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To the Rescue

๐Œ๐ž๐ž๐ญ ๐ƒ๐ž๐ฑ…
He is an energetic 2-year-old Jack Russell Terrier that belongs to my Dutch in laws โ€“ Simone & Guus.
Every now and again, I get to spend some time with Dex.
Yesterday was one of those days. ๐Ÿ™‚
Gleefully, we went on a little walk together.
After a few minutes on our walk, although I wanted to go in one direction, it was clear he wanted to go in another!
I relented, and off we went the way he wanted to go.
It turned out to be one of his favourite little fenced parks, dedicated to dogs, so that they can run freely.
Ball and thrower in hand, we commenced our afternoon of activity.
I was happy throwing, and he was very happy chasing.
Enthusiastically, this activity continued for around half an hour.
Then the fun really began!
Putting the ball and thrower away, it was time to depart for home.
He knew exactly what was happening, and certainly did not want to return home.
Off he raced, to hide in the woods!
For the next 45 minutes I tried every single trick in the book to entice him on to his lead.
Little treats, throwing the ball again, ignoring him, patiently trying to corner him near the fence, following him into the woods, then back to laying a trail of treats on the groundโ€ฆ.
The Result โ€“ Nothing! ๐™๐„๐‘๐Ž success!
My patience was wearing very thin!
โ€œTime to call Simoneโ€ I thoughtโ€ฆ
โ€œ๐‡๐ž๐ฅ๐ฉ!โ€ I declared.
She smiled and laughed.
10 minutes later, as Simone and Monic arrived in the park together, Dex ran to Simone!ย  Job done!
Moral of the story โ€“ sometimes you just have to admit defeat, call for help, have a little laugh and wait on others to come to the rescue!
Have you rescued anyone recently?

Honour, Help, Obey

Growing up in Scotland, I enjoyed going to cub scouts for a while.
At the start of every gathering, we would commence by standing, reciting and learning together the value of the Scout Promise –
“On my honour, I promise that I will do my best
To do my duty to God and to the Queen,
To help other people
And to keep the Scout Law”
All encapsulated in the scout salute – honour, help, obey.
I really enjoyed one week in particular with the cub scouts…. “Bob-a-job” was a well known phrase in the 1970’s.
As a cub scout, I recall doing various jobs for a “bob” a “shilling” or 5p in today’s money. I guess these days that 5p would be worth about ยฃ1.50 now. Essentially, through simple tasks, we were gaining the opportunity to do a little work and at the same time, doing something good in the community.
Little things oftentimes make a huge difference – and I believe it did for me. I remember knocking on many doors and giving out a yellow sticker for them to place in their windows – whenever a job was done.
In our lives, there are many opportunities for us to make commitments in each of these three values. By and by, I have learned that there is great safety and power in each principle, by choosing to live them daily.
I hope that we all look for opportunities to honour others, not only to do right, but to do goodโ€”not to be seen of others, but because it is simply the right thing to do.
How can you honour someone today?

Friendship

What new friendships have you made this year?
Reflecting this morning, on the year gone by, I got to thinking about all my friendships anew.
There have been many, all across the world.
A friend cares.
A friend is honest.
A friend reaches out.
A friend listens.
A friend loves.
To all my friends old and new, I discovered a poem that encapsulates how I feel about each of you. I have no idea who wrote it. Enjoy.

“๐€ ๐…๐ซ๐ข๐ž๐ง๐ ๐‹๐ข๐ค๐ž ๐˜๐จ๐ฎ”

Thereโ€™s a tenderness comes stealing
Oโ€™er this heart of mine today
And a warm and happy feeling
That can never fade away;
Just a feeling that is growing
Every day each long year through โ€“
Itโ€™s the joy that comes through knowing
That I have a friend like you.
Round my heart are memories clinging
Of the golden days of old.
And they set my soul a-singing
With a happiness untold.
Yes, our pulsing heart throbs, treasured
Through the years of friendship true
Make me prize the love unmeasured
Of a good old friend like you.
Every passing day I wish you
All the joy your heart will hold;
May success be always with you
As the coming years unfold.
That the fast-approaching morrows
May see all your dreams come true
And contain but minor sorrows,
In my wish, dear friend, for you.
May our friendship grow and strengthen
In the misty years to come,
So that when lifeโ€™s shadows lengthen
And our mortal race is run,
We may still be friends united โ€“
Still be comrades staunch and true;
That our ways may eโ€™er be lighted,
Yours by me and mine by you.
To all my friends old and new, I hope that 2022, brings you all your hopes and dreams you could ever wish for.
From one good friend to another – Much Love. ๐Ÿ’•

Dealing with stress…

Recently I was asked “How do you cope with stressful situations” .
Sometimes, it may just feel easier to hide and run away!
However, I recalled an experience from some 25 years ago that I’d like to share again today.
I was just finishing at University, newly married and working part time at an Asda petrol station to pay the bills.
It was a typical Saturday morning, just before Christmas, with traffic flow starting to build. Sadly, after opening up the forecourt at 7am, my colleague who was supposed to be in the second booth didn’t show up for work – I found out later he called in sick.
With no other trained Petrol Station colleagues available until 1pm, I knew I was in for a rough shift – especially if just one forecourt problem arose.
So with one booth closed and no pay at pump facility in those days, all the Saturday morning traffic was funnelled into my lane.
By 10am that morning, traffic was queuing all the way into the main car park, customers were becoming impatient and obscenities were starting to be hurled my way.
Luckily for me that day – there was no equipment failure – which had it occurred would have been disastrous – but I did learn five useful lessons about stress that I have never forgotten.
1. Ask for help
2. Control your emotions – as best you as you can.
3. Focus on the task at hand
4. Stay Calm – breathe
5. Find something to laugh about
I survived and you can too!
#stress

Friendship

And that’s the end of our first full month (already!), back home in the Netherlands.

One thing that has struck me is the importance of ๐Ÿ๐ซ๐ข๐ž๐ง๐๐ฌ๐ก๐ข๐ฉ.

We have spent a large chunk of our first month making lots of new friends and reacquainting ourselves with many old ones too.

As we have visited together, we have laughed, cried, talked, sung, enjoyed meals, walked, played games, hugged, encouraged, helped and above all really listened to one another’s stories and experiences.

It has been a real joy to be with such wonderful friends.

My experience is that all of our interactions together are made more enjoyable and productive when they are accompanied by genuine feelings of friendship.

I remember years ago the counsel from Ralph Waldo Emerson who said โ€œ๐“๐ก๐ž ๐จ๐ง๐ฅ๐ฒ ๐ฐ๐š๐ฒ ๐ญ๐จ ๐ก๐š๐ฏ๐ž ๐š ๐Ÿ๐ซ๐ข๐ž๐ง๐ ๐ข๐ฌ ๐ญ๐จ ๐›๐ž ๐จ๐ง๐ž.โ€

To be a good friend, show genuine interest in others, smile, care about them, be kind, be grateful and show respect. Above all…

– ๐๐ž Real
– ๐๐ž You
– ๐๐ž your authentic self!

Being who you are is key!

What kind of friend are you?

Generosity

When you think of a generous person, who first comes to mind?

Generosity – “a willingness to give help or support, especially more than is usual or expected.”

Who has inspired you the most to greater generosity?

I hope that it won’t be some famous celebrities or philanthropists, rather it’ll be a family member, a friend, someone in the community, or a co-worker perhaps.

โ€œYou can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.” said Debbie Macomber.

One by One.
Act by Act.
Service by Service.
Little by Little.
Each of us can make a difference.

I am encouraged by the words of the Dalai Lama who said – โ€œGenerosity is the most natural outward expression of an inner attitude of compassion and loving-kindness.”

We simply don’t talk about generosity enough.

We desperately need more men and women in society at large to look around, to look beyond themselves and consider the needs of others. To become more selfless, outward looking, to give more, to be more compassionate and much, much more generous. Some will think it airy-fairy. Yet, it is a powerful, personal, potent, peace giving potion.

What can you do, who will you help today?

Love one another

As we looked across the street I saw our neighbour’s door wide open, “that’s strange” I said to Monic. Even stranger, keys were still in the lock and her car was gone.
Worriedly, we crossed the road, rang her bell, but alas no answer. We alerted her next door neighbour and after some discussion we all decided to go in and look around. We checked everywhere and thankfully, all was in order.
Next, we locked up her home, keeping the set of keys. A call was made to her mobile phone, but there was no answer, so a voicemail message was left. Another few hours passed. Later that day we found out that our neighbour had been completely distracted by a pressing matter and had simply left for work and forgot to close and lock her front door.
Thankfully, all was well.
When asked by a Lawyer which of the commandments was the greatest, our Saviour Jesus Christ answered by summarising all of the commandments as follows… โ€œThou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.โ€ – Matthew 22: 37-39
I’d like to share three short experiences from this week, all of which happened whilst walking home. Each reminded me about how important it is to “love thy neighbour”.

#1

A few neighbours a little distance from our home were having a terrible argument on the street. It was just awful. There were raised voices, several expletives used by each other, name calling and accusations made. It wasn’t a pleasant thing to witness, before it all calmed down.

#2

Monic and I witnessed an old lady stumble and then fall across the road. Along with 1 or 2 others we quickly ran to assist, providing some tender care until she had caught her breath and could stand once more.

#3

Our own dear neighbour, who is approaching her 90th birthday, who we have grown to love and respect so much over the last 15 years, is becoming quite frail and poorly. She is the most wonderful christian lady and has been an incredible neighbour. Lately it has been quite difficult for her. Her family have rallied around and we too visit frequently to help as best we can. Arriving home the other day, I discovered that she had fallen on the garden path, whilst carrying her washing basket. In a tender moment, I reached down, cradled her in my arms and after a little while helped her back to her feet, clasping her fragile hands in my own.
How difficult is it to follow the Saviour’s admonition to simply ๐ฅ๐จ๐ฏ๐ž ๐จ๐ง๐ž ๐š๐ง๐จ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ซ? Opportunities to serve and minister are all around us, if we will but open our eyes and see.
Through our own conduct, with warm hearts, tender acts of gentleness and kindness, lets take time to uplift all of those who whose hands may be hanging down and wearying. We too can follow the example of Jesus Christ and honour the two great commandments, by simply loving one another.

Out of your depth?

When was the last time you were “out of your depth?”

Out of your depth – “not having the knowledge, experience, or skills to deal with a particular subject or situation.”

This week, I have experienced major IT problems with my laptop. My own efforts to resolve the matter, just seemed to make it worse. I was out of my depth for sure! I had no idea what was going on with Outlook, and it was just going from bad to worse – causing me all kinds of frustrations and major communication issues.

There is never a good time for technology to fail.

So, I decided to go for a walk, got some fresh air realising that I needed some help.

I contacted Managed IT Experts. I love their strapline “We make technology work for your business” – that’s what I needed. Within minutes he was onto the problem, doing some IT wizardry, resolving the issue at hand and had me back up and running once again.

Lesson learned – sometimes its best to call in the experts when you are well out of your depth!

Thank youย Sergio Andre

Extraordinary

To be someone out of the ordinary means to be successful, unique, and outstanding.
In these extraordinary times, I feel it in my bones, that each of us – more than ever – need to be the very best we can be. It is all too easy for us to look inward and centre our thoughts on the challenges we may face in our individual situations, it can even get us down. But we must look beyond ourselves – it is vital for our families, our communities and our nation.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Even the smallest of simple acts of service, can make a huge difference in the life of a friend or family member.
๐๐จ๐ฐ is the time to act. Just like the sacrifices our healthcare nurses and doctors are giving every single day, we need to forget ourselves and go to work!
For a whole week now I have been following the remarkable story of Captain Tom Moore.ย  Approaching his 100th birthday, he desired to do something extraordinary and raise ยฃ1000 for the NHS.ย  His idea, to complete 100 laps of his garden, with the help of his walking frame. Currently he has just passed ยฃ12 Million. His one simple extraordinary act, has inspired nearly 1 million people to step up and help.
So, again I ask – what can you do?
We have a world to save, a nation to strengthen, a community to help, friends, neighbours and family to bless. One by One. Lets go to work!

A little push

“All it took was a little push” said the taxi driver.ย  Let me turn the clock back to one week ago.

My taxi didn’t arrive at the hotel.ย  Reception ordered me another one – it didn’t show either.ย  So, I walked to the taxi rank a few minutes away and took a taxi to my business client where I was delivering a workshop that day.ย  I always pay by card, but it turned out that he didn’t have a card reader, and I didn’t have any cash.ย  On the way, we stopped at a cash machine.ย  Then we talked.

Our conversation went like this…”So why don’t you have a card reader” I asked. “Well, I have been meaning to do that for a while now” he replied.ย  Probing further “How long is a while?”..”Oh, a few years I think.” Weย  then discussed the benefits of card readers, for his cash flow, for his customers, new business opportunities and his resistance to change.ย  I committed him to get the reader.

Back with the same client this week, I followed up with my taxi driver.ย  He is now the owner of a new card reader.ย  He is also benefiting in lots of ways and loves the new opportunities at hand.ย  For starters he’s had 6 fares from me to help him on his way! “Thank you again for the little push” he said.

Who can you help with a little push to get them on their way?