Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Lord's Kitchen: Helping and Serving The Community Through Food

Some don't have much to call their own. Not much money, they rent or stay with someone instead of owning a home.  They don't go on vacation or have fancy luxuries. They can't even afford a decent meal due to limited resources.

The Lord's Kitchen was founded for reasons such as this: to ensure that anyone in need of a hot meal can at least get that.

This new volunteer service was founded in May of 2016 primarily through Connie Adams and Cathy Lipsey. Cathy and her sister Judy decided to do something charitable and prepare 17 meals for some people in need in the Cherokee/Western York County area. Present day, this service, once started out of these ladies homes and at Smyrna Baptist Church, has now moved to the cafeteria behind the old Hickory Grove High School in nearby Hickory Grove, 1025 Wilkerson Street. They now average 12 volunteers every Monday and Thursday, and delivered a record number of 188 meals one Thursday. They average well over 200 meals prepared and delivered per week.

The Lord's Kitchen cooks out of this cafeteria in Hickory Grove, delivers meals to people in need from Clover and on into Gaffney and in between. So far no request has been denied. They are simply trying to help those in need, and often a good hot meal makes a world of difference.

These folks do several fundraisers to raise money to buy the food. Their biggest fundraiser is their monthly dinner on the second Sunday of the month at Smyrna Baptist Church. It is a full buffet meal. $7 for take out or eat in. Other fundraisers, such as hot dog sales in Hickory Grove on Wednesdays have also helped. This Saturday, December 3rd, in Hickory Grove during the Christmas parade is a huge fundraiser. It will be in the cafeteria from 10am-5pm. Jewelry, jellies, country cooking and other goodies will be available to help raise money and awareness about the program.

The Lord's Kitchen is on Facebook, and they are always in need of volunteers and money, or whatever you can do to help. This can be letting them know anyone in the area in need of a meal. No questions are asked, except for an address and phone number.  See the FB page for further information or to become a part. They can be also reached at (803) 627-9910.  It will be very rewarding, for both parties involved!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Five Reasons Why Trump Is Now President-Elect

Now let me start by staying I'm very unbiased. I didn't vote nor support now President-elect Donald Trump in his campaign. Now, however, I will stand behind the good choices he will potentially make. Here's hoping.

Many people were shocked and upset early Wednesday when Hillary Clinton fell short of the presidency. I was shocked but not upset as I was not in favor of either one.

OK now I have broken down how Trump pulled off this dramatic win.

1. He won the key swing states he needed. If you get Ohio, North Carolina, Florida and Pennsylvania, and carry your usual states in the Electoral College, you win the required 270 votes to nab the presidency. Although we nearly had another recount, Trump swept the swing states and was only in danger of losing Penn.

2. America seemed ready for a change. This election showed not only how much hated Hillary is, but also Obama. They looked at the flaws of both and wanted something different. Hillary's political resume is deep, Trump's is bare. People have been wanting a business mind in the Oval and now they have it.

3. There is an urban game called "playing the dozens" basically being able to talk shop and trash with your opponent and connect with the people. Trump may not be political, was rude during debates, and openly harrassed women. However, he has a connection with people, even those  he was thought to hate. Hillary seems to talk over people's heads, isn't trustworthy,and simply talks at folks and not too them. You have to connect to the people, and Trump managed to do that.

4. The country still isn't quite ready for a female president. We just had a black president. I believe eventually we will have a woman president. Hillary set the table for that female to come to the forefront.

5. Voter turnout was at an all time low. Due to the fact that both candidates were deemed unworthy, Gary Johnston and other minor candidates and write ins got votes that may have helped Hillary. Point blank, if you don't come together for the candidate you want, you may be disappointed.

OK there's my piece. No need to be disappointed if you don't like Trump. Just live and learn and remember things do work out. Continue to vote and become better students of history, especially government and past presidents.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

2016 Road Race Summary

The NYC Marathon was today, and several other unsung races. Many are continuing their running season, while mine has ended for 2016. It was an awesome one with four half marathons and my first full. The connections, memories and fun and I had was indescribable. I ran seven races this year and plan to run around the same number next year as I plan to run an ultramarathon in 2018 and attempt to state chase (run a half or full in all 50 states). Here's my race rundown.

1. BB&T Corporate Cup

I chose this half in preparation for my first full marathon. It was a very cold race but very well conducted. The route went through the heart of downtown Charlotte, even through Queens College. There was a good balance of flat and inclines to keep one challenged. Layer well as the race is in early March and it's still winter. Also, register early if you plan to run. The price climbs to nearly $100 close to race day. The medal was traditional but heavy and nice.

2. Kings Mountain Marathon

Yes it's the marathon your mother warned you about! Very challenging, hilly (approximately 44 in all), and hot towards the end. It's in the Kings Mountain National Military Park, so you're technically running in both North and South Carolina in this course. I wouldn't recommend the full for just any runner. I chose it because of the proximity from my home, and I run hills and trails, which KM has both. It's a rural course as well, with awesome scenery and great participation every year. I didn't leave my home for two days, was sore for five and lost three toenails. The medal is like a hologram, showcasing the elevation of the course  The price is $80 for the full but you get your money's worth!

3. South Carolina Peach Festival 10K.

I have found that after a while, everyone has their favorite race, and/or that race they run yearly. For me, it's this race. It was my very first race, and it's like a summer tradition for me. It begins on the campus of Limestone College in Gaffney, SC,  and you loop through the eastern side of Gaffney back to the college. The first mile is pretty much uphill, and there are other hills and inclines, including a sneaky one at around mile 4.6. It's a good challenge but it's a very hot and humid race. I PRed in 2015 but was 3 minutes below that mostly on heat. There is no medal, only a pink ribbon. Their race package bag may be one of the best I've seen though.

4. Ride and Run Half at Paramount's Carowinds

Another fun but humid race held on 9/11. The medal was awesome, with an image of Charlie Brown riding The Fury. The course loops you through the park twice, and is good to PR on. The perks are nice as it's a Sunday race, but you receive access to the showers post race and access to the park all weekend!

5. Hustle For The Muscle 5K: Race for Dawk

This 5K was in Blacksburg, SC, basically near the schools. The purpose was to raise money for ALS victim Shon Dawkins, who incidentally passed away the weekend following. It was held on Homecoming weekend in Blacksburg. The course was decent for a 5K, only one major hill and an incline. It was the first race that I won my gender group in. I received a free month to 9 Rounds, which I am currently using.

6. Volition America Half.

The following weekend, I ran this half in the midst of Hurricane Matthew in Lake Norman, NC. Ironically, this race was canceled from 2015 due to Hurricane Jocquin, so all of the 2015 registrants got to participate in 2016. Now in my defense, the hurricane wasn't supposed to heavily affect that area. But tornadoes from this storm caused a great, flat, scenic course to be muggy and rainy near the last 6 miles. Under good conditions, it's normally a good race to PR and prepare for Fall marathons. The medal was nice also with the Volition emblem. The post race refreshments were awesome with several juices and even Marco's Pizza!

7. Charlotte Runway 5K.

This 5K was on the airport of Charlotte Douglas International Airport and another fun, flat course that's good for a PR, which I received. The price was unbeatable also, $10 for early registration. It  was on Halloween weekend and was unusually hot by the end. Nevertheless, awesome race to end an awesome racing season.

Now I'm prepping for 2017 as I hope to get two different states in!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Characters That Have Nearly Ruined Sitcoms Near The End

Many sitcoms that are nearing the end of their shelf life pull out the stops to stay relevant and keep their ratings steady. The latest travesty I have witnessed Greer Grammer (April) on my fave sitcom The Middle. She is playing Axl's new girlfriend. Fans of this show would agree she falls in that line. Here are some others you may have known and/or forgotten.

1. Howard Sprague and Ken Berry on The Andy Griffith Show

Ken Berry of course went on to have an outstanding career as Vint on Mama's Family. Before that, he was a lackluster replacement for Andy and Barney. And Howard was just plain lackluster.

2. Cousin Pam

Many fans of The Cosby Show remember Cousin Pam (Erika Alexander) and even her annoying friend (Karen Malina White). Thank God people don't judge Alexander's career based on Cousin Pam.

3. 3J

Family Matters ran through characters, networks and Harriets. The show stayed focused around Steve Urkel but bringing on 3J full time did nothing to make the show sizzle and pop. It simply fizzed.

4. Youngest siblings

This was tried quite a few times. Andrew in Family Times, Seven on Married With Children, and Nicky on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. These kids aren't as cute when people have basically stopped tuning in.

5. Danny

Giving Mr.Drummond a red headed stepchild and someone smaller than the now smaller Arnold was also pointless and forgettable.

6. Oliver from The Brady Bunch

7. Randy from That 70s Show

8. D-Money (Ray J ) on Moesha

9. Keith on Good Times

10. Jefferson on Happy Days

Please if you're producing a sitcom, go peacefully into the night. Stop adding these characters out of desperation. It rarely works.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Can't Hardly Wait, For Much Anymore

We're in a society of instant gratification. Many wait all year for Christmas and shop and decorate as soon as possible. We will say we don't have spare time but will spend an entire day binge watching Luke Cage. Also, we will vote as early as possible to ensure Trump or Hillary won't win.

We also have DVRs and advanced technology so how did we get here?

I believe many folks are in competition with each other and want to be the first to do or see something. They hate getting left behind.

This mentality has effected both Apple and Samsung folks. The iPhone 7 appears to be the phone of the year in sales, but many are adjusting to having to buy cordless earphones and speakers. Meanwhile, the Note 7 has had more problems, the latest being explosive batteries. I tell folks often to wait when it comes to technology but they won't.

Patience is still a virtue but many won't embrace it. They prefer short term gratification over long term happiness. Also, they need to realize what they want, not others.

Use wisdom and patience in your life and be your own person. The Joneses will be fine, trust me!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Black Or White: Caught In The Middle!

OK it seems racial tensions are at an all time high as we enter yet another presidential election. It seems overall, neither blacks nor whites as a whole understand each other. Some, however, would like to. You can tell by remarks on either end that many actually wanna get along and not return this country to the 60s, which is where it's headed.

Here are some basics to understand about both races. Being half black, half white, I had to learn more. But I will help both sides where I can.

Black people , especially black women, are targets everyday and not just by the police and media. They feel hurt and betrayed just as their ancestors did when they feel slighted or profiled based on their skin color. They don't agree with everything the Democratic party says and does, but feels like they look out for minorities more than the GOP does. Being black is a blessing and a curse but not many ethnicities would swap places. They will do "black" things and have black friends but aren't about living the life 24/7.

White people are blind to many obvious truths out there. This is called white privilege. I don't blame them fully for this, they simply haven't been in a position where they had to learn or understand other races. Whites are killed in higher numbers than blacks and get persecuted as well. However, history and privilege restrain them from being as aggressive about it as black people. They see the #blacklivesmatter movement as racist and offensive because they don't fully understand the overall significance. It's ok to like and believe what you do. However lack of understanding and communication can be dangerous for both races. Again you have to feel this pain, and not assume that everyone is a racist. Whites have to show others they want to understand and help and that wrong is wrong.

We are all humans at day's end with lots of cultural differences. Again speak your mind all day but do so with understanding and reason.

Until next time, ...

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Saving Paid and Unpaid Time At Your Job

Many of you know I have worked for 21 years of  my adult life, around 17 of those with paid and unpaid time available.  I have become adept at managing both , especially in emergencies and such. The basic available types of time are vacation time, personal time, (or PTO), and unpaid time (also known as chargeable time or comp time).

Proper management of this time can lead to greater peace of mind.  For example, many doctors recommend at least one week/year off from working. If you accumulate this time (40 hours for many folks), you have your week easily. 

Here are some tips to maximize your time as we end one year and begin the next.

1. Always know your available balance of time

Check your time at least twice/week.  Failure to do so could result in you using time you thought you had, and having to fight to keep your job.

2. Plan out the year the best you can.

At the beginning of the year, plan which dates you will need off , and the necessary time. Many companies go by first come, first come, then tenure.

3. Save extra for the unforseen.

Time from work is like money in the bank. Regardless of how it's spent, it shouldn't be in one place. Use your time that doesn't roll over but spread it out.

4. Know which time rolls over and what time you can take with you.

Save more of the time that expires, and especially what you have in larger balances. This can be a game changer, and then you can also plan more efficiently.

5 . Go home, if you can afford it. 

Many companies allow unpaid days and furloughs where your regular time isn't affected at all. Use these wisely also and remember you still must eat and pay bills.

Saving time really isn't advanced physics, just takes simple budgeting and planning. Also, communicate with management and HR regularly about when you want to take off and your available balance. Trust me, you don't want the clock running out