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Marty's "Living life in chapters" A self development blog: Alpha

Marty's "Living life in chapters" A self development blog

Sunday, October 01, 2006


Hi folks. I hope you are all having a peaceful Sunday.
I'm feeling pretty good right now. I've enjoyed reading round quite a fair few blogs this weekend. As usual, there has been a wide variety of things that folk have shared. I have to say there have been some real good ones in the last couple of days.

Last night was the "Alpha Banquet" organised by the church group I'm involved with. I'd been really looking forward to this and I gotta say I wasn't disappointed. Craig and Dawn both came with me in support as well as 2 lads from the project where I work. I got there early with Dawn and Craig to help set out and lay tables.

The food was as good as anything I've eaten at any resturant.
Starter: - Fruit Salad
Main course: - Turkey breast wrapped in bacon, stuffing, roast potatoes, roast parsnip, carrots, pea, broccolli.
Sweet: - variety to choose from gateau's, pavlova, trifle etc....
Coffee and mints to finish.

The first talk was good, then I was asked to give my testimony in front of around 50 people. I held the microphone a bit close at first and was shocked at how loud my voice was over the PA. Image A few folk came up to me afterwards and said I would be good for public speaking. (Its so hard not to "errrmmmmm" and "ummm" all the time LOL). I was really pleased that nearly everyone signed up for the rest of the course including Craig and the 2 lads. They really seemed to enjoy themselves. A great night out!

One or two folk have asked me what Alpha is all about. I've got a link to the international website on my blogroll, but I thought now would be a good time to serialize my personal Alpha experience from 4 years ago.

Part 1 is todays scribble......


Summer 2002 and I was mega busy. Network Marketing had become my new manic obsession. I was spending all day every day preparing catalogues to deliver in my local area and rushing off out delivering these, collecting them, taking orders, reading motivational books, driving half way up the country and back to attend meetings etc etc. World Cup 2002 was on and I was stopping just briefly for an hour or so to catch the occasional match. I kept pushing and pushing with this work, but somehow it just wasn’t moving as fast as I hoped. Little did I know I was near the point of breakdown.

Walking up a road in the village where I live with a bag full of catalogues and a plastic smile on my face trying to ignore the worry and stress, someone I knew popped her head out her door and said “Hi Martin, what’s up? Are you OK? Come in for a cup of tea. “

Somehow she knew and saw right through the mask I had put up. (This is something I have since realised is very obvious to folk and I’ve quit, for the most part, trying to pretend. There are times though when I do this “mask” thing subconsciously). I went in and spilled the beans on how I’d got myself into so much debt over this business venture. Roz was so very kind, never passing judgement and listening intently to what I had to say. After a long chat, Roz told me that I was welcome to go round to visit her and her husband at any time, and I did a few days later when in an even worse state than before. In classic Martin fashion, I’d “run the engine dry” and had lost all energy and enthusiasm. I was in fact in a deep depression.

Very shortly after that second visit, I failed to get out of bed one morning, and didn’t for 3 days. It felt like the end…. of everything and I had nobody else to blame other than myself as I saw it. Roz and her husband are committed Christians and good friends to Christine and I. The next time I went to see them, Roz asked me very gently and with caution if I would give them permission to pray for me. This is the sort of thing that in the past would have made me very uncomfortable and possibly even freaked me out, but on this occasion, it just felt fine and I gratefully accepted. After the prayer (which had me sobbing my heart out) Roz asked me if I had heard of Alpha and wondered if I would like to go on the course. She felt it would be right for me. I did have some recollection of something like this, so I said I would be interested.

This will be a 3 part story, part 2 tomorrow..

Now Video... Craig is learning Pachabel's Canon on keyboard for his music GCSE at school right now. We had this for background music last night at the meal too. Keeping with the "Love" theme, there is a cute video with the music here..... enjoy.


(13 total)

Very nice post Marty! It's amazing how true friends can see through our masks of pretending and somehow know what we need more than we know ourselves. A very touching story you have here...thank you for sharing!!

Sunday 1 October 2006 - 10:28AM (EDT)

Marty, glad the evening went well for you, particularly the testimony. I know you were feeling nervous about doing that. I reckon you would be good at public speaking, too.
Canon is my all-time favourite classical piece of music. It is a very versatile piece, and although is a firm favourite for occasions such as weddings, it has been used for a lot of other things too. I have a CD of 10 different interpretations of the piece, some of them quite different to the traditional version. One of my favourite versions, I actually found on a site where 'unsigned' musicians post their work. A musician called Gabriel Winter did a great interpretation called 'Canavistic'. It is done in a modern 'trance'-style. Might sound strange, but it actually works very well ( a little like the trance version of Barber's Adagio you posted recently).

Sunday 1 October 2006 - 05:02PM (BST)

Glad your speech went well and you had a good night, I don't mind speaking in public but I am a big mouth anyway :)

Monday 2 October 2006 - 03:21AM (VUT)

Hiya Marty, Im very glad that the speech went well for you! And even more happy that you are happy! ;-) keep smilin sunshine! x

Sunday 1 October 2006 - 06:13PM (BST)

I really enjoyed listening to the music, sad music like that can be so fitting sometimes. It’s good to know that your speech went well. Dinner sounds like it was super!

Sunday 1 October 2006 - 07:17PM (BST)

I knew you'd be fine mate your so natural with people your allways good to listen to. Glad your writing about the Alpha thingy I've been wondering what its all about, cheers.

Sunday 1 October 2006 - 08:19PM (BST)

Hey Marty great post...well I missed my Alpha banquet, I was so upset (I got let down at the last minute and had no one to have the kids). All is not lost though I received an email from the church saying a few other ppl were unable to attend and that they were sorry not to have seen me there and hoped to see me the following week for week 1 of the course! Hopefully I have it all arranged now and will be attending next wednesday... thank you so much for mentioning it to me Marty.
I'm glad to hear your evening was good and giving your testimony went well... Bless you Marty, big hugs and thanks for everything. I'll let you know how I get on next wednesday at the Alpha course.xxxx

Sunday 1 October 2006 - 10:18PM (BST)

Ooops. forgot to say, I loved the music, I could listen to this whatever my mood and get something different from it each time. Thanks for sharing.xx

Sunday 1 October 2006 - 10:20PM (BST)

Hello YOU? Great Blog today? Check out mine? New, pictures of Halifax? TA TA

Sunday 1 October 2006 - 07:23PM (ADT)

glad that your 'public speaking' went well. the music is lovely, nice and mellow for a sunday evening. do you find that craig works hardest at his music studies? Elizabeth didn't choose to continue with music to gcse, although she does play violin at home and is just starting out learning guitar, but she did take art and drama and really looks forward to those lessons each week and does the homework without objection. is he in year 10 or 11? Elizabeth is year 10, so just starting out on the GCSE journey.

Sunday 1 October 2006 - 11:56PM (BST)

I know you had "butterflies" in your stomach,and public speaking had them all a-flutter....Well good on you for saying your piece, and being OUT THERE so to speak......
See? Thats what makes you an amazing human being, you just get up and do it....and worry later, if it was right......
and it always works out for give up the worrying, it only gives you a gut full of dont need them at your young {???} age...........

Sunday 1 October 2006 - 11:11PM (PDT)

Congratulations on your performance at the meeting. You must be one of the busiest people I know. Dear me, when do you relax? I mean FOR REAL ... Love, EC

Monday 2 October 2006 - 09:18AM (CEST)

Hi Marty
Is this 3 part story your testimony? Wow, so far its really powerful... Can't wait for the next part.
I love Alpha, its such a lovely course. I'm glad you're enjoying it and glad your speech went well.

Monday 2 October 2006 - 01:05PM (BST


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