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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

My Journey with Heather

She was one of my first friends 15 years ago when I first came to Toronto. She was my mentor for over seven years and our friendship grew over the years. In 2009, we went our separate ways (life tends to do those things with friends…)

Many years later (I think it was 2 and half years ago), she sent me an email asking if we could meet. I immediately said yes, and we met.

“Something in me said, call Patrick” she told me when we met.

 I was glad that the ‘something” had made us meet again. We were about to start a new journey together.

During our meeting, she told me she had decided to leave her long-time corporate job so that she could follow her dream which was to mentor young women who had experienced abuse in their lives. I thought it was a noble cause

Over the next months, we met several times and I got a chance to help her set up a Not for Profit Organization called “Mirror Mirror Mentoring”. She was pretty excited about the opportunity of being able to make a change in young women’s lives.

I have to tell you, there was some crying involved in our meetings. She was experiencing some hardships and there were moments she couldn’t understand what was happening to her. I tried my best to inspire her the best I could, and it seemed to work. Do you know why? Because I was also going through some tough times (but I didn’t tell her lol). We were in the same boat.

Her organization was set up, but she kept telling me that she was feeling that something was missing. I then, gave her some books to read and movies to watch (maybe she could be inspired and know what could be her next steps). One book made a huge difference for her. It was Bruce Wilkinson’s “Secrets of the Vine” (this book changed my life).

Later, she came back to me with some plans. She had decided to go back to work so that she could fund her dream (so she thought). She secured an amazing position with a good pay and an opportunity to drive a band new luxurious car (when I saw the car, I was blown away).

Life was great again for her (so she thought)

Months later, we met again, and she told me that she felt there was something missing (again lol). We talked a bit and she told me that she knew what she wanted to do then. She was called to go to Jamaica and do some work there. She even had decided to go there on vacation months later.

So, she went

When she came back, she KNEW that Jamaica was the place to be. She then quit her job.

Troubles came back in hurry….I won’t tell you the details, but she faced real tough challenges.

After so many delays (a real school in patience and trust), she finally flew to Jamaica. I witnessed her departure as I went to pick her up at 4.30 am to give her a ride to the airport. I was so excited for her. She was like Santiago in Paulo Coelho’s book “The Alchemist”.

What she didn’t know was that the toughest challenges were about to begin. No kidding…

Four months later, she just came back to Toronto. I met her last week. She has REALLY changed. She lost tons of weight…

There was some crying involved when I heard her story. This time, it was me crying…

Stay tune. I will share her amazing Jamaican story in my next blog (I am now putting you in the school of patience and trust.)

Trust me; her story will really inspire you.

See you then next week

Moral of the story?

Do you want to live your dreams, just fly to Jamaica and there will be some crying involved

Always a pleasure

Patrick
The Journeyman




Wednesday, May 17, 2017

My Journey back to Writing

I wanted to do it Michael Jordan’s way when he sent a two-word fax to the Chicago Tribune in 1995 and say “I am back”. Some of you are thinking “what is a fax?”

Yes, I am back (for the pleasure of the one in Malaysia)

I am out of retirement now. I can’t believe the last time I sent a blog was in November 2015!! Time really flies

Many of you (yes, including you in Malaysia) have requested, sometimes insisting that I come back. The truth is that I have never left. I was still writing, but I haven’t published anything yet. The difference is that I have been writing about some serious stuff, with a strict tone.

I missed writing “my way”, without being afraid of grammatical errors or misspelling words. I am back home. I can sit and relax

So, what made me back to the Journeyman? (Please don’t ask me why I left in the first place).

A couple of things.

First, there is my friend Chris who asked me if I could help out conducting a series of workshops on Saturdays for a group of young teenagers. I immediately said yes. What I didn’t know was that these guys were part of a Basketball league. Once he told me that, I was like “are you kidding me?” I get to inspire Basketball players? Please show me where to sign. So, for the last few weeks, I have been speaking to young Basketball players before, or after their games. It is a great deal, I am telling you. I get to watch their games too.

These people made me miss my first love: Coaching Basketball. I am reliving my youth man (not that I am that old)

The second thing happened last week. I volunteered to write a poem for my church about Mothers’ day. The poem was to be read during last Sunday service. I had no idea where to start, but I sat in front of my computer knowing that the words would flow (exactly how I used to write my blogs).

At the end of my writing, I was really proud of my work (I gave myself a standing ovation)

First Basketball, then writing, I felt truly happy to do things I love to do. Like what Michael Jordan did when he came back from retirement (just for the love of the game), I am back with Journeyman stories, for selfish reasons: Just because I love doing it.

In the process, you will be inspired…I hope

Are you curious to read my Mothers’ day poem? I am glad you are insisting

Here is it

The Superheroes


Eight thousand seven hundred and sixty hours in a year
Less than a thousand hours of sleep and a complaint we cannot hear
No phone booth needed to turn yourselves into  superheroes to save the day
Moment after moment always caring and no standing ovation for a work without pay
Mothers, on this day, we honour you
We stand and pray for you


Seven hundred and twenty hours in a month
Ready to serve and sacrifice and rest not even once
Selfless, with all of us clueless, and sometimes money-less
At the look of your life I find myself speechless
You are a gift to all of us
Mothers, in my book you are famous


One hundred and sixty hours in a week
God was referring to you when He said blessed are the meek
I think of you daily, weekly, monthly
As I cried, you woke up suddenly
This day, we finally give you what you deserve
Gracefully, you acknowledge but continue to serve


Twenty four hours in a day
We really have nothing else to say
You are a blessing to generations to come
Let’s all bow and give you praise and then some
Happy Mothers’ day today
May God bless you we pray


Mothers, you are our Superheroes


I am back. 

Thank you for your standing ovation.

Moral of the story? Do you want to do things you love to do? Check your messages on the Internet and you will read my blogs

Always a pleasure

Patrick
The Journeyman



Tuesday, November 24, 2015

My Journey with a Singer Part II

As I  got home yesterday after a long day at work, Skylar was so excited to see me, and gave me this big hug, in her own way giving me the report of the day.

After a while, she just said: “Daddy, I want my phone”. That is how things are. Everything I have is hers. I mean everything!

Since she was a few months old, she was at a daycare downtown Toronto. She stayed there for a while even after we moved in the East end of the City. I used to go to pick her up in the evening, and because we had a long trip home, I thought it would be better to go to a nearby food court so that she could eat something before we hit the road ( I think my wife started that tradition).

After a while, she got used to our trip to the small Greek restaurant whose owner had become a friend of ours because we went there almost every evening. He even had a “Skylar Menu” which was made of rice, meat balls and a small bottle of chocolate milk, all for just three dollars. Skylar was so used to the small restaurant that, by the time we got there, she would run to open the fridge to get her chocolate milk after giving her daily hug and kiss to the owner.

The funny part was when we were on the street coming from the daycare, she used to say: “Daddy, do you want rice?” To which I said: “yes”. And then she would go: “And chocolate milk?” I would say: “yes”. Then she would say: “ok, let’s go”. It was as if she was the one buying. Then, remember, what it is mine is hers.  In a way, she was the one paying lol

Coming back to my phone, sorry her phone.  She asked me to give it to her, and of course she knows how to go on YouTube (kids these days!) and find her favourite songs. She loves a bunch of songs, but apart from Christian songs, she likes watching to her uncle’s songs. She calls him “Tonton Passy” (French for “Uncle Passy”). Once the music starts to play, she can’t stop dancing.

However, this time, she didn’t go to YouTube. She also knows where my audios are. She started to listen to the songs I have been listening to. Do you know what happened? An hour later, she started to sing them. She went from X Ambassadors ‘song “Renegades” (my favourite song for the moment), to The Eagles’ “Take it to the limit one more time” (one of my all-time favourite), then it was R-Kelly’s “The Storm is over” (yes I know I am old school). She blew my mind! We have a superstar in our home.

I am now so careful about what I say or do when she is around (not that I was doing anything wrong before). She learns so much by observing and listening that, I am now very conscious about what she is learning. It was so funny the other day when she asked me: “Daddy, I want to watch Colbert”, meaning Stephen Colbert’s show “The Late Show”. She has seen me watch that show every day, now she wants to watch it even though she does not understand any of it. When I asked her why she wanted to watch the show, she said: Colbert is funny…

This is a three year old kid…

Aren’t we all kids in a way? Don’t we also learn by observing and listening? I believe that what we see or hear does have an influence on who we are, what we do, and the results we produce. Unfortunately, we are so surrounded by negative influences that, it is so hard to focus on the positive. If you don’t believe me, just watch the news for a second and you will see.
I am doing my best to stay on the positive side of things. Really doing my best. My well-being depends on it.

Moral of the story? Do you want to stay positive all day long? Just call my daughter and you will be watching Colbert.

Always a pleasure,

Patrick
The Journeyman



Tuesday, November 17, 2015

My Journey with a Singer

The other day, I went to pick up my three year old daughter Skylar from the daycare and here is what my conversation with her teacher went:


Teacher: Do you guys go to church?
                                             
 Me:  Yes
                                                           
 Teacher: A Christian church?

  Me: Yes…. Why?

  Teacher:  Skylar has been singing: “Yes Jesus loves me" since this morning...



That’s Skylar!

 She is singing all the time. We have a Celine Dion in our house. The funny thing is that her Sunday school teacher told me the other day that, every time they ask Skylar to sing, she never does. But as soon as we leave church it is like she enters into a recording studio. I always have my phone ready to record whenever she starts singing. I have almost twenty songs recorded on my phone. It is something special. Needless to say that we cannot watch TV when Skylar is around. She sings so loudly that we can’t even hear what is on TV.

Now she is at the point where she has created her own original songs. Here is one of them (please don’t steal her song, this is trademarked lol). It goes like this:

We’re going to the Zoo
And we see:
Elephant
Lion
Giraffe
Monkey
Zebra eating food
Yeah, Bravo
(And we repeat the song 10 times lol)


Whenever she cries, all I have to do is sing a song and she gets quiet (she doesn’t care that it is a voice like mine lol).

Will she be a singer when she grows up? I have no idea. What I do know is that I will give her the freedom to choose whatever career she wants. Do you know why? Well, that is what my mom did for me, and I will be forever thankful.
Talking about my mom, I think about her a lot now as Burundi is experiencing troubles. Let’s all pray for peace in Burundi.


This was a little tribute to two of my favorite ladies. Of course there is a third one. She will get an entire blog by herself. Stay tune.


Moral of the story? Do you want to do something special for the ladies in your life? Just let me know and Skylar will sing for you. It will most likely be about Jesus

Patrick
The Journeyman

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

My Journey Back to My Blog


As I was about to say goodbye to my friend on the phone, she asked me a question to which I responded: “I have learned to never say never ever again”. I don’t know if that makes sense to you, but for me it does.

After a number of months trying my best to get out of a situation I was in, I finally gave up fighting. I was exhausted. It was like being in quick sand. The more you fight, the more you sink. As I was sharing the whole situation with Paul my friend, I simply told him: I have to stop the insanity. As Einstein said, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." 

Thank God that, over the years, I have learned (most of the time, the hard way) to rely on a High Power. I had to let go and let God. Boy did He deliver!

The whole situation reminded me of a poem I read a number of years ago. It reads like this:


Broken Dreams
 
As children bring their broken toys
With tears for us to mend,
I brought my broken dreams to God
Because He was my friend.
 
But then instead of leaving Him
In peace to work alone,
I hung around and tried to help
With ways that were my own.
 
At last I snatched them back and cried,
"How could you be so slow"
"My child," He said, "What could I do?
You never did let go."
 
 
 
-Author Unknown
 
I am still in awe to what I am experiencing now. All I can tell you is that “I have learned to never say never ever again”.
 
More details to come. Let me first enjoy this haha
 
Moral of the story? Do you want to stop the insanity? Just learn to never say never ever again.
 
Always a pleasure
Patrick
The Journeyman

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

My Journey with Tahoy James



There are some things I see sometimes and wished I would have come up with the idea first. Have you ever wished you were the creator of Facebook? How about Uber? It is something that simple and convenient that I wished it was my idea. I wish I could sing like “The Eagles” (I know I am old school, please bear with me) or dance like the late Michael Jackson.

It was the same feeling I had when I read Tahoy James’ blog. I said to myself “I wished I had written this blog”. It is that well done. I totally related to what she was sharing.

Unlike Uber, Facebook or the Eagles that I will never have, I am glad Tahoy’s blog is being posted by…me.

Yes. Tahoy is our guest blogger this week. I hope it won’t be the last time that you will read a piece from her.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present you Tahos James in: “My Self -doubt”
I know you will enjoy it. Thanks again Tahoy

                                                   My Self-Doubt

Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror and wondered what am I doing?  Or why am I not further ahead?   Well you’re not alone. Self-doubt plays on our emotions and infects the mind.
I found myself rethinking my entire journey up "build my own business mountain".

I sat down ready to work, ready to take another giant step forward, but quickly noticed that giant step was really only ant-sized. At that moment I felt low and defeated. I began to rethink my list of important things to do that day. Should I be doing more? I thought, but what? What else could I be doing? I told myself not to panic. This was a giant step; it just seemed small to me, because after all I am my worst critic. 

That helped for all of five minutes. I then began to lose faith in myself…again. I reviewed my work and the voice of self-doubt returned. Am I good enough? Is my work good?  Is anything I’ve done to date “good”? At that moment there was a torrent of negative questions. Is this something I can do? Where am I going wrong? And then finally the cherry on top... I am NOT strong enough to do this, I have BILLS, I’m 28, and I CAN’T do this.

After a day of pacing back-and-forth, asking myself question after question, I remembered that I’ve been here before. This is the part of the mountain where the wind is blowing so hard you may lose your footing, and fall off if you don’t stand firm in all that you are.
I was happy this day was over. I had spent the day fighting with myself, which had left me an emotional wreck. 

A few nights later it was family movie night. Meet the Robinsons was the winner. Lewis (the main character) wants to be a great inventor but couldn't seem to get his inventions to work. He works day after day on a very special invention for his school science fair and knows that it will work. At the fair he meets a boy who says he’s from the future but Lewis thinks he’s crazy (who wouldn’t). Lewis begins to show his invention, but something goes wrong (due to the movie’s villain) and Lewis starts to doubt himself and doesn’t think he’s smart enough. The young boy he met tries to talk him into trying again, but accidentally brings Lewis to the future. Lewis is amazed by the future. He meets his future self and finds out that he is the single reason why the future is so amazing. Soon he starts to see how things change in the future, because he let his self-doubt stop him from moving forward. He learns that the boy he has gotten to know as a friend, is his future son, and he will soon not exist if Lewis doesn’t go back, push his self-doubt aside and keep moving forward to become the great dad and inventor he is meant to be.

The next morning I sat in front of my laptop and started working. My mind was clear of doubt. All I could think about was Lewis. I was Lewis. I couldn't give up; I couldn't let one bad day determine the outcome of my future. Like Lewis, I am the single reason why my future is so amazing.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

My Journey to Orillia


We drove a little bit late at night. I had been to this place called Orillia before, but it was about ten years ago. I didn’t remember much about it, other than it was beautiful.

Here we were on the road, and there was not much we could see, except a signal on the highway that said “beware of cattle”. We thought it was funny.  By the time we arrived at the hotel, it was almost midnight. I went straight to bed. We had to wake up early in the morning as breakfast was scheduled to be served a six O’clock. There was no way I was going to miss out.‎

You may be wondering what was happening in Orillia. I am glad you asked.

A number of months ago, Paul, my business partner, got this brilliant idea, and once he shared it with me I was totally on board. He realized that for us to do what we wanted to do, we must work with partners. These may be service providers, or simply other business owners with goals similar to ours.

Paul decided to go out and attend different networking events in the city. I can tell you that he met quality people, and I am glad we have them as our partners. One of them is Chris, an amazing guy with an incredible story. I was so inspired when he shared his story with us. Chris has created a company called INSPIRED INITIATIVES, and he is doing a great work with youth and their education.

Chris invited us to be part of his team responsible for delivering a series of trainings on behalf of the Ministry of Education. These trainings are happening in Orillia this week and next. That is the reason why I was there. I am going back there twice in the next few days. Now you know.

This place is simply gorgeous. It is in the woods near a lake and I couldn’t stop taking pictures during our breaks. We had about 160 students. Needless to say, we had a very busy work day. Chris led most of the training, and I was simply amazed to be part of this. I learned so much, and what the students created at the end of the training sessions were out of this world. Many of them discovered their passions and they were so happy about it.

One of the students came to me after the training and asked me: “What did you want to do after high school? Did you know what would be your career?” I said to her that I did not know exactly what I wanted to do, but I knew that my interests were around Basketball.  I pursued those interests and I found my career. I asked her what were her interests and she told me that she loved art. After I asked her a few questions, she knew exactly what she was wanted to do after high school.‎

I am really looking forward to the next sessions. I learned so much the last time; I am wondering what new thing I will learn this time. Thank you Chris for making us part of your journey.  Find your interests and a career may be born out of them. That is what Chris reminded me of in Orillia. 

Moral of the story? Do you want to find a new career for yourself? Just go to Orillia and you will meet cattle on the street.
 

Always a pleasure
Patrick
The Journeyman