Training my 10-month old baby girl





“You people are late, you have spoilt her, you should have started training her before 6 months,” my Nigerian dad said from the head of the sturdy oak dining table a few days ago.




Then began my attempts to defend my parenting abilities “well daddy, she only recently began to understand “No”. She just turned 10 monthsโ€ฆ there is still plenty of hope for discipline.”




After that, I don’t know what possessed me to explain how she is already showing signs of a strong will and how she clenches her teeth and sometimes squeezes her eyes shut when I am derailing her exploratory efforts with “No” and finger wagging.




“Great, you just confirmed what daddy is saying!”, I mentally chide myself. Am I supposed to spank a 10-month-old?




Anyone familiar with the Nigerian parenting style will sympathize with me. I have been exposed to many homes with varied styles of parenting and I know the result of a total lack of discipline.




It’s almost inevitable that the visit to my parent’s place during the weekend of the (failed/postponed) Nigerian presidential elections gave me an opportunity to reflect on, decide and actively implement how best I want to raise our child with my husband. After all, we did promise in front of God and our church to raise her in fear and knowledge of God…..



Partnering with God in Parenting




Often we are so tempted to Google everything when it comes to the unknown and we try to equip ourselves with medical and expert advice gathered from research studies. My Google dependence soared to new heights from the moment I got pregnant. However, God is the one who created our precious ones. He alone knows all the gifts, talents and abilities He has deposited in our children.


For rest of this post, click here



















Wedding Anniversary: 2 years celebration

Twas two years ago to this day
That I walked down the aisle & vowed
To stick with you, come what may…
Walking on a cloud by your side,
Was the beginning of our journey,
As we began to build our home in stride.

Look at us two years into our journey,
God has blessed us in so many ways
A family of two now turned three,
I pray God’s love with us stays
His wisdom and knowledge to be our guide
And Holy Spirit, the teacher by our side.

Happy Anniversary my darling heart

Cheers to all the beautifully strong Women I know

Though International Women’s day may be over…I hope the celebration of ourselves as women will continue.

So cheers to all the phenomenal women I know and all over the world, yes you! No matter what corner of the world you live in, I celebrate you, your dreams, your daily grind and hard work, your struggles, your fight, your disappointments, your failures…

Even those of us struggling to find passion, purpose & meaning in life…let us learn to stop and smell the roses. To appreciate people in our lives. Don’t give up, pick yourself up and try again. Don’t take NO for an answer. Stop beating yourself up because Self-Discovery is a process that doesn’t ends till we die. To discover ourselves, we need to spend more time with our creator. How do we learn about all the features & abilities of a machine without the owner’s manual? The Bible is our owners manual. When we spend time with God and with His Word, it illuminates every aspect of who we are and our lives “The entrance of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple.”
Psalms 119:130 NKJV

Ask God to reveal the gifts and talents He has deposited in you and get to work sitting down And listing, as well as asking people who know you well. Focus on one thing you are really good at, something that u find pleasure doing and ask God for direction.

My hope and dream for the female gender is that all of us women will first learn to value ourselves & each other. We are fearfully & wonderfully made. Stop the backbiting, jealousy, comparisons and negative competitive spirit creating divisions among us women. Instead let us learn to develop and model a spirit of solidarity among ourselves for the younger girls to be inspired

Dear Women, we shouldn’t take ourselves for granted. Our bodies are phenomenal! God created our bodies with the ability to nurture, grow and sustain life within for 9 months. Even if for whatever reason we haven’t experienced that, we all have the emotional and mental faculties that operates at extraordinary capabilities & under enormous stress.

A few of the women I know are relentlessly chasing their dreams. For some, the universe just magically aligned itself and the road to achieving their dreams was more or less a smooth ride with minor bumps. For so many others, it was a relentless pursuit, being rejected time and time again, refusing to take no for an answer. You may be struggling to gain admission, are a job seeker, recently unemployed, a stay at home mum or any other circumstance that’s threatening to make you feel inferior. If you are like me, life has just struck you down one too many times and you can’t find the willpower to get up. That dream you chased till it almost killed you seems totally out of reach, you can’t find an ounce of passion to dream again. You are alive, it is not the end. Don’t let that define who you are! You are strong, don’t give up!

Yes, humanely speaking it is impossible but that’s where faith comes in. A relationship with God, our creator, the giver of life will make all the difference. We may not be able to rise again in our own strength, but we can draw strength from the God of the impossible. Spending time in God’s presence will help us to rise above our circumstances on wings of an eagle.

May our lives inspire the younger girls coming up after us.

Let the celebration of you and I continue

Let us grow to be strong women.

Cheers to Strong Women;

May we know them,

May we be them,

May we raise them

#internationalwomensday #strongwomen #victorious #rolemodel #model #quote #wisdom #inspiration #motivation #thoughts #reflections #love #admire #woman #bosslady #entrepreneur #mother #daughter #sister #friend

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When we allow our Health Challenges to Define us

Since I was diagnosed with Chronic Myelogenous #Leukemia #CML when I was 17 years old, over a decade ago, I remember my life seemed to revolve around hospital appointments, blood tests, scans, bone marrow aspirations. I had to consciously plan my day so that I have at least one full meal and ensure a bottle of water and chemotherapy (#gleevec) tablets are packed in my bag.

Where before I was an over-achieving student, my body now slowed me down. You know those all nighters spent cramming for an exam, or writing that paper, or preparing a presentation? From then on, I would be plagued by constant fatigue, flu/cough and struggling with chemo side effects like vomiting and diarrhea.

To everyone else, I maintained my bubbly, cheerful, friendly, energetic persona but now I was coming late to class, begging lecturers for extensions on deadlines and so forth. And my once forbearing and diplomatic persona was not so lenient anymore.

I wasn’t the typical #cancer patient. I wasn’t deathly pale (though I was far lighter skinned compared to before my diagnosis and chemo treatment) and sported a full head of raven black hair. Plus I didn’t have to go to the hospital for chemo treatments when mine was concealed conveniently in my bag to take “on-the-go”. I looked just like every other student. I remember one lecturer going so far as to say I was using my illness as an excuse. Hmm. I will chalk that one up to ignorance. Then came another mid-semester drop out. Each time it got harder and harder to return back to my studies.

I am sure you can relate to how such physical and health limitations begin to define us in such a permanent way. We don’t even realize when it becomes a part of who we are. I had gotten admitted to medical school just after I was hospitalized the first time I was diagnosed. I got to defer admission to medical school, but after my health took a hit my first year there, my doctor didn’t allow me to resume.

I relocated closer to my parents and would still pursue my dreams of being an emergency/disaster response doctor for several years to come in one pre-med course after another. Each time, I would transfer over to what I thought was a less intensive course.

I had to look for another degree to graduate with. It took me 9 years from when I graduated high school to obtain my college (university) degree. I had to leave behind my career dream a long time ago. I graduated with a management degree in Human Resource Management

Now, even in #remission, I’m afraid to push myself so I don’t break down. I can’t seem to find something to be passionate about, due to this deep-seated fear that it will not work out. I keep expecting one bad break after another and when good things happen, I am beyond grateful.

One thing I am free from however is living life as a if I am a ticking time bomb. This “tip-toe” kind of living when one believes they are living on borrowed time. When I got diagnosed, I was acutely aware that my cousin suffered from #leukemia for several years before dying at age 18. For so long I went through life one day at a time. I couldn’t even picture myself graduating, not to talk of getting married.

When I finally graduated university, after several interruptions and relocations, it was a huge breakthrough and victory God gave me as this wonderful man blindsided me with a ring on my finger. I didn’t even know where to begin wedding planning because I never spent a moment browsing social media for my dream wedding gown or wedding gown receptions. Time to take a leap of faith.

I have had amazing breakthroughs (miracle conception, pregnancy & journey into motherhood) since getting married and mentally am working through and moving beyond all that now. But I wanted to write down and attempt to capture how totally hopeless life can seem, or how one’s diagnosis can colour everything about one’s life if they choose not to actively take charge of their diagnosis and more importantly their emotional and mental state of mind.

Instead of letting our health challenges define us, or be the boss of us, why don’t we take charge? Arm ourselves with information, seek help, get proactive in selecting a team to help you overcome. It is said what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. But even if it purportedly will kill you, will it hurt to go down with a fight and a champion’s smile on your face? Better yet, why not be determined to beat the odds and be part of the 0.01% that do survive?! Never underestimate the potent value of just a little Faith

Are you struggling with any issue, not something as ominous as cancer but issues like asthma, body image issues, eating disorders, a bad wrist/back, anything that serves as a limitation? Are you so nervous to talk with people that it is really affecting your mannerisms and happiness? Even if you have technically or physically gotten over an illness, are there still lingering issues affecting other areas of your life? Please I would love to hear your own story and where you are at the moment in your journey.

P.s. about The coffee pictures in this post … ๐Ÿ˜€ Maybe I just want you to remember that cup of coffee you left sitting on your table and come sit and read my thoughts. Come have a little chat with me

May God comfort the weary soul

If words could adequately describe
My bone-weary, battle-bruised exhaustion,
Eyes tingling and heavy from shedding an ocean of tears;
Head cobwebbed from a night of constant interrupted sleep;
Body weighed down from physical exhaustion,
Heart crushed and aching,
Soul quietly fading

All praises belong to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he is the Father of tender mercy and the God of endless comfort.

He always comes alongside us to comfort us in every suffering so that we can come alongside those who are in any painful trial. We can bring them this same comfort that God has poured out upon us.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 TPT

The day barely begun, already I have been through the emotional rollercoaster and back. I swore I will respect myself today. No more begging and groveling, no more chasing barefeet and bare-soul. God, I asked him for some mercy but Your Word says You are the Father of tender mercy. Wrap my battered soul in Your arms of endless comfort. Gone are the days I could spend wallowing in shame, regret and self-abasement. As a mother of a suckling babe, please help me to be stronger, a warrior in this area of weakness.

Almost instantly you send me your answer, as she raises her adorable doe-eyes to mine, lips smack in satiated satisfaction, she flashes her one-cheeked dimpled smile and utters her good morning in her own language “aaeesh ba ba ba ba…”.

You are a God who answers prayer. Your answer was already lying within my arms as I wrestled the emotions within. Help me to forgive and to love the way You love me. Unconditionally. With patience, kindness, and perseverant endurance.

Today Lord, I chose to turn to you instead of wrapping myself in my present circumstances or lack thereof. Help me Lord to do so even as I am tempted to fall into old habits.

Thank You Lord for your many blessings. The cool breeze sweeping through the room, bringing comfort to my weary head. Thank you God for the divine gift of motherhood and the seemingly bottomless reservoir of strength you provided along with it. With the challenges of keeping charge of an active little gymnast, you have provided the grace and strength. With all I have been through and all that I am going through, I know that You are God.

Thank You for the promises in your Word: I choose to trust that You will work all things out for my good. Thank you for the plans you have for me to prosper me and not to harm me. Thank you that though I walk through the waters, you will not allow me to drown. Even amongst the blazing fires of suffering and trials, you will not allow me to burn.

Thank you for the gifts you deposited in me. I know the present trial is to push me to reach within myself and tap into dormant gifts and use them to shine for your Glory and to testify to your mercy, comfort and unending goodness. Free me of this fear-mindset that has held me back for far too long. I choose to walk in confidence and boldness of the calling you have set before me. Thank you that You are my strength in the areas of my weakness. Amen

Head faintly throbbing,
Eyes still tingling and heavy,
Ears ringing with squeals and baby babbles,
Stirrings of hope rising in this tired soul
Sunlight streams through the netted windows
Filling my world with a warm, comforting golden hue,
Reaching down into the reservoirs of strength,
I rise up to face the day

If troubles weigh us down, that just means that we will receive even more comfort to pass on to you for your deliverance! For the comfort pouring into us empowers us to bring comfort to you. And with this comfort upholding you, you can endure victoriously the same suffering that we experience. Now our hope for you is unshakable, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings you will also share in Godโ€™s comforting strength.
2 Corinthians 1:6โ€ญ-โ€ฌ7 TPT

My Companion for Life, My Forever Valentine

My companion for life,
Calm sailing, amidst strife;
Constant cuddle bunny,
Through dark nights rainy,
Planning, working, building,
By Gods grace prevailing.

Commitment type of love
Comes only from above,
Unconditionally,
Help me Lord, I’m weary
To love him through the hurt
Though his words spite and curt.

Show me Lord this divine love,
Most when push comes to shove;
Grant me your perfect peace,
Forgiveness to release
Your patience and kindness.

Forever Valentine,
I am yours, you are mine;
Our vows a renewal,
I become valuable,
Excuses to steer clear,
God’s grace will be my guide,
You’ll need no more to chide.

Love Overflowing: Motherhood Lessons

My little Angel lays suckling at my left breast, the perfect picture of contentment, chubby fingers playing with the folds of my tummy. Beads of sweat glistening on her rounded forehead, her sign of a satisfying breastfeed.

Our baby girl when she was little over a month old

Laying propped up among pillows in a position I can find even when half asleep in the earliest hours of the night, those days of early motherhood seem a fond distant memory. Do any of you remember or are going through the fumbling moments, mother and baby learning how to navigate the breast and nipple? Trying to remember all the tips the nurse showed you or you read on the internet about “latching”? Ah the beautiful dance of a labour-&-delivery-wearied mama with her struggling bundle of hungry lips, upraised chin and closed eyes.

Motherhood has proven to be the most challenging, but utterly hands down, the most rewarding stage of my life so far. Even in those first few months of motherhood surviving on little to no sleep, yet finding the strength and happiness in getting up at the slightest wimper of the newest addition to the family. The joy I felt when even from her first month, my baby girl recognized me from my presence in the room. My Nigerian mum-in-law kept saying our baby ” can smell my breastmilk” and encouraged me to sleep with her on the bed during the day will help her sleep better enveloped in the reassuring scent of her mama’s milk.

There is nothing that compares to the overwhelming love of a mother for her child. It is the closest we can ever get on Earth to God’s unconditional love for us. As humans, we love, usually expecting to be reciprocated in return in one form or another. Many married and long term couples will have to admit to agonizingly crushing experiences when our spouse or lover repeatedly disappoints or falls short of our expectations.

The joy of just watching your baby’s chest rise and fall as they sleep, rosy cheeks and closed eyes in a blissful expression of deep slumber. The rush of oxytocin, the heady feeling of warmth and unexplainable, overwhelming love as you look down at your child suckling at your breast. Carrying this precious child for nine months, going through hells doors and back to birth them and then caring for their every need, expecting nothing in return. Yet all it takes for that gummy filled smile and us moms swell up with pride, like we have won the most prestigious award on the planet!

When I became a mother, I also experienced my mother’s love in a whole new dimension and appreciation. My tiny built Asian mum is the epitome of strength and support. Even though our baby girl’s approaching a year, my mum still fusses and buys food stuffs and calls daily and makes frequent visit similar to when I just gave birth. She even built the nerve to finally drive on the highway when we moved house. Those of us who have had the pleasure of driving or being on the roads in Nigeria would understand the sheer guts it would take to go behind the wheel here. Its also amusing to see my mum blossom in her new “grandma” role.

Proud grandma on Christmas day

With Valentines day approaching, lots of money will be spent and made. Hearts will soar, hearts will break. Relationships will shatter for some, proposals will matter for others. Yet I am perplexed to why a most fulfilling love is nowhere highly celebrated. Though in a way I am glad one of the most amazing expressions of love isn’t nearly as commercialized and trivialized even on mothers day.

Surrounded by reminders of Valentines day, those of my readers who are single, please don’t feel depressed. Valentines day is supposed to be a celebration of love and you need to be aware of and appreciate other forms of love in your life: your parents’ amazing love & support, your siblings, even friendships.

And I am not totally disillusioned because now our precious baby girl is in her angelic cute phase but there will come a time she grows up, and disappoints and will test the limit of this seemingly infinite supply of mothers love. But for now, let the world be a better place as we honor and appreciate the mothers we know.

I want my husband to be more like…

I want my husband to be like Ben Carson
I want my husband to be like Joel Osteen
I want my husband to be like Myles Munroe
I want my husband to be like Robert Kiyosaki
I want my husband to be like Jentezen Franklin
I want my husband to be like Billy Graham
I want my husband to be like Barrack Obama
I want my husband to be like Roger Federer

We want our husbands to be more spiritual, more pastoral, better entrepreneurs, more emotionally intelligent, more successful, a better investor, a more hardworking author/ athlete/businessman, etc. If only our husbands spent more time praying, reading the word of God, exercising, eating healthy, furthering their degree or registering in that professional course/certification…

Maybe life would be so much better if we married men who have already reached their full potential. We can sit here and envy the wives of men we admire as world leaders, Forbes list successes, Hollywood celebrities, fabulously rich and famous athletes. We compare our husbands to them, scrutinize their every weakness under our loving wifey lens. We just want them to reach their full potential, it isn’t called scrutiny or discontent! It is so easy to focus on other’s weaknesses and ignore our own, after all no one has created a mirror for us to view our blemishes that are invisible to the eye.

It is such a human trait to always find discontent in anything and everything. As a stay-at-home mum of an adorable, vivacious 10 month old, it is so easy to admire a female friend or classmate who is currently working as a surgeon, or successful entrepreneur. Whereas last month, I had three female classmates gush at how lucky I am to be married and have a beautiful child. In their eyes, I am living a fulfilled life.

Ah but when I look into that dimpled smile, with her two tiny rabbit teeth peaking through, or hear that cute giggle, I just may be the most blessed person on this planet!

Discontentment can lead to so so many other issues and can Rob you of happiness and fulfilment. And discontentment in marriage often accompanies a constant nagging voice at the back of your head that questions whether or not you have picked the best partner in life.

Let us consider the wives of those men whom we are comparing our husbands to. Most didn’t marry the men as we know them today, we have no idea what the women went through. These women most often than not married ordinary men with great vision, potential. These great women endured hardships, put up with husband’s initial frustrations, failures and temper tantrums. They learnt how to make the best of tiny paychecks and juggle life’s responsibilities and challenges. Some became prayer warriors, fasting and patiently waited on God. Of course they had their failings but in the end they dusted themselves off and also developed themselves.

Let us take advantage of the new year to have a fresh start. Let us purpose to develop ourselves, work on our weakness, with the focus more on becoming the best spouse, woman, entrepreneur, employee, friend and sister you can be. Instead of wallowing in discontent, whether it be in our marriage, career, friend choices, personality/behavior, etc, let us purpose to DO something about it. Let us choose to believe and hope in the best. For most of us, myself included, it is easier to see the best in others while being our own worst enemy. But that could turn into a whole blog post, or series of posts.

Today, let’s stop comparing our spouse, marriage or homes to that of our sister, BFF, neighbor, colleague, classmate, church member or even celebrity.

Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ.
Ephesians 5:22โ€ญ-โ€ฌ24 MSG

First and foremost as a wife, our job is to understand and support our husbands. Also we need to ask God to help us love our husbands the way God loves them. Ask God to reveal who our husbands are and to understand their strengths and the ways they need us to support and respect them. We can come to God with our requests in prayer, areas of weaknesses, temperament or lack of discipline. We cannot change our husbands, only God can.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Philippians 4:6 NIV

Is there anything you want changed in your marriage or in your spouse? Have you tried looking at yourself from your spouse’s perspective? What is the ONE thing you can start/stop doing today to become a better wife to your husband?

May God help us all, Amen.

Woohoo 2019, Hello WordPress!

My adorable chubby cheeked 9 month old baby girl lies asleep in my arms, gently snoring after a nursing session. After 9 months of this motherhood thing, I expertly multitask, taking advantage to type my first blog post of 2019:

I had initially thought life would return back to “on track” 6 months postpartum… Baby girl will turn 9 months exactly in 4 days and I realize I will need to take determined steps and probably make further sacrifices on sleep to make that happen.

It’s so tempting to remain in this comfy, heartmelting bubble of home building as a stay at home mum, putting everything on hold to be there every step of the way for their first year. Nursing one’s first child, showering their feathery cheeks with endless butterfly kisses, oohing and aahing over everything they do, watching them first roll their way into exploring the world, to getting excited about introducing solid foods. Fellow mums will understand my puree vs. Baby led weaning dilemmas, diaper emergencies etc

So thrilled with each new milestone. From the moment baby girl mastered sitting, she started crawling forwards (she used to push herself back for the longest time was so hilarious!). A week later, she was already pulling herself up to stand. And now expertly crawls, climbs, jumps, cruises holding onto anything she can grab onto.

We moved into our home when she was 3 months and with one project after another plus keeping an eye out on an energetic mobile 9 month old…its hard to keep track on how time flies!

She is still knocked out in the cradle of my right elbow, so I have managed to type up my first blog post since I was heavily pregnant. I have been so shy to share this blog with classmates, friends, associates who have known me in person because only some friends know the health challenges I went through as I didn’t want to be defined by them. What pushed me to restart my blog ASAP in 2019 is because of Andrea, my first blogger friend who encouraged me when I was so hesitant on WordPress.

So much has happened healthwise, I took a real leap of faith ever since I became pregnant with our precious miracle and I need a whole book of blogposts to document this faith journey. In summary, have been off my chemo meds since becoming pregnant and stayed off to breastfeed and give our baby the healthiest start possible in life. With all the stress of full time motherhood + not having a full night of uninterrupted sleep in 9 months, I have never broken down And never been this healthy and strong since my diagnosis. God has been so so faithful. In so so many other areas of my life. I know I have been social media quiet for the most part in 2018 but it has been so so busy adjusting to been a new wife, a mama, moving across town, managing a bigger home., owning two dogs for first time and still managing to go on The sewing machine to create matching outfits for baby girl and I..

I know I feel like Oliver Twist with nagging sense of dissatisfaction with so many dreams bubbling inside of e yet to be realized but if 2018 could produce miracle of life and health… My career, hopes, dreams and unutilized talents should be no small feat to become a reality in 2019 right?

Happy new year to you dearest reader, have an amazingly fabulous and blessed 2019!

P.S I DID IT!! She just woke up now hitting publish!!

International Women’s Day *Reflections

The past few months have been a whirlwind, entering into trimester, the energy burst that came with 2nd trimester qhickly dwindled away as my little gymnast within is using up most of my energy for her growth squirt. I have started many write ups on both my digital and hard bound diaries but alas…

In light of International Women’s Day, my pregnancy experience has shown me how truly amazing we the female race are. From our biological make up, to this divine baby-making system within, to the sheer amount of willpower and physical strength we carry within us….even my husband has developed a more healthy respect for the strength (physical, mental, and emotional) I have displayed during the pregnancy. 

I have been reflecting how this period has been preparing me for motherhood, my own experiences of been raised by my awesome mom, and the contributions of several female mentors over the years in building me into the woman I am today and the woman I still aim om becoming.

Women and mothers display a whole level of sacrifice that men will never even begin to fathom. Raising and mentoring young lives requires so much physically, mentally, emotionally and time-wise. My mum left the comfort and familiarity of her Chinese heritage and motherland to follow my dad back to Africa, gave up her opthalmology career to raise us 3 children full time because of the circumstances, then followed my dad to different countries when he got promoted to “international staff”. Eventually my dad retired back to his country Nigeria and my mum took all the transitions with amazing adaptability like the amazing woman she is. Seeing her drive our gold 4WD on the roads, battling reckless okada (motorbike as public transport) drivers, queuing in petrol stations during our present fuel scarcity issues and so on in the blazing heat of this global warming-affected dry season:

I haven’t been able to brave the insane traffic myself behind the wheel, but adjusting back to life in this economy as a married woman after years spent in Europe, Canada and USA has been a challenge. With a baby on its way, I have been forced to navigate several local markets to get ready for our angel’s arrival, equip the house and nursery with furniture and items not possible with online shopping under the blazing hot sun. Every trip is an adventure with price haggling, shopkeepers who view me as a foreigner so try to give me much higher prices. I would like to think I have perfectly mastered the local accent, way of speaking English as well as phrases in Yoruba, main local language used in the town I live in to further blend in though my Asian heritage features still give me away sigh

I am yet to publish more of my experiences over the first and second trimesters, so for now, will end with the Instagram post of this morning which inspired me to come on Word Press and publish more lengthier reflections haha ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š

I’m grateful for being raised by a #StrongWoman, a mother who taught me the value of #SelfWorth, #Confidence in the fierce way her gentle nature loved & fought for her family. I thank God for all the great female mentors, aunties/mum/grandma figures in my life who I could look up to & look forward to having a successful marriage & home of my own. The legacy doesn’t stop with us, now with a little woman-to-be on the way, I pray God grants me the #grace, #wisdom, #love, #courage & #inspiration I need to raise her to be an amazing, fearless woman of faith too! Amen

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#internationalwomensday2018  #2018 #internationalwomensday #womensday #grateful  #mentor #woman #me #mom #goal #mother #writer #writersnetwork #asia #africa #pride #motivation #inspiration #tgif #blogger #bloggerstyle

2018: a year of Positive Changes

2017 has come to an end,
Dashed expectations, failed dreams to regret;
2018 has welcomed us
With limitless possibilities,
Endless opportunities still abound.

I find that many of us subject ourselves to a defeatist mentality/mindset, I am definitely at the top of the list. This new year, we need to consciously screen passing thoughts so common, they play on auto-repeat: “I’m fat”, “I have the worst job ever”, “love shouldn’t hurt like this”, “I need a better source of income” “I suck at ….” Etc.

Stop complaining & take little actions to work towards improving all areas of your life. Cut your losses, quit that job, start that dream job, work on that entrepreneur idea, end that toxic/direction-less relationship, start an exercise program, throw out the junk food/check into rehab, ask for help if needed!

Sometimes, we sit around, waiting for motivation, inspiration, etc to find energy and strength we feel we need to change areas of our lives, take a leap of faith and move out of our comfort zone. I am beginning to discover of we sit around making excuses, we will wait forever. it! I read a quote saying “the height of foolishness is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”

We need to take that first step of making up our mind that things have got to change! And do something about

Remember: “A journey of a 1,000 miles begins with a single step”.

Have a life changing 2018 my dearest readers, family and friends!
๐ŸŽŠ๐ŸŽŠ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ’“๐Ÿ’“๐Ÿ˜˜

#quote #newyear #resolution #2018 #motivation #inspirationalquotes #picofday

Baby making: A Secretive Joy

A life is growing inside of me …

A little miracle, it’s tiny beating heart reflecting my heart beats of joy.

That initial cautious disbelief…a missed period by a day in a regular 25 day cycle. Could this be it? As 1 missed day slowly rolls into 2 …3…4…my mind and body attuned to each other, picks up on the changes happening in my body. My body preparing itself to nurture and bring forth life! What marvelous wonder, what incredible anticipation! Wanting to be sure beyond doubt, we opt for a blood pregnancy test at a clinic.

It is positive! How sure are you that the result is accurate? I thought surely it couldn’t be as a result of our lovemaking a mere week ago! The newly fertilised egg should have just planted itself in my womb. My mind scrolls through the information I have been researching recently for referenceThe lab technician brings out the blood pregnancy kit. The darker red colour, the technician assures us, means the pregnancy must be weeks old at least

My mind scrambles to recall the event… that night?? Or our intimate early morning? I shake my head at the ridiculous notion that I must recall in details the miraculous moment our child was conceived. This pregnancy has brought one harebrained romantic, idealistic preconception or the other I never thought I had unconsciously gathered over the years.

Living with CML for over a decade, as young as 17, I had been cautioned about unprotective sex as any resulting pregnancy would have dire consequences. The chemotherapy treatment I was on would be harmful to a newly developing fetus, especially during it’s vital stages formation in the first 3 months. Going off the chemotherapy drugs would be fatal to my health as I was in the initial stage of Leukaemia diagnosis. I see this caution as a blessing in disguise as it helped me to develop a deep responsible streak no matter how a romantic prince charming I attempted to sweep me off my feet. It’s a a little wonder that I carried a bit of this cautiousness into marriage. We decided to practice family planning for first 3 months to also give me time to settle into my new life and wifey responsibilities. Some time during those adjustment months, I came to a conclusion that my ignorance or limited medical knowledge was not bliss at all! Any time I could remember, I checked in with my good ol’ friend, Google. First, I googled effects of Glivec (chemo treatment I had been on for past 11 years, see for the full story). There was no conclusive evidence for or against it. However the stories I read were not encouraging. Those on Glivec somehow couldn’t conceive, so they stopped taking the drug, and for months of close monitoring of their medical teams, taking fertility treatments and regular blood tests and other medical tests. One hopeful mum to be had to entrust her artificially fertilised embryo to the womb of a close family friend to be the surrogate mum. With how backwards our healthcare system was in Nigeria, I shuddered to think of the financial implications of these fertility solutions in the few private clinics that could give international standard fertility solutions…

Consciously plugging into optimistic thinking, I decided to let go of human medical science and knowledge and discouraging reports out there. My faith needed divine uplifting and strengthening, it was time to turn off that internet and plug into the infallible and unfailing word of God. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God right? CML has taken over so many areas of my life, delayed my schooling and my career, reduced my self confidence as my high school mates were seemingly ahead of me in the race called life. It was way past time I stopped living in defeat and start walking in God’s victory! It was a visible effort, I decided to start this blog as an attempt to remember all the miraculous things God has done for me inmy life this far, and start by encouraging myself before I can even think of inspiring others. Living in an isolated part of town, far from family and friends, limiting my time on social media, focusing on my new married life and having time to read the Bible transform the way I think (visibly put my regrets behind me Romans 12:2).

Before I knew it, I started googling with a new purpose in mind: googling with mindset that the glivec I was taking would have no effect on my reproductive system, it would be as harmless. as taking vitamin C. I started learning more aboutmy ovulation period, signs of fertility and the known mucus test. By the 4th month, I was conscious about making love during my “fertile window”. I laughed at myself at the twinge of disappointment I felt when drops of blood hailed the arrival of the menses. Little was I to know it would be my last encounter with the monthly period nuisances for a while!

Overcoming Blogger’s Block

If only keeping my online “blog diary” was as easy as putting pen to paper. Am I just too old school for my generation? I have always been considered an old soul, still haven’t left my 20s…so I don’t know why I still prefer to make handwritten lists, essay drafts and diary entries the old analogue way haha.

There’s just something more tangible about sculpting my words with pen than pressing the screen keyboard. The feel of turning pages of the diary, sound of rustling of paper, eyes roaming over carefully sculpted words, my cursive writing curves and slant varying with the mood I was in while recording events or penning down thoughts and ideas…

Saw the cartoon above on Instagram and while I would love to say it immediately inspired me to turn on my WordPress app and start typing away at a new post… alas, still took me a week or two to plow through life’s crazy hectic-ness and just sit down to write…err type!

Continuing my CML story was more emotionally tasking than I could have imagined, so I always looked for excuses to do something else when I had sat down so many times with the intention of typing up a part 3 of my story.

One week of No new posts, turned into two weeks, turned into two months…

But alas…I have finally overcome my blogger’s block and for now, will just type from inspiration from my daily life.

How 2017 has flown by!

Teen dealing with life change: CML, Processing and 2nd Opinion

I just did not know how to process this abrupt halt to life as I knew it. I had worked so hard over the past 2 years for this IB Diploma, accepted by European and UK universities. I had handed in all my papers, research papers, clocked in my CAS 150hours outside of school time, finished two years worth of coursework. And I was supposed to stay home, play sick while I was supposed to prepare for final exams?

The only place I could go to was the Beijing Teaching hospital and I had to wear a mask to protect my fragile immune system. Thankfully I didn’t have long to mope about at home, bolting myself behind my bedroom doors so I can have the freedom to mope and regret this new life turn. To those at home, I tried to maintain my cheerful attitude but couldn’t help to snap out at being treated so vulnerably.

I tried my best to reach out to a few of my closest friends to share the real reason why they aren’t seeing me in classes. Also my friends in my previous school whom I am bonded with more closely had come to visit me in hospital to meet a brave and smiling face. I didn’t know when I was initiated into the world of dark humour as a phone call to a friend who had relocated to Hong Kong proved. I had tried to crack jokes and shine a positive light on things when her laughter suddenly turned to sobs. Oops…my jokes might have gone too far. 

My close friends started to see me as this strong warrior where inside I was falling apart. The world as I knew it had changed. I mean everything was exactly the same, but just the thought that my future was snatched away from me without a single heads up…..

At the age of 17, I could still rest in the safe comfort of my parents doing all the worrying and researching and finding out my available treatment options. It was through my experience, I realised how blessed I was. My dad found favour with his bosses who pulled strings to get me immediate medical attention worldwide. Even in those moments of silent tears, heart wrenching sobs and shouting into my pillow or wadded up towel “WHY GOD??? WHY ME??? WHY NOW?? WHAT DID I DO WRONG?? ARE YOU PUNISHING ME FOR BEING BAD???”

I listened to Christian songs, I clung unto with dear life to verses my parents shared with me to encourage me: 

For I know the plans I have for you,โ€ declares the Lord , โ€œplans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

 

 That means, God did not give me CML to punish me, no matter go through, we shouldn’t see it as bad karma or universe hates us, or there is no God. God is good, and God is love. Many times, I would struggle with how if God is good, bad things can happen to a girl who tried her whole childhood to be on her best behaviour, loved God and wasn’t afraid to tell her friends about God and even risked social exclusion. I would cry and cry in my room, the only place I could honestly deal with my situation, and after each time, it was as if invisible arms cradled me close and soaked away all my tears and negative feelings weighing me down. I would feel comforted, and the truth of God’s word would be revealed to my mind, reach deep down into my soul. I was assured, over and over again throughout each consecutive year that anything that happens to us, God will work it out for our good in the end:

And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.

ROMANS 8:28 AMP

I listened to Lynda Randle’s song “God on the mountain” over and over, repeating those words with every shred of faith I had accumulated over the years of my childhood “For the God of the mountain is still God in the valley, when things go wrong, He’ll make them right. And the God of the good times is still God in the bad times, the God of the day is still God in the night.”
Insert YouTube clip

So many Christian songs ministered to me and I played certain tapes from my childhood Kid’s praise and Sunday School sing a long over and over again. There were countless times I felt no one understood, it felt like the end of my life as I knew it. More scientific research on the internet brought more hopelessness as the only cure to this CML (Chronic Myelogenous Leukaemia) was a bone marrow transplant, then again, one might not always survive it with a 50% chance of graft Vs host infection.

When my parents shared with me that my dad’s NGO had arranged a short term trip for the whole family to travel to Thailand for a second opinion, hope rose within me like a sleeping giant. Perhaps these Chinese doctors were wrong….perhaps what I have isn’t as terminal as CML. Even if I did have it, between my parents and two siblings, I should be able to get a genetically matched donor for bone marrow cure right? 

Five suitcases packed, we traveled to Bangkok, Thailand. After meeting a highly recommended doctor in my field, I went through another series of tests and confirmed the initial CML diagnosis. Each member of my family were also tested as potential donors. 

In between waiting for test results, we explored the city around us,and I took comfort in similar cuisine to my motherland of Malaysia, explored night markets and got some beautiful fabrics for wrap skirts. Watched movies back at our room, and tried to browse the net in the internet cafe next door. Parents insisting on a healthier diet, my initial protests aside, I settled in to enjoy their tropical fruit, fruit juices…their fruit selection so similar to my motherland of Malaysia:

The results back, but none of my parents and brothers were a close enough match to be a good donor for a bone marrow transplant. 

How my life was changed forever: CML

Chronic-Myelogenous-Leukemia Cartoon

It has taken me over 11 years to tie myself down to a chair and attempt to chronicle my journey. Been an sporadic diary keeper throughout my early teen life, pausing every now and then to jot down meaningful events in my globetrotter childhood, one sole event pushed me into the healing world of words, ink, pen and paper.

My procrastinating excuses, delay tactics and seemingly justifiable reasons for my caution of sharing my personal life on such a public platform aside, it seems this cartoon graphic has finally given me the inspiration I need to release this story. My mouth twists with a sad, humorous smile at the comparison between the lightheartedness of the cartoon and how the depiction of the cancer really turned my life inside out.

This is my story:

The main feature that had defined my childhood and teenage years was our family moving countries every 5 years on average. My dad’s work with an NGO provided an exposure for my young mind to the poverty and health needs of the developing world as I paid attention to experiences narrated over a restaurant table between my dad and friends and colleagues. Cushioned from this reality, in subsidized housing and top schools in the country post, means my younger self was somewhat protected from the slums we passed everyday in India, to the war-ravished buildings around us in Rwanda, and the SARS outbreak in China. My empathetic growing heart though registered everything keenly and I concluded my most tangible way to help was becoming the kind of NGO medical doctor that works on mission trips and in free clinics.

My years as a student flew by, studying as hard as I can, not joining in the usual teenager shenanigans and distractions. Made it into the International Baccalaureate program, the 2 years flew by in a busy schedule of Model United Nations (MUN) conferences and trips; service oriented projects, visits and fundraisers as well as academic workload of papers, G4 projects, and the big extended essay (research paper).

 

 

In February of the year I was to graduate high school, the crossroads into really beginning my life, I came down with food poisoning and a daily increasing pain in my left side. Refusing to stay at home, and carrying around bottles of water and banana as my main food substance, I doggedly attended classes and rounded up my academic works.

I endured it for a month, been treated for food poisoning, it turned into constipation and treatment for constipation swung me into an extreme case of diarrhea. The pain was not in my right side, so school nurse ruled out Appendicitis. When the pain in my left side got too much to bear, I would rest for a period or 2 in nurse office, waiting for the tablets of Ibuprofen to kick in and grant me even if just a little relief.

By middle of March, I had handed in my paperwork, my 150 CAS (creativity, action, service) hours logged in, G4 projects done, philosophy and extended essay handed in. I learned from this experience how one’s mind and will can accomplish unimaginable things, pushing the body beyond normal physical endurance.

 

On the night of which I had handed in my medical school application at school that day, I gave in to the pain, crawling on my knees to meet my parents in the living room, I admitted it was time to try the local Beijing teaching hospital.

My dad drove me and my mum to the emergency room and the rest of the night passed in a blur of semi-consciousness and I was roused only to give blood and poo samples. My dad had to go home to my brothers, while my mum stayed with me following up on tests and the lab results, her hushed conversation with the doctors in Mandarin Chinese filtering in brief moments of consciousness.

In the morning, I could tell the news was bad as my mum and doctors kept dodging my questions or downplaying their answers. Two days later, they finally let on that due to my abnormally inflated white blood cell count of 255,000, the doctor suspected it was Leukemia and that it was similar to what my cousin had. All I could process was that my cousin had Leukemia for several years in his teens and died a year ago at 18 years of age. Not willing to process that bit of information and how it would apply to me, I tried to show interest and ask what needs to be done.

A bone marrow test later brought the doctor’s verdict and the diagnosis that still affects our lives 11 years later: Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML).  An excruciatingly painful locally anesthetized bone marrow extraction had confirmed the CML diagnosis.

My first thought: what about sitting the final exam needed to get my IB diploma? What about the rest of my school year? Graduation? Most importantly…what about medical school??? I was too young to be living with a death sentence. I know how poor my cousin’s quality of life had been while living with the diagnosis. I still had so many hopes, and dreams. I wished I could save the world, but I could only impact one life at a time. Enough about saving the world….what about saving myself? Being the optimistic smiling child, I looked for the bright side of everything. Perhaps my type of Leukemia was somehow better than my cousin. Mummy, what type of diagnosis did my cousin have?

Having no time at all to deal with my diagnosis, I did my best not to throw tantrums while stuck in the hospital. From my endless questions to the doctors and nurses, it seemed I wouldn’t be out anytime too soon. My mum, who had always been the softer parent, and whom I had taken for granted before, now surprised me with such strength, resiliency and endurance as she went up and down the big hospital looking for delicious food to tempt my appetite, then going back to those stores to get my favorite century egg rice porridge (็šฎ่›‹็˜ฆ่‚‰็ฒฅ).

With my 24/7 drips of all the nutrients my body had lost over the past month, I was soon springing on my feet, feeling energetic and restrained within the four walls of my room. I was eager to be out of the hospital and feel more “normal” at home. Borrowing another patient’s laptop, I eagerly logged into my mail, waiting for a response from any of the schools I had applied to. I got a positive reply a week later: I had gotten accepted! Hope rushing into me, I talked to my parents and they asked me to email them about my medical condition and if they can defer my admission. The response was heartwarming about me taking care of my health first, there will be a space waiting for me after my treatment. I dared not to think how long that may be…

Two weeks later after I was first admitted, after beginning treatment of hydroxy urea and other tablets (I stopped counting at 25 tablets…), I was finally released to go home.

Once home, I had access to the internet and did some research. Ignorance about CML made it into a killer beast and I know that knowledge is power. Perhaps I can empower my naive optimism into something more realistic.

At home, I was fussed over by my mum, and since my immune system was low and at risk, was made to stay indoors as much as possible, with restricted visitors. Frequent hospital visits, daily pill popping, hand sanitizers, face masks and changes to my diet eventually became the new normal. I was later switched to a new drug called Gleevec (imatinib mesylate).

Glivec_400mg

The whole family had to go on a trip to Thailand for a second diagnosis, to confirm the validity of the initial diagnosis. The only cure for CML is a bone marrow transplant from a compatible donor, and after which, chances are the body may reject the bone marrow. I held on to this thin hope, we packed five suitcases in hopes one of my family members would qualify to be my donor. I would have my family around me while I go through my transplant and recovery.

Story to be continued…

 

 

Rainy Season: A typical day

Dear Diary,

It is day 2 posting on WordPress since I opened this account. After 2 months of scouring the data bases of Google & YouTube, shadowing various bloggers & YouTube channels, desperately searching for any and all knowledge about how an average blog & YouTube channel operate, I finally summoned the courage to start the Dew Diary.

Been an avid Diary Keeper for most part of my latter teen years, I have to bashfully admit I only clocked in entries to record momentous life events, or attempt to empty out my deepest anguish, pains, regrets, on paper. There are times even the closest confidante can never understand what you are going through and seem to get peaked when their bubbly optimistic, always-smiling friend shows them their human, bitter side. So, as a service to humanity, one must attempt to bottle the more cynical feelings of disappointment / reality checks into words and transfer them via ink unto pages seen only by a future me.

Aha!!! This post meandered it’s way into the more melancholy side of yours truly, who sits here with pad in hand, cross legged on a yellow furred sofa, as rain drops fall steadily all around my cocoon. My market produce lay forgotten in bowls on the floor and side tables, my previously energetic intentions of storing away and cooking pounded into nothingness with each roar of thunder.

A sneak peak from the safety of my slightly ajar door shows this view:

A mere 4 hours prior, the warm golden sun rays shone through darkening grey edged fluffy clouds in the silver sky backdrop. I had just gotten breakfast and a packed lunch for my husband and seen him off as he left towards later half of the morning. Checked my wordpress for my first ever friend, who inspired & encouraged me to analyse the effects of the tropical climate on my mood and creativity.

Suddenly, been more aware of my surroundings, a lightbulb, a Eureka like experience, turned on in my soul, said good riddance to the meek onyinbo (white) insecure iyawo (wife in Yoruba, one of 3 main languages in Nigeria). I noticed my heightened, more bubbly energy this morning was further fueled by the golden interior light of our marital home, a peek outside the windows revealed brilliant sun rays shining down from a rain laden, grey-fluffy clouded sky.

Palm tree

Our touch of tropical paradise

My years of experience here a hurried reminder that the weather could turn on me any moment, my lack of fresh farm produce prompted me to start packing for a quick dash to the nearest market locale. An umbrella…check; recyclable shopping bags…check, a water bottle for my trek to the main road…check; money and house keys….check check! My fledgling blogger instincts had me dashing back to the house for my tablet…the only portable camera source I have. All my research, tips & hacks on starting a blog on a budget (make best use of what you have!) came flooding back to me!

For first time since I got married a few months ago, I did not want to hide my “white ” skin wrapped around my head and shoulders like a shawl, makeshift hijab. I didn’t want to draw any more undue attention to people from afar as I made my way through the dirt roads of this more rural part of town to the main road (mini express road leading to the next town in one direction and to the city center in the other direction). So I would endure stuffy heat, just for the covered protection and my mind would take comfort that I could sneak through the neighbourhood and market undetected until people caught a closer glimpse of my face.

I made my way carefully through the dirt roads, rain and mini streams eroded the paths further that it was uneven and any wrong step I may slip or lose my footing.
Now that I wasn’t rushing through the neighbourhood, with my head down, flying as fast as my feet could carry me, I admired the tropical foliage, make shift farms (of maize, Coco yam, different leafy greens) on undeveloped plots of land & the neighbour’s mini gardens surrounding their fences.

I will continue my adventures at the market in another post…stay tuned

On Becoming Mrs Dew

Dear Diary,

Today marks a milestone, an anniversary, a time to reflect and be grateful for one of the main blessings of my life

I found love at a point in my life where I was focused on anything but finding a man. I thought I was in a temporary location and was looking forward to starting my career after finally a bachelor’s degree in HR Management.

But found love I did, the kind I only read about in books: “love at first sight”…a tall dark handsome intelligent man with a heart melting smile sauntered into my life. He gently pushed through my defense barriers, asking for a chance to defy my assumptions and started on the journey in winning permanent access to my heart. 

Love, not just the feelings of attraction, tingly sensations, and wild romance. But the 1 Corinthians 13 kind, the Love that bears all things, believes all things, hopes for and believes in the best. Love that is tested, tried and found pure and willing to nurture, grow & develop.

We celebrated 4 months of married life yesterday. An adventure, a new phase of adventure with my lover and best friend. It has been one lesson of love after the other. Marriage is where dreams and expectations clash with reality. But we fight to make our dreams into reality. 

#blushing #bride #tbt #anniversary #gloriousday #bridalgown #bouquet #firstpost #blog #pearls #blogger #fblogger #wedding #DIY #Fashion #designer #handmade #embroidery #sewing #remake #gown #bridegroom #tuxedo #bellanaijaweddings

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Welcome to my life as Mrs Dew

post

The sun’s rays appear more warm golden, the birds are chirping a merrier tune, the breeze whispers a more soothing symphony. Why? Because I have put a final end to procrastinating, said “to hell!” to my fears & insecurities about what my posts will look like, or who will bother to reach my posts. Will this dream be a success? Should I pour my soul, my heart, my essence into this journey just to have everything evaporate to thin air?

Here I sit, noises filtering in through the slightly ajar office door from other offices in the complex, I decided to get inspired by a new sunrise, early dawn bird choirs and type from my heart. 

My name is Tomini, I was blessed with wonderful parents & cultural heritage. With a Nigerian father and Malaysian Chinese mother, I was raised with my two brothers in 7 countries, across 3 continents.

The Dew Diary is about my life, my reflections on my past, my musings on lessons I have learnt and am learning from the Bible, my walk with Christ, life anecdotes, books I am reading, people who are inspiring me, and so on. Come explore with me my greatest cultural shock of returning to the land of my birth at the age of 22, and living in a bubble for the initial years of my stay. I fell in love, got married and being integrated into a more rural part of town brings its own adventures. Taking after my mum’s Asian features and light skin colour doesn’t help me blend but I am either given preferential treatment as a perceived foreigner, or try not to get swindled as market women see me as an opportunity to make an extra buck or two (more like extra 100s & 1,000s more in Naira, the local currency)!

I would like to use this blog, and an associated YouTube channel & Instagram page to inspire cancer, abuse or any other survivor, as well as share my past & current struggles with moving on in life while living with a diagnosis. Hopefully, you all in the global online community can encourage and inspire me in return. We can lift each other up as we run our own individual races in this journey called LIFE.