December 17, 2017

THE BOOK TOUR – one small step at a time….Auburn, Chattanooga, Atlanta, and Corpus Christi

I often grow impatient with myself and where I think I should be in life, instead of where God has me, right now in this very moment. I overlook the obvious blessings and the successes currently in front of me. My two newly released books, through Woodson and Knowles Publishing Group, titled Twenty-Three Deeply Rooted Confessions and Thirty-Five Virtuous Blueprints, illustrates movement forward, going somewhere instead of nowhere. The first text contains 23 poems and 23 photographs and the other, 35 poems and 35 photographs.

While most never get rich off poetic words combined with photography, there is still pride in the creation of a traditionally published book. It is one more step in the right direction….an eternal direction where dreams eventually await me. The greatest of achievements in life involve climbing over the highest of mountains one step and hand hold at a time.

I have scheduled the following book tour and signings in the next month for the two books mentioned before. I would very much like for you to attend and celebrate this recent accomplishment with me.

FIRST STOP:

Thursday, October 2, 2014, 7:00-9:00 PM
At The Gnus Room
108 S 8th St
Opelika, Alabama 36801

RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/668622926567700

SECOND STOP:

Thursday, October 9, 2014, 3:00-6:00 PM
At McKay’s Bookstore-Chattanooga
7734 Lee Hwy
Chattanooga, TN 37421

RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/1474528916149226

THIRD STOP:

Sunday, October 5, 2014, 7:00-10:00 PM
At the Inman Perk Coffee Bookstore
240 North Highland Ave., Suite H
Atlanta, GA 30307

RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/854683257882835

FOURTH STOP:

Saturday, November 1, 2014, 2:00-4:30 PM
At Lori’s Booknook
1005 E Concho St
Rockport, TX 78382

Pictures with Dad on a Dusty Shelf – a poem dedicated to all good fathers. Happy Father’s Day!

DSC_0105_edited_5x7_pictures_pictures

I wrote this poem almost ten years ago to capture a tale of what it would feel like to view pictures on a wall and then look on the life I shared with my father, together or perhaps one day after he passes.

The included picture captures the essence of a son leaning on his father’s shoulder, fishing, looking over him to learn the art. They spend time together, as Dad and son, at Folly’s Island, near the Morris Island Lighthouse, making memories. I capture the moment, from a distance, with a camera to create a photo that touched many of my readers over the last several years. The words of the poem reinforce the idea that moments with fathers are indeed always special and precious ones to be cherished and remembered.

Pictures with Dad on a Dusty Shelf

Pictures with memories are all around.
Truth and love in these memories is what I have found.
A Father and a Son-there is no force so strong.
It pains my heart when I have done you wrong
Or when I am away from family for periods so long.

Through these photographs, it is evident that you are my best friend.
As your son, I will serve you until one of our lives comes to an end.
Because of your will to work hard, my foundation has been set.
Against my family, I will stand up to any threat.

Pictures of you remind me to never, never quit.
Reflections of my father make me smile when I come to relax and sit.
Smiles in pictures make moments come alive.
To be a man of God becomes the passion for which I strive.

Fifty years is so much more than one can ask before they pass.
To my father on his fiftieth birthday, I must raise my glass.
Despite my selfishness, my flaws, and my pride,
As my father, you live honorably with your example in the choices you decide.

One day when you are unfortunately gone,
I will be paying the boy next door to mow my lawn.
I will stare at the pictures of the memories that will never fade.
Tears will flow, but I will always be grateful for those good times, the sacrifices that were paid,
And the abundant moments of love, together as father and son that we made.

December 2, 2006

I posted this picture today on Facebook to commemorate one of the many memories I spent with my father, both of us displaying our pride for Auburn University at Christmas time, Gus Malzahn style. Happy Father’s Day, Dad! And Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there who live and make kids like me proud to call “Dad” by the distinguished title of a parent who earns the privilege to care for a family.

1912491_248266925354392_1408870603_o

Failure in Resolution Makes for Success! GREATNESS IS UPON YOU….with one more try….one more step….your moment comes….

What do you remember about 2013? If you look at your past 2013 Google search criteria and lists, I think it gives a good idea of what we focus our minds often on.

Like the men in the video above, I am also a victim of my own self-defeat. I failed many times to reach where I am today and will continue to fail many more in the future.

When we do not reach a resolution and/or we make too many mistakes reaching to attain that resolution, we give up. We stop trying. We think it is too hard. And then with one more year that passed, we give up on all the changes we sought to resolve on a list at the beginning of a new year.

While hard to admit, I failed many more times than I succeeded. Situations and people rejected me far more than acceptance extended with an open door. If you never reach or feel defeat, then you have never really lived. If you never failed, then I am not sure you are human.

In order to maintain resolution in your life, you must first fail. In order to resolve any matter that necessitates change or improvement, pain becomes part of the process.

While I write these words for the blog audience, I write to myself as much as I write to you. These words bring meaning to my life to reach for higher heights!

I turned a huge massive bulletin board into a list of my New Year’s wishes. I listed tasks, skills, and attained accomplishments that will only be possible with God. I wanted to personally think the following in prayer before the year actually began, “This is impossible, only to know it was possible with a God who grants the impossible.”

We must maintain a certain mental stamina when we seek greatness in the name of a belief. We cannot make more excuses. We cannot offer further explanations for why “things did not work out.” We must be confident in our decisions and stick to it. We must accept failure. And we must realize that with failure forward, GREATNESS IS UPON YOU!

I say and write this firmly again:

GREATNESS IS UPON YOU!

In the video below, this motivational speaker reminds Auburn University of this truth, just one season before the miracle that occurred this year. (For those of you who do not follow football, Auburn University plays this year for the national championship after a terrible and embarrassing season of losing almost losing every game last year).

Do you BELIEVE in MIRACLES? FOR 2014, BELIEVE! AUBURN inspires us once more….

In order to change, you must believe that you can. You must also decide that you can. Once you decide to change your path for whatever it is you seek, miracles will then begin to occur.

BELIEVE you can.
DECIDE you can.
With belief and a proactive decision,
MIRACLES occur.

You receive God’s favor because you choose to act, behave, and approach life differently. This foundational cycle became the new attitude as the theme of a new day began in Auburn, at the center of athletics in the football world.

After a 3-8 season (three wins and eight losses) last year, Auburn rose up with a 12-1 season (twelve wins and one loss) with a Southeastern Conference Championship and a trip to Pasadena, California for the national championship against the Florida State Seminoles. As a first year head coach at Auburn University, Gus Malzahn indeed brought a new day to the heart of this town that breathes, eats, and lives the spirit of the university with its students.

Announcers, fans, and commentators everywhere referred to the season as a “miracle.” For those of us who believe firmly in God, we should grow accustomed to miracles. In fact, you might think that to be a Christian’s norm. The exact opposite of this reality in many followers of Christ proves to be true. We beg God for miracles in prayer, instead of believing in their everyday existence.

I sit in a Starbucks off the beach shores of Corpus Christi, Texas with a new job opportunity that changes lives. My online adjunct teaching assignment also continues with another contract. In January, I start a second Masters degree with one of the most selective digital journalism programs in the south. At thirty-one years of age, all four of my Grandparents still live. My father and I packed my stuff, stored it, moved it, drove across the country, found a place to live, unloaded the U-Haul, and unpacked those very things all in one week. And my Alma Mater, with a first year coach, is going to the national championship.

And those listed make up just a few of my own recent miracles. Believe and decide to change your life, and miracles inevitable will occur. With new perspective, you just have to see them as they occur.

In the year of 2014, I challenge you to accept the notion of miracles once more. Believe that you can. Know that you can. And pursue the newfound belief in yourself as you live for greater things to come, reaching for higher heights than you ever imagined.

If you missed the highlights of the Southeastern Conference Championship game, then watch the video below as extravagance marches across the field. It provided the next step in what can only be described as a miracle season and Cinderella story.

A New Day Begins – Inspiration into the Unknown, given by my own Auburn Tigers!

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)

Before you read this entry, please watch the miraculous win above with the recent Iron Bowl, the yearly, historical American football rival game with The University of Alabama and Auburn University. For better or worse, this sports rivalry sometimes splits households over the game of football, especially near Thanksgiving when this game occurs.

At the beginning of this football season, no one actually predicted or even believed that the Auburn University Tigers might actually play for a national championship under first year coach, Gus Malzaln, well at least, not until now.

Just the year before, the previous football coach, Gene Chizik, won three games and lost nine. By the end of the season, the football student-athletes felt demoralized, and their performance on the field felt even more tragic as their lack of motivation was evident by the last game of the season.

Coach Gus continued to preach a new theme in the locker room, “This is a new day. Forget about last year.” I feel this motto to be true in many ways within my own life and even the lives of my own readers, with stories written in the comments section or emailed to me.

Tomorrow I move to Corpus Christi, Texas to begin a new job with a health conscious, nonprofit organization whose cause I deeply believe in. I was also recently accepted into a very select Masters program through The University of South Florida in Digital Journalism, Media, and Design….my second Masters attempted and eventually graduated from. These are just two new glimmers of the many hopes recently experienced with the new chapter about to begin in my own life.

I begin the New Year with a new job, new studies, and a new location to restart and reboot. My beginnings are not just resolutions. They are actual life happenings.

Last year was kind of like Auburn’s season for me, a rebuilding year as they might say in the world of college athletics. This job is a new day for me. The new soon-to-be home is a new day for me. These new studies are further more a new day for me. It is truly a new day to pick up and begin anew. Through a worthy cause, I will attain higher heights, with intentional chosen joy, in the celebration of what is to come.

We cannot control what happened in the past, but like Auburn and my own life, we can control what happens tomorrow with a new day ahead. Like a losing football season, this past year was character-building for me, on many levels. And now it is time to utilize the character now molded to become better on a personal level but also closer to God on a spiritual level, thankful for all the good He has done.

I owe my new found success to the many friends and family who supported me, specifically with my faith community in Atlanta, Georgia, Grace Midtown Church, and most importantly, my parents. Our most valiant successes often come from those who most believe in us, even when we fail to believe in ourselves.

Our successes often come from those we surround ourselves with. Tomorrow is a new day. Make the most of the opportunities before you! Our valleys often next lead to our greatest mountain successes.

Here are a few more Auburn football videos to get Tiger fans everywhere motivated for a new day!

Auburn University, AL – I’m coming home! The Green River Ordinance reminds me of eternity….

Revelation 21:4 (NKJV)

“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

While visiting my favorite rural town of southern America, Auburn, Alabama, God constantly brings new meaning to the word, “home.” I attended this past weekend’s home game against Florida Atlantic University, where the football team easily rolled through a win with another reason to roll Toomer’s Corner.  I attended the game with two very close friends (a married couple) from Church of the Highlands in Birmingham, Alabama. I stayed with their respective immediate families and ate better there, on my visit, than I have in the last month in Atlanta, Georgia, with all the diet food I ingest. I constantly survive the single life of what feels like constant boredom and monotony.

I then spent this Sunday morning with these new family members and attended Senior Day with the girls’ soccer team home match against Vanderbilt and their actual first SEC conference win. The girls appeared to struggle this season, after reaching the NCAA tournament in the last seven seasons. I was still passionate to watch some of the student athletes’ last home game, with a dedicated following of fans there to cheer them on. After eating dinner with my best friend from Auburn, we now sit in the Starbucks, working on our own various responsibilities, such as my weekly blog journaling.

I truly feel home here in this university-focused town. It is a deep connection that I believe unless related on some level to the Auburn family, you might truly not understand the roots of familiarity that lie in my heart, for those who bleed orange and blue. While Atlanta serves as my most recent residence with a world of many exciting events and things to do, it could never replace the warm welcoming of a cold-chill fall football weekend in Auburn, Alabama. The feeling tingles the toes of my feet, wearing navy blue and orange Chacos, as I write this blog entry. Auburn hits home to the very core of my being and eternal spirit.

As the song played below by the independent band, The Green River Ordinance, depicts, this is how home feels to us, as we journey from place to place, some geographic regions familiar to us and some not as much. We feel comfortable. We feel warmth. We feel a touch of eternity.

Like the quivers of butterflies kissing a girl or holding her hand for the first time, we sense the Spirit of God in a very real and personal way. I believe those very same feelings easily correlate to how we should feel and look forward to an eternal home in heaven, with a Holy Father. Instead of dreading each Monday morning, we look forward to a new day because we reach one step closer to God. Our death no longer becomes a day of fear but rather celebration.

Auburn might feel like my own happy-place heaven on earth, but ultimately, I have something so much more valuable to look forward to, that being an eternal home with Jesus Christ. When that shift in perspective settles into your heart of being, you realize not much else matters, in the muck of each day’s trivialities. I realize “I’m going home, I’m going home, I’m going home, and I’m not looking back, looking back.” We realize nothing in the past is worth looking back upon because we experience and have an eternity to look forward to. While living in the present, that realization encourages believers to confidently know the best is yet to come.

GREEN RIVER ORDINANCE LYRICS

“Home”

Lost in the memory have forgotten
I’ve been counting down the days
on the oceans the life between us
but I finally get to say
I’m going home, I’m going home
I’m going home and I’m not looking back, looking back

close my eyes and feel the way
the distance left these land so great
but I’m leaving here gonna make it clear
these words be the bold out here
to bridge your doubts and be the shiver the lonely hearts
get brand new star

I’m going home, I’m going home,
I’m going home, and I’m not looking back, looking back

[Chorus:]
Open the heartaches whatever it takes
I’m go back far to be with you
A lot of cause me
to what is true
I could’ve been lost but I see you there
long to give it all just to be right there
I said ohh I’m going home

and I’ll run it to your arms dear
I know that I belong here
make up for the love we lost
and came that shot you cause
I’m going home, I’m going home

[Chorus:]

Open the heartaches whatever it takes
I’m go back far to be with you
A lot of cause me
to what is true
I could’ve been lost but I see you there
long to give it all just to be right there
I said ohh I’m going home
I could’ve been lost but I see you there
long to give it all just to be right there
I said ohh I’m going home
ohh, I’m going home,
I’m going home, I’m going home
I’m going home and I’m not looking back, looking back

The Last Roll – Tradition at Toomer’s Corner Shows The Auburn Spirit Forever Rooted!

“The honest-to-god truth is that you feel like you’re home when you come here. My wife and I have been all over the world, and we’ve never found a place that feels as much like home as this does.” –Auburn fan, John Roberts.

This past weekend I traveled with my father to Auburn, Alabama where 84,000 other Tiger faithful showed for the annual A-Day Spring Game. This event served as no ordinary year because as a university family we would role our beloved oaks one last time.

“No one can pin down exactly when the tradition began of celebrating big football wins with the rolling of Toomer’s Corner. Even Auburn historians concede its origins are somewhat murky. Legend has it students would gather outside Toomer’s Drugstore in the late 1890s to await word of Auburn road victories, and when good news would arrive by telegraph, fans would string ticker tape over the power lines to celebrate. At some point in the late 1960s or early 1970s, students began launching rolls of toilet paper into the trees to revel in victory, and when Auburn knocked off undefeated Alabama in the 1972 Iron Bowl, the ritual was solidified.” –ESPN.COM

Toomers is not a usual place anyone imagined would come under attack by a fanatical fan, but that’s exactly what occurred in 2010 when longtime Alabama fan Harvey Updyke Jr. laced the trees with poison after Tigers quarterback Cam Newton led Auburn to a comeback victory over Alabama in the Iron Bowl. Updyke, who eventually pleaded guilty to the crime, might never have been caught had he not called into Paul Finebaum’s popular radio show to brag about his act of murder.

Scientists from Auburn’s horticulture department desperately tried everything to save the trees, even excavating roots and washing them by hand. Nothing more could be done.

Updyke was sentenced to only three years in prison after destroying the 130 year old oak trees. Some University of Alabama fans continue to ask Updyke for pictures and autographs when they see him public. He might be considered an unsung hero. Some publishers continue to pursue Updyke for a book contract on his life story.

That type of endorsement ruins college sports for many involved. Fans of any school become victims, subject to the death of a treasured college tradition because of one man’s insanity.

When you attend a university of a caliber Southeastern Conference size, alumni often feel at home in the welcoming received. You wear the colors of your team proudly in celebration for achievements of success both academic and even athletically.

This past week someone accused me of jealousy for one particular school who carries several football national championships. First and foremost, I do not love Auburn or any other school for the sole purpose of a football program. In many ways, I think a spotlight focused on the success of athletics over everything else is sad. I find it even more disheartening when through rivalry individuals of any school kill and damage property, like the Toomer’s Corner oak trees.

Even if not personally committed, the person who acts represents all in a grouping when professing to perform an action in the name of a university and even more dreadfully a football team.

Unless you attend Auburn University as a student or a similar larger university (for instance, Texas A&M, the University of Florida, the University of South Carolina, Oklahoma, or perhaps even Nebraska), you will not truly understand the meaning that this family tradition brings in the unity of a school seal.

I still hear people say, “My daddy’s daddy played football at The University of State, and I have been a fan all my life.” Well, perhaps like Updyke, maybe a fan is all you are. Simply knowing a relative who played a sport does not constitute knowing on a personal level the deeper meaning behind a university. The representation of a university goes beyond championships and sports. It runs in your blood. It often culminates from the achievement of a degree from the associated school or at least attending as a student at some point. I think who you know did something in the past does not legitimize a firsthand experience and never will.

The truth is Updyke never attended college or even at least graduated from Alabama. His actions unfortunately bring shame to all Alabama alum, fans, and associates because he claims to represent colors of Paul Bear Bryant as his own and bring honor to the school for his poisoning. Unfortunately, that carries over to represent anyone from the University of Alabama. That does not mean any logical person agrees with his juvenile behavior, but you cannot deny that they occurred..

The Auburn Spirit carries on, despite the actions of one man and those who avidly support his stupidity. The traditions of Toomer’s Corner represented victory in the celebration and achievement of sport, but in the hearts of those who actually attended Auburn, it means so much more.

It means sharing moments with others who believe in an inner family atmosphere in the love for something more than us….a love that stands forever rooted in the name we live and represent, Auburn University. Like so many this past weekend, I love Auburn and believe in it! The trees die, but our belief and fondness for this special place lives on.

If you die tomorrow, what will you remember? What does Tim McGraw think?

If you die tomorrow, what will you remember? Worries? Troubles with your life? Or final memories with friends, family, and other loved ones?

I am currently on a cordial visit to Auburn University for a possible new career opportunity that might additionally compliment my ambitions to become a published book author. I thoroughly enjoy my time back in the Plains, where I ask my fellow Auburn comrade, fan, and best friend, Caleb Rotton, the meaning to all of life’s greatest ministries and questions. Just tonight over a brew and bacon cheese fries at the Outback, I asked the question that enters all our minds at some point during the work week, “If you die tomorrow, what will you remember?”

And he responds, “Nothing. I will be dead.” While obviously insightful, that is not the ideal answer I exactly hoped for.

As illustrated in the previous entry, I recently attended the Florida Christian Writers Conference where I met new connections and contacts beyond my wildest dreams with doors and blessings that continue to flow forward with God’s fresh air in my sails. I then spent five days with my Dad on a father-son vacation in Daytona Beach, Florida. In addition to putt putt tournaments, walks and jogs on the beach, sling shot carnival rides, lighthouses, and the best seafood money can buy, the memories of flirting with a beautiful bartender (with my father’s efforts to “connect” us) still sing through my own sensory recall of recent remembrances.

As also mentioned with Caleb, we ate a luxurious meal at The Outback tonight, a restaurant I rarely frequent a visit to given the expense of their prices.

If I die late tonight or tomorrow, I am not going to remember the job hunt, the next draft of a book proposal, or even the papers I need to grade in the college courses I teach. I will remember the amazing writers I met at the conference in the beautiful lakeside country of Floridian scenes and the much needed personal one-on-one time with both my father and best friend. I will remember the final blog entry inputted here to remind you of what matters in life beyond the ordinary.

It is the relational moments in our favorite places that matter, at the beach, Christian-like-minded gatherings, the Daytona 500, or Auburn, Alabama, a place I still consider home on many levels. These heaven-like moments I will take with me to the afterlife. The worries and to-do lists will probably be the last thing on my spiritual mind when I meet Jesus face-to-face for an angelic home welcome to sit at His right hand. I hope a parade and hug from Jesus also await me. All the tedious other-things pass away in the doldrums of day-to-day existence.

With unforeseen adversity and losing a life dear to me at the end of last year, God reminded me to keep this perspective, a heavenly mindset. All the tedious details take care of themselves in obedience to remain faithful in the small tasks of each day. God will take care of the rest. And so I ask the question to you and myself once more, “What will you remember if you die tomorrow?”

I am so fortunate to have run across this Christian lesson and sermon with this very same message entailed. While there is no extensive videographer special effect here, I believe the clip is worth five to ten minutes of your time if you find that fresh breath is rarely experienced in your day-to-day walk with Jesus. It further solidifies my approach to life given in this blog entry.

Enjoy and remember what it truly important to live like you were dying.

Social Media: Blessing or Curse? Opportunity or Consequence?….the generational gap.

I think this video accurately shows that social media is NOT A FAD. Social Media is in fact existent as it has and will continue to CHANGE the future forever as we know it. You simply join in or are (be) left behind. At least that is how I view it.

I have heard of people losing their jobs with information provided on social media networks. Unless extracurricular activities clearly violate laws (i.e. stealing, drinking under age, etc.) or extreme moral dilemmas (i.e. adultery, indecent exposure, discrediting an employer through libel, etc.), then under the first amendment rights, I believe what people want to share and say should not matter. If the personal messages and expressions on social media networks do not affect one’s performance in the work environment, then who cares? These opinions and viewpoints are one area where you will see a very distinct generational difference. Someone my age may not take this so seriously (those 35 years and under who embrace the social media revolution) whereas older generations (35 years and older) take offense to any open message, for better or worse, misinterpreted. Instead of working through the matter, they just get mad without understanding social media culture and technological change that ensues, example in point, those below.

As I offended some family members with my comments on this picture (for individuals who did not understand sports innuendos), this is a classic example of how users read and interpret messages differently than others. Some female readers unfamiliar with NFL football and championships known as the Super Bowl may not realize these college students resemble the quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers. They are participating in an example of his stature after big play success, “Kaepernicking,” hence Colin Kaepernick’s last name, the quarterback of the 49ers. I wrote “losers” on the image below, some unfamiliar with the sports world thought I was referring to those in the picture instead of acknowledging the losers of the Super Bowl game. The message was misinterpreted by those unaware of the largest game in the sports world, much like my interests in the Oscars I suppose. I just do not care who wins the worst movies of the year.

Another instance includes a volunteer experience for me still fresh in my mind here in Atlanta, Georgia. Two ministry leaders (a wife and husband couple team) approached me to assist in their social media marketing platform where I would bring my expertise to speak to the unreached target youth and twenty-something’s, professional skills I happen to possess much knowledge in. I should have known challenges would arise when the minister claimed that the increasing popular trend of Pinterest were a complete waste of time, despite the statistics, a sign of obvious lack of knowledge and incredible ignorance on his part. The number of daily Pinterest users has increased by 145% since January 2012 as the fastest growing social media outlet in the world. Pinterest generates over 4x as much revenue per click (attributable to first touch) as Twitter and 27% more revenue per click than Facebook. 81% of U.S. online consumers trust information and advice from Pinterest. But remember the old man said that these trends were a waste of time (that older than 35 years generational difference). While the ministry already had a Twitter account and Facebook with the minimal requirements, there was much work to be done; however the couple insisted on proofreading every message I posted. In other words, they micromanaged what they originally recruited me to do. They did not want to revamp their social media platform. They simply wanted another body to follow their commands.

Eventually, the husband minister had me surfing YouTube for videos with his sermons, and his wife had me developing Power Point presentations on Superheroes, yes Superheroes, nothing of which related to social media or public relations. I tweeted the following, “I feel like a glorified secretary” that day on my personal Twitter account, and then the next day they were offended and angered. That was one of my last straws with some who simply never understood social media and never wanted to listen to someone who did through a graduate education of Communication from Auburn University. The generational gap of change remains evident once again.

And finally, for a more hysterical example, I wrote my top ten tweets on lame excuses of why girls will not go on a date. I recently took someone on a date here in Atlanta, but not much came of it. In fact, I forgot the whole ordeal long after I posted/tweeted the “Top 10 Lamest Excuses from Girls” when asked for a date. While this particular female joined my friends’ list with her own initiative and request, she kept a close watch on both my Facebook and Twitter through her own cyber stalker ways. She automatically assumed every Top 10 tweet was about her when in fact only one was with no names mentioned. These were excuses I recorded over the last ten years, really lame but funny. It is amazing what someone says when an individual does not want to go on a date. Honesty usually works best as a first choice for those who conjecture excuses through creative responses.

This girl called really late one night in tears, crying. I was already asleep and thought something was legitimately wrong. Her feelings were hurt over the misinterpreted tweets. I said, “I’m sorry,” as I tried to hold back the laughter. When she finally got off the phone after her scripted tirade, I laughed so hard, falling onto the floor from my bed. Someone recently told me, “People often get angry when they face truth they do not want to hear or be reminded of.” I think that is often true with social media (blog included), but I also believe some people just take small trivial things way too seriously, i.e. social media pictures on Facebook of included “Kaepernicking.” Sometimes a tweet is just a tweet. That is all it is.

I do not think social media is a bad thing. The promotional tools and reconnections with old friends have done wonders for both my personal writing and photography. I believe there is a clear generational gap with technology though, especially with elders who do not understand the jokes, the personal messages, and youth trends. These demographics often seek to understand, but some still pretend to ignore the statistics when presented. If you wonder what the terms Web 2.0, now Web 3.0, or even blogosphere mean, then you simply exist on social media, but you might fall short to truly understanding the global image of. The video at the beginning of this blog entry could perhaps help you begin to understand the Bigger Picture of social media.

The truth is The Big Picture on this planet that social media brings. Why get mad about it? Why ignore it? Just let it be, and let young professionals give advice on something we grew up with in the college age. We know it as adolescents, teenagers, and twenty-something’s. It was not a band wagon we jumped once everyone started talking about the revolution. We were and still are that revolution of technological change!

Dabo Swinney – The Miracle Worker, A Visit to Grandma’s House.

On Monday, my Grandmother was told that someone was coming to visit her. My uncle Ray kept teasing her, telling her that Elvis was that special visitor. Though Elvis was a “no show,” the person who DID make an appearance was Dabo Swinney, Clemson’s head football coach. Actually, he made more than an appearance. He made an impression. He made a memory. He gave my family encouragement and laughter. He gave his time, his story, his faith, and his affection. He was interactive, and he listened as much as he talked.

Now as an Alabama native, I seriously wonder if coaches within our state would do the same. I really am not sure what to think of Gene Chiziz anymore, fired head coach this past year of the Auburn University Tigers. Nick Saban seems consumed with his dynasty for yet another national championship year after year without notice of what transpires outside of a football stadium. And with Gus Malzaln, the new head football coach of Auburn, there have been no apparent gestures of this kind. You cannot help but like Dabo, even if you hate Clemson University (do remember to Love Thy Rival). He is just someone you want to pull for, an underdog living the dream to better influence lives like my Grandmother. After Dabo beat LSU in this year’s Atlanta Peach Bowl, fan or not, with his adverse background, you could not help but like the guy and be happy for him.     

My Dad wrote the following message regarding Dabo’s visit:

Every now and again someone acts in a way that helps restore my faith in humanity. If you have been on this earth long enough, you know what I am talking about. Additionally, you hear much about what’s “bad” in college athletics, and seldom do you hear about the “good.” Well, yesterday, I witnessed a wonderful meeting between a woman struggling to beat cancer (my mom) and a NCAA Division I head football coach (Dabo Swinney). Dabo took time out of his very busy schedule two days before national signing day to meet, encourage, and pray over Mom.

Mother has had to resume chemotherapy (after a two month reprieve) because of the renewed growth of the cancer. And while chemo is hard on her, she seems to be singularly focused on seeing her granddaughter (my sister’s daughter) get married in May. And while this is a worthy goal for her, we all felt that she needed a “boost.”

My brother, Ray, had seen on one of the Clemson University websites that head football coach, Dabo Swinney, had done some visitations to Clemson fans who were undergoing hospice. Ray thought that it would be a worthy endeavor to write Dabo about our Mom, what she was going through, and ask if he would be willing to pay her a visit.

**(Footnote: It’s important to note that Mom, like many in our family, is an avid Clemson University fan and loves football. Also, Mom and Dad make their home in Easley, SC, which is about 15 miles from Clemson, SC.

About 1-2 weeks after sending the letter, Ray received a call from Don Munson, Director of Creative Media Services, Clemson University. Don indicated that Dabo wanted to visit Mom, a date was set based on Dabo’s schedule, and the visit occurred yesterday at Mom & Dad’s home.

Ray, Susan (my sister), and I were in attendance when Dabo and Don arrived at my parents’ house. Mom knew someone was coming, but she had no idea of the mystery visitor’s identity. One hint that she was given was the fact that he was a Clemson fan. And lest any of you think that this was about a media event or publicity, nothing could be further from the truth. The only ones taking pictures were Susan and me. This WAS a very intimate meeting between Dabo and my mom. And while the rest of us did interact with Dabo, the focus was Mom, which was exactly what we wanted. Dabo loved on Mom, encouraged Mom, and prayed over Mom. His words and actions were both encouraging and inspiring. He was patient. Dabo wanted to know all about Mom’s illness, so he would know “how to pray.” He was personable, telling us stories about his wife and sister’s struggle with cancer. He told us about his mother and her struggles with scoliosis. His 30 minute visit turned into an hour and twenty minutes, and he didn’t seem to want to leave. He was gracious in every way, even with the signing of Clemson souvenirs for all of our family members.

I could go on for quite awhile about Dabo’s visit but will simply say, it was a wonderful memory that my family will cherish always. We will never be able to thank Dabo (& Don) enough for what we believed was a very timely visit with my Mom.

I ask that you continue to lift Mom up in prayer.

God Bless!
JimBo