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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

My Journey With a New Name

 In less than three months, our daughter will celebrate her third birthday. I am really looking forward to that day. Now that she knows how to sing “happy birthday”, I guess she will be singing her own song.

Many of you know that our daughter’s name is Skylar. I was surprised a few weeks ago when I showed her a picture of mine and asked her: “who is this?” She just said: “Skylar”.
My daughter thinks that my name is Skylar. It is so funny when she calls me. It makes me laugh all the time.

One of the organizations that I used to work for has asked me if I could volunteer and be a member of an advisory committee that is putting a program together to help French speaking fathers who are new immigrants to Toronto. I was so glad they asked me. I am eager to learn what other fathers are experiencing raising their children.

Before our daughter was born, I can’t remember the last time I held a baby for more than five minutes in my arms. I really can’t. I think it was when my younger brother was born. And that is in 1981 haha. You can tell I had a lot to learn in terms of taking care of babies.

My wife has raised all her nephews since they were born, so there was nothing new for her. She is the one who taught me everything. I was so determined to get involved in every aspect of our daughter’s life.

Ever since Skylar was born, I learned how to feed her, to change her, to give her a bath, to put her to sleep, to play with her, I am the one who brings her to daycare, I bring her to church,  I do everything…, and I have never stopped. It has been almost three years that I am doing all of these things. I got to tell you. It has been the best experience of my life.

Skylar and I have chemistry that I cannot explain. We laugh all the time, we have invented games, we have our little secrets, and we miss each other a lot when I am not home. No wonder she calls me Skylar lol.

A few weeks ago, I was doing a presentation to young students, and at the end of it, one young girl asked me: “what drives you to do the things you do?” Without hesitation, I replied: “My family.”

Every time when I feel that I am losing hope, every time when I feel I am losing patience, every time it feels like the hope is gone, at least I know that at six O’clock when my daughter sees me coming to pick her up at the daycare, and she comes running to give me a hug, I can hope for one more day. I can keep the faith for one more day. I can feel her love and get back to work one more day.

I have a question for you. What drives you to do the things you do? Take a moment to think about that. It will help you to hold on one more day if you feel that the hope is gone.

Oh, I almost forgot. I was a star this last week. A friend of mine called me last Thursday and said: “I just saw you in the newspaper”. Those of you who can read French, check this out: Click here

Unfortunately the online version of the article does not have my picture on it. You could have seen that I am now better looking (I wish lol)

Moral of the story? Do you want to get a new name? Just spend a lot of time with my daughter and she will name you Skylar.

Always a pleasure
The Journeyman

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

My Journey on the Road

I was mostly on the road last week. In fact, I did five presentations in three days. By the time I was done on Friday evening, I looked like a zombie. On Thursday, I arrived home around 10pm, and I had to prepare for my Friday’s presentations. There was a lot of research to be done. By the time I went to bed at 1am, the work was far from finished. I woke up two hours later. I worked from 3 am to 6, and half an hour later, I was out of the house. No wonder I looked like a zombie in the evening.

On my way home that night, my Pastor texted me and this is how the conversation went:

-Pastor: How was your workshop?

 -Me: It was amazing. But I am so exhausted man

-Pastor: Did you pray asking God to give you work?

-Me: Yes I did

-Pastor: Well, you have been served…

 -Me: Hahaha. You are right.

What else could I say? He was right

However, I found myself in bed with a cold the next day. I won’t blame God for this one.
I was doing a little bit better yesterday, which was a good thing, as I had to do some voice over work on a short documentary. My voice needed to be at its best. I did what I could, and I think the work was ok.

The short documentary is about the work I have been doing with a Speakers’ Bureau for the last three years. They send me in schools mostly during the month of February to talk about the Black History Month. This year, they came to me and asked me if I would be interested to be part of their promotional video. I agreed. They sent a crew to take some footage at one of my presentations, and yesterday it was about adding my voice to the footage they had.

The video is about how I overcame some personal struggles a number of years ago. It is easy now to talk about it, but when I was going through them, I thought it was the end of the world. Now I can see how my struggles had a meaning. Without them, there would be no story to tell. I heard someone say that there is no testimony without test. I experienced it yesterday.

I am wondering how my next story is going to sound like. There have been some tests lately. Wait and see.

I have a question for you. What is your story? I am anxious to hear.

Moral of the story? Do you want to be part of a documentary? Just do five presentations in three days and you will look like a zombie.

Always a pleasure
The Journeyman

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

My Journey with a Great Artist

As I was doing some work on the computer on Saturday, my phone rang. It was my wife calling. "Maybe she misses me", I thought.

I picked up the phone and I heard a very excited voice on the other side of the line. "Yeah I was right. She misses me", I thought again. When she started speaking, I knew it was not about me she was excited about. Too bad.

She was excited about her brother.

My wife's brother is an artist. In fact, he is a very talented artist. When I first met him, he gave me a CD of one of his songs, and I was amazed. The dude is really talented. I have spent time with him, in fact he spent an entire week with us when we just got married, and I can tell you that he is a very humble guy. You will never tell that he is the one singing those songs. He can spend an entire hour without saying a word. He is very calm. But when he hit the stage, it's like he is on something.

The reason why my wife was very excited was because her brother was in a contest and he just won. He is about to sign a very lucrative contract. When my wife told me the amount he will be getting monthly, I was like "I wish I were his manager". He is going to be loaded very soon. I was so happy for him. He really deserves it. I know that he has been working so hard for years.

When I arrived home that evening, my wife told me that her brother has been trying to win the contest for years. But each time he was falling short. Do you know what he was doing when he did not get the contract? He was congratulating the winners. I like that. I think it is a great attitude.

Talking about music, our church had special guests this last Sunday. We had a band coming to play for us. When I first heard their name, it did not ring a bell for me. It was for the first time I heard the name "Krystaal". I went online to research the name, and I was blown away. These guys are the real deal. I was on the front row when they were playing, and I found myself showing some dance moves that I didn't know I had. Boy, these guys are good!

They took a break from playing, and the lead singer shared their story with us. Man, what I could say was just WOW!.

They grew up in Bujumbura, capital city of Burundi. When the war started, they fled to Kenya and they found themselves in a refugee camp way up North of the country. For years, they lived in harsh conditions, sometimes going for days without food or water. However, they kept their love for music, even when they were in camps.

The right people came at the right time, and they found themselves in Canada over twenty years ago.
Their Band was created a few years afterwards, and they have been playing all over the world. He told us that they have played for former Presidents Carter and Bill Clinton. How cool is that?

I learned once again, from my wife's brother, and from Krystaal, that in due season we shall have our promised blessings if we faint not. I hope my season is soon.

Moral of the story? Do you want to know a great artist? Just call me and I will introduce you to my brother-in-law

Always a pleasure

The Journeyman.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

My Journey Behind the Scenes

After a few months of preparations, we finally delivered our workshop last Saturday. It was both a feeling of relief and satisfaction to finish what we have started last year. We had an amazing group. Some of them were taking the class for the second time. I guess we were that good with the first one. I was glad to see my friend Arnaud in the Audience. I knew he would love it, but I didn't know he would accomplish his goal this fast. He shared with us what he wanted to see happening in his life in the next twelve months. What a surprise when, the next day, he texted me to let me know that he had achieved his goal in…24 hours!  I wish I could accomplish my goals that fast.

I am fully rested after a very busy month f February. These last two days were mostly spent with my daughter. I am telling you. We have Celine Dion in our house. My daughter is singing all the time. It is crazy.

As my daughter was taking her nap, I had the opportunity to watch one of my favourite TV shows. It is called “Open Gym”. The show is about the Toronto Raptors. They show what happens behind the scenes in the lives of the players. This show is making my dream come true. I always wished I could experience the NBA this way. To see how the coaches prepare the players, to be in the shoes of the players while they are preparing the games, to be with them in the locker room and see their reactions when they wi or loose. This show has accomplished all of that. I haven’t missed any episode since they started the show. It is a treat.

I have been a big fan of the Raptors’ head coach Dwayne Casey. He has accomplished what any other coach of the team has never accomplished in the history of the team. When I saw him on the show, I respected him even more. I have never seen any positive guy like him. When the team loses, instead of blaming the players, he always congratulates them for the effort, and shows them how they can improve without judging them or pointing fingers. I was blown away by his compassion and his positivity. I guess it comes from his over thirty year experience in coaching. It is amazing.

Don’t you wish to have people like that in your life? People who can love you unconditionally, people who can be with you when you fail and not judge you. People who always see the best in you, who give you room to grow, and who have compassion all the time? That would be awesome, don’t you think?

I wish I can be like Coach Casey all the time. You know what? I am going to make it a goal of mine. I hope I will succeed. If not, maybe you will show me your compassion.
Moral of the story? Do you want to see the best in people? Just take a day off, and my daughter will sing for you.

Always a pleasure
The Journeyman