What If Jesus Was A Plumber?

Good Morning from a chilly Northern Ireland. A particularly chilly Northern Ireland as our heating boiler packed in earlier this week, meaning we’ve been slowly freezing to death, huddled around electric radiators and under mountains of blankets. We’ve been waddling around like Eskimos in multiple layers as the gales howled outside. The highlight of theContinue reading “What If Jesus Was A Plumber?”

Fast Tracking To The Slow Lane

Charlie and I ventured out this morning on a five miler along the country roads that surround our village. It was a cold, crisp, but beautiful morning and I was well wrapped up against the elements. I’m walking more now and taking in the sights whereas, before, all I focused on was my pace. StoppingContinue reading “Fast Tracking To The Slow Lane”

My Wee Book #1

Just a note to thank all of you who have bought, enjoyed and reviewed my debut novel, ‘The Kirkwood Scott Chronicles: Skelly’s Square.’ Reviews really matter for writers so I’m delighted I’m nearing the 100 mark in both the USA & Europe. Even better, the book has maintained a five star average throughout. You canContinue reading “My Wee Book #1”

Am I A Hypocrite?

Another grey Monday morning in Northern Ireland. Another week of tighter coronavirus restrictions. Infection rates are falling again so they are working but the worry is, once they are lifted, we will return to rising figures and soon be back to square one again. It’s frustrating and disheartening. We await a vaccine with bated breathContinue reading “Am I A Hypocrite?”

Better Times Ahead?

It’s been a busy, busy week and I’ve been in the office battling to make a deadline that was thrust upon me at the 11th hour. Thankfully I made it but something has had to give so my blogging schedule has sadly gone awry. I don’t like neglecting the WordPress community as it’s where IContinue reading “Better Times Ahead?”

Getting Clean Can Be A Messy Business

Good Morning from Northern Ireland. I’m taking Charlie the border terrier on an epic 10K walk this morning to the shores of Lough Neagh and back. Unlike most of us, Charlie is loving lockdown as he’s never been walked as much in his life. Especially as I’m at home more now and am focusing moreContinue reading “Getting Clean Can Be A Messy Business”

Believing In Myself

I’m out of the office this week, as my workplace continues to maintain 50/50 staffing in order to allow social distancing guidelines to be adhered to. I made the most of the opportunity this morning, taking the first draft of my third full length novel past the 100,000 word mark. I’m planning the finished productContinue reading “Believing In Myself”

Don’t Let The Past Eat You Whole

Now that the dust has settled and the election is over, isn’t it time we all took a deep breath and reflected on our behaviour in recent days and weeks. Did we all conduct ourselves in a fair and balanced manner? Did we display kindness and respect to our fellow humans, no matter what theirContinue reading “Don’t Let The Past Eat You Whole”

What Counts In Your Life?

There’s a lot of counting going on this week. We have been told to keep counting and stop counting, sometimes in capital letters. Numbers are being scrutinised in painstaking detail, with hundreds of hours of airtime being devoted to counting, recounting, and then counting some more. My very average mathematical brain has struggled to keepContinue reading “What Counts In Your Life?”

Would You Walk Down This Road?

I posted the above photo on Twitter earlier and asked people would they walk down this road. The response was mixed. Some thrill seekers didn’t have the slightest problem while others were less brave, saying they would only chance it during daylight hours. Some said they would run a million miles in the opposite direction.Continue reading “Would You Walk Down This Road?”

Happy Halloween…Or Not

It’s Halloween, a time of year that tends to divide opinion. There are those who view it as harmless family fun, a time for costumes, candy and colourful chaos. Carving pumpkins, trick or treating, it’s the official start of the holiday season leading to Christmas via Thanksgiving. Throw in the odd spooky movie and it’sContinue reading “Happy Halloween…Or Not”

Stay In Control

‘Control’ seems to be a buzz word at the moment, both in the media and on the lips of many. It’s a double edged sword. Some view control as necessary in order to prevent chaos and anarchy from holding sway. Others view it as a means of restricting individual liberties and freedoms. I’m somewhere inContinue reading “Stay In Control”

Standing Alone Is Hard

Fionnuala loves her soaps. She was watching one the other evening (Emmerdale if you must know) where a scene was taking place inside a cafe. All the actors were wearing masks and socially distancing. There is no longer any kissing in soaps. Or fist fights for that matter. What is the world coming to, isContinue reading “Standing Alone Is Hard”

How Messy Is Your Life?

After two days of incessant downpour, I woke up to drier conditions this morning so laced up my running shoes and hit the country roads around our village. The route was 4.3 miles on paper but I think I ran nearer 5 in the end due to the number of cow pats I had toContinue reading “How Messy Is Your Life?”

Talking To Demons

When the demons talk it’s important that you also talk. Not to them, for that feeds their fury, but to those around who are willing to listen and support you through these awful times. For years I tried to fight back, waging a lone battle against the incessant, draining voice in my head that soughtContinue reading “Talking To Demons”

Good Morning From Northern Ireland

Good Morning from Northern Ireland. These are the words I always start my day with on Twitter so I thought, why not start doing the same on WordPress. It’s a great way to initiate conversations and create new online friendships. You get to meet folk from all corners of the world and learn more aboutContinue reading “Good Morning From Northern Ireland”

Breathe Kindness Into The Lives Of Others

Whenever I’m doubting myself, something or someone tends to come along to bolster my crumbling confidence. Take this morning for example. A review landed on my Twitter feed at just the right time, cheering me up no end. Words like these are oxygen to a writer, they erase the doubting voice that is a frequentContinue reading “Breathe Kindness Into The Lives Of Others”

Happy World Mental Health Day?

Happy World Mental Health Day! Well, maybe happy isn’t the adjective I should be using. When people think about happy they normally don’t associate it with such a taboo subject. Think mental health and most of us conjure up dark, negative images. It’s something we shy away from and are reluctant to think about, letContinue reading “Happy World Mental Health Day?”

It Is What It Is…Is It?

I hear this phrase on my travels quite a bit, particularly in recent times. It is what it is. It is delivered in a stoic manner, conjuring images of plucky resolve and British stiff upper lipness. Yes, times are tough but we just need to roll up our sleeves and get on with it. TheContinue reading “It Is What It Is…Is It?”

Death Keeps Me Alive

Death keeps me alive. Let me rephrase that, the thought of death inspires me to live. I hit the ‘big 50’ in April, a total game changer in more ways than one. It was difficult not to react by thinking time was running out, as opposed to I have all the time in the world.Continue reading “Death Keeps Me Alive”

Draw Back The Curtains

Another dawn run today, thanks to Fionnuala who makes sure I get up when the alarm goes off under this new regime. It was mild and dry this morning but very dark as I headed out off the village on a 5K route I know well. The occasional field of curious cows were my onlyContinue reading “Draw Back The Curtains”

What If We Could See Coronavirus?

Living in the midst of a pandemic has heightened levels of personal hygiene to unprecedented levels. We are (meant to be) forever washing or sanitising our hands, cleaning work surfaces and wiping down communal areas. We catch and bin our sneezes and sniffles and follow many other catchy slogans in order to keep ourselves andContinue reading “What If We Could See Coronavirus?”

Wear A Mask

Wear a mask people!

Be Consistent Today

I got up at 5:15 this morning, my first night run in many months. What with the ongoing pandemic I can’t run at lunchtime in Belfast so this is really the only time I have to fit some exercise in. I don’t like running first thing but I’ve made a resolution to suck it up,Continue reading “Be Consistent Today”

Even Sheep Have Feelings

Meet the most captive audience I’ve had yet. Charlie and I met these woolly wanderers on our morning walk today and it got me thinking about a word I’ve seen popping up on social media a lot recently. Sheeple. It seems to describe people who mindlessly go along with the majority on an issue, withoutContinue reading “Even Sheep Have Feelings”

OCD 101 – Kill The Stereotypes

This One Is For You

I was up early this morning running. 5.1 miles at an unspectacular pace but I got out and did it which was the main objective. I’ve recovered from a back injury but my motivation levels were at a low ebb for a variety of reasons. I needed several kicks up the backside to get outContinue reading “This One Is For You”

Are You Anxious Today?

I was interviewed last night for a podcast hosted by a fellow Irish writer. All day the thought of it lurked at the back of my mind, a ball of anxiety and worry growing with each passing hour. I started to regret agreeing to take part, convinced I was going to make a mess ofContinue reading “Are You Anxious Today?”

Let The Pain Drive You On

There is always a reason for pain, be it physical or mental. It doesn’t just magically pop out of the ether, determined to ruin your day, year or life. There is a cause, something lurking behind. It can be anything – a pulled muscle, strained ligament or faltering organ. That’s the physical side of it,Continue reading “Let The Pain Drive You On”

Don’t Be That Person

I stole this post off Facebook this morning, as it encapsulates my thinking on certain folk. The people who you consider friends. Or rather, considered friends. The people who, when you talk passionately about your pursuits or dreams, suddenly change the subject or look away in mild embarrassment. You tell them you want to beContinue reading “Don’t Be That Person”

Defining OCD

Lily Bailey is one of the leading advocates in the mental health community when it comes to promoting understanding and awareness of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). This is one of the best definitions of OCD I’ve seen and there’s nothing I can add to it. I’d highly recommend Lily’s memoir, ‘Because We Are Bad,’ ifContinue reading “Defining OCD”

Do We Ever Truly Recover?

We’ve all been through difficult times in our lives. It could be anything – sickness, injury, bereavement, financial or family turmoil, addiction or mental health issues. The list is as long as your arm and then some. Such struggles might be in your past, you may be battling them now, or they might be justContinue reading “Do We Ever Truly Recover?”

OCD – The Silent Killer

I have OCD and I’m not in control. There, I’ve said it, that wasn’t so hard was it? Even a few years ago, I would have veered clear of ‘outing’ myself and identifying with the mental illness. It was embarrassing, shameful and humiliating. But the longer I’ve walked this path, I’ve realised I have aContinue reading “OCD – The Silent Killer”

Writing Matters – My Safe Haven

Have you ever been hurt by the words and actions of another and they’ve been completely oblivious to the damage caused? They are so wrapped up in their own affairs the offence they have caused fails to register? It happened me the other day and I must admit it stung. I can have a lessContinue reading “Writing Matters – My Safe Haven”

I’ve Lost My Wife To The Hallmark Channel

During the current pandemic there has been unprecedented boxset watching. Oh, to own shares in Netflix. Many of us have escaped the sad reality of the spiralling global death toll by seeking escapist refuge in our television sets, tablets or phones. We have dropped anchor on our sofas, disengaged our brains and floated off intoContinue reading “I’ve Lost My Wife To The Hallmark Channel”

Bloggers Don’t Wear Masks

I wrote yesterday about compulsory mask wearing and how it was an issue for some people. I watched a video the other night of a mature American lady screaming like a chastised toddler because she was asked to wear a face covering in a store. I don’t know what was more shocking – the seismicContinue reading “Bloggers Don’t Wear Masks”

Expose Your Scars

Good Morning from Northern Ireland. I saw this on Twitter last night and shamelessly pilfered it. Apologies to all concerned but this is OCD in a nutshell. OCD is voracious, forever hungry and on the prowl for its next meal. It will suck you dry, bleed you out. It is cruel, merciless and without pity.Continue reading “Expose Your Scars”

Happy 18th Birthday Adam

Fionnuala and I feel very old today as our eldest child, Adam, turns 18. He’s taller than me, stronger than me, he has facial hair! We are very proud of the witty, intelligent, kind young man he has turned into. Fionnuala takes 99% of the credit for that. I’m looking forward to what a bigContinue reading “Happy 18th Birthday Adam”

Don’t Suffer In Silence

I fear I’m getting old. For everything hurts. A lot. Take last Saturday for example. I bent over in the kitchen to put some rubbish in the bin, only to discover I couldn’t stand up straight again. A sharp pain in the base of my back ensured that. Hobbling over to a nearby chair myContinue reading “Don’t Suffer In Silence”

What Is Wrong With America?

The Northern Ireland Executive announced on Thursday a raft of lockdown easing measures over the coming weeks. These include the opening of bars, restaurants and cafes; competitive sport to return; gyms, museums and galleries to reopen; and a halving of the two metre social distancing rule. Deaths and infection rates have fallen markedly. There isContinue reading “What Is Wrong With America?”

Enjoy The Good Times

Another cheesy shot of me, I’m afraid, but our Hannah worked so hard creating this unbelievable treat containing all my favourite chocolate and sweets. I will have to be winched off the sofa when I finish eating all my birthday gifts. Although I’m sure I will have plenty of help if required. I’ve had aContinue reading “Enjoy The Good Times”

Fionnuala’s Photos – Part 2

Some more photos taken by Fionnuala on her phone the other evening. I was driving. This is the road that leads into our village. These are all natural shots with no filter or special effects added. Isn’t she a talented one? The sunsets are amazing in Ireland at present. I’m off to work later andContinue reading “Fionnuala’s Photos – Part 2”

Start The World, I Need To Get Back On Again

I’m back to work on Monday. Well, I’m dipping my toe in the water, anyway, returning to the office on a part time basis. Our workplace is not officially back to normal but I’m returning in order to break the ice and help prepare for when all the staff are back. It’s been 12 weeksContinue reading “Start The World, I Need To Get Back On Again”

Don’t Forget To Be Silly

I’m currently wading through the final edits for my second novel, ‘A New Jerusalem.’ It’s been a slog but I’m finally starting to see light at the end of the tunnel. My family have kept spirits high and yesterday’s work was broken up by several Tik Tok videos involving dance routines, silly voices and airContinue reading “Don’t Forget To Be Silly”

Signs Of Life

I’m not saying life in lockdown is dull. For if I did then I’m sure Fionnuala could find plenty of household chores to occupy my time. But the days do tend to drag. I had to ask this morning what day of the week it was. By necessity, we find ourselves staring out of ourContinue reading “Signs Of Life”

Why Did God Create Covidiots?

This pandemic has certainly brought out the best and worst in humanity. There have been incredible displays of bravery, kindness and selflessness. Communities have come together as never before, neighbours helping each other when previously they were barely on nodding terms. We have become more considerate and caring. Rifts have been sealed, feuds forgotten andContinue reading “Why Did God Create Covidiots?”

Nothing Is Normal Anymore

What would we do without Netflix? That’s been the joyous cry from many households in recent months as millions have battled through the lockdown experience by binging on their favourite movies and TV shows. Old favourites, new gems and those series you’ve always meant to finish but never quite had the time. Time is allContinue reading “Nothing Is Normal Anymore”

All That Glitters Is Not Gold

On my rural runs on the roads outside our village I pass a lot of cows and horses, grazing in fields. Ireland has an abundance of grass. We are on nodding terms and I like to think they look forward to seeing the funny looking man in brightly coloured running attire as much as IContinue reading “All That Glitters Is Not Gold”

Social Media Blackout

See you all tomorrow.

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”

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”

The Day After…

So, after yesterday’s marathon ‘heroics’ I feel like I was my beaten up in my sleep last night. My thighs are like lead and I’m still dehydrated, despite drinking loads yesterday. The height of my exercise today will be a short walk to the park to watch Adam train. The lethargy after a marathon normallyContinue reading “The Day After…”

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”

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”

Guess who has a BIG birthday tomorrow??

So tomorrow we celebrate 50 yes I said 50 years of the one and only Stephen Black 🥳 The children and I have had great fun teasing him about it and constantly reminding him he will be half a century old!! We won’t get to celebrate tomorrow how we had intended too but we areContinue reading “Guess who has a BIG birthday tomorrow??”

Hannah’s Experience of a Lifetime

Our Hannah recently wrote an essay for her English homework. She worked very hard all week on it and Fionnuala and I were so impressed with the end product that we decided to post it on the blog. Well done Hannah, we are all very proud of you 😊😍 It was the day that ShawnContinue reading “Hannah’s Experience of a Lifetime”

Coronavirus – Northern Ireland #19

It’s our sixth week in isolation. In some ways it has flown by, in others an excruciating drag. The lockdown will continue for at least another two weeks, as the U.K. death toll now sits at over 16,000. There have been 207 confirmed deaths in Northern Ireland although current figures don’t include deaths within careContinue reading “Coronavirus – Northern Ireland #19”

Thank You

Really pleased to announce the blog has passed 12,500 followers. If you add up the Twitter and Facebook accounts that means over 25,000 people now follow us online. Mind blown. Fionnuala, the kids and myself are forever grateful for your support and encouragement during these testing times. I’ll keep blogging as long as people keepContinue reading “Thank You”

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 #15

We woke up to another bright, sunny day. The best weather of the year and the whole nation is on lockdown. Typical. Even better weather is predicted for the Easter weekend and the government are warning people of the need to stay at home in order to save lives. Over 900 people died in theContinue reading “Coronavirus – Northern Ireland #15”

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 #12

My 12th lockdown blog. In a way the time has flown by, in other ways it drags interminably. Today is grey and chilly. The weather forecasters predicted a warm weekend and there were fears people would leave their homes and flaunt government instructions to stay at home. Hopefully the cooler conditions will dissuade anyone fromContinue reading “Coronavirus – Northern Ireland #12”

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”

Coronavirus – Northern Ireland #10

Another sunny day in Northern Ireland, but another 12 deaths bringing our country’s total to 48. Over 3600 dead in the United Kingdom as a whole. It’s getting to the point where the numbers are almost irrelevant, they lose their meaning and impact the more they rise. Every day is worse than the one before,Continue reading “Coronavirus – Northern Ireland #10”

Coronavirus – Northern Ireland #7

Today is our last day in self isolation. Hurrah! We are all well, it’s a lovely spring morning and I can hear a wood pigeon cooing outside as I write this. Tomorrow Adam and I are going to celebrate our newfound freedom with a run along the towpath which stretches from our village to theContinue reading “Coronavirus – Northern Ireland #7”

Coronavirus – Northern Ireland #5

I will never take anything for granted again. During this lockdown I have become increasingly fixated on sales of my first book and finishing the edits on my second. This is what I do. When stuff gets real and scary I tend to hide in fantasy land. I struggle to cope with the situation soContinue reading “Coronavirus – Northern Ireland #5”

Coronavirus – Northern Ireland #1

It’s a worrying time for us all and no different in Northern Ireland regarding the coronavirus. At present, government are adhering to the mantra of improved personal hygiene. Our Prime Minister has told us to regularly wash our hands with soap and hot water for 20 seconds; the time it would take to sing ‘HappyContinue reading “Coronavirus – Northern Ireland #1”

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”

Walk Away

No words needed. Walk away.

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”

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”

Adam’s Comeback Run

Very proud of Adam this morning who accompanied me on a short run, his first since knee reconstruction surgery last November to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament. This was a big moment in his rehabilitation programme and he passed with flying colours. experiencing no pain or reaction to the session. He’s been working hardContinue reading “Adam’s Comeback Run”

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

WORDS HURT

I’ve been very quite for a while on the blog I’ve been processing a lot of things that have been going on and trying to come to terms with other people’s actions and behaviour towards me. It has took me a good 6 months to try and move forward it hasn’t been easy but I’veContinue reading “WORDS HURT”

Rebecca’s First Goal

Last night was a proud one as Rebecca scored her first goal for Lurgan Town U15 Girls in a 3-1 win away to Armagh City. I had a feeling this would be her game as she scored six goals in training on Wednesday and her confidence had grown as a result. She has worked veryContinue reading “Rebecca’s First Goal”

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?

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”

R.I.P The Flowers of Manchester

Remembering today the 23 souls who died in the Munich Air Disaster on 06 February 1958. The dead included 11 players and staff of the famous Manchester United football team, who were returning from a European Cup quarter final in Belgrade. Nicknamed the ‘Busby Babes’ after their manager, Sir Matt Busby, who survived the crash,Continue reading “R.I.P The Flowers of Manchester”

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”

Life Goes Faster Than You Think

I’m learning to make the most of every day. Put in that extra bit of effort. We only have so many days on this planet. Push the boundaries. Never give up. Makes your dreams a reality.

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”

Belfast – The Old & The New

I’m no hotshot photographer but I had to stop on my lunchtime run today to capture this shot which epitomises the old and new Belfast. In the background, one of the distinctive Harland & Wolff cranes in the shipyard where the Titanic was built. There are two of them, Samson and Goliath, which I’m noteContinue reading “Belfast – The Old & The New”

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”

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”

Night Out At The Rugby

Adam and I were treated by Fionnuala to two tickets to watch the Ulster v Connacht PRO 14 match at the Kingspan Stadium in Belfast last night. It was a surprisingly mild evening so the extra layers were hardly needed and we found a great spot in the sell out crowd to watch the action.Continue reading “Night Out At The Rugby”

Would Jesus Vote For Trump?

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the Californian megachurch, Bethel Ministries, of late. Firstly the young daughter of one of their worship leaders died suddenly, an unspeakable tragedy for any parent to undergo. The mother of the young girl posted on Instagram asking for prayer that her little girl be resurrected, a callContinue reading “Would Jesus Vote For Trump?”

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?”

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”

Happy Sweet 16th Hannah

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

Fractured Faith. 12,000 Not Out.

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

Who Is Your Lighthouse?

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

I’ve Had An Anxious Week

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

It’s Christmas 🎄

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

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”

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”

Not Forgotten

Not all of us can discuss the demons of our past. For some it is too traumatic, shameful or painful. For others there is nobody they can tell. Whatever the reason there are those amongst us today who carry an unspoken pain. They bear the invisible scars of unseen battles still raging behind their sad,Continue reading “Not Forgotten”

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 litt