Choice

Choice

Day 6

May your choices reflect your hopes and not your fears’ Nelson

Some days I wake up with an enormous sense responsibility in raising our children to be everything that they are meant to be. That can be crippling when the what if’s are glaring at you. I do not know about you but those moments can easily leave us in a place of fear when we look at what is around us and what is happening around the globe. I want to challenge you today and say mamma choose hope in place of fear.

Hope is trusting, hope is believing in the beauty of the future with resounding confidence, and that’s what we bestow upon our children. My prayer for you today is that the Lord fill you to overflow with hope as you continue to trust Him.

I pray that you will choose faith. Faith to know that you are qualified and equipped to raise your children. You have it in you. Look deep inside yourself. Faith to reach out in confident surrender when it all gets too much, which it does many a times depending where you are in your journey.

Above all, I pray that you will choose love. That, you will love yourself, yes, you. Love you more, appreciate you more, be in love with you. I believe when we do that, we give others permission to love us and love us better.

β™₯οΈπŸ™πŸ½

Celebrate

Celebrate

Day 4

Tonight on the webinar we were discussing celebrating milestones. We acknowledged that we go through a lot of emotions as our children reach different milestones; first day at nursery, school, university, girlfriends etc.

With the exam season just gone past, we encouraged each other that we should celebrate the effort we put into things:

– Celebrate our children for completingΒ the exams than waiting to celebrate the grades. It is more important to acknowledge their efforts, dedication and commitment.

– Celebrate ourselves for accomplishing our goals too, be it cooking fresh meals consistency for the week, listening to all the teen friendship dramas etc. Buy yourself some flowers, paint your nails, go out for coffee.

Celebrations can take different forms to suit the family, budget, child’s age personality etc. Examples were given of cooking the child’s favourite meal, prayer, thank you note, verbal acknowledgements of his/her efforts.

I remember the stress we were under when big brother wrote his GCSE. It was monumental! What didn’t help was that his mock results were beyond shocking but appalling in every sense of the word.

Initially, I panicked and then quickly remembered to turn to God. I poured my heart out to Him and I can tell you when I got up from my knees, I looked my boy square in the eye and told him it was going to be ok.

I remember very well sharing this with a sister from church that I was praying and believeing God for my son’s results. The sister chided and reminded me that the boy needs to revise. Yes, that’s true. What I knew was that if his mocks were anything to reflect his current capabilities, there was no way a couple of months’ revision would do to give us acceptable grades. Anyhow, when the boy wrote his last exam, we celebrated. We thanked God that he didn’t buckle down with pressure.

I am grateful to tell you that the boy did pass and exceeded everyone’s expectations. Some may agree with him and say, he is capable. I believe prayer works.

We also wanted to acknowledge and celebrate the #1styear milestone of this parenting webinar. Exactly a year on 31.7.17, we embarked on this journey and it has been phenomenal with lots of learning, support and encouragement.

We would like to celebrate you the mother’s that have encouraged us so much along the way.

Watch the space for more details.

Eternally grateful. β€πŸ™πŸ½

Grace

Grace

Day 3

Today I pray for grace. Grace for us to do what we need to do without feeling the strain and pressure. Over the years, I have come to appreciate and understand that grace is the oil that lubricates and eases the friction.

I remember one particular day, 11th November 2017. I woke up as usual and got myself ready for work. However, something prompted me to look in the mirror just as I was brushing my teeth.

As I lifted my head up to look into that mirror, a gentle voice whispered ‘that’s grace’. I stood and stared. I was starring at the person in the mirror. Indeed grace had located her, just as she was. It must have been a whole minute while I stood there and just intently locked eyes with this graced being.

It was in that very moment, that Gods grace became so apparent. Overwhelming, sustaining and incredible grace. I have always had a sense of His presence, enablement, encouragement and comfort. What I didn’t realise is the depth of His grace.

That week, work had been super busy and our son wasn’t feeling very well that he missed the entire week of school. As moms, we often just carry on, being brave, strong and composed. We do not realise how much strain and stress we are carrying. On this particular day, in that mirror moment, I got to understand that His grace is the buffer to my cortisol levels. Grace is indeed what carries and sustains me. The pressure both at home and work front had not gone unnoticed. The long daily commute did not help either. His grace had enabled me to carry on despite it all.

This grace is available to all who would ask for it. He says my grace is sufficient for you too today. Would you receive that grace?

Prayer: Lord, thank you that your grace is available for me today. You know the things I need to do, the places I need to be and all the stuff that needs done. May I not strive but receive your help without feeling guilty or lazy. Amen. πŸ™πŸ½β™₯️

Grateful

Grateful

I am alive and well and for that I’m grateful . I give thanks to the Lord for His many blessings towards me. For those who remember I started my gratitude jar on the 15th of February.

Since then, I have realised so many things and achieved so much personally, professionally and socially. Somehow, my jar has more sticky notes but I can honestly tell you, they do not reflect all the things I was meant to have noted. I have become lazy and somewhat forgetful to write them down. Typical, right? It doesn’t please the father, remember the parable of the ten lepers?

This week I am grateful for a Daddies Girl (DG) who is no longer with us but taught and showed us how to live valiantly and gallantly for the Lord. Yesterday, we had the privilege to attend sister Grace’s beautiful send off. What beautiful testimony of how she touched so many lives with her faith, leading many to Christ. Personally, in the few months that I got to really know her, I learnt so much about faith, being forthright and a woman of integrity. I am grateful to God, for that opportunity I had to watch, listen and learn from her.

The Bible says ‘how can they know if the gospel is not preached? It goes on to say .. how beautiful are the feet of those who carry the gospel. Our lives are letters that can be read, what messages are we preaching at work, home and our communities?

Thank you Lord for all that you are to us. Sovereign king, Redeemer and restorer of our lives. β™₯οΈπŸ™πŸ½

Motherhood and well being

Motherhood and well being

We were talking motherhood and well being on the webinar this evening.

The ladies acknowledged that life can be busy and hectic but taking time out to recharge is important. We also acknowledged that as diaspora parents, lack of extended family support is a massive challenge.

Some of the comments from the attendees:

” Know that you do not love your family if your do not look after yourself. Who is going to take care of them if you burn out?”

“Don’t give ashes to your family when you have burnt out”

Remember what they tell you on the plane in case of emergency???

“Put the oxygen mask on yourself first before you put it on your child”.

Strategies used by some of the moms in enhancing their well being.

‘-Me time’ at the swimming pool as well as reading and listening to biblical podcasts.

-Exercising together as family, thereby being a role model and looking after our health.

-Praying alone and with other ladies. Being willing to be open and vulnerable with other mothers about our challenges.

– Building and maintaining a social network.

– Learn and be prepared for the seasons of life. For example unplanned pregnancies potentially may cause a strain on role transition into motherhood.

– Learning from other moms from all age groups and of different seasons.

– Looking to God for counsel and wisdom.

– Empower the older children to help with younger siblings with activities around the house.

-Getting hubby or significant other to help with childcare whilst I attend to ‘me’.

– A bath soak with candles, oils and a book is always a good easy treat.

-Platforms such this webinar, to come and learn together, building our own online village.

How do you unwind? What strategies have you seen or heard that are helpful? Would love to hear from you. xxx

Seed of Hope πŸ’•πŸ’•

Wealth and riches

Wealth and riches

I choose my family.

As a praying mother, I have realised that it takes more than wishing and wanting your family to be united in love hence I pray about it.

As mothers there are so many things that scream for our attention: work, whatsapp groups, unending women’s activities, prayer/business conferences, ladies getaway breaks. Most of these things are very noble but what are we prepared to sacrifice in their place?

What are you choosing day? Where are your riches?πŸ’

Loving your children

Loving your children

A dear cousin sent me this amazing youtube clip and I had to share. Initially, I was going to copy and paste on social media, praying that it blesses someone like it did to me.

There, in that process of doing that ,I begun to reflect in action. The message touched me, as a mom who struggles many a times to get it right with my children.

The teaching of David Wilkerson sounded sincere, as a grandad wanting to impart some wisdom to the younger generation. Indeed, he did just that for me, hopefully for you too. I have sat many a times with colleagues and friends pouring our hearts out about the state of our society and children, the challenges we face and constraints that are seemingly in place to fail our children.

If anything, like any mom, I want them to do well. The responsibility and requirements to parent seem colossal compared to when I was growing up. This clip doesn’t address that, however it explains on what I can do as mom, in this challenging environment. I now have to learn what I didn’t see or experience growing up and that has been and remains my biggest challenge.

David Wilkerson shares is an undiluted truth on the responsibility of parents for our children and what’s happening in our society. We can do something and more with all the challenges we face. His message is, who is watching what’s coming into your home? What are we allowing our children to bring into our homes? We have the authority, responsibility and accountability of what comes in.

I have been there and still do, where I have felt it’s me against the world, my children’s friends, media, different cultures, values, school etc. It is incredibly exhaustingly on all levels, I get it and know it too well. The world and its powers would want us to do just that, give in and give up. Our children are too precious to do that.

Parents in diaspora, we now know how time poor we are and the scarcity of social networks to support us in our journey. For us, first generation migrants, parenting abroad is a new phenomenon with all its complexities. Those we relate to better, the ones we jumped ship with and swapped our identities for a better life, seem new and bewildered with the challenges we face. Where do we go from here?

We work very hard and all hours at trying to make ends meet, ofcourse we have to pay the bills. Maybe, once the bills are paid and we have sent a little for the folks back home, maybe, we can just sit at home and listen to our children. Maybe, we can forgo a huge Christmas celebration and all the designer prezzies and just enjoy each other’s company while we watch the door. Maybe we can pay more attention to who our children are watching and listening to.<br

f our children’s friends no longer come to knock on the door asking for our children to come out and play. How easy it was then, to approve or disapprove! It is no longer so, for those of us with teenagers and older children. Their friends are online, keeping them wide awake at night right in the four corners of our homes.<br

spoken to friends who have managed to nail art of contouring their faces in a bid to enhance what God has given them. Their verdict is, it takes time but practice makes perfect. Getting it right with and for our children, I believe takes time and it’s worth it. When all is said and done, they grow quickly too.<br

se that believe in the power of prayer, Gods says I have a heart for a praying parent. Your prayers are not in vain. We can have righteous anger for the lives and future of our children. Pray with conviction and without ceasing for the matters affecting them.<br

also come to this understanding: may have less control of what happens out there but I have accountability of what comes through the doors of our home and that includes via inthranet.<br

e a responsibility to model the life I expect of my children. have to be at home to guard my house, no one else will. With that, I have to<br<br
y children, be alert and not sleep on the job. ace guards take their responsibilities seriously. They know the value of what they are guarding. This dude here πŸ‘‡πŸΎ didn’t move or smile at all despite all our antics. It’s because he was on duty and guarding what has been entrusted to him. So are we as parents.
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My gift to my children

My gift to my children


August 2012 Olde Barn hotel.

Thanks to Facebook for this reminder. What sweet memories!! These two have now grown very fast right before our eyes. We didn't know THEN the memories we were creating and the rituals that have now become so ingrained as family traditions.

I pray for our children. I pray that they will find kindness amongst their generation. I ask the Lord to be their shield and banner, to keep and sustain them. I pray that they will always find help when they need it. May the Lord surround them with sincere friends who will bring out the best in them. I commend them to the mercies of God for their future.

I pray for our children that they find joy and happiness in what they put their minds, hearts and hands to do. May they know the satisfaction that comes from enduring hard work. I pray for the eternal blessing of knowing God and walking in His ordinances over our children. They are my greatest blessing and I am grateful to God.

I pray that they will love and respect each other. I ask the Lord to bind them with cords of love that cannot be broken. I speak into their relationship, that they will be each other's keeper. I ask for grace and strength into their lives, to champion one another in things that are meaningful and of good report.
August 2012..Peterborough Cathedral.

I ask the Lord that their lives be full, filled with hearts of service to His kingdom, His people and themselves. I pray for our children that they will remember their mother and father's sacrifice. I pray that they will find those sacrifices worthwhile. I ask the Lord to give our children forgiving hearts for where we failed. I pray that our children will become better parents than we were. I pray that our children will treasure and honour our relationship with them.

August 2017, Porto

I pray that our children will find love. I ask the Lord that He will give them life partners that know Him first. I pray that our children will find time to laugh in those relationships.

I thank God for our children. I thank Him for hearing and answering our prayers as parents.

I will always pray for our children. Prayer is my gift to our children ❤

Summer-saults

Summer-saults

The saga continues

So far summer has been bliss. The planning has taken the pressure of me in amazing ways. Prayer and lots of it has gone into this planning. The idea is to have an enjoyable and memorable summer. For us as parents, the reality of our children growing too fast and time sipping through our fingers has become such poignant truth.

We are keen to make the memories of today meaningful both now and for generations to come. That takes time and being intentional. Intentional of our family time, activities we do or don't do together and how we spend time with other people. Being away from each is great, as the distance makes the heart grow fonder.

An incident that happened during the half term taught me to be more organise when it comes to the children's time and their friends.

What exactly happened was that I was sitting on the train, on my way to work when at exactly 8am, a text message came inviting my daughter for a shopping trip with a friend the following day. Of course, it was school half term and I had forgotten to fill this one day of the half term week with activities and appointments. The predicament was that I had said no to a couple of invitations before, to this particular dear friend. It was a matter of timing and other family commitments.
 

I was well spent financially, and I would have needed to organise the pick up, drop off etc. Not what I expected on that day. My daughter thinks the world of this particular dear friend. Yes, they have recently started high school together and they 'clicked'.

I had filled the 5 out of 7days in a week with things to do. We had friends over for bank holiday Monday. Both adults and children, enjoyed the company, conversations and cuisine. We then visited another dear friend, 50miles each way and had a truly magical time on that Tuesday. Forget the food bill befitting the 21st century 2 teen instagram postings. Come Wednesday, both children had play dates and a sleepover whilst I ran around chauffeuring them. I also busied myself with lastminute preparations for the new job the following day some miles away from home. Hubby was off  the next day and took our cherubs for bowling and eat out. Girl done good, I told myself.

Until that morning and this text message, I had been absorbed in my own little world. I had done what most mothers do for their children. Since primary school days, I know how critical play dates are. My thinking was that at her  age my daughter can now sort her play dates. Since this was never mentioned at the agreed 'three days before' I assumed we were all fair and square.

At this stage, I decided not to feel bad about it. I was on my second day in a new job, away from home. I was trying my best to make sense of my new world. My plate was full. In actual fact,  in my mind I had planned for a mother- daughter time at my mother church on the morrow. Great opportunity to see my wonderful mother Bishop/ mentor/ teacher and inteccessor and of course my delightful cousin sister and her two beautiful girls. My daughter does not think attending church events is really spending quality time with me. I totally get it.

Personally, I feel it's a good opportunity to catch up with each other as well as other fellow like minded and inspiring sisters. A woman needs to be surrounded by like minded women, to inspire and challenge, so I tell her. We have managed to make the arrangement work with a lot of persuasion and bargaining. We alternate the dates, She comes with me to my events and next time we do something that she loves, usually fancy eat outs.

Anyway, back to the text message. At 5:35 pm, I was back on the train on my way home. It dawned on me that I had not responded to the message. I had made this poor woman and her daughter wait 😟. Thats a no no. It does not help with the repertoire malarkey. Why does a mother have to go through all this?! You can imagine my emotional turmoil. At this stage I emotionally spent, having spent a solid 8hours trying to prove why I got the job and my worthiness. And now this. How do I say no to this invite and this late? I hate explaining myself in text messages for that matter. Is it not enough that I am trying to be a positive role model to my children,  organised,  working hard, making a difference and being balanced? I hate coming short. 

I felt terrible for ruining my daughter's social life. How was she going to cope with no friends at school? What about missing out on all those instagram/ snapchat stories about the shopping weekend that she wasn't part of? Could this be emotional abuse or neglect? Who knows. At this point, life sucks. Don't mention how I was going to break it down to her when I got home! It's an emotional roller coaster.

Somehow, there is a part in me that feels our daughter is fragile and vulnerable as a young woman. It's not a question of gender but the flaws in her personality. She thinks well of everyone, very trusting at the same time incredibly opiniated. Furthermore, some of big brother's experiences have left us slightly wary of these social outings. We allow him because he is 17years old and soon to go and find his space in the adult world in no time. The boy needs to practice being responsible and accountable so we tell ourselves.

I remember vividly another culture shock incident that happened when our daughter was in primary school aged 5years. I had agreed to a play date only to cancel it on the day a few hours before because of other family commitments.  In my own head, I didn't think it was a problem. However,  this wasn't the case with her friend who went on to have a full melt down. The whole thing was a mess to say the least. You can imagine how unhappy the mother was. Luckily, I explained my oversight and she was willing to fill me in on my cultural gap. Never again, have I done that!

This culture around play dates can be very complex and intimidating. It is critical that I send the right message to my children without disrespecting their friends as well as the friends' parents. My children are also learning about managing social dynamics. O what a cobweb we weave!

As mothers, we have to be kind to ourselves. There is no such thing called perfect parenting but good parenting.  I have learnt that saying no is a good thing for them as well. So in the end it was finalised that there was not going to be a shopping trip. 

I owe her friend a date, thankfully that's all sorted. Here is to us off to write our own story in the sand.

 

Lessons I have personally learnt:

– Your children need friends, it's a basic human need. It's important to know who they befriend. Birds of the same feather flock together and that is so true. As they grow older it's good to guide them to make that fundamental decision themselves. 

High school play dates and dynamics can be a tsunami. We are trying to work it all out and it's a journey we have to go through with our youngest. What makes it all complex is the little connection we have with their friends and their families. When they were in primary school, we knew the parents from the playground and we arranged the play dates as mothers.

Now we are having to rely on what our children tell us about their friends. Yes, some of them you meet them with their parents at the parents evening etc. There is not enough time nor conducive atmosphere to sass each other out and work through the layers, masks and airs that we carry as parents on such occasions.

The lack of time, to be involved in school activities, PTA, bingo and quiz nights doesn't help. How do we create that time as first generation migrant families? How do we prioritise our children without neglecting our parents and even ourselves?

– Living in a diverse and multi-cultural society, it can present a lot of challenges. As a mom, follow your gut instinct. A good friend and their family will respect your family values and beliefs.

-Be organised and proactive about dates, sleepovers etc. For me the idea of our daughter being invited all the time is what I struggle with. My idea of summer break/ school holiday/ half term is for us as a family to catch up. Up until now, I assumed that was absolutely fine. So I'm taking the initiative to invite.

– It also transpires that play dates are mostly for childcare purposes. Sad as it may sound, it's the truth.

-Activities do not have to cost an arm and a leg. Best things in life are still free ; libraries, museums, picnics, church activities and a walk in the woods. National Trust membership is a great bargain for history and culture activities.

– Holiday breaks are not a luxury but a necessity. With good planning,they shouldn't cost a fortune. 

Comminicate, communicate and comunicate. 

-Be compassionate; Understand and emphathise with your children. It's hard trying to fit in. Teenagers especially, due to their brain development struggle with identity, worse off if there is culture clash. Be in their world, invite their friends over and get to know them.

– Encourage them to take up sports, arts or other extra curriculum activities. This is an investment that pays for itself.

– Choose your battles carefully. The adage ' better to win the war than battle' cannot be emphasised.

Happy holidays x

Hope makes a way ❤

Love wins.

Love wins.

It feels good to be back to writing again. I have been away from the blog due to work commitments. I normally write whilst on the train commuting to and from work. The past few days I have been driving due to change in location of where I was working.

Anyway, I attended a training on Prevent. Those in U.K. would know about this training. It is about learning strategies to combat terrorism. The fundamental of this training is that we all should look out for those who are vulnerable amongst us and at risk of been radicalised. Terrorism is indeed a global phenomena and it takes all forms. 

In a bid to educate and be educated we talk about current affairs on the dinner table with our teens. Their understanding of their world is very complex. Our slightly more mature son thinks differently to our passionate, feisty political daughter. My daughter feels we all need to love and respect one another regardless of where we come from or are based. She feels it’s wrong to mourn the loss of life in Manchester when the same even younger children are being killed in Syria. Rightfully so! We applaud her thinking and passion for the rights of all humanity.

We realise that our daughter loves to debate and she is able to think on her feet. Proud, yes we are. The environment she is in, fosters that kind of thinking and the need to express oneself. It is a good thing. We encourage that in our family. However, it doesn’t stop us realising her vulnerabilities too. Because she feels so strongly about certain things, in a wrong crowd she can fall prey to evil people. There are people who are waiting to feed our passions. These are the recruiters and radiclisers.

As parents, we continue to have conversations with our teens and channel their thinking in the right direction. 

Our children want to be heard. They want us to put our phones away while we talk to them. When we do that, they will do the same when we are talking to them too. 

Our children want our time more than anything else. Prioritise them and they will do the same. Let’s love one another and save the lives of our children from terrorism. 
As parents, let us be empowered and keep our children safe. We all are vulnerable at some point in life but we do not need to be radicalised.  For those whose children have turned away and are on the verge of being radicalised, talk to someone. There is help available. I believe those who went to Syria, their families saw the gradual changes in them but did not what to do. Often times, in our challenges as parents we can feel overhemeled and confused. Talking to someone helps.
Those who haven’t accessed the training or heard about it, there is a link below. For those reading from outside U.K. please access the link if you can. Terrorism is everywhere. Choose to be empowered today.

The training is provided by the Home office and can easily be accessed on their website.πŸ‘‡πŸΎ

https://www.elearning.prevent.homeoffice.gov.uk/la/m/screen3

Hope conquers πŸ’ž
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