Tag Archives: THe Rocket Summer

Drinking Dreams

From time to time, like most people, I have quite vivid dreams. Some just strange, some fairly normal (not many) and some with reoccurring themes. There’s nothing strange about that, this is I guess fairly normal for most people.

Just one dream haunts me now, only a few months ago I remember thinking that I hadn’t experienced this dream in a long time, in the previous five years it had been one of those bad reoccurring dreams, that left me frozen. But now I remember thinking that if this dream had passed into memory them I have made another significant step in recovery from my alcohol addiction.

Then just a few days later it came back.

The worst thing about this reoccurring dream is the immense feeling of guilt, when I wake it leaves me confused, stunned and filled with guilt and sorrow.

In these dreams I see myself having innocently taking a drink of alcohol, it doesn’t matter if it is just a sip or a skin full, as soon as I see that image in my mind and there within the dream I experience a mass of guilt and then immediately I wake and that guilt stays.

I wake in a state of complete confusion, not knowing if the guilt is real, I’m cold inside, frozen, I believe I’ve lost it all. Sometimes I even have to look around my room to check the evidence of drinking is not there, looking for the glass or bottle that I have just seen myself drink from, I search for it to make sure it was just a dream.

It can take a while to come to the realisation that this is only dream, trying to get back to sleep, still shaking from the overriding guilt is hard. The last thing you want is to drift back into the same dream, but at the same time you need the peace that sleep can bring, I hate these dreams, they are my nightmares.

You would say that a night,are would generally involve a monster of some kind chasing after you, in my dreams the monster is me, that part of my past that will probably always chase me. I had hoped I had ran far enough away for it not to catch and chase me anymore, but it is still there, my monster is still chasing, but I am determined that it will never catch me.

It can try to take in my sleep, but it won’t get me in my life.

I was given the strength by God to resist, that strength I will carry with me always, if I choose to, and I do.

Psalm 46:1-3

Psalm 46:1-3

Dreams will always come and go in life, but God doesn’t, He never leaves.

OF MEN AND ANGELS by THE ROCKET SUMMER
Stop the press, everything’s a mess
You can look alive, but you are not at rest.
And i-ideas are flowing through your head
A million miles an hour while lying in your bed
A lucid life you never thought you’d lead
Are you working everyday?
Are you working just to bleed?
I know

You’re staring at the names of the famed that are dipped in gold
The feeling you deserve what you’ve heard
But it doesn’t go that way

Oh, the tongues of men and angels
I speak but lack love.
Oh, love, will I stab you in the back?
Working everyday,
I’m afraid I forgot to show what’s most important: love

Here I am, dear Lord, tasting hints of fame
And I don’t want it anymore
If it’s not you that I gain
Wanna fall at your feet
Don’t wanna fall from your peace
I understand

Have you ever been the man that just ran
When you knew that God was talking?
Have you ever heard his voice through the noise
But just let it go away?

Oh, the tongues of men and angels
I speak but lack love.
Oh, love, will I stab you in the back?
How can I go with mine instead of yours
When yours is always right
I’m sorry just pour into me love

Here I am, dear Lord, tasting hints of fame
And I don’t want it anymore
If it’s not you that I gain
Wanna fall at your feet
Don’t wanna fall from your peace
I understand

A heart at rest is harder now
Don’t let it go away
A hard earned pay, a hard earned pain
Right now they’re just the same
What’s the use, why work so hard
When it’s not what you crave
When what you need is: love.

Here I am, dear Lord, tasting hints of fame
And I don’t want it anymore
If it’s not you that I gain
Wanna fall at your feet
Don’t wanna fall from your peace
I understand

Here I am, dear Lord, tasting hints of fame
And I don’t want it anymore
If it’s not you that I gain
Wanna fall at your feet
Don’t wanna fall from your peace
I understand

Verse of the Day – Hebrews 13:16

Hebrews 13:16

Hebrews 13:16

Sometimes just sharing your time with others is enough, that time to listen, time to talk, that can make a big difference to a life.

JUST FOR A MOMENT FORGET WHO YOU ARE by THE ROCKET SUMMER
Coming up no plans
Betty AV, Monahans. Little in a football town
Waiting for some right to come around.
Praying for release
Bottle Rockets in the streets. Never really had a dad, no all that you had was your hope…
Keep your eyes open where you roam because you never know when your life’s about to change.

Just for a moment start to forget about the scars and forget who you think you are. Don’t say another word. You’re meant for greatness.

The mirror’s her nemesis from insecure accomplices.
And crooked blokes in disguise messed you up behind your eyes.
Now you’re scared to talk, scared to dance.
And sick of clichés about second chances, but it’s time to live or time to fade.
Somewhere in this place there is hope.

Keep your eyes open where you roam because you never know when your life’s about it change.

Just for a moment start to forget about the scars and forget who you think you are. Don’t say another word. You’re meant for greatness.
Just for a moment start to forget about the scars and forget who you think you are. All the fear within your world, you can take it…

And greatness isn’t what you think it’s not being up on that silver screen.
It’s not convincing people you don’t fall apart.
It’s just loving and serving and being who you are.

You were made in an image of greatness.

Just for a moment start to forget about the scars and forget who you think you are. Don’t say another word. You’re meant for greatness.
Just for a moment start to forget about the scars and forget who you think you are. All the fear within your world, you can take it…

 

Karate And Me – Part 1 – The Beginnings

KARATE AND ME

PART 1 – THE BEGINNINGS

It can safely be said I was quite a sickly child, whatever went around I caught, my sister on the other hand was never ill, it was always me.  It was tonsillitis that was the bane of my life as a young child, it seemed to come around every couple of months and instead of school, I would be sent to my Nan’s whilst my parents worked.

Eventually it was decided that I would have my tonsils removed.  In the late seventies and early eighties it was, I guess, common practice to just send every chronic suffer to have them removed, nowadays they aren’t so keen.

So on Sunday 21st September 1980, I went in to Newark General Hospital, the day before my operation was scheduled.  There were three other boys having their tonsils out and also a young girl who was having her adenoids removed.  We were all of a similar age and seemed to get on, except the young girl who was rather loud and annoying!

On Monday afternoon we were taken upstairs to theatre and one by one we were all operated on.  I remember waking up and just coughing up blood, all we were allowed to eat for the first few days was ice cream!  On the following Thursday we were discharged and my parents were told I was not allowed out of the house for two weeks, for risk of infection.

Whilst I was house bound, my cousin, who was four years older than me had started karate at the local sports centre.  On the first Sunday that I was able to leave the house, I went to watch him.

At that time in 1980, karate was only just becoming the family activity it is now, beforehand it was just a battleground for grown men, but now more and more clubs were inviting kids to join.  The club in Newark at the time had an age limit of seven years old, at that time I was still only six, just two months before my seventh birthday.

So on Sunday 12th October 1980, I went along to watch my first class.  I remember sitting on the bench at the side, just watching and then standing up and trying to replicate what the kids and their parents were doing.  Then about half way through the class the instructor came over to my Dad and me, he had obviously seen that I was trying to do karate too, he asked my Dad how old I was and when he told him that I was still just six, but only a couple of months from being seven, the instructor paused for a moment, then decided I could join in, he invited me to join the rest of the class and off I went, shoes and socks off and I joined in.

As a child, or being honest here as an adult too, I was very shy.  I didn’t make friends easily and didn’t speak with people I didn’t know.  If I was with my parents and they stopped to speak with someone they knew, I would hide behind them, unless I knew them, but generally I was very shy and quiet.  I was more than happy with my own company.

So karate was a big step out of that bubble for me.  The instructor, Alan, was a hard but fair man, he pushed us, sometimes maybe too hard, but that was because he wanted to get the best out of us and generally only the ones that really tried and he thought had potential.

In those early months, I’m not sure what he saw in me, I tried, I really did, I was a trier, if I was doing it, I was all in, doing the best I can, but the honest truth was that despite all my efforts, I was rubbish, my natural shyness didn’t help either, I guess it stopped me performing at times and also if the instructor raised his voice, I would probably break out into tears, I did many times and generally it wasn’t because he was shouting at me either, I was just that sort of kid that would cry at the drop of a hat, I was shy and I was emotional, I guess I still am, just ask my Connect Group!

After five months for training, it was time to take my first grading, I had never met a Japanese person before, Kawasoe Sensei was quietly spoken, but a very good technician.  I don’t really remember that first class with him, I remember it being a Saturday evening, as was the normal for grading back then, eventually they would move to Sundays, but that would be a year or so later. I think that Sensei would come up from London, take a session and grading in Newark on the Saturday and then travel on Worksop to do the same on Sundays, although I may be mistaken.

I have a vague recollection of taking that grading, but what I do remember is the result and what my instructor told my Dad afterwards.  It was very rare a student ever completely failed a grading, they would have to be clueless to do that and lets be honest, if they were clueless, they shouldn’t be taking the grading in the first place.

I don’t think I was clueless, I just wasn’t very good, my instructor told my Dad that I got the turns wrong in my kata, essentially the first kata is a twenty simple moves and a handful of turns, the turns are the only thing you really have to get right!  In addition to that I didn’t kiai during my grading either.  The kiai is a shout of spirit, it should be done at the end of every set of basics and twice during the kata.  I think I may have kiai’d during the grading, but knowing me and how shy I was, it was more likely that I just mumbled something under my breath, rather than let out the shout of spirit that was required.

As I say, it was pretty rare to see anybody fail at the first grading, it still is, but there is what is called a temporary grade, the student still gets to wear the belt they were grading for, but as they are not quite up to standard, they could just be made up to a full grade the next time, unless they significantly improve.

I got a temporary grade that day, 9th kyu as it was called.  These days we give out a bright orange belt to new 9th Kyus, back then though, there was no such thing, we kept the same shabby, fraying canvas white belt and my Dad wrapped a piece of black electrical tape around each end, that signified 9th Kyu, the next belt should be what is now red, but back then a second tab was added, it was all a bit basic.

I laugh now when I think back to that first grading and my early days of karate, the thing I couldn’t do back then, is what I now have a reputation for, I couldn’t do my kata, as time went on I would become Regional kata champion, eventually National kata champion and represent England in kata on five occasions, but back then I couldn’t do it for toffee.

It does however make a good story for my students these days.  When I can see they are struggling with their kata, learning new ones and not getting the right, I tell this story, of the little shy boy, that couldn’t do his kata, that got that temporary grade like some of them, I wasn’t very good, I wasn’t natural at any of it, I worked hard though and in time it came to me.  The young kids look at me in disbelief, they can’t imagine that I would have been that bad, I tell them I was a lot worse than they are, then watch as they relax and things begin to fall into place.

That early disappointment wasn’t a setback, it was just a start, I was too young and didn’t really understand what it meant for it to be a setback, I got the belt, so everything was fine, it was now on to the next grading.

But there was a setback to come.  Back then I idolised my cousin, we weren’t a very well off family, most of my clothes and all of my bikes at that point had been hand me downs from my cousin, needless to say, he was four years older and generally bigger than I was, I was very small for my age, well below the average height, indeed at 5ft 4½ inches, I am still very short (needless to say the ½ inch is very important), so the clothes I got from him were too big and by the time I grew into them, they were well out of date!

Some weeks after that grading, my cousin decided one Sunday that he wasn’t going, we only trained once a week at that point, but the classes were growing by the week and soon a Tuesday evening would be added, but my cousin said he wasn’t going, so I wasn’t going either.  The same thing happened the next week and then the week after that, it happened for about six weeks, then my cousin said he didn’t want to go anymore, so naturally, as I wanted to do everything he did, I told my Dad I didn’t want to go anymore either, my Dad wasn’t very happy and I didn’t understand why.  I had no idea how much it cost each week, how much the karate suit cost, the license and the grading, I didn’t understand any of that, I had no concept of money, I didn’t get pocket money, I did karate and that was it, so I didn’t understand until years later why he was unhappy that I didn’t keep going.

He hardly spoke to me for the following week, until on the following Saturday, I asked my Dad if he would take me to karate the next day, I remember the light in his face when I asked him.  My Dad worked three jobs most of the time when I was younger, he worked at the local factory during the week, two weeks on days and then two weeks on nights, then the weekends he would work with a friend of his at a Garden Centre in Southwell, the friend he worked with also did karate and around this time had just received his black belt, apart from Alan, the main instructor he was one of two that past that day to become the second black belts from the club.  In addition to those jobs, my Dad would finish work early and then go and work for an hour or so at the D.I.Y. store my Mum worked at in town, he would just help in the mill cutting wood and then would come home with my Mum, so unless I went to the Garden Centre with him on a Saturday, which I did from time to time, I didn’t get to spend that much time with him, he worked so we could have a nice home and nice things.  I had been born into a family that was living in a Council Flat on Grange Road and by now my parents were working hard to buy their first house, it was a council house that we had moved into, but my parents had purchased it and were working to do it up and pay the mortgage, as well as give my sister and myself everything they could afford, so when I said I wanted to go, I realised this was something that he wanted to do for me, to support me in, he knew I liked it, I knew I was a trier and the instructors there had taken to me, whether I was pretty bad at it or not, he wanted me to succeed.

So I went back and started training once again, preparing for that next belt.  By the time I took that next grading, the belt system had changed and the 8th Kyu belt had now changed from the old white belt with two tags to the red belt, although the 9th Kyu belt would remain white with a tag for a while to come.

Back in those days it was popular to just dye belts, I guess it was expensive then to buy belts, karate wasn’t as popular a pass time as it is now, so belts weren’t available everywhere like nowadays, so my Mum decided to dye one of the white belts I had, I had two now, because I had inherited my cousin’s after he quit, she purchased the red dye, followed the instructions the evening after my grading.  I still had only a temporary 8th Kyu, I was good enough to complete my 9th Kyu belt that was a temporary grade from before, but still wasn’t quite good enough to get a full red belt, so it was temporary again.  The only problem was that she dyed it that Saturday evening after the grading, but it came out pink and she had used all the dye, the Sunday was normal training at the club and well, I went with my pink belt.  There wasn’t many people at the class and with it being July, the class was held on the playing fields behind the sports centre.  My Dad took his camera that day and somewhere there are pictures of me in pink belt, beating up Fraser, one of the adult brown belts who would help out at the kids classes on a Sunday afternoon.  Needless to say the next day my Mum purchased some more dye and re-dyed it, it came out a dark crimson red, that was fine for me.  After that grading I never wore a dyed belt anymore, it was a purchased belt all the way.

THE FIGHT by THE ROCKET SUMMER
It’s silent tonight
I’m trying to wrap my head around
If everything will be alright
And how you didn’t have to do it now

And I don’t
know how
you managed to sleep with
knowing that you abandoned me at the worst time
but I will

Fight the fight and
keep defying
I’d give up, but I keep trying
To fight the fight,
it’s in my wiring
this is how you made me
To fight the fight
and keep on fightin’
I’d give up, but I’d be lying to me

Faith, welcome back
it’s been awhile since we hung out
have you come to get me back on track?
you know they didn’t have to do this now

But I don’t have no
Time to waste for me now
About how they abandoned me at the worst time

So I will
Fight the fight and
Keep defying
I’d give up, but I keep trying
To fight the fight,
It’s in my wiring
this is how you made me
To fight the fight
And keep on fightin’
I’d give up, but I’d be lying to me

What would I do now
if you weren’t here to pull me out?
What would I do now
If I didn’t have my friends?
What would I do now
If you weren’t here

And as the trouble chases me
Bring me guidance
Be with me to

Fight the fight and
Keep defying
I’d give up,
but I keep trying
To fight the fight
It’s in my wiring
This is how you made me
To fight the fight
And keep on fightin’
I’d give up, but I’d be lying to me

I’d give up, but I’d be lying
So fight the fight and keep defying
I’d give up, but I’d be lying to me
I’d give up, but I’d be lying to me
I’d give up, but I’d be lying to me
 

The Story So Far – Chapter 6 – The Meeting

CHAPTER 6 – THE MEETING

I wasn’t working that day, I had a little bit of work to do at home and then in the afternoon I had to drop into the Architect’s for a couple of hours.

But I had hatched a plan, I knew Gareth had been away the previous week, but I knew the most important thing I had to do was to call him.  I decided I would give him a few minutes to get in the office, but not long enough that he would be busy with other things when I rang, I decided to ring at exactly 9.10am.  Victoria left with the kids for school and I began pacing the house, restless, nervous, frightened, afraid, I had my phone in my hand, the number there ready to dial and now I was just waiting for the minutes to pass by, until they reached 9.10, it seemed like an eternity.  I sat at the top of the stairs, I was shaking, I was uncontrollably shaking, I was so nervous, I didn’t know if he was going to answer, I didn’t know what I was going to say, all I knew is that I had to make that phone call, I had told Victoria I would call, I had to do it, there was no going back, this wasn’t for her anymore, this was for me, I needed help and I don’t know why, but deep inside something told me it was Gareth that I needed to speak to.

I still to this day don’t know where the courage came from to press that call button, while I sat there waiting there were so many times, I want to just put my phone down and walk away, maybe it was the shame of it all or maybe I didn’t want to stop drinking, maybe the demon inside was fighting back, maybe it sensed that I was putting up a fight now, but when 9.10am came, I pressed the button and the phone began ringing.  I’m not sure whether I ever expected him to answer, I tend not to answer number’s I don’t recognise, I tend to let them go to answer phone and if they leave a message, I call them back, maybe he did the same, these days you get so many cold calls, if you answered everyone you would never get anything done.  If it did go to answer phone, would I leave a message?  I hadn’t prepared for that, but thankfully he answered.

I said hello and then preceded to try to explain to him who I was.  I had known him only through Victoria, how could I explain who I was, if I just said Wayne, he would probably never know who I was, even though he had been told I wanted to speak with him, he’s a busy man, I could be anybody.  So I started to say “hi, it’s Wayne, Victoria’s partner”, that was the only way I could think of to describe who I was, that was how he knew me, it made sense, but I couldn’t say it.  I got has far “hi, it’s Wayne, Vic…….” then I broke down into tears.

Suddenly I realised I wasn’t that anymore, I had somehow lost my identity, who was I anymore, I didn’t like who I saw in the mirror, I was this mess of a man, who had lost control of his life and lost himself along the way, this moment brought everything crashing down around me and all I could do was cry.

Thankfully Gareth was very calming, he understood who I was and gave me a moment to compose myself, he asked how I was doing, to which I managed to reply “not very well” before breaking into even more uncontrollable floods of tears.  Straight away he seemed to understand I needed help and offered to meet, I composed myself and said I needed help sooner rather than later, he offered to meet that very evening, he would come around to see me, he would check with his wife to make sure she had nothing planned and call me back later to confirm.

As soon as I put the phone down I knew I had done the right thing, I knew I had to sort myself out.  I immediately jumped in the shower, shaved for what seemed the first time in ages and went into town to buy things like new underwear and toiletries.  This may seem a bit odd, but to be honest I had let myself go badly over the last few years.  I used to shave every day, but that had become a chore, so I let myself go unshaved for weeks, until it became itchy, then I would shave it off and then let it grow back.  I rarely showered, I would have a bath a couple of times a week, but that was it, mainly if I wasn’t working I would lounge around in the same clothes for days, if I needed drink from the shop, I would put a tracksuit over what I was wearing, go to the shop and the comeback, take off the tracksuit and carry on.  All my underwear was worn out, socks and underpants were full of holes, I know Gareth wasn’t going to see them, but this was the start of a new me, this day was the start of me getting my life back in order and looking after myself.  I always used to style my hair, over the last few years I couldn’t even be bothered doing that, I just watered it and flattened it to my head, I never liked it like that, but I couldn’t be bothered doing anything with it anymore, this morning I started doing my hair once again, I wanted to start putting distance between myself and that lazy alcoholic good for nothing slob I had become.

After I had been in town and tidied myself up a bit, I went out to the Architect’s for a few hours, it seemed to drag on little longer than I wanted, I remember panicking a little bit, I know I couldn’t mess up this evening, this was the most import thing I had to do, this was all about sorting my life out, this was getting help and getting well, this was about saving a life, mine!  As I left the office and walked home, Gareth rang and confirmed our meeting, he also asked if he could bring someone with him, it was someone from Church, but someone I knew, I had known his family for many years and also knew that his family had been torn apart by alcoholism too, I agreed to this, it didn’t matter, I just needed someone to talk to.

Victoria was going out that night, when I got home she knew about my meeting, she had actually gone to Gareth and checked that I had called him, I not sure she trusted that I would, but she knew I needed help and she knew that this was the place to start.

Usually when Victoria was going out, I would make a run to the shop, I had to get my provisions for the night, she knew I had to drink by then and she knew that I never actually got drunk and the kids would be okay, so this evening she asked me if I needed to go to the shop before she went out, meaning did I need to get any alcohol.

I was absolutely horrified, I couldn’t believe she had asked me that, I responding with “why are we out of coffee?”  I just couldn’t believe it, I knew that this evening I couldn’t get it wrong, there was no way I was drinking this evening, this was about me getting help and there was no way I was going to drink in front of a Pastor, not tonight anyway.  I remember telling her how afraid I was, she told me there was nothing to be afraid of and there was no need to be afraid of them, I remember biting back with “I’m not afraid of them, I’m afraid of me!”

So Victoria went out and the kids were told to stay quietly in the bedroom, while I sat there waiting once more for the minutes to pass by, once again I began to shake and the nervousness took over.

I watched through the curtains as they pulled up and went to the back door to meet them, they came into my front room and both sat on the settee opposite mine, I sat there, nervous, afraid.

From the start Gareth made it clear that he wasn’t here to preach to me, he was here to listen and find out what it was that was needed for me to get the help required.  He started by asking about my drinking.  I told him as much as I could, I have to say that I honestly didn’t lie to him, I told him as much as I could, the sad fact was that as I was hiding the truth from myself, it was only over the next few weeks and many conversations with various people about my drinking, that I finally got to the truth about how much I was drinking, which was far more than I told Gareth, as I say I never consciously lied to him, I just didn’t know the truth myself.

As I spoke I continually broke down in tears, I’ve never cried so much in so short a time.  I seemed to get it together for a while, only to start speaking again and then start crying along with it, I must have looked like a complete and utter mess, in truth I was a complete and utter mess and this night it was all finally beginning to come out into the open.  One of the things I remember the most was each time I broke down, I could see the pain reflected in Gareth’s face and Alex’s also, I could see it was painful to watch, this guy who everyone thought had it all together was coming apart at the seams before their eyes.

I tried to be as honest as possible, the truth was as I say, that most of what was going on I had buried so deep it was hard to admit it to myself, never mind admit it to anyone else.  But as the night went along, I felt a weight being lifted, I felt that the more I spoke and the more I admitted, the less pain I carried in my heart.

As the night went on Gareth mentioned God and how great life can be with Jesus in it, but that was my choice if I wanted it.  He mentioned one thing from the Bible, which was the story of the Jesus calming the storm after the Disciples had panicked, he said that was what I needed in my life, someone to calm my storm.  He offered to pray for me, which I agreed to, I don’t remember anything he said in the prayer, I just sat there with my head in my hands, quietly sobbing into my fingers.

We talked about Church, Gareth said if I felt like I wanted to come, then I should just let them know, I could just sit quietly at the back if I wanted.  There was no pressure, he never tried to preach to me, he made a lot of good suggestions to help me.  I told him how I felt after speaking with him that morning, that I felt I needed to put so many things right and that I had already started the process.

After they had left I felt so encouraged, I felt I was ready to start fighting back against this addiction, at no point that evening had I felt like drinking, the third of a bottle was still where I left it that morning, it was still over the fridge, but I felt after a night of tears and sobbing that there was a peace over me, for a while at least.

WALLS by THE ROCKET SUMMER
The story of my life I can’t quite comprehend.
Don’t tell me if you know how it ends.
When everywhere you go feels like a mirror maze,
And you’re not sure how you’re stuck in this place…

And you got nowhere else to go
And you’re lost within your own home,
And you’re trying so hard to win,
You keep trying, it’s embarrassing.
And how you don’t even know,
But you know you’re off the tracks…
And how did you get in here?
Thinking how did I get in here?

I’ll help you break the walls down.
I’ll help you break the walls down…
Bust you out, and take you home,
Believe you me you are not alone,
I’ll help you break the walls down.

Does anybody know where February went?
I was hoping that by not it would be the end of this:
When you open up a book and read a thousand lines,
But you don’t really read you just move your eyes.

And you got nowhere else to go
And you’re lost within your own home,
And you’re trying so hard to win,
You keep trying, it’s embarrassing.
And how you don’t even know,
But you know you’re off the tracks…
And how did you get in here?
Thinking how did I get in here?

I’ll help you break the walls down.
I’ll help you break the walls down…
Bust you out, and take you home,
Believe you me you are not alone,
I’ll help you break the walls down.

And I know this is random
But just this morning I saw
The sun reflecting off the lawn and window,
Oh I don’t know why but I thought you should know.

When you got nowhere else to go
And you’re lost within your own home,
And you’re trying so hard to win,
You keep trying, it’s embarrassing.
And how you don’t even know,
But you know you’re off the tracks…
And how did you get in here?
Thinking how did I get in here?

I’ll help you break the walls down.
I’ll help you break the walls down…
Bust you out, and take you home,
Believe you me you are not alone,
I’ll help you break the walls down.

And all the weight,
You carry,
Will disappear,
And I will willingly,
Embrace you so,
You lay your head.
So come on home,
Come on home,
Come on home,

Yeah, yeah.
Yeah, yeah.

Verse of the Day – 1 Samuel 16:7

1 Samuel 16:7

1 Samuel 16:7

Never forget that who you see in the mirror, is not who the Lord sees, He sees beyond all our insecurities.

JUST FOR A MOMENT FORGET WHO YOU ARE by THE ROCKET SUMMER
Coming up no plans
Betty AV, Monahans. Little in a football town
Waiting for some right to come around.
Praying for release
Bottle Rockets in the streets. Never really had a dad, no all that you had was your hope…
Keep your eyes open where you roam because you never know when your life’s about to change.

Just for a moment start to forget about the scars and forget who you think you are. Don’t say another word. You’re meant for greatness.

The mirror’s her nemesis from insecure accomplices.
And crooked blokes in disguise messed you up behind your eyes.
Now you’re scared to talk, scared to dance.
And sick of clichés about second chances, but it’s time to live or time to fade.
Somewhere in this place there is hope.

Keep your eyes open where you roam because you never know when your life’s about it change.

Just for a moment start to forget about the scars and forget who you think you are. Don’t say another word. You’re meant for greatness.
Just for a moment start to forget about the scars and forget who you think you are. All the fear within your world, you can take it…

And greatness isn’t what you think it’s not being up on that silver screen.
It’s not convincing people you don’t fall apart.
It’s just loving and serving and being who you are.

You were made in an image of greatness.

Just for a moment start to forget about the scars and forget who you think you are. Don’t say another word. You’re meant for greatness.
Just for a moment start to forget about the scars and forget who you think you are. All the fear within your world, you can take it…

Jogging Bumblebees And All That!!!

Sometimes you think things can’t get much weirder, this morning as I neared the entrance to my work I was passed by a young woman jogging, dressed as a bumblebee, not the sort of thing you see every morning in Newark, I mean, we have some weirdos but a jogging bumblebee!  I can only assume there was some sort of fun run organised for Sport Relief, otherwise, I really don’t know!

Friday afternoons I teach a couple of karate classes for the Sport Centre, the first class is for four to six year olds, which can be interesting at the best of times, today was one of those days.  We have recently managed recruited a young boy, who has a zero attention span, you need to pairs of eyes on him all the time, which means either me or my fellow instructor spend most of the lesson trying to keep him in check.

Today that seemed almost impossible, the class bordered on chaos, we managed to keep it together, but we were well relieved when it ended.  It’s saying something when the kid that usually causes us the most problems, is getting annoyed at this other kid for not doing anything remotely like what we were asking him to do!

The only problem is that when that class finishes we have the next group straight away, one group leaves and the other starts, not even a minute to regroup!  The second class wasn’t as bad, they are older and far more interested in learning, but it still has it’s moments!

Oh well, we’ve got a week to recover and then the madness starts again!

THE FIGHT by THE ROCKET SUMMER
It’s silent tonight
I’m trying to wrap my head around
If everything will be alright
And how you didn’t have to do it now

And I don’t
know how
you managed to sleep with
knowing that you abandoned me at the worst time
but I will

Fight the fight and
keep defying
I’d give up, but I keep trying
To fight the fight, 
it’s in my wiring
this is how you made me
To fight the fight
and keep on fightin’
I’d give up, but I’d be lying to me

Faith, welcome back
it’s been awhile since we hung out
have you come to get me back on track?
you know they didn’t have to do this now

But I don’t have no
Time to waste for me now
About how they abandoned me at the worst time

So I will
Fight the fight and
Keep defying
I’d give up, but I keep trying
To fight the fight,
It’s in my wiring
this is how you made me
To fight the fight
And keep on fightin’
I’d give up, but I’d be lying to me

What would I do now
if you weren’t here to pull me out?
What would I do now
If I didn’t have my friends?
What would I do now
If you weren’t here

And as the trouble chases me
Bring me guidance
Be with me to 

Fight the fight and 
Keep defying
I’d give up, 
but I keep trying
To fight the fight
It’s in my wiring
This is how you made me
To fight the fight
And keep on fightin’
I’d give up, but I’d be lying to me

I’d give up, but I’d be lying
So fight the fight and keep defying
I’d give up, but I’d be lying to me
I’d give up, but I’d be lying to me
I’d give up, but I’d be lying to me

Tired

I was tempted earlier today to write this post and just to put the word TIRED only, nothing else just tired and post it, probably one of the shortest posts ever, but that would be a little unfair.

I didn’t post yesterday, Sunday is a day I always post, Sundays are usually my best day of the week, with a morning in Church there is always inspiration for at least one post, maybe even more.

But not yesterday, I was so tired physically, but more importantly mentally and emotionally.

I returned from Church in a mess, don’t get me wrong the Church service was great, a great message from Gareth, but it drew out emotions that once again I was unable to cope with.  By the end of the service my mind had been become totally fixated on my problems, Justin one of our Pastor’s asked how I was, but I couldn’t lie, I had to be honest and admit I was struggling with my feelings, we talked for a while and I felt much better.

During the service Gareth had the inspiration to change the evening’s program, it is usually a series of courses on a Sunday evening, but he felt that some people needed to just talk and connect with others, to just talk, laugh and even cry, it was like he was reading my mind, this was just what I needed.

I left Church after the service and walked home, I had karate in the afternoon, so just enough time for some dinner, a rest and then set off to the Leisure Centre.  But again my emotions beat me down and I quietly wept as I walked.

I got home and just laid on the settee, crying, through the tears I prayed and cried myself to sleep.

I woke in time for karate, I set off put on my karate suit and belt, once again it became my Superman suit, I became someone else for just a few hours, my own feelings and emotions were put aside and I got on with teaching.

I left karate and headed straight back to Church, almost immediately as I walked in I met Gareth who sat with me and we discussed my current emotional state and my journey over the last eleven months.  Once again I felt calmed by his words and advice.

He sent me a link to a list of bible verses which he believed would be of help to me, I started reading through some of the links this evening, the few I’ve read have certainly helped, if you are interested in these verses please click on the link below.

http://www.joycemeyer.org/articles/ea.aspx?article=knowing_who_i_am_in_christ

After speaking with other friends I set off home, but I was just so tired, I was asleep before 9.30pm, which isn’t like me, I was drained, emotionally drained.

I awoke just as tired this morning, I went on my walk, came home got ready for work and then set off.  My head was still buzzing and clouded by the carousel of thoughts that just kept going around and around.

The weather this morning was wet and overcast, by the time I reached the lake I felt cluttered, just five minutes away from work and my mind was all over the place, this wasn’t good, until this song came on my iPod and gave me some peace of mind and calmness that helped get me through the day.

And you got nowhere else to go
And you’re lost within your own home
You’re trying so hard to win
You keep trying it’s embarrassing
And how you don’t even know
But you know you’re off the tracks
And how did you get in here?
Thinking “How did I get in here?”
I’ll help you break the walls down
I’ll help you break the walls down
And bust you out and take you home
Believe you me you are not alone
I’ll help you break the walls down
(Walls by The Rocket Summer)

It will be another early night tonight, I’ve already had a sleep after tea, now I’m ready for bed once again.  Forgive me if my posts are few and far between over this next week, I will also try to respond to an already growing list of comments in due course, but I have so much to do and not sure how I’m going to fit it all in, but I’ll get there.

Thank You All

The response to my posts of this last week have blown me away, the last few weeks have been hard emotionally for me, but I am fighting through them and the responses that you have all made, have helped make this last few weeks so much easier.

I wrote the poem “If We Ever Meet Face To Face” as a sincere thank you to you all, the response to those words have once again been beyond my contemplation, thank you all, from the bottom of my heart thank you.

I always try to respond to new comments on my posts and what used to take minutes each evening, now takes a lot longer these days because of your kindness and sometimes I run out of time before the clock ticks on to Midnight, so I’m going to spend the next hour or so responding to every one of them, before I set off for karate this afternoon.

Today I share this song that played on my iPod this morning as I walked, again, I’ve heard it before, but this morning it struck a chord and I just had to share it with, sorry there’s no lyric video for it, maybe I’ll make on one day.

Just for a moment start to forget about the scars
And forget who you think you are
Don’t say another word
You’re meant for greatness
(Just For A Moment Forget Who You Are by The Rocket Summer)

With the Correct Faith, Yesterday’s Failures Can Become Today’s Victories

Today I took part in the service at my Church, I was asked to help promote the up and coming Baptism Sunday with the story of my Baptism back in July, with only a few minutes to speak, I gave a short version of the amazing events that took place that day, but here’s the full story.

Saturday 7th July 2012

Where do I start with this one, well I’ve posted about my karate before, I’ve had success, back in 2010 I was my association’s National Men’s Kata Champion, in 2011 I was runner up, both these previous two years, I had rode my luck, I survived on pain killers and freeze spray as my body was barely able to cope on it’s own, I had drunk at least four cans of cider the night before, I couldn’t remember a Nationals where I was completely sober the night before, so this year both sober and with a new outlook on life through God, how could I fail.

I had spent the last two and half months losing weight, so I was fitter and lighter, I wasn’t struggling with aches and pains, I didn’t need the pain killers this year, I prayed for strength to achieve my dream of winning, I was ready, I was up for it, it was my time.

Well, no it wasn’t, for the first time in over twelve years I lost in the first round, it just wasn’t there, yes I had got fit, yes I had lost weight, yes I was pain free, but to be honest I hadn’t put in the practice, I wasn’t there to win a Wii fit competition, this was karate, this was kata, it needs practice, no matter how good you are.

When I lost the split decision, there was a massive disappointment, I walked back off the mat truly down, I shook my opponent’s hand, then it hit me, I looked up and thought, “Ok, I’m with you God, I’m not there yet, I’ve still got work to do, it’s not my time, it’s not part of your plan, I am with you, I will trust you to show me when the time is right”.

People around me couldn’t believe I had lost, but my response was “it is what it is!” In other words, that’s how it’s supposed to be, who am I change that. The disappointment was short lived, I was given a bit of a jolt, but there was a lesson to be learnt and I was learning it.

It’s was late when I got home, but I followed my routine, wash, pray and write up my journal. I wrote two phrases in my journal that night, the first being “It is what it is” and the second being:

“I am a work in progress, but I have to work in order to progress”.

I love that second phrase, it sums up everything, we are all a work in progress, none of us are the finished article, but in order to achieve that potential we have to work to improve, to progress, we should not just expect everything to just happen because we want it to, we have to work for it in order to appreciate it.

Sunday 8th July 2012

A good night’s sleep followed, I was at peace, content that even though I hadn’t achieved my dream, I had learnt a big life lesson. I woke the next morning, started as a means to go on, straight on the Wii Fit, a couple of hours of exercise and then a nice hot bath.

Then the first of the odd things that were to happen on this day, as I got ready for Church, I looked out of the window to check the weather, well it was overcast, it looked like it could rain, I had just my jeans and a t-shirt on, so I checked the weather on my phone, overcast and a chance of rain, so do I take a coat?

As I walked through the kitchen towards the back door an odd thought came into my head, “I not taking a coat, I don’t mind if I get wet today!” Ok, so no coat, it wasn’t that cold, but a bit of an odd thought, but that’s it no coat, let’s go then.

I walked to Church in my usual, slightly odd looking power walk, well okay freaky looking, walked into Church, hugged a few people on the way, hang on a second, did I just say hugged a few people, yes, yes I did, but that’s not usually me, I surprise those I hug, just as much as it surprises me, this day is getting stranger, but it’s about to get even weirder.

I take my seat, at the back left corner as usual, if you walk into our Church, you will find me quite easily. Today wasn’t a normal service, it was Baptism Sunday, this had been announced some weeks earlier, I had thought about it, but as I had only been in Church three months and still felt like I had a lot to learn, feeling that I wasn’t ready yet for that step, I had decided to put it off until later in the year, when I had more time to prepare. The service starts with Worship as usual, three lively songs, then Gareth our Pastor takes the stage, he announces it’s Baptism Sunday, but then makes a statement he says he has never made before, at this point everything changes, the weird, just gets weirder!

Gareth challenges everyone, that in this Church today someone will make the decision to get Baptised today, an on the spot decision, it had never happened before, but Gareth had a belief that something amazing was going to happen today in the presence of God.

Now at that point everything changed, I froze, I literally froze, I couldn’t breathe, my lungs, my heart, my chest had just frozen, everything felt cold, the air was gone for that moment, then it went. I knew then that He was talking to me, not Gareth, he just mouthed the words, God was talking to me, he was calling me out, he was telling me it was my time to stand up and be counted. Gareth proceeded to say that they would find a change of clothes and a towel, he didn’t know where from, but they would provide somehow.

I stood frozen to the spot as Gareth left the stage, we sang one more song and then a break for a short time to meet and great friends, I stood there absolutely still, oblivious to anything going on around me, having a conversation with myself in my own head. “He’s talking to you, God is talking to you, what are you going to do about it?” “Are you doing this or what?” There was only one answer, “YES”. I looked around the hall, spotted Gareth and set off, ignoring every face I passed, I was on a mission, I interrupted Gareth, he turned and I just asked “Ok, where do I get a spare set of clothes?” He realised what I was saying and it was all agreed, too late to back out now, in for a penny in for a pound. I went back to take my seat, I had a grin bigger than a Cheshire Cat, I couldn’t believe what I had just done, I’m never that impulsive, I don’t work that way, but things were happening here that at the time I couldn’t understand, but I was going with it.

Part of the Baptism service is that, each of those who have made a decision to be Baptised, prepare a statement of how they came to God and tell their story on stage, so Gareth called out the three people who had made the decision some weeks earlier and were prepared, I don’t think I was supposed to go up there, I hadn’t prepared anything, I was still reeling from what had already happened, but again impulse took over, I stood up, marched to the stage, took Gareth completely by surprise and joined the other three, I was literally lifted from my seat to that stage, my normal self would never have done this, but today was quite obviously, no normal day.

Speaking on stage, in front of a couple of hundred people, is not easy, the three before me had written statements that they were reading, but they were struggling with nerves, they were quiet, losing their track, even unable to read their own writing, as each one got more nervous than the previous one, I stood waiting my turn. I am out of my bubble here, this is not me, I don’t act impulsively, I don’t push myself to the front in places I’m not comfortable, but it wasn’t like that today, I wanted that mic, I wanted to speak, not sure what, but I had something to say.

I took the mic, looked out to the crowd, not down, not avoiding the gaze of the crowd, I was looking them in the eye, I told them how my life had collapsed, I told them I had been an alcoholic for the past 3 years, I told them how I made the hardest phone call of my life back in March when everything had felt lost, how I had met Gareth and Alex, telling them just about everything.

I had prepared some words to send to Gareth in text when the moment was right, but the moment was now, these words just came out

“That night I took from them an hour and half of their lives, in return they gave me the keys to the rest of my life and the strength and courage to unlock the door and go through it, to a better life”.

I say these words with strength and passion, the response from the audience is fantastic. I proceed to tell them when I quit drinking and how things were getting so much better, then passed the mic back to Gareth, then it’s back to my seat and relief.

The response from everyone I meet as I go back to my seat is unbelievable, I don’t think at this point they know I wasn’t supposed to be there, they had no idea that I had answered the call.

The word is next and then the Baptism at the end of the service, we are called up, I remove my shoes, socks and the contents of my pockets, ready to enter the Baptism Pool, firstly the three who were supposed to be there, then me, then another man who had made the decision after I did.

It’s my turn, I climb the steps, then just jump in, no dignified climb down into the cold water, like everybody else, not for me I can’t wait, I just jump in and take Joss and Alex, who are carrying out the Baptisms today, totally by surprise, then I’m in position, I relax, then I’m under, it’s a total rush, a moment I can’t easily describe, if you’ve been there you will understand. I was soaked, I had no spare clothes, but who cares, it’s was alongside the birth of my two children, the most glorious day of my life.

The rest of the day was a bit of a blur, I know I just couldn’t stop laughing to myself, I was in amazement at the things I had done throughout the day, things I would not normally do. I had made my mind up, I wasn’t ready, but that didn’t matter, it wasn’t a case of I didn’t think I was ready because the Lord did!

I think I was called because of the faith I had shown the previous day, that was my test, that was a test of faith, I had hopes and dreams, I had failed, but my response was, I trust you, I will follow your plan.

You gotta believe
Oh yeah
Don’t fear, don’t break it
You gotta be free (Ah, Ah)
I hope your blinded eyes will see
(You Gotta Believe by The Rocket Summer)

I wasn’t to worry about getting wet that morning, he would provide, I would be getting the greatest soaking of my life, what was a little rain compared to that! He did provide, I had clothes brought to me, I don’t know where they came from, but they appeared.

That night when I wrote up my day, I wrote another phrase:

“With the correct faith, yesterday’s failures can become today’s victories”.

It had certainly been so in my case, I was called out, I was lifted from my seat at the back, lifted up all the way to stage, taken from my comfort zone to share my story, rewarded for my faith.

If you are considering being baptised or have made the decision you are not ready, I say this:

“Do not look into your own mind to ask yourself if you are ready, look in to your heart and ask the Lord if he thinks you are ready, you may get an answer you never expected”.

Walking Tall

“Although I may only be 5 feet 4½ inches tall, tonight I thank God that I walk taller than any man.”

The last 24 hours or so have been a major break through in my life, the whole weekend marks a point in my life when I am free from the pain of my past. I know there will still be times when it will come back to haunt me, to bite at me once again, but for now I am no longer holding it inside, my deepest secrets have been released and the Hot Coal been extinguished, the scars are beginning to heal.

It’s been a fantastic weekend with the guys from Church at the Unleash Getaway, as part of last night’s meeting, I was asked if I was up for being interviewed about my past in front of the 60 others that were gathered, having posted Holding on to Hot Coals last Friday I knew it was time to let out the things I was holding in, the ones that were causing my pain, I jumped at the chance.  So Friday night I let it all out, the response from the guys was fantastic and I felt truly blessed to be in the company of these people.

Saturday morning was just as inspirational as a friend, who had previously told me some of his story, was interviewed.  I have to say he cried when I was Baptised, now I was crying as he told his story in detail, the connection between the two of us is stronger than I ever knew, I feel inspired by his story.  If he can rebuild his life with the faith he has shown, then he is further inspiration for me to continue rebuilding mine.

Saturday afternoon’s story was from a young man, who had luckily realised at an early age that his life had spiralled out of control on drink and drugs, he changed his life and turned to God, yet another inspiration for me on my journey.

I was blessed to be in the company of these two, together with all the other great guys, who were so supportive, the whole weekend was just brilliant, the only draw back was that it’s over so quickly, I want to be back there now, soaking up all the inspiration and faith that was in the place.

In the morning seminar I got the chance to speak briefly on last nights experience, I said:

“There was freedom in speaking last night, I feel that most of the chains that hold me down have now been broken”.

Stop the press, everything’s a mess
You can look alive, but you are not at rest.
And i-ideas are flowing through your head
A million miles an hour while lying in your bed
A lucid life you never thought you’d lead
(Of Men And Angels by The Rocket Summer)

I beg you all, don’t hold on to those hot coals, let them go, take them out and drop them in that bucket, only then can you be truly free from the pain inside.