Happy New Year!

My new year started off with me chilling with family, Mom, Dad, one of my brothers, my dear husband and my kids. I am amazed how the company of my family can give me so much energy, so much comfort, so much refreshing. Happy New Year to my family!

I slept in late and probably awoke some time after 8:00 a.m.; two hours after I was in the kitchen cooking up a storm. I am always excited about cooking for family; there is nothing so fulfilling as when food is served and there are rich discussions, and hearty laughter all fitting together perfectly with the choice dishes of the day. You later glance at their plates and you are pleased to see that the food you prepared, with such passion, was devoured. Good food, good times.

I love cooking for my family! 🙂

Among the many dishes I prepared, with the help of my kids, was a Lasagna dish. This time I did a few things differently and I really loved the outcome. Usually, I would place a layer of shells first before adding a layer of meat, then cheese. This time, I placed minced meat with the sauce at the bottom, as the first layer. I then applied the first layer of shells followed by a second layer of meat & sauce and another layer of cheese. Another thing I did differently, was to mix chopped celery leaves with the cheese. In all I had three layers of cheese and 4 layers of meat with sauce.

My family really enjoyed my Lasagne!

Later in the evening, I was sitting on my porch in the company of my family and I started to think of how important food is to a family affair. The reality is the big family moments were big because good food was a part of the occasion; it is important that we understand the connection between food and great family moments. Food can make or break the occasion; food makes it better. Or let me correct this statement by saying tasty, attractive, well prepared food, makes it better.

I am sure many of you are right this moment cherishing great moments enjoyed during the Christmas Season and on New Years Day. Cherish those memories and treasure family and friends.

The next time you are having guests over, plan your menu well, cook with heart, passion and love. Be sure to prepare more than enough, honour your guest with good food.

As the New Year unfolds, go all out and do your best for the upcoming birthdays, anniversaries and all those special occasions to come.

My wish for you is that “2019” will be a year when you would invest more into seeing great family moments happen. It may require you to up your game or improve your cooking skills. My desire for you is that you would cherish your family and your friends even more in “2019”.

Happy New Year All!

Work towards creating fulfillment in your marriage! Believe it can happen and it will!

When you believe that your marriage could be better, you are willing to exercise patience with your spouse and you are willing to invest time and money towards seeing your faith come to life.

In my own experience, I have been the victim of boring cycles which are created by life’s rat race; sleep, wake, prepare for work and school, go to work and school, return home and if there is any energy left, prepare for the next day.   If no energy left , well…….we’ll figure it out right?  Something or someone is neglected.

However, the sad truth is that we do get comfortable with those cycles and getting comfortable is not really good or healthy for our marriage or our family.    But the glowing truth is that, deep down, we never stop loving each other and we really desire more.  What happens is that many of us don’t try hard enough or make the effort to ensure that the quality of our marriage improves. We succumb to the pressures of life and rather than see it as an opportunity to become more disciplined, we throw our hands up thinking “I can’t do any better”. “I am so beat”, “He/She understands”.

In this article my aim is to encourage you to constantly work towards a richer, fuller marriage, amidst the rat race.    Take control of your day, your activities and your time and don’t forget that it is ok to have limits.   Decide, when you have put in enough extra hours at work and it is time to head home. Constantly keep in mind, the need for balance and the need to give attention to your spouse. Yes, your spouse needs attention to.

Let’s look at a few practical ways to enrich our marriage even when there are crazy schedules coming at us:

  1. Regularly update your spouse: Every moment, whether you are just calling to say hi or to remind your spouse of an errand, or you are at home in the kitchen fixing something  to eat, update. Maybe the gardener had to postpone his appointment to clean the yard this week-end, update.  Maybe, your sister said she would pass by tomorrow, update.   Maybe your Pastor invited you to attend a meeting at the church on short notice, update.  If you both have a habit of updating each other or mentioning “stuff” through-out the day, you would most likely know the same thing, most times, and it is less likely that either of you would feel left out, or get upset as a result of not being in the know.   This can avoid conflict and clashes of events and activities.   If you practice updating regularly you are actually helping to strengthen bonds and trust between you and your spouse.   Tell him what’s on, all the time; tell her what’s on, all the time. Leave no room for your spouse to wonder “What is she not telling me?” Do you remember when we were younger and we were excited about sharing everything with our best friend? It’s the same thing actually!
  2. Do not alienate your spouse; make him or her part of your work-life as much as possible.    For example, if your Employer is having a staff party and you are allowed to invite your spouse, do not hesitate to do so.   Many employers today are beginning to understand the value of recognising  and showing an interest in the families of their employees.  This would allow you and your spouse to share work-related experiences together, while he or she is allowed to get to meet your co-workers and build an appreciation for the caliber of persons you work with.
  3. You must sacrifice your own personal time for time together.  Put off the beauty regime or the lime with the guys, ignore the phone, the television, the personal projects and just do nothing but chill with your spouse.   If he or she is eating, chill on the chair close by, if he or she is enjoying their favourite TV show, get comfy next to them and enjoy it too.   If he or she decides to read, grab a book and read too.  :).   It does make sense, try it.   Just being in each other’s company is enriching and provides companionship. Companionship in Marriage is always a need to be filled.
  4. Create life and memories around your spouse’s favourite things and people; for example, if your husband loves barbecue, plan a barbecue and invite a few of his close friends, if you wife loves popcorn and movies, select a good movie and get that corn popping. Maybe your husband enjoys walking the dog, join him. There is so much we can do to enrich our lives and our marriage; many of them are also simple activities that cost nothing or very little. Each one of us have the responsibility of creating life, fun, happiness and adventure. Here are some other ideas: prepare a tania-log pot under the moonlight, play table games, go bowling together, go driving, or on a road trip and visit family and shared friends, go to the grocery together, attend events together, yes, get all dressed up and go out. Volunteer to manage the Sunday School Ministry together, or the outreach programme, or the Youth Ministry. The list is endless; I am sure you may have ideas of your own.
  5. Finally, seek to understand where you spouse is at in their development and support efforts to grow, develop or rise to a higher level. The worse thing we could do as married individuals is to discourage our spouses from starting that new project, whether it is to pursue higher education or to learn a new sport or to start a bible study group or reach out to someone in need; whatever it is, if it is pure and healthy, support, support, support.

I hope these few thoughts encourage you to take steps to ensure your marriage exerts life, energy and a healthy positive spirit that would be contagious, giving hope to other married couples, who are desperately in need of it. It takes commitment, discipline and sacrifice but it is doable. Aim for better, richer and for greater. Don’t settle for mediocrity and boredom in your marriage! Be honest and admit that your marriage is not at its best and desire better always.

I love aiming for better, I love aiming for “best”. It is also part of God’s purpose for our lives; he wants us to reflect his character in how we live with our spouse daily. God is an awesome God of life, beauty and joy!

Featured picture taken from Google images.

My son inspires me to exercise.

I think it is really, really important, the way two pieces of bread is necessary for a sandwich, the way two hands must come together to make a clapping sound, the way the wind is needed to disperse the cotton seeds; I think in the same way, family success can only happen if every member of the family sees himself as a key component to making it happen.

I have been struggling to exercise consistently, I would start then stop, start then pause, start then……nothing……:).    But the lovely and interesting fact is, I really love to exercise.  Once I get started, I feel alive, renewed and invincible.  Interestingly, I always feel like the Holy Spirit is nudging me to exercise.  Is he trying to show me that I need to take steps towards a healthier lifestyle?  But he does not have to keep reminding me right?  It just makes sense to exercise; results of research bombards us of that fact.  But still…..I struggle.

Well, I publicly confess, I need to be motivated from time to time to keep doing it.

Today, I am motivated. How come? Why?  Jonathan.    His passion to work out has finally rubbed of on me and when he invited me again to work out with him this week, I finally caved in.

I really appreciate his interest in getting him mama “moving”.  I allowed him to instruct me through the warm up routines, watched him select a suitable work-out set for me and listened to his wise instructions.   God is using my son to get me moving :).

The end result was good!   I did the routine again for a second time this week without him nudging me, and I feel really accomplished.

We really need each other as family. 

As our children grow older, we need not to resist the fact that they are growing very knowledgeable and eager to teach us a thing or two or even three.   They exhibit responsible behaviours that sometimes leaves us as parents with mental confusion :);  “Where did my baby go?”.

Well my babies are still with me, but they no longer need my wet kisses, they need me to respect the fact that they can teach me a thing or two or even three.

So I have decided I would stick with my son as my Keep-fit trainer, at least for now.

Treasure each member of your family as that second hand that is needed to produce the beautiful clapping sound.

 

 

Single and Committed to Sexual Purity! Is it Possible!

Let me start off by saying that “Life is so beautiful when we are living it!!”  Why do we spend so much time worrying or investing in relationships that are going nowhere!

Are you a teenager or young adult and having difficulty imagining being single and sexually pure?   Consider the following;

Decide, Resolve, Declare!

We need to set goals, standards and expectations for ourselves.   We must first decide what we want in life and consequently identify the things we need to do or not do to achieve those goals.  While our parents are significant players in forming our moral standards and how we see ourselves, we must develop self-awareness, and personal thinking and reasoning abilities as we grow into independence and begin making decisions on our own.  It is not sufficient to have all A’s and B’s or a perfect GPA, you need to have conviction about your goals, your spiritual, moral and social beliefs.   Deciding, resolving and declaring who you are and where you are heading, can be difficult, especially if you are seeking to be guided by the beliefs of others, by what is fashionable and by what is popular.  It is difficult because fashion and popularity and even the belief of others waiver, they change, they are conditional and are often driven by bigger players like, laws, customs and money.

I found one thing to be constant, sound and reliable and that is God and his Word.   Consider building your resolutions and declarations around a God who has a track record for sound decisions, faithfulness, unconditional love and a manual for living, that is practical and relevant no matter how many generations have come and gone.

Build-up, nourish, enrich!

I believe we know ourselves more than anyone else; our weak tendencies, our selfish desires, the things we are trying to overcome.  We all need to be wise, as we seek to enrich ourselves, as we seek to resist the habits and practices that would rob us from a truly fulfilled life.

All you need to do is quickly assess your life.   Do your friends seek to encourage you to do the right thing, are they concerned about your well-being, whether you are happy, the quality of decisions you make.  In other words, do your friends really care?  You need to surround yourself with people who truly care for you.  It means that they would love you enough to caution you of the possible dangers you can encounter because of your choices.

The Word of God would nourish and enrich you, it should not be ignored or taken for granted.  For you to feel the lasting effects of God word, you need to read, meditate and apply it daily.  There are many good books available from you to choose from; in your local bookstores and online, make good use of them.  Reading, momentarily takes you away from your current environment, into another experience, another world that requires you to stretch your imagination, to think.  You find yourself stepping within the covers of the book and it steels your attention away from what is going on around you.  It is important therefore to choose good books; books that would educate you, broaden your perspective and provide insight on matters on common interests.  Seek to choose books that would inspire you to live a purposeful life.

Additionally, in some countries there are clubs you can join, summer programmes and other healthy activities you can participate in.   Volunteering to teach at summer schools or to assist your former school during its annual sports or fair or some other annual activity can be beneficial as well.  The goal here is as you give of yourself and as you serve, you would allow yourself to become more enriched.

Church programmes can be very beneficial.  I wish to warn you about being religious and engaging in activities that makes no sense, activities that are superficial and gives you a false sense of well-being.  Everything we do in life needs to make sense if life is going to be meaningful.  The Lord Jesus did not come to offer religion but rather life and life abundantly; the kind of life that allows you to experience change and to help impact others positively.   Your church should encourage sexual purity as well, through its teaching and its programmes.

Personally, I have found that special events can really boost you, I am speaking of events such as Concerts and Conferences; some of them happens once a year.   Many of them involve people who have experienced extra-ordinary struggles, and miracles and God has raised them up to be a voice.

Date intentionally; Date purposefully!

This article is about living single and remain sexually pure and yet we have not used the word single much and the word “sex” has not been mentioned only once before.  It is important to understand why, staying pure while living single is no magic, it requires effort and discipline and surrounding yourself with the right practices would help to provide that safe zone that would support you, making it easier for you to do the right thing.  Think about it, imagine you have been given a letter, it is in a white envelope and you do not wish for it to get soil.  I would think you would not take it to the garden with you or to the kitchen or to the bathroom; I would think, you would not place in on the floor or anywhere, where it will be exposed to anything that can tarnish its purity. I call it common sense!

If you create the setting that would make it easy for you to make bad decisions and live carelessly, you would surely experience consequences that would cause you to regret.

Bearing this in mind, here are some reasons you should not date someone;

  • Because you don’t want to hurt the person by saying no;
  • Because he or she is popular or cute;
  • Because you are longing to go on a date and this person is going to make it happen;
  • Because you feel pressured by your friends or by your church to go on a date;
  • Because you think time is running out for you; you are getting old.

This can also help; Don’t go dating unless;

  • You are seriously considering marriage in the future;
  • You believe that your time should not be wasted and anytime spent with anyone should be quality time only;
  • You have prayed about it or sought the advice of someone you respect, and you are comfortable doing it.
  • You have both discuss expectations and boundaries and there is no conflict there.
  • Your date is also interested in marriage and It is their desire to date intentionally.

Trust God!

Simply trust God to work things out.  Please understand that even if you put everything in place to ensure your dating is purposeful, it may not work out. simply because it is not meant to be.   Continue to live and enjoy your single-hood.

There is so much I could say, but I don’t believe in giving my readers too much to swallow at one time; conditions for choking, right?

I encourage you not to allow society to pressure you to do anything.   God’s standards for man are still good and comes with numerous perks and blessings.   Live your life with purpose!!

Single and Committed to Sexual Purity! Is it Possible! YES!

Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.”

Treasured Lessons from my Mother – Lesson 7

Honour your husband even when you don’t feel like it

There were times when I wished my mom would be more vocal or less patient.   There were those times when I would wonder, how does she do it?   It truly takes grace to serve with a humble and kind spirit consistently.

Mom gave up personal dreams to serve at the side of her husband, who was very active in ministry as a Pastor, for most of their married life. He Pastored three different churches during his days as a Pastor, he was also actively involved in evangelism, teaching bible school and counselling.  His active schedules meant, at times, lonely days and lonely nights for mom.

Being a Pastor is no easy job, especially with a wife and family who needs you.  Mom was often the stabilizer at home from the time Dad accepted the call to serve full-time in Leading local churches, evangelizing, teaching and counselling.  Such a call requires much sacrifice on the part of the wife and of course an understanding spirit.

While my parent’s marriage was an example for me to follow; there were certain aspects of it that I would’ve changed, it was not Perfect!!   Mom desired and still desires more effective communication and intimacy (not speaking of sex here – intimacy is much more). But what stands out to me is her faithfulness in service at home despite how she felt, how big her emotional needs were and how much she disagreed with Dad, at times.    She served so well and is still doing it today at the age of seventy-seven.  She was not known to harbor malice,  unforgiveness or bitterness; she was never one to hit back because she felt hurt, instead she would find herself kneeling at her bedside in prayer.  Having a relationship with her Heavenly Father helped her to cope.

I have a vivid picture of mom preparing meals daily for Dad and serving him his food either at the table or wherever he would prefer.  Those servings were always healthy looking, attractive and tasty.   Meals were hardly late.  I also remember her inquiring about his well-being, firmly discouraging him against overworking or pushing himself too much.  She facilitated his comfort, her unconditional love and support made it possible for him to be effective as he sought to obey God’s calling.

Application:  That we who are married mothers, learn to serve our husbands beyond our feelings, loving our husbands unconditionally.  It is our duty to communicate to our children what a healthy marriage looks like.  It is not easy, and it never will be, but submitting ourselves to God’s biblical instructions makes it possible.  Serve with a pure heart and as you serve, trust God to fix the areas in your marriage that needs fixing.

Thank you so much for reading, it was my pleasure to share these Lessons.  There is much more, but I’ll stop hear for now….:)

Treasured Lessons from My Mother – Lesson 6

You can overcome

My mom’s childhood is very similar to many, instability at home and poverty.   She struggled as she sought to find her identity fighting defeating thoughts about herself, even after turning to God as a teenager.   Through her determination to discover more about God and to trust in his promises, she overcame.   She overcame, and it allowed her to minister effectively to her husband and her children and to many hurting people she met in her journey through life.

Because of her testimony, I have adopted the same attitude, that by pursuing God and his word and by trusting in his promises, I can overcome anything.   I have found that one of the fiercest battles in one’s life can be the battle of the mind.  I have learnt and I am still learning how to guard my mind from destructive thoughts, beliefs and perceptions.  Mom thought us how to preserve our mind and our heart, how to embrace love, joy and peace, how to think only on the things that were just, and lovely, and of good virtue.  She confessed with her mouth, the victory bestowed upon us by God himself; she claimed it, it became her survival mechanism or rather God became her survival mechanism..

Like many others, Mom has won the battle against negative thoughts, a poor self image and fear of speaking up.  She read and memorized scripture passages that renewed her mind, established hope and exposed the real nature of the Evil One, who is fixed towards destroying men.

She really believed that she was valuable to God and that he had a purpose for her even as a stay-at-home Mom and Pastor’s wife; she certainly discovered that she was not a loser or a lost and defeated nobody but rather a Queen, worthy of being considered and thought of by the most powerful being in this earth.   Now that she has overcome, she is living in God’s freedom even in the midst of many who are still trapped in personal bondage.

Application:  We can easily sink into depression and self-pity, if we allow ourselves to focus on the negative experiences of growing up.  Instead look for the lessons to be learnt and embrace them.  Get to know God by reading the Bible regularly and understand what he thinks about you and the wonderful plans he has for you.  Only God can help you understand the correct perception of you.  He describes you as wonderfully made and made in His Image; that’s just awesome!!

Final Lesson on Thursday……

Treasured Lessons from my Mother – Lesson 5

Passionately intercede in prayer for your children daily

No matter, what your children have done, no matter how far they have drifted from God or how long they take to come back home, keep offering those prayers to heaven on their behalf;  something will happen eventually.   I firmly believe that the prayers of a faithful mother accomplishes a lot and it is a commitment all mothers should make.   Praying daily for your children is a necessity and it comes from a mother who deeply loves and cares about the welfare of her children; from the time they are born until the time she leaves this earth.

The Word of God says “Ask and it shall be given”.   Shouldn’t we start asking on behalf of our children, even before they are born.  I am sure it would place them at an advantage.   Ask God to draw them to him at an early age, ask Him to give them a hunger for righteousness, ask Him to bless them with intelligence and wisdom and let them be a beacon to those they meet.   ASK!

Talking to God on the behalf of our children shows that we recognise that they are only gifts to us and it is our God-given awesome responsibility to grow them up to reverence God and that involves lots of praying as well.

Application:    Start praying daily for your children!  Do not be too busy, invest significant time praying for them daily.  Be specific in your prayer, you can pray for anything and everything; for them to excel in school, for them to choose the right career, for them to choose the right spouse and more importantly for them to reverence God!!  In addition to praying daily, sometimes the Holy Spirit alerts you that something is wrong and he urges you to pray “NOW”, don’t hesitate, stop whatever you are doing and obediently pray.

more on Tuesday……

Treasured Lessons from my Mother – Lesson 4

“Greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the World.”

Well, my Mother always spoke to the Devil! “Get thee behind me Satan!”  I learnt at a young age that there is evil and there is good but if I would trust in God, who is more powerful than the Devil, I will be fine.   It was more than just saying “Get thee behind me Satan!”.  I learned as a little girl that my mind was always tossing up good and evil thoughts, seeking to fight back against temptations to be disrespectful or disobedient.   I knew at a young age that there was a special blessing of long life, joy and peace if I choose to obey God and not my feelings.   I learnt that the Devil had no control over me, unless I let him.

There was a little song we learnt at Sunday School, which in my view, was quite popular.

It goes like this:

“Get thee behind me Satan, Get thee away.  I don’t want anything to do with you today.   Get thee Behind me Satan, Get thee away.  I want to be a Christian Soldier and I want to learn to pray”.

My Mom, knew the word of God, so she knew that the one who lived within us was mightier than the evil one. She knew that we (those who truly believe in Christ), through the Holy Spirit, can overcome any temptation, hence we can boldly say “Get thee behind me Satan”!

Application: May we be mothers who read the word of God and seek to understand and believe it.   Part of understanding God’s word is applying it when having discussions with our children, when disciplining and guiding them towards safe living, living outside of the devil’s clutches. Assist your children in memorizing this verse: 1 John 4:4;  “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the World.

More lessons on Saturday…..

Treasured Lessons from my Mother – Lesson 3

“You are beautiful!”

I must credit my mom for the way I feel about myself.  These words are embedded in my mind forever!

The first place where I understood what beauty was and how beautiful I was, was at home, as the words came from my mother’s lips, “You are beautiful”.  My mom was my greatest admirer, she frequently told me about my beautiful attributes, physically and otherwise; she made me feel good about myself.  Growing-up, Mom was my sanctuary for down times or those times when I needed to be reminded that my beauty was not defined by others.  While I desired acceptance by my peers, deep down, it really did not matter what others thought about me; my mother said, I was beautiful and that is what mattered.

Mom’s words served to build me up, it gave me confidence to face the world.   I look back now, and I see how intentional she was, making a point to instill values of self-acceptance and love of one’s self.  Mother, knew when I was sad and quickly applied a double-portion of her loving words and hugs (even when I did not feel like hearing or feeling them), to brighten my day.

Women often walk the streets and feel uncomfortable (I guess men too these days) when strange men see them and comment about a part of their body they admire and sometimes it could be so embarrassing to hear what comes out of their mouths.  You feel violated just by their lustful expressions.

I remember returning home from school and even from work, as a young adult and sharing these disturbing moments with my mother and she always found a way to get me back on track, feeling awesome and beautiful again.   Today, I am thankful that very early in my life, I was thought that I am beautiful, and subconsciously, even now, as a mother, I am still trying to live up to the standard set for me by my Mother.

Application:   As parents, it is our duty to let our children know how beautiful and how special they are.  Let them know they have beautiful eyes or beautiful teeth, beautiful skin or beautiful smiles; tell them daily.  It is our duty as parents to allow our children to develop a healthy perception of themselves early.  Having a correct perception of one self can lead to that child’s ability to guard him/herself from destructive criticisms.