Saturday, November 19, 2016

Fall Harvest

My favorite season is by far Fall. If you really look at the seasons carefully, the Creator tells us all we need to know about the very seasons of our lives. The rich colors of the foliage as they are dying is magnificent! We have been conditioned to only focus on the pain of death that we fail to see the beauty of it. After Fall, there is Winter, a season where coldness forces us to retreat and seek warmth. The warmth is the Spirit of God. After we've embraced and healed from the cold, comes Spring. A rebirth of those very living plants that left us in the Fall. Many of us will witness all the work that goes on in Spring. From the bees buzzing, the falling rain to the cultivating of soil to prepare for the rebirth. Ah, rebirth!

2016 has served as a season of Fall for me. I've experienced so many deaths that made me at times wonder what in the world God is doing. And as much as I have always loved Fall, it has felt like Winter because the pain has been so cold and so unapologetic. Somehow I know that Spring will usher in a ton of cultivating. We have to realize that a plentiful harvest requires not only painful sacrifices but tons of work.

Work is what will bring us fruitful; for faith without works is dead. Although things may be tough, people and situations may be dying all around us, we must know that the harvest is near! Hold on to the seasons, watch and pray. We are coming into a season of abundance.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Lessons From Grief

Mornings are the worse. Reality has been patiently waiting ready to get in a quickie as soon as you leave the slumber of sleep.

The beginning of almost anything requires the most work. All the "firsts" are hard. The amount of sacrifice,  pure grit & determination that you put in first will impact the process & outcome. Same rings true for grieving. You have to approach it directly, heads-on and hard in the beginning or it will sit, stew and grow into something toxic.

People love their rituals! They will serve as both gifts & curses.

People enjoy seeing pain up close and personal. It's something about seeing it unfold that's addictive. It's true reality tv.

The greater the love, the greater the pain.

Complete healing is a myth, it never shows up, no kind introductions, you'll forever read about it in books and fairytales. You won't receive this gift until this life is over.

If you've never been formally introduced, you will soon come to know that Pain is now your nigga for life! Once he shows up, you have to make room for him or else.

Words are razor blades. Hearing and saying "I love you" will never feel the same again. Saying that "it takes time" does not lend comfort. Not saying a word will forever be the sweetest taboo when comforting a grieving person, try it.

The little everyday things are what you will miss the most.

If anyone grieving ever asks you for anything, do it & do it immediately. The concept of time is very volatile. They are basing everything in measurements of time.

If you are so compelled to just "do something", make it short & quick and don't ask what they need. You cannot, I repeat, cannot provide any necessities at this time.

Quit asking about damn food! No, we don't care to eat, have to taste for anything or have any dietary concerns. Bring something that you know they will eat of you don't know what they like, bring bottled water or money.

Any visit over 30 minutes is exhausting. Never ever ask how'd a loved one died or if there was sickness.  Answering this question forces the grieving person to relive the death in their hearts & minds repeatedly.

It never gets easier, it just becomes bearable. Pain either builds strength or destroys you.

When others are in the early stages of the grieving process, do not take the opportunity to share your memory of the loss of a loved one that happened years ago. It is not encouraging, it's dismissive. This isn't a contest of who will grieve the best.

Grieving the loss of a loved one will leave a hole especially when that person held a permanent position in your life. Although they are irreplaceable, the hole will fill with other things or the hole will become a darkness that will grow bigger.

Sharks always come when there is blood in the water. There will be people who will try to pimp grief. Folks will pretend to grieve for a numerous of reasons; common reasons are attention, money, access and revenge. They will circle you, watch you & strike in moments of weakness. It's okay to not return calls or talk to certain people.

The grieving process is different for EVERYBODY! There is no handbook or quick tips on surviving the pain.

You must find laughter, it ushers in healing.

Accept that some days will be better than others. You'll find yourself getting into a groove of having really good days back to back then one moment will come along and derail you completely. It's not a setback, it's reality, just keep going. The only way to manage grief and pain is to plow through it. Regardless of how you feel, never allow yourself to wallow long, it can get way too comfortable there.

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Importance of Being Earnest

I've been reflecting on this year alot lately. I've been attempting to pinpoint both failures and triumphs all while trying to find growth opportunities. The one area that I've personally noticed is my lack of bringing more earnesty into my actions and train of thought.

Oscar Wilde once wrote, "the good ended happily, and the bad unhappily, that is what fiction means." Although The Importance of Being Earnest is satirical, it is riddled with the truth. The good seems to end rather unhappily or unnoticed more often than happily nowadays. Bad gets all of the praise and attention in today's world -- yesterday's too for that matter. I believe we all play a major role in the decay of good getting its just desserts.

In grade school, positive behavior,  action, outstanding work and effort is positively reinforced, praised even. As we age & life introduces itself to us, we tend to shrug at the responsible, stellar feats, andextraordinary efforts of others unless it lends some sparkle to our own dulling shine. I've witnessed so many people run to the rescue of those who are victims of poor decision making & irresponsible behaviors. We don't praise or encourage those who have the courage to do the right thing day in and day out. Why is that?

As I mentioned earlier,  it's all about the sparkle that we'd like to show off to others. The easiest way in this world to shine is by going into darker places or situations so our sparkle can glimmer a lil brighter and gain some oh-so coveted attention. We've missed the mark -- I've missed the mark. I'm making a concerted effort to be present in the brighter places. I'm going to support positive feats of those around me no matter how small. By doing so,  our sparkle isn't dimmed or dismissed, it actually sets us up to strengthen our own shine! Positive energy is POWER, we can recharge each other and keep the momentum going if we'd simply give attention to the ones who are actually accomplishing greater things.  Things that make them grow, give light and shoulder personal responsibility. Adults need it more than ever.

My actions moving forward will involve me actively supporting & appreciating the positive actions of those I may come in contact with.  My attentions will be more focused on encouraging people's good decisions rather than trying to reverse the damage of the bad. Through earnesty, we can put Good in the driver's seat and hope for a better destination.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

All We Have Is Now

There is no time like the present for tomorrow is promised to no man or woman! Be empowered to have the courage to pursue the desires of your heart. It's so easily said but so very hard to perform. How many times have I second guessed my first mind? It's been so many times that I've lost count. Truth is, I got caught up in the results of someone else's failures or triumph that I was busy comparing my story to theirs. Truth is, to activate such thinking is blasphemous. Who are we to believe that our Creator made us all the same? True, we are made from His image which is ROYAL. So who are we to compare ourselves against any being other than the Most High?

Don't worry, I'm guilty of it too. So many times I've refrained from pursuing the passion in my spirit due to fear. I'm so thankful that our God is not only faithful but persistent. Oftentimes, I see Jonah surface in my own self. I run from the voice that has made a commandment of me and end up in the belly of a beast. The end of that story is, even though I may have appeared to have been defeated and in the midst of darkness with no way out, the end result is always deliverance.

I often think of tomorrow as if I know it's coming when in fact, it's merely a figment of my imagination. It's never been promised my friends. The key is to know that the PRESENT is the right now, this very moment. That moment is to do the will of God and not man. If we are granted tomorrow, it's a second chance to do just that, God's will. I truly believe that our guiding purpose is to LOVE and if we truly love God, we will feed His sheep.

Don't look to hard at the exterior, don't focus too much on tomorrow, all we have is now; for every moment is fleeting.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Missing the Moment

One of the most therapeutic and enjoyable outlets that I have is writing. But the caveat is, I rarely make time to do it. As I sip on a glass of red wine blend, I want to address a topic that I rarely discuss openly and that is taking photos. Anyone who knows me well knows that my biggest pet peeve and aggravator is posing for photos. Now if you look hard enough, you can find images of me whether on Facebook or even some printed marketing material that’s in the universe, but nevertheless, I have a strong disdain for them.


In today’s society, we’ve become with obsessed with what I call the “one-up”. We want to show people (who really could care less) that we have arrived, that we matter, and that we have arrived! We want to show the world that we are doing something with our lives, that we are having fun. But the reality is, we are decaying at a rapid rate. We’ve become too consumed with the “one-up” that we have forgotten to enjoy the ride, bask in the many experiences of life because we are too busy showing the world that we are doing something that they aren’t.


Truth is, we need to take a good hard look in the mirror, not the photo. Photos are mere snippet of life; they will never reflect the true depiction of life. Photos are a way to hide behind the hurt, the disappointment, the fear, the uncertainty, the disappointments that life can bring.  I have learned that we spend most of our lives hiding our true selves from others because of reluctance of being judged, ridiculed and the most hurtful, rejected. We have gotten so caught up in the opinion of others that we have forgotten to bask in the beauty of a moment of happiness. We are missing the joy that God created for us to enjoy. We have let today’s digital technology and media hype destroy our sanity. We are becoming so dependent on the connectivity of a manmade persona that we have forgotten to smell the roses.


Life was always intended to be lived. It is best experienced when we actually lose ourselves in the beauty of a moment. There are so many things that God wants to reveal to us that no one else will understand but if we are so consumed with showing off, those moments will be few and far between and everything we photograph will be superficial.  Retrain yourself to stop interjecting a cell phone camera into your lives. Some things make much better stories than pictures.


My personal testimony is, I would much rather have you enjoy my company than take a photo of a partial glimpse of my presence. Take the time to bask in the joy of my humor, my love, my spirit and my message. There are some parts of me that are never to be shared with the masses.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Origin


Anyone who knows me well knows I always emphasize the foundation, the beginning per se, of all things.  This time is no different. In order to carefully dissect and have a substantiated opinion on any matter one must do their research.  A lot of hearts and minds are confused, heavy and burdened by the Martin/Zimmerman tragedy. I’ve read numerous Facebook posts and tweets, along with listening to many conversations but I’ve also noticed all who’ve said nothing.  Silence is oftentimes loud, it’s also quite scary.  People who conceal their thoughts are very dangerous. Everyone has a belief system and in America, it is muddled more than any other country in the world. For many of us Black Americans, we are emotionally attached to the Martin/Zimmerman tragedy. We know what it feels like to be looked at cautiously in public places, especially places of business. We know what it feels like to work in an environment where you are coyly referred to by your co-workers as their “Black” friend. We know how it feels to be feared, ignored and deemed ignorant because of the pigment of our hue.

Being Black in America carries a label, a preconceived notion of what and who you are. And that label carries and resonates across the races, especially for Black men. For those of you who beg to differ, I urge you to inspect the origin of Blacks in America. The history that we and most of our children have been taught tells us that the first Africans came to Jamestown, VA in 1619 as slaves. European settlers in North America deemed Africans as cheaper and more plentiful labor source than indentured servants who were Europeans as well. Two words stand out for me, CHEAP LABOR. The reason Africans were brought to America was for cheap labor. Keep that in mind. It takes centuries for the ideology of a nation to evolve. Who you are is defined by what you do and how people treat you is based on what they see, remember that. What do you believe a Black American male represents? How do you view them as a whole? If you are a Black male, how do you define yourself? What esteems you? These are tough questions that are often answered untruthfully no matter who you ask. Marcus Garvey once wrote that a “people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” You cannot and should not let anyone or any machine DEFINE WHO YOU ARE.

George Zimmerman represents just about every non-Black American. I may ruffle some feathers but this isn’t really about the law and what burden of proof was or wasn’t reinforced, those six jurors identified more with George Zimmerman than they identified with Sybrina Fulton, Tracy Martin or Trayvon Martin. Let’s be clear, George Zimmerman was afraid. And fear is a powerful drug, it enslaves the human mind. Fear fueled his very actions that night. And like most non-Black Americans, they are afraid of Black people, period. When you couple fear and a society where the media constantly portrays and illustrates Black people negatively, you will create a psyche where Black lives are deemed disposable and sacrificial. I promise you if you ask most non-Black Americans to hypothetically imagine that they are alone, walking in their neighborhood and happen to see a Black man walking near or in the same space as them, they will feel fear well up inside of them and become defensive. I don’t care if it is admitted or not, I believe that to be true. Bertrand Russell once wrote that, “fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.” And that brings me to my final point.

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” James 1:5.  God commands us to “fear not” 365 times in the Holy Bible. The Bible warns us of fear more than any other emotion. Fear is not of God, period. Whenever it surfaces, we MUST know that it is a device of the devil. In order to overcome and triumph over fear, we must seek wisdom and no man can give us wisdom, we have to petition God for that. Many of us don’t know how to deal with this tragedy, and I urge all Americans to seek God and seek His counsel when it comes to His people. One of my earliest memories is of my mother praying over my brother and me as we slept. I remember her murmurs and her tears. As I got older, I asked her about it and she says that she prayed over us while we were in her womb, babies and now as adults and that she will continue to until her last breath.  I urge all parents to pray over their children, pray that God’s will be evident in every stage of their lives, even if it is short. Remember, God is not the author of fear, confusion or strife and if you are feeling any of that, seek His face and rebuke the devil and he will flee. For those of you who are hurting, remember Romans 12:19, “do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: it is mine to avenge, I will repay, says the Lord.”

P.S. If you are not already, become a REGISTERED, ACTIVE voter AND gun owner!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Ready, Set, Go!


The beginning of anything is the single most important step of any process. If your beginning isn’t stable, chances are, things aren’t going to be stable. Envision any structural building, they all must have a strong, solid foundation before walls or ceilings can be erected. Now envision the ground that the foundation is laid upon, it’s sturdy, not shaky. Ask a builder would he/she build a house on a beach, in a swamp, or on an incline? Now I want you to look at a tree or any plant that bears a fruit, if the roots (which aren’t visible most times) aren’t planted on fertile ground under the appropriate conditions, it will die and bring forth no life.

Now I want you to take a close look at how you live and think about some paramount or significant triumphs and failures in your life that you've experienced, do you notice a trend? I’ve noticed that for a lot of us, we tend to overlook the basics when it comes to starting a task, something new, or developing some sort of a game plan when it comes to living. Just as the old adage says, all good things must come to an end; so must there be a beginning. In fact, the very first words of the Bible are “in the beginning …” God begins his living word with “In the beginning” that speaks volumes to me. If you want to be successful, if you want to understand the nature of things, go back to the BEGINNING. It’s funny how we can expect things to work themselves out or work in our favor when the beginning was rooted in quicksand. It puzzles me how people can talk about a situation or claim to be praying about a situation and don’t want to tell you the truth about how it all began. We seem to avoid the uncomfortable truth of most situations. People tend to accuse me of being cynical and insensitive at times when I introduce the truth into the equation when we talk about beginnings. I’ve seen single mothers struggle with their children but don’t want to acknowledge the fact that they choose to bring into the world a bastard child. I’ve seen wives struggle with their marriages but don’t want to acknowledge the fact that they got involved with their husbands when they were attached to another woman when they begin their relationship. I’ve seen people struggle with their jobs but fail to realize that they schemed and caused others to lose their jobs in order to get to the position that they are at now. I’ve seen people struggle financially and can’t seem to get out of debt but won’t acknowledge the fact that as soon they seem to get a little bit of money they choose to invest it frivolously on things that lose value as soon as you purchase them.

But on the other hand, I sit and smile when I hear people talk about the triumphs they are experiencing when they decided to step out on “faith” when embarking in something new.  When you begin things faithfully and in good graces, you tend to reap good rewards. It really isn’t that hard, the only thing it requires you to do is to think and be conscious of your actions. Plant yourself on fertile ground then sow a seed, give it water, give it some sun and watch it root strongly.  Take the time to BUILD your foundation the right way, take the time to invest wisely instead of trying to make do with the spoils of bad decisions. Folks waste too much time trying to right wrongs, you can NOT do that! Acknowledge your wrongs and start over. Think about it, you can cook spoiled food but it won’t taste good and it more than likely will make you very sick.  

Get your START right; here’s to new beginnings.