Castles in the Sand!

IMG_0888A few weeks ago as I ambled along the golden sands of (in my humble opinion) the most beautiful islands in the world, (The Islands of the Bahamas) I stumbled onto a sandcastle. This was not your ordinary, archetypal sandcastle sculpted using the minuscule phalanges of an adolescent boy or girl. This sandcastle’s architecture easily rivaled that of the Windsor Castle in Berkshire England, which served as the official residence of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. As I stood and watched as the waves inched closer and closer to the Krptonian fortress of solitude, I could not help but think of the parable of the fool that built his house on sand.

In the parable the wise man build his house on a rock. When the rains and wind came the house stood firm. However, a foolish man built his house on sand. The rains and winds blew and beat against that house and if fell with a great crash.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Matthew 6:21

How often do we find ourselves caught up directing all our energy towards building up an abundance of treasure that will only rot, be plundered, or left behind once we exit this world? We tend to become so consumed trying to win first prize in this treasure hunt that we get tangled in the tightly spun web of materialism. We want the lavish homes, cars, and designer clothes that serve as status symbols. We should treasure having moral fiber, character, doing good will, and helping those we can. These actions define a legacy that will last long after your days are numbered on the earth.

Don’t build up treasure that will be swept away with the tide once your wave of life goes out!

 

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Wordy Conversation

compssionloogo“Wisdom, compassion, and courage are the three universally recognized moral qualities of men.” – Confucius

About a month ago I found myself in the middle of a unique exchange. I made the health-conscious decision to walk down the plethora of stairs that led to my destination rather than taking the elevator. After getting mentally prepared for the arduous task I now faced, I decided to commence with my descent. As I was making my way down the stairs an acquaintance of mine began making her way up the same stairs. She’s normally a happy go lucky, outgoing and rambunctious lady. However, something didn’t seem right. I had no way of deciphering what or if something occurred that caused the Learjet that is her day to go uncontrollably spiraling downward. As our separation distance shriveled down to that of the length of a five dollar footlong sub; I did what I thought was best. I simply gave her a hug. No words, no interrogation, just a compassionate embrace. Immediately, a tsunami like flow of tears disgorged from her eyes onto my shoulders. She later proceeded to divulge an abundance of details about her life that she hadn’t shared with anyone.

“A kind and compassionate act is often its own reward.” – William John Bennett

We all had moments in in which we ignored or chosen not to be bothered with the plight of those around us. We inhabit a world in which demonstrations of compassion has become as rare as red diamond. We all can do a better job being sensitive to the needs of those around us.

A simple conversation, lending an ear, or even a hug can serve as the salt needed to add an explosion of flavor to an individual’s dish of life!

Comments are welcomed!

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Service with a Smile!

serviceIt’s been approximately three weeks, but I can’t seem to suppress the images that refuse to check-out of the hotel rooms of my cerebrum. Picture a scene that’s desolate, saturated with debris and surrounded by dilapidated buildings. Sandstorms rampage the area with each intermittent waft. Joy and hope uncover their face as often as Haley’s Comet darts past the orb known as Earth. This is the scene I encountered a few ago when I volunteered my services at an outdoor homeless feeding center. The entire area looked as though it was the unsuspecting victim of the occurrence of apocalypse. The ground was littered with scattered bodies that were stretch out and motionless. A flimsy blanket with the thickness equal to that of the new Apple iMac, served as their make shift beds for their rooms-to-go. What were their stories? What caused these individuals to stray off the yellow brick road that leads to a good quality of life?

I spoke to a guy that told me that he burnt through $80,000 in saving in three months. When I asked the obvious question (how?) he responded with (please excuse my vernacular) “simple; drugs and whores!” There were many stories shared that could easily crush the most callous, cold and pachydermatous hearts. However, despite the futility or dire state of their situation, these individuals demonstrated an uncanny joy during these few moments. I tossed a football back and forth for hours on end with several young kids. None one of my passes resembled a spiral thrown by the starting New Orleans Saints quarterback on a Brees-y Sunday afternoon. However, that didn’t matter to any of those kids. Those kids were just ecstatic to be spending time with someone they felt actually cared.

“You cannot do all the good the world needs, but the world needs all the good you can do.” – Anon

We are all surrounded by individuals that may simply need a hug, an ear to listen to, a plate of food or a person to toss a football with. You don’t need a lot to make a substantial impact on someone’s life. If you use the little you have, coupled with the right frame of heart, you can truly have an tremendous impact on an abundance of lives!

Feel free to comment ..

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Spotty Downpour!

A few weeks ago I found myself at the car wash (“Talkin’ about the car wash yeah!”). I finally caved under the pressure of the thick layers of dust, grime, and bug juice that has overwhelmed the aesthetic beauty of my vehicle. I went through the car wash at the usual warped speed trying my hardest not to blink so that I wouldn’t miss any part of my car’s transformation process. I decided to park my car underneath the shaded tent area in order to vacuum my car and wipe down a few water spots. After I completed those tasks I decided to take a few steps back to marvel at my masterpiece. Within two seconds I noticed an off white, spherical, half dollar sized spot located on the roof on my pristine car. A vile black bird sullied my car and proceeded to perform a celebratory victory dance along a ledge that hung 20 feet above my physical reach and jumping abilities.

“There’s always stuff to work on. You’re never there.” – Tiger Woods

We all have different spots, blemishes or smudges in our lives. We have splotches that we may not know are there, stains others may have brought to our attention, or marks we know exist but haven’t addressed as yet. We all have areas whether minuscule or astronomic that we need to revisit and place a greater emphasis to change, fix, or wipe clean with a baby blue microfiber cloth.

Our lives are an unfinished mural that’s constantly updated and enameled into a vivid and pulchritudinous artistic display of excellence!

What spots do you need to address?

Comments are welcomed…

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PEN-ta-GONE!

“Sow much, reap much; sow little, reap little.” –Chinese Proverb

Today I decided to pass time in between my classes like I usually do. I sat down at a table and proceeded to jet ski along the choppy waves commonly known as the world wide web. I was casually minding my own business when I was interrupted by a friend with an unusual request. She asked to borrow a pen. I conducted a full scale investigative search of my backpack and realized that I only had one pen. To my chagrin, the pen in my backpack happened to be my favorite pen (yes, I have a favorite pen and I fully accept any ridicule that may follow). After losing the battle of wills that commence in the left hemisphere of my brain I told my friend that she could have my pen. Ten minutes later a different friend approached my table and (in a total act of randomness and for no apparent reason) handed me a pen.

Are you one to give without the intent of receiving? Do your give of your possessions, time, talents, or money to those in need? Do you even give at all?

“The charitable give out the door and God puts it back through the window.” –Proverb

Each day we are bombarded by a barrage of opportunities to give to those that need it most. We can choose a myriad of ways, forms, or platforms by which to give.

“Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” – 2 Corinthians 9: 6-7

The condition of heart determines the amount of impact your gift will have on the lives of others!

Comments are welcomed

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The Bird’s the Word!

A week ago as I was casually driving away from the gym during the wee hours of the morning when an interesting chain of events ensued. I arrived at an intersection at the exact moment as a guy driving a truck. The guy turned in my direction and motioned to me that he was my number one fan. The guy essentially flipped the bird (as it is commonly referred to as) or to put it in lemans terms, he left all his fingers down except the finger in the middle of his pointer and ring finger. What compels a person to act so grotesque on such a riveting morning? The most befuddling part of the exchange was the fact that the man immediately sped off. Perhaps he felt sorry and embarrassed because of his impulsive action? Maybe he woke up on the wrong side of the bed? Or maybe he realized that he “flipped off” a slightly larger than average size, 6’5” African American male and wanted to put as much distance between him and I as possible?

How often do we allow an impulse reaction to serve a needle that injects a flu shot-like pain and hurt in the lives of those around us?

“All of our actions take their hue from the complexion of the heart, as landscapes their variety from light.” – Francis Bacon

An individual’s actions are a direct reflection of the type of content that consumes one’s heart.

Let your actions serve as the support beams that hold up the house of life you’ve built using the dazzling bricks of character!

Comments are welcomed…

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A Whole New World!

About a week ago I arranged to meet with a friend at an establishment. It never frequented the particular venue before and I had no idea where I was headed. I drove ten minutes outside the city where I reside (thanks to my gps) in order to arrive at my destination. Upon my arrival I found myself in unfamiliar land. I’m sure I experienced similar thoughts to that of Christopher Columbus after he navigated the Santa Maria across the Atlantic Ocean to the new world. I found myself in the Korean version of Chinatown in New York City. The signs on all the building were written in Korean manuscript. The city was bustling with activity similar to that of a hive filled with honeybees. The area was filled from end to end with people and I stuck out like a sore thumb (due to the fact that I am 6’5 and towered over everyone). Needless to say I felt lost.

“Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.” – Henry David Thoreau

How often do we get lost and experience confusion as we hike along the trails of our lives? We’ve all experienced these moments at different points in our lives. Are you at this point in your life right now?

“I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess.” – Martin Luther

Our heavenly father is always willing to come to our rescue if we simply run into his open arms.

Life makes so much more sense once we follow the direction of God’s Positioning System!

Comments are welcomed…

Here’s Looking at You Kid!

As I reluctantly ambled down the halls to one of my classes today I happened to take notice of the different type of looks I received as I drew closer to my destination. The word look is usually defined as the act of employing one’s sight, especially in a given direction or on a given object. It’s moments like these when we feel as though we are stuck in a petri dish being examined under the microscopic lens of society. There’s the “do I know you’ gaze, the ‘you have something in your teeth’ glare, the ‘what are you wearing’ gawp, the ‘I think you look good’ gape or my personal favorite the ‘I just saw you do something embarrassing” gawk. We’ve all found ourselves in a similar position at some point in our lives where we may have become the object that caught a random stranger’s eye.

“Since light travels faster than sound, people appear bright until you hear them speak.” – Anon

When people look at you what perceptions do they make about you? How would you like to be perceived?

“You are only as wise as others perceive you to be.” – M. Shawn Cole

Let your words, actions, and deeds create the majestic Rembrandt like painting of how others perceive you to be.

Ensure that the perception people have of you correlates with the perception you have of yourself!”

Comments are welcomed.

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Ungreatfull !

Gratitude is often defined as a feeling of thankfulness or appreciation, as for gifts or favors. Gratitude can often be extended or shown in a myriad of ways due to a variety of situations. In today’s society it is so easy to find oneself treading in the choppy ocean waters of ungratefulness. This practice has occurred since the beginning of time and we”ve all had firsthand experiences in which gratitude was lacking. I found myself treading in these frigid waters today.

I miraculously (purposely) attended an event today for the sole purpose of consuming the advertised complimentary slices of pizza. I made my way to the front of the line and unconsciously made my pizza slice selections (in my mind). Naturally, I coveted the two largest pizza slices in the box. However, I ended up receiving the two tiniest slices of pizza. When placed next two each other the slices resembled one malnourished pizza slice. For a few short seconds I felt slighted because I got stuck with such minuscule slices. I was ungrateful for the two slices of pizza that were given to me FREE of charge.

“Nothing more detestable does the earth produce than an ungrateful man.” – Decimus Magnus Ausonius

How often do we miss opportunities to show gratitude to those around us? How often are we ungrateful for the things we’ve been given? There are so many opportunities for us show gratitude towards the individuals we encounter daily and for the things we have.

Don’t allow your pizza of life to baked with the bitter topping of ungratefulness!

Comments are welcomed..

The Best Policy

“Do not do what you would undo if caught.” –Leah Arendt

Each day we encounter opportunities or situations in which we can flex or exercise our muscles of morality. Life is full of moments in which we can either choose to do the right thing or chose to deal with the ramifications that come with doing what is wrong. A few weeks ago I found myself at a morale fork in the road. On this particular day I decided to satisfy the mammoth sized appetite festering inside of me by treating myself to the Kernel’s secret recipe of herbs and spices (Kentucky Fried Chicken for all the anti-fast food proponents out there).

I succumbed to laziness and ordered my meal via the drive thru. My order amounted to a grand total of $5. Thus, I handed the drive thru worker a crisp five dollar bill. He (as is common practice) proceeded to hand me my food. The guy then passed me the drink I purchased and to my surprise gave me a $5 dollar bill. He immediately closed the drive through window and started preparing the next order.

What would you have done? Would you give it back? Or would you keep the money based on the premise that it’s only a measly 5 dollar bill?

“The elegance of honesty needs no adornment.” –Merry Browne

Honesty is the main component that binds the threads that holds together life’s rope bridge that leads to a better quality of life!

I dare you to aerial spray your world with the disinfectant of honesty and watch the results.

I know you are wondering so I knocked on the drive through window and returned the money. Why? I returned the money because it is my humble opinion that honesty is indeed the best policy.

Comments are welcomed…