In times like these, we desperately grasp for shredded remnants of words and memories to stuff into the holes of our despair. We don’t know what to say. We don’t know what to do. We don’t know if we want to breathe. We just know what we had, what we wish was left, and what we never want to let go.
Times like these also force us to do things. They make us pause, be more grateful, drop the petty ish (hopefully), and love deeper. The pain is horrible, but it does make us pour. We release empathy, tenderness, compassion, and camaraderie. Right now, I’m thinking about that outpour. The tighter grip we place on what we value most… each other. I’ve seen hashtags, photos, and videos that celebrate family, fatherhood, motherhood, athleticism, discipline, achievement, entrepreneurship, teamwork, leadership, and friendship — all the things that surpass materialism and fame.
So, let’s take note of what matters… what makes us tick day-to-day. We don’t get to let up on that outpour. If anything, tragedy should encourage us to increase Love to maximum levels. Could any of us leave Earth at any moment? Sure, but more importantly, we have the gift of family, friends, and networks that can house incredible memories that outlive our mortality. We have passions that could leave a perpetual imprint on the world.
Make your mark, Sweetheart. Savor opportunities to create meaningful relationships. Capture moments to love on people. Pause to admire God’s handiwork. Do random acts of kindness. It’s not about beating the clock of death; it’s about expanding and producing within the time you have. I, for one, plan to continue that mission.
Peace, Blessings, and Thanks for listening! Let’s go!
As you wind down for the day, I pray this message reaches you with good health in mind, body, and spirit. I can’t wait to share what I heard this week.
One of my favorite athletes is Manny Pacquiao. No, I am not a boxer, but I admire the profession and Manny has earned my respect over the years.
On FOX Sports PBC FACE TO FACE, I watched undefeated Welterweight Keith “One Time” Thurman talk about how excited he will be when he defeats Filipino Senator and Legendary Champion Manny “Pac-man” Pacquiao. Frankly, he was talking a lot of trash with shots of cockiness. Thurman spoke jovially of Pacquiao’s age and career statistics. He said that he studied Manny’s fighting style and described ways he could penetrate his speed. I shook my head at the television while my athlete remained unphased on the screen.
The reason why Pacquiao is on my respect list is that he keeps his priorities straight — no matter what. I love how cool he is under pressure. I love how he keeps the main thing, the main thing – faith, family, then the fight. I appreciate his ability to train hard and serve his country equally hard. I admire his work-life balance. So, as I continued to watch the dialogue, I couldn’t help but notice the dichotomy in demeanor. In the midst of this observation, I heard 3 things that can help us prepare for battles in our lives.
1. There’s a difference between training to obtain and training to maintain.
Looking at sizzle reels of their training sessions revealed how different they trained. Thurman’s clip was grizzly. His workouts were aggressive. He explained his rise to fame and his teenage decision to choose boxing over academics. I loved it actually. So much passion at such a young age and still tenacious as ever. Pacquiao’s clip was seasoned and strategic. He looked like wisdom in motion, and I’m not just saying that because he’s my favorite. Their attitudes during exercises were visibly different as well. Thurman kept repeating his goal of being a history maker for bringing down his opponent. Pacquiao never mentioned him. It was like watching a car in the acceleration lane versus on the open road.
2. Let your fight talk for you.
The moderator asked for pre-, during, and post-fight predictions. Pacquiao had little say. His words were light, short, and clear. “I respect every opponent,” he said. When asked how the fight would end, he said that both fighters worked hard and made the fans happy. Thurman? In his best announcer voice, he claimed himself as the champion. Pacquiao smiled.
3. Let your enemy keep talking.
Throughout the entire session, there were opportunities for Pacquiao to retaliate with a fiery response. He let Thurman talk as much as he wanted and only spoke when asked a question by the moderator. His face didn’t flinch. He didn’t smirk. He didn’t grimace. His eyebrows didn’t furrow. He was calm. Even his instinctive blinks were undisturbed. I study communication like coaches study plays. I can’t deny my sentiments — I loved it. I couldn’t tell what he was thinking, but he definitely wasn’t moved.
So, on July 20, 2019, we’ll see words and training in action. Of course, I am #TeamPacquiao all day and regardless of the prediction, his character is a winner in my book. My prayer for us is that we take his lead when faced with situations underneath our royalty. Enemies always have a lot to say. Let your character be just as loud. Now, I’m not saying Thurman doesn’t have good character; I do not know him. What I am saying is stop engaging in every conversation as if you have something to prove. You don’t. Let your work speak for you.
#18 – I witnessed the 2018 Winter Olympics & the Closing Ceremony (on TV)!
Every 2 years, there’s B.I.G. in the Winter or Summer Olympics and I eat it up with a big spoon. All of those countries, all of the colors, all of the sports, all of those smiles, all of the grit… it’s B.I.G. – Big International Goodness and I absolutely love it. On most occasions, I’m not available to see it live, but this year I was. My heart swelled like Grinch on Christmas morning (mine wasn’t small, to begin with) as I watched athletes compete with all of their might. Opposing country representatives hugged each other, the epic choreography was displayed, and I was introduced to K-Pop. Pyeongchang did it up this year and I was happy to be a virtual spectator. With all the craziness in the world, I’ll take a helping of B.I.G. whenever I can get it.
When we want to, we can get along and represent well. All it takes is the effort. Now, don’t think I’m jaded and have no clue at the various social injustices that swirl around the Olympics business. I’m quite aware, but no one can deny the emotion that cries out of an athlete when they win or lose and the passion that pours from the host country to be sure everything is in place. Everyone wants to look and be their best. That desire is authentic. That is what I see when I see the Olympics. What would happen if we strived to be our best selves outside of the competition?
Peace & Thanks for listening, Sweethearts! “See” you tomorrow! If you want to check out the awesomeness of the 2018 Winter Olympics closing ceremony, click here. FYI: There’s commentary until around the 10-minute mark then the show begins. Enjoy!
Good Evening, Sweethearts! I hope you’re winding down well from the day.
Let me share a secret with you that your massage therapist already knows. Your muscles rat you out. That’s right. They tell on you. Every step, every act, and every move is recorded in your muscle groups and when they are upset, they speak… loudly. Even muscles that you think are “fine” may be compensating for other muscles that are overworked. That’s why the massage table is a sacred no-judgment zone. It isn’t our job to cast an opinion on your behavior, just to help your body heal itself.
So, your right arm is hurting and your massage therapist begins to work on the left side of your neck. Why? Because muscles work together to make you function as a human being every day. Walking, by itself, is inadvertently a miracle when you break down each action that takes place within the body. The neurons, the eyes, the depth perception, the bones… walking is an amazing feat.
God made the body to help you when you can’t help yourself. It memorizes movements on your behalf and tries to take care of idiosyncrasies before they disable you. Its job is to perform effectively and efficiently at all times through the maintenance of homeostasis. When the balance is thrown off, the whole system kicks into gear to keep the machine (you) functioning. This means that when your massage therapist attempts to lengthen a shortened muscle, it may feel uncomfortable, but not because the therapy is incorrect, but because the muscle has learned to live in an abnormal position. The adjacent muscles have learned to protect the traumatic area. The muscle group has recorded the sway of your hips. No matter what you do, the muscles don’t lie. They react the way God designed them to and there’s nothing you can do about that process.
I like to believe that we have spiritual muscles, too… muscles that record beautiful and horrific experiences that we relive on occasion. Knowingly and unknowingly, we perpetuate the movements of our spiritual muscles and when they are triggered, we may laugh, cry, scream, smile, or shut down.
So, what are you recording? What spiritual manifestations are you ignoring until something “big” happens? Are you willing to see the miracles in everything around you? Are there some areas in your life that are abnormally normal and need resetting? Take note and pay attention to your spiritual sounds.
Peace & Thanks for listening… and stretch those muscles a little before you go to bed. lol
Are you a baseball fan? I am. It’s a communicator’s dream to watch the nonverbal exchanges that can make or break a game. In my brief (and I do mean BRIEF) stint as a softball outfielder during childhood, I loved watching the shortstop. They were amazing at making sure that the play was followed through in a pinch.
Here’s your “shortstop” for the week:
Just be great. Everything else will fall into place. Don’t worry about the rest.
I heard these words this morning on my way to work. When we are excellent in our positions, everyone benefits. Everyone wins! When you’re an awesome financial service representative, your clients see positive outcomes. When you’re an excellent athlete, your school or sponsors receive notoriety as well. In my case, when you’re a caring educator, your students and colleagues are encouraged and empowered. For the past few weeks, I’ve gotten kind words about how I’ve helped people through my passion for education. I must admit, they made me glow. “Thank you” and “I needed that” go a long way when you spend countless hours wondering how to catapult others into their destiny.
The reward comes after the excellence.
So, as you be great, greatness follows. Don’t worry about every step or how someone feels about your shine. Just be great. Be excellent. Do your absolute best, everyday. Be tired because you poured out your best. That’s my goal. Yes, you will be misunderstood, but you won’t be misrepresented. At least they can’t say that you weren’t exceptional and authentic.
Have a great day, my friends. Peace & Thanks for listening!
There are boxing gloves that can fit every hand for the fight against injustice.
Without the tempered pen of Phillis Wheatley and Ida B. Wells-Barnett… the beautiful creative prowess of Katherine Dunham and Debbie Allen… the cat eyeglasses and church shoes worn by civil rights activists, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do each day. So, I started thinking… if everyone fought the same way, something would go untouched. A collection of varied punches is the only human force that can defeat an enemy of this magnitude. The slobbering rabid dog that it is.
With the crimes that have transpired in the last 2 years (shootings and bombings and murders, oh my…), I decided to challenge myself by compiling a kaleidoscope of ways that people are fighting injustice on a regular basis. Could I do it? Could I come up with 50 persons that swing in the ring as differently as their fingerprints? Whew! What a challenge!
Though their gloves look different to the naked eye, their fight against what’s wrong in the world sends ripples through history. I made a point to also include people that you may not know, and some I didn’t know until this post. Their work isn’t always glamourous and may be overshadowed by their fame or “Clark Kent” 9-to-5 identity, but this list is comprised of some heavyweight champions… some, I am honored to know personally. They came to the forefront of my mind and I’ve included their method of fighting as a link within their name. If someone that you admire isn’t on the list, respectfully add it in the comment section below along with a link to provide details about their fighting strategy as it wasn’t meant to be exclusive. Just a segway for conversation and inspiration.
Wouldn’t it be cool if these names were in the history books
Be a youth/young adult mentor. Don’t freak them out by smothering them. Just love on them. Speak life into them. Mention their interests every now and then. Show up. Support goes a long way.
Go outside and be cordial to your neighbors. You can’t criticize who you don’t know. Also, if all eyes are watching for crime, the community creates a line of defense.
Learn the names of the officers that police your community. They’re people. Humans live behind that badge. All law enforcement are not bad, just like all vegetables don’t taste gross. Don’t let anything shade your perspective.
Read a book. Besides reading God’s Word, I love reading various materials. It helps to maintain healthy conversation when you know what you’re talking about.
Discuss a book with others. See #4. Can you imagine what this would do for us all?
Be excellent in your craft. Don’t be mediocre because of a paycheck. Be the best. You being your best will make someone else’s life so much better.
Excel at the small things. Little things count. Smile. Offer help. Call instead of text. Even if you’re sweeping the floor, remember the corners.
Give a compliment to a stranger. Lighten up someone’s load by giving them a smile.
Love the unlovable. I know they can be weird and mean. Love them anyway.
Bathe yourself in goodness before you go to work. It’s a jungle out there. Be prepared before you walk in. Clothe yourself in righteousness and be ready for whatever. That’s how you don’t flip out.
I hope those names inspire you as much as they did me. Some of them do not receive nearly enough accolades and appreciation, but they fight anyway. Everyday. Driving their best race in the passionate lane of their career path.
Click on every name. Explore them. If you can, reach out to them… honk your virtual horn and say “Hey. Thanks for fighting.”You may be just the boxer’s corner they need to keep regroup, clean up, and keep going.
Peace & Thanks for listening. *runs to ice fingers from typing*
Before I ever thought of becoming a University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Blazer, I was a University of Tennessee Volunteer… well, in my mind I was.
I saw powerful images of a Warrior and knew that UT was the place where I could shine. I couldn’t play a lick of basketball, but you couldn’t tell me that I wasn’t going to meet Pat Summitt on campus while walking to class one day. Try denying it, and I would emphatically defend that fantasy until you were a believer.
The Big Orange glow lured me into the graduate school application process years later when I decided to become an educator. I applied to both UAB and Tennessee. My grandmother was sick and I decided to stay in Birmingham. My letter from Tennessee came a few days after I confirmed my graduate journey as a Blazer. Somehow, I knew it would happen that way.
Nevertheless, I felt a strong connection to Knoxville because of one person. An unapologetic Shero that seemed to radiate from my TV screen each time I saw her. I could feel her fire and touch her tenacity. She was a lifter of those around her and you could see it in the eyes of her Lady Vols. For me, “The Summit” (as I called her in my mind), was a cataclysmic collision with athletic machismo. Her hand claps sent shockwaves into decades of prejudice and discrimination toward women and her stare would make any referee, coach, or player rethink their behavior.
In light of the news of her passing, what did I learn? What did I hear before bed last night? One lesson.
You can’t argue with excellence.
In the beginning it was a factor, but later… after sowing sweat and sincerity, it didn’t matter that she was female. Her excellence superseded her gender. In the end, she understood that either you be great or you go home and come back ready to be great. That’s all you have to choose from. You do the work behind the scenes and you eliminate the opportunity for inferiority and self-doubt to halt your drive. Sure, I could go down the statistics and accolades, but I’d like to point out the less-than-shiny ones.
Driving the team van
$250.00 per month of earnings
This is greatness. This is excellence at its finest. It starts at the bottom; it starts with service. With every perceived act of smallness, she exuded exponential positivity with a side of moxie. She was a powerhouse before anyone acknowledged that she had the juice… and she didn’t wait for them to figure it out. Her consistent investment in others yielded residual dividends.
100% graduation rate of her players
First women’s coach to earn more than $1 million in a season (2008-2009 season), trailblazing a path for other women to earn competitive coaching pay
Inspiring thousands of women to play like a girl and be proud of it
The Summit” yelled. She passionately pressed her players without apology. She paced across the attic of America’s glass ceiling with her 5’11” frame and dared anyone to say she couldn’t back up every seed she had sown. Her brand was excellence, and she trusted the product she poured into others. Whether or not the sexists acknowledge her equity, she was definitely not outworked. Her determination put more wind in my feminist cape to keep flying above gender stereotypes. Now, she has gone in the same fullness in which she was came.
I’m grateful that she was great before she went home.