Be the change

bethechange

My intentions were to write a well thought out and researched piece about the current situation in Ferguson, MO that resulted from the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown, Jr.  I have been following the story closely since the very beginning and have related to the passion felt by those seeking justice.

But as I sat down to write, the coherency that I envisioned seemed to be hindered by the the combination of sadness and anger that I feel, and have felt every time a story like this one is put into the forefront.  For a young man who was soon to attend college, and who had dreams of starting his own business.  A young man who I’m sure wasn’t perfect, but did not deserve to die on August 9th.

This incident and ones similar to it continue to highlight the racial divide in this county.  As much as we would like to believe that America is this utopian melting pot, we still have a long way to go before true equality is established.

I don’t know what the solution should be, which is extremely frustrating for my solution-oriented brain.  But if nothing else I hope that the media attention that this case is receiving causes each of us to examine ourselves and how best we can support the change we wish to see.

What racially-motivated ideas/perceptions do I hold and how do those ideas/ perceptions manifest?

What might I be doing better to promote equality for all individuals, independent of race/ethnicity?

How can I help to create a society where individuals aren’t judged based on the color of their skin?

In what individual way can I contribute to the passing of legislature that supports a just and equitable society?

The eternal optimist in me continues to believe that change is possible, so long as I make it my personal responsibility to support change through my thoughts, words and actions.

Despite its release in 1971, the words of Marvin Gaye’s ‘What’s Going On?” still hold true today.  One line from that song really stood out to me: “For only love can conquer hate.”  Not only do I want to support change through my thoughts, words and actions, but I desire that unconditional love be the foundation upon which change occurs.

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Happy Valen-times Day!

nothing-steve-jobs-ever-valentines-day-ecard-someecards2 (1)

It’s been a long time

I shouldn’t have left you

Without a dope blog post to read to

My attempt at a song remix would sound much better over a Timberland beat.  But while I work out the details of that arrangement, I would like to take the time to wish all of you a very Happy Valentine’s Day (or Valen-times Day….depending on who you’re speaking to…..)!

colbert

Colbert knows how I feel 😉  Valentine’s Day is one of my all-time favorite holidays, and no, it’s not because I’ve been receiving floral bouquets and boxes of chocolate every year (though I have been the recipient of some pretty sweet gifts).  I interpret Valentine’s Day more broadly than some, and see it as a general day to express your love to those you know….and even to those you don’t.  This day in particular can cause some people to slip into mild depression if they don’t have that “special someone” in their life.  That’s where you and your volcano of love, overflowing with hot liquid magma (please tell me that I’m not the only person who said this word in a Dr. Evil voice….anyone?) and loving goodness, can swoop down and brighten someone’s day.  This could be as simple as wishing someone an amazing Valentine’s Day, or offering to treat them to a BOGO deal at Qdoba in exchange for a peck on the cheek.  However you plan to spend your day, I hope that it is completely filled with love – so much so that you’re able to freely dispense that love onto unsuspecting others.  As for me, my homey and I are planning to rack up on as many Valentine food freebies and discounts as possible before ending the evening with a new epi of Scandal.  Yeah, my Fitz like has gone down a bit after witnessing his passive-aggressiveness last week, but I do admire his g-move on the late Supreme Court Justice Verna Thornton.  You will not ruin his legacy mam……but I digress, as clearly I’m way too into this show.  Happy Valentine’s Day everyone, and enjoy one of my fav love songs (and karaoke selections), along with a cutesy remake by the Smiths!  Hollers ❤

Merry Christmas: Love to Love Ya!

love you

Merry Christmas!!!  I had an entirely different topic that I was prepared to write about today, but now…..I’m not feeling it.  Instead, I’m going to keep it short & sweet 🙂  In celebration of this day to commemorate the birth of Christ, the ultimate exemplar of Love – I just want you to know that you are loved.  I love you, and more importantly, God loves you…..and there’s nothing you can do about it 🙂  Now that’s a gift that requires no gift wrapping.  Enjoy one of my fav songs by ‘The Commodores’ & have a fabu Christmas Day!

Inspired – Different Christmas Traditions

love candy canes

It’s Christmas Eve – the day before the big day!  I’m finishing up some last minute shopping before hitting the road to visit my fam, (majorly procrastinated this year!), how about you?  Hopefully you did the  complete opposite and completed all of your tasks super early and are now able to chill-ax (i.e., chill + relax).  I’ll get there one day….actually, scratch that – I look forward to not having to get there one day.  And by that, I mean that I really want to institute some different Christmas traditions among my close friends and fam, ones that deviate from the consumerism normally associated with this time of the year and instead focus on what Christmas really is about.  Honestly, I have everything I need….and a lot of what I want – and would be completely fine with not receiving gifts, and instead having that money (& shopping time) allocated elsewhere.  Now I’m not sure how on board other’s would be about my seemingly radical ideas – but here are some that I would like to see done, collectively, one year:

  • Kiva – If you’ve never heard of Kiva before, consider yourself informed 🙂  This organization is the world’s first online lending platform connecting online lenders to entrepreneurs around the globe, to help fund business ventures and alleviate poverty.  You can select the borrower of your choice and lend as little as $25 towards their efforts.  It’s an easy and impactful way to spend Christmas funds, and you will receive your initial loan back to re-lend to another borrower, to donate to Kiva for operating costs, or you can withdraw via Paypal.
  • Adopt a family – There are formal as well as informal ways to accomplish this category.  Formally, there are organizations in place that will connect you to families in need, like the Salvation Army’s ‘Adopt a Family’ Program.  Some churches also have a formalized process for giving to families.  Informally, you could also organize a more personal approach to give to a family that you know – in the form of paying a needed bill or buying Christmas toys for children.  If this is the desired method, having a clear means of communicating with the family about their needs and reaching an agreement about the need that will be met is a good starting point.
  • VolunteerDosomething.org is an excellent resource for volunteer opportunities, from serving in a soup kitchen, to helping out in an animal shelter, picking up trash, etc.  Wherever your interest lies, you might be able to find a volunteer opportunity that fits.  But if not, you could always create your own volunteer experience by connecting personally with an organization that fits your interest.
  • Random acts of Kindness – Ok, technically, this category should extend to the entire year and not just during the Christmas season.  But random acts of kindness are just that – doing something kind for someone else.  Are you like G. Garvin in the kitchen (the crush I had on that man……or maybe the crush stemmed from the fact that he simply could cook….and if I were with him, I wouldn’t have to….WINNING!)?  If so, whip up that dish and give it to someone you know who would like it – just because.  Standing behind someone in the check-out line who seems stressed over a bill amount that you know you could afford?  Offer to pay for their purchases!  I witnessed this very act this week, and to call it beautiful would be an understatement 🙂  Now random acts don’t have to be uber-expensive either.  They could be as simple as holding the door open for others longer than what would be considered normal, returning your cart after shopping to the inside of the store *gasp*, or saying ‘Hi!’ with a genuine smile to everyone that you come across on a given day….something I would’ve considered (more) weird before moving to the south.  Actually, out of all the things my sister and I have done for my mom for her birthday, the one that she reminds us of the most was also one of the simplest – the year we snuck home when she and my dad were out of town and cleaned the entire house.  So yeah, simple random acts of kindness and consideration can go a long way and majorly brighten someone’s day!

I’m looking forward to stepping up or starting to act on these areas for next year!  However you’re spending your Christmas, I hope that you are continually reminded that you are loved 🙂  Have a fabu Christmas Eve.

Love Never Fails……Period

I had a rough day recently.

I unexpectedly became the recipient of some pretty harsh criticism from someone whom I would have expected the complete opposite response from….seeing as I had worked hard to help them when they needed it.  Their comments caught me off-guard, and my first response was one of :

angry gif

Like seriously?  I just put forth effort to assist you in your time of need, and you’re going to express anger towards me for something that had absolutely NOTHING to do with me?!

But after my initial angry response dissipated (I’ve never been one to hold a grudge), I was left feeling hurt, unappreciated and devalued……and unfortunately, these emotions lingered for a bit longer as I reflected on past similar occasions.  Alas, it is often those who are trusted who are in the position to hurt you the most.  And I tend to have a big heart, which can make me an easy target.  But the incident in question, felt like the breaking point – and I honestly just wanted to say “F it, no more being nice, or giving, or kind to people who don’t appreciate you & probably wouldn’t think twice to reciprocate!”, followed by some act to display my new “I’ma Do Me!” mentality:

panda

But then I happened to look down at my wrist and the tattoo that I’d gotten a few months ago precisely for situations like this one, of 3:16 (for John 3:16) and an infinity symbol as a reminder of God’s never ending love.  That visual cue, along with a chat with my Moms, reinforced what my response should always be when I’m mistreated, misjudged, or misunderstood.  Quite simply, I’m to demonstrate love…..no matter what.  And not the temporal “I’ll love you if you love me back” type of love, but the relentless “there’s nothing you can do to stop me from loving you” kind of love……that love is hard to maintain, because it requires stepping outside of our feelings and what we feel we deserve, and instead putting the other person (even in their wrongness) first.  And that kind of love has to be rooted in God.

So yeah, earlier I was supremely pissed off & hurt.  But now, I’m like:

happy-troy

And with no apology necessary!  Now, this isn’t to say that I won’t be challenged in this area ever again.  But for this round, the scoreboard is looking like Walking-in-Love Angie:1, Wanting-to-Curse-You-Out Angie: 0!  My love walk will continue to be a “work in progress”, but I’m trusting that God’s got my back every step of the way.  If you’re feeling challenged in this area at all, suppress that desire to go all Mortal Kombat on someone (even if they deserve it) and instead be encouraged by this amazing song.  Have a great Hump Day!