Monday, 25 April 2011

What women want...

...apart from him obviously.
You know that movie with the same title; the one where Mel Gibson plays the role of a man that gets electrocuted and somehow gains the ability to read women’s minds? Well, that’s not what this is about. But wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if men actually knew what women want? The truth is I don’t think many of us women even know what we want most of the time. When it comes to men, we think and sometimes say we want certain things but most women hardly ever sit down to think about what they want in a man. So, guess what? I did just that. I thought about and came up with ten things I want in my man, and since I think I’m representative of most (sensible) women, I think this list comprises of what most of them would want too. And you’d be surprised, it’s not just diamonds, or clothes, or shoes!

  1. Honesty: Women want their men to be honest, truthful and transparent. In everything. Be honest when you've done something wrong (no matter how you think she'll react); it helps build trust.

  1. Faithfulness/Commitment: This goes without saying. No one wants to be in a relationship with someone that will cheat on them, or leave them when things start to go pear-shaped. Women want someone that will stick with them through thick and thin.

  1. Reliability: Women want someone they can rely on. You know, someone that is stable, focused and knows what he wants. Not someone whose life is like a yo-yo.

  1. Protection: This is not just about security and the size of your wallet. No matter how independent and strong a woman is, she still wants a man that can protect her. Someone that she knows can handle things and someone she knows has her back.

  1. Vulnerability: This does not equate to weakness. It is about being open in your relationship, and being willing to share what's really going on in your mind. Let her know your fears, your doubts, and your concerns. Women want someone who is not afraid to show their sensitive side. Crying (once in a while) is OK.

  1. Attention: Women want you to give them your time. Quality time. Let them know that you 'see' them, hear them, understand them (or at least try to).

  1. Affection: Being affectionate comes more easily to some guys than others. But most women want a man that shows them affection. This includes being loving and caring and all the other romantic stuff.

  1. Those three words: Even though a lot of people say it and don't mean it, women like to hear the words 'I love you'. Try to say it often, and with sincerity.

  1. Compliments: Everyone loves compliments, but there's nothing like getting it from the man you love. Tell her she looks and smells nice, her meal was delicious, you're proud of her achievements. It is for your own benefit, trust me.

  1. Gifts: Don't be a cheapskate. Buy her gifts. And they don't have to be expensive. Even though they say diamonds are a girl's best friend, most women appreciate what a man put time and effort and thought into more than what he just clicked on a button to buy.

So there you go; ten things women want. I've arranged them in order of priority in my opinion. Ladies, feel free to add what you think I missed out and what you think should go where. Guys, let me know if this helps!

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

The neighbour's dog and Easter...
I love dogs. We’ve had them in our house since I can remember, and I think they’re the best animals to have around. My parents currently have four (or more like three and a half really, because one of them is expected to die from old age anytime soon) dogs at home, and I couldn’t imagine anything bad happening to them, even though they’ve tried to attack me several times (they’re a bit crazy sometimes). Anyway, the other day I was in my room and I heard a dog howling in pain, like it was being beaten or something. I thought it was one of our dogs and I thought to myself ‘those security guards are at it again; I wish the dogs would just bite off one of their hands!’ But I soon realised that it wasn’t one of our dogs, but one belonging to a nearby neighbour. I listened closely and I could hear someone beating the dog repeatedly with a whip or something similar. I assumed it was one of the kids, and I ignored it with thoughts of ‘why can’t some parents raise their kids right, like my mum did with us?’

The next day, the same thing happened, at almost the same time as previously. I grew a bit concerned. But it didn’t stop there. The following day, I was trying to read and I heard the same dog howling in what sounded like unbearable pain. I could hear the sound of the whip coming down repeatedly on the helpless dog’s body. I was shocked. I couldn’t imagine how anyone could hurt an animal and continue doing so, despite the animal’s pleas for mercy! I jumped out of bed and ran to my mum.
 I was like, ‘Mummy, the neighbours are beating their dog. Can you hear it?’
 She was like, ‘Mm hmm. You know what these people are like.’
I was like, ‘It’s been going on for a few days now, at exactly the same time each day. I want to go and have a word with them, because I can’t bear it.’
My mum looked at me and smiled. ‘Don’t bother. Who knows what they’ve used the dog to do?’
 I was confused. ‘What do you mean?’
‘Well, it is possible they’re using the dog for some kind of ritual and someone’s given them the instruction to beat the dog at 7am every morning...’
Yeah, I know. Like you, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Could it be true? The more I thought about it, the more I realised that it was a very plausible reason, considering the part of the world we live in. And as much as I wanted to march to the neighbour’s house and give them a piece of my mind, I knew I couldn’t because I didn’t feel it would be safe. The first thought that came to my mind was ‘Where is the RSPCA when you need them?’ The second thought was ‘Maybe God can help’. So I prayed. I prayed that God would touch the hearts of our neighbours, and perhaps even speak to them through the dog like Balaam’s donkey spoke to him. I prayed that if they wouldn’t listen, that God would take the dog’s life, so that it wouldn’t have to continue suffering. Amazing the prayers God answers sometimes. You know what, whether the dog spoke (and I really hope it did!) or the neighbours found their hearts, I don’t know. But I never heard that dog again.
As I was thinking about this more recently, I couldn’t help wondering how anyone could inflict pain on another living being, and close their ears to the obvious cries for mercy. I just couldn’t understand it. But then I thought about Easter. As Jesus hung on the cross, He cried. He wept. He was in so much pain. A pastor was explaining the process of crucifixion on TV the other day and I literally changed the channel because I couldn’t bear it. So Jesus was suffering and He actually cried out to His Father but God ‘turned a deaf ear.’ For my sake. For all our sakes. He let Jesus suffer and die, because He didn’t want us to suffer and die. Just as perhaps my neighbours in their ignorance thought that it was necessary for their dog to suffer for them to get a desired result, God in His infinite wisdom thought it necessary for Jesus to suffer on the cross for me (and you) to have a relationship with Him. Easter Sunday represents the day Jesus rose from the dead, and whilst we celebrate that, let’s not forget that He had to go through hell in order for us to live.
‘And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again.’ 2 Corinthians 5:15 (TNIV)

Sunday, 17 April 2011

You just never know...

I just had to share this; it fits in so well with my previous post. Thanks to the fabulous Miss Biosu from Butterfly Diaries for sharing!

Friday, 15 April 2011

Afraid of death? Not me...
I was on facebook the other day and I noticed a friend’s status update that said something along the lines of ‘still so shocking...RIP chica.’ Another friend changed his profile picture to that of a girl, and initially I thought it was his girlfriend but I soon realised that it was a mutual friend of the two of them who had just passed away following a road traffic accident. She was thirty years old. I did a bit of snooping around and from the numerous pictures that I came across, and the various comments of condolence, I got the feeling that this was one young woman that was going to be missed. I was looking through some pictures of her and her friends and not only was she very pretty, she also seemed to be someone that enjoyed life to the full and loved to have a laugh. I couldn’t help thinking that she could easily have been me, or one of my friends. I felt so sad for the friends and family of this person that I never knew, because I could just imagine the hurt and pain they felt for a life that was lost at such a young age.
There was a time I used to be afraid of dying. Even though I was a Christian, I still didn’t feel ready to leave this earth, because I wasn’t so sure I would like what was next. Now, I’d like to think I’m a bit more mature as a Christian than I was years ago and thanks to further study and in-depth teachings of the Bible, I now look forward to leaving this place. It’s not that I want to die (even though sometimes the heartache and troubles that come my way make me think it’s definitely the easier option); I feel like I haven’t done even half of what I think God wants me to do on earth, and I know my passing would grieve so many people (I hope!)
The other day I was about to switch off the TV but then I heard this lady preacher reading out a story. It was about a Christian girl that had a dream. In the dream, her best friend had written her a letter and it said something along the lines of ‘...I thought we were friends; we laughed, joked and shared secrets together, had sleepovers at each others’ houses, but you never told me about this. You never told me about hell.’ I didn’t get the whole story, but I gathered that in the dream, her friend had died and gone to hell, but somehow had left her a letter. When this young woman woke up, she was petrified as the dream had seemed so real. She determined in her heart to call her friend the next day and invite her to church. When she called the following day, she was told that her friend had been killed in a car crash the night before. Now I don’t know if this story is true or not, but hearing this and thinking about the girl on facebook made me think that it’s time I did something.
I haven’t always been the bravest when it comes to telling people (especially my friends) about Jesus but the truth is that it’s a life and death issue. If you saw your friend standing in the middle of the road and a car was coming to hit them, you would scream out or even run across and push them out of harm’s way. If you were in a desert with your friends and you found an oasis, you would call out and share it with them. It is the same with the Gospel. It’s not just about eternal damnation, it is good news. It’s about letting people know that they can have abundant eternal life even whilst they’re still here on earth. It’s about letting people know that they don’t have to be afraid of death, because Someone else has the keys. And that Someone wants to have a relationship with them.
So I’m speaking out, because I want my friends to know the truth. None of us are certain of the next hour, let alone the next day. That girl’s picture keeps haunting me because I keep thinking ‘She seemed so full of life; going to parties, going to weddings, having fun. It really could’ve been any of us.’ Me, I’m ready to die. Are you? If you’re not, it’s probably because you don’t know where you’ll be spending eternity. Jesus said in John 11:25-26;
‘I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die...’
If you want to be sure of eternity, all you need to do is ask Jesus to be Lord of your life. Confess the bad stuff in your life and ask Him to forgive you and come and live within you. If you’re not even sure if this whole God thing is real, ask God sincerely to reveal Himself to you and I can assure you that He will. If you’d like to know more, please leave a comment or send me an email (uebillah(at)googlemail(dot)com).

Friday, 8 April 2011

How to beat your children...

Picture taken from
I think this follows on nicely from the previous post. The other day I was leaving church and amidst all the shouts of ‘buy your ‘daily manna’!’ and ‘buy your anointing oil!’ and ‘air fresheners for your car!’ (We sell all sorts in church these days; I sometimes wonder what Jesus would do if he visited), I heard one seller call out ‘how to beat your children!’ I stopped dead in my tracks. I couldn’t have heard right surely. ‘How to beat your children?!’ I guessed it was a parenting book of some sort but as the crowd kept pressing against me I had no choice but to ignore the shouts and move on. I kept thinking about that book though, and what the contents could be. I started to think that actually, I could write that book. Well, not the exact book itself but one with the same title. Why? Because I’ve had so much experience. Not with beating kids obviously (as I have none) but with growing up in a house where beating was the preferred way of discipline.
For those that think beating/smacking/flogging kids is more or less child abuse, you can stop reading now. I’m just joking. I think some parents do in fact take discipline too far. I was in church (again) the other day sitting next to some woman with a somewhat restless and ill-mannered kid. He looked about four. This woman kept trying to pray and get into the service but her son just wouldn’t let her be (don’t ask me what I was doing watching them). In the end, she lost it and started shouting at him and hitting him with her shoe! In the middle of a church service! When I recovered from the shock of what I was seeing, I begged her to stop. To me, she was only making things worse by beating the poor boy; whereas before she was the only one he was disturbing, now he was disturbing quite a few more people with his screams!
I think back to what it was like growing up in our house. My dad was one of those disciplinarians whose mere presence just made you behave. I only remember him flogging me twice. The first time was when I was about five. My dad bought a new mattress for me and my sister’s bed, and for some unfathomable reason, we decided to rip the mattress apart. I still maintain till today that my sister started it, and I only followed her lead, but the fact that she’s younger than me did not help my case. So, my dad flogged us. I can’t give you the details because I don’t want you to think he’s a monster or anything like that but just take my word for it that it was pretty bad...
The second time was when I went to a neighbour’s house and stayed there the whole day, playing. Now you might be wondering, ‘he flogged you just for that?’But you see we had this family in our neighbourhood that were notorious for being ‘bad’. The kids were always out and about at parties, getting expelled, and doing other stuff unruly teenagers do. So, it was kind of an unspoken rule that you didn’t associate with them. For some reason, I decided to ignore that rule that day, and I went to their house to play. My mum eventually found me and took me home to await my dad’s return. I’ll leave what happened next to your imagination. I love my dad.
My mum however, was the main disciplinarian in our family. In fact, she was known for disciplining all the kids in the neighbourhood (something you would only encounter in Africa). Even though I hated it at the time, now I’m older, I feel like my mum had the right balance between being a fun mum and being a disciplinarian. I remember she would keep us entertained by telling us stories, teaching us songs, and playing games with us. She was never too big to be a kid around us. But whenever we ‘forgot’ that she was our mum, and stepped out of line, she was quick to remind us! I won’t bore you with all the stories of when she flogged us, but one particular story springs to mind. I honestly cannot remember what I did wrong that day, but I remember crying. A lot. For some reason, even after the pain of the flogging had subsided, the tears kept coming. I think I may have been struggling with feelings that perhaps my mum didn’t love me after all, and I was adopted (I was about six, mind). In the end, whether she felt guilty, or the sniffling was beginning to irritate her, I don’t know. But my mum did something I will never forget till the day I die. She called me, held me in her arms and apologised. No, she didn’t say ’I’m sorry I flogged you’, it was more like ‘OK, sorry. Stop crying.’ But it was more than enough to make me think, ‘Woohoo! I wasn’t adopted after all!’ (By the way, I am in no way suggesting that adopted kids are maltreated by their parents).
Sometimes I think about what kind of parent I’d be; I’ve found myself fluctuating between promising never to lay hands on my kids, to deciding to beat them as and when I deem fit (after all my parents beat me and I turned out OK, I think. Plus even the Bible does not condone sparing the rod.) A friend of mine grew up in a household where the parents never for once touched the kids, and they all turned out well. I think they were just naturally good. I hope my kids are like that...