The girl dimension 

Posted: March 15, 2017 in Uncategorized

“I think women are scared of feeling powerful and strong and brave sometimes. There’s nothing wrong with being afraid. It’s not the absence of fear, it’s overcoming it and sometimes you just have to blast through and have faith.” ~ Emma Watson

When I left Melbourne a few months ago I was in a place of negativity and uncertainty. I needed a breath of fresh air and I needed a reality check. 

On the drive over Aimee was asking if I knew what I was doing taking a girls team. The last time I took one was not the most successful stint of coaching I had experienced. In fact it’s easily the worst. 

I looked back on my coaching life and I realised that my coaching roots was in girls and honestly it felt right. The difference between now and then is simply that I had learnt more and developed a new set of values. I had come into my own and most importantly I now have a daughter.

When I got to Adelaide I was afraid of coaching the girls because I knew the responsibility which I was taking but not only that I was also agreeing to being a male influence in the lives of a group of girls. I didn’t take that lightly.

My first task was an Australia Day tournament and something happened over that weekend. I found myself falling in love with the game again. In Melbourne I had given into the pressure of the must win attitude and the high stress nature of the job but forgotten that I could get the job done with a smile and with my sense of humour in tact. 

I met a group of girls who were willing to push that extra mile if I asked and who were so focused and so chilled at the same time that it brought me back to a place of peace in myself.

Since that weekend we have continued to garner success and continue to grow as a group but more than anything push further than we ever thought possible.

I’ve spoken of womanhood and the failures of manhood. We’ve spoken of the ways in which female sports unfortunately have a glass ceiling and the need for women to smash through it time and time again. I’ve spoken of the need for positivity and a positive self image. 

We have learned so much about each other and started to develop bonds of trust and now that feeling of family is there.

I’ve taken the a couple of girls under my wing and the response had been visable and fun. The truth is that coaching life for me has been very much reawakened and reinvigorated. 

Tonight I found myself giddy about coaching for the first time in far too long. I found my love and I found my way again. Tonight I finally recognised something, I’m getting better, I’m feeling better. I am finally home and it’s all because I took the challenge of coaching a girls team.

I have been given the blessing of coaching an awesome group of young ladies who are so strong and so talented and have reminded me of who I was taught to be and who I really want to be. I wanna be a good influence on these girls and I wanna be a good role model, coach and most importantly a good man.

My journey as a basketball coach has had many many set backs and many hardships. I have created many of my own issues and hardships too which is a constant source of disappointment for me and those close to me.

My mouth has at times very little filter and my brain at times refuses to connect to it. 

I regret this because it is something I struggle with daily in the persuit of a Holy and fulfilled life. 

Yes, teaching me such things is the responsibility of my parents who really tried. But it takes a village to raise a child and this village failed. 

My basketball coaches looked at me as a one year assignment and only saw my skills as their responsibility when the reality is much different. I had coaches of both genders focus on my skills and criticise my attitude but never sit me down and help me overcome my attitude.

It wasn’t until I was engaging with my faith that I really found people who could help me and guide me. These many people over many years saw my need of readjustment and of leadership. But why did it take until my young adulthood when so many people had the opportunity to instil good values and good traits in my life?

I was taught to coach as a perfectionist and yes I was finding success but I was being a horrible man. I was a taskmaster and I was making men like me bitter, rude and classless.

Over the last years I’ve found a different way of being and a new focus of my energies. I want to be to others what people should have been for me.

Yes I still struggle with depression and no I don’t hide it any more. I am in pain from my past but am trying to reach out to heal aspects that I have only just admitted to. But I have love and am loved. I have positivity. 

We live in a culture which is without love and without ways in which to enrich our youth. I sit on a bench of young men who feel entitled and demand to be respected instead of realising that respect is earned and the world owes them nothing.

With the girls I coach I notice that although each girl has such an inner strength they all seem taken aback when given compliments. Even though they are strong young women, they don’t realise that with me as a coach I want them to stand up to me. I want them to tell me when I am wrong. I call them young miss, ma’am or miss and although now they are getting used to it at first they seemed to be so confused about being respected. At team meetings they are now openly speaking their minds without fear of being knocked back. They are resolving conflicts with me and each other. Now as of today they are also champions.

My boys on the other hand still have yet to receive the full message I wish to impart which is that manhood is about more than age but owning your actions and being accountable for everything. Being respectful, patient, kind and aware of the bigger picture that is their life and the lives of those around them.

Being a coach is a privilege and now I feel refreshed and once again feeling like I can help others achieve their goals. 

A big part of that is the message that the club gives which is one which I can support. These young women and men have come to us asking us to be developed and we as coaches have a deeper mandate than just winning games. I can not support the message that wins are more important than personal growth and thus I feel my passion was drained for coaching and the joy of the game lessened.

Coaching is not about winning. Coaching is about helping your players discover themselves. Discover their potential and their self confidence to take on the world and win.

At Norwood we are trying to develop champions off the court as well. My faith in the basketballing community has been restored by a club which actually cares about its players beyond the years which they are actively playing for them.

I am so thankful to give to this generation of player what I was never given. Real coaching to make a real difference. 

Rebuilding

Posted: May 12, 2016 in Uncategorized

Rebuilding is such a taboo thing these days. When somebody says they are rebuilding it tends to bring the idea of destruction or of catastrophe. In sports in means a team has left their window for success and now need to find other tools to get there again and yet from time to time it’s a coach’s excuse for their incompetence.

In a personal sense to rebuild I see not so much to build from scratch or to have to clean up after something horrendous. I see it as renovating the existing structure and reinforcing areas of that structure. For example in my life I tend towards self denial and self ridicule but in my current rebuild I’ve noticed that it’s time for that personality trait to be renovated into a more positive mind set and whilst doing that reinforcing a positive self image. 

It doesn’t mean that my negativity wasn’t a good thing, it’s just fulfilled its purpose in my life. It’s the old toaster which used to work great but now burns everything. 

I say that because remember God made us in his image and likeness. He looked down on us (I like to imagine him smiling) and said it is good.

I have never been good at falling down nor have I ever dealt with failure all too well. In fact I find that I am highly unforgiving of myself and yet find every way to excuse others of their failings. 

I rip into myself in a harsh and often untrue manner because a voice in my head tells me that I deserve it and that I am no longer enough. It is a battle at times to believe those around me that I am a good and decent man but it isn’t a battle to listen to people’s negativity and those who wish to tear me down. For this reason I have decided to write again.

Writing in past has been my saving grace because if I could see things on paper and realise the lies that Satan was telling me then I could find a way around it and finally defeat it.

So far 2016 has been a bit of a struggle health wise. My diabetes is a little out of control and I was weighing more than any other time before until I started working out again. This change in habit and the results of seeing my shirts fitting again and pants being loose again has been something that’s made me smile and feel quite positive.

The other concern is that in the last 10 weeks I’ve knocked myself out cold in two seperate accidents and not only is this probably not the best thing for someone already struggling to stay positive but long term the brain shouldn’t go through trauma like that. Although medically cleared both times I can tell there has been residual affects. In the short term it was loss of memory, haziness and aloofness for about 3-4 days but now removed 3 weeks since my last accident I find myself still not sleeping well and with headaches which I haven’t had in past. 

My Dr told me that it is expected for a while and to not stress because my scans are clean but it’s not that easy. I am a worrier I guess. 

But it’s not all bad. Not at all actually. If I could rate my life atm I could say that I have never been in a better spot and that I have so much to celebrate and be joyful of.

Aimee and I got married late last year, we are expecting our first child soon and we are still show each other love and tenderness. She is my best friend and my rock.

My parents are well and I talk to them often. They provide me with reality checks and new ways in which to view the world.

My faith is growing through the challenges and I know this because I am now able to put my pride away and tell Jesus that I don’t know sometimes. Or tell him that I’m stuffing up but to work through it and help me not do it again.

I wanna also say that life is intriguing because for someone like me, who tends to err on the side of well, inward negativity, I can still see the beauty in the world. I can now also see the beauty in our struggles and maybe even in our failures.

I plead to God to look after my family and myself and all those who are asking our Lord’s support and help. I ask for the strength and wisdom to fight through Satans lies and come out of my current challenges safe and strong.

For now I guess those are my thoughts.

The Devil in disguise

Posted: February 1, 2016 in Uncategorized

Satan; the deceiver and ultimate in lies and ruining good kids and great adults. He just takes the seemingly innocent and distorts just enough to make us question our own strengths and weakness. 
He is in a second glance, an odd combination of words and a bad wardrobe choice. He is in the anger that’s born from small issues and the desire for revenge over understanding. 
Satan is in our lives 24/7 and that’s the truth because he touches our loved ones, the people around us and ourselves in those areas of our lives that we don’t tend to. Take sex for example. The ultimate in love, the amazing experience of the love between a man and a woman has been derailed to a point that sex is now fun and casual not loving and aimed at sharing a life together. 

The devil is also twisting the joy of family and the joy of pregnancy. Suddenly we need to be ready for babies but we don’t have to be ready to have sex. 

I have fallen into this lie as well throughout my life and it wasn’t until I became to value sex and my own sexuality that I became someone with self respect. My self image was linked with my perceived sexual identity and I would almost call it my sexual value. These lies are being told so loudly that it’s hard to drown out.
Kids are learning these lies too almost as if they are fact; little girls have been put in a position where they want to wear bikinis or swim suits which “look good.” And this is a society that protects children? No. Or the fact that it’s ok for teen girls to wear as little material as possible and desire to look sexual and then society is shocked when they get treated sexually and I’m not even inferring to when it’s forced on them but when they copy the actions being put before them. 
Boys wearing T’s with naked women on them or language that make grown men look at them and think “thank you Lord for allowing me to grow up in a different generation.” The terms ma’am, miss, Mrs. Are replaced by other descriptions. 

Boys aren’t becoming men because they see authority as a power trip and responsibility as an option. They see fun as being lazy and that just doing enough is going to put you in good step with the world but that is a misconception, a deception, a lie.
I haven’t ever backed down from a challenge so won’t back down from this one because right now Satan is throwing down the gauntlet to all the soldiers of the cross. He is saying step up or step down. Either fight or conform but now there is no middle ground. Middle ground is where a lot of people are now and this I feel is why we are having these deep issues with identity and mental health. 
Is it any surprise that drugs and alcohol are some of the Devils favourite weapons? These substances distort our view of the world and suppress our intellect and ability to act rationally. Oh how Satan must be loving the Ice epidemic sweeping Australia, the silence when it comes to suicide and depression and the accepting of a youth culture where the kids will be kids and dabble. 

I in my life struggled with depression in my teens and early adult life very badly. I also very much struggled with alcohol related issues and this was Satan hiding my pain with numbness and telling me it was joy. I would cut myself quite bad which has left permanent scars on me and he told me that pain was relief. He told me and still tells me that silence is key and that opening up will lead to my losing everything. And I did lose almost everything, however, that happened because I did stay silent. 

I was really lucky because through my darkness people held out their hands to me and eventually I re-met Jesus. I took Jesus into my heart and Satan could no longer hold sway over me. These people where good and bad some showed my who I was and believed in me and to them I am forever thankful even if we are no longer in contact. Others seem to have been put in my life as a wake up call and a warning of who I was on the road to becoming.

I still have bad days, I still make questionable choices and at times feel low but that’s part of the human experience. For me becoming unashamed has been a turning point and realising that I was born to be on God’s front line with other soldiers of the cross in our own ways. Fulfilling my role has been such an amazingly positive experience in my life and wish others would take up the challenge to try take up arms in this battle. 
If us soldiers of the cross aren’t carrying the weight of our mission out to the streets and how we live our lives then we can’t expect to feel like our souls are winning this battle.
I’m not saying that we won’t fall into sin and make bad choices that’s not what we are meant to believe because we have the amazing sacrament of reconciliation to heal our wounds and bring us back to the light. We need to be humble and rejoice in our perfection in God’s eyes.
We need to fight because now is our time. It’s our turn to shape the world. How do I know this? My wardrobe is filled with Christian motto shirts and old people seem to always smile at me or talk to me when I’m wearing them and I believe it’s because they acknowledge a soldier when they see one because they themselves where once one and it brings them hope or I like to think it does.
Satan the father of lies is prowling. He is powerful and he is ready to consume us and our friends. I know that this probably reads as a rant but it’s my anger at the world and me questioning as many people as willing to listen. On the day Satan attacks you head on will you be able to recognise him? No? How about on the day to day? Gentlemen, when that beautiful daughter of God (that all our sisters are) gets on the train, do we acknowledge their dignity or strip it from them? Ladies, the same question when one of us brothers is shirtless at the beach? 

Satan doesn’t breed joy but fear and never breeds love but lust. Satan believes in rightful vengeance and casual intimacy. He believes in abortion as not murder and holding grudges because it suits us as we must win an argument. He doesn’t believe in forgiveness or unselfishness, he doesn’t want us to recognise that we can be strong, loving, caring and genuine.
Ladies and gents the devil is in disguise and we can reveal him.

Be who God created you to be. Be a warrior. Be unashamed.

As I walk past Saint Patrick’s cathedral I look up and see what I think I needed to see. History. See when I look at that cathedral I see how the stone is beautifully weathered and aged. It allows me to reflect on how many imperfect people have been there to worship a God who loves us in our brokenness and in our depths. God is so beautiful and so amazingly loving. 

We are supported by this love weather we are open to accepting it or not and are always given opportunities to perfect ourselves.
In today’s Gospel Jesus says he is sending us out like sheep among wolves and that we will be persecuted for his sake. It’s true. Being a Christian means that we are custodians of the one real truth and that is that our God has endless love for his people. We are custodians of that love but many of us seem to not realise what that love really is.
Forgiveness. That love is forgiveness. In a culture that is so obsessed with legal justice we have forgotten social justice. I had a conversation with someone in my family yesterday about what’s happening in Greece and they were telling me how Greece had this coming because of the choices they have been making. I was stunned because it was this persons love for me that sparked my own love for social justice and belief in forgiveness. 

I was forced to reteach what they had always taught me and that is that “we are but human. To forgive is not our right but responsibility because God will talk to those who hurt or offend you and if you hold hate, anger and resentment in your heart he will talk to you about that too.” 

We live in an age that’s forgotten that we are inherently good people but that Satan tempts and deceives us. The words I forgive you are no longer said with a clear sincere heart which says I can see that you wanna be better and I can help you. 

Forgiveness is something we desperately need more of in our world. 

Satan would be rejoicing at the fact that we no longer hold forgiveness as the most important thing we can do in our lives. The honest truth is that when we rediscover the importance of this we will rediscover an amazing peace in our lives.
When I walked past this cathedral I remembered the imperfect and broken people who are now with God and are in heaven praying for us.

todays readings

Posted: July 6, 2015 in Uncategorized

I’ll start off by prefacing that the following is just my interpretation and in no way do I think it official stands but nearly my own observations. So today’s gospel is the official who’s daughter had died and Jesus brought back to life. in the story the official had a loud faith he came and spoke to Jesus and pleaded with the Lord to raise his daughter. So Jesus saw the faith in this man and performed the miracle. There are two things I find interesting in the reading. 

1) it happens to be that he was maybe less faithful than we think because I’m the household the people there basically thought he was a joke. It says they rebuked him. So it may have been more desperate than faithful and our Lord knew this but saw past it. He saw the love of a father for his daughter and could not just do nothing at this time. 

2) it happens so fast but he saves another woman. The woman with no name but it says she suffered from bleeding. She had a quiet faith and she knew if she could only touch him she would be healed. Jesus felt that power leave him and told her that her faith had healed her.
At times we all have a bit of both kinds of faith. Sometimes we’re going through such a tough time and look to the sky and plead and even try bargaining with God. Where as sometimes in the quiet of our hearts we have silent prayers that God hears just as loudly.
I’ve heard people say to me why are you trying to barter with God? Can’t you see that this is the way it’s meant to be?

No. Jesus has our backs and Gods will and love to us must be understood for us to realise that our desires if pure are also Gods.
In the first reading Jacob receives his message from God in the quiet peace of sleep and it’s there that his faith is swelled and then when he awakes he declares his faith. Sure he says if I do what is asked and God does his bit then I’ll declare my faith but let’s be honest… We all do that at some point and that’s the way God is. He says ‘you do your bit ill do mine.’ There is nothing wrong with this, in fact it’s the way Jesus worked. People approached him open to being proven wrong, to faith and then Jesus did his part.
In my life I want Jesus to take the wheel and often in the quiet of my heart say to him ‘Lord, less of me, more of you. Take the wheel and take me where you wish.’
Today Jesus reminded me of the two types of faith and the importance of both because God doesn’t look down on any request in fact he does all he can to give us what we wish

I will return

Posted: July 6, 2015 in Uncategorized

I will return – Skylar Grey
This song has become something of an anthem for me in the last few weeks. See unknowing to me I’ve been battling myself in a cloud of negativity and confusion and in this have lost my way for a time. 

My faith is still there but had been clouded by this wave of difference and a kind of disenchantment with what makes me who I am. I know that Jesus died on the cross for me which delivers us all from sin and gives us a reason to be happy and free. Knowing it and applying it tho is two very different things and then living like we are saved can at times be ultimately impossible.

It’s impossible because while lost we are incapable of truely valuing the gift Jesus has given us and the ones we give others. 

Parts of the lyrics go like this:

I will return don’t you ever hang your head,

I will return in every song and each sunset,

Our memory is always within reach,

I will return I will return

Don’t you ever hang your head.
When you’re feeling empty,

I will be the fuel you need,

To keep on pushing on down the lonely street

And I’m always in the shack unseen.

Home like headlights on the lawn,

I’m never gone for long.

I feel like this because when I’m down and out I know that I am always going to be there for those who need me. 

I’ve been missing the last little bit but don’t ever count me out because I will return. I will always return and I will fight for all those whom I love and those who need me. No matter what because I value the opportunity to help those around me.

Jesus is my fuel and has allowed me to refuel others. He is always active in my life but rarely do I see him when he’s working away. In my life he prefers to work unseen. But I still have an intense love and desire to serve him through my community.

Where does this come from? It’s my faith. I look to St. Paul who persecuted the early Christians and who literally had to fall off his high horse. He then became an evangelist to the Gentiles but even when he physically left them he wasn’t far away. 

When people needed him to stand up and be counted he never hesitated and the evidence is in the amount of times he was imprisoned and ship wreaked. He never gave in and his ministry became his life. He would have felt down and depressed or unappreciated but he found solace in God.

In my darkest times God has gifted me with perseverance and a desire to serve. If I was trying to find my way out of this cloud for my own good I don’t think I could do it, however, if I need to do it for those who count on me then I pray ‘Lord, get my shield and sword ready, we goin to war.’

I promised myself I would always do all I could for those who need me and never be far away in their hour of need especially now in an age of technology there is no excuse not to serve.

I will return. The clear headed version of me that is joyous, juvenile and ultimately far more fun will return. 

The darkness in this world can easily engulf us, it can easily become not our saving grace but our ultimate burden. It’s at these times that we must hold steadfast to the Gospel. Jesus in this day of age would be seen as somewhat of a rebel because he wouldn’t conform to this darkness and this negativity. His promise to us is crystal clear. “The gates of hell shall not prevail!”

So we must… I must gather with everyone in our communities and come to realise that this cloud which has enslaved me is Satan and the cloud is spreading. Depression is not the way we were meant to live life, God made us for joy anything that doesn’t bring joy is not of God.

If you yourself are depressed or know someone who is help them. Don’t try fix yourself or them go to a professional and go to your pastor or priest. If you know someone who’s depressed don’t judge their actions, until you know the mental despair and desolation of not knowing why your doing or saying things then you can’t fully grasp why others are acting out. (No I’m not saying that all kinds of acting out is a result of these feelings but only those which are seeking comfort or attention.) forgive them, for they know not what they do.

I am no professional but have battled depression for many years and thought I had won the war so my opinion is purely from my own experience.

I will return. I am returning and soon this cloud will lift from my life and I will stand with my loved ones and community standing firm in the Gospel. 

I will return
Romans 1:16