5 Things On My Goal List…

  1. Visit all of the United States Capitol Buildings. I live here and want to see all of here, while learning about all of here in the process.
  2. Visit the 7 MODERN Wonders of the World. Because why not?!
  3. Ride the Orient Express. I can see this being done either on my own or with a special someone.
  4. Ride the Trans-Siberian Railway. Because life wouldn’t be complete without crossing the largest expanse of inhabitable land on my favourite mode of transport!
  5. Become a Teacher of the Word (Bible). Having grappled with this idea for most of my life, it took some time to realise that this is my life’s purpose. I’m working steadily towards it, often wrestling with the changes I know I need to make in order to get there. But the purpose always wins!

I haven’t listed these in any particular order but they are alive and kicking on my Goal List. I wonder, what’s on yours?!

An Inspiration to Me…

Michael Johnson. An Olympic and World Record holder of the 200m and 400m, I still remember trying to emulate his style when I was younger, as most quarter-milers did, I’d imagine. I can still remember his amazing foot speed and powerful stride, generated by his compact, but muscular, frame. I remember this with the commentary from his 1996 world record-breaking 200m, at the Atlanta Olympic games (Where I also developed a crush on Dominique Dawes. But that’s another story!), “Surely this man isn’t human!”

It’s true that Michael Johnson has now passed on his 200m World and Olympic Record to none other than Usain Bolt but there is one thing, for me, that gives Michael Johnson the edge, over Usain Bolt, as the better sprinter (Taking nothing from Bolt whatsoever!). It’s the fact that he was surrounded by athletes that could beat him (Over the 200m), even on a good day.
In that balmy Atlanta evening air, any mistake could have seen a deserved win become defeat. Especially considering 2nd place ALSO broke the previous world record.

When I read Michael Johnson’s book, Slaying the Dragon, I was sold. It resonated with me on and off the track and showed me an extremely important lesson in the process. “Don’t worry about that which isn’t in your control”. The book also dealt heavily with planning for victory, not just planning in general and also dealt with getting over failure. Reading over Michael’s life story, as he broke these points down, engraved him into my brain. To the point, I still recommend his book to my training clients, and others, today!

Three Pet Peeves…!

I think of my pet peeves and I’m reminded that I have a Jamaican temperament that runs through my blood, along with British acceptance and a character forged by the Love flowing through both attributes (Not as deep as it sounds, believe me! LOL!). I’ll tolerate and allow things to happen and then, at the last moment, erupt into a shockwave of JamGlish (Jamaican English mashup. I should copy write the term!), before quietly settling down to talk things through. Something I’m working on but something nevertheless.
I guess a brief point to make is that of always communicating how you feel about something/someone/something someone is doing. When you feel a way about something, the old adage, “A problem aired is a problem shared”, can be one of the best things to experience. Weight off the shoulders and, maybe, the presence of a solution.
When dealing with someone, I find the approach presented in Matthew 18:15-17 the best way forwards. It reads, “(15)Moreover, if they brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained they brother. (16)But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses, every word may be established. (17)And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.”

This leads me to my first pet peeve…

  1. Snakes. By snakes, I don’t mean your average Anaconda and Cobra. Although, I seem to have a way of wanting to avoid them too! I’m talking about snakes of the backbiting kind.
    Here, it’s important to point out that there is a difference between a gossip and a snake. Gossips can’t help themselves. They HAVE to relay information that they come across. Creatures I’m wary of but with this species, you simply keep yourself private and them at arms length, with a smile. Social media is a good example of a good gossip! Keep your business private and those you don’t know at arm’s length, with smiling selfies, understanding that, what you air ceases to be your own business.
    The Snake species is much more dangerous. There is motive, something for them to personally gain. They sneak in dark corners, approaching the ‘right’ people, planting the ‘right’ information. We see them, though… *raises feet, sips tea*
    They say beating the grass helps to rid your environment of snakes. My own belief is that you should just bring out the lawnmower, fill it with high-octane fuel and rev on the red line! But that just isn’t Matthew 18:15-17, is it? *sighs* I wish living to a standard was so much easier!
  2. Receiving voluminous messages that could have been condensed to one. It is O-K to utilize the idea of paragraphs when texting/messaging an individual. It bugs me, DEEPLY, when I pick up my phone and see 10 missed messages, swipe the screen and see one message broken into 10 separate messages. Has this age of technology convinced us that we HAVE to communicate everything in ‘Snaps’?! As though no sentence can exceed 60 characters! STOP IT! #rantover (Did anyone see what I did there?! LOL!)
  3.  Stupid. I’ll have to give an example to explain this one.
    A while back, during winter (Oh, hold on. I forgot. We’re in April but winter is still here!) I saw a few black guys debating with two police officers. They felt that they were being questioned because they were black. Clearly, they were suffering from my pet peeve of ‘stupid’. At the end of the day, young roadman, if you’re one of several guys (I didn’t count), sitting in a Toyota Camry that has seen much better days, with the attempted bass line (as I said, the car was old!) of Young Thug wafting weed smoke out the window, you HAVE to expect that, in the dark hours (Or any hour, really.), you will be accompanied by the boys in blue, asking you to get out the car.
    I believe the medical term is ‘Letsjustbestupiditis’. Severe inflammation of one’s ability to think, wrapped in a membrane of stupid. Or something like that anyway!

Something Said That I’ll Never Forget

April 29th 2003. The day that both my mum and dad told me they were proud of me on the same day, which was the first that I can remember.

I can still remember how nervous we all were when we were waiting to be called to attention at our graduation ceremony, from Basic Training upon joining the Royal Air Force. Such a proud moment. The only thing we had to do for the next hour or so (Felt like a blasted lifetime!) was focus and DON’T GET IT WRONG!

“Flight!”

The order flicked a switch inside and I went from being Darren Robinson to, well…. something!

I’m not too sure of the ensuing commands and ceremony. It was a moment that I wanted to perform at my best, knowing that my parents wouldn’t care about any of the 50 or so others around me. Their eyes would be on ME.
I knew I looked the part. Shoes were gleaming, my brass buttons looked like miniature suns on the blue-grey background of my jacket, pressed within an inch of its life!
The ache from carrying the rifle faded into the never never of my senses as I focused on my movements being sharp and concise. Come what may, I didn’t want to let my private audience down!

I’ll never forget the feeling of elation when the parade was dismissed. Maybe I can write a blog about Basic Training further down the line. It was a big changing point in my life, sharing a room with 17 other guys from all over the U.K. The feeling, though, of both of your parents being proud of you for something you’ve worked so hard to achieve was definitely one of the biggest defining points of my life!

10 Things That Make Me Really Happy

1929868_994623470574656_3169922483397490507_nMaybe it’s a strange thing that this has to take some thought! I wonder if it’s due to a lack or an abundance of happiness. Hmmmmmm…

  1. My children. A beautiful daughter and two great sons, all going through their various stages in life. The real happiness is seeing them do something I do or saying something I say.
    My oldest son is going through the same things I went through when I was his age. Easy to relate to, not so easy to address all the time! I sometimes think I put an unfair amount of pressure on him, when we speak, because I see so much potential and wouldn’t want to see him waste the chances and opportunities that I allowed to pass me by.
    My daughter thinks like me and expresses herself in writing as I do. She seeks to learn and educate herself and I still remember having our Creation vs. Evolution conversation, where her level of intelligence left me somewhat astounded. Reasoning with her is like reasoning with myself and reading some of her written expression is like reading my own. Leaves me speechless every time!
    My youngest son questions EVERYTHING. Taking him on a road trip, without listening to any music was a lot of fun. He has such an inquisitive brain, wants to know everything about everything and expects the answers. Where he doesn’t get the answers, he puts forward pretty logical opinion (Yeah, like his dad!). His developing sense of humour makes me laugh, man!
  2. My God. We have a pretty typical father-son relationship. He sets the standards, I try to adhere to them, I feel disappointed when I fall short and aim to do better. Often, though, we hit this period where we are both operating on the same wavelength. They are coming along more often as I grow in life and, when they happen, I’m always seen smiling for no visible reason.
    Since taking a step back from viewing God through the eyes of Religion and working on a personal relationship with Him, I’ve experienced some great highs and learned from very harsh lessons. The saga continues…!
  3. Working out. Anyone that knows me, knows I LOVE to train myself and others. Applying myself to push beyond barriers and in the pursuit of new goals makes me extremely happy. Currently, I’m building (from scratch!) towards an Iron Man in 2017. Most likely in Wales, in September. It’ll be a pinnacle of achievement for me and, at only 3 weeks into training, the lessons and realization of the task at hand are huge!
  4. Reading. Whether it be the pages of a leather-bound Bible, the bright coloured pages of a Personal Training study book or the rough, heavy-printed pages of a novel or poetry book. I love to lose myself, at times, to the tranquil silence of reading.
    I think I developed this love from an extremely young age. My mum has reminded me that some of the best times of life were had during a 4 year period where we couldn’t afford a TV. During this period, I’d read anything I could get my hands on. Comic books, Encyclopedia, newspapers, fact and fiction. By the time I went to secondary school (11), I could read and express an opinion on just about any thing I was given to read. This did come at a cost, though. For a long time, I was often laughed at because I didn’t watch the latest films or have cable TV.
    It’s funny how history repeats itself. I haven’t owned a TV since December 2012 and I don’t miss it. I’m sure I’ll get one again but, as when I was young, it just isn’t a priority!
  5. Model Railways. Not many people know this about me but I can sit for hours on end, working or watching a good model railways. My dad bought me my first pieces when I was about 6 or 7. I haven’t looked back! I still have some of the old, dusty locomotives (diesel and electric, plus one steam engine) and modelling equipment sitting in the loft of my mum’s house! LOL!
    When the time comes for me to build my home, I’m pretty sure a model railway in the basement is going to be a must!
  6. Aquaria. Running water, in general, puts me most at peace. I stood at my window over this past weekend, watching the rain fall, sipping a coffee and couldn’t have been more relaxed. My own aquarium, though! I remember the cichlid aquarium I had when I was living at my mum’s. 5ft x 1ft x 2ft and I would spend AGES, lost, watching the fish explore the rockery and avoid the ever-growing crabs that lurked in the rocks!
    Going forward, I want to develop a coral reef for sure!
  7. Employment. Strange, I know *sighs* But it’s true! LOL! I’m at my most happy when I am being productive. I complain about some of my I.T. users and it can be an emotional drain, working with the different personalities I come across when Personal Training but I would have it over doing nothing ANY day! An unemployed Daz is an unhappy Daz, rest assured!
  8. Travelling. Probably on a lot of people’s lists. I think it’s because I love to learn and love to meet new people. Last weekend, I drove almost a thousand miles, on a road trip to New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. I loved every minute of it. Even the Wacky Races episode I experienced, driving through New York City!
  9. My family. I could spend forever on this subject but, Lord! I have the best family. Without my parents and my brothers and sisters, I wouldn’t have made it this far after emigrating. They keep me grounded and keep me amused. I wouldn’t trade them for love nor money. Although, I don’t think I ever said this until the age of about 17! LOL! 😉
  10. Me! I don’t think it’s possible to be really happy until you can be happy with yourself. In the same way, we can’t really experience Love until we have learned to love ourselves.
    I’m in no way being narcissistic. I’m actually a pretty modest person (sometimes a little too modest, I feel) but, since a beginning of change in 2009 (Story for another time) and a realization to grow in November 2013 (Another story!), I’ve learned to be comfortable with myself and who I really am. I am a man on a journey. A journey, if I’m honest, that I’ve been fighting against from the very beginning. Hence the scars from lessons learned as I’ve been dragged down the path anyway!
    I’m also very loving. Once I let you in, you’ll find the love to be very genuine and very warm and I think it’s the presence of the two coming together, a continuous journey, learning to Love, that makes me happy to be me: Human…

I’m Not Destined To Be Wealthy… But I’m Happy!

Proverbs 13:22 begins, “A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children…”

I don’t agree with everything Dr. Umar Johnson says but, recently, I watched a video and he said something that was so profound, it brought me to a realization that I have finally come to terms with:

I will, in this life, never experience wealth.
I wrestled with this for so long but the thing he said that is so right, “Wealth is generational…”, has tilted the balance and I’m finally on board – and HAPPY!

Those of the working class, and particularly black people (You can get mad if you want. But it is what it is.), fail to see that the best thing we can do is set up a life, not just for our children, but for our grandchildren. It’s amazing, how we have been conned into believing that we should be chasing wealth for this life. The reality is, for me to begin a line of wealthy and wealth-conscious (Not money-chasing!) children, the furthest I’ll most likely reach is to die debt-free, have some money invested, have a good life insurance and own my own home. I’m currently in the process of starting my own business too.

Being in this position, at the point of my death, means my children start from ground-zero. They have inherited zero debt (Save the possibility of the managed debt of a mortgage), have a little investment, that will continue to grow through their lifetime but, most importantly, if they see me happy in what I’m doing, they learn and understand that it is OK to be content with what you have. It’s OK to build with patience. It’s OK to let the social life alone for a season. They also learn the importance of relationships and legacy.

The process isn’t the same for everyone but the one thing that unites us is the productive life that ensues the decision to provide for our generations (Plural!) coming after us.
It may be that it isn’t for your generation, but the following generation, to be the one to reach ground zero. Maybe even a generation or two after that but, at some point, there has to be a humbling and a decision for the better.

So, I’m not destined to be materialistically wealthy but the wealth in my relationships and contentment is going to be of an unrivaled magnitude! I’m looking forward to the journey ahead…

Putting the Cart Before the Horse

Watching Creflo Dollar skate on someone else’s hard-earned money really saddened me. You can see a version of the video here.

It’s sad that Christians, today, have given in to the need to be entertained. To the point that they will cheer on a guy running over their money. I mean, where do the likes of Creflo Dollar, T. D. Jakes, et al, get their teachings from? What they are doing, regarding this approach to being blessed, just isn’t biblical.

The main thing is, what they are doing isn’t in line with how the Church should operate. Understand that, when I refer to the Church, I’m not talking about Christianity as a religion. Neither am I talking of people gathered in a building, on Sunday, or the building itself.
The Septuagint uses the Greek term ‘Ekklesia’. The Hebrew word is ‘Qahal’. A close English translation would be ‘The called out ones’. So, when I say ‘the Church’, I’m referring to individuals that have been called out. Christians (Real ones!).
The Bible gives us templates of how we should operate and how we should approach things. When the Holy Spirit was gifted in the Upper Room, in Acts 2, Peter wasn’t seen encouraging material wealth. In fact, Acts 2:45 reads, “And sold their [The first Christians. Or, early Church] possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.” Acts 2:42-47 is, in fact, the template Christians should have as a base for their operational lives. Interestingly, verse 47 tells us that, as the early Church gathered and praised and developed a relationship with God, and each other, it was THE LORD that added to the Church. This falls in line with what the Apostle Paul said in Ephesians 2:8-9, which reads, “(8)For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (9)Not of works, lest any man should boast.” It is here that these entertainers begin to lead the sheep astray. It is here that they attempt to stand in the middle of the relationship between God and his children. Not as mediators or connectors but in the form of a god and decision gate. It is here that the cart is put before the horse.

Jesus’ words, in Revelation 22:13, read, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” God is timeless. EVERYTHING that happens within ANY time frame is within the existence of God. As he is timeless, my faith in him also becomes timeless.
Matthew 6:8 reads “Be not ye therefore like them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.” As he is timeless, he already knows, not only what I need now but what I will need in the future. If I agree with Ephesians 2:8-9, I am blessed by God, who knows what I need before I ask him for it (Note, there is a time to still ask) and it is HIM that blesses me. That makes anything else taking place to facilitate my blessing either false or mere fanfare. I STILL don’t see where skating on money facilitates a blessing and, if the skating on money was to celebrate the receiving of it, I’m reminded of Matthew 6:19-24, where we are told that we cannot serve God and money or, material wealth.

When it comes to living in accordance to my beliefs, I base myself on Psalm 51.
Psalm 51 is a moving towards simply wanting a relationship with God. No chasing after blessings. No serving to receive. Just serving with gladness.
The template of prayer, aka The Lord’s Prayer, starts with “Our Father”. Before anything, God is a father. Not a judge or jury (That isn’t to negate these facets exist), not a bank account, not an ever-present help when we get ourselves in to problems. He is dad.
Psalm 51:16-17 reads “(16)For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. (17)The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”
In the Old Testament, sacrifices were carried out in order to receive something in return, for the most part. They were carried out, according to written rules, to obtain a written consequence. But God doesn’t want that for us. He just wants a relationship with his kids.

I was going through some really hard times, during 2015. One night, I came home from work, sat in the middle of my living room floor and asked God where he was. I’d had enough. I spoke to him as though he was there in the room with me, “I’m trying to do everything you say in your Word and still I struggle. Why?!”
I’d only spoken like that, with him, a few times previous. I got my answer, though.

Before I go into the answer, I want to say this. There is a common experience of God’s presence. There is a peace and stillness like no other. It’s a feeling you get while snuggling into bedding, straight from the dryer. Or, after having all your bones fall into place, after seeing a massage therapist. The air is quiet and, even though it is a thick atmosphere, there is a freedom to breathe, like you’ve just left hot yoga. There is a need to just shut up and listen. It’s almost like you fall asleep. Descriptions fail me, seriously.

“You know of me but you don’t know me.”
Straightaway, I was faced with the fact that I knew lots ABOUT God but I had no clue who he was, personally. Granted, I could refer to a scripture to answer questions or to someone else’s stories but no personal testimony. No relationship. THAT was why I lacked blessing. Nothing else.
I began to memorize Psalm 51, which happened to be my reading for that day and watched my relationship, with Him, begin to develop.
I could go on about the blessings that ensued. There are many. But that isn’t the point of this blog. The point is, it is your relationship with God that blesses you, not some guy dancing on your money, not the act of giving money or time to someone that doesn’t even know you. It’s not even doing because you’ve been told to. Your blessings are mere by-products of a relationship with your Heavenly Father, who already knows what you need. THAT is putting the horse and cart in the correct order.