Posted in blogging, fitness, Physical fitness, Sport, Writing

The Awe Inspiring Michael Phelps

‘It’s what you do in the dark… that puts you in the light’

~Aqua Seven

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Author

Nicole Martin

This video is by far one of the most awe inspiring clips I have seen for a long while.

Why?

Just look at the pain in his face-I can almost feel it.

Look at the dedication, the determination, the grace, the talent, the persistence, the extraordinary athletic ability, the grit.

Michael Phelps-the previously retired World Champion from the USA is currently fighting for a success filled come-back.

Arguably the best all-round swimmer in history, he has inspired and impressed millions around the world with his achievements and his rare talent.

Will he leave behind a legacy?

Absolutely.

His journey is far from over, however his legacy is solidified in the hearts and minds of many young athletes who dare to dream big.

He will continue to inspire for many years, irrespective of the outcome of his current desire to return to greatness.

‘It’s what you do in the dark… that puts you in the light’

~Aqua Seven

Inspired by Word Press Daily Prompt

Legacy

Posted in Elephant Journal, Inspiration, Published work, Stories, Writing

My Four Walls

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Where do I feel the most comfortable?

What do I love?

My four Walls

and

Writing about them…

‘The worn shutters hang faded and broken, but all I see are a decade of sweet seasons, bursting into life as they penetrate my windows, and shed their light.’

 

Published in

THE ELEPHANT JOURNAL

Author

Nicole Martin

My four walls. My palace. My private sanctuary.

This is where I am who I am. Where the mask is peeled off, where the walls that surround me, see me uncensored, in my most natural state.

It’s behind these walls that my soul is anchored.

A shiny silver spider web glistens in the sunlight and dances with the breeze outside.

I can see it, right there within an arms reach, gripping for dear life to my lounge room window.

I really should clean it away—perhaps I’ll leave it there a little longer—for what is a window, without a web?- A lifeless piece of glass.

The worn shutters hang faded and broken, but all I see are a decade of sweet seasons, bursting into life as they penetrate my windows, and shed their light.

The walls, splashed with scuff marks could do with a paint, but all I see are two little boys, full of the joys of life, crashing into them with sheer delight. Smudging their dirty shoes, school bags and food filled fingers obliviously across their cream coloured surface, with a beautiful sense of childlike freedom.

All I see is my much loved furry companion collapsing against these walls, his tongue falling out of his mouth, gasping for air after he’s run with the wind, and sniffed and played and chased tennis balls, all afternoon with his family. The wall, serving as a support for his well exercised bones.

The tiles are dated—but they’ve had my children’s footprints growing on them for days and weeks and years. They’ve carried the weight of their childhood, as they’ve metamorphosed from babies to young lads, one fast growing step after another. An invisible canvas, warmly holding in its possession, the history of a zillion footsteps.

The washing machine is tired and rusty, but I am thankful for its hard work. Tirelessly, it throws around our laundry, that bares the evidence. The evidence of our existence. Our clothes are clad with experiences. Spillage of a blissful coffee had with friends, sweat from a wicked workout, dirt, spare coinage, pens forgotten in pockets, buttons that have escaped, grass on white shirts, mouldy towels, wet shoes from camp. It labours, to wash the memories clean, so that we may make more.

Six million pairs of well worn shoes lay strewn at my front door. Each one telling its own unique story. A long stroll on the beach? A grueling training session? A trip to the park? A holiday miles from home? They belong there, exactly as they fell, in perfect disorder.

The front door key, it sticks.

We should probably fix that—but one click to the left, one small lean to the right, push the glass just a tiny little bit, and it opens. Like clockwork. The answer lies within the secret code and that’s all we need.

The passageway is adorned with old wedding photos. Moments of the past boxed in a frame, to remind us that we have lived. I haven’t looked at them for so long, I’d almost forgotten they were there. Oh look, there’s Granny, and Mum and Dad in their younger years, all spruced up, smiling at me, as they hang up there. They are leaning, the wire that carries them is a little off centre. A tiny adjustment, and they are perfect, once again.

My favourite couch is sinking into its boots, but it is still warm from where the dog took up position a few minutes ago. He sleeps blissfully unconscious on many an occasion, in that very spot. It’s a place to rest our weary heads after a long day, a sick bed for the unwell, a front row seat at the movies, a meeting place for family discussions, a stand-in trampoline, a secret hiding spot, and centre stage for the wrestling match of a lifetime, that echoes the laughter and giggles of ages.

The aged dining room table has mismatched chairs, but all I see is the heart. The heart that beats to the drum of time. It has hosted many a nail biting card game, precious stories told only once, celebrations, dinners and banter, it’s where secrets and grievances have been revealed and dealt with, timetables learned, it’s seen Christmas dinners, Easter egg feasts, and fairy bread and chocolate crackles for umpteen sequential years.

I look around me, and quietly observe the imperfections inside my four walls. However it occurs to me that it’s the imperfections that contain the most character. It’s the imperfections that make my four walls uniquely mine, that represent a life lived, that represent the growth and uniqueness of my nearest and dearest.

Imperfect? I say perfect.

For the real value, at the end of the day, is not in the four walls themselves

but in the life lived behind them.

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In response to the Daily Post’s

Money for Nothing

Posted in blogging, exercise, fitness, Inspiration, My wordpress, Physical fitness, Sport, Stories, Writing

Resentful or Driven?-The battle of two minds

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‘This morning, it was all about finding the strength to endure the bitter- in order to taste the sweet.’

 Resentful or Driven?

The battle of two minds

Author

Nicole Martin

💎

The resentful me tastes the bitter but not the sweet when the alarm clock prematurely kicks me out of bed.

It’s 0500 HRS.

‘Come on- swallow it babe, are you a man or a mouse?’

‘A mouse!’

‘Well put your shoes on mouse, grab your towel, and walk out the door’

Today, my driven self is determined to slam it’s weaker opponent into checkmate.
How does it happen this way?
I don’t know- My desire to be ‘better’ has always exceeded my resentment of the task.
 Sometimes I wish this ‘drive’ would relent and allow me to relax, but it’s because of IT, that I get up and walk out the door, swimming kit in hand.
The short journey to training proves challenging-my reaction time clearly sluggish;
“Geez, wake up girl- Somebody slap me”-my mind pleads

Resentful me re-appears after a short recess, when it observes we are not alone but have company of a distinct astrological nature.
Still pinned brilliantly in the night sky, the radiant moon is a terrible reminder that it is in fact-

‘STILL NIGHTTIME’

🌛✨

The chill in the air stings my bare feet, and solidifies the frown on my face. Yikes, an army of goosebumps stand to attention on the surface of my skin, proudly announcing their presence.

My reaction?

My foot deepens it’s relationship with the accelerator.

Resentment once again obscures clarity but my ‘driven self’ quickly engages, utilising yet another tool in it’s repertoire-the art of  distraction-I twist the black nob of the car radio and am instantly greeted by an old man drowning in intellect and steadfast opinions, babbling on about the economic situation in China in monotone waves-I mean, where do you find these people?

I hobble bare foot over the cold, rocky gravel-my tactile feet once cozy and relaxed from slumber are now uncomfortably awake as they negotiate the edgy footpath.

I pick up the pace in aim of expediting the whole process.

The quicker I’m in, the quicker I’m out.

The water is cool at first- but a good old fashioned whinge, a few laboured laps, and I quickly adjust.

Familiarity strikes as I re-acquaint myself with the black and the blue.

My body is heavy.

My form of a few months ago, all but gone, but I know, discipline will regain it.

Making a home outside the perimeter of comfort, cursing the darkness, resenting the alarm clock, facing the constant urge to give up, and enduring the battle between two very different states of mind- resentment and drive, is all part of the Journey toward achievement.

This morning, it was all about finding the strength to endure the bitter- in order to taste the sweet.

 

Life After Blogs

Word press Daily Prompt

Featured Image

Matyas Dinai Bandi Graepel

Posted in Inspiration, My mantra's

SECRETS OF A 99 YEAR OLD

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Photo credit: dbqueen / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

💚

SECRETS OF A 99 YEAR OLD

I met a man last week who was nothing short of divine.

I met him at work, whilst running around engaging in the usual nurse-patient activities.

His mere presence had drawn quite the crowd. He was ‘One of those people’.

Health care workers gathered around and were a bundle of smiles and laughter as they interacted with this gentleman.

I proceeded to poke my sticky beak into the action, keenly interested.

A wardsman, clearly touched,  encouraged me to come and meet this character, with childlike excitement.

The ‘happy vibe’ in the air was palpable.

 ‘A rare opportunity’ -I thought

I had to ask him the question.

He was ever so neatly presented. His hair was trim, with a spectacularly manicured moustache to match.

Long brown trousers and a gold buckled belt hung loosely to cover a pristine pair of beige socks.

His collared shirt, snugly tucked in, appeared comfortable on his torso.

The smile he was wearing was warmer than a thousand suns, and his cheeky laugh, grippingly infectious.

He seemed perplexed with all the attention, but lapped it up with angelic humility. Effortlessly, he had the whole room eating out of his hands.

I was desperate to find the opportunity to talk with him.

As we assisted his transfer from the X-Ray table to his bed, he chuckled with delight, as if flying on his favourite theme park ride, honest exhilaration flooding his face.

His laughter was quickly echoed by all in the room, his demeanour intoxicatingly magnetic.

Suddenly, stillness replaced the recent vigour.

An opportunity?

With conviction, I jumped in and whispered,

“Would you mind letting me in on your secret?”

He smiled at me and reached for my hand, his eyes attentive and keen to listen.

“What is the secret to living to the ripe old age of 99?”

His facial expression was kind and gentle. His words, carried with them, decades of wisdom.

“The secret, my dear girl, is to always remain calm inside, and love everybody”

My response?

“Oh. Well that counts me out, I’ll probably be dead by Friday”

He laughed and laughed and laughed, and then suddenly turned serious for a short moment.

“I really mean it…No matter WHAT happens- always stay calm inside and love everybody and everything”

I felt my heart yearning for more of this golden soul, but like a ghostly spirit tickling my skin as I sleep, his presence was fleeting.

and so I say Thank You, to the man with no name-a diamond in my day.

💚Heart Story-N.A.Martin

Posted in Articles

MOVING INTO THE CORPORATE WORLD

I absolutely love this depiction of entering the Corporate World for the first time. The imagery is a Jack in the Box. Renegade Press. What are your thoughts?-N

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Posted in Funny

What happens when you don’t pack the soap on School Camp?

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What happens when you don’t pack the soap on School Camp?

THE DAY BEFORE..

Some say bad things happen in 3’s, I say 6’s or 7’s.

This particular morning, was probably close to one of the worst mornings in history.

Never trust a 13 year old to pack for a canoeing trip. I should’ve known, but I chose to take the lazy way out, leaving it for him.

He was quite happy to pack for himself mind you, and it totally suited me-one less thing to worry about.

All looked quite organised in the packing scene which pleased me. I kept half an eye, just in case anything major went astray.

“So what soap are you using?” Hoping he was using the liquid variety.
“Soap? No I don’t need soap mum”
“No soap?”
“Nope”
“But you will be gone for 5 days!”
“We never use soap on camp mum”
“What do you wash yourselves with then?”
“….we don’t wash…”

“Good Lord. I’m glad I’m not sleeping in a tent with you then”

THE MORNING OF…

The morning of, and the child runs into our room and states that there’s no milk for his breakfast..not even one drop…and so the morning begins.

Michael: I really need to go to work early this morning, is that ok?
Me: Yep, but would you mind grabbing some soy milk from the IGA first?

So off he trots, ready for work, to drop off some milk, and dash.

In the meantime, I discover Flynn, trying to squeeze into his selected shorts for the day. They were easily a few sizes too small.

Flynn: Oops. I don’t think I’ll be wearing those!
ME: Well it would have been a great idea to try them on yesterday Flynn, it’s too late to tell me that now.

All of the shorts he owned, were packed. Oh well, his problem, he’d have to make a plan. I’m not sure what he did, but he obviously found something.

I decided to check in his camp bag-

MISTAKE NUMBER 1-Resulted in much sweating and multiple heart palpitations.

ME: Do you have sunscreen? You will be on a river for 5 days.
FLYNN: Yes, mum.

I checked…..sunscreen IN, but tube completely empty.

ME: Flynnnnnn.
FLYNN: Yes mum?
ME: This tube is completely empty.
FLYNN: Oh.
ME: Quick, call Dad and ask him to buy sunscreen while he’s at the shops.

Michael drives in the driveway-oh damn. He’s home already.

MICHAEL: Here’s the milk. I’m going to work.
ME: Stoooop. There is an emergency.
MICHAEL: You’ve got your period?
ME:This is serious Michael. Flynn has no sunscreen. He will be on a river for 5 days.

Michael sighs.

MICHAEL: I’ll go to the shops again, but then I’m leaving. I’ll toot and drop it off.
FLYNN: Thanks dad.
MICHAEL: Anything else while I’m there?
FLYNN: No, it’s all good
ME: Yes! Flynny, where’s your lip balm?
FLYNN: Here……oh….It WAS here.
ME: Honestly Flynn, I thought you packed.
MICHAEL: Are you serious? Ok. Sunscreen and lip balm.

I felt myself begin to sweat. I still hadn’t had a shower. Lucky I didn’t need to make Flynn lunch. He confirmed that with me yesterday.

ME:Flynn, are you sure you don’t need lunch?
FLYNN: Yep! Sure.

I picked up the note, now in an enormous rush, doubting the accuracy of this statement.

I read the note-

“Your child will be required to bring morning tea, lunch AND afternoon tea on the first day”

I couldn’t believe it…..but then I could. I said nothing. I put my head down and tried to work through the morning, it could only improve from here.

XAVIER: Mum, do you know where my hat is?”
ME very loudly: Xavier, I CANT DEAL WITH YOU RIGHT NOW. Flynn is bad enough. I feel like my head is going to explode.
FLYNN, completely cool: Your head will not explode mum. Don’t worry.

I re-examined the packing situation and noticed he was missing his Water Pack.

ME:Flynn, where’s your water pack?
FLYNN: I think it’s outside
ME ?? Pardon? Why?
FLYNN: well it’s drying, because it got a bit wet, but it’s dry now.
ME: Well put it in your bag for goodness sake, or you’ll forget it
FLYNN: I have to fill it up, first

A few minutes passed.

Then I saw it. Flynny darting outside with the water pack on his back, leaking all,over his NEW shirts and shirt.

ME: Flynnnnn. Take it off quick.

I grabbed the pack in seconds and had it off his back. Sweat poured off my brow. Oh my goodness, please tell me this morning is going to end.

The pack was now absolutely saturated. There was no salvaging it.

RING RING- the phone rang. I answered it.

MICHAEL: Babe can you hear me?- Bad reception
ME: Michael this is not a good time
MICHAEL. The IGA didn’t have sunscreen and Coles is closed. I had to drive to Edmonton.

The ship was well and truly sinking, and I was on the front deck. Disheartened, I dismantled the pack and attempted to fix it for him. The kid needed water and there was no alternative.

The stupid plastic end wouldn’t go into the hole.

I called Xavier to help. He is vey good with practical things.

We all gave up.

Michael drives into the driveway.

ME: Quick Flynn, ask DAD to come inside and help. (I sure as heck wasn’t going to be the one to ask him)

Michael walks in.

MICHAEL: What now?
ME: I can’t fix it babe….and Flynny is all wet.

I might add that Flynn was as calm as a cucumber, Michael was driving around the whole universe it seemed, Xavier was still trying to find his hat and I was having a melt down.

I jumped in the shower. I needed to rush now, and Michael was fixing things. Finally, all was going well, I jumped out of the shower with pace, and opened the cupboard to reach for the hair dryer….GONE. What? It’s never gone. I ran out with a towel on my head and a fire in my belly.

“Who’s stolen my hairdryer?”

There was Flynn. Outside, drying his water pack with my hairdryer.

I looked at him and admired his resilience.

I moved backwards quietly, and let go of the tug of war I was having with time and myself.

It is what it is, I thought-but next time, I’m packing!