Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Financial Woes - Short Story

I've got a short story published in the fourth edition of Sentinel Nigeria Magazine.

Click here to read it! Financial Woes - by Tolulope Popoola

Comments welcome, thanks!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Poem - Ideal World

A world without suffering.
A world without pain.
A world without guilt.
A world without war.
A world without hunger.
This would be my ideal world.

A world without greed.
A world without selfishness.
A world without fear.
A world without hate.
A world without strife.
This would be my ideal world.

A world without crime.
A world without tears.
A world without sorrow.
A world without disappointment.
A world without sickness.
A world without prejudice.
This would be my ideal world.

A world without jealousy.
A world without divorce.
A world without lust.
A world without poverty.
A world without unforgiveness.
This would be my ideal world.

A world without famine.
A world without drought.
A world without conflict.
A world without division.
A world without disasters.
This would be my ideal world.

A world with peace.
A world with love.
A world with joy.
A world with laughter.
A world with honesty.
A world with acceptance.
A world with forgiveness.
This would be my ideal world.

(c) Tolulope Popoola

(Oh and one more thing. A world without taxes would be my ideal world!)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Book Review - Love at Dawn

Book Title: Love at Dawn
Author: Lara Daniels
Publication Date: November 2010
Pages: 205 pages

The Plot: ‘Love at Dawn’ is the second in a series of romance novels written by Lara Daniels. It tells the story of two people from very different backgrounds – the rich, spoiled, baby of the family - Tory Da-Silva and Rashad Macaulay, an emotionally insecure man who has come from a tough background and tried to work his way to the top. The two of them are intertwined with a host of other interesting characters and a dangerous stalker, who is intent on destroying Tory because of a dark secret she has never told anyone. The story is set in a fictional beautiful African city of Laketown in eastern Zamzudan. The city of Laketown is nestled among beautiful hills and caves. This setting is where Tory grew up, among her family of warm, caring people who doted on her. Rashad on the other hand, grew up in the village with his grandmother until he was nine, and then moved to a ghetto surburb called Gutterpark where he grew up among thugs and prostitutes until he managed to escape thanks to a scholarship.

Lara Daniels has woven a compelling story of love against all odds. From Tory and Rashad’s unconventional first meeting many years ago, to their complex present lives, and the way their relationship develops, she takes you through an emotional rollercoaster. There is a tight mix of suspense and intrigue to keep you fascinated and hoping against hope that the characters scale through all the roadblocks on their path to happiness.

As a character, Tory comes across as a likeable, carefree young girl, but when she meets Rashad, her older brother’s friend, he turns her world upside down and she becomes obsessed with him. Rashad, on the other hand, does not see himself as worthy of her and he does everything he can to resist her advances. He has a deep-rooted hatred of himself, and this is one of the main stumbling blocks in their relationship. The other thing is his close friendship with Tony Da Silva – Tory’s overprotective older brother. Rashad knew that there was no way Tony would approve of a relationship between him and his baby sister.

I enjoyed reading the book and I kept rooting for the characters till the very end. Lara’s writing is simple and it flows smoothly and this helps the story unfold without interruptions. The plot is full of twists and surprises that kept me on my toes, especially towards the end when a maniac serial killer comes on to the scene and Tory is suspected to be his next target. I hoped and prayed that the dark secrets the two main characters had been keeping for so long would be unlocked and all sins forgiven. I desperately wanted to get to “happily-ever-after” at the end and heave a sigh of relief.

I have very little criticism of the book – except maybe I wanted the story to go on for longer! I was a little concerned about the age gap between the two protagonists and Tory's age when she started falling for Rashad, but that may just be my personal prejudice. All in all, ‘Love at Dawn’ is a great book, and I will recommend it to everyone who enjoys reading a fresh take on modern African romance.

Rating: 4 out of 5
Where to buy: Amazon US  or Amazon UK 
Lara Daniels: http://laradaniels.com/ and http://laradanielswrites.com/

Monday, November 29, 2010

Article - Need to Compare?

Have you ever felt that compared with "everyone else" around you, your own circumstances are the worst? Do you have thoughts like "all my mates have achieved this, done that, have this or have that" and I haven't? I'm now exploring this idea of measuring myself with another person's yard stick. Where does it come from? Is it parents, peer pressure, the society as a whole or just my own unrealistic expectations?

It's probably a mixture of all four. On one hand, it drives me to want to achieve more and more (sort of like healthy competition) to ensure that I can boast too, but on the other hand, it makes me think "What's the point? That person just had better opportunities than I have". Like when you hear of your classmate in university who is now a millionaire, or your friend from high school now running her own fashion empire. You are happy for them of course, but you also compare yourself and you end up feeling very small.

I think it starts when we still are young. You are put in a classroom with 15 or so other 3-year olds. There you are expected to all be at the same level, grow at the same speed and learn at the same pace. If for any reason you don't keep up with the rest of the class, then there's a problem with you. This pattern continues throughout life. You want the latest toys because "everybody has one". You want to wear a certain item of clothing because "that's what all the other kids are wearing". You want to feel like you are similar to everyone. You find yourself constantly looking around and checking to see if you are ahead or behind of your peers. And parents also keep telling you about their own friends' children who are doing much better than you.

Then you grow up and suddenly you realise that some things are outside your control. Your career is progressing very slowly meanwhile your mates have soared far ahead. Or your mates are getting engaged, married, and having babies while you are still single. Or your friend has just bought a new house, while you are still renting or living at home. It all adds up to a perfect recipe for frustration.

But why do we compare? Are we all given the same opportunities? Did God give us the same talents? Do we have the same circumstances? Do we all have the same goals? Do we have the same experiences or backgrounds? No, no, no and no. We don't even have the same genes!

So I've decided, from now on, I'm not going to compare myself with anyone else. I am me. I am unique. We all have our time and purpose to fulfil on earth. My time and purpose is not dependent on other people. Only God is in full control. And only God will I give the ability to push me forward.

Image credit: plmtwine.com

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Guest Post: Book Writing Strategies by Andrea Constantine

Can a book really be easy? Three So-Easy Strategies – They’re Just Silly.

by Andrea Constantine

It’s hard to believe just a year ago I didn’t even have a book in the pipeline. At the time, it was just some pipe-dream. Little did I know that in less than twelve months I’d soon have two books on the market. It seems ironic since I had struggled for years to even commit to an idea for a book, but now the ideas are everywhere.

Why was my experience so easy? What was different or was I just plain lucky? In reality it was none of those excuses that even I’d love to believe. If I happen to come across a page of luck, I’d surely share my secret formula, but it isn’t about luck at all.

Over the course of the year, there have been three-oh-so-easy strategies that supported this stellar growth. Besides only sleeping on Sundays, and cloning myself, - teasing - these are the three things that I know can help bring your book to life too!

Drumroll p-uh-lease!?!

Collaboration. First, I didn’t go at it alone. Lone-ranger out – team player in! My book and business partner Lisa Shultz is my main collaborator; however, in our first book we had 47 other lovely ladies submit their chapters to us. Which made the writing process a whole-heck-of-a-lot easier. Imagine a book with your name on it and you just have to write a few chapters!? When I went to take my first stab at writing a book, I failed, I barely got started, and the whole-darn process seemed overwhelming as all get out. I quit. Here’s where luck or serendipity did come in, Lisa asked me to join her on her book project, and I said yes! Suddenly, I saw the light. If you want to do something big in your life, whether write a book or become president, you are not going to get their alone.

Goals. I know, this sounds elementary. But they work. Goals, deadlines, and a fire under your-you-know-what are seriously the key to just getting that book written and out into the world. Trying to write a book without some looming deadline means that your book may, just may, be ready for print in 2025. Clearly define your goals and figure it out from there. When Lisa and I partnered at the end of 2009, we picked late August for our launch date. We then worked backwards and timed out every step in between. It kept us on schedule and it kept the process moving along. We always knew where we had to be and when we had to be there by. Goals, however over-emphasized in our world, are a shortcut to accomplishment.

Accountability. If no one knows you are writing a book, or if you’ve locked up your work in a vault fearful of putting it out into the world – it’s never going to get out there. Accountability to others is one of the fastest ways to get your book done and out to market. Lisa and I checked in with each other so frequently during the writing and compilation of our books, that we never missed a beat. How are you on this? Where are you on that? How’s this coming along? What can I do to help you? Flailing along as a solo-aspiring-author is difficult, challenging, and lonely-as-the corner ice cream store in a February snowstorm. Don’t do it, do not, under any circumstances attempt to go at it alone. If you are writing a book as the sole author, it doesn’t mean that you can’t have an accountability partner, coach, friend, or mentor. Team up and you will find a pot of gold at the end of that rainbow, filled with inspiration, encouragement, and motivation.

So really, as you can see – writing and getting two books complete in one year isn’t all that hard if you abide by these oh-so-easy-strategies. Don’t wait to get your book done. Get your book done this year!

And if you are ready to take the leap and write your book this year, then check out Andrea Costantine and Lisa Shultz’s latest book… www.bringyourbooktolifethisyear.com – Grab your copy today and receive two months accountability and writing support in their monthly mentoring group and other bonuses valued at $150.

Friday, November 05, 2010

On Life: Achilles' Heel

It's been a busy time for me in the last two months. Apart from writing, I've had my family coming over, been taking driving lessons, and generally moving into a new phase of my life. I've also been catching up on my reading, as I've got so many books on my to-read list, it's unbelievable. But I still can't stop myself from buying more! In the last month, I've read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (this was quite a strange book, very different from what I would usually pick up, but it was a very good read nonetheless), The Boy Next Door by Irene Sabatini (I quite enjoyed reading this love story woven around the politics of Zimbabwe), and  Love at Dawn by Lara Daniels (a tale of love, forgiveness and redemption which I thoroughly enjoyed reading) and I'm looking forward to a couple more before the end of the year.

Ever since I saw the movie Troy, I've been fascinated with the main characters in the story, especially Achilles. He was the great hero of the Trojan War and apparently when he was a baby his mother dipped him into a river which made him invincible except for his heel. According to Greek mythology, Achilles grew to become a great warrior and no one could stop him until Paris, a prince of Troy managed to shoot an arrow into his heel. Thus the phrase "Achilles heel" came to mean a weakness or flaw that can lead to a person's downfall in spite of his overall strength. 

This story makes me think that we all have a weakness that can potentially lead to our downfall if we don't deal with it. I can think of many great men who have been destroyed by their lack of self-control when it comes to women. Some people have ended up in prison because of their greed for money. Some people have committed atrocious acts because of anger. And the list goes on. It may seem like it's not a big deal, and just overlook a small flaw in ourselves, but we do need to be careful. I know that I have my weaknesses too, and I have to constantly ask God for grace to overcome them. It can be all too easy to let one thing get out of hand, until we lose control and succumb to negative desires.

If you are struggling with some temptations or something that goes against your principles, please don't ignore it or hope it would go away by itself. You have to take steps to make sure you don't fall. For example, if you know your married boss at work is showing inappropriate interest in you, it would certainly not be wise to go on a dinner date with him. Do what you can to remove yourself from such sticky situations! One little slip of judgement could be all it takes, and before you know it, you are involved in an affair.

Oh well, that's enough sermonising for now, lol.  Check out some of my new stories and flash fiction before you leave! Thanks for visiting!


Saturday, October 09, 2010

Flash Fiction - Tearing Me Apart

The real father of my children stared back at me. Somehow, I found the strength to utter the words.
'You have to leave,' I said. 'I am falling in love with you and it’s tearing me apart.'
A pained look crossed his face. He let go of my hand and swallowed hard.
'I understand. I didn’t mean for any of this to happen.'
He went over to the cot where the twins were, fast asleep. He kissed them both and looked at me again.
'Take good care of them. And give my regards to your husband.' Then he stepped out of the room and closed the door.

I felt my heart break.

When William had found out he was infertile, it was my idea for us to use a donor to get me pregnant. What I hadn’t bargained for was developing feelings for Gavin. He was just supposed to be a sperm donor and nothing more. But I found myself being drawn to him over time. And now the joy of having our babies was mixed with the pain of a marriage being shaken to its very foundation.

A single tear traced its way down my left cheek.


Sunday, October 03, 2010

Article - University of Life

Sometime ago I pondered about this modern world of ours. Something is really wrong. There is a break down of society as a whole. We read of shootings and stabbings daily in the newspapers. We hear of gangs of youths carrying knives and guns to defend themselves with. We hear of marriages breaking up everyday - divorce rates are soaring and people are choosing not to get married anyway. We hear that stress at work is a major killer and cause of many serious diseases. We see the picture of the ideal family unit broken almost beyond repair. We see people sacrificing everything in the pursuit of happiness that just seems to elude them. Why is it so? I think it is mostly because we have placed the emphasis on the wrong things.

From the moment we are born, we are thrust into a society that places so much importance in education and defines us by success in our careers. How? We'll take the life of this typical child. From the day he is born, his parents bought him the best 'educational toys' that aim to give him a headstart in learning skills. His parents do all they can to enroll him in the best nursery school where he is to learn basic skills in speech, reading and writing. After that, he goes on to primary school where he is taught a wide range of subjects to give him a knowledge base that will be useful in future. Fast forward to three years of secondary school and then he is expected to make certain choices in his subjects that will start to define his future career. By the time he is finished with secondary school, success means achieving a place at university to study a degree. This degree will be his ticket to a life-long career. He may need to continually update his qualifications for example, getting a Masters qualification, taking some examinations etc. Success is measured by his job and how much he earns. Assuming he finished education at 24, he spends the next 40-odd years of his life working 9 - 5, Monday to Friday to earn a living. If the UK government have their way, he would be working until he is in his 70s before he can retire and claim a pension. But is that all?

Now I think education is a good thing. I think every child on this planet should be given an equal chance to succeed with a certain level of education. But I find it worrying that we place so much importance on just that - education and career. Is there not more to life than acquiring a degree? Would having a brilliant career make everyone's life fulfilled?

I read something in 'My Daily Bread' a while back. A survey was conducted about what people would want to reflect on in their final moments on this earth. What would they look back on and count as achievements? Strings of degrees? An impressive CV? Hefty bank accounts? List of awards and certificates? No. The main response people gave was they they would want their loved ones around them when they were on their death-bed. Furthermore, the biggest regret expressed wasn't "I wish I had spent more time at work". It was "I wish I had spent more time with my family". Family and loved ones always took priority over education and achievements.

Now if this is true, how come we still have this dysfunctional world? How come we spend the vast majority of our lives either in education or working endlessly pursuing material wealth? How come you can go to university to study virtually any subject in academics or research but there is no university that teaches us about the real-life challenges we face? You can study to become a Financial Analyst but who teaches you how to cope with the grief of losing of a loved one? You can study to become a doctor but where do you study to become a good husband or wife? I can graduate with a Bcs in Mathematics but where can I get a degree in Good Parenting Skills? Those are the things that really challenge us as individuals and no amount of education can help.

If I could change the world, I would shake up the current set-up. I would not be happy in a world where the majority of hours in the week,  is all but committed to working, working, working. A world where the main driving force is money, money, money. When do we have time to actually live? When do we have time to grow and learn to become better people? Why won't we have a society that is crumbling?

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

On Life: Faith vs Common Sense

"Faith is believing when common sense tells you not to." ~ George Seaton

For a while I've been pondering on faith, and its implications for the way I live my life every day. Sometimes when I'm at a crossroads and I need to make a decision, I often have a dilemma. Should I go with common sense or should I walk by faith? Do I go with my instincts? Should I make a list of pros and cons and use pure common sense to make a decision? Should I weigh all the options and go with the most "logical" conclusion? Should the way forward be the most "reasonable" one?

However, as a Christian who has decided to make God the CEO of my life, I've sometimes had to step back and wait for a different direction. The bible says: "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen". The bible also says "Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding."

There are many examples of God asking His people in the bible to make decisions that totally make no sense. God called Abraham to leave all that he knew, his father's house and go to a strange land. God told Noah to build an ark when there was no sea or river around him. God told Gideon to go to war with only 300 men when they were facing an enemy army of over 100,000 soldiers. Each time, it required true faith to for each of these people to override their common sense and obey God.

Still, it can be really scary when common sense clashes with what you believe God is telling you to do. If God says: quit your job and become a full-time missionary in some remote village, what immediately comes to mind? Questions and doubts of course. Like: how will I survive without a regular income? What about my career? Will I be safe there without my family and friends around me? Etc.

Even the strongest amongst us wrestles with doubt sometimes. It's normal, it's natural, it's part of being human. But from my little experience, I'll say that in the end, common sense has its place but faith triumphs over it. As long as your faith is in God and what He has called you to do, you cannot go wrong.

  • Common sense relies on your own limited abilities. Faith relies on God's unlimited ability.
  • Common sense stops when things get rough. Faith keeps going when common sense is exhausted.
  • Common sense says you should play it safe. Faith challenges us to step beyond our comfort zone
  • Faith says one failure does not mean the end. Common sense says you should give up if it doesn't work the first time.
  • Common sense limits you to only what you know. Faith empowers you to stretch your imagination.

Thanks for reading!


Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Short Story - When We Talk About Love

I picked up my jacket and stormed out of the restaurant after ten minutes. Tom got up and ran after me. The waiters and other diners looked at us strangely but I did not even give them a backward glance.
“So where are you going?” Tom asked as he caught up with me. “All the other restaurants along this road are fully booked”

“I know you wanted to make Valentine’s Day special” I replied, pausing to catch my breath. “But to me, love is more than this - showing up when it suits you and making excuses.”

“Linda, I think you are over-reacting”.

“I’m not!” I shouted, drawing curious looks from passers-by and a man selling flowers at the stall on the corner.

“Please calm down”, Tom said. “I know you are upset but please….

“Look at this Tom” I cut in angrily. “You ignored my calls last weekend when I needed you, but then you turn up at my office this evening with presents and a dinner reservation for two. What am I supposed to think?”

Tom sighed and ran his hand through his hair.

I had to admit, he looked good this evening. He was coming from the office and he looked sharp in his suit. When he showed up at my office and told me where he was taking me for dinner, I was secretly impressed with his choice of venue for the dinner reservation. I had been thinking of trying the same restaurant for a long time but I was holding out for a special occasion. It had looked particularly warm and inviting from the outside this evening. The staff had replaced the normal bright lights with soft glow lights and placed red roses on the tables. The tables had been rearranged specially to create little cocoons for lovebirds dining out tonight. In all, it looked like an environment where love would blossom and it would have been really special if Tom had not upset me last weekend.

“I’m sorry Linda” Tom sighed. “But can we go back to talk inside? It’s cold out here”

I paused for a few seconds, searching his face to read his emotions.

“Okay” I finally relented. I let him take my hand and lead me back into the restaurant. The waiter at the door raised his eyebrows when he saw us coming back in. Tom sheepishly asked if we could have our table back.

“Of course sir,” he replied, beckoning us to follow him. “This way please.”

We got back to our table and sat down again. The waiter set the menus before us and took our drinks order. Tom ordered his drink and an expensive bottle of wine for later. But I was in no mood for anything fancy, so I just ordered mineral water. I faced Tom squarely and started speaking as soon as the waiter left to get our drinks.

“Everything was going fine until last month” I accused. “You seemed to go cold; you cancelled two dates and started making excuses when I tried to see you”

“Linda, I told you that the past month has been quite hectic. Between moving to my new place and getting promoted at work, I have been really busy”.

I raised one eyebrow. “Busy? You have always been busy since I met you, that is not a good excuse for ignoring me last week and the weekend before that”

Tom and I had been dating for just over a year. Even though we really liked each other from our first meeting, our relationship had gotten off to a rocky start. I had been sceptical about starting a relationship with him at first. While we were still getting to know each other, I found out he had a very clingy ex-girlfriend. Her name was Kerry and she did not want to admit that her relationship with Tom was over and he was now seeing someone else. In my opinion Tom had been rather too easy on her, still taking her calls many weeks later and gently trying to persuade her to let go of their relationship. I guess, in his defence he couldn’t help being the perfect gentleman. Even though I thought it would have made things easier if he had been firmer with her. Eventually three months into our relationship, she got the hint and drifted away quietly.
Then I got to know she resurfaced last month. And that was about the same time Tom started acting suspiciously. I wanted to trust Tom and believe that everything was alright between us. But the last time I visited him at home, I found something that worried me. At first I thought it didn’t matter, but I decided to confront him now. I figured out that if he confirmed my suspicions, then I would break it off with him and move on with my life. I have had to deal with worse situations than a break-up on Valentine’s Day.

“Everything will be okay soon you’ll see” Tom was saying. I thought he sounded nervous.

“You have become very secretive.” I said. “I can’t believe you bought a new place without telling me.”

“Linda you know I explained that I didn’t want to tell you about the house initially, in case the sale didn’t go through”

“Yes, but the last time I was at your old place, I asked you if you were moving soon, and you said no”

“At the time I wasn’t so sure. You know I had just been promoted at work, I was working longer hours and I still had a lot of loose ends to tie up” Tom said pleading with his eyes.

I decided to take a softer line with him, but I still had to get to the bottom of the issue bugging me.

“I understand that, but we have always agreed to let each other know what’s going on in our lives no matter how busy we are. How can we have a good relationship if we don’t communicate?”

Just then the waiter brought the drinks and asked us if we were ready to order. Tom suggested that we should go for the Valentines Day special set menu and I nodded my agreement. The waiter left and Tom reached across the table to take my hand.

“Linda, I love you and I really want our relationship to work out” he said softly.

“When you talk about love, what do you mean? Open discussions or secrets?”

“I…well...alright, open discussions”

“And love includes faithfulness doesn’t it?”

“Yes it does”

“Then what about her?” I countered.

“Her… who?” he said, seeming confused.

“Kerry” I finally said.

He took a deep breath. “Linda, she is out of our lives for good.”

“When was the last time you heard from her”

“Three weeks ago”

I had to ask. “Did she call you?”

“Yes she did, and she called from a number I didn’t recognise. If I had known it was her, I wouldn’t have answered the call”

I shook my head. It was like my fears were being confirmed.

“Believe me Linda. Kerry was just calling me to say she was moving to Australia and nothing more”.

That was a surprise. “She said that? So she’s moving half-way across the world?”

“Yes, she has a new job and a new boyfriend. She actually sounded very happy to tell me that”

I heaved an inward sigh of relief but this wasn’t over yet.

“Okay, one more thing” I said. “What about the jewellery?”

The look on Tom’s face said it all.

“How did you know about that?” he choked.

“I found the receipt” I said calmly. “Now just go ahead and explain that too”

“Excuse me for a minute” Tom scrambled from his chair and hurried off towards the bar.
I saw him talking to the bartender, and pointing at our table. I looked away because even though I had imagined this, I couldn’t have imagined how it felt to be betrayed by Tom. I had trusted him too much, I thought to myself. I decided to leave the restaurant before I burst into tears.

Just as I got up, Tom came back and held my hand.

“I’ve got something for you,” he said reaching for his pocket. “I was going to wait till later, but I should do it now”

He paused and said, ”Linda, will you marry me?”

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Interview with Ogo Ogbata - Author of "Egg-Larva-Pupa-Woman"

This week, enjoy my next interview with the one and only Ogo Akubue Ogbata. She's a writer, speaker and business consultant. She is also the author of the best-selling book "Egg-Larva-Pupa-Woman" published in 2009 by Priceless Books. Inspiring, hard-working and highly intelligent, Ogo is definitely making her mark on the world, so watch out for more from her in future! Enjoy our interesting conversation below:

Please tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a writer, speaker and consultant who’s passionate about empowering people to make the most of their creative talent and overall potential. When I’m not writing fiction or non-fiction, I run a company called ‘Creativity and Sense LLC’. We help professional individuals and organisations (for instance, businesses and communities) get to the next level by combining their creativity with business sense. Although I live in the UK, I am from Enugu State in Nigeria. Egg-Larva-Pupa-Woman is my first novel.

How long have you been writing?
Since the age of 4 or so. I still remember penning very sketchy stories whilst in nursery school.

Tell us a bit about the book; Egg-Larva-Pupa-Woman.
Egg-Larva-Pupa-Woman is an inspirational, albeit heart-wrenching tale, of a remarkable young woman who dares to defy the odds (economically, emotionally and socially) to become who she is destined to be. This woman’s incredible story is juxtaposed with the struggles of her motherland – Nigeria (a personality that is also striving to rise above her past and achieve greatness). Do they have what it takes to succeed? Well, you’ll have to read the book to find out! I enjoy stories about people who refuse to be victims and Egg-Larva-Pupa-Woman has that in abundance. The ‘survival’ theme is topical because we live in challenging times and people want to be inspired and empowered to overcome their obstacles.

What inspired you to write this book?
I was inspired (by the ongoing debate over Nigeria’s validity and survival prospects) to create an intimate portrait of a woman who defies all odds economically, emotionally and socially - a woman who is sculpted by the unpleasant circumstances of life into a breathing work of art. Of recent, there have not been many dynamic, high achieving, female characters in African fiction and we need those iconic, fully fleshed out characters to inspire us as a people. The protagonist, Nkiru, meets the need for such a character. She is kind, witty, enterprising and beautiful but most of all she is a survivor. This determined disposition is what Africa and the world needs now.

Who are your favourite characters in the book?
I have so many favourite characters in this novel, especially the protagonist, Nkiru, who displays such strength, mystery and complexity. Other favourite characters are: Ejimonye (who shows ‘the African husband’ in a refreshingly different light), Dubem (for being hilariously vile), Nonso (for her childlike vulnerability), Eze Nwodo (for his larger than life persona) and Naomi (because she became the mirror image the protagonist had to confront in the end...).

What was the hardest part of writing this book?
Killing off one of the characters left me feeling gutted for days. It was also difficult to move on after I’d finished writing the story because I’d had such a delightful experience. I kept thinking about the characters and wishing I could re-enter their world. I don’t think I will be writing a sequel though.

How did you come up with the title?
I’ve wanted to write a novel titled Egg-Larva-Pupa-Woman for ages! I was intrigued by the metamorphosis that butterflies undergo, so my curious observations inspired the title which then birthed the story - perhaps subconsciously over a number of years.

Did you have to do a lot of research to fill in the background details?
I certainly carried out a lot of research for Egg-Larva-Pupa-Woman and drew from the well of personal and collective experience too. I researched the book intensely by raiding historical archives, talking to helpful people and examining photographs. Reading works set in the colonial era helped me capture the tempo of the times. The Nigerian High Commission in London was helpful. Imagination filled in the gaps.

What response have you received from readers of the book so far?
The response has been heart-warming, to say the least. I’ve had people writing to tell me that they stayed up until four ‘o’ clock in the morning (during a working week!) just because they simply couldn’t put the book down. A deaconess told me that she skipped church once because she was so engrossed in the story. Now, I don’t want people skipping church but there you go... Egg-Larva-Pupa-Woman is getting people to think and rethink Nigeria as well as confront the challenges in their own lives.

What are the challenges you encountered in writing and publishing the book?
The biggest challenge was probably getting out of my own way. Indeed, some of the challenges we face whilst pursuing our goals are self sponsored. When we’re really ready to make something happen, we buckle down and ‘make it happen’ against all odds.

What lesson(s) would you want readers to take away from the book?
I hope my readers will be inspired to defy the odds in their own lives - economically, emotionally and socially. Although the essential theme that cuts through the story is 'defiance' several topical issues are explored in Egg-Larva-Pupa-Woman, for instance, love and loss, mother-daughter relationships, domestic violence, child labour, political corruption and entrepreneurship. So I believe that people from all strata of society will find a topic or two that will resonate with them and be inspired to facilitate change.

Who are your writing heroes?
I don’t have any writing heroes in particular. I admire a huge host of writers for all different reasons. As a child I read a great deal of the African Writers Series - works by Flora Nwapa, Buchi Emecheta, Chinua Achebe, Peter Abrahams and many more.

What inspires you as a writer?

What book(s) are you reading now?
The Songs of Solomon.

What skills have been particularly helpful in your writing?
I enjoyed doing the research for Egg-Larva-Pupa-Woman, working closely with the art professor who designed the stunning book cover and even playing my part to get the word out about the debut novel. Creativity and business sense should of necessity go hand in hand so I want to take hold of my destiny by being proactive about the business side of writing.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learnt how pleasurable writing can be! I’ve been writing my whole life and never had so much fun as I did with this novel. It was an absolute joy and the story literarily flowed out of my fingertips. I would encourage everyone who has a creative talent not to bury it but rather to hone and share it with others.

What are your views about the current changes in the publishing industry?
Change is a good thing - it’s not always easy to face but there are lessons to learn when change comes knocking. I think that the writers who will thrive henceforth are those who know how to put their business hat on when necessary - writers who are not too ‘artistic’ to get involved with marketing or too busy to get out there and build relationships with others in the industry.

Apart from writing, what else do you do?
Asides the writing, I deliver training, coaching and consulting services to individuals and organisations that want to maximise their creative talents and overall potential. I do public speaking both on writing specific topics as well as empowering topics suited to women, ethnic/community, corporate and business audiences. My core specialty is helping professional individuals and organisations to identify their creative talents and fulfil their unique purpose.

What are your current projects? Are you working on your next book?
On the 22nd of July, I am hosting ‘Inspiration for Change’ in the City of London! ‘Inspiration for Change’ is basically a series of empowering events inspired by the novel Egg-Larva-Pupa-Woman. I plan to take this event to Nigeria and other parts of the world in due course. To find out more, please visit: http://www.elpwoman.com/change   - I am also plotting away at the next novel!

What advice can you give to other aspiring authors?
Life is short and talent is a precious thing to waste.

Where can we get a copy of the book?
Go get unautographed copies of the book from top online bookstores like Amazon, WHSmith, Barnes and Noble etc. ‘Autographed’ copies can be purchased from the book’s website: www.elpwoman.com

Where can find out more about you and your work?
Thank you so much for your interest. Please go to my website: www.ogoogbata.com

Thanks for doing this interview Ogo, and I wish you all the very best in future.

Friday, June 04, 2010


In other news:

I've started working on a new novel. My previous WIP manuscript has gone up in smoke. While it was a painful decision to throw it away, I have had time to reflect on it and I reckon, no knowledge is wasted. I've learnt a lot while writing it and I dare say, that my writing has improved. I may return to it much later in the future, but I would have to do so much work to edit it, that I fear it may not be worth the trouble.

Myself and some of my fellow writers (of the In My Dreams It was Simpler series) were interviewed for The Mantle. It was a fun experience, and we were thrilled to be approached by Shaun Randol, the Senior Editor to do a joint interview. You can read the two parts of the interview by clicking the links below:

The Mantle Interview (Part 1)
The Mantle Interview (Part 2)

I've got a feature in this month's edition of Reconnect Africa Magazine, also based on the series book. It turned out really interesting, so do check it out here:

Feature on ReConnect Africa

And finally, our group blog In My Dreams It Was Simpler has been nominated in three categories for the 2010 Nigerian Blog Awards! If you haven't already, head over to the Nigerian Blog Awards link right now to vote for us! We are in the Best Group or Collaborative Blog, Best Writing or Book Blog, and the Nigerian Blog of the Year categories. We are up against some tough competition, but it's great that we got recognised for our work! Do pop over there now to cast your vote. For us, of course. LOL

Have a lovely weekend and a blessed month!


Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Short Story - Regrets

I was sitting at the table closest to the door of the busy café with John. He was talking enthusiastically about the concert and how wonderful it had been. I tried to pay attention to him, following his excited hand gestures with my eyes, but not registering what his moving lips were saying.

A group of young ladies walked into the café and I recognised them immediately. Just about an hour ago, I had been sitting with John in the impressive Royal Albert Hall, watching and listening to them play. John had bought us tickets to see the famous orchestra to celebrate our twenty-sixth wedding anniversary.

“What did you think about the show, Margaret?” I finally heard him ask. He was looking at me with questioning eyes. I looked at him, taking in his blue eyes, chiselled face and greying beard.

“I enjoyed every minute of it dear” I replied, pasting a smile on my face, but once again I was drawn to the group of young ladies ordering their coffees at the counter. I watched them talking and smiling amongst each other. One of them was holding a violin case that caught my attention. She looked like she was twenty years old – her face glowed with youth and pride. I remembered she had caught my eye during the concert as she played her violin. I stared at her with a feeling of awe and envy, for she reminded me of myself when I was her age.

I could have been playing the violin at impressive concert venues too, I thought to myself, if I had made the right choices thirty years ago. Instead I had wasted my musical talents pursuing frivolous goals. Now I’m condemned to sit in the audience and applaud. I would never take to the stage myself and receive applause.

I heard John saying something about another cup of coffee.

“Sorry?” I asked.

“Do you want another cup of tea, Margaret?”

I shook my head. “No I’m okay, thank you”

I watched John as he walked to the counter. Then I looked at the young girl again and I wanted to relive my life.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Interview with Lara Daniels - Author of "Love In Paradise"

Today I'm featuring my first interview! Please join me in welcoming Lara Daniels to my blog. She's an amazing lady - she works full-time, studies part-time, manages a family, and still manages to pen several books! I want to be like her when I grow up. I caught up with her to ask about her recently published book - Love In Paradise. Enjoy our conversation below:

Please tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Olubunmi Akindebe. Here in the United States where I live, I am called Boomie, but more recently, I have been known as Lara Daniels – My pen name for my novels. During the day, I am a registered nurse working in a very busy ICU here in one of the suburbs of Dallas Texas. My day job also involves being a part time student at an Online University with plans to graduate with a masters degree in Nursing; a full time wife and a full time mom to a full time hubby and two kids respectively. At nights however, I am a full time writer.

How long have you been writing?
I have been writing since I was ten, way back in Secondary school - back home in Nigeria when I was in form one, or what is now known as JSS one.

Tell us about the book, Love in Paradise
Love in paradise is a purely African romance-suspense novel that displays a continent that is steeped in romantic sentiments, just as much as that of the western world. The book features the enigmatic multimillionaire, Tony Da-Silva who has some serious trust issues and Mimi, a new pharmacy undergrad who is dealing with a tragic loss from her past. In the background is a maniac who has a vendetta against Tony. When Tony and Mimi come together and fall in love, their issues forever become a thing of the past. Also, the antagonist comes to his own terrible end at the end of the book.

What inspired you to write this book?
My inspiration was my faith in a God whom I have always claimed is romantic in his very nature. This is how I see it: That the God of heaven and Earth... the greatest, most wealthy, Almighty Being in the entire Universe would stop at nothing to claim us for himself. He will move mountains, shake the earth and even bleed to death for the cause of humanity. That to me is the purest meaning of romance. Every other story seems to pale in comparison to his deeply potent sentiments for us.

Are the characters and events based on real people and events?
Yes, most of the characters are based on real people. For example, Tony Da-Silva’s character was based on my handsome husband of course (LOL). The fictional city mentioned in the novel, Laketown, was based on mutual experiences of living in Lagos and the beautiful city of Kaduna in Nigeria. I also had to drum up experiences of visiting Vancouver, Canada - another beautiful city to make up Laketown city.

The book is primarily romantic suspense. Do you believe in love and happy endings?
Yes. Yes and yes. I believe so much in love and happy endings. Love signifies Hope. It exudes joy. I am a hopeless “love” believer. I will not read or watch anything that ends unhappily.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?
The hardest part about writing this book was incorporating the love-making scenes with the message of hope in a loving God that I wanted to convey to my readers. A very good romance novel needs to have the feely-touchy parts, but at the same time, I had to balance the sensuality involved with my faith ... a feat I think I did quite well eventually. Although, it was not easy.

How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?
Gosh! I have written so many stories but none ever got published. I wrote them for the enjoyment of my classmates back in Secondary school and in University, and once everyone had read it, I threw it in the garbage. However, now that I am more matured and with more encouragement from my biggest fan – my husband, I have completed two books, one of which has been published. I am currently working simultaneously on my third and fourth novels. I am three-quarters done with my third, and one quarter done with my fourth.

What is your schedule like when you're writing?
I am a night owl, so I write at nights mostly. Occasionally, you may catch me writing during the day when my hubby is out running errands and my kids are busy watching TV. Otherwise, its nights only. And I can write all night without a wink of sleep. Without an iota of fatigue.

How long did it take you to write this book?
It took me approximately six months.

What response have you received from readers of the book so far?
I have heard very encouraging responses, most of which has been “You’ve got to write a sequel.” Thankfully, now I have.

What lesson(s) would you want readers to take away from the book?
The first lesson is for readers of all cultures to understand that Black Africa ( and I am not talking about White South African writers) has romance running in its veins. The second lesson is that black African men are romantic too... in their own special way, with their territorial and often possessive flairs. The third is that there is a God who loves us – one who is even more territorial and possessive of those he loves, a message that is echoed all through the book.

What are the challenges you encountered in writing and publishing this book?
I did not have so much trouble in writing the book, but I had issues with publishing the book – which is the not-so-fun part about the writing industry. I came to realize that publishing is a business and like all businesses out there, it can be cold, unfeeling and un-receiving. I am not a business person by nature, so that was a tough sell, trying to publish the book – which really meant marketing the book so others can read it. However, I have received so much encouragement to keep going on, so I guess I am still here, doing that which I love best which is writing.

Who are your writing heroes?
I know this might sound rather uncanny, but my biggest writing hero is David of the Psalms. I love the way he wrote those beautiful psalms... the way he conveyed his feelings. One can always relate to whatever emotions he is going through just reading his works. Other big inspirations for me are Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka and Ola Rotimi. More recently, my biggest romance hero has been Lisa Kleypas who has many romance novels under her belt. Another writer who I am beginning to admire is Tolulope Popoola whose tenacity in this industry has encouraged me to keep moving on, no matter what.

What inspires you as a writer?
My inspiration comes from true-life experiences. Observing everyday people with their unique stories and pulling that into a readable Drama piece.

What book are you reading now?
I am currently reading Lisa Kleypas’ Smooth Talking Stranger. I have read it before but I am reading it again just for kicks. Before then, I had read and re-read, “In My Dreams It Was Simpler” just so I could play this ridiculous game of predicting what would come next in the sequel.

Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it?
I learned that I fall in the habit of describing way too much. In real life, I have a tendency to be a talkative, if given the chance, and I think I translated my talkative self into writing this book. 

What are your current projects? Are you working on the next book?
Yes. I am working on publishing my second novel, Love at Dawn, which really is a sequel to love in Paradise. This novel features Tory Da-Silva (Tony’s younger sister) and Rashad Macaulay (Tony Da-Silva’s best friend) who both fall in love while harbouring dark secrets from their past. At the same time, I am writing “Love Echoes” and “When Love came calling” – all of which are part of the Da-Silva romance saga Novels.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
My advice is: “Keep writing. No matter What.” Also, join an association of writers...it doesn’t have to be an official one. Get a writing buddy or buddies, people who are passionate like you in what they do whom you can encourage and who can encourage you, because it is a jungle out there in the writing industry. And finally, Learn all the skills that you possibly can to make you the best in your art. Like they say, writing is a love. Never lose sight of your love.

Where can we get the book?
My book is currently available on Amazon  - Love in Paradise by Lara Daniels

Where can people find out more about you and your work?
At my website at www.laradaniels.com and on my page at "Speak Without Interruption" and more recently, my blog site which I am still very much new to and hope to get a hang of someday.

Thank you for your time Lara.

That's it! I hope you guys have enjoyed reading the interview. Go and get a copy of the book, it is amazing!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My Interview with TELL Magazine

I did an interview with TELL magazine earlier in the year, and I was really honoured to be featured in the edition for last week! You can read the attachment, or go HERE to read the full magazine from the TELL website.

Special thanks to Tundun Adeyemo, who did the interview.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Poem - All That She Is

When you marry a woman
You marry the little girl she used to be
The girl with a sense of fun
The girl with a penchant for mischief
The little girl who had dreams of Prince Charming
The little girl who had no restrictions in her imagination
The girl whose love was pure and innocent
The girl whose eyes sparkled like stars
The girl who played with her mum’s make up and trinkets
The girl who couldn’t wait to grow older
Whose cute dimples, belied the confidence beneath the exterior

When you marry a woman
You marry the teenager she used to be
The one who was curious about life and everything
The one who formed her opinions, and changed them again
The one who wrestled with expectations and priorities
The one who tested the boundaries
The one who struggled and started making mistakes
As she started discovering who she really was
Physically, mentally, emotionally and socially
While trying to balance what others expected her to be.

When you marry a woman
You marry her in the prime of her youth
When her beauty is radiant
When her curves are supple and appealing
And she bears your children
You marry a woman with strengths and weaknesses
You marry a friend who has your back
You marry someone who will build with you
With her strength and courage
You marry someone who is increasingly confident about her abilities
Even as she worries whether she is doing a good job
Being a wife, mother, daughter and friend

When you marry a woman
You marry the person she will become
In her later years, her lessons learnt
Even though her outward beauty will fade
But her inner spirit remains radiant
Maturing everyday like fine wine
She has gathered experience over the years
She has learnt to temper her words with wisdom
She has learnt to take the thorns with the roses
She has learnt to pick her battles
And she has rearranged her priorities

When you marry a woman
You discover more about her everyday
Because she is always evolving
Time passes, and the seasons change
But you will always learn something new about her
She will never stop amazing you
She is woman

(c) Tolulope Popoola

Published on Femme Lounge

On Life: Domestic Staff

I've been thinking about the way the vast majority of middle and upper class Nigerians treat their domestic staff - people like housemaids, gatemen,/security men, drivers, gardeners and so on. The other day, I was discussing the issue with some friends and we all agreed that, in general, they were treated in an appalling way.

From what I've observed, they are treated like second-class citizens in the homes where they work. They often don't share the same living quarters with the rest of the family. Or they are given the worst spaces possible. They use a different set of utensils to eat, for some reason. They are given cast-offs of the children's clothes to wear.

Then they are spoken to in awful ways. Sometimes I would visit a friend and she would be speaking with me nicely and politely, and then turn around to use a harsh and intimidating tone on her housemaid, and call her abusive names. I don't understand it. Sure you can use a firm tone when you are giving instructions to an employee but is there a need for the constant stream of abuse? Would any of us take that kind of attitude from our managers at the office?

Which brings me to my next point. Domestic staff have little or no employment rights. They don't have regular working hours, due to the nature of their work. They also don't have any benefits. They don't have holidays, they don't get days off, they don't have anything called a social life. They don't get sick days off or sick pay. Sometimes they don't go to school and can't learn any skill while they are working for their masters. I'm sure none of us professional ladies would ever imagine working for a company that didn't give us any time off or holidays, or allow us any social life. We would protest, but we give the same treatment to our own employees. I have even heard women complaining bitterly when it's Christmas time, and their maid wants to take a couple of weeks off to go and visit her family. It's almost like, she's not human and she doesn't need time off to go and see her family. Never mind that madam has time off from her own job so that she can enjoy her Christmas holiday.

Furthermore, the physical violence towards them is just horrible. Women who won't raise a hand to strike their own children seem to see no qualms in beating their maids to a pulp at the slightest offence. For some reason, the maid always deserves a beating whenever she makes a mistakes, whereas their children do worse things, but they don't get beaten. Why? What makes it different? Would any of us tolerate physical abuse at work? Why do we think it is okay to hit our domestic staff?

The funny thing is that these mistreatments are not limited to any type of woman. I have witnessed women from all spheres of life mistreating their domestic staff. Even women who should know better, like pastor's wives, lawyers or human right's activists. We can speak out against so many injustices in the world, but for some reason, we turn a blind eye to the ones we do right under our nose.

We can argue that we can't trust them, they are rogues, thieves and what not. But for the amount of money they are paid, and the useful service they provide to us, most of our domestic staff don't get treated well. So of course, they don't have much of an incentive to behave properly. Domestic staff do a very difficult job around the house. They allow many professional women the ability to have a career and a social life. Yet we don't appreciate what they do and the assistance they provide.

Has anyone tried to put themselves in their maid's shoes? Think about it for a moment. You are a young girl who should be in school. But you're taken away from your family and sent to the city to work for a strange family. You could be scared, lonely and homesick, but you have to put all those emotions aside and get on with it. You have to endure working from sunrise to sunset every single day of the week. You must be at the beck and call of your employer at all times. If you are really lucky you will end up working for a nice family that will treat you well. But the majority are treated harshly by everyone in the family - from the madam, to the oga, to the children. And you dare not complain. In fact, who will you complain to? Who will believe you, if you say your madam is mistreating you, or your oga is making sexual advances towards you? The best you can do is to run away. But where does that leave you? Out of a job, broke and lost in a big city. Or worse.

I hope we can all start making some small changes to the way we treat our maids. It may just be a small change we make everyday, but it would make a whole world of difference to someone. I would like to imagine a world where housemaids can point to the time they spent with their madams and say that those years were one of the best times of their lives.

Food for thought.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

On Life: Books on My Desk

My books arrived from Amazon! So I've now got six books on my desk to devour. I've already started reading "In Dependence" by Sarah Ladipo Manyika. I might do a review of it when I'm done.

Apart from reading, I've been getting back into the swing of writing again. I've had to abandon my book manuscript for now. I hope to start working on another one very soon. Will keep you all posted.

And finally: I want to apologise to you guys for the closure of our "In My Dreams It Was Simpler" series blog. One of our writers was indisposed, and we were also making some changes to the story. Thanks for being patient with us! The blog has reopened now, and the series would be updated tomorrow so do check it out!

Have a lovely weekend ahead!


Wednesday, March 03, 2010

On Life: Books Books Books!

This might sound kinda sad, but I'm so excited because I've just bought some books! Lol, I love reading, and now that I'm a writer it's become part of my job to read. My book shelf is now groaning under the weight of stuff, but that won't make me stop buying books! I've been eyeing so many books for a while, my Amazon wish-list has been calling my name, so I just decided to go ahead and treat myself this month.

I bought:

Blonde Roots by Bernardine Evaristo

On Black Sisters' Street by Chika Unigwe

I Do Not Come to You by Chance by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

In Dependence by Sarah Ladipo Manyika

And finally: In My Dreams It Was Simpler

 (Yep, I bought a copy of our own book! It's for research purposes, lol)

I can't wait for all of them to arrive in the post! I'm eager to bury my head in crisp pages of literature... transporting me to places far away... introducing me to new people... bliss...

I think I'm sorted for the next month or so, but knowing me, I might just buy a few more sooner!

PS: Check out my interview on The Bookaholic Blog! (better late than never)

Enjoy the rest of your week!


Thursday, February 25, 2010

I'm Human

I'm Human

If you pinch me, I will react
If you annoy me, I will get angry
If you hurt me, I will cry
If you cut me, I will bleed
After all, I'm only human.

I try to be a better person everyday
Sometimes it's easy, sometimes it's hard
Sometimes I get it right
Sometimes I get it wrong
But it's okay because,
After all, I'm only human

I make mistakes, I have my flaws
I'm not perfect, I'm not pristine
I'm not a robot or a machine
I have emotions that I express
And that's perfectly fine,
Because I'm only human

I'm not an angel, I'm not God
I get tired and irritable
I have moments of strengths
But also moments of weakness
I cannot see the future
I cannot promise not to fail
After all, I'm only human

I will fall, but I will rise
I will do my best once again
I will admit when I'm wrong
I will say sorry when I offend
But this I know for sure
I am only human

(c) FG

Thursday, February 18, 2010

On Writing: I Hear Voices

No, I'm not mad.

When I got the rejection letter from the publisher I submitted my novel to last year, I decided to put the manuscript away for a while so that I could get some distance and hopefully clarity on it. I haven't looked at the work since December. Now I'm hearing my characters whispering to me, asking me why I abandoned them for so long. They want me to come and clear up the twists I've left in their lives. One of my protagonists especially, is asking for a slight change in his life. I'm considering it.

Weird, huh? Most fiction writers would know what I'm talking about. It's funny having your own made-up characters come alive and start taking over your sub-conscious. Weird and a bit scary. Anyhow, I love my job, so I'm not complaining. I just wish they would let me do it on my own terms... okay, okay, I've got to go and finish re-writing that chapter...

Take care folks!

PS: Before you go, check out my interview on Femme Lounge


Thursday, January 28, 2010

On Life: Imagine Me

I woke up and this Kirk Franklin song was playing over and over in my mind. It got me thinking about the time in my life when I was very timid, shy and insecure person, struggling with low self esteem. I remember those feelings of "not being good enough", "not being pretty enough" and so on clearly. I have vowed that the one thing I will make sure I do when I have children of my own is to instill healthy self-esteem and self-confidence into them from a young age.

If there is anyone who has never had to deal with low self esteem, there are no words to accurately describe the feelings. It's like a huge cloud hanging over you, darkening everything in your mind. It's like a voice whispering in your head constantly - saying that you are not important, you don't matter, you will never be good enough, you can't do anything good, so why bother? It's the critic in your mind that measures you against everyone else and tells you that you fall far short. It's not believing in yourself or your own talents and abilities. It's like a hopeless despair that you don't deserve anything good, so even when good things happen to you, you are questioning them or thinking they cannot last. It's blaming yourself for everything that goes wrong in your life. It's hating yourself and wishing you could be someone else - anyone just as long as it's not you. It's looking up to someone else to define who are and what you can be. It's settling for less because you don't believe you deserve more. It's not knowing your value and worth.
Need I go on? It's awful, awful awful, and I know this because I went through it. And my heart goes out to anyone who is struggling with these issues. A lot of problems we face in our lives and relationships can be traced to these issues. Why do some women stay with abusive partners? Because they don't think they deserve better. Why do some people give up on their dreams? Because they don't believe they have what it takes to succeed.

I can't but be very thankful to God everyday for bringing me out of that twisted way of thinking about myself. Every time I remember, I say "Thank You God because I am not who I used to be some years ago". It wasn't easy but I am sooooo glad that I have gotten over that negative way of thinking about myself - who I am, whose I am and what I am capable of. And I could only have changed my mindset with God's Word and God's help. I have blogged about this in an older post here but I just felt like someone needed to read this today.

God's word says that He is our Father. He knew you before you we were born. You are a unique individual, created in God's image and likeness. He formed you in your mother's womb. He saw you and declared that you are very good. He is with you every single day. His thoughts towards you are thoughts of good, not of evil. He loves you with an unconditional love that nothing can take away. He loves you so much that He sent His son to die for you because - guess what? You are worth it! You are so valuable to God that even the hairs on your head are numbered. He has invested His time, gifts and talents in you, so you don't need to compare yourself with anyone else. He has kept you and preserved your life thus far, and He has great plans for you.

The voice telling you negative things about yourself is the enemy. You can choose not to believe it. Instead fill your mind with the positive words of love and affirmation that God has spoken concerning you. With time, you will start to believe in what God has said about you. Don't let low self-esteem hold you down any longer. Start believing in yourself and your worth!

Be blessed!


Friday, January 15, 2010

The Series - In My Dreams It Was Simpler


Six intelligent and vivacious ladies - Lola, Funmi, Titi, Dolapo, Temmy and Maureen are a tight group of friends. They have been through many ups and downs together, from their pre-university days to the present time as young career women. They constantly have to deal with the measures of success - striking the perfect balance in all aspects of their lives - careers, relationships, cultural expectations, friendships, moral dilemmas and the demands of "having it all".

Then there are the men: Tade - a guy from Temmy's recent past who is now stalking her, Dayo - who Titi is initially reluctant to introduce to her friends because of his age, and Wole who appears to tick all the boxes that Lola is looking for but has a shady past she wants to uncover by all means. They are thrown together in a series of intriguing events and twists, their dreams are shattered, and loyalties are tested to breaking point. Against all odds, the six friends have tried their best to stay afloat, but they don't know what the future holds...

Want to find out more? How will they deal with the situations they face? Will they pull through and become stronger? Or will they become victims of circumstances they cannot control?

Find out more about the series by clicking here: In My Dreams It Was Simpler