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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#WBC2020 – 5 Songs that are Special and why

If you read my post on 20 facts about me, I mentioned I’ll choose to listen to gospel tunes than long sermons any day. People may have reasons for choosing to listen to music but personally, I listen to the lyrics and wonder how the musicians were able to come up with them. In this post, I’m revealing five special songs and the reason they are special to me:

1. The Blessing – There are several versions of this song and it has become so popular in this period that the world finds itself fighting an unseen enemy of covid-19. It reassures me of God’s protection.

2. Vashawn Mitchell’s Turning Around for Me – The lyrics of this song inspires me also. I, particularly, fell in love with it about two years ago when I had no job and was working feverishly to complete my Masters’ thesis. I loved this bit of the song: 🎵🎶It won’t always be like this. The Lord will perfect all that concerning me. Sooner or later, it’ll turn in my favour. It’s turning around for me.🎼

3. Travis Greene’s You made a way – 🎼When our backs were against the wall and it looked as if it was over. You made a way🎶🎼 I used to listen and get inspired by the lyrics of this song during the period when I was pushing to complete my thesis.

4. Diana Antwi Hamilton’s Yehowa Behwe – Another woman who sings to touch one’s very core. I love her brand too. She’s adding style and flare to some old gospel tunes that we already know.

5. Ed Sheeran’s Thinking out Loud – I know this is a deviation from the inspirational tunes I’ve listed above but I love love songs too. Thinking out loud is a favourite of my husband and I. We even planned to dance to it during our wedding but we did not. It still has the same effect on us the same way it did almost five years back.

Which songs are special to you and why? Share with us in the comments section.

***This is 19/22 of the #WinterABC2020. The prompt is to choose 5 songs and tell why they are special to you. ***

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#WBC2020 – ‘By the time he woke up, I was dying… (a creative story)

I walked to the washroom and saw Michael sitting on toilet, scrolling through his phone.

I folded my arms, waiting for him to notice me. He looked up and our eyes met.

“The test came out negative again, ” I said.

He got up, flushed the toilet, washed his hands and came over to give me a hug.

“Hey, it’s not your fault,” he said.

I don’t remember the number of times I had heard that statement. This is our eleventh year of marriage and I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve hoped, tried and taken those stupid pregnancy tests. They always managed to come out negative.

I wanted to scream at Michael but I couldn’t. I knew what he’d say,

“Let’s keep trusting God. He’s the one who gives children,”

I don’t blame him. Society never bothers men when married couples do not bear children. It’s always the woman’s fault.

I thought this month’s attempt at conceiving was going to yield positive results. I took the medication and the doctor reiterated that Michael and I were perfectly normal and there’ll be good news this month.

“We’ll keep trying,” Michael repeated.

I nodded just to please him. I walked to the room to call Sandra, my best friend.

“The test came out negative. Again.”

“Let’s meet at my place,” she offered.

I quickly dressed up and told Michael I needed to clear my head.

He walked over to me, gave me another hug and said,

“Take all the time you need,”

“I will,” I said with a smile.

I drove straight to Sandra’s and parked my car. The door flew opened and with wide arms, Sandra welcomed me.

I started narrating my ordeal. This isn’t the first time Sandra is hearing my trying-to-conceive story. She knew about it but her facial expression showed she wasn’t tired of hearing it.

“I have an idea,” Sandra interjected. “Do you remember Denise? She had been trying for 15 years too and she has twins now. She showed me something that worked for her,”

Sandra walked to her room and came back with a bottle.

“This is her magic potion. She testifies it had helped several women like her. Go ahead. Try it,”

I took the bottle with some level of doubt. What do I have to lose anyway? I knew Denise’s story. Who doesn’t? She keeps flaunting the twins on her Instagram page.

“Denise tells me you may feel a little drowsy an hour later after you take it. You may want to drink it while you’re at home,”

Thinking of Michael, who’ll definitely not approve of this, I drank the concoction and picked my car keys.

“I should be at home before I feel the effects of that. Thank you for everything, Sandra,” I gave my childhood best friend a quick hug and rushed to my car.

The journey was smooth till about 400 metres to my home. I started feeling the discomfort. It was in my tummy and I was sweating profusely. I stepped on the accelerator and made the journey in less than a minute.

As I turned the ignition off, I felt the most excruciating pain in my stomach. I tried to make it to the door but that was impossible. I laid on the ground and tried to shout for Michael. He was probably taking a nap. I clenched my teeth and held my stomach tightly as if that was going to make the situation better but, nothing happened. It was as if my breath was being taken out of me. My life flashed before my eyes.

This is the worst feeling I’ve ever felt. I said a prayer and my world was whirling so fast that I had to keep my eyes shut. Michael wouldn’t know the real story. By the time he woke up, I was dying…

***This is 18/22 of the #WinterABC2020. The prompt is “By the time he woke up, I was dying…Share a creative story with this line.***

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#WBC2020 – A Different Kind of Year

Unpredictability, anxiety, fear, anguish

The emotions most of us feel in 2020

Pandemic, deaths and earthquakes

Individuals are wondering what else 2020 will present

Will it ever end?

Leap years are most terrible

A new notion people are gradually accepting

Nothing seems certain

Resolutions have been put on hold

Fingers have been crossed and each day being taken at a time

Prayers are being said for this plague to pass

We are vulnerable individuals walking on the surface of the earth

If the Creator decides to pull the very ground that we are walking on, there is absolutely nothing we can do

2020 is showing the lapses in every aspect of our lives including in leadership and governance

In all of these, we are being strengthened in our faith.

Clearly showing we are indeed nothing without God’s protection.

What are you holding on to in this period?

***This is 17/22 of the #WinterABC2020. The prompt is to comment on a trending current affairs topic.***

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#WBC2020: My First Biggest Disappointment

After writing our final examinations in the senior high school, my mates and I dreamt of nothing but continuing to the University. The courses we were going to read were not as much of a problem as gaining admission.

It was with anxiety that most of us waited for the results to be released and when they finally came out, I had not performed as badly. My results could earn me a place in the University or so I thought.

My friends and I purchased the admission forms, filled them out and submitted. Again, we awaited to know if we had gained admission or not.

When the list of qualified candidates were released, my friends and I checked online. A few had gained admission and to my disappointment, I did not see my name on the list.

“Oh, they normally release a supplementary list. You have to wait for that,” my friends said.

Several days passed and there was no supplementary list with my name on it. Days turned to weeks and my friends who gained admission went to start their first semester.

That was when it dawned on me that I was not going to the University that year. I had no back-up plans. My family did not offer an alternative plan either.

As an individual in her late teens, that was perhaps, my first biggest disappointment and it lasted for several months. I had to explain to people why I was still at home while my colleagues had begun their semester. I had so many sleepless nights and I cried a lot too.

I believe I grew a lot older and wiser during that period. Looking back, I’m convinced that was definitely part of God’s plan for my life. The next year, I reapplied with the same results and amazingly, I gained admission. With determination, I began my life at the University. This time, I knew I was alone – ‘no friends, no squad.’ I knew I was solely responsible for the outcome of my four years on campus and I had to make good use of it and I believe I did exactly that.

***This is 16/22 of the #WinterABC2020. The prompt is to share something on grief, loss or healing.***

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#WBC2020 – I Dream of an Africa…

I dream of an Africa with our own form of governance.

Perhaps one that elections will not be the topmost priority.

And political slogans and ensuring a party retains power, the main agenda.

Even if there are elections, people will vote based on relevant issues and competence.

How I wish discussions will not be based on one’s political affiliation but the truth.

And public institutions will not change their bosses after a new party is elected.

How about if we are able to manage our resources well and not always go begging.

And the youth will be given equal opportunity no matter their background.

Perhaps a national development agenda could be a solution and a sense of nationalism imbibed in every individual.

I dream of that Africa.

***This is 15/22 of the #WinterABC2020. The prompt is to write about an issue which is close to your heart.***

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