Had a busy weekend. No real holiday for me. Major church program on Sunday, prepping for it Saturday. To get in the spirit of the celebration, I followed Jonathan Williamson’s CG Cookie tutorial on creating a bunch of balloons. After some hemming and hawing, I ended up with this (Sky texture was a free download from CG Textures), with no compositing:
After doing some of the composition Jonathan mentioned in the video, I got a brighter (but personally not-as-pleasing result – I think the balloons had much better coloring/shadow in the first):
Anyhow, I was supposed to get a wallpaper from it, and since The Gospel According to Rap were to be guests for the service, I got their picture emailed to me. Unfortunately, due to sucky internet, I could only download half the picture, and even then only on my BlackBerry, so I ended up with this:
Hopefully, it wasn’t a complete waste of time, but I’ll let you decide. Anyhow, here are some pictures from the meeting, with a little love for the guys on the instruments:
This post has been a long time in the making. It should have been out about three weeks ago, but…I got lazy. No matter. It’s getting out now, even though since I’m going to be dredging it out of my memory, I might be a bit fuzzy on the details. Oh, and please forgive the controversial heading. It was the best I could think of at the time.
A while back, my special lady came visiting for a weekend. At first, I was cool, and then, the day before she came, my emotions went into hyperdrive. But I digress. I’d made all sorts of plans, but in the words immortalized in Burns’ To A Mouse,
the best-laid schemes of mice and men
gang aft agley
That said, one of the things I had lined up was a visit to my pastor, Pastor Nuel Manufor of KingsWord International Church, Ikeja. We had about an hour or so to chat with him, and he was a great blessing to us both. Basically, this post is about what he said to us that day.
I’ve never really liked the word “dating” or the phrases “going out”, “in a relationship” and other isms we use so often these days. Pastor Nuel opened by asking what was going on between us both. I said I didn’t like the word “dating”, but it was close to what we had. He asked if we were just testing the waters, just to see if we wanted to get married. We replied that we weren’t. So he asked us to describe what was going on, and we said we were in a relationship. He said each one of us was in a relationship with him, and asked if that was the same kind of relationship we had with each other.
Ultimately, he gave us a word that’s not in common use today, “courting”, and said we shouldn’t be afraid to say we were engaged, or call each other fiancé or fiancée. Someone might wonder why he made such a big deal of it all, after all, wasn’t it Shakespeare who said, “a rose, by any other name, would smell just as sweet”? In retrospect, I realize it was important. The name given to something at its beginning matters greatly. It can set the tone and destination for it, because a name tends to define a thing (please see Gen 2:19, 35:18; 1 Chron 4:9.10). I don’t intend to argue this point.
He then proceeded to ask us to set some boundaries. He mentioned that the Bible recognized married people and unmarried people, but not people in courtship, and that he believed that people in courtship were biblically no different from single people. He addressed Busa and said that she needed to look at me as being no different from any man she passed on the road getting to his office; she should treat me as she would treat anyone else.
By implication (and explication), we weren’t supposed to be kissing or caressing or any of all of that. He specifically mentioned to me that he hoped I wasn’t focused on her boobs, body or butt. He said people tend to ask, “how far is too far?”, and that it is a foolish question because if you’re not going to Ibadan, you just don’t take the bus to Ibadan. We would consider the person who got on the bus to Ibadan and asked how far enough from – say, Lagos, they would have to go to be too far from Lagos crazy, with good reason.
It’s completely human to want to push the envelope, and there’s a compound word for that: self-deception (hypocrisy, if you really want one word). At this point, I have to admit that what I was hearing was battling my desire to kiss her and hold her in my arms, put my arms around her waist…sorry, please excuse the temporary sanity loss. I have to be honest, the entire weekend wasn’t easy. I am so grateful and blessed that she stood her ground, not once, but several times.
I remember reading part of Kevin Roose’s book, The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner’s Semester At America’s Holiest University, and he made an interesting point: that at his previous school, Brown, he faced a lot of pressure trying to go to bed with women. At Liberty, once he accepted the fact that sex was off the menu, he was freer with women and actually developed better relationships with them. It kind of tallies with what Pastor Nuel said, that lust (operating through sexual desires), allowed in male-female relationship, blinds people and clouds judgment, hence his questions to me – considering that it’s said that sex is among a man’s top five needs. Yes, ladies, you read that right – not wants, but needs. It may not be as basic as air, food, clothing or water, but it’s top on the list of priorities, or so I’m told (this is where you use your fingers to google this).
I’ve a personal story here: I had a descent into relational and emotional hell that began with a kiss. For years, I’d mentally “skirted the fringes” (and deep-dived into infernal regions) and fell, hard, when I was in a situation to realize my mental conditioning. I didn’t really recover for almost 4 years. No, you don’t get the details. If you paid me for my memoirs, though…maybe. Despite this, I still wanted to kiss Busa. Several times. I suppose it implies I haven’t learned anything .
Moving on, Pastor Nuel talked about how to look at courtship. He said it’s like a model of house as compared with the house. You use the model to get an idea of what the house would be like, but – to use his exact words – you would need to reduce yourself and your destiny to live in the model. He mentioned Jesus’ words in Luke 14:28-32:
Luke 14:28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sits not down first, and counts the cost, whether he has enough to finish it?
Luke 14:29 Lest perhaps, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,
Luke 14:30 Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.
Luke 14:31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, sits not down first, and consults whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him that comes against him with twenty thousand?
Luke 14:32 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation, and desires conditions of peace.
He talked at length that courtship is about counting the cost, living with light and eyes wide open. He said that if you count the cost from the model and realize you come up short, you could decide:
He mentioned that most people in courtship relationships settle. They heard God, they say, so there doesn’t need to be anything added. They don’t work on developing their relationship. God said so, so it must work out. That attitude is wrong. He encouraged us not to settle into “couple mode”, but instead keep working on ourselves and each other. He asked us to be open with each other, and not afraid of terminating the courtship, and to expect more from ourselves and each other instead of developing what Max Lucado calls “stuckititis”.
He mentioned that we should see it as though we were in a simulator, learning to fly a plane. We should give ourselves space to make mistakes and crash while in the simulator – where crashes may be sad but definitely not fatal – than crash in the real plane (with appropriately disastrous consequences).
This is just a brief rundown of some of the main points Pastor Nuel mentioned, but I hope it blesses young people who are in – or planning to get into – a marital relationship. Later.
P.S: Actually, this is so important, it shouldn’t be a postscript, but since I forgot it…anyway, Pastor Nuel asked why we started the relationship. In other words, in our building analogy, what was the foundation? He mentioned that we might feel all warm and fuzzy and in love, but that the feeling would come and go. Go so completely, sometimes, he warned, that we had better have more than that as the foundation for getting together – so to speak. He said he was convinced about the person that he is married to now, and that he’s met physically more attractive women since, but that conviction about her was missing with anyone else. He said being “in love” was overrated, because it can’t get people through tough, rocky times in their relationships. As one of my favourite preachers once joked, he and his wife had considered murder, but never divorce.
P.P.S: Pastor Nuel said earlier in his life and ministry, he was more insistent that courting relationships shouldn’t break up, but now that he has had some more experience, he’d rather people have broken courtships than broken marriages.
And that’s about it for now. If I remember anything else that I consider important, I’ll update this post below here.
I really should get into the habit of writing daily, though I'd rather not always do it on this blog. But it has been a while since I last blogged, and even longer since I used the web interface to do so (I'm really sorry if you post a comment and it takes a while for it to show up - I moderate comments, but since I rarely use the web interface and use Windows Live Writer instead, I usually don't remember people actually comment on my posts).
In garnering motivation to write daily, I've some from a most unusual source - Poppy Disney, who authored the photoblog What I Wore Today (now just an archive). She isn't the kind of person I would be interested in 'normally', but I read her story and was particularly struck by the fact that no matter how tired or ill she was, she would drag herself to post daily. That kind of commitment, rare in the world today, has helped her make a business out of her blog. It's even more awesome if you consider that for about a year, it didn't look like a business would grow from her interest.
between my phone, Opera Mini and Blogger's new interface, I'm really getting stressed out, so it's quits for now. Later
Did a wallpaper for church. Didn’t like it, so I redid it with a similar theme but different ‘feel’. It wasn’t used, but I won’t mind comments and crits. Enjoy! Oh, yeah, photos were from stock.xchng.
PS: Please excuse me if you comment and don’t see your comments. I moderate comments (due to spam), but I don’t often login to the Blogger website. I’ll work on making logging in a habit.
My sweetheart just sent me an email with this in. Laugh at it, but please remember the real point: a successful and prospering relationship needs the two parties involved. Enjoy!
Mike was going to be married to Karen, so his father sat him down for
a little chat. He said, 'Mike, let me tell you something. On my
wedding night in our honeymoon suite I took off my pants, handed them
to your mother, and said, 'Here - try these on.' She did and said,
'These are too big, I can't wear them.' I replied, 'Exactly, I wear
the pants in this family and I always will.'
'Ever since that night we never had any problems.' 'Hmmm,' said Mike.
He thought that might be a good thing to try. On his honeymoon, Mike
took off his pants and said to Karen, 'Here - try these on.' She tried
them on and said, 'These are too large. They don't fit me.' Mike said,
'Exactly. I wear the pants in this family and I always will. I don't
want you to ever forget that.' Then Karen took off her pants and
handed them to Mike. She said, 'Here-you try on mine.' He did and
said, 'I can't get into your pants.' Karen said, 'Exactly. And if you
don't change your smart ass attitude, you never will.' And they lived
happily ever after.
I first saw this post’s title from Kirk Franklin’s Twitter timeline. The last few days have brought to me with great force just how endemic fear is. I refused to start learning again because I was rusty – because I was afraid to grow. You refused to take that responsibility because you thought it was too much for you – you were afraid of “blowing it” and falling flat on your face. Every day, in every area of life, we meet a new face of this extremely versatile enemy. We cannot estimate how much good is not done, and how much evil is allowed to propagate because of fear.
Today, I ask to join me and face your fear against the surge of adrenaline (you probably have no idea just how accurate the “fright or flight” name is). Meet your fear face to face. Then ignore it. And do just what it doesn’t want you to do. Every day, you will meet this enemy. You may never completely conquer it – none of us does – but at least you will have lived instead of have cowered out an existence.
“Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt
“Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.” – C.S. Lewis
Sorry about the short post. My brain is about to quit on me and go to sleep. It’s jes’ pure, cussed stubbornness that’s keeping me going right about now. That, and I’d like to see how succinctly I can summarize a point (I’d like to be like Teju Cole, who tells interesting stories in 140 characters or less. He has mastered using Twitter, in my opinion)
I was chatting with my special lady today, and I wanted her to do something for me. She said she would, but for some reason I felt like asking her to confirm it. I realized that itch was my lack of trust in people in general coming to the fore (when you’ve been shot at several times, unless you intend to die, you learn to move away when you see an archer), but that it was a really bad seed to sow into our relationship. Right there, I had to tell myself that if I needed her to trust my words, then I needed to do the same to her.
Who do you need to trust today? Who needs you trusting them today? Think about it, and look for relationships where distrust is carrying over into, and potentially ruining.
Talking with my special lady about a couple of things, she mentioned that I should read books and listen to mentors. When we talk sometimes, she mentions going to see a mentor about stuff (yup, she consulted with a mentor about me). Not being the first time she’d brought up the matter, I had to ask myself if I had any mentors.
Before I try to attempt to deep-dive into the issue, I need to address the definition of the word “mentor” itself. It has become one of the most overused – and equally misused – words in the English language, as far as people in my age bracket and country are concerned, anyway.
The word “mentor” is from Mentor, a character in Homer’s Odyssey. Mentor was a friend to the hero of the Odyssey, Odysseus (or Ulysses, if you prefer the Roman form). Odysseus left his palace, his wife, Penelope, and young son, Telemachus, in Mentor’s care. Mentor was supposed to raise Telemachus as Odysseus would have have. Please see this Wikipedia article for more information on Mentor and mentoring.
By implication from the source, mentoring implies a close personal relationship between mentor and protégé, which is a cause of much personal amusement when some young person proudly says, “So-and-so is my mentor”, and I’m certain know So-and-so doesn’t have the foggiest that that young person even exists! “Role model” would be a much more appropriate description, but I do not intend to become a semantics Nazi.
One of the duties of a mentor is to “scan the protégé’s life for viruses”, as I put it. One deliberately gives one’s mentor the authority to correct them. Unfortunately, so many of the self-styled protégés of the renowned people we have today would not be willing to put themselves under anyone’s authority, much less that of the people they call '”mentor”.
Anyhow, back to my original point: I’ve had to ask myself if I had mentoring, and have to conclude, by and large, no, I don’t. It’s a humbling discovery. If I’d had mentoring, I might have possibly done a whole lot more than I have at this point. I’ve to look for mentoring in the areas of my life I consider important, where I want to make progress in.
In my currently chosen area of endeavour, I don’t see a whole lot of mentoring going on. Most developers/techies have this “I pulled myself up by my bootstraps” thing going on. Probably because by nature, we’re independents, but that’s another thing.
I really would like to polish and make this post a lot better, but it’s in danger of not getting out of draft (I’m in “meh” mode. Again. Sigh), so I’d best hit that “Publish” button.
Do you have a mentor?
I’m not going to say that this blog post was inspired by some philosophical musings brought on by the loss of my phone yesterday, only that it was long overdue that I wrote something new.
I was thinking about some things just now, specifically about some of the stuff I wanted to do, and how little progress I felt I had made. Then it hit me: I didn’t want to pay the price for extraordinary. I looked at what I believe I’d accomplished, looked at what I thought I wanted to accomplish, looked at what I thought myself capable of as at now, and wanted to quit, because I felt I wasn’t where I wanted to be, and that the immediate next thing seemed so ordinary.
Please mark that emphasized phrase. Really think about it. Don’t think you appreciate the enormity of that little phrase just because your eyes read it and your brain processed it. Permit me to ask you to drink it in.
Ordinary. That’s a despised word in the English language today. Ordinary doesn’t seem glamorous. It’s not heroic. It’s not mind-numbingly, breathtakingly beautiful. It’s not something any of us intends to aspire to. And yet, for all of us – including the heroes – ordinary will form the meat and potatoes – the main portion – of our lives.
Why is ordinary so despised? I think this partially has to do with our means of taking history. I’ll start with a tweet I saw last night that initially threatened to depress me. Someone tweeted about a certain 21-year-old who sold her startup for $10m. Immediately I had the sickening feeling in my gut of someone who’s a lot closer to 30 than 20 and doesn’t apparently have a great deal to show for it, especially when compared with such a success story.
We humans are time-bound creatures. We can’t exactly wait to live the entire story of your life with you, so we take snapshots. We trim out “fat”. We are masters of compression – the highest compression algorithms on the planet have nothing on us. The issue, really, is that our compression algorithm is less of PNG and more of JPEG – it’s incredibly lossy. One person’s 55-year-long journey may take us up to a week to go through. That means we covered their life story almost 3000 times at the regular rate. Thing is, bub, you walk in the park that fast, you might miss something. That’s probably why people who notice things in videos in all these movies often ask for the video to be slowed down, not sped up.
So we do our editing. We speed things up, and we cut out the “cruft”, and – tada! – our life story is ready for high-speed consumption. But we missed something. Somethings, in fact. Lots of things. Stuff we thought didn’t matter. Guess what gets cut out the most? The most ordinary stuff. But that’s the meat and potatoes of life. Ordinary stuff. And let’s face it, we humans generally suck at determining the value of any one moment, which is why we have babies who never grew out of not having cake when they were five, and people who forget that one special thing someone said that spurred them on when they were about to give up. Sometimes, we get lucky. But most times, we don’t really value our moments like we should. We tend to over- and under-value our moments.
As an example, I’ll never forget meeting the person who’s now my girlfriend. Ordinary day. Nothing special. Good-looking young lady. Obviously smart. Bit of a drama queen. Friendly. Easy to tease, especially with evil laughter. Snap, snap, snap. I don’t think I got her phone number until about 3-4 months later, after a somewhat embarrassing outcome to repeated teasing (no, I am not telling what happened that day, only that I let things get a little out of, or rather, into, hand). I actually gave her an impossible condition on what would make me go out with her (it was a joke on something). Over a year later, she’s a great source of joy and support to me. But it didn’t look like it when we first met.
Our first meeting was ordinary. Our getting close was ordinary. I don’t think I really noticed it until someone commented, “you tell her everything”. There were no flashing lights or alarms. It didn’t fit within the boundaries set by romance novels. The sight of her wasn’t making my heart race – I wasn’t even seeing her.
I said all that to say this: ordinary happens. To every one of us. And sometimes ordinary can give birth to the profound. But we need to allow it be ordinary. And not watch it too much, worry about it too much, or it might abort and not produce. Dream about the unusual, the far out, the spectacular. It’s absolutely necessary if you will ever produce anything great. So plug it daily. You may not notice your small improvements, but those are what will make you – and keep you – a rock star.
“The kingdom of God is like this,” He said. “A man scatters seed on the ground; he sleeps and rises — night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows — he doesn’t know how. The soil produces a crop by itself — first the blade, then the head, and then the ripe grain on the head. But as soon as the crop is ready, he sends for the sickle, because the harvest has come.”
Governor B.R. Fashola declared the 11th of July as a public holiday in Lagos state to help Lagos residents recover from the flooding caused by the heavy rain on the 10th of July. I didn’t go to work that day, and neither did Leke go to crèche. Guess who ended up babysitting? Here are some memories from that day.
PDP! In my house!
Most politicians move to PDP in Nigeria. This brave young man is daring to leave PDP.
Omo, this one na serious work o!
You just stand there dey snap photo? Will you come and help me move this bucket upstairs? Hurry before I drool all over you and slap you!
The laziness wey hook this guy get can’t fit haff part 2. Abeg, make I tidy my own package, bo!
“It’s not an easy road…”
Em, you know, Jesus said, “Which of you wanting to build a tower will not first sit down and count the cost…”. Well, I am counting the cost here! Don’t rush me!
I’m so good, I can do this with my head covered.
See? I told you I could do it! Yes I can!
Help! I have been slipper (flip-flop)-napped!
Yup, I’m badass. Do NOT, EVER, ever, try me.
It’s been too long since I last wrote. I really should have never taken a hiatus. Life, on the other hand, doesn’t always give advance notice of stuff that’s going to affect yours. Stuff’s been going on, and for that reason, my little piece of internet real estate has gone untended. That, and the fact that I threw a grand-scale pity party for myself. But as a quote I read today by Henry Van Dyke goes:
Use the talents you possess, for the woods would be very silent if no birds sang but the best.
For a little while now, I’ve been listening to Andrew Wommack and Keith Moore (I resumed listening because God used a friend to ask for Brother Keith’s messages), and their individual ministries have been a great blessing. I was talking with my girlfriend about some things they said in some of their messages a little while back, and it dawned on me that I hadn’t been that excited in a while about anything.
In particular, I was listening to Brother Andrew’s series titled Discover the Keys to Staying Full of God (free MP3 downloads here) yesterday, and he began talking about esteeming, or valuing God. I realized that despite all my posturing and talking, I didn’t really value God.
When you value a person, that person’s opinion matters. What they think, what they feel, their company and total person — all of that weighs a lot when things are thrown into a mix, for instance, when a decision has to be made. Now that I’m thinking about it, “weight” is an excellent word to describe how much value a person (or thing) has (to someone). As an example, once when my girlfriend and I had a disagreement, I really felt bad. She was ticked off at something insensitive I’d done, and it was looking to ruin my day. In other words, my girlfriend’s opinion of my actions weighed a great deal when added into the mix of the (decidedly unconscious) decision of what attitude to maintain (don’t look at me like that; it is/was a decision. You may like it or not, but that’s the way it is) on that particular day.
How I knew I didn’t value God when I analyzed my life? Glad you asked (I know you didn’t, but work with me here, ok?):
Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needs.
That verse has itched in my head for a while now. I’ve suppressed it several times, talking about the relatively high cost of legal copies of intellectual property (for software, monetary cost, for other kinds like books, music, movies, that, and sometimes simply the trouble of getting it at all; if you’ve ever tried buying stuff over the internet in Nigeria, you’ll understand my point – I once got a catalog via mail from a company that claimed they didn’t ship their free ebooks to Nigeria! Why ship when you can provide a download?), talking it over with people, trying to rationalize what God was saying away. And that’s just one example.
I didn’t value His actions. One of the most touching things my girlfriend did before we starting our relationship as it is (sorry, but I really dislike the word ‘dating’) was call me when I was suffering from a cold. It doesn’t seem important until you realize she was a student in another country at the time. I still treasure the thought. She said it was to hear what I sounded like with a cold, but (goofy smile moment coming right up) I know better. She cared about me, and it made me feel loved and very special.
God’s given me so much, and I’m pretty much never grateful in return, relatively speaking. I’ve complained about my job, my boss, my family, my leaders, my friends, humanity in general – it’s a wonder He still loves me.
So, what’s happened since? I’m working on it. I haven’t arrived, but I can say I’ve left. I’m deliberately giving more weight to God (meaning right now I’ve to stop blogging and get to work – see Colossians 3:22-23). What about you? What will you do with God?
Change, they say, is the only constant thing in life. I’ve recently found out that Mr. Baby grew on me (apparently while I wasn’t looking), so he’s now a big guy. As such, I have to “promote” him from Mr. Baby to Mr. Laykey (plus, he’s the house chairman. And he can slap me if he wants to, so I’d better behave.)
Anyhow, here are some of the highlights from this week:
Do NOT try me. As you might have noticed, I’ve been weight training. I will kick your butt from here to the hereafter if you try me.
I’m just hanging with this dude. Like he’s my charity case for the week. Now get that camera off my face. I really don’t want to be seen in public with this dude. I mean, I’m way too cool to really be hanging with him!
You see a girl at a party:
Very simple terms, no?
After going to my polling unit to vote on Saturday, I got saddled with Mr Baby, who, in typical fashion, was having trouble being convinced by his body that he was overdue for sleep. As such, we had some fun together (or so I’d like to think). Anyhow, please enjoy!
Mr Baby (re-)discovers my mouse. I discover my afternoon has been disturbed.
Dude, are you sure you’re interested in Java Enterprise Edition? Why don’t we do something fun, like splash water on a working voltage regulator (I kid you not)?
Yup. Java EE. Contexts & Dependency Injection.
Now look what you done! You done broke it! This mouse ain’t mousing!
Now, I have to fix it! What have you to say for yourself?
Fixing in progress. Do NOT disturb. Unless you want me to bust out my kung-fu.
Are you sure you didn’t use the cable for something else? It still isn’t mousing.
When all else fails, I have to use that method. And don’t look at me like that. You broke it, not I.
Let’s see what this Java EE thing is all about, anyway. No, I don’t need your input. I know exactly what I’m doing.
Why don’t you clean your laptop? Now I have to spit-shine it (yes, that’s actual drool on the touchpad).
Java EE is boring! So let’s go do something fun, like wrestle alligators.
I bet you’re jealous that I can wash my car right in the house and you can’t (this was right after the water-splashing incident. There was a bowl full of water on that stool. Thank God for mercy).