Before the Game

So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. – 1 Corinthians 10:31

Lets face it! We’re so used to our comfort zones. How often do you step out into the unknown? Do the things that scare you? Take that blind leap of faith that you need to take? How often do you challenge yourself? And I mean… really challenge yourself to break new barriers and push the boundaries a little further?

Life’s too short for you to be complacent.

So do the things you want to do and can do while there’s still breath in you.
Get up.
Be counted.
And make a difference.

That bench you’ve been sitting on has been warmed long enough. Don’t you think?

I know the one I’m sitting on certainly has.

A few years ago, while at the Pacific Community (SPC), I had been given the priviledge to manage our volleyball team that had entered the Business House Volleyball Tournament. This was not only a challenge but also a process of discovery on my part as I had never done this before.

Always remember:

You will not recognize greatness in you being released if you never try.

As the team prepared for our first game I was contemplating what I could possibly say to inspire and encourage them.

Today, my oldest son Inoke will get the privilege to represent his school, Marist Brothers High School, for the first time in the Under 14 grade.

Something he has diligently been training for the last few weeks. The enthusiasm with which he talks about rugby is fueled by his passion and commitment to the sport. He’s been passed over a few times for the bigger and faster boys (or at least that’s what he thinks) and my advice to him has always been the same whenever he rants about it.

Put your head down, train harder, push yourself further. Your time will come.

As a parent I want my children to continually break new boundaries. I want them to be the best that they can be in whatever endeavour they undertake. I want them to realise the endless possibilities that lie before them if they but only take the first step.

Tomorrow, one of his seven siblings will be preparing to do something that scares them a little for the first time. In case they get cold feet or doubt themselves I’d share this with them as I did with the volleyball team I managed back at SPC.

To you reading this right now,

*Potential is defined as:

  • Dormant ability
  • Reserved Power
  • Hidden talents
  • Unused Success
  • All you can be but have not yet become
  • All you can do but have not yet done
  • How far you can reach but have not yet reached
  • What you can accomplish but have not yet accomplished

Potential is not what you have done but what you are yet able to do.

As you prepare yourself mentally for the task at hand, know that in you lies a vast ocean of unused potential.

In you lies gifts that you have yet to bring forth, treasures that you have yet to unearth and greatness that you have yet to discover.

Today is the day to unearth the treasures that lie deep within you.

To go where you have not yet gone before.

To do what you have not yet done.

Today is the day that you’ve been preparing so diligently for.

And now it’s here. And it’s yours for the taking.

Will you go back into that cave of comfort that you’ve always been in?

Or will you come out to discover and release the greatness that lies dormant within you?

Will you give the world the privilege to appreciate your gifts and the opportunity to stand and applaud you?

Will you allow them to nod their heads and concur that you truly are a remarkable individual?

Today is a beautiful day to shine.

This is your day.

Now is your time.

-Qarau

Feel free to copy it, add your child’s name to it if you want, print it and pass it on to them for encouragement.

Comment below if you have questions or would like to share your thoughts.

*Definition of Potential adapted from Dr Myles Munroe’s teaching on potential.

Will you take a bloody break MOM!

You know how things slow down once you get married and the kids come along? Everything we do revolves around them. We become so busy worrying about them, working to provide, paying the bills and all else that adds to the stressful living of Mrs Jones, that we forget to take care of ourselves at times.

And so it’s a good idea to pamper ourselves every once in while. Take a much needed break so to speak. Have a date a night. Go bungee jumping. Tackle a six tonne truck with goggles on. Jump out a moving plane without a parachute. Wrestle a lion in your underwear. Or do whatever else thrills you. Just take a break will you!

I practically had to force my wife to go join some of the ladies from our local church for dinner tonight.  It’s not that she didn’t want to. It’s just that she was more worried about the children. And their studies. And the baby and his milk because he’s still breastfeeding at 1 year. And probably whether all hell will break loose with her gone.

And of course my looking after them. Whether I was going to be spiritually present as well or just physically taking up space like I do sometimes. You know what I mean right? Sometimes we’re there. But we’re not all there. Well the good thing is I’m not too busy with any big projects so I can promise to be totally there tonight.

So will you take a bloody break MOM!

Anyway, after convincing her to go and take a break tonight I was inspired to write a little poem to mark this day.

Here it is. Enjoy!

Oh Mrs Qarau
Oh Mrs Qarau
Let down thy hair thou can
I bid thee good leave
To spend time with some thieves
That will steal thee away from thy clan

So enjoy thyself
As a fair maiden tonight
Worry not of thy children’s plight
For they are in good hands
With that handsome stag
Who stole he thee away
From that old grizzly mad
Otherwise known as “Dad”

So take flight my love
And make thee new friends
For life is filled with joy in a band
But when the clock strikes 12
Remember that frog
That swept thee off thy feet with one hand

-Qarau

Feel free to copy it, change the name and pass it on to your partner when you feel they deserve a break.

I haven’t thought of a title for this poem yet so do share your thoughts in the comments below.

Waiting in silence

Waiting in SilenceAs my wife waits to give birth to our youngest child I can only wonder what’s going through her mind. Truth is I can’t even begin to imagine what she’s been through both physically and mentally over the last 9 months. She surely has been a silent trooper through all of it. True to the call of motherhood upon her life. Slowly inching her way through the exhaustion in preparation for the pain that she’s about to endure. A pain that’s now all too familiar to her.

My only experience to such pain was witnessing first hand the birth of 3 of our sons who were so adamant on waiting for their father to be present. Unlike their sisters of course, whose independence found me arriving after their births. An independence they still carry today.

This is going to be the 6th time she goes into labor and I have nothing but the uttermost admiration and respect for this woman whom I have been so blessed with.

We’re expecting another girl to balance our current tribe of 4 boys and 3 girls.

There’s a lot of talk and mixed feelings when it comes to having a large family. You have those that are genuinely happy for us, and those who think we’re crazy because all they see are expenses and feel we’re being unfair because we won’t be able to give them the best, or the attention they all deserve.

I won’t argue with them or try to prove the point of “God said be fruitful and multiply.” Then only my foolishness will be heard.

I think one of the logic behind this shallow thinking (yes I do think it’s shallow), is that people have a tendency to only see what’s before them and not what can be.

By this I mean we only focus on the outward appearance and judge a person by what they’ve achieved thus far.

We see the man or woman before us without seeing the immense potential that they carry.

We only see where they’ve come from and what they’ve done without realizing the dreams and visions they have.

We pay no second thought to where they may be heading or the legacy they’ll leave behind when all their living is done.

On the flip side of the coin we often measure a man’s success based on his accumulated wealth. Job. Position. Salary and social status.  For some, that success is often proven through material possessions. The obvious conclusion of course being: the more he makes & owns, the better off he must be, the happier his family will surely be.

We’ve become so wise in our own eyes that we sometimes fail to realise our own foolishness.

Truth be told, I’m tired of hypocrites. I’m tired of pretenders. I’m tired of those that rejoice before me but silently mock me in their hearts.

It shouldn’t surprise us then that Jeremiah 17:9 states:

The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?

I think there comes a time in our lives when we should only surround ourselves with genuine people.

People that smile when we smile.
Laugh when we laugh.
Cry when we cry.
And truly rejoice when we say “We’re having another baby”.

Hmm.

I guess we’re all entitled  to our own opinions and are free to feel and speak as we wish.

Whatever others feel or say about us having a large family is their prerogative.

One thing is for certain though, this woman waiting in silence as the countdown begins…

Is the bravest person I know.

She. Is. My Hero.

What every child (and every human being) craves for

Deep within each of us is a longing that can be traced back to when we were children. Even as adults we still desire what every child craves for. What is it and why do we crave for it?

What every child craves for picturePhoto Credit:ICAN International

Because we’re social beings and we delight in social interaction. Unless of course you’re suffering from a phobia and have locked yourself away in a castle guarded by a dragon, so no one can get to you.

There are people that fall into this category and they have their reasons to live a recluse life. But, for the rest of us, interaction!

My children love my attention and a remark by daddy after they’ve had a shower, combed their hair and dressed up all pretty just makes their day. How good they look isn’t quite established until dad’s looked in their direction and commented with an “oohhh…cheechee…you man!”

What fascinates me about these little encounters is that their reaction is always the same. A soft smile, flutter of the eyelashes and a slow sway from side to side as if they heard the most pleasant thing.

Almost two years ago I started with the NGO I now work for and in that time I had the privilege of meeting a great man. We’ve now become very good friends and soon to be business partners. In truth, he’s become like a little brother to me. What intrigued me the most about this individual was his character and ability to light up a room with his sense of humour and goofiness.

Last year, we both represented our volleyball team for the business house tourney at work and he had this uncanny ability to make losing…Not Suck! Yes indeed! We could laugh our lose off as a team and continue on as winners in our own right.

But this wasn’t what set this particular man apart in my books. When I began at work, and we were still getting to know each other, there was something I did or a story I told him to which he replied: “I’m proud of you.”

Now at first I found this a bit strange coming from another man. I mean seriously, wouldn’t you? This however happened numerous times over different things I had done and I must say those three words kind of grew on me. What felt awkward at first, with bells ringing in my ears and a warning sign to run in the other direction, became quite comforting.

Of course the question that you’re probably asking is, “why would those three words feel awkward?” The truth be told is, I had never heard them prior to this grown man telling me. Maybe I did as a child and simply can’t remember. And if I did, it definitely ceased over the years as I grew older.

I wouldn’t hold it against my mom though (God rest her soul) because I was a total headache in my teenage years. Which is probably the reason for my not hearing those words in the first place.

Anyway, here I was, one grown man hearing these three words from another grown man and for some reason it brought about a comfort and satisfaction that I can’t really explain.

Was it because he said he was proud of me or what I had done? No, not really.

When those words were spoken, they were received by the child in me. And I believe the root of this satisfaction goes back to what every child craves for.

Simply, to be acknowledged.

The term acknowledgement is defined as –
“the action of showing that one has noticed someone or something.”

It breaks my heart to think of the numerous children in the world that are missing out on the attention they fully deserve.

Children that want to be seen.

Children that long to be heard.

Children, that need to be acknowledged.

Now that you know what every child craves for (and probably every human on planet earth)…GO!

Acknowledge your children today. Tell them you’re proud of them just because. Acknowledge other under privileged children as well. Even your friends, colleagues, partner and family members. Tell them you see them.

And if they answer with a blank “HUH!?”

Then simply tell them that you understand…

“Nobody wants to be invisible.”

Feel free to leave your highly appreciated acknowledgement in the comments below 🙂

What a paper punch can teach you about life and learning

lessons-learned-from-a-paper-punchOh what a beautiful morning tis indeed, when at first we get up with a thirst for knowledge and ride out on a steed!
[Tweet that]

I got up this morning and had to help my oldest daughter, Sharon, complete her school project. Which really meant getting it printed, punched and placed neatly in a manila folder for her to take to school as she had already done the hard yards with her mom over the weekend. This also meant leaving the house because I didn’t have a working printer.

To be totally honest, I didn’t really feel like going anywhere this morning but it was either take the older kids to school and get the project printed or breastfeed my youngest son – which I must say, as of right now is looking physically possible.

Unfortunately, due to the lack of milk producing glands my obvious input was the free use of my laptop and the responsibility of printing and binding the project.

So I converted the double zigzag borders her mom had so gladly used on every page to single straight lines, saved the PDF file on a flash drive and off we went to get it printed for Sharon to take to school.

We found a little Copy Shop down near Nabua [nam-booah] Town to do our printing. Upon arrival in this little five PC internet café slash printing slash ‘we do passport photos here’ shop, I gave the flash drive to the guy working there and asked him to print seven black and white pages and one in full color.

He went about his business and printed the project on two separate PCs and upon completion of the black and white prints I asked if they had a paper punch that I could use as we had brought the manila folder and clip with us.

Sure enough they had one (what copy shop doesn’t, right?) and the young lad, neatly dressed in sulu and shirt, promptly goes behind the counter, that two people couldn’t squeeze into, to get it. Here I was expecting a big, shiny paper punch with which to punch holes into this eight page project.

Much to my surprise, he brings out and hands me a punch that should have been in the museum. Seriously! I should have worn a gas mask just to handle this thing that barely fit in the palm of my hand. “I might cut myself” were the words that popped into mind. I wondered if it was actually up for the task of punching holes (or would I need to stand on it just to get it to cut through the paper).

Anyhow, since this was all they had, I had no choice but to use it. I divided the collated papers into two lots and marked off the center of the page in preparation for punching. Slowly but surely I slid the first lot of pages in between the paper punch and curiously pressed down.

To my amazement; this old, rusted, hazardous paper punch, cut like a hot knife through butter and my task was completed before I knew it. In fact, I found it quite sharp for its age and it did way better than some of the newer, sleek looking paper punches which I’ve used. OK, I could be exaggerating a little here but you get the picture.

With the project printed, punched and clipped neatly in the yellow manila folder, I parted ways with the children who were off to school while I eagerly made my way home to share this experience with you.

What’s the moral of this story? I know it’s a cliché and one you’ve probably heard more than you wish to count but here it is anyway: Don’t judge a book by its cover!

Don’t dismiss people too easily based on what you’ve heard or what you see before you. If you take the time out to get to know them for yourself instead of jumping to conclusions, they may just surprise you.

My wise wife (brownie points for me) has taught me to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. Not to ignorantly listen and accept what so and so said about such and such a person. Because a personal opinion is just that – A personal opinion!

Don’t stop listening to somebody just because you don’t like them or can’t stand them. If you lay your personal differences aside (cause you’re a dear child of God that loves those who curse you) you may just learn the secret ingredient to “the secret ingredient noodle soup”, like Po did in Kung Fu Panda.  And what person in their right mind doesn’t want to learn the secret ingredient to mouth watering noodle soup. I mean…Seriously!

The writer of Hebrews wrote in the first two verses of the 13th chapter –

“Keep on loving each other as brothers. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.”

So don’t sell yourself short on learning from the stranger that begs on the street just because he looks old, unkempt and withered. You may learn valuable lessons that will serve you well in life, if you but take the time out to listen.

What lessons about life and learning have you learned from the people you would least expect to learn them from?

Share your thoughts in the comments.

The simple things in life

Ah yes…the simple things in life! And by this I mean enjoying a quiet evening after a beautiful candle lit dinner. Sitting back in an arm chair writing this on my iPad (my wife’s really) while listening to my seven week old son who just piped up complaining as I try to put him to sleep in his rocker.

the-simple-things-in-life

Our living room is dimly lit by two candles sitting on separate square pale yellow coffee tables. Their flames dancing a little wildly every now and again as a gush of wind seeps in through the gaps in the wooden louvers.

It feels as if romance is in the air tonight. I sit here thinking –
“This is not so bad. I could live like this. Candle lit dinners every night giving the house a very homely feel. Having tea, bread or whatever is on the menu. No fuss. Not bad at all.”

Unfortunately, the candle lit room and dinner were the result of non compliance with FEA (Fiji Electricity Authority) regulations and due to the non payment of my overdue electricity bill. I had pegged this down in my budget for clearance (or at least partial clearance) this Friday but for some reason unbeknown to me they decided to visit us this (Wednesday) morning.

Oh well, such is life. One minute you’ve got power the next minute you don’t. One minute you’re rich the next you’re broke. One minute you’re young, the next your old. One minute you’re living, the next you’re kicking, completely out cold.

While enjoying the whole “almost romantic evening” and silently deciding that having no electricity just may be a good thing (in the hope of lowering my carbon footprint that is) there is still that question of mmmmm…How will I work? I won’t be able to get work done on my laptop which obviously needs power (or has a solar powered one been invented?) What? No Facebook, or Twitter or Cyber Social gatherings that give anyone the ability and opportunity to be an anonymous stalker.

I wonder if I could live without all of this? Or will my fingers keep itching and my eyes keep twitching as the result of actually taking a break and going outside to smell the roses.

I believe it is in our moments of depravity that we truly appreciate the simple things in life. Decades ago our great grandaddas didn’t have electricity. They didn’t have cars or buses. They didn’t have access to tap water or cell phones or the internet. They didn’t even wear brand label clothing.

The only brand back then was “LetEmAngFree” which I am seeing a lot of these days in music videos and what not. Could this mean we are actually moving backwards if it’s back in fashion.

Cause if we are, I’d like to order “Cave Man Gear” that Grug wore in the Croods. Totally cool!

They sure did live simple care free lives back then. I mean its not like they didn’t have problems or anything…I’m sure they did, but I doubt their schedules were as hectic as ours.

With all that said, the notable question that’s popped up is –
What are we trying to do? Really!

Are we trying to work ourselves to death like bullocks heaving on a plough through an unyielding field? [Click to Tweet]

And in the highly likely scenario that we do succeed with the ploughing, then what?

What are we going to say at the end of it all?

King Solomon wrote in the book of Ecclesiastes.

“Meaningless! Meaningless!”
says the Teacher.
“Utterly meaningless!
Everything is meaningless.”

What do people gain from all their labors
at which they toil under the sun?

Those were the words of a man…who had everything!

What will you and I say when the sun goes down on us?

Will these be the last words that we may speak?

“I worked myself to death.
Oh how I wish I had taken the time out to enjoy…
The simple things in life.”

I hope not!

What, to you, are the simple things in life?

What things do you need to make more time for?

Share your thoughts in the comments.

///

Consider this a personal public service announcement from me to you. 

TCF-ParentBlogger-badge

Did you know that Testicular Cancer is the #1 cancer in young men ages 15 to 35?
 

It is. And that’s why I’m proud to be a member of the Team Single Jingles PARENT BLOGGING TEAM and sharing some important information about Testicular Cancer. 

A couple other things you should know:

What can you do?
And share this video with the young guys in your life. It could save their life! 

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An utterance from the Lord, for you today!

An utterance from the Lord, for you today!

If you’ve been following my blog for a while now, you may have come to the realization that I am a man of radical faith. But just in case you’re new here and didn’t know then let me tell you that –

“I am a man of radical faith!”

Now…
As I was waiting this morning for my pickup to work, which was taking a little longer than usual, the Lord began whispering to me.
So instead of ignoring his voice like I do most times I began writing it down.

Why?
Continue reading An utterance from the Lord, for you today!

What do you plan to do when you are dead?

What do you plan to do when you are dead image

How many times have you planned to do something and not follow through?

How many excuses have you made to justify your procrastinating?

Now I’m not talking about your job here. Where you have to meet your targets, please the boss or be thrown out onto the street. A little harsh perhaps but you get the picture.

Continue reading What do you plan to do when you are dead?

How dare you even think about taking a life! – The Boston Marathon Tragedy

I was at work yesterday morning when I saw the news of the Boston Marathon tragedy.  The latest news stated that more than 150 people were injured, 3 dead, one of them being Martin Richard an 8 year old boy who was killed in the Boston Marathon explosion while waiting for his dad to finish the race.

Martin Richard, 8, was killed in the Boston Marathon Tragedy.
Martin Richard, 8, was killed in the Boston Marathon Tragedy.
PHOTO SOURCE: Twitter via Global Grind

I live on a small island nation where the idea of something like this happening would never cross our minds.

I can’t even begin to fathom what such an experience must be like.
Continue reading How dare you even think about taking a life! – The Boston Marathon Tragedy