Pray everywhere

Hello…

I can talk to my wife over the phone, or along the aisle in the grocery store but I definitely need other special times where we sit side by side without distraction and talk. That is what it means to be in a relationship.

God is every where and is ready to lend an ear to anyone who cares to talk. We can talk to God every where and every time, but we need special time when we can focus one-on-one on him.

Pray where you are. But set aside some special time too for you and God.

P.s. I am not married.

Cheers,
Toluwanimi

#Praywithoutseason

Happiness (snippets)

Today, I share a line that is similar to the crux of my new book, Donut.

We all have a longing in life. We all wake up to a new day, wishing that yesterday was better than the terrible day it was. Maybe a colleague got on your nerves, your child threw a tantrum on the store, you heard that you would need to resit that exam, or your parent or loved one took ill or died.

Even pleasant experiences of yesterday fuels something in us in the New day- a resolve to go through the day again, perhaps, a hope that it will be good or better this time. So we peel the covers to face the sunrise rather than end it all in the basement.

Sadly, we face the day to chase education, reputation, career, health, salary, business, wealth and all sorts of other things- hoping that they will fill our heart with something significant. More frequently, we hit roadblocks, frustration and disappointment, even at our peak.

People chase a lot of things, but what they truly want and need is happiness. There is only little a higher figure on pay stub or a fatter bill folder can achieve. It, at best, gives a transient feeling that ends when there is a greater expenditure.

Happiness is found in fitting a square peg in a square hole.

Happiness is found in seeking the purpose for which we are created.

Happiness is what drives a wealthy American businessman when he goes on a short summer mission trip to Seirra Leone, returns to the USA, but feels his heart still beating for the poverty stricken, epidemic plagued people of the African country. He is no longer the same until he frequently finds his way back to Africa. He found happiness in putting smiles on the face of the Orphans and less privileged.

Happiness is implicated when a man leaves his lucrative carrer for a creative career which pays less, but puts more meaning in people’s lives.

Happiness is when a boy or girl finds Christ and stick to him through her youthful years, living the adventure only a heir can enjoy.

We all could use happiness. We all must find it. Or else…

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Happiness is found in finding GOD and His purpose for our lives, and pursuing its fulfillment with a fervour that can only come from a heart consumed by love.

“Matthew 6:33”

Are you truly happy?

Cheers,
Toluwanimi

P.S. Can you share with me what changes you made in your life in the past that has shown you what happiness truly is?

Time flies

Hello,

Today is March 1.

Just like that?
Few days ago, I was planning for 2015 and trusting that the new year will harbinger greater things for me. I secretly wished that time would go slower too…

I had a plan. I had hopes for the new year. There were things to tick in my to-do list. Projects to execute…

As I planned, January crept up on me… and left so quickly. Then February too.

Before I could count the 28 days, February flew away.

Now it’s March.

As time flies, all I can hear is a whisper, “seize the day.”

Ephesians 5:15-17

Happy New Month, friends!

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Cheers,
Toluwanimi

The Wednesday Boy

Hello friends,

Here is a play ode I wrote as I prepared for school this morning. Thank God for smartphones – I do not have to sit at my computer desk to type.

Kindly read, laugh, pray as you oblige me.

THE WEDNESDAY BOY

It was a Wednesday, when that baby cried. The travails of nine months brought to fruition was worth rejoicing. An addition was made that cool afternoon, when the midwives sighed and family rejoiced. And the world has never remained the same. It wasn’t a perfect start to life, but it has been a worthwhile adventure.

He was a hairy and a sweet little thing. Growing in the hand of caring parents Like a budding flower, he brought new petals daily. Though wild was the world out there, the hedge kept the wolves out.

Every detail of his life up to this point has culminated to form a many-sided story of grace… because he chose the Father!

And it’s just the beginning.

Unlike some who sit and await calls and texts and then vex when their expectations are not met, I know that the volume of the calls and texts I get are not an indication of people’s affection for me.

I just kinda know those who truly care, even if they do not reach me on my birthday.

I know you care

Rather than bone or brood, I appreciate God, and everyone who has been a part of me up to this point. God put you there, and you did your part. Thank you!

For my love for poetry and prose, I carefully perused every message I have received so far – I saw a reflection of intelligence, poetical inspiration and earnest desires that can only come from children of the Father!

Thank you all!

My prayer is more of all what God’s doing in my life and yours too!

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This year, I will continue to connect, learn, grow, shine.

This is my story, because it’s my birthday.

P.s: The title has no esoteric meaning. I was born on Wednesday.
The beautiful day goes on.

Cheers,
Toluwanimi

Nigeria

Hello.

I was conversing with a friend of mine from New Jersey (thanks to whatsapp), talking about “Donut,” purpose and creativity and it was a very refreshing discussion (thanks, B!). Soon, Nigeria came up in our discussion. And we did talk about our motherland (or father’s).

Maybe you think I want to talk about politics. No. This isn’t about politics.

Maybe you think I want tell of all that’s wrong with the country and come in to save the day with my God-inspired solutions. No. This isn’t about my ideas.

Quite on the contrary.

I regularly see cluster of friends heatedly debate the issues in Nigeria especially at this critical peri-election period. My room has been a venue for a couple of them, when normal friendly visits turn to debates, though I do not usually participate. I marvel at the intelligence and foresight with which they discuss he issues and gawk at the passion to which they verbally assault each other in the name of defending one candidate or the other.

Well, we all feel we have to say something… but isn’t always therapeutic.

My friend and I agreed that Nigeria needs divine intervention.

Every sector is practically broken, its really hard to understand how it will ever be fixed. I don’t just try to think about it. There literarily is no man that can truly fix that (this) country – Its an impossible job.

That’s why we divine intervention from above!

Since God says nothing will be impossible, I just believe and pray.

Call me crazy or deluded. It’s my candid opinion.

While it seems that hope is lost, I still believe God CAN raise up someone who can fix this nation, like he did with the judges whenever Israel cried up to God.

When they suffered so much that they cried to God”

I think we are good at adapting to negativity. We talk about it for a while, and then we adjust. We pray for a while, and then we get used to it.

We then endure each tenure as hope for something better.

I am guilty too.

Sometimes, we think we can whitewash a candidate and hope he does good. No. It hasn’t worked. Maybe it will tomorrow.

Really, do we think it will work? This is my opinion: the body of Christ has broken to play in the nation’s progress.

All Israel needed to do was to get really fed up and cry up. I think we can begin to get fed up with the status quo.

Let’s start thinking about it, and rouse God’s hand to raise our Othniels and Gideons.

God bless Nigeria.

P.s. Donut Core Campaign Boot Camp has started. Pick a day to pray for us.

Yours,
Toluwanimi

Reading Culture

Hello,

I remember when I was in primary school, I had to beg for books to read from rich friends in my class – all the Enid Blyton books; famous five, secret seven, R.L. Stines, Goosebumps – all the local books too [Tunde on the run, Eze goes to school etc.]. I scoured the library for the encyclopaedias and practically consumed every book that passed in front of my nose.

I remember when I was in secondary school; the wife of the then state governor invited us for a reading programme. We were encouraged to read because “Readers are Leaders.”

I read and read and read and it really paid off. Reading taught me proper diction, comprehension, vocabulary and grammar in my formative years, it gave me knowledge of the world out there even when my parents kept us at home. It exposed me to broad and sharp ways of thinking outside the box, and helped me weigh matters more objectively. Reading made me fearless in class and before my examiners. Reading has formed me greatly, no doubt about that.

Last year, I made a summer trip to Texas, US, and from the day I met my cousins, they all had books in hand, and the first place we visited after my arrival was the library! They picked 20 books [comics included]! No wonder their minds are sharp. They think wide and broad – they are star bound!

Something must be done about the reading culture of Nigerian young people. We do not read! Simple as that. From the word go, parents have not persuaded their children to read. They have not encouraged them with book gifts. It is not doing good!

Ask a Nigerian schoolchild to tell you about meteors or asteroids or types of snakes or the currency/independence history in Nigeria. He probably does not know. Alternatively, he will tell you he has not been taught in class.

I remember the after exam periods, instead of playing rough and getting injured, I move to the library and read – of the first woman to fly over the English Channel, of Dinosaurs etc.

In the absence of real experiences, books suffice [I knew about differing time zones, planes and cloud types before I actually saw them in reality].

It even affects the spiritual: young people now know next to nothing about God’s word. They do not even know the number of books in the Bible and their classifications. They do not know the commonest Bible stories of all time. They cannot even open the Bible without looking at the table of content.

However, I am looking forward to a great change with the release of my book, Donut, and to see to it that teenagers READ the book! There is a great transformation awaiting them within the pages of the book.

Let there be a revival of the reading culture.

Cheers,

Toluwanimi

P.S: Sign up to be a part of the Campaign Team. Email joshuababarinde@gmail.com and we will send you a form.

Christmas Day

Yesterday, I wrote about the journey to Bethlehem – how it would have been on that first eve.

But, that was not all. Today, I tell you about the first “Christmas.”

Enjoy.  This is a long post, but it’s worth the read.

Arrival in Bethlehem brought worry and upset: there was no room for them to stay at the hotel. There was only space in the stable – the animal house for travellers’ donkeys and horses.

 Away in the manger, no crib for a bed.

The little Lord Jesus lay down His sweet head…

Something amazing happened that night.

Jesus was born that night, and unlike many of us, there was no bed for him. They used an animal feeding box filled with the dry grass the animals ate.

Christmas cards and pictures today make it all seem very nice. In truth, it must have been dirty and frightening for a young couple, far from their home and families. Possibly the birth was premature after the stress of the journey.

This was a very poor place for Jesus to start his life on earth.

In a little town of Bethlehem, the saviour of the earth was born. He didn’t descend from the skies in purple robes, a crown on His head and a host of angels.

He did not drop off the cloud armed with swords and spears with a wicked grin on his face.

He was born. In a stable.

The Israelites thought he would deliver them from the physical oppression of the Romans. Jesus gives more. LIFE – He came to give the whole world peace with their God.

Sadly, many didn’t understand.

Christians believe that it was exactly God’s plan that things happened this way. They say that it shows that Jesus came as a humble, poor person and not as a strong, rich king.

Five hundred years before, the prophet Micah had said,

“But you Bethlehem, though you are small, out of you will come for me, one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”

The prophet Isaiah had written,

“A child is born to us! A son is given to us! And he will be our ruler. He will be called, “Wonderful Counsellor,” “Mighty God,” “Eternal Father,” “Prince of Peace.” His royal power will continue to grow; his kingdom will always be at peace…

He will rule as King David’s successor, basing his power on right and justice, from now until the end of time.”

 

These are only two of many prophetic words that told of the birth and life of Jesus, written hundreds of years before His birth.

At that time, sheep farmers were seen by other people as low and of no value. Yet it was to these shepherds that the birth of Jesus was first announced in an amazing dramatic way: “That night there were some men looking after sheep in the fields nearby. Suddenly they saw a great light. It was an angel, who said,

‘Don’t be afraid. I have good news for you, and for all people. Someone great has been born today. He is Christ, the great King you have been waiting for. He will save you from all that is wrong and evil. You will find him dressed in baby clothes, lying on a bed of dry grass.'”

After Jesus was born, wise men came to look for Him, from an area which is now in either Iran or Saudi Arabia. Although they are often called the “Three Kings”, the Bible does not say how many there were, or that they were kings. Three is only a guess because they brought with them three gifts.

They were certainly men of learning – probably today we would call them philosophers or scientists. They had seen an unusual new star in the sky, and knew that it told of the birth of a special king. (The star they saw was probably a exploding “supernova” and is known from astronomical records.) They followed the direction of the star and eventually found the place where Mary, Joseph and Jesus were staying.

To bring honour to the child, they brought rich gifts: gold, frankincense (a resin which burns with a beautiful smell), and myrrh (plant oil with a very strong sweet smell). These gifts tell us in pictures three key things about Jesus:

Gold: a gift fit for a King

Frankincense: burnt in worship of God

Myrrh: a sign of mortal human-ness – it was used to bury the dead

 

 

After Jesus was born, a band of scholars arrived in Jerusalem from the East. They asked around, “Where can we find and pay homage to the newborn King of the Jews? We observed a star in the eastern sky that signaled his birth. We’re on pilgrimage to worship him.” When word of their inquiry got to Herod, king of that territory, he was terrified–and not Herod alone, but most of Jerusalem as well.

He lost no time, but gathered all the high priests and religion scholars in the city together and found out where the Messiah was supposed to be born?”

They told him, “Bethlehem, Judah territory. The prophet Micah wrote it plainly.

Herod then arranged a secret meeting with the scholars from the East. Pretending to be as devout as they were, he got them to tell him exactly when the birth-announcement star appeared. Then he told them the prophecy about Bethlehem, and said, “Go find this child. Leave no stone unturned. As soon as you find him, send word and I’ll join you at once in your worship.”

Instructed by the king, they set off. Then the star appeared again, the same star they had seen in the eastern skies. It led them on until it hovered over the place of the child.

They could hardly contain themselves: They were in the right place! They had arrived at the right time!  They entered the house and saw the child in the arms of Mary, his mother. Overcome, they kneeled and worshiped him. Then they opened their luggage and presented gifts: gold, frankincense, myrrh.

In a dream, they were warned not to report back to Herod. So they worked out another route, left the territory without being seen, and returned to their own country.

After the scholars were gone, God’s angel showed up again in Joseph’s dream and commanded, “Get up. Take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt. Stay until further notice. Herod is on the hunt for this child, and wants to kill him.”

Joseph obeyed. He got up, took the child and his mother under cover of darkness. They were out of town and well on their way by daylight. They lived in Egypt until Herod’s death. This Egyptian exile fulfilled what Hosea had preached: “I called my son out of Egypt.”

Herod, when he realized that the scholars had tricked him, flew into a rage. He commanded the murder of every little boy two years old and under who lived in Bethlehem and its surrounding hills. (He determined that age from information he’d gotten from the scholars.)

“But how did it end?”

Christmas is about Christ, nothing else.

Jesus came to earth, and then we can’t stop talking about him. Whether you love him, hate him or are indifferent, you can’t stop thinking about Him. No other person has had such an influence on human lives as Jesus.

He was born. To die.

We celebrate Jesus Christ who laid aside His majesty in heaven, gave up everything for us, suffered in the hands of those He created. He took all our guilt and shame, when he died and rose again. Now today He reigns and is over heaven and earth exalted. Because He did all what God asked him to do, we celebrate Him.

A sad story took place to produce the joyful glory we celebrate at Christmas. So dark was the time when He bore the sins of all man – mine and yours – to produce the brightness of God in us.

Because the work of Christ on the cross is perfected in my life, I can celebrate Christmas. I’m saved, so I can appreciate what He has done for me. I can use this season to deepen my walk with him.

But if you have not come to acknowledge Christ’s sacrifice, Christmas will not make much sense to you. You will just eat, be filled and tag along with those who are celebrating. Take a moment to think: Why should I celebrate Christmas? If Christ’s work is not perfected in my life, it’s no use celebrating.

You can as well buy a cat or something.

But I tell you, it’ll be the greatest decision of your life to allow the work of Christ be perfected in you. The world is lost in sin and is fast spiraling into doom and all in it. Religion does not save. Only Christ does. He rescues us from the evil one and secures our place in eternity with God. He stretches out his hands to you this Christmas.

The Bible says He came back to life again, and millions say they know Him today as a saviour, friend and helper in their lives.

Rather than toss out this material, you can find out more about Him. Is He who He claimed to be? Can He help us in our lives today?

You have nothing to lose by just finding out!

Even if you do not celebrate Christmas, this is time to, at least, stop and think about these important questions.

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From me, it’s Merry Christmas,

Toluwanimi

Christmas Eve

christmas

In the last post on this Christmas series, I wrote about Mary, the lady who said “yes” to God. She exemplified what it means to say Yes – to trust God and take a step in the direction of purpose despite the odds.

Today is Christmas Eve. The day before Christmas.

Most homes of people who celebrate Christmas will be bustling with last minute preparation activities by now. To many, the significance of Christmas lies in the lights, decorations, harmattan’s chilled winds, food and gifts. It’s a beautiful sight.

But have you stopped to consider the first Christmas? It couldn’t have been interesting like it is now. Imagine we’re playing real time: What do you think will be happening to Mary and Joseph, Jesus’ parents now?

They must have heard the instruction to go to their hometown for the census. It would not be too convenient for them, bearing it in mind that Mary was about due. But a law must be obeyed, so they had to travel uphill about 6-8 miles from Nazareth, Galilee to Bethlehem, Judea most likely on a donkey. How nice that journey would be! I can imagine a pregnant woman rocking for more than two hours in the cold!

Let’s do some quick arithmetic:

A mile is equivalent to 1.6 kilometers and it takes an adult about 12 minutes to walk a kilometer. So it takes roughly 2 hours 33 minutes to travel 8 miles (12.8 km).

Not a long journey, you say. But think of the stress a 2 and a half hour walk will have on a pregnant woman with an EDD (expected day of delivery) tomorrow! Maybe she was not walking… but a smooth 2 and half hour drive in a car is not the same as Mary rocking on an uneven road on a donkey. It’s not a funny experience.

Have you ridden a horse before? Smooth ride? Hardly. Especially for a pregnant woman. Thank God she counted it a privilege.

It’s 11:30pm – maybe they are almost reaching Bethlehem. No. They would have gotten to Bethlehem by now and heard the worst news of the century: there is no room in the inn!

So they are probably looking for a place to stay. They’ve just walked past a stable when Mary grabs her husband’s tunic and begins to cry “Joseph, Joseph I think the baby’s coming. I’m having contractions now…”

Looking right and spotting a stable at a distance, Joseph shrugs and says, “We’ve got no choice Marie…”

So tomorrow, the Saviour of the world will be born and laid in a MANGER (animal’s feeding trough!), wrapped in swaddling clothes.

Jesus Christ was born into harsh conditions, and this would just begin his journey of obedience which will stretch all the way to the cross.

For you and me.

Back to AD 2014, December 24.

He’s done it. He’s paid the price – gone to the cross and come back with victory: LIFE. That’s why we celebrate Him.

His pain brought Joy to the world. He gives eternal life and peace with God to as many as will accept His offer of life and put their trust in Him. Soon, He’ll come, this time in Glory, to take us with him to meet God in our new home.

Is His Joy active in your heart? Or will you wait till it’s too late? As you celebrate, remember the celebrant.

Tomorrow is the d-day! So, it’s Merry Christmas from me.

Toluwanimi

P.S.: Donut, my new book, is out and was released sunday [21st December 2014] in a programme held at the Alexander Brown Hall of the prestigious University College Hospital, Ibadan. Details of the distribution campaign will come shortly, and pictures of the launch event!

New post on “I ate my Donut” blog

Hello,

In sharing this article from the blog of my new book, Donut. You can visit the blog here

Since the book, Donut, was released last week, I have received encouraging comments from people who have read it during the previous edits. The hard copy came out pretty fine.

Its matte laminated cover with spot and raise has flaps on either side. the clear colour illustrations came out well on the glossy paper and the prints were fine. those who have handled it say it’s “quality.” I thank God for that, and I know that the best is yet to come. Thank you all!

As I said earlier, EatyourDonut will feature details of the launch and distribution of the book to young people that are already anticipating it. It’s an online community for the young people who will “Eat their Donut” and step into fullness. It will feature forum-starter discussion topics, comments, feedback from readers, news about the distribution tours/campaigns, testimonies and upcoming plans/follow-up strategies.

So, first, the book will be formally launched on Sunday, 21st December 2014 at the Alexander Brown Hall of the prestigious University College Hospital, Ibadan. It will be a closed-event where stakeholders of the project will appreciate God for the publishing of the book and commission the project for the “field”.

donutlaunchIV

Updates and pictures of the event will be put up as soon as they are ready. Kindly pray along.

Cheers,

Toluwanimi

 

Christmas: an introduction

It was a night before Christmas.

Clara stood in the rain. She watched as the old woman made her way to the limo, a helper hoisting an umbrella over her as she cuddled two brown shopping bags.

Lights were up in many buildings. Shoppers rang bells for Christmas sales. Adults and children jostled and shoved around her as the busy street bustle with activity.

“Move!” The honk of the horn ricked her back to the present. She skipped away from the middle of the road as the driver spewed curses at her as he zoomed off.

Clara knew what awaited her at the house. And she was not disappointed. She had hoped that Christmas would be different. That maybe mama would love her more.. or at least pay attention to her for once. Maybe take her out to buy a new dress. But in the last few days leading up to Christmas eve, mama seemed to run on a bad temper.

She unlocked the front door and flipped the switch. The lights were out.

Using the light from her phone, she made her way to the centre table. Mama left a note on the table.

Dinner in warmer. Out on night shift. Mama.

She sighed as she crumpled the brown paper and tossed into a nearby trash can.

As always, she would be alone and there would be  no special times or gifts this year. Without family and friends, the house would be boring.

No love, no hope. And it was Christmas.

******

As Theresa stepped into the Limo, she looked through the window at the little girl that seemed to lock gazes with her. She looked so innocent, so free. She must be happy this Christmas.

If Sarah were alive, she would have been just a bit older. Well, if she had lived, she would have named her Sarah.

But she had spent her hey days living in the spotlights of Nollywood. If only she knew that she had one chance at conception. She would not have sacrificed Sarah to the Women’s clinic when she felt she was too happy to have a child.

Matthew’s pleas had fallen on deaf ears. Now, he was gone. No offspring. No love.

Christmas was bland now. If only her life could revert to the Christmas before she signed up for acting school. She would make better decisions.

If only.

******

Ismail pulled into the driveway, thoughts far from the present. Last Christmas was a swell time at the club. Her boss had promised to pay – this night would be fun too.

As soon as removed the key from the ignition, Farida came to mind. And the accident last year… He pictured the disappointment in his wife’s face when he walked into the hospital lobby that night, alcohol and vomitus staining his shit after the call, and couldn’t produce money for the hospital bills.

“Nothing would happen.” He consoled himself. It was Christmas anyway.

christmas

Christmas: what it is today.

In many countries of the world, the celebration of Christmas on December 25th is a high point of the year.

From November onwards, it is impossible to forget that Christmas is coming. Coloured lights decorate many town centres and shops, along with shiny decorations, and artificial snow painted on shop windows. In streets and shops, ‘Christmas trees’ (real or plastic evergreen ‘conifer’ trees) will also be decorated with lights and Christmas ornaments.

Shopping centres become busier as December approaches and often stay open till late. Shopping centre speaker systems will play Christmas ‘carols’ – the traditional Christmas Christian songs, and groups of people will often sing carols on the streets to raise money for charity. Most places of work will hold a short Christmas party about a week before Christmas. Although traditional Christmas foods may be eaten, drink (and plenty of it) means that little work will be done after the party!

By mid-December, most homes will also be decorated with Christmas trees, coloured lights and paper or plastic decorations around the rooms.

In many countries, most people give Christmas greeting cards to their friends and family, and these cards will be hung on the walls of their homes.

Today, not many people consider the religious meaning to Christmas. Most people will not go to a church meeting, even at Christmas. It has become a busy race to spend money on presents, and get ready for the Day. Shops stay open till late Christmas Eve and often open again on Boxing Day with the cut-price ‘sales’ (not much holiday for the poor shop workers!) A visitor from another world would think that Christmas was a festival to the gods of money and shopping.

The real meaning of Christmas is often forgotten. It has become a non-religious holiday! More children believe in Father Christmas than in Jesus. Christmas Day is a time for eating and drinking too much and watching television.

Many people are trying to take out the main reason why the holiday Christmas is celebrated. It’s like a party that the celebrant is left out.

Would you like that done to you?

A party is no party if the celebrant is left out of it.

But truth is…

Many people do hope for more than presents at Christmas. We want to somehow return to a time in our childhood (or some other good time in the past), when life was simpler and made more sense, before the troubles of adult life arrived. We feel sure that behind all the fun and decorations, there must somehow be a message, something more, some key to life, hope and happiness.

So can we look beyond the way Christmas is celebrated today, and find any real meaning, any message for our lives today?

The significant events that have shaped history and changed people have become mere traditions today. Well, looking closely at them, we can learn much from them. They could actually trace us back to the real meaning of Christmas.

Maybe we should look back at Christ’s birth and see what we can learn.

This is the purpose of the “Season of Hope” Christmas Blog series I will be hosting in the next few weeks of Christmas till the end of the year. Please follow this blog so that you will get fresh updates in your inbox. Make comments and glean one or two significant lessons for your life.

Till I post the new article,

CIAO,

Toluwanimi

 

P.S.: Donut is ready. Learn more here