#BringBackOurGirls


As the world waits in anticipation for the return of the 234 Chibok girls in Nigeria, we pray and hope for their safe return.

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Having kids after 40…

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Lately, I’ve had to think about whether I want to have kids or not. In life, there is an expectation that when you get married, you have kids. However while in some cultures, there is no pressure to have kids, in my culture, the pressure is on. There is an expectation to get married, have your first child 9 months later, then the second child to keep the first child company and if none of these are boys, to continue until you have a boy! Thankfully some are kicking against this, especially in the light of the high cost of maintenance.

So imagine you are in your 40s and haven’t had a child yet. Ten years ago, you were younger and didn’t think of storing your eggs because you may have been in a relationship that seemed to be going somewhere. You watched all the movies but it was a non issue because you were young, and had plenty eggs (as my people would say).

Fast forward 20 years, no relationship and it is now a reality. What to do?
A friend recently invited me and some of her lady friends to lunch. It was a celebration of older mothers and their journeys AND a forum to discuss motherhood options for older women. I found it refreshing to hear these women openly discuss their most personal and painful journeys, stories from adoption, surrogacy to IVF and many more I can’t remember. Some of the ladies are still hopeful in spite of the challenges while a few had been blessed with a child or two at the end of the painful process.

A few things stood out for me that afternoon:

  1. the emotional pain that comes with the trial and error of IVF
  2. after a certain age (I think 35 yrs), very few doctors are willing to take you on as an IVF patient
  3. when a woman yearns to have a child, the emotional pain and gnawing can be likened to the inability to breathe. Nothing else matters but that desire. When fulfilled, the difference is clear!

In conclusion, I pray fulfilment for those seeking. For those undecided about the way to go, please research your options early.

Image: courtesy CNN.com

The secret weapon


This morning after cycling for almost an hour, I climbed the scale to weigh myself, for the first time in weeks, possibly months…only to discover that I have ONLY lost 1kg in over a year! What is the problem, I ask? After all, I am exercising regularly, not overeating, and I don’t have a weight problem. Can you help?

I’ve never been one to diet, though some friends have hinted that as one gets older, one may need to be more structured in one’s diet. Ugh! If true, what a pain! I love my carefree life, I love that I don’t have to worry about what I eat as long as I exercise regularly. I love that when people ask me, ‘what is the secret of…’, I have a twisted little smile that leaves them guessing.

One area that I have seen major improvements though, is with my digestion. Typically, this is not an area that I would discuss under any circumstance but if like me you’ve suffered indigestion and constipation for decades, you’ll understand this breakthrough moment.

Recently, I asked a friend the secret of her healthy, glowing, skin. She recommended the following:

  1. Wellwoman
  2. Cod liver oil ( for the heart, joints, skin and nails)
  3. Calcium (if your are lactose intolerant)
  4. Probiotic (for digestion – the real secret weapon, I’m told)
  5. Glucosamine Sulphate (for creaking joints)

Though I haven’t seen any visible benefits so far, my inconsistent usage (I keep forgetting and sadly too many tablets) doesn’t help. Recently however, I discovered Flaxseed Probiotic, which turned out to be a real secret weapon. Now, constipation is a thing of the past, digestion has improved and I go like regular clockwork! It’s a great feeling.

* Please check with your doctor before using any of the above.

Finally, I would like to hear your experiences on healthy living and lifestyle. I look forward to your comments.

J

The Bulge!


I’ve never really thought about my age because of my fitness level due to an active sporting life. However recently the age thing seems to be rearing its ugly head and I’m not sure what to do.

This year has been strange in terms of my weight. I’ve increased and expanded my level of activity, which means that I’m fitter and more toned, but I’m not loosing weight…and trust me, it isn’t about fat turning to muscle! For this reason, I don’t encourage the use of scales, rather I determine my weight by how tightly or loosely my clothes fit. I started this year with the Daniel Fast as part of my church activity. It was a great experience of focusing on God and seeking His will for 2013. Though the fast is typically for 21 days, I decided on a 40 day fast, for personal reasons. At the end of this spiritual journey, I also expected to lose a few kilograms to set me up nicely for the new year…zilch!

RESULT: I was happy spiritually but miserable physically. Off course, I dare not mention this to my friends because they think I have nothing to worry about when it comes to weigh. Never mind that most of them already have children, which makes it an unfair comparison, to start with (I certainly hope I’m as fit as some of them after my kids). I hear remarks like ‘you are fortunate because…you don’t eat much’ (I love food)…’you must have high metabolism’ (true before I turned twenty-five)…’good genes’ (partly true and for that I am grateful). However, I believe it’s a combination of genes and exercise. Most people don’t like to hear the latter bit and I don’t blame them because it can be hard work whether you enjoy your activity or not. Though I engage in active sports, one area that doesn’t benefit from my lifestyle is my stomach.

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Photo credit: Thinkstock

Over the years, this has increasingly become an area of concern. I’ve heard people talk about ‘going south’, but nothing about ‘going vertical’! How does one explain that? I’m certainly not pregnant (unless I’ve been blessed with the gift of virgin Mary) and I don’t believe I have anything alien in there. Truth be told, this is a sign of ageing, the lower abdomen bulge. I’ve neglected this area for decades and it has now come home to roost. I just assumed that with my level of activity, the stomach would be taken care of. I have attempted many abs exercises, but never long enough to show significant results. My biggest concern is how to get rid of the bulge before the d-day! Which d-day, you might ask? Is there a man, has he proposed etc? Well, not yet, but no harm in getting prepared. Trust me, I’m not delusional, I expect a big miracle this year because God’s word never fails. When that time comes, I don’t want to be caught stomach down :). Picture this: beautifully toned body in a wedding dress and as you dreamily admire the bride-to-be from head to toe, you are jarringly brought back to reality at the sight of the vertical stomach, never getting the opportunity to see the long flowing legs (cellulite-free) :). Ok, maybe I am delusional, but you get the point.

SOLUTION
As a child, I remember mum used to wear girdles…anyone remember those? They were hard and tough to get into…similar to modern-day body magic except there were no guarantees to reduce body size by 2-3 times. (Read a friend’s blog on body magic). I wondered back then why mum put herself through the pain of wearing this contraption, and now I know: gravity descended as age ascended! Since I’m not one for masochistic tendencies, I’ve opted for a more humane, temporary solution, (tummy control), today’s girdle…nice and soft, while figuring out what next :(. Ultimately though, I secretly believe exercise is the solution.

J

Zipper palava (trouble)


There are some advantages to being single and unattached. For example, having the liberty of doing what you want, when you want to; not having to worry about the increasing challenges of raising kids in an increasingly hostile environment; coming home to meet things exactly the way you left them (many may disagree with me); not having to mind your ‘Ps and Qs‘ or hurt your loved one with emotional blackmail or outbursts (selfish, I know) etc. However, there are many disadvantages and one such frustration is zipping up!

To all the single women out there living alone, I’m sure you’ve experienced this at some point. You have a hot date and you’ve been planning an outing for weeks! You buy a gorgeous outfit to impress your date, and you know he’ll be impressed (at least that’s the expectation). Two hours before you step out, you start your preening: a long, de-stressing soak in the bathtub with your favourite aromatic bubble bath, you oil your skin, touch up the hair, apply makeup, and finally it’s time to slip into that fitted black little number…SCREECHING HALT… REWIND!!!

At the store where you purchased this sexy LBD a few weeks ago, you wore the outfit, no hassle. The store assistants were there to help when required and you didn’t think too much of it, until now! TONIGHT however, there are no store assistants or anyone else to help with the zipper…what do you do? Arriving at your date half-dressed may quicken things along but not necessarily produce the desired result of a long-term relationship. Sounds funny, until you’ve experienced it. A recent incident brought everything to the head for me and I decided, no more!

I had a high-profile wedding to attend, which required an outfit to match. For this event, I chose to utilise the services of a reputable Designer, who is also a friend. I tried out the outfit twice before completion and though I was concerned about the back zipper, my friend calmly allayed my fears by reassuring me that the style was meant to be fitted, corseted without the bones and that the zipper would help. The final result was breath-taking and I was visibly excited. On the d-day, after much preparation, it was time to get dressed. I slipped on the top, no problem; then tried to pull up the zipper but halfway through, my arm could go no further. I reached out with my other arm from the top…same result. My life (that could have been) flashed before me and I thought: ‘if only I were married to a loving man, and/or had a child (old enough) to zip me up, things would be different.’ I tried everything from enforcing mind over matter, attempting to elongate my arm (jokingly considered dislocation) and even had a remote (quickly dismissed) idea of calling my (driver) chauffeur to zip me up. After many tries, at which point I was dishevelled, stressed and sweaty (in spite of blowing fan and air-conditioner), I gave up! I cleaned myself up and settled on a solution.

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The Solution: cover my back with a throw scarf and get a friend to zip me up when I arrived at the wedding. This seemed the only feasible, plausible, solution. I wasn’t happy and swore it would be the last time. Weeks later, I stumbled upon a solution on the Internet. Check out ‘Zip Cord Puller Clothing Dressing Aid‘ by Ablewear via Amazon.

Though life always throws out challenges, if we look hard enough, there is a solution waiting to be discovered. I find the Internet to be a useful starting point, at such times.

J

Never give up!


Growing up, my dad encouraged me to try lots of different things and be the best I could be. I really believe I derive my spirit of adventure from him and have since childhood tried all sorts of food, sports, travel, hobbies, activities etc. Swimming was however one sport that I never quite warmed up to. During the summer of 1983, I started learning how to swim and thought I was getting adept at the skill until I decided to show off to my fellow teenage friends. In the process, I started drowning but thankfully, the life guard rescued me in the nick of time. I never got over this experience and fear became a part of me in water. Over the years, I had many opportunities to overcome the fear through lessons but the fear remained, until now! For someone with an adventurous streak, it was a constant source of frustration not to be able to participate in water activities! Beach holidays were a no-no (I once went to Barbados with a friend. While he was scuba diving and Jet skiing, I was reading an adventure book…not fun and suffice to say, was the last beach holiday I ever embarked upon)and lounging by hotel pool (à la business trips) was a big turn off. In an earlier post, I mentioned that this is a ‘New Season‘ for me so everything is up for grabs. After 30 years of learning to swim and not progressing, I decided to give it one last shot! In February, I hired a coach and decided on a crash course (3 days a week) for 4 weeks. It worked! I can now do the ‘breast stroke‘ and the ‘crawl’! It’s amazing what one can achieve when one puts ones mind to it…a lesson in endurance! Now, I swim twice a week and even try different pools just to get used to different sizes and depths; I am also looking forward to my next holiday whether by the beach or poolside 🙂 but most importantly, I can’t wait to get into those sexy bikinis and tankinis sitting at the bottom of my drawer! Will this help me meet my hubby? I don’t know but I am sure having fun while waiting, which is what Jemimah is all about.

J

Cultural differences


Respecting one’s elders or those older than oneself, used to be the mark of good upbringing in my country. Sadly now, an increasing number of the younger generation don’t seem to understand the meaning of the word. WHAT happened, WHERE did we go wrong and HOW did we get here?

An incident from my childhood springs to mind of a neighbour’s daughter (approx 5 years older than me), insisting that I call her ‘Sister Blah blah blah‘, (nothing to do with the nunnery, just a mark of respect to someone slightly older or Aunty Blah blah blah for someone much older). I was very upset and couldn’t understand what the big fuss was all about. Sadly, I succumbed (being very young) but vowed I would never enforce the same on younger ones when and if the time came. The time did arrive and some aunties insisted that my younger siblings call me ‘Sister Blah blah blah’! I immediately declined vehemently but little did I know that I would one day demand same.

While living abroad, I came to understand that respect is earned, not enforced. It has nothing to do with age, wealth, position or marital status. I also discovered that even when one is called by their first name, the way and manner in which the name is called can be a sign of respect or disrespect. This reinforced my thinking.

A rude awakening…
Back in my homeland twenty years later, I am astounded to discover that a large number of children no longer consider it fit to greet adults, not even a simple ‘hello’! The so-called ‘young adults’ are worse: they speak to you disrespectfully and call out your name as if talking to their mates. Am I being difficult or showing my age? Maybe, but I believe that the display of good manners is a lifestyle, not a fad. Of course my ‘single‘ marital status and the fact that I look much younger than my years, doesn’t help. It seems to me that in a bid to become westernised and to compensate for not spending time with the kids (24/7 work life), a significant proportion of my generation are bringing up ill-mannered kids!

The result?
I now insist on being called Sister Blah blah blah, Aunty Blah blah blah or Ms Blah blah blah. Though it doesn’t ensure respect, it creates a virtual distance in the relationship, which keeps the interaction at arm’s length. My reasoning: where there is no familiarity, contempt is kept at bay. This is hard work and quite taxing because one has to operate in a certain mode at all times, which can come across as hard-nosed. Interestingly though, if I were married or had kids, the response from this segment of society would be positively different. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, the hierarchy of respect in the society is:

  1. married men
  2. single men
  3. married women
  4. single women

Help!
I am open to exploring alternative ways of managing these kids and would like to hear your views or suggestions.

J

Destiny beckons!


I’ve always believed that the ability to see something and draw it, is a gift, yet more powerful I think, is the ability to imagine something and draw it. As a result, I admire and I’m in awe of anyone who has this gift, particularly the great artists.

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Long ago, I gave up hope of ever being able to draw even though I had a longing desire to do so. When it came to even doodling (as most people do during meetings) I sucked! Needless to say, the desire remained. In the advent of iPad, I bought a couple of apps that enable one to express through drawings yet I still sucked, that is until 29th December 2012. I was on Facebook on this fateful day and a friend had posted some drawing on her page, which I liked. Turns out that she used Paper 53! My desire once again overwhelmed my ability or skill and I immediately purchased the app, which is effectively a sketchbook with drawing tools.

I initially did a couple of drawings, which were mediocre at best though they seemed to have some potential. Then on the 1st January, using one of the provided examples in Paper 53, I drew a tree, which actually looked like a tree! I posted this on Facebook and received a number of compliments. This was the beginning of a new thing, a new gift! So far, I’ve received overwhelming commendations from friends as a result of these ‘Inspirational Doodles’. A business idea was emerging!

I am excited and apprehensive about turning this into a business but destiny must have its way…hence the birth of ‘a new venture‘. I’m so excited about the possibilities currently being explored. I’m following my destiny…Watch this space!

J

What’s in a name?


A name is a significant part of who we are. Every time we call someone by their name, we are reinforcing the meaning of the name because our words are creative, whether we believe it or not. It is said that words have tremendous power, which give out energy and a message that creates a reaction in others. A name like ‘Alexander’ (meaning DEFENDER) was significant in the life of Alexander the Great. Imagine that every time someone called ‘Alexander’, he heard ‘Defender‘! How powerful is that? If you ever lived in the UK in the 90s, you may remember the TV series, ‘Keeping up appearances‘. Hyacinth Bucket always referred to herself as Hyacinth Bouquet. I guess she liked the idea of being called ‘flowers’ rather than a ‘plastic container’. She could have saved herself heartache by changing it but she chose not to.

People from my part of the world, attribute tremendous weight to meanings of names. Some names have a depth of meaning which may not be immediately obvious (positive or negative). My surname is one of such. I recently became aware of the deeper meaning, ‘Resistance‘, which suddenly put things in perspective. Equipped with this new knowledge, I promptly decided to officially change my name. Was I apprehensive about obtaining my parent’s consent? ‘Yes’, but I did it because firstly, changing the name unless through marriage could be perceived as rejection and quite insensitive. Secondly, as a believing Christian, the bible teaches us to ‘honour our mothers and father so it will be well with us’. To me, this means treating them with respect. Finally, there are things that may need to happen first, which a name like ‘resistance’ may hinder. Better to strike while the iron’s hot.

If you are reading this blog, and it resonates with you, it’s not too late to turn your life around in order to live out your true destiny. Research the meaning of your name and change it, if need be.

J

 

Singles #SortingOut


Single women don’t like the label ‘single‘ in these parts of the woods because of the stigma. As a believing christian, I avoid attending any social event, programme or forum that has any connotation of ‘singleness’. However after a crazy year in 2012, in which everything that could go wrong, went wrong; I decided something had to give. Somehow, I felt this year would be the beginning of a new season for me.

A year ago, a friend invited me to attend a programme called ‘Sorting Out’ but I wasn’t able to attend due to work commitments. This year, I received another message from the same friend informing me of the next event, scheduled for March, specially for singles. Though uncomfortable with the ‘singles’ tag, I decided to sign up for the 3-day residential programme, after-all this is my new season PLUS it would serve as an opportunity to tell people about ‘Jemimah

This may be the best ‘time’ investment I ever made. The programme was a full on, intensive spiritual de-cluttering of ones past and present, in preparation for ones future and destiny. Testimonies from participants who attended last year’s singles programme, were hair-raising. A 52-year-old woman, who had never been married before and had given up all hope of ever getting married, testified that she met and married her husband within a year of attending the programme. Another younger lady met her fiancé after the programme and is scheduled to be married in a couple of months! Testimonies of restored businesses and finances abounded.

‘Sorting Out’ holds in several locations in Nigeria, the UK and the US. If you are serious about your destiny, please sign up for the programme. YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT. The worst that could happen is that your life is restored and you live out your destiny as originally intended by God. For details, check out the website ‘Sorting Out’

J