The Strength & Beauty of Memories

Memories to cherish

Memories to bury

Memories so heartwarming, unforgettable and ever vivid

Stories that talk about our journey thus far.

The experiential knowledge of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

So special is this memory that it won’t be discarded.

On bended knees, there were tears and the speaking of an unknown tongue. Perhaps, shutting up would make the gift vanish.

In the shop, all alone and the beauty gushing out from deep within.

The day at the altar to say the vows

So special in all sort of ways.

Finally, we’ve found each other and are sealing it.

Looking to forever together.

The forever without challenges.

Don’t they say love will conquer all?

So hopeful were we that nothing would destroy this happiness that we had found.

Good memories which remind us of God’s faithfulness.

How about memories of the mess?

The one that is buried at the bottom of the soul where no one can access.

In the dark, with the man, doing things we know we aren’t supposed to.

Memories so dark we even wish God wouldn’t see. Even if He has seen, we pray He forgets

So shameful we try to bury.

The bad memory?

The day we got so disappointed or sad and wept bitterly.

Why me? Why us? Why him?

This had us casting out all demons and hoped they are only nightmares to which we shall soon wake up from.

Life is a journey and the beautiful gift of memory is what God has given to us.

To remind us of what He has done in the past and would do if we walk with Him.

When we were fearful, He showed up.

When we thought it was difficult, He made it happen.

In our happiest moments, His presence was there with us.

Good or bad, journal those experiences. They will serve a bigger purpose.

No matter how patchy those memories may be, they lead us to God’s bigger plan.

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Letters: To Advise or Not to Advise (IV)

Another Response to Joy by Doris Ampong

Bestie Joy,

I’m glad you girls are making room to reason with me. And I’m not surprised that you’ve been given the core responsibility of providing me with the appropriate response. You have always been the mother of the group; providing good counsel here and there and settling scores amicably amongst us.

I remember how you managed to break the iced silence between Akosua and I after several months, following our big fight over who you should pick up first from home on the day we decided to visit quiet Aba’s mum. It is funny how Akosua eventually became one of my favorites in the group. You do well with making peace.

Anyways, back to the crucial issue. Yes, I did say that my able counsellors warned Yaw and I to cut off all external parties or binding friendships. They might not have meant doing that in totality. However, they were clear that Yaw and I should keep to ourselves most of the time. We were encouraged to be our own best friend and enjoy our company. During those counselling sessions, the core of the advice was to make each other our priority above anything or anybody; even our parents. Their assertions were anchored on the famous marriage scripture that says ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh Gen 2:24 (NKJV)’. It was as though our counsellors knew I did a lot of hanging out with the girls; hence they being fierce and strict on me.

I did listen to them during those sessions but did not think I was going to follow through. I felt Yaw and I had our individual lives which should not be compromised because of marriage.

However, reality set in when we moved in together as husband and wife. There was not enough time on our hands; especially my hands to want to step out with the girls. You remember God blessed us with a seed three months after marriage and the whole process; coupled with corporate and church work was time consuming. The process is another story for some other time.

Yaw did have a large number of groomsmen and was all over the place during our wedding. His seemingly ‘all over the place’ attitude and non-stop dancing during the wedding is a mystery I’m still trying to solve considering the fact that he is a very quiet and private person. With the large groomsmen, his co-workers who by some luck heard in advance that he was about getting married were extremely happy. They could not believe that Yaw’s ‘mouth had finally sang’ (made a proposal) and so they all wanted to be part of his great day as groomsmen. At a point, I had to literally beg some of them to drop off as groomsmen due to the large number. He may have gathered the courage to dance his heart out during the wedding knowing that he had achieved a great feat for himself (making a proposal).

After the wedding, I never heard him talk about the groomsmen, left alone to want to step out with them. And that’s where the difficulty lies for me. He is always home; if not for work or church.

Like I mentioned in my previous letter, he is understanding and so will make time one of these days so that we can have an unforgettable sitting or trip.

Dearest Joy, keep the group strong and going; do not cross me out of the circle. I love you all very much,

Ama

**Doris Ampong is the writer of this 👆🏾 and the second letter in this series. You can follow her on Twitter @dorampgh

Letters: To Advise or Not to Advise (III)

Dear Ama,

We have received your letter and I was given the responsibility of providing you with the appropriate response.

After reading through your reply, the girls and I have decided to offer you a grace period and whether we accept you into our circle, will depend on the answers you provide.

You raised a few issues which boggled our minds, especially, with regards to the pieces of advice provided to you and Yaw during your marriage counselling sessions.

Did your counsellors really say you should cut off your friends and all external parties? All because you’re married? Are you really happy to do that? Will you follow through with this advice? You really scared us when you said you (the woman) will be blamed if something goes wrong in this union. 🤦🏾‍♀️

You also mentioned Yaw did not have a lot of friends. During the wedding, he did not strike us as an individual who kept to himself, looking at the number of groomsmen who followed him and his dance moves during the wedding. We all had the impression he was outgoing. Or is he currently following the advice of your marriage counsellors? 🤷🏿‍♀️

Your response to this letter is very crucial. It’ll inform the girls and I on our next step of action. We look forward to hearing from you.

The leader of the pack,

Joy

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Letters: To Advise or Not to Advise (II)

A response to Joy by Doris Ampong

Dear Best friend Joy,

Your letter has been duly received. I must say that I’m not surprised to read the contents of it. I’m not surprised because I always read the look on your faces whenever I try to excuse myself to attend to my family needs.

Was I expecting a letter like that from you girls? Probably!
Am I hurt to have read that you girls are bailing out on our beautiful friendship? Yes.

Truth is that I miss you girls a lot too. I miss our long hours of chit chatting, stepping out to have fun especially at the movies where we get to put ourselves in the shoes of the movie characters and have long debates about how we would have behaved if we were them. I miss our cooking parties where each of us will prepare a particular dish and we will have a food-festival and eat as though we have been warned of an impending famine; lol.

But the reality is that I have entered a new phase of life where I do not get to make decisions just for me. There is now a second person whom I have to consider whenever I make any decision. Decisions that I make now need to bear him in mind.

What makes it difficult for me to maneuver through this is that, during our counselling sessions, my husband and I were told to cut off all external parties or friends and concentrate on building one between us. Our seemingly old, mature and knowledgeable counsellors told us to keep to ourselves and enjoy our own company. Especially for me, as the woman, they were hard and strict. They warned me to stop all these hanging-out-with-friends thingy and concentrate on building my home. The simple reason was that anything that goes wrong with the marriage will be blamed on me; as the woman.

This ‘warning’ has placed a heavy burden on me and so I try as much as possible to be with my husband and kids and build my home. Unfortunately, my husband Yaw, does not have any friends that he hangs out with. He is always at home. This makes it difficult to leave him behind at home and hang out with you girls. I know our party will not be the same should I come along with him. We may not be able to have as much fun as we will want to and talk our hearts out as we always do.

Yaw is an understanding person; and so I hope to convince him one of these days so that we girls can go for our Aburi trip which never materialized.

Please hold on to this friendship. You girls should not break the bond. I have you all at heart and I know that one day, we will get to be together like old times.

I love you all;

Sincerely, Ama.

Letters: To Advise or Not to Advise (I)

Dear Ama,

Ever since you walked down the aisle some 15 months ago, I have noticed some changes in your attitude. Particularly, the manner in which you relate with us (your single/unmarried friends). Interestingly, I am not the only one who has seen these changes. Every girl in the group agrees with my observation including quiet Aba.

You are no longer as fun to be with. Every joke we crack in your presence is met by a piece of advice from you. Seriously, most of us do not enjoy your friendship anymore and the way you turn down our requests is becoming so annoying.

“Let’s go and dance,”

“I must go and prepare dinner,” you respond.

“Can we hang out at the movies,”

“I need to go pick hubby’s clothes from the laundry,” you reply.

“Do you want to attend her wedding,”

“This weekend is tight. The kids need to be picked up from their grandparents. I’m sorry. I’ll make it up to you,”

Excuses. Excuses. You now see the reason most of us keep our distance?

Yes, I know I’m single and I have single people’s problems. My priorities may be my career, my hair and clothes and oh, having as much fun as possible before I ‘settle down.’ Thank you for reminding me of that every time.

We don’t need you as an advisor (I’m speaking on behalf of the other girls) just because you have said some vows at the altar.

Hahaha.

Your attitude these days make me laugh. I laugh at you, at us and what our friendship has become. The sham we’ve been calling a friendship. I’m not bitter. No. But I’ve advised myself and I’m calling it quits. You can break the news to your family or keep it to yourself.

Let me leave you so you go take care of your matrimonial home since, we, the single ones do not have much to do. 😒

Your once-best-friend,

Joy

Book Review: Francine Rivers’ ‘Unshaken’

Francine Rivers’ Unshaken is a biblical historical fiction about Ruth and Naomi. This book has made me develop some kind of love for the genre and after reading the book, I took some time to carefully study the book of Ruth in the Bible. Thanks to Unshaken, I saw the biblical passage in a different light.

The fictional aspect of the story implied there were some additions made by the author to, perhaps, make the story lengthier and ensure it flows more seamlessly.

I’m not surprised the Bible did not speak about Ruth’s visit to her wealthy parents and their inability to convince her to return to them in case Mahlon dies. Unshaken also presented Naomi as a grumpy woman who tried a little too hard to discourage Ruth from taking the journey with her. The Bible did not speak about Ruth and Naomi going to live in a cave when they arrived at Bethlehem.

I believe these additions were necessary to make the story more fluid. Of course, as typical of Francine Rivers, she found ways of making the love between Ruth and Boaz more romantic than what was described in the Bible.

The 183-page also had a sessions with questions for further studies. The book did live up to its expectations of making readers understand the Ruth-Naomi relationship and how that led to the marriage between Ruth and Boaz and ultimately, situating that into the genealogy of Jesus Christ.

The story of Ruth, to me, describes that of endurance and placing all of one’s worries and difficulties right at the doorstep of God. It also makes one want to relax, make time to listen to God and take one day as and when they come. I think I underestimated the book when I saw it but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

*A big thanks to Booktiquegh for organising their anniversary giveaway which enabled me win this book (prize). I wouldn’t forget this prize since this is actually my first time of reading and possessing a biblical historical fiction.

Time

Time, like change, is a constant in our lives.

It keeps moving whether we’re ready or not.

Time allows for growth.

Time heals wounds.

It provides answers to the most pressing questions while giving us the experience we seek.

Time reveals our true identity and the faces behind the masks we all wear sometimes.

With time, you can either grow rich or poor or, stronger or weaker or, wiser or foolish.

Time can be meaningless without a purpose, plan or prayer.

Patience is the product of time.

With time, expectations are either met or denied.

Do not treat time as if it does not matter, for every second of the day contributes to your life on earth.

Allow time to give you strength, to teach you and to provide you with better perspective to situations.

For indeed, it is only with time that we can all tell.

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#WBC2020 – Wrapped Up

It’s been almost of two months of participating in a challenge that is supposed to last for a month. 🤭I’m glad I took part because the #wbc2020 did not only provide me with topics to blog about consistently but it readily gave me loads of readers and followers who are currently my ‘blog supporters.’ I’ve discovered some new blogs too.

Even though most of the topics were challenging to write about, my favourite (to read from other bloggers) was the creative writing piece where we were to write a story that ended with, “when he woke up, I was dying.” That was a great day in the challenge.

Shoutouts to all the bloggers who participated – you gave us amazing content to engage with and a big thanks to the Afrobloggers for organising this year’s challenge. They took time to like and retweet all posts during the challenge, helping to promote our blogs. We are definitely looking forward to #wbc2021. Oh and you can follow them on Twitter @afrobloggers.

Allow me to display my badge 😅

***This is 22/22 of the #WinterABC2020. The prompt is to wrap up on the challenge.***

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#WBC2020 – How to Support Brands on Social Media

Using social media tools, in my line of work, have revealed the competitiveness, indifference of some followers and the various tactics or tricks used by individuals and brands. These attitudes, sometimes, kill the spirit of a brand and this post aims to suggest some of the ways we can show love and encouragement to each other in this virtual world:

1. Let’s focus on the Overall Goal

This point is aimed at brands/individuals that share similar goals. For example, bloggers – we all aim to constantly get individuals to read our posts, thus, let’s not hesitate to support one another by clicking on links to other blogs to read, comment, like and share.

This is what is expected but that is not always the case. On Instagram, in particular, individuals and brands tend to swarm on a page when there is fresh content. They follow, like both the post and page, astronomically increasing the number of followership and when the page administrator is not looking, the number of followers drop drastically.

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I’m not too certain why people follow to unfollow but that is not a good practice.

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2. Let’s Show Kindness

Creating content consistently is not easy, therefore, do not take those in this space for granted. If they are redirecting you to products, follow the link and buy. If they come out with books, please buy them. If they recommend products, ensure you take a look. This is a way of supporting this skill.

3. Let’s Show Support

Let’s help one another so we are able to achieve our overall goals. There may be individuals and brands who may not necessarily be in your niche but are using their platforms to push worthy causes – let’s give them the push.

On WordPress, let’s follow other blogs, let’s read, like and comment on each other’s posts. On Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter – let’s support one another by liking, remaining loyal followers and commenting on each others’ posts. Let’s avoid seeing each other as competitors but rather one big community promoting different causes.

This post was originally written on 23rd February 2018 and titled 3 Ways to Show Love on Social Media.

***This is 21/22 of the #WinterABC2020. The prompt is to recycle an old post and bring it back to life.***

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#WBC2020 – How I met my Husband while Covering an Event

Saturdays are meant for relaxing especially if you’re a student at the University and a volunteer for a campus radio station. You always looked forward to the weekend to prepare and eat good meals, catch up on your sleep as well as spend time with your roommates. Other students preferred to go home so I wasn’t particularly excited when our news editor asked me to go cover a programme. The programme was being organised by medical students who had offered biological science but were currently offering medicine. The event, that day, was meant to mentor biological science students/medical-school hopefuls on how they could also get into medical school.

Looking at the weather, which was warm and all the sacrifices I was making in order to be at that programme that Saturday afternoon, I was not enthused at all.

At the event, which had a good attendance, I found a place to sit, brought out my recorder, pen and notebook and started taking notes. Whenever I raised my head, I saw the MC of the event looking straight at me. I started frowning and it seemed I did that throughout the event but I made sure to gather my story.

The programme was enlightening even for me who was not a medical-school hopeful. It ended with participants gathering to take photos. I gathered my tools and started to leave when the MC approached me to introduce himself. The same guy that got me frowning throughout the entire event. He asked whether I wanted to stay for refreshment and my answer was no. I thanked him and wished him the best.

Before leaving, I stopped to speak to another medical student who was my classmate from senior secondary school. I had interviewed him a week (on another show) prior to this event. I promised to keep in touch.

How excited I was to be walking back to my hostel to go enjoy the rest of my Saturday.

About a week later, I received a call from an unknown number and when I answered it was the MC of the event I had attended.

“I got your number from …. I saw you speaking to him after the programme and I knew how I could contact you.”

I was shocked even when my classmate from senior high had given me prior notice that he was giving my phone number to the MC. I did not frown. This time, I was very polite and we spoke for a few minutes, basically introducing ourselves and we hanged up. He started calling every Saturday to “check up on me.”

Initially (and erroneously), I thought medical students had no social life and perhaps, this guy wanted a friend in a different circle. That was the main reason I decided to be friends with him. Another reason was because he just listened. He’d call, ask one question and I would talk and talk.

The calls became more frequent. He could even call and say he was going for a wedding.🤷🏿‍♀️

We became good friends and one thing led to the other and the rest they say is history. Actually, we are married now and we’ve been married for almost five years and met at the event in October, 2010.

***This is 20/22 of the #WinterABC2020. The prompt is to share about a life-changing event you once attended.***

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