Friday, 30 May 2014

Dear Daddy - Ireti Adebayo Oladapo

Dear Daddy,

I remember as a little girl, I would sit out by the porch, just spending time with you, talking and loving you. Sharing plans, dreams and the future also. We were Insurmountable. Beyond conquer. Indomitable.

By the sides, singing love songs to you, melodies only you could have seeded in my heart. We would spend hours and hours - Perfect. Simply basking, enjoying You. You, me. No care.

...and then, life happened.

I prayed for stuff, believed with my whole heart, held hands with fellow believers, agreed together, trusted unshaken. Silence.
I looked into the word, claimed promises, morning and night, prayed, petitioned. Nothing.

Bad things happened to the good people I know, 

Kids, little children with cancer, heart diseases, that pastor that died of kidney failure...

Hate. Lurid hate.
Pain, heartache, sickness, war

…and suddenly, it does not seem so perfect after all.

Confused and not understanding, but still, I worship

Heartbroken, but I worship

Rock bottom, but I worship

Inspite of myself, I worship.

I worship because it is my way of connecting with You. Do You not dwell in my praise? Yes? Yes.

Do You not keep me and preserve me, even from the fiery darts I do not see?

Have You not placed a hedge of fire round about me and mine?

Are my kids not pretty, dimpled, smart and healthy?

And my fine man, strong, and have You not made him love me so hot?

And even in the darkest times, have You not whispered soothing words?

Have I ever woken up in the morning and it was night or night-day? No, never.

Even if the whole world is divided, if there be throbbing soreness - like that brave hymnal guy - Still I will worship.

No force on earth, no misery, none can make me question, no reality is more real than You my Daddy, Abba.

So even in the midst of seemingly unanswered prayers, I count my blessings and I am overwhelmed beyond... The Yorubas say Kaabiokosi. Baba Mojuba.

You know what pain I go through, those details I can tell no one - not even my closest paddy-paddy.

Dear Daddy, I just want to tell You I am holding on, grabbing on to every hope and trust and faith... because You are my Paddiest Paddy. That one who will never let me go.

I worship. Still I worship. I will worship.
Hold my hands so I will not let go

Whisper Your love so I never forget, to always remember those precious shared times

Bear up my hands when worn down,

Support my tottering knees

Forgive my shortcomings, Oh be gracious unto me.

I love You Daddy, help me to trust You more and forever. Help my life please You always, make my ways bring You to smile and warm Your heart and soften You towards me, for You choose whom to have mercy on. Satisfy me early with your mercy. Let my lifesong sing to You. Let my life be all You plan it to be.

P.S, I remain Your girl, that girl on the porch.

It's me Daddy, Your little Ireti.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Chronicles of Sebastian: The Nigerian Mother - SUPERWoman (For You, 'Princess Lulu')

In my 'Chronicles' (gosh, this term makes me feel so old! :-)) we’ve already talked about Love and Relationships and The Beauty of Friendships. This week, we move on to yet another very important relationship – that to your mum!

Ayo’s mummy celebrates her birthday today! So, I want to take this opportunity to congratulate her. 

Ayo's Mummy :-)
Now I have never met Ayo’s mother, but I still want to extend my special greetings to her: You must be a truly amazing woman, ma, considering the excellent home training your daughter must have received! Let’s be frank, Ayo is an astounding woman, isn’t she? Her writings, prayers, comments and I’m pretty sure her life as well speak volumes about her God-fearing, virtuous, sociable and warm character and since “a child is what you put into him” (according to a Nigerian proverb), her mum must have been (and still is) a wonderful role model, turning Ayo, her devoted brother (willing to sacrifice himself for his sick mum) and her other siblings (one of her fab sisters described here into the blessings they are now! 
In celebration of Ayo's mummy's birthday, here are some general attributes I’ve observed in many of the good mums I have met in Nigeria:

A Mother's love is so beautiful
1. Many Nigerian mothers work so hard. No matter where you live in Nigeria, in case you’re female, married and have children, there’s probably not much time for you to develop an “idle mind that is the devil’s workshop” (yet another 9ja-proverb:-)). You gotta do the shopping, put food on the table, clean the house, care for your husband, your (oftentimes numerous) children, visitors and others. Depending on the family’s means, mums also need to improvise a lot in handling challenges with limited resources (e.g. carrying a baby on her back instead of giving it away). They’re physically strong, magically balancing big pots and other heavy stuff on their head (I failed miserably trying that ;) ). If you belong to the Tiv-tribe, you could be expected to do some farm work and as a Yoruba you might also need to balance a job and house chores simultaneously. In any case, many mums in Nigeria are up from early in the morning (in my Enugu campus where I stayed, the steady mortar sound sometimes woke me up at 4:30am -.-) to late in the night and I admire their strength and endurance to keep up this kind of workload for decades. If all Nigerian women went on strike for a few days, the whole country would collapse and people would die of starvation - to my mind, women are the true pillars of the house. While some men would “suffer seriously” or flee if they had to face these motherly challenges every day :-), Nigerian mums just stand strong and keep it up.

From the moment we're born, the work begins in earnest and there's no retirement age
2. Most of them do the work humbly and without complaining. Apart from the amount of daily work Nigerian mums get done every day, I am astonished how they do their work. They do their business as if it is the most natural thing in the world, without much complaining or comparing. When I offered my help a few times, the kitchen ladies in my home were extremely grateful, although it was very clear to me that they did 99% of the work. Still, they often sang Igbo songs while working, greeted people and did not boast about how much they have worked, although they have all the right to do so. Most often, she humbly puts herself last and rather goes hungry so that her children can eat. In Germany, we often keep a mental list of our good deeds, to make sure others do not get away with less work. The sacrificial attitude and 'bodi dey inside cloth' - mentality with which most Nigerian women I’ve met approach their work and cope with it is just something different.
Those rare moments when mothers actually sleep :-)
3. Mums are just present. In 1 Thess 2:7, Paul expresses his closeness to his spiritual children by stating that he was “tender among them, like a nursing mother taking care of her children”. I think the reason he uses that imagery is that mums are just perfect examples of being close to children. In Nigeria (and most other countries), kids will spend far more time with their mums than with their dads. Since many Nigerian men sometimes have to work outside their residential city, only coming home later in the day or every weekend, mothers are just far more approachable. My own father was quite involved in his career during my teen years, which naturally led me to have more conversations and shared moments with my mum. This leads us to the next point…

4. There is a special bond between mother and child. The great Chinua Achebe expresses it beautifully in the following moving poem we discussed in my “African Poetry” class:

                                         

The mother in the poem loves her child despite misery and doom. This kind of unconditional love is evident in many cases: 'A Nigerian mom' loves her children in good and bad times; when she rejoices with them and when she slaps them (even up to adulthood lol). I guess she even loves them when she 'pokenoses' into her children’s affairs, checking their cloths and books for hidden love letters, since dating until Uni is seen as wrong, yet once you’re 25 they expect you to get married “sharp sharp” :-) I bet some readers here can share their own stories of “intense motherly interest” when it comes to the area of getting hitched :-). Even though a mother’s interest in one’s life can be wearisome, I now take it with a dose of humor and still appreciate it. Her curiosity is probably just a token of her care, that’s why my mum is still my first go-to person when relationship wahala arises, while my dad’s advise (“Focus on your studies, son!”) is preferred in other less-emotional areas :-) (love them both, by the way).

Actor, John Dumelo and his mum
5. They are not thanked enough. Despite all these great attributes, I feel that some Nigerian men just take all this for granted, maybe because it has always been that way. Even worse, through novels and people I’ve heard of cases of domestic violence, extra-marital affairs and other expressions of apparent ingratitude. While German women can easily divorce their husband, most Nigerians mum don’t even consider this option, instead they endure these injustices in silence. We men, white and black, need to blame ourselves for often overlooking the heroic work our mums do every single day. We should thank them for giving birth to us, nursing us, for being there for us in a myriad of situations, for not quitting, for their magnificent love for us and for helping us to be the person we’re today. 

4 Generations of Mothers
                               
Acknowledgment: My special thanks to a yet-to-be mum, Ola, a Nigerian friend I met here in Germany, who kindly provided me with many insights and personal experiences that greatly helped me in composing this piece.

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Reading this piece took me through a pleasant memory journey of how much my mum has done, how much she has sacrificed, how she has expressed her love to her children in so many wonderful ways and how I know that no amount of praise or thanks, no degree of action could ever do enough to let her know how much I love and appreciate her... How much so, I thank God for blessing me with such a phenomenal woman as a mother - a nurturer, a care-taker, a magnificent woman. Everytime I have the opportunity, I will say over and over again - I love you Mummy, Je t'aime Mama, Mo ni fe yin pupo Iya mi. Happy Birthday my Princess Lulu! You deserve only the best.

I have to say a HUGE thanks to Sebs as well. He has captured the beauty and strength of motherhood so well. I am sure as you read, you could identify with many of the things he wrote and even if not exactly, you know that our mothers are indeed jewels of inestimable value. It's so important to remember never to take them for granted and consciously acknowledge them because Sebs last point is so true, often times, we don't thank them enough. I celebrate all mothers today. You are pretty amazing! Thank YOU.

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PS, May I please ask that you kindly do not reproduce/reprint pictures in this post as they are copyright protected. Thanks :-) xx

For all previous Chronicles of Sebastian posts, please click HERE.. Join Sabba again next week Wednesday..I look forward to what he will be sharing with us!
Please visit Sebastian's blog http://seb2nigeria.wordpress.com/ It's in German, however you can use 'Google translate' if English translation is required - Lovely lovely blog!

Remember you can send an email: oneplustheone@gmail.com
Follow on Twitter: @1plustheone
Facebook: www.facebook.com/1plustheone

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Waiting and Loving It!!! Feat Amara and Gospel Amaugo

Hello beautiful people!!! It's another wonderful Tuesday and it's extra special for two things - Children's Day here in Nigeria and Waiting and Loving It day on 1 + The One! *Rings Bell*.. lol Alrighty, we haven't done this in a while and I apologise! Forgive me please? Thank you!

I am glad to bring to you today a couple that I met a couple of times, and that was enough to form a very cordial relationship + you know I love to 'attach' myself to great testimonies of marriage and relationships :-).. They sure have a great thing going and I am really honoured to be able to feature them this week on Waiting and loving It.. The guy has a very unique name and you will understand why when you read about his background :-).. But more than that, I hope that you are richly blessed by their beautiful story! Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you Waiting and Loving IT featuring Gospel and Amarachi Amaugo! Enjoy xx

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OUR STORY - Gospel and Amara Amaugo

Hiya!!
Gospel
Hello, my name is Gospel L. C Amaugo. I am a born again Christian from a Christian home. Actually, my late dad was a Pastor in one of the Pentecostal churches. I am a husband of one wife, whom I married in 2009 about five years ago (though it still feels like we just got married!). I am an Evangelist by calling and I am passionate about disseminating the right information on sex, love and relationships. Hence, I am a relationship expert and a professional counsellor with emphasis on Relationship and Couples Counselling. I have a Masters degree in Public Health from the University of Bedfordshire. My wife and I run an organisation – ‘Relationship Builders International Foundation’, a platform for fulfilling our vision as a couple.

Amara
My name is Amarachi Ngozi Amaugo. I am a Human Resource Management Consultant, a Researcher with special interest in Transfer of Knowledge within Multinational Companies from Emerging Economies. I am also a HRM lecturer with the University of Bedfordshire, United Kingdom. I have a Bachelors degree in Economics, I also did a Masters degree programme in Business Administration MBA at Wisconsin University USA. However, my passion for human capacity development led me to do another postgraduate degree in International Human Resource Management, and I am currently doing my PhD with the University of Bedfordshire, UK. I run a charitable organisation known as 'AMYGRACE FOUNDATION'; which is based in Nigeria. I am the first born of four children.

Love from wayy back!
Gospel
I met my wife at the university while we were doing our first degree and that was in 1999-2000. Our meeting was not with the intention of marriage, we attended the same campus fellowship (Christ Ambassadors Students Outreach CASOR). We were close friends then, but with time, it became obvious that we had ‘something’ together. You know being a Choral director and she, being a member of the same choir, gave us the opportunity to know each other very well. I believe the decision to marry someone must be based on your knowledge of the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. You don’t have to know everything but at least find out the level of his or her relationship with God and the level of compatibility you share or else you are starting on a wrong footing.When I told her about marriage, there were so many suitors asking for her hand in marriage (she was in high demand!) and you know how difficult it could be for a lady when you have so many attractive options; however that did not deter me because when you know and have seen what you want, you have to go for it, trusting God that what belongs to you will not elude you. 
I think, she accepted me because she believed God was leading her, she accepted me because she saw a great future in me and believed she has a part to play in the assignment God gave me. Maybe, I should allow her clarify that. For me, I could not see another woman who fit the picture of my dream woman. There were so many reasons to quit the relationship, but I knew that God was in it and I loved her enough to be committed to her forever. I am grateful to God that I made that choice because she has coloured my world with beauty and has proved to me that genuine love is obtainable and can be enjoyed by couples.

Amara
I met my dear husband while I was in the university, we started off as friends though marriage was never in the picture. Over the years our friendship grew, he became my confidant and someone I looked up to. I really admired him a lot.

Still going strong! :-)
Gospel
One of the major things that sparked off the interest was her heart, my wife has a wonderful and genuine heart and she has a heart for God. Anyone who knows her knows that she can go the extra mile to touch someone’s life. Furthermore, she is natural, simple and real. Most importantly, she is a woman of integrity which is reflected in her accountability with money, I saw a virtuous woman in her and from my perspective, her moral standards were high. I desired to see that in the woman I was going to marry.

Amara
I liked so many things about him. The key point about him is that he is very objective, though that was a challenge for me at the early stage, but I realised that he was the only guy who told me things in plain terms. He was not interested in making unnecessary impressions or not being real. The other guys I met did not really challenge me to be the best that I can be. He made me realise the truth about myself, he was very open and truthful to me in a nice way even when it was not convenient for me. For me that was the purest form of honesty.
                     
Gospel
I was convinced about her being the one because we share similar values, faith, vision and all of those. The spiritual compatibility was a key factor to my decision to be married to her; of course, I was 100% convinced that God was in it. So many things happened to confirm that.

Amara 
It took me a whole year after he proposed to say 'Yes' because I needed to be sure of who I was gonna spend the rest of my life with(!). I needed to be sure that he is God’s plan for me not withstanding the fact that we share similar values, life principles and all that. The thought of considering other options made me restless but with him, I had an overwhelming peace. I was not scared of the future with him. Now I can beat my chest and say thank God I did.

                           

Gospel
As a couple, we didn't consider waiting until marriage before being intimate as optional, it was a principle that was based on our understanding of God’s word and His expectation for us. We defined the boundaries from the outset, even though by default, we knew it was non-negotiable considering our religious background. Nevertheless, we had to define what waiting entails. It may surprise many people to know that from the year 2000 when I met my wife until 2009 when we got married, we did not kiss, neither did we 'touch'. I know many who believe there is nothing wrong with kissing, but we decided to keep away from that because we believed it was better to be too far from what will lead us into the main act than to burn with lust. After all, Jesus said, that if a man looks at a woman lustfully, he has committed the act. So it starts with the mind before the body contact. No matter how passionate you are for someone you love, if you haven’t broken the first boundary line of physical contact, you would never be involved in premarital sex. It does not mean we never had the opportunity to do whatever we wanted, but the accountability was with God and to each other. My wife had the opportunity of being away from Nigeria for her Masters, two years before our marriage; honestly speaking, what kept us together despite the distance was the trust we built while we were together. It is difficult for a thief to trust another thief because you know what he knows. We knew that the foundation of a successful marriage must be laid on sexual purity. I am not saying that if a couple got involved before marriage, then they are doomed forever. My point is that in God’s original plan for marriage, a man should have sex with the wife only after marriage. “Marriage should be honoured by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral” Hebrews 13:5 (NIV). We decided to wait because we wanted to honour the sanctity of our marriage before God. I am very happy we kept this vow because if we had done otherwise, who knows, we probably would not have ended being married. Even if we got married, it would have haunted us today. I also want to say that we kept our vows not basically because we agreed to do so but God saw our heart and our willingness to align to his word and obey his command; thus he granted us the grace.

Amara
Waiting is part of my values and principle. I knew that going against it will affect a lot about me. Personally, it was not something to contemplate doing because I believe it is sin against God and would mean building my marriage on a wrong foundation. Marriage is worth the wait, the curiosity, the fact that you have something to look up to during your honeymoon, makes the waiting a motivation for marriage in itself. I am happy I waited - why steal the sweet when you would have the whole jar for a lifetime?

Gospel
The benefits of waiting are enormous and one of them is trust. I have counselled many married people and I have come to discover that one of the keys to marital success is trust. It is difficult to love someone if you don’t trust the person and trust is built based on knowledge . If I know that when we had the opportunity to do this before marriage and you were able to say NO, it gives me an impression that if you are tempted out there, you are likely to say NO. Premarital sex erodes the foundation of trust in marriage. Please, NEVER START WHAT YOU ARE NOT READY TO FINISH.

The best part of being married is when you are open spiritually, emotionally, mentally, financially, physically and sexually to each other without shame , guilt or fear of being vulnerable. That is what intimacy is all about.

Amara
As a single person, it is important to discover yourself before going into a relationship. Some people go into marriage with the expectation of finding who they are while in marriage and that puts a lot of strain on the relationship. The waiting period should be a time of self-discovery, for when you know who you are, as a woman, you don’t need a man to give love to you in exchange for sex. If he loves you for who you are, he will wait knowing that you are worth the wait. Knowing who you are means you have set values that cannot be compromised irrespective of who is involved or the circumstances that you are faced with.

With love from the Amaugos! 
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Don't you just love friendship stories that morph into much more?! *singing* First comes friendship, then comes love :-) (By the way, still single? Better take a second look at your friends again! lol #Kidding.
So many things I like about their story. There was just this 'peace' I got reading it in a funny way (lol), to make me feel comfortable with them just reading their story. Almost like I got invited to lunch at theirs and they were sharing their story over good food :-)
Something Amara said stood out for me, "Why steal the sweet when you would have the whole jar for a lifetime?" Great reminder to self - In due season, the time will come, and glorious it shall be. I trust God enough to believe so, hope you do too? :-)

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Please click HERE for other wonderful Waiting and Loving It Couples!

Do you have any question, or would you or someone you know like to be featured here? Please do not hesitate to contact us!
Email - oneplustheone@gmail.com
Twitter - @1plustheone
Facebook - www.facebook.com/1plustheone



Monday, 26 May 2014

The Eko Car Park Market!!!

Hello everyone!

*Phew* It's been a busy Monday (Side-eye to all my UK people basking the goodness of the Bank Holiday :-P! And yes I'm envious lol)

How was your weekend? Hope good? Mine was superrrr! Of course you should know that when I am enthusiastic about my description it involves one or all of the following - A great God experience (Concert, church etc), Family, FOOD! Love story {hehe}, money and more Food! Guess which happened to me over the weekend :-D

So we haven't featured a company/business/event in a while on Monday and I apologise! Monday IS 'Flaunt It' Day and we promote innovations, fab events, great ideas, new releases or budding entrepreneurs!

Today, it's my pleasure to introduce this lovely lady who is one of the most ambitiously diligent woman I know! Her zest and passion is just amazing! Only recently she started this amazing PR Company and the fire has indeed come alive! They also organise and publicise great unique events across Nigeria.

The next event is one I am particularly interested in! Not many things

beat a fun family day out with some a lot of shopping AND food thrown in!! :-D *bliss* This event is brought to you by the fantastic Ireti O owned Quote Concepts in partnership with the Lagos City Mall, Onikan... You have to experience this!!

****Drum Roll****



Quote Concepts in partnership with Lagos City Mall, Onikan

Presents

The Eko Car Park Market 

Shop varieties, from Shoes, Bags, Human Hair, Jewellery, Accessories, Food (yum!) Cocktails, Perfumes, Hats, Fascinators, and so much more!!

Date: Saturday, June 28th, 2014 

Time: 10.am

Would you like to participate or be a vendor?! Quick! Call/Whatsapp - 08108503788 or 
         Email - quoteconcepts@gmail.com / BB Pin - 2B249952

Please don't forget to share all your fab shopping experiences with me when you attend!

Have a wonderful week lovely people xxxx

Friday, 23 May 2014

Dear Daddy

Dear Daddy,

It's been a while!

The King of my Heart, Lover of my Soul, the One who never leaves nor forsakes His little girl.

Thank You for being dependable, trustworthy and totally reliable.

Thank you for the triumphs, and the challenges too. Life is not always smooth (I wish it were) but it's a great comfort knowing that you are right there with me through it all. Such a joyous comfort.

Thank You for innovations and open doors. I know without a doubt that if you didn't make a way, no matter the amount or effort I put in, there are some things I wouldn't have been able to achieve. Your grace makes all the difference - thank You Lord.

Thank You for making me the best and for believing absolutely in me. Your opinion and words of me are the greatest motivation for my self-esteem. Thank You because I know that I am absolutely awesome because the hands that formed me only makes awesome.

Thank You for the amazing people You have brought into my life. You do mighty things, You do glorious things and that is one of the best things You have done for me. I am grateful Daddy.

Saviour, who can move mountains, I want to request again today that You please have mercy on my country Nigeria and make a way to bring back the girls from wherever they have been taken to. That You bring comfort to the homes and lives that have been affected by the menace of terrorism and corruption.
Glorious King, please remember how helpless the Israelites were in Egypt under the tyranny of Pharaoh and how You brought them out of captivity. You fought that battle as You told your people to hold their peace and You did it in grand style - Who would have thought that the great sea would part in two just to make a way for your children.

Many many times in the bible, we see when your children were oppressed, how they cried out to You and how You had mercy on them and delivered them. We are crying out Oh Lord, please have mercy on us and deliver us, for without your intervention, we are absolutely helpless.

Raise men like Moses and Joshua, women like Deborah and Esther whom You would use to liberate your people.

And Mighty Man in Battle, when it's all over, You alone take ALL the glory in Jesus name.

I love You. The more I know You, the more I love You.

Your forever girl,
One xx

Source
                               

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Chronicles of Sebastian - Why Friendships Don't Need Any Juju




The Catholic University I visited in Enugu had daily afternoon prayers with a small preaching unit for each day. One day, it was my turn to do the Reflections. The given gospel text for that day was about the paralytic fellow who was carried to Jesus by his friends through a roof (You can read about it in Mark 2:1-12). Most people expected me to preach about the miracle of healing or the power of faith. Yet I spoke on friendship and the fact that without the care of his friends, the guy would have never made it to Jesus in the first place. Some of the listeners were touched and told me later that they lack true and deep friendships. Sadly, I’ve heard that quite often, both in Nigeria and in Germany. People long for authentic relationships, still many can’t quite find or keep them. We are wired not to be lonely (Gen 2:18), but at times we are. That’s why I want to share important lessons I learnt in my short life, backed up by some ideas from a precious book called 'True Friendship'. Some of them have a Nigerian touch to it, most of them are rather general:

1. Friendships are crucial. I get the feeling that many of us treat friendship as a nice option in case there is some time left after work. For people who idolize marriage, friendships are just part of the transitional phase that lasts until the wedding day. Others love their independence so much that they develop a kind of “You chop I chop”-mentality - I do my business, you do yours. Others again are distrustful, hurt or disappointed to the extent that they don’t want to risk entering deep friendships (again). Whatever the case may be, let me plead with you: good friendships are glorious. The trinitarian God is a God of relationship and he wants us to be “knit together in love” (Col 2:2). Friendships might be hard, risky and time-consuming, but they are so worth it. You can decide to neglect friends for the sake of your success and your activities, your obsession with the opposite sex or your locked heart, but you’ll miss out on life big-time…

With some of my lovely Nigerian friends here in Germany :-)

2. Dependence can foster friendships. There is a lot of community life going on in Nigeria, whether in a remote village or a jam-packed University hostel. While most Germans love their privacy, some of my Nigerian fellow-students slept in rooms of 20 people and shared food (“Join me!”), phones (looking through your gallery without asking for permission lol), gist etc. They have bunkmates, agemates, classmates and a multitude of “brothers” and “sisters” (I’ve learnt that this can include extended family members, people of the same tribe or church and many more). This close community life often creates an atmosphere of dependence, where one tries to help one another. For example, I observed that almost all Nigerians have some sort of family obligations, they can’t just put their elderly parents in an 'Old People’s Home'.
Sometimes we Westerners are too proud to depend on each other. Instead of asking for help we try to sort out everything on our own in order not to appear weak. By doing so we forget that mutual help (don’t just be a “borrow-borrow”, abeg ;)), vulnerability and co-dependence can create a good soft soil for friendships and authentic interactions. My concern is that some Nigerians fall into the same trap of making independence (whether it’s financial or relational) their highest goal. Let’s remind ourselves to need and bear with one another (Eph 4:2)!

Sharing rooms in hostels helps to foster co-dependency
                   
3. In order to be close, you have to be intentional. There is a lot of small talk going on in Nigeria every day: “How are lectures?", "How was your night?", "How are your people?" etc. Sometimes people called me on the phone for no obvious reason and said “I just want to hear your voice”. I don’t get these sweet calls very often here in Germany… :-) I loved the easy way of interacting even with strangers, something that is quite uncommon in Germany. Even our standard small talk topic (the weather) is talked about usually only between people you know.
At the same time I’ve learnt that you have to be intentional and open if you want to develop close friendships. Small-talk can be great to initiate the first contact, but for deep friendships to happen you need to go beyond the surface and and really care for one another: Ask some follow-up questions ("Last week you told me this, how is it now?" "How are you feeling with this?"), be curious and interested in their life, pray for them, be transparent yourself (share some struggles and good experiences you had) and just lovingly care for the person in front of you.

Take out time to laugh with your friends


4. Don’t just look for 'friends with benefits'. We all can fall into the trap of choosing only friends that might help us in one way or the other. In Nigeria, I’ve seen that attitude play out in different ways: When some people meet a high-ranking person, they suddenly become very humble and respectful, and in their speech they 'deeply appreciate' the big guys, hoping they’ll get something in return. Another selfish relationship is the one where a female only chooses a boyfriend so that someone pays her bills. Others want to introduce a seemingly 'important friend' (e.g. a rich person, a white etc.) to a pastor to earn some respect for themselves.
Neither am I against respect nor against a man supporting his gal, but I believe that the best friendships are those where one seeks the advancement of the other, not just of yourself (Phil 2:3). Your motivation for going into that friendship counts. Ultimately, making others happy and grow will give you much more joy than using them for your own schemes.

                      

5. Maintain your friendships. Everything that is valuable needs to be maintained - your motor, your cloths, your GPA and even your friendships. If we just forget about our friends, friendships will slowly fade away. One proverb states it quite clearly: “Do not forsake your friend” (Prov 27:10). This also applies to tough times: When you’re in conflict or your friend is in a difficult situation, don’t just run away because there is so much wahala that feels tiresome. Stick in there, forgive each other, listen to those in need and don’t just flee for easy superficial friends. In Nigeria I was tempted to run away from some friendships because they were giving me too much headache and drama, but in the end I can testify that remaining patient was worth it!
Note that you cannot possibly maintain every friendship you ever had. I try my best to phone my Nigerian friends, but I’ve realized there is no way I can call all of them every day. You have to be selective, but make sure you revive your best friendships every now and then.

I made very good friends in my brief stay in Nigeria

5. Be creative and surprise your friends. Don’t make maintaining your friendships a boring chore. Be creative and break patterns with sweet and spontaneous surprises. I wrote some German Christmas cards to some of my friends and although they said they are not used to these snowy cards, they love it… lol. My classmates surprised me with a traditional attire as a farewell present.
Sometimes we were just silly and played card games or started dancing on the road, other times we 'put ourselves for trouble' by chopping in forbidden places. Make sure to balance seriousness with unexpected fun so that you can create happy and vivid memories. In order to do that, you might need to turn off BBM so you can be fully present and start shining with your laughter and whole personhood :-)

                       

6. Be both candid and careful. Oscar Wilde said, “A good friend stabs you in the front”. Instead of gossiping about your friend, tell your friend directly what disturbs or concerns you. I remember one guy who kept telling every second girl how beautiful she was and how he wishes to be her boyfriend. One day I advised him to be a little more careful and focused in his approach. Just a few days ago he called me and told me that he changed his attitude and thanked me for being honest. One of my best Nigerian friends was also courageous enough to point out to me some of my errors and weaknesses, which really helped me to grow and to be more careful. Being candid and open towards your friends gives him or her the ability to see what is happening and to do something about it.
In doing so, try to be careful by speaking 'the truth in love'. You can 'sandwich' criticism by starting and ending with (genuine) compliments. Otherwise, you can easily offend your friend. Don’t let these well-thought out blog posts mislead you: I’ve said some dumb things in life and I got to experience first hand that “death and life is in the power of the tongue”

                           

7. Be Christ-centered: A secure identity in Jesus helps us to be a good and selfless friend without demanding too much (total satisfaction, constant gifts etc.) from our friends. If your identity is shaky and you are not at peace with yourself, you are too preoccupied with your own business, resulting in a lack of 'mental space' that enables you to freely give yourself to others. Jesus is also a role model when it comes to transparency (He lived his life mostly publicly and risked being betrayed), sincere love and selfless service. His power can give us the nudge to go a little further than we’re naturally inclined to.

Reflecting upon all of this, I believe that I actually did talk about a miracle in that reflection on the paralytic, because good friendships are a miracle! They have incredible power in enabling us to go beyond ourselves, to get back up once we’re down and to live a rich, fulfilling and colourful life.
Since I wrote half a novel today, here is my post in a nutshell:
Good friendships don’t require any juju or magic formula, but rather a good dose of care, curiosity, authenticity, humility and humor. So go for it :-)

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I have to say that without a shadow of doubt, Sebs has proven himself to be a very good and reliable friend who takes the effort to be intentional, kind and thoughtful. I wish I could also share some of his hilarious emails he sends in addition to the post of the week - It's always a delight receiving his emails. He also demonstartes this with the way he responds to comments and actually made a point to pray for one of the people who left a comment a few weeks back. God bless you Sebs, I appreciate you!

I also would like to reiterate what he says in his post that good friendships are a miracle. I can testify! I have been blessed with absolutely amazing friends (the very best in the world!) and I don't say it to them enough. Thank you to every single one of them - you are answers to my prayers, you make this life journey much more interesting, you enrich me and I learn everyday from you. May God bless you all richly.

You know, no matter how many friends we have on earth or how deep they are, the best friend you and I could ever have is JESUS. He loves you completely, He's pasisonate about you, He never gets tired of listening to you, you can trust that He would keep your confidence and He forgives again and again and again... I can definitely say that He is the best thing that ever happened to me. I would gladly and wholeheartedly recommend that if you haven't, cultivate your friendship with Him - Love You enough to get the best in friendship xx

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For all previous Chronicles of Sebastian posts, please click HERE.. Join Sabba again next week Wednesday..I look forward to what he will be sharing with us!
Please visit Sebastian's blog http://seb2nigeria.wordpress.com/ It's in German but you can use 'Google translate' if English translation is required - Lovely lovely blog!

Remember you can send an email: oneplustheone@gmail.com
Follow on Twitter: @1plustheone
Facebook: www.facebook.com/1plustheone

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Waiting and Loving It - Because God said So!

May Day! May Day!! There's no Waiting and Loving It Post today!! :-( 

I'm so sorry, we have to postpone today's feature until next week!

In the meantime, if you are Waiting and Loving It say Heyyyy! lol

Can I be real for a second? Thank you..

To be honest, this waiting can get it's very difficult moments...like gosh mehnnn! It's all lovely and great - uhhh and ahhh, after you've crossed the line but for my fellow Wait-ers.. How is the market?

Sometimes it's not very easy and the body is saying noooo, forget waiting, give me NOW!! But then the spirit man is saying - Calm down, it's only a matter of time. The wait will be worth it. Obedience is better than any amount of sacrifice.

I am grateful for all the couples who share their stories each week here on how possible it is to honour God even when the odds seem to be against you.
 
The truth is, obedience and honouring God goes not only in pre-marital sex, it applies in every single area of our lives.

Do I want to love people that are mean to me? NO! But do, I must because God said so.
Do I want to go without food for a period of time? NO! But I do because it helps my walk with God.
Do I want to forgive THAT human being? NO! But God said I should.
Do I want to pay my tithe or sacrifice that money I've been holding unto dearly? NO! It's not even enough for me.. But I do because God said so.

Everyday, we must make decisions about all aspects of our lives, and top underlying factor shouldn't be if it's convenient, what popular opinion may dictate or if you feel like or want to. It must be because God said so!

So with regards to sex? Until, the dotted lines are signed, I am Waiting and Loving It.. Why? Your guess is as good as mine.... Because God said so!

How about YOU? xx




Friday, 16 May 2014

Dear Daddy - Jeffrey Nsofor

In the spirit of the theme for the month of May which is Love YOU - Celebrating and falling in love with the unique individual that God has made each and every one of us, we continue with doing our 'Dear Daddy' Fridays differently.
Each Friday this month, we will have different guests writing a Dear Daddy post appreciating God for the gifts and blessings He's graciously invested in them.. It's a great opportunity to celebrate YOU, thanking God for being ever so gracious :-)

Don't forget, you can send in your Dear Daddy post by email oneplustheone@gmail.com!

I love today's post from a young man I truly admire. A man of faith and a man who's love for God is so real you can almost touch it :-). Jeffrey Nsofor expresses himself below:

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Dear Daddy,

In this busy world I live in, I find it detrimental for me to neglect my Homie, My SOURCE, the ONE in whom I find the very essence of life, the ONE in whose purpose I find meaning, the ONE in whose name I find comfort and solace. Daddy'm Kedu? (How are you?)

Ever since that very day I chose to stand for you, I have had ups and downs in life but the very amazing thing about these experiences is in the fact the in my "ups" I recognized you as my Jehovah El Ebubecious (The God in whose glory I can't comprehend) and in my down times I recognized you as my "Echeta obi esie ike" (The God that when I remember His Power my heart is strengthened).

Daddy how can I say thank you? You have always been my Defence, my ROCK, my SUPPLIER, CONFIDANTE, PARTNER but above all, you have been my "Wing-Man" for there is no mission that we have gone on that failed especially in this current mission we are on (Only He knows...lol).

In my own little way I say thank You for being my Father and always showing up for me when I boasted in Your Most HOLY name. It is always a delight for me to BOAST about your goodness in public for the whole universe deserves to know You.

Your Wing-Man.

Jay


PS - Jeff runs a faith-building channel #FeedYourFaith on BB and you can subscribe to their BB Channel - C001EDCBE for daily uplifting nuggets of faith!

Have a great weekend wonderful people and don't forget that you have the unconditional love of a Father so Great, you should Love You too!

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Love Yourself Enough to... Know That You Deserve The Best In Your Relationships

Source
 When you know how priceless you are worth as an individual, it is easy to understand and believe that you deserve to aim for, desire and get the best.

Do you believe that you deserve the best? Do you believe that you are worthy of the best? Do you believe that you can get the best?

In our relationships, it's time to love ourselves enough to realise that not 'just anyone' would do, to understand that for you to agree to consider committing the rest of your life to this individual, he/she must be worth their salt! 

Refuse to accept just anything because 'time is running out' or 'people are doing it now'. You are worth more than that - Love yourself! Don't 'manage' when you clearly know that you are not compatible and you will probably not be happy. Don't 'settle' when you believe in your heart that this is not quite it. You deserve to have IT.

Source
 Love yourself enough to refuse to be with someone who doesn't recognise and act like they know that you are all that and a bag of chips! 
Don't settle for someone who doesn't respect you, who doesn't respect the greatness in you. 
Don't settle for someone who regards you as an option or with whom you have to play second fiddle. 
Don't settle for someone who makes you compete for their time and attention. 
Don't settle for someone who makes you feel less than you are.
Don't settle for someone who discourages your walk with God or will not help your growing in Him.

Love yourself enough to know when to walk away. Love yourself enough to see you the way God sees you - Deserving. Worth It. Precious.

"Since you were precious in my sight, you have been honoured, and I have loved you..." Isaiah 43:4a

When people say to me "Ayo, maybe you're still single because you are tooo choosy" (Honestly, I'm not! lol) I'm like, no, I'm actually easy like Sunday morning haha, but he has to have 'something' about him. I will recognise that 'something' because I already spoke to my Daddy about it. I am not ready to go with just anyone, I'm worth more than that by God's grace.

"Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart" - Psalm 37:4

If our earthly Parents are so particular about the person that we would marry, and given the powers, would give us the very best, the one that would suit us excellently, how much more our Daddy in heaven whose love for us cannot be compared with any other? He's got you and me covered.... Trust Him, He has only the best for you.

You deserve the best in your relationship.. Know this.. Don't settle.. Love YOU

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Chronicles of Sebastian: 8 Things I Learnt in Nigeria About FOOD!


A few years ago I read a small book called 'A Meal with Jesus' by Tim Chester. I wish I could say it changed my life, or to be specific, my non-existing cooking habits. It did not - most often I still rely on my University’s canteen food, invitations after church and things like that. But what the book did was it gave me a new perspective on food, meals and hospitality: If you pay close attention to the gospel texts you will notice that Jesus ate A LOT. There are so many allegorical and real banquets, shared meals, invitations, teachings on food & fasting etc in the Bible. The author did an excellent job pointing out some lessons, which I will steal for this post (forgive me Tim!). However, since I’ve had many great 'food encounters' in Nigeria, I will 'Nigerianize' some points and add some other random observations:

1. Meals are great opportunities for fellowship. There’s something special about sitting with someone or a group, talking over a meal and enjoying life together. It’s so ordinary and yet so significant. In Nigeria, I’ve shared lots of meals in restaurants, conferences and homes. I still have vivid memories of people eating with me: whether it was my English class and me enjoying Eba after a tough exam or people from the village offering me all they had: I’ve experienced so much genuine joy and care through the talks and laughs around meals that I’ve realized how good meals are, to get to know someone, to reduce distance and to express togetherness. 

With a few of the many lovely people I got to fellowship with over nice food!

2. Hospitality opens doors and hearts. I’ll never forget the many Nigerians who have been so kind and hospitable towards me. Friends, CEOs, priests, dignitaries and even talkative Keke-drivers invited me into their homes. This way I got to know the country in a special way: their hospitality helped me to see Nigeria as a country comprising many individuals living their own distinct lives, in various families and places. As many white people don’t even know their neighbour, I genuinely appreciated the peeks I got into the lives of others.
It didn’t really matter whether they offered me pure water or a Malt drink: it’s the gesture that counts - a transparent host anticipating and meeting the needs of his guests.

3. Meals are about association. Jesus was accused of eating with obvious sinners like Zacchaeus, because back in his day, meals were a way to express who was included and who wasn’t. Pharisees didn’t eat with Prostitutes - no way!!! But Jesus did. He went into their homes and dined with them. He did not just preach, distribute some tracts and go on with the big guys. Part of his grace was that he actually cared about simple people like you and me, that he created intimacy by sitting around rusty tables with rough and broken people.
In Nigeria, some people tried to give me special treatment: I remember going to a Bible conference where some staff members almost insisted that I should not get beans (like everyone else) but something better. I tried to politely refuse these offers since I made it one of my goals to reduce as many cultural barriers as I can. I ate swallow with my hands and instead of Eva-bottles I was fine with pure water. Although I enjoyed some special restaurant invitations, most often I ate in dim and rough places that served lukewarm drinks since their gens stopped working. 

Where there is food, there are happy people :-D               
4. Pepe-Soup is hot. Hot as in spicy. O my goodness the first time someone gave me Pepe-Soup my throat was burning so much, I almost started praying my last prayer! A lot of Nigerian dishes are quite pepperish for my German stomach, but after a while I got used to it without using too much flagyl… lol Well anyway the various local dishes made me appreciate the diverse country - Afang in the South-South, Sugar Cane in the Middle Belt, and Indomie everywhere… :)

Delicious Sugar Cane
                     
Ola and I with her Indomie pen in Germany! (Indomie found it's way here too, lol)

5. Nigerians have some different habits for feasts. In Germany, you usually sit around the table and start eating together (either after a prayer or some general greeting). In Nigeria, there was no need waiting - people around me started chopping as soon as food was available :D. Even around Christmas, people just got their food, moved around and started talking here and there. In most German homes it is considered polite to turn off the TV in order to focus on the meal and the conservations, yet in Nigeria it was the exact opposite - hosts turned it on as I entered the room! The advantage of this rather 'freestyle eating' is that you don’t really need to wait for anyone and are more free to leave or change conversation partners, but I have to admit that I sometimes missed proper 'table conversations' and a more solemn atmosphere during special occasions.

6. Food production seems more tangible in Nigeria. Nigeria was a great opportunity to look behind the scenes, for instance, how meat actually lands on your plate. In my Nigerian home the guards regularly slaughtered goats, rams and cows and the cooking ladies usually processed the food and cut it into small pieces. I admired their lack of hesitance doing these things: Girls telling me how they killed animals made me seriously question my masculinity lol. Besides annoying mosquitoes and other insects I’ve never properly slaughtered an animal - in Germany you usually just buy pre-packaged food in supermarkets. It was nice to see these different steps of food production in real life; it makes the whole process appear more tangible and natural. The mass-production of food items in Europe causes many people to become Vegetarians (people not eating meat), a term that is probably not very common in Nigeria…

Poor Ram. I think I can guess what it's fate would be shortly
7. Fasting is tough. While attending a revival conference in Port Harcourt, the whole camp was forced to fast. I’ve never properly fasted in Germany, it’s not a common thing to do here. So I prayed fervently to God to help me through that painful day lol
In my short stay I’ve realized how many Nigerians fast quite regularly, for example for exams, special decisions or outreaches. Although I sincerely admire this willingness to sacrifice, it felt a bit odd in some cases. A girl told me how she 'fasts for success' in order to get better grades, others seemed to compete with one another who can fast longer. I believe fasting is a great idea, however you need to be careful not to make it appear like an automatism (do A, get B) or a sacrifice to boast about. Despite these words of caution, I’m grateful having been (re)introduced to this great and often forgotten concept. 

I had to forego all of this good stuff for a period when fasting! lol

8. Food reminds us of our dependency. Food is an equalizer - no matter how rich or poor you are, everyone needs to eat and drink in order to survive. Food is a good reminder that we are small creatures in need of His daily bread. White people have this stereotype of poor African children with big bellies having nothing to eat, which I have not met often in real life. Nonetheless, the truth is, no matter your colour or background, we are all like children in need. So the next time you eat, pause for a second and be grateful for the provision and the friends and family members around you. :)



That's all folks! :-D

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Anyone who knows me can testify to my love for food, I am a proud foodie *wide grin*.. Now I see where I get that from - I am only trying to be more like my Jesus (thanks for that enlightenment Sebs :-))
I love the reminder that when Jesus was here on earth, he never discriminated on who he ate or interacted with. He was friend to ALL. It's food for thought indeed to consider how we relate with others from various social strata. Do we make an effort to meet everyone on their level or do we ensure that we make it clear that we are 'different' and should be treated so. Even through the mundane act of eating, it's possible to be an extension of the love of Jesus to others.

"When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some." - 1Corinthians 9:22
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For all previous Chronicles of Sebastian posts, please click HERE.. Join Sabba again next week Wednesday..I look forward to what he will be sharing with us!
Please visit Sebastian's blog http://seb2nigeria.wordpress.com/ It's in German but you can use 'Google translate' if English translation is required - Lovely lovely blog!

Remember you can send an email: oneplustheone@gmail.com
Follow on Twitter: @1plustheone
Facebook: www.facebook.com/1plustheone