History still repeats itself

Allow these photos to speak to you

“An unjust law is itself a species of violence. Arrest for its breach is more so. Now the law of nonviolence says that violence should be resisted not by counter-violence but by nonviolence. This I do by breaking the law and by peacefully submitting to arrest and imprisonment.”
Mahatma Gandhi, Non-violence in Peace and War 1942-49

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A trip to the beginning- part 1

The road trip started out a little rough.  Our credit wasn’t good enough to rent from the first rental car company avis. Once we found a company we were able to rent from they would not have a car available until Monday which was two days away.  Monday came and my sister who was supposed to meet us at the house before the roosters crowed didn’t show up until the deer ran back into hiding.  Upon arrival at the rental car company I was advised that the only car available was a Ford fusion.  Well I said we gotta get going so we will take it, I jumped in the car filled up the tank and returned to the house to pick up passengers and packages.  We got on the road roughly about 9am. My wife took the half below the Mason Dixon I above. We were headed to n\New York City, the place where it all began for me.  This time my trip included a wife and child. Along with a education and a new perspective on life. We drove up 85 north through south Carolina and North Carolina. Upon arriving in North Carolina the back drop of my view included mountains line with greens, purple and orange. Trees and hills, fields of corn and wheat. Lakes of blue and green, streams of water cutting their ways to the nearest larger body . We would pass over the occasional river rushing to get to wherever it needed to go. We saw birds flying, deer corpses, and road kill galore. The beauty of nature and the reality of Death hit at once. I knew I was heading home but didn’t expect to get vision as well. Our arrival into New York City was met with awaited excitement and bright lights. The city that never sleeps was alive, awake, and bustling. We hit traffic attempting to cross over the Queensboro Bridge which is aptly named the ED Koch bridge. Once we navigated the aggressive taxi drivers, and the rushing to no where. We took our time and drove up queens blvd. I drove as my wife watched, first stop was to drop off my sister. In what I would call 40 Projects, but now is named South Jamaica Housing. Next stop Grandmothers. When park at about one in the morning, and allowed baby girl to get used to the new environment. Somewhere between two and four we all went to bed just to jump up at about seven. What should we do on our first day in the city, well lets make breakfast. To locate a grocery store, that isn’t as costly as WholeCheck, with the same quailty in south jamaica queens is as hard as it sounds, but a little driving and the GPS, helped us locate a King Kullen. We picked up some spinach, mushrooms, cheese, eggs, chick sausage, biscuits, milk, and coffee, all organic and fair trade products. Took our purchase back to grannies, and throw down on a healthy, breakfast. Full and fully dressed we all packed into the car and went exploring the town, I wanted to see the beginning,  but instead we were met by current and fast.  We decided that since breakfast was so filling we would skip lunch and have a early dinner, so I went to visit my mother, and took my family to handle personal matters. Around 4pm we headed to long island to enjoy dinner at the factory of cheesecake better known as The cheesecake factory. The place was not packed and we were seated immediately.  We had our dinner, and conversed. Took dessert to go, and got back to our spots in the vehicle. On the drive to the house, I noticed that people were just rushing, horns honking, evil stares, and close encounters. If your not able to deal with aggresive drivers, stay off the roads of New York.  I also noticed that many folks were so focused on getting to where they were going they missed out on the beauty of the city. Many people know of the beauty but not enough people actually enjoy it. Instead they walk laser lined focused on the goal, they are rushing to get to here and there. To never take time or have time to enjoy the smell of roses, or the boldness of colors that God paints the sky, should be a sin. I remember when I moved to the south, I realized that up north your working to make money, in the south your money is working for you. On the drive home I looked up and saw the beauty in the sky, and I couldn’t resist a picture. At the first chance I could get I snapped a picture of the Sky. The results brought tears to my eyes, God took time to make the world beautiful, we need to take time to enjoy it. 10704098_876921425658904_7539434389833204766_n

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A long walk

The idea of self discovery and awareness is one that I am far to familiar with.  The chance for one to jump deeper into the deepest most parts of their understanding of, who they are and what they are, comes along many times before a person will ever attempt the journey.  One must change the idea of fear and allow it to guide them onto the path instead of just jumping no where because fear hindered the movements.  My fear many times was of not being able to do it or what many people call the fear of failure, for example when I went back to college I thought that if I failed it would be because the work was too hard.  So because of the own negative convincings I waited to go to college.  The crazy thing is it all happened the opposite way , I had to change schools because the work at my first college didn’t challenge me.  By my actual movement on to the beginning of my journey I am able to understand what strength and weaknesses I have. I am able to know what I like and what I can say is not interesting.  Jump on to your journey, discover who you are and through the discovery process you will help others. Be blessed

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How deep are your roots

My wife and I went hiking at the Yellow River Park. We walked the wooded trails around the park. We always love leaving the pavements and finding the trails that involve nature.  We went around the 1.5 miles and noticed a trail that was less traveled; along the river itself.   We grabbed some sticks to remove spider webs and walked. We turned off the music so that we could enjoy the rushing water of the river. We walked around and finished our hike, but as we came to the ending of the path we noticed a tree that had grown on top of rocks whose roots were long and exposed. The exposed roots had some how reached past the rocks, and into the river and into the dirt. This tree was healthy and living even though it grows on rocky soil. The ancestors spoke to me at the moment and revealed that your foundation may be tough but you can still grow. Your roots are deeper than what your surface reveals. Don’t give up now your growing in the right direction.  Be blessed.

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Hypocrisy without notice

Walking around Atlanta, Ga you see a lot of people who are hurting and struggling to maintain the positive.      PeopJD_CentennialGeorgiaAquariumle are bound by addictions, worry, fear, and doubt. Mothers struggling to look past the realities of the norms, and hold on to a hope of a better future. Fathers just trying to supply for their families, but without many prospects it just gets harder and harder. Around this beautiful city you are able to witness to extreme differences. Right in the heart of our downtown you are able to get a great picture of the neglected masses of metro Atlanta, being ignored and over looked by wealth, and success. In the park that many visitors of our city want to visit, standing at the entrance gate of the largest aquarium in the country, a place that displays opulence and abundance from the moment you spend the money for your tickets. You see standing by the gate a gentleman asking for spare change as excited guest shake their heads, or tighten the grip on their little ones as they walk away. As if the guy who wants a meal is going to run away with your child, and feed himself with that. The nerve of some people, spending loads of cash to entertain themselves, but can’t spare some bucks just so someone can enjoy a meal. Many will argue that well the homeless just use the money to feed their addictions, or well why the homeless get jobs can’t. Whose fault is it that the man is begging, is it mine, did I make him become homeless. Well let’s see, many of the homeless, suffer from mental illness, many of the homeless are veterans, and some of the homeless are convicted felons who because of unjust laws cannot get a job. I don’t see any push to build mental health facilities, or many offers for free counseling, I don’t see many of the things that could lessen the amount of people begging, and living on our city streets across this great country. I do see more investments, in tourist attractions, corporations, and prisons. I do see more investments into things that will continue to push the means higher and higher. Oh I get it Mr. Rich Guy, Homeless people bring the city money, that they never see, Atlanta alone gets millions in government funds to help support the homeless, and what do they get, a 5k race many of them don’t run in, and a thanksgiving meal. The shelters are overcrowded, and many are very hard to get into, but the allocations of funds for the less fortunate go to never never land to never be seen by the people who need it. As I sat watching this continue to take place, I walked away and heard a young little girl say to her dad, this man stinks, and the father reverted the conversation right back to what he was focused on, Lets hurry sweetie, the dolphin show comes on soon.

As I got back into my car, turned on my air conditioner and drove back to my home, I filled on the TV, heated up last night’s leftovers, and sat on my couch with my wife and child wondering about that Guy I saw standing there begging. I was reminded that just like many of the people that passed him by, he still didn’t get his meal.

It dawned on me that day to always give more than I can ever get because By Gods Grace There Go I. At any given moment any of us can be in that mans shoes, and I hope that someone at least offered me enough to enjoy a cold cup of old coffee and some dry toast. Think on it. Be Blessed

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“Never Let anyone Define you, but yourself”- William “Dollar Bill” Mashburn

My grandfather died of colon cancer on Tuesday September 2, 2014 in Columbia South Carolina. By his side was my mother (his Daughter), my cousin, and my sister. The man suffered from dementia, and cancer, only truly remembering his youth and his music career. Many of us were blurs in his memory but that didn’t matter. My grandfather was born in Ashville North Carolina, in the late 1930’s His mother and father moved he and his brothers and sister to Harlem New York, during the 1940’s. My grandfather loved Harlem, he would tell us stories of him sneaking into clubs, and listening too many of the great jazz musicians of the time. His love and passion for music would grow and develop into a love for playing the drums and singing. My grandfather would grow into a man that allowed his gifts to make room for him, but first he did what many in his era did and joined the army during the Vietnam War, he traveled the world as a cook for the U.S army, He cooked and played his drums. He would tell me that the army allowed him to see the world in a different light. He served his country for the years required and was honorably discharged. Settled back in New York City, and started playing full time. In 1964 he released the 45 don’t it sound good, where my grandfather sounding as a preacher gave a sermon of Love to the fans. This allowed for him to travel the world once again doing something he loved. He would return to New York and meet a women who gave him the joy of his life. This is where my beginning starts. William mashburn’s history is much longer than this, and his bio can go on for pages and pages. My grandfather battled demons of his past and had some of the greatest triumphs I can remember. He raised not only his daughter but the other kids as well. He treated them all as if they were his own. He would give up chasing the music and took a job as a dish washer and line cook for the airlines to have a steady income coming in. My grandfather played the Apollo, and many others from New York, to California. When I finally was born in the 80’s my grandfather settled into his life as a father, and family man. Getting a home in queens, and just maintaining a life of simplicity. My grandfather wasn’t flashy, and into showy fashions, whenever he and my grandmother went out to the mason’s lodge or the Zanzibar to perform he rocked a Dashiki, and a cream straw fedora with khaki pants and freshly shined black shoes. He would tell me “keep it clean, and simple” to “allow your character to walk for you”. The images still play in my head. Never did he overdue it and dress to impress, but people loved his sound, and dedication to his craft. Never saying too much and always with a watchful eye. He would tell stories to me as he practiced his drums, of magical people and characters that had my name. Stories of valiant men who were never afraid, and always saved the princess for the wickedness of the world. Of trees, and animals that had the abilities to talk, sing, dance, and give direction. He would come home from work, with his drum sticks in his hand, along with a liter of Tropicana Apple juice in a glass bottle, and chips ahoy chocolate chip cookies. He would have dinner, feed the dog, retreat upstairs to the bedroom, and practice his rhythms and beats. Sometimes it was jazz, other times it was the sounds of the islands, or gospel, or just some funky jam session but he poured his soul into it. Eventually, as we got older the drums went away, and the wood block become his practice, he would practice on the wood block for hours and hours, then he taught himself to play the flute, and as we got other, he would just play whatever he had time too. He walked with those drumsticks everywhere, to his job, and to home, with his head held high, and his uniforms pressed and pants creased. Black work boots shined fresh by himself daily, My grandfather never called himself a Dishwasher when we were kids, but when my grandmother died in 96’ he defined himself as a dishwasher. No longer having the passion for music as he once did, he would practice for an hour, and then he went into his hobbies of building cities out of cigarette boxes, and collecting toys. As his health got worst, and his memory starting to slip, he just held on to the drum sticks. We all left New York, and my grandfather moved into his brother’s basement. At first he was okay, but our visits become less and less, and calls less and less. When my mother discovered the conditions he was living in, that his mind had left him completely. That the people he was living with had abandoned him to himself, she almost lost it. Moving to Carolina was the best thing for him. When I had the chance to see him for the first time after he was diagnosed with dementia was at my wedding, Him being in his right mind looked at me and said “ Never let anyone define you, but yourself”. The words didn’t strike a tune with me at that moment, but the day he died with his drumsticks, the same ones that traveled with him, through many of years. Those words rang true, William Mashburn defined himself, as a musician, father, husband, and grandfather. Proud of all of our lives that he helped mold and lead. He was the example and definition of a man. He will be truly missed.

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I am a Back Slider

I am a Back Slider.

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