DAY 30- Uneasy lies the head…

And for the last time in this challenge, Welcome back.

I had another great Monday, not without its challenges but nevertheless well-spent. As I officially wrap up “A NOVEMBER TO REMEMBER“, I know that at least a few of you, my dear readers, were able to pick up a lesson or two, from the daily experiences or thoughts I’ve shared. And for that, I’m thankful to God for this opportunity. 

This final post is a work of fiction, a letter of admiration is written by a young recruit to his Commanding Officer. The unusual reply he gets reflects to a large extent what goes on deep-down in the minds of every great achiever. Enjoy! 

 

amivitale.photoshelter.com
 
***   ***   ***
30th of November, 1979,

15th Battalion, 

Saint George Regiment, 

Oaks town, Oklahoma.


Dear Commanding Officer,

I write this out of utmost respect for you. In these few months of training, I have observed how much courage and strength you have displayed. Your persistence and commitment to excellence have inspired many young recruits like myself to press on, when quitting is the easiest thing to do. You are an exceptional Leader, who unlike many others has not only taught, but also shown us that serving our nation whole-heartedly is both fulfilling and gratifying. I want to be such an officer of high quality in the years to come. 

Regards,

O. W. Sanders.

(Young Recruit).

————

Dear Young Recruit,

Thank you for your fine words of admiration. I however would not take much credit for the qualities you have seen and described in me. From my over 35 years of journeying along this path, I have a number of insights that will be useful to you. Many mighty men, more valiant than I, have fallen into states of misery and utter dejection because they were not aware of the bends and twists on this road. Your Physical endurance is only as good as your Mental resilience. You too will encounter some great difficulties as you rise among the ranks. You must however be determined to PRESS ON, because the tougher your OPPOSITIONS are, the sweeter the VICTORY is.

There are 5 twists to this Journey you must look out for:

1. The Valley of COMPLACENCY. Every new BATTLE requires new Energy. You must not be so carried away by the success of previous battles that you do not give your best effort to the next. Especially one that appears to be comparatively milder. Generals have Won Fierce Battles and Lost Mere Combats.

2. The Ambush of CRITICISM. Be on your GUARD always. One of the easiest ways to win a Battle before it even starts, is by setting up an Ambush. Do not fall victim of destructive criticisms, especially from within your own camp. Just like the enemy’s ambush, they are often so subtle that you do not realize it’s a trap until too late. As a leader, you are responsible for the methods you adopt, no matter what your personal doubts are, or what your subordinates think.

3. The Swamp of DEPRESSION. There will be some difficult and deadly terrains in this Journey. You will be tempted to turn back more than once. You may even lose some good soldiers along the way, there will be days of hunger and thirst, loneliness, sleeplessness and sickness, but you must be determined to continue your Journey. The depressing situations around you cannot be compared to the Victory ahead of you.

4. The Meadow of DISTRACTION. Along this road, you will see many things and hear many things, both rumors and truths. Some of these will arouse your desire for things like fine food and the comfort of friends and family. You must however remember that you have a single GOAL, to fulfill the Mission at hand. Your COMFORT-ZONE is often the place of your greatest temptation. Beware!

5. The Mountains of FEAR. Fear is common to all MEN, even to the bravest of Soldiers. Some fear Death, others fear Defeat, and a lot of things in between. You will always be SUBJECT to whatever you are afraid of. The best way to overcome your fear is to BELIEVE. Believe in God. Believe also in Yourself. Believe in those around you. Believe in the Course for which you fight. Believe that Death is not the END. Believe that Defeat is NOT fatal. For every mountain of fear you surmount, there will be many others to face. So do not give-up!

I hope these tips will help you to make many right decisions as you progress on this amazing journey, yielding you greater accomplishment and influence than I can ever boast of. And like the saying goes, ” Uneasy lies the head that wears the Crown”, to get your PRIZE, you have to pay the PRICE.

Best Wishes,

Lt. Colonel A.A. Richards.

Commanding Officer.

***   ***   ***

Thank you for reading!

:::Requ1ne:::

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DAY 29: Because I’m HAPPY!!!

Welcome back.

Sunday blessings to everyone! I had a great time in church but I won’t be sermonizing today, thank you!!

My close friends know how much I love eating sugary things, like cakes, cookies, chocolate, candy and so on. I’m not really a fan of sodas though, but even homemade drinks must be really sweet for me to enjoy them.
 

http://www.healthlevelup.com
 
Some folks have argued with me that too much sugar isn’t good for the body and so forth. Obviously, I know that. My Preceptor asked during rounds one day, which of these two is more damaging to the human body?
A) HYPOGLYCEMIA (too little Sugar).

B) HYPERGLYCEMIA (too much Sugar).

What do you think, B? That’s incorrect. As bad as Hyperglycemia is, Hypoglycemia is a lot worse. A person with very low sugar levels can rapidly deteriorate into coma or death. Now I’m not advocating HYPERGLYCEMIA, obviously on the long run, it’s damaging to vital organs/tissues in the body like the heart, the eyes, the kidneys, the teeth etc, but it’s still the lesser evil of the two. 

So why do I love sugary things? Because of the SWEETNESS ofcourse! I avoid anything “bitter” as much as I can (especially medicinal herbs, Tufiakwa! which is quite common where I come from). Sugar makes me “literally” High. High in the sense of being Hyper-HAPPY. At least, momentarily. A day without sugar for me, is an incomplete one. I usually snack on sweetened biscuits (or close alternatives) at least once a day. It’s not like I’m an addict though, and of course I still try to eat healthy: a bit of veggies, protein, fiber and fruits, here and there. My mom insists on that (I hope she’s reading this anyway, 😁😬😏). Then I drink lots and lots of water too! 

My point is this, I think we all need a good dose of things that make/keep us H-A-P-P-Y, from time to time. For some people, it’s Music or Games or Swimming or Pets etc, as long as these are in healthy limits, not interfering with much serious stuffs like school or work or family, that’s fine. Uncontrolled Hypo-HAPPINESS, like HypoGlycemia, can progress into a state of mild to moderate depression, or worse APATHY (a state of indifference to excitement). 

My ice-cream treat!

And Tonight, because I’m happy, I’m treating myself to some Ice-cream (strawberry, vanilla and chocolate flavor mix) to celebrate the eve of completing this 30-day-blogging challenge. It’s been one long journey but everyday, despite the highs and lows was worth it. The big celebration should have been tomorrow, but since it’s a school day, I think I’ll pass. 

(www.pintrest.com)

So add some sugar to your diet if you can, some humor to your tasks, some color to your face, and a song to your lips.

Appreciate those simple, yet important things around you. Take a walk. Smell a rose. Watch the Sunset. Inhale deeply. Just celebrate Life. And do it as often as you can. It doesn’t matter how little or big your achievement is. Every moment is worth savouring. Above all, Give THANKS. God is good, no matter what.

Remember, Happiness is a CHOICE only you can make.

-Tufiakwa: In Igbo language (Nigeria), means God forbid. 

Thank you for reading!

:::Requ1ne:::

DAY 28- Très bien.

Welcome back.

So I had a rather unusual day, a long but interesting one, largely spent with friends. And I already wrote about how awesome having the right set of friends is, here

Every now and again, when People, especially Friends, ask how I’m doing, my typical response ranges from “I’m doing  fine,  thank you” to “I’m doing great, God is faithful.” (And indeed, he is)….to everything in between, making my response as positive as possible.

There are times that response is spontaneous, almost automatic, because really at that time, I’m fine. There are other times my response is rather well-thought, because even though I may not be doing that fine, I still want the people to think I am. Well, because I don’t know if they really care enough to know the truth. 

However, I have a friend in particular, who often asks a second time, “Are you really fine?” Ofcourse, don’t you want me to be? I retort. But then I go on to mention some of the challenges I might be facing at the time, and the conversation ends with me feeling somewhat relieved, because I’d shared with someone who really wanted to know.
So the question to you and me is this: WHY ASK? Do we care enough to want to know? Or do we just ask because courtesy demands it? What if we get some responses we are not prepared for? Why ask if we don’t want the answer(s)?

I had the opportunity of taking French classes in my first two years of secondary school, where I learnt the typical conversation:

Me: Bonjour, Mon ami, Comment ca va?

(Morning, my friend, how are you doing?)

Friend: Ca va bien, merci. Et vous? 

(I’m alright, thanks. And you?)

Me: Très bien. (Great!).

PS: Well, that’s my own version of how the conversation goes anyway, I’m not sure of its accuracy. 
***    ***   ***

My point is, in our day to day conversations, there are too many generalized questions, which give rise to generalized answers, and eventually generalized assumptions and conclusions. Because our concerns are not genuine, the responses we get are not either. 

A lot of folks are hurting inside, many are struggling, some people just want others who can identify with them, others are looking for answers to hard questions, we encounter them everyday.

The challenge before us is to go the extra-mile, to really care enough to want to know (without being busybodies), and to offer a helping hand, a word of encouragement, some prayers, listening ears or just shoulders to lean on, when we have to. 

 

So Today, do more than ASK;

Be specific.

Be genuine.

Be CONCERNED.

Thank you for reading!
:::Requ1ne:::

DAY 27-IF I WERE YOU.

Welcome back.

For some reasons, I craved for Lamb Stew since the beginning of this week. The truth is I’ve had it only once, if I remember clearly, and it was on a plane, over 2 years ago. My brain decidedly registered how it looked and tasted, and randomly reminds me now and then, hence the craving. I really looked forward to preparing the Lamb Stew this weekend, so I checked some recipes online and came up with a list of ingredients I had to buy. It was even my desire to blog about my cooking adventure. But guess what? Today of all days, when I needed it most, the Supermarket where I shop didn’t have Lamb meat😬😕😥👎. And so, my 1-week Lamb stew craving went down the drain, just like that. Anyway, Life goes on.

That brings me to this, the things we humans crave for. It’s natural for us to desire things with varying levels of passion. As our personalities differ, so do our tastes and priorities. Talking of Pleasure in particular, Music, Fashion, Food, Books, Movies and even the Friends we keep, the spectrum is so wide. 

However, as mundane as this sounds, the things we feed on affect the way our minds work. And by feeding, I mean the things we eatwatch, listen to, and associate with

If you are what you eat, you are what you see and hear. 

-E.A Bucchianeri.

All of who I am today (physically, mentally and spiritually) is a reflection of what I’ve fed on over the years. I’ve heard people argue that it doesn’t matter what song you listen to, or what book you read. But the truth is, the crap you take in, is the crap you bring out. Our thoughts, words, and actions are only as good as our daily cravings. That’s why to be Positively inclined, is to be Positively Empowered

Sadly, our generation promotes such unwholesome desires through music, movies and fashion, that many young people have little or nothing else to think of or talk about. 

As a believer, I have to constantly remind myself of what God’s word says in Philippians 4:8 (NIV):

“…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.”


So if I were you, I’ll be careful about what my eyes see,

And if I were you, I’ll be careful about what my ears hear,

If I were you, I’ll be careful with what my mind thinks,

what my mouth eats, what my body wears, where my feet go,

And who my friends are. 

Because what I love, is a reflection of who I am,

And who I am is a reflection of what I love.

Requine.

  

Thankfully, despite some of the limitations via social media, each of us still has a role to play. It takes a person who is deliberate to carefully make healthy choices. It’s weird to some folks, when they see me watching animated movies primarily meant for kids. Well, I prefer the soft contents, the fact that such movies don’t promote obscenities, violence or sensuality. And of course, there’s always the Happily-ever-after ending. I love ’em!

Why would I give 2 precious hours of my day to a movie that ends in tragedy? Of what benefit is that to me, considering that my mind has a very active imagination that would replay such scenes over and over. And what cause would such movie promote anyway, other than to make me depressed. The world as we know it, is a tough place to live already. 

That’s my two cents for you folks.
Prevention they say, is better than cure. 

Thank you for reading!

:::Requ1ne:::

DAY 26- Transient Feelings.

Welcome back.

It’s about a month to Christmas. Hallelujah! Hosanna! 

And just 4 days to the end of November, and this Writing Challenge.

It’s my desire to remember this Month for good. In the near future, I want to look back on these posts and reminisce on the pleasant memories buried in them.

If a thermometer could measure feelings, I guess my readings for the last couple of days would have ranged from low to average. One of the principles I try to hold on to is this: Feelings are indicators, they shouldn’t be allowed to become my dictators. Well, it’s easy to say but not quite easy to practice.

  
From my personal observations, I know that feelings come and go. It’s sheer foolishness to base all my actions on the way I feel. Feelings in themselves are not bad, they only reflect one’s emotional state. But acting on them at every given time, will do more harm than good. A responsible person is wise enough not to be fazed by waves of emotional instability. Because for every action, there is a consequence. 

Over time, I’ve learnt that it’s possible to train one’s mind to focus so much on the right things, that wandering feelings are easily captured and minimized. I’m still going through this training process, and although it’s sometimes hard, I remind myself that: I’m not a product of my FEELINGS, I’m a product of the CHOICES I make or do not make.

And so…

I choose LOVE over Hatred,

I choose FAITH over Fear,

I choose VICTORY over Defeat,

I choose SUCCESS over Failure,

I choose HOPE over Despair,

I choose FORGIVENESS over Grudges,

I choose LIFE over Death,

I choose HEALTH over Sickness,

I choose GODLINESS over Worldliness,

Above all, I choose CHRIST. 

So what do you choose?

  
Thank you for reading!

:::Requ1ne:::

DAY 25- BLANK.

Welcome back.

I didn’t want to write today.

I didn’t feel like writing.

I didn’t know what to write by the way. Or so I thought.

So I waited till the last moment possible, looking for something, anything, no matter how little, to write. For my writing is a gift, a gift from me to you. And I didn’t want you to miss the gift for today. Of all the privileges God has given to me, this is the best I can offer to you, at least for now. You probably know why I write already, yeah, I wrote that here.

I still don’t know what to write, but I’m writing. I think that is a good place to start. You see, in deciding what to write, I browsed through my notes and stumbled upon this quote shared by a Coach, Friend, and Christian brother, AbiodunBEYOND, in a Leadership course he coordinated earlier this year:

  
Well, thank God he shared that quote when he did, and thank God I came across it again, just when I needed it. 

So I’m still writing, giving you a glimpse of my mind, of its fears and cares. Truth be told, writing makes the writer vulnerable to both personal and public criticisms. Well, acting, singing, speaking and the rest do the same too. I’ll keep writing anyway. 

This evening, I had a conversation with my best friend, who is a Graduate student. Among other things, I encouraged her not to quit her program, despite the challenges she has recently been faced with. 

The world as we know it will only listen to the difficulties you encountered in your journey, when your SUCCESS STORY is complete. People do not want excuses where performance is expected. We are familiar with the likes of Nelson Mandela, Ben Carson, and Bill Gates, today because of a common factor- PERSEVERANCE. 

And because of that same factor, Today’s post didn’t end up BLANK.

So DON’T give up, Friend. You too CAN.

Thank you for reading.

:::Requ1ne:::

DAY 24- When Enough is NOT Enough.

Welcome back.

Today was a mixture of feelings…both good and bad. I know feelings are flimsy and I shouldn’t be controlled by them…blah, blah. *Sighs*

Anyway, God is good…tomorrow can ONLY be Better! Amen. 

I’ll share my thoughts on what I personally consider a struggle. It’s the dilemma I’m often faced with when I think about the Effort vs Result Orientation. 

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always wondered why the best of efforts don’t yield the best of results. I mean, all through my academic pursuits, there have always been a select few who score good grades without putting in so much. By that I mean the typical hours of study, class attendance, assignments and so forth. Well, some would say such folks are just naturally brilliant, maybe. But it doesn’t seem fair to those that really worked hard, does it? Again, maybe the other folks didn’t study effectively. That’s also possible. 

Sometime in June, I and some friends shared our views on what each of us considered more important, between efforts and results. It was interesting to know that of the four of us, two people said efforts, while the other two said results. I was in the latter category. Obviously we all had genuine reasons to support our claims. For the effort-oriented folks, the process was always a compensation for the product. However disappointing the outcome is, putting in their best is good ENOUGH. Not so for the likes of me, I find it frustrating when my efforts don’t correlate with the results I get. Everytime I see the need to succeed more, I put in a little more effort. Well, it often works. 

After that discussion, I pondered some more. To be sincere, in times past I could be described as slow, lazy, indecisive and lacking initiative. Efforts didn’t come to me easily, maybe because I’m not naturally self-motivated. Hence, I dose up on anything substantial (from God’s WORD, to Inspiring quotes, books, messages, songs, prayers and Life-changing stories) to stay upbeat. I know not everyone favors motivational speakers and their mumbo-jumbo, some persons claim that they are left feeling empty after the initial euphoria fades. Well, I guess we all are wired differently. In essence, I always try to keep my GOAL(s) in view as I go through the Process in order to stay motivated. And I believe every Journey I embark upon, should lead to my desired destination. 

Well, I’ve had an ongoing situation for sometime now, that has lately made me depressed. Yes, I’ve prayed about it. Yes, I’ve sought counsel. Yes, I’ve tried several available options. Despite my best efforts however, nothing seems to be working. The truth is I feel frustrated and vulnerable. I just want a POSITIVE result, and as SOON as possible.

Knowing my orientation and current situation, What do I do since doing Enough is NOT Enough? 

  
I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Thank you for reading!

:::Requ1ne:::

DAY 23- BEHIND THE SCENES.

Welcome back.

I decided to take a break from the usual and do a short piece instead. It’s purely fiction but it gives a picture of what goes on sometimes behind our acts and smiles. I hope you enjoy it.

***   ***   ***

Monday, 8:55 pm.

(Denver, Colorado).

 

The stage is set,

The crowd is seated,

5 minutes till the show began.

Her phone rang,

It’s brother calling,

“Mother suffered another attack”.

Letting out a quiet sob,

She shed a silent tear,

And said a quick prayer.

Her stomach began to hurt,

Her head started to pound,

And her mouth went dry.

It’s 40 seconds to the play,

The people were expectant,

She stood from the couch.
The curtain opened,

Magdalene stepped on stage,

Her fans all cheered.

She gave her best,

And melted their hearts,

But her fears were masked.

The Performance was over,

With thunderous applause,

And standing ovation.

She beamed and smiled,

Gave them a bow,

The curtain was drawn.

Behind the scenes,

She dialled her phone,

Brother didn’t answer.

She called repeatedly,

He picked at last,

His voice was faint.

Her heart skipped twice,

The words then came,

“Mother has passed”.

She ended the call,

And made no sound,

Her world just crashed.

Looking into the mirror,

She took a deep breath,

Her pain well-hidden.

There was a flight to catch,

A show the following day,

Minnesota was waiting.

(COPYRIGHT @REQUINE 2015: MAGDALENE’S SORROW).

***   ***   ***

Thank you for reading!

:::Requ1ne:::

DAY 22- WHY AM I A CHRISTIAN?

Welcome back.

Yaaay…the Christmas season is gradually getting closer. Yes, it’s that time of the year where lights and trees are displayed, food and gifts are exchanged and there’s goodwill and cheer among people all over the world, especially believers. I spent a good part of yesterday and this morning, listening to CAROLS. Well, it’s about time. Here are my top favorite classics with the YouTube links:

I used to be a big fan of the Christmas season, until 2 years ago when disaster struck the island where I live, on Christmas Eve. We had an unusually heavy rain which led to a massive flood that destroyed properties and sadly claimed some lives. That was one of the scariest experience I’ve had. Thank God for divine protection and safety. I however lost my usual Christmas season enthusiasm since then. I hope for the sake of my future children especially, I can put behind that unfortunate incident and enjoy the usual bustling that comes with this blessed season. So my official COUNTDOWN to Christmas has begun>>>

 

Christmas tree (Photo-credit: WEB)

Oh, the many lovely benefits of beautiful friendships. After today’s church service, we had a super-lovely lunch at a friend’s. It was a typical Nigerian (Yoruba) dish- Wheatmeal with “Abula”**, one of the best meals I’ve had in a while. This our kind host can feed the nation though, there’s hardly a time I’ve been to her place that I didn’t eat more than my usual. I’ve said a few things about her in previous posts, you can read her blog here.

**(Abula is a mixture of ewedu, gbegiri and stew).

One of my thoughts as today’s sermon progressed was Why am I a Christian hence this post. By God’s grace I’ve been saved for over a decade now and for the most part, the journey has been great. I won’t  begin to recount some of the challenges I’ve encountered or the seemly minute temptations I face on a daily basis. That’ll be digressing. There were days I was more confused than convinced about my Salvation. Through it all I serve a faithful Father whose love and mercy has kept me till now.

I come from an aboveaverage Christian Family, where both my parents were saved before they got married. So typically I grew up as a church-girl, infact it was the only social life I had throughout my childhood. I was raised to speak, dress, and act like a Christian, I was into all kinds of children/teens activities in church, but ofcourse all that didn’t make much difference until I had my new birth experience.

Now back to the question, to break it down a bit: why did I become, and better still why do I remain a Christian? I honestly don’t know all the answers yet but perhaps I can ponder on it some more, searching my heart-thoughts and motives with the help of God’s spirit. Here are my current reasons however:

  • I NEVER would make it without God. I don’t even want to try. There are some details of my life that are messy and complicated right now, and only God can fix them. I am proud to say that I’m still a WORK-IN-PROGRESS.
  • I LOVE God. I know I don’t love him yet as much as I should, but I do love this AWESOME King. He’s the center of my Life, the song that I sing, the air that I breath. I could go on. He’s my ALL in ALL.
  • I live in a CRAZY World. That’s the truth. The world is ever-changing, full of lies, darkness and deceits. It’s a world that prefers falsehood to the truth, and celebrates wickedness instead of righteousness. God alone is my hiding place, a safe harbor and secure foundation in this sinful world.
  • And ofcourse, God LOVED me first. He called and chose me way before I came into this world (Romans 8:28-29). The very thought of that is Amazing. So I’m only responding to great grace he’s shown to me. This is my number 1 reason for becoming a Christian.

 I guess there are some other reasons, I might perhaps share them in subsequent posts.

Thank you for reading!

:::Requ1ne:::

DAY 21- WHILE IT IS DAY.

Welcome back. 

As I looked out of my window this evening, I discovered it was dark already even though it was only few minutes after 6. It appears we are in a season of late dawns and early sunsets. I think it has something to do with the Solstice as the gurus call it. This got me meditating on the application of the DAY and NIGHT Principle.

@6:05 PM SVG time.

I’m really fascinated by the elderly, the Quinquagenarians, Sexagenarians, Septuagenarians, Octogenarians and so forth. I see them around a lot too, especially at the hospital. Many of them now depend on the goodwill and support of their children and other family members, the strength and glamour of their youth all gone. I wonder what it feels like to be an 80-something-year-old. My wealth of experience would certainly give me lots of wisdom and hindsight. I’m sure some of the things that matter to me presently wouldn’t be that important again. I don’t want to be in my 80s or 90s before discovering that I’d wasted my youthfulness on fashion, fun, fame or some other flimsy thing. It’s an illusion to think that I’ll be Forever young. So I need to be conscious of the way I live now, so that in retrospect I’ll have few (if any) regrets. 

I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. (John 9:4)

There is a Day and Night component to every living creature. Life begins at dawn, peaks at midday and declines by sunset. We the youths of this generation, must remember that this is only a transient phase. Someday, in the not-too-distant future, we have to give account to generations unborn, of the wise or foolish choices we made. Sadly, the society tends to equate being Youthful as a time to get rich quick, party hard, and live wild. That’s far from it however, a lot is expected from us and we mustn’t be found wanting. Like I tell myself often, EuniceOne day, your children will mark your script. 

Ofcourse we must also remember that eventually when our lives are spent and done, each of us would give an account to the Creator.  The Preacher puts it beautifully: 

REJOICE, O YOUNG MAN, IN THY YOUTH; AND LET THY HEART CHEER THEE IN THE DAYS OF THY YOUTH, AND WALK IN THE WAYS OF THINE HEART AND IN THE SIGHT OF THINE EYES: BUT KNOW THOU, THAT FOR ALL THESE THINGS GOD WILL BRING THEE INTO JUDGEMENT. (ECCLESIASTES 11:9)

I hope you spend the rest of your day in godly wisdom. 

Thanks for reading.

:::Requ1ne:::