Clouds In My Coffee

You’re so vain, you probably think this is about you. Probably not the best way to start a piece, but this one is written out of both frustration AND irony.  The hours upon hours I spend contemplating the world around me is compounded by MY need to address every single injustice in my own view. So although not everything I say or do is in reference to someone else, it is about me.  
And so I began this Sunday like any other. Preparing for worship!  The routine consists of hopping out of bed, thanking the Lord for another day, a round of food for the household pets, and a rush to prepare the music for Sunday service. 

*We can’t forget the pets here, because they bring added joy to my life, even though their joy can not be shared by many house guests during parties and soirées.  

But when I arrived to church, I was informed that I wasn’t needed to play the morning selections.  I wasn’t disappointed, but I wasn’t relieved. The trustees advised me that we had a new pianist who’d defected from another ministry.  He was blind, but will be playing music from memory.  This was glorious and an unanticipated relief.  We’d be blessed with live music as opposed to the canned hymns I had stored for the congregation.  

As I sat idle awaiting the daily word, my sister-in-Christ sent me a text message. She attended yesterday’s soirée in my home, and was taking me up on my offer for brunch.  I was excited. 

The day was going to be a great sequel to yesterday’s gathering–an attempt to bring my close friends (and core team) together for my next step. And it was about to get better.  I’d already planned to attend a party in the evening: 

My big announcement had been delayed.  It wasn’t about me at all.  As host, I made it about my guests!  It was about fellowship.  It was about stories and sharing.  It was about opportunity. 

I hadn’t had the opportunity to explain my reason for the event.  My guests were eager, but confused.  Why were we here?  An age old question, philosophers my guests were not.  

I’ll recall the nights interactions for months to come; the questions, the explanations, and the opportunity.  I’d waited 90 days for a promotion.  It had arrived. I was nervous.  I called for an intermission.  I offered an explanation, and asked for an intervention. I got it!  

Rattled but encouraged, I am eager to celebrate my life today (and tomorrow).  


Sunday service, brunch, a long drive though the country, and a great follow up.  And it wasn’t about me?  No, I am just a catalyst.  But I’m ready to be the driving force.  

The promotion that I sought has arrived. The injustices that I encountered along the way we’re revelations but not inhibitors.  There will be other struggles. There will be obstacles, and there will be people within my circle who will challenge me.  

I will meet each with enthusiasm and passion. I will take no prisoners.  I will take liberties that were once reserved for someone else, but I am cognizant of this:  

“Although we have rights, not everything we do is right!” 

I’m prepared for the wrongs.  I take responsibility for those wrong things I’ve done deliberately, but I am unapologetic for the feelings that get hurt along the way.  I’m am not going to empathize with you if you’re injured by a third party.  Instead I will encourage you to stand up for yourself and take hold of your own energy. And finally, I will stand tall to repel any weapons formed against me–vehemently!  

And if you think this is about you, well… It could be. But it’s not.  I am speaking from my perspective.  And when the facts change, so will my narrative. 

Bartering Death for Life

Last will and testaments are designed to determine who will inherit a legacy (financial or otherwise) after death.  Often its contents are secret–revealed by an actuary.  Alas, the disappointment that follows the revelation that there is nothing to be had.  It’s fantastic though when someone is named in a will that might have otherwise been overlooked.

But what happens when the living use their will to manipulate a future that is uncertain?

When my father was alive, he made a statement to my mother. He was not at all worried about what would happen after death. He said, “if you die before me, I’ll have all your things thrown into a dumpster!”  He didn’t want to be bothered with the remnants of anyone else’s remains. It hurt my mom to hear this.  And when he pre-deceased her, it took years to sift through his personal belongings.  An eventual house fire finished off the job, and now we sift through the ashes (and the boxes of personal effects that survived the disaster).

The only will he left was one that was surely crafted with the help of a spouse, rather than legal counsel.  But it didn’t matter, because all he left us was a loan.  Not alone, but a LOAN.  Bills!

Fire insurance converted that debt into assets.  The last will and testament that once existed is irrelevant after years of recovery and acceptance of things we can not control.  His legacy lives on in spirit.  The circumstances that precipitated his death have been forgiven. We don’t stress over the recovery.  We miss him and reminisce about the the way he carried himself, his thoughts, and the impact he had on us.

He once told me, “death is a part of life, son…the end part.” He’d chuckle, but I would snare in the inappropriateness of it all.  He said if you ever want to know how much I love you, take a look at my will, and then he’d gesture to where in the house he kept all of his important documents.  I never had the desire to check.  It was irrelevant.  I didn’t realize then how much HE would be missed once he was gone.  No life insurance claim can compensate for that. There’s no grave to visit–no ashes to hold.  Only a memory and a whisper.  “If dad were still here…”

But his widow has survived.  All that was his was replaced with what is she has earned. Sweat and tears, a new legacy is born. Everything has changed but the address.  Photo reproductions line the coffee table as we look back, laugh, and cry.

Talks of a new last will and testament recur occasionally.  “How will we divide all of this?” Who will get the house?  Who will manage the affairs.  Who will liquidate the assets and pay off the debt.  Whoever volunteers is certainly entitled to a little something for their troubles.  I felt better about it when I was convinced that it was all trash.

But their are pictures…and memories.  Heirlooms and keepsakes aren’t replaceable, but the don’t have value to anyone but family.  I am reluctant engage in the plans because I don’t want any of it.  I resent that these talks elude to entitlements, requirements, obligations, and guilt.  I don’t want to behave differently because there is a reward on the other side of death.  I’d rather not.  I decline.

There is a guilt in not wanting be bothered.  And the grandchildren hear things that equate to spoils and unearned riches.  Is it fair to them to not consider their well being?  Are they not entitled to a hand-me-down or a piece of a legacy?

For some, a legacy is inherited.  It could be something as simple as a surname.  For others it’s a dynasty.  For us, it is neither.  It’s a burden…and an empty promise.  Good will and favor now will translate into an inheritance 10 years (or 30 years) from now. That’s a long time to pledge allegiance to an otherwise healthy matriarch.

If I had a choice, I’d give up any supposed riches for a nice cup of coffee and a non-judgmental conversation that is not disguised as a lecture. I long for genuine advice and fellowship. I choose life over death.


As I evolve, death still seems so far off.  With no will of my own, I can only hope that my own children will not sacrifice their character for a few cold bank notes.  I procrastinate the inevitable.  I hope that I will not fall to manipulating their loyalty in exchange for insincere elder care and a power-of-attorney.

I choose the living.  I will not barter a lifetime of wealth (and eventual death) in exchange for appreciation while I am alive.  I can not take it with me, but only my namesake will be my legacy.  The rest can be thrown away.


No Problem, Brother!

The blessing is in the doing–not the speaking.  There are plenty of folks, however,  who unknowingly trade in their blessings for recognition. That perfect attendance certificate at the end of the year (or the good Sumaritan award for being at the right place at the right time) merely affirms the good character that always existed.  But if there were no affirmations or if their was no reward at the end of a long journey, would we still perform the task? 

The pillars of character that we exploit in elementary school is a last ditch effort to convince bad kids that they should be good “even when no one is watching…”   Educators and disciplinarians, counselors and social workers struggle to instill a conscience that was formed long before the student was enrolled in school.

Mankind is not inately evil, but the premise of predestined fate sort of eludes effort.  Put another way, everyone has a responsibility to create their own outcomes. But if we could peek to the end of the story, we would.   

I have a resume that highlights a lot of my experience.  I interview well for new opportunities, drawing from a pool of accomplishments and achievements. But I don’t speak of my good deeds. Nor do I discuss the failures that brought me to be the person who I am today.  

My misdeeds are well noted in heaven (and in other places too, I’m sure).  My failures are learning experiences.  They drive me.  But I reflect.  I’ll entertain my audience with comical prose as I delighted myself in my whimsical ironies.  

Have you ever heard of the Business Sisters?  Nun-Ya and Mine-Ya?  They’re all in your business but they’re not in mine. 

Despite the fact that my stories are told countless times to an ever-critical audience, the real important stories can’t find their way out of my heart.  I keep them close.  They’re not fit for social consumption.  Those are the real stories that have formed the man I am today.

More than any anecdote, my most intimate stories will never be shared.  They are not glorious.  They are not revelations of truth.  They won’t be fodder for a blog or the anthology.  They are the ANTI-truth.  These are the stories that should die with me.  They are the bricks–walls that counselors can’t break; walls that lovers can’t climb; walls that not even the bestest friend can stomach.  

And yet those experiences at the heart of the untold story are formidable.  No one is only a product of their environment.  Merely a backdrop for the untold narrative, environment changes far more frequently than our hearts. 

Heredity and experiences have the meaningful impact on our journey.  The internal struggles fuel the external conflicts.  Atleast it’s the case for ME. And the story is Nunya Business.  🙃

I’m shedding my skin and I’ve convinced myself that I’ve got to get these stories off my mind before I loose my mind.  It’s hard to choose between the red pill and the blue pill when your belief system gets rocked. I’m clinging to an old rugged cross that is surrounded by serpents.  

Now these serpents are merely garter snakes under my feet.  But they are annoying.  They have names like Guilt, Polygamy, Arrogance, Doubt, and Ignorance.  They romance me and pressure me to have a little fun.  Like any persistent peer, they are committed enough to light the flame.  But they flee in the face of adversity.  

They’re not demons.  I don’t even want to entertain the notion. Instead let’s identify these serpents as friends, family, colleagues, and employers.  Why?  Because these are the people with whom we spend the most time and who demand the most of our energy.  

No stranger would make such demands or be so critical.  Nor would we be so inclined.  I’ve searched for new friends!  I may have found a few.  They too insist that I give of myself.  But I’m not alone. They are right there with me.  Pushing me. Pulling me!  Cheering me on (and supporting me when I grow weak).  They are my partners:  Innocence, Chastity,  Humility, Confidence, and Clairvoyance.  They are not always close by. 

Sure enough when they work together, their shade-throwing cousin Hypocracy is always hiding in the shadows. Decency usually arrives late to stomp the life out of my foes.  

This is surely a story that can be told, but an invitation to wind up is really a sign that it’s time to wind down.  

Long story short

The man said, “thank you.”  He owed me nothing.  As a matter of fact, he didn’t even know me.  But his gratitude was from the heart–not just good manners.  I was humbled to be asked to help.  My response:  “no problem, Brother!”

What’d U Say ‘Bout My Momma?

The words and phrases we use in our daily lives mean so much more than we are implying.  I mean to say that there’s a hidden connotation in so many American expressions.  We can’t be sure what’s really being said or even why that expression was the best way to get the point across.  

Blessings in disguise

When placed in a uncomfortable situation and I need to explain the unexplainable, I submit that it must an act of God.  Even non-believers accept this as a generic result for unpleasantness.  Loss of an opportunity, a personal relationship, or a wicked case of bitterness from a family member (just to name a few) all lend themselves to disguised blessings.  

Can’t win them all

Nor should we.  After all, losses build character.  No one wants to lose, but most of us agree that winners who aren’t humble deserve no special consideration. How do we measure success?  We grow from unpleasantness and discomfort.  These things drive us to work harder and to overcome adversity.  To win them all means to never grow.  Few things just ARE.  Most things BECOME. 

Don’t burn bridges…

That moment we realize that we’ve had enough–when something that was said or done and cannot be overlooked any longer–is when we are warned not to burn bridges. We might want to come back.  Come back to what?!?  When that moment occurs, we know that there’s no looking back.  “Burn, Baby, burn!”  

I’m sorry

Here’s one that is used too frequently and often misused.  Does this mean that condolences are being offered or is it an apology?  It depends on the context, right?  But when a cheating husband says it, it means he wishes he hadn’t gotten caught.  “I’m sorry, I’m sorry” is merely a plea to stop the badgering–like when a kid breaks a dinner plate due to carelessness.  It’s a personal expression that has little to do with actual sorrow and more to do with one’s feelings about something.  In French, the expression is “Je suis desolé” which means “I feel.”   We don’t feel as often as we act.  And so I suggest: don’t be sorry; be CAREful. 

We speak too quickly and think too slowly. In the wrong company, that behavior can be dangerous. Children make this mistake often enough that elders coined the expression “children should be seen, not heard…”   This may explain why toddlers who are too quiet (and out of sight) cause panic.    

It’s our closeness that enables us to speak so freely.  Stop and think for a moment of the last conversation that you had with a friend or family member.  Aren’t we pretty liberal around our folks.  We say things we shouldn’t, express opinions that are judgemental, and don’t worry too much about the consequences. 

Have you ever had a stranger use a “familiar” expression while approaching you.  Which is more startling?  The expression or the approach?

Ever want to slow someone down?  Ever need them to step back and regroup?  Try this one:

“What’d you say about my momma?!?”

No one EVER takes that liberty.  That would be taking it too far.  Them’s fighting words!  But why?

Lest our losses be in vain

Every bad thing that happens…happens for a reason.  We are supposed to have an optimistic approach to everything(?) Can’t we be mad, angry, or sad?  To waste our energy on anything non-productive is just THAT–wasteful…and in vain–for nothing.   

Good bye

Few fair wells are good.  An abbreviated “so long” is just… “bye” but does that mean it’s not good?  We can’t be certain.  So consider these things when speaking.  

Until we meet again

Defining My Humility

I’ve been warned that the devil has ears too. I’ve seen my blessings halted because I allowed the rules of the world to distract me. I’ve experienced the deception by loved ones because they’ve exploited my humanity.  The result of being open, honest, and transparent.  

Why should I be surprised.  My savior was crucified despite His love for the world.  He was crucified BECAUSE of his love for the world.  What would Jesus do?  He’s already done it!  I could only be…(insert adjective here). 

We teach our children that sticks and stones can break our bones, but words can never hurt us. You know the adage.  It’s one of the first things we’re taught in our formative years.  But words DO hurt.  The amount of physical healing pales in comparison to emotional recovery.  Coupled with actions, words can build a nation or destroy it.  

My words are carefully chosen.  When I make a statement, it’s well thought out and deliberate. My words are a direct correlation with my feelings. When my feelings change, my expressions adjust accordingly.  When I put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), my words become meaningful–my emotions evident.  I am taking action.  My words are amplified.  And yet I remain humble (?)

There’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance.  I am reminded often. My emotions are less balanced in the face of injustice. Im learning late in life that rational people find ways to justify their actions.  Irrational people are often perceived as incapable, insecure, or mentally ill.  Especially when their words do not match their actions, we may even conclude that they are hypocrites.  

Well I’m here to tell you, in the words of the late great Prince Rogers Nelson, there’s something else…the afterworld. 

What he didn’t tell you is that we’ve crossed over into the afterworld a long time ago.  There was no unified moment in our collective lives.  No definitive moment conveys the leap from the old life to the new.  For some, it’s the moment that they accept their salvation.  For others, it’s the birth of their first child.  

For me, it was the admission that the people I valued the most, cared for me the least.  Through their actions and their words I can no longer overlook the malice.  The innocence is on par with my naiveness. That single moment, my world was inverted. I’m sad to admit that it’s happened more than once.  It’s likely that it will happen again.  

Each time, I pray that the trauma will revert my life, my circumstances, and my outlook back to an innocent time.  I pray that my journey becomes more pleasant and that I will arrive at my destination bruised but intact.  Instead, each time I’m jilted, I become more jolted and more bitter.  I haven’t yet been able to return to the innocence. Trapped in the afterworld.   

I’m less humble than I was.  My life has value. I wake daily and thank God for another chance to let his light shine through me.  Every night I drop to my knees asking forgiveness for letting that light dim. Man sins daily.  I am no different.  There have been days I couldn’t make it past noon before I begged for forgiveness. I am humbled that He allows me to continue on.  I’m not worthy.  But in His eyes, I was worthy enough…

I am humbled.  Daily!

But my humility has a limit.  My humanity is no excuse.   Damnation is on the other side of furry.  Or is it redemption?   I can’t tell yet because I’m still angry.  My words are my sword.  My victims hemmorage.  I offer no solace.   

My pastor offered an explanation when I asked for prayers and spiritual support.  I told him that I take full responsibility for the wrath I bring upon myself.  I am the common denominator in all of my problems, despelling the notion of a spiritual attack.  To which he responded, “don’t discount the power of the enemy, brother.”   Evil is all around, it knows our weaknesses. Our human flesh is no match for world.  Thank goodness it’s the sabbath!  Time to recharge my spirit…

My humility is challenged hourly.  My triggers are more obvious.  My weaknesses are exploited.  But my evolution is anticipated.  My power unleashed cannot be tempered.  Everyday brings with it a new opportunity to hone my craft.  My humility is dissolving and my confidence has morphed in to something far greater than arrogance. My faith grows. My knowledge builds. I am more aware.  I am less afraid.  I am stronger, less tolerant, and more willing to take risks.  I am all things through Christ who strengthens me.  

I am unapologetic for standing up.  Not at all sorry for my words but eager to ensure that they are aligned with my actions.  How shall I remain humble and confident simultaneously?  By learning to say “thank you…”

So now the biggest challenge is discerning who is trustworthy and who is sincere enough to accompany me along my journey.  And the biggest threat is sharing this energy with the world.  For He is not the world.  He is the great I AM.  

Seeking the Presidency

Consider for a moment the groundwork the 2016 electoral process has layed.
We now know that a celebrity can be the president.  George Clooney says no;  but it’s certainly possible. Recall the Reagan Administration.  If Charlton Heston can be the leader of the NRA, why can’t Jay Z be the spokesperson for the NAACP?

Why stop there?  Why not seize the presidency?  More rappers have visited the White House in the last seven years than EVER before.  And it’s not to perform for POTUS.  Common the rapper mentioned just last night as he posted to FB Live that although this is his first time going to the White House, it may be the last time the opportunity is extended.


What if Beyoncé became the First Lady?  Once we accept that politics is merely political showboating, we can better understand that her recent release LEMONADE was merely a brilliantly executed marketing scheme to draw attention to a musical dynasty that holds more importance than any presidential campaign.

That weekend it was released was one of the first that the media didn’t lead their newscasts with something stupid that Trump had uttered.  It took a disgusting Cinco De Mayo tweet to get America’s attention back on “what’s really important!”

We are so easily manipulated and distracted that we still accept major events in our contemporary history (such as 911, and Benghazi) at face value. How can an email scandal trump countless corporate bankruptcies and a refusal to release tax returns.  Wake Up!  Meanwhile amidst the bickering, a career-socialist democrat stole America’s heart!  Bernie’s likeliness to win the democratic nomination is contingent on how well the media is able to rob him of the needed attention. Will the media keep him from mobilizing a nation of free thinkers.  It is the imbeciles that are still embracing the electoral process–a process that relies on party delegates in leui of an electoral college, and a non-popular vote to elect a president.

Keep them subdued and blind, and the general public will believe anything.

Jay Z for President

Let’s consider the qualifications.  He is an American citizen.  So no one will question his birth certificate.  He was born here in the United States to American parents (that he keeps OUT of the spot light).  He makes no excuses for his urban upbringing and will never need to deny his relationship with drugs.

He’s over the age of 35, but has a huge demographically charged following.  Imagine getting head-bopping tweens to canvas their neighborhood encouraging their teachers and bus drivers to register to vote. He’ll have seniors leaving their 55+ Communities to vote for Hov!

Backwards thinking?!?   Not at all!

What’s the last qualifier?  Nobody remembers.  No one cares. As a nation we’ve tuned in to debate after debate.  The ratings for these televised events surpass American Idol. And even the mayor of Paris has partnered with the new Muslim mayor of London in calling the leading American presidential candidate a fool.

But Jay Z is known worldwide too!  He’s circumnavigated the globe more times than a TWA pilot. He’s got more people wearing blue than the Yankees do!  He could even get the Crips to stop battling the Bloods long enough to be challengers at the polls.  When you are both gang affiliated AND a Illuminati Icon, there’s no need for a national guard.  Do you get it?!?  He’s CONNECTED!  And his access to the White House is unlimited.

We joke that there’d never be a Lewinksky-esque scandal on Michelle’s watch, but Barrack can get dangerously close to the Queen of R & B.  And who would be the wiser?  After all, Kennedy was the sitting president during the Civil Rights Movement and a hero to many. Marilyn worked out this kinks, we learned later.

But the traditional misogynistic appeal of hip hop has given way to a larger social conscientiousness, and the rappers have grown up to be sitcom stars, movie producers, and political activists.

R & B / Hip Hop no longer accepts social norms that degrade our people.  Well, there’s a few rappers whose lyrics we can’t make sense of, but we’ll revisit them in a few years after their speech therapy and they’re WOKE.

We’ve raised the standard, and we want more. Obama was the first, not the last.  We want him to be able to run for s third term, but the Constitution won’t allow it.  We recognize that we must be the change we want to see.  Who better to bring it than an icon we all trust?

Heck with it!   Beyoncé for PRESIDENT!  Why not make the POTUS and FLOTUS the same person and the make Jay Z the chief of the SCOTUS?!?

I don’t OU anything!

You made a promise to me, and then you renegotiated.  But you didn’t negotiate with me…you decided to collaborate without me;  with others–anyone who was willing to listen.  You weren’t conned by the others.  You weren’t  sweet-talked by the world.  Your sister-side slipped through. You left me high and dry.  But your pockets weren’t empty, and your hands were out for more.  Somewhere along the way, you convinced yourself that somebody owed you something.  

Entitlement is a bitch!

You listened to divorced women who showed you how to take half.  You enticed married men and asked them to protect you.  You bartered your children’s stability for a support check, and you convinced your lawyer that there was hundreds of thousands in burried treasure.  

You weren’t duped!  There was nothing but a hole that you left.  You instigated rage. You preyed on others hoping that you’d become a victim of retaliation. You instigator!

Now you want to go drilling for oil!  You want a second crack at the gold mine.  But you’re sloppy…

You didn’t get what you wanted so you came back for more?

But I dont O U (anyTHING). 

Woman scorned/man reborn. Avoiding you like the plague, not giving you anything to say–only now can I see what others saw right away.  You’re a fraud!  

Words do hurt. But actions speak louder. I’ve recovered from both, but only a fool would allow you to return for an encore.  You’ve given orders, but you are shocked when your commands are ignored.  You have no power over me or any another. But your malignant words irritate. You’re an irraTANT!!
Those who advised you are now long since gone.  Even their hot messes look pale in comparison to the damage you’ve created.   The alliances you’ve formed have withdrawn.  You are all alone, just like you left me.  You are not sorry, and I’m not sorry for you.  

When Black Becomes White

Every time I hear a report of an egregious crime, I cringe. All crime is bad, but crimes against humanity get my attention.  Cruelty, violence, and social injustice fuel my curiously.  I’m not the only one.  These are the ingredients for most television crime dramas.  But the reality sets in when a public figure, celebrity, or ANY person I may have held in high regard has been alleged.  

Social injustice though?  This is an interesting twist. Who commits these crimes?  And who are the victims. Crimes against humanity have  numerous victims. The punishment never fits the crime.  The damage is immeasurable and confidence is lost. 

Active shooters and serial rapists trump fraud and imbezzlement (which are also crimes against humanity).  How many Americans will truly recover from preditory loans, pension scandals, retirement fund fraud?  But these are not juicy enough to hold our attention unless it becomes a personal loss.  There’s this old adage:  if it bleeds it leads!  The first 10 minutes of the nightly news proves this.  Politics encompasses the second third of the news, leaving the final portion to public interest “feel good” stories for which no one stays tuned.  

We are driven by fear.  Our culture feeds on the angst.  We are anxious for everything.  And    we panic over a lot of what we digest from the news.  But the news is spoon-fed to us based on our steady diet of sensationalism.  They sell what we are buying.  

We are offered few choices.  We have liberal news or conservative politics.  The truth is slanted and the viewing public doesn’t ask enough questions.  There’s no major media outlet for the conspiracy theorists, leaving the an entire market ripe for the picking.  Underground reporting, research, and responses to legitimate concerns are only slowly surfacing.  YouTube and Facebook are the primary source for so many Americans only because the information flows at a steady stream (and the palm-held technology is already providing an endless timeline of informal content).  

“Snopes” and other fact checking sources are no more reliable than Asking Geeves (  Our search for information is abbreviated the moment Google tells us just how quickly it gathered 2 million results on any given topic.  


There are certain types of criminal events that recurr, however.  And we rarely question their validity.  Human interests in a socially sensitive climate, race-related and gender bias stories lead.  I don’t think I’m lending a bias when I suggest that our socio-political climate lends itself to crimes against humanity.  The abrasive comments that the political leaders, presidential candidates, and their media correspondents spews are the biggest crimes committed in the past 8 months.  These are the train wrecks that we can’t look away from.  

There’s another crime against humanity that holds our attention just a tad longer.  It’s sad really because this type of social behavior has no solution and yet ties up our judicial system and challenges our community resources far greater than any (ignorable) election.  

Cruelty Through Violence

Rape, molestation, serial crimes…  Are these crimes more rampant or are they simply reported more frequently?  The perpetrators are looking less and less familiar.  Or are they?  A certain demographic seems to be the audience for these news events. 

The New Jim Crow suggests that for decades a systematic injustice has been perpetuated to jail black men.  The war on drugs has yielded prison over-crowding and a renewed fear of the black community. And these manipulations and untruths have perpetuated a mistrust of law enforcement in many “ethnic communities.”

Now through mass media, we are learning about crimes that are committed by ethnic minorities.  When allegations are made against black celebrities like Bill Cosby or Michael Jackson, America cringes. We begin to accept that no one is above the law.

We’ve witnessed that a nation of oppressed minorities can become a powerful force that can seize authority and change the cultural landscape–politically, socially, and economically. Conversely, powerplays can expose white America to a new kind of hatred and fear of anything non-white. The tables have turned, and the word minority no longer has the same meaning.  Term such as “urban” and “economically disadvantaged” were coined to disguise a demographic that was once black, but is now simply poor.  When we speak less of race and more of class, what we are really talking about is wealth and power. 

And what we are learning is that although the wealthy and the popular have the means to escape penalties, no amount of celebrity can cloak public opinion.  Our society condemns more now than it ever did during the conservative “good old days”.  There’s no escape.  

Will we see more bankers, CEOs and corporate managers go to jail for their misdeeds?  Not likely.  Celebrities however are more likely to endure the wrath of the justice system.  Wesley Snipes or Martha Stewart–neither could escape.  Juicier crimes like sexual molestation, sexual assault, or murder will offer the viewing public the opportunity to play judge AND jury. 

When the public reacts to tabloid journalism, we can not at all be surprised that we have a presidential candidate whose former career was in business fraud and reality television.  

 Afrika Bambaataa Victims will tell their story. The media will exploit them. Hip Hop music will get a black eye (no pun intended); and the news-makers will suggest that if “they” could do it, no one is beyond reproach.  
Put on your seatbelt America!  As African Americans embrace the kingdom that was always denied them, there will be a recognizable force that will shine a spotlight on the indecency of our actions (while demonstrating indifference to its own injustices). 

But don’t believe me. Click here for more.

Gee, Daddy is Pissed!

There comes a time when being carefree and jovial is more of a liability than an asset. Parenthood is no exception.  I admit that I am much harder on my son than I am on my daughter.  I love them both but my tolerance levels are on par with their acceptance of me.  

It’s important to convey how important my children are to me. In a world that is full of disappointment, my children are a reflection of my best efforts to make the world a better place.  My love for them both cannot be quantified.  However our love for each other is evident.  

The circumstances by which each of my children were brought in to this world were distinctly different, and like most families may contribute to why my daughter is treated differently than my son.  Five years apart, the age different between them is the same as that of their parents.  I married their mom when I was 24.  She was 19.  Neither of us were mature enough to recognize the gravity of our decisions.  But with the birth of our daughter, we found a renewed hope and a desire to live right.  

We had a home with a lot of potential. I had a promising career and good credit.  We were rooted in the church and innocent enough to believe that as long as we did more good than harm by the end of each day, we were managing the world around us.  

My wife nurtured our daughter and most times      enjoyed watching me dote over her.  We shared our parenting responsibilities and I was so proud to be living “the dream”.  

Honeymoon periods end, marital bliss fades, and the typical family disputes arise.  Only true love prevails, so the first separation brought with it a reality check.  My son was conceived on the other’s side of a reconciliation.  But the damaged relationship hadn’t healed.  

Insecurity, disappointment, and mistrust welcomed my son into the world. Sadly, by the time he was three years old, his parents were divorced.  He can not remember a time when his mom and dad got along.  But his older sister had plenty of memories of family trips and dozens of holiday photos of mommy and daddy embracing her cuteness.  

This dynamic plays out as we endure the teen years.  Dylan doesn’t even flinch at the thought of an unpleasant interaction between his parents.  He’s never known a happier time.  Conversely, when his older sister Emily witnesses a civil conversation between “mommy and daddy” it comes with surprise.  It’s been so long.  It’s almost cause for alarm!

“They are smiling?  And they are talking about me and my plans to travel and work and camp and dRiVE?!?”  The thoughts that must go through her head.  

If there was ever something that my ex-wife and I are most passionate about, it’s our kids!  Sometimes support and custody, consent and childcare are ideals that are convoluted by control and resentment.  But we are not without our differences in opinions.  

Court involvement exacerbates problems but we are still learning to co-parent.  I figure by the time my son gets to high school, we will have a mastery of it (I hope).  

My daughter, however, has begun to test our limits and may infact hope to capitalize on our handicaps. I’m grateful that the preteen years were painless.  We even enjoyed three more uneventful teen years.  But it’s happening.  The anticipated freedom that comes with a driver’s license out weighs the worry of teen suitors. 

A few years ago, in leui of a well deserved consequence, I choose instead to lecture my son.  Emmy intervened.  She said, “don’t you think he’s had enough?”   Brakes!   Caught completely off guard, I warned that unless she was preparing to take one for the team…   The conversation ended abruptly. 

On a prememptive strike I pulled my son aside and recalled the incident. He remembered vividly.  He was wise enough to see the mounting tension. He’d watched as his mother and father conferred over parent stuff.   He even commented, “Dad, that’s the longest I’ve ever seen you and mom talk…”

But I wasn’t upset by mom.  I was upset at the general willingness to ignore Dad–that plans were made without my consultation.  And although I recognize that the path to adulthood is paved with independence and the neglectful willingness to rebel against parents, not here.  Not now!

As a father, I don’t apologize for speaking up.  I certainly don’t regret putting my foot down.  My demeanor is usually pleasant, but once I’ve become vocal, I cannot be stifled.  The thought of it inflames me.  

This time, my anger was heavy.  It was direct. It was poinyant. It was also misdirected.  I love my daughter, and would never deliberately hurt her.  But I will not allow poor decisions to manifest into a disregard for common sense.  

“What’s the big deal, Dad?”  Or I believe that the comment she made was that she’d much prefer to go to camp this summer than to go to work…and that earning money for a car wasn’t that important.  Yesterday’s discussion  turned into today’s request.  This evening, Mom suggested that Dad contribute to the driver’s ed “behind-the-wheel” course.  But now driving has suddenly become a desire?  Yet no effort went into earning her own money?!?  Because she’d prefer…?

Dad’s can I get a hand here?

Every father hopes to see his kid off in a safe reliable car (hopefully one that he’s fortunate enough to provide).  I was blessed with that great fortune.  My dad gave me his old truck when I was fifteen.  I had two years to prepare.  It was a hardship that I truly appreciated.  But he also made it possible for me to mow lawns for cash when I was fourteen.  My ability to get my license was contingent on my hard work.  It was more than understood.  I was reminded frequently!!

Because my dad was better off in his career when I came of age, he was able to do for me in ways he’d regretted not being able to do for my siblings.  I was the youngest.  

My daughter is my eldest.  I’ve convinced myself that with planning, devoted parenting, and a lot of help from the Lord, I’ll be able to do for my daughter (and son) what was offered to me.  

But I need a little help from the kids.  Not financial. Not physical.  But emotional.  Appreciation!  Enthusiasm.  Effort.  When Dad is taken for granted though, all bets are off. 

I model intelligent decision-making. I share. I work hard, and I rarely ask for help.  I’m not just a father.  I’m a man.  I have dignity.  I have pride.  I’m kind, but I’m stern.  And dammit I expect respect.  

Somewhere along the way, my kindness was mistaken for weakness.  When I’ve had enough, the beast is awakened.  I roar!  And my point becomes crystal clear.   My own upbringing may be to blame.  I’m ultra tolerant and watchful for results.  I learn from my mistakes, but I’d prefer to learn from someone else’s mistakes instead.  

I’m not a good dad.  I’m the best dad (that I can be)–but only because I do what I’m supposed to do.  The fact that not every dad is able or willing does not make me good.  They have to bare their own cross.  

Everyday brings with it a new opportunity.  I have high expectations of my kids.  They have no excuse for failure except for their own unwillingness to try.  Mediocrity seems to be  accepted collectively.  But individually, we must work hard to achieve.  I once argued with their mom that academic achievement is not a way (of life); it’s a standard.  

I mean what I say.  I’m not just picking fights. Every experience we’ve had brought us to this very moment. I won’t waste it!

Clichés anyone?  Every moment brings with it an opportunity…

I speak up.  I asked my son recently to come from his room and help out in the kitchen.  He mustered some attitude.  At eleven years old he is primed and ready for conflict. Every request triggers a response. 

My son kicked over the cat food which caused all the “fur babies” in the house to react. He then complained that there was a reaction to his action…   The dog growled, the cats ran, and the turtle withdrew in his tank.  

I had to seize the moment!

I’m certain the neighbors heard me stammer as I begin to bellow–loud enough for everyone in my home to hear.  

I proclaimed, “disappointed?  Good!  Mad? Fine!  But get used to it!  Because you’re only months away from manhood!  Biblically you should be preparing for the rights and responsibilities of a man!  And you know what?!?   No one is going to care that your feelings are hurt!  No one is going to ask if you are ok.  No one cares enough to help you out because you’d ‘prefer’ to play and not work!!!”

I saw this glisten in his eye, and I knew I’d gone too far.  My sheer volume rumbled the room.  My voice carried.  I knew my daughter could hear and she knew that this declaration was really for her ears.  I killed two birds with one stone…and I felt…awful. 

My son lipped, “I’m sorry,” while my daughter never peeked from behind her bedroom door.  

Gee, Daddy was pissed!   Now a tear runs down my face.  I’ve got nothing left (until tomorrow).  

Think Highly of Yourself Because the World Takes You at Your Own Estimate – Unknown — The Seeds 4 Life

How highly do you think of yourself? How would you rate your current self-esteem level on a scale of 1-10? How much is that number influenced by the weight you give to other people’s opinion of you? Often, we undervalue just how much of an impact our own personal opinion of ourselves influences how other…

via Think Highly of Yourself Because the World Takes You at Your Own Estimate – Unknown — The Seeds 4 Life