Monday, March 31, 2014

Men: Commit! Or Quit and Keep It Moving!

OK fellas to avoid being anti-female and keep my blog balanced, I have a simple message for you all, especially the grown up men over 30. Please stop playing around with these women that are looking for something deeper than sex or a simple relationship.  If a long term commitment isn't your thing,  let it go and move on.

Do it for the good of mankind.

Women aren't even comparing us to dogs anymore because dogs are too loyal.  Rather we are more like cats: sneaky, not wanting much affection, having a different agenda, and chasing after rats.  Admittedly it's a harsh comparison but a very true one. It appears that the many ones out there plotting and playing games makes it tougher for us good men to convince a woman that we are right for them.

Fellow men, the last thing we need is another challenge. Finding true love and connecting with that woman is difficult enough.  The waters are further muddied with nasty, trifling guys basically misrepresenting the male race.

Some of you never will be that type of man andd that's not all bad. You are who you are and no one should force you to change.  All I'm asking is to be honest with yourself and these women who want more. Find someone that's into the games and lack of committment.  Trust me, these women are out there and they love to sneak around also. However, when a female does it, the double standard is applied and they are called whores. 

Men, wouldn't you be much happier with a woman who's not looking for anything significant?  It will take the pressure off of you, especially when it comes to commitment and philandering. Please don't ruin the good women out there, just as you have smeared the image of the average male. It's time for this madness to end.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Judgement House: Uplifting, Touching, and Informative

Christian Churches nationwide are always looking for creative and Informative ways to reach people and bring more people to Jesus Christ. One of the more popular programs over the last few years has been Judgement House.

Judgment House is a series of skits that a church can utilize to portray a person or family's choices about serving the Lord, and showing the results, positive and negative, of these decisions.

Hopewell Baptist Church in Blacksburg, SC has been doing Judgment House for about four years now, returning in 2014 after a year off. Hundreds have come through to view the rooms of skits the church members have put together.  Many souls have been saved and rededicated to Christ as a result.

I attended one of their final showings during this period and will have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. The message is simple and one I have heard all my life: accept Jesus into your heart completely and you can achieve the gift of eternal life in Heaven. If one fails to acknowledge Him or has doubts, an eternity in Hell could be waiting.

The delivery of this message is what stole the show. The actors and actresses were very dramatic and passionate.  Skits included one with God at the gates of Heaven, Hell itself and Satan, and finally the kingdom of Heaven with Jesus and many angels. It was very obvious the work Hopewell had put in to learn the various skits, coordinate the rooms, design the sets, and make the experience touching and memorable.

Often when churches put on productions such as Judgement House, they are critiqued for asking for monetary offerings, pressuring people to accept Christ, and even soliciting membership into their congregation. I cannot speak for other churches regarding their JH performances. However I can say that Hopewell Baptist Church does none of this.  The pastor,  however,  does pray with each group at the end of the show and allow them to dedicate or rededicate themselves to Christ, pressure free. This is something I can very much respect. 

I enjoy it when groups of people find innovative and groundbreaking methods to bring people closer to God and His son, Jesus Christ.  We are in an era where it often takes more than witnessing and traditional church services to reach the masses. Hopewell gets this and has been using Judgement House as a positive vehicle this past few years. 

Visit to find a Judgement House near you. Or if you are interested in learning more about the one I attended,  visit Hopewell Baptist Church on Facebook,  or call the church office at (864) 839-6653. I know many of the members well, and recognized them in the skits.  They, and the ones at other churches performing Judgement House, definitely want to assist you in your spiritual journey. 

Dedicating yourself to anything important,  including worshipping the Lord, is both a commitment and a choice.  Thanks to Judgement House, the decision is now more visual and graphic, aligning with the Holy Bible and the teachings of Christ.

Have you attended a Judgement House either at Hopewell or another church? What type of impact did it have on you and others?

Monday, March 24, 2014

Cremations: More Common and Normal

Let's be honest, especially if you're around my age or older.  The very first time you viewed an urn with a deceased person's ashes, you were a little creeped out. Now it's very normal for me, especially since I have had several family members cremated,  my brother included. It's a strange type of comfort.

Not only are cremations more cost effective,  they seem to be more convenient on the family. Granted the luxury of visiting them anytime in the cemetery would be gone.  However,  research indicates that cemeteries are filling up, and funeral homes are literally running out of places to bury folks. Also, cremations make for a more convenient,  less drawn out funeral. You don't have to worry about accessories such as a wreath,  a hearse, or opening and closing the grave. Plus, you get to keep your loved one with you all the time, rather than venture to the graveyard.  It's been quite a comfort for myself and my family.

Now I have heard opposing views, saying that cremating a human body is morally wrong,  and your circumstances may be different if you have a family plot or one near your spouse.  Well I'm here to tell you that turning a body to ashes is not wrong at all, and there is no concrete proof to suggest otherwise. There may be a case where you feel obligated to use the family plot and that's perfectly okay and understandable.

The dead seems to send chills down the spines of many. However,  not seeing a body at all, or just at the wake, can also be easier on the family.  You're not faced with seeing your loved ones in an unfamiliar fashion,  lying in peace.  Plus,  you always have the option of showing the body during the ceremony,  and having the cremation process take place afterwards.  To me, this is the best of both worlds.

I believe getting cremated is the best choice for myself. My brother wanted to be and so does my mother.  I have seen how differently families respond to cremations versus burials and I happen to like it. It's all about honoring the wishes of both the deceased and their loved ones.

I would encourage all to look into this before you immediately shoot it down. In the not so distant future,  it may be the only option you have after your soul leaves your body.

Do you or yourself know anyone that has been cremated?  How has the grieving family responded to it all?

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Women, don't be bitter, be BETTER!

It seems women have a lot of hard feelings when they choose the wrong mate, or when their "perfect" mate wrongs them. It appears they are acting out a scene from "Waiting To Exhale" , then they often punish the next guy that shows interest.

Women, please listen to me for a few minutes.  Not all men are perfect,  but not all men are bad. Often when things go south,  it's not always the man or men in general.  You have to keep things in perspective and know when and where you have went wrong also. It's not an easy thing,  but after a while, you must look at your own choices. 

The simple definition of insanity is "doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result. " When you date the same quality or pedigree of man, you can only expect equal treatment.  You must look elsewhere.  Try a different type of man: one that is more gentle, from a different background than yourself,  an humble man, or even one of a different race. Either way, spice things up.

Also, keep your heart open and love yourself fully. How can you expect to give your love to someone else if you aren't sure of yourself and at peace?

Next,  please stop trying to make a man into a project. You are not Jesus, so don't try to work miracles. Changing a grown - up man takes too much work, work that is often for naught.   Accept a person as they are and add to their life,  rather than take away or rebuild it.

The bottom line is ladies: be BETTER! You have to be what you want to attract.  You may have a great job, a fine education,  and are extremely attractive.  However,  you must also bring an open, compassionate heart and mind to the table and not baggage from your past.  Let that go.

You can win in the game of love my females. However please stop with all the man bashing.  This isn't a reality show or a Tyler Perry movie. Life is real and we should all be real and true with it, and our hearts.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Doing Setups Right

This Friday is the first day of Spring.  Usually this is breakup season, and many more folks are single this time of year.

Due to this fact, many people (friends,  family,  co-workers, etc) will try to fix the newly or long time single person with someone that they may not be compatible with. They often don't have a clue what either person really wants.  What they see is two single people who seem to look good together surface wise and think they would be a good pair. Unfortunately this isn't always the case.

This is one of many reasons setups and blind dates rarely work out. You shouldn't assume that someone is lonely because they are single.  One should not try to dump off a particular friend, sibling, co-worker, church member, etc,  on someone else. Allow these two adults to determine if they want each other.

You can act as a medium or a buffer to get them introduced. However,  follow these tips to successfully introduce them without meddling or making false judgments.

1. Ensure they are compatible. 

Again never assume, especially in the dating realm. Just because two people went to the same college, same race, same hometown, or even both own an Android phone,  doesn't mean they are meant to grow old together.  Find other things they may have in common. Also, make sure both parties are open to dating.

2. Let them do most of the work.

It's fine to introduce them and make sure they're properly acquainted. However,  after that, it may be best to step back and let them be adults. Allow them to get to know each other, talk,  go out, and take it to whatever level they wish to do.

3. Don't keep tabs on them

This is of paramount importance. They are dating each other,  NOT you and everyone else. They do not need to be your new couple friends, and you need not ask about them all the time. This is their relationship. If they want you to know, you will. Just don't pester them and drive them apart. 

4. Stop trying to pity one or the other. 

Yes some people have trouble finding dates on their own. However, there is always a reason,  good or bad, why they are single. What they don't need is someone adding to their disappointment. Again, simply arrange that they meet if they desire,  but don't automatically think they will be compatible.  They need your help, not your pity.  Do not throw someone you care about to the wolves to a certain rejection. 

Basically,  simmer down on trying to fix everyone up and marry everyone off. Believe it or not, everybody isn't meant to be married,  or even date steadily.  Let that person be themselves and stop trying to fit them into your ideal life. There will be less resentment and disappointment later.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Why Low Seeds Continue To Pull Upsets In The NCAA tourney

The NCAA basketball tournament field has now been released. Folks nationwide, myself included,  have been filling out their brackets,  trying to predict the upsets and have a good bracket for different contests,  pools and such.

And there will be a few upsets. They always are, and probably always will.

There are these hungry,  mid-major teams, and even low seeded teams in power conferences that get hot and rise to the occasion.  I have written before about Cinderella teams and recently how to analyze and pick some of these upsets.

Here is why you will always have upsets in the tourney

1. Matchups

These can come from players with more depth,  experience and ability.  They aren't relying on a player or two to carry them. They are a team in every sense. Also, it comes down to coaching in the later rounds. Some coaches simply know how to get the best out of their own players and exploit the opponent's weakness. Often this can be a veteran coach whose team wasn't highly touted coming in, or an up and coming coach who is getting his shot. The matchups are thus key.

2. Schedule

Some teams simply play a more brutal schedule.  Think Kansas, Michigan,  Michigan State, or North Carolina,  in comparison to Wichita State. The talent may be equal, but the experience of facing tough competition every week helps in a one and done,  tournament scenario.

3. Experience and leadership

There are teams that didn't have a bunch of players jump to the NBA after a season or two. They stayed and have gathered a lot of chemistry, especially in the tournament. These are the ones that may not do much during the regular season,  but can thrive during a six game stretch on a neutral court. 

4. The Selection Committee

Sometimes I wonder if the people putting together these brackets even watches basketball anymore.  One really has to watch from Midnight Madness, on into the conference tournaments, and not just look at stats and computer data.  This causes some teams to be seeded too high, and other teams to be seeded lower. The lower seeds then have a chip on their shoulder, and do their talking on the court. 

5. Lots at stake for players and coaches. 

Not only do the tournaments bring the schools money, they give both players and coaches alike exposure, especially the smaller, mid-major schools. You have underrated players trying to get noticed by pro scouts, and coaches trying to pad their resumes and get a bigger time, higher paying job. This causes more hunger and grit against teams filled with high school All-Americans.  The emotion spills from players and coaches,  and you have more exciting games.

So why do you think there are so many upsets in college basketball during the NCAA tournament?

Monday, March 10, 2014

Acting Brand New: What Is Wrong With You

I'm a proponent of change, progression, and improvement physically, mentally, financially and spiritually. However, it does not sit well with me when people become shells of themselves and act as if they don't know their true friends and family. 

It seems that often these brand new people are just that: acting in a new, strange matter. They think they are better than others, have an inflated self-esteem, and are simply no longer a pleasure to be around.  I have seen it happen dozens of times.

This typically happens when a person experiences a positive change in their financial status, their physical appearance, or their overall social status. 

1. Finances

Money truly can change a person.  Certain people come into it by means of a new job, a promotion, or a big windfall. They think they are high and mighty now that they have less financial worries. Problem is, they may have already been this way before. The new found riches has just revealed this ugly side of themselves. 

2. Weight loss and physique change. 

I have been writing many pieces lately on health and wellness. Many people who gain a new body, new confidence and sometimes even a new following, can become jaded and uppity as well. They think that because they have achieved their fitness goals that those that have yet to are beneath them. People like this look down on them and even make fun of them, like they weren't in the same boat. Worse part is they are not helping them at all. They are hurting them and themselves. 

3. Social status

Through the previous two items and many others, your social standing has suddenly increased.  You are more desirable as a mate, you are on the VIP list for all the big parties and gatherings and more people simply want to be like you and around you. It seems too easy to forget those that have been by your side the entire time, rather than these new found friends. You often see this in high schools and in teen movies.  Some people cannot simply handle popularity and celebrity status. Look at the celebrities such as Justin Bieber and Charlie Sheen that cannot stay out of trouble. 

Basically, humility and grace is required when one reaches a higher level in life. You should always remember you are privileged, not entitled, to be at this point. It could all vanish in the blink of an eye.

Please don't forget the ones that have been in your corner in the tough times.  This doesn't necessarily mean trying to support the entire neighborhood. It means showing gratitude and not being too good or busy to have small talk and spend time with these people.  It benefits both parties equally.

How has someone you know changed for the worst because of any of the factors I mentioned? What did you say to them, if anything?

Sunday, March 9, 2014

NCAA Tournament Bracket Picking Tips

It's almost that time of year again: March Madness! The brackets will be released with the 68 teams vying for the national championship.  This year, many are vying for more. Billionaire Warren Buffett is offering a billion dollars to whomever can pick a perfect bracket. It's a rare and difficult feat, as so many upsets happen. 

I wrote a while back how exciting the Cinderella teams make the tournament.  However, it can be quite frustrating for those whose bracket may be busted. 

Here are some tips for someone who has picked the champion a few times, and even picked the entire West Region correct once, upsets included.

1. A 16 has never beaten a 1 seed

This could be the year it happens, especially with the way the prospective #1 seeds have been playing as of late.  However, don't count on it though.  You can go ahead and safely pass the #1 seeds into the next round. 

2. All four #1 seeds rarely make the Final Four.

It has happened a couple of times, and may happen again this year.  However, analyze your matchups carefully, and don't just assume that the four #1s are gonna cruise through their respective regions.

3. Watch certain matchups for upsets and bracket busters.

Every year a #12 seed beats a #5, and a #10 beats a #7. The 6s vs 11s are also ones to watch.  Analyze the teams, their schedules and such, and see which ones are most likely to fall.

4. Look at all intangibles

This includes: how close to home they are playing, their last 10 games, strength of schedule, conference, coaching and overall leadership on each team. The veterans typically rise up and play better, especially the second weekend.  People are already discounting Wichita State due to their watered down schedule for example. However they have a lot of veteran, hungry players and an awesome coach in Gregg Marshall, whom I know well. Other coaches such as Boeheim, Donovan, Calipari and Coach K will have their teams ready to play. The individual and potential matchups are key. 

5. Pay attention to big wins by mid major schools

The mid major schools such as Wichita are typically the most exciting to watch, and the ones with the most to gain and the least to lose. Do a little research and see how they performed this season against the power conferences, and even last year in the tourney. These are the teams that can mess up a bracket. VCU, Gonzaga, Creighton and others will not be a slouch for any teams.

Ok now bring on the brackets! I hope I can help someone win their office pool, tournament pick em group, or even that billion dollars.

What are some tips that have helped you in your past brackets?

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Importance Of Taking and Keeping Photos

We are most definitely in a photo taking industry. One can snap 10 photos in one day with a smartphone or tablet,  upload them to Facebook and Instagram immediately, and then send them to a photo lab such as Walgreens to have them printed out for a song before the sun goes down.

I heard my best friend's wife once say it is important we utilize resources such as this and Cloud to save important photos.  A social media site could decide to shut down overnight, and a phone's memory card could easily malfunction.  One would eventually hate to lose these memories, just as the person who never took the time to capture them.

My late grandmother, Myrtle Lanier, was ahead of her time. She was basically the family photographer as she was always snapping pictures of her friends and family. Over the years, she accumulated numerous photo albums.  She willed them to my mother, and these mementos have come in handy.

Not many people on my mom's side of the family took a lot of photos, especially not before the 80s. Therefore, my mom and I are often the family source when it comes to family photos. We're always happy to send pictures to relatives, invite them over to view them, post them in our family group on FB, and often print them upon request.

This is fortunately something the generation behind me will not have to worry about. People now realize the value of photographs, and want to capture every special moment. Birthdays, family reunions, holidays, weddings, and simply random everyday happenings. The future will not have a shortage of photos.

A picture is often worth a thousand words. Also, photos can tell stories, and give insights into history. You can see how strong your family genes are, who resembles who, and even relive old moments through the power of the glass eye.

Photographers are paid well and get lots of work for a reason.  They capture memories, experiences, and give families priceless heirlooms. I'm very thankful that my grandmother took so many pictures.  It gives me a huge sense of history and joy.

Therefore, continue taking and posting your images.  In a few decades, your offspring will be extremely grateful.