Thankful Thursdays

BrotherWord - Thankful Thursday

Excellence, distinguished, dignified, eminent are all characteristics that would be apropos to describe our President, @BarackObama, but humble, serene, sympathetic, cerebral, strategist, husband, father, and ultimate leader, would suffice just as equally.  While many may have cheered his departure from the White House, many more mourned that he would no longer preside from the oval office.  

Looking back over the past eight years, it is easy to say that no civic leader or politician, let alone the President of the United States, has been vilified to such an extent.  Attacked moreso for anything and everything other than policy and presidential duties, we had a firsthand and up close view of what it means to not “stoop to their level” and “forgive them in spite of.”  Not sure how many of us could withstand such a barrage, especially eight years of ridicule, racism, and cruel and ugly rhetoric, but this man not only handled it, he rose above it and shined through it.  

Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good deeds and moral excellence, and [recognize and honor and] glorify your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16 AMP).  Watching the farewell speech, we had one final, public glance of grace and prestige.  We saw a man of the people despite some of the people literally cursing his name and disparaging his character still championing hope and unity.  Never once did President Obama look down on the less than, crucify the accuser, or hold himself on a pedestal.  He has been and continues to be a man of the people, all people, no matter they supported him or not.

I cannot speak for anyone else, but I am saddened that hope is leaving the White House and the polar opposite is entering.  I understand wholeheartedly why many wept watching the farewell speech and why so many feel hope is a delusion and forgone conclusion.  But as President Obama so eloquently stated in his last speech as Commander-In-Chief, “It falls to each of us to be those anxious, jealous guardians of our democracy; to embrace the joyous task we’ve been given to continually try to improve this great nation of ours. Because for all our outward differences, we all share the same proud title: Citizen.”

Thank you President Barack Obama for all you sacrificed, the bridges you built, the hope you inspired, the legacy you cemented, and for showing us all that it is possible to love your family and lead with equal passion and superb excellence.  Please take time to watch the farewell speech and listen to the tribute by @JoeyGallant.  Both will stir in you all that is beautiful in America!

 

Super Powers

wonder-twin-powers

It is amazing the super strength one can momentarily garner in a time of desperation.  What is even more remarkable is the bond between siblings, especially twins.  Unless you are a twin yourself, it is hard to understand the psychic link they share and how it correlates to an otherworldly connection.  Having the privilege to watch twin boys and girls interact often (nephews and nieces), I am amazed often how they are immersed in a thought, language, and reality all to themselves that no one else is privy to.  #Twinning is real!

The story in the video below is a prime example of #WonderTwinPower as we all get a chance to witness the loyalty and brotherhood between #BowdyAndBrock.  Even at two years old, their special link is unquestionable.  Neither brother suffered any harm, not even a scratch.  We can all be someone’s hero no matter how big or small the feat… and they don’t have to be your twin to come to their rescue.

Motivational Monday

brotherword-new-years-resolutions

As a #NewYear dawns on us, so does new hopes, aspirations, and resolutions.  With each comes an invigorated spirit of excitement and dedication, but unfortunately by early February, many of us have loss enthusiasm or completely abandoned the plan.  Thinking of what I hope to accomplish to do this year, I must say I have an aggressive list of things I would like to accomplish and although each is very achievable, it will require discipline, proper time management, and continued prayer.  

No matter what resolution or promise you have made to yourself or others, remember each day is its own opportunity.  Start small and work toward the big stuff.  You did not gain that weight overnight, nor will you lose it overnight; it took longer than a week to accumulate the clutter in the house, so do not think you will blink your eyes and it will disappear either.  Obtaining goals are more about the process than it is the timeframe.  Anything that is done consistently becomes habit and habits become building blocks.

Focus on building good habits and watch the #ToDoList check itself off.  And if you are having a hard time figuring out where to start, please take a moment to look over #30ThingsYouMightWantToStartDoingForYourself by Darryl Ricardo Matthews, Sr – @32ndGP.  With any endeavor, it is always good to begin within and these 30 reminders are essential building blocks to life goals!

No matter what this year holds, do not lose hope and do not give up.  Remember each day may bring its own obstacles, but it also presents new opportunities. (more…)

Feel Good Friday

BrotherWord - Feel Good Fridays

It’s the weekend baby and although we should not be living for the weekend, it is always good to look forward to a break from the work week.  It has been a week of continued nationwide turmoil, political madness, tragic deaths in the sports world, and the normal stresses of daily life… but we made it!

With the climate of the culture being what it is, it is hard to find inspiration or things to find hope in, but as often happens, when you look for a silver lining there is one on the horizon.  Thanks to @PrinceEa for pointing out the continued flaws in our educational system and shedding light on the direction we all need to go.

To all the educators, please heed his message and act accordingly!  #BeInspired

 

My Country ‘Tis of Thee

brotherword-lost-liberty

My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing; Land where my forefathers and brothers continue to die, land where it seems okay to kill a black man and still no answer to why, Yelling from the mountaintops, when will justice ring?

As yet another name, #TerenceCrutcher, has been added to the list of black males slaughtered at he hands of police officers, I cannot help but be enraged. When is enough enough!

We have seen terroristic attacks across American soil, as recent as a few days ago in Manhattan, and those suspects be treated more humanely than African-Americans. We have all seen the video of the Anglo man physically attacking the officers, disobeying their commands, verbally abusive, and yet he was still able to live. When did we revert back to yesteryear when black men were thought of as less than human, 3/5 human, or have I been fooling myself?

No matter the rhetoric, justification, or any suggested rationale, the fact remains, these people are dead! As Crutcher’s twin sister profoundly stated, using the depiction the helicopter officer foolishly uttered, “that bad dude was someone’s brother, someone’s son, someone’s uncle, he loved God…”

We have lost a sense of humanity and the divide between the “law” and the people widens by the second. America, if you, we, claim to be the greatest country, it is beyond time to start looking in the mirror. We have become a distorted, pathetic joke of everything we try to push on others and claim to stand for and trust me when I tell you the rest of the world is laughing at us in disgust. As I recently traveled abroad, I was put in a position to defend a country, my country, that thinks of me less than human, as I was asked question after question about the ignorance, disparity, cruel treatment, and malicious, deplorable inequalities and injustice that is so obvious to even those outside of the U.S.A.

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! And yet people continue to question why some have chosen not to stand during the national anthem? Many have not read Francis Scott Key’s original poem. It is only the first stanza that is used for the Star-Spangled Banner, but it is the last stanza that we need to remember.

O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto – “In God is our trust,”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

This is applicable to every man, woman, and child, so do not be shocked when its words become life and the “freemen” stand (or kneel) and take upon themselves the motto, “… then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, [and ONLY] in God our trust.”  Even the meekest and mildest of man has a breaking point and America, you are pushing us to a point of no return.

Motivational Mondays

brotherword-know-thy-self

Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom.  Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power. ~ Tao Te Ching

There are things in this world that once obtained, can never be taken away – knowledge, purpose, and love to name a few.

Knowledge like power is harnessed by a desire to grow, expand, to live beyond circumstances and situations, and once you get a taste of it, it is invigorating and empowering.  Knowledge helps us not only on an intellectual plain, but also in our spiritual realm.  The more self aware you become, the more you learn about the psyche of others, and the more verse you become on multiple topics, the quicker and better you are at adapting and adjusting to the many twists of life.

Knowledge is the sibling of purpose, because as you begin to learn, you begin to discover and it is on this journey that purpose is revealed and realized!  Knowledge breeds passion and passion equates to purpose and purpose births love.  Love is the byproduct of purpose as it stems from those things we are most passionate about.

Love is the result of pursuing purpose and can never be taken away.  The misconception is that love fails or diminishes, but the truth of the matter is that love is an energy that shifts as we do.  Love is not necessarily for the recipient but all about the giver as it is a manifestation of an inward impulse.  It is spontaneous, unpredictable, consuming, liberating, and fulfilling and once given, it does the exact same for those that receive it!  Love is the end result we all desire no matter the pursuit.

There are also things in this world that cannot be taken back once squandered – time and words.

Time is one commodity that cannot be bought or sold, you cannot get a return on it or recycle it, and once gone, you will never see again.  Use the time you have to maximize the desires of your heart.  Time wasted is an opportunity unfulfilled, but time used properly is a bottomless well of gratitude and thankfulness.

In the same breath (pun intended), choose your words carefully.  Words can either build or destroy and it is a wise person who not only knows the difference, but also practices the principles.  Our words are sharp double-edged swords that can cut, defend, free, or keep in bondage ourselves and others.  A harsh word may be forgiven, but will surely not be forgotten.  A kind word will not be forgotten, but will also break down walls and free people from captivity.  It is a foolish man who uses words only to admonish, but it takes a wise man to let his words polish.

Hold tightly and guard those things that can never be taken away as they become roots of our tree that bear good fruit.  And likewise, consciously remain aware of not forfeiting what can never be regained, as they too reflect who we are and will become and the fruit we shall bear.

 

Motivational Monday

BrotherWord - Wall

Back against the wall and the walls are closing in. Do you coward in the corner or brace yourself, ready to defend?  Champ or chump, choice is up to you.  The only way to find out is come out swinging and make it do what it do.  But the victor is not based solely on the one who wins, but victory comes in having the courage to pick yourself up, push yourself off the wall, and fight to the very end. ~ BrotherWord

There are tests in life that will have you teetering on the verge of complete collapse.  Whether physical, mental, or emotional, everyone has a breaking point which they feel they can no longer go any further.  How many of you have been at that point?  How many have been at the bottom with no hope of ever rising again?  How many have thrown in the towel and gave up?

This thing called life is not for the meek or faint of heart and as I am often reminded, those that have and are living in their purpose, the attacks are more frequent and twice as brutal!  Isn’t that how a typical boxing match works though?  There are two fighters in the ring, well trained, willing to throw punches, and ready to defend.  But how quickly it changes when one boxer is taking a barrage of punches, pushed up against the ropes, and all the training in the world does not seem to matter.

No different in life.  Ethnicity, social class, education, financial status, none of it makes us impervious to the punches of life.  What separates champions is what they do in times of adversity.  What will you do when you take a punch, get knocked down, find yourself with your back against the wall?  Fight!  There is not other answer.  Fight!  Sometimes the fight may mean swing and punch your way out.  Sometimes it may mean ducking and avoiding the blows.  Other times it may mean being strategic and cerebral.  Could also mean taking an emotional and spiritual account of matters and reassessing your inner person.  Either way, fight with every weapon you have and do not stop fighting until you find  yourself victorious.  You may find your back against the wall, but that does not mean that is where you have to stay.

Never give up or give in.  It is at the bleakest times we shine brightest and when we discover there is no limit to how far we can go.  At the edge of despair and defeat, God will either catch you when you fall or teach you how to fly.

Motivational Monday

BrotherWord - Tough Times

There will be times in life when you literally wonder, “Can I go on?”  With every triumph, there will seem to be a more imposing obstacle and with every victory, there will appear some random act meant to snatch joy from your life.  Life simply isn’t fair and tough times are inevitable, but what do you do when the tough times happen?

Giving up and folding in is never the solution.  Overcoming… that is the challenge.  In life you can take the route of the potato, egg, or coffee bean.  Which one are you?

The greater the difficulty, the more glory in surmounting it.  Skillful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempests.” ~ Epicetus

 

#NoMoreTears

BrotherWord - Change Is Gonna Come

Jay-Z penned a heartfelt ode entitled “Song Cry” (circa 2002) that depicted an array of emotions that no longer manifested physically, so instead, he had to make the “song cry.”  As I write this opus to mankind, all I can think to do is make the pen cry.

Unless you are oblivious to the world and live in an underground bunker with no outside contact, every single person is aware of the atrocities involving the murders of #AltonSterling and #PhilandoCastile.  Outrage, anger, heartache, sadness, bewilderment, do not even begin to scratch the surface of emotions I feel.  Anyone with a conscious and half a thought can clearly see there is a physical, mental, and spiritual attack against African-American men and a clear disregard for our lives and/or well being.  Sadly, we as black men are an endangered species being systematically slaughtered, persecuted, and one-by-one eradicated as if we are less than, irrelevant, and disposable.  America is hurting and her people are suffering and the stoic appearance you see in me is because I have #NoMoreTears, so I let my pen depict my pain and watch it cry. (more…)

Feel Good Fridays

BrotherWord - Feel Good Fridays

It’s #FGF – Feel Good Friday – and this is the #GraduationEdition!  #BrotherWord is giving you a double dose of the feel good.  Each year hundreds of high school seniors prepare to walk the stage, receive their diplomas, and embark on a new phase of life.  And as common as graduation ceremonies may seem, it is the bright futures and amazing individuals who we will continue to applaud and celebrate.

First up is Boston Latin High School senior, Phillip Sossou.  Students are remembered for a myriad of reasons, some good, some bad, but there are certain students who carve out their own legacies, or in this case, draw them.  Sossou wanted to make sure that each of his classmates was remembered and at the beginning of the year he began memorializing all 411 in charcoal portraits!  His art teacher did not think it was possible but before the last day for the seniors, he displayed his beautiful portraits of all his classmates for the entire school to admire.  A school marred earlier in the year by racial tensions, Phillip Sossou used his talents to mend the fences, bring all together, and leave a lasting smile.  Watch the video to see more about this amazing #ClassOf2016 graduate.

Our next Feel Good Friday comes from senior Kevuntez King, a three-sport athlete who graduated with a 4.0 GPA and has already earned enough to pay for his entire college education!  The senior from Memphis, TN., spent the last five years waking up at 3:45am to sell newspapers.  His dedication proved more than fruitful as he has earned enough to pay for his entire college education.  Aside from graduating with honors, King epitomizes what it means when drive and dedication result in the manifestation of of our dreams coming true and that is the message he expressed to all his classmates, “Just chase your dreams.”  Already accepted into Tennessee State University, King is not resting on his laurels, but staying true to what got him to where he is now and beginning his college career this summer.

We applaud all the graduates of 2016.  Never stop chasing your dreams, keep striving for greatness, and no matter what, believe in the impossible!

 

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