Sunday, 3 February 2019

The Purposeful Path to Success.


Most people spend their lives stuck in a ‘Catch 22’ situation because they are scared to take that plunge. It could be frustrating and sad leading such lives, but look on the bright side because there’s always a way out. Don’t sit around whining and complaining like a normal ‘Desperate Housewife’-no offence!


For some, success could be seen as acquiring wealth and power while for others it could mean making a positive impact in people’s lives. Knowing this, it’s up to you to make the right choice of path.

When Thomas Edison was asked in an interview how he felt after all his failed attempts at inventing the light bulb, his response was epic;

He replied,” I didn’t fail, I just learned hundreds of ways not to invent the light bulb”

That’s the mindset of success!

Pay attention to your failures and have an unwavering resolution to succeed. Think about the achievements of individuals like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, their biographies are inspiring! It just recapitulates the fact that it’s not about falling down, but getting back up after every fall.

Everybody wants to make it big. Lots of youths today would trade almost anything to choose the quick and easy escape route, even when there may be severe repercussions. Nobody wants to exercise patience and perseverance anymore. That’s the real problem.

Determination and trust in God is absolutely necessary in order to reap the fruits of your labor. It may be hard work initially, but it will pay off eventually. Trust me, if it were easy, everyone would be doing it.

Don’t spend your whole time living a dream, rather take charge of whatever situation you are posed with, face your fears and be courageous.

I remember when I started blogging; before I clicked on the publish button for the very first time, I wasn’t sure of what to expect… there was fear of the unknown and lots of uncertainty of what the future had in store for me. But I went ahead and did it anyway. Thanks to hubz though, and a few months down the line, I’m enjoying every bit of it.


From my own personal experience, I would say that motivation is the key ingredient behind every achievement and success. If you’re passion driven and willing to put God first of course, then everything else will hopefully fall into place when the time comes.
Just know that behind every success story is an embarrassing setback, stumble or challenge which you may not be aware of.

On a final note- Don’t just exist; do something meaningful with your life. Become your own success story, not someone else’s.

XOXO,

Yours Truly.

Sunday, 27 January 2019

‘Me Time’- A Conscious Effort to De-stress.


Some people see this as a pie in the sky idea; when ideally, it should be a realistic goal. ‘Well, as you know, there are 24 hours in a day. And if that’s not enough, you’ve always got the nights!’- I stumbled upon these words on a friend’s status few days ago and it got me wondering… Should there be reasons why the 24 slamming hours in a day are never enough? Maybe we need to be more purposeful with our day to day organization and planning.

Of course, each day dawns with a heap of roles and responsibilities, I get that! I also know that taking time out of busy schedules won’t put food on your tables or sort the bills. But we should all be aware of the damaging effect which elevated stress levels can have on one’s mental and physical health; not to mention being a huge relationship killer- So tread carefully!

It’s a fast-paced world and the pressure of being left behind is so intense that most of the time, in a bid to meet up, we find ourselves at the mercy of the ‘Stress Monster’.

The most important thing is to make sure you’re not neglecting your ‘me time’ completely. I try not to, although I certainly don’t observe it as often as I would have preferred – because as you know, being a mum actually makes one consider certain activities as ‘me time’ when that shouldn’t be so. Take going to the salon for instance; once, I used to dread salon times, but now I find myself looking forward to them enthusiastically! LOL…

…Anything to get a breather in the absence of work and the kids!

You have no idea!!!

It’s actually funny how some of the things I would have considered doing at my leisure when I was younger, sound so bizarre now. Simply having a lie in or indulging in my ‘all time fav’ without disturbance is more than enough for me. But here’s the catch though, the part that reads ‘without disturbance’ is actually impossible.

This is an innuendo for you:

As a mum, if you’re not happy, then the rest of the family suffers as a result. So please mums, pamper yourselves once in a while; it doesn’t matter how short the time is, just make it count as much as you can. We deserve every bit of it.

… Go for a walk,
    Read that book,
    Turn off that phone,
    Watch your favorite soaps,
    Go shopping,
    Start that project,
…you can even go overboard and give free rein to spa treatments. Just do whatever would make you forget about your stress level for a while. It would make a huge impact.

Cheers to a healthy and happy life!
Always remember to be kind to yourself and treat yourself to something nice, once in a while.

What are some of the activities you indulge in during your spare time as a source of diversion and how do they make you feel? Please share!

XOXO,

Yours Truly.

Sunday, 20 January 2019

Studying Abroad or At Home-Different Vantage Points.

Almost everyone has or once had a dream, to aspire for greater heights and opportunities which would broaden their horizon and make them have a fulfilled career path. I know I did… still do actually!  
#Big grin.

Few days ago, my 16 year old niece travelled to the UK to continue her academic sojourn in Birmingham City University, England.  Being the first child of the family, it was only natural that she was wished Godspeed and luck amidst mixed feelings. Everyone was caught in between feeling excited for her - because we were sure she would make us proud, considering the fact that she has always been a straight ‘A ‘student during her high school days and was also the school’s head girl and valedictorian of her time- and feeling a bit nostalgic from the prospect of missing her.

But come to think of it, why would anyone who has the choice of studying abroad choose to study in Nigeria, despite being the giant of Africa and all? ... Food for thought.

However, when you look at it in a different light, Nigeria has still produced legends that have made our country an ‘item’ in one good way or the other. Lots of our Nigerian graduates didn’t all turn out bad for themselves. Did we? Notwithstanding, if you had the choice to choose where to study, would you trade a good study abroad -where you can benefit a whole lot of add on opportunities- for our Nigerian schools?

Before she embarked on the sojourn, I advised and chatted with her at length and during the course of our confab, some of these thoughts and conversations ensued;
·        It’s not all about looking good for your CV, but the fact that you would get to study in a well equipped, more conducive environment.
·        You would also get to meet a wide range of people and learn different lifestyles, giving you a less myopic view to things that matter.
·        Better job opportunities.
·        Adjusting to climate change.
·        Scholarship and financial aids too and a lot more.
I’m a big supporter of the numerous benefits which studying abroad has to offer, but if you’re a strong advocate of Nigerian universities, then let’s hope and pray that in the near future, things would improve for the better in the Nigerian education sector.

XOXO,

Yours Truly.

Sunday, 13 January 2019

House Helps- Necessity or Luxury?


There has been a lot of hubbub surrounding the ‘house help’ notion in recent times. Due to all the loathsome stories circulating at high frequency, one can be faced with the indecision of concluding if they are a necessity or otherwise. Well in my own case, hubz made up my mind for me.


I used to fall under the category of people who say that they can never have a total stranger live in their homes with them. I mean, considering past personal experience or that of others, would you blame them? But then like some others say, life happens…

…And life has found me living with a help for almost 5 years now. Something I would have sworn I would never do on a normal day (normal day now being the days before the kids started making their debut, LOL).

The secret you say? Well, I will definitely share ‘it’ with you.

Of course as you already know, people have different personalities, temperaments and more, so be rest assured that you may find yourself dealing with helps who have alter egos, dual personality disorder, amnesia, even high IQs and extremely good parts if you are lucky.


People always ask what I’ve done differently to be able to stay with a help for that long. Before I continue, I must admit that it hasn’t been all rosy all the way, but from day one, I had laid down some of my rules and principles which I made sure to instil in her and now, she totally understands what to do, when to do them and how things should be done the way I would prefer. She also knows when she has overstepped her boundary because I always use the carrot and stick approach- I would scold when I need to and reward when necessary too.


FYI- Your house help should be like a younger sister to you more or less and not a slave. After all, she is only human like the rest of us and circumstance beyond her control just made things evolve the way they did. It’s only logical that we treat them well, not just because the kids are often left in their care like some would argue, (I rarely do that though) but because it’s the right thing to do, and then there’s the golden rule- Treat others how you would like to be treated.

My Secrets-

It’s always important to refer to these basic guidelines as they would inform your decision making process when choosing a help. They helped me TOTS!
        Prayers- Don’t underestimate the power of prayers. God’s intervention is key.
·         Knowing who you are bringing into your house to a reasonable extent.

·         Age of the person- not too old to be seen as a threat nor too young to be saddled with certain responsibilities.


·         How comfortable you are in their presence.

·         Comprehensive interview. This should also be intermittent; don’t make them feel uncomfortable though. Just be the ‘inquisitive madam’ who likes to ask questions and trust me, you’d be surprised at what you may unravel.


·         Medical test- Actually, this ought to be among the first on the list. But at this point, I would just advice that you do what suits you and prioritize accordingly.

·         Temperaments- Mood swings and stuff happens; they are inevitable. Just move with the flow and don’t expect perfection always. That way, you won’t be disappointed.


·         Anger management- Like my colleague would say, ‘Anyone who gets you upset has some control over you.’ So know how and when to manage your anger effectively when they do things out of ordinary. Because trust me, they will. Don’t they all?

·         Overlook flaws- Please be tolerant, especially over trivial issues because nobody is perfect, not even you.


·         Appreciate them- little tokens of gifts and love go a long way. Once in a while, I have to answer the JAMB question from friends on why I’m always polite to my help and even say thank you when she completes a chore. They asserted that I was the one doing her a bigger favor. But come to think of it, I would have shown appreciation to others who served a purpose, so why would hers be different?
If you are more or less like me, then some of your reasons for having a live-in help could range from the nature of your job to having young children. And we all know what a handful that can be. Although, it could be argued that lots of people still make it work out for them without having domestic helps. It’s all about choice, I suppose.

P.S.: Remember that no human is indispensible and as such, it won’t be wise to depend completely on them or trust them 100%. Always have a backup plan if and when push comes to shove. You may just need to readjust your mindset and schedule when required.

Are you a fan of having live-in helps and domestic staff or not? What’s your take on the subject and why? I would love to know. Please share!


XOXO,

Yours Truly.



Friday, 4 January 2019

Everything on a Budget.


It’s no bombshell that the month of January is usually the longest and most expensive month of the year. You’ve probably just returned to work and then you find yourself dealing with the after effect of the financial crises and stress that the Christmas expenses must have accrued. Well, if you are reading this post, it means that avowal has definitely set in and you need to find a way out of your predicament.


I just want to share a few pointers on how I plan a budget and have an easier year ahead.


Prayers: Does it sound absurd? I guess it shouldn’t though because praying over the money you want to spend and asking for God’s wisdom on how to spend it, actually works wonders.


Income: I have obviously calculated my income and set aside a particular chunk of money for the rainy days – as I choose to call the month of January. I transfer it and hubz’ to a particular account that has no debit card access and try to erase the money completely from my mind. Typically, I just deliberately act as if that money isn’t available and no amount of pressure would make me go back to it.


Expenses: We decide on the things we need to spend the money on. I have to redo the list over and over because sometimes, my priorities just keeps fluctuating depending on my mood, and other times, I decide I didn’t even need certain things after all... or I could as well decide to be flexible and just move with the flow and trend. This last option always boomerangs because I tend to forget some of the items on the list.


Goals: Remember that I’ve put aside a certain amount of money which I’ve labeled for specific uses. Now, I try to draw a plan on how to spend it judiciously and effectively. God always sees me through this stage really.



50/20/30 Rule: I learnt about this during one of our money saving tips training session at my place of work and it just kind of stuck. Let me break it down for you.
50%: Spend 50 % of your income on essentials like bills and groceries.
20%: Put this away as your savings for the month.
30%: Personal expenses like clothing and so on.
Isn’t it just fair? That way everyone is safe and happy – your money and you!


Online apps: There are also some online apps which are made specifically for the purpose of helping you save and track your spending but I won’t recommend any in a hurry because I haven’t used one before and I feel most may not be 100% reliable. But it’s a free world and everyone is entitled to their opinion right?



Anyway, I hope this helps. Good luck and remember that budgeting gives you the freedom and inner peace needed to tackle your problems, especially the 60 + days in January. 



 XOXO,


Yours Truly.



Friday, 21 December 2018

Our Letter to Santa Claus! (BLOGMAS)


Every household celebrates Christmas in its own unique way. However, I’m a strong advocate of practicing some traditions which make it memorable and pleasurable. In my household, Christmas is an amazing time for all, especially for the children. They absolutely adore Christmas time, even more than their own birthdays- and knowing how they look forward to birthdays, that’s saying something!


This year, in addition to the string of family Christmas traditions already being practiced by us, they have included a new one yet – Writing letters to Santa!!!!


I mean… it actually came as a bit of a shocker when my 5 year old asked me few days ago, if she should write a letter to him – and of course, her younger sister Steph followed suit. That one is Niki’s shadow. Whatever Niki does is always right in her opinion. If one tells her otherwise, she would have a fit and blow a gasket! So why try to impose? She will grow up to make her own right decisions one day please…


Another factor that struck me about the letters was that they were interested in knowing more about Santa and asking him questions, than being obsessed with the gifts they would get from him this time.


I wonder why though…


Although, I must admit that their new found tradition actually awakened my own inner elf, because before now, I was almost having what I would describe as a Christmas block or cold feet- if you know what I mean.   #inserts big grin emoji.


Back to the letter writing, I suspect that Niki must have probably seen it in a movie or something. So I just made sure that I provided them with the essential materials they asked for, like papers, colored pencils, stickers and glitters to make their letters colorful.


Fun fact - They even remembered to draw in carrots for Rudolph the reindeer and a special good will message for the elves too. Their ingenuity baffles me sometimes!!


Among their humorous questions, was one where my 4 year old asked Santa why he grew such a long beard and how he kept it clean (In her defense, I had always told them stories about ‘The Twits’, a terrible couple who grew their beards and kept disgusting habits)…



…Read Niki’s even more hilarious question, ‘Don’t you ever get indigestion from taking such large amounts of milk and cookies that you love so much?’



Omg! Niki! Santa, please make sure you reply my girls’ letters ASAP or I won’t hear the end of it. LOL!



As you read this post, I’ve already promised them that the letter has been taken to the North Pole by their dad, who had no choice but to play along… Please don’t ask me how. I just needed an alibi to bail myself out. Mums with kids would understand my plight.



As part of our usual tradition, they make cards for every member of the family – both nuclear and extended! It doesn’t bother them that the intended may never get to see those cards because of distance and all. KIDS!



They also get to participate in baking a special Christmas cake with our very own secret ingredient which I will share in a subsequent post. It excites them a lot because unlike other cakes we bake during the course of the year, we practically use the manual cake mixer for this particular one, which somehow makes it special for the kids as they take turns making them and having loads of fun in the process.


 Don’t even get me started on just how messy the whole surface gets as a result. As ironical as this statement may seem, it’s actually a replayable and delightful experience LOL!



Our Christmas holiday is always activity-packed because each day dawns with it, a new adventure and excitement waiting to be harnessed. And even the activities we would consider as normal, would usually have a unique twist to them during the Christmas holiday.


Take for instance, the charity where they actually get to assist us in putting together and giving out gifts to those in need of it or helping out with the house decorations- trees, ornaments and lights.



I know that someday in the near future, I would have no choice but to disclose just how fictitious Santa actually is, to the girls. I really hope they won’t be heartbroken when the time comes. LOL. But for now, let me leave them to keep basking in their euphoria.



P.S. What are some of the family traditions you enjoy, share and practice during the Christmas holiday? And what’s your take on leading little kids on about Santa Claus? Sharing is Caring!


XOXO,


Yours Truly.



Sunday, 9 December 2018

A Sneak Peek into the Lives of Identical Twins


 Obsession’ is the term I would use to refer to my consuming infatuation with twins… I had always secretly wished I would deliver a set of twins. This wish set in after it dawned on me that I actually never had a twin who had gone AWOL, like I would have desired.


Having fraternal twins as my paternal and maternal first cousins, had me wishing all over again that there may be the slightest chance of having a set myself.


I have always pondered over the twin stereotype and if you are like me, I hope this post clears up a few misconceptions such as the belief that they can read each other’s thoughts, feel each other’s pains and are the exact same person.



We interviewed identical twins Fifi and Bife. Find the confab below for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!






o   Can we get to know you and your twin sister?
My name is Akere Nwanyibife Odogwu and my twin is Odion Ifelunwa Odogwu, A.K.A. Bife and Fifi. We are 5 minutes apart and Fifi is the first.



o   Do you sometimes feel like you can read your twins mind? If yes, can you throw more light?
Yes I do, especially when she’s singing a song in heart and the next moment, I find myself singing the exact same song out loud. Then we just look at each other and smile.



o   When did you discover just how identical you were?
Well, we always knew we were very identical because people could hardly tell us apart right from childhood.



o   Do twins run in the family? Do you believe it can be inherited or happen by chance?
Yes it runs in our family… My mother’s sister has two sets of twins, so we believe it’s inherited.



o   Do you ever get into fights or quarrels?
We fought a lot when we were kids, most of the quarrels then ended up in fights. But now, we just argue and disagree over different issues. However, we always settle before the day ends. Like the bible says, ‘Don’t let the sun go down on your anger. Eph 4:26.’  # winks







o   How do you handle it when people can’t tell you both apart?
Arghhh…. That can be very annoying cos we feel they just don’t try hard enough.



o   What else do you both have in common apart from the looks?
I would say our dress sense, we both like the same styles, same kind of music, food #love struck emoji# we both like food, same kind of books and so on.


o   What are your hobbies?
Funny enough, we both have the same hobbies. We both love listening to music, singing and reading.



o   Heard twins can sometimes get up to some mischief. Do you agree?
We were actually different. We weren’t cut out for mischief from the onset and we have always been calm. We still are.



o   Fun fact?
We love to sing, I don’t think there’s any song between 1995-2002 that we can’t sing, especially rap and R & B.



o   Do you ever feel the twins’ separation blues when you are apart?
Separation blues… oh yes we do, we miss each other a lot when we are apart. I usually get home from work before Fifi, so I call her just to hear her voice, tell her I’m home and find out what time she would be coming back home too.


One time when we were younger, our mother travelled with Fifi and left me behind. We both fell ill at the same time cos we missed each other a lot. We didn’t recover till she came back home. This was in 2003.









Wow! Isn’t the fact that they can complete each other’s thoughts just everything? I also admire the fact that they are inseparable! Wish them more beautiful years ahead. Hope you enjoyed this! Share your viewpoints!




XOXO,



Yours Truly.


The Purposeful Path to Success.

Most people spend their lives stuck in a ‘Catch 22’ situation because they are scared to take that plunge. It could be frustrating and sad...