Friday, March 30, 2012

Who's On First?: Who Should Make The First Move?

It's been the age old debate, should women approach a guy they're interested in, or should they wait on God and the man? Traditionally, guys make the first move, and many women still feel this way. However, there are some brave women that go for it and realize that often closed mouths do not get fed.

There also seems to be several women that complain about the shortage of good men, not being able to find a husband, and being lonely. They then date subpar men and even knuckleheads and deadbeats simply because they approach them and they feel they can change them. Then they end up bitter, heartbroken, financially broke from having a love child, and possibly even going to the clinic for an STD.

Times have changed people! Gas prices have risen to astronomical levels, we have a black president, cell phones have replaced house phones, the Internet and social media are replacing newspapers, and Netflix and Redbox have essentiallly replaced physical movie rental places such as Blockbuster. Bob Dylan once sang "The Times Are Changing". One has to change and adjust to the times as well. This reminds me also of the definition of insanity: "doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result". 

My thing is guys should still approach women and not worry about rejection and bitterness. More women, however, need to get with the program as well.  You say you want to be equals with men in certain areas. Well, this is a good opportunity for the ladies. I'm personally flattered when a woman takes charge and approaches me.  Shows confidence and a sense of forward thinking.

Many relationships are ending right now as they often do when the weather breaks. So how will you approach your next mate? I do believe in letting God assist us in this process. However, often folks confuse things and fail to realize that God wants both parties to feel comfortable in expressing themselves. Love and relationships do not just happen, they are developed and maintained through hard work. One should start changing and developing in yourself and tell that person, man or woman, how you feel. Tradition should be left in the history books so love can happen!

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Couple of Awesome Ways to Give Back in Cherokee County, South Carolina

I've been an active participant in volunteering and community service since high school. I'm always down for a good cause, whether it be cancer, AIDS, giving blood, or food for the homeless and underprivileged. It makes me feel good inside to help others.

I will be highlighting two local volunteer opportunities in this article, both of which I have participated in and contributed to in the past and present. These are Relay for Life and Habitat for Humanity in Gaffney, SC.

Relay for Life has become huge in our small county. It is an event sponsored by the American Cancer Society to raise money and awareness for research to cure cancer. Every year on the second Friday in May, thousands of folks gather at the track at Timken Bearing Plant in Gaffney for a huge tribute and a 12 hour long relay walk around the half mile track. Several fundraisers are held leading up to this event, including a bike ride, and a T-shirt sale. I have purchased a T-shirt every year since 2004, and even was a full participant for a year. Many of my family members have been affected, and some have even died from cancer. Therefore, this is a cause very near and dear to my heart. Cherokee County is one of the nation's leaders in fundraising for this cause. The 2012 Relay is Friday, May 11, its not too late! My T-shirt is already ordered.

The next opportunity is Habitat for Humanity. They work in correlation with the United Way to build homes for the less fortunate. Their mission is:  Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter is a huge participant and spokesperson for Habitat. I participated in Habitat over a decade ago and I felt like I made a difference. I'm not really a carpenter, but helping build that home was refreshing, even if I didn't get to see the family that eventually moved in. I know some deserving family was blessed with a decent home. Let's build homes and lives.

I will continue to be involved and volunteer as long as the Good Lord allows me to do so. I encourage all in my area to do the same. There is more to life than television, movies and social media. Many folks just want to live pain free lives and have a roof over my head. The opportunities I listed does both. Dozens of more services, in Cherokee County and the country do also. 

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Cinderellas Give Us Hope In March and for the changing season

I shelved this blog from last year. Now I feel is the appropriate time to blog on this subject with the NCAA tournament in full swing tonight with the First Four, folks filling out their brackets, and watching their favorite teams in this month long college basketball tournament. My team of course is The North Carolina Tar Heels. I want to see them go as far as possible, even win it all. The next most exciting thing about this tourney is the various upsets that occur.

They call these teams Cinderellas. They have arrived at the big dance as huge underdogs, but receive unlimited attention and exposure. Butler has been an ultimate Cinderella the past two years, making the national championship game but falling short.  VCU was also a Cinderella team last year, going from the First Four as a bubble team to the Final Four.

Notable Cinderellas of the past include the College of Charleston, Richmond, Miami of Ohio, Gonzaga, my alma mater Winthrop, Princeton, Valpo, and George Mason. Arguably the most notable was Texas Western (now UTEP). In 1966, they transcended all of basketball by being the first all black starting lineup in NCAA history. They pulled off the impossible, beating the legend Adolph Rupp and his powerful Kentucky team to take the national title.

Cinderellas give us hope, allow us to dream, and to work for our one shining moment. They remind us that hard work and determination does yield results. Just because you're not playing for UNC, Duke, Kentucky, or Kansas doesn't mean you can't play with the big boys. Take Stephen Curry. Four years ago, he was the star on the Davidson Wildcats. Despite having a killer jumper and a father (Dell) that was in the NBA, none of the big schools wanted him. He played so well for three years that he led his school to the Elite Eight in 2008 against eventual champion Kansas. He then was drafted in the NBA 6th overall by the Golden State Warriors. He has been a consistent star ever since. I expect him to have a long NBA career.

It all starts with the mind and the heart. We can not judge that in any of the 68 teams in the field. When they step on the court, anything is possible.

I always get cold chills around this time of year reading about the various stories and being inspired by the underdogs. It give me drive and determination. It helps me to achieve my goals and dreams, and stare adversity dead in the eye.

I'm sure this year's Cinderella will be just as exciting as always. After all, every one wants their time in the spotlight, regardless of how long it lasts

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BONUS: My incomplete bucket list

-Open up a country corner store

- Become a millionare

- Travel the entire world except Antarctica

- Go to the West Coast at least once per year

- Lose my belly/muffin top

- Be at 12% body fat

- Find closure in my father's mysterious death

- Become a published and successful author, poet, and screenwriter

- Obtain my doctorate degree

- Own my home

- Buy a 1967 Chevy Corvette

- Get married

- Have children

- Own my own successful business

- Have my own computer repair, upgrade, and install side business

- Buy a new laptop and a tablet

- Become debt-free

- See a movie at Mez at the Epicentre in Uptown Charlotte

- Run The Cooper River Bridge Run at least once

- Learn to play golf

- Get HDTV

- Fall in love with a woman that loves me in return

- Have a huge savings accounts

- Play and beat every level of Angry Birds

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GUEST BLOG: Becoming An Enterpreneur

I would like to introduce another guest blogger/writer. Mr. Steffon Reed is an experienced writer and entrepreneur. We both met at Winthrop University, from which we both have undergraduate degrees from. Steffon is an intelligent, driven, motivated man. He has saw success in his own businesses, and his articles and blogs have been published and well reviewed, especially on the Yahoo! Contributor Network. I'm confident you will enjoy Steffon sharing some nuggets that can help you succeed in this uncertain economy.

Have you ever wanted to become an entrepreneur and start your own business? In today's society, it seems like more and more people are looking to take control of their future and become their own boss. Then there are those who would like to become a successful entrepreneur but don't know where to start. I'm going to tell you the real steps to becoming an entrepreneur.

•1. Invest in yourself first: Take the time to find out what your ultimate goal you want to achieve in business is. Then take the time to get educated, mentored, read books, take training classes etc. The best investment you will ever make in life is and/or you business is in yourself. If you are unwilling to do this you will fail.

•2. Discover what your true passions and interests are: Simply doing things and pursuing your passions are totally different avenues. When you do things just because, you will only go through the motions because that's all you know and that's always what you have been told. When it's your passion, you will be self motivated to go above and beyond the norm to achieve excellence and your ultimate goal which brings me to my next point…

•3. Turn your interests and passions into profit: It's great to do something you love but wouldn't it be even better if that love were able to be monetized?! Discover you gifts and talents then use them to create your business.

•4. Effective Partnering: Have you ever wished you could reach a goal at 120 mph vs. a turtle's pace? Many people have and forming the right partnerships will achieve just that. Working to achieve a common goal with one or more likeminded people for the greater good will do wonders in one's entrepreneurial endeavors. Where one partner is weak the other is strong. When one partner is unsure the other is all in. Achieving success with one or more people will also keep everyone motivated.

•5. Prepare for setbacks, opposition, and be ready to overcome them: When you decide to step out into the unknown world, it's guaranteed that opposition will come your way. Friends, family, coworkers, etc may not always be in your corner rooting and supporting you to succeed. There will also be unforeseen setbacks and there is no way around it. You must find a way to stay strong, develop thick skin, and never lose sight of the goal at hand until it is done. Most importantly never quit just because a little opposition comes your way. This will take sacrifice, determination, and a strong will and honestly everyone is not built to handle this kind of adversity. Pushing through the tough times will only make you and your business better and stronger because you will gain a wealth of knowledge and wisdom from persevering through the hard times. Your character and heart will also be tested and refined. Remember when life hands you lemons make lemonade then sell it for a profit!

•6. Invest in other people: Build great relationships, have a heart to help, and look to provide people with something positive that they need that they may not otherwise have had before knowing you. Investing in other people is the second best investment you could ever make in life. When you help others get what they want out of life, you will get what you want out of life. If you are unwilling to do this, don't even bother going to the next step.

7. Stepping out: Once you have made a decision to become an entrepreneur and you've taken the necessary steps to ensure success the best that you can and you feel good about it just do it! I realize no one has a crystal ball and nothing in life is guaranteed but if you never get off dead center and just take the chance, you will probably never do it and may miss or delay your opportunity. Yes being an entrepreneur is a huge risk but it's one you must take. Don't worry so much about taking the risk but rather how to manage the risk. The biggest risk one could take in life is never taking a risk at all.

8. Finding your 'why': If I were to ask people if they wanted to be financially free for life everyone would say yes. If I were to ask why, it's almost certain that most people won't have a concrete reason. Everyone wants to be a millionaire but what do you once you achieve that? This is where having a 'why' or a reason bigger than you is critical. Your 'why' is what will motivate and sustain your dream because the end result won't be only about you anymore. Retiring your parents or wanting to spend more time with your family can be a huge catalyst in one's quest for entrepreneurial success.

Becoming an entrepreneur is not an easy task. On the contrary it's not as hard as people think it is either. While it will take time and effort to be successful, anyone can truly achieve this goal. Success will depend on a number of factors but ultimately it will be your choice. Unlike a stock, mutual fund, or any other investment you can control what you want to do. If you fail as an entrepreneur then you need to get a job, sorry but that needs to be said. Maybe the reason you failed is because you never truly made a choice to succeed. Simply trying a business venture out to see what happens with no passion, plan, or commitment behind it will almost always end in failure. Have a plan, set your goals, commit to your plan, invest in yourself, be willing to put in the effort and energy to succeed and you will see your dream of successful entrepreneurship come true.

Monday, March 12, 2012

BONUS: Peyton: the NEXT decision

It appears we have another huge decision coming up in sports as Peyton Manning is shopping for which team he is going to play for next. The main teams in the hunt at this point are Denver, Arizona, the NY Jets, Miami, and Washington.

Now in my humble opinion, I believe Peyton will be a better fit in Miami or New York. Denver is eager to give up Tebow, but only if Jacksonville takes him.  Arizona wouldn't be bad either, but they aren't as built for success as Miami or the Jets. Those teams are tailor made to Peyton's skill set and experience. He is the missing piece in many ways for these teams. Plus Manning is still very competitive and wants another Super Bowl ring. He has at least 2 years left so his clock is running out.

Whichever team that gets Peyton Manning as their starting quarterback will instantly improve. These next few weeks will be suspensful and interesting.

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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Egg hunts, chocolate bunnies, and sharp outfits, it must be Easter

It's hard to believe Easter Sunday will be here soon. I have lots of good memories throughout the years that have evolved.

When I was a little child, Easter Sunday meant showing off my newest baby blue outfit, going to church, dying Easter eggs, and those infamous Easter Egg hunts. My mom used to buy my brother and I huge Easter baskets, and they were put to good use.  I discovered early on in life that I wasn't crazy about the egg whites, only the yellow, with lots of salt and pepper.

I also loved the candy, especially the chocolate bunnies and Cadbury eggs. This was all capped off with church on Easter Sunday, learning about the reason for the holiday, and a huge meal, where ham was the main course.

I grew older and out of Easter baskets and egg hunts. However, I still had Easter outfits, went to church, and enjoyed a nice Easter meal. Now that I was a teenager, Easter usually meant either the beginning or end of Spring Break. All the flowers and grass was blooming again, you could actually wear shorts outside, and it was simply indicative of new life.

Adulthood brought different memories. I didn't always attend church on Easter, but I still fellowshipped with family, both my moms and my dads family.  There would be food, food, and more food. I still enjoyed Easter candy and chocolate bunnies.  I also started participating in Lent during my early 20s. Easter was a way of me not only honoring Christ, but celebrating the sacrifice and fast I underwent for 40 plus days. I even took Good Friday off from work a couple of times, and even Easter Monday.

I definitely feel Easter is a holiday for all ages. It is commercialized, but not to the level of Christmas and Valentine's Day.  I look back at my photos from Easters of yesteryear and smile with fondness. Those were awesome times. Family and food stayed constant throughout the years.

2011 Easter was a bit strange, as it was on the final Sunday of April. This year, it is on Sunday, March 31, one of the rare years.   To me, it just seems right and best near the beginning of April.

It's almost time for more Easter memories. My mom usually has her ham and candied yams and biscuits.  However, I'm looking forward to the fellowship even more. Easter is one of few family holidays left, and I would like it to remain this way.

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BONUS: Scandalgate and Duke's ACC dominance

There have been dozens of scandals in sports over the past decade alone. The Penn State scandal is probably one of the most notable. One of the most recent is "Bountygate" where the New Orleans Saints are currently being investigated after a former Saint blew the whistle on their defense. For about 4 years, including their Super Bowl season of 2009, coaches and even other teammates were offering bounties to defensive players for awesome performances. Big hits, fumbles, INTs, sacks, and even larger purses for knocking certain players out of the game.

Now I'm not a fan of this behavior at all. You should be out there to hit, but not hurt anyone. Sadly, all 32 teams probably have scandals, including defensive bounties. But only few get caught. The Viking were actually under investigation a few years back for offering bounties on Brett Favre, still with Green Bay at the time. Question now is what will be the next scandal,  and who will commit it?

My beloved UNC Tarheels dismantled Duke over the weekend to claim the ACC regular season crown. However, Duke has quite a strangehold on the ACC tournament. Since the late 90s, they have went on to win the tourney every year except for maybe 3 years, including 4 straight. UNC better stay on their A game and watch out. Duke is not a national championship contender in my mind, but they are always the team to beat in the ACC. I hate them, but its true.

Gooo Tar Heels, bring home the ACC tourney crown and a #1 seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament!

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