THE JOY OF TRUE FRIENDSHIP

 

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There are some basic necessities in life needed in a (wo)man’s life for survival. There is water, food, air, love; and there is friendship too. The joy that emanates from pure friendship is just refreshing! Eventually, some friends do become family.

Friendship is a gift, an experience and an adventure. Over the years, there are some key characteristics I’ve identified in real friends.

They pray with you, and for you.

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Support your dreams.

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Praises you in public, criticizes you in private.

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Knocks stupidity out of your head if they have to.

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Loyal. Will only hurt you with the truth.

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Genuinely happy for your wins.

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Take selfies together.

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Raids your food, uninvited.

Cries with you.

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Shares inside jokes.

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Goof around with you.

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Buys you books.

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Sometimes too extra,

but won’t have it any other way!

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Who is your true friend(s)? Are you a true friend? Proverbs 18:24; Proverbs 22:24-25; Proverbs 13:20; Job 16:20-21; Proverbs 12:26; Proverbs 27:5-6; Proverbs 27:17; Proverbs 17:17.

To both old and new true friends, I appreciate your friendship.

XO

Maame Ansaah

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HOW ARE YOU DOING?

How are you doing?

Here we are in 2018; another NEW year filled with the all-popular new year resolutions and very promising desires to achieve greater things than the previous years and weeks prior to now. Is that “I can do everything and i’m up to something big” feeling still there? This new year doesn’t necessarily make the new year new, because you were all energized and enthusiastic about 2018. Same actions produce same results; 2017, 2016, 2015… habits and actions will not make 2018 any different. With January 2018 approaching its finale, this Thursday is the beginning of February. How are you doing? Some studies have shown that most people quit their gym membership by February, and in most cases, the new year vim to achieve more in that new year mellows as February approaches.

So, how are you doing? You, as a person in all aspects of your life. Don’t wait till another new year to make that move or do that thing that you have been withholding for so long. Time flies so quickly! Is better to fail trying than not doing anything at all.

We reap what we sow. You can’t expect the new year to be new with the same old non-beneficial habits. Old wineskins cannot contain new wine (Matthew 9:17). Visit your goals, visualize your success, and set yourself to achieve them. If you haven’t written down your goals yet, don’t delay. Make the vision plain (Habakkuk 2:2). Is social media taking too much of your time? These tips may help. You and I need to make the necessary changes to end 2018 fruitfully. Remember, with GOD on our side, perseverance, consistency, discipline and focus, we are bound to conquer our goals. Slow progress is still progress. Celebrate every win, learn from every failure. Yesterday is over. Is a new day ;a new opportunity to overcome the hurdles that stand between our goals and us. We are closer to our goals with each step we take towards them. Stay fueled! Stay focused! Be encouraged! Let’s knock out our 2018 goals. Similar post here.

This is just a brief post to see how you are all doing so far in 2018. Tell me what you think and feel free to subscribe for subsequent posts.

How are you doing? Cheers to a productive 2018!

Maame Ansaah

ARE YOU GUILTY TOO?

It’s like any other day. You are awake, thankful to see the crack of a new dawn. You slide slowly to the side of your bed, and get hold of your cellphone; not to snooze or stop an alarm.

You reply some few whatsapp messages from the previous night. Oh! Hold on! “Let me check my facebook feed. What’s trending today?” About logging off, then you see some new notifications : comments and likes flooding your wall. The aftermath of the image you uploaded two days ago. You keep scrolling your feed posts, see some really funny videos. Two hours later, you are still scrolling, lying on your bed. Two wasted hours on nothing. The distraction and laziness cannot be understated. Well, I’m guilty too.

The joy of technology in our current fast paced world can sometimes make it a pain to our time and vision. With camera, clock, games, apps, internet and other ‘specs’ in the palm of our hand, convenience has somehow abused the real purpose of cellphones. Most Millennials and some few Generation Xers are probably the main culprits. Gone are the days when our basic cellphones made social media addiction less tempting.

Technology is a good thing; and the advantageous convenience of having a mobile phone cannot be understated. Notwithstanding, it should work to the advantage of our time and not against it.

Identifying the problem is one thing; resolving it is another.

Habits just don’t form. Small daily actions form habits, preceded by character and so forth. Something that I have recently adopted is to keep my phone far away from arms reach so as to get up without reaching my phone first. In place of that, is my Bible within reach. When I wake up, I turn to my Bible before my phone. Set an alarm about an hour to your regular bedtime and read a book within that hour instead of spending that time on social media. Use the bathroom without your phone, and listen to some audiobook or motivational messages instead. Be actually present while spending time with friends, loved ones or your new date instead of checking your phone every five minutes. Invest in a real alarm clock instead of using your phone to set your wake up alarm – is less tempting to check your Facebook account afterwards.

Be the planner, boss and manager of your time. Be frugal with your time as tomorrow is never promised. The nature of your profession or business may demand the usage of social media, and as such may involve the daily indulgence of it. It is prudent to plan and schedule ahead the night before a new day or at the start of a new day. Face your daily duties prepared. Take advantage of some post scheduling apps like Hootsuite , Buffer and Everypost to help manage your social media time. Other apps like Freedom, Offtime and Moment can help you focus on current tasks without social media distractions or even the internet in general. A likely instance is while working on an assignment or project.

Beep, beep. Is so tempting to keep checking your phone per each notification that pops up or shows in your widget. Turn off notifications for your social media apps and other apps too as needed. It saves you a lot of time. Use that free time to improve a skill, learn a new hobby or language.

There has been about a time or two that I went on a social media break for a month. And guess what? I didn’t miss anything. Isn’t it funny how our daily consumption of facebook mainly, for me can sometimes give the illusion that if you don’t check your account, you’ll miss something? Sometimes you just have to go cold turkey. Take a day, a week or even a month away from social media and focus on reality. Take a social media vacation and call an old friend, go sightseeing or take a family road trip. Use that extra time to develop yourself and add to your productivity. In very extreme cases, you may need to permanently deactivate your account , if that’s what will work for you.

If we can’t control our social media time usage at the expense of our productivity and functionality, then there is a problem. Solving social media addiction in the nick of time will save us a whole lot of time, money and energy.

Is about time,

Maame Ansaah

AT THE END OF THE RAINBOW?


So, about a couple of weeks ago, my family and I headed out of town for my brother’s graduation. As I retired to bed that night, there was one particular thing that stuck with me throughout the night. Among the graduates, there were two ‘old’ graduates; a 91 year old and an 89 year old veterans who were once soldiers during World War II. They had finally achieved their dreams of furthering their studies.

Notwithstanding this, I had once heard of another 90 something year old who graduated from medical school . This was one of the dreams he had so much yearned for it to be fulfilled but it never happened until later in his life. Although many had considered him to be too old and unlikely to accomplish this dream.


Well, life happens. A lot of changes can take place in life which may be tantamount to an unrealized dream but that does not mean we should give up on our dreams. Neither does it mean we have to wait for so long a time that it may seem ‘overdue’. Dreams may not be set in stone either as dreams sometimes change. Our dreams may not necessarily be educationally related but something pertaining to other aspects of life. What are your dreams? Does it seem too late to make this dream a reality?

In John C Maxwell’s words, “Dreams don’t work unless you do”. In agreement, no dream will be actualized unless you work at it. An effort must be made! You must be focused, consistent and be willing to make certain sacrifices against your comfort for this dream to be realized. If you know where you are heading to in life and you know how to get there, you do what needs to be done to get to where you want to be.

Sometimes some unforeseen circumstance may delay the realization of our dreams. Other times, (in fact most times) we are the culprits for our own ‘late dreams’ and we consequently become our own stumbling block in life. Per our individual goals, dreams, aspirations and purpose, if we don’t make the effort to “work”, they will not bear any fruits. If we give up on them, we may lose them too.

So, don’t give up on those dreams you’ve got even if they seem too late to be caught at the end of the rainbow. Just work at it with diligence and determination. If you need to go back to the drawing board and make some changes inwardly and outwardly, do. If you need to learn a new skill or acquire a new knowledge to help revive this dream, do. If you need to pray more concerning this dream, do. Don’t give up! The time will pass anyway.

 

Is it too late?

Your fellow dreamer,

Maame Ansaah

THE FIREFIGHTER AND THE GOLD ROPE

Giant sparks of twitching red flames. Smiling victoriously and all poised for its expected conquer, that quirky smile of the almost defeated rope surprises this fire. This rope. Undeterred by the fact that is gonna burn but not get burnt, it fights fiercely with little gasps of fresh air; in and out, in and out. It started from a yarn. Was it?  No, it was from several fibers stranded together.A yarn, then twisted into a strand, then more strands. Then several strands together but mostly three at a time to form one long rope. This is nothing new to how most ropes are made but there was something different about this one.It’s fibers were thin strips of pure gold. Filaments of gold threads.

The fire breathed out more to engulf the gold rope. As the fire’s Fahrenheit accelerates to almost its apex, the rope’s tenacity matches up with the heat and majestically swirls around, vehemently fighting off the heat. Sweat beads drip, drip;  the fire churns more heat, and the fight continues. Will the rope survive the fire? Is getting hotter, and hotter and the sweating is making things a bit more uncomfortable for the gold rope. Is almost as if the fire is gonna reach Gold Rope’s melting point. “Swoosh, swoosh”,the fire sprinkler says. Suddenly, the firefighter has arrived. The fire is no more. The gold rope is intact; some few scars here and there, but nothing severe to show how close this fire was to getting the rope.

Could this gold rope be you or I? Life has a funny way of sometimes throwing a curve at us when we meant to head straight or probably left.Sigh.It may be the sudden turmoil of a storm to try our aching wings of hope or the sudden wave of fear of our dreams getting hijacked by disappointments, rejection and failures. But is that over? Like gold, how far can it take to be melted by the hot fiery storms of life? You may bend somehow but don’t you dare b-r-e-a-k! Press on! You see, our FIREFIGHTER refines us not as silver, but as gold in the furnace of our affliction and trials. We’ve got the gold resilience to overcome. We are overcomers of whatever hurdles we’ve got to cross, whichever detours that may pop up here and there and strong enough to withstand the inferno of life.

Even if it seems as if you’ve come to a temporary point of a standstill, keep moving to keep your balance in life! Look unto the Firefighter and don’t forget to strengthen your wings of hope. Keep moving and don’t you quit yet! Not now, not ever.

Be gold!

Be encouraged,

Maame Ansaah

 

LOOking FOR LOVE? PART 2

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HEY LOVE!

There are times when our search for love takes us to the wrong place at the right time or the right place at the wrong time. Whether you had a father who was physically, spiritually, emotionally and all other ‘-lly’ there for you or not, whatever ‘stand’  your father had plays a vital role in your life.  Perhaps good, perhaps bad or so-so. For the most part, until somewhere in my early 20s, I didn’t need to be in that sort of relationship. Until my college years, I doubt if I really needed to be in a regular man-woman relationship that sometimes leads to marriage. Well, is not that I wouldn’t have eventually been in a relationship supposing I had a very good father-daughter relationship. Who knows? I wish I had an answer for that! I seem to have been trying to find  a replacement sort of ‘fatherly’ love from all the wrong places.

The absence of a father from a very tender age came with its aches and disappointments. There was this yearning for something from men that I thought could play the ‘fatherly’ role in my life. I loved the attention and care but these were only short-lived. I was looking for, and wanted someone to replace an emotionally and physically absent father. There was resentment too and mistrust for men at large and the walls I built around me to overprotect myself from any further heartaches and disappointments. Disappointments and anger and hurt and pain and more heartaches. It seemed like a never-ending cycle! Factually and per experience, I have come to know that a woman’s subsequent relationships in life with other men are affected by the relationship she has or had with her father. I have no statistics here but is no hearsay.

Back in the book of Genesis, when God created man and woman and gave Eve to Adam as his wife, their marriage wasn’t just about them but also about the next generations. I believe that their fruitfulness and multiplication wasn’t just in relation to prospering in the Garden of Eden – probably representing their current world but also a huge responsibility towards their children. God’s purpose for marriage does not only relate to man and his wife but to the society as a whole. When a man and a woman come together as a husband and wife, their union does not only bring pleasure and peace to their Maker and themselves but also their children and generations beyond. A couple’s staying power in marriage affects their children’s whole make as individuals.There is the great possibility of a child to grow ‘wholly’ when growing at a solid home. A home where both parents are one in love and unity and there is peace and understanding. And in the midst of all these, the role of fatherhood cannot be underestimated. Why does satan hate marriages and the family? He continues to fight from  all angles to tear this premier institution of God apart. There is a lot of work to be done here.

The healing process is painful and uncomfortable with a lot of scars but it can only take the full grace and love of God to heal such deep wound and fill the void. Is a process that takes time and patience and work and conscious daily efforts to come out as an overcomer and a survivor. It involves brokenness, tears and forgiveness and more forgiveness.

Perhaps you are or have been in a similar situation. How do you overcome? How did you overcome?

FORGIVENESS. First, forgive yourself and forgive your father. I used to blame myself a lot for not having a ‘present’ father. I thought it was all my fault. Then it turned to anger at myself then to my father. Whatever be the reason, just forgive yourself and forgive him. He did what he thought he knew best. You are the ‘free’ one when you forgive. Whoever or however our earthly father is or was, God is OUR FATHER. He is ours. We were only lent to them(fathers) for a certain period on earth and guess who they need to be accountable to? GOD. Is not in our place to hold anything against them. Just forgive and know that we’ve still gotten a Father who loves us beyond the love of any earthly father.

LOVE YOURSELF. Love yourself and build your self-esteem. Learn more about yourself and discover wonderful things about your uniqueness.Make the best of every opportunity that comes your way and enjoy being you. You can love someone better when you love yourself best. You can only settle for the best when you don’t subject yourself to mere crumbs of life. Nothing less!

ALL MEN ARE NOT THE SAME.  When you’ve harbored so much pain and anger within for many years, it is quiet disheartening as we violently spew these emotions to another innocent victim. Don’t let another man pay another’s sin. Just because one of them behaved in a certain way doesn’t mean that they all do or are the same. NB: We should probably save this talk for another day. No pun intended. Was there even a pun? Lol. I guess we understand it from here. All men are not the same. Repeat after me. Repeat. All men are not the same. Repeat.

 

Are you in a similar situation now or have been before? How are you coping? Is it over yet?

Love,

Maame Ansaah.

LOOking FOR LOVE? PART I

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LOVE?

LOVE. What comes to mind when ‘love‘ comes up? This world doesn’t revolve around you or I but we definitely thrive on love. Whether we give or receive it, seek or find it, we become part of or are separated from it, love has come to stay and will always be the moving force of life. The phases and faces of love.The first look on a new mother’s face as she holds her newborn after seeing the fruit of her push,sweat and gasps of breath. The sudden realization of a new father that these little eyes will look up to him in so many ways. That rushing and engulfed feeling of love that suddenly sweeps over their faces and hearts as they behold their little one -birthed from their groins. Is perhaps seen on a battlefield, as a wounded soldier is being shielded briefly within a circle of soldiers. The resounding sounds of hurried steps and a gathering dust behind the backs of his comrades as they swiftly move him to safety amidst thunderous war cries and gunshots. The unsteady yet gentle caress of a silver-haired man as he devotedly hold his dying wife of 57 years in his feeble yet firm arms. That friend who sticks his neck and fights off the school bully who never seems to get tired of shoving his best friend around on the school bus. The gentle encouragement of a teacher who still believes in a new student who is finding it hard to catch up with his new environment and make new friends. LOVE. It comes in different forms and shapes. It comes when we expect it or when we don’t deserve it. It is sometimes a tool that many negatively uses to control others for their mischievous gains. But do they succeed? Others take it for granted and many just keep on being hopeful of ‘better’ love.

You see? The Creator of Heaven and Earth thought of you and I even before the beginning of times. He had us in mind when He moved upon the surface of the earth and spoke light into existence; day or night. He gave us a place of abode. He created and brought forth whatever will be beneficial to the survival of man. Then, He made man and formed woman – all in the image and likeness of HIM;LOVE. And is all because of love. Love, love, love! Yes! Love gives meaning to life and God is LOVE. God gives meaning to our lives and when it feels like there’s no room for love in our hearts, warm up your heart in the fire of His WORD-the nourishment of our still,cold hearts. It is His nature and LOVE is HE.

Since love is too broad yet, too deep to dissect at a sitting, we may need more than ten thousands of years and even more to explain fully the mysterious nature of love. Such is GOD, or should I say LOVE? He is inexplicable, unfathomable and yet consistent in who He is and if we want to know, explain and understand love, then let’s start with Him. But can we explain Him?

Let’s start with Him, then us before others. After all, you cannot give what you don’t have? You cannot love yourself more until you’ve discovered who you are-child of GOD in love(GOD) and of GOD(love). You cannot love another until you’ve loved yourself first. And whenever our love tank seems half full or empty, we can only be filled full in GOD : not our friends, family, loved ones, career or mentor. We can only be full in Him. Love may seem hard and painful sometimes but those are the times you’ve got to love more. You either give more love from your full tank of love or you refill to be full of love from LOVE(GOD). For the Lord commands us to  love each other as He does same for us (John 15:12). He doesn’t say when we feel like loving or only when the other has shown us love for us to  reciprocate. He commands us to. It is sometimes almost humanely impossible to obey this ‘love rule’, but love is not of the flesh so we cannot rely on our flesh to love each other in trying times.

So, in looking for love, it starts with searching and seeking GOD. He found you in love but you must discover who you are in Love. 1 John 4:16 doesn’t say God has love although He has love. GOD is LOVE. He is. Is His nature and His being. He is Love.So, if we abide in GOD-LOVE, we abide in LOVE-GOD and He-LOVE abides in us. Looking for love? Search and seek GOD (LOVE) for He is Love. Finding Him, you’ve found the direct source of love. Your overflowing source of love and that is where all other streams of love flow from. Mother and child? Between lovers? Brothers and friends? Teacher and student? What kind of love? For the purest and undiluted of all forms of love spring from its source-LOVE of loves;GOD.

This is only an intro of the LOOKING FOR LOVE series. Do come back for the second part soon. Hope you had a good read. I hope love finds you or you’ve found love. ♥

Let love lead,

Maame Ansaah