Born Into a Family

[Image by Stephen Ip]

I am in the section of the garden where we like to talk, just me and him, like old times. I watch him walk towards me. Every step he takes is gentle but powerful in a mysterious way. As he proceeds, everything else in the garden becomes blurry, and my gaze is focused only on him.

He sits down beside me on the love seat.

"It's been a long time since we've done this, Ada," he says.
"I know, Dami. How have you been?"
"Been busy at the office lately."
"Well, it's good for you to have a break today, then."
"You can say that again." We both laugh loudly.

I want it to be a casual conversation, but every time we meet the casual becomes purposeful. Somehow, he's always been the one to bring it out of me since we were kids. There's never been a casual conversation between us. Never.

"There are some personal issues I'm dealing with right now," I blurt out.

He takes one good look at me, then he throws one leg over the other in a thoughtless manner, just like him.

"Spill, then. It's no good if it stays locked up inside."
"It's about my family."
"What about them?"
"I need to break out."
"What do you mean?"
"I feel like all my dreams, visions, and desires have been locked up within the scope of my family."
"Like your decisions have been shaped by them?"
"I know that."

I pause. Did he just tell me that he knows?

"Why didn't you tell me this before?"
"Because you weren't ready yet."
"Ready for what?"
"For fearlessness."

He takes my right hand in his left.

"There comes a time in our lives when we realize that the whole world is right in front us. And we also begin to see the truth for ourselves, and it looks different from how we've always seen it. Only then can we step up and begin to make independent decisions. Your time is now."

As he says these words, tears fall down my face...and I know, I just know that he's right. My time is now. I know the truth and I can break out on my own.

* * * * *

It's true that we're all born into a specific kind of family, with specific religions and detailed ways of living. But there'll come a time in our lives when we'll begin to see the truth for ourselves and we have to stand up to make a choice.

For some of you, today might be that day. The day when you've suddenly come of age and you want to start making the right choices. For some of you, today might be the day when you'll accept Christ as your savior, knowing that He chose to die for you to bring you back to the Father. Right here on this page, there might be many other decisions you have to make. It could be something you know you need to do. Or to start. Make this decision today, don't wait another second. The fact that you were born into a specific kind of family has nothing to do with your knowledge of the truth. If you know the truth, let the truth set you free.

"Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." Joshua 24:15 | I pray you make the right choice today. Have a great week.

Dear Miss Touchy-Feelings

[Image by Dezz on Flickr]

It's been three days now since it happened, and tonight I sit here by myself at our dining table. I watch him from afar, eating his dinner in front of the television. I look down on mine, pick up my spoon. My hand begins to shake, almost spilling the chili. I drop the spoon, look at him. He doesn't know. His chest rises and falls, matching the sinusoidal rhythm of the sounds of his laughter. It's that TV show again. The one that makes him bend over in unstoppable laughter.

"Can you believe this guy?"
"What guy?" I ask. There's no emotion in my voice. Inside, I'm writhing in suppressed fury.
"Samuel Gillinger," he says. "This guy's just hilarious, babe."

I nod my head nonchalantly. Who cares? I don't care about Gillinger. I've never cared. What I'm furious about is that the man who cares about Gillinger doesn't care about me. Can't he see that I'm on the dining table to be away from him? Can't he see that I don't care about what he's watching? Doesn't he know that all I can think of is what he said to me three days ago and how he hasn't apologized yet? How could he say those words? It's not too late to apologize. I'm here waiting with my spoon dipped in hot chilli soup. I'm seriously offended. Three days and forever.

* * * * *

The phrase "I'm offended" is all too familiar. Many times, we sweat the small stuff. We want to get offended at the slightest chance. It stimulates the attorney inside us, just dying to speak and lay out the court case. We want the jury to agree with us, to see the case from the eyes of an innocent victim.

1 Corinthians 13:5
"Love does not take offense," (Jerusalem bible)
" not easily provoked," (KJV).  
" not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrong," (NIV)
" not provoked, doth not impute evil," (YLT)
" not irritable," (ESV)
" not touchy or fretful or resentful," (The Amplified)

People who know how to shrug offenses off their shoulders are blessed. It might be hard, but it's something we all need to learn how to practice. If someone said or did something to hurt you, it doesn't necessarily mean he or she stopped loving you.

Don't be quick to receive an offense from your loved ones (or anybody for that matter). You might have been sincerely offended, but don't let the offense make a home in your body. Don't keep a journal of wrong-doings or mathematical imputations of accusations. There's no need. Let it go as soon as it comes. You'll go a long way in loving when you don't get offended easily.

1 Corinthians 13:8 emphasizes that "Love never fails." Why? Because love always wins in the end. Love is always the victor and never the loser. In fact, when you show love to an enemy the bible says that it's like "heaping a pile of burning coals on his head," (Romans 12:20). I think it's because it's the kind of genuine love that will drive them to repentance, such that they will reconsider their acts and run to your side to ask you to forgive them. Burning coals are fiery hot, who can bear them? Love drives a person to repentance. Not anger, not being touchy or fretful, not being easily provoked. But gentleness, kindness, and an easily forgiving heart are signs that you have a heart full of God's love.

[Love] Isn't always "me first," 
   Doesn't fly off the handle, 
   Doesn't keep score of the sins of others, 
   Doesn't revel when others grovel, 
   Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, 
   Puts up with anything, 
   Trusts God always, 
   Always looks for the best, 
   Never looks back, 
   But keeps going to the end.

1 Corinthians 13 (The Message)

Keep going to the end. It should not be a one-time thing, but your lifestyle-- a continuous lifestyle of not being easily angered. No one is saying it'll be easy, but living like this will take you places. It will also help you love just like God loves. Happy Monday, readers.

A Stylish & Versatile SATURDAY!

[Image by Jesse Draper]
The Google dictionary defines a stylish person as someone who has or displays a good sense of style. Versatility on the other hand is the ability to adapt to many different activities or to have a great diversity or variety of characters, to be capable of doing many things competently, to have a wide variety of skills, and to be all-rounded. To me, versatility does not occur by mere happenstance, but by the grace of God.

This week, I was awarded the "Stylish & Versatile" title by some very wonderful blogger friends. Thank you Jhazmyn on Girl-Next-Door, In-the-midst-of-her, His DarlynH on Crush-ThotsBlessing on Blessing's Outlet, iLola, Dee on Issues-et-al, GospelGirl, NaijalinesDoshiX, & RoseofSharon for tagging me as 'stylish & versatile.'

The Rules:

1) Thank the person(s) who gave you the award and link back to them in your post (CHECK).
2) Tell us 7 things about yourself.
3) Award 15 other bloggers.
4) Contact these bloggers & let them know that they've won.

7 Things About Me:

1) I am a People Watcher. I get entertained by watching people. In an airport I'd willingly watch little kids & their mamas, couples holding hands, or people trying to check in their luggages (some in a frenzy pulling giant over-sized suitcases, or the calm ones with only a briefcase), or people having random loud phone conversations as though they are the only ones in the waiting area. I love telling the stories of strangers even when I don't know their names. Have you seen the movie 'Date Night?' Yes, I could have easily been Tina Fey, trying to explain what the woman on the next seat is thinking while she's on a date with a bald-headed guy, instead of focusing on my own food and my own handsome date.

2) I love Board Games. But only when they stimulate me. I would sit with you for long hours playing Chess, Scrabble, Apples to Apples, or Taboo. I haven't played Chess in a long while because most of the people around me prefer shorter games, and it seems like I don't have the time myself anymore. I love Scrabble though. I feel like some sort of Grand Master at Scrabble. Could be because of my love for new words. I have new words sent to my email from every single day.

3) I can whip a fantastic Interior design. Not whipped cream, but I'd do it for free. It's like a hobby. My friends know to call me up when they need a design idea or when they move to a new apartment or home. I love architectural designs, HGTV, and everything spectacular in home design. I love to go to IKEA just to look around and stare at their Art works, or any shop that has to do with design, like Michaels for instance. In our home, we have three large motifs printed on Canvas hanging on a wall. Such a beautiful sight! I also have a thing for web design & html codes, and a thing for nicely designed journals and notebooks, I can't write in a plain boring notebook. Forget it, it yields no inspiration whatsoever. There has to be some sort of neat print.

4) In the Womb, I stood. In the 35th week of pregnancy, the baby is supposed to turn around so that he/she is configured with the head facing downwards, ready to be born. Oh, but not me. I was standing in my mother's womb when it was time for me to come out into the world, while other babies had turned upside down ready to come out. In a way, maybe it's because I wasn't ready? Oh well, they brought me out anyhow. It's pretty funny.

5) Beautiful Music Inspires Me. When I say 'beautiful music' I mean clean, fresh, inspiring lyrics. Songs that make you pause, reflect, fall in love with God. In the past few weeks, I came across some videos of such songs I'd like to share.

Jason Castro singing "You Are"

Britt Nicole singing "Walk on the Water"

Bona Ekundayo singing "Heart of Worship" 
(Watch out for her Debut Album this February)

Brandon Heath singing "Your Love"

6) I'll exchange your Real-life movie for a great Animated movie. There's something about animation that I can't quite put a finger on. I don't know if it's the same explanation for works of Fiction. They take you to a place where real people can't take you, or maybe they just express emotions that we sometimes wish we can express more of. The freedom to be themselves for instance. Or maybe I'm just a child who is unfortunately twenty-something years old, and I don't want to grow up. Some animated movies I've seen (and loved) recently: Despicable Me, How to Train Your Dragon, Kung-Fu Panda, and Ratatouile.

7) My Siblings Walk on Egg Shells. Nah, just kidding. I'm just trying to say that I love them so much and sometimes I want to walk their own paths for them, not because they can't do it themselves, but because I don't want to see them make mistakes. But I have to learn to trust God that He's taking care of them (more than I can ever dream of doing). I want them to learn from my own mistakes and not have to walk in the same shoes. I want them to have a better life and a higher passion to accomplish the purpose God created them for. They are rock stars in my head. :) But then again, let's not forget that I'm a first-born & maybe all first-borns feel the same way.


I hereby break the rule & tag 44 of my current favorite bloggers and faithful commentators here on the Lamp who have not done this yet to do it. I'd love to read 7 things about you. I also encourage you to check/follow their blogs as well. They are stylish & oh-so-versatile (in my fake Italian accent). This is also my little way of saying I've been blessed by your zeal, passion, faithfulness, & by reading your versatile inspiring blogs & comments. I do hope you see this. If you haven't done this and I forgot to add your name by any chance, I'd still love to read 7 things about you. The following people/blogs are now TAGGED!

1) The Unspoken
2) Temiville
3) De-Me-Stified by Imisi
4) Untitled by Michael Perkins
5) Life of a Stranger Called Me
6) Kennisblegad
7) Rainyjoy
8) Right Here...Right Now by Mwajimal
9) Maid-of-Heart
10) Olaoluwatomi
11) Rain Drops on a Rose
12) A Day in God's Will by Remi Banjo
13) Just Joxy
14) From Now Till I Do
15) Ero Lyrics by Rita
16) Le Dynamique Professeur
17) GRIP by Lani
18) Shola Okubote of Femme Lounge
19) Toyeen4Love
20) My World of Acting 
21) Rahab's Memoirs by Tolu
22) Favor's Heart
23) A Holy Experience by Ann Voskamp
24) Patti Laci
25) Good Naija Girl (GNG)
26) Fabulola
27) Blogoratti
28) Funms D Rebirth
29) Pawpaw & Mango
30) NBB
31) Cycleguy's Spin by Bill Grandi
32) Nikole Hahn
33) Chizzy D
34) Fabulosity Unwritten
35) A Bloke's Life by El Bagucci or Dhjax
36) Apples to Cross
37) Rethots' Musings
38) Melodies of Love by Debbie
39) Miss Onaihre (Kemi Penelope)
40) Remi Roy
41) Tisha Smith
42) Venus Speaks
43) Solomonsydelle
44) No Limit

See you back here on the LAMP on Monday. Have a blessed and fantastic restful weekend :)

Until Something Happens

[Image by Tom O'Connor]
True Story:

Last week, I sat on a comfortable cream-colored couch in a beautiful house at the end of a winding street, meeting with some wonderful inspiring people. After praying, singing, reading some scriptures, and sharing little snippets of ourselves, we began to answer some questions as a sort of ice-breaker.

One question got me thinking. "What characteristic has brought you to a successful point in your walk with God?" I considered this for a while, crossing my legs, one over the other, fully aware that the answer I would eventually give would be something that has truly changed my life.


That was it. Consistency. In the past few years of my life, this is one thing that has pushed me forward. I've had to wait for so many things in the scope of my vision to happen. But consistency is what has always seen me to the end-- in my writing, in studying the bible, in my housekeeping efforts, and in other day-to-day activities.

See, consistency has nothing to do with perfection. In fact, I think it should be a term confined to imperfect people. Perfect people don't need to try to be consistent, they already are. But imperfect people need to TRY. They need to get up every morning and make up their minds to be consistent. They need to remember the process of success, and they need to repeat the steps of that process all over again. In my case, although I came short sometimes and I forgot, when I eventually remembered the steps of the process to achieve a goal, I continued in that path. I fell more than seven times, but more than seven times I got back up again. That's consistency.

How To Be Consistent:

1) Pray until something happens. God is never far away from each of us. He always comes at the right time. I've found out that we continue to pray, not because God hasn't heard, but because we need to keep our expectations at the high end. We pray because we want to stay in that "expectant" place, ready to receive the answers at any time. We pray because we are exercising our faith and because we know the answers will come. [Read the parable of the persistent widow in Luke 18:1-5]

2) When you remember, continue from where you stopped. Consistency is not relegated to those who remember all the time. Some of us forget the steps. Some of us have gone back to step 1, time and time again. But consistency happens when you always remember to get up again and continue. Consistency is to continue to push. To continue to strive even when no one is looking. ["For a righteous man may fall seven times And rise again..." Proverbs 24:16]

3) Be faithful in little. Many times, we want to see big results from our small efforts of consistency. May I remind you of the parable of the talents? No matter how much is distributed to you, be it one talent, you can work on it and produce two. You don't need to bury your single talent under the sand. Consistency is working with what you have in your hand right now. [And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.’ Luke 19:17]

4) Always strive to increase. Now, some may ask, "Isn't consistency doing the same thing over and over again?" Yes, it is. But let's not forget that God's purpose for us is not to remain stagnant. The kind of consistency God wants us to have is one that brings an increase. Therefore, we must do the same things over and over again, but after a while there should be an additional step. There's always a next step to take you to the next blessing. There's always something additional you can add to your first step of consistency. It's like climbing a ladder: when your legs are steady on the first rung of the ladder, unless you move one step higher, you'll never reach the top. [But other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up,increased and produced: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred. Mark 4:8]

Question for the Day: Are you inspired to continue doing something you stopped doing a while ago? Today, you can continue doing that good thing. To everyone who reads this, I pray that this year you will be consistent in everything God has called you to do. Amen. Happy Monday everyone. 

The Innuendo of a New Year:

[Image by Rod Irvine]

From the tiny hole through the wall of the prison cell, Marie could hear people screaming in the distance. It was the start of a new year. 1790.

But it was also the period of the French Revolution, a time of radical and political upheaval. On October 16th, 1789 (the previous year) she'd been caught unawares in the war, although she was an innocent woman. That fine night she'd gone along with a crowd of women to a Parisian market, with a placard on her hand addressing the harsh economic situation of bread shortage. Hers read, "Abolish Poverty Now."

In the process of protesting, she'd felt strong arms dragging her away, and then she'd found herself being carried and pushed along a hidden trail into one of the most talked-about prisons in Paris, where people gathered to watch the heads of the prisoners as they fell off the metal blade of the bloody guillotine.

Four months later, on January 1st of 1790, she was hearing screams from people in the outside world, bidding themselves "Bonne Année! Happy new year!" But of course, she could not participate from a prison cell. There was nothing she could do about it. She'd been restrained for this long without a definite cause, as was the custom with the war. There were so many people behind these prison bars who did not deserve to be here.

Time passed. Hours lapsed into days, and days into months.

Three months later, in March, the gates of the prison courtyard were opened and she was told that she could leave. Although the light from the sun blinded her, she took those bold steps and stumbled out upon free sand.

To every single person she encountered on the streets, she screamed, "Bonne Année! Happy new year!" for it was her own time to scream. The moment the gates were opened became her new year. The second she saw the sun fully seated in all its splendor became her own morning. Some folks shooed her away from them, but they didn't understand that she was just beginning her own year. They didn't get why she was grinning with such a wide girth, one end of her face to the other. They didn't know that every step she took was with all her resolve to start living in the newness of 1790.

* * *

Dear Readers, one week has passed since the New Year began. Yet, with the fullness of joy in my heart I declare to you that your new year is when you want it to be. One week passed before something got activated in my spirit (based on a message that was shared on this past Friday's The Early Risers Conference (TERC) meeting~click to hear the message).

I was charged up like I'd never been before, and I began to understand that January 1st is not a time of let-down, but it is merely a Calendar date. It's not a time to measure yourself as a failure for not having started a task on Day 1, but it is a time to reactivate your faith in God. Yet, it's only a Calendar date, and every single date on the Calendar is just as important as the first.

Friends, your new year is when the Holy Spirit opens your eyes to see it. It's when you grab a hold of the open doors before you, and it's when you begin to activate your faith. Your new morning is not when the sun rises in the east, but it's when you actually see the sun shining and you begin to walk under it.

Don't let anyone make you feel like you're a failure because you haven't processed what goals and visions you have for 2011. Today is your day if you haven't done so already. Take a grip of January 10th and give your 2011 a God-filled vision. And if tomorrow comes, and you see the sun, then grab a hold of its horns and rejoice. Remind yourself of the vision God gave you yesterday, and reactivate it in your heart. For it's never too late to say "HAPPY NEW YEAR," and it's never too late to START walking in a God-given purpose and path. Do so now.

Happy new year, Readers. It's a blessing & privilege to be able to continue in this path of writing in 2011, and I'm looking forward to drawing many as close to the heart of God as can be drawn. May God reveal to you what He wants for you in this new year, 2011. May God bless you mightily (in all the abundance of His marvelous & indescribable heavenly riches) and may the eyes of your understanding be all the more enlightened about Him in 2011 than it was in 2010. May you never be discouraged for one day in this new year, for all things will work together for your good, according to His word. Amen.