RSS Feed

Category Archives: Life Lessons

Lessons I have learned from my experiences and others’.

We’ve moved to our Dream Home!

20140812-230420-83060307.jpg

Come hang out at:
www.pawpawandmango.com
There’s room for you. ūüėÄ

Good enough!

My new year resolutions for 2014 can be distilled into one buzz word, authenticity.

Not that I have gone out of my way to be pretentious or fake, but after some reflection in the last few months of 2013, I realised and faced up to the fact that there have been times when I haven’t been entirely comfortable with who I am. I love myself to bits- I don’t want to be anyone else, I don’t wish I was Michelle Obama, but still I noticed that I have struggled to be myself in certain situations, especially when outside my comfort zone.

Case in point the new blog issue. I wanted to start a new blog that would appeal to my clients, none of whom I live like or look nothing like. So I struggled with a blog name and content. The plan was to write as this personality that fit in with the quintessential Brit. A lady who lunches. I was to visit places and appreciate the sort of art I normally don’t care for, then write about it (in a genteel tone) as though it was normal for hubby and the boys to go to Lords Cricket Ground, while I had afternoon teas with the Windsors. Don’t get me wrong I do love the finer things in life and appreciate art and beauty, but your girl wanted to take it to another level so she could fit in.

After struggling for a while I pushed the  idea to the back of my mind. But the comments you kindly share on this blog, the email responses I get from friends and in conversation with my friends, I tend to get two main descriptive phrases that resonate deeply. One of them is being authentic.

I have come to the conclusion that the best personality I can portray is mine. I cannot successfully try to be someone else. The fear of not being accepted in a different social circle is gone, because God made me with a personality that cannot be replicated. So who I am is unique and beautiful as it is, I don’t need to alter me. This is not to say I won’t try to improve on areas that need improving on, I believe in education outside the classroom and life-long learning, and I will still go out to expose the boys to the epicurean lifestyle, but I will do so while remaining authentic. I love my name and totally love my skin colour and I’m comfortable in it.

I have also come to the conclusion that excellence can only be achieved when you’re being yourself. Because that’s what you were pre-wired to be. Imagine a car trying to be a boat? Or an apple hoping to taste like an orange? You get the picture!

Here’s wishing you a wonderful 2014, filled with the confidence to be you! Thank you so much for being in my life and sharing my journey with me!

I’d love to hear your buzz word for 2014.

PS:

On the blog note, I have decided to step out and create a separate page on the business blog, complete with my photograph and sharing my life and loves, the real one, not the imagined one, it’s a big step for me and I’m VERY excited!

Operating Manual of Number 4

”I can’t wait to meet #4” He is so cute!!

I write a lot about #4 because, well I figure that by the time he’s old enough to read my blog the world would have moved on from blogging to another oddly-named fetish, yooking- or some other term- unintelligibly sounding, yet life changing on a global scale. It’s not like we knew twittering would ever become a verb used by humans.

I feel sorry for those who have expressed innocent interest in wanting to meet #4. Like Kemi- formerly justjoxy’s friend but now mine. She kindly invited us to her daughter’s birthday party and ended her invitation with; ”I can’t wait to meet #4”.

Let this be a quiet, but sound warning to all who wish to meet him.

1) He would not ‘greet’ properly. It’s not like I haven’t tried with him. Now he says ”Good afternoon, evening” but he doesn’t look up when he does. Unlike Tolu’s boys. Those boys can greeeet!!!

2) He hates being woken up every morning. He rants and raves about how his day has been ‘ruined’ by the one who woke him up. ” You have ruined my day”. ”Now my day is spoiled”. One day I picked him up after school and he asked; ”anything fun after school today mum?” He looked so hopeful, his deer-like eyes staring expectantly at my hardened ones. I replied with a steeliness that matched my eyes; ”no, we’re going home”. His response? Flaps arms about in frustration and says; ”you ruined my day in the morning, in the middle it was fine, and now you ruined it again at the end”. I had to call a friend to share this episode, it was too much for me to handle on my own

3) He believes blood comes from the devil. Because it hurts when he bleeds. Our most recent conversation on blood went something like this;

”What happens to Batman’s blood when he gets cut with the silver thing and he doesn’t bleed? Mum, why did God make blood then? How do you make silver? Like batman’s silver? How do you make gold? I know, you make lellow (yellow) dark and it becomes gold”. As you can see it wasn’t a conversation as such, I could barely get a word in. Okay truth be told, I had no answers for the child.

4) He is incredibly good with words. ¬†A little wordsmyth he is. He makes up words too like putted. ”I putted it in the kitchen”. And inexpection. All my friends play football, inexpection of George. He likes Tennis”.

5) He wants another brother. Three is apparently not enough and his mother is clearly a child making machine. A Factory.

6) He is irresistibly cute and knows it. Be prepared to be extra affectionate with him. Bear in mind that giving affection to him will not result in you getting any back- in fact you wont even get an acknowledgement. To be completely honest your affectionate moves will be met with deep frowning and resistance. Ignore it all. That’s just how the child chooses to show love.

7) He loves his teacher. This one is quite annoying- and I can feel myself getting rather annoyed as I type this. He honours his teacher’s words above mine. If I tell him to do his homework on lined paper for instance, my request will be met with first an incredulous glance, then a condescending look as he shakes his big head stating the words; ”that’s not how you do it mama, my teacher said…”

I was going to carry on but don’t want to ruin any chances of actual adoption of this child. Unlike #3 who has so won the hearts of the Family *Smith, they literally beg to take him home constantly. Like here. We have been known to forget him with them and I am now certain the reason they bought a larger car was for #3. And that one knows how to charm the socks off them. When we pick him up he walks out with words of praise bathing him; ”He is incredibly polite, he is so sweet”. ¬†”He loves the baby”. ”The dogs just love him”.

Today is going to be a good day, I can just feel it. I might even come back and add another post that’s been brewing!

Have a lovely Sunday and thank you for reading.

May I shamelessly beg that you add a comment in the box below? It helps me to breathe easy ūüôā

Daddy.

When I grow up I want to be like my daddy. My daddy is the best father in the world. He has always been dependable. I remember as a child one evening while he was going out, I felt the need to say something more than just “Bye dad” so I said; “daddy buy me a book” and he did. I didn’t really want a book, it was a flippant request, more like an afterthought. That book became my favorite book for years. I don’t remember the title but it was a book with two stories, that was my introduction to stories with a twist at the end. I cannot even remember what it was about only that I read it over and over and over without ever getting bored.

Another time daddy had planned a surprise birthday party for mummy. It was at a banquet hall and all day there was a lot of ferrying of food from the house to the hall. On the final trip as daddy as leaving for the party, I hid in the back of the car. I could have made it all the way to the party but I announced my presence just as he pulled out of the gates. Daddy found it hilarious! He said; “if you were dressed properly I would have taken you”. He didn’t yell at me for slowing him down or making him turn around to take me back home. That’s my daddy.

He also has the greatest amount of confidence in me, he is absolutely certain that I can be anything I want to be in life, I believe him. ¬†He allowed me to browse through his gory medical books, while mummy tried to stop me as she felt it was too much for a little girl to see pictures of abscesses and strange diseases. The skin ailments fascinated me the most. To think that a human skin could mutate into a mass of puss-filled rash always left me in wonderment. The stomach ulcers and the tumours on organs didn’t hold my fancy for that long, I guess because I didn’t see the inside of the human body regularly so there was nothing to compare it with, but the skin I did. There was one series of pictures that had the stages of an appendix from initial stage to it being burst. Fascinating!

Sorry, I got carried away there.

Daddy used to tell his friends that his only daughter would win the Miss world contest. He said it so often and with such conviction that I accepted¬†my fate. Mummy on the other hand frowned at such¬†suggestions. She didn’t appreciate the thought of her daughter strolling up and down some stage for men to look at. Lai-lai!

My daddy is very accomplished. He retired in his forties to do his own thing, when asked why, he replied that he had reached the pinnacle of his career and had to move in a different direction in order to keep growing. This is true- see post on alligator here

Can you see why I want to be like my daddy?

Did I mention it’s his birthday today? Please wish him a happy birthday, you should see him. He looks 20¬†years younger than he actually is. Happy birthday daddy, I love you!

Have a lovely day and thanks for reading ūüôā

Something New!

Today has been a good day. Not as productive as I would have wanted but still, productive enough. I feel the need to tell you about Chet.

I decided to bring my Linkedin account out of hibernation and make some connections and was pleasantly surprised to find Chet- who used to be our delivery guy in Atlanta- now living in Turkey running a bar and grill! This might not mean anything to you but Chet used to run his highly efficient delivery company in Georgia. He started off with a small van, doing deliveries for small furniture businesses and later got a second Van. Before we knew it he had more than a handful of employees and a couple of trucks. He did deliveries for small businesses like ours and assembled the furniture too. No one else did anything close without charging hundreds for the same task, plus insurance, plus fuel surcharge, plus state and city tax- you get the picture. He was living the American dream and even ran the business peacefully with his ex-wife and current girlfriend working side by side. Then the recession hit in 2008 and he was affected. He closed shop and moved far, far away to Turkey. Why Turkey, I am yet to find out. I had assumed he was Latino, maybe I was wrong.

Now the reason I have brought this up is to point out his ability to bounce back along with the guts to try something not even closely related to what he had done before. I mean if you build a successful business, chances are that you can do it again right? Especially since you know the market well enough. You have contacts, clients, knowledge and skill. Chet also had the confidence that is absent in many new business owners. He could easily have had a been there, done that attitude. But he tried something new.

Is there something new you should be doing? Did you try something you really wanted to succeed in and it failed, or it just didn’t happen? Take a step of faith. God has endowed us all with gifts and talents galore, you don’t have to get stuck doing the one thing you know how to, don’t be a headbanger! I look forward to chatting with Chet so I can ask him if he is enjoying his new gig. My guess is, he is.

Thank you for reading, do come back.

What I’ve Learned For Sure

I am so excited! 2010 is drawing to a close and I am here to witness it. I started to write this post about 2 weeks ago when fear gripped me, what if you don’t make it? Kia kia I put down the laptop and said “Abeg, I no do, let the year end then I’ll write”. Thankfully the Lord reminded me that premature death is not his plan for His creation, and that my future is in His hands. So here I am!

The start of a new year has got to be my favorite time of the year. I look back on the past year and reflect on it. This year, however is very different. I am genuinely pleased that we are in the last week of 2010. This time last year I couldn’t wait to get into the new year. My attitude was more of hope, hope that the new year held better things than the previous. I was eager to say goodbye to the year as it had been a challenging one.

It is not the same today. I am excited because I still have a few days to finish up unfinished projects. I want to finish strong and start next year right. I usually write out resolutions and goals. My goals are the same, but my resolutions have altered. This time I actually have a working strategy.

What I have learned for sure:

That the challenges that¬† I encountered were not meant to trip me up, but to make me stronger. Instead of being afraid when trials come, I have learned to embrace them and look for the lessons in them. Sometimes the lessons are obvious like the consequence of not being careful or exercising poor judgment as a result of not educating myself prior to making a decision. Other times the lessons are subtle, like the Lord teaching and training me to rely on him and put my confidence in him. I also learned to embrace and accept my weaknesses, mistakes and failures. My weaknesses are a part of who I am. I was created with those weaknesses so really I have nothing to be ashamed of. God is made strong n my weaknesses. I have friends who support me in particular areas. For example I wasn’t born organized but I have two amazing friends, Tola and Tiwana who are natural-born organizers. I remember once when Tola visited me at the store, she got to work and sorted absolutely everything out- dishevelled desk, files, and even invoicing without having any knowledge of the business. Tiwana and I stayed at the same hotel once and I of course was unpacked and unprepared for my early morning flight the next day. When I don’t get enough sleep I generally can’t get anything done, let alone sort out suitcases. She got in there and packed all our suitcases in no time and without breaking any sweat. It was like the fairy godmother of cleaning sprinkled some magic dust in my hotel room!

I have learned gratitude.¬† I used to wait for great things to happen before being thankful. Now I know that there are at least 206 bones to thank God for daily, 2 lungs, one heart, a brain, and then there are the body functions. I sleep and I awake- daily. I eat and enjoy my food. I can speak, I can hear, I have a functioning sense of taste, need I go on? Then there are relationships. My husband and sons, my parents, brothers, in-laws, cousins, friends, Facebook. Lets not forget work. I have an income. I work in an area I am gifted in so work always feels like play. I look forward to Monday mornings I don’t dread it.¬† There is also God. I actually have a relationship with the one who created me. Not only do I speak to Him, He actually loves my company. I once worked at McDonald’s and didn’t even know the regional manager. But I know the one who created him. I start and end my day now with 10 things I am grateful for and that keeps my eyes of the things that I want but don’t yet have.

I am glad that for the first time ever, I look back on the year without any regrets whatsoever. Yes there cringe-worthy moments I won’t forget ever like when I messed up an order with a VIP client, or when I wasted my time on unproductive activities, but I have no regrets because I can now guard against them and won’t be making many of those mistakes again.

Death. We lost a loved one this year. I learned that death is certain, sometimes it happens prematurely sometimes not. It is always so sad when a young person dies but in our case we take solace in the fact that he is in heaven.  He really is with the Lord and we are thankful that God made a way for mankind not to die an eternal death. I have learned that it is far better to live and die in Christ than to live for yourself- or anyone else for that matter.

I challenge you to make a list of the things you are thankful for that happened this year, the lessons you learned, the lessons you don’t want to re-learn and close the door on the past and move forward with joy and expectation into the new year!

Happy New Year!

My Driving Test

Maya Angelou said you can tell a lot about a person by the way they handle these three things; a rainy day, lost luggage and tangled Christmas tree lights. I’d have to add a fourth: Failing your driving test.

¬†I couldn’t wait to drive. At 18 I didn’t care about the test, just the ability to drive. I wanted my own car so badly; I bought my first Micra with my student’s loan. Back then the only person who had a car¬†in our clique was Alex, a red Nissan which he named Betsy- don’t ask.

My brown Micra was faithful, and I loved it. The plan was to practice until I was ready for my driving test. I had been driving for a few months when I did my first test. It was in Colindale, I can’t remember what the major fault was but I failed woefully. I remember crying and taking it so personally, and later basking in the words of comfort my dear cousins offered as they assured me that those driving instructors were wicked people. That they had a quota to fill and once they had reached their number, no one else passed. So I figured it would be best to take the next test in January, way before their ‚Äúlimit” was reached.¬†Only heaven knows where I got the information that their quota fiscal year started in January.

Come January and I booked my test in Burnt Oak. Not far from that hateful Colindale where they chose to “fail me” on my first test. By this time I was not just a driver but had become Speedy Gonzales. I loved to do mean manoeuvres and was very confident behind the wheel.¬†I was warned by well wishers not to use my car for the test as the instructor would fail me on the presumption that I had been driving without a licence. So I hired a new Micra for the test. Now in the UK most cars (at least in the ’90s) were manual (stick) cars.¬†In order to move you need to find the bite point. This bite point differs for each car.¬†¬†I also had¬†become friends with a group¬†of guys who loved to bend every rule for the sake of it and one of them thought me how to avoid the whole bite point shenanigans by putting the car in 1st gear,¬†and then starting the engine¬†to avoid stalling. It worked always.¬†And no, I didn‚Äôt have the sense to leave that lesson out¬†of my driving test so I failed again. I¬†actually¬†failed as I was driving out of the test center.¬† But the man kept quiet and still kept instructing me to turn left, turn right. Can you imagine? I turned to him and said

“What‚Äôs the point?”

“Sorry?”

“I have failed. I see a big X on the paper, what’s the point in carrying on?”

“I am not at liberty to discuss this madam”

“In that case, (I pulled over) please get out of my car.”

“By law, I¬†cannot leave you with the car, I must accompany you back to the test centre if you do not wish to carry on with your test”. He looked and sounded like a¬†robot.

I protested, but he won, allowing me the final humiliation of being the first candidate to arrive back at the centre with a yellow slip. He tried to give me advice as we drove in but I waved him off, puleeze, just get out, thank you!

Thankfully my fans were waiting. Phone calls came in assuring me that it wasn’t my fault. That Burnt Oak centre was notoriously racist. That it was in fact my fault for not asking them first as they would have told me to stay well away from there.

So test number 3 was held somewhere in South London. The instructor was Scottish. I feigned excitement and asked what part of Scotland he was from. He mentioned an obscure village I’d never even heard of. My response was even more enthusiastic as I shared that I was in fact born in Edinburgh. I did a quick mental scan of my birth certificate and recollected my parents address at the time. “We lived in Currie”, I offered. Like I even had any memories of the place. I don’t think it was my Scottish roots that made me pass. Rather I think I had finally faced the fact that I wasn’t a perfect driver. Being an avid go-karter and a fearless driver on the streets of London did not qualify me to pass the UK driving test.

I have since learned to deal with disappointments a lot better. I see every disappointment as a tool used to mature and strengthen me. I also have more respect for laws. “It’s the law“, doesn’t annoy me so much anymore!

Thanks for reading, do come back.