by Denise Kennedy
So everyone is excited and counting down the moments to Masters 2015. The suspense, the thrill, the predictions of leaderboard winners, round winners and the new kids on the green.
I visited Augusta National some years ago, and I can still remember the sublime stillness of the perfectly manicured entrance. It will stay with me forever. It is a brilliant place.
Golf: Maybe you are not a golf fan? Maybe you really do not care for it at all? But let me just hold your attention momentarily, thanks!
Think about what you are good at? Do you find it a challenge to define the talents that reside within you? In golf, the term ‘your inner swing’ is much more than just about the outer swing you may carry on the field, it is about the inner strengths you have. The way you play the game of golf, but also the way you play the ‘game’ of life.
In golf, it is all about your pre-swing thoughts, how you relax, and how you handle your frustrations. It is a lot like life: How you handle the pressures of life, determines the way you ‘swing’, the way you approach the challenges life brings.
We all have those moments where we swing wrong, miss the putt, hit the trees, or land in the water. As a caddy, I am learning from the play I see on the fairways of the golf club, that the next shot has absolutely nothing to do with the last shot. The most important transition you can make is to let the last shot go and give the next one everything you have. It is easier said than done, in life, and in golf.
So in life, when you fail, miss the target, fall at the first fence, or experience the greatest disappointment of your life: how do you respond? Do you throw your driver in the lake, kick the divot with frustration, or decide to conquer the losing streak you feel you are in?
In those moments of failure, disheartened confusion and missed shots, it is imperative that you learn and move on. You must! You have to gather yourself together and focus on what comes next. There is a time for evaluation but then comes the moment where you just simply move on!
Life is a lot like a game of golf, whether you play it or not. You must focus on your goals, walk your fairway and discipline the inner swing with which you choose to live your life.
So today, calculate the areas of your life where weakness is dominating, decide where you need to focus your energies most and do it.
Let go of the past failures and aim for a better round ahead.
Come on, your inner swing is yours, you still have it. Eye on the ball, eye on the hole, you can do it!
More caddy tips to come…
From the pen of a grateful caddy, and Irish girl.
© Copyright Denise Kennedy 2015
I’ll Be Back
My richest gain I count but loss…these words swirl around my heart today…all the vain things that charm me most… I sacrifice!
WOW! Today, the day when darkness gripped the world at the exact moment a man on a Cross exasperated his seemingly last breath.
He gave His all, His very life, for a world that scarcely appreciated His great gift.
As darkness fell, so the tears of a mother who watched her son die, fell to the ground. Those that loved Him stood in silent grief and dismay. Little did they know that while darkness engulfed their grief-stricken hearts, behind the scenes God was working His amazing brilliance and preparing the greatest story ever told. Jesus, in His last moments on the Cross, uttered words of pain and anguish. He questioned why His Father had abandoned Him. He felt separation from God for the very first time. He did this so that we need never experience that separation ever again,
They thought it was the end of everything, every hope, every promise, and every word He spoke to them. They bowed their heads in sorrow, but God was about to roll up His sleeves and astronomically reveal the grandeur of His great love for us.
Time stood still, but not Jesus. He was busy disarming the powers of darkness and getting ready to reveal who He said He was.
Then He came back…
He demonstrated His awesome love for us on the Cross. He stayed there because of love..
If you don’t know His great love for you, I hope that this Easter, you will open your heart to really say yes to His invitation to know Him…and to experience His incredible new life in you.
When Jesus died He screamed though nail-pierced hands “I Will Be Back!”, to a lost and confused world. We can barely comprehend this amazing love, for we have no other love to compare it to. He did come back, and all He said is true.
Do you know Him?
Right now He waits for you to just believe…and everything will change.
He whispers softly yet triumphantly to you: ‘I love you with an everlasting love…simply believe. I came back for you!”
Do it now, it’s the perfect time.
From the pen of a grateful Irish girl…
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by Denise Kennedy
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For the past few days this phrase has rolled in and out of my thoughts…a lot.
And every time it hushes me into contemplation.
So today, surrounded by lemons and cough bottle, the morning sun beaming through my window, and a softly flickering fire in my hearth, I write to you…to speak softly yet directly to your heart.
I could write lots on this four-worded title, quite easily and elaborately, indeed until the cows come home…but that is not entirely what my intentions are; instead I want to share something of a gem with you that will shine hope and inspiration, and determination into that backbone of yours.
When I ponder over the word broken it brings to mind many images. A person can feel broken from disappointment, unemployment, divorce, loss, disillusionment, sadness or grief. A season of brokenness can overcome a person who finds themselves in unplanned circumstances. Brokenness can come in many shapes and sizes, but one thing it conveys is that the person feels useless, undervalued or discarded. Here is where I want to jump in with
a sunbeam and shed some light on this somewhat negative idea.
Think for a moment, about a crayon.
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(Yes, deep I know!)
When a crayon is broken, is it no longer a crayon?
No. It still has all the colour and substance inside it prior to being broken, it has just experienced a change to its outer appearance. You may be walking through what feels like a tough battle, and though you feel like throwing your hands up in despair, don’t. Instead throw them up in victory because you are choosing to walk through this and seize your ever-welcome breakthrough. You are still that same person before life sent some things to challenge you. You still possess those amazing qualities that so many admire.
All of the essence of who you are is still within you. You are still that capable, intelligent, impressive individual now. You just need to keep being your amazing self and sit the storm out. Don’t let it weaken the dreams you have, or the value you assign to your potential. You can still colour, and you can still bring your marvelous colour into the lives of those around you.
Resist the temptation to give up.
I love using broken crayons, they have an edge, sharpness and accuracy about them that an unbroken crayon just does not have. I can use it to get into tight corners and even leave a greater depth of colour than a blunt, unbroken crayon allows me.
So hang in there, whatever colour you are, you still have it. You still carry all of the great brightness and beauty that make you who you are. One day you will look back on this and see how it shaped and fashioned you into a stronger and more resilient person. Your true colours will keep shining through. You will walk out of this season with the durability and determination that only this season could have given you. Only those who have been lost in the storm are then able to help others find their way out of theirs. People need what you have, in fact they need it much more than you realise.
Find your ‘umph‘ again, turn your ‘try‘ into ‘triumph‘.
Don’t worry, you are not on your own, there’s a lot of us right there with you.
Forrest Gump said that ‘Life is like a box of chocolates‘, and sometimes I think it’s also a lot like a ‘box of crayons‘.
So today, remember that ‘Broken Crayons Still Colour!’
✎ ✍ ✎
From the pen of a grateful Irish girl
An inside look at Citizen Journalism, by Denise Kennedy
It’s been around for years, and you have possibly been doing it but never thought of it in this context. It keeps you awake at night when you should be asleep, but when the writing bug hits you, the pen (or the keyboard) is in control. For all the writers reading this, it comes as no surprise that writing has been a passion of many since time began, but for some of you the title for a specific type of writing is new news for you: I speak of the trendy, hipster, dedicated blogger, known as ‘the citizen journalist’.
The following definition given by Rosen sums it up quite simply:
“When the people formerly known as the audience employ the press tools they have in their possession to inform one another, that’s citizen journalism’. (Jay Rosen, 2008)
Citizen journalism is based upon the occupation of citizen writers, processing, collating and producing content for public readership, news and information.
According to Bowman and Willis, (We Media, 2003), written back in 2003:
“We are at the beginning of a Golden Age of journalism — but it is not journalism as we have known it. Media futurists have predicted that by 2021, “citizens will produce 50 percent of the news peer-to-peer.” However, mainstream news media have yet to meaningfully adopt or experiment with these new forms. Historically, journalists have been charged with informing the democracy. But their future will depend not on only how well they inform but how well they encourage and enable conversations with citizens. That is the challenge.”
It is important to note that we cannot make the mistake of confusing what is known as Community Journalism and Civic Journalism, which are both related to the actual writing and reporting of professional journalists. The huge increase of media access, online platforms, digital marketing and new technology, have all led to growth in volume of citizen produced articles, and as this trend is set to rise, it can be expected that citizen journalists will most definitely be seen on a larger scale moving forward.
The Sound of Life…
As I sit here writing to you, I hear the soft flickering of my open coal fire, as heat radiates and the smell of warmth fills the room. I am grateful. Over in my kitchen, a freshly prepared, by yours truly, pot of Irish stew gurgles and bubbles as it cooks on my brand new stove. My nearby window, slightly ajar, lets me hear the birds singing to each other from their branches, and the funny screams of sea gulls as they soar in the sky. The sound of life!
Some of you know I have moved, and many of you have asked me to tell the story of how it all happened. First, let me take a sip from my freshly brewed cup of brilliance, and I will begin to pen the tale.
The story is long, so I will keep it brief and pertinent to what really matters. I needed to move, and time was running out on my lease. Days, weeks and months were flying past, with no real success in finding my new abode. I remained resilient and positive, but meanwhile back at the ranch, my heart was growing wearisome and tiresome. You know the feeling.
So, on a seemingly ordinary Tuesday morning, way back in November, I awoke with a sense of destiny, urgency, optimism and a certain, “Je ne sais quoi“.
I went through my usual morning routine, breakfast, reading, quiet time, etc etc, but all the while I knew today was the day I would find it. I decreed it in my heart, that today God and I would find it, as if God needed my help, and the day commenced.
Soon I was out walking on the street, in the south city suburbs of Dublin, with no real place to go, just watching people and looking for opportunity. This particular day, opportunity came wearing overalls and holding a paintbrush. He was a stranger to me, but I soon found myself interrupting his work to inquire if he may possibly be the landlord of said property. He wasn’t. But quite resolutely he took me into the house to meet the landlord of this lovely Georgian house. To cut a long eventful story short, I spent about half an hour chatting with a landlord, who had nothing to offer me, but took the time to offer me friendly advice and hear my story. He had just come out of a three hour meeting, yet gave me much more than the time of day. It was inspiring, but even more so, when he simply said, that he wanted to give me some timely and encouraging advice…”Don’t lose hope!..”
He said it calmly and resolutely. So much so that the tired heart in me was lifted up. I blinked the tears from my eyes and thanked him for this kindness and time. And ventured out onto the street again.
Moments later I saw another gentleman in overalls. So, yes, you guessed it. I did. I gingerly approached him on the front steps of another Georgian building, and inquired if he were possibly the landlord. And, guess what? No, he wasn’t. We chatted a bit about why I was out stopping strangers and the like. He then decided to call the landlord of this property to inquire on my behalf. And low and behold, he had just driven in around the rear of the building at that moment. So, had I arrived at this second property thirty minutes earlier, things may not have lined up so perfectly for me. I mused to myself, thank God the other landlord took thirty minutes out of his day to be kind to a stranger.
Soon I rushed round the corner to meet another stranger, who now is my current landlord.
It all did not go as smoothly as planned, and there were a few delays and hiccups to test my faith, but soon after, the keys to my brightly new refurbished from floor to ceiling, Georgian studio were in my hands. I moved in well before Christmas, with the help of family and friends. I have all I need, plus one extra, a real open log fire! That part was a pleasant surprise. Blessed with brand new fixtures and fittings, a new cooker, fridge and utilities. And this is where I write to you from, sitting in my own antique nursing chair, by my heat-yielding flickering fire.
And although there are challenges afoot, and things that greatly challenge my heart today, I can look around me and be grateful that I have more than some, and less than a lot, but I have what I need. I am ready to move on to the next adventure, wherever and whenever that is. Today the sound of life is beautiful, and I am grateful for the journey, and for the strength that tears can bring.
Anyway, I better go, the sound and aroma of my homemade stew bubbling signals to me that it is ready, and so am I.
Oh, there is one more important thing I must tell you; remember when I met the second landlord? Well, he was not planning on advertising this property, so the only way I would have found him is if I met him on the street. So, there you have it. Get out there and meet people. Take risks, go out on a limb and see what happens. I did, and it changed everything.
A Simple Hello Could Lead
To A Million Things…
The Strength of Networking When You Are Not Working…
These are days of uncertainty for many, days where what seems firm and reliable can change in the blink of an eye. You lose your job, or your partner loses theirs. You are plunged into what seems like a valley of fear and confusion. I am here to speak a word of hope to the hopeless, jobless or despairing… NETWORK! Get out there and meet people, talk to people, ask people for direction, take a risk!
There are thousands in the world in the exact same predicament as you, but their strength lies in the attitude they have chosen! Yes, they are scared, worried, troubled, and possibly broke, but they have made a choice to do something positive in a tough situation. You can too!
You may have been made redundant from your job, but you have not been made redundant of the skills, strengths, gifts and talents that belong to you.
You have enormous potential and given a new and challenging role you can develop in so many ways. This new season could be exactly what you need, in order to develop those skills you forgot you had.
So, start small, but start.
Dig down deep inside that heart of yours and grasp every bit of hope and tenacity you have. Do one brave thing a day. Be brave five minutes longer than you thought you could, and pretty soon being brave will become your new default response.
Begin today, right now.
You can do it! Write it down, make it plain to see every day. Decide that by this time next year, you will have achieved more than you ever thought possible. Dream big, take risks, and surround yourself with people who believe in you, and summon the very best from you.