Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Keep On Flying !

A few weeks ago some of you might remember that I posted about starting a running program. Well, the most amazing thing is that I am now in the 7th week (8 if you count the week that I repeated week 3) of my program.  It is amazing because this is the longest I have ever stuck with any sort of running program and on top of that during the winter!  Winter to me signifies curling up, cuddling and hiding away from the cold and NOT doing unnecessary physical activity.  Yet, here I am, religiously venturing out on a daily basis to adhere to my program.  
I have to admit, it does not come easily.  I have a constant argument with that mighty inner voice insisting that I am totally insane and must definitely give up on this ridiculous notion of running.  After all, the engine is here to stay!  I have come to realize that my battle is not against the other runners that so effortlessly jog past me, nor is it against the little aches and pains or the painful winter onslaught, no, it is against that VOICE inside my head!  Nagging, nagging, nagging me to stop, to give up, trying to convince me that it is impossible, to face the fact that I am too old and simply not athletic at all.  It is so tempting to listen to that voice, and I can hear the couch calling me.  One would think that after & weeks that voice might have grown weaker, but it is as persistent as ever.  
Fortunately I have a pact with my running partner.  Yes, I have decided to employ the buddy system.  In fact I have two running partners.  One is my daughter, who is a 100 miles away, but everyday when I go out on the road I sms her and she encourages me.  Sometimes it even happens that we are out on the road together even if it is in different towns.  My second Buddy is a little fish, named Dory.  Yes, you are right, now that she is not helping to find Nemo, she is my running partner. (Of course you now understand why my inner voice has declared me utterly mad!)  Whenever I get tired and feel like giving up she is right there to remind me to "keep on swimming, keep on swimming, swimming, swimming".  This little chant does wonders to drown out that irritating inner voice.
This decision of mine to start running has made me think about why some people do things against all odds and why others never venture anything and I have come to the conclusion that indeed it is all in the mind.  It is in our thoughts where victory or failure starts.  It is our thoughts that can doom a project before it has even started, but it is also our thoughts that can make a venture into a success story.  It is in our minds where the greatest battles are lost and won.
Some years ago I read the story of a mountaineer who was paralyzed after a climbing accident.  The doctors told him that he would never be able to walk again.  A few years later however he was interviewed after climbing a major mountain range despite the doctors' prognosis.  The reporter asked him how he managed to overcome such odds?  His answer was simply this : "If you have a good enough excuse not to do something, then don't use that excuse."
How wise!  Excuses gives us an out.  It is like having a back door open all the time, ready to take flight, to leave and avoid the issue.  The minute, however, when you close and lock that back door, or even better, build a wall in the door's place, we have no choice but to go forward and to face the challenge.  Giving up is no longer a choice available to us and in that lies the secret.  Never give up.  
Giving up teaches us nothing.  We never learn the strength of our abilities.  We never reach our goals.  We become expert give-uppers.  We never get to stand on the summit and say "Wow, look at that view!  Look how far I have come."
If giving up was an option to Columbus, America might still have been unknown.  Africa and India might have been places just whispered about if it were not for Diaz and da Gama.  Noah's ark would not have been more that a little kayak!  If giving up was a choice we would never have heard of Nick Vujicic, who had every good excuse in the book to wallow in self-pity.  Instead he still amazes and inspires the world with his faith in the Lord, infallible spirit and dogged determination.  Watch this video to learn more about this incredible man . 

If you flutter by here, please leave a comment.  I would love to hear from you.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Daddy's Girl

Sunday was once again one of those days on the calender that many people have different opinions on - Father's Day.  I know many people who sneer at the day and call it just another day to lure a susceptible and gullible public into spending more money than they can afford and I have to admit that to a certain extend I tend to agree with them.  If all the day means to you is going out and buying a hasty, thoughtless gift and going out for an extravagant lunch, then indeed it is only a commercialized day on the calender.  However, to me Father's Day is a special day.  It is a day to celebrate the wonder of having had a wonderful man in my life that I could call "Pappa".  A man that embodied everything the word "Daddy" implies.  It is also a day to give thanks for the wonderful father my daughters have in their lives.  
There is such a special bond between a father and his children.  It is a totally unique relationship.  It is a very important relationship, and no other loving relation, be it mommy, granny, brother or uncle can ever be a substitute for that important figure.  
It is a father who shows his son the man he is to become.  To his son he is the strongest, bravest and fiercest man.  A father is Sir Galahad and the terminator rolled into one.  Silently he teaches us right from wrong and we know he is always there, looking out for us, keeping us safe, protected.  With her Daddy's arms folded tightly around her, a little girl feels like a princess, treasured and nurtured.  He makes the whole world seem magical.  A daddy is most often the biggest influence when his daughter one day chooses that special man in her life.
A father also teaches his children about the Lord, our heavenly Father.  Through his actions the nature of God is revealed.  A child who experiences his father's unconditional love, kindness, fair justice and guidance, and witnesses his father's strong morals, finds it easier to understand the essence of God, and is able to build a strong relationship with his Heavenly Father.
Mere words could never be enough to describe the special father my dad was to me.  He still is my hero.  He was a gentleman; my mom would say, with a twinkle in her eyes, a ladies-man.  I never heard him utter a foul word or tell dirty jokes. He taught me biblical principles, not just with words, but by example.  His family always came first.  He had an amazing sense of humour and we were constantly laughing, he was such a jovial fellow.  He loved playing pranks! These are but a few things which I will always treasure about my dad.  If there is one thing I regret it is not telling him more often how much I loved him.
Ever since my daughters have been born I have instilled in them a love and admiration for their father and I have watched how that relationship grew.  They are truly their Daddy's girls.  I love watching the interaction that they have with him, their special bond.  The way they so easily laugh together and tease each other.  The way they value his advice and relish his little eccentricities. 
How blessed we are to have fathers in our lives.  They enrich our lives, they protect and care for us.  They give their lives to us without hesitation.  Don't wait for Fathers day to pass this way again, take a moment right now to tell your dad, or your husband, how much you appreciate him.

If you flutter by here and would like to share something with us about your father, please feel free to comment.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Mr. Patch

This morning while I was still cuddling in my cocoon, hiding from the cold, I was pulled from my semi dream-state into the reality of a new day by the sound of our three spaniels charging past our window in pursuit of some or other perceived threat.  Their ferocious barking did not worry me as I suspected the danger to be nothing more than our neighbour's dare-devil cat taking its early morning walk along the top of the wall.  It made me smile.  The three of them are always ready for an adventure of some sort.

Listening to their excited barking, I realized once again how privileged we as humans are to have pets in our lives.  However, it is something we most often take for granted.  They fill our lives with their presence, and give us enjoyment with their antics. No two pets, whether they be dogs, cats, birds or hamsters are exactly the same.  Each one has its very own unique personality.  

Until recently we also had, apart from our three spaniels and our little Jack Russell, an adorable Dachshund, Mr Patch.  He was the old man of the family, a real gentleman in his built-in tuxedo.  He loved taking strolls through the neigbourhood, inspecting the delicious smells emanating from the hood's choicest rubbish bins.  Often, much to my dismay, he would drag one of the other puppies along on his strolls.  Much later they would return, Mr. Patch, still dapper and clean, followed by a very bedraggled, dirty and quilty-looking pup. He was constantly grooming Monty, our male spaniel, and it was his solemn vow to make sure he inspected all stationary objects in our yard (and if I was not diligent enough, in the house too) and give it his personal mark of approval!

We have so much to learn from our pets, especially dogs.  They are the most loyal friends we have.  No matter how we treat them, they forgive instantly and love us unconditionally.  They give us all their love, adoration and attention and are grateful for every morsel of attention they get from us.  They never turn from us in a huff, nor swear never to talk to us again because of some or other suffered insult.  They wait patiently for us to return, they wait patiently for us to feed them, play with them, go to bed and wake up.  They are always hopeful and despite many disappointments, they stay eternally optimistic. They guard us with their lives, they share their beds with us and even their fleas.  They are in touch with our moods, and don't mind staying right by our sides all day long while we are sick in bed, not even my husband can do that!!  They are great conversation starters, and after sharing doggy stories, complete strangers part from each other feeling as if they have found a long lost friend.

Pets come into our houses, sometimes after long and careful consideration, sometimes unexpected, with soft baby eyes, a little wobbly and full of bashful mischief.  Before long they run all over our hearts. Long after their departure from our lives you can still find the imprints of their paws on our hearts.  How mistaken we are when we think that our pets need us, it is we who need them, for a home,  however beautiful and immaculate, without a pet, is merely a house.

If you flutter by here and have a story of a special pet you want to share with us we would love to read it.  Please free feel to comment.