For The Crown

Last Saturday, March 5, 2022 in Charlotte, NC, I was honored and blessed to be part of something historical and magical. It has taken me almost a week to revel in my experience and fully feel the magnitude, thoughts, and feelings about it to be able to get to this point.

On that night the city’s brand new Major League Soccer team, Charlotte FC, made their inaugural season home opener against the LA Galaxy in Bank of America Stadium. The vibe and atmosphere was absolutely electric. A record 74,479 fans were on hand for such a historical event and to cement it into Charlotte, MLS, and sports history. The game was great and the crowd was in full force the entirety of it. However, the game is not what I am writing about today. Instead, I am going to write about what may have been the most magical and awe inspiring event of the night and it happened before the game even started.

The moment that probably left the most lasting effect on myself, as well as many others I’d imagine, was the singing of the National Anthem. Michelle Thompson (Finalist of The Voice-season 3) was on hand to deliver the singing of the iconic song. As she began singing, the microphone and PA system suddenly cut out a few times. That is when the magic happened. Immediately, nearly 75,000 fans in attendance jumped in to carry the song on our backs in unison. If you were there or have even seen clips of this show of unity and patriotism, it is sure to give you goosebumps. Before I get to the meat of this, I would like to add one thing. I was outside the stadium during sound check and she absolutely killed it! Her rendition was fantastic! Now back to what this is about.

The show of nearly 75,000 fans jumping in so quickly to sing the anthem was awe inspiring to say the least. With everything that is going on around the world and in the United States these days, the show of unity was nothing short of magical. There were no dividers. There were no racial or cultural differences. There were no political differences. There were no religious differences. There were no sexual preference differences. There were no differences or divisions of any kind. There was only unity among everyone. It did not matter where you were from, what you believed, how much money you make, or anything else. Nearly 75,000 people from all kinds of backgrounds came together as one voice and lifted one song as one and we were at peace with that. Nothing else seemed to matter at the time. We did it for Charlotte. We did it for the game. We did it for the nation. We did it For The Crown (the team and community’s slogan). We did it for us. No one forced us or made us do it. It was a choice. We all did it individually. We all did it together. For a few fleeting moments we were one with a common goal. It was very reminiscent of the time immediately following 9/11, when nothing mattered but this nation putting all differences aside and coming together in love for our fellow man.

The team and community’s slogan “For The Crown” has grown quickly and means so much to the team, supporters, fans, and the area. Through this saying, chant, and hashtag we are coming together as one. In addition, it seems to be a binding agent of unity and love for one another regardless of other factors. I know this is a common thing within sports. Fans coming together for their team and community are widespread throughout the world.

What happens when the game ends? Do we still have and show that love and unity for our fellow man? The state of our nation and world says that we don’t as much as we should. Why can’t we be better each day at doing better for each other for our own crown? I’m not talking about our religious or afterlife beliefs. I’m talking about ourselves. I would imagine that almost everyone reading this has a pride in themselves. That is the crown that I am referring to. If we can come together, love each other, and show kindness and humanity for each other surrounding sporting events for teams and communities, then why can’t we for each other in our daily lives? What is the difference? If we can do it “For The Crown”, then we can do it for our own crown. We can do it to be proud of ourselves. We can do it individually…together. It is a choice. No one can make us. I’m sure most of us wish that the world and society that we live in would be better. It can be. We prove that week in and week out surrounding sports, but no one can make us. To see change, we have to be change. We have to do it individually…together. We have to do it “For The Crown”. It starts with us!

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Do Good, Get good

I have taken some time away for a while to focus on myself and some other things in my life. All the while, still thinking about new topics and things to explore here and perhaps even some upgrades and/or a few variations along the way. With that being said, Let’s get back to this.

During my time away, one thing that has been very obvious to me has been the amount of kindness, or lack thereof, by so many people. I’m not talking necessarily about things that take a lot of effort like helping someone move or anything like that. I’m also talking about how much negativity we spread about others in our daily lives by talking behind ones back or falling into gossip creek that feeds the rumor mills.

Let me start by saying that gossip and information will always be passed around as a form of communication from one person to another. However, we can each choose to process what is passed to us and determine what is relevant, and somewhat accurate, to be passed on down the line. We do not need to feed these rumor mills by continuing to use derogatory words or comments that we know, or feel, may be just used to put someone down. Like I said, I know this will always happen. That is only because we allow it to. We feed into that realm of behavior. If we could find a way to stop, it would begin to cease. Do you like it when you hear such things that may be spread about you? My guess is no. So why would you continue to feed the type of behavior that you would not like coming to your own doorstep? It is your choice whether or not to continue to fuel the putting down and insulting of others.

In addition to the above, there seems to be an extreme decline in the amount of general good deeds and doing things to simply brighten someone’s day. It could be as simple as opening a door, a wave and a smile, a warm and sincere hello. We never know what others are going through on a daily basis, just as they have no clue about ours usually. It takes very little to smile, wave, and say good morning or good afternoon. Simple acts like that could possibly make someones day better just by giving them a smile. Such acts used to be common place in our lives and communities. Sadly, if we experience those things these days, many of us immediately think to ourselves “What is wrong with them?” or look at them like they are crazy. Am I wrong?

I guess my point is this. We need to get back to being hospitable and kind. Greet each other with kindness and a smile. Open or hold a door for others. Lend that person $5 or $10 bucks. Give them a lift. Do things like these without thinking “What’s in it for me?” or expecting anything at all in return. Simply do good because you can. The universe will be good to you. As the saying goes, you reap what you sow. If you want good, do good. It will eventually be payed back to you in spades.

We all complain about how different the world has become, but do nothing to try to get back what we miss about it or feel is missing. We can change the world. Honestly, we can. It starts with us though. If we want change, it has to start with each of us.

So, good morning or goodnight and I hope you have a great day. I know you can. I believe in you! Go rock the day and make it brighter. Oh, and as always, Stay Golden!

‘Tis the season(all year long)

I’ve been sitting on this one for a couple of years now. Christmas 2016 to be exact. I thought that, as we are in the midst of full holiday swing, I’d share these thoughts for you to ponder upon. Enjoy.

Just a little message that was weighing heavily on me in the early hours this morning I felt the need to share(like 2-3a.m. early…lol)..Please read and share if you are moved to.

As I lay here unable to sleep early Christmas day, I have few thoughts I’d like to share.

Many people are celebrating this Christmas and holiday season without people they care about for the 1st time. It could be a brother, sister, son, daughter, mother or father. Maybe it’s another relative, friend, or even a celebrity or public figure that we were fond of. Either way, it can be more difficult for some people than others. Too often we take those around us for granted and don’t realize how precious life is. Cherish the time you get with such people in your life, you never know when their time here may be up. I don’t just mean during the holidays, but rather every chance you get throughout the year. I know we all lead busy, time consuming lives in today’s world. It is definitely a different time and place than many of us knew years ago. We can no longer let that be an excuse not to show love and the importance of those in our lives. For example, if I left this world today, how many of you would be saying or thinking “If only he knew…,if only I’d done or said…, I never got the chance to….etc”. You get the picture. Right? Make time, not excuses, for those you care about. It may be the last time you can.

Also, there is usually a stronger push during this season to help others in need or less fortunate. We even call it “The season of giving” sometimes. We, as the human race, need to do a better job of making that a year round thought process, not just a month or two out of the year. Paint if you will a picture in your mind. How much of a better community, state, country, or planet we could have if we did better spreading kindness and help to those who need it all year long? It just seems that people are more generous around this time of year. Where is that love for fellow man in let’s say…June? Is it as strong as in late November and December? I bet not in most cases. However, the need is still there just the same. Why do we let a a calendar dictate when we help others? We should be doing it regardless of what time of year it is. All I’m trying to say is that we have to change ourselves and our own thinking as individuals before we can even think about changing our society and world. We all want a better, kinder, world in which to live…right? Then change within. That will ripple out into the world. We can change the world…in time…but it has to start with us as individuals first. Drop the hatred, labels, stereotypes, and ill will. Instead, spread love, kindness, and joy. That is how we create change. It’s not going to happen on it’s own, we have to all be participants in creating it. Be the change you want to see in the world. That’s the only place it starts.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.
I love you all!!

Life and Football

Have you ever thought about, or even noticed the similarities between life and football? If you take a moment to really think about it, they are more alike than you have probably ever noticed at first glance.

It starts with the introduction of two teams, your mother and father. A little while later comes you, and just like the coin toss, you are either male or female. Also just like the toss of the coin, both are completely out of anyone’s control. Then the game begins.

Each choice you make is like a play on the field. Sometimes you make the right call and move forward, other times you make the wrong one and move backwards. Either way, you just have to do your best and keep trying to move forward towards your goal(s). There will also be times that you have to punt and just start over.

Like the season, you will have many times to play this game over and over in many different locations and many different situations and conditions. Each time you do, you just have to do the best that you can at the time in each situation, or game, that you may face.There aren’t any winners or losers in the end however. By the time the game of life is over,you just have to hope that you have more good choices(wins) than bad(loses) on your record.

So, if you think about it, the two are really more similar than you would probably think. My advice to you is to just play the game of life to the best of your ability, have fun, and just hope for the best possible outcome.

Oh, and play like a champion every day!!

Healing

In life, we all go through some hard and painful events. Many times we look at these events and think that the pain is the hard part. I tend to disagree with that. Here is why I say that.

Although there may a great deal of hurt and pain associated with these events, both physically and emotionally, I think that the hardest part is actually the healing. Don’t get me wrong, the pain can also be quite hard and difficult to get through. There is no denying that at all. It can be anything from the loss or death of a friend, loved one, family member, physical injury, mental or emotional trauma, or a host of any other things.

In my opinion, however, the healing is the hardest part. That is the part that has you learning to live with, and dealing with, the pain. The part of learning how to cope and move on, even though you may never truly forget or be the same. The part of having to live with, in many cases, a life changing event and the effects it may have on your life moving forward. That is the hard part. Pain is temporary, but the healing from it can last long after the pain is actually gone. Some scars and healing may even last a lifetime. Healing is truly the hardest part by far in my opinion.

Regrets

reĀ·gret

verb

1. feel sad, repentant, or disappointed over (something that has happened or been done, especially a loss or missed opportunity). “she immediately regretted her words”

noun

1. a feeling of sadness, repentance, or disappointment over something that has happened or been done. “she expressed her regret at Virginia’s death”

Some people say that they have no regrets. I respectfully call bullshit on those people. We all have things in our life that we wish we would have done or said differently. Maybe words or actions done out of anger or other emotions. Perhaps something was taken out of context or misunderstood. Or maybe you missed out on doing or being a part of something because you had to make a decision that you later wished that you had done differently. We all have regrets. It is part of life and is human nature. We second guess things and use reflection to try to validate our mind and heart’s “What if’s” surrounding the incidents at hand.

The truth is, we ALL have regrets. That feeling can overtake you like a wildfire sometimes if you are not careful. It may cause you to overreact to things, or you may simply start obsessing about it. Thus, causing even more damage. It is much easier said than done at times to just let something go and not worry about it. Especially if you have a regret about it. That just means that it meant enough to you for you to actually care. That isn’t a bad thing. You just need to be careful how much you think about it, and not let it consume you. That can be very dangerous and lead to depression, anxiety, and a host of other issues that can, and will, really mess up your life. Like i said,that is MUCH easier said than done sometimes.

Life is hard and is full of choices on a daily basis. Some we make or do without even realizing it as we go about our day. Others we labor and debate on quite hard. Either way, chances are at some point you may even second guess those. It happens. None of us are perfect and make the right choices every single time. We can only do the best we can at the time, and if regret rears it’s head, just do the best to remedy the situation that you can. I say that because sometimes regret over something can lead to depression, and depression can in turn affect other parts of our lives such as friendships, relationships, marriages, work, etc. It can even sneak up on you at times and before you know it…BOOM…everything hits a wall.

So, I guess my point is, we will all encounter regret over certain things in our lives no matter who we are or what we do. All we can really do is to hope for the best, try not to dwell on things too much, and try to repair any damage that we may inflict on our lives if it comes to that because of regret induced actions. Apologize, make amends, try your best to find peace in what happened, and forgive…not only yourself but others. Regret can be a nasty thing. Don’t let it ruin your life. It will if you let it.

Changes

Change is a constant in life, as well as our journey, on this rock we call home. If you stop and think about it, we are not that much different from it in some ways. I want to touch on one similarity in particular right now though.

Just like Earth, we are constantly changing. From one moment to another on a daily basis, things change us and shape us during the course of a day. At the end of our day we are not the same as we were when we started it. Sometimes that can be good or it can be bad. However, we are different. How did today change you? Do you even know? How in tune are you into to life’s little moments. I think most times we are oblivious to them. I know big and important things happen and we definitely realize those. I’m mainly talking about the little ones. The small moments that make us happy, sad, stress us out, or make us angry. Sometimes it’s those little moments that make the biggest impact on us.

The little moments in life are where the greatness in life lies. Of course there are larger moments that are great. Iconic and milestone moments that change and shape us. The little moments though, are where it’s at. We need to do better about living in the moment. When we do this, we open ourselves more to see, feel, and appreciate them. Don’t get me wrong, have dreams, set goals, and look to the future and where you want to be. Just look there while you live in the present. Live in the moment. Don’t be so centered around the stresses and worries in life that you lose those moments.

Let those moments change you for the better. Whether it be from happiness, or a lesson learned. Change is going to happen. That is a certainty. Accept that. It’s what we do with that, that makes us who and what we are. So, love freely, laugh often, and live life in the little moments! That my friends, is how you live a full life. Live life….don’t just exist!

Let your light shine

Sometimes in life we get caught up in things and start to lose who we really are. We lose our identity. We may be trying to live up to someone else’s expectations of us, trying to fit in with a certain group of people, or simply by just putting our guard up to protect ourselves from being hurt. We normally don’t see this, if we even do, until it is too late although people close to you may see it long before you. Before we know it, we have changed into someone that we don’t recognize in some ways. Change and adaptation are part of growing, but not all change is good. Change can also be temporary. If we are not careful, we will start to lose that light and spark that made us, well, us. We must never let that happen. We can guard ourselves and be around others without having to sell out part of us. We have to stay true to ourselves in the long run and let our light shine.

Once we start to lose ourselves, the road we are on can become dark and lonely at times. It will most definitely feel like it at least. We may start feeling like people have abandoned us, or may we just simply pushed them away. Whatever the case may be, we are never alone. There are over 7.6 billion people on this planet. There is at least one out there that will listen to you, talk with you, be a friend, or care about you. You are never alone and you never were. Sometimes we just need to open our eyes a little wider or look in a different direction to see them.

If we do put up walls to protect ourselves, we usually tell ourselves that the right person, or people, will come along to break them down. Is that really fair? What if the right person, or people come along and can’t see who you really are because of those walls? Think of it like this. You drive down the road daily and pass tons of houses that you never even pay attention to. How many of those homes do think are absolutely beautiful and breathtaking on the inside, but we are never able to see that part of them? Does that change your perspective any? The same goes for us. Most of us are quite beautiful, but we fail to let others inside to see that. I am so very guilty of this too, so I am not casting stones. Guarding ourselves is completely natural and expected. We just have to get much better at letting people see us while doing it. That special person, or people, may walk right past and never even see us through or over the walls that we built.

I know much of this is much easier said than done. After all, we are programmed to act and respond to situations based on what we have been taught or have learned on our own from our experiences. I will admit, right now I am the pot calling the kettle black. However, I am working immensely to change that about myself. We can’t become isolated, cold, and dark. There is far too much of that in this world. To change that, we need more light in it. We each have to start letting our light shine for others to see. Along with that will come love, kindness, caring, and happiness. Just imagine how something so small could totally change the world, as we know it, if we each just made that little adjustment. The world would start becoming a much brighter place. Okay, here is another perspective change. A single raindrop is very small and nothing special at all. Right? If you get a bunch of raindrops together, you get a puddle. Add even more, now you have a flood and it all started as single raindrops. Let’s all be raindrops and flood the Earth!

You are not alone and you never were. Just stay true to YOU, let people see you, and let your light shine! If you have lost your light, get that spark back! It will attract the people that you want and need in your life. It will also make the world a brighter place for us all!

Know your worth

Many times we lose our sense of worth throughout our lives. Whether it’s with employment, in relationships, or even just to ourselves. We lose our own value and settle for less than what we should or deserve. This is done unintentionally sometimes in my experience.

Let’s start with work as I explain further what I mean.

It doesn’t matter if you are currently employed, unemployed, or just looking at other options in order to make a change. Many times we settle for much less just to have something to do and an income. If you are employed, chances are that you are pretty much underpaid for what you do or bring to the table with your company. That is becoming more common in many workplaces. It is not always the case but there are multitudes of where it is. We need to try to be more aware of what our worth is in these situations and address the matter accordingly. If you are employed, talk to your management and see what options are available to be done to make you feel that you are being compensated more fairly for what you have to offer. If you are unemployed, it is much easier to lose your sense of worth just to be able to get a job and have some income coming in to the home. Be careful with this. I understand all too well the fact that sometimes we have to take less of what me may want, or want to do, just to land a job. If you feel the need to do that, especially if it has been difficult landing a job, don’t stop looking for that better fit. Which brings me to that portion of this topic. If you are searching, have an idea of what you and your talents are worth. Try to make that a reality as you find that fit. If you can’t find a fit, make your own path. Think outside the box.

Next we are on to relationships.

Trust me when I say that I am very familiar with losing your worth in this setting. It is very easy to do sometimes, especially if you feel unappreciated. Whether we are starting a new relationship or have been in one for a while, we tend to begin to lose ourselves and our worth in order to try to please the other person sometimes. It may not be an all the time kind of thing, but we do it. I’m not talking about compromise in general. I’m talking about how we view ourselves and our worth in the relationship. We tend to settle too often just to be near someone or have someone in our lives. We shouldn’t! We need to better grasp what we are looking for, want, and deserve in relationships. Never, ever just settle! Personally, I have settled a lot in my past in relationships. It has taken me a very long time to start to realize what I have to offer someone. I have also realized that not just anyone will get a chance to see that, like I have in the past, as I look to my future. I know what I deserve and will settle for nothing less. I have become much pickier in the types of people I will trust with my heart. I will hold out and wait as long as it takes for that to happen. Now, I know that when we meet people it takes time to get to know them and see if something may work or not. I get that. However, if it is not working, if I am unhappy, or even if I am unsure about someone, I am not afraid to cut things off. None of us need to be. If it is not fitting, I can’t make a round peg fit in a square hole. Our perfection is out there to find. Wait for it for as long as it takes. When you do find it, hold on to it! When you find “The One”, you will usually feel it in your heart, not just your head. Sometimes we are wrong. I get that too. All we can do is the best we can with the information that we have at the time. Know your worth and wait for that special one. It will make it all worth it in the end. No matter how long it takes. Waiting for them is better than settling for less and maybe missing them when they come along.

So, now that leaves us with our own personal sense of worth.

This one I could go on and on and on about, but won’t. I will keep it pretty short. I may revisit this part later on it’s own. Let me start by saying that you ARE worthy. You ARE great. You ARE special. Sometimes, especially in times of heavy stress, we feel worthless or like we have nothing to offer ourselves much less anyone else. That could not be farther from the truth. I know it doesn’t feel like it at the time. Trust me when I say that I do. We each have so much to offer ourselves, someone else, our companies, and the world. We first must be able to see that in ourselves. If others see that in you and tell you, LISTEN TO THEM! At times that can be so hard to do. However, in God’s eyes, we are ALL special and worthy. To HIM we are priceless and HE made us that way. We all have our own things that we bring to the table that make us each special and very valuable to ourselves and to others. We just need to learn to see it in us too.

I will close with one question…

What is your worth?

The answer…

You are priceless!!

Now you know.

Independence Day

Today, July 4th, we celebrate our independence as individuals, families, communities, and a nation. It is rightfully the most patriotic of our national holidays. However, our independence should be celebrated on a daily basis.

Our independence should be viewed as more than just the freedoms that we hold dear as a nation. We should recognize and celebrate on a daily basis our independence as individuals no matter where in the world you are from or reside. Race, religion, social status, and anything like that aside, we are all the same as human beings. We are all built in the same manner and bleed the same blood. That is where our similarities end though. Outside of all that we are all vastly different and unique in our own ways. There are roughly 7.6 billion people on this rock that we share as our home. That number also grows by leaps and bounds every second of every day. Each one different than the other. Much like 7.6 billion different fingerprints roaming the world every single day.

Individuality is a huge part of who we are and are meant to be. We are not created to be like the person next to us. How boring and mundane would that be? We are created and go through life always changing, growing, and learning, but all the while, staying completely unique into ourselves. We need to celebrate that more often. Celebrate who we are as unique creations of art. We are all one of’s! Every single one of us is one of a kind and should stay that way. We should never let anyone or anything take that away or change us. Stay true to who you are at your core! People will come in and out of our lives. We can’t lose ourselves trying to please or impress other people. We also cant let other people control us and try to make us into who they want us to be. Just be you! Stay what makes you, well you. People will either like that and stay, or they won’t, and they will go. That isn’t your concern. Just like in art, some colors work together at times to make beautiful works of art. Other times, those same colors won’t work together. Choose to be around the colors that make your life a beautiful piece of art. Fill it with as much of that as you possibly can. Fill your life with the things and people that make it vibrant, beautiful, and the unique individual that you are. Celebrate your independence every single day. Not just July 4th!