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Stupid is as stupid does

Forrest Gump was stupid. He had become accustom to the word because of the people who observed his behavior constantly gave him this label. Hollywood made an entire movie about being stupid.

But they didn’t stop there. What gave the movie its brilliance was the fact that things seemed to workout just fine for Gump as if a greater power had the “fix” in for him. They made the story very relatable, by putting it smack dab in the middle of one of the most prolific times in American history. They gave scenarios that could have been any of us. We can all relate to a time where inspite of our foolishness things worked out like they did for Forrest. And we would like to believe that if someone’s heart is right and pure, things would workout for them eventually as well.

To live your life in the hope that this is true would be — well, stupid yet we see so many examples of folks doing exactly that.

Nobody plans to mess up their life but sometimes that’s exactly what it looks like. We become stupid to impress the opposite sex, to take a non existing shortcut to success, to avoid hard work, and to avoid looking stupid.

Stupid is defined as having or showing a great lack of intelligence or common sense. So our prisons are full of people who are stupid. The court system hears and sees a lot of stupid people. And social media has become a huge platform for stupid people — just make a comment about religion or politics and the stupid parade begins.

The word stupid did not exist until late in the 16th century so that explains why the word is not in the original King James bible, but the concept is there. The word consistently used for stupid is dull. The word appears 29 times in the sacred text and that’s within 13 different translations. The idea of something becoming dull is the idea of stupid. It’s not sharp and pristine, its dull and unappealing. But the original definition is that something happened to make you dull — you didn’t just start off that way. As the evolution of the word continued, today you can be stupid, or dull without any help.

In Gen. 29:17, one translation describes Leah’s eyes as weak and dull looking, but it says Rachel’s are beautiful and attractive. There has always been this comparison of these two sisters and for lack of a better term Leah here is described as stupid.

Gen. 49:12 gives the cause and effect idea saying, “His eyes are dull from wine and his teeth white from milk.”

So if stupid is as stupid does — which is to say that an intelligent person who does stupid things, is still stupid — this was obviously Forrest’s way of admitting he was stupid and letting you know that you can be stupid too.

Let’s hope we all spend more time “with” stupid than we do being stupid.

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Do you see the beauty in your brokenness?

In the bible, Lot’s wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt. We don’t know why she looked back, all we know is the action was purposed.

Did she look back because she was missing something? Or did she look back because she was angry? Reviewing? Regretting?

It’s hard to live your life and move forward when you are stuck in the past. We all have had things in the past that were hurtful, disgraceful, embarrassing and stressful. Some of us are still dealing with trouble from our past. That trouble brought relationships we don’t want, debt we wish we didn’t have and freedoms we wish we hadn’t lost. We troll through life unsure, unfamiliar and unhappy. We always blame ourselves (and sometimes it is our fault), but more times than not we were tricked by some bastard who never really cared.

So we find ourselves in a new year with the same old problems. And like previous years we said that the current year would be “that year” where things would change for the better. So we packed up our things and waiting on the porch for change to show up and get us — but change never showed.

Change never said it was coming.

You actually have to hunt down change and make it come home with you. Change is what you need and it is closer than you think.

So what I find with people who are searching for change is that they are actually living life through their failures instead of their successes. They have already discredited their victories as a fluke; they have assassinated their own character as not being good enough; and they have settled for far less than they deserve.

Am I talking to you yet??

Your victories are legit! Your life is not a waste! You absolutely deserve better! And you are just as worthy as the next person. What makes us worthy is not contained in anything we aspire to do. It’s the fact that God made us to be.

Your time is now. You already know what you need to do. You have been afraid all this time but not anymore.

There is an upside to being down and that is your ability to bounce! Your purpose is greater than the life you have been living. Cut away your dead weight, negative feelings and past mistakes. Capitalize on what you have learned and let this be the year you do YOU!

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The hypocrisy of it all

if-ignorance-is-bliss1We live in a country that thrives in the unknown. Not only is it not fashionable to truly be in the know, but ignorance is celebrated.

We vote with very little knowledge. We make purchases with limited Intel and we date and get close to people we just met.

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We are far too trusting and then will be the first to cry foul when something happens. For example, when someone you never met contacts you and says they are your grandchild and they are in trouble and need you to send money. Then they tell you not to tell their parents. This is the latest scam on seniors. Or my favorite, there is a prince in a foreign country that promises you millions to help them out with thousands — this only works in the land of the greedy.

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Then we have the protests.

How do you protest the rights of giraffes being hunted and killed, but say nothing when an unarmed black man is killed by police?

How do you protect animal rights but care less about how cows, pigs and chickens are doped up and slaughtered in America?

How do you protest pedophilia here in the states but ignore the fact that our military is helping foreign governments who allow the prosecution of kids? (i.e. 10 year old boys in Afghanistan called Bacha Bazi).

We are extremely naive with many things. Our latest craze is DNA kits. When this science became affordable to the masses I imagined our government using it to reassure if those accused of rape really did it. We could now be far more sure than ever before with DNA testing but instead we are marketing it to people with apparently too much time on their hands. All of these people who have a heritage are interested now in knowing more about their heritage. But never was it important to them to make sure accurate records were kept on slaves or that blacks could be reattached to their heritage because slavery was so brutal. I mean if our heritage is that important wouldn’t we want everyone to know about their own?

Whatever you feel about President Donald J Trump, history teaches us that he is not even in the top 10 of the worst presidents. But what is worse is that most Americans cannot name the worst 5 presidents we have had. Then of course it depends on your preference.

The end of slavery was promised after the revolutionary war. The first man to die for the flag was a black man (Crispus Attucks). The first 10 presidents had no lobbyists to fight with and were of the most educated in the land but none of them thought to make good on that promise.

Bank CEOs crash our market and destroy our economy and they get a bailout in return — thanks Obama! The exact same thing happens in Iceland and all the CEOs involved go to jail! Our country has fought to ensure slaves do get reparations for the crimes America has carried out against them, but holocaust survivors get reparations right now along with the Native Americans.

This sad commentary should make us think about the things we protest. It should make us examine ourselves before we join a protest of a double standard. Or will we just allow ignorance to be bliss?

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What’s your obsession?

Obsession is broadly defined as a persistent disturbing preoccupation with an often unreasonable idea or feeling. Don’t get this confused with a preoccupation with a reasonable idea.

If your son plays basketball 24/7, sleeps with his basketball and dreams about playing even when he is not. And of course your son happens to be 7’1, this is reasonable. If he is 5’2, it’s probably unreasonable.

Because we don’t want to smash anyone else’s dream we avoid commenting. So we allow people who haven’t had any college experience say they want to be a superintendent of a school district — they have no plans to go back to school.

We have people who can barely sing hang on to the dream of being a singer. We put up with pastors in pulpits that have no oratory ability nor knowledge of scripture but they want to preach.

When a teenager who is failing math wants to be an engineer or a student who is failing science wanting to be a doctor, we smile and think it’s cute.

Honesty is still the best policy.

One of the things that we loved about American Idol was Simon Cowell because he could be brutally honest about what he saw and heard. So we watched each week to enjoy the talent but hear what Simon thought about the act.

Can you imagine throwing your life away on an obsession? I mean just think about an obsession that takes you into your 40s with no return on the investment. Many people followed your dream knowing that it was not going to happen but hoping that it might — this is a very tragic fate.

Broken lives collide with reality and in the rubble is a lost soul who had higher expectations than his talent could take him.

All types of mental health professionals offer diagnosis after the fact and everyone has an opinion, but in the end all you are left with is a broken heart and that damn obsession!

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When Superman isn’t super

We live in a society that props up certain individuals for their talent, wealth, success, looks and other attributes. There is a need to create superman because psychologically we need to know/see the best version of ourselves.

Many of us desire to either be superman or be his sidekick. We cherish this superman version of ourselves and it gives us hope.

Idols are created.

There was a choice involved in that creation and there was an obsession. When these “supermen” show that they are not so “super” we tend to forget who made them. We forget who elevated their gift to a god-like level and why. This never happens without coveteousness. Something to be had or obtained by the admirer that makes them blind to the dangers of idolizing mankind.

Once idolizing starts, abuse is imminent. The only thing necessary at this point for abuse is access. When access is granted, abuse is possible.

From the other direction, superman believes he is superman. He believes he can fly! He believes that the laws cannot contain him. He believes that his money and power will protect him. He believes his sins are forgiven. He hides behind his gifts and other idolaters stand ready to replace the former. Literally people are rushing toward abuse and with every victim, there is a new one in the back awaiting their turn to be abused.

Onlookers who are not caught up in that version of superman always want to judge. It’s easy for them to say, “how could they be so stupid!” “How could they not know?” “Who in their right mind would do that?!”

And it’s never that simple.

We underestimate our need to see and be the best version of ourselves. We struggle with the pursuit of success and we have been told to dream big and reach for the stars. In the hunt for that elite status we are able to minimize the warning signs. And then when we become a victim, we want others to be outraged with us. Then we seek great revenge and want to see the now debunked superman destroyed so we turn to social media.

The problem with social media is that just about everybody has an opinion and everybody has their own idol. The only way to stop this blood cycle of horror and eliminate the need to create a caped crusader is to recognize the one and only true superman — Jesus.

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Planning success

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With a strong gust of wind 2018 is leaving and as normal it seems that just yesterday we were trick or treating and now it’s the eve of the New Year.

With the New Year most of us are challenged by resolutions that normally die before Valentine’s Day of the new year. These were improvements of some kind that need to happen, but could not be conquered by our will power.

For some reason we could not quite get these resolutions to “stick” or work into our current schedules. But that did not mean that we didn’t need to lose the weight, eat more vegetables, get more sleep, save money, exercise or be nicer.

One of the things I have learned from living a half a century is that success is planned. There needs to be in most cases a road map and some other visual to get us there. We need a real plan that we can see unfold. The winner’s circle needs to be clearly noted and we need to create a victory dance.

We need to know who our cheerleaders are and where we can rest and get replenished. Most of our resolutions do not have such elaborate plans — but they need to.

To me, the best way to spend the last week of December is to head to Staples and collect poster boards and lots of colored markers. You need to create a war room in your home that has plastered on the walls several poster boards that outline a new plan to be or do better for 2019.

I have set several goals in 4 different categories: Spiritual, Mental, Emotional, Physical. The various goals cover exercises that start off very easy and gradually build over the course of the year. For example, I have not worked out in 3 years so the first 3 weeks of the year, all I am required to do is break a sweat each day. I can do it anywhere I want but every 24 hours I must break a sweat. I can do more if I want but I must break a sweat during the first 21 days of 2019. It increases to breaking a sweat and then walking for 30 minutes, 3 days per week and I have just gradually added more activity every 3 weeks. By April I will be working out with a personal trainer but I have some very reachable goals to start.

Mentally I wanted to make sure my mind was stimulated daily which means that daily I will be reading. I will read for pleasure, education and stimulation. This does not include social media nor surfing the web. Right now I have planned to read 28 books for 2019. I will add to that. In 2018 I was supposed to read 48 books and I only read 33 of them but my goal of stimulating my mind was reached and I continued my enlightenment. I also watched 40 percent less TV in the evening and I believe I was less stressed in 2018 than 2017.

Daily meditation has been added back to my life and a plan for being debt free by Labor Day is also in the works.

I have been working on 2019 since December 1 and it has been a joy to do it. I am really looking forward to 2019 because of my recent plans. I even added meal prep this year which doesn’t begin until MLK weekend but I am excited about that. I have met several new friends that I’ll be working with and several friends have been purged, as those relationships proved to be unhealthy for me.

These plans can be as large and elaborate or very small and concise but either way you owe yourself a change and no one else is supposed to make that happen but you.

So don’t ring in the new year without a plan. Make positive changes for a better you! You deserve it!

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For the sake of old times . . .

Some time in the late 1700s a poem was composed about friendship. It started in Scotland and has been sung all over the English-speaking countries for centuries.

We know the song as Auld Lang Syne and all though the words may escape most, its rhetorical opening and folk lore melody is very familiar.

This song is not just used to close out the old year, but at funerals, weddings or any occasion that signifies an ending and a new beginning.

It is always good to go into a new year knowing who your friends are.

You can make all the plans you want, but when there is no one there to share, tell, laugh, cry or whatever you need to do with, it doesn’t matter.

As the new year brings to light gleanings of a better version of ourselves, it would be equally important if we examine the type of friend we have been.

Do you know why your “best friend” likes you? Are you proud of this reason? Have you every betrayed a friend? Are you a person worthy of friendship? Do you really know what it means to be a good friend?

Life is not worth living if our interactions with one another don’t move us to desire to be better. Great character, integrity and scholarship mean nothing without good people around to share in it.

Friendship is always a pleasant, safe space you enter into with another human and through this union you are able to exchange energy, share thoughts, strengthen each other and have fun. There are rules which are not written. Loyalties that should never have to be spoken and feelings that synchronize through sharing.

You should never have to utter the words, “I thought we were friends?” There are some people from 2018 who are definitely needed in the New Year and there are some from 2018 who are not — do you know the difference?