Tuesday, 24 March 2015

The love that dare not speak its name.

I have decided to write a short piece of prose about fathers. I hope you enjoy. 

Surely the most controversial thing is not scandal anymore, but Love.

Tabloids, Newsmedia and the Internet are filled with the latest news of prominent men's indiscretions. Figures like Gary Glitter, Rolf Harris and Roman Polanski fill pages of our newspapers and time on television. Hardly a word can be spoken of the Catholic church without the spectre and the stain in the back of our minds about what secretive men have done under the superficial cloak of religion. It is a poison which permeates the world- a vicious, seductive spirit which feeds on its own insecurity and anger, engulfing all who hear of it.

Paedophilia has bred a deeply seated mistrust in men. In once 'safe' communities, suspicions are raised about the father who 'likes children' and talks to them at birthday parties; or the 'well- meaning' seeming christian who lives down the street, who runs the Sunday school, or even the old fat man, always looking out the window, with a look of loneliness so easily mistaken for leering, or the teacher who goes the extra mile for one of his students- knowing his struggles, yet knowing what is in the back of the mind of his colleagues. The wound is heavy, and it presses deep into us, boring into our bones. It is a constant white noise amongst people of power and is a screamingly silent ache no-one talks about in the lower spheres of society- a problem which no-one seems to have an answer to, with little justice or redemption for perpetrator or victim. This treachery is everywhere, but nowhere- a scandal ever lurking and secretive in nature.

Yet another much provocative scandal lies in wait for it's full revelation to burst into view-

Love. Real Love.
More specifically that love between a man and his child, oft hidden because of the shame that all men seem entangled by.

It is the yearning of every boys and girls heart, and the secret longing of men of all ages. It is the work weary hand on the shoulder of every young son; the glimmer in the eye of a father that can see beyond the horizon, ever-reaching out into the distance for safety and joy, the man who longs for better things than his own hands could provide, the man who chuckles hearteningly at his children's first steps, or comes alongside his child as he draws; It is the man who has time, or the one who prays with little hands enfolded in his own. It is the comforting assurance to every child that they have done good, and that they are good- right down to the last particle. It is the man who remembers the glimmering streams of his own youth without the stains of hurts and grievances, and would give whatever he had to wash the children in the same cleansing water. It is real love. Sacrificial love. Healing love. It is a love so rare, so enshrouded in this shame it dares not speak its name.

Scandalous love.

You see, good fathers don't make the news, because they are plain. They have no seeming market value because it is their hearts that make a difference. In an age where the heart is all but forgotten, those ageless, golden threads that entangle good and gracious fathers to their children remain. Regardless of their battered state, they stand as a thread through the ages, stretching out to all generations. They contain within their fibres, the links and secrets long forgotten- the patience and mysticism of the saints, the loving perseverence of the forebears, and the wisdom of the ancients. It is a love that is uncontainable it its joy, unfaltering in unselfishness, stalwart and unwavering in its courage and as constant as our very best version of who God is.

I believe one day the outrage will pass. I believe the scandals will one day turn to dust, not because they have ceased to be, but rather because we will be enamoured once again with the reality of having healed, whole hearts. Hearts fully animated, reflective and shining with the glorious reality of being loved, and loving in return. This is the substance of heaven itself, from a father who longs to bestow it upon his children. This is the assurance to every child that they have done good, and that they are good​. This is the substance that cameras, print and media have yet to sufficiently capture, and the day every generation since the beginning of time has grasped in frustration for.

Oh, that we might see it.

Have a great day, 
Ben Mathewson.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Branding yourself for Success - Book Review

Branding Yourself for Success
How to attract clients that say YES!
Ramona Lever

Book Review

Branding Yourself for Success is a 2014 book written and self published by Ramona Lever and illustrated by Shakira Lever. This book is available from the link below for a price of $18.95, plus $5 postage and handling.

Electronic copies of this book are available for $3.76 on Amazon.com at the following website:

As a brief bio, this is what Ms Lever states about herself in her website: 

"Ramona Lever is an Author, an Internationally Accredited Behavioural Profiler and an expert in Personal Branding. Her extensive experience in Sales and Marketing coupled with her background in Coaching and Counselling have given her the passion and understanding to empower others to achieve outstanding results.  Ramona is also an established photographer with a successful studio specialising in Branding Headshots". 

The back matter of her book states that by the end of the reading you will discover the secrets to:

* Attract amazing new clients
* Strengthen your professional credibility
* Learn to Network successfully
* Increase your online visibility
* Live authentically, and 
* Build long term success

I was intrigued by Ramona's work because of the state of my own emerging business as a writer. I have owned this current blog for just over a year now and have developed a modicum of experience in the fields of personal networking, blogging, marketing and developing an online profile, but I have been searching for a good product that answers the often asked questions about these fields and ties them together in a cogent whole- there are many websites which provide expertise in various fields, but fail to tie things together for the reader. Ramona's work, thankfully, does just that!

Ramona, as noted above, is a professional Headshot Photographer, with a history as a Behavioural Profiler, and a Personal branding Expert. Her current work as a Headshot Photographer artfully expresses the skills gained in her previous work to successfully showcase the heart and soul of her client's businesses and assists them to find the unique selling point within their own characters; and therein lies the heart of her book- finding the unique personal brand that markets you as a person- asking and providing the answers to the question: Why should I hire you as an individual over the myriad of others in your sphere of work?

At 133 pages, it could be argued that there is not much content, but really, this depends on what the reader wants. As Ramona herself mentions, If you want a "how-to" book, with clearly defined step-by-step increments to success- or if you want jargon-rich figures, facts statistics and formulas, this book is not for you. This book reads more like partly personal experience, part tried-and-true business management protocols, and partly excellent conference-quality notes on personal branding. I have read a few books on business before and usually notice business imagery on the front cover, so I was intrigued by her photo, yet having read the ideas in her book I could see how a well captured picture clearly does paint a thousand words, especially in her line of work!

Ramona indeed does give the keys to discovering the secrets she outlines in the back material of the book and gives insight into a lot of other good philosophical points, like:

* Seeing your profession as an extension of your personality and perceiving 'success' with maturity.
* Defining 'what you do'.
* Attracting the 'right' type of clients.
* Connecting personal values and spirituality to your business. 
* Knowing when and what to delegate.
* The value of visualisation, goal setting and aspiration. 

Ramona "walks what she talks", especially in regards to maintaining a consistent online presence. You can find her online materials here:

In case you didn't catch it, I would definately recommend this warmly written book- especially to emerging business owners, or those bewildered by where to start in the process of marketing themselves; summing it up with a quote Ramona herself uses by Ralph Waldo Emerson: 

"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you into something else is the greatest accomplishment"

Ben Mathewson.