Life

Lesson Learned

Quote by Tony Gaskins, 2019

Found this quote in today’s Facebook memories from 2019. In the memory, I had written a long caption about how I had been reading journal entries from the 90s and discovered I hadn’t changed much. I noted that I had grown spiritually and professionally, and was also making better decisions. However, my personality, heart, and spirit hadn’t really changed. I questioned why I had not grown stronger in those areas, meaning, why hadn’t I changed? You see, those were the areas that made me feel inadequate around others. That made me feel vulnerable in certain situations. That made me love harder than I should have. You would think 30 years would’ve made a difference, but it hadn’t.

That was two years ago. Here I am today, same personality, heart, and spirit. At first I asked myself why these characteristics hadn’t changed. You see, over the years I have tried to change them. Tried not to be so sentimental or emotional. Tried not to wear my heart on my sleeve. Tried to fit in by being less silly and more poised. Yeah.. I tried to be everything I wasn’t, everything I’m not. Then it hit me, those aren’t weaknesses. Those are my strengths. They don’t need to be changed. They need to be embraced. The only reason I continue to feel vulnerable while embracing them is because I’m trying to get others to embrace them as well. I guess you can say I’m having an “AHA” moment. Maybe that’s the lesson Tony Gaskins was referring to. I will never be able to move to the next level as long as continue to remain in the presence of those who do not fully accept Shaun. Umm… I believe it’s time to re-evaluate my circle. What’s that old saying– “If it don’t fit, don’t force it.” I will no longer try to force myself to fit where I’m not embraced. Period!

Thanks for reading!

Shaun

Life

Happy New Year’s Eve – 2017

If you have already read the blog I posted earlier, then you’ll know I had decided not to reblog last year’s blog. It was too depressing. Then, while scrolling through my Facebook memories, I came across this gem. It feels so good to be back!! Enjoy!

Happy New Year’s Eve! As always, I start one blog with the intention of posting it. Then on the day I decide to post it, I come up with something …

Happy New Year’s Eve – 2017
Life

2020 – What A Year!

Yes… What a year! Listen, I have to confess, I had the idea of reblogging last year’s end of the year blog and adding an overcomer’s intro– “This is where I was but God brought me out!” Sorry to disappoint or save you– it’s not going to happen. This time last year, I was really down and depressed. Had good reasons to be, but WOW! I had no idea I was that far gone. With that said, I will acknowledge that was where I was; however, I am so grateful I am no longer there. This year I am going to end things on a high note, you know, just in case I decide to reblog it next year. Gotta be intentional. Lol! Here we go:

First, and utmost importantly, I would like to thank God for all of His wonderful blessings. I cannot lie, He has been so good to me! Instead of giving a detailed review about everything He’s done, I will only highlight some of the key moments-

March 2020 – Purchased my home.
May 2020 – Decided to make my blogs public.
June 2020 – Turned 47 and decided to be my true, authentic self.
August 2020 – Invited to be a contributing author in a book anthology.
September 2020 – Became the Principal Investigator on one of my research projects.
October 2020 – Did my first live interview promoting myself. It was for the book, but it was all about me.
November 2020 – Did another presentation for the same company that left me feeling inadequate for two years. (That was major! Had to face that bull head on.)
December 2020 – Decided to live my life to its fullest! No regret!!

Needless to say, I don’t know what 2021 holds. None of us do. However, I will say I’m entering 2021 with open arms, an open mind, and an open heart, expecting to receive more blessings than hurts. Yeah, I’m entering 2021 knowing that whatever comes and whatever goes, God’s got me. That he will NEVER leave me.

Before I end, I wanted to share this with you. It’s a little off topic, but, for me, it is so timely. Wanted to write it here in case I don’t get around to adding it to A Research Diva’s Journey. Again, being intentional. So, I’m reading this book about the United Nations, “The Case for Humanity: An Extraordinary Session” by Yasmine Sherif. It’s about the underlying founding principles of the United Nations – vision, hope, peace, love, and humanity – everything I’m passionate about. Y’all, it is so important that we do not allow negativity to obscure our vision for the future. Listen, no matter how dismal things may appear, please embrace the positive and hold on to hope. In the words of the great Reverend Jesse Jackson, “Keep hope alive!”

That’s all I have for you today. Going to end with a quote from the book.

“It always seems impossible until it’s done. There is no passion found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” Nelson Mandela

My word for 2021 is “Live!” Can’t you hear Tim McGraw singing, “Live like you were dying.” I can.

Happy New Year’s Eve!!

Be blessed!

Shaun

Life

Hello Sunday!

A little late with writing today, but all is well. I actually slept a good 6-7 hours. Which has not happened in ages. Guess I wore myself out cleaning out storage bins. Y’all, I am an organized mess. Lol! The bins look nice and neat until you lift the lids. They are filled with items from my military career, undergrad and grad school, bills, letters, pictures, magazines, books, movies, etc. When I say I keep everything, I keep EVERYTHING! Ugh!! I rarely throw anything away. Which is funny because I found a letter from one of my sisters that was written in 2001. She sent me a picture of my nephew and wrote, “I’m sending this to you because you keep everything.” Wow! That’s what I do.

I guess I should attempt to explain why I hold on to so many things. First of all, I shouldn’t refer to all of the items as “things,” but memorabilia. The majority of the items I don’t believe I’ll ever throw away. I have letters from friends and family dating back to 1980s. Last night I found cards my granddaddy sent me for holidays and birthdays. Something I will always cherish. These came from someone who spent his entire life trying to live up to his reputation of being this hard, cold individual. But later in life he would call just to say hello and tell me he loved me, and he would send cards. Then there’s my military memorabilia. I have uniforms, orders from different assignments, awards, evaluations. You name it, I probably have it. Will I part with them? Probably not. As I mentioned, I have work from undergraduate and graduate school. I worked too hard on some of those projects, I just can’t throw them away. My magazines! My magazines date back to the 90s. I have Jet, Essence, Ebony, Sister-2-Sister, Time, Legacy, Sports Illustrated, Beckett Sports, and a few others. I have local magazines. Newspaper articles of events or people I know. Honestly, I do not know what I’m going to do with all of these things. I told my kids that when I buy my forever home, I am going to have a room where I can display everything. I can see myself walking through the room with my grands (children, nieces, and nephews) telling them stories about all of the items. To me, that’s heaven.

Okay, as usual, I got a little off track. I also have pictures.. tons of pictures! I took pictures of everything!! I have pictures from high school. Pictures from basic training. Y’all, I was in there just snapping away. Lol. I have soooo many pictures. Right now I have over 17,000 images stored between my phone and cloud. I just can’t seem to bring myself to delete many of them. They are so much more than pictures. They’re memories! They represent times, places, and feelings. As a child, whenever I would visit family, all I wanted to do was look at old pictures and ask questions- “Who’s this?” “Where was this taken?” Those questions usually led to great stories. Now I have my own stories.

Anyhoo.. as you can see this Hello Sunday is very random. Just felt like sharing. I’m going to glance over it to make sure it somewhat makes sense, but I’m not going to do much editing. This is how I typed out my thoughts so I’m going to leave this as is. Authentically me.

Have a blessed Sunday!

Shaun

Life

Enjoying the Ride

Since I’m awake I might as well write. December 2020 is finally here. Y’all, we made to the end of the year!

A year ago I shared the attached quote on Facebook. The last sentence says, “And even if you lose, you just can’t lose.” Hmm…

Yesterday I was in a mood. A friend and I were texting about how we remember things versus how they actually happened. I told her that my journal entries always set me straight. I recall things one way, then go back and read journal entries from that period. Almost half of the time my recollections are not quite the way I remembered. Sometimes I was hurt far worse than I remembered, or loved much harder than I remembered. After texting her a few examples of what I thought happened versus what really happened, she said, “Don’t you wish you could go back with the knowledge you have now.” Well, that one statement put me in a mood. For hours all I could think about was why didn’t I do this or that. Why did things not happen for me? Y’all, I wasted hours thinking about things that happened over the last 20+ years. Talk about crazy! Unfortunately, I fell asleep feeling a little down. However, I woke up to several encouraging messages to include this memory.

Even though I looked back and thought about how I could have done things differently, it wasn’t meant to be. What was meant to be, is. I wanted more. My vision was higher and still is. I refused to settle. So yes, I suffered heartbreaks and what seemed like failures, but my story is not over. I only have one life and I refuse to settle for less than God’s absolute best. So am I losing? Nah.. I’m winning!

God is good. Enjoying the ride!

Shaun

Life

Hello Sunday

This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24 (KJV)

We have exactly five Sundays, and almost six weeks, left in 2021. As I mentioned in my last blog, I cannot take old baggage into 2021. This includes old habits and thoughts.

At the end of last year, many of us claimed we were ready for 2020, the year of 20/20 Vision. However, most of us were not prepared for what we asked. I mean, were you prepared for this kind of clarity? I know I wasn’t. I believe this pandemic has been an eye opener for most of us. It has brought out the best in some people and the worst in others. It has revealed which relationships were worth saving and which ones to let go. For many of us, 2020 shifted our focus from the things we thought we were lacking, to our abundance of blessings. It also exposed our strengths and weaknesses, in which many of us have taken advantage of working on. Y’all, 20/20 Vision is what we asked for and God delivered.

As I said, I will not take old baggage into 2021. Which means I need to start working on eliminating them now. Here is my plan:

  • Make every moment count. I plan to be more intentional about how I spend my time.
  • Stop wasting time entertaining negative vibes. I will make a conscious effort to turn negative situations into positive ones.
  • Purposefully speak life into myself as well as others.
  • Say “Yes” to opportunities I want to do and “No” to the ones I don’t. Here’s the catch, saying “no” cannot be attached to fear. In those situations I will say “Yes!” I must do it afraid.
  • Lastly, however most importantly, allow God to lead and give Him complete control. I’m not going to lie, just saying “give Him complete control” is a little scary. Like, what does that mean and what will He do? Well, I just have to trust Him. He has never let me down nor left me, so why does this seem like the hardest to do?

I believe my plan is doable. Seriously, I have no desire continuously repeating the same things from years past. 2020 brought clarity. 2021 will bring prosperity. Speaking it. Claiming it.

How do you plan to bring in 2021? Will you leave old baggage behind? Will you start prepping today or will you wait until New Year’s Eve? Remember, you only have six weeks.

Stay safe and be blessed!

Shaun