Thursday, November 24, 2011

For Mothers

For my wife, my sister and for all the other Mothers I have the pleasure of knowing.

You are beautiful.

                        Inside and out.

The selfless sacrifices you make for your children never cease to amaze me. You give up your body to them, your heart to them, your soul to them. They become a part of you.

You make decisions not for yourselves solely, but based on what the children need and what the children want.

You inspire me.

You instinctively know when something isn’t right. And what’s more… you know what to say to make it better. You also know when there is nothing you can say to make it better and have mastered the perfect hug to fit these occasions. It’s a hug that says,

‘I wish I could take your pain away.’

But you can’t. You can’t always fix the problem but it doesn’t matter, because even when the damage is irreparable you, yes YOU, make it hurt less.

You turn bleeding knees and bruised elbows into nothing with a simple magic kiss. You pull the silver lining from colds and tummy bugs with sofa based-under-duvet cuddles accompanied by day time TV that make illnesses worthwhile.

You make the best dinners. Even if dinner is just beans on toast, you guys know how to make it best. And even if someone else (Dad included, it pains me to say) tried to make your speciality, even if it is done the same way and using the same ingredients from the same brands, it does not taste the same. It’s missing something – YOUR magic touch!

Mothers, you are wonderful. You’re selfless, inspiring and utterly incredible.

Life in a Day

I watched the Life in a Day film on Youtube this morning. The entire 1 hour and 34 minutes of it. I wasn’t planning to, but from the moment it began I knew I wouldn’t be able to switch it off.

For those of you who don’t know much about it, essentially, on 24th July 2010, as part of what would become a historic piece of cinematic history, thousands of people videoed parts of their day and answered a few questions. They uploaded these videos to Youtube and then a feature film was produced from the thousand of hours of footage uploaded.

The result is a beautiful snapshot of a single day on planet Earth. It documents our happiness, our fears, our sadness, our hardship, our challenges, our joy, our love…

A particular snippet that resonated with me begins at 1:26:03… the scene in which a man is talking to his wife who is sick with cancer. He says he’s now ‘fearless’ and that way of looking at the difficulty they face is just amazing. If you haven’t yet seen it, you really should.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Personal Accountability

It never ceases to amaze me how many adults struggle with the concept of personal accountability. 

I was taught to ‘own up’ when I’d done something wrong as a child and while it isn’t always the easiest thing to do, it’s something I think it important.

NONE of us are perfect and that’s just a consequence of being human. We do make mistakes. But I am tired of hearing things (from adults!) like:

  • - Sorry I’m late, it wasn’t my fault. My brother was supposed to wake me up.
  • - I was encouraged by someone else to binge drink!
  • - I only eat crap food because it’s what my boyfriend brings home.
  • - Our breakup was his/her fault.
  • - [Insert anything at all here] was his/her fault.
My son got in trouble at school last week for talking repeatedly during class. 

“You know you’re supposed to listen in class,” I told him. “It’s important.”

“I know,” he responded. “But Kyle kept talking to me.”

“So you’re saying it’s Kyle’s fault? Really?”

He took a moment to think about it.

“No. It was my fault. I talked when I shouldn’t have. I’m sorry.”

“It isn’t me you need to apologise to, is it?”

“No. It’s my teacher.”

And to his credit, I was informed that the next morning he went to his teacher and apologised for interrupting her lesson.

The point is that he is SEVEN and even at that age is able to comprehend the concept of accepting personal accountability for his role in issues or disputes and for the mistakes he makes.

WE ALL MAKE MISTAKES! But I’m tired of supposedly grown adults who are still completely incapable of accepting the part they played, preferring instead to blame everyone and everything around them for everything that happens. It’s incredibly childish.

/Rant over.

Day may continue :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

For Thee

For thee, my heart.
It’s stitched in parts,
Imperfect gift,
But it’s yours if
You’re sure
That you will keep it.

For thee, my love.
Unworthy of
Yours in return,
But I have learnt
That nonetheless,
You give it.

For thee, my life,
My stunning wife,
I give to thee forever.

Tis Little Wonder

Tis little wonder
You lie alone
In bed at night
Your lonely home.
For you will push
Them all away.
Even those who
Want to stay.
You will scream
And sulk and shout
And push until
They all walk out.
And then you’ll cry
And blur the truth.
And tell the world
How THEY hurt YOU.

You’ll accept no
Ounce of blame,
Deny, deny
The part you played.

Tis little wonder,
You lie alone,
When you pushed love
Out of your home.
Especially for my Sister's former, the 'Father' of my nephew (an undeserved title) and for all those others of similar attitude.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Home is where I find her
Standing, smiling, holding child
A beautiful reminder…

…that everything is perfect.

I had a wonderfully productive week on business in North America building a very useful business relationship with some companies out there. It was great (but cold!) and I achieved more this week than I anticipated.

But boy am I glad to be home.

As I crept into the house at 5.30am I was expecting dark and silence. Everyone would be asleep, I was sure.

But I was wrong.

The little one had woken for a feed and this had woken up my oldest son who, realising I was due home soon, decided he was staying up. So as I pulled up in the driveway I noticed the living room light on. I walked in to my boy in his PJs, my wife in hers, the fire on and our baby daughter cooing away to herself.


I was only away 6 days but I missed them all so much. I spent most evenings in a hotel room on Skype talking to them all but it just isn’t the same as being able to cuddle up with them. So I made us all hot chocolate, we cuddled up on the couch and caught up before going back to bed shortly after.

I am tired today but that doesn’t stop me feeling like the luckiest guy on the planet.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Lest We Forget

Lest we forget
The fallen souls
Their brave, courageous
Costly roles.

Lest we forget
The Fathers who
Broke children’s hearts
To fight for you.

Lest we forget
What went before,
The crumbling, humbling
Cost of war.

Today we remember fallen soldiers - people who selflessly gave their lives for our freedom. Courageous, selfless people who valued our liberty above all else.

Today we remember that these people are real heroes... not celebrities, cartoon heroes or cult icons. These soldiers, the ones who fell in battle, those are heroes.

I told my son all about WW1 and WW2 last year. He loves to learn and is moved each Armistice Day to tears. He's in school today where he will by now have marked the day with a 2 minute silence, just as I did and just as so many millions of others did too.

Lest we forget. Lest we allow our children to forget. For while the memory is fresh and painful, so is the fear of this ever happening again prominent.

As it should be.

Rest, now, men. The battle's done.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sharing a Home

Chloe and I are very proud of the home we’ve built for our children. There’s a stable environment where the kids will always feel safe. It’s not and never will be about physical possessions. It’s not just about having both parents around either – I have always been a true believer that single parent families can thrive just as dual parent families do. What makes a house a home for kids is a feeling of security and, most importantly, LOVE.

“Your children are so, so lucky,” said a friend of mine last night. This friend was in foster care as a child and is working hard himself to build the sort of home he never had for his wife and child too.

“Thanks,” I responded. “Yours too.”

“I’m thinking I want to foster,” he told me. “I want to give something back. I understand these kids and I think I can be a positive influence.”

And so ensued a conversation last night between he, myself and Chloe about fostering and by the end of it, Chloe was absolutely sold on the idea of her and I applying to become foster parents too.

We’ve always said we want a big family. We have our eldest boy, who is 7, and our baby daughter who is 2 and a half months. We plan another one or two as well (being a Dad is my favourite thing in the world). But what she really wants to do is to provide a safe environment specifically for children who have never, ever had the benefit of such an environment themselves.

Being in short term foster care can be unnerving for children. These are often kids who have never benefitted from any stability and the environment they find themselves in during their stints in foster care can have a huge impact on their lives, on who they become and on their attitude to life.

Chloe feels passionately that we could make a difference to many children’s lives by applying ourselves to become Foster parents.

And I couldn’t agree more.

So I’ve been printing reams and reams of information on what’s involved, the process, how to apply. We want to wait until our youngest is 6 months old or so before applying but we’re both incredibly excited about the prospect of being able to share our home with children who most need a stable and loving environment.

Can’t wait :=)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Silence and Happy Sounds

Silence is hugely underrated. Sitting there and just breathing, watching your surrounding or thinking without distraction is, perhaps, one of life’s greatest gifts.

I’ve managed to clear out some old junk recently, in metaphoric terms… clearing out some of the people who make the most unwelcome, unconstructively critical, irrational and stirring-the-pot-at-every-opportunity type noise (both people who had been surrounding me and/or Chloe) and my wife and I are feeling much the better for it.

It occurred to me this morning that I wasn’t stressed. I wasn’t wondering who was going to be causing trouble by email, phone or text. It occurred to me that the only people in my life now are people who are happy for my happiness. People who are genuinely pleased to see me and my little family together.

So for those friends and family members both near and far…. Cheers :=)

I was once advised that friendships ending does not necessarily mean that either party is just bad… just that their time together as friends was done and they were incompatible in some ways. I’m inclined to agree, perhaps with the only exception being for the type of people who seem to be losing friends every other day… I think in those cases people need to take a look closer to home. But on the whole, I agree that the end of friendships is a natural part of life, a road forking and two individuals having to separate to head their own different ways. When people have different destinations, it does not make sense for their whole journey to be together.

And what is left is the group of friends who are aiming for the same destination, all encouraging one another to get there.

I like sound. Not noise. I like the sound of friends, laughter and encouragement, constructive criticism and the sound of a hand patting your back. I have decided to no longer include in my life people whose sounds are unhappy.

Silence and happy sounds only permitted from here on in :)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Feeling Beautiful

“You know what?” Chloe asked me, wrapping her arms around my waist from behind as I made breakfast this morning.


“I feel sexy again… I feel beautiful.”

“You’ve always been beautiful…” I told her honestly.

“But having a baby, well… It made me feel a little out of shape and, I don’t know, just not as on form as previously.”

I kissed her.

“You make me feel beautiful,” she continued. “You really do.”

And that there is perhaps the most wonderful compliment I’ve been given.

Chloe is naturally very beautiful, a natural looking girl. She doesn’t colour her hair or slap on tonnes of make up. She’s naturally a pretty girl. She’s not too skinny or gaunt looking. She’s a stunning (UK) size 12/14 (I’m writing this with her consent!). She’s simply gorgeous. Her long brown hair, her big beautiful eyes, her sweet smile… I love it all. She’s absolutely stunning.

I’ve always been a fan of the natural look. Overly made up, three-times-weekly hair dye sessions, gaunt and anorexic looking women have never been my thing. I’m a real fan of everything feminine: curves, long hair… I love it.

And I love her. My beautiful, beautiful wife.

Chloe, I’m so glad you got your confidence back, sweetheart. xx

Friday, November 4, 2011

For Amy

It’s recently been the 1 year anniversary of the passing of one of my closest friends.


Even just saying her name makes me smile.

Amy was involved in a car accident, taken too soon from a world that was just starting to make her happy. I believe some people are always just destined for more beautiful things than this world can ever offer them. Those are the people taken too soon. Those are the ones we lose and miss and spend the rest of our days praying for one last moment with.

Amy, Amy, Amy… my sweet, sweet friend. I hope you’re dancing to  90s dance music somewhere beautiful enough to deserve you.

Sleep well, sweetheart


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

November, North America and Nanowrimo

An incredibly busy November lies ahead.

I have been building a business relationship with someone on the other side of Atlantic and a trip that should have taken place some 4 months from now has been moved to… THIS MONTH! Talk about sudden but there there’s a great opportunity, I’m in : )

That leaves Chloe holding the babies for a week – hard work with a tiny baby and a 7 year old with big ideas. She’s incredibly supportive of my business progress though and our little family unit allows Chloe and I to do what we're best at... building a comfortable home, a business and happy children.

I also promised to support my son in his bid to do Nanowrimo this month. He’s so juiced. He has a plot, his characters (all planned ahead of the start of November) and has now began putting pen to paper. I’ll be coaching him via webcam in the week I’m on the North American continent of course : )

And as well as that, we have our Christmas preparations underway. We’re having Chloe’s family and my family at our house for dinner. Having the out of down countryside house has been incredible for my son. He loves the space. He loves to explore and we’re in a fortunate position of being able to accommodate everyone for dinner this year. It’s incredibly exciting for us – our first Christmas as a married couple and our baby girl’s first Christmas too. There’s so much happening.

I’m full of smiles. I’m 30 with a business I love, an amazing wife and two beautiful children. The sky seems so much bluer this year and the busy month ahead will be a phenomenal one.