She was back in the society in which the five Cs ruled - credit card, condominium, cash, country club and career. Money was being thrown at her, she was being taken out for numerous meals. But she was tired. She wanted to return to basics, to what was important to her, the simple joys of life. No more chasing consumer greed/wealth - where needs will never ever be fully satisfied. She just wanted good conversation and a good laugh with good friends, to enjoy the beautiful sunsets/sunrises and have a good dance on the beach....and to enjoy God in everything.
I heard a message in church a couple of Sundays ago and it has since revolutionised my way of thinking. I had not realised I was not really focusing on God all this while, I was not focusing on getting to know him as a person or getting to know his characteristics. I am now on a conscious journey of getting to know God as a person, it is I think akin to the process of getting to know a best friend or life partner. And he amazes me more and more the more I get to know him.
He is good, always does what is right, he leads with unfailing love and faithfulness, he is a friend to those who fear him and he shows us the path, he leads the humble in doing right, teaching them his way. He is our glorious eternal King.
With such a father and best friend and king, what is there to fear in life? Our lives are provided for, our needs are met beyond our wildest dreams, he only gives us the best. Everything is in his hands, we have worry free lives. All we have to do is trust in him, and knowing what he is about/his characteristics, there is no reason not to. Thank you Abba.
I have the song "I Gotta Feeling" by Black Eyed Peas playing in my head. I feel upbeat. I am fighting a cold - I think it is due to the change in weather. It is getting colder. But I feel upbeat nonetheless. This year as been amazing to date. And it will end on an even better note. I have added another aspect to my life - a Ghanaian dimension. There's no turning back. Part of me will always be proud to be an Accra girl (I have visions of taking wedding photos in a trotro after seeing some really cool photos :)). And it has been good being back in London and serving in church and being surrounded by so many beautiful people. God has been amazing. He is good and I am believing in Him for even greater things in His name. It has been so good chilling out and enjoying all the friendships in my life - while sipping wine from the Stellenbosch region, and dreaming about visiting Cape Town soon....There's just so much out there to experience, maybe I should do things small-small. Maadwo.
I have rediscovered the joys of London recently. Just walking along the gorgeous southbank admiring the sunset, having drinks by the riverfront right beside the book market, trying out interesting european food in edgy/funky clerkenwell and catching up with old, old friends. I like this. It keeps me smiling, feeling the love from my chales in London. It's nice to call London the home I spend most of time in. It keeps teaching me new things, reminding me of why I love it and keeps bringing really special people my way who help broaden my horizons/thinking. And just a couple of weeks ago, I got my much need Ghana "injection" (of life) - I celebrated a friend's birthday and went partying with my Ghanaian posse/family. I have never had so much fun dancing (well, apart from my fun times in Rhapsody/Tantra early this year). Life is good. God is good. I cannot wait to see what else God has in store for me in the next few months. Medasi Nyame.
Often, in life, we have "carve-outs", disclaimers, exceptions to the rules - to manage expectations of all involved. With God however, he is whole, complete, absolute - there are no ifs, buts, carve-outs etc. He is good - all the time. He loves us - no matter what we do, no ifs, no buts. It's the simple, everlasting truth. And the truth is so powerful. I like that. And I thank him for that. I thank him for loving me so much in the first place, for loving me unconditionally and for loving me in such a way that makes me whole and complete, and lacking nothing. Medasi Nyame. I love you.
I first met him on Friday at work drinks. We entered into a rather bizarre and random conversation, as one does at the end of a long week. I then bumped into him on a bus on Sunday while visiting my aunt in an area that I rarely go to. We were actually running to catch the same bus. It turns out that that was his 'hood. We left the office at the same time today (it is a large office and we are in different teams, so it was quite random how we individually timed it). We caught the lift together and broke into laughter simultaneously. He accused me of stalking him. I accused him of being rude. It's a good thing he is working in a different office tomorrow as I do not enjoy being falsely accused of stalking workmates. I personally think it was pure coincidence- wouldn't you think so? Let's see if our paths cross again.
"Though He was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, He gave up his divine privileges, He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When He appeared in human form, He humbled himself in obedience to God and He died a criminal's death on a cross."
"I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground, and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what He has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord. Oh, the joys of those who trust the Lord, O Lord my God, you have performed many wonders for us. Your plans for us are too numerous to list. You have no equal. If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds, I would never come to an end of them. I take your joy in doing your will, my God, for your instructions are written on my heart.
I have told all your people about your justice. I have not been afraid to speak out. I have not kept the good news of your justice hidden in my heart, I have talked about your faithfulness and saving power. I have told everyone in the great assembly of your unfailing love and faithfulness.
Lord, don't hold your tender mercies from me. Let your unfailing love and faithfulness always protect me."
The words from Matt Redman's song ring so true....
"Blessed be Your name when the sun is shining down on me when the world is all as how it should be Blessed be Your name When the darkness closes in, still I will say blessed be the Name of the Lord, blessed be Your glorious name. Blessed be Your name On a road marked with suffering though there is pain in the offering blessed is Your name. Every blessing You pour out I turn back to praise".
And so do the words in Psalm 37 and 40:
"Trust in the Lord and do good Then you will live safely in the land and prosper Take delight in the Lord and He will give you your heart's desires
Commit everything you do to the Lord Trust Him, and He will help you. He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn and the justice of your cause shine like the noonday sun.
Be still in the presence of the Lord and wait patiently for Him to act.
The Lord directs the steps of the godly He delights in every detail of their lives Though the stumble, they will never fall for the Lord holds them by the hand.
It sometimes takes being away from a place to realise what you have at that place - if that makes sense. I am currently working away from my normal place of work (where I have now worked at for just over three years). I am beginning to value my workmates more and more, in particular their cheekiness, their teasing and the fun times I have with them. It sometimes takes time to build relationships and friendships and it is nice to see these grow and bear fruit over time. I feel as though I am reaping what I sowed a few seasons ago (and I am continuing to sow)....:)God's good, all the time. Odaaro.
Life is really how you view it - how positive you want to be, how much you want to believe in God's promises for all of us. I woke up one morning this week feeling a little frustrated - it was caused by a combination of factors, I had a lingering feeling of being frustrated at not knowing where things were going in a couple of areas of my life (I know, I know this is where faith in God comes into play, and having faith in Him pleases Him). Then, as I was crossing the road on the way to work in the morning, a bus passed me with these words painted in bright red on it, "Have you thanked Jesus today?". It then hit me (as it eventually always does - it just sometimes take a very long time), I had loads to be thankful for. There were lots of little amusing things in my life to be thankful for. For instance, speaking to one of my male friends now reminds me of speaking with my mama. He (jokingly)calls me darling the same way my mama calls me. A little bizarre but actually pretty nice. That same evening, after work, when I was trying on a work dress (so I look more like an Oga Madame :)) in a cubicle, I could hear the girl in the next changing room speaking to the sales assistant called Tosha. We then popped our heads out at the same time to speak to Tosha. The girl turned out to be a close girlfriend from university. We ended buying a couple of dresses together and we went for dinner after that. It was so good catching up with her on such an unplanned occasion. It was great exchanging views about life, our jobs, men, etc. :) I know God is always there for me, giving me what I need at the right time, I just need to learn to be more patient and trust in Him. And thankful in all circumstances. :)
We were sitting in the park between church services and two of my girlfriends commented on how nicely tanned one of my guy friends was...the weather in london has been really good this weekend so the guy (with the nice tan) had been biking, playing lawn tennis etc in the sunshine. But he was quite cute when responding to their complimentary observation. He said, "Oh, I just put my shorts on and get to that colour naturally....". It's nice when we make the most of what God gives us and have some fun along the way...:)
I received two of the biggest compliments ever in the past week or so. They both related to my identity. A girlfriend called me a child of God, and a guy friend said I was filled with the spirit (hmm, I wonder how he knows..:)). It beats just being fun, interesting (another word for wacky I am told), sweet....:) I love how my identity is centred around God, it is all about Him. And He is truly awesome. And it's fun knowing all this before I leave my twenties for good...:)
I was having dinner with one of my girlfriends a week ago. We were talking about guys. We are both by nature quite "hyper" girls and thought maybe a laidback guy would suit each of us. But maybe not too laidback though...She recounted this story of a guy who said "muy bien" to everything and "no se" when asked a question/for further information. And he only talked about one thing - bicycles. We decided we both needed a bit of variety in life, wouldn't you agree? Hmm, no se, mi amigo, no se...:)
I went to see the Nigerian play, Iya Ile a couple of weeks back at Soho Theatre with a couple of friends. It was great - the play poked fun at issues which could be argued are quite central to (some parts of) Nigerian society (corruption, s419 schemes, the rich/poor divide, polygamy, pastors who are really "bling" and rather dubious, status in society, the so-called freedom fighters/revolutionists who are't really etc). The pidgin English and dancing were really cool, the acting was superb (the actors and actresses were stunning). And I had great company, I went along with two beautiful, witty Nigerian girlfriends. We also later had dinner in a nearby dinky hotel. A pretty magical and refreshing evening. And we commented towards the end of the dinner that the pastor who was "bling" was quite hot. My cheeky friend commented, "like a good Muslim girl, I tightened my scarf when I realised how good-looking he was". I had never laughed so hard in my life.
My girlfriends and I were in the Rhap one night checking out each other's hands (as you do :)). One of them while holding my hands, told me "these hands don't make/pound fufu....". :) I found that so cute, I still do. I still miss GH. I think I always will. I should return, at least so I can learn to make fufu. Maadwo.
I am at home in my Father's presence. Home is wherever He is. It is good getting back into church life in London town. My desire is to walk in everything he has for me. The words from the song Hosanna from the Hillsong album "Saviour King" sum up how I am feeling at the moment...
Show me how to love like you have loved me Break my heart for what breaks yours Everything I have for your kingdom's cause as I walk from earth into eternity
I found a couple of tea bags (Dogadan brand :))in my kitchen cupboard this morning - it had Papatya Bitki Cayi written on them (and an English translation which read Chamomile Herbal Tea). It even had kullanilisi (instructions on them). :) I then realised they were most probably left by my Papa and Mama during their last visit. oh, I miss my parents! :)
I started off by watching skateboarders hone their skills zig zagging through the little cones (while doing a few funky turns) on the walkways....it was fun seeing people having fun in the sunshine (with cool drumming in the background), doing things they enjoy while chilling out with their friends. I then located my own friends by the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain. It was good seeing them after being away for a few months. We ate, played frisbee (which I was crap at!),teased each other, and then walked through the park to get to Queensway to do some bowling....A nice, chilled out afternoon for me, with people who make London special to me!
Perhaps one of the biggest compliments ever from my Ghanaian brothers and sisters. :) But the funny thing is two Ghanaian friends confessed that they weren't great dancers, but enjoyed dancing nonetheless...it could be a family thing, they were distantly related.....or just maybe the bibini/obruni distinction isn't totally/always accurate...:)although in general I'll be the first to admit that Ghanaians do know how to dance/party (wherever they are - be it in the office at the end of the working day, or by the seafront in Osekan), and I have never had so much fun dancing in the last three months. Having said all that I think at the end of the day what matters is that we are all having fun dancing- that's what it is all about...:)
lyrics from dbanj's fall in love. but is it - is love blind? my sugar banana, my sweet potato, me i tell them say, you make my head scatter, i used to lie to myself i always be a player, but you make me fall in love. i don't know the answer to the question, is it a heart/head matter? a balance between the two? either way, i want the nigerian no 1 wedding song played at my wedding, together with the spraying custom (money being thrown at me, stuck at my forehead etc). sounds good-o. and i want lots of dancing-o, lots of fun-o. uwese-o.
My Mama is simply the best (yes, I know that every child would most probably say this, but she really is)!
I am sure I have driven her round the bend through the years. She has had to make changes in her own life through the years as I have grown and developed as a person. As a person, she used to worry a lot about me but my recent lifesytle which now seems to involve visiting other countries (which perhaps a more conservative Asian mum would not be happy for her only child to visit) for work, church and/or pleasure has necessitated a change in her outlook. Now, she just seems to get really excited for me (I guess she does not have much of a choice!).
She also is somewhat now used to my sometimes crazy schedules when I am home in Malaysia (she has also now witnessed my life in London - but I think she enjoyed it!). I am in the habit of trying to fit in quite a bit, but I realise I can never do that without the support of my ever-loving family. I am so blessed to have them. They have been and are so amazing. And I also enjoy whisking her away from her own busy schedule in Penang to the beach to enjoy the stunning sunset...
I should also mention I made her ride a bicyle through Jesus Green and Midsummer Common in Cambridge and I freaked her out on the River Cam with my not-very-good punting skills ....
Mum - you have been such a sport, thank you. May your all your years be super blessed and filled with His love.
I had been looking forward to Nairobi and spending time with my two friends, R&S (they are siblings) and their parents. I usually enjoy time spent with friends' families - it is sometimes nice to be spoilt with yummy food and pampering that parents are so good at giving...:) And I knew although I had not met their parents, it would be as though I was home with my own parents (that was how I felt when I was in Benin City with Lady OG's parents). But for some reason, flight arrangements were not going as smoothly as they should/normally do and I felt I needed to decide whether to go ahead with travel plans or not soon as it would affect how next week would pan out. So I decided (with a heavy heart) yesterday not to go.
R just landed today (I was going to join him on Tuesday) and is having a great time there and his family wanted to know where I was. For a few minutes today, I wished I was going to Nairobi but then spent the rest of today just chilling out and planning what I need to do in my last week in Accra. Just a few minutes ago, I received a call from one of my close gal pals in London. She herself had just returned from Korea, to visit family. She was going out tonight to celebrate a birthday party hosted by two of our close friends. Talking to her was good, it was nice catching up with her and she confirmed she will welcome me in my flat when I return next weekend. As she rang off, she left me with a great piece of advice - to spend time with everyone I had met while in Accra and say goodbye properly.
Thinking to myself, I realised if I had gone ahead with my Kenyan trip, that would have left me with very little time to say my goodbyes. I have met so many beautiful people here in Accra, people who have made me feel so welcomed and people who were generous enough to say my Twi is passable (I know it isn't!). I know I will do Kenya sometime soon (and just planning the trip has enabled me to get to know my friends and Kenya better!). I cannot wait to visit Mombasa in particular. And for now, I am going to make sure I end my Accra stint on the best note possible. God, you are good and medasi for being so patient with this sometimes stubborn child of yours....I love you.
My lao ban told a common contact that I was now back at the grindstone, head down, after a week of partying in Nigeria. I took me a while to realise he was right, I did have a super awesome time partying in Benin City, Abuja and Lagos. I got into Benin City on Easter Sunday and caught up with my close girlfriend's family. I started my Nigerian experience by boogeying to D'banj, the Kokomaster, P-Square and Rugged Man, trying to learn the latest moves from four gorgeous youngsters. The partying then continued in Abuja, where I was treated to jazz music from Sykes and Sam, which simply blew me away. They were amazing. I had so much fun. There was more partying in Lagos, chilling out with fun people and more boogeying with the same youngsters we saw in Benin City and another chance to perfect my moves. We were dancing in the car until it dropped us off at the airport. A friend in a nearby car actually saw us boogeying in the car, and he kind of did a double take, he looked at one of the youngsters and then looked at me in somewhat disbelief. But it gave me and my close gal pal a chance to spot him, get out of our car and exchange goodbyes with him. Little did my lao ban know that the partying continued in Accra over the weekend with boogeying to some cool highlife and dirty hip hop, with cool, cool people. Uwese-o, everyone, for such an awesome time! My partying days may have just returned and may be here to stay...:)
Nothing is too difficult for God/enye nyame dzen (in twi) - seen on a tro tro in Accra.
"I am nothing without God. This is my story, this is my song, to give Him praise, all the days of my life." Words from the Methodist hymn book I used during my first visit to Ridge church in Accra (a great church to be part of).
On a separate note, I love the diversity of churches in Ghana - the different styles, languages - but all worshipping God. I was in Brennu Achim, a couple of weekends ago. I attended a Catholic church, the service was conducted in Fante. A few weekends ago, I went to an amazing Pentecostal church in Gboolo Kofi, a village in the Eastern region, near Mangoase. The message and worship were simply amazing. Church that day taught me to be so grateful for everything I had and to praise God with all my heart (through dance, songs and just praising Him aloud). It also drove home the importance of having a mission and vision. And back to my "home" church, Ridge church - the bible study during the youth fellowship on Sunday afternoons is so so sound. I learn so much each time I go there and the people there are kool! And ICGC, which I attended today is full of so so talented people!! Their Dramatic Arts performers (Spirit) totally rock!! Ghana, thank you for all this - great exposure, great opportunity to meet new people and form new friendships and awesome opportunity to grow.
Oh, this is so good, eating akomfem (guinea fowl) and sipping a Golden Spark with the waves splashing against the rocks and then heading a few steps away for a little boogey with my workmates at the Osekan sea front (there's even a bar tucked away under/as part of a rather big rock - kool or what?!)....perfect, perfect way to wind down at the end of the week. Puts life into perspective. There's just so much to be enjoyed and be thankful for in life. Medasi, medasi!! Tuhan, saya cinta kamu. :)
I was told this by my "lao ban" last week. By nature, I've always liked my hand to be held, I've always preferred being in a secure and safe environment (even as I leave my twenties!!). But I am realising more and more each day, that my hand is gently held by the creator of the universe every moment of my life. But His touch feels so gentle that I sometimes forget He's there...but He is, all the time.
I had woken up late, so was initially not too worried when my usual cab driver had not arrived at the usual time. I took my time with breakfast before realising I was getting late for work. I called the driver to only find out he was "dissappointing me". I strolled outside and found a cab waiting for another guest of the guest house. The driver, Eddie, said he could take me to work as his customer, "Oga" was not ready yet. He said "Oga" was a really nice and cool guy, and was in the country to instal telecoms towers. Eddie got me to work in no time. When he dropped me off, he said I should hang out with the "boys" in the guest house sometime and check out the music bars in Osu. I said I would think about it. I said medasi Eddie, and in my head, said medasi "Oga" for letting me share Eddie this morning. I agree with Eddie "Oga", you are one kool guy.
I have always thought sharing food with people brings you closer together...I have always felt that in London, and Malaysia (my two homes to date) and sharing kenkey with my workmates in Accra for the first time a couple of weeks ago confirmed that for me. I think it is a great way of bonding with people.
I also think spending time with a person' s family also brings you a lot closer to the person. My friends in Penang (where I grew up) whom I am still close to know my parents well (and likewise, I know their families). I spent Independence Day with my workmates and some of their families - it was a great way to bond...in beautiful Akosombo.
Meet Luke, a gorgeous blonde-haired blue-eyed three year-old boy, born to a beautiful Puerto Rican mum and German dad who met in London and now live in Accra. In addition to understanding and speaking Spanish and German, Luke speaks like a proper Ghanaian boy too! Chale, isn't that kool?! I de go sleep. Moro.