Thursday, September 11, 2014

Innocence Lost

I have the pleasure of living across the street from an elementary school. Each day I see laughing children excited about seeing their friends and learning whatever it is they will be taught. Today, as i walked to work, I made it a point to look at both their faces and the faces of their parents. Each one told a different story and the contrast between the two was more drastic today than any other day in this short school year; probably because of the date on the calendar. The parents are more serious than usual. Hugging their children a little longer today, much like they wish they could have held someone longer in 2001. Letting the day play back in their head like a bad movie. Just praying they can see them at the end of the day, something that a few thousand people were hoping to do wgen they dropped their kids off. The children on the other hand, are smiling and playing like kids do. None of them with memories of that unfortunate day 13 years ago. Only knowing what their parents and teachers tell them. None of them have the life altering experience in their memory. To them its just a part of history, much like the Civil War or American Revolution. I envy these kids and often pray that they dont have their life altered like we did. Some of the things they know as normal serves as bittersweet reminders for the rest of us. The memory that the 12 year old that lives in my house will have about this day is that it was the first day his mother felt him kick (he was born in February of 2002). His mother shares that memory with him and it helps her vlock out some of the other memories she has of this day. Meon the other hand, my memories will forever be of watching thw shadows of those planes fly over the building I was working in, watching the black clouds of smoke engulf all of lower Manhattan, walking to 57th street to get on the train and the hug my mother gave me when I finally got home. All memories I wish I could erase from my memory or better yet, never have in the first place.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Joysnatchers

Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it. We all have those little things we encounter during the course of our day that bring us down. Some of us don't let them get to us while others allow them to ruin our day. I have been guilty of doing the latter more times than I am willing to admit. Some are justified (in my opinion) and others even I will say I let get to me a little more than necessary. Right now, my biggest joy snatchers are two of my co-workers and my job situation as a whole. I have been with my current job for a little less than three years. Most of that time I have worked in a satellite office. I have done my job to the best of my ability, but my return on investment has been minimal. I want to grow in this company but opportunities have not come yet. My frustration with office politics and lack of communication is eating my morale and my enthusiasm for my job is gone to the point where I am just thankful to get a paycheck every two weeks. Add to the fact that I recently had to share my spot with two other co-workers whose mere presence now turns my stomach let's me know that it is time for me to move on. Hard to find peace when I can't even find happiness.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Start, Stop, Continue - Part 3

What do I do that I think I do well and want to continue doing? Over the last year I have started taking better care of myself. Definitely want to continue doing that. Also want to continue writing, being supportive of those I care about,and travel. Hopefully the next time I do this this list will be longer.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Start, Stop, Continue - Part 2

This part of the challenge focuses on the things I want to stop doing. The top of that list is PROCRASTINATING. case in point, I wanted to post this yesterday. I spend so much time coming up with reasons to do things later and convincing myself that I can get things done in less time that I end up doing a piss poor job or not getting the job done in time. Not to mention the fact that I dont do anything productive with the time that I waste. I know I can improve in this area I just have to start doing it. Other things I want to stop doing include being afraid to say "no" and putting others ahead of myself.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Start, Stop, Continue - Part 1

September marks the start of the school year for a lot of the country. Students will be asked two questions. First,how was your summer. The second question is generally "what are your goals for this year?". Goal setting is something that everyone should do at every point in our lives. Whether we are reevaluating our goals, completing ourgoals or creating new goals, our goals should motivate, inspire and challenge us to do more. Recently, I was challenged to take a deep look within and answer some tough questions. Over the course of the next few weeks I will put those reflections here and challenge those of you who read this to do the same in a blog or in ajournal then look back on it from time to time.

Today I am challenged to identify things I want to start doing, stop doing and continue doing. To truly focus on this challenge I will post about them individually. There are so many things that I want to start doing. At the top of the list would be to start living my life for me and chasing my dreams. More often than not I have based my life's decisions on how my actions would impact others. Making decisions that would make others happy that didnt necessarily make me happy. In order for me to be happy or find peace I need to be able to do things and make decisions that make me happy. I havent always done that, but there is no better time than now to change that.

In addition to living my life for me I also want to begin to chase my dreams. Ultimately I want to give back and help people improve their situations. I want to do something in the non-profit sector. Whether its giving someone ascholarship to go to college or help someone get a GED. Whether it be teaching someone a skill that leads to them getting a job or tutoring someone to help raise their grades. So many people have sone so much to help me over the years that it would be wrong for me not to pay it forward, but all I have been doing has been talking about it. Timeto make some moves. Stay tuned.

New Season

September marks the beginning of a lot of returns. People going back to work after a long weekend. Kids going back to school after summer vacation. Television shows returning from summer hiatus. Add to that, me returning to my blog. After an interesting summer, which included a debate about returning at all, I decided to use this forum as anopportunity for my own personal growth. I started a journal earlier this year which has been very helpful so this vlog will be an extension of that. This can go so right or so wrong. Either way, it has been a while since I have been excited about blogging so I am looking forward to this new season. If there is anyone still out there, hope youenjoy the ride.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Doors Of The Church Are Open.

Before last weekend, there weren't many people who had heard about Jamaal Bryant outside of the church community. Now, thanks to social media he is trending because he quoted a Chris Brown song in one of his sermons. Sadly, most of the criticism he is receiving is coming from people who watched a 20 second clip instead of the entire 35 minute sermon. After taking some time to reflect on the entire sermon and listen to the pop culture reference in its intended context, I dont have a problem with its usage. My problem is with his critics.

Most of those who criticizing are most likely hypocrites; made at the song being referenced in the sermon, butprobably have it on their iPods. Outside of the elders of the church I am sure nobody had to go home and look up the reference. Secondly, much like television and radio, if you dont like what is being said, you have options. Don't go back to the church. Don't watch the live stream. Don't tithe there anymore. . . Wait. Most of the criticsddon't even go to the church to begin with. I would love to know how many people who were there did not show up the following week. Im sure the church will go on. Thirdly, aren't "hoe's" unloyal by definition? Last I checked, their only loyalty is to themselves so anyone who felt offended might want to check themselves and if the shoe fits . . . I'm just saying. Lastly, there is actually a biblical reference that justifies the reference. Check out Procerbs 7 when you get a chance.

The worst part of this situation to me is the fact that Pastor Bryant had to take time away from his ministry to apologize. I never understood why people apologize for offending others, especially if it wasn't intentional. He said what the Lord put on his heart and served it to his congregation (and subsequently the world). Why arent we responsible enough to enjoy the meal and spit out the bones? Take the show out of it and get the message. Isnt thatthe main reason most people go to church anyway?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Ultimate Life Lessons

I remember it like it was yesterday; Sunday, April 1, 1990. I sat Indian style on the floor of my aunts basement as we watched Wrestlemania VI. The main event was dubbed "The Ultimate Challenge". It pitted defending champion and face of the company, Hulk Hogan against the upstart Intercontinental Champion and number one contender, The Ultimate Warrior. Hogan represented tradition. His rise to fame started in the late 70's and by 1990 he had successfully merged professional wrestling and pop culture. With his victory over Andre The Giant three years earlier, he had secured his place in history. The Warrior represented a new generation and was a precursor to the attitude era available that was to come later in the 90's. His claim to fame to this point was winning the Intercontinental Championship in a record 27 seconds 20 months earlier. I was the only one rooting for the Warrior in the house that night; and I was the only one that went home happy and Warrior won a match that changed both men forever. Hogan became "Immortal" and Warrior became the man.

Over the next 6 years both men came in an out of the WWF and eventually left for rival promtion, WCW. Hogan ebentually retirned to WWF, which by then was now WWE. Warrior just faded to black. He had some issues with WWE and depending on who you listen to, you can choose for yourself who to blame. Regardless, it would take 17 years before Warrior would be featured in a positive light on WWE television again. That moment came earlier this month during Wrestlemania weekend. Warrior was inducted into the Hall of Fame. He attended Wrestlemania on April 6th. He appeared on Monday Night Raw on April 7th and died, April 8th. Much as he did when he wrestled, he also left an impression in his death.

As I watched the news roll I. And listened to all of the stories, I found a few positives to take from MN this situation. Stay true ebb to who you are, bury all grudges and let others define your legacy. Warrior's 17 absence from the company that made him a superstar hurt both parties, but ultimately both sides grew up and reconciled their differences. Both sides put pride aside in the end, but Warrior stood by his beliefs even when WWE tried to defame his character and him as a person. A lesser man would not be able to do that.

By returning to the company at Wrestlemania Warrior was also able to bury a few grudges that he has had with a few Web individuals over the years. Some that go nack so far that TV you dont even remember what the feud was about. Considering what happened, I am sure those guys were happy to get those weights lifted off of their shoulders. Likemy old pastor used to say, "its better to give someone their flowers while theycan smell them". Nobody hears you when you say "I love you" or "Im sorry" while they are laying in a coffin.

The last lesson might habe been the most the most poignant. During his last televisio appearance,MN less tham 24 hours before he did, Warrior made the following statement:

"Every man's heart one day beats its final beat, his lungs breathe their last breath; and dB if what thay man did in his life makes the blood pulse through the body of others, and makes them bleed deeper, than something larfer than life, then his essence, his spirit, will be immortalized by the storytellers, by the loyalty, by the memory of those who honor him and , ake the running the man did last forever.


The message I received from that was simple, if you do something with your life that touches the life of someone elseyou will live forever. Be great and you wont have to worry about your legacy. People will talk about you forever. It was almost as if he knew he was dying and writing his own obituary. Moments like that arent scripted, but that speech will live with me forever. So will my memories of the Ultimate Warrior.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Public Service Announcement: For The Ladies

When you work with people long enough you have a tendency to get close to them. You share things about each others lives, share in each others joys and occassionally in each others pains. Thats the situation I find myself in today.I have one co-worker I particular that I hit it off with well. She is the one I spend the most time interacting with. Our birthdays are two days apart so we tend the have similar thought patterns. After two years we can now just look at each other and know what the other person is thinking.

Yesterday, she received a phone call from a relative informing her that they were taking her mother to the emergency room. Apparently her mother had picked a scab that was near her breast. It was bleeding and they could not get the blood to stop. My co-worker headed to the emergency room. She called in to the office this morning to inform us that her mother had been diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. She had a lump the size of a grapefruit and they had kept her and were checking to see if the cancer had spread.

Anytime I hear about a woman being diagnosed with breast cancer I make it point to do what I can to remind the women in my life to get checked often. This post is just part of me getting the word out. If there are any women reading this, I am asking, encouraging and begging you to make sure you and the women in your life get tested. I appreciate you all and want you to do the best you can to be the best you can. The more people we can save the better.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Tell'em How You Feel Thursday

Daniel Murphy is the second baseman for the New York Mets. Some might argue that he is the third best player on the team behind David Wright and Curtis Granderson. On Monday, Murphy's wife gave birth to their child. Murphy flew down to Florida to be with his wife and newborn child while his team started the season in New York. According to the collective bargaining agreement, Murphy is entitled to three days off from work for paternity leave. The team granted him the three days, but his decision to leave did not sit well with everyone in New York

Mike Francesa, a local sports radio talk show host had a problem with Murphy leaving his team on Opening day. He was quoted as saying "what are you going to do? I mean you are going to sit there and look at your wife in a hospital bed for two days? Your wife doesn't need your help the first couple of days; you know you're not duoing much the first couple days with the baby that was just born." Boomer Esiason, on his radio show, insisted that Murphy should have told his wife to have a C-Section because he needed to be at opening day.

This is why I dont care too much for sports talk radio. Being a baseball player is a job like anything else. It's not even an important job in the grand scheme of things. I have no problem with Murphy being with his family. In my opinion, he has his priorities in order and every one else is wrong. Even if it was 3 games in the World Series I would hope he would still preder to be with his family. So what if the Mets lost both of the games that he missed and one of those games was lost solely becausr of the man that replaced Murphy, its just two games in a 162 game season. The birth of a child is a rare and special event that not everyone gets to enjoy. I have more respect for Murphy now because of his decision. As for the sports radio jocks, they need to get their priorities in order.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

What Would You Do Wednesday

You are a recently divorced female in your late 30's. Now that you are ready to date again, your best friend decidesto hook you up with the godfather of one of her children. Things go well from the start. Hee is fun to be around, the sex is good and there are no real red flags. Only problem is that when you feel ready to commit, he wen isnt. You continue seeing him because you like him, but a few more months have passed without a commitment so you end things with him because you are starting to feel more like a friend with benefits than the woman in his life. A few weeks later, your best friend decides to try and hook you up with the god father of her other child. This situation works out even better than the first. Less than a year after dating you are engaged to be married and you are in the process of planning your wedding. At what point do you tell your fiancé about the other person. Since they are both godparents to your best friends children they are bound to end up in the same place at the same time eventually. And was the best friend wrong with people who knew each other?

Saturday, March 22, 2014

I Still Have A Pulse

You know things are hectic when 6 weeks go by without a visit to the blogosphere, even if it was just to comment on someone eles's post. These last 6 weeks have been interesting on all fronts. The biggest news being the fact that as of this writing, I have lost 16 pounds this year. My personal goal is 25 by my birthday and 60 for the year, so I am ahead of schedule and still motivated. I also was able to knock some things off of my to-do list, but I will talk more about that later on this year. Beyond that, I'm just keeping my head above water. The weather will eventually warm up and I'll be out and about. Hopefully that will inspire me to post more. Hope all is well with all of you.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Monday Musing

I loved having the Super Bowl here in New York. I went down to Super Bowl Blvd on Friday. It was fun. It's nice that they had a little something for those of us that could not be at the game. They should have had more though.

Tried a new spot Friday night. If you are ever in Greenwich Village I recommend that you stop by Sticky Finger Joint on W. 8th Street. Just don't stay. Get your food to go.

Received some good health news from my doctor over the weekend. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel on some health issues I have been dealing with, so I am happy about that.

We're the Broncos aware of what time the game started yesterday? The Seahawks should have been arrested for the beat down they put on the Broncos.

Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers were great, but I didn't expect anything less.

My favorite commercial was the Radio Shack commercial. "The 1980's called. They want their store back." What was your favorite commercial.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Baby Steps

One of my goals this year is to get myself together. I challenged myself to improve physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and financially. Yes, I probably do this every year, but there was something about turning 35 that really made me take a good look at myself and where I am at in my life compared to where I want to be.

I went to the doctor on January 4th and listened to him tell me a bunch of things I already knew. After losing 23 pounds in the beginning of 2013, I gained it all back plus an additional 5. I could make excuses, but they wont yake the wait off. I didn't even allow myself to get down about it because I had resigned within myself to fix it. I didn't leave the doctors office discouraged which is a good sign within itself. Instead, I went to work.

I re-downloaded the myfitnesspal app at the urging of a good friend of mine and decided that I was going to focus on calorie counting and portion control. I also started reading nutritional labels and drastically decrease my not water liquid consumption. In addition, to the best of my ability I made it a point to be more active than I have been. If I was going to fail this time, it definitely wasn't going to be because of lack of trying.

That brings me to this morning. A follow up appointment and an opportunity to step on the same scale where all of this started a month ago. As I type this, I am down 6 pounds from where I was a month ago and more motivated about this weight loss thing than I have been I. A long long time. I have a genuine smile on my face for the first time in a long time, even though I do know that I have a long way to go (was challenged to lose 40 pounds by January 31, 2015). I am ready to smash February's goal and keep my momentum going. It's just the beginning, but this time around, it is a good beginning.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Thought Provoking Tuesday: Look in the Mirror

Every so often when it gets slow in the office my co-workers and I engage in some interesting conversations. Today was one of those days. This afternoon two of my co-workers and I started talking about relationships. With one of us being married another being in a long term relationship and the other being divorced and engaged for the second time we all bring different opinions to the conversation and that makes the conversations very interesting.

Today a question came up that had me in deep thought. Would you date yourself? Of course everyone's first response was of course they would, but when we thought about it deeper the answers aren't always as obvious. Looking back in my life I know I can say that there was a time in which I would not have been able to date myself. For reasons I won't get into here I was at a very low spot. I didn't even concern myself with why I wasn't dating. I didn't even want to be around myself. Fortunately those times have come and gone and I am much better than I used to be (if I must say so myself).

What about you? Would you date yourself? Take a good look at yourself and ask yourself if the characteristics you see in yourself would be good to have in a mate. The answer might just be an obvious yes, but you might just discover that there is something about you that you wouldn't want in a mate. Take a good look at yourself. You might just learn something.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Take Me To The Greek

This year, in my quest to a healthier me I have been focusing on portion control, healthier eating and getting active. Part of the healthier eating has been making healthy substitutions. Soda replaced by water, King Sized Reese's and Kit Kat ' s replaced by oranges and grapes and others. In an attempt to find healthier snacks, it was suggested to me that I try to incorporate Greek yogurt into my diet. I had tried yogurt before but didn't like it. Hoping that time has changed my taste buds, on a recent trip to Target I decided to go for it. I picked up some greek yogurt. I grabbed peach and banana with dark chocolate and shaved almonds. In addition, I also grabbed a pint of Ben & Jerry's frozen banana greek yogurt with peanut butter swirl.

On Saturday afternoon I went for the peach. There were not enough peaches in the cup for me to mask the flavor of the Greek yogurt. It took me about a half an hour to get through the little cup. Although I was feeling discouraged I tried the banana with chocolate and almonds. It might have been the c hocolate, but the yogurt taste was not as overwhelming. I enjoyed this one much better than the peach and would definitely repeat it. After this I was feeling pretty good about the frozen yogurt since it had a banana base and I will eat almost anything with peanut butter in it. Again, I was not disappointed. The frozen yogurt was good and will be incorporated into my diet.

Ultimately, if you want something different you have to do something different. I stepped out of my comfort zone and am hopeful that all of the changes I will ultimately incorporate will help me get to where I want to be. Today its yogurt. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

Monday, January 20, 2014

Monday Musings

Still thinking about the couple I met Friday evening. If only all relationships could have the longevity that they have. I wonder how many people they dated before getting married. Couldn't have been many. That makes it even more significant for me. Can you imagine if you had to marry the first person you kissed? . . . dated? . . . slept with? Or even the last person you did any of those things with. . .

People who celebrate their birthdays should be spoiled and get to celebrate it anyway they want. That way they don't get mad when things don't go their way. With that being said, my birthday is in 4 months and I know exactly what I want. ;-)

Saw "Ride Along" over the weekend. Thought it was good, but how many buddy cop movies can we see? Pleasantly surprised it made 42 million. Guess there will be a sequel.

Tried a new restaurant over the weekend as well. 5 Napkins. Guess they named it that because that's how many napkins you will need after eating the French fries. Not a big fan of shoestring fries. Especially greasy ones. Didn't even finish the ones that came with my order. The burger I had was good though.

Missed the games yesterday. Glad to see the Broncos going to the Super Bowl though. I predicted them and the 49ers at the beginning of the season and almost hit it exactly. Hope Peyton comes away with another Super Bowl ring.

If you like Broadway like I do I highly recommend "After Midnight". It's like going to the Cotton Club for a night of entertainment. Singing, dancing and pure entertainment. My only problem was it was too short.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Date Night

Friday's are generally date night for Panama and I. Whether it's going out to dinner or staying in and watching a movie, most Fridays are spent together. Yesterday, date night started at an old pizza spot in her old neighborhood where we got more than just a good meal.

As we approached the restaurant we saw an older couple approaching the front door. The wife was walking with a cane and the husband was struggling to get around on his own. I held the door open for them and as I was placing our order, Panama started talking to them. As it turns out, the couple was in their 80's and had been married for 62 years. They were out on a date and the restaurant was their every Friday tradition for the last 32 years. As we talked, they told us about their family; their oldest child is 61 and their youngest is 49. They have 8 grandchildren that they adore.

They also shared their secrets to both happiness and marriage. Their spirit and energy were so beautiful and brought a smile to my face. So much so that I paid for their meal. It was the least i could do for two people as beautiful as they are. In this day and age it's rare to find people who have been together that long. I'm sure their marriage isn't perfect, but knowing they have stayed in it that long brought a smile to my face.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Monday Musings: Golden Globes

I had the kind of weekend where Monday couldn't get here fast enough. There were some good things though. The Broncos and 49ers (my pre - season) Super Bowl picks won, I had the best piece of catfish I have ever had on Saturday night at Billie's Black in Harlem and i lost two pounds so far this year. I woke up this morning with a smile on my face and ready to tackle the week ahead.

Watched most of the Golden Globes last night. Along with the Grammy ' s and the American Music Awards, this is the only awards show I care about. Here are my observations:
● I guess I need to check out "Brooklyn 99".
● I do not think Kerry Washington got snubbed. She isn't even the best actress on her show.
● I didn't like the dresses worn by Paula Patton, Zoe Santana or my white girl crushes Sandra Bullock and Julie Bowen.
● it is ironic that Modern Family's loss in the best comedy category coincides with me sudden disinterest in the show. It's still good, but it's slipping.
● Amy and Tina need to host every award show, period.
● The pregnant women (Kerry Washington and Olivia Wilde) were very classy
● Bono and George Cooney are the coolest guys in the room regardless of who else is in the room.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Motivation Check

Sometimes, when you are trying to encourage and inspire someone, they end up encouraging and inspiring you. Last night at work a patient comes in. She didn't have an appointment, she was just in the neighborhood. She has cancer and has just started chemotherapy. During the course of our conversation she was telling another co-worker and I how she was home earlier in the day and was putting her hair in a ponytail (she has long beautiful locks) when her hair fell out. Without hesitation she shaved it all off in one sitting, then took her hats off to show us her newly shaven head. At that moment, both my co-worker and I tried our best to hold back tears, but this patient just stood their in front of us with the biggest smile on her face telling us how she can't wait to grow them back and how her beauties already told her that she could reattach them when her hair starts to grow back. The smile, courage and spirit that this woman displayed made us realize that the little things that we complain about on a daily basis are trivial. This woman is standing in front of us with bigger problems than we have together and she has the biggest smile on her face. Makes you put things in perspective and definitely made me look at things differently. I was reminded last night that no matter what you are going through someone has it worst than you. Be happy with what God gives you. It could be a lot worse.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Music Makes Me High

Music is the outward expression of inward emotions. It is also the soundtrack to our lives. During the course of our days we are bound to hear a song that takes us back to a time or place in your past. Good or bad music always brings back memories. That's what happened to me this morning when "Smooth Operator" by Sade came on. The song itself doesn't have any significance, but it took me back to a beautiful night when the best of Sade was on repeat. Nights like that are few and far between these days but the memories last forever. What songs bring back fond memories for you?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Monday Musings

This morning started out rough. Between the weather, getting to work late and and allowing a co-worker to get to me I was not in a good head space by 9am. I am working on not letting a bad moment turn into a bad day and shortly after 9 God sent and angel my way. A client of mine that I had helped out back in November came in to wish me a happy new year. She thanked me for helping her out and told me she was going to buy me a cup of coffee. That little gesture made me forget about what had previously happened in my day and removed those bad thoughts in my head. Nothing has bothered me sense.

I wonder what the Kansas City Chiefs are thinking about today. . .

Yesterday, in an attempt to enjoy reality more, I did not log into Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Funny thing is that for the most part I didn't miss it. I spent yesterday morning being productive. Paid bills and made a pan of brownies that I promised a friend as a birthday gift. After church I made dinner (imitation fried chicken stuffed with cheese, spinach and bacon with broccoli and cheesy rice and mushrooms). When I finally logged back in this morning I realized I didn't miss much. Social Media Free Sunday's might just be here to stay.

This weather is crazy. 60 today going down to a low of 8. Where they do that at? Anyway, hope you all had a good weekend and 2014 is off to a good start.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

After The Ball Dropped

They say that the way you bring the year in is a sign of how your year is going to be. If that is the case then I am in trouble. Although I was being inspired and motivated in church, my last meal of 2013 was doing a job on me inside. So much so that I spent as much time in the bathroom as I did enjoying watch night service. I barely saw midnight and was sleep before 1am. What did you do to bring in 2014?