Wednesday, 22 June 2016

START WITH THE END IN MIND



Recently Jan, my 8 year old was given a project in school, to write and print out a story for children within the age range of 5 or 6 years. 5 year olds.
For days she sat at the computer, the blank screen staring (occasionally winking) at her. 
She started with the title " The rabbit and the snail" , then after a line decided the story wasn't coming together and changed the title to "The hare and the spider". 
That didn't go too well either after the first line.
I saw titles linked with princesses and mermaids, but the delete button kept getting them.
Finally, i intervened after seeing her frustration.
(Now I think of it, its possible all that show was to get me to come to her aid immediately, hmmm)

I gave her a very simple advice:- "start with the end in mind"
Her expression was either different strokes "what you talking' bout willis" or plain old "huh"
I told her that to write a good story, she needed to see in her minds eye what she wanted to story to be about. (some writing experts might reason differently but we will talk about that later).
I told her to figure out what she wanted to write about and then the title would come to her during the writing, not before.
She looked at me, hands on her chin and asked "How can you be so sure about that?"
My answer was simple, "I have been down this road one too many times."

I find that in life to achieve anything meaningful, this rule applies. 
(Emphasis on meaningful !)


We can liken writing a goal to writing the body of the story, I said.
What do you want your story to be about?
Do you want your story to talk about princesses or fashion?
Do you want your story to teach children about the importance of honesty or to emphasise the merits of handwork?
You have to know what your goal is?
Yep, you guessed right? She was beginning to lose interest so i changed strategy.
"Let us write a fun story about a naughty tortoise who liked to trick people but at the end of the story, he lost all his friends because no one wanted to play with him anymore"
"Cool!" she replied.
With no title yet, we started weaving humour and morals into 8 pages. I had to let her have the upper hand because she was cutting off parts that didn't just make sense to her or that she felt were not relevant to the story. (and you thought your editor was harsh. lol) 
Finally, somewhere close to the end, the title came. 

One thing is certain, children might not be able to immediately comprehend all the lessons and advice you give them, but that should not stop you from continually teaching and showing them practical strategies to help them excel in life.
Trust me, they are listening (yes even the much younger ones who can't keep still or the older ones who act like they know it all already).

The lesson today: Start with the end in mind! 
See in your minds eye where you want to go or what you want to achieve, and everything will come into place once you start moving.
Practical lesson for you as you work to improve yourself, practical advice to give your children for their work and life.




You are getting better everyday.






Monday, 6 June 2016

PICTURES FROM "THE LITTLE BLUE COW" BOOK LAUNCH.

So on the 27th of May, childrens day, our book "The Little Blue Cow" was launched. (It is our book because God gave the inspiration, I put down the words and you encouraged and cheered all the way so it is our book. Yay!!)





We had a lot of fun planning and praying towards that day, thank you for all your prayers and messages.

My extremely happy face. lol



Our compere for the day introducing the guest speakers. #leadersoftodayandtomorrow



SistaPillars encouraging and shining their light for the Kingdom. #ThankYou.

Okay there is a story behind this picture. lol. I had spent hours digging up  on the profile of the guest speakers , then the night before I find out my big sis doesn't like big introductions. I'm thinking "which line out of this three pages do i cancel. lol. Lesson learnt: Don't panic on the day of your event, no matter what happens just chill. 

 

I've met really amazing people through social media. My big sis here is one of them.  This was our first time of meeting face to face and she is a truly beautiful soul. Thank you Big sis.



A sister close to my heart and a representative of our Facebook group "WHEN PARENTS PRAY".  #SmilingEfe. 





There is a major story behind this picture. So the day before the book launch, I go to pick my children from school and my daughter is on the steps crying and throwing up. She was perfectly okay when i dropped her off in the morning so i was a bit confused at what had happened. We spent the night trying to get the temperature or even the drugs down.
Lesson learnt: Be aware that the enemy of your soul is never happy when you are taking steps towards your purpose. Expect that he will try to confuse or destabilise you , so be ready with your weapons of warfare. 
Most importantly relax because your victory is certain. God has you covered.


Great things come in factory fitted packages. lol Tomi the dynamite and our very own director creamy cravings there to support us. Thanks ladies.



You won't believe that I went to high school with this ladies. Pleas excuse me while i renew my gym membership. lol. But seriously these ladies are simply amazing. #SistersForever.



Mummy time =selfie time. I love my Jan, one of the strongest girls i know.
Jay is giving us one of the avengers pose while Dave is trying to pick a microphone and try out for the next Voice auditions. lol


God gives you family so you can learn to love people other than yourself.  #SmilingRockSolidFamily
I'm so happy that children are already sending me feedback on what they have read and learnt.
I was super excited when One child wrote saying she was applying the principles she had learnt and was eagerly waiting for my next book. Wow!
Another child wrote, "It was easy to read and the story in the story was very interesting . I loved it."

God is raising up a godly generation for Himself. This book is one tool you can use to equip them with teachings that will help them build their character and faith.
You can get your copies at Laterna stores and Glendora bookshop in Ikeja City mall in Lagos.

Till next time, remember that you are getting better.


Tuesday, 10 May 2016

THE PART YOU PLAY IN ENCOURAGING OR ENDING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.

Recently in the news, there have been too many stories of married men and women murdering their spouses. 
While it is true that more women tend to be abused by their partners, we won't deny that there are men being abused by their partners as well.
Reading those stories is always painful for me especially when there are little children left behind, but what really weighs me down is when friends and family of the deceased person come out to say they had no idea he/she was being abused or had problems in their marriage.
Trust me, I am all for privacy in your marriage but I sincerely believe the purpose of marriage is not for you to disconnect from the rest of the world.
Marriage was designed to build each partner up and then together , the couple work with God to establish His Kingdom on earth.
Now if a person gets into a marriage and is constantly being abused mentally, emotionally or physically, that person needs to seek help from outside that marriage. By help, I am referring to a counsellor or a support group.
No one person is meant to solve all their problems on their own, isn't that why we establish relationships with friends and family?

So the question to ask is why don't victims of abuse speak out or reach out?
1. They don't know any person they can trust
2. They are afraid of being criticised.
3. They are not sure you will believe their story.
4. They don't want to receive judgement from people.
5. They have been primed to believe that any person that can't resolve issues in their marriage is a failure, and they don't want to be seen as such.
6. They have been taught to stay put, be quiet, and just pray and one day deliverance will come, (unfortunately sometimes that day never comes)

Of course there are more reasons as to why victims usually keep their hurt to themselves but we will make do with the list above.

Now what part do you as a friend and family member play to encourage or end domestic abuse.
1. As a friend, can your friends rely on you not to "mistakenly" leak their secrets out?
Are you able to keep private matters revealed to you secret? 
If you are fond of discussing peoples problems and stories with other people, your friends will find it hard to confide weighty matters with you. 
Gossip destroys relationships but even worse, is that you would have missed an opportunity to help someone in need out.
But there is still time to change and adopt new life saving habits.

2. As a friend, are you able to empathise when someone confides in you?
Being able to empathise with your friends helps them with the confidence they need to speak out.
To be able to empathise, you should be able to be genuinely happy with their success and relate to them in the area of their pain even when you haven't gone through that hurt yourself.
You might not have all the answers ( and please don't jump to give advice and solutions when someone confides in you, it is very discouraging) but you can assure your friend that he/she has your support whatever they decide on doing.

3. I always encourage parents that from an early age, if your child comes to you about an incident or confession and you over react or turn the situation to a stage rehearsal, that child (depending on their temperament) will likely not confide in you about things again.
So as a parent, what part can you play in ending domestic abuse?
Be a safe place of trust for you child!
Let you child know that they can come to you first, not because they are dependent and still glued to your apron strings but because they know you are the one person they can trust.
Listen to them!!!!
Its easy as a parent to want to solve all your childrens problems but use wisdom is very important when dealing with your adult children.
But like we have said, the first and basic step is getting your childs trust so they can come to you.

4. As a parent, please and please, do not push your children into marriages or force them to work out their problems in the marriage if they come to you for help.
It is that fear of having no place to turn to that has led to the increase in spousal murders.

Together we all have a part to play, its not enough to shake our heads with pity at these stories circulating the news, and still go back to old attitudes that neither build us up or help the people closest to us.

I pray that the souls of the murdered victims rest in peace.

You are getting better everyday!
#itsanewday

Teaching Children the Power of Gods Word.

Make It Stick! Teaching Children the Power of God's Word
By Rachel Wojo



"In recent weeks, one of my pastors told the story of a scary encounter he and his 6-year-old son experienced. The little boy looked up at his father and said, “Dad, we don’t have to be scared. We have Jesus.” Somehow, he knew this from the bottom of his heart and the thought came to him in time of crisis. How did he know this? Because he had been taught that the Name of Jesus is powerful and so is His Word! 


Little ones can begin to understand the power of God’s Word as we teach them God’s promises and apply them in our daily lives.

Let’s take a look at three practical ways we can do just that!


1) Children can experience the power of God’s Word through encouraging others.

Therefore encourage one another with these words. —  I Thessalonians 4:18


Are you taking a meal to a sick friend?
Look up a Bible verse to encourage this friend together with your child. Have your child handwrite the verse on a card and add it to the bag or box of goodies for your friend. 


Writing a thank-you note to a teacher? Add a Bible verse about giving thanks and discuss how this verse will encourage your child’s teacher.

Sending a birthday card? Create a pretty 3x5 card of the birthday person’s favorite verse.

2) Children can see the power of God’s Word through visual reminders.

Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. — Deuteronomy 6:9


On my kitchen windowsill, I have a small chalkboard and I often write verses on this board. My children notice this board and ask about the verses and their meaning. It’s a wonderful way to introduce them to how God is working through His word in my own life! Lately God has been working in my personal Bible study time through Bible journaling. My children have been looking through my Bibles more than they ever have; they are so interested in how I am art journaling to highlight what God is teaching me. This has been a beautiful example of the power of God’s Word! 



3) And finally, children can begin to comprehend the power of God’s Word through the example of their parents. 



Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. — Ephesians 6:4

Children see the power of God’s Word in our lives when our natural responses of frustration or over-reaction are replaced with supernatural responses. When moments causing anger are filled with love, children see the Word of God living through their parents."

Monday, 18 April 2016

Growing everyday.


Today, Jan and Jay resumed a new term at school.
Jan was excited about going back but Jay was ,well lets just say, not too excited about going back.
There was no screaming or complaining today like some other first days i remember too well, so i am grateful, even  though i had to pretend not to see the sad face he put up on the ride from the house to their school.
Its such a delight  and a blessing to see them growing up in every way.
While its important to help our children grow physically, mentally, emotionally and socially, its imperative we do not forget to keep growing ourselves.
Science tells us that all living things grow; Gods word tells us that you are made to increase and multiply, which means you should be more advanced today in your life than yesterday.
You should be able to look at yourself a week, a month or a year from today and say "Wow, i have grown!"
For example, I can confidently say I am much better at handling my emotions today than i was say this same time six months ago. Things that would leave me riled up and offended just don't seem so heavy anymore.
Trust me, it wasn't easy getting to this stage but I had to make a conscious decision to let go of every weight that was hindering my healthy growth. (There is a false kind of growth where you are swelling up but there is no value in the swell, this is what i classify unhealthy growth)
While I celebrate my small growth in one area, i know there is still space to grow in this area and in over a 100 more areas.
I have a watchword or motto, if you will, which i constantly recite to myself and it is that "I am better today than I was yesterday."
Lasting growth doesn't take place overnight, there will be setbacks but keep your focus.
Trust me, you are getting better everyday.

Guess what, the Facebook group i created is a year old! With just a few members, we started a year ago and now we have blossomed into this amazing community.
I can't begin to explain how being a part of this group has helped in my growth process.
This is the link below:-

https://www.facebook.com/groups/WHENPARENTSPRAY/


On the group today, we prayed for our children as they return for a new school term.
I would love for you to join us as we continue to grow.
You are getting better everyday.
#itsanewday

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

The three words your children need to hear from you

One thing that fuels my daughter Jan, is the need for activity (and sometimes a need for speed)
She is always on the go, wanting to get somewhere (where location X is never a straight line), or wanting to get something (even if she has to put a ladder on a box to reach it).
 When she was younger, she would walk up to me and say "mummy give me a job", and i would give her little things to do just to get her off my back but the very next second she would be back skipping and asking for another job.
In her bid to rush through everything (which of course is normal for an energetic child her age) she sometimes gets things tangled up and I get to untangle the mess which sometimes seems like double work, and no one likes that.
Sometimes I am the reasonable parent who knows its normal to make mistakes while learning and growing, other times I am not so patient and gracious as i would always want to be and end up telling her go find something else to do because i am probably tired or in a hurry. (Perfect parents don't reside on earth!)

Some time ago, I was trying to get some eggs from the store for breakfast and she rushed in and asked to help.
"Give me a job, I want to help" she said.
With a deep breath, i handed her the eggs and told her to wait for me in the kitchen.
A couple seconds later, she was back and asking "what next?"
At that same time, I head a loud "plop" and down came all my eggs. Apparently she had dropped the eggs on the table in a hurry and they rolled down.
"Oh no," I thought, "now i have to clean up this mess."
(that is usually how my mind reacts when it sees yet another thing to clean!)
After cleaning, I walked into the living room and talked to her about focusing on one task before rushing off to do another.
The next day after several minutes of combing through the drawers,  scattering and then "arranging" them, she comes across an old apron.
She puts it on and shows it off to her brother.



"I'm going to be on junior master chef", she announces.
"Mummy, give me a job", she starts. "I want to clean up the kitchen myself."
I was about to tell her to go read a book or something (typical Nigerian mum response) but after a deep breath (a very deep breath) i allowed her use my kitchen as her laboratory. (haha)
She had walked only a few steps then stopped and looked back at me.
"Aren't you going to come in and make sure I am doing it the right way" she asked.
"No" I said. I trust you.
I could see her taking those words in slowly like a delicious bowl of chicken soup, the fragrant aroma gently ticking her nostrils on its way to the brain.
"Ok mummy" , I trust you too.



Children need to know and hear that you trust them. This principle is true both for the younger and older children.
The natural tendency for parents is to try to keep children from making mistakes, but the thing is that without mistakes there can not be development or success.
When your child knows you trust them even when they are not sure they can trust themselves, it builds a sense of responsibility in them.
Another reason to tell your children you trust them is that trust builds their confidence in themselves as opposed to when you never allow them do anything unsupervised which could lead to them being stifled and afraid of trying anything because they have been programmed to think they will fail if they try.
When you tell your children you trust them and their abilities (even if they make mistakes) it allows them see mistakes as temporary setbacks that can be improved upon and not some giant mountain monster that permanently blocks all who venture to rise again.
When your children know you trust them, it is easier for them to fly out of the nest and explore their world freely, you know why? Because trust builds the muscles of their mind and their abilities.
Trust and love are linked but too often we use the former but forget that perfect love casts out fear.
Tell you child you trust them and watch them slowly bloom into their purpose.

You are getting better everyday.
#itsanewday




















Wednesday, 2 March 2016

The Power in Gratitude

Happy new month to you!
Like joke like play, the month of March is upon us. 
Does this fact make you uneasy or glad?
If you are glad the months are quickly running by, please do share your good news with us. 
On the other hand, if you are worried about how quickly time is flying, I would advice you calm down and hand over your anxieties to the Lord and very importantly, start doing whatever it is you need to do!
Its no use continuously fretting over lost time and still doing nothing to redeem the time.
Take back your time, pray and get moving.




If you follow me on twitter, you will know i am all about daily growth and improvement. The hashtag #itsanewday is my way of sharing new lessons, principles and attitudes learnt. Sometimes the lessons are recycled but only because we need to constantly remind ourselves of these lessons and not discard them.

Your mandate as a leader in the Kingdom is to be fruitful and multiply, but sometimes you find yourself wondering how in the world you can multiply, when all you have are 5 small loaves of bread and 2 fish; barely enough for your lunch!

I saw this quote by Ann Voskamp and it is truly apt.
"It is in expressing gratitude for the life we already have that we discover the life we have always wanted... a life we can take, give thanks for, and break for others."

This month, do something different. Look at everything you have:- your time, your resources, your family, your job, your relationships, your gifting, with an attitude of gratitude.
Instead of always complaining about how you never have enough time, appreciate the fact that you get to have time, then plan it.
Instead of finding and documenting the numerous faults of all your family members , find that good quality (no matter how little) and magnify it with praise, giving thanks to their creator for the improvements in their life. 
I will tell you something, 
In the past i always felt insufficient, felt like i didn't measure up, always wanted to be that other person. I spent so much time trying to be every other person and ended up negating my self, and limiting the grace of God which causes all things to grow and multiply.
But when you look at your life through the lens of gratitude, that imperfect life you were thought needed to be shielded away from the world is just what the Master needs to do His work.
Giving thanks for where you are right now, what you have right now, who you are right now, is the right attitude you need to develop for this month.
Gratitude is a kingdom language that when interpreted causes the angels to work in and around you such that you increase and multiply in such a manner that you need more than 12 baskets to collect the excess!

You are getting better.
Its a new day!