The Left-over Transformation

It was one of those evenings I didn’t feel like cooking. So I stopped at ‘China Bistro’ and got some curry chicken, fried rice, crab rangoons, beef with broccoli, and some chicken fried rice on the side; just enough for the family (or so I thought).

We all had our fill; even the kids got second portions. At the end of the day, we had some leftover chicken fried rice, and some crab rangoons. I figured the left-over crab rangoons would make a good snack for me in-between meals the following day, so I put them in a zip lock and made a mental note to get them in the morning. I wasn’t so particular about the fried rice, but I wasn’t going to throw it away either.

“Motherhood is telling people that the only reason why you gain weight is because you eat everyone’s leftover to avoid waste”

#onYourOwn #leftoverfoodplatter #nowastes

So I threw the leftover chicken fried rice box in the refrigerator. I was sure it would be gone by the time I got back from work, or at the most, within 48 hours.

Of course I didn’t forget my crab rangoons the next day. I took them to work, and snacked on them till they were all gone.

Life of the Chicken Fried Rice … Day 1

I got home later that evening, and the left over chicken fried rice was still there sitting in the refrigerator, as intact as I had left it the night before. Everybody wanted something different for dinner; pancakes, eba, pounded yam, noodles, … except the leftover. Somehow, we all agreed on dinner; the leftover chicken fried rice was not in the picture.

The morning, and then the evening, and that was day one.

Day 2 …

I was too tired to cook, but I wasn’t ready to take the easy route by ordering fast food (or having everyone eat out). untitledIt was almost 7pm when I got home. Everyone was hungry and tired. My daughter ranted about how she hasn’t been able to focus on completing her school work because she’s hungry. My husband also looked like all the food in the world had disappeared.

I got the impression that there was absolutely nothing ‘ready’ to eat. I was going to start feeling sorry for them, but I opened the fridge; and there it was – the left over fried rice – still sitting there … in the midst of two hungry people. OMG!!

The morning, and then the evening, and that was day two.

Day 3 …

When I got home from work (tired). I opened the fridge, and little Ms. leftover Chicken fried rice eyed me from its little corner, looking sulky, lonely, and pitiful. “I don’t have time for you today”, I said to myself as I eyed it back from the corner of my eye. I decided to move on with making something fresh for dinner.

The morning, and then the evening, and that was day three.

Day 4 …

I wasn’t going to let this happen. I couldn’t afford to watch Ms. leftover get dumped in the trash. Although I didn’t want ‘her’ myself, I had to sacrifice my diet resolutions, and eat the sad and miserable-looking rice. If I didn’t, I figured it might turn to an ugly disgusting sight within the next 48 hours.

PrintNobody wanted it. I didn’t want it either. Everyone in my family knows how much I do not like throwing food away. In fact, sometimes, I can hardly get myself to do it.

I brought the rice out of the fridge. I was about to violate my diet schedule in order to save this rice from the trash, and add on some six hundred and fifty  unplanned-for calories to my body.

This rice just didn’t appeal to me. But I couldn’t throw it away. As caught in-between as I was on making a decision, it didn’t take too long to conclude. “I will eat this thing”, I thought out loud.

I already had dinner planned and ready, but I decided  to eat this left over, even though it didn’t appeal to me, to avoid throwing it away.

The Transformation …

I got my frying pan and stir fried some mixed vegetables (carrots, peas, sweet corn, etc), tossed the left over rice in the pan and stir fried some more, and then to spice it up, I added some crushed pepper.

I emptied the contents in my plate, and got some orange juice to go with it.

I sat down to eat.

All of a sudden, everybody wanted a spoon of the transformed left over. All three kids sat around me, holding out their own spoon. Ten minutes later, everything was gone.

The left-over food the family rejected has now become the Chief course-meal

(CibM Meme Chapter 101, verse 1)

My thoughts? …

So many times in our lives, we see people (or things) that are leftovers, or look like leftovers – abandoned, sad, ugly, pitiful, and lonely. And really, maybe they are. But when we invest our time and the (little) resources we have in these leftovers, the end-result becomes appealing and attractive. All of a sudden, everyone then wants to be associated with the transformed person (or thing).

As I reflect on this episode, my heart fills with gratitude and joy. I was once a left-over that has been transformed (by God). His transforming-expertise is out of this world.

Whenever you feel rejected, lonely, ugly, or miserable because you are being treated like leftover, be resolved to let the greater power of God spice you up and make you something new.

The greater lesson though is that in this new year, be resolved to transform someone or something that others have labeled as ‘leftover’. Be resolved to be the change and not wait to hold out your spoon after the work has been done.

To those that hold the same belief as I do, remember that we were once leftovers that God transformed. Let that spur you to ‘pay-forward’ because at the end of the day, “The left-over food the family rejected will become the chief course-meal”, and everyone including you can enjoy!

Have a happy new transformation-project-filled year!

happy-new-year-20171

 

Politics, Love, and the Whale (from the eyes of a CibM)

In the wake of November 9, Donald Trump was declared the winner of the 2016 presidential elections in the United States of America.

I received and read many tweets, Facebook posts, emails, and text messages that had some element of great fear, hurt, pain, and insecurity. My friends from Africa, especially in Nigeria, called to ask when I’d be coming back ‘home‘. There were jokes flying around social media about the elections, the candidates, and the president-elect. Some were funny, others were just not meaningful.

People were planning to flee the country. Canada’s immigration website crashed.

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All of these got me confused at first, then shocked, then scared, then I moved on.

I voted. It was an early voting. I felt really accomplished.

Election result aftermath …

The one concern that I read, saw, and perceived from all the messages I got centered on the same issue; “What should I tell my kids, and how do I explain ‘this’ to my kids?”

Children and Politics …

I’ve heard my eleven-year-old daughter’s manifesto before; the first time was when she  became a big sister. She made declarations about how she would be in charge and take care of her little brother. After all, she had waited 7 years to have him. In fact, I’ve heard it many times when she tries to justify why she needs a new pair of shoes, or any other kind of favor from me.

I’ve even heard my three, and four-year olds make promises about what they would do if I take them to Chuck E Cheese; how they will not fight each other, and how they will share their toys and play nice. 🙂

As a mother, I see children play politics all the time. Whether they understand what they’re doing or not, it all boils down to some kind of politics.

At the end of the day, they all live and play together, loving each other under the same roof!!!. Most times, they don’t keep their promises, but somehow, the kids still live together in peace … and politics continue as usual the next day….

As adults, and as hurt or as happy as we may feel about the just concluded elections, we must be very careful not to complicate the messages we pass on to our children. Children will always be children, and we must not try to make them jump their ages and talk to them in deep adult-world talks. In my opinion, we should be able to communicate the basics of the election process, and the outcome of the 2016 election. Period.

2016 elections from the eyes of a CibM to ‘a child’…

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Four candidates – Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Jill Stein, and Gary Johnson – contested (or campaigned) for the office of the President of the United States of America.

Donald J. Trump won the election, and is therefore the president-elect until he is officially sworn into office.

All four candidates visited different cities in the country for almost two years, giving manifestos of why people should take them to ‘Chuck E. Cheese’, and one was able to convince more people”. (Of course we know as adults that the political state of our country is nothing compared to Chuck E. Cheese, but we’re talking to children, remember?)

Lessons to teach …

Life is full of competitions. We must be ready to play strong, and fair regardless of what you see or hear (from this election).

Some people are not happy with the outcome of the elections because their candidate lost.

If you are one of those not happy about the results of the election, let your children know that you are not happy. However, tell them that there will be many more elections to come. So, we should always be thankful for opportunities that await us.

In life, a heart of thankfulness is a heart that wins.

Some people are happy with the outcome of the elections because their candidate won.

If you are happy with the outcome of this election, let them know that you’re happy with the outcome, however, let them also know that you hope your candidate meets your expectations. No matter how much facts we have before we take a decision, we can only hope for the best.

In the meantime, and before the next election, it is important to act, talk and think with dignity and integrity.

Depending on how you saw each of these presidential candidates, let the children know that sometimes ‘bad’ people prosper or win, but that doesn’t mean they have to be bad or mean.

There is good in being good.

Tell them that sometimes, the good people do not prosper or win, but that doesn’t mean they have to stop being good.

Tell them that sometimes we make decisions based on good and concrete facts, but they still go wrong (because of other factors beyond our control). But at other times, we just make plain bad decisions that will definitely go wrong.

We must always look before we leap.

If you voted, it means that you used the power you have (as a citizen of this country) to make the country better by making your voice heard. Let the children know that in life, the power we have as humans must be used, and not misused, to make the world a better place to live.img_23961

In summary, life is designed to move on as long as we have breath in us. Let the children know that they need to seize the day (carpe diem), and maximize their potentials.

The Whale part …

And, if you’re like me, korea-openly-admits-to-having-plans-to-kill-endangered-whales-2when your three and four-year olds ask you about the 2016 presidential election, and when you try to explain to them, you can tell them the story of Jonah and the whale from the Bible. If they ask you how it relates to the elections, tell the story all over again 🙂

By the way, the story of Jonah speaks to the great grace we have in God.

Finally, tell them we must learn to stand stronger together to make America greater than it was yesterday. This starts from the home, and it starts by quelling all the fear, tension, pain and insecurity surrounding us now.

As adults, we have a greater responsibility than the president to make sure we fix our homes and our children.

When we build strong families in America, America becomes greater and stronger together!!

May our land be peaceful and filled with love that can never be swallowed by a whale, or anything bigger or smaller than a whale.

God bless America!!

Two Pregnancies, and a Birthday

Although this is a late post, the lesson from this story is life-long.

My younger son recently turned three.

birthday-cake-ideas-for-3-year-old-boys-13

It wasn’t surprising that most families and friends that called to give their birthday wishes thought he turned four. The reason being that he acts, talks, and thinks older than his age. I sometimes think too that he’s been in this world longer than three years 🙂

It got me thinking while I was at work that day, as I reflected on my pregnancies, and the years after.

Being pregnant with son #1 …

You see, my older son, who is now four years old was born at 33 weeks. I was so impatient with that pregnancy that I prayed every morning after my thirtieth week that the child would come. I was tired. Suffice to say that doctors had put me on weekly progesterone shots to help prevent preterm labor. Once a week, after my seventeenth week, I would take a drive to the doctor’s office to get my shot. Everything seemed to be great until my thirtieth week.

My wish came true with son #1 …

At about the 30th week, I was tired. I was ready to go on maternity leave. I was looking forward to a get-away from work. God heard and answered my prayers three weeks later. He was born at 33 weeks, weighing a little over 4lbs, and about 19 inches in length.

It was a C-section.

He was small. He wasn’t breathing well. He was immediately taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

I did not anticipate the struggles and challenges in the days ahead. Firstly, I didn’t have the opportunity to hold him right after he was born, like I imagined and wished. I cried. Then my stomach would hurt, so I would stop. But I would cry again, because I couldn’t believe I was missing out on holding my son.

The next three weeks were gruesome. I was discharged while he was still in NICU, and I had to make frequent trips to the hospital to see him, and feed him. The chair by his bed was my bed most days. I still couldn’t hold him for a couple of days because he was still too small. I cried almost every day, wishing he had stayed a little longer in the womb; wishing I didn’t say those prayers to have him so early.

When I was finally able to hold him, I was emotionally and physically drained. I felt the discomfort we both shared each time I held him. He would cry. I would cry too.

I should have been patient. I shouldn’t have wished or prayed him out too early. I should have nurtured him in the womb a little more. Maybe then, all these wouldn’t be happening. The time away from work I had looked forward to, became very stressful and frustrating. I spent most of my maternity leave healing. Had I known? All because I was impatient, and maybe a little selfish.

Son #2 …

keep-calm-it-s-another-boy-4.pngHe came a year later. We were excited!! Another boy!!

For this pregnancy, I was once again subjected to the weekly progesterone shots. But this time, I had learned my lesson, so I chose to enjoy this one. I decided I would not complain, or give attention to my tiredness enough to want me wish the baby out.

I focused on the things that gave me joy; my home, my job, church work, and family (not in any particular order). I kept trying to serve at my duty post, even when I was tired from the pregnancy weight I carried. I tried to eat well, and sleep well. I asked God for strength each day; strength to nurture and carry the pregnancy well. I was still looking forward to maternity leave J but I was ready to wait to allow this one ‘bake’ fully.

During one of my routine check-ups, the doctor had told me the delivery of the baby was “destined for 27 weeks”. I chose to be positive, and hoped for the best. In the meantime, I prayed for patience and strength. I wasn’t going to let fear, tiredness, or maternity leave, make me wish for an earlier (preterm) delivery. This one was going to be baked well.

The delivery …

It was very early in the morning. I was 37 weeks, a day shy of 38. My water broke!!!

I got to the hospital as soon as I could. I was admitted. I slept, woke up, slept, and woke up again. Contractions happened in between, from mild to very intense. The pain-relief medication worked great. So I slept again.

I woke up, and this time it was time.

In three minutes, the baby was out. No pain, no unnecessary drama!!! Boy, was this pregnancy and delivery easy or what?

He weighed 6lbs. He cried. He breathed. I held him so close to my chest.

Easiest pregnancy. Easiest delivery. 48 hours later, we were home … together; all because I wasn’t impatient like my previous pregnancy. I waited for God, and on God to do what He had to do. I allowed Him to let this one ‘bake’. He knew the right time.

Lesson learned …

When God gives us a seed to nurture, He expects us to put ourselves into the business of nurturing. And while you’re waiting for the manifestation, be patient. When you allow the seed to take its proper course, it comes out better, and you’re a happier person.

“He blesses without adding sorrow (and stress)”

Just keep trusting, keep working, keep serving, and keep nurturing at your duty post. In due time, the results will be amazing.img_23791

Each pregnancy journey has been a blessing to me. I have learned through each of my pregnancy experiences that my seeds (pregnancies) are meant to be nurtured. And while I’m nurturing, I must be patient so that its manifestation will indeed be a bundle of joy.

So, now that my youngest is three, stay tuned for the how-old-are-you story.

Learning to Speak ‘Love’

My boys were having fun counting each morsel of ‘eba’ as I fed them the other night. After a while, I thought it would be more fun to have them count in ‘Yoruba’ language. They had learned to count from one through 10 when they were much younger. It’d been a while they had counted, but I was sure they still remembered very well. They could skip a number or two in between, but they usually do pretty well.

So I turned to my 4-year-old, and said “Oya (common now), count in Yoruba”.

He looked into my eyes and stared for a while. I wondered what he was looking at. I was sure he knew how to count in Yoruba, so I waited. After what seemed like 60 seconds, I repeated myself in case he didn’t hear me the first time.
He smiled, and then suddenly roared, squeezing his face, and throwing his hands up in the air.
I thought to myself, “What in the world?”

And then, almost immediately, I laughed out loudly.

Here’s the reason why I laughed; although they knew how to count (in Yoruba), I don’t think they ever knew that the language they counted in was Yoruba. I had always started out by saying “let’s count ‘ookan’ (one)”. When they hear this, they know to start counting in Yoruba. And so my guess was that he didn’t think he knew how to speak/say the numbers in Yoruba. So, telling them to count in Yoruba was strange, and they had no clue.

But what in the world? I thought to myself. He must have been thinking to himself why I wanted him to count in Yoruba when he didn’t know how to. What I should have said was, “Oya, count ookan.” As far as he was concerned, he had never spoken Yoruba before, but he’d heard myself and my husband communicate in a different language – Yoruba. That language was what he tried to speak when he gave the loud groan, throwing his hands up in the air.

That made me think; Is this what my husband and I look like when we speak this language? Is this how we sound when speak – with groans, and facial impressions that look like we are in child labor? Is this what people look like to us when they speak their own ‘Yoruba’? All he wanted to do was speak the language….

And then I got the message. There are thousands of languages all over the world, and it is hard to pass a message across especially when you don’t speak the language. There are languages that sound like melodious tunes in your ears when in fact the words could be insulting. And there are languages that sound like a bull-dozer coming out from your mouth, or languages that are usually complemented with hand gestures that make it look like you’re about to start a war (Yoruba to be precise), and even some that sound like someone just stole your cookie, even though the words said are prayers for you.

Anyway, the lesson I learned is that different languages sound differently to different people. There is only one language though that cuts across the globe – that sounds and means the same thing – LOVE

When we speak and act Love, even my friends from Kabba, IleOluji, Timbuktu, Indianapolis, and Lokoja understand.
Speak Love, and let your message be heard all over the world!

Yoruba is one of the many tribal languages spoken in the southern part of Nigeria. There are 25 letters in the Yoruba alphabets, with the similar ones characterized by accents or hyphens above or beneath the letters. Some other tribal languages spoken in Nigeria include Hausa, and Ibo)

My Genesis!

I was born and raised in the vibrant and busy city of Lagos, Nigeria in West Africa where I had most (if not all) of my ‘home-training’. At the age of 26, I became a mom to an American-born Nigerian-American. She’s a girl with drama; loads of drama. I have since had two more – boys – full of life and energy. My life hasn’t been the same since.

So here I am, a born-and-bred Lagos-city Nigerian lady, raising three American-born Nigerian-Americans in Indiana, USA.

I often times feel caught in-between cultures and languages as I raise these kids. How can I combine the best of both worlds to make sure these kids are raised right? When should I pull a Nigerian-mother card on the kids, or pull the American one? When and how can I make sure we (myself and the kids) are on the same page when I talk to them in my Nigerian Pidgin English or my native Yoruba dialect?

Not only do I feel caught in-betwen cultures and languages, I also feel caught in between house chores, tasks, my ministry, husband, and even the kids themselves. (phew!)

“What life lessons can come from a bunch of kids’ everyday life, and their CibM”, you may ask?

Wait! I have an answer. God uses the simple and basic things of this world to confound the wise (1 Corinthians 1:27, NIV).

Join me on this journey of the many lessons I learn from being a Caught-In-between-Mom (CibM). Get ready to be blown out of your minds as I share with you the lessons I learn every day from being a CibM. You can thank me later  :).

Welcome to my blog; CibM – Lessons from Motherhood