Posted in Accountability, Achievement, Beauty, Change, Confidence, Discipleship, Faith, Forgiveness, Giving, God, Jesus Christ, Justice, Light, Obey, Progress, Self, society, Truth

How bright is your light?

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We are consciously aware of the spiritual warfare going on inside of us. The physical world that we live in is a manifestation of that war.

When we see the darkness of this world, it sometimes looks like we are losing the spiritual battle. We see sin reign, hatred in abundance and ego elevated beyond the heights of selfishness.

Somehow we lost sight of God’s plan…or did we ever know it?

Here’s the plan: God wanted to show his goodness to us so he gave us grace and mercy. We were to show our gratitude through imitation of his son and obedience. The model he gave us was the burning bush. If we are doing it correctly then we would be surrounded by the fires of this world, but never consumed. We would remain in this state until he sent his son back to get us.

He would take us from the burning bush to a new tabernacle not made with hands. We would then dwell with him forever. But in the mean time we are to simply let our lights shine bright in the mist of this dark world. We were never supposed to eliminate the darkness but create as much light as we could.

The light would be in the forms of love, justice, forgiveness, service and goodness. Despite the evils of this world, our God wants to see the flourishing beauty he created. He expects for this creation to not conform to the world, but be transformed by a renewed mind. This is creation is precious to him. He called this creation Christians!

Posted in Beauty, Change, Diet, Faith, freedom, friend, Generosity, Giving, God, Happiness, Health, Healthcare, Life, Progress, Relationships, Self, significance, society, Success, Taking Responsibility, Time, Truth

The importance of my well being

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I understand psychologically that I can not see myself, all I see is a reflection. All of these images I see of myself need help from the people that actually see me. Therefore it is the images I see in conjunction with what is said that allows me to come close to seeing my actual self.

With this in mind, the people who I surround myself with become extremely important. I need for the people I allow in my inner circle to be beneficial to me. I want them to feel that I am beneficial to them, but they have to be able to add value to my life.

If we spend the majority of a 24 hour day sleeping, working, eating and traveling, then that means there is not much time left to make a positive impact.

This means coming home has to be in question. Is my house for me or against me? Am I really replenished while being at home or is my household just adding to my stress?

Is the time I spend traveling during the day beneficial? The type of music I listen to, the people I talk to on the phone and even the ride to work now matter in regard to my well being.

Sleep is one of the most important things you can give to your body. Am I getting enough uninterrupted sleep?

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I also need to be concerned about the things I eat and drink. This has a huge effect on my wellness. I need to seek whole food without man-made additives. It’s hard to do in the US but not impossible.

This message is about how we handle this gift called life and the body God put it in. If you understand that the life you have is only because of Christ, then how are you treating this beautiful gift he gave you?

Posted in Accountability, Beauty, Children, Confidence, Determination, Generosity, Happiness, helping, Honor, Love, The Family

Tribute to my mom

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One of my favorite songs we sang growing up in church was Home of the Soul. I never really understood this song beyond the melody which I liked.

But as I got older I started listening to the words and discovered this is a song describing the place that Jesus is preparing for us. I eventually matured to be able to put scriptural application with this song and in addition to seeing the place Jesus is preparing for me in the future, I saw another place. This place was prepared for my living in the past.

My mother, Annie Mayberry, is like no other. Pound for pound she’s the best mom you could have. (I know I’m bias but bare with me)

Looking back at what we had back in the day, I realize how hard it was to make that happen. We were not rich, but we lived in an extremely clean home that was comfortable and had nice stuff.

I looked forward to coming home from a hard day at school, hard time at basketball practice, frustrating day with friends and the reason I loved coming home was because it was prepared for me.

My mom in anticipation of us coming home made sure things were right. There was always more than enough food. All of my needs (and some wants) were taken care of and she did this despite how she felt on any given day.

My mom never wanted anyone to look down on us. She never wanted anyone to think we were not cared for and she never wanted us to feel cheated in life. She gave us a respect for the arts — from paintings to great music — she kept beautiful things around us.

She took our senses and used them to her advantage. We were surrounded by beauty, grew up on incredibly delicious soul food, clean clothes, warm bed and toys — what else could a child want.

But the greatest thing my mom gave me and my siblings was her love. Her love truly covered a multitude of sins — ours and hers. There was no doubt that she was in our corner and would not hesitate to whip our a$$ or kick somebody else’s a$$ in a New York minute.

So today I give honor to my first love. A woman who I admire and appreciate greatly! Thanks for everything Annie! Love you much!

Posted in Achievement, Beauty, Children, Confidence, Giving, Racism, Sports

The Greatest of all time!

I would like to say happy birthday to Muhammed Ali who I haven’t had the opportunity to meet, but his life has been a strong influence on me and I still admire him today.

He is arguably the greatest fighter to put on a pair of boxing gloves. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmaHGY7BEog&feature=youtube_gdata_player

When I was growing up in the 70s I remember watching the wide world of sports on ABC with my brothers and my dad and we watched all of the great heavyweight fights from that era. I remember watching sports reporter Howard Cosell go back and forth with the champ and I remember hearing folks say that they argue like an old married couple.

Ali would shout about how great he was and how attractive he was. He would boast about his accomplishments and what he planned to do next. And he would do most of this in the form of a rhyme!

I didn’t understand the psychology behind his actions until I was much older. When I ask myself how many images were on TV that depicted African Americans in a positive light, my answer was not many. Other than James Brown proclaiming that he was Black and proud, how many shows on TV in the 70s brought this before America? None.

You see, if Ali was great and he matched the color of my skin, then subconsciously I had the potential to be great too because we were the same color.

The point is clear: Ali made greatness possible for every minority. The path he lit stayed bright for me and my pursuits. He saved me from a lifetime of hang ups regarding my appearance, my intelligence, inferiority and my possibilities.

I can because Ali could. And I’m glad he took the time to send the future generations a message. A message that I got loud and clear!

Thanks Ali! For me, you will always be the greatest of all time!

Posted in Accountability, Achievement, Beauty, Children, Determination, Discipleship, Faith, Generosity, Giving, God, Happiness, Health, Jesus Christ, Love, Parenthood, Perseverance, Racism, Relationships, Sharing, Success, Taking Responsibility, The Family, Truth, Willpower, Work

I’m thankful for…

This week we celebrate Thanksgiving.

This has always been a sore spot for me ever since my second year of high school. That’s the time that I learned about the betrayal and almost destruction of an entire race of people at the hands of the Pilgrims.

Since that time, I’ve learn to find good in a day marked to celebrate their evil. Thanksgiving is somewhat like the Trojan horse. Both involved a festive occasion marred by betrayal and a massacre.

But there is hope.

Instead of thinking about the historic events that make this holiday ugly, I choose to be thankful.

I am thankful that I knew to make the most of my opportunities.

I’m thankful that I didn’t have circumstances like abuse, grief, drugs or poverty to hinder me from seeing the potential in myself.

I’m thankful for all the people who are close to me. I’m thankful for their love and understanding. I’m thankful for their friendship and kindness. And mostly I’m thankful that these people formed a hedge around me to ensure that I  knew I was loved and shielded from hurt.

I’m thankful for my parents. I am what I am because of the parents I have. And even though they were not perfect, they turned me into the best me I could be.

I’m thankful for my race. Despite the tragedy and racism that still takes place, I am proud of the contributions of my race, the rich tradition of the African culture and our resilience. I still pray that more African Americans will come to know this truth. #cutitoutFerguson

I am thankful to everyone who has ever disciplined me. I needed it and I realize how evil it is for others to go around not disciplining those in their scope of influence. Every child needs discipline and one of the problems in our school systems is that they lack discipline.

I’m thankful to every man that has been or who is currently in my life. You have taught me about a very diverse brotherhood that I am thankful for. The closeness, intimacy and trust we share has made me the strong heterosexual man I am today. I am blessed to be able to draw from brothers who are White, Indian, Cuban, German and Black.

I’m especially thankful for every woman who has ever built a relationship with me. You taught me love and respect the right way and made me less of a dog. I learned how to be intimate without having sex and I learned to appreciate beauty.

I am very thankful for the three children I have. They are all little models of me. I’m learning so much from them. They make me a better man.

I’ve saved the best for last. I am most thankful for my relationship with Jesus Christ. All of who I am and who I hope to be rests in Him. Christ, you represent all for me and I love you with every inch of who I am.

Please take time to share your thanks with the people who have earned it!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted in Beauty, Life, Mind Power, Pain, Progress, Relationships, Success, Taking Responsibility, Time, Truth, Willpower

Are you wasting the sun?

On or around June 21, what we call the summer solstice takes place. This is when the rays of the sun will be perpendicular to the Tropic of Cancer at 23°30′ North latitude ( don’t worry, I had to look that up too). This is when we typically get the longest day of the year.

While enjoying the sun on this day, I often think about the time I have left on this earth. Now, of course, I have no idea when my time is up, but in my mid-40s I think that I might have passed the half-way point. What I’m getting at is this is a good time to take a look at your life and decide if you like what you see. Everyone makes mistakes and some we are able to live with and some we are not. Some of our decisions have caused us to have other ongoing problems and sometimes we escape with just a warning of some kind. Nevertheless, we take inventory to see what people, places and things need not be in our lives anymore.

The items I’m talking about are those things that would have us waste our time, energy and resources — we’re wasting the sun. Some of us are struggling in bad relationships, going to bad places and continue to give in to our vices. Sadly, there are even some of us who have been wasting the sun for so long that it appears normal.

With 50 percent of 2012 gone it would be well worth it to salvage the rest of this year by dumping these things that drain us. We have to evaluate whether or not it is worth the time. The best way to do this is to imagine your life without the vice. Even go as far as creating a list of things or events that would take place if these vices were gone. I guess it is possible that you could create a list that ends up looking about the same with or without the vices. If this is the case, then you are the problem — and that’s the good news! Change from within is actually easier than dealing with change that involves outside vices simply because there is too many variables on the outside.

Whatever your list reveals to you, be glad because it really is the start of something beautiful — you! Your life IS worth it so don’t waste the sun!

Posted in Beauty, Children, God, Love, Relationships, The Family

Birthdays are bigger than we think

I think we all know people who, when asked about their birthday, say that they don’t celebrate it anymore or that it’s just not a big deal.

What are we really saying about ourselves when we make these statements?

One of the things I love about spring is that in addition to the season in the Midwest beginning to change, I have two lovely daughters who celebrate birthdays in March and in April.

My girls are special to me. They know that they are special, but on their birthdays, I have an extra opportunity to celebrate the fact that they exist.

This is a fact of life that is often overlooked in childrearing.

The stability, security and self-esteem for any daughter are wrapped up in her daddy. A father is the first man that a daughter should be in love with. The number one reason is because this would be the daughter’s first taste of TRUE love – unconditional, never-ending, God-like love.

Codependent women, for the most part, did not experience a strong interpersonal relationship with their fathers.

I have counseled a variety of women who have said that even when their father was there, he really wasn’t there. He lived at the house, they ate dinner together sometimes and he was a great provider of physical things.

But how often they exchanged intimacy was in question.

There were no tender moments. They would say things like. “I know my Dad loved me, he just doesn’t express himself that way.” Or, “Dad loves me, he’s just very busy.”

The effects are devastating.

The daughter that doesn’t have the strong interpersonal relationship with her dad will always struggle with her relationships with men. The codependent part comes in her defining moments. She will always wonder is she beautiful, does she matter, who loves her.

And she will look for a male to supply her with these answers.

Just imagine the teenage boys willing to tell these girls that they are beautiful, they are important and they are loved.

What do you think these codependent girls will do in return for these simply words that should have come from her dad?

If you have ever wondered how some guys ended up with these very beautiful and intelligent women – you guessed it, codependency.

The point here is this: Every little girl needs to know that she is loved and that she matters. In fact all of us do. These two things are directly attached to her inner conscious which she will then use to fight off the voice that tell her no one loves her or she’s ugly.

This is why birthdays are especially important to all of us. They should be used as a tool to express love and to celebrate the life of a person we love. Everyone should have at least one day a year where people make a fuss, go out of their way and express their love all because of the birth of that special someone.

It is also for this reason that my two little girls will always know that they matter, that I love them more than life itself and that they are smart and talented enough to do whatever they put their little minds to. They need to understand that our spirits are forever connected and death can’t even separate us. That our love is everlasting – which means from the day they were conceived, it was in love and that their life and death will be spent in love.

Make sure the people you love know it. This must be demonstrated and said out loud often enough to make it a habit. This is how we live with no regret.