Perception

After a long month of unexpected hiatus, I’m here and heaven knows I’ve missed writing. If you’re to describe me in one word, what will it be? I think ‘Overthinker’ will fit perfectly. I’ve had a million conversations in my head before I actually say a spoken word. I have dates with my thoughts, I’ve visited twenty countries and 50 cities with my mind. The most scenic environment has already been created by my thoughts.

The greater part of us comprehend the idea of being perfect yet experience serious difficulties imagining anything genuinely great.

Most of us have given up on life, everything is irritating.

That is a very serious wound that might need surgery if not treated

Furthermore, for the individuals who know and love the Lord, the flaws we are mostly aware of have a tendency to be our own.

I’m not talking about the frailties of our bodies—however we feel those well. In any case, the problems that inconvenience us most are the ones that comes straight from the mind.

Let’s use our minds to create the best things ever and make us better people.

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Say It

Speak your mind even if your voice shakes – Maggie Kuhn

Looking at some talent auditions, you’d wonder how some people went for the auditions with so much confidence. They have friends and family that will rather tell them they’re good than ‘I think you should honestly work on this or change or career.’

Our unlooking game is the ultimate perfection

We seal our lips because it will cost us the ones we hold dear

We don’t say the truth to our friends because we don’t want to lose their friendship

We are reticent with our feelings from our significant other because we are scared of being alone

Think of all the period you’ve been really genuine, how did you feel saying your mind about something without being biased?

You lie because you’re scared

Most people will want you to tell them what they long to hear

Speak about your fears

Don’t be shy to say what makes you happy

Talk to someone if you’re abused

Don’t freak out contributing in meetings, projects, conferences

Don’t think your opinion doesn’t matter

What if the other person wants the truth?

⁃ Tell me I’m annoying

⁃ Tell me I get angry easily

⁃ Tell me to love more

⁃ Let me know my flaws

⁃ My hair doesn’t suit me? Let me know

⁃ I sound off-note? Don’t endure it

I may not act on what you say because it is easy to assume you’re just hating but if more people tell me about it, I’ll think about it and act on it.

Do not hold unto something you’re better at letting go of.

What if we are just scared of losing what we never really had? If saying your mind will make you lose friends, your job, your relationship, think about it, were you ever part of it or you were a thread waiting at the end of the material to be cutoff because you made a fabric look more beautiful?

A lot of things are worth saying but our silence makes it tough for people to lead the best life.

Integrity is everything

Also know when to speak and know when to be silent. Everything should be done with wisdom. It’s almost difficult to take back what has been said.

Ephesians 4:29 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

Colossians 4:5-6 “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

Proverbs 10:20 “The tongue of the righteous is choice silver,

but the heart of the wicked is of little value.”

Proverbs 31:8 “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,

for the rights of all who are destitute.”

An Excerpt From My Journal

I’ve had several embarrassing moments. I had to go through my journal to take the one that’s more recent, annoying and funny. 
There was this guy in my French School then, his name was Andre (he had “strong ties with the people of France🇫🇷,” that’s why he had a French name). We weren’t close in my first two sessions. We only spoke when we got paired for conversations. I just knew there was something strange about him I couldn’t figure out. I kept telling him he was weird and it almost turned into a fight because he was loved by all, willing to assist people anyway he could, to most people he was just a humble foreigner trying to adjust into the system. Me what’s my own💁🏾‍♀️, our conversation ended at Salut! and you’re weird. Three months later he was asking me if I’m into fashion designing because of my outfits. I was like “Yh but I’m not so good.” He said that was so cool and pleaded if he could see some of my designs and sketches. That was how we exchanged whatsapp numbers. 

The next day in class he’s talking about D&G. Having friends in Paris and New York that can promote my designs. I told him I wasn’t interested that I love being simple and all. He kept pestering me about it. He even asked the “supposed friends to message me.”

We became good friends👫. He explained some lessons to me I didn’t understand. We sat close to each other in class. The directrice asked us to form a dance club and it was headed by both of us (don’t ask me. I know I can’t dance🙈), Despacito was the order of the month. We were also writing the DELF exams, we prepared together and had a lot to talk about. When I didn’t get through my SHELL interview, he was there to tell me sorry. It was almost like I knew him from a different life. 
At a point my interests became his. He started sending me poems everyday but I didn’t read any meaning into them because I felt we could connect as writers. My favorite music became his, my best food was what he claimed to be preparing. My life was almost his. I wanted to write the DELF A2 and he switched from A1 to A2. It got to the point where I was ill and he claimed he had the same ailment. Please don’t confuse this for a love story. 
It was obvious there was something going on. Everyone kept on asking me about him, some people were even grudging about the friendship. He never told me directly he liked me though I heard it from every other person even my teacher was like “Andre I know you’ll come next session if Aniekan will come.” During our exams I checked his date of birth and I saw 1999. I’m like “Ahan what is this life” 🙆🏼‍♀️. I asked him about it, he got really mad and claimed he couldn’t be 17 and hold two degrees. I said no more. Actually it made me more curious because my instincts refused to be deceived. 
I came for the next session, after class he said he had things to tell me specially. The next thing I saw was someone kneeling down and proposing. It sounds like a joke but it was serious. He kept insisting he was 25, said the normal “you’re the first girl I noticed when I came to Nigeria…….” plenty talks . He wanted us to jand (go to the US) immediately. He suggested we could do court wedding right away so I’ll see how serious he was. I was like “is that how you people are mad outside the country?” He even accused some of my friends of chasing after him but we are soulmates and he had to go for me. I was quite irritated. In my head only my child would act like he did so I had to go on my Private Investigtor mood. I started with IG but couldn’t find any reasonable thing. Stalked on FB, yessss everything was out. This guy just graduated from high school. Even the NewYork and Paris he lives in and schooled respectively was all lies. He formed the imaginary friends and he was four in one, it could be Multiple Personality Disorder but I couldn’t separate Andre from Chloe, James and Maria. He was both male and female. I was shooked. He even schooled in Akwa Ibom. I was laughing at first because I part of me knew he was young. The way he dressed and all. I called him and confronted him about it, uncle lied that it was his brother even after I sent him his graduation pictures with big boots and azonto glasses😎. See me that I’ve gone through struggle life in the Uni, stayed one year in the village during my NYSC, Job hunt and Postgraduate struggle then someone that just finished writing Civic education wants to marry me. Egba mi o🙆🏼‍♀️🙆🏼‍♀️🙆🏼‍♀️. Imagine if I had a relationship with a minor😭😭😭😭 that’s how I’ll be jailed and next thing is child abuse. 
Whenever I see my brother his age I always imagine them proposing to my friends. Everyone that knew both of us then keeps asking about him. It’s that annoying. I’ve met a chronic liar 😭

What Really Matters? Money? Influence? Fame?

“The real reason people want to be rich isn’t so they can buy stuff. It’s so they can have power over others. People want influence and respect and they see that people with money have influence and respect, so they seek money” -Charles


I’m sure most of us have had our moment of fame one way or the other. Whether is being a prefect or a school bully  back in high school, being the president of a club or an association, known for saying the wrong things, fashionista, physically attractive, being too smart or known for a particular skill. Even though it was short lived at that moment you felt so important like you can actually add a whole lot of value and influence decisions. You get noticed, you have fans and become role models to people. Everyone is looking at you in 3D to pick out mistakes. You’ll get noticed not necessarily loved or appreciated. Fame is sweet but what next? How do you feel falling short of expectations or being in the public when all you want to do is just to hang out with friends in a place that isn’t so classy for the person you are valued be or when all your clothings are analyzed with price tags and the people you associate with are making headlines 

A lot of people want influence  as well as respect. People with money naturally have it. People that want influence now seek money first. Money most times leads to power. What people don’t realize is that the greater majority of the people they look up to had to gain the respect of their followers before they got wealthy. Stephen King, J.K Rowling didn’t start writing and earning millions/royalties in one day. Carl Berg, Larry Ellison didn’t wake up to the billions in their account. The Beatles didn’t earn so much when they started out. They built their relationship with locals and other bands in Liverpool. 

A greater number people that always dream about becoming rich, it’s likely they won’t become rich. True and sustaining riches follow influence and respect, not just to put a few currency notes in your pocket. 

How do we go about getting influence?

1. Find something you enjoy can do with all your heart- if your don’t enjoy doing something, you won’t find the zeal to do it everyday. Someone that has that zeal will be the one who succeeds. Also you have to find a balance between your natural talents and passion. 

2. Work diligently at it- You have to put in a lot of work into doing what you love in order for you to survive and stay longer at it. Smoothen our and practicing until it’s perfect. Practice everyday until it shows you’re ready. 

3. Look for ways to share your work widely- Most times you might not get the pay you desire but as long as other people get to see your skills, it will help to build on that with no time. The internet makes it easier than ever. There’s YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Blogs. A lot of people are also doing the same thing. All you have to do is stand out and engage interested people as much as you can. People will find your work if you’re interesting. 

4. Live your life in such a way that you don’t need riches- The less you spend, the more you don’t have to rely on what people tell you to do. That’s the freedom you need to actually throw yourself into something you and build influence and respect. 

The truth is that when most people get this power, greed accompanies it often times. The list becomes insatiable. That’s why most politicians never want to give up when they taste power. Same with people that go close to people with power. It’s almost contagious because they feel respected knowing people with money and influence. Don’t forget at the end Fame, Money and Power is all vanity. Don’t get choked up with it. Yes it’s sweet but when you’re gone which can be anytime, what happens next?

Ecclesiastes 10:19 A feast is prepared for laughter, and wine makes life happy, and money is the answer for everything. 
Hebrews 13:5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,  “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

1Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Proverbs 23:4-5 Do not wear yourself out to get rich;  do not trust your own cleverness.Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.
Ecclesiastes 5:10 Whoever loves money never has enough;    whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income.   This too is meaningless.

1 Timothy 6:17-19 Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.

Reference: Trent Hamm THE SIMPLE DOLLAR

Let’s Talk Jesus

We all get stumped 

Let us talk about Jesus. Let’s stop spending most of our lives healing our emotions. We don’t feel qualified and look like we are all shades of messy speaking about Christ. We get scared and shy sharing what we believe, especially if the person we are talking to express the opposite of our faith. It’s good to have real conversations especially when you subtly share Jesus with others through them. 

You don’t have to discriminate or get pissed if someone doesn’t believe in the supernatural. People are saved by the power of God not by human ability. God is responsible for the salvation of a person.

I remember when I was talking to a colleague about the love of God, I started casually but like 5 people joined in and this made me more confident to say what I wanted. It brought me joy, right there I got a deeper understanding of Christ. I used my experience with Him and shared it with others. There was one guy that was bent on frustrating and twisting every word I said but I remembered every awesome work of God in me and refused to be deterred. Our testimonies come in handy in sharing God’s word. At a point everyone had something to say about what God did for them. 

The HolySpirit will give you words. You might be rejected. Jesus was rejected too! Don’t forget you have heavenly reward when persecuted. (Matthew 5:11-12) all we have to do is share the word and God will take care of the growth. It mustn’t be a polished presentation. You don’t require years of training either. Most of us have gifts and talents. We are living for a purpose bigger than ourselves. 

We can merge our personal story with the gospel. No contrivance. Just you, Christ and others in discussions that matter. 

Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:11-12)

Philemon 6 the Apostle Paul says to Philemon, “I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ” (NIV).

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes… (Romans 1:16)

My Best Story

I decided to read my favourite story one last time

It was accompanied with nausea rippled in an empty stomach

The only light I could see was darkness and shadowy forms of anguish

My fingers were numb as my throat was dry from pain

My palms were sweaty and sticky as I stared on the story that was once filled with sunshine 

My heart was a raging inferno with no relief to be found

The pages were blurred from rivulets of tears streaming from my blazed eyes 

I could hear the laugh from a distance, a midnight vision of our past

My mouth was sore, the memories were so much to be forgotten in a haste. 

I wanted to move on to the next page but my book was saturated with pain. 

I took what was left of my once finest book and disposed it into the flames

And I decided to rewrite my favourite story. 
***This poem is essentially about heartbreak. I wrote it when I parted ways the person I really loved then. I didn’t know how else to express how I felt. I have feelings too😩 though I act so tough. Thank God I’m as good as new now. How many of you can relate😉? Merry Christmas in advance and a splendid 2018 in view.

XOXO

Our winners are here!!! Happy New Year💃🏻💃🏻💃🏻. It’s that time of the year when everyone is trying to get their destiny together. God has been so faithful. I want to thank all of you that submitted your entries. 

1. Emem Ekanem. I guess she knows the writer so well. Her explanation is on point. Her prize is Antidote by Corey Van Landingham. 

The first four lines showed the writer was tired probably from a journey to somewhere she had no idea about. The journey was long and she looked emaciated from hunger.  From ‘the chit chat’ phrase, there were other people having a conversation but the writer didn’t join in. 

She heard voices and couldn’t figure out a word. This could be as a result of not concentrating or them speaking in a foreign language unknown to her in this place she came to. She wasn’t concentrating. She had mixed feelings of sadness and happiness at the same time. 

Someone spoke to her and there was a physical attraction to this person. The writer became very shy. It could be as a result of her looking unkempt. She stammered when she spoke to him. Her hair was also scattered. It was black and had a white tip. The writer revealed she was in a weak mood (fragile state) and she was trying to be perfect (utopian) 

He was welcoming to her but she didn’t want to show her emotions immediately after she admired his looks. In her guts she knew he was the one she would fall in love with. 

The writer had doubts she would fit his perfection. Summer represents joviality, warmth, liberation, light. Sunflower represents happiness, vitality, unwavering adoration, devotion. She thought he would get all these from the neighbour or someone else but her fears were put to ease (it didn’t happen)

Winter (December to March) and Spring (March to May) was filled with laughter. This is supposedly the time time they had together. Even when the writer was down, her days were filled with smiles from her dandelion which represents courage and pride. He’s seen as a strong man here. 

Cottage and trees shows a rural setting even the livestock as guards shows presence of animals like goats, sheep, chicken etc everywhere. The writer was scared the happiness she found would end soon. She became disoriented. She cried a lot and felt pain (that love kind of pain)
Putting threads and thimble signifies the writer started sewing and when she got injured, the red blood flowing reminded her of love. 

Despicability shows something bad and terrible happened between either of them but there was forgiveness. It didn’t seem they were far apart anymore because of how frequent they saw each other. Households United probably through marriage. Hearts became one showed true love and yin yang shows the balance in their lives. 


2.  Precious Osanebi. Her prize is Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

The poem is about a girl who went to a strange land, she was a bit depressed and shy but she found someone who she fell in love with at first sight. She thought he was too perfect for her and she wasn’t worthy of his love. She was also scared he would fall in love with the girl next door but he didn’t because her days with him was filled with sunshine and laughter. Their love story was a simple one as hinted with (cottage, trees, livestock). The writer found happiness and thought it won’t be for long so she felt sad. In the end they came back together, married and had a happy ending. 


3. Nnaemeka Uzomba. His prize is The Art of War by Sun Tzu. 

It’s a love story like any other, unlike any other. It begins with the moment ‘she’ met ‘him’, the writer explicitly states how ‘she’ was neither in the right frame of mind nor physical state for the journey ‘she’ was set to embark on, yet from the beginning, ‘she’ saw the end. The writer then goes on to tell us how this story was to be the “and they lived happily ever after” in spite of ‘her’ fears emanating from the onset to curb this joy ‘she’ had found while ‘she’ wasn’t actively searching. 

In one sentence, my interpretation is this: all that we seek, seeks for us too. 

Whollup!!!

“Whollup, what did you say?”🙂 Reason to Believe wants you to have a say in her post and have an exclusive giveaway. All you have to do is to read the poem below and interpret it in your understanding. The top three winners will receive prizes. Why don’t you give it a try and see how poetic you can be. Send an email to aniekan.johnson21@gmail.com for your entries. Winners would be announced. 

Drowsy with the dread of the unknown

With little patience for chit chat

My body worn from fatigue

My face hollow cheeked from hunger

I heard voices but couldn’t figure out a word

My mind was far away with a rush of euphoria mixed with depression

Now this voice directed at me

The electric jolt I felt when I heard it

I fluttered my lashes, looked up slowly and I felt shy.

I managed to speak, still self conscious 

I stammered

I realized my hair looked all shades of my messy self 

The black showed my fragile state

And the white tip reflected me trying to be utopian

Then he smiled

I admired those eyes for a brief second and looked away immediately 

I was scared of letting my feelings on my sleeve

And I knew he was the one for me

I found friendship
I was scared I won’t match his perfection 

I was worried his summer and sunflower will be from the girl next door 

It didn’t happen

My winter and spring was all laughter

My weakest moments were filled with smiles from my dandelion

Making the cottage our love nest

The trees our covering

And the livestock our guards

I found happiness 
Tears and pain rushed through my veins when I thought it would end so soon 

I was lost

Putting threads, getting pricked without a thimble and the red liquid flowing reminded me of the colour of love

Despicability came with forgiveness 

Distance of a thousand miles became a journey of an inch

Our households united 

Our hearts became one and brought our yin yang existence

I found love. 

Hello December 😍

Yaaaaay or Nayyyyy🤓. Who is truly excited about this last month? Well I am because I’m alive. One minute I was planning my 2017 and the next minute I am looking forward to 2018. Don’t feel so sad you didn’t achieve so much these past months. A lot can happen in thirty days. And if your resolution has been fully or almost accomplished, you still have 30days to do much more. God has a word of promise for you today from Isaiah  49:13-23. 

Shout for joy, you heavens;

rejoice, you earth;

burst into song, you mountains!

For the Lord comforts his people

and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.

But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me,

the Lord has forgotten me.”

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast

and have no compassion on the child she has borne?

Though she may forget,

I will not forget you!

See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;

your walls are ever before me.

Your children hasten back,

and those who laid you waste depart from you.

Lift up your eyes and look around;

all your children gather and come to you.

As surely as I live, ” declares the Lord,

“you will wear them all as ornaments;

you will put them on, like a bride.

Though you were ruined and made desolate

and your land laid waste,

now you will be too small for your people,

and those who devoured you will be far away.

The children born during your bereavement

will yet say in your hearing,

‘This place is too small for us;

give us more space to live in.’

Then you will say in your heart,

‘Who bore me these?

I was bereaved and barren;

I was exiled and rejected.

Who brought these up?

I was left all alone,

but these—where have they come from?’”

This is what the Sovereign Lord says:

“See, I will beckon to the nations,

I will lift up my banner to the peoples;

they will bring your sons in their arms

and carry your daughters on their hips.

Kings will be your foster fathers,

and their queens your nursing mothers.

They will bow down before you with their faces to the ground;

they will lick the dust at your feet.

Then you will know that I am the Lord;

those who hope in me will not be disappointed. ”

Enkindle

OMG 😳 it can’t be possible!!!Staring at my screen, 

Digesting all the sweet memories everyone is sharing on his page,

Looking at his best pictures on my timeline and the captivating messages from people knowing today isn’t his birthday,

I screamed😧

I remember my last words to him

‘I hope I never get to hear from you in my life again’ 😨

Now what we argued about seemed so trivial 

My eyes blurred and I didn’t know when I broke down and started sobbing😢

This hurt more than the last time I misplaced my phone which meant so much to me

Now I realized I wouldn’t have said those words. 

Scrolling down and looking at the comments,                                                           

I realized he had been so sick.                

I remembered when he told me that I’m the only person that ever got to listen to him without judging him.

He was alone and dying,       

I didn’t even realize it  

 Was my pride that big?

I wish I could call him for just a few seconds and take those hurtful words back,     

I wish I could hug him and reassure him everything was going to be fine.  

I told him I wasn’t ever going to forgive him.

Now is forgiveness that expensive that it can’t be given freely

Going through our chats and reading it all over again,

I knew my words caused anguish 

I shouldn’t have said all those words.   

How was I ever going to live with this guilt?         

I cried into my pillow.          

He was in pains and he tried talking to me, 

I wanted to stick to my words and still hold a grudge. 

He used to be my friend     

I used to admire him. 

He lied to me and I reacted in the most unreasonable way ever.       

I should have practiced what I preached as a Christian

 I got a pen and a sheet and wrote down all the people I don’t talk to anymore.    

It didn’t matter if they were from my kindergarten or my colleagues in the office.

I got their contacts,           

I called each of them,                          

Slowly, I realized part of me missed our conversations.   

All the good memories flooded my mind  

 I kept them away with resentment,    

Right now it didn’t matter if I was the one giving the apology or accepting it
Hate seeped my soul

My anger consumed me

His death opened my eyes to a lot of flaws I had

I was shivering 

If I send him a message will he get to see it,

That part of me never stopped caring? ❤️

How will I tell him I won’t mind if he cried on my shoulders?
………………………………………………….

You’ve been unkind to that person that works for you and you don’t know his/her story

You’ve been so rude to your colleague/classmate that was just trying to be friendly 

You’ve said a lot of nasty things about your friends, ex, etc. What about the good times?

You’ve made up your mind not to forgive that little offence because you felt hurt

What if you wake up tomorrow and the person is no more, will you be able to live with that guilt that you could have been nicer or done something in a different way?

Be kind to people both those you know and the ones you don’t. Our words and actions go a long way.