It’s The Little Things

After a long line of stuff ups, emergency landings and shifting work overseas, Qantas have finally got one back. And they’ve done it well.

On selectedlittle things flights during Australia Day, passengers were surprised with an array of Tim Tam chocolate biscuits on their luggage as they picked it up from the carousel.

Sure, it was part of a new promotion that involves some international flights now carrying the famous biscuit, but a ripper gesture none the less.

It’s always good to see big companies do the little things, because it’s the little things that people remember, and it’s the little things that people will talk (and write!) about.

Well done Qantas and Arnotts.

You can read the story and watch the video here.

When The Wilderness is Your Only Friend

The sexiness of a new direction quickly fades. We take off on the journey of a lifetime only to find ourselves in a place we didn’t intend—a place that looks strangely like the normality we were escaping from.

wilderness

I’ve been through the wilderness experience often. As I’ve tried to move forward, I keep being held back. I’ve tried to ‘step out in faith’ when all that was being asked of me was to stop, and breathe and rest. Some of these experiences have lasted weeks, and others have lasted years. And still others I’m in the midst of this very moment.

I remember growing up thinking that the wilderness experience was bad. Like it was some kind of rebuke or that God had to remove himself from me and would use the time to teach or challenge or discipline me. I felt I had to quickly learn something to get out of the wilderness so I could move forward and embrace ‘all that God has for me!’.

I now see it much differently.

As we’ve shifted out of organised church, the wilderness has been our solace. It’s been the place where we’ve questioned everything, and where our thirsts for truth have been quenched. We’ve found friends in this place that have been our guides. They’ve shared our life, like an old friend that we haven’t seen for years.

Changing careers a year or so ago, led me into the wilderness, and it’s been such a relief. In the wilderness I’ve felt the rush of wind through my hair and tasted the future God is opening up. I’ve gained a glimpse of the person I truly am, and had layers peeled back to reveal what was originally there. There’s been a stack of moments where God has been distant and I’ve wondered what the hell is going on, but the urge to be fully present in this moment of wilderness has been strong.

It’s been important, it’s been needed, it’s been the best thing for me.

The wilderness was made for us. It was made for us to withdraw from the pressures of life and just rest. It was made to allow us the space to recover something that we have lost and just learn and rest and sit.

Jesus would often call his disciples out into the wilderness for a while to enjoy some rest. It’s like he knew the implicit opportunity that comes when we withdraw and just be alone, with ourselves and with him.

Community has nothing on an interaction with the holy one, and when we withdraw to the wilderness, often it’s the holy one that meets us. It’s often in the wilderness when our friends bail and we find ourselves alone and tired. It’s in those precise moments when Jesus meets with us on a deeply personal and transformative way.

If you’re in the wilderness, stay there. Embrace it. Connect with God, get to know yourself, reflect. 

Resist the urge to move on, simply because it’s uncomfortable. Ask God to show you the time to move, and only then do it.

This time in the wilderness is just for you—trust God knows what’s best.

10 Super Easy Ways to Improve Your Mood

We all find ourselves in a funk from time to time, and nobody is immune.

improve your mood

Heres 10 super easy ways to improve your mood:

  1. Go for a brisk 20 minute walk around the block. Exercise releases all sorts of chemicals which lift your spirits and create a happier you…almost instantly! 
  2. Watch kids playing. Approaching life with eyes like a child reminds us of the awe and wonderment life offers. So it stands to reason that if you are feeling a little blue, head to the playground or beach and watch kids play. If nothing else, it stops your brain from working for a bit and you just get the chance to admire their little creative and captivating minds at work.
  3. Listen to music or a podcast. I love this one after a tough day at work. Having my favourite music in the background, or switching on an inspiring podcast can be a lifesaver. It brings to mind the things that I love and helps me to be thankful. When those little ‘chills‘ come after listening to something, you know you’re on the improve.
  4. Take a power nap. A quick sleep can do wonders for you, your productivity and reducing stress levels. It helps us to refocus and kickstart the creativity we need to finish the day well, or to break us out of a funk.
  5. Share with a friend. This one has its limits. Find someone you trust, and vent. Take 10 minutes (max) and download what’s going on and allow yourself to feel crap. Once the time is up, move on. Use this sparingly. You don’t want to be the friend that always dumps crap on people.
  6. Eat well. The foods you eat will dramatically change how you feel. Try dark chocolate, fish, greek yoghurt, honey, asparagus, red wine, beef or eggs, just to name a few.
  7. Do the chores. Doing something that has no immediate ‘feel good factor’ can be incredibly beneficial. It’s the whole attitude of service that is at work here. For me, it’s the dishes, and I take my time doing it. Afterward, I feel much better. Plus, I’ve ticked a chore of my list. It’s a win/win outcome!
  8. List 10 positives from the last 24 hours. This can be challenging when you’re feeling a bit grumpy, but do it. It forces you to be mindful of the little things in your life that you can be grateful for. And yes, keep it to 24 hours. That’s so you focus on the little things, not just the larger, more obvious positives in your life. We do this one with the kids I work with and it has amazing effect.
  9. Read some tragic news. Bear with me on this one. Flick through the news and read something which makes you sad or grieves you. It has a kind of reverse psychology effect on me, and helps me be thankful and grateful for what I do have, instead of moaning about all the things I don’t. Again, use sparingly.
  10. Smile at a stranger. Smiles make the world go round, so give one to a complete stranger. Make their day better, and yours will be too.
  11. BONUS ONE: If all else fails, grab a cup of coffee. The caffeine hit will certainly perk you up!

It’s ok to be sad or grumpy or angry or down, but please don’t stay there. It’s not a nice place to be over the long haul, and the quicker you can nip a bad mood in the butt the better.

Improve your mood, and the world will thank you.

Is There Really a Need for Life Coaching? YES!

I’ve mentioned here before that I’m studying Life Coaching. It’s going really great. I’m enjoying learning some of the theory behind what I’ve done naturally for a number of years anyway, but seeing the framework around it gives me the understanding required to really make a career out of it.

life coaching

I did however have a moment of crisis the other evening when I wondered what the market for life coaching looked like. I started thinking about it because I’ve never had life coaching, well at least paid for it. I have had stacks of people impact my life by their timely words, but there’s never been a financial transaction, although I would gladly have shelled some cash for the influence they had on me.

It’d be fair to say that I sat firmly upright in my chair with a feeling of ‘oh shit’.

I know Life coaching has a mixed reputation, mainly because some people lump it in the self-help hoo ha arena, yet others put it in the counselling sphere. And the problem is that it doesn’t really fit in either of those categories.

I think we are also living in a time where we feel like we don’t need ‘help’. In years gone by, coaching was non-existent, especially in a professional way. It happened simply through being connected with a group of people in our community whom we could do life with and seek input as we went about making choices and decisions.

Then there are the ‘self-help gurus’ who have bled people dry and given them very little direction in return. In many ways it’s given the industry a bad name.

If you add all those things together, it doesn’t account for a very lucrative career option…

However, I am becoming convinced there is a need out there. Our world has changed dramatically over the last decade or two and we now have more decisions to make more often. Some of these are big, some are small, but they all lead to some sort of choice anxiety at some point. Which for me, is where the services of a coach are critical, and I reckon will be essential for our society in the very near future.

Having someone who is able to ask the right kinds of questions and gain an understanding for our real wants and needs is going to be priceless. A time is coming, in fact is already here, when we will pay anything that helps us live a purposeful, meaningful and abundant life. And that, is the role of a life coach—to release people into that freedom.

This will especially be true if the coach is able to work in a way that deeply connects, is well priced, creates real options, achieves success and steers well clear of the standard ‘therapy/counselling’ style that has plagued the industry.

I see it as being much more relational and creative. Coaching in the space where life happens for people will be a secret to that. Meeting people on there ‘patch’, in their environment and being able to quickly identify their uniqueness to help them move forward for the next step will be important.

I do sense there is a need amongst our super connected, choice anxious population for having someone (a coach) help give direction, ask good questions, clarify options, create alternatives and empower people to better ‘self-coach’ their own lives. 

Maybe the secret to growing a coaching business is in the method employed to do so. 

So the need within our communities is great from where I sit. It’s the way it’s done which will be the determining factor of success.

I’d love to know your thoughts. What do you think? Is Life Coaching something you’ve considered? If not why not? What would your ideal coach look like and do? Let me know over here…

Faith Enough

There’s a story where Jesus was walking through a town. He was being mobbed by the people around him. Among them was a woman who’d been in a lot of pain, well, bleeding continuously for 12 years. She had spent everything she had on the best healthcare in town, and yet she was no better. Not only that, she was an outcast.

faith enough

Her life was basically pointless.

This woman had heard about Jesus and the miracle worker he was. She wondered if she could get close enough to touch him, maybe, just maybe, she would be healed—of the bleeding, and the embarrassment.

She said to herself: “Even if all I touch are His clothes, I know I will be healed”.

And that was all it took. A simple touch on the cloak of the holy one and she was transformed.

* * * * *

When we read this story as a family it stopped me in my tracks. And I’m not really sure why.

Even if all I touch are His clothes, I know I will be healed’ has been running through my head and I can’t shake it.

Just imagine the fear and trepidation running through her mind—’even if I just touch his clothes, I’ll be healed’.

You’ve gotta remember that for a woman, an outcast and someone deemed ‘uncleaned’ by the religion of the day, to go and touch the man of the moment is unforeseen. It would be like you or I breaking security to get a feel of Obama’s jeans. It just wouldn’t happen.

But she believed. She took the risk.

She had certainly seen or heard along the grapevine the work Jesus was doing whilst in the area. He was healing dudes and casting out evil spirits after all. That kind of reputation doesn’t stay quiet for long. So she knew there was something about him that could help her and make her whole.

I mean she had nothing to lose really. She had no dignity, no money, no friends and no life. So why not give this Jesus guy a shot.

Why not just ‘try and touch his cloak’.

It’s an act of desperation, but a beautiful act of humility.

Sometimes I wish I’d just throw my hands in the air and say ‘if I could just touch Jesus’ I’d be all good—I’d be whole. Then again, maybe I’m not that desperate. Which is most likely the problem.

And that’s the invitation in front of me. And maybe even you.

The Problem With Most Conflict Resolution Solutions

…is that it’s assumed the two warring parties want to remain close.

think

Before anything else happens, the level of effort both parties want to invest to ensure the relationship works must be established—individually, then collectively.

If there is a deep, 100% commitment to making the relationship work, then begin the conflict resolution process.

If there is not, part ways amicably.

You’ll save yourselves and everyone around you a headache.

The Easiest Way to Examine Your Life – And Get The Answers You Want

When I was at school I hated writing. I hated english especially because we read books about Shakespeare and other ancient people. I’m sure they are important to history, but they weren’t for me.

shocked young woman looking through a magnifying glass

For as long as I can remember though, I’ve loved thinking. I’ve loved examining ideas, questioning the status quo, chatting with people, sharing stories about life and doing what I can to become a better person. I’ve always loved life and strived to get the most out of it.

Little did I know that one day my strong dislike for words, and my love for reflection would collide.

* * * * *

He is a lot older than me. I first met this profound man when I was 19, unsure of life, where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do. I had no real vision for my future and was enjoying my rebellious stage a little too much.

I was encouraged to meet with him by friends, just to chat and see what he had to say. I can chat and I like to talk I thought to myself, so I went with it. I met him and we had a lovely time discussing life, sharing stories and being as real and honest as I could with a beautiful grey haired man three times my age and whom I was meeting for the first time.

As I talked and he listened, he encouraged me (insisted) to start journaling and getting down on paper everything and anything which I was feeling and thinking. It didn’t have to be pretty it just needed to be put down on paper.

He likened it to having a crap actually. He said your writing for the day needed to be three things: private, regular and timed. He said you don’t sit on the toilet for hours do you? He said you don’t poo and wee with an audience do you? And he said you poo or wee only a few times a day don’t you? 

At this point, I thought he was a little weird, but I was also a little inspired. He was talking with so much passion and vigour for an old man and I fell in love with the permission I was given. Permission to be open, honest and vulnerable…with myself.

And that’s what writing does for you. That’s how reflecting on our world changes us and holds a mirror up to everything that is going on for us. It’s scary and intimidating, but it’s wonderful.

* * * * *

My meeting with this sage altered my thinking and set me on a new path. Everyday (or mostly) for the next few years I would journal and write. Not for an audience or applause, but to help get out the crap in my world. As I did, I found hidden gems that seemed to appear out of nowhere, giving incredible direction for the next stage in my life’s adventure.

Something extra happens though when you share what you are learning publicly. When we gain the courage to share with people what is happening in our world we build community. We find like-minded people who we can connect and grow with. We discover a strength about ourselves and an inbuilt ability to brave that we never knew existed.

It’s the single most reason I’m doing this writing challenge. Because for the last 7 years since being married my journalling and writing has stalled. It’s kinda gone dormant. I realised over Christmas that I needed to awaken the inner writing beast again to help work through my life and discern what I think and believe about stuff, but also to help figure my world out and create the future I really want to wake up for.

In some ways I know I’m pooing in public, but I’m hoping it’s not very much. Sometimes I write things that kinda seemed good at the time but when you look back you search for the nearest hole to crawl in to.

And that’s the point.

The point is that we are able to see ourselves grow, to have opinions, to have view points, to discover our stance on certain issues and share those with one another. When we do, we find comrades, mates, and other flawed people just like us, trying to figure stuff out on the run and make the most of what we have.

Of course, if you are needing to sort through a major event that is deeply personal or has caused you and other people a load of trauma then be wise about what you share in public. But still, write it down for your benefit. Write it down for your soul to discover the healing and direction it needs.

I dare you…write or journal for two weeks about your life. Use it as a reflection tool and see what you discover about yourself. Give yourself 10 minutes every day and see what happens.

* * * * *

I didn’t like english at school, but I did love to talk and examine life. Now, I have discovered an appetite for both, and I love it.

It’s opening up doors in so many ways, and I’m finding freedom that I haven’t experienced in years.

And remember, an examined, thoughtful life is better than the alternative: floundering and being swayed by the pressures of this world. You owe it to yourself to at least have a look.

Not a Farmer, But Like it

Before I left home Dad offered me the farm. Well at least asked if I wanted to take it over. He asked all three of us boys actually. We all said no. So Dad and Mum sold up.

Farmer

It’s not that I didn’t like the farm life, I actually loved it, it was more the job itself…the pigs, the sheep, the cropping, it just didn’t get me excited.

But when I now consider what I do want to do, it’s to be like a farmer. It’s having my own piece of space that I can create a living (and a lifestyle), space for the kids to be kids, and to be the boss of my own paddock.

The bug I caught whilst growing up on the farm has stayed with me. And it’s only now when I consider what a career or ‘work’ looks like, that I’m taken back to my early years.

Maybe I will be a farmer one day. Just not like that of my childhood.

Seven Years of Marriage; Seven Shifts We’ve Made

Scientists say that every seven years your body has killed off and reproduced every cell in your body. I reckon that’s pretty amazing and may explain the seven-year itch for some couples…

wedding

Our great escape!

Today, all of our cells are brand new. Wifey and I are celebrating seven years of marital bliss. Well, bliss with some bumps and bruises of course.

Over this time I can certainly vouch for what science has suggested. In many ways, I’m a totally different person now than I was when I first said ‘I do’.

As I reflected on this achievement, I realised we have made seismic shifts in our lives and the way we live. Together, wifey and have made seven (coz it’s seven years, dah!) shifts:

  1. From taboo topics to open hearts. We each had some stuff that were secrets and skeletons in the closet. But we made it our mission to reveal as much of ourselves as possible to one another. This meant no topic was off-limits and we began to sort through the crap in our lives—together. Oh man, this has been an absolute blessing. I love being vulnerable with wifey and showing her the real me. It hasn’t always been easy, but it’s brought incredible freedom!
  2. From pre-packaged traditions, to creating our own family unit. This is a tricky one, and continues to be. There are so many things about our own families and upbringing which influence us, and we don’t even realise…that is until you try to mesh those things together with another person. :) Hmmm. With that said, we’ve tried to create an ‘us‘ that we are proud of, which stays true to the values of our heritage, yet is unique to us. We continue to tweak this and it’s fun trying out new things and helping our girls have a childhood and upbringing that we think is right for them. And hopefully they’ll alter things when they get a chance.
  3. From fear to confidence. We were such fearful people when we got married, with the main fear being of ‘man’. We would worry about what others think of us and our choices. I know this is especially true for me. Yet as I grew with wifey and had those old dead cells replaced, my confidence in the person I was grew exponentially. This revealed itself in many ways, but we now work to do what we think is right for us, in the hope that it’s right in the eyes of God and our closest friends.
  4. From Christendom to kingdom. Oh, this is tough to explain, and in many ways has been the catalysed for many of the shifts that have taken place. I now feel like my heart is truly at rest in Jesus. It’s not that it wasn’t before, but now I feel it, and know it and can share it. The kingdom life is so much bigger than the walls I bound it too in church, and I really am only just beginning to understand the freedom that comes with leaning into the Father’s chest and living as the church.
  5. From two to four. What was just the two of us has now turned into the four of us…and it is awesome! Being a parent makes life different and makes your life change in a billion different ways. And I love it!
  6. From me to we. We learnt really quick that the independent living we were used to wasn’t gonna cut it in marriage. Now it’s a focus to work together, or interdependently, because we need each other for this thing to work. But also, and more so, life is so much richer when you have a companion right by your side.
  7. From knowledge to wisdom. We knew a lot of stuff growing up, but it was all in the head. We now know stuff in our hearts and learn to trust the instinct of wisdom, rather than relying upon the facts of knowledge.

Milestones such as a wedding anniversary prompt us to reflect. It prompts us to be grateful and count the number of ways God has shaped and directed each step.

It calls us to remember the times that we’d rather forget, because when we touch and feel our scars, we realise our fickle life can be.

50 years and counting. 43 to go.

David Crowder Documentary

I’ve been a fan of David Crowder for a long time. Recently however, he ended the band he started and took a break.

He came back two years later as a solo artist. This time, simply as Crowder.

This little doco talks about that road and how he found himself needing to create music to survive, the creative process and how community makes everything better.

Have a look. I’m sure you’ll love it.