From Rodney King to George Floyd

People what is going on? This is an extremely sensitive topic/issue. But we need to talk about it and seek to find a lasting solution. Change begins with dialogue (or conversation).

“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”

Albert Einstein

. . .

Various demonstrations because of the umpteenth killing of a young unarmed black man, George Floyd, by an ex-police officer, have been ongoing from Minneapolis to New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Chicago, San Francisco, Oakland, Emeryville, San Jose, Los Angeles. Which city is next? Some of these demonstrations were peaceful, but most were rowdy. Even the ones that began peacefully, eventually took another turn. These demonstrations are so disturbing yet, though apropos. What we are witnessing is a combination of an avalanche of frustrations and opportunists seizing the moment.  

Things fall apart and the center cannot hold ... sheer anarchy is loosed upon the land!
- Chinua Achebe, a Nigerian novelist
Courtesy of kidzone.ws

People, there is a root cause. We have a systemic problem that needs an urgent systemic solution. Pruning a tree when done right, encourages new growth, greener leaves, stronger branches, and healthier twigs and trunks. Simultaneously, to kill a tree, like any systemic issue, we need to deal with it at its roots. Government (departments such as the legal system and law enforcement agencies) keep treating the symptoms rather than the cause. We need to deal with the root cause.

Systemic: Bias, Problem, Solution?

Systemic is anything relating to the entire system rather than a part of it. Undoubtedly, we have systemic problems in America that have shown bias in its solutions or lack of solutions. As such, as Simplicable, states, there is both a systemic bias and systemic problem and offers the following definitions:

“Systemic Bias: a society, culture, or large system that exhibits bias. This essentially means that a large system produces sub-optimal decisions that are analogous to a person …

Systemic Problem: a problem that infects an entire society, culture, or system.” 

Therefore, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. As I researched, I found another site, that agreed with me. This site has noteworthy information relevant to our current topic and issue. What we need is a systemic solution to the systemic problems and biases in America. A systemic solution, therefore, is a solution that resolves root causes.

This blog is not about how we go about resolving all the issues.  

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”

Desmond Tutu, former Archbishop of South Africa

Let us talk about the way the demonstrations were conducted in certain cities. I speak against injustice of any kind. Looting and vandalism is also an injustice. Looting and vandalism is not the answer and it also has to be condemned else we would be speaking from both sides of our mouth. Neither the killings of anyone, be they black, white, brown, purple, or red nor the vagrant looting of stores and burning of cars or stores nor anyone claiming supremacy over another nor the police driving into the mob is acceptable! People, two wrongs not a right make!! All sides claim to be fighting for their lives and right. If we continue this way, whose life is going to remain? All the acts must be condemned in no unjustifiable manner.

Demonstrations can be peacefully done. It has been done several times in the past. We all are still reeling from the effects of COVID-19. The recent violent demonstrations surely take us much further back in years.

Is there another way?

Let us look to a brighter future. Ask any sprinter, anyone running a race does not look back – they lose time and never win the race by so doing. We all need to stop looking back in time except to analyze what happened and use it as a catalyst for the future. Yes, it is easier said than done. I know. Though China is not our best political ally at the moment, let’s take a cue from the Chinese reforms and policies for an economic turnaround. China underwent systemic changes that transformed “complex number of reforms in its fiscal, financial, enterprise, governance and legal systems and the ability for the government to be able to flexibly respond to the unintended consequences of these changes. This transformation has been accompanied by high levels of industrialization and urbanization, a process that has influenced every aspect of China’s society, culture, and economy.”

That said, China, like any other economy, can still be said to be unfulfilled in other areas.  

Two wrongs not a right make

True, many of us have been subjected to several wrongs. So, have I. Many of us have had our loved ones untimely snatched from us; so have I. I have been let go of my job due to what was apparent racism – it hurts that it was done and that I felt helpless to fight back. But I did not burn down the building, neither did I drove back to the place to run down anyone. So please do not yell at me or ask for my head on a platter. I honestly can relate to both sides of the equation.

Frustration stems in when one witnesses the incessant injustices, racism, inhumane brutalities and killings of anyone. African Americans generally have been dealt a harder blow. And it is perceived that the men have been particularly targeted. From Rodney King to George Floyd, it appears that the brutalities and killings of African American men have been unnecessarily on the rise. However, except I conduct the research, I cannot use the data being presented as conclusive because data, research, and conclusions can be subjective. Each data (or survey results) can be manipulated to present whatever message the researcher wants to communicate to its readers/users.  Having said that, here’s couple of charts that I found.

U.S. Police Shootings: Blacks Disproportinately Affected

The truth is that law enforcement officers are killed almost daily as well in their line of duty. Sadly, because of the animosity and recent tensions, these deaths go unnoticed and no one seems to care; except the affected’s family. Check the reference link for FBI and The Peace Officer Safety Institute for current data regarding law enforcement officers killed in action (leoka).

Is Revolution the Answer?

Some say that we probably need a revolution. Maybe we do. I do not know neither am I advocating for it. But do we all understand what revolution is? According to Merriam Webster online dictionary, Revolution is:

  • 2a: a sudden, radical, or complete change
  • b: a fundamental change in a political organization especiallythe overthrow or renunciation of one government or ruler and the substitution of another by the governed
  • c: activity or movement designed to effect fundamental changes in the socioeconomic situation
  • d: a fundamental change in the way of thinking about or visualizing somethinga change of paradigm 
  • e: a changeover in use or preference …

Revolution is a change, but it does not necessarily have to be bloody or rambunctious. The revolution that we need is a drastic change from the manner that things are done. This can be done by a 360-degree change in our policies; legal, law enforcement, medical, education, etc. I am not talking about the type of change that was done with diversity reforms (another topic for another day), but one sincere change that must have consequences for non-conformance.   

Where are the good men and women?

Finally, Abraham Lincoln once said, “All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” This quote has been echoed by others such that no one really knows its original owner.

Those who do nothing while witnessing injustice and wrong-doing do worse than those who commit acts of injustice. The privileged have a responsibility to do what they know is right. Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
- Martin Luther King

Good men (and, of course, women) everywhere need to rise to speak the truth. But good men (and women) should not merely jump on the bandwagon, but strive to seek to truly find a solution to the problem. And good people should not be paying others to confuse the land. It is akin to activists being paid to carry placards. During the years of my active job search, I had called some “paid-same-day” ads that happened to be that our job would be to carry placards about issues. So, I know that this does happen.

For every demonstration, there is always someone championing it either overtly or covertly.

The truth is that those who are instigating the chaos are not affected by it. Like we always say, “people in high places” are powerful, wealthy, and influential. They have friends everywhere who they can call upon to either support or carry out their bidding. In addition, these people have high security that prevents the rioting masses from getting to them.

To the people in high places, secretly instigating all these, please stop. If you think no one knows who you are or know that you are doing it, do not be deceived because God, the Creator of the universe, is not mocked and sees what is done in secret.  

Let’s not continue to hurt ourselves

This is an extremely sensitive issue to write or talk about. But talk, we should, and talk we shall.

No one wants to be at the receiving end of injustice. Anyone who has been on that side knows what it feels like and it’s surely not good. By the same token, anyone who has never experienced injustice certainly does not know what it feels like.

The brutalities, violent demonstrations, and looting is not the way to honor the dead neither will it bring the dead back. I say this as apologetically and softly as I can. My heart goes out to everyone who has lost a son on this journey to freedom. May their spirit live forever and pave the way for true freedom for all.

Every good man (and woman) please stand against the injustice, racism, brutality, and senseless killings of black men, minorities, and people generally. It is sad that after over sixty years of Martin Luther King’s “Walk for Freedom” speech, we are here still trying to walk the freedom! 

Coincidentally or ironically, depending on the way you view it, MLK’s speech occurred in May in 1956! Any surprise that these demonstrations are happening in May 2020?! Go figure!

We can still make MLK (and Rosa Parks) proud, not by giving in to political maneuverings that disrupts our economy, which in turn affects all of us, but by choosing to do demonstrations peacefully. 

Peace people!

References:

Dear younger me

If I knew then what I know now, I would have done many things differently. Yet, no regrets. The paths were meant for me to take as I now realized the the invisible Sovereign hands were guarding, guiding, and steering me all along.

10 things you need to learn sooner in life

1. Cultivate a relationship with God

I believed that there is a God. As a kid, I talked to an invisible being but did not know who I was talking to until I became a Christian in my later adult life. How I wish I knew Him sooner. Learning early in life the order of honor (God first, family second, all others next) would help put everything else in the right perspective. Find Him sooner.

2. Listen more to your parents and spend quality time with them

Honoring one’s parents is the first commandment with a promise. Though I disagreed occasionally with my parents, I never disrespected them. I loved them dearly. As a parent, I recognize that parents are not always right. The truth is that parents are also learning-on-the-job as they raise their children. But most parents desire the best for their children, young or adult, and might sometimes not know how to communicate those desires in a manner that the children might understand.

I never lived with my mother and missed the mother-daughter bonding and connection. Though I had a strong father-daughter relationship, I acknowledge that the roles of fathers and mothers are so uniquely different yet interconnected and one cannot be substituted for the other.

Spend quality time with your parents now and, when you leave home, visit them frequently.

3. Listen more to your instincts (intuition, gut feeling, etc.)

Whatever you call it, know that it is a gift that will work the more you use it. Pay attention to it, accept it, follow it, and don’t second-guess yourself or your gift.

The first step toward change is awareness. The second is acceptance.”

Nathaniel Branden

4. Speak the truth more in love rather than abrasively

No one wants to hear your truth until they understand you care for them. You might be right, but might shut-off people with loud or harsh words. The truth spoken in love, coupled with soft responses, are a true disarming pair.

5. Always let your parents/family know who your friends are

My grandmother always advised that there were different categories of friendships: acquaintances (slight, but not close friends), colleagues (work but not necessarily close friends), activity friends (e.g. sports, party, etc.), and buddies (close friends). Know who your friends are. Never lump them all in one bucket and never be friends with anyone you will not be proud to take home or introduce to your parents. Note that not all friends will pick up your call or be enthused to open their doors to you when you knock at 3:00 a.m. Categorizing your friends will also help you avoid unnecessary disappointments.

Invite your friends home so your family knows who you’re hanging out with. You’ll be glad you did.

6. Just as there is a reason why meals are differentiated breakfast, lunch, and dinner, there’s a reason why you ought to do life in the right order: go to school (middle, high, college) before getting married or having babies

Order is the law of life and life is manageable when the sequences are followed. True, there are rare exceptions to all sequences, but except you’re a genius in your craft, those exceptions might not apply to you.

If within your power, choose to complete your education first before marriage and starting a family.

7. Life development is essential, may be critical, in these areas – educationally, financially, physically, and spiritually

Decide on what you want to study, how long you’d like to study (for example, 1st degree, 2nd, PhD, JD, two 2nd degree, add a vocational, etc.) and go for it.

Schools have never been known to teach financial education; wish it will be added to the k – 12 curricula. Nonetheless, there is some teaching you can do on your own. Research and learn it sooner. What is the best saving instrument? What does the FICO score mean? What do I need to do to increase my score? What are the requirements for buying a car or house?

Physical development includes healthy habits (eating, sleeping, playing, exercising, no drugs, etc.). It also includes your regular wellness check-ups. Do your part early and your body will serve you longer.

Everyone is yearning for things in life that can only be satisfied with the knowledge of and intimacy with God. As a Christian, how I wish that everyone was or became a Christian. However, connecting with God is personal. Find yours. As you take time to develop yourself in other areas, it is equally important to develop yourself spiritual for a balanced life.

8. Are you cut out for marriage or singleness?

“There are eunuchs that are made by God; there are those made by men, and there are those having made themselves so for the kingdom of heaven’s sake …”

Matthew 19:12 KJV (King James’ Version)

Know what each (institute; yes they’re both institutes!) entails; responsibilities, benefits, and disadvantages, etc. and be prepared to work it truthfully till the end; except, of course, God redirects your steps.

9. Look for potentials in your mate and not necessarily the cool dude or prettiest girl in town. Not that this is bad of itself, but it is vanity

If you decide that marriage is for you, look for potentials with the longer-term in mind. Ask yourself if your partner is the type of man or woman whom you’d be happy with for the rest of your life, do you have the same values or anything in common, will you still be the loving spouse when the physical characteristics change such as becoming bald, putting on weight, etc.?

10. Be intentional about success.

Think early about being successful in life. What does success mean to you? Paint a picture of it and pursue it relentlessly.

. . .

All the best to you, My Younger Me. I wish I knew these sooner in my own life journey.

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Oscars Night: Did that just happened …?!!!

It appeared to be a stunt, a dramatization of sorts. It happened in Hollywood and involved two of Hollywood’s finest comedian/actors during Oscars’ 94th Academy Award this past weekend. In Hollywood, anything can happen, everything sells and makes news. So we thought it was one of those. Until the Oscars management provided a statement that what happened was not staged nor was it a part of the Oscars night script.

Chris Rock and Will Smith are both renowned comedians/actors. Chris said something about Will’s wife, Jada, referring to GI Jane. The next thing we saw was Will walking up the stage and whoops Chris across the face. At first, I thought “oh, he didn’t touch him, that’s part of the script.” You know, kinda like a wrestling match which we all think is staged. My daughter said “Mom, no he just did.” I bursted into several foreign languages all at once. What the ____!

Did you see it, too!

Did you watch it live or later or heard about it? What are your thoughts on it?

Shortly after the social media started buzzing. And the question was “did it really happen?”

The shameful incident (all round) divided many quarters. The incident can be reviewed from a professional and ethical angle. We might add the family and spiritual angles, too.

My Take

Personally, Will Smith was wrong. His act should be condemned. If he (or Jada) felt that Chris Rock was out of line with his intro (and/or banter at her expense), there are other more gentlemanly and professional manner to have handled it. Brothers don’t treat brothers like that.

It was an attack of violence. Since when did we (adults) stop using our words?

Can you imagine what could have happened if Chris retaliated rather than just take it, smiled, continued with the program, and left immediately after? 🤔. Chris, in my opinion, was the bigger man.

The Oscars have stated that they do not condone any act of violence, are officially reviewing the incident, and will let us know their findings. I can’t wait.

Where do we go from here? Is the Oscars going to be safe going forward or the actors/actresses are now going to attend with a troop of bodyguards to prevent such from happening to them? The Oscars findings will tell.

2022 NBA All Star starts today

The Celebrity Game opens this weekend’s All Star Game, followed by the Rising Stars Game.

The Celebrity lineup features the Mayor of Cleveland, Justin Bibb, among others, understandably so since he is the main host. The lineup includes various stars from different spheres. It will be Team Walton versus Team Nique. Sure sounds like it will definitely be a hilarious exciting event notwithstanding who wins.

The Rising Stars Game (photos courtesy of NBA) features twelve Rookies, twelve sophomores (2nd-year NBA’ers), and four players from the G League. There will be other activities in-between the games.

Watch it on ESPN or your local television channels.

Sharing Thursday: INFP Personality Type: 5 Key Traits, Strengths, Weaknesses & More

There are 16 different Myers-Briggs combinations a person can be, and the INFP is a rare, reserved type known for their “go with the flow” personality.
— Read on amp.mindbodygreen.com/articles/infp-personality-type

I haven’t shared a post in a while, but thought this is a great one for our community to be aware of.

INFP Arise!

Are you an INFP personality type? You’re a rare gem according to the above post. How rare are you? Read the article to find out.

I did a post on personality types where I shared sites where you can find out about your own personality type, if you don’t already know it. Click here for that post with links should you want to find out your personality type.

(Credits: Myers-Biggs Foundation)

Knowing your personality type helps in relationships and career because you are not only aware of who you are, but are now cognizant of those you get along with as well as those you might easily conflict with, being aware also helps one to understand and appreciate the diverse personality types.

Ben Simmons finally found a new home

The unfortunate saga surrounding Ben Simmons (BS) finally ended when he found a new home with the Brooklyn Nets in a megadeal that included James Harden.

The former Philadelphia Sixers (PS) guard has been in the foray of various media attacks since the last NBA Season allegedly because he failed to shoot (or dunk) a net against the Atlanta Hawks during the 2020-21 season’s playoff, thus ending the chances of his Team, Philadelphia Sixers, vying for the Championship.

True or false? Could BS’s shot had secured the win for PS? I believe that it’s easier said than done.

Personally speaking, I felt bad for the hand that was dealt the 25-year old, 6’11 Australian native. From the outside looking on and in, the whole incident appeared like a hostile takeover-pushout of sorts. With Doc Rivers as head coach, it seemed something had to be conjured against the Australian basketballer in order to edge him out and have his (Doc Rivers) son-in-law (Seth Curry) take over. I suppose nepotism is allowed in the NBA.

Yes, Seth Curry is the younger brother of Golden State Warriors’ affable Star Steph Curry. We all love Steph. I love Steph. It’s easy to love Steph. And because of Steph, I suppose that his family is accorded the same love. Because of Steph love, my conclusion was that many quarters who ought to speak truth to power regarding Ben Simmons-Sixers’ issue, failed to.

Simmons wanted to be traded. He requested it in August during preseason but Sixers won’t oblige. I heard some quarters stated that BS is under contract and must abide by the letters. However, does the Team realize that you can take a horse to the river, but you can’t force it to gobble down the water. If BS, for whatever reason wants out, it is pointless trying to force him to stay. Forcing him to continue to play is tantamount to controlling him. Unfortunately, you don’t get the best out of control. And you thought he did some bad last season, forcing him to stay would mean more bad, and Sixers would not have been near the Season’s record they now have.

Why wouldn’t Sixers trade him?

The question still baffles me. Why wouldn’t the Team trade Simmons? Several reasons were read in the media, among them were:

  1. He’s being paid so much that no other Team wants to pick up the tab because of Team salary caps; so he’s stuck
  2. He needs to grow up?!
  3. He needs to fulfill his contract
  4. Blah. Blah. Blah.

All the reasons were merely excuses to buy time. The one that floored me the most was his teammate (now former) and co-All Star counterpart, Joel Embiid’s negative rantings and comments to the print and social media which did not bode well for good sportsmanship.

Well, it was a loooooooong four (or six) months for all concerned. Hopefully, all sides are happy with the outcome. BS headed to Brooklyn and, guess what, with Seth Curry. With Seth Curry now out of Philly, I hope Sixers will still continue their winning streak. If today’s game with Celtics is a pointer of the Season’s second half for Sixers, Embiid better get ready to eat up all his words and BS will have the last laugh.

Sorry if I sounded like an instigator, but let’s keep it real.

Lessons learned from the BS-Sixers Issue

  1. People will unnecessarily take sides without knowing the full details of all concerned
  2. Never say anything you’d regret later or be uncomfortable looking the other person in the eye.
  3. Don’t air your dirty laundries in the public. Once the laundry dries up, the public still remembers
  4. When spirituality (or mentality) is involved, it never makes sense.
  5. Always give people the benefit of doubt whether you like, or agree with, them or not
  6. Always show compassion (empathy) when another is going through; it might be your turn next - sure you’ll want someone to understand you and be on your side.
  7. Never be too quick to condemn another.

May God continue to help us be quick to love and slow to judge another.

All Star Voting Results are in

Every NBA player is a star. But there are a few who excel above and separate themselves from the pack.

As it is written, “All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.” (1 Corinthians‬ ‭15:39-41‬ ‭KJV‬‬)

These NBA Stars are deemed elites. They are the super-stars, in a class of their own, creme de la creme, upper echelon of the sport, that is, the top 1 to 2% of the NBA players. These ones earn the top salaries in the Association and are the ones who get to play as starters in the upcoming three-day weekend All Star Game set for February 18 – 20, 2022.

These Elites have continuously proven themselves since the start of the NBA 2021-22 Season. They are not only key players, but players who have stepped up during critical games, and steadfastly carried their Teams on their backs. Such players are honored by fans who voted for them everyday for six weeks. I hope you voted, too.

Of about the 500+ NBA players, only ten (five each from the Western and Eastern Conferences) qualify as the Elite NBA All Star Starters. Join me in celebrating them listed below:

Some may argue that these players rank highest in salary and stats such as total points, rebounds, and or assists per game, but that is not always the case.

Well, Who decides?

I’m glad you asked.
If you don’t already know. Fifty percent (50%) of the All Star Starter votes is decided by you and I, and twenty-five percent (25%) each by current players and a media panel.

Since the selection was primarily fan-based, one could argue the probability of fan bias and or that the player with the best marketing strategy got the most-est votes. In addition, there’s also the probability of popularity contest at play for both the media panel and current players’ voting.

Notwithstanding, I hope you agree that this year’s Starters are deserving of the votes.

This year’s Eastern Conference (EC) frontcourts maintained and carried over from the previous year. However, we have two new EC guards, DeMar DeRozan of the Chicago Bulls and Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks. Also new entrants for the Western Conference this year are frontcourt Andrew Wiggins of the Golden State Warriors and guard Ja Morant of the Memphis Grizzlies. All have been phenomenal and I’m glad that the fans thought so, too.

The Reserves

Per NBA, the 2021-22 “reserves were voted on by the head coaches from each conference, who could not vote for players from their own teams.” Fifteen (15) Reserves were drafted yesterday by the Team Captains, LeBron James (West, Left) and Kevin Durant (East, Right); see below.

The All Star Teams will be playing for a charity organization of their choice. Fun and electrifying events have been lined up for the weekend and you don’t have to be physically present in Cleveland, OH to enjoy it as it’ll be aired on national and local channels. I hope you will watch to appreciate the great talents in the NBA.

Congrats to all the twenty-six amazing All Star players.

Confusion

Credits: Unsplash / Brett Jordan

Confusion is the absence of order; it is the absence of peace; of people not knowing what to do, or knowing what to do but unsure of where or how to start; of having multiple decisions to make but afraid to make the wrong one; of being given multiple instructions, corrections, advices, or orders that makes one’s head spin in different directions and unsure of which to follow, or being told to do one thing one second, and the next second someone comes along to nullify the first.

This ought not to be.

Wherever there is confusion, there is certainly every evil thing. Whether or not you agree, this is absolutely true.

Confusion brings along its first-cousins, namely envy, strife, jealousy, selfish ambition, self-seeking, and disorder, to anywhere they are welcomed. They settle down and have a party of utter chaos. It could be in a home, family, small or big organizations.

Confusion at work

Confusion is present when managers micro manage rather than lead and empower their staff. Confusion stems from evil hearts of insecurity and control. Again, this ought not to be.

Wherever confusion is, the atmosphere is filled with employees who are unhappy, gloomy-faced, frustrated, stressed, lacking motivation, and the desire to put the organization first. Productivity suffers, Morale is low, Complacency also sets in, high staff turnover, and the people show up just for the paycheck. Stress becomes the order of the day with its resultant effects on employees’ health.

If confusion produces all the above-mentioned outcomes, why then do organizations embrace or allow it? Your answer is as good as mine.

Confusion is allowed due to ignorance. Folks are either unaware, ignorant of better (i.e., their right), and/or afraid to challenge, change, or speak up about it. Organizations embrace or allow confusion out of ignorance and fear. Fear of being stagnated (overlooked for promotion) or demoted.

Confusion is a spirit. We see its effect but don’t know why it happens. Knowing the root of the problem, helps. For example, is the organization experiencing financial or management issues, is the leader/manager’s personal lifestyle conflicting with his/her corporate role? Whether the root cause is known or unknown, the best way to stop it is to speak up. Call it what it is. C-O-N-F-U-S-I-O-N. No pat-a-caking it. Keeping quiet about it, will only allow it to fetter and grow worse.

Micromanaging is the biggest influencer of confusion.

Micromanaging and Confusion

Micromanaging and confusion are siblings. They go together. There is always confusion where micromanagement occurs and vice versa.

We all know what micromanaging is. It’s a management style that overly scrutinizes and controls a subordinate’s work. It is rampant in environments where unskilled labor is high. Given the chance, micromanagers will try to control or scrutinize their bosses, too. The style stems more from the person’s emotional insecurities, but often tends to be projected as the subordinates’ incompetencies.

People micromanage for different reasons that may include things going on in their own personal lives. Insecurities and the need (or desire) to control are top reasons why people micromanage. Micromanagers tend to control everyone from top mangers to the lower echelons. To curb it, employees have to speak up. I am a proponent of dialogue.

Ways to curb micromanagement and confusion

  1. Start by sharing your feelings using the “I” starters and avoid the “You”. For example, I feel [stressed, distrusted, fill-in-the-blank, etc.] when ________.
  2. Have clear expectations.
  3. Communicate your leadership style and empower your staff to communicate how they would like to be managed or led
  4. Build a culture of trust
  5. I’m also a BIG proponent of human capital. Assure your staff that they are valued, respected, and appreciated, This tend to boost their morale, lessens turnover, and increases their productivity. They will go the extra mile both for the organization and its customers.
  6. Let the focus be on the big overarching picture; the company/organization, rather than on you (the leader or employee).

The above ways are general and applicable both to the micromanager and the micromanaged. However, there are other specific steps that each involved can take to mitigate the negative effects of micromanaging and confusion at work. Speaking to a mentor and/or HR personnel is always advisable.

Nepotism and Cronyism

Credits: Unsplash / Chang Duong

Her Story

I worked at a company that encouraged employees to refer family and friends for employment. For the referral, I was paid $250 for the first-hired family/friend; $300 for the next two hired referrals, for a total of $1,500 per year. Never mind that the referral bonus was taxed at 40%. Duh. But I loved the idea of an extra $1,500 income per year. I come from a large family. So I endeavored to ensure that no family member was unemployed. The family members included everyone; uncles, aunties, nieces, nephews, cousins, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd cousins, and the friends included everyone I knew, neighbors, too, who needed a full, part time, or second job. No person was left behind.

With my quest to refer family and friends to my company, I became the most-loved family member and the most-popular go-to hiring-referral person. These hired family/friends were placed in different departments which meant that I was well-connected throughout the company. None could talk ill of me without it getting back to me. If anyone did, they were sequestered to work on the field or back office, or given a poor/low performance review, and climbing up the company ladder was difficult for them. Similarly, the family/friends who “watched my back” got the company’s and my personal favors. In a way, I had turned the company referral gestures into my mini mafia project. I controlled all the family and friends who were hired as a result of my referral. Their loyalty was first to me and second to the company. I’ve been at the company for over a decade having started while in college. I am now an Executive Manager which means that I know the company and colleagues like the back of my hand.

How was she able to?

The above scenario is a true story though not mine.

Experience has shown that even under the best forms of government, those entrusted with power have, in time and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.

- Thomas Jefferson

Is one better than the other?

Many organizations empower their employees to refer family and friends as potential workmates. The organizations support these referrals with gifts of appreciation that range from $250 and over. The higher the position (hourly versus salaried or supervisory to mid-level management positions), the bigger the referral bonuses.

While there are no specific hiring practices for or against friends, few organizations forbid employing family members.

Nepotism is the practice of hiring and showing favoritism to family members in economic or employment terms, Cronyism is the practice of favoring one’s close friends, especially in political appointments. Both practices cut across public, private, nonprofit, small, mid-size, or large organizations.

Is’t right, fair, ethical, or legal?

There are both benefits as well as disadvantages in hiring family and friends. The above opening scenario depicts the downside of potential pitfalls.

In addition, vertical or lateral promotions based on qualifications or merit becomes difficult. It becomes obvious when family and friends are hired or promoted over stronger candidates especially when that family/friend becomes unable to perform the job. Current employees feel discriminated against in favor of the promotion of the relative thereby breeding a negative toxic workplace culture with unhappy employees. Morale becomes low as a result with the potential for the company to lose great employees. It also can become difficult to discipline or manage family/friends without straining the relationship outside of work. The general outlook is that of a conflict of interest.

Despite the disadvantages, both acts are commonly practiced. Companies do however have policies that might forbid family members from having reporting relationships to one another or from working in the same department. Aside from willful, blatant acts of discrimination, and official filing of grievance, Nepotism and Cronyism are not illegal.

When companies establish formal and informal hiring guidelines, fair work practices (dos and don’ts), have an open policy for reporting perceived or real injustices, set expectations, including limiting the number of hired family/friend referrals, hiring family/friends can be beneficial for the company. Though human beings may disagree occasionally, one might still prefer to work with a known person than an unknown.

Have you ever been a referee or worked for a company that embraced referring and hiring family/friends? What were your experiences or observations? Please share your experiences, if you please, in the comments.

Personally, I believe it’s near impossible to truly manage family and friends without lapsing in discipline and authority. However even if family and friends were not encouraged at a workplace, colleagues do develop meaningful relationships that transcend the job making HR issues somewhat uneasy. My hope is that supervisors/managers exercise their roles in a fair and ethical mannet.

Loving Basketball: 2022 NBA All-Star 💫 Voting

I should have posted this sooner. Pardon me, but there’s still time to cast a vote.

If you’re a hoop fan, you know this is the time to vote for your favorite NBA All Star players. The All Star Games has been slated for February 20, 2022, and voting has already begun. The first and second rounds of votes have been released by the NBA. But voting is still ongoing.

Today, and specific days (Dec. 25, Jan. 7, Jan. 13, Jan. 17 and Jan. 20) before the voting is over on Saturday, January 22 at midnight, votes count as double. If you are not a hoop fan and are thus not partaking, or a fan who hasn’t voted yet, it’s not too late to join in the fun. Go to NBA.com (or the NBA App) to vote. If you don’t know who to vote for nor care who wins, pretty please help send, and vote for, the Golden State Warriors’ (GSW) players to this year’s All Star Game in Cleveland, OH. Thank you.

Below is the GSW Team list, in alphabetical order, just in case you don’t know all the players. You can only vote for two guards (G) and three forwards (F) per day. I suggest alternating (selecting different) players each day. This will give the younger and new players an opportunity to receive some votes.

Vote every night before 11:59 PM.

My favorite team as you know is the Warriors. I however have favorite players across teams. I must say that it’s been hard voting for each one of my favorite players daily. It also hasn’t been easy with voting all Warriors players. However, voting Guard Curry has been consistent; it is choosing the second Dubs guard to vote for that becomes an issue. I use the alternating method as well. How I wish we could vote for more than five players. Maybe the NBA Commissioner Stein is listening and will some day soon increase the number to twelve. All in favor say “Aye!”

What is the NBA All Star Game?

The All Star Game is a three-day fun, exciting, and highly competitive event. It showcases twenty-four of the leading NBA star players.

This year marks the 71st All Star Game. The players are voted by fans, players, and the media. The Coaches of the season’s leading NBA Conferences get to Coach the teams. The players with the leading votes for both Conferences gets to be the Captain. The Captain will choose his seven team players regardless of the player’s NBA Conference, while the Coaches select the five reserve players and they cannot select from their NBA Team. The All Star Teams play for charities of their choice. If you’ve never watched one, make this year your first. I can assure you that it will not be your last.

Setback for a Comeback … Welcome back, Klay

It was extremely great watching Klay Thompson (KT), Golden State Warriors (GSW)’s number 11, suit up and play again yesterday.

Klay Thompson had been out of the game for two-and-a-half years having suffered two back-to-back injuries; first an ACL during the 2019 NBA Finals and then rupturing his achilles during the 2020 NBA Draft. 2019 was definitely not the Dubs’ year. It was devastating watching it happen in 2019 during Game 6 as GSW was contending for that year’s Championship. After a year off, Klay returned only to rupture his Achilles on Draft Day. Bad as it was, it was preposterous that it happened on Draft Day; giving the Warriors’ Executive Team a quick strategic maneuver on its Draft selection.

KT, the Splash brother, was definitely and apparently missed by all; Team, fans, and the media. Though his other Splash brother, Steph Curry, held the forth in his absence, Klay’s contribution to the Team and game of basketball left a void that was terribly felt and unfillable.

The Splash Brothers, Steph and Klay, earned their alias as a result of their duo-dynamite three-point shootings from any angle. Both changed the basketball landscapes with their shootings.

Way to recovery …

The road to recovery for any athlete after a bad injury is often an emotional tumultuous journey that requires character-defining traits and values that will uphold one through till the end of the journey. While some players recover fast, others have a slow recovery. While some players return to their normal or better state, others seem to slump and finally stop playing; thus ending their athletic career. Even the strongest, positive, and most-optimistic player still has intermittent doubts and questions such as:

  • What if I do not fully recover?
  • What if I’m no longer as good?
  • What if I’m traded because of this injury?
  • What if other teams think my useful years are over?
  • What if no team wants me?
  • What if the injury ends my career?
  • A gazillion what-ifs hardly with no futuristic answers.

Klay obviously had a few question and or doubts.

After the initial surgery and recovery, Klay was always seen on the bench cheering his teammates and, after games, chatting with the analysts. His return date has been speculated a few times. He had even been sequestered to the Warriors’ G League which is a minor development team for the GSW. Having held up strong and mute about his hiatus and injuries over the years, rarely speaking about the injury nor his recovery, Klay finally and publicly showed his emotions after a Warriors’ game in late November. He was seen still being on bench long after the crowds had dispersed the Chase Center.

I was personally touched by Klay’s emotions. The wait and “weight” of not playing must have taken a big toil on him wondering why his return was being delayed.

The wait is finally over

He finally had his day of return on Sunday. I was overjoyed for him, like tons of fans and colleagues were, to finally watch him play again.

Click the links below to watch the various highlights on Klay’s return and game on Sunday:

  1. https://www.nba.com/news/nba-players-react-to-klay-thompsons-return
  2. https://gsw.page.link/k8TyojQZqdqDFojh7i
  3. https://www.cbssports.com/nba/news/klay-thompsons-triumphant-return-to-warriors-brings-unbridled-joy-emotion-when-fans-need-it-the-most/
  4. https://www.nba.com/news/klay-thompson-return-feature
  5. https://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/33028982/nba-players-celebrate-klay-thompson-return-more-two-years

Setback happens to all

If you live long enough, it is certain that one would experience one form of setback. Life often can hand us lemons and bad things often does happen to the best of folks that set us back in many ways than one. It could be a health/physical setback, like Klay’s and several other basketball players/athletes. The physical setback can have a domino effect on one’s finances, emotions, and sometimes spiritual.

What do you do when it happens?

Many murmur and complain. We ask tons of unanswered questions and can recluse. We play the blame game. Why me? I have, too, at some point. We can stop living especially when we lack helpful and positive relationships concluding that none seems to understand our predicament.

However, only few understand that at such point we cannot and should not step on the brakes. It is a turning point. What we turn round to, blame or control, will make the difference.

The proverbial “when life gives you lemon, you make lemonade,” suffices. A professional football player, for example, who suffers injury that ends his football career can turn to a new other career as a coach or recruiter or game analyst. The point is that all is not lost. It might be the end of a season, but definitely not the end of one’s life or career.

7 Steps to a Comeback

  1. Have a positive outlook that things will be better
  2. Choose the people to surround yourself with.
  3. Do everything within your power to get better. It might mean learning new skills.
  4. If new skills are involved, be gentle on yourself, realizing that there’s a learning curve which is different for each person.
  5. Take life one day at a time
  6. Every step you take will eventually turn to giant strides.
  7. Be consistent.

If you do the work, optimism will lift you up to your eventual comeback which will propel you to a better state than you were before.

Glad that Klay did the work; long though it was, and is back to doing what he does best. GSW’s chances of winning this year’s Championship got much better with your return … The Game just got started. WELCOME BACK, KLAY!

Think yourself positive this Year

“Your life will move in the direction of your most-dominant thoughts.”

Joel Osteen

Happy New Year 2022 to everyone. I can’t believe that we are already a week into the New Year. I hope that this is the Year we’ve all been awaiting; a Year that all stored-up blessings will locate us and our families.

Here’s also hoping that your Year started well and free from covid/Omicron. Even if it didn’t, we still have over three hundred days to rectify it. Please remember that getting vaxxed and boosted makes a lot of difference and life much more bearable. Please get vaxxed if you haven’t already. Also get boosted. Be your healthiest best in 2022.

New Year, New You, New Thoughts

I don’t know if people still make New Year resolutions any more. But whatever, you have resolved to do or change this Year, I hope that you achieve it.

Resolutions or not, I particularly hope that you will change your mindset and thinking patterns.

As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”       (Proverbs 23:6). 

James Allen wrote a self-help book on the title; As a man thinketh. We are the product of our thoughts; whether those thoughts are negative or positive. If you think you can’t, guess what, you won’t. And vice versa.

James Allen “shows how each man holds the key to every condition, good or bad, that enters into his life, and that, by working patiently and intelligently upon his thoughts, he may remake his life, and transform his circumstances.” (Wikipedia)

Pastor Joel Osteen agrees and says that:

  • You can’t play defeat in your mind and have victory
  • You can’t think lack and have abundance
  • You can’t think sickness and have health

No-one can make you think something; only you get to choose what you dwell on. Be intentional to choose positive thoughts.

If you don’t take control of your thought life, the negative will take it over and control your life.

I therefore beseech you, to think positive thoughts this Year, move in the direction of those thoughts, so that your life can align likewise.

I hope that you will:

Think yourself happy
Think yourself joyful
Think abundance
Think yourself as an overcomer
Think yourself blessed
Think yourself overflowing with goodness
Think yourself successful, relatable, and relational
Think yourself wise
Think all good and pure thoughts
And watch how it all flows to you.

How do I do that?

If you’re one prone to negative thoughts, once those thoughts start in your mind/head, please don’t entertain them. Know that you have the willpower to instantly negate the thoughts. For example, if you are one who constantly thinks “no one loves me,”. Stop. Counter the negative thoughts with something like “I am loved by God,”. “My Dad loves me,”. “My sister loves me …”. By the time you list all your family members, friends, neighbors, you will realize that the thought disappears and was a lie. Do likewise for every other negative thought that comes your way; intentionally replacing them with positive thoughts.

I am confident that the more positively you think, the lesser and weaker the negative thoughts become.

I wish you the Very Best of the Year.

Be Merry, Happy, and Safe

Credits: Unsplash / Lee Jeffs

To the WordPress Community and especially my followers, likers, and commenters. You’re the reason that I keep coming back to blog.

I hope you’ve been nice to yourself, and others throughout the year, as you have been to me. Santa is on his/her way to you.

I love you and wish you the merriest Christmas ever.

Remember Jesus is still the reason for the season.

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
‭‭(Isaiah‬ ‭9:6‬)‬‬

Be safe. Peace and goodwill to you.

One thing I know for sure …

Credits: Unsplash / Pro Church Media

No matter who you are and how many people rave about you, about your cookies or cooking or style or looks or you-name-it, one thing I now definitely know for sure is that there is always someone somewhere who doesn’t give a hoot about you, still can’t stand you nor like you nor adore anything everyone is raving about you. And I also know for sure that that’s definitely all right.

It’s pointless trying to be all things to all men (and women). It just turns you raggedy and into an unconscious dissociative identity disorder personality.

What I’m saying is that it’s totally all right not to be liked by or raved on by people and we should all be comfortable with it.

As a kid, I repeatedly heard an international artist’s song whose lyrics in part went thus: “there’s no intelligence nor behavior that you may have that will please all people or the world; life is but a short time so people do good always …”

Lately, I also heard Oprah Winfrey say that people always accused her of being “too full of herself.” It used to hurt until she started embracing it. She went on to say that “I can only give out of my overflow; so those who say that I am full of myself are saying the truth – I am full and my cup is running over and I give out of the overflow.”

Road to greatness or making history

You might have heard that Steph Curry, of the Golden States Warriors (GSW), recently made history breaking Ray Allen’s 3-points record by 511 less games.

The road to breaking the record was aired and tracked by the news and social media for days. With 17 3-pointers to making history, Curry was frustrated by opponents. I’m sure by now players know that keeping the key player under wraps is a strategy that not only frustrates the key player, but can secure wins. So it wasn’t unusual that Curry was double-teamed most of the time thereby making it impossible for him to rain those threes. The game between Golden State Warriors and Philadelphia Sixers was the start of the 17 3-pointers needed by Curry to make history. Sixers won the game and Curry only made three 3-pointers of the 17. A rarely-frustrated player, I saw Curry openly frustrated on that game night. What caught my attention however was during the end-of-game chat with the reporter, a young Sixers player stated that he and veteran teammate, Joel Embid, talked before the game and agreed that Steph Curry would not make history on their turf. People, Seth Curry, Steph’s brother is on the Sixers team! The young player’s statement caught my attention. Why say that? What does it matter if Curry broke the record on your turf or not? Curry was closer to breaking it anyways, and it will happen – your turf or not, right? I concluded that they might not have been happy with Curry trying to make history. The subtlety of envy and jealousy or is’t intense or negative competition?! You be the judge. I don’t know but I surely didn’t like it.

The road to greatness is not all smooth or paved with gold. There will be bumps, curves, detours, lies, slanders, overt or covert hatred, and some times temporary or permanent stops. The permanent stops happen when we give up out of frustration. Some history makers, like Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, and Joseph, who were supposed to liberate their people, had themselves been imprisoned before achieving destiny. Most millionaires were once penniless. Most real estate/home developers were also once homeless. Those who carry out the negative, wicked acts to deter anyone’s momentum often do so out of ignorance unknowingly doing the devil’s bidding. But my people, we can take a rest to comeback stronger, but we should never ever give up, for that breakthrough will surely come.

Congrats, Steph Curry

Stephen Curry broke the record at the GSW and New York Knicks game night; the third game after the Sixers. The New York fans were elated for him and so were the reigning record-holder, Ray Allen, Reggie Miller (another previous record holder), family, friends, and the NBA community. New York looked a better ground for the record-breaking moments than it would have at the Sixers.

I am so happy for Stephen Curry. He not only put in the work, but was key to changing the trajectory of the NBA games with his three-pointers. For someone who was overlooked and once rejected, Steph, like Michael Jordan, has proven that you can turn everyone’s rejection to applause. Now, Steph’s on to the next record …

Curry’s way to making history and the Sixers’ comment supports my point that not everyone will celebrate you, but you have to be okay with it. Waiting for the approval of men just means that we will never get anything done, because that approval might just never come.

Sometimes people (or things and, God forbid, even ourselves) deter our momentum in life, but if we don’t give up, what has been ordained for us will surely happen. Delay never equates denial. Those stumbling blocks are meant to buffet us and make us more determined for a stronger comeback.

Till your breakthrough or history-making happens, keep on keeping on, my friend.

Truth be Told

Credits: Matthew West

“Are we all truthful to ourselves and each other?” This is a question that I hear all the time. I wonder as often as I hear it, too.

What is Truth?

Truth is the opposite of falsehood; it is reality and being in accord. Its concept can be contextually debated in ethics/morals, science, theology, and various spheres of life.

But when talking about Truth, whose Truth is it anyways? Yours, mine, or the absolute Truth? Even the Absolute Truth is often subjectively interpreted. Any wonder why there’s chaos and disagreements everywhere; in our minds and with one another. If only we could all agree to one truth, my truth will have no place or rather its place. Some day your truth will agree with My truth.

Happy hump day as you enjoy Matthew West’s Truth be told. Lyrics below.

Lyrics

Lie number one, “You’re supposed to have it all together”
And when they ask how you’re doing
Just smile and tell them, “Never better”
Lie number two, “Everybody’s life is perfect except yours”
So keep your messes and your wounds
And your secrets safe with you behind closed doors
Truth be told
The truth is rarely told, no
I say, “I’m fine, yeah, I’m fine, oh, I’m fine, hey, I’m fine”
But I’m not, I’m broken
And when it’s out of control I say it’s under control
But it’s not and You know it
I don’t know why it’s so hard to admit it
When being honest is the only way to fix it
There’s no failure, no fall
There’s no sin You don’t already know
So let the truth be told
There’s a sign on the door
Says, “Come as you are” but I doubt it
‘Cause if we lived like that was true
Every Sunday mornin’ pew would be crowded
But didn’t you say church should look more like a hospital?
A safe place for the sick
The sinner and the scarred and the prodigals, like me
Well, truth be told
The truth is rarely told
Oh, am I the only one who says
“I’m fine, yeah, I’m fine, oh, I’m fine, hey, I’m fine”
But I’m not, I’m broken
And when it’s out of control I say it’s under control
But it’s not and You know it
I don’t know why it’s so hard to admit it
When being honest is the only way to fix it
There’s no failure, no fall
There’s no sin You don’t already know
So let the truth be told
Can I really stand here unashamed
Knowing that Your love for me won’t change?
Oh God, if that’s really true
Then let the truth be told
I say, “I’m fine, yeah, I’m fine, oh, I’m fine, hey, I’m fine”
But I’m not, I’m broken (I’m broken)
And when it’s out of control I say it’s under control
But it’s not and You know it (You know it)
I don’t know why it’s so hard to admit it
When being honest is the only way to fix it
There’s no failure, no fall
There’s no sin You don’t already know
Yeah, I know (I know)
There’s no failure, no fall
There’s no sin You don’t already know
So let the truth be told

Songwriters: Matthew West with Carly Pearce

Sharing Thursday: Raising our kids to be successful

Credits: TED

I feel the above is worth sharing.

Hearing it from a former Dean of Freshmen of one of the top colleges should benefit parents on both sides of the spectrum; that is, those who over-pamper their kids on one spectrum and those who are too strict with their kids on the other end. I’ve been on both sides of the spectrum until one day I chose to intentionally “let go.” Oh how I wished I released (or dropped) the hammer sooner and just allowed us all to live.

When my daughters were in middle and high schools, they thought they had Cinderella’s step mother as a mom. But, on starting college, they couldn’t stop raving and thanking me for the chores I made them do though they didn’t like it at the time. I might have mentioned this before in one of my blogs. One of my daughters had a roommate in freshman who didn’t know how to lay her bed, another didn’t know how to wash dishes or clean up after herself. She was willing to pay her roomies to do it for her. She also didn’t know how to call to make a doctor’s appointment. My daughter was happy to show her. “Where did you learn it from?” she asked my daughter. Our Mom taught us. Her mom, on the other hand, did everything for her.

I’m not bashing my daughter’s roommate, but merely collaborating the essence of the TED video.

I never allowed my daughters to take the bus or train alone until they were in high school. I went with them on the first rides and allow them afterwards on their own with instructions and advices. They had friends who had been riding buses and trains alone since middle school. It’s all a matter of parents’ comfort level and styles.

What’s your parenting style?

Parenting styles are different. And like the proverbial “one man’s meat is another’s poison,” parenting styles can and do often clash. Within households, fathers can be too overbearing, while mothers because of their nurtured wirings, might be ones with the soft touch balancing dad’s acts. It could also be the reverse where mom is the stricter of the parents. This is not uncommon in households with all, or more, girls/daughters. Because Dads often are softer with their daughters, moms step in and up to ensure the necessary discipline.

Notwithstanding the differences in styles, it is essential that our kids be balanced in life. How we ensure the balance depends on a variety of factors. Each household is unique and the balancing act also will be equally as unique. As the TED video shows, the balance is more profound towards academics than other areas. We would rather wash their dirty dishes and clothes, while our kids “study” or do their homeworks. We are more focused on their grades than their welfare.

As an example, my daughter, while a freshman on her high school’s varsity basketball team, which was a rarity at the time (first in the school’s history) allowed her grades to suffer because I gave her “some freedom” and didn’t micromanage her in order to keep up being a best on the team. When asked why, she told me “I thought freshman’s grades don’t count. I’ll make it up through my sophomore to senior years.” I felt like “strangling” her. Instead, I sat her down and explained to her that without the grade, she can’t continue to be on the varsity team which would be double-jeopardy. She ended up taking college classes to make up her grades. She loved the idea of being a high-school in college and took classes till her first semester of senior. She graduated high school with excess credits as a result because I disallowed her taking the rest of her senior semesters off.

I don’t think that I could have lived with myself having her flunk any class. Could I have slacked more and allowed her to make it up in the subsequent years? Maybe. But what if by her Junior year, her grades are still not where she had hoped they would be? Then what? We would have had no time for any recourse. An alternative would have been for her to give up basketball, but that would have been taking away something she was good at and worked hard for.

Again, it’s a parenting preference.

The key point of the post is to know where and what to forgo in order to help our kids be alive and have a successful balanced life.

Servant Heart

God grant us the grace to be like you serving one another from a kind and pure heart.

What does it mean?

A servant-heart is a leader who is:

  • Humble, not arrogant
  • Selfless, gives of him/herself sacrificially
  • Committed, to a cause and to others
  • Loyal
  • Dutifully diligent
  • Interested in the goodwill of others
  • Compassionate
  • Empathetic

Does having a servant heart (or being a servant-leader) causes us to lose ourselves? No, and certainly not. If anything, God refreshes those who refreshes others. God sees your heart and work though none does, and He will reward.

In a society where everyone is about self, having a servant heart becomes a struggle such that those who are gifted with such a heart become double-minded in exercising their gifts. And those who desire the servant-heart wonder if they’re doing the right thing. But, as lovers of Jesus the Christ, we remember that we are in this world, but not of the world.

Let no man think me a fool; if otherwise, yet as a fool, let me be a fool unto Jesus.

Not every person is gifted with a servant heart, but it can be desired and cultivated. To cultivate a servant heart, start first by praying to God to fix your heart. Then intentionally seek opportunities to volunteer/serve others. The more of yourself that you give, the easier serving others become for you.

Like everything, God’s grace is sufficient and at work for me and you to enable us do that which we desire.

Happy Sunday 😍

International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

Credits: Trello

Today, November 25th, is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

“International days and weeks are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity. The existence of international days predates the establishment of the United Nations, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool. We also mark other UN observances.”

According to UN, 1 in 3 women have been abused (physically, sexually, emotionally, and financially) in their lifetime. 9 out of 10 women never report the abuse.

Help end violence against women and girls. Join the UNO and its initiatives to end abuse of any form. The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women will mark the launch of the UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign (Nov 25- Dec 10) — an initiative of 16 days of activism … This campaign, led by the UN Secretary-General and UN Women since 2008, aims to prevent and eliminate violence against women and girls around the world, calling for global action to increase awareness, promote advocacy and create opportunities for discussion on challenges and solutions.

Stopping violence against women is not only a moral imperative, new evidence shows that it can help the economy.

For many women around the world, no place is more unsafe than their own homes. As the world recognizes International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, it has become clear that the pandemic has made this violence worse.

Violence against women and girls has a multi-dimensional effect on the overall health of an economy both in the short-term and long-term.
In the short term, women from abusive homes are likely to work fewer hours and be less productive when they do work. In the long run, high levels of domestic violence can decrease the number of women in the workforce, minimize women’s acquisition of skills and education, and result in less public investment overall as more public resources are channeled to health and judicial services

The foregoing are excerpts from UN and IMF’s below articles. Click each link to read intensively.

https://www.un.org/en/observances/ending-violence-against-women-day

Thankful and Grateful Heart

Credits: Unsplash / Ann

We celebrate another Thanksgiving Day today; one much better than the last two years. A day where we can travel to be, and mingle, with one another unlike the last two years when covid made it impossible. How we cherish the opportunity.

Thanksgiving is celebrated on the last Thursday of November with family and friends. A day of feasting, of turkey-ing, stuffy-ing, gravy-ing, and cranberry-ing. Of apple and pumpkin pies, with the collards, green beans, corns, and sweet potatoes. Of eating and merrymaking. With all these food, we should no doubt be thankful, as well as grateful.

We are thankful when we appreciate what someone has done for, or given, us. Thank the one who prepared the meal, those who helped deliver them, those who did the dishes and cleaned the home.

Gratefulness has to do with appreciating what we have; not being greedy or covetous. Whatever much or little you feast on today, there are some still without. Be grateful for what you have. Invite someone to share your feast with or donate some to the Food Bank or Salvation Army. They will be forever grateful.

Both thankfulness (or thanksgiving) and gratitude should be a lifestyle and not only an annual event. A heart of gratitude is a merry heart. The Bible says that “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: …” (Proverbs 17:22a).

It’s good and healthy to have a heart of gratitude. A grateful heart always receives more.

There are 1,001 things, and more, to be thankful for. What is it for you?

  • Are you thankful for your parents? Or family? Teachers? Government workers such as the Postman/woman, Firefighters, Security and Intelligence Officials? Your neighbors? Friends? etc
  • Siblings having one another ought to be thankful; forget that you get on each other’s last nerves sometimes. Be grateful that you have someone to share your peeves with.
  • Older folks are thankful for good health, waking up every day, and not in and out of hospitals (I know that I am!)
  • Tea drinkers are thankful that the world is not full of just coffee
  • Workers are thankful they have a job that pays the bills, though sometimes they don’t often feel like showing up to work
  • Creators are thankful for their witty minds that stirs up inspiration
  • We are grateful for our cars though gas prices are exorbitant, etc.

Our list should be miles long. Whenever we have a tendency to murmur and complain, pause because the alternatives could be worse.

I am thankful for you choosing to read this post. Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy and stay safe.

The Antagonist

Credits: Unsplash / Callum Skelton

Have you ever encountered an antagonist? I’m not talking about a storyline or drama-type antagonist. I’m talking about the one who is passive-aggressive, subtly malicious, unkind, intentionally does things to hurt you, and pretends that it was done unintentionally, in error, without bias, or were just trying to help you.

Who’s The Antagonist?

The Antagonist knows you well, knows your likes and dislikes, has studied you intensely, knows your weakest points, and know what to do not only to stir, but exploit, your emotions.

The Antagonist can be a close friend, family member, colleague, business associate, neighbor, or a sports teammate.

Most antagonists are charismatic, sociable, and have lots of friends. These character traits, which are great traits to possess, only serve as a cover-up for the antagonist’s true personality.

The Antagonist’s true self is one who seeks the attention and love of everyone and woe to the one who does not join in their attention-seeking group.

The antagonist goes after those who resist their attention with the goal to stir their emotions such that when those react, the aggressor looks like the pacifier.

Lakers and Pistons brawl

Such was my reaction regarding Sunday’s Los Angeles Lakers and Detroit Pistons’ game-turned-brawl that got LeBron James (LBJ) and Isaiah Stewart (IS)’s subsequent NBA decision of game suspension without pay. The incident occurred during the third quarter and was all over the media. You probably already heard or watched it. If you didn’t, google Lakers and Pistons fight.

The outcome was that NBA suspended LBJ for one game, but IS was suspended for two games, both without pay.

It’s unfortunate that IS got the heftier penalties, whereas LBJ, who in my opinion was the initiator, got a lighter penalty.

Sir Isaac Newton once said that “for every action, there is an equal or greater reaction.” Though Newton’s statement refers to the law of motion, the same statement is applicable in this instance. LeBron’s action, unintentional or not, including his response afterwards necessitated Isaiah’s furious actions. Granted that IS should have restrained himself when the officials stepped in to the court, but seeing and tasting your own blood threw commonsense outta the window for him.

What happened?

On this unfortunate Sunday, the incident happened during the third quarter. A younger team (Pistons) with one of the worst records of the season (4-11) was leading the game by two-digit points. It was also the second game day back for LBJ, having been out with injury and missed eight previous games. To have Pistons leading the game was an embarrassing moment, to say the least, for LBJ and the Lakers.

At the point of a free throw, LBJ elbowed IS by the brow causing blood to ooze down the right-side of his face. As would be expected, IS walked to LBJ, in my opinion, in an attempt to “verify” if it was an accident or an intentional act. Whatever response LBJ gave certainly compounded an already charged IS and thus infuriated him the more. He was furious and attempted retaliatory attacks before he was finally restrained. He was also seen running to the “tunnel” in an attempt portrayed by the media as going to the Lakers’ locker room and for LBJ.

For the record, the Pistons have been known to be a combative team. Which didn’t help a lighter NBA decision-making either.

My take is that if the initial act hadn’t been committed by “the antagonist,” the ensuing incidents wouldn’t have occurred. LBJ’s response, in my opinion, added fuel onto IS’s troubled waters.

One team player commented that LBJ is not a dirty player having been ejected only once (during the Cavs and Heat’s 2017 game) in his 19-year career. Sunday’s was his second ejection. The fact is that LBJ is not a saint either on the court, nor does he play a-100% clean game 100% of the time. He’s sly and being a veteran of the game, he knows how to tweak without breaking the NBA rules. I’ve watched him done several on-court unkind acts, both intentional and unintentional, over the years. To his credit, most of those acts were overlooked by the referees. LBJ would be a saint when compared to some players such as Draymond Green of Golden State Warriors (to his credit, he’s a changed man now), Rus Westbrook now of LA Lakers, Demarcus Cousins (now a free agent, Patrick Beverley now of Minnesota Timberwolves, etc., who are notorious for intentional vile acts and who would easily warrant a foul or technical for the slightest acts.

I do not advocate violence nor retaliatory acts. But I am fed up with antagonistic folks who act like the innocent after their intentional harmful deeds hence the need to speak up and call the act out for what it is. The NBA ruling also sends a strong message against such actions.

Do incidents occur when playing games? Sure they do. Both intentional and unintentional. Most intentional acts go undetected by the referees. But none should have to draw blood out of another. IS got five stitches for the brow bust. The more reason I feel that LBJ got away too easy.

Know how to handle them

Antagonists are everywhere. You might not understand my post if you’ve never experienced one. I had. At the time, I didn’t know how to handle antagonistic acts and people. After making outburst reactions, I learned to dissociate myself from such people.

I also recently had an experience at an Asian grocery store I occasionally visit. I bought fresh fish, shrimps, and a bag of local foods. On my way out, I realized that I had couple more errands to run before heading home. So I turned back to ask for a bag of ice to help preserve the seafood. I took out the other item from my grocery bag to make room for the ice. As I was about to grab a plastic bag near the exit of the store, to go get the ice, one of the staff (an Asian lady) chased me down. She ran all the way from the back of the store, was so loud speaking in chinese, pointing at me and the item in my hand. Since I didn’t understand, I ignored her and went straight to the store’s freezer room for the ice. The lady was still talking to her other store staff when I returned. So I asked what her uproar was. When I realized that she was actually accusing me of not paying for the item in my hand, I got upset. Now it was my turn to cause an uproar. I demanded an apology. The lady instantaneously shifted gear and said “me help you …”. She stated that she was trying to help me. Which was untrue. The lady ran from the back of the store to the front to accuse me and tried to cover up her act when she was told that I had paid.

My recent experience is nothing compared to LBJ-IS’s, but the outcome of turning the vile act to one of help-apology is similar.

If you have antagonists in your sphere of life, the best reaction is to ignore them. Their goal is to have the incident escalate from your reaction, while they keep silent and feign ignorance of why you’re reacting as such thus portraying you as the aggressor.

Another way to deal with antagonists is to be assertive. As in my recent instance, I requested an apology which was given. I am of the opinion that LBJ ought to apologize publicly to IS to portray the true NBA sportsmanship and face. Being proactive is also helpful and be prepared to walk away to avoid the situation getting out of hand. I wished IS had walked away.

Taking the above measures will help to know how to tame the antagonist.

Know the reason

People come into our lives
For a reason
Or a season
Others for an assignment Some for good Others for not-so-good

Know the Reason

So you don’t lose sleep
Or shed unwarranted tears
When the reason
Or season and assignment
Have been completed.

Having people in your life stay beyond
Their appointed reason, season, or assignment
Will cause you more grief
And harm
Than the good
Those season, reason, and assignment
Were meant to have done

Know the Reason

Most times the reason
Is not always obvious
But best known
In retrospect

Hindsight as we know
Is often 20/20.

How will you discern Except you pay attention When we pay attention
Attention will always pay us back

The season could be a lifetime
Yours or theirs

Know the Reason

The season could also
Be a brief, temporary, short time
Or for a specific purpose
Knowing the difference
helps understand the Reason.

The Reason
Could be to prepare you
For a personal or familial Resurgence
Or to guide you on or for a futuristic endeavor

Know the Reason

The person may or may not even be assignment-focused For good or evil Yet they are Keep eyes wide open

And you’ll often. catch the Reason

Be careful though. Not to treat everyone suspiciously. New and old in your life Matter a great deal

That’s not the reason for this

Yet be conscious of everyone And sooner you will

Know the Reason

Once the reason
Is known and understood
You will be glad to let go
Of the person, reason, and season
And happy to say
Hasta la vista!

Know the Reason ✌🏾

A Gem gone but not forgotten

Credits: Unsplash / Kaishin

This day, seventeen years ago, my biological Mother left this world unannounced. We had talked two days in a row. On that fateful day, she called me twice which was unusual, but I didn’t pay attention to it. I hung up after our conversations and within thirty minutes, she called again. At this point, I said “Mom, why are you calling back – stop wasting your money.”

The next day, I received several calls from my maternal siblings who otherwise never called. Without answering those calls, I knew something weird had happened.

I ran away momentarily as if to run away from those calls catching up with me. When I gathered myself together to return the first call, I heard the news everyone dreads to receive. Mom had dinner, took a shower, went to sleep, and never woke up. She passed on in her sleep. No crying could bring her back. If I only had known, I would have talked with her till the phones fell out of our hands as we nod our heads off fighting sleep. It felt like she had “something” to tell me but couldn’t bring it out hence her calling repeatedly. I felt like running to her and shaking life out of her. But she was over 7,500 miles away. By the time I got there, she would have been buried any ways. I have carried the guilt to heart so to speak. I only released it last week.

She died peacefully in her sleep which was somewhat consoling. Not that she was sick being carried in and out of hospitals.

My people, I admonish you to give time to those in your life now. Never be too busy or tired for a few precious moment with them. Let them know NOW how much you cherish them. You just never know when it might be the last time you see them, talk to them, or hold their hands.

I love Casting Crowns’ Scars in Heaven. I listen to it when bombarded with negative thoughts not only concerning her, but also my beloved Dad and brother who both passed on six years ago.

Credits: Casting Crowns

I never lived with my biological Mom. Though I had a few others who stepped in as mothers, I missed the true maternal nurturing growing up. It was difficult believing that those other moms truly loved me as their own because their actions were contrary. Some days were better than others. Those experiences have shaped me to who I am today; though some experiences I wished that I never had. Nonetheless, I never begrudged my Mon for leaving me. She had her reasons at the time and felt leaving me was better. I was glad she left me with my Dad and not in the garbage bin or, like Moses in a basket in the river. But life without a mother is different. I believe that God turns everything around for our good, but there were times I struggled with accepting it and felt that life could have been different with her in my life. Yet there are no guarantees.

My Mom, though gone, will forever be remembered. I honor her today and always for giving me life. Continue to rest in God’s bosom. Scars in Heaven is for you.

Saint Francis’s Prayer

Credits: Unsplash / Chris Liverani

I had some personal decisions to make that will change the trajectory of my life. As such, it has been a two weeks of mental fatigue for many reasons. I haven’t posted as a result. Sorry. I truly missed not posting nor reading any of my favorite peoples’ posts. During the period, I pondered about several things including those who have been diagnosed with mental issues. Not that I never did before. But it just became more apparent this time. Alas, I agree that mental health is real. Everyone ought to have someone who understands and who they can talk to when situations that overwhelm arises. In addition, we all deserve love; both giving and receiving, and being kind to one another. I’m somewhat okay now. I just realized during that period, that most people with mental issues and no help often snap and find themselves in a “rabbit hole” of sorts.

This post is not about mental health issues; a topic I know not much about. I however am aware that there’s a lot encompassing mental health. Some of which have to deal with the complexity of the brain. Others have to deal with trauma and or people’s perceptions, real or otherwise. Whatever it is, it is important to talk it out and through with someone who understands and wouldn’t judge you, This post is a plug for kindness.

Traumatic experiences can, and often does, drive one into a mental frenzy. The more reason why we all ought to be nice with and to one another.

Last Friday was the first day in two weeks that I read a few posts. I came across a lady’s who was suffering from mental issues. Her post was, in my opinion, a cry for help. I got stuck in my track not knowing what to say or do to help alleviate her “suffering” that hasn’t already been said to her. It was the last post I read for that day. I however took her issues to God in prayer which is the least I could do. She’s not alone, but how I wish she didn’t, nor does all who are.

It was in my Q&A with Father God that the below prayer surfaced in my spirit. God-cidentally, one of my YouTuber personalities happened to be talking about the Prayer, too. Such is far from a coincidence. May we all have a heart that demonstrates the fruit of the spirit: “ … love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: …”. Here’s the Prayer;
‭‭

Saint Francis of Assisi’s Prayer

Lord make Me an instrument of Your peace
Where there is hatred let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness joy.
O Divine master grant that I may
Not so much seek to be consoled as to console
To be understood, as to understand.
To be loved. as to love
For it’s in giving that we receive
And it’s in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it’s in dying that we are born…
To eternal life.
Amen.

According to many sources, the prayer was first recorded in 1912. Though over a hundred years ago, the prayer is still relevant today.

The prayer recognizes several life issues as hatred, evil, doubt, heart wounds, and other unhealthy or, dare I say, evil deeds that are prevalent in our world. But, the popularity of the Prayer rests in rising above those issues and being contrarian in ourselves; forgiving where injury and discords have occurred, not repaying evil with evil, dying to self, letting go and letting God.

We, including atheists and agnostics, wrestle between two worlds; the spiritual and the natural. The laws of which operate also contrary to one another. But as it is written, though we live here on earth, we are not of this world and should act as a spiritual being on earth crucifying fleshy acts.

I acknowledge that we cannot of ourselves (in our flesh) do these contrarian acts of forgiving a wrong or being loving when evil has been done to us. But when we purpose in our hearts that that’s what we desire, God, by His Spirit, will enable us.

The flesh (soul) and the spirit cohabit together in the same body and often wrestle within. It is the wrestling match remnants that transition to others if and when we allow it. The more intentional we choose to operate in one, the more the attributes of that one grows and are seen in us. It is of those attributes that we give to ourselves and others.

God help us to live by the Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi. Have a peaceful and loving week.

Of War and Peace

There is a war in our members warring against us all despite our desire to do good. It’s a struggle about who to please in the affairs of life generally and that of ours. Do I please myself, my family, friends, my pastor or other religious leaders? The war or struggle is also a lack of capacity for balance.

“For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. I find then a law, that evil is present with the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭7:15-24 NKJV‬‬

If we acknowledge that the desire to do good and be kind exists, what then is responsible for us acting contrary? That is, contrary to our desire to do and be good.

I believe the answer is because of the presence of sin in the world. Sin is not only in the big things like murder. We sin when we think bad thoughts about others. Gossip is sin. Starting a rumor is sin. So is slander, pilfering at work, covetousness, envy, jealousy, etc. I hope you get it.

When sin is present in the world, it becomes an intentional act to go against the grain. It is so easy to roll with the crowd or majority so as to blend in and not be an outcast. But, I hope that we all acknowledge that the majority can, and are sometimes, wrong. But the cliché, the majority is always right, has misdirected and mis-focused many.

It takes guts to be a lone voice in the wilderness so to speak. It is clouts to speak up and out against what we know to be wrong. No-one might come to your side, but my people, know that God sees you. Even if you don’t believe in Him, I hope you have a conscience (some call it compass) that steers you when you’re alone and especially when you lay your head on your pillow at night to sleep. When that voice whispers in your head, “don’t don’t,” please don’t. It’s simple, right? But not so simple with a few. If you continue to ignore that whisper (soft voice), you begin to sear your conscience (or compass) and it is at that time, without intentional checks, that one gets spiritually, and eventually naturally, lost.

We all struggle in one thing or the other. When you have the true desire to do good, but find yourself doing bad (or evil) continuously, seek help. Knowing where or who to go to for help is a key factor. Confide in someone or call the Office of any Church, Temple, Synagogue, etc. Call somebody for Help.

Without intentionality of being and doing good, the war will never cease within ourselves and peace will elude one. The first place for peace is in our minds. Once in the mind, the peace exudes all over and around us. We’ve all heard another cliché that war is the absence of peace. There is a reason the war is going on. Get to the root sooner than later. It will free you.

For peace to reign, you’ve got to choose it, intentionally. Having the peace will undoubtedly lead you to know who or what to choose when at a crossroad. It will also help with balance in your life.

I pray that the God of Peace visit you today and bless you with His peace that surpasses human understanding. May His peace rest upon you.

Multitasking is an illusion

Credits: Unsplash / The Creative Exchange

I read about a research that debunked multitasking and had the opportunity of actually paying attention to verify its truth this morning.

Most of us claim to multitask. But do we really?

I arrived twenty minutes early for a car service appointment. I received a phone call as I pulled in to the building. I planned to stay in the car till the phone conversation was over before pulling up to the service line. But, a service staff walked up to me, greeted me, and stated that someone would be with me shortly. The interruption to acknowledge the service staff was a split second, but on return to my phone call, it was enough to throw me off the point I was with the conversation. If I hadn’t read this article, I would have been bothered that old age and memory loss were slipping unto me. Help Lord.

Multitasking

We’ve all done it. Driving, listening to the radio, answering a phone call or calling someone. Or moms getting kids ready for school while planning dinner at the same time or calling her boss about a meeting for the day or just to say that she’s running late. Reading and eating. We juggle multiple tasks and seem efficient at it. My daughters while in high school would leave their music on, not soft-playing, but loud, while supposedly studying. It used to angst me. How anyone could study in such an environment still beats me till today. I was the only one in the family who thought it was an anomaly then, so I didn’t win in trying to change it. But I learned to accept it while giving them the benefit of doubt realizing that we all learn differently. I love peace and quiet and I’m from the old school that there should be no disturbances or noises when studying.

At work multiple projects are started or simultaneously ongoing with the same project managers and team members crossing projects. It used to be popular and folks were seen as super-efficient. Not any more.

The research states that contrary to our beliefs, multitasking actually reduces efficiency. According to a University of Southern California (USC) Masters of Applied Psychology (MAPP) article, “multitasking is no longer a skill to brag about, but to worry about and that it causes us to actually make more mistakes, retain less information, and change the way our brain works, leaving everyone wondering “to multitask or not to multitask?””

The frontal lobe, which is responsible for paying attention, engages fully when we are completing tasks. Both the left and right sides of the brain are in harmony when working on a single task. However, when we multitask, it “forces the left and right sides of the brain to work independently causing us to forget details and make three times more mistakes when given two simultaneous goals.” This was exactly what happened when I returned to my phone conversation after pausing to respond to the service staff. I forgot where I had excused myself.

Studies

The study was conducted by scientists at the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM) in Paris. No information on when the study was conducted was given though.

Another study stated that our IQ scores decline by 15 points when we multitask.

Several studies and researches apparently have been undergone for the past decade or two debunking the benefits and efficiency of multitasking. Why haven’t we caught up yet to the change of single-tasking?

Proof Positive

Drivers multitasking behind the wheels have been responsible for numerous fatalities. Distracted driving, the act of driving while engaging in other activities which takes the driver’s attention away from the road, is responsible for about 3,000 deaths per year.

There you have it my people. Next time you try to multitask, remember it’s no longer cool to do so. For a quality work and maximum efficiency, at home or office, always give your full and undivided attention to one task at a time.

The Glory

Credits: Unsplash / Todd Quackenbush

The Glory is God’s magnificence presence on His people. It is an empowerment and enablement. The glory comes and falls for a purpose and season. When the glory falls in churches and the temples, people can hardly move or talk. The glory can also fall on an individual during prayer, praise, and worship. When the glory of God is present, people get healed without anyone laying hands on them. As it is written, the lame walk, the blind see, the lepers (modern day would be ) are cleansed, the deaf hear … (Matthew 11:5)

King David asks, “Who shall ascend into the hill (presence) of the LORD? Or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; Who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.” Psalm‬ ‭24:3-4‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Who else would know what it takes to be in God’s presence and have His Glory evident all around, but King David. Despite his atrocities, he still earned himself a man after God’s own heart. King David was a worshipper. He knew how to praise and eulogize the King of Glory. We, who love the Lord, can learn from him.

There are two kinds of glory; “… the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.” (1 Corinthians‬ ‭15:40a). The celestial equates the heaven, while the terrestrial is of the land.

“There is (also) one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.” (1 Corinthians‬ ‭15:40-41‬)‬‬. The sun cannot come out at night neither can the stars shine during the day.
This emphasizes that we all have unique functions and should be content walking in our identities without desiring others gifts and talents. Crossing lanes lead to frustration and unfulfilled ambitions.

“May the King of Glory, the Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle,” (Psalm 24:8), visit you today and enable you to complete tasks needed to fulfill your last-quarter-of-the-year goals, may His Glory bring you divine connections, resources, great health, healing, and may you finish 2021 stronger than the previous year.

The boy, Steph, is holy fiery!

After two Season games, Steph Curry is on a holy fiery roll ready to carry the Golden State Warriors (GSW) on his back all the way to the 2021-22 NBA Championship.

Thursday’s Game Two, against the Los Angeles Clippers (LAC), saw Steph being his usual self and more, catching the attention of fellow league players’ tweets. LeBron James (LBJ) of the LA Lakers tweeted that “Steph, you’re sick man,” and Dame Lillard (DL), Portland Trailblazers, tweeted that “Steph goin for 75 tonight;” alluding to the NBA’s 75th Anniversary.

The Golden State Warriors also celebrates 75th Anniversary being one of the initial NBA teams still around and going strong. Initially known as the Philadelphia Warriors from 1946 to 1962, before changing name to San Francisco Warriors from 1962 to 1971. The new name of Golden State Warriors began in 1971.

Steph sure caught the Lakers attention on Opening Night which was an away game at the Lakers’ home on Tuesday. He recorded a triple-double. He did it again on Warriors home Opening Night against the Clippers with twenty-five points in the first quarter. Well, he didn’t make seventy-five points as alluded by DL. But with a double-double and a total forty-five points recorded, Steph announced that the Dubs were back. He sure makes basketball seem so easy and puts the fun into the game, artistically demonstrating moves on the court that would make Picasso jealous.
Here’s hoping his fire don’t die but blows hotter throughout the Season. Go Curry!

He’s come a long way

Curry revolutionized the three-pointers, together with teammate Klay Thompson who unfortunately has still not been released to return (since 2019). Both earned themselves the nickname The Splash Brothers as a result. They were the pioneers of the game-changing three pointers before other NBA teams followed. They both had made their mark and the other players had to catch up.

For, Steph, it’s sure in the genes as his dad, Dell Curry was a shooter during his time, too. But his son, Steph, has broken his shooting record.

Steph Curry was also included as one of 75 Greatest Players in NBA History. Congrats, Steph.

From a skinny boy who was once rejected by top college recruits to now a hoop force to be reckoned with, the boy Steph has come full circle. Sounds like another de ja vu, right? You know who – Michael Jordan (MJ) was also once rejected.

Both Steph and MJ, new and old respectively, demonstrate that being rejected can propel one to greater heights rather than allowing it to destroy one by internalizing pain, shame, and guilt from the naysayers who determine to place a ceiling over one’s destiny. What do you say, people?

Join me in wishing Steph Curry more fires to his hands and feet.

What in the World is that?!

Credits: Unsplash / Renee Verberne

Have you ever heard of a Bidet? Call me an ignoramus if you want but I had never heard of a bidet. I hope however that I’m not a sole ignoramus. If you’ve heard of bidets, please share in the comments.

My daughter excitedly told me that she made a recommendation to her Human Resources (HR) department. I responded “that’s great. Proud of you. Was it accepted?”
She responded: “They’ll let me know in a week … Won’t you ask what the recommendation is?”

I smiled. “Oh yes, sorry my dear. What did you recommend. I hope it’s a huge money-saving idea.

What my daughter said afterwards almost made me choke. I caught myself biting hard and holding my tongue from blurting out insensitive words from my mouth. As a great Mom would, I responded “nice I’d love to hear your HR’s response.”

The Recommendation

Would you like to know what the recommendation was, people?

Yes, you guessed right. My daughter recommended that her employer install bidets in the bathrooms.

What in the world is a Bidet?!
What are those? At first I thought bidets were some architectural or engineering gadgets. Funny, right? I was ignorant in that I had never heard of bidets. Pardon me for displaying my ignorance. Again, I hope that I’m not a sole ignoramus. If you’ve heard of bidets, please share in the comments.

My daughter took her time to explain to me what these were, including the fact that America seems to be the only developed nation still not using bidets. That they were popular in Europe, Japan, and other developed nations.

My first thoughts were “what in the world was my daughter thinking when she made the recommendation. What would her management say?

After the conversation ended, I did my research. Interestingly, I had seen and used bidets at the Dubai airport on a stopover. I had then thought that its use was peculiar to Dubai as a moslem nation. My ignorance number two! I also remembered one being in an Airbnb I stayed prior to the pandemic. It was foreign to me. But the good thing was I had the option to turn its settings off. I did.

Bidets are new (well, probably just to me and a few others) and innovative ways of cleaning yourself up, using water sprayed through the plumbing fixtures, after using the bathroom doing a “number two.”

They also are known as washlets. The first washlet however came out in 1980. People, that’s thirty years ago! It can no longer be said that they are new.

Bidets are environmentally friendlier, organically and hygienically better, than wiping down with toilet papers. You save money in the long run. The upfront cost pays for itself from the money saved foregoing buying the toilet papers. They are reasonably pruced, too.

A few disadvantages of bidets, which I was surprised to note was that they generally use either cold or hot water which I think might be a plumbing feature. You know the anguish of using cold water during winter as well as using hot water during summer.

The general bidets come as a standalone or attached to your our existing toilet seat covet. Some fancy bidets have warm air dryer functions to dry up after the cleanse, heats up the toilet seats, plays music, and even deodorizes the toilet bowl. The one I encountered at an Airbnb plays music which I found disturbing. It could had been because I didn’t like the type of music being played.

Will it pass?

Now that we all know what a bidet is, let’s hope that my daughter’s employer deems it enough money-saving to say “yes” to her recommendation.

I once worked where the employer paid employees a percentage of the total money saved from recommendations made to the organization. Those rewards often ramp up into thousands of dollars.

Have you heard of a Bidet or Washlet?

Loving Basketball: International Players in the NBA and Opening Night Tidbits

The Season’s Opening Night was not disappointing. Both games played tonight were spectacular as expected with Milwaukee Bucks defending its championship against “short-handed” Brooklyn Nets (aka Kyrie Irving saga) and my fave Team, Golden States Warriors, routing the Los Angeles (LA) Lakers. The Dubs are surely back and in the championship race this Season. I hope tonight’s play reflects Season’s expectations which will only be improved upon and lead to playoff and eventual Finals. Knocking on woods! 🙏🏾

Credits: Bucks / NBA

BucksChampionship Rings

And, yes, the Bucks were presented with their championship rings (if you missed it, watch it here) prior to the start of game amid a full fan-packed arena. Well deserved. I’m happy for the Bucks players and management,

Will Bucks shoot for a back-to-back championship? We’ll see what the 2021-22 Season holds.

NBA’s International Players

Well, on Opening Night, the National Basketball Association (NBA) released that there are “109 international players from 39 countries on roster for its landmark 75th Anniversary Season, including a record number of players from Canada (eighteen), Germany (seven) and the Bahamas (three), and a record-tying number of players from Nigeria (five). The Toronto Raptors lead the league with a record-tying 10 international players from a record nine countries.”

The number of NBA international players went up by 2 compared to last season’s of 107 from 41 countries of which fourteen (14) were Africans.

On Opening Night, the Season’s roster comprised of 500 players. I identified 44 names of African descent. Twenty-seven (27) were Nigerians contrary to the Association’s stated number of only five (5). This might not be unconnected with the players being second or third generation Nigerians born offshore and/or having dual citizenships but choosing only to identify with the other country over Nigeria. Nigeria accepts dual nationality but some countries don’t.

Below is a list of the identified African NBA players, the country, the year they were drafted, and the Team:

  1. Gorgui Dieng, Senegal, 2013 - Atlanta Hawks
  2. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Congo & France, 2016 - Atlanta Hawks
  3. Onyeka Okongwu, Nigeria, 2020 - Atlanta Hawks
  4. Wes Iwundu, Nigeria, 2017 - Charlotte Hornets
  5. Ayo Dosunmu, Nigeria, 2021 Rookie – Chicago Bulls
  6. Daniel Oturu, Nigeria, 2020 – Chicago Bulls
  7. Tacko Fall, Senegal, 2019 – Cleveland Cavaliers
  8. Isaac Okoro, Nigeria, 2020 – Cleveland Cavaliers
  9. Frank Ntilikina, Rwanda-France, 2017 – Dallas Mavericks
  10. Eugene Omoruyi, Nigeria, Rookie – Dallas Mavericks
  11. Bol Bol, Sudan, 2019 – Denver Nuggets
  12. Zeke Nnaji, Nigeria, 2020 – Denver Nuggets
  13. Hamidou Diallo, Guinea, 2018 – Detroit Pistons
  14. Andre Iguodala, Nigeria, 2004 – Golden State Warriors
  15. Jonathan Kuminga, Congo, 2021 – Golden State Warriors
  16. Usman Garuba, Nigeria-Spain, 2021 – Houston Rockets
  17. David Nwaba, Nigeria, 2016 – Houston Rockets
  18. Nicolas Batum, Cameroon-France, 2008 – Los Angeles (LA) Clippers
  19. Serge Ibaka, Congo, 2008 – Los Angeles (LA) Clippers
  20. Sekou Doumbouya, Guinea-France, 2019 – Los Angeles (LA) Lakers
  21. Bam Adebato, Nigeria, 2017 – Miami Heat
  22. KZ Okpala, Nigeria, 2019 – Miami Heat
  23. Victor Oladipo, Nigeria, 2013 – Miami Heat
  24. Gabe Vincent, Nigeria, undrafted 2 years – Miami Heat
  25. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Greece-Nigeria, 2013 – Milwaukee Bucks
  26. Thanasis Antetokounmpo, Greece-Nigeria, 2014 – Milwaukee Bucks
  27. Jordan Nwora, Nigeria, 2020 – Milwaukee Bucks
  28. Semi Ojeleye, Nigeria, 2017 – Milwaukee Bucks
  29. Josh Okogie, Nigeria, 2018 – Minnesota Timberwolves
  30. Mamadi Diakite, Guinea, 2020 undrafted – Oklahoma City Thunder
  31. Mohammed (Mo) Bamba, Ivory Coast, 2018 – Orlando Magic
  32. Chuma Okeke, Nigeria, 2019 – Orlando Magic
  33. Charles Bassey, Nigeria, 2021 – Philadelphia Sixers
  34. Joel Embiid, Cameroon, 2014 – Philadelphia Sixers
  35. Abdel Nader, Egypt, 2016 – Phoenix Suns
  36. Chimezie Metu, Nigeria, 2018 – Sacramento Kings
  37. Al-Farouq Aminu, Nigeria, 2010 – San Antonio Spurs
  38. Precious Achiuwa, Nigeria, 2020 – Toronto Raptors
  39. OG Anunoby, Nigeria, 2017 – Toronto Raptors
  40. Isaac Bonga, Congo, 2018 – Toronto Raptors
  41. Pascal Siakam, Cameroon, 2016 – Toronto Raptors
  42. Udoka Azubuike, Nigeria, 2020 – Utah Jazz
  43. Miye Oni, Nigeria, 2019 – Utah Jazz
  44. Joel Ayayi, Benin-France, undrafted 2020 – Washington Wizards

Race composition continues to be dynamic and has changed the trajectory of professional sports, including the NBA. Though Black-Americans first entered the league in 1950, almost fifteen years after its inception, the first African-born NBA player was Hakeem Olajuwon from Nigeria who was drafted in 1984.

NBA, like other professional sports and industry, have indeed come a long way as regards inclusion and diversity. We hope the trend continues to be upward till it indeed becomes a melting pot.

Loving Basketball: 2021-22 NBA Season starts today

Woohoo. I’m excited that the NBA 2021-22 Season begins tonight. Each Team will be playing a total of eighty-two (82) games, compared to seventy-two (72) played last season.

There was a Preseason, which was a two-week warm-up, feeler, tester of sorts, for players as several Teams were revamped with new players added and exiting. The Preseason games showcased each Team’s new portfolio of players though not all “old” and veteran players played during the Preseason. Many rested and watched the younger players flex on the courts for Team inclusion and time.

A handful of Teams are totally revamped while few had minor changes. Should be exciting watching the unifying dynamics of the new with the old players.

First Game Night will feature two games that supposedly mirrors the Conferences Finals:

  1. Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks @ 7:30 p.m. ET
  2. Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers @ 10:00 p.m. ET.

Click here to see the full Season’s schedule, I hope you will watch some or all of the games with utmost cheer and care. Live games can be watched on your local sports channels or the NBA Station. Highlights, and sometimes full games, can also be seen on YouTube or Hulu.

To an exciting and fun Season while wishing all players the very best with minimal or no fatigue or injuries.

Monday Financial Nuggets: Change your thinking and words concerning Money

Our words are powerful whether we believe it or not. And it is unrelated to religious beliefs. Religion has nothing to do with the words we use. However, if you stop to think of how you came into being, you might agree that you are a spirit or are of a divine nature. If so, your words, and thinking for that matter, have some degree of spirit or divinity to it such that whatever you say or think will surely come to pass. Some times those words might merely be stated in passing; that is, with no seriousness to it, yet you will eventually see it come true.

Do you recognize any of the following negative thoughts or statements concerning money? They could be your words/thoughts or from others.

Negatives

  • I don’t or never have enough
  • It feels like I’m putting my money in a basket with big holes
  • Whenever I make (or have) money, some thing comes to take it all away
  • Money goes out faster than it comes in
  • I will never make it
  • There’s never enough
  • My parents (or family) are poor, I will just be like them

I’m sure there are more. I racked hard to come up with these as I am a highly faith-filled lady such that when everyone says that there is a casting down, I believe that there is a lifting up. Negative words are not in my vocabulary. Never say never, so I’ll say I rarely use negative words. Some call it affirmations. Others call it declarations. I call it faith. Though in faith, you have to make declarations. But non-faith folks also make declarations. Whatever you call it, replace those negative words and thinking with positive faith-filled ones and watch the change not only in your money, but life generally. You shall have whatever you think and declare.

The positive for the above statements therefore are:

  • I have more than enough (I have an abundance and more to give away)
  • My money is in a secure place
  • I make (and have) money, nothing takes it away without my permission
  • Money comes in to me faster than it goes out leaving me with a good financial cushion
  • I will make it (or I have made it, or I am wealthy and financially secure)
  • There’s an abundance (or I have surplus)
  • My parents (or family) are poor, but I am (or will) be financially unlike them (or though my parents were poor, I am (or will) be wealthy.

The above are examples of words we use daily without much thought. Any wonder things are staying the same though our intentions are for them to change? Stop those wasted thinking and words today.

Of Coffee and Tea

Credits: Unsplash / Katrin Hauf

Flavorful, tasteful, aromatic
Flowery, earthy, and robust
Jumpstarts your day
Or caps your night.

Reach for the kettle
And brew
Enjoy it any which way

Some like it hot
To awaken the soul
Some like it cold
Refreshing the heart

Some like it black
And strong, espresso
Others like it white
Or latte’ish.
Yet some prefer the herbal

Caffeinated or decaf
Each serves its purpose.

Its aroma
First thing in the morning
Fills your nostrils
satisfies the cravings
And energizes
Or relaxes your nerves

Folgers and Typhoo couldn’t agree whether it’s the best
or better part of waking up

Maxwell says it’s flavor-locked and good till the last drop

Whatever it is

Know that, like Yogi, every cup serves your spirit
Make a tradition or ritual of it
Cos Celestial Seasoning agrees it doesn’t have to be boring

Spice it up
With some cayenne, lemon, ginger, or honey
Add it all
Or try it one at a time
To taste the one you
Like the best

Enjoy the most
with a slice of toast
Or an afternoon biscuit
Or night cookie
If you care

Enjoy alone
Or with a friend
Over chitchat
And, like Lyons, put the talk back
Into your tea or coffee

Barry, everyday should have its moment
And get you back to your Twinnings
All blended to make every day a little better

To help Pacific discover the world in your cup
Knowing that great ideas come from great tea and coffee

While living life to the full, the half and the decaf, at Nescafe’s quest

Continue the rituals
Or start the tradition
Your coffee and tea
Need not be rushed
Make it a bonding time
For the two, or all, of you

Discerning
And you’ll be ready for anything and everything.

Happy Hump Day

Credits: Unsplash /Mohamed Hashif

It is the middle of the work week, it is Wednesday, and it is Hump Day, A day when we’re happy we made it through and are eagerly looking forward to the weekend.

Happy Hump Day. I hope your week has been very productive and rewarding. If not, do or change something to liven it up. Rest energizes and without it is un-productivity, boundless errors, and repetition. Take time to rest in during lunch . Doing good always livens the heart and mood. For example, take someone to lunch, buy coffee or tea for the person behind you in line at Starbucks or Peet’s, tell someone at work how much you appreciate them, help another to finish their project, bring a fruit or drink back from lunch for your boss.

Why Hump Day?

Hump Day has been known and called so since the 1950s, but was popularized by a Geico (an insurance company) commercial in 2013.

“Throughout the 20th century, Wednesday was especially referred to as hump day in an effort to liven up the drudgery of the workweek.”

Liven up your day snd self. It does get better. Read more about Hump Day here.

Do bosses / employers care about or love Hump Day?

I doubt if business owners and employers like or care about the Hump Day. For as far as they are concerned, everyone ought to work seven-days-a-week, 10-12 hours, no breaks, and minimal lunch. Because more money needs to be made to pay the employees and office expenses, including the bosses bonuses and vacations.

Thank goodness for labor laws without which bosses can get away with murder by breaking every rule while imposing theirs.

But employees are no robots. And everyone, including the boss, needs a break and rest from work; irrespective of how much they love that work. Else fatigue, stress, including the associating health issues will creep in (or set in after the creeping) and could render the workers and bosses incapable of being productive (remember economies of scale). Resist the taskmaster. Cultivate a healthy work-life balance.

Enjoy the Hump Day. The week is almost over, weekend is drawing nigh, and we repeat it next week and the next.

Trust in Him

Credits: Unsplash / Bernard Hermant

Trust in God for everything Trust in God’s mercy
Trust in His salvation
Trust in His goodness
Trust in His Love
Trust in God’s faithfulness
Trust in His provision
Trust God for your family. Trust Him regarding the work of your hands
Trust Him in your abundance
Trust Him in your insufficiency

Scriptures

When you are tempted to doubt or act in unbelief, read and personalize His Words to strengthen your heart and faith.

“In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust; Let me never be ashamed: deliver me in thy righteousness.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭31:1‬

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; And lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, And he shall direct thy paths.”‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:5-6‬

“It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in princes.” Psalm‬ ‭118:8-9‬ ‭

“Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: But we will remember the name of the LORD our God.”‭‭Psalm‬ ‭20:7‬

“Trust in him at all times; ye people, Pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭62:8‬

“They that trust in the LORD Shall be as mount Zion, Which cannot be removed, But abideth for ever.”‭‭Psalm‬ ‭125:1‬

“I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: My God; in him will I trust.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭91:2‬

Trust God for everything
Today and always Oh God In Thee do I trust.🙏🏾

Of Kings and Kids

The King rules
over his domain
But a kid
has no rule over anything

There’s a king and kid
in everyone
independent of our ages

The king in us wants:
to lead people
but first has to lead him or herself
to have dominion over its subjects
but first must have dominion over self
to rule its kingdom
but better to do it in love
because controlling kings are narcissistic and a nightmare to sovereignty

That’s when the king becomes a kid
The kid is all about self
-ish, -less, -centered, -abnegation, -absorbed,

Lacking self
control, analysis, or monitor.

Not knowing which self to allow
cos not all selfs are bad
the likes of self-censor, -responsibility, -accountability, etc is what the kid wants more of.

These two (the king and the kid) can often be at war
with each other
and in each of us

The king in you
can kill the kid in you

So can the kid in you
frustrate the king in you

Allow both to reign
Interdependently
The king who can’t smile at self
or laugh with its subject
can be a terror
feared by its subject
and they will never produce their best

These should not be

The kid in us who doesn’t
allow others their right, place, and space is subversive
The kid in us who hasn’t learned to share
Or learned to give a good word
to others
still has a lot of growing up to do

Knowing when to allow
Each persona is relevant
to maturity.

Don’t allow the kid in you
to destroy the king in you

Put the kid in its place today
So the king in you can rise up and take its rightful place.

NBA Lane

www.nba.com/watch/video/welcome-to-nba-lane-nba75

Did you see the short movie clip commemorating the 75th NBA history? If not, click the above link to watch, courtesy of the Association, and produced by Michael B. Jordan.

Yes, some noteworthy players were left out. Intentionally or otherwise, it’s impossible to include every player. I wonder though what the selection criteria for inclusion was.

I love the clip; wished it was a little longer to accommodate for more players, old or present.

The Association has come a long way … Happy 75th Anniversary, NBA!

Watch that Salt Shaker!

Salt is a compound element made up of sodium and chloride. It can also contain iodine or be neutral.

Salt has health benefits. For example,

  1. Sodium is essential for nerve and muscle function and is involved in the regulation of fluids in the body. Sodium also plays a role in the body’s control of blood pressure and volume. (University of Hawaii)
  2. Chloride is a crucial component in the production of stomach acid (HCl). (University of Hawaii)
  3. Iodine is an important nutrient that your thyroid needs to produce certain hormones. Iodized salt is probably the easiest way to maintain sufficient iodine intake. (Mayo Clinic)
  4. It is also used as an electrolyte replacement for folks who have experienced prolonged vomiting or diarrhea. As always, please check with your doctor before any medicinal use.

According to the University of Hawaii, humans excrete salt when sweating and must replenish the lost sodium and chloride ions through their diet.

We use Salt in cooking and most of us will add a little more from those shakers on our foods. Salt is also good for seasoning foods else the food will taste bland. But excessive salt in foods could have other devastating impacts on one’s health.

The medicals again

I experienced for the first time the impact of salt relative to high blood pressure. My blood pressure (BP) readings have been normal, (see the above chart for the different BP categories) particularly the week prior to my recent medicals. I was happy with the results. Until that morning. And the cause was eating a slightly salty pasta dinner the night before.

The night before my appointment, I had chicken pesto on pasta. It was somewhat salty but I ate anyways because it was the leftover I had planned to have. It wasn’t salty on the day I cooked it. I figured the seasonings settled into the pasta sauce a few days afterwards.

Fasting wasn’t required for the medicals, but I chose to fast anyways since I had a morning appointment. As previously posted, all readings were impressive. However, I was disappointed that my blood pressure was elevated. I was shocked. My initial thoughts were that the “anxiety” of coming for a medicals caused it. The technician interrupted my thoughts and suddenly asked “what did you have for dinner?” I told him. His next question was “was it salty?” I stared at him while replying “how did you know? Yes, it was. I’ve had normal readings for the week.” I brought out my phone to show him the readings. The salt added at least 20 mm Hg to the upper reading despite a twelve-hour fasting.

Did you know that drinking lots of water after a salty meal will help flush it out?

The technician advised that drinking lots of water will help flush it out next time. Now, I know. How about you?

Myths or Tales?

I have since resorted to cooking with alternatives which are half the sodium content and not add extras to the meal. It takes getting used to but once you are used to it, the slightest salt on foods now taste salty. You find yourself complaining that a meal is salty and others are staring at you in wonder that there’s none in it at all. It’s sure an acquired taste.

I’ve often heard not to add salt to cooked foods and to reduce the amount in cooking. I have now experienced the impact of a salty meal on my blood pressure and I do not like it.

Types of Salt

Sea salt. Table salt. Kosher salt. Pink salt. Coarse salt. Fine salt. All salts are the same. I’ve heard that sea salt is better, while others say that kosher salt is preferred.

Whatever salt you choose to use, use it in moderation. Be aware of the sodium content of every food/grocery item you purchase and monitor your blood pressure regularly.

Resources

For more detailed information on salt and high blood pressure, click on the below links to find out.

Loving Basketball: 2021-22 PreSeason and 75th NBA Season

To the Hoops Enthusiasts

As you may or may not know, the Preseason started last Sunday. The Teams are different from what they were the previous season as several players have found new homes (teams) all in the race to win the Championship.

The Preseason games, already played, featured mostly the younger and new players showing off their skills and familiarizing themselves with one another. I’m hoping that the veterans will join in the fun too, if only to sort of warm up with the teams.

The Preseason is a two-week warmer, tester, feeler of sixty-six games; I hope I got the count right. I also hope that the veterans advised the younger (agewise and years in NBA) and newbie players to use wisdom and take it easy at the onset in order to minimize injuries and fatigue as they will have seventy more games to play. Their strength, skills, and stamina will be needed more towards the end of the Season, and continuing into Playoffs and Finals.

Interested in who’s moved to where, click Familiar faces in new places for 2021-22 season courtesy of the NBA.

Preseason Schedule

I’m still trying to get the hang of using tables in WordPress. It has not being easy. Even when done in Excel and uploaded, it comes out funny. But, I hope the below format is easily readable. All Times are ET.

Sunday, October 3rd

  1. 3:30 B Nets – LA Lakers

Monday, October 4th

  1. 7:00 P Sixers – T Raptors
  2. 7:30 O Magic – B Celtics
  3. 7:30 A Hawks – M Heat
  4. 8:00 NO Pelicans – M Timberwolves
  5. 8:00 C Hornets – OKC Thunder
  6. 8:30 U Jazz – SA Spurs
  7. 10:00 GS Warriors – PT Blazers
  8. 10:00 P Suns – S Kings
  9. 10:30 D Nuggets – LA Clippers

Tuesday, October 5th

  1. 7:30 I Pacers – NY Knicks
  2. 8:00. C Cavaliers – C Bulls
  3. 8:00 W Wizards – H Rockets
  4. 8:00 M Bucks – M Grizzlies

Wednesday, October 6th

  1. 6:00 LA Lakers – P Sun
  2. 7:00 SA Spurs – D Pistons
  3. 7:30 C Cavaliers – A Hawks
  4. 8:00 O Magic – NO Pelicans
  5. 8:30 U Jazz – D Mavericks
  6. 10:00 D Nuggets – GS Warriors
  7. 10:30 S Kings – LA Clippers

Thursday, October 7th

  1. 7:00. M Grizzlies – C Hornets
  2. 7:00. T Raptors – P Sixers
  3. 10:00 M Heat – H Rockets

Friday, October 8th

  1. 7:00 I Pacers – C Cavaliers
  2. 7:30 M Bucks – B Nets
  3. 8:00 NO Pelicans – C Bulls
  4. 8:30 LA Clippers – D Mavericks
  5. 8:30 M Heat – SA Spurs
  6. 9:00 M Timberwolves – D Nuggets
  7. 10:00 LA Lakers – GS Warriors

Saturday, October 9th

  1. 7:00 T Raptors – B Celtics
  2. 7:00 NY Knicks – W Wizards
  3. 8:00 A Hawks – M Grizzlies

Sunday, October 10th

  1. 6:00 SA Spurs – O Magic
  2. 7:00 C Bulls – C Cavaliers 3. 7:30 OKC Thunder – M Bucks
  3. 10:00 P Suns – LA Lakers

Monday, October 11th

  1. 7:00 H Rockets – T Raptors
  2. 7:30 C Hornets – M Heat
  3. 8:00 B Nets – P Sixers
  4. 8:00 D Pistons – M Grizzlies
  5. 9:00 NO Pelicans – U Jazz
  6. 10:00 S Kings – PT Blazers
  7. 10:30 M Timberwolves – LA Clippers

Tuesday, October 12th

  1. 7:00 T Raptors – W Wizards
  2. 10:30 GS Warriors – LA Lakers

Wednesday, October 13th

  1. 6:30 D Mavericks – C Hornets
  2. 7:00 M Grizzlies – I Pacers
  3. 7:00 B Celtics – O Magic
  4. 7:30 D Pistons – NY Knicks
  5. 8:00 D Nuggets – OKC Thunder
  6. 9:00 M Bucks – U Jazz
  7. 10:00 PT Blazers – P Suns

Thursday, October 14th

  1. 7:00 M Heat – A Hawks
  2. 7:30 M Timberwolves – B Nets
  3. 8:00 D Nuggets – OKC Thunder
  4. 10:00 LA Lakers – S Kings

Friday, October 15th

  1. 6:30 B Celtics – M Heat
  2. 7:00 P Sixers – D Pistons
  3. 7:00 C Cavaliers – I Pacers
  4. 7:30 W Wizards – NY Knicks
  5. 8:00 M Grizzlies – C Bulls
  6. 8:00 D Mavericks – M Bucks
  7. 8:30 H Rockets – SA Spurs
  8. 10:00 PT Blazers – GS Warriors

NBA enters its 75th Season

The Season starts on October 19th. It will be exciting with NBA entering its 75th Season. Special programs have been scheduled to commemorate the history, Teams, players past and present. Click on the above link for a movie, NBA Lane, showing tomorrow.

What would you do …?

Let’s dream a little for Monday Financial Nuggets … What would you do if you won a half-a-billion dollar ($500 million) lottery:

A. Liberate several people and families

B. Liberate yourself with whatever freedom means to you

C. Build at least a school, hospital, or some infrastructure

D. Donate it all to charity

E. None of the above

F. All of the above

Dream and ponder on the idea just in case it manifests 😆

Though I don’t believe in luck, Good Luck!

Think-Talk

Credits: Unsplash / Belinda Fewings

Ideally, you Think before you Talk
But that will make a robot of you
To pause to Think before every Talk
So Think daily so you don’t have to just before you Talk.

Take time to ponder and meditate daily
And let Wisdom breathe on you.

There are those who Talk always
And folks are tired of hearing them Talk
Yet there are those who want to hear them Talk more
The difference is in both what they say
And how they deliver it
When there’s truth and wisdom
Folks never tire of hearing you Talk.

There again are those who rarely Talk
Yet when they open their mouth
to Talk
Folks are all ears

The difference is in both what they say
And how they deliver it
Content and Context
Quality and Quantity. Wisdom not Foolishness. The world has ample of the latter but needs more of the former.

Your Talk is a message
not for everyone
But to just a few or some

Whether you Talk always
Or rarely
People are listening and watching
Let your words be laced
With wisdom
Else you’ll be a sounding cymbal

Don’t just open your mouth
to Talk just to Talk
Everyone wants to Talk and be heard

Credits: Unsplash / Kyle Glenn

Only few listen
Only few Think and Talk

Even a fool when s/he holds her/his tongue
Is considered wise.

It’s totally up to you
Whether you
Think and Talk
Or Think before you Talk
Or Think after you Talk.

Think and Talk always
It’s the best
Though Thinking before Talking
Is better than Thinking after Talking
Yet there’s wisdom in
Thinking after Talking
Cos it makes you
A better person next time
You Talk.

If you ponder daily
You will be among the few
Who Think and Talk
Because wisdom has become
A part of you.

Think and Talk
Today and always. Think-Talk is Wisdom.

S-Spiritual Development: So you think you’re ready for Marriage

The Spiritual Development is the seventh post continuing with the PEMFESS+P Series; So you think you’re ready for Marriage.

In my opinion, the Spiritual Development, should actually be the first step because all the other developments build upon it. But, as I previously stated, the acronym, PEMFESS, just fits in better.

Spirituality means different things to different people. To some, it’s about doctrines, morals, and laws. To some, it’s about nature and its effects. To others, it is about nothing.

I tend to use the terms religious and spiritual interchangeably. The difference is that the latter does not follow organizational doctrines whereas the former does.

Whatever spiritual or spirituality means to you, one thing common among all is faith. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). Faith is a belief; a belief in something without seeing the evidence. A belief that could be of a higher and bigger nature or of an earthly and lower being or thing.

We all believe in something whether higher or lower. The higher for me is God, Lord Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. The lower is believing in someone or something, for example a parent, a spouse, sibling, or a friend, or believing that your car will drive you daily from Point A to B and back, or believing that the chair you seat on will not crumble under your weight or that the food you eat will not poison you but nourish your body and soul.

Spiritually, we make idols of those people and or things we depend on when we should be looking up to God. The ultimate is for us to believe in and trust God

Most of us have our spirituality handed down to us. As children, we had no choice. But on becoming adults, we have the choice to either continue to embrace those religious or spiritual paths or venture to find our own. I know a family of six, the parents and their four adult children, who each practice different religion/spirituality. I can only imagine how issues are deliberated on inside their home. The wife, who was once a colleague, said, “I’m used to the chaos.”

The key is to find your spiritual path soonest so that it can be developed and perfected before marriage. Hence, you know who you are spiritually. Knowing who you are spiritually also means that you will know to say “No” to certain things while dating, on in marriage,

For spiritual development, therefore, your goal is to find that higher and bigger path, cultivate the relationship, grow, and stick to it. Fully immerse yourself in the knowledge, with a strong foundation, that can only be built upon stronger when you finally marry.

It is dicey to be a spiritual vacuum that can easily be sucked or filled up by someone else’s. Being grounded in your own chosen spirituality, though open to learning, means that you cannot be easily deceived by others spiritual lies or ignorance.

It is always better to be on the same spiritual path with your potential spouse; it just makes life smoother, easier, and more understandable. Should both partners have different spiritual paths, it becomes difficult deciding which paths to raise the children with. Irrespective of the differences, the goal is to agree on how best to raise the children spiritually. However raising and inculcating a spiritual doctrine into children, though it helps, does not guarantee that they will continue with the doctrines as adults.

To every young adult, I pray that you find your spiritual path soonest, if not already, and maximally develop it before you decide to marry.

BMI

Credits: Math Easy Solutions

What is BMI?

BMI, body mass index, is a measure of relative mass based on your height and weight. It is calculated by dividing your weight by your height. It does not however measure your body fat.

As you can see above, the Chart is color-coded. The greens are the ideal BMI, the blue means that one is underweight and malnourished, while the yellows are overweight and borderline obese, oranges are obese, and the reds are the no-go (extreme) obese areas.

Other Charts use different colors to differentiate each area. I guess the colors are merely to make it easier to read. Though I didn’t find a non-color coded chart, it doesn’t mean that the Chart has to be color-coded.

Why BMI today?

I recently had a medical, I mean the whole shebang from height to weight to urine and blood works, with the urine and blood being tested for a variety of other things. It was a relief as the overall result returned better than I had imagined; except for one.

According to the test, my BMI is borderline obese, unhealthy, and I need to lose 40 lbs! Who me? Lose 40 lbs? Yes, you! Couldn’t be! At this age? What would become of me and my skin; oh, I meant my body? We all need some fat on, right? I hope I get some folks to agree with me on that.

Well, brings me to the question, is BMI correct?

My answer is, I doubt it. What’s your answer?

I had changed to a pescatarian diet within the past year and the change reflected in the overall positive results when compared to results from my medicals a year prior. For example, my A1C, which is a simple blood test that measures your average blood sugar levels, also went down by 0.6% compared to last year’s. Could use a little lower to keep it within normal range. If I lose 40 lbs, and get my A1C down by at least another 0.3-0.6%, it will be worth it. But, I’m sure that I don’t have to lose that much to achieve the result. You’ll hardly be able to find me and or would think that I’m malnourished and extremely unhealthy should I succeed in losing all of 40 lbs. Well, just my thoughts. So why do physicians use the BMI? BMI doesn’t even measure fat, the sole culprit for obesity.

I’ve always had a problem with every doctor I’ve had when it comes to BMI. The BMI Chart is used for everyone; male and female, black, white, Asians, Samoans, Hispanics, etc., tall or short, large bones and normal bones, etc. How can it be a one-hat-fits-all medical mantra? BMI does not take into consideration that our body types are genetically and racially different.

P.S.

I heard that the best way of telling if you’re overweight is to measure your waistline. If your waistline is over 35 for women and 37 for men, you are overweight.

Another way is to divide your height by 2. Your waistline should be less than half your height. For example, if you are 5 foot 8, or 68 inches, your waist circumference should be less than 34 inches. Both methods have the same issues that I have with the BMI. However, it is worth using and taking as a recommendation but not the ideal.

I don’t even know my waistline. I don’t have a measuring tape. The last time I had some dresses made for me, the tailors used different techniques to measure my waistline, so I don’t know who was right and wrong. But now that I am aware, I’ll get myself a tape and start paying attention.

Final thoughts

A healthy lifestyle is ideal for us all. It’s what we all should live for. It’s a combination of our diet and exercise regimens. If diet is nutritious and healthy, and exercise is regular, both will be in sync and excess weight should not be an issue, right? But not necessarily. Bone density and size which are genetically, racially, and gender predisposed often will skew the weight and BMI. So, what do we do?

Why worry? Keep eating nutritious healthy meals, exercise at least 30 minutes a day at least three days a week, rest, sleep well, smile or laugh to work those mouth and face muscles, be happy, and leave the rest.

Remember though that being overweight or obese is a health risk associated with health issues like heart blockages, diabetes, cardiac arrests, stroke, hypertension, etc. The thought of these health risks alone should spur us all to a healthier lifestyle and lose all the weight that we can.

I’ll love to lose some weight but not 40 lbs. I have lost 9 lbs within the year and will be content with about 10-12 lbs more in a year. But, I still refuse to allow BMI as a yardstick for my height-weight balance. I know myself better. How about you? All thoughts, positive and negatives regarding BMI, are welcome.

Do you know what your BMI is? Use the above Chart or find out from this interactive calculator and let us know if you’re satisfied with the result.

I hope you’re enjoying your weekend 😍

Why Worry

Credits: Unsplash / Kelly Sikkema

Worry if you want
Not a stature will it add
Why worry

Worry if you dare
More gray to you
Aging before your time
Why worry

Worry if you want
More stress to your elbows
Living in Anxiety land
Worry Makes life worse
Depriving you of joy for the moment

It’s Non productive
It’s a Wheel spinner
And Overall mental torture
Why worry

Worry looks back
At your past
And takes you to the future
That you’re not ready for
Robbing you of the present

Look back
At all the worries
Of yesterday
And yesteryears
And ask
Did any materialize
Why worry

Worry
Is a joy stealer
A peace taker
And a confusionist

Engage Your left brain
When the right
Is overworking
Why worry

Shut down those thoughts
And voices ringing
In your ears and head
Today, turn worry
Unto itself

Shut it down
Or Engage it
In a conversation

When worry taunts: “How are you getting there
when you don’t have a car?”
Joyfully reply: “Shut up; I’ll take the bus or metro
Or dare an Uber or Lyft
Or call my friend or family member
for a ride.
See I have options
you can’t scare nor torture me.”

Nananananana

The more you engage
Those worrying voices
Or thoughts
The lesser they become.

Try it today

Don’t let
Worry win no more
Like fear, worry is torture
But choose today
To torture the torturer.
And worry no more.

Loving Basketball: 2021-22 Season begins soon

2020-21 Recap

What a spectacular ending, in July, to the 2020-21 Basketball Season that catapulted the underdog Milwaukee Bucks (MB) as that season’s Champions. I was elated for several reasons; one particularly of which I felt that Giannis Antetokounmpo (GA), who led the Team, had been disrespected and routed by all; the media, fans, and other players, for shenanigans and silly various reasons in my opinion. The likes of disrespect and taunting that would not have been thrown at LeBron James (LBJ or Kevin Durant (KD) or Steph Curry (SC), or any of their caliber without some rebukes. Then again, it could have been a strategy (which obviously backfired) to intimidate GA, the Greek Freak. But, thank goodness, all those negative vibes didn’t sway him to withdraw. Yes, it did slightly affect him with his free throws. But he overcame and conquered to win the Season’s MVP. And, together with his equally indefatigable teammates, won that Season’s championship.

Too bad they (GA and MB) can’t enjoy the Larry O’Brien (LOB) trophy and exhilaration for long for two reasons: one, the break was curtailed, and two, the 2021-22 Season starts soon.

Anywho, that was a long recap.

2021-22 Season

I’m so happy to say that this Season is about to start in a month. Preseason games, which I call the warmers, testers, and feelers, start two days prior and the opening games start on October 19th.

The Preseason games in my opinion are kinda sorta warmers, testers, and feelers. Warmers because most players probably didn’t touch the ball during the break; resorting understandably to spend much needed time with their families to make up for those periods that they were grinding for the Larry O’Brien trophy. The warmups will help them know where they stand physically and mentally with the ball or see how rusty they’ve allowed themselves to let go.

It’s also a tester and feeler because each team, after the musical chairs of trades, wants to have a feel for the “new” team’s roster relative to other teams and test their capacities in various ranges.

It’s still always fun to watch. Having watched several, I feel that the experienced teams withhold their strength and capacities to give a false impression of the team. Kinda like a bait of sorts strategy. Why waste all the fire at the onset when you have seventy-two games to play, right?

The Preseason and initial first few Season games also allow the Coaches to try different strategies, plays, and players (aka rotations) for the best fit.

I can’t wait to see what the Season has for every Team. Will Milwaukee Bucks play for a back-to-back championship?

Various Teams are in the run for the LOB Trophy this season. The trades were brutal, coupled with the Rookies from the Draft, and returnees from injuries, the race to the 2021-22 Championship is going to be wild.

Have you seen or heard of the LA Lakers’ new roster? The big ball team could scare off the best of teams. But, what with Brooklyn Nets as an equally great contender?

Well, my team is in the race, too! It’s fire, fire, fire all round with the return of Klay Thompson (Welcome, Klay!), Jordan Bell, and acquisition of Ighi (Andre Iguodala), and the two Rookies, Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody, Golden State Warriors is right there at the top of the race. Sad to see Kelly Oubre Jr. and Eric Paschal leave. Wish them the very best.

Of course, we are cognizant of the younger teams: Atlanta Hawks, Dallas Mavericks, New Orleans Pelicans, Phoenix Sun, etc. They, and the rest of the teams in-between, all put up a show last season. How did the Drafts and Trades impact them? Will they return with greater tenacity this season?

I can’t wait to see and find out.

Cheers to a Season of great, fun, competitive, and mitigating (or no) injury to all players.

Last One: what’s up with the vaccine?

We all now know that being vaccinated does not preclude one from still testing positive for the covid, right? So, why did the National Basketball Association (NBA) agree to not test vaccinated players? Sounds also that masking has been lapsed, including allowing not vax’ing for religious reasons. 🤔

First, I read that the players disagreed to mandated vaccination stating that it was not part of their contract. Hey brothers, covid is no respecter of your contract. I just pray that none will test positive this season. That even if any, the impact will be mild. But remember, should any test positive, that player will be out for at least two weeks. Two weeks at the beginning of the Season is nothing, but I’m sure no Team wants their key player out for two weeks at critical times of the Season.

Now, the player options are vax or be tested daily.

My two-cents is that everyone (NBA players included) engaging in public should be vaccinated and intermittently tested. Stay home if you don’t want to vax or mask – it’s simple. I recognize the division between those who don’t want to and those who choose to. Defiantly choosing not to vax or mask is an act of selfishness given that your choice could directly and indirectly affect another or several and that the outcomes of covid when infected could be fatal. Those players choosing not to are a dire threat to those players who have chosen to. I just hope that the Basketball world are aware of this.

If you’re an unvaccinated player, do remember not to shake hands with nor hug any fans no matter how desperate the fans may be.

What side are you on: vax and mask or no vax no mask, or in-between?

For now, as much as I love to attend the opening games, my TV and living room will be my team stadium till further notice.

Hooray, No to The Recall! Now what?

I don’t know about you, but I had almost sleepless nights about this Recall.

Sleepless nights just wondering how someone, or some people, will selfishly desire to squander millions of dollars, like they were peanuts, to want to usurp another without regard to the impact of his/her/their actions on others. All on flimsy baseless reasons in my opinion. Did the Governor’s opponents think that they had a solid ground? What a bad strategy for planning a hostile takeover. Not thoroughly thought through. Or they and their strategists were ill-advised. I hope they rethink because the results overwhelmingly proved that either they did not have a thorough understanding of California, Californians, and their issues, or that Newsom was just favored and the people preferred his policies afterall.

The results showed the Nos were 5.9 million, while the Yeses were 3.3 million. Larry Elder had eighty (80%) of the Yes votes.

Glad that it’s finally over. The results were overwhelmingly in favor of Governor Newsom staying in office to complete his term, and probably a bigger and greater candidate for a second term. Is that a prediction or a prophecy? Prophecies have gotten a bad wrap and particularly with the last President. I don’t want to rehash that, but read my thoughts on it here.

Getting a second term will at least afford the Governor of a real clean term to prove his manifesto and himself; unaffected by covid.

So, now what Mr. Governor?

Is the remaining two years enough for you to perform some economic miracles of booming businesses, curing the State of homelessness, high gas prices, housing, unemployment, and all the ills you inherited from your past predecessors? All eyes are on you now.

For the Governor’s sake, I really hope that God will smile on him and perform the miracles on his behalf. I don’t know if he believes in miracles, but whether or not he does, such a miracle will certainly make him a believer and secure him a second term.

Who bears the Costs?

Now, who pays the $276 million spent to conduct the recall? Larry Elder and all the forty-five (45) recall contenders? No. I hope you know that we all (Californians) will. We need to change the section of the Constitution regarding a recall to read that the contending parties should bear the costs. Changing that section might ensure that contenders think twice before wasting anyone’s future time.

I found this tweet from California Assembly Speaker Pro Temp Kevin Mullin, which sums it up exactly as I feel. “A $276 million waste just to reaffirm 2018’s results with an election coming in 2022,”

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments if you please.

Why is America unemployed?

Unemployment, or under-employment, is not fun. If you’ve ever experienced any, you’ll know what I mean. I have experienced both at different times of my worklife.

Being unemployed means just that – no work; that you are able and qualified to do the job, but cannot find one and, though you’re fiercely looking, have not being lucky to be hired. Being unemployed could be temporary, but many have experienced a somewhat perpetual unemployment. The long unemployment periods often lead many to seek other opportunities. This should be the resort. But several resort to work that is easily available and for which they are overly qualified for. This is termed under-employment.

Being under-employed means that you are:

  1. working menial jobs that you are over-qualified for
  2. earning just enough to feed yourself, and maybe family, put enough gas to drive to the job and back, practically can’t afford any extras, or
  3. just simply doing something to be seen as not being idle,
  4. tired of crying daily wondering why you couldn’t get the job after numerous interviews, etc., and or
  5. you are tired of watching your spouse or family’s faces on receiving one more letter that starts with “we received numerous qualified (sometimes, I think they meant, over-qualified) and are sorry to …. You stop reading because by now you know how the letter ends. You either tear the letter into pieces as if it passed through a shredder or simply toss it into a drawer as another memento.

The job market is full of under-employed graduates and many with post-grad or multiple degrees.

Which is better?

Neither unemployment nor under-employment do I prefer. I’m not talking about when folks choose to do a second, often menial, because they need the extra funds to pay down debts or save for a vacation. I’m talking about having a main job that you are over-qualified for.

I want to be fully employed in the job market, doing work that I love to wake up to everyday and being adequately compensated (maybe a post for another – how many are adequately compensated for the job they do?) for it.

Latest news

Recent news reports have stated that America has over 10 million job openings. As a former analyst, my first reaction is “where did the numbers come from?” But, ironically, I also know that the primary source is from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) which numerous government organizations and private companies depend on. So, it must be accurate.

One of those news I picked up was from the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), “The US has a record 10.9M job openings, but 8.4M Americans are still unemployed. Walmart and Target began offering college tuition perks earlier this summer, Uber and Lyft debuted huge bonuses to attract drivers, Chipotle and McDonald’s raised wages, and some big banks even offered employees free Pelotons. TBD if the perks will work.”

From the above WSJ excerpt, did you wonder like I did why the companies didn’t previously offer those perks? I thought every company offered them. I guess I must be living in fairyland.

Anyways, with the news, did you wonder also why with so many numerous job openings, yet tons are still unemployed? I was curious to know so I read further and this is what I found.

The Pandemic again

As bad as the pandemic was, and probably still is for a few, there were silver linings.

  1. The pandemic shifted people’s perspectives, options, and types of jobs they look for and do.
  2. The pandemic gave people the choices of virtual/remote work, and organizations that hitherto didn’t offer work-at-home options are now doing so.
  3. The pandemic also woke many up to realize that the office space might be unnecessary thus also giving organizations the opportunity to cut down on office space expenses.

According to the Wall Street Journal, “Millions of Americans say they can’t find a job. Millions of employers say they can’t find workers. A reason for this mismatch is that people are leaving cities or industries where businesses need them most.”

Mismatch?! What is that?

There you have it – the reason is a mismatch. The article stated a few things that: a mismatch is a disconnect between the jobs open and the people looking for work … Normally, as unemployment rises, job openings fall because employers have an abundance of workers from which to choose … What’s unusual now is that unemployment and job openings are both so elevated at the same time and have been for months.

It also mentioned there are two different types of mismatch.

  1. a “skills” mismatch is work experience that doesn’t line up with the needs of the marketplace
  2. geographic is when job openings and available workers are in different places
  3. a facet of geographic is the regional mismatch where “shortages are specific to certain parts of the country.

Makes sense when we think in terms of economics supply and demand. There is an inelasticity of available jobs and workers. WSJ gave several factors that contributed to this. They included

  • “workers migrating and aren’t where jobs are available
  • many have changed their preferences, for instance pursuing remote work, having discovered the benefits of life with no commute
  • the economy shifted, leading to jobs in industries such as warehousing that aren’t in places where workers live or suit the skills they have. For example, the leisure and hospitality industry say they are now looking for work in a different industry. So are Uber and Lyft drivers
  • extended unemployment benefits and relief checks, meantime, are giving workers time to be choosy in their search for the next job.”

One factor not included in the WSJ was that tons of people lost their jobs which snowballed into losing homes or being unable to pay their rents; thus, necessitating the move. People didn’t move just because they wanted to. They moved in with relatives, friends, and to lower cost-of-living areas to cut down their expenses and maximize the money they have since finding employment has been difficult.

Conclusion

What do you do when being unemployed is taking longer? Some prefer being under-employed. It’s an option, but should not be embraced for too long else complacency will set in and rob one of one’s best.

A much preferred option is to embrace the opportunity to become self-employed. The best option still is starting a business.

Self-employment and starting a business both have their benefits and downsides. Read more here.

Californians, go vote on the Recall

Tomorrow, September 14, is the deadline to cast your vote for the California gubernatorial recall. Booths are open and you can mail it in if you prefer.

To be or not depends on you. Please let your vote and voice count and be heard.

I voted as soon as the booths first opened on September 4th because I wanted to ensure that nothing unusual happens to my vote. Yes, it became a phobia because of prior voting nuances, rumors, and or atrocities; call it whatever you’d like. Just my way of ensuring that my vote was personally and directly registered or delivered if you please.

My Stance

If you already don’t know, my stance is No on the Recall. My take is that the incumbent hasn’t been given a fair chance, given covid-19, to prove himself. The issues levied against him for the Recall are weak considering that he inherited several of the issues. As I previously blogged, Covid-19 threw everyone a rough curve and many are still yet to find their balances; the Governor and State of California included.

Homelessness, unemployment, high housing and gas costs have sadly become trademarks for living in California, just as living in any high or fast-paced large city. I think it’s all politicking. Gavin Newsom’s competencies as a Governor have not been fairly evaluated to warrant a Recall considering that he became Governor of California in January, 2019; smack at the onset of covid.

What’s more, according to ABC News post, “State officials estimate it will cost California’s 58 counties $215 million total to run a special recall election.” My previous blog stated $276 million. Either amount ($215 or $276 million) is huge sums of money. Using that money will definitely cure homelessness and some change to tackle another issue! I wonder why we allowed it in the first place. I suppose it’s another nuance of freedom.

Please vote

Without further ado, Californians please go vote. Whether a No or Yes, we all still have to pay the price in subsequent fees and taxes to defray the special recall election costs. My prayer is that the Recall fails. But should it pass, I can guarantee you that the next CA Governor has no answer to the rising homelessness, homes, gas, nor unemployment.

Time for a Dream

Permit me to dream a little for a time when there will be collaboration and teamwork between any incumbent Governor (or President) and the opposing Party for working together for a better America. I mean really work together to mitigate, or eradicate, issues of concern to the citizens. This becomes a synergistic and altruistic, rather than, self-grandiose, act. Not just in America, but across the globe where democracy is practiced. That will be the day. Till then, get out and vote or stay in and mail your vote.

Genetics and Money Management Skills

Genetics play a significant role in our lives whether we like it, admit it, or not. How we manage money, or fail to, including our money habits are also genetically linked.

If any of one’s parents is a spendthrift and philanthropist with whatever they have, certainly at least one of their children will inherit those tendencies. Similarly, if the other parent is a miser and is stingy, at least one of the children will inherit those tendencies. Those tendencies will be either dominant or recessive in one or all of the children.

However, if any of the children strongly abhors either of the tendencies, and is intentional about not inheriting it, s/he can work hard to ensure that s/he does not become that tendency. For example, if growing up I watched how my mother was always giving our things and household items to everyone that visits us, often depriving us, I might hate being a philanthropist and or giver. Likewise, if momma was also hiding stuff from others and does not help family members or friends who needed our help, I might detest being a miser. The key is be intentional about playing the part that you want to be till it becomes a part of you.

This is so true and became evident to me while in college and participated in the U. S. Census decennial count. All information collected are confidential. I marveled at a particular race who, though they don’t make much comparably, were happier and better managers of their resources. In one of my rapport, I remembered chatting with one head of household who told me that he’s being living in his house for ten years and that he doesn’t go out, he’s happy at home with his family. All he wants to do is rest after work; most times his wife and children go out without him. He owned his home and was planning to pay it off way before the maturation of the thirty-year loan that he got. He stated that he came from a poor background, but had worked hard to financially elevate himself and wanted to give his family a different lifestyle. To say that I was impressed was an understatement.

“It’s not how much you make, but how much you keep.” The quote has been attributed to a few. One of those people is no other than Robert Kiyosaki, the personal finance guru and author of the Rich Dad Poor Dad series. The other is Shaquille O’Neal, the former LA Lakers forward.

One who makes $40K a year, like the head-of-household guy above, could be living a more enriching lifestyle than another who makes $120K a year with a big hone, big mortgage, every gadget in town in his household, cars, and college kids. The latter’s finances could be stretched thinner and leaner than the former.

A man’s life does not consist in the abundance (or lack) of his possessions.

No excuses for any of us. Being from a poor background, does not restrict us to poverty for life. An intentional act, coupled with divine ideas, and working smart and hard, will break the backbone of lack.

Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy

I did a Poll over two months ago asking readers and followers what they did with their Sundays. The Poll had a total of 30 views (21 in June & 9 in July). Of the views, 10 bloggers liked the post, while only 5 participated in the Poll.

My sincerest gratitude to those who participated.

Everyone’s time is precious. To have taken a few minutes to contribute means a lot to me than you’ll ever know. Thank you.

Results of the Poll

Folks reserve their Sundays for a variety of things ranging from:

  • Chores; grocery shopping, laundry
  • Running errands
  • Family or friends visits or catchups
  • Play band/guitar
  • Schedule blog posts, catch up on reading and replying to comments
  • Relax, chill, or do nothing.

Today, I was caught up in all the above. Generally speaking, I prefer to reserve my Sundays for relaxing, but might occasionally get a family or friend visit.

I had woken up about 5:00 a.m. and couldn’t go back to sleep. I laid their wondering if to get up and start my day. I hesitated because Sunday is my rest day, but lately I have been going non-stop. And, last week, I figured that I had exhausted myself. So, getting up that early on a Sunday was out of the question. I did the one thing that I normally do – talk to my Heavenly Father, God. I fell back asleep about three hours later; I knew because I had joined the 8 o’clock online-Service of a church.

I woke up about two-and-a-half hours later. I laid on my bed wondering what to do: should I drag myself off to the gym, watch a movie, cook and eat some food, have food delivered, or just chill and do nothing? I prefer to do my laundry on Saturdays; it has been a steady preserve for as long as I can remember. So, I already did laundry yesterday. As such, it’s one less thing that I have to worry about today.

Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision (Joel 3:14a).

Though I woke up, I was still too tired. I needed some energy; not the java jolt kind, but I needed the inner mental strength. I began to ponder again if it is realistically possible to ever have a free day of doing nothing? My answer will be a big and loud, “No”. If No, how are we to keep the Sabbath Day holy? Maybe, if one was sick.

The Sabbath

“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”‭‭

Exodus‬ ‭20:8-11‬

The Sabbath Day is a day reserved as your holy day and or a day of rest. For Christians, it’s Sundays or Saturdays (Jews (Shabbat) and Latter Day Saints). For Muslims, it’s Fridays.

The Sabbath Day is a personal choice. But since Sunday is the day set aside for congregating for most churches, it is difficult to find a congregation on other days. For example, if you work on Saturday and Sunday, are off mid-week, that’s your rest day, but not necessarily your holy day.

I concluded that we probably got it wrong. God meant that we rest; He wants us to rest all-knowing the benefits of it. What that rest means to each of us is our prerogative. Some find rest watching television, while rest to others is doing laundry. Rest which ever way soothes you; just remember that giving yourself the desired rest is essential and your body will thank you for it. Remember that the Sabbath was made for us all; and not us for the sabbath.

Part II: So you think you’re ready for Marriage; how are you in your S-Social Development?

Credits: Unsplash / Duy Pham

It is advisable to have a good and diverse social network.

In the Psychology and medical worlds, healthy social development skills begin at infancy and follows us through adulthood. These skills are necessary and important in order to develop into a healthy child. A lack of, or delayed, development in one skill will impact another and, if not dealt with, could lead to one being an adult with poor or inadequate social skills.

These skills are equally essential to master at the appropriate ages. The Danville Schools gave examples of such skills to include:

  • Displays self-control
  • Expresses feelings with words
  • Listens and pays attention
  • Pride in accomplishments
  • Has a positive self image
  • Asks for help when needed
  • Shows affection to familiar people
  • Aware of other peoples feelings.
We all need good social skills

Adults need complementary social skills, too. Reminds me of the television commercial about phone conversations being distorted as a result of bad network. It was a phone conversation between two friends; one asking the other for recommendations on what to wear to an office dinner. She showed up to a formal office dinner in a halloween costume, dressed like a fairy godmother. That’s how it is sometimes when one has poor social development.

Also, ever heard someone being tagged as clumsy? Or one who chooses to continue talking or asking questions when everyone is ready to move on? There’s nothing wrong with asking questions, but such folks ask questions that have been previously discussed. If they had listened or paid attention (an essential social skill), they wouldn’t be repeating the question. This is because they have not mastered the appropriate social skills required at the specific developmental ages.

Etiquettes

Etiquettes, according to the dictionary, the conventional requirements as to social behavior, is lacking in many. They have being replaced by individualism and/or when corrected, misconstrued as “judging” and/or termed as unsolicited advices.

Anyhow, the social development I am referring to is that of the social networking. Having a myriad of human resources to call upon should the need arises. Yes, we need all the important skills to develop a healthy social network, without which we will be unstable in our relationships and/or left without friends.

This has nothing to do with being an introvert or extrovert; nor the networking required for work, career, or business though some may be interconnected. But more to do with not having the capacity to maintain true friendships.

If you think you’re ready for marriage, your relationships are essential before marriage, during marriage, and sadly ‘after’ marriage. I refer to the “after-marriage” events as a result of death, separation, or divorce.

Men do better in social networks during marriage than women. It is not unusual for women to disperse off their pre-marital relationships once they tie the knots and or start a family. I get it. The topic for girlfriend conversations on ladies nights-out shift for the married ladies for obvious reasons. Sooner than later, the conversations become boring and so does the gathering. But it doesn’t have to, does it? Even if it does, it’s always a good idea to reconnect with one another.

Here are My Tips

  1. Don’t lose all your pre-marital friends. Your pre-marriage friends include childhood, high school, college, and or work friends. Try to keep (or develop) at least one from each category. If you do, you will have at least four friends who know you very well, and can possibly vouch for you hopefully for life. They will be friends whom you can call on anytime.
  2. Granted that some will drift away for different reasons, try to keep at least two (more, if possible) close. Who knows, one of those will probably be your chief bridesmaid (do they still have those now? lol)
There are three types of friends:

1. Friends for a reason
2. Friends for a season, and
3. Friends for a lifetime.
  1. Having both horizontal and vertical friends in your social (network) development is also helpful. The horizontal are your peers in different social groups, while the vertical are your superiors (or older) and juniors. We all learn from each other. Most learn from a superior/older, few learn from their juniors. All are important and each are apt to teach you something new; what you don’t know or thought you do know.
  2. Marriage shouldn’t stop your social development. Continue your social development, and friendships as well, once married. The exception here though will be that you now have to be cognizant of your spouse/hubby. How will he/she feel and/or react to your friends or even to you when you’re meeting with, or having dinner with them? (A probable post for another day.)
  3. Pay attention to “faults” or concerns folks have repeatedly told or accused you of. I’m not saying that the folks were right. You could have been right, but the communication or attitude might have been off. You will be able to pinpoint why you’ve continuously received those accusations.

I pray for your rich and mature social development; to be so grounded and ready for the marriage you desire.

Meditation is the most important aspect of Prayer

Meditation means different things to different people. Some meditate for medical reasons, some for spiritual reasons, while most meditate just because.

Though, per the influential Mayo Clinic, there is no scientific research conclusions to draw on the benefits of meditation, medically, meditation has been used to calm the nerves and reduce stress. It can also help to manage a myriad of health conditions.

“Meditation originally was meant to help deepen understanding of the sacred and mystical forces of life.” I attest to this because as a lover of Jesus The Christ, I meditate. Other religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism) are known to meditate as the core of their doctrines.

Many folks assume yoga as a type of sport rather than a religious (Hindu) practice. As such multitudes join yoga without an understanding of what it truly is. There are also different types of yoga meditation. It is important to know the teachings of the particular yoga instructor before joining.

The bottom line is that we all meditate consciously or unconsciously and for good or bad. There is a meditation of the heart and of the mind. We meditate when we focus our mind or heart intensely on anything, anyone, or on an object. Selah

There are several types of meditation. The most popular include:

  • mindfulness meditation
  • spiritual meditation
  • focused meditation
  • movement meditation
  • mantra meditation
  • transcendental meditation
  • progressive relaxation
  • loving-kindness meditation
  • visualization meditation
  • yoga meditation
  • zen meditation, etc.
Spiritual (Biblical) Meditation

I’m particular about the spiritual meditation and have realized that meditation is the most important aspect of prayer.

Prayer is you talking; meditation is listening

Dr. Myles Munroe

Biblically, one can meditate on God’s

  • Word
  • Law, day and night
  • Work
  • Precepts
  • Statutes

By so doing, you are focusing on all that God has stated, in all the above, and thus consciously agreeing “let it be unto me accordingly.”

You can also meditate on your, and or others’, testimonies. Doing so is a recall of those testimonies, reminder to God of what He did, trusting that He can do it again, and asking Him to do it again or using past testimonies as an assurance to Him that He who did that can do this new petition that you’re presenting to Him.

Most people pray with a list of things for God to do for them or help them with. Once they’ve expressed the list, they thank Him and off they go till the next day or week. The prayer session will be about 10-15 minutes where they do all the talking. We don’t wait to hear God’s response or if He has assignments or instructions for us.

“Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.”‭‭

(1 Timothy‬ ‭4:15‬)

Biblical meditation is the art of listening in the presence of God. We talk less or not at all. You can enter into His Presence, in your closet, or a chosen space with instrumental worship music for a specified time period. Sit still and focus on His Word. If you’re new to biblical meditation, you can start with fifteen minutes and gradually increase it till your preferred time (e.g. one hour or more).

At the onset, nothing might happen. That’s okay; keep maintaining your time with Him. As long as you’re consistent and committed to the “appointment,” God, by His Holy Spirit will meet you and you’ll be amazed and realize that meditation is the most important aspect of prayer. It is where revelations are received.

This has been on my heart to blog for a while. I hope this ministers to someone.