Archive for March, 2016
Many of you probably remember the television series, Dallas! The characters were most intriguing. Wealth, oil, family infighting, greed, affairs … the series was loaded with mischief. You name it and it happened. In 1980, during the show’s cliffhanger and finale, the nation watched J. R. Ewing (played by Larry Hagman) being shot. This episode, entitled, “A House Divided” was at the time the nation’s highest rated television show. It even overshadowed The Fugitive. Remember Dr. Richard Kimble? Dallas blew the Nielsen ratings out of the roof! The nation wondered who was the culprit who pulled the trigger. It became a public relations frenzy. The mystery was so popular that “Who shot J.R.?” T-shirts were made. My sister Barbara and I purchased our set. For those of you who remember the show and to my young audience who doesn’t, J.R. Ewing was indeed a character. He was personally and professionally scandalous … and rotten to the bones to say the least. The old folks would probably call him “low down.” So with his reputation, anyone of the show’s characters could have aimed and fired. How interesting, complex, and sad at the same time. My colleagues and I had originally guessed that it was this guy named Dusty Farlow, who was J.R.’s wife, Sue Ellen’s lover. Our runner up was a banker that J. R. had swindled named Vaughn Leland. Shucks, I even thought for a moment that it was his wife, Sue Ellen. He treated her some days like day old trash. You get the point, don’t you? The moral of the story is how many J. R. Ewings do you know? How many low down, do anything to hurt anybody types of people do you regularly encounter or have swarming through your life? How sad it is to hear, “I didn’t stick it to him/her, but if I had the nerves, I would have!” Don’t let folks or their lowly harassment ways push you off the deep edge or force you to reciprocate with unbecoming conduct. Be smart; be wise. Dallas was a television show; the J. R.’s in our lives are real. Scary concept, isn’t it?
Oh, by the way, for inquiring minds and to refresh the memories of others, J.R. Ewing was shot by the character, Kristin Shepard who was J.R.’s scheming sister-in-law and mistress. She lost her temper, I guess! Go figure! All I can say is when the season’s 1980/1981 opener aired, I (along with millions) was glued to the tube! In life, when dealing with unethical, unkind, “low down” folks, let’s take the high road. We’ll end up in a higher place.
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Today is Palm Sunday. Many churches will give a symbolic palm branch to members of their congregation. But why is Palm Sunday so significant to us as Christians? I am glad you asked! Here’s why.
Palm Sunday commemorates the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. The gospels (Matt 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:28-38; John 12:12-18) record the arrival of Jesus riding into the city on a donkey, while the crowds spread their cloaks and palm branches on the street and shouted “Hosanna to the Son of David” and “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” to honor him as their long-awaited Messiah and King.
The significance of Jesus riding a donkey and having his way paved with palm branches is a fulfillment of a prophecy spoken by the prophet Zechariah (Zechariah 9:9). In biblical times, the regional custom called for kings and nobles arriving in procession to ride on the back of a donkey. The donkey was a symbol of peace; those who rode upon them proclaimed peaceful intentions. The laying of palm branches indicated that the king or dignitary was arriving in victory or triumph.
Thus, Palm Sunday is an occasion for reflecting on the final week of Jesus’ life. It is a time for Christians to prepare their hearts for the agony of His Passion and the joy of His Resurrection.
Blessed be the name of Jesus! Happy Palm Sunday!
Photo credit: www.leslieannetarabella.com; Source: www.sharefaith.com
How do you tear down a wall that you cannot see? Is there an emotional wall up in your relationship? Are there things that should be addressed that remain standing? Maybe, the item is so delicate that you prefer not to address it. It will not magically disappear. Perhaps, if you attack the issue, you won’t be met with receptivity from your partner. His guards are up; your mouth remains closed; and of course, the problem behind the wall remains. Sometimes the issues take roots, multiply, and grow. It’s not healthy for your relationship well-being, you, or him. Walls are built for protection. You can’t protect issues that will penetrate beyond the fence that you have built. Besides, who and what are you protecting? What do you do? How do you show how much you really care? Well, if this invisible wall is keeping you from progressing, you have to tear it down; that is – if you wish to move forward. You must gingerly remove the bricks one by one.
To do so, here are a few recommendations.
1. Share your feelings.
2. Create a safe place.
3. Work on a plan.
According to the columnist, Ask Jen, “Your loved one’s walls may never come completely down, but at least you can be standing on the right side of the wall so that the two of you can face the problems together as a team.” Breaking through your partner’s walls is a difficult challenge, but one that you must drive a bulldozer through if you want your relationship to work and flourish. All of this rhetoric and advice provide excellent remedies; don’t they? Moving from the theoretical to the practical is another thing. Pushing the button is hard; getting the nerves to address the issue is harder. Doing nothing is worst!
To a large extent, technology has changed how many of us purchase. Despite the changes, marketing is still getting people to know, like, trust, and buy your products / services. Defining your target markets and market segments; reaching the right people with the right message are critical; as is pricing. The key is how to market yourself and your business. With a modernization of techniques, we have said goodbye to the yellow pages (Do we still have phone books?) and hello to Facebook. Giving a goodbye nod to traditional public relations and a hello to social media is the new groove. Finally, we have waved advertising goodbye and uttered a big hello to content marketing.
With the changes and innovations that we have undertaken, so has our approach and plan. Take a look.
Essential Criteria to Today’s Marketing Plan:
1. Target Market. Experts recommend describing an ideal target customer in detail. Don’t try to please everybody. Instead, please buyers who are interested in your products.
2. Messaging. A summary of the main tag lines, key selling points, value proposition and so forth is messaging. Make yours catchy.
3. Media. Social media is king. Content marketing is pivotal. Don’t just “post and pray.” Think about where your potential customers will see your message. Use that medium.
4. Pricing. Let your pricing match your product, service, market, or messaging. Don’t price yourself out of the market.
5. Channels. Whether your channel of distribution is – web, mobiile, distributors or retail – reaching your market is the key. Improvise, if not.
6. Promotion. These days, promotion might be as simple as our consistent presence in the main social media platforms. It might be email marketing, advertising, affiliate sites, price promotion, and events.
7. Tasks and major milestones. Every good plan requires some specific tasks and major milestones to make it concrete. Otherwise it’s just theory. Track progress against the plan.
8. Important metrics. It takes real numbers to actually work a plan. That might be sales, web traffic/store traffic, leads, presentations, seminars, conversions, tweets, posts, likes, follows, or whatever. Make it measurable.
9. Review schedules. Keep your plan as short as possible, because it’s only good for a designated time before it needs revisions.
10. Budgets. You have to manage the money. A good marketing plan needs to include budgets for needed expenses and activities.
Although these strategies may be specifically geared toward small businesses, smart executives in the profit and non-profit worlds should embrace making themselves a recognizable brand as well as marketing themselves, their services, and their departments. In order of magnitude, selling is an ingredient to success no matter where we sit. In summary, there are strategies, goals, objectives, and plans – all of which boils down to one thing – making money! Market your plan; count your cash. Cha ching!
Photo credit: www.small- business- dataplan-marketing.com; Source: SBA – Tim Berry.
I have heard it more than once; hundreds of times to be exact. “Black women raise their daughters and love their sons.” There are statistics that are used to add credence of sorts. It is felt that the hardest thing in the world is to be a Black man. They are singled out and jailed more than any. Some feel that Black Mothers from the days of slavery empathized with the boy child because of the blatant and abusive cruelty that he suffered and in her attempt to shield him, (remember Willie Lynch) the parenting slacked. No Mother wants to see harm come to her children to prove a point or appease another’s ego. The White masters tortured male slaves before their Black Mothers’ eyes. Naturally, this had an impact when the choices were either submission or be tortured, killed, or sold. The hands of slavery were not kind to our daughters either. The color shades of our race today bear witness to that fact. What cruelty! Such a tragedy! The remnants of our past lies in our modern souls. Mothers are nurturing. We are taught to love, guide, and protect our little ones. Bringing this up to modern times, I question this hypothesis – of loving our sons raising our daughters – as it relates to me. As I am a Mother of two adult children – a son and a daughter, I have always valued my role. Being called “Mommy” is the best title ever! I can become so enamored hearing the word “Mommy” that goose bumps appear sometimes. I am honored to be a Mother of two wonderful, loving, adorable kids. Am I boasting? Of course, I am! Anyway, I feel that I reared and love them the same. Of course, that is me; judging myself. Right? I disciplined them equally; rewarded them similarly; showered them with mountainous love and affection. Both were taught to love the Lord, respect authority / people, honor their elders, be caring, and all of the other southern rudimentary guidance / direction that I passed along pertaining to character, values, leadership, morals, responsibility, etc. As Mothers, we want our sons to respect and love the women in their lives and not abuse their authority. We want our sons to be good Fathers. Their leadership is important. It is no different for our daughters. We want them to be loving and respectful. We do not want them to be abused or disrespected as women. The key to success is for men to treat women as they would want someone to treat their Mother, sisters, or daughters. Bingo! As parents, we only hope and pray that our foundation was as solid as a rock and that they will remember the lessons taught. In raising and loving both of my now big little ones, I trust that they will continue to be good responsible people. When they go from our laps to our hearts, we pray that God’s grace and protection will travel with them and shield them. When our little boys and girls become adult men and women respectively, we can only hope that they will cushion the lessons of the heart. We want good children – sons and daughters. What a blessing they are and their goodness is! “Job well done” is music to our ears as parents!
Photo credit: www.piniterest.com
To wear your emotions on your sleeves means that you show your emotions openly in public rather than hiding them from other people and keeping them to yourself. When this happens, people can read you like a book. For example, if you have been emotionally injured, your heart brokenness is reflected on your face and in your actions. There is no mystique about you; you’re wearing it! You become too easy to read. For your adversaries, you become easy prey. You can be played like a fiddle, because you are showing others – what gets under your skin. Certainly, that is not where you want to be. There are benefits to not showing your emotions to everyone. Strategy is one of them. Privacy is another. Everyone doesn’t need to know your feelings or your business. Through your non-discreet revelations, you open yourself up to scrutiny, attacks, and being in the position to be taken advantage of. Learn to “go about your business,” not showing your emotions, and in some cases, wisely keeping your mouth shut. In many instances, you will be glad that you did! Your hidden agenda and guarded secretiveness may serve you well; they may become your protective shield. Otherwise, people will be able to see what you are feeling/thinking when you reveal your “heart felt emotions on your sleeve” for open viewing. You are an emotional target as long as you remain in the open!
Photo credit: www.comedyflavors.com
March 15 -is the date years ago that my umbilical cord was cut in Rolling Fork, Mississippi; the date the legendary Dr. Jack spanked my behind and I yelled to the top of my lungs my baby cry, “Gaw, Gaw, Goo, Goo!” Yes, today is my birthday, it’s March 15, and a Super Tuesday it is!
An action filled Tuesday today and in years past, March 15 has earned the nickname, The Ides of March. Emanating from Roman history, March 15 is the date that Julius Caesar met his peril at the hands of his fellow senator attackers including his trusted friend and protege, Marcus Brutus. His last words, “Et tu Brute,” (Latin for “And you too Brutus”) were certainly not great parting words as they echoed the betrayal from a close friend. Amidst devastation; what an ominous ending! Unimaginable, in fact! So today when the states of Ohio, Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, and Missouri hold their primaries, known as Super Tuesday, like its predecessor, The Ides of March, March 15 is a date that marks consequences. Who in terms of Presidential candidates will be left standing after today’s primary vote will be determined! Despite today being my birthday, I will cast my vote. I can never forsake that privilege. How could I? I personally witnessed too many people being jailed for me to enjoy a constitutional right that was previously denied.
So today, my date of birth, my celebrated holiday, I am thankful to God for life; for another year of blessings; for receiving and giving bountiful love. I am immensely thankful! I pray for many, many more years of good health and prosperity. I pray for spiritual, personal, and professional blessings for my love ones and me. How sweet it is to be loved by them! My name is Vernalee and I approve this message!
Photo credit: www.pininterest.com
To show your hand means to tell people your plans or ideas, especially if you were keeping them secret before; and to state one’s intentions or reveal one’s resources, especially when previously hidden. We have to be strategic with the who, what, and where; who we show what to and what we reveal privately and publicly. Let’s not forget the why! Why are we showing whatever it is to be shown. I know that this sounds like a play on words, but really, it is not. It is a reminder to know and remain cognizant of who’s who in your life. If you are a prized person to them, they will guard your information and life like their own. The inverse also applies. Metaphorically, though life is no game, I guess in some respects some actions are played out like a card game. To win….
“You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run!”
Now, if bad dishonorable, no good people are sitting at the table, the odds are already against you before you lift a card. Removing their presence is step #1. There are so many variables to consider about people; probably more than the 52 cards in the deck. Regardless, you can’t see what is not visible; which is why you have to use the wisdom of discernment. The old folks would say, “Try to feel what your eyes can’t see.” In other words, be strategic; try to stay clear of feet running to badness. For sure, if you show your hand to the wrong person, you’re out; you’ve lost!” The name of the game is to surround yourself with good people and winning combinations. Now, deal!
Photo credit: www.northstandchat.com
“The Lord will make a way somehow; Amazing Grace; Precious Lord; There will be a brighter day ahead; What a friend we have in Jesus; Wade in the Water; Yes, Jesus loves me” are those old school spirituals that we have sung for years. Harmonized with or without music, the old school gospel songs manage to hit a note in our souls. The naturalness of A Capella harmony is soothing as your body rocks from side to side. Music is universal. It unites people of all races and religions. Its powers of penetration should never be taken for granted or underestimated. It is a wholesome and stimulating form of worship. As King David was an accomplished harpist, The Book of Psalms is a collection of songs; words of praises put to music. Amazingly and subconsciously, we rely upon songs to get us through hard times or simply through the day. The old fashioned gospels are the songs that I heard my Mother singing while she cooked. Those are the songs that Black folks sang in the cotton fields in Mississippi making $2.00 a day. From the days of slavery, songs and worship were the only form of freedom that we had. Some of the singers’ voices of old were so powerfully regal that they could make the pews rock and blow the roofs off of those old wooden church houses. Old fashioned gospel songs lyrically carried historical memories and significance. Some of which are reminders of “places” that we wish not to return. These songs however did “get us over!” As old as the lyrics are, when we sing them today, their freshness reflective to everyday life still uplift us; motivate us; and make our battles easier because of our faith and belief in God. Oh yes, when we lift our voices to The Lord; to the heavens, it is a validation as a contemporary tune harmonizes, “There is power in the name of Jesus to break every chain.” “Give me that old time religion. It was good enough for my Mother, my Daddy … It is good enough for me!” Praising God is timeless. When we get the spirit, day or night – no matter where we are, we can sing about God’s wonderfulness and wonderfully sing praises to him! Happy Sunday! God bless!
Photo credit: www.npr.org
You are what you eat! No doubt about it! Unlike many choices, it shows up on us in the form of weight. Our eyes see it; the scale registers it. As we age, we have to be more conscientious about our nutritional choices. Making good food selections is critical. Exercising is essential. Admittedly, it is more difficult to make changes as we grow older. Our old practices (poor eating regimens, lack of exercise) have become old habits that are hard to change; they grow with us. Thus, it is “work in process” for me and my over 55 year old group, as it is our desires to grow older gracefully with healthy consequences in mind. Beyond the food choices, watch out for stress! Interesting, this intangible thing called stress may make us eat more or less. It hard to gauge its effect. My nemesis was salt. I particularly loaded my southern made grits with salt. Now, I have been salt free for 6 months. That may sound small, but it’s an accomplishment when you have been a person like me who put salt on everything (and I mean everything except desserts) even before I tasted it. Moving on, let’s get physical. Getting in the gym is so challenging, but it’s a feat that must be done. As opposed to sleeping an extra hour, I’ll be on the bike cycling and sweating first thing Monday morning. All of these extra steps take time, commitment, sacrifices, and energies. They pay off! We eventually will see the results! It beats doing nothing. Check this out! We can’t escape it! The bad outcomes that doing nothing produce will eventually show up too! It becomes a choice that affects our lives and the lives we touch – plain and simple!
Photo credit: www.healthyliving24seven.com