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Memory Lane 3 – Time Wasters 2

Time wasters 1

‘That means I’m in love with about five ladies’…

My dad’s late. That’s why he spoke of permission from my mum. These statements seemed to hold a lot of promise but hey, they came from Timbo, so I documented them and carried on using my head.

Easter came around and some friends of mine returned from school. We always took advantage of birthdays and holidays to hangout. Our parents knew the drill already and even if there was no money for a party, you were sure to have this group of friends at your house on your birthday. Even if all you had to offer was water, we would still show up. Our favorite activity was the hot seat because the celebrant had to answer every question asked; it was a good way to get to know a lot about our friends. That Easter we planned to meet at one of the parks in Abuja.

Everything was set but just a day to the event, Timbo asked me to go out with him the following day. He sounded like it was important. I was keeping my options open so I agreed, just in case. I figured I could meet up with my friends later and I thought they wouldn’t miss me as much compared to Timbo if I let him spend the day alone. I wondered about this outing. I allowed myself drift a little. He had mentioned a different park, I assumed there was somewhere quiet where we could sit and talk. I really wanted to know what was on this guy’s mind.

Well, time came and we left for the park. When we arrived, he began searching for some people. I didn’t know what to expect but was extremely disappointed when he found his group of friends, quite a number, and quickly introduced me to them. It seemed he met them at Church or something. They were total strangers to me and that didn’t feel good at all. Where was I to start from… and they were going all over the park in their cliques, I couldn’t even remember their names. I thought Timbo who brought me into this mess would at least stay with me and be the link between me and the rest of his friends but noooo… that was too much to expect. He left me all alone and came back a few times during our stay there to check on me. I wished I could leave but for some reason I can no longer recall, I stayed till it was time for everyone to leave. I spent most of the time wishing I was with my friends and upset that Timbo withheld from me the information about it being a group outing.

Weeks went by and the date for my return to school for my final year drew near. I wanted to know for sure what Timbo had in mind so that I would know how to respond if anyone tried to ask me out in school. You know how it is, in final year some guys find their voices, clear their throats and say stuff like ‘you know, I loved you from the moment I first saw you, but I had to focus on my academics… now that we’re about to leave school, will you go out with me?’ and so on and so forth. So since he wasn’t coming out clean on the matter, I decided I would tactfully get the information I required from him. This is how it went:

One Saturday he asked me to accompany him to lunch saying he didn’t want to eat alone. I had already eaten at home so I had a glass of water while he ate. I began my line of questioning by asking him if he was in a relationship with anyone. He said he had different relationships with different people. Okay, ‘have you ever been in love before?’ I asked. ‘In love? What does it mean to be in love?’ He asked. At this point, I didn’t know if he was serious or joking; I couldn’t imagine that he didn’t know what it meant. I calmly explained to the best of my ability – ‘you know, when you always want to be with a particular person, you think of them almost all the time when they are not with you, you can’t wait to see them again, you enjoy their company so much, and you’re always on the look out for opportunities to give to them or do something that will make them happy.’ I hoped my response was good enough but nothing could have prepared me for his. ‘Hmn…’ He muttered. ‘That means I’m in love with about five ladies – Gloria, Emediong, Mabel, Helen and you’. What! He even had the audacity to count me in the number. Ha! Number 5.

At this point I was so irritated. Everything within me said, ‘pick up that glass of water and baptize him back to his senses’ but the love of Christ constrained me. At least he was blunt enough to tell the truth and help me realize that there was no light at the end of this tunnel. I concealed my displeasure and changed the subject. I counted down to the last ball of ‘eba’ he swallowed and said thank you and goodbye when he dropped me at home. Yes, goodbye, ‘good riddance to bad rubbish’ as a friend in school often said.

A few days later I returned to school. He came to mind every now and then. I thought I wouldn’t miss him at all, but to some extent I did. I guess my journaling and trying to be objective about the whole thing helped but didn’t shield me completely from the fondness that could develop as a result of communicating frequently with someone and hearing them say certain things. Though I tried to consider them untrue, it seems a part of me held out hope that he meant what he said. I was slightly disappointed but grateful to God that I had put those restraints in place. Without them, I would have been dealing with a serious heartbreak in my final year. Can you just imagine that?

I thought of other ladies that he could be treating the same way – maybe the other four he named – and decided to send him a mail. In summary, I told him not to hang around ladies and create the impression that he’s interested in marrying them and say things to buttress the point if he has no intention of this sort. He said he was just being friendly and apologized. Then he sent me a mail one day saying he had been somewhere near my home and had thought of stopping by to see my mother. I said, ‘for what? please do not go to my house for anything…’ What would he have gone as? Friend, very caring friend, suitor, neighbor or what? Abeg, I had had enough. Funny enough, that’s the last time we were in touch.

Maybe he was actually being friendly, maybe he really meant no harm, but there comes a time in a woman’s life when guys shouldn’t be hanging around them so much if they have no plan to marry them. Some guys are so much in a woman’s space that other genuine prospects back off because they think she’s already taken. They just stay there and spoil her chances. Then they wake up one morning and happily inform her – after she’s waited patiently for years hoping that one day he’ll ask her to marry him – that they’re getting marring to someone else.

Some ladies also find it hard to move on when a man is marking time around them, especially when he has some of those features that they desire in a husband. But if there’s any truth in your relationship with that person, you should be able to ask real questions that will help you analyze your situation and decide whether you want to stay or move on. You should be able to ask, after sometime of ‘being friends’ and the guy saying nothing, questions such as:

  • What exactly are we doing?
  • Define this relationship….where’s it going? what’s the future?
  • What’s your plan for your life? 5 year, 10 years, 20+
  • When do you plan to get married?
  • What kind of person do you want to marry?

and so on. Their answers will help you know what to do with your own life. But for goodness sake, don’t put your life on hold because of some guy who hasn’t said ‘Jack’. Some of them even become possessive, controlling, demanding and jealous…. Let’s not even go there.

Please, tell your sisters and your friends. This thing called LOVE… women have to go beyond emotions and engage their brains. Be objective, think, rationalize. This is not a ‘love is blind’ matter. Your love must wear glasses. Look well and don’t let anybody waste your time. Your time is your life.

Memory Lane 2 – Time Wasters

“That means I’m in love with about five ladies’. Yes, that’s what he said.

I’ve been waiting for the right time to share this experience. I think it’s time now. I thought this matter of time wasters would have faded into almost non-existence but from what I hear, it’s still on, big time, and some ladies are getting caught in their webs. Let me tell you about my encounter with one. I’ll call him Timbo.

In the early nineties, my family moved into a rented house. A few weeks in, we got acquainted with our neighbors and one of them was Timbo. He was older by a few years and seemed like a very focused individual. The way he headed out to school each morning seemed to shout ‘I’m on a mission. I don’t have time to play. I’m going somewhere to make a difference’. That was admirable. As years passed we had a few opportunities to chat outside when power failure forced most people out of their homes. Back then in our part of the country, not many people had power generators, so we would spend the time outside chatting with neighbors till NEPA decided to smile on us or till it was too late to remain outside.

One day, Timbo left for the 1-year National Youth Service Program. I sent a message or two to him while he was away but got no response. I thought we were friends enough for him to respond but I guess I was wrong. I was disappointed but hey… I moved on. Months later, he came to town but didn’t stop by to say ‘Hi’. I wondered about that.

Soon enough I also left town. Academic pursuits found me in Niger state, about 800km from home.  I met a number of people and made good friends and by the time I was in my fourth year, I went for the compulsory Students Industrial Work Experience Program and eventually found a placement in Abuja. One day, I got a call from Timbo. He said he was posted to the Abuja Branch of his office and didn’t know anywhere in town. He was trying to settle in and wanted to know where I lived. I gave him the address, ended the call and sat back to think about all that had happened in the past. I wasn’t going to make myself vulnerable this time.

I picked up my journal and summarized our history. Then I outlined some rules of engagement to guide me as we reconnected. The points included stuff like do not allow yourself get carried away, be very observant, guard your heart, beware – he may disappear again’. He showed up all smiles. Everyone was happy to see him, our long lost neighbor. He looked well, was well dressed and seemed to have money now. Good for him. We chatted a bit and he left, then I made my journal entries on the subject.

He began to call me on the phone almost every morning just after arriving his office; he would call again at close of business. A few times he stopped by to see me during lunch and would say something like ‘Work today’s so stressful, I just needed to see your face. Now I can go back and continue working’. Well, work was worth his while because a few months in, he bought his first car. It was small, but fit for purpose. His frequent calls and visits were beginning to leave an impression on people’s minds. A few assumed he was ready to settle down and was looking for a wife. I tried not to jump to conclusions.

In the course of our many conversations, he said a few things that made me think he was beating about the bush on the ‘marriage matter’. Here are the ones I can recall:

  • One of these days I will go to your mother’s office and lay prostrate on the floor and tell her I won’t stand up until she agrees to let you marry me
  • What time do you wake up? He asked. Around 6am, I replied. In that case I’ll just wake up and leave you there. When you’re ready you get up.


To be continued…. 

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Memory Lane 1 – Asthma

Every now and then I take a walk down memory lane and count my blessings. This time I came upon an experience that I will never forget and will forever be grateful for. Different things remind me about it as I carry on with every day life – a cough, a whistling sound while someone is breathing, and so on. Yes, those are symptoms of asthma.

A few years into being Mr. & Mrs. we decided to move out of what had been our first home. It was a 2-bedroom flat located in a transition zone between a village somewhere in Lagos and the Lekki-Epe  express. Our first child was born while we lived in that house and everything was fine. He ate, slept, played and did everything babies do. He was a perfectly healthy child.

We found a newly completed house closer to work. It was nicely finished and having three rooms, it was just right because number two was on the way. We moved in and all was well until we started noticing those symptoms a few months after our second was born. After repeatedly visiting the hospital with the same symptoms, the doctor said ‘We have to call this what it is. Your children have asthma’. Until then, it had been termed bronchiolitis.

We really wondered. None of us had asthma or serious allergies so why did our kids have it? The following months saw us going to the hospital over and over again. I remember one occasion when we rushed our daughter to the hospital at night. The doctors took her from us very swiftly and the staff all gathered doing one thing here, one thing there. A while later, we went in to see her and she seemed calm. I asked the doctor if we could go home and he laughed. He said ‘Madam, it seems you don’t understand what happened here. This girl was literally drowning in her own fluid’. We were advised to stock up on critical supplies and get a nebulizer so we could manage the situation better at home.

Anytime these kids exerted themselves, they would cough and cough and cough. I can’t count the number of nights we spent watching them while they slept, anxious about the next breath. We were told there was a trigger and we had to find it but we had no clue what to search for. The frequency of our cleaning regimen had already been raised to an all time high, yet this continued. I wondered if they would ever have a normal life, you know, go out without an inhaler, drink cold water without repercussions, be able to participate in sporting activities, and so on.

We kept praying for a miracle and continued with the treatments. You would think we went shopping each time we returned from the clinic because of the volume of medication we took home. One day, I returned from a program in Church only to hear that my daughter had an episode while I was away but everything was under control. At this point, I sat on the arm of the chair closest to the door and said ‘God, we can’t continue like this. You said in your word that if we serve you, you’ll bless our bread and water and take sickness away from us. I can’t finish working for you and come home to a sick child. Please show me what the problem is’.

While I was praying, a thought settled in my mind – moulds. We all began to search the whole house and eventually found a colony of these fungi behind a box in the kids’ wardrobe. It was only then we realized there was a plumbing fault that allowed water from the adjoining bathroom to wet the wardrobe wall, and the box stored there provided a light shield – perfect environment for moulds to thrive – moisture, warmth & darkness. The kids were obviously allergic to the spores these moulds produced.

We proceeded to remediate the whole place and have the plumbing issue addressed. From then on, the kids progressively recovered and now they are perfectly healthy. No more hospital admissions, no more wheezing, no more inhalers or nebulizers. All praise and thanks to God who preserved them throughout that trying period and gave us insight into the root cause so we could address it. There are some problems money cannot solve.

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New Month! Four gone, eight to go, then we’ll be shouting ‘Happy New Year’ again. Time truly waits for no man.

A cousin of ours came visiting. Just yesterday she gained admission into the University and now she is getting ready for her fourth year which will begin in September. Where did the time go? I’m glad that I’m able to account for that time with a few worthwhile accomplishments but I see also that more traction is required for some other dreams to become a reality.

Are you still dreaming? Don’t stop! There’s never a bad time for a good idea. Light bulb moments are always welcome and where there is a will, there is a way. Have faith. Keep believing. Don’t give up.

Think, think and think again. Look over that plan, review your strategy, research, consult, discuss, meditate, and look ahead. What will you accomplish in eight months? Some of your plans may be easy peasy lemon squeezy; but there should be something in there to stretch you to a new level in capacity, or to help you discover and explore a part of you that’s been in the shadows till now. This can be really exciting.

Has it been tough so far? Don’t give up. With God on your side, you can outlast the storms. Have faith and keep pressing on. Keep praying, keep believing, keep working, and keep moving. Better days are ahead.

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An invitation

It was a wonderful holiday. I think the kids had the best time visiting their friends and bonding with their cousins. Kids often get the best deal when it comes to relaxing and resting. The school calendar just works for them – work hard 3 months, take a break for about a month, and then back to school. Most teachers are nice enough to send pupils home at the end of the term without homework; others are not so kind. Sometimes, you just wish….

Now the Easter holiday is over, schools are resuming and many parents are returning to work as well. This is one of those times when anxiety can creep in. It’s easy to begin to worry about all that lies ahead, from pending work items to school fees to several other things that will place a demand on your resources. Yes, one could get overwhelmed  by these genuine and legitimate cares of life.

Are you afraid?

Does your heart skip a beat when your phone rings?

Do you dread sunrise?


Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.‘ It is also written ‘Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you‘. Another statement that really reassures me was made by Paul the apostle. He said ‘Now thanks be unto God who always causes us to triumph in Christ‘.

You’re not alone. Even when it feels like you’re walking through the valley of the shadow of death, God is with you to comfort you and to fight for you. He’s waiting to be SHEPHERD to you, to supply your needs, to restore your soul, to cause a refreshing to occur in your life, and to help you triumph, win, overcome, and succeed. But you have to come by yourself and give your worries and cares to him and let him give you REST. You can call out now. This invitation is from him; you won’t be turned away.


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Yesterday as rehearsals with the Lagos Community Gospel Choir progressed for the Easter Morning Concert at This Present House, Lekki, Lagos, I wondered again about what Easter really means…. Pain that brought joy, chains that brought liberty, stripes that brought healing, death that birthed eternal life… The greatest exchange ever… that one man, the Lamb of God, the perfect sacrifice, bore all this negativity for the benefit of all humanity.

Yes, benefit. So much is now available to us because of the price Jesus paid; and we now have a right to say NO to the enemy’s attempts to ensnare, enslave, afflict or subdue us in any way. I remember a song titled Glorious Day which was performed by Donnie McClurkin at  Azusa ’93. It said ‘Living He loved me, dying He saved me, buried He carried my sins far away, rising He justified… freeing me forever, one day He’s coming back, glorious day’. Jesus really accomplished a lot for us on the cross and the best part in this story is the resurrection. He didn’t remain in the grave, death could not hold Him down. On the third day, Jesus rose triumphant and victorious!

So here’s something to think about… What’s the appropriate response to this Jesus who paid our debt, that we couldn’t pay, in order to deliver us from eternal condemnation? I praise Him, thank Him, worship Him, love Him because He first loved me, give my life to Him because He first gave His for me, and live to please Him each and every day. If you have not yet given your life to Jesus, there is no better time to do so than today. It’s really easy; all you have to say is this:

Heavenly Father, I come to you in prayer asking for the forgiveness of my sins. I confess with my mouth and believe with my heart that Jesus is your Son and that he died on the Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven and have eternal life. Jesus, I believe that you rose from the dead and I ask you right now to come into my life and be my personal Lord and Savior. I repent of my sins. Thank you Father for loving me, In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.

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Happy Easter!

100 ways

Go on vacation to an exotic location, buy a new car, win the Lagos City Marathon, climb Mount Everest, shed 20kg in six months…. We all continue to strive to achieve one thing or the other and that is good. But to go from where you are to where you want to be, you have to do something about the gap between.

Some say CLOSE IT, some say FILL IT, and others say BUILD A BRIDGE OVER IT. What do you say? Bottom line – something has got to be done to enable you make the transition to the place where you have realized your dreams, your desires have been fulfilled and your goals have been accomplished.

A mentor of mine once said that a good way to do this is to take a pen and paper and write down 100 Ways to…. For instance, 100 ways to earn $1000 in five months, 100 ways to fund the water well project, 100 ways to bring back the romance in your marriage… and so on.

The idea is to first write down as many strategies as possible and afterwards, sit back and analyze each one. Your solution may come from the implementation of one strategy or from a combination of two or more. I often find it difficult to get to 100 but I give it my best each time and I can say it’s very helpful.

You wanna try?

Have Faith – Think Big

Everything is possible for one who believes.

Anything is possible if a person believes.

Everything is possible to the one who believes.

As far as possibilities go, everything is possible for the person who believes.

Yes. I would have assumed that Jesus didn’t quite mean everything or anything, but when I think of one of His followers saying ‘I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength’, I have to face it; it must be that He meant exactly what He said.

Wow! That’s something to think about.

I’ve found that during the transition from one year to the next, we are often in a relatively excited state and we dream big dreams, think big, make resolutions and hope for a better year than the previous. But as the celebrations come to an end and decorations are taken down, our confidence in some of those aspirations begins to dwindle and we begin to contemplate whether it’s worth it at all to try.

Before you take a pen and cross that item off your list, I think you should just take a moment and imagine yourself with that dream realized. Would it make you happier and your life more fulfilling? Is it worth believing for? I ask because the critical thing is believing – having confidence or faith in the truth or the assertion that everything is possible. If it is worth it, then fight for it. It’s a good fight – the fight of faith. Fight to keep that dream alive; fight to put a plan in place to achieve it; fight to work daily towards accomplishing it; fight till what once was only a thought or an idea in your mind become a reality.

Nelson Mandela said ‘It always seems impossible till it’s done’.

So go for a smart start, and when faced with obstacles, ask how; and in the midst of it all, keep believing that all things are possible!

Ask How

Now that we’re off to a Smart Start, a concept comes to mind that I came across in ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’, a book by Robert Kiyosaki in which he said that compared to rich people, poor people respond in a different manner when faced with a need. He observed that the poor are quick to say ‘I can’t afford it’ – a statement in which there’s no hope or possibility of a positive outcome, while rich people often say ‘how can I afford it?’ – a question that opens them up to endless possibilities. The outcome of these two responses are worlds apart – the poor often do not get what they want but the rich often do because they engage their minds, come up with a strategy, work at it, and eventually are able to afford it.


Now I consider life and I see that we can expand this concept to cover every aspect of our existence. We have dreams, desires, ambitions, goals, targets, and resolutions. Some of them may seem like tall orders and could easily cause one to cower into resignation but if we apply this concept, we’ll be asking ‘how can I do this?’ rather than saying ‘I can’t do this’.

There’s nothing wrong in asking how. Some people think, especially after they’ve prayed, that it is not in order to ask how because it would mean that they do not really believe. It’s easy to slip into that place where you abdicate all responsibility to the Supreme being in hope that He’ll work a miracle for you and you won’t have to do anything.

We are to trust God and not depend on our own understanding. That doesn’t mean we should throw out our reasoning. Rather, even after considering all the facts, we should bear in mind that God is able to make possible what seems impossible and He will do it in whatever way He sees fit, and that way might involve you getting down to some fact finding, planning, working the process and coming out with your desires fulfilled, goals accomplished and needs met.


Which will you say this year?

Smart Start

Back in Primary School, I got excited every time a new notebook was given to me. There’s something about the way it smelled that made me feel I had another opportunity to do better, write better, make my work neater and more orderly, and most importantly, impress my teachers when the time came by reproducing everything they had taught me.

New things really inspire me. How about newly printed currency? When I have some of such, I spread them between my fingers like a Chinese dancing fan and place them softly against my nose, then I close my eyes, breathe in, and dream of having so much money so I can do more good – help people in need, care for my family, support good causes around the world, and just enjoy the benefits that come with having more money.

Whether you are ready for it or not, the new year has come. Great! Even if the postulations about this year are gloomy, I choose to be excited, hopeful and faith-full. I’ll go for a smart start and then build on that good foundation as the year progresses. I know no other way to achieve this than to get the right guide. I found one who knows everything so I don’t need to worry about complicated challenges I may face; He knows how to resolve them. I won’t ‘miss road’, as my people say; He knows the way.

He is also all-powerful; so when those problems and troubles show up or I come to road blocks manned by the adversary to keep me from advancing and becoming all I’m meant to be, I will just hand the battle over to Him and then stand still and watch Him fight for me and give me victory. I might add a clap and a dance, you know… show some cheer leading stunts in the process. No slacking! No getting weary! He’s a master at renewing strength; He has this secret formula – JOY. Are you feeling me?

My expedition guide is not afraid of anybody or anything. All power in heaven and on earth belongs to Him, He is the King of kings, and He has the final say. So no matter what is said about this year, what He’s said about my life and all that concerns me is what will be… and from what I hear so far, 2017 is going to be fantastic!

He said: I know the plans I have for you. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope – Jeremiah 29:11

He also said: I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. – Psalm 32:8

Wow! My recommendation to all in favor of a smart start is this: Let the Lord Almighty be your guide. I guarantee that you will not regret it.


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