You have the power….Use it!

you-have-the-powerI’m very aware of the fact that every time I turn on my television and flip through the channels, i’ll come across some show I don’t enjoy. I’m not a fan of horror movies, I don’t care for those non-reality, reality shows and i’m not big on daytime talk shows; just not my thing. I do understand that there are people who live and breathe for the shows I choose not to watch because they aren’t my cup of tea. I don’t knock your flow when it comes to being entertained by what works for you. My problem comes when people have real live internet arguments and cyber-fights over a show that someone else loves, but another person hates. The arguments are often between people who don’t even know each other. Social media allows us all to connect with people across the globe who have similar or not similar likes and dislikes, but when I see literal fights with cursing and threats, all I say to myself is which one of you are so heated that you can’t see that you have the power to turn them off. One person loves a show, the other hates it and both can’t understand there is a block/ignore feature. People are so angry over crazy little things like the plot of a television show. There are some shows I live to watch every single week and some I even watch over and over again because of the entertainment factor. When it comes to a show I don’t care for, I just use the power that lies in my hands. What is that power you ask? It’s the power to change the channel. Here is the process for anyone who just can’t get it because they are so lit. First, you pick up the remote control, that piece of equipment that you used to get you to the channel where the show is playing that you don’t like and then (now wait for it because this is a power and enlightening statement I’m about to hit you with), you click the buttons and you find another channel!! (drops the mic). That one move gives you so much power, you won’t know what to do with yourself. Should you find something you like, maybe listen to the music channel and chill out or perhaps, now this is an incredible option to, how about turn the television off! (Now that’s saying something right there!) Either way, you have the power to move beyond what you don’t want to lay your eyes on. Instead, you decide you’re going to take your anger out on someone who likes what you don’t like. I can sit here forever and write about all of the things I don’t like in this world, but what I won’t do is get into a cyber fight with a stranger or with a friend about something I chose to continue watching though I don’t like it, it disgusts me or I don’t find it entertaining. Its a television show, those are actors and they making a living at what you ask? Yes, they make a living at entertaining you. If you’re not entertained, use that ultimate power and change the channel. I read a conversation where someone was called a sell out because they watched a Maury show. (I think that’s the name of the show). The guy was called a sellout because he enjoyed the craziness of the show and the person who called him that name did so because he said its insulting to our race to watch a show and continue to let people make money from us folks acting a fool. Again, it’s entertainment. If that’s what works for him, to lighten his day, makes him smile and forget about serious concerns in his life, let him be. I don’t care for those types of shows either and I could write many, many blogs about why, but I find it hard to understand fighting with someone on the internet, name calling and being insulting simply because it’s a show you don’t like. What amazed me even more is that they name caller gave examples of various episodes that he found disgraceful which in my book means he watched more than one. Why? If you hate it and find it demeaning, why did you continue to watch beyond one episode then go to the internet, search for twitter hashtag that took you to people who glorify the show only to then bash them with post after post after post? Houston, I think there’s a problem!! I’m just saying, forget that Chuck D said “Fight the Power” and use that power to gain control over your option to not look insane. Go ahead and change that channel; I dare you. I want to hear you put that Superman/Superwoman “S” on your chest and declare that you have the power and you’re going to use it and let that anger rest easy for a real situation.  Remember, you have the power!

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Don’t Quit..The reward is ahead

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I know that was meant for more than just staying stagnate. I’ve had hurdles that should have taken me out. I’ve had struggles that I’ve seen others never come back from, but in all of that, I continue on. I press forward because I know that what is behind me can totally be forgotten about, what’s going on now often pacifies me, but what lies ahead sends a challenge back to me to do my best to get there and I’m not one to back down from a challenge. There are people who have died so that I could have the opportunity to try and try again because the only roadblock is myself. One step in front of the other and I’m already a winner because I didn’t settle for standing still; I choose to see what’s on the road ahead and ready or not, here I come!

 

Cheryl

http://www.cherylbarton.net

http://www.crbarton.com

 

 

What You Really Want

I haven’t met anyone who can read minds, at least I don’t think I have. If I ever do, I’d like to prance that person around, passing by people and picking out those I’d like to take a look into their thoughts. What are they really thinking? What do they really want? Knowing your want is easy even if you don’t share them with another soul, but knowing someone else’s is a totally different story. We often assume we know what someone else wants because we like to believe whatever we want has to be the same as someone else, but that’s not always true.

Back in 2013, I wrote my first book, Bachelor Not For Sale, and I was excited. Who knew I could write anything? Well, I did because whatever you want to do is in you. It may be buried deep and you may have to wait until the desire surfaces in order for you to follow the path that leads to it, oh, but it’s still there. When I wrote that book and then two others (A Designed Affair & A Perfect Combination) making them books 2 and 3 of that series, I had in mind a series about men who were fine, successful, rich and highly sexual. I wanted those things to be what my male characters would consider the most important things in life to them. I loved writing ‘The Bachelor Series’ and thanks to readers, I have appreciated all the feedback and love for Duron Knight and his two friends, Michael Bailey and Tyrone Davis. Those men led the lives of bachelors that some men only dream about, but in the end, they found women who made them reevaluate their lives and discover that love was more important than lust. Is that so, you ask? Yeah, it is so, but the path was paved with a lot of lust and great sex! Women, I know you can relate because though we’d all love to find that man who will love deeply and love us for life, we know we want that great sex and these guys brought that. Then there was book 4, “Love at Last”, in the series which I just released and all that changed.

Brian Knight is the brother of Duron Knight from the first book in the series, “Bachelor Not For Sale”. He is totally different than his brother who took pride in beating his chest to celebrate the number of women he’d bedded. Brian, on the other hand, was different. He had his share of casual relationships, but deep down, he only wanted ‘The One’. He wanted to love until it made him think of nothing, but that woman who would make his world complete. He was the brother that wanted to find a woman to give his heart to and let that love and intimacy create a world where she was his main priority and even if he was approached by a different beautiful woman each day, his love for that one woman would be so strong, he would only have eyes for her. Brian knew that the ultimate passion came with giving his all to the right woman. He never planned on going to a football game and finding the love of his life.

Brian met his equal while at a football game and he thought his life was perfect until a day came when she didn’t want to see him anymore and he didn’t get an explanation of why. to him, their relationship was perfect. He had been her first, teaching her all the pleasant and delightful places on her own body that brought her the most satisfaction when she was kissed, touched, massaged and made love to. He enjoyed not just her body, but the whole experience of being with her and then she was gone.

Sherry Braxton, though younger than Brian by several years, thought that she’d found the perfect man who treated her like a queen until an overheard conversation caused her to run away and stay away. It wasn’t until after, that she discovered she was pregnant with Brian’s child. She was hurt and felt betrayed by him and never told him about the baby. Somehow, he found out and she looked up and who was standing before her? Yup, it was Brian all the way from Atlanta now in Baltimore looking for an explanation and falling in love at first sight when he saw his daughter for the very first time. What ensues next is Brian and Sherry struggle with deep-rooted feelings that never went away. They dance around the love they still feel while focusing on Brian’s relationship with is daughter. Something else was in play and it was the kind of love no one should ever walk away from; it was that kind of love that people wait a lifetime for. Brian knew it from the start and knew that Sherry was the love of his life. He let her slip away once, but if it’s up to him, he won’t make that mistake a second time. Brian wants love and he only wants it with one person, Sherry Braxton. Can he finally have a love that lasts a lifetime? Can he now have love at last? Check out my new release and find out if that’s what’s in the cards for him.

 

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The Death of a Powerful Man: Bishop Eddie Long

long Yesterday I was sitting in worship service and my cellphone vibrated and when I checked, it was a news highlight that Bishop Eddie Long had passed away. I didn’t know if it was true or not, so I took a few minutes and checked a few other sites and sure enough, he had died sometime early Sunday morning. I shared that information with my parents who I was in worship service with and both had a look of total surprise on their faces; I did not. I’m no psychic, able to foretell coming events, but the last time I set eyes via the internet on Bishop Eddie Long, he didn’t look well. At that point, while others checked out the same photos of him that I had seen, I saw a lot of social media posts about what could have been the cause and I remained quiet. I had read stories over the past several years about possible indiscretions regarding Bishop Long and again, I didn’t comment and I decided to not play judge or jury because it wasn’t my place and its not anyone else’s place either. It is our place to pray for a family who has lost a loved one. It is our place to pray for a congregation that is now in mourning over the loss of a man they didn’t hold judgement against. Despite what the headlines had been saying over the years, some did what the Bible said and they prayed and forgave in order for them to be able to move on and continue the work of the Lord. Isn’t that what churches are supposed to do? Its what I thought.

I’ve never been to New Birth in Atlanta, but I had heard about all of the great things they were and are doing for the community. A lot of that started with Bishop Eddie Long and his heart for the people. The things I could see and witness are the only things I am able to give response to. Those crimes he was accused of committing happened behind closed doors and what it did was pit one man’s story against another. People chose who they wanted to believe in based on what they read in the media as if they were actually there and saw it happen. Now, I’m not proclaiming guilt or innocence and I don’t know everyone involved stories, but I don’t need to know. All I need to do is pray for the situation and pray for healing of those involved. Social media though, has allowed people to become judge and jury and as their opinions spread, so do lies that then are exacerbated to the point that someone in another state or country reading the stories on the internet become angry, vengeful and yes, judgmental. I, again, chose not to take that route. I could have an opinion about what I read and share it on the internet helping to fuel the fire of anger that spread across the world. I didn’t because in the quiet of my own space, I prayed that God would heal a people; heal a nation. This wasn’t the first of this kind of story and it wouldn’t be the last. Throwing social media stones at a situation that I’m not involved with or getting angry at the church over it would not be the best decision. I didn’t want to carry hate or hurt in my heart about another person’s dilemma; trust, I have enough of my own issues going on  that I don’t need to focus on someone else’s and I believe we all do.

Bishop Long may have had issues and personal demons, but who doesn’t. Is it our place to judge and jury? No. Lots of people benefited financially from the settlement, but did it take the hurt and pain away? No. Are those who are in leadership positions in churches perfect people without demons and vices? No. Is Bishop Long’s death some sort of karma coming back on him to extract a price for his wrongdoings in life? No. None of us knows what karma looks, feels or acts like. We’re going by what we think and not by what we know. The bottom line is, Bishop Long was a man with a title, held high up on a pedestal and if it were you or I, people would gasp at our secrets as well and then judge and jury us. I believer in God’s Word and I believe that He is the only TRUE judge and jury and I don’t care what any court says. In the end, God will have the final say when we all stand in judgement alone to answer for what we’ve done in our lives from the day God breathed life into us, until the day he took that last breath away and said your will is now done. The life Bishop Long led is more than the bits and pieces we all know about, not personally, but through the words we read on the internet, in a news or magazine article. I understand he did some great things to help where no other help was on the horizon.

There were recipients of cars, houses, bills being paid, prayers and words of comfort that none of us no all about. Those are the deeds of a powerful man. I have had struggles in my life and though I didn’t turn to a church for help, I turned to my parents who have always been there with their trusty safety net. Because of them, I made it through and because of Bishop Eddie Long, there is another person someplace who survived and can proclaim they made it because of his helping hand, words of encouragement and whispers of prayer. Anyone who can touch a life and provide a need is a powerful person and that, too, was Bishop Long. I’m not condoning anything he did in his private life, but we don’t have access to that other than what we hear about third, fourth and fifth-hand. I could believe those or I could believe him, but I chose to not do either. I chose to mind my business, let those people handle their business and in turn, I sat back and prayed that they would all survive and get back some semblance of life. If not, there are other powerful people that God has raised up in the form of doctors and counselors and it is my prayer that those who need it will take advantage of it and begin to heal. There is a lot of healing that needs to take place and it’s not a time to throw stones at a man who is no longer here to see and hear it. Who is left are his wife, children and congregation and what they need from us most right now is their prayers. Pray that his wife finds comfort in knowing that God knew what was best. Pray that she is comforted knowing that her husband of many years is no longer in pain. Pray that she has the strength to comfort her children who lost their father. Did you not have a father that you wished could be around you to console you, place his arms around you, give you advice, smile at you, laugh at your jokes and love you with all of his heart? His children did and right now, they don’t need people playing judge and jury about what their father may have done; they need a people who understand what it means to lose someone and can offer words of comfort and prayer as they go through. There is a congregation that despite the cloud that hung over Bishop Long for years, they still believed in him because they believed that God uses all kinds of people to bring His Word to the masses and in this situation, He used New Birth and Bishop Eddie Long. We may not like what we have read, but were you there? If not, pray for those who were. Find compassion for the situation for everyone involved and not get excited over your chance to jump on a bandwagon of vile words and hatred. You may not have had Bishop Long’s issues, but there are issues and if there was a spotlight shown on the skeletons in your closet, I hope you would want to find comfort in a world of people who understand that none of us are perfect. We al have problems and I’m sure, so did Bishop Long.

Problems or no problems, it didn’t take away from the fact that some people did and still do consider Bishop Long a great and powerful man. He may have done wrong, but he also did good and if one life was blessed because of the life he led, then he did what the Lord told him to do. I know I go about my life everyday and there are things that I do that don’t glorify God and His plan for my life and the lives around me, but I try and that’s all each of us can do. While some sit around and persecute Bishop Eddie Long, someone else is saying a prayer of thanks because they lived another day not starving, not out in the cold or jobless, unable to feed their children. If in your life you touch one person and because of you their lives changed for the better, then I consider you a great and powerful person because you made at least one positive difference. Through his good and his bad, Bishop Eddie Long did that and for that, I consider him a powerful man. I choose to let God deal with the wrong Bishop Long may have done in life and while I can still pray, my prayers go up and out for the family, congregation and friends he left behind. They are the only ones who are left to deal with the aftermath of his passing. I don’t know what he died from and I don’t care. What I do know is that there is a large group of people who need my support and prayer today and I choose to give that instead of spreading hatred because there is already enough of that going around.

Peace!

Cheryl

http://www.cherylbarton.net

 

 

 

Who you gonna call?

124079-Think-For-YourselfI went to a business expo and one of the speakers, who was a fellow author, talked about people she comes across on a daily basis who have shied away from following a dream or a passion. Nowadays, it’s hard to convince people to stay the course and follow their dreams because there is always some naysayer on social media or some other platform who has nothing else to do with their day other than to tell you how much your dream or goals suck. You find yourself making an honest attempt and putting in the hard work only to feel let down when someone throws shade on your dream. She spoke about her path to writing and then publishing and how shock set in the moment she read her first review. She vowed never to write another novel because of how nasty and cruel the review was while other people seemed to love it. For three years, she put off writing another novel until her son asked her what was taking her so long. She told us it was words from her son that encouraged her to pick her pen back up again and read. He asked her why would she let a few nuts in a barrel of millions control what she does with her life and whether she ever writes again. He told her he was proud of her for doing what some people only dream of doing and because she took that first step and published her first book, he looked forward to reading her next. The next day, she started work on her second novel and now she is seven novels in and loving the path.

When it was my turn to introduce myself and talk about what I do, write romance novels, I talked about my path to writing and how, even now, I don’t let any of the reviews of my books taint my decision to write or not write. I love all of the reviews, good and bad, but what I’d like for people to do is learn to make a decision about what you like or don’t like on our own. We are becoming a people who take to other’s to decide what choices we’ll make in our lives. Who you gonna call?

I’ve always said like what you like if you decide that’s what you like and not like whatever you decide isn’t for you, but make it your own decision. People don’t know how to think for themselves anymore, but they wait to see what the masses think. I wanted to see a movie with a friend once and he refused to see it because he heard it was awful and based on what people were saying on the internet, he wouldn’t waste his money. I went to see the movie anyone on my day off and I laughed the entire movie it was so good. When it came out on DVD, I bought a copy just for him and we watched it one evening and you know what? He LOVED it! He was all set to not like this actor because other’s told him he wasn’t funny, but I tell you at one time I thought I was going to have to get some tissues he was crying fro laughing so hard. I told him next time just go see it and not make a decision based on someone who doesn’t live, think or act like you do. Be your own person!

One good example is Kim Kardashian. Now I see how social media has a love/hate relationship with Kim, but you can’t knock her hustle and thankfully, she doesn’t give two shades about what anyone has to say about anything. By way of those who love and and hate her, trust that someone is watching everything she does, buying what she sells and promotes what she says by tweeting and retweeting her every word and that’s what it’s about. It’s about going through life not allowing someone else dictate what your next moment or next move will be. i respect her for her game and however she chooses to increase her bank account, I say go for it. As others are sitting home and complaining about the next picture she puts up or the next wild thing her husband does, she’s throwing up the finger as she heads into the bank to check her new balance! I’m the same way when it comes to my writing. You can’t write or live to please everyone. For me, if I love what I wrote then I have mad love for it and nothing anyone can say or do will ever, ever, ever change that. See, the way my self-esteem is set up, I am my own woman and I dance to the beat of my own drum and it makes me happier than I’ve ever been in my life. Miserable people are miserable and like to spread their misery because no one finds anything about them to like so they want to share how much they don’t like anyone or anything else. It’s perfectly okay. Who you gonna call?

I look at our youth of today and they can’t survive without everyone loving and liking everything they say and do and if they are not the popular one’s, they look for a way to tear other’s down. You have to find your life is worth living, no matter what someone else things about it. Just do you, boo boo! You will find that when you walk through life not giving a hoot about those who have a problem with you, you’ll spend it trying to always make them happy. I live for me, yet I respect everyone’s desire to live their life their way in their own space. I pick a movie to see because I want to see it. I read a book because I love reading and none are perfect, but all are someone’s hard work. I drive the car I want because I like it and if you don’t, I have no problem driving by you. I’m currently buying a new house and buying it where I want to live because the bank said yeah, you can do that girl and so, yeah I’m doing it! For the few people who said why would I move so far from work and my answer is because I want to. If you don’t visit me now, should I not expect you now that I’m moving so far away? Yeah, let me take a lifetime and think on that one. I didn’t make these decisions based on making a million phone calls and asking someone what I should do. I did it because you only live once and for this one life I’m living, I’m going to do it my way. Who you gonna call?

When I choose the next book to write and I put it out, I feel excited and happy that I’ve made another achievement, doing something that I’m very passionate about and I do it thankful for those who decide to read my novels. You don’t have to, but you choose to and I hope you continue to do so. All of my books are my favorites and my most favorites change according to the day. Today my favorite four of my own novels are

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Now, this list will change tomorrow based on how I’m feeling, but trust, I love every single book I’ve put out and I choose what to write based on what I decide to write about and how I want to write it. I’m like Kim Kardashian, while some sit home and critique my art, I’m actually following my dream and achieving some goals while other’s choose to sit home and not chase any and that’s okay too. Who you gonna call?

Who am I gonna call? No one because when I make a choice or a decision, I easily live with it because it came from my heart.

Happy living 🙂

Cheryl

 

Prince, “His Royal Purpleness”

Purple-RainThe world lost more of it’s greatness today when “His Royal Purpleness” took his last breath. Today the world mourns the death of “Prince” one of the greatest musical geniuses of all time. One truth I know is that there is a generation that didn’t get to know Prince and his music like I did. He didn’t just sing his music, but he told a story each and every time. I sang to “Purple Rain”. I danced to “Let’s Go Crazy” and “I Would Die For You”. I swooned to “Adore” probably more times than I should have, but that’s a different conversation for another time.

Today, I celebrate his life by remembering his passion for bringing great music to his fans and for his philanthropy done behind the scenes. He was also more than just his music. He fought for many years for his independence to do him and in the end he won. He was the true example of following ones dreams and never letting anything stop you. He did what so many in the industry are afraid to do and that is break away from the status-quo and not give in to the all-mighty dollar that would make others richer than him when he did all the work. I can understand that determination and I love, honor and respect it. More than that, I’m thankful for the example.

Prince set an example for ‘doing you’ and not worrying about what the world had to say about it. Some thought he dressed to feminine and I say it’s what made him more attractive because what he had on or how he acted for the entertainment stage had nothing to do with who he was as a man. Puffy shirts and all, he was one of the handsomest and sexiest men I’ve ever seen. I loved watching those hips gyrate and that hair swing around and let’s not speak of the chills one could get just looking into his eyes when he looked right into a camera. He was more than just an entertainer; he was a real Prince and he helped make falling and being in love okay and sexy!

There have been many greats who we’ve lost over the years, but none and I mean NONE leaving this earth has impacted me the way Prince’s death has. I loved Michael Jackson, Gerald Levert, Whitney Houston, Natalie Cole, Barry White, Luther Vandross and on and on the list continues of those whose music I grew up listening to and could relate to their lyrics. These artists were like family to me. When I listened to their music, I felt like they knew me, struggles I went through, love found and lost, trying to fit in, but not and just the angst of making it through another day when things weren’t going like I dreamed.  There were times when I’d put on music when I was at a low point in my life only to come out by the end of the song feeling better and looking forward to finding a way to improve my own situation. I don’t think artists know how important what they sing about and then leave behind can be to someone’s life. Prince’s music will live on forever and I hope as generations come and go, people will continue to seek out his music, see it’s relevance even to their lives and be thankful that they once lived and made the choice to make good music that we would be able to enjoy for a lifetime.

Thank you, “Your Royal Purpleness” for the music and the legacy. Sleep on peacefully. Yours was a job well done! Somewhere “Doves” are crying because “Prince” has exited stage left. You will be missed and for all you brought to our lives musically, Thank you Sir!

Rise Up, Or Nah?

Rise

I rose early for no reason other than my body was ready to do so. I went into my kitchen, turned on the Keurig as I do most mornings to prepare my daily cup of tea. I’m off today because it’s a holiday set aside to celebrate the life of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Stepping away from that, which I will come back to in a minute, let me jump over to a video that caught my eye early this morning. Jada Pinkett-Smith posted a video to her social media accounts where she’s making a statement about the lack of color being represented and accepted at this year’s academy other than Chris Rock being asked to host. She’s disappointed, but forgiving of the fact that we have had to beg and plead to be invited to the table though we carry great power in this nation. I made a statement yesterday on my social media accounts that we need learn to love, honor, respect and support each other and not be as concerned about others giving us the pat on the back we feel like we need to have acknowledgement that we’re doing a great job. Her video stood out for me, not just because of the content of it, but because I had a situation recently that bothered me a little.

I was part of a conversation where someone said to me that (without divulging the actual conversation) they wanted me to pretty much do a dog and pony show, perform a few tricks, say my name a thousand times so that someone would know who I was and reward me for the hard work I do. While he was talking, I thought about the tons of awards that I already have, yet the few I see others with and still I need to put on a show like I’m in the middle of the three ring circus and if I do well, I may be asked to come back again. It didn’t matter that in a year’s time, I had received four high honors where some had yet to receive any, yet I have to do something extra special and the premise was, “so that they can know your name; know who you are.” My first thought was, they still need to know my name and know who I am? Why am I being pointed out to do this extra two-step to be recognized further? Why are you not telling them who I am and what I am capable of doing? People know and remember the names and talents of those they want to remember and that dog and pony show won’t matter. I realized at that moment that I’m not a hoop jumper and my days of putting on a dog and pony show to be seen and heard are in my past because I did the most, I stood out, I played the game and starting over by doing those things I’ve spent a lifetime doing just to get another small pat on the back isn’t what or who I am. I have the expectation that if I am to be rewarded for a task/job well done, that it will come my way because of the contributions I put forth that shouldn’t include that show full of stars and lights, fancy talk, Sunday attire and a smile that would plastered on only for that occasion. I should have the ability to be recognized along-side those who are awarded for doing very little when it’s clear I do a lot more. I was insulted and I relayed that sentiment because I know the power I wield is worth more than song and dance I was being asked to do in order to be seen and heard. Ask anyone, they see me and I have no doubt they hear me and what I produce is right in your face, but in a world where that’s not enough for ME, I choose not to tell someone a story they should already know because the end product you received, came from me or was there a mysterious person who you gave credit to for the great job I did.  I’m not the only one who encounters that tactic daily, but I am the one who will not be placed in center stage to perform a show when you already know and have seen just how good I am, so if you’re going to reward me, thank you and if not, I’m still good because I know how to pat my own self on the back and encourage myself. I don’t do what I do for a golden statue from you because if what I provide has a positive impact on one person, then I’ve done what I’ve set out to do. My audience is not those who want me to stand before them and plead for my talent and work to be accepted, but it’s the people I help who need a better understanding so that they can have a productive life. With that in mind, I stand with Jada when she says we no longer have to beg and plead for respect or attention when we can provide that for ourselves. For me, I’m happy, healthy and someone’s life is better because of the product I provide and that right there is my acknowledgement of the good job I do and that works for me.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wanted more for us and he fought so that, hopefully, w wouldn’t have to fight as hard. He took punches, kicks, screams, death threats, his life being monitored twenty-four seven, the lives of his wife and children at risk everyday, yet he didn’t play nice on the playground to make those who thought they mattered more feel good about themselves. Instead he took the road that paved a way for me and others like me to see that we can have, live and do better for ourselves and we should never give up striving for that, if not for ourselves, than for those who are coming up with and after us. Everyone deserves a world of equality and justice and no person is born entitled without putting in the work. The point is to make sure everyone has an equal opportunity to achieve the same goal without any one person being put in a place to perform extra for something someone got because they know somebody or because they are stereotyped as being the person who should get the upper hand simply because their skin tone is a few shades lighter. When is that hurdle ever left behind in the rear view window, never to be seen again? There are those who don’t really want to see us succeed, but telling us they do is more of the politically correct thing to say. We have the power to make a change, but it won’t occur if we continue following the status quo. I agree with Jada Pinkett-Smith that we need to do some things different and not scratch and claw for recognition, but it’s time we did more to recognize ourselves in a way that gives us inner peace. Those we thought we wanted that pat on the back from aren’t as important to our livelihood as be may believe; we just have to make the moves to make sure we are in position to control our own livelihood. It’s time to stand up, rise and and do what we need to do to say it’s okay if i’m not invited to the table because I have this really nice table over on the other side of the room that it fit around right nicely. I look good at that table, I feel magnificent at that table and at that table there is joy and love for me that though you may have wanted me to believe I wanted and needed from you, I really didn’t. I was going along with what I had been taught, but now it’s time for me to be the teacher because I’ve sat under teachings that provide me with the sustenance I needed and some I didn’t, yet i’m going to take it, nonetheless and use it to show those coming behind me that they can make a difference without begging and pleading to be let in through a door that never had my name on it to begin with. Yeah, it’s beyond time to take stock in self-worth and walk into your destiny and stop leaving that destiny to someone to provide.

Rise up, or Nah? I say rise up and not just walk, but run into the life you were meant to have and not one that has been planned out for you. Where you see a brick wall, bring along a sledgehammer and knock that sucker down. When you see a river that you don’t believe you can swim across, learn to swim better than any Olympic swimmer and get your behind to the other side. When the valley is deep and rugged, come with an ATV that can get you across that rough terrain. When you no longer see a path, be the first to build one so that one day your name can be on that street as the one who paved the way. Where you see that others are weak and you’re the strongest, jump in and bring to the table what’s needed for success for all involved. Where you have the means and the know how, develop a DIY (do it yourself) mentality and move on to the next impossible task, proving the impossible is possible. You don’t need a pat on the back when you know the power of what you bring to the table. Design a tool that looks like a hand and every time you feel that you aren’t getting recognized for your achievements, use that tool to pat your own self on the back and keep it moving and then when you have the opportunity, you take the time to pat someone on the back not because you made them put on an embarrassing, unnecessary show, but because you truly believe they provided what needed to be celebrated.

Rise up, or Nah? Yeah, I say rise up and help to change a generation that seems to be lost within themselves, not knowing how to get out. Our children want not because they are being told and shown that they are nothing. They are down because the generation before them was down and still found a way to survive so they have no problem with just surviving to make it from birth to death. Some don’t even care if death comes for them early because they couldn’t see beyond the day they were living in. They saw no future filled with happiness, family, love and respect. They saw ridicule, disenchantment, bitterness, disappointment and most of all, no way out because no one cared enough to help them. We have the power to help a generation rise, who want to rise and believe that not everyone you encounter want your help and that’s okay too, but for those who do, find a way to make a difference in their lives.

The time to rise up is in every second of every day. What will you choose? Rise Up, Or Nah?

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