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Life is the Dash…

Life is the Dash…

“Here today, gone tomorrow…”

I remember hearing that a lot growing up.  Now, I’m looking around and realizing, gosh my elders were right.

Last week was quite an emotional week.  I talked about “Blue Monday,” got through Monday, went to the gym on Tuesday morning, hopped online as usual and began reading a story about a possible homicide-suicide that occurred in the next town over from my hometown.  When I initially read the story the names had not been released.  Later on in the afternoon I received a text from a friend, and I politely told him, “Yeah, I read the story, but no names, yet.”  I guess he thought R.J. CLICK THE LINK.  Well, I didn’t click the link, so he decided to do a screenshot (screen grab, whatever) to show me that the names had been released.  It was someone I knew.  In fact, I spoke with this person about a month ago, and some of you were able to witness it.

It was Denise.

98.3 The Coast

I sat in silence for 30 minutes after reading her name in that text message.  She was tragically killed by her husband, and leaves behind three young children.  Even though we never met in person, she had a huge impact on my life.  It’s amazing the effect that people can have on you in such a short amount of time.  During our interview last month on the air I promised I would include her and Jonny as characters in an upcoming book in the series.  I promise not to disappoint.

I did say that it was an emotional week right?

I wanted the passing of Prince to be a hoax.  I remember waking up Friday morning thinking it was still a dream.  Can we agree that Prince was amazing?  He was musical genius, but what really stands out to me is that Prince was an UNAPOLOGETIC BLACK MAN.  He didn’t mind telling you what he thought, and never apologized for it.  He worked tirelessly behind the scenes for the rights of his people.  He was a cheerful giver of his time, knowledge, and resources.

You never know what someone is dealing with, or how much time they have on this earth.  Life is the dash.  We are gifted this life on this earth, and we must determine how we choose to live it.  The outpour of love for both Denise and Prince last week was mind blowing.  There was no need to question how much they were loved.

My takeaway from last week was that we all need to start giving people their flowers while they are living.  I can only hope that they were shown the love that was displayed last week while they were living in the dash.

I decided to go over my grammy’s house on Saturday morning since I was in town filming for The Final 48 Project.  I spent two hours with her, and it was honestly one of the best visits we’ve EVER had.  She told me that what I was doing with the “Final 48 Project” is what God birthed in me, and I have to keep pressing forward.

I went over there to check on her, and received a mighty Word.  That visit with her is something that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

What are you doing with the dash?  It’s Monday.  Another opportunity to push towards the purpose that God has birthed in you.

“We are gathered here today.  To get through this thing called, life.”  ~ Prince

Xoxo,

R.J.

Day 17 – “Promises” #SteeleThankful Challenge (30 Days of Thanks)

Day 17 – “Promises” #SteeleThankful Challenge (30 Days of Thanks)

-Promises aren’t meant to be broken

-Don’t make promises you can’t keep

-2 Corinthians 1:20, Yes and Amen

Have you ever heard, “I promise I won’t break your heart.” Or, “I promise I got your back, don’t worry.”
Well, I’m not here to focus on the negative, because Lord knows I’ve experienced broken promises. I mean I’ve broken some promises too. At the end of the day all you have is your word, so I encourage us all to do better.

What promises have you made to yourself in the last 5 years? Even better, what promises have you made since January 2015. I promised myself I was going to get out of credit card debt and lose 30 pounds. Chile, can I receive partial credit? I did the Green Smoothie Challenge in October, dropped 12 pounds and that’s it. I promise I’ll do better in 2016. 😏

Promises are similar to goals. They require action and it’s okay to altar them, and be realistic. Yes, I said realistic. I’ve told you about my three promises back in 2013? Actually it was February 13, 2013 to be exact. I promised to graduate with a master’s degree, begin a children’s book series, and start a documentary studies program. Done. Done. And Done. I had to consult the above scripture, Yes and Amen!

So, what’s next? What promises do I have going forward? I promise to travel more, love more, and write more.
I had to think what will it take for me to keep my word to myself and not break these promises? I have to do more, want more, and grind. I promised to live the life that I wanted two years ago. I put in the work! Even though the person that I shared these promises with is no longer with us, I still felt accountable to not going back on my word.

Try it today. Not only are we in the month of thanksgiving it’s also a great time to re-evaluate your promises to yourself. Examples: I promised to buy a house for my kids, I promised myself I would go back to school, I promised I would work towards being a business owner, a better wife, husband, or person. Write them down and tape them to the wall, so you will have a reminder and put a date on it! It works. Trust me! I’m #SteeleThankful because of it.

What are you #SteeleThankful for?

Day 12 – “Opportunity” #SteeleThankful (30 Days of Thanks)

Day 12 – “Opportunity” #SteeleThankful (30 Days of Thanks)

Have you heard the saying, “When opportunity knocks…”  There are many quotes that begin with that phrase.  What does it mean though?

You can interpret the phrase many ways, but the first thing I thought about were two scriptures in Matthew 7:7-8; ask, seek, and knock.  For the past two years I have faithfully executed what the featured image says; iAsk, iSeek, iKnock.  After you “ask, seek, and knock” what do you do?  Well, you wait.

Now, I’m not saying the opportunity always comes instantly, but it comes, and you have to be very specific about the opportunity in which you are seeking.  I have an example.  Ready. Set. Go!

Last semester of grad school, I was mingling, networking, applying for positions both in and out of state.  The weeks kept rolling by and I was getting closer to that graduation date.  I was on my way to graduating with honors, and I hadn’t secured a job.  I wasn’t even getting an interview.  What was I doing wrong?  I sat in my room one day, looked at the above scripture (Yes, Matthew 7:7-8),  and said, “Lord, I’ve spent all this money on grad school, I would like to receive a job in my field, and I don’t want to go on all these interviews, I want the opportunity to fall in my lap.”

Graduation day had come and gone, and I get a phone call, now I almost didn’t answer.  It was the Tuesday afternoon after graduation, and I hear this voice that sounded very familiar.  I dropped off my resume at an institution while in Dallas back in 2012.  I received a tour of the place, a short interview, and a “we’ll keep in touch.”  I was notified then that they only had a part-time position, and I decided at that time to take my talents elsewhere.

Well, that same place called me in 2014 offering me a full-time position.  The older gentleman from HR said to me, “I’m not sure if you’re a spiritual person, but I would say that the timing couldn’t be better.”  I hung up the phone, looked at the wall again, (yes with the same scriptures, lol), and said, “thank you God.  It’s what I asked for.” The opportunity had come and I was taking it.

Every opportunity that we decide to take is about the moment.  At the moment it seems so right, but it can honestly also turn sour, but guess what there’s a lesson in the good and the bad.  So, be thankful for the opportunity, because within it can be a life changing lesson, or lead to another amazing opportunity.

What are you #SteeleThankful for?