Sunday, July 31, 2011


I let myself slip into the abyss of my black despair…I was enslaved by the prison of my thoughts. I can’t explain how I went from being overtly excited when I woke up yesterday morning to being emotionally disturbed by noon.

I had to pick myself up from where I let myself slump. I, against the will of my body, meditated on a few things. I have allowed many issues to disturb my pretty head: lack of finances, my career plans not working out the way I’d like…the list is endless. I, Toyin, the tough little lady who tells people to cast their cares upon the Lord and blah de blah de blah…I have not heeded my advice.

I sat on the floor in my room and decided I would not be unhappy. I would bring that grin back to my face. I know what revives my soul, what renews my spirit: its when I praise God from the depth of my heart. But how could I praise God with lead in place of my heart? I did the next best thing I could conceive: I listened to the album “Look to You” by Hillsong united.

Whilst listening, I realized I was being a tad selfish. There are other people who feel the way I felt and worse and here I was, in my field of paper flowers, having a pity party. With that, I got up, took a shower, baptized myself with sweet, smelling body splash, wore a summery dress and forced my lips to smile. Then I said out loud a few scriptures which make me smile. With time, the smile was real

I know that you have to give in order to receive and this applies also to your state of mind. I have to give words of encouragement to receive same; I have to learn to respect what is important to other people whether or not it is important to me.

There are people who have huge smiles like mine but their throats are constricted with tears that refuse to flow…say something truly pleasant to them. There are those who cannot betray their feelings and wear long faces…hug them. Just do something to make people smile from the depths of their hearts.

PS: Scriptures which make me smile include: Habakkuk 2:3; Proverbs 3: 5-6; 1st Peter 2.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Islamic Banking

I had rather interesting conversation with a fellow who has no tolerance for anything labelled Islamic and it occurred to me that perhaps, his lack of tolerance stems from the fact that he is a tad ignorant. We were discussing the Islamic Bank phenomenon and I was going on and on about the advantages and the things I liked about it…needless to say, he accused me of being a false Christian (whatever that means) and promoting Islam. Anyway, he isn’t the focus of my write up. I feel it’s my civic responsibility to enlighten my friends and people around me about Islamic Banking.

Also, on the 30th of June, 2011 there was a protest by the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Delta State Chapter to express their objection to the proposed establishment of Islamic banking by the Central Bank of Nigeria. In my opinion, they have absolutely no idea what Islamic Banking is all about…I think they just heard the Islamic part and flipped.

Islamic Banking is simply a system of banking that encourages interest free loans. This stems from the fact that Sharia forbids the acceptance or payment of usury (Riba) for loans. This banking system is simply based on the profit and loss sharing concept (Mudarabha).

After many conferences and meetings on establishing interest free banks, the Islamic Development Bank was established in 1975 with the aim of providing funding to projects in the member countries. Egypt was the first country to experiment with Islamic Banking and it took the form of a savings bank based on profit sharing.

Banking institutions that offer Islamic banking products and services are required to establish a Shariah Supervisory Board to ensure that their activities comply with the principles of Shariah.

The Vatican has also approved of Islamic banking as it believes that the principle of Islamic finance may represent a possible cure for ailing markets. (

According to CIMB Group Holdings, Islamic finance is the fastest-growing segment of the global financial system and sales of Islamic bonds may rise by 24 per cent to $25 billion in 2010.

I know you would be wondering how this form of banking makes any sense. Well, the basic techniques employed include the following:

• Profit Sharing

• Safekeeping

• Leasing

• Joint Venture

• Cost Plus

It is pertinent to note that Islamic Banking excludes transactions involving alcohol, pork, gambling, smoking, pornography, etc. Also, Islamic Banking is not restricted to Muslims only!

I would like to refer my readers to a short article I read in The Economist a few weeks ago. It would help you understand Islamic Banking better and perhaps see that all along, we might have deprived Moslems in Nigeria the privilege of having a banking system that conforms to their religious beliefs.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Book Review: Put Your Dream to the Test

John Maxwell is a leadership expert and has sold more than 19 million books worldwide. If you are an ardent reader of his books, you would realize that although he doesn’t say anything particularly new in this book, he encourages you in different ways to put your dreams to the test.

I like the way he divides the books into chapters that ask the following questions:
A.      Do you own your dream?
B.      How clearly do you visualize your dream?
C.      How do you plan on achieving your dream?
D.      How passionate are you about your dream?
E.       What strategies have you put in place to actualize your dream?
F.       In order to realize your dream, who are the people you have included?
G.     What is the price of your dream and are you willing to pay it?
H.      How close are you to achieving your dream?
I.        Are you satisfied with the process you have set in motion to actualize your dream?
J.        Of what benefit is your dream to others?

Every chapter ends with a challenge/test. In situations where you cannot satisfactorily answer the questions, he gives strategies of improving yourself and increasing your chances for success.

For example, he makes us realize that we need to distinguish between desiring a dream and desiring the results of a dream.
I love quotes and I was glad to read many relevant quotes from different people in the book. This book encouraged me to reassess my dreams and the goals that I have set for myself. The theme I set for myself after reading this book is his quote: “If you have a clear vision, you will eventually attract the right strategy. If you don't have a clear vision, no strategy will save you”.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


There are times in our lives when we have no idea if we enjoy what we are doing or we are just taking each day as it comes. Sometimes it feels like everything we do goes wrong or makes no sense.  Well, you may not have such times in your life but I certainly do and it sucks.  However, I have found out that such situations serve as reality checks.

Whenever you feel disillusioned and constantly fagged out or you simply lack the enthusiasm to do anything positive about your lack of enthusiasm, you may be suffering from a burn out. Trust me, there are warning signs which we choose to ignore:
  • You never have a good day.
  • You constantly feel stressed out.
  • You raise your voice above the recommended decibel for no apparent reason.
  •  Lack of appetite…or unusual appetite.
  • Irritability
  • Constant physical pains: headaches, backaches, heartburn etc.

There are many other signs but these are the ones I am familiar with. Basically, I believe lack of enthusiasm is the beginning of death.

Most often than not, we do not take into consideration the fact that we need to stay constantly motivated to do things even when we enjoy doing them. Joyce Meyer would ask “Has your ‘get up and go’ got up and gone?” Do you feel like you have nothing to live for? Like you are simply surviving? Take a break. Yes, you read correctly, TAKE A BREAK.

Life is too short for us to be miserable; we need to take responsibility for ourselves. Some introspection is necessary. If you are not where you want to be, map out your plans and figure out where exactly you would rather be.

I am just recovering from a burn out and the following routine helped me:
  •  Waking up every morning and taking 30 minutes to meditate.
  • Subscribing to for the daily comic strip (the humour helped me a lot).
  • Hot Cocoa/tea (depending on my mood).
  • Having breakfast…boy; you would be surprised what good breakfast does.
  • 30 minutes exercise routine.
  • Reading a chapter of a book every day. (This week, I'm reading  "The Phantom of the Opera" by Gaston Leroux)
  • Re-evaluating my goals. (I realized I wasn't satisfied with my current status and instead of doing something constructive about the dissatisfaction, I was killing myself slowly)

I must add this caveat: my routine may not work for you because only you would know for certain what would work for you.

You need to keep the fire inside of you burning.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Religion + Laziness = Opium?

"Give a man a Fish and you would feed him for a day; give him religion and he would starve to death while praying for a fish." Timothy Jones.

I agree with him to some extent. We get so caught up in religion and religious activities and forget that our beliefs would be tested outside the confines of the church.

It surprises me to no end when people spend a large amount of their time in Church. What on earth are you doing there all the time? When do you get the chance to practice what you have heard?

I think its sheer laziness...crucify me later but I am entitled to my opinions however stupid they seem to you.

Although I cannot recommend what is enough when it comes to religious activities but I strongly believe that any exercise you engage in which renders you useless to your immediate environment is an exercise in futility.

I would be the first to admit that it is easy to get caught up in such exercise. We need to examine ourselves we go to church regularly because it makes us feel spiritual or do we go because we simply enjoy the Word and want to fellowship with others?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Max on Life

Max Lucado is a prolific writer who has written more than 50 books. He was named as the best preacher in America by Reader’s Digest. His books are frequently listed on the New York bestseller’s list.

His new book, “Max on life” is a compendium of the numerous questions he has received over time. He answers the questions from a biblical point of view and this provides an excellent reference point for anyone troubled about some aspects of life.

The book is written in an ‘easy-to-read’ format and one can go to any question without necessarily referring to the previous chapters. The most interesting feature of the book is the question and answer format. Although some of the questions may seem trivial, it would amaze the reader to no end that such seemingly trivial questions are those prominent on a lot of people’s minds.

The book has 7 themes containing 30 questions each. The themes are
a.   Hope
b.   Hurt
c.    Help
d.   Him/ Her
e.   Home
f.     Haves/Have-Nots
g.   Hereafter

This book is a must read for young Christians and people seeking moral/biblical answers to a wide range of questions.

NB: Please note that I freely received this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I am under no obligation whatsoever to write a favorable review. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Lies the Government told you. (Myth, Power and Deception in American History)

Andrew Napolitano is a former New Jersey Superior Court Judge and a Senior Judicial analyst for Fox news Channel. He is an alumnus of Princeton University and the Notre Dame Law School.

This book makes you ask the pertinent question: ‘Why have Americans ignorantly accepted certain situations as the norm?’ The author makes us realize that these lies have been accepted by one generation and passed down as the truth. For example, He makes us realize that Lincoln’s paramount objective in the struggle for the emancipation of slaves was simply to save the Union.

 On page 26, the author says ‘Americans are under the impression that obeying the Constitution is part of the Government’s job’. As you read further, you would realize that this is not the case. Lie#6 explains to us that although the constitution of the United States provides that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”, the government creates new laws that regulate and limit access to firearms.

The author itemizes 16 lies and the government has told us and as a non-American, I can relate.
I found this book a pleasure to read as it was not only informative but it was based on facts and the author provided references for his postulations. His book is not written for just Americans, but also citizens of other nations who have misgivings about their government.

NB: Please note that I freely received this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I am under no obligation whatsoever to write a favorable review. 

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year

I am thankful that I had a wonderful 2010. I accomplished everything I wrote in  my little book and much more. (yes, I am one of those people who write things they wanna do for the year in little books).

Although before 2010 was over, there were incidences of bombings that occurred in that once peaceful town of Jos and in Abuja. When I heard the news, my face was hot. The horror was real and these people died because our security operatives are either incompetent or uninformed...or both. I was too unhappy to be filled with rage and I hate saying stuff like'it could have been me or someone I know'. It was someone's child, father, mother, sister, brother, friend, neighbour...that had to go through this horror. I sympathize with those who lost people or someone to the dastardly act of violence.

I would not go into any debate as to what steps could have been taken to avoid this and I do not need to reiterate the fact that I don't think GEJ has a clue as to how to govern us or at least be proactive. I was particularly saddened that some people from my age group were clamouring for a coup. I think not...we cannot afford to go backward in order to move forward.

My coffee is getting cold and its almost 3 a.m., I need to sleep and my face still feels hot, but the tears would not come streaming down my face. I must face the year like I planned to. (No, I wont tell you how I planned to face it...except you take a peek at my little black, this year its a purple book).