Friday, 1 January 2016

2016 - Let the Story Continue

The change of year is always a time of reflection, a time of looking back at where our journey has taken us throughout the year and looking forward to where our journey will continue. Another way of looking at life is as a story, our own personal story that continues to build, with characters entering and leaving throughout the pages. How has your story played out this year?

2015 - Chapters Closed

As we look back on the year it will be evident that some chapters have been closed completely. Some of these will bring joy and relief such as years of study coming to a successful end, or moving from a job you were unhappy with. Some will come with deep hurt and great pain, such as the loss of a loved one or the end of a long term relationship. My family has felt this pain with the loss of my dearly loved mother. I owe much of who I am today to my mother and it is a chapter I close with much sadness.

2015 - New Stories Begin

As is the case with most years, 2015 saw the start of many new stories, from the births of new little ones to the marriages of those close to us. We have been so pleased to share in the joy of dear friends as new babies came in to the world and we have been especially pleased to see our wonderful son Steve married to the lovely Ange. Marriage is a little different in that it is is the merging of two stories in to one new story. Perhaps it is a bit like a sequel to the stories that have gone before.

One aspect that I know I often underestimate is the impact that new friends make to our journey. In life, we will make new connections and friendships that have the potential to influence our stories in ways we can hardly imagine. There is wisdom in assessing the company we keep, either in person or online, if we wish to maintain our own sense of well-being and indeed our very integrity. It is not for no reason that the Bible warns "Bad company corrupts good character." (1Cor15:33b - interestingly quoting a Greek Poet - Menander). I have made many new connections over the year, both in person and online, and I appreciate and respect each and every one of them.

2016 - New Chapters

My plans for 2016 are still formulating, so in that sense the new chapters are very much at the initial draft stage. One thing is certain - I do plan to write more blog posts. I hope that in some small way, what I write will resonate with those who read it. Other things in the pipeline for me include:

  1. Be more connected to my wife and family
  2. Be more encouraging to those who I connect with
  3. Be more open to try new things
  4. Read more
  5. Be more committed to the garden
  6. Love more, laugh often and live well.
Have you made any plans for the year ahead? Feel free to share them in the comments below. 

I hope that 2016 is a fantastic year for you. No matter what twists and turns, surprises and unexpected events that may come your way, try always to look to the positive, focus on that which is good. It may not prevent bad things from happening but it will help us have peace in the journey.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Music and Meaning

Do you ever wonder what the lyrics of popular songs are really saying? Do you ever look for the meanings behind the words that pour in to our minds from the radio stations and the myriad of sources of music around us? Sometimes I find that the lyrics speak right to my heart or to some current situation.
An example of this was when the wonderfully creative & humorous Robin Williams took his own life, the Queen/David Bowie collaboration song "Under Pressure" stuck in my mind every time in played on the radio.

Firstly, I have to say, I am not a great fan of the video clip, but a few lines struck me most significantly. Firstly, there is this line:

      "It's the pressure of knowing what this world is about 
       Watching some good friends screaming 'Let me out!'" 

I think given the situation I mention, the meaning is quite evident and also sadly common. Many people, often people quite close to us, feel the pressure of a world that seems to be trying to pull them apart. But thankfully the song does not stop there. Later in the song there are these lyrics:

      "'Cause love is an old-fashioned word
        And love dares you to care for 
        The people on the edge of the night
        And love dares you to change our way of
       Caring about ourselves"

To me, this points to each of our needs to support and encourage not only those around us who are struggling, maybe even to the point of hopelessness. And what is it that will cause us to do that? It is love that will drive us in that direction. Now there are many songs that speak about the power of love, but that is another story.

So I would challenge you to not just let the lyrics of the songs wash through our minds unguarded. You will find that you will be challenged by some, reassured by others, and quite possibly even disgusted by the lyrics of some songs. Words have power and music is a mighty conduit for them to flow through.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Necessity has another child

Many will be familiar with the saying, "Necessity is the mother of invention". After this morning, I am sure that necessity gave birth to another - intention, which is convenient in that it only changes one letter. Let me explain this a little further.

Some time ago, I bought a new bike. I had every intention of going for a ride, but one thing or another got in the way. And so it sat, waiting to be taken for a spin. My intention was good but it was never realised, never put in to action.

This morning all that changed and necessity stepped in to lend a helping hand. I had misplaced my keys, so I had to drive my wife to the station with her keys and leave the car parked there as she needed her keys for work. That was fine and all sorted. We worked out our alternative actions for me without the car.

On the walk home, I of course had time to think. In the process I remembered where the keys were and decided to ride up and pick up the car, as I knew the bike rack was in the boot. Apart from having trouble with a broken air pump at one service station (another story for another time perhaps), the plan worked well. I was back at the car fairly quickly and driving back home.

The moral of this story - If you have good intentions that don't seem to be working themselves out in to action, try and work out a way to put yourself in a situation where you have no choice but to put your intentions in to action. This may be hard to arrange on your own, so you may have to enlist the help of others, but in the end we are pushing wants over to the realm of needs, where there is an added urgency to take action.

Is there something you have been wanting to do for a long time? Feel free to add to the comments. Perhaps together we can help make it happen for you. 

Until next time, keep smiling.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Well, it sure has been a long time since I have been in here. My blog is feeling a little lonely and abandoned. And this time I am not going to even share something of my own. A fellow employee from IBM mailed me asking if I could ask if I could help circulate a survey request for his daughter who is doing a study on the connection between stress and breast cancer. Please take the time to read the letter and forward to any lady you know that has been impacted by breast cancer. Closing date for the survey is 30th 

Thanks & Regards,

Letter follows:

My name is Satoko Mii and I am a junior at Yorktown High School in Westchester County, New York.   I participate in a Science Research Program ( ) where my goal is to work on a research that will make a difference in saving lives.

Influenced by my mother’s breast cancer experience, I chose to study “The Effect of Psychological Stress on the Development of Breast Cancer”.   My father had a near death car accident 7 years prior to my mother’s breast cancer diagnosis.  I was two years old and we had no relatives in the U.S.  I have always wondered if this stressful event has had any effect on the development of my mother’s cancer after learning that most breast cancers develop over a number of years.  There have been limited studies on this topic with no conclusive results.  In fact, very few, if any, of the
previous studies have approached this topic from a “grass root” level.  Therefore, with your cooperation, I would like to move this study to the next level by reaching out to as many people as possible that would be interested and willing to participate in a short, online, anonymous survey.

If indeed correlations between psychological stress and breast cancer is found, it may be the first of many steps to alert health care professionals to this as well as potentially making stress management education a part of a routine physical examination.

With enough participation, I will be able to present my findings at various scientific fair and forums (e.g. Intel) where many judges are influential medical professionals and research scientists.

Please help make a difference by taking part in my research and/or passing this along to as many people you know in the hopes that it will find its way to women who have experienced breast cancer.

Here is the link to my survey.   (by Nov. 30th)

It should take about 15-20 minutes to complete the survey.  If you have any questions about the survey or the science research course I am involved in, please contact me at or my teacher, Mr. Michael Blueglass at

If after participating you would like to see the results of my study, please send me a separate email with “Please send survey results to…” in the subject and include your email address.

Thank you very much.

Satoko Mii

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

City to Surf 2011

As some of you may be aware, I ran in the City to Surf run in Sydney a couple of days back now. It was quite an experience. In amongst around 85.000 runners, the scene at the start was quite phenomenal. This is the largest running event I have participated in (not surprising as it is the largest in the world) and it did not disappoint.

What will be some of the memories I will take from this event? The first will be simply the fact that I did it and that I ran all the way. Considering that I had not done any running for a few weeks, this in itself is quite an achievement.

Another thing is some of the scenery along the way. Sydney Harbour is known to be one of the best harbours in the world, and there were a number of spots along the way where the harbour could be seen, not least of which was at the top of the 2km slog of a hill known as Heartbreak Hill. 

It was also good to see some of the locals getting involved along the way. There were people playing music or cheering from their balconies, others handing out sweets along the way. There was even one man out the front hosing the runners in the second ½ of the run to cool everyone down. All this added to the atmosphere. 

Of course, there were also a phenomenal number of official volunteers that an event of this magnitude requires, from the St John Ambulance volunteers to those working on the drink stations. Here lies my most special memory from the race. As I was approaching a drink station I saw a young girl, maybe 7 or 8, trying to hand drinks to the runners amongst older, taller children. She seemed to be getting lost amongst the others and not able to hand out a drink. When I came up to where she was standing, I made sure I took a drink from her and the smile she gave me, well that was precious. Sometimes the little things in life leave lasting impressions. 

That was some of the memories I will take from the race. I was glad to have run it. Perhaps I will do it again, who knows. Until next time, bye for now.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

And so the journey begins.

Welcome to my Blog. It has been a long time coming but hopefully it will bring a smile and a laugh here and there. Who knows, I just may post something that just manages to touch the heart in such a way that may even bring a tear to the eye.

For those who may be wondering about the title of the blog, it is a traditional Irish welcome that translates pretty much to 'A thousand welcomes'. My desire is that you will feel welcome, leave a comment or two here or there and return again from time to time to continue to share what I expect will be a random collection of wit, wisdom and experience from the life and times of one Michael Young.

Kind Regards and Best Wishes to all,