Why I pray everyday.

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I was raised in the church like many of us were.

I strayed away around college age, like many of us did.

 But last October while sitting in a waiting room at the local clinic, I was reading a GQ interview with Denzel Washington. He said a very important piece that reminded me, being a God fearing man is still “cool” and highly respectable.

 

 

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Yes, Frank Lucas… Alonzo.. Hurricane… Book of Eli Washington reads the bible and prays daily. Now so do I. 

 

Secondly, I appreciate that he used his platform to inspire and make someone better, rather than say… Lil Wayne?

It took me a while to accept that God is really the only way I want to go to reach success, love, legacy, peace, happiness.

Who are your idols? Who inspires you? What are you doing to become a better person? A more successful person?

 

BE VARY WEARY OF WHAT YOU FEED YOURSELF AND WHO YOU ALLOW TO INFLUENCE YOU. The laws of association are real. Surround yourself with positivity and people who expect more of themselves. 

 

REMOVE EXCUSES.

REMOVE EXCUSES.

REMOVE EXCUSES.

REMOVE EXCUSES.

REMOVE EXCUSES.

 

I Also had the privilege to hear President Barack Obama speak, he went down the same course… “Remove excuses” was a major piece of his message as well as expect more of yourselves and make anyone who looks up to you expect more from themselves. 

REMOVE EXCUSES.

REMOVE EXCUSES.

REMOVE EXCUSES.

REMOVE EXCUSES.

Replace excuses with solutions.

 

 

Here’s the excerpt and link to full interview. 

 

Also, what on earth do I have to do to be this Fresh???

Me and my tailor need to have a talk.

 

 

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More pics and purchase information when you read more.

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My first protest. My first camera.

 

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Photo: Me holding Kodak Camera and wearing shirt

 

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Photo: Lauren, Samantha, and my girlfriend at the time Lauren (I was somewhere in the front of the crowd if you’re wondering where all the people are)

 

“STAND FOR SOMETHING OR YOU WILL FALL FOR ANYTHING.”

The year was 2007, September, I was a sophomore at Kettering University (General Motors Institute). This was my first time being in the world by myself and having the opportunity to take part in something. I was heavily involved in organizations on campus like National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), and we organized a protest/ march right on the campus yard. 

The Jena Six were six black teenagers convicted in the beating of Justin Barker, a white student at Jena High School in JenaLouisiana, on December 4, 2006. Barker was injured in the assault by the members of the Jena Six, and received treatment for his injuries at an emergency room. While the case was pending, it was often cited by some liberal commentators as an example of racial injustice in the United States, due to a belief that the defendants had initially been charged with too-serious offenses and had been treated unfairly. Conservative commentators noted the breathless reporting of erroneous details by the media.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jena_Six

 

 

We organized under our own “Shade Tree”… The news crews came out, the neighborhood came out. We really felt “heard”. We marched up the street and down the street and around the block and down the block. “FREE THE JENA SIX”. We bought a bunch of T-shirts and markers and signs. For whatever reason I felt the need to be “different” and made my shirt in Portuguese “LIVRE O JENA SEIS”. I’m pretty sure I had just returned from a trip to Los Angeles where I fell in love with Brazilian Jazz, bossa nova, etc..  It was also a subtle statement that you didn’t have to be black to support these kids.

My grandfather preached and preached about his protesting days, back during the 60’s… and it never really stuck with me being such a young man. I never saw it effecting me, I never saw these things holding any importance. You kind of brush it off as “that was 40 years ago… things are different now”… We didn’t see the Alabama racism, out of sight out of mind right? When you’re younger, you don’t truly appreciate these things either. 

SN: The thing that pissed me off most was seeing those boys posting pictures flaunting the money that was raised on their behalf. Ignorance pure ignorance.

With comes time wisdom and with experience understanding. Now I look at the injustices in the case we’re now watching with Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teen shot and killed at the hands of an adult white man. It hurts, deep inside my bones it hurts. But what made me feel so good, was so see people marching through the streets of Atlanta. What made me feel good was as my Grandfather starts getting on my case again about how I never did this and my generation never did that I had an answer for him “Actually sir, yes I have marched before. As the chapter secretary of the National Society of Black Engineers I helped organize and participated in……”

 

It was quite the fulfilling feeling. 

In addition to this story, this was the day that I officially caught the photography bug. If you look in that photo I was holding a superzoom point and shoot, it was a Kodak z712. It was quite an amazing camera, I snapped photos to document the day and the march (can’t find many of them currently). There was a running joke on campus that at any given party Craig would have you tagged on Facebook before you got home that night. There was some truth to that, there’s also some usefulness to that in the professional world of photography. 

It wasn’t the Kodak that did it though, nope. It was a good friend of mine Donald who had an SLR with a telephoto lens on it, a Canon Rebel. I remember him putting it in my hands and letting me snap a few shots. My thoughts something along the lines of “Now this is a camera!” I was permanently hooked, I loved the bulk of it. Without any hesitation I took my next refund check and bought a Nikon D40 basic kit, something like $450… I held onto that camera for 30 days before returning it and asking could I upgrade to a D80 approx $900. When I say hooked, I’m not playing! While I couldn’t see any profitable future in it that day, I definitely knew that I loved this thing and I would always love it. There was no turning back to anything less than a professional camera. Fast forward to 6 years later… http://www.cmacsutt.com

RIP Trayvon Martin

 Love Only. Love Always.

 

 

THIEF!!!

Reading my book… “Becoming a person of influence”

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I see these quotes as I’m reading and I immediately think of the last thing I stole.

I’m not a klepto [anymore], but I used to take things just because. With some b/s justification for why I did it, usually for the thrill, sometimes just because. “Well I already checked out and didn’t feel like getting back in line to spend $1”. There’s no justification for it. It’s allover the bible and my conscience and society that it’s unacceptable. It also supports the stereotype against black males being thieves. Great work self.

Well in this particular case, I stole basically a really big piece of paper. $1.29

We’d spent close to $150 on everything that day and I decided I wanted to add one more thing to the list. The guy checking us out overlooked it, I know he did. But I did not say anything, I just let him proceed to bag it. I know exactly where I got this bad habit from but that doesn’t make it ok. I then went on to tell her about some more little knick knacks that I got away with. It was wrong. I knew it was wrong. I know even though I got away with it, I was being watched.

I remember confessing to her. Ohhhh you should’ve seen the disappointment/ judgment on her face. It sucked. I felt like crap. I know I was wrong. I could tell she thought less of me after that. It never feels good to disappoint the people you care about. I was definitely a bad guy when I met her. She definitely stuck to her promise of changing my life. My goodness, God puts people in your life for a reason.

Then I read the next paragraph in of the chapter….

“Theft is theft whether it’s $1 or $1,000.”

Without a firm foundation of trust, there is nothing. If you can’t be trusted with the little things then you can’t be trusted at all. I think back to small things like why she never gave me her PIN numbers or passwords, I mean it makes all the sense in the world. As much as I wanted to do the right thing, I didn’t always do it.

I’ve been stolen from before… I’ve stolen before. It’s a cycle. You get deceivingly and and you get got.

Here’s the recurring theme in my journey. I’m not perfect, but endlessly chasing perfection. Every single day, I learn something about myself that I wish to improve upon, and I work to improve it.

It starts at rebuilding my integrity from the ground floor.

I feel I need to add something, I AM FIXING MYSELF. Hopefully my honesty helps fix someone else. Just because I’m reading the bible daily and working to better myself doesn’t mean that I automatically become a lame. No, I’m just more focused on what matter and more determined to be successful. I’ve wasted so much time chasing pleasure in the name of “being young” ok… well now that I know better. Can I just start to chase my dreams? Find love again, maybe find a wife? I think the only way to do it is through the God. That’s just me though.

So this Abe Lincoln excerpt really stood out to me. Yes, I’ve seen so much adversity, now I think about how do I act while in power. How have I acted in power? I’d like to think that I do well and I’m fair in all my doings. But I know my character is flawed, so is my integrity. Moving to the George Bush portion of the block quote: If the world followed me would it be a better world?

I don’t have an answer for that… yet. But I intend for the answer to be YES. Becoming the change that I wish to see in the world. Don’t judge me for who I used to be & the mistakes I’ve made, judge me only for who I am and who I strive to become.

Still reading…

My favorite excerpt would be the DON’T HAVE A PRICE.

I don’t care what people tell you to do, you need to decide early that you can’t be bought. Especially never sell your integrity for revenge. You only hurt yourself when trying to hurt others. Even if you don’t trust me, I know.

Major in the minor things. This goes back to that $1. This goes back to me doing my 30 days of no drinking. I want to drink right now because I’m close… but I’m not there yet. Just a few more hours man.. I’ve made it this far, why not? Do what you SHOULD do before you do what you WANT to do? An amazing method of remaining productive and getting things done. The best part of it all? You don’t dread the work that awaits you when you come home.

I think of how screwed I would’ve been if I hadn’t uploaded a job to a client before leaving the house and not coming home for a whole weekend. GET SH*T DONE.

Love Only. Love Always.

A few words on being appreciative.

Often the things we most strongly dislike in others are a reflection of ourselves. A mirror effect if you will. We look at it and disgusts us, just like an ugly blemish in the mirror. The  easy way to deal with the problem is to avoid the mirror, and just look outwards judging those around you… that’s how you go around the problem. The right way to handle it, in my humble opinion, is to go through the problem… look in the mirror and accept your imperfections.

Sometimes God puts exactly what you want/ need in front of you and tests you to see if you’re ready for your promotion. Many of us, although we think we’re deserving, are not.  Sometimes it comes from not knowing the value of what you have, sometimes it comes from not valuing YOURSELF. Actually I think it’s a combination of both.

When I was a child, I remember a conversation about why I was unhappy. The answer I gave to my guardians: I don’t have as many video games as ______. So worried about the next person that I can’t appreciate my own.

I’ve been so much better at it lately, the biggest thing I had to accept was “worthy does not mean entitled”. I’ve been ungrateful all my life, so pardon me if I don’t stop overnight. But I’m trying. Once you start to work on yourself you realize how difficult it actually is to unlearn bad habits, these qualities we feel are justified that unknowingly put off other people. Frequently, it’s not even “us” that’s doing it. It’s our peers, the people around us, society… us trying to fit in, rather than be ourselves.

This is what worked for me. These words are reflections of self.

First step: Understand that your situation could always be worse. Whatever it is, before you complain remember that.

Second Step: Remove all expectations. No disappointment. It’s not about what so & so got or what you wish you had. It’s about what you have today and who is willing to give to you.

Third step: Put yourself in the other persons shoes. Understand the sacrifice, love, effort, the thought put behind their gesture. Be thankful that someone loves your sorry ass to begin with and cares about you enough to do something for you. YOU ARE SPECIAL…. to someone. That’s why they’re doing it. Because you’re special and they want you to feel special.

I know where my ungrateful ways come from, but I also accept that they are in me. Can I be honest? I wasn’t raised right… well not entirely. I remember seeing people receive gifts and throw them back in the faces of people because it wasn’t pleasing enough. I swear that I once thought this was acceptable. I’ve seen people check the price tags on a gift before even saying thankyou. I’ve seen people get exactly what they wanted, or a notch below, or comparable something and still find a way to complain.

Do better. Be thankful.

SN: Love comes in many shapes and forms. I hadn’t seen love until I witnessed a girl go sell the clothes out of her suitcase to have money to spend for my birthday. I still watch the video of her singing happy birthday to me from time to time. God that woman loved me, and like any ungrateful person would, found a reason to complain. She saw something in me that no-one else saw, and she damn sure knew how to make someone feel special, even when they held no value in themselves. Speaks so highly to the integrity and character of someone.

It took me a while to realize it, but I’ll trade genuine love and affection over any amount of money or balleristic thing anyday. It was just hard to get accustomed to “the real thing” because I’d never known it. All I knew was what I’d seen all my life. This false reality that if you Spend more = love more. No stupid, if you love more = you get more love in return.

This particular birthday was an eye opener in many ways. It showed me I was a grown ass spoiled brat. It separated the fake friends from the real. It’s not always about a hidden motive, dig deep inside and ask are those reflections of yourself. The key to being grateful is putting yourself in the other person’s shoes. The real friends will reveal themselves. I’m very glad that I cancelled my big 25 party, I’m very glad that I didn’t believe the hype “You gotta do it bigger and better than last year” crap.

“Soon as the money blows/ pigeons take flight” – JayZ

Last year? I pulled up to valet in a Range Rover and had an entire flock of dimes jump out the truck with me (seats 5). Last year? We had a VIP section and bottles…. and more bottles… and blunts… and bottles… and cake… and candles… and sparklers…and pills… and bottles. Wait, I seriously drove home that night? What I did after that I’m even more ashamed of. Let’s just say I had a very important decision to make… It made for an amazing story to “the homies” but as I grew more mature, I realized how badly I’d hurt that girl. That night I didn’t care. But today I’m so so so so so ashamed. Life goes on.. she moved on, had a kid, but I’m surprised she even talks to me to this day. Forgiveness is wild, yet necessary.

I was so caught up in the fortune and fame, that I lost sight of what was important. I mean I was in the club every night, I knew every promoter, I shot so many millionaire birthday parties that I became delusional enough to think that I too deserved this. But I haven’t even seen a million. Not, not posessed, seen… I’ve never seen a million dollars with my own two eyes. So how dare I stunt like that’s me? You unearned privilege enjoying son-of-a……. wait a second. I’m describing myself as the type of person I claimed to hate.

Funny how that happens right?

As much as I despise the trait in others, I realized that I had to despise it in myself FIRST.

I had so many people come in and out of my life willing to give their all to me, and their all wasn’t good enough. I wanted more… and more… and more, until eventually I had nothing at all. It’s self defeating, it’s repelling, it’s toxic, it’s un-Godly. Be humble, be thankful.

Remember:  Effort, time, love, thought, compassion are infinitely more valuable than money.

Love Only. Love Always.

 

 

 

Fact: Actually everyone that was in that car that night has a kid now… I am not the father.

Today’s injury report.

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God has an amazing sense of humor.

He keeps testing me and cracking jokes on me. He knows my heart above all things, but he continually puts me in situations to test my faith. I’m learning, each and every day.

I thought I was about to run around and have a productive day. I’m sitting here with ice packs on both knees from the fall yesterday, and some kinda horse muscle rub on me. Definitely tried to walk down the stairs to take my dog out and got to #3 and had to sit down.  Today isn’t an entirely busy day… Send off some photos for IMDB, email stuff to the producers and sales team, put some actual photos in the mail, meet up to collect video files for my project, and upload this current shoot.

Going to read through some more chapters in this amazing book. It feels so much better being a better person. (Makes sense right?)

OMGosh that’s right… I have an assistant that can take care of this for me. DUH!!

I’ll do what I can from this laptop, and use the help for the remaining tasks.

ASKING FOR HELP IS A SIGN OF STRENGTH NOT WEAKNESS.

ASKING FOR HELP IS A SIGN OF STRENGTH NOT WEAKNESS.

ASKING FOR HELP IS A SIGN OF STRENGTH NOT WEAKNESS.

So the most interesting thing to happen to me this week?

My friend calls me and asks me for help planning her birthday party this Saturday.  Evidently we haven’t spoken in a while,  but it’s cool, I’d love to help her…I actually forgot that her birthday fell that day… I mean it’s only been 5 years and counting lol. I guess this is his way of lightening my punishment?

So yeah, dinner & club. Can’t go wrong. I think I’ll go ahead and take a my first drink this Saturday. I was still going to do something kind for the other birthday to prove that I’m not the asshole society paints me to be, but I’m pretty certain that will not be well received. Going to pray on it.

My homie flying up to New York for the weekend. He got a new boo up there, I seriously hope it works out for him. I’ve been rooting for him to get a girl for the longest. Even better, I think that his life might be falling into place. Between his issues at his job and the new sparks flying that way, there might be a condo for sale pretty soon lol.

I seriously hope he gets up there and has a great time, I’m going to send him some of the bars that we shot our film in. Like Dorian Gray, such an amazing little bar. so many hidden treasures in the city. I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE New York. I’m really sad that I never got to go on an official “date” while I was there last time, but I still had a beyond amazing time. I call it one of the top 5 best trips of my life. I was definitely planning on making it back.

Either way, life is good. I’m blessed. I have an amazing team around me. Amazing I say.

I’ve got my family here, and such a missing factor has been my father. The bible makes many a reference to “A father’s strong hand”… all I can say is yeah. I thought I was strong. I don’t want them hands… son. Having that strength/ power versus knowing when to apply it is all the difference. I’m so much better with my dog now, he’s growing much bigger and continually tests me. I had to jump on the ground and tackle him the other day. I’ve had to spank him a few times, but usually just a look and stern voice will do. I know how it effects me, so I can better apply to others.

“Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.” – Proverbs

The last thing my dog really got in trouble for was going in the front yard… and not our front yard, but the neighbors front. His breed is extremely territorial, dominant, and stubborn (like myself). I’m assuming he was trying to mark up the front yard of the neighbors yard to call it his. I went around the other way to meet him, the surprised look on a dog’s face is priceless. Everyone is all “What if he gets hit by a car?!?!” Panic mode. It was honestly nothing I could do except wait for him to come back, chasing would never work. When he got back to the house, the rod was waiting… to remind him to never ever do that again. If I hadn’t done so, it’s kind of like saying “Your behavior was ok”… and he’ll go back in the front and actually get hit by the car next time. The only way I could allow that is if I hated him. He’s getting so much better, but I got the reminder I needed. “He’s going to test you every day for the rest of his life…” Get used to it.

Walk in my Midwestern shoes