The #HallelujahChallenge

I’m big on challenges.

Anything that makes me want to conciously do something is a welcome occurrence. I’d do a writing challenge,  a drawing challenge, a fasting challenge  sef,  if the end product includes an improved me.

It’s been 15 days since the #HallelujahChallenge began. 15 more days to go and I am certain my midnights will never be the same. I have never spent my midnights in a more productive way. Halfway through and I feel the need to document this special occurrence, that its memory may be more vivid.

I have always liked Nathaniel Bassey. I can’t tell you exactly what it is that drew me to him; his deep resonating worded songs, which reflected his love for God, or the way they are expressed in the most calming melodies in praise and worship. Or maybe because he somehow reminded me of my uncle Chidiegwu, who shared similar qualities with him ranging from their disarming smile to their disciplined servitude to God. I don’t know Nathaniel personally, but I know my uncle, and some how I am convinced that they are genuine and goals.

Now is a good time to appreciate everyone who shared a post, publicising the #Hallelujahchallenge. It was enough to encourage me to join in and I have loved the experience entirely.

I understand that there have been misreadings of what the Hallelujah Challenge is, and I believe now is also a good time to explain in my own words what it is to me. The convener, Nathaniel Bassey,  by inspiration scheduled June as a month of praise and worship to God. For one hour every day in June, between midnight and 1am, Christians are joined in praise and worship via an Instagram and Facebook Live feed (pros of technology). The guiding Bible text  is from the book of Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 16 verse 25 and 26, with additional readings from the book of Psalms (Psalm 150, Psalm 147,Psalm 149) It was originally a local bred assembly but with the ubiquitous nature of social media, Christians all over the world have keyed into this exercise and you know what they say about where two or more gather in the name of God- The blessings and the testimonies have been profound.

As a christian, I have always been fascinated with praise and worship to God. Not because I am fantastic at it but because it is the one thing and only thing God requires from me. He said if i wont praise him, he is able to raise rocks and stones to sing in my place, and never will I let a rock cry out in my place. He is more than worthy of whatever praise I can muster and so I shall go over and beyond any chance I get to render my praise. I have been enthralled by the Olowogbogboro, the God whose hands are mighty to save, the one who is able to turn situations suddenly, just like that! And I have been acquainted with the soothing melodies and the fulfillment of Kaestring‘s “He is here”(That’s Lowkey an anthem now, can’t explain the pump in my spirit when it comes on!)

Of course like all good things, there have been criticisms  on why we (hello every one of the 70k plus streaming and praising!) are doing what we are doing, so it is important to educate these naysayers a little. They say subscribing to the Hallelujah challenge is not the solution to the problems in our country, Nigeria, nor a cure for our collective hypocrisy. I’d like to inform the people of such school of thought that It is not a revival to bring about any change in the country, or a miracle wreaking crusade of any such. It’s like when I do a writing challenge or a drawing challenge, I want to consciously rise up at midnight for 30 days to sing praises, and worship my God whom I think is deserving of even more. It’s not my job to fix Nigeria with my praise and worship. It’s our collective responsibility to do so (with that hardwork you people prescribe) at a time which has not been set apart for something greater. After all, prior to this challenge, I either spent my midnights fast asleep or chugging down alcohol or something even more unproductive. It’s not like I am expending anybodys mahour.

If miracles happen and prayers are answered along the way, it’s only as a by-product of my exercise..and not the core reason why I do what I am doing.

I don’t even get why anyone would have a reservation to the #HallelujahChallenge.

Is it really a bad thing that people, who share a common faith are rising to praise without the barrier of denomination and “my pastor said”??

If you have not been joining the exercise and praise is what you do,i.e you are interested, trust me, it’s a refreshing way to spend an hour. If for nothing, I have become a brighter morning person (I have always been a morning person but it definitely has become cheerier!)

The instagram handle is @Nathanielblow, and the Facebook page is Nathaniel Bassey. Remember what I said about Nathaniel being disciplined, his live feeds are set in such a way that at exactly an hour it ends. So you don’t have to worry about losing too much sleep. I usually catch an hour or two before midnight and the rest after. If you would like to join but have difficulties waking, you can send me a message, I’d love to be your alarm.

Let us give thanks and praises to the Lord, for he is good and his mercies endures forever!

Jemjem.

The post that is for giving thanks.

I’m feeling really grateful.

2016 is winding down (look at that! where did all the time go???) and it is important to give thanks for all the blessings it has brought with it.

14/12/2016 was quite a struggle staying cheerful let alone thankful on this day, so I thought doing a post of 30 things I’m grateful for is a good place to start, to kick the grouch lingering under skin.

1. I am most grateful for my Adanne. I cannot quantify this gratitude /thankfulness. I just know that having her in my life is God’s way of showing me he loves me.

2. I am thankful for chickens. Ts the season of eating chicken (chicken and Christmas are pretty much synonyms now). For eggs and chickens and all their by-products I remain thankful.

3. It’s a couch where I can put my feet up.

4. I have attempted to healthy-eat, and failed as expected, but not before discovering the divine combination that is Apple and Snickers ☻☻ (the chocolate bar brand)

5. I am most thankful for the church. It’s where I meet with like people to offer up praise and thanks to a very faithful God. I’m grateful that I don’t have to sneak around and do this.

6. I have this red pair of shoes I got while on vacation. I had seen it on a mannequin and was “sold”.  Unfortunately, Big-foot-Bessie(i.e me) was told by the attendant that it wasn’t stocked in my size. Fortunately another zealous attendant had overheard our conversation and went to the back to make sure it was really not available. I had already counted my loss and moved on when she came to find me. It was such a Cinderella moment when I tried the shoes and they fit!

7. I have never worn Acqua di Gioa (EDP) without being asked what I was wearing *takes long whiff…

8. For someone who loves to eat out, I don’t have a restaurant I’m thankful for. Do better guys. But shout out to Skippers! Your moimoi earned you this spot.

9. I am thankful for this blog here, my blog – jemmyma.wordPress.com.  It has being home to alot of my thoughts that begged to be expressed and I’m grateful for the opportunity to have done that. RIP to the stories that died before they were born.

1o. I love 5am. My body alarm basically goes off at that hour, and every 5am I see is proof that God still wants me balling in this life.

11. Eating cake on my birthday. If I didn’t eat cake, was it really my birthday?

12. Is it really necessary to reiterate that I love my phone?

13. My iPod is “blind” and my music library hasn’t been updated since 2011. But I have it on me almost all the time.

14. My sister got me a tshirt that reads Ms. Almost Perfect. I think it’s cool (af!) that reading that while in the store made her think of me.

15. I am most thankful for forgiveness. To be able to look at someone who hurt me in the past and not just hurl pain at them. That’s salvation right there!

16. I would “drink” garri everyday if you let me.

17. I like that MRP stores still stock clothes that don’t look like they cost.

18. I once read somewhere (the Bible) that “if you love only those that love you, what credit is that to you (as a Christian who is supposed to be an embodiment of love)” Basically it’s trying to explain that both believers and unbelievers are capable of loving those who love them, but believers are expected to love regardless of if the love being returned.

19. I am just going to say pant and not speak further, to avoid TMI. I’m also not going to bother to distinguish if I speak in BrE or AmE.

20. I’m a hoarder. End of.

21. My siblings think I’m a wonder. If they stopped thinking that I’d probably just pack from this earth and be going.

22.”What to do about Amy” is one of those random novels you buy from the second-hand shops by chance, but the protagonist was a total rebel and I loved every bone of her (including her risqué mini wearing ways, I imagine she had Eve typa fine legs).

23. The feeling when the waiter is coming with your order is right on top of the list. Even before credit alerts.

24. One of my favourite pictures this year was taken on the 30th of April. It was my friends wedding day and I was a bridesmaid.  Soon as we got to church the zip on my dress snapped (disaster, I know). Luckily one bridesmaid didn’t show up and her (rumpled) dress was in the car we were riding in. I changed in the car and changed my mind about joining them in the church. to pass time, I went on a selfie spree and with the snapchat filter I love to call “sisterhood of the eternal slay” I took a picture of me, that looked absolutely different from how I felt. That instantly made everything start to feel better.

25. LOL…in this economy eating pizza when I want it is luxury.

26. For the grace to be benefactor and beneficiary I am grateful.

27. I have no song of 2016 per se, but I went from a Tekno diss-master (Amara & I) to having a playlist of Tekno songs on my phone (it’s also the only playlist I have).

28.  Nothing, absolutely nothing compares to the gift of life. To be given a life that is my own to manage. Best. Gift. Ever!

29. I’m thankful for electricity at home. Electricity means water can be pumped, and I cannot sufficiently emphasise on how important this is.

30. I am most thankful for good health. Imagine if in addition to every thing that I think is not going right, ill health joined the chorus 😣

This was not a conventional thanksgiving,  but it is something. I am grateful for the opportunity to give thanks.

Peace & love,

Jemjem.

That beautiful beautiful woman.

The miracle of the woman with the issue of blood in the New Testament of the Bible is one of my favourite miracles in the Bible.

The woman is absolute role model material. Resolute and faith-full.

She’d had to live with this ailment for over a decade, the compassion and sympathy from her neighbours must have waned after about 2 years in. There must have been rumours about her condition and people who claimed to know the cause and suggest a perfect solution.

Over ten years later,  nothing has changed.

She must have felt sad, neglected ,  tired of her own self but she didn’t quite sit around bemoaning her fate.

Just as her rumours had gone about town, stories of Jesus and his many healing and deliverances must have filtered through. I assume nobody came directly to tell her to come see Jesus. They must have even mocked her when she suggested going to meet Jesus. Hence her resolution ;” If only I am able to touch the hem of his garment”.

She didn’t doubt that her neighbours would be reluctant to bring her to Jesus. She also didn’t doubt that her Solution lies with Jesus.

Knowing the multitude that was about Jesus all the time, while he taught, she must have had to creep on her knees , be shoved, be scolded and frowned at. Perhaps this wasn’t even her first attempt at trying to see Jesus ,  which explains why the hem of his cloth was enough for her.

She had seen him restore so many lives ,  the thought of her own healing overwhelmed her, bubbled her spirit, kindled and rekindled her faith.

And she crept and struggled and reached. I try to imagine the smile that came across her face when she touched it and was made whole, and it makes a smile reach across my face too. Imagine her shock too when Jesus inquired “who touched me?” She rose from her knees, probably didn’t bother dusting herself and presented herself, albeit blushing,  to her healer.

The faith of that woman is so exemplary, so inspirational, I find it as almost the absolute standard. She didn’t knock the idea of touching his garment till she had tried it. I imagine she had a handful of family and friends who were ecstatic for her..who had been supportive through the years.

I hope her story finds a way into our hearts and brings us consolation and renews our faith, especially when we need it the most.

Xoxo

Jemjem .

Great Vibes. ONLY!

My friend Harry Itie is a wonderful Media personality. In addition to his blossoming brand and good heart, he has aptly made #GreatVibesOnly his tagline.

In commemoration, he got permission from some remarkable indigenous artistes to share their music. Please do well to download the mixtape here. Your ears will thank you.

I know mine did. 🙂

I listened and felt inspired to share my opinion of the songs that were featured in the compilation.

Great Vibes only is a 15 (intro inclusive 😏) track of great Nigerian export.

After Harry’s  original intro, the first song on this “album” is Fola’s Comfortable.  This is not one of those songs that I fall in love with at first listen. It had a “90s-RnB-song-I’d-usually-skip” feel to it, and I can understand why Harry might have arranged for it to come first. Harry is a 90s RnB fan ☺It’s generally a well done song IMHO, but it is not a favourite.

Juke’s Butterfly  came next.I loved this song (loved because it was  not the 1st time I was listening to it) and I still love it! It’s definitely one of the eargasmic ones on this compilation.

DavidB’s Titi Lai Lai   didn’t make so much impression until I paid attention to the songwriting. It was clever and definitely earned points for the artiste.

The first thing that made me listen harder on Isaac Gerald’s Cross your mind  was Eva Alordiahs voice (I’m a fan). I went “Hey! That’s Eva!”  Then went on  to confirm that I was right and acquaint myself with the artiste and replay the song. Yup! I loved it. Second time is the charm 😉

I totally wasn’t expecting it when Mosa’s Femi  came on. It was love at first listen. And 100s of listens later, I am ready for the “next” to be a Femi (yoruba demon and all). Totally love it; won’t get tired of replaying it.

Dear Femi, if you are out there, you should call me. Seriously 😌

Ese Peter’s Mountains  came on next. I was privileged to have had an early access to this song. I absolutely  HEART it! (It was my ringtone until recently) The only flaw in this song is Ruby Gyang’s presence. She didn’t do so badly (thankfully!) but I’m not one of those people who think her singing is great. And yes, I can’t sing to save my life, ts my opinion, Sue me 😝

Femi Leye’s Sise  came next. I met Femi at his album launch last year,thanks to Harry and Tolu. Femi is thoroughly gifted at what he does and has a lovely personality to boot. Seeing as I hardly understand yoruba (barely understand…definitely pushing it with the adverbs 😅) his gift is the more relatable quality. I’m sure Sise had a good message behind it.

Ric Hassani’s Gentleman  played. I was introduced to Ric’s music last year and I am a fan of his voice. Gentleman didn’t disappoint.

Nikki Laoye ft Banky W in  Onye Uwa Oma  came next. It’s not a bad song,at all. But I’m Igbo and I had one reservation. She mispronounced the title of HER OWN SONG, which was basically hook abi chorus. Made me wonder who she was trying so hard to impress (and failing obviously 🤔). If you are going to sing in a different language, at least try to pronounce the word right. It was very distracting.

Edword’s Blue Sky  wasn’t a bad listen at all. It had a good message to it and that was necessary.

Akay’s Parachute  was a corny type of cute. A decent enough love song but I hope no one gives him a parachute. He should fall in love “with his chest”.

A.D.O.T’s Be my  came next. I was initially confused, like the artiste should pick a lane; rapper or singer. Then Harry pointed out that he had someone else doing the chorus, then I could enjoy the song better. But does that mean he is a rapper???

Edez’s Holla  is my type of corny cute love song. I’m sure in no time I’d be able to sing  and serenade my neighbours with it.

The last song on this “album” was Buwa’s Burn.  It says it features a Jamal Swiss. Unless Jamal is an instrumentalist, I had little success picking out his contribution to this song. I’d have thought features are supposed to fill a gap. Anyhooo, I like the song. Nice song writing.

I really loved that this compilation was missing the usual kpangolo music style popular among Nigerian artistes. These are the important things, identifying your own musical strength and giving it 💯. Music that can be easily identified as your own, with no introduction necessary.

Well done Harry, for introducing us to all these #GreatVibes which did not disappoint at all. I (We) appreciate.

And to all the wonderful artistes who let you share their music free, Thank you again. More notes to your music (or however the musically equivalent of “more grease to your elbows” go). God bless your entire hustle.

Peace & love, always.

Jemjem.

Twenty Fourteen

For the last day of the year, we thought it was only right to do a walk through our year 2014.

I was recently corrected from my undermining of my achievements this year.
And all that I earlier felt, was replaced by a new feeling.

Grateful.
Really.
Thats a description of how I feel about 2014. Really grateful.

So what I had unmet goals.
Im not about to look back on the year I turned 25 wistfully.

It was an interesting year. My friends may not know this, but they gained a better friend in the course of 2014. I probably used to shield my Insecurities and shelter what I thought my business, but I think this year, more than I ever have, I put myself out. It was a roller coaster tbh . Having my old self sneer and say “this would never have happened if xyzghbvf…”.

More than any new thing I learnt, I enjoyed not caring the most. People ought to learn to mind their businesses and stop being hypocritical. The freedom from their opinions, exhilarating. Because honestly, those who matter don’t care, and those who care don’t matter.
My favourite lesson of the year was abi is the importance of a Plan B. I used to  think it meant ur plan A was fickle and you were not willing to give 110%. I learnt I was wrong in that thinking. Whats a plan A without a Plan B?? (wise words from Akon) 🙂

I’m twenty six in a bit, boy am I getting old or what?!
My 2015 is filled with goals. And because I don’t fail at anything with my shirt on, I’m going to  throw out the shirt if need be. Figuratively of course, close ur eyes.

On the lighter note, I’m sorry if u didn’t wed in 2014. Just send me your invitation if 2015 works out great for you.  Just cut out the Aso Ebi deal, unless you can convince yourself that we are Besties and I can’t tell you “No.” because this year(as in next year) I am hardly spending any money on that, this year… Let’s leave it in d past. Biko.

So,  Happy new year everyone.
Im wishing us a year that fulfills God’s plan for our lives. And a realisation of all our dreams that we are afraid to say out loud(and the ability to say them out loud first :D)
God bless us all and keep us in 2015.
I love you. If for nothing else for reading Jemmyma’s Blog.
And yeah, Voting is ur civic responsibility. Dont not vote and start bashing the leaders the next chance you get. Nigeria is ours to protect. Best believe that!

Peace and love and six pacs in the new year,
Jemjem.
See you in the new year!!!  ✌🚶🚶🎊🎆🎇