Seeing past me

Why did they have to ask me? This isn’t my role? Isn’t there other people that could help?

These are all questions I found myself along myself over the past week. Outwardly I joke about being ‘the fixer’ while inside, I’m a ball of anger. The best kind too … Justified.

While off-putting, I know I’m not alone. We are all combating selfishness on a daily basis.

Where we know it or not, the over powering message played out in our community is YOU deserve more. Not that we want more (even though we do) but that you deserve it.

Worse still, the messages are accompanied by an offer of more and how YOU can get YOURS.

So as I battle selfishness in my own life, I reflect on these great words…

Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.

Which path will you choose?

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Stand or fall

It’s been three weeks months (and a few edits) since I heard the words. The fact I’m still mulling over them in my mind is evidence of they’re impact.

If you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything

It got me thinking – what do I stand for in life? Sure, this blog is all about finding my way through life, discovering truth along the way but I’ve come to believe that isn’t enough. I have no idea where this leaves me but standing at the kitchen bench hearing the wind rummage quickly through branches outside like a young boy desperately searching for his favourite matchbox car…I’m excited.

This particular matchbox isn’t the flashiest of his vast collection or the the most expensive model. It’s a beat up Chevrolet with a slightly loose front left wheel and scratches across the roof. It’s the car I found at the park, half buried under the bark.

It’s the car I gave a second chance.

Like you, I’ve made mistakes in my life. It is likely that scholars (or people who can write at an ‘above average’ level) will tell you I’ve made mistakes in this post. Who knows, making these thoughts public could be a fault in it’s own. But I know I’ll get a second chance in the form of grace.

Second chances; when push comes to shove, I pray I’m willing to fall.

Until then; at home, in public and in my chosen field of work, I’ll always give second chances.

Bloody biscuits

They’re walking the streets, they’re all over the TV and littered throughout my social feeds. With needles hanging from their arms like a badges of honour and biscuit crumbs spread across their proud smile … I’m sick of blood donors.

I can’t put my finger on it exactly but I know it has a lot to do with the whole I gave blood, I’m a hero mentality. If not this it’s the you should give too, they give you a biscuit statement.

Celebrating an anniversary, my wife and I saw The Martian last night and the pre movie advertising was dominated by a Red Cross ad overflowing with celebrity chefs raving excessively about the biscuit given post blood donation. The audience ate it up, people turned and commented whispering to each other the time and date if their next donation. Me, on the other hand, I clutched gently at my forearm and asked why?

Why discriminate? Why don’t you want me? Why must you rub it in my face? Why won’t you accept my blood?

This distaste hasn’t mustered overnight though has been a slow burning fire. It began with a letter.

Dear Luke,
Thank you for your donation … We regret to inform you that your blood is useless, you wasted your time and ours*.
*an exaggerated version of the original

I’d lived in England for twelve months in 1989/90, that was enough to discount the blood, that seems to be doing an OK  job of keeping me alive, from being donated. This is really why I’m sick of those needle and crumb decorated hero’s.

I’m jealous. I’m hurt. I have blood.

I’ve read the t&c’s and researched the reasons but I’d really like a mad cows screening test. If you can’t do that Red Cross, at least acknowledge it in your advertising – as sad as it is, we can’t all be heroes.

If you’ve been told your blood isn’t worthy join the conversation on Twitter with #TakeMyBlood

She painted over the blessings

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The sun was hot, not unbearably though, just enough to feel uncomfortable. The concrete I was kneeling on was hard against my knees and the end of her weapon dragged slowly across my face.

If was four year old daughter wasn’t smiling while painting my face, I would have said I had it pretty tough.

I often tell my children to look around and to be thankful for what they have (this advice usually follows biscuit rejection tears or the like) but how often so I do this myself? Yes, there are moments like seeing my daughter smile while covering my face in glittered purple paint but that thought pattern was dominated by grumblings.

We’re blind to all that’s been given to us. By human nature we recall a negative experience seven times more than a positive one but surely we can do better. I’m nothing short of impressed when I kind blind myself to such blessing.

If you’re breathing while you read this, you have cause to be thankful. If you’re not breathing, get yourself to a hospital as soon as you can.

Love yourself and you’ll find you’re not alone

First of all l want to take the opportunity to say that I realise low self esteem isn’t something we choose. It is however all too common in our world not to fight the negative effects it has on our neighbours.

Dear neighbour, are there mirrors in your house?

Don’t be mistaken, this isn’t an accusation of hypocrisy. Just an honest question. If you’re one of the billions to label themselves ‘ugly’, ‘fat’ or a combination of both, you’ll not only know exactly where each mirror is but the location of every surface.

I urge you to take a good look in the biggest mirror your own.

What do you see? Take another look and this time seek the reflection just past the hideous monster you saw previously. Discard the opinions of the world along with your pre conceived thoughts on your own appearance.

Two eyes, two ears and a nose and a mouth, you’re blessed beyond belief.

You have sight, sound and the ability to share your thoughts. The emotional walls you’ve built around yourself are not required. You don’t have to do anything yet your heart beats and your lungs fill with air. You are beautiful, made perfect in creation.

What do others think of you?

It would be perpetuating a cliché to say “it doesn’t matter what other people think” or to “not worry about it”, so I won’t. The reality is that we have been made to live in relationships, to share our thoughts, emotions and lives. What those close to you matter, I get that but I also know life is a battle if you cannot rise above it.

The world doesn’t hate you!

Despite what has happened in the past and what you believe people think of you, the world doesn’t hate you.

So here’s the challenge…

Look into that mirror and find something to love about yourself … anything. It is my hope that this seemingly insignificant finding will be the start of much bigger journey in your life. A journey of discovery, healing and growth. A period of life that will redefine the way you think about yourself, the world and the people around you that previously controlled your emotions.

I’ll end this in the same way the great NYC preacher, Carl Lentz, begins his messages “turn to the person next to you and say you look awesome today“.

Never underestimate the effect you have in this world!

Doubt fueled parenting

Do you think all men are capable of being great Fathers?

Like any job, there’s a required skill set  The question is, does it come naturally or do we require development?

In terms of experience, I am well and truly a rookie. But with only two children and two and half years experience, I feel better place than many. I’ve been blessed with two great role models. The first is own father, a man seemingly without fault. The second, God. One, truly without fault.

Despite this, I’ve had moments, some as recently as this morning  where I doubt my ability to be a father. I know doubt is natural, but it still makes my stomach turn.

Fatherhood is hard enough, let alone with added stress.

dadMy Dad’s strength came from his marriage. Sure, my mother and him had fights, but they were always calm and rarely in front of us kids. When we squabbled  they were always on the same side, the same can be said of when discipline was dished out. They were a team.

Above all, we always felt loved. It wasn’t always physically shown or verbally expressed for that matter. It was however, always felt. I guess that’s the best illustration I can give of both, their parenting, and the power of love.

My point being, I’ve always believed my Dad was purposefully created to be a father. Myself, on the other hand … I’m not so sure.

Parenting will, no if’s or maybe’s, be stressful. You will worry and if you’re anything like me, you’ll doubt your own ability.

Take hold of this doubt and use it as your fuel, driving yourself to be the best parent possible.

You are not paid financially for it, but being a parent is a job. One you cannot quit, avoid or run away from. The question is, would you retain your role if you had to re apply?

Think about it. Your children could be on the selection panel. They’d scrutinise your every move  you character traits, the way you teach and, you guessed it, your discipline techniques. Are you the best role model for your children?

I love to say I’d be a shoe in to retain my role, but I’d be lying if I didn’t share my doubt.

If you too, are nervous about re applying for your role as a parent, take your doubt as a sign that you care. You understand the importance of your role and care deeply for how you do it. We all have faults and we will all make mistakes, but life, like parenting, is about how we use our strengths to recover and learn from our failures.

The re application process will take place at the end of the month. Treat every day until then like an interview, only the best will keep their jobs.

If you’re not a little nervous or have 100% confidence in your ability … please, share your secrets!

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Three words for 2013

Chris Brogan, editor of “WORK BETTER, BE BRAVE,and Tell Bigger Stories” and CEO of Human Business Works thinks of three words to concentrate his efforts every year. He refers to the process as, turbo charged goal planning. 

“The concept of the three words is like the path. Think of a word that gives you the HUGE picture, not the small picture.”

Seeing the impact the concept has had for Chris, and now, many more. I thought I’d be crazy not to give it a go.

Despite the fact January as almost entirely passed, and I haven’t chosen any of my ‘directional words for 2013″, my first isn’t tardiness. Being punctual, is something one can not hold on to too tightly when you have newborn at home.

Enough, here’s my three…

Grateful Grateful. For my life, that’s every breathe. Not just the ones that come post workout, but my waking moments, those short breaths while stressed and the long deep snores while sleeping. Living in such a blessed surrounds, life is too often, taken for granted.

Prayer

Prayer. It is something I commit to daily with my daughter, it’s part of her bed time routine. But, before you commend me for being such a good Christian father, I must share … I often do not pray. I have been given the amazing ability to talk to my creator and lord, still I am silent. This silence leaves me without direction, as a result, I am lost.

Words

Words. An unusual choice for someone actively writing a blog posting, I agree. But something that will motivate, inspire and hopefully create a lot of joy in 2013. I find peace while I write. It doesn’t have to be much a handful of words on a note to a friend is all it takes. I don’t want to downplay the significance of successfully articulating a thought. Heavens knows I have far more off paper than on.

So there’s my three words. In prayer I will be grateful, and of fruits will be written her. Finding sense amongst a senseless world.

This year, Chris has chosen Walt, Ender and Monchu (I’ll let him explain). Find your three words, and direction for 2013. Share your words in the comments below, discuss them with a friend or yell them out a bus window … whatever you do, commit to them, make them work in your life.

SENSE

You are what you eat … with

On this blog, I wrote previously on perspective and how powerful it can be. I hope this three part series help create positive change in your life, or at least, find the perspective required see what change is needed.

Today I will attempt to re write the phrase, you are what you eat. While I agree, if you eat healthy you’ll be healthy, I think also think you can become healthy using, what you eat with.

Want to know more? Read on … then head to the kitchen.

We all know the term “fork in the road”, but what if the road your travelling doesn’t offer choices? Despite your current head space … you actually have two choices, regardless of the road you travel.

First choice, remove your blinkers! Despite what your mind is telling you, we all have an alternative, we simply fail to see it.

So, your blinkers are now off, or maybe they were never on in the first place and you still can’t see an alternate route? Drop all you’re doing and head to the kitchen.

Open the top draw, it’s most likely full of cutlery. Grab a fork and stick it firmly in the road your life has taken you on. Seeing a fork isn’t always easy, but you can place a fork in ANY road.FORK

Don’t rest yet, creating the fork is the easy part. You’ve got a decision to make.

Left or right, high or low … I can’t tell you what decision to make, but I can provide further support along the way.

The advice may not be ground breaking, but it will be straight forward. It’ll be able to be applied to anyone’s life.

No specific life stage is required but if you experience best with the physical, you may want to once again reach into  your cutlery draw.

This time ignore the forks, multiple forks in one road is just going to make things confusing; grab a knife.

It’s amusing what humans do with spare time. Eat, paint, sleep, watch TV, talk, run, fight … in large, they waste it. I’m not immune from this condition, I once spent an afternoon counting loose change, only to put it back in the same jar I kept in. On another, I decorated the back shed with coasters (which I’d collected in another time wasting exercise).

KNIFE

I’d suggest, next time you have a free moment, like the one we’ve just made with our fork … you cut your life into pieces.

Let it all hang out, don’t hold back. Honesty is often hardest when you’re talking to yourself. As the years pass we all lie to ourselves. These lies are then compounded as we continue to live them out. Cut it all to pieces, separate the truth amongst the lies. It’s the truth that’ll help you choose your direction.

So you’ve discovered a fork in your life’s journey, and taken a knife to your life, finding truth amongst the lies … what now?

Take care here, when you cut away the lies, you are often left with confronting truths. Enlist a close friend or counsellor when times are tough.

Truth is as heavy as it valuable; you’ll never be able to pick it up alone. Grab your spoon and call your mate, because this spoon will be heavy.SPOON

Scoop up the truth that remains and leave the painful lies behind you.  If your friend cannot help, or on of the lies you were living was, that you had friends, call Lifeline (13 14 11), there are trained counsellors on the phones 24 hours day, ready to help.

Enjoy your new journey, live with confidence in your new found truth, and remember, you can always find help … whenever you need it.

You are now, what you eat … with!

This will hopefully help alter your life journey, or if not, see it in different light. If I haven’t helped you make a positive change, I hope to help you get to a place where you can make a change in the future.

SENSE

What I learnt from ‘No phone Sunday’

It’s Monday morning, that can only mean one thing … I survived No phone Sunday

Not only did I survive it, I am living today with a deeper understanding of my life. Talk about winning!?

For those who have read my last post, and I’m guessing you are not, considering it’s a 1 in 2.3 million chance, I applied a 24 hour phone ban on myself last week. I made this decision for two reasons; to heighten my level of appreciation for the blessings that surround me and to put a stop to the habitual use of my phone.

I woke on Sunday morning, like I do every other. “Dadda, I wanna go”, my two-year old know’s I will come, when she calls my name. I leave both, my wife sleeping and my phone switched off.

Within ten minutes, I experience my first urge. It’s nothing serious, just a simple thought, “has anyone bid on my online auction?.

I ignore this thought as nothing but on reflection it’s a sign that I check my phone way too much! I was in a place of bliss, laying beside my daughter’s bed, her hand in mine, and I wanted to check on online auction.

It’s time’s like this, I need a slap to slap myself in the face. Wake up kid!

No phone Sunday was a success, but this wasn’t the only learning. In the same 24 hours, I learnt:

  • My phone is not a necessity
  • I am blessed beyond my words
  • I have more free time than I appreciate
  • When I’m not concerned by taking photos of beauty, I see more beauty
  • I have a habit that needs breaking
  • I don’t need to know who reads this
  • It’s what’s offline that really matters

What started out as a phone is now a computer, diary and unfortunately a time vacuum. I mean, am I crazy to call it a phone if no one calls me?  

So again, in 6 days time it’ll be No phone Sunday, increasingly, my favourite day.

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No phone Sundays

We are all guilty of this at times ... oblivious to our world

We are all guilty of this at times … oblivious to our world


I’d been thinking about it already, but taking this photo confirmed it … I need a break from my phone. 

My plan isn’t severe, I’ll take baby steps at first. I’ve decided to ditch the phone for Sunday.

I’ve always maintained that I would never prioritise checking my phone, and by checking I mean; monitoring sports results, looking at social media, reading the news, sharing images, checking view counts on this blog or other equally important tasks, over my family. But, if I were honest … it’s already happened.

Think of the smiles of missed while checking emails, most of which are junk and the beautiful sights I would have seen if I wasn’t busy sharing the one I saw earlier on instagram.

My phone is stealing from me and it’s time I took it back.

A promise could be made to ‘look at my phone less’, but I know that will not work. I’d slowly slide back to where I am, a place that kind of hurts. Instead I will turn it off Saturday night and leave it till Monday, that way guaranteed , I’m free all of Sunday.

Free to communicate, with my voice, and hand expressions if I like. Free to spend time, just time, with whoever that I like. 

I will attempt to look at my phone less day one through to six,  but the seventh no matter what, is strictly a no phone day.

It’s only one day, I hear you ask, as you read this post from your phone.

I realise this it’s only small, but I hope that it will work. The roll on effect will be good for me and my family.

My phone has become a habit, I check it like folk smoke. Sometimes I feel I need it, other times I make  myself choke. One day a week will be the start of my recovery. Soon I will be breathing fresh, with my beautiful family!

If any of this has struck a chord with you, maybe you should consider the same. Put down your phone, choose to be free and enjoy your own Sunday.

***DISCLAIMER: I REALISE YOU HAVE MOST LIKELY COME TO READ THIS AFTER SEEING A LINK ON YOUR PHONE. I AM NOT JUDGING OTHERS, SIMPLY JOURNEYING ON MY OWN***

SENSE