Thursday, December 24, 2009

After the First NOEL

While growing up, Christmas was one occasion we all looked forward to. The Christmas parties for children, the visits to Santa (locally called Father Christmas) and the open house where family and friends we hardly see in the year come around to the house. Something my siblings and I enjoyed back then were the Christmas gifts our parents got us for the season.

These gifts would have been got a little while before the day, and then wrapped and kept at the Christmas tree on Christmas eve, when we all couldn’t wait to tear off the wraps as the time clocked the 1minute into Christmas. Like every child though, we were inquisitive about what was behind the wraps and would try to use all our senses to guess the gifts before unwrapping except of course the sense of taste.

We are trying to continue with this Christmas tradition now, so we got gifts for our kids and had them wrapped. Last night my daughter (after seeing their wrapped gifts) reminded me of something else we probably did then. It was to put more value on the size of the gift. She picked the bigger gift thinking that was hers and left the smaller one to her brother.

Thinking back now and through life, I’ve discovered indeed that many times the value we put on a thing, a person or even opportunity is determined by what we see. Usually the bigger the better. Or the more beautiful or likely the better. We also do the reverse sometimes, not appreciate a thing if it doesn’t seem to fit the image we had of it. But the truth is, many have missed opportunities by not waiting long enough to see what is behind the wraps or behind the first impression.

The Christmas story did that to many too. A king was being expected; a ruler, strong and powerful. What they saw and heard about was a baby, born in a manger – I'll call it the first NOEL. What they knew was a carpenter’s son. And so it was easy to despise and not believe He was the promise come to pass. I personally believe the promised Messiah came in flesh and my life has been better off looking beyond that first NOEL, beyond the wrap of humanity He had on while on earth to the Deity He is.

My encouragement to us all this season and for life in general is to be patient and wait till after the first NOEL, to look beyond the wraps, appreciate small beginnings so we would enjoy all that we expect even if they don’t seem to look so at the first meet.

Merry Christmas everybody, and thank you for being a part of FOOTSTEPS.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Fix It Early

Tell tale signs, tell tale signs, they always show; before that thing goes real bad check it early. I’d always been a stickler for not waiting till things go bad before fixing it but I erred once and was only saved by grace.

Earlier in the year, my older child was feeling ill and we had taken her to see the doctor so she could be treated. At about that time the younger one was beginning to show some level of increase in body temperature but somehow we didn’t pay much attention to it. We had observed it going off and on but a little counsel here and there that it might not be anything much made us leave it at that.

Then it happened, one night while we slept I woke to the amazing level of warmth his body had got to. Really that must have been God. I had to use a moist cold towel on him through the night. I couldn’t even afford to go anywhere but the hospital first thing in the morning. The blood test recommended showed a very low level of immunity, real high malaria and all the doctor could tell me was – “I’m sorry you can’t take this boy home, it’s too bad. He has to be put on at least 48 hours intra-venous …” And you know the tears rolled down my eyes. And the thoughts were, you don’t wait around this long normally to treat this kind of issue, that inner voice (God talking) had warned, why in the world did I not act then?

I thank God today it is a testimony but not just that, it’s a lesson engraved in me. I won’t wait till it gets bad another time. On another note, all the drivers we’ve ever had had got that tip from us while working with us. If you notice anything, anything at all going wrong with the car, report it. I feel, I’m yet to be proven wrong, that cars for instance don’t just mess up real bad on a trip all of a sudden. They would have been giving off tell tale signs. If you were fortunate to notice that one thing before leaving home or work, please get it fixed. Do not, I plead, do not manage.

The truth is, beyond health and cars, these tell tale signs also show in other parts of life if we look real close especially relationships or with respect to replenishing items. When those tell tale signs of things not being okay begin to show, that’s the time to fix. It’s faster, safer and more cost efficient. Waiting and assuming it’ll fix itself or procrastinating the time to fix it, may take it to a point beyond fixing but need for a complete change. My challenge therefore is this, we need to get sensitive, pay attention to those signs when they occur and fix early. Do you need to fix anything today?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Get Ready, Set...

In 1999, my fellowship in the University used this theme – “Get ready” for our annual conference ahead of the entry into the new millennium. I still remember a part of the song as I write this and the other memories. However I think we should have taken a cue from that meeting that not only into a new millennium must one get ready but at all times like the boys scout motto.

When the recently concluded Project Fame Reality show sponsored by MTN was about rounding off, I just thought to myself, it is not possible these guys woke up one day and started singing. They didn’t just walk to the audition centers to take a chance at it, truth is, they must have been singing before then. Some might have been in some choir or group before they took on the opportunity, some might have been singing in their bathroom or miming some of their favourite artistes’ songs in their rooms with a comb as the microphone, but one thing is for sure, they were doing some form of singing before Project Fame came by. Trust me, those who seem to have gained popularity today were once in “oblivion” getting ready.

On the reverse, we had an incidence recently of testing a driver for a job opportunity and my goodness I wondered if he really was ever a driver. His excuse – he had not driven for 6 months and wasn’t used to an Automatic Gear System. But this is supposed to be the skill he exchanges for income, why wasn’t he prepared?

Many of us have different things we aspire for ourselves in life depending on the phase we are in. it could be getting married, getting a particular job, winning a talent show, winning an election, becoming a public speaker and motivating people, starting a business and so many others I have not listed; but beyond aspiring what are you doing ahead of that opportunity coming up? Some people call it luck, but what would one call preparedness meeting an opportunity, I think it is more than luck.

My resolution therefore and challenge is this, don’t wait till that opportunity comes before you go for it, you may not be up to standard since you have not prepared yourself or rehearsed for it; start going for it now. Find out from others who have got there or made it, read books on it, surf the net for related information, learn the new model of that technology, start dressing like it (if you can), talking like it, get that proposal ready, volunteer to learn beside someone, offer to show your skill (without pay if possible)…whatever you need to do, just be on your marks, get ready, to go.

“The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained in a sudden
flight; but they, while their companions slept, were toiling upwards in the

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Going Beyond "I'm Sorry"

I was in a vehicle with someone recently and as usual we were discussing issues, personal experiences and those we had heard about. Somewhere along the line, she made mention of a “cold war” recently resolved between herself and someone close to her.

As usual, or more often than not, as occurs in conflicts, both parties felt in the right and felt were owed the apology. Of course, things dragged a while, till that inner voice desiring peace compelled her to take the first step towards apologizing and eventually reconciling. And just prior to that time, she had almost decided there was no going forward with that friendship. In essence what could have led to a complete break in a relationship was handled maturely and they are better off for it.

For me, I have also had my share of tough times with friends, colleagues, acquaintances and all, but I learnt early the place of talking things over. It does a lot. Again I emphasise - it does a lot. Issues or conflicts can be handled in many ways, you could pretend it is not there, run away from it, let out your mind angrily or deal with it maturely.

Pretending it’s not there, would be falsehood. Truth is it’ll gradually pile up and gradually eat away at the foundation till one day, when something seemingly small makes the whole fall apart. Running away from it, would be cowardice. Truth is in life, certain things will keep occurring even at our new locations of escape till we deal with it and have the skill to handle it right. To let out your mind angrily would be destructive, you’ll say things you’ll regret, you’ll do things you can’t mend and hurt the dear one.

My take – deal with it maturely. It wouldn’t enough to just say sorry. Anyone can say sorry and not really be sincere about it. I’ll say, go a step further to make sure you talk about it. Why? Talking heals, it allows you to see where all concerned are coming from, what exactly went wrong and sometimes how badly hurt those concerned were. Essentially it naturally keeps you on the alert about what to look out for before such repeats itself, you know each other better and many times can boldly tell someone else what that person wouldn’t take, you become an advocate.

Sometimes talking over may not be immediate, simply apologizing could do for that time. But when you can sense it is right, do the talking. I have done some talking over for some conflicts I’ve faced, for some others, I await the right time. Besides what’s life really about if not in loving and relationships, lets live then and keep those relationships alive and healthy.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

What you’re looking for...

Some while ago I asked the young lady staying with me to look for a particular napkin that we used mostly for my baby, or well, he’s more of a toddler now. I gave her the colour to remind her and left her to the search while I did something else. Minutes passed and then I checked on her, and was somewhat taken aback that she was yet to locate it. And then it actually dawned on me, does she know what she is looking for, so I had to ask her, “Do you know what you are looking for?”

While I pondered over this later that morning it struck me that the same problem affects us all in life. Do we really know what it is we are looking for? Truth is, knowing exactly what you’re looking for prevents you from missing it when it comes your way and to know exactly where to get it.

Taking you back to the napkin search for instance, if this young lady had remembered the exact napkin, she’ll recall it had been washed, ironed and kept. The challenge would now be to know where it wouldn’t have been kept and search the more likely places first. But as it were, she was checking anywhere possible for something that may match what I needed.

In relationships for instance, particularly one that could lead to marriage, my counsel had always been to know the kind of spouse you want. Many say it’s not nice to be too rigid, but truth is, if you can’t stand for your choice and wait for it, you’ll probably settle for anyone. Before I met my husband, I had a list of the must have’s for instance (maybe what many ladies would want though), God fearing, God loving, Intelligent, Caring and yeah with a good sense of humour. With God’s favour, when he came by, I knew it. The same would go for a job, an opportunity to bless, even material things like houses, cars et al.

If you don’t want to miss that thing when it comes, if you want to be able to sift through the available options quickly, if you want to know where you can start your search, then take time out to itemize the description or quality of what you’re looking for. You may need to even prioritize the list where applicable and probably ask around from valid sources (for me this includes God often), and on many occasions I have found what I was looking for. Taking this back to you…What are you looking for?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

A Legacy

Within the past 2/3 weeks, 2 well known people to me have passed on. One is the popular king of pop – Michael Jackson and the other a mum to a good friend of the family. Both news came with shock for me, because they were unexpected. Really, death is an unexpected event. Despite the fact that we all know one day we’ll leave this world, yet that “day “ is unknown.
These ones and many who have gone before them would have left such gaps in the hearts and lives of those who knew and loved them, but more especially memories and experiences. It has made me ponder therefore that what kind of memory and experience would we leave behind after we are gone? What legacy would we be passing on to those coming after?
Even if the day comes long after some of us may desire, our every day now must matter. Truth is, some things we do or say that may seem unimportant may be making such significant impressions in the life of that person we may not know or be related to, who will meet us or come in contact with us. So our conscious daily living would have to go beyond those we are related to us or those we know. Michael for instance never knew who Bukola Ogunfayo was, but I was a fan of his while growing up and particularly like the ‘ you remember the time...” musical video and a few others he released. Also, this mum of our friend never had much interaction with me, but I recall her using her laptop at our friend’s on a visit to their house once and I was impressed that someone of the older generation was familiar with such tool.
How have you lived your life thus far, and what legacy would you want to leave behind? What would you like to be remembered for after you no longer walk this earth? I have reached, before now, a point of trying to affect lives positively, that led me to starting FOOTSTEPS, but I’m further challenged t o do more. To live better, to respond better, to talk better, to be better, so that one life somewhere will be blessed I was there. Also, I believe in life after death, that is why a long time ago, I dedicated my life to Jesus Christ and live consciously of His presence. Lastly, I will maximize my moments with loved ones and have good fun when I can.
What about you?

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Failing – A Phase or An End?

I don’t recall ever failing an exam, may be a few low grades that made me sober for a while, but that’s about the worst when it comes to examinations. Well with interviews, I have been failed once (reasons well stated and which I couldn’t deny) but that was even when applying for a visa. As for job interviews, I have been favoured, maybe because over the past 8 years post tertiary education, I have applied formally to only one place and I got a pass since I got the job. So you can imagine how flustered I felt, when I checked the results of the last diet of my professional exams to discover I didn’t make all my papers.

Truth is I sort of felt, O my, is this what failure is all about. Why? What happened? But the paper went well? I felt sad and looked back at all the preparations into that paper, the exam itself. I must confess however that at that point I could have entertained all the negative thoughts possible, I could have resigned to fate and put together a pity party; but these would have only made things worse and stamped that FAILURE word on that phase in my life. Instead, I gathered information on what it would take to do better in my next attempt, and in my subconscious fix a reading schedule to prepare ahead. And with more determination, told myself, I would try again till I make it.

I learnt then that some unexpected situations may come our way in life, so always remember that it doesn’t make you any less than the next person. I also learnt that how you deal with the situation immediately will go a long way to deciding the truth about the situation. Is it a phase of the end? A phase is one that would pass, it’s temporary, it’s for learning. An end means, the final point, the conclusion. Also, dealing with the situation starts with your thoughts. This would lead to the right actions. if you think right, positive then those are the natural actions that would follow.

You may just have to think, okay, what wrong? What do I need to do next time? What timing must I follow? How must I do it? Where must I do it? All to make a difference. But this I also would say, you need to keep on trying till you make it. Do not stop, except you ofcourse you decide to change your route to that end.

Recently a few people were asked to go in a number of companies across the globe, and for many I was opportune to discuss with, my counsel was this, for that person affected, you must begin to strategize immediately, put your brains to work, study and reconnect with people, so that the stream of income will continue. And like earlier mentioned, decide - will this be a phase or the end?

Friday, May 1, 2009

1st Anniversary + Straight From Les

It’s exactly a year and a day after FOOTSTEPS was launched. The anniversary coincides with my birthday. Now whenever I celebrate an additional year of my existence yearly, I can look at my articles and see what I’ve learnt, how much I’ve changed and how I have been a blessing to others. My birthday was yesterday and reflecting back, I felt more fulfilled despite having a number of things in the pipeline than some previous years.

I committed to sharing points I noted down from the last MTN innovation day where Les Brown featured as the guest/motivational speaker. Looking back I must confess it could have been only God who wanted me there, considering the fact that the urge to attend came that Friday morning. I registered for myself and some friends, but out of the 4 of us who wanted to be there I was the only one privileged to make it in eventually. I would therefore attempt to share now and probably in subsequent posts, those memoirs I picked at the meeting.

Thoughts become things

The starting point or drawing table of all we see now and even experience was a thought in our minds or the mind of someone else. So if you want something to happen or to be, then start to think about it and keep thinking about it. And in good time, it would materialize. The reverse is same, if you’re not interested in something, take it out of your thoughts before it comes to be.

You attract what you think of most

Still on thoughts, that which you attract – people, situations - is what you think of or brood over the most. For what we have so far is what we have attracted. If you’re wondering why certain people seem to surround you often or certain situations persist, you need to review first your highly placed thoughts, even the subconscious ones, and then make changes from there.

Focus on what you want not what you don’t want

I also learnt this from the Bible and “The Secret”. Focus rather on the positive side of something than the negative. For instance, the glass as half full than half empty; your early morning rush goal as –“ I need to make it in early” rather than “I don’t want to be late”; you health condition as, “I need to be better or healed” instead of “I am weak”. A good consolation is also in the fact that a positive thought is 100 times more powerful than a negative, so you can imagine the magnitude of results achievable with the right focus.

Though few, the points above can make significant difference in our lives if practised. I’ll stop here for now, with more in the sequel to this post but also challenge you to begin to think, think right and focus right.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Sacrifice then Ceremony

I'm not too glad about letting the month of March pass without posting another article, I really wanted to but just didn’t get to make that time out to. However, I will consciously work on that.

About two months ago, I was at the peak of preparing for the final diet of my professional exams, that was when this learning, or discovery more like it, dawned on me. It was actually a challenging phase. Let me simply call it “sacrifice” because truly I did lay down a lot of preferences just to re-prioritize and work towards the final lap well.

It was at this phase that every second in transit to places counted, because I was running with set goals to cover as many chapters as I could in my study pack. On the way to work, on the way from, in the vehicle, as long as it was well lit, I was studying. Weekends, were another level, I woke up early enough to study in the wee hours before the house was bustling with life especially my kids, when everyone took time to chill watching TV, I had to separate myself to study even more. The last few days off work just before the exam was something else, my time table wa 2/3 hours study periods covering about 7-9 hours per day from 6.30am, with 2/3 hours break in between the periods. I sacrificed. I got novels, magazines and motivational books, which I couldn’t read. I heard about movies from JENIFA to Slumdog Millionaire but couldn’t go near.

All the same, I encouraged myself with these words of comfort, this phase will pass, and then I will celebrate and there’ll be a ceremony - of liberty and especially success. And surely after the final paper that Saturday afternoon, I celebrated. I went with my dad and daughter to watch Bolt at the cinema.

Then I looked into other areas of life, for you to really enjoy a ceremony, some sacrifice would have been made, e.g. preparing for a degree exam to be better qualified and have good chances to earn more, preparing for a wedding to tie the knot with that loved one, starting your business to generate more income, preparing your child every morning for school to become educated, exercising to lose some weight and be in shape, even if it as little as getting yourself to a ceremony venue. Some sacrifice, then ceremeony.

My final word then is this, do you feel so pressed at this time, not enjoying what you’d have loved to, pushing yourself the extra mile to get that dream fulfilled, then be encouraged, not long from this sacrifice stage, your ceremony cometh.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


A good old friend of mine (Tolu) sent me a “forward” today. I had been contemplating on what to share before she sent it in. After reading it, it was clear to me that this discovery could be shared on Footsteps as well. I actually checked up the author (Maya Angelou) through google and realized a few other blogs had posted it before now.

I’ll be going ahead, however, to post it because I appreciate it and was also so moved by the final quote. It would be good to know those haters in our lives and handle them right, and also ask ourselves if we have been subtle ones in the lives of others and work towards a change.


A hater is someone who is jealous and envious and spends all their time trying to make you look small so they can look tall.They are very negative people to say the least. Nothing is evergood enough!

When you make your mark, you will always attract some haters...That's why you have to be careful with whom you share your blessings and your dreams, because some folk can't handle seeing you blessed...

It's dangerous to be like somebody else... If God wanted you to be like somebody else, He would have given you what He gave them! Right?

You never know what people have gone through to get what they have...The problem I have with haters is that they see my glory, but they don't know my story...

If the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence, you can be rest assured that the water bill is higher there too! We've all got some haters among us!

Some people envy you because you can:

a) Have a relationship with God
b) Light up a room when you walk in
c) Start your own business
d) Tell a man/woman to hit the curb
(if he/she isn't about the right thing)
e) Raise your children without both parents being in the home.

Haters can't stand to see you happy. Haters will never want to see you succeed.
Most of our haters are people who are supposed to be on our side.

How do you handle your undercover haters?

You can handle these haters by:

1. Knowing who you are & who your true friends are *(VERY IMPORTANT!!)
2. Having a purpose to your life: Purpose does not mean having a job. You can have a job and still be unfulfilled. A purpose is having a clear sense of what God has called you to be. Your purpose is not defined by what others think about you.
3. By remembering what you have is by divine prerogative and not human manipulation.

Fulfill your dreams! You only have one life to live...when its your time to leave this earth, you want to be able to say, 'I've lived my life and fulfilled my dreams, Now I'm ready to go HOME!

When God gives you favor, you can tell your haters, 'Don't look at me...Look at who is in charge of me...

'Pass this to all of your family & friends who you know are not hating on you including the person who sent it to you. If you don't get it back, maybe you called somebody out! Don't worry about it, it's not your problem, it's theirs. Just pray for them, that their life can be as fulfilled as yours! Watch out for Haters...
BUT most of all don't become a HATER!

'A woman's heart should be so hidden in Christ that a man should have to seek Him first to find her.'

Maya Angelou

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Gift and The Giver

It’s another Valentine Season and I can bet everyone, or well maybe most people, will be cracking their heads now for options on what to give, something different from the previous years. There have been many views I’ve come across over time on this season, the most common being that we don’t have to wait till Valentine to show love or appreciate that loved one. True in some ways, but another angle to it is there just seems to be some different air of love/passion/appreciation around this time that no one wants to be left out.

I learnt also a while back that for an ideal or close to ideal gift pack, 3 major groups should be represented – Edibles, Useables and Keepables. Though this could just serve as a guideline of some sort. Edibles would be those things that can be eaten or drunk e.g. Chocolates, Wines etc. Useables would include Perfumes, Watches and Hygiene packs etc and Keepeables would be those things that can be preserved for a long time, maybe on display for others to appreciate e.g. Teddies, Jewelry, Electronics etc. so as you think through what to get for that loved one this year, you could consider these groups.

However, I learnt something new today as I pondered these gift options. Some few years back, our apartment was burgled, amongst the items taken was a laptop given to us as a wedding gift from our Dad. Truth is, that gift is gone but the giver is still there. In other words the giver of that gift needs to be dearer to us than the gift; he/she is the one that the appreciation must remain for.

Yes a few times that giver just doesn’t get that gift we seem to want at that time or would prefer, but the gift may finish like the Edibles or Useables or even get damaged or lost or stolen or wear out like the keepables, which leaves us with the Giver or memories of the Giver. This Valentine lets try to look beyond the gift to the giver, to that one who loves us so to remember us at this time and appreciate us enough to get a gift or send a message of love or appreciation.

Happy Valentine

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Plot Your Route

During one of our last vacations in the UK, we had to get to an uncle’s place by taking a cab. We had never been to this place before but were not so much concerned about missing our way because our hosts had made us understand that most if not all cabs had the Navigator (Satellite/GPRS). They also had one in their car as well.

To use the navigator one just had to specify the destination point and the starting point and it automatically plotted the route. In addition it would guide the user on where to turn to the left or the right, how long the distance would be before making another turn or coming to a stop.

In understanding how it works, one just needs to note that some major landmarks and geographic points had been identified in reality, for which the Navigator identifies & links via a satellite while mapping routes. And it is based on these that it plots the desirable routes.

So I ask, do you have a Navigator in place as we start this new year. Have you identified your destination in different areas of your life, have you identified major landmarks? For those who have and are even used to that annual habit I have a learning to share. For those who haven’t yet, I challenge you – take time out, reflect on where you are, where you want to be and write down those goals or dreams you desire to accomplish in this year.

Yes, write them down. It is not enough to know it in your heart, you need to write it down, so you can have a guide in place and also a list to tick off. Writing down helps you know when that opportunity comes knocking since you’ve identified what it is you want. You may want to look at different sub-headings – Spiritual, Marriage/Relationship, Family and Children, Academic/Career/Business and others.

My recent learning on goal setting which I hope to make a habit this year, however, is regular review. You just have to continue to see that thing, to desire it, to have it. That’s an advertising secret. It may not be enough to write it down and check it out at the end of the year, you need to go back to it, look at it regularly, add to it or take from it as the case may be and consciously put in place the necessary to accomplish it.

I have my Navigator already working, do you?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Opportunity in “Another”

A happy new year to everyone. This is my first article in 2009, and I’m believing I’ll learn more and get to share more on Footsteps.

2008 was a good year in many ways for me and my family. For instance, we had an addition in my family – a lovely son, it was also the year Footsteps was launched. I believe you all have something good to remember the year for, even if it was for something seemingly small.

I had earlier thought I would focus on an early plan for the year, but as I sat to prepare this, I remembered another learning which I think would be just timely to share.

Sometimes last year, during one of our close of day prayers, I observed a request I always made – “… to live tomorrow better than we did today”. It was with a sincere appreciation for seeing the end of the day and feeling privileged enough to witness yet ANOTHER day coming, and then to live it better.

Then it dawned on me that many of us have had the privilege of witnessing ANOTHER in our lives, another day, another month, another paycheck or payment for goods sold or service rendered, another relationship, another meal and for us all now – Another Year. The opportunity that exist in Another of these things and more is to go about it in a better way, so that at the end of its time or period, when we stand back and evaluate we can say for sure, that it was better.

It’s a new year and if for anything, let us start with a deep appreciation of witnessing another year and make efforts to maximize this opportunity to have a greater and more fulfilling year than the previous. In order to do this well, my challenge is for you to identify the shortcomings of the previous year and make a conscious effort to overcome it in this year, and also identify the victories gained and be consistent in maintaining it.