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.

Aftermath
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"

Footnote:

*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