Family · Love · writing challenge

A little bit of love…

Love

“I love you.” This sweet sentiment is often flippantly said to our loved ones: our spouses/partners, children, siblings, cousins, parents, aunts, and uncles. Although we may love our loved ones, but do we ask ourselves this pertinent question “Do they know that I love them and do I show them how much how I love them?” We toss around this heartwarming saying all the time because it is so easy to say, but oftentimes, we forget that words do not mean anything without backing it with action. 

So how do I show love? Well it depends on what kind of love we are talking about and who is at the receiving end of this love. If it is agape or familial love, I strive to express such love to those in my life and the people that I encounter daily. This could be by paying them a compliment, listening actively to what they have to say, giving a hug when necessary, sending or having a meal together, sharing/buying a gift, sending an uplifting message, praying for them or with them, spending quality time with them, having a good time together, appreciating them etc.

The love that I feel for my children covers a large scope and encompasses things such as teaching them life skills, supporting their interests and aspirations, putting food on the table, providing a welcoming home and for their needs, giving them the enabling environment to grow and be themselves, protecting them from external dangers, counselling and handholding, making endless sacrifices, being interested in what they are doing, apologizing to them when I am wrong and being willing to change, being available 24/7 for them and much more..

For my husband and life partner, it is an all encompassing love and I endeavour to demonstrate the 5 languages of love to him on a regular basis- using words of affirmation, spending quality time together, serving each other, buying him gifts, physical touch and showing of affection (I am touchy-feely kind of person) and he reciprocates. Our union of 23 years has passed through several tests of time and like any other couple we do have our ups and downs. It is most certainly not always sunshine, kisses and rainbows, but those down moments have served in strengthening our understanding and love for each other.

On a final note, displaying your love for your family can provide an active meaning to those three words ‘ I love you.’ It is best to show your love to your family so they will not have to question if you love them or not. 

Blogging · Family · food · WordPress · writing challenge

Sense of home…

Several of my traditional home food evokes a whole lot of memories especially as I have been living outside my home county for decades now and unfortunately, our condiments are quite exorbitant here, thus, I don’t get to eat them as much as I would love to and sometimes the smell of anything similar to a traditional dish makes me feel nostalgic.

When I catch the whiff of fried plantain which we call ‘dodo’ I am reminded of my mothers warm kitchen, of nicking a slice or two of sweet plantain, of laughter and my mom’s reminders not to let the plantain burn and not to finish eating them whilst cooking.

The smell of party jollof rice simply brings joy. It is a staple in every Nigerian home and is synonymous with our celebrations both back home and in the diaspora. Wedding ceremonies, birthdays, child dedication, Sunday lunch, graduation even funerals et al.

A lot of quality family time means food shared, bonding, good music, camaraderie and love shared. I believe that I have somehow managed to transfer the love for jollof to my children especially my boys. They love eating spicy, delicious servings of Naija jollof and believe me, a good plate of flavourful jollof rice accompanied with essential condiments can make you hum with joy. It gives me a sense of home, warmth, culture and heritage that can’t be quantified.

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Blogging · Family · Personal · WordPress · Writing

Their absence leaves us bereft…

As treasure connotes something truly special, my lost treasures are intangible and irreplaceable. Three people come so easily to mind: my dad, my mother-in-law and my brother-in-law.

Death can be so final even when it comes slowly like the way my dad and my mother-in-law lost their battle with Cancer after a valiant battle. It was a heart wrenching and intensely difficult time for our family and what amazes me till today is how graceful these two humans were in the face of such debilitating illness. I loved and still love my dad to bits and his passing hit me really hard. Just writing this makes my heart flood with sadness. I have grown to bear the pain of his loss and to ruminate in the beautiful memories that he left behind and appreciate him over and over again. I think one of my regrets is not telling him often how much I loved him and that my kids did not have enough opportunity to really get to know him. He was a gentleman and a good man. I believe that I was in a state of denial and had kept hoping that God’s mercy would prevail and that he would win the battle with cancer. Till his last moments I stayed hopeful, but death robbed me.

My mother-in-law and I grew close especially considering how much my husband adored her. She was not just the matriarch of the family, but became my ally as well. Her name was Grace and indeed she was such a graceful and beautiful soul. Although her passing wasn’t sudden as she fought breast cancer for several years but her last day with us is forever etched on my mind as I was there in her last moments when she transitioned.

You truly never understand the enormity of what you have until you have lost it, more especially when the loss is sudden. My brother-in-law’s passing was like a bolt of lightening. It was a rude shock. He drowned. Till this moment, the circumstances surrounding his demise in Toronto is still unclear to us. He was quite a gregarious young man and his absence is felt.

If I could turn back the hands of time, I would love to have my family members back and relive all the beautiful moments with them. These people were gems and to know them was simply to love them.

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Family · Hope

Birthdays and Friday musings…

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And Friday arrived even before I could turn the page of a book. The days are galloping by so fast nowadays, that sometimes I feel that if one doesn’t buckle down for the ride of speedy days they will practically find themselves flying and landing in 2023 all bushy-tailed and surprised. Each morning, I set a to-do list and by the end of the day I find myself falling short in completing certain things. However, I am also cutting myself some slack and unlearning the ingrained habit of beating myself up when I fall short of my own expectations. What I am trying to do now is to set realistic and practical goals or tasks and prioritize them so that they are achievable. Although sometimes I find myself running around chasing every other thing rather than settling down to doing those things that needs to be done.

Tomorrow is my first son’s birthday and when I look at the young man I am always taken aback at how much he has grown and has now become a full adult of one score, whilst a whole part of me – except for the creaky parts – feel as exuberant and as hopeful as I felt when I was his age. Truth be told, I think I have become quite jaded a bit from life’s experiences and a lot more reserved, though each day, I fight mentally, physically and spiritually not to let the bitter experiences and setbacks get the better of me. I have grown to realize that focusing my energy on things that are out of my control and things that have expired such as the past, is sheer and massive waste of time.

Now to my young man, I pray that life treats you kindly and well. I give God praise for the gift of a son like you and thank Him for His faithfulness and mercy over your life all these years. May you continue to flourish in God’s blessings. May His countenance continue to shine on you. You will find favour in the eyes of men. The earth shall yield its increase for you and so you shall not lack. It shall be in agreement with you to fulfil God’s purpose for your life. As you grow in age, may you also grow spiritually, emotionally, mentally and financially. The Lord will cause you to dwell in good health and everything you lay your hands on shall prosper. His protection shall be over you and He will give you the grace to grow in wisdom. Amen.

I thank God for all the good moments we have spent together, as mother and son. 

Everyday People · Family · Health · Life · Parenting

All in a brisk walk…

This morning I woke up with a foggy feeling in my head and it was as if I hadn’t slept at all. I felt lazy, and just wanted to continue lying on my bed, but I knew that doing so would simply set the wrong tone for my day and literally muttering ‘mind over matter, mind over matter’ I basically cajoled myself to crawl out of bed and take my antidote – which is to go out for a brisk walk, to get some fresh air and hopefully feel more alive in the process.

Photo by Juan Pablo Serrano Arenas on Pexels.com

My brisk walk can involve various things depending on my mood, either listening and humming to music that I enjoy with an occasional shake and a jig to accentuate the notes that hit home, listening to a podcast or any talk that piques my interest, venting in my head and going over an argument that I had with hubby and realizing that maybe I should have used a better punchline than I had; mentally deciding to save a punchline and use it to drive home my point, going over my to-do list in my head, making a shopping list, thinking of random stuff and just watching people go about their business…

I had almost come to end of my walk when an idea popped into my head out of the blues and I was so excited at the thought that I made a mental note not to forget to include it in my soon to be executed plans. Right as I turned into the bend leading to our apartment block, I ran into a young dad and a toddler – who by my assessment is barely more that 24 months – attempting to play football, and I slowed my pace to absorb the scene.

The man kept a few paces apart and kicked the ball towards his son. It’s either because the baby was wholly new to the game or wasn’t sure what to do; he missed it not once but four times. After each miss, his dad patiently walked towards him, picked the ball and kicked it again. I was silently rooting in my head for the little one and just as soon as I thought that he would miss it yet again, his little foot finally connected with the ball and he kicked it back with gusto. The ring of his delight and joy from his accomplishment had me applauding both of them and a huge smile made its way to my face.

A brisk walk of 40 minutes not only brought me such unexpected fullness, it drew home several pointers and set a positive tone for my day. During my grudgingly taken walk, I got inspired, I saw love and patience, I saw resilience and joy, I became energized, I gained more clarity and buzz that I wouldn’t have found in my cup of coffee. These little things we often overlook, they are the things that matter.

How is your week going so far?

Family · Musings · Poetry/Poems

The String…

The tune of the music spoke to her soul.

a sojourner…

a wayfarer…

a traveller…

Following the rolls, cadence and sway of the beat…

searching through the fog in her mind…

ruminating for hope, for joy, for comfort, for deliverance…

The music conjured up emotions lost, but never forgotten…

a balm…

a yearning…

a homecoming…

The chords emitted from the strings of the violin,

its melody soothingly tender yet desperate…

dragging over the strings of her battered and bruised soul

making notes that holds in its promise,

a fulfillment…

a redemption…

peace.

Have you ever felt such attachment to any music that it draws out emotions that finds you struggling for the right words to describe how exactly it makes you feel? I know that sometimes such emotions are raw that we feel as if sharing them with someone else exposes our nakedness, vulnerability and inner privacy.

I grew up in a home with a dad who woke us up most mornings with the melodious flow of sounds of music from the Grundig turntable that had its pride of place in our living room and I grew up learning to appreciate all forms of musical sounds. Many a times, especially nowadays, a track transports me decades back to specific moments in time and I allow the memories trapped in my minds’ eye to dance to the tune.

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Cooking · Family · Guide To Better Living

Finding Books Which Can Help You To Cook

(Image Source)

Cooking has long been a very large part of human society. Going far beyond a simple means of survival, this element can dominate a big part of your life, with loads of public holidays and special events being impossible without the stuff. Of course, though, it’s not always easy to know where to look for help in this rot of area. To give you an idea of the sort of places you can find cooking support, this post will be going into the past, focusing on books to give you an idea of what you have available.

Research and Science

Most people’s first thoughts when reading something like this will be that all of the cooking books out there are dedicated to recipes alone. In reality, though, the science of cooking and nutrition are very popular topics, too, and there are loads of books on the market which focus on these areas. By reading options you like this, you will make it much easier to control the food you eat. Examples like the Big Fat Surprise are great for this. Not only do they offer a lot of knowledge, but they do it in a very easily digestible way, which is something most publications will struggle to manage.

Recipes

Of course, while they aren’t the only option on the market, it would be hard to cover an area like this without thinking about the recipe books which you have available. Regardless of the type of food you want to cook, the ingredients you’d like to use, or the time you have to do it all, you will be able to find a quality recipe book with no trouble at all if you follow the right route. By reading a blog or two, you will discover loads of options like this. You may have to sift through some examples which you don’t like very much, but this will be worth it once you find a recipe which turns your life around. This can be used a tool to spark some family fun.

Technique and Safety

Finally, as the last area to consider, it’s time to think about the way you handle yourself in the kitchen. Learning how to cook in often just as much about the techniques which you use as the recipes you find to put together. Some people are naturally very good at this, while others will struggle, and might need some help along the way. Thankfully, there are loads of instruction manuals out there which are designed to be used by chefs to make sure that they are doing the right things with their cooking. It will take a long time to improve skills like this, but you will also need to know how to improve them.

Hopefully, this post will inspire you to start working harder on the time which you put into making your cooking better. A lot of people struggle with this sort of work, finding it hard to know where to go when they want to make a difference.

Family · Parenting

What to do Before Your Baby Arrives

When you’re expecting a baby anytime soon, it’s important to be ready for what’s coming next. Sure, resting is definitely important, but there are many other things that need to be done with the help of your partner and your family and friends. Some of this stuff is relatively basic and obvious, but it’s still so easy to forget the important things when you’ve got so much else to focus your attention on.

To help you make sure you don’t fall into the trap of ignoring some of the things that matter most, we’ve put together a list of things that you will need to do before your baby finally gets here. It’s in your best interests to read the details and take note. If you miss out on any of this stuff, it might make life harder for your family and the new arrival later on.

So read on now and be sure to implement any of the things that get you thinking and that you hadn’t considered up to now.

Remain Focused on Your Health and Wellbeing

When you’re healthy, your baby will be too. You’ll only cause problems for yourself and the baby you’re carrying if you’re always stressed and pressured. It should be one of your top priorities to stay calm and relaxed as much as possible as you progress through your pregnancy. You should also try to look after yourself generally by doing some walking, getting fresh air and eating a balanced and healthy diet. It’s the little things like this that tend to make the biggest difference, so this is something to work on.

Choose Your Baby’s Future Paediatrician

You want your child to always have your best, so it’s worth thinking about which paediatrician is going to be best for them before they’re even born. You want to have this decided and set in stone in time for the arrival. It gives parents peace of mind when they know they have a reliable and talented paediatrician to take their child to when there’s a problem of whatever sort. So look at all the options, talk to different doctors and do your best to make sure you’re making the right decision.

Hold a Baby Shower

Baby showers can be a lot of fun and they allow you to celebrate the imminent arrival of your baby with the people that matter most to you in life. So have a look at these 10 Unique Baby Shower Ideas and then start to plan yours. With the help of your friends and family, it’ll be a warm and welcoming occasion where everyone can come together to celebrate something truly special with you. It’s not something you should skip over because it could be a highlight of your pregnancy.

Pack Your Bag for the Due Date

When you know when your due date is, you can start planning that day. Of course, the due date probably won’t be completely accurate, but it gives you a rough idea, and you can then start getting things ready. For example, you can do the practical things like packing your bag so that you’re ready to leave and head to the hospital as soon as you enter labour. Even if the due date seems a pretty long way off right now, it’ll get here in no time at all so you need to be ready.

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Get a Baby Book

It’s always worth having a baby book that you can fill and flick through in the future, and it’s best to get prepared for this right now. The moment your baby is born, you’re going to be taking pictures and saving mementoes that can go straight into the baby book, so why wait around? Find the ideal baby book today. That way, you can have fun filling it as soon as your baby arrives. You’ll want it to be the kind of document that really means something to you and your family.

Finalize Your Birth Plan

Every mother has their own unique birth plan, so if you haven’t yet finalized yours, now is about time that you did this. You need to know how you want all this to pan out because if you don’t know for sure by the time the big day comes around, the decisions will end up being made by someone else, and that’s clearly not what you want. Most mothers want to be the ones in charge of the process.

Make Car Arrangements

When your son or daughter has been born, you need to have a way of having them use your car. So you’ll need to research baby seats for the car and find one which is best for your car, as well as which is safest. When you’ve found the one that you think is best, you’ll need to purchase it and have it put in place in your car. It’s a pretty simple thing but it’ll matter every time you go anywhere in the car with your baby.

Prepare the Baby’s Room

The baby’s room is certainly going to be important because this is where he or she will be sleeping each night. It should be a child-friendly, serene and generally relaxing environment. If you haven’t yet got the baby’s room finalised, it’s time for you to do that. It should be one of your highest priorities because the stress of finishing the room off when the baby has already moved in there will be too much for you and the baby alike.

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Have Your Carpets and Floors Cleaned

Your baby is probably going to be crawling around a lot, so you’re going to need to make sure your carpets and floors are as clean as they can be. This is probably not something you ever paid as much attention to before you had a baby because previously, the floor was just something you walked but that’s not the case anymore. Just have them professionally cleaned and you won’t have worry about getting down there and doing it yourself.

Wash the Baby’s Clothes

You’ll probably already have lots of new clothes for the baby to wear, but you’ll also need to make sure that these baby clothes are all washed before they’re worn. This is important because if the clothes are not washed in advance, they can irritate the baby’s skin and that’s obviously not what you want to happen. Luckily, it can all be prevented by simply making sure that the clothes are washed before the baby arrives.

Prepare Some Meals for the Immediate Aftermath of the Birth

When you’re a new parent, your baby takes up pretty much all of your free time. There’s no room to do anything much at all. That’s why it’s such a good idea to think ahead and plan some meals for when you’re busy with the baby after having given birth. You can cook some stuff and put it in the freezer because this will allow you access to easy meals when you quite simply don’t have the time nor the energy to cook. By doing this now, you’ll save yourself time later.

As you can see, there’s so much that needs to be done before your baby finally arrives. It really does pay off to have all of these things sorted out and in place before you have a new baby taking up pretty much all of your time and attention. If you don’t act now, you’ll probably regret it later, so get to it!

Family · Guide To Better Living

Caring For A Loved One: How To Take The Pressure Off

As relatives age, naturally, you want to look after them. After all, when you were a child they looked after you, and now that they are older and require more help, you want to do the same for them, you want to repay the love and kindness that they showed you. Whether it’s your grandparents, parents or another friend or relative, it’s important to understand how much work caring for someone can be.

The truth is that while caring for a loved one can be a wonderful thing to do, and a great way to make their later years as comfortable and enjoyable as possible, it can be extremely time-consuming and tiring to care for a loved one on 24/7. There’s a lot of pressure that comes with providing care for a family member, which is why you need to put yourself first and learn how to take the pressure off.

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If you want to provide care to a family member, you need to understand what steps you can take to reduce the stress that is on you. Wondering what these steps are? Have a read of this and implement them in how you care for your loved ones.

Take time out

You can’t care for someone 24/7 on your own. If you have a job and a family or even one of these things, you can’t physically put all of your time into caring for someone or your life will begin to unravel. You need to take some time out for yourself and your needs; you can’t care for your loved one at the exclusion of everything else, as otherwise, your life will begin to fall apart. Spend at least half of your free time each week doing things that you love doing – don’t let your family life suffer as a result of caring for a loved one.

Get support

You don’t need to deal with this alone – there is plenty of support available, it’s just a case of choosing to take it. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, because if you don’t, you may end up sinking from the stress of dealing with everything on your own. If you don’t want to put your loved one into a specialist care facility, another option could be to use private duty home care services to help care for your loved one at home. You can’t do it alone, you need help and support, which is where this kind of service becomes invaluable.

Take self-care seriously

When life gets busy, it’s far too easy to put your own needs on the back-burner and fail to take care of yourself. This isn’t something that you want to do though, as stress can manifest itself in many ways and have a huge impact on your own health and happiness, which is why it’s so essential that you take self-care seriously and really look after yourself. You need to take time out to de-stress yourself and focus on self-care – do this, and you will find that your mental health is in a far better state than it would be otherwise.

Caring for a loved one is no easy task, it’s hard work looking after someone who you care about. There’s a lot of pressure to do things perfectly and a lot of stress to manage too, which is why you need to know how to take the pressure off.

Family

Shifting Space…

Moving house sucks, if I may say so. We’re moving to a new apartment and it’s thrown me for a loop.

I always promise myself to live a far more minimalist and spartan life and not to acquire unnecessary stuff especially given that I have spent a great part of my adult cum married life playing tag-a-long spouse – moving Continents and houses, but my promise always falls apart given that I have a Magpie for a husband who loves acquiring and holding onto shiny stuff 😉

My internet has been down for several days as well and since I could no longer take it ‘cos I was slowly losing my mind amidst the boxes of this and that, I just had to take a quick drive to the library to check my blog, natter a bit online and regain some sanity.

See you soon.