Let them say, you did it your way. You failed and failed. You stood too and stood. You withstood all that fear had in store, down to the last syllable.

Still, you weathered the storm. Danced through fire. Circled back to beginnings full of failures and pain.

Still you worked. You rose up early and worked. Accepted it all, like cloudy skies sailing through, Ijeles too at New Yam festivals.

Still you looked up. Face full of tears and wondering when to give up or persist through the hell called failure.

For what good is life without a lesson or two. What good is failure, without learning it’s bitter acid.

Let them say what they say. But where you have been, circles and all, is still just the beginning.

To know that I am surrounded, safe and supported with all my failures keeps my grateful.

I’m learning the importance of belonging. The importance of surrounding myself with those willing to support all that I care about it. Even if it fails 1000 times. The 1001th time is my keep for today. Even ideas that first fail, still fail until time. It’s this time, I long to master.

I remember these days, like a woman in labor, pain at the thought of pushing, but joy rattling all my being. Sounds pierce through.

Ah, the sound of life, unforgettable. Like you, Papa, my forever love. Rereading your letters. A blessing. Every single word in place. Near my heart. You will always remain.

You are my highest mountains, and tallest towers. All I am is within reach. Like God shining from Zion. A city perfect in beauty. You greatness will remain. Beautiful. Those not yet born, will praise you.

My Papa would have been 82 today. Because of him, it will be said that we lived. Strong and mighty, the source of our blessings. To know my father was to know love and joy and anything else that personifies grace. He gave us the best of himself. Made us all stand tall and supreme like Mount Zion. I will always love you Papa. Sleep on.

Lives healed by the sound of music. And lives restored in the middle of meltdowns, are dancing to their own tunes now. Becoming too, in tune with all the noise, and sorrow, pulling us down, sign of the times and full moon, all the good news, for lives lived beyond these times. I am on a quest to make sense of minds not typical but typical in their own way. And music is my key entry point. I don’t have it all figured out yet, but in the middle of another meltdown today with my son, in the middle of what seemed to be an endless display of a mind in disarray, music helped to restore all we couldn’t. It’s this gift and power, I choose to keep today. The never ending sound of music for healing.

I will write one day, how music got us through our vacation with my son on the spectrum!

Like mother, like son, the one we named after God, lives like his mother.

Always talking, always questioning, if it doesn’t feel right, he will be the first to ask. If it comes to his minds, words will be out and free.

Like mother, like son, the one we named after God, sees the world in big ways. Trees are big. Sky, too big. So are the oceans and everything that makes him relax. He maybe small today, but his tomorrow is big.

Like mother like son, the one we named after God, won’t stop talking. He keeps asking questions too. Why do you work so much? Why can’t we go to Drace Park?

His ways maybe tiring. His talking and questioning too. But, I’ll gladly suffer the tenderness of his kinda of love.

My middle son is forever in his pajamas. Not just to sleep, but to wear as day wear. We have tried though in vain to switch his style of dressing, but he keeps returning back to what he loves. Recently, I asked why and he noted that they make him feel comfortable and relaxed. He simply loves them because of their comfort. I looked at him and wondered out loud to myself, where does he get all his ideas from. He is only 5 years old. His ways are irresistibly charming and full of ease. His ability to live as he sees in world, in union with all that makes him relaxed is my keep for today. There is tenderness in his ways. I am learning that everyday. But most importantly, the fact that his ways are mine, keeps me hungry with every fiber of my being, for life.

Wild flowers are everywhere.

Like me, a woman, full, in bloom. Come soil or rock, I grow, oblivious to the softness or hardness of the other.

Life knows me well. I am persistent with all the soil and rock I meet like a Bella Donna Lilly.

I was greeted by these large lily like flowers today. They lined the back of our home.

They stood tall, with a stem, naked, leafless, proud, like a woman. Only flowers, in pale pink color lined their tips. Only flowers line their tip.

Rain or sun, they grow on their own. With seeds producing flowers in three years. Today, I was greeted by flowers that took three years to bloom. Three years to bloom.

There is heaven in these flowers. I saw it for myself today. I saw heaven today.

Bella Donna Lilly

I took a break from everything. Packed the family and literally went to a place I can only describe as heaven on earth. It was the most relaxing vacation I have had in awhile and to think I planned it with five families, 22 people in total is no small feat. We ate, we danced, we smiled and laughed our hearts out that coming back to earth has truly been hard. I also saw my sister from another mother in heaven. Like we didn’t even tell each other that we were going on vacation. Only for me to bump into her in a place I can only describe as heaven. Just as I was slowly adjusting to being back, my eyes wandered to the back of our home. Long naked like stems lined the back of our home, near where we planted cucumbers last year. They seem to be coming on their own and growing out of soils and rocky pavements. When I learnt their name, I realized that God wanted me to hold heaven in my hands for infinity. Of course I won’t have five families with me. I have my own. And thanks to these flowers, I intend to hold on to heaven for eternity. I needed this reminder today.

The first job I got right after my undergraduate degree was an internship at the World Organization’s InfoBase. It was for 3 months and I was assigned to work under Dr. Kathleen Strong. My first assignment, look through online databases for the burden of stroke globally. Then enter all the risk factors you see into the WHO Global InfoBase. It wasn’t the most high rewarding jobs, but I understood the value and did my best throughout those three months to help the group and their surveillance of stroke risk factors globally.

Nearly 16 years later, I am back to looking through online databases to make sense of risk factors for stroke. Hypertension is a dominant modifiable risk factor. So also is high salt intake and sedentary lifestyle as well as obesity. I worked with a group earlier this year to make sense of the role of salt. It seems simple that everyone should cut back on salt but yet the willingness to push this through mainstream is limited. There there are all the clinical approach to hypertension based on clinical assessments and strategies that rely heavily on resources. I don’t doubt their significance but the burden of stroke still remains high despite their existence. But really who cares and why am I reminiscing on days long gone. Well, it’s all coming full circle. Not sure what the universe is trying to do, but I’m a vessel and I love seeing what staying under his wings can do. This rise, this ride of my life is amazing. Stay tuned.

All my life, I have lived with a scar. Not a big one. Just one I rarely forget.

We have lived together, all my life. Learning, though silent, the meaning of things, people, voices, ideas, I dare not forget. Those imprinted forever, still hopeful for too much hope.

I have also been told different stories about the scar. Some say ignore the stories, it’s just a tiny birth mark, that somehow grew over time. Others say, I placed my finger on fire and learnt that day, why fire is fire.

Regardless of the story, a birthmark or fire, we still live together, this scar and I, like hunger, like desire, like things I cannot forget.

After all these years, even scars have hope. They rise so I remember, always, that fire is fire.

My little scar’

There is a kind of peace that flows when you grow fully and beautifully. I am finding that peace for myself with each passing day.

It’s in the morning sun, the one that peaks through my window right before 6 am to let me know a new day has begun.

It’s in the steps I take to my quiet space for me, where I nestle in between sheets and warm fuzzy blankets to do all that matters for me.

It with morning runs, with the love of my life, my Zobam, on days when our legs feel ready to run miles we wish to never end.

It’s in the children that come into my room everyone, with words like Good morning that allow me to know that everything good will come our way.

It’s in the chaos and hustle of a busy day, one filled with toothbrushes that curve like the letter U for my boys, decisions around showers or bath and which bathroom, my own or theirs.

Its in the light breakfast we all eat every morning. Nothing heavy just eggs with all sorts of fruits, black berries, blue berries, raspberries, strawberries and anything berries will do.

It’s in the drive somewhere, every morning, with my kids somewhere. School, summer camp, Drace Park and the endless walks and runs around green beds of grass with kids 10 and below.

It’s in the quiet time I steal for myself, every morning, right before work, just for me, to do and be me.

It’s for the times at the store during the way, endless strolls along aisles, full of things we don’t need.

It’s in the afternoon runs with my kids, pick up and drops offs somewhere all in the name of raising children that are critical about life.

It’s in the times we spend together, most evenings making dinner, that fills our heart and home with joy.

It’s in the times I get to spend with them again, movie nights, reading books, anything that little kids love these days.

Beautiful art by Iamrenike on instagram.

My peace may flow around them, as it should, when they bring so much joy and heaven in a world full of chaos.

I am loving all the ways I am growing these days. Images like this from Renike remind me of why it’s important to spend time listing all that makes your grow fully and beautifully.

I wrote this in three minutes because above all, words make me full and beautiful.

I looked into the mirror today. Not the passive glance I often do, when rushing through morning routines, but a deep soulful stare that made me be still for a moment. Here we are, the start of the next phase of my career and all I want is everything. I have no idea why I love ideas. I heard in a conversation today, how people are drawn to ideas and all I could do was nod my head. I love ideas. I live for them. Every single one is critical to me. Critique them and I’ll come back with a better version of whatever initial idea I proposed. I am also learning that I gravitate towards people prepared to tell my that my ideas are trash. I live for bad ideas turned good, as in really good, all because someone took the time to point out the initial flaws in the idea.

I have been nursing an idea about music that first started as an itch, which intensified after binging Afrobeats on Netflix all last week. I rarely watch anything on t.v or streaming these days. There are 4 kids and summer camps to figure out. So the idea of binging seemed so foreign to me, but still I did so for this show. Maybe is was the nostalgia of music, this idea too that a people, long shunned in a industry dominated by others, took the time to craft an idea, Afrobeats for themselves. They built it as best as they could. Nurtured its flaws and weaknesses. Worked through all the hurdles along the way and made a sound, music that transcends time.

It’s this idea of music, birthing a movement, that is my inspiration for today. I have no idea where this will go and no I don’t intend to be a musician one day. But maybe, just maybe we may get closer to the public health the public truly demands and deserve if only we use tools that make sense to them. Music is one powerful tool and idea whose time has come to stay in my soul. That’s what the mirror said to me today. I am understanding all that I am and all that I am meant to be.