Chilling at the Femme Lounge PLUS "What's That You've Got in Your Hands?" (Guest Blogger Friday)

 It's not every time that I get to meet or interview inspiring people who remind me that I must continue to live a God-filled purpose-driven life. I like to chill at "Femme Lounge," a very exquisite online magazine that makes you come alive after each visit. It was created by the beautiful Shola Okubote. She started writing by sending out inspirational emails to friends, and then by posting notes on Facebook until her friends and readers urged her to do something bigger than that, and that's how Femme Lounge (her online magazine) was born. 

Without much ado, I present Shola Okubote of Femme Lounge. I asked her 5 questions and then urged her to share one of her writings as a guest blog. It's called "What's That in Your Hands?" and I fell in love with it after reading. Check out my short chat with Shola...

1.  How would you describe your personality in a few words?

I have a somewhat quiet but intense energy around me and could appear self contained and reserved especially to people that I have not really spent much time with. (People often say that I am not as quiet as they had thought when we first met).

I listen more than I talk (my husband is the only person in the world that believes otherwise!); I always try to put myself in other people’s shoes before I make a decision or take an action that can affect them. I could be tolerating, I give people long ropes, but when I feel pushed to the wall I fight back with all I have.

I am also the kind of person that works first and play later; I am result-oriented, objective and I like to look for practical solutions to problems.

2.   Most of your articles are geared towards womens' growth and personal development. Why do you have so much passion for nurturing women?

I am one of six sisters and I have five nieces…… still counting! lol!  I think there is a bias towards women because I am more familiar with their ways, I understand the everyday challenges of being a woman, a wife, a friend, a career person, a daughter, a mother etc, so writing and raising issues with women in mind comes to me naturally.

But as much as possible femme lounge tries to talk about general issues that men and women can relate with. As a matter of fact we have a good number of male readers too!

I honestly think that the world will be a better place if we all take time to nurture our minds and take time to think of how what we do and don’t do can affect our lives and the lives of people around us too.

3.   As a young beautiful Christian woman, what would you say is the best thing about your Christian walk? What inspires you about God?

In John 6:60-69, some of the followers of Jesus had been listening and following him for a while, and after some time they just couldn’t swallow his teachings, they felt it was too hard to do all he wanted of them, so they left. Jesus turned to his 12 disciples and asked them if they were going to leave him too, then Peter replied and said:

"Master, to whom would we go? You have the words of real life, eternal life. We've already committed ourselves, confident that you are the Holy One of God." (The Message)

I can summarize my Christian walk in that very powerful response that has become a scripture that means a lot to me over the years. Sometimes God’s ways get too hard for me to understand, and so unattractive to my modern mind, but then I ask myself, to whom would I go? I made a commitment to Him because of my conviction that He is God.

So over and over again I have had to choose real life, eternal life over my dissatisfactions, confusions and temptations. I may not fully understand His ways and may not always find it pleasurable to do His will, but I still choose Him anyway because I am convinced that He has my best interest at heart and He’s got my back and I have never had a reason to think otherwise!

4.   I have my views on leaders, and I think you're a leader amongst younger generation Nigerian women (and in training to be an even greater leader). But tell us, what do you think are the qualities that make a good leader? 

Among many others, one of the most important qualities that I think is important for leaders is in the area of team building, because I believe in ‘show me your team and I will tell you the kind of leader you are’. I think a good leader should be able to;  
  •         Select a good team and bring out the best in each team member for the common good of the team
  •         Have constant communication with them on the set goals and how to achieve them
  •         Lead the team to achieve a desired goal, without taking them for granted or trampling on them.
  •         Lead by example, don’t say one thing and do the other
  •         Have a sound emotional intelligence.

5.   What is the most important issue you've raised on Femme Lounge, and why is it important to you and to the world out there?

I would say the article on How to Cope With the Loss of Loved Ones, written by Omada Okpe who lost her brother in a plane crash was a very powerful one for me. We go through many painful experiences in life but the truth is we can have hope of restoration in some ways for most of the hurts we experience.

I mean, as hurtful as it could be, we can recover from addiction, we can find another husband if one walks away, we can get another job or start a business if we lose a job, we can get a prosthesis if we lose a leg, but no one gets a loved one back from death.

The finality of death is incomparable to any loss, some people learn to cope with it so that their lives will not stand still because of the loss, but for many others, the anger, the guilt, the regrets, the shock and disappointment linger through a lifetime.

I think it’s important that we learn to celebrate ourselves and the people in our lives while we still can.

What are your three favorite novels/writings and why?

I tend to read nonfiction a lot more than I read fiction. I like reading Max Lucado’s writings, I love his humor and the way he uses simple everyday things to help us understand God and seemingly complex life situations better.

And permit me to also talk about one of my favorite movies - 

Their eyes were watching God!

Their Eyes Were Watching God is a story that shows the resilience of a woman in overcoming the different men and situations that held her down in a search for an identity. While the other women accepted their condition, though they wished in their hearts they could have the power to see what they want to see and the determination to pursue it, Janie defied the societal efforts to define who she should be. She dared to pursue what gives her happiness and full expression of who she is, at the end of her journey she might not have met up with the societal definition of success but she returned with an unusual sense of fulfillment, of someone gone to the horizon and back.

The message; Never give up on a sure thing, don’t let go of what makes you happy and fulfilled.

And Shola wrote...

"What's That in Your Hands?"

                           Every man who got where he is, had to begin where he was – Robert Stevenson (1850-1894)

He couldn't have breezed in at a better time, but just before I could call him an angel I saw the patch in his wings, our friendship was short lived but he left an unforgettable mark behind, sometimes I think that was exactly what he was sent to do, and I sure didn’t need a lifetime to get the message.

Some years ago I could describe what I had been doing for six months in just five words - eating, sleeping and getting fat; I just couldn’t find a place in my mind to enjoy the waiting process. I felt guilty when I woke up late, chastised myself for watching TV when my mates were at work, I placed an embargo on having fun, why should I if I am not working? I refused to go out for fear of bumping into old friends that are so quick at asking “where do you work?” All I wanted was to get a job, and until then I was going to be off the radar.

While telling him my tales of woes one day, he said to me, if the opportunities aren’t coming, maybe you can create them, look within you and bring something out. He circuitously asked me “What’s that you’ve got in your hands?”

Have you ever had to paint a brunette as a kid and then discovered that the dark brown color was missing from your crayon can, or you had to paint the sky and your blue crayon was no were to be found? Sometimes it seems someone has forgotten to put the right colors in our cans so we could paint the perfect picture we want of our lives and we keep wondering, why we just can’t have what we want, whenever, wherever and however we want it.

Will it ever make sense if we use what we have in our cans but then our brunette becomes blonde and our sky is grey?

I once thought my picture would never be perfect if I didn’t study International Development at SOAS, and then work with the United Nations, I have never desired and pursued anything so passionately. When I got something else instead, I felt it would be a great distortion to my picture and I wondered if it would ever make sense if my brunette becomes blonde and my sky is grey.

What’s That You’ve Got in Your Hands?

A small farm boy found his answer when he bade his inheritance farewell in pursuit of a greater definition to his lifelong hobby – his fascination for machines.

He was nicknamed a watch repairer as child, because he had dismantled and reassembled the watches of friends hundreds of times and in that skill dwells his destiny, but his family tree said he was born to be a farmer. When his mother died he realized that he had stayed on the farm because he loved his mother who was a farmer and never because he liked the farm.

After years of apprenticeship and experimentation he came up with a massive enterprise in the manufacturing industry, and decades after his death, the world is still astonished by the invention and genius of Henry Ford.

While we work towards progress in our lives we should not waste valuable time and energy wishing things were different but instead we should evaluate what we have no matter how seemingly insignificant and make a maximum use of it.

Taking time out to evaluate these helped me put the pieces of the puzzle together to make a whole lot of sense. While I work hard at making progress in my life I do not have to whine and sulk (it’s really hard not to, I am sure you know that too!), I simply have to make the little contributions my resources of time, money, ideas, skills, positive attitude and love can afford in all the lives around me and in situations I find myself. So I stepped up, and stepped out to take the first conscious, calculated and consistent step in the right direction, believing that tides do turn and things do change for sure.

Have you been waiting for years for a venture capitalist to see the vision of your multi million naira idea? Why not start a smaller version of it while waiting, and let your friends invest their widow’s mite.

 Are you waiting till you get that big break before you care for the people in your lives? Maybe you should start with the little you have. Being positively involved in your community is also a good place to start while waiting till you climb your way up to become a historical president.

Got your eyes on Grammy? You could start from your church choir if that’s all you’ve got now. Ask Whitney, Beyonce, and Jennifer Hudson.
There is always something you can do! Little or much, are you willing to use it and make it grand?

Then go take on the day!

Follow Shola on Twitter: @FemmeLounge

Visit Her Online Magazine:

Has any of this inspired you to check what you've got in your hands? You've got something great in your hands. God has placed something in you, and it is worth checking out. As usual, I'd love to read your wonderful comments, thanks. Have the most lovely weekend :)


downtheaisle said...

i like her sola's site its actually a breath of fresh air, I planned on doing a post on my favorite places on the internet, and her site wld be featured.

Owumi said...

Great, inspiring post! Off to check out femmelounge now!

Enkay said...

This is inspiring.

Thanks Jaycee for introducing me to Femme Lounge, going over there now.

Anonymous said...

inspiring, she is talented

Blogoratti said...

Great interview...well done!

Anonymous said...

sola' site is refreshing and soul liberating.
I can never have enough.
The articles of Femme Lounge are as real as real life and thought provoking.
One thing Iknowforsure is that, He who began a Good work in Sola, will definitely perfect it.
You go girl~wink~

Harry said...

This was really cool...Jaycee when am I gonna be a guest kidding

One3snapshot! said...

Just stopping by to say what's up! It's been a minute :) the "what is that in your hand" is a powerful analogy. Many of us go through life fixated on the things we don't have when we could cultivate the talent God has placed in us.
(your terc friend)

Jennifer A. said...

@downtheaisle...favorite places? I sure would love to read that, and yes Femme Lounge deserves to be on the list :)

@Owumi...hiii dearie...I'm sure u'll love it. It's refreshing.'re welcome. How have u been? :)

@Anonymous...I agree. You should see some of her other writings on a pdf you can download from Femme Lounge (that is if you haven't already).

@Blogoratti...thanks *grin*'re reminding me of the iKnowforsure segment on Femme Lounge. Really nice.

@One3Snapshot...I miss u o...everyone is forming "busy" these days. Hmmmmppph!

Unknown said...

I like her
Her interview has let me know and appreciate a woman like me who is committed to making a difference.

...and they think that Nigeria can become a failed state, not with people like she and you and i.

Pearl said...

Will definitely be making my way to Femme Lounge. Thanks Jaycee for this great interview.

Unknown said...

Great interview!
She's interesting!

Myne said...

She is a great person and a motivational blessing to women. I love her magazine and how committed she and her team are. Kudos to them.

jhazmyn said...

I like her already...sounds like a really inspiring personality....I'm off to the lounge..:)

Unknown said...

This post is in season.

I've got some serious soul searching to do.

Thanks Shola, you are realy an inspiration.

Jaycee...keep lighting our lamps with words in season.

Unknown said...

Femme Lounge, I do go there. I know that place! haha.

I think through out the whole interview, my favorite part was the response of the 12 to Jesus and how she's inspired by it, "where shall we go, only You have the word of life". If there's anything I've learnt today that I will never forget in my entire life, it's that.

I enjoyed this. Infact, I am visiting femme lounge now. haha


Shola Okubote said...

thank you all for taking time out to read, for your warm comments and for visiting femme lounge. and a big thank you to Jaycee for hosting me on one of the most consistent and life changing blogs.God bless.

Wanda said...

Just came across your blog today. It's very niced. Enjoyed reading this interview and I will definitely be visiting the Femme Lounge.

Jennifer A. said...

@Shola...this was definitely been a great guest post...thank you so much for sharing *smiles*

@Wanda...hello, it's so nice to have you here...:)

idomagirl said...

wow!!! Shola,didn't know that article touched you so much. am happy that I was able to use my tragedy to inspire people.
God bless you guys at FemmeLounge and may he continue to use you! Amen!

Eights & Weights said...

Truly "Where shall we go, only You have the word of life". If you've ever drifted away from God, I'm sure you've felt this. You can get angry at Him, you can walk away, you can even say you no longer believe. But after that moment you made a commitment to Him, your mind can no longer fathom living without Him.

aloted said...

Proud to say I know Sola in person..ok ok..not so well but ya we know each other sha. lol.

She is an inspiration and her online mag is fab.

Thanks Jaycee for interviewing her

Anonymous said...

I absolutely enjoyed reading this! Femme Lounge really is a blessing, to me and all the other ladies that go there for regular refreshing! Thanks for doing this interview, Jaycee

TASH! said...

I'm so inspired!

Nightingale said...

Awwwwwwwwwwwwww.. what a beautiful lady.
I love Femme lounge!
Thanks for sharing Jaycee:)