Answered Prayers

I have always believed that Social Media should be exactly that, Social. I also believe that when used properly, great things can be done; whether it be raising funds for a charitable cause, spreading warnings about flood or fire, sharing News about a lost child, or in my case finding myself a job. During this whole process there were many people involved, many shares, many likes, many comments, there was also a team of people who were praying for me, for the right job, at the right place, with the right conditions. These prayers are the ones that have been answered.

Social Callout

Social Callout

Social Media whether it be FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram, Twitch, SnapChat, or otherwise has a lot of bad press. And for very good reason. These platforms are no longer about the sharing of ideas, photos, moments in time, memories, or life together but instead have become a platform of hate, ill will, debauchery, filth, and simply put Anti-Social Behaviour. I was glad, and not to mention a little surprised, by the overwhelming positive feedback, comments, likes, and conversation that my post generated. Now, it was in no means trending or ‘going viral’ but it still reached a large, and appropriate, audience. And most importantly it landed on the screen of someone who had just the right job in mind.

Anti-Social Media

Anti-Social Media

Now it shouldn’t come as a surprise to my regular readers, but I do actually attend a Church on a regular basis, and with that comes a pretty tight knit community of people who are genuinely concerned about how you are travelling. So as you can imagine when I posted on Facebook that I was looking for work the prayer warriors did two things; 1) Kept an eye and ear out for an RN job and 2) Began fervently praying for the right Job, at the Right place, with the Right conditions, and the Right renumeration. I don’t normally pray for myself, I find it oddly self servient and distasteful. But, on this occasion, I prayed for myself. I prayed for the same thing the prayer warriors were, I was believing in the perfect Job, the one He set aside for me. Well, the Prayers were answered, and with Gusto.

Answered Prayers

Answered Prayers

My perfect RNs role, for this moment in my life, involved a number of different things;

  1. Stability – Being able to plan my life further then 2 weeks in advance
  2. Workplace – Being part of a Workplace that is people focussed
  3. Distance – Close to home, not that anything in Rockhampton is ‘Far Away’
  4. Renumeration – A comfortable amount of money to bring into the House
  5. Flexibility – The ability to arrange my Work life to suit my Home life if needed
  6. Challenging – A workplace that would challenge my skills
  7. Time – Somewhere where I was actually able to see my children and wife on a regular basis and not just in passing between shifts and sleep

And thats the role I have found. For those astute enough, and those who subscribe to my Social Media, would know the position is at Teys Rockhampton, one of the local Beef Processing Facilities. It is one of the largest employers in Rockhampton and they have been without a Nurse for nearly two years, in fact in that time I was the first to be interviewed. Talk about God holding a position open for you.

I look forward to the new challenges ahead in Occupational Nursing and I am thankful for my opportunities a HillCrest whilst I was there. I look forward to new connections, new skills learnt, new language barriers overcome, new cultural issues overcome. I look forward to a workplace that empowers me to be me, and facilitates that wherever possible. I look forward to what the future holds. 2020 has started off really well so far, here’s hoping it keeps it up.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Wednesday Weigh In Eight

I am fat and lazy. I seem unable or unwilling to do anything about it. I attempted to diet on a VLCD and failed, I tried Shakes and failed, I’m eating sensibly with smaller portions and the right food, still FAT!

Goal = >100kg

Start = 144.5kg

Current = 145.0kg

Loss to Date = +0.5kg

Weight To Go = 45.1kg

As you can see I have come full circle in just 6 weeks. I’m sick of being fat, but I am also sick of fad diets, starving myself, and generally trying to fit into a mould that maybe I just don’t belong in. By the number I am healthy. BP is good, Heart Rate is goos, Bloods are great. I have no indication that my weight is having a negative impact on me. Except my self image and self esteem. But you know what, maybe I’m OK being a little chubby, makes me harder to kidnap. If we really are only here for one trip, maybe I should just enjoy what I want, when I want, and to hell with Social ideal of what I should look like.

I will be taking a sabbatical from the Wednesday Weigh In posts. This is both due to the negative mental state it is pushing me into, and because I still believe that any weight loss is not going to occur until I return to running around like a headless chook at work. But we will see.

I don’t know, maybe I’m just justifying the means.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

 

Wednesday Weigh In Seven

I am fat. I seem unable or unwilling to do anything about it. I attempted to diet on a VLCD and failed, I tried Shakes and failed, I’m eating sensibly with smaller portions and the right food, still FAT!

Goal = >100kg

Start = 144.5kg

Current = 144.3kg

Loss to Date = 0.2kg

Weight To Go = 44.4kg

FAT

FAT

As you can see I have come full circle in just 6 weeks. I’m sick of being fat, but I am also sick of fad diets, starving myself, and generally trying to fit into a mould that maybe I just don’t belong in. By the number I am healthy. BP is good, Heart Rate is goos, Bloods are great. I have no indication that my weight is having a negative impact on me. Except my self image and self esteem. But you know what, maybe I’m OK being a little chubby, makes me harder to kidnap. If we really are only here for one trip, maybe I should just enjoy what I want, when I want, and to hell with Social ideal of what I should look like.

I don’t know, maybe I’m just justifying the means.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

 

Wednesday Weigh In Six

For those astute readers out there you will notice that this post seems remarkably similar to my previous Weigh in day Wednesday Weigh Day. In that series I endeavoured to loose weight by reducing my daily intake of Kilojoules to 5000 per day. After 18 weeks of dieting I had lost roughly 16 kilos, but my depression decided to kick me in the guts and I began over eating, indulging in way too many sweets, and comfort eating almost every meal.

This week was a blow out. I ate take out too often, large starchy meals, and consumed milk and juice like it was water. This has seen the obvious increase in my weight this week. We are trying a different tack, when I can control myself, which is to eat food instead of shakes, but still try and keep the Kilojoules as low as possible.

Now for the scary part, the numbers and pictures:

Goal = >100kg

Start = 144.5kg

Current = 141.6kg

Loss to Date = 2.9kg

Weight To Go = 41.7kg

Wednesday Weigh In Six Front

Wednesday Weigh In Six Front

Wednesday Weigh In Six Side

Wednesday Weigh In Six Side

Not an overly flattering view, but this image, this ever-growing round mass that is my body, is the reason for the extreme weight loss measures that are in place. It is for my children, my future, my health that I need to lose the weight. And oddly enough, I need to do it for me. To improve my mental state, to improve my confidence, to improve my self worth. No longer do I want to be the fat guy at the table, the waste disposal unit, the guy that no one thinks much of because he obviously doesn’t think much of himself. I WILL lose the weight, I WILL keep it off, and I WILL be a healthier person for it.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

 

Wednesday Weigh In Five

For those astute readers out there you will notice that this post seems remarkably similar to my previous Weigh in day Wednesday Weigh Day. In that series I endeavoured to loose weight by reducing my daily intake of Kilojoules to 5000 per day. After 18 weeks of dieting I had lost roughly 16 kilos, but my depression decided to kick me in the guts and I began over eating, indulging in way too many sweets, and comfort eating almost every meal.

This week has seen more stagnation with my weight loss. This has put into question the reason why my Wife and I are serving ourselves with shakes, maybe we should return to a normal Calorie restricting diet.

Now for the scary part, the numbers and pictures:

Goal = >100kg

Start = 144.5kg

Current = 139.5kg

Loss to Date = 5.0kg

Weight To Go = 39.6kg

Wednesday Weigh In Five Front

Wednesday Weigh In Five Front

Wednesday Weigh In Five Side

Wednesday Weigh In Five Side

Not an overly flattering view, but this image, this ever-growing round mass that is my body, is the reason for the extreme weight loss measures that are in place. It is for my children, my future, my health that I need to lose the weight. And oddly enough, I need to do it for me. To improve my mental state, to improve my confidence, to improve my self worth. No longer do I want to be the fat guy at the table, the waste disposal unit, the guy that no one thinks much of because he obviously doesn’t think much of himself. I WILL lose the weight, I WILL keep it off, and I WILL be a healthier person for it.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

 

Wednesday Weigh In Four

For those astute readers out there you will notice that this post seems remarkably similar to my previous Weigh in day Wednesday Weigh Day. In that series I endeavoured to loose weight by reducing my daily intake of Kilojoules to 5000 per day. After 18 weeks of dieting I had lost roughly 16 kilos, but my depression decided to kick me in the guts and I began over eating, indulging in way too many sweets, and comfort eating almost every meal.

This week has seen a stagnation with my weight loss. This is most likely due to taking the weekend off whilst camping, and the continued use of sweets after dinner. It is evident that I will have to be more vigilant with what I shove in my mouth.

Now for the scary part, the numbers and pictures:

Goal = >100kg

Start = 144.5kg

Current = 139.5kg

Loss to Date = 5.0kg

Weight To Go = 39.6kg

Wednesday Weigh In Four Front

Wednesday Weigh In Four Front

Wednesday Weigh In Four Side

Wednesday Weigh In Four Side

Not an overly flattering view, but this image, this ever-growing round mass that is my body, is the reason for the extreme weight loss measures that are in place. It is for my children, my future, my health that I need to lose the weight. And oddly enough, I need to do it for me. To improve my mental state, to improve my confidence, to improve my self worth. No longer do I want to be the fat guy at the table, the waste disposal unit, the guy that no one thinks much of because he obviously doesn’t think much of himself. I WILL lose the weight, I WILL keep it off, and I WILL be a healthier person for it.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

 

Happy Memories

This weekend saw another camp with friends and family at Seeonee Park, a local Scout Campground. We sat around and chewed the fat, we played cards, we burned things, we threw the kids in the back of the ute and drove around the grounds, but best of all we simply existed together. These things all created Happy Memories, but there were also the Happy Memories that were triggered by activities. Memories of driving around Nan and Grandads property running errands, memories of bouncing around in the back of the ute mustering, and enjoying the quiet serenity of rural landscape after a hard day’s work.

The weekend just gone was a camping weekend for my eldest son’s 17th Birthday. He had a couple of his friends come out and camp with us and we wiled away the weekend with activities and food. We sent the teenagers on a scavenger hunt that led them all around the campgrounds and discover the hidden gems that Seeonee had to offer. We also threw everyone in the back of the ute and went for a tour around the grounds. This served as a trip down memory lane for most of us and a shared experience for the younger children who have never had the joy of bouncing around in a ute tray. It was these simple happy memories that were created over the weekend that make it all worth while.

Back of the Ute

Back of the Ute

On Friday we had arranged to meet at Seeonee at 0900 to set up before the day got too hot. As usual, I arrived way to early. So I took the opportunity to drop off camping supplies to the different areas around the site, I set up the kitchen, and ensured the campsite was getting water from the town supply. As I was driving around performing these errands, I was reminded of the errands and chores I used to perform around my Nan and Grandad’s farm. More often then not, when I was visiting I would be responsible for the morning and afternoon feeds and waterings. I would either walk around with the food or drive around to the different areas to feed the cattle, chickens, pigs, horses, and whatever other animals happened to be housed at the time. This solo time around the farm was fantastic. I loved the smells, the sounds, the sights, the rewarding feeling you get after you finish working with your hands. Just all of it. It was nice to be reminded of this.

Droughtmaster Cattle

Every time the family and I visited my Nan and Grandad it was Mustering time. Didn’t matter if it was May, December, or August, it was Mustering time. During the muster the days were long and hard. They required a lot of concentration, a lot of hard manual labour, and your fair share of risks. I loved it. I loved moving cattle between paddocks, I loved moving them around in the yards, I loved preparing them in the crush, and loved the tasks that were performed there. By the end of the day though, you were physically and mentally exhausted. My grandparents had this wonderful patio area off their house that overlook the bull’s paddock and the yards. As we finally stopped and the sun was beginning to set the peaceful serenity of farm life became apparent. There would be some distant mooing, the short cluck of the guinea fowl, the whiney of the horses, but mostly the silence; the gentle rustling of trees, the occasional chime of a an outdoor ornament. That memory of the calm after the storm is one of the best memories I have of farming life.

After a Long Day

These memories, both new and old, highlight the need for experiences over things. Nothing was centred around the latest phone, the hippest look, or an expensive restaurant, they are all simple memories of activities or events shared with others. I love the idea of owning land and having a small collection of animals for private consumption. I love the idea of looking across the vast horizon and seeing nothing but nature. I love the silence. I love the peace. I love this barren outback we call home.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Wednesday Weigh In Three

For those astute readers out there you will notice that this post seems remarkably similar to my previous Weigh in day Wednesday Weigh Day. In that series I endeavoured to loose weight by reducing my daily intake of Kilojoules to 5000 per day. After 18 weeks of dieting I had lost roughly 16 kilos, but my depression decided to kick me in the guts and I began over eating, indulging in way too many sweets, and comfort eating almost every meal.

The lowest I managed to reach on my diet during my last attempt was 116kg, I am aiming for less than 100kg. When I started this venture I was 144.5kg. I was a mere 5kg away from my heaviest weight back in 2008. In 2008 I managed to loose the 50kg to get below 100kg so that I could join the Navy. To get the ball rolling on this particular weight loss journey my wife and I are using Meal Replacement shakes and bars. Using the shakes and bars, with a yoghurt for Morning tea and fruit or nuts for Afternoon tea our intake up to that point is 2800kj. We then have a healthy dinner, with meals like beef laksa or steak and low carbThe  vegetable for example, and a frozen yogurt for dessert. Total kilojoule intake for the day was less than 5000kj.

I expected to be constantly hungry while using the shakes but so far its been pretty good. I think that because we are eating every couple of hours, and hydrating in between, your body doesn’t get a chance to really get hungry. I know a lot of readers will be thinking that Meal replacements are dangerous, unsustainable, and can cause massive yoyo weight loss and gain, but we need to kick start the dieting again, to help our mental state. As my wife and I approach our desired weight we will begin weaning off the replacements and onto a normal healthy diet, one that is enjoyable, sustainable, and healthy.

Now for the scary part, the numbers and pictures:

Goal = >100kg

Start = 144.5kg

Current = 139.5kg

Loss to Date = 5.0kg

Weight To Go = 39.6kg

Wednesday Weigh In Three Front

Wednesday Weigh In Three Front

Wednesday Weigh In Three Side

Wednesday Weigh In Three Side

Not an overly flattering view, but this image, this ever-growing round mass that is my body, is the reason for the extreme weight loss measures that are in place. It is for my children, my future, my health that I need to lose the weight. And oddly enough, I need to do it for me. To improve my mental state, to improve my confidence, to improve my self worth. No longer do I want to be the fat guy at the table, the waste disposal unit, the guy that no one thinks much of because he obviously doesn’t think much of himself. I WILL lose the weight, I WILL keep it off, and I WILL be a healthier person for it.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

 

Wednesday Weigh In Two

For those astute readers out there you will notice that this post seems remarkably similar to my previous Weigh in day Wednesday Weigh Day. In that series I endeavoured to loose weight by reducing my daily intake of Kilojoules to 5000 per day. After 18 weeks of dieting I had lost roughly 16 kilos, but my depression decided to kick me in the guts and I began over eating, indulging in way too many sweets, and comfort eating almost every meal.

The lowest I managed to reach on my diet during my last attempt was 116kg, I am aiming for less than 100kg. When I started this venture I was 144.5kg. I was a mere 5kg away from my heaviest weight back in 2008. In 2008 I managed to loose the 50kg to get below 100kg so that I could join the Navy. To get the ball rolling on this particular weight loss journey my wife and I are using Meal Replacement shakes and bars. Using the shakes and bars, with a yoghurt for Morning tea and fruit or nuts for Afternoon tea our intake up to that point is 2800kj. We then have a healthy dinner, with meals like beef laksa or steak and low carbThe  vegetable for example, and a frozen yogurt for dessert. Total kilojoule intake for the day was less than 5000kj.

I expected to be constantly hungry while using the shakes but so far its been pretty good. I think that because we are eating every couple of hours, and hydrating in between, your body doesn’t get a chance to really get hungry. I know a lot of readers will be thinking that Meal replacements are dangerous, unsustainable, and can cause massive yoyo weight loss and gain, but we need to kick start the dieting again, to help our mental state. As my wife and I approach our desired weight we will begin weaning off the replacements and onto a normal healthy diet, one that is enjoyable, sustainable, and healthy.

Now for the scary part, the numbers and pictures:

Goal = >100kg

Start = 144.5kg

Current = 138.1kg

Loss to Date = 6.4kg

Weight To Go = 38.2kg

Weigh In Two Front

Weigh In Two Front

Weigh In Two Side

Weigh In Two Side

Not an overly flattering view, but this image, this ever-growing round mass that is my body, is the reason for the extreme weight loss measures that are in place. It is for my children, my future, my health that I need to lose the weight. And oddly enough, I need to do it for me. To improve my mental state, to improve my confidence, to improve my self worth. No longer do I want to be the fat guy at the table, the waste disposal unit, the guy that no one thinks much of because he obviously doesn’t think much of himself. I WILL lose the weight, I WILL keep it off, and I WILL be a healthier person for it.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

 

Own Company

I have had the unfortunate issue of being at home away from work. I have an acute case of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and can barely butter toast. It was therefore agreed that I stay home until it is remedied. So far we have done the conservative, today I am having a Cortisone injection, and we will see how everything unfolds from there. Anyway, as a result of all of this I am at home. While everyone is at work, school, or daycare. I have been completing small tasks as much as my wrist will allow. Unfortunately, most of the tasks I want to achieve require way more physical capacity than I currently have. This has left me with waaaaay to much time for my brain to go into overdrive, schemes and plans come out of said overactive brain some of which are probably best left as ideas, and too many hours to be wracked up on my favourite game Dragon Age: Inquisition.

Overactive Brain

Overactive Brain

Now as most of you who have been reading for a while now know, my Brain and I have a love/hate relationship. Though my brain is my superpower in many ways, when it is left alone with little stimulus or mental drain it tends to run different ideas, what if’s, and half truths. Most people, and probably a fair portion of the readers, who have depression and anxiety are well aware how crippling racing thoughts, what if’s, and half truths can be. It can take a considerable amount concentration and positive thoughts to bring you back around, if that even works. Normally, like me, you find the easiest way to avoid the negative headspace is to keep the brain active, and sometimes that involves getting off your backside and catching up with people. I know I find it hard most days, and if I don’t have things pre-planned then I will often make stories up that ensure I don’t have to leave the home. I suppose we all need to ensure we take positive steps to ensure the best possible headspace.

Anxious Mess

Anxious Mess

The positive that does come out of having an idle mind and therefore tons of free thought time is some other plans, schemes, and ideas that make their way out. Now, some of them, OK most of them, are pretty terrible ideas like opening my own business, moving interstate, having like 7 more children, and the list goes on. However, every now and again a good idea pops up. Currently the best idea that has graced my cerebral white matter is moving to a parcel of land of 50 acres or more, building the house we want, and selling the one we are in. Now there are a lot of pieces to this puzzle, not the least being finances, timeframes, and livestock. Now this idea is not beyond the realms of possibility, and the more I investigate the idea, the more plausible it becomes. This will still be a long term project; though who knows, everything may fall into place quicker than expected.

Property Search

Property Search

The large amount of time that I do have at home, when I have accomplished all that I can, I find myself spending a majority of it playing Drag Age: Inquisition. I fell in love with this game in 2015 when it was released and I am currently playing through it for the third time. The last time I played it through was during ECT, and subsequently I can’t remember any of it. So far, I am up to nearly 100 hours of game play for this run through, and I am no where near finishing. I enjoy the game, mostly, because of the story line and interactions between characters. I also really enjoy making the decisions that sway the game and actually impact of how the world around you looks or reacts. I am also playing through again in anticipation of the 2020 release of Dragon Age: The Dread Wolf, which follows on from Inquisition. I am no way a hardcore gamer, nor am I an elitist or competitive type, I am just a casual gamer, with way too much time on his hands.

Dragon Age: Inquisition

Dragon Age: Inquisition

And that has been my week. I have an interview for a Graduate Nursing position at the public hospital today, and of course that lovely injection I am sooo looking forward to. But both are for a good reason, and both are for my future. I will see how the next week shapes up, hopefully I will find more to keep me stimulated, or I’ll design my house, pick a block of and, sort out the finances and push the plan forward. Either way.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Decisions Made

Last week I posted about where my headspace was at. This week I met with my Psychiatrist. The meeting went as well as I could expect. Discussions were had about things I didn’t think I would have to live through again. Discussions were made based on my headspace now and the similarities to where we were almost this time last year. I am not going to lie, it scared me a bit.

Fear

Fear

My headspace hasn’t been the best of late. I have had massive issues with Negative Self Talk and maintaining an even keel. I have been distancing myself from friends and family, I have had suicidal ideations, I have had thoughts of self harm, I have just wanted to run away from it all and just cease to exist. Thankfully my wife and family are more insistent than I am withdrawn. The have surrounded me and done nothing more than shower me with love and accolades. It was nice to know that I am loved, and that I am not useless, or lazy, or any of the other things my brain was trying to tell me.

Depression

Depression

I went to my psychiatrist. We caught up and had a conversation about where my head has been. He was not amused by what I had to say. He almost immediately suggested a course of ECT. A prospect I was less then interested in, given the side effects and trauma it put my family through last time. I told him I was less then keen at this particular juncture as my protective factors where in good stead, and I didn’t feel unsafe at present. He made some changes to my Venlafaxine, and added Thiamine back into the mix. I agreed to let him know of what my decision was going to be regarding ECT after I had a chance to discuss it with my wife.

ECT

ECT

I went home and discussed with my wife everything that was shared with the Psychiatrist, the options put forward, and where to from here. We both agreed that ECT was not currently a viable option, and that we are safe enough within ourselves to give the medication a chance to work. There have been studies into the effect of Thiamine and its ability to quicken the effect of Anti-Depressants and lower their side-effects, others proposed that a deficiency in Thiamine leads to depression amongst other ailments. Whatever the case, my wife did note that my depression had become worse around the same time I stopped taking Thiamine, just over a month ago. It will be interesting to see, now that I am taking it again, if this will aid in my recovery at all.

Thiamine

Thiamine

The way forward… As readers, friends both close and distant, family, and others in my life, I need you. I need you to keep an eye on my behaviour, stop me from completely isolating myself, appropriately build me up, watch out for signs of clinical worsening, ask the question “Have I thought about suicide?” “How did you plan on doing it?” and “When were you planning to?” It should be noted that if I can give you an answer to the second or third questions please call the Acute Care Team on 4920 6111 or 000. Thankfully through my entire depression I have never lied, I will not hide my thoughts if directly asked. These things will keep me safe. Also, please keep an eye on my wife, she is my first line of defense and has enough going on in her own world to have my dramas lumped on her as well, so if you can lighten her load that would be appreciated.

Support

Finally, share the message about Depression. Share the message about Suicide. Don’t let fear or a lack of knowledge be the reason someone takes their own life. Be brave enough to have the hard conversation with someone, talk to them and listen. Get them the help that they need, and be there to support them through it.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Dear Wife

Dear Wife,

I know you hate these public displays of emotion, especially affection. They cause you to feel anxious, shy, and force you to become a little more recluse. I know that what we feel is between Us and God. I know that everything I am going to say here is of no surprise. And it shouldn’t be. This should be nothing more than an overly public confirmation of everything you already know. But I am going to share it anyway.

While I am writing this you are baking treats for our children and trying to pry out of me what I am writing. I am doing my level best, and failing, at trying to hide it from you. You tell me that somedays I am a brick wall, and this is true. But even still you manage to leave your mark, and it doesn’t go un-noticed. I know some days it seems like I am not present, I’m sucked into my phone, or zoned out on TV, or even simply staring off into space. You try to engage with me, I give simple one and two word answers and seemingly get annouyed when I have to answer anything more. All in all, a wall. However, every conversation, every comment, every question, is graffiti on that wall. It is something that I will see, and feel, and show forever. Every conversation is cherished. Every moment together is precious.

Graffiti on the Wall

Graffiti on the Wall

You could very well be the most loving, kind, good hearted person I know. You not only see the silver lining in almost every situation, you see the good in every person, and every action. There are days were I feel like I am the worst human being, not worth anything, and generally useless. You always take the time to life me up, encourage me, show me what I am, what I am capable of, and the worth that you and God sees. I love your selflessness, your drive, and your inability to do something half arsed. You kill yourself over a computer, planning, researching, replanning, organising, building, and scripting every class you teach. Every classes script is uniquely written for each student. You endeavour to make sure that every single person in that classroom has the very best shot at learning, and growing. It is that that level of dedication and self sacrifice I strive to even get even half way towards, so that I can be the best nurse, the best father, the best husband that I can be.

Self Sacrifice

Self Sacrifice

My love for you grows every day. Every day I get the opportunity to wake up next to you, fall asleep listening to your faint gremlin like snore, every time I come home to your embrace, even hear your voice on your voicemail. I am so incredibly lucky to have you in my life, let alone have you as my wife, the mother of our 3 beautiful children, my confidant, my sounding board, my common sense, my anchor in the storm, my shield, my shoulder to cry on, and my warm body to curl up with. Every day I think I couldn’t love you more, and every day I am exceedingly delighted to be proven wrong.

If not for you I would not have come to know Christ in the very real and intimate way we should. I would probably have wound up miserable in the middle of the ocean somewhere pining for my next drink in one moment, while struggling with my direction and sense of self in the next. You showed me what was possible, the love that He can provide. You showed me how much closer we could be with Him in our lives. You nurtured me through my stupid questions, and encouraged me to lean in. You are the physical embodiment of what Jesus Christ has asked of us. You are kind, love others, you share the word at every possibility, and you live your life like it is the only bible someone might read. You are amazing.

I Love You - I Know

I Love You – I Know

If by now you can still stomach me being open for just a few word longer I will conclude. Alinta, you are the kindest, sweetest, nicest, most loving person I have ever had the pleasure of crossing paths with. You take me at my faults and use them to help me grow. You soften my often hasty, and rash decisions, but you still allow me to lead or decide as necessary. You are the love of my life, and I just wanted you to know that.

Love you Always

Luke Sondergeld

Step Dad

As most of my regular readers would be aware I am a father to three beautiful children, two young girls who are One and Three, and a 16 year old boy. For those doing the math in their heads, no I did not have a son at 15, Joseph is my wife’s son to her first husband, and he is my son, period. Having a step-child is no real different to having children, you still need to love on them, guide them through trials and tribulations, and you need to be there when times are tough for them. I wrote a while ago about boundaries, and encouragements for the children, and all of this is extremely relevant, but there are some pitfalls, and they are quite deep.

IMG_4794

When I first came on the scene, dating Alinta, and generally being around Joseph he was Nine years old. I didn’t force any sort of title on him, I told him my name was Luke and he could make his own mind up. Over the proceeding months, I showed him how to properly set a table, showed him chores he could do around the house to be useful, playing imaginary games in the back yard, and generally hung out. One night, at the dinner table, about three months into the relationship, Joseph stops eating at looks at me, and he says I think I am going to call you Dad. My heart melted. The hardest thing with any step relationship with a child is creating a close enough bond with them so they feel as though there is no difference between you and who would be their parent. Our relationship has grown since the early days, he gives as good as he gets now which is refreshing, but he still calls me Dad, no matter how angry or twisted he gets.

IMG_3872

Another complication which needs to be addressed is the Biological parent. In my instance Bio-Dad. Once Joseph had decided to call me Dad he was quickly getting confused between the two of us in conversation, I suggested that while he was with his mother and I he could refer to his Dad as Bio-Dad, keeps it all clean and simple. What I hadn’t  expected was when he visited Bio-Dad and he was talking about me as Dad and was corrected by his Nanna to call me Step-Dad, Joseph got quite fired up and defended me as just Dad. This isn’t the case for every parent, step-parent or otherwise, but it is still a complication.

The other half of this problem is arranging time with the Bio-Parent. I know plenty of people who loathe seeing their child go to the Bio-Parent, get spoiled rotten for two weeks, then come home. Initially, I loathed Joseph going away, as I would have to spend the next 3 months correcting him and directing him to get him back to where he was before he left. Since then I have softened, I do not stop Joseph spending time with his Bio-Dad, we arranged a number of years ago the Easter and Term 3 school holidays are free game for Bio-Dad, instead I encourage Joseph to do all the things his Bio-Dad wants to do, but stress that he doesn’t ask for any expensive gifts. His Bio-Dad is not a wish granting fairy. The short and tall of all of this is you need to be comfortable allowing your Step-Child visitations with the Bio-Parent. It’s going to hurt, it’s going to be rough, but it is in the best interest of the child, and that’s what’s important.

IMG_9329

Parenting a step-child can be difficult. Some children make it exceedingly difficult for you to really fulfil the role of Mum or Dad, others make it all too easy. As a step-parent you are not second rate, or just a fill in, you are their parent, sometimes more so because you chose to be there. You looked at the Child and decided that you can step up and be the parent they need. To all my brothers and sisters out there who are parenting a step-child, stand up, be proud, and know that you are awesome.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Weight Loss

For those of you who haven’t seen my post on Facebook this week, I am Fat. I would love to sugar coat it, but I am afraid I would eat that too. I am sick of being fat. I am sick of being short of breath when I bend over. I am sick of sweating profusely at the slightest effort. But most of all, my chances of being taken away from my children prematurely is becoming too high.

IMG_5534

My weight has always been an issue for as long as I can remember. I have never been what could be called a small lad. Whether due to inactivity, genes, diet or otherwise I always carried a little extra. In the past 10 years I have had varying degrees of success and failure with my weight. January 2008 I was 149kg. It was the heaviest I had ever been. I was disgusted in myself but had no real incentive to change. That is until I decided to join the Navy. I knew that I would have to lose 50kg in 12 months for them to accept my application. I began to restrict my intake, but not in any meaningful way, just halving everything I used to eat. I also added at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. It wasn’t anything fancy, just step up on a homemade step and weights using the heaviest thing I could find around the home. It worked, some how, I lost enough to join, I was still around 100kg, but it was the lowest I had been in a while. During my first six months of being in the Navy I lost more weight and hovered 2-3 kilos either side of 95kg. I found pretty quickly that if I continued to eat reasonably sensibly I could maintain 95kg reasonably easily.

The photos above are all of me at or around 95 kg. Unfortunately due to surgical procedures, recoveries, and depression my weight didn’t always stay at 95kg. I can think of 5 different occasions since 2009 that my weight has gone from 95kg to 120kg+ and back again. Sometimes it took a change in diet to bring back the weight, other times I lost the weight because of the intensity of work, but I have found recently that it is harder to accomplish. Randomly and without direction, changing my diet was not the answer, finding time to exercise, and the persuasion, was difficult. So this time I employed the help of a dietician. I have seen their methods through work, and I knew that my diet was going to be the hardest thing to sort out. So after a snappy referral from my GP I was underway.

why-you-need-a-dietician

The only thing I was apprehensive about talking to the dietician about was the concept of Lite, Diet, or other similar labels. Whenever I see these labels I just think “Chemical S**tstorm”. I was concerned that they would just force the idea of diet and lite products. I was relieved when the dietician did not go down this path. We had a discussion about my current eating habits, like and dislikes, allergies, and goals. The dietician formulated a plan that began with a daily limit of 7000Kj, which is too restrictive when you think the recommended Australian intake is 8700Kj. We then divided the daily amount into three meals of 1900Kj and two snacks of 600Kj, for those astute mathematicians out there yes that does only equate to 6900Kj. We then discussed foods for different times of day, thankfully the dietician didn’t eliminate any foods, just suggested either alternatives or self control. So with a plan under my belt and a new app to help guide me, Easy Diet Diary, I went home and started to come up with menu items for various parts of the day that were easy, healthy, and suited the Kilojoule restriction. I am still working out the best way to stay full after a meal. Some meals easily last the 4-5 hours between meals, others don’t seem to make it half way to where you could sensibly have a snack. The other hurdle to overcome is work. Though I get meal breaks they aren’t necessarily at the same time, and with shifts like Night Duty where there is an almost 12 hour gap between meals there needs to be a substantial meal leading into, and a decent snack in the middle. It will take time to perfect but I am confident I can get it to work for me.

IMG_8576

From my meeting with the dietician I did get a body scan. This calculates your weight, your muscle mass, bone weight, and fat weight. It is to be taken with a grain of salt though as it is a fancy scale with some BioElectrical Impedance sensors on them. But it gives you a guide to work from, and shows the changes as you continue on the journey. Below is the print out from my scan. The long and short of below is I weighed 131.7kg, 47kg is Skeletal Muscles, and 49.4kg is just hard up Fat. Of that fat I am carrying a lot of Visceral Fat, more than twice what is recommended. Visceral Fat is the deep abdominal fat that covers your organs. It is tricky to reduce and can be dangerous if there is too much of it. I need to reduce my overall fat amount, and I DEFINITELY need to reduce my visceral fat amount.

IMG_1547

And that brings us to where we are now, and the way forward. The plan is to continue on the 7000Kj restriction until my dietician tells me otherwise, weekly home weighs on Wednesday with an updated mug shot, and a new post every Wednesday with the Weight, Photos, updated scans, and Meals that worked and Meals that didn’t work through the week so that others who want to start their own Journey can. You can continue to follow the journey here at Maintain The Rage via the Weight Loss Category page, or following the Weight Loss Album on Facebook.

To get the ball rolling the picture above is my starting point. It doesn’t seem that bad from the photos but there is a lot of fat on there that could be gone. By publicly showing these images I hope to stay accountable and stay on track. I thank all of you in advance for your support in this venture. If anyone has a favourite or go to low Kilojoule meal, that doesn’t have seafood or walnuts in them, feel free to share them on any of the Weight Loss posts, or send them to me directly using the Connect page.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Legacy

Last week I discussed Mentorship in my article Walking With where the idea of providing what someone requires to achieve the goal they have set is a kind of Patronage. This week I want to discuss Legacy. If we consider Mentorship as answering the question of How, Legacy is answering the question Why?

Legacy is what and who we leave behind to carry on when we are gone, in both the physical and mortal sense. As a Scout Leader I am imparting my collected knowledge and wisdom onto the Scouts in the hope that they take it with them into their lives and make their worlds a little bit better. As a member of CQUniversity’s SRC I try and leave the University a little better than I found it through culture change, policy changes and initiatives that better the Student Experience for all. As a Father I endeavour to teach, show and guide my children through life in the hope they won’t make the same mistakes I did, that they go further, do more and achieve their goals, just as my parents did for me.

50-universal-truths-that-will-make-you-more-successful

The creation of Legacy is less about planning and more about being responsive to the environment you are in. As a parent, the needs of my children change constantly. I can’t plan what they need to make their lives better. I can plan strategically by ensuring that I remain employed, feed them, ensure they receive a good education, and stay safe. But I cannot plan their career, their partners, their lives and where they are going to live. As a SRC member I must be reactive to the needs of the students, I can also be proactive and identify issues before they become problems for the students and the University. The Peer Assisted Study Scheme that I helped develop and implement was birthed from an inherent need the students didn’t know they had. I saw a void in the support structure of the TAFE students and endevoured to fill that void. This, I hope, will leave a lasting legacy on the University and the student body. When a student graduates feeling supported and feels empowered to go further with their study, I can stand tall knowing the legacy I left contributed.

cropped-img_3281.jpg

This whole blog, not just this post, is about Legacy. I share my stories, my life, my journey and my reflections in the hope that others will read them and make positive changes. I know people who have contacted me directly and shared how different posts have pulled them out of a tight spot, or steered their lives into a new direction for the better. That’s why I write, to inspire, to reflect and make real impact on people’s lives.

I encourage everyone to think about their Legacy and what they are leaving behind. If we don’t think of Legacy we are destined to leave either nothing, or worse a negative Legacy that is actually a detriment to the next generation. As a challenge, take a moment this week to reflect on what you are leaving behind and make a concerted effort to change it. Start living life selflessly for the next generation, start the small turns of the ship now before we run aground, make the world of tomorrow better today.

reflection-s1llcr11

What did you reflect on? What are you going to change about your legacy? Make a declaration today in the comments section below, who knows maybe your change will help someone else change their Legacy.

Maintain The Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Baby Lessons

There are numerous baby websites, books, journals, and magazines that will gladly tell you that there is a million things you should get for your new bundle of joy. Couple that with friends, family, mothers, in laws, outlaws and everyone in between, there is a lot of information to sift through.

With the announcement of My wife and I having our second child together, third in total, this week I felt it prudent to share some lessons learnt from the first one, Darby. I will cover the things that I Would do again and the things that I most certainly Wouldn’t.

Baby-Lessons-1

Would

  1. Invest in a decent bedroom fit out – Darby’s bedroom suite, graciously paid for by my Parents, was of a good enough quality, that we are actually able to pass it down to the next child.
  2. Buy Nappies, or diapers for our American brethren, in bulk – Quite frankly the 96 pack of Huggies that we were purchasing, sometimes felt inadequate
  3. Buy wipes in bulk – In the midst of a poo-nami you can never have too many wipes, they can be found in packs of nearly 400, and sometimes this doesn’t seem enough
  4. One Piece outfits – I WOULD BUY ALL OF THEM!
  5. Invest in a good quality Baby Car Seat – the one we bought Darby, well actually my parents bought this one also, is so good that we could use it for the new bub and buy a bigger one for Darby
  6. Teething toys/rings/jewellery – If the child can chew it they will, might as well make it safe for them
  7. Take regular photos – In the first 12 months of Darby’s existence I took something like 9000 photos, on my phone. I still feel like I don’t have enough
  8. Spend more time reading – I don’t feel like I have spent enough time reading with Darby, it is something I am currently rectifying but feel that I should have done more earlier
  9. Buy Nappy Poop Bags – These things are basically dog poop bags, for babies, and I tend to buy whichever is cheaper. When you child opens the back door to hell in their nappy, these things make it bearable enough to make it to the outside bin
  10. Feed my child Formula – We endeavoured so hard to make sure Darby was breast fed as long as possible, but you can’t squeeze blood out of rock, so my wife and I have decided this time we will go for as long as we can, and if thats 3 days before formula, then so be it
  11. Continue to Vaccinate my children – I will never not vaccinate my children, EVER!
  12. Let my wife spend more time at home – We were in a financial pickle with Darby, and as such my wife very graciously returned to work after 3 months. This time, however, we are going to try and have her home till the children are at least in school
  13. Let them eat dirt – Seriously there isn’t much in dirt that can hurt them long term, let them eat it
  14. Continue to encourage social activity – Spend time with other mums and dads, especially ones with children the same or similar ages, the children love the play and interaction
  15. Use a Bumbo earlier – These little foam chairs are amazing, supportive and encourage great posture. Sometimes I wish they made them for adults
  16. Heed this advice – There is plenty of advice out there, these are some simple things I have found with experience and common sense
  17. Johnsons Night time Baby Bath – Seriously, I don’t know if there is Nightquil in this or not, but it actually does what it says it does

Baby-Lessons-2

Wouldn’t

  1. Buy/use a baby monitor – Other than the fact that you can hear Darby from down the street, the monitor gave a false sense of security that was actually unnerving after a while
  2. Buy a huge complicated baby bag – They are heavy, expensive and complicated. Really a couple of nappies, a change of clothes and some food, you can fit that in any bag
  3. Buy a baby bath – Use the kitchen sink, child too big? Move into the laundry, use a Bumbo in the bath, they’re waterproof
  4. Buy any two piece outfits – Seriously the child is either going to be squirming, crawling or vomiting on the thing anyway, a one piece and a singlet is more than sufficient
  5. Try and dress for a fashion show – basically for the same reason as above, people may find it cute and adorable, but try changing a baby in a jump suit, that has no buttons, zip or other poop access
  6. Buy anything you can’t undo – if I have to remove something, or many things, to change the child, it’s too hard and needs to be thrown out
  7. Pack the kitchen sink – You can go to the shops for a five minute trip without anything, just the child and a rag
  8. Listen to all the advice – There is so much advice out there, if you try and do everything you will give yourself a hernia. However see point 16 of Would!
  9. Buy anything before the baby shower – Other than the fact you will no doubt inherit a lifetime supply of nappies and burping cloths, there could be something that you may not have thought of, or something that is expensive if not handed down
  10. Stress about people confusing your babies gender – My darling little girl has as much hair as George Costanza, and we refuse to dress her in pink. So naturally she gets called a boy fairly frequently, it used to bug me, but now I just laugh
  11. Try and see the child in the car – I set up an overly elaborate mirror setup in the car so I could see Darby when I drove, guaranteed she would roll over and knock it over, vomit on the mirror or otherwise ruin my plan
  12. Stress about whether or not she is going to wake up in the morning – SIDS is a real thing, and I know people who have been struck by it, so don’t mistake my words, but if you spend all night checking on your child every 15 minutes, you will be the one in hospital before long
  13. Fly with a baby – Unless I absolutely had to, I wouldn’t do it again

Baby-Lessons-3

So there is 30 Woulds and Would nots with the upcoming child. Do you have any hints, tips, tricks or Would and Would nots? Is there something you would move from one list to the other? Then add them to the comment section below. Or head over to our connect page and drop me a line.

Baby-Lessons-4

Maintain The Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Childhood Rage – Part One

Following my post last week about how my wife and I Maintain the Rage in our marriage, my 15 year old son asked me why I haven’t written about him, and the joys of being a Dad. So here it is, Childhood Rage how I endeavour to raise my two children to be somewhat respectful, independent, useful and productive members of society, and how I Maintain my Rage when my best intentions don’t quite work out.

This topic is too much for one post, so I am going to split this over two weeks, this week will be focussed on what I do as a parent to achieve all of the things I mentioned previously, and next week I will go over how I regroup and Maintain my Rage when things don’t go according to plan. With that said, along with my wife as we are a united front, we maintain boundaries and structure, push for improvement and love unconditionally.

Maintaining Boundaries

Any good parenting course, book, blog or otherwise will  always talk about the need to maintain boundaries, to have rules in place, to be a parent and not a friend, and to know when those boundaries have become blurred or ignored completely. I know that from an outside perspective I can be seen to be a hard task master. A dear friend of mine shares a similar regime and he calls his a ‘Dad-Tatership’. Ultimately, I want the best for my children, I expect the best out of my children, just as they should expect the best out of me. I have a clear set of rules for my eldest son, who is nearly 15, including a chores list, do’s and do not’s, pocket money, and expectations for schooling. These are all outlined in a contract, which he signs, and we renegotiate every Summer Holidays. The rules and punishments he helps develop (that stops the fighting later on) and the expectations are listed by myself and my wife.

I run pretty tight ship, there is an expected bed time, there is an expected morning routine, there is the expectation that there is work before play, there is an expectation of manners and respect, and there is an understanding of knowing ones place. My son knows he can come and talk to either of us about anything, whether he takes that up is another thing, he knows we love him, he also knows the reason for the boundaries and expectations are to prepare him for the real world.

childhood-rage-1

I am a firm believer in no empty threats, if you tell your child If you do that I am going to kill you, and you don’t actually kill them, its empty, the child knows that you aren’t going to kill them, and therefore the assumption will be, they can get away with it. The threat of the other parent also doesn’t sit well with me either, as a parent you need to be able to discipline and control your child when needed, if you use the other parent as a threat or weapon the child is going to realise you do not have control of the situation and abuse it.

Words can be powerful for children, as can actions, the child needs to know that the punishment for breaking the rules isn’t because your angry, but because they did the wrong thing. This could mean the best course of action is to send the child away for 5 minutes to collect your thoughts and calm down, then go and see the child and calmly explain what the punishment is and why. It is also important to know what is going to allow the child to reflect on what they have done, a smack on the hand or tap on the backside can sometimes be the most appropriate punishment, but I know, for example, my son hates to be separated from people, and not be included in things, so the most effective punishment for him is to remove him form what is going on and leave him alone.

We have recently taken to the 12 Labours of Hercules as a punishment. The idea being he will receive a list of mundane, boring, but constructive tasks, like pulling weeds, mowing the lawn and washing cars, and have no electronic devices until the tasks are completed, the punishment will last as long as it takes for him to complete the tasks. If its a day, sweet, if its a week, sweet, the record to date is 6 weeks, for a task that actually only took two hours when he finally sat down to do it.

childhood-rage-2

Push for Improvement

First up I am just going to say, I don’t celebrate mediocrity, not with myself, not with my wife, not my children, not with anybody. If you complete a task as given, or complete something that is an expectation, like your job, I won’t celebrate it and tell you how awesome you are. I will thank you for completing the task, because acknowledgement is important, but no celebration. If you go above and beyond, or do something unexpectedly well, that will get celebrated. I expect a lot from myself, just as my parents did for me and themselves. This attitude is how I purchased my first home at 19, joined the military at 21, bought my second home at 27, and how I am now studying Nursing at University. I push myself to the absolute limit and expect nothing short of awesomeness. I am therefore going to expect the best from my children. Having said that, if they are just starting to learn the guitar and they smash out smoke on the water after 15 minutes, that gets celebrated, if six months later, they can still only punch out Smoke on the Water and haven’t progressed, I will start to push. If we push our children and expect better of them, they will continue to grow and flourish. Fight mediocrity and Push for Improvement.

childhood-rage-3

Love Unconditionally

I love my children, I love them when they are happily playing, I love them when they are quiet, I love them when I at my wits end and close to pushing them out of the car. I love my children. And that is unconditional.

Love, especially with children, needs to be that Agape Love, the unconditional, not matter what, kind of love. My children, God bless them, test me every day. My daughter just the other night pitched a fit because she was hungry, she pulled out of the cupboard what she wanted, pitched a fit because we prepared it for her, then pitched a fit because we served it to her, pitched a fit when we left her to eat it herself and finally pitched a fit when we ignored the previous fits. But I still love her. My son continues to push the boundaries between being stationary and moving. I have seen herds of frozen snails move faster than my son in the morning. I am perpetually frustrated by constantly telling him to chew with his mouth shut, or not talk with a mouth full of food, or do the simple tasks that he needs to do every day, like put on deodorant or comb his hair. But I love him.

childhood-rage-4

My children know that I love them unconditionally, even when I lose my temper and yell and scream, I love them. They also know that I am here for them no matter what. That’s what we need to be as parents – there for our children. We are not their friends, their play pals, or their life sized dolls, we are their parents. We are their protectors, their confidants, their guides, their sages, their fences around the play pen, the guardians in the night and shelter in the storm. We as parents need to act like it more often.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Our Rage

I have decided to talk about my favourite subject, my Wife and our life together. But before I loose the male portion of my readership this isn’t going to be a love story with walks on the beach, champagne breakfast and how I was the perfect embodiment of Casanova. Instead this is going to be how my Wife and I stay together, keep it together and Maintain Our Rage. The three main concepts I wish to convey with regard to Our Rage are; Communication, Priorities, and Making Time.

our-rage-1

Communication

All good relationships, whether marriages, friendships or working relationships are based around solid, effective, two-way communication. Our marriage is no different. From the onset Alinta and I set out to communicate every idea, thought, question and issue. Other then the normal getting to know you questions, one of the first discussions we ever had was around the intent of our dating. A hard discussion, but one that ultimately set the tone for our relationship. Alinta shared that dating should be with the intent to determine suitability for marriage, and not some summer fling, thankfully I tend to agree with the notion and the matter was sorted. But the matter was still raised and we discussed it, something not too many people would have given similar situations.

Communicating, discussing, relating, talking, sharing, and listening are all part of the exchange of information in a relationship, and it extends beyond simply sharing of thoughts and ideas. My Wife and I made the decision very early in our relationship that we would never go to sleep angry, we would instead remain awake and discuss what is on our mind and come to an agreement, or at least understanding, before saying I Love You and going to sleep. This isn’t to say that there haven’t been many  sleepless night because of this rule, but it has meant the irritations, habits or disagreements cannot take strongholds within our relationship and rot it out from the inside.

Our marriage began with a six month separation due to work commitments whilst I was still serving in the Navy. This meant our normal sitting arm in arm on the couch conversations weren’t happening.  We missed the personal connection that comes with being in the same location, myself especially, but it didn’t stop us from communicating. We would spend hours on the phone at night taking about our days, reflecting on how different things made us feel, and delving deeper into our relationship through our words.

The most sage advice I ever received in regards to a relationship is Never stop talking. This isn’t to say that you should continue to talk AT your partner until they submit, or fill the air with so much talk and noise that your partner cannot think, but to never stop talking to each other, never stop sharing, never stop reflecting, never stop saying I Love You.

our-rage-2

Priorities

In my 30 Lessons Learnt by 30 I mentioned priorities and how they govern everything I do, how I organise my time, and ultimately what gets my energy first. The lit of priorities, in order are;

  1. God
  2. My Wife
  3. My Family
  4. My Employment and Education
  5. Myself

Now, some of you are going to be asking Why is God first? And it’s a valid question. God forms the focal point of our family, He determines what blessings we should or shouldn’t have, where we go in life, how large our family should be, everything. Our entire life is conducted through the lens of Is this what God has planned for us? To that end, my wife is  next on the list. I ensure that she is the first one to receive my attention when I get home, when I wake up in the morning, she is the last one to get my attention before going to sleep, she is the first (most of the time) to know when plans have changed and she is the first person I consult on anything to do with the rest of the list, including how I spend my me time. I would encourage everybody to organise their lives into a priority list, but don’t do it haphazardly. My priority list has been carefully considered and prayed over for a long time. It took a while for me to realise that I am at number 5 not number 3. And I am OK with that. You need to be ok with it too. This priority list also helps when it comes to decisions about time. Our lives all get busy from time to time, some a lot busier than others. By having my wife as the second on the list, when I get asked by my mates to come to the pub, or come hang out, I will either ask to bring my wife, or decline in favour of staying at home. Same goes with unwarranted overtime, excessive extracurricular activities and the like. I will either decline upfront, or at least consult with my wife to make sure she is going to be OK with the level of commitment I will need to put into something else. See back to Communication to understand why.

So my advice, set a list, put it aside, come back to in a week, think about the decisions you have made in the week. Did they fit into that priority list? What needs to Change? Make the necessary changes and do it again, and again and again until you have a list that works for you.

our-rage-3

Making Time

The need to take time extends to most facets of our lives, and taking time for those we love is no exception. Alinta and I, endeavour, to spend time as a couple, just the two of us, no kids, no distractions, no anything. That doesn’t always come to fruition but we try. Sometimes the us time is merely sitting next to each other at our desks and mutually ignoring one another while we work, study, blog or otherwise. Sometimes it is as simple as watching a movie together on the couch. Whatever the activity is we endeavour to make deliberate time for it.

As I mentioned previously, I personally endeavour to make sure that the first person I spend time with when I get home, is my wife. Without her our family unit doesn’t not have its united leadership. When we are out and about we endeavour to be sitting next to one another, walk with one another, hold each others hands, and all the other cliche things, that normally make people sick due to there sweetness, but we do endeavour to do these things. It is what helps us remain united and strong together.

So make time to spend with your loved ones, take a vacation together, get off early from work and surprise your loved one, small tokens of love and appreciation will always go further than singular large gifts. Time is our rarest commodity and the most cherished, share it once in a while.

our-rage-4

So to conclude we may only be on the early steps of the journey but we have enjoyed every minute of it. I look forward to the memories we will make together in the future and the times we will share. I look forward to the trial and tribulations, the good times and the bad, the sickness and the health, until death do us part.

our-rage-5

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld