All posts by Jason Gallant

Congratulations Mr. Trump…

Please do not consider this as any sort of endorsement, but simply as what it states.  Congratulations on this great achievement.  Despite a landslide of opposition, Donald Trump will be sworn in as the President of the United States today.

For many today is a sad day in the history of the United States, and for just as many more, it’s a huge victory and an apparent step in the right direction.

I won’t pretend to know enough about the political landscape of our neighbors to the south, but it does bring up a very interesting discussion.  How should we react when we don’t get the outcome we had hoped?

I have seen a barrage of satirical videos, memes and cartoons lashing out at the very soon to be President of the United States.  Seeing the amount of negative media attention, and the protests, and the fact that #notmypresident is trending, I can only describe it as temper tantrums.  A large group of people upset that the democratic process they are so proud of, failed to produce the results that they wanted.

What happened to people taking the high road and learning to make the best of a terrible situation?  With every President that I can remember, the people gathered and stood behind the office.  They may have disagreed with the person in the office, but they respected the office, and their fellow countrymen in the outcome of the election.

I agree that protests and people should stand up for what they believe in, but shouldn’t it be done respectfully?

Personally, I feel that the election results have indicated that the majority of people are sick and tired of career politicians.  Who else did they have to choose from that has real world experience in the business world.

With Kevin O’Leary’s announcement of running for leadership of the Conservative Party in Canada, I can see the same trend starting to happen here.  Our current Prime Minister was born to a Prime Minister, so his only experience in real life is in Politics.  How can one really understand the impacts our law makers decisions have, if you’ve never had to live with the actual impacts?

Every political system in the world should be attentively watching what’s happening in the US.  People are finally tired of our options for leaders.

What are your thoughts?  Keep in mind, I am not a political scientist…  I’m just a humble, over taxed Canadian providing my perspective.

Till next time.

I’m on a roll…

I’m still sticking with it…

It’s hard to believe, but almost 2 weeks into this ‘diet’, and I’ve not cheated once.  Admittedly, it’s hard to cheat when bacon is on the menu…

This Keto diet thing really isn’t much of a diet, but more so a different way of eating.  I’ve basically just eliminated refined sugar and wheat from my diet.  Typically any changes in diet for my have been difficult, the mood swings, cravings and bottoming out sugars would make me feel nauseous almost throughout the entire plan.

There have been days lately, where I’ve been too busy to take a break and have a snack, or I forget to take a snack.  It would surprise me to be able to go 4 or 5 hours without eating anything for two reasons.  One, I rarely make it that long without feeling hungry.  Two, there was no sudden drop in sugar levels and no noticable decrease in energy.

Other than the first couple of days, I’ve been feeling great, plus I’ve 10 lbs.  I know that could be a big contributor to my improved energy.

So resolution one is going great, and as is evident with this post, the second,so far is on track too.

Couple other resolutions I started with this year are progressing well too.   I’m on track with my daily devotional.  I’m going through the Bible in One year, written by Nicky and Pippa Gumble.  It’s not a short quick devotional, but I find it is so necessary to set the tone of my day.

I’ve also intended to be more intentional and present when with others.  At home, in meetings, walking down the street, standing in line at the coffee shop.  Spending less time on a mobile device and being present in the moment, observing my surroundings.

It’s a tough habit to break, but I think so necessary.  I was inspired when I watched a video circulating on Facebook.  It was an interview with Simon Sinek about Millenials in the Workplace.  It’s about 15 mins long, but so worth the time to watch.

How are you making out with your resolutions?  I’d love to hear.  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Till next time

Jason

January Update – Another New Years Resolution

As with many people, I joined the ranks of those starting their new year off with new resolutions.

I struggle with these for many reasons.  One, I often lack consistency when it comes to following up on my progress.  Perhaps my goals are too high level, with not enough meat to measure.

The last couple of years, I’ve had a goal to Blog more.  I’ve questioned a lot over the last few months of whether or not I should just shut this down or pick it back up.

For me, I don’t have a problem writing, but I have a problem with feeling that it’s ever good enough to publish.  I strive for perfection, and fear the ridicule and rejection from writing something that offends or is just terrible.

So, here I am, stepping out on a limb, and just posting…   Something… Anything… Just to say I’ve posted.

If anyone is reading this, please hold me accountable and ensure I post more frequently.  I’m planning to publish something each month this year.  Let’s see how things go…

I also started a new diet this year.  My wife was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2016, and has been reading a lot about Ketogenic diets.  There seems to be many documented cases of type 2 diabetes being reversed, so we decided to tackle it together.

Any new diet is tough, but one that drastically reduces carb intake for me, is almost certain disaster.  First day in, and I just wanted to punch everyone I saw and eat a loaf of bread.  Not some multi-grain, full of seeds and nuts bread either.  Plain old, unhealthy enriched white bread. Straight from the bag.  Smothered in peanut butter and jam…

But I resisted.  Yay me!  Now a week into this thing and I’m actually ok.  My head seems much clearer, I have more energy(no more afternoon wall), and I’ve lost 8lbs.

The cravings for sweets and bread seem to have diminished too, so all in all, not too bad.

When I post next month, hopefully I’m still on track, and can report more pounds lost and better health.

Till next time.

Jason

It’s been too long

Today, I took a quick look at this blog and noticed that I am still getting a few hits on a daily basis.

It’s been over a year since my last post.

This blog is something that I have a strong desire for, but never seems to get the right amount of focus.

I’m gonna just post this here for a few days…  Is this desire/dream to be an effective blogger something that should be abandoned?

Does it really matter who the next PM is?

For the first time in 20 years of voting, I find myself without clear direction on who I am voting for in our upcoming federal election.  Of the leading parties running, I have little confidence in any of them being able to lead our country efficiently or to be fiscally responsible.  Any of the remaining parties seem so inexperienced in government, that I have even less confidence in their ability. 

So how does one decide?  It’s irresponsible, as a voting member of a diplomatic society to abstain from the vote, but how do you even narrow your options down?  

Regardless, we must vote.  I believe it is not only our right, but it is our responsibility to do so.

Some will make their choices, based on their current circumstances, some on religious beliefs, others on foreign policy.  When it comes down to it, we as a country will choose our next leaders, and will have to live with the consequences of that decision.  

This site has a list of links to each of the main parties and what their platforms are.  Educate yourself, and select a candidate that aligns to your views as best as you can:  http://www.election.cna-aiic.ca/en/party-platforms

It is the responsibility of each individual citizen of this country to make the best of it.  Often we select a leader and choose to blame everything that’s wrong with our country on them.  Although, there is some truth to that, as they do in fact make the decisions on how our tax dollars are spent, we are ultimately the ones responsible with how our country does.

We are the ones that need to choose to support our country. To support one another.  It’s very easy for many of us to pay our taxes and let the government look after funding social development programs with our money.  Yes, these programs are good, and help families to survive through tough times, but what are we doing individually to help those on the fringes of society. 

Can you imagine what kind of a country we would have, if we choose to mentor those on social assistance?  Emotionally support those suffering from mental health issues?  Volunteer at our schools and support our under funded educational system? Care for the elderly in their own homes? 

John F. Kennedy once said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”.  To many that has become an outdated, antiquated sentiment.  We have become a selfish society.  Concerned about ourselves, and leaving the less fortunate to be cared for by elected officials.  I think it’s time for us to all take a stand and say that despite what the government is doing, I will do my part to make my country a better place.  That goes far beyond filling out a ballot at election time.

As we head to the polls this fall, can we all make a collective decision to do more after we leave the polling station?  Each and every politician that’s elected will inevitably break the promises they have made to us throughout this campaign.  That does not mean that our country cannot be a better place anyway.

Love for Canada, is a sentiment that I’m sure I share with the overwhelming majority of Canadians, so let’s start to show it.

Make sure you’re registered to vote:  http://www.elections.ca/home.aspx

Get out on October 19th to vote, and then do something to make your country a better place.


Just get it done

Hate is a very strong way to describe how I feel, but when it comes to documentation…  there is no other word that comes to mind…  It is excrutiatingly painful to compose a single concise document that accurately conveys your message.

Compiling the necessary information to assemble a report, or an assessment is something that I love to do.  There are some that shudder at the thoughts of starting a day with back to back meetings, but I feel fully engaged in the process, when my day starts full of meetings.  Maybe it’s cause I like to talk to people, share ideas and problem solve, or maybe there is something wrong with me.

When all is said and done though, the report, presentation, or email still must be delivered.  For me it is the longest and most mind numbing part of any assignment.  I almost always procrastinate and end up rushing the documentation in the end.  

As a leader it tends to be the easiest part of the job to delegate, but is definitley not the approach I want to take with my team…  As I sit here and type this(instead of working on the assessment I have to deliver), a few thoughts come to mind on those tasks we all hate to do.

1.  Take a break.
This might sound like more procrastination, but intentionally prepare to tackle the task at hand.  Take a few moments to clear your head, grab a snack, or refill that coffee.  Get away from your desk, and the blank document staring you in the face.
2. Ask for help
If there’s a task facing you that you are  cringing at tackling, find someone that does a good job at it.  Not everyone will have the time to drop everything and lend you a hand, but some just may offer enough inspiration to motivate you to start.
3. Make it a challenge
One trick that I’ve used in the past with some success, is to only ‘reward’ myself once the task reaches a specific milestone.  For example:  Only taking a break once first draft of the document is done.  
I find that it helps to also remind myself often, that if I do this now, I won’t have to think about it again(until next time at least)
4. Just do it
You’ve procrastinated long enough.  It’s time to just get to it.  The clothes will not fold themselves, the dishes will not magically clean themselves, that document will not write itself, etc…  
Often the hardest part of any task is just getting started. 


So, those are just a few tricks that I use to help me get through difficult tasks.  It’s not an exhaustive list by any means.

I would love to hear what’s worked for you, so feel free to leave a comment below.

Now, I gotta get back to the task at hand.

Till next time.

Jason

Goodbyes suck

We’ve had a while to prepare for this day to come, but it still is not a very easy thing to do. This week my brother in law, his wife and our two beautiful nieces are moving half way across the country to pastor at a church in Sarnia Ontario. 

It is an amazing adventure for their family, but leaves a big hole in our lives here. I assume the feeling is mutual. Either that or they’ve just been playing it up to ensure they have help to pack. We’ve had some great times with them, and will miss the fun.

It’s a big decision to leave your extended family and venture out on your own, but with today’s technology, they’re never really that far away, and although it seems far away it is still within driving distance and is a great place to vacation.

For this amazing family I have some parting advice:

1. Never forget where you came from:


This is an opportunity to start fresh, take chances and be bold, but always remember to learn from your past successes and failures.  

It can be easy to want to shut out the pain and hurt, but often there is a valuable lesson in it.  

2.  Share your life


As you start your new lives, find some friends to bring into  your inner circle.  People that you can trust, and have a good time with.  You know…  People like us… 🙂

Be intentional about who you align yourselves with, and don’t rush into deep relationships.  Find people that will encourage you, challenge you and be supportive.

3. Grow deeps roots


This is tough advice to give.  The selfish part of me wants you to be miserable and unahppy, and run back home, but it’s important for you to commit and dig in…  

It may be difficult to do so early on, and the temptation will be there to pull up and move home when things get difficult.  God has called you to where you’re going, so trust that he’s called you there for a purpose.  It’s worth committing to.

4.  Call home(often)


There are those of us here that love and support you, but will miss you dearly.  Don’t forget about us.

I’m sure that you’ve been getting a ton of advice over the last few weeks, so this may just be adding more to the pile.  Take it all in, throw away what isn’t practical or applicable to you, and hold on to the gems.

We love you and wish you well on this new adventure.

The Importance of Friendships

Have you ever felt isolated or alone in life?  I have.  Even while surrounded with friends, family and coworkers, there have been moments when I have felt completely alone.  

It’s incredibly important for each of us to have those alone times and be ok with being by ourselves, but I want to talk about the importance of having healthy relationships with others.  
There are libraries full of books on marriage relationships, parent/child relationships, dating relationships, boss/employee relationships, etc., but there are far fewer resources on the importance of just general friendships.

Our society has diminished the importance of having meaningful face to face interactions with people, and instead substituted it for virtual ‘friendships’.  We have created this false pretense that we have to have it all together, all the time… I can’t live up to that image, and I’m certain no one can.  So to continue the charade we sacrifice the honesty required to develop meaningful relationships.

Over the last few years, I’ve been blessed with men in my life that encourage me, challenge me, and that I can be real and honest with.  As I walk the road of faith, I’m learning more and more, that it is not just about my relationship with God, but my relationship with Him and His creation…  That’s you… That’s the people that I don’t get along with…  That’s the people that I disagree with… That’s the people that don’t like me…

The core of what I believe in regards to God is that we were created to be in intimate relationship with our Creator.  As a result of the fall of Adam and Eve, we have all been born into a world in which we are no longer naturally a part of that relationship.  Most importantly, I believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross as payment for our sin and rose to life again so that we can once again enter into that right relationship with our Creator.

We are still flawed.  We still stumble and mess up.  Some days a lot, but we have been invited back into community with God none-the-less.

If you find yourself in a position of loneliness today, I encourage you to reach out to someone, and start developing meaningful relationships.  It can be scary, but it is so worth putting yourself out there.

What are you doing to connect with the people around you?  I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject…

Till next time.

Jason

Perfect Lives

Photography, is an amazing art form.  It amazes me how someone can take something that is seemingly ordinary, and capture it in such a way that makes it astounding and magnificient.  I have tried to take nice pictures, and regardless of the equipment, they just turn out ok… I’m certain it has something to do with the operator.  Since many photos are selfies, I suppose it’s fair to assume it has something to do with the subject too.
Perhaps, I just lack the commitment to the art to go through the hassle of staging something to photograph.  Maybe this is also why I am torn between wanting to sell my house, but not wanting to go through the hassle of staging, and keeping it clean during the process.  There is an entire industry that helps to stage your home for selling.  Those with enough funds even have public relations advisers to stage their lives for selling an ideal to the masses.  
If you look at any of my social media profiles, you just might think that I have it all together…  Never in a bad mood, always dressed to kill, kids are getting along, my wife and I never fight, our house is clean and the lawn and flower beds are perfectly manicured.
It’s hard work ensuring that image is kept up, but to what end?  Man was never created to be alone, so why do we create these images that ultimately isolate us from others.
Here are a couple of reasons why I believe this isolates us.
We’re afraid to let people in:
Deep down we all know the person we portray is not really all that great.  Despite some of the spectacular things we post, we’re all just human.  I understand completely the fear of being so real and vulnerable with others.  
I’ve had some tough struggles, but until I was willing to let go of my image and confide in others, I was trapped in a ‘perfect life’ all alone.
The funny thing is, that when you become real with people, the fear of not being good enough quickly goes away.  For me, I have discovered that when I was willing to open up to others I found there were hidden abilities and giftings within me that could only be exposed through vulnerability.  
The potential to help others far outweighs the fear of not being good enough, so I encourage you to give it a try.
People feel unable to be real with you:
      
There have been times in my life where I was in agony of being so alone in my struggles.  Many of the people in my life were perfect, and would completely reject me had I confided in them.  Or at least I had thought.
I remember sitting in church and watching the preacher talk the talk, knowing full well that I could never live up to the perfect live he was espousing that he was living.  I remember the Sunday it was announced the pastor had fallen into sin, and here I sat with my already imperfect  life, and not even he could live a perfect life.  What hope did I have.
I’m not saying we all need to get up on a pedestal and confess every issue we’ve dealt with, but can’t we stop pretending?  Some days are seriously just crappy, and sometimes we just realize our humanity is still present. 
We don’t always have it all together, and that’s ok, so why don’t we try a little vulnerability to encourage others that it’s ok to be broken once in awhile.  It’s only in our brokenness where Christ can make things new.
I’m reminded of this passage from Ecclesiastes.  We all need someone to help us through this life, and we all need to be that person to help someone else…

I have noticed something else in life that is useless. Here is someone who lives alone. He has no son, no brother, yet he is always working, never satisfied with the wealth he has. For whom is he working so hard and denying himself any pleasure? This is useless, too—and a miserable way to live. Two are better off than one, because together they can work more effectively. If one of them falls down, the other can help him up. But if someone is alone and falls, it’s just too bad, because there is no one to help him. If it is cold, two can sleep together and stay warm, but how can you keep warm by yourself Two people can resist an attack that would defeat one person alone. A rope made of three cords is hard to break. (‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭4‬:‭7-12‬ GNT)

For some of us(myself included), it can be difficult to expose the real me, but in an effort to help someone else in their journey, I’ll do it.  Will you?
There’s been a big jump in readership on my blog in the last couple of weeks.  Not viral by any means, but I appreciate everyone that’s taken the time to read, and to send me notes of encouragement.
Thank you all.
Till next time 

Jason.

My Take on #FiftyShades

Fifty Shades of Grey…  I’m getting a little tired of seeing article, after article about this movie.  It seems like this is the only news worthy item since it’s release this week.  Since everyone else is writing about this movie and expressing their opinions, I thought it’s about time to share mine.
My opinion on the subject…  Enough is enough already.  Seriously though,  there has to be something more worthy to talk about.
I have not seen the movie, and most likely will not, so I will not speak to the content of the movie, or the quality of the production.  What strikes me funny, is that the major opponents to the movie are those who have not read the books, or intend to watch the movie.  I don’t disagree that the movie is going to be raunchy, and very graphic, but people are going to be watching it whether or not you publicly voice your opposition or disgust.
As every christian would know it’s very difficult at times to be like Christ, but after seeing and reading some of the articles posted by Christians on the matter, I see nothing but judgmental pharisees.  The people Jesus has commissioned us to reach are watching this movie and reading these books.  Our judgement on their preferences is doing the exact opposite of building relationship.
I’m not saying we all need to buy tickets and sit through something that goes against our personal convictions, but perhaps we should avoid public judgement and reserve it for those times when we’re asked for our opinion.
As Christians, we have an opportunity with this movie to have meaningful dialogue with our spouses, children, friends, etc.  If we continue to be harsh and judgmental about something as trivial as this, we may lose those opportunities to build relationship.  
So I will not discuss my opinions on this movie here, but will gladly have the conversation with anyone.
If you’re looking for a humorous read on the subject, Scott Dannemiller wrote an article that made me laugh…
This is a very hot topic, so I’d love to hear your thoughts…