Wednesday 31 December 2014

I am going to be soooooo BAD

I really didn't want to write any blog till next year because I felt it was not necessary. So I woke up this morning and something in my heart said "there is one person out there somewhere who needs confirmation on certain decisions as we approach the new year".
In my head I thought "so"? As I went about preparing for New Year's Eve it occurred to me that some people like me, seriously need God to use the simplest things to confirm what has been in their hearts.
2014 has been a very eventful, dramatic, miraculous, life changing and amazing year for my family and I.

Tuesday 2 December 2014

It's been 10 Years

Every morning I open my eyes from sleep, the first words that come to my lips are 'Thank You Lord for the miracle of sleeping and waking up'. I am thankful to God for his grace, his favor, his blessings and also for the privilege he gave me to have had an amazing man in my life who was my friend and husband. JAIYE, today makes it 10 whole years that that you left us here to a better place.

It's been 10 long years without your words of wisdom, your gentle personality and your warm heart. You were a source of strength for me and everybody that came in contact with you. Yes, you left us suddenly but the impact your short life had on this earth will stay with us forever.

I miss you Jay but I know you're in a better place. Thank you for showing me what true love is and for making me know how it feels to truly love and be loved. It is my prayer that people at some point in their lives get to experience someone as great as you.

Thursday 10 July 2014

Unnecessary Approval

I know it has been a while since my last blog, I wanted to apologize for that but then again I thought if it was intentional and I had my reasons, why act like it was a mistake?
So instead I said to myself, if you have something really important to say then share it but if you are busy and trying to finish some other projects then don't force yourself to write just anything because you have a blog.

People write blogs weekly, some even daily but that is not my driving force or motivation. We have different reasons why we all have blogs. This brings me to the topic of this message "seeking unnecessary approval from social media".

So I read two devotionals today and to my surprise they were saying practically the same things.
The first one talked about how we are creatures of approval. We all depend on what other people think of us and say about us before we evaluate ourselves.
The truth is, a lot of people wake up in the morning and the first thing they do is check their social media pages even before they say good morning to anyone. They want to see who has liked their pictures, how many followers their friends and colleagues have in comparison to how many they have, how many Facebook requests they have, who has said what about who, and so many other things that are not beneficial to their lives.

People now hide under the guise of  social media to give their "supreme" opinions about other people's affairs but can't show their faces, it has become the major identity of a lot of people. Human beings have sold their true identities by acquiring screen names to cause harm to others.
People would rather sneak to private places in their offices to check out who is wearing what to an event and who they think is SEXIER, then they go on popular sites to pass judgement on others with such venom that you will wonder if they have even met the person.

All of a sudden social media feeds us with what to wear, what to do, where to go, who to hate, who to like, who to follow, what to follow, how to marry, how to look,  how to make babies and so many ridiculous things. If you take a few steps back, you will ask yourself where our own brains and minds have gone?
Have we become so dependent on other people's opinions that we have lost our own identities?
Are we will still wondering why we have not been able to live our dreams, make money, achieve our goals?
What if it is because we have ended up living other people's dreams based on what they expect of us to do?
What if we have lost touch with who we were created to be because we follow trends created by others?
What if we can never have a fulfilled life because we choose to let people like us determine our right from our wrong?

I am not saying social media is bad, please don't get me wrong. But I fear for those who have turned it into their BIBLE and their life manual. We no longer have a mind of our own to research or question any information we receive.
We just depend on whatever one person has sat down in their living rooms to construct. Then you wonder how one person who is not even in the same country as you, knows what happened inside your bathroom. Then we read it and share it, others pick up on it and all of a sudden it becomes the TRUTH. It goes on google so that when the victims name or company name is typed, people get to see a story that was started by one person siting in a small cubicle with a small laptop.

Some people have accused me of not being in tune with my fans, they have called me a snob they have said I don't respond instantly to messages. I know that when it's a direct message it's  easier  for me to respond. But how do I spend hours everyday responding to over a hundred thousand people at the same time.We all try to respond to as many as we can in a day but I can't possibly respond to all.

Contrary to popular beliefs by these naysayers, STELLA has a life, she has a family and she has work to do as well. Entertainers are not jobless people who sit around waiting for people to send messages so they can respond.
Besides like I have said I am not on Facebook anymore so anyone expecting to hear from me there is wasting their time.
I don't wake up every morning and run to check twitter or Instagram. I go there when I can to communicate with as many people as I can, and I only put info or pictures out that I feel are necessary to share.

Some have also said that I don't have as many followers as others, that made me laugh a lot because they did not realize that I don't go snooping around to find out what others have that I don't. The fact that I have a group of people who are dedicated fans and follow me is more than enough for me to be grateful to God. I don't look around for who is doing what or who has what, neither do I do things because others are doing it.

Our destinies and purpose are totally different. So when people try to compare, it becomes strange for them when I respond by laughing. They don't understand why I don't care about too many things. I have tried to let people know that I have discovered the most important things in life and what my everyday goal is, anything outside of that is a waste of time and energy.

If your so hooked on social media and you are not using it to grow your clientele for your business then you need to re-evaluate yourself and who have become.

Stella Damasus
"It's not what people say you are, It's who God says you are"

Tuesday 27 May 2014

There's Nothing Happy About It

Today is supposed to be a happy day, it’s supposed to be a day were we celebrate our children but we (Nigeria) still have over 200 children missing.

I have decided to put myself in the place of those mothers and wonder how they would feel today, when everybody is celebrating children’s day and their own children are not with them. I really wonder how they feel, I wonder how they cope!

So today I’m not saying Happy Children’s with true happiness from within me. I am actually praying for these women, these men and for their children to come back safely. Then can we can have a children’s day that is Happy!

For now, there is really nothing happy about today.

{ Stella Damasus Speaks on Abducted Nigerian Girls #BringBackOurGirls: }

Friday 9 May 2014

Happy Birthday Mummy!

The woman who gave birth to my humble self. She is a strong and brave woman who has been there for me through thick and thin, she is my hero. No one can ever really understand what she has done for me and who she has been to me. She is more than a mother, she is my best friend and number one fan. I can't thank her enough for the love, support and friendship she has given me even when I know I didn't deserve it. God bless you now and always mummy and I know that daddy is in heaven smiling down at you and thanking you for all you have continued to do for us.  Happy birthday "FINE GAL".

Monday 5 May 2014

Keep your children safe!

"Warning to all parents with children that have any electronic devices, eg. Ipod, Tablets,phones etc. There is an app called Talking Angela. This app asks kids personal questions like their names, where they go to school and also takes pictures of their faces by pushing a heart on the bottom left corner of the device without any notices this information can then be used for kidnapping and child pornography. Please check all children's devices to make sure they don't have this app and also talk to them about the dangers of it. Please pass this to family,friends and other Parents.
Important Message for every girl who goes to college or office alone. If you find any child crying on the road showing his/her address and asking you to take him/her to that address, take that child to the police station and please don't take them to that address. It is a way of gangs to steal, rape & kidnap girls. Please Forward it all. Our message may save a girl."

I saw this in my mail and as usual I got worried and started doing research on it. Some people believe this is really a big issue especially in America, while some say it's a hoax, just the way some people are saying that the over 200 girls that were abducted by the Boko Haram group is a hoax.

As far as I am concerned, anything at all that can make my children give out personal information to an app is not safe. We have all fallen for a lot of internet scams and traps without even realizing it.  Too much information is required for you to download things or join something.

I personally believe that whether you think talking Angela is a hoax or not, you still need to have that conversation with your children who have their own electronic devices.

A lot of people thought I was too old fashioned and uninformed when I spoke about my children and social media in an episode of "Stella Damasus diaries" on YouTube. They said I was being too strict with my children but I didn't mind the criticisms at all. However, I stood my ground and made my children understand why. Let me do what I think is right for my own children and you deal with yours. It will not stop me from sharing tips and ideas on what has worked for me so far, so that those who find them useful can use it to help themselves and their children.

I still believe that your children who are not mature enough should not be exposed to social media. Even when they have their own devices you have to know what apps they have in them, I try to learn about every app on my children's phones and even know how they work. I ask them questions everyday and get them to teach me what they know. The best way to get around this is by making them believe that they are teaching you something you don't know, that way they are comfortable enough to share with you. It's also a great way to spend time together and bond.

Sometimes we feel these things cannot happen to our children because of the way we have raised them, but the truth is that no matter how honest, well behaved and good your children are, they can innocently fall into a trap by thinking they are playing  a game from an app their friends told them about.

There is an app for everything in the world you can think of and we all believe these things are created to help make life easier. I am not saying that it is not true, I am just saying that we depend on these things so much that we even trust them to help our children solve their problems because we are too busy to give them attention.

Please do not allow the internet replace you as parents,
Do not allow the internet be the only teacher your children know at home,
Do not allow the internet become their best friend and confidant,
Do not allow the internet build their minds and turn them into things that we cannot handle when they become teenagers,
Do not allow the internet take over your home.
Pay attention to what your children are doing, the kind of games they are playing, the kind of apps they are downloading, the kind of songs and videos they are interested in and the kind of searches they go into everyday.
They are worth the time and trouble.

{ Stella Damasus Speaks on Abducted Nigerian Girls : }

It's not who people say you are, it's who God says you are.

Thursday 3 April 2014

Current Happenings on the Tobacco Control Bill

A major deficit to the regulation of tobacco in Nigeria is the inefficiency or lack of legislation. Different bills have been raised in both the Senate and the House of Representatives but unfortunately, they have not been successfully passed into law. There are currently two tobacco bills waiting to be enacted; a 2012 bill sponsored in the Senate by Senator Ifeanyi Okowa and a more recent 2013 bill raised in the House of Representatives, sponsored by Hon. Yacoob Bush-Alebiosu.

However, at the 6th session of the National Assembly which lasted between 2007 to 2011, the National Tobacco Control Bill, was formally presented & finally approved by the Senate for passage at its seating on Tuesday March 15th 2011. This happened twenty five (25) months after its initial presentation to the Senate and was a monumental victory for Nigerians, both young and old, especially minors, public health, tobacco control in Nigeria and for the Coalition Against Tobacco (CAT), which was instrumental to the initiation, creation, drafting, lobbying and followed through this bill from the various plenary sessions debating the bill to the public hearing and eventual approval for passage by both the upper & lower chambers of the National Assembly (NA).

CAT’s January 2008 Abuja inauguration, served as the platform for Dr. Aliyu Modibbo Umar (then Minister of the FCT) to announce the declaration making the FCT smoke-free, effective June 2008.  He at the event also sought the support and cooperation of the legislative arm of government, which was represented at the event by Senator Mamora (Sponsor of the tobacco bill and current Deputy Chief whip of the Senate) to enact and push for an effective bill regulating the tobacco industry’s’ excesses. Senator Mamora gave his assurances for the expedient passage of the bill, which we are today celebrating. The Bill’s essential components include:
A  National Tobacco Control (TC) Committee to guide implementation and future TC policies;
A comprehensive ban of smoking in public places;
Clearly visible tax stamps on cigarette packs;
A ban on sales to minors and by minors;
Prohibition of the sale of cigarettes that are not packaged – but the bill doesn’t specify the number per pack;
A comprehensive ban on advertising, sponsorship and promotion, including by mail, testimonials, brand stretching, indirect advertising, etc;
Health warnings covering 50 percent of the display area of tobacco packages, with the Minister of Health empowered to prescribe pictures or pictogram;
Enforcement provisions to ensure that the law is effectively implemented.
Unfortunately the journey was truncated, as our bill-making process requires action both from the National Assembly (NA) first in discussing and passing a bill. And thereafter, the executive arm of government i.e. the President fulfills its part by giving assent to the bill passed by the NA for such to become law in the land. Because we did not cross these two hurdles back in 2011, we are at the starting blocks AGAIN on a journey to a tobacco control bill before the current NA session ends in 2015.

Knowing previous work that has gone into this without crossing the finishing line and sustained efforts since 2012, this time, the goal is to ensure BOTH legislative & executive arms of government do their part and fulfill their given roles as custodians of the people's mandate who work for a safe environment for all Nigerians.

Therefore, we are mobilizing efforts and intensifying our drive in the attainment of a smoke-free Nigeria NOW. Towards the end of April 2014, the House of Representatives will call for a public hearing to discuss the current bill before it and we URGE you to ATTEND as well as PARTICIPATE in these process by giving feedback directly to your representative and/or also lending your VOICE as YOU join us in the TC RADIO CAMPAIGN and INVITE your FRIENDS & FAMILY to do the same by subscribing via sms. Text (TC Name Email Location Message) to 39405 as together we can make the change we desire.

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Friday 7 February 2014

Jide's SHS Story

Jide is working for a leading consultancy in Lagos with great prospects for career progression. Infact, Mr. B, his boss has taken him under his wings and is determined to help him become the best he can be. Jide is happy to work for such a seasoned professional and looks back at the days when after NYSC, job hunting took him to the nooks & corners of the city seeking the golden fleece. He is thankful for the opportunity and knows it is a dream come true. That is why he will not allow anything including ill health stop him from giving his best as he cannot afford to disappoint his benefactor. He would have to literally be unable to move before he misses one day of work as he not only loves his job and has without fail showed up daily for the past five years.

Now, Jide is getting married to his lady, Edidong who he met two years back in the course of one of their work at a client site. Content he has made the right choice, he is looking forward to their wedding scheduled for March 2014. On a bright & sunny day, Jide wakes up and cannot get out of bed. He wonders what's happening since he was perfectly fine though come to think of it, has been experiencing some intermittent chest pains for a while now. Since his office also provided good health cover, he decided to do a quick check thinking it will be just a visit only to hear Dr. Emeka say he is to be admitted for close monitoring.

Two days after, Dr. Emeka comes into Jide's private room paid for by the office and he wears a sad look. Jide assumes it must be some other case of his that is bogging him since he is expecting the good doctor to say 'you have been discharged'. Edidong is by his bedside too and they both looking expectantly, wait for the Dr. Emeka to speak. Clearing his throat, he begins to ask a series of routine questions like do you smoke?, do you drink alcohol?, when was your last HIV test? Jide is getting upset with the line of questions and snaps 'Doc, you've got my medical history so why all these questions?.' Dr Emeka gazes at him and after an uncomfortable silence says 'I don't want to shock you but you have got cancer of the lungs'.

What! Jide exclaims. That is impossible. Turning to Edidong, he seeks clarification. How can this be? Dr. Emeka speaks further the further tests I ordered two days ago just can in and this is the prognosis. Now, we have to decide on a course of action. Jide not willing to let matters slide states to the good doctor, there must be an error with the result. Dr. Emeka with a sober countenance says he had the lab doing the test thrice.
Edidong speaks for the first time to Dr. Emeka 'Are you sure, doctor?' What is the cause of this? Smoking came the reply. Now, Jide is baffled. I have never smoked once in the my life so, there must be a mistake here. Surely, there is a mix-up somewhere.

Speaking further, Dr. Emeka replies if you don't smoke, do you have people around you either now or in the past who do regularly? Jide is quick to answer NO! then he pauses deep in thought. For you see, his beloved mentor, Mr. B is a die-hard smoker and cannot be separated from his cigarettes. What about his dad who while he loved dearly till he died but was also addicted to smoking. Surely, they were the ones smoking & not him so what is the connection? SHS came the doctor's reply.

Quite a number of us are aware of the dangers of smoking on our body but few of us know of the extended impact smoking carries through SHS on people who are not smokers but are exposed to cigarette smoke and thus, inhale it as other folks around them puff away either in the workplace, at home, in school or elsewhere.

So, you see, while smoking is a lifestyle choice. One person's choice has been proven to no longer affect just him/her as when it comes to smoking, the field of influence is anybody & everybody around the smoking zone.

Therefore, it is critical that you & I support the Tobacco Control cause that has implications for all of us. Lets take a big step towards preserving the lives of Nigerian citizens TODAY  as we urge the National assembly to follow suit by assenting to the pending National Tobacco (Control) Bill passed since 2011.

Join us in making this strong appeal for the National Assembly to pass this bill, follow us on twitter, add your voice by visiting our facebook page, like our post, drop your comments and share widely with others. Together we can make the change that we all desire.

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Jide's SHS story is a fictitous human angle story. All characters are creation's of the author entirely and bear no semblance to known persons.

Monday 3 February 2014

The problem called "Pride"

I was looking at my Instagram a few days ago and I saw an ad for the 15th Annual NFL Super Bowl Gospel Celebration at the Madison Square Garden Theatre and for some reason I just had this persistent urge to get the tickets and go.  As many of you may know, I am really not an event or concert kind of person. I would rather just be at home with my children, but this time it was different. I was not sure if it was because some of my favourite gospel musicians were going to perform or just because I had not been out in a while.
Long story short I got the tickets, went for it and believe me, that was one of the best decisions of my life because at that concert I saw something that I know would change my life forever. What good will it be if i keep it to myself and not share with other people that may need to hear this message to make a change in their life for the better.

When I got into the venue I was really excited. The thought of watching Grammy Award-Winning Musical Artists Patti Labelle, Mary Mary, Natalie Grant, Tamela Mann, Donnie McClurkin and NFL Players both active and retired, The NFL Players Choir, Celebrity Guests; made me feel like a 7 year old boy whose parents had promised him they would get him as many action figures as he wants from Toys ‘r’ Us. I was elated both before the show and even more after.

Tamela Mann
All the artists performances were amazing and so overwhelming but in the midst of all the fun, laughter and worship, I  witnessed humility at its peak more than once.
From my seat I could see Donnie, Tamela and all the other celebrity guests seated in front. I also spotted Reverend Jesse Jackson; for those of you that may not know him please google him. He’s an American Civil Rights activist and a Baptist Minister. He is highly respected in America as he falls into the rank of Martin Luther King Jnr and other notable civil rights activists.

Now after the introduction I just gave and for those of you that googled him and read up on his life and things he has done, you
Rev. Jesse Jackson 
may expect me to say things like he sat there with an entourage of security, didn’t clap or move once for any of the performers or even acknowledge the presence of another person in the room but YOU ARE WRONG! Rev. Jesse Jackson showed me the true meaning of humility. Twice during the show he stood up from his seat, walked up to the front row to greet some of the performers. The first time he walked up to Donnie McCklurkin, shook his hand and they exchanged pleasantries and he left. The second time was after Candace who won the last American idol finished performing with Patti Labelle . He walked up to her, took her hand and kissed it then they talked for a bit and he left. He got up again to hug three people in the second row whom I am sure he didn't know that well.

I was stunned to say the least. Of all the people I have met and interacted with in this world (and trust me they are a lot), there are just about 3 people I have met that I have seen display such humility and one of them is Tuface Idibia.
As humble as I like to think I am, I doubt that my humility measures up to that which Rev Jesse Jackson showed at the concert.

Maddison Square Garden
After the amazing and uplifting concert, I couldn’t help but only ponder on what I saw. It got me thinking that when I get to that level in life, would I be that humble? So I asked myself "even with the little God has given me now, have I been as humble as He expects me to be?"

Many of us like to think that we are very humble people but the truth is that true humility can only be tested when a person is placed at a certain level in life. When you have endless riches, power, fame, blessings, everything! That's when you can truly  determine how humble you are.
Another thing that crossed my mind was, "could we still be where we are simply because God sees that if he puts us at that place we all want to be that we would loose our humility?"

As much as we like to deny it, we all have a bit of pride in us. Its as simple as you seeing someone who you had a problem with a while ago and when you see them you turn your head and act like you didn't even know they were there;  just because you are too proud to walk up to them and say hello and try to work out the issue. Even the simple statements we make “Why I should I be the first one to make a move", "I am older so she should apologize first," " If I get up and go to her, people will see her as the bigger star",  "Do you even know who I am”?  Pride.
Sometimes I imagine God watching us make such statements and wondering “Hmm, I haven’t even given you half of what I have in store for you and yet you speak this way, I wonder what will happen when I release it all to you”

Is it possible that because God sees we are not ready for all he has prepared for us thats why we are still where we are?
Its very important that we think about this deeply.

Think back to all those proud statements you’ve made and all the things you’ve done out of pride then think about where it is you want to be in life and see how pride is stopping you from unlocking all those dreams and aspirations.

As the popular saying goes “Pride comes before a fall” so permit me to be creative and say “Humility comes before a rise"