steve ball

personal thoughts on family, faith and work

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reflections on… march

March has been one of the busiest months I can remember in a long while! As well as being busy ‘doing’ stuff it has been a bit of a roller coaster of emotions too. The sadness of dads funeral, the fun and laughter of being with extended family, the concern for friends going through very hard times, the satisfaction of getting work done on my diploma, the excitement of being with my son in his sax exam – all mixed up together. I’m looking forward to some time away this weekend to give my brain some space!!

Family:  It was lovely to be with all my family, despite the sad circumstances, at the start of the month. Catching up with Aunts and Uncles over a (rather ambitious) three course meal planned and cooked by my eldest son (with help from Barbara) was a really fun evening.

We started The Marriage Course this month and discovered we like each other!! Three sessions in and it’s fantastic to see how strong our marriage is. I’m very thankful to God for Barbara and our boys – especially when you look at the difficult times many other families are going through.

My youngest son has been working really hard ready for his grade three saxophone, which he took on the 23rd. I was able to accompany him on the piano for two of his pieces (which was a bit of a shock as usually the teacher does) which turned out to be a great project we could share together. Just the wait for the results now – very proud though, whatever the outcome. No doubt we will be playing together lots more.

Work: My diploma is going well. Interestingly, some of the concepts we have been discussing can be equally applied to other areas of life including church. I’ve caught up with the work after loosing a few weeks last month due to circumstances and my first assignment is done with only a couple of minor alterations to make.

Today we had our annual staff team day for all CCPAS staff and trustees (which is no mean feat as they are spread all over the country). It’s great to be part of a fantastic, enthusiastic team.

Faith: Getting back into the swing of things after a bitty February was good. More encouraging was that everything carried on without me being around all of the time.  It’s always good to see people happily taking a lead when needed.

Highlights of the month:
Having family, who we’ve not seen for ages over for dinner
Accompanying my youngest son in his sax exam
Finishing my first assignment

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time – a bit of a juggling act

We get into a routine of doing things week by week, month by month.  I can be incredibly busy, but as long as my routine doesn’t change too much, I’m pretty much able to cope with that.  I would certainly rather be busy and doing something useful than sitting around twiddling my thumbs.  In fact, when I do have some time free from the usual routine, you’ll find me pottering around the house doing all of the little jobs that have been waiting for ages to do – this makes me happy!

Recently, while looking after my boys we spent ages designing and building a lego house – complete with garage and swimming pool.  We also spent the best part of a day making a Christmas decoration and some other bits out of MDF last week.  These times are great.

And so, life goes on – until something messes up my routine!  Then organising my time really does feel like a juggling act.  Trying to prioritise doing this or that, while not upsetting or letting down people can be pretty hard.

Back in September, I made a conscious decision not to make myself too busy over this Christmas period.  Last year I was shattered by the time New Year came, and thankfully we had booked a short break to recoup.  Adding to my time pressure this year was the fact that my dads’ health was deteriorating and so, naturally, I wanted to spend more time with him.  Having to re-prioritise my ‘usual routine’ brought some challenges, and some interesting observations.

We sometimes think that ‘we are the only ones that can do the job’ (unless that’s only me?).  In reality this is rarely the case – it’s usually the case that someone else will do it just as well, but maybe differently.

What I’ve found over the last few months, as I’ve been with dad more and had to step back from some  commitments are two things…

1. I have a fantastic support network.  From family to church to work – all have been there to give me some time out, cover for when I should be doing things and generally being supportive.

2.  Other people can do jobs just as well as me (and probably better in many cases)!  Given opportunity, it’s amazing to see people head up areas of work which they wouldn’t have been so willing to do if I were around to do it.

I consider myself an inclusive, encouraging sort of guy, but I wonder if sometimes I get in the way of other people reaching their full potential.  It’s certainly given me some things to think about…

Points to ponder…

  • Where would we be without or support network?
  • How can we actively try to ‘give away’ some area of responsibility and encourage someone to develop?
  • How would we respond if someone asked us to take on a new responsibility – and with what attitude would we do it?

… a little introduction

Family, faith and work
In four words, this pretty much summarises what I get up to.  All are very important to me.  I’m blessed to have a fantastic family, privileged to be able to serve at my local church and really enjoy both of my jobs.

Why write?  I’ve never kept a diary, but I thought it would be interesting to see what I can learn – not only about myself, but about life in general – from keeping a blog. Why make it public?  You never know, my experiences may help someone else, and I’m sure other people have a great deal more wisdom than me and so will be able to help me!

Family
I have two fantastic boys (yes – really fantastic), a beautiful wife (beautiful in many ways) and a small hamster (hmm… it’s OK).

We’re a musical family.  Barbara sings and is part of the worship team at church, my eldest son plays the drums regularly at church and also school events and my youngest is learning the saxophone.  I play various instruments – so between us we’re quite a band!  (For the record, the hamster doesn’t play anything.)

My extended family are all fairly local, so we get to see them several times during the year.  More recently, I’ve seen a lot more of my brothers, sisters, mum and dad as my dad is seriously ill.  This sort of situation often brings families closer together.

Faith
Having grown up in church (sometimes it felt like I lived there!) my faith has always been a central part of my life.  I lead worship at a Pentecostal church before moving several years ago to our local Anglican church.  There, I’m part of the Leadership Team with specific responsibility for worship.  This is something I count as a privilege and a responsibility.

With the ups and downs that come with church life, it’s good to know that there is a committed team all working together for the same goals.  I have valued the support from the worship team and the Leadership Team – especially in the last months with dad being ill.

No doubt I will be posting plenty about worship in time to come.

Work
I have two jobs – both of which I enjoy and give different rewards.  The majority of my working week is at a safeguarding charity (CCPAS).  I’m responsible for overseeing the IT side of things (with help from other people).  I also design all of the literature that comes out of the office, which is wide and varied.  Any ‘special projects’ usually come under my remit too.  Most recently, an interactive ‘Safeguarding in a Digital World’ resource and managing a new Safeguarding App that has just gone live – all very exciting!

My other job is a piano teacher.  I’ve been doing this for getting on 25 years now.  Starting as a favour to a family friend, it developed into a successful music school in a music shop before I took the plunge to teach from my own little studio at home.  This was a great move, as it meant I could see a lot more of my family – the commute from my garage to the back door is about two meters!

Well, that’s about me in a nutshell to start with. Will I keep it up?  We’ll have to wait and see!

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