a Study Guide of 21

Spencer, the youngest of my two sons, turned 21 today. Two things spring to mind in that reflection.

One: I’m becoming quite seasoned. Two: I’m quite proud of the man he’s become.

In honor of him officially entering adulthood, I released two books today that are a collection of wisdom and lessons gleaned from being a parent and dad-figure. The series is entitled 39 Lessons.

These two books, 39 Lessons for Girls and 39 Lessons for Boys, are for both parents and children (as young as 6-years old) to enjoy.

The following is a bonus list of lessons that I include in the books that are actually an open letter to Spencer. Enjoy!

1. You are beautiful.

2. Love yourself.

3. Talk to God daily.

4. Ask too many questions.

5. It’s okay to not have all the answers.

6. Some times, baby steps.

7. Choose life everyday.

8. Life doesn’t come in fancy wrapping,
but it’s still a gift.

9. Don’t do anything you don’t want to do.

10. Don’t apologize for who you are.

11. Frame decisions with, “Will this matter tomorrow? In five years?”

12. Do what you say.

13. However good or bad the situation is,
it will/always/change.

14. Don’t rush it. Unless you’re racing.

15. Your body isn’t who you are.
Your character is.

16. Stop overthinking.

17. Crying with someone is better than healing alone.

18. Nothing lasts forever.

19. Before you do great things, do the small things well.

20. God loves you because of who God is,
not because of anything that you’ve done or didn’t do.

21. Stay curious.

The 39 Lessons book series is now available at amazon.com, Target, Barnes & Noble or wherever fine books are sold.

reset

Starting over
Is stopping first
Catch my breath
Quench my thirst
I have a question
What could be worst?
Let it bleed
Or hold back to burst?

To being anew
You let it end
Burn the remains
And then begin
East from west
Forgive the sin
What did I do?
I can’t remem…ber.

lies

Lies I’ve heard
From the start…

“Not that smart,
Ain’t got heart,
Plays no part,
Slow to start,
Below the chart,
Dull-eyed dart,
Unexpected fart,
Empty cart,

stop being disrespectful – the legal and respectful way to express your patriotism

Many of you likely love to brandish your American patriotism in some form, especially on July 4th. Your team spirit declaration may be expressed on hats, headwraps, t-shirts, fingernails, fanny packs or sneakers, just to name a few nationalistic accouterments.

But not so fast, patriot. If the United States flag is printed on any of these accessories or apparel, you may as well as be pledging your allegiance to Al-Qaeda.

dear Media, please stop.

Dear Media, I’ve endured your clickbait headlines that mislead. I’ve sorted through your articles that are nothing more than ads. I’ve even suffered your racist code words that are subtle yet effective to perpetuate stereotypes. But what I cannot and will not overlook is your obvious glee to purport images of slain or injured black and brown bodies as if we’re no more than eviscerated roadkill. Please stop.

fifth Quarter

These dreams, these fiends, these tweens and cut scenes,
Expectations of momentum and necessities of a spleen.

These winter Monday’s in June are reminiscent of a fifth quarter.
Should I slay myself again or ask a bigger God to expand my borders?

These sorrowed nights and broken glass and drafts from underneath,
Give greater cause to perpetuate and strive for more than just to be.

Oh, these falls, these stalls, these empty halls and caterwauls,
Apprehension’s got me hopeful, while my bladder has the gall.

please don’t talk about Sudan while I’m eating

What if Trump lost the 2020 election, but rather than concede the office to his predecessor, he ordered the military to defend his post in the White House. All of his political opposers and those who sought to physically remove him were detained, assaulted, humiliated, raped or murdered. Sounds crazy, right? We’d have a global human rights issue on our hands. Well, it’s not a “what if” nor is it a Netflix movie. It’s happening right now in Sudan.

the truth about Juneteenth

June 19, 1865, the news was delivered that slavery was over. Hallelujah! Freedom at last! The problem is there was a bit of a delay. Two years, in fact, since President Abraham Lincoln had signed the executive order of the Emancipation Proclamation. Talk about showing up late for the party.

when they (don’t) see us

Typically indulging in any type of entertainment — be it music, books, sports or television — is a form of escape. Work, school, bills and the doldrums of the day are temporarily put aside to occupy a different space of thought and experience. Watching an emotionally heavy mini-series about how our justice system failed five teenagers is probably not most people’s idea of a good time.

When They See Us is a four-part Netflix mini-series which chronicles the horrific, true story of the Central Park Five case of 1989 where five teenagers were accused and wrongfully convicted of the rape and assault of a female jogger. The series is presented from the perspective of these boys whose lives were upended by a miscarriage of justice and the viewer is left wondering, “What if all boys were created equal?”

since 1970 (an open letter to my friends)

Dearest and beloved, it’s been a matter of busied hours and circumstance for which I have not been able to communicate as succinct as I would have preferred, but inevitable destiny abounds as this transmission reaches you now. Know this. Your existence coupled with your presence means a lot to me. Your availability and support humble me. You mean more than you can know and I’m thankful you are here.

expiring soon: Her rights

So far this year, eight states have passed bills to limit or criminalize a woman’s right to abortion. At this rate, we’re very quickly headed back to a time when “a woman and a Negro knew their place.”

memorial day

Remember anticipating Spring and the life it would avail?
The baby birds, innocent words, and how clouds could grow a tail?
Remember the smell of honeysuckle while the earth was dark and moist
And the ice cream truck peddling its wares reminded us we had a choice?

boy meets God

Once upon a time, there was a young boy whose name was… well, let’s see.
To protect the innocent, we’ll address young Kenn discreet and anonymously.
So this shy, young boy who lacked no love, grew up in a loveless town.
Shy though spry with a detailed eye his imagination knew no bounds.

Then teenage years and the furlough of tears and more than his share of rage,
Young Boy departed from Nadine and pristine to work where sin offered wage.

pesado

Gravity like lead, could I be dead?
Can’t focus my mind, can’t feel my legs,
Worn down to the wire and way past the treads.
I’m beginning to think I’m whatever they said.

the debilitating truth with being Black and blue

Imagine the sun is shining, the sky is blue and you haven’t a care in the world. Not a single care. What I mean is: you don’t care — about anything. You’re unmotivated, unenthused, restless and easily agitated. If these feelings last for long periods of time, you might very well be depressed.

open letter 2 my Wife

Dearest daughter of all daughters, beautiful apple of these eyes
It is with much longing that I write you through blurred words and lines.
My transgressions and digressions and diversions are allayed
That you may hurry to me quickly that my heart not lose its way.

black lives clatter

If you’re solely informed according to what popular media has presented, you’re likely to believe the demise of police brutality and misconduct that was hotly reported in the news a few years ago. Unfortunately, the loved ones of the 2̵3̵2̵ 240 people who have been killed by police thus far in 2019 would dispute that idealistic assumption.

you are. enough.

Does a nagging voice of negativity ever just show up uninvited to wreak havoc on your otherwise, healthy mindset to draw doubt as to whether you’re good enough? You are. Enough already! Kick that voice out. Call the cops on it. Fight it. Or do whatever is necessary to stop questioning everything about yourself. I mean, it’s a great attribute to be self-aware, but come on. You’re taking this cognizant thing too far.