we were made for so much more than ordinary lives, let’s shine bright and let darkness run and hide.

The story as mama told it….

“once there lived a nation; One feared by many kingdoms and empires. Kings shivered and emperors trembled at the thought of war ring against them for they made useless dangerous ammunition and war strategies. These people however, attributed all the credit to their mysterious God whom they so feared and revered. It must have been true because there was nothing special about these people: they were neither huge nor well trained in battle, besides they didn’t even have a king. All they could boast of was this God.

Stories have been told of how this God raised His mighty hand in wrath against one pharaoh of Egypt for mistreating His people; unleashing plague after plague until He finally killed all the firstborns in the land sparing only His people. Pharaoh had no choice than to send the nation packing. Stories of how they had walked right through the Red sea and crossed fierce Jordan on dry ground. Other great and mighty things were told of this nation.

These people however didn’t know how special they were. After they had conquered all the nations and settled in their land, they looked around them and noticed how different they were. They thought that having a king will be a great idea so they asked for one and got it. As time went on their kings vexed them greatly. Having a king turned out to be not so great in the end.

Thing is, they weren’t a nation made to have a king but they looked around, saw the ordinary and thought it better; they traded their extraordinary for the ordinary…”

“Sarah, please never trade your extraordinary for the ordinary” mama ended.

I said my night prayer, mama gave me a kiss and said good night.

Mama had mentioned I was special. I didn’t know exactly how special until a while later when I found out I was a princess. A princess? what! Unbelievable!  Was that why I had to wear these gowns?  Yes! I am from a different kingdom than here. A much higher and powerful one (no kidding) and that is the way of life of the people in that kingdom and I have to reflect that regardless of where I am.

Till today I don’t know what inspired that bed time story – whether it was the deflated look in my eyes when I saw my dress or the longing look in my eyes as I looked at Emma’s dress; or maybe both – but I’m so glad I heard it, for it gradually changed my perspective of life and how I saw myself.

Today, I don’t fret over the long dresses and ‘many rules’, I have embraced my lot. And when I look around and feel a bit weird or uneasy, I remind myself of who I am.

So, don’t let the norm of this immediate environs fool you, we hold so much more valuables than the seemly glitters of this world; for all you know, the “cool” you so much want is dross and not gold.

….on dark days when i feel frustrated, unloved, and inadequate, I remember who I am and straighten my crown. -unknown

 

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“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light”

Mama, I thought held an archaic perspective to relationships and was altogether too prim and proper about everything. Times have changed and things along with it but not mama. She still held on to the colonial definition of civility – sit down right, dress like ladies, talk to your friends with ‘courtesy’ ….and the list was endless.

The hardest part of these was the gowns -long and loose flowing dresses or skirts practically to the feet-she made us wear. We wore them everywhere except for school: where we obviously had to wear uniforms, and even with that she sewed our uniforms extra-long. I do not know about my sisters but for me this was quite frustrating and annoying.

At a point in time, all the kids at school were to go to the children’s park for a funfair and mama had promised us new clothes for the occasion. I was excited because I felt nothing in my wardrobe was good enough and also because a new dress held the promise of a much current fashion style. I should have known mama wouldn’t deviate from her usual ‘length appropriate clothes’. The clothes finally arrived and to my disappointment they were gowns.

I was so pissed. Before the promise of new clothes I had resigned myself to a selection from my woefully-limited-in-style wardrobe. The silver lining that came with mama’s promise turned out not to be silver after all: now I had to reconcile myself with my earlier decision and this was hard. I probably would have sat it out if not for the fact that I wanted to go so bad.

The day for the fair came and I dressed up with very little excitement. On the bus, I was rather melancholic in contrast to my sisters who were busily chatting away, obviously unperturbed by their clothes. I wasn’t looking forward to seeing my friends because I knew they would be better dressed than I was, and they were.

I went to say hi to avoid looking snobbish or troubled, either of which would have warranted a lot of explanation of which I wasn’t exactly in the mood for.. In course of the exchange of pleasantries, Joy, a friend of mine, said “I love the way you are so simple Sarah”. She probably meant it as a complement but I didn’t take it as one. It just set my teeth on edge. Was I so pitiful that the best she could say was “simple” in her attempt to be nice? Moreover, if she thought my clothes were that great why didn’t she get similar ones, I had worn the styles enough times.

That evening, my cousin Emma showed me a picture of a dress her mama was going to get her.

Much Later that night, mama told me a bed time story different from the popular ones.

…….

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Another year has began. Everything is looking bright and fair. It is both a new beginning and a continuation. New heights to clog and goals to reach. New expectations with renewed hope and faith.  A continuation of life and compilation of memories to look back on in later years. A revival and rekindling of waning fires and  another chapter of the life-long story we are writing.

All in all, we are reaching for much more and  trusting for greater things and times. As the year goes by; live, laugh, cry if need be, be courageous, get back up when you fall,hope, make friends, trust, love , and  ooohh…..  take photos. At the end of the year, when you look back make sure its a smile you have on your face.

And as i wish you a happy new year i cannot forget to mention God. He lightens our path so we may know the way by which we should go, because we have not passed this way before. Leave HIM out, and all  you have is a recipe for disaster.

Happy New Year !!

Mutlu Yıllar !!

FITTING RIGHT

 

He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how. – Friedrich Nietzsche

Watching Jordan, my younger brother, trying to put together a puzzle brings fond memories of my own childhood streaming back. I have been watching him for a little while now and I know exactly when he started feeling a bit frustrated; everything isn’t fitting exactly where he thought it should and I totally sympathized with him because I remember feeling exactly the same way, even a little irate, back then especially when I wanted to move on from putting together a puzzle to something else and parallel felt obliged to close the puzzle case before anything else. I’m supposing he is getting to the point where he will attempt fitting any piece anywhere just to get the feeling of completion so he can just move on to something else [ at least that’s what I did sometime].

The scene seem to tally with a fascinating truth I learnt about the great temple king Solomon built in Jerusalem. Until quite recently I had always assumed the magnificent temple had been built like all the other building I see. I couldn’t be more wrong. I learnt the temple was simply assembled. Every material was made and worked on so that during the actual process of building, there was no need for cutting, sawing, chiseling etc, it was about fitting the cut out pieces in their respective positions. The materials were all already designed and custom made to fit a particular place. So that if something didn’t fit somewhere it wasn’t forced or patched in; it didn’t make useless the piece, it simply meant that wasn’t where it was designed to be.

How alike to this process of assembling we are. We are also custom made to fit a particular place/position/spot. We however, miss this truth often probably because we get frustrated with things we so badly want to happen for personal reasons [like Jordan] or some other reason and make do with being patched up elsewhere just to make it happen. This brings to mind the saying square peg in round hole. This doesn’t make useless the need to adapt but focuses us on the need to find where we are designed and purposed to be. A wise man once told me, ‘acknowledging our place and importance would make us more appreciative of other people’s place.’ Then there would be no need to be envious/jealous of others…. because we know we are just right for our purpose. We stand strong together when we stand in our appropriate places.

 

“But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth” – The Bible

 

FLASHBACK

 

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven…….and a time to dance.

Flashback into the year 2005, April 22nd. A very frabjous day for me because 1. It was my anniversary and 2. It was the day that I finish writing my Basic Education Certificate Exams (BECE). I had waited so long for that day, though before I didn’t think I would be around to write the exams – I thought the rapture would have taken place – but it wasn’t to be so. So yes I wrote the BECE. On the last day a few minutes after the monumental ‘stop work’ and paper collection, I raised my hand in victory, I had conquered the world. I chanted loudly to myself ten ones, ten ones! It definitely had to be ten ones considering the lump sum of money [one I had already drawn a budget for] at stake over a deal I made with my dad. I was a bit skeptical and unsure of French though, but hey, miracles happen and I happen to believe in them, so why not. I had been an active anti-French activist in school – never really studied it much. Monsieur Degboye, my French teacher, had been an excellent tutor I just hadn’t thought French was one of the things I needed to succeed in life. Funny though, now I I’m learning it. I looked around me at the faces of my fellows and they were all wearing smiles. Outside the exams room, some people were ripping their uniforms apart, ponding each other, throwing powder on themselves, dropping their text books all in the name of jubilation. Of course we had overcome mountains and hills and valleys, because it pretty much felt like that to us. It was exciting and entertaining to watch but I haven’t been much for that explicit form of expressions so I didn’t join in. Maybe the fact that 3 years before us some students have had to come back to school to study and retake the exams because ap) had leaked also contributed to my reserve.

Fast forward to 2016, June 17th. BECE is ending today and today also doubles as a friend’s anniversary [Happy Birthday Kennedy]. Of course over the years the curriculum has been modified so instead of two papers today, candidates are writing just one. I can imagine they may be feeling pretty much the same. Young fellas will be excited. Years of studies, for some, days of cramming and sleepless nights is finally over. So much expectancy – for great results, looking forward to SHS and a lot of leisure time.

A few days after relaxing at home, members will start itching for some activity and start wishing they were still in school minus all the learning or maybe just tests and exams.

Kudos to all our young ladies and gentlemen, especially my great friends, Ernest and Gabriel, for a job well done. All the best in your results.

I have fought a good fight, i have finished my course, i have kept the faith.  –  The Bible

Twenty- five

“I want to be a doctor; a lawyer; a poet; a chartered accountant; the governor of BOG. I want to be a Chartered Management Accountant & psychotherapist; a teacher/lecturer…”  I said all those at some point in my life growing up.

25 finds me, a professional teacher, a blogger and a drummer [working on adding to the list]. My views and perception of life has evolved and is more real and practical and I’m still expecting some changes. I have grown; matured…….I’m growing, maturing every day. I look back on the years, some of the times all I see is a blur. I remember preschool, primary school, high school, college. I have made friends and lost friends. I have learnt a lot; made mistakes and looking forward to learn more. The memories, priced souvenirs.

Sitting down and taking stock, it seem I have achieved little; so much left undone. Then I’m reminded how the years ahead have not been a waste. I remember my friends and family counting me as a blessing, I smile and know I have touched the world in some way, even though perhaps very minutely.

25 years, with the first real birthday cake and presents and a lot grateful. No frowns and grumblings. Only wide smiles and laughter. I have survived much and I’m blessed with more. I have a testimony and there is still yet a lot of goodness ahead of me.

In the distance ahead I see much awesomeness[a borrowed word], I also see hurdles and blockades but I know the ambiance is coloured with so much love, peace and joy so I’m holding on to faith. With squared shoulders I embrace my lot and take a course in patience and self-discipline.

Now the dream is a lot different. Now, I want to be the best of what I am and can be. I want to be someone through which the glory of God can be shared…..someone who touches the world in the unique way only I can.. someone who will walk in purpose and in the fear of God.

STANDING OUT

It was a very sunny Tuesday afternoon, several days after school reopened and two days to the deadline for student registration. Three of my friends and I were walking to lectures. We had dashed to the faculty in between lectures to finish the final step in our registration process and we were not particularly in a hurry to get to the lecture theatre; to get to shelter from the scorching sun was a different story. As we were walking across the lawns scrutinizing a document (I don’t remember exactly what) my eyes darted around. A tiny flower springing up caught my attention. It was nothing extraordinary but it looked outstanding surrounded by so much green grass. I thought it was very beautiful and I would have taken a photo but couldn’t because I didn’t have a camera. My phone wasn’t functional at that time. I did draw my friend’s attention to it though and made a silent promise to write about it someday. Today is that day. Of course Ransford, one of my friends, was quick to point out to me that the flower was nothing special [just in case I thought otherwise], and was actually very common. A flower of a common weed in fact. I didn’t doubt that for a second, it wasn’t the particulars of the flower that drew me to it but its uniqueness in its immediate surroundings. Imagine a whole lawn of neatly mowed grass with a tiny spring of white flower, just an inch taller sitting right in the middle. Impressive, right? I don’t know if my description does justice to the picture or make you catch a glimpse of what I’m talking about. But this picture stuck with me. I thought how bold that flower was to spring out right in the middle of so much uniformity and dare to be different. I imagined how odd the grass might have made the flower feel and it (the flower) probably might have felt very out of place. But standing there watching this tiny, maybe even sickly flower, I thought it was glorious and I saw how much courage it took to stick out like that. It made me wonder why we sometimes go to extreme ends to fit in when we could simply stand out and make a better and extraordinary, or even perfect picture.

I noticed how contrary to this flower I have been most of the time. How I had robbed the world of much beauty. Because in my quest to group, I had conformed to the standards of my friends, even when I thought different, and been broken time without number under peer pressure. I appreciated afresh the sense in variety and understood slightly perhaps, why God in his unsearchable wisdom created all differently; so we could complement each other among others. We lose this beauty when we strive to all look the same. After all what fun will it be if we were all the same- boring replicas of each other?

Stand out everywhere, be outstanding!

            Never be afraid to stand out, it’s better to be remembered for
            standing out in a crowd than to be forgotten for blending in.
                                                                  Ash Sweeney