Nigerian Power Couples - The Secrets to their Long-lasting Marriages

What has really kept them together this long? Does having lasting relationships have anything to do with working together? These couples are in the spotlight and contrary to the notion that celebrity marriages don’t last, these ones have been able to weather the storm. Probably there could be some peculiar observations that we can make.

Married for 10years+

Fela and Tara Durotoye: Fela is a motivational speaker and business coach and Tara is an Entrepreneur. Need we say more about how they help and complement each other? This is what Fela Said to Tara on their fourth wedding anniversary :


“I am committed to working with God to bring out the best you that God has put in you. I am determined on seeing all of God’s dreams for you come to pass. Today, it’s House of Tara, in a short while, the WORLD OF TARA would soon become a reality, the multi-national empire that reveals the real beauty in every woman from the four corners of the world.”

Tunde and Wunmi Obe (T.W.O): Tunde and Wunmi have been singing together right from university days. They’ve always been working together in whateverventure they get into. In his words Tunde tells what has kept them together:



“First and foremost, it is God. Without Him, we couldn’t have lasted this long and secondly, there is this mutual respect. And from the beginning she saw me as someone who had something to offer. And its vice versa. She matches up with me intellectually and socially. You should marry someone that can measure up to your intelligence. We also communicate a lot, and the respect between us makes it easier. I see her as my equal, I don’t talk to her in a condescending manner, neither do I use derogatory words for her. There is also the love factor, but we also made up our minds that we were going to ensure it works”.

Married for 25years+

Olu and Joke Jacobs: Olu Jacobs and Joke Silva grew in acting together, they just keyed into each other, and look at each other like partners not rivals. This is what Olu has to say:



“ It is always good when God gives you your friend as spouse, when you meet your friend as your wife, life would be much easier because when others fail, you would succeed with friendship. Joke is more than a friend to me, she is a mother, a friend and a very caring, generous and deep person”

Soni and Betty Irabor: Soni is a Broadcaster and Betty a journalist, author and publisher. They complement each other and make up for each other’s weaknesses. Hear what Betty has to say:


“The truth about marriage is that there isn’t one that is perfect. We are talking about strangers meeting, courting each other and deciding to spend the rest of their lives together. There could be things that could create a strain in the early years of the marriage, but marriage in itself is a relationship where you continue to learn…So we must continue to feed our marriages with love, appreciate the other person and know that neither the wife nor the husband is a magician. So don’t expect that your husband would know that right now you are not feeling happy. The only way he would know is by telling him, so stop over-expectation. People are full of expectations in marriage and that can create a lot of strain…Let your marriage be your marriage. As much as possible, lock out people who don’t need to be part of the marriage. Marriage is all about what you put into it.”


Conclusion

Challenges will always come in marriage, but it’s easier to manage relationships when both visions tally. You must have a meeting point, you may not necessary be in the same industry but you must be able to work together, complement each other, help each other. Your foundational beliefs and philosophies of life should be similar beyond just doing the same things.

Even if you are not in the same industry as your partner, there should be something you can do together. If you are already married, what were your meeting points or common interests or visions? Look for something you can do together now or in the future. Think of growing a business together, having an Ngo together, or it can even be a series of short term projects like; organizing events etc.

So if you are in a relationship leading to marriage, this is the right time to come up with the right analysis of your similarities and how you can augment each other’s shortcomings, so you can have a clear vision of what to expect in marriage. You can even take up little challenges while dating as a test to see if you are compatible. Don’t wait till when you are planning your wedding before you begin to get some rude shocks! But do it with an open mind, not witch-hunting, it will help you both to know yourselves better and I getting married is worth it. If you prepare well before marriage, you will eventually do well.

____________

Republished from Naija Resource

Black History Month Blog Hop - Best Of WA Romance



The final post for the Black History Month Blog Hop, hosted by Reflections of a Bookaholic and Mocha Girls Read, is here! It's purpose was to give black authors, books, and those who support them a month in the spotlight. This week focuses on the "Best of" in Black literature (or authors) and this topic runs from February 26-29th.


I will like to showcase the authors of Romance Writers of West Africa (RWoWA) of which I am a member, amongst other fabulous authors. From the RWoWA Website;
Romance Writers of West Africa (RWoWA) is dedicated to the growth of African romantic fiction worldwide.

We are a support group for romance writers of West African origin and/or writers who write romantic fiction set in West Africa.

Founded originally with four members,  Kiru Taye, Lara Daniels, Nkem Ivara  and Myne Whitman on June 17, 2011, RWoWa’s major goal is the growth of romance fiction in West Africa. With the increasing demand for the African romance genre, RWoWA strives to support established and aspiring romance authors who emphasise African plot lines. All sub-categories in romance writing are covered: contemporary, historical, inspirational, paranormal and science fiction. RWoWa provides a platform where members, through networking, may polish and constructively critique works-in-progress, resulting in exceptional romance fiction for our reading audience, which is not only limited to West africa, but reaches out worldwide.

If you are interested in joining our community or have any queries, please email us at romancewritersofwestafrica@gmail.com
Please search for these amazing women and their books on Amazon.com. Click on their names to check out their blogs.

Kiru Taye - His Strength, His Treasure, A Valentine Challenge
Lara Daniels - Love in Paradise, Love at Dawn
Myne Whitman - A Heart to Mend, A Love Rekindled
Empi Baryeh - Most Eligible Bachelor, Chancing Faith
Stella Eromonsele-Ajanaku - Loitering Shadows, Sparkling Dawn, Ice Maiden's Gardener
Netty Ejike - An Impious Proposal, A Stormy Affair
















Leap into Books Giveaway - Your Choice from Book Depository


AND THE WINNER IS TRESSA O! CONGRATS!



a Rafflecopter giveaway


This giveaway hop is hosted by I Am a Reader Not a Writer. Several blogs are taking part, with lots of amazing gifts to be won. Check the full list of participants. On this Leap day, I want to know the book you're currently reading. Entries close March 5, winner announced here on the 6th and I'll also email them.

My Gift will be a book available on the Book Depository store. One Winner will receive their book(s) of choice(not more than $10) shipped to them. Only people living in countries on the Free Shipping List are eligible. To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter Form below.

Dynamic Views Now Supports Limited Blogger Gadgets

Profile Gadget

Blogger's Dynamic Views were introduced as a way to catch up to the new direction of the internet - something to do with HTML5 or something like that. I don't know much about these things, but if you've noticed, a lot of web property are adopting a stripped down look which is supposed to make the web faster and all. If you use Google a lot like me, you would have noticed it in Gmail, G+, Youtube, Blogger; and I noticed Amazon is the doing the same, and in their corner, so is Microsoft. Anyway, Dynamic Views was Bloggers front end answer after premiering the new backend sometime last year.

For now, it is still optional, but I can imagine that with time, it may become the only choice available. Don't get me wrong, I like it. I love that it has infinite scrolling and is faster for my readers. I also like that the reader can select various formats by which to interact with my blog. My reluctance to move yet is the minimal customization. Previously, the only thing available to differentiate one blog using Dynamic Views from the other was the background and maybe title font. Not any more.

From the Blogger Buzz website;

As you might expect, we’ve made the gadgets interactive too. Instead of appearing in a panel that consumes valuable real estate on your blog, gadgets now appear in a dock that slides in and out as you move your cursor over them.

Gadgets supported in Dynamic Views include: Blog Archive, Followers, Labels, Profile, Subscribe (a new gadget - automatically present if either Follow By Email or Subscription installed), and Link List. These gadgets make it easier for your readers to navigate your blog (archive, labels), and to follow it (followers and RSS).

If you are currently using a traditional template and change to Dynamic Views, supported gadgets will automatically appear on your blog. Gadgets can be added, removed, and customized from the Layouts tab the same as with any other template.

Followers Gadget

Link List Gadget

Categories Gadget

Archives Gadget

New Subscribe Gadget
______________

Obviously, Blogger is trying to prove that they're a listening service. Previously, Adsense, another Google property, was integrated into the template. The staff of Blogger just updated the Gadget Support to include about six gadgets yesterday. The above pictures are what my blog would look like on the updated Dynamic Views. What do you think? Maybe I'll soon be switching.

How many of you have updated to Dynamic Views? Do you like it so far? Those who haven't moved, are you planning to or will you wait till we're dragged kicking and screaming? LOL...

Do Men Really Want Love?


There was a sub in one of Lady Ngo's blogs where she said that blogsville desperately needs more men. I replied that I also wonder why there aren't more male personal bloggers. Because I think ladies need to hear more about life from a male POV.

Well, a female writer on Naijastories shared a short and sweet story titled "The Perfect Gift" on what it is men may want. She says she wrote this in May of 2008, but it was published on Valentine's Day because that seemed like the perfect time to share it.  The moral of the story is that all men want is a kiss and a cuddle. Now, male readers may have a different opinion. Read and let me know what you think.

Ironically, James only went to the party because his wife had insisted that he honour Tony's invitation. Tony was celebrating his latest promotion at work, an so James had gone. And joked around with Tony and the guys. And had a couple of beers.

And now; now he was being led out of the general party area by a young thing with a mini-skirt that could pass for a headband, extra high heels, a missing bra- her nipples were poking out- and long brown attachment-thingy braids.

She seemed to know her way around, James thought, as she moved easily in the corridors, twisting and turning, finally stopping to open a door and lock them in. She pushed him in a chair an began nuzzling his neck. He absently thought about Abigail and the kids, wondering if they were already in bed.

She- he couldn't for the life of him remember her name- stood up, struck a sexy pose and began slowly undulating her tiny hips, running her hands over her body. She kept swaying even as her top came off and she stepped out of her skirt. She turned around and bent over, pretending to fiddle with her shoes, meanwhile affording him a chance to stare at her black lace thong and the surrounding flesh.

It was then he felt the first twitch. She wiggled back up, executing some tough-looking moves that ended with her on the floor, eyes fixed on him the whole time.

That's when it started.

He burst out in uncontrollable laughter, the tears streaming down his face.

"I'm sorry," he spluttered as she ceased her contortions, painfully confused.

He just barely made it to the door between the laughter and attempts to wave her goodbye.

*                    *                *

Later, stealthily making his way up the stairs, he realized that it was about a quarter to midnight. The kids would be fast asleep by now, he would wait till morning to see them. James got undressed quickly, dumping his clothes by his side of the bed.

"Hey, baby," Abigail mumbled, turning a bleary eye in his direction.

"Hello, love," he said, easing open the duvet covering his wife. "Can we spoon?"

"Thought you'd never ask," croaked Gail, her voice hoarse with fatigue and interrupted sleep.

James got into bed, pulling her into him and inhaling deeply off the side of her neck.

"Have I got a story for you," he whispered, between nibbles.

"Mmm...," was her reply, her body already relaxing in sleep.

James raised himself to look at his wife, married seven years now, with the passage of time leaving tiny marks on her face and body.

He absently flashed back to his experience with the Young Thing. He drifted off to sleep, his nose buried in Gail-smelling hair, spooning with the only woman he loved.



Chioma and Tita Obii-Obioha - Take Time for Romance


Today's guest is Chioma of Love. 'n Words.com. She says of one of the reasons she started her blog, "my family will tell you that I am a hopeless romantic. I love love LOVE “love” and coming up with little romantic ideas. So, I figured that I would channel all that romantic energy to a blog that celebrates love and romance in a fun and passionate way." She is currently running a series of thank you's to her husband as a pledge to Twenty days of Good Good Lovin'. Enjoy her marriage avowals below.

1. How We Met: 
Funny Story...My husband and I have actually known each other pretty much all our lives, but we never ever spoke. We had some mutual friends and acquaintances, grew up in the same city (Aba) and even went to the same church. Our parents were friendly with each other as well but we never made that connection. That all changed when we all went home to Nigeria for Christmas in 2006. His parents were celebrating a marriage milestone and had a celebratory event which my mom and siblings went to. I was often the last one to go home because the semester always ended late for me. As a result, I was unable to attend the event.

My sisters spoke with his brothers and met him there as well. Fast forward several days and it was time for my sister, Ure, to leave Nigeria and return to the US. While waiting in line at the airport, who does she see? Him! She immediately went up to him to strike up a conversation and realized that he and I lived in New Jersey. She immediately gave him my cell phone number and recommended that we speak. She didn't necessarily intend for us to have romantic relationship; she just thought it would be a good idea to strike up a friendship with someone from home.

Alas, my cell phone was stolen on that trip. So, there was no way for him to get in touch with me when I got back from Nigeria in January. When I spoke with Ure, she suggested that I give him a call with my apartment phone. I was very hesitant because, even though I truly only intended to call him as an acquaintance, I didn't want to give him the impression that I was calling because I like him. It just wasn't my type of thing. However, I pushed my misgivings aside and gave him a call. That first call lasted more than 2 hours, and we began to stay in touch with each other off and on from then. Eventually, our conversations became more and more frequent and we finally went out to the movies together.

We still didn't make it anything "official" until I went home for Christmas again. While there, he said that he missed me like crazy and expected me to call him often. Again, because I wasn't sure what we were and didn't want to give him reason to think I liked him too much (even though I really did ), I didn't call him for the 3 weeks or so I was there. He later told me that he drove himself crazy waiting for my calls everyday and even hearing about me from some mutual friends and acquaintances.

Upon my return, he wasted no time in taking me out on a date - and this time, it was absolutely clear that it was a date. Not too long after, he made it "official" (which I love. I love when men are chivalrous in that way) and here, we are today. He was my first boyfriend and my first love because I had never really let anyone in before. It has been an amazing journey.


2. We've been married since July 2011, so we're definitely still newly weds.
We plan to keep our "newly wed fever" for the rest of our lives, by God's grace. We believe that if we've been able to stay so fascinated with and in love with each other after all those years of dating, we can stay the same way in our marriage. We pray for God's grace.

3. How He Proposed:
He proposed in a waterfront restaurant. It was particularly sweet because he proposed in the restaurant he took me to on our first real date. Also, he had asked me to put together a dinner with many of my closest friends who have become his good friends, too. I still cannot believe that he had the ring around the entire time and I had absolutely no clue. His surprise was nearly messed up by our waiter, though. He had called the restaurant ahead of time to tell them what he intended to do, and the waiter nearly let the cat out of the bag. It definitely made me a little suspicious, but to actually have that moment happen the way it did was breath taking.

He started by talking to me and whispering sweet words but I thought nothing of it because he did that all the time. Then, he told me to dare him to stand and tell the whole table what I meant to him. A little suspicious but also knowing that he hates giving public speeches, I dared him. He stood up, began to talk and the turned to me and said, "I'd like to ask for your hand in marriage!" When he got down on one knee with the ring, I was shaking and my face was covered. It took me so long to say, "Yes," that he nervously put the ring on my right hand. I immediately gave him a huge hug and a kiss and my friends and his brother went wild! I wouldn't change it for the world.


4. Favorite Part of Being Married to My Husband:
How can I count all the ways? I love the fact that every day I wake up, I know that I belong to someone absolutely and he belongs to me. I love the way he puts me first in everything he does. I love the fact that my happiness is his priority. I love the fact that we have committed ourselves to each for the rest of my life - that, no matter what, we both have someone in our corner. He is exactly what I prayed for!

5. Hardest Part of Being Married:
Again, how can I count all the ways? LOL. Just Kidding! For me, it has been letting go of several personal misgivings from childhood/the past that I have carried with me. For instance, when we argue or don't agree about something, it's easy for me to forget all the good things he has done and focus on that one mistake he has made or to forget how much he loves me and immediately focus on that one moment. As he always tells me, "I love you and I am not your enemy. When we don't agree or I do something you don't like, it doesn't mean I don't love you. Don't forget all the other great things I do." Many times, baggage from the past (be it childhood, previous relationships, what you've seen from your parents, etc.) can be difficult to overcome, but with prayer, God's grace and the right partner, healing is possible. It's always a journey, but it's possible.

6. Children:
We don't have children yet. We decided to take just a little bit of time to enjoy being married, have some fun and settle down before we have children.


7. The Key to a happy relationship: 
I'm always still learning, but I think it's important to keep the friendship going. I think husband and wife have to be best friends and partners who truly enjoy each other's company. Communication is also extremely important. Again, I'm still learning because I'm not always great at expressing things that bother me, but it's extremely important. Also, take time for romance and touch. Those little "I love you"s and little touches and kisses done daily really matter. Finally, at least for us, keep God where He belongs - right at the center. When all other counsel fails, His never does!

Oscar Best Picture is The Artist and Fabulous Red Carpet Couples


I have watched six of the nine movies nominated for the Oscars this year and I saw The Artist last, just last weekend. However, it is my tip to win best picture at the Oscars this evening, it was amazing! I heard so much about the movie floating around that I just had to see it. The film is shot on black and white and is basically silent, with subtitles at key moments. The story itself starts in 1927 and runs through to 1932 spanning the American Great Depression which is subtly referenced in the movie. Why am I rooting for the the movie? It is a fantastic movie and it is in my favorite genre - romantic comedy/drama

The movie "focuses on the relationship of an older silent film star and a rising young actress, as silent cinema falls out of fashion and is replaced by the talkies." It features great actors and great story telling, and the silent, black and white experiment totally paid off. In a way, the movie reminded me of Nollywood, the story is so corny and the acting so melodramatic that you actually do not need any words to know what's going on. Of course, they are miles ahead in terms of production, and the sound/score, Oh my!

Without a word, the music said everything. I was in tears several times, and at the climax, my heart was almost pounding out of my chest. Atala and I clutched at each other's hands as the story tumbled us through an emotional wringer and then gently let us out.

I won't spoil it further, just make sure you see it. And if it wins the award, remember you saw it here first. All  the movies nominated are below and for the ones I saw, they're all great. I'll rank them the way I'm rooting for them. Pictures of couples who took their love to the red carpet follows.

BEST PICTURE
1. "The Artist" - (Updated after the show - Yay, Winners!)
2. "Hugo"
3. "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close"
4. "The Help"
5. "The Descendants"
6. "Midnight in Paris"
7. "War Horse"
8. "Moneyball"
9. "The Tree of Life"

And now the couples.





I'm not the biggest Clooney gusher but his partner looks gorgeous. Viola Davis rocks with her teeny afro plus hunk of a arm candy, and Colin Firth's accents sets off butterflies in my tummy. And of course, there's Brangelina with her dress slit up the ....(fill in the gaps)

Now the show is done. Which actors and which movies are your favorite Oscar winners?

When in Love, Age is just a Number. Isn't it?

 

Now, let's put aside visa issues and whether that was the reason for the couple above to get hitched. What I want to ask is; Is it impossible for a young man to fall in love and marry an older woman and vice versa? I think that though it is uncommon, it does happen sometimes. Say the older woman is independent and takes care of herself, and that is what the younger guy needs in his woman. Or an older man is much more mature and has a ecletic knowledge, and that is what the younger woman finds attractive in men. I know age differences beyond 30 years may be pushing it, but surely 15 to 20 years is not so bad?

There are things that attract people to each other apart from looks, and really, apart from what society expects, age is usually the last thing on one's mind when we're talking basic attraction. Let's imagine this scenario, you see a guy, he looks OK, and you both strike up a conversation which goes on and on... you feel so comfortable and in tune with each other. Or a guy meets a woman, she is a fantastic cook and very caring, maybe he was in hospital and she's a nurse or doctor. When do they ask each other their ages? What if they had already fallen in love by then?


I'm terrible at telling how old someone is, simply by looking at their faces but I know some people who are very good at that, and probably this won't be such a big deal for them. I used to say five years was my cut off age, plus or minus, but it didn't exactly happen like that. And yeah, I would have dated a guy younger than myself. Anyway, Atala is 8 years older than me, and I find that it's not such a big deal when you factor in other compatibility issues, like your likes, interests, temperament, etc.

Do you have a cut off age? What's the maximum difference you can do?

Make Each Day Count For Good - The Winning Story



Do you remember the Make Each Day Count For Good contest? It was set up some time ago by Dianah's Place to encourage writing and reading in Nigeria. The winner of the contest was recently announced and I think this story totally deserved to win. It is titled 10seconds. Keep a hanky ready, you may need it by the time you finish this.

{1st second} 


I turn my head and see a little child reach for her doll in the middle of the street oblivious of the speeding molué heading straight at her.

{2nd second} 

She looks up and sees the bus and freezes on the spot

{3rd second} 

JULIEEEETTTTT!!!!! Her chaperon; maybe her mother or her elder sister or her aunty or her cousin, screams the girls name from the other side of the road

{4th second} 

I run, without thinking, towards the little child

{5th second} 

I can see the bus reaching me from my side-eye; I know I don’t have time to carry the girl out so I push her as far away as I can

{5 ½th second} 

I feel a massive blow on my whole left side

{6th second} 

I feel myself flying in the air. I cannot scream… and I know I am about to die. I don’t believe this is happening today. Today of all days! Today the doctors finally confirmed I am pregnant, after waiting seventeen years. Seventeen years! Do you know how long seventeen years is? Do you know how much longing for something you want so much but can’t seem to have hurts? For seventeen years I have prayed, hoped, sort out the latest science, and the earliest traditional procedures. For seventeen years I have wanted my own child. And now I die? Life is such a bitch.

{7th second} 

I am still flying. I have flown before, but only in my dreams. And in my dreams I didn’t feel so much pain and anguish at the same time. I think to myself that I must look really funny right now, swinging stupidly in the air and I laugh at myself in my mind

{8th second} 

I feel myself descending. I feel a sense of déjà vu, like this must have happened before, and I make a mental note not to let my instincts push me to save anyone from a speeding bus again… if I come back to earth.

{9th second} 

My mind’s eye can see the ground before I hit it. My real eyes catch a glimpse of the now wailing little girl I had just pushed out of the way. Why did it have to be a little girl? I love little girls. I have always wanted a little girl of my own. Someone that would finally be able love and appreciate me, someone I could teach about life and how to live it. Someone I could leave a little part of me with before I die. O shit! I remember I am about to die!

{9 ½th second} 

I start to break a smile I reason that this isn’t such a terrible way to die. And in a way I guess I got my wish. The little girl I just saved would probably love and appreciate me for the rest of her life. She will probably tell her children and her children’s children about me. She’ll probably go about being good to others because of what I just did. At least I hope she does go about doing good every day because of me… wouldn’t want to have died for nothing. I reason I have left a small part of myself with her.

{10th second} 

My smile is half done. I can hear my mother’s voice. She’s singing to me. It’s the song she always sang when I did something right. It’s a song I haven’t heard in years. She would be proud of me. I feel the right side of my head connect with the ground. I hear the ‘crack’ sound. I think ‘it’s either my skull or the pavement’

Everything goes black.

~~~~~~~~

This short story has also been published on Naijastories, and you can read more of the author there.

My Bouari Weight Loss Experience Day 28 - Three Days to Go


So I have to report that this week has not been the greatest. After losing weight consistently for the first two and half weeks, I am still yo-yoing since my monthly visitor.  My current weight is 140lbs though it was 138 yesterday. I wish I got a picture of that :(

The good thing is that I feel so much better about myself. In the picture above, taken soon after I arrived in the US in March 2009, I was wearing one of my old dresses, one I bought back in Edinburgh when I was still tiny from study and part-time job stress. I was already adding weight back then and after that, I haven't worn that dress, which is almost three years. I tried it on last weekend and though it was a bit tight, it was more like a slinky look. I kept preening in front of the mirror, lol...



I think I can comfortably look forward to sunnier weather, and the thought of dresses, shorts, beaches and bathing suits. I do  still have some ways to go as regards the weight loss. I want to lose more inches around my waist and tummy and see if I can get to my ideal weight of 135. That said, I am very happy with what I have accomplished so far.

The Bouari Weight Loss programme was a great incentive for me to take my weight loss seriously and stop procrastinating and I have to say, I'm proud of the 14 pounds I've lost. I have also learnt a lot from the meal plans and calorie counts in the booklet to enable me eat healthy. With the end in sight, and running out of the advantage spray and energy support, I have to make sure that I remain motivated. Working from home, it is really important for me to continue on this healthier regimen.

What do you guys suggest I do to keep motivated?

Hazel Muses - Keep the flames burning…no matter what!


My guest today is Hazel Muses of 21st Century Career Mom. In addition she is the CEO of Beddings and Beyond. On her profile she says, "I love life. I love God. I never want to take both for granted." What I love about Hazel's blogs are how down to earth they usually are, about marriage and about family. They show she doesn't take her wife and mother roles for granted either, but at the same time, she makes time to catch some fun. Enjoy her marriage avowals below.

How did you meet your husband?
I met my husband in Uni, in my second year of Pharmacy school. Curiosity cost him his freedom. You see, his best friend at that time had a love interest, who also happened to be my room-mate. On this very slow day in school, the duo dared me to a drinking match [match being an exaggeration seeing as the dare was that i get through one bottle of Guiness Stout and come out coherent]. I took them up. Who wouldn’t?

There was money involved...plus i had the utmost confidence in my body’s capacity to handle alcohol. Forget that i had never tasted alcohol prior to that day. To cut a long story short, half the bottle of Stout did the damage. I was half-dragged-half-carried back to my room. My hubby came with his friend later that evening to see the girl who couldn’t handle a bottle of Stout. I like to believe that as soon as he clapped his eyes on me, his fate was sealed! I’m a bubbly spirit.

How long have you been married?
We’ve been married for 5 years, February 17th.

How did your husband propose?
His proposal was without drama really. We had talked about marriage so much i knew a proposal was in the offing and on the day it came, i wasn’t particularly surprised. He had been on the phone all day, edgy and quite restless, asking someone when the flight was coming in and how were they to hook up for him to collect the package. That and the fact that he’s been browsing engagement ring sites enthusiastically for a few weeks leading up to that day [he didn’t know i knew]. And so, when he came that evening, stooped besides me, clumsy as heck [he didn’t even kneel...smh], started extolling my virtues and reiterating how much he’ll be lost without me, i prompted him along with an “Ask me already!”. He did. I said yes. We both collapsed with relief. The rest is history.


What is your favorite part about being married to your husband?
I love how he loves me. That is the best thing about being married to him.

What is the hardest part about being married?
When he puts his feet down on an issue and thinks his opinion is all that matters and nothing i say or do can change it [but i try...where there’s a will, there’s a way]. That and having to clean up after him. It’s ridiculously amazing how someone that used to be so organized prior to marriage morphs into a complete slob after marriage! His defence: God knew he couldn’t take care of myself and that was why i was sent along. Smh

Do you have children?
I do. Two munchkins. Oh, and my husband. So yea, i have 3 kids!



How has this affected your marriage and how do you cope?
The very first moment I saw my first-born child, I vividly remember thinking that life as I know it, was over. Somehow, I knew my life was never going to be same again. And it hasn’t been the same ever since. Before the kids, I had a great social life. My hubby and I, we hung out a lot. He loves to socialize and at some point, he had this job where 70% of his JD required him hanging out.

Since the kids, my social life is pretty much non-existent. I unduly stress over their wellbeing to truly enjoy a night out. Taking care of children requires a lesson in patience…especially with the pair I’ve got. I used to think my husband was strong willed [translate: extremely stubborn] until I met my son. My daughter is quickly towing that line. And so after a long day at work, a few hours after work spent doing homework and brokering peace between my ever-bickering duo, I’m so exhausted. So yea, the sex life takes a hit every once in a while.

Having kids stretches you thin but they are the best things that could ever happen to most marriages. I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world….except maybe for a few hours of uninterrupted sleep. They complete us.

How do we cope: Some days, we just shut them out and have some ‘us’ time. Once in a few months, we schedule break-out weekends. And when we can, we ship them off to their Grandma’s place for a few weeks. Ultimately, we stay committed to finding a balance. The bedrock of our marriage has always been: Keep the flames burning…no matter what!


What do you think is the “key” to a successful marriage?
Communication, in my opinion, is the key to a successful marriage. Being able to communicate your joys, pains, grievances, challenges, frustrations, dreams to your partner goes a long way in building a strong marriage.

I’m not very good at expressing/vocalising my feelings and it caused many a rift in my first year of marriage. Days when I feel like he wronged me, I never tell him. I just assume he should know and understand how bad he hurt me. So instead, I would hold the hurt in and sometimes, it festered into resentment. We would go for days without so much as a ‘Hi’ to each other. I would hurt…and so would he.

I found a way round it though ...One day, I got a sheet of paper and poured out my heart on it. Every single way I felt he had caused me grief [both real and imagined] and how it made me feel and reason why I felt like that, I wrote them all down. It worked! He read them…he apologized…he took correction.
Communication is key. Little notes here and there to say how much I love him and long ones to say how much “I hate you so much right now”…they totally work for me.


Kindle Fire Giveaway - US Only


Are you ready to Ignite the Fire? 7 on a Shoestring and Adventures of a Military Family of 8 are co-hosting this great event and I have teamed up with them and 27 other bloggers to bring you this Kindle Fire Giveaway. With movies, apps, games, music, reading and more, the Kindle Fire is the hottest e-reader available and you could win it here!

How to enter: The event is sponsored by the 30 bloggers participating. Each one has contributed towards the Kindle Fire and deserves a little recognition. Therefore, there are plenty of ways to earn entries. Enter using the Rafflecopter form below. The contest ends at 11:59pm EST on February 27, 2012.

Please note: All entries will be verified. Shipping is only available to the US per Amazon's restrictions, thus the giveaway is only open to US residents. Good luck!

Rafflecopter code:


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Tips for a Great First Date Conversation - Erica St. Claire


So you have a first date on the horizon and you’ve spent a good three and half hours (and about a month’s rent) getting dolled up enough to leave your date speechless the moment he lays eyes on you.  No matter how fantastic you look, however, all of your efforts will be done in vain if you are struggling to communicate with the guy.  So that you don’t find yourself caught up in bad conversation or hearing crickets accompanied by the gulping down of your own wine to pass the seconds, be sure to check out the following tips for great first date conversation:

Remember to breathe.  First dates always have the potential for a little awkwardness, but if you put too much pressure on what to say, it’s going to be difficult to get over it and onto good conversation.  Of course you’re going to be riddled with nerves—there is no way around that.  But remember that your date is going to be feeling nervous too.  Take a deep breath, relax and pretend like you’re sitting there chatting it up with one of your best friends.

Just be yourself. One of the most important rules in dating is this one.  We all want to impress others, but when you focus too much on trying to impress someone else rather than just being yourself, you won’t know if your date really likes you for you…or if he likes you for the person you’re pretending to be.  The key to really impressing your date is to lead with your personality, honesty and confidence.  And if that doesn’t work, then he wasn’t right for you in the first place—so on to the next!

It’s a date, not an interview.  If you conduct the date as if you were conducting an interview for a job, don’t expect for him to take the position.  Remember that a first date is an experience to have fun and experience someone new—you are going out with a guy, not putting him in the hot seat for a rehearsed series of twenty questions.  Once you get past the initial small-talk, hopefully the ice will be broken and the two of you will be feeling more comfortable with one another.  Of course, get to know him by asking meaningful questions, but let the questions arise naturally as the conversation flows.

Leave the past in the past.  We all have pasts comprised of crazy exes and tales of crippling heartbreak.  But your first date with someone new is no place to reveal a sob story that is sure to send your mascara running into your lobster dinner and your date running for the door (and you left there to foot the bill).  Instead, sticking to light-hearted topics centered on the positive parts of life that you enjoy will make for smiling, laughing and easy conversation.

Let him talk.  People love talking about themselves; and if you’re one who is prone to such conversational behavior, be mindful of it so to let the guy get a few words in edgewise.  Dating is about getting to know someone new…so take advantage by actively listening to what your date has to say.  Take note and be sure to provide feedback so that you both can determine whether or not there is a connection and possibility for more dates in the future.

Don’t get too serious.  A surefire way to send a guy into panic mode is the mention of your dream wedding, the Vera Wang dress you already have a down payment on, and the names of your three unborn children.  If you ever want to see the guy again, do not do this.  Even if you can hear the ticking of your biological clock in your ear telling you that it’s time to settle down, DO NOT BRING UP THE FUTURE.  It’s only a first date, so just focus on the present and take things slowly.  You never know where it could lead—and that’s what makes dating so fun!

____________

Erica St. Claire is a guest post author who enjoys writing about dating and relationships.  In addition, Erica owns Catholic Dating Sites where she provides tips to the Catholic community for safe online dating.

Live Theatre on Sunday: Season 2 - Grip Am by Ola Rotimi


Are you usually out of ideas for Sunday outings? The recent resurgence in the appreciation of the arts inspired the birth of Live Theatre on SundayTM, a repertory project with the intent to promote theatre going culture in Nigeria. They kicked off in April 2008 and the first season of the project featured the production of Song of a Goat and The Wives' Revolt written by J.P.Clark- Bekederemo starring Gabriel Afolayan, Omonor Imorbhio, Ego, Ireti Doyle, Yinka Davies and some other actors.

Don't miss Season 2 featuring the production of Grip Am, a pidgin English comedy, written by the Late Ola Rotimi with such celebrities as Gordons, Matse Uwaste, Igos,Wale Amusa, Debra Uche Nwaohiri and others. The event will hold at the New Unity Centre, 28, Isaac John Street, Ikeja GRA, Lagos, from Sunday February 12, 2012 and through all Sundays to Easter Weekend, April 6-8.

Entrance fee is N1,000 only, and tickets are available at the venue through the week and on show days and at Facuade Store, 33 Bank Elemoh Street, by Eko Hospital, Akerele Street, Surulere, at Tastee Fried Chicken Outlets in Surulere, Opebi, Omole, Ogba, FESTAC and at Pen Cinema or call 081081056335 or 08038279873 for reservations.


GRIP AM: SYNOPSIS

Igoin as a poor farmer would have been content with his subsistent living, but for his cantankerous wife, Imbrobro, who never stops reminding him that he will die a poor man. His worries are compounded when he realizes that children from the neighbourhood have made a sport of plucking fruits from an orange tree he had planted in his compound. Events take a different turn when in the midst of a quarrel with his wife, an Angel turns up to make peace, saying that God had heard their prayers and that he had been sent to give then one power each. The condition is that each of them is to ask what he wants most,and God will do it for them.

To Igoin, it is payback time for all the children from the neighbourhood, who come to pluck his orange with impunity. Consequently, his request is that if he catches any one on top of the tree, once he says: "Grip Am", the person should be gummed to the orange tree, until he releases him out of pity. Paradoxically, Imbrobro's target is her husband. Since he had chosen to die a wretched man, she asks that Death should come and kill him, so that she can have peace.

For more info, visit the website: www.livetheatreonsunday.com.ng.

Oyi Remix: Flavour ft. Tiwa Savage - Romance Meets Music

This is a new feature where I'll be sharing the music videos of love songs I'm feeling. This one, Oyi (cold in Igbo) is a collabo between Flavour and Tiwa Savage. Flavour, I never heard of until recently when a blogger was gushing over him. In one of her recent posts, Nwunye describes how pants disappear at concerts. I don't really find him that much of an eye candy, but his music is kinda earthy, good if you like highlife, which I do. On Tiwa, I like her Kele Kele Love, but the others and her videos are just there.

This video is a light-hearted one, not much of a story, but they were obviously having fun. I loved the last moments where they were laughing and Flavour was goofing about. Enjoy...

That Which Had Horns - Miriam Shumba (Guest Author)


Miriam Shumba is originally from Zimbabwe and though she now lives in the United States, her second book, That Which has Horns, is set in her native country. She says writing the story was like going home and while she is inspired to write about each place she visits, mostly, stories from Africa come more naturally. Miriam is also a Christian and was excited to find books with Christian themes and characters when she moved to America, and now that is what she feels comfortable writing too. They inspired her and she felt their power in how the characters trusted God to overcome and have victory. Enjoy our interview below;

Q: Where did you get your inspiration for That which has horns?
I can’t think of any one thing that inspired me but by the time I wrote it I had been writing and publishing short stories in magazines and story ideas would just come to me. They piled up in my head and some of the stories spilled over to the book project. I started writing it in June 1998, so it was a time when Zimbabwe was a secure place to live and I chose the era when I was a teenager and young adult. I knew what it was like and could create events that were authentic and characters that would come alive.


Q: Why did you decide to write this as a romance?
I grew up reading romances but it was very difficult to find romances that featured African people. My plan was to write about big issues that women go through, displaying portraits of the women in Africa, and showing their struggles and triumphs. The romance was important but not the main focus of the book. It has romance so sometimes I am more comfortable calling it contemporary fiction.




Q: That Which has Horns is your second book, was it easier or more difficult than the first?

I completed writing That Which Has Horns first even though it was published a year later than Show Me The Sun.  I had been writing short stories and this was the time I decided to write a full novel. I just started writing it one day, not sure where it was going to go and I think what was difficult for me was the fact that I wrote over such a long time. As I matured I felt I needed to change it just as my worldview kept changing. I don’t think it’s a good idea to take so long to write a book.

Q: In your books, you tackle family relationships and self esteem issues, is there a reason for this?

Families are the ones who love us the most but for some reason they can also be the ones to hurt us and cause deep pain. I want to show that we shouldn’t expect perfection from our families each person has their own struggles to go through and they are dealing with life the best way they know how to. This is especially true where I came from, where as young people we were being influenced by Western culture and thought our customs to be archaic and disruptive while our parents and elders thought we were getting lost, getting influenced by Television characters and American music. This has caused tension in many families and I deal with those struggles in my writing.

As for the other themes, I don’t know a single person who doesn’t struggle with self-esteem. It’s something men and women deal with in a different ways, that feeling of insecurity, not being good enough or trying to fit into what the media tells you to do to achieve happiness.


Q: Do tell us more about Priscilla, the heroine of That Which Has Horns.

Priscilla’s beauty is as much a curse as it is a blessing. I enjoyed creating Priscilla, a striking, sensitive, anxious woman who begins to open up as the story unfolds. She grew and evolved over years as I wrote the book. She had an unhappy childhood, filled with secrets, fear and insecurity but tries to take control and emulate the role model aunt. She comes close to achieving her goal of independence but love complicates her plans resulting in the opposite happening.  Priscilla is impulsive and makes decision that will haunt her later in the story.

Q: How do you go about choosing the titles of your books?

When I start I usually create a working title and sometimes I change them. That Which Has Horns went through 2 title changes. From Heart of Gold, to Family of Secrets then finally, That Which Has Horns. They usually just come to me as I think of the storyline.  So far they have come easily and really ‘married’ the story comfortably.



Q: How do you decide on the hero and heroine of your books, how do you know the two characters are suitable for each other?

So far when I have created the hero and heroine of my stories I have let time slowly reveal the chemistry that is between them. I think because I take my time revealing their emotions, it gives the reader time to get to know them and see them as a couple and totally accept that moment when they fall in love or hate each other.

Q: This interview is part of my posts on the black history month. Do you think African stories count as black history or should it be limited to those in Diaspora/African-Americans only?

I like to think that we are all one, Africans whether we grew up in America or in Africa. Our stories can all be included in the different celebrations that we have. Every month should celebrate our history but it is a good start to use one month to focus on what we have contributed to the world.

Q: Did you have to do a lot of research to situate your book in the appropriate place and time?

I did have to do some research especially on the business aspect of the book and some of the Zimbabwean customs, I needed clarification on. I also wanted to use the correct Zimbabwean proverbs and that took some work because unfortunately, most of us don’t speak our native language as much any more.

Q: What was your publishing journey like, from your first book to That Which has Horns?

The journey was not easy. I remember trying to get my book published in Zimbabwe but it never worked out. I tried other countries but one South African publisher told me that they would only publish books with characters from South Africa. In the U.S I searched for publishers that were interested in African stories but I didn’t find many. The one I found only published stories translated from African languages. So I shelved my book and decided to write a story based in the United States to increase my chances of getting published. That’s why Show Me The Sun was published first, only because I had given up on That Which Has Horns. I was delighted when the same publisher agreed to publish That Which Has Horns.

Q: What's up next for you?
I’m revising my third novel and also working on various projects. I created a group, Writers with Purpose that meets in my community. It’s still in the early stages but it meets to motivate, to share and to write stories that change people for the better.

I’m drawn in many directions, wanting to accomplish a varied number of creative projects and I have to keep telling myself to focus on one thing at a time. Finish your third book then move on the next projects.

Q: What do you do in addition to writing? Where can readers find you online?
My website is www.miriamshumba.com. I also have blogs on teaching as I’ve been teaching for 12 years and speak at conferences on various teaching methods. Teaching and writing are both my passions and right now I enjoy inspiring my 4th grade students in their writing. Several of them are writing books now too. I like to help other writers achieve their goals of publication and will be working more to develop that in the near future.

Q: Please tell us where we can find the book for purchase.

My books are found online at amazon.com and at  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/miriam-shumba

Miriam will also be having a giveaway of That Which Has Horns to readers who visit her website and send a message under the contact me tab, telling her what kind of stories from Africa they want to read about. The winner will be selected on February 25 and announced on the website by March 1st. Good luck!

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