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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

My Journey with the Unexpected

 It is one of those crazy weeks. I am commuting like crazy going from place to place, at the same time trying to get ready for our workshop coming up this Saturday. Picture this. I have five presentations for the Black History Month this week (two of them happening outside of the city), my church is starting an outreach program in partnership with a refugee shelter, and I am doing a leadership training on Sunday (after a whole day seminar on Saturday). On top of that, I have to respond to my boss (do you remember that one?). Crazy week indeed. Thank God one of my presentations was rescheduled for March. I really don’t know how I would have pulled that off.

You know what? I am not complaining at all. Being busy does help me get my mind off stuff that are not going well. I think each one of us has at least one of those. 

The one thing I love about being busy is the unexpected. Yesterday, I had a meeting scheduled with Paul, my friend and business partner. We had it booked for 3 hours. I got there late (it does not happen a lot). Instead of starting our meeting, Paul gave me a carrot cake (I am still working on my relationship with food). It was an offer I couldn't refuse. Two hours later, we were still talking about…life. The workshop stuff had to wait. What about our three hour meeting? It ended up being just a half an hour meeting. The rest of the time was about talking about what matters to us.

I like those kinds of conversations. I have known Paul for almost twelve years now. He is the kind of guy I can talk to in regards to what’s really going on in my life, without the fear of being judged. I can really open up to him. That is what happened yesterday. He listened to me venting for almost an hour without saying a word. Then, he gave me his honest feedback while I am eating the carrot cake (I can multitask when it comes to food). It was a great feedback and I felt really good after that.

I have learned to cherish true friends. Those who stick with you through stick and thin, those who are not shy to speak to you with honesty, those on whom you can rely. I don’t know about you, I do not have many of those. It is a rare commodity.

If you have one or two of those people, please don’t take them for granted. They are gold.   
Moral of the story? Do you want to have a true friend? Just meet them and you will eat a carrot cake.                                   

Always a pleasure
The Journeyman

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

My Journey with my Boss

As the church service was finished a couple of weeks ago, I went to look for my two and half year daughter where she was with other kids. We came over to the big auditorium and she rushed towards the drums (I guess she had found her career). She loves playing musical instruments a lot. Here she is, making a lot of noise with the drums, and I find myself calling her: “Skylar come here”. I said. She looked at me and just says: “No”. This went on for about three minutes. I wanted her to come over so that I can help her put on her jacket as it was time to go home. As she kept playing the drums, two friends of mine were standing nearby laughing. When I asked them why they were laughing, they just said: “we now can see who the boss is”. Clearly, she is the boss.

I got to experience it again this weekend. We had made plans to go out with friends on Valentine’s Day. Everything was in place for us to go out and have fun. We even had a friend who agreed to take care of Skylar when we were away. But Skylar had other plans. She woke up coughing and with a very high fever. Guess what! We did not go out. Who is the boss again? I guess she is. She decides, and I execute.

Being a parent has been such an amazing experience. It brings such a joy to be around my daughter and to experience every step of her growing up. Now she is into counting. She can count up to twenty (and she is just two and half years old!!!). She even decides when I can watch TV. When she is awake, she is singing all the time that we cannot watch anything. She sings all the time. I have to wait for her to go to sleep so that I can watch anything undisturbed. My friend Alix came over our house on Sunday to watch the NBA All Star Game with me. There were two shows going on. The Basketball game and Skylar’s singing performance. It was crazy.

I am learning a lot in the process. My daughter thinks that I can fix anything (I wish). She trusts that I can fix her broken toys, she trusts that I can ask the other kids on the train to give up their drinks so that Skylar can drink them lol, she trusts that I will be there all the time to comfort her when needed. I am learning to have more faith just by observing her.

She always reminds me of this poem when I am with her. It goes like this:

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 the 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 learning to bring my broken dreams to God for Him to fix them, and I am trying my best to leave Him alone and let go. I learned that from my daughter.

Moral of the story? Do you want a new boss? Just give me a call and I will introduce you to my daughter.

Always a pleasure
The Journeyman

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

My Journey in the Snow

As I am writing now, I can tell you that I am not with a hundred percent of my strength. I have been in bed with a nasty cold. I guess that the snow and crazy temperatures that we have been experiencing in Toronto got the best out of me. So, bear with me if I write less stuff today.

Even though the last few days have been rough, there are a lot of positives I can talk about. First, our church moved into a new location (a long-time coming project) and we kicked things off with a conference with an outstanding speaker and mentor of ours. He was amazing as usual.

Another positive? I am currently speaking with a movie production company who will do a documentary about my speaking tour with the Black History Month. I was so surprised when the speakers’ bureau contacted me about this project. The shooting will begin this week.

I would like to add that the Toronto Raptors are winning again as part of the positives of the week.
Speaking of Basketball, my daughter has been observing me watching the game, and hear me shout “come on!” whenever there is a bad play. Now, whenever she sees Basketball on TV, she just shouts “come on!!!”. I find it funny

The last positive I will share with you is that the outstanding speaker I told you about in the beginning of this blog, is about to visit my house. It is a great honour for my family to host such a great world changer. It was another great surprise when I got the call that he was coming.

You may be asking yourselves why I am speaking about all these things. It is because that all that happened this week was not that positive. I am trying my best to focus on the positive for my own sanity. It is an exercise that has helped me over the years. I am just following an advice of a wise man I heard saying that energy flows where attention goes.

Moral of the story? Do you want to focus on the positive? Just make attend a conference and they will make a movie about you

Always a pleasure
The Journeyman

Monday, February 2, 2015

My Journey with A Wise Man


His name carries a lot of weight where I am from. In fact he has been of service for our country for over five decades. He has earned tons of respect from his countrymen.

It was with great surprise that one day as I was checking my voicemail and heard his voice. He needed not to mention his name. I recognized his voice right away. He mentioned that he got my name from a friend of mine who told him a lot about me (I really don’t know what he heard, but I am glad I was the recipient of his call).

I called him back and we agreed to meet a week later. The meeting did not happen that week or that month. For some reasons something was coming up all the time. We did not get to meet, until a few weeks ago. I was attending an event, and he happened to be there. I went to him, with a lot of respect, mentioned my name and shook his hand. It was like being in front of a monument. I do respect the guy.

We talked a little bit and he promised to give me a call. I was looking forward to that call.
A few days went by and I forgot about it.

As I was about to go to sleep a few days ago, I found myself thinking about…my country. A lot of people that I talk to are not happy about what is going on down there. Let’s say that things can be better (that is me being politically correct).

I started to ask myself a question. If I had all the means I can ask for, what would I do in Burundi? An hour later I was still daydreaming (I don’t know if I can call it daydreaming, because it was at night). It was too big that I did not know where I could start.

Guess what! A day later, I was still thinking about the same things. It almost became an obsession. I had to let it go. I had to find something else to do or think about. About that time, my phone rang. It was the gentleman I told you about. What a great surprise! We agreed to meet three days later. I was so excited to meet him, but also a little bit curious to find out why he wanted to speak to me.
So, last Wednesday, I went to his home. We were supposed to meet at 3.30 in the afternoon, I was there at 3.

Punctual ? A little bit. Excited? A lot.

He greeted me as if I was his long-time friend. I was so honoured you cannot believe.

We talked for a while, I did my best to talk about myself (I felt like I was in a job interview). Then, he told me the reason why he wanted to talk to me. As it turned out, the gentleman has written a book about…., can you guess? The book is about how to bring sustainable development to Burundi. I was like, are you kidding me? Was he present when I was daydreaming or what?

The book is amazing! It contains every answer to all my questions. The gentleman just wanted to have someone he could talk to about the book, create a kind of mastermind on how we can implement the ideas contained in the book. I was like “count me in”.

He gave me the book. I have started to read it. We agreed to meet again. I am looking forward to meeting him again.

I heard somebody saying that thoughts become things. It has been my experience this week. The fact of thinking a lot about Burundi has materialized into me meeting the gentleman and him giving me his book. That is what I think (here we go again with me thinking again..). Now I have to be careful about what I am going to think about. It can come to pass.

Moral of the story? Do you want to make a difference in your country? Just think about it a lot and you will read a book

Always a pleasure
The Journeyman