Blogging · Writing

When the sun sets…

When the sun sets, it naturally reminds me not only of the end of a day, but the promise of a new dawn and I love them. Back in my home country Nigeria, we used to have very gorgeous sunsets especially where we lived, which was nice sleepy town located around the hills of Enugu.

However, living in these parts, it gets too hot in this horizon of the UAE that most times, I find myself running away from the sun instead of running towards the sunset.

Occasionally, I have stumbled across a lovely sunset here, unfortunately, I don’t think that I have ever managed to capture a great photograph of it.

The best that I have seen so far was around Jumeirah beach, close to the Burj Al Arab and it was truly beautiful.

Who knows, hopefully I’ll get to see another truly remarkable one before I venture away from these parts.

p.s. I finally concluded the bloganuary. So slowly but surely and I have enjoyed it immensely. I has helped me reignite the need to write/blog more frequently. Hope to see you around.

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Blogging · Writing · writing challenge · writing ideas

Days of my life…

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I can bet my last dollar or should I say dirham that I am the only person still writing Bloganuary prompts. Anyways, it’s the way things are and I have been balancing many nuts per se. Do I wish I had stuck to the prompts judiciously during the last week? Yes, I do, but unfortunately, I didn’t and I won’t beat myself over the head for it knowing all that I have been handling lately.

The thought of writing an autobiography has never been too far from my mind, though I still had to process the prompt. The need to write my autobiography is borne out of a survivors need tell their story and though it is a project that I plan to tackle during the sunset days of my life, hopefully many many more years ahead (who knows) maybe, it is time to chalk it down on the drawing board.

When reflecting on how I would title the chapters of my autobiography, I think it will be broken down in 3 main chunks – not cast in stone of course, but my thoughts twirl around:

Chapter 1: The early years of ignorance

Chapter 2: Then comes turbulence

Chapter 3: Survival and peace

Parenting · Personal story · Writing

Not simply a tune…

I know that bloganuary is over, but I have every intention to finish the outstanding writing prompts that I missed out on. I fell into a mental funk which came unannounced and that caused some derailing on my part. However, I will not allow a depressive state to dictate my life. The need to rise above adversity keeps me going.

So many songs and the poems that I wrote speak to me, but a song that speaks to me so deeply is ‘we thank thee by Jim Reeves. It is not just a song but a wake up call and a prayer that my dad played on our Grundig every morning in our house throughout my growing up years. For me, this songs brings back countless strong emotions and takes me back home to when my dad was still alive, the smell of my mothers cooking, the morning routines and bustle getting ready to go to school, to go to church etc.

It embodies the wholesomeness of my family, of laughter and joy, of tears, of meals shared and plans for the future. It takes me back to my dad before Cancer, of the gentle rays of the early morning sun peeping in through the living room windows, of neighbours voices floating in through the windows, of Sunday Jollof rice and meat.

In this song, there’s so much stored for me. It became etched into the blueprint of my life from a tender age and I will love it till the day that I die.

Lifestyle · Reading · Writing

Never played favourites…

@beyondexisting.j

Born a crime Trevor Noah #reading #hobby #trevornoah #Ilovereading #books #fypシ゚viral #passion #favouritethings #bookreview #bookrecommendations Trevor Noah’s book is a gritty, hilarious and poignant memoir that shares his experiences growing up in a racially charged Apartheid South Africa. A delightful read that evoked every emotion in me.#CapCut

♬ Commando – Mavokali

I find such questions like ‘who is your favourite author and why‘ truly mundane and it almost seems as if eclectic, voracious readers like me are strange. I had to give this a hard thought and sadly came up short in choosing a favourite fiction, non-fiction author or writer.

Again like colors’, it makes me wonder why I can’t simply be simple in my choices and just pick a name. I usually don’t sit on the fence when it comes to voicing my opinion even if it is a dissenting thought and I can be a bit too straightforward in saying what I think or feel.

I love reading and when I was pretty young, I stuck with my Enid Blyton’s and my teenage years were spent reading uncountable numbers of Harlequins, Mill & Boons, Hadley Chase, Tom Clancy, Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway and many more.

My reading tastes has been generally diversified and having taken an in-depth look at why this might be so, I have arrived at the conclusion that it is because I like multiple things, I see the world from multiple perspective, that I am a pluralist and many things are good and not just a singular thing.

I also see that liking different things will ultimately improves my social life and that’s fine not to fit into a mould clustering around any particular taste. Liking multiple things makes me, me.

Without trying to sound proud, I think that a wide taste in reading is a sign of intelligence, of intellectual curiosity, open mindedness, and a willingness to absorb new ideas.

Sometimes, I find that though a lot of people can be extremely intelligent but have very closed minds but the love of all kinds of literary genres implies the love of creativity, of actively seeking out new approaches and ideas and the ability to appreciate different paradigms.

food · WordPress · Writing

Igbo Delicacies…

Although I have realized that I am not really a foodie, I do enjoy cooking for my family and my satisfaction comes mainly from the delight that they express when they eat my meals. I practically make homemade meals every day as they are not only healthier but also more cost effective when you are catering to the needs of a family.

I have an eclectic taste bud and I guess this stems from having living in various parts of the world at different points in time and also being adventurous when it comes to trying foods from other places. Nevertheless, after all tasted and tried, I still gain satisfaction from cooking and eating ‘ukwa’ or ‘okpa’. These are traditional meals which are literally considered as delicacies as the condiments/ingredients required to make them are not easily available abroad and quite costly.

Ukwa (Igbo name) is an edible traditional fruit. Its English name is African breadfruit and scientific name is Treculia africana. It belongs to the Moraceae family and it is related to other exotic fruits like breadnut, jackfruit, figs and mulberries. The fruits are hard and fibrous, full of nutritional values and exotic taste. It is not a meal that you prepare in a rush. It takes long prepping and cooking hours to get the right soft consistency that I love, but the result at the end of the day is well worth the effort and time spent.

Okpa (pronounced Ọkpa) is a delicacy prepared by the Igbo people with a special type of beans known as Bambara nuts. It is common in Enugu state (my home state) and is known as a traditional Nigerian delicacy due to its uniqueness. Its main ingredients are the Bambara nut flour, palm oil, pepper, salt and seasoning, though recipes may vary and can be eaten alone or paired with hot pap.

Normally, back home I would prepare okpa wrapped in banana/plantain leaves, but given the fact that finding such leaves is literally impossible to get the leaves here, when I am able to lay my hands on the bambara flour, I make do with foil wrapping.

Blogging · WordPress · Writing · writing challenge

The gifts received…

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Can one’s children be considered as memorable gifts from God as I always feel so delighted to have mine in my life – except when they are driving me up the wall 😉 I recall the birth of each one with clarity and I also remember the fullness of heart each time I received each bundle of joy.

As most parents, I cherish my kiddos to bits and as I watch them grow and mature into independent young adults, I feel an enormous sense of pride and gratitude. They are my world and my life will not be the same without them. I can’t even begin to picture life without them.

Now in reflection, I realize how we tend to take the beautiful gifts that we have received for granted most especially when they have become part and parcel of our lives. How much we value them often gets lost in the doldrums of running after the daily needs of life. This serves as a reminder to ALWAYS stay grateful and mindful.

Another gift that comes so readily to mind is my engagement ring and the spectacular way that it was presented to me by my husband in front of family and friends. I knew that he wanted to propose based on all the indications from him and thought he would do so privately as my husband is reserved by nature and not as gregarious as I. It was quite a surprise when he proposed in front of a gathering of family and friends and their words of prayers, approval and encouragement made it all the more momentous.

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Poetry/Poems · WordPress · Writing

Raindrops…

She stood in the elements…

tears mingled with raindrops…

a mix of nature and emotions…

soaked her chiffon kaftan.

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Rain evoked numerous feelings…

It reminded her of how they met…

of days cuddled under the blanket…

sharing stories and breathing each others air.

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It reminded her of home…

of cups of warm broth…

and woolly socks for her feet…

as she listened to his heartbeat.

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It reminded her of the things lost…

of his last words ‘I will be back soon’…

but never to be fulfilled…

he died on a rainy day.

Jacqueline 2023

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WordPress · Writing · writing challenge

Etch it in ink…

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I write because I do not know how not to. As far back as I can recall, I owned diaries and in them I would scribble my deepest thoughts. It was primarily a way of finding release, venting and setting free those expressions that ran around in my head. It slowly became a way to have my voice heard. It gave my thoughts a medium and ever since I started blogging and writing on other social media platforms I never stopped. Writing is my super power. It energizes, rejuvenates, helps me to refine my thoughts, gives me a sense of visibility and permanence.

The feeling and pleasure that I derive from writing is indescribable. To say the least, it is cathartic. I have been through extreme crisis situations that voicing my thoughts through writing has been a healing process. It helps bring more clarity to my thoughts, ideas and perceptions and I hope that it also gives the reader a better understanding of the messages that I share. One day, I hope to own an old traditional typewriter and will type beautiful letters and send to the people I love.

For me, writing is life and asides for all the other obvious reasons why writing is important, I believe that writing has been my sense of relief, a healing tool, a friend, a passion and purpose.

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Wellness · WordPress · Writing · writing challenge

The simple things…

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Joy. A simple word, yet it carries a whole lot of weight in it for far too many people are constantly in search of joy and many fail to find it as often as they should. I think the fault lies in having great expectations and waiting for things that are exceptionally good before they can have some iota of pleasure.

Connecting with my spiritual side and aiming to grow more spiritually aware, diligently practicing gratitude, choosing to have an optimistic and positive mindset, staying as fully present and living in the moment are conscious steps that I take daily and these have helped me to continually create more positive emotions for myself.

For me, the simple every day things of life bring joy to me and helps enhance my sense of wellbeing. When the work day is over, the thought of going home to my place of comfort consistently brings me pleasure. It’s not that I don’t like going to work, but knowing that I get to return home to my place of refuge where I can choose to lounge in my pajama’s, relax, exhale, be with my family etc. makes those hours spent pursuing the daily bread worth the effort.

My children are a constant source of joy for me. Listening to them share their dreams and work towards them, watching them grow into independent young adults and experiencing their wins in life brings me an immense source of wellbeing and accomplishment.

At the start of each day, I make my to-do list and set little goals that ultimately contribute to achieving my bigger goals definitely makes one feel good. There are many days that I am unable to do all the things that I set out to do, but I have also learnt not to guilt trip myself, to be thankful for the things that I was able to do and not to dwell inordinately on the things that I failed to do.

As adults, we get bogged down with so much in form of rules, responsibilities and life that we often forget how to feel that unadulterated sense of bliss. I truly believe that living mindfully helps us to create, recreate and really experience that sense of happiness and bliss that we deserve.

I wish you joy.

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@beyondexisting.j

How to manage stressful mornings #fyp #deepthoughts #advice #decisionmaking #selfcontrol #emotionalintelligence #stress #Howto Our daily lives can start off on a stressful not and may even take unexpected turns that will make or mar an ordinarily simple day. In such situations, what matters most is not about what is happening to us, but how we respond to our experiences. How we exert self control knowing that wrong decisions taken under duress can be defining.

♬ Дикая львица – ALEX&RUS

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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