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April 29, 2016

When Doves Cry…

It’s been one week since the tragic and sudden death of the Artist Prince. It is really interesting how so many of us have felt a deep, personal loss when we heard the news of his passing. And, yet, Prince is someone that most of us have never seen in person nor met.

Why, then, do we feel like we have lost someone so dear to us?

Was it the music that endeared us to him?

Was it his stance against the music industry that made us feel like he knew our struggles against the Corporate machines in America?

Was it his ability to remain scandal-free in the midst of an always-salacious industry that thrives off of misfortune and chaos?

Was it his refusal to “prostitute” his music to make money on TV commercials?

Was it the damn fashion that he embodied that made us proud of his independence?

Yes.

To all of that.

He was our Prince…who “could take your girl while wearing heels” to quote music mogul L.A. Reid in a recent interview describing his friend, Prince.

I am so very glad that he came our way, and shared his genius for the world to marvel at.

Touch here for the song that always had me torn between smiles and tears.

Peace.

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In God We Trust…

It seems that in the chase for more money, dineros, Benjamins, there is such irony in four words that are prominent on the bills of our currency, “In God We Trust.” Those words are once again at the center of a controversy in Congress, as to whether they belong on the currency of a nation that is ever-leaning away from it’s once Christian based majority.

in-god-we-trust

I had a thought today, as I considered what a Christian believer might think about the expectation that The Creator, God, Yahweh, might be looking for from them. Might He want people to treat each other with more compassion? More love? To feed the hungry? House the homeless? Insure the safety for elders and children?

Yet, today in America, we have an entire city, Flint, Michigan, which has gone without clean water for the past year, because the elected officials wanted to save money…In God We Trust?

In America today, we still have gas prices at elevated levels, even though the trading price of a barrel of oil is less than $30 per barrel. And at-the-pump prices are one dollar ($1.00) per gallon higher in under-served/ghetto neighborhoods, than in those less than three miles away. In God We Trust?

In America today, and particularly every Monday, many congregations make hefty deposits in banks that likely will deny loans to the very same people whose deposits are now in those institutions. In God We Trust?

What might we as a Nation do going forward, in this election year, to embody the values and ethics that the Creator requires of us? Is it at all possible to separate the love of money from the notion that the wealthiest nation on Earth is also the one that has so many isms? Racism. Sexism. Classism. In God We Trust?

In God We Trust.

Maybe He would like to see more proof…

Peace.

HelpingHands

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As we approach the upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas season…it’s ironic that somehow we’ve gone from a time of year that was about family and food, to one that promotes and embodies consumerism. A time now that many look forward to only in hopes of saving lots of money while shopping on Black Friday.

As a kid, and even later as an adult, I knew it was important to get the food, beverages and any items needed for the family meal, the days before Thanksgiving or Christmas, because of the knowledge that nothing would be open on those days. What you did not have…you did without. It made meal and event planning something everyone had to participate in. To forget the eggnog, or cherry pie would be scorned upon by all who had their taste buds ripe and ready. You got it right or got talked about.

Somewhere in the past 20 years the owners of grocery, department and corner stores decided that their perceived loss of revenue was more important than allowing their employees time off to spend with loved ones. We now have a generation of adults who have never known a time when Walgreens or Wal-Mart were not open for their needs to be immediately satisfied.

Is it unreasonable for us as Mothers, Fathers, and friends to insist that our family members be afforded time to fellowship in the old-fashioned American way? Somehow, in the never-ending-drama that is the Republican or Democratic debates, not one candidate dare suggest that family values outweigh net profits. Not one.

So, I challenge you, my friends, to NOT shop on Black Friday or Thanksgiving Day.

No_blk_Friday

Will you join me to make a powerful statement by boycotting the mass hysteria that is created by profit-driven corporations? Or, will you go along like too many who have no recollection of what it means to have the entire family around the table? I am counting on you to honor Conscience. Not convenience.

And should your lights go out over the holidays…just light candles and tell stories. Those memories will last forever. Not who ran out to get replacement bulbs…

Peace.

Family Eating Thanksgiving Dinner --- Image by © Larry Williams/CORBIS

Family Eating Thanksgiving Dinner — Image by © Larry Williams/CORBIS

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The Empty Chair This Year…

As we approach another Holiday Season, it is often a difficult time for one MAJOR reason. There’s an empty chair at the dinner table this year. One which had been filled by a loved one who is no longer with you.

Black-Thanksgiving

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And the memories of past holidays together linger with each family member. All too often we lament about missed opportunities to ask questions. Say, “I Love You.” Reminisce about the “good old days.”

It’s even more difficult for a spouse to attend the current holiday activities, for the first time without their longtime partner. Their choice to attend or not is a difficult one. Here’s an article that may provide some insight into how you can support their choice: click here

One suggestion is to record video of each family member this year. With technology being so much easier to use today, there is little reason to not capture these all-too-special moments. And if you are wondering what to do with all those photos and video files…consider this: Click here

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The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris

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Who’s watching YOU?

As the past seven years have unfolded, we have seen the move from capturing video content on a tape-based format, to one that is purely digital and tapeless. Those of us in the industry of capturing events and crafting stories are now joined, whether we like it or not, by the legion of cell phone owners who can record high-definition (HD) footage, and upload the content directly to the Internet. No editing. No reviewing. No way…

mobile-phone-crowd-pictures

What it has also done is make us keenly aware, as many law enforcement officers are coming to grips with, that you can be recorded at any time. Anywhere. Without your knowledge or consent. That is scary…

So, now, we must be ever mindful that any/everything that you do can be recorded. Have we gone too far in the name of “free speech?” Those of us in the media know all too well, that the “camera never lies…”

With “red light” cameras on many intersections, on the exterior and interiors of numerous businesses, we are all being “monitored”, whether you give permission or not. And to borrow a phrase which will obviously date me, and recall what was once a total surprise and is now commonplace, “smile, you’re on Candid Camera,” is now the norm.

cctv

We better be ready for all that can come from such immediacy.

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Who’s watching YOU?

As the past seven years have unfolded, we have seen the move from capturing video content on a tape-based format, to one that is purely digital and tapeless. Those of us in the industry of capturing events and crafting stories are now joined, whether we like it or not, by the legion of cell phone owners who can record high-definition (HD) footage, and upload the content directly to the Internet. No editing. No reviewing. No way…

mobile-phone-crowd-pictures

What it has also done is make us keenly aware, as many law enforcement officers are coming to grips with, that you can be recorded at any time. Anywhere. Without your knowledge or consent. That is scary…

So, now, we must be ever mindful that any/everything that you do can be recorded. Have we gone too far in the name of “free speech?” Those of us in the media know all too well, that the “camera never lies…”

With “red light” cameras on many intersections, on the exterior and interiors of numerous businesses, we are all being “monitored”, whether you give permission or not. And to borrow a phrase which will obviously date me, and recall what was once a total surprise and is now commonplace, “smile, you’re on Candid Camera,” is now the norm.

cctv

We better be ready for all that can come from such immediacy.

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As America celebrated her birthday this weekend, I took some time to reflect.

Time to consider what it means to be free. Free to be who I am. Free to come and go as I please. Free to rebuild my life. Free to question what we are becoming…in these yet-to-be-United States.

In contrast to what we as citizens of the United States sought to celebrate…on the 4th of July, with it’s still-unresolved history of abuse towards Africans, Native Americans and anyone deemed a threat to progress, I am at peace. That peace emanates from the past 5 years of coming to terms with my own shortcomings, choice-consequences-lessons, and newfound faith in a life-journey that has me more joyful and hopeful than I’ve felt in more than 30 years.

Unlike some Americans, I know how I have hurt others by my choices. I have sought to make amends, offer apologies and even, and of utmost importance, forgiven myself. The Creator of this Universe has laws that are indisputable. Laws that can not be bought, redirected nor displaced. For it is true that there is a consequence on the other side of the choices we make. I have been on both sides…and am now being welcomed into the place of true joy and emotional peace.

It is my prayer that this Country, founded on principles of freedom of religious worship, freedom to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, available to only White men who owned property in 1776, but must now include Black Americans, Latino Americans and Same-sex Americans…will do as I have done. Take a deep and honest look in the mirror. See the truth that is obvious to everyone…make the required changes allowing every citizen a fair chance at the opportunities we are so ready to kill-to-protect.

As I received the final divorce papers from my attorney this week, thus setting me free from a difficult and painful time in my life, I am eager to move ahead, secure in myself like never before. Ready to take down and permanently place, in my own museum, the Confederate flag of my painful past. Maybe I can convince a few others in America to do the same.

And the price of this freedom can’t be bought. It is truly FREE.

Peace.

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Let it all go…Fear. Doubt. Disbelief.

One of the seminal early scenes in a top 5 Favorite Movies of mine, The Matrix, has Morpheus telling Neo on the rooftop, prior to them jumping from one building to the next…is that line above. “You’ve got to let it all go, Neo. Fear. Doubt and Disbelief.”

It really is a mind game that we play on ourselves, usually more times a day than we want to believe, when we scuttle our better interests because of a fear-based false belief. Neo made a great run to the end of the building, jumps with conviction, having witnessed Morpheus successfully make his jump. Then, not yet halfway towards the target building, he looks down, and in that moment loses his focus, and likely, his faith. He hits the ground below…just like everyone else who had attempted this jump before him.

How many people do we see each day who are in flight, between the two buildings, and are wavering in their faith…and focus? It is quite possible that we all have varying degrees of that loss of belief in what the Creator has for us in this life. We are long past our youthful innocence and ignorant bliss. A time when we believed we could do ANYTHING. And now, at what should be our most powerful and productive years, we listen to long to that voice which says…not Me.

Now, in my new decade of living, I must believe that my best days are ahead of me. I am grateful for the lessons learned from years now behind me, some full of pleasant memories and good times, while others a bit darker and painful from harsh consequences of choices not well made.

Let’s be mindful this year, to ignore those fear-based noisemakers, real and imagined, that would keep us living below our greatness. I challenge you to turn off the TV…and visit your local library. Check out a book or two. Visit a museum and enjoy the art created by those who overcame the shackles and limitations imposed by a society afraid of “differences.”

Ready. Set. Jump. Click here for the Jump Scene…

Peace.

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What an amazing time I have enjoyed the past few days, as I celebrated the 60th anniversary of my birth. To spend the afternoon with my immediate family and extended family/friends, many of whom I have had as part of my life for over 50 years was special in a way that I have not words to describe.

The well-wishes sent to me via the multiple social media outlets to which I subscribe have been overwhelming. It has again reminded me of the power that social media can play in our lives. It is my intention to publicly and privately thank each person who took time to salute me on this birthday occasion.

In reflecting upon the journey to arrive at 60 years, I sought to blog daily from T-minus 60 days…up to the actual date, January 19th. I got sidetracked a few days, and even went weeks without posting my thoughts. However, when I did take the time to write, it gave me a sense, as it should do for us all, that what is inside of us is important. Not just to us, but to those who are watching our lives unfold.

Our stories of overcoming as we trek through this life journey are but stepping stones for our children, grandchildren, and unseen others, who want to find their way without getting too wet and dirty…because, as we can now attest, life is not always pretty nor perfect.

I commit now, and for as long as The Creator allows me to be here in my physical body, to share my thoughts, feelings and even my foibles, so that my heirs will know that it can truly be a journey of love and laughter. If it is in His will, the next 30 years are going to be such a wonderful experience and, I pray, makes each of you proud to have shared this time with me.

Now, let’s get moving…there is much to be done.

Peace.

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