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 Happiness, Love, Marriage, Parenthood, Relationships, Sharing, The Family

How black was Friday?

So this past weekend we celebrated all the things we were thankful for. Then over the weekend we participated in the newest holiday on our calendars – Black Friday.

This tradition had a very humble beginning and had nothing to do with shopping. The term was born in 1966 in Philadelphia where the city used this term to describe the extra flow of traffic (particularly pedestrians) on the day after Thanksgiving. It wasn’t until 1975 that this saying spread beyond PA.

Historians are divided on whether or not the day referred to the amount of Black people walking the streets of Philadelphia or vehicle traffic in general. The media helped to dramatize this day by claiming it was the busiest shopping day of the year.

Truth be told, the Saturday before Christmas has held this title for years. It wasn’t until 1993 that the day after Christmas became the number one shopping day. Black Friday did not have the title of number one shopping day consistently until 2005 and it has been the number one shopping day since.

Capitalism’s favorite holiday is reported to be off to a great start. There were more shoppers out spending money than in recent years and this year it started a day early! There was much debate about companies “stealing” time on Thanksgiving and some tried to protest. I don’t know the actual numbers, but driving past a Walmart on the evening of Thanksgiving looked more like more people bypassed the second helping to spend money!

The worst part of the shopping season for me is that sales ads will be more obnoxious than political ads during a presidential election year! Crazy ads where companies are trying to unload their summer and fall leftovers masquerading as the greatest deal on earth. Operation: Make room for spring things is in full affect!

The question here is this: Do we really believe that we, as the consumers, are getting the best deals on these days? If we didn’t shop on “black friday” or decided to spend our dollars throughout the year instead of during the Christmas season, what would the day be called?

For years, retailers have over-charged us to make their money. That was fine until they got greedy. Items get marked up five to 10 times the cost to make them. What then actually happens is that retail shops sell off the year-end items (leftovers) as Christmas gifts. So if an item was marked up four times its wholesale price, the retailer will sell it for mark up during the products peak season. Then the item may drop to half off. A profit is still made on that item and it looks like we’ve gotten a great deal.

This retail information is not new. We all understand this, but we keep buying. I would like to think that we’re emphasizing the fellowship and togetherness as best friends, dads and sons, daughters and moms hanging out for a day of shopping, eating and laughing. It’s just too bad we have to spend money or need a holiday of sorts to get us to spend quality time. And many folks spend more than they have to impress, say sorry or over love the people in their lives. Some children are overindulged and others have nothing. It’s the time of year for haves, not have nots, but you will see everyone showing the money!

Life is too short. Make quality time a priority this season. Let those you love know how you feel…before your life gets interrupted permanently.