As I sit here writing to you, the very first snow fall has started outside my south Dublin window. I am mesmerised by the fluttering white flakes as they chase each other to the ground below. They are each so different and beautiful in their own right. Winter is here early, and the white visitors contrast against the backdrop of autumn colours that my trees display; it is so beautiful that it is hard to keep my eyes from the window. So I stopped writing, wrapped my warm faux scarf around my neck and opened my window to really feel the white wonder, and breathe in the crisp cold air. So refreshing.
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Today I am relishing the thoughts of an impromptu walk I took yesterday in our city’s main central park. It was unplanned and turned out to be perfect. I found my deer friends, and captured a few beautiful photos of them, as I always do. Today I want to introduce you to one of them, he’s one of my favourites. I call him Scar.
When I go to the Phoenix Park, I always look out for Scar. This time I was more concerned about him because of a recent deer culling in the park, and I was not sure he was still with us. I was glad to see him. For some reason he tends to be a loner and wanders off on his own, something I love to do too. If you look at his face you will see why I gave him the name I have. To me, even with his scars, he is beautiful. And today, my friend, I want to tell you the same incredible truth is true about you.
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When we look at Scar, we see his outside wounds, and the proof that he has been hurt, but we also see that he survived what it was that hurt him. The battle left its mark on him but he lived on, and so will you dear reader. Scars are a sign that you are strong, that you overcame something that tried to take you out. Your battle may include disappointment, divorce, the loss of a dream, the realisation that life sometimes gives you what you do not ask for; and you have a choice to make.
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Your scars may be on the inside, where nobody can easily see them, they may be wounds that truly only you and those who you allow to come close can understand. Let me tell you that these wounds, whether internal or external, are things to be proud of because they are proof that you are stronger than the hurt, tougher than what tried to knock you down, and more resilient than the battles you have endured. Your scars tell others to hold on, and not to give up. They shine around your neck like a medal of honour, and you should see your scars as a sign of great victory, even in days of loss or pain.
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“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” ― Kahlil Gibran
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Look at this beautiful Fallow buck, who I have rightly named Scar; he is majestic and strong, and will hopefully live through many more battles, bravely using the skills he learned the hard way in previous encounters. In the same way dear friend, so are you. You are a strong soul with a mighty God who wants to walk through every battle with you. He promises to never leave or forsake you, but to be your refuge where there is found rest in and from the storms of life. Even if you already have scars, you are a display for His Kingdom, shouting gloriously to the world, that you never gave up or surrendered. Your scars tell a magnificent story!
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Scars are evidence of life, of risks, or trying new things, of fighting for something you believed in. They are proof that you moved out of your comfort zone and decided to be brave. So today, instead of hiding your scars, whether they are seen or unseen, choose to find someone who needs the story of courage that you carry in your heart. Tell them how you struggled, but that you are overcoming. Remind someone who is close to giving up, that they do not have to. Look for those who feel so isolated in their battle, and remind them that they truly are part of a great army of those who did not give up. This army may be scarred in many different ways, but their courage unites them. Each has a battle cry put in their heart by the Creator himself. Each one is as beautifully unique as each snowflake falling outside my window.
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Dear scarred one, your scars are the signs of strength and someone who feels weak today, needs to hear your story of strength!
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“Scars show toughness: that you’ve been through it,
Geese are elegant, intelligent, loyal, majestic and creative. They soar through the sky with a sense of destiny and beauty. I recently captured this photo of them as I walked along the port area of Dublin city. I stood there as the sun rose, watching them fly together in a unity so incredible I held my breath.
So allow me to share some of the stunning things I have discovered about geese, that quite frankly distinguish them from lots of animals or birds we have; and to be honest, I found myself wanting to be a lot more like our feathered friend than I had ever imagined before…
Geese mate for life and will live a loyal life of faithfulness to one partner, even after their mate passes away.
A group of geese is called a gaggle – if they are flying they are known as a skein or wedge.
They choose to fly in a”V” shape so as to increase their flying power and range by at least 70%. By sharing the air space they make the flight easier for those flying with them. They look out for each other.
When the goose in front tires or grows weary another goose takes its place and then the tired goose moves back to rest, and into position to complete the formation.
While they are flying in formation they honk at each other to send encouagement to each other on the journey.
Geese care for each other; they look out for the other geese in their gaggle, to see if they are okay. If one gets sick, is attacked or hurt and drifts or falls from the formation, others will also leave the “V” shape and go to protect the injured goose. They stay with the sick goose until it recovers or dies. They will not leave it alone.
A young goose will find a mate for itself when it is only 3 years of age. If one of the pair dies the remaining goose will live many years without finding another mate. Most times the widowed goose lives the remainder of its life without a partner.
Male geese prefer to show very protective and kind behaviour towards the females in the group. They have been known to stand or fly between danger and the female in the situation; so beautiful and so courageous.
Geese choose to vocalize their messages to each other in a variety of ten different ways; it depends on the situation but they can stretch their necks or make loud honks in order to send a signal to others.
Geese live together and hatch a new gosling yearly, then both parents are involved in minding and taking care of the newborn.
The list goes on…
So…which characteristic was your favourite? Possibly, like me, you chose a few. One thing I found myself thinking as I read this list, is that I want to be more like geese. I want to love deeper, care for loved ones in a more devoted way. I want to be known as one who is faithful to the mate I choose for life. I want to go to rescue the hurting and stay with them until they can fly and join the group again. I want to be known as one who looks out for the dangers that are lurking and preying on my counterparts. I want to be so much more like a goose than I had ever thought of before…
If you feel the same then let’s honk and make the choice to stick together…
If my little thoughts today have inspired you then please give me a share and a like…every ‘honk’ lets me know that you are with me…and we are looking out for each other…
“Be careful that you do not create what you fear.” – These are pretty powerful words aren’t they? They stopped me in my tracks today. They arrested my attention and commanded my analysis and response.
What are we afraid of? What keeps you awake at night, feeling afraid or overwhelmed? Write it down right now…clearly, boldly and honestly. Okay…now on the same piece of paper I want you to write down any behaviour that you are currently endorsing in your life that in anyway contributes to these fears coming to pass in your life. Is there something you are doing, or not doing, that will help these feared circumstances actually becoming your very real reality?
It is time to trade up…it is time to trade in your fears, change your behaviours and dramatically change the course your life is on. In order to have the life you dream of you must be all in, there is no halfway commitment to what is required.
You are amazing. You have capabilities beyond what you can even believe. You have strengths and competencies that make you the valuable and precious person you are. If there is a chance that this short little blog stirs you, then please act on it. Let August 1st, 2016, be the day the game changes. What is it you are losing to? What is taking you off track? What is more important to you right now than achieving the lifelong dreams you carry around in your heart every day? Begin to believe in the person you are, and in the potential you have.
I wrote these words for you today, as much as I need them myself too. Even the most successful people you know, need a gentle push in the right direction sometimes. So here it is, a gentle push from me. Make the changes, even if you are white-knuckle riding for a while. Decide on the destination you are dreaming of and make it happen. Your life will pass you by, so make it the kind of movie you want it to be.
I believe in you. It is time to trade-up. Trade in your fears and change the route you are on. You can do it. Let today be the game-changer, the day it all begins. Be careful that you do not create what you fear…don’t let self-sabotage ruin all the great possibility that you possess.
In this age of digital and personal development, many have thrown around the term USP, or otherwise known as your Unique Selling Point. Some folks find it easy to identify these incredible strengths in others, but struggle to evaluate these attributes in themselves, their talents or their business offering.
As entrepreneurs, communicators or anyone with a dream, it is vital that you know what your unique strengths are, and utilise them in all of your business endeavours.
Let’s break it down into smaller parts and evaluate the significance of this term. When you are asked about your business, your skills, your capabilities or accomplishments, do you struggle to see what makes you unique? If you do, don’t worry, you are not alone in this dilemma. But if you do not challenge this weakness it will hold you back in every area where you seek to be successful. It is like carrying out a SWOT analysis on yourself, while determining where you are most likely to achieve your business goals.
So take a pen and paper, and jot down the words that come to mind as you answer these questions: There is no wrong answer, just be as honest as you can.
What differentiates you from what your competitors are doing or offering?
How do you add value in the industry or market you are currently in?
If you were not doing what you are doing, what would your consumers or customers miss out on?
When you wake up in the morning, are you motivated by the thought that you can make a difference in your work day, and if so, how?
Okay – how do you feel in the pit of your stomach right now? Are you chasing a goal that actually has no real value to your heart? Is there a possibility that you are stuck in your comfort zone and are no longer excited about what you are doing? If this is the case, then make the decision today to ‘unglue’ yourself from this place of underachieving.
“Take advantage of every opportunity to practice your communication skills so that when important occasions arise, you will have the gift, the style, the sharpness, the clarity, and the emotions to affect other people.” – Jim Rohn
Your skill set may be perfectly matched to the industry you are working in, so it just may be the case that you need to sharpen your focus in a more dynamic way. Either way, unless we challenge these thoughts, we can find ourselves drifting along with no real motivation and certainly having no lasting impression on those we desperately want to impact in business and life.
In-between… [noun] Also known as in-betweener – a person or thing that is between two extremes, two contrasting conditions, such as yeses, nos/or noes, and in-betweens.
Sound familiar? Today, Easter Saturday is certainly that day for the entire calendar, but none more than the very first Easter Saturday, when nobody knew yet, that Sunday would be the day that the game changed.
Today, it feels like the world celebrates the waiting factor of being in-between. I wish I could embrace it as enthusiastically in my own personal life, but that is not always an easy thing to do. Today, when it feels like we sit and wait to celebrate tomorrow, Jesus was in fact demolishing the powers of darkness, grabbing keys and unlocking doors, setting captives free, and changing our eternity, for eternity. Heaven rubbed its hands together, in expectation, just like my mum does when she is waiting for an apple pie to bake in the oven. All the angels in heaven were anticipating the day He would rise; they saw the in-between day as a day of great victory.
So what are you doing today? Are you celebrating the in-between day while you wait for Sunday? Are you stuck between two extremes, or contrasting conditions? If so, please know that you are certainly not alone in that place. Even if it seems like a dark place, remember Jesus conquered darkness, even your darkness. He sees in the dark, and darkness is as light to Him. You may not see Him there beside you, but trust me I know He is there with you.
Are you stranded between yours or someone else’s yeses and nos, maybes and delays? As Jesus moved through the depths of the earth dismantling everything that could ever come between you and Him, don’t you think that He too can handle the yeses and nos of our lives? I understand, it is easier said than done, but isn’t that what faith is? Believing without yet seeing! Remember the dearly loved followers of Jesus as they waited for Sunday, nobody had even risen from the dead before. It had never been done in the history of time. What faith they must have had. Even His enemies watched in fear, in case He would actually do it. The eyes of faith must look at something as if it has already happened. Believe me, I am learning to do this as much as you are my friend.
Today, as I remember what kept Jesus busy in the depths of the earth, I am grateful that He walks through the dark seasons of my life with me. I see Him as the greatest Superhero ever. He wielded His powerful sword of truth and demolished every lie, stronghold and fear that tries to ruin my life. He tore down every obstacle that stood in our way. He disarmed the kingdom of darkness and opened the gates of splendid salvation for us. Today, way back then, was a busy day where Jesus stood in-between two very contrasting days, two extremes, two very contrasting outcomes, and changed the world forever. Never before had the world calendar been divided into BC and AD.
AD is an abbreviation for “Anno Domini,” which is a Latin phrase meaning “in the year of our Lord,” referring to the Christ’s birth. BC means before Christ. It was not actually developed until 525 AD, when the entrance of the Christ into the world was recognized as being the turning point of history, and our calendars were made to reflect that. Today, can be a turning point for you too.
So this Easter, may our lives reflect what happened on the in-between day. The day where all of hell woke up to the power of heaven let loose on them. The world was in-between two very contrasting outcomes, and nothing would remain the same.
May you know, that just as you walk through yeses, nos, and difficult days, Jesus walks with you, right in the midst of where it hurts, and He promises to never abandon you. Today, may be a day of waiting for tomorrow, but it would also be a good day to get busy remembering exactly what He did in the darkness, and that He is busy walking us through the in-between times too, and all power is His.
You are much loved, from one in-betweener to another. We are held firmly by the greatest In-betweener the world has or will ever know!
I took this photo here in Ireland. It’s a beautiful little pansy growing from solid rock. Beautiful things can grow in hard places… so chin up buttercup!
We all go through tough times, where life is literally as hard as rock, and everyday feels like we are walking through quick dry cement. Look at this pansy: it is fragile, delicate and easily broken, yet it has somehow overcome the obstacles presented to it by the surroundings it is trying to grow in. Feel familiar?
Are you trying to overcome the tests of life? Are you determined to rebuild what circumstances have demolished? Has your courage been ravished by disappointment or heartache? Are there just too many whys and not enough answers? You are not alone in this tough place. But there is always a lesson to learn, and the things that happen on the outside, can bring about a tremendously precious lesson on the inside of us. Changes around us can become the perfect soil for growth on the inside, where nobody sees, but God. Right in this moment of pain, there are gems awaiting your embrace. It’s hard, and absolutely overwhelming, but God will not leave you alone. You may be trying not to be lonely while you are alone, and that could be exactly where God will meet you and change everything about you.
“God gets His best soldiers out of the highlands of affliction.” C.H. Spurgeon
You are not alone, you are not alone, you are not alone! You must choose to embrace this painful season, and keep believing that this too shall pass, and one day you will smile again. Not a fake, pretend smile, but a real smile that comes from a truly happy place.
God knows how to get you there. He knows how to get your tender, delicate roots through the hard cement of life, just like the little pansy. The amazing thing is, that although this pansy was in fact tiny, I still saw it. Even in what seems like a season of ‘smallness’ in your life, God will cause the right people to see you, (really see you) and He will show you the why of it all.
Hang in there…even in this hard place, you are still beautiful, inside and out. God sees you and He is guiding you with His eye.
As I type, I am surrounded by construction work, drilling to the left, drilling to the right, and even drilling on the street outside my house. Everywhere I look there is rubble, or walls being torn down. While there is a lot of noise, in the midst of it there are things being quietly built back up: foundations being laid, walls being secured, and new designs being drawn. It is a noisy mixture of tearing down and rebuilding, in three different places. As I sit here, sipping my green tea and sharing a few quiet moments with God before the rest of my day kicks in, I am quietly reminded that our lives resemble the havoc that surrounds the place I currently call home.
Maybe you are in a season where all is being stripped from your life and things feel shaky and uncomfortable for you? It could be that there is a sense of old things dying so that they can be returned to you improved or mended? You may be struggling to surrender control over someone whom you wish you could change, or someone is trying to convince you that you yourself need to change too? Maybe you are in a glorious place of rebuilding and new things are appearing all around you, filling your heart and life with excitement and happiness? It is safe to say that all of us travel through these seasons at varying times in our lives, and we cannot always determine just when they will happen.
In the last few days, the word ABIDE, has grabbed my heart and invited me to be still, and to come away from the madness around me. This word reminds my soul that even in the midst of construction work, (whether internal or external), there is a place of deep peace. It is not found in rushing around glorifying busy schedules, but in the solitude of a quiet moment of surrender and reflection. Abide…Abide…Abide!
Are you rushing around in a state of mayhem, losing your grip on everything because you are trying to carry too much? A lazy man’s load never works, even with the things of the heart! Let it all go…surrender it to God. Choose to ABIDE in the knowledge that the only person you can change is yourself, and that God is walking and working with you to bring order to your life. I am right here with you…learning to ABIDE, when all you see is disappointment and change. Take a breath, put everything in His great big hands. Trust Him with the process, the outcome, the journey and even the tears. You are His masterpiece, so choose to abide, and let the Master take over…I know I am.