware of the fact that you are the salt of the earth. This truly pleases God.


*Matthew 5:13

Bold As a Lion

I AM BOLD AS A LION! This is one statement I turn over in my mind just before I go up to sing, especially when the nerves feel almost overwhelming. It’s amazing how certain important feats seem to require so much boldness; I guess that’s because some of them are a big risk.

Risk cannot be separated from boldness. Whether you’re making a bold fashion statement, a bold declaration of your conviction, a bold investment, or a bold proposal to someone who’s clearly out of your league, there’s a risk. But if you don’t make that bold move, you’ll never achieve your desire, and if you do, you just might.

BOLD AS A LION! What do I know about lions? Not a lot but thanks to NAT GEO WILD, I see them prey every now and then on animals much larger than they are, and some with defence mechanisms that could badly injure or even kill a lion. Yes, it’s risky business but driven by hunger and after carefully considering the odds, the lion tactfully goes in for the kill. What drives you? What is the source of your motivation? You need to know it.

Something else – King Solomon said ‘The wicked are edgy with guilt, ready to run off even when no one’s after them; honest people are relaxed and confident, bold as lions’. That statement makes total sense. Who doesn’t need peace today? To think that being honest, doing what’s right, keeping your word and so on, could give you peace that comes with the added benefit of your being considered BOLD… by all means, somebody, please give me some honesty juice!!! But on a serious note, if you need to make amends, today’s a good day. Don’t procrastinate.

Giving this word a little more thought, there are some other interesting features of boldness. A closer look and I’m loving it more – Impactful, Eye catching, Prominent, Bright. This is all-encompassing. Boldness touches both the content and the package. It feels like an invitation to be excellent both inside and out such that the words we speak, the things we do, and how we live life as a whole continually makes a positive impact in the lives of people in our sphere of influence. Then we ultimately become like cities set on a hill, giving light to everyone around.

You may have achieved a lot already but there’s more. There’s always room for growth, improvement, and expansion. Don’t stop now. Be bold, be courageous! Keep on keepin’ on, and keep this in mind – THE RIGHTEOUS ARE BOLD AS A LION!

The Worship Experience 8.0

October 1, 2017 was quite a day to remember. Starting from the Independence Thanksgiving Service at the City of David, Eket to The Worship Experience (TWE), which held later in the day. It was a day filled with thanksgiving, prayers, praise and worship.

By the way, Happy New Quarter. Have you heard that one before? You know we take advantage of every opportunity to be happy in Nigeria – Happy New Year, Happy Sunday, Happy Weekend, Happy New Month, and so on.

I seize this opportunity to appreciate Daniel Owoabasi and his team for inviting me to minister at TWE 8.0. It was indeed a wonderful time in God’s presence and a perfect way to begin the quarter. It was truly a pleasure meeting Onos Ariyo, Chika Osisioma and Odunayo Aboderin.

Daniel Owoabasi with @onosariyo and @anietiebature – September 30, 2017

The beginning of this fourth quarter is a good time to look back on the good things that have happened in the last three and be grateful for them. And no matter how tough the struggle becomes, keep looking unto God to see you through and keep taking steps daily to bring you each day to a better place than you were at the day before. Remember that faith without works is dead. I like the version that says ‘…faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead’. (James 2:17) Do your part and trust God to deal with the things that are beyond you.

A lot can happen in three months. Don’t give up. Don’t give this year a defining label yet. Believe that it will get even better and press toward that. *Anything is possible to him who believes.

I believe this will be my best year yet! What do you believe?

I pray that you’ll have many good reasons to rejoice in this last quarter.

*Mark 9:23

Joy switch

I can’t even begin to tell you how exciting a rehearsal session can be. It’s like therapy for me and I relied on this a lot while I was in school. No matter how tough the week was, I just had to wait for the next rehearsal. Reminds me of a song from way back that said ‘Music makes me high’. Music is powerful in itself but it’s an even greater blessing when the lyrics edify the hearers.

Fast forward to this time in my life when I can go beyond learning other people’s songs to writing mine and working with skilful instrumentalists to build the musical accompaniment. When you have a good team, you don’t have to say too much. It’s like people who understand music think in a certain way… almost like when you begin to tell the story, they can predict where you want to go and they express it with their instruments. Awesome!

Yeah. It doesn’t feel like work when you do what you are designed to do, what you’re naturally graced to do. It comes so easy and I’m tempted to think that the expression of this gift and the nurturing and polishing of it to make it more effective and impactful is connected somehow to the joy switch in our brains. So when we do those things we become super happy.

I’m glad I have this passion, this gift, this grace… and I’m grateful for the Sunday School teachers, choir leaders, friends, mother and mentors who helped me nurture and hone it in one way or the other. You know, I see an interesting orchestration of events that have brought me to where I am today – the hand of God behind the scenes constantly surrounding me with people I can learn from and opportunities to grow and be better. I think I seized almost all the opportunities that came my way, musically speaking, except the ones that may have taken me completely off the main course of my life.

Decisions, decisions, decisions. Everyday we have to make them, and not making them is also a decision. You know the saying by Benjamin Franklin, ‘If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail’.

Well, I hope you know what flips the joy switch on for you and I hope it’s something that adds value to your life and to the lives of others. Finally, I hope you have found a way to make it a regular event in your life. Remember, ‘a cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength’*. You might as well use this as an avenue to keep yourself healthier for longer.

*Proverbs 17:22
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A Great Name

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with one’s name being great!

Sometimes in the name of humility, we keep ourselves from aspiring to achieve great things and thus limit ourselves, fail to reach our highest potential and deprive ourselves and the world of the benefits that would have come as a result of us reaching our peak.

Some people think that pride is the reason God came down to confuse the language of the people who were building the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11:1 -9 because they said ‘… so that we may make a name for ourselves‘. The real issue was that their agenda was opposed to God’s plan. He had told man earlier to replenish the earth and subdue it. How were they going to do so when their plan was to keep from being scattered over the face of the whole earth?

God doesn’t have anything against our names being great or against our making a name for ourselves. In fact, in promises* to Abraham and to David, He said ‘I will make your name great’.

So, as people created in the image and likeness of God, feel free to be creative like Him, the Creator. Think, imagine, have one light bulb moment then another. Develop those ideas and keep exploring your gifts and abilities. And if your name becomes great while you’re at it, by all means be thankful. That’s a blessing!

No limits! Keep moving!

*Genesis 12:2 & 2 Samuel 7:9

Ignition Point 6

Yes. Today is the day! September 10, 2017. Ignition Point 6. It’s the sixth edition of an initiative by A. Moses. We’ve rehearsed, we’ve prayed, and now we go believing that God will fill the atmosphere with His presence as we minister. We expect the manifest presence of God and with that, we know the sick will be healed, captives set free, burdens lifted, yokes destroyed and many souls saved.

I’ll be performing four songs, three of which are mine. I’m excited. I haven’t performed ‘Praise Him‘ and ‘You too much‘ live before but from the feel of the rehearsals, it’s going to be a wonderful time. It’s interesting the way these songs take on new life when performed live.

I’m grateful for the team of singers and instrumentalists that are working with me now. Each one with his or her own flavour to help us make a delicious cocktail that’ll please God. You know, we were created to please God, so that’s our main aim and objective. I’m always grateful for every opportunity I have to make use of my gifts, skills and experience.

What’s your gift? What’s your innate ability? Are you developing and using it?Don’t give up on it. Don’t let it die. You may be busy with work, business, family life, education, and so on but find a way to make room for it. You’ll find so much fulfilment.


EMBER Months

In this part of the world, the last four months of the year are referred to as EMBER months and that comes with a negative connotation. You see EMBER sounds a bit like ‘mba’, a popular Igbo word that means NO. Over the years, most people have come to think of this period as difficult, dangerous, treacherous, and packed with an air of impossibility. It is also usually accompanied by an increase in accident rates, crime rates, and so on, so a lot of people live in fear during this time of year.

How about looking at this time differently from now on? We may not be in control of a lot of things but there are a few things we can control or influence. Let’s make the most of those opportunities.

Plan better and work with your plan – avoid last minute brash decisions that leave you rushing and predispose you to accidents or other mistakes that could cost you a lot.

Determine to make safe choices all the time. Bear in mind that your family and loved ones still need you, so do all that lies in your power to get home safe.

Know that the world is not scheduled to end on December 31. There will probably be a next year, so if achieving certain dreams or aspirations this year will cost you your sanity, health, life and overall wellbeing, consider deferring them. Remember, if you die trying, that dream will still remain unachieved, but it you live, you can try again and probably succeed.

Stay positive. It is common knowledge that we often draw into our lives what we expect or what we think about the most – like Job who eventually said ‘What I always feared has happened to me. What I dreaded has come true’. Don’t spend your energy on the negative. Believe for good to come your way. Expect favour, goodwill, kindness and extend the same to others.

Finally, depend on God to guide, protect, bless and keep you. He’s the One with the power to control those circumstances that are beyond you. He’s the One who can orchestrate events for your good. He’s the One who can make perfect all that concerns you and bring you to a place that’s better than what you imagined.

I believe these four months will be the best time of this year for me. I expect increase, promotion, perfect health, a happy family, favour, wealth, more opportunities for positive impact, and overall wellbeing.


Picture credits: The Guardian

Blame Game

Sometimes we learn from the craziest situations. What do you do when you’re under pressure? Some people switch to the ‘blame somebody else’ mode and that just saturates the whole place with negative energy. But seriously speaking, the blame game doesn’t help the situation. Here’s an instance.

Our flight was for 7 a.m. I packed the night before and the kids’ luggage were mostly packed; just a few loose items were to be packed in the morning after bath time. My hubby planned to pack by 4 a.m. since he didn’t have much. By morning, he found that a number of those “loose items” needed to go in his luggage and it was clear an hour would no longer be sufficient. Needless to say, departure from the house was at about 5:30 a.m.

We set out, praying as we went. A few times I looked at my wristwatch and thought we wouldn’t make it. It began to rain, visibility was poor and the road was wet. At this point, I thought of the worst outcomes: 1. Drive with caution, which in this case meant slower that we wanted to, and probably miss the flight. 2. Drive faster and risk getting involved in a car crash? NO! Or 3. Drive faster and with luck, get to the airport on time. But when it comes to safety, you can’t rely on luck. So we went with option 1.

You see, he could have blamed us for giving him more to pack than he planned, I could have blamed him for not packing the night before, and I guess we all could have blamed God for the bad weather. LOL. Imagine that! Then we may have argued all the way to the airport, and that may have become so distracting to him that a car crash may have happened anyway. No. We refused to play the blame game.

Dear Grandma S was at the airport waiting. With our heads clear, an idea came to mind. We sent her our booking reference and she helped us complete part of the check in. We arrived on time to do the rest, clear security and board the plane. We made it. Thank God!

Blame games don’t help at all in resolving problems. In the heat of the negativity, you can miss even the simplest of solutions and fail to see your way out of your predicament. Just in case blame-gaming is a major sport for you, change your strategy today. No more blame games!

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Risk Aversion

Kwa falls! Totally awesome. Have you been there before? It’s in Cross River State in Nigeria and you will be super wowed if you visit. I’ve been there once, over fifteen years ago and I still cannot forget that experience – going down the 234 steps to the area where the water is calmer and quiet and then climbing all the way to the main fall with the exposed roots of the tree as my main support. It was so much fun. There was a portion where a rocky formation extended over the water and to get across, you had to move along the rocky edge and risk falling into the water. Believe it or not, even though I wasn’t a good swimmer, I just did it. I thought only briefly about what could go wrong and then proceeded with caution. If the worst case scenario played out, I didn’t feel like there was a lot at stake.

Recently, a colleague spoke of jet skiing to the deep side of the ocean while on vacation in Malaysia. I asked someone if he was married and if he had kids and he answered in the affirmative. I really wondered about this, so I engaged him – what were you thinking… didn’t you worry about sharks, sting rays, drowning… He said he was trying to overcome his fears and just as I expected, he said he wasn’t yet married and had no children at that time. He sounded like he would think twice before trying that now.

You see, when I think back on my time at Kwa Falls, I really wonder. Would I be that adventurous now? I’ve observed that our risk aversion increases with a particular responsibility – parenthood. My mum once told me that my dad used to drive really fast in the early days but as the number of children they had increased, his average speed decreased. As adventurous as I used to be, I find myself doing a lot of risk assessing these days. I think about what could go wrong, what safety gear I have on, the safety barriers in place, the availability and effectiveness of emergency response in that city or town, and so on. Ultimately, I try to ensure that as much as it depends on me, I return home after all the excitement to take care of my kids. I’ll try to stay fit so I can catch up on the craze when they’re all grown and independent but I won’t be surprised to find that my new level of risk aversion has come to stay.

What do you think? Have you identified anything that makes you more risk averse?

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Lekki Conservation Centre

Who said we don’t have nice places to visit in Nigeria? I can’t believe this place was only two minutes away from my previous abode but I never went in. I must have rationalized away the idea back then but I’m glad I finally went in today; many thanks to my darling sister.

It’s not cumbersome at all. In fact, it’s the fastest tour processing I’ve experienced in comparison to attractions outside Nigeria. I guess it’s because we don’t have so many people trooping there each day. We were good to go in less than ten minutes and the tour guide did a good job giving us a little history and explaining some things. My son was particularly happy to hear him mention ‘photosynthesis’ and how humans gain from that process. He’d learned about this in school.

The trees, the monkeys, the ants, the birds, the tortoise, the tree house, and the canopy walk. There’s a lot to see. If you’re interested in the canopy walk, inform the staff during processing. My first canopy walk experience was at Kakum National Park in Ghana and it was fun. There’s something about walking on a flexible bridge that sways as you move. Made with wood, ropes and some metal, you can’t expect otherwise. I will definitely return to do the walk at LCC; today I couldn’t because one little human was depending on me to hold his hand on the trail. I guess these tours will be even more interesting when they're much older.

By the way, did I mention ants? At a point, I was picking them off my husband’s T-shirt; loving wife that I am. I couldn’t stand by and watch him get bitten. You could spray or rub on some insect repellent. I assure you, you’re not too old for this. Even when you avoid the ants on the frame of the trail, a few could drop on you from the canopy. Protect yourself.

Things I won’t forget in a hurry – #1. The freshness of the air. Those trees do an excellent job filtering the air in this park and releasing a very healthy dose of oxygen for our enjoyment. If you need a break from polluted air in your environment, just visit the park. #2. The height of that tree house and how everyone below looked as tiny as ants. Yes, I climbed to the top, and it was fun all the way. Pity I didn’t have a marker to sign my name at the top. #3. The monkeys – especially the one that snatched an apple from my son. Lessons learned – don’t walk through a forest or swamp with food in clear view. You just might be sending out an invitation to the monkey community.

This monkey jumped from tree to tree and landed on the trail, then stretched its arm out to my son as if expecting a handshake. Before we could say ‘Jack’, it jumped across, snatching the apple in the process and went away. My son was frightened but thrilled. He said he was happy he got to touch a monkey. I said ‘more like, you’re happy a monkey waylaid you and snatched your apple’. He didn’t mind. Now he thinks he knows a lot about monkeys and goes on and on about how smart they are.

It’s good to know that as far back as the late 80’s, this eco-friendly idea was nurtured and developed into what we now call the Lekki Conservation Centre. My appreciation goes to the Nigerian Conservation Foundation. I like their vision – “A Nigeria where people prosper while living in harmony with nature”


Picture credit: Lekki Conservation Centre

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