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Shut Up and Pray

I’m reading a widely popular book about prayers right now and the author suggests something that is easier said than done: shut up and pray.

I have a problem running my mouth. After all, I am an attorney.

I find it difficult to be silent when the words being thrown at me hardly unpacks the truth as I see it.

The author suggests that we ask God to change us.

Change me, God.

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Unwritten

A few weeks ago I posted a reminder to family/friends that it was not too late to do the thing you said you would do many months ago. And so if you were looking for a message or a sign that you still have time. Use this blog post.

My sista. My brother. You still have time to do what you said you wanted to do in 2019. Write it down. Set measurable goals. Use the next 7 weeks to move forward. You still have time!

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Not Worried

Do not worry

Distracted by future concerns robs you of today. Isn’t it a glorious Monday? I mean, I woke up in my right mind with a job. The air was crisp and feeling so much like fall. I have my family. I had two cups of coffee. I am healthy. I am learning how to receive life and be more present. Like these photos of my life — imperfect but worth capturing for me. If it is the Lord’s will, I will live to see another day with my children.

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To Whom Much is Given

I was born for this…

I love my job.

I am enjoying my career.

This week I was asked to consider a case for representation where I literally wanted to drop everything and run to court to file a lawsuit.

I actually almost did exactly that…

Sometimes, I am reminded of my WHY. So here they are:

Because I love rooting for the under dog

Because I hate seeing people get taken advantage of

I believe people with disabilities have the right to a full and fulfilling life

Because Housing is a basic necessity

Because mental illness does not mean one’s life is over

Because ageism is real

Because people are so bold and so evil

Because I am a child of the most high

Because I was called to this

Because I promised God that if I could just pass the bar, I would be committed to giving back to the world in a real way

Because broke people need lawyers

Because broken people need lawyers too

Because I love a good story

Because I love 2nd chances

Because I believe the justice system can work if the playing field is leveled

Because I love people

Because I can’t wait to fight with words on paper

Because there is always a way to play fair

I could go on forever.

But I just thank God that he has given me the space to do what I believe is my best craft — lawyering

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Nigerian Jollof Rice

Nigerian Jollof Rice is a sacred dish.

One of the most difficult things about being a new wife in a culture that is not your own is the eternal struggle of trying to figure out how to feed my husband without breaking the bank. There are a great number of Nigerian/African restaurants in and around the New York City area. However, it is not wise or even healthy to eat outside of the home frequently. To save money, I am trying to learn how to make the Nigerian dishes that my husband loves for those days when he just wants a taste of home.

So recently I spent some time with my mother-in-law in the kitchen to learn how to make correct Nigerian Jollof Rice. For those of you who do not know, Jollof Rice is a staple spicy and flavorful dish frequently served in West Africa. There are so many “war stories” around West African about who make the best version of Jollof Rice. Each country has it’s own flavor (pun intended) and I am always excited to taste the differences in rice.

With all that said, Jollof rice is sacred. You will be judged fiercely by the way you make this rice. It needs to have spice and flavor. Too much greasy is frowned upon. No one will fault you if it’s a little burnt on the bottom.

Back to the my own Jollof –

I wish I could share all the jokes Mommy made towards me in jest. From the way I cut tomatoes and onions to my hesitation with stirring rice while it cooked, it was a fun time.  Here is a video I created for the YouTube channel showing me actually cooking Jollof Rice from start to finish.

Complete List of the Ingredients used in the video:

(6) cups of parboiled rice

(2) onions

(2) Tatashe (big red bell peppers)

(4) Tomatoes (plum size)

(5) habanero peppers

(5) pices of garlic

(1) cup of vegetable oil

(1) tablespoon of Butter

(2) Maggi Seasoning Cubes

Goya Sazon Seasoning (not necessary but we like it)

All Purpose Adobo Seasoning (not necessary but we enjoy it)

4 pinches of Ground Nutmeg

4 pinches of Curry Powder

¼ cup of Thyme

2 pinches Garlic Power (we already used fresh garlic cloves earlier)

2 pinches of salt (remember we use maggi seasoning and chicken stock)

3-4 Bay Leaves

2-3 cups of Stock of your choice – Chicken, Beef, etc.

**We were missing our Tomato Paste, but ordinarily would have 3 oz of Tomato paste to fry with onions before we add the blending peppers.

Try it and let me know how it turned out for you.

Enjoy!

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We Made it!

We made it out on a Sunday!

Finally. We made it to church yesterday for the first time in weeks — as a whole family. I know this isn’t exactly groundbreaking news, but work with me people. My husband claimed it on Friday night. My daughter was happy to get out of the house. My son slept very well through the service. And I actually got a chance to hear the word – LIVE. And we didn’t miss praise and worship.

I’m grateful.

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Generations

I was listening to Bishop TD Jakes during my commute on Monday morning when he was preaching about Generations. He basically explained that sometimes our adversity is not just about us. It’s about how God is preparing for the generations to come. Can I be a bit selfish for a minute? A little human for a bit?

Everyone is talking about the generations to come — the politicians, Beyoncé and Jay-Z, even the church!

I heard my myself saying during the sermon, but I’m praying for relief with _____ right now. Not for my children’s children! **Hands on Hip**

Now, that I got that out of my system… I get it. Bishop says God is not worried about an incident we are trying to navigate at work. He is God. He knows about the incident but needs us to go through it for the benefit of our unborn (insert familial title).

How selfish is it to think that our problems are just about us. I’m learning that my season of distress may help my children learn a valuable lesson but my fear is that they will be somehow damaged as a result of it. But God knows!

His grace is sufficient for me.

What I don’t know, God does!

Wow.

I just hope my great-grandchildren will show appreciation and gratitude for the struggle, as I appreciate everyone who has come before me.

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Jumping the Broom

Jumping the broom was not a custom of slavery, but is a part of African culture that survived American slavery.

This featured photograph is in the top 5 of my favorite wedding photos. I always wanted to “Jump the Broom” when I got married. But I never knew the one God kept for me would be African. Why would an African man want to Jump the Broom?

Wedding Planning causes so many unnecessary disputes for newly engaged couples. So when it came to the Broom subject, I just had to prepare for a showdown like any lawyer would, right? Well. Not really! In my researching the origins of Jumping the Broom, I learned a ton of information about marriage rituals in other countries and how they also use the Broom.

Apparently, jumping the broom was not a custom of slavery, but it is a part of African culture that survived American slavery. To be specific, Ghanaians used brooms. According to the African American Registry, brooms were waved over the heads of marrying couples to ward off spirits. The couple would often but not always jump over the broom at the end of the ceremony. Jumping over the broom symbolized the wife’s commitment or willingness to clean the courtyard of the new home she had joined. Furthermore, it expressed her overall commitment to the house. It also represented the determination of who ran the household. Whoever jumped highest over the broom was the decision maker of the household (usually the man).”

However the most interesting part of the history is that the broom in Asante and other Akan cultures also held spiritual value and symbolized sweeping away past wrongs or removing evil spirits. I’d like to think that Lekan and I jumping the Broom symbolized forgiveness towards an Institution — slavery — that might have kept us from joining as husband and wife. But by the Grace of God, here we are. We literally jumped over the pain of the past wrong doings of slave traders and sovereigns to be spiritually re-connected with one another.

Sit with that for a minute.

I was thinking of Proverbs 31 after my devotions the other night and recalled the history of the Broom and how it reinforces what the Bible says about a virtuous woman. The Bible essentially challenges women to be the Queen of the Castle – always keeping an eye on the household. We are charged with being the spiritual protectors of our home from literally sweeping away evil spirits to supporting and anticipating the needs of our husbands to improve his standing in the community.

To be honest, my feet were killing me after the wedding ceremony. So I’d say my husband had an unfair advantage to jumping higher than me. I was just trying to land with out stumbling.

Clearly, we don’t need to jump higher over the broom into the land of matrimony to show who runs the household. By being a Wife, our role is God ordained.

Take care!

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Sister Friends

Thank you Sister girl friend homie.

I thank God for my sister friends. The ones that hold the phone. The ones that understand. The ones who can finish the sentence and hold your hand. The ones who can relate. The sister who knows you and truly knew you before you knew yourself. Thank God for them.

Girl yes. Uh huh. Exactly. And you know it. Mmmm hm. Girl. I know. For real? Well look at that.

Reassuring love. Unconditional love. Supportive love. Affirming love. Reminiscent love. Crazy talk love. Unfiltered love. Warm love. Enlightening love. Hold-You-Close love. Biological love. Philosophical love. Remarkable love. Generous love. Understanding love. Committed love. Forgiving love. Sacrificial love. Heard it all before love but will listen again love.

I adore you. I love you. I thank God for you. What would I do without you. Thank you. Celebrate you. Surprise you. Reciprocate love to you. Hear you. Love you too.

I just can’t thank you enough.

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Train Up a Child

It’s not fair for me to keep God to myself.

The Bible says: ”Train up a child in the way they should go, an even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6

I’ve been active in the church my entire life until recently. There is nothing really wrong. I am just flat out tired. Plus, my daughter’s terrible 2s will make me miss the entire sermon. So what’s the point, right? Nah, wrong!

I have been wrong about church for too long. The point in my all prayers for a husband and children was so that we could grow in the church and be agents of change in the world. I’m not training well. I am praying for strength to make it to church every Sunday — not just first Sunday. I cringe at the thought of going on Holidays or for special events only. It’s not who I really am.

Goals. Go back to church.

I love Bishop TD Jakes but there is something about getting up early, getting dressed, and going out to worship.

Goals.

Short-Term Goals.

Let your children meet the Lord. It’s not fair to keep God to yourself.

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Scattered Marriages

Marriage without God is just plain foolish.

I was being nosy on Social Media the other day… like so many other days. And I began to wonder whatever happened to a particular friend who used to post so frequently about their life, family, and so much more. After looking at a series of posts I began to understand that this family was either experiencing a crisis in the marriage or it was indeed the end.

Since I married into my Nigerian family, I’ve learned to casually use certain words or phrases to connect with various family members and friends. It’s a way to say, I get you and understand completely. For instance, when you are engaged or newly wedded, people will wish you a Happy Married Life. Ever so often we hear stories about people whose marriages have “scattered” and we are quickly warned to not do whatever that particular couple did or did not do to bring on a divorce.

As someone who’s relatively new to marriage, I just have to say: Lord knows it ain’t easy. My heart almost breaks for my friend who seems to be in a bit of trouble. I don’t wish divorce or heartbreak on anyone.

One thing I know for sure is that I absolutely positively love my husband. And I dread the thought of a scattered marriage. I remember so well all the bliss in the beginning and I also remember the dreaded conversations and work that have to take place in order to keep us going strong and moving forward.

Marriage is not for the faint of heart. The timid. Shy. Doubtful.

Marriage without God is just plain foolish.

A scattered marriage is a painful and emotionally heart wrenching place.

May we — yes, you too — never see it.

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Self-Love is Self-Preservation

Self-Love is a real thing.

I was once told that before I loved someone else, I have to love myself. I spent my 20s grappling with undergrad, grad, and law school while trying to do just that. Yet, my strategy was deeply flawed. I found self-love only after someone loved me first. I guess the mentality was that if someone else loved me, then of course I love me too. So and so thinks I’m cute so then yeah, I think I’m cute too.

Ah. Twenty-Somethings.

Now the struggle is different. I’m a wife, mom, professional, and so much more. But I struggle like so many of my peers to remember to show love to myself and take care of myself….first! Self-Care is not selfish. It’s preservation. It’s survival.

So just because I have a husband, I am learning that I still have to love myself first, take care of myself first, and find happiness within — First!

There is no one outside of me who can bring me joy and happiness. They could add icing to my cake but they are not the cake, my dear.

This is the major lesson from my 2nd year of marriage. And it was a hard lesson. It took something monumental to happen to me (and only me) to understand this.

So now, this is my beautiful struggle. To continue to be the giver I am by nature and self-preservationist by necessity.

I love my husband, my kids, my job, my family, my church, my friends, my clients…everyone. But I am checking in with myself first because my life depends on it.

How can I ask someone to do something that I refuse to do for myself?

So now the goal is to do it for myself. Maybe they will be inspired.

Be an inspiration.

Be your own game changer.

Right your own wrongs. Sing your own songs. Beat your own drums. Set your tone. Rock your boat. Rock your world. Make yourself high. Shoot for your stars. Believe in yourself. Express yourself. Respect yourself. Love yourself. Want yourself. Need yourself. Please yourself. Excite yourself. Invite yourself. Calm yourself. Warm yourself. Desire yourself. Nurture yourself. Treat yourself. Be yourself. Date yourself. Marry yourself. Make time for yourself. Pamper yourself.

Preserve yourself.

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Mother’s Day 2019: Two Under Two

Two Under Two is not for the faint of heart. Just as one child settles, the other child rattles. It is by the grace of God and some help that I have made it this far (roughly three months).

But at the same time, I have never felt so complete. I feel like I can really close the preggo life chapter and enter into a new phase. I am very happy with my girl and boy. I thank God for their health and the provisions to raise healthy and well-rounded children.

Ayo

I remember their births vividly (thanks to unauthorized video recordings and their Dad who made it happen). With Iwa, I was just relieved that I actually gave birth and the baby was okay. With Iwa, I knew I could do it and had the chance to enjoy the process (as in showing appreciation for the wonders of God) and greet our boy with anticipation. Both pregnancies had their ups and downs but Ayo’s was more emotionally tough and down right stereotypically hormonal.

Iwa

Motherhood is everything I thought it would be and it is my favorite thing to do. I don’t know if other moms feel this way but I often find myself hugging the kids a little longer in hopes that the love I have for them shelters them for whatever diagnoses that could potentially arise because their “mother never hugged” them. LOL. It’s funny but a real thing.

I love my two under two and I’m really delighted to share them with you on this platform.

Happy Mother’s Day!