Family

I always misunderstood the phrase good family. Most people use the phrase when discussing someone’s choice in dating. The term good family then serves as a part of a rubric to follow. My mother would often say, “Make sure he comes from a good family.” I thought she meant that when dating someone new, I should make sure that he came from a family that was financially stable. As an adult I now understand that my mother meant something totally different. She meant that when a person comes from a good family then they have a built in schema for what a positive family interaction looks like.

Every family has their own set of issues and lacks stability in some areas (whether it is mental or emotional). However, there are two common attributes that are present in what I notice in the good families that I interact with, including my own. In most good families there are important traditions that are specific to that one family. Those traditions make up the basic structure of the family and provide them with most of memories that will serve as a road map for their ongoing relationships. Second, there is good old fashion love. Though the dynamics within each family structure varies, those are two key elements that help to make a good family. There are difficult circumstances that occur in all families since no family is free from their fair share of drama and pain. However, a good family knows how to combat those issues with love while continuing to practice those traditions that are unique to their family.

Good Love+ Good Traditions= One Good Family.

Brooklyn is a Verb

Brooklyn is a verb. To Brooklyn is to dance, to live freely, and to love. There is a freedom in Brooklyn that transcends time and space. You can live a good life despite your circumstances right there in that borough south of Manhattan. Living in Bed-Stuy Brooklyn from 2003-2005 was a life changing experience for me. It gave me more of an education than graduate school; teaching me through a curriculum of love, music, diversity, and community.

Brooklyn is a verb because, like the word summer, it commands you to do something. For example, people summer in Martha’s Vineyard. They bike ride and they swim in the ocean, submitting to their location and to the inevitable beauty of their surroundings. The same thing happens in Brooklyn. Engulfed by a sea of brownstones and delicious restaurants, you submit to the beauty of your neighborhood and before you know it, you find yourself smiling and dancing down the street.

After listening to my favorite Jazz artist, Gregory Porter, I realized Brooklyn is a verb. There is absolutely no other way. Listen, close your eyes and Brooklyn. 

Happy 14th Birthday Taylor

In honor of my daughter’s 14th birthday, I decided to write five things that I have learned from her over the years. She is an exceptional child. Diagnosed with deafness at birth and autism at the age of five, Taylor has taught me patience, perseverance and how to smile even when things are challenging. The doctors thought that she would never walk, but she surpassed the odds. 

A couple years ago, I wrote a letter to thanking her for traveling with me over the years to new cities and  new schools. Taylor has taught me so many lessons in the process. Below are five of them:
 

1. Bathe Often. Water is refreshing and signifies new life. Taylor swims everyday (in the bathtub) with the zeal of an Olympic swimmer.  I look forward to continuing her swimming lessons. The water is where I see her confidence and talent shine through. The amazing thing is that she taught herself how to swim. 

  2. Smile. Her smile is infectious and she has an amazing sense of humor. I am grateful for her ability to smile, even though her world is limited.
3. Watch carefully before you speak. Without the ability to hear, she cannot understand certain signals. However, she watches carefully, sizes up the situation, and then responds. Listening involves more than using your ears; you can see better when your mouth is not moving.
 

4. Follow the leader. Don’t follow just any leader, but appropriate leadership. Rather than thinking  of ways to not comply, follow the rules. It keep things simple and as a result you save money time, and energy. 

5. Learn a new language. Language is everything. Without the ability to speak someone’s language, or the willingness to get an interpreter to assist, it is almost impossible to communicate with them effectively. The same thing applies for love languages. Learning the languages of the people you love, is not only beneficial, but it creates a deep and long lasting understanding for who they are. Therefore, giving you a better opportunity to love them properly. 



But as it is written: “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9 KJV

Good Holidays

I love Christmas! Growing up, it was always a major event. My mom was meticulous about the decorations and there were tons of presents underneath the tree. We would take turns opening gifts based on our ages, and usually it would go from youngest to oldest, which meant that I was always able to go first. It was always a two day event: Christmas Eve and Christmas day. My mom would stay in the kitchen frantically cooking and the kitchen was full of delicious smells. The movie It’s a Wonderful Life would be playing on the big screen television. I would get nervous every year because I always had a stack of gifts to wrap before bedtime.  As an adult, I am still the designated gift wrapper. It is important that all the gifts are wrapped perfectly. The corners must be folded properly, and just the right amount of tape should be used.

My aunt taught me how to wrap gifts.  She loved Christmas too. She was an avid gift giver. No matter who they were, she ALWAYS had a gift for everyone that would visit her at Christmas. 

One year, my brother and I decided to check around our house and find our gifts ahead of time. We looked in all the closets trying to figure out which gifts were ours. To our dismay, on Christmas morning we learned the gifts that we thought were our were not and we had guessed wrong.

Over the years the traditions have changed, but for our family it is still a two day event. Fun, fun, fun. As kids, we would open up our gifts and then get dressed to make the rounds to our extended families to pick up gifts. Then we would come home and play with our toys, praying that we could do it all over again in the morning. As a parent, I pray that I can create the same magic for my daughters while still preserving the meaning of Christmas; the birth of Christ. I hope to have a perfect balance of love and tradition that they can hold onto for the rest of their lives . The best gift to give at Christmas is love.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16;k

The Good Life

I have a good life. In less than four weeks, I will host a launch party for my consulting business, which is aimed at equipping people with the necessary resources to live their best life. I am elated about this opportunity and would like for you to join me.

Since starting the original blog in February 2010 I learned a number of things about life, the goodness of God and the transformative power of good thinking, good friends, and good relationships. I encourage you to start to think about those good things in your life, and mediate on them, allowing that to be the platform for your good life. Whether through spiritual renewal, or your desire to change your life, you have the power to do something new and different. I am not a life coach, but a consultant willing to equip you with those first steps in achieving your goals. There is something that happens when you make that first step. You are then able to build the faith necessarily to make those next steps that will cause you to live The Good Life!

If you haven’t already, RSVP for The Good Life Launch December 2, 2011:

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=247714088611743