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Patterns

That’s a 3-year-old me on the left, with my younger sister – both wearing cardigans knitted by my mum.
Throughout her life, mum used knitting patterns to create woollen wonders.
As a child I recall watching my mum knitting hats, socks, gloves, scarves, shawls, cardigans, jumpers and so forth! As she settled down to watch the television, she would inevitably pull out her latest knitting project – and off she went.
On a few occasions Iโ€™ve tried my hand at knitting.

Knitting

Mum gave me some pointers on casting on, and the appropriate techniques – but then I had to learn the pattern!
Have you ever tried reading a knitting pattern?
To the uninitiated, they can look like a foreign language, cast on 140 sts, knit 1, purl 1 repeat etc!
But to those who know – they are a sure pattern, followed precisely, will lead to success, each and every time. Indeed, their beauty is in their simplicity, if you understand the direction. Each pattern doesn’t just suddenly appear, it needs to be carefully considered, written and practised.
As we stand on the shoulders of those giants who have preceded us, who have lived by these patterns before, we soon realise that we can replicate success or failure depending upon the patterns of life we choose to live by.
Just as there are many thousands of well used knitting patterns, in a like manner, there are tried and tested “patterns for life” that once understood and emulated will always lead you to higher ground.
In fact, followed with exactness these patterns will always lead to success.
So what are these patterns and how do we follow them in our lives?
And by following them, what will we become?
Regarding the fundamental nature of our characters, Gordon B. Hinckley stated that; “The course of our lives is not determined by great, awesome decisions…….our direction is set by the little day-to-day choices which chart the track on which we run.
If we apply that maxim to our lives, we could say that we are the result of many small decisions.
In effect, we are the product of our choices. We must develop the capacity to recall the past, to evaluate the present, and to look into the future in order to accomplish in our lives.

Patterns for Life

Likewise I believe that we can succeed in life by following simple patterns.
1. ๐ƒ๐จ ๐ฌ๐จ๐ฆ๐ž๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐‹๐จ๐ฏ๐ž. In your work and career choices, its a simple fact that if you do something that you love – then you will never work one day in your life. If you are currently following the wrong pattern – then perhaps you need a new one?
2. ๐…๐ข๐ง๐ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ ๐๐ฎ๐ซ๐ฉ๐จ๐ฌ๐ž. Take it one step at a time, for some it may take a lifetime to discover. But most importantly along the way, you need to apply pattern #1 – do something you love! That will help you to find your purpose and meaning in life and your work. Are you currently using the wrong-coloured wool and need a new yarn?
3. ๐’๐ž๐ซ๐ฏ๐ž ๐Ž๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ. Find out exactly who you can help and serve along the way. Follow the promptings of your heart and apply pattern #1 – give service through doing something you love! This will help you find even more joy in the journey. Perhaps you are using the wrong sized needles and you need some larger ones?
4. ๐“๐š๐ค๐ž ๐€๐œ๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง. Choose to Act, and not be acted upon.
I know that our daily actions will determine our character. Take ownership of your own personal journey. What’s holding you back, is it perhaps that you have got stuck with a complicated part of your pattern? Why not seek out a personal coach to help you along the way? In turn they can help you to interpret the pattern for your life.
For me, I have witnessed a lifetime of beautiful woollen wonders created by mum and many others who can read the patterns.
In a like manner as we form our patterns for life, our life will be formed by those patterns.
Get yourself organised!!
Why not follow a new pattern, get some new yarn, some different needles for yourself, home and career today by knitting together some life changing habits – you won’t regret it!
๐–๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐ซ๐ž๐ฉ๐ž๐š๐ญ๐ž๐ ๐ฉ๐š๐ญ๐ญ๐ž๐ซ๐ง๐ฌ ๐š๐ซ๐ž ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐ค๐ง๐ข๐ญ๐ญ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ข๐ง๐ญ๐จ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐Ÿ๐š๐›๐ซ๐ข๐œ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ ๐ฅ๐ข๐Ÿ๐ž?

A Heroes Journey

Have any of these people touched your heart recently?
Harry Potter, Spiderman, Batman, Superman, Ironman, Wolverine, Black Panther, Hulk, Cinderella, Bambi, Snow White, Luke Skywalker, Simba (Lion King), Maverick, all of the X-Men, Kung Fu Panda, Aladdin, Tarzan, Buzz Lightyear, Peter Pan, Ariel (Little Mermaid), Bilbo Baggins, Wall-E and many moreโ€ฆ.
What do they all have in common?
You may be surprised to learn that every character listed is an orphan or a semi-orphan (separated from at least one parent).
The Orphan Hero is not new in storytelling.
Is it a coincidence?
So, what is the purpose of creating such characters?
May it somehow represent a journey that all of us need to go through?
There are usually different parts to a typical storyline.

The Storyline

Firstly, there is usually some kind of awakening story shaped by adversity of some kind.
Secondly, as the heroโ€™s journey commences, there is a provocation of sorts that stimulates an awakening, frequently with a mentor on hand (usually older).
Thirdly, on their journey, the hero discovers some purpose, or true identity and embraces their own authenticity.
Through triumph and tragedy these movie characters have all played into large chunks of our lifeโ€™s.
Without their parents, we are drawn into the storyline by the insecurity that is created. Perhaps we even start to imagine how weโ€™d react to such perils in our own life.
Subsequently, the characters are all forced to deal with the challenges of the respective storyline and almost always faced with one or several transformational experiences.
As a coach and mentor, Iโ€™ve noticed that there is frequently a guide who plays a special part in the journey.
For example – Gandalf, Yoda, Obi Wan Kenobi, Dumbledore, Alfred, Xavier and many more.
Generally, these characters have a central role in the story and oftentimes eventually disappear.
The Heroโ€™s Journey is in fact a formulaic template used successfully for generations.
Although formulaic, this journey is open to all of us.
Consider the adversities and challenges you have overcome in your own life.
What story are you living?
Do you have a mentor or guide?
What makes a real hero for you?

Words Matter

Do you listen to your heart?

Words matter.

All week long one word has played continually into my thoughts.

Iโ€™ve felt as if it has been etched not only upon, but also into my heart and mind.

No matter where I went, or what I did, it would always return.

Itโ€™s an unusual word.

Indefatigabilityโ€ฆ! (Dutch โ€“ onvermoeibaarheid)

I wasnโ€™t even too certain what it meant, so I looked up the dictionary definition.

โ€œTireless determination, incapable of being tired out; not yielding to fatigue; untiring.โ€

I reflected upon the definition for a while.

I questioned myself and asked “What does this word mean for me?”

After a while, I began to understand.

Day in, day out, week in, week out, I am surrounded by young missionaries who possess the most remarkable indefatigable spirit.

I am with them, constantly.

Being with them one by one, in group training sessions and large conferences, I am reminded of the desire of their hearts to share their witness and testimony of Jesus Christ.

They all take several knocks โ€“ daily.

GRIT

Yet, each of them possesses grit!

True grit!ย  And Iโ€™m not talking about John Wayne!

A toughness, an indefatigable resilient courage, to bounce back, again and again and again.

As defined by Angela Duckworth, grit is โ€œOur passion and perseverance to reach long term goals.โ€

I am so grateful for my association with each and every one of them.

They have been called from many different countries and cultures all across the world to bring a message of hope and peace to a world that is in constant peril and commotion. (2 Timothy 3:3/D&C 45:26)

Through my personal interactions with each of them, I am a witness to the fact, that they possess an indefatigable zeal and testimony of the message they share.

It is a message of great hope, peace and centred in their love of Jesus Christ.

I know that when the focus of our lives is on Jesus Christ and His gospel, we can feel joy, regardless of what is happeningโ€”or not happeningโ€”in the world or in our lives.

As President Russell M. Nelson has said โ€œthe joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives and everything to do with the focus of our lives.โ€

If you want to find real joy, peace, purpose and meaning in life, then I suggest you listen to your heart.

Reach out to one of these indefatigable young men or young women today. They will help refocus your life.

#HearHim

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?

Are you drifting?

One of the common traps of life is ๐’…๐’“๐’Š๐’‡๐’•๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ.

From time to time, all of us are likely to drift.

It is easy to get caught up in the currents of life, outside influences and being carried along with the crowds.

Perhaps you are stuck on autopilot, aimlessly sleepwalking through each and every day, tossed to and fro like a piece of driftwood floating on the seas?

Are you drifting?

Do you know that feeling?

Drift: โ€œto move slowly, especially as a result of outside forces, with no control over directionโ€

Is this what you really want from life, simply to drift?

At some point, just like the driftwood, youโ€™ll be washed up on the shoreline, and may ask yourself, โ€œhow did I get here, why am I here, where am I going?โ€

Have you been washed up yet?

Is it time to take stock and find your purpose in life?

Are you looking for a light to help you navigate through the stormy waters of life?

Now What?

I recall at my fatherโ€™s funeral, a male choir formed of sons, grandsons, and sons-in-law, sang for him his favourite song:

โ€œBrightly beams our fatherโ€™s mercy from his lighthouse evermore,

But to us he gives the keeping of the lights along the shore.

Chorus

Let the lower lights be burning; send a gleam across the wave;

Some poor fainting, struggling seaman you may rescue; you may save.

Dark the night of sin has settled; loud the angry billows roar.

Eager eyes are watching, longing, for the lights along the shore.

Chorus

Trim your feeble lamp, my brother; some poor sailor, tempest tossed,

Trying now to make the harbour, in the darkness may be lost.

Chorus

Jesus Christ can help you to stop drifting through life.ย  He says in John 8:12 โ€œI am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of lifeโ€

The gospel will act as an anchor and stop your drift.

Is it time to stop drifting?

What path are you following?

Where will you walk today?
We love to walk!
Walking in the Netherlands is a big thing! The annual avond vierdaagse of 5, 10 or 15 km, usually held in May or June around the country are always massive events. I have fond memories of taking part in an event in 1995, when I think virtually the whole community participated!
For many years walking has been prescribed as an exercise that is very beneficial to our health. There is something very stimulating about walking, not only the physical exercise, but it also refreshes our spirits and lightens our mood.
The dictionary says that to walk is to move on foot, step by step. To advance in life we are required to take several kinds of steps.
In the book of Romans 6:4, in the New Testament, Paul speaks of some of those steps when he shared about those who were baptised and then walked forth in a newness of life. And in his epistle to the Ephesians 5:2, Paul invited them to follow Christ by walking in love.
The primary purpose of the gospel is to allow Jesus Christ to guide us in our path and walk through life. At the end of the day, this is the path that leads to the greatest reward of all. In Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus stated that it is the strait and narrow way that leads to ๐ž๐ญ๐ž๐ซ๐ง๐š๐ฅ ๐ฅ๐ข๐Ÿ๐ž – this is the right path, leading to the greatest reward.
What path are you following?

Do you remember the song ” I walked Today where Jesus Walked”?

I walked today where Jesus walked,
In days of long ago.
I wandered down each path He knew,
With reverent step and slow.
Those little lanes, they have not changed,
A sweet peace fills the air.
I walked today where Jesus walked,
And felt Him close to me.
My pathway led through Bethlehem,
A memory’s ever sweet.
The little hills of Galilee,
That knew His childish feet.
The Mount of Olives, hallowed scenes,
That Jesus knew before
I saw the mighty Jordan row,
As in the days of yore.
I knelt today where Jesus knelt,
Where all alone he prayed.
The Garden of Gethsemane,
My heart felt unafraid.
I picked my heavy burden up,
And with Him at my side,
I climbed the Hill of Calvary,
Where on the Cross He died!
I walked today where Jesus walked,
And felt Him close to me.
We may not be able to physically walk where Jesus walked today, but perhaps we can be mindful of Him, walk in his footsteps by following His example in our lives through humility, faith, love and service.
I hope that each of us will choose the strait and narrow path that leads to eternal life – missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, can help you to find it.
Enjoy your walk today – wherever that may be!

Are you going nowhere?

Are you going nowhere?

1 year ago, on February 1st 2020, I took delivery of my new car and was excited about the journeys ahead. Yesterday, it was back in the garage for it’s first annual service. In my 20’s and 30’s I’d be regularly driving 40,000 miles plus per year. In my 40’s & 50’s that reduced to circa 15,000 miles per year. This year, I’ve barely driven 5,000 miles and most of those were done in the first 8 weeks of ownership, pre-Covid19. Occasionally, I’ll go for a short spin, but never very far. The car passed it’s annual 40 point health check with flying colours, with tyres too that are hardly worn.

Most of the year, the car has been parked up outside, going nowhere.

Yet, just under the bonnet of the car, there is a powerful finely tuned engine, in prime condition ready to roar into action.

Similarly, there may have been days over these last few months when you’ve felt like you’re going nowhere. If you were to take your 40 point annual service health check, would you pass with flying colours, or are you feeling a little worn out?

If we want to roar into action, then we need to look after ourselves.
– Go out for a little walk (spin)
– Connect with others, listen and support
– Give of yourself
– Set a goal
– Eat well
Then you will be going somewhere!

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?

Life

In “A Tale of Two Cities” – Charles Dickens wrote these words to describe life in France and England in 1775, maybe they describe even better the conditions of our day.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness.
It was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity.
It was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness.
It was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.
We had everything before us, we had nothing before us”

In our day, we are daily witnesses to a sweeping panorama into the depths of despair, then upwards to the glorious heights of beautiful acts of kindness that lift our spirits and souls once more.

For many of us, it is unlike any other time we have ever experienced before. Eventually however, I believe these challenges will pass.

Now is the time to consider – what is really vital? What really matters most? What do I really want? What is my purpose here on earth? What is the highest priority in my life?

Why not take some time today, to pause and reflect upon these simple questions. As you listen for that still small voice, reach out for the insights and inspiration. You may have to wait a while, but answers always come.

What are your anchors?

Our greatest struggle is within ourselves.
Consider this definition of an anchor โ€œa person or thing that provides stability or confidence in an otherwise uncertain situation.โ€
In our topsy turvy commotion filled world, all that can be shaken is being shaken. Life has a way of testing our anchors causing us to drift from the safety and protection they provide.