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”

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”

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”

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”

My Love Affair With Toast

The day we discovered the joys of lightly burning bread and then buttering it was a great day for the human race. Toast. I have had a love affair with this breakfast staple for much of my life. In fact, never mind breakfast. I can quite happily eat toast at any time of the day.Continue reading “My Love Affair With Toast”

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”

Never Forget

Never, ever forget….

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”

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”

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”

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”

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”

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”

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”

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”

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”

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”

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”

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?”

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….”

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”

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”

The Morning I Regretted Making Breakfast

As it was Fionnuala’s birthday the other day, I bounced down the stairs and grandly announced I was going to make breakfast for everyone. I zoomed off to the village shop, returning with bacon, sausages and fresh bread. Throwing them onto the grille, I began to probe the Black clan for orders as they blearilyContinue reading “The Morning I Regretted Making Breakfast”

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”

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?”

Sins of the Father

Sins of the Father https://thewisewordsproject.com/2019/01/28/sins-of-the-father/ — Read on thewisewordsproject.com/2019/01/28/sins-of-the-father/ I was approached some weeks ago by http://thewisewordsproject.com and asked to write a piece for their website. Here it is, a tale of two great men, and the third who connects them. Thank you to the website for giving me the opportunity to write for them.Continue reading “Sins of the Father”

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”

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”

How Persistent Are You?

Last night I missed an important phone call. It was my own fault as I had my mobile on silent at the time, one of my many bad habits. Thankfully the caller phoned back later in the night, waking me up but I didn’t mind, so relieved was I that they had tried again. IContinue reading “How Persistent Are You?”

How Did That Happen?

We passed 7500 followers yesterday. Quite the achievement for the little blog that Fionnuala encouraged me to start almost eighteen months ago. Since then, there have been almost daily posts about life, the universe and everything. I’m not quite sure why, but people continue to read and post encouraging comments. It has been both anContinue reading “How Did That Happen?”

Are You A Morning Person?

In our house on weekdays, the alarm normally arouses the adults from blissful sleep at 5:45 am. Routine then kicks in and our weary bodies go onto autopilot. Fionnuala commences the Herculean act of getting a bouncing eleven year old and two zombie teenagers out of the house and on their way to school. UniformsContinue reading “Are You A Morning Person?”

The Winning Ticket – Part 1

As many of you know, I get the train to and from Belfast every day as part of my commute to work. My adventures on the 07:53 express to often feature on this blog. Today’s post is no exception. But today I want to talk about money, or rather saving money. Something I’m not veryContinue reading “The Winning Ticket – Part 1”

God Remembers – Part One

Zacharias prayed every day. Which wasn’t peculiar, in itself, given his status as a high ranking priest within the order of Abijah. He was a man of some status, a descendant of Aaron, who had devoted his life to serving God. He was respected by the people, a man viewed as righteous and blameless inContinue reading “God Remembers – Part One”

Unsung Heroes

Our weekends seem to be getting busier and busier as the kids get older. Today has been no exception. Adam had a rugby game in Belfast, prior to starting his part time job at 3pm. In the middle of all that, Hannah had a lunchtime birthday party to attend. As we only have one car,Continue reading “Unsung Heroes”

Today….I Must Be Honest

A Fractured Faith has increasingly, in recent months, acted as a vehicle to publicise a book I have been writing. Since the turn of the year, it has taken up a considerable amount of my free time. I have made steady progress and a few months ago started to release sections of it to aContinue reading “Today….I Must Be Honest”

Happy Birthday Anne!

A belated Happy Birthday to our dear friend, Anne McCartney, who celebrated her ahem …. something first birthday yesterday. Anne has been a tremendous spiritual and practical support to Fionnuala and myself in recent years, through good times and bad. Anne and her husband, Graham, have been two of the people who have inspired meContinue reading “Happy Birthday Anne!”

What Are You Hungry For?

Saturday was the start of the new rugby season, so Fionnuala and I hugged the touchline, to watch Adam play for his college against one of the big Belfast schools. Unfortunately they lost, but didn’t go down without a fight. Adam had a great game and scored his team’s only try. I thought he wasContinue reading “What Are You Hungry For?”

The Unadulterated Joy Of Shopping With Hatchlings

Today I tested the limits of my parental skills, I attempted the Everest of fatherhood. As Fionnuala is housebound nursing a heavy cold, I took our three hatchlings (aged 16, 14 and 11 going on 61 respectively) out shopping. I felt a bit like Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible; all that was missing was beingContinue reading “The Unadulterated Joy Of Shopping With Hatchlings”

Our Eleven Year Old Daughter Has Moved Out

There is never a dull moment at chez Black and this weekend has been no exception. But it has been a little quieter than usual. The reason? Rebecca, our youngest daughter, has been sleeping over at her Granny’s house in Belfast. This was initially meant to be a single night sleepover but she announced toContinue reading “Our Eleven Year Old Daughter Has Moved Out”

Losing The Battle….Winning The War

I am supposed to be running the Longford Marathon in two weeks time. It was the target I set myself after completing the Belfast equivalent in May and some of you may recall I blogged about my intentions at the time. I thought it was a realistic proposition and I could juggle it with allContinue reading “Losing The Battle….Winning The War”

Competing Priorities

These last few weeks the pressure has been on big style in my office as the powers that be have demanded the delivery of a number of long term projects within an increasingly short term deadline. I have been shackled at my desk, pounding away at my keyboard like one of those harassed detectives youContinue reading “Competing Priorities”

Only Mad People Start To Write A Novel? Discuss….

Whenever I tell people in the ‘real world’ *dabs fingers patronisingly* that I am writing a novel they invariably look vaguely uncomfortable before changing the subject at the first available opportunity. Some of them stare at me as if I have finally taken leave of my senses while others nod in bemused sympathy, say ‘that’sContinue reading “Only Mad People Start To Write A Novel? Discuss….”

I Do Good Foot Rubs. But Very Little Else.

I often ask Fionnuala if I’m the most irritating person she has ever met to which she unerringly replies….yes. It’s a gift, I guess, but my long suffering wife has many buttons of which I know how to press every one. Repeatedly. If there is a new, innovative way to drive her nuts yours trulyContinue reading “I Do Good Foot Rubs. But Very Little Else.”

What Do You Wish You Had Written About Today?

People often compliment me on my honest writing style. They ask me how do I do it as they could never be that open and upfront about their lives. They use words like ‘refreshing’ which I like as honesty is a refreshing attribute in today’s world. I’m not talking about liars here but, rather, peopleContinue reading “What Do You Wish You Had Written About Today?”

A Little Taste Of Sweden

Northern Ireland traditionally grinds to a halt this week for the 12th of July band parades as the Unionist community celebrate the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 where the army of King William defeated King James and so began over 300 years of political and religious hatred between the two communities. It’s a long,Continue reading “A Little Taste Of Sweden”

Thank You

This is not intended as a self indulgent or ‘look at me’ post. But we reached 6000 followers yesterday on the blog and wanted to say thank you to everyone who has contributed towards us reaching this milestone. Fionnuala and I are very grateful for the continued support, encouragement and love that you send ourContinue reading “Thank You”

Adrift

Fionnuala and I went to the cinema last night. Without kids! We get to do this about once a decade. The movie was called ‘Adrift’ based on a true story of a couple whose dream of sailing across the Pacific turns to tragedy when their yacht is badly damaged in a storm leaving them thousandsContinue reading “Adrift”

Why I Gave National Selfie Day A Miss

Some of you may have been wondering why I haven’t been posting about my running exploits of late. Although many of you are undoubtedly not. I’m not injured or anything and have been plodding along the highways and byways around our village as ever. My Garmin has been playing up, however, which means I haven’tContinue reading “Why I Gave National Selfie Day A Miss”

Happy Father’s Day

All around the world today people are celebrating Fathers and in our house today we will be celebrating Stephen. Stephen has been my rock this week and I couldn’t have got through it without him. The kids and myself are so proud of him at how he has turned his life around for us andContinue reading “Happy Father’s Day”

That Time I Went Through My Neighbour’s Bin

Storm Hector hit our village the night before last which brought high winds and heavy rain. Our ten day summer was officially over. The gazebo was dismantled and put away; the paddling pool was emptied; the garden furniture was placed in the garage as we battened down the hatches and prepared for the worst couldContinue reading “That Time I Went Through My Neighbour’s Bin”

Still turning the knife

Last weekend saw the passing of my father and just as I had wrote a nice blog about him trying not to focus on the bad memories he managed to turn the knife yet again. Just when I thought he couldn’t hurt me anymore he did. My mum, my brothers and their families, myself, StephenContinue reading “Still turning the knife”

The School Run

Fionnuala and Hannah stayed at my wonderful mother in laws last night so I was entrusted with looking after Adam, Rebecca and Charlie the border terrier; or rather they were entrusted with looking after me. Either way the prospect of orchestrating the school run this morning filled me with dread, despite Fionnuala’s detailed instructions whichContinue reading “The School Run”

I’m A Christian Blogger But I’ve Stopped Writing Christian Blogs

When we started this blog in May 2017 the large majority of my posts were overtly Christian. They were quite popular and the blog grew quickly with a predominantly Christian following. A lot of those folk still support the blog and this post is primarily written for them. I feel I owe them an explanationContinue reading “I’m A Christian Blogger But I’ve Stopped Writing Christian Blogs”

Well Done Rebecca!

Fionnuala and I endured….I mean enjoyed Rebecca’s final primary sports day this morning before she heads off to junior high in September. The Black Family have never fared well at these bar my own glorious victory in the parents water balloon throwing event many years ago. My price was a massive chocolate bar. It was,Continue reading “Well Done Rebecca!”

I’m Writing A Book….Still (Part 5)

I finished the first draft of the novel at the tail end of last week and have now started the laborious, but crucial, editing process. The first draft weighed in at a whopping 120K words and I’m presently around 18K words through the first edit. This has been useful in identifying plot gaps and clunkyContinue reading “I’m Writing A Book….Still (Part 5)”

The Giants Causeway

Today was spent acting as tour guide for some American visitors to Northern Ireland. We took them along the Causeway Coastal Route which shows off the beautiful scenery of Northern Ireland’s North Coast. The weather was equally spectacular as well with temperature hitting 26 degrees celsius. I only wear shorts when I run though soContinue reading “The Giants Causeway”

What Conversations Have You Had With Yourself Today?

Has anyone else noticed the increasing number of people who seem to be talking to themselves in public places? They always cause me to take a double look before I realise, with some relief, that they are actually in the middle of a conversation via an earpiece attached to their mobile phone. Well, thank goodnessContinue reading “What Conversations Have You Had With Yourself Today?”

Happy Birthday To Us

Fractured Faith is a year old today and what a year it has been. Fionnuala and I would like to thank you again, our fellow bloggers, for the support and encouragement you have provided along the way. Here’s to the next year.

That Time I Frightened A German Teenager On The London Underground

So there I was yesterday afternoon. Sitting on the tube as it hurtled beneath the streets of London towards our stop. It was packed which meant that my work colleague was sitting further down the carriage whilst I was surrounded by a gaggle of excited German teenagers who had embarked at the previous stop. IContinue reading “That Time I Frightened A German Teenager On The London Underground”

We are proud of you

Around this time last year Stephen wasn’t in a great place which is no big secret as he regularly blogs about it. As a result of his state of mind back then I encouraged him to do what he loved to do again and that was to write which was when this blog was birthed.Continue reading “We are proud of you”

Belfast Marathon- 23 Mile (I think)

It’s been a long cold morning but as we stand here waiting and watching the runners pass us by the sun has come out and is heating us up nicely. At this point in the marathon it is uphill and my heart does go out to the runners. Stephen has always said he looks forwardContinue reading “Belfast Marathon- 23 Mile (I think)”

Belfast Marathon- 7 Mile Mark

Stephen realised at the start that he left his vaseline in the car so at this point we have to do a hand over of Vaseline and Jellybabies. The marathon started at 9am Stephen reached the 7 mile mark at 9.58 looking fresh 😂 Next time we will see him now will be at 23Continue reading “Belfast Marathon- 7 Mile Mark”

Belfast Marathon- Starting Line

Well the day has arrived Stephen has been blogging about for a few months now. Myself and the kids don’t get a sleep in on Bank Holiday Monday we get up very early and come into Belfast to watch Stephen running. Stephen asked me to do blogs today each time we spot him so hereContinue reading “Belfast Marathon- Starting Line”

I’m Stephen. I’m Sober And Socially Awkward

My anxiety levels were fairly high yesterday morning as we set off to attend the wedding of Fionnuala’s brother, Gearard, to his fiancée, Emma. Ever since I gave up drinking five years ago I have struggled at social events, especially those where I have to interact with people I don’t know. Alcohol was my crutchContinue reading “I’m Stephen. I’m Sober And Socially Awkward”

Family Wedding

The Black Clan are at a family wedding today in Belfast. Normal blogging service will be resumed tomorrow.

What’s Been Your Best/Worst Wedding Experience?

Good Morning from a sunny (yes, you heard that right) sunny Northern Ireland. This is a big week for the Black Family. As well as the usual work and school madness Fionnuala’s brother is getting married on Friday. Hannah will be a bridesmaid and Fionnuala, Adam and Rebecca all have roles to perform during theContinue reading “What’s Been Your Best/Worst Wedding Experience?”

Happy Birthday

This is a very special weekend for The Black Family as tomorrow we celebrate 48 years of Stephen – yes it’s his Birthday!! We have had a really busy few weeks with next week set to be even busier with the lead up to my brother’s wedding so this weekend it’s all going to beContinue reading “Happy Birthday”

Cheap Date

I had another long work day yesterday so booked today off in order that Fionnuala and I could go shopping for new outfits for her brothers wedding next week. We hardly ever get time together alone so vowed that we would make the most of it. A romantic lunch perhaps? It was pay day afterContinue reading “Cheap Date”

I’m Running A Marathon…Still

Today I’m providing a two part update on my running and writing exploits of late. The title above may have given it away that this first instalment covers the former. Those who would rather gnaw their own foot off than read a running blog may look away now with my blessing. But more fool themContinue reading “I’m Running A Marathon…Still”

My Name Is Stephen and I Am A Snorer

I’m feeling a little under the weather. I awoke yesterday with a cold that one of my daughters thoughtfully passed on to me. One of the perks of sharing a house with little people. I felt lousy yesterday and a little less lousy today. All I want to do is sleep. All Fionnuala wants toContinue reading “My Name Is Stephen and I Am A Snorer”

Everything You Wanted To Know About Ireland But Were Afraid To Ask

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from the Black Family in a wet and windy Northern Ireland. Just for a change…. Okay he was probably Welsh, didn’t know a shamrock from his elbow and never saw a snake in his life but those are just details right? Today is a big day on the island of Ireland.Continue reading “Everything You Wanted To Know About Ireland But Were Afraid To Ask”

The Torch Bearer

My father was a great man. Not a perfect man but a great one, nonetheless. He had flaws but part of his greatness was that he recognised and embraced them. He knew he wasn’t perfect so took positive action to rectify them. Most of the time he was successful at this, sometimes not, but everyContinue reading “The Torch Bearer”

Dr. Hell’s Emporium Of Pain

I cut a sorry figure as I staggered out of the dental surgery three days ago. I had been booked in for a routine filling. Something about me consuming too many fizzy drinks. Who me? I had innocently enquired when asked. I may be partial to the occasional Diet Coke or ten but other thanContinue reading “Dr. Hell’s Emporium Of Pain”

Happy Birthday Fionnuala

A short blog to wish a very Happy Birthday to my incredible wife, Fionnuala. She holds this family together and I am blessed and honoured that she chose me to be her husband. She is the bravest, strongest and wisest woman I know. She will always be beautiful to me, inside and out. We loveContinue reading “Happy Birthday Fionnuala”

There Are Times I Don’t Think

There are times I don’t think. And when I don’t think I’m back on the brink. I huff and I puff and I blow my house down. Left standing in rubble, the boy in the bubble. A bubble of trouble, a mess and a muddle. A puddle of pain, the stress and the strain. IContinue reading “There Are Times I Don’t Think”

What Are You Up To This Weekend?

Storm Emma has now arrived in Northern Ireland and we woke up to strong winds and drifting snow. The road out of the village is impassable and the police have been telling motorists to turn round and go back home. There was no chance of me making it into work today and the schools areContinue reading “What Are You Up To This Weekend?”

A Walk In The Snow

‘The Beast From The East’ hit Northern Ireland with a vengeance today. We awoke to a carpet of white and it has continued to snow heavily all day. Sub zero temperatures combined with a brutal wind chill factor have just added to the fun & games. As usual the country has descended into utter chaos.Continue reading “A Walk In The Snow”

Weekend Update

Another shortish post today as another crazy week begins for the Black family. We are bracing ourselves as a cold front from Siberia descends upon the British Isles. The media over here have named it ‘The Beast From The East’ and we have been warned to expect icy winds, heavy snowfall and sub zero temperatures.Continue reading “Weekend Update”

A Few Lines

Just a few lines today you will all be glad to hear. It is my last day off work before going on call for a week so today I’m going to focus on the novel I am supposedly writing. Life has got in the way of late as it tends to do and other stuffContinue reading “A Few Lines”

Down The Rabbit Hole

Day 2 of Operation Home Improvement effortlessly slipped into gear at chez Black yesterday. I continued my painting duties while Fionnuala skilfully concentrated on the wallpapering, a skill set way beyond my limited abilities. I am the manual labourer to her skilled artisan. She learnt to wallpaper by watching her grandmother and mother and, byContinue reading “Down The Rabbit Hole”

The Hibernation Is Over

I love the WordPress community. I find the honesty and openness expressed on it as refreshing as a spring breeze. People can be vulnerable here and strip back the layers of pretence that we are forced to wear in the ‘real world’. In a society where many social media platforms portray a false, distorted realityContinue reading “The Hibernation Is Over”

Medals Or Memories?

I have a drawer full of race medals. When I first started running four years ago I treasured them like precious jewels. The guys I ran with had the motto ‘It’s all about the bling’. We would travel the length and breadth of the country in search of additions to our collections. The bigger andContinue reading “Medals Or Memories?”

Repackage Your Heart

First World Problems have once more raised their ugly head at chez Black this last week or so. Having struggled through various sicknesses and other crises during the month of January we thought we were due a turn of fortunes. A reprieve from the trials and tribulations of modern life. But oh no for much,Continue reading “Repackage Your Heart”

Bite Your Lip

Sometimes you need to bite your lip. For the greater good. Today is one of those days. I’ve been worrying about today all week. Anxiety has been tapping on my chest like the first drops of rain tapping against a window, harbingers of the coming storm. For me that storm is avoidable today. But IContinue reading “Bite Your Lip”

The Grind

Yesterday epitomised Northern Ireland winter time at its finest. It was wet, cold, windy and grey. Come to think of it that fairly accurately epitomises Northern Ireland spring time as well. And summer. And autumn. Anyway it was miserable. I stared forlornly out of the window with a hangdog expression, willing the clouds to clearContinue reading “The Grind”

Straight Outta Aghalee

I am many things. I am a father, a husband, a son and a brother. I tackle all of these responsibilities with varying degrees of success. I am an exceedingly average distance runner and wannabe blogger and author. I like so see myself as a good friend but all the good and not so goodContinue reading “Straight Outta Aghalee”

How Good Is Your Memory?

I have a great memory. I have a terrible memory. Confused? Let me explain. Ask me to name the Manchester United Premiership winning team of 1992-1993. No problem. Schmeichel, Irwin, Pallister…..Ok Ok you’re not interested, I get it. Back to the main message. Ask me however what I did yesterday and I struggle. This drivesContinue reading “How Good Is Your Memory?”

Shatter The Silence

Silence is golden they say. In today’s hectic world it is almost impossible to escape the constant hustle and bustle of everyday life. With technological advances we are rarely totally alone nowadays. We crave anonymity and inaccessibility. We just want five minutes of peace and quiet. We need a break, a time out, a littleContinue reading “Shatter The Silence”

Beardy McBeardFace – Part Two

Due to unprecedented popular demand (well, three of you) I’ve decided to post a photo of my attempts to grow a beard. This was taken earlier today. It’s been twelve days now since my chin last saw a razor blade and what a journey it has been. I’ve pouted, I’ve preened and I’ve scratched butContinue reading “Beardy McBeardFace – Part Two”

Death By Cupcake

The Black Family hit Belfast’s Christmas Market yesterday afternoon. As you can see this involved food, food and more food. I took some pictures but, ever since, have barely been able to move given the ginormous burger and cupcake I consumed. I am currently lying in a darkened room and normal blogging duties will beContinue reading “Death By Cupcake”

All I Want For Christmas….

Fionnuala and I celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary today. We have decided this year not to buy each other presents but instead are going later this afternoon as a family to the Christmas Market in Belfast. I’ll be blogging about that adventure later so stay tuned for photos of the Black family there. Probably eating.Continue reading “All I Want For Christmas….”

Homemade Christmas with Love

It is no secret that Christmas is hands down my favourite time of year. I could watch Christmas films from 1st January to 31st December. I love the smells that fill the house – cinnamon, ginger, fresh pine and the turkey and stuffing cooking in the oven. I love the cold weather bonus if itContinue reading “Homemade Christmas with Love”

Love Is….Hard Work

Everybody wants to fall in love right? We all crave that ‘high as a kite’ feeling where our heart performs somersaults every time we see the object of our desire and they occupy our every waking thought. For many it is the single most important objective in their lives and they devote an inordinate amountContinue reading “Love Is….Hard Work”

Stinking Thinking -Part 1

Look at me and what do you see? A husband, a father, a runner, a blogger. I hope that I am all these things and more. But not so long ago I saw myself differently. I saw a failure, a fraud, I worshipped false gods who gnawed at my flaws. Fixated on the din ofContinue reading “Stinking Thinking -Part 1”

Elf Hath No Fury

I appreciate that some of my subject matter can be quite dark and depressing at times but today’s post marks a new low. I apologise in advance to the more fainted hearted of you but this story has to be told. We have a thief in our midst. When Rebecca told me she wanted toContinue reading “Elf Hath No Fury”

30K

We hit 30,000 views over the weekend and this is just a quick thank you to everyone from the WordPress community who has supported us since we started six months ago. We have been moved by your kindness and touched by an online harmony that we have never experienced on any other social media platforms.Continue reading “30K”

The 26.2 Mile Turkey Trot

As I’m not the sharpest tool in the box (just ask Fionnuala) it only struck me this morning that the marathon I have been training for (and boring you about) these last few months falls during the Thankgiving Day weekend. This is not celebrated in Northern Ireland but as most of our followers live inContinue reading “The 26.2 Mile Turkey Trot”

The Angriest Solicitor In Ireland

Back in the bad old days when I spent 97% of my life on Twitter I used to spend my daily commute tweeting about my fellow commuters. This series, imaginatively titled ‘Train Tweets’, used to cause my adoring (or so I thought) army of followers and myself no end of amusement as I by andContinue reading “The Angriest Solicitor In Ireland”

The 1% Is A Liar

Yesterday was my last long run before the ‘Loop of the Lough’ Marathon which I am running for SHINE Charity (Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus) around Strangford Lough, Northern Ireland, next Saturday. The run went well and now it just a matter of keeping things ticking over and continuing my disciplined taper until the big dayContinue reading “The 1% Is A Liar”

Happy Christmas Even Though It’s Still November

Like General Custer at the Little Big Horn I had fought long and heroically against overwhelming odds but had reached the point where I realised I was hopelessly outnumbered and defeat was inevitable. My only saving grace was that my opponents were slightly less bloodthirsty than Crazy Horse and his war braves. I raised theContinue reading “Happy Christmas Even Though It’s Still November”

The Burnt Pot

We all have that one favourite pot, well those of us that do the cooking that is. My favourite pot is the perfect size for boiling the right amount of potatoes, rice or pasta for all the family and it’s the first pot I go to when I’m about to prepare a culinary delight. LastContinue reading “The Burnt Pot”

Fionnuala’s Faith

Today’s blog is a showcase for the true talent at afracturedfaithblog, my wife Fionnuala. Here are some of the faith inspired images that she has created. I think they are amazing but then I’m bias You can see a lot more of Fionnuala’s work on our Instagram account. Just click the relevant link on ourContinue reading “Fionnuala’s Faith”

A Sea Of Words

I hadn’t expected to blog a massive amount this week but I’m wide awake at 05:00 am so thought I would update you all on my first day of serious writing. I had been putting this day off for some time for a multitude of reasons; chief amongst these was a fear that I wouldn’tContinue reading “A Sea Of Words”

You’re Just A Weirdo

After the service today we are going to a Newcomers lunch being hosted by the leadership for families who have only recently started attending the church. They have billed it as an opportunity to get to know other people and learn more about the history of the church, its values and vision for the future.Continue reading “You’re Just A Weirdo”

Meet Mr Skelly 

I’m taking next week off work to write. As in work on the novel idea that has been rattling around my head these last few months. It has now got to the stage where I have to get the words out or I think my brain will explode. It is akin to mental birthing painsContinue reading “Meet Mr Skelly “

Thank You

We passed 2000 followers at the weekend and I just wanted to thank everyone again for their support and encouragement. We never expected this when we started back in May. We hope our daily incursion into your lives is of benefit to you. Thank you again. 

I Believe In Unicorns 

Regular readers of the blog will have known that our youngest daughter, Rebecca, celebrated her 11th birthday a few days ago. The festivities have lasted the best part of a week culminating yesterday in a trip to the ‘Disney On Ice’ show in Belfast. There she was entertained by a flying Peter Pan, Ariel theContinue reading “I Believe In Unicorns “

Attention To Detail

I work in an investigative environment. My job invokes asking lots of questions and finding stuff out. I analyse, assess and dissect. In forensic, minute detail. To miss a tiny piece of information can have serious repercussions. It is fascinating, but painstaking, work. But I’ve been doing it for seventeen years now so I guessContinue reading “Attention To Detail”

Funderland 

Today is Pay Day which, for a limited time only, makes me the most popular member of the Black household. This will of course not last and normal service will no doubt be resumed before the end of the weekend. It is also the start of the half term holidays and Funderland is opening inContinue reading “Funderland “

Cloudy With A Chance of Grace 

I cannot remember the last day I went for a run when it didn’t rain. Ireland is renowned for its beautiful green countryside but I mean really? Could we have one day when I can go out for a run and not come back looking like a drowned rat? At this rate I will turnContinue reading “Cloudy With A Chance of Grace “

Real Running

The ‘Loop of the Lough’ Marathon is five weeks today and, this morning, I set out on a 20 mile training run. The next 2-3 weeks are the toughest part of the training plan before I cut back the mileage in the final fortnight before the big day itself. This final period of the trainingContinue reading “Real Running”

Care & Love 

A rare theological discussion broke out in the office yesterday. Delighted as I initially was it soon degenerated into the usual nonsense as the youngest member of our team innocently enquired ‘Did they have bicycles in the Bible?’ Amidst howls of derision from my co-workers I wracked my memory banks for all of a miilsecondContinue reading “Care & Love “

Grateful 

What with Storm Ophelia, school closures and other daily dramas I haven’t had much of a chance to write these last few days. Hopefully normal service will be resumed again soon. In the meantime I just wanted to drop a line to thank you all as we passed 20,000 views yesterday. Since the blog startedContinue reading “Grateful “

The Morning After 

Just a quick line to update you all that we survived Storm Ophelia which has now passed Ireland. Thank you for everyone who sent thoughts and prayers our way. They were most appreciated and we feel much loved by our WordPress community. Please say a prayer for the families of the three people who lostContinue reading “The Morning After “

Storm Warning 

Storm Ophelia is about to hit Northern Ireland later today and we are bracing ourselves for 80mph winds, heavy rain and major disruption. I know this might sound like ‘small fry’ to readers in other parts of the world who have experienced much harsher weather conditions in recent months; but this is predicted to beContinue reading “Storm Warning “

The Wardrobe Malfunction 

As a barely functioning adult I rely heavily on my surrounding support network to drag me kicking and screaming through everyday life. And by support network I mean Fionnuala. She is the fuel powering the juggernaut that is Team Black. She is the power behind this (ahem) blogging empire. Without her I shudder to thinkContinue reading “The Wardrobe Malfunction “

Modern Life Is Rubbish

It doesn’t take much to annoy me and I got very annoyed at work yesterday. I felt left down and undermined by the actions of a colleague who had taken an issue to our boss rather than first discuss it with me and find a way to resolve the problem. I’m even getting annoyed asContinue reading “Modern Life Is Rubbish”

Be A Painkiller

I rarely get headaches but since my return on Friday from a work trip to England I have had a persistent one just above my right eyebrow. It niggled away at me for most of Saturday before flaring up again in church this morning. Was the sermon that bad? Well it wasn’t great to beContinue reading “Be A Painkiller”

Ten Hours Straight

Fionnuala suggested we go to bed at 8 pm last night. And before you all start nudging one another and sniggering we are three and out when it comes to kids thank you very much. No we thought we would make the most of our tidy new bedroom (see previous post) by actually spending someContinue reading “Ten Hours Straight”

Clutter 

We have been spending Saturday afternoon having a bedroom clearout. My wife (who has more shoes than Imelda Marcos) has found dresses she forgot she had. Never worn! With the price tag still on them!! Likewise the amount of loose change that we have recovered has been akin to getting paid to tidy up. ThereContinue reading “Clutter “

The Butterfly

Originally posted on Fractured Faith Blog:
This is my first time blogging, normally it’s my husband’s witty blogs that you read and it looks like I’ve caught the blogging bug which?thankfully?doesn’t require medical attention as?I’ve seen enough of doctors, therapists and hospitals this week.? I want to share a bit of testimony with you about…

Dehydration 

Since finishing the Belfast Half Marathon two days ago I have felt lousy. Tired, shivery and a headache that just won’t shift. I’ve self diagnosed (as ever) and concluded that I must be suffering the effects of post race dehydration. I took on board water and energy drinks at regular intervals during the race itselfContinue reading “Dehydration “

Forgive and Forget

Fionnuala here today not sure if Stephen will be blogging as he is away with work so thought I would write about something I feel God has been nudging me about over the summer.  Over the summer both of my parents became ill at the same time which resulted in me spending a lot ofContinue reading “Forgive and Forget”

Football Crazy

A miraculous occurrence took place in our house earlier this evening. Manchester United were due to play in their first UEFA Champions League match and I was just settling down to watch it on my phone, resplendent in my MUFC hooded top. I have supported United since I was six years old, through thick andContinue reading “Football Crazy”

The Silent Treatment 

When I drank I messed up. A lot. Two things would happen the following morning. I would wake up with a monstrous hangover and, after a few seconds regaining my bearings, be hit with waves of shame and guilt as memories of the previous night seeped back into my consciousness like a slick, black poison. Continue reading “The Silent Treatment “

Out Of Position

Adam has his first rugby match for his new school tomorrow. I don’t know who is more excited. Me or him. I was an incredibly average grammar school player back in the day so any allegations that I am reliving my school years through my son are sadly very accurate. The fact that he hasContinue reading “Out Of Position”

Responsibility

Rebecca is now a Year 7 in her primary school meaning that she is officially a ‘big girl’. On their first day back after the summer holidays their new teacher gave them a talk on the duties that this high office now held. They had to act responsibly and set an example to the youngerContinue reading “Responsibility”

That Back To School Feeling

The hatchlings return to school this week and you can feel the autumnal crackle in the air as another soggy Irish summer drips to an end. This summer has been one of illness, chaos and upheaval for us. We have struggled to make sense of it all and at times have felt adrift, spinning helplesslyContinue reading “That Back To School Feeling”

The Balloon Boys

We attended a family christening on Sunday and I was given a VERY important job. After the service I was to go to a nearby shop to collect the helium balloons that had been pre-ordered to decorate the tables at the post-christening party. Not one balloon, not two. But TWENTY FOUR huge blue and silverContinue reading “The Balloon Boys”