The Dean’s Office (Part 4)

Read Part 3 of the Dean’s Office.

“Those guys at the back. Yes – one is in a red shirt, the other is in a blue-checkered shirt and the third is in ermm – that should be black or is it a deep blue short sleeved shirt. Don’t look back. I’m talking to the three of you. What’s funny?” I asked.

“Madam, please it’s nothing,” the one in the blue-checkered shirt responded.

“Since the three of you are excited to be in my class this morning, I’m certain you have an answer to my question,” I said. “Explain the concept and features of Value-Base Management.”

After a little bit of hesitation, the one in the black short sleeves stood up.

“Madam, please, Value-Based Management (VBM) for short, is the management philosophy and approach that enables and supports maximum value creation in organisations, typically the maximum of shareholder value. VBM encompasses the processes for creating, managing and …”

“Awesome. That’s wonderful. I think this young man deserves a clap. What is your name?” I asked.

“Madam, please I am Nana,” he responded.

I could still hear some murmurings and giggles from his friends.

“I cherish students who take time to go through the course outline and read ahead of the class. Nana that is five (5) additional marks for class participation,”

“Thank you, madam,” he responded. He whispered something to his friends which drew more laughter from them.

“Some of you would never touch the course outline till it’s revision week and I am waiting to mark your exam scripts,” I said, attracting laughter from the entire class.

“You’re laughing. Don’t forget I’ve also been a student once and I’ve been lecturing for close to six years. I know what you do with my course outline and as Nana rightly described, Value-Based Management or VBM for short is a management philosophy…”

********************************

The Dean’s Office

“Do you not respond to calls or call back when you miss calls,” Francis enquired.

“Hello, Francis. What a nice way to acknowledge my presence.” I responded.

“Did your phone display my attempt at reaching you?” Francis continued.

“Who calls a married woman at 11 pm? Were you expecting me to respond? Besides, I did not save your number on my phone the other day. Let’s just assume I did not know it was you,”

“I take it that you do not answer calls from numbers you do not know. What if it’s an emergency?”

“What if my husband had answered the call? What would you have said it was? An emergency from a colleague at work? At 11 pm? Congratulations Dr. Smith. That was smart,” I said, beginning to lose my cool.

With that, I walked away leaving Francis on the corridor. I took the shortest route back to my office before causing a scene. Immediately I sat, I heard a knock on my door.

“Come in,” I said.

“It was not my intention to call so late but I have tried, unsuccessfully, to get thoughts of you out of my head. I find you attractive,” Francis began immediately he entered my office.

“Dr. Smith, what exactly do you want from me? ” I said with all the calmness I could gather.

“I would love to get to know you better if you would give me the chance,”

“Know me better? In what sense?”

“Is it possible for us to be fffriends? Which could lead into a relationship? Possibly?” he asked.

“Wow! Wow! That is enough. Can you leave my office?”

“We can start by getting to know each other better. I promise to behave myself till you decide whether you want to leave your husband and be with me or not,”

“This is the most ridiculous statement I’ve heard my entire life. Dr. Smith, please leave my office and I mean it this time,” I said, while I stood up to prepare to escort him out. The audacity. This man is too bold.

“I can’t seem to get you out of my mind. Just think about my proposal and give me a call when you have a response,” Dr. Smith said before leaving my office.

…….to be continued.

©

Photo Source: Pixabay

Birthday Musings

“Mummy, when will it be my birthday?”

This is a popular question my four-year-old daughter keeps asking almost every time she hears the word ‘birthday’ and I believe it comes with being born in November and seeing almost everyone celebrate theirs before yours.

When I was much younger, I anticipated my birthdays too and that got me giddy whenever it was approaching. Birthdays then, were more of a time to eat special meals and get extra money from my guardians. Years later, birthdays meant receiving and responding to wishes over the phone and on social media. Some of the messages on social media did make me feel exceptionally special and I never wanted the day to end.

About seven years ago, I deleted my birth date from Facebook, LinkedIn and all other social media platforms and I was stunned at how quiet my birthday was. I received birthday messages from two very close friends and my family. The two friends wrote messages on the Whatsapp group pages that we belonged to and that generated more wishes and that was it. I enjoyed the peace that came with that birthday and I left the settings on the social media pages as such. That gave birth to my new way of celebrating my birthdays.

My preference for quiet birthdays has even heightened the more as I grow and a cousin who also celebrates his birthday in June (a few days before mine) always comments,

“Birthdays are indications that you are drawing closer to the grave.” This sounds funny by when you think about it, it is true. My preference for quiet birthdays in recent times do not imply I sit the whole days and reflect on my death. Mostly on my birthdays, I eat cake, go to dinner or make dinner myself and eat with the family and the newest activity is to generally spend time reflecting and praying.

In these quiet moments, I begin to appreciate what God has done for me in the past year and I start to look forward to the new year (age). One of the areas that I cannot thank God enough is how much I have grown – not in physical terms – but in maturity and within my spirit. I have learned to be appreciative of who I am as an individual, what I stand for and where God wants me to be. I have learned to be comfortable in my skin and to enjoy my own company. I am more forgiving. I can withstand very challenging situations without giving up on my faith (which wasn’t so in the past) and I love myself more.

On this day as I celebrate a little over three decades of life on earth, it is my prayer that God continues to preserve my life as He takes me through another 365 days of getting to know Him some more.

How do you normally celebrate your birthdays? Has it changed over time? Do share.

©

The Dean’s Office (Part 3)

Read Part 2 of the Dean’s Office

“Your phone is ringing,” I heard Jimmy from the bathroom.

“Please, who is it?” I shouted back.

“The number is not saved on your phone but Truecaller says it’s F. Smith,”

“Why would he be calling me this late?” I asked, more to myself than to Jimmy.

“Who is that?” Jimmy shouted, “Should I answer?”

I quickly dashed to the bedroom and almost snatched the phone from Jimmy’s hands. He looked up surprised.

“No, you do not need to answer that,” I said, almost out of breath.

The call went off before I could decide on whether to answer or not and when I looked up, Jimmy still had the surprised look on his face.

“Did you have to snatch the phone like that? Who was that and why was he/she calling you this late?”

“It’s nobody you know and I am not really sure of the identity of the caller. Truecaller does not always get the id right,” I answered as I regulated the temperature of the air condition, turned off the bedside lamp, went under the covers and prepared to go to sleep.

“Ok,” Jimmy said, not sounding convinced. I heard the ruffling of the sheets and felt him draw a little closer to me. He raised himself a little and kissed me gently. I felt his hand on my thigh too.

“Not tonight, dear. I feel so exhausted and I have a long day tomorrow,” I said.

“It’s been long since we got intimate,”

“I am sorry but I will make it up to you. I promise,”

I gave him a peck on the forehead and turned to face the wall.

Ha! Francis. That man is shady. Calling me at 23:00 GMT. I wonder what he wants. The last time in my office, he said he only passed by to see my pretty face and to take my phone number. How weird? Even though I acted annoyed, I felt flattered. That man has the guts and is not afraid to show it. I can still remember the smell of his perfume.

Oh, sleep! Where are you?

*************************************

The Dean’s Office

Waking up early to attend lectures as early as 7:30 am is not fun, especially when the taps are not running. We either have to carry our buckets to the ladies part of the hall to fetch water or go for the lecture without taking our baths. Boys do not complain much when they have to go through this ritual, on Tuesdays, when Dr. Osei is taking Corporate Finance.

“That woman is fine. Her! I swear,” Nana said, while we made our way from the ladies side of the hall to the bathroom.

“She pretends to be strict but I know underneath that show she puts up, she is all soft like wool,” Kojo responded

“She is so pretty and could easily pass for one of our mates in Level 200,” Percy added, when they had all started to take their baths.

“It’s her natural hair for me,” Keli commented.

“I think she is the whole package that is why I am putting in extra effort to not only pass her exam but to make it onto her honours’ list. You know she takes the two best students in her class for dinner each semester,” Nana said dreamily.

“I hear she is married with about five kids or so. Make sure you are not entertaining any thoughts,” Percy reminded Nana.

“That is not my problem. I could be her side guy or even a servant in her house so I could gaze at her beauty every single day,” Nana said while rubbing his hand on his belly and licking his lips at the same time.

His friends burst out laughing.

“Isn’t she the reason you all picked your buckets, walked several kilometres to fetch water just to look fresh? If it was a male lecturer, would you all have gone to these lengths?” Nana asked.

This drew more laughter from the friends.

“Masa (Master), it’s true that the woman is fine but we all don’t have a crush on her like you. Yours is not even a crush, you have fallen for her,” Kojo said in between laughs.

“But Charlie guys! Through fair of foul means, I need to make it onto that list. I will not only make it onto that list but will go further to be her side guy. In fact, who will come make we bet?” Nana asked.

…….to be continued.

©

Book Review: Janette Oke’s Love Comes Softly

Love Comes Softly, authored by Janette Oke, is a historical fiction featuring young Marty and her husband Clem who set off to the West (America) to find a better life. Unfortunately, Clem dies shortly and on the day of his burial, Clark proposes to Marty. Clark is a widower who was searching for a ‘Mama’ for his one-year daughter. Marty, who had almost nothing, was left with no choice but to follow Clark and be a mummy to Missie and if she did not like it, would head back to the East. Talk of a marriage of convenience.

The Setting

The book took readers to several centuries in the past when people lived in cabins, had farms, reared animals for their food and used horses as means of transportation. As a reader, I could picture the small cabin that Marty had to live in with Clark and her daughter and how the place could freeze during the winter and be warm during the other seasons. I appreciated the communal living where the neighbours aided each other in their activities, for instance, to clear their lands for cultivation, to build cabins or quench a fire. There was that sense of togetherness that existed among them. Although some were portrayed as extremely poor, they still managed to visit each other and present gifts when the need arose. The simplicity of life in those centuries was refreshing to read about.

Clark

Clark was introduced as a good Christian man who ‘never beats’ his wife. His ways of showing love in the book were mainly through acts of service and being generous. He did not talk much but took Marty in, gave her the space she needed to function and figure things out without forcing anything on her. He eventually became a father to Clem’s son and he did that so well.

Marty

She is the main character of the book and the story is woven around her. She was initially sad, became confused, hated Clark in the beginning for having the guts to propose to her while she mourned her husband and eventually had to learn a lot about housekeeping, cooking and being a mum. The portion of the book which got me chuckling was when she felt she could kill a rooster for dinner but did not imagine how difficult and daunting that task could be.

The Bad

The conversational language used by the characters was a bit difficult to read and understand. The accent was quite heavy, making me skip a few of those lines.

Spoiler Alert: The portion I found a little puzzling was when Clark (although married to Marty) never made any sexual advances towards Marty in all of the 149-page book. How?  🤔  I know he was a Christian and all but for a book like this, Clark should have ‘attempted something.’  🙈🙈  On the other hand, that makes the book quite clean and could be consumed by younger readers.

The Good

What later became the love that had developed between Marty and Clark was simply beautiful. It was not based on beauty, mushy feelings and butterflies but could be described as genuine love. It was deliberate, portrayed kindness, patience, care and real affection that had been cultivated for almost two years.

Love Comes Softly is not preachy and that is how readers get to know more about the birth of Christ, Easter and how to navigate through life’s challenges without giving up (when Clark’s barn got burnt). It also emphasises the Christian’s lifestyle and its ability to influence others. That is also portrayed in how Clark eventually got Marty interested in the God he worshipped.

©

The Dean’s Office (Part 2)

Read part 1 of the Dean’s Office.

Our home hasn’t been the most peaceful in recent times. It started when Shirley took that senior lecturing role at the University. The money she earns is not bad but we miss her presence at home – the kids and me. It was not as if we were doing terribly -financially- before she took that role. We were comfortably living on my salary and no one complained but you know women,

“Oh Jimmy, I need to progress further in my career. I can’t live on your earnings alone. I need to support the house too,” she said.

I knew a lot of lecturers who had very flexible work schedules and spent most of their waking moments consulting for firms but not Shirley. She is always the first to leave the house and the last to return at night. Her excuses were numerous,

“Oh. You know the Accra traffic – I needed to beat it,”

“The children can be a nuisance at times and my office is the most conducive for the articles I am reviewing,”

The children. They keep asking of their mother who is extremely busy beating all the traffic in Accra. I missed those days when she had no job in any formal setting. During that period, we had no business thinking of employing any helps for the house.

Now my advice for men who are doing extremely well – don’t let the women work, especially when the kids are still young. If she pretends to be angry, let her be. She will get over it in no time. Don’t fall for the, “Oh! I need to support the house” mantra.

“Jimmy, things will get better in no time,” Shirley reassures me whenever I start complaining about the limited time she spends with the family. As to when the situation would improve, I have no idea.

You know what? Now I need a drink.

*******************

This morning, I couldn’t help but reminisce over how drastically my life has changed. From an unemployed graduate and a mother of three, who solely relied on her husband’s income while spending every waking moment writing applications, praying over them and sending them out without any response. This happened until one of my former roommates encouraged me to apply for a scholarship which I did. Jimmy, my husband, had been the only stumbling block but I managed to push him aside.

The journey has not been easy thus, when I sit in my brand new Mazda CX -30, driving around campus, I know I deserve every bit of goodness that is coming my way. I could sometimes feel the stares of not only the students but members of faculty who probably do not understand what I have been through and I am determined to rise through the ranks. Being a professor wouldn’t be enough. Professor Emerita? Possibly.

A knock on my door jostled me out of my daydream.

“Come in,” I said.

“Dr. Osei, please my name is Bernice. I am having issues with the topic I chose for my long essay. I cannot seem to find any articles to review,” she said.

“That is why I keep repeating that you students need to start the literature review before settling on a topic. What if no one has written on that subject? Are you going to spend your remaining three months in school creating something new?” I asked.

Another knock interrupted our conversation and before I could respond to it, Dr. Francis Smith, looking all manly, walks into my office without an invitation.

“Erm,” I said looking at the student.

“Bernice,” she offered.

“Yes. Bernice. Kindly write the topic you have chosen here. Add your phone number and email address and I will get in touch with some ideas, ok?”

“Thank you, Madam. Eh. Dr. Osei,” she responded and hurriedly run out of the office.

“Great. And how can I be of help to you, Dr. Smith?” I asked while finally focusing all of my attention on him. Dr. Smith looked exceptionally handsome in his neatly sewn multi-coloured African print shirt with navy-blue pants that fitted him so well. The sleeves were short enough to show his proportionately built muscles. With my desk separating the two of us, he bent over a little which gave me a glimpse of his hairy chest. I could smell his perfume too.

“Ahem,” I cleared my throat rather loudly, “do you mind taking a seat, Dr. Smith.”

He did, rather reluctantly.

“You showed me how to get to your office but forgot to add your phone number,”

“So you came all the way here for my phone number?” I asked in disbelief.

“And to see your pretty face as well,” he added with a smile.

“Excuse me?” I replied. Not sure if I heard him correctly.

…….to be continued.

©

Guest Post: How to Make Time for God as a Mother

The journey of motherhood is definitely a crazy one! A friend once asked me, “What makes parenting difficult?”.

My response was, “Raising another human whilst trying to figure out your own life.” Perfectly summarised right?

If, as mothers, we struggle with mommy guilt and making time for ourselves, how do we then ensure we create that time to consistently work on our spiritual and personal relationship with the Father Almighty?

Today, OMT’s Digest and The Christian Blog Ghana will share some tips to help you stay on top of your God game as a mother.

  1. Be open-minded about how you spend time with God.

Sitting in a chair and imagining God seated opposite you can also be prayer. You can talk to Him in the bathroom or whilst cooking in the kitchen. Covid has taught us that even church can be virtual. We revere Him but He also says we should come to Him anytime with no strict rules laid down. Don’t allow society to create false rules for you. It’s a personal relationship and the mode of the relationship lies with the parties involved. Even in thoughts, you can still maintain that personal relationship with God.

Don’t limit yourself!

  • Check your schedule and find what works for you.

It could be the first 4 minutes before everyone is up, the time you settle in at work before the official work start time of 8am and it could be on the road to work which is even much preferred if you have your own mode of transportation. This is because you can have a morning devotion session in the car with the kids on the way to school drop-offs and you know who can be your best accountability partner? YOUR KIDS!

Once you find that time, proceed to create a routine out of it.

  • The strength of your prayer is not dependent on the length.

Not everyone is a prayer warrior. Some are gifted to pray in tongues and be deeply engulfed in the spirit for a longer period. Praying for a shorter period doesn’t make you any less of a child of God. Picture it as this, God has many children, and some are introverts and other extroverts. Some would meditate deep in their hearts and others will prefer to speak aloud. Even with our kids they all have their unique personality traits but we accept them as they are and still make time to listen to them.

Use the style that works best for you.

  • Supplement and develop yourself with spiritual audio teachings and music.

Worship and praise music and teachings can all help to develop your relationship with God. Mensa Otabil, Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen and Stevn Furtick and others all have podcasts you can subscribe to on a daily or weekly basis for FREE. These teachings can help build you up in your spiritual journey. And on days you are short of words, the music helps fill in the words for you.

One app that I find useful and would recommend to every mother is the YouVersion. This app has different devotionals on whatever topic you can think of – be it on anxiety, worry, fear, taking care of children, pregnancy journey etc. You can select a time to receive reminders to have your quiet time and what even makes it better is the audio option, thus you don’t need to read all the time. One of my favourite parts is the option it gives to users to record their prayers. Tracking your prayers and matching them to their answers, over time, teaches you to trust in God always.  

Being a mother and taking care of the home plus managing a career or business could be extremely overwhelming and if care is not taken, God, prayer and quiet times could easily be relegated to the background. It is therefore important to make a conscious effort to spend some quality time with God in a day. As stated above, the duration is not as important and the quality. You could be cooking your meals and praying or doing your laundry and be singing your hymns and spiritual songs. They are all ways of communicating to God.

Hope these tips are useful and don’t pass judgement on yourself before you try out any of these tips. Tell us how this post served you. Is there any tip we missed in the post? We would love to hear from you. Let us know in the comment section.

When Life Takes an Expected Turn

When life takes an expected turn

Towards what you never dreamt of

Or in the direction of the most dreadful

The dream that you almost swore was a vision from God which you have invested so much – shattering right before your own eyes

The battle for good health and the expenditure on costly medication with no improvement in sight

The death of a loved one who has been at the center of your prayers for several months

You almost swore that particular prayer was going to be answered.

Almost

Yet life takes an unexpected turn.

Your biggest fear unfolds right before your eyes.

When you stand to pray, there may be seeds of doubts.

Should you continue to trust and battle in prayer?

Or relax and let things be.

As they say, ‘que sera, sera

It sounds attractive to let life unfold in the direction of what or whoever.

No. Amidst your troubles, there is always that pleasant reminder of God’s goodness.

There could be a couple

Look hard – around and within

There is always an answered prayer that could be your focus when life takes the unexpected turn

Do not pile up all the bad stories to make you feel more miserable

The devil enjoys it when your heart is doubtful

Even in the most heart-wrenching situation, there is always that wind of God’s goodness blowing.

Learn to fix your eyes and heart on the good in trying times

Take each day as it comes

Cry if you feel like

Continue praying and make God’s promises your pivot.

The situation gets better and the unexpected circumstance becomes bearable.

©

The Dean’s Office (Part 1)

I know movies can be dramatic and are designed to entertain us.

“This scene is unrealistic,”

“That is too much of a coincidence,”

“The world is too large for these two to keep meeting,”

These are some of the commentary my brain runs when I sit to watch movies.

I had never set my eyes on him until the dean introduced us during one of the faculty meetings. He was tall, fair and properly dressed in a coffee brown Italian, slim-fit suit, a white shirt underneath and brown shoes to match. He seemed to have good taste in fashion.

“Dr. Osei, meet Francis Smith(PhD). He is the newest addition to the Business School. He will lecture in Finance,” the dean said.

“Pleased to meet you, Dr. Smith,” I said with my hands lifted to meet his in a firm handshake.

The two of us sat across the dean to discuss the course structure. We were still going to lecture for ten weeks, conduct interim assessments, give the students one project work to be executed in a group and finally examine them at the end of semester.

“I am glad you will be working together to make this semester a successful one,” the dean said. “But Francis, keep it strictly professional. She is definitely not your type and she is married.”

The dean said while sharing a hearty laugh with Dr. Smith.

I couldn’t tell how far their friendship went but I was simply not interested in where this joke was headed.

I packed my notebook into my bag and quickly made my way to the door of the dean’s office.

“Let’s just say I haven’t grown out of my boyish desires,” I heard Dr. Smith respond with another loud laughter which rang through the office and was followed by another handshake.

This Francis guy or Dr. Smith was good looking and God knows he looked great in that suit. Many women would definitely kill to date him but who really is Dr. Francis Smith?

*******************

My sense of style cannot be described as classy or chic or trendy. I dress to feel comfortable and on regular days, I wear my African print dresses and my natural hair is always pulled up in a bun.

Today, I am dressed in a crisp white long sleeves with a navy blue body con skirt and a three-inch high heel. This is how I dress whenever I needed to represent the Business School at meetings off-campus. The dean offered me his spot at a high level meeting with some government officials and I had to look, act and speak the part. No wonder most of the participants wanted to interact with me right after the meeting.

I needed to grab some breakfast from the Senior Staff Cafeteria before heading over to the dean’s to debrief.

“There you are,”

A voice behind me made me turn and it belonged to no other than Dr. Smith. What do they say about coincidences again?

“Hi,”

“I haven’t set my eyes on you since we had that meeting at the dean’s office. We’re supposed to work together, you know,”

His eyes moved from my face, down to my little cleavage and they rested on my skirt before making their way to my eyes again.

“You could have have simply asked the dean for that information,” I said.

“You know, why don’t we sit at the table in the corner and have a little chat. The waitress could serve us,” he said.

“Second floor, Lecture Theatre 5, Room 7. You can find me there,” I said quickly while picking my meal and leaving the cafeteria.

…..to be continued

©

Can I Write?

Uncertainty is what fills my heart

Confusion clouds my mind

Should I write?

It’s been a while and I doubt if I still have the power

That ability to touch lives with my creativity

To put those thoughts into words and pour it out as I used to

The pressures of life so overwhelming that they make me want to stay away and give more excuses.

When I know I should push myself a little more and create those beautiful pieces.

Procrastination, laziness, lack of time, self-doubt, nobody would miss me – were my justifications.

But I felt the guilt and the envy which prevented me from interacting with other content creators who were still pushing it.

How are they able to create? Even when we are unsure of our level of impact and the level of motivation so low.

Maybe they have super-powers that prevent them from giving up.

Gradually the envy metamorphosed to admiration.

I began to appreciate the tenacity of fellow bloggers who never rest and keep churning beautiful pieces so consistently.

They are the real MVPs

The break was good but deep down, I knew I had to get back to one of the most liberating passions – to create, to write and to touch lives with words.

©

God: Can we Have Moment?

It’s a new year.

Another cycle – a fresh start – for some people who have loads of dreams, hopes and aspirations.

Others are confused. They are not sure whether to reduce their expectations, judging from what they experienced last year.

2020 was a little tumultuous, thus, in this new year, we ask for good health for every member of our families, loved ones and even those we do not know.

We pray for wisdom and direction to take each day at a time.

We pray for guidance to know what to do in every situation.

We pray for knowledge to ascertain which voice is yours.

In this new year, please respond to at least one of the most pertinent desires of everyone.

Help us to be good people

Teach us to love one another and to keep our faith in you instead of our abilities.

As you have taken us through a challenging year, we believe this year will be much better.

We trust in you.