Thought I’d share another one of my favorites with you from Asa (pronounded Asha), a young Nigerian musician who uses her music to address social issues. I shared another one of her songs a while ago, called Fire on the Mountain.  I just love her flavor and sincerity. This one is called 360 degrees. Enjoy…



Traditioooon – take two!

The church ceremony marks the grand finale of the wedding activities in the yoruba culture. The actual wedding is very much like any wedding in the western world, except minus the rehearsal dinner the night before. There’s a lot of eating and drinking around this period, anyway, so a rehearsal dinner is totally unnecessary. Because of the constant presence of family, guests and well-wishers at the bride’s parents’ home, food is continuously being prepared and served. How do we foot the bill for all these expenses? Great question, glad you asked! 🙂

The phenomenon of the extended family is a given in the Nigerian context. In my family, on both sides, the extended family is a close-knit unit. As a result, anything that concerns one family member concerns the rest. When we celebrate, we celebrate together, when we mourn, we mourn together…you catch my drift. Those who can, chip in to defray the cost of a wedding or any event. Even close friends participate in this sharing of the load (all this is done with no solicitation on the part of the families). Everyone shares in the joy of the bride and groom’s immediate families.

Funmi’s wedding was no different. There was so much love and joy, it was practically palpable! We sang, we danced, and we were all decked out in our finery. The only thing (person) missing was my mother, and we certainly missed her, knowing it was a day she’d looked forward to for a long time. However, we were consoled by the thought that, knowing her, she would have worked it out such that she was watching from her spot in heaven!

After the wedding ceremony was the reception. Can you say “food galore”? After that there was one more thing. The day was ended by a symbolic event where the groom came to my Dad’s house with his siblings and their wives and they came to “formally escort” Funmi to her husband’s house. After the reception, the bride goes back to her Dad’s house for the last time, to say goodbye. The matriarch of the family, my Dad and each one of us siblings (Funmi is the baby, and she has 3 older siblings, of which I’m one) said a prayer over the new couple. Then we loaded up their car with food, Funmi’s personal belongings (a token fraction – the girl has some STUFF!) and everything she’ll need to make a good wife 🙂 and waved as they rode off (OK, they drove) into the horizon (OK, into the traffic). As they left, my Dad made a comment that warmed my heart: “Now my children are complete!”

…And they lived happily ever after…   ~ THE END ~


Bride and father-of-the-bride, my proud Papa


Bride, groom & bridal party


Dad, praying blessings on the bride and groom


You just have to say the title of this post with the same verve and gusto as Reptavia (sp?) in the movie Fiddler on the Roof, or else it will lose its oomph.

Thought I’d share with you a tradition from the Yoruba tribe (from whence I cometh). The traditional wedding ceremony, which has since come to be referred to as the engagement ceremony is considered the marriage of families. When a couple decides to get married, it is not simply two individuals that are joined, but two families. So you can imagine just how extended the extended family is! In my older sister’s case, she and her fiance were not even present at their own engagement ceremony, as they both lived abroad at the time. Yeah, really and truly!

At the appointed time, on the appointed day, the groom arrives at the bride’s father’s house bearing gifts, with his family and friends in tow, and a designated spokeswoman from the family (whom we will call Rep. A). They approach the bride’s family (who is gathered in the front yard) and state their intent, which is to ask for the hand of a daughter of the family in marriage. There is a whole drama that ensues and this back-and-forth dialog is the fun part of the ceremony. The bride’s family also has a designated spokeswoman (whom we will call Rep. B) and there is usually a lot of humor employed in this scenario. Rep. B’s job is to determine, via communication through Rep. A, the sincerity of the groom’s intentions and establish that he is worthy of the bride he seeks. After demonstrating that this is, indeed, the case, the bride is summoned from inside the house and she comes out veiled, escorted by her friends. She is unveiled and there is much jubilation as the groom confirms that this is indeed the object of his affection. Gifts are exchanged between the families and the elders of both families speak blessings over the couple and the celebration continues with plenty of food and drink.

Back in the day and even still today, in certain circles, this was/is a ceremony recognized by the government as a legally binding marriage contract. However, for Christians, the marriage is not yet considered complete until the church ceremony, which is why it is sometimes referred to as the “engagement ceremony.”

So, consider yourself educated in some manner regarding a Nigerian custom and tradition!

Bride & Groom (Baby Sis Funmi & Tayo) at yoruba traditional wedding/engagement ceremony


Joseph and me at our engagement ceremony 20 years ago


Approaching the southeastern coastline of the U.S.A

 My trip to Lagos with Baby Girl #2 was incredible! So many highlights…it was fun catching up with old friends and extended family members, of which there are umpteen million! My mother’s family is very large and very close. My father’s family is not so large, but also features strongly in my life. The challenge for Temi was trying to remember everyone, especially when they all embraced her as if they’d known her forever!

The wedding was fabulous. There was a traditional ceremony/formal engagement a week before the actual wedding. I’ll be sharing on the symbolism of that in my next post. The African culture is so rich and I’m so proud to have that heritage. In the mean time, here are a few photos to whet your appetite…

 Temi with Tayo & Funmi (bride & groom) after the traditional engagement ceremony
Me and Baby Sis, Funmi on her wedding day

Ridin’ the Winds…

OK, so I have a great excuse this time for my silence over the last week or so. My little sister is getting married in Lagos, Nigeria and Temi, my soon-to-be 12 year old, and I will be attending the wedding. We leave tomorrow (Friday) and I’ve been busy with a million things to do before then. Of course we’re all agog with excitement, but boy, is the timing weird!

You see, our church is re-launching on March 8 and we have a plethora of activities towards the big day. For more information, go to We have a series of community events that we are so excited about and I “get to” miss a good number of them 😦 But for a good reason, though! Add to that my son’s 18th birthday today (happy birthday, Baby Boy!), year-end church administrative stuff, running errands for the bride-to-be, all the while trying to keep up with my “normal” (ha!) activities. I’m actually looking forward to the 11-hour plane ride from ATL to Lagos because I know that then I can catch some serious zzzs.

So, I’ll be taking a blog break over the next couple of weeks while I’m in Lagos. I don’t know how often – if – I’ll have access to the internet while I’m there, that is, if there’s a minute to spare amidst the preparations for the wedding. Make sure you come back, though, because I’ll be posting photos. You won’t want to miss those, trust me!

Allez, mes amis, mi amigos, my friends, eyin ore mi, I’ll catch up with you in a couple of weeks.


My happy place

I think everyone should have a happy place – you know, that place you can go to when you just need a break from the stress of life. For some, it’s an actual physical location. For others, it’s in the mind and to get there, you travel on the wings of thought and arrive in an instant.

On my way to work today, I arrived at my happy place without necessarily intending to go there. I slipped in a  CD by my favorite Nigerian worship leader, Wale Adenuga (and Fountain of Praise) and listened to a song called Hosanna. Immediately, I was transported to a simpler world, where God is bigger than any circumstance, situation or economic recession. Even though I was driving on a relatively deserted county road lined with forest and roadkill, I was also in my happy place, totally at peace and overwhelmed by the love of the Lord.

The song is sung in my native tongue of Yoruba (a Nigerian language), the video is a little “pixelly” and ends rather abruptly, but I thought I’d share it with you. I hope you’ll hear the heart behind the song. Here’s the English translation of the words:

Hosanna, hosanna, hosanna

You alone deserve the glory, Father (2x)

Who is like You, King of kings?

Who is like You, Almighty One?

I bow before You, I give You praise,

I cry “hosanna”

May you find your happy place any time you need to go there. Happy weekend! 🙂