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She blossomed

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The little girl tugged at the woman,
and said; you’re strong-willed, deliberate and capable.
You fought to stand on tippy-toes,
soared the hills,
climbed the moon
and hung on branches.
You sailed the earth in onesies,
dined with invisible royalties.
Remember, you built castles on papers,
and moulded dream palaces
with paper mache.
This little girl once lived
in a body of possibilities.
A jack of several vocations
with a special calling to the world.
She knew nothing of mountains
or valleys filled with thorns.
She was a go-getter!
Unperturbed
except for the teacher’s red ball pen,
or a spank from mama bear
or a tussle with fellow housemates.
She strutted!
Not one moment of failure,
not a minute of gloom.
That little girl serves as an awakening!
a tiny soul blossomed.
Never wilting,
not stunted.
To the woman she finally said;
“It’s possible to be
 a little girl in an adult body.”
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Are we conforming to this world?

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12:2

Just last week, I had a separate conversation with someone on how we believers (in Christ) are deliberately making worldly decisions and on the same day, a dear sister made a post (which I’m sharing with her permission on this blog) which resonated with our discussion.

Below are the sister’s thoughts followed by a response from a reader.

“It’s a sad day when Christians no longer see the difference between worldly music and godly music.
I have recently been to two Christian events where 90% of the music played were of the world. The people who hosted these events were born-again Christians and both were Christian events with praise, prayer and messages.
Seeing many good Christians flow with the music at those events makes me conclude that many Christians are not even aware that there is a big problem with Christians listening and dancing to worldly music as well as playing such music at their Christian events.
It is very sad to see this longstanding principle of separation from the world being lost in the church. May God bring a retoration of this truth by His power. May God make us, those of who know and have lived out this aspect of a believer’s consecration, harbingers of this essential truth. In Jesus’s mighty name. May God help us to rescue our children from what is beginning to look like a norm in their times, in Jesus’s mighty name.”

Response to the post above 👇:

“Our ceremonies and parties, choices, entertainment, habits, assessment of success, conversations outside of “church place”, business strategies, etc are extremely worldly it’s getting weird to showcase the choices we make based on what is supposed to be bible standard. It seems so foolish trying to live up to Gods standards. Our kids watch us and then decide to throw caution to the wind.”

“May God help us to rescue our children from what is beginning to look like a norm in their times, in Jesus’s mighty name.”

 

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You’re mom…!

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You’re mom 
in sunshine and in rain.
You’re mom,
through the dirty dishes and scattered toys.
You trip on the mess, slide on slime,
you scream, scold and smack,
And then lovingly tidy up and put ’em away.

You’re mom,
On a journey through the motherhood mace.
The *jaga-jaganess* of it all gets to your nerves.
It never goes all smooth or easy for you.
You sweat through the pans and sauces,
bearing the sticky stains of mucus, sweats and leftovers.
You go to bed wondering how tomorrow would be,
feeling a jerk in your knees
and a pant deep in your chest.
Yet,
You still brave up, courageous squared shoulders
Ready for another day.

You’re mom,
When all you thought was a smooth day.
But it goes like a scribble in your child’s drawing,
Then you sulk and shout, frustrated.
In the end you sigh, “what is life without a challenge, a crisis?”

You’re a mom,
Trusting God for yet another day.
to wake up and go through life in the shadow of His wings,
Longing for a succour and renewed strength
to stay brave on your turf,
to do the best for the sucklings in your nest.

Be brave.
Be strong mom,
God is in the midst of you.

Happy mother’s day!!!

*Jaga-jaga: A Nigerian slang for scattered or out of order/chaos…

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Behold! Morning comes…

That we may trim our lamps,
Just before dawn.
Ready for the Bridegroom.
For the hour is here,
the hour is now.
He comes!

Wake up from your slumber,
The days draw near.
Be ready for the master,
He knocks
Light your lamp.
Go out to Him
He’s waiting for you.

© 2019. Mrs. Handmaide writes.

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Sail the sea

Set sail to yonder.
Keep your eyes on the tides
of the rising sea.
Hold strong.
Wrapped around the anchor
for your soul.

Stir your ship
in God’s direction.
Paddle along the rivers of mercy.
paddle in the river of eternal life.

May your boat not drift
on high sea.
May your anchor stay secure
and grounded.
May your boat not sway in
ev’ry direction.

Fix your eyes on the prize.
Hold strong,
to Christ the anchor
of life.

©2019 Mrs. Handmaide writes.

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Useful vessel

I’m a useful vessel,
made of clay
overlaid with gold.

I’m going through moulding.
Reshaped
and shaped again,
fit for the Masters use.

I’m walking through fire,
Unhurt,
refined.

I’m passed through the porter’s spin,
kneaded,
broken
Wet!
Fashioned for special use.

Ref: 2 Timothy 2:20&21, Jer. 18.

©2019 Mrs. Handmaide writes.

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Now it is day, be wise!

There was a season like Samson where we lost our sight.
We failed to see
how so dim, so blind
We were
That our souls were sold
In the lap of a messy bowl of
porridge.

We became blinded by the thing
we thought we loved
Yet punctured us.
In hindsight
gored our eyes,
‘cos
We failed to want to see or walk the path
of truth.

We knew not
how deeply messy and untrue “De liar”
was.
The mission from time had been to warm up,
cajole and confuse
and boom!
mission well planned
took our most valuable, very precious
gift of sanctification.

At that time we forgot who’s mark we bore,
who’s life we carried and who we pledged to serve.
We had lost our sight to sin and fear
that we failed to sniff or discern,
We forgot to pray or ponder.
We refused to wait or selah.

Now be wise.
Open your eyes
And keep it fixed on the Rock.
Be on guard and
trim your lamps,
ready for the night.
Run when you need to,
Sit when the call says so.
Walk when the command goes,
Do all to stand and in standing, be strong
In the Lord and in the power of His might.

©2019 Mrs. Handmaide writes.

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My running creed

I caught my heart in a bag,
Ascending the hills
One step closer to my goal
Two steps one hill
Counting four steps drips of sweat.
I staggered drunk

The coach said run keep your pace
Don’t stop yet
You’re almost done

Two steps, four hills one road
I stumbled over stones
Looking for who would carry me home.
I crossed the last lap,
Chest pumping,
Bent over my knees
Gasping for breath.

Looking up, the hills still ascending,
A mile to go
He cheered me up.
Coach waited for me at the fork.
‘Come up higher
You can do it,
There’s a runner in you,
Finish the race, finish strong.’

I stood up,
Gazing at the hill
One step, another I pushed
Hands swinging I paced
Up hill I ran
I chanted,
“There’s a runner in me.
I have faith;
I’m in the race, I run,
I finish strong.”

© 2019 Mrs. Handmaide writes.

Rest…

My heart sunk deep into a place of weariness,
Every trouble sitting outside my defense-filled heart crept in.

I rolled out of bed,
jittery legs.
How shall tomorrow be?
What shall my hands do?

Battlefield of my heart grew tense,
conflicts sparked,
Within my soul.
Swords,Spears and guns,

Confused!

My heart sank,
Despair.

I cried.

In need of solace,
calling for help.

Then help came,
Comforting like a river,
Words of HOPE.

God, an ever present HELP
in troubled waters.
He calms the raging storm,
Peace! Be still.
Conflicts freeze,
sheath the sword.

Peace I say peace
in my soul.

© 2019 Handmaide writes.

#Matthew 11:28-30

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The Invitation (Unedited)

#Based on the words of Isaiah 55.

Come,
Come dine with Him.
Eat of the finest meals,
Drink, drink pure milk.
Gulp, gulp down the wine that restores.

Come,
Come Hear the voice of Our Master.
He calls,
Listen!
Take out the wax-
lined around your ear canals.

Hear Him.
The Lord of the Universe,
In Him is life – Life everlasting.
Come to the way of Truth.

Seek Him,
Find.
Call Him,
Hear!
Turn to Him,
Understand ye.
Live,
live the life of grace and truth.

© 2019 Handmaide writes.

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“In my head& heart” (unedited)

My memories aren’t faint,
I love my memories.
Reminisce…
Childhood experience.
I enjoyed childhood.
Through the childhood mace,
To adulthood and
As an adult, a rough path.

Boom came motherhood.
A mother,
carried them babies,
Babies turned girls.
Girls make mummy scream.
A scream with hugs
A hug, kisses and some cane.
Cane for order and senses,
A sense of what’s right.
The right thing to do.
The things that make girls align,
Align with discipline.
Discipline not only a rod,
But the rod of God’s word.
God’s word, a GUIDE in HIS way, TRUTH and life.
We have LIFE,
In that life we train our girls,
Train them in the way of the Lord.

©2019 Handmaide writes.

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Thots & words (unedited)

There’s a writer in me
It wakes up daily with a thought, a word, a line.
It searches for a blank page,
for expression of
Ideas, beauty and grace.

The poet in me,
a messenger of good news and peace.
Not of doom or angst
Nor a carrier of sorrow and tears.
The beautiful pen springing from inside,
finds the fallow ground
to scribble words of comfort,
words of truth.

The writer in me expresses joy in living,
Peace in giving,
Redemption to the lost,
Gladness for ashes.

It
seeks to bless the wounded
to heal the broken hearted…

To
Give bread to the hungry,
And bring life to the thirsty.
There’s a writer in me.

© 2019 Handmaide writes.

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Morning dew!

…. Jeremiah 6:16

nature grass plant dew

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Father I lie at your feet this morning,

You know the areas of my life I’ve not opened to you.

Thank you for not letting me grope in darkness…

Still you call to me and come to me.

Still you want to dwell, fully in all of me.

You’re Sovereign and I’m willing –

in obedience to your word.

That your word will gain entrance, cleansing every trace of me in exchange for you!

That I may from now be a reflection of you – in words and deed

A new me in Christ, representing you. Amen.

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G&A: Seasons!

It rained all through yesterday and most of today. I got my girls ready for school and waited for the school shuttle to come pick them. My first daughter peered out of the sliding door and said; “Mummy it’s still raining. The rain is boring,”

Hmm! I replied.

I know I needed to tell her the rains are a blessing from the Lord and that her comment opened my heart to many things. The Book of Genesis says “as long as the earth remains, there will be cold and heat, even rains, snow, summer, day and night.” Yes, the rains make the place wet and messy, it splashes to the patio; you try to go out and you’re drained. The rains leave a cold, boring feeling and the girls can’t play outside. I learned a few lessons of life from the rains. The rains are like the challenges and trials of our faith.

Every day, we wake up to challenges, some fighting to sink our hope and faith and others leaving us burdened and sick. We can become easily drown deep down in sadness, fear and despair to a point of hopelessness. Many times when I feel overwhelmed, I tell God just how I feel then I confess His word. I’m not perfect at it but He is helping me daily. We MUST know how to snap out of those burdens holding unto the anchor (Jesus Christ) to keep us stable, joyful and at rest. We must believe the promises of God’s word, stand fast on TRUTH and declare His word over you.

I’m learning to enjoy the seasons God gives. I said learning because some days are cold, dark and can be melancholic, and boring as my daughter said. And other days are lit up with glee, with plenty of sunshine, colour and cheerfulness yet God wants us to be JOYFUL AT ALL TIMES. In this life there will be rainy days, and troubles but be of good cheer, God is in control and has overcome the world.

Other thoughts: Some days ago, I lay in bed to have a quiet time and got really overwhelmed by some thoughts. I peeled myself off the bed and walked outside to the garden. I had a sudden relief as I watered the plants. God gave me eyes to see the beauty of creation through the trees and plants and the soil. I took a few minutes to appreciate God’s creation and the blessings of every season we face – sunshine, rain, summer or winter.

Notes to you: Guard your heart and don’t let in the “boredom” and dull, slow moments/days of life overcome you.  Kick out the sombre feelings and at all times, say THANK you to the Lord for using every pain to build my faith.

Have a JOYFUL moment ahead…

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G&A part 2: I own up!

“Looking at life through the lens of my daughters.”

When I started this blog over five years ago, I hoped to talk about my parenting journey – sharing most of my experiences etc – and I’ll be doing so in most of my post. Six years ago, I referred to myself an amateur mom and as a first-time mom I didn’t know how to navigate through the diverse seasons and emotions of motherhood.  Even though I’ve graduated from the journey of breastfeeding, cleaning poops and changing diapers, I’ve gone on to another phase, more challenging and demanding. Sometimes I get excited, other days I fail, fall and RISE again. Each day brings a new phase and I always ask God for help.

One thing I appreciate about this journey is that God uses my little girls to teach me about Himself. I look at life through the eyes of my girls and it’s so amazing the things I see.

What am I learning? Showing gratitude, childlikeness, intimacy, openness and humility etc. Learning just how to live a life without complaint is big on my list. A few days ago, one of my daughters was whining about something and I said,

“Don’t make complaining a habit.”

And there was a sharp friendly reminder in my spirit to turn that counsel on myself. “Eno that’s for you. Stop complaining…”

Children are so sweet but when they can’t have their way, the whine, throw tantrums and sulk. And as a mom, a pouting child can’t have her way. I’ll personally ensure they come out of that mood. If I as a mom hate whinning, what would God do? God loves a grateful heart!

Gratefulness (and I mean constant thankfulness) is lacking in our folds, lives and world today. And I can tell you, complaining, murmuring or grumbling (experience) is draining. Believers in Christ are not to be like unbelievers i.e. we can’t be grumblers and fault finders. We are to remain grateful no matter the circumstances we face.

Trials have a way of making us complain and that’s where God wants us to stay thankful the most. We shouldn’t only thank God for ABC and complain about DEF and XYZ. God says; “IN ALL THINGS, give thanks.”

I’m not sharing this post as one who has overcome complaints but as one learning (taking baby steps) to rejoice, to be glad hearted no matter the challenge. By His help, I am committed to stay thankful to Him for my family – Husband and children, my siblings and spouses, for life, the air I breathe, my body, feet to walk, hands to type, eyes to see and mouth to talk and eat. Instead of complaining about the edges of my front hair that seem not to grow, I thank Him for giving my hair length and volume. I thank Him for motherhood, my lovely family and the hope I have in HIm.

Oh, there’s so much to thank God for than lowering our heads in sadness, dejection, hurt, anger and frustration. I’m hoping we will be more aggressive in our attitude of praise and thanksgiving.  Thankfulness deepens our love for God. Even in pain, we can be FULL of JOY. We can be at rest, allowing Him take the glory for every circumstance He puts us through. May we thank Him for every detail of our lives, amen. 🙂

THE JOY OF THE LORD IS OUR STRENGTH! Thank Him…

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Gratitude and analogies Part 1

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God has taught( and is still teaching) my family and I many lives lessons using daily life experiences to reinforce and birth in us certain attitudes, character and virtues like gratitude, patience, love, childlikeness, endurance, peace and godliness.

Our daily life endeavours teach us to pray about everything with thanksgiving, some of them test and build our character and because we can be frail, our Heavenly Father expects that we as children commune with Him through the day, enjoying and depending on His strength and help.

Yesterday morning we were about to head out of home when our car doors refused to open. My husband checked online on how to unlock a door manually without spoiling the locks. We tried for minutes to no avail. The technique we used kept failing. It was enough to make us grumpy or grumble, angry or just give up. But we did none of those instead we prayed. At first the feeling of despair wanted to creep in, but we didn’t relent. We prayed again and this time the technique worked and we unlocked the door. To God be the glory for wisdom(the technique) and help from Him.

Yesterday’s experience taught us somethings… patience, gratitude in the midst of a challenge and many more.

KEY NOTES: 
Analogy: In our parenting journey, we love our kids to look up to us, to obey us and follow our lead. We discipline, instruct and show them the way to take. How much more God?

Even though God wants us to grow to maturity, He still sees us as a children and wants us to come to Him as one – remember He said whoever receives His kingdom must come as a child. Refer to Mark 10:15, Luke 18:17 and Psalm 131.

God dwells in the affairs of men. He orders our steps and He delights in our every step. Imagine guiding your child through a path, you’d make sure the child doesn’t step on dangerous objects or walk through thorns. Psalm 37:23

Remember God loves and rules in the seeming trivial pursuit of our lives.

Life is too overwhelming and challenging to grope around on our own. We must walk around and go through the daily grind conscious of our Maker. So talk to Him like you would a lover and friend.

Have a splendid day 🙂

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How to chop Okro in five minutes

If your family is anything like my family who LOVE, love,love Okro (lady finger) and you tend to buy them in bulk,  but you dislike the process of chopping Okro and the whole process makes you stay away from cooking this delicious soup then you’re covered :).
If you’ve never known this before, the food processor -as someone said is a woman’s best friend – can process your Okro and give you the desired result in under five minutes. So here’s how:
1) Wash the Okro, place them on a chopping board and cut into three or more chunks…

(Picture below was taken for illustration purposes. I chopped a Kg bag of Okro)

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2) Put the Okro in batches into the Food processor, pulse or set on high and blend for two minutes and another two depending on your preference. And that’s it. You’d get your Okro processed like in the picture below in under five minutes.


So that’s it and hope it helps anyone looking to prepare a large batch of Okro. I freeze the rest for future use 🙂

Have a beautiful Sunday 😉

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New year, new school and snack boxes

Happy New year to you all.

I hope the year started on a good note for you. It’s the eighteenth day in the new year and it already feels like the year is slipping away from us. However, one of my earnest desires this year is to redeem the times, stay “active” for the Lord and do His bid, staying focused in His will and purpose for my life (these are no new year resolutions but on going desires of my heart).

My younger daughter started school for the first time last week 🙂 and its sweet to see her get excited to go to school. But its not as perfect as I paint it, some mornings she woke up unwilling to go to school. As expected, she’s adjusting into the new routine.  My husband (a special needs teacher) and my older daughter went back to school on Wednesday. My daughters are both in a new school. The younger one in Group three and the older  in Grade R, the class which prepares her for primary school – Grade 1.

My older daughter is particularly excited with the new school experience, with meeting new friends and wearing a new school uniform. Every day I prepare a snack box for them and I know how much of a big deal my older daughter treats her snack box. I drew up a five day menu and stock it to my fridge – it’s convenient not boring and easy to plan around it – and I don’t need to crack my brain in the morning what to put in the boxes. Since the school is somehow particular about the snacks the kids bring to school, I’ve been making/baked snacks the kids love – cupcakes/muffins, sandwiches, cookies etc.

Last Sunday I stumbled  on a no knead baked Donut recipe on Bigger bolder baking by Gemma which I tried out and my kids love, love these donuts. Here are pictures of my baked Donuts(never mind that its not as rounded as the Donuts we know. It’s my first attempt at making Donuts 🙂 ) . Please check out the recipe here , give it a try and let’s know what you think 🙂

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So you can braid?

 

It may be an achievement for me to only learn – in my thirties – how to braid hair having spent six years in Secondary school where most of my classmates knew how to plait, weave and thread hair. Well, mine may have been the fear of trying or the fact that the few times I tried to learn, my friends complained that  I held the hair too tight.

Three years ago, my hairdresser tried to teach me the basics like cornrows and twisting natural hair which I often tried out on a doll’s head, my hair, and on my first daughter. But my daughter used to cry when I tried to make her hair.

I got better at making a flat twist with my natural hair (and my daughter’s) but I couldn’t attach a hairpiece. One night, a month ago, I watched YouTube videos – which I had been doing in the past to no avail – on how to make box braids, twist braids and cornrows. That night, I followed the video using kinky hair extensions to twist my hair (all by myself). It look me two days to finish the hair. I loosened the Kinky braids two weeks ago and this weekend, I made the hair in the pictures below.

I also made my daughters’ two weekends ago.

 

I took tutorials on wig making.

I turned the wig in the first picture to a short razor (pixie) cut wig in the second picture. In the third picture, I tried to make a wig with no frontal closure using two eight inches Yaki human hair.  These wigs aren’t perfect but I’m extremly happy have them made on first attempt. As it’s said, “practise makes perfect.”

And that’s it for today. Thanks for reading 🙂

 

 

 

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Homemade peanut butter

We have peanut (groundnut) we bought from the Nigerian shop and I’ve been meaning to make peanut butter with it. Finally, I made it and my family love it :). Though its nothing like store-bought peanut butter, it’s yummy, perhaps a better alternative you can use on your bread, apples and banana.

Here a simple guide on how to make it:

  • Roast the peanut in an oven or the microwave for about ten to fifteen minutes. I used the microwave
  • Peel the peanut, which may be the preference of many. I partially peeled mine – I washed the nuts before roasting. dav
  • Pour the roasted nuts into a food processor and pulse, allowing the processor to rest for thirty seconds to one minute. Keep processing for about seven or more minutes – depending on the strength of your machine.
  • Blend the nuts till it goes from a grainy texture to puree.
  • Once you get a puree (creamy texture), decant into a jar and store in the fridge. You can add honey, syrup etc. I sprinkled a pinch of sweetener into my butter. In my opinion, the additives are optional.dav

Remember you can use almonds, macadamia or any other nut. Try this out and let’s know what you think.

As always,

Bon Apetit!

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Homemade biscuits (cookies)

Watching Youtube and learning how to make biscuits, cookies, apple crumbles, cakes etc is something I love to do – its more of a growing interest. My search engine has different “how to make this and that, most times how to make a healthy option of confectioneries. My cookies and biscuits used to be an epic fail because I had been a rookie or I wasn’t doing something right. It used to be a “trial and error” for me. There are days I got it right and other times, “a that’s how the cookie crumbled” day. But I haven’t stopped trying  my hands on cookies/biscuits and I can say I’m pro 🙂 (pun intended).

I am for the saying; “Practise makes perfect.” The more I bake, the better I become. My children love, love this biscuit and its saved me bucks from store bought biscuits.

This simple recipe by Emma Christensen of http://www.thekitchn.com (in my opinion) is the best I’ve found on making cookies. I’m giving credit to her for this recipe.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup granulated sugar (I reduce the amount of sugar this recipe calls for. Instead, I use a little over half a cup and it taste just right for a sweet tooth!)

3/4 packed brown sugar

1/2 cup butter, softened.

1 teaspon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspon baking soda (sometimes I use baking powder)

21/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional because I don’t add it)

Instructions:

dav

Please visit http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-chocolate-chip-cookies-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-109117 – copy link and paste on your browser 🙂

You’ll find it really easy. Watch the video and follow the instructions.

 

P/S: I have shared this recipe with many people who have tasted the biscuits I make and the feedback is very encouraging. I love the fact that I can share this recipe with whoever wants to make homemade biscuits.

 

As always,

Bon Apetit!

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Simple, healthy biscuits

dav

This easy peasy cookie (Biscuit more like) which I found on YouTube took me less about ten to fifteen minutes to mix and I’m excited to share.

Ingredients:

400 g of traditional oat, blended and divided into two parts

1 tsp salt (please adjust as required)

1 tbsp Baking powder

1 tbsp sweetener

½ cup oil of choice – you can use olive, coconut or sunflower oil.

½ cup to a cup of warm water – adjust as needed.

1/3 – ¼ cup mix seeds – flaxseed, sunflower seed, sesame and pumpkin seeds.

 

Direction:

1)      Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius

2)      Blend the traditional oats in a food processor till its either coarse or smooth. I prefer mine not so smooth give me the taste of Hobnobs

3)      Pour the oats into a dry bowl, add your salt(be careful with this, so it doesn’t taste salty!), baking powder and sweetener and mix together.

4)      Add your oils and mix. Add water, this I will advise adding in little drops to avoid having a watery consistency.

5)      Add the mix seeds and mix, mix, mix till well combined

6)      Pour unto an oiled baking tray, flatten out till the dough is very thin on the baking tray. At this point, I used a pizza cutter to cut through the dough(see picture below).

7)      Toss into the oven and bake for twenty minutes. Mine took longer to cook, again because of the strength of the oven.

8)      Leave out to cool. The biscuits get crunchy as they cool down. I even left mine in the fridge.

IMG_20170927_115630_1.jpg

Viola, they are simple to make and also healthy. They taste like Sesame and Hobnobs biscuits.  I made them in two batches – you’ll notice I added seeds to one side and didn’t add seeds to the other – I love it(see proof inset 🙂 )

As always,

Bon appetite!

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Yam pies

A friend brought me a tuber of yam, and for days I was wondering how to make something different from how we prepared it when we were growing up. If you’re familiar with the way most Nigerian cook yam, you may understand that sometimes one gets tired just boiling, frying or making it into pounded yam (sort of mashed yam and eaten with soup). I’m not a “foodie”;  I’m more of a functional cook – I cook to feed my family. But don’t you just love it when you can ditch the conventional way of making certain foods for something more creative and also yummy? Oh yeah, a functional cook is really out to learn (hopefully!) :).

Several years ago, a family friend and cook sent some foods to us.  One of them was yam pudding somewhat like the  Nigerian moi-moi – Beans pudding. I was quite young and didn’t have the opportunity to ask her how she made the yam pudding. Only last week, I remembered that yam pudding and wanted to give it a try. I searched online for yam pudding recipes and found several, but some of the recipes called for sugar and milk. I wanted something spicy and perhaps healthy.

Big Kudos to these ladies who run food blogs and recreate fun Nigerian meals – 9jafoodie, All Nigerian recipes and Dooney’s Kitchen (especially for their creativity and food presentation). All Nigerian recipe has different ways of preparing yam – one recipe I love is her yam and cheese, reminds me of “Mac and cheese.” Dooney redefines yam preparation with her yummy, eye catching yam pancake, yam toasties, and yam waffles.

I followed Dooney’s Yam pancake recipe tweaked it here and there. Instead of preparing the yam pancake as she did, I made Yam pies. Here we go:

INGREDIENTS – and credits go to Dunni Obata:

  • Boiled yam
  • Chopped mix veg – onions, chillies, yellow pepper, bell peppers, etc
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt
  • Seasoning cubes, crayfish and Paprika powder – a little different from Dooney’s
  • Vegetable oil and a little water (Her recipe didn’t call for water)

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 200 – 220 deg. Celcius – depending on your oven.
  • Peel the yam, cube and place in a pot. I cubed mine as you’ll see in the pictures. Boil for eight to ten minutes
  • Place in a food processor, add the chopped veggies and eggs. I used two eggs.
  • Mix them, then add salt and any other seasoning to taste.
  • I added a dash of oil and water to the recipe because the original recip is quite thick. I wanted to have the consistency of cake or muffin batter.
  • Scoop into a pie pan or a muffin pan. I used both.
  • And bake for 20 – 40 minutes. I’ m saying forty minutes because mine took that long to cook properly – my oven had a mind of its own today ;)…

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Viola, the pictures say it all. Only challenge? My oven was messing up and it took time to cook well. The taste? Superb! Will I be making this again? Definitely, but the next time, I’ll make  yam pancakes and hopefully, I can post a picture here.

 Thanks to Dooney’s kitchen for creating fun meals  out of Nigerian foods and stretching our minds away from the conventional!

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As always, Bon apetit!

 

1

Fruitsicles!

 I went to the shops few days ago and I walked by the freezer aisle. There was ice cream was on specials, I stood there for a while trying to make up my mind on which flavour to buy. Then I remembered I am trying to lose some weight (ha-ha). I walked away and thought of a way to solve an ice cream craving.
A thought came to my mind to try making the kind of ice creams I used to make as a child –  mash up bananas, add some sugar and mix it with powdered milk and toss in the freezer till it’s but then again I didn’t want any added sugars and didn’t have bananas. I checked online for ice cream recipes and stumbled on recipes for popsicles and I settled for that one.
Then I came up with my own version of popsicles (I call it fruitsicles).
This recipe is nothing fancy, easy to make if you have these ingredients at home.
INGREDIENTS:
1 Apple, cored and chopped
1 orange, juiced
2 cups frozen water melon
4 dates
Low fat milk or low fat yogurt
Water
Coconut (optional)
METHOD:
1) Chop the apples into chunky sizes and juice the orange.
2) put the apples, orange juice and watermelon in a blender
3) add the dates and pulse gently.
4) Pour the milk or yogurt into the blender, pulse again. Because the watermelon is frozen, it may not blend at once so add a little water or more  milk to blend thoroughly.
5) You can add meat of coconut or substitute the low fat milk with coconut milk. But I loved the feel of coconut and dates in mine. It gave it a unique taste.
6) Toss in the freezer for thirty minutes to one hour. I left mine for longer than an hour.
Remember no added sugars because the fruits are sweet. Give it a try but don’t go overboard (by eating everything in a day) like I did 🙂
(Yielded 12 small tubs which are 3mls each).
dav
As always Bon appetite!
0

My healthy homemade muesli

My sister in law influenced my love for muesli and greek yogurt (which I use with my muesli) and I loved muesli because it was a great breakfast option especially for those of us who get tired of the same ol’ Oats or brown bread and eggs. Muesli is high in fiber and whole grains, a great source of protein and rich in nutrients. I never really checked the ingredients in some of the mueslis I bought, I always looked out for affordability or “specials” and I’ll just throw it into my trolley and head happily to the till. But some ladies on a facebook group mentioned that most mueslis on the shelves of our local stores are laden with sugar and here I was trying to skip foods with processed sugar as I was on a weight loss journey. I thought anything called muesli was just good for me to eat but I found out that the “healthy” mueslis were quite pricey so most times I had to buy the affordable ones.

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Then I had an idea at the beginning of the year to learn how to make muesli. I played around with the thoughts from January until last Wednesday when I finally gave it a try.

Some of the ingredients used in this muesli are things we already have in our home and I found out from most of the recipes I found online that it takes about thirty minutes or less to toss all the ingredients together to get a colorful jar of muesli. It may taste nothing like the store bought muesli but I’m glad I took the challenge and at the moment its affordable and very easy to make anytime, any day!

So here we go.

RECIPE:

2 cups barley

3 1/4 cups traditional oats

12 tablespoons bran

10 tablespoons mix seeds – pumpkin seeds, flaxseed, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds.

3 cups raisins

1/2 cups peanut, semi chopped

Sprinkles of sweetener (really optional)

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DIRECTIONS:

 

Preheat the oven to 180c

Line a baking sheet on a tray and spread the first three ingredients on the tray, slide into the oven

Toast in the oven for 8-10mins – I left mine in the oven for about fifteen minutes.

Allow to cool and transfer to a jar or bowl then add the mix seeds, raisins, and nuts. I used peanuts because that’s what I had at home. You can use cashew, almonds or any nuts of choice.

Stir together and pour into an airtight container.

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I’ll have mine with homemade yogurt or milk.

Bon appétit!

 

4

DIY Chocolatey lip balm

Last week I promised to share a simple recipe on how to make body butter. But I decided to share a recipe for the lip balm I experimented last Friday;) . If you’ve been following my post, you would realize that I have talked about the benefits Shea butter and how it can be used in most homemade recipes.

This recipe was inspired by a desire to learn how to make tinted lip balms – different from the conventional nude lip balms which I have made a number of times – so I found some recipes online.

One of the things I love about the homemade (natural) lip balms is that it keeps the lips hydrated unlike most Petroleum based lip balms. I apply lip balm before bedtime, first thing in the morning and before wearing lipstick. It’s not supposed to be a routine but a way of keeping my lips moist (by doing this, I don’t wake up with dried or cracked lips) and my lips don’t feel dry or chalky when I’m wearing a matte lipstick.

 

RECIPE:

1 tsp of shea butter

1 tsp of beeswax

1 tsp of coconut oil

Vitamin E oil (optional) – I usually use Vitamin E capsule

Cocoa powder

Red lake

Sweetener (Canderel)

Lip balm pot

Essential oils of choice ( I used Spearmint and Orange essential oils)

A pyrex measuring jar

A kitchen scale

A spoon (or spatula) – a stainless spoon would do

dav

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Place the shea butter, beeswax, and coconut oil in the measuring jar and place in a pot of boiled water to melt. The Beeswax will take some more minutes to melt thoroughly so keep stirring to avoid lumps
  • Once everything is fully melted, stir in the Vitamin E oil (since it’s a small batch, you can add half a capsule of the Vitamin E) and add a few drops of your essential oils. Keep stirring so the mixture doesn’t harden up
  • Stir in the red lake (or mica) cocoa powder and sprinkle some sweetener. I “eyeball” the colors till I get the desired brown tint
  • Decant into an empty lip balm pot and allow to set.

The balm will turn into a creamy brown paste but as it cools down, it will harden. If you would prefer a creamier and softer lip balm, then add less beeswax and if you prefer a harder balm, add more beeswax. Adjust the recipe to suit your preference.

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You can use your finger or lipstick applicator brush to apply on your lips. I found out that adding the cocoa powder made the balm a bit  gritty but never mind, it will smoothen out when you apply it to your lips.

This recipe makes about two pots of lip balm. I used a 20ml pot.

Happy DIYing… 🙂 

 

0

Sheaful wonders

Last week, I laid little foundational knowledge about Shea Butter. Did you know that Shea Butter is edible? yes, edible. For many decades now, women in Africa use Shea butter to prepare sumptuous meals. Do you know that research shows that some chocolate companies use Shea butter to make chocolates? Read it here:(https://www.leaf.tv/articles/how-to-cook-using-unrefined-shea-butter/). If you have to eat Shea butter, then look for Grade A butter in your local store.

 

Other benefits:

Use Shea butter to relief chafing or skin friction around the boobs/nipples, thighs, groin, bums, panty area, feet etc. Swap your petroleum jelly for Shea butter to lubricate those parts of your body.

Shea butter for fitness enthusiasts: Shea butter can be used before and after a rigorous workout.  Someone told me she religiously primes her feet and thighs with Shea butter before a run.  I personally feel very relieved when I prime my feet before a run or walk to keep my feet from getting sore.

Use Shea butter as a lubricant gel (for husbands and wives 😉. In an article by Dr. Laurie Steelsmith on ingredients to avoid in lubricant gels, she asserts that synthetic oils were designed for use on automobiles etc. and advises that using natural ingredients makes a difference (aloe vera gel, cocoa butter, Shea butter, vitamin E oils etc)

All of the benefits listed above are to establish that Shea butter has more uses than we could imagine.

So you can start DIYing. Try using it to make your homemade hair food, homemade conditioning treatment, include Shea butter/Shea oil in your homemade liquid wash, bar soap,natural lip balms free from nasties.

I feel like sharing a simple and nourishing  DIY homemade body butter. But I will leave that till next week. Please follow us on Instagram @handmaidenaturals

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P/S: Check out the ingredients written at the back of your favourite lotions, hair and body products, I am sure you will find the name: Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea butter). Shea butter is refined and used in our favourite lotions, body and hair products.

 

 

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For the love of Shea butter

Sometime in 2010, I got a beautiful tub of Shea butter as a souvenir at a friend’s wedding. I didn’t know at that time what the “butter” was supposed to be used for so I put it away for some weeks or months. One time I visited a dear friend who was producing Shea butter and she was pouring them into plastic jars for sale. Of course, I was curious to know what the creamy, light yellow oil was – she melted the butter before pouring them into the jars – and she told me about Shea butter, it’s benefits and how she had used Shea butter from childhood. She gave me a sample jar of the butter. By the time I got home, I remembered I had a jar of butter I got from a friend’s wedding which looked exactly like the butter I saw in my friend’s house. The only difference was that the one I got from my friend’s wedding was whipped (and scented) like this picture below but my other friend’s was harder, unscented and not whipped.

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From then on I have used Shea butter which has really kept my skin hydrated and moisturised. As a child, my mother used petroleum jelly and oils to treat my once scaly, cracked and dry skin and through my growing up years, I couldn’t use most of the lotions and creams sold in the shops.I had to use something “greasy” and deeply moisturizing to keep my skin from getting scaly, dry or itchy.

I started mixing the Shea butter with petroleum jelly until a few years ago when I replaced petroleum jelly with carrier oils – coconut oil, castor oil, olive oil etc – to get the same effect the petroleum jelly had on my skin. I usually whip up my Shea butter with carrier and essential oils and the result is a fluffy, creamy thick paste just like the picture above. Shea butter has been the best remedy for my skin as well as my household – its very gentle and safe for your baby’s skin. We never run out of Shea butter in our home. We use Shea butter from head to toe – as hair food, lip salve, body and bum cream and lots more.

Now you may want to know what Shea butter is?

Shea butter is one of God’s amazing all-purpose, natural moisturizer with healing properties that are good for the hair and skin. It is derived from the Shea (Karite) tree which is found in West and East Africa. It is rich in nutrients, including Vitamin A, and contains high amount of fatty acids which nourish the hair and skin.

Shea butter has tremedous benefits:

  • It serves as a luxurious hair conditioner and moisturizer
  • It keeps the hair, lips, nails and skin hydrated
  • Shea butter treats eczema, psoriasis, blemishes, scars, burns, boils, nappy rash, insect bites, skin rash and other skin conditions
  • It serves as a moisturizer for dry, scaly and wrinkled skin
  • It prevents stretch marks and clears postpartum marks.
  • It’s highly therapeutic and excellent for body massages.

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Next week, I will list out more benefits of Shea and some ways you can use the butter to make natural creams from the comfort of your home. Stay tuned 🙂

P/S: For more information on how to purchase unrefined Shea butter, please follow us on Instagram: @handmaidenaturals

2

DEF years of being a mom

Four years ago, I started ABC days of being a mom,

It was an entirely new phase of life with all the excitements and frustrations.

Now I am in my D-E-F years of being a mom and not saying I am an expert at this job 🙂

Have the D-E-F days gotten easier? No.

They mess, I sweep,

they spill I mop,

they pour I wipe.

They argue together I become a peacemaker,

they cry I cuddle and blow kisses and I love you.

They act naughty I discipline,

they scatter toys around and I ask them to pack up – teaching them early to be responsible.

When I think that each day, 2-4-7, 365 days in a year and more, I am like a power house, I shrug wishing I could fast forward the years to when they can help themselves. But wait a minute; there are other days I don’t want the time to fly because I am enjoying the “now.”

I am blessed to be steward to two sweet, yummy girls who make me laugh, scream (lol), play like a child, make funny faces, sing gibberish and composed songs. Because of them, my mouth has become a guitar and band, I turn a chore into a rhyme and we dance along while at work :).

Oh! There are some days I’m not such a nice mom, when I refuse to answer all the questions or give them all the attention they need. And when I get into bed, recounting how the day went, I ask God to forgive me of negligence.

In all of this,

I am thankful to a Father who has rewarded me with the gift of children.

Motherhood isn’t a dash. It is more of an unending marathon. We keep grooming, training and being involved in their lives till they are ready to leave the nest. So for me, instead of praying for the – teen – X-Y-Z years to come so quickly (longing for freedom from the busiest years of my life), I am enjoying every day and thanking God for the privilege of being a mom!

4

November to Remember: A testimony of God’s Love.

November is here again. It’s few weeks to Christmas holiday, and I can feel the excitement in the air. Shops have started holiday sales. Families are planning trips for rest and relaxation after a busy year at work — it’s a good thing to rest, relax and even spend quality time with loved ones. For some, the holidays are for personal retreat, away from the jollies of the season to plan for the New Year.

Have you ever wondered what the phrase November to remember means? I have heard it used each time we step into this month, and I really wanted to know its meaning, so I hopped on Google.  Wikipedia says that “November to Remember (normally abbreviated to N2R) was an annual Eastern Championship Wrestling  and Extreme Championship Wrestling professional wrestling show held during the month of November between 1993 and 2000.” So now we know what N2R means 🙂

I remember vividly the first and second days of November 2014. It was a weekend, and we were moving into a new home; my husband and a brother/friend moved our belongings. We moved in successfully, but I was agitated. I was panicky, praying frantically, afraid I was losing my pregnancy at almost seven weeks. The episode started with thick brown discharges during the week, and unlike before, I wasn’t feeling any pregnancy symptoms. I thought the discharges were mild spotting, which often occurs in pregnant women. I sort of overlooked them on the first day I saw them; then they continued on another day, and I was very concerned. The brown discharges didn’t persist until that fateful Saturday morning, but I woke up feeling cramps around my belly button. That wasn’t the first time I experienced pain around that region. I prayed about the pain, ignored it, and left home. On my way back, I felt a tinge of pain and heaviness in my legs. The discharges went from brown to pale red and by the next day I was bleeding heavily.

I had read stories of moms who bled a few times in their pregnancy but still had their babies. I had also seen stories of some who bled throughout pregnancy. I used those stories to comfort myself, still praying and confessing the word of God concerning childbirth. On Sunday morning, the bleeding continued and this time around, I was bleeding heavily with blood clots. By this time, I knew mine was a serious case. I went to the hospital, and after a long wait, checks and a scan, I was told there was no sac — the doctor wrote on my file: “unavoidable miscarriage.” The Sonographer looked at me with empathy in his eyes, but I returned a smile. My heart did the crying, as I lay on the bed looking at him. He wished me well with my future pregnancies. Oh, how sad! It was like a dream; my head spun; my heart was broken, and it was difficult to believe I had just lost a baby. How could this have happened after all the prayers and believing the Lord to preserve my baby? (I am in no way blaming God, but at that time, all sorts of thoughts went through my mind.) I had lost something very dear and precious. When I got home from the hospital, I burst into tears.

It’s worthy of note that in the course of this incident, I met an elderly lady at a clinic who prays for, counsels and shares the word of God with patients of the local clinic. She calls herself “the praying lady.” I shared my experience with her, and she prayed for me. She gave me words from the Lord, and one of them was that the Lord said He will give me a baby and that there is nothing difficult for Him. So when I got to the hospital, having been referred from the local clinic, and was told that I had lost my pregnancy, I was confused with the word from the Lord. It seemed contradictory. Also, the enemy kept bombarding my mind with his lies, saying; “you won’t have another baby, and you won’t conceive again.” But who is he to say a thing when our Heavenly Father hasn’t decreed it? Ultimately, God proved himself true and kept His promise by giving me another beautiful daughter. Today, to His glory, I am a joyful mom of two lovely children.

I firmly believe that even though we live in a fallen world with many crises and tough times, it’s not God’s will for His children to cast their young, or to lose their babies. My experience has taught me what it feels like to have a miscarriage. But I also know that God has given us victory through Christ so that we can conceive and safely deliver children. I earnestly desire that women who are trusting God for children will receive this gift through Christ Jesus, for we have been redeemed from the curse. Amen.

0

Butternut oat cake

I stumbled on a recipe in a Children’s magazine some days ago and i tore out the page to try it out. The original recipe – Pumpkin nut muffin – is culled from a book “Real Food, Healthy, Happy Children” by Kath Megaw. It’s a pity I couldn’t stick to her recipe so I  decided to tweak it. I didn’t have a muffin tin and certain ingredients she used i.e. while she used half a cup of coconut flour, I used oat flour(I blended my breakfast oatmeal and used it to bake 🙂 ). She used macadamia nuts and vanilla extract and I used coconut extract and ground cinnamon. I am guessing she used butternut squash because in her recipe, she added pureed pumpkin.She used six free range eggs and I used just two. i added a two or so ingredients to mine which made it alot more different from hers. Sorry I stole her idea lol and also came up with a name for this easy peasy recipe.

Two things I resolved to do: Experiment on how to bake with oat flour and butter nut and secondly, bake something healthy I can nibble when I feel like indulging.  So here we go:

Ingredients:

Two cups oat flour

2 eggs

4 tbsp coconut oil, melted, additional for greasing the pan(incase you’re not using a baking sheet)

½ tsp ground ginger

½ tsp bicarbonate soda

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp coconut extract/flavour

½ tsp cinnamon

½ cup pureed butternut

3 tbsp honey + 1 tbsp Demarara

Splash of low fat milk

Method

  • Peel the butternut squash and chop into cubes. Boil until soft. This should take about twenty minutes to soften. Allow to cool. Puree in your blender and set aside.
  • Blend your regular breakfast oat (preferably steel cut oat though I used Jungle oats, the one with High fibre) and set aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 200c. Grease your pan with coconut oil – I used a bread pan to bake.
  • Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl.
  • Also mix the other ingredients in another bowl fold into the dry ingredients. Make sure the ingredients mix well.
  • Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 20 minutes or until golden.

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Results: The cake, though not so perfect tasted really yummy. I thought the oat will taste funny in my mouth.

Not so sweet but perfect for the tastebuds – for those who like it sugafree.

Cake split into two because I turned it out on the rack when it was still hot :).

It didnt rise like when you use other types of flour to bake.

Wrapped and stored in the fridge for snack time 🙂

Unfortunately, I didn’t count calories : but I’d say it’s quite healthy, has low carb and the recipe suites weight watchers or moms on a healthy lifestyle. Try this out, it’s easy and a good snack for the children’s lunch box.

Bon apetit!

2

I testify today.

One early morning, a few days into the New Year I woke up from a terrifying dream to pray. Then I went to the toilet to make a wee. I was about eight or nine weeks pregnant and just recovering from “pregnancy-induced” sickness (whatever that means, lol). I was so down that the 2014 Christmas holidays didn’t go well for me. I forced myself to eat, to bath or even get out of bed. After making a wee, I noticed that I was bleeding. My heart skipped – this would be the third time of bleeding during the pregnancy. The first time I thought it was my menstrual period. I didn’t know I was a few weeks gone. It came on and off for some days. The second time was on the 31st of December while attending a thanksgiving service. So this beautiful morning in January, I woke my husband and sent messages to my siblings to pray for me. To be very frank, I prayed with so much panic and fear. But one thing I did to overcome the fear was to confess the word of God aloud. The bleeding stopped but I was advised to see a doctor which I did. The doctor looked at my test and congratulated me on my pregnancy then he exclaimed; “there is blood in your urine, are you having a miscarriage?” he asked. My heart sunk again then I mustered courage to give him an answer. I wasn’t as convinced as I sounded but all I did was hope in God. He said I shouldn’t be bleeding and said to do a scan to determine if my baby was safe in the womb or in my tubes. He said if he found the baby in my tubes, I’d have to evacuate it. With so much confidence I replied that I wasn’t evacuating the baby. We made a joke out of our conversation – back and forth we jokingly argued to evacuate or not to evacuate. The scan revealed my womb was closed, baby safe and sound. He told me I had an infection. I was given an injection and medications to treat the infection. By my next hospital appointment, I was fine and there were no traces of blood in my urine.

Around that period I read some articles online on bleeding during pregnancy. “Is it normal to bleed during pregnancy?” Research shows that about 20% of women have some bleeding during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Possible causes of first trimester bleeding include: implantation bleeding. You may experience some normal spotting within the first six to 12 days after you conceive as the fertilized egg implants itself in the lining of the uterus (courtesy: WebMD). Some say it could be spotting or light bleeding; implantation bleeding or it could be something more serious like infection, placenta problems, and miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.

In retrospect, it sounds like I had no reason to panic after all it could have been the “usual” implantation bleeding someone may reason. But hey, no woman wants to bleed for any reason during pregnancy. It’s not seen as a good sign and I wasn’t having IB neither was I spotting. I sincerely thank our Father God. I never want to reason this whole experience out and I would never take his help for granted. It could have been anything but he kept his promise that I would not cast my young and affliction wouldn’t rise a second time especially after going through a miscarriage before this pregnancy (I will write more on this- stay tuned for my next post 🙂 ). God fulfilled his word, defeating the lies of the adversary. He heard my cry, healed and kept me to the day of delivery.

0

A million reasons

David said in one of his Psalms; “I will bless the Lord at ALL times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” Recently, our Father used the first verses of this Psalm to shake off a habit of complaining when things dont go my way. No doubt I am still a learner when it comes to staying grateful through challenging situations. I’m learning that as a child of God, at every moment and in every situation (good or bad), we must thank Him. Its hard you know but thanksgiving – thanksliving as some say these days – or giving God thanks to God in difficulty is a sign of maturity. I also believe it pleases the heart of the Father when we praise him in bad times.

Guess what? God is good and that isn’t a cliche – its not debatable! I have a million and zillion reasons to tear the roof off with my praise and with my dance. I have faced several very trying (and excruciating) incidents this year which have almost pushed me to conclude that this has been my worst year but no, what the enemy meant for evil, God has turned for good. God has been awesome. Even when I doubt him and question his sovereignty, his mercies are as sure as the dawn. I have many stories to tell and I will try my best to attest of his goodness in subsequent posts.

On the 23rd of July 2015, the Lord gave us another yummy, beautiful daughter. When the midwives showed her to me, I  laughed and wept with joy at the same time, remembering how God took me through the pregnancy journey. Unlike my first pregnancy, this one was quite tough but by faith we came through TRIUMPHANTLY. Indeed, the Lord showed himself mighty on our behalf and the words he spoke concerning her birth came to pass. I am not just praising him for giving us another child but I praise him for bearing me in his hands, grooming my character through trials, disciplining me in his love, fighting battles I couldn’t face, showering his love and mercy on us and being an ever present help in time of need. Truly i can say that I have seen the Lord’s goodness, his mercies and compassion in the land of the living, amen.

0

SOMTO

Somto rose from bed with a nagging headache. She had fallen asleep last night worrying about how to fend for the pressing needs she had penned down in her jotter. Desperate and exhausted, she realized that the issues she thought would go away with the snap of a finger were still staring her in the face: Her mother’s hospital bills were tripling by the day—the doctors said she wasn’t getting better. Her own health deteriorated with every passing day. Her children were sent away from school last week. She had to appeal to their principal and the debt collector to give her a few weeks to offset her outstanding bills. She was told they wouldn’t be allowed to take promotion exams if the fees weren’t paid. Her office and house rents were due. The landlord had sent a letter with the bill. Business wasn’t moving—her clients owed her money and she, in turn, owed her suppliers. Her phone contract had expired and the service providers had barred her line. She didn’t know any friend who could help in this time of dire need. The few she asked for a raise in the past had one excuse or the other. All the familiar channels of help were blocked. Somto could hardly find a way out; she was stuck in a narrow tunnel and she knew it. She heaved a deep sigh and leaned on the headboard in utter despair, wondering where to start.

Instantly she felt sick and numb, right down to her feet. Her heart palpitated, racing faster than a deer. Her hands were wet and jittery. She shut her eyes. It was a gloomy day for Somto. “Haaaaa!” she finally let out. “What do I do now?” Tears streamed down her face, soiling her purple night gown. But she didn’t mind, she let it flow. This was one way she could unburden her heavy heart and, perhaps, get a relief from all the problems before her. Yet her mind was all the more troubled; she needed an out. A bizarre thought crept into her heart…suicide.  She lowered her head. It sounded right. “Life is too cruel,” she said. She gave it a thought. “Take your life and be free from life’s problems. Somto you will go to a better place where there are no trials or wants or lack or difficulties bombarding you and fighting to take centre stage in your life. Take your life and be at peace!” She looked up at the ceiling and imagined passing the cloth line through the fan hook. In her mind she was standing on the dining chair, with the rope round her neck. She tossed the chair away ready to dangle to death.  On second thought, would she leave behind her lovely, amiable and intelligent Adanna, brilliant and creative Chukwunonso, and vivacious, talented and overly skilful Chidiebere? Who would take care of mama in the hospital? Will they miss her if she dies? How will they fare without her?  “No!” she screamed and shook her head. “It will be very unfair of me to take my life!” She rolled over to her bedside and pulled out an old, frayed Bible given to her by Grandma Cynthia. Flipping through the pages to a popular Psalm Grandma read to her from infancy—Psalm 23—she let out a breath and read, her voice quivered. Her eyes stumbled on the commentary at the top right corner of the Bible:

A sabbatic rest breathes through this psalm, the children’s favorite; while the oldest and holiest confess that it touches an experience which still lies before them. Here is no strife, no fear, no denunciation, and no self-vindication.

Jehovah is represented as the Shepherd, the Guide, and the Host of His people. We are taught to think less of our attitude toward Him and more of His responsibility for us. The flock does not keep the shepherd, but the shepherd keeps the flock. Look away from yourself and trust Him with all, in all, and for all.

Let God see to your wants. You need nothing outside of Him. His pastures are “tender grass;” His waters, “waters of rest.” He refreshes us when exhausted; heals when diseased; restores from wandering; leads in right paths, though steep; accompanies us into the valley with club for our foes and crook for the pits; spreads our table amid hatred; and protects our rear with the twin-angels, goodness and mercy!”

Somto fell to her knees and raised her hands in total surrender, in need of a way out of the quagmire. She let go of herself. A sudden surge of tranquility enveloped her heart.  For the first time in many weeks, she found an answer to all the worries and fears. On her knees, the loving embrace of the Father’s ever-present and abiding help eased her mind and soul. He unburdened her drooping shoulders with his soothing words of comfort and assurance. The most familiar of Psalms gave her a breather.

  • Commentary culled from Meyer’s e-sword bible.
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Baked chin-chin

I like it when I find variations to baked foods like chin-chin. I have not had a taste of baked chin-chin in a while – I run from the fried ones though very tasty and crunchy – so I thought to whip up a snack for days I want to throw something into my mouth as I work. I found this simple recipe on http://www.9jafoodie.com/2014/04/whole-wheat-baked-chin-chin/

Recipe:

3 cups whole wheat flour – I used brown bread wheat flour

1/3 sunflower oil (I reduced the oil)

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¼ Demerara sugar

2/3 low fat milk

1 tsp baking powder

1 raw egg

1/2 raisins(the raisins make it sweet so reduce sugar)

I added a pinch of salt, less than a teaspoon of cinnamon and a dash of Cameroun pepper (I like it hot!)

Direction:

Preheat oven to 135 or 140 c

Combine dry ingredients in one bowl and the liquid in another bowl

Fold in liquid into the dry mixture. Mix till dough is formed. I used a spatula and later used my hand

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Roll the dough. I had to do this in two batches.

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Use a knife to cut in tiny box shape. I made shapes out of the dough using my fruit carving tools so they look like shaped biscuits.

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Place your cut dough in a pan. You can use a parchment paper, but I greased my pans and baked for 25 minutes. I took out of the oven and turned sides then I baked till it was brown.

Allow to cool down. Then “wak”(eat) the chin- chin. So yummy especially with the pepper I added (well I like it so).

Store some away in a ziploc bag. I always do so!

Please note: this may not be an everyday snack but something to nibble every other day. Also they will never taste as crunchy as the fried chin-chin but they are much more healthy and delicious.

Bon appetit!

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Craving healthy snacks? Try this rustic apple cake

image

Those of us on a healthy/weight loss journey still battle cravings. We still gloat over candies, pastries and fizzy drinks. We literally salivate walking through candy, chocolate and pastry aisles in shops, also sniffing in the savoury or sweet smell of freshly baked pies from the other end of the shop. I used to be a sweet tooth but with time, the longing for sweets, candies and others seem to have reduced tremendously. However, there are days all I want to have is a cake, a pie, a candy bar or a cup of ice cream. I battle with the craving and the guilt that follows junking because in my case, I hardly stop at one serving. I could go on and on nibbling on them till I have eaten more than my day’s calorie intake. So while trying to stay disciplined, eat healthy and stay trimmed, I have been learning how to bake. Yes, I am LERNING to bake as many healthy things as possible. The first time I learned how to bake was during my National Youth Service Corp but I never took it serious. Now, I must just learn how to bake a healthy cake or pie. This I do by goggling “how to bake a healthy apple or banana or carrot cake” (Google is a brilliant search engine cum friend; you find a wide range of recipes). If just having a written recipe doesn’t work, I go on YouTube to watch videos by chefs/bakers. Indeed, Practice makes perfect!

Over the weekend, I tried my hands on rustic apple cake. I had to watch a lady on YouTube as she baked hers. It turned out well though mine had too many holes on the top. However, it was not rubbery. It was very fluffy and yummy. My family loved it.

Recipe:

3 apples (I used the sour Granny Smith apples, cored and peeled)

1 tablespoon lemon juice (if you use whole fruits, you can add some flesh from the lemon)

3/4 cup packed brown sugar – I used a cup which to me was too much and turned out sweeter than I wanted. You can also use honey.

1 1/2 cups flour (whole wheat, all purpose, bran etc)

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch of salt

2 eggs

5 tbsp melted butter (melt in microwave for a few seconds)

1 cup milk(preferably low fat milk)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla flavour (i used coconut and banana flavour

Extras: I added about a cup of low GI oat (ground in my food processor)

Direction:

1)    Peel the apples, chop into cubes and put aside in a bowl. Then pour some lemon juice over it to keep it from turning brown. I didn’t have any lemon at home, so I poured my milk over it and covered the bowl. It didn’t turn brown

2)    In a bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, milk, melted butter. In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon

3)    Turn the liquid ingredients into the dry mixture of flour etc. Mix together with a spatula or food processor.

4)    Fold in your apples

5)    Pour the batter into your pan. Before now, preheat your oven to 350F or 180c.

6)    Bake for one hour. Check with a toothpick that cake is done.

7)    Allow to cool off. I didn’t let mine cool off well so I had cake still sticking to my bowl 😉

Sorry, I didn’t count calories but I would advise you take calorie counting seriously. It helps you track the amount of calories consumed daily (Go to http://www.myfitnesspal.com or calorie counter). I just had a few slices and left some for another day.

Try this out. As a fitness lady said; “if you baked it, you know what is in it”. It saves you the trouble of buying or eating calorie laden/processed cakes and pastries. You can whip this together in very little time and be sure to have a nourishing snack in your pantry or fridge. It takes 17 minutes to bake in a microwave and 1 hour in an oven.  It’s a good snack to include in your children’s lunch box.

Bon appétit!

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Experimented microwave banana loaf

enybees kitchen

Some days ago, i stumbled on this recipe on a FB group and decided to try it out. I have never baked in a microwave but today,I gave it a try since I didnt have a baking pan at home. Yes, an oven maybe a healthier and better way to bake and I’m used to using an oven. But baking with a microwave today is an experiment I will try all over again.

It’s a very simple Recipe:

4 medium bananas (either mashed or blended. I used my food process to blend)

1 egg (beaten)

3 tsp. honey

1/3c or 5 tbsp .melted butter

1 tsp. baking soda

1 ½ flour (I used cake wheat flour)

¼ chopped nuts

1 tsp vanilla (I used coconut and banana flavor)

Extras: I added some cinnamon, about a handful of nuts, a drop of milk, a pinch of salt, a pinch of Cameroun pepper and little coriander. This was my own method seeing that many chefs try new things with spices and ingredients – I’ve eaten cheese and garlic bread with some pieces of biltong(dried beef). I really do love eating chili food.I added pepper for that fiery feel. Hey, this is home baked bread :-), I figured that adding some of these extra ingredients will give a tangy, savoury taste.

So I blended my banana till it was smooth, I added an egg, honey, butter which I had melted for a few seconds in the microwave. I also added the banana and coconut flavor as I didn’t have vanilla flavor at home. Then, I added a teaspoon of baking soda,pepper, salt, coriander and cinammon. The flour as well as the nuts and milk(I should have added milk to the other liquid ingredients but it came as an after thought since i needed some liquid to blend the nuts) came last. I poured the batter into a round lightly oiled microwavable dish.

Honestly, I did not know how microwave baked bread would look like. I remember a friend telling me some weeks ago how her daughter bakes in the microwave. I decided to go online to find out how this works. As usual, I found videos and recipes. I set the bowl in the microwave and cooked for six minutes. I checked it with a toothpick and knife! Some batter stuck to the toothpick. So, I cooked again for another two minutes. By this time, the bread was done. The shape of the bread looked funny, the sides were rubbery but the middle turned out  fluffy and very delicious too!

Next time, I will cook for seven minutes so the bread won’t have rubbery sides. I think I was expecting the bread to turn out brown like buns or cake which is another reason I baked for an additional two minutes.  In all, I loved the taste, its quick and easy to do just incase I cannot use the oven.

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The runner in me and other stories

This morning’s run happened in a new terrain. I didn’t know the routes but for the road a friend and I trekked through yesterday. It looked serene and inviting for a run so I planned a date with the road I had just discovered. However,some days ago, I had made up my mind to go on a run whether or not I knew the roads. I knew I can’t get missing but use it as an opportunity to navigate my way through the area. Last night, I dusted my trainers and left it on the staircase. I hung my gears on the wardrobe door and told myself; “no excuses Eno, you’re going on a run tomorrow.”

John Maxwell says ” Procrastination is the enemy of progress.” I needed to prove to my body this morning that I can be determined and proactive. I also had to battle procrastination to a stand still as I’d been planning to resume my road runs since moving into a new neighbourhood and overcoming a certain challenging situation which almost made me ditch my workouts. But when I see how God has helped me through exercising and eating healthy to keep off over 20kg and how much I never want to romance with the bad weight, I had to do the needful. Well, I woke up almost wanting to postpone my run. I had a thousand excuses to stay back in bed. After all, I slept very late. My bed still felt cozy, beckoning on me to sleep some more. My body wanted to respond to the lures of my bed but in my spirit, I resisted the urge and jumped out of bed, got dressed, laced up my trainers and trusted my Father to guide me.

I drank a cup of water to boost and satisfy my thirst.Water is so symbolic. Apart from feeling like doing a number one or two, water springs up life in me. Jesus is the living water! I also ate a banana for energy. I didn’t want to battle with sore stomach since I was going far from home.

With my small rugged Nokia phone in one hand and keys in the other I set out happily – very happy to bid goodbye to procrastination. I knew that once I did today’s run, the asphalt would become my constant fitness friend.

Why I’m I telling my story? Friends, running teaches me lessons of life. Life is a race and each of us must run with perseverance. The adversary tries to dissuade us from running the race set before us. But we must keep pushing with the strength of the Lord. Running or brisk walking gives me an opportunity to worship, meditate, pray and sing at the top of my voice without disturbing a soul – i guess I look foolish sometimes but I don’t care:-) . Running always motivated to do the impossible. Who knew I could ever run such a distance without feeling faint? I did it with the strength of the Almighty! He speaks to my heart at such times. I remember approaching the hills and he said to me; “conquer the hills, run and don’t stop”. With that I pushed through by his might. That said, I listed the hilly situations around us and in our lives, asking them to bow to the power and authority in the name of Jesus. Like David pursued, overtook and conquered, I do same. I know there are some hills I have to face by faith, press through and overcome. I have seen God do the impossible, so I leap over walls knowing that every mountainous or hilly situations will be brought low. I had a fulfilling one hour run. I got home energized.

In other news, my daughter gladly sleeps in her room all alone. She is so excited to have her own room. Just as excited as she is in her room is the way she’s excited about going to school. I’m I not fortunate to have a daughter who doesn’t cry at the thought of leaving her in the hands of her teacher? We started potty training early this month and so far, we are winning,though few accidents every now and then which I must confess is exhausting to clean and wipe the floors. Potty training is one job  I wasn’t looking forward to but so far she is really faring well and I have no reason to complain. My DD seems to enjoy going to the toilet every other minute. 🙂 .

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

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The Baller Workout

Looking for a workout that’s tough enough for, well, a tough guy, but still beginner friendly? You’ve come to the right..COPYRIGHT 2005-2014 MYFITNESSPad a brief quiet time, jumped out of bed and kept fighting the urge to stay home. I had cup of water – water is so symbolic. God used water to speak of life. I took that cup of water spring up vigour and a banana for energy.

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Stop playing with hot coals

burning coals

Many years ago, we used to do many of our cooking on firewood especially during occasions and during our lowest moments when gas was very expensive to buy. I cannot forget the experience of setting up the wood under the local stove or call it a burner, then we would either sprinkle some drops of Kerosene or use palm kernel chaff, paper or any combustible substance and light the fire. If you have ever had this experience you’d remember how hot that fire could be sitting or standing next to it (I know many people still enjoying doing large cooking using this method). We endured the heat, we got used to it and after sometime we did not feel the fiery furnace anymore. All we looked forward to then was how to fry the grated/finely sifted cassava flour called  “garri” or cook some pots of soup and any other meals. It was a “sweet” experience I do not ever look forward to ever in my life. I can leisurely make fire for the chimney or for a barbecue but not for regular cooking :).

Solomon’s book of Proverbs is a very potent book many of us need to refer to every now and then. Today I took a look at Proverbs 6. I went online to find the verses where he spoke on hot coals. I cast my mind to when hot oil splashed on one of us when we tried to take a large pan of oil off the firewood stove, I also remember when the dry wood would release sparks of fire and we would jump away to avoid being burned and how the smoke got into our eyes till the turned red and teary. Infact if I remember so well, coals have burned my fingers a number of times. My palms would be on fire, then a blister formed and my skin peeled.

Solomon asked some salient questions in this passage;

 “Can a man take fire in his bosom, And his clothes not be burned?

Or can one walk upon hot coals, And his feet not be scorched?

And he answered thus:

“So is the one who goes into his neighbor’s wife; Whoever touches her will not go unpunished.”

   Solomon’s wise counsel has not yet steered men and women away from playing with hot coals. I have seen (and heard of) many men and women call up and chat with Exes like it never mattered. Some have casually and carelessly awakened old times and brought to life once buried emotional ties, gone on Lunch and trips together. I have heard and seen people incite lust in the wrong places, seen some chase and covet another’s property. So I ask, where have we kept our consciences? What do you need from an Ex lover? Why do you chase after that young lady or follow up the young man in your office, church, gym etc?Adulterous living has become the order of the day and many of God’s people are falling prey. Some of us are not even conscious of the consequences of dating, seeing and keeping late nights with another woman’s husband or chatting with another man’s wife late into the night. We claim there is “nothing going on between us” yet we can share deep intimate moments and emotional words which should be saved for our better half.

Oh! what ills facebook, blackberry messenger, Skype and other social tools have done to marriages. How much we’ve shied away from speaking up against adultery, fornication and the likes. Even more disturbing is the way some hearts have been so hardened that these things look so normal in our society – and so few say anything against it. Why must we be quiet when we need to say the truth in love to singles and married men/women out there who are choosing to live this way? Please do not say we are just flesh when we know we can FLEE from the very things that destroy the flesh, the soul and spirit. You cannot heap hot coals on your laps and not be burned. You may enjoy or get used to the heat for a moment but I can tell you, it will lead to death. A few years ago, a friend’s daughter mistakenly hugged a coal pot on fire and her body was scarred. We earnestly prayed for her healing. God healed her and she never went close to fire again. Men and women, BEWARE of an ex-lover, run as fast as a deer from the doorstep of an adulterous man or woman. Do not take pleasure in their gifts and calls, it will harm you.

The word of God is a buffer, do not just act like a macho man if you see that this weakness is about to destroy your life or your marriage. CRY OUT to God to save you from immoral living. Ask him for help to desist from watching movies or tv programs and music stations that can stir up this evil desire. Be accountable to godly friends and brethren, be sincere to your spouse and be watchful, alert and prayerful. Telling your spouse how you feel for another woman or man is not a weakness but one way of overcoming this vice. Also, uphold each other in prayer and guard your marriage for the devil our adversary is cunning and prowls around like a roaring lion looking for who to devour.

Listen to Solomon again;

My son, observe the commandment of your father
And do not forsake the teaching of your mother;
Bind them continually on your heart;
Tie them around your neck.
When you walk about, they will guide you;
When you sleep, they will watch over you;
And when you awake, they will talk to you.
For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching is light;
And reproofs for discipline are the way of life
To keep you from the evil woman(or man),
From the smooth tongue of the adulteress.
Do not desire her beauty in your heart,
Nor let her capture you with her eyelids.
For on account of a harlot one is reduced to a loaf of bread,
And an adulteress hunts for the precious life.

May we submit to God and resist the devil and he shall flee. May the Lord help us and keep us from falling, Amen.

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Courage!

leap of faith    Another song welled up in my heart after posting on taking a “leap of faith”. The song says;

                                     “I’m marching on with heart courageous,
                                      Follow anywhere you want me to.
                                     Should you lead me where the battle rages,
                                     Lord I’ll march with heart courageous after you.”

 If there’s any day and time I need to remain strong and resolute its now. The battle is raging, the work is enormous and the journey ahead is great (but I am VICTORIOUS!). This won’t be a time to be deterred by pettiness or a time to build my faith on other’s report, its a time to remain on the rooftop asking for all the help I can receive from Yahweh to finish this race strong and a time to set my face as flint on the path he’s set before me.  I also know many moms and friends out there hiding behind a facade of “all is well” yet needing a pat on the back and a nudge to keep fighting the good fight and build on their most holy faith. Quite frankly, a lot of us need to urgently filter the kind of news we read and listen to, we need to desist from watching any and every video on social media/online. We need to curb our appetite for some soaps,movies, comedies etc we feed our souls with and also close our ears to some discussions. We need to stay occupied for the kingdom in the various fields the LORD will have us – this includes our careers,businesses, home management etc

Friends, make the song above your personal cry to God, to help you stand for righteousness and truth, to stand when things seem to rock your faith. Stand when the enemy of your soul is waging wars of deception, lies and godlessness.

STAND with heart courageous!

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Leap of faith

 

 

“We have an anchor that keeps our soul;
Steadfast and sure while the billows roll.
Fastened to the rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Saviour’s love”

The hymn above echoed in my heart this morning. Its so comforting to know God is an anchor that keeps our ship from capsizing. If there is one thing I have learned in our faith walk its to hold to God’s word and allow it breath life – i mean life that won’t only raise the dead but cause us to walk in the supernatural so that we possess the earth for the Lord. I grew up hearing people say “look before you leap”leap of faith. This Proverb was used in books, short stories and poems to draw a “moral” lesson. It means; “you shouldn’t act without first considering the possible consequences or dangers.” We believed this idiom so much so that we wrapped our decisions around it. Till date we still look before we make the leap. We do not want to fall into a pit, we do not want to face the seeming dangers of life so we play safe, we want to take informed risk that will not land us in a mess. I know how foolish it is to walk into a pit, its wrong to make haste or even stupid to stand in the middle of road when cars are driving at top speed. That will not be faith but folly. That said, I am also learning that if we are prompted by the Holy Spirit to take some daring decisions that may entail “crossing a pit”, we have to act being assured of a safe landing on the other side. There are people who mock such faith as being too religious, overly spiritual and fanatical and their petty talk makes a lot of believers to shy away from speaking boldly and proclaiming the truth. The truth also is that many of us do not believe God wholly so we tend to  play safe and tag along with the world’s philosophy. Jesus believed unto death. He was not a left brainer or a philosopher. As he heard, he judged. He wrought miracles that made mere men shudder. He challenged the religious laws of his day and was called names, scorned and criticised because he didn’t just talk with authority, but walked this earth in an extraordinary way and he wants us to walk and talk like him. Someone once wrote that she has found that believers often are emotional yo-yos. Today,we are full of faith, tomorrow we doubt, this minute we are up and joyful, the next minute down and beaten, and so on and so forth. We just need to be STABLE though doubts bombard our hearts. We must be strong when the odds are against us and be of good cheer when our faith is challenged .

Let me reiterate that walking by faith doesn’t mean being presumptuous or foolish but it is taking a step into the impossible because we know it is POSSIBLE. When we walk by faith, we will move against the tides, walking on stormy waters when others are scampering for their dear lives. We will trample on snakes and drink poison and they will do us no harm. By faith, we will look fanatical and stupid to the world yet standing by what we believe in God and know that God who vindicates will not forsake but honour his word in our lives. Jesus broke the norms and was criticised. The ultimate of it all is that he hung on the cross, his body was led in the grave yet he AROSE and today, by his blood and sacrifice we are redeemed and have eternal life. It is all by FAITH. Faith does not wait to see to believe neither does faith wait till the impossible happens to believe, faith believes and does the impossible. Faith is doing the very things people say cannot be done. Believing the truth and efficacy of God’s word, believing that a thousand may fall at our right hand to diseases and ten thousand on our left in wars but none shall come near us. I’m not propagating insensitivity to people’s plight or down times but speaking based on the word of God for it works. I am sending a reminder that in these very evil days, our faith will be tried and ruffled but we must MARCH ON with courage!

<

p style=”text-align:left;”>This year we took a leap of faith, a journey that would never ever make sense to human reasoning but it was done by God’s leading. We decided to walk the rough road. In the beginning it was very trying, senseless, turbulent and extremely stormy. In the midst of it all, God showed up as the lead and guide. He prompted us to forge ahead though we panicked, doubted and exhibited fear. We walked and are still walking in the light of God’s direction. His word is our buffer and our companion. Of course, we are still nurturing our hearts to believe and act as led. God’s word has built and is building our muscle beyond our imagination. It has not all come together as our human eyes would desire a two-minute miracle because its a journey. But we find rest and joy in knowing we are in his PROMISE and his will. We are convinced as the day unfolds we took a leap of faith with rewards and blessings.  If we ONLY believe what we sing, preach and confess, we won’t be shaky in our faith nor will we bow to the standards of this world.

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Its our “shared” birthday!

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 Its my daughter’s second birthday and I am also feeling like the celebrant. After all, i bore her for nine months and we went through the delivery process together. So Happy birthday to us lol. I am mega excited, I cannot contain my joy remembering the day she was born, how she was born and the deliverance, victories and miracles God wrought on our behalf. Today I ascribe all the greatness to God seeing my daughter run around the house like its all about her – oh yes its all about her today.

Two nights ago, she woke up around 4am to eat(she doesn’t wake up to eat), we sat together till almost 6am. She was talking, clapping and dancing. I began to sing to her, as she danced some more. Too cute 🙂 I was so amused.It then occurred to me she is no longer that baby i used to carry in my arms. She can now bear her mind and ask for whatever she wants. I had to coax her to eat so we could sleep some more before the cock crows at dawn. Interestingly, she’s known her age. Her uncle taught her how to say she is a year old. When anyone asked how old she was, she raised a finger and said “one”. We’ve been preparing her mind for the fantastic two she is now though we are still having to make her say the number two because she is bent on saying she is a year old lol. Not a problem at all, its too early to expect so much, she will know she is two and say it too. Surprisingly, she asked for her cake and sweet to celebrate her birthday, she also sang the “happy birthday” song for all of us and she is very happy.

We are so blessed to have her. She’s so dear, so healthy, strong, so gregarious, much fun to have and she’s outstanding in many ways. I’m amazed at the things she can do and how God has used her life to define different areas of my life. When her father was praying for her, he just couldn’t stop thanking God for the favours we have received throughout the two years. There are just too many to mention. I must say God has been so good and for the years ahead, we believe our expectation shall not be cut short. As her name “Eminifeoluwa” implies, she is the love of the Lord and the apple of God’s eyes. As the word of God says, I and the children you have given to me are for signs and wonders in this land from the Lord of hosts who dwells on Mount Zion. She is for a sign and wonder in her generation, she bears God’s glory and has found GRACE in his sight. To him be all the glory forever more amen.

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My natural hair part 2

Yes, I am back to share how my deep conditioning treatment turned out:

I searched online for DIY ways to deep condition natural hair. I got different options, and tried this out with a few tweaks here and there. I loosened my protective style(cornrows) sometime last week and detangled my hair with Amla and olive oil. I then pre-pooed hair with oils a day before I did the deep condition treatment. I also moisturized with water and used a satin scarf to cover hair to sleep.
Yesterday morning, I squeezed one small lemon juice into a bowl, added 1 tablespoon of baking soda and about 4 tablespoons of white vinegar to three cups of water. I read that white vinegar is as good as the recommended Apple Cider Vinegar. I added some rosemary sprigs to the vinegar a night before I used it and drained out the leaves in the morning. Usually, I leave remaining vinegar in a spritz bottle for future use. I used this mixture to shampoo and rinse my hair.
Once I was done with rinsing, I applied the deep condition mix to my hair.
I used one small avocado,1 tablespoon of plain Greek yogurt (in place of plain yogurt or mayonnaise),1 tablespoon of olive oil,2 tablespoons of coconut oil, an egg, a little lump of Shea butter cream. I also added few rosemary sprigs to the olive oil and heated it up for less than a minute, then I drained out the oil. I was supposed to have honey in this recipe but I didn’t have honey at home.
I whisked the egg separately, then blended the avocado in a blender for smoothness. I added some milk in the blender because the avocado got stuck and I didn’t want to add water.The first time I used avocado to condition my hair, I didn’t mash well so I had residues in my hair hence my decision to use a blender.
I mixed everything together, parted my hair in 6 sections, applied the mix,made sure I massaged the mix into every section of my hair and into my scalp. I tied my hair with polythene bag, also wore a shower cap over the p.bag and left it for a little over an hour.Then, I thoroughly rinsed hair with warm water. Again,I  poured some diluted vinegar over hair again and didn’t rinse it out. I dabbed my hair with a towel but didn’t dry the water completely. I used my live in conditioner and applied my homemade Shea butter cream, olive oil and jojoba oil to moisturize and seal in oil. The wisest decision I made was to blend the avocado because it did not leave particles in my hair and the egg did not cook on my head 🙂
I twisted the hair in less than three hours. Eureka! My hair felt so soft, smooth, easy to twist, curly and I won’t fail to add that it has body and length. I have seen a major improvement from the last time I did a deep condition. I have not experienced any breakage so far. I have found the need to do a deep conditioning treatment once or twice a month. In my candid opinion, using natural homemade products saves money and reduces use of many store bought products loaded with chemicals.

Useful Info:
Vinegar: Research shows white vinegar improves and conditions the hair.
Vinegar is said to restore natural pH and prevents itchy scalp for someone like me who uses quite an amount of oil. White vinegar is said to increase your hair’s shine appeal and gives it more body.
Apart from using vinegar, I also use a tablespoon of baking soda in a cup of water to wash my hair, I have not noticed any dryness so far but I do not overdo anything with these products.

Citrus oil: I learned how to make citrus oil using olive oil and lemon zest, I infused lemon zest in a bowl of live oil. It smells so good. I added this oil to my Shea butter cream.
Shea Butter cream: I melted my unrefined Shea butter, poured some olive oil into the butter, added some drops of castor oil and coconut oil and whipped them together. The cream looks edible :D. I can also use it as my body cream.Rosemary leaves: Rosemary is said to be one of the best herbs for the hair. In my little experimentation,I tried making rosemary oil after reading an article on how to make rosemary oil. I decided to try mine out. I did this by infusing fresh(I allowed the dew to dry from the leaves) rosemary sprigs in coconut oil for some days. The fragrance was also good.

Disclaimer: This post is NOT written by a professional hair specialist and I am in no way recommending my regimen to anyone. I just thought to share how my natural hair journey has been. I will not fail to share any mistakes (if any) encountered on this journey.

 

2

My natural hair part 1

 

If you have natural Afro 4b or 4c hair like me, you’d NATURALLY gravitate towards natural hair sites, pages on FB, discussion groups, YouTube and blogs. You would be forced to read, watch different natural hair videos, “gaggle” so much information and tweak to suite you. Then as its fondly said, you may experiment and “stick to what works for you”. I have done all of the above and more. I am one person who likes to learn from others but in many cases won’t follow everything I read. I was speaking with a friend on caring for natural hair,products to use etc. She kept hammering on the tough sides of combing/styling the hair everyday as compared to wearing hair extensions, styling permed hair,etc. To her, the natural hair thing is just a trend very difficult to maintain. As much as I agreed with her that its a trend (but disagree that its difficult to maintain), I shared from my experience how easy it has been to keep my natural hair. Let’s not also forget so quickly that the Nigerian/African child, was born with “natural” hair. Our hair is naturally thick, dense, nappy, kinky or woolly Afro, sometimes dark or brown, in some cases, 4b,4c type of hair.

Wikipedia calls it the Afro- textured hair. Hair not altered by hot combs, flat irons or chemicals. Each strand of this hair grows in a tiny spring like helix shape.

While I do not intend going into the history or origin of the natural hair which can be found online 🙂 neither I’m I campaigning against permed hair:), I just thought to share how I have fared with my hair after the BC in December. So far so good, I have no regrets, my hair is growing,my edges are picking up rapidly unlike when I dragged it with weaves, braids and hot combs.
I decided to go natural three years ago as I shared here, I really wanted my hair to have body, texture and just glow (I sincerely did not follow the “trend”, this was just me deciding to go natural when my permed hair was not doing so well).

Firstly,I didn’t believe I could maintain or look good with the hair so I hesitated to do a BC. I considered I’d wear an old mamaish-look. I never knew I could have soft, curly strands since I had very dry and difficult to comb hair as a child. Now with a lot of information at our disposal, I am learning daily how to use natural products and when I mean natural, I am talking about the things we eat and use in the kitchen – to achieve desired results. I really desire to see my hair grow long,full and easy to style.

I had cornrows for close to a month, I loved the look :). Usually I twist, do three plaits, loosen and then style. It either stretches my hair into an Afro look or the twist leaves some nice looking curly feel. And yes, i can style my hair too! The cornrows came in handy because I could wear a wig or a beanie. It was also very convenient for my workouts. After each workout, I wiped my sweaty hair with water. I could pour water on my hair to reduce any itchy feeling. I would infuse oils(castor and olive oil) in the rows of my hair or just rub in as much oil as I wanted (this is my method, please don’t follow me :)) to prevent dryness. I have heard people say that cornrow is very convenient for swimming, I would agree with them even though I have not tried this. In my opinion, pouring water on the head has a cooling effect even though I don’t wash my hair everyday.
On another note, I just learned that whenever I have the cornrows or braids, I could wipe my hair once a week with cotton wool dipped in vinegar and water. I loosened the cornrows – my hair has so GROWN – earlier in the week to wash and do a deep condition which I will talk about in my next post.

P/S: The picture below(courtesy of Google images is a reminder that our children’s hair can also be cared for with oils and whatever regimen suitable for their hair. My daughter’s hair is growing rapidly. I will do a post on her hair as well). 

natural hair

2

Dear mother…

“Mummy come”, she tugs the helm of Mummy’s house coat.

Mummy cooooooooome, sit here (points to the floor). But Mummy is busy chatting online and chuckling at comments on Facebook.

“Can’t you see that I’m busy? I’ll be with you soon,” she says, as she hushes the child up. 

The child won’t budge but keeps pulling Mummy, like one who’s fighting for her right.
Reluctantly, Mummy sits on the floor and tosses the ball to her child.

When will this game be over? she wonders. 

Dear child is having fun as she throws the ball in the air and rolls it on the floor.
Mummy yawns; “I’m bored,” she says, sneezing and thinking of ways to introduce a new game.
Dear child revolts, so the game continues against Mummy’s will.

“Dear child, please bear with me. Mummy is having a serious conversation online; also, she has lots of emails to reply and many novels, newsletters and blogs to read.” 
She reels them out, jumps to her feet, walks off and plops in front of the computer like a nerd.
Dear child cries and wanders off to play on her own.

“You need to go to school,” Mummy says. “At least I can dump you on the teachers—they are paid to cope with your energy—and find time for myself.” 

“Dear Mummy, I am ready for school,” mumbles dear child.
“I long to leave home, meet my peers, play in the sand, scribble on paper, play pretend games, mould play dough, play with sugar, flour and milk, sing nursery rhymes and enjoy all the things my peers do at the creche.”

“I’m sure Teacher Irene and Teacher Linda (finds a name for her imaginary class teachers) will play with me.” She rolls her eyes, resting her teeny weeny fingers on her chin.
“She will not always complain that I’m stepping on her well-manicured and newly painted toenails.
She won’t always tap her phone or push me away to play on my own.
She will applaud me when I scribble or place stickers on paper.”

“She won’t force me to sit in front of the TV while she punches away on her tablet.
She will sing to me, read new books and join me in playing with dolls.
She will tickle me, study me, know what I like to do and put me to sleep when it’s naptime and bedtime.”

“I will laugh, roll on the floor, dip my hands in paint, splash water, and never mind if I get dirty.
At least I can toss the clothes in a washing machine when I am back,” she says, standing akimbo.

“You would be exhausted by the time you’re back home, dear child.
So exhausted, I would have to put you to sleep,” undaunted Mummy replies.

(Dear child comes back from school)

“Dear child, you are shouting!
Speak quietly; don’t you realize this is a quiet neighbourhood?”
Dear child cries hard.
Mummy glares at dear child. 
“Be quiet; you cry too much.”

“You litter your scribble books and toys all over the house 
I can barely find a place to put my feet. What junk!” Mum protests. “This house has just been tidied.”
“Please, go back to school; in fact sleep there.
No more holidays for you; the teachers will put up with you. Mummy scratches her head in frustration.


“Dear Mummy, when will you ever have time for me?” dear child says, pouting.

“You said I’m a gift from the Lord; you said you treasure me.
But you want me out of your space; you pick on everything I do and won’t let me be a child. You’re always in a hurry; you drop me off at granny’s or at school and pray I sleep off by the time you’re back to pick me.
Mummy, I need YOU, not the cartoons and certainly not Grandma nor the Teacher!
I need your cuddles, hugs and kisses;
I need you to pray with me, play with me, hold my hands and talk to me like you really care.
4

Unity!

       Yesterday I came across comments made on a certain platform and it dawned on me that a number of us (including me) in the BODY of Christ carry around an ours is better than yours mentality. “I am better than you” doesn’t allow for true brotherhood and makes us a lot more susceptible to Satan’s attacks hence the competition,strife,divisions, rancour and sectarianism. Jesus said to the Father, “That they maybe ONE even as you and I are one”.
Paul addressed the problems of disunity in the Corinthian church saying;When one of you says, “I am a follower of Paul,” and another says, “I prefer Apollos,” aren’t you acting like those who are not Christians? 

To the Phillipians he encouraged them to agree wholeheartedly with each other, love one another and work together with one heart and purpose.

We must desist from marketing or fighting so hard to brand any group as better than the others. After all, we are soldiers in the army of the Lord without rank or file but standing together strong and armored for the final onslaught. Jesus is coming for a church not many churches, denominations, fellowships etc free from spots and wrinkles. God wants his people called by his name, to stand together like an army. In another story, John the disciple reported to Jesus how he saw someone using the name of Jesus to cast out demons and tried to stop because him he wasn’t in his group. But Jesus said, “Don’t stop him! Anyone who is not against you is for you.”
We are one body, we have the same spirit, called and chosen for the purpose of his kingdom. We are in the same team for the same purpose, though many yet one, diverse yet united in the Holy spirit. Let’s stop tearing one another, bruising and shooting each other but let’s lift up his name in one accord and work together as partners – for we Christians are God’s temple – for the sake of the gospel.
Scriptures: 1 Corinthians 3 and 4; Ephesians 4, Philippians 2:1-4.
7

Healing is the children’s bread

God is so amazing and I love to share his faithfulness like David who always spoke before the congregation of God’s people. The word of God is potent, alive and at work especially when we believe in faith.

I am learning confess the word when a situation is beyond my control and BELIEVE it is done – without an iota of fear or doubt. For almost a week my daughter had not made a poop. She was constipated and each time she tried to make a poop, she whined and walked on the balls of her feet (tippy toes as one of my niece’s calls it:) ). We squeezed some oranges for her to drink, though it worked but it did not seem as effective as we know oranges work as a laxative. Well, we decided to get her a laxative from the Pharmacy.

Our mistake: We mistakenly gave her an overdose of the laxative. Dear daughter was crying profusely unable to lie down or stay in my arms. She came to me rubbing her stomach like she was irritable and very uncomfortable – the laxative was working. She made a first poop, her stomach kept rumbling like a mighty ocean yet she kept whining uncontrollably.She moved from her dad’s arms to mine fighting so much discomfort. It was already so late in the night. We prayed!

Another mistake: I went online to check the effects of over dose of laxative. The information I got was discomforting. I quickly closed the page and consulted the WORD that works. I almost cried out as I held my DD in my hands and God told me not to bow to self-pity or fear. We began to speak the word over her; “…you shall drink poisonous drink and it shall do you no harm.” 

“Healing is the children’s bread, and by the stripes of Jesus you are made whole”

We prophesied sound sleep over her and told the stomach to be calm. Truly my daughter’s condition was enough to make me panic because the enemy kept throwing bows at me: “its your foolish mistake, an overdose is harmful to children so she will land on the hospital bed, she will be unconscious after a while, she can die, etc.” However,she made the fourth very watery poop for the night and slept soundly. I put her in bed and lay down. At about midnight, she woke up whining, made the fifth poop and I said to my Father none of us will not stay awake neither will we change another diaper in the middle of the night. She must sleep as we earlier agreed. I gave her a cup of water and she dozed off till morning.

This morning, she whined for some minutes and God told me succinctly; “she is fine!”. I took that word and I held unto it. One last poop she made, I gave her a warm bath and she was playing about like nothing happened.

Call it a coincidence or a mere act or the laxative cleansing her stomach? I call it a miracle, wrought by the hand of the Almighty God. I know children who have been rushed to hospitals on account of an overdose. God is faithful and he is always at work if we only believe!

Lessons learned: Such a mistake must never repeat itself again. We must syrup be very sure of the doses and all before administering any syrup to her. Secondly, some information we garner online are medically correct, but many will counter our faith especially when in a very trying situation. I did not need to read about the dangers of an overdose and not even at that time of the night. I needed to apply the word in that very situation and go to sleep. I say this quite a lot on my blog, that I respect Doctors, I have quite a number of them around me and I consult them now and then but the word of God works beyond medical science(which has its place) and I believe so with all my heart. The woman with the issue of blood had been to many physicians to no avail until she met Jesus. I know two people whom God recently healed of terminating diseases. God revoked the reports of the doctor big time.

Lastly, I know God wants us to operate in the realm where we speak to mountains and they move, where we refuse to cower to the lies of the enemy, speak LIFE via his word and see situations bow to his authority. It won’t be wrong to say that God wants his people in this day to speak to every sickness and see healing just as Peter, Paul and others did in their time.

May he sharpen and strengthen our faith amen.

2

If you must give

My sister in-law and spoke extensively on the ministry of giving. It was such an eye opener for me who is hoping to be a cheerful giver. I am so glad to share that our Father and Lord is a perfect example of a giver. Out of love he GAVE his only son, such an awesome gift of all time to save us from condemnation. Please bear with this slightly long post as I share…

Paul dedicated two chapters in 2 Corinthians (8 and 9) to encourage the church to give money to the Christians in Jerusalem. They were in need. From Paul’s writing, I understand that the Christians in Jerusalem also knew to give despite their hardships, they gave far beyond their capacity.

Paul quoting David’s Psalm said;

“Godly people GIVE GENEROUSLY to the poor. Their good deeds will never be forgotten”

If you must give: Give from the abundance God has kept in your possession. Do not select the ragged, tattered gifts you are not bold enough to use. The ones you consider are worthy of the worn out shirts ridden with holes, the completely faded trousers, skirts and children’s clothes in your “bottom box” need to be weaned off the poverty mindset that they only deserve crumbs. If some of them knew better, they won’t receive the “blind” sickly gifts we cajole them to collect. Give like you are offering to God, yes give because its a command from the Lord.

If the Governor or President of your country has asked to visit your home for dinner, you’ll be ecstatic and quickly set your home to taste. It is your opportunity to impress a very important personality. You will roll out the best set of drums, comb your store for the new casseroles, plates, glass cups and search for those glimmering gold cutlery, perhaps re-paint some areas of the house he will walk through. You will lay before him the most delicious meals he has ever eaten and wait on him with glee! I have some experience in this manner. My father was highly placed, for most of my growing up years we entertained VIPs, highly placed people and what have you. My very detailed, finicky mum who learned from her father how to treat guest, keep the house as clean and as hospitable as ever would take her time to select the best dishes, napkins, cutlery etc. She would ensure the dinning table is properly set, plates are kept in the proper way and the living room is tidied, dusted and well arranged. Kudos to my mom :). If some VIPs can receive such grandeur, why do our security guards and live in maids receive a much degrading treatment as though they were not created by the same God who made the VIPs? Could it be a function of giving honor to whom it is due or a societal problem where the poor, needy and homeless are despised?

If you must give: Be like the farmer who sows generously so he can reap a generous harvest. Choose the best of the items in your household you no longer need and discard the rest in a dustbin. Why would you dare give your maid clothes your children can never be found in? Why do you consider that some of your lowlife friends deserve the peeled, ripped bags, split shoes, faded and threadbare clothes? Early this year, my husband and I had to declutter our home and give out most of our things.  As we sorted out clothes, kitchen items and all, my conscience would not let me give out some stuff while on the other hand, I heard God tell me to give out some of my most treasured items. At first I really struggled but with his help I let them go. I was careful not to give out any blind gifts – the Lord instructed the children of Israel not to sacrifice to him any blemished, blind, sick animals but to give from the best. The mistake Cain made was to give a mere offering which was unacceptable to God. His brother Abel gave a choice lamb from the best of his flocks. Months later, I verbally regretted giving out our choice things but God rebuked me. I had to repent of such an attitude and thanked him for the opportunity to give to the needy.

I’ve been asking God for more grace to improve on my giving, putting the recipient in my shoes. We cannot stretch our hands to the sky with our money, food and clothes – he does not need them because all we have came from Him – but he will direct us to give to the people around bearing in mind that we can entertain angels unknowingly. I am not encouraging recipients to be choosy, always begging or taking advantage of living a beggarly lifestyle neither I do I encourage despising the “hands-me-down”, secondhand gifts. Personally, I have received many beautiful used items when I needed them most. As a matter of fact, recently when I could not afford to replenish my wardrobe with clothes as a result of losing many to weight loss, my beautiful sisters blessed me with lovely clothes :). I received them with gratitude. However, a few years ago, I was so in need of change of shoes to wear to church, one sweet friend who in the past had blessed me with beautiful things gave me a pair of black pumps she had worn to subjection :). I was very desperate that I wore them to church one Sunday only for the shoes to embarrass me. The shoes opened at the sole, I had to drag my feet all the way home. Her intentions may have been right though I can thrust my chest that she would never have worn such shoes.Those shoes should have kissed earth goodbye and gone to its grave :). My point is that we be sensitive to help the needy and the poor who will always be in our midst. Some people we help maybe in need today but extremely wealthy tomorrow – they are only going through a season. Our giving good gifts also TEACH others to emulate us. I know people who have really challenged me with their giving.

Give from your heart as Paul and Jesus encouraged. Give cheerfully from the abundance he has in your custody for it is more blessed to give than to receive. Jesus so full of love and kindness became poor so we might be rich. He who did not know poverty, took it upon himself in loving exchange so we can have riches. If the Lord could do this for us, why won’t we learn from his good examples?