My American Experience: My Reality Pt.1

 

Music:

As a child, I heard James Brown (in my aunt’s house), Marvin Gaye, the Temptations and Four Tops, Gladys Knight. Driving with Daddy I heard Doo Wop and Soul. In my aunt’s house I heard James, Funkadelic, The Bar- Kays, Earth Wind and Fire,The Jacksons
In my teens, my sister Donna introduced me to health food, herbal tea and yogurt…her boyfriend Wayne introduced me to Jazz, Spyro Gyra, Earl Klugh and George Benson to name a few. He also introduced to designer colognes, some of which I still where today. During Block parties I always heard and saw live music being played by local bands. By my mid-teens block parties had been taking over by local Disc Jockeys (Djs) These guys weren’t on the radio, they took their stereos from home to the street and kept the dancing going ALL night long. The Master of Ceremony’s (M.C) was NOT the star of the party, in fact he/she didn’t exist yet…it wasn’t long before the GAP band followed by The Sugar Hill Gang took the park’s music to the radio.
My late teens was singing to girls songs from the Spinners,” I’ll be around”,”Could it be I’m falling in love” etc. By the time I was 19 Hip Hop (Rap music) had made it’s mark on American music…in the mid-80’s I was in my middle 20’s and the west coast exploded with their own style of angry Hip Hop “Gangster Rap” but by this point I was so fed up with the language, empty messages and battle between east and west coast, that I pulled away from Hip Hop and ran to the arms of Rock…

The music of my 20’s was a somewhat delicate balance between the classic rock of Jemi Hendrix, The Doors and the new rock of Bon Jovi, The Police and Prince. Every once and a while I searched for Jazz to cleanse my palate…Chuck Mangione worked wonders for the ears. The movie Mo’ Better Blues opened my ears to new artist like Branford Marsalis and Terence Blanchard. Shorty before the movie as I was sliding away from Prince (now with The New Power Generation) and closer to more Jazz, I discovered this young cat playing swing! by the name of Harry Connick Jr. 

I’d falling in love with an AM radio station that played Frank Sinatra almost all day…I would tune in when I was writing. Jazz still remains to be the only music I can write to. Harry lead to Wynton Marsalis and the two sparked a revolution in my ears. I left all other music behind, save, Sting but eventually even he was left in the wake of the Jazz revolution.  Harry took center stage, I bought everything he made!  But Wynton, was a very close second. 

As I grew, so did my taste grow with me. The 90’s reignited my tasted for country music, with artist like Garth Brooks, which begin in the 80’s with Kenny Rogers, like everybody else back then. I listened to Jazz exclusively until I became a Christian. As a new believer I didn’t know what to buy.  There was this christian bookstore on 43rd St. in Manhattan I used to go to, my method was to buy what looked good. Christian Hip Hop was growing, so naturally I was curious since I’d turned my back on Rap music. After a few hit and misses I settle on The Crossmovement, a group that brought authentic east coast Hip Hop favor, style and sound to the church. I branched off to Rock from there with Third day, Salvador, Newsboys and D.C talk...

Today, my Zune, that’s right I said…Zune! is filled with hundreds of Jazz, Rock, christian Hip Hop and some country music albums. Most times I’m listening to a worship album or Diana Krall and of course Harry.   What’s my point to this long story? In-spite of resent events, I wanted to share a bit of my world. You see, if you saw me on the street where I live, you might want to put in a box. “He lives in the ghetto” there for, I must be into Jay-z or his wife. Wrong! People from my own cultural background might think the same thing. “What’s the name of that song by jay z?” My response is, “I don’t know!” “How can you not know?”…”Do you know that song by Florida Georgia Line “This is how we roll?” To farther make my point, all black people, like white, native, chinese etc. are not the same….

To be continued…

On Holiday

It’s that time of year again! You’ve worked hard and enjoyed the extra free Monday’s off. But a 4 day weekend doesn’t quite cut it. Especially when everybody else is off too, it just doesn’t seem that special. So what do you do? You take off a week or two and you vacate your home!
Turn in your papers, call your travel agent, click on Trip Advisor, search for that “All” inclusive deal and get as far away from home and your boss as possible…
Psst…I’m doing right now, shh… don’t tell my wife that I’m working though. We needed this time away from the city. Unfortunately, we brought the entire clan with us, so we’ll have to wait for a winter weekend getaway, to be alone. We have decent kids, however, there’s 6 of them and 2 grand kids. I know what you’re thinking, we had too much alone time, so it’s our fault it’s a little crowded. Oh be quiet….
In Deuteronomy, a book in the bible, parents are instructed by God to teach “our” children about Him…

“And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.” Deuteronomy 6:6,7 (NLT)

Walking with the Lord or should I say, having a daily relationship with Him is difficult in a crowded and noisy city. We New Yorkers, tend to rush around a lot. You tourists can make things worse at times…you hear stories about the big city and think that rushing about, pushing your way on to a train is what we do here. Sorry, it’s not. Our rushing is more about navigating through hordes of people going to work at the same. At the end of the day, we are tired and just want to go home! We really don’t like being cramped but most of the offices and jobs are on a tiny island called Manhattan.
So, we city Christians, pop in our ear buds for a quick time of worship, we whip out “Our Daily Bread” for a quick quiet time alone with God and while we’re looking out the window for our stop, we are also praying for our family, friends, coworkers, boss and other things. That’s all done in a 30 – 60 minute ride to the office. So, we really don’t get the time we need to sit with our family and talk about Christ. You do the best you can on the weekends…
Then once a year you get a vacation from daily life…but you’re never on vacation from God! For us, right next to that great summer read is our bible or bible app. Before or after breakfast is our family quiet time…a time to draw close to Jesus. Then off to the amusement park or whatever the plan is. As instructed in Deuteronomy, our talks don’t stop there, they continue throughout whole day, the whole week. It’s like refueling your gas tank after a long trip…we live in a busy city with a busy life, so any vacation away from busyness where we can refocus our attention is a good vacation.
Though we are away from home, On Holiday…we are never far from God.

17 and Counting

A lady killer,  God’s gift to women…Player. Sounds good at first but then something happens.
James bond was considered a lady killer, a man blessed with good looks, charm and a sense of style. He’d attract the ladies, then “love them and leave them”. Of course, because he looked so good, the women didn’t mind being treated like trash.
Ah, the high school kid born beautiful. Perhaps he’s a jock, but for sure he’s self centered, over confident and annoying to many of the girls. Sadly, even as an adult his behavior hasn’t changed. Yet, surprisingly, he still attracts the ladies!
    “Don’t hate the player, hate the game” …in other words, don’t be mad at me because of what I’m doing, it’s the way things are. I’m not at fault because I’m good at what I do. If that was the sentiment of an upright business leader, it might be acceptable. But the guys saying such things are usually up to no good and wish to get away with the poor behavior. Like having multiple girlfriends and getting caught…”don’t hate the player, hate the game”…Once again, this guy attracts women; like stink of cheese!
The result of all of the above is a very long drawn out relationship to nowhere.  These guys don’t marry, they don’t become fathers to their children. They leave a wake behind them for the marrying kind to clean up (It’s a good thing we have staying power).  It all sounds good to Mr.Imintomyself, until he gets some bad news. Which girl will he call to come to his aide or to comfort him? Who will really care? Mom and Dad are in their golden years,  he didn’t invest in a relationship with his siblings…who’s going to care about him…?

On the 8th of August,  I celebrated 17 years of marriage with my wife. I can’t believe it’s been that long! If it wasn’t for the body aches and pains…and the children I’d swear we were just married. I couldn’t imagine her not being in my life. As a young fool, I couldn’t imagine being with one person for life. But…I enjoy knowing who’s in the bed next to me. I don’t have to fake knowing her name, search my address book or contact list to pick a name for a date. I don’t have to wonder who will visit me when I’m sick, who can I talk to, when I need a listening ear and I always have a partner for whatever I need and this sentiment flows in both directions…
Sure, there’s some debris left from the knucklehead that hurt her years ago when you first meet, but the fool through away a Jewel; that I was smart enough to keep.
“He who finds a wife finds a good    thing, And obtains favor from the Lord” Proverbs 18:22 (NKJV) 

I’m Blessed!

Feckless

T. Anthony Bland

Pointless… It would seem, to get out of bed, or even to go to bed since you’ll just have to get up again. You get back up for what reason?  To go to work for someone else, to get a check to hand over to someone else just to have a ceiling over your head.

Futile, is the attempt to Face-lift, implant, inject and dye, all in the name of staying young. You’re old!  Lifting your skin to your scalp will not change that. Dying your hair while your eyes are gray and filled with cataracts is counter productive. It’s …a waste. To stockpile the last cell phone and electronic gadget is Feckless!

I watched a movie with my wife the other day, At Middleton, the characters kept saying feckless throughout the film. It clearly was a running gag and after laughing I decided to look up the meaning of…

View original post 372 more words

Feckless

Pointless… It would seem, to get out of bed, or even to go to bed since you’ll just have to get up again. You get back up for what reason?  To go to work for someone else, to get a check to hand over to someone else just to have a ceiling over your head.

Futile, is the attempt to Face-lift, implant, inject and dye, all in the name of staying young. You’re old!  Lifting your skin to your scalp will not change that. Dying your hair while your eyes are gray and filled with cataracts is counter productive. It’s …a waste. To stockpile the latest cell phone and electronic gadget is Feckless!

I watched a movie with my wife the other day, At Middleton, the characters kept saying feckless throughout the film. It clearly was a running gag and after laughing I decided to look up the meaning of the word, which means useless, pointless…meaningless. Long before the film King Solomon penned Ecclesiastes 1 where he declared that “Everything is meaningless” and I agree with him. But I also agree with his conclusion of Ecclesiastes…

If we spend our days trying to stay young, by dying our hair and nipping here and tucking there; after years of wanting to be an adult, then yeah, that  is feckless. But when you pour into some else’s life, then your own existence has meaning. We can not stop the aging process or retard our death, but we can live with purpose, we can live for others.  A parent becoming health conscience can not prolong your life, they have no control over living and dying. But they do and can control the quality of that life. Instead of watching the grand children, they are able to lift and play with the child. That child grows to have fond memories of  love and playing with you, then in turn passes that love on to someone else. Whether it be their child or a co-worker is unimportant, the point is, when we live in such a way that brings Joy to others we live eternally…most importantly, life is no longer pointless, futile, a waste, meaningless or feckless. It is massively valuable…

Remember the last time someone smiled at you? or helped you? Do you remember the last time you did something really cool for someone else? Remember that feeling? Yes, it did feel good, didn’t it?  The next time you feel like you’re living a pointless life, remember Solomon’s words..

12 But beyond these, my son, be warned: there is no end to the making of many books,and much study wearies the body. 13 When all has been heard, the conclusion of the matter is: fear God and keep His commands, because this is for all humanity. 14 For God will bring every act to judgment, including every hidden thing, whether good or evil.  (Ecclesiastes 12:12-14, HCSB)

The Lord freely gave us Jesus and told us to freely give as it was given to us. The “giving” part benefits all humanity, you don’t have to be a Christian to understand that, you already know that good feeling…

%d bloggers like this: