How’s The Resolutions?

So, (insert your name here), how are your new year’s resolutions going?

Huh, mine? No I asked you first.

Oh, alright. Well I really didn’t set any.

What, I told you I did. Oh, well I guess I have one that I’m working on – but it might take a while … losing weight takes time you know.

Yeah, I know I’m looking remarkably like I did last time I saw you, and if truth be told maybe a little more of me arrived this time!

Sound Familiar?

So have you had this conversation, or similar – insert personal resolution rather than mine.

In fact, I haven’t had this conversation with anyone but me – for though I’ve made some changes to my lifestyle they don’t appear to be impacting yet.

Tell a lie, the changes are impacting – just not as I expected.

I’ve never been fond of new year’s resolutions … they seem to be the non core promises we make to ourselves.

Surely there are exceptions, but it appears most are in the same boat – we start the new year full of ideals and expectations and by mid February find ourselves in a similar mode to December of the year before.

Supposedly a habit takes about 14 days to form so why is it so hard to change – especially for the better!

Anyone else struggling? Or have you implemented lifestyle changes that you stuck to?

Food, Glorious Food

Last night we celebrated my dad’s birthday. So what better way to do this than share a meal.

I’m sure many have heard of slow cooking or slow food … in an era of fast food, takeaway, prepacked or microwave meals all too often we skip the traditional methods of first principles cooking.

The Sunday Roast

It used to be, certainly in English households, that the mum cooked up the Sunday roast, a nice leg of lamb, sometimes pork, or from what I’ve heard is the preference for the US, a roast beef.

Last night, albeit a Saturday, I cooked up a roast lamb. Two and a bit hours of cooking time devoured in less than 20 minutes!

But there’s something about a slow cooked meal, roasted vegetables, topped with dollops of gravy. Mouth watering, it’s the smells, the aroma that wafts through the house, something you can’t get from a microwave meal.

To sit with a nice glass (or two) of red and share a meal with family or friends truly has to be one of the best ways to spend time.

Slow Food Revolution

I hope that others are caught in the slow food revolution. It’s so worthwhile to eat a well prepared meal. To take time and enjoy a meal at the table with the family, with friends.

For me it’s definitely a roast lamb that does it, even pork with crackling comes a close second – but I can’t quite get around the roast beef … much prefer an eye fillet!

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New Beginnings

Well a theme that’s popped up a bit this year already is speed and the disappearance of time. Generally been caught in a whirlwind as 2012 days get ripped from the calendar.

But reflecting on a different beginning today. A new start for my youngest who went into school this year.

It’s been great to see the excitement on his face as he put on his school uniform, stood proudly with his school bag or bundled off for his first week at school.

I’m sure school has changed significantly since I was there, not that I recall kindergarten anyway. But I do hope that as he begins this journey a wide eyed love of learning is embedded right from the start.

So while my youngest enters kindergarten, my eldest started 3rd grade … and this I do remember. Pretty vividly.

Whether it’s the rapidly winding minutes, the days or the years, I’m realising how fast life gets away from you – that it truly is but a vapour, a whisper that was spoke and finished and seemed no more than but a few breaths.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Mirror, mirror on the wall, tell me who is the biggest fool?

I’ve tried to adopt a new philosophy in my life to be less judgmental of others. Sure the thoughts still come up, but rather than give them light I use them for reflection.

Mirror Image

The mirror on the wall forces you to look at yourself. To see your reflection, how you look on the outside to others.

Surely, that’s only a reflection. It’s but an image, the external view of yourself, not actually you.

But isn’t this how we judge others?

Just a reflection?

We see a situation, an event, a news story, an action, or behaviour and form an opinion based merely on a reflection.

You probably saw the trap coming – yet how often do we jump to a conclusion based on opinion rather than facts?

The Plank or the Speck

So rather than condemn or judge someone else, when I get the thought I look in the reflection.

I ask myself questions like why?

Why do I feel that way towards this person? Why does this evoke such emotions? Why do I judge someone else this way?

Then, I reflect, turn the mirror on me.

There’s a story in the bible which talks about removing the plank from your own eye before picking out the speck from someone else. (Mt 7:1-5)

Judgment should be saved for the mirror, a judgment of my own thoughts, behaviours, actions and outcomes.

Shades of Grey

It’s easy to judge someone else on the outcomes in black and white, yet for ourselves it’s shades of grey.

After all, we know what we intended. We know what we were trying to do.

We judge ourselves by our ideals yet too often others by the outcomes.

For me I’m trying something different. As I come across events or situations that irritate me I reflect first, look at them in the mirror – it’s amazing how it changes your perspective.

Choose to Cheat

For those that know me they expect to hear a phrase: “I was listening to a great podcast the other day and …”

I tend to listen to a lot of podcasts and a recent life changing one was Choose to Cheat by Andy Stanley.

In fact it was two well timed podcasts, the first was a leadership stream and second was a service on the same theme.

Choose to Cheat is the acceptance that managing time means that someone or something will miss out. There are only 24 hours in a day and at best you’ll only function about 18 of them.

Seems like a lot when you think of so many hours, until you break it down.

Living on Borrowed Time

Our lives are becoming increasingly busy, with so much to fit in. After all, think of the many roles you play in life.

For me it’s a husband, a dad, a son, a brother, a boss, an employee, a friend, a squash player, a handyman (albeit an ordinary one), a writer, a reader, a board member, a … It goes on and on – when you consider the many roles you play and the time commitments for each it becomes obvious that not all will be given their required share.

Something’s got to give … whether it’s family, friendships, fitness, the one area that generally isn’t lacking is work.

Choose to cheat asks us to recognise this before the fall rather than be surprised when it happens.

Andy Stanley compares it to holding a rock for an extended time, at some stage physically your body will react and, no matter how mentally tough you are, you will drop it.

Maybe it’s not you that drops the rock, but your wife, your kids.

This podcast was a timely reminder that managing time is a good way of avoiding the real issues of a lack of time in areas you should be investing.

It certainly impacted my life!

Find more about the Choose to cheat or it’s more modern title, When Work and Family Collide.

Getting Into The Swing

Is anyone else caught in limbo?

Has anyone else just noticed January disappeared in a blink?

Has anyone else struggled to get in the swing of things?

I’ve woken up to February! The first month of the year gone and rapidly moving through the second.

Age is a funny thing, obviously perspective changes and time no longer seems constant.

I seriously question the consistency of time – I think it was Einstein who stated time is relative.

While one races through life always in a hurry, another strolls and takes in the view.

Well this season certainly isn’t a stroll – t’s a sprint! Frantic, frenetic, rapid and much more 🙂

Well, to keep up I’ll sign off and rush to the next race!

I Love My Wife

It’s not often that you find yourself in a position to publish something intimate, dare I say positive.

To buck the trend of social norms, take a different track to what apparently is becoming the morally acceptable position and state loudly that I love my wife – and I’m proud to wear a wedding ring.

We’ve been married over 10 years and are still blissfully in love.

Sure I write this and know we’ve had problems, faced difficulties and still today face many challenges – but gees it’s good to face them together.

My Wife is a Legend

I don’t mind admitting that I think my wife’s a legend, not to mention beautiful and downright sexy!

Sorry to shout it but can’t a married man still find his wife of over 10 years stunning, gorgeous, alluring!

And no! I’m not just after brownie points, or run out of things to blog about!

It’s a desire to put it out there that this here blogger appreciates and loves his wife just simply for being there.

I understand as I’m in my forties we are just too old to be amorous, married too long for any of that stuff! No longer are meant to find each other desirable – but stuff it … what’s wrong with a one horse race! At least I can safely bet on the winner. 🙂

I don’t want to risk being a statistic, lose what is treasured so greatly. So as a matter of opportunity I publicly declare I have an awesome wife and feel blessed to have kept her this long.

May we wake in each others arms for another decade, and more, appreciating our lives and bond together and buck the Hollywood myth of greener pastures.

That’s all!

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Muppets Triumphant Return

What a wonderful day watching an awesome movie.

The return of the Muppets on the big screen was a fantastic walk down memory lane for me and a chance for discovery for my children.

So many of the images, characters and even the storyline resonated with me.

Life Meets Art

The storyline was truly life meeting art. With I’m sure the producers of the show asking similar questions – will the significant investment in the revival of Jim Henson’s Muppets meet a success or will it have aged? Will puppets be to simple in this age of animation, 3D and special effects.

Well all I can say is session after session at our local cinema was sold out. Which hopefully proves there’s value to some wholesome entertainment and the retro revival of the Muppets.

No Moopets

The storyline follows the demise of the once household brand and traces it’s reignition. In true modern style it blended children’s themes with more complex plots and at times had me in tears remembering this once great show.

For me it was a fitting tribute to its founder proving that puppetry is alive and well.

Great effort guys, it was extraordinary achievement and I truly hope the box office figures generate a revival in the Muppet show.

Bring back The Muppet Show!

The Muppets

For the first time in close to a year I’m trekking off to the movies!

The MuppetsNot just any old block buster or box office hit – no today, with kids in tow, it’s The Muppet Domination.

Dare I confess that the choice was made much simpler having enjoyed the Muppets as a kid, and Labyrinth.

Jim Henson’s Genius

What a whizz Jim Henson was – his contribution to puppetry and to technology was as great as Steve Jobs.

Seriously, the whole concept of puppetry was taken to a whole new level with the Muppets. No animated sequences and Walt Disney cartoons – but a huge cast and crew bringing to life Kermit, Miss Piggy and Animal! Sorry Fozzy, can’t forget about you.

So, I’ll drag myself to the movies, sit through a long boring G rated film … And love every minute of it!

Go the Muppets resurgence! Back to the Muppets Domination!

The Father and His Pack

The story begins like an Aesop fable, like the hare and the tortoise. A this and that title.
Dr Zeuss may have been a better style, a flatpack have you seen, but can you read instructions? Almost Yoda-ish really!
Well we recently purchased a guinea pig enclosure off a leading auction site. It was the simple, the easy solution, delivered straight to our door … in a flatpack.
Now some may not experience the terror, the dread, of a box that arrives as a flatpack. Some might even relish the opportunity to open a box of parts and assemble them conforming to the extensive instructions.

The Curse of Ikea

We have the Swedes to blame for this phenomenon, for this test of human endurance. Though credit where credit is due – the Swedes are kind enough to provide relatively detailed and easy to follow instructions.
But they have provided the inspiration to other countries, like China! Who have decided that instructions are overrated – after all men never read the instructions anyway.
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And so having unpacked the numerous parts and worked out which side is up and which is down, counted the numerous bags of screws, joins, brackets and dowels – I go in search for the extensive instructions.
Thinking I’ll be getting a multi-page tutorial I find a single page sheet where step 1 alone uses virtually half the panels and accessories and all I can see is a few arrows. At this point I admit concern for completing the task in a timely manner and for that matter resembling anything like the picture.

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Yet being male could I let this get the better of me? No, I tell you!!
I soldiered on, I grasped the bull by the horns and persevered with the hour long job.
By time I’d hit 3 hours. Ok, I confess the odd evil thought crossed my mind … Who needs guinea pigs anyway, sure the kids wouldn’t notice, bet the next door’s cat would have fun.
Oh, be gone! No, I will continue!

The Pack Comes to Life

I think the kids must have realised I was close when in my Frankenstein moment I exclaimed it’s alive!
Having spent the majority of the morning, the noon and now afternoon creating this house for the beloved guinea pigs finally I could see the light at the end of the tunnel.
The pessimist would exclaim it’s a train – but not I, no here was the finish of a day’s work – the culmination of toil, the fruits of my labour … Here was the palatial abode for the guinea pigs. Hope they blooming appreciate it!

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