"" From Now Till 'I Do'...: January 2011

Clearing it out

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So I've been at home this week, doing a few jobs that I have been putting off for ages. One of the tasks has been to get rid of the clutter that I have been carrying around from house to house. As part of my de-clutter mantra for 2011, I have been going through wardrobes, boxes and suitcases in an attempt to get rid of things I no longer need in my life.

Some things have been easy to get rid off. That red top from 2009, haven't worn you in while - bye, bye. Other things have much more sentimental value and I have had to think about the reasons why I want to keep them, evaluate it and then make the decision to cull.

Despite the difficulty in sending things off to a new home, there is great pleasure that comes from doing this exercise:

- space for better things

- restoration of order in my life

- freedom from confusion of having too many choices

In life we often hold onto things because of what they represent. It might be for a good reason, it might be for a bad one. Either way it has passed it's hold by date and we need to let it go. When we do so, we allow something better to fill its place.

Sometimes we hold onto people in the same way.

It's what we know, it makes us comfortable. 

Deep down you know you should show them the door but in reality it is hard.

Let's put it off.

It feels like the easier option.

I have found that it is not until you clear out the junk, letting go of the past and what it represents, letting go of that person and who they represent, do you have space to receive the good that God has in store for you.

God tells us in Isaiah 43:18 to 'forget what happened long ago! Don't think about the past. I am creating something new'.

Have you cleared the way to receive something new in your life today?

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Seven Things

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Thank you to Naijamum, Hannah, and Blessing for their nomination's for the Stylish and Versatile Blog Award.

Here are my seven things....

1. I have the best husband in the world! Fact.

2. I used to have piano lessons as a child. For Christmas my mum gave Afam and I a keyboard. Since he knows how to play as well, it's been a great bonding activity - jamming away to our favourite songs!

3. I have great readers on this blog. Thanks to all of you who regularly comment, email or mention me on your blogs. Your support has been fantastic.

4. In 2010, I perfected how to make fried rice, egusi soup, suya, ogbono soup and chin chin. I still have not quite mastered moin moin, but I’m getting there. This year I want to learn how to make puff puff. {Anyone got any good recipes?}

5. I have very good travel memory. I can travel to somewhere once and remember the route there, sans Sat Nav.

6. I enjoy designing things and have a passion for weddings. The two things combined give you Matrimony Boulevard. 

7.  Finally, I am currently writing an e-book about my experiences from the last 18 months, filled with practical advice for planning your wedding and preparing for marriage. It will include some of the best bits from the blog and guidance around tackling cultural expectations, parental expectations, inlaws and much more. I’m hoping to have it ready for April, so look out for it!

Have a great weekend all!

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Friends First?

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So there are two types of couples:

1. Couples who were friends first and then took it to the next level or

2. Couple who met, liked each other, started 'dating' and became friends

Which option would you prefer?

Either way, there is a common theme...friendship.

Now some of you might think, doesn't that automatically come with marriage? Well no, not necessarily. Yes you like each and decided to commit yourselves as husband and wife, but are you friends? There is a difference.

Afam and I learnt early on in our marriage, that we have to make a conscious effort to build on our friendship daily, otherwise it's very easy to drift apart and do our own thing.  I believe that in successful marriages, the two individuals have to be good friends {as well as lovers}. This is the foundation. 

What does this mean day to day? Well for us it means spending time with each other and effective communication. 

The only way for a friendship to develop is for the individuals to take time to get to know each other. Study each other, know what the other likes, dislikes. Do things together. Do things for each other. Share mutual hobbies and talk! Fundamentally it means involving each other more in the things that are important to you. Letting the other person into your life.

Without it marriage can become a very empty place.

What ways do you think couples can develop their friendships with each other?

p.s. thank you to the bloggers who have nominated me for a 'stylish and versatile blogger' award, I will post my '7 things' on Friday!

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Su Casa, Mi Casa – Hospitality 101

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Entertaining says, “I want to impress you with my beautiful home, my clever decorating and my gourmet cooking.”  Hospitality says, “This is not mine.  It is a gift from God, and I’ll use it as he desires.” Still Living By Faith by Annie May Lewis

I love this quote as it reminds me about the true meaning of hospitality. I often find myself worrying about insignificant things and it can end up making the situation stressful rather than a peaceful privilege.

Getting ready

If you can, try and declutter the area where you guest will be staying. Our guest room also doubles up as our storage room, so we had to do a major clear out before guests started saying over.

Bedroom/Bathroom Basics

  • Clean fresh linen is a must
  • Side table with a lamp if you can
  • A fresh towel
  • Somewhere for them to hang or fold their clothes
  • Essential toiletries {e.g. toothpaste, soap} TIP: Save hotel leftovers, the miniatures are great for this
  • Supply of toilet roll {there is nothing worse than being a guest in someone house and a)not having any toilet roll and b)not knowing where to find any}

Meal times

If your guest is staying for an extended period, attempt to find out what they like to eat, so that you can make sure you have it available for them. My mum loves coffee, Afam and I don’t drink it, but we always make sure we have some around for when she stops by.


Relax, it can be nerve wracking having someone in your home but they’re not coming to see how posh your house is, they are coming to see you!  If something finishes unexpectedly or something breaks and gets damaged, try to not let it take over your world. Things happen!

Finally don’t apologise (or complain) about things that you think are lacking. I constantly did this and in the end Afam made me realise that our guests are going to have a good time regardless of whether we have cushions on the sofa or a rug on the floor. As long as they are comfortable, that is what matters.

Hospitality isn't just for married folk either, anyone can open up their home.

You just need a willing heart!

Some verses to encourage you:

1 Peter 4:9 - Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.

Ephesians 6:7 - Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people.

Romans 12:13 - Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Do you have any more hospitality tips?

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So what are the rules?

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So waht are

Sometimes when I observe couples who are in the early stages of a relationship, it can be frustrating watching some of the things they do {or don’t do}.

Being an outsider, it is easy to take a view because you’re not part of it all. So here are five tips I believe will help things go smoothly when you’re starting out:

1.    Be Respectful. You are dealing with another human being; treat them how you like to be treated. If they call, return their call. If they email/text/DM you (delete as appropriate) respond back. It’s just courteous.

2.    Establish and maintain your principles. Just because someone comes onto the scene, it does not mean that you forget your morals and beliefs. Define and defend what it is you believe in and uphold your boundaries. It prevents problems later!

3.    Gossiping Gossipers. Don’t concern yourself with what other people think. People will talk - that’s what they like to do. If you bother yourself with it or let it influence you, you will end up disappointed, often hurt. If you do want to listen to someone, listen to God. Trust me, you‘ll get much better advice!

4.    Communicate. If you don’t talk, then you don’t know what the other is thinking. When you don’t know what the other is thinking, you assume the worse. Nine times out of ten, the worse case scenario does not happen, but you will have made assumptions about the other person and spent a whole lot of time worrying about it. Talk it out people!

5.    Walk Away. If it gets to a point that you realise that this person is not who God has called you to be with, please be an adult, be honest and let them know {in a polite and respectful way of course}. Then move on. It will be appreciated in the long run.

Do you have any relationship rules you would like to share?

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Moving on

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Thank you all for your comments on my last post about the wedding video problems, I appreciate all your kinds words! It is incredibly disappointing but you live and you learn.

I was talking to a friend at the weekend and it could have been a worse situation, in as much as we could have paid someone to do it and they still mess it up. I have seen that happen to people and whilst you can get a refund, pay or no pay, your wedding is one day that cannot be re-done.

Anyway, I have a few leads of people to talk to {thank you readers}, which I will be doing this week.

Will keep you posted of what progress we make!

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Wedding Video Disappointment – Please can you help?

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Wedding Video Disappointment - please can you help?

If you’re currently planning your wedding or have recently got married you will be very much aware of how much it costs for a wedding videographer. Back in my post about keeping your wedding costs down I wrote about how we found our videographer on Gumtree.

I had originally started discussions with a guy from church about shooting the day. As we knew him and he knew us, we knew he would do a great job; however a few weeks to the wedding he broke his arm, so he wasn’t able to do it.

Then I came across the Gumtree advert. An existing videographer, {let’s call him John} he told me he was looking to move into wedding videos and in return for use of footage on his site when he launched, we would get our wedding shot for free with a 20 min highlight DVD. We had a preliminary meeting and he came across as professional and personable. He was happy to travel up to Birmingham from Manchester and also agreed to give us all the raw footage as well. I was happy with what we agreed and looked forward to seeing him the day.

On the day itself, John was good. He came with quality equipment, was engaging and appeared to be a doing a good job. He also worked well alongside Jide, our photographer and we both looked forward to seeing the final result.

Post wedding we expectantly waited for our wedding video. One month…nothing. Two months…nothing. Three months nothing. After six months of calls, text, emails on Christmas Eve {Who doesn’t believe in Christmas miracles!)} we finally received 6 plain discs, in a brown envelope, inside a padded enveloped. No note, nothing.

So our agreement was that our wedding would be shot with two cameras and we would receive a highlight video. What we received was 6 discs of incomplete, chopped up footage and an incomplete highlight video with no sound, all shot with a single camera, so in the vows for example you only see my face and not Afam’s expressions at all.

To say we were disappointed was an understatement. The footage was shaky, blurry and key bits of the day were missing e.g. cutting the cake, speeches. Okay so we didn’t pay the guy but come on…there was some expectation of what we would receive!

I went back to John and voiced our concerns and disappointment. Firstly about why it took so long for us to receive anything and secondly about why he didn’t deliver what we agreed. His response…we didn’t pay him, he had other things on and it wasn’t a priority. In addition he filmed things what he thought were important. Err so you don’t think speeches are important or cutting the cake is important!

Well we have learned our lesson. It always better to pay, that way you have some sort of come back and you get videos that look like this. Our only saving grace is that we have fantastic photographs - thank you Jide Alakija.

So here’s the thing…we have lots of individual footage but I’m no video editor. I can work my way around Windows Movie Maker but it doesn’t have the capability to do what I need it to do. We have a half finished highlight video which we would like to edit, add scenes and add music.

So I’m putting out a plea to Blogland - if you or anyone you know has good video editing skills and you’re based in the UK {and you would like to make a couple very happy}, please drop me a line. In return for your kind help, I will promote your services here on the blog gratis.

Muchos Gracias!

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Fearless dreams…

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Happy New Year!

It’s nice to be back. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and restful New Year.

2010 was a significant year for Afam and I on so many levels and I don’t even know where to begin in saying thank you to God for everything He did for us last year.

When we sat down to reflect on the past 12 months we were amazed at how faithful God had been to us both. Aside from the fact that we got married {which was a journey in itself}, God blessed us with new jobs, a new home, journey mercies when we travelled to Nigeria and much more. Did I achieve all the goals I set at the beginning of the year? No – but do I have any regrets? No.

This was our first Christmas as a married couple and if I could sum up our holiday season in one word it would be fellowship.

We had the opportunity to host family members and I have to admit I was freaking out a little before they came, worrying about whether I would be able to host properly, putting unnecessary pressure on myself! But the whole experience was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed having people in our home, cooking meals and playing hostess. It’s given me the bug to do it more {as well as an opportunity to use some of our wedding gifts!} and I’m less fearful about it now.

At the beginning of each year I choose a verse that will be my theme for the year. In 2010 it was Genesis 18:14, which is the story of Sarah and how God promised her a baby after many years of barrenness.
The verse states: ‘Is any thing too hard for the LORD?’ and true in 2010 was anything too hard for our God? No it was not. Even in times when we felt despair and situations seemed dire, God was able to turn it around for good.

For 2011 my verse is Hebrews 13:6 (personalised)

“So I say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”

I chose this verse because when I reflect on the past year, there are things that I wanted to do or things I should have done but didn’t due to fear or what I believed others would think. In 2011, I don’t want to allow fear to stop me achieving the destiny God has called me into and I don’t want to allow the opinions of others to distract me from walking the vision He has given us. Humbly I want to submit my plans and life into His hands and ask Him to lead me through.

I have big dreams for 2011, big dreams for my marriage, big dreams for my family and big dreams for myself. Dreams that only God can help us achieve and I am excited at what He will do in our lives this year!

2011 is the year to step out in faith and I’m going to be fearless, dream big and trust God.

The saying goes that if you continue to do the same things, you will get the same results.

It’s time to do things differently.

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