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May We Never Forget

On this 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, I'm posting below a story I wrote on the 10th anniversary. These are my reflections on that day.  Looking at the first paragraph, it's interesting how times change. No one has asked me questions of where I was or what I was doing. I'm not sure if many of us have forgotten but more likely we're so very distracted. We've navigated almost two years of a pandemic that's taken and changed so many lives. We've navigated political and cultural changes poorly and emotionally to the point of creating more divisions.  We are not the country we were the weeks and months after 9/11. The bipartisan efforts then were refreshing. The amount of American flags flying proudly and in solidarity was inspiring. Today, it seems many despise their own country and its flag. But even this is not new. While she has stumbled over the years and will continue to do so - America will always be the most amazing country in the world. It

Grateful During Unemployment

Two years have passed since I last scribed in this blog. Much life has transpired during that time. Too much to really unpack here. Then, I was a few months into a new public sector role with the City of Baltimore and starting to pursue the dream of rebooting the paranormal broadcast TV news series I co-created with Darren Dedo called "Unexplained" as a YouTube docu-series "Unexplained Cases."  Today, I am unemployed and "Unexplained Cases" has grown but has yet to generate revenue.  In July, I was dismissed from both my part-time weekend job at Grace Community Church and my City of Baltimore job. I've never had the pleasure of being released from two jobs in a month. Technically, I was released in June from Grace and my separation date was July 3. My last day of work at Baltimore was July 23 and my separation date was September 23. Unless one has been through an extended period of unemployment, one cannot understand the emotions that are stirred. For

Risks Of Being Vulnerable

Being vulnerable can be so rewarding. It can also be horrifically disappointing. Stereotypically for guys, being vulnerable with thoughts and feelings is simply against a man's nature. It doesn't come naturally. Emotions are saved for when men are alone or to share only with spouses or best friends. I think of the Tom Hanks line from  A League of Their Own : "There's no crying in baseball!" Anger seems to be permitted but not fear, worry, or tears. More often I've seen people apologize for getting upset or tearing up than for showing an angry or passionate reaction.  The more reflective emotions seem to be reserved for women. It seems stereotypically more natural for women to be shedding tears or showing concern. Yet, too much or too frequent emotional displays can also bring scoffing or ridicule. It's like there's no winning when it comes to being vulnerable. This is why being vulnerable is hard and requires intentionality.  The reality is that be

Goodbye, Allie

We called her many names over the years. Allie-rat. Monkeyface. Georgia called her "Baby Kitty" which was funny calling an 18-year-old cat a baby. With her passing, the last piece of living Mississippi in our house was lost. Allie moved with us to Maryland from Mississippi. She and Bones flew with me on two separate return trips to Baltimore from Jackson. Maddy the Beagle rode with us in the Honda Accord. Now, all three of those furbabies have passed away. Allie was a unique kitten and the last of a litter from a momma kitty adopted by a country radio station, Miss 103, in Jackson, Mississippi. A mutual friend and DJ reached out to Kim and me, knowing we were animal lovers and hoping we could help her get the last kitten adopted. The momma wouldn't let the kitten nurse because she chewed on her nipples too hard. One family returned the kitten because the children thought she was too ugly.  Of course, we took her in. Reminding us of an alley rat - that became h

See You Around, Mike

Three weeks ago, I attended the memorial service of a dear Brother in Christ. Sunday, June 10, would've been his 56th birthday. I miss my friend. But what's sad is that I didn't miss Mike until he was gone. At least in the middle of the odd month, but definitely by the last week of it, Mike would always reach out to me with a request. It was usually to load a certain worship music video or some game show music. Sometimes, he needed some specific slides created or sound effects. Mike put a lot of thought into preparing the lessons. For certain lessons, Mike asked the kids to write something that was bothering them or something that was a sin. Then he had them take hammer and nail to that card and attach it to an old rugged cross. Mike often brought in props to physically connect the Bible stories to the kids. For example, when he dressed as an innkeeper and walked in a wheelbarrow full of fresh cow manure. He was adding the smell of a barn to the lesson just to help

Finally Leaving the Layoff Swamp

A month ago, on March 12, my 9-month layoff ended as I began working for the City of Baltimore as an IT Project Manager. I described many times the experience of being laid off like being in swamp. Not just “in” a swamp but trapped or lost in a swamp: uncertain of its depth and dangers, being anxious to escape, admiring the surroundings, feeling at times miserable, and doubting your skills. I learned many things from this experience about myself and those around me. Hopefully, I'll compile these thoughts into a book soon. For now, here's a short list. One tip for each month of my layoff:

What A Year

With a new year, looking forward and backward is important. Looking ahead is important to set goals and milestones of what to accomplish in the coming year. Reflecting on the past year is important to consider areas of growth and areas needing improvement. Looking back on 2017, it's hard to ignore that I've been in the swamp of a layoff for half of it. December marked 6 months since the last day of work at AOL and 4 months since separation from the company. So, what are some lessons I've learned from this journey?