Movement As Blessing

 

I’ve always had the conviction that being able to move your body everyday, is a huge blessing. That conviction has only grown, upon getting my certifications in fitness  and nutrition. I want to ignite the fire and passion for people to love and honor their bodies inside and out.

Exercise can be a huge part in this, but more so, I am speaking toward the reality, that getting to move your body, everyday in small ways is a blessing. Even as I move my fingers to type this blog.

I long to see people with special needs, have a deep zeal everyday, to get themselves out of bed and do what they can to be healthier, happier and stronger. I know everyone has different ranges of ability, energy and so on.

The one objection that stem from this: Well, thats easy for you to say, you don’t.. (fill in the blank).

Actually, along with having CP, I am always in some sort of pain, I’m always tired, a lot of days I have to fight to even get out of bed. And yes, there’re a lot of days where my own struggle with depression beats me down. So I do understand very well.

But here is the deal, life is too much of a blessing to let any of that stuff have victory over me. Even on the days when I don’t want to get out of bed, you know what? I get out of bed. Regardless of the war that may be going on inside me on a giving day, I try and make someones life better.

Jocko Willink talks a lot about going through the motions, going to the gym when you don’t want to. Doing the things you would rather not do, because in doing so you’re better because of it. The moment my eyes open in the morning, I hear Jocko’s voice saying:

GET. OUT. OF BED. NOW!

Do the work you have to do.

Wash the dishes

Wash the clothes

Do the everyday and mundane things you’d rather not do. why!? Because your moving, your using the body that God gave you. Much better, you are forsaking the laziness in your mind, that says “oh no, you don’t have to anything today!”

Now, I’m not implying you can’t rest. What I am saying is that you can rest, after you have gotten everything on your to-do list done. Workout included! There’s something so beautiful about going to bed tired, knowing that you poured yourself out and crushed the day. That’s a wonderful way to live lives!

Then, you can rest and rest deeply.

So wake up everyday, rip the the covers from your body and get moving. Workout, do the mundane tasks (and even your prospective on them will change), better yourself in every way you can, help others and then you can rest deeply. Do what you can everyday, so no to the lazy voice in your head, so that when you rest, you will rest fulfilled.

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Manhood and Disability Part 1

I’ve never been one to feel sorry for myself, going after things I want has always been part of what made me who I am. It was ingrained in me by my parents, to not let anything stop me and not take no as an answer.

As a child, I felt as though nothing could touch me or wound me. But as you get a little older in life, you suddenly discover that you aren’t invisible as you once thought. You find that the world isn’t as nice as you once thought, and not everyone will give you a chance or think that you will ever amount too much.

Some where along the way, we lose that since of healthy confidence in our selves, and we allow other voices to influence us. There have been quite a bit of times in my life, where I have felt like less of a man, because I can’t drive or do all the typical things that a man is supposed to do.

Never learned to change a light bulb, change the oil in a car none of the typical things that a man is called to do. Growing up, my mom beat into my mind that the man does everything, provides for the woman, so on a so forth. Now I know that some might insert right away, that there is a very old traditional view. And to a degree I would acknowledge that disagreement.

But I do think, that to a a degree a man is supposed to be a warrior poet, much like William Wallace. One who knows how to capture a women’s heart. And vend off evil man if they ever had to. Inwardly and in the back of my mind, I have always felt like I am that.

The deeper reality is though, there a days and moments when I don’t feel like a measure up at all. That is why, my heart often goes out in a deep way to young boys/men with cerebral palsy. Who like me, don’t feel like they measure up, or never be seen as a real man.

In mays I am blessed to have a very mild form of CP, I can do a lot of things for myself. But what about those young men, or fully grown men, that don’t feel like a women could ever love them? Those of us, who is not what the worlds deems to be a man? It’s very easy to turn inward into shame, regret, isolation and even blame shifting.

So my hope, is to speak into that darkness and bring about some hope, bravery and encouragement.

YOU ARE A MAN.

Regardless of what severity of cerebral palsy or other physical condition you may have. You are a man, endowed in the holy image of God. An author who I once frequented, wrote that:

IF you have a penis, you have what it takes to get the job done.. You may not be able to do any sort of physical task, involving a car, kitchen or whatever. But that doesn’t mean, that you couldn’t make the simple phone call to get it fixed.

You  might not be able to spin your wife or girlfriend in circles, or even cook for them.  But you can love and protect them mentally, emotionally and spirituality. So much of my life I was blind to this reality, because I was so fixated on the physical.

When there is so much more to it, than physical aspects. I didn’t think that I would ever meet a women that loved me, until I met my girlfriend. I wasn’t finding relationships that worked out. And the more that happened the more alone I felt.

This only pushed me to cling to God more, finding peace in his love and being made in his image. Which is where all my worth and dignity as a human stems from. When I met my girlfriend, I was so shocked and overjoyed, because  I never thought I’d find another human that loved me in all the ways my heart desired.

I was blown away that even doubted Gods goodness and ability.

I do all I can to help my girlfriend when we are together, but the reality is, is that we have learned to take turns helping each other. There are times, in this current season of our relationship. Where I can’t help her with every little thing, and sometimes the greatest thing I can offer her is encouragement, love and my support.

I believe that us men, buy into the lie that we have nothing to offer, that we have no purpose and that we are not worthy of love. It’s all a lie that we accept when the depression sets in.

But the truth is, is that you have much to offer, you have purpose and you are worthy of love. It’s all abut finding out who you are, what makes you come alive and being comfortable in your own skin.

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You and The Vending Machine

Wow,

Thank you for all the likes on my latest post, for all the new subscribers. I really hope to help and inspire people however I can!

Okay, that aside, I was asked to write a blog on combating the desire to go the vending machine when you are at work or in need of a quick repass, or something to get you through the day. More specially, that nagging antagonist in your mind, that tells you to cure your hunger by getting a 50 cent or dollar snack.

Now, I fail at nutrition too, a lot and sometimes I give into the temptation too. We are humans and we will make mistakes whether we like it or not. Let’s be honest about that. Much more, let us know our enemies all the more.

What I mean is, know, when your enemy sets out to attack on a daily basis. And be ready for it, better yet attack the enemy before they can attack you. I know I’m using very militant language. But when it comes to our health and nutrition, we have to be disciplined and go out on the attack.

Be it, making sure that you maybe pack healthy snacks with you, the night before. And drink plenty of water. Eat more foods that leave fuller longer, steak and higher protein foods. When you have that temptation, even finding a corner and knocking out some push ups or burpees.

Make every effort to make war against the temptation, because that mid day snack isn’t going to get you closer to your goals. Of being healthy, happier, more alive, satisfied and focused. It will get you off course faster than anything.

But.. But.. If you do get off track, please remember not to beat your self up, but dust your self off and get back on the path. Even if you do have a cheat day- that’s fine, but than start pounding the water and getting back on it. Typically, when our bodies tell us that we are hungry, and we crave the cheap and easy foods, our bodies crave nutritionist.

So apply discipline, and feet it healthy things. Learn to say no, imply windows of fasting and starve your body of its desire of processed craving. In our lives, we can leave behind legacy, one that can go on for those after us. That starts by making small changes today, in the here and now.

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My Thoughts Regarding Keto!

So,

I had a request for my thoughts on the Keto diet. Before we go any further, I’d like to state that I do not follow the Keto diet. Primarily I am focused on a higher protein/carnivore-like approach to my personal nutrition. That being said, I do like the idea behind Keto.

Primarily, when you lower the amount of sugar and carbs in your daily intake, and make healthy fats as a source of energy. Your body then how no choice to burn fat, which for many has equated to dramatic weight loss. Keto consists of Fats, protein and low carb:

Fats: Avocado, nuts, flax seed etc

Protein: lean meats, fish, chicken etc

Carbs : Veggies

There are other types of Keto, which focus on higher proteins, or dirty keto, which can  be viewed as a fast food version, but just taking off the bread (haha). In the world of diets and nutrition, something new pops up all the time. Some, I have heard take a firm stance against it, saying that it is hard to maintain and something that you can’t be on long term.

Having not been on a keto diet myself, I can only go off of what I’ve read and heard.  My girlfriend has been on the diet for a while, and it has help her with her arthritis and joint pain.

I truly do believe that it can help reduce inflammation in the body, helps with autoimmune disorders and those who suffer from seizure disorders as well. However I don’t believe that one has to be on a keto diet however to start seeing changes in their health. Once you eliminate the processed carbs, sugars and fats amazing things start to happen in your body.

That is truly universal, whatever “diet” you subscribe to.  Here is a link listing the benefits of being on the Keto diet.  Here!   Typically as Americans  most of us have been so focused on processed carbs and sugars, largely because it’s easy and tastes good. Yet, so many people are dramatically overweight, have diabetes, have digestive issues and lack of energy.

I think the American diet has been wrong for a long time, and people are quickly realizing and to maximize health and longevity. In closing, I want to say again, that I do not practice the Keto approach. Nor do I think that it is for everyone, I think that, regardless of the foods that you like, if you make the disciplined choice to eliminate processed foods, increase water and exercise, you will become healthier regardless of “diet” you choose to subscribe to.

Find what works for you! If you like fruits and greens over steak, okay! Work with it, if you see results fantastic. If you don’t change it up! But I think we have clearly seen how a Keto or low cab form of eating is changing peoples lives for the better. Everything has its time frame in life, but what will always remain true, is that eating like crap, will always make you feel like crap! And eating healthy, will only leave you feeling for energized and happy.

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The 3 Key’s To Change (On your fitness Journey)

Everyone has something they want to change  about themselves, be it physically, mentally or spiritually. Or so you should, sure moments of contentment tend to sustain us for awhile. But growth is the name of the game, when we stop wanting to grow and improve. We stop living and thriving altogether.

Let’s take the topic of weight loss for example, a person may set out to lose 20, 50 or even a hundred pounds.  The process for some is very difficult, the weight is stubborn and doesn’t come off as readily as one would like. It’s to become discouraged and give up on the process and gain even more weight.

The helpless thought kicks into our minds, making the claim that we always be this way, just accept it. Now, there might be a nugget of truth in the reality of “just accepting it”

I may always have cerebral palsy, my body might hurt a lot more than others, but that does not mean that I am over all helpless over my situation. As hard as it can be, I can choose to not listen to lie in my head that says I’m worthless.

You can capture it, speak to it with authority, understanding that it does not have the final word.

Embrace and celebrate the process: So you are aiming to lose some weight, or even gain muscle size. Embrace that it will be a journey, full of ups and downs. Nothing, almost nothing happens on our time frame. Celebrate every healthy choice, every workout, every time you chose a healthier source of food, over the quick satisfying fast food that won’t bring you any closer to a healthier you.

Have a healthy sense of self love: Know who you are. Know that you are on your journey, lay your fear and insecurity aside. Show up to the gym, do work and never mind the fear of what people are quietly thinking about you. What matters is that you show up to the day and you don’t quit

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Is Nutrition The New Religion?

Quite possibly…

Let me explain,  as humans when we discover something that works for us, we get really excited and filled with passion about it. We then want to evangelize about, because in our minds we believe the results that we’ve had will be the same for the next person.

We find all the ways to defend our nutritional convictions against others who might have a differing view. Its not always a simple disagreement or variants of opinion, it can be down right ugly too.

On social media, I constantly see vegans spewing fire and the more meat based community and vise versa. It’s so crazy! It’s become almost no different than a popular atheist having a heated debate with a theist.

Shouldn’t we be pumping the brakes a bit? I think so! We argue and defend our nutritional stand points, as though we are defending what one believes to be an absolute truth or fact about life or even the after life.

Stoooooop!

Nutrition is a temporary element to life, does it matter? Yes it does, what you feed your body matters. But it should in some ways be a personal path way for how you live your life and the legacy in which you want to leave behind for future generations to come.

When you come upon the last breath of your earthly life, I highly, highly doubt that the last though we have will be “My nutritional convictions was everything to me…” Nutritionally speaking, people are so damn different, some people love their fruits and greens more than I do.

Personally speaking, I believe that my body does very well, with a more meat based/carnivore approach. But I refuse to look down upon someone who chooses a more plant based diet. If that works for a person great, as long as they feel in their heart of hearts that they are thriving to their highest level, awesome!

On the other side of the spectrum though, there are people who’s bodies don’t respond well to a more fruit and greens approach. And that should be more than ok! If, as a professional, I have a client who loves a plant based approach, is not my job to shove my own conviction down their throats.

My soul objective is to work with whats good for them as a person, which is also a very complex journey to embark on. I can show people, as to why I believe that a more higher protein diet might be more beneficial in some ways. But to the degree that a person has free will, it’s up to them to decide what  is right.

Again, we aren’t arguing for a canonized authority on nutrition, the end all be all, alpha and omega of nutrition. Entire countries have sadly split over religion, and while it may very well be an extreme jump. If we are not carful, our stances on nutrition may slowly but surely do the same thing. Even more so, people choose to disassociate with others, because of a chosen nutritional stance, which is utter madness to me.

Food is vital to health, we all need to strive to be healthier, in order that we may live a full and healthy life. But it not something that we can use as a means to have social or moral superiority with.

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What Is Optimal Health?

Hello!

My name is Brandon Ryan, I am a certified fitness and nutrition coach, through the International sports science association. Over the past several weeks, I have been hard at work to obtain both certifications. Now, if you know anything about me, you know that I have always had a love for fitness, nutrition and the mind. Being that I was born with Cerebral Palsy (CP) my father was largely responsible for igniting my love for health and fitness. Finding ways to adapt things to my body.

I have always flirted with the idea of being a fitness coach, for the simple reasons that I love helping people, seeing their lives change and decide to take their lives to new places. For me, that could come in having and encouraging conversation, or seeing some one take charge of their physical health.

My four year degree in psychology, I believe truly helped me in obtaining both of my certifications. In that, I quickly saw that they both had to do with a clients perception and thought process. Furthermore, discovering ones limiting factors and helping them find ways to over come them. Much is the same with psychology. Some clients may simply need a coach that is deeply compassionate and understanding. One that listens and helps or aids one to seeing their lives in different ways.

This brings me to the question: What is optimal health? Different people arrive and different answers, some more focused on fitness, others focused on nutrition, others on supplementation and others on rest and recovery. All of those are great and needed to achieve full optimal function of the body and mind.

However, my approach to optimal health, is largely based from the inside out. Meaning that a healthy mind, emotions and view of ones self is my premise for optimal health. Everything else follows. So many of us neglect the mind, our emotions and how we perceive ourselves. You can be the worlds most elite athlete, and on the inside still feeling like you don’t measure up and have to compare your performance or even body to another.

Often, when people have told me that they want to lose weight. I often start by asking them why. I know it  can be annoying, but the why is vital, so very vital. Because, if a person wants to lose or gain weight, so that they can look like somebody else. Thats a very big problem, because every single person is an original. And we were never created to be a copy of someone else.

I make people understand the why factor first, because when they do. Then, we can work on becoming comfortable in their own bodies, and doing things for the betterment of themselves and not a pipe dream. When we do this, then we can talk about fitness, nutrition, gut health, rest and recovery the whole nine yards.

If you are not where you want to be in life right now, thats alright. Accept that reality, but then do what it takes to move forward for yourself, your own legacy, the health of your family etc. Thats real joy, peace, purpose and fulfillment my friends.

 

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The Gift of Your Child

The following entry is a topic that has long weighed upon my heart, I do not wish for anyone to feel condemned or even shamed in the process of reading this. If anything, it is my hope and prayer that your heart and mind might see things in a fresh perspective and that you may sense a jolt in your spirit, and even a fresh perspective on the life your leading.

I can’t imagine what is was like, for my parents to hear from the doctor that I would be born with cerebral palsy (CP). The doctor gave my parents a lot of double speak, in that, one hand I would probably grow out of the condition, which never ever happens. If I didn’t grow out of it, then, according to the doctor, I would be dependent on others to help me live my life and I wouldn’t be able to do much of anything on my own.

You don’t have to be a pattern in the present moment, to get an idea of how that made my parents feel. My mom always tells me this story, that she grabbed this doctor by his lab coat and gave this doctor a piece of her mind. Apparently, in doing this, that caused this very small hospital on lock down. Furthermore, my mom would tell me about how, she would walk in the snow, to the hospital to make sure I was fed and gained the weight that was needed to be discharged from the hospital.

There is only one word to describe this: Love. Was it stressful and nerve racking? Yes, without question. I can only imagine that there were times where my parents felt frustrated and just needed a moment to breath and gather themselves back up. God knows, that we are only human and have our breaking points. Yet is was love, for my dad to take me to each physical therapy session and doctors appointment. It’s love, for my dad to teach me martial arts and how to be strong as a man.

Now, I have always tried to be as sufficient as possible,  but there’re a few things in life which have always got in the way. 1) driving and 2) cooking, I have attempted to learn to drive before, and will try again. The problem becomes, in having a bad startle reflex and taking a bit of time for my body to wake up and regulate its self in the morning. As of now, wisdom tells me that it’s easier to air on the side of caution. I would hate to be behind the wheel, and get startled by a loud noise, gun through the intersection and either being badly hurt myself or injuring someone else.

Cooking, it’s something I can do for myself, however the kitchen in my home is not the best set up for me. But I know that this arrangement is only temporary. The point being, is I know that things get stressful for my parents. Because, as I said earlier, their human too.  Yet, knowing that I am dependent in some ways and as a person with CP (or any other disability one wants to fill in the blank with).

The idea of being a gift or blessing, gets replaced with the word burden or thinking that we are dead weight. Now, let me lay before you that, parents that vocalize any sort of frustration. They don’t actually mean it, does it feel good? No, it doesn’t, in fact it hurts and cuts down to the bone if we don’t learn how detach ourselves from the moment, and cling to truth.

The truth is, our parents just might be having a bad day, should parents vocalize such frustration in front of their sons or daughters? Probably not. The reality is, it’s not good for anyone. I think that there should be times for parents with special needs children to vent, but in a healthier context. Not directly in front of your son or daughter.

Once again, to those of us who have CP or any other disability. Remember the truth, you’re not a burden, but a joy. Who has unique gifts and talents to offer the world. It’s important that we have a forgiving and grace filled spirit. Because the people around us, who love of the most will have bad days. And it’s important to know who we really are, to smile and forgive.

Parents, again, God knows you will have bad days. God knows that you will say things that you don’t mean. I think is key to remember, that if your son or daughter could actually drive, cook or do X, Y or Z for themselves they actually would. I m deeply thankful, for all my parents and family has done to help me get to where I am in life.

And if I could drive and do a few other things for myself, I would gladly do so. But in this current moment, things are as they are. Yet that does not mean, that I stop trying to improve myself to be as sufficient as possible. Lastly, and I don’t mean to pull at your heart strings, but always remember what it was like to see and hold your child for the fist time. The love and joy you felt for them in that moment, is still there even when you have a bad day.

Sons and daughters, the same goes for us, the love our parents does not change, simply because of one day. Always be kind, loving and gracious.

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Two Realities of CP: Adapting and Stillness

Having lived with Cerebral Palsy for 34 years now, I have come to a few conclusions, however painfully obvious they may be. Allow me to elaborate more in the following paragraphs:

One: I am not “normal” I get it, no one is. But I use crutches to walk around, sometimes a wheel-chair, I scoot down steps (at times) and sometimes I still crawl around. Furthermore, crawling around for me, is sometimes easier, yes others can and do help me and I’m grateful for it. But the reality is, if I can’t carry something in my mouth while walking, well, crawling on the ground while moving something works just great. Again, I know it’s not ideal, or however else one would describe it. But it works for me. I’m not ashamed of it, and it honestly saves my legs some strength and even prevents me for slipping and bonking my face on things.. Which has happened before.  I have come to terms that, some things in life need various levels of adaptation.

When it comes to be a father some day, I might not be able to carry my child in my arms in the middle of the night. Walking them around as most good fathers (and mothers) do, but I can find ways to hold them and other ways of doing things for them. I’m not normal, and I parent or raise my children normal either.  I’m actually very open to this reality and am very excited about discovering what works and what doesn’t in all aspects of my life.   The world most become more open to the realm of possibility, rather than being stuck in the world of impossibility.

My faith in God also plays a huge role in this, because I know that he is faithful and good. Providing all that I need and working everything out for my good (Romans 8:28). It’s learning to trust him, even when I cannot see how things are going to happen, or even understand what God is doing.

Two: I’ve come to terms with the amount of pain that my body is in everyday. Much of the pain, I believe anyway, has much to do with A) getting older and B) the amount of stress I put my body through while in the gym . Both in strength training and Jiujutsu. Again, I’m ok with this, I do the very best I can to combat the daily aches, pains and stiffness . Yet no matter, what anyone does it’s going to be there in some degree. In many respects, I’ve come to a place where I am at peace with the pain. Meaning, I know it’s there, but it will not be the defining factor of my life.  I will not allow it to stop me from being the person that God has destined me to be. This is not to say, that I don’t have days where the darkness sets in, in much thicker shades. They do, yet I have the greatest light in times of darkness, and the deepest anchor in times of trouble.

In conclusion: Not one of us is “normal” whatever that means anyway. Each of us, how are only problems, worries and battles we fight on a daily basis. Life is hard, but that is no reason to quit, we keep an open mind to how we can greater adapt with the circumstances that life throws at us. Lastly, we learn to make peace with the contexts that we find ourselves in, but that doesn’t mean that we become complacent in the fight. No, we keep fighting and moving forward. We teach ourselves to become more resilient and adaptable in the fight. We find joy, hope, wonder in the bleakest of circumstances. If not, we will die a quicker death emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Which is reality that is all too often easily accepted.

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How To Endure Suffering and Embrace All of Life.

 

Life is a series of moments, moments that are quickly escaping us. Whether we are aware of it or not. Which is breath, each month, each year, with every word and with every thought. And what we do in these moments is up to us. What we believe in these moments is up to us.

We can choose to be a pessimist or we can choose to be optimist. Sure, each day brings trials and worries of its own, yet the choice is still ours. Even in the darkest of times, we don’t have to be completely swallowed up by suffering.

Suffering does not have to crush or destroy us. One of the ways I have found to endure the hard times of life, is to condition myself in the midst of suffering. The same way I condition my body in the gym and on the matts. I condition my mind to be strong and stable in the harshest of conditions.

Am I always successful at it? No, I am not. I fail at it a lot, but if I/we do not condition ur minds to endure suffering. Life will in fact crush us. How do I condition my mind, you ask?

two ways:

  1. Patience’s in suffering- this is something we humans do not want to hear, but it is true none the less. Wishing the pain away, really does nothing for us. But being calm and as steady as rock, thus allows us to pray, ask, seek and knock. It allows us to endure and learn optimal lessons about ourselves. Consider the words in James 5:7-8 (NIV)  Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.    When we know that the Lord is near, nothing can shake us. When we truly know his character and his love for us. The suffering and adversity is momentary compared to his steadfast love.

2. Learn the art of Joy: Psalm 30:

 will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up
    and have not let my foes rejoice over me.
Lord my God, I cried to you for help,
    and you have healed me.
Lord, you have brought up my soul from Sheol;
    you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.[a]

Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints,
    and give thanks to his holy name.[b]
For his anger is but for a moment,
    and his favor is for a lifetime.[c]
Weeping may tarry for the night,
    but joy comes with the morning.

 

The poet David knows suffering all too well, and even he has endured much difficulty and despair. And yet he has learned the secret of rejoicing in the Lord, for he understands that God will not let the darkness triumph over him. Yes, I know that others may not share my same belief and faith in the Christian world view- but I believe that it is the only world way, that has anything to say about suffering. And it is the only world view that confronts suffering head on. Some say that faith in God is a “crutch” per- say, and yet most of us, that have been put the ringer of life, understand what it’s like to walk with a limp.  And so yes, Jesus comes along side us in our suffering and gives us himself to trust and lean on.

After all, he was plunged into the deepest sea of darkness for us, to show us his mad love for us and that we are not alone in suffering. He knows our suffering, temptations and weakness very deeply. The blessing of life then, as I said in the beginning, is a bundle of minutes and precious moments, passing us by whether we like it or not, believe it or not. As such, it is up to us to embrace the moments, darkness in all. We all have a choice in how we handle and view the suffering.

I say embrace it, head on, knowing that God is the great shepherd. Who can lead you beside still waters, regardless of where you have been, what you have done or have scared you may be about the future.

You are loved, it is never too late to accept the hand with the most amazing love and grace.

Caught in the Storm