SWEET     MOTHER

SWEET MOTHER

sweet mother

I wrote this 2 years ago for my mum on mother’s day and since we just celebrated her 50th anniversary I decided to post this here just to honor her. It’s a list of a few of her awesome characteristics that are worth emulating.

Very hardworking

  • She will be the first to wake up even though she was the last to sleep. Amazingly no matter how tiring her day was , she will stay up just to make sure everyone gets home safely, ( you can see her most of the times battling with sleep on the coach and you can tell how tiring her day was).
  • She will wake up early to ensure that everyone has something for breakfast before they leave for work or school. She’s so excellent when it comes to that.
  • She has a lot of energy. My goodness! she can really work for long hours without getting tired, in fact she can do anything and everything she does, she does it so well.
  • She’s very serious at her job too , very exceptional and highly recommendable. She leaves a good impression with all those whom she’s worked with.
  • She loves reading and ‘m sure by now she must have read a whole library. 

Intelligent

  • Each time we come across any of her secondary school classmates they always acknowledge how intelligent she used to be back when they were in school. 
  • I remember a time when she had to write an exam in other to get promoted at her office. She’ll wake up very early to study. She always found time to study no matter how busy she got and that challenged and encouraged me a lot. 

Loving and caring

  • Whenever I’m sick or disturbed I can literally see her feeling my pains and I’m assured that I’m not alone. 
  • Once in a while, she will come and offer me breakfast right in my room especially if I’m preparing for exams and buried in my book. (how romantic is that! )
  • She knows all our favorite dishes and she makes sure that we all get satisfied.

Friendly and jovial

  • It is very rare to see my mum angry. She’s always happy and its very contagious. It’s true everyone has problems but she knows how to control hers so that we don’t get worried. 
  • She’s very welcoming and she knows how to make a stranger feel at home. 
  • In fact she gets along with every new person she meets, either at the market, church e.t.c
sweet mother

  Mama , you are package from God to me. I didn’t fall from the sky, everything I am today is graced to you. You are my role model and each day I dream of becoming more like you. All these I have listed above are just a tip of the iceberg for you are so much more than that. For the love you have shown to us mama, God will reward you and you will reap the fruits of your labor. Some people may say its a mother’s natural love for her children but I know many mothers who are just the opposite of you and I know many children who have been deprived of a mother’s love. That’s why I am much grateful and I count myself very blessed and honored to be your daughter. I cannot even think of life without you.  I love you dearly.

50th birthday cake for sweet mother
Self contentment

Self contentment

Stop trying to be in her shoes or anyone’s shoes. Why would you even want to be in her shoes? Do you know what’s in it. Don’t think because she’s all dressed up and in the shoes of your dreams means she’s comfortable in them. All that glitters is not gold! The shoes may be hurting terribly but you have no clue about it. Now you may think that even if it doesn’t fit her it just might fit you. But remember that what isn’t yours won’t fit you. Simply because ITS NOT YOURS. Be self content!


Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you’ll never ever have enough.

Rather, be content with what you have. Learn to see the good in and around you instead of bad. If you can’t, ask God to help you remove the log that’s blinding you. Seriously, you need to see how much of a masterpiece you are. You need to see how much beauty you carry, you need to see how their eyes glow with amazement when they listen to you speak and how the knowledge you have lightens up their minds. You need to see the smile you put on their faces.

Sometimes just a silly joke from you, makes them burst in laughter. (Or you think it means nothing to make people smile). You need to see how they smile from molars to molars after being fed from your kitchen or how you clothe them with the little you have. Like seriously, you need to see how proud they are to say somewhere that they know you. You need to see the benefits and privileges that comes with knowing you. You are smart, super hardworking and intelligent. How can’t you be content with this?
Don’t these little things matter

Contentment is not the fulfillment of what you want, it is the realization of how much you already have.

What does it mean to be self content?

Being self content is not about putting yourself above everybody. Instead, it is understanding that there will always be somebody who’s better than you at something as well as someone who’s not. Being content is knowing, accepting and loving yourself just the way you are. It entails having an understanding about who you are and where you are going. It is definitely not about comparing or competing with others but involves you competing with your own self.

I find this story very inspiring especially with respect to the topic, i hope it inspires you too.

The stone cutter

There was once a stone cutter who was dissatisfied with himself and with his position in life.
One day he passed a wealthy merchant’s house. Through the open gateway, he saw many fine possessions and important visitors. “How powerful that merchant must be!” thought the stone cutter. He became very envious and wished that he could be like the merchant.

To his great surprise, he suddenly became the merchant, enjoying more luxuries and power than he had ever imagined, but envied and detested by those less wealthy than himself. Soon a high official passed by, carried in a sedan chair, accompanied by attendants and escorted by soldiers beating gongs. Everyone, no matter how wealthy, had to bow low before the procession. “How powerful that official is!” he thought. “I wish that I could be a high official!”

Then he became the high official, carried everywhere in his embroidered sedan chair, feared and hated by the people all around. It was a hot summer day, so the official felt very uncomfortable in the sticky sedan chair. He looked up at the sun. It shone proudly in the sky, unaffected by his presence. “How powerful the sun is!” he thought. “I wish that I could be the sun!”

Then he became the sun, shining fiercely down on everyone, scorching the fields, cursed by the farmers and laborers. But a huge black cloud moved between him and the earth, so that his light could no longer shine on everything below. “How powerful that storm cloud is!” he thought. “I wish that I could be a cloud!”

Then he became the cloud, flooding the fields and villages, shouted at by everyone. But soon he found that he was being pushed away by some great force, and realized that it was the wind. “How powerful it is!” he thought. “I wish that I could be the wind!”

Then he became the wind, blowing tiles off the roofs of houses, uprooting trees, feared and hated by all below him. But after a while, he ran up against something that would not move, no matter how forcefully he blew against it – a huge, towering rock. “How powerful that rock is!” he thought. “I wish that I could be a rock!”

Then he became the rock, more powerful than anything else on earth. But as he stood there, he heard the sound of a hammer pounding a chisel into the hard surface, and felt himself being changed. “What could be more powerful than I, the rock?” he thought.
He looked down and saw far below him the figure of a stone cutter.

Source: unknown.

Contentment is an attitude that says,”I will be satisfied with what God has given me.”

“I am different not less”

Let’s be real


We’re humans and there’s a very thin line between admiration and envy. With the way people are ‘making it’ these days, it’s very easy for envious thoughts to set in. However, how you manage those thoughts is what really matters. What helps me is, whenever I notice that I’m getting envious, immediately I become fully aware and conscious of the real life challenges they may be facing. Then I ask myself, will I be able to bear their pain?

Before you start wishing you were in someone shoes, maybe you should ask yourself this question, can you bear their pain?

prayer

What ever may be your situation or challenge, I pray that you would open your eyes and see that you are special and unique. You don’t need to be someone else to be special, you just need to be you!

SKIN BLEACHING- pros and cons

SKIN BLEACHING- pros and cons

skin bleaching

Skin bleaching can be defined as the removal of the upper layer of one’s skin through the application of creams that contain chemicals. It can also be defined as the permanent or temporal changing of a person’s complexion through the rubbing of various creams that are capable of changing the skin.

How does it work?

Skin lightening products work by reducing a pigment called melanin. Melanin is that thing which makes the skin look darker. So, the greater the melanin, the darker the skin. Hence, applying those skin lightening products disrupts melanin production therefore making the skin to lighten.

Most lightening agents contain active ingredients such as hydroquinone, mercury and corticosteroids.

PROS


Jobs and success

Isn’t it strange? That in the 21st century you need to be light skin in order to get some particular jobs. Well if you doubt it please know it is so true and I can testify to that.

I remember during one long holiday I got to work at a certain bakery and I was told that mostly light skinned girls could work as receptionist. I’m sure you already guessed why. It is certainly a good business strategy to not only attract customers but also to keep them coming.

That’s smart… right? but I just begin to wonder, what if all jobs were meant just for light skin women, what would become of dark women ehhh!!! Luckily, some dark ladies are using their skin color to be successful. Find out here

By the way, why would customers be attracted mostly to the lighter skin in the first place ? This brings me to the next point…

Beauty

Generally, we’ve been made to believe that a light skin person is more acceptable in the society. We even have some body lotion companies saying ‘white is purity’ in their adverts.

No wonder, I came across an advert in which a Chinese lady put a dark man into a washing machine and the end result was a white man whom she adored. Now how funny is that? does it mean that we dark people are somewhat impure? and if light skin is fair, is dark skin unfair ? ( I could really use the thinking emoji now).

High class

Most women engage in skin lightening because light skin is associated with higher status and privilege. Some women also bleach in order to attract high status mates. It is also believed that lighter skin looks better in photographs and the images usually get more views when posted on social media.

Medicinal purposes

Skin lightening products can be used medicinally for the treatment of post inflammatory pigmentation. These are dark spots that appear because of injury to the skin or inflammation like acne.

It could also be used to remove discolored patches that appear on the face due to excess sun exposure or hormonal changes during pregnancy or as a result of birth control pills.

FDA recommends a short term use of hydroquinone (that is not more than 5 months) with a maximum dose of 2%. However, there’s still a lot of controversy with respect to hydroquinone as it has been proven to be carcinogenic hence increasing the risk of skin cancer

CONS

It is indeed true that all that glitters is not gold because when these products are used, they get into the bloodstream thereby affecting organs like the brain, kidney and liver. So while everything may be going on well on the outside, the inside might not look so good.

Here are some of the side effects of bleaching

  • Thinning of the skin
  • Uneven color loss
  • Redness, swelling and irritation
  • A burning or stingy sensation
  • Dark grey spots
  • Visible blood vessels in the skin
  • Acne
  • Skin cancer
  • Kidney damage
  • Brain damage

Aside from the health disadvantages, skin bleaching is also very expensive and time consuming. Also, you lighten your skin to look pretty for NOW, then spend the rest of your life trying to reverse the process through medication. Seriously what’s the point?

It is true that you might come from a family where bleaching is normal. Probably your mum or aunt have been doing it for a long time and you want to do it too but please don’t!

My experience

I can’t count the number of times that I’ve been approached by strangers and warned never to change my color. A majority of these people where often women who had bleached. If bleaching was all sunshine and roses then I think they would rather be inviting me to join the crew.

I would never forget the voice of one of my mothers in the quarter saying in french and very authoritatively, “ma fille ne change jamais ta couleur heinn” and yes, she’s been bleaching for as long as I’ve known her.

Another time in church after service, an elderly woman approached me. To be honest, I thought she wanted to probably criticize my makeup or dressing. Not that I wasn’t well dressed oh but you know how this women can be nah!

To my greatest surprise, full of love and honesty, she said,” you are very beautiful my daughter, don’t change your color.” It’s only after that I looked at her closely and noticed that she had been bleaching and might have been suffering from some of it’s side effects.

What amazes me is that even people who aren’t dark skin do bleach. I’ve even heard of light skin people bleaching too and I’m like what do they really want! Of course, you should know that this doesn’t concern just the women because men do bleach too.

I met a girl at a salon and she was like if she has the money she would skin bleach. How did the conversation even start? I simply told her she had a lovely brown skin but unfortunately, she rather attacked the hairdresser who’s dark too, saying all sorts of negative things about dark skin. Thank God, the hairdresser was very confident about her color.

Conclusion

To you who’s planning to bleach when you get the chance to, I hope you know what you’re up against. Like I always say, whether black, brown or light skin we’re all beautiful so let us accept and celebrate our differences because that is what makes us a unique and special people.

different shades of skin color

The choice is yours to make, I can only hope that you choose wisely! Meanwhile here’s a letter personally addressed to you from me Dear Black Beauty

I love my color ( these quotes help me stay confident) and I’m not going to change it, what about you?

Quotes that will make you proud of your black beauty!

Quotes that will make you proud of your black beauty!

Among us dark girls, it’s no doubt that at some point in time you’ve been maltreated because of your skin complexion. It probably made you feel bad and of course you thought it wasn’t fair. I’ve been there too. What pleases me much is the growing community of black women who are beginning to love and accept their complexion.

It has even reached the extent that even fair girls are now all about melanin. So if you’re dark and aren’t enjoying your complexion, better do so oh else the fair girls will show you how.

I decided to come up with a compilation of a few quotes. Each time I read them, my confidence is boosted up and I’m reminded of my roots and glory.

  • “Dipped in chocolate, bronzed in elegance, enameled with grace, toasted with beauty. My Lord, she’s a black woman.” –Yosef A.A. Ben-jochannan
  • “I’m convinced that we black women possess a special indestructible strength that allows us to not only get down, but to get up, get through, and to get over.” – Janet Jackson
  • “It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept and celebrate those differences.” – Audre Lorde
  • “Deal with yourself as an individual worthy of respect and make everyone else deal with you the same way.” – Nikki Giovanni
  • “I am not my hair, I am not this skin, I am the soul that lives within.” – India Arie
  • ” I am not tragically colored. There is no great sorrow dammed up in my soul, nor lurking behind my eyes… Even in the helter-skelter skirmish that is my life, i have seen that the world is to the strong regardless of a little pigmentation more or less. No, I don’t weep at the world- I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife.” – Zora Neale Hurston

( one thing I’ve learnt from this quote is that there’s more to life than your skin color. life will hit you hard regardless of whether you are black or white and only the strong will survive.)

  • The black skin is not a badge of shame but rather a glorious symbol of national greatness.” – Marcus Garvey
  • “My skin absorbs the sun rays and my hair defies gravity. You can’t tell me i’m not magical.” – unknown
  • “Just because you are different, doesn’t mean that you have to be rejected.” – Eartha Kitt
  • “I hope that my presence on your screens and in magazines may lead you, young girl on a similar journey that you would feel the validation of your external beauty but also get into the deeper business of being beautiful inside. That there’s no shade in that beauty.” – Lupita Nyong’o
  • “I hope my story will inspire you to not only love yourself from the inside-out, but to take a chance on yourself and chase your dreams!”- Kheris Rogers
  • “God doesn’t judge dark skin, He judges dark hearts.” – unknown
  • ” Melanin is an incomparable beauty. From the lightest to the darkest skin tone, black women are exquisite beauty in every shade. Yes, black females have that special something that just can’t be ignored. We are melanin queens, beautifully created! respect the complexion.” -SL

Lupita Nyong’o says

  • “My complexion had always been an obstacle to overcome and all of a sudden, Oprah told me it wasn’t. It was perplexing and I wanted to reject it because I had begun to enjoy the seduction of inadequacy. But a flower couldn’t help but bloom inside of me.
  • When I saw Alek Wek, I inadvertently saw a reflection of myself that I could not deny. Now I had a spring in my step because I felt more seen, more appreciated by the far away gatekeepers of beauty, but around me the preference of light skin prevailed.
  • To the beholders that I thought mattered, I was still not beautiful. And my mother again would say to me, ‘you can’t eat beauty, it doesn’t feed you.’ And these words plagued and bothered me.
  • I didn’t really understand them until finally I realized that beauty was not a thing that I could acquire or consume, it was something that I just had to be.” – Lupita Nyong’o

Finally, a quote by me… “wishing you were more or less light skin is like wishing you were someone else” – Bei Black Beauty 

(please comment below one of your own beauty quotes).

conclusion

You can compliment and celebrate others without necessarily wishing to be them because you are special, you are unique and you are enough!

So which of these quotes best resonate within you?

BOOK REVIEW: THE SMART MONEY WOMAN BY ARESE UGWU

BOOK REVIEW: THE SMART MONEY WOMAN BY ARESE UGWU

On the praise report page for this book, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, chairman and CEO, Dangote Group wrote: “An entertaining way to learn about money… ushering in a new narrative of Africa, specifically of the African woman in the 21st century- her perspective, her ambitions, her journey, flaws and all, but wholly hers.”

The Smart Money Woman is a 210 paged book written by Arese Ukwu, who is out to help young Africans discover their power to build their future and make smarter money decisions as in helping them get money, keep money and grow money through her personal financial platform, Smart Money Africa.

The story revolves around a classic girl squad with Zuri being the protagonist and her best friends; Tami (the fashion designer), Lara (the oil and gas executive), Adesuwa (the lawyer) and Ladun (house wife). Zuri is a senior manager in a real estate firm in Lagos called Richmond Developments and earns six hundred thousand naira every month after taxes have been deducted.

Chapter one

Chapter one begins with this exclamation, ‘I can’t believe this is happening to me!’ At some point in time, most of us have asked ourselves this famous question. Often times, it’s a sign of being broke and that’s what this chapter is all about. Everyone thinks Zuri is wealthy and doing well, but no one sees her skeleton in the closet as she has just realized that the month is barely midway gone but there’s little or nothing in her bank account. At the end of the chapter, the author explains that being broke is if for example you lost your primary source of income today, you wouldn’t be able to maintain the lifestyle you have accustomed to because you have no assets to rely on. She also explains that being wealthy isn’t about how much you earn but how much you keep.

Chapter two

The best way to conquer your money fears- fear of failing in business, fear of not being able to measure up to the lifestyle of your friends and family, or the fear of not being able to afford the lifestyle you have, is to face them. What you deny or ignore, you delay; what you accept and face, you conquer.

Chapter three

Where is your money going? Does the way you spend your money reflect your values? We have to learn to spend with intention by allocating our resources to reflect the lifestyle we want and are able to afford. If you don’t treat your money with respect, it will leave you with no respect.

Chapter four

It talks about dealing with debts. One of Zuri’s greatest ‘wahala’ is the fact that she owes her landlord. Debt can be a useful tool to attain financial success but how you use it matters. Only borrow to acquire an asset that will appreciate in value.

Chapter five

It talks about importance of building an emergency fund. Instead of worrying without action, plan for emergencies.

chapter six

What marked me in this chapter is the conversation Zuri has with Tsola, her new found friend who is interested in her too. He’s one of those who play a major role in Zuri’s journey to financial freedom. I don’t really like being a movie spoiler, so i won’t go into much details but he asked her questions like what she wanted from life and if she had to narrow them down into three things what would they be.

Chapter seven

This chapter is a vital one, it gives practical steps on how to develop a sustainable budget. Although, let’s not forget the deep conversation the ladies had on the different types of men they want to marry. They also shared their financial challenges and tried to come up with solutions.

Chapter eight

Zuri is forced to attend the WIMBIZ conference for women after being very reluctant. But you know that feeling you get after coming into contact with highly energetic, fire-branded, purpose-driven, well-to-do women, at the end of the conference she found herself asking this question, ‘what have I being doing with my life?’

Your network is your net worth.

Chapter nine

The author encourages conversations on family finances and wills. She also talks on joint accounts and personal accounts and how to go about them.

Chapter ten

When it comes to finances, investment was the part where I could say I had little or no knowledge on but after reading this I got the big picture and even though I’m not a pro at it, at least I could check her guidelines from time to time.

Cardinal rule in investment is, do not invest in what you don’t undertand.

Chai, with the kind of mistakes one has made, I really need to remember this more often.

chapter eleven

The author talks about maximizing earning potential by focusing on finding purpose. In other words, if you want to make more money, find your purpose.

Chapter twelve

Become your own version of The Smart Money Woman- she’s the woman we should all aspire to be, financially!

My opinion

I don’t want it to sound like a cliché but I really enjoyed reading this book, I loved everything about it- the characters, the storyline, the slangs, the lessons in fact , everything. I took three days to finish it unlike the usual one week or month.

I love the fact that it was purely in an African context and i could totally relate with the characters which made it more fun. After reading, I had a burning desire to visit Nigeria.

I love African books, do you know of any books like this one which you could recommend and if you’ve read this one, what lesson did you get from it?