Birthday Thoughts 2017

In September, I celebrated another year on planet earth.  I remember growing up and thinking about future milestones I would look forward too.  “I can’t wait until I graduate college” or I can’t wait until I get married.”  “I can’t wait to have my first child or start my own business.”  The cool thing is that I have surpassed these milestones.  That does not mean that I stopped dreaming (I am a big dreamer) but I am living in the overflow of God’s blessings.

I wanted to write this blog post on my birthday but didn’t because I was enjoying life.  I am glad I waited a few days past because some things have happened in the days and week afterward that I want to share here.  First, my son Daniel is one month into pre-school.  He is not perfect but is an amazing and wonderful child.  Currently he is having issues with potty training and it as been frustrating for us as his parents.  However, this week, we checked his ‘report card’ and he is an A student.  The grade is given based on him remembering his weekly scripture.  As a Christian, the most important thing is raising my son to love Jesus like I do.  For him to know and repeat God’s world is the single greatest feeling I have had since holding him in my arms after he was born.  No matter what his profession in the future, to know we are doing our part in building a strong foundation makes me legitimately happy.

The week before my birthday, I was in deep thought about who I am and have I tapped into my full potential.  I have always know that I have been blessed with many talents.  Like I mentioned before, I am a dreamer so I often wonder about the many versions of myself I should pursue.  I don’t know the percentage but I am not at full capacity so I look forward to tapping into what God has blessed me with.  I decided to write down 37 tasks/goals I want to accomplish before my next birthday (God’s willing).  Some are spiritual, physical, professional, family related etc.  I don’t know how much things I will get through but I look forward to the journey.

I feel so blessed for all the opportunities I have been given.  When I look back on my life, I am SO grateful to God for giving me a phenomenal life.  This year I have spent more time in daily devotion with Jesus and I have a better understanding of his voice and his purpose for me.  I was made to help others and bring out the best in people for God’s glory.  Even though I care very much about other things in life, my greatest accomplishment would be allowing God’s will to be done, in me.

Until the next one…

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This one’s for Peterson James Sr.

About 15 months ago I became a daddy for the first time. It is a role that I love but take seriously. My son will one day become a man and my imprint will be upon his life. Even as a newer daddy however, I don’t feel any apprehension that I will succeed in my responsibilities. Why? It’s because of my mentor, my example, my earthly father, Peterson Dexter James.

To know my daddy is to experience an energetic, passionate, discipline, God fearing man. He is visionary beyond anything I have ever seen and his goal in life is to make the name of Jesus famous. Currently he is a motivational speaker but he is so much more. He has raised four children and has been a husband for over 30 years. In his career at the Royal Bahamas Defense Force, we was known as Force Chief Petty Officer James. To those I met who worked with him, they called him the ‘hardest man they ever met.’ I remember riding bikes with him, going camping and helping him build custom cabinets. Every birthday he would remind me that “age brings responsibility, age brings maturity.” Another one of his sayings was “if you know better, do better.” I find myself thinking about how he taught me to take responsibility for my actions. To represent myself and my family well and to the best of my ability. I admit, I don’t always live up to my own high standards, but he taught me to continuously strive for greatness.

So,back to my current situation. Recently I had a conversation with another daddy and he said his main goal is to ensure his boys are good people. That is a noble goal but as I thought about it, I realized my goal for my child and future children is different. My main goal is to ensure my child/children love Jesus even more than I do. This is truly my main desire as a father. This is what I was taught and even after becoming a man and gaining knowledge and education, this goal is still true. For this legacy, I thank my daddy Peterson James Sr.

In closing, like we always say “so love you” daddy.

Sincerely,

Fenrick David James

Shamrock Run 2012 (i.e. Katherine’s Birthday)

I finished the way I wanted to.

The palette for the run was perfect. The sun was shining bright in early March. The crowd was dressed in unique and beautiful varieties of green in ode to St. Patrick’s Day. My wife of four years was by my side as we celebrated her birthday of an unspecified amount. A few co-workers of various running talents were present and accounted for and last the mask was securely tied around my neck. Even though I did not train enough the days leading up to this run, I was in high spirits and tingled with excitement.

There were so many people running today and the line for late registrations we piled up until the very last moment before the race start. It must have been the weather and the chance of embracing the festive spirit of the day that called previous no shows to the brick laden start line. We all knew that four miles lay in front of us but yet we eagerly anticipated the finish line and the taste of mortality. Yes, mortality and not immortality because running reminds you quickly of how mortal, powerful, fragile and mortal again you can be.

So, the race begins and my wife and I along with a friend dodge through the maze of walkers and strollers. In a clearing, we run side by side by side each pacing our steps and keeping our stride. My wife sees some friends from church about 40 yards ahead and informs me. I like the flash sprint up to where they are to greet them in a traditional running past my pace salutation, “hehehello.” Of course, I suck in air before I say this so not to seem out of breath. They greet me back and after a two minute conversation, I fall back to where my wife it. However, by this time, I am grossly out of breath so she calmly passes me by. My friend and coworker, Joe keeps up with me but even he leaves me behind to pick up the gulps of breath I left many yards ago. So, I run on now using landmarks as my training companion.

Much later on, Joe taps me on the shoulder from behind. I am perplexed that I did not see when I passed him. He smiles and says that I probably passed him when he was in line for a Port-O-Jon. He had relieved himself and had seen fit to catch me up. We talk some more and once again him keeps going while I fall back. I even received a pleasant call from my mother who wanted to speak with my wife and wish her a Happy Birthday. I tell her Katie is probably at the finish line now and I am doing my best not to keep her waiting. Mummy laughs and cheers me on while on the phone. However, the cheering is making me laugh to much and tell her I will call back later.

Now, I am on the street where I know the finish line is soon upon me. I commit to my heart, soul, mind, shoe laces to finish the way I want to this time. I can do all things through Christ who strengthen me. Every run is special because you remember the little things as you go along. This run, I remember people cheering as if they knew that I was finishing this race, the way I wanted. Granted, the may have been cheering for friends and love ones but in that see of green, I knew someone was cheering for me. It was like God was cheering for me and even though I could have done better along the way, I was about to finish. What a quiet serenity as I crossed the finish line and turned my eyes in the crowd to find my wife. I hugged her, kissed her, told her how proud I was of her and that I loved her.

Happy Birthday/St. Patty’s Day Katherine.

Polar Run 2012

Run, run as fast as you can. I can’t help you I’m the running love bandit man?  Don’t worry, I know how the saying actually goes but I rather not get sued by Pixar or Disney.  So, I completed the Polar Run a few weekends ago and it was my best run to date.  My time was better, my pace was better and I felt boss afterward.

After going through my pre-run preparations including stretching, hydration and putting on my running bandit mask, I was ready to go.  I did notice this time while having the mask on before the race a few people had an honest look for concern when I glanced in their direction.  Oh well, its my thing so I rock the mask.  It’s kind of like the red head band Rambo would wear before going into hostile situations.  Before the run, I have to get my mind right and intimidate myself that I will do better than ever before.  I also pray a lot before a race because prayer changes things.  (Amen)

So, the run begins and I keep up very well with my wife, Katherine.  She has no problem doing these runs and normally I stop and get left behind.  That truth was still evident on this run, but I kept up more than the race before.  In my head, I sometimes think a mule could run faster than me so I pick up the pace.  During this run, there was a particular person who passed me a few times.  I made it my business to track that person down and pass them.  It’s interesting the looks people in their cars give you when they see you running.  Its the “I could never do that” look and it fuels me more than anything.  I have an app on my phone that tracked my pace and distance and gave me a vocal notification every five minutes.  When the lovely lady voice (I call her Janet) chimes in through my headphones and reveals my true progress, I respond by pushing harder.

Finally, I turn the bend and I see the finish line.  Even though I stop before the end, I finished strong and passed the person I wanted too.  As I approached the finish, I could see the time clock and my wife cheering me on.  I sprinted to the end like I was twelve years old again in a foot race with my childhood friends.  I felt exhilarated and kept saying to my wife, “that was awesome, I killed that run.”  It was such a good feeling to progress in my goal.

The next run is  this weekend which is St. Patrick’s Day and my wife’s birthday.  The plan as always is to do better and enjoy the festivities of the day.  I am so amazed at how God allows simple things to bring joy and fulfillment to our lives.

Legacy Run 2012

Its been awhile since I posted something and I have wanted to write this since I did the run almost a month ago.  At least once a day I would think “I need to write about the Legacy Run” so this post is my precious emancipation of my written glory.  In two days I will do my second run for the year, so I must express how the first run went.

In January, the wife and I did the Legacy Run 2012.  It was in honour of the legacy project for the 2012 NFL Super Bowl.  Before I tell you about the run, let me start by saying that running is a new hobby for me.  However, it took awhile for me to run without my mind saying to me, “why are you running, is anyone chasing you?”  “There is no dog snipping at your butt or you have not stolen anything which warrants you running for a long period of time.”  The funny part is while walking to the start line for the Legacy Run, a guy walk sup to me and says “wow, I guess this run in going to happen, eh? What I think bro is, why am I running, no one is chasing me, I don’t see a dog after me.”  I seriously, look at the guy and say” fer real, I know exactly what you mean.”  It was a brief kindred soul moment that made the chill of a January morning more bearable.

Oh, before I forget, I like to run in the cold with a handkerchief around my face like a old school country bandit.  My wife “encourages” me to take it off because the general public around me looks a bit concerned.  I don’t care, I rock the bandit look.  Its the running bandit of love, look.  So, the run begins and I get the feet moving while weaving through the walkers.  I forgot my music player so my senses are raw to the sights and sounds of this run.

Probably a mile and a half through the run, this lady I am about to pass asks me ” Hey, do you know Joseph Addai?”  For non NFL fans, Joseph Addai is a running back for the Indianapolis Colts.  I respond, “No, I don’t know him.”  She proceeded to ask me questions for the rest of the face.  I was okay with it because without music, conversation was a good distraction.  You would be surprised about the things I think of during a run.  Things like, could I have played professional sports or how old was I when I knew I was really mature.  I keep going until I see the finish line in the distance.  I have made up my mind to run all the way to the finish but then I stop.  Granted, I have stopped before during the run but this time I can see the finish in the near distance.  So tangible but so far away and I wish I did not stop.  However, I finished and live to run another day.

So, tomorrow I pick up packages for the February run which I am excited to do.  One day I will get my mind right and finish the way I want.  Until then, I keep running towards the prize.

BahaMan

First off, big ups to the Jamaican marketing team for convincing the world that all the Caribbean is Jamaica.  The best is when I meet someone for the first time and they ask where my accent is from.  I tell them The Bahamas and the next words that come out their mouth is “Oh, I love that movie about y’all.”  “Which movie would that be I reply” while in my mind I already know it will be Cool Runnings.  “The one with the Jamaican bobsled team, that was hilarious.” “Hummm, is it Cool Runnings” to which I get the affirming nod as we both laugh about the premise of the movie. Even though it never gets old, I too smile because I get an opportunity to let them know the difference between our cultures. I must be careful what I say to them because in that moment I am the mouthpiece for the whole Bahamian people.  My attitude may be the only reference they will ever have with a Bahamian.

Don’t worry, Bahamians by nature are a calm natured, immensely friendly people.  We love life and treasure the relationships we have.  Our zeal for providing hospitality to others probably comes from our African roots.  Although my wife the first time we met thought my accent was from Chicago, the Bahamian accent is a mix between African and British undertones.  In college I read some Nigerian literature and poetry and it read exactly like the Bahamian dialect.  The British part comes in because the Bahamas was a colony of Britain for many years.  All of that change when we became independent on July 10, 1973.  The country has grown so much since them and has embraced our culture and lifestyle.  Now we are mostly know for our sun, sand, sea and the Atlantis Hotel.  However, the best part of the Bahamas is the people.

I will take a detour for a moment and go over some misconceptions that will help you if you have the privilege of meeting a Bahamian some day.

1.  Bahamian is different from Bohemian which in my mind has more to do with an 80’s fashion and especially the song Bohemian Rhapsody.  Do the moose and the fandango, GALILEO, indeed.  I don’t really know the words to that song.  Correction, my wife has just informed me that the song came out in the 70’s. The more you know. Moving on.

2.  Bahamians rarely if ever say “Hey Mon.” Although I can’t blame people for saying it because growing up someone created t-shirts that said “Hey Mon, The Bahamas” and sold it to tourist.  That one is our bad.

3.  The Bahamas is not a US state.  Don’t laugh, I have had at least two people proclaim this truth?  My favorite instance of this was a visit to the BMV to get a US drivers license.  The lady at the counter asked me to turn in my license from the state I lived previously.  I told her, I only lived in the Bahamas before but she said I still needed to turn in my drivers license.  Her reasoning was that the Bahamas was a US state to which I replied, “Unless it was just sold on the open market, The Bahamas is an independent country.” She did not believe me and asked a few co-workers and at least two agreed with her truth?  Finally, a manger came over and informed the world that The Bahamas was a sovereign country and not a US state.  It was funny to see the look on her face.

4.  Lastly, as much as I love my Jamaican massive, Bahamians are not Jamaicans.  Once again, big ups to marketing for their excellent work, but this is the biggest misconception by far.  Latest example was during my first trip to London in August 2011.  Before leaving on our trip, the wife and I made sure I would not need a special visa.  None was necessary so at our arrival to Heathrow Airport I calmly gave the Immigration officer my passport.  She looked it over, flipped through the pages, looked me up and down a few times.  Then with a peculiar and somewhat annoyed look she said “Sir, where is your visa to enter this country.”  After I got over how beautiful her British accent was, I informed her that I did not need a visa.  At this time, my wife’s face is turning colours and she is about to freak out.  The officer said, “All Jamaican nationals need a visa to enter England.”  I calmly replied, “Madam, you are looking at a Bahamian passport.”  Her reply, “Oh, sorry, didn’t mean to scare you” and she stamped my passport and let me go.  “Didn’t mean to scare you” my wife said as she was trying to figure out where she could change her underwear, discreetly. Awkward!

I think I did a good thing by sharing those.  Oh, one misconception that is true is the BahaMen who sing the song “Who let the dogs out” are actually Bahamian.  I actually know most of them though church or my time working at a recording studio.  As happy as that song is and how lively they look in the videos, it kinda represents Bahamians.  We are a happy people, a blessed people, a thankful people.  For me, I do my best to represent them well so that if you meet me, your experience with a BahaMan is something you will enjoy and treasure.

God Bless The Bahamas.

to blog or not to blog….that is the question

So, here goes for my first official entry on our brand new fancy blog.  Let me start off by saying that in the simplest form of the word, I am a traditionalist.  I still like writing checks.  I enjoy making homemade bread without a bread maker.  I send actual, physical birthday cards.  I enjoy borrowing books from the library.  They’re free and they smell like books should smell.  Because of these and many other reasons, it took me a great while to absorb the idea of a blog.  In the past, my sentiment has been this:  if something has happened in my life that I would like to share, I’ll make a note of it in next year’s Christmas card.  So, consider our blog a ‘running Christmas card’, minus the glitter. Isn’t Christmas spirit all year round a beautiful thing?  In my pondering of a blog, I was trying to consider if the actual idea of a blog is a new thing or if it’s really a twist on an “old-fashioned” idea.  Medieval times had the town crier to tell all the news of the village.  The old west had the town telegraph station with all of its news posted on a public bulletin board.  In a way, a blog is just a sophisticated town “bulletin board”, only more privatized.  This in itself is a scary concept to me.  I am a very private person.  Growing up an only child, I had my share of private time.  I learned to entertain myself and am genuinely contented when I am alone.  (It’s a wonder I ever let Fenrick in to this little private world!)  =)

So I will make my best attempt to be publicly private on this blog.  Don’t worry, nothing too intimate will ever cross this keyboard.  We are a very PG sort of couple.  I might just share what I’m cooking, what I’m reading, what’s irking me at work, or what’s growing in our garden.  I will carry on in the fine tradition of the town crier and let the world in on the happenings of the James’ village.