Say Yes To The Voice That Says No

There’s always been a darkness within me for as long as I can remember to choose the wrong path, make the bad decision which will lead us down the rabbit hole into a world of pain. I’m not sure if we are born with it but the person who plumps for the morally correct alternativeContinue reading “Say Yes To The Voice That Says No”

I Picked Up A Bible The Other Day

I started reading the Bible again a few days ago. I’ve been thinking of doing so for quite some time, but always holding back. Yet, here I was, staring at Romans Chapter 1. That was then. I’ve reached Chapter 5 now. Hardly setting the world alight but I’ve read a little every day. About graceContinue reading “I Picked Up A Bible The Other Day”

OCD – Don’t Suffer In Silence

Thrilled to be sending a copy of ‘Skelly’s Square’ to Lily Bailey, author of ‘Because We Are Bad,’ the best memoir on OCD I have read. Lily is one of a number of talented mental health advocates who inspired me to write about my own experiences with this vicious, relentless, yet very misunderstood mental illness.Continue reading “OCD – Don’t Suffer In Silence”

Happy Birthday Fractured Faith

Seems like no time but the blog is now three years old. That’s a lot of posts. Some of you have been there from the start, some have joined along the journey, others have disappeared into the ether. We are grateful for everyone who continues to read and comment. As long as that continues IContinue reading “Happy Birthday Fractured Faith”

Too Tired To Care

Tiredness. It’s a by product of this pandemic. A lot of us are tired a lot of the time. Tired of the rising death toll, the deceitful, treacherous politicians. Tired of the relentless trickle of bad news. Really bad news you couldn’t make up in a million years if it wasn’t for the fact itContinue reading “Too Tired To Care”

OCD Tales – Repeat Ad Nauseum

I’ve been on my phone a lot during lockdown. I’m aware of this and it annoys me. I try to curtail my checks but the little voice in my head often wins out. Just one more scroll through my social media accounts, another glance at book sales, a quick nosey at the news headlines orContinue reading “OCD Tales – Repeat Ad Nauseum”

Social Distancing – Northern Ireland Style

Rebecca, Charlie and I made some new friends on our walk this morning. Apparently the cows of Aghalee don’t believe in social distancing, preferring the…ahem…herd immunity approach to combating coronavirus. They were a friendly and curious bunch but a left a lot to be desired with regards their personal hygiene and toilet training. Rebecca lovesContinue reading “Social Distancing – Northern Ireland Style”

Are You Proud Of Yourself?

For a long time I wasn’t proud of myself, how I looked, how I spoke. I wasn’t proud of my thoughts and actions. I became embarrassed and awkward when people complimented me, because I believed I didn’t deserve it. I was unworthy of their praise. And yet, I sought the limelight and attention, I pushedContinue reading “Are You Proud Of Yourself?”

Should I Blog More?

Eight miles yesterday, out to the shores of Lough Neagh and back. The sun continues to shine in Northern Ireland although a cool breeze was most welcome on the return journey. The country roads were quiet apart from the occasional fellow runner, cyclist or dog walker. Dogs must be loving lockdown, they’ve never been walkedContinue reading “Should I Blog More?”

Woke up…Ran A Half Marathon

Five loops of the village this morning in bright sunshine amounted to a half marathon. I haven’t run this far in some months now, so was quite anxious at the prospect. I actually tried to talk my way out of yesterday until Fionnuala gave me a pep talk, ‘encouraging’ me to lace my trainers upContinue reading “Woke up…Ran A Half Marathon”

Seven Years Ago

Tomorrow will mark the seventh anniversary of when I decided to pack in alcohol. I thought I was Oscar Wilde when I was drinking, an irrepressible wit and the life and soul of the party. This couldn’t be further from the truth. I was, on the contrary, an idiot of epic proportions, putting my ownContinue reading “Seven Years Ago”

Painting Away The Pain

I was on painting duties in the bedroom today, as our enforced home improvement programme continued. Fionnuala had chosen a lovely shade of dark blue and my job was to paint an awkward high section of the wall behind our wardrobes. My DIY skills are ‘limited’ to say the least so I approached the taskContinue reading “Painting Away The Pain”

We Will Slay Them

Last night I got an e-mail from my publisher containing the latest edits for the new book. I had expected a literary bloodbath, as my inadequate grammar and punctuation were torn apart by expert eyes, attuned to high quality prose. I envisioned the red pen being wielded like a bloody blade, glistening in a murderousContinue reading “We Will Slay Them”

The Internet – A Double Edged Sword

Since we went into lockdown six months ago, grocery shopping has been quite a stressful business. Maintaining social distancing, one way systems around supermarkets, the handling of items that maybe a dozen people have already handled. Your mind is in overdrive and you’re on constant alert. Even Fionnuala, a veteran at this new way, admittedContinue reading “The Internet – A Double Edged Sword”

Are You Wasting Away?

I’m in a queue. The council have arranged a rubbish collection in an adjoining village and we’ve seized the opportunity as our wheelie bin is full to the brim. Being in lockdown means more food consumption and general waste. The queue itself is very orderly. Us Northern Irish are good at waiting in line. EverybodyContinue reading “Are You Wasting Away?”

Country Folk Are Friendly

I’ve been regularly running the country roads around our village since the lockdown of six weeks ago. Yes, it’s that long since I’ve been in Belfast as my office remains closed. Running during my lunch breaks is a dim, distant memory as I’ve embraced the rolling, rural terrain for my daily exercise. This has meantContinue reading “Country Folk Are Friendly”

Teaching An Old Dog New Tricks

Never let it be said that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. For lockdown has provided me with an unexpected opportunity to expand my household repertoire under the careful, often bewildered, supervision of Fionnuala. She’s had me painting fences, assisting with wallpapering, baking flapjacks. But more than all that, she’s taught me theContinue reading “Teaching An Old Dog New Tricks”

I Want To Stay In

As the lockdown in the United Kingdom enters its sixth week there is evidence that the public resolve to adhere to government guidance to stay at home is wavering. Footfall and traffic figures are steadily creeping up again. At a time when the number of hospital deaths from COVID-19 passed 20,000 yesterday. That’s not includingContinue reading “I Want To Stay In”

Toxic Positivity – What Is It?

I stumbled across this image earlier on Facebook and it got me thinking; or rather accelerated something I had already been mulling over in my head. It was a hammer that nailed a series of loose thoughts into a cogent steam. Toxic positivity. It exists, it’s a real thing, not just the product of myContinue reading “Toxic Positivity – What Is It?”

Today I Want To Hear From You

Over the last few weeks I’ve been blogging about our experiences as a family during lockdown in Northern Ireland as the coronavirus pandemic sweeps across the world. I’ve been encouraged and heartened by the response these posts have received. I’ve felt a real sense of community on WordPress that has been lacking for some time.Continue reading “Today I Want To Hear From You”

Coronavirus – Northern Ireland #14

The U.K. death total passed 6000 yesterday, an increase of over 800, which showed how premature the calls of some had been for a relaxation of the lockdown rules. There is a light at the end of the tunnel but this is a very long tunnel. There were three deaths in Northern Ireland, bringing ourContinue reading “Coronavirus – Northern Ireland #14”

Coronavirus – Northern Ireland #13

People. Sheesh. We are in our third week of lockdown in Northern Ireland, yet some are already asking when the restrictions will be relaxed. Three weeks! Look around, there are still thousands of people dying across the globe every day from this relentless pandemic. Yet, you’re playing the martyr because you’re being asked to stayContinue reading “Coronavirus – Northern Ireland #13”

Coronavirus – Northern Ireland #11

The forecast for the weekend remains good but the furthest we are going is our back garden. We are digging in for the long haul. Adam and I are power hosing the yard today, Rebecca is on weeding duties and tomorrow we are fence and furniture painting. The pandemic does give you the time toContinue reading “Coronavirus – Northern Ireland #11”

Happy Birthday Fionnuala

Happy Birthday to a wonderful wife and mother today. Fionnuala is the reason I took up my pen and started writing. She is constantly supporting and encouraging me, putting up with all my quirks and oddness. She is the kindest, strongest person I know and the love she pours into our family on a dailyContinue reading “Happy Birthday Fionnuala”

Are You Weird?

Yes, I’m weird, I’m awkward, I’m a geek, but I’m me. I spent a large part of my life trying to be somebody else, trying to fit in, to please people. It didn’t get me anywhere. You can’t force people to like you any more than you can control the tides. It took me aContinue reading “Are You Weird?”

What Mental Illness Looks Like

I think I’ve ticked every one of these boxes at some point in my life but, thankfully, not for a while now. But I’ve been there and I know I could return there, we all could. Nobody is immune from mental illness, we are all vulnerable and few will live their lives untouched by it.Continue reading “What Mental Illness Looks Like”

Things I Do At Work

I’m on the train as another week in the office looms ahead of me. I’m not quite representative of the diagram below but I’ve certainly had my moments. I’m grateful to have my job though. Much as I detest Monday mornings it pays the bills and affords me the financial stability to pursue other interests.Continue reading “Things I Do At Work”

Walk Away

No words needed. Walk away.

We All Need A Log Cabin

Now, I’m not talking UnaBomber isolation. But sometimes we all want to pull down the shutters and take a break from the relentless babble of life. Which is okay. Society doesn’t require you 24/7. The world will keep rotating on its axis. But if you don’t take care of yourself you might not be spinningContinue reading “We All Need A Log Cabin”

You Matter

Good Morning WordPress. This spoke to me today. Sometimes I feel useless, not as much as I used to, but it’s still there occasionally. Yet I know I matter to my family. They are the reason I keep going, the reason I get up and show up. I’m an idiot but I’m their idiot. That’sContinue reading “You Matter”

I Don’t Like You Very Much

I don’t like you very much. You’re hard work. An acquired taste. You make me cringe, retch, squirm. With your words, your actions, your thoughts. We’ll never see eye to eye. Yet here we are. Staring at each other in the mirror. Eye to eye. Stuck with one another. I don’t like you very much.

Is Your Future Exciting?

I woke up this morning and groaned as I faced another wet and windy Monday morning. But after the initial shock I realised I’m incredibly fortunate and have so much to look forward to in the coming days, weeks and months. My default setting is ‘glass half empty’ but I’m making a real effort nowContinue reading “Is Your Future Exciting?”

Care Enough To Look

No words needed. People with mental illnesses may not have broken bones but they have broken dreams, broken minds and broken hearts. Their illnesses may be invisible but the signs are there if you take the time to look for them. The onus is on you to reach out to them, not for them toContinue reading “Care Enough To Look”

Don’t Be Afraid To Start Over

When I started this blog, I started all over again. Turned my back on the past and threw my energy into new passions. Almost three years later, I’ve published two books and completed a third. I’m training for my tenth marathon and been promoted at work. I’ve living the happiest & healthiest life I can.Continue reading “Don’t Be Afraid To Start Over”

Churches Are Funny Places…

This quote pretty much sums up why I stopped going to church. People who talked a good fight on a Sunday morning but then disappeared for the remainder of the week. Especially when you really needed them. It’s sad in a sense but I actually feel more settled and safe since I left the churchContinue reading “Churches Are Funny Places…”

Reach Out

The Right Ones Will Always Stay

Good Morning WordPress. A short word today. It took me a long time to learn this lesson, but learn it I did. Have you?

The End Of Your World

I missed the early train by about thirty seconds this morning. It was so early the ticket office, which provides a modicum of shelter, was closed so I cut a sorry sight on the platform. The wind picked up, the temperature dropped and wicked blasts of snow cut across me as I faced an interminableContinue reading “The End Of Your World”

My Thoughts On The Oscars

Good Morning. I hope you all enjoyed the Oscars. But, has anyone actually seen ‘Parasite’? Fionnuala and I get to the cinema about once a decade. The last film we saw was ‘Bad Boys For Life,’ and before that I think it was ‘Gone With The Wind.’ Yes, that’s how bad it is. We stillContinue reading “My Thoughts On The Oscars”

Hannah Wins The Cup

We have cause to be very proud of our Hannah this weekend. Firstly she has started attending Slimming World classes with Fionnuala in recent weeks and between them have lost almost a stone in weight. I’ve been very impressed with their dedication and willpower, not to mention the many delicious sin free meals they haveContinue reading “Hannah Wins The Cup”

I Must Survive

There are days I feel a failure. A failure as a husband, father, son, colleague, runner, writer, you name it. Where it’s one step forward, ten steps back. Yet, here I am. Still hanging on. Surviving, somehow. Doing it for my family, for the people who believed in me when I was at my lowestContinue reading “I Must Survive”

I Am A Man….

You may or may not know this, but I am a man. A supposedly fully grown, mature one at that, although my family may beg to differ. Yet, for years, I neglected my mental health to the point where it was having a detrimental effect not only on myself but also those around me. ItContinue reading “I Am A Man….”

I Hope You Understand….

If I’ve been a bit quiet of late I hope you understand it has been due to the hectic nature of life. We are a busy family and Fionnuala and I are dragged in various directions with competing demands and priorities. One of us is out every night performing taxi duties for the kids asContinue reading “I Hope You Understand….”

The Enemy Within

The enemy within, the one you can’t run away from, that’s where you will fall, that’s where you will fail. Sticks and stones will break your bones but words will suck your soul dry and leave you for dead. Words are the death of a thousand cuts, the traitorous voice that never stops. Doubting, belittling,Continue reading “The Enemy Within”

I Cannot Let That Voice Win

My brother in law, Gearard, and I embarked on our latest long run yesterday in preparation for the Belfast Marathon in May. This time we stepped the distance up to 15 miles, our longest effort yet. It was chilly but thankfully dry as we set off on the first of several loops round the village,Continue reading “I Cannot Let That Voice Win”

RIP Kobe Bryant

Rock Bottom

I’ve been to rock bottom. It’s not a nice place. I never want to go back there. But it’s made me who I am today and inspired me to push on for fear of stumbling back down into the pit. The knowledge of rock bottom keeps me honest and humble whenever I feel I’m gettingContinue reading “Rock Bottom”

Monday Needs You

Oh Monday morning, how I despise thee. Those are my first thoughts when the alarm sounds and we are greeted with the cold, dark reality of another week. Where does the weekend go? It was only minutes ago we were celebrating Friday and the break ahead. The new week now stares us in the face,Continue reading “Monday Needs You”

It’s Ok Not To Be Ok

Good Morning WordPress. If you’re struggling today, then please be brave and speak to someone about it. Don’t be ashamed. Protect your mental health. It’s your wealth.

Another Busy Day Begins

A grim morning outside but it’s up and at life as ever. I’ve a busy schedule. A big meeting with the big bosses this morning before an afternoon grafting in front of the computer screen. I get quite nervous before such meetings and only settle once I’m in front of my audience delivering the briefing.Continue reading “Another Busy Day Begins”

Lose Your Baggage

I feel like a pack horse trudging into work today. I’m carrying my work bag, running gear, lunch and Diet Coke supplies. I need them all at various times and for various reasons but will be grateful to be less burdened down on the return journey home later today. Carrying stuff around all day isContinue reading “Lose Your Baggage”

Getting Off The Wrong Train

I got on the wrong train the other day. Not on purpose, I might add. I was day dreaming, as ever, and got on a train pulled in at the same platform at the same time as the one I normally get home. Assuming it was mine I got on board without checking it wasContinue reading “Getting Off The Wrong Train”

Don’t Be A Mug

I used to be a people pleaser, so insecure and lacking in self belief that I’d mould my own personality and morals to fit those of whoever were my particular friends at that time. It got me into all sorts of bother and I’m working hard to eradicate that side of my character and beContinue reading “Don’t Be A Mug”

How’s Your Zero Talent List?

Some people think I’m a great runner because I’ve ran nine marathons. Others say I’m a great writer because I’ve written and published a novel. But there are better runners and writers out there who have done neither. I’ve seen numerous people who are infinitely more talented than me drop by the wayside. Why? BecauseContinue reading “How’s Your Zero Talent List?”

Hit The Unfollow Button

I learnt this lesson the hard way but sometimes, no matter how hard you try, some friendships have to end. There are toxic people out there who will bring you down if you allow them. Reminiscent of Icarus who flew too near the sun and paid the ultimate price, it can be fatal. My advice?Continue reading “Hit The Unfollow Button”

OCD Humour

Ah yes. OCD Humour from Lily Bailey, author of ‘Because We Are Bad,’ the best memoir on the illness I’ve ever read. If you want to really, really know what it’s like to live with the disorder, then read her book. It’s funny and heart breaking in equal measure. One of the reasons I decidedContinue reading “OCD Humour”

Here’s To The Survivors

Sometimes maintaining the status quo is a massive achievement in itself. Getting by is all you can manage, keeping your head above water and surviving your current circumstances. It might not seem like much but holding tight and not letting go is a feat to be admired and respected. You need to clear the groundContinue reading “Here’s To The Survivors”

Happy World Introvert Day

It’s World Introvert Day. I never knew such a day existed until it popped up on my Facebook feed this morning. Who decides these days? Is there a committee somewhere locked away in a conference room debating such important matters? I can only assume there’s also a World Extrovert Day, no doubt shouted from theContinue reading “Happy World Introvert Day”

It’s Never As Bad As You Think

This was me 24 hours ago. Yet I crawled out of bed this morning, shaved off my 5 day beard and squeezed into my suit. The train was less busy than usual and the office was manned by a skeleton staff. And do you know what? I survived, it wasn’t as bad as I thoughtContinue reading “It’s Never As Bad As You Think”

Happy Christmas Everyone

Happy Christmas to everyone from the Black clan. We hope you all have a wonderful day. 🎅🏻🎅🏻🎅🏻🎅🏻 🎄🎄🎄🎄

Man Shopping On Christmas Eve

It’s Christmas Eve, so like any normal, self-respecting man, I decided to go out Christmas shopping. Because why be logical and organised when you can leave it to the very last minute and run around like a headless chicken on the verge of a massive coronary? This year I took my strapping son, Adam, toContinue reading “Man Shopping On Christmas Eve”

Happy Anniversary To Us

Seventeen years ago today, Fionnuala and I walked down the aisle. She has stuck with me through the rough and the smooth and been everything you could wish for in a wife. I am very fortunate to have met her and owe everything I have achieved to her. Here’s to the next seventeen years andContinue reading “Happy Anniversary To Us”

Are You Too Comfortable?

It’s been a chilly week in Northern Ireland so our electric blanket had been utilised to full effect. Slipping between the covers now at night is reminiscent of sliding into a hot bath, without the whole getting wet business. The only problem comes the next morning when you are forced to abandon your toasty environmentContinue reading “Are You Too Comfortable?”

Caption Contest – The Circus & The Church

The circus has come to town again this Christmas, pitching up in Writers Square, Belfast, next to St. Anne’s Cathedral. I’m no expert photographer but I thought the juxtaposition of the two structures was too good an opportunity to miss. The church? The circus? Clowns and clerics? Drop your caption suggestions below and let’s seeContinue reading “Caption Contest – The Circus & The Church”

Do You Need A Break?

Good Morning Do you need a break? An oasis of calm in the maelstrom of life? A desert island when you are drowning in the worries of everyday existence? A time out in the game of life? Well, we are here for you then. Fractured Faith Blog will be posting every day in 2020. WeContinue reading “Do You Need A Break?”

Thank you

Another very encouraging review from fellow blogger, Lesley. Thank you very much for so eloquently capturing the essence of Skelly’s Square. I tried hard to address very serious and real issues against a supernatural backdrop liberally smattered with action and humour. The book continues to attract positive feedback while promoting mental health, disability, addiction andContinue reading “Thank you”

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”

Christmas With Kirkwood

I was delighted to read the most recent reviews of ‘Skelly’s Square.’ It’s not every day your writing is compared to Alexandre Dumas so I’ll happily accept the compliment. The book has now received multiple five star reviews and would make the ideal Christmas present for any bookworms you know. It’s available to buy inContinue reading “Christmas With Kirkwood”

Would You Like To Make My Christmas?

I know a lot of you have read and enjoyed the book. It would been a lot to me, if you haven’t already, if you could post a review on Amazon. It takes 5 minutes, it’s free, and it would be the perfect Christmas present for a first time author seeking to fulfil his dreamContinue reading “Would You Like To Make My 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”

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”

What I’ve Been Up To

I haven’t been blogging as much lately due to pouring all my creative forces into my second novel which passed the 70,000 word mark yesterday. I’m averaging around 1,000 words a day and am so in the zone with this story that it’s difficult to focus on any other writing projects. The blog has thereforeContinue reading “What I’ve Been Up To”

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?”

Peeling Potatoes Is Hard Work

Fionnuala and Rebecca travelled to London at the weekend for a shopping trip as part of the latter’s thirteenth birthday celebrations. They shopped til they dropped as well as taking in all the sights with their cousin, Bronagh. Which left me home alone with Adam, Hannah and a list of instructions as long as myContinue reading “Peeling Potatoes Is Hard Work”

My New Doggy Friend

A beautiful sunny morning, if somewhat chilly, for this this week’s long run. Parts of the route were slippery underfoot but just being out there in the crisp, cool air made it all worthwhile. I planned to run 7 miles but ended up doing 8 at 8:56 average pace. I even made a new canineContinue reading “My New Doggy Friend”

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”

Do You Need A Hug?

Fractured Faith Blog. Dispensing online hugs since May 2017.

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”

Here’s Where You Find Me

Some of you already do but for those who don’t here are my contact details for other social media platforms I’m on. It would be great if we could connect. I’m active on them every day and you’ll find all sorts of stuff that isn’t on the blog. Don’t be a stranger. Drop by andContinue reading “Here’s Where You Find Me”

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”

Never Forget

Never, ever forget….

Sasha

I first met Sasha about a year ago, crumpled in a corner on a city centre street. She struck such a pathetic picture that I couldn’t walk past her and stopped to offer some help. We got talking and I see her most weeks now at various locations about the ‘town’ as Belfast folk referContinue reading “Sasha”

A Shattered Faith

Yesterday I posted a blog which touched upon a number of negative experiences I have had within the organised church. It was written on the hoof without much forethought or planning. Much of my writing is produced this way, I tend to make it up as I go along. Such writers are known as ‘pantsers.’Continue reading “A Shattered Faith”

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

I’m On Facebook. Come Visit

Are you on Facebook? If so, why don’t you drop over and like my author page. I post content that you won’t find on the blog including writing updates, quizzes and the occasional competition. What’s not to like about that? It’s the perfect way to start your Monday and if it’s as grey and dampContinue reading “I’m On Facebook. Come Visit”

Support OCD Awareness Week

As today marks the start of #OCDAwarenessWeek I’m going to be blogging exclusively about this devastating and deeply misunderstood mental illness in an effort to educate and raise awareness. As many of you know, I have struggled with OCD for most of my life, particularly in my 20’s and 30’s. While I largely control itContinue reading “Support OCD Awareness Week”

Do You Ever?

Do you ever feel invisible? Do you ever feel that, no matter how hard you try, your efforts are ignored and passed over? If you stood in the middle of a crowded street and screamed until your lungs burst, not one person would stop and come to your aid? Do you ever feel it’s oneContinue reading “Do You Ever?”

Disturbing, Unwanted Thoughts

I was watching a trailer for a movie last night, one where a huge tsunami was bearing down on a Japanese beach. Initially it was a distant speck, barely visible to the thousands of sun bathers enjoying their day on the golden sands. An idyllic scene, where families laughed and played innocently unaware of theContinue reading “Disturbing, Unwanted Thoughts”

How Many Books Can You Read At The Same Time?

My TBR (to be read) list stretches far into the distance, largely because I can only read one book at a time. I imagine most female readers are now nodding knowingly, bemoaning the inability of the male of the species to multitask. Try as I might, numerous novels are a bridge too far for me.Continue reading “How Many Books Can You Read At The Same Time?”

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?”

I’m In The Money

I’m in the money! Well, not really, but I received my first royalty payment for Book 1 this weekend. It won’t make me an overnight millionaire and I still have to go to the day job tomorrow, but that made it none the less exciting. I’m getting paid….to write. I must admit I’ve struggled aContinue reading “I’m In The Money”

Hitting A Purple Patch

I’ve hit a purple patch this week on the writing front and passed 28,000 words on my current book, ‘The Kirkwood Scott Chronicles: Skelly’s Tower.’ The KSC universe has exploded this week with a host of new settings and characters being introduced. As ever, most of these have come to me during the writing processContinue reading “Hitting A Purple Patch”

What Are Your Remedies For The Common Cold?

The Black household has been smitten with all sorts of nasty germs this last week. We’ve been sniffling, sneezing and coughing our little hearts out. My cold has even developed into full blown man flu! Thankfully I had booked a couple of days off work anyway, but all Fionnuala and I seem to have doneContinue reading “What Are Your Remedies For The Common Cold?”

Some Days There Is Nothing

Some days there is nothing. Yet, here I am. Maintaining the blog, pursuing my desire to scribble down the jumble of thoughts and prompts which traverse my mind on a never ending spin cycle. Some days I am clear as to what I want to say and how I wish to say it, others IContinue reading “Some Days There Is Nothing”

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”

My Wee Book

Just a shoutout to my new followers that I’ve written a book which is now available to buy on Amazon in e book & paperback format. Here’s the back cover blurb: It’s selling well and, at time of writing, has 23 five star reviews on Amazon from satisfied customers. Here’s one: So if you likeContinue reading “My Wee Book”

Book Review: ‘Undivided’ By Vicky Beeching

I’ve just finished reading ‘Undivided’ by Vicky Beeching, a memoir of her life as a Christian singer/songwriter who played to thousands on both sides of the Atlantic until declaring she was gay a number of years ago. It was a moving, challenging and ,at times, unsettling account of the experiences of one woman within theContinue reading “Book Review: ‘Undivided’ By Vicky Beeching”

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”

Stuff I See On My Lunch Break

Yesterday’s lunchtime run took me out of the city and through the Titanic Quarter to H.M.S. Caroline. Caroline was a British battle cruiser which fought at the Battle of Jutland in 1916 during the 1st World War. It is the last survivor of Jutland but also operated as the H.M. Naval base in Belfast duringContinue reading “Stuff I See On My Lunch Break”

I Wake Into Darkness

As we creep into September and the days shorten I now face the pleasure of getting up when it’s dark to commute into Belfast for work. This situation will only continue to worsen in the coming months as the nights become ever longer. Soon not only will I be getting up in the dark butContinue reading “I Wake Into Darkness”

What It Takes To Succeed

It’s a big week ahead as Adam’s rugby team get ready for their first match of the season this coming Saturday. It’s also a big season for him personally as he steps up into the college’s 1st XV and prepares to play top level Schools Cup rugby against some of the best teams in theContinue reading “What It Takes To Succeed”

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”

Three Weeks To The Big Day

The Belfast Half Marathon is now a mere three weeks away and I’ve been anxious about the lack of long runs I’ve managed to squeeze in. My longest, to date, had been 10.6 miles with my brother in law several weeks ago but, since then, a combination of inclement weather, other commitments and a generalContinue reading “Three Weeks To The Big Day”

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”

Does Your Writing Ever Disappoint You?

There are times the words flow, they are an unstoppable tide which rushes up the shingle beach, taking all before it. The words, sentences and paragraphs form a not so orderly queue in your mind, tripping over each other to be unloaded onto the blank page or computer screen. It is a literary stampede, aContinue reading “Does Your Writing Ever Disappoint You?”

Don’t Live Forever, Live For Now

25 years ago Oasis released ‘Definitely Maybe.’ Hearing this announced on the news this morning made me feel very old. It also brought memories of listening to the album on my ancient CD Walkman while walking to my first ‘proper’ job all those years ago. I was incredibly nervous but the music helped me toContinue reading “Don’t Live Forever, Live For Now”

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?”

Hi, Hello & Welcome

I’ve been delighted these last few days by the number of new followers to the blog, in addition to all the positive comments about our recent posts. Just to introduce myself, I’m Stephen (waves awkwardly) and I write the large majority of the words, ably supported by my wife, PA, Marketing Manager and chief cheerleader,Continue reading “Hi, Hello & Welcome”

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?”

Stepping Over The Threshold

I met a man the other week, completely out of the blue, and immediately knew I wanted to include him in the next book. He was a walking, talking caricature, an absolute gift to a writer. His mannerisms, his speech, his appearance just screamed inclusion in the chapter taking place in my mind. He wasContinue reading “Stepping Over The Threshold”

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”

More Thoughts On My Writing

I’m sitting here on the sofa in my….ahem…loungewear surrounded by copious amounts of crisps and Diet Coke. The house is quiet as Fionnuala and the hatchlings are visiting my beloved mother-in-law. It’s a tight agenda today as the big Ireland v England match kicks off at 3 p.m. That’s less than five hours away andContinue reading “More Thoughts On My Writing”

This Is Who I Am

A neighbour, who is currently reading the book, stopped to chat to me as I headed out to work this morning. I asked her how she was getting on with it, an entirely inappropriate question given she has a young daughter and another on the way. The poor woman has enough on her plate withoutContinue reading “This Is Who I Am”

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”

Screaming Into The Abyss

Interaction is so important to me as a writer. Whenever I post a blog, it’s great to see multiple views and likes pop up on my notifications, but it’s the comments that really matter to me. To know that a person has taken the time to read a post, truly thought about it and thenContinue reading “Screaming Into The Abyss”

Why Did God Create Wasps?

All things bright and beautiful All creatures great and small All things bright and beautiful The Lord God made them all. So goes the traditional hymn I recall being belted out on the church organ so many times during my childhood. It was normally reserved for harvest time when each pew would be adorned withContinue reading “Why Did God Create Wasps?”

Who Are You?

This was a question I was asked yesterday and it immediately popped into my head the moment I opened my eyes this morning. Hmmmm….now let me think. I’m a father, husband, son, brother, uncle and cousin. I’m a manager, employee, friend and acquaintance. I’m a runner, writer, blogger and lover of honeycomb ice cream andContinue reading “Who Are You?”

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”

Are You In A One Way Friendship?

We all lead busy lives and it’s increasingly difficult to find the time to forge and maintain the deep friendships which anchor our lives and provide safe refuge when the wheels come off. True, lasting friendships are precious and should be protected at all costs; our friends are our first line of defence when besiegedContinue reading “Are You In A One Way Friendship?”

My First Ever WordPress Rant

An uncharacteristic day on WordPress where normally I encounter universal support and positivity from my fellow bloggers. I’ve had a handful of negative and, in my humble opinion, utterly unnecessary comments pop up on the feed. I’ve thought long and hard about responding to them but have finally decided to get it out of myContinue reading “My First Ever WordPress Rant”

Writing Doubts

I’m experiencing a mental block with regards my writing. Note, I’m not calling it writer’s block for it’s not as if my creative well has dried up. Rather, the opposite. The ideas in my head continue to pile up, so much so, that I’ve purchased a notebook to write them all down in. I amuseContinue reading “Writing Doubts”