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A new chapter

As one chapter in life draws to a close, another is set to begin…

One morning earlier this week, I was about to head outside to post a birthday card, when our youngest daughter Cristi was also just departing for school.  I asked if I could join her on her walk to school and she agreed that I could.

All at once, memories flooded back of the many times over the last 20 years of walking to school with our children. Walking through the rain, wind, snow and sunshine have all been experiences we’ve shared together.  The days of holding each of their hands have long since gone.  Tiny steps, eventually grew into strides together.

Walking with Cristi, I recognised quickly that this was likely to be the very last time I walked with her on part of her journey to school.  Her school days are swiftly drawing to a close, with only a few days left to go.  We talked, we laughed and to be honest, I did get a little emotional. Just for a moment there was a little tear in my eye.  I realised that the school days of our children chapter of our life together, was now rapidly drawing to an end.  As we reached Dot, the lollipop lady, we wished each other well.

Our Book of Life

Like a book, life has a beginning, and end, and a lot of chapters in between that push us forward from one event to another.  Each of us will begin many new chapters in our own book of life.  Some chapters are challenging and difficult, others are fun and exciting.  Momentarily, a little bit of sentimentality also played into my own book, with this little walk for sure.  Another sweet memory was added into my own book of life.

Ultimately change happens for each of us.

Accepting change can be hard and exciting too, as we turn the page of a new chapter in life.  For us, there are a whole new set of adventures ahead, Belgium/Netherlands beckons!!

What changes and new chapters are you set to write about in your very own book of life?

Pranks!

Siblings can be annoying at times, right? (I guess I can be too sometimes – LOL!) Challenging behaviour isn’t only limited to siblings, but work colleagues and others too. Here’s one solution that worked for me!
Visiting the beach in summertime was a regular occurrence in our family. It was a short train ride to the beach at Kinghorn. Arriving at the station, we’d walk down the steep slope and then create many fond childhood memories on the beach together, sandcastles, swimming, ice cream, games – the whole shebang.
I recall one particular trip, my big brother was even more annoying than usual with his pranks. As time passed by that day, in a moment of playfulness, I hatched a master-plan. Along the beachfront, I went hunting for a starfish (he didn’t like them). After finding one, I searched for my brother. I managed to sneak up on him, starfish in hand, yet at the last moment, he saw me coming and he took off! I took aim and threw the starfish at my brother. And then, the moment of real joy, with its strong glue like suction pads it fastened itself to my brothers back! The terror on my brothers face was a delight to behold!!
The moral of the story, well that’s debatable! I’m sure you’ll find your own. For me, sometimes its best to reprove with sharpness and show an increase of love afterwards! 😍
What is your favourite prank?

Thank you NHS

Millions are suffering. Fear, worry and anxiety have gripped the hearts of so many. Hundreds of thousands of lives are being lost.
Despite all this, I have personally witnessed a flood of helping hands. Kind acts of compassion and service have touched the hearts of millions.
Many homes, pubs, churches, community centres, businesses, colleges, universities, sports clubs and many others have opened their doors to help. In addition thousands of individuals have transformed their local communities by selflessly giving of their time and energy in a multitude of kind acts of service, establishing food banks or simply going out of their way to do good. I cannot say enough about them, for their goodness, drive and vitality.
We are now witness to a Herculean effort by our NHS in the UK and health organisations the world over, to vaccinate populations in record times as COVID-19 spirals out of control. The next few weeks will be challenging. There may be a few more bumps in the road, but I’d like to express my gratitude and thanks to those who serve tirelessly, lovingly and so compassionately. The very least we can do is pray for them every day.
You know who you are. We are indebted to each of you.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart and depths of my soul.

Council Together

I am grateful for the many opportunities to council together with friends, colleagues and especially family members this last year.

There have been many challenges to address over the last few months and as I look to the year ahead, I am certain there will be many more.

Meeting together as a family council, we set technologies aside, we listen to one another, we discuss concerns, we make plans, set goals, we support and strengthen one another. Jointly, we search for solutions to the problems of the day. When open and candid conversation is filled with love, patience, kindness and respect for the opinions of each other, the council has always been a success.

In addition, when each member of the family is invited to contribute to the discussion, they can and do feel part of any decision reached. In turn, this leads to positive reinforcement of their own feelings and supports our family to move forward in a unified manner, as we each take ownership of the issue.

Whether it is around the family dinner table, the work canteen table, or the board room table, the principles of sitting in council together are universal.

Why not give it a go today? Focus on an issue and ask – What can we do about it? What are your ideas?

What holds your team together?

Evidence in the garden suggested the storm had been a rough one.

There was damage in the garden, including one of the ceramic pots which had been blown over and was broken into several pieces. My wife and I discussed our options. We determined to visit our local garden centre to purchase a replacement. However, we couldn’t settle on a new pot and instead a little later we decided to repair the broken pot and bought some glue instead. A few days later, the pot, showing its age a little, plus with some wear and tear, was repaired and functional once more, adding to the surroundings of the garden.

In a like manner, it struck me how powerful cohesion is and the importance of glue in many aspects of life, especially through this year. I considered my family, teams I’ve worked in through my career, then subsequently groups and organisations I have worked with in 2020. What is the glue, the cohesion, the bond that unites us, that keeps us sticking together and from falling apart? In life, we can choose – out with the old, in with the new or repair.

Unity, love, purpose, meaning, joy, happiness, a sense of belonging are all indicators of cohesive teams.

In your family, community, teams and organisations what is the glue that holds you together?

Loud voices

As the flames rage, smoke billows and the embers burn, 𝐦𝐚𝐧𝐲 loud voices argue on……good morning world.

Global Pandemic, economic carnage, climate change, terrorism, disease – need I go on!

The world is in commotion.

Welcome to Planet Earth – 2020

What can I do? What can we do?

Sure, I can make certain that I follow social distancing, recycle my waste and follow the laws of the land.

And yet, this morning, like every morning, somehow I look to the future with hope for a better world, a brighter future.

There are better days ahead. We will get through this challenge. And the next , and the next and the next.

You see, I can choose to make a difference every single day.

An act of kindness.

An act of service.

An act of compassion.

There is always someone to reach out to.

Just open your eyes and look.

It is up to you and me, to make a difference, every single day, one by one.

What will you choose to do today?

Slow Ahead

Are your summer holiday plans in ruin? Our hopes of a Norwegian Fjord cruise planned for July with a dear friend faded, as the global pandemic impacted holidaymakers the world over.

And what now? In the current global turmoil, holidays almost seem so trivial.

Waking up this morning to the disturbing news of further rioting in the USA over the death of George Floyd, put into context any thoughts of holidays.  Watching the protests and Trump’s response was tragic. Slow ahead or even half astern may be more appropriate terms to use as chaos unfolds in the land of dreams.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr said in 1962, “We are simply seeking to bring into full realization the American dream – a dream yet unfulfilled. A dream of equality, of opportunity, of privilege of property widely distributed; a dream of a land where men no longer argue that the color of a mans skin determines the content of his character, the dream of a land where every man will respect the dignity and worth of human personality.”

Currently, there are many leaders sat in the Captain’s chair. Their greatest challenge is to navigate their organisations and governments through stormy waters, into a safe harbour – slow ahead. Working together, building mutual respect, understanding and leading by serving one another is key.

Consider this question – how can I best serve others?