Well hello there! And welcome to chapter 4. Before we carry on let me just say a massive thanks to all of you for your feedback – most of which has blown me away! I’d love for you to carry on asking me questions (the few I’ve received this week have been amazing – and I’ll answer them in next week’s blog) – so to ask me something please email email@example.com
Anyway – to this week. You’ll be pleased to know that I have not done anything nearly as embarrassing as in previous weeks – and I’ve actually had a pretty normal week. That means for the sadistic amongst you (mentioning no names) that have previously enjoyed / mocked me dancing on ice and hiding from door to door charity people – there is none of that. Feel safe in the knowledge though that getting through two weeks of not embarrassing myself is very unlikely………
I’m actually going to ask a couple of questions of you throughout this chapter as we go along – so feel free to leave a comment below with your answers – or to drop me an email. Oh – and this chapter is a bit resolution light (I haven’t given up on them – and I might mention them – but can’t work out how to mention them properly in this chapter without giving the game away) – so don’t go diving looking for them in this one. That will also probably change for next week
The Cast List
Dan & Christine Flynn
Ok – so you might think it’s lazy to combine Dan & Christine into one heading. They are not one person – but two. But we have so much history together (both individually and like the Borg) that it’s actually quite hard to summarise my relationships with them in a couple of paragraphs – especially when the likelihood is that I’ll cover them at different points…So know this. They are recently married and are now expecting their first child. I love them both to bits. Dan (along with Phil Slatter – more on him at a later date) is one of my oldest friends – and for the most part - our relationship has developed past friendship to the level that (for countless reasons) I now consider Dan to be my brother (I’ve ignored the temptation to finish this sentence with a very well known phrase that would have left you mocking me….). I first met Christine as part of the Faction (see chapter 3) around 10 years ago – but again….more on that story (and the amazing story of Dan and Christine) at a later date…. Anyway - to (hopefully) help you understand how much they mean to me – this is what I wrote for their wedding last year (here’s one I prepared earlier……….):
Comic Book (he’s a walking database) loving (and by this I mean he actually UNDERSTANDS and can explain the DC comics continuity) ex colleague that looks suspiciously like Clark
Kent. He has a great heart and
sometimes makes use what can only be described as superhuman perceptions skills.
Dave also has a great sense of humour and is recently engaged to the lovely
Dave (and his wife Vicky) are two of our closest friends. I’ve known Dave now for about 12 years – and he was one of the first people I knew in
Cheltenham before moving up
(unofficially living with him off and on for about 4 years soon followed). Dave
will speak to anyone – he loves being in relationship with people. He loves
conversations with strangers as well as his friends and he really cares about
people and their lives. I’m forever grateful to have Dave in my life – (although
to this day I’m still genuinely confused about why he moved back from the Cayman Islands to live here). I’m both privileged and
honoured to know and spend time with Dave and his wife – being around them and
laughing with them is fantastic (on reflection – we probably don’t tell them
that enough). I like to look at Dave as
one of the people with a kind of consigliore role in my life (without the crime
part)…. This (however) could also be because we are both fond of red wine…..
Ok – so I’m going to start my rundown of the last week with a question that I probably won’t end up answering in this chapter (mainly because I haven’t properly worked out my answer……)
Q. What were your dreams when you were younger? What did you realistically want to achieve?
Sunday 27th January 2013
I spent the morning at Church and then the afternoon slaving over a hot stove in preparation for Dan and Christine coming over in the evening for a roast dinner. When they arrived – conversation swiftly moved to football which allowed me to mock Dan (a Liverpool fan) whose team had just become victim to an FA cup giant killing (Liverpool lost to Oldham). Our conversation that night also leads us to the next question I’d like to ask you all……
Q. If you were on death row – what would your last meal be?
Dan’s answer to this was actually very simple (and surprisingly well thought out). Rather than dying in a horrific way - he would choose to eat until he died. His last meal would actually be to eat absolutely everything in his last meal request……. (He then went on to list EVERYTHING)
Oh - and I have spoken to them both since – so yes they did survive my cooking….I can't share my amazing recipes for roast potatoes, parsnips or Yorkshire puddings with you though because I’ve promised Aunt Bessie to keep them secret.
Tuesday 29th January 2013
Tuesday was the deadline for me to complete (or at least have a very good idea of) the lyrics and musical structure for the final track on my album. Up until this point (as you could probably tell if you’ve read my previous chapters) I’ve really struggled to prepare (and finish writing) this song. My normal writing process has just not been working for it. Normally if I get an idea it will all come together quite quickly (more songs have been written in the shower than I’d care to admit) but for some reason any ideas that I had didn’t really have a melody to go with them apart from a few lines in the middle. I knew exactly what I wanted to say – but lyrically I just couldn’t get there. So instead of forcing the song (always a bad idea) – I just wrote down what I wanted the song to be about. I’ve always found that revelation can come from writing feelings and thoughts down (yet another reason for writing these chapters) and I’m thankful to say that the time that I spent in doing this was vital for me. Not only because I finished the lyrics to the first part of the song – but also because this new writing process revealed things about me that I’d either hidden away or that I would have been ashamed to write down before. I discovered some amazing new stuff about my faith (not dissimilar at all to Footprints in the Sand) - but at the same time realised that the words I’d written were the most personal, brutally open and honest that I had ever put to paper. By doing it though I felt a release and felt that some things I’d perhaps been unconsciously clinging on to had gone. Ironically – the song (named before this) is called Breakthrough. And that evening we had another one in the studio. I nervously showed Matt my ideas for the song and not only did he take them on board – he also pushed them (the ideas) and me forward. The result so far is already something that I’m massively proud of – and something that I can’t wait for you to hear……..
Wednesday 30th January 2013
I had the pleasure of catching up over a couple of pints with Dave Brown in the evening. Our conversation topics included things like comics, football, his new job, gas evacuations and how he proposed to his fiancée Steph (and for those of you that are wondering – I will one day reveal how I proposed to Cass). In amongst everything we were speaking about though I asked Dave why he proposed when he did (on Christmas Day). Dave gave me a truly inspiring answer. When he was younger – Dave’s dad died around Christmas time. Therefore Christmas for him would always have this painful memory of the past. By proposing on Christmas day – Christmas would now hold a new memory. Of course he would never forget the past – but now he would have something else to associate Christmas with as well. Congratulations Dave and Steph J
Thursday 31st January 2013
For normal people – the last day of January is simply the last day of the month. For football fans though the final day of January has massive importance. The final day of January is transfer deadline day – a day that sees players move between clubs, many twists, countless surprises and endless speculation about rumoured moves. Last year it was exciting being a reader and searching for scraps of information. This year however was on a completely different level – because I was asked to cover it and dissect all of the rumours for the Arsenal website that I write for. I provided the scraps! I can safely say that I saw a completely different side to the day and experienced a level of pressure that I had never encountered in anything before in my life. I absolutely loved it. And because of that – I banked it.
Banking a day may well seem like an odd phrase or idea. But in actual fact – it’s a really simple concept. Everyone has bad days – but on those bad days – it’s really helpful to remember that there are good days to be had as well. Banking a day means taking note of a good day so that you can easily refer to it and look back, My EP being released was one of them (shameless plug – if you haven’t got it yet – you can get it here). My album (when it is released) I’m sure will be another. Dan and Christine’s wedding was one as was seeing my nieces for the first time (I’ve got loads more as well…..). It’s important to remember the good days so that when you come up against a bad one you can bounce back quickly.
This banked day though was an extra bonus though – because a year before – I would never have guessed or ever imagined the role that I would play for a surprisingly large number of people on the 31st January. It goes to show that some things you can’t see coming……
Friday 1st February 2013
After finishing tweeting and writing about the transfer window at about 2am – I let myself have a lie in on Friday – before heading over to
Cheltenham to meet Dave Chatfield for
lunch. There were a group of others with him and I was completely in awe at how
well he could listen to each one of them before replying and speaking directly
into their lives. It’s an amazing gift – yet I’m increasingly convinced that
Dave either doesn’t know that he has it (if this is the case – he does now) or
that he doesn’t have the complete confidence to use it. He can listen so well
to people, but as a spectator you get the idea that Dave holds back slightly
with his responses. Like he knows what really needs to be said but is being
restrained. As soon as he starts to have more belief in his words though he
will truly be a force. It’s not about not being compassionate or having empathy
towards people – Dave has great discernment for this anyway – it’s simply
believing and knowing that the words you are going to say are correct before
you say them. Encouraging him to understand his gifting also works really well
for me as well though (yes – selfish thought) – because as I said earlier – I
think of Dave as a consigliore J…..With everything else aside though I’ve made it
sound so easy when believe me – it’s not. Listen more. Speak less. I think we
could all do with paying a bit more attention to that.
Saturday 2nd February
Words can’t really describe this day....so I’ll let a picture do it instead....
Out and About.....
A few stories this week grabbed my attention. The first up was about David Beckham and his short term move to Paris. Now I’m not stupid – I’m fully aware that Beckham giving a few months worth of wages away isn’t going to make a difference to his vast fortune. But it’s the gesture....and hopefully it will encourage other sports stars around the globe to do something similar.
The next story to mention is the HMV tweets fiasco......
Social media is a very powerful too. Far too many people forget that.
The next story explains how red tape (not literally) and (If I’m being honest) a fair amount of stupidity is halting the Government in their fight to tackle Youth Unemployment
And it probably shouldn’t surprise you – but did you know that we spend £1m a week on child benefits – for children that don’t even live in the country?
I just thought I’d offer some serious congratulations to my Brother in Law Sam Mckee – who apparently was not content with just winning Coach of the Year - as he has also been asked to coach for his country. Sam has been appointed as Defensive Coordinator for the GB Lions American Football Under 15’s. I’m amazingly proud (you can keep up to date with his domestic team Marlow Wolves here)
Remember to ask any questions you may have about life, the universe and everything else by email firstname.lastname@example.org – and you can also now subscribe to 10 resolutions by email – simply fill in the big white box above the chapter. Until next week.....
I’ll leave you with this from my pal Dave Griffiths.....