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I’m not a good Father.

You – a Father, are a Superhero, whether you know it or not.
I tell my kids that when I FUCK UP (and I do)… it is my human side that fucks up (5%) of me. The other times, I’m simply Super.

Finding the Silver Lining in the clouds.

As loving parents, one way we can honour our children and build value into their lives is to help them see the positive gain in troubled times, finding the ‘silver lining’ in the clouds. Do you find yourself doing that as a parent?

Whether we like it or not, before they leave our homes, our sons or daughters may experience moments or even days of doubt, discouragement, loneliness, disappointment or depression. That is all part and parcel of living and being fully human.

They may be betrayed by a friend, fail to get into the school or university the desired or the profession of their choice. You can reflect on your life or like I have, learned from other people’s (parents in this case) – that children could experience being dumped later in life by a girlfriend/boyfriend or spouse, or perhaps experience the disabling results of experimenting with drugs or alcohol.

And with each experience their child suffers, Mums and Dads feel the aftershocks in their hearts … have you felt that? Teaching them the necessary skills of how to respond to these life events and help them overcome these hurdles (if they do happen) is a big part of being a parent.

Teaching and ensuring they understand the life-skills necessary to move forward in life. If I don’t, I would feel like I’m not a good Father.

We all fall and fail in life. The main thing to focus on is picking yourself back up and …
Trying again.
That’s how most babies learn how to move from crawling to walking … and then to running …
and beyond.

Not wrong to avoid pain.

It is certainly not wrong to avoid pain when we can.

But it is wrong to deny problems, ignore them or try to explain them away or ‘push them under the carpet’. I come from a family line of confrontationists but my wife, on the other hand, come from one that ‘pushes things under the carpet’. No one says a bad thing if relates to ‘family’. With my family (extended), if there was a problem with someone or something, people raise it and bring it ‘out in the open’. They speak and ‘thrash’ the issue out amongst themselves and in many cases, individuals run out of words and let their hands/fists ‘do the talking’.

Did I tell you I come from a line of athletic sportspeople, with a strong emphasis on boxing? Anyways, I do. I grew up getting taught how to ‘box/fight’ from professional/semi-professional boxers. I was taught a ‘3-step’ method by my grandfather when I was a child and it has almost never failed me in street fights in my youth.

There are pros and cons of both methods of management of the issue – avoiding confrontation or seeking confrontation. The real skill is in assessing which issue is worth pursuing so as to bring less harm in the short and long term. Especially for your children and your relationship with them.

Most people take a lifetime to learn that art, if they ever do.

The interesting thing is that my wife has learned to be more confrontational and I have learned to be less. We have both learned something from each other. Finding that ‘mid-point’ is the true challenge.

That is one thing I am grateful for, for being married for almost two decades now – that we’ve both helped one another become better people, spiritually.

My wife and kids

Life is difficult and often unfair.

One of the all-time great truths is that ‘life is difficult and often unfair’.

The better we are at seeing through trials to what they can produce in our lives and our children’s lives, the better able we’ll be able to provide calmness, assurance and genuine love to our children, even in the midst of trying times.

In fact, trials have the capacity to bring strength, maturity, courage, genuine love, righteousness and perseverance to those who are willing to be trained by them.

Those are some of the qualities (along with others like patience and integrity, care and compassion) that work to re-enforce in my children and our family household. It is these intangible qualities in life that I hope my childrens’ character are built on.

Especially when the going gets tough in life, which an inevitable part of life. Not matter what happens, I tell them I WILL ALWAYS BELIEVE in them and WILL ALWAYS be in their corner. With these weapons, I encourage them to go out and give it a Try and … DO THEIR BEST. And even if they fail, that’s ok, because most people would not even try.

I teach them the most important thing – COURAGE, to attempt the ridiculous/weird or absurd. For nothing great or impossible ss achieved without courage. As M.C. Escher said –

“Only those who attempt the absurd will achieve the impossible.”

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

What you fear will materialise.

I did a form of Martial Arts called Tae-Kwon Do for about eight years in my youth and achieved multiple Black Belts in that art, by the time I was 19 years old. Martial Arts is a kind of dance, with an opponent. You learn how to dance with your opponent(s) by using their energy and body patterns with and against them to ultimately get them ‘off balance’.

That is one of the keys to being a Father/wife or parent in this life – striving to keep a sense of balance, even as chaos reigns around you. One must remain calm and respond, rather than react to external stimulus that has the potential to ‘knock you off’ balance.

The very things we fear might happen to our children can make them stronger people, depending on their response and our response to their difficulties.

I strongly believe the key to remember as parents is – our children do as we do … not as we say. So, as a responsible parent, becoming a better manager of you – yourself, is an Key component.

Being the BEST YOU, is the building block on which your whole family, especially your kids will, model their behaviour off…when you hear people say –

He or she (referring to your child/ren … is a “chip off the old block’

Every experienced parent knows that bad behaviour in a child rarely happens with no previous signals and no past incidents of disobedience or defiance.

There are always signals of trouble ahead. I always tell people, be more aware of yours surroundings, they speak to you … you usually see the clouds before the storm hits, for example. Alert fathers and mothers notice such signals (in the child/children) in time to intervene and prevent the youngster from skidding into serious mistakes …

A ‘sick day’ from school day for us here, 4 years ago now.
Enjoying the entertainment at Sydney’s beautiful Luna Park.
I never let schooling interfere with my or my family’s education.
Children teach you better conflict resolution skills


Real Wisdom.

Your wisdom in controlling your youngster is one of the best measures of how much you really love and value her. She knows this, whether she has said so in plain words or not. My grandfather was such a parent for me in my childhood. I was blessed I had such a strong and morally upright Real Man to model myself off.

Children need to know that their mother should have a hand in controlling her/him too and her/his father should have an equal share in the job. In my family, my wife and I clearly and repeatedly say that we are co-CEOs in our family. Mummy has certain strengths and daddy has too. For example, when it comes to sternly communicating standards of behaviour, I communicate this very effectively so I do it more often.

Your personal examples are very important, too, along with your rules.

You won’t be able to sell her/him (your children) any double standards on the important issues in life. She or he will come much closer to following what you do and what you believe than what you say about these issues.

Your daughter or son does not have to believe that you are the wisest man in all the world to consider you as a good father. She or he does want to be able to come to you with important questions about life. She needs to see that you are learning and growing, too, that you are open to new ideas, new concepts.

That you have a growth mind-set and embrace change that is relevant and readily adapt.

The future Valentines with the talented Miss Ruby.

Teaching the hearts and minds that are learning how to make this world a better place in which to live.

Being a real father to your children is one job that no one else can ever do as well as you.

Good fathers deserve their full share of top praise, for they are helping to build the loftiest cathedrals in the universe: the hearts and minds that are learning how to make this world a better place in which to live.

 

Hanging out
They love making fun of me these days

Happy Father’s Day to all the responsible fathers reading this and beyond. Let’s not forget all those fathers who have come before us or have left prematurely. May God bless their souls

Enjoy your day and have fun,

Paul

 

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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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Boys to Men

My gritty Viking Pirate Prince – Zachary, is never too far from me. My role as his dad and father in shaping him in to the Man I imagine him to be be is the most important project I will ever undertake. The same applies to my daughter.

A Few Good Men

I loved the Rob Reiner directed movie – “A Few Good Men”, released in 1992. It starred some of Hollywood’s A-Listers like – Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, Kevin Bacon, Cuba Gooding Junior, Demi Moore and so forth. Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise), a US military lawyer, defends two US marines charged with murdering a fellow marine at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba. The needle of suspicion, thus, points to a colonel (Jack Nicholson).

Throughout history, long before the marines or SAS or FBI or special forces … God had always been looking for a Few Good Men:

“For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him” (2 Chronicles 16:9a).

“I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap” (Ezekiel 22:30a).

God, give us Men. Real Men.

God give us Noahs: Someone to whom you can trust your mighty plans;

God give us Abrahams: Men who are willing to leave home and homeland to follow your call;

God give us Josephs: Men who would rather endure prison than violate one of your commands;

God give us Moseses: Men who are willing to stand as your mouthpiece against the most powerful leaders in all the world;

God give us Daniels: Men who would rather face a lions’ den than compromise their faith;

God, give us Men … Real Men!

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

Who are the Real Men?

Have you seen them around?

Let’s name a few that have come forward and ‘spoke out’ and been chastised and ridiculed and effectively ‘tried by media’ before even having a fair trial. To me, they are Men who stand up for what it right … who stand up against Injustice in any shape or form. They are men who stand their ground, even if it means they stand alone. It is for unselfish and most loving men.

Here are a few Men that could be modern-day Noahs, Abrahams, Josephs, Moseses and Daniels: Colin Kapernick; Israel Folau; Quaid Cooper; Russell Brand; Jordan Peterson; Mike Tyson; Mohammad Ali; Malcolm X; Martin Luther King; William Wallace; Luke Sky Walker; Han Solo; The Lord of the Rings; Aragorn; Frodo; Marty McFly from Back to the Future; Bruce Wayne.

Can you name some?

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

Boys To Men

Do you remember that smooth Men Group called “Boyz 2 Men” that was around in the 90s? I loved a few of their songs, they were very talented singers.

There name gives us a clue to what God gives us. He does not give us Men, he gives us boys …. sons.

The reality is that God DOES NOT give us men – he gives us boys.

To us, as parents, he gives us the task of forging these boys into men.

To help equip us for that task, God has provided the book of Proverbs, which is largely the advice of a father to his son …

Father’s Day is just around the corner for us here in Australia. I look forward to it every year for many reasons. One is seeing the creativity my children demonstrate on that day. I having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude that I have children and have the opportunity to play my role as their dad/father and love them unconditionally.

Our children are our legacy.

As a parent, are you taking that thought seriously?

We love muscle and design. We love muscle cars. Here we are at a Car Show in Sydney, Australia. Just love seeing, smelling and feeling the energy that is transmuted by beauty.

My little Batman.

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Notice me, Daddy!

Olivia and Zachary enjoying their time with Ruby.
Being a role model for my children is one of the most important responsibilities I will ever have in my life.
For the rest of my life.
Just like it is for every other dad out there.

A Poem: for All Fathers and Dads 

“Like all Fathers and Dads reading this, I am blessed in many ways,

One such way is having two very beautiful kids;

They are still growing and since their early days,

They know that they didn’t have to strongly bid.

to gain my attention or win my favour,

They know, they always have my attention.

When they do or say anything requiring my emotional labour;

“Notice me, Daddy!”

They know that I’m all theirs –

ALWAYS… there, like a Golfer’s Caddie;

All they have to do is to seek me out,

That is all it takes to grab a Father’s attention,

I’m as close as a joey is in her mother Kangaroo pouch;

That is all it takes to steal a loving Dad’s heart,

“Steal mine away!” I say.

For I will always be your Father, til’ death do us part,

Always be there for you, until that fateful day.”

 

My gift to you,

 

Kind regards,

Paul

 

Paul e Valentine

** Valentine Vitality **

My children striking their version of one of the seven compulsory poses in bodybuilding – the “Front-double biceps” pose.
… and strike!

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

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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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Recognised for being the BEST

Recognition for being the best at something by society is special. It is something each and every one of us continue to search for in our lives.
Here I am with one of my signature poses at the 1st World Natural Bodybuilding Championships I competed in, representing Australia.
They only reward the Top 5.
I made 4th.
Not bad for a boy from the Fiji Islands who not only dared to dream… but to Dream BIG.

Running a political party

Most of you know that once upon a time, I owned and managed a Family Gym for about 7 years, a gym that was me .. and me, it.

It was like running a political party with many factions/sub-groups within sub-groups in the party and I was the Leader/Prime Minister.

We had many sub-groups – policemen/women; ex-police vice – commissioners; ex-inmates; Italians; Greeks; arabs; South Americans; Pacific islanders; Irishmen; Englishmen; Americans; Canadians; French; Germans; Africans; South Africans; dads; mums; athletes; plumbers; electricians; designers; accountants; chairpersons of and senior executives of banks; lawyers; engineers; politicians; powerful businessmen; construction workers; builders; rubbish collectors; … you name it.

We had them. A great cross-section of Australian society. They all belonged to my extended family – of love 💓 (hence, 💓alentine).

And I had to ensure that each sub-group worked well with each other & most of the time they did. But it took work… a lot of work.

And I loved it.

 

A night out with some of the Gentle. Men in my Family Gym.

Conflict Resolution – a skill for Life

I learned a lot.

Chief among them was – The art of negotiations and collaboration with anyone. I was a connector and connected people. I got warring groups to “get along” … that it was ok to “agree to disagree” (luckily there were few and far destructive disagreements). I learned that you can disagree with someone and not feel threatened or does not mean that you hate that person.

From biker gang Bosses and their members to retired citizens … I found myself constantly diffusing problems and potential problems.

Naturally, one of my major strengths now is: Conflict Resolution.

If I can’t provide a solution, I will definitely know someone, who knows someone… who can.

A ‘sick day’ from school day for us here, 4 years ago now.
Enjoying the entertainment at Sydney’s beautiful Luna Park.
I never let schooling interfere with my or my family’s education.
Children teach you better conflict resolution skills

Don’t judge a book by it’s cover

Despite there being so many differences I also learned that we all have more in common then we think … if you –

“don’t judge a book by its cover “.

Very difficult indeed for many but that is what I did … and still do.

I welcomed anyone and everyone in to my gym, with a smile and a question that has stayed with me til today –

“How can I help you?”

The members that were courageous enough to walk through my doors to seek help were .. got my undivided attention. They were invited to be in my extended family if they chose to … and I treated and see them like that ‘til today, even though I don’t speak to many of them since I let the gym go.

My grandfather taught me many things, one of which is not to judge anyone based on the person’s image. And … give people a second chance. Leave the judging to God.

We had a 70:30 ‘split’ between males and females, with age ranging from 90 year old to my son at that time (between 0 and 2 and half years old). Members came from up to 20km away (& drive past 15 other gyms to get there) …and from all levels of society.

We had members from all levels of society … from one of the Top 200 wealthiest people in Australia at that time to some of the less fortunate in the neighbourhood.

This latter group made my gym operation very ‘un-business like’ because I try to do the right thing whenever I can, which is to give people access to my gym facilities even if they didn’t have any money to pay.

 

Gym members of all ages and sizes came to my Family Gym.
They even stopped by to say hello before their High School Formal

A partially Charity Gym

So, my gym was very much a partially Charity gym as I would help almost every person that made their way up the stairs if they made the decision to help themselves. I gave a lot of the members a platform to launch their best selves (many who could not afford to pay their gym membership or coaching. I would help them and never turn anyone away).

I could not & did not turn any person away because I just can’t (when you put yourself in their shoes ), and empathise, you automatically open your arms (even though it goes against everything you learn in your business degree about making $ )

And … expect nothing back. You just GIVE and … Give …&

Provided they genuinely wanted to and would allow me to help them, help themselves.

Basically show them “how to”

And they did.

Me my extended family members; a group of members of my family gym.
They all loved training and being part of the extended family that was my gym
Relationship take time to develop .. just like an Oak Tree needs time to grow

In the years that we entered the Community Business Awards (I think we entered it 3 x) and won our ‘Health & Fitness” category in one year and was finalist in the other two years.

It was certainly a very proud moment for my wife, Cathy and I as it was voted on by the many local communities that make up the Northern Beaches. We were recognised for being the Best at what we did and were the best gym in the Northern Beaches, Sydney, Australia.

Confirmation that the community of people at large agreed with and appreciated mine and my staff’s efforts to provide a vehicle to help people, help themselves … find something they care about.

Because I cared.

I’m content I … “took a stand back then. For 7 years I did. A stand for what I believed in … that every person, irrespective of their background or place in society, should have access to the best help they can get.

My members knew they did,. They didn’t just have any gym owner and coach to guide them, no, they had me, a 2 x World Natural Bodybuilding Champion to help them, help themselves move towards something they cared about. And I enjoyed every challenging minute of it. Even though, it costed me $$$ and thousands of hours of free gym membership and knowledge and ‘know-how’ so people could help themselves.

Simply because of the person that I am.

Giving. I gave them my knowledge and ‘know-how’ … my life and contributed to making the world a better place, by empowering one person at a time.

We received the award from the honourable Government Minister, Miss Bronwyn Bishop.

Was a lovey night.

Lovely memories … of once upon a time … and it is very lovely to say –

“I used to …. do a certain thing at one point in my life .. but I no longer do”

 

Cheers & ahoy!

The old Cap’n Viking Pirate … & a period of time when I used to own and manage a beautiful, one-of-a-kind’ Family Gym

Receiving the Local Small Business Award from the government minister in Australia – Mrs Bronwyn Bishop
Category: Best Gym in the Northern Beaches – Health & Fitness category

 

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Who are YOU?

We’re all captaining our ships through the changing ‘seas of life’.
Captain well, I say. Captain well.
Resolve to continue to get better at life.

Dreams  shape our future.

I have dreams.

Sometimes.

Do you?

One of my dreams is for a future world that is better for all.

It is time for us as men to become Real Men, to put the Gentle back in Man. The world needs more Gentle-Men. It is time for us men to reject this fragile ego business.

We use it (fragile ego) to cover up our failures and avoid looking at ourselves. We need to look at ourselves with honesty and with dignity.

What’s happening to Men? Have men forgotten what it means to be a man?

Thus, the women and children in our lives, who, it seems, have better egos than we do, must pick up the slack. They seem to take responsibility for our actions and feelings.

Our sons become the men we are.
Be responsible to YOU first. Become the Best Real Gentleman you can be – for you, first and … our sons will have the best template they can build on

Resolve.

What has Men become?

Come on guys!

We need to resolve to try to look at ourselves with integrity, let us do some soul searching’. Let us try to struggle honestly. How do we expect to grow as a man, an individual … a human being?

They say that the best way to overcome fears is to face them. Take action. Action eliminates all fear. Face your fears with the comforting belief that God is always by your side.

So, as Men, we need to be confronted by our actions, messages and weaknesses (I know I have many) if we expect to learn and grow.

As I tell all muscle-building enthusiasts, “we need to leave our ego at the door”. Men, I propose that, us men need to stand tall and deliver.

We need to stop hiding behind excuses and refrain from blaming others. We need to discontinue hiding behind phrases like, “This is just the way I am.” What a cop-out, what a load of rubbish!!

Let’s be honest with ourselves, Men.

Being honest with ourselves is probably one of the most courageous things a man can do in his world. Look honestly at his inner soul and take actions to make him a better person.

Continuously.

Let us have a good, hard look at who we are. This is very important to the future of the world.

Why?

With the next generation of Valentine males – Zachary.

Our sons use us as their blueprint

Who YOU are is the best indication of who our sons will become.

The future Champions and Champion Leaders of our future world making decisions that will impact on the fate of the world.

To save the future world, we, as Men, need to save our ‘inner world’ and be the BEST Real Gentlemen we can be. Our future world depends on it.

Again, who are YOU?

Read that last sentence again.

My son and I.
Provide the best blueprint you can of what it means to be a man.
He needs you now more than ever.
Save him now so that tomorrow’s world will be saved too.
Vv.

Let’s all resolve to become increasingly aware. Take sufficient and appropriate actions and most importantly, adapt.

Hard YAKA.

I believe we can do it.

JUST DO IT!

How do we begin?

The answer lies in the question.

BEGIN.

Cheers & Ahoy!!

 

The old Captain Viking Pirate …. & his thoughts on Stopping. Reflecting. Adapting. Taking actions and adapting.

Be the light unto yourself with faith in God.
And then … be the light for the future men of our world – our sons.
Be the light that illuminates the path they are to follow.
We are the source of light in their young lives, with God’s help.

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Substitute Parents.

The old Captain Viking Pirate & his Gritty Warrior Viking Pirate son … enjoying some ‘Father-son” experience.
These moments get etched into the memory bank of great experiences.
Build these up.

What’s on my mind right now?

Kids and being a parent.

Come into my head as I think and type to you my thoughts … (my typing speed is very, very fast … and I don’t look at the keys on the keyboard and type with very high accuracy … anyway)

What does it mean to ‘love’ your kids?

We all have our own definitions of this word and area of love. Good. I think loving your kids, means, in part, that you put them ahead of other concerns in your life (at appropriate phases of life – different for a man and a woman).

You see, what I have seen and observed (being in the gym talking to thousands of parents over the years … and actually owning a gym for 7) … what I have seen is that too many parents are caught up in getting ahead in their careers or that promotion. Or better still … buying a bigger house or playing golf every weekend or buying that expensive car.

I find that they devoted so much energy to those things that they failed to free up the time necessary to really listen to their kids and just ‘be’ with them. Not to be with them when you schedule in to make ‘quality time‘ with them in your busy diary …. no, just to be with them.

It’s no wonder kids are so angry. Their parents aren’t giving them the love and attention they deserve.

I believe if kids don’t see their parents making certain sacrifices in order to work at being good parents, or if they already tried to talk to their parents and have been shut up by them, then they aren’t going to keep trying. They’ll either seek out another adult (as substitute parents) who will listen to them or they will buy into whatever youth culture is telling them to do.

Note: don’t “palm off parental responsibility “ to so-called “coaches” in sport clinics, games clinics etc. not everyone wants to and can be a top sportsman/woman. That is a fact of life. One of the mum’s at Zachary’s Athletics club said to me in our initial meeting that she joined her son in the athletics club to learn how to be confident. She did this because she was told that that was what the ‘other parents’ were doing.

I said that was a misperception.

I told her that the best place to learn confidence and integrity and honesty and care and compassion is in the home. From her, the kid’s parent. Not at some substitute parental course (that was over-and above the skill level of the young coaches employed to teach sport skills … not life skills. They were not qualified Life Coaches, most hadn’t experienced much life yet!).

Give him the scaffolding in your son’s life to help him, help himself build & live a life of significance. With a foundation of good etiquette/manners.

You don’t learn self-confidence and have a healthy self-esteem from school or taking part in sport. You learn confidence and all the intangible traits of a well-adjusted citizen in the home. In a loving home with parents making themselves available. That is where I learned my confidence from … confidence large enough to be the BEST in my sport and compete against the best in the World at two World Natural Bodybuilding Championships. I didn’t learn this off substitute parents. I learned it off family, very close family. I learned how to be a Champion from Champions in my family, and guidance from some very good teachers.

Parents continuously not ‘being there’ for their children when necessary is one of the reasons the rate of sexually transmitted diseases – and the rate of teen pregnancy – is very high (and still rising).

Kids are not being loved by their parents (because parents make selfish choices & employers/organisations that don’t support flexible working ideas) …. so these kids accept a cheap substitute. To these kids (to many kids and this has been happening for generations) … it’s better to accept a substitute than to face the hurt of NOT receiving love from their parents.

If you have kids … make the RIGHT choice. For them, for you … and your future relationship with them.

In the years running my gym I have helped many teenage kids (where parents have tried everything) get back on their Life-Track. I have seen “A” students end up with the wrong crowd and end up in jail. I have seen delinquent students and failing students turn their lives around and are now successful business people.

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

I have helped hundreds of kids, help themselves find their best /better selves. I have loved them and gave them that substitute love they never got from their parents. Simply because I cared.

I love mathematics … and I sum it up this way:

Less love and time given to your children in their young years (before 10) …. EQUALS ===> more time spent getting them out of trouble in their teenage years. There is an inverse relationship.

It costs parents more in time, money and heartache and pain in future years.

Make time NOW … before it is too late.

Don’t make the mistake many (previous generations made). There is Power in Two (your partner/wife/husband) and work together to manage the all-important time and love to your growing children.

It will be one of the best and most important investment decisions you will ever make in your life (more than that promotion or that business deal or )…. just like making time to ‘work/train’ your muscles … not just for now … but for your future/old age.

All the very best in your decision

Yours always, in iron and muscles,

Cheers & Ahoy!!

 

The old Captain Viking Pirate … and loving kids … and making the Right decision

A ‘sick day’ from school day for us here, 4 years ago now.
Enjoying the entertainment at Sydney’s beautiful Luna Park.
I never let schooling interfere with my or my family’s education.

Building a good foundation for your childrens’ character is like building good lean quality muscle.
It takes time and patience. Lots of patience but laser-like focus.
Proper exercise techniques and application of relevant principles , compounded over time results in the goal you visualise.
An morally-upright, free-thinking citizen of the world putting his/her hand up to lead if necessary.
As parents, be the best teacher you can be.

Me in my cowboy hat & enjoying a beer (still training my ‘guns’ … drinking my beer)

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Praising your Wife.

In Darling Harbour, Sydney for her sister’s wedding.

Is your wife perfect for you?

My wife, Cathy is perfect for me. She always has been and we have been together for almost twenty years now.

We met at our place of work in the city, she worked on the 30th floor and me on the 29th. We worked for the same Consultancy & Advisory Firm but in different divisions. We all remember the first time we saw/met our wives, don’t we? I’m sure you can tell me your story of how you met your wife.

Mine, well, it wasn’t something fancy, it happened while I was using the photocopying machine. Yep, I fell in love with her smile in one of the photocopying/fax rooms. She gave me the best smile I had received from anyone in a long while … she smiled from the heart.

Working there was a funny time and one of the reasons was that we tried to keep our relationship secret for about a year. However, no matter how hard we tried, we kept getting caught together in the lifts and outside of work – in the city streets or cafes or even on University grounds (as my wife was completing her undergrad degree while she worked). Other work mates used to wonder if we were an item but had no evidence and we later heard that it was even included in the board meeting discussions by the Partners of the Firm.

It was a funny and great phase of our lives together.

Enjoying another habit of ours – eating at a holiday resort in beautiful paradise Islands of Fiji, where I was born and spent my early youth in.

During that period of courtship before marriage, we had more ups then downs. We still have our ups and downs and fights but I think we both knew in the first phase of our relationship that we would wind up married, best friends and partners for life.

Well, I sort of knew earlier on that we were ‘on the same wavelength’ in many facets of our being. I just shared this little story with my two children over dinner recently. The story of how their mum (my wife) and I both went out independently and without any knowledge prior to the fact that we went on the same day and bought a cd of the singer ‘Enya’. We then showed each other what we bought that evening and were both surprised that we did the same thing on the same day without saying a word.

We did this in the first year of our relationship. There were many other instances.

Freaky?

Nope, Quantum Physics says that everything is essentially comprised of waves and frequencies and so … we were figuratively and literally on ‘the same wavelength’ and have been (on most things) ever since.

She has a lovely sense of humour and is very thoughtful, with a thousand other beautiful traits. We enjoy each other and we enjoy life (for the most part).

In a big part and phase of our lives, she was in the background. For example, when I changed careers and pursued my passion of attaining “Peak Performance” in every area of life – physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally … and helping people. I didn’t like the way I saw Personal Trainers/Gym Trainers training people when I was in the gym and thought that I could do much better and give people what they deserve: a more efficient, more effective and most importantly, the most safest way of training and transforming a physique …. using my knowledge and experience to that point.

She was there.

My beautiful and amazing wife, Cathy Valentine.

She had always been in the background in the phase of life that took me to two World Championships in the Sport I love, Natural Bodybuilding, my drive to be not just the BEST in my suburb, my state, my country … but my hunger to be the BEST in the World. I may very lousy trying to be the best in the world at say, Basketball (that would be wishful thinking/delusional thinking) because I was ‘slightly under 6 feet and I couldn’t dunk).

But in the sport of Bodybuilding, I could beat anyone (I thought) on that stage, just like a boxer could beat anyone in the ring in the same weight category. I was born with the right genetics and so had a competitive advantage, just like a tall person playing basketball has a competitive advantage in playing basketball.

My competitive advantages : I was always abnormally strong and fast and the same muscles that made me fast (the Type 2b ‘fast twitch’ muscle fibres) as I learned in my studies of the human body, was also responsible for building quality, lean muscle mass.

Within a year of leaving the Corporate World to pursue my passion of helping people, help themselves, achieve something they care about …  with no ‘Plan B’ … I found myself competing in competitions. I found myself beating the best in my city – Sydney, then I found myself beating the best in my State – NSW. I didn’t stop there … I thought I may as well compete against the best in my country and I did.

I placed 1st runner-up in the Middle Weight NSW Titles and qualified for the World Natural Bodybuilding Championships where the Top 2 of each weight category qualified. I represented Australia and placed in the Top 5 (beating the guy who beat me in Australia in the Australian Titles) in the World two years in a row in the sport. The Sport I fell in love with almost 30 years ago.

 

World Natural Bodybuilding Championships – New York, USA.
Standing with middle-weight (my category) and overall World Champion.
Me – 4th placed in the world
Competitor beside me – 1st place and World champion
Right: My Team Partner and wife – Cathy.

Leading up to that point I was an Accountant, managing a team of young clerks, Accountants and reporting to the CEO.

I had a lot of dreams (and still do) and of them was the dream of doing what I loved to do: to help people, help themselves be the best version of themselves. I knew I knew how and that I had developed my own unique philosophy and techniques “best bred” from all the great champions that have been in the Sport of Bodybuilding for over hundred years. Arnold Schwarzenegger being the most famous of legends.

It was difficult initially but I also believed I could achieve it, that it wasn’t wishful thinking … that I could beat the best in the world in my sport … that I could see myself standing with the best in the world because I believed in me. Luckily, she believed in that dream too. More importantly she believed in me. I developed a quality plan and I (with her help) executed the plan with quality. My years of developing plans for consulting jobs for large corporate clients was very useful here.

She was always there when I lived and breathed the running of my gym and helping everyone that I considered to be my Extended Family of members that just happened to be my gym members.

I couldn’t have done that without her support.

Her work was not as visible and maybe, to some people, not as important. But, my efforts and results would be nothing without a wife like her. What most people don’t realise is that something is as real and true in my family (I have two beautiful kids and a dog now) as it is in almost any man’s family:

What our wives do and have done is much more valuable in terms of eternity than anything we could ever do.

Ten years from now my name may appear in the Fiji Sports Hall of Fame or maybe Australia’s too. That may be part of my legacy. I am still a fan of the sport and almost all sports. I don’t get up on stage competitively like I used to but I still watch and cheer along with every other fan.

But my wife, Cathy’s accomplishments, unknown to most people, will be honoured for eternity. What she has done and is still doing for our family. She’s been there for my children in the early years of their lives … almost been the father and mother to them, when I spent years leaving the house very early (before 5am) and getting home late (after 9:30pm) when I used to run a gym for 7 years.

I just love this photo of my wife.

That is a phase of life I will always remember and appreciate. She was superhuman because she got help from no one as the gym and my extended family of members and my goals to be the best in the world took up my time and energy.

In the last number of years of this phase of life, she has learned to ‘fly’ again after having kids. She is now in the foreground and flourishing in her career as I take a backseat and invested my time in the children and develop other ideas that I see opportunities for.

I am excited for her and her growth in this phase of her life.

To all you men reading this, be and give the support your wife/woman needs and learn to adapt to the different phases of life.

God reminds me that yes, she is my wife and mother of our children and key part of my family but she is also Cathy Valentine – an individual, separate, looking for growth and progress in her being.

Husbands, be the wind beneath her wings. Sit back and see her fly … and go ‘wow!’

Thank God for all your blessings, which should always include your wife.

Ahoy and until next time!

 

Yours in iron and muscles,

The Old Captain Viking Pirate Fiji Islands – born Muscle Monk

Here we are … my beautiful wife and I.
at a dinner party.

Mr & Mrs Paul e Valentine.

Standard