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From Rodney King to George Floyd

People what is going on? This is an extremely sensitive topic/issue. But we need to talk about it and seek to find a lasting solution. Change begins with dialogue (or conversation).

“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”

Albert Einstein

. . .

Various demonstrations because of the umpteenth killing of a young unarmed black man, George Floyd, by an ex-police officer, have been ongoing from Minneapolis to New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Chicago, San Francisco, Oakland, Emeryville, San Jose, Los Angeles. Which city is next? Some of these demonstrations were peaceful, but most were rowdy. Even the ones that began peacefully, eventually took another turn. These demonstrations are so disturbing yet, though apropos. What we are witnessing is a combination of an avalanche of frustrations and opportunists seizing the moment.  

Things fall apart and the center cannot hold ... sheer anarchy is loosed upon the land!
- Chinua Achebe, a Nigerian novelist
Courtesy of kidzone.ws

People, there is a root cause. We have a systemic problem that needs an urgent systemic solution. Pruning a tree when done right, encourages new growth, greener leaves, stronger branches, and healthier twigs and trunks. Simultaneously, to kill a tree, like any systemic issue, we need to deal with it at its roots. Government (departments such as the legal system and law enforcement agencies) keep treating the symptoms rather than the cause. We need to deal with the root cause.

Systemic: Bias, Problem, Solution?

Systemic is anything relating to the entire system rather than a part of it. Undoubtedly, we have systemic problems in America that have shown bias in its solutions or lack of solutions. As such, as Simplicable, states, there is both a systemic bias and systemic problem and offers the following definitions:

“Systemic Bias: a society, culture, or large system that exhibits bias. This essentially means that a large system produces sub-optimal decisions that are analogous to a person …

Systemic Problem: a problem that infects an entire society, culture, or system.” 

(Reference: https://simplicable.com/new/systemic)

Therefore, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. As I said this, I found another site, https://thenextsystem.org/about-next-system-project, that agreed with me. This site has noteworthy information relevant to our current topic and issue. What we need is a systemic solution to systemic problems and biases in America. A systemic solution, therefore, is a solution that resolves root causes.

This blog is not about how we go about resolving all the issues.  

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”

Desmond Tutu, former Archbishop of South Africa

Let us talk about the way the demonstrations were conducted in certain cities. I speak against injustice of any kind. Looting and vandalism is also an injustice. Looting and vandalism is not the answer and it also has to be condemned else we would be speaking from both sides of our mouth. Neither the killings of anyone, be they black, white, brown, purple, or red nor the vagrant looting of stores and burning of cars or stores nor anyone claiming supremacy over another nor the police driving into the mob is acceptable! People, two wrongs not a right make!! All sides claim to be fighting for their lives and right. If we continue this way, whose life is going to remain? All the acts must be condemned in no unjustifiable manner.   

https://abcnews.go.com/US/george-floyd-protest-updates-joe-biden-nationwide-protests/story?id=70979091

https://www.foxnews.com/us/protests-demanding-justice-for-george-floyd-ramp-up-again-nationwide

Demonstrations can be peacefully done. It has been done several times in the past; see [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nonviolent_resistance]. We all are still reeling from the effects of COVID-19. The recent violent demonstrations surely take us back a few more years.  

. . .

Is there another way?

Let us look to a brighter future. Ask any sprinter, anyone running a race does not look back – they lose time and never win the race by so doing. We all need to stop looking back in time except to analyze what happened and use it as a catalyst for the future. Yes, it is easier said than done. I know. But, let us take a cue from China/the Chinese economic turnaround. Though China is not currently our best political ally at the moment [https://www.state.gov/u-s-china-bilateral-relations-the-lessons-of-history/], the country underwent systemic changes that transformed “complex number of reforms in China’s fiscal, financial, enterprise, governance and legal systems and the ability for the government to be able to flexibly respond to the unintended consequences of these changes. This transformation has been accompanied by high levels of industrialization and urbanization, a process that has influenced every aspect of China’s society, culture, and economy.” [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_history_of_China_(1949%E2%80%93present) ]

That said, China, like any other economy, can still be said to be unfulfilled in other areas.  

Two wrongs not a right make

True, many of us have been subjected to several wrongs. So, have I. Many of us have had our loved ones untimely snatched from us; so have I. I have been let go of my job due to what was apparent racism – it hurts that it was done and that I felt helpless to fight back. But I did not burn down the building, neither did I drove back to the place to run down anyone. So please do not yell at me or ask for my head on a platter. I honestly can relate to both sides of the equation.

Frustration stems in when one witnesses the incessant injustices, racism, inhumane brutalities and killings of anyone. African Americans generally have been dealt a harder blow. And it is perceived that the men have been particularly targeted. From Rodney King to George Floyd, it appears that the brutalities and killings of African American men have been unnecessarily on the rise. However, except I conduct the research, I cannot use the data being presented as conclusive because data, research, and conclusions can be subjective. Each data (or survey results) can be manipulated to present whatever message the researcher wants to communicate to its readers/users.  Having said that, here’s couple of charts that I found.

https://www.statista.com/statistics/585152/people-shot-to-death-by-us-police-by-race/

https://mappingpoliceviolence.org/

The truth is that law enforcement officers are killed almost daily as well in their line of duty. Sadly, because of the animosity and recent tensions, these deaths go unnoticed and no one seems to care; except the affected’s family. Check the FBI https://www.fbi.gov/services/cjis/ucr/leoka and The Peace Officer Safety Institute https://leoka.org/ for current data.

Is revolution the answer?

Some think that we probably need a revolution. Maybe we do. I do not know neither am I advocating for it. But do we all understand what revolution is?  According to Merriam Webster online dictionary, Revolution is:

  • 2a: a sudden, radical, or complete change
  • b: a fundamental change in a political organization especiallythe overthrow or renunciation of one government or ruler and the substitution of another by the governed
  • c: activity or movement designed to effect fundamental changes in the socioeconomic situation
  • d: a fundamental change in the way of thinking about or visualizing somethinga change of paradigm 
  • e: a changeover in use or preference …

(Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Revolution. In Merriam-Webster.com dictionary. Retrieved May 31, 2020, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/revolution)

. . .

Revolution is a change, but it does not necessarily have to be bloody or rambunctious. The revolution that we need is a drastic change from the manner that things are done. This can be done by a 360-degree change in our policies; legal, law enforcement, medical, education, etc. I am not talking about the type of change that was done with diversity reforms (another topic for another day), but one sincere change that must have consequences for non-conformance.   

Where are the good men and women?

Finally, Abraham Lincoln once said, “All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” This quote has been echoed by others such that no one really knows its original owner.

Those who do nothing while witnessing injustice and wrong-doing do worse than those who commit acts of injustice. The privileged have a responsibility to do what they know is right. Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
- Martin Luther King

Good men (and, of course, women) everywhere need to rise to speak the truth. But good men (and women) should not merely jump on the bandwagon, but strive to seek to truly find a solution to the problem. And good people should not be paying others to confuse the land. It is akin to folks being paid to carry placards as long as we have activists. During the years of my active job search, I had called some “paid-same-day” ads that happened to be that our job would be to carry placards about issues. So, I know that this does happen.

For every demonstration, there is always someone championing it either overtly or covertly.

The truth is that those who are instigating the chaos are not affected by it. Like we always say, “people in high places” are powerful, wealthy, and influential. They have friends everywhere who they can call upon to either support or carry out their bidding. In addition, these people have high security that prevents the rioting masses from getting to them.

To the people in high places, secretly instigating all these, please stop. If you think no one knows who you are or know that you are doing it, do not be deceived because God, the Creator of the universe, is not mocked and sees what is done in secret.  

Let’s not continue to hurt ourselves

This is an extremely sensitive issue to write or talk about. But talk, we should, and talk we shall.

No one wants to be at the receiving end of injustice. Anyone who has been on that side knows what it feels like and it’s surely not good. By the same token, anyone who has never experienced injustice certainly does not know what it feels like.

The brutalities, violent demonstrations, and looting is not the way to honor the dead neither will it bring the dead back. I say this as apologetically and softly as I can. My heart goes out to everyone who has lost a son on this journey to freedom. May their spirit live forever and pave the way for true freedom for all.

. . .

Every good man (and woman) please stand against the injustice, racism, brutality, and senseless killings of black men, minorities, and people generally. It is sad that after over sixty years of Martin Luther King’s “Walk for Freedom” speech, we are here still trying to walk the freedom! 

Coincidentally or ironically, depending on the way you view it, MLK’s speech occurred in May in 1956! [https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-papers/documents/walk-freedom]. Any surprise – go figure!

We can still make MLK (and Rosa Parks) proud, not by giving in to political maneuverings that disrupts our economy, which in turn affects all of us, but by choosing to do demonstrations peacefully. 

Peace people!

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Dear younger me

If I knew then what I know now, I would have done many things differently. Yet, no regrets. The paths were meant for me to take as I now realized the the invisible Sovereign hands were guarding, guiding, and steering me all along.

10 things you need to learn sooner in life

1. Cultivate a relationship with God

I believed that there is a God. As a kid, I talked to an invisible being but did not know who I was talking to until I became a Christian in my later adult life. How I wish I knew Him sooner. Learning early in life the order of honor (God first, family second, all others next) would help put everything else in the right perspective. Find Him sooner.

2. Listen more to your parents and spend quality time with them

Honoring one’s parents is the first commandment with a promise. Though I disagreed occasionally with my parents, I never disrespected them. I loved them dearly. As a parent, I recognize that parents are not always right. The truth is that parents are also learning-on-the-job as they raise their children. But most parents desire the best for their children, young or adult, and might sometimes not know how to communicate those desires in a manner that the children might understand.

I never lived with my mother and missed the mother-daughter bonding and connection. Though I had a strong father-daughter relationship, I acknowledge that the roles of fathers and mothers are so uniquely different yet interconnected and one cannot be substituted for the other.

Spend quality time with your parents now and, when you leave home, visit them frequently.

3. Listen more to your instincts (intuition, gut feeling, etc.)

Whatever you call it, know that it is a gift that will work the more you use it. Pay attention to it, accept it, follow it, and don’t second-guess yourself or your gift.

The first step toward change is awareness. The second is acceptance.”

Nathaniel Branden

4. Speak the truth more in love rather than abrasively

No one wants to hear your truth until they understand you care for them. You might be right, but might shut-off people with loud or harsh words. The truth spoken in love, coupled with soft responses, are a true disarming pair.

5. Always let your parents/family know who your friends are

My grandmother always advised that there were different categories of friendships: acquaintances (slight, but not close friends), colleagues (work but not necessarily close friends), activity friends (e.g. sports, party, etc.), and buddies (close friends). Know who your friends are. Never lump them all in one bucket and never be friends with anyone you will not be proud to take home or introduce to your parents. Note that not all friends will pick up your call or be enthused to open their doors to you when you knock at 3:00 a.m. Categorizing your friends will also help you avoid unnecessary disappointments.

Invite your friends home so your family knows who you’re hanging out with. You’ll be glad you did.

6. Just as there is a reason why meals are differentiated breakfast, lunch, and dinner, there’s a reason why you ought to do life in the right order: go to school (middle, high, college) before getting married or having babies

Order is the law of life and life is manageable when the sequences are followed. True, there are rare exceptions to all sequences, but except you’re a genius in your craft, those exceptions might not apply to you.

If within your power, choose to complete your education first before marriage and starting a family.

7. Life development is essential, may be critical, in these areas – educationally, financially, physically, and spiritually

Decide on what you want to study, how long you’d like to study (for example, 1st degree, 2nd, PhD, JD, two 2nd degree, add a vocational, etc.) and go for it.

Schools have never been known to teach financial education; wish it will be added to the k – 12 curricula. Nonetheless, there is some teaching you can do on your own. Research and learn it sooner. What is the best saving instrument? What does the FICO score mean? What do I need to do to increase my score? What are the requirements for buying a car or house?

Physical development includes healthy habits (eating, sleeping, playing, exercising, no drugs, etc.). It also includes your regular wellness check-ups. Do your part early and your body will serve you longer.

Everyone is yearning for things in life that can only be satisfied with the knowledge of and intimacy with God. As a Christian, how I wish that everyone was or became a Christian. However, connecting with God is personal. Find yours. As you take time to develop yourself in other areas, it is equally important to develop yourself spiritual for a balanced life.

8. Are you cut out for marriage or singleness?

“There are eunuchs that are made by God; there are those made by men, and there are those having made themselves so for the kingdom of heaven’s sake …”

Matthew 19:12 KJV (King James’ Version)

Know what each (institute; yes they’re both institutes!) entails; responsibilities, benefits, and disadvantages, etc. and be prepared to work it truthfully till the end; except, of course, God redirects your steps.

9. Look for potentials in your mate and not necessarily the cool dude or prettiest girl in town. Not that this is bad of itself, but it is vanity

If you decide that marriage is for you, look for potentials with the longer-term in mind. Ask yourself if your partner is the type of man or woman whom you’d be happy with for the rest of your life, do you have the same values or anything in common, will you still be the loving spouse when the physical characteristics change such as becoming bald, putting on weight, etc.?

10. Be intentional about success.

Think early about being successful in life. What does success mean to you? Paint a picture of it and pursue it relentlessly.

. . .

All the best to you, My Younger Me. I wish I knew these sooner in my own life journey.

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

The D-Day has come and gone – 2

Credits: NBC

[Last paragraph from the previous post:]

The Constitution of the United States of America states that “the results won’t be official until each state fully canvasses and certifies its presidential election results, which occurs on a different timeline in every state.” The Electoral College has to declare the Presidential winner after the electors vote on December 14. The votes have also been recounted and, yes, some have reaffirmed Joe Biden as the winner. But it’s not final until the Electoral College’s proclamation and Donald Trump’s concession. All eyes and ears will be fixed on December 14.

But, wait a minute.

. . .

Did anyone think

Did anyone think to ask “why has the Associated Press (AP) declared Joe Biden and Kamala Harris the winner; replicating and reiterating Hilary Clinton’s victory presumptuously in 2016?!”

But, wait a minute

What if …

What if, come December 14, the Electoral College, after casting their votes, reverses the presumed JB-KH victory?

What if this was all to teach Donald Trump a lesson in humility? Okay, yay, YOU can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but GOD can.

But, what if truly the alleged fraud was detected? What if the Electoral College’s vote on December 14 overturns the presently assumed winner? How would we all handle it? Undoubtedly, we cannot as a nation afford another unrest. I pray that there will be peace irrespective of the outcome.

What if we all said though Donald Trump does not deserve my vote, I’m willing to give him another chance? Hey, don’t shut me down – I’m just a messenger.

Several other what-if scenarios, but that’s not the point of this post.

. . .

The D-Day has come and gone; yet the presidency (or is’t the President) is still hanging, and the presumed winner Joe Biden is already selecting his proposed cabinet.

. . .

The Point is …

The point of this post is to actually reveal ourselves to ourselves! How hard-hearted everyone has been towards Mr. (Incumbent President) Donald Trump. Or is’t a matter of politicking at its best (or worst depending on your view!)

Two wrongs not a right make! We all, on one hand, profess good, love, forgiveness, positivity, and whatever lingo we profess it by. But with a swift turnaround are quick to throw stones and crucify!

God help and deliver us all!!!

Credits: Bible.com / ThinkTalk

More pondering

Why hate one another so? Or rather, why hate on Donald Trump so?

Would you be glad if someone gave you another chance?

Would we rather be the Good Samaritan or the neighbor who refuses to answer his door when you knocked at 3:00 A.M.?

When you’re in trouble or in need, would you want at least one person coming to your aid?

When everyone wrongfully accuses you, how would you feel if at least one person stands out and up for you?

Could all that happened had been a case of good versus evil and Donald Trump wrestling with spiritual wickedness?!

Ponder on these defying moments for a second.

May there always be a rescuer in our time of need. Let us all pay it forward.

. . .

If you’ve ever been in dire straits you’ll understand Donald Trump’s dilemma. Did I hear you say “he asked for or caused it?”

“He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone!” 

John 8:7b

If you’ve ever been in a place where everyone who was your friend turned against you for no cause or course!

  • A place where everyone and everything lied against you for no cause or course!
  • A place where everything you easily did suddenly became a chore!
  • A place where no-one, including your family, knows you any more – you’ve become a mystery to all
  • A place where your life defies a cause-and-effect scenario.
  • A place where it’s all confusion for one who’s known to be orderly.
  • A place where it’s just you and God!

A place, just you and God, is always a great place to be. It’s a place where all your questions get answered. A place where all doubts are eroded and all negatives are turned to positives. It’s a place where even the prophets dare not to tread and all intelligence, clout, or moolah are silenced. A place where the storms keep still!

Get in there and cry out to Him. He will meet you there and give you solutions that only He can!

Peace!

Alexander The Coppersmith

Credits: Bible.com/ThinkTalk

Paul made the above statement, in chapter 4 of his second letter to his spiritual son Timothy. Other references to Alexander the coppersmith can be found in 1 Timothy 1:20 and Acts 19:25-27).

. . .

Numerous times that I have read this chapter, I have wondered what Alexander the Coppersmith did.

Could it have been because Alexander greatly withstood Paul’s words, opposing his message about Christ and the church? Or was it because Alexander organized against Paul because he, and the metal workers, were losing business as a result of Paul’s evangelism? The organization caused a riot, tears and trial for Paul. Or could it be that Alexander slandered Paul and instigated the people against him?

Whatever Alexander the coppersmith did, it is noteworthy that Paul did not seek a personal revenge; nor did he request his spiritual son to handle the issue on his behalf. But instead, he wisely turned the matter over to God for justice. (see Proverbs 20:22, Hebrews 10:30).

The point of this post is to implore us to surrender all wrongdoings, done to us, to God; whether the wrong is personal, against our family/families, our race, our finances, relationships, marriage, work/career, or business/es. I know that it is not easy and probably doesn’t come natural as we’ve been used to “taking charge.” But I have come to the realization, stemmed from acknowledging, the incessant messes I have made taking the matters up personally. That I now, prefer for God to handle my affairs. I finally realized the much-better job that He does when I leave it to Him.

. . .

Human beings, by nature, prefer to take matters into their own hands either because we’re impatient or we desire instant justice, the need to be right, or all of the above.

You’ve probably heard statements such as “God is not going to come down to do it …” or “I must be a fool.” There are several utterances that stir up our ego to action that essentially ought to be ignored and for us to simply say, “thanks, but no.”

True that God won’t come down to do everything you need to handle yourself. But do you know, without any shadow of doubt, which ones you are to handle and the ones to give to Him to handle?

We know that God uses people to carry out His purposes and works on earth. Allow Him to choose who, but know when to do and when to surrender it to Him. He will often speak to you through His Word or peace. Please hands off if you have an unsettling! Constantly ignoring either the peace or unsettling could impact one’s ability to sense either or both. So please don’t ignore or shrug these off.

Also, a fool in the eyes of men/women, is a wise one in the eyes of God.

Anyways, Paul continues:

“At my first defense no one appeared on my behalf, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them! But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the proclamation might be completed and all the Gentiles might hear it. …” (2 Timothy 4:14-17)

This verse tells me that he was one-against-many; found himself solo on the other side of the room. Trade a minute and step into Paul’s shoes. What would you have done? Whatever you do, stand firm and remember that one with God is a majority.

Credits: Bible..com & ThinkTalk

Guiding Scriptures

“Hatred stirs up strife but love covers all sins” (Proverbs 10:12).

“Love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)

““… See that none render unto any one evil for evil; but always follow after that which is good, one toward another, and toward all.”
‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:14-15‬ ‭

“Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord‘ ” (Romans 12:19).

Epilogue

My people, if we live our lives based on these scriptural foundations, we will all be easily forgiving of one another.

“Leaving retribution to God does not mean remaining silent about the harm that has occurred. Instead, Paul (and we too should) set an example to follow in naming the misdeeds, warning others, and then leaving retribution to the Lord.”

Whoever Alexander the Coppersmith represents in your life (our lives), today, I beseech you and us all to take a cue from Paul and leave it to God. His Grace is sufficient to help us.

May His Peace continue to guide us.

References:

The D-Day has come and gone. But, wait a minute

In one press conference, President Trump just revealed the rest of his  campaign strategy - Poynter
Joe Biden's begging bowl demeans the world's most powerful post | Joe Biden  | The Guardian

Credits: Left; poynter.org Right; guardian.com

The D-Day was November 3rd, 2020. It was a historical day in the United States of America. It was a day for the people to choose who would lead them for the next four years. It was also a day of unprecedented voter turnout. But, wait a minute.

Pre-D-Day was marked with aggressive campaign in every sector and way imaginable. Voter registration was brought to your doorsteps (or in your face); one need not have to do much. The organizing was excellently done. If you lived in the United States and had been unawares or asleep, you would indeed be woke! Any wonder why the voter turnout was unprecedented? But, wait a minute.

What happened and why are the votes still hanging; or is’t the presidency (or President) that’s still hanging? It depends on the way you view it.

. . .

Human beings love to congregate; they also love the bandwagon and to groupthink. I hate both. It appears that we do not don our thinking caps when we hop on the band wagon. I get it, no-one likes to stand alone while everyone else is on the other side of the room. Nor does anyone like to think they might be wrong being on the opposite minority side. The bold ones who choose to opt out are viewed as loners. But, wait a minute, has anyone ever considered that the majority could be wrong? I thought about a time when the majority was wrong and came up with two times; the first one was in the Bible when Moses sent his men to go and search (spy) the land of Canaan:

"and see the land, what it is; and the people that dwelleth therein, whether they be strong or weak, few or many ... whether it be good or bad ... fat or lean ... and be of good courage, and bring of the fruit of the land." (Numbers 13 & 14)

Of the twelve (12) (or thirteen (13) depending on the Bible version), only two men, Joshua and Caleb, brought back good news declaring that “the land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land … a land flowing with milk and honey.” The rest of the men unfortunately stated that the land was full of giants and that they were like grasshoppers in their sight! Whose report would you as a person believe?

The other one was remembering former Vice President Al Gore who championed the cause for a climate change awareness while warning that we need to be cognizant of our environment. At the time, no-one believed him. Or rather, only a handful of people listened to him then. It was like waking up and recounting a dream and someone yelling out to you, “what did you eat last night – pizza?!” Fast forward two decades later, what do we have? Not only was Al Gore right, he won a Nobel Prize (jointly with the IPCC) for his role on climate change activism.

The point is that the majority can be wrong. And many a time, the majority is wrong, but we all realize it a little bit too late when the harm has already been done!

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to reform (or pause and reflect).”

― Mark Twain

. . .

Mr. Donald Trump

Without doubt, incumbent President Donald Trump has stepped on numerous toes; what with his policies on immigration, America first, ending reliance on China and its manufacturing, pro life, anti-climate change, putting down Africans/Nigerians (remember his s___thole statement?!), etc. The list is endless. Oh, wait a minute, what with his sarcasms that stir division and tend to promote racism and white supremacy? Or his stance during the police-citizen unrest?!

Well, I do not condone any of the above. When President Trump made the derogatory statement about Africans/Nigerians, I tweeted “Mr. President just exhibited his global ignorance!” A leader should not be divisive, but tactically use wisdom to unite his people. Mr. Trump, respectfully, appears to lack both tact and diplomacy that is expected of a leader. Is that a good or bad thing? I don’t know. But this one thing I know, I can bet that he does not talk about or to his family and/or close friends the way he had been since assumption of Office of the President. I must say that he has gotten better though. He was worse at the onset.

Being blunt and bold are strengths, which I admit that Mr. Trump possesses. Boldness to pursue your enemies and stand in the midst of attacks. Bluntness to speak your mind openly and truthfully when others would otherwise shut up, in order not to rock the boat, is surprisingly a gift from God. Unfortunately, these gifts also can bring enmity, cause one to be tremendously disliked and unpopular. I must say that God is a God of order. He gave the gifts and we must return to Him to enquire about how to exercise the gift and the order to follow.

"when I was a child I spoke as a child, 
I felt and thought as a child;
now that I became a man,
I have put away childish things."

- 1 Corinthians 13:11

Most of us don’t. We feel that everything God reveals to us has to be uttered. Yes, they have to be uttered but at the proper time. I have been guilty of this too. Timing is important. When in one’s infancy of awareness and demonstration of the gift, it is not uncommon to err on the side of untimely utterances. Remember the story of Joseph in the Bible who uttered his dream prematurely? The dream came true, but not without Joseph going through the pit and valley. We all have to go through this process before we mature in our gifts. In my humble opinion, this is what I deduced that Mr. President went through. Yes, he’s an adult, but I doubt if he was a practicing Christian on assumption of office. The gifts of God, though irrevocable, are not dependent on physical age.

The age we acknowledge and begin exercising the gift is significant.

Mr. Trump was also not a career politician. As such his craft was not developed for the Office of the President. He was a shrewd business man and real estate mogul. Many would remember him for his TV series, “The Apprentice” where he fired incompetent contestants. As a private man, he brought the mentality of the TV show to Office and stepped on everyone’s toes; even his allies! He even stepped on his own toes and we watched him contradict himself at times. We could go on and on, but these two observed points, in my opinion, clearly caused Mr. President his gazillion enemies. But, wait a minute.

. . .

Mr. Joe Biden

Mr. Joe Biden is a career politician and running for the Office of the President, after having being Vice President, seems like the ultimate next step. He allegedly won the race by a surprising landslide. We all watched it on the television, right? And those mail-in ballots kept seeping in and in and in. At one point, the votes were close. Suddenly, the gap widened. This is not an unusual occurrence. And yes, the people are tired and want a change and will do anything to embrace Mr. Biden and Kamala Harris. I believe that Kamala helped secured the votes. But, wait a minute.

Is the duo of Joe Biden (JB) and Kamala Harris (KH) better than that of Donald Trump (DT) and Mike Pence (MP)? I must look stupid now asking that question. Pardon my naivety. But, if past performance is a predictor of future performance, I propose to you that the people will soon get tired of both JB and KH and will be yearning for another duo. At this point, anyone other than DT is welcomed.

Who declares?

The Associated Press (AP) declared JB the winner. Looks like AP is rejoicing over the President’s defeat. And yes, DT stepped on their (AP) toes too – remember the ranting about the fake media? So it’s not surprising that they were swift to declare DT out of office. But, wait a minute.

The Constitution of the United States of America states that “the results won’t be official until each state fully canvasses and certifies its presidential election results, which occurs on a different timeline in every state.” The Electoral College has to declare the Presidential winner after the electors vote on December 14. The votes have also been recounted and, yes, some have reaffirmed Joe Biden as the winner. But it’s not final until the Electoral College’s proclamation and Donald Trump’s concession. All eyes and ears will be fixed on December 14.

But, wait a minute (to be continued)

I am thankful; how about you?

(C) ThinkTalk

Happy Thanksgiving Day

I took this photo a while back. The purpose was to share with my siblings and friends who would understand the intentional undertone. The photo is apropos, so I thought, for Thanksgiving Day (apologies to animal rights activists et al)

I could pen a million plus things that, despite covid19, I am particularly thankful. Instead, I will share and reblog, a post that conveys my heart. The post popped up on my email. I saved it to share, but in the process, I lost the details. Glad though that I still have the verbiage. Here it is, courtesy of #YouVersion:

. . .

“What are you thankful for?

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

1 THESSALONIANS 5:18

No matter what you face, God’s goodness and mercy will never leave you. In fact, He even prepares blessings for you in the middle of hard seasons. But these truths aren’t always easy to remember, which is why giving thanks matters.

A Prayer of Thanks

Gratitude helps us focus on the only One who is able to turn our problems around for His glory and our good. So right now, let’s take a minute to pause and thank God for all He’s done in our lives.

God, You are good, and Your steadfast love endures forever! Even in the hardest seasons, I always have a reason to worship You.

Thank You for giving me victory and abundant life in Jesus Christ! Although I don’t deserve it, You shower me with unconditional love and forgiveness.

And so no matter what the future may hold, I will shout for joy because You are with me. You comfort me and bless me in the presence of my enemies. Nothing compares to You and no weapon can stand against You. In all things, I am more than a conqueror through You!

Be glorified through me, God. Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart bless Your name.

I want my life to bring You praise. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

. . .

Thankful for you – Enjoy 2020 Thanksgiving Day and return next year with more gratitude!

Strong Women of Africa

Continuing our Strong Women: A Series.

Credy: azquotes

The first series highlighted my favorite Strong Women of The Bible. Our next series will highlight notable Strong Women of Africa.

As you may, or may not, know, Africa is a continent comprising of fifty-five 55) countries spread across its northern, southern, central, eastern, and western regions; each having seven (7), five (5), seven (7), twenty (20), and seventeen (16) countries respectively. Nigeria is the most populous African country with 206 million. For countries that make up each region, please click here.

This information is necessary to help visualize the magnitude of people we are attempting to highlight. It is impossible to include every strong woman of the continent. As previously stated, in our initial blog of the Series, several strong women are unknown.

. . .

In my research, I found a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) interactive of Women in African History. I love the interactives; I hope you do too. Unfortunately, this interactive only lists one woman per country highlighted. Click on any picture to view details of the highlighted woman.

We know that there are more Strong Women of Africa than the referenced interactive showcased. But I would rather not burden you with the encyclopedic information of these Strong Women of Africa. As you read, if you know or have heard of any Strong Woman, kindly include her in the comment.

The above highlights Historic Strong Women of Africa. This link, courtesy of Forbes, showcases modern notable Strong Women of Africa. Again, the list might not be exhaustive. Include other known names you’ve either read about, heard, or known in the comments.

Credits: azquotes

African Women, like their global counterparts have defied several odds to attain their current pinnacles. From the first African female Head of State, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia (there has since been other African female Heads of States), to Asnath Mahapa, the first African woman to become a pilot in South Africa, to Wangari Maathai, the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, to Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the first African woman to head the World Trade Organization (WTO), African Women continue to graciously stamp their footprints on the sands of time. Yet, there’s still more Strong African Women needed to rise up and/or pass the baton on. I salute your courage and thank you for paving the way.

Thanks for reading.

Conversations with my Daughter

Credits: Unsplash

There are some things in life that we have no control over; such things as genetics and the environment we grew up in (at least to a certain extent). To this list, I want to add ____ please read on and you can fill-in the blanks.

I encouraged my daughters to be free to share and express themselves even though I came from a culture that repressed it. As soon as they were able to mutter words, we had always had a conversation. When I say, “we need to talk,” they know that Momma wants a dialogue or conversation, not a monologue. Yes, there were times I lost my balance in conversations but I quickly regrouped myself to continue. But, now as young adults, they are the ones mostly initiating the dialogues. Here’s a recent one of such worth sharing.

. . .

Daughter: Mom everyone knows you’re a Christian.

Me: Alleluia, praise the Lord. (could have added some break-dancing as well!) That’s a good thing, right? I don’t even know that I look like one.

Daughter: Can you tell a bad person or a racist when you see one?

Me: Not really but I guess I can perceive one by the Spirit of the Lord in me.

Daughter: that’s the point. People know you for who you are.

Me: uhm 🤔 I see your point.

Daughter: certain people feel uncomfortable around folks like you … even without you saying anything.

Me: Baby, I’m sorry that they do; I don’t have control over that. I try to make everyone comfortable around me. Don’t I?

Daughter: yes, you do, but still I can’t bring some of my friends around you because I don’t want you judging them cos they might not look like those you approve of. (I’ve also encouraged them to bring their friends home; I mentioned this in one of my posts.)

Me: Again, I’m sorry you feel that way but I don’t judge your friends or anyone. I leave judging to God. I’m more concerned that you feel that way. Why do you? If your friends feel so, I expect you to be the one to defend your Momma. Even when I sense anything, it’s God’s way of highlighting the person to say “pray for him/her.” It could also be that God is warning you through me. I can see how that makes them uncomfortable – light is being shed unto certain areas …

Daughter: you’re getting too deep for me now

Me: The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, … (Deuteronomy‬ ‭29:29‬)‬‬. Also, “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honor of kings (you & I) is to search out a matter.” (Proverbs‬ ‭25:2‬)
And finally, at least for today, wisdom is the principal thing; in thy getting, get understanding. Love you baby. God is watching over you!

. . .

Thanks for reading. If you will, please comment and add to the list of things that we have no control over.

Loving Basketball: NBA Teams’ Star Duos

“Everyone needs somebody,” right? Yes, we all need each other, but most importantly, we all need at least one person in our life who is our confidante or a balancer of sorts. For married couples, this person often is the significant other. But even married couples need a confidante outside of marriage. This person could be your parents, a sibling, or a great friend. Identify such a person in your life today and be willing to be accountable, as well as to listen, obey, and have mutual respect for one another.

. . .

If you’ve been following the NBA lately, especially since the NBA Drafts, you would have noticed or heard the numerous musical chairs (I’m referring to the trades and deals!) going on. Despite the ongoing “tradeals,” I thought it would still be fun and interesting to see how much change each Team has undergone when the 2020-21 Season starts.

As our lives need somebody, so do sports teams. Each Team has the superstars who the rest of the players revolve around. I was musing a while back about keep my Loving Basketball posts alive during the League’s recess and this is what I came up with; the NBA Team Star Duos. Let’s talk and learn about who they are.

. . .

Who are the Super Star Duos of each NBA Team?

I hope the Star Duos were obvious to you as you watched the recently-completed NBA games; restarts, playoffs, and championship. If not, they are listed below.

Basketball is a team sport. But every team has a duo super-star around which the rest of the players revolve. The duo players get more playing times than the rest, are the “face of the Team/franchise,” and this status is topped with mega contracts. A few of the teams have more than two, but primarily it’s always the main two.

Trivia

Before we get to the Team Duos, first, a little trivia.

  • Do you know how many teams are in the NBA today?
  • Do you know when the NBA started?
  • Do you know how many teams the NBA started with?

. . .

As of today, thirty (30) teams play in the NBA; 15 each for the Western and Eastern Conferences. Of these, only two (New York Knicks and Boston Celtics) teams have maintained the same name and played in the same location since the League originally started with eleven (11) teams in 1946! Click here for a chronological history of the NBA.

Going back to NBA Team Duos,

Team Duos

  1. ATLANTA HAWKS Trae Young, Clint Capela.
  2. BOSTON CELTICS Jaysun Tatum, Kemba Walker, Enes Kanter, Jaylen Brown.
  3. BROOKLYN NETS Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant (though he sat out through the season), Spencer Dinwiddie.
  4. CHARLOTTE HORNETS Devonte Graham, Miles Bridges.
  5. CHICAGO BULLS Wendell Carter Jr., Coby White.
  6. CLEVELAND CAVALIERS Tristan Thompson, Kevin Lowe, Andre Drummond.
  7. DALLAS MAVERICKS Luka Doncic, Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
  8. DENVER NUGGETS Jamal Murray, Nikola Jokic, Jerami Grant.
  9. DETROIT PISTONS Derrick Rose, Blake Griffin, Christian Wood.
  10. GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS Step Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green.
  11. HOUSTON ROCKETS James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Eric Gordon,
  12. INDIANA PACERS Victor Oladipo, Domantas Sabonis, Myles Turner.
  13. LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS Kawhi Leonard Paul George.
  14. LOS ANGELES LAKERS LeBron James, Anthony Davis.
  15. MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr..
  16. MIAMI HEAT Jimmy Butler, Jae Crowder, Andre Iguodala.
  17. MILWAUKEE BUCKS Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, Eric Bledsoe.
  18. MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES D’Angelo Russell, Karl-Anthony Towns.
  19. NEW ORLEANS PELICANS Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, Lorenzo Bell.
  20. NEW YORK KNICKERBOCKERS RJ Barrett, Julius Randle.
  21. OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER Chris Paul, Steven Adams.
  22. ORLANDO MAGIC Aaron Gordon, Nikola Vucevic, Evan Fournier.
  23. PHILADELPHIA 76ERS Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid. Tobias Harris, Al Horford.
  24. PHOENIX SUNS Devin Booker, Ricky Rubio, Deandre Ayton.
  25. PORTLAND TRAILBLAZERS Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum,
  26. SACRAMENTO KINGS De’Aaron Fox, Harrison Barnes.
  27. SAN ANTONIO SPURS LaMarcus Aldridge, DeMar DeRozan, Dejounte Murray.
  28. TORONTO RAPTORS Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, Serge Ibaka, Marc Gusol.
  29. UTAH JAZZ Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, Bojan Bogdanović.
  30. WASHINGTON WIZARDS John Wall, Bradley Beal.

Now you have the list. Can you identify which team belongs to the Eastern or Western conference? 😊

The 2020-21 season has been scheduled to start on December 22; in time for the Christmas holidays. I’m looking forward to a fun holiday. I hope you are too. Basketball is my outlet.

Again, lots of changes have taken place; some of the players have changed teams and some are still in the works. Play along with me and let’s try to match the players to their new team for the season. I think it will be fun.

Thanks for reading. I hope you learned a thing or two.

Strong Women: A Series – I-III – Strong Women in the Bible

I began the Strong Women in The Bible highlighting my favorites. I had to curtail the post for swift readability. This is the third and concluding post of the sub-series. You will find the previous posts here, Please read along and, at the end, nominate your favorite from the eight. If you have a Strong Woman in The Bible not highlighted, please feel free to mention it in the comments.

“Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”

Proverbs 31:30

Proverbs 31

The Book of Proverbs, Chapter 31 comes to mind when we talk or hear about biblical women. The Chapter embodies characteristics of a Strong Woman then and now. The Modern Chapter 31 Woman carries a cellphone and iPad on one hand and her running shoes on the other. She is ready to change from office wear to gym wear to the evening office function in a swift. And on arrival at home, equally swift to place her portfolio on the table and grab the blender and pot to prepare dinner for her household. Men, she wears several hats for which she’s hardly acknowledged!

Reading on, Esther, Hannah, Mary, Naomi, Rahab, and Sarah all embody the Proverbs 31 and more!

. . .

Esther

We begin with Esther, also known as Hadassah, as a Proverb 31 and Strong Woman in the Bible. Esther is one of two women who has a Book in the Bible dedicated to her. Though I do not like the manner in which she married the king, Ahasuerus, her story is nonetheless unique in that, by prayer and fasting, she saved her tribe/nation.

“… Esther obtained favor in the sight of all them that looked upon her” She also obtained grace and favor in the king’s sight that he set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen.”

Book of Esther

Esther was a Jew, but she had not yet shown her kindred nor her people in the palace; as her uncle Mordecai, who raised her, had charged her.

A decree was made that would kill all Jews. Her uncle Mordecai, on hearing, sent a message to Esther stating, “Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king’s house, more than all the Jews …
‭‭maybe thou has come for such a time as this.” Esther requested that all Jews in the city join her to pray and fast for three days so she can go to the king to reverse the decree.

“And if I perish, I perish.”

‭‭Have you ever gotten to a point of dilemma where you knew something’s got to give? What do you do? Take cue from Esther‬ and remember; “not by might, nor by power …‭” I pray that you find favor and grace with God always.

Hannah

Hannah was a prophetess and worshipper in Jerusalem. She was the Mother of Samuel, the prophet. Um 😟 a parent-prophet/ess bears a child/children-prophets/prophetesses! Parents please pay attention to your children and help develop their gifting early.

Bible readers and scholars are familiar with Hannah’s story which is one of hope, faith, and perseverance. She was one of two wives but the more-dearly-loved by her husband. However, “the Lord shut her womb” that she was unable to conceive. “Lord shut her womb” simply means that it was by divine resolution and not medical or anything was wrong with her womb. Meanwhile the other wife was popping out babies like a puppy! She also reveled in making Hannah miserable. Hannah fasted and prayed earnestly for a child. She finally got her wish and dedicated her son back to God. Read her story in the Book of 1 Samuel 1.

“For as the woman originates from the man, so also man is born through the woman; and all things [whether male or female] originate from God [as their Creator].” – ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭11:12‬ ‭AMP‬‬

Mary

There are a few Marys in The Bible. We’ll only highlight Mary, the wife of Joseph and mother of our Lord Jesus. By sheer virtue of being the Lord’s mother, her story need no introduction to any. A woman of faith and unfathomable trust. A woman of strength watching her son’s persecution and still trusting! I pray that we all grow stronger and deeper in our faith and trust in God. You can read extensively about Mary, mother of Jesus, in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

Naomi

As I began to write on Naomi, I paused and wondered “maybe I should have chosen Ruth instead.” Ruth is the other woman dedicated with a Book in the Bible. But, I’ll stick to my initial choice.

Naomi embodies strength under control having faced tremendous adversities. Few, men or women, would have lost their minds under such adverse conditions. Naomi is Orpah and Ruth’s mother-in-law. She found herself suddenly widowed. Shortly after, both her sons died. Naomi entreated with her daughters-in-law to return to their parents’ homes. Orpah kissed her and left, but Ruth chose to stay to care for her.

“Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” – Ruth 1:16-17

Together, they “formed an alliance to further empower themselves.” May you have godly alliances.

Rahab

God will use the most unlikely of us for His purposes. Such was the case with this “strong woman.” Rahab was a harlot who, according to Wikipedia, helped to “hide two men who had been sent to reconnoiter the city prior to their attack.” – Joshua 2:3-23

Sarah

If Abraham was the father of all nations, Sarah, his wife, can equally and rightfully be called the mother of all nations. Despite Sarah’s age, the Bible says that she was past childbearing age, believed God and still bore a son, Isaac, at the age of 99.

“Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭11:11‬ ‭

Modern day women are almost nearing this age in natural childbearing. I have seen women who had their first child at 40, 50, and even 60-years! Any woman reading this who desires a child and is struggling, I want to encourage you to believe and hope in God that it will surely happen. I struggled for a few years before having my own. Despite assurances from my doctor and gynecologist, it just didn’t happen. I could blog about this another time.

. . .

Thank you for taking the time to read my favorite Strong Women of The Bible. I hope there was a nugget or two glimpsed from it. Have any question on any of the Women, please feel free to ask. Also leave a comment on what blessed you; share and like 😊❤️✌🏾🙏🏾

Loving Basketball: 2020 NBA Draft: Results

The 2020 NBA Draft has now been completed. The spectacular event was full of surprises and extremely emotional for many prospects.
Locally, LaMelo Ball was rumored to be the #1 draft, but the first draft went to Anthony Edwards, while LaMelo was the #3. Former USC Star Onyeka Okonkwo was, as of yesterday nominated by only 26%; while Isaac Okoro was barely nominated by anyone. Both prospects shocked all as #6 and #5 drafts respectively.

Golden State Warriors went with the #2 James Wiseman.

After all said and done, personally, it doesn’t matter what number the drafts were. What matters in my opinion is that they were selected. Forty of the prospects were not selected. So why complain about the number, right? Each draft should have a heart of gratitude. No doubt, they’ve each worked relentlessly hard to get here. We hope that they will continue and not relent now.
ThinkTalk wishes all the 2020 NBA Draft the very best career in the NBA and eagerly looks forward to who will bag the 2021 Rookie of the Year!

. . .

There was Draft’ing and Deal’ing as Teams traded players up and down. As you can see from the table below, some Drafts were immediately traded to another Team or were involved in a three-way deal.

It would be interesting to see the makeup of each NBA Team for the upcoming season.

. . .

Here’s the complete list, courtesy of the NBA.:

First Round

  1. Timberwolves draft Anthony Edwards
  2. Warriors draft James Wiseman
  3. Hornets draft LaMelo Ball
  4. Bulls draft Patrick Williams
  5. Cavaliers draft Isaac Okoro
  6. Hawks draft Onyeka Okongwu
  7. Pistons draft Killian Hayes
  8. Knicks draft Obi Toppin
  9. Wizards draft Deni Avdija
  10. Suns draft Jalen Smith
  11. Spurs draft Devin Vassell
  12. Kings draft Tyrese Haliburton
  13. Pelicans draft Kira Lewis Jr.
  14. Celtics draft Aaron Nesmith
  15. Magic draft Cole Anthony
  16. Trail Blazers draft Isaiah Stewart >> reportedly traded to the Pistons, after first being dealt to the Rockets
  17. Timberwolves draft Aleksej Pokusevski >> reportedly traded to the Thunder
  18. Mavericks draft Josh Green
  19. Nets draft Saddiq Bey >> reportedly traded to the Pistons, after first being dealt to the Clippers
  20. Heat draft Precious Achiuwa
  21. 76ers draft Tyrese Maxey
  22. Nuggets draft Zeke Nnaji
  23. Knicks draft Leandro Bolmaro >> reportedly traded to the Timberwolves
  24. Bucks draft RJ Hampton >> reportedly traded to the Nuggets, after first being dealt to the Pelicans
  25. Thunder draft Immanuel Quickley >> reportedly traded to the Knicks, after first being dealt to the Timberwolves
  26. Celtics draft Payton Pritchard
  27. Jazz draft Udoka Azubuike
  28. Lakers draft Jaden McDaniels >> reportedly traded to the Timberwolves, after first being dealt to the Thunder
  29. Raptors draft Malachi Flynn
  30. Celtics draft Desmond Bane >> reportedly traded to the Grizzlies

Second Round

  1. Mavericks draft Tyrell Terry
  2. Hornets draft Vernon Carey
  3. Timberwolves draft Daniel Oturu >> reportedly traded to the Clippers, after first being dealt to the Knicks
  4. 76ers draft Theo Maledon >> reportedly traded to the Thunder
  5. Kings draft Xavier Tillman Sr >> reportedly traded to the Grizzlies
  6. 76ers draft Tyler Bey >> officially traded to the Mavericks
  7. Wizards draft Vit Krejci >> reportedly traded to the Thunder
  8. Jazz draft Saben Lee >> reportedly traded to the Pistons
  9. Pelicans draft Elijah Hughes >> reportedly traded to the Jazz
  10. Grizzlies draft Robert Woodard >> reportedly traded to the Kings
  11. Spurs draft Tre Jones
  12. Pelicans draft Nick Richards >> officially traded to the Hornets
  13. Kings draft Jahmi’us Ramsey
  14. Bulls draft Marko Simonovic
  15. Bucks draft Jordan Nwora
  16. Trail Blazers draft CJ Elleby
  17. Celtics draft Yam Madar
  18. Warriors draft Nico Mannion
  19. 76ers draft Isaiah Joe
  20. Hawks draft Skylar Mays
  21. Warriors draft Justinian Jessup
  22. Kings draft Kenyon Martin Jr >> reportedly traded to the Rockets
  23. Thunder draft Cassius Winston >> reportedly traded to the Wizards
  24. Pacers draft Cassius Stanley
  25. Nets draft Jay Scrubb >> reportedly traded to the Clippers
  26. Hornets draft Grant Riller
  27. Clippers draft Reggie Perry >> reportedly traded to the Nets
  28. 76ers draft Paul Reed
  29. Raptors draft Jalen Harris
  30. Pelicans draft Sam Merrill >> reportedly traded to the Bucks

I hope that you watched the event. If not, I’m sure that it will be re-aired. Be sure to catch a glimpse of it.

Thoughts: Mine, Others, Whose?!

close-up photo of Thought Catalog book
Credits: Unsplash

I don’t wanna ever embrace again some people’s Thoughts of me,

those thoughts have hurt and made me temporarily delusional.

Yet I would like to embrace some people’s Thoughts of me,

For those have motivated me to believe higher for myself.

I don’t even wanna embrace some Thoughts of myself sometimes;

for who knows where those thoughts came from

As I am aware that there’s a wrestling match going on between my mind and members

that sometimes the good that I intend to do I do not; and the evil that I don’t intend to do I find myself doing. (Romans 7:8-24)

Yet the Thoughts that I think of myself matter more.

I better think thoughts that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report or rapport. (Philippians 4:8)

And thoughts of peace, and not of evil, so I can attain His expected end for me. (Jeremiah‬ ‭29:11‬)

For these are the Thoughts of my Creator which matters most than any thought I or anyone may have of me.

So, align myself I must with His thoughts of me.

No matter what anyone thinks of me,

I have to agree with their verbalized thoughts and visualize myself being so for it to materialize!

I don’t ever want to think too highly of myself again

Nor embrace the lowly thoughts of others.

Father, I pray Thee help me and us all to have Your balance in our Thoughts.

. . .

This poetic post was inspired while I was commenting on Kally’s (#Middleme) Weekly Wisdom for the day. Please visit her awesome site for the post and more. I love her posts and I hope that you do too.

Loving Basketball: 2020 NBA Draft Day

Today is the NBA Draft. Hundred (100) prospects with their families will gather, via videoconferencing due to covid-19, for the event and the possibility of starting a “new life” in basketball. The event which was originally “scheduled to be held at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, will now be conducted at the ESPN’s facilities in Bristol, Connecticut.” The WNBA Draft earlier this year was also conducted via videoconferencing because of covid-19.

The NBA Draft consists of top talented American and International basketball players.

Of the hundred (100), only sixty (60) favored of these prospects will be chosen in two rounds of what will seem like an anxious auction of sorts.

Unlike the highest bidder getting the product in an auction, in the NBA Draft, the teams already know who they’d like to pick. The uncertainty arises if another team picks the specific prospect before the Team’s turn. I’m sure that each NBA Team has done its due diligences and has a first through probably fifth choice should that happen. Makes it the more uncertain though intriguing.

The Lottery earlier

The NBA Draft Lottery, which determines the order of selection for the NBA Draft, was earlier conducted in August. The 14 teams that did not make the 2020 postseason were eligible for the Lottery and included:

Golden State > 14.00% Charlotte > 6.00%
Cleveland > 14.00% Washington > 4.50%
Minnesota > 14.00% Phoenix > 3.00%
Atlanta > 12.50%

San Antonio > 2.00%
Detroit > 10.50% Sacramento > 1.30%
New York > 9.00% New Orleans > 1.20%
Chicago > 7.50% Memphis* > 0.50%

Though the above fourteen (14) teams have the edge of choosing the top fourteen prospects, all NBA Teams will have the opportunity to choose a prospect that fits with both their current needs and cultures and that will subsequently enhance their abilities to be competitive for the upcoming 2020-21 NBA Season. The goal will be to maximally compete for the next NBA Championship.

The NBA 2020-21 Season will start on December 22, 2020.

Draft Rounds

There are two rounds to go through. The first round consists of college freshmen who have opted to forgo the remainder of their education for a rosier NBA life. Their “contracts run a total of four years, with the first two being guaranteed.” The second round “talent often consists of sophomores, juniors and seniors who have had more time to develop their skills on the basketball court and end up being much better pro players than they would have been coming out a year earlier. This creates a demand for them, but the additional year in school theoretically means one less year for that drafting team, and as such, they fall to the second round.”

Steinberg, a Forbes Sports contributor, believes that “there is an inverse relationship between age and draft position.” Click here to read more on this.

Draft and Deals

Prior to today, several trade deals have been entered into that involves Teams exchanging draft picks. It is also not uncommon to make trade deals on Draft day. It will be interesting to see those that happen today.

. . .

Wikipedia has a table, with all Teams and their draft selection positions, that you can print and use to enter the prospects as you follow along. I’m unsure if I’ll be available to watch the live event, but I’ll definitely utilize the form for a later watch and reference.

Tune in if you will to watch this spectacular event on ESPN at 8 P.M. ET.

ThinkTalk wishes the chosen young men the very best in their NBA pursuits and career. May each land with the Team of their Dream. Here’s also wishing that the unselected forty (40) will continue to hope and try again either next year or look to alternative basketball or other pursuits; such as international. There’s surely a place for each one!

Thanks for reading.

Strong Women: A Series – I-II – Strong Women in the Bible

I have eight (8) favorite Strong Women in the Bible. I highlighted Abigail in my previous post. We’ll continue today with Deborah, Dorcas, and Esther.

Deborah

Deborah was both a prophetess and a judge in Israel. A prophetess is a woman who God has chosen to carry His Word to His people (you and I). The male version is a prophet.

Deborah judged Israel at the time. Israel “did evil in the sight of the Lord.” There was a war between Israel and Canaan and Israel was oppressed for twenty years. The people of Israel cried out to the Lord. They went to Deborah for justice. God gave Deborah a Word to have Barak lead his troops to defend Israel.
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“And Barak said unto her, If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go. And she (Deborah) said, I will surely go with thee: notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honor; for the Lord shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. And Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh.”

The end was horrible, but as Deborah prophesied, Sisera (the captain of the king of Canaan’s army) was delivered unto the hand of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite.

. . .

We all need a Deborah; a backboner; a woman of godly character whose words are invaluable in our lives; a Strong Woman who will go to war with and for us. These are indispensable individuals. I hope you have such a woman in your circle.

If you would like to read the full story, grab your/a Bible and open it to the Book of Judges Chapter 4.

Credits: Quoteambition

Dorcas

Dorcas, also known as Tabitha, was known for her charity specifically to the widows such that when she died, she was mourned by “all the widows…crying and showing (Peter) the robes and other clothing that she had made while she was still with them” The Bible says that she was full of good works and alms deeds. Read about her in the Book of Acts Charter 9.

Do you have clothes and shoes in your closets that you either no longer wear or fit you? Why not help someone less fortunate than you by donating them away. Do a good deed today. Charity (generosity or good works) doesn’t necessarily have to be big. A small gesture and random acts of kindness goes a long way in the eyes of God.

. . .

I once read about a late evangelist (don’t remember now who it was exactly ) when, on a sick bed, prayed and called God to remembrance on all the good deeds he had done and donations he had given over the years. That if God could heal him not because he deserved it but to count all his deeds as an offering and sacrifice. He ended the prayer, “let them answer for me and heal me.” He stated, miraculously, that he was out of the hospital the next day!

“A strong woman stands up for herself. A stronger woman stands up for everybody else.”

Quoteambition

Esther

Esther, also known as Hadassah, is one of two women who has a Book in the Bible dedicated to her. Though I do not like the manner in which she married the king, Ahasuerus, her story is nonetheless unique in that, by prayer and fasting, she saved her tribe.

“Esther obtained favor in the sight of all them that looked upon her”

She also obtained grace and favor in the king’s sight that he set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen.

Esther was a Jew, but she had not yet shewed her kindred nor her people in the palace; as her uncle Mordecai, who raised her, had charged her.

A decree was made that would kill all Jews. Her uncle Mordecai, on hearing, sent a message to Esther stating, “Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king’s house, more than all the Jews … maybe thou has come for such a time as this.” Esther requested that all Jews in the city join her to pray and fast for three days so she can go to the king to reverse the decree.

“And if I perish, I perish.”

King Ahasuerus granted Esther’s request and not only reversed the decree, but ordered Haman (the one who sought to kill all Jews) to be hung. Read more in the Book of Esther.

. . .

May you Strong Lady/Woman find favor with God and with all. May your prayers receive speedy attention and answers from God Almighty. May you also be a pillar of support for your husband and children iJN.

Thanks for reading.

Strong Women: A Series – I-I – Strong Women in the Bible

Strong” is both an adverb and an adjective. Often when used to refer to a lady or woman, the first thought of “strong” is that of a forceful feminine. But, please if I may don my gift-of-teaching hat on for a second to educate us a little bit today – the word “strong” means a variety of things. Just look in the dictionary!

Strong Women” exhibit godly character, are beautiful inside-out, are not boastful, are on their knees praying or crying to God over circumstances rather than fist-fighting, they surrender to God rather than to people, and are meek (strength under-cover).

Strong Women are entrepreneurs and know how to manage what’s in their hands to take care of their household. They often are sisters or mothers to their neighborhood’s kids. They also are not consumers, but are versed in multiplying whatever has been given to them. A modern-day Proverbs 31 Strong Woman knows when to take a rest from the chores to reenergize.

Strong Women complete their men; not overshadow them nor be allowed to be under-shadowed. (p.s. real men don’t push their ladies/women to the background). And should they be called to singleness, Strong ladies/women are proud that they have been so chosen and not allow the world to make them feel that they’ve been overlooked. Strong Women empower one another; not compete with one another.

. . .

Our starting point of the Strong Women Series is highlighting the Strong Women in The Bible. For those who don’t know, The Bible is the holy, and ought-to-be-reference, book for every Christian. The Strong Women in the Bible embody the above traits and more.

There are 157 women in the Bible; depending on the version you read. I will not bore you with details of each one of them. If you’re interested in reading or learning about every woman in the Bible, click here. I will only highlight a few of my favorite Bible Strong Women; they are Mary, Sarah, Esther, Abigail, Deborah, Dorcas, Naomi, and even Rahab. Yes, Rahab! Woohoo!! Please read on:

Abigail

My first strong woman is Abigail (other Bible versions spell her name as Abigal).

Abigail was a woman of good understanding and a beautiful countenance. She was married to Nabal who, though was great, was unfortunately churlish (meaning stingy and rude) and evil in his doings. I love Abigail’s wisdom in handling a matter that could have warranted the death of her husband if not for her discreet handling.

. . .

Here goes

David, the king, was in the wilderness mourning the death of the prophet, Samuel. On one of the days while still in the wilderness, David sent a peaceful request to Nabal asking Nabal to give him and his troop some food and drinks (my version). As king, David, could have forcefully taken everything he wanted. To everyone’s amazement, Nabal not only turned the request down, but “said, Who is David? and who is the son of Jesse? … Shall I then take my bread, and my water, and my flesh and give it unto men, whom I know not whence they be? … But one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, saying, Behold, David sent messengers out of the wilderness to salute our master; and he railed on them. But the men (referring to David’s men) were very good unto us, and we were not hurt, neither missed we any thing, … Now therefore know and consider what thou wilt do; for evil is determined against our master, and against all his household: for he is such a son of Belial, that a man cannot speak to him … Then Abigail made haste, and generously loaded her asses with nourishments. And she said unto her servants, Go on before me; behold, I come after you. But she told not her husband Nabal … And when Abigail saw David, she hasted, and lighted off the ass, and fell before David on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, And fell at his feet, and said, Upon me, my lord, upon me let this iniquity be: and let thine handmaid, I pray thee, speak in thine audience, and hear the words of thine handmaid … And David said to Abigail, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, which sent thee this day to meet me: For in very deed, as the Lord God of Israel liveth, which hath kept me back from hurting thee, except thou hadst hasted and come to meet me, surely there had not been left unto Nabal by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall (this is King James’ version of the Bible. There are other lighter and friendlier versions) … So David received of her hand that which she had brought him, and said unto her, Go up in peace to thine house; see, I have hearkened to thy voice, and have accepted thy person.”

Nabal surprisingly died ten days after the incident.

Read details of Abigail in the Book of 1 Samuel‬ ‭Chapter 25.

. . .

There’s definitely a lot to be learned from Abigail’s attitude. I leave you to draw your own takeaways. But, she’s one of my favorites.

Thanks for reading. Till next time, stay blessed😍

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Intimacy and Mental Health

Who would have thought that there was (and still is) a connection between the two; mental health and intimacy. Well, if you have been wondering why you are “afraid” of connecting with anyone on a deeper level, or know someone who is, you might even be in a relationship with one who is afraid to be intimate. Stop for a moment and please run to Kwoted’s site.

Kwoted’s post on the topic, Mental Health Matters: Learning to be Intimate, will truly bless you. I was blessed by it.

Intimacy is:

  • the state of being intimate,
  • a close, familiar, and usually affectionate or loving personal relationship with another person or group …

Intimacy can be of a sexual form, but does not always have to. The key word is the closeness. We all share some form of closeness with one another. We can be intimate on a friendship level, family level, work level, spiritual level, etc. Technically, and you’ll find a link on Kwoted, there are four types of intimacy; emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical.

This is a broad topic and issue. The link to mental health is actually new to me, but I can see how relevant the connection is.

Without further ado, please rush to Kwoted to read the article. I hope it blesses you and you learn a thing or two as I did.

Strong Women: A Series

Historically, women were supposed to be seen and not heard;
Historically, women were banished to the kitchen;
Historically, women were subservient to men and their husbands; even girls to their sibling brothers!
Historically, a woman’s role post-marriage was to care for everyone – husband, house, children, and sometimes in-laws;
Historically, women were not allowed to vote;
Historically, women were not allowed to be educated; no school nor college,
Historically, if women went to school, they studied gender-specific courses such as nursing or teaching;
Historically, some cultures kill the baby girls at birth! Do they not realize that the woman birth the son and if they continue killing the girls at birth, the land might neither son (boy) nor daughter (girl) have! and
Historically, women earned much less than their male counterparts for doing the same job!

But few women have defied the historic conventions, restrictions, and impediments. The few that did had to be strong and bold. They relentlessly warred against the tide, and had to overcome atypical stereotypes. I bet it was no joke during those times they underwent the challenges.

. . .

We salute and appreciate the Strong Women’s efforts because they paved the way for all women; old, young, and yet unborn.

“We stand on the shoulders of the women who came before us, women who had to fight for the rights we now take for granted.”

Sheryl Sandberg, author of Lean In

Thank goodness that today, women have subverted the various hurdles and now lead major roles in various industries.

From the A-to-Z of industry; architecture, aeronautics, to business, computer to engineering, finance, geology, information technology, to mathematics, media, military, to politics, robotics, and zoology, there is a woman executive at the forefront of each and every industry.

Despite penetrating the glass ceiling, a recent report published by Deloitte, however, stated that “women are still largely under-represented on corporate boards globally, and progress to change this trend continues to be slow.” Deloitte profiled women from sixty-six (66) countries. The highlights of the report included:

  • • Women hold 16.9 percent of board seats worldwide …
  • • Women hold only 5.3 percent of board chair positions and 4.4 percent of CEO roles globally.
  • • Women hold 12.7 percent of CFO roles globally – nearly three times that of CEO positions.

There are still more women needed at the top and in the boardroom. Ladies everywhere, promote one another and don’t be the only one to occupy at the top. The sum of all of us is surely greater than each of us. Synergy! Collaboration! Love! Unity! we need them all!!!

Strong Women Arise

Strong Women stand upright in your belief. Believe that there’s a purpose behind your strength. Your Creator wired you so. Give no apology. He’s the Potter and you are the clay. Don’t you suppose that He could have made you a jello if He wanted to?
Your strength and every fiber of your being were wired according to your purpose.

. . .

I once heard the Christian Author and Speaker Joyce Meyer say that she didn’t know how to sew a button on her blouse or her husband’s shirt; that she doesn’t enjoy cooking and doing other “feminine” things. For this reason, she envied her neighbor who was homely and gifted with those things she lacked. When she prayed about it, God told her to leave all that alone because she and her neighbor both have different assignments. Since then, she enjoys her neighbor’s cooking because she always brings her a plate!

I included this to remind Women globally that we are each wired differently. And there’s no cause for competition or envy.

“The truth is nobody knows what’s inside of you. Only you know what’s inside of you. Only you know what you can accomplish, and what you’re capable of …

Jennifer Lopez

I propose to you, Strong Woman, that you probably are unaware of your strength. You have no clue what you’re capable of until you are faced with a challenge. Like water in its purest form as liquid turns into ice when placed in a freezer; so a Strong Woman swiftly changes her demeanor to match any ordeal thrown at her. Some might label you as having dual or multiple personalities. Don’t mind them; just ignore them, but complete your task.

The Strong Woman is always so sweet and hospitable to her family, guests, and neighbors. But don’t mess with her nor her kids if you don’t want to see her instantly transform into a ferocious Lion King!

“We need women who are so strong they can be gentle, so educated they can be humble, so fierce they can be compassionate, so passionate they can be rational, and so disciplined they can be free.”

Kavita Ramdas

Strong Women abound everywhere; from the continents of Africa, to The Americas, to Asia, Australia and Europe. Few are salient and widely-known. But the greater majority are in obscurity. You most likely live with one – your Mom. Yes, your Mom is a Strong Woman. Acknowledge and thank her today for keeping the fort and faith at home. Don’t wait till Mother’s Day – her day is everyday.

. . .

I’m beginning this series of Strong Women and will be featuring historically and modern-day Strong Women. Please read along with me/us.

Thanks for reading the first part.

A Rose Just For You

To my WP family and friends

The recognition is all from you. The 🌹 is just for you.

I’d send the rose 🌹 to each person for not only liking my posts, but also following, sharing, and commenting.

But I don’t have your physical mailing addresses for FTD (Floral Direct) or Amazon to deliver to you;

But hope you’ll accept this online roses 🌹, straight outta my heart and specially hand-picked from the Unsplash garden, to you; one for each ‘like’ and share and comment and follow. Please leave some for the next liker, follower, commenter, and sharer.

You make it all worth the while.

Love you dearly my blogging clan!

California & the November 3rd: Results

Exactly a week ago, America had its election. There were 115 measures on the ballot out of which the State of California had 12. My previous post listed the California measures. Today, I post the results below:

. . .

  • Yes on Proposition 14, Bonds to Continue Stem Cell Research –
  • No on Prop 15, Property Tax to Fund Schools, Government Services
  • No on Prop 16, Affirmative Action in Government Decisions
  • Yes on Prop 17, Restores Right to Vote After Prison Term
  • No on Prop 18, 17-year-old Primary Voting Rights
  • Yes on Prop 19, Changes Certain Property Tax Rules
  • No on Prop 20 Parole Restrictions for Certain Offenses
  • No on Prop 21, Expands Governments’ Authority to Rent Control
  • Yes on Prop 22, App-Based Drivers and Employee Benefits
  • No on Prop 23, State Requirements for Kidney Dialysis Clinics
  • Yes on Prop 24, Amends Consumer Privacy Laws
  • No on Prop 25, Eliminates Money Bail System.

Here’s hoping that the citizens, not the measures ad-sponsors, will reap the benefits of their poll decisions. Some measures outcomes didn’t make sense to me. I believe that the verbiage of the measures statements could have been confusing and as such sway folks the opposite of their intent. But the measures have passed and no going back. Well, maybe till the next election if someone is really unhappy about the results.

. . .

Meanwhile, as the whole world knows, the American Presidential election results have reached an impasse. I believe that mail-in ballots have still not been 💯% counted. Slight change to posted election results is therefore expected.

As we all also know, Presidential contender Joe Biden leads with 290 electoral votes; only 270 is required to win, while incumbent Donald Trump has only 214 electoral votes.

We await the Courts’ decision to either allow or disallow a recount. Till then, President-elect Biden is not pausing and has stepped up his plans for taking-over.

, . .

It is ironic though that incumbent Donald Trump will cry election “foul.” How soon human beings forget. In 2016, we heard cries of external interferences in the election, but no request for a recount was made or enforced; neither were any action taken. Was it because Donald Trump won? I wonder how Hilary Clinton felt then. Very interesting how the tides turn!

Depending on who one is listening to, there’s currently a division ad some faction states that it is impossible for election fraud to be perpetuated, while some state that it is not unusual to experience “minor” malpractices.

My take is that if humans are involved in tallying election results, there will always be the possibility of error. The question then is “how high a probability can be allowed for validity?”

Anyhow, we await either the Courts or December 14th or incumbent President’s concession. For now, Biden and Harris are enjoying the platform of the media-called victory.

#Gottfried #BanterRepublic

I couldn’t keep this to myself, people.

I would like to introduce to my esteemed WordPress family, and share with others, Gottfried of Banter Republic. I discovered the site and owner today. It has been a hilarious day since discovery. I haven’t laughed so hard in days.

Well, maybe I fibbed on that. I am not one to fib, but lately I’ve been told that I seem to forget some things. Who Me? Forget anything? No way! I still remember things and events from my kindergarten!!! 😆 You know, I realized that some naysayers like to take others down with them. 🤦🏾‍♀️ But I ain’t going down with noone.

Trouble knocked at the door, but, hearing laughter, hurried away. – Benjamin Franklin

Anyhow, I meant to say that I remembered laughing hard at my nephew’s first birthday over the weekend when one of the guests, who happened to be a Trump loyalists, was “pounced” on for not wearing his MAGA cap. He was a minority in the crowd, but took it all in stride. I had never seen him so flustered – his melatonin helped concealed his blushes such that I hysterically laughed for several minutes! Having a back-to-back laughing bout days is healing!

. . .

I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it’s the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It’s probably the most important thing in a person.

Audrey Hepburn

As I was saying, I discovered Gottfried and his site via the WordPress Readers.

I share below a couple of his posts. I hope you will agree with me that he is an intelligentsia with/in humor. He’s also very responsive to comments – a trait that every blogger must have. He was responding to my comments simultaneously as I was still on his site reading, laughing, and commenting.

Please click here to visit the posts and his site. Also share your thoughts/comments below.

Please don’t stop …

#Gottfried #BanterRepublic. I’m glad that I discovered you. As I have commented – I love the humor expressed in your posts. The ability to make people laugh is a gift and falls under the gift of healing. I was healed (from weariness that cones from back-to-back family gatherings) this morning after reading your posts as I laughed so hard. I hope that you will give us more.

Please keep it up.

Popular or Electoral?

Are you following the American Elections or still glued to your television awaiting the results like I still am? Or while driving, tuned to the radio that’s analyzing the American Election results?

If you are, I’m sure you’ve heard Popular Votes and Electoral Votes. What do they really mean as it concerns America’s Election and the ongoing count and results?

Well, remember that I blogged about being “anxious” (something I ordinarily I’m not) about the Election and post-Election. It still bothers me that the feeling is not falling off despite my prayers. I can’t wait for God to reveal the why.

. . .

Well, well. We all know what popular means. It simply means favored by the majority. As in someone being popular, right? The majority of the people like the person. Good.

Please note that not all States’ votes have been 💯% counted. Mail-in votes are still trickling in and will continue to be counted for the next few days.

At the moment, though, the counted election results are indicating that Joe Biden is the popular guy. But, wait a minute . . .

Well, well, well. But what do we know about the Electoral votes? Electoral votes, in the U.S.A., determined the 2016 Presidential Race. As you now know, Hilary Clinton won the popular votes, but Donald Trump won the electoral votes and became President.

“Each state has a number of electoral votes equal to the combined total of its congressional delegation, and each state legislature is free to determine the method it will use to select its own electors.” The numbers are shown on the map below.

Credits: ncsl.org

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), “the 50 States and the District of Columbia use one of two methods for awarding their electoral votes.” These are either the Winner-takes-all System or the District System. Read more about it here.

For your information, and for the benefit of my non-US followers, there are currently a total of 538 electoral votes.

“The U.S. Constitution specifies that the President and Vice President of the United States are to be chosen every four years by a small group of people (currently 538) who are individually referred to as “presidential electors” and collectively referred to as the “Electoral College.””

Interested in learning more, click here. Hence, the Presidential candidate needs a total of 270 votes to be a winner. Biden currently has 264 and Trump 214. But, uno momento! I hear you say, that’s not difficult, right?

It’s not. But you might not be aware that

the President of the USA is not chosen by a national popular vote.

Read more here.

. . .

We might not know the true and final results for many days to come. What with incumbent President Donald Trumps’ lawsuits. Till then, join me in praying for peace not only in America, but globally. 🙏🏾✌🏾😍

Election Results

Credits: Unsplash.com/ Tiffany Tertipes

Are you glued to your television as I am right now watching the release of America’s Election results? I’m so tensed. Truthfully, I don’t particularly support any Presidential candidate because I believe that none has the solution for the pandemic nor systemic issues plaguing America. I am however nervous that any which way it turns might stir supporters of either party to want to contest the result by protesting.

Lord God knows that America does not need any other chaos or unrest. We’ve had our share and I cannot wait for a turnaround; a fresh of “new” air.

I was at my brother’s watching and didn’t want to leave lest I miss some results, but home I had to go. At the time I left his place, Biden, the Democratic Party Presidential contender, had 205 electoral votes and Trump, the incumbent President, had only 132. By the time I got home, a 15 minutes drive, Trump had jumped to 165 and Biden was still at 205. I took a shower and results had snappily changed for Trump to 182 and Biden was still at 205! Made myself a nightcap (not what you think; just my hot chocolate ;)), I looked up and guess what, Biden now has 220 and Trump had jumped to 213. The winning candidate needs 270 electoral votes to win. There are also a few technicalities that comes with determining the winner.

For example, there are “swing states, which have high voter volatility and demographic diversity, often making them too close to call.  to watch out for. While different states come into play in different election cycles, swing states for the 2020 election include Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin.”

I gave the above account to share how swiftly the results were changing. It’s so scary and still uncertain. A similitude of Hilary and Trump’s 2016 race where Hilary Clinton was the popular winner but did not clench the vote needed to declare her an overall winner.

Results will still be coming in as much as votes are still coming in. Mailing votes, especially those who mailed in their ballots today, November 3rd, will probably be received by Monday and will still need to be counted and tallied.

For now, Biden won California but the Presidential is still too close to call.

Praying for peace to reign irrespective of Presidential winner.

D-Day is Tomorrow!

The United States of America’s Election Day is finally here and it’s tomorrow. If you still haven’t voted, please make sure you get out early as lines are reported to be very long.

This is an unprecedented election unlike any other for various reasons. Each person’s reason differs one to the other. But, we all agree that this year’s election is different.

The difference can also be seen in the number of pre-election-day voting that has already taken place. Click here to read more.

Get out and vote or mail it in postmarked by November 3rd!

Trillion of things have been said; we’ve heard the Presidential debates and more, are aware of the unrests and chaos that stemmed from the racial divide, …

. . .

I finally received my ballot papers and mailed them back, over the weekend! Yippee!!

But, I am still “angst about the outcome for some weird, but understandable reasons. Weird in the sense that I have never ever being angst about Presidential elections. Why now?

Understandably in the sense that we know that these are critical times in the history of our nation, America. As such it is eagerly awaited and everything is being done to ensure that folks get out to vote.” (ThinkTalk, September 2020). I hope you have voted, or are getting ready to vote, and certainly will vote in person or by mail. Remember, D-Day is tomorrow!

Please join me in praying that all will go smoothly now, during, and after, and that peace will reign.

. . .

For your information, I had to call my County’s Election Office to ascertain why my information was missing from the Secretary of State’s website. The lady pleasantly explained to me that it was because I used a physical Post Office address. A real home address was also required. Since I supplied both, my ballot papers were mailed and received. I was glad that I took the initiative to call at the time that I did, which was in time before the deadline, rather than waiting endlessly for ballot papers that will never show up. And no-one had the courtesy to let me know!

Regarding the Bills and Propositions on the Ballot

There are 115 measures on the November 3 ballot, twelve (12) of which are for California.

Do you know what propositions are on the November 3rd ballot for your State? Find out by clicking your State here. It is an interactive U.S. map. Select the Year 2020-2029 from the Table, then select the Year 2020. You might need to scroll down to read the detailed information.

Final Note

By now, you already know who you’re voting for. If not, you have one more day to do your research.

Regarding the propositions, do not merely listen to the paid-ads, but research and critically think through every point; ask if it makes sense or not.

The semantics used on the Ballot regarding the Propositions can be confusing such that one tends to agree with it rather than voting it down. Remember that most of the bills were initiated and sponsored by those who wanted it passed. So, be diligent in your reading and understanding of each measure.

Remember that whatever you do, do it totally with your heart knowing that you have done your best in exercising your civic duty and rights.

I pray for God’s outcome in the Election tomorrow.

Jesus Ministry: Increase your Faith

Credits: Unsplash.com / Kreated Media

What is Faith?

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews‬ ‭11:1‬)
“Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” ‭‭(Hebrews‬ ‭11:3‬)

. . .

Faith is a spiritual gift that enables one to do what could not be done under normal strength or circumstances. The gift is given in conjunction with one’s life purpose or assignment.

God is the giver of all gifts.

Those who have the gift of faith are aware of it, but most are unaware. Those who are unaware of their faith gift will often be heard making statements like “I don’t know, I just did it.” “It was an instinct.” “I just felt like …”. These statements are borne out of ignorance in either knowledge of their gift or of the Giver. Those who desire the gift of faith can ask Father God for it.

. . .

Our faith grows the more we step out to use it. But faith can be hampered by fear or doubt or unbelief. Faith can also be stagnant when dormant – not used.

I’m in need of an increase in faith. I hope you are too. I have therefore compiled the following verses to help us. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. ‭‭(Romans‬ ‭10:17‬). As you read the following scriptures, I pray that your faith increases. If you desire the gift of faith, ask God for it now.

. . .

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews‬ ‭11:6‬) ‭

“Through faith Sara received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. (Hebrews‬ ‭11:11‬)

“… Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews‬ ‭12:2‬)‬‬

“…, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. (Matthew‬ ‭21:21‬)

“For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” (Romans‬ ‭1:17‬)

“Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.”
‭‭(Romans‬ ‭3:30‬)

“Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.” (James‬ ‭1:3‬)

“But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” (James‬ ‭1:6‬)

“What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?” (James‬ ‭2:14‬)

“Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” (James‬ ‭2:17‬)

“And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.” (Mark‬ ‭11:22‬)

“(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)”. (2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:7‬)

“…, According to your faith be it unto you.” (Matthew‬ ‭9:29‬)

“… a man (or woman) is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”
‭‭(Romans‬ ‭3:28‬)

“Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.” (Galatians‬ ‭3:7‬)

“By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.” (Hebrews‬ ‭11:30‬)

“Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,” (Hebrews‬ ‭11:33‬)

“… faith without works is dead?”
‭‭(James‬ ‭2:20‬)

“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” (James‬ ‭2:26‬)

“For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians‬ ‭3:26‬)

“For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?” (Romans‬ ‭3:3‬)

“But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” (Romans‬ ‭4:5‬)

“He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;”
‭‭(Romans‬ ‭4:20‬)

“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;” (2 Peter‬ ‭1:5‬)

. . .

I hope you felt your faith increasing as you read these scriptures.

Remain blessed.

Significance of Colors

Credits: https://sunnyslideup.com/choosing-the-right-color/

“What’s your favorite color” you often hear kids asking one another. But, wait a minute! Adults have favorite colors too. I reread Pen of Hearts “Yellow: My Favorite Color” blog and was fascinated by it yet again. Dr. Namrata had earlier blogged and posted some questions; one of which was “what’s your favorite color?’ I participated and answered that my favorite color is Blue; any shade of blue. My wardrobe was all blue at one time and I had to intentionally mix it up.

Today, I’m blogging about the significance of colors; what do they mean to you. As the featured image illustrates, we associate certain things, moods, or events with colors. For example, Black is associated with evil, mourning, funeral, etc. White is for purity and peace, while Red is associated with “fire,” danger, “hot,” and sensuality/love. Those who own red cars will testify to how they are easily a target for pull-overs by police officers or highway patrols more times than most drivers or other colored cars. Green is associated with money, fruitfulness, envy, greed, “go,” etc., and Purple is associated with royalty.

Having said that, we recognize cultural differences and acknowledge that there might be disparities in meanings associated with certain colors. For example, red means good luck, happiness, and joy to the Chinese. If you’ve attended Chinese events, particularly during their New Year, you will notice the vibrant display of decorations and clothings in red.

Also, different businesses/industries are known for their colors. Financial industries prefer blue; medical are white, legal professionals are associated with white and black, while waiters/waitresses wear black; to name a few.

Colors are significant across cultures too. Below is a table of different colors across cultures.

Credits: https://www.globalme.net/blog/colours-across-cultures/

I noticed however that Africa was excluded from the above table and researched it. This is what I found:

Credits: https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-meaning-of-each-color-according-to-African-culture

Red means the blood that was split on our lands in the time of slavery.
Green means the fertile lands we own, which is a source of great wealth.
Black represents the color of our skin.
White represents peace.
Gold represents the sun.

Another site on significance of African colors had this:

Black: power, evil, death, mystery
Grey: security, authority, maturity, stability
Purple: royalty, luxury, wisdom, passion
Yellow: joy, energy, warmthRed: danger, daring, urgency, energetic
Blue: peace, calmness, confidence, affection
Green: life, growth, freshness, healing
White: hope, purity, coolness, light

. . .

Colors are powerful and invoke different meanings and emotions in each person, business, religion, and culture. In this globally-correct times, it is important to know the right colors especially when gifting. Showing up for work dressed up in a colorful attire at Wall Street or a bank is faux pas. A gift wrapped in red might be alright to a Chinese, but bad for a Middle Easterner.

Colors also signify patriotism. The colors of each flag are usually seen as patriotic. Red, white, and blue symbolizes patriotism in the U.S.A.

Sports teams also have their colors which fans don on game day or to show fan loyalty generally. Golden State Warriors are white, blue, and gold. Lakers are black, gold, and purple.

. . .

What is your culture and what one color can you share with our blogging community that is associated with either a good or bad emotion?

Thanks for reading and sharing.

Californians and November 3rd

In less than a week, Californians have decisions to make in addition to deciding whether to join the nation next Tuesday, November 3rd, on who to choose as President for the next four years. It is a critical voting year. As such, unprecedented numbers of voters, more than ever before, have already trooped out to vote.

To-date, “more than 64 million Americans have already voted — and about half of them are in the dozen or so competitive states that will ultimately decide who wins the Electoral College.

The following are Californians’ State and Local Ballot Measures. ThinkTalk hopes that, in addition to your own due diligences, it helps you to be better informed.

  • Proposition 14, the Stem Cell Research Institute Bond – This initiative would issue $5.5 billion in general obligation bonds for the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), which was created to fund stem cell research.
  • Proposition 15, Tax on Commercial and Industrial Properties for Education and Local Government Funding – This initiative would tax certain commercial and industrial real property based on fair-market value—rather than, under current law, the purchase price with limited inflation. Exempts agricultural property and certain small businesses.
  • Proposition 16, Repeal of the Ban on Affirmative Action at Public Institutions – This amendment would repeal provisions in the state’s Constitution that prohibit the state from discriminating against, or granting preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting. The California Constitution defines the state for these purposes to include the state, any city, county, public university system, community college district, school district, special district, or any other political subdivision or governmental instrumentality of, or within, the state. This measure would repeal these provisions. The measure would also make a statement of legislative findings in this regard.
  • Proposition 17, Restores Voting Rights for Persons on Parole – This initiative would amend the state Constitution to restore voting rights to persons who have been disqualified from voting while serving a prison term as soon as they complete their prison term—essentially extending the right to vote to those on state parole. Proposition 17 is a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment that requires a simple majority (50% + 1) to pass.
  • Proposition 18, Primary Voting for 17-Year-Olds – This amendment would give 17 year olds the right to vote beginning in the next general election cycle.
  • Proposition 19, Changes Certain Property Tax Rules for Certain Property Owners – This initiative would allow homeowners who are over 55, disabled, or wildfire/disaster victims to transfer their primary residence tax base to a new residence, change taxation of family property transfers, and establish a fire protection services fund.
  • Proposition 20, Criminal Sentencing, Parole, and DNA Collection – This initiative would impose restrictions on parole program for non-violent offenders who have completed the full term for their primary offense. Expands list of offenses that disqualify an inmate from this parole program.
  • Proposition 21, Expand Local Governments’ Authority to Enact Rent Control – This initiative would amend state law to allow local governments to establish rent control on residential properties over 15 years old. It would allow rent increases on rent-controlled properties of up to 15% over three years from previous tenant’s rent above any increase allowed by local ordinance. It would exempt individuals who own no more than two homes from new rent-control policies.
  • Proposition 22, Changes Employment Classification Rules for App-Based Transportation and Delivery Drivers – This initiative would establish different criteria for determining whether app-based transportation (rideshare) and delivery drivers are “employees” or “independent contractors.” Independent contractors are not entitled to certain state-law protections afforded employees—including minimum wage, overtime, unemployment insurance, and workers’ compensation. Instead, companies with independent contractor drivers will be required to provide specified alternative benefits, including: minimum compensation and healthcare subsidies based on engaged driving time, vehicle insurance, safety training, and sexual harassment policies.
  • Proposition 23, Changes Dialysis Clinic Requirements – This initiative would require at least one licensed physician on site during treatment at outpatient kidney dialysis clinics. It would require clinics to report dialysis-related infection data to state and federal governments. It would prohibit clinics from discriminating against patients based on the source of payment for care.
  • Proposition 24, Amends Consumer Privacy Laws – This initiative would permit consumers to: (1) prevent businesses from sharing personal information; (2) correct inaccurate personal information; and (3) limit businesses’ use of “sensitive personal information”—such as precise geolocation; race; ethnicity; religion; genetic data; union membership; private communications; and certain sexual orientation, health, and biometric information. Changes criteria for which businesses must comply with these laws. Prohibits businesses’ retention of personal information for longer than reasonably necessary. Triples maximum penalties for violations concerning consumers under age 16. Establishes California Privacy Protection Agency to enforce and implement consumer privacy laws, and impose administrative fines.
  • Proposition 25, Replaces Cash Bail with Risk Assessments – This ballot measure would prevent a 2018 law that replaces the money bail system with a system for pretrial release from jail based on a determination of public safety or flight risk, and limits pretrial detention for most misdemeanors from going into effect.

California Local Ballot Measures

References for these compilations are from:

  1. https://www.californiachoices.org/ballot-measures-2020-11
  2. https://www.stateside.com/election/2020-state-and-local-ballot-measures
  3. https://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php?search=Proposition+15&searchToken=2wofvgqmg70vx51zyd1mtm7fo
  4. https://voterguide.sos.ca.gov/propositions/

Thanks for reading; liking, and sharing. We hope that Americans, and particularly Californians, will get out to vote, or mail-in their votes on/before November 3rd.

Real friends: 5 Things They Are And Are Not

I stated in my earlier post, Pyramid of Friendship, that the issue of friends/friendships has been togging at my heart. I’ve had to deal with some folks lately on the issue too. Some things that we assume are no-brainers surprisingly have been loosely handled and often misinterpreted. Friends and friendships fall into one of these things.

. . .

If you have no expectations of someone, you’ll not be disappointed by their actions or inactions. Similarly, defining a relationship as a friendly one, puts some expectations on that friendship. The level of expectation often corresponds to the level of friendship and intimacy. As such, it behooves us to act right and hold each other accountable in the relationship.

I came up with five things that real friends are and are not in a simplified, but dignified, manner.

5 things real friends are not:

  1. Perfect. Just as no-one is perfect, do not expect your friend/s to be. Be gentle but respectful of one another. However, if one is known for hurting the other with their words or actions, then boundaries have to be set and the friendship categorized.
  2. Snitches. No friend snitches on his/her friend. Snitching, in my opinion, stems from jealousy and envy. And a jealous and envious friend is a catastrophe waiting to happen!
  3. Competitive with one another. You compete with yourself to be better; not with your friend. There’s no healthy competition in friendship.
  4. Envious or jealous. See #2 above.
  5. Judging. Friends accept you for who you are. Judging stems from the need to want to have people be like one. This is tantamount to control. Having everyone look, do, talk, or act like me can make the world boring.

Let’s embrace the diversity and uniqueness in each other.

Real friends

  1. Are true to one another. There’s transparency and no holes barred in the relationship.
  2. Tell you the truth that you need to hear or that others are scared to tell you.
  3. Watch your back. This is self-explanatory. Ask yourself, “if my friend was absent, will my response in absentia collaborate with his or hers?” If your answer is “No,” it means you both don’t know each other well enough to be friends. You’re still in the stranger-ally level.
  4. Always know your stand. Similar to #3 above.
  5. Allow you to be yourself in their presence without judging you!

What are your thoughts on this and the 5 things that real friends are and are not? Feel free to share and like the post.