Merry Christmas 2016


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…as the band plays

as the band playsBeing on the drumline in college remains near the top of my list of “things I’ve had the best time doing.”  I loved every minute minute of it. I was in some of the best shape of my life.  Whenever I felt tired, I told myself to push past it.  Those and many other lessons have shaped my thinking and work ethic to this day.

Back then, I played snare drum (for those of you who may not know, I played the drum that was most prominently displayed in the front-it’s played like a table top). We most often played first, or had the most challenging music; note-for-note.  Naturally, I could hear my part the most.  During sectionals, I was taught to not only listen to my part, but also to the other snare players to ensure that we were playing the same part with exacting precision.  I also learned how the other percussion instruments fit together when we all were playing.

Zooming out, I could faintly hear the rest of the band was playing, because only bits and pieces of sounds would arise between our beats.  I didn’t know precisely what they were playing, yet I trusted that we all sounded good as a unit.  I never got discouraged because I knew as a band we were making beautiful music.

In the same way, this inspires me to remain encouraged. Although it may seem that what I am doing isn’t affecting the world, there are many others who are helping to make “beautiful music” out of their collective efforts around the world.  Together, we will exact change in the world.

Until Next Time,

Love & Peace.


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Before you Speak…



Sometimes, we lie to ourselves.  We’d like to believe that what we say have no merit, as if the words just fall to the ground never to be heard from again.  But words have great power.  Words have value.  Words create.  We cannot escape words.  Words are everywhere.  Yet, and still: we don’t take careful consideration of our self-talk.

The words that we speak are so important. They affirm us.  They direct us (rather we believe it or not). It gives us the power to move forward or be stagnant.  Most of all, they shape how we see ourselves.

When I was in the second grade, I remember vividly having an assignment in which we had to write five sentences.  Well, I completed the assignment, but my teacher (nor my parents) were very happy with it.  Here were just two of the sentences that I remember:

  • “I am stupid.”
  • “I am dumb.”

While this is really hard for me to read such things that my then seven-year-old self thought, they serve a purpose.  These two sentences have shaped much of my life and I have battled with a skewed self image of myself for over 30 years.  I felt like I wasn’t good enough, so I became a perfectionist.  I became hard on myself.  I settled for being a girl’s friend when I really wanted to date her (this is high school, folks. We’ll have to explore my relationship woes in another post. Ha!).  I never spoke up for myself, therefore willfully volunteering me for some rather unfortunate situations.

All of this blossomed out of my negative self-talk (albeit, I said it not only to myself, but to my teacher and my parents in my homework journal—whoops).

(I don’t want to be misleading: I’ve had some great, positive self-talk moments that have shaped me as well.  Maybe we’ll talk about them in another post.)

Things have certainly changed from 198x.  Do episodes of seven-year-old Herbie surface?  *slaps forehead* UGH!  Yes.  When he does, I am better equipped to combat these noxious thoughts.  I reaffirm myself with words and things that will help reel me back into reality (I have an affirmation list on my phone).  I’ve worked really hard and continue to, making sure that he doesn’t stay around for long.

Well, that’s all I got.

Until next time,

Love & Peace.


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Spacial Awareness

Some time ago, I was so consumed with the “what’s next” of my life. I could never fully appreciate what was happening all around me. I wasn’t living in the moment, because I was so occupied by what was ahead of me.Spacial Awareness

One day, I had had enough.  “Lord, can you help me to see the beauty in all things,” I prayed.  My prayer was answered.  From that day forward, my attention would be drawn towards something different I hadn’t noticed before.  Flowers. Trees. Clouds. Colors. People.  These were just some of the things that were newly brought to my attention.

By all means, my awareness had been heightened.

As I became more aware of the beauty that surrounded me daily, I also became keenly aware of not-so-beautiful things as well.  Poverty, senseless killings, the lack of integrity among everyday people, strife, war, wasted resources, the state of the have-nots and the like were beginning to eat me alive.

But recently, this dawned on me: When I prayed for awareness, I was thinking of only being aware of the cute, pretty and loveliness of life.  It doesn’t quite work that way.  Although I received what I prayed for, I also got so much more.  I had to decide what I was going to focus on.  I can still be aware of the issues of today’s world.  I have a responsibility to help change things in any way that I can.  But, I also have a self-promise to uphold my happiness as well by focusing on the lovely things that I see each day. A dual responsibility, if you will.

Until Next Time,

Love, Peace & Beauty.


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Happy Father’s Day 2016

Happy Father's Day 2016 #HappyFathersDay #HFD #GiveLoveLiveMore #Blog #flowers #Pink #purple

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Inside my rearview

At breakfast the other day, hindsight came up.  In fact, the statement was said that, “Hindsight is 20/20.”  It can be thought of as being beautiful.  Yeah-hindsight is beautiful.  Hindsight affords us the opportunity to see things crystal-clearly, no longer being in the situation.

Inside my rearview. www.givelovelivemore.comMerriam-Webster defines hindsight as,”the knowledge and understanding that you have about an event only after it has happened.”  Wow: only after it has happened.  Why can’t things be obvious while I am going through it (that question pains me to even type)?  who knows: maybe things are obvious and I just choose to see what I want to.

I’ve learned so many lessons in hindsight.  Why couldn’t I have had these epiphanies on the front end?  Isn’t there value in foresight?  God only knows why I didn’t see what I was supposed to see until after it happened.

One of my greatest challenges these days is to shift my focus from hindsight to current awareness.  I’m drawing a blank as to how I will go about this paradigm shift.  I just know that I have to be present in each moment, learning all that I can along the way.  The great part about it all is that I can improve upon this daily!  It doesn’t have to happen overnight. What a relief!

Until next time,

Love & Peace.

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When I Was a Child

The other day I was watching a documentary about drumming and Horacio Hernandez said something that stuck with me. He said,”We [drummers] have loved this instrument as children and somehow have managed to keep that child alive all this time.  So, every time we play, it’s just fun for us.”

Hmm.  Keep that child alive all of this time?  Wow.  That’s a crazy idea.

When I was young, I couldn’t wait to be an adult.  No more early bedtimes.  No more curfews.  No one to tell me what to do and when to do them.  It’s amazing how ignorant and down-right crazy I was!  I didn’t anticipate how becoming an adult would present such a civil war inside myself.

When I was a ChildThe thing I’ve learned most about kids is that kids are honest, are oblivious to caution and are fun-loving beings.  They are, in fact, oblivious to many things.  Children like what they like, and that’s that.  They dive head first into whatever they’re doing, and are not concerned about anyone else while they do it.  They exude love, and passion in its purest form.  They truly dance as though no one is looking.

I admire those adults who have managed to keep their “inner child”alive.  But it’s not easy.  On occasion, I have fought to keep my “inner child” in tact.  In other ways, pieces of my child-like self have fallen faint, like a distant memory.  Life has a satirically funny way of doing that to us adults.  It’s as though a rule of being an adult requires you to lose your “mini-me”.  My personal prayer is that those dormant piece of the child-like me would awaken, restoring the free spirit of my youth.

Friends, try your best to keep your younger you alive.  I guess it’s true what I read once: “Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts.”

Until next time:

Love & Peace.


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The absence of dreams

The absence of dreams


We live in a generation of absolute statements (funny how that sentence is indeed absolute itself).  For today’s absolution, we look towards dreams.  I hear often, “Having a dream isn’t enough.  You have to have a goal, a plan and execute.”  Then it will be presumably enough, right?  While I am a supporter of methodical plans and such, I don’t think that dreams get enough credit.

But what if you can’t dream?

I am convinced that without dreams, you are living a meaningless existence.  I say this because I was once the guy with no dreams.  They had died a horrible death at the hands of my depression.  I couldn’t seem to make myself feel any better, let alone dream.  My days were filled with a heavy, dark feeling everyday (squelching what little was left of my dreams).  From that point on, dreams weren’t in my vocabulary.  It also didn’t help that I was drowning in self pity.  That time in my life represented an existence and not life.  I was alive but I wasn’t living.  I was existing.

In time (and with an onslaught of help), I was able to dream again.  It was slow at first, but I slowly awakened out of my comatose-like sleep.  This made me feel alive!  In time, my dreams became more vivid and eventually I realized that I could attain those dreams.  Here’s the kicker: After I achieved one dream, I simultaneously got the notion that I could try my hands at another….and another….and another.  Essentially, I got more courage.

Today, there are some amazing things happening in my life, that I never dreamt of happening to me.  But I know that it all began with having one dream (and then going after it).

Until next time,

Love & Peace

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Too much of a good thing (isn’t good for me).

It has been a while since I last posted.  I purposely took a break from most social media.  It was taking over my life.  I would find myself staring at my phone a lot throughout the day.  It wasn’t good.  I wasn’t having a great time on social media anyway.  I was allowing what I saw to determine what I should be doing.  No topic was off limits: relationships, business, success and the like.  It’s amazing how seeing the same type of things over and over again can give you the idea that your life is inadequate.

In other words, subliminally it was telling me how to think.  I remember when I thought more for myself.  Crazy right?

So, the social media break was much-needed. Now, I focus on the things that are most important to me.  Family, love and helping others is just the tip of the iceberg (and that list may grow depending on the stage of my life).

But that social media “trap” I fell into still has me unsettled, more than a bit.  How could I be so cautious about most things, but not about that?  I mean, it is true that you “are what you eat,” and I was eating a lot of junk food.  Don’t get me wrong: social media has its perks, but that’s not what I’m talking about at the moment.  The totality of social media is not remotely my life.  But it goes a bit deeper than that.

-Too much of a good thing (isn't good for me).I had to come to understand a few things.  Firstly, people put their best-foot-forward in most situations.  People rarely post things that put themselves (or those they love) in a bad light.  I haven’t read a post entitled, “It’s Monday people!  I hope your day is as jacked up as my life is! #nopeace #nolove #effmylife #effyourstoo.”  With that being said, we aren’t privy to the dark times that many people face (but I wasn’t thinking about all of this as I was perused through status updates).  Does it mean that people aren’t experiencing challenging times?  It most certainly doesn’t mean that.  It just means that people are more selective with what they post.

Secondly, we live in the world of absolutes.  This means that people post memes that sometimes are polar opposites.  Statements like,”If you’re not for me, then you’re against me,” for example.  Or maybe this one: “If you can’t hunt, or change a tire, you should cut your beard off because you’re not a real man.”  What?  Are people serious?  These quotes are so ridiculous that they’re laughable.

Lastly, we’re all in search of the same, basic things out of life.  We all want to be loved.  We all want to know that we matter to someone else.  We all want to be happy.  That means that we’re more alike than we are different.  We’re all just human.

So, I guess in a round-about-way, I learned how to not take social media so seriously.  Instead, I’ll choose to hold dear those things I cherish most.

Until Next Time,

Love & Peace.


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Wait your turn.

My dad was a drummer.  He grew up playing in church.  There was a boy named Artie that watched him play.  Artie played when my dad decided not to play any longer.  My older brother Maurice played drums intermittently while Artie was the main drummer.  Then, when Artie went into the Army, Maurice played drums.  When Maurice went off to college, I played.

While all of the drum lineage was unfolding, I enjoyed every minute of it.  It was so exciting to watch Artie come up to the drums with his dark-siders on and play.  When he played, the atmosphere changed.  I ate it up.

wait your turnThere was this one time at our church’s annual Christmas Play, that Artie wasn’t on the drums (and my brother was nowhere to be found).  They were singing, “Why don’t you pray for me, sometime.” I grabbed the sticks and played my little heart out.  It was the last song of the evening, so it was very short, but I was excited to play.

[I feel giddy just thinking about that moment.]

While it would be years until I finally got a chance to play for our church “full time,” I didn’t care.  I enjoyed just being able to hear all the musical sounds in that place, as a kid.

I paid no mind of the time between Artie and me playing because I enjoyed it so much.  Although it could be counted as waiting time, I didn’t care.

I was reminded about this childhood story, as I reflected on the part of my journey that has me frustrated nowadays.  I have become somewhat impatient (I alluded to this in my last post: read about it here).  The biggest lesson I have learned from “me” back then is to have fun while I wait.

Simply put: Wait your turn.

Until Next Time,

Love & Peace


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