Monday, November 6, 2017

Vulnerability - what happens when the lights go out?

It has been far too long since I wrote anything. I have taken some time to realign myself. Spiritually, Emotionally, Physically - I am not the same person I was back in 2014, 2015 or even the start of 2017. Something changed. Something finally moved me to change. Real change. Real Change? YES...I can actually say REAL change. I don't need to get into the entire reason, and all the specific aspects of change - but there has been a deep change within my spirit, my emotions and this has helped to transform my physical. I often would say to my bride, "The outside is more closely related to the inner spiritual well being than we think" "The outside is often a reflection of the inner person". I knew (or least I thought) there was a direct correlation between our physical well being and our inner spiritual and emotional well being. Now, obviously, there are circumstances that would make this theory seem impossible...however, no matter what your physical limitations are, I still believe this applies. It is not based on appearance, or physical prowess or ability. It is based on how we feel and see ourselves. NOW - let me get personal for a moment...Applying this theory to your own life will look very different than it does in my life - I just hope you resonate with the idea...and perhaps it can lead you in a direction that can cause change...if that is what you are after. For me...I have felt over the last 10-15 years that I was working on about 80% of my ability while feeling like I was working at 120% of my capacity! I allowed procrastination to start taking over. I avoided things that were uncomfortable. I avoided the unpleasant, which allowed my immediate circumstances to fool me into a belief that "everything was going to be alright!" I watched people around me hide. I learned what it was to avoid conflict and thus carried all the burdens by myself...I did not want to burden my wife...burden anyone else. Interestingly, when looking back, I realized that was not out of a motive that was to "keep others from worrying" it was a very selfish motive - I did not want anyone to know how stupid I was being!!. I lived with a knot in my stomach most days. I slept poorly. I was anxious. I was very rarely "present" in conversations or personal interactions. I missed a lot of great moments because my mind was elsewhere. I used all my creative energy figuring out ways to fix my problems rather than applying that creativity to my craft. I was slowly killing the joy in my life. I would get angry quickly. It affected how I talked to my wife and my was like a cancer in my spirit. Late into 2015, when Wendy and I were in the middle of the "year from hell", something hit was called "ROCK BOTTOM!" I could not see the light at the end of the tunnel anymore. I could not pretend I could fix this anymore...I was DONE! It has been a long process, but the essence of the lesson was this...the more vulnerable I became. The happier I became! The more all my wounds and scars and screw-ups were brought to the light...the less I had to fact, I hid no longer!! I owned my patheticness, my mistakes, my woundedness...the more broken I became, the more restored I felt. I have never felt the hand of God more than I did when I allowed myself to be COMPLETELY BROKEN. My relationship with my wife got better and better and better. We became a team, I felt as though I didn't have to carry the burden alone...the light at the end of the tunnel has reappeared. So, let me get back to the correlation between the outside me and the inside me. in January of this year, since I started at Crossroads and was on Huntley Street - things started to change...not because I was on TV but the effect of my vulnerability started to take over. My spirit started to feel different. My emotions were starting to heal. My outside started to not feel aligned with my inside. I lost some weight, I radically changed my hair. I felt that my mind was clear for the first time in a long while. My attitude was different. I was present...change just started to manifest itself. I wanted something different. I WANTED TO CHANGE!!! I had allowed myself to hide for so long...feeling like I was a I had not lived up to the potential I was told I had...feeling less than sucks!! It shows itself in many ways...mine showed up - spiritually, emotionally and physically. When the lights on the stage went out - I did not like myself very much. It took a lot for me to learn that - it cost me far more than I would have wanted it that I am on the other side...the light at the end of the tunnel is brighter...there is hope...there is a joy. I am present. I love my family better. I am ready to live the second half of my life much better!! So, the lights are out and I am lying in my bed...for the first time in a long time...I AM OK WITH THAT!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Todays Inspiration

I just finished watching a video on Facebook. I am constantly blown away by the generosity of those in need. I have seen many videos, and have experienced it first hand...those in need often are the ones that give the most. I have traveled for years and spoken on behalf of World Vision, and recently Food For The Hungry. I am often taken aback when those who have desperate stories, and really hard/tough circumstances come back to the table and sponsor a child or give some catches me off guard. I know how much I have been given and am always challenged to do more. I don't have a lot and find myself becoming increasingly "self-focused". When the need is there, it can become all you see. You stop looking to help others. You become isolated and you forget to live a life of extreme generosity. I have become guilty of that. I don't need to get into the details of my situation, but it is clear to me that focusing on my issues has stopped me from being "others focused". It has stopped me from being who Jesus created me to be. I am not supposed to be a great singer (although I hope to achieve that one day), I am not put on earth to do great things, or achieve great wealth or become famous or buy more stuff...I firmly believe that I was created to shine the light of Jesus Christ so bright, that people don't see me, but they see the Father! (through action - LOVE) I have become ME focused. I have been so worried about my circumstances that I have forgotten about those around me. My wife, my kids, my friends, my neighbours, those around me, those I don't event know. My prayer today is simple...Allow me to care more about others, than my own circumstances! Today, allow me to have the privilege of praying for others, caring for others, thinking of others, giving to others. Allow me to take time for others, to listen, to genuinely care. I am called to LOVE. I pray today that I love others more than myself. AMEN.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Happy Sailing! The tension of life...

Making decisions...overthinking it...reading into everything that happens...looking for the "sign" it just me, or do we tend to over analyze things? I know I sure do...over analyze that is! I want to take a step back from my current direction in life - take stock in what has worked and move forward into my 50's (yeah I said it - it's not that far away!) with a clear direction that will allow us to achieve some goals that my wife and I have. So, in doing that - I over think it. In the past - I have tried to do the same things over and over - hoping each time - I would do them better...NOW - I am trying to do some very different things and expecting a different result! That makes sense, right? I want to take a new approach and see if we can make some progress...but every time I have an idea, or a thought - I then take it to prayer...I try to hear from God and then make a decision. That's when the problem arises... I need to hear from God, without the filter of my own desires! GOOD LUCK WITH THAT!! I know that there are some that feel so spiritually superior - they would tell you that they can clearly hear from God (all the time) in spite of their own ideas. Well, I am here to tell you that I don't always get it right! (SHOCKER!) Taking a step back...taking stock in my my career...making decisions that are good for me and my family - while still striving to be a follower of Christ -- IS NOT THAT SIMPLE! It is easy to get caught up in financial worries, money goals, material things, trips that you want, philanthropic all starts to flow together and finding the heart of God in the middle of that is often elusive. I want to be financially secure, I want to take my wife to Italy for a month, I want to tour the world, I want to help those that are in need, I want to be a light in a dark world, I want to represent Jesus well...All of those things go together right? They don't need to mutually exclusive - do they? Can we go after our dreams, while following Christ? Can we put others first while trying to climb the "corporate" ladder or live the "American-Dream?" Where is the balance? Is there a balance? How do you reconcile all of these questions? So many questions and so few solid answers. You see, in my humble opinion, there is no correct answer! This is the tension that we live with. The culture we live in pulls us, the people we surround ourselves with influence us, the God we serve directs us...the goals we have, compel us to act - somewhere in the middle of all of this - we find a heart that wants to serve our Creator. In all the noise of life, we try to navigate the selfish ambition we all have, with the sacrificial love that Jesus demonstrated for us. That tension is our reality. There are no right or wrong answers to how this is implemented into each individual life. Every heart seems to beat a little differently. I have my career goals, I also have our family goals, I then have the heart of Jesus beating inside of me trying to direct this stubborn man...TENSION - it is just that...As I navigate these tension filled waters, I pray that the wind of the Holy Spirit will continue to allow me to sail straight!! May today be a day you drift a little closer to the wind of the Holy Spirit - HAPPY SAILING! Kevin

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Deep thoughts by Kevin this an oxymoron?

I used to love the "Deep Thoughts" excerpt from SNL. Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey...they were little quotes that were just a little "off"! It is especially effective with the beautiful sound of the piano & strings in the background and the visual of a gorgeous ocean setting. The whole "deep thoughts" idea is only funny when you know what the actual saying when they totally destroy the meaning, you then realize why it's funny. You need to have the original to compare to or the new saying is just odd! right? My deep thought today came when I was driving my daughter to work. We were talking and my twisted mind went straight to deep theology...really, coffee in hand, 8:15am, beautiful sunny morning, driving my daughter (whom I love to death) and my mind goes to "deep thoughts"! Really...I am not this bright. I am not normally a "thinker"...this is not like me!! seriously! I am a little worried... My mind went to the word sin. Sin is this scary word. Sin holds all kinds of meaning to Christians. It is amazing the meanings we get from this word. by definition: "an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law"'s nice to know that it is that specific! LOL!! I am so glad that we all define those acts the same. I am so glad that we are in agreement to what the "divine laws" are. I am so happy to know this has not caused any concern or division within the church. (I hope that you were able to pick up on the sarcasm...I was laying it on pretty thick!!) We were (my daughter and I) talking at this time about the LGBT community and that we both know some that are also followers of Christ, while within the LGBT community. Now I am not interested in the debate about the "right-ness" of this. Only want to bring up the point that this can be a VERY divisive topic!!!! (you think?!) SIN - is not easily defined. Lifestyle, moral conduct, loving our neighbor, treating each other with respect, war, violence, looking after the poor, sexual orientation, sex before marriage, drinking, smoking, long hair, make-up, harsh language and the list goes on! We so desperately want to know who is "saved" and who is not!! We (the church) for years have taken scripture out of context to back up a rule we needed to implement. We have often taken our own bias and placed it on others so we could call them on their "sin". We have sometimes just made rules because we THINK it is the right thing to do... (i know that this would never happen in the church!! LOL) Now, before you get concerned that I am trying to justify an action or actions, let me tell you my deep thought! NOTE: after many years of learning and studying and trying to hear the heart of God...this is my "deep thought" It is a work in progress and this is not the finished thesis...but this is the beginning of what I hope will be a life transforming theology taken out of scripture
If we do this well...the RULES will not matter anymore. Love well today!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The blog of comfort...

Today...well I just finished a 5,000 step walk. Walked and prayed and thought. I am trying to change a lot of things about my life. The way I act, react, daily activities, thought life, prayer life, daily focus, my anger, the way I treat my wife and kids, the way I treat the environment, ok - the list is VERY LONG! There is a lot of things to change. I use to be comfortable with who I was. I use to think that I was ok. When I say OK, I don't mean in a "look at me" sort of way...but I thought that what I did every day, and the way I treated people and how I treated myself was...OK. The very fact that I was OK, or comfortable with my response to the world around me on a daily basis tells me that I needed to change. Now let me establish something. I do not feel any compulsion to change for "salvation" purposes...I am saved by Grace miraculously...So this is not some way of earning my salvation or paying penance for things I have not done well...this is a desire to be more like Jesus in every aspect of my life. You see the problem was that I did not feel an urgency to change for a long time. I knew that I should be a better husband, a better father, a better lover of people...I knew that I should be more disciplined, I should eat better, be in better shape, be better at so many things. This is actually exciting for me. I am feeling an inner compulsion to be better. I don't feel guilty, I don't feel that I am being urged to do something I don't want to do...I truly feel that the love of God and HIS grace has been so amazing to me...I am wanting to grow and be more like HIM! It really is the way it needs to be. I don't want to do things out of guilt, I don't want to live out of a "should do" attitude, I want to be better because I truly have an inner desire to be better!! It's different for everyone...that line of what needs to change and what you are ok with...I am not here to judge or draw that line for anyone else. The church has tried to do that for a long time and it has failed miserably. For me...this has been a long journey...and one that is not nearly done! My comfort has been replaced with a deep sense of desire to be more like Him! Jesus is finally after 48 years ALLOWED to change me!! He has been in my life - all my life - however, I have only given Him pieces to work on...I have never wanted Him to change all of me. 2015 for me was the best year of my was also the MOST HORRIFIC YEAR OF MY LIFE!!! The reason my perspective is changing is because I am starting to see the fruit of real change in my life. I have slowed down enough to allow the Creator of the Universe to speak to me. I have taken the frustration, the hurt and the complete humiliation of 2015 (it's a long story - buy my book next year!!) and allowed Jesus to heal me in many places in my life. I have also tried something new...I have tried to change. I have taken the emotions and the hurt and all that goes with it and gave them back to Jesus. I do not need to carry that weight. I do not need to pretend I can fix it. I am not capable of changing the past, but I am able to allow Jesus to carry it for me! He was humiliated, He was beaten, He was frustrated and hurt...HE KNOWS how is feels, and He knows how to help me grow from it... SO...I am no longer comfortable. I am no longer OK, with the way I live my life. I have personally met with Jesus, and HE has radically changed my desires...I now am on a path of growth. I am going to try some things that are different..hoping for a different result. I am not in search of riches or fame. I am seeking to be more like my Saviour. To do that, I must not be comfortable! Here's to growing pain!! Kevin

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Saying GoodBye to 2015...or is it good riddance...

2015 started with such promise. My business was getting a "fresh start", new working relationships, new partnerships and I actually needed to wear shades as the future did in fact look very bright...THEN...all hell broke loose. I don't think I am exaggerating when I suggest that everything I had dreamed of for this fiscal year - died! I do not want to rehash the details, but lets just say that every single projection, every single goal, every single financial "dream" - was obliterated!! I think that sums up my 2015... Now I could sit here and think of the craziness that was 2015. I could sit here and blame and finger point and pretend I am a victim and that life is so unfair and life is harsh yada yada yada...I could be sad, and sit here and be depressed because of the situation I find myself in...OR...I could find the many blessings in the rubble. I choose to find those are just a few: 1. We finally took a family vacation. Wendy has been saving for a couple years without telling anyone. She surprised us last Christmas with a trip to Cuba for us and the 3 kids! AWESOME time!!! 2. I had the chance to tour with all 3 of my vocal heroes. Growing up, Steve Archer, Russ Taff and Michael English were the 3 singers that I pattern'd my vocal style after. I knew all their music, I knew their special "vocal lyks". I toured with all 3 and got to sing some of their iconic tunes with them. I sang, "Through His Eyes of Love" & "Jesus is the Answer" with Steve Archer..."I'm Forgiven" & "Trumpet of Jesus" with Russ Taff...then just last week, "Mary Did You Know" "I Bowed of My Knees" & "I Believe in a Hill" with Michael English!!! So...that was VERY cool. 3. Our company helped Jessica Ridley tour in the UK for 18 dates with Ward Thomas (#1 Country act in the UK) and I was able to spend 8 days in the UK and see many incredible things! I even saw Stonehenge! 4. I was able to release my very first DVD, THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS WITH KEVIN PAULS & FRIENDS, featuring - The Martins, Steve Archer, NewWorldSon, Jacob Moon, Alynthia, Kevin Ramessar and a great band and choir!! It played all over the UK this year, into the US Market and parts of Australia and South Africa. This is a huge deal for happy about this! 5. My daughter Lauren - is engaged!!! Getting married next year...She is also finishing up school and is a youth pastor at a local church in Waterloo. 6. My daughter Amber is at Bible College and just got back from a 6 week missions trip to Jamaica. She is also an amazing photographer. 7. My son Jordan is done high school and is taking his Real Estate course and will be joining my brother in Hamilton to keep the tradition going and work for PAULS Real Estate! 8. My lovely wife, Wendy, and I celebrated our 27th Anniversary this year. AND we still really like each other! SO...??? I can focus on the negative of 2015 --- OR, I can choose to see the blessings. I have learned many things this year. I know who my friends are. I know that there are many people that like to see others fail. I also know that there are many people that see the good - and there are many people that have the ability to show grace and mercy! Here is what I hope for in 2016. A) I will be back touring a lot more B) I will be back working with artists a lot more C) I will have my wife working by my side! D) I have a renewed focus for the few things in this world I am good at. STICK TO THEM! E) I will write new music this year, with some great songwriters I am so happy to be turning the calendar over to 2016. Not so much to get rid of 2015...but to look forward to another year to be better - professionally - and personally! God be the centre of all I do. May people see YOU before they see me. Happy New Year!!! See you on the road in 2016. Kevin

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

27 Years and Counting...

So today I celebrate 27 years of marriage to my best friend. I have always loved Wendy, and I have always wanted to be a good husband. I have failed MANY TIMES! I have not always been what I need to be. I have fallen short on more than one occasion (shocker to most!! LOL). If I take time to look back over the 27 years...there have been dark times...times when I wasn't sure what was ahead...times when I was not "happy", and times when I wished I had responded very different. When people see us today...27 years into this marriage - and we are truly VERY happy - they tend to think that, "the road was just "easy" for them." I have made many mistakes that could have cost me this relationship. I have responded in ways that I am sure caused Wendy to think life would be "easier" or better without me. I have been so close to running away and leaving it at times. But after 27 years...and all the valleys and mountain top experiences...I still woke up today and chose WENDY! Wendy and I really want to write a book and tell our story. We feel so incredibly blessed and fortunate to have the relationship we do have. We have 3 incredible kids and we all like to hang out. In spite of the many times I could have lost it, and in spite of the many times I deserved to be kicked aside...through it marriage stays intact. I am so grateful. I truly feel honoured to be the husband of Wendy Pauls. I truly feel proud to be the father of Lauren, Amber and Jordan. I have wonderful friends and a great family that helped pave the way and walk with us through tough times...I am so far from perfect or deserving and I sure didn't earn my lovely wife. Hard work, forgiveness and a lot of prayer got us through. Wendy has made me a better person. I am not the man I was when she married me, and I hope there are more rough edges to carve away. I love who she has helped me become. I look forward to the next 27 years!!! Thank you Wendy Pauls...I truly am madly in love with you!! August 5th, 1988 was a good day!! Kevin Pauls