Thursday, March 21, 2013

Pay It Forward - Part II

This has been a good week so far. On 3 different occassions this week, three different people saw fit to make me the beneficiary of either a random act of kindness or a gift. I could not let this week go another moment without paying it forward myself. I invited my mentee to meet me for lunch today. We had some catching up to do.

Since I last wrote about him, he has graduated from high school, finished his first semester at college and got his driver's license. He broke up with his prom date and has decided to pursue English as a major. He has given up his basketball dreams, but is focusing on his poetry. He has performed at several open mics already and is getting a lot of positive feedback.

It was good to catch up with the kid. I am very glad to have had a positive inpact in his life and look forward to watching him grow up the next few years. It was also good to pay it forward. What might have looked like two guys having lunch was much more than that to both of us.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

What Would You Do Wednesday: Let It Go

I'll be the first to admit that I've been guilty of holding on to things for too long. Getting comfortable in complacency when you need a challege, or someone to keep up with you. In some cases you might even need both. At the same time, we all have our breaking points . . . wait, let me correct myself. MOST of us have our breaking points. On the other hand, there are some people like this person I know who doesn't know how to recognize the writing on the wall. What would you do if in a span of 96 hours you saw your boss have her car repossessed and had the cable in the office cut off? The answer sounds obvious to me, but other people may be so loyal that they'll stick it out and go down with the ship. What's your breaking point when it comes to knowing when it's time to polish up with resume and start looking for a new job?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Pay It Forward

If you ask me what makes me happy, the first thing I generally say is making other people happy. I'm a natural giver, so when I am the person receiving it catches me off guard (ok, that didn't come out right). I am a very humble person. I don't ask for much and expect even less from people (not to say I don't want things), so when I received a certain text message I was certainly taken aback.

"Every day I pick one of my friends to do a random act of kindness fo. Today I pick you. Lunch is on me." Considering the day I was having, the timing of this message was perfect. I even went back and told my friend that I might have to borrow their philosophy. A random act of kindness here or there would make everyone's world better.

If you know me, don't be surprised if you hear from me soon. If you don't know me outside of the blogosphereor twitter, try it for yourself. You'll make someone's day and you never know what might come from your gesture.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Even The Worst People Have Feelings

At one point or another in our lives, we have all made the mistake of taking the opinions of others and making them our own, with no other evidence to support the opinion. I find this especially true when it comes to the people in our lives. When it comes to meeting new people, especially those with some kind of affiliation to people we already know, the people we know force their opinions of the person on you instead of allowing you to interact with the person with a clean slate.

Personally, I pride myself on ignoring the opinions of others and doing the best I can to give any and everyone I meet the benefit of the doubt when I meet them. Case in point, there's a certain individual in my church who has a prominent position. As I have grown up over the years, most of the things I've heard about this person has been negative. Funny thing is the people who are doing the talking are people who, for the most part, don't have a direct interaction with this individual. I purposely make it a point to speak to this individual every Sunday and other times that we see each other. Nothing serious, just a sincere "hi. How are you doing?". In our most recent conversation, I spoke to this person regarding an event that we have coming up and our desire to do a tribute for them. That simple gesture humbled this individual so much that their knees almost buckled and they started crying. This individual, who I have heard nothing but negative feelings about actually has a heart and sadly, nobody would believe me unless they were actually there to see it.

Maybe it's because I don't walk around with a smile on my face all the time and I know what it's like to have people talk negatively about me without really trying to get to know me, but I knew that there's something more to this person than what people have been saying for years. Allowing the opinions of others to influence ours often leads to bad decisions and prevents you from getting to know someone who's actually a good person. Next time someone shares their opinion regarding someone who you just started interacting with, whether it be a co-worker or a new member to an organization you're in, ignore it and take the time to get to know the person for yourself. You never know what you might be missing out on.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Fuck Fear

What would you do if you weren't scared? I've heard that question on a few occasions, but never really put serious thought into it. The first thing I always say is be more confident when it came to approaching women. That might have provided a few more enjoyable memories, but would that have made an impact on anything? Thinking deeper about the question (along with being honest with myself), I have come up with a list of things I would have done had I not been scared. That list includes playing little league baseball, joining the track team in high school, taking AP classes my senior year in high school, run for Junior Class President in college, staying in Baltimore after graduation, leaving "Guyana" sooner, moving back to Baltimore on my own terms. I'll post about those individually at a later time, but for now, think about what YOU would do if you weren't scared.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Taboo Post

What is it about the game Taboo? With the right combination of food and beverages Tabo has the makings of a great night. That's exactly what happened last night when a few friends and I got together last night. Four hours of Taboo and plenty of laughs got my weekend off to a great start.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Give Me My Flowers

My former pastor used to designate the 4th Sunday of every month as Living Eulogy Sunday. During that day's service, a member (generally one of the older members, although a younger person would get the honor on occasions) would be given a tribute. People from their past would come and surprise them and say nice things. The pastor always said it made more sense to give someone their flowers while they could smell them. In other words, let them hear all the nice things you have to say about them while they are still alive because they won't hear what is said at their funeral. Year's later, I do my best to continue that tradition in my own life. Whenever possible, I tell people how I feel about them (especially if it's positive), because you never know if there will be a next time. I challenge you to do them same. You never know what impact kind words might have on someone's life

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Monday, March 11, 2013

Drink Up, New York City

Up until about 3 hours ago, this post was going to expound on my thoughbts about the soda band that was supposed to start here in New York City tomorrow. That all changed wen a judge overturned the ban earlier today. In light of that, and for the benifit of those of you who are unaware of the situation, I'll just go over some of the key points in what would have changed.

Last year New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the Board of Health passed th soda bn. The ban, which woul have started tomorrow, would have banned the following:

1. Food-service establishments would not be able to sell sugary drinks (defined as any non-alcoholic beverage that is less that 51% milk) in containers larger than 16 ounces.

2. Starbucks lattes and machiattos are exempt, as are milkshakes.

3. Alcoholic beverages are exempt, but since clubs are subject to the regulations, they would no longer be able to provide the carafes of sweet mixers (tonic, cranberry juice, orange juice, etc) with table service.

4. Coffee is exempt, but customers would have to add their own sugar.

5. Pizza establishment would not be able to offer 2 liter sodas

I Bloomberg's intentions were good, but this ban wasn't thought out right. He might have been better off taxing the hell out of it like we do with cigerettes. Either way, I am sure we have not heard the end of this story.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Boys Night In

Every so often, the Mrs. goes out with her girls. When that happens, I'm left home with "mini-me" and we have guys night in. That's exactly what happened last night. A night of college basketball, dinner, Wii U and "Wreck It Ralph". Every so often a night home with "mini-me" is just what the doctor ordered. A night of distractions from real world problems and seeing life through the eyes of an 11 year old. One of the simple joys of parenthood.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Passing Down The Torch

I grew up a wrestling fan. Primarily because my parents were wrestling fans. Back in the day (i.e. early 70's before I was born) when the WWWF (yes, before there was WWE there was WWF and before WWF there was the WWWF) held weekly shows at Madison Square Garden, my parents, aunts and uncles were there every week. My mother's favorites were Bruno Sammartino and Bo Bo Brazil. Not sure who my father rooted for, but any of them could tell you stories about some of the best matches they've seen.

As we moved into the 80's, they stopped going to the shows, but they still watched and because they watched, I watched. My first memory was Wrestlemania III when Hulk Hogan slammed Andre the Giant and my fondest memory was Wrestlemania VI when my family all gathered in my aunts basement (my aunts and uncles would take turns ordering the pay-per views). I was the only one rooting for the Ultimate Warrior and the only one who went home happy that night.

Even as I got older and found out it was scripted, I still watched. It was like a male soap opera. Besides, who could turn away from the exploits of The Rock, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, DX and others? Not to mention WCW with Sting, Ric Flair and the 4 Horsemen. And when I got to college, it was a crew of us who would get together every Monday night and watch wrestling instead of Monday Night Football.

Anyway, lets fast forward a little bit. "Panama" raised her son without sports (i.e. wrestling) in his life. I respected that and didn't bother to try to introduce him to it out of respect for her. Last year, when Superstorm Sandy hit, they were home while I went to work (thanks Mr. Mayor). Apparently, "Panama" took a nap and, boys being boys, he started watching one of my wrestling DVD's. By the time I got home that night, he was hooked and has been watching nothing but wrestling dvd's and learning wrestling history since.

I am happy that lil'man was exposed to and likes wrestling. It gives us a connection and brings us closer. It was one of the few connections I have had with my father and one I am glad I can share with him. It's guys night in tonight so you know what we will be doing.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Living For The Weekend

Thank God it's Friday! After the week I have had, I am so glad to see another weekend. These last 7 days have been mentally draining to say the least. Three funerals, a suicide attempt by one of the bridesmaids in my wedding and family drama have definitely taen it tole on me. Don't know what the weekend has in store, but things have got to turn around for the better. One thing I will take from this week is the importance of keeping in touch with faily. You don't have to like them to love them. Anyway, have a good weekend bloggers.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Bucket List

Yesterday, I posted on twitter about something that was on my bucket list. Almost instantly, I received a response from Our Bucket List suggesting that I add my bucket list to their site. After a little research, it turns out that the site is set up to connect people with others based on things on their respective bucket lists. I think that is a cool idea and a great way to meet new friends. Might even inspire you to work harder to cross something off of your list. I will look into it more, but it might just be the next thing I cross off of my bucket list.

What was the last thing you crossed off of your bucket list?

What is the next thing you will cross off of your bucet list?

What is at the top of your bucket list?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Ain't Nobody F#$^ing With My Clique

I have always prided myself as being a loner. Didn't really hang out with a lot of people. Didn't really ask for a lot of help. Pretty much marched to the beat of my own drummer. Evn still, I realized that the most independent of people will eventually need someone on their team. Over the years, I have been blessed to have a few great friends. Some were in my life for a reason. A few more for a season. Then there are those rare people I couldn't get ride of even if I wanted too (thankfully, I don't want to). Those people mean the world to me and I would do anything for them. I learned a long time ago that money doesn't make you walthy. True wealth can only be found in your true friendships. If you don't have at least one true, non-judgmental, honest friend in your world, you are really missing out. If you do, count your blessings.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Just Smile

"Once I met a happy little bluebird
I was just as blue as I could be
In a little while, I began to smile
When he sang this merry song to me

Just let a smile be your umbrella
On a rainy, rainy day
And if your sweetie cries just tell her
A smile will always pay."

For the most part, I am not a smiler. Because of that, people's first impressions of me are generally negative. I have heard everything from "he's mean" to "he's scary". For me, not smiling has been a defense mechanism for me; a way to keep certain peple away. Ca't say it has always worked, but that is what I thought.

It wasn't until about 7 years ago, when I was sitting in a church service when I heard one of the best pieces of advice I have ever received. Bishop Mitchell Hudson, in the midst of his sermon, said "smile, it'll keep your enemies out of your business." That resonated with me so much that I started smiling more that night. As it turns out, smiling has probably been one of the best things I have done. Not only does it keep your enemies away, it attracks more desirable people to you.

Let a smile be your umbrella. It keeps the right people away, brings the right people closer and keeps everyone out of your business. Besides, it's one of the best things you can do with your mouth. ;-)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Weekend Update: March is a bad mother . . .

"March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb". Usually, when people say that, they are talking about the weather. For me, March 2013 came in like a lion in a personal way and four days in, I'm still reeling. I'm praying that the lamb shows up quick, because I don't know how much more I can take.

Friday night was typical. I hit up Target to get a gift for my friend who was having her baby shower on Saturday. I get home, eat, chill go to bed. Sometime while I was sleeping, I must have drawn the short straw in my dream because shit hit the fan after I woke up. I gave myself an extra hour of sleep on Saturday morning since my day (so I thought) wasn't so busy. As I was getting ready to go to the laundry, I went to reach for my glasses only to see that somehow the lens was knocked out. That meant an extra thing added to my to-do list. I went on to do laundry, came home for breakfast and got ready to tackle the rest of my day. Instead of heading to a 9:30 meeting, I was off to the eye doctor to get my frames fixed. I arrived at 9:30 only to find out the office doesn't open until 10 on Saturday's. Needless to say, a few minutes late suddenly became an hour late, but at least my glasses were fixed.

With that out of the way, I still had time to get to the church and catch at least a little bit of the meeting. Unfortunately for me, I arrived at the church the same time as a casket for a funeral that was going on later that day. The small casket indicated that the deceased was a child, and I soon found out that the child was only a year old. I was already having a difficult time getting mentally prepared for a funeral that I was going to on Sunday, and now I had to process the thought of an open casket service for a one year old. Not a pleasant thought in sight. Thankfully, Saturday night proved to be fun (for the most part). The baby shower was for a friend I went to high school with and the shower proved to be a mini-reunion of sorts. It was good seeing old friends instead of just reading their Facebook status'. Only bad thing from the shower was that it ran long, and when your immediate family (i.e. wife and child) get cranky, they aren't the most pleasant people to be around. Just wish my friends hadn't had the opportunity to see that side of them.

Sunday was the most difficult day of the weekend. I mentor high school students at the church and the funeral was for the father of one of those students. He was only 48 and died of terminal cancer after a long battle. I didn't know him too well, but listening to the reflections let me know that he was a good man, and hopefully his children will do him proud. I often say, if you want to know about someone, go to their funeral. This was a prime example. They couldn't say a negative thing about this man if they tried to.

Just when I thought I had made it through a rough weekend, I get a call this afternoon that my godmother's husband was in a serious car accident. At the time of the phone call, his condition was unknown and I can only pray that he's ok. In the mean time, I'm going to go on a search for some good news and start the process of returning to this positive affirmation kick that I was on when I wrote my previous post. How was your weekend?

Friday, March 1, 2013

March 2013 Blog Challenge

If you are reading this, you are truly a loyal reader. Life has taken me from an almost daily blogger to a once in a blue moon blogger. It's not because of lack of desire to write or lack of topics to write about. 2013 has just taken me on a hell of a ride so far. So, again, if you are reading this, thanks for continuing to check on a brother.

Earlier this week, I decided to accept BK's challenge (I'm always up for a challenge). She challenged me to blog every day for the month of March while also being active for at least 30 minutes a day and staying positive the entire month. If you know me offline you know the last part is the most difficult, so let's see how it goes.

If you get around to this post, especially early in the month, I challenge you to do the same. March 1st represents a new month, with new beginnings, new opportunities and a new season on the horizon. A challenge like this might just be good for the soul.