Health · Wellness

What Your Health Really Needs, When It Really Needs It

Grapefruit, Fruit, Pomegranate, Healthy Living, Citrus, Pink
Photo by Brooke Lark on

When it comes to our health levels, you’re always going to find that you need to focus on different things. Because there’s no one size fits all approach to your health levels. Of course, there are key recommendations that are going to help you to stay fit and feel your best, but as you go through life you’re likely to find that your needs change. And when your needs change, you have to tweak your approach to health a little. Whether we’re talking about growing children (such as your own) or old age (whether that’s yours or your parents’), everyone will need to take a different approach to health. But how do you know what your body needs?

Most of the time, it will be telling you. And while you may not be all that in-tune with yourself yet, you will be. Before long, you’ll recognize the signs and what your body is trying to tell you about what it needs the most. But until then, we’re going to break down what some of them might be. Because during different phases of your life, your body will want and need different things. So let’s take a look at what you need to know to help your health during them.

To Feel Good

Yoga, Health, Meditation, Healthy Living, Yoga By The Sea

Photo by Kristopher Allison on

First of all, we’re going to talk over the things that your body needs right now in order to feel its best. And yes, we’re kicking off with some of the most simple, but also the most effective, tips.


First of all, you’re going to want to make sure that you’re drinking enough water. This is the secret to feeling good. And yes, it’s really that simple. When you drink more water, your body will be energized and able to work at its best. Your digestion will improve, your skin will clear up, and your brain will function better – all because you started to hydrate your body better. So whenever your body doesn’t feel its best, load up on water!


Alongside water, you have to fuel your body. Yes, it’s nice to be able to eat for taste or enjoy certain foods because they’re comforting, but when you want to feel good, you need to focus on foods that fuel. Things like salmon, walnuts, and eggs are great for you. Start to research different foods and see what will benefit your body the most.


And sleep is the secret. There’s nothing else that can really beat the benefits your body will get from a good night’s sleep. You’ll find more details at on why our bodies need sleep, but above all else, you heal. When you’re tired or achy, your body is going to work on repairing itself when you sleep. So make sure that you’re getting a solid seven to nine hours each night, just to ensure that your body can feel its best.

To Look Good

Granola, Oats, Kiwi, Muesli, Healthy Living, Healthy Eating, Nutritious, Vitamin Packed

Photo by Jannis Brandt on

And yes, of course, we all want to look our best. But we don’t always associate health with beauty – when the two go hand in hand. So if you want to start looking your best as well as feeling it, here’s what you need to focus on.

Your Diet

We’ve already talked about the foods your body needs to feel good, but you also need to realize that what you eat is reflected in your body too. You are what you eat! So if you want to look good as well as feel it, you need to focus on the foods that will help you to do that. And we’re not necessarily talking about weight loss (although this can help you if your weight is at an unhealthy level), but the foods that will improve your skin, give you healthy hair and generally help your health. So start to look into nutrition and what you need to be eating to look your best.

An Exercise Program

Again, we all tend to look to exercise as something we do to lose weight. But it’s so much more than that. When you exercise, you get your blood flowing, your skin glows, your circulation improves, and yes you do tone your muscle and lose fat too. But with the right exercise program, you will start to look your best.

Avoiding Stress

Stress is an incredibly dangerous toxin that will always show in your skin, your digestion, and even your mental health too. So if you’re serious about looking good, you need to work on keeping your stress levels as low as possible.

During Pregnancy

Taking Care of yourself during pregnancy

Photo by Ignacio Campo on

It’s vital that you work to have a healthy pregnancy. While you may feel as if there isn’t a lot you can do to influence the success of your pregnancy and the health of your baby, there’s so much!

Nourish Your Body

During pregnancy, you really need to focus on nourishing your body and helping your little one grow. There are lots of great foods to eat when you’re pregnant and this list on details most of them. When you load up on things like dairy, leafy greens, and berries, you’ll be doing what you can to boost your health.

Keep Active

Staying active as much as possible if going to help you to keep your body healthy during pregnancy – it can also aid with your labour too. If you don’t exercise regularly, then you don’t have to go to crazy with this, but things like gentle walks, doing your housework, and even gardening can help. If you don’t stay active, you may find it harder to stay mobile during the later stages.

Listen To Your Body

Above all else, you need to listen to your body. Rest when you feel tired, eat when you’re lacking in energy, and laugh when you’re feeling a bit stressed out. You’ll know what your body needs, when you need it, so do what you can to really be in tune with yourself.

As You Age

As you age, Enjoying The View

Photo by Mohammad Bagher Adib on

As you start to get older, your body also has different needs. And you have to take a lot of care. These tips can also be useful for your ageing parents too.

Looking After Your Joints

The number one area that you’ll want to take care of as you start to age (and even well before that) is your bones and joints! You’ll want to keep them mobile and ease an onset of arthritis that could be coming your way. Things like joint supplements and products which you’ll find more at on that can help. By looking after your joints as much as possible, you should find that you can stay mobile as you age.

Taking Care Of Your Skin

Next, you need to think about taking care of your skin that little bit more. Because when you are, you see the visible signs on your skin. Make sure that you’re avoiding too much sun exposure, that you’re wearing SPF, and that you’re taking care of your skin with the right beauty regimen too.

Keeping Your Brain Active

And finally, you’ll also want to make sure that you keep your mind active as you age too. It’s so easy to believe that as you get older, it’s just natural for your mind to get a little bit rusty (along with your body). But that’s really not the case. Our minds and bodies only become less active because we use them less. So keep reading, write, do puzzles, learn more, try new things, and just generally look to make the most of your mind to keep it strong and healthy.

To Grow

Charming Girl, Baby, Play Time, Toys

Photo by Li Tzuni on

Now, this final point is aimed mainly at your kids. But it’s safe to assume that you won’t want all of these tips and tricks for yourself. So let’s take a look at the primary health needs of your small children.


Children have different nutritional needs to us. They need so many more vitamins and nutrients in order for their bodies to grow and their minds to develop. So make sure that you’re looking to feed them a mix of lean meats and proteins, leafy greens and vegetables, and whole grains. Also add in a good all-round vitamin supplement, just to make sure that their levels stay topped up.


It’s easy to think that children just have endless amounts of energy, and it probably seems that way, but you will need to nurture it. Along with a healthy diet that will help to fuel their bodies (which will be very similar to your own), you’ll want to make sure that they’re doing activities and classes that will push them to workout out and exercise. Lots of different sports will be great for this.

A Healthy Mindset

And finally, above all else, you’re going to want to make sure that you encourage a healthy growth mindset in your children. We all want to raise happy and healthy children, but it’s so easy to just think that their minds will develop themselves, or that you don’t need to do anything else to nurture them. But focusing on a positive and healthy mindset will allow them to grow into healthy adults.

Parenting · Poetry/Poems · Quotes For You

What My Mama Said To Me…15

Wisdom, Mother Knows Best, Proverbs, Mother and Child

Mama always said to me, baby,
always search inwards first,
as deeply as you can bear to dig in;

‘cos most times
the answers we scurry around to find
lies latent within us.



This piece is an excerpt from my work-in-progress.

You can read my book, Unbridled on Kindle Unlimited for free.


Guest Posts

Connecting With Jeanette Hall. A Personal Interview

If there’s something that holds me spellbound to blogging is the immense connection that is possible in this space. Every day, I meet and interact with new people to such a large extent that I literally want to meet a whole lot of them outside the blogosphere. Today, Jeanette allows us to know more about her and I am truly honoured that she granted such a candid interview.

Thank you, Jeanette, I laughed, sighed, cried, felt sad and angry reading this unedited interview 🙂


A Bit About Me

Have been rotating the universe on the 3rd rock for over 42 long years. Was born in Sparta Illinois Community Hospital several weeks overdue, because I was smart enough not to want to meet my father! Was tucked up as backward as I could get in my mom’s belly. Had a fat head that had to be cut out! Caused both of my two little brothers to be born via cesarean as well, because back then once you delivered one that way your other kids had to be born the same way.Jeanette Hall Picture

Lived in the Marissa area (half way between St. Louis, MO and Carbondale, IL) in a farm house on Route #4 in IL. For the first 16 years of my life. Had a great apple tree (didn’t produce any decent apples, but I used to hide up in its branches when I got old enough to reach the bottom branch!

The fact that I was a female, when the doctor had told my mom I was a male pissed my father off. I was the first female born on my father’s side about in a century. I was released from the hospital a few days before my mom came home. The first night I spent at home, my father is reported to have given me my first spanking because I was crying!

Was reading by myself by the time I was about three years old. Learned the truth about Santa Claus by reading the funny papers over at my father’s parent’s house.  Mom used to read the poem “Twas the Night Before Christmas” to me before I went to bed each night. She thought she could cut through it faster by trying to leave parts of the story out until I corrected her telling her the rest of the story word for word in protest. So she had to find a different book to read to me!

Started kindergarten at the wise old age of 4 years old. Mom made me wear a dress that day (went to class each morning by riding the school bus (had a great bus driver who I became good friends with him and his wife)). Was too short to reach the bottom step of the bus, so either my mom or the driver would have to physically pick me up so I could climb on! My father saw me wearing a dress and for some sick reason, he was turned on by a little child’s body.

He started sodomizing me when he had no luck trying to cut me down below in my private parts to force my body to accept him in me. He had flunked out of college in pursuit of a veterinarian’s  diploma. So we all became his little experiments. Thankfully, he had enough knowledge from working with animals to know how to hide the scars that would usually form from cuts and other types of visible abuse. So he continued sodomizing me on a regular basis.

Once I started having my periods (you know the normal female problem that involves discharging blood every so often) it occurred to him that I must be big enough now! So he began to rape me whenever he could get me alone. He used a condom, but this started to make him dip into his personal supply for use with my mom, so he tried to have mom take me to my doctor to get me on the “pill” that would stop the chance of me becoming pregnant. I refused to visit the doctor because the doctor kept telling me all my problems were in my head (been having symptoms of my multiple sclerosis since grade school). So never went on the pill.

My grandfather on my father’s side fell off the roof of our hay shed at the main farm and damaged his legs extremely bad. Was at my church’s youth group’s Christmas party at church when my mom showed up early to pick me up, because I would have to help with milking. (Had never milked a cow in my life!) Thankfully all our animals are extremely tame, I used to be able to stand at the edge of the gates to the milking parlor and call them in for milking each night. Sometimes there would be stragglers who ignored me, but that just meant I got to go out for a stroll in the pasture lands to get them. One might have delivered a calf out there unexpectedly or an animal might have scared them like a coyote or fox, who knew what was going on in their minds?

So I went home with her to change clothes (had to get out of my good clothes and put on my work clothes) put on my rubber boots and went with mom to our main farm to do our afternoon chores.
Called the cows in for milking. Mom ran the cleaning cycles in the milking parlor to sanitize the pipes before milking. My brothers fed the older calves in the lower area while I handled the baby calves who had to be bottle fed. So had to wait for my father to actually get out of whatever he was up to at the time, so we could start milking.

Thankfully, it was not too cold out yet! Since the heater in the barn was not very good at keeping the cement building warm. Had to wash each animal’s udder to remove all the dirt and manure from them. Dip each clean teat in a chemical sanitizing dip. Then had to get the milk flowing from the teat by hand before placing the milking machine on it. (For the record, contrary to the kids on the school bus claim being able to do that is NOT an advantage when dealing with the opposite sex!) Grip required to strip (that is what getting the milk flowing is called) a cow’s teat is way too strong and tight for a male to endure! So this began my start to milking cows twice a day EVERY day began.

We had a hired hand that had been my unofficial adopted big brother since early  grade school named Jeff. He had Sundays off. So I was stuck being introduced to the process of milking by the man that terrified me! Was a VERY LONG two and a half hours. Made it through intact. Was cursed out several times, but words hurt less than his fists.

Started driving on farm property when I was around 12 years old. My grandpa was short too, so there was already blocks on the truck’s brake and gas pedals. By the time I turned 14 was driving on public roads (the local state police officer knew about it, his only comment was that I was probably better than most of the local drunks driving on the roads in our area!).

So since the next day was Monday (no school because of Christmas break) still had to get up at 4:30 AM for morning milking. Hadn’t had to do that before on days we had no school. Normally got to sleep until around 7 in the morning. Once I and my father got dressed he drove us over to the main farm for morning milking. I got the cows in while he got the pipes cleaned before we could milk. Jeff was due in at 6 to help.  At least when Jeff took over he changed the radio station to something besides ancient country music! Like most people I enjoy a variety in my musical tastes. A little AC/DC never hurt anyone! (Down the road Jeff and I would do a little experiment, the cows actually produced better with rock music as opposed to country music! Not sure why, but it is worth noting.) Once my father came in from eating breakfast (at his parents just across the driveway) he sent me in to eat mine. When I was finished went back out to help clean up the barn from milking.

As the winter wore on, I ended up catching a case of pneumonia from being in the poorly heated barn with a wet shirt from it getting soaked while cleaning the animal’s udders. This became a yearly event for me as long as I resided in the state.

Between my Junior and Senior year in High School, we traded houses with my father’s parents. So now we lived on our main farm, where the dairy parlor resided. This meant I was ALWAYS at work! Never got to go home after work. My grandparents modified our old house and chopped down my apple tree!

Love innocent animals and young kids over the age of 4 years old. Enjoy helping others learn how to do things. Dislike my father, for obvious reasons.

A Bit About My Blog

My blog is Saint P. Blogging. Since I reside in Saint Paul that is where the name comes from. Dislike the way our city is entered into various electronic devices (the whole G.P.S. phenomenon) it wants you to fully spell out the Saint. When filling out government paperwork you have to fully write out both words. So I chose to spell out saint (which I AM NOT!) and shorten Paul to the first letter. My purpose has changed so many times (am female, after all!). Originally was supposed to help make money through a program called GVO (STAY FAR AWAY FROM THIS COMPANY!) Wasted several thousand dollars we didn’t have with them. Then I tried affiliating with S.F.I. This time was smart enough not to waste any money on the company. Which might be why I never made a clipped penny with them. They claim it is possible to make money without an investment, but after sticking with them for several years logging on each day and following their suggestions, never made a dime. So now, I just blog!

Try to help other people with my blogging. Have taken as many free classes as I can from WordPress and other companies. My goal is to teach other people how to blog if they have a passion for writing like I have had since early grade school. Also, I write about living with chronic diseases. Am fortunate enough not to be cursed with Fibromyalgia like several of my friends are, or any type of diabetes like my mom has or several of my other friends suffer from.

I have several blogs:

Here is my About page from one:
Here is one I haven’t touched in a while:
Here is another I started posting on last month:

My main blog is here:

Went to college at Southwest Missouri State University on a scholarship my writings had helped win for me.  Between my Sophomore and Junior year of college met a guy.  We started dating.  Asked him to marry me before my senior year of college began.  He flat out turned me down! He wanted to ask my father’s permission first.  Told him if he asked my father, I would not marry him.  If he wanted my family’s permission he should ask my mother’s father.  So when we traveled back to IL we went to my grandparents for Sunday lunch like normal.  After we ate asked grandma to come sit in the front room with me to give my boyfriend a chance to speak with grandpa.  Jason came into the front room after a while full of smiles .  Grandpa had given him his blessings provided he promised to take care of me for the rest of my life!  We got married the day after my college graduation.  Was a long weekend!  That was way back in December of 1995.  Been together ever since!

Jason is actually 6 foot 3 inches tall to my 5 feet 1 inch.  We are sort of a funny looking couple back when I could still walk.  Came up to his elbows.  We would go investigating the caves of southern Missouri.  I had no problem getting in them, but he occasionally would hit his head from not paying attention.

Loved going caving, even though am claustrophobic.  As long as he was there, felt safe.

Another thing he had to promise my grandpa was that I would finish college before we got married.  That is why the wedding was the day after graduation!  See my mom married my father before completing college.  She never went back until I started taking courses at the through the local college while still in high school.  I was her live-in tutor.  Never gave her answers, just explained how to find the answers in a way she understood.  (Algebra terrified her.  So I worded the problems like she was just altering a recipe.  She was a great cook, so just put her on familiar territory.)  She ended up getting an A+ in algebra.

Motivation and Challenging Moments

I love writing since I was little! My parents told me it was a waste of time, so I destroyed my earlier works, Then I entered junior and senior high school  – small town graduating class, a number of 34. Started writing reports and essays that took 1st place every time. Saved them to help me later in my college career.  Upon graduation from high school was the Salutatorian (the one who received valedictorian cheated on her chemistry finals, or I would have won it).

It is just another daily habit for me!

When my site was hacked was a challenging moment. Had to get my hosting company to restore the site from back 4 weeks earlier. Lost a lot of work over that mess. Now I personally back up my site every other day!  Live and Learn!

YES!! I would encourage anyone to blog because everyone has something to add to the world. They may know something the rest of us don’t know. They might be the next best selling author! They just have to pick up the pencil or type on a keyboard like I do to let it out where we can read it.

A Typical Day Spent With Mejason-picture

Get up each morning when the alarm on my cell phone goes off if I did not wake up before it went off like normally happens.  Go use the bathroom and change my underwear (you said you wanted to know what I do…)  Then go back in the bedroom to make sure my husband gets up and moving. Get dressed for the day.  Venture out into the front room to put my daily pill case on the arm of my recliner, make sure the humidifier still has plenty of water in it.  Then head into the kitchen,  Get my morning breakfast shake out of the refrigerator.  Head back to my recliner.  Turn the morning news on the television (Mon. – Fri.).  Take my asthma medicine.  rinse my mouth out with water afterward by swishing the water around then swallowing it.  Take the rest of my medicines (I am still able to swallow pills thankfully!) The weather report should have been on and over with by the time I am finished.  Go water and feed my demon, devil cat named Dash.  (Humane society in Hastings named him Dash.  He earned the rest of his many nicknames!)  P.I.T.A. is one (Pain In The…You get the idea)  He was adopted back at the end of 2010 after my cat Tennyson passed away.

Back in 1997 while we lived up in Lombard, IL following my job we adopted 2 kittens from the Downers Grove Humane society. Mine was jet black with 5 solitary white hairs. Tennyson His looked like Sylvester from the Looney Toon’s cartoons. The 2 animals journeyed with us through all our moves. From Lombard, we moved to Colorado in 1998. First to a crappy apartment. Eventually, we tried purchasing our first house at 1717 S. Mobile Street, Aurora, CO. It was on a cul-de-sac. The neighbor directly across the street had a girl and a little autistic boy. The girl came over to use our computers and I taught the little boy how to write on snow with a squirt gun filled with water colored with food coloring during the winter. During the summer had the kids decorate our driveway with the colored chalk I gave them. Had the boy practice writing his letters where he could easily erase them by washing them off. Lived there until 2004.

When my husband decided we had to move to WI to try buying a bar. Mind you I am a recovering alcoholic and he will occasionally drink a little.  (He is not a mean alcoholic, or he would have gotten the crap knocked out of him.  We both took Taekwondo  classes while we were dating.)  That disaster ended with us filing for bankruptcy and me calling a friend to say goodbye for the last time since I was planning on committing suicide.

Her husband called to local police where we were currently living.  Was in the process of getting the medicines lined up that I planned on overdosing with when I heard a knock on the front door.  Figured it was a stranded driver on the highway on which we were living, so I answered the door.  Turned out to be a state policeman coming to take me to a mental lockup because I was considering suicide.  Took years for our marriage to recover from that evil place.  We left there after living there only 8 L–O–N–G months.  We retreated with our tails figuratively between our legs to live in my deceased grandparents on my mother’s side of the family’s house.  We spent over a year there with my father having keys to our place of residence.  As soon as we had accumulated enough money we returned to Missouri where we had met and married .  His cat passed away while we lived there.  Lasted about a year there before Jason decided he hated the city so we relocated to Hastings MN.   Lived in that non-handicap accessible HADES for around 7 years.  Tennyson, my cat passed away there back in November 2010.  We adopted the cat that I have lots of names for at the end of December 2010.

Writer's Quote Wednesday

The Resilience of The Broom – Writers Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge.

Image result for images of Nigerian broomsticks

The strength of the broom lies not in the power of a single frond but in the resilience of its united fronds. African proverb

Like most families my growing up years consisted of squabbling with my siblings over things that I can’t even recall anymore, but the saying above is one of those proverbs that I’ll never forget because my parents used proverbs like that one to teach us life’s lessons.

‘Igwe bu ike! This is an Ibo word that means ‘there’s strength in numbers.’ My mother will tell us that while demonstrating with a broom.

She would give each of us a broomstick and instruct us to go ahead and break it. With barely much strength applied, the broomstick would snap. Then she would give us the entire broom to break and no matter how much you tried, that broom would never break. It might bend, but not break.

She used this example to emphasize to us that we had to stand together as one family because when we stand together as a unit that’s the only way we would withstand adversity and over the years of my life, we have individually and collectively gone through the storm as a family, but having each other to lean on has made passing through the eye of the storm easier.

Our unity didn’t mean that we lost our individuality, but there’s a code of oneness that understands and tolerates diversity.

This saying is not just for families, but to any group that man forms because we are social beings.

Unity brings strength
and creates harmony.

Unity promotes prosperity
and fosters love.

Unity covers the weakness of one
and infuses him with support.

When we are united
we can withstand.

When our unity is broken down
we will crumble.

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

Unity – #WQWWC

out-of-the-silent-breath 2

Featured Blogs

Featured Posts 103 – Share your posts.



Today’s featured blogs posts are:

Do step in and show some love.

My Valiant Soul: introducing a new blogger friend of mine and in her own words below:

I am a head strong,determined soul..

and thus my heart is a valiant soul!

Blogging enthralls me as I can open up my heart like the river flow and ponder about the mysterious lessons of life. My blog comprises of everything connected to our lives and heart.. I am passionate about reading, cooking and of course somehow soothes me and my bones! So, blog will include everything, from deepest thought of life to my culinary skills, from poetry to random pearls of my life.. I hope you shall enjoy!

Welcome to my valiant journey!

Parenting is hard:  Your patience has to be thick yet malleable in order to be a parent. There are no perfect parents, but there are good parents who are trying their best to raise their children well.

Stupid things I did when I was young: I know you got up to some silly stuff growing up. Do share with us at least for a good laugh 😉

Melania’s Speech: What are your thoughts on the issue plagiarism? Could this controversy change the rules and precedents of plagiarism?

‘Do you want more eyes on your words?’

Well then, add your LINK INTO THIS LOOP.

P.S. Comments are disabled here to keep the loop tidy. Any comments or link you want to send can be added through the link in the post.

Thank you for your understanding and regards.

‘We create a cohesive community when we come together. 

Below is my first just published Poetry Book “Out of the silent breath” which is available on Amazon and Smashwords.

When you buy my book, you support me in an invaluable manner.

Stars, Five Stars, Logo, Icon, Symbol, Five, Rating

Jacqueline writes from her heart on passion, pain, suffering, loss and LIFE. I have been incredibly moved by her poetry and I know I will return to “Out of the Silent Breath” again and again.

Out of the silent breath

If you enjoy my works and would like to do so, you can fuel my creativity with a slice of cake or coffee😉

Rononvan's Weekly Haiku Challenge

Magical Time – Ronovan writers weekly haiku challenge.

Once I saw the prompt for Ronovan’s weekly haiku challenge ‘time and grow,’ my thought went to my children who are galloping up so fast before my eye’s that sometimes it gives me mixed feelings to watch them become more independent each day, knowing that soon they will be full-fledged adults and fly my coop.

Ah! I love these blessings of mine with every breath that I have.


Indeed time does create magic,

each day I watch you grow up,

my heart fills with gratitude.

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

Below is my first just published Poetry Book “Out of the silent breath” which is available on Amazon and Smashwords.

When you buy my book, you support me in an invaluable manner.

Wonderful, evocative poetry by a talented writer. Left me hungry for more. Jacqueline can write! Linda Bethea

Out of the silent breath

If you enjoy my works and would like to do so, you can fuel my creativity with a slice of cake or coffee😉

Everyday People · Love · Parenting

Painted Up…Every day beautiful people 34

“Parents need to fill a child’s bucket of self-esteem so high that the rest of the world can’t poke enough holes to drain it dry.” Alvin Price


He does look cutely ferocious 😉 I bet I will scare people to death if I tried this.

Below is my first Poetry Book “Out of the silent breath” which is available on Amazon and Smashwords.

When you buy my book, you support me in an invaluable manner.

Out of the silent breath

Family · Inspiration - Motivation · Life · Love · The Daily Post

That Butter Yellow Coloured House….


Our old house on Imoke street inside the University of Nigeria Nsukka campus, was a colonial British styled three-bedroom, three bath bungalow with a garage for my dad’s Renault on the left side, a huge open veranda to the right and a detached maid’s room that my brothers turned into their ”man-cave.”

It stood on what was quite a substantial portion of grounds (maybe a plot or more), on which we grew so much crop. There was a big mango tree that had the penchant to hang heavy with fruit right at the back, an avocado and grapefruit tree to the side of the veranda.

We tilled the ground ourselves with a hoe and grew crops ranging from cassava, yam tubers, yellow pepper, bitter leaf, curry leaf, potatoes, amaranthus, okra, corn, melon, lettuce, plantain and more. We grew a lot of the crops that we ate.

Sometimes, when the work was a lot, my dad would engage some labour hands to do the tilling whilst we did the sowing. You had to grow a combination of crops that performed well together, that way they would both do very well and the manure from our chicken coop helped in nourishing those plants. I learnt crop rotation through this process.

The house had a sprawling nature (they built them big back then), with big louvered windows that swung open outwards and mosquito nets installed to keep the pesky things away. Instead of a picket fence running round the house, it had a trimmed hedge of purple hibiscus running around it.

It was painted creamy oil paint colour but time and the elements matured its painted exterior to butter-yellow. Its corrugated zinc roof was reddish in colour. The rooms were coated in dusky blue and the hallway, living and dining room with the kitchen were cream in colour. The flooring was terrazzo and we scrubbed its floors with hard brush and foamy detergent every Saturday mornings.

I recollect my mum or dad apportioning spaces each Saturday morning and you had to scrub, mop and shine these floors to my dad’s satisfaction. Of course, there was no luxury of gadgets to carry out these chores. We performed these tasks manually with our bare hands, including washing our clothes.

Our house was quite a beehive. It was a middle class Nigerian home. My parents had six of us along with several young cousins who spent some part of their lives under our roof. It was in our culture to assist in raising less fortunate relatives and back then, when academicians were still valued, my parents were viewed as comfortable, so I grew up seeing them extend charity to other relatives who grew up and went to school under our roof.

The weekday mornings were filled with noisy and hurried preparation for school after a family devotion in the parlour, usually led by my mom and the evenings with noise of different things. Chattering voices, pounding mortar, squabbling siblings, music from my dad’s Grundig, loud singing from one person or the other.

Our weekends were equally filled with house chores, catechisms and block rosaries, play, social events and all manners of things we got up to.

It was always lively and during harvest season, we would all gather at the veranda to either peel cassava for processing, melon seeds for soup or corn for drying. These chores were performed with my mom or sometimes my grandma keeping our minds entertained with old folktales and songs.

The aromas/fragrance that floated through the butter-yellow house were of different blends. On Saturday mornings, the whiff of Omo Blue detergent and drops of dettol disinfectant which was used in scrubbing the floors dominated the air until the evening hours when it gets replaced by aromas emanating from one native pot or the other. This could be yam pottage, vegetable soup, goat-meat and bitter-leaf soup (which is one of my favorite native soups 🙂 etc. but there was an aroma that came to stay for a very long time.

Two particular aromas that linger most in my mind, maybe because they persisted for quite a long while, is the yeasty aroma of home made bread that my mom baked weekly. Slices of her bread slathered with Planta margarine, jam, marmite or peanut butter and a cup of Horlicks would fill and sit in your tummy for a better part of the day. The bread smell was soon joined with that of cake.

She ventured into baking cakes every other day and supplying shops in the neighbourhood as well as students hostels on campus, when the Federal Government started their incessant delays in paying staff salary which led to a lot of financial hardship in some homes.

My mom became quite resourceful with baking and crafting to augment their insufficient and epileptic salary payments.

We would cream the cake batter in a huge local mortar that she bought for that purpose, until she was able to save up to buy a Kenwood mixer.

I remember the flavour of vanilla essence and nutmeg added to the cake batter, the Topper butter that she used for so many years and the licking of the sugary creamy cake batter.

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

In response to The Daily Post Our House

What are the earliest memories of the place you lived in as a child? Describe your house. What did it look like? How did it smell? What did it sound like? Was it quiet like a library, or full of the noise of life? Tell us all about it, in as much detail as you can recall.

Creative Writing · Family · Fiction · Inspiration - Motivation · Short story

To Chase A Dream… a short story


For quite a while, she stands at the breezy quay watching the boat weave its way gradually away from the shores; every watery mile creates more distance between them.

The aquamarine gray water is calm and the weather quite pleasant, but, Madeline’s thoughts are far from calm.

She is not so sure that her decision to send him away is the right one and even as the white stern of the Wayfarer moves beyond swimming reach, she feels a powerful urge to call him back.

Her boy’s waving hands are now a speck in the far distance (in her motherly mind, he is still her little lad who clutched onto her for guidance).

She wants so much for him. A brighter future she sees in his tomorrow and their small fishing town is nowhere to chase his dreams.

Her hope is that under the Maestro’s tutelage, he would rise to his true potentials like his late Papa.

With a heavy sigh and a whispered prayer, she trudges up the stony pavement back to her cottage.

It will be a lonely time she thinks to herself.

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

In response to prompt photo from The Storytellers Abode for Flash Fiction For Aspiring Writers. Thank you Louise and Priceless Joy for providing this platform.