Lunch At The Stepping Stones

The birthday girl, Hannah, had a great day yesterday. After a busy morning shopping in Belfast with Fionnuala and Granny Marie I met up with them for lunch at the Stepping Stones restaurant which overlooks the city on Divis Mountain. It was wet and windy getting up there but, once inside, we were treated toContinue reading “Lunch At The Stepping Stones”

Happy Sweet 16th Hannah

Today marks a very special event in our house. Our Hannah turns sweet sixteen. Where have all the years gone? Fionnuala and I are very proud of the beautiful, kind, caring young woman she has become. Hannah has a heart the size of Ireland. We hope you have a wonderful day and enjoy your celebrations.Continue reading “Happy Sweet 16th Hannah”

Santa Arrives In Belfast

The real Santa Claus was understandably too busy to attend Hannah’s 16th birthday party yesterday so he sent one of his helpers instead. Quite a strange helper if I do say so myself but the kids didn’t seem to mind and that’s the main thing. He crash landed on the roof and then apologised profuselyContinue reading “Santa Arrives In Belfast”

Fractured Faith. 12,000 Not Out.

We finally hit 12,000 followers earlier today. It seems like forever since we passed 11,000 which I believe is down to a number of factors. Primarily I haven’t been blogging as frequently and, when I have, they have been much shorter posts. There are only so many hours in the day and I’ve been prioritisingContinue reading “Fractured Faith. 12,000 Not Out.”

Who Is Your Lighthouse?

It was a murky lunchtime run today which highlighted the lighthouse exhibit on Belfast Lough. I focused on it from some distance away and it inspired me to keep pressing forward through the blustery, wet conditions. Most other days I would have run past it without a second thought but it was there for meContinue reading “Who Is Your Lighthouse?”

I’ve Had An Anxious Week

I’ve had an anxious few days worrying about work related matters. It started towards the tail end of last week and preyed on my mind over the weekend, before descending again from on high like a hungry vulture on Monday morning. Various unwanted thoughts have spun a not so merry dance around my head despiteContinue reading “I’ve Had An Anxious Week”

It’s Christmas 🎄

Christmas has well and truly arrived at chez Black with Fionnuala’s creative talents to the fore. She made many of these decorations herself and has worked incredibly hard infusing a festive spirit throughout the house. She’s a terrific mummy making sure the kids will have fond memories of their holidays at home. When do youContinue reading “It’s Christmas 🎄”

Belfast Christmas Market

We travelled up to Belfast this afternoon to experience the sights, sounds and smells of the Christmas Market. It was a little crowded for us but the girls got to sample some French-Canadian cuisine while I made my annual trek to the gigantic muffin stall. Fionnuala and Adam settled for a drive thru McDonalds onContinue reading “Belfast Christmas Market”

You Know You’ve Made It When….

You know you’ve made it when you get an entire page in the village newsletter. This popped into our letter box this afternoon, and shortly afterwards I passed 90,000 words on Book 2. It’s been a busy day all round what with rugby matches, a visit from cousin Cadan and Fionnuala putting the finishing touchesContinue reading “You Know You’ve Made It When….”

5 Things To Quit Right Now

I’ve been guilty of all five and can confirm they are all counter productive and highly negative behavioural patterns. Today I choose to change and walk a different path. A path that leads upwards, out of the abyss. It is possible but it’s a conscious decision we must make every day of our own volition.Continue reading “5 Things To Quit Right Now”

Find Your Light

Feeling worthless? I used to. Every. Single. Day. Largely because I was so insecure I craved the attention of others to justify my own existence. I looked outwards when I should have been looking inwards. It was only when I started to focus on my own abilities, rather than the opinions of others, that theContinue reading “Find Your Light”

A Chip Off The New Block

Have you ever heard the phrase ‘a chip off the old block?’ It’s usually used to compare a parent and child when the latter displays some characteristic reminiscent of the former. ‘Ah so little Johnny likes football? He’s a chip off the old block then.’ The majority of the time it’s intended as a complimentContinue reading “A Chip Off The New Block”

I Am Goliath

On recent lunchtime runs I’ve noticed this little tug going about its business on the River Lagan, usually pushing or pulling much larger barges in and out of the harbour. It may be small but it’s certainly a powerful vessel that punches well above its weight on the waves. It was apt, therefore, that itContinue reading “I Am Goliath”

Adam’s Surgery Update

We have spent the last two days at hospital as Adam recuperates from an operation for a serious knee injury he sustained playing rugby two months ago. We knew at the time something was amiss as he heard a ‘pop’ during a tackle. A MRI scan revealed the full extent of the damage, a fullContinue reading “Adam’s Surgery Update”

Why Does It Always Rain On Me?

We awakened this morning to high winds and rain beating against the bedroom window. Peeking outside revealed little as it was pitch dark. Yes, welcome to Northern Ireland in November. A bleak, dreary landscape. It’s little wonder the Game of Thrones producers chose our little country to film many of the Winterfell & Iron IslandContinue reading “Why Does It Always Rain On Me?”

If I Hadn’t Seen Such Riches I Could Live With Being Poor

Today I woke up tired. I’m a middle aged father of three teenage kids. It’s what I do. Today I woke up sore. I’m training for a marathon next year. My tenth no less. At the minutes this necessitate 30 mile weeks. My knee hurts. My back hurts. I’m sore. Today I woke up withoutContinue reading “If I Hadn’t Seen Such Riches I Could Live With Being Poor”

Running For Hannah

It’s Spina Bifida Awareness Week so what better time to announce I’m getting back on the marathon wagon. I will be running my 10th marathon next May in Belfast to raise funds for a local charity, the Mae Murray Foundation. The Foundation was set up to allow people of all ages and abilities to comeContinue reading “Running For Hannah”

Fractured Faith Is 1000 Posts Old

Today marked our 1000th post on Fractured Faith. We started the blog back in May 2017 and, back then, had no idea what to expect. Fionnuala encouraged me to share my writing with the online world as both a form of personal therapy and to encourage others that there is always hope, no matter howContinue reading “Fractured Faith Is 1000 Posts Old”

Meet My Hero

I have never fainted in my life but the nearest I ever came was at the 20 week scan for our second child when we were informed the baby had Spina Bifida. I’m not sure of the sequence of events but I ended up lying flat on the bed being tended to by medical staffContinue reading “Meet My Hero”

Spina Bifida Awareness Week

Over the coming days we will be promoting Spina Bifida Awareness Week on the blog, a cause very close to our hearts. Stay tuned for more. We, as a family, have come through so much together. The key word here is ‘together.’ Together we are strong and the five of us will never be brokenContinue reading “Spina Bifida Awareness Week”

Never Forget

Never, ever forget….

Shiny Happy People Not Holding Hands

Don’t you just detest them? You know the type, the perfect, airbrushed families you see at the school gate or in the supermarket? The kids are always perfectly behaved and immaculately attired. No snotty noses or cheeky answers from these little darlings. They are top of their class and destined for great things, just likeContinue reading “Shiny Happy People Not Holding Hands”

I Believe In You

Be a rainbow in someone’s cloud

Last month I posted a blog titled Loneliness which you can read via this link https://fracturedfaithblog.com/2019/09/12/loneliness/ if you missed it. I had an idea about spreading some hope to people who do feel lonely by sending out Christmas cards/letters and asked if anybody would like to take part to send me an email. This ideaContinue reading “Be a rainbow in someone’s cloud”

How Is Your Mental Health Today?

I periodically revisit regular questions on the blog and this is one very close to my heart. It’s a topic I feel we are often too frightened or embarrassed to talk about, we duck the issue or brush it under the carpet for another day. We are all too quick to share our physical achesContinue reading “How Is Your Mental Health Today?”

Will You Join Me?

I’m working today. I know it’s a weekend, but needs must, and it’s going to be that way for the foreseeable future. Life’s like that. Spanners are continually being thrown into works and plans rarely pan out the way they are meant to. I’d much rather be spending the day with my family. Isn’t thatContinue reading “Will You Join Me?”

So Proud Of Our Kids

Now that Adam is sadly sidelined with a knee injury, Rebecca has taken up the mantle of sporting star for the Black family. After trying out a number of activities in recent years, everything from ballet to taekwondo, she has settled on football as her chosen sport. She started training with the local girls footballContinue reading “So Proud Of Our Kids”

I’m Not An Angry Person But….

I woke up at 4:30 am and that’s been that, sleep wise. Since then I’ve been frenetically tapping away, putting the finishing touches to Chapter 5 of my serialised short story, ‘Bomb Girl,’ which I hope to post later today. I hope you all enjoy it. There’s been a bit of a gap between ChaptersContinue reading “I’m Not An Angry Person But….”

Why?

I don’t really know what to say in this post so I’ll cut to the chase. Adam injured his knee in a match last weekend and underwent a MRI scan on Friday, the results of which we will receive today. We are hopeful it will be good news, but are prepared for the worst caseContinue reading “Why?”

Do You Feel Like God Has Unfriended You?

Do you ever feel like this? After the initial thrill, the rush, the excitement of choosing to believe in it all, there follow periods of silence, of barren times, of….well, nothing. You serve and you pray, you listen for signs, search for answers. You hope and you hope, you want that one miracle you cherishContinue reading “Do You Feel Like God Has Unfriended You?”

Are You Over Your Past?

Before, during and after yesterday’s race I encountered lots of faces from my past, back in the days when I raced twice a month as opposed to twice a year. When I was obsessed with personal bests and trying to run faster than supposed friends on the race circuit. It was a period of myContinue reading “Are You Over Your Past?”

What Are You Up To This Weekend?

One thing we are good at in Northern Ireland is complaining about the weather….whatever the weather. Most of time we moan about it being too cold, too wet, too windy. Yet the second the big yellow ball in the sky makes a rare appearance, we invariably fall to pieces. We are sweltered, roasted, ‘while warm’Continue reading “What Are You Up To This Weekend?”

Making Hay While The Sun Shines

Sorry for the lack of content today but I’ve rediscovered my creative muse and have been typing furiously in order to keep apace with the flurry of ideas and dialogue assaulting my senses. I’ve now passed the 16,000 word mark for Book 2, having bashed out 5,000 words over the last three days. As aContinue reading “Making Hay While The Sun Shines”

Big Day For Adam

A super exciting morning as Adam scored his first try for Lurgan College’s 1st XV in a 50-0 win away at Royal Belfast Academical Institute. After last week’s narrow loss this was a richly deserved win for the boys. I was bursting with pride at the final whistle and our normally camera shy sporting starContinue reading “Big Day For Adam”

Loneliness

Monday of this week was world suicide prevention day which Stephen blogged about. On this blog we try to reach out to anybody that is struggling with their mental health in any way at all. I struggle with my own head space as does Stephen sometimes a thought would take up residence in our mindContinue reading “Loneliness”

Questions Of The Day

Occasionally I’ll sit back and let you lot do the work. Fionnuala and I spend our weeks in a blur with work and family commitments. There are many days I have little opportunity to run, write or blog. So this morning I’ll leave you with a question. Or three. Please answer, especially if you areContinue reading “Questions Of The Day”

Back To School

The alarm went off just before 6 a.m. this morning heralding the start of a new week and a new school year. It was dark outside as I stumbled to the bathroom to shave off my three day beard and attempt to look remotely human before battling through hordes of bag wielding hatchlings in aContinue reading “Back To School”

We Are Here For You

Excited as I was last month at the continued growth of the blog, I was even more thrilled yesterday to realise we had broken our monthly views figure again in August. With a day to spare, no less. Yes, 14,000 of you clicked the view button on a FracturedFaithBlog post. Or maybe 7 of youContinue reading “We Are Here For You”

Can You See This?

I posted a blog earlier today but due to unknown technical reasons, it hasn’t appeared on a lot of timelines. Either that or I didn’t get the memo about the universal boycott of FracturedFaithBlog with immediate effect. The former is the obvious reason but my OCD addled brain latches onto the latter. It whispers ‘theyContinue reading “Can You See This?”

Suicide – What Do We Do?

Over the last 10 days, 15 young people have taken their own lives in Belfast. There is not a week goes past when I’m on call, that I don’t receive a phone call to inform me there has been another suicide. It has become an epidemic in all our cities and communities, cutting a swatheContinue reading “Suicide – What Do We Do?”

There Is Always Hope

Being a total dork, I was studying our WordPress stats the other day and discovered the blog recently passed 200,000 views since its creation just over two years ago. Wow! And I’ll say that again. Wow! I still remember nervously tapping out my first post, ‘The Bag Lady,’ before hitting the publish button and sendingContinue reading “There Is Always Hope”

Congratulations Adam

Congratulations to this young man. Our eldest hatchling, Adam, received his GCSE results today, passing all 10 subjects he sat. This means he will be returning to Lurgan College to begin his ‘A’ level studies in September. We are all very proud of his achievement which exceeded all expectations. He studied hard, though, and deservedContinue reading “Congratulations Adam”

Keep Screaming

Thank you to those who responded to my post yesterday, calling for more interaction between bloggers. It seemed to resonate with a lot of you, judging by the number of comments I received. Your screams were most certainly heard and I’m still getting caught up on my replies so, please bear with me. You’re neverContinue reading “Keep Screaming”

Killing Villanelle

I’ve been binge watching, and raving over, the BBC series ‘Killing Eve,’ of late. So as I spill the rest of my life all over WordPress I thought I would share the love with my blogging friends. It stars Sandra Oh (from Grey’s Anatomy) as Eve Polastri, a MI6 operative tasked with tracking down aContinue reading “Killing Villanelle”

Girls Night Out….Boys Night In

Fionnuala, Hannah & Rebecca had a great time at the Boyzone concert in Belfast last night. 12,000 fans packed out Falls Park in Belfast to hear them perform their final ever Irish concert as part of the Feile an Phobail festival. The weather remained (mostly) dry and the girls sang their hearts out, returning homeContinue reading “Girls Night Out….Boys Night In”

What the People Think

Hi everyone just sticking my head in to say hello as it’s been a while since I last posted anything. It’s been crazy busy here over the last month the kids have been on summer holidays so we’ve been going on various different day trips seeing what there is to do on our doorstep andContinue reading “What the People Think”

Reasons To Stay Alive #4

People. My family. My friends. YOU! Writing can be such an insular process. The loneliness of the long distance runner, I get that, but it’s got nothing on the writing experience. The worry, the doubt, the 1001 emotions that rampage through your head every time your finger hovers over the publish button. It’s a whirlwind,Continue reading “Reasons To Stay Alive #4”

We Need Your Feedback

The blog passed 11,000 followers the other day and it’s growth continues to amaze and delight me. I don’t know why people keep coming back to view, like and comment but I’m forever grateful. At each milestone, I like to ask you guys what you want from the blog in the future. As well as,Continue reading “We Need Your Feedback”

What’s Your Favourite Disney Movie?

In the last week we have watched the remakes of two Disney classics, ‘The Lion King’ and ‘Aladdin.’ I’m not a massive Disney fan so didn’t sit down to either with high expectations. I think I’m still traumatised by 4 a.m. repeats of ‘The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse’ during the early years with the hatchlings. I’veContinue reading “What’s Your Favourite Disney Movie?”

Me And My XXXL Life

Regular readers will know I recently visited a hydro park with Adam and Rebecca. What’s a hydro park? Well, think of a giant inflatable obstacle course and you’re close….situated in the middle of a reservoir. The kids loved it. Adam is fearless and launched himself off the highest points into the water without a thoughtContinue reading “Me And My XXXL Life”

Don’t tell Daddy

You got to keep this quiet 🤫 Fractured Faith is only 8 followers away from hitting 11,000 which is absolutely incredible so to mark this occasion my mummy will post photos of my daddy in his wet suit later at Lets Go Hydro he’s going to be in the middle of a lake so heContinue reading “Don’t tell Daddy”

Happy Anniversary To Us

Fionnuala and I don’t get out much but last night we went for a Chinese meal and, afterwards, the cinema to watch the new ‘Lion King.’ Okay, the girls were with us but that’s part of the fun of family life. Just getting out of the house and being able to do stuff together sureContinue reading “Happy Anniversary To Us”

It’s Holiday Time

I’m officially on holiday. The last few months have a been a blur of activity but I walked out of the office yesterday knowing I didn’t have to darken it’s doors again for almost two weeks. As I did so, I didn’t perform a cartwheel or jump up in the air and click my heelsContinue reading “It’s Holiday Time”

Help A First Time Author Out

Marketing a book is an incredibly steep learning curve. Believe me, the writing bit is the easy part. One thing I have learned is that us debut author live and die by Amazon reviews. There are over 6 million books available to buy on Amazon at any one time and it’s those precious reviews whichContinue reading “Help A First Time Author Out”

Our Day At The Seaside

A picture speaks a thousand words they say, whoever they are. We had a lovely day at the seaside yesterday so, other than describe it in a written post, I thought I’d share some photographs that Fionnuala and I snapped. Eleven to be precise. Which beats me rambling on for 11,000 words. Feel free toContinue reading “Our Day At The Seaside”

Do You Suffer From Imposter Syndrome?

I don’t dream much, I leave all that to Fionnuala, who is a prolific nocturnal storyteller. But last night I dreamt I was a trainee pilot. I turned up at the airport for my first shift to be told I was flying a massive jet to Australia. No pressure, then, although I did have toContinue reading “Do You Suffer From Imposter Syndrome?”

A Record Breaking Day For Hannah

Hannah wrote her first blog post yesterday, and what a debut it was, as it became the most viewed post in the distinguished history of fracturedfaithblog. She celebrated by hunting down copies of the local newspaper, where yours truly made the front page. It must have been a very quiet news day, but I wasContinue reading “A Record Breaking Day For Hannah”

Not All Heroes Wear Capes

Hi everybody it’s Hannah here and I’m nearly sure this is my first blog post. Today I want to tell you a little bit about my daddy and how proud I am of him. After Shawn Mendes my daddy is my biggest hero. Everything he does he does it for our family and to tryContinue reading “Not All Heroes Wear Capes”

Anxiety Is A Killer

Anxiety is a killer. It kills your present and lays waste to your future, cutting a bloody swathe through your plans and hopes. It is a creeping, niggling death of a thousand cuts, nibbling away at the fringes of your confidence and self belief. It is slow, excruciating but it is there from the momentContinue reading “Anxiety Is A Killer”

What’s Your Favourite Sandwich?

Fionnuala made lasagne for dinner last night. She is an excellent cook so we were all looking forward to it; and rightly so, for it was delicious. What I was not prepared for were the outrageous scenes which followed later that evening. Scenes which scarred my soul and I’ll take to the grave. Scenes whichContinue reading “What’s Your Favourite Sandwich?”

A Record Breaking Day

Exciting times at FracturedFaithBlog. Sunday was our biggest and er…. bestest in over two years blogging. We set new highs in both daily views and likes. And, to top it all off, Fionnuala’s post on being the wife of a published author (moi) was the highest rating blog we’ve ever had. Huzzah. I found thatContinue reading “A Record Breaking Day”

Happy Birthday Adam

A belated Happy Birthday the big lad himself, our son Adam, who turned 17 yesterday. We celebrated with a family BBQ which he oversaw himself. On Saturday he has invited some friends over for more of the same. It’s a well deserved break given he has studied so hard these last few months for hisContinue reading “Happy Birthday Adam”

Hungry For Life….And Toast

Now that the hatchlings are on their summer holidays, our house is a little less frenetic in the mornings. I’m the only ‘child’ Fionnuala has to usher out of the nest, so there is (slightly) less screaming, shouting and general pandemonium. It’s chaos but organised chaos for Mrs Black runs a finely oiled domestic machine,Continue reading “Hungry For Life….And Toast”

Need a little inspiration?

A few days ago I wrote a blog about being a mum and got talking with another mum Cathy http://cathy-cade.com about her daughter Jen who has faced many challenges from a baby and now as young woman she is battling cancer. Jen has started writing a blog about her cancer journey, I have only readContinue reading “Need a little inspiration?”

Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter….Larne

This week has been incredibly stressful at work. I’ve had a niggly injury which means I haven’t been able to run at lunchtime, which usually acts as a sure fire anxiety buster. Instead I’ve been largely chained to my desk, desperately trying to avoid the quagmire of office politics and gossip which have threatened toContinue reading “Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter….Larne”

Life as an Additional Needs Mummy

I am a mummy to three amazing children one of which has additional needs and relays on me for her personal care. I love being a mum and I’m really enjoying watching my teenagers turn into young adults. I look at them with so much love and pride that sometimes I think I could cry.Continue reading “Life as an Additional Needs Mummy”

Another Day….Another Mountain Of Food

I woke up to a bounty of Fathers Day presents this morning, many of which were edible. Hmmmmm….what are my family trying to tell me? Double Decker bars, German Biscuits, Coconut Mushrooms. Not to mention the huge tub of honeycomb ice cream already taking pride of place in the freezer. I sure have ‘a wholeContinue reading “Another Day….Another Mountain Of Food”

Honey Coma Ice Cream

After a long day at the office it was lovely to return home to an early Fathers Day present – a ‘small’ tub of my beloved honeycomb ice cream. I’ve been fretting all week about work, writing and everything in between. So I’m about to succumb to a food coma of epic proportions. Thank youContinue reading “Honey Coma Ice Cream”

Where Are You On The ‘Me Me Me’ Tree?

We are all a little self obsessed. It’s human nature, that we focus on our own interests. Animal instinct, if you like. The trick is to be aware of this character defect and work against the grain, to put the needs of others before our own. Love others. You get my drift. It’s not easyContinue reading “Where Are You On The ‘Me Me Me’ Tree?”

Going To Work In Sports Socks

I’m not saying I’m a needy dependent but my wife did make me change my socks this morning before allowing me to go to work. I thought I looked perfectly respectable. Dark grey suit, white shirt, black socks and shoes. Fionnuala took one look at my feet and shot me a horrified look – ‘YouContinue reading “Going To Work In Sports Socks”

Well Done Hannah

Fractured Faith Blog is a team effort and always will be. It’s most definitely not just about me and I doubt it would even exist if it were not for the love and support of my family. I’m always keen to share the limelight with them. Today is no exception as we received a veryContinue reading “Well Done Hannah”

Pink Fluffy Unicorns Dancing On Clouds – By Rebecca Black – Aged 12

Today’s blog post is written by Rebecca, who has her English Language exam tomorrow. She wrote this story while studying for it. We hope you enjoy it. One day I was walking home from school when I saw a helicopter. It started to lower down and then stopped. A few moments later a ladder wasContinue reading “Pink Fluffy Unicorns Dancing On Clouds – By Rebecca Black – Aged 12”

Words Are Where It All Begins

Life is too short. We need to say what we mean. I’ve spent much of my life beating about the bush, avoiding the real issues and choosing to ignore the various white elephants trumpeting in the corner of the room. I often feel that I’ve wasted so much time and am now desperately facing aContinue reading “Words Are Where It All Begins”

Nothing Is Impossible….Just Ask Hannah

I didn’t feel much like running this morning but reluctantly dragged my body out for a seven mile plod along the country roads surrounding the village. I hate running first thing but, on this occasion, there was a method to my madness. For getting the run out of the way early meant I could accompanyContinue reading “Nothing Is Impossible….Just Ask Hannah”

How Is Your Garden?

I’ve been gardening this morning. It rained overnight and a faint drizzle still hung in the air as I pierced the soft, pliable soil and turned it over. The spade plunged deep and before long a reasonable sized hole was before me, in which I proceeded to bed a new addition to our array ofContinue reading “How Is Your Garden?”

I Love My Husband….But He’s An Idiot

My super talented and slightly sarcastic wife jumped at the opportunity of participating in this week’s Flash Fiction Challenge. Warning – parts of this story may be true…. It was an usually cold May Saturday afternoon, exactly a week after Stephen’s birthday for which his wife Fionnuala surprised him with tickets for the last homeContinue reading “I Love My Husband….But He’s An Idiot”

Never Take Your True Friends For Granted

A big shout out to a friend of ours, Dawn, who has been poorly of late and in and out of hospital. This lady and her family entered our lives last year and have been a constant source of love and support ever since. Our families have merged and it feels as if we haveContinue reading “Never Take Your True Friends For Granted”

Saturday With Team Black

Today promises to be exciting. I’ve been approached by a ministry team who are running marathon relays through each of Ireland’s 32 counties this year. This weekend is Week 15 and they arrive in County Armagh. It’s a massive undertaking but they are totally committed to completing the challenge, no matter what obstacles or adverseContinue reading “Saturday With Team Black”

Fractured Faith Hits 10,000 Followers

Hello from Northern Ireland. We woke up to more good news this morning. Fractured Faith Blog passed the 10,000 follower mark overnight. Almost two weeks ahead of schedule. Fionnuala and I would like to thank everyone who contributed towards the ‘final push.’ It’s been a tumultuous and topsy turvy week and I, for one, amContinue reading “Fractured Faith Hits 10,000 Followers”

The Breaking Even Point

Being the most boring man alive, I’m reading a book about leadership at the minute called ‘The First 90 Days.’ It’s aimed at people who have moved into a new work role, normally as a result of a promotion, and who are expected to make an initial positive impact. It features lots of fancy leadershipContinue reading “The Breaking Even Point”

Family Night Out

We had a great time at the rugby tonight. The girls got their photos taken with Ulster & Ireland star, Jacob Stockdale, as well as meeting the club mascot, Sparky the Bear. Ulster won 21-13 and the stadium was bouncing at the end when the final whistle blew. We got free burgers afterwards and theContinue reading “Family Night Out”

We’re Off To The Big Match

We are off to the rugby today to watch Ulster play Connacht in the Pro 14 Quarter Final at the Kingspan Stadium, Belfast. Adam is working in one of the hospitality lounges but Fionnuala and the girls surprised me last week with tickets to the biggest match of the season. It’s a sellout crowd andContinue reading “We’re Off To The Big Match”

Guest Bloggers – Meredith and Shae Jackson

Family Memories https://theshaesdaysblog.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/family-memories/ — Read on theshaesdaysblog.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/family-memories/ The first blogger I’d like to feature in my series on WordPress people who inspire me, is in fact a family. The Jackson clan from the good old U, S of A. Mother and daughter team, Meredith and Shae Jackson, are two of the loveliest bloggers you couldContinue reading “Guest Bloggers – Meredith and Shae Jackson”

Bucket List – The Winner

Over the weekend I wrote about 9 ‘things’ I wanted to cross off my bucket list over the next 365 days. Oh hang on, make that 363 days now. Best get my skates on. Although, thankfully, skating wasn’t on the list. Neither the ice nor roller variety. I have all the coordination of a threeContinue reading “Bucket List – The Winner”

Help Me With My Bucket List

I turned 49 today. I know, I know, I don’t look a day over 39 you silver tongued charmers. I’ve had a fantastic day with the family, received some lovely presents and eaten far too much. Back running again tomorrow in order to burn off the 49 million calories I consumed today. Thank you toContinue reading “Help Me With My Bucket List”

Bury A Friend: My Experiences With The Unfriend Button

I haven’t been active on Facebook in many years, but have recently begun to dip my toe back into that social media swamp. I’m starting afresh so need to have a massive purge of my old account. This has necessitated me hitting the ‘unfriend’ button repeatedly as I clear my timeline of those who IContinue reading “Bury A Friend: My Experiences With The Unfriend Button”

Happy Birthday To Me….Well Almost

It’s my birthday in five days! Where has the last year gone? Search me. No need to guess my age or enquire as to my address for cards and gifts. Well, unless you insist. Rather, I want to spend the week returning the favour. I’m very blessed and grateful for the life I have. ThereContinue reading “Happy Birthday To Me….Well Almost”

How I Spent My Easter Monday

Charlie the border terrier may be seven now, but he doesn’t know that, so still bounces about with all the energy of a three month old pup. We woke up to a beautiful, sunny day so I decided to take him for a walk around the village so as to burn off some of hisContinue reading “How I Spent My Easter Monday”

He Is Risen

Good Morning WordPress. Fionnuala and I hope you all have a wonderful Easter wherever you are. I’ll post my ‘normal’ blog later in the day. Never give up, no matter how much of a mess your life has become. I’m a walking, talking testimony to that. Don’t give up. There is still hope. For…. HeContinue reading “He Is Risen”

Let’s Start Again

When it comes to beating yourself up, I could compete for Ireland at the Olympics. But the last few days have taught me I need to focus on my strengths as opposed to dwell on the perceived weaknesses which always loom large in my rear view mirror. Fionnuala reminded me recently of what I haveContinue reading “Let’s Start Again”

We found him!!

As most of you are aware Hannah and myself are in Dublin for Shawn Mendes concert and Adam and Rebecca are at home looking after Stephen! AWhilst we were in the same city as Mr Mendes we thought we would try and catch a glimpse of him before the concert. Hard stalking, sorry work, certainlyContinue reading “We found him!!”

We are on the train!!

Ok so this day that has been on a countdown in our house for what seems like an eternity has finally arrived yes it’s the weekend that Shawn Mendes has the pleasure of being in the same city as the one and only Hannah Black!! We are on the train sitting next to the mostContinue reading “We are on the train!!”

I’m Home Alone….What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

I’m Home Alone this weekend. Well, almost. Fionnuala and Hannah are off to Dublin tomorrow for the Shaun Mendes concert. Hannah is fit to burst with excitement and I think Mrs Black is secretly looking forward to it as well, although she would never admit as much. They are packing as if they are goingContinue reading “I’m Home Alone….What Could Possibly Go Wrong?”

The Things We Do For Our Kids

This evening I am accompanying Rebecca to a show at the Ulster Hall venue in Belfast. And by ‘accompanying’ I mean being dragged along kicking and screaming. Who are we going to see? One Direction reforming? No, it’s Northern Irish YouTube ‘sensation’, TheNewAdamB99, on the Belfast leg of his sold out tour. YouTubers go onContinue reading “The Things We Do For Our Kids”

Warning: This Game Could Take Over Your Life

In recent months, I have felt increasingly excluded from the Black clan as Fionnuala and the hatchlings have sat hunched over their phones. Furiously punching keys, they have cackled and hissed in equal measure, accompanied by groans of dismay and squeals of delight. What on earth were they up to, I pondered? I decided toContinue reading “Warning: This Game Could Take Over Your Life”

I’m No Gordon Ramsay But….

A rare event occurred this afternoon. I cooked Sunday dinner. Yes, you read that right, and what a triumph it turned out to be. A massive success. And by success I mean I didn’t set the house on fire and managed to create an edible dish. I watched anxiously as the Black clan took theirContinue reading “I’m No Gordon Ramsay But….”

The Curious Case Of People Who Read Christmas Blogs In March

As the first quarter of the year draws to a close, I’m somewhat surprised that people are still viewing a series of blogs I posted at Christmas – imaginatively entitled ‘The 12 Blogging Questions of Christmas’. Are people accidentally stumbling across these posts or are there folk out there who just can’t abide parting withContinue reading “The Curious Case Of People Who Read Christmas Blogs In March”

Stephen Has Lost It

He has lost it people and we need your help to get it back!! Stephen has lost his writing mojo!! He hasn’t wrote a blog since Sunday which has lead me to write this week and now I’m posting a second what is the world coming to what’s going on? All us at home reallyContinue reading “Stephen Has Lost It”

Don’t Tell My Wife I’ve Written This 2

Pssssssst…. Yeah. You. Over here. But quietly. And quickly. Here’s the deal. Adam’s rugby season is over for another year. It’s been seven months of highs and lows which I’ve experienced from the touchline, in all weathers. Sun, rain, wind and lots of mud. I’ve cheered his every run and tackle, paid him £5 everyContinue reading “Don’t Tell My Wife I’ve Written This 2”

Playing The Bad Cop….Badly

I spent a bit of time last night drawing up a study timetable for Adam’s GCSE exams which begin in May. These are very important and will largely determine his educational path for the next few years. If he does well he can move on to study A levels, which he will require in orderContinue reading “Playing The Bad Cop….Badly”

Worst Limerick Ever

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from a blustery Northern Ireland. Fionnuala suggested an ‘Oirish’ themed post today, so here’s a photo of our three hatchlings celebrating as only they can. The photo was taken a few years ago but you get the idea. As for me, well the best I could come up with was thisContinue reading “Worst Limerick Ever”

How To Break Bad News To Your Wife….And Get Away With It

Fionnuala is always the first up in our house on week days, busying herself making lunches, ironing uniforms and the million and one other things she has to do to get three kids and a husband out the front door in the morning. It’s chaos, but organised chaos. I normally arrive downstairs 15 minutes orContinue reading “How To Break Bad News To Your Wife….And Get Away With It”

Planes, Cranes & Swedish Fish

Whenever one of the hatchlings misbehaves, which is most days if I’m honest, Fionnuala and I threaten to hit them where it hurts the most. We go for the gadgets. Want to make a 6’1” rugby playing teenage son’s bottom lip quiver? Take his PS4 off him. The same applies to our two delightful daughters.Continue reading “Planes, Cranes & Swedish Fish”

Are You A Confident Person?

Fionnuala and I are attending Hannah’s annual school review this lunchtime. This does exactly what it says on the tin. We sit around a table and listen as her teacher, classroom assistant, physio and occupational therapist update us as to her progress so far this school year. I know we will have nothing to fearContinue reading “Are You A Confident Person?”

Fionnuala And Stephen: A Love Story

Fionnuala and I are going out! Together! At the same time!! With no kids in tow!!! This is a cause of great excitement for the last time we had a night out, Bill Clinton was still President. Thankfully I got some new ‘going out’ clothes at Christmas otherwise I would have been reduced to winingContinue reading “Fionnuala And Stephen: A Love Story”

I’m Exactly What It Says On The Tin

It’s Day Two of my Interview Panel Skills Training – everybody go yaaaaay – and today we are conducting mock interviews – everybody go boooo. I woke up with a sickly sheen of dread coating my body. For I despise days like this, where you are encouraged (forced) to partake in role play within theContinue reading “I’m Exactly What It Says On The Tin”

Stop Beating Yourself Up

Of late, I have been bumping into people who I used to spend a lot of time around. I would have regarded them as friends. In fact, I spent more time with them than I did with my own family. It was a period of my life when I had stopped drinking and started running.Continue reading “Stop Beating Yourself Up”

My Valentines Date With Mrs Hinch

You can never accuse my wife and I of not being romantic. Yesterday, as a pre Valentines Day treat, Fionnuala took me shopping….for cleaning products. You see, my better half has recently become obsessed with a number of home improvement gurus on social media. As a result, our home has been glistening despite the bestContinue reading “My Valentines Date With Mrs Hinch”

What Is Your Worst Habit?

Yesterday I wrote about my ongoing querying of literary agents and how researching their backgrounds prior to submitting your manuscript to them, is the acceptable face of online stalking. It was a tongue in cheek piece, as most of my writing is, but there was a serious message wrapped up inside the frivolity. That being,Continue reading “What Is Your Worst Habit?”

Sticking Your Head Above The Parapets

I was raised on fantasy novels and this has largely continued into my supposed adult years. It began with a fascination for Middle Earth and all things Tolkien. My mind was filled with adventures accompanied by hobbits and elves, battling orcs and armies of darkness at the foot of Mount Mordor. As a teenager IContinue reading “Sticking Your Head Above The Parapets”

I Write This From My Deathbed

I write this from my deathbed. Well, not quite. But, having felt rotten all week, I’ve decided to take a day off work to try and shake off this cold once and for all. Fionnuala, wonderful wife that she is, has promised to make me soup and my bedside table is crammed with liquids, tissuesContinue reading “I Write This From My Deathbed”

An Apology To My Family

Last night my adoring wife posted a blog about our new coffee table. A very lovely addition to our house, which was positioned slap bang in the middle of the living room, patiently awaiting my return from work last night. As the kids returned from school, it was the first thing they noticed and theContinue reading “An Apology To My Family”

Why Do Women Not Understand Manflu?

I woke up this morning and groaned. Not only was it a dark and dreary Monday morning, but I sensed a tickle in my throat. My nose was blocked and my energy levels were even lower than I normally would have expected. I sighed and sadly informed Fionnuala that I appeared to be unwell. IContinue reading “Why Do Women Not Understand Manflu?”

I Have An Obsessive Personality

I have an obsessive personality. Regular readers will know this anyway. It’s an aspect of my OCD which I have struggled with for the majority of my adult life. I don’t do things by half. When I develop a new interest or passion I must push it to the nth degree, to the point whereContinue reading “I Have An Obsessive Personality”

The Blind Leading The Blind

The other day I encountered an elderly blind man in the city centre. He was experiencing some difficulties as double decker buses roared past, mere feet away. I instinctively wanted to go to his aid but the introverted, socially awkward voice in my head held me back. ‘You don’t talk to strangers, Stephen. What ifContinue reading “The Blind Leading The Blind”

We All Need To Eat More Pizza

We had friends visiting last night so treated ourselves to Dominos Pizza, given it was buy one get one free Tuesday. It was too good an offer to miss out on, so we ended up going buy three, get three free. And try saying that with a mouthful of ham and pineapple deep crust. EveryoneContinue reading “We All Need To Eat More Pizza”

The Day My Dog Spoke To Me

Our dog, Charlie the border terrier, isn’t the sharpest tool in the box. Every morning I fill his bowl with fresh water, and every morning he and I enact the same routine. He pads over to the bowl, sniffs at it and then rewards me with a withering glare, before sulking in his cage forContinue reading “The Day My Dog Spoke To Me”

These Boots Were Made For….Squelching

Now that I’m a full time Rugby Dad, my son honoured me at Christmas by buying me a pair of Wellington boots to keep my tootsies dry and warm as I prowl up and down the touchline. He even included a pair of thermal socks which almost reach my knees. Combined with winter coat, gloves,Continue reading “These Boots Were Made For….Squelching”

What Do Bloggers Do On Sunday?

From personal experience, Sunday is the quietest day of the week on WordPress. People tend to be offline and blog traffic picks up later in the week again. For many people, Sunday is traditionally a day of rest. They have a lie in, spend the day with their family, some go to church. I alsoContinue reading “What Do Bloggers Do On Sunday?”

This Bloody Sleeve Of Mine

I wear my heart on my sleeve. I always have. I’m not one of these people who can face the world with a cheery smile, while inside said world is crumbling to a pile of acrid ash. I don’t do deadpan and if I played poker, my pile of chips would be gone after aContinue reading “This Bloody Sleeve Of Mine”

Words

Words are something that we all use every day of our life Words that are spoken in many different languages and ways be it through speech, sign language, communication boards, text messaging and writing to name but a few Words that are loving, encouraging, beautiful, uplifting and words that are dangerous, nasty, hateful and uglyContinue reading “Words”

I’m With The 39%

According to a poll taken yesterday, 61% of its population think the United Kingdom is in crisis. The reason? Why, Brexit of course. The ongoing saga reached new depths last night when Prime Minister Teresa May’s proposed Withdrawal Agreement was defeated by over 200 votes in Parliament. This triggered the Labour opposition calling for aContinue reading “I’m With The 39%”

Algebra Is Hard. Common Sense Is Harder.

Rebecca handed me the homework from hell yesterday evening. Algebra, no less. I initially thought it was Geography and was a study of North African nations until I realised it was Maths. Or, in order to avoid confusing our loyal North American readership….Math. Armed with a lowly ‘C’ in my O Level Mathematics back whenContinue reading “Algebra Is Hard. Common Sense Is Harder.”

The Land Is Yours

Every so often, I get a phrase in my head that won’t budge. It’s different from the million other thoughts which bounce around my head every day. Different in that I know it is not of me. It’s as if a flying saucer has landed on my cranium and a team of little green menContinue reading “The Land Is Yours”

My Afternoon With Harry Potter

Fionnuala and the girls commissioned the television this afternoon to watch the first Harry Potter movie. This is an experience I have managed to avoid in all my years on the planet to date. I’ve also never read the books. I blogged about this once and the response was phenomenal. It remains my most popularContinue reading “My Afternoon With Harry Potter”

A Win-Win Weekend

It’s been a great start to the weekend here at chez Black. Adam’s school, Lurgan College, progressed to the 3rd round of the Schools Cup with a hard earned 13-8 win over Foyle College. It’s a big achievement for a relatively small grammar school especially as Foyle were fielding an Ulster Schools U19 player. TheContinue reading “A Win-Win Weekend”

An Idiot Abroad – My Adventures In London – Part 2

Those of a nervous disposition will be relieved to learn I landed safely in Belfast last night after my business trip to London. Thankfully there wasn’t a drone to be seen, although I suspect I will encounter several when I return to the office this morning. Boom Boom! Yesterday was slightly less eventful than theContinue reading “An Idiot Abroad – My Adventures In London – Part 2”

Belfast 2019

I’ve been a bit under the weather of late, and unable to run, but it’s good to have targets so I thought I’d write about my main racing target for 2019 – the Belfast Marathon on 05 May. It seems a long way off at the minute, but for most people January marks the beginningContinue reading “Belfast 2019”

Don’t Tell My Wife I’ve Written This

They are legion. Breeding. Multiplying. Every time I turn my back, more of them appear. Cloning. Driving me to the depths of despair and the heights of frustration. Are they a hallucination? A figment of my overworked imagination? Is there a medical term for such a psychosis? Do I require medication, counselling, a lie downContinue reading “Don’t Tell My Wife I’ve Written This”

2019….We Go Again

Being a full time rugby dad, I’ve heard the above phrase often over the last few years as I’ve stood on the touchline supporting Adam. When a team scores and is regrouping for the resulting kickoff it is a rallying cry for the side. Yes, we may have just scored. Yes, we may be leading.Continue reading “2019….We Go Again”

Blessing Jar

Friends of ours have started up their own ministry.  We meet up every Sunday morning, currently it is at our house as it’s best suited to meet our family’s needs but we believe 2019 is going to bring new and bigger premises in order for it nourish and grow.  Yesterday I shared something at ourContinue reading “Blessing Jar”

The Days When Everything Clicks

Today was one of those days as far as Adam’s rugby went. He was selected to play for Lurgan College’s 2nd XV away to Banbridge Academy. Banbridge had won the corresponding fixture 10-7 earlier in the year, and another close contest was expected. We were missing a few players however, due to the Christmas holidays,Continue reading “The Days When Everything Clicks”

The 12 Blogging Days Of Christmas – Day 7 – What Is Your Favourite Christmas Food?

Fionnuala was up at the crack of dawn this morning to hit the supermarket for the traditional pre-Christmas big food shop. At the mention of food, Adam leapt out of bed to accompany her. If only he could be roused so easily on a school morning. Rebecca also joined them, but I remained in bedContinue reading “The 12 Blogging Days Of Christmas – Day 7 – What Is Your Favourite Christmas Food?”

The 12 Blogging Questions Of Christmas – Day 6 – What Do You Believe In?

Sixteen years ago today, Fionnuala made one of the worst decisions of her life. She married me! I’m joking…..I think. Since then, we have had our ups and downs, but we are still together and facing all the world has to throw at us. We have been blessed with three wonderful kids, and I’m lookingContinue reading “The 12 Blogging Questions Of Christmas – Day 6 – What Do You Believe In?”

The 12 Blogging Questions Of Christmas – Day 4 – What Is Your Favourite Christmas Movie?

I saw a poll on the news this morning which announced the most popular Christmas movie of all time was ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’. It beat ‘Elf’ to the top spot which pleased me no end. If there’s one thing in life I can’t get my head around it’s the love affair people have withContinue reading “The 12 Blogging Questions Of Christmas – Day 4 – What Is Your Favourite Christmas Movie?”

Attitude Changes Behaviour

Adam’s rugby squad were visited by a motivational speaker yesterday. Sports psychology is big industry now and with the Ulster Schools Cup starting next month, it was a very appropriate time for such a visit. So instead of charging about on a muddy pitch, thirty teenage boys sat in a classroom and heard the followingContinue reading “Attitude Changes Behaviour”

I’m Twitter Famous….Except I’m Not

I woke up to 30 new followers on Twitter this morning. This kind of freaked me out. Where had they all come from? Had I been sleep tweeting? Is that even a thing? As I was pondering this, I received another three followers. What on Earth was going on? This must be how Justin BieberContinue reading “I’m Twitter Famous….Except I’m Not”

Everybody Hurts. Most of the Time

My neck hurts. This is a surefire indicator of stress. Here’s a true story. The night before I got married, I got a cramp in my neck. Since then, whenever I get stressed, I develop a dull ache in one side of my neck. Cracking it helps. A little. I have no idea if thereContinue reading “Everybody Hurts. Most of the Time”

Happy Birthday Hannah

Today marks a special day at chez Black. Our middle hatchling, Hannah, turns 15 years old. Fionnuala and I are deeply proud of the wonderful young woman she is turning into. She has her moments, don’t we all, but her kind nature, sensitive heart and bubbly personality serves as an inspiration to us all. WeContinue reading “Happy Birthday Hannah”

The Try That Never Was

Adam was involved in a very tightly contested rugby match yesterday against a much bigger Belfast school. Privately, I wasn’t expecting the boys to win but they played out of their skins, and almost did. The final score was 17-14 but the score doesn’t fully reflect the courage, skill and work ethic the team putContinue reading “The Try That Never Was”

#PitMad On WordPress

On Twitter yesterday, writers posted book pitches along with the hashtag #pitmad. The idea was to promote their work and garner support amongst the writing community. If you liked the pitch you hit the retweet button. I’m fairly new to Twitter, but decided to give it a rattle anyway. I got 4 retweets! Well, twoContinue reading “#PitMad On WordPress”

Life is Meh. But At Least We Have Doughnuts

I pride myself on being positive when I blog, but when I sat down to write today, I was struggling to find anything. The well was empty . The last few days have been quite disheartening for us, with very little seeming to go our way. Fionnuala saved the day, though, by bringing these badContinue reading “Life is Meh. But At Least We Have Doughnuts”

It’s Not Online Stalking! It’s Research!!

Now that the book is written and nestling in my editors inbox, I’ve been twiddling my thumbs about what to do next. Well, that’s not strictly true as it appears writing the actual novel is only the tip of the iceberg. I’ve now entered the wonderful world of submissions to literary agents. Which brings meContinue reading “It’s Not Online Stalking! It’s Research!!”

It’s 23 November….Happy Christmas!

HAPPY CHRISTMAS! Er….okay. I realise it’s not even December yet, but Fionnuala and I buckled to pressure from our daughters today. Hannah has already been watching Christmas movies for several weeks, and was belting out festive tunes this morning in the car. It was only a matter of time before I was dispatched to theContinue reading “It’s 23 November….Happy Christmas!”

Happy Thanksgiving From Ireland

Happy Thanksgiving to all our American followers. Being a sad man, I looked up the number of views Fractured Faith has had this year. Of the 79,053, over 45,000 of these were from the good old U.S of A. I have no idea what you see in the ramblings of a Northern Irish man butContinue reading “Happy Thanksgiving From Ireland”

It Is Finished

It is finished. The report, that is, which I’ve been fretting over these last few weeks at work. Following a final big push, it will be submitted today to they who must be obeyed. I can sit back, relax for 11.6 seconds, and then find something else to panic about, for that is who IContinue reading “It Is Finished”

I’m Giving Up Blogging To Join The Circus

Relax. I’m not. Although…. I was driving home from work last week, after a brutally tough day in the office. My head was fried, my brains were mush. All I wanted to do was get home and vegetate on the sofa. I was too tired to write, run, do anything really. My neck ached, aContinue reading “I’m Giving Up Blogging To Join The Circus”