Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

As I’ve previously explained in the post for my Installation,  every year, the respective Masonic Lodges elect and invest a new Worshipful Master (WM) to preside over the Lodge. My Lodge, Orphic Lodge was the first week in February.

I was planning on writing this shortly afterwards, but life got in the way.

There are specific moments and ceremonies which are very special to a Mason. HIs initiation, being Raised to the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason, being installed as the Worshipful Master, and many more occasions during our masonic journey in self fulfilment and Craft progression.

For me, this installation was very special indeed. Not only was a friend Installed as WM, each of my candidates received their first office positions in the Lodge. This past year was an awesome year for me personally in my Masonic Journey. Four very good friends approached me and indicated their wish to join our prestigious Order.

And so, after going through to application process, interviews with them and later with their families, I had the privilege of initiating each of them. As their proposer into the Craft, it’s my responsibility to ensure their journey is successful. That they grow into better men and husbands, fathers and sons.

After the WM is installed, his duty is to invest his officers for the year.  My chest swelled with pride as I saw each of my candidates receive their first office appointments. Their faces echoing my pride, watching them standing taller as they were led by the District Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies for the evening, to the office positions.

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…Me and my guys with their office collars on… unfortunately, two need to remain anonymous..

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….Ryan being his usual animated self….

After the Installation ceremony, Lodges treat the Grand, District Officers and visiting Brethren to a meal, drinks, and of course, a raffle for charity.

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Grant convincing the Brethren to part with their money…

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… whilst being exceptionally confused why there wasn’t alcohol in the ice bucket…

All in all, a fantastic night enjoyed by everyone, and I wait with proud anticipation to see each of my Brethren progress to their next steps on the ladder and growth in Masonry.

 

 

A letter from a Paramedic

Posted: February 19, 2017 in Uncategorized

This is not mine, and certainly cant take credit. However,  I feel the pain and emotions deep in the letter, having experienced severe PTSD, can only imagine that moment which had the author writing this…

By By Andy Casteel, Emt-p, roane county, Tn

I can’t tell you what working on an ambulance is like. It’s far away from anyone’s version of a normal life. Spending a 3rd of your life with your partner (24 hours on, 48 hours off) is like having a second family away from home. It comes with a different set of expectations and feelings, and a different kind of trust that exceeds nearly anything else. The experiences you have at work in this field can only be shared by you and your partner.

I won’t tell you what the worst thing I’ve seen is. That is one of the cruelest questions you could ask one of us, to go back and relive a horror that no human being should have to experience. The percentage of emergency personnel who develop PTSD is second only to the military, and we accumulate the problems that go along with it at a staggering rate (drug/alcohol abuse, divorce, suicide).

I can tell you that we have an odd sense of humor. Many of us in the right situation have literally sung “staying alive” by the beegees, or “another one bites the dust” by queen while performing CPR. This is not meant to be sick, it is only meant to keep us in rythym. 
I am sorry if while working on your family member, I appear to not be listening to you or addressing your concerns. Unfortunately I am often not permitted the opportunity to do that given the circumstances. Your loved one’s life/health can and must come before your questions.
The words “ambulance driver” are a source of great insult to us. If I were only a driver, I would not have gone to school, nor would I have more certifications in my back pocket than many floor nurses.
There is so much that should be said that the bounds of a given situation or pure professionalism prevent us from uttering. So I will say it here. 
To the lady who lost her husband following a long battle with cancer-
I am sorry. I wish that there was anything that I could say to ease what you’re going through. I am sorry that the situation you were in made it impossible for me to hide your husbands asystolic ekg strip from you, and for the painful questions that I had to ask. I want you to know that you were the very epitome of grace and courage while we were there, and that you have inspired me to try to be the same in my own struggles with grief.

To the family of the critical patient that we transferred to an intensive care unit at another hospital, who died on the way:
I am sorry that we couldn’t give you more time to say goodbye. We weren’t trying to be insensitive or callous when we told you that we had to go, we were only doing our best to care for him and keep him alive. 

To the parents of the two year old that died in the fire:
I have mixed emotions for you. I am terribly sorry for your loss. I am also terribly sorry that you left several children under the age of eight to play alone while you got high at the house next door. We found your baby curled in a ball underneath a pile of clothes, badly burned but not so bad that I couldn’t count every little finger and toe. I rage at your irresponsibility, but grieve for your loss. 

To the man whose wife I did CPR on:
I wish that things had turned out differently. You were married for 70 years to a beautiful bride that I couldn’t bring back for you. There is nothing I can say in the face of that loss, but I hope you know I tried. 

To the scared parents of the 3 year old with a fever:
I understand your fear. If I’m grumpy, it’s not directed at you. It’s because I’ve been at work 21 hours, haven’t slept and have missed 2 out of 3 meals, and right before I came to get your child I ran one of the calls above this one.

To the frequent flier:
Please take the time to educate yourself about the health problems that you have. Ultimately you are responsible for your own health, and if you don’t step up and follow your doctors recommendations, and manage your issues, they will kill you. And I will have gotten to know you to the point of having memorized your medical history, allergies, medications, name, date of birth, and half of your social security number, only to walk in and pronounce you dead.

To the grumpy ER nurse at the level 1 trauma center:
I am sorry that you are having a bad day. Please don’t take it out on me or belittle the work that I have done, in many cases in an attempt to make your job easier and faster. I only ask for 5 minutes of your time to give report and provide good continuity of care. I try my best to come in with a smile, please don’t try to eat me. Kindness costs you nothing.

To the general public:
Please, please pull to the right. If we are sitting down to eat a meal, don’t make snide remarks about how you are seeing “your taxes go to work” or how we are paid too much. There is no price tag on what we do, and 40-50% of us do it for free. And most importantly of all, don’t ask the question mentioned in the second paragraph. If you want to satisfy your morbid curiosity, come ride with us for a day, and see for yourself.

Many times we are referred to as callous, insensitive, uncaring, etc. We have developed these things as a facade. It is a coping mechanism. If we didn’t care, we would not be here. The everyday world is an ugly place, and death comes for all of us. I wish I could say it was always peaceful, but very rarely does anyone get to hear another “I love you” before someone takes their last breath. 
There have been many times when I pull up in front of my house in the morning, wishing that things had gone differently. I feel like a sponge for others grief, pain, and sorrow. You soak it up in an attempt to make it better in some small, meaningful way. After that you go home and hold those who mean something to you a little closer.
The times when things do go right are like bright, shining stars in a moonless sky. Where we stabilized that guy from the car crash who had 18 broken bones and a crushed airway. Or when we brought back a 53 day old baby’s heart beat. There’s not a price tag on that feeling either. 
I hope all of you stay safe and healthy. When you don’t, we will be there. Any time, any place, no matter what. We’ll be there.
At your service always,
A paramedic.


New blood in Orphic Lodge

Posted: August 2, 2016 in Masonic, Uncategorized

Masonic growth has been on a decline worldwide over the last few years. In my opinion, we have caused this internally, and it’s up to all Masons to re-build the Fraternity with young enthusiastic candidates in their respective Lodges.

Historically, Freemasons were forbidden to recruit in anyway, and the requirement was for those interested to approach a Mason he know well and discuss the potential of joining the Craft. Fathers would usually encourage their sons to join, however, with the strict restrictions in place, couldn’t explain too much of what Masonry was.

This has resulted in a decrease in membership in my generation and especially the current one, as our respective generations are more cautious to join something they do not understand or obtain the relevant information to make an informed decision.

Fortunately, this has been recognized with all Grand Lodges worldwide, and amendments to the respective  Constitutions are allowing recruitment and Masons being more “open” about the Fraternity.

Bringing in young blood is crucial to Fraternal growth and in line with that focus, our District have introduced ,University Scheme Lodges and active recruitment project aimed at young students.

Our Lodge have open evenings, as posted by my sister, Jeanette, A Night with the Freemasons, where we are able to explain what Freemasonry to non-masons and attract potential candidates.

Through being able to speak openly about my Masonic passion and the journey I have taken thus far, I have been honored by initiating four close friends and colleagues into Masonry as the Worshipful Master over the past few months.  Being a Past Worshipful Master, I was able to conduct the ceremony personally, which made the evening even more special.

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Unfortunately, due to a stigma attached to Masonry by ignorant/uneducated persons, family members and work colleagues, many Masons still need to remain incognito 

 

 

So mote it be 

Posted: April 16, 2016 in Masonic, Poem, poetry, Uncategorized

I read this poem today, and felt I had to share…. 

So mote it be

written by: Skyrock Pinkrose
I know a man of faith, hope and charity
This man whom I know for years of nobility

His honor is mine to wear

A name he was proud to bear

He live in the sunlight of Freemasonry

And walk in the ranks of right 
I am my father’s daughter

I carry his name with pride and honour

He was always true 

To the best he knew 

Looks down on me 

To carry his standard high

He is a man and a brother who is “Square”

in all that he “Compasses” 

And to me he gave an honest name, 

integrity and pride
He made me a better person with his light

He made me live my life with heads held high

The man I call my father

Gave strength of me standing tall

He stands my guiding force

My light, my god in disguise
He always said, no matter how old I get

That within thy heart, a princess remains timeless

Biggest fan I am, the man I call my father 

the everlasting image of making good men better

so then with pride let the musical waltz of life to play forever forward 
As I lightly tip toe, across destiny’s ballroom floor.

My dancing card remains eternally full, 

written within one name stands out,

 it is yours my dearest father “Mason”.

So Mote It Be.

  

Every year, the District Grand Lodge of South Africa North, of the Grand Lodge of England, hosts its annual banquet in honour of the charity recipients selected by the Masonic Benevolent Committee. 

   
   
Over the past 20 years, over R 25 Million has been donated to non-Masonic charities. 

  
The recipients  this year were  the Three Church feeding schemes, Impilo Home for Aids Orphans, The Gordon Foundation Swaziland, The Hero Burns Unit Pretoria and the Green Beings Solar Lighting Project. 

As usual, the recipients receiving the larger donations attended the banquet to receive their respective cheques, and to provide some background to their charities. 

  
The Amazing Grace Children’s Home received a generous donation to build a new laundry. 

And then, the recipient who received the larger amount, was one that shares a special place in my heart. As an Emergency Practitioner, I have seen the devastation traumatic head injuries cause, so seeing an organization like Headway benefiting from our charity  drives really warms my heart… 

  
.. And what made it even more special, was they were represented by two amazing women I worked with, and became good friends with, many years ago at Glynnwood Hospital. 

  
Sally and Bianca, we are all so proud of your achievements at Headway. Well done and keep up the amazing work you do for the patients and their families. 

Our attempt at the Parkrun

Posted: April 2, 2016 in Uncategorized

I must admit, we have been very slack in our fitness regime since December last year. I hit the gym excessively hard over the previous 2 years, and with my “little” cardiac and Septal growth issue, and then finding out about my muscular atrophy in my legs… I took a break towards the middle of last year… Towards the end, well, lots happened which completely demotivated me. Anyway, so we decided to get back into the swing of things,and made an attempt at the Ebotse Parkrun What a great,albeit tiring, experience.

 

 I came 460th place, the 283rd male out of a field of 767 parkrunners and I came 25th in my age category.

Erin, well,she seriously impressed me. Having never run this distance, our plan was to walk… After the first km, Erin decided it was time to run… and off she went. And she kicked our assess.. I trailed behind as she was pushing Nicole to run even faster.

She did great, 448th position and placed 3rd in her age range, with a time of 44:36.

Will we return? Definitely

Easter raffle

Posted: March 19, 2016 in Erin, Family, Uncategorized

It seems I have a little bit of luck when it comes to raffles. I’ve come home, much to the amusement of my family, with whiskey, brandy, braais, the odd phone or two every so often. So when the school held the Easter raffle, Erin was determined to win it. Her rules were very simple:

  1. Only daddy can enter
  2. Only daddy can write his name (absolutely no help) on each line
  3. Daddy can only fill in the form on the last day

So imagine our surprise when an excessively happy Erin got fetched yesterday from school.. Carrying (or being helped to carry) the raffle prize.
   

   
   
…A serious amount of chocolate…

   
Now if only I can get that luck working on the National Lottery