In The Sumertime

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All The Good Stuff
Summer is such a wonderful season. You get the beauty of the radiant light. The warmth of the sun on your skin. The smile on most people’s faces every sunrise, whether they feel like going to work or not. The thrill of lunch time in an open area or outside at a restaurant, basking in the sun as you enjoy your meal. All this of course assuming that the weather is not scaling hot! No one would dispute the glorious pleasure of the water, wherever it comes from. If you are swimming, either in a pool or at the beach (maybe you fancy sunbathing instead); enjoying the waves as you ride them with your board or at a theme/water-park speeding down the water-slides, you are having the time of your life. The real adventurous guys would go water skiing or white water rafting. Some may simply take pleasure in a brief stay at a boat-house and go canoeing and fishing. Numerous other activities I could mention, mountain climbing, hand-gliding, bungee jumping, abseiling, running (my personal favourite), cycling, horse-riding, quad bike racing and so on, but for now that is where I will stop.

The Glory Of Winter
Right now here in Zimbabwe it is Winter. Personally, though, I would not consider it so because it is not cold enough. Secondly there is no snow. My time in Denmark did open my eyes to the wonder of snow. I heart it so much. From wondering what Winter is like without snow to wondering how Winter could exist without it! The downside with Summer is when it gets too hot, you cannot cool yourself down if you do not have, or position yourself in environments, with an air-conditioner or fan. I enjoy the cold of Winter because the air is fresh. I fail to relay to you the number of times I have defended the cause of Winter. Yes the air is cold but it is also fresh. You can at least put on the three, four layers of clothes, in addition to gloves (the absurdity of people doing that here) and scarfs, to keep you nice and warm, add a fireplace, radiator or heater and you are well on your way!

All I will simply be doing this summer is improving then maintaining my running skills. My key goal is increasing my longest distance. Right now it is 21km (13.1 miles) which I do intend on extending at least by 5km (3.1 miles). When I do that I will be thrilled. I might think of moving on to a marathon but I will cross that bridge when I get there. For me, working out (the gym, home or anywhere) and the beach are the best things Summer has to offer. 


Game Of Thrones: Continue Or Game Over?

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Psalm 119:37
Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.

Matthew 6:22
“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light,

Matthew 5:29
If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell

Since we cannot change reality, let us change the eyes which see reality.- Nikos Kazantzakis

Men trust their ears less than their eyes.- Herodotus

Being Held Back When Moving Forward
At least that is how I feel when I see Game Of Thrones. Just like anyone else, I get hooked by the story, get a good feel of how it all works and, to some degree, get involved in it too. All goes well until one drawback occurs: The Sex Scenes. There is nothing wrong with implied scenes and ones that look like something is about to happen but does not because a cut to the next scene in the story happens instead.
I remember seeing The Pilot when it came out in 2011. At the time for some reason, it was not appealing to me, There must have been some other series that I was more fascinated with and followed. During that time until now I had seen numerous other series while being constantly bombarded with the question: have you seen Game Of Thrones? I took no regard to it and thus for each of the seasons that came out I was not phased at all. It was only in the fifth season that I chose to find out what the hype was all about, especially when it escalated over a few leaked episodes. The irony in that was me discovering the episodes before everyone else did, yet I was not following the series. 

The Adventure
I dove in and needless to say I was impressed with the way the story evolved and the clever play with the events that took place with each of the characters. What did disturb me was the number of times I saw sex scenes. Some are pure nudity only but others are just flat out porn. This took me back to the days I used to see Spartacus. For those who do not know, that is a series 50 times worse than Game Of Thrones. That one is 7/8 porn and 1/8 series. Nothing worse than finding that out the hard way. I am not sure why there are a few series that have very graphic sexual activity in them. If I wanted to see any form of sexual activity I would go watch porn.
For Game Of Thrones I saw 2 seasons. As for as story goes, they were amazing seasons. The challenge comes with thinking about the characters because some of them a partially known for their performance in bed, that becomes difficult to think about them without including that in the equation. I was shocked to discover that the series generally had at least 3 sex scenes in every episode and each episode lasts 55mins. The evil in the scenes is displayed in the dialogue that comes with them. For the sake of not losing any part of the story you would feel forced to see the whole scene. Fortunately I am skilled in catching up on missed scenes and some times episodes.

Those defending these may be of the belief that they last a short time and are therefore no big deal. That’s where the problem comes in. You compromise your beliefs long enough to justify what you see so that you can enjoy the series/movie. This begins on a small scale. The more you see it, the more you compromise, the more vulnerable you are. Next thing you know, you are completely defending it as if advocating for it! Furthermore you would be so caught in the trap that the short scenes become longer (as I discovered as season 2 was progressing), you miss that and before you realize it, you are very comfortable with an all-out porn scene!

Skip To The Point
Someone may ask, “Why not just skip those scenes and move on?” The reason is because it takes so much effort. You get sucked in the story, you pick some characters you like, you root for them, you have a preconceived idea of how the story will unfold as the events take place before you, you are overjoyed where you are correct and pleasantly surprised where you are corrected, only to have all that  broken by the fact that you also have to remember to fast-forward the scenes. That is a lot of effort! You should not have to skip anything in any movie or series in the first place.
I heard that the book has some measure of sex in it but slightly gets overdone so that the value in the novelty of the book is diminished. I also found out the HBO enjoys inserting unnecessary sex scenes in nearly all their shows in an attempt to expose a particular part of a character’s personality. I think it is just to boost ratings because sex sells. That is the sad reality.

Are You In Or Are You Out?
I am honestly torn between seeing season 3 and not seeing it. Do I endure when I know it will get so much worse, or do I guard my heart and protect my soul since the eyes are the window to the soul? I know how the game is played and I can follow it quite easily. If anyone has no problem with Inception (especially the end) and The Saw Saga, Game Of Thrones becomes a piece of cake! I do not want my life affected negatively and my subconscious changing a part of who I am because of unknown implications entering it through every drop of a sex scene placed in front of my eyes. I have no idea what message could be delivered. I do not want to be a part of whatever that may be. Prevention is better than cure after all. With all that said, it is the end of the road for me. The game was sensational while it lasted. I can peacefully state that I have no idea how the rest of the story unfolds and that is alright. Every time someone asks me, “Have you seen Game Of Thrones,” my response will simply be, “I have and while I don’t want to know, I am comfortable with forever wondering what happens since Winter is coming.”
It is officially Game Over.

A Better Sense Of Everything

Sometimes You Have To Let Go
I have decided to take on the Daily Post challenges each Wednesday from now on just to spice things up. I do enjoy the deep thought-provoking posts I normally do but I would like to experiment with the more light-hearted ones just to see where things lead. The challenge is for us to decide which one of our 5 senses we would love to enhance in exchange for  completely losing another. After much thought and deliberation (believe me, it took a really long time) I have chosen to discard smell for sight.

I am one who has sadly had their eyes imprisoned in glasses for 17 years. More on that much later when do a small series on my journey to better eyesight without glasses. I have always been drawn to what I like to call Binocular X-Ray Vision. Any and every superhero whose vision was enhanced in addition to the primary power they possess have been a particular fascination to me. As for smell, Well I do admit that the drawback of not being able to smell is getting an idea of what unrecognizable food tastes like. This is something I can live with though. It is extremely important to hear music, voices, people, noises of vehicles and animals, and the beautiful and mellow sound of nature. Touch is vital, we underestimate the beauty of pain. Imagine leaning on a thorny plant by mistake but not being able to tell? Or feeling the glorious touch of the angelic hands of a masseuse/masseur? I love my food and because of that I will always appreciate the job our tongues have. Those who taste food for a living are very privileged. They must never take that for granted, the good, the bad, the works.

Seeing Things Differently
Imagine what the world would be like if everyone had eagle eyes? Anyone and everyone could see anything from anywhere! Ideally that is how the world should be. For me I  enjoy the things I see. The good things this world has to offer. There is the nature, the mountains, especially when the sun sets behind the mountain and its reflection shines on the river. A father overjoyed to pick his daughter up from school. A mother’s undying support at her son’s sporting game. Movies like The Blind Side, Faith Like Potatoes and Facing The Giants. A man opening the door for a woman, or offering to help even when she does not need it. A couple you intuitively/instinctively know were always meant to be, sharing a kiss on a park bench. The things we see essentially have an effect on us, a lot more than we realize. After all what can man give in exchange for his eyes? Sometimes the most significant things in our lives are treated with least respect and are given least regard. The key to overcoming that is understanding that the small things make a big difference and to see what nobody else sees.


Do Something, When You Feel Like It And When You Don’t

Proverbs 13:4
The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.

Proverbs 14:23
In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.

2 Timothy 2:6
It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops

Get up and do something -Tee Kay (ZiFM Stereo)

Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.- St Francis Of Assisi 

Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it. – Lou Holtz

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.- Albert Einstein

Getting Started
Do what you hate and do it now. It is so easy to do the things we love. What about the positive impacts the opposite has? You see, so many times we find ourselves kind of going through the motions wondering if what we are doing (or not doing) is giving us or depriving us of the fulfilment we desire. For a minute though I would like to speak those who partially and courageously honest call themselves: Lazy Bones. 

We all aspire to be something, something we can be proud to show off everywhere. You kick off and do what you believe is right for you and God willing is in fact right for you, a few days, weeks and months pass and the train is running smoothly. Momentum flows and the ride is a such a smooth sail that it feels like cruise control! Nothing fluctuates. There are no ups and downs. It is like driving on a beautifully tarred road with so minimal bumps, you cannot even feel it! Until suddenly a heavy responsibility is required of you such as staying in late, or more work than usual piles up on you and you now have to slice up some workout time, TV time rest and relaxation time in half or more. 

This easily becomes mentally overwhelming and you get up each day wishing you did not have to go to work or even so much as pick up groceries! I have definitely felt that numerous times. One small habit of slightly slacking in work leads to another one at home and slowly but surely you turn into a sloth! You get to that stage quicker when you are so diligent and excellent with everything that you find yourself with nothing to do. The solution is simple but not easy.

You just do what you hate. If you hate writing, write. If you hate reading, read. There is only so much entertainment TV can give. I have realized that over the course the past few months. It could be that start of a brand new hobby and you may also surprise yourself, friends and family with your new-found skills! 

Do something new and uncomfortable. I remember first practicing with DJ softwares. I was completely clueless! Thankfully though my audio and sound engineer friend helped me out and with some practice I was getting somewhere in no time. I discovered that an hour felt like 5 minutes! I love that hobby and I simply jump straight into that if for some unknown reason I cannot think of anything to do. Avoid talking yourself out of it. You cannot uncover the potential you have or realize how bad you are at something if you let fear take the best of you. Get in, give it a shot and tally the results!

Use the Pomodoro Technique. Believe it or not I am literally doing that right now. Find a small activity you like and keep at it for a straight 25 minutes. Drawing, preparing a new dish which might take longer but at least keeps you busy, running,  or working with your hands. I recommend using the countdown timer on your phone or tablet. After which you take a break for just as long a time! This way you balance rest and some measure of productivity. You may fancy trying this out at work if you do not normally do so. I definitely encourage it if you tend to procrastinate often. 

Have at least 3 activities planned. There is nothing worse than being highly motivated to do something and all of a sudden you stop midway because it is not so exciting anymore. This is where rotating activities comes in. The one moment you are going for walk, the next you are taking pictures, finally you are comparing author’s viewpoint in different magazines in the same category. Split these in 25 minute chunks and go from one to the other after your break and you have yourself an exciting day to look back to.

A Mind-Map does not hurt. If you find that all the suggestions I have put forth are too tedious for the energy you have, either in the morning when you get up or when you come from work, you can always find out what you tend to think about when you are generally not doing anything constructive. Sit down, draw a mind map. It does not have to make sense. More often than it will be the opposite. The time here does not really matter as much as the effort you put into being as creative as you can with what you write down.  How do the thoughts connect? Are they really as different as they appear to be? Why are you thinking about these things specifically? Piece together anything and everything that make sense to you, even though it may not make sense to anyone else. Only you would understand your thoughts after all.

In the end it is about maximizing your free time. It is the most precious commodity we have. We cannot waste a single bit of it. I will be speaking to extroverts in part 2. Here, without meaning to at all-maybe because of my nature as an introvert-I came up with things that suit introverts. I have been in situations where my guys and I just sit looking at each other silly. I found out how to overcome that.

We All Make Choices

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Joshua 24:15
And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

Isaiah 30:21
And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.

Galatians 6:7-8
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life

Deuteronomy 30:19
I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live,

The Circumstance Provoking Us
I often imagine myself seeing someone else’s story, where at its innocence, free from all turmoil or tribulation, free from the grip, wrath and indignation of the enemy, their life begins. The day commences and an unusual encounter with their usual companions bring the character to a point in their lives where the one thing they knew could happen at some time-normally later in their life-happens to occur now. They are invited to answer a question they, on the one hand knew was coming, but on the hand hoped it never did because of the weight it carries. No one is truly ever ready for a question of this nature, at least not within the first few chapters of their lives. I imagine myself seeing the character surrounded by their friends, who search deep inside them for what they hope the character’s life will “save” as far as humanity is concerned. They do this, however, without realizing it.

Claire: Ash, we need to talk. The last time we spoke, you cut me after I  asked you about you moving to England. You got me worried. Is everything alright?

Ashley: You caught me off guard. Moving means losing everything here. The biggest problem I have is my career. I love being a DJ here. I know my community. This is what I love.

Jason: Claire told me everything. You can always be a DJ there too.

Ashley: Yeah but it means doing everything all over again. New people. New city. New environment. I don’t know if I’m ready for that. Honestly, I don’t know if I really want to go.

In essence what the character was faced with was a choice that would impact them in a very significant way. Though the circumstance that brings us to a time in our lives similar to that of Ashley may differ, the impact and influence it has on us is the same.

Carrying The Consequence Of Our Choice
I know that the worst choices we are faced with are essentially the ones we are compelled to make. There is nothing worse than an individual being forced to make a choice that is uncomfortable for them because it goes against their character, values and beliefs while creating convenience for another party, yet only do so because the opposite, while safer in theory, puts them in a position worse than the one they are trying to avoid. Anybody know what I’m talking about? I remember The Lion King where Simba had to choose between the discomfort of saving the Pride Lands and convenience of staying where he was, far away from the Pride Lands. It was a very uncomfortable and disconcerting position for him. The failure to understand the authority and prestige his royal identity carried added to that. It all came down to that ever so crucial choice: how to deal with the past

The Wrong Turn, The Right Direction
I imagine seeing a brainstorming session taking place and one person leaving halfway. A few days later they hear of the idea that ran and appeared to be progressive as it started out. During the course of the new few weeks there was no indication or report of it ever continuing from where it was.. The individual who left the session was at a crossroads in their life and they needed something that would propel them to success. The idea was about a location in the remote parts of the city where a certain tribe resided. Getting the photograph of anything from there was invaluable. One photographer went the full mile and lived among them and learned their ways until he was in a position to take the coveted shot. After doing so he returned to an empty home where his wife left for her uncle’s place because of a fight they had some time earlier. He went there in hopes of bringing her home but she refused to go with him. Filled with regret after observing the photo he left with her, she boarded the first plane back, landed but could not recover the bag that had the photo. The individual whose life was falling apart came across this photo, saw that it had no signature and he went on to present it, became a huge success and won an award.

The story ends by him eventually seeing the original photographer, understanding the story behind the photo and having to live with the guilt that brought him and his personal work a success. I am not sure which one is worse, a true failure or a fake victor.

I believe that what determines our level of success is not so much the choices we make but rather why we made them. Sometimes the situation may be the motivating factor but other times it is a matter of the heart. Regardless of what it is, at the end of the day: We all make choices, the hardest part is to live with them- The Words Movie

Be True To Yourself

Proverbs 16:9
The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.

Trust: Access Issues
The most interesting thing I have observed in my own life is how much I have changed privileges with regards to the level of trust I have with both specific individuals and generally everyone else. It literally is a rollercoaster case. Some times I base my decision to trust someone on my emotions. At the time, because the people around me or the person I am with-and ideally am close to-would have given me good emotions more often than not, I naturally tend to trust them. Other times my decision is logical. If I can see, after weighing the pros and cons, a path worth walking with the individual or people, then they get higher clearance keys and thus deeper access to my trust.

A Strange Feeling 
Ever have those moments where you just know but do not know how you know, and therefore cannot explain how you know, that it is safe to trust someone? You get that sort of gut feeling that assures you beyond shadow of doubt and anything else that all systems are go. You can get an instinctive/intuitive feeling that most of the time you personally trust. This one can be automatic. You cannot decide to get a feeling to trust someone, but you can choose to go with the feeling or not. That choice is a no brainer for emotive people. The cogitative people will have time spent pondering the safety of going along with the feeling, that is if they get it, and if they do, acknowledge it.

Who Is That? 
Trusting someone is one thing, trusting yourself is a whole different matter. Essentially when you decide to trust someone you are trusting yourself with them. I find it interesting, just thinking about it now, how some people appear not to trust themselves in general which may be the root cause as to why they may have trust issues, aside from being betrayed quite a number of times in the past. For me trusting someone comes on its own until I get disappointed. This then heavily affects the next person I trust. It can be a 50/50 thing where you can still trust the next person partially, as a test, so as not to be too prejudiced towards them. That is my personality at least. If they cross the line and set off too many red flags then they immediately get denied when requiring access to my trust.

The Pain Of Expectations
One can ask, “Why do we get hurt by the people closest to us”? The truth of the matter is our vulnerability towards someone increases the closer we get to them. We open more of ourselves to them and become more delicate as a result. It is a very hard choice at the time opening up, because you are wondering whether or not they will display the most sensitive part of your life, which you have chosen to share with them. If they have gained complete access to your trust it will be a piece of cake. It does not mean you are not exposed and prone to social danger of any kind, but you have left yourself in the hands of the one you have chosen to trust, similar to giving them your most prized possession to take good care of and let nothing happen to it at all. That is an extremely huge responsibility which most people are not aware of. Your expectation regarding them are high meaning the last thing you believe they would do is reveal your secret life (both shallow and deep). Like the pain of breaking a very special, fragile, valuable and rare vase or trophy, is the state of a heart that is broken when least expected.

In the end growing and maturing in your character and personality essentially comes with and through the development of self-trust. Being true to yourself is all about complete honesty and trust wholly, first and foremost with yourself. Why do you keep procrastinating? Why do you choose to opt out of doing what you know is important, especially when it involves someone else? Are you avoiding what you know could stretch you because you do no think you have what it takes? If it has been a while since the last time you did something for the first time, you could do worse than starting as soon as possible.

The Fourth Fruit: A Chess Battleground

Galatians 5:22-23
But the Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self-control. There is no law against such things as these

Isaiah 40:31
But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint

Ecclesiastes 7:9
Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the bosom of fools

The Checkers Challenge
I used to love playing Checkers so many times. It is actually kind of scary thinking about it. Admittedly my ability to perceive and anticipate my opponent’s move or foresee the possible danger in the move I made was a weakness I had. Fortunately to make up for that I took my time and saw some moves that were very beneficial for me, more than I ever imagined! There is still nothing worse than the handicap of taking blind steps. I was always mentally fatigued when my opponents reacted in a way that indicated vulnerability with the move I made.

At times in life I feel like I am playing checkers. I make decisions and later wonder whether or not I made the right one. I know myself to be the kind of person who only realizes the mistakes made, afterward. This has lead me to be a bit antsy about most things. I often question the next move before making it only because I will not be in a position to fully determine the advantages and disadvantages. In this case I am then mocked by circumstance as if to be told that my move was the wrong one and there is no resolution.

A Villainous Tactic
While that does seem to appear crude in almost every form-at first glance-it really is not. One thing I have to just sit back and applaud is the common factor that most villains have,  patience. True their intentions are obviously disreputable and to their misfortune, their patience is exercised in vain, however, it is still very admirable how long their limit is! I began to ponder this factor and came to understand that it lies deep in their desire to accomplish their goal. In addition to seemingly well calculated plans, and in the case of intelligent bandits, properly and carefully calculated plans, they are so confident in what they have put in place they believe nothing will stop them. One needs to comprehend the profound aspect of this. They are so organized that backup plans are also set. Of course this is to account for the hero who is to demolish all they have taken time to build, yet it still stands to reason that regardless of how sinister the outline is, the depth of patience lies in the confidence of strategic planning motivated by the strength of the desire to achieve the goal.

A few questions one must ask himself (generically speaking) is:
1) How smart is my goal? That is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely
2) How strong is my desire to achieve it?
3) Have I made tactical plans to accomplish it?
4) Am I confident in my plans? Why or Why not?
5) Do I have a contingency plan in place as a precautionary measure?

The Individual vs Wrath
I have asked a lot of my friends who are top chess players how long a game can easily last. I was shocked to have found out that three hours is a general length to reach. They speak of this as if it were typical! I respect that, truly. I must congratulate myself in recognizing how patient I have become in the past few months. True there have been moments where I have erupted in anger unnecessarily, fortunately to grow from that, glean from such experiences the qualities I lacked, and use them to my advantage should the need arise. Strangely enough a phrase that I have recently used indirectly in reference to how I must proceed with the situation before me is: I’ll have to let this play its course. My personal favourite one is: Patience will have to be the order of the day. Saying that immediately puts me into The Zone.

I remember a scene in Evan Almighty where the words of God were so revelatory I was blown away. He was speaking to Evan Baxter:

God: Let me ask you something. If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If he prayed for courage, does God give him courage, or does he give him opportunities to be courageous? If someone prayed for the family to be closer, do you think God zaps them with warm fuzzy feelings, or does he give them opportunities to love each other?

For me growing in patience is like a game of chess. If I lose my cool for a few minutes then I have made the wrong move and my wrath begins to get the upper hand. If the length in time it takes for me to get angry decreases and the length in time extends while I am angry, then my wrath has put me in a corner and I am very close to receiving check-mate. If on the other hand the length in time it takes for me to be angry increases, and the time I am angry is brief, then I have trapped my wrath and have it very close to check-mate. When do I actually reach check-mate you ask? When my patience is so high that I annoy everyone around me.

Sometimes things aren’t clear right away. That’s where you need to be patient and persevere and see where things lead.- Mary Pierce

He that can have patience can have what he will. Benjamin Franklin