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Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Work, Blessings & A Random Thought

In Family on December 21, 2016 at 9:03 am

As I sit on a plane heading to Atlanta for business,  I was just told to be prepared to give a speech to our staff at our Corporate event, outlining our company and its direction.  So I begin to think of the year that is passing & the year ahead, which led me to think of all the past, present and future hard work & obstacles I will have to undertake to get to where we as a company and I as an individual want to be.   In the midst of that, I began to focus on all the blessings I have had in my life, both personal and business oriented.  If I was to comment on all of them, I’d be writing a chapter as opposed to a blog post, so I will thank the good Lord now for all of them.  But I’d be remiss if I did not focus on my biggest blessing, my children and all the excitement of having them in my life, which would not be the same without them.  To honor them, I will try to use a few words to describe them:

Mariah – focused & compassionate. My eldest princess.  She is hard working and understanding; respectful and diligent. Non-judgemental. So proud of her!  No one has ever said a negative word bout her – except maybe her sisters. Lol. Future Leader!

Caresse – carefree & sweet. The next princess.  She lives life w/no worries. Always smiling with a calmness about her.  Has a way of making those around her smile. On her way!

Chelsea – thoughtful & social w/a flair about her, but tough. She’s my mini-me in many ways.  My next princess.  Very family oriented & sensitive. Caring & helpful. Full of spunk!

Jared – innocent & responsible. My only son.  Strong minded & loyal. Tougher than he looks, but shy.  All the kids love him.  Cautious, but figuring it out!

Cosette – classy & quiet. My next princess.  She’s dignified & intelligent with a world of potential. Studious & inquisitive w/compassion. The world at her fingertips!

Cambrie – rambunctious & independent. My littlest princess (about to be 3). My angel. Full of life, infectious personality. Loveable. Can’t wait to see her grow! 

So there it is. Thank you Lord for these beautiful children & allowing me to be a part of their lives. 

Now I gotta get back to the work part….

I’d rather be a man who has nothing but has it all, than a man who has it all but has nothing. 

              – Sugar Ray Leonard

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Appreciation, Lack There Of & Father’s Day

In Family, Love, Parenting on June 19, 2016 at 9:51 am

Father’s Day.  A day meant to celebrate those men who have handled their business, been an integral part of their children’s lives & have left their footprint on their families.  The reality is father’s are mostly under appreciated and taken for granted; they play second fiddle to ma dukes & it isn’t even close.  No matter what good or how many sacrifices a father has made, mom’s always take top billing.  When something goes wrong – dad’s fault.  When relationships end – what did dad do?!?  When the children have to finally fend for themselves – dad never helped.   When decisions or advices are given – let me see what mom says or the enteral “…well mom thinks….” It’s crazy to me. Now all good moms deserve kudos, for sure!  I mean I love my momma dearly and that love is well deserved, but I loved my dad just as much; appreciated all he did and provided. I tried to let him know whenever I could how much too.  The advices given, the life lessons, the time spent coaching, car pooling etc.  At times it’s like we are just participants in their lives.   Any news to share, we have to hope the wives fill us in.  Any mistakes or tumbles occur moms are given first crack at resolving or providing comfort.  God forbid a father makes a mistake or says the wrong thing, the backlash is swift and lasts a while; for mothers – maybe an hour or two.  For you step-dads out there, this is magnified.  At times it feels like you fall behind not only mom, but friends, family members, social media and the family pet!  Good Father’s take solace in knowing they are doing all they can, as best as they can, in making sure their charges grow up to be honorable and responsible adults.  We have to keep pushing forward, unnoticed to make sure all ends well.  Keep providing, protecting and loving.  It’s what good dads do. So for all you good dads out there, enjoy your one day in the sun.  Take in all your efforts, love them all the same and smile knowing you are doing one hell of a job!  

Happy Father’s Day my good brothers!

There are two things we give our children – one is roots the other is wings.

               – Unknown

Thoughts, Surroundings & Positive Deposits

In Education, Family, Friendships, Love, Relationships, Religion, Spirituality on February 19, 2016 at 10:21 am

Been doing a lot of thinking recently; I mean I am always thinking don’t get it twisted, but been doing more thinking about my surroundings, my interactions and my “people” / network.  It seems the older I have become, the more wise I try to be, the less tolerance I am developing.  All my life I have strived to always do the right thing by others – not always myself.  I have always tried to help when needed, asked or implied.  I have always tried to impart any knowledge I may have on a subject or use my influence or connections to assist others.  I have neither been perfect nor always cautious with my approach, but I have always been consistent.  Basically, I have always tried to leave a positive or helpful deposit regardless of “delivery”.  I have been taking stock of the deposits those around me, past or present, have made in my life.  In being honest with myself, I have to admit – there have been only a small few who have made positive deposits, especially on a consistent basis.  Very few have ever added or done anything without an ulterior motive or “want” in return.  They are all cool, don’t get me wrong, as long as there is a benefit in it for them or a need within them are satisfied.  They take all the time, be it actual time, energy, emotion, money etc…, but do they ever leave a deposit?  When you are in need are they there to lend an ear, a hand or a shoulder?  Sometimes it’s just knowing you can count on someone or someone actually “listening” when you need to get something off your chest.  What’s crazy is when you choose not to give in or can not assist a person who you have always tried or have helped, how quick they flip and attack.  They start to judge or become accusatory of your efforts, not seeing the pattern they have always exhibited.  It’s always about them, never about you.  Then you start hearing how “you’ve changed”, “you don’t care anymore” or the best one “you forgot where you came from”.  Nah, its not that.  Honestly it could mean you just couldn’t provide the necessary assistance or the assistance provided could not solve the actual issue.  Perhaps the positive deposit being left is trying to help them problem solve on their own or see the pattern they’ve created, while giving them the room to adjust and fix.  It’s not always that one specific instance, but rather all the instances before or after that will continue if the pattern is not altered.  Sometimes it’s about big picture processing not individual, micro instance occurrences.   And oh boy, when you call them on this, well – that’s a whole other post.  Suffice it to say, the onus and wrath is put on you and the issue at hand gets blurred.  We as people do evolve, not so much change.  Our perspectives, based on life experiences change.  We must adapt for sure.   Life is full of stresses, most self created.  Our time and energy is limited, especially the older we become.  Thus we must surround ourselves with individuals who consistently leave positive deposits in our lives. I can only assume this is why some folks find God; it gives them that positive infusion of hope and purity we all seek.  I am not saying forget all the old heads, never that.  What I am saying out loud – truly hoping that I am hearing myself, is to just try to guard your time, heart and soul more.   Take stock of those who provide the positive deposits in words, actions or shared experiences, even when they are masked in ways we choose not to see.

They say I’ve changed, I say you didn’t.

– Joe Budden

Disappointment, Heartache & The Perils of Blind Loyalty

In Family, Friendships, Relationships on January 23, 2016 at 4:46 pm

This has been building for a while.  I tried to ignore, work around and just hoped I was wrong. To hell with it, the world is full of them.  People who take, take, take- but give very little.  They smile in your face, talking ’bout how “we boys” and “there’s nothing but love”, but in reality they are nothing but bitch ass people who use your “blind loyalty” to fuel their needs, but rarely, if ever, reciprocate.  I was recently told by an outside observer, who was privy to certain moves or comments made by some of those I have held dear to me for many, many years, how I have to seperate emotions and personal feelings from people or business.  He explained how most people “love you” when they can gain from you.  When they can prosper by either your various forms of generosity or word, but have little want to give back or help when their number is called.  The truth of the matter is, these people “don’t give a fuck bout you” and you need to recognize that.  Felt like a ton of bricks just fell on me.  The truth is, deep down – I always knew this.  I am not stupid or naive, but yet I refused to believe or give credence to their blatant tells.  I found myself rationalizing their behavior or actions, refusing to believe the continual small betrayals.  Nah – not my boy – he’s not like that!  Known the brother for 30+ years – nah we family, I would tell myself.  Shoot, even family fall into this category.  We all know those who congratulate you, tell you how happy they are for you when they see you progress some or attain some recognition, but sadly wish you fail deep inside.  They get a sense of joy when things go wrong for you.  Man – that’s some shit right there.  I have loved my folks since I took my first breath.  Helped many of them out in all kinda ways!  Some of ya’ll are reading this right now.  It hurts and angers me to see, hear and/or feel the betrayal, backstabbing or downright disloyalty when it occurs – small or big, it doesn’t matter.  The aforementioned person tried to soften the blow by expressing how much he respects and admires my sense of loyalty to folks, how I try to blend the personal and business aspects of life for win-win situations. But sadly, all he sees is my growing frustrations, disappointments and reactions.  “You gotta stop” I was told, “that stuff will hurt you, kill you even.  People don’t care – only when they can get something from you, when they can’t or don’t like it when you have to correct or call their attention to something, they are quick to turn on you.”  He was being real with me.  The sad truth is – this ain’t groundbreaking news.  The saddest thing about betrayal is that it never comes from your enemies.  I’ve been seeing this shit for years, continuously from the same folks; people I have cared about, those held dear; yet I wouldn’t stop assisting, wouldn’t stop helping when I could.  All that I received was a growing sense of resentment.  My fault I guess because they never earned my loyalty.  I have to realize that just because we grew up together, we are family or we have some perceived kinship, doesn’t mean they deserve the blind loyalty, which should be reserved for those who have exhibited it in return. The only people I owe my loyalty to are those who have never made me question theirs! Recently people have said to me, Rog – bro, you’ve changed! You’re not the same!  Someone even told me I used to be the “helper” or the person that took care of things.  Well, where the hell is my help?  Where is my call to see how the hell I’m doing?!?!  Where’s the appreciation??   If I didn’t change, I’d still be knocking people on their ass for less then this. But emotional survival is a battle.  Truth of the matter is, it’s my nature to be caring, to help, to be all in.  I have always tried to see the world as full of opportunities.  Also true is how it’s also in my nature not to sugarcoat things, my opinion being how does that help anyone?  What matters is my heart has always been pure. I keep it 100. I guess people prefer the bullshit to the truth sometimes.  A long while ago someone told me how relationships were all about how one person makes another person feel, what void they fill in the other person’s life or what they can get out of that relationship.  Man, I thought that was the most selfish shit I had ever heard.  Maybe he was right….

There’s something wrong with your character if “opportunity” controls your loyalty….

– Unknown

The Barber Shop, Lessons & A Lasting Impression

In Education, Family, Love, Parenting on January 16, 2016 at 3:16 pm

I arrived for my haircut appointment like any other day, hoping my barber was on time, checking my emails & reading my news.  Luckily my barber was only 2 minutes late, which was a small victory in itself.  My barber and I have a pretty good relationship.  There’s a respect factor we had from the onset.  He talks to me about many things, personal and not; we go back and forth and I try to provide him with my insights or opinions when requested.  The barbershop was alive and the conversation ranged from sports, to what they did the night before, to who the best rappers were; the usual harmless fun barbershop banter. It was fun debating certain comments with them and listening to them state their cases.  While in the chair, a brother walks in with a young girl, maybe 12 – if that.  The young girl is carrying  a rack displying bracelet beads as the male with her walks station to station peddling the “homemade jewelry”.  When they arrived at our station, the brother begins to converse with my barber briefly.  I initially thought to myself, damn, another interruption – I gotta go.  I look up at the young lady and can tell she was a bit uncomfortable or shy about approaching folks while carrying the merchandise.  Thoughts were running through my head, you know – was this some sort of street scam, who would use his daughter to peddle items just to make a buck, were these really home made?  But within seconds, I thought otherwise – more like who cares and I focused on the obvious lessons being taught.  The brother appeared quite humble and respectful as I asked the young girl if she made the jewelry, which she replied by smiling and nodding her head yes.  Her dad smiled too and said she made each and every one of them.  He would glance at her,  trying to cajole her into verbally selling her creations, but you can tell she was new to this.  A deep sense of respect hit me.  Here was this guy, in my humble opinion, teaching his daughter entrepreneurial traits, confidence building tactics and survival skills.  Here was this young girl, tagging along with her dad, willing to learn and deal with the ups and downs, the rejections and the triumphs, each time she tried to sell her creations.  Her smile was bright and her eyes, while unsure, still twinkled.  Her dad, well his eyes showed pride and even admiration toward his little girl.  I was moved.  I have been at the barbershop hundreds of times, many of which included interruptions from people selling all types of items – most ill begotten.  Not this time, this time it was simply a daughter & her dad, striving together to succeed.  Small victories each time, but lessons nonetheless.  Now all this occurred within 2 minutes – maybe.  I purchased two of her creations, telling her to keep them for herself – cause she earned it.  Her dad very surprised, looked at me and smiled.  We nodded at each other with mutual respect and they went bout their business.  I went bout mine, smiling, happy and full of hope.

“Picture jewels being handed to an innocent child….”

– Tupac Shakur

Life, Tragdey & A Lost Brotherhood

In Family on August 15, 2014 at 1:47 pm

Today has been a contradiction for me; it is a beautiful, sunny day, 75 degrees with blue skies. Just perfect – except, on this day, 37 years ago, my older brother, Jose Lorenzo Martinez passed away at the tender age of 15. He had just left our apartment and I remember vividly as he was looking in the mirror, as he was always well kept, and I excitedly asked him, as only an 8 year old can to his older brother, if he would be coming back home soon so we can watch our favorite movie at the time – “Aaron Loves Angela”.  I can see his smile now as he responded, “Yeah Brother Blood”, before departing.  I remember how he yelled up to our 4th Fl. window as my sister and mother told him to be careful, as I peered down at him from a crease in between them.  Sadly, before my mother walked the ten steps back to the sofa, my sister screamed in horror. My mother, instantly knowing it was her son, yelled and immediately ran downstairs.  My brother was walking his then girlfriend home with a bunch of his friends, 10 to 15 in total, when he was struck by two cars as he crossed the street, catapulting him into the air & causing him to hit his head on a fire hydrant on the opposite corner. I remember the ambulance come take him away. As they drove by our window, I peered into the ambulance, catching a glimpse of my brother through the small window on the right side of the ambulance, as he laid there. How I was able to focus and see his face clearly as they sped away, I could never explain.  For some strange reason this year, the anniversary of his death has resonated with me more.  I was sitting having breakfast with some family when the news came on mentioning the date. A heavy feeling came over me, as emotions filled my soul. My little baby girl was smiling at me as if she knew, telling me to be easy. She would have loved him, everybody did. He had that swag, that charisma.  I often have wondered how his life would have turned out had he remained among us. How I may have been or what changes in life would have occurred.  A lot of his friends, especially those he was with that fateful night, didn’t end up well.  My hope & belief tho is that he would not only have risen above the temptations of the street, but as a leader, he would have helped those who struggled with it. I have seen a lot of those guys through the years after his death and to a man, they each would tell me how his death shook them; how he was a real dude, their brother. Each time I would smile proudly, saying to myself, “Yeah – it’s in our genes”.  I have sat many a time, wondering if he has been the one looking out for me when I have found myself in uncomfortable or challenging situations. Was he the one giving me that extra strength or quickness when needed?  Was it him and later my Dad, who have sat there looking down on me – helping to keep me focused.  It’s the only reason I can think of sometimes.  Although I only spent 8 years of my life with him and he was tough on me, I have missed him.  Rest easy Brother Blood.

Gratitude is when memory is stored in the heart and not in the mind.

– Lionel Hampton

Caring, Effort & A Good Father’s Pain

In Family, Love, Parenting on May 6, 2014 at 10:01 pm

When does it start? When does your child begin to disregard all you have taught him by example, let alone words, and instead begins to listen or allow outside influences to cloud their thoughts and shape their behavior? To in some instances, turn against their father in ways not understood? Now all father’s are by no means created equal. There are plenty of father’s out there who are not involved in any meaningful way, who are by all intents and purposes, donors. They deserve the resentment that may come their way. But the funny thing is, sometimes…shoot most times, these jokers are never subject to any. This post is about the pain a good father feels when his likeness turns on him for reasons outside his control. The hurt a good father feels when he looks in his son’s eyes and sees a blankness, a resentment or a misplaced anger, even while his own eyes show the hurt he can’t hide even when he tries. There is an emptiness a good father feels after all he has done or tried to do for his seed(s), only to be told he does nothing, means nothing or is not cared for, even though he knows those sentiments may be coming from elsewhere. At some point, the child – regardless of what he hears elsewhere, must recognize or realize what is right and make his own decisions. My eyes well up just writing this, thinking of all the efforts a good father continues to make, with indifference returned to him. How alone he feels, when others who know better, either remain silent or by continued association, stay on the sidelines, watching the crime unfold – but yet do little to prevent it. Yet, even through it all, a good father perseveres. He continues to try to get through to a piece of his heart, even when he’s obviously not being heard or appreciated. All the good father can do during his private moments, is hold his head high as he looks in the mirror, a tear running down his face, and feel a comfort -small as it may be – knowing he’s done all he can. Unfortunately, try as they may, it doesn’t dilute the struggle or hurt. A good father pushes forward, amidst the turmoil, always letting his child know he is there for them. Is tough love going forward the answer? How much is a good father supposed to accept when unconditional love is not working? When is it ok for him to resist, while he awaits for his child’s awakening? The truth is all a good father can do is try to understand the root of the issues & where it comes from; to be there when that awakening finally comes with open arms. So until that time comes, I will always remain your FATHER.

There is a time for departure even when there’s no place to go.

– Tennessee Williams

Smiles, Joy & The Birth Of An Angel

In Family, Love, Parenting, Uncategorized on March 17, 2014 at 10:31 pm

Life has no script, no concrete plan for anyone. Plans are made, re shaped & rewritten. When you feel lost, something finds you. When you feel you have reached the mountaintop, something knocks off your equilibrium & a tumble ensues. But there are times, moments when we are blessed. When things enter our lives that bring nothing but positives, brings excitement, brings utter joy. Recently I had one of those moments, moments I feel deeply will be everlasting. Cambrie Milana Naut entered the world on January 1, 2014 @9:53am. Seeing her beautiful face as she grabbed my finger left me speechless. My heart beat furiously as I looked down at my lil princess who entered this world to remind me of all that is good, that I too am blessed & how my life will forever be altered. At that moment a rush of emotions flowed through my body as I envisioned all the stages in her life. I kept seeing her smiling at me as she grew from a baby, to a toddler, young girl, teen & finally a woman. Her face was pure, her smile priceless, her energy real & her spirit a joy. In a matter of seconds decades flashed before me & a sense of calm came over me, for here I held a love child, destined to share her ups & downs with me. Who I believe will love unconditionally. When I brought her into my wife’s arms, I felt an enormous rush, a deeper understanding of love, as before me was our future, a creation born from our deep love & passion. I looked at my wife in awe, amazed at her strength & grace during the process; overjoyed with sharing this beautiful being with the love of my life. Eagerly looking forward to our forever with the bundle of joy before us. I couldn’t stop smiling, doing a little dance & shouting to everyone within earshot that a princess was born. People will ask why have a child at this stage of my life? At my age? I reply why not? Having a child at this age provides me with a chance to more intently absorb all the nuances & growth they undertake. To have an opportunity to provide Cambrie with all the knowledge I have learned, all the experiences I have gained. To soak in all her achievements & patiently deal with her failures. To guide her with a steady hand & a pure heart. Cambrie Milana means angel – bringing people together, a name that suits her perfectly. She is our lil angel, who brings our separate worlds together, solidifying our love. She is the perfect combination of us, an Angel in the truest sense of the word.

A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.

– John Lennon

Heartfelt, Struggles & A Daughter’s Love

In Family, Love, Parenting, Relationships on January 13, 2013 at 12:05 pm

I have been going through some deep emotional strife recently, things that have caused me to call into question many things. It has caused me to question my spirituality & my life’s meaning. Sometimes, I can’t understand why things go the way they do or how people can allow them to spiral to a point of no return. Although my heart is heavy folks, I have tried to keep my mind clear. It’s just that my heart has a strong current, a strong pulse & has been messing with my mind. It happens to the best of us. In one of my most vulnerable moments, I remembered a passage my oldest daughter wrote to me last Father’s Day. It brought me solace, a reprieve from my sad & troubled soul. I share it with you all now hoping it can show you how one’s child can bring you comfort when it is most needed.

Three days ago, you shared with the world a blog honoring your father. A blog that showed how close you were with him, the struggles of a true man, the appreciation you had for him and still do til this day, but never getting the chance to show him how much you really admired him. It’s funny how God works because all those things you felt about your father, I feel ten times more about you. I believe I know one of the biggest reasons I was put on this earth, and it’s to be there for you. You’re the most amazing, hardworking man I have ever met. Through your “daddy jewels”, discussions, inspirations and lessons, you have showed me what a true man looks like. I’m here to protect you, love you and always remind you that you did turn out fine- a man, just like your father. You know what they say, “they wait till your dead to give you your roses.” While sad, it’s true; so I promise myself everyday that I’m breathing on this earth, to show you how much I appreciate you pops, that I love you more than life itself, and that I understand. Words will never truly express what you mean to me, but if this rose can help make your Father’s Day a happy one, this brings more than you know, but not as many as you truly deserve.

Thank you princess, you mean the world to me. I love you…

Do your job so well that when you’re not there it speaks for you.

– Consuelo Kickbusch