Year-end Musings

I know I’ve been rather sporadic in my blogging habits lately, but it’s with good reason, at least in my opinion. I just seem to have had so much going on in my life the last few weeks.

As I sit here watching the clock inch purposefully towards another year, I’m amazed at how fast 2008 seems to have flown by. Why is that anyway? Why do we always express surprise at the fast passage of time? Every single year since time began has lasted the same exact number of days, give or take one (aka leap year). So what makes one year seem to fly by? Or is it true that that only happens when you get older?

What a year it’s been on every level: personally, nationally, globally… There’ll never be another year like this one, for good or for bad. As I muse over the events of this year and wonder what the next has in store, I find myself distilling the issues of life to a few essentials, not in any specific order:

PEACE: in the midst of the storms of life, this is a must-have and thankfully, when I need it the most, it’s a “do-have”

HEALTH: no matter how much one has, if you’re not healthy, it’s no fun

LOVE: To love and be loved…there’s nothing greater

HOPE: The one thing that motivates me to get up again, and again…

FAITH: The anchor of my soul, bedrock of my existence and my connection to my Maker and Father God. The confident assurance that Someone infinitely wiser that I am is in charge. How do those who don’t have it make it through life?

So that’s what I pray for you in the new year: peace, health, love, hope and faith. I’d say that about covers it.

Oh, and thanks for being a part of my life in 2008 by reading my rantings and occasionally leaving comments (which I love – hint!) 😉 

See you in ’09!

Sometimes Christmas Makes Me Cry

This Christmas, I’m a little more pensive than usual. I’m always amazed at the hype of Christmas, with everyone in a frenzy over parties, gifts and the “Christmas spirit.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against parties or gifts. I definitely am against the “Christmas spirit”, though, especially in the way many people mean it.

If I were a songwriter, I would have written the song “Christmas Makes Me Cry” sung by Mandisa and Matthew West. It captures my feelings exactly! But since they wrote it before I got the chance to, I’ll just listen to it and cry each time. This Christmas, there are men and women in the forces who will be far, far away from loved ones, not even knowing for sure if they’ll ever see them again. I have a friend who is a single Dad just dreading spending Christmas alone. I know of people facing eviction on Christmas Eve. And me, it’s my first Christmas without my Mother.

So as you celebrate Christmas this year, however you do so, spare a thought and a prayer for those around you that you may not even be aware of, for whom Christmas is not necessarily a happy time; those who may not have gifts or even a tree; those who are struggling with their health…the list is endless. And if these things move you to tears, I pray that they will be “tears of thankfulness, tears of hope…tears of joy at Christmas because [you] know there is peace on earth for every heart to find.”

Yes, I pray that Christmas makes you cry…

Lessons from “The Biggest Loser”

The Biggest Loser

One of my favorite TV shows just ended its season. I find The Biggest Loser inspiring and I love to watch the transformations (inner and outer) in each of the contestants. You know how it is with reality TV shows: you get to know the people and you feel as though you know them. So you don’t understand why they won’t reply to your emails or take your calls… (just kidding!)

Anyway, my favorite person on the show was Mellow Michelle. She has a sweet, gentle demeanor and never made an enemy (more than I can say for Icky Vicky). She had come on the show with her mother, with whom she’d had a 5-6 year rift. Dealing with all the emotions that had risen to the surface, she came to a point where she wanted to leave the show. Sometimes that is so true in our lives. When God exposes our “stuff” so that it can be dealt with, it’s so overwhelming that we want to run and hide. I’m so glad Michelle stuck it out and stayed because she ended up winning. She was the biggest loser, losing almost half of her original body weight. You go, girl! Imagine what would’ve happened (or not) if she’d given in to her emotions and quit when she felt like it! Makes me wonder how many success stories and “happy-ever-after” endings were subverted because we didn’t hang in there.

Losing is sometimes winning. It certainly was for Michelle, in more ways than one. Jesus says “whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matt. 10:39).  I wanna be the biggest loser!

Hi, I’m Sola

I haven’t blogged in so long now that I feel like I have to re-introduce myself. The weekend before last, Joseph and I got to go on a weekend cruise to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. We had so much fun and could easily have stayed another week, but they wouldn’t let us [sigh!] We were only gone for a few days, but it seems like I’ve been catching up ever since. Despite the impression I get that nothing gets done if I don’t do it, I strongly suspect that if I dropped off the face of the earth today, life would still go on, even though it wouldn’t be as much fun without me (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it).

I’ll share two of the many highlights of the trip with you. First, the incredible views across the ocean. Wow! Even now, words fail me in my attempt to describe them. I was able to capture a shot of the sun setting and it was a sight to behold. Second, our captain was a woman! Go Pink! I was so proud of her as I watched her guide this huge ship into its spot at the port when we docked at Nassau, Bahamas. I’m already looking forward to my next cruise, whenever that may be. Wanna come? 🙂

The heavens declare the glory of God...

You go, Girl-Captain!

Portrait of a bride

She stood in front of the mirror in her beautiful tailor-made satin and organza wedding dress. Forget the age-old superstition that the bride was not to look in the mirror on her wedding day. This was the day she had waited for all her life, and she was not going to let someone else tell her how she looked. Ah yes, THAT was the look she was going for. Not bad for a few hours’ sleep! She had barely slept from the excitement. That, and all the unusual sounds coming from different parts of the house. Out-of-town relatives were trying to figure out sleeping arrangements (didn’t she stumble over someone who was camped out on the floor on her way to the bathroom in the middle of the night?) People were cooking, talking and laughing late into the night, and then when everything got quiet, the silence was deafening and that kept her awake!

She’d had her life planned out, including getting married at in her late 20s, after getting her master’s degree and securing a cushy job in International Relations, but it wasn’t to be. “Baby bride,” her mother had called her. Her knight in shining armor had disrupted her agenda and stolen her heart long before the “appointed time.”

She allowed her mind to replay the events of the past couple of days, leading up to the grand finale: the church wedding. She didn’t want to forget a single thing. From the elaborate Nigerian-style traditional wedding two days earlier, with all the family, friends, food and fanfare that went with it; the last minute errands; the constant stream of wedding guests arriving from out of town, up until this very moment. She wondered what her groom was doing. Was his heart beating with excitement like hers was? How much sleep did he get last night? What kind of marriage would theirs turn out to be? How many kids would they have? Who would they look like? She found herself trying to peek into the future. Quickly, she reined in her thoughts. Whoa, girl, savor the moment, remember? She chided herself.  She glanced over at her best friend and maid-of-honor, who’d spent the night and was now putting finishing touches to her makeup. “Can you believe it? I’m getting married!” That was good for a giggle, the way only girlfriends knew how to…

******

Two decades later, the memory of that day still stays with her.  She hangs up the phone from talking to her former maid-of-honor, who’d called to wish her happy anniversary. She takes a quick inventory of her life. Three countries, three beautiful children, a few discreetly located gray hairs and a lifetime of adventure later, she realizes she’s still crazy in love with her groom and SHE’D DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN!

Happy 20th anniversary, Joseph, my groom, my best friend, the love of my life. I loved you then, I love you still. Always have, always will…

Once upon a December in 1988

Once upon a December in 1988

Happy Birthday, Bimster

Today is the birthday of my favorite 15 year old in the whole world – Bimisola Naomi Thompson.

Before I became a parent, I did not like teenagers at all. I think it’s more that I didn’t get them, even though I was once one. I thought they were a bunch of disrespectful ingrates (surely I was never like that!) and I made up my mind way back then that when I had kids of my own, I would raise them in such a way that I could like them when they were teenagers. I guess it worked!

Bimi is the most loving, witty, generous, considerate teenager I know. Sure she has her moments, but I wouldn’t trade her for the world. She was born a few days early because she couldn’t wait to take her place in the world. As soon as her head broke the surface, she let out a hearty cry that had the nurses saying “nothing wrong with her lungs, that’s for sure!” She’s been belting it out ever since. She is blessed with a creativity that is the source of the wonderful stories she writes, the beautiful songs she composes and her vivid dreams in brilliant technicolor. Drama queen? That’s my Bimi. I remember her first grade teacher saying “Bimi will make a wonderful adult…” No prize for guessing what kind of first-grader inspires such declarations of hope in her teacher!

I could go on and on about my Bimi, but I’ll end this with a phrase that she’s made popular in our family; a simple phrase that says it all:

“Git it, Bimi!”

Mama loves ya, baby girl! 🙂

Mama & Baby Girl #1

Mama & Baby Girl #1

O Brittania…

So…the girls and I went bridesmaid dress-hunting on Saturday. My sister is getting married and wants her nieces in her wedding, so she sent us on assignment to find the perfect dress for her bridesmaids. For me, the perfect dress is not one that’s flawless in style or design, but one that BOTH my girls will love and agree to wear (ay, ay ay!).

So off to the mall we went. I was pleasantly surprised to see the malls relatively empty, considering the season (day after black Friday) – another thing to thank the recession for. Once upon a time, I used to love to roam the malls, even when I didn’t buy a thing. Nowadays, er, not so much.

To make the daunting task of finding said perfect dress more interesting as we flitted from shop to shop (maybe not quite as daintily as the word “flitted” implies), Bimi and I decided to talk to the shop attendants at Macy’s in fake British accents. So we walked up to two employees behind the counter and asked in fake Queen’s English where the formal dresses were located. The ladies seemed unusually friendly and helpful, even tipping us off on another store that had a bigger collection of dresses! As we walked away towards the general direction they pointed us in, we realized that we hadn’t clued Temi in on the plan, because we heard her call out after us, “why are you guys talking like that?”. Even though I avoided their gazes, I could feel the eyes of the recently helpful attendants boring holes in my back as we made a hasty getaway.

Jolly good show, what, what!