11 August, 2011

Getting the World Right... on London riots

A little boy had a jigsaw puzzle that on one side had a map of the world and on the other side had a picture of a man.
His mother asked him to try and work it and before long the little fellow had put the puzzle together.
The mother was surprised to find that the little fellow knew so much about geography. She asked him, “How on earth did you do that?”
“Oh,” he said, “I worked the other side first. When I got the man right, the world was right.”
How true that is! We will never fix this world until we get the man right – the man Jesus Christ, that is.

08 August, 2011

It is NOT enough to be a Virgin

There is this TV drama I used to watch daily between 9 and 10 am. Like most sitcoms, you have to follow the story to understand it properly. If however, you miss out on a day or two, you’d still get by. As a result of my unemployed state and ignorance at the time, (post University, pre-NYSC) I invested a large chunk of my time on entertainment/reality TV. In my deluded opinion, staying glued to TV was a way of acquainting me with current affairs {yeah right}.

Sometimes however, due to circumstances beyond my control, I don’t get to watch this sit-com. As a dependent relative; I had to run errands in return for the “free” food and accommodation I was privileged to enjoy. Even though I often tried to schedule my chores and errands in a way that freed up the hours 9-10am, I wasn’t always lucky.
On a particular day for instance, I went to bed at about 3am after seeing one film after the other (how time flies) and woke up at 7am only to discover there was no power supply [NEPA!]. Next thing, there’s this noise from the neighbors and “poorh”. At that moment, I would have given anything, ANYTHING; to get a generator, UPS, battery, inverter; anything… “Just to watch my favorite program” Tough Luck!
It was then that it struck me, “the five foolish virgins discussed in Matthew missed the wedding and the bridegroom because they did not have oil in their lamps. I missed my program because I had neither electric power supply, nor power reserve or power generator, even though the program was running. If only I had oil at the time, I would have watched my program.
Why didn’t the foolish virgins buy oil earlier? Why didn’t they think ahead? Why don’t we think ahead and make plans for the future? Laziness? Ignorance? Slothfulness? Or just plain folly?

As Christians, we need oil in our lamps daily to survive and/or function. We cannot afford to run out of oil because it is the oil that connects us to our destiny. The five foolish virgins had their lamps and every other requirement, including their status as virgins, but because they did not have oil, they did not see the bridegroom. It is not enough to be a virgin, or possess a lamp (religion or other); we need oil all the time. Just like it was not enough for me to have a TV at home or a burning desire to watch it, I needed to have electricity/power to do so.

I. The (foolish) virgins eventually got the oil and NEPA restored power; but it was too late.
II. The virgins missed the wedding and their chance of getting married, because the bridegroom had come and left before their return. I missed my TV drama because it had ended before power was restored.
III. The neighbors could not supply me with power from their generator (not that I asked, but you get the drift); the five wise virgins could not help the five foolish virgins.
The only way to beat the system is to be prepared for future challenges (downsizing and rightsizing). Preparation is Key...these things happen! Tomorrow might be too late. Today, when you hear His voice, harden not your heart. It is NOT enough to be a virgin

03 August, 2011

I'm grateful for my Job, BUT...

I’m grateful for my JOB but…

1. I miss my Bible – in order to be ‘hall right’, I have to wake up early – brush, wash, dress up, make up (thank God for Mary Kay Ash) - and then hit the road! Morning meeting starts at 7pm; (sorry – 7am) if I’m late, the compliance officer gladly debits my account. As a result, reading/studying the Bible (Life’s manual) is a mere wish! Don’t get me wrong guys, I read / manage to read my Bible, it’s just that I simply rush through the verses and the guide to fulfill ALL righteousness (PS: – but who am I deceiving? Both God and Lucifer know the truth as it were). I made a resolve to read through The Bible this year but as with all ‘’New Year resolutions…it’s gone with the wind’’

2. I miss my Mee-time – in 1998, while awaiting our delayed SSCE result, one of my Mom’s many friends (Mrs. Damole) said to Mee, “…going out into the day without saying your prayers is like going out on a rainy day without an umbrella, you get wet and soaked and probably catch a cold!’’ wise words. Unfortunately, over 12 years after/later, I am still battling with the observance of my Quiet time. If only I could pray (and maybe fast) as often as my Muslim friends do, my life would be a lot better, ALL the works.

3. I miss my freedom – having to get up in the morning to go to work seems like bondage! I always encourage myself by the simple reminder, with freedom comes responsibility, so I usually get up and go! The comfort I enjoy at home is a result of the effort I make at work and since bills have to be paid, I just do it!!! – I so pity “OluMuyiwa”. By the time he shows up, hmmn…. I choose to reserve my comments about the receipts I’ve been piling for him.

4. I miss my beauty sleep – big fat lie. I don’t sleep. Many people don’t appreciate this but sleep is a gift! I once stayed in a service apartment where I was referred to as the ‘alarm clock’. My flat mates usually told me to wake them up at odd times during the night either to get them up to read or complete tasks they brought home from work. I was a sure banker, Lol. As the ‘epo-oyinbo’ of the lot, it was a guarantee that they would be awakened. I’m not actually blaming my job for my insomnia, but I do miss my sleep.

5. Come to think of it, I’m giving up so much for this job and at the end, what do I get?
• More work – to take home. (I’ve always wondered why the reward for a job well done is More WORK!) – HR, could you kindly explain this…?!? Ok, I am HR!
• Requests from friends who are broke and need to offset their bills (aka -->exposed folks)
• Bills from the mechanic, the salon, the tailor, the plumber, the landlord, the Network, the ISP, the filling station, the car park assistants, the food vendor, the airline, the security man at the eatery, the galleria, BIS, subscriptions, bills bills bills ~ iSigh
• SOS from my aburo’s in school. They are always broke, always in dire need – I was once a student so I tend to accede to their requests. I understand…
Lord God!
Who am I working for, Mee or them? Cos it looks like they get the money, ALL the Money! However, I am grateful for my job, for the opportunity to earn, spend and give.

Spending power is a rare privilege. There was a time I was employable and yet I was unemployed. I have been on both sides of the divide. Some have been lucky…luckier.

But there is a waiting period for everyone; only that it comes at different times to different people.

For some, the wait may be with respect to:
• Education - Basic or Advanced
• Job – Entry level job or Job migration – dream job, Promotion on the Job
• Marriage – Getting married, Bearing Children (conception, delivery), Staying married
• Housing – Finding a crib, Getting the funds, Buying a crib
… and on and on.

At every stage, we will have needs, we will experience delays, and we will have setbacks. There will be unprecedented events. Yet the bills will have to be paid. Life goes on – there will always be these needs, as long as we are alive.

Knowing this, we should learn to prioritize… what things are important, what things are urgent, what things can wait? Some people live only for themselves (sadly) but I have realized that some things are usually more rewarding than others.

Life is better shared with company. There are times I choose to be alone, but I have realized that the moments I have had the most fun are the times I spent with or invested in other people over lunch, dinner, a trip, a movie, a seminar, other.

I am not such a big fan of ‘hanging out’ Younique is, I am not ; but every-once-in-a-while, I do. It’s always for Mee, an opportunity to get out of myself and learn. Life is too short to be spent on Mee alone. Even I don’t deserve that much of my time!

Every day I live my life to deserve the words on my epitaph (the words I’d like to have written on my epitaph) because whether or not I admit it, in less than 50 years if Jesus tarries, I’d be gone (gone?) and the generation after me… wait a minute, this is the part where I STOP !!!

02 August, 2011

Parkinson's Review

At the beginning of this decade, I went to 'see' my Pastor for counseling and prayer against 'agbana'* ... I felt it was imperative to do this because on more than one occasion I’ve wondered why my 'take-home-pay' does not 'take-Mee-home'

I have, on "few" occasions, been accused of being a heavy spender, because after-all, in my honest opinion, "there is nothing better than for a man to eat, drink and find pleasure in his work." - (Ecclesiastes)

Anyways, my dear "Pastor" made Mee realize that...
“Income 'comes against' us in four (4) major ways, or maybe five (5) for the few smart ones…” viz:

1. Salaries
2. Self employment income,
3. Bonuses and commissions,
4. Pensions and annuities,
5. Investment income

“…but 'flees from' us in over twenty (20) ways” ...as itemized briefly below:

1. Home utilities: mortgage, rent, household supplies, maintenance, furniture/appliances, groceries, electricity, gas/oil, water, sewer/trash, internet, phone-home, phone-cell, cable/satellite TV, cleaning services, laundry, fuel (generator), lawn/garden, real estate tax, security guards, residential estate levy ... other sources

2. Children: medical, clothing, school tuition, school lunch, school supplies, baby-sitting, toys/games, …other sources

3. Education: tuition, books, training/seminars, …other sources

4. Health: doctor/dentist, medicine/drugs, other sources...

5. Giving’s/charity: tithes, offerings, gifts, parents, family, other sources

6. Obligations: federal taxes, state/local taxes, loan - student, loan - other, legal fees, other sources...

7. Entertainment: dining out, events, concerts/plays, movies, rentals, music, film/photos, sports, outdoor recreation, games, toys/gadgets, …other sources

8. Transportation: auto loan/lease, insurance, car fuel, bus taxi fare, repairs, license registration, other ... other sources

9. Vacation: travel, lodging, food, car rental, shopping, entertainment ...other sources

10. Subscription: BIS, newspaper, magazines, dues, club memberships ... other sources

11. Insurance: auto, health, home/rental, life ... other sources

12. Pets: food, medical, toys/supplies ... other sources

13. Miscellaneous: bank fees, postage, …other sources

I was subsequently advised to 'be-guided' in my spending because it is not what you earn but what you keep that counts in the long run.

“Pastor” also told Mee to take responsibility for my financial state and stop blaming the devil or “agbana spirits” – God help Mee 

Parkinson was so d****** right when he said "expenses rise to meet the income"


*agbana - in my local dialect (I’m guessing here…) means a devourer (of some sort) that only shows up when you have resources. (It’s subtlety is implied in the lyrics of the song "more money we come across more problems we see")

Younique ~ 2011 Update

22 June, 2011

At the ICU - Intensive Care Unit

So I've been wondering...wandering...wondering

As much as I'm tempted to ask "which is easier", I ask instead; which is better ~

* to watch a loved one suffer in pain (with the 'hope' of getting better) or to pull the plug and banish them to the hereafter?
* to quit a job you love and create time to care for a family member that needs support or to keep your job and live with the pain of "not being there (enough) for them" aka "regret" if/when/after they die?
* to suffer in silence and be labeled "considerate" or to speak up and be labeled "otherwise"?
* to rock the boat and make a difference or to protect your turf and remain insignificant
* to live for & by yourself, not depending on anyone (not being a burden either) or to share your life with others (which sadly, may require interdependence)?

IMHO, wisdom is profitable to direct as circumstances dictate - different strokes for different folk

"Because Life is Short and our fortunes uncertain, we should be all the more diligent in what we do with our Lives. We should Act with Foresight, giving responsible attention to our Homes, our Families, and our Careers. Thinking ahead is a duty, not an option, for God's People." culled from the LASB Proverbs 27:23-27

The ICU (Intensive Care Unit) is a Great Place to Learn how to Choose the things that truly matter...

RIP Jaco! I wish I could turn back the hands of time...

29 April, 2011

Confessions of a Job-a-holic

A while back, prior to now, jumping around was not a difficult thing. Jumping in and out of jobs, relationships, home(s) etc. I am a Pisces and rumor has it that once our habitat in the ocean begins to get heated up, we swim to cooler parts of the ocean. That, my dears, is the summary of my work-life. Make that entire life! *sadly so too*
But I am glad we learn every day ~ for those of us who are open-minded enough to learn.
I was brought up in several homes as a kid. No thanks to my Younique background of Six Parents ~ Three Dads and Three Moms. For de-tales see previous post here. Anyways, back to the present, I have learned a lot about life since I left my nest, scratch that – since I left my parents nest. #Thankfully!!!
As I watched Will and Kate, I could not but imagine what the ceremony would have been like if Diana was alive, not only alive, but …
Back to Mee, while I was growing up for instance, all I needed to do to change my environment was holla at any of my Six parents and complain about trivia (trivia here ranges from petty stuff like “she gave me a bad look” to “I was served cold dinner today”). And almost immediately, the summoned party/parties made arrangements to relocate me. I mean, it was that easy!
Little wonder, I got a totally wrong impression about how the real-world was run.
Sadly, no one ever encouraged me to stay put or endure or forbear. The circumstances were daunting actually, so it would have been mean if they had asked me to forbear. A particular guardian actually used to drum these words into my ears though, “forbear your rights to maintain peace” and in my honest opinion, that’s hogwash!
-รจ Ok, let me fess up here, ~ “my honest opinion” here actually happens to be the opinion of another guardian who was at loggerheads with Mrs. Forbearance of Rights! Their constant bickering didn’t help me adjust properly because at that time, I didn’t dare take sides with anyone.
I subsequently became an extremist. Forbearing where I should have spoken up and speaking out where I should have been silent. Striking a balance was a bit of a challenge because my teenage soul had no idea what “balance” was anymore. To say I was tossed to and fro would be putting it mildly, LOL. Thank God these things are now a thing-of-the-past though.
Err did I actually just refer to these things as a “Thing of the past?” His-story? Who am I kidding? As if I am not now suffering the effects of constantly being made to move around…  In six years, I have worked in six different companies and four industries SMH. Job-hopper of the highest order; who says our experiences don’t shape our future? RME!
It beats my imagination when I see people jump in and out of marriage. Divorce affects the kids more than it does the adults. (At least the adults are expected to be older and thus assumed to be wiser and more stable). Sadly, many homes are broken, although not at the centre, and the effect of this ‘brokenness’ is often worse than the challenges of divorce.
Royal or Not; May our Homes be Happy and our Marriages Blessed, and so be it!

26 April, 2011

Cost Benefit Analyses

I first came across the word in the early ‘90’s, whilst reading a copy of Readers Digest; and ever since that time, I wanted to work as a “freelance”.  ~ The thought of operating without long-term contractual commitments to any one employer appealed to my teenage soul and I daresay it lodged itself in my subconscious, manifesting later on-the-job in my 20’s.
Sadly, this commitment shyness is evident in other aspects of my life. Dangerously approaching middle age, I am yet to call any one man my own. It’s just too much work, plenty of heart-work I must confess! Why should I limit myself to just one man of all the very many fine gentlemen in this world …for ever?!? I mean, till death doth us part?!? *sigh* why do these things have to be so hard?
Whilst I sometimes admire those who are bold enough to commit, for the most part, I hardly, if ever, envy them. I totally agree that it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all, but I cannot imagine having to love just one person legally for ever. It takes a lot of nerve to choose to pour all your love on one person in my opinion. A great deal of nerve, whaaattt!!!
The one who I choose must be worth every ounce of my love. He must be really worth all that drama and love. Yes, drama. I am a drama queen, and having invested so much in myself, I’d hate to share my life and person with someone who deserves less than I am. It can be very frustrating to realize that all the work and effort I put into making me Mee will go wasted on an undeserving bloke for love’s sake!
On the flip side, the rewards of commitment far outweigh the costs; hard-work or heart-work, as the case may be. As I have come to realize, those who make the sacrifice often reap the benefits. As you well know, there are always exceptions to the rule. But largely, hard work pays, especially when it is strategic thus culminating in smart-work.
It takes great strength and character to love and commit. And no matter how difficult the climb is, it always pays to remember the top is usually cooler than the bottom, thus compensating for all the hard work. Endure the climb be it on-the-job or in a relationship aka love-walk; the rewards and benefits far outweigh the costs. Oh, of course, there are costs. There is always a cost. Life is a series of trade-offs! Nothing comes from nothing.
As usual, this is my current opinion it is subject to change over time!

22 January, 2011

When Confusion Looms

Dear Father,

I saw your notepad lying on my desk and I just couldn't resist the urge to do the write thing, especially since I find it cathartic. I really need to clear my head right now and I could do with your help ... your jotter I mean! (pardon my impudence)

It's barely 3 weeks into the "New Year" and some of the goals/resolutions I set/made are already "seemingly" moot! No thanks to unforeseen circumstances and situations way beyond my immediate natural control. I guess this is your way of showing you're in charge *wink wink*

So I went out to register today and found out that the #INEC registration has to be done in/around my place of residence... sadly, the election wouldn't take place till April and who knows where I'd be then *wol* "wondering out loud"

If only I could tell tomorrow... I can barely even tell the next coupla minutes so why should I bother, really *rme*

Like everyone else, I just have to keep pressing on as I juggle work, family, friends, finances and health. Not to mention my spiritual life *sigh* I wish life wasn't so complicated. But your Grace is sufficient for Mee, for Your strength is made perfect in weakness *smile*

My assurance rests in the fact that even though I do not know the future or what the future holds, I know and I'm held by the One who holds the future. 

This is why I will press on and NOT give up even in the face of current realities *in your face satan*

Help me go through this wonderful year dear Lord... we have a lot to do! 

Your ever dependent child,
Mo Younique
January 2011