25 Sep

What’s Poppin this Weekend?

I am so glad it’s Friday. I started loving Fridays years ago. it did not start in boarding house. No, no, no. On the contrary Fridays were hellish for us. We had to “sweep, scrub and mop” everything in preparation for the house inspection on Saturday. Everything got washed and most got stolen after you would have left it out to dry. And woe betide you if your white bed sheet was among the missing. I hate the phrase woe betide you. It is ugly. You can’t even figure out the meaning unless you already knew what it meant. Who ever came up with it even? It brings back memories of little Toks being whooped for not bringing Senior Risi’s plate on time  to the dining hall.

Anyhoo. Back to loving Fridays. I started loving Fridays when I worked for a large Pharmaceutical company. The pay was awesome, plus brand new company car and all but I hated my job. It just wasn’t me. I’m not pretentious and you needed to be in that field. So needless to say I didn’t work hard at all. I worked from home so it was very easy to do a whole day’s work in 2 hours. I was always on edge and worried that my boss would call me anytime to let me know in her lovely Mancunian accent that I wasn’t pulling my weight and I’d be busted. (She sounded remarkably like Daphne Moon from Frasier) She did however make it a rule never to make business calls on the weekend. Plus we were allowed to set aside Fridays to catch up on paperwork. Paperwork that I usually didn’t so much as cast a passing glance at until the wee hours of Monday morning. So my weekends started on Friday. Thursday night to be precise, as I left work early on Thursday to put said paperwork together in preparation for Friday. I loved Wednesdays because it was the end of the week beckoning to me from the distance. Midweek. Who thought I’d make it through? especially with Gwen Ellis, my old thorn-in-the-flesh colleague who was under grand delusions that she was my semi-boss. I wonder if she ever sampled those mood-altering drugs we were supposed to be giving free to Doctors? I bet she did. Gwen broke her ankle once and got her Son to chauffeur her around, she refused to take a sick break. I mean who does that? In England?  By Wednesday the pressure was off (at least for me) and I was pleased to have Thursday around the corner. I loved Tuesdays because it simply wasn’t Monday. That was a good enough reason. Monday? Let’s not even pretend.

Nowadays I’m glad its Friday because the boys will be playing Football on Saturday morning, I’ll have the house to myself (almost) with just my attachment with me. Baby J is my attachment. Hubby insists on referring to him as my growth. I will take my time to get out of bed. I will go to the mall. I will make a tasty dinner but only if I feel like it. Otherwise Ginny will be getting a routine call from me for her special fried rice. I will not raise my voice, choosing instead to clench my fists- hope that works. I will read my new book “Grown-Up Girlfriends” referred to me by dear friend Kennie. I will have a blessed day. It is afterall Saturday, the day that the Lord has made. So I will also rejoice and be glad.

I pray that your day will be blessed, fun-filled and relaxing, just as God meant for it to be. Thank you for reading.

21 Sep

My Well Kept Secret.

One thing you probably didn’t know about me is that I can play the piano beautifully. Every note is flawlessly played, and I am able to compose music too. I have been told by several musicians  (whom I respect very much) that I have a good ear for music. I haven’t thought as far as writing songs yet but I’m pretty sure if I penned a song it would top the charts. Learning how to play the piano and other dreams lie buried within me. Occasionally they toss and turn, like they are about to awake, but then I hastily pat them back to sleep again.

At other times the sleep is disturbed when I hang out with others who woke up  a while back and are now using their gifts and talents. It is very uncomfortable, staring at the faces of my dreams.  I feel like I owe them an explanation. What if I am asked why I didn’t use them?  I really don’t have any excuse. Fear?  There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out all fear. Laziness? The lazy man says there is a lion in the streets. Procrastination? Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might. Not good enough? I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  Too busy? Martha’s story- Luke 10:38-40.

So today I give you an early invitation to my award night- seriously, my 40th Birthday celebration less than 4 years from now when I will give you a grand  performance on my baby grand piano. I must remember to invite those musicians who first told me about my ear for music, one of them is my cousin O.T, I haven’t seen him in years. Details to be released soon.

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20 Sep

Autumn…

I even like the way the word is spelled. It is in a class all by itself, no other words rhyme with Autumn, aka Fall. This is my favourite time of the year. It is the various shades of brown, red, orange, copper and gold. The fact that the leaves fall down slowly, sometimes doing a twirl as they descend steadily. I love the leaves being blown around by the wind. I don’t even mind wet leaves blown on my face in the fall, so long as they are brown, lol! You will most likely catch me wearing brown, orange or green clothing or accessories. Green became my favorite colour years ago when I discovered celery green. The other green- bottle green, I still don’t like. It reminds me of beer bottles and long, boring childhood summers.

At this time of the year I usually scurry around, buying candles, cushions, throws and anything to make my home cozy. Needless to say the colours tend to be warm colors of browns, reds and oranges. I think of  scented candles with fragrances like mulled wine, hot chocolate or baked cookies. I fill my freezer with all kinds of treats as food and comfort go together. I don’t really like to go out in the Autumn, prefering instead to stay indoors drinking hot cocoa, reading a good book and watching those leaves fall from the trees. I love the sight of the squirells doing the same thing, scurrying around filling their homes with nuts before they hibernate. About now I burst into homemaker overdrive, making sure every need is met, the house is warm, smells nice and is good enough to eat.

The fact that it gets dark early only makes it better. It reminds me that I have a roof over my head. I also realise that having a house isn’t necessary having a home. A house you buy or rent, a home you create using ingredients of love, joy, peace, gratitude…

I have no idea what this autumn holds in store for me. There is so much I will be doing without this year, its hard to imagine any semblance of my autumn. However I do have a major ingredient I have never used before- a new attitude filled to the brim with gratitude, joy and peace. I am truly grateful for all the Lord has blessed me with regardless of my list of wants. I choose to be thankful for what I have and not whine about what I want. 

I pray your autumn is filled with all the goodness God has for you, Amen.

20 Sep

He loves me!!!

Ps 139 has become one of my favorite passages of scripture. It talks about God’s perfect love for man. I love the part that says; “your thoughts towards me are precious- so many, more than the sands”. Each of God’s thoughts towards us is precious. Each one of those precious thoughts is like a grain of sand- more than all the sand in the world. So that even if you could count all the grains of sand in the world, God’s precious, loving thoughts towards us is more than that. (v17, 18)

Another verse says; “you have hedged me behind and before, and such knowledge is too wonderful for me (v5, 6). Even if I make my bed in hell, you are there”. God is ALWAYS with us, even if I make my bed in hell, he is there (v8)

Dear Jesus, I thank you so much for loving me and hedging me in with your love and presence. I thank you because I am no longer in darkness. And if I were in darkness the darkness would be light to you, (v11, 12) so I am never, ever hidden from your view. Every thought you think towards me is precious. There are no angry thoughts, or thoughts of disappointment, malicious, irritating or negative thoughts. Only good precious thoughts (Jer 29:11). The reason there are no negative thoughts is because your ways are not my ways and your thoughts compared to mine are higher, even than the heavens (Isaiah 55:8). For that, I bless you- always.

Love, Toks

15 Sep

What Are You Reading?

I love to read good books. Emphasis on good. I learnt the hard way not to judge a book by its cover when I read a bestselling book by a very well known TV personality. It set me back $25 and by the time I was halfway I still didn’t know if I was done reading the foreword or indeed what the book was about.

I admit to being biased when I say I’m currently reading Success Magazine. Truth is I am always reading Success. At the moment I am hugging four issues from the current year. All are dog-eared and I guard them ferociously. In fact I’d go as far as saying you stand a better chance taking one of my boys out for the day than taking my Success Mag out my bedroom door.

I first read this gold-dust-in-paper-format in 2006. I read and re-read it and told EVERYONE about it. Suddenly and without warning it disappeared off the shelves and I was devastated. Success Magazine then got re-launched last year and I am still reeling from the excitement. I urge you to subscribe to this amazing material.  It covers real life success stories, not the sugar-coated type. It celebrates virtues like hard work , integrity and perseverance in work-life. You get an audio version of the mag on CD as well as, get this- book summaries. They select timeless bestsellers from authors like Napoleon Hill, Steven Covey, Andrew Carnegie, etc, the real stuff.  You can subscribe online at a discount here . Then there are the free audio interviews. Like the one where bestselling author Jack Canfield of the Chicken Soup for the Soul fame said his manuscript for the bestselling series was turned down 150 times by publishers. Or when talk show host Montel Williams shared about his ongoing battle with multiple sclerosis, did you know he once attempted suicide?

I rarely write to the editor, but I made an exception here. And they’ll be publishing my comments in the December issue, yay! I shamelessly begged for some free publicity by asking them to include my website address beneath my name. They didn’t reply. There’s just no pleasing some people!  🙂

Besides my daily read of Success, I’m currently reading Michelle Obama’s Biography. Now I know why they call Chicago’s South Side, The South Side. More later.

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www.punkinpatch.co.uk

14 Sep

Why did I do that?

You may have heard the story of the woman who was asked by her daughter why she always trimmed both ends of her joint of ham before she cooked it. Her response was, ” Well, my mother always cooked it that way,  we’ll ask her why”. Grandma’s answer was the same, her mother always cooked it that way too. Luckily great-grandma was still around so they asked her why. Her reason? She didn’t have a pot big enough to cook a whole joint so she had to reduce the size.

A long time ago my cousin told me she didn’t sleep with pillows. That was the weirdest, coolest thing I ever heard. So I started to leave my pillows on the floor, suffering greatly before common sense prevailed.

Another time I noticed a friend wore her wristwatch on her right wrist. Of course by the next day Toks was doing the same.

These days I ask myself why I do the things I do. Sometimes I ask just before, at other times it’s a little too late, but I ask anyhow.  Why did I snap so loudly at my son when he was acting up? Was it to promptly correct him or was it to show the other moms that “I don’t take nonsense”?

Why did I accept that friend’s request on Facebook when I don’t care a hoot about them? Was it because  they are friends with the others in my connection/circle or was it because I’d like to rekindle a relationship with them?

Why did I agree to the hairstyle  my stylist suggested? Was it because I didn’t want to say no or because I was willing to try something different?

Why did I ask for that lady’s phone number at church? I know I won’t be calling her anytime soon!

Dear Jesus, I thank you for making me the beautiful woman I am. Help me to accept my imperfections as tools to make me more like you. I love you Jesus and I thank you for making me love me too!

11 Sep

Who are you? hoo, hoo, hoo hoo!

I really wanna know… Okay, I’ll stop singing. Last night some dear friend sent me a text saying” guess who this is?” and “What’s your landline number”? It was close to midnight and I was up so after replying to the text, I grabbed the phone waiting. Patiently. It is nearly midnight on the morrow and my friend still hasn’t called. It was a Georgia number and I have my suspicions as to who she (or he) may be and I have narrowed it down to four possible friends but I refuse to break. I’ll stay strong and wait. Patiently. And I know you’ll call. Soon.

I’ll keep you posted!

10 Sep

Empty Vessels

I have missed Pawpaw and Mango. It has only been 4 days since I posted but it seems so much longer. In the last four days I have:

Built a website for my dad, dealt with enquiries and orders from Greece, the UK and the States, went through the bureaucracy of the British customs agency and all their fees and forms for importing goods, begged a friend to come around and work for peanuts, “returned” the kids back to school and had a killer migraine.  Writing pawpawandmango has revealed to your’s truly, the things that matter to her. Food and comfort. I make a lot of reference to food and I hate discomfort. Hence my previous whinge about my sore throat and my upcoming one about migraines.

I had a migraine. I can ususally smell this from afar and have reinforcements ready and waiting before it hits. This time was no different, only it lasted four days. On the evening of day three I went in search of a late night pharmacy for some real medication. Not the Mickey Mouse stuff like Paracetamol, Ibuprofen et cetera, but something with some strength. After selecting my drug of choice, the pharmacist suggested I try Imigran. I was made to fill out a questionnaire and I started to get really excited about this super-duper drug. Especially when the till came up with £8 ($14). It better start to work before I even open up the pack. Imagine my horror when I found out it ony had 2 tablets in it? I nearly drove back with the intention of ramming my car through the glass window of that nice smelling pharmacy. This Imigran had better start working before it gets to my throat; I thought as I gulped down my Tango. My drive back home was peaceful and serene as I listened to an audio book by one of my favorite authors- Valorie Burton.  I wondered what was going on behind the walls of the homes I drove past. I thought of happy and sad relationships, tasty meals and burnt dinners, children who were being abused and those who were having a childhood that the other group could only dream about. This drug better kick in or else I’ll kick someone’s behind! My thoughts turned to my dear friend JK who recently started blogging. She insists it has something to do with me, I’m not so sure. My thoughts go to her because she recently put up a post about Scrabble. And I’m thinking of Scrabble because it was a major part of my childhood. I am blessed to have had a happy one.  Jk is talented, a naturaly gifted writer and I hope she knows it.  Just as soon as she gives me the go ahead and teaches me how to do the blogroll thingy, I’ll direct you to her blog!  The pharmacist said not to use Imigran and the other painkiller together. What he should have said is; “don’t use Imigran. GlaxoSmithkline however accepts your donation of £8, with thanks”.  After all the filling of forms and dancing through the hoops, it was all for nothing. They say empty vessels make the most noise. Nuff said. Thankfully my headaches have ceased and I’m back to normal. But I ain’t sharing that info with hubby as I risk losing the pampering, or as Valorie would say pamperizing! Thanks as always for reading.

06 Sep

Life, Actually

The common cold. It sure ain’t common to me, especially as it knocked me for 6 yesterday. You may have read an earlier post where I chronicled my pet peeves. Sore throat I think was number 3 on the list. It is a simple ailment that everyone gets from time to time, but when Toks gets it, it is no longer so simple. It affects my mood. It affects my energy levels. It keeps me irritated. It ensures I look only to self, thinking that self is going through the ringers, all for a sore throat. I want to stop ALL activity, hide under the covers and place myself on propofol (tasteless I know, couldn’t resist).

It is the same way with a pebble in your shoe. You have a head (hopefully just one), shoulders, arms, knees, feet and everything else. Yet one pebble touching just one of your ten toes on one of your two feet, which is one of your many body parts can cause you to stop your journey, sit down and work at dislodging that pebble.

A similar scenario is this journey called life. An annoying pebble finds it’s way into our grand big plans and throws us off course, causing us to sit still and take the time to make the journey less tedious. Sadly by the time the pebble is removed, we’ve missed the bus of opportunity. We catch another one but it takes us somewhere else, not to our dream destination but an alternative- one that “will do”. Some even forfeit the journey altogether and go back home, to the job they hate or the relationships that hinder.

Meanwhile there are those other travellers who are just like us  but in unlike some of us they have no shoes and are used to walking on, in and around pebbles. Every step they take is bound to be taken on pebbles. Yet they keep going because they know they will get there and they also want to, at any cost. And they arrive at their desired destination reaping the rewards that come with persistence and hardwork.

Can you ignore the pebble in your shoe today? It will not kill you. I ignored my sore throat for what might possibly be the first time in my life yesterday because I am self-employed and can’t afford to take time off work. I actually survived the day, surprise, surprise! Yesterday came and went, I worked through it all and today I am fine. I shall not spend the evening even thinking about buses I’ve missed. Thank God for countless second chances in Christ.

What’s your pebble?