You have to be a good friend to have good friends

Friendship. Such a simple concept yet so complicated

I spent the past weekend with very dear old friends celebrating a milestone birthday. And it got me to thinking and reflecting about friendships in general.

The nuances, the subtlety, the intricacies of making and keeping friends is something we start to learn as early as kindergarten. We continue to hone these skills through elementary school and our teenage years. Even so, way into adulthood some of us never quite get it right.

Why don’t we start with the new Oxford American dictionary definition of friendship. They define a friend as a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection typically exclusive of sexual or family relations. Well that’s a good definition but to me, it does not really describe all the sentiments and emotion that go along with that word.

My definition of a friend or friendship is that relationship which is definitely exclusive of sexual or family relations. A relationship that is built in mutual respect and trust. One of emotional support for each other. A friend has knowledge of most of your secrets and is fiercely protective of those secrets and you. A true friendship is easy. There is no very little drama, no jealousy and no competition. If there is any drama it is usually resolved quickly.

Unfortunately not everyone knows how to be a friend or how to maintain a friend. I consider myself someone who is a good friend and someone who also has maintained many good friendships over the years. I am very proud to say that I have friends from all stages of life that I stay in contact with. And it is not about talking daily or seeing them everyday. Without being boastful, I can honestly say that anyone that cannot be friends with me will likely not be able to be friends with anyone.

These 6 things are to me what makes a good friend:

1- Be there/make time. You and your friends are going to go through good times and bad times. Just be there when they need you to listen, to hold their hand, to wipe away tears or to laugh and celebrate good times. We are all very busy in our lives, but do make time for your friends. This will had a long way.

2- Just because. Again it’s not necessary to talk or see each other daily but do reach out from time to time to check in. Call when it’s not their birthday or a holiday and see what’s up. Drop by from time to time if you live close and see how they’re doing.

3- Be interested. What’s going on in their life at present. Was there a promotion? Did they start a new business? Did a kid graduate? Are they having personal, marital, children or career issues?

4- Know their family. Your friends immediate and if applicable some of their extended family should be like your family. Know their husbands, wives and kids names and birthdays – it helps to write this down somewhere especially if you have many friends and they have lots of kids and you have trouble keeping names straight.

5- The little things. If I’m out shopping and I see something that reminds me of my friend or something I think will look good on them, I buy it. Pick up the tab sometimes when you are out with your friend without keeping tabs on who paid the last time.

6- Be the vault. When your friend entrusts you with their innermost secrets, you are obligated to keep it to yourself

If you are able to keep these things in mind in your friend relationships, you will have no problems keeping your friends for life. If you are having problems keeping or maintaining good friends, there is a possibility you are the problem.

Try my suggestions. If you agree or disagree or have your own friend requirements, please comment below.

As always, thanks for reading



Stress is not your friend

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Do you ever get moments, days or weeks when it seems like you are walking in quicksand? When you feel like you are running faster and faster, but getting nowhere and no progress is being made.  You feel like even though you are getting so much work done, there is still so much more left to do. These are usually the times when we are so completely overwhelmed that we can’t possibly see any way out of it. There are so many euphemisms for this. “your plate is full, ” your cup runneth over”, “you are over scheduled.”

I just call it plain old being stressed out.

This is not a good feeling and definitely not good for you, your health or those around you. Hence the title of the post because stress is definitely not your friend.

As a rule, I just don’t get stressed out and I refuse to be stressed out. This is a rule that I had established for myself some time ago. When I do get stressed, it is usually because I have not done all the things that I have set up over time in my life to avoid it. Some people work well under stress and yes I get it. But others like me, not so much because stress can have physical and psychologic manifestations. For me, it leads to lack of sleep, unattractive dark circles under my eyes, headaches, gastritis, weight loss, hair loss, irritability .and quick to temper/anger. A lot of current studies are now showing associations with developing cancers.

Over the past few years, I have figured out some relatively easy things to do to prevent stress so that I can function better. I will share them here and hope it helps someone.

1 – Never wait until the last minute. In other words, don’t procrastinate. What I do is, if I have a deadline in 7 days. It could be a paper due for school, a presentation at work, I give myself 5 days to be done. So I have 2 extra days to relax and put finishing touches if needed. I like to do many dry runs to make sure it all goes smoothly. I never wing anything.

2 – Make lists. See my previous post (I have lists for my lists). I cannot stress enough the importance of this. Say you have a party planned at your house or have company coming to stay with you or dinner guests, it is important to list everything you need way in advance. And I mean everything. From listing the menu for each day and each meal for your house guests, to grocery lists. And I go further and list everything I need to do to prep the house – bed linens, towels, toothpaste, soap, toilet paper, check light bulbs, clean etc. It is so easy to forget something if not listed. Again get everything on your list ahead of time (see #1 above) and so the day or two leading up to the event is about relaxing and getting last minute things done

3 – Make sure to prep ahead. If you’re cooking for the party or guests, make some of your menu items ahead of time. Do all of the chopping and dicing the day before. This gives you so much more time on the day of. When I have houseguests, I don’t want to be tied to the kitchen the entire time making breakfast, lunch and dinner because then you are not enjoying your company. So I make some dishes ahead and freeze, so that all I have to do is heat it  up. I also plan for my out of town guests to have one or two dine out meals, where we either order in from a restaurant or go out to eat. Catering if you can afford it is also a great alternative. And if it’s family or close friends visiting, you can share cooking responsibility with them unless you are like me and don’t want anyone in your kitchen

4 – Find quiet time for yourself, deep breathing, meditation, yoga or exercise. These are all proven ways to de stress. I always try to do any of these prior to any major event or when I start to find myself overwhelmed. It grounds me and allows me to re focus on what needs to be done

I believe that these 3 techniques above are so important to all of our wellbeing and hope you agree. Please feel free to comment below and let me know your thoughts.

As always, thanks for reading


An apple a day keeps the doctor away- 10 things to do right now to keep the doctor away

We have all heard the old adage, ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away.’ Is that really true? All we have to do is eat an apple a day and be well? Now if it is that easy and doable why aren’t we all living forever. So what’s the catch and are apples really the way to being healthy?

Well, as a doctor, I can tell you that while apples are good for us, we need to do a little bit more than that to keep the doctor away.

What can we be doing right now to prevent illnesses and diseases? Here I have listed 10 things that are relatively easy to do that we can all be doing right now to prevent illnesses and diseases?

1- Eat healthy. Try to incorporate fruits and vegetables into every meal. Choose cooking at home over fast food or take out. Make a choice to Broil or bake over frying your food. And finally, a plant based diet has been shown to be superior to meat based diet in cancer risk reduction. If you can’t go plant based just try to increase to ratio of vegetables to meat on your plate gradually.

2- Exercise. The recommendation is for 30 minutes a day of moderate activity at least 5 days a week. If you are able to join a gym then great but exercise is about being active. There are many ways to do it without joining a gym. Get yourself a Fitbit or any step counter. Set a step goal for yourself – 10,000 steps a day is ideal. You can walk with your dog or walk laps around a mall. Play with the grandkids and jump on the trampoline with them. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or the escalator. Pick the furthest parking spot from the entrance and walk those extra steps.

3- Hydrate. We humans are made up of 60% water so water is very important to our bodily functions. Eight 8 ounces glasses on the average is recommended daily. Get yourself a water bottle and drink up

4- Sleep. We should get 7-8 hours of sleep each night if we can. Our body needs this time to recharge. Lack of sleep can lead to weight gain and illnesses.

5- Sunscreen, seat belt and helmets. These save lives. Period. There are lots of data proving the benefits of these things. I don’t think I need to say more about this.

6- Health maintenance. It is important to see your doctor annually or more frequently if you are having problems. Be aware of chronic illnesses that you have and stay up to date with medicines that are prescribed for you.

7- Stress. Avoid stress at all costs. Yes, this is sometimes unavoidable. But do try as stress can break down our immunity making us more prone to diseases.

8 –Health screening. Screening for breast, cervical and colon cancer is very important. Women age 40 and up should get mammograms yearly. Women who are sexually active should get Pap smears every 3 years or more frequently depending on previous results. Men and women 50 years old and over should get a colonoscopy to screen for colon cancer.

9- Meditate. Take a few minutes everyday for yourself. Take several deep breaths and clear your mind. This is a great way to recharge and de stress

10- Be honest. Always choose to tell the truth to yourself and others when you can. Lying or holding things in can lead to emotional and physical stress. And we all know that stress is not good for our body.

These are all relatively easy and doable ways to jumpstart a healthy you and keep the doctor at bay. And as always, before embarking on any new exercise or physical activity consult with your doctor to make sure it is okay for you

If you have comments, questions or want elaboration about anything I have mentioned in this blog, please feel free to comment below or email me.

Again thanks for reading,



Week 4- Puzzle

I stand before you mother Earth, naked in birth and naked in death

I am born. Then I live. Finally I die.

The science of birth and death is known and unknown

The mystery that is life is overwhelming

I stand before you mother Earth naked in my ignorance

The vastness that is you, the cumulation of land and water

The existence of sun, moon, stars and all the planets

What about air, rain, snow, sand, grass?

Who am I? Where do I fit?

What is the meaning of it all?

I am in awe of you mother Earth.

To friend or not to friend


Is it just me or has friendships become so much more meaningless lately? It seems that we have a lot more friends but the feeling and meaning behind it is gone. I personally feel that this has a lot to do with social media. It used to be that people had their one friend or group of friends that you either called on the phone to talk ( remember those days?) or sometimes visited in each others homes and occasionally go out to dinner or movies or whatever. These were “your people”. They knew everything about you.  They knew where you grew up,  which siblings you get along with and which you were currently not talking to. They knew the names and birthdates of your children. They would spend time in your home and you in theirs and sometimes you would even vacation together.

Today our friends are facebook or instagram friends. These are the people I consider superficial friends. They may be people you went to high school with back in the day. Or that cousin that lives in Alaska that you have not seen since you were both toddlers. Or a co worker from your last job. Or parents from your kids schools. They really know nothing about you other than what you want them to know which is basically what you post on social media. They wish you happy birthday and congratulate your achievements only because facebook prompts them to do so. They are voyeurs looking into our lives from the outside. Let’s face it, no one posts the negatives so we are driven to onstantly want to one up or show off to our friends how perfect out lifes are.

This current state of frendships in the world has made me overall very guarded and cautious.   I am by nature a very friendly and social person. Therefore, I have many “friends’. I put friends in quotations because I have a very different definition and approach to friendship than many people do. On the whole, I have several groupings of friends. I have the friends that are ‘my people or my real friends’. Then I have my intermediate friends and finally my superficial friends.

My real friends or those people that I call “my people are those close knit group of people that know me best. They don’t only know me but they know my family which includes my parents, siblings, spouse, children. They have been to my home and I to theirs. I can talk to them abut anything. They know things about me that I trust they will carry on to their graves and vice versa. These are people that I trust implicitly which is a key part of friendsip.  To me friendships should be EASY. If it becomes work or difficult and full of drama then it is definitely not worth it. These close friends are people that I don’t necessarily see everyday or speak to often or even live close to. But once we get together everything falls into place.

My superficial friends are my social media friends. They know what I want them to know, but they will not have the security codes to my home. The intermediate frients are in between and can basically go back and forth. So is it possible for an intermediate friend to overtime become one of your people? For someone with trust issue, like me that takes a lot of time. Ande yes it is possible for an intermediate friend to become a superficial friend. If so, can a real friend become an intermediate or superficial friend? Well the incidence of this happening is very rare as my real friends have been thouroughly vetted, smetimes over years.

So really, having 1000 friends on facebook or many likes on facebook and instagram posts, does not translate to real life friends. Pay attention and foster friendships with the living, breathing people in your life. Don’t put so much effort into gathering superficial friends that are there for your successes and equally there to see you fail.

Please let me know your thoughts on this topic







masters of writing flash fiction challenge week 3

I am so excited to be part of this weeks masters of writing flash fiction challenge- week 3. The word promt for the week is lost. Thanks Pia for inviting me to participate.

Here it goes:

This is perfection, I thought as I laid my head on your shoulders and you caress my face. Me and you. You and me. Just being and drowning in our love. We talk deep into the night making plans for our future and relish in the long life we have ahead. I am not sure when I finally fell asleep, but I woke up with a start and feel for you next to me.  Nothing. I try to remember the feel of your hands and what we had talked about. Nothing. It is lost to me as you are, forever.

Don’t take your spouse for granted


If anyone asked, I would say that I was a model wife and partner. My hubby and I have the best relationship ever! We talk all the time, we co parent our two children beautifully and we have a more than average and healthy sex life. All these are good things, right?

Well yes they are definitely good things but as happens in any relationship after a while you both start to take each other for granted. Things over time start to become routine. So we have date night and we talk but are we really talking? Are we really listening to each other? Is date night something you are doing out of obligation or is it something you are looking forward to and excited about?

I thought I/we were doing all the right things until recently. I have just learned that there is nothing like having another person show some interest in your spouse to make you open your eyes and look at him/her with renewed interest. (As an aside: people with no boundaries when it comes to married people are a whole other topic.)

I guess I have been too cocky and too complacent and comfortable in our relationship. I have been too lazy to continue the romance or going about it way wrong. Luckily, despite my complacency and the lack of boundary by one certain person, he has remained true.

So that got me thinking a lot lately about ways to not get too comfortable in your relationship and take your partner for granted. This is what I have come up with so far.

1- Talk every night. This goes for working and non working spouses. Talk about your day good or bad. I tend to not share the really bad days and he does the same. But talking in this way is really important because everyone needs an outlet. If he/she is not talking to you, they’ll eventually talk to someone else who’d listen. Talking should be done without TV or phones on. Just the two of you one on one.

2- Speak your love. Compliment each other often. I don’t know anyone who does not like to be told that they look beautiful or handsome or sexy. Notice new outfits, haircut, cologne. Say I love you often in a meaningful way – not just the words but by action- touching, kissing and doing little things for each other.

2- Love notes. Leave a sexy note in their work bag/ purse/ pocket/ lunch bag. Something to show them in the middle of their work day that you had thought about them. This can also be accomplished by sending a sexy text or email during the day.

3- Date night. This is a very important part of every marriage where there are children. Date night is all about you and your partner. You should not talk about kids or work and if you do it should be a quick mention. Talk about weekend plans, talk about future vacation plans. Talk about a book you are reading or movies or the news or pop culture. Talk like friends. This after all is how your relationship first started.

4-Surround yourself. You want to have friendships with other couples in strong healthy marriages. Hang out and double date with them

5- SEX! This is a must in every successful marriage. And should not be confined only to date night.

All the above in addition of course to understanding, honesty, respect, trust and lots of love.

That is all I got folks! Please feel free to add more to this as I am a work in progress and always learning.

Thanks for reading and please leave comments below.



sunshine blogger award

Hello again fellow bloggers. This is a little late but I was nominated for the sunshine blogger award by JBlaide and life by the pages. These are 2 boggers with incredibky original content that I enjoy. So please go check out their sites.

“The Sunshine Blogger Award is an award given from a blogger to fellow bloggers to recognize each other. This award was given because he/she considers my blog to be inspiring , positive and brings sunshine to the lives of its readers”.

I hope you too find inspiration in my site!

Sunshine Blogger Award Rules:
-Thank the blogger who nominated you.
-Answer the 11 questions asked.
-Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions.
-List the rules and include the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post.

Questions from life by the pages

1. If you could tell your teenage-self anything, what would that be?                                          Be patient. Life gets so much better after high school

2. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?                                                 So many places. But Cape town South Africa comes to mind

3. What is your favorite film or book growing up?                                                                                       I was not big into movies growing up but I enjoyed Nacy Drew, The Hardy boys and Agatha Christie

4. What kinds of things bring you joy? My children, Running

5. How do you handle fear in your life?  Head on

6. Where are you from? I was born in Nigeria and have lived in the US since age 11

7. What would you like readers to take away from your blog?                                                                 I want to share how I balance my everyday hard work with my life after work

8. What is your favorite quote? Work hard, play hard

9. Please link your favorite blog post- yours or someone else’s and tell us why is it your fave. Balancing life with jovita

10. What is one thing you hope to achieve in 2018?                                                               World peace. No really, I want have a successful blog

11. Do you honestly read the blogs from people that you followed?                                      Yes I try to dedicate a day a week to catch up with all of

Questions from JBlaide

1. What is your favorite smell? Baking bread

2. What of your traits do you think define you? Empathetic

3. In a parallel universe, what do you do for a living? I am an author

4. What makes you feel most confident? When I am taking care of myself- eating healthy and exercising

5. What is your favorite story?   The story of creation

6. Are you a reader or a viewer? A reader

7. What is your biggest bucket list item? Travel to Antarctica

8. What is your least favorite taste? Wasabi

9. What is the happiest moment of 2018 thus far for you? The start of my blog

10. What is your favorite holiday and why? Christmas. This is a time of year when everyone for the most part are happy and oh the Xmas carols

11. Do people change or just circumstances? I think circumstances change

My nominees: Any of my followers that want to participate.

My questions:

Where do you live? Do you have children? Do you have pets? What is your favorite color? What is your favorite pizza? Do you exercise? Do you own a bicycle? Do you come from a big family? Do you like to cook? New York or LA? Paris or Milan?

I can’t wait to see your answers!

Children are the worst investment


One of my husband’s favorite things to say is “children are the worst investment, because you can put just about everything you have in them and they still turn out bad.”

So true! How many times have we seen this play out? How often do we hear parents say, “we treated all of our three children the same and this one just went their own way.” And this is truly not a reflection on the parents. As parents we can only do the best we can and hope for the best return on our investment.

Family – my family is very important to me. It was imperative to us that we raised children that had our same core values and knew they could tell us anything and could always come home no matter what. I find that in today’s society with so many social distractions for children this can be very difficult to do.

We have been able to do this so far and I really truly attribute it to keeping open lines of communication and honesty. We can’t expect kids to be open and honest with us if we are not with them. If our kids were bad at piano recital we tell them they were bad. If they missed a goal at soccer and lost the game, we let them know that too. We love our children but they are not our friends and we do not give them any undeserved trophies. We are able to bring them down with honesty but of course we are there to console them always.

I think the main thing is to start early – before they go off to preschool. It is important to establish the expectations early on.

Reinforce and reward positive behavior and punish negative behavior.  This will make them appreciate your reaction to the wins even more.

Be open and honest with them and in turn they will give you the same courtesy. I want to trust that they are where they say they will be at all times.

We had monthly family meetings in our household from when the kids were very young. This was an open forum where each person (including us parents) talked about what was going on in every aspect of our life – personal, social, family, school/work. This was a free zone where the kids could let us know about issues at school, with their friends or even with us. They could let us know if there was something we as parents were doing that they did not like. This is a place where they knew they could tell us anything without repercussions. Over time, they felt comfortable enough to discuss these things outside of the family meetings.

By all means my children are not perfect and are still a work in progress. But I believe they have been given the tools to make it in life. We have invested wisely in them and hope to have good returns on our investment over time.

My favorite things to say to my kids is:                                                                                            1 – Always respect yourself                                                                                                                                2 – I want to be able to vouch for you always without perjuring myself

Please leave your thoughts below. Let me know if you agree or disagree


10 ways to get over the doldrums and get yourself motivated right now


Have you ever had days where you feel like doing nothing? Days where it is a little harder to get out of bed and put one foot in front of the other. No I am not talking about depression – that is a whole different issue. If you are depressed, please seek medical attention as this is a serious health condition. What I am talking about is what can happen when you are just overwhelmed by all of life’s daily to do list. When it gets hard to get and keep yourself motivated to accomplish your daily tasks.

These are just a few ways that I have found can help you get over the doldrums

1- Take a snow day. Yep you heard it.   Pretend you are back in elementary school and there has been a blizzard.  Go ahead call in sick and take the day off. This can also be called a mental health break. There is no better therapy than to just take time off and do nothing. Sleep in and stay home in your pajamas. You will be so much better the next day and ready to tackle your life again

2- Go ahead book yourself a massage. Don’t underextimate the power of the total complete relaxation that comes from strong hands kneading and untangling those tangled and tired muscles. Do it! You will thank me later!

3- Medidation. Yes get into it! I know most people find it really difficult to do but it takes lots of practice to perfect it. Being able to clear your mind to meditate is quite an art. I find it is best to start with maybe 5 minutes then build up gradually. The benefits have been documented medically for lowering the heart rate and blood pressure.

4- Do you yoga? Getting into your mind and body the only way yoga can will help to relieve the daily stresses of life. And you get to lenghten and limber up your muscles at the same time

5- Exercise. Nothing beats a little sweating and some heavy breathing to get your endorphins going. Whether you are walking, running, doing a class or in the weight room – what ever form your exercise takes, it is a good way to clear your head and get back in the game of life.

6- Do you enjoy reading or writing. This will guaranteed temporarily take your mind off this world and get it into another. It allows you some time to recharge.

7- Are you creative? This is another good way to unwind. What are you good at? Is it painting, drawing, pottery, jewelry making etc. My personal favorite is cooking. It is so relaxing to be in the kitchen, chopping and dicing and mixing and coming up with something amazing!

8- A good soak in the tub never hurt anyone. Another excellent way to unwind if you don’t like massages – not that I understand why any one would not like a good massage. Add some aromatherapy oils and soak it in

9- Watch a moivie or binge watch a TV series or just listen to music.  This is called media therapy. Another way to immerse yourself in a different world until you are ready to get back into yours

10. Go ahead, call a friend and go out to breakfast, lunch, happy hour (my personal favorite) or dinner. Relaxing with a friend or your significant other over the beverage of your choice, talking and laughing will elevate your mood everytime.

I hope one, two, several or all of these suggestions will help you get out that funk.                                                                                                                                              Do you have other suggestions to add to my list?

Please leave your comments below and thanks for reading




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