I have lost count of the number of times I stood in front of my closet agonizing over what t-shirt to put on for my early morning walks, or to go to the shop or even just wear around the house. Sometimes I wear the same T-shirt repeatedly simply because I believe I do not have enough.

In the past few weeks I have been doing a lot of travelling and last week I came home from a long trip away with loads of laundry. Knowing that I would soon be off again on another trip I decided that I would wash a little every day until I was done with the backlog. My washing machine is bad so I would have to do all the washing by hand. And that’s how I made this startling discovery.

While sorting through my t-shirts, I realized that I seemed to have quite a number more than I thought. I began to think that I possibly had up to a dozen or more. So, I started to count. I have a separate space for t-shirts in my closet which I had largely ignored and mixed up with up other items of clothing. I decided, ‘’no more, this space would be for t-shirts only.’’
Then I took inventory.

As of this morning, I have sorted, rescued, found, washed, hung and retrieved twenty-five t-shirts from various places of my house and still counting!
Twenty-five t-shirts? Me?? How? From where did they come? How is it I never knew I was so T-shirt rich?

I was pleasantly surprised. Simply by deciding to be more focused with my wardrobe maintenance I have found a huge cache of clothes I didn’t even know I had. All types, colours and sizes of t-shirts, bought by me or received as gifts at one time or the other in the recent past, yet I lived my life like I had maybe half a dozen t-shirts!

What other areas of my life might I be complaining and grumbling about simply because I’m not looking closely enough? What challenges are you crying over because you aren’t taking proper stock? Isn’t it possible that if we focused more on the blessings we would find that we aren’t lacking as much as we thought?

Maybe, before we complain about that thing that isn’t working, we should focus instead on what is. Maybe all we really need to do at this time is go count the t-shirts. They may be more than you think!



The Fire Conferences

I met some really phenomenal ladies last week; women who are making tangible differences in various fields of endeavour but who are held down by age old beliefs and retrogrssesive cultural beliefs about the place of the female Homo sapiens.

What I find particularly heartbreaking though is the attitude of some of my sisters. We seem like the proverbial horse tied to the plastic chair. Some of the issues facing us are really daunting no doubt but some of them are more issues of the mind than anything else. We seem to have bought the lie that there really is a glass ceiling that we are not allowed to shatter. Maybe there is a glass ceiling but hello?

That is why it is made of glass. Break it and don’t apologize. So many others have done it before you. And many more will do it.
Which is why I run the FIRE conferences, to help you light a fire in your career, business, marriage and life. You are female but you can be intentionally relevant everywhere.

Get fired up. Book to attend a fire conference in your city.

My Gratitude Chronicles (2)

Broken bones and forgiveness

When I was about twelve or thirteen years old, someone did a bad DV episode on me and broke my back, (at least, that’s what the local orthopaedic guy said when my Mom took me to him very late the night after the incident

I had been staying with this family that was not entirely mine, (story for another day), and the man of the house was a troubled soul who was quite violent. On the night in question, an argument between husband and wife resulted in a severe case of wife battery, and somehow I was the innocent bystander who got caught in the fray. And I was beaten very badly. I was slapped, punched, kicked, tossed in the air and finally stepped upon. And my back cracked. The following day I was shipped off to my parents; broken, bruised and battered, but alive.

And I forgave them.

Forgiveness has always been easy for me. Maybe because I’m a coward at heart and revenge takes too much energy? I do not know,, and please don’t hurt me just so you can find out, lol!

But I am a happier person when I forgive. Bitterness and anger give me headaches and body cramps. I think that being bitter is sometimes worse than having broken bones. I am grateful to God that I have none.

For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” Matt.6:14


My Gratitude Chronicles (1)

When I was about 5 years old, I had a dream. It was a terrible nightmare and the dream is as clear now as the night I first had it more than forty years ago. In the dream, there were some people dressed in black from top to bottom; and they were standing beside a very big grave. There were a lot of kids all lined up around the gaping hole-in-the-ground.One of the people was giving instructions to the others to bring the children, and as they brought them, they would toss them into the grave. I was so frightened!

When it came to my turn, I somehow wriggled out of their grasp and ran.

Then I woke up. I was drenched in sweat and was so frightened. I was sleeping beside my mother that night, and she woke up when I ‘ran’ out of the dream. She guessed I must have had a bad dream, and she repeatedly asked me what the matter was, but I was so scared I could not tell her about the dream. After a while, she told me to lie down and go back to sleep. But I was too scared to sleep that night.


I ‘knew’ instinctively who the leader of the people in black was, and I was scared that if I told my Mother the person would come after me in real life and kill me. So I kept quiet. It was a secret I could not share. I kept thinking about the dream and wondering what it meant for many years, but I still could not share for a long time.

Finally, in my thirties, I told my Mom. She was shocked that I kept such a dream secret for so long. Then she prayed for me, that no harm would befall me. But by then I knew I would be fine because God was with me.

It’s been almost fifty years, and I’m still here; still standing, jumping, leaping and praising God.

Ye, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil…” Psalm 23:4

I owe my life to God alone.



While we wait.

I was at the airport a few days ago on my way to someplace important. I set out promptly with almost two hours to go before my flight. I checked in my bags and got to the departure,lounge all with time to spare.

Then the announcement came. My flight would be delayed by an hour.

Oh well!

I didn’t want this wait. I was going somewhere, and I had my schedule all planned out. Besides, I was in great discomfort from an upset stomach, and I just wanted to get on that plane and fly.

So what did I do?

I waited. I could not force that plane to be on time. I could not call the airline or the pilot or the crew. I just sat down and waited, discomfort and all.

And while I sat there I looked around at the December crowd of people waiting. I reflected on the fact that I would never ever see most of them again no matter how long I live. And I wondered what their life stories are. I wished I could go to each person in that airport lounge and ask why they were traveling and what they were thinking as they waited. Where they missing a loved one? Did they wish they had hurried less only to end up waiting at the airport? Did they leave an unkissed wife/husband at home? A crying child? An unfinished budget in the office? I guess I will never know.

And I continue to wait..

So it is with our lives. We hurry and leave things undone, and we end up waiting for stuff to get done. Sometimes we think we are totally in control because we have done all we can, and then life makes you wait.

While we wait can we reflect on what’s truly important? Can we stop and smell roses sometimes or wipe a runny nose for a child.

While we wait can we take the time to be kind? Share a candy with a total stranger and just remember to be human? Waiting could be a good thing if we take the time to visit our insides while we wait. Don’t lose the beauty of the times of waiting and wish it went faster. Don’t hurry up and wait either.

Nigeria @55: 55 Nigerians I admire and respect.

When I first came up with the idea of this article series sometime last year it seemed like the most ridiculous thing anyone could think of doing with their time. A number of my friends told me I would never be able to find as much as ten untainted Nigerians to write about let alone 55. I was sure there were more than a few people who had not bowed their knees to the proverbial Baal. Men and women who had excelled at whatever they were doing without looking up to the government to skew things in their favour. I was not wrong.
As I did my research I began to realize that the project was a bigger one than I first envisioned; I began to see that indeed, there are people worth celebrating in this seeming non- nation of ours. People who had made tenacity and a strong love for the fatherland ( or is it motherland?) their very raison d’etre. And in my heart I feel glad that I took on this private project. This series is about celebrating all that is good and praiseworthy in us as a people because, believe me, there is a lot.
Nigerians are a unique lot. They are funny, loving, hospitable, industrious, and believe it or not, trustworthy. Granted we have our flaws, but then which nation doesn’t have its share of the good, the bad and the ugly?

This series is a deliberate effort to focus on the good rather than the bad and ugly; we have enough people telling us how crazy we are, my aim is to let us know that in the midst of the craziness, there is a bunch of very ‘correct’ people…
We shall continue our series from where we stopped..

This thing called friendship..

By Elsie D. Oghenekaro

My dear friend

Who do you consider your friend and what are the rules of your friendship?
Have you ever drawn up a friendship charter?
Do you have a written or even verbal contract for this relationship
that you talk about so much?
Very often in life we meet people we like that appeal to us in some
way and we add the appellation of “friend”. Then we begin to share our
life with this person; our time, thoughts, money, material goods, even
other relationships. Some of these relationships go so deep; we know
their villages and all of their family members. A few of them even
outlive us and pass on to our children and our children’s children.
Yet very few make it beyond a few blissful years. We go through phases
when we are ‘sure’ this person will be in our lives for ever, and then
‘boom’ one day, we get a transfer letter, a school admission, or a
higher office ( your husband becomes the governor, etc) and suddenly
we realize that our best friend isn’t good enough anymore!
They live too far away, they don’t dress well enough, they speak with
an embarrassing accent, or simply their ‘wahala’ (stress) is too much,
and we put them in the dust heap of neglected and forgotten
relationships, most times never to be resurrected!
How fickle we are! A friendship is a beautiful thing. A treasure beyond measure;
A gift from heaven; a foundation for life and living;
the enriching spice of a well-lived life;
A tonic to soothe life’s aches; and a balm to soften our wounds.
It is a handrail on life’s steep climb, a foothold on the mountains of
life, a stream in the desert of our pilgrimage through life. It is a
cup of cold water on a hot day, a warm drink on a cold day, and a
piece of bread in a hungry stomach……

It should never be taken for granted. It should not be entered into
lightly. Do not abuse it nor misuse it. Do not neglect it. It requires
care, it requires time, it requires nurture, it requires commitment.
It takes from you, oh yes, it does; but it adds to you so much more.
The joy of true friendship comes to those who take time to care for it.

As I write this, I can’t help but wonder, “How well have I taken care
of my friendships? Have I expected too much from them? Have I used
them as crutches instead of hand rails? Have I serviced them better
than my cars? Have I cleaned them as well as my clothes? Have I been
proud of them? Have I called them for no reason? Have I given them
room to grow? Have I ever put on paper how much they mean to me? Have
I forgiven them for the times they have not lived up to my
unreasonable expectations? Have I given them the opportunity to show
their love? Have I begrudged them for not being able to do the
Questions and more questions.
Sadly, I find myself guilty of all and more.
If you are my friend reading this; if I have ever called you friend,
please as you read this, forgive me. There is a lump in my throat and
unshed tears in my eyes, for I have never told you how empty your
place in my heart would be if you were not there. I have never taken
the trouble to tell you that you are my friend no matter what…

Elsie Oghenekarocropped-midnight-essays.jpgMidnight Essays is available on