Life’s Playlist….. Glass House by Jaci Velasquez

One of the things I like most about social media is staying in contact with friends and family.  It is a good way to know what is going on with those I love and what is going on in the world.

When I wake up in the mornings, I turn on the news and I open my Facebook.  For the next 30 – 40 minutes I study them both.

I guess I am nosey, but I really enjoy knowing what is going on in the lives of my friends.  Social Media has allowed me to reconnect with people from my childhood, I like that.

Something I hate about social media is how divisive it can be.  Sometimes simple comments can be misunderstood and blown out of proportion.

Sometimes our own inner prejudices come out and hypocrisies go on full display.

I made a decision a couple of years ago that I no longer discuss politics on social media, it is simply too much of a powder keg to hang your hat on a meme or put your feelings out in 280 characters.

Additionally, I decided I wouldn’t be discussing religion, I have my faith, you have yours, I don’t judge yours and expect you not to judge mine…. that is what Jesus would do after all, right?

One of the things I hate most about social media is when we put out a persona that simply isn’t true, or when we try to create a judgement on others when the windows of our own glass house has major cracks.

In my humble opinion, there is nothing worse than a religious bigot.  People who speak for a religion instead of a relationship with God are destructive, it took me a long time to realize that, but I did and have no apologies for that statement.

This weekend one of those situations arose on Facebook and to put it bluntly, it really pissed me off.  Someone I have known since childhood, someone I consider a friend today and forever, put a completely bigoted meme on their Facebook feed that slapped me in the face.

I don’t know if it was meant for me or not, I don’t care.  It was spiteful, it was rude, it was bigoted and it was NOT something that Christ would teach.

Without going into much detail, the meme reported that some people could not be Christians.  REALLY?  The Christ I serve teaches that all who come to him are forgiven, loved and saved.  It doesn’t say, everyone but a certain group of people can be saved.

I wish I could laugh about these types of posts, but I can’t, because, I know you.  I know your life, I know your past and I know your heart, when you try to lessen the faith of others because you may have an issue with a segment of their lives, it weakens your argument and just makes you look like a fool.

And the people who “like” the memes, yes I check those out too…. you are in the same boat.

Faith is something that is personal, it is for the individual and their walk with Christ, it is NOT for you to judge!

And now, I step off my soap-box, and you may return to your regularly scheduled programming.




Life’s Playlist…. Stand Tall by Burton Cummings

Day 20 of the Jeff Goins – 500 Words, 31 Days Writing Challenge…. Write about Justice.

Dr. Seuss put it succinctly, Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.

I often ponder on how we as a society have gotten to the point we are.  It seems as though our compassion for our fellow-man often falls behind political debate and the party lines that used to help us find compromise, today only hardens our convictions.

At what point did we get to the strident beliefs that our fellow-man is not of value, when did we get to the point where we believed that our convictions are move important than that of our neighbor and at what point did we decided it is going to be “my way, or no way?”

Day after day we see the debates that confront us all, divide us.  I once heard a pastor say, if we would concentrate on the 90% that we agree on, the other 10% could fall into place.

I’m not Pollyanna enough to believe that we will ever come to a point where we all agree on everything, our differences are what has made us great as a nation.  But those differences used to be celebrated, today the division that is created threatens our society in ways that outside threats cannot.

As American’s we are good at coming together when life’s challenges threaten us.  We help our fellow-man when floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, tragedy strikes, but within days we let our differences harden our actions and go back to the win at all costs mentality that has gotten us to where we are.

Here are a few truths that I stand by with conviction and resolve:

  • We are stronger together than we are separately.
  • America is the greatest nation ever to grace the planet.
  • Only America can destroy America.
  • We are all Americans, there is no place in America for hyphenated Americans.
  • I am not guilty for the sins of my forefathers, nor is your life affected by those same sins.
  • We have all had leaders we didn’t vote for, however those same leaders were elected and the OFFICE they represent always deserves respect.
  • If my leaders lie to me once, they will lie again and again.
  • America is a guiding light, we have our problems, but together there is nothing we cannot overcome.
  • Leaders must hold a higher standard morally and ethically and their actions must always represent that higher calling.

I believe in the melting pot of America that has served us well for over 200 years, we have our problems, but we are a resilient nation.  The only way to cure the ills that affect us today and into our future is to start acting like Americans.

I fear, for many of us, the standards we were built upon have been forgotten.  You are entitled to help when you need it, you aren’t entitled to anything if you don’t give 100% towards the betterment of our society.

Unless your report says you are 100% native American, you and your ancestors were immigrants.  Immigrants built this nation and walls, fences and waters should never keep them out.  However, immigrants must assimilate to our nation’s ideals and cultures, and you must follow the rules to be here.

No one is entitled to be an American and if you don’t like the way our nation is headed, then change it, lawfully with ideals that can help make us stronger, not tear us apart.

I pray for our nation and hope that we will once again start acting like Americans, the land of the free, the home of the brave.

Whether you are black, white, straight, gay, old, young or any other subset of the American dream, it is your responsibility to help move us forward in ways that honor the forefathers who built this shining city on a hill.

Life’s Playlist… Bugler’s Dream by John Williams

Today is my Day 17 of the Jeff Goins — 31 Day, 500 Word Writing Challenge.

The assignment for today is to “make a point and fight for it.”

Every two years the Olympics roll around, on a rotating basis we skip between the summer and winter Games.

The Olympics have always been one of those pivotal times in life where I stop what I am doing and invest in the days of worldwide competition.

I contend that the Olympic movement should be the governance for our planet.

As the Winter Olympic Games get underway this weekend in PyeongChang, South Korea, I challenge you to consider the possibilities.

Years in advance of the Games taking place in a City, multiple communities around the world compete for the opportunity to be named the host city.

Selections are made for the hosts by who provides the best presentation, offers the world the best “meeting place,” and can provide the infrastructure and support to welcome the athletes of the world into their backyard.

You don’t hear back-biting from the cities that lost, sure there is disappointment, but in the spirit of Olympism the communities celebrate the newly selected host and work harder in the next opportunity to score their chance at victory.

Where I think our world leadership could learn the most from the Olympic movement is on the field of competition.

When the athletes of the world gather together on the field of competition, they do their best to succeed.  You rarely see poor sportsmanship or fights.  They work hard for victory and when a competition is over, the participants shake hands and celebrate the victor.

In the world we live in, where leaders no longer lead, and we are so dug-in to our own philosophy and mind-set, isn’t it refreshing to see the youth of the world gather, compete and accept the outcome.

Certainly there are those who try to skirt the rules to give themselves an advantage.  Some get by with it, but most often, the Olympic movement uncovers those who don’t play by the rules and handle those who cheat by singling them out, expelling them and handling the issues with dignity.

Finally, the Olympics are all about excellence.  Everyone who qualifies through hard-work and dedication to their chosen endeavor are allowed to participate.  However, everyone is not entitled a win.  In the Olympic Games, there are no participation trophies, there are winners and others who compete.

I think if we found the world operating more like the Olympic Games we would find the world a better place to live.  People doing their best, competing fairly for the opportunity at victory and being awarded the top prize by being superior to the competition.

As you enjoy the Games of the Winter Olympics over the next days, imagine what the world would be like if these were the ideals of the governments, leaders and people of our world.  It could provide a way towards a much-needed acceptance, honor and celebration of what is possible, the joy of competition and the flame that would light a brighter future for us all.


Life’s Playlist…. Luck Be A Lady performed by Seal

The day I won the lottery my life changed.  Twelve million dollars tends to do that.

As I read the numbers off my sheet and saw each one match, I couldn’t believe my luck and had no idea what to do first.

I called my parents and shared the good news, then my brother.  Being the sensible ones in the family they advised me to put the card away for safe keeping and not to tell anyone else about my good fortune.

As it was a Sunday, I wouldn’t be able to cash in the winnings until the next day.  I taped the sheet to the back of my dresser for safe keeping and locked myself in my apartment out of fear that someone out there knew that I had won.

I spoke to my family a couple of times during the day and arranged for them to drive down the next morning and we would go to the Lottery office together to claim our winnings.

I barely slept that night.  I was convinced that every noise was an armed robber coming into my house and stealing my ticket.

At 29 years old, I knew that my life would never be the same.  No financial worries would allow me to do what I wanted with my life, start businesses, help other people or do nothing.

What I knew was the my family would be taken care of, there may not be enough to help others, but for us, we would now live on easy-street.

By the time my family arrived on Monday morning, I had my plan in place.  Half the money would be mine, my parents would receive 25% and the final 25% would be split between my brother and a foundation we would start to help other people.

As my mom, dad and brother came bounding into my tiny apartment, we all embraced and laughed at out good luck.   It was one of the most exciting moments of my life to see them so excited!

They asked to see the ticket and we all went into my bedroom where I dug the ticket off the back of my dresser.  We compared the numbers and again celebrated when I called out the sixth number on the roll.  We were winners!

Too nervous to drive, we piled into my brother’s car and started to make our way towards the Georgia Lottery Office in downtown Atlanta.  It was only about a fifteen minute drive from my house, but as I held that jackpot in my hands it felt like a lifetime.

Once we reached the offices, the numbers were verified over and over again.  It was now official, I was the latest winner of the Georgia Lottery.  When the Executive Director came in to meet me, she said “congratulations, you are Georgia’s newest millionaire!”

Within the next hour, the funds were deposited into my checking account, it was done by draft so that I didn’t have to worry about carrying the check to the bank.  When the deposit was made, there was $38 in the account, needless to say that changed dramatically!

Shortly after the funds were deposited I was presented with a ceremonial big check and my family and I took questions from local media.  It was all overwhelming.

Once the formalities of the cash out was over, my family and I went to lunch.  I had barely eaten all day on Sunday and hadn’t eaten anything on Monday, so I was famished.

We went to TGIFridays for our first millionaire meal, obviously we were not accustomed to the high life yet.  When the bill came, for the first time in my life, I bought for my family, it was an awesome feeling.

After lunch we went back to my apartment and soon my family left to make the two-hour long trek home.

Once they were gone, I took a huge sigh and sat on my couch, Georgia’s newest millionaire, alone in a one bedroom apartment.

Day 12 of the Jeff Goins – 500 Word Writing Challenge…… TELL A LIE!

Life’s Playlist…. Crystal Blue Persuasion by Tommy James & the Shondells

Day 11 of the Jeff Goins, 500 Words a Day Writing Challenge.

Persuade you about something.

HHHHMMMMM……. I have to think on this one.