“My” 2014 Year-End Awards

Wow! 2014 – My last blog of the year. It’s been an exciting time for me to create and write on my blog.   I enjoy having a little fun as I’m relaxing at home during the holidays. Please check out my winners for 2014 (see below). You may or may not agree with my award recipients – that’s fine. I have my opinion and I approve of this message! I want to arouse your thoughts; let me know what you think.

Biggest Winner of 2014

   Award Recipient: The North Korea Regime dictating what future movies we should watch while they hacked a computer network of one of our major motion film companies!

Biggest Loser of 2014

   Award Recipient: Former Football Baltimore Raven player Ray Rice and his attempt to overcome the elevator feud scene with wife Janey

Worst Politician of 2014

   Award Recipient: Ousted Majority Democratic Senator Harry Reid – what a creepy person!

Most Defining Political Moment

   Award Recipient: The Veteran Administration Scandal – the worst in not providing descent/affordable health care for our decorated veterans.

Turncoat of the Year

   Award Recipient: The investigation into U.S. Solider – Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s disappearance on June 30, 2009 while servicing in Afghanistan, is complete and Senior Pentagon and Army leaders got briefed on the results the week of December 15 – it is not revealed to the public. My guess is that the report will say he deserted his post. Therefore, he gets my vote for being “Turncoat of the Year.”

Most Boring Individual of 2014

   Award Recipient: Republican U.S. Senator Ted Cruz….enough said

Most Charismatic Individual of 2014

   Award Recipient: Deepak Chopra – Author, Physician, Holistic health/New Age guru

Most Disappointed US Grand July Decision of 2014

   Award Recipient: NYC Grand Jury returns a no indictment against NYC Police Officer who used fatal choke-hold on Eric Garner – a cell phone video image shows a clear angle showing his last seconds of life.

Best Comeback of 2014

   Award Recipient: The Field Performance of the US Soccer Team at the 2014 FIFA World Cup (Goalkeeper Tim Howard’s impressive defense)

Worst Comeback of 2014

   Award Recipient: Sony co-chair Amy Pascal and movie producer Scott Rudin’s racy e-mails of President Obama. It is not over for them yet – this will continue to be a news maker in 2015.

Most Original Thinker

   Award Recipient: On an October aired episode of 60 Minutes, US FBI Director James Comey predicted our ‘next’ 9/11 event will be a major cyber internet attack.

Most Stagnant Thinker

   Award Recipient: A disgraced former IRS work Lois Lerner who refuses to tell the American people if she unfairly scrutinized applications of certain groups seeking tax exemptions.

Worldwide Shame of 2014

   Award Recipient: Sunni Islamic militant Boko Haram – Latest kidnapping total (12/18) – 185 women and children, killed 32 people, and leaving tens of thousands displaced from their homes. The International community does nothing but create a Twitter hashtag movement…really people-is that all we should do?

Best Photo Op of 2014

   Award Recipient: Oregon Police Officer Sgt. Bret Barnum hugging African-American Devonte Hart (giving free hugs on a city block in Oregon)

Worst Photo Op of 2014

   Award Recipient: The disturbing yet haunting image of U.S. journalist James Foley kneeling next to an ISIS militant fighter In the middle of a Syrian desert.

Enough Already Award!

   Award Recipient: The Kardashians!

Worst Lie of 2014

   Award Recipient: PolitiFact’s decision of the claiming the President’s assertions that his “position hasn’t changed” on implementing immigration reform via executive order and his claim that the Islamic State is merely al-Qaeda’s jayvee team

Honorable Mention of 2014

   Award Recipient: [Tie] 1 Natalie’s Cakes and More – a single African-American business woman of two children saw the devastation of her burnt-down bakery business in Ferguson. Good will citizens, including me, came to her rescue and raised over $269K dollars to restore her damaged business.  2 Nation-wide ALS Ice Bucket Challenge – a You Tube Video phenomenon raising over $1M

Best Drama Series of 2014

   Award Recipient: Showtime’s “Homeland”

Worst Reality TV Series of 2014

   Award Recipient: VH1’s Love & Hip Hop Atlanta

Person(s) of the Year

   Award Recipient: Hundreds of unnamed braved Medical Ebola Fighters in West Africa

Song of the Year                                                               “

   Award Recipient: “Happy” – by Pharrell Williams

What the “Hell” was I thinking Award of 2014

   Award Recipient: Texas Presbyterian Nurse Amber Vinson infected with Ebola Virus flying across the country (now virus free since 10/31/2014)

Best Movie of 2014

   Award Recipient: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – released December 17, 2014

Worst Movie of 2014

   Award Recipient: Godzilla – released May 16, 2014

Most memorable slogan of 2014

   Award Recipient: “Hands Up…Don’t Shoot”

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Heart Work -vs- Hard Work

Do you recall the day you arrived at your first well-paying job? Did you feel a sense of accomplishment – ready to conquer every new job assignment presented to you? Were you then able to find yourself 100% fully committed to the values of the company? Wouldn’t it be nice to feel this way for the entire tenure of working at your job?

A few years ago, I watched a person-to-person interview with the late Bea Arthur, popularly known as the outspoken female liberal of the 70s hit television show Maude and 80s television show The Golden Girls. This actress, comedian, and singer worked for a span of sixty-one years in show business. Well up to her last years on Earth, she was working on Broadway and while taking a break, the journalist ask her “After a successful acting career, when will you decide to retire from all of this?” Ms. Arthur, who is naturally tall (5’9”), sternly stood up in her chair and without a word, gave the interviewer this famous distasteful “Maude” look [you have to see a YouTube clip of any episode to get the visual of her facial expression – yet this time it was for real http://youtu.be/3P89-jCOv6k]. She said to the interviewer….”There is NO such thing as retirement, if you love what you do!”

Maude is an American television sitcom that was originally broadcast on the CBS network from September 12, 1972 until April 22, 1978.

Maude is an American television sitcom that was originally broadcast on the CBS network from September 12, 1972 until April 22, 1978.

To me, that sounds like “HEART work!” When you wake up every day and ‘love’ what you do; that reflects heart-work. Whether you face insurmountable challenges in that love for work, your heart becomes the steering wheel of your intentions. Your passion level exudes and your mind stays focused on the work.

On the opposite spectrum of HEART work is HARD work. To be honest, there is no such thing as Hard work. It’s all in the mind…you can either refuse to make it hard or just make it hard. Our brain is the most incredible organ given to man. Imagine….we came from nomad living centuries ago to a tech culture of today! From the days of the Egyptian Empire, who would’ve thought then that people could physically land on the moon? In 1977, NASA launched a space probe named Voyager 1. At a distance of about 12 billion miles from Earth, it is the farthest operating spacecraft from our plant! Who would’ve thought that a man-made spacecraft could still communicate to us while operating 37 years later? There are new inventions and discoveries yet to be birth, but it takes brain power, passion and heart work to achieve it!

Discover your Heart work before it’s too late (smile)!

Let’s go people and do some good!

Dash’in Toward Your Passion!

Imagine walking on a seashore of a beach and you discovered a decorative gleaming long neck glass bottle with a removable cork. You pulled the cork and instantly, a smoky shaped Genie figure oozed out the neck of the bottle. The Genie tells you that he has mystical powers to make your life easier. Much to your amazement, the Genie then say that he’ll grant and fulfill two of your greatest wishes! Would any of your two wishes be something you passionately want to do in life? Or would both wishes be self-gratifying desires.

In reality, the good news is that you don’t have to look for a Genie in a bottle, our heavenly Father can be relied upon to fulfill the desires of your heart. From the moment you came into the world, you were molded and wired to do something for greatness. You have unlimited wishes you can request – just seek Him first!

So why is it that most people feel like they’re trapped in mundane work; unable to move toward that ‘thing’ they really want to do? What is keeping individuals away from their passionate work? And why can’t they just start today and dash or sprint right into it?

Most will give you responses that leads to financial security or the fear of not having sufficient earnings to live. Others will say they don’t have enough time; especially if they have a young family, ever increasing job responsibilities, church/civic duties, continuing higher education, and yes, yard work.

Many will know their passion(s), but stay clear away from it because of the above excuses. Only a few will break beyond those reasons and plunge into the challenge to dash toward their passions. Those same few will also delay gratification just to balloon their [at-the-start] non-generating passions. The pursuit toward your passion can start of shaky and difficult; yet gratifying enough to keep you up during the wee-hours of the night! Comedian and National Syndicated Radio DJ Steve Harvey said “Your career is what you’re paid for. Your calling (passion) is what you’re made for.”

Wondered if you began to channel your energies to pursue your passion? Many famous people did…and the moment they decided to advance toward their passion; their personal finances substantially increased, their network of influence grew, they were able to impact the lives of people wherever they traveled, and they grew spiritually in the direction that God led them.

So what’s stopping you again? Can you move from “I wish I could…” to “I will become…?”

Your passion(s) is/are waiting for you…run to it!

Missing in Missouri

    Two weeks after a controversial encounter of a local police officer and an unarmed teen, the city of Ferguson, Missouri still feel the raw emotions of wanting to feel safe while hoping to seek justice at the same time. The unfortunate situation resulted in the shooting death of an 18-year old teen – no longer able to walk the streets of this Earth. He’ll never have a chance to go to the local community college his parents said he prepared for. He’ll be missed.

    As for the police officer involved in this tragedy, he’ll never be the same – his name will always be historically etched in the chronicles of this controversy. Whether he be hated or praised…his name will continue to stir debate at everyone’s dinner table for years to come. We’re missing his side of this awful story.

    As for Michael Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, her name will now join the long list of agonizing mothers trying to cope with the lost yet wanting to seek justice on behalf of her child. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to see Michael splattered over the internet and to view the positive and negative statements about his life – mostly leading up to that deadly situation. She’ll miss his smile or have the pleasurable benefit to see him grow older, marry, have kids, and make his parents proud.

    People throughout the country (and the world) are depending on our government system to fill in the missing blanks of this tragedy. Will there be an indictment against the police officer? Will the grand jury find cause that Michael Brown assaulted the police officer before his death? Will the local police department of Ferguson ever find ways regain the trust of the community? Will the local police department become more diverse in the hiring of their staff?  So many missing pieces…

    But what’s missing in Ferguson and around the country is the missing element of human engagement. We rely too much on our electronic phone devices to be the source of communicating to one another. I sat in a barber’s chair this afternoon and notice that every guy sitting in front of me (about six of them), all focused on their phone devices. No one looked up and no one desired to raise a conversation.

    Days after the tragedy, I felt the need to spend time with my mentee Otis. I later reached out to a few young men across the street from my house. It was a way to engage with them; to hear them and how they felt about the situation. Maybe there is a way to ease the social tension of our communities – by simply talking to one another. One could only wonder, if every adult in this country made an attempt to talk or speak to the younger generation, perhaps most of them would listen enough to moralistically view his/her countrymen and learn how to respect one another. It’s been said that children spell love T-I-M-E!

    In Proverbs 22:6 in the New International Version of the Bible, it says “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” So many of our children aren’t trained or correctly directed! That is what’s missing!

    So what are you going to do today? Are you blessed to have kids living in your home? Start right there; then bring your children’s friends over. Later, speak up at a PTA meeting and speak to the school faculty to begin conversations with the children. You may be encouraged to attend your church’s Sunday School ministry and start those conversations there. Perhaps you are a football coach; you might want to incorporate some social conversations with the guys. The cost is too great not to start somewhere. We don’t want to MISS out on this opportunity.

Let go people and do some good!

D.A.W.N. of a New Day!

Let’s be real folks…at the beginning of each morning, some of us seek to refuel our lethargic minds with fresh baked information of the day. All too often, we switch the television on or dial our favorite radio station in the car to gain information. These mediums are generally about everything that is wrong in the world. You can assume that the “A” block of news in the morning will discuss the following things:

• Political indifferences
• Social indifferences
• Natural Disasters
• Out-of-this World or Bazaar news
• People in crisis

As I write this, I’m beginning not to feel too good (SMH).

How can you eliminate those morning stressors? Many would tell you to:

1) Drink a cup of fresh brewed coffee
2) Spend time to Meditate/Pray
3) Relaxing Exercises or Stretches
4) Listen to soft-easy soundscape music

That’s all good, but how to maintain a positive start throughout the day you might ask? Well, consider the following:

D = Discover the benefits of your Passion

Yes, whatever you want to do in life, daily challenge yourself to seek the benefits of your Passion. For example, if you believe you are gifted in music and you’d like to play the piano, think about the reason why you want to play the violin. Is it to relax yourself, or would you think it will benefit the elderly in a nursing home? Is playing the piano a way to add extra income, or should it be your chance to perform with a world renowned symphony orchestra? Is it for the benefit to become the next great Liberace, or do you want to be a blessing by playing with your child at his/her Christmas pageant? Spend some time each morning to discover what would be those benefits.

A = Act out your Passion

From the provoking questions above, all you have to do is just ‘act’ out on them. Start today and practice those Christmas songs – it’s now July! In five months, you’ll be ready to present a musical concert of songs for the kids. What better time of the day is to use the morning to review those holiday song sheets!

W = Seek the Wisdom of those living their Passion

You can either self-teach yourself to play the piano or hire someone who ‘teaches’ others to play the piano. I’ve always felt to have someone to mentor or coach me in things that I don’t know. The wisdom of others will make it easier to reach your Passion faster versus going it alone.

N = Your Passion is Natural to you

You immediately feel something once you place your fingers on the piano. That feeling isn’t nervousness, it isn’t frustration, it’s a soothing natural easiness – you feel free. As you play out the holiday songs on the piano, it takes you:

• back to your childhood singing Christmas carols at school.
• to a moment to feel the warmth of a home in winter and the smell of fresh baked gingerbread cookies
• to a time when you stood around the family piano and saw your own grandmother play Christmas songs as everyone else sang the verses!

The D.A.W.N. of each new morning can put you into a pleasurable feeling and give you a sense of emotional balance that carries you through the day! Make it your mission to fulfill your passion so that others may benefit from it!

Let go people and do some good!

Heavenly Moments in Haiti

By reading the subject of this recent blog, you might disagree with the lexiconic statement. How could “anyone” experience heavenly moments in Haiti? Well, I recently did…

I traveled to Haiti last month on my second mission trip of the year – my year-long mission expedition for www.lifewalkmission.org. Once there, I met other mission-minded travelers who all were enlisted by a U.S. based organization called Adventures in Missions. Unlike other mission travels, I would not know any of my team members before I took that first step onto to the third largest Caribbean nation. Looking back on it now, I’m so grateful to have new relationships with the most incredible individuals who came from all parts of the United States – even one who traveled all the way from London!

Four several hours at the airport, we patiently waited for everyone to arrive on different flights – yours truly was the fourth of eleven travelers appearing through international customs that day. When our last member arrived, we then boarded a bus for Carrefour, Haiti. This hillside hamlet community awaited our presence; a town that is said to be near the epicenter of Haiti’s catastrophic magnitude 7.0 earthquake four years ago.

Our first night was filled with high excitement and group learning activities. As the navy blue skies darkened and the flicker of universal stars began to illuminate ever so brightly above us, our team leader wanted to begin bible study on top of the flat-roof where we slept.

Mission work to me is all about serving and of the many years of mission work, never had I experienced what was to take place that night. It was from the bible passage of John 13 where Jesus performed the most humbled act to his disciples – the washing of their feet! Our humbled and passionate team leader Jonathan M. performed this gentle act to each of us on the cool breezy night on the roof-top.

Jesus’ simple act of foot-washing teaches us the kind of humility God wants us to have. For the rest of the week, the spirit of team unity was so profound and prevalent. No one balked, complained, refused, nor murmured during our time in Haiti. And though our walking travels throughout the town was physically rough and challenging, we were commitment to find the lost, the least and the left.

Each day our team weathered the sweltering heat of Haiti; their perspiration of passion was evident as we played, laughed, and encouraged young kids during Vacation Bible School on the open soccer field in the community. We divided into small teams to canvass the hillside village to speak with those who did or didn’t know Abba father. Toward the end of the week, we put on a skit for the community that displayed how God can be ‘your’ EVERYTHING – a five minute moving exhibit of a person going through the evil temptations on Earth and eventually displaying how God is still there with you through it all.

Our work wasn’t done just yet! Of our last day together, we went to the local public beach to enjoy the quality of time in Haiti. The team realized that one of our members had never been baptized. God was giving us one more instruction – to officiate a candidate for baptism! As we surrounded our sister and prayed together, the waters near the shore grew calm; and the heavenly clouds opened to present the glowing sun above. It felt as if we were in the Jordan River! The angels looking over the balcony of heaven rejoiced that day!

The international community may never show or discuss the positive side of the country – yes, it is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. How strange that one of the richest countries lies at a distance of 90 minutes in flight! Someone said to me years ago, “The world doesn’t have a wealth problem, but a distribution problem!”

While Haiti may be a country with wide-spread poverty, YOU can encounter heavenly moments there!

Let go people and do some good!

Be Real

Keeping it Real” – a slogan often heard by television entertainers and comedians. Urban dictionary.com defines it as “a reaction stated by individuals claiming to deny pop culture and sticking with their own thing.” For me, I find that most individuals are REAL if they are truly passionate about the things they do in life!

The “Realness” in you speaks for itself. You will often receive compliments and praises when “Realness” is presence. While people tend to gravitate to a real person, people repel from bogus individuals.

Here’s a permanent formula to remain “Real” to others:

Harbor yourself with real people [to] do real things [to] make real impact!

Harbor yourself with real people

Like [positive] minds tend to thrive and produce. We find that evident in Toastmaster clubs throughout the world. We find that evident in social clubs. We find that evident in churches. We even find that evident in some of our circle of friends! Real people edify and challenge each other – good or bad. Real people accept criticism or hurtful comments and turn that feedback into positive outcomes.

Do real things

The former South African leader and renowned world-leader Nelson Mandela said “Real Leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people.”

Can you imagine the tumultuous life Mandela endured for decades in jail? Can you imagine the emotions he had to manage while separated from his family? Yet, he stayed faithful to the cause in doing the real thing – to see that his people would one day be free from Apartheid. The thirst within his veins kept him hungry for that quenchable taste of justice.

Make real impact

Here’s the benefit for those who gravitate to Real People:

  • Real People have something to give that will make others change or improve
  • The wisdom of Real People can leave a profound legacy
  • Real People duplicate greatness throughout his or her community
  • Real People are purposed to demonstrate and model servanthood

This formula can and will keep you passionate and purposeful!

Let go people and do some good!