Rock n Roll!!

atlas“If your strength is small, don’t carry heavy burdens.” – Chinese proverb

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to cross an item off my rather prolix bucket list. I had the opportunity to embark upon a boulder jumping adventure. Boulder jumping (for those who might be unfamiliar) is the act of hopping, crawling, squeezing through, scaling steep rocky terrain in a spider like fashion, jumping onto a gigantic boulders then pulling yourself up with your arms and crab walking down steep terrain. Needless to say, this activity was extremely arduous and challenging. The golden rays of the sun pounded on my body like a nail being hit by a hammer into two wooden beams. To make matters worse, I carried a backpack filled with goodies (lots of snacks, water and Gatorades). With each passing minute, I felt as though the weight I was carrying was increasing at speed that rivals that of a cheetah found in the sub-Saharan region of Africa. I couldn’t help but to think, “I wish I had someone to help me carry all this weight!” How often do we find ourselves in a similar position?

“Life’s heaviest burden is to have nothing to carry” – Source Unknown

As humans we tend to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders. We carry insecurities, hurt, emotional wounds, stress, frustration, pressure to live up to expectations and achieve our goals, etc. We tend to carry an insurmountable amount of weight around as if we possess the ant-like strength to efficiently carry that weight for long periods of time. We don’t have to carry all our burdens on our own.  We can talk to trusted friends, family, teachers, co-workers, pastors, counselors in an attempt to lighten the load we carry. There is someone we can always approach regardless of the time of day or the nature of our situation, and his name is Jesus.

“Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28

Don’t allow your backpack of life to become weighed down with the burdensome liquids of stress, insecurities, and disappointment!

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On Your Mark!

bulleye“Men never moan over the opportunities lost to do good, only the opportunities to be bad.” – Proverb

A few weeks ago I had the esteem privilege of indulging in an activity I’ve wanted to do for what seemed to be an eternity. I got the opportunity to shoot a bow and arrow. I am by no means Bear Grylls or Survivor Man but I chose to harness my inner hunter on that particular day. After the proper absorption by osmosis of the safety procedures, adrenaline began erupting through my veins in a fashion similar to that of a liter bottle of coke after dropping a few mentos inside the concoction. The target consisted of a honey-crisp apple (best apple ever) affixed on the top of the head of a manikin. The apple aligned perfectly with the bulls-eye on the target. I picked an arrow, set it into the bow, pulled back, aimed and split the apple on my first attempt! However, I missed my next 8 shots!

“Today’s opportunities erase yesterday’s failures.” – Gene Brown

How often do we miss the mark? How often do we miss opportunities to make a difference, encourage others or make an indelible mark on someone’s life? I too have missed the mark many times. Our world is filled with a plethora of people that are hurting, in need or traveling along the wrong path in life. A simple and genuine gesture such as a smile, a hello, or a hug can go further than any Nasa Space Shuttle! We all have the opportunity to impact lives!

If you’ve missed the mark after shooting an arrow from your bow of life, know that you can grab another arrow of opportunity, aim, and hit the bulls-eye (split the apple) on your next shot!

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Service with no Smile!

serving-others“The man who gives little with a smile gives more than the man who gives much with a frown.” – Yiddish Proverb

A few days ago I was granted the esteem privilege of volunteering at a homeless feeding center. For some unknown reason, I felt as though I got ran over by a greyhound bus and immediately steam rolled into a freshly paved road. Needless to say I felt sluggish, out of whack and had a slight scrooge-like grumpiness coursing through my veins. As time progressed, a group of guys that frequent the shelter attempted to convince me to play in a pick-up basketball game with them. Initially, I was hesitant and didn’t have an ounce of desire to frolic up and down a basketball court in an attempt to heave a spherical shaped, air filled object through a sun beaten, and rusted orange hoop. After a repeated one hundred and twenty seconds of recruitment, I decided to lace it up and mix it up a bit on the court.

Within seconds I found myself cracking jokes, giving high fives, and building a rapport with a group of homeless guys I never met before. This game represented hoped hope, or a getaway from the reality of the hardships of life which they face every day. A single game served as the combination that opened the vault that contained the thoughts and feelings which they graciously shared with me. I almost allowed my selfishness, laziness and personal agenda to cost me an opportunity to be a positive influence and a blessing to someone else.

How often do we allow our own interests, agendas, and our lemon extract-like attitudes to contaminate the reservoir of joy, and gratitude we can experience from serving others.

“To serve is beautiful, but only if it is done with joy and a whole heart and a free mind” – Pearl Buck

Don’t allow your opportunity to make a lasting impression on someone’s life to bounce away from you!

Comments are welcomed!

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All about the Benjamins!

money_rect“The best way to make happy money is to make money your hobby and not your god.” – Scott Alexander

It has come to my attention that the world we live in has now become littered with individuals that have allowed their minds to fall victim to the degenerative disease known as materialism. These individuals play the leading role in their personal movie entitled “The Pursuit of Money”. The acquisition of money serves as their only form of true happiness. Last week a lady told me, “I really love having, making, and spending money. I really, really love money, who doesn’t?” Yesterday a guy told me “I want to make a bunch of money so that girls would throw their bodies at me.” Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with working towards a better life for oneself, experiencing financial security and making money. However, when did society’s GPS device recalculate and reroute us onto the side street of greed, deep monetary obsession, and materiality?

“The chief value of money lies in the fact that one lives in a world in which it is overestimated.” – H. L. Mencken

     

The fact of the matter is that money is not the end all solution for an individual to find true happiness. No matter how much cash one can gather in the money blowing machine of life before the individual’s time expires, he or she will not be guaranteed happiness. For me, happiness is not determined by the hue of my credit card, my personal assets or by my net worth.

You can elect to chase money down the bottomless ravine or hang glide high above amongst the clouds of happiness!

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Enhanced Liquid for Thought?

decisions“Make decisions from the heart and use your head to make it work out.” – Sir Girad

A few days ago I decided to visit what can only be described as a vibrant oasis in the middle of the dessert for the individual (me) whose pantry has become as dry as Quaker rice cakes. I went on a pilgrimage to Wal-Mart! I decided to make my way to the checkout line after I placed a few essentials in my cart. I proceeded to make my way to the store exit after paying for my items. After taking three steps through the dreaded sliding doors that have inflicted pain on so many members of Texting Anonymous (TA), I noticed that there was an item in my cart that went undetected by the cashier. The item was a miniscule bottle of MiO Liquid water enhancer valued at a staggering $3.30 (based on US currency).

I’m standing outside the store with a decision to make. Do I continue walking to my car and act like nothing happened? Do I simply leave the item in the cart and take the items I paid for? Do I take the item home and pay ($3.30) extra for something else next time? Do I make a 360 turn and head all the way back in the store, stand in line (for undetermined amount of time since Wal-Mart never seems to have enough cashiers) to pay for the tiny item?

What would you do? Or would you have done nothing at all?

Each second of each day we are faced with decisions that vary in its level of complexity. No matter the decision, there is always a consequence (whether positive or negative) that will result from the choices we make.

“It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.” – Anthony Robbins

Don’t allow your to choices morph the shape of your destiny into an unsightly blob filled with holes!

P.S. I made the 360 turn, went back into the store, stood in line and paid for the item.

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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!

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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!

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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!

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