My Gratitude Jar

Twenty-one ways in which I was blessed in 2021:

1. Emotional Healing

2. Reconciliation

3. Provision

4. Friendships

5. Vision

6. Courage

7. Creativity

8. Growth

9. Clarity

10. Destiny Helpers

11. New Experiences

12. Knowledge

13. Physical Healing

14. New Skills

15. New Connections

16. Renewed Faith

17. Fresh Revelations

18. Rekindled Love

19. Restoration

20. Amazing Books

21. Family Reunions

Thank you 2021. Much respect for the darkness and the pain. We pulled through by grace. We move forward in faith.

Hello 2022…. We here!

Leaving a Legacy

When I was 5 years old, my dad signed me up for piano lessons. This was later expanded to include recorder and singing lessons also.

In my early teens, when I struggled to maintain my motivation, he would not let me quit, saying “you need options in life”. Meaning, you don’t know which of these skills will be your source of livelihood.

Today, on the 5th anniversary of his passing, I can only say he was so right! My chequered career has taken me from IT Consultancy to Project Mangement to Education Management and now, Music Education.

Something else Dad often said was, “When I die, I may not leave you a fortune but one thing I will bequeath you is a good education”. This has indeed been his most valuable gift to me and a legacy that has been passed on to my children, all of whom enjoy making music as part of their everyday lives.

I am a fan of what I call the “everyday” musician. Ordinary men and women, from all walks of life, for whom music is an integral part of their lives. People who enjoy music making because it completes them, not because it’s a source of their livelihood, not because it makes them famous or rich.

In our instagram feed, my music school regulary features men and women who are known as surgeons, business moguls, enginners, ambassadors and so on, but who are also accomplished musicians.

The commonly held view, especially in Nigerian culture, that learning to play an instrument is somehow detrimental to one’s academic or career prospects cannot be farther from the truth.

Indeed, learning complex harmony instruments such as the piano, using structured teaching approaches, has been shown to improve executive function, thereby enhancing one’s chances of success in other fields.

I will forever be grateful for my father’s legacy, how he gave me a well rounded education, that incorporated music alongside literacy, numeracy and science. He supported my music lessons for 11 good years, until I turned 16, when I started to prepare for my University entrance exams. Sadly, I had an unsympathetic music teacher at the time who was unwilling to adjust his demands of me musically to my academic realities and so, reluctantly, I quit. With hindisght, that could have been avoided had my teacher been more sympathetic to my predicament at the time. Music could have been my refuge from my academic workload, had he not been so rigid. But that’s a story for another day. Several years later, now a grown woman with little children, I found my way back to my first love and have continued my pursuit of music learning ever since.

For those parents who share my father’s passion, and are looking to encourage their children to maintain an interest in music learning, I highly recommend Nathan Holder’s book – “I wish I didn’t quit music lessons“. It’s available on Kindle.

And for those parents who would like to introduce their children to the joys of music making but are not sure where to begin, then I suggest you try out our recreational music clubs for starters. The clubs provide an opportunity for children to learn to play their choice of instrument in a relaxed, social setting, and are a good way to guague interest in an instrument.

Alternatively, for a more intensive expreience, you can sign your children up for private lessons on approval. This is where we give your children four weeks of music tuition, before you decide whether or not to take the plunge. You don’t pay a penny until you are certain you would like to continue with lessons. If you find that they didn’t enjoy the experience, you wont be charged for the lessons taken.

I will forever be grateful for my father’s wisdom and commitment to “giving me options” which has now touched his grand children, and I hope their children also.

Sing the old song for me dad.

your “Bibi” x

Unconditional Love

As a Christian, I am privileged to feel able to approach Almighty God, any time of day and night with a prayer or a thought.

The confidence with which I enter His throne room is unrelated to how “good” I have been in the hours and days beforehand.

I approach Him, knowing I will get a warm reception. Knowing He will be gracious and not meet me with a big stick or a barrage of accusatory words. Knowing that in His presence, I will find the strength to turn my life around and do better.

I am also keenly aware that I do not extend the same generosity of spirit to my nearest and dearest.

My tongue is like a well trained, lethal sniper. Ready to berate and barrage at every turn. I do not hide my disappointment and anger at their misdeeds. I do not fail to let them know just how let down I feel. Worse still, I feel morally justified in doing so.

In Luke 9:54, the disciples considered themselves morally justified in asking Jesus to call down destruction on a Samaritan village for their cold reception of Jesus and His entourage.

Jesus rebuked the disciples, reminding them that His purpose was to save lives, not to destroy them. He said this because he recognised that only an abundance of love is powerful enough to turn the hearts of sinners towards him.

This is not blind, sentimental, mushy love.

This is a very deliberate, powerful, unconditional and generous love that chooses to believe in, and nurture the potential of the individual that lies within their current stinky and undesirable state of being.

It’s believing that better lies within and drawing it out in love.

It’s understanding that the outward change will seek will only become manifest after a million, tiny, indiscernible changes. And that our role is to feed and nurture that deep but slow work with the same unconditional, inexhaustible love that our Heavenly Father showers on us – daily.

It’s remembering that Mercy triumphs over Judgement. Always.

Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, and sent messengers before His face.

And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem.

And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?”

But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” And they went to another village.
Lu 9:51‭-‬56 NKJV

The journey to 50…

Today I begin the inexorable march to my 50th birthday.

No idea what lies ahead. But I draw comfort and strength from my walk of faith which started when I was aged sixteen.

I know my loving, compassionate, generous and kind Heavenly Father walks alongside me.

He is with me through the hills and the valleys. He keeps me in the cup of his hand and under the shadow of His wings.

And He leads me to unimaginable places where He reveals His glory and splendour.

Excited for the journey!

Hello April: Time to Refill, Reflect, Renew, Rebuild

I love the quiet simplicity that signals the arrival of spring. A flower bud here, a blade of grass there, the warmer, brighter days…. Spring sneaks up on you, unnaounced, without fanfare but with a definiteness that is impossible to ignore.

After tumultous whirlwind that has characterised the last 12 months, it’s time to recharge the batteries, take stock and reposition for the future. April will be the time to sow the seeds and lay teh foundation for the next 12 months.

Praying for peace and grace for the journey.

Mother’s Coat of Many Colours

Coat of Many Colours by Dolly Parton

Many parts of the world are celebrating Mothering Sunday today and Church services will be dedicated to Mothers – both present and departed – for their unwavering selfless love.

Dolly Parton’s song, “Coat of Many Colours” tells of how her mother stitched together a coat for her from pieces of rags because they could not afford to buy one. And how the children at school made fun of this coat that had been so lovingly put together by her mum.

And I reflect on how timeless her message is. How mothers today continue to weave the best life they can for their children from the fragments of time, resources and skills that they have.

This is a universal struggle regardless of socio-economic status, race or background.

And so I want to encourage Mothers who are reading this today not to be discouraged. Your love is the greatest gift you can give your children.

The last verse of Dolly’s song is particularly powerful:

But they didn’t understand it and I tried to make them see
That one is only poor only if they choose to be
Now I know we had no money but I was rich as I could be
In my coat of many colours my mama made for me

Mothers, your patchwork coat, sewn in love is the greatest gift of all.

Happy Mother’s Day 💜.

Click here to watch Dolly perform the song.

Being in the Room Where It Happens…

It’s a well documented fact that better decisions are made when women are in the room where it happens. This is because women bring a unique perspective and are able to find creative solutions to problems faced by organisations. Today I stand with men and women around the world who seek to address gender bias in our organisations.

I am also grateful for the women upon whose shoulders I stand today. My story would not have been possible without your sacrifice and courage.

Happy International Women’s Day.

Happiness…

This verse from this morning’s Bible reading gave me such comfort.

I paraphrase:

When you provide a service that others value and are willing to pay you for, to the extent that you can comfortably live off your earnings, you will be happy and whole.

Renewed motivation to strive to provide a service of value.

#wemove.

Magical Musical Moments

Still Making Memories

A couple of days ago, my girls and I had a spontaneous sign-along around the piano. I surreptitiously captured a few seconds on camera so as not to kill the moment.

That moment took me back to our many months of music making when they were babies and toddlers, where they would sit on my lap on the floor, wiggling, clapping and playing percussion instruments in a room full of other, mostly moms, and children of a similar age.

Those sessions were our special “Mummy and Me” times during an otherwise busy and chaotic week, where we bonded over a shared activity.

I love the fact that all these years later, music making continues to be an activity over which we connect.

I love the fact that the piano room is a sanctuary in our home. A place where we go to reflect, relax and relieve tension while tinkling the little white and black keys.

A place where we process, where we cry, where we worship.

Those baby music classes helped to create a culture in our home that makes shared magical moments like this feel totally natural.

I will be sharing my personal and professional experience of how to raise a musical child in a free webinar. Do join me if you can. Sign up for free using the link below. If you make the webinar or you missed it, sign up anyway in order to receive the replay.