Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Holiday Season...

It's almost scary to think about for some, isn't it? You remember it's almost Christmas and you shudder. Why is that? Is it because you feel the need to buy present for all the kids in your life and some as well as a host of adults? Is it because there are so many festivities and food starting right about now that you add weight and you are concerned you will slip in your weight loss efforts? Is it because it's cold and dark and that sometimes gets your mood down in the dumps? Or do you have several family birthday in December like me which means your vehicle tag and tax are also up for renewal? Are you feeling blue because you were unable to keep to your new year resolutions at the beginning of 2010 and another year is about to roll in and you feel like a failure?

Whatever might be bothering you, take heart. There is still a light at the end of the tunnel. The rainbow will once again show its face. We need to strategize.

1) Christmas is not about spending money and presents primarily. It's about remembering the birth of Jesus. If you cannot afford expensive or multiple presents as you please, how about making something or offering service to someone as a Christmas present? How about a book? A nice book as a present still shows you care and makes the person feel better about themselves. The ability to make a person feel empowered at the end of the day would be good. How about The Only Way is Up by yours truly? All these issues are actually discussed in this book.

2) Concerning the tendency to overeat, you can resolve right now to be disciplined. If you need to tell yourself "food is the enemy" to make you stop at that sizeable portion, or skip that white bread, then do that. The Only Way is Up also has a chapter on nutrition, exercise, weight and health which chronicles the system that has worked for me and helped to reduce my cholesterol. And I promise it is not any heavy diet plan, it is all just basic principles.

3) If you're down because it's cold and dark a lot around this time of year, you'll need to get comfort from within, from God, and from company. We may not be able to change the season but we can change our reaction to it. Focus on the spirit of Christmas, togetherness, giving including giving of service and be thankful you are alive and for everything that is going well in your life.

4) If your expenses seem like they're coming at you like an airplane about to crash, take a deep breath and just take it one step at a time. Next year, start to plan earlier. Whatever is not a necessity needs to go. Make a list of wants and needs and go with the needs first. You might just find out at the end of the day that everything important has been taken care of and the world did not end because you did not get to the other column on your list.

5) If you missed your mark with New Year resolutions, start now. Don't wait till January 1st 2011 to start going to the gym, start eating healthy, start calling your parents regularly, start respecting your spouse, stop being difficult or argumentative, put more effort into your job, stop telling fibs, start going to church regularly, start volunteering, start paying tithe, stop buying a gazillion shoes in every color, or what have you. Once you identify the need to make that change, go ahead and make it. That way you don't set up January 1st to not have a chance at survival because of the impossible burdens you have put on that one day.

I discuss a lot of these issues in my book and yes, you have the name down by now, The Only Way is Up. And it truly is. It would make a perfect Christmas present for your loved ones. Please visit my website for more information on the book and pick up a discounted copy on The Kindle edition is even less expensive.

Christmas time should be a great time. Make it so. You have the power.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Should You Ask a Man About His Sexual Orientation? (Book Giveaway opportunity...)

Sounds like a strange topic for a blog post right? Well, not really. The thing is this. I have a whole chapter in my book "The Only Way is Up" about the single life and the search for Mr Right. It's titled "For All My Single Ladies." But I write about so many different things in this book that in the whole year since I released the first edition, I have not gotten to actually breaking down this chapter for the ladies. I need to.

My week started off with a bang on Sunday night, as my second Blog Tour with BooksAnd... took off. I had a great radio interview with Character Corner's Attorneymom, possibly one of my best actually. Monday was great with For Colored Gurls. Then came Tuesday morning and I got one of the most explosive mixed reviews for this book on Reading Has Purpose. Not to bore you, the person's bone of contention was mostly with this chapter for single ladies, especially my comment concerning the issue of sexual orientation (which got me thinking about it), as well as my culture shock chapter. Evidently they have a problem with my delivery. Opinions allowed. Moving right along. It was a fun night on Love Radio with Shivawn Mitchell within a few hours, ending my night with a bang. Today has been just as great with Sol Searching and especially Melissa J Dixon who simply blew me away with her review. Please follow the rest of the tour if you please. I even got Glamazini's review video in advance (another mixed review!) and I'll share it with you before it posts tomorrow. So far, there's been 795 views on youtube!

I digress. So, I thought about it, the issue about sexual orientation and asking a man you are about to get into a relationship with directly about it. And yes, I did advise it in my book and infact, I indeed had this discussion with my husband when I first met him. I came straight out and asked him if he was attracted to men or if he'd ever had a relationship with men. I'm not stupid. I know people lie all the time. But has anyone heard of a group of people who will not lie to you even though they will take advantage of cracks in the wall all day long? And did anyone hear of Dina Matos or Terry McMillan and how these downlow ex-husbands of theirs turned around and said over and over that these women knew they were gay but just ignored it? Can you imagine anything worse happening to you? Not only does he destroy your basic trust in the human race for life and leave you heartbroken, he has also convinced himself that you knew, to free himself of guilt. I know asking will not prevent every case of this but for an inherently honest man, a discussion such as this might make him draw back or even tell the truth if they already harbor an attraction to the same sex. And if they truly thought you were ok with it, then they'll know you're not. It might just help somebody. It was a rule I adopted while I was dating anyway.

Among other things I mentioned is that in the developed world especially, we should conduct background checks on people we have not known for a long time as is often the case. It's easy and inexpensive to do now so why not? Does it hurt anybody? I think not. In the Bible, people married from their hometown so they knew their history. Back home in Nigeria, parents will delve into family history, even if you don't.

I also talk about working on one's self as a woman to get to the point where you are whole and one with God and in a position to be added to someone else, a man. It's 1+1=1 with marriage. Weird math that is. If you are half or a quater, the union will not be whole and may be temporarily or even permanently shaky.

Some of the other important points I harp on are being an individual, self esteem, self worth, confidence, and so much more. I will try to touch on many of the key points I raise in this chapter and the rest of the book over the course of the next few months. I just wanted to give you a teaser. For today, let's just try to share about this sexual orientation thing.

What say you?

(By the way, free copies of "The Only Way is Up" can be won by participating in the Blog Tour, mostly leaving comments or whatever stipulations each blog has put up such as tweeting about it. Get yours! It's FREE.)


Friday, November 5, 2010

Marriage Cheat Sheet

When I bared my heart about the state of marriage in present times on my facebook status update on Tuesday, little did I know that something very good will actually come of it.

Here is where it all started:

"If people don't know the difference between marriage and a relationship without legal or spiritual commitment, they should not get married. Many of the things that make you break up with a person in a relationship happen in marriage too; you just don't break up. You work it out to the best of your ability. There are very few deal breakers in marriage. I know it's hard but you can make it..."

I woke up on Tuesday morning angry at the state of marriage in the world. The previous night, I had watched the Real Housewives of Atlanta AKA RHOA and it had saddened me that despite not knowing the details or knowing for sure that there was any dealbreaker situation going on with Nene Leakes and her husband of thirteen years Greg, everybody essentially felt the best way to support her was to encourage her to move on if it wasn't working. Nobody considered that it could be a passing phase, that they could still see the mountain top once again after the valley, that the fact that you are unhappy now and it is not good now does not mean it can never get back to where it was.

That was why I wrote that update. It has twenty-five comments to date. Some agreed. Some disagreed. I pissed someone off along the way. But what makes it all worth it for me is that last night, I got this message, also on the thread:

"Folake you might not believe this but this thing you started actually saved a three year old marriage yesterday . Both parties read your post and the comments and canceled their divorce case and gave each other a second chance....I pray they get it right this time.....Bless you Sis"

And this morning, I got an inbox message from another person who had copied and pasted my status update and sent it to her friend who was having problems with his seventeen year marriage. He also sent a message back to the friend asking what he could do to make it right with his wife.

This makes me happier than a shopping spree, or dessert, or comfort food or anything you can think of. I decided to make up a marriage cheat sheet, mostly from a woman's point of view but I can assure you men can gain a thing or two from it as well.

Marriage Cheat Sheet

I ask God not only for the gift of forgiveness but of forgetfulness.

I ask God daily what I can do for the greater good of the relationship and not my selfish needs or wants.

I pray for my husband.

I pray for our relationship.

I concentrate on the good in him.

I accept him as him and stop trying to change him.

I understand and accept my imperfections and that he sometimes struggles to deal with me too.

And when I feel I can't go on, I rebuke the devil and affirm God's will for my marriage! I resolve to stay in it.

God has blessed women with a greater ability to keep a relationship healthy by having a gentle spirit and being wise. I am not gentle in behavior, stupid, a pushover or docile.

If I can do it, almost anybody can.