Thursday, 31 October 2013

 Be bold. Be strong. Never give UP.’
Psalm 31:24
* NPC: 2011/004081/08
* 18A Tax Exempt Status
    *PBO file no. 930/036/181 
“Don’t stink on your daily grind.” - Bill Cosby
It’s November. The blurred lines between hollow ‘Happy-Halloween-Holidays-Christ-mas’ messages are everywhere.  In our minds, we are shutting down, but the end of year pressures of end-of-year school exams, 2014-planning, budgeting is happening amidst the holiday planning.
We find our irritability-fire fuelled daily by things that normally wouldn’t bother us. It's almost like our patience-tap has run dry.
It’s not uncommon to find yourself staring out the window or at people (like the picture included) with disinterest, thinking “I wish this year will end already!”
Perhaps this is the reason we just need to freshenUP a bit, in order to end 2013 fittingly.

For those physically active athletes out there, you will understand the smelly effect regular wearing of your exercise gear has on the freshness-factor of your clothes. (For the not-so-active, try wearing the same socks for a week, and you'll get the idea.)  Yes, you can wash them, but somehow, they manage to retain a sense of ‘used-ness’, which manifests itself in your drawer, or on your body, a few minutes into your training session.  An innovative new product ‘PROTECT Active-wear pre-soak’ by South African Company Classique Brands, was recently launched to help rid active-wear ‘stinkyness’. Even old training gear can now benefit from a rejuvenated freshness.
Perhaps we all need to be soaked in PRTOECT odour eliminating soak… We need some freshness of mind, attitude, spirit and body to help us finish 2013 with the same sense of determination and discipline that we started with.  Most of us started 2013 with some clear goals and achievements in mind. Some have managed to fulfil them, and will be naturally motivated to see the year roll towards the countdown to 2014. Others, who didn't achieve them, will be left with a sense of let-down and disappointment – whether in self or circumstance; disappointment can have a negative effect in where we find ourselves at present.
In the same way that we hit the refresh button to check updated tweets, facebook updates or refresh a web browser, we need to hit ‘refresh’ on our 2013 button.  When the refresh button is clicked in any application, there is an expectation for something to happen – whether it be a new message, an @-mention, a new check-in or like, or seeing the webpage open the way you want it to – we expect something to happen.  As part of a simple refresh-click in your personal life, you can freshenUP by:
-          Having a clear sense of purpose…
This gives clarity to our day-to-day managing of time.  Yes, sometimes we are enslaved to the ticking arms of the work-clock and daily grind, but that should not deter us from pursuing the activities and experiences that give our lives a sense of purpose.
-          Setting some goals for the remainder of the year and start of 2014…
Having clearly defined goals, and plans of how to achieve them, can help you build determination and drive to achieve them.  Set short-term goals for the week, next month, interspersed with fun-goals.
-          Think new – smell new…
A build-up of smelly old odours is what causes active-wear (and the shoes and socks on your feet right now) to become smelly.  Similarly, the “same old issues” that you have been battling since late January 2013 might have caused your mind-set to become entrenched in thinking negatively about the situation. Getting a new perspective on it by asking someone objective for their opinion, or changing your own approach/attitude toward the issue, can help you overcome ‘the stink’. As much as clothes need weekly washing to keep them fresh, with occasional longer soaks in a PROTECT soak, we need to realise that our minds and attitude too need regular cleaning.
Woody Allen (Actor) remarked: “Once you clean your spectacles, you find with relief that your eyes aren’t deteriorating as rapidly as you thought; you're merely struggling to see clearly through the dirty glasses!”
-          Seeing the good
Negativity is all around us.  And, the more we see it, hear it, experience it and talk about it, the more aware we become of it.  Have you noticed how, when you buy something you tend to see more of  it around?  As part of fresheningUP, it helps to focus on good things too! Have a look and listen around you and spot people #doingGOOD. "Good" comes in many forms...compliments, sunshine, a friendly smile a stranger, letting someone go through the door before you, sharing a drink with a friend, a hug from a loved one, encouraging someone, greeting someone... Seeing good and experiencing good leaves us feeling good.
-          Value life
It sounds corny, but it is true. Life as we know it can change in an instant.  This is the case for a 16 year old boy in one of the schools we worked in this year.  A few weeks ago, leaving school in a buoyant mood the friends went swimming in a local river. Summer was finally here, and life was good. Sadly, as he jumped into the river where they have enjoyed many fun days in previous summers, he sustained a neck injury that now left him paralysed from the neck down. Life – changed. Focus on the value of what you have.
 “If we value the have’s in our lives, it leaves little room for the discontent of have-not’s.”
A notice appeared in the window of a coat store in England:
We have been established for over 100 years and have been pleasing and displeasing customers ever since.  We have made money and lost money, suffered the effects of coal nationalisation, coal rationing, governments control and bad payers. We have been cussed and discussed, messed about, life to, held up, robbed, and swindled.  The only reason why we are still in business is to see what happens next.”
Develop a sense of purpose and some goals for your life – it will help you make decisions and prioritise activities.  This can help you finish 2013 with a boosted morale and enthusiasm.
“The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire” – Field Marshal Ferdinand Foch
facingUP Support Services: * NPC: 2011/004081/08 * 18A Tax Exempt Status (PBO) file no. 930/036/181
PO BOX 14, HOWARD PLACE, 7450 Fax:  +27 (0)86 762 5024
Directors: Dr. SH Walsh, Mr. IS Smith, Mr. E Lombard  /

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Growing forward

Be bold. Be strong. Never give UP.’
Psalm 31:6
facingUP Support Services:
* NPC: 2011/004081/08
* 18A Tax Exempt Status
((PBO) file no. 930/036/181
“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it” Helen Keller
“The signs and evidence of pain and suffering are everywhere. Sometimes it is close by while other times it hovers in the distance, touching others.” – A.Jennings
This weekend, we were once again encouraged by the resilience of the human spirit as fUSS delivered training session at the African Leaders Institute for Community Transformation ( to students from 26 countries.  During an intensive 3 month period, ALICT students are trained in a variety of community transformation strategies. Since 2010 fUSS has played a role in addressing the impact of loss in the lives of ALICT students, helping them on the journey of growing forward, through their pain, incorporating the variety of experiences into their lives. Thus aiding them to live, strengthened by the experience of pain, rather than a victim thereof.

 When we experience loss, it seems impossible that anything ‘worse’ can happen to us; it feels like the sun has set on us.  I listened as a young man, through waterlogged-eyes, explained to me:  ‘When my family (parents, three siblings and grandfather) was killed in the civil war, I only had my baby brother with me.  At times I felt ‘why didn’t they kill us too?’ – not because I didn’t want to live; at 13, I just couldn’t bear the responsibility of caring for my little brother. Years went by, the war ended, I got married and even my ‘baby’ brother started a family with a wife he loved.  Sadly, they both died in an accident, and their little baby became our child…”
I listened as he talked, and after he finished his story, we investigated some of the ‘happier’ memories he shared with his brother as they were growing up, the struggles they overcame, and the happiness they shared as they started their families.  Once again, the tears flowed over his cheeks.  This time, with joyful memories.  “These aren’t sad tears. Yes, I miss him. I miss feeling like we’re a big family. But I have such love and joy in my heart when I talk of him. I know that I can deposit a memory bank of good memories into the lives of our children.  And they can also feel part of our family legacy.”
Growing through pain takes time.  When we build a house, we build it brick-by-brick.  When we learn to live with a loss or life-changing event, we rebuild our lives ‘brick-by-brick’ too. Patience and persistence are two key-words in re-adjusting our ‘new’ lives as we learn to live with the change. We need: Patience to grow slowly.  Persistence to keep going.
When we experience a big loss in our lives, it is normal to feel that our life has fallen apart. As you embark on the growth-journey, it can however be helpful encouragement for our journey, when we look for some good things; we might find some good that has come from the situation.
Among other things, here are some resilience-characteristics we have been fortunate to observe in the lives of those that we work with:
          They are strengthened as they grow through their experience;
          They come through the experience whole and focused;
          They have a clear plan for their lives and have not allowed their loss to stop them from having hope for their future;
          They become a person who is an inspiration to others.
          They support other people to help them through their experiences.
          They share their growth-journey, in order to give hope to those who face similar situations.
“The sun will come up tomorrow. Bet your bottom dollar there’s tomorrow!” - Annie
If you are going through a time where you feel live is ‘squeezing’ you, may you be like a sponge and bounce back as the ‘squeeze’ is released. And remember the cheerful song of the little-curly-red-haired-rosy-cheek-orphan-girl Annie as you grow one step, one day at a time. 
Be encouraged by our foundational biblical verse that says:
Be brave. Be strong. Don’t give up.
(Psalm 31:24)

Psalm 34:18
“If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there; if you’re kicked in the gut, He will help you catch your breath.” – The Message

facingUP Support Services: * NPC: 2011/004081/08 * 18A Tax Exempt Status (PBO) file no. 930/036/181
PO BOX 14, HOWARD PLACE, 7450 Fax:  +27 (0)86 762 5024
Directors: Dr. SH Walsh, Mr. IS Smith, Mr. E Lombard  /