Archive for May, 2016
Growing up, I remember when a neighbor and my Mother would trade a cup of flour when needed. If someone ran short, the other person was there. Maybe, it was the neighborly atmosphere that existed in small towns like Glen Allan, Mississippi. Perhaps, it was a way of life then. I cannot put my fingers on it, but I miss the atmospheric flavor that it exuded. Sure that cup of flour enhanced the mouth watering taste of my Aunt Sudie’s biscuits that she shaped not with a biscuit cutter, but with her hands. Or maybe that cup of flour rounded out the ingredients in Miss Laura’s finger licking good pound cake. All of that was true with their flavor enhanced recipes, but that cup of flour was more than what it appeared. The flour epitomized the essence of sharing. There was a camaraderie and a dependence of knowing that your neighbor would be there for you in a time of need; personally and financially. Helping each other was the name of the game. It is an ingredient that is sorely missing today. Sure, the big city took away some of the closeness. Many of us don’t even know our neighbors’ names. How tragic! Gone and removed are the comfort zones as we grew away from the hands that worked together; from the hands that cultivated a spirit of unity and reciprocity. Instead, we put up fences and barricades of impediments that multiplied as time passed by. Ironically, whether we admit it or not, as the price of flour went up, so did our need for each other; a need, a dependence, a love that gradually faded in the sunset. We somehow managed to take away that loving feeling that I wish we could put back! The call of action today is to extend our hands carrying a sack of flour because a cup just won’t do! It’s the neighborly thing to do whether we live next door or not!
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Sometimes we feel that we may be the smartest person walking. We may have the degrees, be recognized professionally/academically, and have acquired the best possessions that money can buy. Some of us go as far to elevate our level of importance, put our arrogant heads in the clouds, and look down on others. Not me! I discovered an important fact early on. Let we share with you what I learned in Mississippi. Many, in fact most of the town folks were uneducated; some illiterate. Yet, they were some of the smartest people that I have meet. So today, read my lips. I caution you to stop underestimating folks! You know the group that the elite pompously relegate to the corner of ignorance of not being able to intelligently process information to their level of acceptance. There is a plethora of one liners that are used to describe them. Here is a modest list:
* Not the sharpest tool in the shed.
* Dumb as a bag of hammers.
* Dumb as a box of rocks.
* Not the brightest light in the harbor.
* The light’s on but no one’s home.
* Not the brightest bulb in the box.
* A few screws short of a hardware store.
* Not the sharpest knife in the drawer.
* A few cards short of a deck.
* A few fries short of a Happy Meal.
* About as sharp as a marble.
* Only has one oar in the water.
* The elevator doesn’t go all the way to the top floor.
* A few peas short of a casserole.
They may not have been “A” students, but their common sense may put them light years ahead or equal to the academic greats with their street sense of understanding, interpretations, and calculations. You probably know some of these folks; I proudly know many. So be careful! Some let the name calling roll off their backs. The streets have toughen them up and granted them immunity. “Sticks and stones may break their bones, but names will never hurt them!” Therefore, don’t disregard what they know! Don’t underestimate their intelligence. When it comes to street savvy, they wrote the book and may can run circles around the best! Watch it! They may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but the blade still cuts!
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Have you ever truly digested the words of Amazing Grace? It’s enough to make you get the Holy Ghost and shout. The words demonstrate God’s mercy, compassion, grace, love, and his covering.
“Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.”
Singing praises to The Lord is just as spiritual as reading the Word.
Gospel songs can uplift your spirits; they can wrap you in the aura of God’s safety and tenderness; they can make the gray skies blue; they can transfer you to tranquility. The relatedness of the lyrics brings God’s love to you and sit it in your lap. Your mind and your heart get wrapped up in his harmonic grace. God’s healing powers cannot be underestimated. What a mighty God we serve;a God whose mercy and grace are unparalleled. He “worthy to be praised from the highest mountain to the lowest valley. Rely on God! Believe, obey, and honor him! He will do more than the lyrics stipulated in the song. Not only will he wash your pains away and open your eyes to see, God will give you what no one else can – eternal life!
Happy Sunday! God bless!
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To survive in life and in business, one must be tough. It’s a prerequisite. You cannot give in and fall apart when pressure and tough decisions arrive at your door. Battle them out! Find your inner strength; be tough! Come up with an action plan. Defend your position! Set goals. As Shark Tanks businessman, Robert Herjavec says ” A goal without a timeline is simply a dream.” Reflecting back to my Mother’s words, “Hard times don’t last always. This too will pass” gives me strength. What great advice that will never go out of style! Aren’t Mothers wise? Short and simple advice is best and easy to remember. Here goes. To survive, you must be a tough cookie. If not, you’ll be eaten by the sharks (and I am not referring to the Shark Tank panelists).
You and I have witnessed behavior that makes you go – hmmm! Complexing, you may not believe what your eyes saw or what your ears heard! Corrective lenses or hearing aids won’t do Justice! You ask, “Who do those rascals think that they’re fooling?” Some of the game players closely resemble the Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde types. Their mannerisms is dual to say the least. Before you can respond to their acts or comments, you first have to determine which personality (Jekyll or Hyde) is being portrayed. Confusing; sure it is. As radical as that may be, their duplicitous behavior and their shenanigans require encyclopedic interpretations. Even Sigmund Freud would be challenged! Entering our space are those folks who try to “make a monkey of (or out of) someone.” Those are the ones that are more radical or shall I say they “take the cake.”
In simple terms, their goal is to humiliate someone by making them appear ridiculous. Some go as far as to try to make a laughingstock of, ridicule, or poke fun at someone. Many are successful at their ploys; initially, that is. Be careful! The tables will and can turn. Payback is no joke! Hint: Don’t end up trying to make someone else look like a monkey and make a fool out of yourself! Holy hallelujah! If that happens … that monkey that you ridiculed … remember him/her … will have the last laugh … on you! What a monkeyshine of a deal! Hehe!
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When it “hits the fan” is an expression denoting what happens when “messy and exciting consequences brought about by a previously secret situation becomes publicly known.” Of course, the regular expression is usually hyphenated with a profane epithet of obscenity. Usually a descriptive noun is inserted (I.e. “When the ____ hits the fan”), but we can objectively get the message absence it’s customary profanity. The net results is the same!
When things get chaotic or uncontrollable and become a scandal, it has “hit the fan” at a velocity that is hard to contain. The messy situation constitutes more than air blowing in the wind. The turbulence of it alone – can be challenging and damaging. In flows the questions. “Can you deal with the aftermath? Can you deal with the seriousness of the situation? Will you be in trouble or embarrassed once all is out … particularly if it is unpleasant or negative? How long can you keep the seal on or hide the unpleasantries or secrets?”
You will realize that once it “hits the fan,” the answers and often times consequences are rapidly blowing in the wind at a turbulent speed; sometimes traveling uncontrollably. What happens next may be totally left up to you. You can minimize the exposure, effects, and risks through respectful conduct. You can attempt to safeguard what you don’t want expose or better yet turn on the off switch as quickly as possible. Hopefully, it works before the damage mounts or before what you don’t want revealed “hits the fan” and circulates in a public environment. Warning! These careless whispers or blatant outbursts may be much more than hot air or a summer breeze!
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Being broke is not a good feeling. Raise your hand if you agree! Can I get an Amen? But being broke can be your greatest motivator. Just ask Daymond John who started selling his home-sewn t-shirts on the streets of Queens on a $40 budget that later became the incubator for the $6 billion dollar global phenomenon FUBU (For us, By us) brand. John had a stand by your side Mother, “a heart full of hope, and a ferocious drive to succeed by any means possible.”
So, FUBU founder and star of ABC’s Shark Tank shows that being broke may be your “greatest competitive advantage as an entrepreneur. It forces you to think more creatively, use your resources more efficiently, connect with your customers more authentically, market your ideas more imaginatively; and finally, it forces you to be true to yourself, stay focused on your goals, and come up with innovative solutions required to make a meaningful mark.”
Yes, that’s right. John shows in his book, “The Power of Broke: How Empty Pockets, a Tight Budget, and a Hunger for Success Can Become Your Greatest Competitive Advantage.”
“When your back is up against the wall, your bank account is empty, and creativity and passion are the only resources you can afford, success is your only option.”
John in his book covers the below topics:
1. The Power of Broke
2. Rise and Grind
3. Money changes everything
4. What it is
5. Broke isn’t just personal
6. Be the change
7. Bringing it all home.
Sometimes, we have to use what we have as John did with no advertising budget when he asked his fellow Queens neighbor and rapper L.L. Cool J to wear one of his caps in a GAP commercial in the 1990’s. Not too shabby; right? Great advertising, I’ll say. The rest is history! It shows that thinking out of the box will land you farther than the idleness of not pursuing your passions. Eliminate excuses. Don’t give up! Dream big! Think bigger! Work your passion to achieve greatness! Where there is a will, there is a way! Don’t let the lack of funds stop you! Daymond didn’t! Neither should you!
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Is the glass half empty or half full?
A rhetorical question, your answer will most definitely characterize your viewpoint. Is there a cause for optimism (half full) or pessimism (half empty)? It is a litmus test. For certain, the question demonstrates that the situation may be seen in different ways depending on the individual’s point of view. Will your eyes conclude opportunity or trouble?
Philosophically, the question, “Is the glass half empty or half full” is unique to every individual as it is their personalized interpretation of reality.
As in most situations, it is not unusual to have a new twist on old stuff. In walks billionaire Mark Cuban, Shark Tanks businessman, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, and more. Cuban added a caveat to this well know idiom.
According to Cuban, it is not whether the glass is half empty or full; it’s who is pouring the water! What an interesting spin!
So now, it boils down to not only how we view the glass, how will we effectively gauge our competition; how will we stay ahead or be on top of our game!
Thus, from Cuban’s point of view, it is imperative that in our business life and in our life’s pursuits that we do all that we can to control our destiny. It begs to ask another question. Can we trust that another person’s hands on the water pitcher will “pour” or provide us with what we need or require? Will they be fair? Do they have our best interest at heart? Can we rely on them by placing our destiny in their hands or is it best that we pour the water ourselves? Is it best that we keep the control?
Have we taken this expression and its application too far? It’s just a statement. Or is it really much more? Some say that we are making a mountain out of a molehill. Others say be glad that you have content in the glass; another group contends that you should take the bull by the horn and influence/control your own life’s destiny? Is it a no brainier? Who will look out or do more for you than yourself? What do you say?
Food (or should I say – water) for thought!
By the way, you can do what you want, but I’m filling my glass up to the rim until my cup runneth over!
Photo credit: www.justinbryant.info
Last week, I watched the animated movie, Bebe’s Kids. One of my favorites, it is beyond hilarious; it is a timeless classic.
The film is based on a stand-up routine by the late comedian, Robin Harris. Of course, it doesn’t take long to realize that it’s a cartoon written for adults. Where else would you find the likes of Harris woefully recounting his troubles to a blind bartender? The characters may resemble some folks in your world. There’s Jamika, an attractive woman that he asks out for a date. Jamika has a mild-mannered son, Leon whose babysitter’s, Bébé ‘s children – Kahlil, LaShawn, and Pee-Wee, travel with them to an amusement park like Ohio’s Cedar Point. BeBe’s kids immediately cause havoc when they arrive to Fun World. Robin also sees his ex-wife there who adds intrigue and complications to the day. Oh my! The music inclusive of Z.Z. Hill’s, “Down home blues” sets the mood. With the background painted, you have to revisit this movie. I am positive that the movie will have you cracking up with laughter, but it also brings home the realistic awareness of neglectful parenting. Being a good parent is a huge and lifelong responsibility that shouldn’t be taken lightly! Many of us have encountered a Bebe and have met kids like hers somewhere in the universe. She and them serve as a reminder of what we don’t want to “multiply” in our world! It’s better to watch them on television than to see them in real life! Our goal should be to provide a respectful healthy home environment conducive to promoting and cultivating loving caring families.
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“You reap what you sow” is a proverb that stipulates that
you eventually have to face up to the consequences of your actions.
In Galatians 6:7 we read, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.”
To bring home the point, allow me to share a few thought provoking quotes.
“ It has been said that life is like an echo. What you send out, you get back; what you give, you receive; what you reap, you sow; what you see in others, exists in you.”
“Your mind is like a garden. Your thoughts are the seeds. You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.”
“Your beliefs don’t make you a better person; your behavior does.”
“Karma is just a shorter word for consequences.”
“If you want kindness, be kind. If you want friends, be friendly. If you want love, be loving. If you want respect, respect yourself. You will get more by giving than asking.”
“You are free to choose, but you are not free from the consequences of your choices.”
“Don’t be upset by the results you didn’t get with the work you didn’t do.”
“Your thoughts become your words; your words become your actions; your actions become your habits; your habits become your character; and your character becomes your destiny.”
Therefore, be careful with what you do or say. Not only that! What could you do that you don’t? Retaliation, harassment, sneakiness, and underhanded conduct may be a part of your act. Watch it! What goes around comes around; what goes up comes down! God is watching and listening. He sees your heart and knows your thoughts. Nothing escapes his view or go unnoticed. What you do in the dark comes to light. Your actions are in God’s full view. Be wise. Make good choices. Eventually, you will receive back what you gave out. You will reap what you sow!
God bless! Happy Sunday!
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