Categories
Faith Featured Articles Observations

Face the Fear

Update: September 2020 and what goes around comes around! Over the last few weeks I have been migrating blogs and hosting to a new location. In the process I have cleared out some blogs in preparation for a new season of writing.

Today I found this draft blog from 2014. I had glanced over it a few times in my list of 84 draft blogs, seeing the title and thinking that was all I had written. Today I opened the post and saw I actually had an unpublished, pretty much finished blog of that moment in time.

Thankfully six years on, “Facing the Fear” has meant settling back into Australia, a great work engagement with Excite Media, new friends, new skills and some new openings and stability in areas of our life.

Thankful!

Back in 2014:

At the moment I’m having to look myself in the mirror with more focus. We sometimes glance at the face we’ve come to know and because we see it everyday we don’t stop to see or ask how we’re really doing. Right now I’ve had nearly a year since I was made redundant and I’m facing a new opportunity that is both exciting and keeping me on my toes because it means moving my family back to Brisbane. For me its causing me to face the fear.

Over the last few days I’ve been doing the SWOT analysis in my mind and working out the ‘to do list’ that will need to be played out and there are some natural and understandable fears that will need to be worked on. Today has been a good day with great encouragement from both work colleagues and the friends I’m staying with. I lingered just long enough at the mirror to remember what I can do and how much I’ve learned along the road.

I don’t want you to think I’ve suddenly ‘got it together’. Nope, I’m having to face the fear, walk slowly, try not to over-think the situation and most of all come back to God. I’ve been encouraged from the most unlikely of places. I’m using Micah 6 v 8 as a guideline and have found  so much I can relate to in the book of Job. Reading 15 chapters by the pool on Sunday morning was good therapy. I want to keep moving forward but have an open conversation with God where ultimately he gives me the ‘big picture’ on his sovereignty and the grandeur of who he is. It’s this picture of trust when you know the God of the universe has his thoughts towards you that helps you take more baby steps in our weakness and His grace.

Today I came home and a friend that had been praying for me showed me today’s reading from The Word for Today by Bob Gass. I read the previous day and today’s reading and began to soak on what it had to say. It was the reminder I needed, the encouragement I wanted and a picture of the strength I want to grow. To face the fear we need to draw on something and its in rejuvenating the spirit that we will find the best results. My ‘reserves’ have been diminished and I need to refill the tank. I shouldn’t have let it get this low so this may take some time to get back up to full steam.

I leave the reading I was given for you to consider and I encourage you to sign-up for your own email or paper version here www.thewordfortoday.com.au

Dealing with Adversity (2)

Monday, 24 February 2014

‘…God led you through the wilderness…to prove your character…’ Deuteronomy 8:2 NLT

God led the children of Israel through the wilderness: ‘to prove [their] character, and… find out whether or not [they] would obey His commandments.’ They could choose to perish there, or trust Him to bring them safely to the Promised Land. One author writes: ‘How many times have you changed courses in life, rather than pass the test and get through the tough stuff to the promises of God? He wants to know if you are worthy of the blessing that awaits you on the other side of the Jordan. Do you have the courage to face the challenges, or will you go back and settle for second best? If you’re facing a challenge that stands between you and your promise…look at Joshua 1:9 and Daniel 10:19 for courage. Ask God to give you the courage to face whatever hurdles stand in the way of your claiming what God has prepared for you.’

The landscape along the USA’s Florida’s Everglades is dotted with wiry, primitive-looking trees known as Caribbean Pines. They thrive in a rugged environment, can withstand fire, prolonged periods of drought, and hold their own against the fiercest hurricanes. In fact, if you plant them in a cultivated setting they usually shrivel and die. Joni Eareckson Tada says: ‘Like Caribbean Pines, our souls usually don’t thrive during good times. Our hearts grow complacent, our need of God becomes less urgent, our hope of Heaven dims, and our prayer life dries up…in a beautiful setting with our needs met and every resource at our fingertips…our soul shrivels… We need an occasional blast of storm or fiery trial if our faith is to mature.’

Categories
Featured Articles Observations

What do you want to see in your selfie?

Do you enjoy having your photo taken?

How often are you placed in that awkward situation where someone utters the word that sends shivers through your cute little dimples? “SMILE”!

I know that I’ve found the solution. Run to the other side of the camera and become the shutterbug. It takes away the angst and puts you back in control until someone says, “let me, we don’t have any photos of you!”. At that moment you feel betrayed, caught out. Or someone reminds you of the camera’s self-timer so you set the frame and do what feels like a 100m dash to the group, then have to turn, pose, and “SMILE” with no trace of breathlessness to be seen.

Categories
Featured Articles Observations

Your Life Paints a Canvas

If you think of your life as a poem
what will your verse be?

Categories
Observations

Dad Confession: One Direction

This is my “Dad Confession” for the day.

So I had a moment this morning that should remain private. What happens in the car when you’re alone should remain in the car. Right! Here I am innocently driving my car to work when I hear the local radio station doing live crosses from the local school. Its cute, they play the school choir and everything seems right with the world. But then in a moment of weakness it happened. I don’t know what it was, maybe the first few bars of the song, the sweet production or simply a neuron relapse in the left back lower quadrant of my frontal lobe?

Categories
Featured Articles Media

Movie Review: The Railway Man

 

Arriving in theatres January 2014 is The Railway Man, a movie to give new meaning to the legends of war stories such as Schindler’s List and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. Through the eyes of British soldier, Eric Lomax we are captured with fellow soldiers who have been caught by the Japanese after the surrender of Singapore in World War 2.

As part of the engineers who were used to build the impossible railway, Lomax saw the hardship and torture under which troops were forced to work creating the Burma Railway. Lomax had joined the war in 1939 at the age of 19 and posted with the signal core. His love for the railway, its trains and schedules both before the war and his solace after it, form the lattice work in this story.

Categories
Featured Articles Media

Movie Review: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Walter Mitty is a snooze you lose day-dreamer and in 1947 no one knew how to play the day-dreamer better than Danny Kaye. The Samuel Goldwyn film constructed from the short story work  James Thurber was a success and I should know. My 13yo loved watching The Secret Life of Walter Mitty at Grandma and Granddad’s so it had the legs on it to be a lasting work. This year it’s Ben Stiller picking up the baton as he directs and stars in the Christmas release.

Categories
Featured Articles Media

Movie Review: Enders Game

 

The latest sci-fi movie Enders Game aimed at the younger audience comes in with a mixture of teenage Battlestar Galactica angst then loads it with a hint of a Hunger Games survival story. In Enders Game Earth has survived an onslaught attack from the Formics, an alien race of insect like creatures. It was only due to the heroic sacrifice of an earth fighter known as Mazer Rackham who gave his life for the cause. Now years down the track, Earth has repositioned itself to combat any future alien attacks. Through the highly specialised training of young earthlings the future of earth is sure, or so it seems.

Categories
Featured Articles Observations

Nelson Mandela’s Fork in the Road

 

Its noon on the 6th of December 2013 (New Zealand time) and I’ve just heard that Nelson Mandela has passed away at the age of 95. I turn to my friend in our office and we talk about the calibre of the life lived and the life given that has impacted not just a country but a world. How could a man from a land in many ways disconnected from the rest of us become a leader of peace and the opitmy of what we desire in a statesman. Like a master craftsman such as a great silversmith, he was an imperfect man that desired to create something greater than himself. In Nelson Mandela we found a man who has now impressed his hallmark on the chalice he left for others to drink from.

Categories
Featured Articles Observations

White Wedding Faith

White Wedding Faith

White Wedding Faith

Dedicated to Abbey & David

Today I’m absorbed by White
Taken away to this Wedding Day
Built on Faith and clothed in Hope
Prepared by time and drawn by Love

Moving slowly,
With my nervous smile
Dad, my escort down the aisle

Keep calling, calling me,
Drawing me from shadows
Keep loving, loving me,
Holding me under cover
Be the one who calls my name,
Loves my name
Halt my breath with love
Start my heart with love
Be the one

Hear my heart
You’re timed to turn
Waiting breathless for your Bride,

His head turns to see my face
Days of patience transformed
From a glimpse into a glorious creation

Keep calling, calling me,
Drawing me from shadows
Keep loving, loving me,
Holding me under cover
Be the one who calls my name,
Loves my name
Halt my breath with love
Start my heart with love
Be the one

Live this life and serve the Lord
Enjoy His favour through pleasure and pain
Still serve each other, Love each other

With each year a milestone
The path is paved with celebrations
When we’re old or if love feels cold
We can enter back through the glow
Of our white frosted frames of
Life’s sweet memories

This union of our two
Is now complete as one
What began with a Wedding
Beats strong as a Marriage
You are the one
For me

Andrew Pitchford
November 2013

To read the Father of the Bride Speech that came before this poem click here.

Categories
Featured Articles Observations

Father of the Bride Speech

Father of the Bride

Today I will have just given this speech at the reception of my eldest daughter Abbey’s marriage to David White. It’s been an incredible time as a Dad for evaluation of life, family and what is pure and important. Enjoy the speech and feel free to read the poem “White Wedding Faith” I wrote which is linked at the end. If you think about it you will realise it was a ‘White’ wedding in more ways than one.

Thanks

Family and Friends thank you for coming to celebrate this once in a lifetime occasion. You are here at a point in history where Abbey Pitchford and David White have become the soon to be famous Mr & Mrs White.

John & Jenny, Lesley and Tim thank you for the son you have raised who has captured my daughter’s heart. Cheryl and I have appreciated getting to know David and seeing how he values, cares for and loves Abbey.

Father Heart

A Father’s heart is a mystery to many. While we are there for a hug, a kiss or a snuggle during a scary movie, we can sometimes appear distant or disconnected. We may seem uncaring and yet we value our role as protectors over the family we love.

At times we would rather be quietly guarding the door rather than partying on the inside with everyone else. It’s this protective love for a family that takes on a new level when it comes to our precious daughters. We want the world to stand back and admire their beauty from a distance. In our perfect world they are to be appreciated but not touched, never borrowed and always loved and protected.

In Proverbs 18 we read; “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favour from the Lord.”

In my daughter I see a beautiful young lady of incredible gifting and determination. She has experienced the perfume and the thorns of life’s rose and continues to grow as she learns to know herself and the world around her. Her grandmother’s smile will open doors and encourage many as she builds a home with David.

Like her mother I see in Abbey a soft heart for the hurting and a focussed heart on injustice. She has the same creative spirit her Mum brings to our family which will ensure she and David enjoy a warm home together. David will need to ensure he keeps a strict regime on exercise if I’m an example of what a lifetime of Pitchford healthy meals can do to a once taught buff body.

For a Dad this time of handing the mantle of responsibility to someone else who will be the one who loves, cares and protects your daughter is a serious decision. In both your mind and heart you pray the groom has a love based on the same values, that they don’t take marriage lightly and they view the role of protector with the same vigilance.

In David I have both peace and confidence he will love, value and esteem my daughter. When David first asked to take Abbey out on the date that would start their relationship I had a speech prepared that would talk about Love, Integrity, Honour and Protection. Somehow Abbey came into the room just as I was getting started and only one word had come out, ‘Protect’. That’s the hallmark I leave David with knowing that he has a love for Abbey, he is a man of his word and he honours Abbey with his actions.

Great communication is the super-glue legendary love is built on. Cheryl and I pray that as Abbey and David get to know each other they will share clear communication of their hopes, dreams and desires and that this will strengthen the love they planted here today.

In Philippians 3:13 there is this great verse which encourages us into the future.

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do:
forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 

Now I would like to read a poem that I hope captures some of Abbey’s thoughts as she went through today.

White Wedding Faith