This blog was created to serve as an inspiration to all who read aspire, to love and to live a life of purpose.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Lyric Renewal- "Got Me Through" PlayList

Hey everyone,

Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.  ~Berthold Auerbach. 
One of my favorite quotes. I'm a music lover and it is a medicine of the mind....

In light of that, today, I just wanted to share my "Got me through" playlist (yes that's how it appears on my Ipod and on my phone :-)). These are the songs that have gotten me through some of the most trying times in my life.

We all have those moments, when we feel like we can't deal with what's happening in our lives- love, relationships, family, school, work, health....Name it, its on someone's mind today. The truth is that everyday is full of challenges. Sometimes, in those moments, the inspiration you need to thrive is more explicit in lyrics. Music has a unique way of communicating.....healing pain and soothing stressful mind chatter.  I hope my playlist speaks to you and lifts your spirits, like it does mine. As you listen, let the lyrics encourage you & renew your spirit.

Enjoy :-)

The Heart of Worship-Hillsong

Resurrection-Nicole Sponberg
Imagine Me- Kirk Franklin

Your Great Name-Natalie Grant

These are just a few. If you have any that inspire you, please do suggest. I add to my playlist everyday :-)

Have a blessed week.

There is nothing in the world so much like prayer as music is.  ~William P. Merrill

Stay Inspired....

Monday, October 17, 2011

Caught in a Bill Romance

Apparently, yesterday The Decade of Difference concert was held in honor of Bill Clinton's 65th birthday and the 10th year milestone of the Clinton Foundation. I'm in love with all things Clinton. Not just Bill. Hillary more so. & Chelsea, Oh yea. Inspiration. The Clintons deserve an entire post (coming soon-*insert movie trailer voice*) explaining my "gaga-ness" for them but this post is simply about last night. 

So yea, Steve Wonder opened the show. Usher, Bono, Stevie Wonder, The Edge, K'naan, Kenny Chesney and Juanes also performed. Apparently, Usher's pant's ripped while he was performing, yet he just said "I work hard" and continued to dance like nothing happened. Bravery. 

But the musical highlight of the night was Lady Gaga, who ordinarily I'm not a huge fan of. This time, it wasn't her ridiculous outfit that stole the show. Her changed lyrics did. Dressed like Marilyn Monroe, Gaga sang,

"Caught in a Bill Romance"
"Hillary, sit back down where you belong/In the office, with those high heels on. /Sit back down where we watched you charm the whole world and the country." (of course talking about Hillary's presidential race).
"There's something about this place/Something about America/When a Clinton makes us all feel safe/Something about a cool Arkansas guy/ There's something about Bill-ary, that's your new celebrity name. To the Clintons, you and I."
Way to serenade the former first family. They seemed to really be into it. 

The comedic highlight for me was the Celebrity Funny or Die/Donate Spoof featuring Bill himself. The mandate was for the celebrities to suggest new initiatives for the Clinton Foundation.  The panel led by Ben Stiller, (including Sean Penn, Matt Damon, Jack Black, and Kristen Wiig) grappled with different ideas for a new intitiative. 

Sean Penn and Matt Damon stole the day with their ideas. Matt Damon suggested a Cheetah as the Clinton Foundation mascot (no pun intended?!?). This is utterly hilarious. You have to watch the video till the end. It's 5 mins well spent.
Have I said I love all things Clinton? An epic example of a dream turned into reality would be me sitting behind a desk in an office in New York with a plaque that reads, "Legal Advisor, William J. Clinton Foundation". * Insert wide cheesy smile* 
Stay Inspired......

Couples Who Inspire- Joke Silva and Olu Jacobs Edition

Hey Everyone!

I may be a bit late on this story *covers face* (no thanks to schoolwork) but I just came across pictures from Joke Silva and Olu Jacobs' Vow Renewal Ceremony, which was held on September 29th. The couple has been married 25 years. The event was originally planned as Joke's 50th birthday party but at the last minute, Olu decided to add a vow renewal to the celebrations. How thoughtful. For those of you who don't know, both Joke and Olu are iconic in the Nigerian movie industry. Talk about class and flawless diction. Nollywood definitely needs to stock up on more of this caliber.

Couples like this make you believe in eternal love and the importance of celebrating the people we love while they're still here. I'm sure if you ask them, they'll tell you, just like every couple they've had their ups and downs. The strength lies in the ability to ride the waves till it succumbs to your fortitude.

So, here's to all of you who still believe in everlasting love. As long as there's mutual love, God, understanding and most importantly, the uniform zeal to work and stick it out, it will last/stand the tests of time. Don't forget to appreciate those who love you- I heard its the key to all lasting relationships ;-) Have a blessed week.

Stay Inspired.....

See the full story and more pictures at Bella Naija.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Your Plan, His Plan?

Happy Tuesday people! I hope you are having a good week. My week has been very productive so far, so I'm feeling very swell right now. 

Anyway, today, I have to share with you my favorite Bible verse. This is the mantra of my life and I love waking up every morning knowing this. In fact, if God forbid I am ever made to get rid of my Bible, I’d tear whatever page this verse was on, and hide it in my bra. That’s how much I love it. Ok, point made.

Jeremiah 29: 11

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.- NIV Version

I will bless you with a future filled with hope--a future of success, not of suffering.- Contemporary English Version

I'll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.- The Message version

I included 3 versions of this verse to denote the significance of this promise. It makes for an easier application to your everyday life. This verse is very special to me because anyone who knows me well knows I'm a “lets plan it” gal. I don't like last minute things. If I want it to happen, I plan it ahead of time. I like things black and white. It is or it isn't. That’s why I don’t like open doors. Really. Call me weird but my sisters will tell you the heat they get every time they 'visit' my closet and leave the closet door open. For me, closing a door signifies in some way something “set”. I plan and I do. That’s why I find it hard to procrastinate. Anything. If I planned to do it today, it will get done today. I like to think I’m in control of my destiny. Consider this: when I hear the much-dreaded words, “Change of plans”, my heart skips a bit.  OK, you get the point.

Last week, one of my friends “discovered” me. She offered to help me with something and I said, “Oh na, don’t worry. I’m already here. I got it”. She paused for a moment and said, “I’ve noticed…You don’t like letting people do things for you. You’d rather do it yourself and do for others in the process. Hmm.”

Maybe I’m a bit fond of control *covers face*. I just buy into the school of thought that, “if you want things done right, plan to do it yourself.” For most of my life, God has let me get away with it. I guess, because in the academic sphere, it works, most of the time. I planned to be a 20-year old college graduate. It happened. I planned to be a 23 year-old law school graduate. It happened. Yesterday, I planned to write at least 20 pages of my 40 page paper. I wrote 22 pages. 

But God has been teaching me a very specially personal lesson lately. I think I first realized this when I took the bar examination in July. All summer, I stuck to the schedule given to me by a bar prep course. I wrote it down and posted it on my bed frame. I had a copy on my laptop, my notebook and on my phone. From sunup to sundown, every minute was accounted for. As long as I was doing every single thing I was told, I was planning. As long as I was planning, I was in control of my destiny. And, I was content. This changed as soon as I dropped my pen on July 27. I then realized I had given up control of this crucial destiny of mine. I worried for weeks about certain undotted “I”s and uncrossed “T”s. But then I realized, there really isn’t anything I can do. Come November, it will be or it won’t be. My destiny is in the grader’s hands. But then I thought, “those graders are human beings too”. Trusting them is just as dicey as trusting myself. Then, I came across Jeremiah 29:11 and it seemed like it was singing melodies to my life.

I am not almighty. Neither are you. We are merely passengers in God's SUV and it is important that we trust his GPS system. He controls our destiny, not us. When we try to drive our destinies, our clarity of direction is often smeared by our selfish human desires and what we “think” is best. As we as human beings have proved over and over again, even we, don’t always know what’s best for us. But imagine a wheel being turned by God? Picturesque.  Velvety. Accident-free.

I have been humbled by God’s message that He knows what’s best for me. He won’t lead me astray. He’s thinking about me and my future. He plans to give me a successful and prosperous future. He plans the same for you. I’m learning to give up the driver’s seat and I have greater peace. It’s like the burden is less, so is the stress and worry.

We have all had the excruciating experience of failed plans. We want it our way, God says no or not now. We plan, life interrupts...God is laughing and we think "How dare he? Its not funny. This is MY SHIP! I AM the captain!"  Jeremiah 29: 11 is an assurance that God got your back, and you can relax. God IS the Captain of our lives. He will take care of you, and me. What a relief!

My mandate to you today is to let Jeremiah 29:11 speak to your life. Wear it as a wristband. Its not easy, I must admit, but its very liberating. Its shows trust for God and He likes to show off once He knows you have faith in His ability to drive you and do it well. In the words of Carrie Underwood, Let “Jesus take the wheel”.

Stay Inspired…..

Friday, October 7, 2011

Living a Purposeful Life

Happy Friday everyone! TGIF!

So, I’m a strong believer that everything happens for a reason. Every single thing. My birth. Yours. We are all put on earth for a purpose. I mean, it makes sense. God is too brilliant to put us all on here just to hang out, chill, and be lost. That would mean the earth was created as a sample site. We come here, randomly, we try out different things and poof! one day, we’re gone. Into thin air. I don't mean to be so so dramatic...But yea, you get the point.

It’s way more bottomless than that. We are here for a reason, for a purpose, to be or do something.  It’s exceptionally important that we seek that purpose. This mandate has become especially important to me, considering the year we, as young people, have had. Gone are the days when “death” was associated with old people, who have presumably lived and fulfilled the purpose for which they were born.  This year especially, young people have been dropping like flies. Every other day, I log into my Facebook or scroll through my BBM Updates list only to be bowled over by the amount of “RIPs” I come across- we are talking 19, 23, 25, 28 year olds. I mean, what is really happening?

This devastating trend first hit close to home for me in February when I lost a close family friend of mine, Jody. I was so hurt, I couldn’t stop crying. But when I looked up, I was inspired. I wasn’t crying alone. The world was crying with me. Jody had touched so many lives in so many different ways.  Jody was not a celebrity, according to Hollywood standards. But he was a celebrity in the hearts of many. Every time I saw Jody, he was smiling, despite what he was going through.  Upon his passing, you could see the glaring impact Jody had on the lives he came across. For me, it became more so that a light had been lit, not that it had been put out. Words can’t describe the far-reaching number of people, Jody brought together, at different levels, in different ways and at different times. If you hear the stories from people who knew him, you’d wonder how Jody did it so effortlessly, even while going through his ordeal. Yes, we must go on living after we have lost people that we love. But it is not enough to say “RIP” and “life is short”, be sad for a period of time and move on. It is imperative that we learn a thing or two from the lives that they lived…how to improve ours. Loosing Jody got me thinking, if I left this world tomorrow, what would my legacy be? What would people say about me? How have I lived? For what purpose, am I here? We all need to ask ourselves those questions.
I’m a wordhunter. I read books & articles just to steal and learn new words…Don’t judge my word-thieving ways! Well, until I tell you more about it in a later post. So… I was word hunting, when I came across a new word “Nihilistic”. So I “Wiki-ed” it to find out it was based on Nihilism, a doctrine that purports that life has no meaning, purpose or intrinsic value. In one word, inexcusable. In another, illogical.

What’s my mandate to you today? Don’t be Nihilistic. In the words of Steve Jobs (R.I.P), "Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want a chance to change the world?.... You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever."

Take the time to find out what you’re here for. It’s not about the amount of money you have or make, your striking looks, or the amount of followers you have on twitter. It’s more cavernous than that.  Ask yourself, “what am I here for?, what do I feel the most alive doing? what are my deepest values and beliefs?” Keep it with you on a daily basis and slowly but steadily work on yourself to the point where you become that purpose. We are all Works in Progress. The important part is making sure the “Progress” stays with the “Work”. Then, watch the advent of greater focus and clarity in your life.

A few mini suggestions?…do something that’s been tugging at your heart. Start that business, go back to school, apply for that dream job, write a book, join a mentorship program, call your friend from high school, take the time to talk with someone who’s having a hard time, call your family more often, gently smile at someone random or send a text or FB message just to say hi. You never know whose life you'll touch. 

Have a great weekend people. Don’t forget…a life with meaning is a life better lived.  

Stay Inspired....

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Marry me! But I Don't Want To!

I came across this video on a friend's Facebook page. Its too hilarious...I just had to share. The underlying is message is loud and clear. No need for further elucidation. You be the judge.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Curse of the Negatives

Happy Monday! (what an oxymoronic phrase). Anyway, I hope you had a good day. So…here’s a question for you…how many times have you finished a long seemingly engaging conversation with a person, only to walk away feeling like your heart has taken the place of your shoes? How many times have you seen someone and suddenly got the urge to sprint one million miles in the other direction? (except you think…I’ll be too obvious) How many times has your phone beeped amidst a plague of incurable boredom, yet when you find out who it is on the other end, your sudden “save-me-from-bore” excitement is put out faster than the heat of a summer fling? Ok…yes that was 3 questions. My point is this…negative people. For purposes of this post, they will herein be called “Negatives”. They abound. Sadly, in every crook or corner. We know them, yet we love them.

My father always told me the mind was the most powerful tool man possessed. He believed the mind to be the controller of the body. Mind over matter, they say. I’m one who trusts deeply in the sways of my mind. In fact, we all do, to an extent. So, why let people pollute it? But I digress….

The thing about Negatives is that some of them come masked as advisers. They seem to care so much about you that they must tell you how and when to live. They live to discourage you and they often succeed. Because YOU let them. They tell you, you can’t or you shouldn’t. Every time you have a conversation with them, they’re either complaining about something in their lives, questioning something in yours or drawing your attention to the flaws of another.

Negatives constantly make you feel bad for who you are, what you are doing or who you are with. Take for example, imagine you post a candid makeupless baggywearing picture of yourself on Facebook, a Negative is the person who comments, “ahn ahn why is your shirt so rumpled” first. Sometimes, they come back with, “fine pic sha”. They’re the ones who tell you, “you’ve gotten too light o- please try to spend more time in the sun…(insert “but you look good sha” for the sensitive negatives). Negatives tell you, “ahn ahn medical school? Why now? That’s just too much money and time…I'm just saying....Just so you don’t live and die in school.” Or in my personal experience, upon announcing I will be pursuing a Masters after my J.D., “You sef, you too like school, do you ever live?” After my brief explanation of why I decided to get it (something I probably shouldn’t have bothered giving), the Negative proceeds to say, “well, its not easy, congrats”. What a wasted addendum!

A couple of weeks ago, I was talking with a friend of mine who just told me she had decided to take a big step. As far as I’m concerned, life is too short to be mundane. If something (or someone) is not working for you, move on. Why be a humdrum? It is rare that chance will grow legs, google your address, put on his running shoes, and show up at your doorstep. Recently, a friend told me she was moving to an entirely new city to pursue a degree, I instantaneously replied, “Wow, I’m so excited for you. Congrats girl!” Her response shocked me.

Friend: Girl, I just love you.
Me: Of course, I knew that already, silly.
Friend: No, really.
Me: Aww you are too sweet. Love you too hun
Friend: No! Really. I just told *insert name* about this same thing and her reaction was entirely different. She killed my spirit, I wasn’t even excited about this anymore.  Maybe this is not the right time for me.

Negatives are the “friends” you think twice about calling when something good happens in your life because you foresee them shredding your enthusiasm into muggy slices of worry, like they did to my friend. What often baffles me is how often we keep these people as friends. We often even make excuses for them. 

True friendship is about mutual support and encouragement. Your friends should always make you feel better about yourself. Never worse. Positive friends are the ones who you trust enough to tell you when a generous slump of cheese is chilling between your teeth. They're the ones who convince you your dress fits perfectly in the right places. You trust them, that's why you believe them, silently paying no heed to what you thought you saw in the mirror. 

Of course friends should always offer advice but I'm sure you know the difference so there's no need for me to expand. Like Arnold Glasow said, a true friend never gets in your way unless you happen to be going down. For the betterment of my life and sanity, I don’t entertain negativity in my life. My life’s cast is made up of people who genuinely love and encourage me. They want to see me do well and they’ll fast and pray for me if need be, to see me reach my full potential. 

Now, who’s the Negative in your life? Maybe it’s time to realize the depth of hurt and restraint Negatives can bring to your life....time to get unacquainted with the Negatives and au fait with the Positives. I tell you, there’s nothing as exhilarating as knowing that people are rooting for you, always.  Next time, you spot a Negative in your life, remember that those who say you can’t are just embarrassed they don’t have the courage to try. Now, find your hoes and cutlasses. Its time to do some Negatives weeding. Have a blessed week people! Don't forget to stay positive. In fact, tell someone how good they look, how proud you are of them or how blessed you are to have them in your life. Before the week's over, make someone's day. :-) 

Courtesy of JBlogz

Stay Inspired....

Sunday, October 2, 2011

WWW Trepidation :-/

Whoa. Here I am. For someone who always has something to say, the fact that I have constantly procrastinated starting this blog bewilders me. I never procrastinate. I really can't. I've tried. But that's a story for another day. Today, I must make sense of why this endeavor has taken me so long, thereby turning my strength into my weakness. Or vice versa. Forgive what may seem to be ranting, but I am one that must make sense of everything that happens to me. It drives me crazy but it is who I am. Something I need to change- maybe, maybe not. Back to the purpose for which my fingers came here to move....

As I was saying, after a whole five minutes of soul searching (don't ask, won't tell), I have (or I think I have) resolved the reason for my constant dallying on this issue. Here it is, I fear the repercussions of the worldwideweb. Heck, I fear the repercussions of giving anyone too much information. Its like the oldest weapon known to man. Ok, maybe I've been traumatized.

Oh, the pains of adolescence. I think it was in my JS3 or SS1 (9th or 10th grade) when a classmate of mine found my journal. Needless to say, the contents were the talk of the town (and of course by town I mean small private school) for a couple of months. Abashed? Dismayed? Disconcerted? Embarrassed? Ashamed? If only words could describe what it means to have your intestines dance the tango with each other every time you walk into a room. Needless to say, ever since then, my thoughts stay in my head. If they get written down, they get torn. If they get told, they are masked in poetry. Hmmm, maybe that's why I love quotes so much because I get to say what I'm thinking to the credit of someone else, most often someone dead.  The funny thing is I don't seem to have this same issue in conversation. Its strictly a "writing-down" problem.

Anyhow, the fact that I decided to post for the first time today marks a new dawn... Hopefully, it stays sunup. :-)