A quick reflection

As we approach the end of yet another year, I, as I normally do on most days, have taken time out to not only reflect on myself but also to look back at my life journey through 2017.

I no longer makes resolutions at the beginning of the year but instead focus on being a better me daily. I don’t always get it right but if I’ve at least grown in some way or some area of my life then I’ve at least achieved something.

This year, the growth has been in my spiritual life. As a man who grew up always wanting to be right or to have the last word, I’ve learnt the importance of being wrong and acknowledging the same. I’ve learnt the importance of being hurt but confronting it with grace. I’ve learnt the importance of being offended and more importantly, forgiveness.

Death has been on my mind a lot not in the sense of being obsessed with it but rather in the sense of leaving this world with minimal regret. On other words, if called from this Earth, would I be able to honestly say that I did my best to be my best? Did I live my life in a way that would make my Father, my God proud?

I keep thinking of The Lord’s prayer and how I used to take it for granted by merely saying it automatically without really giving thought to every word, every line until the day I stopped at “…forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” If there’s one thing I can confess its that I was never quick to forgive. Sure it’s human nature but it’s exhausting. That very line gave me so much to think about and really got me thinking about little ways I could improve myself, strengthen my faith and be a beacon of love to all around me.

Anyone that knows me will know what a big part of my life my faith is and that I am unashamed of my beliefs. That same faith has taught me the importance of acceptance when necessary and forgiveness. It has taught me the importance of righting wrongs. It has taught me the importance of relationships and lifelong bonds and why it is important to sometimes humble myself, even when right, in order to be able to break down barriers and in turn, speak to the hearts of people.

This realisation has not been easy and at times is still a challenge but, the fact that I’ve overcome and can look past so much is an achievement that I would never have dreamt of years ago. The journey itself has required sacrifice and perseverance but not once did I feel alone. I chose to place my trust in God and I will be the first to admit that there were times whereby I wanted to give up but I’ve seen prayer after prayer answered. I’ve been blessed and with each blessing came the understanding that each would come with its own set of challenges for what’s the point of being blessed continuously if you cannot strengthen yourself to overcome challenges that will prepare you for the greater blessings that lay ahead?

I don’t claim to be perfect. I don’t claim to know everything but one thing I do know is that having grace does wonders to one’s soul. Grace helps you look beyond what is petty and understand that life is too short to waste emotions on issues that subconsciously control you instead of realising that you have the power to control those situations. You just need to accept the fact that it comes down to making a decision.

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Rediscover. Reinvent. Reap.

Reinvention. My personal, physical and spiritual theme for the year. It has absolutely nothing to do with resolutions for the year ahead but rather stems from a realisation which came to be as a direct result of being a parent, seeing life through the eyes of a child and embracing my inner child.

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To a child, the world is full of endless possibilities. There is no fear or rather, when fear does manifest itself, a child finds the courage to overcome it. These are traits that we unfortunately lose later in life and I for one have been on a personal journey to reclaim that which was once lost – reinvent myself so to speak.

To say that the past year was an exciting one would be a lie but rather than allow the negativity that was 2016 dictate my future, I’ve instead chosen to take a step back and rediscover some basic elements that used to define me – starting with self-happiness – and ultimately take some advice from my younger self.

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Finding happiness when it feels like your whole world is falling apart is daunting but I love that my faith is strong. I’m not here to shove religion down anyone’s throat but that doesn’t mean I’m not proud of my faith or that I’m ashamed of my beliefs. Just as sure as I am that the keys under my fingers are real, keeping God at the centre of all that I am an all that I do has brought nothing but blessings into my life – blessings for which I sometimes do not convey enough gratitude.

I woke up this morning and I was just thankful to be blessed with another day. I’m thankful to be able to wake up next to the same beautiful face every day and remind myself just how lucky I am to have her. I’m thankful to have been chosen to be the father of two remarkable, beautiful and intelligent little angels. I’m thankful that even with life’s challenges, I know, feel, give and receive love. I’m thankful for the gift that is family. I’m thankful for the privilege that is friendship.

You see I came to realise that the more I was thankful for, the better I felt. I’m not being unrealistic. There are still battles to fight, there are still bills to pay, there is still evil in the world but they don’t control my life, I do. I want to be happy and counting my blessings does that. It’s those very same blessings that are my key to success in that I’m so privileged to have a strong support system in my wife and all the motivation in the world in my kids.

This has been anything but an easy journey, especially when I can still see the starting line in my rear-view mirror looking back isn’t some sort of security blanket I’m holding onto but rather a reminder who I was – it’s the finish line, the promise of a better me, the acceptance that I have much potential within myself that pushes me. It’s having a partner, my wife, my best friend, my bae, my strength to always walk beside me and remind me that I’m not alone. It’s having two little people who surprise me with just how much joy they can contain in their tiny little bodies and motivate me to be and do more for them.

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I’m truly a lucky man. I may not have all the riches in the world financially speaking but my life is richer with the wonderful people in it. I was telling my close friends just moments ago, that “…we need to keep that fire burning. Life happens and sometimes we feel down but that’s why we need to surround ourselves with positive and influential people with God at the very centre. They remind us of our potential. They help us find strength when we’re down and remind us to be the best versions of ourselves that we can be. I know life is tough guys but God loves to be tested and He especially loves to show off when He answers our prayers so let’s not lose faith. Change may not come today or tomorrow but you never know just how close you truly are so as blind as we may be to that, let us not be blind in faith. Keep fighting the good fight.”

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Helmhurts

Very interesting read

Almost looks like work

A few posts back I was concerned with optimising the WiFi reception in my flat, and I chose a simple method for calculating the distribution of electromagnetic intensity. I casually mentioned that I really should be doing things more rigorously by solving the Helmholtz equation, but then didn’t. Well, spurred on by a shocking amount of spare time, I’ve given it a go here.

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Your body’s amazing reaction to water

This is definitely a good read

ideas.ted.com

Writer James Nestor explores the science of the “mammalian dive reflex,” the phenomenon by which water triggers an immediate decrease in heart rate.

In 1949, a stocky Italian air force lieutenant named Raimondo Bucher decided to try a potentially deadly stunt off the coast of Capri, Italy. Bucher would sail out to the center of the lake, take a breath and hold it, and free-dive down one hundred feet to the bottom. Waiting there would be a man in a diving suit. Bucher would hand the diver a package, then kick back up to the surface. If he completed the dive, he’d win a fifty-thousand-lira bet; if he didn’t, he would drown.

Scientists warned Bucher that, according to Boyle’s law, the dive would kill him. Formulated in the 1660s by the Anglo-Irish physicist Robert Boyle, this equation predicted the behavior of gases at various pressures, and it indicated that the pressure at a hundred…

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Happy 1st birthday princess

It is said that there are milestones in life that change a person’s life permanently and often make one a better person whether it be marriage of the birth of a child. Seeing as my wedding anniversary isn’t too far off, I thought I’d focus on the latter in honour of my princess’ 1st birthday.

Looking back, I recall the mixed emotions I had at discovering that we were pregnant. On one hand was a sense of elation and tears of joy. On the other, was the fear of whether or not we were ready for it and if I’d be a good father. Fast forward twenty four hours and elation became the dominant emotion and despite my fears, I made a promise to do my best to be the best husband and father I could be.

The road leading to the birth of our daughter was not an easy one. From financial strain to health scares, we were challenged at every avenue and went through obstacles that would have broken up most marriages but through prayer, support from our loved ones and our determination to work through all trials as a team, we came out happier than ever.

Forty-five minutes from now will mark the actual time that my daughter was actually born, 21 days earlier than expected. The 48 hours preceding her birth were probably the most difficult for us simply because we went through another health scare which improved only to have gotten worse when my wife’s water broke. The next few hours were subjugated by constant phone calls and my wife’s doctor waiting for me to make a decision because both the baby and mother’s lives were greatly at risk.

I won’t go into too much detail but I will say this. 20 July 2013, 20h15 was a huge turning point in my life. Suddenly, everything made so much more sense than ever before. I’ve spent every moment of every day since being grateful for having been blessed with two wonderful people in my life who have motivated me to be the best man that I can be to such an extent that even that, in my opinion, would not be enough to live up to just how amazing they truly are.

Watching our little girl grow up has been an experience that I will forever cherish. There are moments that I get excited about the next phase of her journey into a young, beautiful woman and at the same time, I just wish that time would stand still so that I can enjoy her infancy a little longer.

So, as the hour of her birth approaches, I really can’t sum up what and how I feel any better than I did earlier in the evening, If there is one moment that can be defined as the proudest moment of my life, it would be the birth of my dearest little princess. Feels like just yesterday that you came into the world yet here you are, 365 days later, grown up and more beautiful than ever. I’m eternally grateful and privileged to be your father. May looking back on your first birthday always be a reminder of the joy you’ve brought to many and that you were, are and always will be loved. I love you always.”

Apparently there’s not a single good woman in my life

Anybody that knows me well will know that I don’t take social networking sites very seriously or rather, I don’t take myself too seriously when it comes to such. However, every now and then, something that I feel strongly about hits home or crosses my mind and this is one such thing.

With Women’s Day about a month away – amongst other things – I came to the realisation that there are no good women in my life. I thought this through and it’s true, there just aren’t any.

Let’s go through the list, from birth I’ve known my mother, grandmothers and aunts. Growing up was not in isolation and I got to do so with my sisters, cousins and friends. Adulthood too has consisted of a wife, a child and colleagues to name a few. Looking back at the aforementioned, it’s become apparent that the only reason I don’t think that there’s a single good woman in my life is because most have chosen not to settle for being mediocre and have instead aspired to greatness.

Going as far back as my infancy and early childhood, in addition to mother, I was blessed to have numerous mother figures in the form of my grandmothers, aunts and mothers of close friends. They were the personification of unconditional love and displayed a strength that far surpasses that of any human being. My own personal experience, there is and always was my queen…my mother. Without her, I doubt I’d be half the man that I am today. Without her, there is no me. Without her, I never would have learnt what it means to honour, respect and love a woman in such a way that through good times and bad, she never doubts feeling appreciated and for that mom, I can’t thank you enough. I am privileged to have a mother who has always given so much and expected very little to nothing in return. Through life’s tribulations, she’s kept her head high, her heart open and her faith intact and for that mom, I salute you and every single mother out there – whether in the literal or metaphorical sense – you’re all the glue that keeps the world together.

Growing up, I was blessed with siblings, extended family and certain friends who have since become so much more. In a world that still has not shown women the respect they deserve, you constantly push yourselves to be and do so much more than the world gives you credit for. I can only imagine the strength and perseverance it takes to wake up every day finding yourselves have to prove that you have so much more to offer than perceived and for that, I salute you too. May you always realise that you make the best you. No other human being let alone man should ever make you believe less.

Now, the present. In addition to having the opportunity to interact with most of those referred to above on a daily basis, I’ve further been honoured over the last few years in having met some of the strongest and greatest women in the work place and on a more personal level. The likes of my (coolest) boss (ever)/colleague/next door neighbour at work as well as my other ‘honorary mother’ who is never short of fantastic advice on life, child care (and Rooi Laventel), along with some of my fellow colleagues/friends who time after time continue to rise above the limitations instilled by an environment dominated by men despite constantly (and incorrectly) being labelled as “emotional”. They have displayed the kind of ‘never-back-down’ character that has earned them by deepest respect and appreciation. I salute you too.

On a personal level, my darling wife and daughter. It is said that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” and there’s no greater truth when I look back at not only the abovementioned but also the lessons I’ve taken from every situation in my life growing up. I look at you both every single day and all I see is the quintessence of greatness. You have both shown me what true love looks like, taught me what it means to be more than just a “good enough” man and accentuated what I’ve known about what it means to have and express unconditional love. Faith has gotten us this far and its faith, love and our unity as a family that I know will take us to even greater heights. To my wife, thank you for not only being a great role model to our daughter but for also living up to what I consider to be “greatness” whilst teaching me to appreciate the fact that within imperfections lies perfection.

To my mini-me, my rug-rat, my adorable baby girl. I hope that as you grow up, I will continue to remind you of all I’ve said thus far. That you continue to be blessed in such a way that you are a blessing to others. That any man worthy of your attention sees you in the same (or greater) light as I do. You’re my motivation, my inspiration, my purpose for wanting to be a better me and the best me I can be. I love you always.

So once again, with Women’s Day being about a month away, I thought that today was as good a day as any to let all the “great” women in my life know that you are an inspiration and are truly appreciated. Thank you for your many sacrifices, for your strength and undying love. Again, I salute you all.