Back to the Books Giveaway

Hello and welcome to my blog to all new visitors and subscribers. I will be giving away a $5 value Amazon Gift card. To enter, fill in the rafflecopter below. The winner will receive an email within 72 hrs of the close of the giveaway and have same amount of time to respond or another person will be selected. Goodluck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Back to the Books Giveaway Hop is from September 1st to 7th and is hosted by Buried in Books and I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. Check out all participants below:

Public and Private Proposals - Go Big or Go Home?

The other day, at the end of the news, they were discussing the rise and rise of public marriage proposals, and not just public, but big, theatrical, and expensive. Think Howie Mandel flash mobs, movie cinemas, public parks and gardens, full marching bands, complete military parades, helicopters with flying announcements, you name it. Talk about going BIG!

The most expensive the commentators said, cost the guy $10,000, minus the ring. And of course they closed with a clip from the video of a theater proposal that went viral on Youtube. When I tried to find it for this post, I discovered that a second one has been made. Meanwhile, a small subset of youtube seems dedicated to public proposal, each one trying to get the biggest awwws, or provoke the most envy.

When we discussed it, a male friend said he didn't know whether to pity the men who may be pressured to do more than whatever their would-be fiancees have ever seen on the interwebs, or to pity the women who may be disappointed if they buy that coolaid and then their fiances decide to go the quiet route. It is definitely a trend that makes me say "whew, glad I already have that over with" :)

This morning, I read of Diane Odiaka, a Nigerian ex-beauty pageant contestant, whose fiance proposed at the Silverbird Galleria Cinema and the questions came again to me.

Do people prefer a big, public proposal or a small, private one?

Who are those pushing this trend for big, men or women?

Say cost is not a factor, which would you prefer?

What is your definition of private or small? Just the two of you at home? Two of you and one or two witnesses in the park? 10 friends or 50 friends and family at a party?

How big is big enough, or too big? A restaurant or cinema full of strangers, 1000 seater stadium, or a TV broadcast to millions of viewers?

Review - Boosting Your Confidence by Aloted Omoba

Boosting Your Confidence15 Steps To Success In The Workplace is a short easy to read ebook and is based on the writer's personal experience and research. It shares simple effective tips and strategies that anyone especially mums and women can practice to boost their confidence at work or in business. It doesn’t really matter why you lost your confidence in the first place, the book challenges you to step up and make a change in your life. I read this motivational eBook in less than an hour but I'm sure some of the tips in it will help me for a very long time. It is written by Aloted, a fellow blogger and is currently free if you sign up at her website, Super Working Mum.

My Review

In this book, Aloted gives very direct and actionable pointers on how one can boost their confidence under headings like, accept yourself, be aware of your strengths, track your accomplishments, think positive and surround yourself with positive people. Other tips include speaking words of affirmation, blowing your own trumpet, dressing the part, and using body language effectively, and the each tip is followed by easy to follow guides in very straightforward language.

I liked how in the "Be assertive" section, Aloted shares examples of how we sometimes sabotage ourselves, and ways we can communicate better. For instance, instead of saying “I can give it a try”, one should say, "I'll love to do it”. The book rounds off with invaluable strategies to get some rest, find a mentor, become a mentor, and how to develop yourself in order to remain competitive. I believe this books will be very useful for women, and men, in and out of the workplace.

Why Aloted wrote this eBook, in her own words.

I once lost my confidence at work (I shared my story in the ebook). I have also spoken to and met other women who have lost their confidence at one point or the other.

Experiencing a decline in your confidence level is part of life, but the key thing is not to stay in that state for long as it can be catastrophic.

I wrote this ebook for that person out there who is struggling but desires to be successful at work or in business. With the steps I used and my research there is something for every one in this ebook. Even men can learn a thing or two from the ebook.

I purposely made it short so that you can read it in one sitting and even print out to go over any time you wish. You can also read on your kindle if you wish. How cool is that?

How To Get Your Copy

Good news! For a limited period, Aloted has made this ebook free for all. To get your copy, simply sign up at the Super Working Mum Website. Once you confirm your email address, you’ll receive a private link to the ebook as a PDF that you can download. If you have any problems downloading, you can use the contact page on the website.

Signing up to Super Working Mum will automatically subscribe you to free special updates and other occasional goodies (e.g. other books and offers). Super Working Mum respects your privacy and you can opt out of receiving their mails at any time.

About the Author

Aloted Omoba is passionate about seeing women empowered and being the best they can be. She is married to an amazing man and they have a daughter. She is the founder of Super Working Mum, a website targeted towards the working mum, sharing tips to optimise her time, relationships and resources.

You can connect with Aloted on twitter and facebook. You can also contact her through her website. There is also a vibrant community of Super Working Mums on Facebook. They look forward to welcoming new members.

Nigeria Wins Powerlifting Gold at the Paralymics

Yakubu Adesokan won the first gold for Nigeria in powerlifting at the ongoing London 2012 Paralympics. He also beat the world record in the men's 48 category by lifting 178 kg, over three times his body weight. Congrats Yakubu, and all the best to the rest of the Paralympics team!

Men Lie More Than Women - Guess the Top Lies?

A new study has proof that men are significantly more likely to lie than women - the average man tells three lies a day or 1,092 a year compared to women who only lie twice a day or 728 times a year. This is for those who ever doubted how trustworthy we women are or those who are fond of saying that women lie more, or don't know their minds. Now you have to take back your words :)

The research did find though that women were more likely to lie when hiding new clothes from a partner, "with 39 percent of women feeling to need to lie about their latest purchase compared to 26 percent of men."

"Women are also more likely to tell a lie or pretend to be busy to avoid a phone call, with half of women admitting that they have lied to dodge a phone call compared to just over a third of men reporting the same."

Isn't it interesting that we all lie about the same things though more people of one gender than the other will lie more about one situation. For instance, why would we even want to lie to our partners about the price of something new we bought, or that we bought that thing at all?

I won't lie to you guys, but sometimes, it takes a few days for Atala to get full details of my shopping, especially books.

That's lieing by omission, right? Or maybe it doesn't count.

Cosmo has compiled the top lies men told women, and I can say that I've got some of them from men in my time. Some men, it is said, lie to their women in order not to hurt their feelings, or because they cannot communicate better. Like being stuck in traffic, complimenting their ladies no matter how bad they look or saying everything is fine. In such cases, the lies are pretty harmless, and part of life.

I would be more worried about those lieing about how much they're drinking, those screening and rejecting your calls, or those out rightly meaning to deceive you. Watch out for some passive-aggressive stunts as well, and respond accordingly to protect yourself and your heart.

Lie # 10: “I’m Stuck in Traffic”

Lie # 9: “It Wasn’t That Expensive”

Lie # 8: “I’m on My Way”

Lie # 7:”I Didn’t Have Too Much to Drink”

Lie # 6: “Sorry, I Missed Your Call,”
Lie # 5: “My Battery Died,” and
Lie # 4: “I Had No Signal”

Lie # 3: “No, Your Butt Doesn’t Look Big in That”

Lie # 2:”This Will Be My Last Beer”

Lie # 1: “Nothing’s Wrong, I’m Fine”

So ladies, when your man trots out these lines, look him in the eye and smile cos you know the real deal. Then tell him to drop the other one.

But you have to know your guy o, if you have an honest, straightforward guy, cherish him, and forgive the human foibles he may display sometimes.

To the men reading, which of these lies have you used, and why?

Ring Pop Proposal For Gold Medallist Aly Raisman

Aly Raisman was the captain of the US gymnast team and won a Gold medal at the London 2012 Olympics. She recently got an offer of marriage from a fan during an autograph session in Los Angeles. The fan dropped to one knee before the 18-year old with a Ring Pop Candy and asked her to marry him. Of course she said no, but she did take the candy. And she gave him a picture to remember her by :)

My American Dream isn't a Yacht or Mansion

When I told Atala he would be the focus of this post, my dear husband started blushing and shy as he is, almost wriggled a recant out of me. But I stuck to my guns because there is no one else I’d rather appreciate when it comes to work ethics and how helpful and supportive he is.

Summer is coming to an end and Labor Day is just around the corner. Many of us see the day as the start of fall or a free day to tag on to a vacation, but in America, Labor Day also signifies the day the labor movement was created, and it is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. AFL-CIO wants us all to recognize the people who do the work that keeps America strong and whose work connects us all. I am using this opportunity to appreciate Atala.

Atala has a full time job as a software developer with Microsoft, and our household depends for the most part on his income. I cannot put into words how much I appreciate him for that and even though I do feel insecure sometimes, it is all in my head. He has never said or done anything to make it seem he's not fully on board. I've never taken it for granted that the man must be the one to bring home the bacon, so having one who does it, and joyfully, is a blessing.

One principle I have always tried to live by is hard work, and the saying, whatever your hands find to do, do it with all your might. Atala is a perfect example for me to follow. He gives his all in anything he is interested in. And I’m not saying this because he is my husband. He gets positive reviews from most of the people he works with and knowing how competitive their staff structure is, I am doubly proud when I read his appraisals and see the glowing reports. And I don’t mind the raises and bonuses that come each year :)

In addition, Atala supports my writing and blogging and is always the first, by choice, to read the first draft of my stories. He reads my blog and sometimes we discuss topics before I write. He rejoices with me, and on the days I’m down, he tries his best to lift up my spirits. The first time I made a thousand dollars from Amazon sales of my books, we rejoiced together. With my blog yielding more financial rewards, but requiring more work, he has also stepped up. What can I say, this guy is too much!

Recently, he had to start work as early as 7am in the morning because he was “on call” – the first responder to those having problems with software he has worked on. And he has never complained. Instead, he donates his spare time to administering and tweaking the software behind the website so users will always have a better experience. Sometimes I want to ask him to leave off some of the work, but I love seeing the excited smile on his face when he unveils some of the projects he has been working on to me.

His upbeat and can-do attitude has made it easier for me to come out of my shell and to be more, and do more.

I have learned to be more helpful to others, too, especially knowing that all we do is interconnected. For instance, a lot of people look forward to reading Naijastories. Atala works on the website to ensure it is always up and running. I promote the site and mentor some of the writers. These bloggers and writers contribute fresh content on the site regularly. We all rely on the wider blogosphere for support to reward the writers and continue doing what we do. And on it goes.

So, thank you so much Atala, I really appreciate all your efforts. Like the title of this post which comes from one of the cards on the AFL-CIO website: The American dream isn't a yacht or mansion, for me it is you.

To you my readers, thank you too. I hope you will appreciate someone this Labor Day.

Surprise the people you depend on their work with the lovely greeting cards that recognizes them. Go to to send a thank you card.

Labor day is about those who we depend on everyday for their work, from teachers to drivers, to pilots, child minders, cooks, househelps, doctors, nurses, electricians, police, fire fighters, and so on. It is all of us, working together and appreciating one another.

So We Do Not Forget - Letter to My Sweetheart

Letter to My Sweetheart by Rita

My Sweetheart,

How are you doing? Why am I asking this rhetorical question? I know it has been very hard for you since June 3rd2012. I know at this time you are inconsolable, but believe me, time heals all wounds and God will comfort you in His own special way.

Recall that whenever I travelled, I always sent you a mail on my arrival to tell you about the journey. That is why I am sending you this mail because I have arrived safely, but at a destination we did not expect. I am going to start with the moment we boarded the flight from Abuja to Lagos.

I called you to tell you I had boarded. I could hear the excitement in your voice. Though I had only been away 2 days, you made it seem as though we had not seen in ages. Oh my love! You always know how to make me feel special.

“Let us pray,” you started. “We are thanking You, Father, for a smooth and safe journey to Lagos. Thank you for my wife’s successful trip, and I look forward to being with my beautiful wife this evening. In Jesus Name, Amen!”

“Amen,” I replied and smiled, for as usual you were very honest in your prayer.

“Safe journey, Baby. I will be at the airport to pick you up!” You said. “Love you!”

“Love you too.” I replied after which I cut the line.

I switched off my phone and relaxed on my seat while waiting for the final checks by the cabin crew. I said a word of thanks to God for the successful trip. You always wanted me to be at peace with my family, despite all my father did. Finally I agreed to a reconciliation, which took place in Abuja with the rest of the family.

As the plane began take off, I noticed that the plane sounded noisy and as though it was rattling. It was as if something was vibrating the whole plane and there was no shock absorber. I didn’t want to say anything. So far I was impressed with the service by the airline. Their customer care was excellent. Their timeliness was impeccable, especially in this day and age where there are frequent flight delays. In my mind, I felt if I say anything, it will be as all my friends say, “I complain too much!”

The plane went down sharply, making me hold my breath. At the same time, I heard gasps from almost everyone in the plane. A baby started crying. But in no time, the plane had continued in its ascent. Then I relaxed in my seat, though I could not get over the rattling sound and continuous vibrations in the plane.

I drifted back to my thoughts. Reconciliation with my father. If anyone had met me any time before 3 years ago, they would have said I was an epitome of all that could go wrong in a woman. I was deflowered at the age of 6. My uncle was about eighteen then, and he was the one taking care of the kids in the house. I don’t know what came over him but he did it. I know my parents were furious, and I know that he was treated like an outcast after then, but as of that time, I did not understand what he had done.

Then came the separation of my parents when I was about 9. That woman that brought me to this world took me while my father took my 2 brothers. We never saw again and I never forgave my father for leaving me behind. He was the cause of all the bad things that happened to me. I had been raped several times by different lovers of my mother, right from when I was 11. The most painful of those experiences was the one that happened when I was 14. After all the bruising, I found out 3 months later (more like my mother found out) that I was pregnant, and of course, we had to terminate the pregnancy. And she accused me of enticing her lovers with my “fresh, supple body!”

By the time I was 16, I ran away from home, not like it was home to me. I was looking for someone to love me for who I was. But it was as though I walked into a den of lions. Every single man I met, married or unmarried, just used me like a piece of rag. I could not understand why no man wanted me as his one and only. The only one I managed to hold on two for the last 2 years before I met you, was what almost led to my untimely death. He was a chronic woman-beater. I was constantly treating for wounds and broken bones, and I felt that was the best thing life could offer.

Then I met you, the day I escorted my friend for an abortion in your uncle’s clinic. There you were, helping to stock the pharmacy with drugs when we came to buy the HPT kit. And then you said in a blunt but sincere manner, “abortion is not birth control, my friend! 2 times in a month?”

I wanted to take offense but then I knew you had a basis for what you were saying. I had been in the clinic only 3 weeks ago for an abortion so you assumed I was there for another.

“Tell that to the men who do not want to use condoms!” I retorted.

When my friend went in for the procedure, you came and met me at the waiting lounge. Then we got talking. Then we exchanged numbers. Then we started seeing each other. We always met at a joint those early days because I was still living with that woman-beater boyfriend.  Then came the day you called me and I was at the point of death because of his beatings. You are courageous. You drove all the way to his house, carried me from there and rushed me to the hospital. Before that incident, all that I had in mind was to see how I could move from my boyfriend’s house to your house (or for you to pay for an apartment for me). I had no feelings for you. But the way you checked up on me everyday in the hospital, took me to a bone doctor afterwards, and paid my bills, made me love you immediately. At that point, I looked at my life and said God must be making a mistake. Me, a runaway child, school dropout, prostitute, who never goes to church or mosque, had someone like you, a clean, decent pharmacist to be, running all around me. No, I did not deserve the attention from you. God was definitely making a mistake.

After that incident, our relationship went to another level. I moved to my friend’s place, and then we started exchanging visits. We talked at a deeper level. You made me share with you all my hurt and pains deep down. You were surprised to know that I had refused to talk to my father even after all his attempts to be reconciled with me. You kept on talking about forgiving, but of course, I was not going to change my mind easily. You also encouraged me to go back to school, and from your school allowance you bought me JAMB form, tutored me, and made me write GCE. You said I had a lot of potential and you believed in me. To our surprise, I passed my JAMB and GCE in one sitting, meeting the minimum requirements. The day I showed you my admission letter to the University, you proposed. Who was I to say no? It also coincided with the week you got a job in the pharmacy of an oil company. Triple celebration for us.

We only did court marriage because I said I did not want my parents anywhere near my wedding. You believed that we would do the traditional marriage and white wedding some day. You wanted me to be reconciled with my family, especially my father. You took it upon yourself to see this come to pass. You really did a good job, reaching out to my father as well as softening my heart. Finally, when I was 3 months pregnant, my father and I had reached an agreement, and I decided to pay him a visit.

When I saw him, I wept. I realized that I loved him so much and I missed him, and all I was doing in life was just to get the love and attention of a father. I hugged him so tight and we both cried for a long time. He told me he loved me and he never stopped regretting why he allowed my mother take me from him. After spending the night with him, my brothers and his new family (wife and 2 kids), I felt as if a heavy burden had been lifted off my shoulders. It was one of the best weekends I had ever had, and I looked forward to thanking you for making it happen.

I came out of my reverie when the cabin crew started serving some snacks. It was when I felt something in my stomach. I realized what it was. It was the movement of our baby. I could not wait to share this with you. But midway into the serving of snacks, one of the cabin crew members whispered something to another, and then they began packing up the food and drinks.

I noticed that there was a sense of urgency in their movements. A few sleeping passengers were awakened and told to remain seated. The lights in the plane seemed to have gone off. Then I realized I was no longer hearing the noise and rattling of the place. I was seized with panic. My fear and anxiety was heightened when others in the plane started asking “what is going on?” I began to pray, though I am not sure of the words I said because I was scared.

The oxygen masks deployed. I was still muttering some words to myself when the captain spoke. I couldn’t believe my ears. I never thought I would hear these words that are only heard in movies or read in novels. I listened very carefully to his words:

“Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. The aircraft has developed a problem and we have not determined the cause of it. In twenty minutes we will have an emergency landing at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos. Listen carefully to my instructions.

Put on your oxygen masks. People with infants and children should put theirs on before helping others. Fasten your seatbelts now. Ladies, remove your high heeled shoes. Everyone, remove all sharp objects from your bodies. We may have a double impact landing. At my word, everyone must cover their heads and assume a forward roll position, as shown on the safety card in the seat pocket in front of you.

When I give the word, upon landing, unfasten your seatbelts as quickly as possible, and head to the exit nearest you. Leave all belongings behind. Do not panic.”

There was no panic in the plane, but everyone was praying. Some children were crying because of the apparently rapid descent. The flight attendants had walked up and down with portable oxygen tanks making sure people were breathing well and their masks were working. When everyone was okay, they took their seats.

It seemed the plane was nosediving, because the angle of descent was too sharp. We all clutched tightly to our seats. The prayers intensified. I think there were powerful men and women of God in the plane because the words that came out of their mouths were very comforting yet powerful.

Suddenly, there was a loud bang, like there was a huge impact of the plane on something, and then there was nothing. I felt some pain, but it was like a prick of a needle.

There was an unusual peace in the plane just before the impact. People had the opportunities to give their lives to Christ in that plane. Yes, I heard a few people say things like, “Jesus! Save Me! I believe You are the son of God and I believe You died for my sins!”

I am sure you are wondering what was on my mind the last few minutes of the impact, or if I went through torture during the incident. I can tell you. Once the plane started nosediving, I told myself it is either I make it out alive or not. If it is the former, then to God be the glory. But if it is the latter, then I am thankful for my life. I was thankful that God gave me a second chance. I was thankful that despite the ungodly life I lived, God made someone like you walk into my life, show me the way, make me accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour, and gave me a new meaning to life. I was thankful for the opportunity to be reconciled with family, especially my father. Please tell him I love him. I was thankful that God allowed me experience true love both from Him and from you.

Did I go through agony or torture? No! Like I said, I felt something but it was so swift before I entered into a state of blackout. I heard the bodies got burnt. Most of us had passed out with the impact and may not have felt the pain of the burns. And you know that 3rd and 4th degree burns are painless, so please do not think that I or most of us went through pain and agony.

My last thought was “I love you, my Sweetheart. I know I am going to a better place, and we will someday be together – you, I and our baby.”

And as you read this letter, just know that the pain you are going through shall pass. God will embrace you with love and comfort. One day you will look back at June 3rd. You will smile, not because the incident was nice, but because God has healed you completely, given you uncountable testimonies, and made memories of you and I a beautiful place you can visit anytime.

I miss you and I love you. Take care and God be with you. Lots of love, your wife.


This is the final story I'll be sharing here. However, you'll find a lot more submissions including some amazing poetry when you download your copy of the anthology. Thanks for reading.

May the souls of the dead rest in peace, and may those of us that mourn find comfort. Amen.

My Mum is in town and I'm Loving it!

Hi peeps, hope your week has started off well. My mum is visiting and I have less time online. So just a heads up that there may be less posts in the coming weeks. And she has given permission for me to share her photos, expect some more of the same as those below. And she is journalling her experiences daily, maybe we can have some of those too. Have a great week, Mwah!

At the supermarket

A robot at the Seattle Center

Seattle International Fountain

Out shopping at Ross

At a nearby lake for an African Picnic

Is Sexting Normal for e-Dates these Days? By Tiyan

Recently, I have been feeling very inundated with conversations I have had or conversations that have been shared with me about men who come down hard on women because of their weight or size. Some of these men are not exactly Mr. Universe themselves. I believe that if you are not clinically obese and are comfortable in your body whether curvy or otherwise then you are good to go. Do not wait for validation, be your own best assessor and be happy.

This unbelievable conversation below is transcribed from a blind [e-]date that I was recently set up with:

Blind Date: Hello Tiyan, can you send me your picture please (smiley face).

Me: (slightly taken aback but hey I guess he needs to see the goods before right?) I will email you one (smiley face)

Blind Date: Nice sexy picture, love your smile! Do you have a picture that shows more of your body, like you standing up?

Me: Thank you, I will look and send on the condition that you send me one of yours too (smiley face) (I send one of me standing up in a red dress)

Blind date: Ofcourse sweetie, I will send you a sexy upper body pic now, should I email it or send to your phone? Nice sexy picture, I love the red dress and your smile.

Me: (getting tayad of the word sexy but glad he thinks my pictures are nice) Thank you, I am blushing, please email it thanks.

Blind Date: Just sent you my body picture sweetie hope you like it.

Me: (also irked at the word sweetie but hey..lets not be too irritable now. I receive a picture of him standing in front of the mirror with his bare chest no face shown) Nice Abs but how do I know this isn't a stunt double, can I see your lovely eyes please?

Blind Date: Do you have a sexy body picture for me too sweetie (smiley face)

I acted like I did not get the text.

Blind Date: Thank you for the compliment sweetie and yes that is all me (smiley face) You will see and feel my body in person (big grin)

I still do not respond

Blind date: I do not take sexy body pictures with my face showing lol

Me: Good Idea

Blind date: Do you have a sexy picture for me too sweetie

Me: (thinking of how to handle this situation that is growing uncomfortable) I do not want to be responsible for over dosing you with sexiness.

Blind Date: Haha you are funny, I just think its only fair for you to send me one too with no face only body.

Me: (thinking, this loser has not even asked to meet up for coffee) Hmmm i think it is too soon, when I get super comfy with you I will send you as many as you desire, deal??? What are your plans for today?

Blind date: It does not have to be naked sweetie just your body like what you wear to sleep or the beach. I want to see what your body looks like, can't tell with the pics you sent (sad face) and by the way by that time I will have seen your body all in person (smiley face).

Me: (As if!!! getting irritated now and wondering what to do) Lol, Sad face??? That's not fair You are boxing me to a corner, I will see if I can find pictures from beach vacations.

Blind date:You could always take a picture, the picture I sent you I just took it.

I ignore him and 20 minutes later, he asks me again.

Me: I am absolutely not comfortable sending you pictures of my body. Do not take it the wrong way but I can't do it. (smiley face).

Blind Date: I guess you are out of shape or something and not proud of your body??? I am looking for someone who is open with their sexuality, I guess you are not! take care sorry to bother you! I am not looking for someone who is fat, so I am not interested since you r not what I am looking for take care God bless.

I Ignore him

Blind date: I like big breasts and small waists which you don't have as well (sad face)

Me: (now utterly fed up and worked up and amazed that he will mention God in all of this) If I had a daughter and she sends a picture of her naked body to a man she has never met or spoken to, what kind of impression would she be sending? I wonder!!! I am not fat, I have never been and do not plan to be, I am proud of my banging size 4 body and my sexuality but I will not be bullied by you to show it because I do not know you well enough and I am certainly not looking for someone who is only interested in my slim body. so you take care of yourself.

Blind Date: Whatever!!! I am sure your body is not as good and hard as mine ha ha ha good luck! If it were, you would show it and be proud to show it off.

I Ignore him

Blind Date: Dude its just a bloody picture, you must be hiding something, belly rolls, small breasts etc there are too many tricks they have now to fake being in shape.

I completely ignore him because clearly he is a mad man. May I point out that this conversation was with a 42 year old man who owns his own business in the US!!!!! Is this normal?

Tiyan Blogs at I Cook, You Eat and is a regular reader of this blog.

Eko Tourist Beach Resort Lagos - Weekend Pictures

While we were in Nigeria in July, we stayed in Lekki with a friend for a few days, and I got to check out that part of Lagos. Our host actually drove us all the way down to the new Lekki-Epe airport and the Free Trade Zone which are both still under construction. On our way back, we stopped over at the Eko Tourist Beach Resort. The resort is located at Akodo, on the Epe Expressway, quite far from even Lekki, about an hours drive. Luckily, the roads are quite good.

I have been to Badagry once before, but the Epe end is an eye-opener about the natural beauty of Lagos, so it was surprising for me that there were so few people there. It was virtually empty while we were there. We went there on a Weekday, so maybe that was part of it. The entrance fee is not much, just N1000 naira though they waived it since we just wanted to take pictures and enjoy a bit of the atlantic ocean which I haven't seen from a Nigerian coast of in ages.

It is indeed a lovely place, there was a stiff breeze off the ocean and the water was beautifully flirty, just begging you to play with it. But you always have to be careful with the Atlantic, it can be very changeable. Anyway, we played at the edges for a while, the children played hide-and seek among the trees and then we had to go. Enjoy some of the pics below.

Hope your weekend is going great? See you soon, Mwah!

Avril Lavigne - Wish You Were Here : Music Video Romance

Avril Lavigne recently got engaged to Chad Kroeger, the lead singer of rock band Nickelback, and in congratulations, I'm featuring her song, Wish You Were Here.

And this bonus, but sadder song, When you're Gone.

Romantic Names in Nigerian Languages - Please Translate

Some of you may remember this post on Nigerian love and romantic names that I did sometime ago. It remains quite popular through search and I get regular emails or comments on it. Once came in recently and she needs our help. I am out of my depth in Yoruba and even my Igbo has its limits. I know my treasure in Igbo is akum and my peace is udom, white flower would be ododo ocha. Over to you language experts :)

I love these commentaries. My grandmother used to sing to my little brother Ododo mi which means flower. Please can anyone translate fufu nene for me. It is in a Yoruba song. Also my heart in Yoruba is what? How can I say my pure blossom and Piercing eyes in Ibo. What about my treasure/ diadem, my peace, my white flower in both Yoruba and Ibo. Appreciate.

So We Do Not Forget - Final Boarding Call

Final Boarding Call by Walter Uchenna Ede

“This is the final boarding call for all passengers going to Lagos!” the voice of the female automaton blared from the loudspeakers of the public address system. I looked grudgingly up from the page of my Vince Flynn novel, dragging my attention from the point where Mitch Rapp had been about to blast yet another Middle Eastern terrorist to hell where there won’t be any fifty virgins waiting to receive him. I glanced round as the line shuffling past the check-in counter trudged on faster than it had been before. That was the final boarding call for my flight and these people are still crawling forward as though they had all the time in the world, I thought with some asperity.

Right in front of me was a young boy, roughly my age, clad in the de rigueur low-slung jeans over his nonexistent buttocks, his boxers peeking out from beneath his slim-fitting T-Shirt. With his Mohawk haircut and earphones strapped over his ears, he completed the image of nearly every youngster in Nigeria – an image I didn’t particularly like. I don’t know why this male fashion sense was so in vogue, but I wasn’t impressed by it at all.

The memory of the blistering tongue-lashing I’d given to one such shabbily-dressed guy who had accosted me in the Mr. Biggs in Wuse 2 yesterday lifted my lips into a small smile. After my putdown, I’m sure he’d think twice about approaching another girl dressed like a Lady Gaga groupie.

“Here, Junior, this is for you. And Chichi, this is for you,” a wheezing female voice said behind me.
“Thank you, Aunt Brenda!” a couple of childlike voices chorused.

I looked behind me to see a tall, heavyset woman with a heavily made-up face and fat fingers bedecked with several flashing rings. A chainmail of heavy necklet was hung around her neck, and her breath was heavy and sonorous, as though she was going to drop any second. I shook my head derisively; all these ornamentation just to prove what? That you’re some hotshot socialite with boatloads of money to spend? Well, at least, she was spending some on the two teenagers surrounding her, judging from the wads of cash she had just handed over to them. Their mother – I assumed the other woman, who had her hands around the shoulders of Junior and Chichi, was that – thanked Aunt Brenda, and shepherded her wards away from the line.

“Oh, thank God, the line is finally moving!” a harried-looking young lady gushed as she dashed to my side, attempting to edge into the line in front of me.
“Hey! You’re not supposed to cut into the line like that!” Aunt Brenda wheezed irately behind me. Some passengers crumbled behind her. Ear-phone boy and a couple of people before him looked back to see what the commotion was about.
The harried-looking woman flushed with abashment as she turned to speak. “Madam, I was here. Ask this girl. I just went to buy something outside.”
“Is that true, young lady?” a rotund man with sparse hair and graying goatee groused at me from behind Aunt Brenda.
As if I would let a total stranger cut into the line before me. These people sef! I stifled a sardonic hiss and answered, “Yes, it’s true. She was in the line before me.”
More grumbles. Aunt Brenda wheezed some more. Ear-phone boy moved forward. Harried-looking girl stepped in. The line shuffled forward.
“Welcome to Dana Air Flight,” the security agent said with a beam at me when it got to my turn. “Have a safe flight.” And she waved me forward.

Just my luck, I thought with an indelicate frown etched my face as I paused to gape at the person seated beside me in the Economic Class section of the airplane. Aunt Brenda, with her gasping, wheezing respiration and garish bling-bling. On the other side of the aisle, harried-looking girl was getting settled on her seat, dusting out the console before her and buckling her seatbelt. Seriously?! We haven’t even taken off yet. I was about to open my mouth to politely – real nicely – ask her to exchange seats with me. The last thing I needed was this obese woman’s asthmatic breath cascading over my shoulder and keeping me awake for the entire forty-five minute flight. Then Ear-phone boy sauntered down the aisle, paused beside her and squinted at the seat numbers stamped on the compartment above her.

Oh no, please, don’t – don’t –

And he did, plopping down on the seat beside harried-looking girl. The two of them exchanged an awkward smile of strangers running into each other, and he gave her a quick onceover, interest sparking inside his eyes. Fantastic! Just gru-ate! As much as I hated having Aunt Brenda for a seatmate, I’d much sooner let her gasps and wheezes become my lullaby than endure the overused overtures and facile lines that ear-phone boy was bound to plague me with if I should exchange seats with his harried-looking girl. Further ahead, beside a window, I spotted goatee man snapping open an edition of Punch newspaper and losing himself in the voluminous pages.

Finally it was time. And the pilot’s voice floated out through the address system. “Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We would like to welcome you onboard this Dana Air Flight to Lagos. Flight duration is around forty-five minutes and we are expecting a fairly smooth flight today. Please, follow the following instructions to ensure your safety during this flight. Endeavour to switch off all electronic devices and gadgets. Put on your seatbelts; you may unbuckle them after we have ascended into the air. And when you need the attention of any host or hostess, there’s a button beside you; press it and someone will be right with you…” As the litany of instructions sailed across the length and breadth of the cabin, I switched off my attention and buried it back inside the pages of my novel, journeying together with Mitch Rapp down the terror-ridden streets of Saudi Arabia. Occasionally, the words of the pilot sneaked into my consciousness – in case of emergency…oxygen masks…heads between your knees…

I’d flown like a gazillion times. Who needed to hear these sef? I turned a page and returned to Mitch Rapp’s side.


As a presage to what happened, there should have been a dark whisper in the wind. Or maybe a deep chill in the bone. Something. An ethereal song I could hear. A tightness in the air. Some premonition written somewhere.
It was the screeching sound that jolted me out of my nap. I opened my eyes slowly, blearily, and that was when all the screaming tumbled into my consciousness. Aunt Brenda’s beady eyes were opened wide with terror and her mouth was making a squealing sound, the kind you hear from pigs about to be slaughtered for a festivity.
What is going on?
What’s with all the screaming?
And why is the plane moving as though we were getting slammed by a cyclone?
“Blood of Jeeeeeezuz! Blood of Jeeeeezuz!” someone kept chanting frantically.
“We’re going to crash!” another person bellowed.

Sleep fled instantly from my eyes as I jerked up and looked quickly around. Everywhere around me looked as though a small whirlwind had passed through it. The doors of the luggage compartments above flapped open with loud banging noises and the different bags and carryon items stashed inside them had blown out of their confinement, strewing the entire cabin. The screeching sounds came from the body of the plane as it whistled with violently-jerky motions through the atmosphere, bit after metallic bit peeling off from its framework. Passengers held on to their seats with deathlike grips, their faces in different contortions of stark fright and overwhelming terror, their mouths peeled open to let out varying ululations of mounting horror. Harried-looking girl was the one who kept on screaming for the blood of Jesus as she fumbled frantically with the buckle of her seatbelt.
The seatbelt!
I hadn’t fastened my seatbelt!

Realizing that, I jerked upright and snatched at the leather strip on the side of my seat. I yanked it forward, my trembling fingers searching for the buckle on my side. Even then, the plane gave a sharp tilt, bucking forward; the leather strip slipped from my fingers as I was thrown forward, my derriere lifting off my seat. A scream of terror ripped through my mouth as I felt myself getting thrown off my seat, but something grabbed at my back, stopping short my perilous flight forward. Aunt Brenda’s hand yanked me backward and plopped me down on my seat. Harried-looking girl was not so lucky; she let out an earsplitting shriek as she was jerked out of her seat and was airborne, pitching forward and tumbling down the aisle.

“Father God – into your hands I commit my soul – God, please save me!” Goatee man blubbered on his seat, his hand repeatedly moving over his chest in an erratic pantomime of the cross. “Father! Please – commit into my hand – your soul – God…save me…!” His mantra was cut rudely short when the entire wall of the plane beside him was ripped apart with a jarring, cacophonous sound. His utterances turned into a bloodcurdling scream as the unfriendly strong air current reached in and rived his chair violently, tearing out both passenger and airplane chattel through the jagged opening. The serrated metal tore at his skin before he was out of the plane, airborne, careening into the clouds outside, his voice fading out into an echo.

The horror of what I’d just witnessed washed over me, turning my insides cold. And I got hit with the absolute reality that we were going to die. It dawned on me as cold and as precise as when one of the Vince Flynn terrorists looks into Mitch Rapp’s eyes and realizes that the legendary CIA agent was going to kill him. Aunt Brenda must have realized that too, because in a wheezy voice suffused with tears, she gasped, “Young lady…what’s – what’s your name?”
I turned to her. Her doughy face was tear-streaked, the heavy makeup she’d been wearing running in scattered rivulets over her features.

“Adaeze,” I managed thickly. My eyes burned and a thousand emotions roiled inside me, surging up and spilling in the form of tears, fat globules that blurred my vision and tracked flyaway paths down my cheeks.
Aunt Brenda managed a watery smile. “Adaeze…nice name. Beautiful name.” And she reached out her hand to grip mine on the handrest. “God be with you, Adaeze…” Her words dissolved into a choking sob as her expansive body heaved with emotion.
“God be with you too…” I was crying now. The tears flowed faster.
And the plane plummeted speedily, carrying us all, to a certain end.

Download the complete Anthology

Yejide Kilanko's Daughters Who Walk This Path - Author Interview

Yejide Kilanko was born October 1975 in Ibadan and says one of her fondest childhood memories was staring at the projector screen as her father showed slides from his travels across Australia and New Zealand. She desperately wanted to travel the world, and then discovered faraway places by immersing herself in books. Her love for reading just about anything she could lay her hands on, led to writing her first poetry when she was twelve. Enjoy our chat below, and my review of her first novel, Daughters who Walk this Path.

- What inspires you to write?

My life experiences and events around me. Human Behaviour. Reasons behind choices we make or others make for us. Issues or events that make me reflect on my privileges or the lack thereof. A joke, a phrase from a song playing on the radio or conversations with friends. In some cases, my writing is a direct response to the thought that,"There but for the grace of God, go I."

- Do you have a specific writing style?

With regards to writing fiction, I don't think so. I feel as if I'm still developing my voice and this is the time to experiment with styles and push myself further. That being said, I use a lot of humour and sarcasm in my writing because I enjoy reading novels that make me either laugh or roll my eyes.

- What are your current projects?

I just completed my second novel manuscript. I'm now researching ideas for a third novel and slowly working my way through an outline for a middle-grade(ages 8-12) children's book.

- You're a practicing social worker, do you see writing as a alternate career or will it remain part-time?

Writing will remain part-time for now. Unless of course, I get a six-figure book deal with a writers residency in Australia tagged on. On a serious note, I really enjoy working with children and I feel that doing both enriches my life and makes me a better writer.

- Can you share a little about your writing routine? How does your career impact in your writing?

My days are very busy with family and work obligations so I do most of my writing at night. I'm more of a binge writer, which means there're weeks when I write all night and weeks when I struggle with writing just 250 words. Some days, I need to write in solitude and on other days, I need the sound of people talking and laughing. I play music constantly.

- Daughters who walk this path is your first novel. Tell us what inspired it, and how you got published.

Daughters evolved from a poem I wrote called, Silence Speaks. In June 2009, as a child protection worker, I was exposed to heart-wrenching stories about child sexual abuse. Working on the manuscript over a period of eight months became my outlet.

My journey to publication was a surreal one. After I shared the first draft of Daughters with a couple of people and received some positive feedback, I decided to look for a literary agent. After doing some research, I discovered how difficult it was to find one in Canada or anywhere else.

Despite my apprehension, on August 16, 2010, I sent queries to sixteen literary agents in the United States. That same day, to my utter amazement, I received a request for a full manuscript. Exactly one week later, I had an offer of representation from my fantastic agent, Dan Lazar of Writers House.

In May 2011, after we had spent some time polishing the manuscript, we made submissions to Canadian publishing houses. We heard back from my editor at Penguin Canada within a week. We subsequently received a publishing offer at the end of May. The Canadian edition of Daughters was published on April 10, 2012, less than a year later. The U.S edition (Pintail Books)will be published on January 29, 2013 with the German and Audio versions to follow shortly after.

- Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

That would be finding the right words to use. Dialogue between characters sound good in my head but it becomes muddled when I transfer my thoughts onto paper. I'm a bit of a perfectionist so I find myself constantly re-writing scenes. I've discovered that there's an art and craft to writing and learning the craft is challenging but rewarding.

- When and why did you begin writing? When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I started writing poetry when I was 12. It was my way of dealing with life. As a Political Science undergraduate at the University of Ibadan, I wrote for two student press organizations. So, writing has been a part of my identity for a very long time. It's the transition to being an author, that I'm still getting used to.

- What books have most influenced your life most?

The Bible, Animal Farm (George Orwell), Second-class Citizen (Buchi Emecheta), Burger's Daughter (Nadine Gordimer) and Roots (Alex Haley). Roots was the first adult novel I read at about eight years old. I talked about it so much, my dad bought the film. Watching the videos took away some of the magic and it made me appreciate the written word even more. With reading, there's no limit to my imagination.

- Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

I don't have one favourite author.

If you had to choose, which writer would you say writes in about the same line or genre as your book? You know, like if one likes that author, they'll also like your book?

That would be Chika Unigwe. I admire her work and find her writing style accessible and engaging.

- Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? What books are you reading now?

I've heard great things about Chibundo Onuzo's debut novel, The Spider King's Daughter. I recently read an advance copy of Tolulope Poopola's debut novel, Nothing Comes Close, and I enjoyed it. I'm currently reading Akata Witch (Nnedi Okorafor), Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn) and Anna Karenina (Leo Tolstoy).

- What do you think of the Nigerian publishing industry?

I salute the courage and vision of the few publishers in Nigeria. Nigeria is a unique market and not for the faint of heart. There're a couple of new publishing houses starting up and that's a good development for writers. In my opinion, more can be done in the area of distribution but I'm hopeful that in the years to come, effective channels will be put in place so that people in smaller communities also have regular access to new books.

- What comments do you have about the reading culture in the country?

Based on what I read online and conversations with other Nigerian writers, I would say that it's very vibrant despite all the challenges Nigerians face on a daily basis.

- Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Thanks for buying, sharing or talking about Daughters with your friends and loved ones. I hope to continue to write novels that you enjoy.

Summary Review

Daughters who walk this Path paints the picture of women in Nigeria and who could be women anywhere. The characters are fully realized and are people anyone might recognize or identify with, and this means that the book is all the more moving and compelling. My only issue with the book was that it seemed to want to write everything about Nigeria and the cultures in one book that already has its remit defined. The foray into elections and the political machinery was unnecessary as was the introduction of the issue of inter-ethnic marriage. Otherwise, Yejide writes very well, in language that is easy and engaging, and any reader will find themselves running the whole gamut of feelings, from laughter to tears and back, by the time the book concludes.

[Read Full Review]

The Theory of Wedding Potential by Adeshina ‘Tunde

The theory of Wedding Potential began with my personal experience and tries to explain this unspoken criterion many single women use when selecting who to date and have a relationship with. Some ladies I asked out in the past told me they liked me but couldn't date me. It wasn’t that they lied in order not to make me feel bad for rejecting me. I believe they genuinely did like me. I ended up making out with few of them yet they insisted they could not have a relationship with me. I had sex with one and as she was about to leave she said, “Hope you remember we are not in a relationship?”

Their reason for rejecting me is that they have reached a point in their life where they couldn’t date anyone just for the fun of it. They want a relationship that would lead somewhere and that ‘somewhere’ is marriage. I find this confusing, yet hilarious. Here I am, asking a girl to date me and she is already talking about marriage. For me, dating someone is an opportunity to know each other and determine if we were compatible. These girls make it appear they know we're already compatible before getting to know me.

All my wonderful personal qualities do not matter because their decision isn't based on me but on my wedding potential. They have subjectively assessed me to determine if I had the potential to get married quickly. And since I was a job seeking undergraduate, they did not see any early wedding potential. All my attempts to sweet talk them resulted in “You are not yet ready”.

Recently, I asked single women in their early-twenties what the most important criteria they used in deciding who to have a relationship with was, and I got answers that included spirituality, good looks, responsibility, caring. The next question I asked was if they would love to get married someday, and they replied in the affirmative.

I followed with another question, “Will you date a very spiritual/good-looking/responsible/caring guy if there was no possibility of him settling down [for marriage]?” A significant number of them answered “NO”. One interesting response was, “He must be sick! No one would date him”. My final question was, "will you agree the marriage potential was more important than the criteria you mentioned earlier?" The response to this was an outstanding "Yes!"

My theory, The Theory of Wedding Potential, would therefore explain this [unspoken] criterion women unconsciously use to decide who to date. This criterion is the potential they perceive of achieving a wedding with the man. In general, The Theory of Wedding Potential says:

• The potential of marriage is the most important criteria females use to decide with who to have a relationship.
• The perception of wedding potential varies according to factors and assumptions made by the female
• The higher the wedding potential a woman perceives in a man, the more she finds herself attracted to him.
• The wedding potential precedes other personal qualities which the woman admired in the man.
• If the wedding potential a woman perceives in a man would take a longer time, the less likely she would want to be in a relationship with him.
• Women are not always accurate in their assessment of the Wedding Potential

See, my friend was once in a relationship I assumed would lead to marriage. Then his girlfriend broke up with him and in a few months she married a man she knew for less than a year. The woman later confessed to me she loved her ex more than her husband and the only ‘flaw’ she saw in my friend was he wasn't ready to get married. She did love her husband though, just not as much as the ex. I asked, “Did you marry your husband because you loved him OR you loved him because he could be your husband OR you believe you love him because he is now your husband?”

From this experience I learnt what power the wedding potential had over feelings, even love. Once a woman perceives good wedding potential in a man she begins to see desired qualities in him. This was contrary to what some women believe: that they must see the physical or other characters they desire in a man before falling in love.

Last week, an older friend of mine received a phone call from his ex who left him years earlier for a more financially stable man. She called to catch up on old times. From their conversation, it became obvious she was now engaged, but her fiance had recently left the country for an 18-month Masters programme. She was in her late twenties and thought 18 months as a long time to wait before marriage hence the call. My friend now had a higher wedding potential, being that he was still in the country. I learnt from her actions that some women are willing to throw away years of relationship with a wonderful man if a quick marriage was not included.

Mila Kunis in the movie ‘Ted’ illustrates the theory of wedding potential. On the fourth anniversary of her character’s relationship with the boyfriend, she hoped he would propose. He didn’t, so she began to question his maturity and for a short period ended the relationship. She had a happy ending only because it’s a movie.

Wedding Potential is based on assumptions. Women have various subjective ways of assessing wedding potential. It could be based on factors including religion, race, age, tribe, family acceptance, social status, and educational qualifications. A woman might believe a man from her own religious group, race, and social status had a higher wedding potential than those that were not. A woman that thinks her family would reject a particular man might not see the wedding potential in that man and decide not to date him. For her to accept to be in a relationship with him without their approval, he must guarantee her marriage.

Another assumption is that a financially stable man was more likely to get married than a man who is unemployed. Another is that a relatively older man is more likely to get married than the woman’s peers. Again, these assumptions vary but they all boil down to wedding potential.

The theory of wedding potential points to the importance of marriage in our society. A significant percentage of women see marriage as compulsory. Despite the increase in failed marriages, they are ready to put their happiness on the line. They will ignore all the personal qualities they want in a relationship from a man, just because they want to be recognized as a Mrs. Maybe that is why broken marriages are on an increase. Women enter relationships just for the sake of wedding potential.

However, to confirm this theory, I need help. If you’re reading this article and currently in relationship, was wedding potential a major criterion for agreeing to date the man? If considering a new guy, how high does his wedding potential rank?


Adeshina Tunde blogs as @adebrsk at Story of the Year. He says of his writing, "Everyone have their experiences and what we do with it is totally up to us. Some store them as secrets while others turn them into laughs and share them with their friends. I've found what to with mine- write them as stories and give it to the world. These experiences are my stories of the year."

Feed Your Reader Giveaway Hop!

I have a Kindle that has almost 500 books, most of them I got free from Amazon. When I travelled to Nigeria, I did not bother to carry any paperbacks, I simply took my kindle. So for those of you with ereaders, including your laptops, I will help you feed your Reader. Three winners will get one eBook of their choice of my two books A Love Rekindled or A Heart to Mend(pdf or ePub).

Here are the books the winners can choose from:

To enter, use the Rafflecopter Form below. Good luck.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can also visit the other blogs taking part in the hop.

Re - Cynthia Osokogu - Safety Tips for Social Media

I read this report of the murdered Cynthia Osokogu, may her soul rest in peace, and chills went over me. She went missing in July and her body was found last week in a Festac Morgue after she had been strangled to death by her Facebook friends and abandoned in a hotel. Several people, including those who may have killed her, have been arrested. Hopefully, they will reveal details of their methods so others can beware of criminals who utilize internet anonymity to perpetuate atrocities on innocent people.

Personally, I love social networking, being a bit shy myself and finding that I needed the grassroots publicity after choosing indie writing as a career. I also love meeting the people I get to know on the internet and exploring some of our similarities and differences in lively discussions. I am equally one of those, getting to over 15% of American couples, who met their significant others online. When I blogged earlier about online romance becoming lasting love, I actually listed internet privacy and safety as an advantage, albeit a double edged one to be careful of.

In all honesty, it wasn't as if I was paying to much attention to these things when I met Atala. Luckily, we had known each other anonymously for a year by then, and he had been a member of the forum for years before that. Because we met on a message board, there were several other people involved so I got to see a dynamic version of him just like in real life. And because I admired him, I went through some of his previous posts in the archives to check for character and consistency. I wanted to know what he had said to other people, even before I joined the site.

I use this method even today on Facebook, and sometimes on Twitter. When I add people, or when some people try to chat me up, I take those few seconds or minutes to visit their profile and see who they say they are, and what their conversations with others are. This determines my interaction with them, and in some cases whether I need to block them. There are red flags for me, people who do not even bother to check my profile before chatting with me, those who call me queen, baby, sexy, madam, or anything other than my name. I am very careful of sycophants and flattery.

I could go on and on but to recap, the safety tips I consider crucial for meeting people through social networking and online dating are as follows;

- Do not believe whatever people say online, especially about themselves.

- Do not give out your personal information, like address, phone number, BB Pin, what you do, etc, until you're comfortable.

- Even emails are private, especially if they contain your real name or birthday. Continue using the messaging service of FB, DM on Twitter, or private messages on a website or dating service.

- Be honest. This makes it easier to stick to your convictions and let some people go, especially when they begin to exhibit some strange characteristics or trickery.

- Do not be embarrassed or bullied into things you don't want to do

- Do not be hurried, take your time to really know who you're dealing with. Look through their past posts or status updates, if they flirt or use inappropriate language, beware. Google them if you need to.

- Talk to other people about the serious people you meet online, especially with online dating, discuss what they do and say to you. You might be able to get a better perspective, in case you're already emotionally involved.

- When you want to meet new people, do it with a friend you already have or in a very public place. If someone insists on meeting you alone, at their house, or sleeping over at yours, that is a red flag.

- Let other people know when you're meeting someone new. Tell them the person's name, and as much information as you have including emails exchanged, text or chat records. Let the person you're meeting know you're doing this.

- Do not be coerced into helping anyone break the law, all in the name of love or romance. If you have proof someone you know online is scamming or defrauding others, don't keep quiet because he/she is not doing it to you yet. Report them to the authorities.

Let's be careful peeps. What other tips do you use to keep safe online?

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Some things are too Serious to be Forgiven

I was discussing the Evelyn Lozada and Ochocinco divorce [resulting from infidelity and domestic violence] as well this recent Rihanna revelations about her love for Chris Brown with Atala and he decided to write down his thoughts and share with us. Read and chip into the discussion...

I see a lot conflict in relationships where one person did something that causes the other person to be hurt. Even though the transgressor swears blind, “I didn’t really mean to hurt him/her”, the victim is still deeply pained. Even before we consider the effect of such hurtful actions, one question that arises in response to the claim of "I didn't mean..." is, “really?” If the actions in this case are of several deliberate steps, like those involved in maintaining a series of extramarital affairs, or in long running violence to their partner, it’s a hard claim to believe.

I feel that if people know their actions will cause someone hurt; and they had the presence of mind to stop themselves but go ahead in carrying out those actions, it rings hollow to claim it wasn’t their intention to cause any hurt. It’s like a person who, without compulsion, drives while drunk, kills someone and then claims that they never intended to take a life. The fact is that such protestations will not bring the dead to life.

I remember as a child, a china plate would sometimes slip from my hands and break in the course of bringing my parent's food to the dining table. My parents used to be exceedingly displeased at what they termed my carelessness, and would scold me accordingly, saying that I should be more careful. I never did see it that way. In fact, I thought they were being unfair, after all, my intention was never to break the plate. I wished my parents understood that I felt as bad at its breakage as they did, but it seemed all they cared about was the precious plate. I felt they should have been consoling me instead!

Fast forward many years later, and as an adult, I am looking at things from my parents’ of view. I can see that no matter what my intentions may have been, it was the effects of my actions that we would all have to live with. No amount of good intentions could repair a plate that might have cost them a significant amount of money to buy, and whose loss would make serving meals more inconvenient.

But then, I have to bear in mind that not all actions that cause hurt are deliberate, and here, things become harder to call out. What if, in the example above, the person who hurt his or her partner had not engaged in a long-running extramarital affair, but a one-night stand? What if there was just one incident of violence? What if his or her actions weren’t because of a clear decision that he or she was not happy with the spouse, but they were because of a night of foolish, drunken partying? What if they deeply regret their action and want to make it right? Shouldn't the one who has been hurt just let it go?

I know in real life, letting go is not as easy as it is for me to write about it. I believe that everyone wants some certainty of happiness in their relationships, and being able to depend on their partner for some of that. If they can be sure they won’t be hurt again, then that’s something that would make it easier to forgive, even if it’s impossible to forget. in such a scenario, the onus is on the transgressor to make tangible amends and solid plans that indicate how they will change and not revert to their hurtful ways in the future.

However, if the person who has been hurt feels that their peace of mind is gone, then who am I to preach forgiveness? This is not at all to say that I don't think the victim or the person who has been hurt is without any obligations to forgive. Nobody is perfect, and he or she should remember that tomorrow, the tables might be reversed. Would they want be judged as harshly as they are judging the person who has hurt them today? It is important to hear the other person out, consider their intentions, and not make a snap judgement.

However, while the nice side of me understands that intentions are important and about being considerate in deciding to forgive and move on, another part thinks, "surely some things are just too serious to be forgiven no matter how good intentioned the ‘sinner’ was, no matter how sorry for them he or she is?"

Sometimes also, the result of their action makes it hard to forget, even if it’s possible to forgive. For example, it could result in broken trust in the relationship, a contraction of a sexually transmitted disease or a child for another person. Even after the incident is past, these are things that still remain to be dealt with, and dealing with them continuously serves as a reminder as to what has happened. How then will the partners be able to genuinely move on?


So what do you think, are there some things too serious to be forgotten and pushed aside, even if we have forgiven?

Why Does Rihanna Still Love Chris Brown?

Sometime in June, Fred Igbeare, the editor of Cloudblazer News [a website that syndicates some of my articles] sent me a note asking, "Could you do a blog on 'Rihanna: Why Abused Women Go Back'? Considering reports she and Chris Brown are sneaking back together again.... and given also the brutal brawl over her between Brown and Drake... Would love to read your thoughts on the issue."

I decided not to write the article then because that was around the same time I wrote about domestic violence and why abused women should put some space between them and their abuser. But since the interview Rihanna had with Orah aired last night, so many questions came to my mind that I wanted to discuss.

Rihanna said she had forgiven Chris Brown and that she still loves him. She called him her true love, and said she was worried after pictures of her beat-up face appeared, not wanting people to consider him a monster, but to realize he also needed help.

She explained how it took forgiving and reconciling with her father, who had abused her mother, to see her relationship with her ex-boyfriend with new eyes. She was then able to not only forgive him, but also accept her continuing love for him. Oprah said she was shocked to hear that, and I was surprised too.

Thinking about it though, I don't know them, I don't know their story. She may have some other details she's not sharing that means what she's saying makes sense to her. Otherwise, how can she say, “We built up a trust again. And that’s it. We love each other and we probably always will.”

This brings to mind the whole "Stockholm's Syndrome", a scenario where hostages express empathy and have positive feelings towards their captors, and it’s almost impossible not to see classic signs of that in Rihanna’s words. She sounds like a victim of abuse who refuses to blame her abuser and instead, shoulders some of the blame herself. On this blog, I have discussed some victims who lived with their abusive husbands until they died.

On the other hand, I had to respect Rihanna's eloquence and grasp of herself. Taken in a different way, her words could be the expression of a big heart, and a clue that she can forgive and forget, an admirable quality in anyone, and especially in relationships.

What is your take? Do you think Rihanna forgiving Chris Brown is a sign of strength of character, or is she just an unhealed victim of an abusive relationship?