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My Three Mums.

Me and my FIRST mum. My grandmother. The most amazing woman I have ever known. Just eclipsed by my wife of 20 + years now …

My First Mum: the cuddles & kisses Woman.

I was very fortunate.

Unlike many kids, I had 3 mums.

My biological mum had me before she turned 16. She had a choice to have an abortion but chose to give me life. Being so young and incapable, her parents (my grandparents) decided to raise me as their own.

Literally.

Because of the societal norms at that time, I now understand that my grandparents adopted me as their own, in every sense of the word. They were the best Parents any kid could wish for. My “mom” (grandmother) died when I was 12. It felt like the end of the world to me because she was the word to me.

She was caring, compassionate and loving 🥰 & very strong (usually welcoming in strangers and the homeless. She would clean them, clothe them, feed them and give them a place to sleep for a short while … and give them a little help on their way.

Some of the Strangers we helped, would return, sometimes years later, to offer money and thanks for her (& my grandfather’s unsolicited care & hospitality when they had hit a “rut”). I recall seeing the turnaround in the individuals and the impact my humble grandparents and their kindness gave them.

A whole new lease of life.

My grandmother was my first role model of a loving & strong independent woman. I really loved her full body massages she gave me to wake me for school almost every morning. This is where my penchant for hugs 🤗 & kisses originated. I thank her for that.

In my pre-teens, my biological mother’s sister (my Aunty) stepped in and assumed a “mother” role for me. She showed me a second type of strong woman. She was a woman’s woman.

I love this quote. Increasing your awareness is parameters to having clarity and success in your life. SEARCH. Become the BEST ‘searcher’ you can be. One day .. you may find ALL the answers you’re seeking for YOUR questions to give ‘meaning’ to your life. A wonderful book says – “Seek and ye shall find; Ask and ye shall receive.” True.

My Second Mum: the Ambitious Career Woman.

She wasn’t too lovey-Dovey like my mum # 1. She was very ambitious and career-focused and very risk-averse. Very strategic and almost always chose a conservative approach to many things. Her thing was – “don’t rush life, Paul”.

Two things were important for her – good education and making money. She was very successful and raised me in very rich surroundings in my teens. I learned and experienced life through very wealthy lens and feel very fortunate to have done so. Not many children grow up in a 3 car-garage, 3 storey 6 bedroom mansion with a pool. My bedroom even had its own bathroom and walk-in wardrobe.

I only got to know my biological mum after an uncle broke the “news” to me two weeks before my Final Exams at High School. We had a heated argument and he let out the “truth”. In hindsight, Not the best time. I wish he had waited until I had finished my exams before telling me that the first 17 years of my life was a lie. That my grandma was not my mother and that my “older sister “ was in fact, my real mother!

I was shattered. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing .

I locked myself in my room for a whole week… trying to come to terms with this bomb 💣. I cried a river in my room…. Everything I ever knew … about my family … about my life … was a lie. Who could I trust? Why is this happening to me? I was angry at everyone… they all played a part in the lie.

It had a significant effect on my High School Results. Negative. I was aiming to be in the Top 10 but I failed. I think I made the Top 20. In the whole scope of life, the mark I got didn’t matter. I still got to do what I wanted to do at University.

That was a first. Me, getting to University in my immediate and extended families. The ceiling in academia was High School… but I raised it … and still raising it.

It’s been almost 30 years since I learned of this truth. Along the way, I learned that many other individuals have experienced similar situations. Some famous like Jack Nicholson, who only found out that his older sister was in fact, his mother. He only find out in his late 30s when a reporter dug up his background for a story on him.

In many cultures, especially in Polynesian cultures, “step in”. Grandparents generally stepped in to protect the child and give them every opportunity to succeed. They did. I got all the love and attention any child could have. I am very grateful for the unconditional love life they gave me.

They were my parents and friends & family and schools & teachers and anyone I ever interacted with all played their roles.

You could say my first 17 years was a lie.

That’s ok. Every family has their “secrets” and “skeletons in the closet”. What are yours? Do you have any? Is your whole life “the whole truth & nothing but the truth?” Is the truth better than living a lie? What if living the truth disadvantages you more? Would you then choose to live a lie? If you had the choice?

I didn’t.

How “authentic “ are you? How true are you to “YOU?”

My Third Mum: the Risk Taker. Biology Matters.

The only photo I have of me and my biological mum as a baby.

The choice was made for me. Her choice to give me life rather than get an abortion.

And it was made with love snd for my benefit and protection. An unselfish choice by my biological mother in playing her role as my “older sister “.

It was only in my later years that I realised how amazingly courageous and unselfish she was to live in the same household as me … and stop herself from playing the “mum” role to me.

I had many arguments with her and told her off on many occasions. I would see her run into the bedroom, close the door and I’d hear her crying. She wouldn’t cry in front of me or argue with me.

Remember, she was my older sister to me. Little did I know then … who she REALLY WAS. This is the Mum that didn’t always make decisions logically because she usually made it with her heart. She was a “thinker”, the most academically gifted of all her siblings. A rebel, a risk-taker.

I buried my biological mum in 2011, 3 months after my son, Zachary was born. Like my grandmother, My biological mum, Margaret, died from cancer within 3 months of being diagnosed. Aaaahhh… the Circle of Life, as they say.

She did not live long but she epitomised what courage is to me. What a brave woman, who lived & died, with integrity & dignity.

Enjoy YOU. Appreciate Nature. One day, there won’t be any more sunrise or sunset to appreciate.

THE OLD HAS GONE, THE NEW HAS COME!

The Bible has been a big comfort for me all my life. It gave me strength in those years (18 – 22) that I refer to as my “lost years “. It was always a source of inspiration and strength for me … in the many times I needed courage.

We have been gifted not only from our genetic background but also by the environment in which we were brought up. Each of us were formed by all the people who have made an impression on us.

From the people who gave us affirmations (like my grandparents did for me) to the people who put us down or belittled us. The former types gave us a positive view of other human beings and the latter, a view that fed our uncertainty about ourselves and … others…

Genesis 1 relays a story that God created living things to bring forth according to their own kind. So, not only are we likely to look like our parents but it is likely that we will embrace life’s challenges just as our parents did.

Take Heart.

Teaching you to love yourself better and more. That the most powerful show of self-respect is to say ‘no’. Saying no to foods that are not aligned to your desired body image is the highest form of self-respect and love.

But I take heart ❤️…. with this …

The Bible also clearly states that –

“So God created man in his own image.” (Genesis 1:27)

So, i/we were not only created in our parents image but also in God’s.

Yes, we all have our past (and even if part of it was not lived in truth like mine), take comfort that we also have God (if you’re a Christian). I spent 8 years as a Catholic Altar boy in my early youth and one phrase that sticks in my mind is –

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the NEW HAS COME!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

This verse has always given me comfort. Especially, after I learned of certain truths at 17. I get Comfort in knowing that the curses and the distortions and sins of previous generations does not hold me back. That it does NOT MAKE ALL “ME”… that I can release the OLD… to make room for the NEW.

ME.

You should do this too… If you need to.

Built in God’s Image.

We are Built in God’s image. Something that I can … we can ALL use as a springboard to being the BEST VERSION OF OURSELVES.

Yes, We are trapped with our old us … the past experiences… and the good (& imperfections in genetics 🧬 passed down to us) ….

But….

With the knowledge and belief that we, as Christians, are also created in the image of God, gives all of us I mmense COURAGE…. And hope … and belief… that we have a huge capacity to change!!

You are unique! Believe it so…. And you can change!! We ALL CAN!!

But, this is not easy and TAKES COURAGE and … a lot of WORK! In my experience, You MUST TAKE CHARGE of your life! You must stop saying –

I’ll always be the same … I’ll never be different “

Instead, you should begin saying –

“I CAN be different because of God’s love 💕 working in me.”

DO NOT FEAR CHANGE especially if the change is to make you all that God wants you to be.

When you decide to Invite Christ into your life, know that you have been re-born… snd the Holy Spirit will guide you.

I know I have been “re-born “ many times … in my life, so far. When I reflect, I was very fortunate to have been influenced by three strong & courageous women. They were all different and they were women who loved me differently but all had strong values & principles.

I may have lost two Mums, but there still remains one. Something many cannot say. I will continue to love this Mum that is still alive today….and the other two Mums are always with me in spirit.

Thank you God. Amen.

Ask yourself for God’s guidance and he will answer.

May God continue to shower his blessings on you.

yours in care, compassion & trust

Paul

I AM/YOU are/WE are … all created in God’s image. Thank God.

The unselfish decision to NOT have an abortion at 16 by my biological mum, allowed me to live a life. As I result, I have gone on to help save many lives i. What I do and am all very grateful to create lives of my own – my two children. She may be gone in physical form by she is still in the genes of my kids. I thank my wife and the Grace of God for my life so far.

 

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Men & Fathers who Nurture.

Did you have a father that invested a great deal of time and energy in to your life? Or was he in the shadows … or almost never around.

In my 7 years of owning and managing my Family Gym, I came to really know men from all backgrounds and status in society. My gym membership was about 70% male.

Over time, I came to notice correlations and strong causation between their behaviour as grown men and their relationship with their dads in their childhood. It didn’t matter which race, culture or status, there were some strong connections.

Can you see “me” in my son? Can you see you in your son?

Happy Men & Not-so-happy Men.

Do you consider yourself a “Happy Man?

Who are the happiest Men in society? Not by any kind of horizontal segmentation but as a species – “male”.

I think there are Happy Men and the not-so-happy men in our modern-day societies.

Experience has indicated that the men who are the happiest and most content in the masculine role today are those whose fathers put in the time and effort in their upbringing. And continue to do so.

I’ll refer to them as the “Happy Dads” in society.

These Happy Dads had dads who were around to begin with. Dads that were committed to maintaining a positive, nurturing, encouraging relationship with their sons. These Fathers of Happy Dads provided that secure foundation and supported their sons in their ups and downs.

The sons (Happy Dads) had support from their Fathers with their careers and decisions they made and acknowledged their achievements.

These Happy Dads had dads that were just “there for them”. No excuses, full-stop!

Time spent with your young man is NEVER bad use of your time.

RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI)

That consistent loving time spent with their sons (not “quality “‘time), paid off … in time. These Father’s sons, who the the Happy Dads of today are, I believe, among the most well-adjusted and peaceful husbands and fathers in our modern-day societies.

Are they increasing? Are they easily recognised?

Does he look like you? Your friend, maybe?

Like Father-like-son. I think I am a Happy Man… mostly. Are you?

MINORITY RULE.

I believe these well-adjusted and peaceful husbands and fathers is and has been on the decline. They could be safely said to be in the “minority “.

Normally, I would say that in a democratic society, the majority should rule. In this instance, I believe that this minority should rule … these men should be the norm and not rare and abnormal.

We need these types of men … Happy Dads … to flourish again and increase.

What do we do? How do we go about this?

I believe it is up to me, you and … all the current dads/fathers reading this and out there with young sons… to commit to these young impressionable souls.

It is up to us, Fathers/Dads/Husbands.

Being there for your young man is vital to his overall understanding of a BALANCED Man.

STOP REARING ANGRY MEN.

The majority of men today are struggling to recover from relationships with fathers who failed to nurture, affirm and validate them at some level … or all levels.

These sons (who are now fathers/dads/husbands themselves), are left with a legacy of pain, confusion, frustration, anxiety, bitterness, fear & anger. A lot of these men never had a choice in having their father in their lives as the mothers decided to bring them up as single parent.

I believe a big percentage of These adult sons are the angry men of our societies.

We need to stop rearing angry men.

If you’re part of the minority that is, the Happy Men, congratulations 🎉! Go and give your old man a hug and tell him you love him…. and just give him thanks for being there for you through your tumultuous years of youth.

You probably already do … and have.

That’s what Happy Men do.

Cheerio for now, Until next time …

Learning and absorbing our habits every single day of their initial phase of their lives is what our young Princes do. Teach them well.
My gritty Warrior Viking Pirate 🏴‍☠️ prince 🤴

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Like Father, like Son.

Transference of Wisdom from a Father/Mother to their son/daughter is. a key factor in raising a morally-upright, compassionate human being.

WISDOM.

An old friend made that comment on a photo I Put up on Facebook of my son. He said –

“The Apple doesn’t fall to far from the tree … like Father-like-son”

I hadn’t heard this phrase since my youth. Something, I’d overhear the adults would say in conversation.

Got me thinking … about the vital role a Dad/Father plays in a child’s life, in teaching his son/daughter “Life Skills”, emphasising the necessity of learning the Art & Power of Discernment.

In other words: WISDOM.

What a responsibility! I mean, am I actually qualified to give my son/.daughter advice? For most answers to Life Matters, I turn to the Complete Source: The Bible.

Being part of a larger family in the community you’re part of is a key complement to raising good citizens.

The beginning of knowledge.

In the Bible, we are told that the beginning of knowledge is the fear of the Lord (proverbs 1:7).

So, remember, before you can pass on knowledge, it is important that you have gained the necessary knowledge in the first place.

Like the most important teachers, you’ve “walked-the-walk” before you “talk-the-talk.”

So, the first questions we need to ask ourselves are: do you believe in God and do you fear God?

In proverbs 1:3, we are told that before a father can pass on advice, he himself must know the meaning of that “fear of God” … that reverential awe and the wisdom to which it leads.

Giving advice to a son/daughter on “doing what is right and just and fair” can only come from a person who fears God and holds him in awe.

I ask myself the question: do I “qualify?”

What about you, do you qualify?

Passing on the instructions of good decision-making to my daughter is fundamental to my role as her father.
Much guidance is given by the Bible.

Wisdom stems from the discipline of Character.

I also ask myself the question of what is the GOAL of a Father’s advice to his children?

It is clear to me that the Goal of a father’s Godly instruction MUST be spiritual and must stem from the insight learned in Proverb’s WISDOM, KNOWLEDGE or UNDERSTANDING.

But, I don’t believe this wisdom is from Academic Achievements measured by membership to University boards or clubs or some Ivy League College. No, I believe this “wisdom” goes beyond scholastic wins. It goes to a place few dare to go.

That place is – MORAL RESPONSIBILITY. Getting there is difficult. Staying there is far greater a challenge.

Like Father – like son.

The Power of Discretion and Discernment.

It ALL boils down to decision-making, the mastery of this Art. Many Leaders and would-be leaders spend years at universities trying to learn the many tools that assist and help them make decisions.

And still, get it wrong!

The feeder to this art is reflected in the disciplining of the Character, characterised by the person living a “disciplined and prudent life.”

What does it mean to “live prudently?”

It is fundamentally having a clear understanding of the difference between RIGHT and WRONG.

To live prudently means to make decisions that are NOT based a whim or changing appetite but knowing right from wrong. This is the skill and power of discretion or discernment. Exactly what the Bible, Proverbs prescribed.

Out and about with the future Mr Valentine

Respect for the Miracle of Life. 

So, what does this mean when we (as a Father or as parents) have to educate our sons & daughters on HOW to make wise choices?

Whenever I make a decision in my children’s presence, I have a “walk-through “ how I arrived at that decision (s). I let them know the THINKING 🤔 BEHIND THE INTELLIGENCE. I mention the KEY components like – the initial assessment of risks; the consequences it could lead to if not addressed with mitigating controls; the probability/likelihood of the consequences occurring (with and without mitigating controls) and the possible impact, to self and others.

And then factoring in what my heart ♥️ & soul tells me too.

So, as a Father, I strive to give my son & daughter a process that prepares them to make wise choices, to be discreet and discerning.

Such instruction DOES NOT presume that the child somehow already knows what’s best. So, if you’re thinking of having kids or have very young kids, I believe that parents need to instruct and educate them from the earliest years.

They must be shown, trained and taught to tell the truth rather than lies; to respect the property of others rather than take for themselves; that harming anyone else is unacceptable;

And … to hold and RESPECT THE MIRACLE OF LIFE... whether it is flora or fauna or human, in respectful and highest regard.

All the very best in your decisions, big and small and may God continue to shower his blessings on you and your family and cherished ones.

cheers & ahoy from beautiful Sydney, Australia!!

* Dr. of Muscle/Energy Aesthetics & 💝itality/❤️Ove *

Children need a good framework to build their character on.
Your instructions as a parent and the guidance given in Proverbs in the Bible are great tools ⚒️ to harness.

Think 🤔.
To Really think, does not only involve the brain 🧠. It involves the mind, the heart ❤️, the spirit and the “essence of life” – 💝itality.
It includes the blessings of Wisdom.

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Walking the walk before you talk the talk … is vital to being more Authentic.

The old Captain Viking Pirate 🏴‍☠️ ⚔️Enjoying a beer 🍺 in a hot 🥵 spring day here in Sydney Australia 🇦🇺

On the other end of the spectrum. 

In a past phase of life, I was a Business Advisor and Corporate Consultant to a number of multinationals. I specialised in “cleaning up other people’s messes” and correcting accounting treatment errors and assessing Risks for companies. I enjoyed the relationship management side of things.

In one particular consulting firm, I went to one of the Firm’s many corporate functions. It was the usual shit, people talking about trivial unimportant things like the weather. In this particular function, one of my colleagues on a similar seniority level to me approached me and said –

“Paul, I can tell you don’t want to be here. I’m the spectrum of connections, everyone here would be on one end … the “superficial end, and you, my friend… you’re all the way on the other end of the spectrum.”

I said –

“you’re right. I’m leaving. Goodbye.”

I took my tie off and left the function.

I resigned from that role, not too long after that. … buying a gym and operating other businesses of interest.

Friends that workout together … stay together?
Some of the family of gym members that called my gym ….. our gym .. their gym.
Lovely people in a lovely phase of life.

Old-school Gym with a modern twist.

In one phase of my life, I owned & managed Australia’s Longest-running Gym at that time. I poured my heart & soul into it… I ran it like a Family.

The gym was old-school traditional with a lot of history. For example, the great 7 x Mr Olympia Arnold Schwarzenegger trained in this gym when he was Mr O (the @mrolympiallc was held in Sydney, Australia in 1980, which he won, after a 5 year lay-off). He even took a few famous photos in this gym, of him, going through some of his poses.

Frank Zane, arguably one of the most aesthetically built physique artists during his prime worked out here. He won the “super bowl of bodybuilding “ – the Mr Olympia Title three years in a row (1977 – 1979). He had visited that place and a few other greats, too. The Dumbells we used and many of the machines were the same ones we used back in the 70s. We used the weight-training equipment that Champions used.

But, my gym was not about the equipment and the fancy lights, it was about the people. People passed 15 other gyms because they wanted to be part of this special gym. They wanted to be part of my extended family. I was very proud of the culture I created, of the love that we all shared. 

I liked to say that it was an “old school gym, with a modern-twist “ … and I was the modern-twist.

They knew that I CARED. And gave them the results/needs they were looking for.

My grandfather used to always tell me when I was a kid –

“Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”

Very true indeed.

That challenging, yet beautiful phase of my life came to an end 6 years ago, when I sold it.

My Family of friends in my gym I owned and managed for 7
years.
All working towards being the ‘best the can be’

A few things to be aware of when choosing a gym.

A few notes on gyms –

If you’re a beginner (in weight training), look for a good gym. A gym that caters to your needs. There are many types of gyms today – big, small, studios and out-door gyms. It depends on your preference. Before choosing a gym, evaluate things like – cleanliness & hygiene; whether they have lockers or not (most modern gyms do); the condition of equipment  – you don’t want holes in upholstery and they should be well-maintained; the Equipment Manufacturer (some manufacturers are better quality than others; $$ (your budget) – if you’re looking for just weights & cardio then you don’t need to pay extra; the friendliness & authenticity of owner – Do they have “skin in the game?”

Now, why should you take advice about gyms from someone like me. Well, it’s simple: I have and have had “skin in the game” and still do. I have walked the walk before I can talk the talk”. You should always apply this approach with anyone offering you advice in any field, especially if they call themselves an “Expert”. I’m sure you do. 

You can read a little more on “choosing a gym”.

Anyway, I hope your gym visits are going great!!

until next time,

Gym Extended Family Members enjoying a day of Lawn Bowls.
We had some great lawn bowls events over the 7 years.

Winning this award in 2008 for the BEST GYM in the Northern Beaches of Sydney was the best award I have ever received (better than my 2 x World Championship trophies)
It was an award judged and voted on by the residents of the Northern Beaches on the BEST GYM & related Services in the Health & Fitness category

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A tribute to my daughter.

Learning to o come back from failure last year. Olivia did not make it past the Northern Beaches Zone Finals last year. The Top 5 qualify for the Australian National Championships. She re-set her goal to reach the Championships Finals this year. She not only achieved the goal of qualifying for the National Championships but made the The prestigious Top 5 in the Finals (top 16 out of the BEST 60+ girls who qualified).
She learned disappointment and strengthened her resilience to try again but this time with better execution. Very proud of this sporting achievement.
Note: Physie is an “athletic dance “ that is a fusion of contemporary, ballet, martial arts and beauty of modelling

School Band Captain.

Today she was announced the School BAND Captain for 2021.

Next year, in year six, She will lead the 5 bands (listed below), and will perform in the Top 2 Bands and do solo performances too. She plays the Alto Saxophone.

1) Big Band
2) Stage Band
3) Concert Band
4) Intermediate Band
5) Junior Band

As Band Captain, I know she will carry out her responsibilities of leadership with utmost pride and dedication.

A few of her other achievements –

– Top 5 (she achieved her goal she set at the start : of making it to the Australian Physie championships but also made the Finals (Top 5) out of the Top 60+ best in her age category. In 2019, she didn’t get past the Northern Beaches zone championships (the Top 5 qualify for the Australian Physie Championships). She demonstrated wonderful resilience to bounce back from a disappointment last year
– High Distinction in Level 4 Alto Saxophone Australian Music 🎵 exam
– Premiers writing award 🥇
– School’s Creative Excellence award 🥇
– she’s won the annual Academic Excellence Award  5 years in a row
– Passing the 2 x per week strength,agility,power, flexibility & speed training with me
– Other

In the middle of her routine. She worked consistently and persistently all year to be one of the Nations Top 5 dancers in the elite category. A big impressive on her performance last year.

While these awards are wonderful external achievements, I am more impressed by her attitude to herself snd the standards she sets and aspires to and honours. I am more impressed of her development in to the kind of woman with strong values & principles.

In ALL important areas of life.

Art in motion. Australian Champion Physie Dancer 💃 , representing the standard-setting Mosman Physie Club in the lower north shore, Sydney, Australia.

<Daddy-Daughter Days>

I love 💗 connecting with my daughter on all levels , right from those moments she lived in the 9-month home carried in her mother’s abdomen. I felt her kicks 🦵 and moving body under my touch.

I find real joy in winning her heart every single day.

I am very happy that I have been having weekly “daddy-daughter-dates” almost every week since she was a baby. I have tried to make These dates entertaining & fun but I also try to make it significant as well. I have tried to foster an environment where i can really hear how she is doing and listen to her as she opens up.

My gritty Viking pirate 🏴‍☠️ princess 👸

We have journeyed together in many ways and I have seen her grow spiritually and on some dates we have connected on a deeper level and … with God.

I also try to show her my commitment to my marriage … to loving my wife of almost 20 years now. I hope it sets an example for my daughter of what a loving, committed relationship looks like. She knows I treat my wife like a queen snd I know she thrives in knowing that she is my princess.

A gritty & courageous princess.

My gritty Champion dancing princess has enough hair for a village.

Her Mother… My wife, my Queen. 

I know my wife, Cathy is a key element of my relationship with my girl. I understand fully that my relationship with my children and her are intertwined. I know Olivia feels valued 💕 as a girl when I honour my wife, their mother.

Every single day.(or almost every day)

Here’s what I think 🤔…

I believe daughters in today’s modern societies and interconnected world need mothers and fathers who have FAITH in God and God’s creative design when it comes to their identity. Society CANNOT and WILL NOT dictate WHO my daughter/your daughter is to be. A daughter needs a few select people in her life who have the BELIEF & CONVICTION and ABILITY to help her become the person God created her to be. I know my daughter will give it her best in whatever she sets her mind to. I’ll be in her corner … ALL THE WAY. As I tell her … God meets those half way … he meets those who helps themselves. “

The 💝alentine tribe (minus our dog 🐶 – Mr Fuzzy/Fussy cuddles

Writing HER OWN Story.

i tell her she is writing /authoring her own story. I tell her to OWN Her Story… & write ✍️ from her heart ❤️. I hope to help her edit it where applicable.

I am looking forward to seeing what she writes in the next year .. two year… 10 years … 15 years … 30 years … 50 years …

One thing won’t change.

I WILL ALWAYS be HER Father & DAD.

I thank God for this blessing… This beautiful human being.

My daughter.

My Princess 👸.

Her heart ❤️ belongs to me … for now.

My gritty Viking pirate 🏴‍☠️ Princess 👸 many years ago now

Yep, my gritty princess 👸 is very creative

 

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The honourable hats of being a Father, Dad and Husband.

To think, really think .. is probably the hardest thing To do in life

I had a health scare.

Seven months before I won my 1st World Natural Bodybuilding/“Classic” Physique Title, I had a health scare. Every few minutes I would experience excruciating pain in my abdomen, especially whenever I ate something. The old experienced Surgeon (who was part of the first Medical Graduates at one of Sydney’s Top Universities & studied with an Uncle of mine) said I was lucky –

  1. The pain I felt was the closest thing any man can come to knowing what giving birth was like for a woman
  2. Less than 0.001% (or some very small number ) of the world’s population get this ailment
  3. It can be RIGHTED.

Diagnosis: the point where my small intestine & large intestine meet had folded on to each other like a sock 🧦. The pain experienced was due to the food being squeezed through each time I ate. It was an emergency & he moved me up the waiting list.

The operation was successful.

From that experience & my life experience so far… I have concluded that Nothing a man can ever do can & will compare with the pain a woman goes through during labour, along with carrying a life in them for 9 months.

Find your light to show your son/boys their way

A good Father is a little bit of a mother.

A man can never be a mother, but I recall a mentor saying – a good Father is a little bit of a Mother. Each have different primary roles and can’t completely replace the other, without causing other unwanted consequences.

No matter who you are or what you have achieved, one thing is true about life : Fathers matter deeply in the lives of their children and ultimately in the life of our communities and nations.

I believe Fatherhood is the most tragically underestimated & misunderstood modern-day issue of our culture today. It has been now, for a number of decades. Fathers & dads should be honoured & revered just as Mothers are.

Leadership ability begins in the home … children learn character building in the home
Be the best character you can be … for YOU, first .. and then for your kids
my two children a number of years ago

Our children deserve better.

Our culture (many modern-day societies ) often mocks fatherhood in various ways – I see it regularly on TV ads over the last 2 decades where Fathers & Dads are belittled or made to look silly & irresponsible. I’ve observed & experience this first hand in playgrounds.

This should not be allowed to continue as there is nothing funny about the number of broken homes & broken lives left behind by absentee (& abusive) fathers & husbands.

Our children deserve better and more should be done in society to educate and create awareness. Society needs to continue to provide reassurance and affirm the necessary role a Father or a Father figure has in the life of each child.

It seems that our culture today is at a crossroad. There are many epidemics afflicting us, yes – the covid & obesity as examples. However, we have diverted our attention from a major epidemic: the epidemic of broken families. You don’t have to look very far … this epidemic has grown at an alarming rate & has littered our streets with broken children.

Learning and absorbing our habits every single day of their initial phase of their lives is what our young Princes do.
Teach them well.

The most vulnerable victims – our children.

Absentee and noninvolved fathers, who have given up their roles as leaders & mentors have taken their toll on the most vulnerable of victims – our children. Statistics about children from fatherless homes are alarming and we should be working towards reversing this growing trend.

Fathers are very important in the lives of their children and FATHERS MATTER!

A mentor told me this once a long time ago –

“Behind every successful child is a good dad “.

A good father & dad is one who provides the launching pad for strong, successful and values – driven adults into the world. Adults who then make a positive impact in people’s lives.

It is truly an honour to be given the opportunity to have the honour of wearing the Father, Dad and husband hats so far in my life. I hope and pray that one day, my two children mention something along those lines in their eulogy speech at my funeral.

God bless my children and all the children of this magnificent world and to all the fathers & dads reading this that try juggling all those very important hats : father, dad amd husband.

God bless all the children of this world and what they have had to endure because of the covid epidemic.

Amen.

p.

My beautiful daughter and I enjoying “Daddy-daughter time” on the Ferris Wheel at Luna Park in amazing Sydney, Australia.

foundations of a gritty strong character Begins in the Family … in the home …

 

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Does being a “Father” mean … being a “Man in the Shadows?”

    1. I am a Man.
    1. A REAL Man.
    This is my MUG.

An impossible task

It is an impossible task, being a parent.

Not just difficult … impossible.

To take a life from its first breath on through to maturity – to feed, clothe, educate, and all the rest. How could it be? …

What is a father’s role? I ask

If we turn to the Bible, we learn almost nothing about the man that would be cast in the role of father to the son of God. Though that infant was not part of his body, Joseph’s heart must have been stolen just as most adopted children have a way of doing.

How did Joseph do? As a dad?

Do you strive to better yourself in every way?
Are you a Leader?

Abba!

We know that Jesus made it to manhood with a very strong and simple vision of what ‘father’ meant. We could assume he learned it at least in part, from Joseph.

With his last breath, with a tormented man’s voice in the garden of Gethsemane, he shrieked –

“Abba!”

He cried out to God, not to his earth Dad, Joseph.

Jesus earth dad, Joseph, was a man of great patience & love 💓 and understanding.
A man that loved his wife, Mary, so much, he believed her story of Jesus being the son of God.
What a man… what a “man in the shadow”

Joseph, his Dad on earth, had no real purpose, it seems. The bible does not say much about him and gives very little significance to his existence.

Joseph, was simply, the ‘man in the shadows’.

In a strong way, that is the way most of society over the last centuries has evolved with regards to a mother and a father’s role in the raising of their children. Up until the age of twelve, we could assume that Jesus was guided by Mary and his earth dad, Joseph, in the shadows. Mary is elevated and rightly so.

The Bible has no account of Jesus between the age of twelve until his early thirties. There are many theories as to where and what he did but that is not the point Of this writer.

Young boys turn out just fine, it seems, even if most fathers are simply men in the shadows

So, don’t try and be a “mother” to a boy, just be YOU – a Real Man. Make him know and feel loved … unconditionally and don’t stress if you don’t think you have or cannot spend time with your boy.

God bless all you if you’re a Father and also all the Fathers and Dads out there who try their very best to be the best Role Model they can be.

For their sons … the worlds future Men and Leaders.

Until next time,

Popeye Pirate 🏴‍☠️ Paul … and the importance of being a Father even if you’re just the Man in the Shadow

Me & my son

 

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Not Knowing the Unknowable

Maybe life is just a sequence of layers of energy that reveals itself to us based on the level of consciousness we attain. Just like the many layers you see here in my line-art.

Consciousness and Death

What is consciousness? How do you define it? Many have tried. Many have failed.

What is death? What happens when you die? Is reality, death? Is death more Real than reality as we know it? There are a lot of questions but not as many answers to consciousness and death.

Yes, we are accelerating our knowledge on the brain but we are furthering our understanding on the “soft” or “easy” problems. What are these easy problems, well, according to the Australian philosopher, David Chalmers, they refer to those that we, in principle, know how to solve, even if we have not yet done so.

They include perception, learning, attention and memory; how we discriminate objects or react to stimuli; how being asleep differs from being awake. All these are easy, he says, compared with the really hard problems of experience itself.

do you have more consciusness than a dog?

The Hard Problem

Not everyone agrees with the Australian.

Some claim that the hard problem does not exist, that it depends on a false conception of consciousness, or on drastically underestimating the ‘easy’ problems. The American Philosopher, Patricia Church-land, for example, calls it a “hornswoggle problem” argueing that we cannot, in advance, decide which problems will turn out to be the really hard ones.

The “hard problem” Distinctions between conscious and non-conscious processes are not addressed; consciousness is assumed to emerge at a critical level (neither specified nor testable) of computational complexity mediating non-conscious processes.

The brain will always search for meaning …

Feel your emotions.
Think through and with your heart.
Listen to your íntuition
We are not ‘thinking creatures who feel’ … but instead we are ‘Feeling creatures that think”.
We need to always remind ourselves of this.

So, what is it?

“It”, being consciousness.

This has baffled many philosophers and scientists and thinkers since the beginning of time. So, what is it?

Consciousness simply implies awareness: subjective experience of internal and external phenomenal worlds and it gives an independent view on reality, of the universe and of ourselves.

Consciousness basically defines our existence!

Some believe we will never know what consciousness is. The American Philosopher, Colin McGinn says that we humans are ‘cognitively closed’ with respect to consciousness. That is, we have no hope of understanding it, just as a dog has no hope of being able to read the newspaper he so happily carries back from the shop.

Even the famed psychologist Stephen Pinker agrees: we may be able to understand most of the detail of how the mind works, yet consciousness itself may remain forever beyond our reach.

Communication in life is like a neuron connectome.
A neuron example and its network of dentrites
One of the 100 billions neurons in your brain that make you …
who you are.
Your are your connectome

“I think, therefore I Am”

Descartes says – “I think, therefore I AM”

This implies that consciousness is only aware of itself when it assumes form. “I AM” is a statement of awareness, confessing that the capacity for experience is independent of form.

But is this so?

Those that were ‘enlightened’ throughout history have disagreed with the thinker, Descartes, stating that consciousness is beyond form and is, indeed, the very omnipotent Matrix out of which form arises. Modern Physicists (like Bohm) agrees saying, to the effect that without consciousness there would be nothing to experience “form” and could further imply that form itself, as a product of perception with no independent existence, is thus transitory and limited.

Consciousness on the other hand is ALL – Encompassing and Un-limited!

So, if form (our body) is transitory, what is death? What and where do we go in the 4th dimension? Some call it heaven. Is death our partnership with infinity? Do we (our spirit/soul/consciousness) connect with and live forever.

I. AM.
GOD?

Concept of Self

Part of the answer of what consciousness is, is aligned with our concept of self. The more limited the sense of self, the smaller the parameter of experiences is. For example, a dog or a bat “experiences” less than us and so has lower levels of consciousness.

It is one of the few real mysteries of life: –

What is the nature of consciousness and it’s occurrence in the brain and it’s ultimate place in the universe are UN-KNOWN!

So, if science cannot answer it, where should we turn for answers?

Stop. Take stock. Be like water. Adapt to the different states of life … and mind.

Death could be permanent, could be our chance to live forever

Have you ever had a near death experience or an ‘out-of-world’ experience?

I have.

That day change my life forever or rather, my perception of life changed dramatically.

I believe that there is a mystery to Life and our perception of Reality and our perception of the Universe. I mean, why do we die? So much of what we do is to stay alive – we’re born, we grow up and work hard, have a family and then … we die.

Why?

So much of life is stress, lots of worry … hard work and a lot of hurt and tears.

If we are going to die, then why do we strive so hard to be busy … and continue to be busy JUST to stay alive.

Why not JUST die?

Death could be permanent, could be our chance to live forever. It could be paradise. It could be a state of infinite happiness and joy and love.

Why do we fear death?

Maybe, consciousness knows. But we don’t know what consciousness is … so, I guess, we won’t know what death is really like. Until we die of course.

Was crucifying Jesus Christ ‘Justice’ at that time?
Is the answer to death and consciousness with Jesus? Does it with God?

Maybe our relationship with God has the answer

One does not have to look very far to feel the pain and despair of death. I have experienced my fair share over the years, losing both my grandparents in my teens and my mum when she was only 54 years old. I’m sure you’ve felt that despair and pain too.

I found that when we confront our pain and despair and begin to accept the loss, surrendering ourselves to God in our powerlessness, the pain and despair can then give way to hope.

The life and death of each of us has influence on others. “If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.” (Romans 14:8)

Jesus didn’t say much about what happened to people after they died, but he promised everlasting life to all who believed in him (which is similar to what I said in the previous sub-topic. It is interesting though, that Paul saw death as “The Enemy”, but an enemy defeated by Christ … through his resurrection.

So, I would pray –

“Father, my death and the deaths of people I love are indeed a mystery. Although I may not give up searching our the mystery, I do not want to torture myself to know the unknowable. You have penetrated and conquered it. My hope is in you; I need no more. Your saving grace is enough. “

Thank you, through Christ my Lord,

Amen.

Cheers & Ahoy!

The old Cap’n Viking Pirate Evangelist Muscled Monk … & Not Knowing what we Don’t Know has a much bigger influence on our daily life than we think

Learn more about YOU. The knowable. Don’t chase the unchaseable.

 

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Headship

To lead, you need to serve … you need to spread your love … you need to spread your wings … and be the wind beneathe other wings …
Here I am spreading my wings … my lats … just like Batman’s cape

Another term for Leadership

Have you heard of the term – “Headship?”

It is another term for Leadership.

I think it has a Biblical origin, whereby the man is recognised as the “head” in marriage and so he was endowed with authority and the right-to-dominate. This set of beliefs would not sit well with women in marriages or society in general, today, and understandably so.

It may have been Paul’s mistake of patterning the man’s role as “head” after Jesus Christ’s position as “Head-of-the-Church” which gave weight to the husband’s role in a marriage. Patterning your life on someone else without thinking about possible negative consequences can be a dangerous thing.

Great Leaders bring out the best in others … Great Leaders walk the trenches with their men … great leaders are great servants
Here I am with the members of my gym
Members that I served for 7 years of my life …
to be their BEST

A True Leader has a Servant’s Heart

Should the husband, become Lord and Master or Servant, I ask you?

The Man and Christ have been compared since, so does that automatically give the Man all the rights and roles to that of the Lord in the home?

I think many in societies today still act out this misconception in families and in other areas of life, like board rooms, sports fields etc. Men dominate to a significant degree. Change is happening but it is happening so slow that the real benefits will be experienced fifty to hundred years from now.

But why?

What are some of the traits of good Leaders anyway?

I think the great Leader and teacher of Leadership, Mr John C Maxwell, stated it rightly –

“The best leaders desire to serve others, not themselves.”

How many of you reading this can honestly look at yourself in the mirror and say that you truly have a servant’s heart?

I agree, totally, … all great Leaders have a servant’s heart. Can you think of some great Leaders? Who comes to mind? Gandhi? Nelson Mendela? Donald Trump? General H. Norman Schwarzkopf? Jesus Christ?

There are many good Leaders .. but not many, Great Leaders throughout history.

Winning this award in 2008 for the BEST GYM in the Northern Beaches of Sydney was the best award I have ever received (better than my 2 x World Championship trophies)
It was an award judged and voted on by the residents of the Northern Beaches on the BEST GYM & related Services in the Health & Fitness category

Headship means responsibility to act in love

We, as humans making our path through the maize of life, tend to seek & gravitate to Leaders, consciously and unconsciously.

It can be a benefit for some people, who prefer to off-load their responsibility in making decisions to someone else – a volunteer that can be used as a ‘scapegoat’ when things fuck up. You see and hear about this every single day – in politics, business and sport and life.

Headship means responsibility and initiative.

Headship is a responsibility to act in love; initiative to act in service to another. And who do you think is the greatest actor in Headship that ever walked this planet? I believe it was Jesus Christ. He demonstrated self-giving love and self-humbling service which gives us a whole new meaning and standard to the term “Headship.”

He truly embodied the qualities of servanthood.

So, to be true Leader, you need to take the initiative in building an atmosphere of loving, self-sacrificing service.

 

What’s you idea of Headship? What is your idea of what a Leader should look like? A Viking? A Pirate … maybe?

Taking on other’s qualities

Are you in a marriage?

It seems that marriage partners tend to become like each other, don’t you think?

After nineteen years of marriage with my partner, Cathy, I have deduced that there are one of two ways marriages can go. Based on my relationship and my observations of other marriages, either partners tend to become like each other and start taking on other’s qualities, or developing the opposite characteristics in negative reaction to the other.

Which way to you choose? Question is: are you still married?

Bowling night out with the Men of my gym
To Lead is to Serve

Real Leadership begins in the home

A person’s fundamental character is learned from the people he or she lives with in the early part of his or her youth, his or her family. Real Leaders are molded by the people that love them in the early years.

Real Leadership, begins in the home.

Leadership, I believe, is a function which should always be shared. I grew up in an extended family where Leadership was shared. That is what I adopt with my wife and nuclear family now.

I find when Leadership is shared in mutual respect for each other, it establishes a climate of dignity, freedom and responsibility. I believe this is part of the secret to my wife and I managing our relationship for nineteen years now. We’ve both changed in more ways than one since we first met but we’ve always allowed one another room to grow.

This climate of dignity, freedom and responsibility in turn creates an atmosphere which is both comforting and stimulating to both partners in a marriage. Do you share the Leadership function with your married partner?

And how do you know if this is what you have?

Well, shared Leadership is one where each is free to grow toward personal maturity and each partner is eager to see the shape of Christ forming in the other (see Galatians 4:19-20).

With Margaret .. the blind member of my Family Gym .. & her dog
Never forget – to Lead, one must have a heart to serve
I served this lady and her blind daughter (who I helped train for her first Paralympics in her teens).

Choking of communication and understanding is a cause of bad leadership

Where one party seizes power, or both the husband and the wife, both struggle for control, an atmosphere of competition and conflict results. The choking of communication and understanding is the fuel of this atmosphere. Even the unconscious assuming of power by one partner or the other will mold the relationship, perhaps in ways neither desire.

We’ve all seen this play out in the Hollywood movies countless times and some of you may have played it out in real life too.

When relationships break up, a common reason is there was a ‘break-down in communication.”

Leadership ability begins in the home … children learn character building in the home
Be the best character you can be … for YOU, first .. and then for your kids

Traits of a True Leader

Here are some ways you can become a True leader:

  • Put others first – being intentionally aware of others’ needs and being available to them
  • Confidence to give power to others – how we treat others is often a reflection of how we treat ourselves. How do you treat others?
  • Initiating service to others without expecting anything in return – the heart of true leadership is in the initiation of service
  • Not status/rank – conscious – your motivation to help others is paramount
  • Serves out of love – the quality of your leadership depends on the depth of concern for others

So, how do you fair in your Leadership skills so far in life?

More importantly, how do you learn to become the best servant you can be and as a result a Great Leader? A mentor once summed it up to me many years ago –

You must be little (seem insignificant) and serve all.

 

All the best to your Headship Role in life.

Cheers & Ahoy!

The old Cap’n Viking Pirate Evangelist Muscled Monk … & what it means to be a Great Leader

Me, some of my quirks (showing off my muscles, posing at every and any opportunity and my desire to ‘over’ dress than to ‘under’ dress. Also, my quirk of love for dogs (and in particular, my pirate dog) and animals in general.

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The Christmas Nativity Story speaks to our need for Hope

Find your light.
Light your path.
It is YOUR path.
No one can ride that path with you, but YOU.

Your “Right” to something can be very different to doing the “Right’ thing

I am a human and societal observer.

I have been since I was a child and I love it because you learn a lot, just by watching.

Permit me to make this observation: we must be very careful in speaking of our ‘rights’. I think people who constantly refer to their rights tread on dangerous ground. You see this just about everywhere you go in our modern-day, fast-paced societies.

Your ‘right’ to something can be very different to doing the right thing.

That is part of our reality, or a perception of our reality, at least.

Where the land … meets the sea …. meets the sky

The Nativity Scene on Christmas Eve Mass

I signed up my son and daughter to take part in the Nativity Scene on Christmas Eve Mass a few months earlier. My 8 year old son, Zachary, said that I was wrong not to assume that he wanted to participate in it. He said that he was going to church but was adamant he won’t play the “Sheppard” role in the Nativity Play.

Initially, I was angry but then realised that I was at fault for assuming I had the right exercise authority over him, simply because I was his parent. I subsequently apologised to him and said he didn’t have to do it if he didn’t want to.

My wife, Cathy, subsequently persuaded him to play that Head Sheppard role. And he looked and sounded terrific on stage, saying his lines to Mary and the Angels (my daughter, Olivia, played the role of one of the Angels) at the time of Jesus birth. It was beautiful to see them along with other young children re-enact the scene of the Nativity and the birth of Jesus Christ, our saviour in front of a packed out Church.

My initial failure at persuading my son to do the Shepherd role in the Nativity play also reminded me of how difficult I have found when helping people, help themselves to do the ‘right thing’ as they move towards their best selves. Despite presenting all the evidence and logical reasons for making or choosing healthier options with regards to habits, doing so is very very difficult for many.

Thank you Zachary for the reminder.

Father-son relationships take work
A lot of work

Failing as a Dad

After that heated debate with my son, I contemplated my failure as a Dad in relation to what I was observing quite readily in society – that many were referring to and claiming ‘their Right” but not necessarily considering whether they were doing “the Right” thing.

I thought about these questions: do you have the unqualified right to the respect of your children? Do you have an unqualified right to the respect of your spouse for that matter? Do you have every right to exercise authority over your children?

The answer is – No, you don’t!

You certainly DO NOT have an “unqualified right.”

You have a parental duty from God and you cannot sever that right. So, let’s ask this question: –

“Does and should a person demand his rights?”

So, I believe, God grants us ‘our rights’, but in so doing, these rights are only that, and no more … these rights are only granted to fulfil his or her duties. I know I have failed my children many times in this aspect of parenthood and especially in being a Father. I am certainly far from perfect and still very much a Work-in-progress…. in being the Best Dad I can be and also a better husband to my wife.

What do you think?

Believe or not believe.
Get your ass off the pole of the fence (stop sitting on the fence!)
Choose.

Duty to God, first

As parents, we automatically get ‘parental duties’ imposed on us and most of us, embrace them. It should not be forgotten that these parental duties apply towards God and to our children. Then, and only then, should we speak of our ‘parental rights’.

Duty to God, first.

Bare your cross.
Then …
Help someone else carry their’s … only if you can manage both

To exercise and respect, Authority

Each generation speaks of and writes about the rebellious spirit of children and young people of the generation that comes after them. Why do think this is so?

On one hand, it is one of education, whereby I believe, the children have never learned respect for authority as their parents didn’t know better and had not exercised authority. However, on the other hand, it is very possible that these children did not learn respect for authority because the parents misused it. Or parents have completely different views of respect for authority and demonstrate this towards one another in front of the children.

I’m sure there are many of you out there who feel that you’re not respected by something your wife, husband, partner said or did. One or both parties then abuse their authority and supposed power over each other.

It is no wonder, that in life, we have so many examples of men and women, inevitably, abuse power when they attain so much of it.

With the next generation of Valentine males – Zachary.

Authority: a God-given Weapon

We had a major disagreement this morning – my wife, kids and I and some things were said that hurt each other. I needed ‘time-out’ to cool down so I listened to some ‘Enya”. Her musical frequencies (songs) has certainly resonated with my brain wavelengths since I first heard her musci in the early 90s.

All relationships take work and disagreements is simply what people who love each other do … very similar to building and keeping good quality lean muscle mass. You hurt the muscle area (through repeatedly lifting weights and increasing the load/hurt on the muscle over time)… then, feeding it with the necessary nutrition (love and care) and allowing the muscle/person/relationship to heal/recover and become bigger, more shapely and better.

That is a very simplified version of loving relationships.

I think I was guilty of abusing my authority as a Dad and raised my voice unnecessarily when arguing. I was wrong to do that and I demonstrated a lack of control and respect for my power in my family. Others were guilty of it too but I won’t go in to that here.

Authority should not be toyed with. A person that is given that power to wield this authority over others, should understand that it is a God-given weapon.

All who wields this Power (like us, parents), must be constantly vigilant on it’s use and abuse of it. One should always be ‘on guard’ lest you misuse it for selfish ends.

Authority, must never be exercised in an arbitrary, unreasonable manner.

The world is still crying out for more Leaders who exemplify the utmost discipline in the respect of and exercise of authority and power. Leaders that go from good to Great.

Praise the Lord!

My son, the Shepherd

Zachary’s role in the Nativity was – one of the Shepherds.

Got me thinking about the question why, the shepherds?

The announcement of Jesus birth went to the Shepherds, first. Why? I mean, God didn’t go to the Theologians or the elite? The first group would have probably consulted their commentaries and the latter, may have looked around nervously to see if anybody was watching. What about the successful, why not them?

Well, maybe, they would have consulted their calendars because they were so ‘busy.’

Instead, God went to the Shepherds. Why, I ask?

Maybe, it is because they didn’t have a reputation to protect or an axe to grind or a ladder to climb. They were simple men, who maybe, didn’t know enough to tell God that angels don’t sing to sheep and that messiahs are not found wrapped in rags and sleeping in a feed trough.

I have seen this re-enactment play out on Christmas Eve masses many times over the years but it is only yesterday in Zachary’s role playing, my son, the Shepherd … that I asked those questions.

Like my failure to persuade my son to take part in the Nativity initially, many things in life and what we call ‘reality’ is heavily influenced in being able to communicate effectively through storytelling. The Nativity is a great story and the Bible has a collection of great stories, written by wonderful storytellers. Stories that connect and move people. Even all these centuries later, like we do today.

Maybe, we can all learn how to be better story-tellers now and for the rest of our lives to be more effective communicators.

Me and my children.
Children gives you a hint of eternity.
A true blessing to be graced with seeds.
Vv.

Christmas is about … Hope … the vision of Life

Christmas is about many things, to different people. In yesterday’s mass, one of the 3 things he asked the members to consider was that Christmas was not just about ‘your immediate family’ but should be about others. About asking yourself what can you GIVE to others, in whatever shape or form.

I felt good that my family did give.

My wife helped encourage my children to practise sessions of the play leading up to the mass in which they gave their performance. I gave my voice as a member of the Church Choir during mass and helped set up the hall prior to mass. I was happy we ‘gave.’

Here, I am again, in the early hours of Christmas morning, giving you my thoughts … through my writing and I hope it add some value to you and your life, however, small it may be.

It is my gift to you, this Christmas Day.

Don’t give up, don’t give up on what you believe in .. . don’t give up, but use the chance to return to HOPE. Hope that everything will be better and as you imagined.

There are many good and bad things Religions of the world represents. However, the one thing that I believe Religions of the world provide is a strong pathway for the individual towards Hope. This belonging to a sense of Collective Faith is very powerful … which is reflected in Christians all around the world celebrating Christmas Day.

Hope, ultimately is all that we have in life.

Hope is ultimately, all we have in this life

Remember, to stoop in the presence of Greatness

In church, there are moments when we are required to ‘stoop’ or bow our heads or kneel when we are talking to Jesus and God. That is what you do when you meet or are in the presence of Greatness.

Jesus was a great man, a great Leader, a great Messiah. He still is, many centuries later.

As I see it, as you go through life, you can see the world and everything it has to offer – standing tall. But, to witness the Saviour, you have to get on your knees.

So …

While the theologians were sleeping;

And the elite were dreaming

And the successful were snoring …

The meek were kneeling.

They (the Shepherds) were kneeling before the One, our Saviour .. that only the meek will see.

That is the Nativity. That is Christmas Day. They were kneeling in front of Jesus, the son of God.

Remember, to stoop in the presence of Greatness, like my son reminded me in his role of a Shepherd in this year’s Nativity Play.

Thank you, son … for the life lessons you’ve taught me.

My prayer for my son …

I pray that from today forward, I may be the greatest example to you of someone (a Gentle Man in this case), who not only recognises and exercises authority when appropriate but also respects the power it allows me to wield.

In all areas of life, especially, as a parent.

Merry Christmas to you and your family,

 

From my family or Valentine Viking Pirates …

 

Cheers & Ahoy!

The Old Cap’n Viking Pirate Evangelist Muscled Monk … & Shepherd Lessons from my son’s Nativity Role

Find your strengths.
Society only rewards when you’re working from your strengths.
Work to your strengths.
Give your Gifts.
Live.
I like this hat.

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