My Beardseason “Yeard”

Some years ago, a fine gentleman named Jimmy Niggles realised that raising awareness of anything required discussion and one of the easiest ways to start a discussion was to change your appearance.  All of a sudden, everyone wants to know why you look different and discussion is struck up very quickly and simply.  And so his “Beardseason” campaign was launched due to the recent loss of one of his surfer mates to Melanoma.

Jimmy himself grew a winter beard and encouraged other men to do the same.  Then when people asked about the beard, his encouragement is to take the opportunity to remind the enquirer of the importance of regular skin checks.

Melanoma is a massive killer (particularly here in Australia) and while  I don’t have the ability to take extended time off work and walk around Australia dressed like a storm trooper or run from Brisbane to Broome or many other fine ideas that people do to raise awareness or funds for various research ideas or development concepts, rather than get caught up in what I can’t do, I decided to do something I can do.

So I made trimming my normally very neatly clipped, designer facial stubble a thing of the past and decided to just let it grow (yep, I’m singing it just like you are!).  Exactly as Jimmy predicted, people inevitably do indeed ask, what’s with the fuzz, and I do get right in and tell them about Jimmy, the Beardseason campaign and their need of regular skin checks.  I grew my beard last winter as part of the Beardseason effort, but this year I started very late in the season (12 August) but have decided to aim for a “Yeard” (a year of beard).

As a particularly spotty person myself, I get regular skin checks.  I also wear very sun protective clothing whenever I’m in it as well as sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses and anything else I can find to keep the sun off my ridiculously sensitive skin.  And for those who don’t have sensitive skin and love a good tan, you are at an even higher risk…the tanning is damaging your skin and it’s ability to heal and potentially long term and even life threatening damage cannot be undone.  Every time you tan, it is accumulating and increasing your risk of death from Melanoma.

I won’t go on about it, because I know many of you simply don’t care and are going to tan anyway, but that is the reason for my “Yeard”…thanks for asking!

I don’t know if I’ll make the whole year, but I’m doing something…

Grow on!Bearded Biff


Politics?

Today Malcolm Turnbull announced a leadership challenge against our current Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

I guess as Australians, we should be getting used to this political circus, after all,  we’ve seen Kevin Rudd ousted by Julia Gillard, only to be re-ousted by Kevin Rudd.  And behind the scenes, the leadership of parties changing through such barbaric politics whilst out of power is quite normal.  But is it a good thing, that we are no longer seeing Prime Ministers fulfilling a full term in their appointed position after being voted by a public election of the Australian people?  Is it a good thing, when “good politics” can see our country appoint Julia Gillard as Prime Minister twice without once winning a public election? Keep in mind, the last Australian Prime Minister to fulfil their appointed term, was John Howard (who lost a public election to Kevin Rudd back  in 2007).

Abbott V TurnbullThese are the leaders of our country for goodness sake!  This is the example that is being followed by Australians everywhere…and this is a huge problem.  As a nation, we are settling for and allowing selfish, ambitious people with no regard for the greater well being of Australian people, to set examples that will lead to more and more Australian people functioning on a selfish, ambitious level with no regard for those affected by our selfishness.

Tony Abbott’s speech identified that “Entitlement” is now a huge problem in Australian culture.  We have too many people, that feel too entitled to hold positions they have not earned and have not been appointed to, challenging those that have, because they feel like they are entitled to what another has.  This really is a modern, cultural problem that our grandparents and those before them would never have settled for.

Sadly, we often see it in churches too.  If the church structure allows it, we see leaders taken out by disgruntled power players with no regard for the lives or families of those leaders or how they will be affected by this political nonsense.  If the structure doesn’t allow this kind of pathetic behaviour, we see people rally church goers around them, and all leave together to start a new “church“.  And if they can’t rally enough people, they just leave and sledge the church leader they left, attacking their reputation and character in the hope that they will be able to bring the leader down from outside because they could not from inside.

This is sad, and has nothing to do with the life of the One we as Christians claim to follow.  Jesus was selfless not selfish and his only ambition was to do exactly what he saw his Father doing.  If we as Jesus followers, were all consumed with only doing what we saw the Father doing, we would actually be living in one accord and wouldn’t be facing the ridiculous, disruptive disunity that has become all too common in way too many churches.

Maybe it’s time we as Australian’s break free of our “Tall Poppy Syndrome” and stop mocking and attempting to take out those who have the boldness and courage to lead us, and start supporting them, encouraging them and helping them to be the best leaders they can be…but then they do say, that most people have exactly the kind of leadership they deserve!

Whoever our Prime Minister is later tonight, I hope they are given a fair chance to establish a stable government that can actually lead our nation into a time of economic stability, productivity and launch us forwards, heading towards the kind of country we have the potential to really be…because we really do have the potential to be AWESOME!

(Photo courtesy of the ABC’s website)


Life…

I find myself sitting here this evening, very aware that two Australians (and six non-Australian others) were shot dead this week as punishment for crimes they committed.  I certainly do not want to discuss the politics of their executions, or whether it was right or wrong that they were executed.  Those are not the kinds of topics I wish to raise here on my blog page (particularly as it doesn’t matter what my views are, they will offend someone and I do not wish to start debates with anyone about such things here).

What I do want to say though, is that the Australian media have reported, that the whole group of men that were executed, faced their executions with the singing of hymns and that even in their last meetings with others in the holding prison, they broke into what was described as “a time of great praise“.  This must have been a significant part of what happened or I’m sure, it would not have been reported by a very un-Christian Australian media.

This made me think…these men faced death, with hearts of thanksgiving towards God…do I face life, with the same sense of gratitude?  They died singing of God’s Amazing Grace…what am I doing with my life?  

Last week I attended a funeral for my Grandma and it was such a privilege to hear some stories from her amazing life.  Stories that left me wondering then…will I have such stories of an amazing life at my funeral?

Life really is precious and an incredible gift.  I intend to make use of this life and to be sure to create some amazing stories that can be told at my own funeral when my time here on Earth comes to an end.  I just hope I can keep this intention clear in my head and heart, and don’t need to be reminded by the passing on of any others too soon.

The Salvation Army (my Grandma was a soldier, as are many of my extended family) have an excellent term that they use for passing away.  They call it being “promoted to glory“.  The Salvation Army flag draped over her coffin was emblazoned with those words, and for her, it sure was a promotion.  She is now free of all the limitations of a 96 year old body and is re-united with her beloved “Bert”.  I live with great hope and expectation of being reunited with them both one day, and I look forward to meeting some of those no longer with us here on Earth because of those executions this last week.

May all of their deaths, inspire my life, and may I live every day with vision, value and purpose…and you too.


Relay for Life

This is just a very quick post to mention that I will be participating in the Cancer Council’s Relay For Life next weekend.

This involves wearing a purple, team jumper (that’s the hard part) and walking laps around a local oval throughout next Friday night.  The point of this exercise (pun intended!) is to raise funds for cancer research and treatment.

Screen Shot 2015-02-07 at 6.19.12 pmI don’t get involved in many fund raisers at all, so why this one?

Well I lost my mate and cousin Mark to cancer some years back and I have to say, I hate cancer.  My mother has recently battled breast cancer, one of my aunties has gone more than her few rounds with cancer, way too many dear friends have fought their battles with cancer. My Grandad lost his battle with cancer while my Grandpa was diagnosed with bowel cancer before passing away from other health issues.  My Grandma has also had to deal with various forms of cancer.  One of my uncles was also diagnosed with and passed away from cancer within six short months and my father is currently fighting this nasty disease too.

Cancer has claimed way too many lives and is putting too many families through massive pressure as they take this disease on. Fortunately now, many win their battles with cancer, but their lives and those of their families and friends, will show the signs of having been through the battle for many years.

Simply, this is something I can do to help…so I do.

If you’d like to support my efforts, please go to:

http://ccau.convio.net/site/TR/RelayforLife/CCVIC?px=1083366&pg=personal&fr_id=1885

and click on donate.

Absolutely no pressure…just thought I’d share and give you the opportunity.

I am participating as a member of the team from Extreme Life and would like to thank all those from Extreme Life who also participate.


21 Amazing Years!

It still amazes me, that on this very day 21 years ago, the angel pictured next to me became my wife.Paul & Nicole Wedding Day

That one day, changed my life forever…for the BETTER!  Nicole is an incredible woman, and the effect she has had on my life is most amazing.  Obviously I can’t take up your whole day sharing all the details here, but the last 21 years hold some amazing stories of her absolute faithfulness, selflessness and willingness to invest her life into mine and see both of us impacted for the better.

Nicole’s impacts on my life, have stirred and inspired me to be better, aim higher, dream bigger and accomplish way more.

Nicole has been a true Proverbs 31 woman in my life and I love, appreciate, respect and admire her more today than ever before.


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