CHANGE!

Yeah, that word “change” has been thrown around a lot lately. It was our NOW POTUS Barack Obama’s calling card during his 1st campaign. It worked too. There was SO much wrong with our country during the previous president’s administration. Our country needed change and we got it, even though many won’t admit it. This is not a political blog though. I won’t usually address politics here. Too messy. The point I’m trying to address, however, is CHANGE.

This past weekend was a very rough weekend for me. It was a rough 2 days or so. I guess every bad financial decision I’ve ever made came home to roost. It was SO overwhelming, in fact, that I cried. I really did. I cried for a good 5-10 minutes. It was rough. Everything came crashing down at the same time. I couldn’t handle it. I was defeated and wanted to straight give up. At the time of the breakdown, my wife was on the phone with me. God bless her heart. She tried her best to not let me wallow in my own self pity and I appreciate her and her effort to encourage me. As much as she tried though, my thoughts still consumed me, the weight of my issues was still settling on my shoulders. After a while, I stopped crying, wiped my face and tried to continue on with my day. The rest of the weekend wasn’t all that great. I had to work and missed my son’s birthday party. Made some bad decisions regarding my choir’s song selections and had to make adjustments on the fly. And I suffered a HUMILIATING loss in my NFL Fantasy League. Yeah, when it rains, it pours, right? At that point, I decided I needed to make a change.

And I mean SERIOUS WHOLESALE changes. I’m not really happy with ANYTHING that’s going on with me right now. My life is totally off kilter. My health is suffering. My mental is outta whack. Everything is a complete fog. I’ve even fell off with my daily Bible study (which may be the actual root of the problem). So everything has to change. I’m sick of feeling the way I do. I need to change way I eat, the way I work. I need to consult the Lord about EVERYTHING I do, and I need to make sure that when I come TO Him, that I’M right within. I can’t very well go to God requesting things and I haven’t been keeping up MY end of the bargain. How hypocritical would that be of me. It’s a slap in God’s face. Let’s just walk through this for a sec:

Seek ye 1st – FIRST – the Kingdom of AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, and all these things (desires of your heart) will be added unto you

Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.

I’m so outta whack, I can barely supply my family with what they NEED, let alone what they WANT. Bottom line is this: I’m getting older, and I can’t keep treading water like I have time on this Earth to do whatever the hell I want with no repercussions. I have children that need to be taken care of, a wife that needs to be taken care of, and future grandchildren to leave a legacy for. I’m tired of life the way it is. I’m tired of always seeing negative. I’m sick of crying, I’m sick of worrying, Change comes with me – I can’t rely on other people to change FOR me, or to change ME for that matter. It’s gotta happen sooner than later.

Not all change is good, they say. I beg to differ. I can’t go any lower than my current state. All I have left is UP! A change is gonna come.

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Talking when you have nothing to say

Ever have one of those days when you have such a positive outlook on your day and your life that you just want to attack it head on? You have the attitude that you can take on the world. Then, the bottom drops out. You get slapped with a dose of reality so strong that you can’t breath. Yeah, that happened to me today. It’s my own fault though. Not to say that I SHOULDN’T have a positive outlook on life ALL the time. It’s just today, I falsely gave myself a over saturated sense of invincibility, if that makes sense. I had everything all planned out. Problem is my life didn’t match up with the plans. I almost lost it. I almost when on a tantrum. I almost cried. I almost gave up. Then it happened. I talked when I didn’t have anything to say.

I’m beginning to see why people say you should talk things out you start to feel like there’s no hope. Because I do feel better when I don’t hold all these ill feelings in.

…and on a separate note, it’s very hard to feel like crap when you listen to gospel music, lol.

Swing And A Miss!!

It’s been a real struggle trying to get this entry going. 

There’s a lot going on in our world, but I never imagined it would be so close to home. How naive of me. It’s been about two, almost three weeks since young Mike Brown was gunned down by Ferguson P.O. Darren Wilson. He was finally laid to rest by his family yesterday afternoon. I’m glad the family was finally able to do THAT much, and to do it PEACEFULLY. I still pray for them, that God would continue to comfort them. I have four sons. They’re still alive. Two teens, a nine year old and a one year old. I can’t imagine, as a father, what it’s like to lose a son, let alone lose a son in the manner that Mike Brown, Sr. lost his. Rev. Al Sharpton was right – this is out of order. A parent burying their YOUNG child. It’s out of order. But that’s not ALL that’s out of order. 

WE’RE OUT OF ORDER too. And no, I’m not just talking about black……I’m sorry, African-Americans. We, HUMANITY, are out of order. Grotesquely out of order.

If you drive up and down about a four-block area of West Florissant Ave., you’ll see the remnants of what could be considered a decent neighborhood. Yes, it’s seen better days. I used to live in Dellwood in the mid-90’s up until about 2003, right off the intersection of Chambers & W. Florissant. I can tell you that area has seen better days. Now, it looks more like a war zone. Ferguson, Missouri turned into Watts, California. Why? Well, if you ask MOST PEOPLE, it’s because Brown’s life was taken without cause, his body laid in the middle of the street for HOURS in the heat like an animal that had been run over by a car. Residents in the area were up in arms; questions went unanswered. In the hours and days that followed, that same confusion morphed into anger, and that anger begat RAGE. The kind of rage that made Zisser Tire, QuikTrip and most other stores a casualty of war. Looting, protesting, posturing. Local coverage turned national, and I’m sure global. This is what the world saw – black people tearing up their own community out of anger (even though I’m convinced that most of the destruction done was perpetrated by NON-Ferguson residents). All the while, the family of the slain had to stop grieving and ask for the violence to stop. It shouldn’t have taken that. 

In the meantime, there are protesters supporting Officer Wilson, with the “anything you can do I can do better” mentality, fundraising to help him and his family. OK. I get it. Peaceful (somewhat) protests, social media posts. Nothing at ALL violent. I can respect that. I also see where my people are coming from. They’re angry. Cops – SOME cops – just aren’t right. AT ALL. They abuse the power they possess and treat the law like a license to treat people with no respect, yet they demand it. Believe it or not, however, ALL of this is besides the point. 

Agree or not – this is NOT JUST ABOUT RACE. This is a HUMANITY issue. 

Since when did we stop caring about life? Since when did we start raising our children to not care about each other? Yes, I know the struggle as a black man. I’ve seen racism, I’ve experienced racism. I didn’t just read about it. But I’ll tell you this: racism is not innate. It’s taught. We, not as a race, but as a PEOPLE, are guilty of teaching each and ever generation we raise to DISCRIMINATE. White people walk around calling blacks “niggas” around their children. Black people walk around constantly screaming “white people keep us down” around our children. These impressionable minds are doing nothing but taking this all in, and we think that’s OK. THIS is where hate crimes begin. We have no regard for our fellow MAN, so it’s easy to walk the streets spewing the first hateful thing that comes to mind, and I guarantee that our twisted upbringing just came shining through in the midst of what we call the “Ferguson Riots”. So, as a completely different generation of people living in THIS America now, how do we fix this? Well, we can start with laying off each other. What do I mean?

White people: Your ancestors BROUGHT OUR ANCESTORS here!!!! ON A CROWDED BOAT! Read the history. And after all this time, white people tell blacks to “go back to Africa”, or “go back to where you came from”. I didn’t come from Africa, and neither does anyone I know. My ancestors blood was mixed with your blood, which doesn’t make me pure African anymore. It doesn’t matter if you want us here or not to be honest. We’re here. Deal with it!

Black people: GROW UP! Yes, our history is painful, but YOU DIDN’T LIVE IT! We have soooo many more opportunities that those before us didn’t. And if those before us could see what we’re doin’ now, I promise you they’d throw up. Stop blaming EVERYTHING on white people. They aren’t the only one’s trying to keep you down. Black people try to keep black people down. And while we’re at it, stop getting so upset about white people killing blacks and be more upset about BLACKS killing BLACKS. Why are you OK with this? This is not a fight between whites and everybody else. This is, and ALWAYS HAS BEEN, an issue of GOOD vs. EVIL!

Yes, I went there. It’s time that we start looking at things through the eyes of God, and not our own eyes. WE see what we WANT to see, and in that, we react to things that we WANTED to see. Everything that happens to you ISN’T BAD. Mike Brown told loved ones before his death that the WORLD would know who he was, and yes, the world knows who Mike Brown. Yes, the circumstances, in OUR eyes, was horrible, but it was all in how God DESIGNED it. Nothing is EVER the way we THINK we see it. It’s not all just black and white. God is trying to get our attention. We don’t have much time down here. Sharpton begged the question “What does God require of YOU?”. Life isn’t just about what you can get. It’s about what you can DO – for OTHERS! Everyone that ransacked those Ferguson businesses missed the mark. You weren’t more angry than the parents of that young man. Yes, there should be anger, but IN our anger, there should be NO sin. Psalm 46:10 says “Be still and know that I am God…” God requires for us to believe. Know that He IS, CAN, and WILL make everything right. Why can’t we look at one another, blacks, whites, Latin, whatever, through God’s eyes, who doesn’t see skin hue. God examine’s a man’s HEART. Our skin color doesn’t define us. We could be a stronger country, a stronger state, a stronger community, if we stop looking at the SURFACE of a man and examine the HEART of a man. 

A nation that claims to be under God is the furthest thing from it. But we can get back to it…2 Chronicles 7:14

 

The Journey of a Thousand Miles……

They say it begins with one step. I’m not sure who the heck “THEY” are, but I have a tendency to believe them right now. I’ve been trying to write something – ANYTHING – for about two weeks now, and I had no luck. I had the worst case of writer’s block that you’ll ever see. I wouldn’t even classify it as writer’s block. I went completely blank every time I sat behind the computer. The keyboard looked foreign, the mouse looked like a remote control for a toy car. Even the music I listen to didn’t help. It wouldn’t have helped to reach out to any of my friends or family. But the fog has been lifted, and I’m glad about it. So, with that being said, it’s time to document the journey. Welcome aboard the “crazy train”!

Go with that……..

“Today, oh today, nuthin’ seems to be goin’ my way

Tryin’ to keep my sanity, it’s gettin’ the best of me today – yes today

Yes, I know the one who said I’d be safe from all harm

Just sometimes what I see I let it get the best of me like today – yes, today.” ~ Today (Avery*Sunshine)

 

Image

 

If you haven’t heard that song, and you’re into NeoSoul, you gotta hear that. I posted that to make a point though.

It’s funny to me how many “Dr. Phils” have popped up on social networking these days. So many positive quotes, inspirational messages, virtual high fives and fist bumps. If the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning is grab your phone or tablet and check Facebook, Twitter, or even Instagram, you’ll get your fill of all this…..MUSH! It’s as if everyone woke up in the same mood, woke up to the same sunrise, same birds chirping and singing, same kids running into the room screaming “good morning mommy & daddy”. It’s like a scene out of “Leave It To Beaver”. Almost enough to make you throw up in your mouth a lil’ bit. We all don’t get that scene in the mornings. I know I don’t. I DEFINITELY didn’t. And I’m not going to pretend I did. What grinds my gears even more is that if you tell people that you’re having a horrible morning, they look at you as if you don’t know God. Oh, I’m VERY familiar with God, but that doesn’t make me any less human. I’m having a BAD MORNING. GET OVER IT! And you know what????

IT’S OK!!!!

Yes, it’s OK to have a bad morning, bad afternoon, bad evening – BAD DAY! Don’t let people make you feel WORSE because they don’t understand your plight. You could be going through the choicest hell, and folk will talk to you as if none of that matters. “Oh keep your head up, it’ll be OK”, or “Shake it off!” Man, some of us have to deal with this hell ALL DAY! They go HOME to hell. They WORK IN hell. Sometimes, it’s OK for all you “Sally Sunshines” to just say “I’m sorry. I’ll pray for you” – and actually DO it. Don’t minimize the issues of others. Sometimes, we just gotta “go through”. For those that have to go through, go through. Take all the time you need. Eventually, you’ll get through. Don’t let people minimize your feelings. They don’t know what you have to deal with. And to be honest, some really don’t care. 

So, yeah, I had a pretty bad morning, and I just don’t feel like dealing with people, so I’m just gonna go in my corner and deal with my feelings. Eventually, it’ll go away…………………………………………maybe.

War of the Hearts

“I could aim, but I could not fire
Got a bullet to spare, to kill my desire
Who’s calling the shots – one of us must make the peace
To have or to have not, the fire has got to cease…

I’m loaded, don’t know where to point this thing
It’s a sin how we hit where it hurts…….” ~ Sade – War Of The Hearts (Promise)

I’ve found that when I blog, it’s usually done out of the present emotion. I blog when something good happens to me. I blog when something confuses me and I need answers. I blog when I feel like being comical and want to make people laugh, well, at least those that actually READ this (and that wouldn’t be too many people). I found that the only time I don’t blog is when I’m angry or hurt. To a fault, I’m an emotional guy. This is a personality FLAW. There’s not really a place in this world for an emotional GUY!! What a horrible double standard by the way. Women are allowed to be “emotional”. We actually EXPECT them to be, but when it comes to guys, that stuff won’t fly. But more and more guys are being open with their feelings and emotions. Looks like the girls fall for it initially, but don’t do it too many times gentlemen. One too many cries and you’ll be viewed as a “pussy” or, simply put, a punk bitch. Is it fair? Not hardly. No one said it would be fair. It was never a fair fight to begin with. I digress…..

So, this will be a first for me. I’m in my feelings and I’m blogging. Or “journaling”. Honestly, what’s the difference? If I don’t give you any useful information, is it considered a peek into my personal life? I could have just put that on Facebook. Well, I personally think FB is outta control. I don’t frequent FB as often as I used too. It’s no longer safe. It used to be so that on YOUR page, YOU could say whatever YOU wanted to say about whatever was on YOUR mind. Now, if you do that very thing, you’re subject to the wrath of whomever is reading your status and thinks you’re talking about them. That’s when all the drama starts. Yeah, FB is full of drama. That’s why I steer clear of FB if I’m “in my feelings”. But why am I in my feelings and willing to put it all out there for the world to see?? Quite honestly,

I don’t have anywhere else to go with it…

I’ve been a Christian for as long as I can remember. I know the Bible, I believe there IS a God, I believe that SAME God sent his only son, Jesus, to become a living sacrifice and cleanse us from our sins, and that through Him, we would be saved. I believe there’s no place that I can go that God won’t be. He is everywhere, sees everything, and knows everyone. And even in all that, I feel like God and I are SO far apart. Why? Because emotionally, I’m getting my butt whupped. Even with my Christian beliefs, I’m also a very emotional being. I love to be held; I love to hold people (well, the one I love anyway); a physical interaction (amongst the spiritual and emotional) is what moves me…but that’s been missing. Missing to the point where I would like to send out an Amber Alert. So much has happened to me lately, I’m wondering if I’ve been TOO emotional all these years. I feel like I’ve given a LOT of myself over the years, but haven’t gotten that same in return. Yes, I feel slighted. Or have I been expecting too much from people?

Most will not agree with what I’m about to say here, but after being in this situation more times than I care to admit (and it’s my own fault), I have to change my way of thinking. No, it’s not good to totally expose yourself to ANYONE. You have to protect yourself from those that could potentially take advantage of you. And no, not everyone has evil intentions, but who can you trust?? You don’t know who you’re dealing with at first glance, and even after several hundred glances, you STILL don’t know. People do a good job masking who they really are. We’re ALL GOOD at it. WE – yes, I admit it too, because you want to put on a good show and impress that special someone. But always remember – when it comes to the heart, you’re always – ALWAYS – going to be at war. And if you’re like me, you get sick of losing that battle…that war of the hearts.

If you ain’t got nuthin’ nice to say……………………

So, yeah, my grandmother told me that some years ago. She ALSO told me that “when you’re TRULY tired of dealing with what makes you tired, you’ll stop dealing with it”….

Yeah, go ahead and take a minute to marinate on that…I’ll wait…

Get it? No? You will later. I digress…

It’s amazing to me how negative my surroundings have become, and when I say “surroundings”, it’s not immediate. It’s more of my “virtual” surroundings. You know – Facebook, Twitter, etc. I don’t have too many social networking pages. I actually share my Facebook page with my wife and I’m not as active on Twitter as I used to be, but that will all change very soon (follow me @SmokinB3, lol). I’ve noticed that people get pretty ballsy when it comes to how they feel when they’re typing. I never knew I had so many angry acquaintances. And it may not be that they’re ANGRY in a sense, but that they know in the comfort of their own homes/offices behind their keyboards, they have the courage, the gumption, the gall – the BALLS – to say what they want to say, how they want to say it, and to whomever they want to say it to without the immediate threat of a beat down. My good friend and my son’s Godmother, S.G., calls it “tough typing”, and that’s truly what it is. But I don’t understand – WHERE IS ALL OF THIS HOSTILITY COMING FROM?!?

Really!! I’ve read statuses from women bashing their child’s parent(s) to just straight calling people out. Now, these are things that I’m 97% sure wouldn’t happen if a face-to-face encounter would occur. So if you’re not willing to make your feelings known face to face, why do it over social media? Because what happens is most folk will get “all in their feelings” and ALL KINDS of things are said. Problem is, when you hit that “POST” or “SEND” button, it’s over. You’re done. Regrets be damned. Not only that, but your ENTIRE FRIENDS LIST knows how you feel. Now, I’m pretty sure you didn’t want your old nemesis from high school to know that your now EX boyfriend gave you the “clap”, or that the biggest gossip you know (who just so happens to be connected to you) knows your most intimate secrets, but when you don’t “think before you type”, that’s what happens. You have gotta be more careful. And then to……….

…what’s it gonna prove? That you know how to correctly spell profanities? Some things are better left UNSAID. Now I understand that we all have differences of opinion and that in some things, we will disagree, but say your peace RESPECTFULLY and log off. No need to argue. It proves nothing. Trust me – I know…I’m married. You just have that moment that whatever you’re thinking ain’t nice, and you wanna say it, but you know that’ll it’ll be ARMAGEDDON if you say it…….so you DON’T say it. Just let it roll. If you ain’t got nuthin’ nice to say, don’t say nuthin’ at ALL!!