#SWChristmasCampaign – “Christmas is a reminder that even if I don’t get the new clothes…there is one person whose love is still ever sure.” Olamide Aturu

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Time gives us a new meaning of life and for Olamide Aturu, Christmas that used to mean wearing new clothes and eating mummy’s sweet fried rice now means sleeping without having to mind the alarm clock! She took us back to our childhood and then brought us back to reality in a second!

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Christmas for me used to be that time when you get to wear new clothes and new shoes.

When Mummy’s rice and chicken had that extra sweetness you couldn’t understand.

When staying up late was acceptable. When you get to watch home-alone with all those cousins you have not seen throughout the year.

When you break your “kolo”(piggy bank) so you can play that balloon game and buy knockouts and disco lights…

Fast forward to twenty years later.

Christmas is that public holiday when I get to sleep and not think of the alarm clock.

When I do not have to worry about Lagos traffic and stress. When I get to eat what I want, when I want it..

Christmas is a reminder that even if I don’t get the new clothes or get to taste Mummy’s special rice and chicken…there is one person whose love is still ever sure and He is the reason for the season.

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About Olamide

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Olamide Aturu is a part shrink, part HR practitioner and whole writer. She loves writing, reading, acting and talking. She is passionate about writing almost as much as she is passionate about reading good books. She has a blog where she occasionally puts down her thoughts and reflections on almost everything. She hopes to delve into creative writing and content writing fully.

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Master how to promote your blog on Instagram with these additional tips

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Last week we started a series about the best way to promote your blog on InstagramToday we have even more useful tips. So for those people who used last week’s tips, this is a follow up.

One thing that every blogger must do on Instagram is to engage with people. Whether they are bloggers, readers or brands.  Don’t just dump images on Instagram and run off. It will not help you build your readers/ followers. 

You should also leave a comment on other bloggers’ images, and reply to comments that people leave on your posts.  There is now a feature on Instagram which helps you like comments on your page. Use it.

Collaborate 

There are many bloggers and companies that will be willing to team up with you for giveaways or to promote your blog content.

Find them.  Collaboration adds spice to your blog/ and Instagram account. This is especially important in growing your blog followership.

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Be yourself 

This is super important, especially now when most people are trying to portray themselves in a certain way just to get likes and  followers.

Your Instagram followers will love you for who you are. There’s no need to pretend.

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#SWChristmasCampaign – “Christmas means undiluted time with my mummy and my sisters and I don’t take it for granted. ” Adedotun Adejoorin

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This entry by Adedotun is thought-provoking and it evokes all sorts of deep emotions. Christmas is truly a special season for all. Enjoy her entry.

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Just like the past four years have been, I’m sitting here, writing this post, wondering what this year’s Christmas would be like.

Would it be a little off like the last four Christmases where everything looked like it needed you to be complete?

Will this year’s Christmas morning feel like all other mornings where I would wake up and still wish everything was a dream and I’d see your very happy face wishing my sisters and I Merry Christmas.

Or would I have to go to places, I’d rather not go to avoid remembering what we’ve lost?

You know, there are times it’s wise to reflect because it helps you appreciate what you would originally consider unimportant.

My Daddy used to be the centre of Christmas for me and my family; I think he received a special directive from God to make sure every year was special. Hehehe. He would take us out this year, impose a family photo shoot the next year or make compulsory ‘Chinese egg’ , I still don’t know why he thought eggs, tomatoes and sardine was Chinese.

I used to think he was over doing it sef.

But I don’t think I ever took any of those things seriously. I just felt it was the norm. Everybody should have this kinda Christmas right?

December 25, 2012, was different.  It was the first Christmas without daddy and nothing seemed right.

Nobody at home was excited; there was nothing to ginger us. Christmas was bland. I don’t even think we cooked anything that year, there was no point.

A Good Samaritan remembered us and decided to take my mum and my sisters out, I was thrilled, and it looked like something was finally going right that day but it didn’t quite work out.

In the end it seemed like it would have been better if we even stayed at home.

The past few years have also been a bit off, with each one having something to remind me of my dad and the fun Christmases he used to give us.

Knowing that that time of the year can never be the same as when he was here, Christmas became something equally as special but different.

Christmas to me is a time to be grateful for the joys, sad moments experiences and people in our lives. It should be filled with appreciation for the opportunity to end another year. It is a time to give back for all we’ve received.

Christmas is a time to make beautiful memories. It means undiluted time with my mummy and my sisters and I don’t take it for granted.

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About Adedotun Adejoorin

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Adedotun Adejoorin is a  writer, content creator, personal development blogger and budding communications expert. Her work has been featured on Jabulani Space, The Beautified Network, The W community amongst others.

#SWChristmasCampaign – “Christmas is the day I remember the birth of love personified, Jesus Christ.” Ikponmwen Orobosa

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Despite the euphoria that surrounds the season, Ikponmwen Orobosa has discovered and celebrates the true reason for the season. You’ll love her entry.

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Christmas means a lot of things to different people; it’s the crisp sweet scent, the weather that turns my lips and legs white even after using the strongest lotion that morning. It’s been the food, oh the wonderful Christmas meals, all the events happening around the world, the Christmas themed songs, the carols, the colours and street decor, the time spent with family,  all these and more do happen when December 25th draws close.

After all that, deep within all the euphoria of the 25th, lies the very reason why I’ll always love that day. It’s the day I remember the birth of love personified, Jesus Christ.

I’ll imagine I was right there on my own donkey riding along side Mary and Joseph. We’ll go around knocking on the doors of inns and motels, but we’ll get a ‘no’ each time. Mary’s birth pangs will come faster, the king was coming. We’ll ride and ride, an army of thousands of angels on every side, and find a manger.

“Just one more push Mary…”, I’ll say, cheering her on as I eagerly wait beside her, Joseph praying silently, angels as her midwives.

Finally, the cry of The King is heard, my lord is come.

Tears of joy stream down Mary and Joseph’s face. I look around me and find the horses in the manger bowing to their maker, the stars outside twinkling ever brightly, the wise men fall on their faces with their gifts before the Promised One, the hosts of angels sing songs of rejoicing as they worship their master. The awe of His presence fill my being, tears of joy, admiration, reverence, I could only totally bow and kneel before the awesome might and love of my saviour, before the grace of God.

There’s a feast in heaven, Jesus is born!

About Ikponmwen Orobosa

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Stage name; Creator’s Pen

Occupation: writer/blogger

Nationality: Nigeria

#WriterSpotlight – “Spread your wings little butterfly. The journey won’t be easy but it will be worth it.” Ajibike Oyindamola

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Hello Sparkle Writers! It’s another Thursday and we are super excited to bring another inspiring writer. Today’s guest is Oyindamola and although she’s a student who just started taking writing seriously in 2015, she has achieved a lot.

Enjoy her interview with us!

Hello Oyindamola. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?

Hi. I’m Ajibike Oyindamola Oluwadamilola. Born in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria. I’m an undergraduate of Computer Science at the University of Ibadan. I’m a writer and poet. I like to think of myself as a storyteller.

How did your journey as a writer begin?

Right from a young age I was a livid reader and in junior class I had random notes of short stories but I didn’t take writing seriously till 2015. A couple of events happened in my life and it got to a point I couldn’t talk to anyone about them because I felt they’d be tired of listening. So writing became an avenue to pour out my thoughts and feelings. At first, I kept my work to myself but later decided to share on a blog and then social media.

What do you love most about writing?

Everything. Putting together words to form something beautiful. It’s a great medium to voice out my opinions, thoughts and feelings. It gives me joy when people can relate and find comfort in my words.

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You love to write poetry. When you want to write a poem, where do you find inspiration?

I get inspiration from life, whatever is happening to or around me at the particular moment.

Do you agree that poetry can be therapeutic?

Yes, I do. It has been quite therapeutic for me. It relieves stress, feels like lifting a burden off the shoulders. Like springing forth from a slumber.

What brings you the greatest fulfillment as a writer?

Hmm that’s a tough one. I’d say appreciation from other writers and people but sometimes they can’t exactly relate to what I’m writing about. So my greatest fulfillment would be getting together that perfect piece that portrays what I want it to.

There are people who believe that writing can never be financially rewarding. What are your thoughts about this?

This is untrue. The book world and publishing industry is one that never stops booming. We have different awards that comes with writing and some of these can be financially rewarding. Writing as a job could be financially rewarding. We have writers that have or contribute on websites and those who publish their own books. There are different writers that have best selling books and others. This is financially profitable. Although we have so many writers out there at this moment, determination they say is the key to any craft.

Do you think you will ever retire from writing?

I doubt it. It has become a part of me. Could a thirsty person reach the source of water and turn back? I’d write till the soul is taken from me.

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Aside from writing, what are your other hobbies?

I’m into photography and blogging. My photography outfit is Playground Media (@d_playground) and I blog at lifeofdammy.com

Any advice for upcoming writers and poets?

Spread your wings little butterfly. The journey won’t be easy but it will be worth it. Be original and patient. The best pieces don’t come from the spur of a moment. It might be difficult putting yourself out there at first but gradually you’d let go and write all you want. Write, write and write and then write some more. Also try and meet with other writers. Some can be a good influence on you. Attend workshops, source for educative materials and just be you.

 

#SWChristmasCampaign – “Christmas is a season of life where we can all find light.” Opeyemi Oduyemi

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Christmas has a new meaning for Opeyemi and she shares it with us in her entry. We absolutely love it.

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I deliberately decided to look the other way when I first saw the Sparkle Writers’ Hub Christmas Campaign sometime on Instagram particularly because it piqued me to want to answer and well, for me, there was not much to talk about. I kept telling myself, “Just look the other way, Opeyemi. Form – Not – Seeing.” But I couldn’t rid myself of the spark it’d ignited and WordPress and Instagram just never failed to deliver how beautiful folks perceive Christmas, so I am giving in.

The thing is, I wasn’t afraid because I’ve got nothing to say about Christmas – no – it is because the things I’d really like to say about Christmas were never real to me until much later. I’d like to talk about the celebration, the candles and the Christmas songs, the awesome carols, new outfits, hairstyles…movies to see and places to visit. I’d like to talk about the peace that Christmas brings, and the hope of seeing a brand new year pretty soon.

The joy of Christmas was the joy of a new dress and plenty of chicken and my usual Christmas hairstyle – Shabba. Christmas was like any other day that is in between school holidays save for new chicken,  outfits and Shabba.

My first perception of Christmas is simple: schools are closed for the year and mother buys two new clothes for us children. I always got a dress, a pair of trousers – knickerbocker pants or crazy jeans – and a top (and a jacket sometimes) to go with it. I remember the dress my mother bought for Christmas the year I turned seven. It was baby pink, with lilac gathers; was blown from waist down like Cinderella’s. Oh, that dress! It fitted just fine. I loved to tie my belt the butterfly style.

We children stayed at home on Christmas and neighbours bring interesting delicacies. You can’t blame us though, we just didn’t regard Christmas in our Muslim home. My parents always had the maids watch over us because they didn’t want us to have friends. What they didn’t know was that the moment they were gone, we all disappeared and returned early enough for them to meet us at home. What could I have done? I had to flaunt my new dress to my friends in the neighbourhood.  If mother returned early, I’d be taken to a photo shop just opposite my street to take a shot or two. Then we go to the beach the next day.

As we grew older, the clothes and my beautiful Shabba stopped but the good old chicken tradition never did. But I got to understand Christmas a lot better. Now I know the reason behind all the beautiful things I wanted to talk about. And that’s why I appreciate Christmas more than ever.

Christmas is more than the vacations, lights, songs, new dresses and Shabba. It is a season of life where we can all find light.

Merry Christmas in advance.
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About Opeyemi

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Opeyemi Oduyemi is the founder of Hopyrane. She works as a Contact Centre Teamlead at Contact Solutions Limited, Ilupeju, Lagos. She is inspired to gear creative people towards perfection and sharpen their works through words.

#WordOfTheDay – You can guess what this word means

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Hello Sparkle Writers, welcome to another #WordOfTheDay series.

Before we start we want to use this quote by Evelyn Waugh to remind you of why learning new words is so important to writers.

“One forgets words as one forgets names. One’s vocabulary needs constant fertilizing or it will die.” 

Now back to today’s word. We think you should be able to decode the meaning from just looking at the word,

Today’s word is Eternize. /ɪˈtəːnʌɪz,iː-/.

The meaning is simple. Eternize is a verb which means to make eternal or to cause to last forever. It can also mean to immortalize.

Look at this example;

Naming the university after my dad will be a great way to eternize him. 

Now can you make your own sentences with this word?

Try it and let’s see how it goes!

 

#SWChristmasCampaign – “Christmas to me is letting that weird festive feeling get hold of me.” John Chinedu

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Yuletide [Christmas] to me is waking up to a foggy clime, feeling the brass monkey weather caressing my light skin. Waking up to the sounds of twittering birds, from a tree with shrunken leaves due to the dust and dry weather on Christmas.

Applying local Vaseline as lip gloss on my lips to avoid getting it shriveled. Waking up to chores like chasing after a fat-feathery roosters- to be slaughtered and broiled on the eve of Christmas (my favourite). Have a warm shower, dressed up in fancy red fluffy-sweater embroidered with a clear words: “Christmas to y’all.” Going out on a brisked walk with my siblings.

Christmas to me is family reunion, having the “whole house” gathered around an-old-oak table covered in red velvet table top, Eating every piece of chicken your hands could lay on. Jokes shared by my great uncle, making Christmas enjoyable.

Christmas to me is having a bird’s eye view of the city, light up in beautiful rainbow colors or having a play of lustrous colours from lighted coloured bulbs. Streets light up with banners, scribbled on them were Christmas well-wishes. Receiving season’s greetings/ Christmas cards from friends and relatives.

Although, Christmas is a nine-day wonder; still everyone knows how to get involved in their own special ways. Giving out wrapped presents to friends and family, eating junk food and getting fed fat.

Christmas to me is letting that weird festive feeling get hold of me. Christmas to me is having lot of time to study and get prepared for the next year, although; it sounds weird but trust me it works. The feeling of being happy and excited about a new beginning is overwhelming. Being the first to hand out your over-sized clothe to the needy or hand out a nice pair of shoes to a friend.

Christmas enlightened us with the truth – He died for us and with that assurance that He’s coming back to have us eat in a larger banquet decorated with gold, sapphires, rubies and precious stones.

…feeling the vibe and energy that comes with Christmas. Waking up to thoughts, Santa Claus stopped by with a package situated at the center of your large parlour. Christmas to me in summary is dancing to the blaring music from the sound speaker.

About John Chinedu

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John Chinedu is an aspiring writer, poet and a doctor. John prefers going with the pseudonym John Flicks. In his free time, John loves writing, reading and singing. John Chinedu lives in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State.

#SWChristmasCampaign – “Everyday is life but Christmas day is both the combination of light and life.” Ihesiaba Reward

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Christmas never really meant much to me as a kid except of course just knowing it’s the supposed celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It’s pretty ironic since it’s widely believed that children own “Christmas”. I think it pretty went on like this till “Dec 26th-28th, 2012”.

Although my little family comprises of six, my extended family is quite a very huge one, and in 2012, there was a lot of get-togethers and meet & greets and hanging out with the extended family than I expected. In 2012, there was a whole lot of building up of memories I never really had as a child. There was a great show of love.

2012 changed my perception of Christmas. Christmas is about love and hope and family. Everyday is life but Christmas day is both the combination of light and life. I know this is true because I see and experience it each Christmas day for the past four years now.

Maybe it didn’t start being that way only in 2012, but that’s when I started to see it and feel it strongly and deeply. I am usually sad and depressed most of the time and really, writing curtails that, but I noticed, above everything else, Christmas provides a huge distraction for me from all those things which keeps me forever thankful and grateful. Christmas is not everything really; Christmas is “something” that is “Everything” in every way. To me, it is peace.

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In the long run, the feeling of Christmas has come with different feelings: love, trust, hope, peace,and sometimes, the dreary feeling, “void”…that comes when I realise a member of the family will be away for Christmas.

I’m really thankful for Christmas day and above all, it has taught me the Importance of two different things; “Family and Light”. Knowing that families are eternal is WONDERFUL and knowing that the light of Jesus Christ has come forth to shine and never be dimmed, is GLORIOUS.

#SWChristmasCampaign – “Christmas is like a moon in the dark clouds reminding me that there’s always hope.” Jolaade Philips

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From not believing that there was anything special about Christmas, to discovering the hidden treasure in the season, Jolaade Philips’ entry will definitely tug at the strings of your heart. Thank you for sharing Jolaade!

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I didn’t grow up thinking Christmas was a religious thing, I assumed it was some sort of day other than your birthday where you get to eat anything you want, wear new clothes and not permitted to be sad.

Christmas I’d say to me is a day not just of love but it’s expression. No matter how crappy the year has been, when it’s Christmas you tend to put it all behind you at least for that day. Christmas is like a moon in the dark clouds reminding me that no matter how dark the day is, there’s always hope.

Christmas is an eye opener and confirmation to the fact that life can be lived with less hate and more love. For me it’s the day I get to put smiles on the faces of people by sharing food, drinks, jokes and sometimes these people are total strangers.

It’s a day where you get to see that every man has a bit of joy waiting to be expressed and the homeless man down the street stands up and dances with the richest man in the hood. Christmas is a reminder that every man has an intrinsic worth because everyone is treated specially and given what he desires.

Jolaade Phillips

It was on a Christmas Day that my dad spoke to me his last words. He said “Son, I’ll be back I promise.” I didn’t understand until he passed away after four months and he never came back. Every Christmas Day, I remember his last words and I feel his presence and then I understood his promise. He’ll be back like Christmas, reminding me that he never left.

If everyday was Christmas, the world would be a better place.