Category Archives: Life

Our Brave Girl’s Birth Story – from daddy’s perspective

As a soon-to-be dad, having a baby can be an incredibly romantic thought. The dream looks something like this…

Your wife shares with you she’s pregnant – news met with joy and anticipation. You go through the pregnancy weeks with her chatting away endless nights about names, what the sex of the baby might be and the person you hope baby will become.

The day comes for baby to arrive and you support your wife through a challenging but ultimately satisfying delivery. Then you hold your baby in your arms, support your champion wife in recovery and lead them home to begin your perfect family life of happiness and hope for the future.

This is the scenario dreams are made of. And our story definitely began this way, but on delivery day, that scenario for us went out the window.

Our delivery day started to plan. My wife was delighted when she told me her waters had broken at home (she was five days overdue at the time) and contractions started slowly but indicated that meeting baby was just on the horizon (how exciting!).

Our 4am drive to the hospital was relatively uneventful (except for a couple of discomfort stops) and things began well once in the delivery suite. My wife’s contractions were happening on time, and though they looked painful and uncomfortable for my champion wife, they were happening exactly the way they should.

But here is where our story began to change.

Our baby, who had been in such great position to be delivered the whole pregnancy, decided delivery day was not the day she was going to cooperate.

She positioned herself in a way making it difficult for her to be delivered naturally. Not only that, after being engaged in labour for the best part of a day, baby had become distressed, restricting oxygen to her brain while trying to enter the world. Her heart rate dropped quickly and was not rising again fast enough.

Well all this was going on, I was oblivious to it.

All I knew was that after spending a day supporting my wife through labour, suddenly doctors were flooding our delivery suite.

I was told to quickly throw on scrubs and trail my wife’s swiftly moving bed to the hospital’s main operating theatre.

Was everything ok? What was happening?

The operating theatre was a hive of activity. About a dozen doctors were buzzing around my wife’s bed preparing her for what they had termed an ’emergency’ c-section.

Their ongoing reassurance was extremely helpful for us – they clearly talked us through what was happening while the procedure was taking place (potential ploy to divert my wife’s attention? I think so).

I’ll never forget the final question one of the doctors asked my wife and I the moment before baby was born.

‘Do you know what the sex of your baby is going to be?’ to which we shook our heads. He was preparing us for the announcement.

And in that moment my life changed forever.

‘Congratulations! You are the parents of a beautiful baby girl.’

I can’t explain my emotions at that time. We expected a boy, and here I was, looking at the girl who would change my life forever.

In that moment, I remember feeling a peace about our baby girl and a closeness with my wife that we’ll be able to share for an eternity.

After a brief introduction to our new daughter, she was whisked away to a table at one end of the operation theatre. There an oxygen mask was applied to her tiny little face to help her breathe on her own.

‘Dad, would you like to come over and meet your daughter?’ the doctors said, to which I hurriedly accepted their invitation.

I leaned over her and instantly fell in love.

As she fogged up the small breathing mask attached to her face my natural reaction was to pray that God would be with my daughter through what would have been an extremely distressing time for her. Fear has never been a feature of my family, today wasn’t the day that would start.

After these initial introductions to my daughter, my wonderful wife met her face-to-face for the first time, and then she was taken to the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit for monitoring and treatment.

We didn’t get to hold our baby girl when she first arrived into the world.

I remember feeling a relief that my daughter had been safely delivered into the world but also a sense of hopelessness that there was nothing daddy could do to help her in this situation. Daddy could not save her in her first challenge of her life, and I had to rely on others (professionals, doctors) to give my baby girl her best chance.

I remember arriving at the neonatal unit for the first time. There was a warmth there, but it’s still not the place I’d dreamed of being moments after the birth of my first child. Shouldn’t I be halfway home now with my beautiful new family?

Approaching our girl in the unit for the first time was a surreal moment. She was lying in an incubator with what looked like a thousand wires coming from all parts of her tiny frame. She had a small oxygen mask attached to her face and was surrounded by machines that dwarfed her parents let alone our sweet little girl.

Was she going to be ok? Was her distress at birth going to impact the rest of her life?

I remember the one thing I did do at this time was assure my wife of the wonderful work she had done in birthing our new treasure. She had done everything within her control to give our girl her best chance. It was now about being there for our baby girl in her life’s first battle.

It was here, at the neonatal unit, we learnt that our girl was going to be put through a cooling treatment, for three days, to help her with her oxygen flow (particularly to the brain). They would monitor her to determine any issues that may have arisen from her labour experience. They assured me she was a mild case.

A mild case. What does that mean in a situation like this? Was she going to be ok? Was she going to be able to play like any other little girl aspiring to be whatever she wanted to be? These questions and more flooded my mind over the next 24 hours. And then 48 hours. And then 72 hours. Sleep was difficult for me during this time to say the least.

After a successful round of ‘cooling’, our fighting girl was eventually discharged from the antinatal unit with a clean bill of health.

Her brain activity is the same as any other little newborn girl and she is now doing all the normal things that babies need to do when entering our world like learning how to feed:)

I held my daughter for the first time on the fifth day of her already eventful life. It was bliss – one of life’s truly great experiences if you are gifted with a son or daughter. Absence really does make the heart grow insanely in love.

She is lying on me sleeping now as I write this. She is an absolute treasure.

I wanted to write and share my experience, from a dads perspective, for a couple of reasons:

One, it has helped me process what has been an eventful first week of my daughters life and our lives as parents.

Two, I wanted to give other new parents hope that sometimes, when pregnancy / delivery doesn’t go to plan, there is hope that things right themselves eventually and the unique story you create out of these situations may help the next couple who’s birth doesn’t quite go as planned.

My little girl is a treasure and in her short time on earth she has taught me more about what courage looks like than anyone I’ve ever met – and for that I’ll be eternally grateful to her.

Hopefully this provides some hope to soon-to-be parents pursuing that ‘perfect’ birth. Our story wasn’t perfect, but in the face of its challenges, it was definitely blessed. I’ll always be thankful for that.

Baby girl now has the hiccups on me. Lol. I better help her out with that.

Be encouraged.

Written by Jesse Boyce

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When God’s love, trumps our fear

smiling homeless man

It’s hard to explain exactly what happened to my wife and I over the last week or so – so to stay true to the story I’ll keep things as factual as possible without embellishing it.

Last weekend my wife and I were at our local vege market doing our usual weekly vege shop. As we were leaving the market I passed a man begging for money sitting on the concrete by one of the market exits. I was happy to pass the man sitting on the ground – turns out my wife wasn’t.

As my wife, Jen, sat next to the man and listened to his story, I sat in the car (which was parked close by where I could see them talking) waiting for her to finish her conversation thinking, ‘My wife is awesome. I married up’.

Jen then got up from the ground beside the man, whose name was Anthony, and came toward the car – I thought we were on our way for the rest of our day’s errands – I was wrong.

‘Hunny I think we should pray for that guy’, she said. Confidently I agreed and opened my car door without delay to go and join Anthony sitting on the ground – but my heart had fear in it, fear of failure (what if the prayer doesn’t work?) and fear of people (what if someone thinks I’m weird?). And my mind was sceptical.

So I knelt down next to Anthony and started some light conversation with him before getting into what physical ailments he had. Anthony’s face was scarred – the remnants of past fights he’d been involved in and one of the most telling signs of this was he had lost sight in one of his eyes. It lacked the ability to focus, was partially closed and looked dysfunctional.

I asked Anthony if Jen and I could pray for his eye which he willingly agreed to briefly sharing with me his family had prayed for him before. So Jen and I prayed for him.

I put my hand on his eye, Jen put her hand on his shoulder and we prayed for him. It wasn’t a long prayer, it wasn’t a super spiritual one either – we just prayed that his blindness would be gone and that God would restore full sight into his eye.

Once I’d finished praying (we’re talking like a 30 second prayer) we asked Anthony if there was improvement in his eye and he said that things were starting to become clearer in that eye, but there was no full recovery. So we briefly prayed for him again. Again after asking him how it felt he said again he felt like his eye was clearing.

On that I told him I felt like his eye would be healed by the end of the day – and these weren’t empty words, I truly felt like something was happening in Anthony and the healing happening within him wasn’t done. After that we said our goodbyes and moved on.

Once at the car, Jen and I put an appeal out on Facebook inviting others to pray with us for Anthony in the belief that God was doing something here but we were unsure what. People generally responded well indicating they were praying from wherever they were in the world for this guy, at our local vege market in little old New Zealand.

Fast forward a week…

I am returning from some work I was doing further north in New Zealand when I get a call from Jen. She is beyond super excited on the other end of the phone. What she is about to share with me is something I’ll never forget…

The guy we had prayed for, Anthony – his eye was healed.

She had bumped into him that morning and she said his eye looked unbelievably better – clearer, brighter, with the ability to focus. He told her that he could see out of it again – that it had been 5 years since he’d seen out of it last. Our brief phone conversation was filled with excitement, awe and disbelief. It’s fair to say the rest of that day was one of thankfulness – and hope.

The above story is amazing on so many fronts. It’s amazing that Anthony’s eye got healed (and I believe is still improving as I write this post). It’s amazing that God involved two everyday people like Jen and I in what he wanted to do in Anthony.

But above all this, to me, what makes this story amazing is that God used this prayer, Jen and I, the prayers of our friends and family and the healed eye to show Anthony that He loved him. Regardless of my unbelief, regardless of my fear of people, my fear of failure that the prayer may not work. God’s love for this guy wasn’t contained by my lack of faith or sin or knowledge about how this sort of stuff should work – because His love can’t be contained. God’s love trumps our fear – and this is something we all need to remember next time we have a sense to help someone else in need.

To end this post I want people to understand Jen and I are not the heroes in this story – God is. Love is.

I want to sign off this post with the prayer we prayed for Anthony’s eye:

God, thank you that you love Anthony. I pray that blindness would go – and that full sight be restored into Anthony’s eye. In Jesus name. Amen.

God – thank you for answering our prayer.

photo credit: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7083/7192839330_06a7ea2d38_z.jpg

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Inspiration Only Goes So Far

Peter Snell

One of the awesome benefits of my blogging journey so far, have been the stories I’ve heard of people inspired by my writing to dream again, to do something remarkable, to throw caution to the wind and risk failure for freedom.

So in the interest of not wasting anyone’s time, this post is not for the guys I have just mentioned. You guys can go back to dreaming big and doing cool stuff.

This post is for ‘the inbetweeners’ (and I’m not talking about the brit comedy) – the people who read my posts, tell me they are loving what I write, indicate their 100% agreement with it, and then go back to their day-to-day lives.

I find you lot frustrating – and possibly because in a way you reflect my own internal struggles to turn inspiration into action.

You see the thing with inspiration is inspiration only goes so far. Inspiration will get you to your race – but it won’t get you to your prize. It’ll get you pumped about what you want to do, but it won’t do it for you.

You see if you want to do something remarkable – you need to involve yourself in your dream beyond just being inspired by it. You need to lace up your proverbial Nikes, do your stretches and get beyond the starting blocks and into your race of turning your dream into a real life journey, possibly for all of us to witness.

Now this message isn’t for those who are content with their current situation. If what you dream about is where you are now, then congratulations, you are the envy of millions of people who want to live in their dream like you, or at least live in real pursuit of it.

No, this post is for those in the space between ‘I’ve been inspired to pursue what I dream of’ and ‘I’ve started making moves turning my dreams into my reality’.

Inspiration may be the birth of your dream – but it’s beginning to live out that dream that really gives it life.

So if you’re one of those people who has been following my writing, and have been inspired by words that have been given to me for you to hear – I dare you to take the next step in making your dreams real. I dare you to leave inspiration in your wake and to pursue what’s been placed in your heart for all of us to benefit from.

That’s a part of why I started this blog. As this blog develops, you watch part of my dreams unfolding. My hope is that as you journey beyond inspiration, I will also have the privilege of watching and applauding your dreams unfold as well.

Photo credit: enricovivian.blogspot.com

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7 Reasons Why New Zealand is the ‘Bestidest’ Country in the World

anaura-bay-is-a-beautiful-place-for-a-holiday-gisborne-new-zealand+12876276759-tpfil02aw-18318My name is Jesse.

I was born in Auckland, New Zealand and grew up in Onehunga and then Orakei. I am married to the beautiful Jennifer Jayne. My mum is Abigail Boyce, and my dad is John Kaafi. My mountain is Maungakiekie. My river is Wairoa River in Auckland.

I have always loved New Zealand – Aotearoa is home.

For us that live here, we know our land holds something special – but for those that don’t, there is a large misunderstanding of why Kiwis have such an affection for our homeland.

So for those who don’t know much about New Zealand or for ex-pats missing the place they’ve forsaken for this season in their lives, here are 7 reasons (or reminders) of why New Zealand, Aotearoa, is the ‘bestidest’ country in the world.

7 Reasons Why New Zealand is the ‘Bestidest’ Country in the World

1. Because in New Zealand, New Zealanders know what ‘Bestidest’ means

Here we have our own lingo. The real Kiwis understand it, the rest of the world wonder what the heck we’re talking about. ‘Bestidest’ means ‘whatever you said, but better than that’ and was a word we used or heard at primary school, along with ‘meanest’, ‘oosh’ and depending on where in New Zealand you’re from ‘ow-fulla-baye’. There’s plenty more lingo where that came from – but that’s just a taste.

2. Because to New Zealanders, the start of this post means more to us than just an introduction

In New Zealand, we believe that you are not just you. You are a part of something much bigger than yourself. You are a product of those who came before you and you’re closely connected to the land that’s around you. We don’t always introduce ourselves like this but knowing this is important to us.

3. Because in New Zealand, the people are ‘too much’

The other day on my walk to work I stopped and had a conversation with a stranger about the glorious weather and day ahead overlooking the Wellington waters from one of our mountains just by the CBD. Those conversations happen a lot. The people here are friendly and we look out for each other. That’s our people.

4. Because in New Zealand, we have the most gorgeous country in the world – bar none

I’ve done my share of travelling, but New Zealand is God’s country. Our whole country is a coastline, lined with glorious beaches and bays and in-land we’re surrounded by gorgeous mountains, lakes, rivers and bush. Summer’s here are about more than the weather – its about connecting with our land and connecting with our people. Hard to match that in any other part of the world.

5. Because in New Zealand bombs are a good thing

Here in New Zealand, whoever does the meanest bombs is the King of the river, lake, waterhole or pool they just did their bomb in. A bomb is jumping into water and trying to make a ‘meeean’ splash. To us it signifies fun, artistry and relief from the sun, not what other countries think bombs are. I think other countries have got it wrong.

6. Because in New Zealand, lifestyle is king

In New Zealand, we place a high level of importance on lifestyle. All kiwis know that in December and January, our country pretty much shuts down. We’re all at the beach, in bachs, down at the river and spending time with family and friends. This is who we are.

7. Because to New Zealanders, Aotearoa will always be home

All points here have their outliers, but the majority of our people know exactly where they want their life journey to lead to – ultimately back home – where the land is plentiful – where the lifestyle can’t be matched – and ultimately where our heart is.

So that’s just 7 of the many reasons why Aotearoa is the best country on the planet. This is why all us Kiwis love coming home.

This is why New Zealand is the ‘bestidest’ country in the world.

Bring on summer.

P.S. If you think of other reasons why Aotearoa is the bestidest, keen to know your thoughts. Chur

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Why I Write

Street poet

In regard to blogpost writing, I’ve had a rough last week or so.

The past few days have seen me write thousands of words, engineer and re-engineer hundreds of incomplete sentences and paragraphs and spend hours exploring real-life stories against truths I believe the world needs to hear.

All these actions work toward crafting that brilliant blogpost, the one with enough substance to impact the next person that reads it, who will positively impact the next person they interact with, and so on.

But this week, it just hasn’t been clicking.

I’m not sure why that is. Maybe it’s the change of season, maybe it’s the other projects happening in my life beginning to impact my ability to order my thoughts – I can’t quite put my finger on it.

But one thing I do know is this – my latest rough episode of blogging has not left me discouraged.

It’s because the reason I blog goes beyond clocking up large numbers of readers to follow my writing (though I am extremely humbled by the number that do) or the encouragement I’ve received to continue sharing my thoughts in this way (though this encouragement is appreciated).

The reason I blog is because I have a conviction that I am part of a group of people seeing the world differently for us, who have the capacity to share what they see, believe or hear from angles the world has never seen before.

I believe all of us are part of this group in some measure. We all hold something (or some things) that the world has not seen, heard or read about yet, until you’ve painted, played or written them for us.

And this is why I am not discouraged.

My belief that I hold pieces of writing within me that the world hasn’t read yet, and needs to hear, far outweighs my feelings of anxiousness when I can’t string two coherent words together within a timeframe I define.

I know I hold messages that need to be heard. And I know that my readers hold things that need to be shared too.

So for those reading my writing, I apologise for the delay between new blogposts. This piece is a little insight into my last week.

If you enjoy reading my writing and want to see more of it, be encouraged in this: I know I hold written pieces within me that can change the world, and that is why I write. That is why I share. That is why this pursuit continues.

That is why I am not discouraged. The right words will come. And when they do – I’ll be ready.

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/scootervagabond

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The Difference Between Smart People and Wise People

owl3So for people who are following my writing, I thought I would share a bit of my story.

When I was 19, for about a year I acted, danced and sung my way across New Zealand with a performing arts company – one of the coolest things I’ve done.

It was a great experience. I performed in some iconic New Zealand theatres, met some fantastic people and made some life-long friends – but looking back in hindsight these were not the things that would impact me most on that tour.

The tour introduced me to a person who would shift how I see the world – someone like noone I’d ever met before.

He was an interesting character. A gentle giant who stood at about six-foot-two (or it seemed so at the time). He would’ve been in his fifties then – a tall,  lean, white male who everyday donned the same set of thick glasses perched lightly on his nose and had a head of greying hair that always looked slightly unkempt.

A part of his role on tour was to drive our tour bus. We spent hours on that bus – travelling from city to city – town to town. And while he drove, I found myself for hours on end sitting next to the guy, picking his brain about everything and anything. From practical stuff to big picture stuff, from people’s everyday problems to life’s big questions.

On that bus, for that year, I learnt more about myself and the world than I had learnt in any other year in my life. That person taught and helped me experience life concepts and ideas that still inspire and bamboozle me to this day.

Given all this – there was one lesson he embodied that stood above them all.

He modelled for me what a wise person is.

And this led me to explore the difference between a smart person – and a wise person.

Beyond that tour bus, I have interacted with many different kinds of people from many different walks of life, and in my experience the people I’ve met have fallen into one catergory or the other. Few have fallen into both.

So – based on my experience (and opinion) – here are several differences I have encountered between smart people – and wise people.

Smart people know a lot. Wise people apply what they know well.

Smart people tell you about something. Wise people show you something.

Smart people present arguments. Wise people walk you through experiences.

Smart people can make the simple complex. Wise people make the complex simple.

Smart people protect what they know benefitting themselves. Wise people share what they know benefitting others.

Smart people revel in the mystery of their work. Wise people willingly help others unlock their mystery.

Smart people hate being wrong. Wise people recognise being wrong as an opportunity to be better.

Smart people look to critique others. Wise people know the critiquing begins with themselves.

Our Parliament is filled with smart people… not necessarily wise people.

Our universities are filled with smart people… not necessarily wise people.

Our churches are filled with smart people… not necessarily wise people.

My hope for all of us is that one of the big pursuits in our life would not be limited to just becoming smarter.

My hope is that like my now friend from that tour all those years ago, we would continually pursue becoming wiser.

I wanted to finish this piece by honouring that friend I met all those years ago on that tour. Those conversations we had on that bus have changed my life forever. Thanks Gee.

Photo credit: www.zazzle.com

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The Practise of Pausing Time

me at the altar3Fifteen minutes is a long time when you’re waiting at the altar.

Hollywood movies warned me this was the way it was meant to play out, but that did not prepare me for how I was feeling at that moment.

Two o’ clock, at a snails pace, turned to two fifteen. I could sense from guests a small amount of pleasure at watching me squirm. To be honest I would’ve enjoyed the squirm as well from the pew seats.

Surely she’s not too far away.

And then like the Hollywood movies – our wedding story began to unfold.

A light murmur spread through the church as my future wife arrived outside. Once the murmurs settled, our wedding song began to play, and one-by-one the bridesmaids elegantly made there way down the aisle. My wife then joined the party by entering at the rear of the church.

And then it happened.

As soon as she came into my vision…

I paused time.

I paused it. There’s no other way to explain it.

And for that paused moment, which may have been brief, I was not bound by that hour – or that minute – or that second. I was freed to live that moment out with the intensity and fervor that it deserved.

Her elegance, those eyes, the breathtaking beauty, the nervous excitement, that dress – the moment became bigger than the timeframe it was lived within – removed from the confines of time and space.

When I close my eyes I can still relive the whole moment in its intensity and entirety.

***

It’s this practise of pausing time that I think is a great lesson for all of us.

For a lot of us, with time –  it always seems like we’re running out of it or we don’t have enough of it. I’ve been a victim to its pressure, encouraged to save it and told not to waste it away.

My past has conditioned me to pursue being on it – to set plans to it that are bound by it. And I’m told if I’m wise I should manage it well, set it aside and watch it carefully.

But these are not the concepts that grind me the most about time. It is my feeling that I am subject to it. Like time is my Master.

Well today is a new day. I’ve been looking at it wrong.

Time is a means – it is not an end. It exists for us, we don’t exist for it (let that breathe for a while).

Time is a tool with which we live within not a master that we serve under. We need to master it, not the other way around.

We must engage more in the practise of pausing time.

And I’m not talking about planning our time better – that’s too mundane. I mean we must learn to pause time – more.

In moments like walking down the aisle toward your future husband, holding your baby in your arms for the first time, standing atop gorgeous mountains or walking alongside flawless lakes – in these moments when time stands still – we need to stand with it. Be attentive, be immersed, be still.

Mastering this practise opens up a whole new world of heightened awareness and sensitivity in the moments that matter.

You are not subject to time – time is subject to you.

So this is my challenge – in the moments that transcend time – I dare you to transcend with them.

I dare you to more often engage in the practise of pausing time.

Photo: That’s me waiting at the altar – she did eventually join me there:)

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