She Gave Her All

Good better best may you never rest until the good gets better and the better best.

As a young boy these words played over and over again in my mind, and verbally repeated to me time and time again by my mother who was better known to all as “Mimi.”  She gave it her all as a single mother left to fend for herself and her five children.  She never lost sight of faith that one day her son would become a man.

What is all?  Is it the conclusion of the whole matter?  Maybe it’s as much as possible?  Or could it be every member or individual component of or the whole amount?  Doesn’t all mean all?

Let’s look at these letters as an Acronym – A.L.L. and what they mean to you and I.

A = Allegiance

L = Laughter

L = Love

These 3 words will tell it all….

I’d like to share a story with you that took place while at a difficult period of my life, while I was battling with a vicious Drug and Alcohol Addiction that landed me in and out of prisons for 25 plus years.  (Half of my life)

I had burned every bridge imaginable; family, friend, and foe.  No one including my own shadow trusted me.  I was at a low point in my life. Fleeting thoughts of killing myself raced through my mind.  Needless to say I needed help and help real fast.  When I ended up on the doorstep of the one women who seen something in me beyond all my mess, I was welcomed by her warm embrace, told to come in and go clean up.  You see going 4,5 or even 6 days without washing one’s body and staying up all day and all night tends to have a story of its own.

Later my mother fed me and directed me to go upstairs to her room and get into her bed and get some needed rest.  She gave it her all.

After passing out from exhaustion for who knows how many hours I woke up rested and wondering what to do next.  Well, I received my answer.  As I opened my eyes and gained focus from a deep sleep, I noticed the sun had poked its warm rays through the bedroom window and landed on my mother’s table next to her bed.  Something colorful and sparkling caught my attention.  It was my mother’s wedding rings.

To make a long story short, I grabbed the rings, placed them in my pocket and raced down the step towards the door on my way to my next high. On my way out I heard the sweet voice of my mother who was working in the kitchen none the less preparing a meal fit for a king,  With one thing on my mind……To get high.  In no time flat I walked out of the Pawn Shop with about $70.00 and within an hour I was broke, “Again” busted and disgusted with nowhere to go.  I had seemly burned the only life line to my existence.

Well, this story would have it that I landed back at my mother’s house a week or so later.  I was welcomed in with joy (her Allegiance), greeted with a smile (her Laughter), and a hug and a kiss (her Love).  It felt good to be loved.  On our way to the kitchen, my mother presented me with one simple question “Ronnie, have you seen my rings?”  Huh!

While dropping my head I found myself speechless.  Mimi placed her hand softly on my chin and gently lifted my head (as if to make me proud) with her eyes glued to mine and said with a smile:  “Well, son I guess you needed them more them me.”

She had given it her all. Her many years of Allegiance, Laughter and Love towards me were summed up in that statement.

It has taken me many years of living a selfish life style for me to understand what All really meant and for the Good to Get Better and the Better Best.

Today, I give it my All (helping others in making their next CHOICE their best CHOICE.)  Now will you give it yours?

Rearview Mirror

What’s in your rearview mirror? This saying certainly may very well come down to the popular cliché that Capital One uses “What’s in your wallet?” It is certainly one of the most feared sights that any driver will see who has made a bad choice to speed. Let’s take this common scenario: You’re on your way to a meeting, to work or to pick up the children from daycare and you’re running late. You’re not paying attention and the only thing on your mind is getting to your destination on time. The speed limit is 55 or is it 45? Anyway, it has been that way on this portion of the highway for as long as you can remember or at least the last time you consciously took note. You merge onto a 2 lane highway and it’s clear with only a few tractor trailers that seem to be standing still as your roll right past them.

Then it happens… You spot something in the cut. It’s a police car tucked off to the side of the road. You look down at your speedometer and you hit your brakes so fast that you really don’t know how fast you were going. Your next move (like all of us) is to look up into you rearview mirror. “The good old rearview mirror.”  And here comes the flashing lights, at a speed which seems to be twice yours.

You slow down and prepare yourself for the obvious. There is no question, or shadow of a doubt that you will now be late. Your mind begins to race. You will be pulled over. The officer will sit in the police car behind you for what will seem like ages. The officer will walk up to your vehicle with all kinds of questions which will take more time. And depending on how your attitude is and how cooperative you choose to be, the questioning can last forever. You will be required to provide your pertinent data (Driver’s License, Vehicle registration, and proof of Insurance) certainly the officer will understand.

Well to your surprise and favor, the police vehicle zooms past you and races down the highway and out of sight.

Right, wrong or indifferent there always are consequences to our choices. What I’m beginning to understand more and more about my choices is that I have the choice to view the rearview mirror of life prior ever making a choice. Now please don’t misunderstand me, life can come at us very fast at times. What I notice is that in some cases I want to do right once I get caught with my hand in the cookie jar so to speak, instead of being pro-active and making my next choice my best choice with self-talk and or slowing down to think things through.

What’s in my rearview mirror is all of life’s lessons and experiences that I’ve pick up along the way, the failures of others and the wisdom that comes along with those lessons.   And lastly, doing what is right for all the right reasons.

What’s in your rearview mirror?  Will you choose to look in it every now and then before making choices?

Celebrating 2014

In a number of days, 2014 will come to an end.  What an incredibly blessed year it has been!  At the beginning of the year on January 9th my book titled Choices became a reality and was published to the public.  I am grateful to all of those people who have been a part of my life that believed in me to help me make this happen.  Throughout the year I have been given the opportunity to share my message on Choices by giving presentations, participating in forums and interacting with many individuals from all walks of life.  Each and every experience has been a rewarding one for me, to say the least.  Additionally I have met many people along the way and cherish the friendships that have formed as a result.

I am sharing some photos from my experiences this year and I want to thank everyone who has been a part of this Great Year of Choices with me!  I look forward to continuing making Great Choices in 2015!

Pleasantly Surprised

Well, this might come to a shock to those who claim to know me.  The one pet-peeve that I have is SURPRISES.  Yes, you guessed it I do not enjoy walking blind into a situation with a bunch of my family, friends, and strangers who are looking to catch me off guard in order to bring a smile on my face.  The surprises that I choose to welcome are the ones that I have to ask myself “How in the world did God pull that off?”

This weekend was one of those precious moments where God truly surprised me.  About 8 years ago I was entrusted with a Copy of “Good and Evil” by Michael Pearl from No Greater Joy, 1000 Pearl Road, Pleasantville, TN 37033, http://nogreaterjoy.org/magazine/   I was at a low point in my life, and because of this God was able to use this ministry and others to help me grow.  I asked them for the book and promised to pay for it once I got out of prison.

Several months ago it was pressed upon my heart to reach out to No Greater Joy and fulfil my obligation as a good steward and repay them for their act of kindness towards me.  This was done and at the time I felt good doing it.

The other day I was clearing off some of the so-called junk-mail that had piled up on my desk.  From time to time I glance through some of this stuff with the intentions of moving them from my desk to the circler file.  This weekend was no different.  I Picked up the No Greater Joy Magazine and the two things that caught my eyes were the title and the little girl with her gleaming smile on the cover of the MAR-APR 2015 edition.  Please check out this Magazine at the site listed above and you will see just what I’m referencing.  So, I picked up the magazine to take a look inside.  As I thumbed through I quickly discovered what it was that made me want the book 8 years ago.  There was an array of colorful messages.

Then I was hit with the unexpected:  In the middle of the magazine on the page titled “From Our Mailbox” on page 28, was a an article that shared the words from the letter I had written to them recently as well as a little bit about my story.  The first thing that I spotted on this page was a picture of me.  I was looking at me in this publication and had to stop and process what all this was about.  God had pulled it off…. I was pleasantly surprised.

By choosing to do the right things for the right reasons, look to be pleasantly surprised.

The Selfless Choice of Two Women

Who would have ever thought that two women who at first glance have nothing in common would ever have become friends?  One woman is tall the other woman is short.  One is a nurse and the other a Banker.  One from the city and the other the country.

I recently was blessed with the opportunity to share a vacation with my loving daughter Lanaya and her mother, my ex wife Latanya and my wife Anneliese. Yes!  You read that correctly I went on vacation to Florida with my wife and my ex wife.

What these women did share was a set of vows that said I do.  Yes I married both of them. ( at different times of course!)  Their vows were not so much to me but more so to honor their relationship with God.

These women both when outside of traditional thinking and the way society has set a standard of how to treat one another.  Their main focus was not on themselves but to be humble and to bring joy in the lives of both me and my daughter.  Giving me the opportunity to bless my daughter with a trip to Disney World.

Unfortunately my daughter and I live hours apart.  I don’t get to spend that much time with her.  So when we were blessed with the opportunity to spend vacation in Florida not only did my wife Anneliese say yes that we bring my daughter, but also suggested to bring my ex wife to enjoy the experience as well.  Disney World was amazing!  The entire trip was a total success!

This unique situation has created an everlasting bond between a blended family.  The choice that these women made to look past personal feelings and anything else to be a blessing to both me and my daughter was beyond words.

Avalanche + A Happy Wife = A Happy Life

The formula for a Happy life is as follows: Avalanche + Happy Wife = a Happy Life.  I was pleasantly surprised some time ago when my wife sheepishly presented me with the news that I was about to be a father.  My response was somewhat in disbelief.  As I gently waved her off with my hand I asked her to “Stop playing.”  Her response was overly convincing when I saw the pregnancy test strip glowing with a solid Plus Sign indicating that this was not a game.   Yes!!! It was true and welcomed news to our eyes and ears.   My wife was going to have our baby.

So this game changing event was underway.  We quickly formulated a strategies after the first trimester and our plan of action was very simple.  We would turn the spare room in our house into a nursery for our welcomed little guest.

Being the good husband and dad that I am, I assumed the lead and offered to have this room painted. Well, I heard it once said that if you give a woman something she will increase it and make it into something even better.  For me this was easy to grasp. For example, when I asked for her hand in marriage and gave her a ring, she gave me purpose and a future.  When I’ve brought groceries to my wife she’s created a meal fit for a king.  When I’ve shared my ideas, dreams, and vision she’s shared encouragement, insight and directions.   So, when I suggested to have the room painted I ended up with a whole new house.  This is how it went down.  (My story and I’ll stick to it)

Together, we agreed to have the room painted and my wife mentioned that it would make good sense to have the entire inside painted if we ever decided to sell.  Happy wife happy Life.  Then we looked at carpet for the room and the rest of the house.  Well, it was too late I was already experiencing the effects of the Snow Ball.  The trim, the fixtures, the tile floor, the appliances, the furniture, the counter top and backsplash. “Avalanche”  I never saw it coming.  Recently, I shared this story with a friend who told me that my wife is nesting and preparing the nest.  Another, told me this is called marriage. And for me this is the choice of a Happy Life…..

In my experience if your give a woman something, it is natural for her to increase it.  So, choose to give her things she can work with and not a hard time. (Smile)