Archive for the ‘Life Lessons’ Category


Bounce BackBlogBack in the 1900’s (well, that’s technically correct, but it makes me sound old)…In the late 90’s (ok, not much better. I was an adult when many of you reading this were not even alive, so I still feel seasoned)…Let’s just say “back in the day”, yeah, let’s go with that…Back in the day, I rode my bike without knee pads or a helmet.  However, nowadays, it seems that they issue safety equipment with every bike purchase. I used to drink water from the garden hose, but today, water must be bottled, chilled, and vapor-distilled with electrolytes.  I left the house in the morning and did not return until the street lights came on.  There were no apps or smartphones with GPS to track my every move and guess what, I turned out just fine.

Before you pounce, I agree, times are different now than they were “back in the day.”  Perhaps our awareness is greater due to technology and the internet but just go with me for a second. Think about it.  What life-skills did you develop when you fell off your bike and licked your wounds and kept playing? Or what about when you had to think critically to solve problems or resolve conflicts amongst friends because adults weren’t around to intervene? When we loss a game we had to deal with the emotion of not being good enough, this time.  Some took their ball and went home, but we know how life turned out for them if they continued on that path.  We did not receive feel-good trophies just for participating.  There was a level of resilience that was unintentionally and/or indirectly learned that may be absent from many of our kids today.

As parents, we are so close that we are able to grab our kids by the hand before they fall; anticipate their problems, and mitigate the risk before they are encountered. We mediate their conflicts and even provide solutions before providing them with the opportunity to think through their options. We lessen their loads so that they do not have to work as hard, but all at what cost?

Building Bounce-Back Power!

In our effort to provide our children with the life that we did not have, perhaps we are eliminating the character-building experiences that made us who we are. I believe that the majority of parents goal is for their children to be positive, productive citizens in society. Society includes others. Although we may be teaching them to be productive, but are we equally considering their ability to relate with and to others?  We doing our kids a disservice when we remove the resistance that builds the core of their internal resolve and strength — Bounce Back Power!

Fertilizer has a purpose.  It smells awful, but it also creates a fertile environment that promotes growth.  The same goes for our kids.  What stinks in their life could be the very thing that helps them grow. Resilience is one of the main characteristics that, I believe, is essential during a child’s adolescent years.  When a parent is not intentional about developing coping skills in their child(ren), it can significantly increase their stress levels as adults and impact their ability to socialize with others.  Without an ability to cope with life circumstances, adults become paralyzed and seek alternative means, outside of themselves, to produce happiness and peace.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us — they help us learn to be patient. And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust in God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady. Then, when that happens, we are able to hold our heads high no matter what happens and know that all is well, for we know how dearly God loves us, and we feel this warm love everywhere within us because God has given us the Holy Spirit to fill out hearts with his love.”  – Romans 5:3-5 LAB

I do not believe it is a mistake that the above passage mentioned these three characteristics that develop as we go through problems and trials.  The legendary coach, Vince Lombardi once said, “It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get back up.” At some point in life, he knew we all would get knocked down, but are we intentionally teaching our kids how to get back up?

Think about it…where would you be if you did not have these three characteristics to depend on as an adult?  How would you respond in the midst of your storm? (Pause to allow time for reflection). So now you understand why it is equally important for you to be intentional about allowing your kids to face some level of problems and trials so that they develop an ability to cope as children.

Just in case you could not imagine what your life would be like without these characteristics, consider this.

Patience

According to Dictionary.com, Patience is your capacity to accept and/or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting upset or angry.  Perhaps you could not imagine life with patience, because you have none (IJS). Stress is real and it is a killer.  You can’t teach what you don’t know. Modeling the behavior is the best way to teach your child.  Use your life circumstances to point out when you had to be patient and how it benefited you. Continue to model it until they catch it.

Refer to Galatians 6:9 ESV – Let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we don’t give up.

Character

Life is about choices.  The choices we make will be based on who we are as a person. Without patience, our character is the only thing that will keep us out of trouble. Problems are only compounded when our character causes us to make bad decisions in the midst of a trial.  Our character is based on how we think, who we are, and the moral compass that guides our actions. Your abilities may get you in the room, but your character is what will allow you to maintain what you obtained. What’s influencing the way you think?  How you think will determine who you become, which impacts what you do.

Refer to Proverbs 23:7a NKJV – “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.”

Trust in God

“Do you!” is a popular catch-phrase that, in my opinion, is misguided, to say the least.  It proposes that we know what to do and have complete control over the future. But, I contend, as parents, we should stop telling our kids “you can be whatever you want to be if you put your mind to it.”  I believe this sets them up for failure and disappointment. The reality is they were born with a purpose.  Although they could be good at many things, there is something that will bring them great joy and fulfillment. As our kids “Original Mentors” (their parents), it is our responsibility to guide them on their journey toward discovering why God placed them on this earth.  Once they are on the path, we should help cultivate their faith in a way that causes them to depend less on us and trust more in the one who knows the plans that He has for them. God will reveal who they are and His intentions for how He will use them to impact the world. This is a matter of perspective.  You are not teaching them to think small or limit their capacity. You are actually expanding their capacity by getting them to depend on the one who is able to do more than we can ask or think — God!

Refer to Proverbs 3:5-6 NLTTrust in the Lord with all of your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. 

Parents…to help your kid(s) fully realize who God has created them to be, you must be who He designed you to become. – TheOriginalMentor.com

Where Do You Go From Here?

Perhaps you read this blog and realized that you need to take action steps to help your child(ren) develop patience, character, and trust in God.  I suggest you read Super Pencil as a family.

Super Pencil & Revenge of Talking TelevisionsSuper Pencil is a realistic fiction, coming of age story about a boy growing up in the suburbs who has to be patient, build character, and trust God. when he is forced to navigate finding friends, fitting in, feeling lonely, and react to being bullied.

From fourth grade boys to middle school girls, or a parent wanting to spend quality time with their child (ren), Super Pencil is a non-stop adventure that will make you laugh, think, cry, and then cheer for the good guy. 

Go to SuperPencilSaga.com/shop to order your copy today.

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Super Pencil & Revenge of Talking Televisions

I am so proud to announce the launch of our new book, Super Pencil & The Revenge of the Talking Televisions! About three years ago, my son, Micah, dreamed up the plot points and the main character, Jeff Whitman, who he based on himself. Well, let me go back to how it all began.

Our Story

Micah loves comic books.  Every morning on our way to summer camp he would tell me about the new saga’s he was imagining.  Every night, he would draw the covers of the many comic books that he imagined and tape them to the wall in my office.  Then this happened. One morning he told me about Super Pencil and the Attack of the Talking Televisions.  There was something about this title that caused me to pause and reflect. Weeks later I was traveling to Las Vegas with a group of friends and could not stop talking about it.  I knew then we were on to something.

When I returned from my trip, Micah and I sat and discussed the characters. I asked him questions while capturing the details.  For months I asked, “What happened next?”  His imagination sparked my creativity and our collaboration birth what you now know as Super Pencil & The Revenge of the Talking Televisions. So, let me tell you a little more about the book.

Book Description

When Jeff Whitman’s friends become too obsessed with video games to play with him, he comes up with an amazing idea to get them away from their screens.

It all begins with a confrontation with the bully Hines Redgrave. Hines thinks that Jeff is stealing his friends. The bully doesn’t understand that people like Jeff because he is kind and considerate of others. Hines vows revenge for Jeff’s actions.

Then, Jeff’s friends start disappearing! They haven’t gone far. They’re all attached to their screens and playing the latest popular video game, Revenge of the Talking Televisions. Jeff is sure that Hines is somehow behind it all, but how can he prove it? With the wise advice of his father and a little help from his own imagination, Jeff discovers a way to free his friends from Hines’s control and take out those talking televisions once and for all.

PRE-ORDER TODAY!

From fourth grade boys to middle school girls, or a parent wanting to spend quality time with their child (ren), Super Pencil is a non-stop adventure that will make you laugh, think, cry, and then cheer for the good guy.  

CLICK HERE to learn more about Super Pencil, the authors and to order copies for your kids, their friends, grandchildren, godchildren, nieces, nephews, or strangers!

Enter to Win!

Share this post and like us on Facebook @SuperPencil and Instagram @SuperPencilSaga for a chance to win an autographed copy of Super Pencil.  We will randomly select a winner Friday, July 20th.

 

 


I have prayed, pondered, and almost wept over the last several weeks while trying to make sense out of all of this.  I have asked myself, which American do I prefer my son to live in?  If I had to choose between a society where he is aware of who dislikes him because of the color of his skin and they are open and honest about their prejudices OR would I prefer he lived in a country where people overtly express their love for him, but covertly act in a way that does not support that notion? My answer…Neither! But if I had to choose, I would much rather know who hates me and have the ability to respond accordingly than to not know and suffer the effects of their hatred and discrimination. I would rather know than to be frustrated by an invisible wall of resistance, not understanding why I am not able to get beyond where I am.

Honestly, the Neo-Nazi / Racist protesters in Charlottesville don’t scare me. I am more fearful of the Congressman who verbally detest what they did and stand for, but not willing to make policies that counter the systemic injustices that are taking place within our criminal justice system.

I am more afraid of the police officer who pulls me over because he does not think I can afford or deserve to live in my neighborhood and points a gun at me because of his preconceived notions of me.

I am more terrified of an Attorney General who believes Affirmative Action is an injustice to him because he fails to process or understand the need for the law, to begin with.

I am more panic-stricken by a social construct that is built to limit the economic opportunities of an entire community of people but can make it appear as if it is their fault for not working hard enough.

I am more frightened of people who did not know, realize, or acknowledge that racism still existed until seeing the torches and swastikas in Charlottesville.

I could go on, but there is a group of people who look far less threatening, but possess an extraordinary amount of influence and power to impact my son’s life in ways that will affect generations to come.

Elie Wiesel said, “the opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference.” To say you care for someone and detest actions that hurt or offend the ones you say you care about without the willingness to make sacrifices for them, will cause your genuineness to be called into question. Colin Kaepernick simply chose not to be indifferent. It is evident why he protested is true and still taking place today. It’s ok to question his motives until he explains why he took a knee in the first place.  To continue to have a problem with his non-violent, silent protest after he explains why, only exacerbates his reasons for kneeling, to begin with.

Kaepernick is a microcosm of what I fear. He represents a community of people doing a right thing for the right reason, however, because someone has POWER and INFLUENCE, they oppress them, remove the economic opportunity, and make it appear to be ALL their fault.

Suppose that was your kid with a conviction? Do you believe he should lose his livelihood and ability to take care of his family because he decided to have a voice?  Would you support your son or ask him to compromise?

In closing, Steve Bannon called the protestors of Charlottesville a “collection of clowns.” At first glance, it appears to be the “pot calling the kettle black.” However, after I mused over it a bit more, I believe it justified my argument above. Bannon is the type that I fear. He is someone with influence, in a position of power, who can oppress the opportunities of a set of people. He can call the Neo-Nazi’s in Charlottesville “clowns” because he views them as being beneath him and only masquerading with no “real” power or influence. If this type can cause us to focus on them (the clowns), then those with influence and power can continue to “Make America Great Again” without any opposition.

We must not allow tweets from 45 and social media post to distract us from what they are enacting or the indifference of those who were elected to follow through on what they say they stand for.  It is not enough to make public statements that denounce bigotry, then fail to pass legislation that eradicates the same; or worse, write laws that perpetuate the injustices.

Call your Congressman or Congresswomen, today, and tell them that they can no longer be indifferent.  Cause them to act on what they say they believe. Secret hate is far worse than public love.  Make the call today!

TheOriginalMentor.com




6years ago today, I stepped out of MY comfort zone and entered into something that has been nothing short of amazing.  I have experienced, peace, joy, abundance, revelation, wisdom, guidance, pain, suffering, redemption, and growth.  

Leaving Corporate America, was uncertain, but true steps of faith will never be.

I encourage someone today, who is trying to decide if they have the strength to endure what you know God is telling you, but is afraid to leave what and who is standing between you and destiny.  

Harness the thought of lost opportunity and living a life beneath your potential to fuel your steps, because it helps you focus on what Can Be, instead of where you are and the possibility of not achieving it.  You would have never envisioned it, if God was not going to prepare you and provide the provision to make it come to pass.  

I have always dreamed of doing what I am doing now, just not in the environment that God chose to use me.  Do not limit your future because it does not align with what you desire.  Allow God room to move and He will bless you beyond what you can ask or think.  

What you have may be good, but remember that there is always a such thing as better. 

Welcome…I have walked into Victory and my life has not been the same!  #GodsWill

– Original Mentor OriginalMentor.com

“Being truly blessed is having things that money can not buy.”  Pastor Smokie Norful. #Hope




I Waited For You (www.p4cm.com)

Click the link above to see a great example of a man seeing through the layers of heart and pain.  An exampLe of a man, who heard her cries instead of her insults.  An example of a man, whose spirit connected in a way that felt better than the physical.  This is an example of a man, who was strong enough to love her unconditionally by remaining secure in who God made him to be.  

This is an example of a man who patiently waited for the women of his dreams to heal, grow, and become what and who he needed to share in this journey called life.

I pray that God covers their marriage and allows them to be a shining example of what marriage should be.  Marriage truly is bliss when we find the right person and not settle for the one who made us feel good but was not good for us.  

I could not resist sharing this video on my blog, because I am sure that so many can relate and be encouraged by their testimony.  

He or she is worth the wait.


Broken Heart Mended

A couple days ago, I posted a really simple question on Facebook, “How can I pray for you?”  Because of the number of responses, I have had the honor of speaking to and praying for many individuals and couples over the past couple days.  In each instance when I have had the opportunity to speak with both parties a consistent theme has emerged.

The contention within their relationships has to do with what they expect from their mate, but the focus tends to be on what they are NOT getting, instead of what they expect.

When you focus all of your attention on the problem, the conversations (or arguments) are one track and you will typically spend all of the time and energy trying to prove that you are right or why they are wrong.  However, when both of you ask a different question, “What would you like to happen?” now you become solution oriented and it shifts the conversation toward achieving a win / win situation.

Many of these couples are so close to relationship bliss, but they are all focused on what is not happening (the problem) instead of what they would like to happen (the solution).  They both are “complaining” about the same things, but missing that they both also want the same thing, but are simply disagreeing about HOW to get there.  When focusing on what you would like to see in your relationship, you discover what makes the other person happy instead of becoming frustrated about all that you do that they never seem to appreciate.

Imagine this...You are really hungry, so you decide to go to your favorite take out restaurant.  The customer service was incredible!  They really went above and beyond.  Actually, it was crowded, but because you are a regular, they made your order and pulled you to the side so that you did not have to wait…Royal Treatment! You hurry home, get comfortable and sit at the table to eat, but realize that they got your order all wrong.  They gave you extra of the stuff you said minus and minus the items you really like!  How would that make you feel?  When you complained to the manager, they replied, but we gave you special treatment, isn’t that enough?  

Relationships are very similar.  When you do not take the time to understand a persons needs, wants, and desires, it does not matter that you are their favorite and that they treated you special.  If you are not providing what they need and want they will not be fulfilled and will continue to be hungry for something more.  Some may settle and just eat what they are given, but others will complain to the manager.  If the “manager” (you) does not try to fix their order but only tells the customer what they should have done differently so that they did not make the mistake, eventually, they stop eating there and try another “restaurant”.

Below are four ways that can help you shift your thinking to become more focused on putting the pieces back together in your relationship, rather than only focusing on why it is broken to begin with.

4 Ways to Put The Pieces Back Together

  1. Recognize Your Part | NO MATTER the circumstance, there is typically something that you could have done differently.  Your actions may not have been the direct cause, however your lack of action or attitude could have planted the seed that caused a reaction. Without humility, it will be difficult to find a win / win solution because one will feel that the other owes them something more.
  2. Describe Desired Outcome | Do you even know what you want?  If you do not know what you want, you will not be able to recognize it when you receive it.  Setting proper expectations is vital to the success of any relationship, because it puts you on one accord.  Write them down!  Refer back to them.  This prevents miscommunication later in the relationship.
  3. Share Past Success | If your mate is currently doing something that you would like them to continue, share it!  “I like it when you…” is a great way to begin the sentence. Encouraging your mate reinforces what you like, which shifts your focus from what they are not doing.  Change your habits, change your life.  This will not happen overnight.  Have patience.
  4. New Habits | Going forward, do not point out what they are NOT doing, only reinforce what you like.  If you find that they are not meeting your needs or providing what you agreed to, bring the list that you wrote (step 2) and use it as a reminder.  Set a time during the week when you can check in.  Remember, do not talk about the negative, repeat step 3 and clarify how it makes you feel when you receive what is on your list.

Do not allow HOW you get to your desired outcome(s) to be the reason you never get there. There are many roads to the same destination.  Some may take longer than the others, but just relax and enjoy the journey with the person you claim to love.  If it takes longer, rejoice in the fact that you got to spend more time with them.  Make the most of the time instead of complaining about the journey.  If you arrive and do not like the person you are there with, you both will be ready to go home anyway.  Then, it all was just a waste of time. #Figuratively  #Litterally

Some may think that this post is cheesy!  Perhaps, but if you are striving to be in a happy, long-lasting relationship (or marriage), it will take a little queso to spice up your life every now and then.


This amazing video from Pastor Smokie Norful got me thinking about how difficult it is to describe LOVE?  Is it a feeling, an action, a state of being, or all of the above? If you met someone who did not know what LOVE is and you had the task of explaining it, how would you?  I believe it is difficult to describe, for most people, because they have never really experienced it (not referring to those in this video).

1 John 4:7-12 7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

Here is my questions…given the above scripture, Is it possible to, TRULY, love if you do not believe in or know God?

I have asked this question in the past and it has caused quite a stir.  I am not passing judgement.  I am not qualified, nor do I have a heaven or a hell to send anyone to.  I am simply asking a question.

The bible is very clear that God is “LOVE“.  The bible is my truth.  If God is love and you do not know or believe in Him, is what you express really LOVE?

Let’s say you have never met a specific person and you have never had a conversation with them.  However, someone tells you basic characteristics about them and even gives you a description of what they look like, act like, value, etc. At this point you could tell others about them, describe them, and possibly even act like them without knowing who they are. Those who do not know them might believe that you knew them, when you are really acting off of what you were told.  Only the people who actually know that person and who have a relationship with that person could determine if you really know them.

I believe LOVE is the same way.  If you have never actually experienced LOVE for yourself, someone could describe LOVE and tell you what it looks like, feels like, and why you should want it.  You could, then, tell others about LOVE, based on someone elses experience with LOVE without ever having experienced LOVE for yourself.

I believe God is the same way.  If you have never actually experienced God for yourself, someone could describe God and tell you what He looks like, feels like, and why you should want Him.  You could, then, tell others about God, based on someone elses experience with God, without ever having experienced God for yourself.

I believe that the world is full of people living vicariously through others experience of LOVE, who may not have actually had an encounter with the one who is LOVE.  Therefore, we have distorted God’s true essence of how to LOVE one another and created our own version of LOVE, that has conditions.  We are even made to believe that everyone can LOVE differently, when we were provided a model of what LOVE is supposed to look like.  Have we conformed.

What are your thoughts?

Love is…

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.

If God is Love, then God is…

God is patient, God is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 God does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 God never fails.

Agree or Disagee?