Tag Archive | Celebration

Forty….

Forty! It’s Sheila’s birthday and she’s not particularly enthused. Her thoughts were adrift and disjointed. She had no desire for a big do and wanted to spend the day quietly.

Her introspection made her sad. Her thought was that every line should have fallen into place in her life by now. Babies, her own successful interior decor business, and all the works.

Rather, she’s still stuck in a job that went nowhere. A succession of miscarriages dogged her marriage that it seemed her own baby was not in the books. Ray was distracted; working harder and coming home late.

Queasy stomach emptied of its content, she sat on the toilet lid and stared at the stick. Positive. Her heart jumped in excitement. Could it really be? However, she decided to keep the news to herself in the meantime.

Ray came home later with a gorgeous haute couture gown and silver sandals. He insisted on taking her for a dinner after helping with the zipper of her dress and the buckle of her sandals.

He had organised a surprise party with their close friends in a newly outfitted interior decor store meant for his wife.

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

Inlinkz

In response to the photo prompt, provided by Barb. Thank you, Barb and thank you, Priceless Joy, for this enchanting story platform.

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Celebration and Acts of Love….The Great Book Of Lists.

 

La Duchesse Derat gave us two themes for this week’s Great Book Of Lists and as usual, they are topics that bring out the joy in us.

I am a very expressive person and I believe in appreciating those around me whether in little or big ways. What matters is that over time, those little things compound into something that they hold on to as a good memory.

The little Acts of love that I indulge in often are:

I am a hugger: Embracing my children, my husband and those whose are close to me always give me a warm buzz and it costs nothing.

Buying little tokens or giving a gift card: A lot of times I might stumble on a little item that makes me smile and think of someone, from a painted little vase, a book, or a card. I buy it and give to the person.

Occasionally, I indulge in gift cards that don’t cost the World – a 10, 20 or 50 dollar gift card depending on how buoyant my pocket is at that point in time and give them out in appreciation. There are times when I have a little bit extra to spare, I could buy up to 5 gift cards and just keep in my purse and give them out as my spirit moves me.

Cooking: Celebration calls for arrays of food. It always gives me pleasure to watch everyone eat, drink, laugh and generally enjoy the offerings that I made with a lot of love and sweat 🙂 There is this bond and camaraderie that eating together builds.

Calling and texting: I always endeavour to call or text family and my close friends to find out how they are doing. Now BBM, Whatsapp etc have made it cheaper to do so. It gives me an uplift in the spirit after a nice, warm chat.

I listen, I counsel and I pray: I always offer a listening ear and as much as possible, try to offer an objective advice that’s not biassed. If it requires praying, I would partner in prayers and counselling. If issues need to be straightened out, then as much as possible I will tell you my mind as gently as I can. I don’t believe in enabling someone to behave badly and unfortunately, this has once or twice not gone down well with one or two friends who sought my advice and expected me to side them in their bad behaviour…telling my friend that she’s wrong to wish her husband harm and going out of her way to his office to make a scene did not earn me any badges, but it’s not a friendship that I particularly miss. I will only proffer an advice that which I would probably resort to myself.

When it comes to celebrating:

I dance. I love to dance and possibly sing along to the music. Sometimes, when I feel very glad, it’s not uncommon to just play my loud jams and dance. Occasionally, my husband takes me out to go dancing and dining afterwards.

Going out with my family for a good time.

Take my body wholeheartedly to a spa and get a little pampered. There’s nothing like a deep tissue massage to work out the kinks and a relaxing pedicure to make you feel as if loads has been lifted off you. I love to paint bright red colour on my toes at such times. It makes me feel like revving my engine 😉

Indulge in some cheap home treat of reading, eating dark chocolate, running a nice hot tub and just feeling good.

I share my good news. I believe so much in the power of positive aura and when I have positive vibes to share, I do so.

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

We Are Fattened…

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So much have all consumed
A little plumper, we are fattened
A clink of glass and a tipple of wine
No thoughts to hourglass, the merrier we dine.
Cheers! Make merry.
Today we eat.
Tomorrow we run.

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

Our Circle Of Life…

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To God be the Glory, Great things he has done…

I am truly grateful that despite a difficult birth, my sister delivered her baby safely, (I must confide in you that I have been a bit jittery and these feelings are worse when you are far away, only receiving your updates via telephone).

These things that we take as a given, are privileges and not our rights. It is truly all by Grace and Mercy.

It is not unknown for a woman to develop complications during childbirth and for things to go downhill from there neither is infant mortality a strange occurrence.

I will bless your name O Lord on a thousand hills.

Yet again, our circle of life increases and the miracle of a new born never ceases to amaze me.

I await the baby pictures 🙂

Would you like to join Colline’s gratitude challenge? There is no fuss. Just click the link for details and share that which makes your heart glad.

Kind regards and remain blessed.

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

Fruits of a Hustle….a short story and a link to my neighbours

Motor park

The Hustle Part 1

The Hustle Part 2

The Hustle Part 3

Collecting his accumulated Isusu from the thrift collector Mama Nchekwube was like a dream come true for Ikem. His skepticism had prevented him from participating in one before, until his friend Ifeanyi showed him the dividends of his own effort.

He had never held such an amount of money put together as his own. It felt good. All the ideas of what he planned to do ran around in his head.

Now, he would buy a nice Ankara wrapper, vegetable oil and share a bag of Abakaliki rice with his neighbour to take home to Mama for Christmas. She prefers the local rice to the foreign ones that have been de-husked. They seemed to loose the real taste of Osikapa, but the art of cleaning the Abakaliki rice which was known to contain stones, was only perfected by old hands like Mama.

There was a hurried excitement of Christmas in the air. Wheel-barrow boys were pushing around cassettes of Christmas songs by ABBA and also blaring them from their cassette players from one end of the market to the other.

You could hear the exchanges of customers and vendors over the noisy din:

“Ha! Nwanyi Bacha, biko, I need to travel with this blouse o.” ”When can I come and collect it?”

”Nne, you should have brought this material earlier than now.” ”You know that this is the season for us eh!”  ”I will try my best but maybe on 22nd, you can come and collect it.”

”Hei! Mbanu! ”Please 22nd is too far.” ”I am traveling on 23rd to the village.” ”Please try for 20th.” ”Biko!”

Indeed, it is the season of harvest for the tailors. They are turning brisk business churning out Christmas and New year attires as expediently as possible for all the holiday galore.

Ikem was gripped with nervousness. The money in his pocket felt hot that he could almost feel it burning through the lining of his trouser. Every brush of another human in the buzzing, cramped market made the butterflies in his stomach flutter some more. He felt as if eyes were watching him and he decided there and then to go and open a First Bank account.

He had never owned an account before and this time of the year is known for spikes in highway robberies and pick-pocketing. He had no plans of falling victim of such nefarious activities and losing his hard-earned money.

The remaining days fly past in a flurry of activities. As he excitedly packs his meager belongings to take back to the village. He knows that he will miss this place and pangs of melancholy occupy his thoughts, but he has to journey forth to pursue brighter tomorrow’s at Onitsha.

****

The motor-park is a commotion of human traffic and vehicles. Wagons are filled with families all loaded down to the teeth with their luggage for the forth-coming days of merriment. Conductors are shouting their destinations on top of their voices to draw passengers attention. Hawkers of all sorts of items, bread, boiled egg, chin-chin, kuli, kuli, soft drinks are doing their best to entice the traveling customers to patronize them..

Quick bargains are struck, last minute purchases are made, buses loaded to the last perimeter takes off with passengers, to Enugu, Ozubulu, Awka, Okigwe, Orlu, Owerri, Aba etc.

The Igbos are well known to sojourn home en-mass during this festive period. It is almost like a general return of indigenes. Some would travel for days on top of lorries all the way from the northernmost part of Nigeria to be with their families for the holidays.

Ikem boards a bus going to Oji, he cannot wait to eat Mama’s authentic Okpa and Abacha Ncha. These are some of the delicacies of his people.

Quick Glossary for words that you may not know:

Abakiliki: Abakaliki is the capital city of Ebonyi State in southeastern Nigeria. The inhabitants are primarily members of the Igbo nation. Abakaliki, as in the past, is a center of agricultural trade including such products as yams, cassava, rice,

Abacha Ncha/aka African salad: Native snack/meal peculiar to the Igbos but has become a well-known delicacy all over Nigeria. Made from cassava flakes, with palm-oil, oil-bean seeds, dry fish, garden egg etc

Ankara: African print known to symbolize African fashion.

Biko: Igbo word for saying ‘please.’

Chin-chin: A fried snack popular in West Africa. It is a sweet, crunchy, doughnut-like baked or fried dough of wheat flour, and other customary baking items.

Hei!/Ha!: An exclamation which could mean, you don’t say, indeed, what, really and a myriad of other meanings.

Ifeanyi: A popular Igbo name shortened from Ifeanyichukwu which means, nothing is bigger than God.

Igbos/Ibo: The Igbo people, historically spelled “Ibo”, are an ethnic group of southeastern Nigeria. They speak Igbo, which includes various Igboid languages and dialects. Igbo people are one of the largest ethnic groups in Africa. They are renowned for their tough, resilient adaptability as business people, traders and for their art. The largest migrating tribe in Nigeria.

Ikem: An Igbo name for boys shortened from Ikemefuna, meaning may my power/strength never be lost/or founding.

Isusu: An informal means of collecting and saving money through a savings for the enablement of kith and kin ventures.

Kuli-Kuli: Hausa food that is primarily made from peanuts. It is a popular snack in Nigeria. It is often eaten alone or with a mixture of garri, sugar and water popularly called “garri soakings”

Mama Nchekwube: Nchekwube is shortened from Nchekwubechukwu which means to have hope on God.

Mbanu: An expanded NO with a bit of cajoling added to it.

Nwanyi Bacha: A nickname given to the female tailor occupying the prefabricated shed where she sews. It’s like saying ”the lady at the shed” or nicknaming someone after their trade e.g. egg seller, truck pusher, driver etc.

Oji: A Local Government Area of Enugu State, Nigeria to the south bordering Anambra State and Abia State

Okpa: A traditional Eastern Nigerian delicacy, made with ground Bambara beans.

Onitsha: A city with one of the largest commercial markets in West Africa. It is situated on the river port on the eastern bank of the Niger river in Anambra State, southeastern Nigeria.

Osikapa: A local Igbo name given to cooked rice.

Enugu, Ozubulu, Awka, Okigwe, Orlu, Owerri, Aba etc. Some of the towns and villages found in the Eastern Region of Nigeria inhabited by the Igbos.

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

Links to the earlier series of this short story can be found at the top of the page. Thank you for reading.

As I foraged this past week, I found loads of treasure in the neighbours yard. I can only share these few with you and save some for another time.

Heenieblogsfood This Japanese rice omelet jumped at me begging for my attention.

Oneta Hayes I loved Oneta’s poem to the passing years.

Tagging ain’t hard people. A sensible blogging advice from Danny at Dream big, Dream often.

Women as builders a must read from the stables of David Snape.

10 things people say to creative writers (but shouldn’t) I found this humorous yet annoyingly true via Sepultura’s blog

Llama at sunset Bogota Piran Cafe’s photos always captivate my mind.

Love a girl who writes Pancake Bunnykins made me smile with this post.

Could you live with less stuff We need to ask ourselves this from time to time.

Lighting up the World with Edison’s bulb an old story from Shadab Rogers that gripped my heart 🙂

I’m engaged!!! Call me a romantic, but this had me smiling all through.

That’s it folks. Kind regards. It’s a weekend. Now, shall we dance?  😉

Some Nigerian Pictures

A Little Dream Coming Real Before My Eyes….

My 200th Blogging Milestone

My 200th Blogging Milestone

Whoot! Whoot! You don’t say! My 200th Blogging Milestone post is in!

I feel like floating out of my seat and singing loudly and off-key too!

I didn’t set out to hit this mark so soon just after hitting my 100th blogging milestone on the 8th of September, but I just did it!

I am truly surprised because according to the timeline/goals that I had set for myself, I expected to get here by the end of the December.  Naturally, I expected to gain a few more blogging friends as I went along, but I have managed to exceed my own humble expectations.

I personally don’t like putting too much expectation out there and wearing my heart on my sleeves; that way, I won’t feel particularly disappointed or perturbed if things are a bit slow.

To have started this 5 months ago and happily sustained a tempo is what really makes me glad. I had expected the fascination to wane a bit, but not yet! It has only grown stronger by the day.

The desire to write solidifies more and more.

I take a closer look at my posts and found that in September alone, I had churned out 86 posts and this month 29 posts so far! I firmly believe that Blogging University contributed a grand deal to this scheme and I would like to encourage anyone having second thoughts to give it a shot.

I also look at my stats and yes I am pleased to bits. I try not to check it too often – maybe once a week to decipher which day or what article came out strong.

Compared to my 100th post which took me 3 months from May to September to arrive at and my stats stood at:

I am celebrating my 100 posts, my 192 blogger friends, my 4,247 followers and my 5,220 stats on this blog.

TODAY:

I celebrate, my 200th blogging milestone, my 435 blogger friends, 6,556 followers and my 12,327 stats! More than a double jump in a month and 5 days!

To say the least, I am very happy! No! my bank account did not swell from blogging and that has never been the reason why I started blogging in the first place; if it comes as time goes on, of course, I will celebrate that too.

Have a cupcake with me, its virtually fat-free

Have a cupcake with me, its virtually fat-free

I like to dream realizable dreams and though this might not mean much to some big bloggers, it means a lot to me!

I will not despise my little beginnings, because we all have to start from somewhere.

The magic that it holds for me is that I got up from dreaming about it, to actualizing it! Well that’s a little dream come true for me!

My heart swells from meeting so many of you. To some of you, I have already imagined who they are in real face time based on our exchanges and their blogging voices and I so hope, that maybe one day in the future of WordPress, we may be opportune to encounter in real face time.

To all of you, I do say thanks. Thank you for the encouragement. Thank you for the smiles. Thank you for adopting me in this community of well meaning individuals.

I Thank God most of all for the sustenance and Grace.

Now let me go and hoot my horn and make some noise in my house 😉

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

Dancing cartoon gif courtesy: picgifs.com

A refreshing Toast….

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I am 100 today. Not in age 😉 but in blog posts. In my place, there is an old saying that “you celebrate the small things, in order to pave way for the bigger ones” and this is precisely what I am doing. I am celebrating my 100 posts, my 192 blogger friends, my 4,247 followers and my 5,220 stats on this blog.

Vividly, I recall the trepidation that I felt on May 6th when I made my first post on this blog.

I felt like an amateur fisherman who was sitting in a boat that gently rocked on a calm lake, with an occasional ripple of the water, croaks and chirps from the surrounding shrub to interrupt his concentration. He hooks a wriggly, skinny worm as bait and simply casts his line into the water, in hopeful hope to catch a fry.

His minutes turn to a slow time of humming, sipping his beer and holding his bated breath; then SNAG, the pull of a first bite tugged at the end of the pole and he nearly topples over into the water out of elation and excitement of his first catch.

Now, that was precisely my reaction when I sent out my initial 2 posts and 3 bloggers Stuart M. Perkins – Story ShuckerE. I. Wong and gpicone liked my feeble attempt at getting my toes wet in the choppy bloggy waters.

To say the least, it gave me such a buzz, that the thrill nearly jolted me out of my seat. Thus, my expedition in blogosphere began. Almost each day, like an adrenaline junkie, I return for more jolts; to write, to read, to listen and to learn. I have met lovely blogging souls on this path and I thank you all for staying with me.

Need I say more about this blogging milestone? If truth be told, the warm reception at WordPress exceeds my expectations.

I am going to go off on a festive tangent as a way of celebrating my little drops by re-blogging old posts of mine as well as posts of others that catch my eyes each day for at least a week.

Let’s keeping writing and sharing.

Regards,

Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha