Friday, December 31, 2010


Wishing all a happy new year.  
You are blessed and every family represented.
Have a memorable 2011.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


"I am your Creator.  You were in my care even before you were born."  Isaiah 44:2
"God does not play dice."  Albert Einstein

You are not an accident. 
Your birth was no mistake or mishap, and your life is no fluke of nature.  Your parents may not have planned you, but God did.  He was not surprised by your birth.  In fact, he expected it.

Long before you were conceived by your parents, you were conceived in the mind of God.  He thought of you first.  It is not fate, nor chance, nor luck, nor coincidence that you are breathing at this very moment.  You are alive because God wanted to create you!

God prescribed every single detail of your body.  He deliberately chose your race, the colour of your skin, your hair, and every other feature.  He custom-made your body just the way he wanted it.  He also determined the natural talents you would process and the uniqueness of your personality.

Because God made you for a reason, he also decided when you would be born and how long you would live.  He planned the days of your life in advance, choosing the exact time of your birth and death.

God also planned where you would be born and where you would live for his purpose.  Your race and nationality are no accident.  God left no detail to chance.  He planned it all for his purpose.  Nothing in your life is arbitrary.  It is all for a purpose.

While there are illegitimate parents, there are no illegitimate children.  Many children are unplanned by their parents, but they are not unplanned by God.  God's purpose took into account human error, and even sin.

God never does anything accidentally, and he never makes mistakes.  He has a reason for everything he creates.  Every plant and every animal was planned by God, and every person was designed with a purpose in mind.

This poem by Russell Kelfer sums it up:

You are who you are for a reason.
You are part of an intricate plan.
You are a precious and perfect unique design,
Called God's special woman or man.

You look like you look for a reason.
Our God made no mistake.
He knit you together within the womb,
You are just what he wanted to make.

The parents you had were the ones he chose,
And no matter how you may feel,
They were custom-designed with God's plan in mind,
And they bear the Master's seal.

No, that trauma you faced was not easy.
And God wept that it hurt you so;
But it was allowed to shape your heart
So that into his likeness you would grow.

You are who you are for a reason,
You have been formed by the Master's rod.
You are who you are, beloved,
Because there is a God!

Adapted from the book 'The Purpose Driven Life' by Rick Warren

Friday, December 24, 2010


Heart attacks do not always strike out of the blue -- there are many symptoms we can watch for in the days and weeks leading up to an attack. But the symptoms may not be the ones we expect. And they can be different in men and women, and different still in older adults.
Do not let that happen to you.  Here, 10 heart symptoms you are likely to ignore and should not.
1. Indigestion or nausea
One of the most oft-overlooked signs of a heart attack is nausea and stomach pain. Symptoms can range from mild indigestion to severe nausea, cramping, and vomiting. Others experience a cramping-style ache in the upper belly. Women and adults over age 60 are more likely to experience this symptom and not recognize it as tied to cardiac health.
Most cases of stomach ache and nausea are not caused by a heart attack, of course. But watch out for this sign by becoming familiar with your own digestive habits; pay attention when anything seems out of the ordinary, particularly if it comes on suddenly and you have not been exposed to stomach flu and have not eaten anything out of the ordinary.
2. Jaw, ear, neck, or shoulder pain
A sharp pain and numbness in the chest, shoulder, and arm is an indicator of heart attack, but many people do not experience heart attack pain this way at all. Instead, they may feel pain in the neck or shoulder area, or it may feel like it is running along the jaw and up by the ear.
A telltale sign: The pain comes and goes, rather than persisting unrelieved, as a pulled muscle would. This can make the pain both easy to overlook and difficult to pinpoint. You may notice pain in your neck one day, none the next day, then after that it might have moved to your ear and jaw. If you notice pain that seems to move or radiate upwards and out, this is important to bring to your doctor’s attention.
3. Sexual dysfunction
Having trouble achieving or keeping erections is common in men with coronary artery disease, but they may not make the connection. Just as arteries around the heart can narrow and harden, so can those that supply the penis -- and because those arteries are smaller, they may show damage sooner.
4. Exhaustion or fatigue
A sense of crushing fatigue that lasts for several days is another sign of heart trouble that is all too often overlooked or explained away. Women, in particular, often look back after a heart attack and mention this symptom.
The key here is that the fatigue is unusually strong -- not the kind of tiredness you can power through but the kind that lays you flat out in bed. If you are normally a fairly energetic person and suddenly feel sidelined by fatigue, a call to your doctor is in order.
5. Breathlessness and dizziness
When your heart is not getting enough blood, it is not getting enough oxygen. And when there is not enough oxygen circulating in your blood, the result is feeling unable to draw a deep, satisfying breath -- the same feeling you get when you are at high elevation. Additional symptoms can be light-headedness and dizziness. But sadly, people do not attribute this symptom to heart disease, because they associate breathing with the lungs, not the heart.
6. Leg swelling or pain
When the heart muscle is not functioning properly, waste products are not carried away from tissues by the blood, and the result can be edema or swelling caused by fluid retention. Edema usually starts in the feet, ankles, and legs because they are furthest from the heart, where circulation is poorer. In addition, when tissues do not get enough blood, it can lead to a painful condition called ischemia. Bring swelling and pain to the attention of your doctor.
7. Sleeplessness, insomnia, and anxiety
This is an odd one doctors cannot yet explain. Those who had heart attacks often remember experiencing a sudden, unexplained inability to fall asleep or stay asleep during the month or weeks before their heart attack. (Note: If you already experience insomnia regularly, this symptom can be hard to distinguish.)
8. Flu-like symptoms
Clammy, sweaty skin, along with feeling light-headed, fatigued, and weak, leads some people to believe they are coming down with the flu when, in fact, they are having a heart attack. Even the feeling of heaviness or pressure in the chest -- typical of some people's experience in a heart attack -- may be confused with having a chest cold or the flu.
If you experience severe flu-like symptoms that do not quite add up to the flu (no high temperature, for example), call your doctor or advice nurse to talk it over. Watch out also for persistent wheezing or chronic coughing that does not resolve itself; that can be a sign of heart disease, experts say. Patients sometimes attribute these symptoms to a cold or flu, asthma, or lung disease when what is happening is that poor circulation is causing fluid to accumulate in the lungs.
9. Rapid-fire pulse or heart rate
One little-known symptom that sometimes predates a heart attack is known as ventricular tachycardia, more commonly described as rapid and irregular pulse and heart rate. During these episodes, which come on suddenly, you feel as if your heart is beating very fast and hard, like you just ran up a hill -- except you did not. It can last just a few seconds or longer; if longer, you may also notice dizziness and weakness.
10. You just do not feel like yourself
Heart attacks in older adults (especially those in their 80s and beyond, or in those who have dementia or multiple health conditions), can mimic many other conditions. But an overall theme heard from those whose loved ones suffered heart attacks is that in the days leading up to and after a cardiac event, they "just didn't seem like themselves."
A good rule of thumb, experts say, is to watch for clusters of symptoms that come on all at once and are not typical of your normal experience. For example, a normally alert, energetic person suddenly begins to have muddled thinking, memory loss, deep fatigue, and a sense of being "out of it." The underlying cause could be something as simple as a urinary tract infection, but it could also be a heart attack. If your body is doing unusual things and you just do not feel "right," do not wait. See a doctor and ask for a thorough work-up.
And if you have any risk factors for cardiac disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, or family history of heart disease, make sure the doctor knows about those issues, too.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


The harmattan is a dry and dusty West African trade wind. It blows south from the Sahara into the gulf of Guinea between the end of November and the middle of March. It is usually characterized by a cold, dry, dusty wind in the evenings until the early hours of the morning. When the harmattan blows hard the heavy amount of dust in the air can severely limit visibility and even block out the sun, comparable to a heavy fog.

The harmattan has various effects on our health: The skin, eyes and respiratory tract which are directly exposed to the atmosphere are most vulnerable to the effects of this weather. The Skin is usually dry with accompanying cracking of lips, soles of the feet and sometimes the skin itself. The eyes are directly exposed to the harsh weather especially the dust particles carried by the winds. Thus itching, foreign body sensations and redness may be common especially in those with allergic eye diseases.

The respiratory system because of its direct communication with the atmosphere is also often affected. The respiratory system has a natural defence system which is easily overwhelmed by the high concentration of dust pollutants in the air. The resultant effect is damage to the respiratory system predisposing to infections. Excessive sneezing, cough and catarrh are some of the symptoms that result from these infections. Also the harmattan is not a good season for people with existing respiratory conditions like asthma as the cold dusty weather tends to aggravate this condition. Also it is worthy of note that the epidemics of meningitis usually experienced between February and May in the Northern part of Nigeria is an aftermath of the harmattan.

The harmattan dry, cold and dusty winds also trigger sickle cell crisis in those that are affected by the disease. Finally there is also an increase in the incidence of cases of diarrhea diseases and food borne illnesses due to the dust that settles on foods that are not properly stored or washed before consumption.

How to protect ourselves during the harmattan

·        The skin can be kept healthy by application of oily creams and weather friendly clothing. Lip balms or the application of Vaseline to the soles of the feet will prevent them from cracking.
·        Wearing warm clothes will keep us warm and protect us from the severe cold.
·        Proper eye hygiene by rinsing with clean water and reducing the exposure to the dust by wearing protective spectacles is advised.
·        Asthma patients or those with chronic respiratory conditions should pay special attention to their health and take all possible and practicable measures to reduce exposure to the dusty atmosphere and they should carry their inhalers with them at all times.
·        Sicklers should be vigilant and keep warm as much as possible to prevent crisis.
·        Due to the dusty atmosphere we should imbibe a healthy food preservation culture. Fruits and vegetables should be properly washed before eating and those of us that store our drinking water should always ensure that the containers are always adequately covered.
·        We can also keep our homes warm but please be careful as this is also the season when we have the most fire accidents. All fires should not be left unattended and we should avoid indiscriminate burning of refuse during this season.

Wishing all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Monday, December 20, 2010


 “Decisions shape your destiny”

All the decisions you have made throughout your life have brought you to where you are today. That is powerful, when you think about it.  In other words you manage your life by the decisions you make.

If you let others make decisions for you, then you are giving them the key to your destiny.  That key is yours!  You were born with it.  It is your way to take charge and take control.

You are responsible for your life and you need to be in the driver’s seat, especially when it comes to the decisions that affect your future.  So, look to yourself first.  Look to others for guidance, but ultimately there is no one better than you to decide what is best for your life journey.


Many people make resolutions on New Year’s Day, promising themselves (and sometimes God) that the next year of life will be different.  We determine that habits are going to be changed and new patterns of behaviour developed.

Resolutions like these are highly commendable and can often serve as a stimulus to spiritual growth.  But not always.  Sometimes, our resolutions are carried out only for a little while and all too soon are forgotten. 

It is good to engage now and then in self-examination.  We should face up to the changes that need to be made, and then make plans for how we are going to implement them.  For example, if we realize that our devotional habits are weak and inconsistent, let us resolve to spend some time daily in focused fellowship with God.  Let us ask the Spirit to help us in this consistent practice through all our tomorrows.  Today is a good day to start.

In Nehemiah 10, God’s people made an oath, vowing to follow all the commands, laws and regulations of the Lord.  This oath was so serious that they were willing to accept the curse of God if they failed to keep these commands.

Our resolutions need not be as serious as that.  But any resolution to follow God is not a casual promise.  Rather, it is a solemn and serious declaration that – with the help of the Holy Spirit – we can renew everyday. 

There is nothing more certain in our lives than change. Yet many of us fear change and make elaborate plans to avoid it. We fear the new and find comfort in the stability of the known and familiar.

But to grow, you need to not only accept change, but to embrace it, joyfully. Think of a flowing stream as representing your life. In some places it flows smoothly, with barely a ripple as it travels on its journey. At other places along the way, obstacles create great turbulence; the water roars and thunders as it crashes through gorges and down steep falls.
These represent both the easy and difficult times your experience.  

Yet, a stream may have a place where the water becomes banked up, stagnant, unhealthy. Here, nothing thrives and nothing changes.  Welcome the rushing waters of change into your life, for change means growth, spiritual health and self-realization. Embrace each new direction you encounter with courage and enthusiasm. It is the key to a happier you.

You will go forth a little stronger with a fresh supply of grace, if each day you meet the Saviour in a secret, quiet place.

God speaks to those who take time to listen, and He listens to those who take time to pray.

Act on your Resolutions!

Sunday, December 12, 2010


As a child, one of my favorite past times was skipping stones across the surface of a river.  Inevitably, ripples would flow from the impact of the stone.

It is like that with choices.  Every choice we make creates a ripple effect on our lives as well as on the lives of others.  The choices we have made throughout life determine where we are and what we are becoming.

Choices are also telling.  What we really want, love, and think show up in the choices we make.

Excellent choices are the proof of a life that is deeply committed and have the ripple effect of filling our lives.

As a friend of mine wisely told me, our lives are not made by the dreams we dream but by the choices we make.  Let us make excellent ones!

Make an excellent choice and watch the ripple effect of blessing.

                    Do a deed of simple kindness,
                    Though its end you may not see;
                    It may reach, like widening ripples,
                    Down a long eternity.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Healthy eating means eating a variety of foods that give you the nutrients you need to maintain your health; feel good and have energy. A balanced diet is a diet that contains carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and fibre in the right proportions.
Benefits of a Healthy Diet include:

Weight Loss

One of the main reasons for being overweight is a poor diet. Eating healthy will lead to a natural reduction of weight; since fast foods, animal fats and sugary foods, will most likely be eliminated (or at least reduced) in the diet. Also, eating healthy will lead to slow and steady weight loss in overweight individuals. People who eat healthy foods rarely need to go on a diet and can enjoy their favourite treats once in a while, without repercussions.

More Energy
A poor diet often leads to fatigue. Those who abuse carbohydrates, for example, will find that they need to keep consuming them in order to get over a mid-afternoon slump. On the other hand, eating a balanced diet can keep the muscles in top shape, allowing for longer workouts, better concentration and a general "alive" feeling. Eating unhealthy food forces the body to work harder to digest food, resulting in a loss of energy.

Disease Prevention
Healthy eating has the major advantage of helping prevent a myriad of diseases. Heart disease is mostly diet-related, so changing the way you eat will lead to lower blood pressure, less cholesterol and more efficient heart pumping. A healthy diet will also reduce the load on the digestive systems, lowering the chances for liver problems and kidney disease. Diabetes is also closely related to diet, and can both be prevented and treated with a change in eating habits.

Better Skin
A healthy diet is full of vitamins, minerals and nutrients that will naturally clean toxins out of the body, and help slow down the aging process. As a result, wrinkles are less obvious, cellulite disappears, and skin is smoother. While exercise also plays an important part in the look and feel of the skin, it all starts with consuming more natural and less processed foods, as well as avoiding meals with high sugar and fat content.

Better Sleep
Sleep is directly affected by the way you eat, how much and when. Heavy foods, as well as those loaded with sugars, can lead to insomnia, uneven sleep (waking up throughout the night), and even sleep apnoea (inability to breath during sleep) in the case of severely overweight people. Eating smaller portions throughout the day, and staying away from heavy, high-fat foods will reduce the load of the digestive system, the heart and the lungs, allowing a more restful, deeper sleep.

Healthy Eating Tips
  • Avoid processed foods as much as possible as they are deficient in the nutrients that are naturally abundant in fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Reduce your intake of red meat, white meat like fish and chicken (with skin removed) are healthier alternatives.
  • Avoid carbonated and other sweetened soft drinks as they are loaded with sugar and preservatives.
  • Reduce your alcohol intake.
  • Reduce your salt intake and avoid the habit of adding table salt to your already cooked meals. A high salt intake can contribute to the development of hypertension.
  • Avoid fried foods and if you must fry your foods ensure you use healthy cooking oils like olive oil, canola oil and sunflower seed oil. Though they are more expensive they are less likely to increase blood cholesterol levels.
  • Wheat bread and bran products are good substitutes for white bread and other baked meals. They contain probiotics which means they have natural antibiotic properties. They also reduce blood cholesterol levels and help prevent stroke.
  • Try to incorporate at least two servings of fruits and vegetables into your meals daily. Remember the saying that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Apples contain flavinoids and polyphenols (both powerful antioxidants) that help the body to fight diseases. Regular intake can also help lower cholesterol and prevent skin diseases.
  • Drink at least 2 litres (approximately 8 glasses) of water daily because a sufficient daily water intake helps to combat dehydration which saps energy, causes fatigue and reduces concentration.
Most importantly always remember that moderation is the key especially as we enter into this festive season where we will be tempted with all kinds of “goodies”. Eating well does not translate to eating right.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


What is a Urinary Tract Infection?

A urinary tract infection is an infection of the urinary tract and is commonly referred to as a toilet infection. Women are at greater risk of developing a urinary tract infection than men but it does occur frequently in men too. Urinary tract infections are also very common in children, the elderly and those with abnormalities of the urinary tract. A urinary tract infection limited to your bladder can be painful and annoying. However, serious consequences can occur if a urinary tract infection spreads to your kidneys.

Symptoms may include:

Urinary tract infections do not always cause signs and symptoms, but when they do they can include:

  • A strong, persistent urge to urinate.
  • A burning sensation when urinating.
  • Passing frequent, small amounts of urine.
  • Urine that appears cloudy.
  • Urine that appears bright pink or coca-cola colored — a sign of blood in the urine.
  • Strong-smelling or Foul smelling urine.
  • Pelvic pain, in women.
  • Rectal pain, in men.
  • Upper back and side (flank) pain.
  • High Fever.
  • Shaking and chills.
  • Vomiting.
  • Confusion and irrational behaviour in the elderly.
Urinary tract infections typically occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract through the urethra and begin to multiply in the bladder. Although the urinary system is designed to keep out such microscopic invaders, the defences sometimes fail. When that happens, bacteria may take hold and grow into a full-blown infection in the urinary tract.
·         You can take steps to reduce your chance of getting a urinary tract infection.
·         Drink plenty of fluids to allow for frequent urination to flush the bacteria from the bladder. Non sugary fluids like water are advised as sugar will only help the bacteria to flourish.
·         Drinking cranberry juice has been found to prevent urinary tract infections
·         If you do not urinate for a long period of time, the bacteria have time to multiply. Frequent urinating may reduce the risk in those who are prone to urinary tract infection so avoid holding-in urine for long periods of time.
·         When changing your baby’s diaper always remember to wipe from front to back to prevent introduction of bacteria from the anal canal.
·         Always keep your toilets clean.
·         Personal hygiene is the most important factor in preventing a urinary tract infection, so always remember this the next time you need to use a public rest room.
See your doctor when you have any of the symptoms listed above as this may suggest that you have 
contracted a urinary tract infection.
Antibiotics are the typical treatment for a urinary tract infection and your doctor will prescribe the 
antibiotics best suited to cure the specific type of urinary tract infection you may have.