Saturday, October 31, 2015

Family: The Horrors and Terrors Behind The Hugs and Laughs

There are many spooks, ghouls, and goblins on this day that has many different pagan and spiritual meanings. However the biggest horrors can come from your own flesh and blood.

I'm not referring to skeletons in the closet either.

Family can lift you up and wear you down. It seems like many, especially the younger generation, has lost sight of actual family values.

You can simply see in the television we have now. We used to have Good Times and The Waltons. Now we have Modern Family and Empire, different types of family shows. It does portray our society now.

Families do not get together like they should or used to. Many people no longer know their own cousins or even keep in touch with them outside of social media. And reunions, well, that's another story. It seems people would rather go to a high school or college reunion than one with their own families.

This is horrifying because many don't have anyone to lean on in tough times and lose sight of their heritage and history. Speaking of history, it repeats himself because people do not learn from the past. In about 20 years, it will be more difficult for folks to trace their family history, even with Ancestry.

Now many of you may not care to associate with your family and I actually get that. If this is the case, I do hope you have an extended family or circle to deal with. This is so vital for many reasons. It is rough enough to deal with life's horrors. Dealing with them alone is even worse.

So as we enter the holiday season, please keep that in mind. Refocus and reconnect with family and close friends alike. Also, take plenty of pictures and preserve memories. This is also your historical account of the past for others behind you as well.

If you don't know where you been, it's hard to know where you're going. Therefore, don't allow those close to you to become strangers.

How close are you to your family? Do you get together and if so, how often?

Sunday, October 25, 2015

It's A Different World: The Transition Is Real

I have undergone a lot of personal changes throughout my life, over the past couple of years especially.  A few months ago, I changed companies and jobs after 12 years with the same place.

The toughest part was adjusting to a different schedule. I had been on a Monday-Friday schedule for the longest. I started out on a weekend shift, working Fridays-Mondays, 10 hour shifts. Since Labor Day, I have been working Sundays-Wednesdays, all 10 hour shifts. I took today (this Sunday off) and realized I hadn't had a regular Sunday off since Father's Day. I feel I have adjusted well as my company heads into its busiest time of the year.

Many have experienced this and other life transitions (marriage, first child, new house, beginning school). Here are some of the ways I have an am still adjusting to this latest life change.

1. Being open and flexible

That has to be the case when your routine is changed. It is a transition in many ways and you have to stay open to the new changes.

2. Manage your time and stress well.

This may be the most important. My time has been adjusted as well, along with days, workouts, meals, and the like. Allowing myself to find a good routine and be organized has taken me to other levels.

3. Don't forget your support group.

This is your close circle of family, friends, mentors and former classmates and coworkers. Stay in touch from time to time as you grow and learn.

4. Keep your main purpose in front.

Remember why you made this change. I wrote before about transitions and second acts. This obviously has to be leading to something big, which will keep you motivated and encouraged.

It takes most a while to adjust to any new setting, but it does and can get better. Tomorrow is a new day so keep pushing.

Have you have a major life transition lately? Do you feel you have adjusted well?

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Forest "Frosty" Lanier: A Special Man That Still Has An Impact 30 Years Later

Monday, October 19, 2015 will be a bittersweet day for myself and my family. It is the day my maternal grandfather, Forest "Frosty" Lanier, lost his battle with lung cancer and left us in the physical. He was only 63.

Many people that knew him best: family, friends and such, have mostly good memories of him. I was only seven but I remember my Paw Paw being a loving, caring man. He would ride me in his Chevy truck all over and give me Little Debbie Zebra cakes and tell me not to tell my mom that I ate before dinner. He also fueled my love for reading as he went to the auction every Saturday night and bought me truckloads of books,some I still own.

I never got to hear his actual voice as around the time I was four, his larnyx was removed as a result of the cancer. He spoke with a voice buzzer the rest of his life. He also got me into court TV, never missing The People's Court with Judge Wapner. He allowed me to watch as long as I didn't make any noise.

Frosty lived quite a life in his 63 years. He was a World War II drill sergeant, and received the Purple Heart as a result of a serious back and lung injury. The Army gave him full disability as a result.

Given that he had a government check coming in, it would have been easy for him to kick back and take it easy. But this wasn't Frosty. He was way too active and energetic. He groomed hunting dogs and game roosters, made moonshine, grew two gardens and even painted houses. He was very active, plus he had a wife and two young kids (my mom and uncle Kenny) to think about. They may have not lived in luxury, but they never were without food and shelter. Frosty made awesome stews (his chicken stew is still the best in my mind) and owned every house and car he purchased.

He wasn't perfect though. He did illegally hustle, plus he was an alcoholic. Frosty was also a bit of an introvert and recluse. People, including my mom, saw past his faults and saw him for the kind hearted man he was. He didn't show affection often, but you knew he loved you.

Frosty left his children and grandchildren equal shares of his nearly five acres of land he purchased. I feel blessed to have land handed down to me and per his will, do not ever desire to sell my share.

He was a man of his time, but he had an unmatched swagger, hustle and determination. His time just ran short, and the Lord needed him more.

I have to rely mostly on stories from my mom and others. However that is how we keep him alive, along with the striking traits he also handed. Thus Frosty Lanier will never truly die.

R.I.P. Paw Paw Frosty, you believed in me before I knew to believe and you impacted many lives. I can't wait to meet you again.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

South Carolina: Halfway Underwater but Not Fully Overwhelmed

South Carolina has been an embarrassment and an eyesore financially and socially for years. This year, however, the state has progressed and come together during tough critical times.

Currently, the state is flooded from Columbia on down near Charleston due to dams splitting near two major rivers in the wake of Hurricane Jocquin.

You see on the news often that when this type of natural disaster occurs, there are riots, looting and all out violence. Here in South Carolina, the residents have really come together and helped each other. Several legitimate clothing and food drives have been formed, law enforcement and government officials, including the National Guard, have worked around the clock during this crisis.

The University of South Carolina was playing LSU this week in football. Due to the floods, the game was moved to LSU's home stadium. The residents and fans of LSU were very nice and hospitable as well, even playing a lot of South Carolina fight songs and music during the game.

It appears the country has noticed how this state bands together instead of dividing. This was demonstrated during the summer with the Dylann Roof massacre. We don't always see eye to eye on certain issues, and seem to be stuck in olden times too often. However when you look around, you are hard pressed to find a state that will look out for its fellow resident and offer a helping hand.

I was becoming ashamed to be a South Carolina native and resident. Over the past few years, my faith has been restored. Good job to all of SC!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Live Your Life Well

I will start with an excerpt from an infamous meme:

"Live Your Life In Such A Fashion That Westboro Baptist Church Will Protest Your Funeral."

The general point is you want to live a good, fulfilling life with a great legacy of family, friends and moments where you touched someone positively.

I know some of us do not like to think about all of this and understandably so. However, wouldn't it be sad if no one cared to show up for your funeral, or even remember you?

Here are some ways to preserve your legacy:

1. Don't burn bridges

Distance yourself from certain people and cut them off when and where necessary. However, don't completely end the relationship you have built with them. You never know when you will need that connection.

2. Set out to positively touch one person each day.

Let your life be the example. This goes back to the opening quote. Be a shining and guiding light and motivate, encourage and excite where necessary.

3. Get out of your house and off of social media and hit the streets.

In short, socialize! Learn people's names, something important about them, and talk to them and interact in person with them. Making that time can pay dividends later.

4. Apologize for wrongdoings and make things better.

Sometimes it's better to simply be the bigger person and admit where you are wrong. This will free you and allow you to move forward in your life.

5. Live, laugh and love

Yeah you've heard this one before but it is true. Enjoy life, love your fellow persons and see all the positives. There are enough negative things so embrace what is good about life.

Don't waste a minute, go ahead and do a small gesture now. As long as you're breathing, it's never too late to make things right or better!

What is your legacy? Do you care if you're remembered or not?